The Project Gutenberg EBook of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, No.
CCCXLII. Vol. LV. April, 1844, by Various

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, No. CCCXLII. Vol. LV. April, 1844

Author: Various

Release Date: October 5, 2004 [EBook #13633]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Jon Ingram, Victoria Woosley, the PG Online Distributed
Proofreading Team, and The Internet Library of Early Journals



No. CCCXLII.     APRIL, 1844.     VOL. LV.






The time occupied by the events detailed in the three preceding chapters, had been passed by Antonio in a state of self-exile from his master's studio. Conscious of having disobeyed the earnest injunctions of Contarini, the weakness of his character withheld him alike from confessing his fault, and from encountering the penetrating gaze of the old painter. Neglecting thus his usual occupation, he passed his days in his gondola, wandering about the canals in the hope of again meeting with the mysterious being who had made such an impression on his excitable fancy. Hitherto all his researches had been fruitless; but although day after day passed without his finding the smallest trace of her he sought, his repeated disappointments seemed only to increase the obstinacy with which he continued the search.

The incognita not only engrossed all his waking thoughts, but she still haunted him in his dreams. Scarcely a night passed that her wrinkled countenance did not hover round his pillow, now partially shrouded by the ample veil, then again fully exposed and apparently exulting in its unearthly ugliness; or else peering at him from behind the drapery that covered the walls of his apartment. In vain did he attempt to address the vision, or to follow it as it gradually receded and finally melted away into distance.

It was from a dream of this description that he was one morning awakened by his faithful gondolier Jacopo. The sun was shining brightly through his chamber windows, and he heard an unusual degree of noise and bustle upon the canal without.

"Up, Signor mio!" cried the gondolier joyously, and with a mixture of respect and affectionate familiarity in his tone and manner. "Up, Signor Antonio! You were not wont to oversleep yourself on the day of the Bridge Fight. All Venice is hastening thither. Quick, quick! or we shall never be able to make our way through the press of gondolas."

The words of the gondolier reminded Antonio that this was the day appointed for the celebration of a festival, which for weeks past had been looked forward to with the greatest impatience and interest, by Venetians of all ranks, ages, and sexes; a festival which he himself was in the habit of regularly attending, though on this occasion his preoccupied thoughts and feelings had made him utterly unconscious that it was so near at hand.

Although the ancient and bitter hatred of the Guelphs and Ghibellines had died away, and the factions which divided northern Italy had sunk into insignificance, nearly a century before this period, the memory of their feuds was still kept up by their great grandchildren, and Venice was still severed [pg 402] into two parties or communities, separated from each other by the grand canal. Those who dwelt on the western or land side of this boundary were styled the Nicolotti, after the parish of San Nicolo; while those on the eastern or sea side took the appellation of Castellani, from the district of Castello. Not only the inhabitants of the city itself, but those of the suburbs and neighbouring country, were included in these two denominations; the people from Mestre and the continent ranging themselves under the banners of the Nicolotti, while those from the islands were strenuous Castellani.

The frequent and sanguinary conflicts of the Guelphs and Ghibellines were now replaced and commemorated by a popular festival, occurring sometimes once, sometimes oftener in the year; usually in the autumn or spring. "In order that," says an old chronicler of the time, "the heat being less great at those seasons, the blood of the combatants should not become too heated and the fight too dangerous." "Also on cloudy days," says the same authority, "that the spectators might not be molested by the sun; and on Sundays or Saints' days, that the people thereby might not be hindered from their occupations." On these occasions one of the numerous bridges was selected as the scene of the mock combat that constituted the chief amusement of the day. The quays afforded good standing-room to the spectators; and here, under the inspection of ædiles appointed by the people, the two parties met, and disputed for supremacy in a battle, in which, however, no more dangerous weapons than fists were allowed to be brought into play.

It was not the populace alone that divided itself into these two factions. Accordingly as the palaces of the nobles stood on the one or the other side of the canal, were their owners Castellani or Nicolotti, although their partizanship existed but in jest, and only showed itself in the form of encouragement to their respective parties; whereas with the lower orders the strife, begun in good-humour, not unfrequently turned to bitter earnest, and had dangerous and even fatal results. In the wish, however, to keep up a warlike spirit in the people, and perhaps still more with a view to make them forget, in a temporary and boundless license, the strict subjection in which they were habitually held, the senate was induced to permit the continuance of a diversion, which from the local arrangements of Venice, the narrowness of the streets and bridges, and the depth of the larger canals, was unavoidably dangerous, and almost invariably attended with loss of life.

Hastily dressing himself, Antonio hurried into his gondola in order to proceed to the bridge of San Barnaba, opposite to the church of the same name and to the Foscarini palace, that being the spot appointed for the combat. The canal of the Giudecca was one black mass of gondolas, which rendered even a casual glimpse of the water scarcely obtainable; and it was amidst the cries of the gondoliers and the noise of boats knocking against each other, that the young painter passed the Dogana and reached the grand canal. There the crowd became so dense, that Jacopo, seeing the impossibility of passing, turned aside in time, and making a circuit, entered the Rio de San Trovaso, whence, through innumerable narrow canals, he succeeded in reaching the scene of the approaching conflict.

The combatants were attending mass, and had not yet made their appearance. Wonderfully great, however, was the concourse of spectators already assembled. Since sunrise they had been thronging thither from all sides, eager to secure places which might afford them a good view of the fight. Every roof, gable, and chimney had its occupants; not a projection however small, not a wall however lofty and perilous, but was covered with people, for the most part provided with baskets of provisions, and evidently determined to sit or stand out the whole of the spectacle. In the anxiety to obtain good places, the most extraordinary risks were run, and feats of activity displayed. Here might be seen individuals clambering up perpendicular buildings, by the aid of ledges and projections which appeared far too narrow to afford either grasp or foot-hold; further on, some herculean gondolier or peasant served as base to a sort of human column, composed of five or six men, who, scrambling over each other's [pg 403] shoulders, attained in this manner some seemingly inaccessible position. The seafaring habits of the Venetian populace, who were accustomed from boyhood to climb the masts and rigging of vessels, now stood them in good stead; and notwithstanding all the noise, confusion, and apparent peril, it was very rarely that an accident occurred.

Under the red awnings covering the balconies and flat roofs of the palaces, were seated groups of ladies, whose rich dresses, glittering with the costliest jewels and embroideries, appeared the more magnificent from being contrasted with the black attire of the grave patricians who accompanied them. But perhaps the most striking feature of this striking scene was to be found in the custom of masking, then almost universal in Venice, and the origin of which may be traced in great part to dread of the Inquisition, and of its prying enquiries into the actions and affairs of individuals. Amidst the sea of faces that thronged roofs, windows, balconies, streets, and quays, the minority only were uncovered, and the immense collection of masks, of every form and colour, had something in it peculiarly fantastic and unnatural, conveying an impression that the wearers mimicked human nature rather than belonged to it.

Venice, whose trade and mercantile importance were at this period greatly on the decline, saw nevertheless, on occasions like the present, strangers from the most opposite nations of Europe, and even Asia, mingling peaceably on her canals. Here were Turks in their bright red caftans and turbans; there Armenians in long black robes; and Jews, whose habitually greedy and crafty countenances had for the nonce assumed an expression of eager curiosity and expectation. The mercantile spirit of the Venetians prevented them from extending to individuals the quarrels of states; and although the republic was then at war with Spain, more than one superb hidalgo might be seen, wrapped in his national gravity as in a mantle, and affecting a total disregard of the blunt or hostile observations made within his hearing by sailors of the Venetian navy, or by individuals smarting under the loss of ships and cargoes captured by Spanish galleys.

Scattered here and there amongst the crowd, Antonio's searching eye soon remarked a number of men, to whom, accustomed as he was to analyse the heterogeneous composition of a Venetian mob, he was yet at a loss to assign any distinct class or country. Their sunburnt and strongly marked features were partially hidden by the folds of ample cloaks, in which they kept themselves closely muffled; and it appeared to Antonio, that in their selection of places they were more anxious to escape observation than to obtain a good view of the approaching fight. In the dark patches of shadow thrown by the overhanging balconies, in the recesses of deep and gloomy portals, or peering out from the entrance of some narrow and tortuous alley, these men were grouped, silent, scowling, and alone, and apparently known to none of the surrounding crowd. But suspicious as were the appearance and deportment of the persons in question, Antonio's thoughts were too much engrossed by another and far more interesting subject, to accord them much attention. He nourished the hope of discovering amongst the multitude assembled around him, the mysterious being who had taken so strong a hold on his imagination. Vainly, however, did he scan every balcony and window and strain his eyes to distinguish the faces of the more distant of the assembled dames. More than once the flutter of a white robe, or a momentarily fancied resemblance of figure, made his heart beat high with expectation, until a second glance destroyed his hopes; and the turning of a head or drawing aside of a veil disclosed the blooming features of some youthful beauty, to which, in his then state of mind, the wrinkled and unearthly visage of the incognita would have been infinitely preferable.

While the young painter was thus fluctuating between hope and disappointment, several lads with naked arms, or but slightly encumbered with clothing, were giving the spectators a foretaste of the approaching conflict; and, encouraged by the applause which was liberally vouchsafed them, making violent efforts to drive one another off the bridge. At times the [pg 404] spirit of partizanship would induce some of the bystanders to come to the aid of those who seemed likely to be defeated—an interference that was repressed by the ædiles stationed at either end of the bridge, who did their utmost to enforce the laws of this popular tournament. Notwithstanding their efforts, however, the mostra or duello between two persons, by which the combat should begin, was often converted into the frotta or mêlée, in which all pressed forward without order. The first advantage was held to be—for one of the combatants to draw blood, if it were only a single drop, from the nose or mouth of his opponent. Loud applause rewarded the skill and vigour of him who succeeded in throwing his adversary into the canal; but the clamour became deafening when a champion was found who maintained his station in the centre of the bridge, without any of the opposite party venturing to attack him. This feat won the highest honour that could be obtained; and he who achieved it retired from his post amid the waving of scarfs and handkerchiefs, and the enthusiastic cheers of the gratified spectators.

At length the bell of the Campanile announced that mass was over, and presently, out of two opposite streets that had been purposely kept clear, the combatants emerged, pressing forward in eager haste towards the bridge; their arms naked to the shoulders, their breasts protected by leathern doublets, and their heads by closely fitting caps—their dress altogether as light as possible, and well adapted to the struggle in which they were about to engage. The loud hum of the multitude was hushed on their appearance, and the deepest silence reigned while the ædiles marshaled them to their respective places, on which they planted themselves in threatening attitudes, their broad and muscular chests expanded, their fists clenched, their feet seeming to grasp the ground on which they stood.

A loud flourish of trumpets gave the signal of the onset, and with inconceivable impetuosity the two parties threw themselves on each other. In spite, however, of the fury and violence of the shock, neither side yielded an inch of ground. The bridge was completely filled with men from end to end, and from side to side; there was no parapet or barrier of any kind to prevent the combatants from pushing one another into the canal; yet so equally balanced was the strength of the two parties, that after nearly half an hour's struggle very few men had been thrown from the bridge, and not the smallest advantage had been obtained either by Castellani or Nicolotti. Those in the rear, who had as yet done nothing but push the others forward, now came to the front, and the combat was renewed with fresh vigour, but for a long time without any result. Again and again were the combatants changed; but it was past noon before Antonio, whose thoughts had been gradually diverted from the incognita by the struggle that was going on, perceived symptoms of weariness amongst those indefatigable athletes. Here and there a knee was seen to bend, or a muscular form to sink, under some well-directed blow, or before a sudden rush of the opposite party. First one, then another of the combatants was hurled from the bridge into the canal, an immersion that, dripping with perspiration as they were, not unfrequently caused death or severe illness. Nevertheless the fury of the fight seemed rather to increase than diminish. So long as only a man here and there fell into the water, they were dragged out by their friends; and the spectators even seemed to feel pity and sympathy for the unfortunates, as they saw them carried along, some covered with blood, others paralysed by the sudden cold, with faces pale as death and limbs stiff and rigid. But as the fury and violence of the combatants augmented, the bystanders forgot every other feeling in the excitement of the fight, about the result of which they seemed as anxious as those who were actively engaged in it. Even women might be seen encouraging those who were driven back, and urging them once more to the charge; applauding and cheering them on when they advanced, and assailing those who hung back with vehement reproaches. The uproar and shouting, shrieks and yells, exceeded any thing that could be imagined. The partizans had got completely mixed together; and, instead of the struggle [pg 405] being confined to the foremost ranks of the contending parties, the whole bridge was now one coil of raging combatants. Men fell into the canal by scores, but no one thought of rendering them any assistance. Their places were immediately filled up, and the fight lost none of its fury from their absence.

Evening was now approaching, and the combat was more violent than it had yet been, or than it had for years been known to be, when Antonio saw the cloaked and mysterious individuals who had already attracted his attention, emerge from their lurking-places, and disappear in different directions. Presently he thought he observed some of them on the bridge mingling with the combatants, whose blind rage prevented them from noticing the intrusion. Wherever they passed, there did the fight augment in obstinacy and fury. Suddenly there was a violent rush upon the bridge, a frightful outcry, and a clash of steel. At the same moment the blades of several swords and daggers were seen crossed and glittering upon the bridge, without its being possible for any one to divine whence the weapons came. The spectators, seized with a panic fear, fled in every direction, and sprang in crowds from the quays to seek shelter under the awnings of the gondolas covering the canal. In vain did the gondoliers resist the intrusion of the fugitives: all considerations of rank and property were lost sight of in the terror of the moment, and some of the boats sank under the weight of the multitudes that poured into them. In their haste to get away, the gondolas impeded each other, and became wedged together in the canal; and amidst the screams of the ladies and angry exclamations of the men, the gondoliers laid down their oars and began to dispute the precedence with blows. Meanwhile the people on the roofs of the houses, believing themselves in safety, espoused different sides, and threw stones and bricks at each other, and at those standing below. In an incredibly short time houses were entirely unroofed, and a perfect storm of tiles rained upon the quays and streets. Those who had first fled, when they attained what appeared a safe distance, halted to look on, and thus prevented others from getting away. Antonio was amongst the number whose escape was thus impeded. His gondolier lay at the bottom of the boat, stunned by a blow from a stone; he himself was bruised and wounded by the missiles that fell in all directions.

The tumult was at its height when suddenly a sound was heard that had a truly magical effect upon the rioters, for such they might now be termed. The alarm-bell of St Mark's rang out its awful peal. In an instant the yells of defiance were hushed; the arm that was already drawn back to deal a blow fell harmless by its owner's side, the storm of missiles ceased, the contending factions parted, and left the combat undecided. The habit of obedience and the intimation of some danger to the city, stilled in an instant the rage of party feeling, and combatants and spectators alike hurried away in the direction of St Mark's place, the usual point of rendezvous on such occasions.

Jacopo had now recovered his senses, and Antonio's gondola was one of the first which reached the square in front of the cathedral. Thence the young painter at once discovered the cause of the alarm. Smoke and flame were issuing from some buildings on the opposite island of San Giorgio Maggiore, where the greater part of the merchants' warehouses were situated. Thither the crowd of gondolas now steered, and Antonio found himself carried along with the stream. But although the fire was already beginning to subside before the prompt measures taken to subdue it, the alarm-bell kept clanging on; and Antonio soon perceived that there must be some other point of danger to which it was intended to turn the attention of the people. Gazing about for some indication of its source, he saw several gondolas hurrying towards the grand canal, on which most of the palaces of the nobles were situated, and he ordered Jacopo to steer in the same direction.

On reaching the palazzo of the Malipieri family, a strange scene presented itself to him. The open space between the side of the palace and the adjacent church of San Samuele, was crowded with men engaged in a furious and sanguinary conflict. At one of the windows of the palace, a [pg 406] tall man in a flowing white robe, with a naked sabre in one hand and a musquetoon in the other, which, from the smoke still issuing from its muzzle, had apparently just been discharged, stood defending himself desperately against a band of fierce and bearded ruffians, who swarmed up a rope ladder fixed below the window. The person making so gallant a defence was the Senator Malipiero; the assailants were Uzcoques from the fortress of Segna.

The arrival of the Proveditore Marcello at Gradiska, and his subsequent recognition of his jewels at the ball, having destroyed Strasolda's hopes of obtaining her father's liberation through the intervention of the archducal counsellors, the high-spirited maiden resolved to execute a plan she had herself devised, and which, although in the highest degree rash and hazardous, might still succeed if favoured by circumstances and conducted with skill and decision. This was to seize upon the person of a Venetian of note, in order to exchange him for the Uzcoques then languishing in the dungeons of the republic.

The Venetians were not yet aware that the much-dreaded woivode Dansowich was among their prisoners. The time chosen by the Uzcoques for their expeditions and surprises was usually the night; and this, added to the custom of mask-wearing, was the cause that the features of Dansowich were unknown to his captors. Nevertheless the striking countenance and lofty bearing of the chieftain, and of one or two of those who were taken prisoners with him, raised suspicions that they were persons of mark—suspicions which were not dissipated by their reiterated denial of being any thing more than common Uzcoques. It was this doubt which saved their lives; for their captors, instead of hanging them at once at the yard-arm of the galleys, which was the usual manner of disposing of Segnarese prisoners, took them to Venice, and placed them at the disposal of the senate. All subsequent threats and promises proved ineffectual to extort from the pirates an acknowledgment of superior rank; and the Venetian authorities would perhaps have ended in believing the account they gave of themselves, had not the urgent applications made by the Austrian Envoy and the Capitano of Fiume, for the release of the Uzcoques, given their suspicions new strength. The object of the Venetians was, if they could ascertain that there was a chief among the prisoners, to obtain from him, by torture or otherwise, confessions which might enable them to prove to the Archduke the encouragement afforded by his counsellors to the piracies of the Segnarese. They accordingly delayed, by every possible pretext, giving an answer to the archducal ambassador, doing their utmost meanwhile to find out the real quality of the prisoners. This, Strasolda was most anxious that they should not discover; and her anxiety was scarcely less to prevent the captivity of their leader from becoming known among the pirates themselves. His daughter's entreaties, and his own better nature, had frequently caused Dansowich to check his followers in the atrocities they were too apt to commit. In consequence of this interference, Strasolda suspected her father to be more feared than liked by Jurissa Caiduch and some others of the inferior woivodes or officers; and she apprehended that, if she confided her plan to them, they would be more likely to thwart than to aid her in it. The crews of the two boats which had been engaged in the skirmish with the Venetian galleys when Dansowich was captured, and the men composing the garrison of the castle on the evening of that fatal occurrence, were therefore all whose assistance she could reckon upon. Some of those were her relatives, and the others tried and trusty adherents. They alone knew of their leader's captivity, his absence having been accounted for to the mass of Uzcoques dwelling in the town of Segna, by a pretended journey to Gradiska; and being too few in number to attack a Venetian galley, the sole plan that seemed to offer a chance of success to this handful of faithful followers, was the hazardous one devised by Strasolda. Of this, they did not hesitate to attempt the execution.

With the utmost cunning and audacity did the Uzcoques enter Venice on the day appointed for the Battle of the Bridge, singly, and by twos and threes, variously disguised, and mingled with the country people and inhabitants [pg 407] of the islands who were hastening to the festival. Watching their opportunity when the fight was at the fiercest, one party mixed with the combatants, exciting and urging them on, and doing all in their power to increase the confusion; others set fire to the warehouses on the island of San Giorgio, in order to draw the public attention in that direction; while the third and most numerous division, favoured by the deepening twilight and the deserted state of that part of the city, succeeded in fixing a rope ladder to the window of the Malipieri palace, the chief of which noble house was, as they had previously ascertained, lying sick in bed in a side-chamber, attended only by a few domestics.

But there were two things which Strasolda and the Uzcoques had forgotten to include in their calculations. These were, first, the slavish obedience of the Venetian populace to the call of their superiors—an obedience to which they were accustomed to sacrifice every feeling and passion; secondly, the Argus eyes and omnipresent vigilance of the Secret Tribunal. Scarcely was the ladder applied, when the first gush of flame from the warehouses brought a deafening peal from the alarm-bell; and at the same moment, the masked and armed familiars of the Venetian police, rising as it seemed out of the very earth, surrounded the ladder, and a fierce conflict began. Even the watchfulness and precautions of the Inquisition, however, were to a certain extent overmatched by Uzcoque cunning and foresight. Had it not been necessary to ring the alarm bell on account of the fire, the police, who were far the most numerous, and who each moment received an accession to their numbers, could scarcely have failed to capture some of their opponents, and thus have ascertained to a certainty what the promoters and the object of this audacious attempt really were. But before they could accomplish this, the small piazza where the conflict was going on was thronged with the populace, half intoxicated with the excitement of the scarcely less serious fight they had been witnessing and sharing in. In the crush and confusion that ensued, familiars and Uzcoques were separated; and the latter, mingling with the crowd, and no longer distinguishable from the cloaked and masked figures that surrounded them, easily succeeded in effecting their escape.

When Antonio, who was pushed hither and thither by the mob, was able to extricate himself sufficiently to get another view of the window, the invalid nobleman, delivered from his assailants, had retired into his apartment, while the ladder, now deserted by the Uzcoques, had been cut and thrown down. Desirous of escaping from this scene of confusion, the young painter was making his way towards the quay, close to which his gondola was waiting, when his heart suddenly leaped within him at the sight of a muffled figure that passed near him, and in which he thought he recognized the mysterious old woman who had of late occupied so much of his thoughts. She was followed by a number of the rabble, who pressed upon her with oaths and curses, asserting that she was one of the party which had attacked the palace of the Malipieri.

"I saw her holding the ladder," exclaimed one fellow.

"Nay, she was climbing up it herself," cried a second.

"Strike the foul witch dead!" shouted a score of voices.

The old woman's life was in the greatest peril, when a strange and unaccountable, but at the same time irresistible impulse, moved Antonio to go to her rescue. He was forcing his way through the crowd with this intention, when the object of the popular fury turned her head towards him. Her veil was for a moment partially drawn aside, affording a glimpse of her features in profile; and Antonio, still the slave of his diseased imagination, fancied that her yellow shriveled features had been metamorphosed into a countenance of regular beauty; such a countenance, in short, as befitted the graceful and symmetrical form to which it belonged. Confused and bewildered, the naturally weak and undecided youth stood deliberating and uncertain whether he should attempt the rescue, which would have been by no means difficult to accomplish by the display of a little boldness and promptitude. Whilst he was thus hesitating, there suddenly broke [pg 408] through the crowd a young man, attired like himself in a black dress, and holding a naked rapier in his hand. The new comer had probably lost his mask in the tumult and confusion, for his features were uncovered, and Antonio saw, to his inexpressible consternation and astonishment, that they were the exact counterpart of his own. Before he could recover from this new shock, the stranger, by the aid of his fierce and determined demeanour, and the rapid play of his weapon, had made his way to the mysterious old woman, whose back was turned towards him, and seizing her round the waist he again forced a passage through the throng to the nearest gondola, which happened to be that of the young painter. The crowd pressed after him, and Antonio was hurried along with it to the edge of the quay. But at the very moment that, to avoid being pushed into the water by the throng, he sprang into one end of his gondola, he saw the stranger, who had just entered it at the other, gaze with a look of disgust and dismay on the features of her he had rescued, and then with a cry of horror, leap into another boat, which immediately rowed rapidly away. At the same instant Jacopo, by a strong sweep of the oar, spun the gondola round, and shot into a narrow canal which soon led them out of sight and sound of the scene of confusion they had just left.

These various events had succeeded each other so rapidly, that Antonio could hardly credit his senses when he found himself in this strange manner the deliverer of the mysterious being who now sat under the awning of his gondola, her frightful countenance, unveiled in the struggle and no longer seen through the beautifying prism of the young artist's imagination, again displaying the yellow and wrinkled skin, and the deep-set glittering eyes, which now seemed fixed upon him with an expression of love and gratitude that froze his blood. With a shuddering sensation he retreated to the stern of the boat, where Jacopo stood pale and trembling, crossing himself without a moment's intermission.

"Are you mad, Signore," whispered the gondolier, "to risk your life in behalf of such a frightful witch? Never did I see you so ready with your rapier, flashing it in people's eyes as though it had been one of your painting brushes."

"By Heaven, Jacopo," answered Antonio, "that was not I"—

"The saints protect us!" interrupted the gondolier. "You are assuredly bewitched, or have lost your senses, Signore. To think of your thus denying your own noble daring! Do, for the blessed virgin's sake, let us jump out upon the next landing-place, and leave the gondola to the sorceress who has bewitched you. Holy mother! she is coming this way!"

A prey to the strangest and most contradictory emotions, Antonio hastily advanced to meet the mysterious being, whom he could not help regarding with superstitious awe, though he at the same time felt himself drawn towards her by a fascination, against which he found it was in vain to contend. The features of the unknown were again shrouded carefully in her veil, but her black and brilliant eyes glittered through it like nebulous stars.

"To the house of the Capitano of Fiume," whispered she to Antonio, and then retreated, as if anxious to avoid further conversation, into the interior of the gondola.

In the district of Castello, through which Antonio and his strange companion were now passing, the canals and quays were deserted, and not a sound was heard except the distant hum of the multitude assembled in the quarter of St Mark's. Without exciting suspicion or attracting observation, they reached the Rialto and the grand canal, and the gondola stopped at a landing-place opposite the church of San Moyses.

As the young painter assisted his mysterious charge out of the boat, a gentle pressure from the warm soft hand which for a moment rested upon his, quickened every pulse in his frame; and long after the enigmatical being had disappeared behind the angle of a palace, he stood gazing, like one entranced, at the spot where he had last seen her imposing and graceful figure. The approach of Jacopo, still crossing himself, and calling upon all the saints for protection against the snares of the evil one, [pg 409] roused the perplexed youth from his reverie; and, stepping into the gondola, he was soon gliding rapidly over the canals in the direction of his father's palace.



The gondola of the young painter, gliding rapidly and silently over the still waters of the canals, was passing a turn leading to the Giudecca, when it suddenly occurred to Antonio that he would seek his old master, and, after confessing his disobedience, relate to him the events of the day, and make him the confidant of his troubles and perplexities. A word to Jacopo changed the direction of the gondola, and they entered the grand canal, on which Contarini's dwelling was situated.

The brief twilight of Italy had passed, and it was now completely night, dark and starless, which made more startling the sudden appearance of several blazing torches, borne by masked and hooded figures attired in black, who struck loud and repeated blows on the gates of the Palazzo Contarini.

"Antonio Marcello! We seek Antonio Marcello!" exclaimed a deep and hollow voice.

It would be necessary to be a Venetian, and to have lived in those days, fully to comprehend the feeling of horror which caused Antonio's blood to run cold, and the sweat to stand in beads upon his forehead, when he heard his name uttered by the familiars of the state Inquisition. Frightful dungeons, masked judges, halls hung with black, the block and the gleaming axe, the rack and its blood-stained attendants, the whole grim paraphernalia of the Secret Tribunal, passed like the scenes of a phantasmagoria before the mental vision of the young painter. He at once conjectured the cause for which they were seeking him. He had doubtless been taken for the youth who, by his energy and promptitude, had rescued the mysterious old woman from the mob, and who bore so striking and unaccountable resemblance to himself; and it must be on suspicion of his being connected with the attack on the Malipieri palace, that the ministers of justice were hunting him out. Nor did he see how he should he able to convince his judges of his innocence. The tale he had to tell, although the truth, was still too marvellous and improbable to obtain credence, and would be more likely to draw upon him severe punishment, or perhaps the torture, with the view of inducing him to confess its falsehood. Bewildered by his terror, Antonio sat trembling, and utterly incapable of deciding as to the course he should adopt, when the trusty gondolier again came to his rescue.

"Cospetto! Signor!" he exclaimed, "have you lost your senses, that you run thus into the very jaws of those devil's messengers? To one like myself flight would certainly avail little; but, with a Proveditore for your father, you may arrange matters if you only take time before you become their prisoner. Quick, then, to the palazzo! Don't you see old Contarini's head stuck out of his window? He is telling them you are not there. They have doubtless been to your father's palace, and will not be likely to return thither at present."

While the faithful fellow's tongue was thus wagging, his arms were not idle. Intimately acquainted, as became his calling, with the numerous windings and intricacies of the Venetian canals, he threaded them with unhesitating confidence; and, favoured by the darkness of the night, succeeded in getting Antonio unobserved through a back entrance of his father's palace.

The first impulse of the terrified youth on finding himself thus in at least temporary security, was to destroy the picture of the mysterious old woman, which, if found by the agents of the Inquisition, might bear false but fatal witness against him. With pallid cheek, and still trembling with alarm, he was hurrying to his chamber to execute his intention, when he encountered his father, who advanced to meet him, and, grasping [pg 410] his arm, fixed upon him for some moments his stern and searching gaze.

"The picture, father!" exclaimed the terror-stricken Antonio. "For the love of Heaven, stay me not! Let me destroy that fatal picture!"

Regardless of his son's agitation and terror, the Proveditore half led, half forced him to a seat in a part of the room, when the red blaze from the larch logs that were crackling on the hearth, lit up the young man's features.

"What means this, Antonio?" he said; "what has befallen during my absence at Gradiska? The familiars of the Inquisition have been seeking you here—you, the last person whose name I should expect to hear in such mouths. Alarm me it did not; for well I know that you are too scant of energy and settled purpose to be mixed up in conspiracies against the state."

Antonio was still too much preoccupied by his terror to understand, or at any rate to heed, the severity of his father's remark. Collecting his scattered thoughts, he proceeded to narrate all that had occurred to him, not only on that day, but since his first meeting with the incognita near the church of San Moyses, on the very same spot whither he had conveyed her in his gondola but a short hour ago.

"Let me destroy the painting, father!" he concluded; "it may be found, and used as testimony against me."

The Proveditore had listened with a smile, that was at once contemptuous and sorrowful, to his son's narrative, and to the confession of his weakness and disobedience to the injunctions of his aged teacher. When he had finished speaking, there was a minute's silence, broken at last by the elder Marcello.

"I have long been convinced," he said, "that Contarini would never succeed in making of you a painter fit to rank with those old and illustrious masters of whom Venice is so justly proud. But I had not thought so poorly of you, Antonio, as to believe that you would want courage to defend an object, for the attainment of which you scrupled not to disobey your venerable instructor. What the kind entreaties and remonstrances of Contarini could not induce you to abandon, you are ready to annihilate on the very first symptom of danger. Oh, Venice!" exclaimed the Proveditore, his fine countenance assuming an expression of extreme bitterness, as he gazed mournfully at the portraits of his ancestors, including more than one Doge, which were suspended round the walls of the apartment—"Venice! thou art indeed degenerate, when peril so remote can blanch the cheek of thy patrician youth."

He strode twice up and down the hall, then returning to his son, bade him fetch the picture which he was so desirous of destroying. Antonio, downcast and abashed by these reproaches, which, however, were insufficient to awaken nobler aspirations in his weak and irresolute nature, hurried to his chamber, and presently returned with a roll of canvass in his hand, which he unfolded and spread before the Proveditore—then, dreading to encounter his father's ridicule, he shrunk back out of the firelight. But the effect produced upon Marcello by the portrait of the old woman, was very different from that anticipated by his son. Scarcely had he cast his eyes upon the unearthly visage, when he started back with an exclamation of horror and astonishment.

"By all the saints, Antonio," cried he in an altered voice, "that is a fearful portrait! Alas, poor wretch! thou art long since in thy grave," continued he, addressing the picture, and with looks and tones strangely at variance with his usually stern and imperturbable deportment. "The worms have preyed on thee, and thou art as dust and ashes. Why, then, dost thou rise from the dead to fright me with that ghastly visage?"

"Is the face known to you, father?" the astonished Antonio ventured to exclaim.

"Known to me! Ay, too well! That wrinkled skin, that unearthly complexion, those deep-set eyes glowing like burning coals. Just so did she glare upon me as she swung from the tree, the blood driven into her features by the agonizing pressure of the halter. 'Tis the very look that has haunted me for years, and caused me many bitter moments of remorse; though, God knows, the deed was lawful and justifiable, done in the execution [pg 411] of my duty to the republic. And yet she lives," he continued musingly. "How could she have been saved? True, she had not been hanging long when we left the place. Some of her people, doubtless, were concealed hard by, and cut her down ere life had entirely fled. But, ha! 'tis a clue this to the perpetrators of to-day's outrage, for she was with them. Uzcoques, then they must have been! Said you not, Antonio, that she came from the house of the Capitano when first you saw her, and that to-day you left her there?"

"At her own special desire, father," replied Antonio.

"Then is the chain of evidence almost complete," continued the Proveditore. "It must have been herself. And now—this attack on the Malipieri palace. What was its object? A hostage?—Ay, I see it all, and our prisoner is none other than Dansowich himself. But we must have proof of that from his own confession; and this portrait may help to extort it."

Whilst uttering these broken sentences, which were totally incomprehensible to the bewildered Antonio, the Proveditore had donned his mantle, and placed his plumed cap upon his head.

"No, Antonio," said he, "we will not destroy this picture, hideous though it be. It may prove the means of rendering weighty service to the republic."

And with these words, inexplicable to his son, the Proveditore left the apartment; and, taking with him the mysterious portrait, hastened to the prison were the Uzcoque leader was immured.

The pirate chief was a man of large and athletic frame, of strong feelings, and great intellectual capabilities. His brow was large, open, and commanding; his countenance, bronzed with long exposure to the elements, and scarred with wounds, was repulsive, but by no means ignoble; his hair and beard had long been silvered over by time and calamity; but his vast bodily strength was unimpaired, and when roused into furious resentment, his manly chest emitted a volume of sound that awed every listener. Upon a larger stage, and under circumstances more favourable to the fair development of his natural powers and dispositions, the pirate Dansowich would have become one of the most distinguished and admirable men of his time. Placed by the accident of birth upon the frontiers of Christian Europe, and cherishing from early youth a belief that the highest interests of the human race were involved in the struggle between the Crescent and the Cross, he had embraced the glorious cause with that enthusiastic and fiery zeal which raises men into heroes and martyrs. Too soon, however, were these lofty aspirations checked and blighted by the anti-Christian policy of trading Venice, the bad faith of Austria towards the Uzcoque race, and the extortions of her counsellors. Cursing in the bitterness of his heart, not only Turks, Austrians, and Venetians, but all mankind, he no longer opposed the piratical tendencies of his neglected people, and eventually headed many of their marauding expeditions.

It was nearly midnight when Dansowich was awakened from a deep but troubled slumber by a grating noise at the door of his dungeon. Anxiety of mind, and still more, the effect of confinement in an impure and stifling atmosphere, upon one accustomed to the breezes of the Adriatic and the free air of the mountains, had impaired his health, and his sleep was broken by harassing and painful dreams. In that from which he now awoke, with the sweat of anguish on his brow, he had fancied himself before the tribunal of the Inquisition. The rack was shown to him, and they bade him choose between confession and torture. He then thought he heard his name repeated several times in tones deep and sepulchral. Starting up in alarm, he saw the door of his prison open, and give admittance to a man muffled in a black cloak, who walked up to the foot of his bed of damp straw, and threw the rays of a dark lantern full into his dazzled eyes.

The traces of recent and strong emotion, visible at that moment on the pirate's countenance, did not escape the Proveditore, who attributed them, and rightly, to an artifice he had practised. Previously to entering [pg 412] the dungeon, he had caused the name of Nicolo Dansowich to be repeated several times in a deep hollow voice. Aware of the superstitious credulity of the Uzcoques, the wily Venetian had devised this stratagem as one likely to produce a startling effect upon the prisoner, and to forward the end he proposed to obtain by his visit. He now seated himself upon a wooden bench, the only piece of furniture in the dungeon, and addressed the captive in a mild and conciliating tone.

"You should keep better watch over your dreams," said he, "if you wish our tribunals to remain in ignorance of your secrets."

"My dreams!" repeated the Uzcoque, somewhat startled by the ominous coincidence between Marcello's words and the visions that had broken his slumber.

"Ay, friend, your dreams! The jailers are watchful, and little passes in these prisons without coming to their knowledge. More than once have they heard you revealing in your sleep that which, during your waking hours, you so strenuously deny.—'Enough! Enough!' you cried. 'I will confess all. I am Nicolo Dansowich.'"

While Marcello was speaking, the old Uzcoque had had time to collect his thoughts, and call to mind the numerous snares and devices by which the Venetian tribunals obtained confessions from their prisoners. With an intuitive keenness of perception, he in a moment saw through the Proveditore's stratagem, and resolved to defeat it. A contemptuous smile played over his features, and, shaking his head incredulously, he answered the Venetian—

"The watchful jailers you speak of have doubtless been cheering their vigils with the wine flask," said he. "Their draughts must have been deep, to make them hear that which was never spoken."

"Subterfuge will avail you nothing," replied Marcello. "Your sleeping confessions, although you may now wish to retract them, are yet sufficient grounds for the tribunal to go upon, and the most excruciating tortures will be used, if needful, to procure their waking confirmation. Reflect, Dansowich," continued the Proveditore in a persuasive and gentle tone, "on the position in which you now find yourself. Your life is forfeited; and, if you persist in your denials, you will never leave this dungeon but for the rack or scaffold. On the other hand, the senate respects you as a brave and honourable, although misguided man, and would gladly see you turn from the error of your ways. Now is the time to ensure yourself a tranquil and respected old age. Hearken to the proposals I am empowered to make you. The Signoria offers you life, freedom, and a captainship in the island of Candia, on the sole condition, on your part, of disclosing the intrigues and perfidy of the council at Gradiska, and furnishing us, as you are assuredly able to do, with documents by which we may prove to the Archduke the treachery of his ministers. Again, I say—Reflect! or rather hesitate not, but decide at once between a prosperous and honourable life, and a death of degradation and anguish."

Neither the threats nor the temptations held out by the Proveditore seemed to have the smallest effect upon the Uzcoque.

"You are mistaken," replied he calmly. "I am not Dansowich, nor have I any knowledge of the intrigues at Gradiska. I could not therefore, if I wished it, buy my life by the treachery demanded of me; and if the woivodes of Segna think as I do, they will let themselves be hewn in pieces before they do the bidding of your senators, or concede aught to the wishes of false and crafty Venice."

"You are a brave man, Dansowich!" resumed the Proveditore, who saw the necessity of changing his tactics. "You care little for the dangers and sufferings of this world. But yet—pause and reflect. Your hair is silvered by time, and even should you escape your present peril, you will still, ere many years are past, have to render an account to a higher tribunal than ours. By an upright course you might atone for the crimes of your youth and manhood, and become the chosen instrument of Heaven to deliver your fellow-Christians from a cruel scourge and sore infliction."

"And who has brought the scourge upon you?" demanded the old man in [pg 413] a raised voice, measuring the Proveditore with a stern and contemptuous look. "Is it our fault that, whilst we were striving to keep the Turk from the door of Christendom, you sought every means of thwarting our efforts by forming treaties with the infidel? You do well to remind me that my head is grey. I was still a youth when the name of Uzcoque was a title of honour as it is now a term of reproach—when my people were looked upon as heroes, by whose valour the Cross was exalted, and the Crescent bowed down to the dust. Those were the days when, on the ruins of Spalatro, we swore to live like eagles, amidst barren cliffs and naked rocks, the better to harass the heathen—the days when the power of the Moslem quailed and fled before us. And had not your sordid Venetian traders stepped in, courting the infidel for love of gain, the Cross would still be worshipped on all the shores of the Adriatic, and the Uzcoques would still combat for honour and victory instead of revenge and plunder. But your hand has ever been against us. Your long galleys were ever ready to sink our barks or blockade our coast; and the fate of robbers and murderers awaited our people if they had the mishap to fall into your hands. You reduced us at last to despair. Each valiant deed performed against the Turk was recompensed by you with new persecutions, till at last you converted into deadly enemies those who would willingly have been your friends and fast allies. Thank yourselves, then, for the foe you have raised up. Your own cowardice and greed have engendered the hydra which now preys upon your heart's blood."

The Proveditore remarked with satisfaction, not unmingled with surprise, that the old pirate, who had hitherto replied to all interrogatories with a degree of cold reserve and cunning which had baffled his examiners, was becoming visibly excited, and losing his power of self-control. This was favourable to the meditated stratagem of the Venetian, who now, in pursuance of the scheme he had combined, gave the conversation another direction.

"I an willing to acknowledge," said he, "that the republic has at times dealt somewhat hardly with your people. But which is in fact the worst foe, he who openly attacks you, or he who makes you his tool to sow discord amongst Christians, and to excite the Turks against Venice, while under pretence of protection he squeezes from you the booty obtained at the price of your blood?"

"And who does that?" demanded the Uzcoque.

"Who! Need you ask the question? What do you give for the shelter you receive from Austria? At what price do you inhabit the town and castle of Segna?"

"At none that I am aware of," replied Dansowich fiercely. "We dwell there, in virtue of our compact with the Emperor, as soldiers of the Archduke, bound to defend the post confided to us against the aggressions of the infidel. As soldiers we have our pay, as mariners we have our lawful booty."

"Pay and booty!" repeated the Proveditore scornfully. "Whence comes, then, your manifest misery and poverty? Whence comes it that you turn robbers, if in the pay of Austria? No, Dansowich, you will not deceive us by such flimsy pretexts! Your gains, lawful and unlawful, are wrested from you by the archducal counsellors, in whose hands you are mere puppets. 'Twas they who prompted you to tell the Turks that you were in league with Venice; that the republic encouraged your misdeeds, and shared the profits of your aggressions on the subjects of the Porte. They it was who caused the documents to be prepared, with forged seals and signatures of the illustrious Signoria, which were to serve as proofs of your lying assertions. Deny this, if you can."

The beard and mustache of the old Uzcoque appeared to curl and bristle with fury at the insulting imputations of the Proveditore. For a moment he seemed about to fly at his interlocutor; his fingers clutched and tore the straw upon which he was sitting; and his fetters clanked as his whole frame shook with rage. After a brief pause, and by a strong effort, [pg 414] he restrained himself, and replied calmly to the taunting accusation of the Venetian.

"Why go so far," said he, "to seek for motives that may be found nearer home? You seem to have forgotten how many times the Archduke has compelled us to make restitution of booty wrested from Venetian subjects. You forget, too, that it was in consequence of your complaints he sent to the cruel Rabbata to control us—Rabbata whom we slew in our wrath, for we are freemen and brook no tyranny. If we are poor individually, it is because we yield up our booty into the hands of our woivodes, to be used for the common good of seven hundred families. No, Signor! if the republic has to complain of us, let her remember the provocations received at her hands, the persecutions which converted a band of heroes into a pirate horde, and which changed our holy zeal against the enemies of the Cross into remorseless hatred of all mankind. As to the forged seals and signatures you talk of, and the deceptions practised on the Turks, if such there were, they were the self-willed act of our woivodes, and in no way instigated by Austria."

"Thou liest, Dansowich!" said the Proveditore sternly. "Did you not proclaim and swear in the public market-place of the Austrian town of Segna, that you were the friends and allies of Venice? This you would never have dared to do, but with the approval and connivance of the archducal government."

The eyes of the pirate sparkled with a strange and significant gleam as the Proveditore recalled the circumstance to his recollection.

"Know ye not," said he with a grim smile, "whom ye have to thank for that good office? 'Twas Dansowich himself, who thereby but half fulfilled his vow of vengeance against the republic. And when did it occur?" he continued with rising fury. "Was it not shortly after the day in which that heartless villain, the Proveditore Marcello, captured the woivode's wife, and hung her, unoffending and defenceless, unshriven and unabsolved, upon a tree on the Dalmatian shore?"

The Uzcoque paused, overcome by the bitter memories he was calling up, and by the fury and hatred they revived in his breast. His eyes were bloodshot, and the foam stood upon his lips as he concluded. The Proveditore smiled. The favourable moment he had been waiting had arrived, the moment when he doubted not that Dansowich would betray himself. Taking Antonio's drawing from under his cloak, he suddenly unrolled and held it before the Uzcoque, in such a manner that the light of the lantern fell full upon the ghastly countenance of the old woman.

"Behold!" said he. "Does that resemble her you speak of?"

The object of the Proveditore was gained, but he had not well calculated all the consequences of his stratagem.

"Fiend of hell!" shouted Dansowich in a voice of thunder, while a sudden light seemed to burst upon him. "'Tis thou who are her murderer!" And bounding forward with a violence that at once freed him from his fetters, which fell clattering on the dungeon floor, he clutched the senator by the throat, and hurled him to the ground before the astonished Venetian had time to make the slightest resistance.

"Art thou still in being?" he muttered, while his teeth gnashed and ground together. "I thought thee long since dead. But, no! 'twas written thou shouldst die by my hand. Be it done to thee as thou didst to the wife of my bosom," continued he, while kneeling on the breast of the Proveditore, and compressing his throat in an iron gripe that threatened to prove as efficacious and nearly as speedy in its operation as the bow-string of the Turk. In vain did Marcello struggle violently to free himself from the crushing pressure of the pirate's fingers. Although a very powerful man, and in the full vigour of his strength, the disadvantage at which he had been taken prevented his being a match for the old Uzcoque, whose sinews were braced by a long life of hardship. Fortunately, however, for the Venetian, the furious shout of Dansowich had been overheard [pg 415] by the guards and jailers, who now rushed into the dungeon, and rescued the half strangled Proveditore from the grasp of his fierce antagonist.

"Do him no hurt!" exclaimed Marcello, so soon as he was able to speak, seeing that the guards were disposed to handle the Uzcoque somewhat roughly; "the secret I have won is well worth the risk. The prisoner is Dansowich, woivode of Segna."

The fetters which the pirate had snapped with such facility, were, upon examination, found to be filed more than half through. The instrument by which this had been effected was sought for and discovered, and the prisoner, having been doubly manacled, was again left to the solitude of his cell. After directing all imaginable vigilance to be used for the safe custody of so important a captive, the Proveditore re-entered his gondola and was conveyed back to his palace.



The desperate attempt on the life of the Proveditore, and the evidence given by him as to the identity of the prisoner, had the result that may be supposed, and the old Uzcoque was put to the torture. But the ingenuity of Venetian tormentors was vainly exhausted upon him; the most unheard of sufferings failed to extort a syllable of confession from his lips. At last, despairing of obtaining the desired information by these means, the senate commissioned Marcello, as one well acquainted with the localities, to make a descent on the Dalmatian coast, and profiting by the consternation of the Uzcoqes at the loss of their leader, to endeavour to surprise a small fort situated at some distance from Segna, and which was the abode of Dansowich. In the absence of the old pirate it would probably be carelessly guarded and easily surprised; and it was hoped that documents would be found there, proving that which the Venetians were so anxious to establish. Another object of the expedition was to capture, if possible, the mysterious female who had been lately seen more than once in Venice, and who had taken so prominent a part in the attack on the palace of the Malipieri.

Accompanied by his son, whom for various reasons he had resolved to take with him, Marcello went on board an armed galley, and with a favouring breeze steered for the Dalmatian coast. He had little doubt of accomplishing the object of his expedition with ease and safety; for a Venetian Fleet was already blockading the channel of Segna, and the archducal city of Fiume, where several of the Uzcoque barks were undergoing repairs. The blockade had been instituted in consequence of the outrageous piracies committed by the Uzcoques during the Easter festival, and was a measure frequently adopted by the republic; which, although carefully avoiding a war, neglected no other means of enforcing their applications to the court at Gradiska for an energetic interference in the proceedings of the pirates. The inconvenience and interruption to the trade of Fiume occasioned by these blockades, usually induced the archducal government to institute a pretended investigation into the conduct of the Uzcoques, or at least to promise the Venetians some reparation—a mockery of satisfaction with which the latter, in their then state of decline and weakness, were fain to content themselves. Reckoning upon the terror inspired by the presence of the squadron now employed in the blockade, as well as upon its support, should he require it, the Proveditore made sure of success. He was doomed, however, to be cruelly disappointed in his sanguine anticipations.

When the attempt to get possession of the person of a Venetian nobleman had failed, Strasolda found it impossible to keep her father's captivity any longer a secret, and was compelled to appeal to the whole of the Uzcoques to assist her in his deliverance. Information of the woivode's recognition, [pg 416] and of the tortures he had suffered, soon reached the ears of the pirates, who were not slow to perceive that the safety, and even the existence of their tribe, were now at stake. Although well acquainted with the inflexible character of Dansowich, they trembled lest the agonies he was made to suffer should force from him a confession, which would enable the Venetians to convince the archduke of the criminal collusion between his counsellors and the Uzcoques. This would be the signal for the withdrawal of the archducal protection from the pirates, who then, exposed to the vengeance of all whom they had plundered, must inevitably succumb in the unequal conflict that would ensue.

The imminence of the peril inspired the Uzcoques with unwonted courage and energy. Jurissa Caiduch himself, forgetting any cause of dislike he might have to Dansowich, joined heart and hand in the plans formed by the pirates for the deliverance of their leader. Every man in Segna, whether young or old, all who could wield a cimeter or clutch a knife, hastily armed themselves, and crowded into the fleet of long light skiffs in which they were wont to make their predatory excursions. Then breaking furiously through the line of Venetian ships, stationed between Veglia and the mainland, and which were totally unprepared for this sudden and daring manœuvre, they disappeared amidst the shoals and in the small creeks and inlets of the Dalmatian islands belonging to the republic, where the ponderous Venetian galleys would vainly attempt to follow them. Their object was the same which they had already attempted to carry out in Venice on the day of the Bridge Fight; namely, to seize upon some Venetian magistrate or person of importance whom they might exchange for Dansowich. Under the guidance of Jurissa Caiduch they waylaid and boarded every vessel that passed up or down the Adriatic, especially those coming from the Ionian islands, in hope of meeting with a Venetian of rank. Nor did they pursue their researches upon the water alone. Not a night passed that one or other of the islands was not lighted up by the blaze of villages, hamlets, and villas. In the absence of Dansowich, there was no restraint upon their fury; and urged on by the bloodthirsty Jurissa, the cruelties they committed were unprecedented even in their sanguinary annals. Nor were they without hope that the barbarities they were perpetrating might induce the Venetians to restore their leader to liberty, in order that he might, as was well known to be his wont, check the excesses of his followers.

The outbreak of the pirates had been so sudden and unexpected, that the Proveditore, who sailed from Venice on the same day on which it occurred, had received no intelligence of it, and, unconscious of his peril, steered straight for the islands. One circumstance alone appeared strange to him, which was, that during the last part of his voyage he did not meet a single vessel, although the quarter of the Adriatic through which he was passing was usually crowded with shipping. But he was far from attributing this extraordinary change to its real cause.

It was afternoon when Marcello's galley cane in sight of the white cliffs of Cherso, and shortly afterwards entered the channel, running between that island and Veglia. The masses of dark clouds in the western horizon were becoming momentarily more threatening, and various signs of an approaching storm made the captain of the galley especially anxious to get, before nightfall, into the nearest harbour, which was that of Pesca, at the southern extremity of the island of Veglia. All sail was made upon the galley, and they were running rapidly down the channel, when a red light suddenly flashed over the waves in the quarter of the horizon they were approaching, and was reflected back upon the sky, now darkened with clouds and by the approach of night. Attracted by this unusual appearance, Antonio hurried to the high quarterdeck of the galley; and scarcely had he ascended it, when the fiery glow fell in a flood of rosy light upon the distant chalk cliffs. Entranced by the picturesque beauty of the scene, the young painter forgot to enquire the cause of this singular illumination, [pg 417] when suddenly his attention was caught by a shout from the man at the helm.

"By Heavens, 'tis a fire!" ejaculated the sailor, who had been watching the unusual appearance. "All Pesca must be in flames."

He had scarcely uttered the words when the galley rounded a projecting point of land, and the correctness of the seaman's conjecture was apparent. A thick cloud of smoke hung like a pall over the unfortunate town of Pesca. Tongues of flame darted upwards from the dense black vapour, lighting up sea and land to an immense distance.

Scarcely had Antonio's startled glance been able to take in this imposing spectacle, when the storm, which had long been impending, burst forth with tremendous violence; the wind howled furiously amongst the rigging, and the galley was tossed like a nutshell from crest to crest of the foaming waves; each moment bringing it into more dangerous proximity to the rocky shoals of that iron-bound shore. The light from the burning town showed the Venetians all the dangers of their situation; and their peril was the more imminent because the signal usually made for boats to tow large vessels through the rocks and breakers, was at such a moment not likely to be observed or attended to by the people of Pesca. Nevertheless the signal was hoisted; but instead of bringing the assistance so much needed by the Venetians, it drew upon them an enemy far more formidable than the elements with which they were already contending. Boats were soon seen approaching the galley; but as they drew near it was evident they were not manned by the peaceful fishermen, who usually came out to render assistance to vessels. They were crowded with wild, fierce-looking figures, who, on arriving within a short distance of the ship, set up a savage yell of defiance, and sent a deadly volley of musket-balls amongst the astounded Venetians. Before the latter had recovered from their astonishment, the light skiffs of the Uzcoques were within a few yards of the galley. Another fatally effective volley of musketry; and then, throwing down their fire-arms, the pirates grasped their sabres and made violent efforts to board. But each time that they succeeded in closing, the plunging of the ponderous galley into the trough of the sea, or the rising of some huge wave, severed them from their prey, and prevented them from setting foot on the decks of the Venetian vessel. This delay was made the most of by the officers of the latter, in making arrangements for defence. The Proveditore himself, a man of tried and chivalrous courage, and great experience both in land and sea warfare, lent his personal aid to the preparations, and in a few pithy and emphatic words strove to encourage the crew to a gallant resistance. But the soldiers and mariners who manned the galley had already sustained a heavy loss by the fire of the Uzcoques, and were moreover alarmed by their near approach to that perilous shore, as well as disheartened by the prospect of a contest with greatly superior numbers. Although some few took to their arms and occupied the posts assigned them by their officers, the majority seemed more disposed to tell beads and mutter prayers, than to display the energy and decision which alone could rescue them from the double peril by which they were menaced. The pirates, meanwhile, were constantly foiled in their attempts to board by the fury of the elements, till at last, becoming maddened by repeated disappointments, they threw off their upper garments, and fixing their long knives firmly between their teeth, dashed in crowds into the water. Familiar with that element from childhood, they skimmed over its surface with the lightness and rapidity of sea-mews, and swarmed up the sides of the galley. A vigorous defence might yet have saved the vessel; but the heroic days of Venice were long past—the race of men who had so long maintained the supremacy of the republic in all the Italian seas, was now extinct. After a feeble and irresolute resistance, the Venetians threw down their arms and begged for quarter; while the Proveditore, disgusted at the cowardice of his countrymen, indignantly broke his sword, and retreating to the quarterdeck, [pg 418] there seated himself beside his son, and calmly awaited his fate.

Foremost among the assailants was Jurissa Caiduch, who sprang upon the deck of the galley, foaming with rage, and slaughtering all he met on his passage. The blazing town lighted up the scene, and showed him and his followers where to strike. In vain did the unfortunate crew implore quarter. None was given, and the decks of the ship soon streamed with blood, while each moment the cries of the victims became fewer and fainter.

Totally forgetting in his blind fury the object of the expedition, Jurissa stayed not his hand in quest of hostages, but rushed with uplifted knife on Marcello and his son. The latter shrieked for mercy; while the Proveditore, unmoved by the imminence of the peril, preserved his dignity of mien, and fixed his deep stern gaze upon the pirate. Jurissa paused for an instant, staggered by the look, and awed by the commanding aspect, of the Venetian. Soon, however, as though indignant at his own momentary hesitation, he rushed forward with a furious shout and uplifted blade. The knife was descending, the next instant it would have entered the heart of Marcello; when an Uzcoque, recognizing by the light of the conflagration the patrician garb of the Proveditore, uttered a cry of surprise, and seized the arm of his bloodthirsty leader.

"Caiduch!" exclaimed the pirate, "would you again blast our purpose? This man is a Venetian noble. His life may buy that of Dansowich."

"It is the Proveditore Marcello!" cried Antonio, eager to profit by the momentary respite.

The words of the young painter passed from mouth to mouth, and in a few seconds the whole of the Uzcoques were acquainted with the important capture that had been made. For a moment astonishment kept them tongue-tied, and then a wild shout of exultation conveyed to their companions on shore the intelligence of some joyful event.

Ropes were now thrown out to the pirate skiffs, the galley was safely towed into the harbour, and the Proveditore, his son, and the few Venetian sailors who had escaped the general slaughter, were conducted to the burning town, amidst the jeers and ill-treatment of their captors. Exposed to great danger from the falling roofs and timbers of the blazing houses, they were led through the streets of Pesca, and on their way had ample opportunity of witnessing the incredible cruelties exercised by the pirates upon the inhabitants of that ill-fated town. What made these cruelties appear still more horrible, was the part taken in them by the Uzcoque women, who, as was the case at that period with most of the Sclavonian races, were all trained to the use of arms,1 and who on this occasion swelled the ranks of the freebooters. Their ferocity exceeded, if possible, that of the men. Neither age, sex, nor station afforded any protection against these furies, who perpetrated barbarities the details of which would exceed belief.

The violence of the flames rendering it impossible to remain in the town, the Uzcoques betook themselves to the castle of a nobleman, situated on a rising ground a short distance from Pesca. On first landing, the pirates had broken into this castle and made it their headquarters. After pillaging every thing of value, they had gratified their savage love of destruction by breaking and destroying what they could not well carry away. In the court-yard were collected piles of furniture, pictures of price, and fragments of rich tapestry, rent by those ruthless spoilers from the walls of the apartments. With this costly fuel had the Uzcoques lit fires, at which quarters of oxen and whole sheep were now roasting.

A shout of triumph burst forth when the news of the Proveditore's capture was announced to the pirates [pg 419] who had remained at the castle, and they crowded round the unfortunate prisoners, overwhelming them with threats and curses. Something like silence being at length obtained, Jurissa commanded instant preparations to be made for the banquet appointed to celebrate the success of their expedition. Tables were arranged in a spacious hall of the castle, and upon them soon smoked the huge joints of meat that had been roasting at the fires, placed on the bare boards without dish or plate. Casks of wine that had been rescued from the flames of the town, or extracted from the castle cellars, were broached, or the heads knocked in, and the contents poured into jugs and flagons of every shape and size. Although the light of the conflagration, glaring red through the tall Gothic windows, lit up the hall and rendered any further illumination unnecessary, a number of torches had been fixed round the apartment, the resinous smoke of which floated in clouds over the heads of the revelers. Seating themselves upon benches, chairs, and empty casks, the Uzcoques commenced a ravenous attack upon the coarse but abundant viands set before them.

The scene was a strange one. The brutal demeanour of the men, their bearded and savage aspect; the disheveled bloodstained women, mingling their shrill voices with the hoarse tones of their male companions; the disordered but often picturesque garb and various weapons of the pirates; the whole seen by the light of the burning houses—more resembled an orgie of demons than an assemblage of human beings; and even the cool and resolute Proveditore felt himself shudder and turn pale as he contemplated this carnival of horrors, celebrated by wretches on whose hands the blood of their fellow-men was as yet hardly dry. Antonio sat supporting himself against the table, seeming scarcely conscious of what passed around him. Both father and son had been compelled to take their places at the board, amidst the jeers and insults of the Uzcoques.

The revel was at its height, when Jurissa suddenly started from his seat, and struck the table violently with his drinking-cup.

"Hold, Uzcoques!" he exclaimed; "we have forgotten the crowning ornament of our banquet."

He whispered something to an Uzcoque seated beside him, who left the room. While the pirates were still asking one another the meaning of Jurissa's words, the man returned, bearing before him a trencher covered with a cloth, which he placed at the upper end of the table.

"Behold the last and best dish we can offer to our noble guests!" said Jurissa; "'twill suit, I doubt not, their dainty palates." And, tearing off the cloth, he exposed to view the grizzly and distorted features of a human head.

The shout of savage exultation that burst from the pirates at this ghastly spectacle, drowned the groan of rage and grief uttered by the Proveditore, as he recognised in the pale and rigid countenance the well-known features of his friend Christophoro Veniero. That unfortunate nobleman, on his return from a voyage to the Levant, had fallen into the hands of Jurissa, who, before he was aware of the rank of his prisoner, had barbarously slain him. This had occurred not many hours before the capture of Marcello; and it was to the murder of Veniero that the Uzcoque made allusion, when he seized Jurissa's arm at the moment he was about to stab the Proveditore.

One of the pirates, a man of gigantic stature and hideous aspect, now rose from his seat, staggering with drunkenness, and forcing open the jaws of the dead, placed a piece of meat between the teeth. The wildest laughter and applause greeted this frightful pantomime, which made the blood of the Proveditore run cold.

"Infernal and bloody villains!" shouted he, unable to restrain his indignation, and starting to his feet as he spoke. There was a momentary pause, during which the pirates gazed at the noble Venetian, seemingly struck dumb with surprise at his temerity. Then, however, a dozen sinewy arms were extended to seize him, and a dozen daggers menaced his life. Dignified and immovable, the high-souled senator offered no resistance, but inwardly ejaculating a [pg 420] short prayer, awaited the death-stroke. It came not, however. Although some of the Uzcoques, in their fury and intoxication, would have immolated their valuable hostage, others, who had drunk less deeply, protested against the madness of such an act, and rushed forward to protect him. Their interference was resented, and a violent quarrel ensued. Knives were drawn, benches overturned, chairs broken up and converted into weapons; on all sides bare steel was flashing, deep oaths resounding, and missiles of various kinds flying across the tables. It would be impossible to say how long this scene of drunken violence would have lasted, or how long the Proveditore and his son would have remained unscathed amidst the storm, had not the advent of a fresh actor upon the scene stilled the tumult in a manner so sudden as to appear almost miraculous.

The new comer was no other than the ghastly old woman who has been seen to play such an important part in this history, and who now entered the banqueting hall with hasty step and impatient gesture.

"Uzcoques!" she exclaimed in a shrill, clear, and emphatic voice, that rose above the clamour of the brawl; "Uzcoques! what means this savage uproar? Are you not yet sated with rapine and slaughter, that you thus fall upon and tear each other? Are ye men, or wolves and tigers? Is this the way to obtain your leader's deliverance; and will the news of this day's havoc, think you, better the position of Dansowich?"

The pirates hung their heads in silent confusion at this reproof. None dared to reply; Jurissa alone grumbled something inaudible.

"Follow me!" continued the singular woman whose words had so extraordinary an effect on this brutal band. "Follow, every man! and stop as far as may be, the ruin you have begun."

Obedient to her voice the Uzcoques left the hall, some of them sullenly and slowly enough, but none venturing to dispute the injunction laid upon them. The old woman waited till the scene of tumult and revel was abandoned by all but Marcello and his son, and then hurrying after the pirates, led the way to the burning town. In a few minutes the two Venetians beheld, from the castle windows, the dark forms of the freebooters moving about in the firelight, as they busied themselves to extinguish the conflagration. Here and there the white robe of the mysterious old woman was discernible as she flitted from one group to another, directing their efforts, and urging them to greater exertions.

"Strange!" said the Proveditore musingly, "that so hideous and repulsive an old creature should exercise such commanding influence over these bandits."

He looked round to his son as he spoke; but Antonio, worn out by the fatigues and agitation of the day, had stretched himself upon a bench and was already in a deep sleep. The Proveditore gazed at him for a brief space, with an expression of mingled pity, regret, and paternal affection upon his countenance.

"As weak of body as infirm of purpose," he murmured. "Alas! that a name derived from old Roman ancestors should be borne by one so little qualified to do it honour! Had it pleased Heaven to preserve to me the child stolen in his infancy by the Moslem, how different would have been my position! That masculine and noble boy, so full of life and promise, would have proved a prop to my old age, and an ornament to his country. But now, alas!"—

He continued for a while to indulge in vain regrets that the course of events had not been otherwise; then turning to the window, he watched the efforts made by the pirates to extinguish the flames, until a dense cloud of smoke that overhung the town was the only sign remaining of the conflagration.

For some time the Proveditore paced up and down the hall in anxious thought upon his critical position, and the strange circumstances that had led to it. In vain did he endeavour to reconcile, with what now seemed more than ever inexplicable, the vindictive rage of Dansowich in the dungeon, and the evidence before him that the pirate's wife was still in existence. It was a riddle which he was unable to solve; and at last, despairing of [pg 421] success, he abandoned the attempt, and sought in slumber a temporary oblivion of the perils that surrounded him.



Upon a divan in the splendid armoury of the pacha's palace at Bosnia-Serai, the young Turk Ibrahim was seated in deep thought, the day after his return home. On the walls around him were displayed weapons and military accoutrements of every kind. Damascus sabres richly inlaid, and many with jeweled hilts, embroidered banners, golden stirrups, casques of embossed silver, burnished armour and coats-of-mail, were arranged in picturesque and fanciful devices. As the young Moslem gazed around him, and beheld these trophies of victories won by Turkish viziers and pachas in their wars against Austria and Venice, his martial and fearless spirit rose high, and he reproached himself with weakness and pusillanimity for having abandoned the pursuit of her he loved. Bitterly did he now regret his precipitation in leaving Venice the morning after the Battle of the Bridge, and while under the influence of the shock he had received, in beholding the hideous features of an old woman where he had expected to find the blooming countenance of Strasolda. His love for the Uzcoque maiden, as he had seen her when his captive, and again in the cavern on the coast by Segna, returned in full force. He was already planning a journey to Venice, when he was interrupted in his meditations by the noise of a horse's hoofs dashing full speed into the court of the palace. In another minute an attendant summoned him to the presence of the pacha, and there he heard the news just received, of the wild outbreak of the Uzcoques. The Martellossi and other troops were ordered to proceed immediately to the frontier, in order to protect Turkish Dalmatia from the pirates; and Ibrahim, at his urgent request, was appointed to a command in the expedition.

With joyful alacrity did the young Turk arm and hurry to horse; and then, putting himself at the head of a troop of light cavalry, sped onwards in the direction of the country where he hoped to gain tidings of Strasolda. Having received strict orders to content himself with protecting the Turkish frontier, and above all not to infringe on Archducal territory, Ibrahim, on arriving at the boundary of the pachalic, left his troop in charge of the second in command, and with a handful of men entered Venetian Dalmatia, with the intention of obtaining information concerning the Uzcoques, and more especially concerning her he loved. He was assisted in his enquiries by the good understanding existing between Venice and the Porte; and he soon learned that, after the burning of Pesca, the pirates had suddenly ceased their excesses and returned to Segna, taking the Proveditore with them. They had not gone, however, either to the castle or the town; but fearful lest the Archduke should interfere, and make them give up their illustrious prisoners, had betaken themselves to the mountains, in the numerous caverns and lurking-places of which they were able to conceal their captives. From every mouth did the eager enquirer hear praises of the female who accompanied the Uzcoques. None spoke of her but in terms of love and gratitude. As regarded her appearance accounts were at variance, some representing her as young and beautiful, while others compassionated her frightful ugliness; and, more than ever perplexed by this conflicting testimony, Ibrahim pursued his march and his enquiries, still hoping by perseverance to arrive at a solution of the enigma.

While the young Turk was thus employed, the Proveditore and his son were conveyed by their captors from one place of security to another, passing one night in the depths of some [pg 422] ravine, the next amongst the crags and clefts of the mountains, but always moving about in the daytime, and never sleeping twice in the same place. Since the evening of the revel at Pesca they had not again beheld the mysterious old woman, although they had more than once heard her clear and silvery voice near the place allotted to them for confinement and repose. In certain attentions and comforts, intended as alleviations of their unpleasant position, female care and thought were also visible; but all their efforts were vain to obtain a sight of the friendly being who thus hovered around them.

It was on a beautiful evening some fourteen days after their capture, that the Proveditore and his son lay upon the bank of the only river that waters the rocky vicinity of Segna, wearied by a long and rapid march. There was an unusual degree of bustle observable amongst the Uzcoques, and numerous messengers had been passing to and from the castle of Segna, which was at no great distance from the spot where they had now halted. From the various indications of some extraordinary occurrence, the two Venetians began to hope that the crisis of their fate was approaching, and that they should at last know in what manner their captors meant to dispose of them. Nor were they wrong in their expectations. Suddenly the mysterious old woman stood before them, her partially veiled features bearing their wonted hideous aspect, and her eyes, usually so brilliant, dimmed with tears.

"You are free," said she in an agitated voice to the Proveditore and his son. "Our people will escort you to Fiume in all safety, and there you will find galleys of the republic to convey you back to Venice."

At the sight of the old woman's unearthly countenance, Antonio covered his face with his hands; the Proveditore rose from the ground deeply moved.

"Singular being!" he exclaimed, "by this mildness and mercy you punish me more effectually than by the bloodiest revenge you could have taken for my cruel treatment of you."

"You owe me no thanks," was the reply; "thank rather the holy Virgin, who sent the youth beside you to be your guardian angel, and who delivered you into the hands of the Uzcoques at a time when they had need of a hostage. Surely it was by the special intervention of Heaven that the murderer of the wife was sent to serve as ransom for the captive husband. But the atonement has come too late, the noble Dansowich was basely ensnared into an act of violence, and his life paid the forfeit of his wrath—he died upon the rack. And now the wily counsellors at Gradiska compel us to release you."

She paused, interrupted by a flood of tears. After a short silence, broken only by her sobs, she became more composed, and the Proveditore again addressed her.

"But what," said he, "could have driven Dansowich to an act of violence, which he must have known would entail a severe punishment? Surely his wife's safety and the lapse of years might have enabled him to forgive, if not to forget, the unsuccessful attempt upon her life."

"His wife's safety!" exclaimed the old woman. "Have the trials and fatigues of the last few days turned your brain? Alas! too surely was the rope fixed round her neck; and had you not carried off her remains how could you have possessed her portrait, and by the devilish stratagem of showing it to the bereaved husband, have driven him to the act which cost him his life?"

"Gracious Heaven! what hideous jest is this?" exclaimed Marcello. "Do I not see you living and standing before me; and think you I could ever forget your features, or the look you gave me when hanging from the tree? You were cut down and saved after our departure; and but a few weeks have elapsed since my son painted your likeness, after conveying you across the canal in his gondola."

The old woman stood for a few moments as though petrified by what she had just heard. At last she passed her hand slowly across her face, as if to convince herself of her identity.

"And she you murdered resembled me?" she exclaimed in a trembling voice. "It was of me that the portrait was taken, and by him!" she continued, pointing to Antonio with [pg 423] a gesture of horror and contempt. "My picture was it, that was held before Dansowich, and by you, the murderer of his wife? Holy Virgin!" she exclaimed, as the truth seemed to flash upon her, "how has my faith in thee misled me! I beheld in this youth one sent by Heaven to aid me; but now I see that he was prompted by the powers of darkness to steal my portrait, and thus become the instrument of destruction to the best and noblest of our race."

"Forgive and spare us!" exclaimed Antonio, conscience-stricken as he remembered the admonitions of Contarini. "'Tis true, I was the instrument, but most unwittingly. How could I know so sad an end would follow?"

"'Tis not my wont to seek revenge," replied the old woman; "nor do I forget that you saved my life from the fury of the Venetians."

Antonio essayed to speak, but had not courage to correct the error into which she had been led by his strong resemblance to the gallant stranger.

"But," she continued, "'tis time you should have full proof that the features you painted were not those of the wife of Dansowich."

With these words she threw back her veil, unfastened some small hooks concealed in her abundant tresses, and took off a mask of thin and untanned lambskin, wrinkled and stained with yellow and purple streaks by exposure to sun and storm. This mask, closely fitted to features regular and prominent, and strongly resembling those of her unfortunate mother, whose large, dark, and very brilliant eyes she had also inherited, will explain the misconception of the Proveditore as well as that of Dansowich, who had never seen his daughter in a disguise worn only at Venice or other places of peril, and while away from her father and his protection.

While the beautiful but still tearful Uzcoque maid stood thus revealed before the astonished senator, and his enraptured and speechless son, the approaching footfall of a horse at full speed was heard, and in an instant there darted round the angle of a cliff the martial figure of a Turk, mounted upon a large and powerful steed, of that noble race bred in the deserts eastward of the Caspian. The tall and graceful person of the stranger was attired in a close riding-dress of scarlet cloth, from the open breast of which gleamed a light coat-of-mail. A twisted turban bound with chains of glittering steel defended and adorned his head. A crooked cimeter suspended from his belt was his only weapon. His countenance bore a striking resemblance to that of Antonio, and had the same sweet and graceful expression about the mouth and chin; but the more ample and commanding forehead, the well opened flashing eyes, the more prominent and masculine nose, the clear, rich, olive complexion and soldierly bearing, proclaimed him to be of a widely different and higher nature. Riding close up to the side of Strasolda, he reined in his steed with a force and suddenness that threw him on his haunches; but speedily recovering his balance, the noble animal stood pawing the earth and lashing his sides with his long tail, like some untamed and kingly creature of the desert; his veins starting out in sharp relief, his broad chest and beautiful limbs spotted with foam, and his long mane, that would have swept the ground, streaming like a banner in the sea-breeze.

For a moment the startled Strasolda gazed alternately, and in wild and mute amazement, at Antonio and the stranger; but all doubt and hesitation were dispersed in an instant by the well-remembered and impassioned tones, the martial bearing and Moslem garb of Ibrahim, whose captive she had been before she saw him in the cavern.

Leaping from his saddle and circling her slender waist with his arm, he addressed her in those accents of truth and passion which go at once to the heart—

"Heroic daughter of Dansowich! thou art the bright star of my destiny, the light of my soul! Thou must be mine! Come, then, to my heart and home! Gladden with thy love the life of Ibrahim, and he will give thee truth unfailing and love without end."

Strasolda did not long hesitate. Already prepossessed in favour of the young and noble-minded Moslem; her [pg 424] allegiance to the Christian powers and faith weakened by the treachery of Austria; her people degraded into robbers; a soldier's daughter, and keenly alive to the splendours of martial gallantry and glory; an orphan, too, and desolate—can it be wondered at if she surrendered, at once and for ever, to this generous and impassioned lover all the sympathies of her affectionate nature? She spoke not; but, as she leaned half-fainting on his arm, her eloquent looks said that which made Ibrahim's pulses thrill with grateful rapture. Pressing her fondly to his bosom, he placed her on the back of his faithful steed, and vaulted into the saddle. Snorting as the vapour flew from his red nostrils, and neighing with mad delight, the impatient animal threw out his iron hoofs into the air, flew round the angle of the cliff, and joined erelong a dozen mounted spearmen. Then, bending their headlong course towards the far east, in a few seconds all had disappeared.

During this scene, which passed almost with the speed of thought, the Proveditore, who was seated on a ledge of the cliff, had gazed anxiously and wildly at the youthful stranger. He knew him in an instant, and would have singled him out amidst thousands; but was so overwhelmed by a rushing tide of strong and heartrending emotions, that he could neither rise nor speak, and remained, long after the Turk had disappeared, with out-stretched arms and straining eye-balls.

"Gracious Heaven!" exclaimed the bewildered Antonio, half suspecting the truth, "who was that daring youth?"

After a pause, and in tones broken and inarticulate, his father answered—"Thy twin brother, Antonio! When a child he was stolen from me by some Turks in Candia; and those who stole have given him their own daring and heroic nature, for they are great and rising, while Venice and her sons are falling and degenerate. Oh Ercole! my dear and long-lost son—seen but a moment and then lost for ever!" ejaculated the bereaved father, as, refusing all comfort, he folded his cloak over his face and wept bitterly.

NOTE.—Shortly after these events, Venice, urged at last beyond all endurance, took up arms against Austria on account of the protection afforded by the latter power to the Uzcoques. The pirate vessels were burned, Segna besieged and taken, the Uzcoques slain or dispersed. The quarrel between Austria and the republic was put an end to by the mediation of Spain shortly before the breaking out of the Thirty Years' War.

"Ces misérables," says a distinguished French writer, speaking of the Uzcoques, "fûrent bien plus criminels par la faute des puissances, que par l'instinct de leur propre nature. Les Vénétiens les aigrirent; l'église Romaine préféra de les persécuter au devoir de les éclaircir; la maison d'Autriche en fit les instruments de sa politique, et quand le philosophe examine leur histoire il ne voit pas que les Uscoques soient les seuls criminels."

Footnote 1: (return)

The reader of German literature will call to mind the anecdote, in Jean Paul's Levana, of a Moldavian woman who in one day slew seven men with her own hand, and the same evening was delivered of a child.

[pg 425]


The extraordinary change which took place in the public mind in the beginning of the century on the subject of the slave-trade, unquestionably justified the determination of Government to abolish a traffic contradictory to every principle of Christianity. It had taken twenty years to obtain this victory of justice. But we must exonerate the mind of England from the charge of abetting this guilty traffic in human misery. The nation had been almost wholly ignorant of its nature. Of course, that Africans were shipped for the West Indies was known; that, as slaves, they were liable to the severities of labour, or the temper of masters, was also known; but in a country like England, where every man is occupied with the concerns of public or private life, and where the struggle for competence, if not for existence, is often of the most trying order, great evils may occur in the distant dependencies of the crown without receiving general notice from the nation. It seems to have been one of the singular results of the war with America, that the calamities of the slave-trade should have been originally brought to the knowledge of the people. The loss of our colonies on the mainland, naturally directed public attention to the increased importance of the West Indian colonies. A large proportion of our supplies for the war had been drawn from those islands; they had become the station of powerful fleets during the latter portion of the war; large garrisons were placed in them; the intercourse became enlarged from a merely commercial connexion with our ports, to a governmental connection with the empire; and the whole machinery of the West Indian social system was brought before the eye of England.

The result was the exposure of the cruelties which slavery entails, and the growing resolution to clear the country of the stigma, and the benevolent desire to relieve a race of beings, who, however differing in colour and clime from ourselves, were sons of the same common blood, and objects of the same Divine mercy. The exertions of Wilberforce, and the intelligent and benevolent men whom he associated with himself in this great cause, were at last successful; and he gained for the British the noblest triumph ever gained for a nation over its own habits, its selfishness, its pride, and its popular opinion.

But the manner in which this great redemption of national character was effected, did less honour to the wisdom of the cabinet than to the benevolence of the people. Fox, probably sincere, but certainly headlong, rushed into emancipation as he had rushed into every measure that bore the name of popularity. Impatient of the delay which might take the honour of this crowning act out of the hands of his party—and unquestionably, in any shape, it was an honour to any party—he hurried it forward without securing the concert, or compelling the acquiescence, of any one of the European kingdoms engaged in the slave-trade. It is true that England was then at war with them all; but there was thus only the stronger opportunity of pronouncing the national resolve, never to tolerate the commerce in slaves, and never to receive any country into our protection by which that most infamous of all trades was tolerated. The opportunity was amply given for establishing the principle, in the necessity which every kingdom in succession felt for the aid of England, and the abolition ought to have been the first article of the treaty. But the occasion was thrown away.

The parliamentary regulations, which had largely provided for the comfort of the slaves on the passage from Africa, and their protection in the British colonies, could not be extended to the new and tremendous traffic which was engaged in by all the commercial states of Europe and [pg 426] the West. The closing of the British mart of slavery flooded the African shore with desperate dealers in the flesh and blood of man; whose only object was profit, and who regarded the miseries of the African only as they affected his sale. The ships which, by the British regulations, had been suffered to carry only a number limited to their accommodation, were now crowded with wretches, stowed in spaces that scarcely allowed them to breathe. The cheapness of the living cargo, produced by the withdrawal of the British from the slave coast, excited the activity, almost the fury, of the trade; and probably 100,000 miserable beings were thus annually dragged from their own country, to undergo the labour of brutes, and die the death of brutes in the Western World.

Another source of evil was added to the original crime. The colonial possessions of Spain had been broken up into republics, and those were all slave-dealers. The great colony of Portugal, Brazil, had rushed into this frightful commerce with the feverish avidity of avarice set free from all its old restrictions. North America, coquetting with philanthropy, and nominally abjuring the principle of slavery, suffered herself to undergo the corruption of the practice for the temptation of the lucre, and the Atlantic was covered with slave-ships.

But rash, ill considered, and unfortunate as was the precipitate measure of Fox, we shall never but rejoice at the abolition of the slave-trade by our country. If England had stood alone for ever in that abolition, it would be a national glory. To have cast that commerce from her at all apparent loss, was the noblest of national gains; and it may be only when higher knowledge shall be given to man, of the causes which have protected the empire through the struggles of war and the trials of peace, that we may know the full virtue of that most national and magnanimous achievement of charity to man.

It is only in the spirit of this principle that the legislature has followed up those early exertions, by the purchase of the final freedom of the slave, by the astonishing donative of twenty millions sterling, the largest sum ever given for the purposes of humanity. It is only in the same spirit that our cabinet continues to press upon the commercial states the right of search, a right which we solicit on the simple ground of humanity; and which, though it cannot be our duty to enforce at the hazard of hostility, must never be abandoned where we can succeed by the representations of reason, justice, and religion.

The curious and succinct narrative to which we now advert, gives the experience of a short voyage on board of one of those slave ships. And the miseries witnessed by its writer, whose detail seems as accurate as it is simple, more than justify the zeal of our foreign secretary in labouring to effect the total extinction of this death-dealing trade.

H.M.S. the Cleopatra, of twenty-six guns, commanded by Captain Wyvill, arriving at Rio Janeiro in September 1842, the reverend writer took the opportunity of being transferred from the Malabar, as chaplain. In the beginning of September the Cleopatra left the Mauritius, to proceed to the Mozambique Channel, off Madagascar, her appointed station, to watch the slave-traders. After various cruises along the coast, and as far as Algoa Bay, they at last captured a slaver.

April 12.—At daybreak the look-out at the topmast-head perceived a vessel on the lee quarter, at such a distance as to be scarcely visible; but her locality being pronounced "very suspicious," the order was given to bear up for her. The breeze falling, the boats were ordered out, and in a few minutes the barge and the first gig were pulling away in the direction of the stranger. So variable, however, is the weather at this season, that before the boats had rowed a mile from the ship, a thick haze surrounded the ship, and the chase was lost sight of. The rain fell in torrents, and the ship was going seven knots through the water. On the clearing up of the fog, the chase was again visible. The sun broke forth, and the rakish-looking brigantine appeared to have carried on all sail during the squall. They could see, under her sails, the low black hull pitching up and down; and, approaching within range, one of the forecastle guns was cleared away for a bow-chaser. The [pg 427] British ensign had been for some time flying at the peak. It was at length answered by the green and yellow Brazilian flag. At length, after a variety of dexterous manœuvres to escape, and from fifteen to twenty shots fired after her, she shortened sail and lay to. Dark naked forms passing across the deck, removed any remaining doubt as to her character, and showed that she had her slave cargo on board. An officer was sent to take possession, and the British ensign displaced the Brazilian. The scene on board was a sufficiently strange one; the deck was crowded with negroes to the number of 450, in almost riotous confusion, having risen but a little while before against the crew. The meagre, famished-looking throng, having broken through all control, had seized every thing for which they had a fancy in the vessel; some with handfuls of the powdered roots of the cassava, others with large pieces of pork and beef, having broken open the casks, and others with fowls, which they had torn from the coops. Many were busily dipping rags, fastened with bits of string, into the water-casks to act as sponges, and had got at the contents of a cask of Brazilian rum, which they greatly enjoyed. However, they exhibited the wildest joy, mingled with the clank of the iron, as they were knocking off their fetters on every side. From the moment the first ball had been fired, they had been actively employed in thus freeing themselves. The crew found but thirty thus shackled in pairs, but many more pairs of shackles were found below. There could not be a moment's doubt as to the light in which they viewed their captors, now become their liberators. They rushed towards them in crowds, and rubbed their feet and hands caressingly, even rolling themselves on the deck before them; and, when they saw the crew of the vessel rather unceremoniously sent over the side into the boat which was to take them prisoners to the frigate, they set up a long universal shout of triumph and delight. The actual number of the negroes now on board, amounted to 447. Of those 180 were men, few, however, exceeding twenty years of age; 45 women; 213 boys. The name of the prize was the Progresso, last from Brazil, and bound to Rio Janeiro. The crew were seventeen; three Spaniards, and the rest Brazilians. The vessel was of about 140 tons; the length of the slave-deck, 37 feet; its mean breadth, 21½ feet; its height, 3½ feet—a horrible space to contain between four and five hundred human beings. How they could even breathe is scarcely conceivable. The captain and one of the crew were said to have been drowned in the surf at the embarkation of the negroes. Two Spaniards, and a Portuguese cook, were sent back into the prize.

As the writer understood Spanish, and as some one was wanting to interpret between the English crew and those managers of the negroes, he proposed to go on board with them to their place of destination, the Cape of Good Hope. The English crew were a lieutenant, three petty officers, and nine seamen. It had been the captain's first intention to take a hundred of the negroes on board the frigate, which would probably have prevented the fearful calamities that followed; but an unfortunate impression prevailed, that some of them were infected with the small-pox. In the same evening the Progresso set sail. For the first few hours all went on well—the breeze was light, the weather warm, and the negroes were sleeping on the deck; their slender supple limbs entwined in a surprisingly small compass, resembling in the moonlight confused piles of arms and legs, rather than distinct human forms. But about an hour after midnight, the sky began to gather clouds, a haze overspread the horizon to windward, and a squall approached. The hands, having to shorten sail, suddenly found the negroes in the way, and the order was given to send them all below.

There seems to have been some dreadful mismanagement to cause the horrid scene that followed. Why all the negroes should have been driven down together; or why, when the vessel was put to rights, they should not have been allowed to return to the deck; or why, when driven down, the hatches should have been forced upon them—are matters which we cannot comprehend; but nothing could be more unfortunate than the consequence of those rash measures. We [pg 428] state the event in the words of the narrative:—

"The night being intensely hot and close, 400 wretched beings crammed into a hold twelve yards in length, seven in breadth, and only three and a half feet in height, speedily began to make an effort to re-issue to the open air; being thrust back, and striving the more to get out, the after hatch was forced down upon them. Over the other hatchway, in the fore part of the vessel, a wooden grating was fastened. A scene of agony followed those most unfortunate measures, unequaled by any thing that we have heard of since the Black Hole of Calcutta. To this sole inlet for the air, the suffocating heat of the hold, and perhaps panic from the strangeness of their situation, made them press. They crowded to the grating, and, clinging to it for air, completely barred its entrance. They strove to force their way through apertures in length fourteen inches, and barely six inches in breadth, and in some instances succeeded. The cries, the heat, I may say without exaggeration, 'the smoke of their torment,' which ascended, can be compared to nothing earthly. One of the Spaniards gave warning that the consequence would be many deaths—manana habra muchos muertos."

If this statement with its consequences be true, we cannot conceive how the conduct of those persons by whom it was brought about can be passed over without enquiry. There seems to have been nothing in the shape of necessity for its palliation. There was no storm, the vessel was in no danger of foundering unless the hatches were fastened down. That the negroes might have lumbered the deck for the first few minutes of preparing to meet the squall is probable; but why, when they were palpably suffocating, they should still have been kept down, is one of the most unaccountable circumstances we ever remember. We must hope that while we are nationally incurring an enormous expenditure to extinguish this most guilty and detestable traffic, such scenes will be guarded against for ever, by the strictest orders to the captors of the slave-traders. It would have been infinitely better for the wretched cargo if they had been carried to their original destination, and sent to toil in the fields of Brazil.

The Spaniard's prediction was true. Next morning no less than fifty-four crushed and mangled corpses were lifted up from the slave deck, and thrown overboard. We shall avoid disgusting our readers with mentioning the state in which their struggles had left those trampled and strangled beings. On the survivors being released from their torrid dungeon, they drank their allowance of water, somewhat more than half a pint to each, with inconceivable eagerness. A heavy shower having freshened the air, in the evening most of the negroes went below of their own accord, the hatchways having been left open to allow them air. But a short time, however, had elapsed, when they began tumultuously to reascend; and some of the persons on deck, fearful of their crowding it too much, repelled them, and they were trampled back, screaming and writhing in a confused mass. The hatch was about to be forced down upon them; and had not the lieutenant in charge left positive orders to the contrary, the catastrophe of last night would have been re-enacted. On explaining to the Spaniard that it was desired he should dispose those who came on deck in proper places, he set himself to the task with great alacrity; and he showed with much satisfaction how soon and how quietly they might be arranged out of the way of the ropes, covered with long rugs provided for the purpose. "To-morrow," said he, "there will be no deaths, except perhaps among some of those who are sick already." On the next day there was but one dead, but three were reported dying from the sufferings of the first night. They now saw the Cleopatra once more, and the alarm of small-pox having been found groundless, the captain took on board fifty of the boys.

To our surprise, the provisions on board the slaver were ample for the negroes, consisting of Monte Video dried beef, small beans, rice, and cassava flour. The cabin stores were profuse; lockers filled with ale and porter, barrels of wine, liqueurs of various sorts, cases of English pickles, raisins, &c. &c.; and its list of medicines amounted to almost the whole [pg 429] Materia Medica. On questioning the Spaniards as to the probability of extinguishing the slave-trade, their reply was, that though in the creeks of Brazil it might be difficult, yet it had grown a desperate adventure. Four vessels had been already taken on the east coast of Africa this year; but the venture is so lucrative, that the profits of a fifth which escaped, would probably more than compensate the loss of the four.

On the east coast negroes are paid for in money or coarse cottons, at the rate of eighteen dollars for men, and twelve for boys. At Rio Janeiro their value may be estimated at £52 for men, £41, 10s. for women, and £31 for boys. Thus, on a cargo of 500, at the mean price the profit will exceed £19,000—

Cost price of 500, average fifteen dollars, or £3 5s. each £1,625
Selling price at Rio Janeiro, average £41 10s., £20,730

While these enormous profits continue, it must be a matter of extreme difficulty to suppress the trade, especially while the principals, captains, and crews, have perfect impunity. At present, all that they suffer is the loss of their cargo. But if enactments were made, by which heavy fines and imprisonment were to be inflicted on the merchants to whom the expedition could be traced, and corporal punishment and transportation for life for the crews, and for the captains service as common sailors on board our frigates, we should soon find the ardour for the traffic diminished.

The voyage was slow from the frequent calms. By the 20th of April they had advanced only to the tropic, 350 miles. From day to day the sick among the negroes were dropping off. A large shark followed the ship, which they conceived might have gorged some of the corpses. He was caught, but the stomach was empty. When brought on the deck, he exhibited the usual and remarkable tenacity of life. Though his tail was chopped, and even his entrails taken out, in neither of which operations it exhibited any sign of sensation, yet no sooner was a bucket of salt water poured on it to wash the deck, than it began to flounder about and bite on all sides.

Symptoms of fever now began to appear on board, and the Portuguese cook died.

April 29.—A storm, the lightning intolerably vivid, flash succeeding flash with scarcely a sensible intermission; blue, red, and of a still more dazzling white, which made the eye shrink, lighting up every object on deck as clearly as at mid-day. All the winds of heaven seemed let loose, as it blew alternately from every point of the compass. The screams of distress from the sick and weak in the hold, were heard through the roar of the tempest. From the rolling and creaking, one might fancy every thing going asunder. The woman's shed on deck had been washed down, and the planks which formed its roof falling in a heap, a woman was found dead under the ruin.

May 1.—In this hemisphere, marking the approach of the cold weather, the naked negroes began to shiver, and their teeth to chatter.

May 3.—Another storm, with severe cold. Seven negroes were found dead this morning. The wretched beings had begun now to steal water and brandy from the hold. "None can tell," says the writer, "save he who has tried, the pangs of thirst which may excite them in that heated hold, many of them fevered by mortal disease. Their daily allowance of water is about a half pint in the morning, and the same quantity in the evening." This passage now became all storms. A heavy squall came on May 8, which continued next day a strong gale. The first object which met the eye in the morning, was three negroes dead on the deck.

May 11.—Another storm, heavier than any of the preceding ones. Towards evening the report of the helmsman was the gratifying one, that the heart of the gale was broke; yet a yellow haze overspread the setting sun, and it continued to blow as wildly as ever. Squalls rapidly succeeding each other mingled sea and air in one sheet of spray, blinding the eyes of the helmsman; waves towering high above us, tossing up the foam from their crests towards the sky, threatened to engulf the vessel at every moment. When the squalls, [pg 430] breaking heavily on the vessel, caused her to heel over, and the negroes to tumble one against each other in the hold, the shrieks of the sufferers through the darkness of the night, rising above the noise of the winds and waves, seemed of all horrors in this unhappy vessel the saddest. Dysentery now attacked the crew, and the boatswain's mate died. We pass over the melancholy details of this miserable voyage, in which disgusts and distresses of every kind seemed to threaten all on board with death, every day bringing its mortality. At last on Sunday, May 28th, the welcome sight of Cape Agulhas cheered them at the distance of ten miles. The weather was now fine, but the mortality continued, the fatal cases averaging four a-day. On the 1st of June eight were found dead in the morning; and, when the morning mist had cleared away, they found themselves within three miles of Simon's Bay. As soon as the Progresso anchored, the superintendent of the naval hospital came on board, and the writer descended with him for the last time to the slave hold. Accustomed as he had been to scenes of suffering, he was unable to endure a sight, surpassing all he could have conceived, he said, of human misery, and made a hasty retreat. The numbers who had died within the fifty days were 163. Even this was not all; for, on returning to the vessel next day, six corpses were added to the eight of the preceding day, and the fourteen were piled on deck for interment on the shore. A hundred of the healthiest negroes were landed at the pier to proceed in waggons to Cape Town; but though rescued from a state of extreme misery, the change seemed to excite anxiety and apprehension. Each of the men had received on landing a new warm jacket and trousers, and the women had each a new white blanket in addition to an under dress, and they were placed snugly in waggons; yet their countenances resembled those of condemned victims. Of the whole of the original cargo, not far short of one half had died. To what causes this horrible mortality must be imputed, it is not our purpose to decide; but that it did not arise from the original tendency of the negroes to sickness seems evident—the fact being, that of the fifty who were taken on board the frigate, but one had died at sea and one on shore. Within a few days the liberated negroes had acquired a more cheerful look, their first conception having been that they were to be devoured by the people of the country, and they were reluctant to eat, fearing that it was intended to fatten them for the purpose. However, the negroes in the colonies soon freed them from this apprehension.

We shall be rejoiced if the publicity given to this little but intelligent pamphlet by our means, may assist in drawing the attention of the influential classes to the subject. We fully believe that, if we were to look for the deepest misery that was ever inflicted in this world, and the greatest mass of it, we should find it in the slave-trade. It is the misery, not as in civilized life, of scattered individuals, but of multitudes, and a misery comprehending every other; sudden separation from every tie of the human heart, parent, child, spouse, and country; the misery of bodily affliction, disease, famine, storms, shipwreck, and ultimately slavery, with all its wretchedness of toil and tyranny for life. We certainly do not think it our duty to go to war for the object of teaching humanity to other nations. We must not attempt to heal the calamity of the African by the greatest of all calamities and crimes—an unnecessary war. But England has only to persevere sincerely and steadily, however calmly, and she will, by the blessing of that supreme Disposer of the ways of men, who desires the happiness of all his creatures, succeed in the extinction of a traffic which has brought a curse, and brings it at this hour, and will bring it deeper still, upon every nation which insults the laws of humanity and the dictates of religion, by dealing in the flesh and blood of man.

Footnote 1: (return)

Fifty Days on board a Slave vessel, in 1843. By the Rev. PASCOE GRENFELL HILL, Chaplain of H.M.S. Cleopatra.

[pg 431]



"The second day was that when Martel broke

The Mussulmen, delivering France opprest,

And in one mighty conflict, from the yoke

Of unbelieving Mecca saved the West."


The Arab domination in Spain is the grand romance of European history. The splendid but mysterious fabric of Asiatic power and science is seen for age after age, like the fairy castle of St John, exalted far above the rugged plain of Frank semi-barbarism—till the spell is at last broken by the iron prowess of Christian chivalry; and the glittering edifice vanishes from the land as though it had never been, leaving, like the fabled structure of the poet, only a wreath of laurel to bind the brows of the victor. Yet though replete with gorgeous materials both for history and fiction, and stored not only with the recondite lore of Asia and Egypt, but with the borrowed treasures of ancient Greece, (long known to Christendom only by versions through an Arabic medium,) the language and literature of this marvellous people, and even their history, except so far as it related to their never-ceasing warfare with their Christian foes, remained, up to the middle of the last century, a sealed book to their Spanish successors. Coming into possession, like the Israelites of old, "of a land for which they did not labour, of cities which they built not, of vineyards and olive-yards which they planted not," the Spaniards not merely contemned, but persecuted with the fiercest bigotry, all that was left in the peninsula of the genius and learning of their predecessors. Eighty thousand volumes were publicly burned in one fatal auto-da-fé at Granada by order of Cardinal Ximenes, in whom the literature of his own language yet found a munificent patron; and so meritorious, did the deed appear in the eyes of his contemporaries, that the number has been magnified to an incredible amount by his biographers, in their zeal for the renown of their hero! So complete was the destruction or deportation2 of the seventy public libraries, which, a century and a half before the subjugation of the Moors, were open in different cities of Spain, that the valuable collection now in the Escurial owes its origin to the accidental capture, early in the seventeenth century, of three ships laden with books belonging to Muley Zidan, emperor of Morocco—and even of this casual prize so little was the value appreciated, that it was not till more than a hundred years later, and after three-fourths of the books had been consumed by fire in 1671, that the learned and diligent Casiri was commissioned to make a catalogue of the remainder. The result was the well-known Bibliotheca Arabico-Hispana Escurialensis, which appeared in 1760-70; and which, in the words of the present learned translator, "though hasty and superficial, and containing frequent unaccountable blunders, must, with all its imperfections, ever be valuable as affording palpable proof of the literary cultivation of the Spanish Arabs, and as containing the first glimpses of historical truth." Up to [pg 432] this time the only authority on Spanish history purporting to be drawn from Mohammedan sources, was the work of a Morisco named Miguel de Luna, written by command of the Inquisition; which was first printed at Granada in 1592, and has passed through many editions. Its value may be estimated from its placing the Mohammedan conquest of Spain in the time of Yakub Al-mansor, the actual date of whose reign was from A.D. 1184 to 1199; insomuch that Señor de Gayangos suggests, as a possible explanation of its glaring inaccuracies, that it was the writer's intention to hoax his employers. Casiri had, however, opened the door for further researches; and he was followed in the same path by Don Faustino de Borbon, whose works, valuable rather from the erudition which they display than from their judgment or critical acumen, have now become extremely scarce—and next by Don Antonio José Condé, one of the most zealous and laborious, if not the most accurate, of Spanish orientalists. His "History of the Domination of the Arabs and Moors in Spain," has been generally regarded as of high authority, and is in truth the first work on the subject drawn wholly from Arab sources; but it receives summary condemnation from Señor de Gayangos, for "the uncouth arrangement of the materials, the entire want of critical or explanatory notes, the unaccountable neglect to cite authorities, the numerous repetitions, blunders, and contradictions." These charges are certainly not without foundation; but they are in some measure accounted for by the trouble and penury in which the author's last years were spent, and the unfinished state in which the work was left at his death in 1820.

An authentic and comprehensive view of the Arab period, as described by their own writers, was therefore still a desideratum in European literature, which the publication before us may be considered as the first step towards supplying. The work of Al-Makkari, which has been taken as a text-book, is not so much an original history as a collection of extracts, sometimes abridged, and sometimes transcribed in full, from more ancient historians; and frequently giving two or three versions of the same event from different authorities—so that, though it can claim but little merit as a composition, it is of extreme value as a repository of fragments of authors in many cases now lost; and further, as the only "uninterrupted narrative of the conquests, wars, and settlements of the Spanish Moslems, from their first invasion of the Peninsula to their final expulsion." In the arrangement of his materials, the translator has departed considerably, and with advantage, from the original; giving the historical books in the form of a continuous narrative, and omitting several sections relating to matters of little interest—while the deficiencies and omissions of the author are supplied by an appendix, containing, in addition to a valuable body of original notes, copious extracts from numerous unpublished Arabic MSS. relating to Spain, which afford ample proof of the extent and diligence of his researches among the Oriental treasures of Paris and London. To those in the Escurial, however, he was denied access during his labours—an almost incredible measure of illiberality, which, if he be correct in ascribing it to his known intention of publishing in England, "ill suits a country" (as he justly remarks in the preface) "which has lately seen its archives and monastic libraries reduced to cinders, and scattered or sold in foreign markets, without the least struggle to rescue or secure them."

Ahmed Al-Makkari, the author or compiler of the present work, derived his surname from a village near Telemsan called Makkarah, where his family had been established since the conquest of Africa by the Arabs. He was born at Telemsan some time in the latter half of the sixteenth century, and educated by his uncle, who held the office of Mufti in that city; but having quitted his native country in 1618 on a pilgrimage to Mekka, he married and settled in Cairo. During a visit to Damascus in 1628, he was received with high distinction by Ahmed Ibn Shahin Effendi, the director of the college of Jakmak in that city, and a distinguished patron of literature; at whose suggestion (he tells us) he undertook this work. [pg 433] His original purpose had been only to write the life of Abu Abdullah Lisanuddin, a celebrated historian and minister in Granada, better known to Oriental scholars as Ibnu'l-Khattib; but having completed this, the thought struck him of adding, as a second part, an historical account of the Moslems of Spain. He had formerly written an extensive and elaborate work on this subject, composed (to use his own words) "in such an elevated and pleasing style, that had it been publicly delivered by the common crier, it would have made even the stones deaf:—but, alas! the whole of this we had left in Maghreb (Morocco) with the rest of our library.... However, we have done our best to make the present work as useful and complete as possible." It was probably the last literary undertaking of his life; since he was on the point of quitting Cairo to fix his residence in Damascus, when he died of a fever in the second Jomada of A.H. 1041, (Jan. 1632,) leaving a high reputation as a traditionist and doctor of the Moslem law.

The introductory chapter gives a sketch of the various nations which inhabited Andalus or Spain before the Arab conquest, prefaced by extracts from numerous writers eulogistic of a country "whose excellences" (as Al-Makkari himself declares) "are such and so many that they cannot easily be contained in a book ... so that one of their wise men, who knew that the country had been called the bird's tail, owing to the supposed resemblance of the earth to a bird with extended wings, remarked that that bird was the peacock, the principal beauty of which was in the tail." These panegyrics are not in all cases exactly consistent; for while the famous geographer, Obeydullah Al-Bekri, "compares his native country to Syria for purity of air and water, to China for mines and precious stones, &c. &c., and to Al-Ahwaz (a district in Persia) for the magnitude of its snakes"—the Sheikh Ahmed Al-Razi (better known as the historian Razis) praises its comparative freedom from wild beasts and reptiles. The name Andalus is derived by some authors from a great grandson of Noah so named, who settled there soon after the deluge; but Al-Makkari rather inclines, with Ibn Khaldun and other writers, to deduce it from the Andalosh, (Vandals,) "a tribe of barbarians," who appear to be considered as the earliest inhabitants; but who, having incurred the divine wrath by their wickedness and idolatry, were all cut off by a terrible drought, which left the land for a hundred years an uninhabited desert. A colony then arrived from Africa, under a chief named Batrikus, eleven generations of whose descendants reigned for one hundred and fifty-seven years; after which they were all annihilated by the "barbarians of Rome, who invaded and conquered the country; and it was after their king Ishban, son of Titus, that Andalus was called Ishbaniah," (Hispania.) As Ishban is just after said to have "plundered and demolished Ilia, which is the same as Al-Kods the illustrious," (Jerusalem,) it is obvious that the name must be a corruption of Vespasian, who is thus made the son instead of the father of Titus. We are told that authors differ whether it was on this occasion, or at the former capture of Jerusalem by Bokht-Nasser, (Nebuchadnezzar,) at which a king of Spain named Berian was also present, that the table constructed by the genii for Solomon, and which Tarik afterwards found at Toledo, was transported to Spain—and Al-Makkari professes himself, as well he may, unable to reconcile the different accounts. Fifty-five kings descended from Ishban, whose race was dispossessed ("about the time of the Messiah, on whom be peace!") by a people called Bishtilikat, (Visigoths?) under a king called Talubush, (Ataulphus?) whom Al-Makkari holds to have been the same people as the "barbarians of Rome," though "there are not wanting authors who make the Goths and the Bishtilikat only one nation." After holding possession during the reigns of twenty-seven monarchs, they were in turn subdued by the Goths, whose royal residence was "Toleyalah, (Toledo,) though Isbiliah (Seville) continued to be the abode of the sciences." The Gothic kings are said to have been thirty-six;—but the only one particularized by name is "Khoshandinus, [pg 434] (Constantine,) who not only embraced Christianity himself, but called on his subjects to do the same, and is held by the Christians as the greatest king they ever had.... Several kings of his posterity reigned after him, till Andalus was finally subdued by the Arabs, by whose means God was pleased to make manifest the superiority of Islam over every other religion."

With the Arab, conquest the authentic history commences; and the accounts given from the Moslem writers of this memorable event, which first gave the followers of the Prophet a footing in Europe, differ in no material point from the eloquent narrative of Gibbon. Al-Makkari, however, does not fail to inform us, that predictions had been rife from long past ages, which foretold the invasion and conquest of the country by a fierce people from Africa; and potent were the spells and talismans constructed to ward off the danger, "by the Greek kings who reigned in old times." Several of these are described with due solemnity; and among them we find the tale of the visit paid by Roderic3 to the magic tower at Toledo, which has been rendered familiar by the pages of Scott and Southey. We shall not here recapitulate the well-known incidents of the wrongs and revenge of Count Yllan, or Julian, the first landing of Tarif at Tarifa, the second expedition sent by Musa under Tarik Ibn Zeyad, and the death or disappearance of the Gothic king on the fatal day of Guadalete.4 So complete was the discomfiture of the Christians, that the kingdom fell, without a second blow, before the victors of a single field; and was overrun with such rapidity, that from the inability of the conquerors to garrison the cities which surrendered, they were entrusted for the time to the guard of the Jews!—a singular circumstance, which, when coupled with the statement that many of the Berbers (of whom the invading army was almost wholly composed) were recent converts from Judaism,5 would apparently imply that the conquest was facilitated by a previous correspondence. The subjugation of the country was completed by the arrival of Musa himself, who reduced Seville and the other towns which still held out, and is even said to have crossed the Pyrenees and sacked Narbonne;6 but this is not mentioned by any Christian writer, and is referred by the translator to his invasion of Catalonia, which the Arabs considered as part of "the land of the Franks." After the first fury of conquest had subsided, the Christians who remained in their homes were permitted to live unmolested, on payment of the capitation-tax; but peculiar privileges were accorded to the Jews, and the hold of the Moslems on the country was strengthened by the vast influx of settlers, not only from Africa, but from Syria and Arabia, who were attracted by the reports of the riches and fertility of the new province. Nearly all the tribes of Arabia are enumerated by Al-Makkari as represented in Spain; and the feuds of the two great divisions, the Beni-Modhar7 or race of Adnan, and the Beni-Kahttan or Arabs of Yemen, gave rise to most of the civil wars which subsequently desolated Andalus.

[pg 435]

The spoil of the vanquished kingdom was immense—the accumulation of long years of luxury and freedom from foreign invasion in a country which, both from the fertility of the soil and the abundance of the precious metals, was then probably the richest in Europe. Whatever degree of credit we may attach to the famous table of Solomon, "said by some to be of pure gold, and by others green emerald," and the gems and ornaments of which are described with full Oriental luxuriance, every account referring to the booty acquired in the principal cities, gives ample evidence of the riches and splendour of the Visigoths. "The plunder found at Toledo8 was beyond calculation. It was common for the lowest men in the army to find magnificent gold chains, and long strings of pearls and rubies. Among other precious objects were found 170 diadems of the purest red gold, set with every sort of precious stone; several measures full of emeralds, rubies, and other gems; and an immense number of gold and silver vases. Such was the eagerness for plunder, and the ignorance of some, especially the Berbers, that when two or more of this nation fell upon an article which they could not conveniently divide, they would cut it in pieces, whatever the material might be, and share it among them." Some of the victorious army seized some ships in the eastern ports, and set sail for their homes with their plunder; but they were speedily overtaken by a tremendous storm, and all perished in the waves—a manifest token, we are given to understand, of the Divine vengeance for the abandonment of the holy warfare under the banners of Islam.

Musa was on his march into Galicia to crush the last embers of national resistance, when his progress was checked by a peremptory summons from the Khalif, to answer at Damascus the charges forwarded against him by Tarik, whom he had unjustly disgraced and punished. Being convicted of falsehood, on the production by Tarik of the missing foot of the table of Solomon, the merit of finding which had been claimed by Musa, he was tortured and deprived of his riches; and the head of his gallant son Abdulaziz, whom he had left in command in Spain, was shown to him in public by the Khalif Soliman, the successor of Walid, with the cruel demand if he knew whose it was. "I do," was the father's reply: "it is the head of one who fasted and prayed; may the curse of Allah fall on it if he who slew him is a better man than he!" But though Musa was thus arrested in the last stage of his conquering career, so complete was the prostration of the Christians, that the viceroys who succeeded Abdulaziz, overlooking or disregarding this yet unsubdued corner of Spain, at once poured their forces across the Pyrenees, seeking new fields of conquest and glory in the countries of the Franks. But the antagonists whom they here encountered, unlike the luxurious Goths of Spain, still preserved the barbarian valour which they had brought from their German forests. And As-Samh, (the Zama of the Christian writers,) the first Saracen general who obtained a footing in France, "fell a martyr to the faith," with nearly his whole army, in a battle with Eudo, Duke of Aquitaine, before Toulouse, May 10, A.D. 721. But the fiery zeal of the Moslems was only stimulated by this reverse. In the course of the ten following years, their dominion was established as far as the Rhone and Garonne; till, in 732, the torrent of invasion, headed by the Wali Abdurrahman, burst into the heart of the country; and the battle, decisive of the destinies of France, and perhaps of Europe, was fought between Tours and Poitiers, in October of that year, (Ramadhan, A.H. 114.) Few details are given by the Arab writers of the seven days' conflict, in which the ranks of the Moslems were shattered by the iron arm of Charles Martel; [pg 436] "and the army of Abdurrahman was cut to pieces at a spot called Balatt-ush-Shohadá, (the Pavement of the Martyrs,) he himself being in the number of the slain." Some confusion here appears, as the same epithet had been applied to the former battle near Toulouse; but this "disastrous day" of Tours virtually extinguished the schemes of Arab conquest in France, though it was not till many years later that they were completely dislodged from Narbonne, and their other acquisitions between the Garrone and the Pyrenees.

Meanwhile the Christian remnant, left unmolested in the Asturian and Galician mountains, gradually recovered courage: and in 717-18, "a despicable barbarian," (as he is termed by Ibn Hayyan, a writer often cited by Al-Makkari,) "named Belay, (Pelayo or Pelagius,) rose in Galicia; and from that moment the Christians began to resist the Moslems, and to defend their wives and daughters; for till then they had not shown the least inclination to do so." "Would to God," piously subjoins Al-Makkari, "that the Moslems had then extinguished at once the sparkles of a fire destined to consume their whole dominion in those parts! But they said—'What are thirty barbarians, perched on a rock? they must inevitably die!'" The spark, which contained the germ of the future independence of Spain, was thus suffered to remain and spread, while the swords of the Moslems were occupied in France; and its growth was further favoured by the anarchy and civil dissensions which broke out among the conquerors. While the leaders of the different Arab factions contested, sword in hand, the viceroyalty of Spain, the Berbers (whose conversion to Islam was apparently yet but imperfect) rose in furious revolt both in Spain and Africa, and were only overpowered by a fresh army sent by the Khalif Hisham from Syria. But the arrival of these reinforcements added new fuel to the old feuds of the Beni-Modhar, and the Yemenis or Beni-Kahttan; and a desperate civil war raged till 746, when the Khalif's lieutenant, the Emir Abu'l-Khattar, who supported the Yemenis, was killed in a pitched battle fought near Cordova. The leader of the victorious tribe, Yusuf Al-Fehri,9 now assumed supreme power, which he exercised nearly ten years as an independent ruler, without reference to the court of Damascus. The state of affairs in the East, indeed, left little leisure to the Umeyyan khalifs to attend to the regulation of a remote province. Their throne was already tottering before the arms and intrigues of the Abbasides, whose black banners, under the guidance of the formidable Abu-Moslem, were even now bearing down from Khorassan upon Syria. The unpopular cause of the Beni-Umeyyah, who were detested for the murder of the grandsons of the Prophet under the second of their line, was lost in a single battle; and the death of Merwan, the last khalif of the race, was followed by the unsparing proscription of the whole family. "Every where they were seized and put to death without mercy; and few escaped the search made by the emissaries of As-Seffah, (the bloodshedder, the surname of the first Abbaside khalif,) in every province of the empire."

Among the few survivors of the general doom, was a youth named Abdurrahman Ibn Muawiyah, a grandson of the Khalif Hisham. In his infancy his granduncle Moslemah, the leader of the first Saracen host sent against Constantinople, had indicated him, from certain marks, as the destined restorer of the fallen fortunes of his race; and he was preserved, by a timely warning from a client of his house, from the fatal banquet, in which ninety of the Beni-Umeyyah were treacherously massacred. Yet so hot was the pursuit, that his younger brother was taken and slain before his eyes, while swimming the Euphrates with him in their flight. But Abdurrahman, after numberless perils and adventures, at [pg 437] length reached Africa, which was ruled by the wali or viceroy Abdurrahman Ibn Habib, the father of Yusuf Al-Fehri, who had been a personal retainer of his family. But he soon found that he had erred in trusting to the faith of Ibn Habib; and, after narrowly escaping the search made for him by the emissaries of the governor, lay concealed for several years, a fugitive and outlaw, among the tribes of Northern Africa. In this extremity, he at length cast his eyes on Spain, where the Abbasides had never been recognized, and where his own clansmen of the Koreysh, with their maulis, (freedmen or clients,) were numerous and powerful. The overtures of the royal adventurer were eagerly listened to by the Yemenis, who burned to revenge their late defeat on the Beni-Modhar; and Abdurrahman, landing at Al-muñecar in the autumn of 755, found himself instantly at the head of 700 horse, and was speedily joined by the chieftain of the Yemenis, who admitted him into Seville. During the march the want of a banner was remarked, "and a long spear was produced, on the point of which a turban was to be placed; but as it would have been necessary to incline the head of the spear, which was supposed to be of extremely bad omen, it was held erect between two olive trees, and a man, ascending one of them, was enabled to fasten the turban to the spear without lowering it.... With this same banner did Abdurrahman, and his son Hisham, vanquish their enemies whenever they met them; and in such veneration was it held, that whenever the turban by long use decayed, it was not removed, but a new one placed over it. In this manner it was preserved till the days of Abdurrahman II.; some say till the days of his son Mohammed, when the turban on the spear being decayed, the vizirs of that monarch, seeing nothing under it but a few rags twisted round the spear, gave orders for their removal, and the whole was thrown away.... 'From that time,' remarks the judicious historian Ibn Hayyan, 'the empire of the Beni-Umeyyah began visibly to decline.'"

Under the auspices of this novel oriflamme the Umeyyan prince and his followers advanced upon Cordova, whither Yusuf Al-Fehri, who had been engaged in suppressing an insurrection in the Thagher, (Aragon,) had hastened to oppose them at the head of the Beni-Modhar. Exchanging for a mule the fiery courser which the jealous whispers of his adherents had remarked as designed to secure his escape in case of defeat, Abdurrahman led his troops to the attack; and his victory established on the throne of Spain a new dynasty of the Beni-Umeyyah, "who thus regained in the west the supremacy which they had lost in the east." Those of the fallen family who had escaped the general massacre, flocked to the court of their fortunate kinsman, "to all of whom he gave pensions, commands, and governments, by which means his empire was strengthened;"—and the robes and turbans of the monarch and the princes were always white, the colour assumed by the house of Umeyyah, in opposition to the black livery of their rivals. Though Abdurrahman never assumed the title of commander of the faithful, he suppressed the khotbah or public prayers in the name of the Abbasides; and when Al-Ala, the wali of Africa, invaded Spain in order to re-establish the supremacy of the eastern khalif, the head of his unsuccessful general, thrown before the tent of Al-mansor at Mekka, conveyed to him the first tidings of the destruction of the armament by the "hawk of the Koreysh," as he was wont to term Abdurrahman. In the elation of triumph from this success, he is even said to have contemplated marching through Africa to attack Al-mansor in the east; but this design was frustrated by the continual rebellions of the Arab tribes, whom all his address and prudence was unable to keep in order; and "while the Moslems were revolting against their sovereign, the Christians of Galicia gathered strength, took possession of the towns and fortresses on the frontier, and expelled their inhabitants." We find him at length obliged, in order to maintain his authority, to have recourse to the system, which in the next century became universal in the [pg 438] east, of entrusting the defence of his throne and person, not to the native levies of his kingdom, but to a standing army of purchased slaves or Mamlukes. "He began to cease all communication with the chiefs of the Arabian tribes, whom he found animated with a strong hatred against him, and to surround himself with slaves and people entirely devoted to him; for which end he engaged followers and took clients from every province of his empire, and sent over to Africa to enlist Berbers. 'Thus,' says Ibn Hayyan, 'Abdurrahman collected an army of slaves and Berbers, amounting to upwards of 40,000 men, by means of whom he always remained victorious, in every contest with the Arabian tribes of Andalus.'"

The sciences and fine arts, which had been almost banished from Spain since the conquest, returned in the train of the new dynasty; and literature was encouraged by the example of Abdurrahman, who was himself a poet of no mean merit. His affectionate remembrance of his Syrian home, led him to introduce into his new kingdom the flowers and fruits of the east;—and the palm-tree, which was the parent of all those of its kind in Spain, and to which he addressed the well-known lines, lamenting their common fate as exiles from their fatherland, was planted by himself in the gardens of the Rissáfah, a country palace built on the model of one near Damascus, in which the first years of his life had been spent. In architectural magnificence he rivaled or surpassed the former princes of his race, the monuments of whose grandeur still exist in the mosque of the Beni-Umeyyah at Damascus, and other edifices adorning the cities of Syria. The palaces and aqueducts which he constructed in Cordova, testified his zeal for the splendour, as well as his care for the salubrity, of his capital;—and after expending the sum of 80,000 golden dinars (the produce of the royal fifth of all spoil taken in war) in the erection of the stately mosque which bears his name, he bequeathed the completion of the structure, at his death, A.D. 788, to his younger son Hisham, whom he nominated as his successor, to the exclusion of the elder brother Soliman. Al-Makkari devotes an entire chapter to the wonders of this celebrated temple, which was finished A.D. 794, nine years after its commencement, and received additions from almost every successive sovereign of the house of Umeyyah. In its present state, as the cathedral of Cordova, it still covers more ground than any church in Christendom; but the inner roof, with its elaborate carving, the mihrab, or shrine, of minute inlaid work of ivory, gems, and precious woods, and containing a copy of the Koran which had belonged to the Khalif Othman—the embossed plates of gold and silver which encrusted the doors, and the apples of the same metals which surmounted the dome—have long since disappeared; and the thousand (or, as some say, thirteen hundred) columns of polished marble which it once boasted, have been grievously reduced in number, to make room for the shrines and chapels of Christian saints. The unequal length and proportions of those which remain, their irregular grouping, and the want of height in the roof which they support, indicate a far lower grade of architectural taste than that which we find in the aerial palaces of Granada; but all the Arabic writers who have described it, concur in considering it one of the wonders of the world; and it ranked, in the estimation of the Spanish Moslems, as inferior in point of sanctity to none but the Kaaba, and the mosque of Omar at Jerusalem.

The mood of the Beni-Umeyyah, who appear in their eastern reign only as gloomy and execrated tyrants, had been chastened by their misfortunes; and the virtues of Abdurrahman Ad-dakhel (the enterer or conqueror, as he is generally termed by historians) were emulated by his descendants. As an illustration of the character of his son Hisham, it is related by Al-Makkari, that on hearing that the people of Cordova said, that his only motive in restoring the great bridge over the Guadalquivir was to pass over it himself when he went out hunting, he bound himself by a solemn vow never to cross it again as long as he lived; but the reign of this beneficent prince lasted only eight years. His [pg 439] immediate successors, Al-hakem I., and Abdurrahman II., were almost constantly engaged in warfare, either against their own rebellious relatives and revolted subjects,10 or against the Christians of Galicia, who, by the middle of the ninth century, had advanced their frontier to the Douro and repeatedly repulsed the armies sent against them from Cordova; but we find no mention in the writers cited by Al-Makkari, either of the annual tribute of a hundred virgins, popularly said to have been exacted by the Moslems, or of the great victory in 846, by which King Ramiro redeemed his country from this degrading badge of vassalage.11 So widely extended was the martial renown of the Umeyyan sovereigns, that in 839 a suppliant embassy was received by Abdurrahman II. from the Greek Emperor Tufilus, (Theophilus,) then hard pressed by the arms of the Abbaside khalif Al-mutassem, to solicit his aid against their common enemy; and, though Abdurrahman declined to embark in this distant and hazardous enterprise, a friendly intercourse long continued to be kept up between the courts of Cordova and Constantinople. The military establishment was fully organized, and placed on a formidable footing. Besides the troops quartered in the provinces and receiving regular pay, the haras or royal guard of Mamlukes, whose commander was one of the principal officers of the court, was augmented to 5000 horse and 1000 foot, all Christians or foreigners by birth, who occupied barracks close to the royal palace, and constantly mounted guard at the gates. The coast was also defended by a powerful fleet of armed vessels, of which each of the seaports fitted out its proportion, against the hostile attacks of the Abbaside lieutenauts of Africa, and the predatory descents of the Majus12 or Northmen; who, after laying waste with fire and sword the French and English coasts, had extended their ravages into the southern seas even to the Straits of Gibraltar. Lisbon and Seville were sacked by them in 844; and their piratical fleets continued for many years to carry pillage and bloodshed along the shores of the Peninsula.

The simplicity which the first Abdurrahman had uniformly preserved in his dress and habits of life, was soon exchanged by his successors for royal magnificence, rivaling that of the Abbaside court at Bagdad. It was Abdurrahman II. who, in a love quarrel with a beautiful inmate of his harem, caused the door of her chamber to be blocked up with bags of silver coin, to be removed on her relenting—"and she threw herself on her knees and kissed his feet; but," naïvely adds the Arab historian, "the money she kept, and no portion of it ever returned to the treasury." The same prince testified his esteem for the fine arts, by riding forth in state from his capital, to welcome the arrival of Zaryab, a far-famed musician, whom the jealousy of a rival had driven from Bagdad, and who founded in Spain a famous school of music; and in his convivial habits, and the freedom which he allowed to the companions of his festive hours, his character accords with that assigned in the Thousand and One Nights, though not in the page of history, to Haroon-Al-Rasheed. He died in 852, leaving the crown to his son Mohammed, whose reign, as well as those of his two sons Almundhir and Abdullah, who filled the throne in succession, is but briefly noticed by Al-Makkari, though Señor de Gayangos has supplied some valuable additional matter in his notes. The never-ceasing contest [pg 440] with the Christians was waged year by year; and the Princes of Oviedo, though often defeated in the plain and driven back into their mountains, when the forces of Andalus were gathered against them; yet surely, though slowly, gained ground against the provincial walis or viceroys. At the death of "Ordhun Ibn Adefunsh," (Ordoño I.) in 866, their territory extended from the Atlantic and the Bay of Biscay to Salamanca; and the Moslem power was diverted by the rising strength of Navarre, where the Basques had shaken off the divided allegiance paid alternately to the court of Cordova and the Carlovingian rulers of France, and conferred on Garcia-Ramirez, in 857, an independent regal title. But these distant hostilities, as yet, little affected the tranquillity of the seat of government, which was more nearly interested in the frequent revolts of the provinces under its rule,13 and particularly by the rebellion of the Muwallads, (or descendants of Christian converts to Islam;) which, though the information extant respecting it is somewhat scanty, would appear to have been little less than a struggle between the two races for the dominion of Spain. One of the Muwallad chiefs, named Omar Ibn Hafssun,14 maintained for years a sort of semi-independence in the Alpuxarras. Al-mundhir fell in a skirmish against him in 888, only two years after his accession; and the insurrection, after continuing through the whole reign of Abdullah, was only finally suppressed under Abdurrahman III.

The system of government under these princes, appears to have remained in nearly the same form as it had been fixed by Abdurrahman I. The monarch nominated, during his lifetime, one of his sons as his successor; and the wali-al-ahd, or crown-prince, thus selected, received the oaths of allegiance of the dignitaries of the state, and was admitted to a share in the administration—a wise regulation, which prevented the recurrence of the civil wars arising from the ambition of princes of the blood, which had distracted the reigns of Al-hakem I. and Abdurrahman II. The council of the sovereign was composed of the vizirs or ministers of the different departments, the katibs or secretaries, and the chiefs of the law; the walis of the six great provinces into which Abdurrahman I. divided his empire,15 as well as the municipal chiefs of the principal cities were also summoned on emergencies:—while the prime minister, or highest officer of the state, in whom, as in the Turkish Vizir-Azem,16 the supreme direction of both civil and military affairs was vested, was designated the Hajib or chamberlain. Of the four orthodox17 sects of the Soonis, the one which predominated in Spain, as it does to the present day in Barbary and Africa, was that of Malik Ibn Ans, whose doctrines were introduced in the reign of Al-hakem I., by doctors who had received instruction from the lips of the Imam Malik himself at Mekka; and was formally established by that prince throughout his dominions. The judicial offices were filled, as in other Moslem countries, by Kadis, whose decisions were regulated by the precepts of the Koran: but we find no mention (even before the assumption of the titles of Imam and Khalif by Abdurrahman III.) of any supreme ecclesiastical chief like the Sheikh-al-Islam or Mufti of the Ottomans;—though there were chief justices analogous to the Turkish Kadileskers, who bore the title of Kadi-'l-jamah.

[pg 441]

The royal revenue was derived from a variety of sources. The principal were, a land-tax amounting to one-tenth of the produce of the soil and the mines, the capitation-tax paid by the Jews and Christians, and the fifth of the spoil taken from the enemy—an enormously productive item in a time of constant warfare—besides a duty of two and a half per cent on all exports and imports. These were the legitimate dues of the crown, sanctioned by the Koran; but the splendid court maintained by the later sovereigns of Cordova, their lavish expenditure in building, and their large military and naval establishments, often compelled them to have recourse to irregular methods of raising money, by forced loans and by duties laid on different articles of food, in direct violation of the Moslem law. The amount raised by all these means varied greatly at different periods. Under Abdurrahman II., the whole direct revenue is said not to have exceeded 1,000,000 of gold dinārs:—but the royal fifths, and other extraordinary sources of income, appear not to have been included in this estimate:—and a century later, under the third and greatest prince of that name, we are told, on the authority of the biographer Ibn Khallekan, that "the revenues of Andalus amounted to 5,480,000 gold dinārs, collected from taxes," (it is elsewhere said from the land-tax:) besides 765,000 derived from markets—exclusive also of the royal fifth of the spoil, and the capitation-tax levied on Christians and Jews living in the Moslem dominions, the amount of which is said to have equaled all the rest. An annual sum of equal amount, reckoning the dinār at ten shillings, had never in the history of the world been raised in a territory of the same extent, and probably equaled the united incomes of all the Christian princes in Europe—if we except the revenue of the Greek Emperor, it certainly far exceeded them. "Of this vast income," Ibn Khallekan continues, "one-third was appropriated to the payment of the army, another third was deposited in the royal coffers to cover the expenses of the household, and the remainder was spent yearly in the construction of Az-zahra and such other buildings as were erected under his reign." This tripartite allotment of the revenue is alluded to under several reigns: the expenses of administration and the salaries of the civil functionaries were included under the second head; and the third portion was, in ordinary case, reserved "to repel invasions and meet emergencies."

The prince under whom the vast revenue thus stated is said to have been collected, ascended the throne on the death of his grandfather Abdullah, in the 300th year of the Hejra, and the 912th of the Christian era:—and his reign, of more than fifty lunar years, saw the power and splendour of the Umeyyan dynasty attain its zenith. For some years after his accession, he headed his armies in person against the Christians and the partizans of Ibn Hafssun, who still continued in arms: but the severe defeat which he received in 939 at Simaneas, near Zamora, (called by Moslem writers the battle of Al-handik,) from Ramiro II. of Leon, disgusted him with active warfare; and he deputed the command of his armies to his generals and the princes of the blood, who, in annual campaigns, so effectually kept the Christians within their limits, that little territorial acquisition was made by them during his reign; while the voluntary adhesion of the Berber tribes, after the overthrow of the Edrisite dynasty in 941 by the arms of the Fatimite khalifs, gave him almost unresisted possession of great part of Fez and Morocco. The defeat of Al-handik, and the treason and execution in 950, of his elder son Abdullah, (whom disappointment at being postponed to his younger brother in the succession, had led to [pg 442] conspire against his father's life,) were almost the only clouds which dimmed the continual sunshine of his prosperity—and his grandeur was enhanced in the eyes of his subjects, by the assumption of the highest prerogatives of Islam. Hitherto the princes of his line had contented themselves with the style of Amirs of the Moslems, and Beni-Kholaifah or "sons of the Khalifs;" but in 929, "seeing the state of weakness and degradation to which the khalifate of the Beni-Abbas at Bagdad had been reduced," he no longer hesitated to adopt the titles of Imam and Khalif, with the appellation of An-nasir Ledinillah, (defender of the religion of God,) under which he is generally mentioned by historians.

The writers from whom Al-Makkari has drawn his materials, exhaust their powers of language in panegyrics on the unrivaled magnificence of the court of Abdurrahman; which was thronged both by men of letters whom the distracted state of the East had driven thither for refuge, and by ambassadors, not only from the princes of Islam, but from "Hoto the king of the Alaman," (Otho the Great of Germany,) the king of France, and numerous other Christian potentates. The reception of these missions was usually signalized by a gorgeous display of the pomp of the court—and the ceremonial on the arrival in 949 of the envoys of Constantine VII. of Constantinople, is described at length from Ibn Hayyan. "The vaulted hall in his palace of Az-zahra, which he had fixed upon as the place where he would receive their credentials, was beautifully decorated, and a throne glittering with gold and sparkling with gems raised in the midst. To the right of the throne stood five of the khalif's sons, to the left three others, one being absent from illness. Next to them were the vizirs, each at his post on the right or left of the throne. Then came the hajibs or chamberlains, the sons of the vizirs, the freed slaves of the khalif, and the wakils or officers of his household. The court of the palace had been strewn with the richest carpets; and silken awnings of the most gorgeous description had every where been thrown over the doors and arches. Presently the ambassadors entered the hall, and were struck with awe at the magnificence displayed, and the power of the Sultan before whom they stood. They advanced a few steps, and presented the letter of their master, Constantine son of Leo, Lord of Constantinah the Great, (Constantinople.) It was written on sky-blue paper, and the characters were of gold. Within the letter was an enclosure, the ground of which was also sky-blue like the first, but the characters were of silver: it was likewise written in Greek, and contained a list of the presents which the Lord of Constantinah sent to the Khalif. On the letter was a seal of gold of the weight of four mithkals, on one side of which was a likeness of the Messiah, and on the other those of the King Constantine and his son. The letter was enclosed in a bag of silver cloth, over which was a case of gold, with a portrait of King Constantine admirably executed on stained glass. All this was enclosed in a case covered with cloth of silk and gold tissue. On the first line of the Inwan or introduction was written, 'Constantine and Romanin, (Romanus,) believers in the Messiah, kings of the Greeks;' and in the next, 'To the great and exalted in dignity and power, as he most deserves, the noble in descent, Abdurrahman the khalif, who rules over the Arabs of Andalus: may God preserve his life!'" The conclusion of this splendid ceremony was, however, less imposing than the commencement; for a learned Faquih, who had been appointed to harangue the envoys in a set speech, was so overawed by the grandeur around him, that "his tongue clove to his mouth, he could not aticulate a single word, and fell senseless to the ground" Nor did his successor, "who was reputed to be a prince in rhetoric, and an ocean of language," fare much better; for though he began fluently, "all of a sudden he stopped for want of a word which did not occur to him, and thus put an end to his peroration." In this awkward dilemma, the reputation of the Andalusian rhetoricians was saved by Mundhir Ibn Said, who not only poured forth a torrent of impromptu eloquence, but delivered a long ex-tempore [pg 443] poem, "which to this day stands unequalled; and Abdurrahman was so pleased, that he appointed him preacher and Imam to the great mosque; and some time after, the office of Kadi-'l-jamah, or supreme judge, being vacant, he named him to that high post, and made him besides reader of the Khoran to the mosque of Az-zahra."

The palace of Az-zahra, where the eyes of the Greeks were dazzled by this costly pageant, is one of the familiar names of the romance of Spanish history:—it is known to all the world how Abdurrahman, to gratify the capricious fancy of a beautiful and beloved mistress, expended millions, and tasked the labour of thousands, in erecting on the plain beyond Cordova a fairy palace and city which might bear her name and be her own. And like a fairy fabric did Az-zahra vanish; for so utterly was it destroyed, during the wars and civil tumults attending the fall of the race which raised it, that at the present day not a stone can be found, not a vestige even of the foundations traced, to show where it once stood; and all that we know of this "wondrous freak of magnificence" is drawn from the glowing accounts of contemporary writers, who saw it during the brief period of its glory. It is principally from Ibn Hayyan that Al-Makkari has copied the details of this marvellous structure, with its "15,000 doors, counting each flap or fold as one," all covered either with plates of iron, or sheets of polished brass; and its 4000 columns, great and small, 140 of which were presented by the Emperor of Constantinople, and 1013, mostly of green and rose-coloured marble, were brought from various parts of Africa. Among the principal ornaments were two fountains brought from Constantinople, "the larger of gilt bronze, beautifully carved with basso-relieve representing human figures,"—the smaller surrounded by twelve figures, made of red gold in the arsenal of Cordova: they were all ornamented with jewels, and the water poured out of their mouths. The famous fountain of quicksilver, which could be set in motion at pleasure, was placed in the Kasr-al-Kholaifa, or hall of the khalifs, "the roof and walls of which were of gold, and solid but transparent blocks of marble of various colours: on each side were eight doors fixed on arches of ivory and ebony, ornamented with gold and precious stones, and resting on pillars of variegated marble and transparent crystal:—and in the centre was fixed the unique pearl presented to An-nassir by the Greek Emperor." The mosque and baths attached to the palace were on a corresponding scale of magnificence: and the number of inmates, male and female, is said to have been not less than 20,000. The expenses of the establishment must have consumed the revenues of a kingdom, if we are to believe the statement, that 12,000 loaves of bread were daily allowed to feed the fish in the ponds! "But all this and more is recorded by orators and poets who have exhausted the mines of eloquence in the description,"—says Al-Makkari, who, after enlarging upon "the running streams, the luxuriant gardens, the stately buildings for the accommodation of the guards and high functionaries—the throngs of soldiers, pages, eunuchs, and slaves, attired in robes of silk and brocade, moving to and fro through its broad streets—and the crowds of judges, katibs, theologians, and poets, walking with becoming gravity through the spacious halls and ample courts of the palace,"—concludes with a burst of pious enthusiasm. "Praise be to God who allowed those contemptible creatures (mankind) to build such palaces, and to inhabit them as a recompense in this world, that the faithful might be stimulated to the path of virtue, by reflecting that the pleasures enjoyed by their owners were still very far from giving even a remote idea of those reserved for the true believers in paradise!"

"Abdurrahman," as Al-Makkari sums up his character, "has been described as the mildest and most enlightened of sovereigns. His meekness, generosity, and love of justice, became proverbial: none of his ancestors surpased him in courage, zeal for religion, and other virtues which constitute an able and beloved monarch. He was fond of science, and the patron of the learned, with whom he [pg 444] loved to converse.... We should never finish, were we to transcribe the innumerable anecdotes respecting him which are scattered like loose pearls over the writings of the Andalusian poets and historians,"—but as the "pearls" selected possess but little novelty in the illustration of the kingly virtues which they commemorate, we prefer to quote once more the oft-repeated legacy to posterity, in which this "Soliman of the West," as he was called by his contemporaries, confessed that, like his eastern prototype, he had found all his grandeur "but vanity and vexation of spirit."—"After his death a paper was found in his on handwriting, in which were noted those days he had spent in happiness and without any cause of sorrow, and they were found to amount to fourteen. O, man of understanding! consider and observe the small portion of happiness the world affords, even in the most enviable position! The khalif An-nasir, whose prosperity in mundane affairs became proverbial, had only fourteen days of undisturbed enjoyment during a reign of fifty years, seven months, and three days. Praise be given to him, the Lord of eternal glory and everlasting empire! There is no God but he!"

In the fulness of years and glory, Abdurrahman died of a paralytic stroke at Az-zahra, on the second or third of Ramadhan, A.H. 350, (Oct. 961,) and was succeeded, according to his previous nomination, by his son Al-hakem II., who assumed on this occasion the title of Al-mustanser-billah, (one who implores God's assistance.) This prince has been characterized, by one of the ablest of recent historians,18 as "one of those rare beings, who have employed the awful engine of despotism in promoting the happiness and intelligence of his species;" and who rivaled, "in his elegant tastes, appetite for knowledge, and munificent patronage, the best of the Medici:"—nor is this high praise undeserved. Though he more than once headed his armies in person, with success, against the Christians and Northmen, and maintained on public occasions the state and magnificence which had been introduced by his father, the toils of war and the pomp of royalty were alike alien to his inclinations, which had been directed from his earliest years to pursuits of literature and science. The library which he amassed is said by some writers to have amounted to the almost incredible number of 400,000 volumes: and such was his ardour in the collection of books, that even in Persia and other remote regions, the munificence which he exercised through agents employed for the purpose, secured him copies of forthcoming works even before their appearance in their own country. "He made Andalus a great market for the literary productions of every clime ... so that rich men in Cordova, however illiterate they might be, rewarded writers and poets with the greatest munificence, and spared neither trouble nor expense in forming libraries." Nor were these treasures of literature idly accumulated, at least by Al-hakem himself; for so vast and various was his reading, that there was scarcely one of his books (as we are assured by the historian Ibn'ul-Abbar) which was not enriched with remarks and annotations from his pen. "In the knowledge especially of history, biography, and genealogy, he was surpassed by no living author of his days: and he wrote a voluminous history of Andalus, in which was displayed such sound criticism, that whatever he related, as borrowed from more ancient sources, might be implicitly relied upon."

The reign of Al-hakem was the Augustan age of Andalusian literature; and besides the numerous learned men whom the fame of his father's and his own liberality, with the security of their rule, had attracted to Spain from other regions of Islam, we find in the pages of Al-Makkari an extensive list of native authors, principally in the departments of poetry, history, and philology, who are said to be "a few only of the most eminent who flourished during this reign"—but none of their names, however noted in their own day, are known in [pg 445] modern Europe. Nor was the gentler sex, as is usually the case in the lands of Islam, excluded from the general taste for letters; and one of our author's chapters is almost entirely filled with a catalogue of the poetesses who adorned Andalus at this and other periods of its history. One of these, Mariam or Mary, the daughter of Abu-Yakub Al-ansari, who rose into celebrity in the latter years of Al-hakem, appears to have been one of the earliest bas-bleus on record. Independent of her poetical talents, she gave lectures at her residence at Seville "in rhetoric and literature; which, united to her piety, virtue, and amiable disposition, gained her the affection of her sex, and procured her many pupils: she lived to old age, and died after the 400th year of the Hejra," (A.D. 1010.) The favourite study of the Moslems, the divinity and law of the Koran, was cultivated with especial zeal under a monarch who was himself a rigid observer of its ordinances; and various anecdotes are related by Al-Makkari of the extraordinary deference paid by Al-hakem to the eminent theologians who frequented his court. The Khalif himself "attended public worship every Friday, and distributed alms to the poor; he laid out large sums in the construction of mosques, hospitals, and colleges for youth;19 and being himself very strict in the observance of his religious duties, he enforced the precepts of the Sunnah (tradition) throughout his dominions." With this view, severe edicts were directed against the use of wine, which had become prevalent among the Andalusian Moslems; and Al-hakem was with difficulty restrained, by representations of the ruin which would be thus brought on the cultivators, from ordering the destruction of all the vines in his dominions. But the reign of this excellent and enlightened prince lasted only fifteen years; and at his death, (Sept. 976,) which was caused by the same malady that had proved fatal to his father, the glory of the house of Umeyyah expired.

The evils of a minority had never yet been experienced in the succession of the Umeyyan princes, all of whom had ascended the throne at a mature age, and with some experience of administration from their previous recognition as heir. But Hisham II., (surnamed Al-muyyed-billah, the assisted by God,) the only son of Al-hakem, was but nine years old at the time of his father's decease; and for some time the government was directed in his name by the Hajib, Jafar Al-Mushafi; but the influence of the queen-mother erelong succeeded in displacing this faithful minister, in favour of Mohammed Ibn Abu Amir, who then held the post of sahib-ush-shortah, or captain of the guard. This remarkable personage (better known in history by his surname of Al-mansur) was the son of a religious devotee, and his condition in early life was so humble, that he supported himself as a public letter-writer in the streets of Cordova; but an accident having introduced him into the palace, he so skilfully wound his way among the intigues of the court, as to attain the highest place next the throne. But even this dignity was far from satisfying his ambition. Under various pretexts he destroyed or drove into exile, within a few years, all the princes of the blood, and others whose influence or station might have endangered the success of his projects, and concentrated in his own hands all the powers of the state; while the khalif, secluded from public view within his palace, was as completely a puppet in the hands of his all-powerful minister, as the khalifs of Bagdad at the same period in those of the Emirs-al-Omrah. Secure of the support of the soldiery, whose affections he had gained by his liberality, Al-mansur so little affected to disguise his assumption of supremacy, that he ordered his own name to be struck on the coin, and repeated in the public prayers, along with that of Hisham, thus arrogating to himself a share in the two most inalienable prerogatives of sovereignty. [pg 446] His robes were made of a peculiar fashion and stuff appropriated to royalty; he received embassies seated on the throne, and declared peace and war in his own name. To such utter helplessness was the khalif reduced,20 that he was unable even to oppose the removal of the royal treasure fiom Cordova to a fortified palace which Al-mansur had built for his residence, not far from Az-zahra, and had named, as if in mockery, Az-zahirah;—and the Hajib was at one time obliged to quiet the murmurs of the populace, who doubted whether their sovereign was still in existence, by leading him in procession through the streets of the capital; "and the eyes of the people feasted on what had been so long concealed from them."

But this daring usurpation was in part redeemed by qualities in the usurper worthy of a king. Though the bigotry of Al-masur led him to order the destruction of those volumes in the library of Al-hakem which treated of philosophy and the abstruse sciences, on the ground that such studies tended to irreligion, he was yet liberal to the learned men who visited his court at Az-zahirah, where he resided in royal splendour during the intervals of his campaigns; and he endeared hinself to the people, by his generosity, his rigid justice, and the strict control which he enforced over his subordinate officers. But it was on his fervent zeal for the cause of Islam, and his martial exploits against the Christians, (whence his surname of Al-mansur, or the Victorious, was derived,) that his fame and popularity chiefly rested. The martial spirit of the Spanish Moslems appears, from various anecdotes related by Al-Makkari, to have suffered great deterioration from the progress of luxury and decay of discipline; but the armies led by Al-mansur were mainly recruited from the fiery tribes of Barbary, and strengthened by numerous Christian slaves or Mamlukes, trained to serve their captors in arms against their own countrymen. With forces thus constituted, did Al-mansur, in whom once more shone forth the spirit of the Arab conquerors of past times, invade the Christian territories in each spring and autumn for twenty-six successive years, carrying the Moslem arms in triumph even to the shores of the "Green Sea," (Atlantic Ocean,) and into regions which Tarik and Musa had never reached. Astorga and Leon, in spite of the efforts of Bermudo II. to save his capital, were taken and razed to the ground in 983. Barcelona only escaped the same fate in the following year by submission and tribute; but the crowning glory of Al-mansur's achievements in the al-jahid or holy war, was the capture, in 997, Santiago, the shrine and sepulchre of the patron saint of Spain. "No Moslem general had ever penetrated as far as that city, which is in an inaccessible position in the most remote part of Galicia, and is a sanctuary regarded by the Christians with veneration equal to that which the Moslems entertain for the Kaaba,"—but Al-mansur, supplied with provisions from a fleet which accompanied his march along the coast of Portugal, forced his way through the Galician defiles, and occupied the holy city without opposition—all the inhabitants having fled, according to Ibn Hayyan, with the exception of an old monk who tended the tomb. The city and cathedral were leveled with the ground; the shrine alone was left untouched in the midst of the ruins, from the belief of the Moslems that St James was the brother of the Messiah—and the church-bells were conveyed on the shoulders of the captives to Cordova, where they were suspended as lamps in the great mosque, to commemorate the triumph of Islam in the principal seat of Christian worship and pilgrimage.

Such was the depression produced among the Christians by these repeated disasters, that, if we may believe Al-Makkari, "one of Al-mansur's soldiers having left his banner fixed in the earth on a mountain before a Christian town, the garrison [pg 447] dared not come out for several days after the retreat of the Moslem army, not knowing what troops might be behind it." The pressing sense of common danger, at length extinguished ("for the first time perhaps," as Conde remarks) the feuds of the Christian princes; and in the spring of 1002 the united forces of the Count of Castile, Sancho the Great of Navarre, and the King of Leon, confronted the Moslem host at Kalat-an-nosor,21 (the Castle of the Eagles,) on the frontiers of Old Castile. The mighty conflict which ensued is very briefly dismissed by Al-Makkari—"Al-mansur attacked and defeated them with great loss"—but a far different account is given by the Christian chroniclers, who represent the Moslems as only saved from a total overthrow by the approach of night. It seems, in truth, to have been nearly a drawn battle, with immense carnage on both sides; but the advantage was decidedly with the Christians, who retained possession of the field; while Al-mansur, weakened by the loss of great numbers of his best men and officers, abandoned his camp, and retreated the next day across the Douro. In all his fifty-two campaigns he is said never before to have been defeated; and the chagrin occasioned by this severe reverse, joined to a malady under which he was previously suffering, ended his life shortly after22 at Medinah-Selim, (Medinaceli.) He was buried by his sons in the same place; the dust which had adhered to his garments in his campaigns against the Christians, and which had been carefully preserved for the purpose, being placed in the tomb with the corpse—a practice not unusual at the funeral of a celebrated warrior. "This enlightened and never-vanquished Hajib"—says Al-Makkali, with whom Al-mansur is a favourite hero—"used continually to ask God to permit him to die in his service and in war against the infidels, and thus his desire was granted;... and after his death, the Mohammedan empire in Andalus began to show visible signs of decay."

Al-mansur had a worthy successor in his son Abdul-malek, who at once received the appointment of Hajib from the passive Khalif:—but on his death in 1008, the post was assumed by his brother Abdurrahman, popularly known as Shanjul, a Berber word signifying madman—a surname which he had earned by his habits of low vice and intemperance. Scarcely had he entered upon office, when, not contented with exercising sovereign authority, like his father and brother, under an appearance of delegation from the Khalif, he persuaded or compelled the feeble Hisham, who had no male issue, to appoint him Wali-al-ahd, or heir-presumptive—the deed of nomination is given at length by Al-Makkari, and is a curious specimen of a state-paper. But this transfer was viewed with deep indignation by the people of Cordova, who were warmly attached to the line of their ancient princes; and their discontent being fomented by the members of the Umeyyan family, they rose in furious revolt during the absence of the Hajib on the Galician frontiers, deposed Hisham, and raised to the throne Mohammed-Al-muhdi, a great-grandson of Abdurrahman III. Abdurrahman, returning in haste to quell the insurrection, found himself deserted by his army, and was put to death with most of his family and principal adherents; and the power of the Amirites vanished in a day like the remembrance of dream. But the sceptre which had thus been struck from their grasp, found no other hand strong enough to seize it; and from the first deposition of Hisham II. in 1009, to the final dissolution of the monarchy on the abdication of Hisham III. in 1031, the whole of Moslem Spain presented a frightful scene of [pg 448] anarchy and civil war. Besides the imbecile Hisham, who was at least once released and restored to the throne, and was personated by more than one pretender, the royal title was assumed, within twenty years by not fewer than six princes of the house of Umeyyah, and by three of a rival race—a branch of the Edrisites called Beni-Hammud, who endeavoured in the general confusion to assert their claims as descendants of the Khalif Ali. The aid of the Christians was called in by more than one faction; and Cordova was stormed and sacked after a long siege in 1013, by the African troops who followed the standard of Soliman Ab-muhdi, one of the Umeyyan competitors. The palaces of Az-zahra and Az-zahirah were utterly destroyed; the remains of Hakem's library, with the treasures amassed by former sovereigns, were either plundered or dispersed; nor did the ancient capital of Audalus, no more the seat of the Khalifate, ever recover its former grandeur. The provincial walis, many of whom owed their appointments to the Hajibs of the house of Amir, and were disaffected to the Beni-Umeyyah, every where threw off their allegiance and assumed independence, till only the districts in its immediate vicinity remained attached to Cordova, which was still considered the seat of the Mohammedan empire. The last Umeyyan prince who ruled there was a grandson of the great Abdurrahman, named Hisham Al-Mutadd; whom the inhabitants, after expelling the troops of the Beni-Hammud in 1027, invited to ascend the throne of his ancestors. "He was a mild and enlightened prince and possessed many brilliant qualities; but notwithstanding this, the volatile and degenerate citizens of Cordova grew discontented with him, and he was deposed by the army in 422, (A.D. 1031.) He left the capital and retired to Lerida, where he died in 428, (A.D. 1036.) He was the last member of that illustrious dynasty which had ruled over Andalus and a great portion of Africa for two hundred and eighty-four years, counting from the accession of Abdurrahman I., surnamed Ab-dakhel, in 138, (A.D. 756.) There is no God but God! He is the Almighty!"

The fall of the Umeyyan khalifate closes the first of the two brilliant periods which illustrate the Arab history of Spain. The uninterrupted hereditary succession for ten generations, and the long average duration of the reign of each monarch, from the arrival in Spain of Abdurrahman I. in 756, to the death or disappearance of Hisham II. in 1009, are without a parallel it any other Moslem dynasty, with the single exception of the Ottoman line; and though, on pursuing the comparison, the Umeyyan princes cannot vie with the last-named race in extent of conquest and splendour of martial achievement, they far surpass not only the Ottomans, but almost every sovereign family in the annals of Islam, in the cultivation of kingly virtues and arts of peace, and the refinement and love of literature, which they introduced and fostered in their dominions. During the greater part of their rule, the court of Cordova was the most polished and enlightened in Europe removed equally from the martial rudeness of those of the Frank monarchs, and the punctilious attention to forms and jealous etiquette, within which the Grcek emperors studiously intrenched themselves. The useful arts, and in particular the science of agriculture, necessary for the support of a dense population, were cultivated to an extent of which no other country afforded an example; and the commerce which filled the ports of Spain, from all parts of Europe and the East, was the natural result of the industry of her people. In how great a degree the personal character of the Umeyyan sovereigns contributed to this state of political and social prosperity, is best proved by the rapid disruption and fall of the monarchy, when it passed into the feeble hands of Hisham II., and by the history of the two following centuries of anarchy, civil war, and foreign domination. But the sun of Andalusian glory, which had attained its meridian splendour under the Khalifs of Cordova, once more emerged before the close of its course from the clouds and darkness which surrounded it;—and its setting rays shone, with concentrated lustre, over the kingdom of GRANADA.

Footnote 1: (return)

The History of the Mohammedan Dynasties in Spain. By AHMED IBN MOHAMMED AL-MAKKARI of Telemsan. Translated and illustrated with Critical Notes by Pascual de Gayangos, late Professor of Arabic in the Athenæum of Madrid.—Printed for the Oriental Translation Fund. 2 vols. 4to. 1840-43.

Footnote 2: (return)

The Almoravide and Almohade princes, who ruled both in Spain and Africa, often inserted a clause in their treaties with the Christians for the restoration of the libraries captured in the towns taken from the Moslems; and Ibn Khaldun mentions, that Yakob Al-mansor destined a college at Fez for the reception of the books thus recovered.

Footnote 3: (return)

He is called by the Arabic writers Ludherik—a name afterwards applied as a general designation to the kings of Castile.

Footnote 4: (return)

The translator adduces strong grounds for believing that the battle was fought, not as usually held, in the plain of Xeres, on the south bank of the Guadalete, but "nearer the sea-shore, and not far from the town of Medina-Sidonia."

Footnote 5: (return)

This is not mentioned by the authors from whom Al-Makkari has drawn his materials, but is stated by Professor de Gayangos on the authority of Ibn Khaldun.

Footnote 6: (return)

A story is here told of Musa's reaching some colossal ruins, and a monument inscribed with Arabic characters pointing out that place as the term of his conquests—a legend which perhaps gave the hint for one of the tales in the Thousand and One Nights, in which he is sent on an expedition to the city of Brass on the shores of the Western Ocean.—See Lane's translation, chap. 21.

Footnote 7: (return)

Condé, and the writers who have followed him, constantly speak of the Beni-Modhar as Egyptian—an error owing to the neglect or omission of the point which in Arabic orthography distinguishes Modhar from Missr, (Egypt.)

Footnote 8: (return)

Burkhardt (Travels in Arabia, i. 303) says, that all the golden ornaments which the Khalif Walid gave to the mosque at Mekka, "were sent from Toledo in Spain, and carried upon mules through Africa and Arabia."

Footnote 9: (return)

The tribe of Fehr hold a conspicuous place in the Spanish annals, and one of them was the leader of the last attempt to shake off the yoke of Castile, after the capture of Granada.

Footnote 10: (return)

It was by a body of exiles under Abu Hafss Omar, the Apochapsus of the Greeks, (incorrectly called Abu Caab by Gibbon,) driven from Cordova after one of these insurrections, that Crete was conquered in 823.

Footnote 11: (return)

In this battle, according to the veracious Spanish chroniclers, Santiago first appeared on his white horse in the mêlée, fighting for the Christians.—See the "Maiden Tribute," in Lockhart's Spanish Ballads.

Footnote 12: (return)

Majus—Magians or fire worshippers, is the term invariably applied to these fierce Pagans by the Arabic historians, apparently by a negative induction from their being neither Moslems, Jews, nor Christians.

Footnote 13: (return)

No fewer than twenty-seven insurgent leaders, in the reign of Abdullah alone, are enumerated in the translator's notes from Ibn Hayyan.

Footnote 14: (return)

The epithet of kelb, "dog," frequently applied to this leader, has led Condé into the strange error of creating for him a son, whom he calls Kalib Ibun Hafssun. The term Muwallad is said to be the origin of mulatto.

Footnote 15: (return)

We do not find this division mentioned by the authors cited by Al-Makkari; but it is stated by Condé, and appears to have prevailed as long as the kingdom retained its unity. The six provincial capitals were Saragossa, Toledo, Merida, Valencia, Murcia, and Granada. Shortly before the arrival of Abdurrahman, Yusuf Al-Fehri had organized five great governments, one of which comprised Narbonne and the Trans-Pyrenean conquests.

Footnote 16: (return)

Under the Arab dynasties of the east, the vizir was exclusively an officer of the pen: and Makrizi expressly mentions that Bedr-al-Jemali, who became vizir to the Fatimite khalif Al-Mostanssor in 1074, was the first in whom the sword and the pen were united.

Footnote 17: (return)

See Sale's Koran. Preliminary Discourse. Sect. 8.

Footnote 18: (return)

Prescott's Ferdinand and Isabella, i. 351.

Footnote 19: (return)

Eighty free schools are said by other authorities to have existed or been founded during this reign in Cordova; the number of dwelling-houses in which at the same time, great and small, is stated at 200,000.

Footnote 20: (return)

Some historians even speak of this period as the "dynasty of the Amirites," from Al-mansur's father, Abn Amir.

Footnote 21: (return)

The precise locality of this famous battle is not very clearly ascertained; but Condé places it betveen Soria and Medinaceli.

Footnote 22: (return)

The battle is placed by the Christian writers in 998; but the death of Al-mansur, which both Christians and Moslems agree in stating to have taken place within a very short time, is said by the latter to have been A.M. 392, A.D. 1002.

[pg 449]



"A capital place this for our bivouac!" cried I, swinging myself off my mule, and stretching my arms and legs, which were stiffened by a long ride.

It was a fairish place, to all appearances—a snug ravine, well shaded by mahogany-trees, the ground covered with the luxuriant vegetation of that tropical region, a little stream bubbling and leaping and dashing down one of the high rocks that flanked the hollow, and rippling away through the tall fern towards the rear of the spot where we had halted, at the distance of a hundred yards from which the ground was low and shelving.

"A capital place this for our bivouac!"

My companion nodded. As to our lazy Mexican arrieros and servants, they said nothing, but began making arrangements for passing the night. Curse the fellows! If they had seen us preparing to lie down in a swamp, cheek by jowl with an alligator, I believe they would not have offered a word of remonstrance. Those Mexican half-breeds, half Indian half Spaniard, with sometimes a dash of the Negro, are themselves so little pervious to the dangers and evils of their soil and climate, that they never seem to remember that Yankee flesh and blood may be rather more susceptible; that niguas1 and musquittoes, and vomito prieto, as they call their infernal fever, are no trifles to encounter; without mentioning the snakes, and scorpions, and alligators, and other creatures of the kind, which infest their strange, wild, unnatural, and yet beautiful country.

I had come to Mexico in company with Jonathan Rowley, a youth of Virginian raising, six and twenty years of age, six feet two in his stockings, with the limbs of a Hercules and shoulders like the side of a house. It was towards the close of 1824; and the recent emancipation of Mexico from the Spanish yoke, and its self-formation into a republic, had given it a new and strong interest to us Americans. We had been told much, too, of the beauty of the country—but in this we were at first rather disappointed; and we reached the capital without having seen any thing, except some parts of the province of Vera Cruz, that could justify the extravagant encomiums we had heard bestowed in the States upon the splendid scenery of Mexico. We had not, however, to go far southward from the chief city, before the character of the country altered, and became such as to satisfy our most sanguine expectations. Forests of palms, of oranges, citrons, and bananas, filled the valleys: the marshes and low grounds were crowded with mahogany-trees, and with immense fern plants, in height equal to trees. All nature was on a gigantic scale—the mountains of an enormous height, the face of the country seamed and split by barrancas or ravines, hundreds, ay, thousands of feet deep, and filled with the most abundant and varied vegetation. The sky, too, was of the deep glowing blue of the tropics, the sort of blue which seems varnished or clouded with gold. But this ardent climate and teeming soil are not without their disadvantages. Vermin and reptiles of all kinds, and the deadly fever of these latitudes, render the low lands uninhabitable for eight months out of the twelve. At the same time there are large districts which are comparatively free [pg 450] from these plagues—perfect gardens of Eden, of such extreme beauty that the mere act of living and breathing amongst their enchanting scenes, becomes a positive and real enjoyment. The heart seems to leap with delight, and the soul to be elevated, by the contemplation of those regions of fairy-like magnificence.

The most celebrated among these favoured provinces is the valley of Oaxaca, in which two mountainous districts, the Mistecca and Tzapoteca, bear off the palm of beauty. It was through this immense valley, nearly three hundred leagues in length, and surrounded by the highest mountains in Mexico, that we were now journeying. The kind attention of our chargé-d'affaires at the Mexican capital, had procured us every possible facility in travelling through a country, of which the soil was at that time rarely trodden by any but native feet. We had numerous letters to the alcaldes and authorities of the towns and villages which are sparingly sprinkled over the southern provinces of Mexico; we were to have escorts when necessary; every assistance, protection, and facility, were to be afforded us. But as neither the authorities nor his excellency, Uncle Sam's envoy, could make inns and houses where none existed, it followed that we were often obliged to sleep à la belle étoile, with the sky for a covering. And a right splendid roof it was to our bedchamber, that tropical sky, with its constellations, all new to us northerns, and every star magnified by the effect of the atmosphere to an incredible size. Mars and Saturn, Venus and Jupiter, had all disappeared; the great and little Bear were still to be seen; in the far distance the ship Argo and the glowing Centaur; and, beautiful above all, the glorious sign of Christianity the colossal Southern Cross, in all its brightness and sublimity, glittering in silvery magnificence out of its setting of dark blue crystal.

We were travelling with a state and a degree of luxury that would have excited the contempt of our backwoodsmen; but in a strange country we thought it best to do as the natives did; and accordingly, instead of mounting our horses and setting forth alone, with our rifles slung over our shoulders, and a few handfuls of parched corn and dried flesh in our hunting pouches, we journeyed Mexican fashion, with a whole string of mules, a topith or guide, a couple of arrieros or muleteers, a cook, and one or two other attendants. While the latter were slinging our hammocks to the lowermost branches of a tree—for in that part of Mexico it is not very safe to sleep upon the ground, on account of the snakes and vermin—our cocinero lit a fire against the rock, and in a very few minutes an iguana which we had shot that day was spitted and roasting before it. It looked strange to see this hideous creature, in shape between a lizard and a dragon, twisting and turning in the light of the fire; and its disgusting appearance might have taken away some people's appetites; but we knew by experience that there is no better eating than a roasted iguana. We made a hearty meal off this one, concluding it with a pull at the rum flask, and then clambered into our hammocks; the Mexicans stretched themselves on the ground with their heads upon the saddles of the mules, and both masters and men were soon asleep.

It was somewhere about midnight when I was awakened by an indescribable sensation of oppression from the surrounding atmosphere. The air seemed to be no longer air, but some poisonous exhalation that had suddenly arisen and enveloped us. From the rear of the ravine in which we lay, billows of dark mephitic mist were rolling forward, surrounding us with their baleful influence. It was the vomito prieto, the fever itself, embodied in the shape of a fog. At the same moment, and while I was gasping for breath, a sort of cloud seemed to settle upon me, and a thousand stings, like redhot needles, were run into my hands, face, neck—into every part of my limbs and body that was not triply guarded by clothing. I instinctively stretched forth my hands and closed them, clutching by the action hundreds of enormous musquittoes, whose droning, singing noise how almost deafened me. The air was literally filled by a dense swarm of these insects; and the agony caused [pg 451] by their repeated and venomous stings was indescribable. It was a perfect plague of Egypt.

Rowley, whose hammock was slung some ten yards from mine, soon gave tongue: I heard him kicking and plunging, spluttering and swearing, with a vigour and energy that would have been ludicrous under any other circumstances; but matters were just then too serious for a laugh. With the torture, for such it was, of the musquitto bites, and the effect of the insidious and poisonous vapours that were each moment thickening around me, I was already in a high state of fever, alternately glowing with heat and shivering with cold, my tongue parched, my eyelids throbbing, my brain seemingly on fire.

There was a heavy thump upon the ground. It was Rowley jumping out of his hammock. "Damnation" roared he, "Where are we? On the earth, or under the earth?—We must be—we are—in their Mexican purgatory. We are, or there's no snakes in Virginny. Hallo, arrieros! Pablo! Matteo!"

At that moment a scream—but a scream of such terror and anguish as I never heard before or since—a scream as of women in their hour of agony and extreme peril, sounded within a few paces of us. I sprang out of my hammock; and as I did so, two white and graceful female figures darted or rather flew by me, shrieking—and oh! in what heart-rending tones—for "Socorro! Socorro! Por Dios! Help! Help!" Close upon the heels of the fugitives, bounding and leaping along with enormous strides and springs, came three or four dark objects which resembled nothing earthly. The human form they certainly possessed; but so hideous and horrible, so unnatural and spectre-like was their aspect, that their sudden encounter in that gloomy ravine, and in the almost darkness that surrounded us, might well have shaken the strongest nerves. We stood for a second, Rowley and myself, paralysed with astonishment at these strange appearances; but another piercing scream restored to us our presence of mind. One of the women had either tripped or fallen from fatigue, and she lay a white heap, upon the ground. The drapery of the other was in the clutch of one of the spectres, or devils, or whatever they were, when Rowley, with a cry of horror, rushed forward and struck a furious blow at the monster with his machetto. At the same time, and almost without knowing how, I found myself engaged with another of the creatures. But the contest was no equal one. In vain did we stab and strike with our machettos; our antagonists were covered and defended with a hard bristly hide, which our knives, although keen and pointed, had great difficulty in penetrating; and on the other hand we found ourselves clutched in long sinewy arms, terminating in hands and fingers, of which the nails were as sharp and strong as an eagle's talons. I felt these horrible claws strike into my shoulders as the creature seized me, and, drawing me towards him, pressed me as in the hug of a bear; while his hideous half man half brute visage was grinning and snarling at me, and his long keen white teeth were snapping and gnashing within six inches of my face.

"God of heaven! This is horrible! Rowley! Help me!"

But Rowley, in spite of his gigantic strength, was powerless as an infant in the grasp of these terrible opponents. He was within a few paces of me, struggling with two of them, and making superhuman efforts to regain possession of his knife, which had dropped or been wrenched from his hand. And all this time, where were our arrieros? Were they attacked likewise? Why didn't they come and help us? All this time!—pshaw! it was no time: it all passed in the space of a few seconds, in the circumference of a few yards, and in the feeble glimmering light of the stars, and of the smouldering embers of our fire, which was at some distance from us.

"Ha! That has told!" A stab, dealt with all the energy of despair, had entered my antagonist's side. But I was like to pay dearly for it. Uttering a deafening yell of pain and fury, the monster clasped me closer to his foul and loathsome body; his sharp claws, dug deeper into my back, seemed to tear up my flesh: the agony was [pg 452] insupportable—my eyes began to swim, and my senses to leave me. Just then—Crack! crack! Two—four—a dozen musket and pistol shots, followed by such a chorus of yellings and howlings and unearthly laughter! The creature that held me seemed startled—relaxed his grasp slightly. At that moment a dark arm was passed before my face, there was a blinding flash, a yell, and I fell to the ground released from the clutch of my opponent. I remember nothing more. Overcome by pain, fatigue, terror, and the noxious vapors of that vile ravine, my senses abandoned me, and I swooned away.

When consciousness returned, I found myself lying upon some blankets, under a sort of arbour of foliage and flowers. It was broad day; the sun shone brightly, the blossoms smelled sweet, the gay-plumaged hummingbirds were darting and shooting about in the sunbeams like so many animated fragments of a prism. A Mexican Indian, standing beside my couch, and whose face was unknown to me, held out a cocoa-nutshell containing some liquid, which I eagerly seized, and drank off the contents. The draught (it was a mixture of citron juice and water) revived me greatly; and raising myself on my elbow, although with much pain and difficulty, I looked around, and beheld a scene of bustle and life which to me was quite unintelligible. Upon the shelving hillside on which I was lying, a sort of encampment was established. A number of mules and horses were wandering about at liberty, or fastened to trees and bushes, and eating the forage that had been collected and laid before them. Some were provided with handsome and commodious saddles, while others had pack-saddles, intended apparently for the conveyance of numerous sacks, cases, and wallets, that were scattered about on the ground. Several muskets and rifles were leaning here and there against the trees; and a dozen or fifteen men were occupied in various ways—some filling up saddle-bags or fastening luggage on the mules, others lying on the ground smoking, one party surrounding a fire at which cooking was going on. At a short distance from my bed was another similarly composed couch, occupied by a man muffled up in blankets, and having his back turned towards me, so that I was unable to obtain a view of his features.

"What is all this? Where am I? Where is Rowley—our guide—where are they all?"

"Non entiendo," answered my brown-visaged Ganymede, shaking his head, and with a good-humoured smile.

"Adonde estamos?"

"In el valle de Chihuatan, in el gran valle de Oaxaca y Guatimala; diez leguas de Tarifa. In the valley of Chihuatan; ten leagues from Tarifa."

The figure lying on the bed near me now made a movement, and turned round. What could it be? Its face was like a lump of raw flesh streaked and stained with blood. No features were distinguishable.

"Who are you? What are you?" cried I.

"Rowley," it answered: "Rowley I was, at least, if those devils haven't changed me."

"Then changed you they have," cried I, with a wild laugh. "Good God! have they scalped him alive, or what? That is not Rowley."

The Mexican, who had gone to give some drink to the creature claiming to be Rowley, now opened a valise that lay on the ground a short distance off, and took out a small looking-glass, which he brought and held before my face. It was then only that I began to call to mind all that had occurred, and understood how it was that the mask of human flesh lying near me might indeed be Rowley. He was, if any thing, less altered than myself. My eyes were almost closed; my lips, nose, and whole face swollen to an immense size, and perfectly unrecognisable. I involuntarily recoiled in dismay and disgust at my own appearance. The horrible night passed in the ravine, the foul and suffocating vapours, the furious attack of the musquittoes—the bites of which, and the consequent fever and inflammation, had thus disfigured us—all recurred to our memory. But the women, the fight with the monsters—beasts—Indians—whatever they were, that was still incomprehensible. It was no dream: my back and shoulders were still smarting from the wounds that had been inflicted on them by the [pg 453] claws of those creatures, and I now felt that various parts of my limbs and body were swathed in wet bandages. I was mustering my Spanish to ask the Mexican who still stood by me for an explanation of all this, when I suddenly became aware of a great bustle in the encampment, and saw every body crowding to meet a number of persons who just then emerged from the high fern, and amongst whom I recognized our arrieros and servants. The new-comers were grouped around something which they seemed to be dragging along the ground; several women—for the most part young and graceful creatures, their slender supple forms muffled in the flowing picturesque reboxos and frazadas—preceded the party, looking back occasionally with an expression of mingled horror and triumph; all with rosaries in their hands, the beads of which ran rapidly through their fingers, while they occasionally kissed the cross, or made the sign on their breasts or in the air.

"Un Zambo muerto! Un Zambo Muerto!" shouted they as they drew near.

"Han matado un Zambo! They have killed a Zambo!" repeated my attendant in a tone of exultation.

The party came close up to where Rowley and I were lying; the women stood aside, jumping and laughing, and crossing themselves, and crying out "Un Zambo! Un Zambo Muerto!" the group opened, and we saw, lying dead upon the ground, one of our horrible antagonists of the preceding night.

"Good God, what is that?" cried Rowley and I, with one breath. "Un demonio! a devil!"

"Perdonen vos, Senores—Un Zambo mono—muy terribles los Zambos. Terrible monkeys these Zambos."

"Monkeys!" cried I.

"Monkeys!" repeated poor Rowley, raising himself up into a sitting posture by the help of his hands. "Monkeys—apes—by Jove! We've been fighting with monkeys, and it's they who have mauled us in this way. Well, Jonathan Rowley, think of your coming from old Virginny to Mexico to be whipped by a monkey. It's gone goose with your character. You can never show your face in the States again. Whipped by an ape!—an ape, with a tail and a hairy—O Lord! Whipped by a monkey!"

And the ludicrousness of the notion overcoming his mortification, and the pain of his wounds and bites, he sank back upon the bed of blankets and banana leaves, laughing as well as his swollen face and sausage-looking lips would allow him.

It was as much as I could do to persuade myself, that the carcass lying before me had never been inhabited by a human soul. It was humiliating to behold the close affinity between this huge ape and our own species. Had it not been for the tail, I could have fancied I saw the dead body of some prairie hunter dressed in skins. It was exactly like a powerful, well-grown man; and even the expression of the face had more of bad human passions than of animal instinct. The feet and thighs were those of a muscular man: the legs rather too curved and calfless, though I have seen Negroes who had scarcely better ones; the tendons of the hands stood out like whipcords; the nails were as long as a tiger's claws. No wonder that we had been overmatched in our struggle with the brutes. No man could have withstood them. The arms of this one were like packets of cordage, all muscle, nerve, and sinew; and the hands were clasped together with such force, that the efforts of eight or ten Mexicans and Indians were insufficient to disunite them.

Whatever remained to be cleared up in our night's adventures was now soon explained. Our guide, through ignorance or thoughtlessness, had allowed us to take up our bivouac within a very unsafe distance of one of the most pestiferous swamps in the whole province. Shortly after we had fallen asleep, a party of Mexican travellers had arrived, and established themselves within a few hundred yards of us, but on a rising ground, where they avoided the mephitic vapours and the musquittoes which had so tortured Rowley and myself. In the night two of the women, having ventured a short distance from the encampment, were surprised by the zambos, or huge man-apes, common in some parts of Southern [pg 454] Mexico; and finding themselves cut off from their friends, had fled they knew not whither, fortunately for them taking the direction of our bivouac. Their screams, our shouts, and the yellings and diabolical laughter of the zambos, had brought the Mexicans to our assistance. The monkeys showed no fight after the first volley; several of then must have been wounded, but only the one now lying before us had remained upon the field.

The Mexicans we had fallen amongst were on the Tzapoteca, principally cochineal gatherers, and kinder-hearted people there could not well be. They seemed to think they never could do enough for us; the women especially, and more particularly the two whom we had endeavoured to rescue from the power of the apes. These latter certainly had cause to be grateful. It made us shudder to think of their fate had they not met with us. It was the delay caused by our attacking the brutes that had given the Mexicans time to come up.

Every attention was shown to us. We were fanned with palm leaves, refreshed with cooling drinks, our wounds carefully dressed and bandaged, our heated, irritated, musquitto-bitten limbs and faces washed with balsam and the juice of herbs: more tender and careful nurses it would be impossible to find. We soon began to feel better, and were able to sit up and look about us; carefully avoiding, however, to look at each other, for we could not get reconciled to the horrible appearance of our swollen, bloody, and disgusting features. From our position on the rising ground, we had a full view over the frightful swamp at the entrance of which all our misfortunes had happened. There it lay, steaming like a great kettle; endless mists rising from it, out of which appeared here and there the crown of some mighty tree towering above the banks of vapour. To the left, cliffs and crags were to be seen which had the appearance of being baseless, and of swimming on the top of the mist. The vultures and carrion-birds circled screaming above the huge caldron, or perched on the tops of the tall palms, which looked like enormous umbrellas, or like the roofs of Chinese summer-houses. Out of the swamp itself proceeded the yellings, snarlings, and growlings of the alligators, bull-frogs, and myriads of unclean beasts that it harboured.

The air was unusually sultry and oppressive: from time to time the rolling of distant thunder was audible. We could hear the Mexicans consulting amongst themselves as to the propriety of continuing their journey, to which our suffering state seemed to be the chief obstacle. From what we could collect of their discourse, they were unwilling to leave us in this dangerous district, and in our helpless condition, with a guide and attendants who were either untrustworthy or totally incompetent to lead us aright. Yet there seemed to be some pressing necessity for continuing the march; and presently some of the older Mexicans, who appeared to have the direction of the caravan, came up to us and enquired how we felt, and if we thought we were able to travel; adding, that from the signs on the earth and in the air, they feared a storm, and that the nearest habitation or shelter was at many leagues' distance. Thanks to the remedies that had been applied, our sufferings were much diminished. We felt weak and hungry, and telling the Mexicans we should be ready to proceed in half an hour, we desired our servants to get us something to eat. But our new friends forestalled them, and brought us a large piece of iguana, with roasted bananas, and cocoa-nutshell cups full of coffee, to all of which Rowley and I applied ourselves with much gusto. Meanwhile our muleteers and the Tzapotecans were busy packing their beasts and making ready for the start.

We had not eaten a dozen mouthfuls when we say a man running down the hill with a branch in each hand. As soon as he appeared, a number of the Mexicans left their occupations and hurried to meet him.

"Siete horas!" shouted the man. "Seven hours, and no more!"

"No more than seven hours!" echoed the Tzapotecans, in tones of the wildest terror and alarm. "La Santissima nos guarde! It will take more than ten to reach the village."

"What's all that about?" said I with my mouth full, to Rowley.

[pg 455]

"Don't know—some of their Indian tricks, I suppose."

"Que es esto?" asked I carelessly. "What's the matter?"

"Que es esto!" repeated an old Tzapotecan, with long grey hair curling from under his sombrero, and a withered but finely marked countenance. "Las aguas! El ouracan! In seven hours the deluge and the hurricane!"

"Vamos, por la Santissima! For the blessed Virgin's sake let us be gone!" cried a dozen of the Mexicans, pushing two green boughs into our very faces.

"What are those branches?"

"From the tempest-tree—the prophet of the storm," was the reply.

And Tzapotecans and women, arrieros and servants, ran about in the utmost terror and confusion, with cries of "Vamos, paso redoblado! Off with us, or we are all lost, man and beast," and saddling, packing, and scrambling on their mules. And before Rowley and I knew where we were, they tore us away from our iguana and coffee, and hoisted and pushed us into our saddles. Such a scene of bustle and desperate hurry I never beheld. The place where the encampment had been was alive with men and women, horses and mules, shouting, shrieking and talking, neighing and kicking; but with all the confusion there was little time lost, and in less than three minutes from the first alarm being given, we were scampering away over stock and stone, in a long, wild, irregular sort of train.

The rapidity and excitement of our ride seemed to have the effect of calming our various sufferings, or of making us forget them; and we soon thought no more of the fever, or of stings or musquitto bites. It was a ride for life or death, and our horses stepped out as if they knew how much depended on their exertions.

In the hurry and confusion we had been mounted on horses instead of our our own mules; and splendid animals they were. I doubt if our Virginians could beat them, and that is saying a great deal. There was no effort or straining in their movements; it seemed mere play to them to surmount the numerous difficulties we encountered on our road. Over mountain and valley, swamp and barranca, always the same steady surefootedness—crawling like cats over the soft places, gliding like snakes up the steep rocky ascents, and stretching out with prodigious energy when the ground was favourable; yet with such easy action that we scarcely felt the motion. We should have sat in the roomy Spanish saddles as comfortably as in arm-chairs, had it not been for the numerous obstacles in our path, which was strewed with fallen trees and masses of rock. We were obliged to be perpetually stooping and bowing our heads to avoid the creeping plants that swung and twined and twisted across the track, intermingled often with huge thorns as long as a man's arm. These latter stuck out from the trees on which they grew like so many brown bayonets; and a man who had run up against one of them, would have been transfixed by it as surely as though it had been of steel. We pushed on, however, in Indian file, following the two guides, who kept at the head of the party, and making our way through places where a wild-cat would have difficulty in passing; through thickets of mangroves, mimosas, and tall fern, and cactuses with their thorny leaves full twenty feet long; the path turning and winding all the while. Now and then a momentary improvement in the nature of the ground enabled us to catch a glimpse of the whole column of march. We were struck by its picturesque appearance, the guides in front acting as pioneers, and looking out on all sides as cautiously and anxiously as though they had been soldiers expecting an ambuscade; the graceful forms of the women bowing and bending over their horses' manes, and often leaving fragments of their mantillas and rebozas on the branches and thorns of the labyrinth through which we were struggling. But it was no time to indulge in contemplation of the picturesque, and of this we were constantly made aware by the anxious vociferations of the Mexicans. "Vamos! Por Dios, vamos!" cried they, if the slightest symptom of flagging became visible in the movements of any one of the party; and at the [pg 456] words, our horses, as though gifted with understanding, pushed forward with renewed vigour and alacrity.

On we went—up hill and down, in the depths of the valley and over the soft fetid swamp. That valley of Oaxaca has just as much right to be called a valley as our Alleghanies would have to be called bottoms. In the States we should call it a chain of mountains. Out of it rise at every step hills a good two thousand feet above the level of the valley, and four or five thousand above that of the sea; but these are lost sight of, and become flat ground by the force of comparison; that is, when compared with the gigantic mountains that surround the valley on all sides like a frame. And what a splendid frame they do compose, those colossal mountains, in their rich variety of form and colouring! here shining out like molten gold, there changing to a dark bronze; covered lower down with various shades of green, and with the crimson and purple, and violet and bright yellow, and azure and dazzling white, of the millions of paulinias and convolvoluses and other flowering plants, from amongst which rise the stately palm-trees, full a hundred feet high, their majestic green turbans towering like sultans' heads above the luxuriance of the surrounding flower and vegetable world. Then the mahogany-trees, the chicozapotes, and again in the barrancas the candelabra-like cactuses, and higher up the knotted and majestic live oak. An incessant change of plants, trees, and climate. We had been five hours in the saddle, and had already changed our climate three times; passed from the temperate zone, the tierra templada, into the torrid heat of the tierra muy caliente. It was in the latter temperature that we found ourselves at the expiration of the above-named time, dripping with perspiration, roasting and stewing in the heat. We were surrounded by a new world of plants and animals. The borax and mangroves and fern were here as lofty as forest-trees, whilst the trees themselves shot up like church steeples. In the thickets around us were numbers of black tigers—we saw dozens of those cowardly sneaking beasts—iguanas full three feet long, squirrels double the size of any we had ever seen, and panthers, and wild pigs, and jackals, and apes and monkeys of every tribe and description, who threatened and grinned and chattered at us from the branches of the trees. But what is that yonder to the right, that stands out so white against the dark blue sky and the bronze-coloured rocks? A town—Quidricovi, d'ye call it?

We had now ridden a good five or six leagues, and begun to think we had escaped the aguas or deluge, of which the prospect had so terrified our friends the Tzapotecans. Rowley calculated, as he went puffing and grumbling along, that it wouldn't do any harm to let our beasts draw breath for a minute or two. The scrambling and constant change of pace rendered necessary by the nature of the road, or rather track, that we followed, was certainly dreadfully fatiguing both to man and beast. As for conversation it was out of the question. We had plenty to do to avoid getting our necks broken, or our teeth knocked out, as we struggled along, up and down barrancas, through marshes and thickets, over rocks and fallen trees, and through mimosas and bushes laced and twined together with thorns and creeping plants—all of which would have been beautiful in a picture, but was most infernally unpoetical in reality.

"Vamos! Por la Santissima Madre, vamos!" yelled our guides, and the cry was taken up by the Mexicans, in a shrill wild tone that jarred strangely upon our ears, and made the horses start and strain forward. Hurra! on we go, through thorns and bushes, which scratch and flog us, and tear our clothes to rags. We shall be naked if this lasts long. It is a regular race. In front the two guides, stooping, nodding, bowing, crouching down, first to one side, then to the other, like a couple of mandarins or Indian idols—behind them a Tzapotecan in his picturesque capa, then the women, then more Tzapotecans. There is little thought about precedence or ceremony; and Rowley and I, having been in the least hurry to start, find ourselves bringing up the rear of the whole column.

[pg 457]

"Vamos! Por la Santissima! Las aguas, las aguas!" is again yelled by twenty voices. Hang the fools! Can't they be quiet with their eternal vamos? We can have barely two leagues more to go to reach the rancho, or village, they were talking of, and appearances are not as yet very alarming. It is getting rather thick to be sure; but that's nothing, only the exhalations from the swamp, for we are again approaching one of those cursed swamps, and can hear the music of the alligators and bullfrogs. There they are, the beauties; a couple of them are taking a peep at us, sticking their elegant heads and long delicate snouts out of the slime and mud. The neighbourhood is none of the best; but luckily the path is firm and good, carefully made, evidently by Indian hands. None but Indians could live and labour and travel habitually, in such a pestilential atmosphere. Thank God! we are out of it at last. Again on firm forest ground, amidst the magnificent monotony of the eternal palms and mahogany-trees. But—see there!

A new and surpassingly beautiful landscape burst suddenly upon our view, seeming to dance in the transparent atmosphere. On either side mountains, those on the left in deep shadow, those on the right standing forth like colossal figures of light, in a beauty and splendour that seemed really supernatural, every tree, every branch shining in its own vivid and glorious colouring. There lay the valley in its tropical luxuriance and beauty, one sheet of bloom and blossom up to the topmost crown of the palm-trees, that shot up, some of them, a hundred and fifty and a hundred and eighty feet high. Thousands and millions of convolvoluses, paulinias, bignonias, dendrobiums, climbing from the fern to the tree trunks, from the trunks to the branches and summits of the trees, and thence again falling gracefully down, and catching and clinging to the mangroves and blocks of granite. It burst upon us like a scene of enchantment, as we emerged from the darkness of the forest into the dazzling light and colouring of that glorious valley.

"Misericordia, misericordia! Audi nos peccadores! Misericordia, las aquas!" suddenly screamed and exclaimed the Mexicans in various intonations of terror and despair. We looked around us. What can be the matter? We see nothing. Nothing, except that from just behind those two mountains, which project like mighty promontories into the valley, a cloud is beginning to rise. "What is it? What is wrong?" A dozen voices answered us—

"Por la Santa Virgen, for the holy Virgin's sake, on, on! No hay tiempo para hablar. We have still two leagues to go, and in one hour comes the flood."

And they recommenced their howling, yelling chorus of "Misericordia! Audi nos peccadores!" and "Santissima Virgen, and Todos santos y angeles!"

"Are the fellows mad?" shouted Rowley, "What if the water does come? It won't swallow you. A ducking more or less is no such great matter. You are not made of sugar or salt. Many's the drenching I've had in the States, and none the worse for it. Yet our rains are no child's play neither."

On looking round us, however, we were involuntarily struck with the sudden change in the appearance of the heavens. The usual golden black blue colour of the sky was gone, and had been replaced by a dull gloomy grey. The quality of the air appeared also to have changed; it was neither very warm nor very cold, but it had lost its lightness and elasticity, and seemed to oppress and weigh us down. Presently we saw the dark cloud rise gradually from behind the hills, completely clearing their summits, and then sweeping along until it hung over the valley, in form and appearance like some monstrous night-moth, resting the tips of its enormous wings on the mountains on either side. To our right we still saw the roofs and walls of Quidricovi, apparently at a very short distance.

"Why not go to Quidricovi?" shouted I to the guides, "we cannot be far off."

"More than five leagues," answered the men, shaking their heads and looking up anxiously at the huge moth, which was still creeping and crawling on, each moment darker and [pg 458] more threatening. It was like some frightful monster, or the fabled Kraken, working itself along by its claws, which were struck deep into the mountain-wall on either side of its line of progress, and casting its hideous shadow over hill and dale, forest and valley, clothing them in gloom and darkness. To our right hand and behind us, the mountains were still of a glowing golden red, lighted up by the sun, but to the left and in our front all was black and dark. With the same glance we beheld the deepest gloom and the brightest day, meeting each other but not mingling. It was a strange and ominous sight.

Ominous enough; and the brute creation seem to feel it so as well as ourselves. The chattering parrots, the hopping, gibbering, quarrelsome apes, all the birds and beasts, scream and cry and flutter and spring about, as though seeking a refuge from some impending danger. Even our horses begin to tremble and groan—refuse to go on, start and snort. The whole animal world is in commotion, as if seized with an overwhelming panic. The forest is teeming with inhabitants. Whence come they, all these living things? On every side is heard the howling and snarling of beasts, the frightened cries and chirpings of birds. The vultures and turkey-buzzards, that a few minutes before were circling high in the air, are now screaming amidst the branches of the mahogany-trees; every creature that has life is running, scampering, flying—apes and tigers, birds and creeping things.

"Vamos, por la Santissima! On! or we are all lost."

And we ride, we rush along—neither masses of rock, nor fallen trees, nor thorns and brambles, check our wild career. Over every thing we go, leaping, scrambling, plunging, riding like desperate men, flying from a danger of which the nature is not clearly defined, but which we feel to be great and imminent. It is a frightful terror-striking foe, that huge night-moth, which comes ever nearer, growing each moment bigger and blacker. Looking behind us, we catch one last glimpse of the red and bloodshot sun, which the next instant disappears behind the edge of the mighty cloud.

Still we push on. Hosts of tigers, and monkeys both large and small, and squirrels and jackals, come close up to us as if seeking shelter, and then finding none, retreat howling into the forest. There is not a breath of air stirring, yet all nature—plants and trees, men and beasts—seem to quiver and tremble with apprehension. Our horses pant and groan as they bound along with dilated nostrils and glaring eyes, trembling in every limb, sweating at every pore, half wild with terror; giving springs and leaps that more resemble those of a hunted tiger than of a horse.

The prayer and exclamations of the terrified Mexicans, continued without intermission, whispered and shrieked and groaned in every variety of intonation. The earthy hue of intense terror was upon every countenance. For some moments a death-like stillness, an unnatural calm, reigned around us: it was as though the elements were holding in their breath, and collecting their energies for some mighty outbreak. Then came a low indistinct moaning sound, that seemed to issue from the bowels of the earth. The warning was significant.

"Halt! stop" shouted we to the guides. "Stop! and let us seek shelter from the storm."

"On! for God's sake, on! or we are lost," was the reply.

Thank Heaven! the path is getting wider—we come to a descent—they are leading us out of the forest. If the storm had come on while we were among the trees, we might be crushed to death by the falling branches. We are close to a barranca.

"Alerto! Alerto!" shrieked the Mexicans. "Madre de Dios! Dios! Dios!"

And well might they call to God for help in that awful moment. The gigantic night-moth gaped and shot forth tongues of fire—a ghastly white flame, that contrasted strangely and horribly with the dense black cloud from which it issued. There was a peal of thunder that seemed to shake the earth, then a pause during which nothing was heard but the panting of our horses as they dashed across the barranca, and began straining up the steep side of a knoll or hillock. The [pg 459] cloud again opened: for a second every thing was lighted up. Another thunder clap, and then, as though the gates of its prison had been suddenly burst open, the tempest came forth in its might and fury, breaking, crushing, and sweeping away all that opposed it. The trees of the forest staggered and tottered for a moment, as if making an effort to bear up against the storm; but it was in vain: the next instant, with a report like that of ten thousand cannon, whole acres of mighty trees were snapped off, their branches shivered, their roots torn up; it was no longer a forest but a chaos; an ocean of boughs and tree-trunks, that were tossed about like the waves of the sea, or thrown into the air like straws. The atmosphere was darkened with dust, and leaves, and branches.

"God be merciful to us! Rowley! where are ye?—No answer. What is become of them all?"

A second blast more furious than the first. Can the mountains resist it? will they stand? By the Almighty! they do not. The earth trembles; the hillock, on the leeside of which we are, rocks and shakes; and the air grows thick and suffocating—full of dust and saltpetre and sulphur. We are like to choke. All around is dark as night. We can see nothing, hear nothing but the howling of the hurricane, and the thunder and rattle of falling trees and shivered branches.

Suddenly the hurricane ceases, and all is hushed; but so suddenly that the charge is startling and unnatural. No sound is audible save the creaking and moaning of the trees with which the ground is cumbered. It is like a sudden pause in a battle, when the roar of the cannon and clang of charging squadrons cease, and nought is heard but the groaning of the wounded, the agonized sobs and gasps of the dying.

The report of a pistol is heard; then another, a third, hundreds, thousands of them. It is the flood, las aguas; the shots are drops of rain; but such drops! each as big as a hen's egg. They strike with the force of enormous hailstones—stunning and blinding us. The next moment there is no distinction of drops, the windows of heaven are opened; it is no longer rain nor flood, but a sea, a cataract, a Niagara. The hillock on which I am standing, undermined by the waters, gives way and crumbles under me; in ten seconds' time I find myself in the barranca, which is converted into a river, off my horse, which is gone I know not whither. The only person I see near me is Rowley, also dismounted and struggling against the stream, which is already up to our waists, and sweeps along with it huge branches and entire trees, that threaten each moment to carry us away with them, or to crush us against the rocks. We avoid these dangers, God knows how, make violent efforts to stem the torrent and gain the side of the barranca; although, even should we succeed, it is so steep that we can scarcely hope to climb it without assistance. And whence is that assistance to come? Of the Mexicans we see or hear nothing. They are doubtless all drowned or dashed to pieces. They were higher up on the hillock than we were, must consequently have been swept down with more force, and were probably carried away by the torrent. Nor can we hope for a better fate. Wearied by our ride, weakened by the fever and sufferings of the preceding night, we are in no condition to strive much longer with the furious elements. For one step that we gain, we lose two. The waters rise; already they are nearly up to our armpits. It is in vain to resist any longer. Our fate is sealed.

"Rowley, all is over—let us die like men. God have mercy on our souls!"

Rowley was a few paces higher up the barranca. He made me no answer, but looked at me with a calm, cold, and yet somewhat regretful smile upon his countenance. Then all at once he ceased the efforts he was making to resist the stream and gain the bank, folded his arms on his breast and gave a look up and around him as though to bid farewell to the world he was about to leave. The current was sweeping him rapidly down towards me, when suddenly a wild hurra burst from his lips, and he recommenced his struggles against the waters, striving violently to retain [pg 460] a footing on the slippery, uneven bed of the stream.

"Tenga! Tenga!" screamed a dozen voices, that seemed to proceed from spirits of the air; and at the same moment something whistled about my ears and struck me a smart blow across the face. With the instinct of a drowning man, I clutched the lasso that had been thrown to me. Rowley was at my elbow and seized it also. It was immediately drawn tight, and by its aid we gained the bank, and began ascending the side of the barranca, composed of rugged, declivitous rocks, affording but scanty foot-hold. God grant the lasso may prove tough! The strain on it is fearful. Rowley is a good fifteen stone, and I am no feather; and in some parts of our perilous ascent the rocks are almost as perpendicular and smooth as a wall of masonry, and we are obliged to cling with our whole weight to the lasso, which seems to stretch, and crack, and grow visibly thinner. Nothing but a strip of twisted cow-hide between us and a frightful agonizing death on the sharp rocks and in the foaming waters below. But the lasso holds good, and now the chief peril is past: we get some sort of footing—a point of rock, or a tree-root to clutch at. Another strain up this rugged slope of granite, another pull at the lasso; a leap, a last violent effort, and—Viva!—we are seized under the arms, dragged up, held upon our feet for a moment, and then—we sink exhausted to the ground in the midst of the Tzapotecans, mules, arrieros, guides, and women, who are sheltered from the storm in a sort of natural cavern. At the moment at which the hillock had given way under Rowley and myself, who were a short distance in rear of the party, the Mexicans had succeeded in attaining firm footing on a broad rocky ledge, a shelf of the precipice that flanked the barranca. Upon this ledge, which gradually widened into a platform, they found themselves in safety under some projecting crags that sheltered them completely from the tempest. Thence they looked down upon the barranca, where they descried Rowley and myself struggling for our lives in the roaring torrent; and thence, by knotting several lassos together, they were able to give us the opportune aid which had rescued us from our desperate situation. But whether this aid had come soon enough to save our lives was still a question, or at least for some time appeared to be so. The life seemed driven out of our bodies by all we had gone through: we were unable to move a finger, and lay helpless and motionless, with only a glimmering indistinct perception, not amounting to consciousness, of what was going on around us. Fatigue, the fever, the immersion in cold water when reeking with perspiration, the sufferings of all kinds we had endured in the course of the last twenty hours, had completely exhausted and broken us down.

The storm did not last long in its violence, but swept onwards, leaving a broad track of desolation behind it. The Mexicans recommenced their journey, with the exception of four or five who remained with us and our arrieros and servants. The village to which we were proceeding was not above a league off; but even that short distance Rowley and myself were in no condition to accomplish. The kind-hearted Tzapotecans made us swallow cordials, stripped off our drenched and tattered garments, and wrapped us in an abundance of blankets. We fell into a deep sleep, which lasted all that evening and the greater part of the night, and so much refreshed us that about an hour before daybreak we were able to resume our march—at a slow pace, it is true, and suffering grievously in every part of our bruised and wounded limbs and bodies, at each jolt or rough motion of the mules on which we were clinging, rather than sitting.

Our path lay over hill and dale, perpetually rising and falling. We soon got out of the district or zone that had been swept by the preceding day's hurricane, and after nearly an hour's ride, we paused on the crest of a steep descent, at the foot of which, as our guides informed us, lay the land of promise, the long looked-for rancho. While the muleteers were seeing to the girths of their beasts, and giving the due equilibrium to the baggage, before commencing the downward march, Rowley [pg 461] and I sat upon our mules, wrapped in large Mexican capas, gazing at the morning-star as it sank down and grew gradually paler and fainter. Suddenly the eastern sky began to brighten, and a brilliant beam appeared in the west, a point of light no bigger than a star—but yet not a star; it was of a far rosier hue. The next moment a second sparkling spot appeared, near to the first, which now swelled out into a sort of fiery tongue, that seemed to lick round the silvery summit of the snow-clad mountain. As we gazed, five—ten—twenty hill tops were tinged with the same rose-coloured glow; in another moment they became like fiery banners spread out against the heavens, while sparkling tongues and rays of golden light flashed and flamed round them, springing like meteors from one mountain summit to another, lighting them up like a succession of beacons. Scarcely five minutes had elapsed since the distant pinnacles of the mountains had appeared to us as huge phantom-like figures of a silvery white, dimly marked out upon a dark star-spangled ground; now the whole immense chain blazed like volcanoes covered with glowing lava, rising out of the darkness that still lingered on their flanks and bases, visible and wonderful witnesses to the omnipotence of him who said, "Let there be light, and there was light."

Above, all was broad day, flaming sunlight; below, all black night. Here and there streams of light burst through clefts and openings in the mountains, and then ensued an extraordinary kind of conflict. The shades of darkness seemed to live and move, to struggle against the bright beams that fell amongst them and broke their masses, forcing them down the wooded heights, tearing them asunder and dispersing them like tissues of cobwebs; so that successively, and as if by a stroke of enchantment, there appeared, first the deep indigo blue of the tamarinds and chicozapotes, then the bright green of the sugar-canes, lower down the darker green of the nopal-trees, lower still the white and green and gold and bright yellow of the orange and citron groves, and lowest of all, the stately fan-palms, and date-palms, and bananas; all glittering with millions of dewdrops, that covered them like a ganze veil embroidered with diamonds and rubies. And still in the very next valley all was utter darkness.

We sat silent and motionless, gazing at this scene of enchantment.

Presently the sun rose higher, and a flood of light illumined the whole valley, which lay some few hundred feet below us—a perfect garden, such as no northern imagination could picture forth; a garden of sugar-canes, cotton, and nopal-trees, intermixed with thickets of pomegranate and strawberry-trees, and groves of orange, fig, and lemon, giants of their kind, shooting up to a far greater height than the oak attains in the States—every tree a perfect hothouse, a pyramid of flowers, covered with bloom and blossom to its topmost spray. All was light, and freshness, and beauty; every object seemed to dance and rejoice in the clear elastic golden atmosphere. It was an earthly paradise, fresh from the hand of its Creator, and at first we could discover no sign of man or his works. Presently, however, we discerned the village lying almost at our feet, the small stone houses overgrown with flowers and embedded in trees; so that scarcely a square foot of roof or wall was to be seen. Even the church was concealed in a garland of orange-trees, and had lianas and star-flowered creepers climbing over and dangling on it, up as high as the slender cross that surmounted its square white tower. As we gazed, the first sign of life appeared in the village. A puff of blue smoke rose curling and spiral from a chimney, and the matin bell rang out its summons to prayer. Our Mexicans fell on their knees and crossed themselves, repeating their Ave-marias. We involuntarily took off our hats, and whispered a thanksgiving to the God who had been with us in the hour of peril, and was now so visible to us in his works.

The Mexicans rose from their knees.

"Vamos! Senores," said one of them, laying his hand on the bridle of my mule. "To the rancho, to breakfast."

We rode slowly down into the valley.

Footnote 1: (return)

The nigua is a small but very dangerous insect which fixes itself in the feet, bores holes in the skin, and lays its eggs there. These, if not extracted, (which extraction by the by is a most painful operation) cause first an intolerable itching, and subsequently sores and ulcers of a sufficiently serious nature to entail the loss of the feet.

[pg 462]


Were the question proposed to us, What is the most extraordinary, complete, and effective instance of skill, contrivance, science, and power, ever combined by man? we should unhesitatingly answer, an English line-of-battle ship. Take the model of a 120 gun ship—large as it may be for a floating body, its space is not great. For example, it is not half the ordinary size of a nobleman's mansion; yet that ship carries a thousand men with convenience, and lodges them day and night, with sufficient room for the necessary distinctions of obedience and command—has separate apartments for the admiral and the captain, for the different ranks of officers, and even for the different ranks of seamen—separate portions below decks for the sleeping of the crew, the dining of the officers, and the receptacle for the sick and wounded. Those thousand men are to be fed three times a-day, and provisions for four months are to be stowed. One hundred and twenty cannon, some of them of the heaviest metal, are to be carried; and room is to be found for all the weight of shot and quantities of powder, with other missiles, rockets, and signal fires, necessary for service. Besides this, room is to be provided for the stowage of fresh rigging, sails, ropes, cables, and yards, to replace those lost by accident, battle, or wear and tear. Besides this, too, there is to be a provision for the hospital. So far for the mere necessaries of the ship. Then we are to regard the science; for nothing can be more essential than the skill and the instruments of the navigator, as nothing can be more fatal than a scientific error, a false calculation, or a remission of vigilance. We shall do no more than allude to the habits of command essential to keep a thousand of these rough and daring spirits in order, and that, too, an order of the most implicit, steady, and active kind; nor to their knowledge of tactics, and conduct in battle. The true definition of the line-of-battle ship being, a floating regiment of artillery in a barrack, which, at the beat of a drum, may be turned into a field of battle, or, at the command of government, may be sent flying on the wings of the wind round the world. We think that we have thus established our proposition. If not, let any thing else be shown which exhibits the same quantity of power packed within the same space; and that power, too, increasing daily by new contrivances of stowage and building, by new models of guns, and new inventions in machinery. England is at this moment building two hundred steam-ships, with guns of a calibre to which all the past were trifling, with room for a regiment of land troops besides their crews, and with the known power of defying wind and wave, and throwing an army in full equipment for the field, within a few days, on any coast of Europe.

It is remarkable that the use of the navy, as a great branch of the military power of England, had been scarcely contemplated until the last century. Though the sea-coast of England, the largest of any European state, and the national habits of an insular country, might have pointed out this direction for the national energies from the earliest period, yet England was a kingdom for five hundred years before she seems to have thought of the use of ships as an instrument of public power. In the long war with France during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the ships were almost wholly mercantile; and, when employed in wars, were chiefly employed as transports to throw our troops on the French soil. It was the reign of Elizabeth, that true birth of the progress of England, that first developed the powers of an armed navy. The Spanish invasion forced the country to meet the Armada by means like its own; and the triumph, though won by a higher agency, and due to the winds and waves, or rather to the Supreme Providence which watched over the [pg 463] land of Protestantism, awoke the nation to the true faculty of defence; and from that period alone could the burden of the fine national song be realized, and Britain was to "rule the main." The expeditions against the Spanish West Indies, and the new ardour of discovery in regions where brilliant fable lent its aid to rational curiosity, carried on the process of naval power. The war against Holland, under Charles II., though disastrous and impolitic, showed at least that the fleet of England was the true arm of its strength; and the humiliation of the only rival of her commerce at once taught her where the sinews of war lay, and by what means the foundations of naval empire were to be laid. But it was not until the close of the last century that the truth came before the nation in its full form. The American war—a war of skirmishes—had its direct effect, perhaps its providential purpose, in compelling England to prepare for the tremendous collision which was so soon to follow, and which was to be the final security of the Continent itself. It was then, for the first time, that the nation was driven to the use of a navy on a great scale. The war, lying on the western shore of an ocean, made the use of naval armaments necessary to every operation. The treacherous hostility of the French cabinet, and the unfortunate subserviency of Spain to that treachery, made corresponding energy on the part of England a matter of public demand; and when France and Spain sent out fleets of a magnitude till then unknown, England was urged to follow their example. The defeats of the combined navies excited the nation to still more vigorous efforts; and the war closed with so full a demonstration of the matchless importance of a great navy to England, that the public feeling was fixed on giving it the largest contribution of the national confidence.

The time was at hand when the trial was to involve every interest of England and mankind. The first grand struggle of revolutionary France with England was to be on the seas; and the generation of naval officers who had been reared in the American war, then rising into vigour, trained by its experience, and stimulated by its example, gallantly maintained the honour of their country. A succession of sanguinary battles followed, each on the largest scale, and each closing in British victory; until the republic, in despair, abandoned the fatal element, and tied her fortunes in the easier conflicts of the land. The accession of Napoleon renewed the struggle for naval supremacy, until one vast blow extinguished his hopes and his navy at Trafalgar. Peace now exists, and long may it exist! but France is rapidly renewing her navy, taking every opportunity of exercising its strength, and especially patronising the policy of founding those colonies which it idly imagines to be the source of British opulence. But whether the wisdom of Louis Philippe limits the protection of French trade to the benefits which commerce may confer on his vast kingdom, or looks forward to the support which a mercantile navy may give to a warlike one, we must not sleep on our posts. The life of any individual is brief on a national scale; and his successor, whether regent or republican, may be as hot-headed, rash, and ambitious, as this great monarch has shown himself rational, prudent, and peaceful. We must prepare for all chances; and our true preparation must be, a fleet that may defy all.

It is a remarkable instance of the slowness with which science advances, that almost the whole scientific portion of seamanship has grown up since the middle of the seventeenth century, though America had been reached in 1492, and India in 1496; and thus the world had been nearly rounded before what would now be regarded as the ordinary knowledge of a navigator had been acquired. England has the honour of making the first advances. It was an Englishman, Norwood, who made the first measurement of a degree between London and York, and fixed it at 122,399 English yards. The attention of the world thus once awakened, Huygens and Cassini applied themselves to ascertain the figure of the earth. The first experiments of the French savans were in contradiction to Newton's theory of the flattening of the poles; but the controversy was the means of exciting new [pg 464] interest. The eyes of the scientific world were turned more intently on the subject. New experiments were made, which corrected the old; and finally, on the measurement of the arc in Peru, and in the north, truth and Newton triumphed, and the equatorial diameter was found to exceed the polar by a two hundred and fourth part of the whole. This was perhaps the finest problem ever solved by science; the most perplexing in its early state—exhibiting for a while the strongest contradiction of experiment and theory, occupying in a greater degree the attention of philosophers than any before or since, and finally established with a certainty which every subsequent observation has only tended to confirm. And this triumph belonged to an Englishman.

The investigation by measurements has since been largely adopted. In 1787, joint commissions were issued by England and France to connect the Greenwich and Parisian observations. Arcs of the meridian have since been measured across the whole breadth of France and Spain, and also near the Arctic circle, and in the Indian peninsula.

In navigation, the grand point for the sailor is to ascertain his latitude and longitude; in other words, to know where he is. The discovery of the latitude is easily effected by the quadrant, but the longitude is the difficulty. Any means which ascertained the hour at Greenwich, at the instant of making a celestial observation in any other part, would answer the difficulty; for the difference in quarters of an hour would give the difference of the degrees. But clocks could not be used on shipboard, and the best watches failed to keep the time. In the reign of Anne, Parliament offered a reward of L. 5000, perhaps not far from the value of twice the sum in the present day, for a watch within a certain degree of accuracy. Harrison, a watchmaker, sent in a watch which came within the limits, losing but two minutes in a voyage to the West Indies; yet even this was an error of thirty miles.

But, though chronometers have since been considerably improved, there are difficulties in their preservation in good order which have made it expedient to apply to other means; and the lunar tables of Mayer of Gottingen, formed in 1755, and subsequently improved by Dr Maskelyne and others, have brought the error within seven miles and a half.

Improvements of a very important order have also taken place in the mariner's compass; the variation of the needle has been reduced to rules, and some anomalies arising from the metallic attraction of the ship itself, have been corrected by Professor Barlow's experiments. The use of the marine barometer and thermometer have also largely assisted to give notice of tempests; and some ingenious theories have been lately formed, which, promising to give a knowledge of the origin and nature of tempests, are obviously not unlikely to assist the navigator in stemming their violence, or escaping them altogether.

The construction of ships for both the merchant and the public service has undergone striking improvements within this century. Round sterns, for the defence of a vessel engaged with several opponents at once; compartments in the hold, for security against leaks; iron tanks for water, containing twice the quantity, and keeping it free from the impurities of casks; a better general stowage; provisions prepared so as to remain almost fresh during an East Indian voyage; every means of preserving health, suggested by science, and succeeding to the most remarkable degree; a more intelligent system of shipbuilding, and a constant series of experiments on the shape, stowage, and sailing of ships, are among the beneficial changes of later times. But the one great change—steam—will probably swallow up all the rest, and form a new era in shipbuilding, in navigation, in the power and nature of a navy, and in the comfort, safety, and protection of the crews in actual engagement. The use of steam is still so palpably in its infancy, yet that infancy is so gigantic, that it is equally difficult to say what it may yet become, and to limit its progress. It will have the one obvious advantage to mankind in general, of making the question of war turn more than ever on the financial and mechanical resources of a people; and thus increasing [pg 465] the necessity for commercial opulence and intellectual exertion. It may expose nations more to each other's attacks; but it will render hostility more dreaded, because more dangerous. On the whole, like the use of gunpowder, which made a Tartar war impossible, and which rapidly tended to civilize Europe, steam appears to be intended as a further step in the same high process, in which force is to be put down by intelligence, and success, even in war, is to depend on the industry of peace; thus, in fact, providing a perpetual restriction on the belligerent propensities of nations, and urging the uncivilized, by necessity, to own the superiority, and follow the example of the civilized, by knowledge, habit, and principle.

It is not to be forgotten, even in this general and brief view of the values of the British fleet, that it has, within these few years, assumed a new character as an instrument of war. The Syrian campaign, the shortest, and, beyond all comparison, the most brilliant on record, if we are to estimate military distinction, not only by the gallantry of the conflict, but by the results of the victory—this campaign, which at once finished the war in Syria, gave peace to Turkey, reduced Egypt to obedience, rescued the sultan from Russian influence, and Egypt from French; or rather rescued all Europe from the collision of England, France, and Russia; and even, by the evidence of our naval capabilities, taught American faction the wisdom of avoiding hostilities—this grand operation was effected by a small portion of the British navy, well commanded, directed to the right point, and acting with national energy. The three hours' cannonade of Acre, the most effective achievement in the annals of war, exhibited a new use of a ship's broadside; for, though ships' guns had often battered forts before, it was the first instance of a fleet employed in attack, and fully overpowering all opposition. The attack on Algiers was the only exploit of a similar kind; but its success was limited, and the result was so far disastrous, that it at once fixed the eye of France on the invasion of Algiers, and disabled and disheartened the native government from vigorous resistance. The victory of the fleet at Acre will also have the effect of changing the whole system of defence in fortresses and cities exposed to the sea.

But a still further advance in the employment of fleets as an instrument of hostilities, has since occurred in the Chinese war—their simultaneous operation with troops. In former assaults of fortresses, the troops and ships attacked the same line of defence, and the consequence was the waste of force. From the moment when the troops approached the land, the fire of the ships necessarily ceased, and the fleet then remained spectators of the assault. But in this war, while the troops attacked on the land side, the fleet ran up to the sea batteries, and both attacks went on together—of course dividing the attention of the enemy, thus having a double chance of success, and employing both arms of the service in full energy. This masterly combination the Duke of Wellington, the highest military authority in Europe, pronounced to be a new principle in war; and even this is, perhaps, only the beginning of a system of combination which will lead to new victories, if war should ever unhappily return.

We now revert to the history of a naval hero.

John Jervis, the second son of Swynfen Jervis, Esq., was born on the 20th of January 1735. He was descended, on both the paternal and maternal side, from families which had figured in the olden times of England. The family of Jervis possessed estates in Staffordshire as far back as the reign of Edward III. The family of Swynfen was also long established in Worcestershire. John Swynfen was a public character during the troubled times of Charles I. and Cromwell, and until a late period in the reign of Charles II. He had been originally a strong Parliamentarian; but, thinking that the party went too far, he was turned out of parliament for tardiness by the Protector. But his original politics adhered to him still; for, even after the restoration, he was joined with Hampden, the grandson of the celebrated patriot, in drawing up the Bill of Exclusion. Among his ancestors by the mother's side was Sir John Turton, a judge in the Court of King's [pg 466] Bench, married to a daughter of the brave Colonel Samuel Moore, who made the memorable defence of Hopton Castle in the Civil War.

But no man less regarded ancestry than the subject of the present pages, who, in writing with reference to his pedigree, observed, in his usual frank and straightforward language—"They were all highly respectable; but, et genus et proavos, nearly all the Latin I now recollect, always struck my ear as the sound maxim for officers and statesmen."

His first school was at Burton-upon-Trent, where a slight incident seemed to designate his future politics and fortitude. In 1745, when the Pretender marched into the heart of the kingdom, without being joined by his friends or opposed by his enemies, as Gibbon antithetically observed, all the boys at the school, excepting young Jervis and Dick Meux, (afterwards the eminent brewer,) wore plaid ribands sent to them from home, and they pelted their two constitutional playmates, calling them Whigs.

His father designed young Jervis for the law; but, in 1747, removing to Greenwich on being appointed Counsel to the Admiralty and Auditor to the Hospital, naval sights were too near not to prove a strong temptation to the mind of an animated and vigorous boy. His parents were still strongly for the adoption of his father's profession; but there was another authority on the subject, the family coachman, one Pinkhorne, who, saying that it was a shame to go into a profession where all were rogues, determined the future hero; and, before the year was over, he ran away, to commence life as a sailor. He was reclaimed, however, by his family, and was regularly entered in the navy, in January 1748, on board the Gloucester, fifty guns, Commodore Townshend—twenty pounds being all that was given to him by his father for his equipment. The Gloucester sailed for the West Indies; and thus, at the age of thirteen, young Jervis began the world. It appears that the rigid economy of his father, combined with the singular good sense of this mere child, urged him to every means of acquiring the knowledge of his profession. The monotonous life of a guard-ship already seemed to him a waste of time, while the expenses on shore must have been ruinous to his slender finances. He therefore volunteered into whatever ship was going to sea. He thus writes to his sister from on board the Sphinx, 1753:—"There are many entertainments and public assemblies here, but they are rather above my sphere, many inconveniences and expenses attending them; so that my chief employ, when from my duty, is reading, studying navigation, and perusing my own letters, of which I have almost enough to make an octavo volume."

At length, however, his twenty pounds were exhausted; and, at the end of three years, he drew for twenty pounds more. It is vexatious to say that his bill was dishonoured; and he never received another shilling from any one. It is scarcely possible to conceive that so harsh a measure could have been the result of intention; but it subjected this extraordinary boy to the severest privations. To take up the dishonoured bill, he was obliged to effect his discharge from one ship into another, so as to obtain his pay tickets, which he sold at forty per cent discount. His remaining six years on the station were spent in the exercise of a severe economy, and the endurance even of severe suffering. He was compelled to sell all his bedding, and sleep on the bare deck. He had no other resource than, generally, to make and mend, and always to wash, his own clothes. He never afforded himself any fresh meat; and even the fruit and vegetables, which are so necessary and so cheap, he could obtain only by barter from the negroes, for the small share of provisions which he could subduct from his own allowance. True as all this doubtless is, it reflects more severely on the captain and officers of his own ship, than even upon his parents. The latter, on the other side of the Atlantic, might have no knowledge of his difficulties; but that those who saw his sufferings from day to day could have allowed them to continue, argues a degree of negligence and inhumanity, of which we hope that no present instance occurs in our navy, and which at any period would appear incomprehensible. [pg 467] In 1754, young Jervis returned to England, and passed his examination for lieutenant with great credit.

The commencement of the war with France was, like the commencement of English wars in general, disastrous. We seldom make due preparation. Fleets inferior to the enemy in equipment and number, are sent out on the emergency; detachments of troops are sent where armies should have gone; and thus victory itself is without effect. Thus for a year or two we continue blundering if not beaten, and angry with our generals and admirals for failing to do impossibilities. At last the nation becomes fairly roused; the success of the enemy makes exertion necessary; their insolence inflames the popular indignation; a great effort is made; a triumph is obtained, and a peace follows, which might have been accomplished half a dozen years before, at a tenth part of the expense in blood and treasure which it cost to consummate the war. Our troops under Braddock, a brave fool, were beaten by the French and Indians in America. Our Mediterranean fleet was baffled under the unfortunate command of Byng. Minorca was taken before our eyes, and the naval and military stars of England seem to have gone down together. Yet this era of national dishonour and public disgust was followed by the three years of Chatham's administration, a period of triumph that equaled the campaigns of Marlborough at the commencement of the century, and was scarcely eclipsed even by the splendours that followed its close.

The skill and talent of young Jervis had already given him distinction among the rising officers of the feet. He had become a favourite with Admiral Saunders, was taken with him from ship to ship; and when the admiral was recalled from the Mediterranean to take the command of the naval force destined to co-operate in the attack on Quebec, by the heroic and lamented General Wolfe, young Jervis was selected to be first lieutenant of the Prince, which bore the admiral's flag. On the passage out, the general and his aide-de-camp, Captain, afterwards the well-known Colonel Barré, were guests on board the Prince, and of course Jervis had the advantage of their intelligent society. In February 1759, the fleet sailed from England, and in June proceeded from Louisburg to the St Lawrence. Lieutenant Jervis was now appointed to the command of the Porcupine sloop; and on the general requesting a naval force to escort his transports past Quebec, the Porcupine was ordered by the admiral to lead. The service was one of extreme difficulty; for the attempt to sound the channel the day before had failed, though it was made by the master of the fleet, Cook, afterwards the celebrated navigator. The winds suddenly falling calm, prevented the Porcupine from reaching her station. A heavy fire was instantly opened upon her from every gun that could be brought to bear, and the army were in terror of her being destroyed, for the general was on board. But Jervis's skill was equal to his gallantry; he hoisted out his boats, cheered his men through the fire, and brought his ship to her station.

A little incident occurred on the night before the memorable engagement, which even at this distance of time is of painful interest, but which shows the confidence reposed in the young naval officer by the hero of Quebec. After the orders for the assault next day were given, Wolfe requested a private interview with him; and saying that he had the strongest presentiment of falling on the field, yet that he should fall in victory, he took from his bosom the miniature of a young lady to whom he was attached, gave it to Jervis, desiring that, if the foreboding came to pass, he should return it to her on his arrival in England. Wolfe's gallant fate and brilliant victory are known: the picture was delivered to Miss Lowther.

After the capture of Quebec, Jervis was dispatched to England; and was appointed to the Scorpion, to carry out important despatches to General Amherst. On this occasion, he gave an instance of that remarkable promptitude which characterised him throughout his whole career. The Scorpion was in such a crazy state that she had nearly foundered between Spithead and Plymouth. On reaching [pg 468] the latter port, and representing at once the condition of the vessel and the importance of the despatches, the port-admiral instantly ordered him to proceed to sea in the Albany, a sloop in the Sound. But the Albany had been a long time in commission; her people claimed arrears of pay; and by no means relishing a voyage across the Atlantic in such weather, they absolutely refused to heave the anchor. Their young commander first tried remonstrance, but in vain; he then took a more effectual means—he ordered his boat's crew, whom he had brought from the Scorpion, to take their hatchets and cut the cables, and then go aloft to loosen the foresail. Perceiving the kind of man with whom they had to do, the crew submitted, and the Albany instantly proceeded to sea: the ringleaders were punished; and the service was performed. The Albany made New York in twenty-four days.

In October 1761, Commander Jervis was made Post, into the Gosport of 60 guns. Among his midshipmen was the afterwards Admiral Lord Keith. In 1762, peace was made. The Gosport was paid off next year, and Captain Jervis did not serve again until 1769, when he commanded the Alarm of 32 guns for the next three years.

A striking incident occurred during the cruise of this vessel in the Mediterranean, exhibiting not only the spirit of her captain, but the historic recollections by which that spirit was sustained. One Sunday afternoon, the day after her arrival at Genoa, two Turkish slaves, in enjoyment of the holiday's rest from labour, sauntered from their galley near the mole. Seeing the Alarm's boat, they jumped into her, wrapped themselves in the British colours, and exclaimed, "We are free!" The Genoese officer on duty, however, ordered them to be dragged out, which was done, though one of them tore away in his struggle a piece of the boat's pendant. On the circumstance reaching the captain's ears he was indignant, and demanded instant reparation. To use his own language:—"I required," said he, "of the Doge and Senate, that both the slaves should be brought on board, with the part of the torn pendant which the slave carried off with him; the officer of the guard punished; and an apology made on the quarterdeck of the Alarm, under the king's colours, for the outrage offered to the British nation."

On the following Tuesday this was complied with in all the particulars; but, unhappily, the government at home did not exhibit the spirit of their gallant officer abroad; and in a letter which he addressed to his brother he says:—"I had an opportunity of carrying the British flag, in relation to two Turkish slaves, as high as Blake had ever done, for which I am publicly censured; though I hope we have too much virtue left, for me not to be justified in private."

The result, however, of this transaction was, that for many years afterwards, in the Barbary states, if a slave could but touch the British colours, which all our men-of-war's boats carry in foreign ports, he could of right demand his release. This, however, was counteracted as far as possible by the renewed vigilance of the Moors, who kept all their slaves out of sight while a British flag flew in the harbour. The allusion to the famous Blake shows with what studies the young officer fed his mind, and in how high a spirit he was prepared to adopt them.

Another instance of his skill and intrepidity soon followed. In March 1770, the frigate, after a tempestuous cruise, came to anchor at Marseilles. An equinoctial gale came on, and after two days of desperate exertion, and throwing many of the guns overboard, the frigate was driven from her anchors, stranded on a reef of rocks, and the crew in such peril that they were saved only by the most extraordinary exertions, and the assistance of the people on shore. The port officer, M. de Peltier, exhibited great kindness and activity, and the ship was rapidly repaired, but with such an exact economy, that its complete refit, with the expense of the crew for three months, amounted only to £1415.

The first act of this excellent son was to write to his father:—"Do not be alarmed, my dear sir, at the newspaper accounts which you will hear of the Alarm. The interposition [pg 469] of Divine Providence has miraculously preserved her. The same Providence will, I hope, give long life to my dear father, mother, and brother."

In July he wrote to his sister from Mahon, after the repairs of the vessel:—"The Alarm is the completest thing I ever saw on the water, insomuch that I forgot she was the other day, in the opinion of most beholders, her own officers and crew not excepted, a miserable sunken wreck. Such is the reward of perseverance. Happily for my reputation, my health at that period happened to be equal to the task, or I had been lost for ever, instead of receiving continual marks of public and private approbation of my conduct; but this is entre nous. I never speak or write on the subject except to those I most love. You will easily believe Barrington to be one; his goodness to me is romantic."

It is gratifying to state, that the English Admiralty, on the young captain's warm representation of the French superintendent, M. de Peltier's hospitality and kindness, sent a handsome piece of plate in public acknowledgment to that officer; and, as if to make the compliment perfect in all its parts, as it arrived before the frigate had left the station, the captain had the indulgence of presenting it in person; thus making, as his letter to his father mentioned, "the family of Pleville de Peltier happy beyond description."

The frigate was soon after paid off, and as there was no probability of his being speedily employed, he applied himself to gain every species of knowledge connected with his profession. We strongly doubt whether the example of this rising officer is not even more important when we regard him in peace than in the activity and daring of war. There is no want of courage and conduct in the British fleet; but life on shore offers too many temptations to indolence, to be always turned to the use of which it is capable. Captain Jervis, on the contrary, appears always to have regarded life on shore preparatory to life afloat, and to be constantly employed in laying up knowledge for those emergencies which so often occur in the bold and perilous life of the sailor. There is often something like a predictive spirit in the early career of great men, which urges them to make provision for greatness; and remote as is the condition of a captain of a smart frigate from the commander of fleets, yet the captain of the Alarm, though the least ostentatious of men, seems always to have had a glance towards the highest duties of the British admiral. "Time," says Franklin, "is the stuff that life is made of;" and as France is the antagonist with which the power of England naturally expects to struggle, his first object was to acquire all possible knowledge of the naval means of France. The primary step was to acquire a knowledge of the language. Accordingly, he went to France, and placed himself in a pension. There he applied himself so closely to the study of the language, that his health became out of order, and his family requested him to return. But this he declined, and in his answer said that he had adopted this pursuit on the best view a military man in his situation could form. "For it will always," said he, "be useful to have a general idea of this prevalent language, and a knowledge of the country with which we have so long contended, and which must ever be our rival in arms and commerce."

Having accomplished his object of acquiring sufficient fluency in speaking French, his next excursion was to St Petersburg. He and Captain Barrington went in a merchant vessel, and reached Cronstadt. While at sea, Captain Jervis kept a regular log. During the voyage, all the headlands are described, all the soundings noted, and every opportunity to test and correct the charts adopted. As an example, he remarks on the castle of Cronenburg, which guards the entrance into the Sound, that it may be overlooked by a line-of-battle ship, which may anchor in good ground as near the beach as she pleases. He remarks the two channels leading to Copenhagen, puts all the lighthouses down on his own chart, and lays down all the approaches to St Petersburg accurately; "because," said he, "I find all the charts are incorrect, and it may be useful." And he actually did find it useful; for when he was at the head of the Admiralty, this knowledge enabled him, while his colleagues [pg 470] hesitated, to give his orders confidently to Sir Charles Pole, in command of the Baltic fleet. His sojourn at St Petersburg was but brief; but it was at a time of remarkable excitement. The Empress Catharine was at the height of her splendour, a legislator and a conqueror, and surrounded by a court exhibiting all the daring and dashing characters of her vast empire. His description of this celebrated woman's character on one public occasion, shows the exactness with which he observed every thing:—"When she entered the cathedral, Catharine mingled her salutations to the saints and the people, showing at once her compliance with religious ceremonials, and her attentions to her servants and the foreign ambassadors. But she showed no devotion, in which she was not singular, old people and Cossack officers excepted. During the sermon she took occasion to smile and nod to those whom she meant to gratify; and surely no sovereign ever possessed the power of pleasing all within her eye to the degree she did. She was dressed in the Guards' uniform, which was a scarlet pelisse, and a green silk robe lapelled from top to bottom. Her hair was combed neatly, and boxed en militaire, with a small cap, and an ornament of diamonds in front; a blue riband, and the order of St Andrew on her right shoulder."

He speaks of the empress excelling in that inclination of the body which the Russian ladies substitute for the curtsy, and which he justly regards as very becoming, the empress adding dignity and grace. He describes Orloff as an herculean figure, finely proportioned, with a cheerful eye, and, for a Russian, a good complexion: Potemkin as having stature and shoulders, but being ill limbed and of a most forbidding countenance. His examination of the Russian dockyards, naval armament, and general style of shipbuilding, was most exact; and he records in his notes his having seen, in the naval arsenals of Norway, sheds to cover ships on the stocks—an important arrangement, which was afterwards claimed as an invention at home.

After inspecting the harbours of Sweden and Norway, the travellers returned by Holland, where they made similar investigations. In the following year they renewed their tour of inspection, and traversed the western parts of France. And this active pursuit of knowledge was carried on without any pecuniary assistance beyond his half-pay. He had hitherto made no prize-money. "To be sure," he said in after days, "we sometimes did fare rather roughly; but what signifies that now? my object was attained."

His character was now high, but it is to be presumed that he had some powerful interest; for on his return he was appointed to two line-of-battle ships in succession, the Kent, 74, and the Foudroyant, 84, a French prize, and reckoned the finest two-decker in the navy.

From this period a new scene opened before him, and his career became a part of the naval history of England. In 1778 he joined the Channel fleet, and his ship was placed by the celebrated Keppel as one of his seconds in the order of battle, and immediately astern of the admiral's ship, the Victory, on the 27th of July, in the drawn battle off Ushant with the French fleet commanded by D'Orvilliers. The people of England are not content with drawn battles, and the result of this action produced a general uproar. Keppel threw the blame on the tardiness of Sir Hugh Palliser, the second in command. Palliser retorted, and the result was a court-martial on the commander of the fleet; which, however, ended in a triumphant acquittal. It was not generally known that Keppel's defence, which was admired as a model of intelligence, and even of eloquence, was drawn up by Captain Jervis. The transaction, though so long passed away, is not yet beyond discussion; and there is still some interest in knowing the opinion of so powerful a mind on the general subject. It was thus given in a private letter to his friend Jackson:—"I do not agree that we were outwitted. The French, I am convinced, never would have fought us if they had not been surprised into it by a sudden flow of wind; and when they formed their inimitable line after our brush, it was merely to cover their intention of flight."

He then gives one of those comprehensive maxims which already show [pg 471] the experienced "admiral:"—"I have often told you that two fleets of equal force can never produce decisive events, unless they are equally determined to fight it out, or the commander-in-chief of one of them misconducts his line." We have then an instance of that manly feeling which is one of the truest characteristics of greatness, and yet which has been deficient in some very remarkable men.

"I perceive," says he, "it is the fashion of people to puff themselves. For my part, I forbade my officers to write by the frigate that carried the despatches. I did not write a syllable myself, except touching my health; nor shall I, but to state the intrepidity of the officers and people under my command, (through the most infernal fire I ever saw or heard,) to Lord Sandwich," (first lord of the Admiralty.) But one cannot feel the merit of this self-denial without a glance at his actual hazards and services during the battle.

"In justice to the Foudroyant," he thus ends his letter, "I must observe to you, that though she received the fire of seventeen sail, and had the Bretagne, Ville de Paris, and a seventy-four on her at the same time, and appeared more disabled in her masts and rigging than any other ship, she was the first in the line of battle, and truly fitter for business, in essentials, (because her people were cool,) than when she began. Keep this to yourself, unless you hear too much said in praise of others.


The national wrath was poured on Sir Hugh Palliser, Keppel's second in command, whose tardiness in obeying signals was charged as the cause of the French escape; so strong had already become the national assurance that a British fleet could go forth only to victory. But the succession of courts-martial cleared up nothing except the characters of the two admirals. Palliser was enabled to show that his ship had suffered so much from the enemy's fire as to be at least (plausibly) unfit for close action, and the whole dispute on land closed, like the naval conflict, in a drawn battle. Jervis was the chief witness for Keppel, as serving next his ship; and his testimony was of the highest order to the gallantry, skill, and perseverance of the admiral. But Palliser was acknowledged to be brave; and it is evident from Jervis's personal opinion, that when it was once the object of the enemy's commander to get away, it was next to impossible to have prevented his escape.

But these were trying times for the British navy: it was scarcely acquainted with its own strength; the nation, disgusted with the nature of the American war, refused its sympathy; without that sympathy ministers could do nothing effectual, and never can do any thing effectual. The character of the cabinet was feebleness, the spirit of the metropolis was faction; the king, though one of the best of men, was singularly unpopular; and the war became a system of feeble defence against arrogant and increasing hostilities. France, powerful as she was, became more powerful by the national exultation—the frenzied rejoicing in the success of American revolt—and the revived hope of European supremacy in a nation which had been broken down since the days of Marlborough; a crush which had been felt in every sinew of France for a hundred angry years. Spain, always strong, but unable to use her strength, had now given it in to the training of discipline; and the combined fleets presented a display of force, which, in the haughty language of the Tuileries, was formed to sweep the seas.

The threat was put in rapid and unexpected execution. The combined fleet moved up the Channel; and to the surprise, the sorrow, and the indignation of England, the British fleet, under Sir Charles Hardy, was seen making, what could only be called "a dignified retreat." The Foudroyant, on that melancholy occasion, had been astern of the Victory, the admiral's ship. If Jervis had been admiral, he would have tried the fate of battle—and he would have done right. No result of a battle could have been so painful to the national feelings, or so injurious in its effects on the feelings of Europe, as that retreat. If the whole British fleet on that occasion had perished, its gallantry would have only raised a new spirit of worth and power in the nation; and England has resources that, [pg 472] when once fully called into exertion, are absolutely unconquerable. But that was a dishonour; and even now we can echo the feelings of the brave and high-minded young officer, who was condemned to share in the disgrace. He writes to his sister, as if to relieve the fulness of his heart at the moment—"I am in the most humbled state of mind I ever experienced, from the retreat we have made before the combined fleets all yesterday and this morning." The Admiralty ultimately gave the retreating admiral an official certificate of good behaviour, "their high approbation of Sir Charles Hardy's wise and prudent conduct;" but "gallant and bold conduct" would have been a better testimonial. The truth seems to be, that the Admiralty, blamable themselves in sending him to sea with an inadequate force, and scarcely expecting to escape if they had suffered him to lie under the charge, were glad to avail themselves of his personal character as a man of known bravery; and thus quash a process which must finally have brought them before the tribunal. But let naval officers remember, that the officer who fights is the officer of the nation. Nelson's maxim is unanswerable—"The captain cannot be mistaken who lays his ship alongside the enemy."

This, too, was a period of cabinet revolutions. No favouritism can sustain a ministry which has become disgustful to the nation. Lord North, though ingenious, dexterous, and long enough in possession of power to have filled all its offices with his dependents, was driven from the premiership with such a storm of national contempt, that he could scarcely be sheltered by the curtains of the throne. Lord Rockingham, a dull minister, was transformed into a brilliant one by his contrast with the national weariness of Lord North; and it fell to the lot of Captain Jervis to give the country the first omen of returning victory. France had already combined Holland in her alliance, and the French minister, already made insolent by his triumph in the Channel, had determined on a blow in a quarter where English interests were most vulnerable, and where the assault was least expected. A squadron of French line-of-battle ships, convoying a fleet of transports, were prepared for an expedition to the East Indies.

The preparations for the combined movement were on an immense scale. The fleets of France, Spain, and Holland were again to sweep the Channel; and while the attention of the British fleets was thus engrossed, the Eastern expedition was to sail from Brest. The Admiralty, in order to counteract, or at least delay, this formidable movement, immediately dispatched Admiral Barrington, with twelve sail of the line, to cruise in the bay of Biscay. On the 18th of April the French expedition sailed, and on the 20th, when Admiral Barrington had reached a few leagues beyond Ushant, the Artois frigate signaled a hostile fleet, but could not discover their flag or numbers. The signal being made for a general chase, the Foudroyant, Jervis's ship, soon left the rest of the fleet behind; and before night she had so much gained upon the enemy as to ascertain that they were six French ships of war, with eighteen sail of convoy. The whole of the British fleet, being several leagues astern, was now lost sight of, and did not come up till the following day. In the mean time Jervis was left alone. At ten at night, the French ships of war separating, Jervis, selecting the largest for pursuit, prepared to attack: at twelve, he had approached near enough to see that the chase was a ship of the line. The Foudroyant's superior manœuvring enabled her to commence the engagement by a raking fire. Its effect was so powerful, that the enemy was thrown into extreme disorder, and was carried by boarding, after an action of only three quarters of an hour. The prize was the Pégase, seventy-four. The loss of life on board the enemy was great; but by an extraordinary piece of good fortune, on board the Foudroyant not a man was killed, Captain Jervis and five seamen being the only wounded.

To the gallantry which produced this striking success, the young officer added extreme delicacy with respect to his prisoners. He would not allow the first boat to be sent on board the prize, until he had given written orders for the particular preservation [pg 473] of every thing in the shape of property belonging to the French officers, adding at the bottom of his memorandum,—"For though I have the highest opinion of my officers, we must not be suspected of designs to plunder."

The result of the action was, that sixteen transports out of twenty were taken, according to the letter of young Ricketts, the captain's nephew. It must be owned, that brave as the French are, their admiral made but a bad figure in this business: why the sight of one vessel should have been sufficient to disperse a fleet of six men-of-war, and of course ruin an expedition which must thus be left without convoy, is not easily to be accounted for; or why, when the admiral saw that his pursuer was but a single ship, he should not have turned upon him and crushed him, it is equally difficult to say. It only shows that his court wanted common sense as much as he wanted discretion. The expedition was destroyed, and the Foudroyant had the whole honour of the victory.

An action between single ships of this force is rare at any period, and nothing could be nearer a match in point of equipment then the two ships. The Foudroyant had the larger tonnage, and carried three more guns on her broadside; but the Pégase threw a greater weight of shot, had a more numerous crew, and a large proportion of soldiers on board. The English ship, however, had the incomparable advantage of a crew which had sailed together for six years, and been disciplined by such an officer as Jervis.

The ministry and the king were equally rejoiced at this return of the naval distinctions of the country, and the immediate consequence was, the conferring of a baronetcy and the order of the Bath upon the gallant officer. Congratulations of all kinds were poured upon him by the ministry, his admiral, and his brother officers. The admiral writes, in speaking of the squadron's cruise, "but the Pégase is every thing, and does the highest honour to Jervis."

Another instance of his decision, and, as in all probability will be thought, of the clearness of his judgment, was shortly after given in the memorable relief of Gibraltar. As it was likely that the combined fleets of France and Spain would oppose the passage of the British, Lord Howe, at an early period, called the flag-officers and captains on board the Victory, and proposed to them the question—Whether, considering the superiority of the enemy's numbers, it might not be advisable to fight the battle at night, when British discipline might counterbalance the numerical superiority? All the officers junior to Jervis gave their opinion for the night attack, but he dissented. "Expressing his regret that he must offer an opinion, not only contrary to that of his brother officers, but also, as he feared, to that of his commander-in-chief, he was convinced that battle in the day would be greatly preferable. In the first place, because it would give an opportunity for the display of his lordship's tactics, and afford the means of taking prompt advantage of any mistake of the enemy, change of the wind, or any other favourable circumstance; while in the mêlée of a battle at night, there must always be greater risk of separation, and of ships receiving the fire of their friends as well as their foes." It is obvious to every comprehension, that a night action must preclude all manœuvring, and prevent the greater skill of the tactician from having any advantage over the blunderer who turns his ships into mere batteries. The only officer who coincided with Jervis was Admiral Barrington, who gave as an additional and a just argument for the attack by day, that it would give an opportunity of ascertaining the conduct of the respective captains in action. On those opinions Lord Howe made no comment; but it is presumed that he ultimately agreed with them, from his conduct in the celebrated action of the 1st of June 1794, when he had the enemy's fleet directly to leeward of him from the night before.

In the relief of Gibraltar, the Foudroyant had the honour to be the ship which was dispatched from the fleet to escort the victuallers into the harbour, which was accomplished amid the acclamations of the garrison. It had been expected that Lord Howe would have attacked the combined fleets, and the nation of course looked forward to a victory; but they were disappointed. [pg 474] The fact is, that Lord Howe, though a brave man, and what is generally regarded as a good officer, was of a different class of mind from the Jervises and Nelsons. He did his duty, but he did no more. The men who were yet to give a character to the navy did more than their duty, suffered no opportunity of distinction to escape them, relied on the invincibility of British prowess when it was boldly directed, and by that reliance rendered it invincible.

There was a kindness and generosity of nature in this future "thunderbolt of war," which shows how compatible the gentler feelings are with the gallant daring, and comprehensive talent of the great commander. Having happened to receive the Duc de Chabelais on board his ship when at Cadiz, the politeness of his reception caused the Sardinian prince to exhibit his gratitude in some handsome presents to the officers. One of Jervis's letters mentions, that the prince had given to each of the lieutenants a handsome gold box; to the lieutenant of marines and five of the midshipmen gold watches; and to the other officers and ship's company, a princely sum of money.

"I pride myself," he adds, "exceedingly in the presents being so diffused; on all former occasions they have centred in the captain." In another letter he says,—"I was twenty-four hours in the bay of Marseilles about a fortnight ago, just time to receive the warm embraces of a man to whose bravery and friendship I had some months before been indebted for my reputation, the preservation of the people under my command, and of the Alarm. You would have felt infinite pleasure at the scene of our interview." In a letter to the under-secretary of the Admiralty, he says,—"My dear Jackson, you must allow me to interest your humanity in favour of poor Spicer, who, overwhelmed with dropsy, asthma, and a large family, and with nothing but his pay to support him under those afflictions, is appointed to the —— under a mean man, and very likely to go to the East Indies. The letter which he writes to the Board, desiring to be excused from his appointment, is dictated by me."

He then mentions a contingency, "in which case I shall write for Spicer to be first lieutenant of the Foudroyant, with intention to nurse him, and keep him clear of all expense." Shortly after the Foudroyant was paid off, Sir John Jervis was united to a lady to whom he had long been attached, the daughter of Sir Thomas Parker, Chief Baron of the Exchequer. Every man in England, as he rises into distinction, necessarily becomes a politician. It was the misfortune of Sir John Jervis, and it was his only misfortune, that he was a politician before he had risen into distinction. Having had the ill luck to profess himself a Whig, at a period when he could scarcely have known the nature of the connexion, he unhappily adhered to it long after Whiggism had ceased to possess either public utility or national respect. But his Whiggism was unconscious Toryism after all: it was what even his biographer is forced to call it, Whig Royalism, or pretty nearly what Blake's Republicanism was—a determination to raise his country to the highest eminence to which his talents and bravery could contribute, without regarding by whom the government was administered. At the general election of 1784, he sat for Yarmouth.

In 1787, Sir John Jervis was promoted to the rank of rear-admiral. At the general election in 1790, he was returned for Wycombe, and shared in parliament the successive defeats of his party; until, in 1793, he was called to a nobler field, in which, unembarrassed by party, and undegraded by Whiggism, his talents took their natural direction in the cause of his country. It is now scarcely necessary to remark upon the narrow system of enterprise with which England began the great revolutionary war; nor can it now be doubted that, if the energies of the country had been directed to meet the enemy in Europe, measureless misfortunes might have been averted. If the succession of fleets and armies which were wasted upon the conquest of the French West Indies, had been employed in the protection of the feebler European states, there can be no question that the progress of the French armies would have been signally retarded, if invasion had [pg 475] not been thrown back over the French frontier. For instance, it would have been utterly impossible for Napoleon, in 1796, to have marched triumphantly throughout Italy with the British fleet covering the coast, commanding all the harbours, and ready to throw in troops in aid of the insurrections in his rear.

But it was the policy of the time to pacify the merchants, whose bugbear was a negro insurrection in the West Indies; and whether the genius or the fears of Pitt gave way to the impression, the consequence was equally lamentable—the mighty power of England was wasted on the capture of sugar islands, which we did not want, which we could not cultivate, and which cost the lives, by disease and climate, of ten times the number of gallant men who might have saved Europe. At the close of 1793, a grand expedition against the French Caribbee islands was resolved upon by the British cabinet; and it is a remarkable instance of both the reputation of Sir John Jervis and the impartiality of the great minister, that a Whig member of parliament should have been chosen to command the naval part of the expedition.

The expedition consisted of twenty-two ships of war and six thousand troops, the troops divided into three brigades, of which one was commanded by the late Duke of Kent. Sir John Jervis hoisted his flag as vice-admiral of the blue on the 3d of October.

A ludicrous circumstance occurred in the instance of a favourite officer, Mr Bayntun, who had applied for permission to join Sir John. Bayntun received in answer the following decisive note: "Sir, your having thought fit to take to yourself a wife, you are to look for no further attention from your humble servant, J. JERVIS." It happened that Bayntun was a bachelor, and he instantly wrote an exculpatory letter, denying that he had been guilty of so formidable a charge. The mistake arose from a misdirection in two notes which the admiral had written on the same subject. He had left them to Lady Jervis to direct, and she had addressed them to the wrong persons. The consequence, however, was, that Bayntun received the appointment, and the married man the refusal. This inveteracy against married officers seems strange in one who had committed the same crime himself; yet he constantly persisted in calling officers who married moon-struck, and appears at all times to have regarded matrimony in the service as little short of personal ruin.

On the passage out, a curious circumstance occurred to the Zebra frigate, under command of the gallant Robert Faulknor. The Zebra, which had been separated from the rest of the squadron, saw one evening a ship on the horizon. All sail was made in chase, and the ship was discovered to be a twenty-eight gun frigate. All contrivances were adopted to induce her to show her colours, but without success. At length Faulknor, impatient of delay, and disregarding the disparity of force, closed upon her, and jumped on board at the head of his men. To his astonishment he found that she was a Dutch frigate, quietly pursuing her way; and as Holland was at peace with England, equally unexpecting and unprepared for an attack. This instance of apathy night have procured her a broadside; but luckily the affair finished with the shaking of hands.

On the 5th of February the expedition reached Martinique. On the 18th of March Fort Lewis was stormed, General Rochambeau capitulated, and Martinique was taken, St Lucie followed, the Saintes next fell, and the final conquest was Guadaloupe. Thus in three months the capture of the French islands was complete.

But an enemy more formidable than the sword was now to be encountered. The yellow fever began its ravages. The troops perished in such numbers, that the regiments were reduced to skeletons; and just at the moment when the disease was at its height, Victor Hughes was dispatched from France with an expedition. The islands fell one by one into his hands, and the campaign was utterly thrown away.

The romantic portion of the European campaigns now began. The French Directory, unpopular at home, wearied by the sanguinary successes of the Vendéan insurrection, and baffled in their invasion of Germany, were in a condition of the greatest perplexity, when a new wonder of war taught France again to conquer. [pg 476] Napoleon Bonaparte, since so memorable, but then known only as commanding a company of artillery at Toulon, and repelling the armed mob in Paris, was appointed to command the army on the Italian frontier. Even now, with all our knowledge of his genius, and the splendid experience of his successes, his sudden elevation, his daring offer of command, his plan of the Italian campaign, and his almost instantaneous victories, are legitimate matter of astonishment. In him we have the instance of a young man of twenty-six, who had never seen a campaign, who had never commanded a brigade, nor even a regiment, undertaking the command of an army, proposing the invasion of a country of eighteen millions, garrisoned by the army of one of the greatest military powers of Europe, which had nearly 300,000 soldiers in the field, and which was in the most intimate alliance with all the sovereigns of Italy. Yet, extravagant as all those conceptions seem, and improbable as those results certainly were, two campaigns saw every project realized—Italy conquered, the Tyrol, the great southern barrier of Austria, overpassed, and peace signed within a hundred miles of Vienna. The invasion of Italy first awoke the British ministry to the true direction of the vast naval powers of England. To save Italy if possible, was the primary object; the next was to prevent the superiority of the French fleet in the Mediterranean. A powerful fleet had been prepared in Toulon, for the purpose of aiding the French army in its invasion, and finally taking possession of all the ports and islands, until it should have realized the project of Louis XIV., of turning the Mediterranean into a French lake. It was determined to keep up a powerful British fleet to oppose this project, and Sir John Jervis was appointed to the command. Nothing could be a higher testimony to the opinion entertained of his talents, as his connexion with the Whigs was undisguised. But Pitt's feeling for the public service overcame all personal predilections, and this great officer was sent to take the command of the most extensive and important station to which a British admiral could be appointed. Lord Hood had previously declined it, on the singular plea of inadequacy of force; and Sir Charles Hotham having solicited his recall in consequence of declining health, the gallant Jervis was sent forth to establish the renown of his country and his own.

The fleet was a noble command. It consisted on the whole of about twenty-five sail of the line, two of them of a hundred guns, and five of ninety-eight; thirty-six frigates, and fifteen or sixteen sloops and other armed vessels.

Among the officers of the fleet were almost all the names which subsequently obtained distinction in the great naval victories—Troubridge, Hallowell, Hood, Collingwood, &c., and first of the first, that star of the British seaman, Nelson. It is remarkable, and only a just tribute to the new admiral, that he, almost from his earliest intercourse with those gallant men, marked their merits, although hitherto they had found no opportunities of acquiring distinction—all were to come. Nelson, in writing to his wife, speaking of the admiral's notice of him, says, "Sir John Jervis was a perfect stranger to me, therefore I feel the more flattered." The admiral, in writing to the secretary of the Admiralty, says—"I am afraid of being thought a puffer, like many of my brethren, or I should before have dealt out to the Board the merits of Captain Troubridge, which are very uncommon."

The French fleet, of fifteen sail of the line, lay in Toulon, ready to convoy an army to plunge upon the Roman states. Sir John Jervis instantly proceeded to block up Toulon, keeping what is called the in-shore squadron looking into the harbour's mouth, while the main body cruised outside. The admiral at once employed Nelson on the brilliant service for which he was fitted, and sent him with a flying squadron of a ship of the line, three frigates, and two sloops, to scour the coast of Italy. The duties of the Mediterranean fleet, powerful as the armament was, were immense. Independently of the blockade of Toulon, and the necessity of continually watching the enemy's fleet, which might be brought out by the same wind which blew off the British, the admiral had the responsibility of protecting the Mediterranean convoys, of sustaining the British interests [pg 477] in the neutral courts, of assisting the allies on shore, of overawing the Barbary powers, which were then peculiarly restless and insolent, and of upholding the general supremacy of England, from Smyrna to Gibraltar.

The French campaign opened on the 9th of April 1797, and the Austrians were beaten on the following day at Montenotte, and in a campaign of a month Bonaparte reached Milan. The success of the enemy increased to an extraordinary degree the difficulties of the British admiral. The repairs of the fleet, the provisioning, and every other circumstance connected with the land, lay under increased impediments; but they were all gradually overcome by the vigilance and intelligence of the admiral.

A curious and characteristic circumstance occurred, soon after his taking the command. Nelson had captured a vessel carrying 152 Austrian grenadiers, who had been made prisoners by the French, and actually sold by their captors to the Spaniards, for the purpose of enlisting them in the Spanish army. His letter to Jackson, the secretary of legation at Turin, on this subject, spiritedly expresses his feelings:—

"SIR,—From a Swiss dealer in human flesh, the demand made upon me to deliver up 152 Austrian grenadiers, serving on board his Majesty's fleet under my command, is natural enough, but that a Spaniard, who is a noble creature, should join in such a demand, I must confess astonishes me; and I can only account for it by the Chevalier Caamano being ignorant that the persons in question were made prisoners of war in the last war with General Beaulieu, and are not deserters, and that they were most basely sold by the French commissaries to the vile crimps who recruit for the foreign regiments in the service of Spain. It is high time a stop should be put to this abominable traffic, a million times more disgraceful than the African slave-trade."

But other dangers now menaced the British supremacy in the Mediterranean. The victories of Bonaparte had terrified all the Italian states into neutrality or absolute submission; and the success of the Directory, and perhaps their bribes, influenced the miserably corrupt and feeble Spanish ministry, to make common cause with the conquering republic. Spain at last became openly hostile. This was a tremendous increase of hazards, because Spain had fifty-seven sail of the line, and a crowd of frigates. The difficulty of blockading Toulon was now increased by the failure of provisions. On the night of the 2d of November, the admiral sent for the master of the Victory, and told him that he now had not the least hope of being reinforced, and had made up his mind to push down to Gibraltar with all possible dispatch.

The passage became a stormy one, and it was with considerable difficulty that the fleet reached Gibraltar. Some of the transports were lost, a ship of the line went down, and several of the fleet were disabled.

The result of the French successes and the Austrian misfortunes, was an order for the fleet to leave the Mediterranean, and take up its station at the Tagus. The vivid spirit of Nelson was especially indignant at this change of scene. In one of his letters he says—"We are preparing to leave the Mediterranean, a measure which I cannot approve. They at home do not know what this fleet is capable of performing—any thing, and every thing. Of all the fleets I ever saw, I never saw one, in point of officers and men, equal to Sir John Jervis's, who is a commander able to lead them to glory." The admiral's merits were recognized by the government in a still more permanent manner; for, by a despatch from the Admiralty in February 1797, it was announced that the king had raised him to the dignity of the peerage.

The prospect now darkened round every quarter of the horizon. The power of Austria had given way; Spain and Holland were combined against our naval supremacy; Italy was lost; a French expedition threatened Ireland; there was a strong probability of the invasion of Portugal; and the junction of the French and Spanish fleets might endanger not merely the Tagus fleet, but expose the Channel fleet to an encounter with numbers so superior, as to leave the British shores open to invasion. The domestic difficulties, too, had [pg 478] their share. The necessity of suspending cash payments at the Bank had, if not thrown a damp upon the nation, at least given so formidable a ground for the fallacies and bitterness of the Opposition, as deeply to embarrass even the fortitude of the great minister. We can now see how slightly all these hazards eventually affected the real power of England; and we now feel how fully adequate the strength of this extraordinary and inexhaustible country was to resist all obstacles and turn the trial into triumph. But faction was busy, party predicted ruin, public men used every art to dispirit the nation and inflame the populace; and the result was, a state of public anxiety of which no former war had given the example.

It is incontestable that the list of the British navy at this period of the war exhibited some of the noblest specimens of English character—brave, intelligent, and indefatigable men, ready for any service, and equal for all; with all the intrepidity of heroes, possessing the highest science of their profession, and exhibiting at once that lion-heartedness, and that knowledge, which gave the British navy the command of the ocean. And yet, if we were to assign the highest place where all were high, we should probably assign it to Lord St Vincent as an admiral. Nelson certainly, as an executive officer, defies all competition; his three battles, Copenhagen, Aboukir, and Trafalgar, each of them a title to eminent distinction, place him as a conqueror at the head of all. But an admiral has other duties than those of the line of battle; and for a great naval administrator, first disciplining a fleet, then supplying it with all the means of victory, and finally leading it to victory—Lord St Vincent was perhaps the most complete example on record of all the combined qualities that make the British admiral. His profound tactics, his stern but salutary exactness of command, his incomparable judgment, and his cool and unhesitating intrepidity, form one of the very noblest models of high command. All those qualities were now to be called into full exertion.

The continental campaign had left Europe at the mercy of France. England was now the only enemy, and she was to be assailed, in the first instance, by a naval war. To prevent the junction of the Spanish and French fleets, the Tagus was the station fixed upon by Lord St Vincent. Ill luck seemed to frown upon the fleet. The Bombay Castle, a seventy-four, was lost going in; the St George, a ninety, grounded in coming out, and was obliged to be docked; still the admiral determined to keep the sea, though his fleet was reduced to eight sail of the line. The day before he left the Tagus, information was received that the enemy's fleets had both left the Mediterranean. The French had gone to Brest, the Spanish first to Toulon, then to Carthagena, and was now proceeding to join the French at Brest. A reinforcement of six sail of the line now fortunately joined the fleet off the Tagus; but at the same time information was received that the Spanish fleet of twenty-seven sail of the line, with fourteen frigates, had passed Cadiz, and could not be far distant. To prevent the junction of this immense force with the powerful fleet already prepared for a start in Brest, was of the utmost national importance; for, combined, they must sweep the Channel. The admiral instantly formed his plan, and sailed for Cape St Vincent.

The details of the magnificent encounter which followed, are among the best portions of the volumes. They are strikingly given, and will attract the notice, as they might form the model, of the future historian of this glorious period of our annals. We can now give only an outline.

On the announcement of the Spanish advance, the first object was to gain exact intelligence, and ships were stationed in all quarters on the look-out. But on the 13th Captain Foote, in the Niger frigate, joined, with the intelligence that he had kept sight of the enemy for three days. The admiral was now to have a new reinforcement, not in ships but in heroes; the Minerva frigate, bearing Nelson's broad pendant, from the Mediterranean, arrived, and Nelson shifted his pendant into the Captain. The Lively frigate, with Lord Garlies, also arrived from Corsica. The signal was made, "To keep close order, and prepare for battle." On that day, [pg 479] Lord Garlies, Sir Gilbert Elliot, and Captain Hallowell, with some other officers, dined on board the Victory. At breaking up, the toast was drunk, "Victory over the Dons, in the battle from which they cannot escape to-morrow!"

The "gentlemen of England who live at home at ease," can probably have but little conception of the price which men in high command pay for glory. No language can describe the anxieties which have often exercised the minds of those bold and prominent characters, of whom we now know little but of their laurels. The solemn responsibilities of their condition, the consciousness that a false step might be ruin, the feeling that the eye of their country was fixed upon them, the hope of renown, the dread of tarnishing all their past distinctions, must pass powerfully and painfully through the mind of men fitted for the struggles by which greatness is to be alone achieved.

"It is believed that Sir John Jervis did not go to bed that night, but sat up writing. It is certain that he executed his will." In the course of the first and second watches, the enemy's signal-guns were distinctly heard; and, as he noticed them sounding more and more audibly, Sir John made more earnest enquiries as to the compact order and situation of his own ships, as well as they could be made out in the darkness. Long before break of day, he walked the deck in more than even his usual silence. When the grey of the morning of the 14th enabled him to discern his fleet, his first remarks were high approbation of his captains, for "their admirably close order, and that he wished they were now well up with the enemy; for," added he thoughtfully, "a victory is very essential to England at this moment."

Now came on the day of decision. The morning was foggy; but as the mist cleared up, the Lively, and then the Niger, signaled "a strange fleet." The Bonne Citoyenne was next ordered to reconnoitre. Soon after, the Culloden's guns announced the enemy. At twenty minutes past ten the signal was made to six of the ships—"to chase." Sir John still walked the quarterdeck, and, as the enemy's numbers were counted, they were duly reported to him by the captain of the fleet.

"There are eight sail of the line, Sir John."

"Very well, sir."

"There are twenty sail of the line, Sir John."

"Very well, sir."

"There are twenty-five sail of the line, Sir John."

"Very well, sir."

"There are twenty-seven sail of the line, Sir John." This was accompanied by some remark on the great disparity of the two forces. Sir John's gallant answer now was:—

"Enough, sir—no more of that: the die is cast, and if there are fifty sail, I will go through them."

At forty minutes past ten the signal was made to form line of battle ahead and astern of the Victory, and to steer S.S.W. The fog was now cleared off, and the British fleet were seen admirably formed in the closest order; while the Spaniards were stretching in two straggling bodies across the horizon, leaving an open space between. The opportunity of dividing their fleet struck the admiral at once, and at half-past eleven the signal was made to pass through the enemy's line, and engage them to leeward. At twelve o'clock, as the Culloden was reaching close up to the enemy, the British fleet hoisted their colours, and the Culloden opened her fire. An extraordinary incident, even in those colossal battles, occurred to this fine ship. The course of the Culloden brought her directly on board one of the enemy's three-deckers. The first lieutenant, Griffiths, reported to her captain, Troubridge, that a collision was inevitable. "Can't help it, Griffiths—let the weakest fend off," was the hero's reply. The Culloden, still pushing on, fired two of her double-shotted broadsides into the Spaniard with such tremendous effect, that the three-decker went about, and the guns of her other side not being even cast loose, she did not fire a single shot, while the Culloden passed triumphantly through. Scarcely had she broken the enemy's line, than the commander-in-chief signaled the order to tack in succession. Troubridge's manœuvre was so dashingly performed, that the [pg 480] admiral could not restrain his delight and admiration.

"Look, Jackson," he rapturously exclaimed, "look at Troubridge there! He tacks his ship to battle as if the eyes of all England were upon him; and would to God they were, for then they would see him to be what I know him."

The leeward division of the enemy, perceiving the fatal consequences of their disunited order of sailing, now endeavoured to retrieve the day, and to break through the British line. A vice-admiral, in a three-decker, led them, and was reaching up to the Victory just as she had come up to tack in her station. The vice-admiral stood on with great apparent determination till within pistol-shot, but there he stopped; and when the Victory could bring her guns to bear upon him, she thundered in two of her broadsides, sweeping the Spaniard's decks, and so terrified him, that when his sails filled, he ran clear out of the battle altogether. The Victory then tacked into her station, and the conflict raged with desperate fury. At this period of the battle, the Spanish commander-in-chief bore up with nine sail of the line to run round the British, and rejoin his leeward division. This was a formidable manœuvre; but no sooner was it commenced, than his eye caught it "whose greatest wish it ever was to be the first to find, and foremost to fight, his enemy." Nelson, instead of waiting till his turn to tack should bring him into action, took it upon himself to depart from the prescribed mode of attack, and ordered his ship to be immediately wore. This masterly manœuvre was completely successful, at once arresting the Spanish commander-in-chief, and carrying Nelson and Collingwood into the van and brunt of the battle. He now attacked the four-decker, the Santissima Trinidada, also engaged by the Culloden. The Captain's fore-topmast being now shot away, Nelson put his helm down, and let her come to the wind, that he might board the San Nicolas; Captain, afterwards Sir Edward Berry, then a passenger with Nelson, jumping into her mizen-chains, was the first in the enemy's ship; Nelson leading his boarders, and a party of the 69th regiment, immediately followed, and the colours were hauled down. While he was on the deck of the San Nicolas, the San Josef, disabled, fell on board. Nelson instantly seized the opportunity of boarding her from his prize; followed by Captain Berry, and Lieutenant Pierson of the 69th, he led the boarders, and jumped into the San Josef's main-chains. He was then informed that the ship had surrendered. Four line-of-battle ships had now been taken, and the Santissima Trinidada had also struck; but she subsequently made her escape, for now the Spanish leeward division, fourteen sail, having re-formed their line, bore down to support their commander-in-chief: to receive them, Sir John Jervis was obliged to form a line of battle on the starboard tack—the enemy immediately retired. Thus, at five in the evening, concluded the most brilliant battle that had ever till then been fought at sea.

Captain Calder was immediately sent off with the despatch, and arrived in London on the 3d of March. A battle gained over such a numerical superiority, for it was much more than two to one, when we take into our estimate the immense size of the enemy's ships, and their weight of metal, there being one four-decker of 130 guns, and six three-deckers of 112, of which two were taken; and further, the more interesting circumstance, that this great victory was gained on our part with only the loss of 73 killed and 227 wounded, the public feeling of exultation was unbounded; and when the minister on that very evening proposed that the vote of thanks should be taken on the following Monday, the House would hear of no delay, but insisted on recording its gratitude at the moment. The House of Peers gave a similar vote on the 8th; and the Commons and the Crown immediately proposed to settle upon the admiral a pension of three thousand a-year. A member of the House of Commons, on moving for an address to the Crown to confer some signal mark of favour on the admiral, was instantly replied to by the sonorous eloquence of the minister—"Can it be supposed," said he, "that the Crown can require to be prompted to pay the just tribute of approbation and honour to those who have eminently [pg 481] distinguished themselves by public services? On the part of his Majesty's ministers, I can safely affirm, that before the last splendid instance of the conduct of the gallant admiral, we have not been remiss in watching the uniform tenor of his professional career. We have witnessed the whole of his proceedings—such instances of perseverance, of diligence, and of exertion in the public service, as, though less brilliant and dazzling than the last exploit, are only less meritorious as they are put in competition with a single day, which has produced such incalculable benefit to the British empire."

The result was an earldom. The first lord of the Admiralty, Lord Spencer, having already written to Sir John the royal pleasure to promote him to a peerage, and the letter not having reached him previously to the battle, he thus had notice of the two steps in the peerage nearly at once.

Popular honours now flowed in upon him: London voted its freedom in a gold box, with swords to the admirals of the fleet and Nelson; vice-admirals Parker and Thompson were created baronets; Nelson received the red riband; the chief cities and towns of England and Ireland sent their freedoms and presents; and the king gave all the admirals and captains a gold medal.

We must now be brief in our observations on the services of this most distinguished person. We have next a narrative of the suppression of the memorable mutiny of 1798, whose purpose it was to have suffered the enemy's fleet to leave their harbours, to revolutionize the Mediterranean fleet, and, after putting the admirals and captains to death, proceed to every folly and frenzy that could be committed by men conscious of power, and equally conscious that forgiveness was impossible. The fleet under Lord St Vincent was on the point of corruption, when it was restored to discipline by the singular firmness of the admiral, who, by exhibiting his determination to punish all insubordination, extinguished this most alarming disaffection, and saved the naval name of the country.

On the resignation of Mr Pitt in 1801, and the appointment of Mr Addington as first lord of the treasury, a letter was written from the new minister to Lord St Vincent, offering him the appointment of first lord of the Admiralty. Having obtained an interview with the king, and explained the general tone of his political feelings, the king told him he very much wished to see him at the Admiralty, and to place the navy entirely in his hands. This was perhaps the only appointment of that singularly feeble administration which met with universal approval. There could be no question of the intelligence, high principle, or public services of the great admiral. Mr Addington came into power under circumstances which would have tried the talents of a man of first-rate ability. The war had exhausted the patience, though not the power, of the nation. All our allies had failed. The severity of the taxes was doubly felt, when the war had necessarily turned into a blockade on the Continent. We had thus all the exhaustion of hostilities without the excitement of triumph; and, to increase public anxieties, the failure of the harvest threatened a comparative famine. Wheat, which on an average of the preceding ten years had been 54s. a quarter, was now at 110s., then rose to 139s., and even reached as high as 180s. At one period the quartern loaf had risen to 1s. 10-1/2d. The popular cry now arose for peace. France, which with all her victories had been taught the precariousness of war, by the loss of Egypt and the capture of her army, was now also eager for peace. England had but two allies, Portugal and Turkey. At length the peace was made, and Lord St Vincent's attention was then drawn to an object which he had long in view, the reformation of the dockyards. This was indeed the Augean stable, and unexampled clamour arose from the multitude who had indolently fattened for years on the easy plunder of the public stores. However, the reform went on: perquisites were abolished, privileges taken away; and, rough as the operation was, nothing could be more salutary than its effect. The acuteness of the gallant old man at the head of the Admiralty could not be evaded, his vigour could not be [pg 482] defied, and his public spirit gave him an influence with the country, which enabled him to outlive faction and put down calumny. Yet this was evidently the most painful, and, to a certain extent, the most unsuccessful portion of his long career. Nominally a Whig, but practically a Tory—for his loyalty was unimpeachable and his honour without a stain—Lord St Vincent found himself in the condition of a man who presses reform on those with whom hitherto it has been only a watchword, and expects faction to act up to its professions.

The Addington treaty was soon discovered to be nothing more than a truce. Napoleon lived only in war; hostilities were essential to the government which he had formed for France; and his theory of government, false as it was, and his passion for excitement, whatever might be its price, made even the two years of peace so irksome to him, that he actually adopted a gross and foolish insult to the British ambassador as the means of compelling us to renew the conflict. The first result was, the return of Pitt to power; the next, the total ruin of the French navy at Trafalgar; the next, the bloody and ruinous war with Russia, expressly for the ruin of England through the ruin of her commerce; and finally the crash of Waterloo, which extinguished his diadem and his dominion together—a series of events, occurring within little more than ten years, of a more stupendous order than had hitherto affected the fate of any individual, or influenced the destinies of an European kingdom.

With the ministry of Mr Addington, Lord St Vincent retired from public life. He was now old, and the hardships of long service had partially exhausted his original vigour of frame. He retired to his seat, Rochetts in Essex, and there led the delightful life of a man who had gained opulence and distinction by pre-eminent services, and whose old age was surrounded by love, honour, and troops of friends. He appeared from time to time in the House of Lords, where, however, he spoke but seldom, but where he always spoke with dignity and effect.

In the month of March 1823, Lord St Vincent was seized with a general feeling of infirmity which portended his speedy dissolution. He had a violent and convulsive cough; yet his intellects were strongly turned upon public events, and he expressed an anxiety to know all that could be known of events in France, which was then disturbed; of the Spanish revolution, which then threatened to involve Europe; and even of the affairs of Greece. In the course of the evening of the 13th, while his physician and family were round him, his strength suddenly gave way, and at half past eight he died, at the age of eighty-eight, and was buried at Stone in Staffordshire. He was succeeded in the peerage by his nephew, who, however, inherits only the viscounty.

In our general notice of Lord St Vincent's career, we have adverted as little as possible to the opinions which his biographer had introduced from his own view of public affairs. We have no wish to make a peevish return to the writer of a work which has given us both information and pleasure. But it is necessary to caution Mr Tucker against giving trite and trifling opinions on subjects of which he evidently knows so little as of the Romish question, or the state of Ireland. Nothing is easier than to be at once solemn and superficial on such topics; and when a writer of this order flings his epithets of "bigoted, harsh, and impolitic," and the other stock phrases of party organs, he only enfeebles our respect for his authority in the immediate matters of his work, and rather lowers our respect for his faculties in all. The question of Popery in Ireland, is not a question of religion but of faction. Religious controversy on Romish doctrines has long ceased to exist. Romanism has no grounds on which a controversy can be sustained. It cannot appeal to the Scriptures, which it shuts up; and it will no longer be suffered to appeal to its mere childish pretence of infallibility. Its only ground in Ireland is party; and the present unhappy condition to which it has reduced Ireland, exhibits the natural consequences of indulgence to Popery, and the only means by which its spirit can be rendered consistent with the order of society.

Footnote 1: (return)

Memoirs of Admiral Earl St Vincent. By T.S. TUCKER. 2 vols.

[pg 483]



"Have I not in my time heard lions roar?

Have I not heard the sea, puft up with wind,

Rage like an angry boar chafed with sweat?

Have I not heard great ordnance in the field,

And Heaven's artillery thunder in the skies?

Have I not in the pitched battle heard

Loud 'larums, neighing steeds, and trumpets clang?"


On reaching the prison, I gave up all for lost; sullenly resigned myself to what now seemed the will of fate; and without a word, except in answer to the interrogatory of my name and country, followed the two horrid-looking ruffians who performed the office of turnkeys. St Lazare had been a monastery, and its massiveness, grimness, and confusion of buildings, with its extreme silence at that late hour, gave me the strongest impression of a huge catacomb above ground. The door of a cell was opened for me after traversing a long succession of cloisters; and on a little wooden trestle, and wrapt in my cloak, I attempted to sleep. But if sleep has not much to boast of in Paris at any time, what was it then? I had scarcely closed my eyes when I was roused by a rapid succession of musket-shots, fired at the opposite side of the cloister, the light of torches flashing through the long avenues, and the shouts of men and women in wrath, terror, and agony. I threw myself off my uneasy bed, and climbing up by my prison bars, endeavoured to ascertain the cause of the mêlée. But the imperfect light served little more than to show a general mustering of the national guard in the court, and a huge and heavy building, into which they were discharging random shots whenever a head appeared at its casements. A loud huzza followed whenever one of those shots appeared to take effect, and a laugh equally loud ran through the ranks when the bullet wasted its effect on the massive mullions or stained glass of the windows. A tall figure on horseback, whom I afterwards learned to be Henriot, the commandant of the national guard, galloped up and down the court with the air of a general-in-chief manœuvring an army. I think that he actually had provided himself with a truncheon to meet all the emergencies of supreme command. While this sanguinary, and yet mocking representation of warfare was going on, M. le Commandant was in full eloquence and prodigious gesticulation. "A la gloire, mes enfans!" was his constant cry. "Fight, mes braves! the honour of France demands it: the eyes of Europe—of the world—are turned upon you. Vive la Republique!" And all this accompanied with waving his hat, and spurring his horse into foam and fury. But fortune is a jade after all; and the hero of the tricolored scarf was destined to have his laurels a little shorn, even on this narrow field. While his charger was caracoling over the cloisters, and his veterans from the cellars and counters of Paris were popping off their muskets at the unfortunates who started up against the old casement, I heard a sudden rush and run; a low postern of the cloister had been flung back, and the prisoners within the building had made a sally on their tormentors. A massacre at the Bicêtre, in which six thousand had perished, had warned these unhappy people that neither the prison wall, nor night, was to be security against the rage of the bloodhounds with whom murder seemed to have grown into a pastime; and after having seen several of their number shot down within their dungeon, they determined to attack them, and, if they must die, at least die in manly defence. Their rush was perfectly successful; it had the effect of a complete surprise; and though their only weapons were fragments of their firewood—for all fire-arms and knives had been taken from them immediately [pg 484] on their entrance into the prison—they routed the heroes of the guard at the first charge. Even the gallant commander himself only shared the chance of his "camarades:" a flourish or two of his sabre, and an adjuration of "liberty," had no other effect than to insure a heavier shower of blows, and I had the gratification of seeing the braggadocio go down from his saddle in the midst of a group, who certainly had no veneration for the majesty of the truncheon. The victory was achieved; but, like many another victory, it produced no results: the gates of the St Lazare were too strongly guarded to be forced by an unarmed crowd, and I saw the prisoners successively and gloomily return to the only roof, melancholy as that was, which now could shelter them.

The morning brought my case before the authorities of this den. Half a dozen coarse and filthy uniformed men, and some of them evidently sufferers in the tumult of the night, for their heads were bound up and their arms bandaged—a matter which, if it did not improve their appearance, gave me every reason to expect increased brutishness in their tempers—formed the tribunal. The hall in which they had established their court had once been the kitchen of the convent; and, though all signs of hospitality had vanished, its rude and wild construction, its stone floor and vaulted roof, and even its yawning and dark recesses for the different operations which, in other days, had made it a scene of busy cheerfulness, now gave it a look of dreariness in the extreme. I could have easily imagined it to be a chamber of the Inquisition. But men in my circumstances have not much time for the work of fancy; and I was instantly called on for my name, and business in France. I had heard enough of popular justice to believe, that I had now arrived within sight of the last struggle, and I resolved to give these ruffians no triumph over the Englishman.

"Citizen, who are you?" Was the first interrogatory.

"I am no citizen, no Frenchman, and no republican," was my answer. My judges stared at each other.

"You are a prisoner. How came you here?"

"You are judges; how came you there?"

"You are charged with crimes against the Republic."

"In my country no man is expected to criminate himself."

"But you are a traitor: can you deny that?"

"I am no traitor to my king; can you say as much for yourselves?" They now began to cast furious glances at me.

"You are insolent: what brought you into the territory of France?"

"The same thing which placed you on that bench—force."

"Are you mad?"

"No—are you?"

"Do you not know that we can send you to the"—

"If you do, I shall only go before you."

This put an end to my interrogatory at once. I had accidentally touched upon the nerve which quivered in every bosom of these fellows. There was a singular presentiment among even the boldest of the Revolutionists, that the new order of things would not last, and that, when the change came, it would be a bloody one. Life had become sufficiently precarious already among the possessors of power; and the least intimation of death was actually formidable to a race of villains whose hands were hourly imbued in slaughter. I had been hitherto placed in scarcely more than surveillance. An order for my confinement as a "Brigand Anglais," was made out by the indignant "commission," and I was transferred from my narrow and lonely cell into the huge crowded building in the opposite cloister, which had been the scene of the attack on the previous night. I could, with Cato, "smile on the drawn dagger and defy its point." I walked out with the air of a Cato.

This change, intended for my infinite degradation until the guillotine should have dispatched its business in arrear, I found much to my advantage. The man who expects nothing, cannot be hurt by disappointment; and when I was conducted from my solitary cell into the midst of four or five hundred prisoners, I felt the human feelings kindle in me, which had been chilled between my four stone walls.

The prisoners with whom I was [pg 485] now to take my chance, were of all ranks, professions, and degrees of crime. The true crime in the eyes of the republic being, to be rich. Yet there the culprit had some hope of being suffered to live, at least while daily examinations, with the hourly perspective of the axe, could make him contribute to the purses of the tribunal. Those who happened to be poor, were found guilty of incivisme at once, and were daily drafted off to the Place de Grève, from which they never returned. But some of the prisoners were from La Vendée, peasants mixed with nobles; who, though no formal shape of resistance to the republic was yet declared, had exhibited enough of that gallant contempt of the new tyranny, which afterwards immortalized the name, to render them obnoxious to the ruffians at its head. It was this sturdy portion which had made the dash on the night of the riot, and their daring had the effect, at least, of saving their fellow-prisoners in future from being made marks, to teach the national guard the art of shooting. Even their sentries kept a respectful distance; and M. Henriot, wisely mindful of his flagellation, flourished his staff of command no more within our cloister. We were, in fact, left almost wholly to ourselves. Yet, if a philosopher desired to take a lesson in human nature, this was the spot of earth for the study. We had it in every shape and shade. We had it in the wits and blockheads, the courtiers and the clowns, the opulent and the ruined, the brave and the pusillanimous—and all under the strangest pressure of those feelings which rouse the nature of man to its most undisguised display. Death was before every eye. Where was the use of wearing a mask, when the wearer was so soon to part with his head? Pretence gradually vanished, and a general spirit of boldness, frankness, and something, if not exactly of dignity, at least of manliness, superseded the customary cringing of society under a despotism. In all but the name, we were better republicans than the tribe who shouted in the streets, or robbed in the tribunals.

I made the remark one day to the Marquis de Cassini, a philosopher and pupil of the great Buffon. "The reason is," said he, "that men differ chiefly by circumstances, as they differ chiefly by their clothes. Throw off their dress, whether embroidery or rags, and you will find the same number of ribs in them all."

"But my chief surprise is, to find in this prison more mutual kindness, and, in every sense, more generosity of sentiment, than one generally expects to meet in the world."

"Helvetius would tell you that all this was self-interest," was my pale-visaged and contemplative friend's reply. "But I always regarded M. Helvetius in the light of a well-trained baboon, who thought, when men stared at his tricks, they were admiring his talents. The truth is, that self-interest is the mere creature of society, and is the most active in the basest society. It is the combined cowardice and cruelty of men struggling for existence; the savageness of the forest, where men cannot gather acorns enough to share with their fellows; the effort for life, where there is but one plank in a storm, and where, if you are to cling at all, it must be by drowning the weaker party. But here," and he cast his eyes calmly round the crowd, "as there is not the slightest possibility that any one of us will escape, we have the better opportunity of showing our original bienséance. All the struggling on earth will not save us from the guillotine; and therefore we resolve to accommodate each other for the rest of our journey."

I agreed with him on the philosophy of the case, and in return he introduced me to some of the Vendéan nobles, who had hitherto exhibited their general scorn of Parisian contact by confining themselves to the circle of their followers. I was received with the distinction due to my introducer, and was invited to join their supper that night. The prison had once been the chapel of the convent; and though the desecration had taken place a hundred years before, and the revolutionary spoil had spared but little of the remaining ornaments, the original massiveness of the building, and the nobleness of the architecture, had withstood the assaults of both time and plunder. The roofs of the [pg 486] aisles could not be reached except by flame, and the monuments of the ancient priors and prelates, when they had once been stripped of their crosses, were too solid for the passing fury of the mob. And thus, in the midst of emblems of mortality, and the recollections of old solemnity, were set some hundreds of people, who knew as little of each other as if they had met in a caravansery, and who, perhaps, expected to part as soon. The scene was curious, but by no means uncheerful. The national spirit is inextinguishable; and, however my countrymen may bear up against the extremes of ill-fortune, no man meets its beginnings with so easy an air as the man of France. Our supper was laid out in one of the side chapels; and, coarse and scanty as it was, I seldom recollect an evening which I passed with a lighter sense of the burden of a prisoner's time. I found the Vendéan nobles a manlier race than their more courtly countrymen. Yet they had courtliness of their own; but it was more the manner of our own country gentlemen of the last century, than the polish of Versailles. Their habits of living on their domains, of country sports, of intercourse with their peasantry, and of the general simplicity of country life, had drawn a strong line of distinction between them and the dukes and marquises of the royal saloons. Like all Frenchmen of the day, they conversed largely upon the politics of France; but there was a striking reserve in their style. The existing royal family were but little mentioned, or mentioned only with a certain kind of sacred respect. Their misfortunes prohibited the slightest severity of language. Yet still it was not difficult to see, that those straightforward and honest lords of the soil, who were yet to prove themselves the true chevaliers of France, could feel as acutely, and express as strongly, the injuries inflicted by the absurdities and vices of the successive administrations of their reign, as if they had figured in the clubs of the capital. But the profligacies of the preceding monarch, and the tribe of fools and knaves whom those profligacies as naturally gathered round him as the plague propagates its own contagion, met with no mercy. And, though they were spoken of with the gravity which became the character and rank of the speakers, they were denounced with a sternness which seemed beyond the morals or the mind of their country. Louis XV., Du Barri, and the whole long succession of corrupting and corrupted cabinets, which had at length rendered the monarchy odious, were denounced in terms worthy of gallant men; who, though resolved to sink or swim with the throne, experienced all the bitterness of generous indignation at the crimes which had raised the storm.

We had our songs too, and some of them were as contemptuous as ever came from the pen of Parisian satire. Among my recollections of the night was one of those songs, of which the refrain was—

"Le Bien-Aimé—de l'Almanac."

A burlesque on the title—Le Bien-Aimé, &c., which the court calendar, and the court calendar alone, had annually given to the late king. I can offer only a paraphrase.

"Louis Quinze, our burning shame,

Hear our song, 'old well-beloved,'

What if courts and camps are tame,

Pension'd beggars laced and gloved,

France's love grows rather slack,

Idol of—the Almanac.

"Let your flatterers hang or drown,

We are of another school,

Truth no more shall be put down,

We can call a fool a fool,

Fearless of Bastile or rack,

Titus of—the Almanac.

"Louis, trample on your serfs,

We'll be trampled on no more,

Revel in your parc aux cerfs,1

Eat and drink—'twill soon be o'er.

France will steer another tack,

Solon of—the Almanac!

"Hear your praises from your pages,

Hear them from your liveried lords,

Let your valets earn their wages,

Liars, living on their words;

We'll soon give them nuts to crack,

Cæsar of—the Almanac!

[pg 487]

"When a dotard fills the throne,

Fit for nothing but a nurse,

When a nation's general groan,

Yields to nothing but its curse;

What are armies at thy back,

Henri of—the Almanac?

"When the truth is bought and sold,

When the wrongs of man are spurn'd,

Then the crown's last knell is toll'd,

Then, old Time, thy glass has turn'd,

And comes flying from thy pack

To nations a new Almanac!

"Mistress, minister, Bourbon,

Rule by bayonets, bribes, and spies,

Charlatans in church and throne,

France is opening all her eyes—

Down go minion, king, and quack,

We'll have our new Almanac!"

When I returned to the place where my mattress was flung, the crowd had already sunk to rest, and there was a general silence throughout the building. The few lights which our jailers supplied to us, had become fewer; and, except for the heavy sound of the doubled sentries' tread outside, I might have imagined myself in a vast cemetery. The agitation of the day, followed by the somewhat unsuitable gayety of the evening, had thrown me into such a state of mental and bodily fatigue, that I had scarcely laid my side on my bed, untempting as it was, when I dropped into a heavy slumber. The ingenuity of our tormentors, however, prohibited our knowing any thing in the shape of indulgence; and in realisation of the dramatist's renowned mot, "traitors never sleep," the prison door was suddenly flung open—a drum rattled through the aisle—the whole body of the prisoners were ordered to stand forth and answer to their names; this ceremony concluding with the march of the whole night-guard into the chapel, and their being ordered to load with ball-cartridge, to give us the sufficient knowledge of what any attempt to escape would bring upon us in future. This refinement in cruelty we owed to the escapade of the night before.

At length, after a variety of insulting queries, even this scene was over. The guard marched out, the roll of their drum passed away among the cloisters; we went shivering to our beds—threw ourselves down dressed as we were, and tried to forget France and our jailers.

But a French night in those times was like no other, and I had yet to witness a scene such as I believe could not have existed in any other country of the globe.

After some period of feverish sleep I was awakened by a strange murmur, which, mixing with my dreams, had given me the comfortless idea of hearing the roar of the multitude at some of the horrid displays of the guillotine; and as I half opened my unwilling eyes, still heavy with sleep, I saw a long procession of figures, in flowing mantles and draperies, moving down the huge hall. A semicircle of beds filled the extremity of the chapel, which had been vacated by a draft of unfortunate beings, carried off during the day to that dreadful tribunal, whose sole employment seemed to be the supply of the axe, and from which no one was ever expected to return. While my eyes, with a strange and almost superstitious anxiety—such is the influence of time and place—followed this extraordinary train, I saw it take possession of the range of beds; each new possessor sitting wrapt in his pale vesture, and perfectly motionless. I can scarcely describe the singular sensations with which I continued to gaze on the spectacle. My eyes sometimes closed, and I almost conceived that the whole was a dream; but the forms were too distinct for this conjecture, and the question with me now became, "are they flesh and blood?" I had not sunk so far into reverie as to imagine that they were the actual spectres of the unhappy tenants of those beds on the night before, all of whom were now, doubtless, in the grave; but the silence, the distance, the dimness perplexed me, and I left the question to be settled by the event. At a gesture from the central figure they all stood up—and a man loaded with fetters was brought forward in front of their line. I now found that a trial was going on: the group were the judges, the man was the presumed criminal; there was an accuser, there was an advocate—in short, all the general process of a trial was passing before my view. Curiosity would naturally have made me spring from my bed and approach this extraordinary spectacle; but I am not ashamed now to acknowledge, that I felt a [pg 488] nervelessness and inability to speak or move, which for the time wholly awed me. All that I could discover was, that the accused was charged with incivisme, and that, defying the court and disdaining the charge, he was pronounced guilty—the whole circle, standing up as the sentence was pronounced, and with a solemn waving of their arms and murmur of their voices, assenting to the act of the judge. The victim was then seized on, swept away into the darkness, and after a brief pause I heard a shriek and a crash; the sentence had been fulfilled—all was over. The court now covered their heads with their mantles, as if in sorrow for this formidable necessity.

But how shall I speak of the closing scene? However it surprised and absorbed me in that moment of nervous excitement, I can allude to it now only as characteristic of a time when every mind in France was half lunatic. I saw a figure enveloped in star-coloured light emerge from the darkness, slowly ascend, in a vesture floating round it like the robes which Raphael or Guido gives to the beings of another sphere, and, accompanied by a burst of harmony as it rose, ascend to the roof, where it suddenly disappeared. All was instantly the silence and the darkness of the grave.

Daylight brought back my senses, and I was convinced that the pantomimic spirit of the people, however unaccountably it might disregard proprieties, had been busy with the scene. I should now certainly have abandoned the supernatural portion of the conjecture altogether; but on mentioning it to Cassini, he let me into the solution at once.

"Have you never observed," said he, "the passion of all people for walking on the edge of a precipice, climbing a church tower, looking down from a battlement, or doing any one thing which gives them the nearest possible chance of breaking their necks?—then you can comprehend the performance of last night. There we are, like fowls in a coop: every day sees some of us taken out; and the amusement of the remaining fowls is to imagine how the heads of the others were taken from their bodies." The prisoners were practising a trial.

I gave an involuntary look of surprise at this species of amusement, and remarked something on the violation of common feeling—to say nothing of the almost profaneness which it involved.

"As to the feeling," said Cassini, with that shrug which no shoulders but those of a Frenchman can ever give, "it is a matter of taste; and perhaps we have no right to dictate in such matters to persons who would think a week a long lease of life, and who, instead of seven days, may not have so many hours. As to the profanation, if your English scruples made you sensitive on such points, I can assure you that you might have seen some things much more calculated to excite your sensibilities. The display last night was simply the trial of a royalist; and as we are all more or less angry with republicanism at this moment, and with some small reason too, the royalist, though he was condemned, as every body now is, was suffered to have his apotheosis. But I have seen exhibitions in which the republican was the criminal, and the scene that followed was really startling even to my rather callous conceptions. Sometimes we even had one of the colossal ruffians who are now lording it over France. I have seen St Just, Couthon, Caier, Danton, nay Robespierre himself; arraigned before our midnight tribunal; for this amusement is the only one which we can enjoy without fear of interruption from our jailers. Thus we enjoy it with the greater gusto, and revenge ourselves for the tribulations of the day by trying our tormentors at night."

"I am satisfied with the reason, although I am not yet quite reconciled to the performance. Who were the actors?"

"You are now nearer the truth than you suspected. We have men of every trade here, and, among the rest, we have actors enough to stock the Comédie Française. If you remain long enough among us, you will see some of the best farces of the best time played uncommonly well by our fellow détenus. But in the interim—for our stage is permitted by the municipality to open in the St Lazare only four times a month—a piece of [pg 489] cruelty which we all regard as intolerable—our actors refresh their faculties with all kinds of displays. You acknowledge that the scene last night was well got up; and if you should see the trial of some of our 'Grands Democrats,' be assured that your admiration will not be attracted by showy vesture, blue lights, or the harmonies of the old asthmatic organ in yonder gallery; our pattern will be taken from the last scene of 'Il Don Giovanni.' You will have no pasteboard figure suspended from the roof, and wafted upward in starlight or moonlight. But if you wish to see the exhibition, I am concerned to tell you that you must wait, for to-night all our artistes are busy. In what, do you conceive?"

I professed my inability to fathom "the infinite resources of the native mind, where amusement was the question."

"Well then—not to keep you in suspense—we are to have a masquerade."

The fact was even so. France having grown tired of all things that had been, grew tired of weeks, and Decades were the law of the land. The year was divided into packs of ten days each, and she began the great game of time by shuffling and cutting her cards anew. The change was not marked by any peculiar good fortune; for it was laughed at, as every thing in France was except an order for deportation to the colonies, or a march to the scaffold. The populace, fully admitting the right of government to deal with kings and priests as it pleased, regarded the interference with their pleasures as a breach of compact; and the result was, that the populace had their Dimanche as well as their Decadi, and that the grand experiment for wiping out the Sunday, issued in giving them two holidays instead of one.

It was still early in the day when some bustle in the porch of the prison turned all eyes towards it, and a new detachment of prisoners was brought in. I shall say nothing of the scenes of wretchedness which followed; the wild terrors of women on finding themselves in this melancholy place, which looked, and was, scarcely more than a vestibule to the tomb; the deep distress of parents, with their children clinging round them, and the general despair—a despair which was but too well founded. Yet the tumult of their settling and distribution among the various quarters of the chapel had scarcely subsided when another scene was at hand. The commissary of the district came in, with a list of the prisoners who were summoned before the tribunal. Our prison population was like the waters of a bath, as one stream flowed in another flowed out; the level was constantly sustained. With an instinctive pang I heard my name pronounced among those unhappy objects of sanguinary rule. Cassini approached me with a smile, which he evidently put on to conceal his emotion.

"This is quick work, M. Marston," said he, taking my hand. "As the ruffian in the school fable says, 'Hodie tibi, cras nihi'—twelve hours will probably make all the difference between us."

I took off the little locket coutaining my last remembrance of Clotilde, and put it into his hands, requesting him, if he survived, to transmit it to his incomparable countrywoman, with an assurance that I remembered her in an hour when all else was forgotten.

"I shall perform the part of your legatee," said he, "till to-morrow; then I will find some other depositary. Here you must know that heirship is rapid, and that the will is executed before the ink is dry." He turned away to hide a tear. "I have not known you long, sir," said he; "but in this place we must be expeditious in every thing. You are too young to die. If you are sacrificed, I am convinced that you will die like a gentleman and a man of honour. And yet I have some feeling, some presentiment, nay almost a consciousness, that you will not be cut off, at least until you are as weary of the world as I am."

I endeavoured to put on a face of resignation, if not of cheerfulness, and said, "That though my country might revenge my death, my being engaged in its service would only make my condemnation inevitable. But I was prepared."

"At all events, my young friend," [pg 490] said he, "if you escape from this pandemonium of France, take this paper, and vindicate the memory of Cassini."

He gave me a memoir, which I could not help receiving with a smile, from the brevity of the period during which the trust was likely to hold. The gendarme now came up to demand my attendance. I shook hands with the marquis, who at that moment was certainly no philosopher, and followed the train.

We were about fifty in number; and after being placed in open artillery waggons, the procession moved rapidly through the suburb, until we reached one of those dilapidated and hideous-looking buildings which were then to be found startling the stranger's eye with the recollections of the St Bartholomew and the Fronde.

A crowd, assembled round the door of one of these melancholy shades, and the bayonets of a company of the national guard glittering above their heads, at length indicated the place of our destination. The crowd shouted, and called us "aristocrats, thirsting for the blood of the good citizens." The line of the guard opened, and we were rapidly passed through several halls, the very dwelling of decay, until we reached a large court, where the prisoners remained while the judges were occupied in deciding on the fate of the train which the morning had already provided. I say nothing of the insults which were intended, if not to add new bitterness to death, to indulge the wretched men and women who could find an existence in attending on the offices of the tribunal, with opportunities of triumphing over those born to better things. While we remained in the court exposed to the weather, which was now cold and gusty, shouts were heard at intervals, which, as the turnkeys informed us, arose from the spectators of the executions—death, in these fearful days, immediately following sentence. Yet, to the last the ludicrous often mingled with the melancholy. While I was taking my place in the file according to the order of our summons, and was next in rotation for trial, a smart and overdressed young man stepped out of his place in the rank, and drawing from his bosom a pamphlet in manuscript, presented it to me, with the special entreaty that, "in case I survived, I should take care of its propagation throughout Europe." My answer naturally was, "That my fate was fully as precarious as that of the rest, and that thus I had no hope of being able to give his pamphlet to mankind."

"Mais, monsieur," that phrase which means so many inexpressible things—"But, sir, you must observe, that by putting my pamphlet into your charge, it has a double chance. You may read it as a part of your defence; it is a treatise on the government of France, which settles all the disputed questions, reconciles republicanism with monarchy, and shows how a revolution may be made to purify all things without overthrowing any. Thus my sentiments will become public at once, the world will be enlightened, and, though you may perish, France will be saved."

Nothing could be more convincing; yet I continued stubborn. He persisted. I suggested the "possibility of my not being suffered to make any defence whatever, but of being swept away at once; in this case endangering the total loss of his conceptions to the world;" but I had to deal with a man of resources.

"No," said the author and philanthropist; "for that event I have provided. I have a second copy folded on my breast, which I shall read when I am called on for trial. Then those immortal truths shall not be left to accident; I shall have two chances for celebrity; the labour of my life shall be known; nor shall the name of Jean Jacques Pelletier go to the tomb without the renown due to a philosopher."

But further deprecation on my part was cut short by the appearance of two of the guard, by whom I was marched to the presence of the tribunal. The day had now waned, and two or three lamps showed my weary eye the judges, whose decision was to make the difference to me between life and death, within the next half hour. Their appearance was the reverse of one likely to reconcile the unfortunate to the severity of the law. They were seven or eight sitting on a raised platform, with a long table in their front, covered with papers, with [pg 491] what seemed to be the property taken from the condemned at the moment—watches, purses, and trinkets; and among those piles, very visibly the fragments of a dinner—plates and soups, with several bottles of cognac and wine. Justice was so indefatigable in France, that its ministers were forced to mingle all the functions of public and private life together; and to be intoxicated in the act of passing sentence of death was no uncommon event.

The judges of those sectional tribunals were generally ruffians of the lowest description, who, having made themselves notorious by violence and Jacobinism, had driven away the usual magistracy, and, under the pretext of administering justice, were actually driving a gainful trade in robbery of every kind. The old costume of the courts of law was of course abjured; and the new civic costume, which was obviously constructed on the principle of leaving the lands free for butchery, and preserving the garments free from any chance of being disfigured by the blood of the victim—for they were the perfection of savage squalidness—was displayed à la rigueur on the bench. A short coat without sleeves, the shirt sleeves tucked up as for instant execution, the neck open, no collar, fierce mustaches, a head of clotted hair, sometimes a red nightcap stuck on one side, and sometimes a red handkerchief tied round it as a temporary "bonnet de nuit"—for the judges frequently, in drunkenness or fatigue, threw themselves on the bench or the floor, and slept—exhibited the regenerated aspect of Themis in the capital of the polished world.

My name was now called. I shall not say with what a throb of heart I heard it. But at the moment when I was stepping forward, I felt my skirt pulled by one of the guard behind me. I looked, and recognized through all his beard, and the hair that in profusion covered his physiognomy, my police friend, who seemed to possess the faculty of being every where—a matter, however, rendered easier to him by his being in the employ of the government—and who simply whispered the words—"Be firm, and acknowledge nothing." Slight as the hint was, it had come in good time; for I had grown desperate from the sight of the perpetual casualties round me, and, like Cassini's idea of the man walking on the edge of the precipice, had felt some inclination to jump off, and take my chance. But now contempt and defiance took the place of despair; and instead of openly declaring my purposes and performances, my mind was made up to leave them to find out what they could.

On my being marched up to the foot of the platform between two frightful-looking ruffians, whose coats and trousers seemed to have been dyed in gore, to show that they were worthy of the murders of September, and who, to make "assurance doubly sure," wore on their sword-belts the word "September," painted in broad characters, I remained for a while unquestioned, until they turned over a pile of names which they had flung on the table before them. At last their perplexity was relieved by one of the clerks, who pronounced my name. I was then interrogated in nearly the same style as before the committee of my first captors. I gave them short answers.

"Who are you?" asked the principal distributor of rabble justice. The others stooped forward, pens in hand, to record my conviction.

My answer was—

"I am a man." (Murmurs on the platform.)

"Whence come you?"

"From your prison."

"You are not a Frenchman?"

"No, thank Heaven!" (Murmurs again.)

"Beware, sir, of insolence to the tribunal. We can send you instantly to punishment."

"I know it. Why then try me at all?"

"Because, prisoner, we desire to hear the truth first."

"First or last, can you bear to hear it?" (Angry looks, but more attention.)

"We have no time to waste—the business of the Republic must be done. Are you a citizen?"

"I am; a citizen of the world."

"You must not equivocate with justice. Where did you live before you were arrested?"

[pg 492]

"On the globe." (A half-suppressed laugh among the crowd in the back ground.)

"What profession?"


"On what then do you live, have lived, or expect to live?"

"To-day on nothing, for your guards have given me nothing. Yesterday, I lived on what I could get. To-morrow, it depends on circumstances whether I shall want any thing." (A low murmur of applause among the bystanders, who now gathered closer to the front.)

"Prisoner," said the chief, swilling a glass of cognac to strengthen the solemnity of his jurisprudence, "the Republic must not be trifled with. You are arraigned of incivisme. Of what country are you a subject?"

"Of France, while I remain on her territory."

"Have you fought for France?"

"I have; for her laws, her liberty, her property, and her honour." (Bravo! from the crowd.)

"Yet you are not a Republican?"

"No; no more than you are."

This produced confusion on the bench. The hit was contemptuously accidental; but it was a home-thrust at the chief, who had former been a domestic in the Tuileries, and was still strongly suspected of being a spy of the Bourbons. The crowd who knew his story, who are always delighted with a blow at power, burst into a general roar. But a little spruce fellow on the bench, who had already exhibited a desire to take his share in the interrogatory, now thrust his head over the table, and said in his most searching tone—

"To come to the point—Prisoner, how do you live? What are your means? All honest men must have visible means. That is my question." (All eyes were now turned on me.)

I was now growing angry; and, pointing to the pile of purses and watches on the table—

"No man," said I, "needs ask what are your visible means, when they see that pile before you. Yet I doubt if that proves you to be an honest man. That is my answer."

The little inquisitor looked furious, and glanced towards the chief for protection; but his intrusion had provoked wrath in that quarter, and his glance was returned with a rigid smile.

"Prisoner," said the head of the tribunal, "though the question was put improperly, it was itself a proper one. How do you live?"

"By my abilities."

"That is a very doubtful support in those times."

"I do not recommend you, or any of those around you, to make the experiment," was my indignant answer.

The bystanders gave a general laugh, in which even the guard joined. To get the laugh against one, is the most unpardonable of all injuries in France, and this answer roused up the whole tribunal. They scarcely gave themselves the trouble of a moment's consultation. A few nods and whispers settled the whole affair; and the chief, standing up and drawing his sabre from its sheath—then the significant custom of those places of butchery, pronounced the fatal words, "Guilty of incivisme. Let the criminal be conducted à la Force," the well-known phrase for immediate execution.

The door was opened from which none ever came back. Two torches were seen glaring down the passage, and I was seized by the grim escort who were to lead me to the axe.

The affectation of cowardice is as childish as the affectation of courage; but I felt a sensation at that moment which took me by surprise. I had been perfectly assured of my sentence from the first glance at the judges. If ever there was a spot on earth which deserved Dante's motto of Erebus—

"Voi qui entrate, lasciate agui speranza"—

it was the revolutionary tribunal. Despair was written all over it in characters impossible to be mistaken. I had fixed my resolution to go through the whole scene, if not with heroism, at least with that decent firmness which becomes a man; yet the sound of the words which consigned me to the scaffold struck me with a general chill. Momentary as the period was, the question passed through my mind, are those paralysed limbs the same which bore me so well through the [pg 493] hazards of the campaign? Why am I to feel the fluttering of heart now, more than when I was facing sabres and cannon-shot? Why am I thus frigid and feeble, when I so lately fought and marched, and defied alike fatigue and wounds? But I felt in this chamber of death an inconceivable exhaustion, which had never approached me in the havoc of the field. My feet refused to move, my lips to breathe; all objects swam round, and sick to death and fainting, I thrust out my hand to save me from falling, and thus gave the last triumph to my murderers.

At this decisive moment I found my hand caught by a powerful grasp, and a strong voice exclaiming, "Messieurs, I demand the delay of this sentence. The criminal before you is of higher importance to the state than the wretches whom justice daily compels you to sacrifice. His crime is of a deeper dye. I exhibit the mandate of the Government to arrest the act of the tribunal, and order him to be reserved until he reveals the whole of the frightful plots which endanger the Republic."

He then advanced to the platform; and, taking a paper from his bosom, displayed to the court and the crowd the order for my being remanded to prison, signed by the triumvirate, whose word was law in France. Some confusion followed on the bench, and some bustle among the spectators; but the document was undeniable, and my sentence was suspended. I am not sure that the people within much regretted the delay, however those who had been lingering outside might feel themselves ill-used by a pause in the executions, which had now become a popular amusement; for the crowd instantly pushed forward to witness another trial of sarcasm between me and my judges; but this the new authority sternly forbade.

"The prisoner," said he, in a dictatorial tone, "is now in my charge. He is a prisoner of state—an Englishman—an agent of the monster Pitt"—(he paused, and was answered with a general shudder;) "and, above all, has actually been in arms with the fiend Brunswick, (a general groan,) and with those worse than fiends, those parricides, those emigrant nobles, who have come to burn our harvests, slay our wives and children, and destroy the proudest monument of human wisdom, the grandest triumph of human success, and the most illustrious monument of the age of regeneration—the Republic of France." Loud acclamations followed this popular rhetoric; and the panegyrist, firmly grasping me by the arm, walked with me rapidly out of court. All made way for him, and, before another word could be uttered by the astounded bench, we were in one of the covered carriages reserved for prisoners of the higher rank, and on our way, at full gallop, through the intricate streets of Paris.

All this was done with such hurried action, that I had scarcely time to know what my own emotions were; but the relief from immediate death, or rather from those depressing and overwhelming sensations which perhaps make its worst bitterness, was something, and hope dawned in me once more. Still, it was wholly in vain that I attempted to make my man of mystery utter a word. Nothing could extort a syllable from him, and he was evidently unwilling that I should even see his face, imperfect as the chance was among the few lamps which Paris then exhibited to enlighten the dismal darkness of her thoroughfares. Yet the idea that my rescue was not without a purpose predominated; and I was beginning even to imagine that I already felt the fresh air of the fields, and that our journey would terminate outside the walls of Paris, when the carriage came to a full stop, and, by the light of a torch streaming on the wind in front, I saw the gate of the St Lazare. All was now over—resistance or escape was equally beyond me. The carriage was surrounded by the guard, who ordered me to descend; their officer received the rescript for my safe custody, and I had nothing before me but the dungeon. But at the moment when my foot was on the step of the vehicle, my companion stooped forward, and uttered in my ear, with a pressure of my hand, the word "Mordecai." I was hurried onward, and the carriage drove away.

My surprise was excessive. This talismanic word changes the current [pg 494] of my thoughts at once. It had so often and so powerfully operated in my favour, that I could scarcely doubt its effect once more; yet before me were the stern realities of confinement. What spell was equal to those stonewalls, what dexterity of man or friendship, or even the stronger love of woman, could make my dungeon free, or my chains vanish into "thin air?" Still there had been a interposition, and to that interposition, whether for future good or ill, it certainly was due that I was not already mounting the scaffold, or flung, headless trunk, into the miserable and nameless grave.

As I passed again through the cloisters, my ears were caught with the sound of music and dancing. The contrast was sufficiently strong to the scene from which I had just returned; yet this was the land of contrasts. To my look of surprise, the turnkey who attended me answered "Perhaps you have forgotten that this is Decadi, and on this night we always have our masquerade. If you have not got a dress, I shall supply you; my wife is a fripier in the Antoine; she supplies all the civic fêtes with costumes, and you may have any dress you like, from a grand signor with his turban, down to a colporteur with his pack, or a watchman with his nightcap."

My mind was still too unsettled to enjoy masquerading, notwithstanding the temptation of the turnkey's wardrobe; and I felt all that absence of accommodation to circumstances, that want of plasticity, that failure of grasping at every hair's-breadth of enjoyment, which is declared by foreigners to form the prodigious deficiency of John Bull. If I could have taken refuge, for that night at least, in the saddest cell of the old convent, or in the deepest dungeon of the new prison, I should have gone to either with indulgence. I longed to lay down my aching brains upon my pillow, and forget the fever of the time. But prisoners have no choice; and the turnkey, after repeating his recommendations that I should not commit an act of such profound offence as to appear in the assembly without a domino, if I should take nothing else from the store of the most popular marchande in Paris, the wife of his bosom, at last, with a shake of his head and a bending of his heavy brows at my want of taste, unlocked the gate, and thrust me into the midst of my old quarters, the chapel.

There a new scene indeed awaited me. The place which I had left filled with trembling clusters of people, whole families clinging to each other in terror, loud or mute, but all in the deepest dread of their next summons, I found in a state of the most extravagant festivity—the chapel lighted up from floor to root—bouquets planted wherever it was possible to fix an artificial flower—gaudy wreaths depending from the galleries—and all the genius of this country of extremes lavished on attempts at decoration. Rude as the materials were, they produced at first sight a remarkably striking effect. More striking still was the spectacle of the whole multitude in every grotesque dress of the world, dancing away as if life was but one festival.

As I stood aloof for a while, wholly dazzled by the glare, the movement, and the multitude, I was recognised by some of my "old" acquaintance—the acquaintance of twenty-four hours—but here time, like every thing else, had changed its meaning, and a new influx had recruited the hall. Cassini and some others came forward and welcomed me, like one who had returned from the tomb—the news of the day was given and exchanged—a bottle of champagne was prescribed as the true medicine for my lowness of pulse—and I gradually gave myself up to the spirit of the hour.

As I wandered through the crowd, a mask dressed as a sylph bent its head over my shoulder, and I heard the words, "Why are you not in a domino?" I made some careless answer. "Go and get one immediately," was the reply. "Take this card, fasten it on your robe, and meet me here again." The mask put a card marked with a large rose into my hand, and was gone waltzing away among the crowd. I still lingered, leaning against one of the pillars of the aisle. The mask again approached me. "Monsieur Anglais," was the whisper, "you do not know your friends. Go and furnish yourself with [pg 495] a domino. It is essential to your safety." "Who are my friends, and why do you give me this advice?" was my enquiry. The mask lightly tripped round me, laid its ungloved hand on mine, as if in the mere sport of the dance; and I saw that it was the hand of a female from its whiteness and delicacy. I was now more perplexed than ever. As the form floated round me with the lightness of a zephyr, it whispered the word "Mordecai," and flew off into an eddy of the moving multitude. I now obeyed the command; went to the little shrine where the turnkey's wife had opened her friperie, and equipped myself with the dress appointed; and, with the card fixed upon my bosom, returned to take my station beside the pillar. But no sylph came again; no form rivaled the zephyr before me. I listened for that soft, low voice; but listened in vain. Yet what was all this but the common sport of a masquerade?

However, an object soon drew the general attention so strongly, as to put an end to private curiosity for the time. This was a mask in the uniform of a national guard, but so outrageously fine that his entrée excited an universal burst of laughter. But when, after a few displays of what was apparently all but intoxication, he began a detail of his own exploits, it was evident that the whole was a daring caricature; and as nothing could be less popular among us than the heroes of the shops, the Colonels Calicot, and Mustaches au comptoir, all his burlesque told incomparably. The old officers among us, the Vendéans, and all the ladies—for the sex are aristocrats under every government and in every region of the globe—were especially delighted. "Alexandre Jules Cæsar," colonel of the "brave battalion of the Marais," was evidently worth a dozen field-marshals in his own opinion; and his contempt for Vendôme, Marlborough, and Frederick le Grand, was only less piquant than the perfect imitation and keen burlesque of Santerre, Henriot, and our municipal warriors. At length when his plaudits and popularity were at their height, he proposed a general toast to the "young heroism," of the capital, and prefaced it by a song, in great repute in the old French service.


"Shoulder arms—brave regiment!

Hark, the bugle sounds 'advance.'

Pile the baggage—strike the tent;

France demands you—fight for France.

If the hero gets a ball,

His accounts are closed—that's all!

"Who'd stay wasting time at home,

Made for women to despise;

When, where'er we choose to roam,

All the world before us lies,

Following our bugle's call,

Life one holiday—that's all!

"When the soldier's coin is spent,

He has but to fight for more;

He pays neither tax nor rent,

He's but where he was before.

If he conquer, if he fall—

Fortune de la guerre—that's all!

"Let the pedant waste his oil,

With the soldier all is sport;

Let your blockheads make a coil

In the cloister or the court;

Let them fatten in their stall,

We can fatten too—that's all!

"What care we for fortune's frown,

All that comes is for the best;

What's the noble's bed of down

To the soldier's evening rest

On the heath or in the hall,

All alike to him—that's all!

"When the morn is on the sky,

Hark the gay reveillé rings!

Glory lights the soldier's eye,

To the gory breach he springs,

Plants his colours on the wall

Wins and wears the croix—that's all!"

The dashing style in which this hereditary song of the French camp was given by "Colonel Alexandre Jules Cæsar" of the "brave battalion of the Marais," his capitally awkward imitation of the soldier of the old régime, and his superb affectation of military nonchalance, were so admirable, that his song excited actual raptures of applause. His performance was encored, and he was surrounded by a group of nymphs and graces, among whom his towering figure looked like a grenadier of Brobdignag in the circle of a Liliputian light company. He carried on the farce for a while with great adroitness and animation; but at length he put the [pg 496] circle of tinsel and tiffany aside, and rushing up to me, insisted on making me a recruit for the "brave battalion of the Marais." But I had no desire to play a part in this pantomime, and tried to disengage myself. One word again made me a captive: that word was now "Lafontaine;" and at the same moment I saw the sylph bounding to my side. What was I to think of this extraordinary combination? All was as strange as a midsummer night's dream. The "colonel," as if fatigued, leaned against the pillar, and slightly removing his mask, I saw, with sudden rejoicing, the features of that gallant young friend, whom I had almost despaired of ever seeing again. "Wait in this spot until I return," was all that I heard, before he and the sylph had waltzed away far down the hall.

I waited for some time in growing anxiety; but the pleasantry of the night went on as vividly as ever, and some clever tableaux vivants had varied the quadrilles. While the dancers gave way to a well-performed picture of Hector and Andromache from the Iliad, and the hero was in the act of taking the plumed helmet from his brow, with a grace which enchanted our whole female population, an old Savoyard and his daughter came up, one playing the little hand-organ of their country, and the other dancing to her tamborine. This was pretty, but my impatience was ill disposed to look or listen; when I was awakened by a laugh, and the old man's mask being again half turned aside, I again saw my friend: the man moved slowly through the crowd, and I followed. We gradually twined our way through the labyrinth of pillars, leaving the festivity further and further behind, until he came to a low door, at which the Savoyard tapped, and a watchword being given, the cell was opened. There our robes and masks were laid aside; we found peasant dresses, for which we exchanged them; and following a muffled figure who carried a lantern, we began our movements again through the recesses of the endless building. At length we came to a stop, and our guide lifting up a ponderous stone which covered the entrance to a deep and dark staircase, we began to descend. I now for the first time heard the cheerful voice of Lafontaine at my side. "I doubt," said he, "whether a hundred years ago any one of us would have ventured on a night march of this kind; for, be it known to you, that we are now in the vaults of the convent, and shall have to go through a whole regiment of monks and abbots in full parade." I observed that, "if we were to meet them at all, they would be less likely to impede our progress dead than alive;" but I still advised Lafontaine to allude as little as he could to the subject, lest it might have the effect of alarming our fair companion. "There is no fear of that," said he, "for little Julie is in love with M. le Comte, our gallant guide; and a girl of eighteen desperately in love, is afraid of nothing. You Englishmen are not remarkable for superstition; and as for me and my compatriots, we have lost our reverence for monks in any shape since the taking of the Bastile."

We now went on drearily and wearily through a range of catacombs, stopping from time to time to ascertain whether we were pursued; and occasionally not a little startled by the sudden burst of sound that came from the revelry above, through the ventilators of these enormous vaults. But the Count had well prepared his measures, had evidently traced his way before, and led us on without hinderance, until we approached a species of sallyport, which, once opened, would have let us out into the suburb. Here misfortune first met us; none of the keys which the Count had brought with him would fit the lock. It was now concluded by our alarmed party, either that the design of escape had been discovered, or that the lock had been changed since the day before. Here was an insurmountable difficulty. To break down the gate, or break through it, was palpably impossible, for it was strongly plated with iron, and would have resisted every thing but a six-pounder. What was to be done? To remain where we were was starvation and death; to return, would be heart-breaking; yet escape was clearly out of the question. The Count was furious, as he tried in vain [pg 497] to shake the solid obstacle; Lafontaine was in despair. I, rather more quietly, took it for granted that the guillotine would settle all our troubles in the course of the next day; and the pretty Julie, in a deluge of tears, charging herself with having undone us all, hung upon the neck of her cavalier, and pledged herself, by all the hopes and fears of passion, to die along with him. While the lovers were exchanging their last vows, Lafontaine, in all the vexation of his soul, was explaining to me the matchless excellence of the plot, which had been thus defeated in the very moment of promised success.

"You perhaps remember," said he, "the letter which the father of Mariamne, that dearest girl whom I shall now never see again in this world, gave you for one of his nation in Paris. On the night when I last saw you, I had found it lying on your table; and in the confusion of the moment, when I thought you killed, and rushed into the street to gain some tidings of you, I took charge of the letter, to assist me in the enquiry. Unlucky as usual, I fell into the hands of a rabble returning from the plunder of the palace, was fired on, was wounded, and carried to the St Lazare. The governor was a man of honour and a royalist, and he took care of me during a dangerous illness and a slow recovery. But to give me liberty was out of his power. I had lost sight of the world so long, that the world lost sight of me, and I remained, forgetting and forgotten; until, within these two days—when I received a note from the head of the family to whom your letter was directed, informing me that you had been arrested and sent to the very prison in which I was—my recollection of the world suddenly revived, and I determined to save you if possible. I had grown familiar with the proceedings of that tribunal of demons, the Revolutionary committee; and as I had no doubt of your condemnation, through the mere love of bloodshed, I concerted with my Jewish friend the plan of having you claimed as a British agent, who had the means of making important disclosures to the government. If this succeeded, your life was saved for the day, and your escape was prepared for the night. This weeping girl is the daughter of the late governor, who has engaged in our plot to save the life of her affianced husband; and now, within an hour of daylight, when escape will be impossible, all our plans are thrown away—we are brought to a dead stand by the want of one miserable key, and shall have nothing more to do than to make up our minds to die with what composure we can."

Having finished his story, the narrator wrapt up his head in his cloak, and laid himself down like one determined never to rise again. The Count and his Julie were so engaged in recapitulating their sorrows, sitting side by side on a tombstone, like a pair of monumental figures, that they had neither ear nor eye for any thing else; but my English nature was made of sterner stuff, and thinking that at the last I could but die, I took the lantern and set sturdily to work to examine the gate. It was soon evident that it could be neither undermined nor broken down by any strength of ours; but it was also evident that the lock was the old one which had closed it perhaps for the last century, and that the right key was the only thing wanting. Leaving Lafontaine in his despair lying at the foot of the monument, on which the lovers sat murmuring like a pair of turtle doves, I determined to make a thorough search for the missing key, and made my way back through all the windings of the catacomb, tracing the ground step by step. Still no key was to be found. At last I reached the cell where we had changed our dresses, and examined table, floor, and chair. Still nothing was to be found; but, unluckily, the light of the lantern glancing through the loop-hole of the cell, caught the eye of the sentinel on the outside, and he challenged. The sound made me start; and I took up one of the robes to cover the light. Something hard struck my hand. It was in the gown of the Savoyard's daughter. I felt its pockets, and, to my infinite astonishment and delight, produced the key. The pretty Julie, who had procured it, had forgotten every thing in the rapture of meeting her lover, and had left it behind her when she threw off her masquerading costume.

[pg 498]

I now hastened back with the rapid step becoming the bearer of good tidings, and revived the group of despair. The key was applied to the lock, but it refused to move, and we had another pang of disappointment. Lafontaine uttered a groan, and Julie poured another gush of tears upon her companion's shoulder. I made the experiment again; the rust of the lock was now found to have been our only hinderance; and with a strong turn the bolt flew back, and the door was open.

We had all been so much exhausted by agitation, and the dreary traverse of the catacomb, that the first gush of fresh air conveyed a sensation almost of new life. The passage had probably been formed in the period when every large building in Paris was a species of fortress; and we had still a portcullis to pass. When we first pushed against it, we felt another momentary pang; but age had made it an unfaithful guardian, and a few stout attacks on its decayed bars gave us free way. We were now under the open sky; but, to our consternation, a new and still more formidable difficulty presented itself. The moat was still to be passed. To attempt the drawbridge was hopeless; for we could hear the sentinel pacing up and down its creaking planks. The moment was critical; for a streak of grey light in the far east showed that the day was at hand. After resolving all imaginable plans, and abandoning them all as fruitless; determining, at all events, never to return, and yet without the slightest prospect of escape, except in the bottom of that sullen pool which lay at our feet—the thought occurred to me, that in my return through the vault I had stumbled over the planks which covered a vault lately dug for a prisoner. Communicating my idea to Lafontaine, we returned to the spot, loaded ourselves with the planks, and fortunately found them of the length that would reach across the narrowest part of the fosse. Our little bridge was made without delay, and Lafontaine led the way, followed by the count and Julie, I waiting to see them safe across, before I added my weight to the frail structure. But I was not yet fated to escape. The sentinel, whose vigilance I had startled by my lantern in the cell, had given the alarm; and, as I was setting my foot on the plank, a discharge of fire-arms came from the battlement above. I felt that I was struck, and a stunning sensation seized me. I made an attempt to spring forward, but suddenly found myself unable to move. The patrol from the drawbridge now surrounded me, and in this helpless state, bleeding, and as I thought dying, I was hurried back into the St Lazare.

After a fortnight's suffering in the hospital of the prison, which alone probably saved me from the guillotine, then almost the natural death of all the suspected, I was enabled to get on my feet again. I found the prison as full as ever, but nearly all its inmates had been changed except the Vendéans, whom the crooked policy of the time kept alive, partly to avoid raising the whole province in revolt, partly as hostages for their countrymen.

On my recovery, I had expected to be put down once more in the list for trial; but it reached even the prison, that the government were in a state of alarm for themselves, which prevented them from indulging their friends in the streets with the national amusement. The chance of mounting the scaffold themselves had put the guillotine out of fashion; and two or three minor attempts at the seizure of the Jacobin sceptre by the partisans of the Girondists and Cordeliers, had been put down with such difficulty, that even the Jacobin Club had begun to protest against bloodshed, through the prospect of a speedy retaliation. Thus we were suffered to linger on. But, "disguise thyself as thou wilt, still, slavery, thou art a bitter draught," and the suspense was heart-sickening. At length, however, a bustle outside the walls, the firing of alarm guns, and the hurrying of the national guard through the streets, told us that some new measure of atrocity was at hand, and we too soon learned the cause.

The army under Dumourier had been attacked by the Austrians under Clairfait, and had been defeated with heavy loss; despatches had been received from their favourite general, in all the rage of failure, declaring that the sole cause of the disaster was [pg 499] information conveyed from the capital to the Austrian headquarters, and demanding a strict enquiry into the intrigues which had thus tarnished the colours of the Republic. No intelligence could have been more formidable to a government, which lived from day to day on the breath of popularity; and, to turn the wrath of the rabble from themselves, an order was given to examine the prisons, and send the delinquents to immediate execution. It may be easily believed that the briefest enquiry was enough for vengeance, and the prisoners of St Lazare were the first to furnish the spectacle. A train of carts rattled over the pavement of our cloisters, and we were ordered to mount them without delay. The guard was so strong as to preclude all hope of resistance; and with all the pomp of a military pageant, drums beating, trumpets sounding, and bands playing Ça Ira and the Marseillaise, we left our dreary dwelling, which habit had now almost turned into a home, and moved through the principal streets of the capital, for the express purposes of popular display, in the centre of a large body of horse and foot, and an incalculable multitude of spectators, until in the distance we saw the instrument of death.

Footnote 1: (return)

A scene of peculiar infamy near Paris.


There's blood upon the lady's cheek,

There's brightness in her eye:

Who says the sentence is gone forth

That that fair thing must die?

Must die before the flowering lime,

Out yonder, sheds its leaf—

Can this thing be, O human flower!

Thy blossoming so brief?

Nay, nay, 'tis but a passing cloud,

Thou didst but droop awhile;

There's life, long years, and love and joy,

Whole ages, in that smile—

In the gay call that to thy knee

Brings quick that loving child,

Who looks up in those laughing eyes

With his large eyes so mild.

Yet, thou art doom'd—art dying; all

The coming hour foresee,

But, in love's cowardice, withhold

The warning word from thee.

God keep thee and be merciful!

His strength is with the weak;

Through babes and sucklings, the Most High

Hath oft vouchsafed to speak—

And speaketh now—"Oh, mother dear!"

Murmurs the little child;

And there is trouble in its eyes,

Those large blue eyes so mild—

"Oh, mother dear! they say that soon,

When here I seek for thee,

I shall not find thee—nor out there,

Under the old oak-tree;

"Nor up stairs in the nursery,

Nor any where, they say.

Where wilt thou go to, mother dear?

Oh, do not go away!"

Then was long silence—a deep hush—

And then the child's low sob.

Her quivering eyelids close—one hand

Keeps down the heart's quick throb.

And the lips move, though sound is none,

That inward voice is prayer.

And hark! "Thy will, O Lord, be done!"

And tears are trickling there,

Down that pale cheek, on that young head—

And round her neck he clings;

And child and mother murmur out

Unutterable things.

He half unconscious—she deep-struck

With sudden, solemn truth,

That number'd are her days on earth,

Her shroud prepared in youth—

That all in life her heart holds dear,

God calls her to resign.

She hears—feels—trembles—but looks up,

And sighs, "Thy will be mine!"


[pg 500]



The front door of a large house in Harley Street stood hospitably open, and leaning against the plaster pillars (which were of a very miscellaneous architecture) were two individuals, who appeared as if they had been set there expressly to invite the passengers to walk in. Beyond the red door that intersected the passage, was seen the coloured-glass entrance to a conservatory on the first landing of the drawing-room stairs; and a multitude of statues lined each side of the lobby, like soldiers at a procession, but which the inventive skill of the proprietor had converted to nearly as much use as ornament; for a plaster Apollo, in addition to watching the "arrow's deathful flight," had been appointed custodier of a Taglioni and a Mackintosh, which he wore with easy negligence over his head—a distracted Niobe, in the same manner, had undertaken the charge of a grey silk hat and a green umbrella. The Gladiator wore a lady's bonnet; the Farnese Hercules looked like an old-fashioned watchman, and sported a dreadnought coat. A glaring red paper gave a rich appearance to the hall; the stair carpet also added its contribution to the rubicundity of the scene, which was brought to a ne plus ultra by the nether habiliments of the two gentlemen who, as already stated, did the honours of the door.

A more pleasing sight than two footmen refreshing themselves on the top of the front stairs with a view of the opposite houses, and gratifying the anxious public at the same time with a view of themselves, it is difficult to imagine. They always look so diffident and respectful, that involuntarily our interest in them becomes almost too lively for words. We think with disdain on miserable soldiers and hungry mechanics, and half-starved paupers and whole-starved labourers; and turn, with feelings of a very different kind, to the contemplation of virtue rewarded, and modesty well fed, in the persons of the two meditative gentlemen whose appearance at the front door in Harley Street has given rise to these reflections. The elder of them, who kept the post of honour on the right hand side, just opposite the bell-handle, and whose superiority over the other was marked by much larger legs, a more prominent blue waistcoat, and a slight covering of powder over his auburn locks, looked for some time at his companion, while an expression of ill-disguised contempt turned up to still more dignified altitude the point of his nose. At last, as if by an effort, he broke forth in speech.

"Snipe," he said—and seeing that Mr Snipe's ears were open, he continued—"I can't tell how it is, but I saw, when first I came, you had never been in a reg'lar fambly—never."

"We was always more reg'larer at Miss Hendy's nor here—bed every night at ten o'clock, and up in the morning at five."

"You'll never get up to cribbage—you're so confounded slow," replied the senior; "you'll have to stick to dominoes, which is only fit for babbies. Did ye think I meant Miss Hendy's, or low people of that kind, when I spoke of a reg'lar fambly?—I meant that you had never seen life. Did you ever change plates for a marquis, Snipe?"

"Never heared of one. Is he in a great way of business?"

"A marquis is a reg'lar nob, you know; and gives reg'lar good wages when you gets 'em paid. A man can't be a gentleman as lives with vulgar people—old Pitskiver is a genuine snob."

"He's a rich gentleman," returned Mr Snipe.

"But he's low—uncommon low"—said the other—"reg'lar boiled mutton and turnips."

"And a wery good dish too," observed Mr Snipe, whose intellect, being strictly limited to dominoes, was not quite equal to the metaphorical.

"By mutton and turnips, I means—he may be rich; but he ain't genteel, Snipe. Look at our Sophiar's shoulders."

[pg 501]

Mr Snipe looked up towards his senior with a puzzled expression, as if he waited for information—"What has Miss Sophiar's shoulders to do with boiled mutton and turnips?"

"Nothing won't do but to be at it from the very beginning," said the superior, with a toss of his powdered head; "fight after it as much as ever they like, wear the best of gownds, and go to the fustest of boarding-schools—though they plays ever so well on the piando, and talks Italian like a reg'lar Frenchman—nothing won't do—there's the boiled mutton and turnips—shocking wulgarity! Look again, I say, at our Sophiar's shoulders, and see how her head's set on. Spinks's Charlotte is a very different affair—and there she is at the winder over the way. That's quite the roast fowl and blamange," he continued, looking at a very beautiful girl who appeared at the window of one of the opposite houses—"a pretty blowen as ever I see, and uncommon fond of Spinks."

"I see nothing like a fowl about the young lady," replied the prosaic Mr Snipe; "and Spinks is a horrid liar."

"But can't you judge for yourself, Snipe? That girl opposite found two footmen and a butler all waiting to receive her, with a French governess and a lady's maid, the moment she got out of the cradle; and I say again she's nothing but roast fowl and blamange, or perhaps a breast slice of pheasant, for she's uncommon genteel. How different from our boiled veals, and parsley and butters! I shall give warning if we don't change soon."

"She's a beautiful young lady," said Mr Snipe; "but I thinks not half so plump and jolly as our Miss Emily or Sophia."

"Plump! do you think you've got a sporting license, and are on the look-out for a partridge? No; I tell you all the Pitskivers is low, and old Pits is the worst of the lot."

"I used always to hear him called a great man at Miss Hendy's," replied Snipe; "no end of money, and a reg'lar tip-topper. I really expected to see the queen very often drop in to supper."

"And meet all the tag-rag we have here! What would the queen care for all them portrait-painters, and poets, and engineers, and writing vagabonds, as old Pits is eternally feeding? The queen knows a mighty sight better, and wouldn't ax any body to her table as had done nothing but write books or paint picters. No; old Pits is the boy for patronizing them there fellers; but mark ye, Snipe, he takes the wrong chaps. If a man is to demean himself by axing a riff-raff of authors to his house, let it be the big 'uns; I should not care to give a bit of dinner to Dickens or Bulwer myself."

With this condescending confession of his interest in literature, the gentleman in the shining garments looked down the street, as if he expected some public approval of his praiseworthy sentiments.

Being disappointed in this natural expectation, he resolved to revenge himself by severe observations on the passers-by; but the severity was partly lost on the slow-minded Mr Snipe—being clothed in the peculiar phraseology of his senior, in which it appeared that some particular dish was placed as the representative of the individual attacked. Not that Mr Daggles—for such was the philosophical footman's name—saw any resemblance between his master, Mr Pitskiver, and a dish of boiled mutton and turnips, or between the beautiful young lady opposite and the breast of a pheasant; but that, to his finely constituted mind, those dishes shadowed forth the relative degrees in aristocracy which Mr Pitskiver and the young lady occupied. He had probably established some one super-eminent article of food as a high "ideal" to which to refer all other kinds of edibles—perhaps an ortolan pie; and the further removed from this imaginary point of perfection any dish appeared, the more vulgar and commonplace it became; and taking it for granted, that as far as human gradations are concerned, the loftiest aristocracy corresponded with the ortolan pie, it is evident that Mr Daggles's mode of assigning rank and precedence was founded on strictly philosophical principles; as much so, perhaps, as the labours of Debrett.

"Now, look at this old covey—twig his shorts and long gaiters: he's some old Suffolk squire, has grown too fat [pg 502] for harriers, and goes out with the greyhounds twice a-week—a truly respectable member of society"—continued Mr Daggles with a sneer, when the subject of his lecture had passed on—"reg'lar boiled beef and greens."

"He ain't so fat as our Mr Pitskiver," replied Snipe; "I thinks I never see no gentleman with so broad a back; except p'raps a prize ox."

"You should get a set of harrows to clean his Chesterfield with, instead of a brush—it's more like a field than a coat," said Daggles. "But look here—here comes a ticket!"

The ticket alluded to was a well-made young man, with a very healthy complexion, long glossy black curls hanging down his cheek, a remarkably long-backed surtout, and a small silk hat resting on the very top of his umbrageous head. As he drew near, he slackened his pace—passed the house slowly, looking up to the drawing-room window, evidently in hopes of seeing some object more attractive than the vast hydrangia which rose majestically out of a large flowerpot, and darkened all the lower panes. Before he had proceeded ten yards, and just when Mr Daggles had fixed in his own mind on the particular effort of culinary skill suggested by his appearance, the ticket turned quickly round and darted up the steps. Snipe stepped forward in some alarm.

"Your master's not at home," said the Ticket; "but the ladies"—

"Is all out in the featon, sir."

"Will you be good enough—I see I may trust you—to give this note to Miss Sophia? I shall take an opportunity of showing my gratitude very soon. Will you give it?"

"Yes, sir, in course."

"Secretly? And, be assured, I shall not forget you." So saying, the Ticket walked hurriedly away, and Snipe stood with the note still in his hand, and looked dubiously at his companion.

Mr Daggle's eyes were fixed on the retreating figure of the Ticket; and, after a careful observation of every part of his dress, from the silk hat to the Wellingtons, he shook his head in a desponding manner, and merely said—"Tripe!"

"What's to be done with this here letter?" enquired Snipe.

"Open and read it of course. By dad! I don't think you are up to dominoes; you must go back to skittles. He's evidently enclosed the sovereign in the note; for he never could have been fool enough to think that two gentlemen like us are to give tick for such a sum to a stranger."

"What sum?" enquired Snipe.

"Why, the sovereign he was to pay for delivering the letter. If you don't like to read it yourself, give it to the old snob—Pitskiver will give you a tip."

"But the gentleman said he would show his gratitude"—

"He should have showed his tin fust. There ain't no use of denying it, Snipe; this is a wery low establishment, and I shall cut it as soon as I can. What right has a dowdy like our Sophia to be getting billydoos from fellers as ought to be ashamed of theirselves for getting off their three-legged stools at this time of the day? Give the note to old Pits—and here, I think, he is."

Mr Pitskiver—or old Pits, as he was irreverently called by his domestic—came rapidly up the street. He was a little man, between fifty and sixty years of age, with an exceedingly stout body and very thin legs. He was very red in the face, and very short in the neck. A bright blue coat, lively-coloured waistcoat, and light-green silk handkerchief fastened with two sparkling pins, united to each other by a gold chain, check trowsers, and polished French leather boots, composed his attire. He wore an eyeglass though he was not short-sighted, and a beautifully inlaid riding-whip though he never rode. His white muslin pocket-handkerchief hung very prominently out of the breast pocket of his coat, and his hat was set a little on one side of his head, and rested with a coquettish air on the top of the left whisker. What with his prodigious width, and the flourishing of his whip, and the imposing dignity of his appearance altogether, he seemed to fill the street. Several humble pedestrians stepped off the pavement on to the dirty causeway to give him room. Daggles drew up, Snipe slunk back to hold the door, [pg 503] and Mr Pitskiver retired from the eyes of men, and entered his own hall, followed by his retainers.

"If you please, sir," said Snipe, "I have a letter for Miss Sophiar."

"Then don't you think you had better give it her?" replied Mr Pitskiver.

"A gentleman, sir, gave it to me."

"I'll give it you, too," said the master of the mansion, shaking the whip over the astonished Snipe. "What are you bothering me with the ladies' notes for? Any thing for me, Daggles?"

"A few parcels, sir—books, and a couple of pictures."

"No statue? My friend Bristles has deceived me. It was to have been finished to-day. If he gives the first view to the Whalleys, I'll never speak to him again. Nothing else? Then have the phaeton at the door at half past five. I dine at Miss Hendy's, at Hammersmith."

While Mr Pitskiver stepped up stairs, Snipe was going over in his own mind the different grammatical meanings of the words, "I'll give it you." And concluding at last that, in the mouth of his master, it meant nothing but a horsewhipping, he resolved, with the magnanimity of many other virtuous characters who find treachery unproductive, to be true to Miss Sophia, and give her the mysterious note with the greatest possible secrecy.

"Now, donkey," said Daggles, aiding his benevolent advice with a kick that made it nearly superfluous, "get down them kitchen stairs and learn pitch-and-toss, for you haven't brains enough for any thing else—and recollect, you owes me a sovereign; half from master for telling, and half from the long-backed Ticket for keeping mum. You can keep the other to yourself; for the job was well worth a sovereign a-piece."

A knock at the door interrupted the colloquy, and Snipe once more emerged from the lower regions, and admitted the two fair daughters of his master.

They were stout, bustling, rosy-cheeked girls, two or three and twenty years of age, superbly dressed in flashy silks, and bedizened with ribands like a triumphal arch.

"Miss," said Snipe, "I've got a summut for you." And he looked as knowing as it was possible for a student of pitch-and-toss to do.

"For me? What is it? Make haste, Thomas."

"A gentleman has been here, and left you this," replied the Mercury, holding out the note. "He said something about giving me a guinea; but I wasn't to let any body see."

"It is his hand—I know it!" cried Miss Sophia, and hurried up stairs to her own room.

"You donkey!" growled Mr Daggles, who had overheard Snipe's proceedings; "you've done me out of another ten shillings. Blowed if I don't put you under the pump! She would have given you a guinea for the letter by way of postage. But it all comes of living with red herrings and gooses' eggs." And so saying Mr Daggles resumed his usual seat in the dining-room, and went on with the perusal of the Morning Post.


Mr Pitskiver's origin, like that of early Greece, is lost in the depths of antiquity. Through an infinite variety of posts and offices, he had risen to his present position, and was perhaps the most multifariously occupied gentleman in her majesty's dominions. He was chairman of three companies, steward of six societies, general agent, and had lately reached the crowning eminence of his hopes by being appointed trustee of unaudited accounts. In the midst of all these labours, he had gone on increasing in breadth and honour till his name was a symbol of every thing respectable and well to do in the world. With each new office his ambition rose, and a list of his residences would be a perfect index to the state of his fortunes. We can trace him from Stepney to Whitechapel; from Whitechapel to Finsbury square; from Finsbury square to Hammersmith; and finally, the last office (which, by the by, was without a salary) had raised him, [pg 504] three months before our account of him begins, to the centre of Harley Street. With his fortune and ambition, we must do him the justice to say, his liberality equally increased. He was a patron, and, would have travelled fifty miles to entertain a poet at his table; he had music-masters (without any other pupils) who were Mozarts and Handels for his daughters—Turners and Landseers (whose names were yet unknown) to teach them drawing—for, by a remarkable property possessed by him, in common with a great majority of mankind, every thing gained a new value when it came into contact with himself. He bought sets of china because they were artistic; changed his silver plate for a more picturesque pattern; employed Stultz for his clothes, and, above all, Bell and Rannie for his wines. His cook was superb; and, thanks to the above-named Bell and Rannie, there were fewer headachs in the morning after a Mæcenatian dinner at Pitskiver's, than could have been expected by Father Matthew himself. With these two exceptions—wine and clothes—his patronage was more indiscriminate than judicious. In fact, he patronized for the sake of patronizing; and as he was always in search of a new miracle, it is no wonder that he was sometimes disappointed—that his Landseers sometimes turned out to have no eyes, and his musicians more fitted to play the Handel to a pump than an organ. But Pitskiver never lost heart. If he failed in one he was sure to succeed in another; he saw his name occasionally in the newspaper, by giving an invitation to one of the literary gentlemen who enliven the public with accounts of fearful accidents and desperate offences; had his picture at the Exhibition in the character of the "Portrait of a gentleman," and his bust in the same place as the semblance of the honorary Secretary to the Poor Man's Pension and Perpetual Annuity Institution. He was a widower, and looked dreadful things at all the widows of his acquaintance. And it was thought that, if he succeeded in marrying off his girls, he should himself become once more a candidate for the holy estate; and by this wise manœuvre—for, in fact, he made no secret of his intention—he enlisted in his daughters' behalf all the elderly ladies who thought they had any claims on the attentions of that charming creature Mr Pitskiver. There were certainly no young ladies I have ever heard of, so well supplied with assistants in the great art of catching husbands as the two plump damsels whom we have already seen enter the house in Harley Street, and one of whom we have perceived placed in possession of the mysterious letter by the skittle-minded Mr Snipe.

Miss Sophia Pitskiver, according to all ordinary ideas of romance and true love, had no right whatever to indulge in such luxuries, being more adapted to make pies than enter into the beauty of sonnets to the moon. She was short, stout—shall we be pardoned for saying the hateful word?—she was dumpy, but a perfect picture of rosy health and hilarious good-nature. And yet, if she had been half a foot taller, and half a yard thinner, and infinitely paler, she could not have been one jot more sentimental. She cultivated sentiment, because it was so pleasant, and her father approved of it because it was genteel. Her enthusiasm was tremendous. Her ideas were all crackers, and exploded at the slightest touch. She had a taste for every thing—poetry, history, fine arts in general, philosophy, glory, puseyism, and, perhaps more than all, for a certain tall young man, with an interesting complexion, whom we have introduced to the courteous reader by the name of the long-backed Ticket. It was this gentleman's note she was now about to read. Sundry palpitations about the robust regions of the heart might, to common eyes, have appeared to arise from her speed in running up stairs. But she knew better. She took but one look of the cheval glass, and broke the seal.

"Stanzas!" she said; and, taking one other glance at the mirror, she exclaimed to the agitated young lady represented there, "only think!" and devoured the following lines:—

"There is a tear that will not fall

To cool the burning heart and brain;

Oh, I would give my life, my all,

To feel once more that blessed rain!

[pg 505]

"There is a grief—I feel, in sooth,

It rends my soul, it quells my tongue;

It dims the sunshine of my youth,

But, oh, it will not dim it long!

"There is a place where life is o'er,

And sorrow's blasts innocuous rave;

A place where sadness comes no more.

Know'st thou the place? It is the grave.

"Yes, if within that gentle breast

Mild pity ever held her sway,

Thou'lt weep for one who finds no rest—

The reason he can never say.

"P.S.—Miss Hendy is an angel upon earth. My friend Mr Bristles, of the Universal Surveyor, one of the most distinguished literary men of the age, has got me an invitation to go to her house to-night, to read the first act of my tragedy. Shall I have the happiness of seeing thee? Would to my stars my fate were so fortunate! I enclose you the above lines, which Bristles says are better than any of Lord Byron's, and will publish next week in the Universal. Mayest thou like them, sweetest, for they are dedicated to thee, Thine ever—ALMANSOR." What she might have done beyond reading the lines and letter six times over, and crying "beautiful, beautiful!" as fast as she could, it is impossible to say, for at that moment she was called by her venerable sire. She crumpled the note up after the manner of all other heroines, and hid it in her bosom; and hurried to the drawing-room, where she found her father in full dress, pulling on a pair of new kid gloves.

"Well, Soph, I'm off for Miss Hendy's—don't give me any nonsense now about her being low, and all that sort of thing; she don't move in the same circle of society, certainly, as we do, but she has always distinguished people about her."

"Oh, papa!" interrupted the young lady. "I don't object to Miss Hendy in the least. I love her of all things, and would give worlds to be going with you!"

"That's right! You've heard of the new poet then? Tremendous they say; equal to Shakspeare—quite a great man."

"Indeed! Oh, how I long to see him!"

"Well, perhaps you may one of these days. Bristles—my friend Bristles of the Universal-says he's a perfect—what do they call that pretty street in Southampton?—Paragon—a perfect paragon, Bristles says: I'll ask him to dinner some day."

"What day?—Oh, let it be soon, dear papa!"

"There's a dear delightful enthusiastic girl! We ought to encourage people of genius. Curious we never heard of him before, for he was our neighbour, I hear, in Finsbury; but poor, I suppose, and did not mix with our set even then."

Mr Pitskiver looked at the opposite side of the street while he spoke, as if to assure himself that he was in a still higher altitude above the poet now than some few years before. But, as if feeling called on to show his increased superiority by greater condescension, he said, as he walked out of the room, "I shall certainly have him to dinner, and Bristles, and some more men of talent to meet him—

'The feast of reason, and the flow of soul!'"

the only quotation, by the way, in which Mr Pitskiver was ever known to indulge.


Miss Hendy had formerly kept a school, and her portrait would have done very well for a frontispiece to Mrs Trimmer. She was what is called prim in her manner, and as delicate as an American. She always called the legs of a table its props—for the word legs was highly unfeminine. She admired talent, and gave it vast quantities of tea and toast. Her drawing-room was a temple of the Muses, and only open to those who were bountifully endowed with the gifts of nature or of fortune; for she considered it a great part of her duty to act as a kind of link between Plutus and Minerva. In the effort to discover objects worthy of her recommendation, she was mainly aided by the celebrated Mr Bristles. Every [pg 506] month whole troops of Herschels and Wordsworths, and Humes and Gibbons, were presented to her by the great critic; and with a devout faith in all he told her, she listened enraptured to the praises of those astonishing geniuses, till she had begun to enter into Mr Bristles's own feelings of contempt for every body except the favoured few. And to-night was the grand debut of a more remarkable phenomenon than any of the others. A youth of twenty-three, tall, modest, intellectual, and long-haired—in short, the "Ticket"—was to read the opening of a tragedy; and sculptors, painters, mechanicians, and city Croesuses, were invited to be present at the display. Among these last shone our friend Mr Pitskiver, radiant in white waistcoat and gold chains, two rings on each finger, and a cameo the size of a cheese-cake on his neckcloth. The other critic, in right of his account at the bank, was a tall silent gentleman, a wood-merchant from the Boro', who nodded his head in an oracular manner when any thing was said above his comprehension; and who was a patron of rising talent, on the same enlightened principles as his friend Mr Pitskiver. Mr Whalley also showed his patronage in the same economical manner as the other, and expected immortality at the expense of a few roasts of beef and bottles of new wine.

Mr Bristles was also of the dinner party—an arrangement made by the provident Miss Hendy, that the two millionaires might receive a little preliminary information on the merits of the rest of the company, who were only invited to tea. Four maiden ladies (who had pulled on blue stockings in order to hide the increasing thickness of their ankles, and considered Miss Hendy the legitimate successor of Madame de Staël, and Mr Pitskiver in Harley Street the beau-ideal of love in a cottage) relieved the monotony of a gentleman party by as profuse a display of female charms as low gowns and short sleeves would allow. And about six o'clock there was a highly interesting and superior party of eight, to whom Miss Hendy administered cod's-head and shoulders, aphorisms and oyster sauce, in almost equal proportion; while Mr Pitskiver, like a "sweet seducer, blandly smiling," made polite enquiries whether he should not relieve her of the trouble.—"Oh no!—it degrades woman from the lofty sphere of equal usefulness with the rougher sex. Why shouldn't a lady help fish?—Why should she confess her inferiority? The post assigned to her by nature—though usurped by man—is to elevate by her example, to enlighten by her precepts, and to add to the great aggregate of human felicity by a manifestation of all the virtues;" saying this, she inserted her knife with astonishing dexterity just under the gills—and looked round for approbation.

Mr Pitskiver had recourse to his usual expedient, and said something about the feast of reason; Mr Whalley shook his head in a way that would have made his fortune in a grocer's window in the character of Howqua; and Mr Bristles prepared himself to reply—while the four literary maidens turned their eyes on Aristarchus in expectation of hearing something fine. "I decidedly am of opinion," said that great man, "that woman's sphere is greatly misunderstood, and that you maintain the dignity of your glorious sex by carving the fish.—Yet on being further interrogated, I should be inclined to proceed with my statement, and assert that you deprive us of pleasure, in debarring us from giving you our assistance."

"Then, why don't you help us with our samplers? why don't you aid us in our knitting? why don't you assist us in hemming garments?"—exclaimed Miss Hendy, digging her spoon into the oyster-boat.

"This is what I call the feast and flow," said Mr Pitskiver; while Mr Whalley nearly shook his head off his shoulders on to the table-cloth. The young ladies looked slyly at Mr Pitskiver, and laughed.

"It would be rather undignified," said Mr Bristles, "to see the Lord Chancellor darning a stocking."

"Dignity! the very thing I complain of. Why more undignified in a Lord Chancellor, or a Bishop, than in his wife? Oh, will the time never come when society will be so regenerated, that man will know his own position, and woman—noble, elevating, surprising woman—will assume the [pg 507] rank to which her powers and virtues entitle her!"

Mr Bristles was very hungry, and at that moment received his plate.—"Really, Miss Hendy," he said, with his mouth prodigiously distended with codfish—"there's no arguing against such eloquence. I must give in." But Miss Hendy, who had probably lunched, determined to accept no surrender.—"No," she cried—"you shall not give in, till I have overwhelmed you with reasons for your submission. A great move is in progress—woman's rights and duties are becoming every day more widely appreciated. The old-fashioned scale must be re-adjusted, and woman—noble, elevating, surprising woman—ascend to the loftiest eminence, and sit superior on the topmost branch of the social tree."

Mr Whalley, whose professional ear was caught by the last word, broke through his usual rule of only nodding his remarks, and ventured to say—"Uncommon bad climbers, for the most part in general, is women. Their clothes isn't adapted for it.—I minds once I see a woman climb a pole after a leg of mutting."

If looks could have killed Mr Whalley, Mr Pitskiver's eyes would certainly have been tried for murder; but that matter-of-fact individual was impervious to the most impassioned glances. Miss Hendy sank her face in horror over her plate, and celestial rosy red overspread her countenance; while a look of the most extraordinary nature rewarded Mr Pitskiver for all his efforts in her behalf. A look!—it went quite through his waistcoat, and if it had gone straight on, must have reached his heart. Mr Pitskiver was amazed at the expression of the look; for he little knew that his labours under the table, in attempting to check Mr Whalley's oratory by pressing his toes, had unfortunately been bestowed on the delicate foot of his hostess; and what less could she do than respond to the gentle courtesy by a glance of gratitude for what she considered a movement of sympathy and condolence under the atrocious reminiscences of the wood-merchant? Mr Whalley, however, was struck with the mournful silence that followed his observation.

"That was a thing as happing'd on a pole," he said. "In cooss it would be wery different on a tree—because of the branches, as I think you was a-saying, Miss Hendy?"

Mr Pitskiver grew desperate. "Bristles," he cried, "any thing new in sculpture? By the by, you haven't sent me Stickleback's jack-ass as you promised. Is it a fine work?"

"I have no hesitation," replied the critic, "with a perfect recollection of Canova's Venus, and even Moggs's Pandean Piper, which I reviewed in last number of the Universal, in declaring that Stickleback's work (it is a female, not a jack-ass) is the noblest effort of the English chisel; there is life about it—a power—a feeling—a sentiment—it is overwhelming! I shall express these ideas in print. Stickleback's fame is secured by a stupendous ass, at once so simple and so grand."

"A female, I think you said?" enquired Miss Hendy.

"A jeanie—miraculously soft, yet full of graceful dignity," replied Bristles bowing to the enquirer, as if the description applied to her.

"I honour the sculptor for breaking through the prejudices of sex in this splendid instance!" exclaimed the lady. "The feminine star is in the ascendant. How much more illustrious the triumph! How greater the difficulty to express in visible types, the soft, subduing, humanizing graces of the female disposition, than to imprint the coarse outline of masculine strength! How rough the contour of an Irish hodman to the sweet flexibilities of the Venus of Canova!"

"Canova was by no means equal to Stickleback," said Mr Bristles magisterially. "I have devoted much time to the study of the fine arts—I have seen many statues—I have frequently been in sculptors' studios; I prefer Stickleback to Canova."

"I honour his moral elevation," observed Miss Hendy, "in stamping on eternal marble the femininity of the subject of his chisel."

"I must really have the first view," whispered Mr Pitskiver. "Can't you [pg 508] remind him, Bristles? Don't send it to Whalley on my account."

But Mr Whalley, who was a rival Mæcenas, put in a word for himself, "Mr Bristles," he said, "this must be a uncomming statty of a she-ass. I oncet was recommended to drink a she-ass's milk myself, and liked it uncomming. I must have the private sight you promised; and, if you'll fix a day, I vill ask you and the artist to dine."

"Certainly, my dear sir—but Mr Pitskiver and Stickleback, they are friends, you know, Mr Whalley, and perhaps Mr P.'s interest may be useful in getting the great artist an order to ornament some of the new buildings. I have some thoughts of recommending him to offer the very statue we talk of for the front of the Mansion-house. A hint on the subject has already appeared in the Universal."

"Miss Hendy," said Mr Pitskiver for the tenth time, "this is the regular feast and flow; and nothing pleases me so much in my good friend Bristles as his candid praise of other men's talents. You seldom find clever people allowing each other's merits."

"Or stupid ones either"—replied Mr Bristles before the lady had time to answer; "the fact is, we are much improved since former days. Our great men don't quarrel as they used to do—conscious of one's own dignity, why refuse a just appreciation of others? Stickleback has often told me, that Chantrey was not altogether without merit—I myself pronounce Macauley far from stupid; and my intellectual friend, young Sidsby, who will read us the first act of his tragedy to-night, allows a very respectable degree of dramatic power to Lord Byron. Surely this is a far better state of things than the perpetual carpings of Popes and Addisons, Smiths and Johnsons, Foxes and Pitts."

"And all owing to the rising influence of the female sex," interposed Miss Hendy. "But woman has not yet received her full development. The time will come when her influence is universal; when, softened, subdued, purified, and elevated, the animal now called Man will be unknown. You will be all women—can the world look for higher destiny?"

"In cooss," observed Mr Whalley—"if we are all turned into woming, the world will come to a end. For 'spose a case;—'spose it had been my sister as married Mrs Whalley instead of me—it's probable there wouldn't have been no great fambly; wich in cooss, if there was no poppleation"—

But what the fearful result of this supposed case would have been, has never been discovered; for Miss Hendy, making a signal to the four representatives of the female sex started out of the room as if she had heard Mr Whalley had the plague, and left the gentlemen to themselves.

"De Staël was no match for that wonderful woman," said Mr Bristles, resuming his chair. "I don't believe so noble an intellect was ever enshrined in so beautiful a form before."

"Do you think her pretty?" enquired Mr Pitskiver.

"Pretty? no, sir—beautiful! Here is the finest sort of loveliness—the light blazing from within, that years cannot extinguish. I consider Miss Hendy the finest woman in England; and decidedly the most intellectual."

The fact of Miss Hendy's beauty had never struck Mr Pitskiver before. But he knew that Bristles was a judge, and took it at once for granted. The finest woman in England had looked in a most marvellous manner into his face, and the small incident of the foot under the table was not forgotten.

Mr Pitskiver was inspired by the subject of his contemplations, and proposed her health in a strain of eloquence which produced a wonderful amount of head-shaking from Mr Whalley, and frequent exclamations of "Demosthenes," "Cicero," "Burke all over!" from the more enraptured Mr Bristles.

"I'm horrible afear'd," observed the elder gentleman putting down his empty glass, "as my son Bill Whalley is a reg'lar fool."

"Oh, pardon me!" exclaimed Bristles—"I haven't the, honour of his intimacy, but—"

[pg 509]

"Only think the liberties he allows himself in regard to this here intellectual lady, Miss Hendy. He never hears her name without a putting of his thumb on the top of his nose, and a shaking of his fingers in my face, and a crying out for a friend of his'n of the name of Walker. Its uncomming provoking—and sich a steady good business hand there ain't in the Boro'. I can't fadom it."

"Some people have positively no souls," chimed in Mr Pitskiver, looking complacently down his beautiful waistcoat, as if he felt that souls were in some sort of proportion to the tenements they inhabited, and that his was of gigantic size; "but I did not think that your son William was so totally void of ideas. I shall talk to him next Sunday's dinner."

"If you talks to him about Memel and Dantzic, you'll find there ain't such a judge of timber in London," said the father, who was evidently proud of his son's mercantile qualifications; "but with regard to this here pottery, and scupshire, and other things as I myself delights in, he don't care nothin about 'em. He wouldn't give twopence to see Stickleback's statty."

"Then he had better not have the honour," said Pitskiver. "Bristles, you'll send it to Harley Street. First view is every thing."

"Really, gentlemen, you are both such exquisite judges of the arts, and such discriminating patrons of artists, that I find it difficult to determine between you. Shall we let Stickleback settle the point himself?"

Both the Mæcenases consented, each at the same time making resolutions in his own mind to make the unhappy artist suffer, if by any chance his rival should get the preference. After another glass or two of the dark-coloured liquid which wore the label of port, and which Bristles maintained was the richest wine he had ever tasted, as it was furnished by a particular friend of his, who, in addition to being a wine merchant, was one of the most talented men in Europe, and a regular contributor to the Universal under the signature "Squirk,"—after another glass or two of this bepraised beverage, which, at the same time, did not seem altogether to suit the taste of the two patrons of the arts and sciences, the gentlemen adjourned to the drawing-room, from which music had been sounding for a considerable time.


On entering the room they were nearly made fitting inmates of the deaf and dumb institution, by the most portentous sounds that ever endangered a human ear. A large party was assembled, ranged solemnly on chairs and sofas all round the wall, every eye turned with intense interest to the upper end of the apartment, where stood a tall stout man, blowing with incredible effect into a twisted horn, which, to all outward appearance, had not long ceased to ornament the forehead of a Highland bull. A common horn it was—and the skill of the strong-winded performer consisted in extracting a succession of roars and bellowings from its upper end, which would have done honour to the vocal powers of its late possessor. A tune it certainly was, for immense outbreaks of sound came at regular intervals, and the performer kept thumping his foot on the floor as if he were keeping time; but as the intermediate notes were of such a very soft nature as to be altogether inaudible, the company were left to fill up the blanks at their own discretion; and Mr Pitskiver, who was somewhat warlike, perceived at once it was Rule Britannia, while Mr Whalley shook his head in a state of profound loyalty, and thought it was God save the Queen. When the ingenious musician withdrew the bull's horn from his mouth, and paused after his labours in a state of extreme calefaction, murmurs of applause ran all round the room.

"Mr Slingo," said Mr Bristles, "Mr Slingo, you have immortalized yourself, by evoking the soul of Handel from so common an instrument as an ox's horn. I have studied music as a science—I have reviewed an [pg 510] opera—and once met Sir Henry Bishop at the Chinese exhibition; and I will make bold to say, that more genius was never shown by Rossini or Cherubini, than you have displayed on this stupendous and interesting occasion. Allow me, Mr Slingo, to shake your hand."

Mr Bristles gave a warm squeeze to the delighted musician's enormous fingers—and all the company were enchanted with the liberality and condescension of the celebrated author, and the humility and gratitude of the musical phenomenon, who could not find words to express his gratification. Miss Hendy was also profuse in her praises. "Pray, Mr Slingo," she said taking the horn, and examining it very closely, "do you know what animal we are indebted to for this delicious instrument?"

"I took it from the head of a brown cow."

"A cow!—ha!"—exclaimed the lady—"but I could have told you so before. There is a sweetness, a softness, and femininization of tone, in the slower passages, that it struck me at once could only proceed from the milder sex. We shall not have to wait long for the answer to a question which has stirred the heart of mankind to its foundations—can Women etherealize society? I say she can—I say she will—I say she shall!"

Miss Hendy said this with considerable vehemence, and darted a look of the same extraordinary nature as had puzzled Mr Pitskiver at dinner, full in the face of that enraptured gentleman.

"Oh, 'pon my soul, she's a very fine woman!" he said almost audibly; and again the commendations of Mr Bristles recurred to his thoughts—"and has such a fund of eloquence. I wish to heaven somebody would take a fancy to my girls! I will ask a lot of young men to dinner."

In the midst of these cogitations he drew near Miss Hendy—and if you were to judge by the number of elbows which young ladies, in all parts of the room, nudged into other young ladies' sides, and the strange smiles and winks that were exchanged by the more distant members of the society—you might easily perceive that there was something very impressive in the manner of his address. He bowed at every word, while the gold chains across his waistcoat glistened and jingled at every motion. Miss Hendy's head also was bent till the white spangles on her turban seemed affected with St Vitus's dance; and their voices gradually sank lower and lower, till they descended at last to an actual whisper. There were seven female hearts in that assemblage bursting with spite, and one with triumph. Mr Pitskiver had never been known to whisper it any body's ear before.

In the mean time Mr Bristles, as literary master of the ceremonies, had made a call on Mr Sidsby to proceed with his reading of the first act of his play. A tall young gentleman, very good-looking, and very shy, was with difficulty persuaded to seat himself in the middle of the room; and with trembling hands he drew from his pocket a roll of manuscript, though, to judge from his manner, he did not seem quite master of his subject.

"Modesty, always the accompaniment of true genius," observed Mr Bristles, apologetically to the expectant audience. "Go on, my good sir; you will gain courage as you proceed."

All was then silent. Mr Pitskiver at Miss Hendy's side, near the door; Mr Whalley straining his long neck to catch the faintest echo of their conversation; the others casting from time to time enquiring glances towards the illustrious pair; but all endeavouring to appear intensely interested in the drama. Mr Sidsby began:—

It was a play of the passions. A black lady fell in love with a white general. Her language was fit for a dragon. She breathed nothing but fire. It seemed, by a strange coincidence of ideas between Sidsby and Shakspeare, to bear no small resemblance to Othello, with the distinction already stated of the colour of the Desdemona. But breathless attention rewarded the reader's toil; and though he occasionally missed a word, in which he was always set right by Mr Bristles, and did not enter very warmly into the more vigorous parts of the declamation, his efforts were [pg 511] received with overwhelming approbation, and Bristles as usual led the chorus of admiration.

"A wonderful play! an astonishing effort! Certainly up to the finest things in Otway, if not of Shakspeare himself—a power, a life, an impetus. I have never met with such a magnificent opening act."

"I wish you would bring him to taste my mutting, Mr Bristles," said Mr Whalley; "as he's a poet he most likely don't touch butcher meat every day, and a good tuck-out of a Sunday won't do him no harm. But I say, Mr Bristles, I must railly make a point of seeing Stickleback's donkey first. Say you'll do it—there's a good fellow."

Mr Pitskiver also extended his hospitable invitation to the successful dramatist; and urged no less warmly his right to the first inspection of the masterpiece of the modern chisel.

"I have had a very particular conversation with Miss Hendy," he said, laying his hand confidentially on the great critic's shoulder.

"An extraordinary woman!" chimed in Bristles, "the glory of the present times."

"I must have an additional treasure to boast of in my house," resumed Mr Pitskiver, whose heart seemed more than ever set on cutting out Mr Whalley in priority of inspection of the unequaled statue. "You'll help me, I know—I may depend on you, Mr Bristles."

"You may indeed, sir—a house such as yours needed only such an addition to make it perfect."

"You'll procure me the pride, the gratification—you'll manage it for me."

"I will indeed," said Mr Bristles, seizing the offered hand of the overjoyed Pitskiver; "since your happiness depends on it, you may trust to me for every exertion."

"And you'll plead my cause—you'll speak in the proper quarter?"

"Certainly, you may consider it all arranged."

"But secretly, quietly, no blabbing—these matters are always best done without noise. I would even keep it from my daughters' knowledge, till we are quite prepared to reveal it in all its charms."

"It is indeed a masterpiece—a chef-d'oeuvre—beauty and expression unequaled."

"I flatter myself I am a bit of a judge; and when I have had it in my possession for a short time, I will let you know the result."

The party were now about to break up.

"Them's uncomming pleasant little meetings, arn't them?" said Mr Whalley to one of the middle-aged spinsters who had been present at dinner; "and I thinks this one is like to have a very favourable conclusion."

"Miss Hendy?" enquired the spinster in breathless anticipation.

"Jist so," responded the other—"there can't be no mystery no longer, and they'll be off for France in a few days."

"For France?—gracious! how do you know?"

"I hear'd Mr Bristles, which is their confidant, say something about a chay and Dover. In cooss they will go that way to Boulogne."

Oh, Mæcenas! is there no difference between the chef-d'oeuvre of the great Stickleback, and the town of Dover and a post-chaise.


In a week after these events, six or seven gentlemen were gathered round a table in a room very near the skylight in the Minerva chambers. Our former acquaintance, Mr Bristles, whose name shone in white paint above the entrance door, was evidently strongly impressed with the dignity of his position; and as in the pauses of conversation he placed the pen he was using transversely in his mouth, and turned over the pages of various books on the table before him, it will be seen that he presided not at a feast of substantial meat and drink, but at one of those regular "feasts and flows" which the great Mr Pitskiver was in the habit of alluding to, in describing the intellectual treats of which he was so prodigious a glutton.

[pg 512]

"What success, Sidsby?" enquired Bristles with a vast appearance of interest.

"None at all," replied the successful dramatist, or, in other words, the long-backed Ticket to whom we were introduced at the commencement of the story. "I have no invitation to dinner yet, and Sophy thinks he has forgotten me."

"That's odd—very odd," mused Mr Bristles, "for I don't know that I ever praised any one half so highly before, not even Stickleback; and the first act was really superb. It took me a whole week to write it."

"But I did not understand some parts of it, and I am afraid I spoiled it in the reading. But Sophy was enchanted with the poem you made me copy."

"A sensible girl; but how to get at the father is the thing. I have mentioned a few of the perfections of our friend Miss Hendy to him in a way that I think will stick. If we could get her good word."

"Oh, she's very good!" replied Sidsby, "she says I'm far above Lord Byron and Thomas Moore."

"Why not? haven't I told you to say, wherever you go, that she is above Corinne?"

"Ah," said Sidsby, "but what's the use of all this to me? I am a wine-merchant, not a poet; my uncle will soon take me into partnership, and when they find out that I know no more about literature than a pig, what an impostor they'll think me!"

"Not more of an impostor than half the other literary men of the day, who have got praised into fame as you have, by judicious and disinterested friends. No: you must still go on. I shall have the second act ready for you next week, and you can make it six dozen of sherry instead of three. You must please the girl first, and get at the father afterwards. She's of a decidedly intellectual turn, and has four thousand pounds in her own right."

"I don't believe she is more intellectual than myself; but that silly old noodle, her father"—

"Stop!" exclaimed Bristles in great agitation, "this is against all rule. Mr Pitskiver is our friend—a man of the profoundest judgment and most capacious understanding. I doubt whether a greater judge of merit ever existed than Mr Pitskiver."

"Hear, hear!" resounded in various degrees of intensity all round the table.

"Well, all I can say is this—that if I don't get on by shamming cleverness, I'll try what open honesty will do, and follow Bill Whalley's advice."

"Bill Whalley! who is he?" asked Bristles with a sneer.

"Son of the old Tom Noddy you make such a precious fool of."

"Mr Whalley of the Boro' is our friend, Mr Sidsby—a man of the profoundest judgment and most capacious understanding. I doubt whether a greater judge of merit ever existed than Mr Whalley of the Boro'."

"Hear hear!" again resounded; and Mr Sidsby, shaking his head, said no more, but looked as sulky as his naturally good-tempered features would let him.

"And now, Stickleback," said Mr Bristles—"I am happy to tell you your fortune is made; your fame will rise higher and higher."

A little dark-complexioned man with very large mouth and very flat nose, looked a little disdainful at this speech, which to any one else would have sounded like a compliment.

"I always knew that merit such as I felt I possessed, would force its way, in spite of envy and detraction," he said.

"We have an uphill fight of it, I assure you," rejoined Mr Bristles; "but by dint of throwing it on pretty thick, we are in hopes some of it will stick."

"Now, Mr Bristles," resumed the artist, "I don't at all like the style you talk in to me. You always speak as if my reputation had been made by your praises. Now, talents such as mine"—

"Are very high, my good sir; no one who reads the Universal doubts that fact for a moment."

"Talents, I say, such as mine," pursued Mr Stickleback, "were sure to raise me to the highest honours; and it is too bad for you to claim all the merit of my success."

"Not I; but all our friends here," said Bristles. "For two years we [pg 513] have done nothing but praise you wherever we went. Haven't we sneered at Bailey, and laughed at the ancient statues? Who wrote the epigram on Thorwaldsen—was it not our friend now present, Mr Banks? a gentleman, I must say, perfectly unequaled in the radiance of his wit and the delicious pungency of his satire. Without us, what would you have been?"

"Exactly what I am. The only sculptor worth a sixpence since the fine arts were invented," replied the self-satisfied Mr Stickleback.

"No," said Mr Bristles; "since you force us to tell you what we have done for you, I will mention it. We have persuaded all our friends, we have even persuaded yourself, that you have some knowledge of sculpture; whereas every one who follows his own judgment, and is not led astray by our puffs, must see that you could not carve an old woman's face out of a radish; that you are fit for nothing with the chisel but to smooth gravestones, and cut crying cherubs over a churchyard door; that your donkey"—

"Well, what of my donkey, as you call it?" cried the enraged sculptor, "I have heard you praise it a thousand times."

"Of course you have; but do you think I meant it?"

"As much as I meant what I said, when I praised some of your ridiculous rubbish in the Universal."

"Oh, indeed! Then you think my writings ridiculous rubbish?"

"Yes—I do—very ridiculous rubbish."

"Then let me tell you, Mr Stickleback, you are about as good a critic as a sculptor. My writings, sir, are universally appreciated. To find fault with them shows you are unfit for our acquaintance; and with regard to Mr Pitskiver's recommendation to the city building committee, and your donkey to adorn the pediment of the Mansion-house—you have of course given up all hopes of any interest I may possess."

"Gentlemen," said a young man with small piercing eyes and a rather dirty complexion, with long hair rolling over the collar of his coat—"are you not a little premature in shivering the friendship by a blow of temper which had been consolidated by several years of mutual reciprocity?"

"Silence, Snooksby!—I have been insulted. I was ever a foe to ingratitude, and grievous shall the expiation be," replied Bristles.

"I now address myself to you, sir," continued Snooksby, turning to the wrathful sculptor, whose wrath, however, had begun to evaporate in reflecting on the diminished chance of the promotion so repeatedly promised by Mr Bristles for his donkey; "and I feel on this momintous occasion, that it is my impiritive duty to endeavour to reinimite the expiring imbers of amity, and re-knit the relaxed cords of unanimity. Mr Stickleback, you were wrong—decidedly, powerfully, undeniably wrong—in denominiting the splindid lucibritions of our illustrious friend by the name of ridiculous rubbish. Apoligise, apoligise, apoligise; and I know too well the glowing sympithies of that philinthripic heart to doubt for a moment that its vibrations will instantly beat in unisin with yours."

"I never meant to call his writings rubbish," said the subdued sculptor. "I know he's the greatest writer in England."

"And you, my dear Stickleback, the greatest sculptor the world has ever seen!" exclaimed the easily propitiated critic. "Why will you doubt my respect, my admiration of your surpassing talent? Let us understand each other better—we shall both be ever indebted to the eloquent Mr Snooksby—(may he soon get on the vestry, the object of his inadequate ambition;) for a speech more refulgent in simple pathos, varied metaphor, and conclusive reasoning, it has not been my good fortune to hear. When our other friends leave me, Stickleback, I hope you will stay for half an hour. I have a most important secret to confide to you, and a favour to ask."

The hint seemed to be sufficient. The rest of the party soon retired; and Bristles and Stickleback began their confidential conclave.

[pg 514]


But another confidential conclave, of rather a more interesting nature to the parties concerned, took place three days after these occurrences in the shady walk in St James's Park. Under the trees sauntered four people—equally divided—a lady and a gentleman; the ladies brilliantly dressed, stout, and handsome—the gentlemen also in the most fashionable costume: one tall and thin, the long-backed Ticket; and the other short and amazingly comfortable-looking, Mr William Whalley—for shortness called Bill. Whether, while he admired the trunks of the old elms, he calculated what would be their value in deals, this narrative disdains to mention; but it feels by no means bound to retain the same cautious reserve with regard to his sentiments while he gazed into the eyes of Emily Pitskiver. He thought them beautiful eyes; and if they had been turned upon you with the same loving, trusting expression, ten to one you would have thought them beautiful too. The other pair seemed equally happy.

"So you don't like me the worse," said Mr Sidsby, "now that you know I am not a poet?"

"I don't know how it is, but I don't think I care for poetry now at all," replied the lady. "In fact, I suppose my passion for it was never real, and I only fancied I was enchanted with it from hearing papa and Mr Bristles perpetually raving about strength and genius. Is Miss Hendy a really clever woman?"

"A genuine humbug, I should say—gooseberry champagne at two shillings a bottle," was the somewhat professional verdict on Miss Hendy's claims.

"Oh! you shouldn't talk that way of Miss Hendy—who knows but she may be my mamma soon?"

"He can never be such a confounded jackass!" said Mr Sidsby, without giving a local habitation or a name to the personal pronoun he.

"He loses his daughters, I can tell him," said Miss Sophy with a toss of her head, that set all the flowers on the top of her bonnet shaking—"Emily and I are quite resolved on that."

"But what can you do?" enquired the gentleman, who did not appear to be very nearly akin to Œdipus.

"Do? Why, don't we get possession of mamma's fortune if he marries; and can't we—oh, you've squeezed my ring into my finger!"

"My dear Sophy, I was only trying to show you how much I admired your spirit. I hope he'll marry Miss Hendy with all my heart."

When a conversation has got to this point, a chronicle of any pretensions to respectability will maintain a rigid silence; and we will therefore only observe, that by the time Mr William Whalley and Emily had come to Marlborough House, their conversation had arrived at a point where discretion becomes as indispensably a chronicler's duty as in the case of the other couple.

"We must get home," said Sophy.

"Why should you go yet? There is no chance of your father being back from the city for hours to come."

"Oh! but we must get home. We have been out a long time." And so saying, she led the way up the steps by the Duke of York's column, followed by her sister and her swain—and attended at a respectful distance by a tall gentleman with an immense gold-headed walking-stick, displaying nether integuments of the brightest red, and white silk stockings of unexampled purity. The reader, if he had heard the various whispered allusions to different dishes, such as "sheep's head," "calf's foot jelly," "rhubarb tart," and "toasted cheese," would have been at no loss to recognise the indignant Daggles, whose culinary vocabulary it seemed impossible to exhaust. He followed, watching every motion of the happy couples. "Well, if this ain't too bad!—I've a great mind to tell old Pits how them disgusting saussingers runs after his mince-pies—meets 'em in the Park; gallivants with them under the trees as if they was ortolans and beccaficas; bills and coos with 'em as if they was real turtles and punch à la Romaine. [pg 515] How the old cucumber would flare up! Up Regent Street, along Oxford Street, through the square, up to our own door. Well, blowed if that ain't a good one! Into the very house they goes; up stairs to the drawing-room. O Lord! that there should be such impudence in beefsteaks and ingans! They couldn't be more audacious if they was Perigord pies."


Half an hour passed—an hour—and yet the conversation was flowing on as briskly as ever. Mr Bill Whalley had explained the exact difference between Norway and Canada timber, greatly to Miss Emily's satisfaction; and Miss Sophia had again and again expressed her determination to leave the house the moment Miss Hendy entered it; and both the young ladies had related the energetic language in which they had expressed this resolution to their father, and threatened him with immediate desertion if he didn't cut that horrid old schoolmistress at once. The same speeches about happiness and simple cottages, with peace and contentment, had been made a dozen time over by all parties, when the great clock in the hall—a Dutch pendule, inserted in a statue of Time—struck three o'clock, and at the same moment a loud rap was heard at the front door.

"Who can it be?" exclaimed Miss Sophia. "It isn't papa's knock;"—and hiding her face in the thick hydrangia which filled the drawing-room window, she gazed down to catch a glimpse of the entrance steps. She only saw the top of a large wooden case, and the white hat of a gentleman who rested his hand on the burden, and was giving directions to the bearers to be very careful how they carried it up stairs.

Mr Whalley started up, as did Mr Sidsby, in no small alarm. "I wouldn't be found here for half-a-crown," said the former gentleman: "old father would shake his head into a reg'lar palsy if he knew I was philandering here, when the Riga brig is unloading at the wharf."

"Let us go into the back drawing-room," suggested one of the young ladies, "and you can get out quite easily when the parcel, whatever it is, is delivered." They accordingly retired to the back drawing-room, and in a few minutes had the satisfaction of hearing heavy steps on the stairs, and the voice of the redoubtable Mr Bristles saying, "Gently, gently,—I have no hesitation in stating, that you were never entrusted with so valuable a burden before. Deposit it with gentleness on the large table in the middle; and, you may now boast, that your hands have borne the noblest specimen of grace and genius that modern ages have produced."

"It's that everlasting donkey papa is always talking about!" whispered Sophia.

"If it's Stickleback's statue," said Mr William Whalley, "the little vagabond promised the first sight of it to old father. He'll be in a precious stew when he finds his rival has been beforehand!"

The porters now apparently retired, and the youthful prisoners in the back drawing-room tried to effect their escape by the door which opened on the stairs; but, alas! it was locked on the outside, and it was evident, from the soliloquy of Mr Bristles, that their retreat was cut off through the front room. A knock—the well-known rat, tat, tat, of the owner of the mansion—now completed their perplexity; and, in a moment more, they heard the steps of several persons rushing up stairs.

"Mr Pitskiver!" exclaimed Bristles in intense agitation, "you have surely forgotten our agreement—Snooksby! Butters! Banks! Why, I am quite overpowered with the surprise! It was to have been alone, without witnesses; or at most, in my presence. But so public!"

"Never mind, my dear Bristles. Why should I conceal my triumph—my happiness—the boast and gratification of my future days? Let us [pg 516] open the casket that enshrines such unequaled merits."

"If you really wish for no further secresy," replied Mr Bristles.

"Certainly! Don't I know that that case contains a masterpiece, softly sweet and beautifully feminine, as a talented friend of ours would say?"

"An exquisite woman, indeed!" said Bristles; "and a truly talented friend. The case, as you justly observe," proceeded the critic, while he untied the cords, "contains the most glorious manifestation of the softening influences of sex."

"It's a pity she's an ass," suggested Mr Pitskiver. "I can't help thinking that that's a drawback."

"What?—what is a drawback, my dear sir?"

"That femininity, as Miss Hendy calls it, should be brought so prominently forward in the person of an ass."

"An ass?—I don't understand! Are you serious?"

"Serious! to be sure, my dear Bristles. In spite of all efforts to assume an intellectual expression, the donkey, depend upon it, preponderates—the long visage, the dull eyes, the crooked legs—it is impossible to perceive any grace in such a wretched animal. I can't help thinking that if it had been a young girl you had brought me—say, a sleeping nymph—full of youth and beauty, 'twould have been a vast improvement on the scraggy jeanie contained in this box. But clear away, Bristles, we are all impatience."

"My dear sir—Mr Pitskiver—unaccustomed as I am, his I can truly say is the most uncomfortable moment of my life."

"Why, what's the matter with you, Bristles, can't you untie the string?"—"Here," continued Mr Pitskiver, "give me the cord," and so saying he untwisted it in a moment—down fell the side of the case, and to the astonished eyes of the assembled critics, and also of the party in the back drawing-room, revealed, not the masterpiece of the immortal Stickleback, but a female figure enveloped in a grey silk cloak, and covering its face with a white muslin handkerchief.

"Why, what the mischief is all this?" exclaimed the bewildered Mr Pitskiver; "this isn't the jeanie-ass you promised me a sight of. Who the deuce is this?"

The handkerchief was majestically removed, and the sharp eyes of Miss Hendy fixed in unspeakable disdain on the assembled party.

"'Tis I, base man! Are all your protestations of admiration come to this? Who shall doubt hereafter that it is the task of noble, gentle, self-denying woman to elevate society?"

A smothered but very audible laugh proceeding from the back drawing-room, interrupted the further eloquence of the regenerator of mankind; and, finding concealment useless, the two young ladies threw open the door, and advanced with their attendant lovers to the table. The female philosopher, with the assistance of Mr Bristles, descended from her lofty pedestal, and looked unutterable basilisks at the open-mouthed Mæcenas, who turned his eyes from the wooden box to Miss Hendy, and from Miss Hendy to the wooden box, without trusting himself with a word of either explanation or enquiry.

"We told you of our intentions, papa," said Miss Sophia, "if you brought that old lady to your house."

"I didn't bring her; I give you my honour 'twas that scoundrel Bristles," whispered the dismayed Pitskiver.

"You told me sir," exclaimed Bristles, "that you would be for ever indebted to me if I brought this lady to your mansion—that she was the perfection of grace and innocence. By a friendly arrangement with Mr Stickleback, the greatest sculptor of ancient or modern times, I managed to secure to this illustrious woman an admission to your house, which, I understood, she could not openly obtain through the opposition of your daughters. I considered that you knew of the arrangement, sir; and I know that, with a soft and feminine trustfulness, this most gentle and intellectual ornament of her sex and species consented to meet the wish you had so ardently expressed."

"I never had a wish of the kind," cried Mr Pitskiver; "and I believe you talking fellows and chattering [pg 517] women are all in a plot to make me ridiculous. I won't stand it any longer."

"Stand what?" enquired Mr Bristles, knitting his brows.

"Your nonsensical praises of each other—your boastings of Sticklebacks, and Snooksbys, and Bankses; a set of mere humbugs and blockheads! And even this foolish woman, with her femininities and re-invigorating society, I believe to be a regular quack. By dad! one would think there had never been a woman in the world before."

"Your observations are uncalled for"—

"By no manner of means," continued the senior, waxing bolder from the sound of his own voice. "I believe you're in a conspiracy to puff each other into reputation; and, if possible, get hold of some silly fellow's daughters. But no painting, chiseling, writing, or sonneteering blackguard, shall ever catch a girl of mine. What the deuce brings you here, sir?" he added, fiercely turning to Mr Sidsby. "You're the impostor that read the first act of a play"—

"I read it, sir," said the youth, "but didn't write a word of it, I assure you. Bristles is the author, and I gave him six dozen of sherry."

"No indeed, papa; he never wrote a line in his life," said Sophia.

"Then he may have you if he likes."

"Nor I, except in the ledger," modestly observed Mr Bill Whalley.

"Then take Emily with all my heart. Here, Daggles," he continue, ringing the bell, "open the street-door, and show these parties out!"

Amidst muttered threats, fierce looks, and lips contorted into all modes and expression of indignation, the guests speedily disappeared. And while Mr Pitskiver, still panting from his exertions, related to his daughters and their enchanted partners his grounds for anger at the attempt to impose Miss Hendy on him instead of a statue, Mr Daggles shut the front door in great exultation as the last of the intruders vanished, and said—

"Snipe, old Pits may do after all. He ain't a bad round of beef; and I almost like our two mutton-chops, since they have freed the house from such shocking sour-crouts and watery taties as I have just flinged into the street."

But it was impossible to convert the great Mr Bristles to the belief into which his quondam follower, Mr Pitskiver, had fallen as to the qualities of Miss Hendy. That literary gentleman had too just a perception of the virtues of the modern Corinne, and of a comfortable house at Hammersmith, with an income of seven hundred a-year, to allow them to waste their sweetness on some indecent clown, unqualified by genius and education to appreciate them. The result of this resolution was seen in a very few days after the interesting scene in Harley Street; and the following announcement in the newspapers will put our readers in as full a state of knowledge as we can boast of being in ourselves:—

"Woman's value Vindicated as the teacher and example of Man, by Mrs Bristles, late Miss Hendy, Hammersmith."

[pg 518]


An interdict has rested, through four months, on the discussion of Irish affairs—an interdict self-imposed by the English press, in a spirit of honourable (almost of superstitious) jealousy on behalf of public justice; jealousy for the law, that it should not be biased by irresponsible statements—jealousy for the accused, that they should not be prejudiced by extra-judicial charges. At length the interdict is raised, and we are all free once more to discuss the great interests so long sealed up and sequestered by the tribunals of Dublin. Could it have been foreseen or fancied, pending this sequestration, that before it should be removed by the delivery of the verdict, nay, two months before the trial should have closed in a technical sense, by the delivery of the sentence, the original interest (profound as it was) would be obliterated, effaced, practically superseded, by a new phasis of the same unparalleled movement? Yet this has happened. A debate, which (like a series of natural echoes) has awakened and revived all the political transactions of last year in Ireland, should naturally have preserved the same relation to those transactions that any other shadow or reflection bears to the substance. And so it would: but unhappily with these rehearsals of the past, have mingled tumultuous menaces of a new plot. And these menaces, in the very act of uttering themselves, advertise for accomplices, and openly organize themselves as the principle of a new faction for refusing tranquillity once more to Ireland. Once more an opportunity is to be stifled for obtaining rest to that afflicted land.

This "monster" debate, therefore, presents us in equal proportions with grounds of disgust and terror—a disgust which forces us often to forget the new form of terror—a terror (from a new conspiracy) which forces us to forget even the late conspiracy of Repeal, and that glorious catastrophe which has trampled it under foot for ever.

It is painful to the understanding—this iteration of statements a thousand times refuted; it is painful to the heart—this eternal neglect (in exchange for a hear, hear) of what the speaker knows to be mere necessities of a poor distracted land: this folly privileged by courtesy, this treason privileged by the place. If indeed of every idle word—meaning not trivial word, but word consciously false—men shall hereafter give account, Heavens! what an arrear, in the single case of Ireland, will by this time have gathered against the House of Commons! Perfectly appalled we are when we look into the formless chaos of that nine nights' debate! Beginning with a motion which he who made it did not wish1 to succeed—ending [pg 519] with a vote by which one-half of the parties to that vote meant the flattest contradiction of all that was contemplated by the rest. On this quarter, a section raging in the highest against the Protestant church—on that quarter, a section (in terror of their constituents) vowing aid to this church, and yet allying themselves with men pledged to her destruction. Here, men rampant against the Minister as having strained the laws, in what regarded Ireland, for the sake of a vigour altogether unnecessary; there, men threatening impeachment—as for a lenity in the same case altogether intolerable! To the right, "how durst you diminish the army in Ireland, leaving that country, up to March 1843, with a force lower by 2400 rank and file shall the lowest that the Whigs had maintained?" To the left, "how durst you govern Ireland by martial strength?" Question from the Minister—"Will you of the Opposition place popish bishops in the House of Lords?" Answer from a premature sponsor of Lord John's—"We will." Answer from Lord John—"I will not." Question retrospective from the Conservatives—"What is it, not being already done, that we could have done for Ireland?" Answer from the Liberals—"Oh, a thousand things!" Question prospective from the Conservatives—"What is it, then, in particular, that you, in our places, would do for Ireland? Name it." Answer from the Liberals—"Oh, nothing in particular!" Sir R. Peel ought to have done for Ireland whole worlds of new things. But the Liberals, with the very same power to do heretofore, and to propose now, neither did then, nor can propose at present. And why? partly because the privilege of acting for Ireland, so fruitful in reproaches, is barren in practice: the one thing that remained to be done,—viz. the putting down agitators—has been done; and partly because the privilege of proposing for Ireland is dangerous: first, as pledging themselves hereafter; second, because to specify, though it were in so trivial a matter as the making pounds into guineas for Maynooth, is but to put on record, and to publish their own party incapacity to agree upon any one of the merest trifles imaginable. Anarchy of anarchies, very mob of very mobs, whose internal strife is greater than your common enmity ab extra—what shall we believe? Which is your true doctrine? Where do you fasten your real charge? Amongst conflicting arguments, which is it that you adopt? Amongst self-destroying purposes, for which is it that you make your election?

It might seem almost unnecessary to answer those who thus answer themselves, or to expose the ruinous architecture of politicians, who thus with mutual hands tear down their own walls as they advance, were it not for the other aspect of the debate. But the times are agitated; the crisis of Ireland is upon us; now, or not at all, there is an opening for a new dawn to arise upon the distracted land; and when a public necessity calls for a contradiction of the enemy, it is a providential bounty that we are able to plead his self-contradiction. In the hurry of the public mind, there is always a danger that many great advantages for the truth should be overlooked: even things seen steadily, yet seen but once and amongst alien objects, are seen to little purpose. Lowered also in their apparent value by the prejudice, that what passes in parliament is but the harmless skirmishing of partisanship, dazzling the eye, but innocuous as the aurora borealis, demonstrations only too certain of coming evils receive but little attention in their earlier stages. Yet undoubtedly, if the laws applicable to conspiracy can in any way be evaded, we may see by the extensive cabal now organizing itself in England for aiding the Irish conspiracy to overthrow the Irish Protestant church, that we have but exchanged one form of agitation for a worse. Worse in what respect? Not as measured simply by the ruin it would cause—between ruin and ruin, there is little reason for choice; but worse, as having all the old supporters that Repeal ever counted, and many others beside. Especially with Repeal agitation recommending itself to the Irish priesthood, and to those whom the priesthood can put in motion, it will recommend itself also and separately to vast multitudes amongst ourselves. It is worse also—not because in the event more ruinous, but because in its means less desperate. All the [pg 520] factious in politics and the schismatic in religion—all those who, caring little or nothing about religion as a spiritual interest, seek to overthrow the present Ministers—all those who (caring little or nothing about politics as a trading interest) seek to overthrow the Church of England—all, again, who are distressed in point of patriotism, as in Ireland many are, hoping to establish a foreign influence upon any prosperous body of native prejudice against British influence, are now throwing themselves, as by a forlorn hope, into this rearmost of their batteries, (but also the strongest)—a deadly and combined struggle to pull down the Irish Protestant establishment. And why? because nothing else is left to them as a hopeful subject of conspiracy, now that the Repeal conspiracy is crushed; and because in its own nature an assault upon Protestantism has always been a promising speculation—sure to draw support from England, whilst Repeal drew none; and because such an assault strikes at the citadel of our strength. For the established church of Ireland is the one main lever by which Great Britain carries out the machinery of her power over the Irish people. The Protestant church is by analogy the umbilical cord through which England connects herself materially with Ireland; through that she propagates her milder influence; that gone, the rest would offer only coercive influence. Without going diffusively into such a point, two vast advantages to the civil administration, from the predominance of a Protestant church in Ireland, meet us at the threshold: 1st, that it moulds by the gentlest of all possible agencies the recusant part of this Irish nation into a growing conformity with the two other limbs of the empire. The Irish population is usually assumed at about one fourth part of the total imperial population. Now, the gradual absorption of so large a section amongst our resources into the temper, sympathies, and moral habits of the rest, is an object to be kept in view by every successive government, let their politics otherwise be what they may; and therefore to be kept in view by all Irish institutions. In Canada everybody is now aware how much this country has been wanting to herself, (that is, wanting to the united interests equally of England and Canada,) in not having operated from the first upon the political dispositions of the old French population by the powerful machinery of her own language, and in some cases of her institutions. Her neglect in this instance she now feels to have been at her own cost, and therefore politically to have been her crime. Granting to her population a certain degree of education, and of familiarity with the English language, certain civic privileges, (as those of voting at political elections, of holding offices, profitable or honorary, &c.,) under such reasonable latitude as to time as might have made the transition easy, England would have prevented the late wicked insurrection in Canada, and gradually have obliterated the external monuments of French remembrances, which have served only to nurse a senseless (because a hopeless) enmity. Now, in Ireland, the Protestant predominance has long since trained and moulded the channels through which flows the ordinary ambition of her national aristocracy. The Popery of Ireland settles and roots itself chiefly in the peasantry of three provinces. The bias of the gentry, and of the aspiring in all ranks, is towards Protestantism. Activity of mind and honourable ambition in every land, where the two forms of Christianity are politically in equilibrium, move in that same line of direction. Undoubtedly the Emancipation bill of 1829 was calculated, or might have seemed calculated, to disturb this old order of tendencies. But against that disturbance, and in defiance of the unexampled liberality shown to Papists upon every mode of national competition, there is still in action (and judging by the condition of the Irish bar, in undiminished action) the old spontaneous tendency of Protestantism to 'go ahead;' the fact being that the original independency and freedom of the Protestant principle not only create this tendency, but also meet and favour it wherever nature has already created it, so as to operate in the way of a perpetual bounty upon Protestant leanings. Here, therefore, is one of the great advantages to every English government [pg 521] from upholding and fostering, in all modes left open by the Emancipation bill, the Protestant principle—viz. as a principle which is the pledge of a continual tendency to union; since, as no prejudice can flatter itself with seeing the twenty-one millions of our Protestant population pass over to Popery, it remains that we encourage a tendency in the adverse direction, long since established and annually increasing amongst the six and a half Irish Papists. Thus only can our total population be fused; and without that fusion, it will scarcely be hoped that we can enjoy the whole unmutilated use of our own latent power.

Towards such a purpose therefore, as tending to union by its political effects, the Protestant predominancy is useful; and secondly, were it no otherwise useful, it is so to every possible administration by means of its patronage. This function of a government—which, being withdrawn, no government could have the means of sustaining itself for a year—connects the collateral channels of Irish honours and remunerations with the great national current of similar distributions at home. We see that the Scottish establishment, although differing essentially by church government, yet on the ground that doctrinally it is almost in alliance with the Church of England, has not (except by a transient caprice) refused to the crown a portion of its patronage. On the other hand, if the Roman Catholic church were installed as the ruling church, every avenue and access for the government to the administration of national resources so great, would be closed at once. These evils from the overthrow of the Protestant church, we mention in limine, not as the greatest—they are the least; or, at any rate, they are so with reference to the highest interests—but for their immediate results upon the purposes common to all governments; and there they would be fatal, for any Roman Catholic church, where it happens also (like the Irish) to be a Papal church, neither will nor can confide privileges of this nature to the state. A Papal church, not modified (as the Gallican church) by original limitations of the Papal authority, not modified (as even the bigoted churches of Portugal and Austria) by modern conventional limitations of that alien authority, gloomily refuses and must refuse, to accept any thing from the state, for the simple reason that she is incapacitated for giving any thing. Wisely, according to the wisdom of this world, she cuts away from below the footing of the state all ground on which a pretence could ever be advanced for interfering with herself. Consequently, whosoever, and by whatsoever organs, would suffer from the overthrow of the Irish church as now established by law, the administration of the land would feel the effects from such a change, first and instantly. Let us not mistake the case. Mr O'Connell did not seriously aim at Repeal—that he knew too well to be an enterprise which could not surmount its earliest stages without coming into collision with the armed forces of the land; and no man will ever believe that he dreamed of prevailing there. What was it, then, that he did aim at? It was the establishment in supremacy of the Papal church. His meaning was, in case he had been left quietly to build up his aspiring purpose so high as seriously to alarm the government, then suddenly to halt, to propose by way of compromise some step in advance for his own church. Suppose that some arrangement which should have the effect of placing that church on a footing of equality, as a privileged (not as an endowed) church, with the present establishment; this gained, he might have safely left the church herself thenceforwards, from such a position of advantage, to fight her way onwards, to the utter destruction of her rival.

Thus it was that the conspirators hoped to terrify the minister into secret negotiation and compromise. But that hope failed. The minister was firm. He watched and waited his opportunity; he kept his eye settled upon them, to profit by the first opening which their folly should offer to the dreadful artillery of law. At last, said the minister, we will put to proof this vaunt of yours. We dare not bring you to trial, is your boast. Now, we will see that settled; and, at the same time, we will try whether [pg 522] we cannot put you down for ever. That trial was made, and with what perfection of success the reader knows; for let us remind him, that the perfection we speak of lay as much in the manner of the trial as in its result—in the sanctities of abstinence, in the holy forbearance to use any one of many decent advantages, in the reverence for the sublime equities of law. Oh, mightiest of spectacles which human grandeur can unfold to the gaze of less civilized nations, when the ermine of the judge and the judgment-seat, belted by no swords, bristling with no bayonets—when the shadowy power of conscience, citing, as it were, into the immediate presence of God twelve upright men, accomplishing for great kingdoms, by one day's memorable verdict, that solemn revolution which elsewhere would have caused torrents of blood to flow, and would perhaps have unsealed the tears of generations. Since the trial of the seven bishops2—which inaugurated for England the certainty that for her the "bloody writing" was torn which would have consigned her children to the mercies of despotism—there has been no such crisis, no such agitation, no such almighty triumph. Here was the second chapter of the history; and lastly, that the nine nights' debate attached itself as the third, is evident from its real purpose, which may be expressed strictly in this problem: Given, as a fact beyond all doubt, that O'Connell's Repeal conspiracy is for ever shattered; let it now be proposed, as a thing worthy of the combined parties in opposition, to find out some vicarious or supplementary matter for sedition. A new agitation must be found, gentlemen—a new grievance must be had, or Ireland is tranquillized, and we are lost. Was there ever a case illustrating so strongly the maxim, that no man can be effectually ruined except by himself? Here is Lord John Russell, taxed a thousand times with having not merely used Mr O'Connell as an ally, but actually as having lent himself to Mr O'Connell as an instrument. Is that true? A wise man, kind-hearted, [pg 523] and liberal in the construction of motives, will have found himself hitherto unwilling to suppose a thing so full of disgrace; he will have fancied arguments for scepticism. But just at this moment of critical suspense, forth steps Lord John himself, and by his own act dissipates all doubts, frankly subscribing the whole charge against himself; for his own motion reveals and publishes his wrath against the ministers for having extinguished the only man, viz. a piratical conspirator, by whose private license there was any safety for navigating the sea of Irish politics. The exact relation in which Lord John had hitherto stood to Mr O'Connell, was that of a land-owner paying black-mail to the cateran who guaranteed his flocks from molestation: how naturally must the grazier turn with fury on the man who, by suppressing his guardian, has made it hopeless for the future to gain private ease by trafficking in public wrongs! The real grievance was, the lopping Dagon of all power to stand erect, and thus laying the Whig-radical under the necessity of "walking in the light of the constitution" without aid from Irish crutches. The realonus imposed on Lord John's party is, where to look for, and how to suborn, some new idol and some fresh idolatry. Still to dispense with the laws in Ireland in the event of their own return to power, still to banish tranquillity from Ireland in the event of Sir Robert's power continuing, required that some new conspiracy should be cited to the public service, possibly (after the 15th of April) some new conspirator. The new seditious movement could not be doubtful: by many degrees of preference, the war upon the Irish church had the "call." This is to be the war now pursued, and with advantages (as we have already said) never possessed by the Repeal cause. The chief advantage of that lay in the utter darkness to the Irish peasantry of the word "Repeal." What it meant no wizard could guess; and merely as a subject to allure by uncertain hopes, on the old maxim of "omne ignotum pro magnifico," the choice of that word had considerable merit. But the cause of Popery has another kind of merit, and (again we remind the reader) reposes upon another kind of support. In that cause the Irish peasantry will be unaffectedly and spontaneously zealous; in that cause there will be a confluence from many quarters of English aid. Far other phenomena will now come forward. Meetings, even of the kind convened by Mr O'Connell, are not, we must remember, found to be unlawful by the issue of the late trials. Had certain melodramatic features been as cautiously banished from Mr O'Connell's parades as latterly they were affectedly sought, it is certain that, to this hour, he and his pretended myriads would have been untouched by the petrific mace of the policeman. Lay aside this theatrical costuming of cavalry, of military step, &c., and it will be found that these meetings were lawful. Most certainly a meeting for the purpose of petitioning is not, and (unless by its own folly) never can be, found unlawful.

But may not this new conspiracy, which is now mustering and organizing itself, be put down summarily by force? We may judge of that by what has happened to the old conspiracy. Put down by martial violence, or by the police, Repeal would have retired for the moment only to come forward and reconstruct itself in successive shapes of mischief not provided for by law, or not shaped to meet the grasp of an executive so limited as, in these days, any English executive must find itself. On the other hand, once brought under the cognizance of law, it has been crushed in its fraudulent form, and compelled to transmigrate at once into that sincere, substantial, and final form, towards which it was always tending. Whatever of extra peril is connected with a movement so much more intelligible than Repeal, and so much more in alliance with the natural prepossessions of the Irish mind—better it is, after all, that this peril should be forced to show itself in open daylight, than that it should be lurking in ambush or mining underground; ready for a burst when other mischief might be abroad, or evading the clue of our public guardians. Besides that, Repeal also had its own peculiar terrors, notwithstanding that it did not grow up originally upon any stock of popular wishes, but [pg 524] had been an artificial growth propagated by an artificial inoculation. That flame also could burn fiercely when fanned by incendiaries, although it did not supply its own combustibles. And, think as we may of the two evils, valued as mischief against mischief, Repeal against Anti-protestantism, certain it is, that one most important advantage has accrued to Government from the change. Fighting against Repeal, they had to rely upon one sole resource of doubtful issue; for, after all, the law stood on the interpretation of a jury, and therefore too much on the soundness of individual minds; whereas in meeting the assaults of Anti-protestantism, backed as it is by six millions of combatants, ministers will find themselves reposing on the whole strength of two nations, and of that section, even amongst the Irish, which is socially the strongest. An old enemy is thus replaced by a new one many hundred-fold more naturally malignant; true, but immediately the new one will call forth a natural antagonism many thousand-fold more determined. Such is the result; and, though alarming in itself, for ministers it remains an advantage and a trophy. How was this result accomplished? By a Fabian policy of watching, waiting, warding, and assaulting at the right moment. Three times within the last twelve months have the Government been thrown upon their energies of attack and defence; three times have they been summoned to the most trying exercise of skill—vigilantly to parry, and seasonably to strike: first, when their duty was to watch and to arrest agitation; secondly, when their duty was, by process of law, to crush agitation; thirdly, when their duty was to explain and justify before Parliament whatsoever they had done through the two former stages. Now, then, let us rapidly pursue the steps of our ministers through each severally of these three stages; and by seasonable resumé or recapitulation, however brief, let us claim the public praise for what merits praise, and apply our vindication to what has been most misrepresented. The first charge preferred against the Government was, that it did not instantly attack the Repealers on their earliest appearance. We must all recollect this charge, and the bitterness with which it was urged during the whole of last summer; for, in fact, the difference of opinion upon this question led to a schism even amongst the Conservative party and press. The majority, headed by the leading morning paper, have treated it to this day as a ground of suspicion against Government, or at least as an impeachment of their courage, that they should have lingered or hesitated upon the proper policy. Our Journal was amongst the few which, after considerable reflection and perhaps doubt, defended the course adopted; and specifically upon the following suggestion, inter alia, viz. that Peel and the Wellesley were assuredly at that moment watching Mr O'Connell, not at all, therefore, hesitating as to the general character of the policy to be observed, but only waiting for the best mode (best in effect, best in popularity) of enforcing that policy. And we may remind our readers, that on that occasion we applied to the situation of the two parties, as they stood watching and watched, the passage from Wordsworth—

"The vacillating bondsman of the Pope

Shrinks from the verdict of that steadfast eye."

There was no great merit in being right; but it is proper to remind our readers that we were right. And there is considerable merit, more merit than appears, in not having been wrong; for in that we should have followed not only a vast leading majority amongst public authorities, but we should have followed an instinct of impassioned justice, which cannot endure to witness the triumph, though known to be but fugitive, of insolence and hyperbolical audacity. Not as partisans, which was proved by the caution of our manner, but after some deliberation, we expressed our conviction that Government was not slumbering, but surveying its ground, taking up its position, and trying the range of its artillery, in order to strike surely, to strike once, but so that no second blow should be needed. All [pg 525] this has been done; so far our predictions have been realized; and to that extent the Government has vindicated itself. But still it may be asked, to what extent? Doubtless the thing has been done, and done completely. Yet that will not necessarily excuse the Government. To be well done is, in many cases, all that we require; but in questions of civil policy often there is even more importance that it should be soon done, done maturely, (that is, seasonably done with a view to certain evils growing up concurrently with the evil,) done even prematurely with respect to immediate bad consequences open to instant arrest. At this moment amongst the parliamentary opponents of ministers, though some are taxing them with unconstitutional harshness, (or at least with that summum jus which the Roman proverb denounces as summa injuria,) in having ever interfered at all with Mr O'Connell, others of the same faction are roundly imputing to them a system of decoy, a "laying of traps," (that was the word,) in waiting so patiently for the ripening of the Repeal frenzy. Upon the same principle, a criminal may have a right to complain that her Majesty, when extending mercy to a first crime, or a crime palliated by its circumstances, and that a merciful prosecutor who intercedes effectually on his behalf with the court, have both been laying a trap for his future conduct; since, assuredly, there is one motive the less to a base nature for abstaining from evil in the mitigated consequences which the evil drew after it. On the same principle the Repealers, having found Sir R. Peel so anxious, in the first stages of their career, to spare them altogether, were seduced into thinking that surely he never would strike so hard when at length he had made ready to strike. Still, with submission, we think that to found false expectations upon a spirit of lenity, and upon that mistake to found an abuse of goodness that was really sincere, was not the fault of Sir R. Peel, but of the Repealers. Any man's goodness becomes a trap to him who is capable of making it such; since the most noble forbearance, misinterpreted as fear, will probably enough operate as a snare for such a person by tempting him into excesses calculated to rouse that courage with which all genuine forbearance is associated. If the early moderation of Government did really entrap any man, that man has himself, and his own meanness of heart, to thank for his delusion. But were it otherwise, and the Government became properly responsible for any possible misinterpretation of their own lenity—even in that case, it will remain to be enquired whether Government could have acted otherwise than it did. For else, though Government could owe little enough to the conspirator; yet with respect to the ill-educated and misled labouring man, whose honest sensibilities were so grievously played upon by traitors, we do ourselves conceive that Government had a clamorous duty. If such men by thousands believed that the cause of Repeal was patriotic, that we consider a delusion not of a kind or a class to challenge exposure from Government; they have neither such functions assigned to them, nor could they assume any office of teaching without suspicion. But when the credulity of the poor was shown also in anticipating impunity for the leader of Repeal, and upon the ground that ministers feared him, when for this belief there was really much plausible sanction in the behaviour of the Whig ministers—too plainly it became a marked duty of Sir Robert Peel to warn them how matters stood; to let them know that sedition tended to dangerous results, and that his Government was bound by no secret understanding, with sedition for averting its natural penalties. So much, we all agree, was due from the present Government to the poorer classes; and exactly because former governments had practically taken another view of sedition. If, therefore, Sir R. Peel had left unpaid this great debt, he failed grievously in the duties of his high office; but we are of opinion that he did not. We have an obscure remembrance that the Queen's speech uttered a voice on this point—a solemn, a monitory, a parental voice. We seem to recollect also, that in his own parliamentary place he warned the deluded followers of Repeal—that they were engaged in a chase that must be fruitless, and [pg 526] might easily become criminal. What was open to him, therefore, Sir Robert did. He applied motives, such as there were within his power, to lure men away from this seditious service. The "traps" he laid were all in that direction. If more is required of him by people arguing the case at present, it remains to ask whether more was at that time in his power.

The present administration came into power in September 1841. Why the Repealers did not go to work instantly, is more than we can explain; but so it was. In March of 1843, and not sooner, Mr O'Connell opened a new shop of mercenary agitation, and probably for the last time that he will ever do so. The surveillance of Government, it now appears, commenced almost simultaneously; why not the reaction of Government? Upon that it is worth spending a few words. It is now made known to the public, that from the very first Sir R. Peel had taken such measures of precaution as were really open to him. In communicating, officially with any district whatsoever, in any one of the three kingdoms, the proper channel through which the directions travel is the lord-lieutenant of the particular county in which the district lies. He is the direct representative of the sovereign—he stands at the head of the county magistrates, and is officially the organ between the executive and his own rural province. To this officer in every county, Sir R. Peel addressed a letter of instructions; and the principle on which these instructions turned was—that for the present he was to exercise a jealous neutrality; not interfering without further directions in ordinary cases, that is, where simply Repeal was advocated, or individuals were abused; but that, on the first suggestion of local outrages, the first incitement to mischief, arrests and other precautionary measures were to take place. Not much more than twenty years are gone by, since magistrates moved on principles so wholly different, that now, and to the youthful of this generation, they would seem monstrous. In those days, let any man be found to swear that he apprehended danger to his property, or violence to his person, from the assembling of a mob in a place assigned, and the magistrate would have held it his duty to disperse or prevent that meeting. But now on a changé tout cela; and as easily might a magistrate of this day commit Fanny Elssler as a vagabond. Yet even in these days we have heard it mooted—

1. On the mere ground of numerical amount, and as for that reason alone an uncontrollable mass, might not such a meeting have been liable to dispersion? Answer—this allegation of monstrous numbers was uniformly a falsehood; and a falsehood gross and childish. Was it for the dignity of Government to assume, as grounds of action, fables so absurd as these? Not to have assumed them, will never be made an argument of blame against the Executive; and, indeed, it was not possible to do so, since Government had employed qualified persons to estimate the numbers, and in some instances to measure the ground. The only real charge against Government, in connexion with these fables, is (and we grieve to say it) that of having echoed them, in an ambiguous way, at one point of the trials; not exactly assuming them for true, and resting any other truth upon their credit, but repeating them as parts inter alia of current popular hearsay. Now this, though probably the act of some subordinate officer, does a double indignity to Government; it is discreditable to the understanding, if such palpable nursery tales are adopted for any purpose; and openly to adulterate with falsehood, even in those cases where the falsehood is not associated with folly, still more deeply wounds the character of an honourable government. But, besides, had the numerical estimates stood upon any footing of truth, mere numbers could not have been pleaded as an argument for reasonable alarm. The false estimate was not pleaded by the Repealers until after the meetings, and as an inference from facts. But the use of the argument was before the meeting, and to prevent the meeting. And if the experience of past meetings were urged as an argument for presuming that the coming one would be not less numerous, concurrently would be urged this same experience as a demonstration that no [pg 527] danger was to be apprehended. Dangerous the meetings certainly were in another sense; but, in the police sense, so little dangerous, that each successive meeting squared, cubed, &c., in geometrical progression the guarantee in point of safety for all meetings that were to follow.

2. On the ground of sedition, and disaffection to the Government, might not these assemblages have been lawfully dispersed or prevented? Unfortunately, not under our modern atmosphere of political liberality. In time of war, when it may again become necessary, for the very salvation of the land, to suspend the habeas corpus act, sedition would revive into a new meaning. But, at all times, sedition is of too unlimited a nature to form the basis of an affidavit sworn before a police magistrate; and it is an idea which very much sympathizes with the general principles of political rights. When these are unusually licentious, sedition is interpreted liberally and laxly. Where danger tightens the restraints upon popular liberty, the idea of sedition is more narrowly defined. Sedition, besides, very much depends upon overt acts as expounding it. And to take any controversial ground for the basis of restraint upon personal liberty, would probably end in disappointment. At the same time, we must make one remark. Some months ago, in considering what offence was committed by the public avowal of the Repeal doctrine, we contended, that it amounted constructively to treason; and on the following argument—Why had any body supposed it lawful to entertain or to propagate such a doctrine? Simply, on the reflexion that, up to the summer of 1800, there was no union with Ireland: since August of that 1800, this great change had been made. And by what? By an act of Parliament. But could there be any harm in seeking the repeal of a parliamentary act? Is not that done in every session of the two Houses? And as to the more or less importance of an act, that is a matter of opinion. But we contended, that the sanctity of an act is to be deduced from the sanctity of the subjects for which it legislates. And in proof of this, we alleged the Act of Settlement. Were it so, that simply the term Act of Parliament implied a license universally for undoing and canceling it, then how came the Act of Settlement to enjoy so peculiar a consecration? We take upon us to say—that, in any year since the Revolution of 1688-9, to have called a meeting for the purpose of framing a petition against this act, would have been treason. Might not Parliament itself entertain a motion for repealing it, or for modifying it? Certainly; for we have no laws resembling those Athenian laws, which made it capitally punishable to propose their repeal. And secondly,—no body external to the two Houses, however venerable, can have power to take cognizance of words uttered in either of those Houses. Every Parliament, of necessity, must be invested with a discretionary power over every arrangement made by their predecessors. Each several Parliament must have the same power to undo, which former Parliaments had to do. The two Houses have the keys of St Peter—to unloose in the nineteenth century whatever the earliest Parliament in the twelfth century could bind. But this privilege is proper and exclusive to the two Houses acting in conjunction. Outside their walls, no man has power to do more than to propose as a petitioner some lawful change. But how could that be a lawful change which must begin by proposing to shift the allegiance into some other channel than that in which it now flows? The line of succession, as limited in the act, is composed of persons all interested. As against them, merely contingent and reversionary heirs, no treason could exist. But we have supposed the attempt to be against the individual family then occupying the throne. And it is clear that no pretence, drawn from the repealable nature of an English law, can avail to make it less, or other than treason, for a person outside of Parliament to propose the repeal of this act as to any point affecting the existing royal family, or at least, so many of that family as are privileged persons known to the constitution. Now, then, this remark instantly points to two classes of acts; one upon which to all men is open [pg 528] the right of calling for Repeal; another upon which no such right is open. But if this be so, then to urge the legality of calling for a Repeal of the Union, on the ground that this union rests only upon an act of Parliament, is absurd; because that leaves it still doubtful whether this act falls under the one class or the other.

Why do we mention this? Because we think it exceedingly important that the attention of parliament should be called to the subject, and to the necessity of holding certain points in our constitution as absolutely sacred. If a man or party should go about proclaiming the unlawfulness, in a religious sense, of property, and agitating for that doctrine amongst the lower classes by appropriate arguments—it would soon be found necessary to check them, and the sanctity of property would soon be felt to merit civil support. Possibly it will be replied—"Supposing the revolutionary doctrines followed by overt acts, then the true redress is by attacking these acts." Yet every body feels that, if the doctrine and the acts continued to propagate themselves, very soon both would be punished. In the case where missionaries incited negro slaves to outrages on property, or were said to do so, nobody proposed to punish only the overt outrages. So, again, in the event of those doctrines being revived which denounced all differences of rank, and the official distinctions of civil government, it would be too late to punish the results after the bonds of society were generally relaxed. Ministers are placed in a very false position, continually taxing a man with proposing the repeal of a law as if that were an admitted crime, and yet also pronouncing the proposed repeal of any law to be a privilege of every citizen. They will soon find it necessary to make their election for one or other of these incompatible views.

Meantime, in direct opposition to this uncertainty of the ministers, the Irish Attorney-General has drawn the same argument from the Act of Settlement which we have drawn. In February 1844, the Irish Attorney-General pronounced his views; Blackwood's Magazine in August or September 1843. A fact which we mention—not as imputing to that learned gentleman any obligation to ourselves; for, on the contrary, it strengthens the opinion to have been independently adopted by different minds, but in order to acquit ourselves from the natural suspicion of having, in a legal question, derived our own views from a high legal authority.

3. Might not the Repeal Association have been arrested and prosecuted at first, viz. in March 1843, as six months afterwards they were, on a charge of conspiracy? That was a happy thought, by whomsoever suggested; and strange that an idea, so often applied to minor offences as well as to political offences, should not at once have been seen to press with crushing effect upon these disturbers of the public peace. Since the great change in the combination laws, this doctrine of conspiracy is the only means by which masters retain any power at all. Wheresoever there are reciprocal rights, for one of the two antagonist interests to combine in defence of their own, presupposes in very many cases an unfair disturbance of the legal equilibrium. Society, as being an inert body in relation to any separate interests of its own, and chiefly from the obscurity of these interests, cannot be supposed to combine; and therefore cannot combine even to prevent combinations. Government is the perpetual guardian and organ of society in relation to its interests. Government, therefore, prosecutes. This, however, left the original question as to the Repeal of the Irish Union act, whether a lawful attempt or not lawful, untouched. And necessary it was to do so. Had the prosecutor even been satisfied on that point, no jury would have regarded it as other than a delicate question in the casuistry of political metaphysics. But the offence of combining, by means of tumultuous meetings, and by means of connecting with this obscure question rancorous nationalities or personalities, so as to make that a matter of agitating interest to poor men, which else they would have regarded as a pure scholastic abstraction—this was a crime well understood by the jury; and thence [pg 529] flowed the verdict. But could not the same verdict have been obtained in the month of March? Certainly not. For the act of conspiracy must prove itself by collusion between speeches and speeches, between speeches and newspapers, between reporters and newspapers, between newspaper and newspaper. But in the infancy of such a concern, these links of concert and mutual reverberation are few, hard to collect, and unless carelessly diffused, (as in the palmy days of the Repeal Association they were,) difficult to prove.

In short, no indictment could have availed that was not founded on the offence of conspiracy; and that would not have been available with certainty much before the autumn, when in fact the conspirators were held to bail. To have failed would have been ruinous. We have seen how hardly the furious Opposition have submitted to the Government measure, under its present principle of simple confidence in the law as it is: had new laws, or suspension of old ones, been found requisite—the desperate resistance of the Liberals would have reacted contagiously on the excitement in Ireland, so as to cause more mischief in a secondary way, than any measure of restraint upon the Repealers could have healed directly.

It is certain, meantime, that Sir R. Peel did not wish to provoke a struggle with the Repealers. Feeling, probably, considerable doubts upon the issue of any trial, moving upon whatsoever principle—because in any case the composition of the jury must depend a good deal upon chance, and one recusant juror, or one juror falling ill at a critical moment, might have reduced the whole process to a nihility—Sir Robert, like any moderate man, hoped that his warnings might meet with attention. They did not. So far from that, the Repealers kindled into more frenzy through their own violence, irritated no doubt by public sympathy with their worst counsels in America and elsewhere. At length the case indicated in the minister's instructions to the lords-lieutenant of counties, the casus fæderis, actually occurred. One meeting was fixed ostentatiously on the anniversary of the rebellion in 1798; and against the intended meeting at Clontarf, large displays of cavalry and of military discipline were publicly advertised. These things were decisive: the viceroy returned suddenly to Ireland: the Privy Council of Ireland assembled: a proclamation issued from government: the conspirators were arrested: and in the regular course the trials came on.

Such is our account of the first stage in this great political transaction; and this first stage it is which most concerns the reputation of Government. For though the merit of the trials, or second stage, must also belong to Government, so far as regards the resolution to adopt this course, and the general principle of their movement; yet in the particular conduct of their parts, these trials naturally devolved upon the law-officers. In the admirable balance of firmness and forbearance it is hardly possible to imagine the minister exceeded. And here, where chiefly he stood between a double fire of attacks, irreconcilable in themselves, and proceeding not less on friends than foes, it is now found by official exposures that Sir Robert's conduct is not open to a trivial demur. He made his preparations for vindicating the laws in such a spirit of energy, as though he had resolved upon allowing no escape for the enemy; he opened a locus penitentiæ, noiseless and indulgent to the feelings of the offenders, with so constant an overture of placability as if he had resolved upon letting them all escape. The kindness of the manner was as perfect as the brilliancy of the success.

Next, as regards the trials, there is so very much diffused through the speeches or the incidents of what is noticeable on one ground or other—that we shall confine ourselves to those points which are chiefly concerned in the one great factious (let us add fraudulent) attempt within the House of Commons to disparage the justice of the trial. In all history, we remember nothing that ever issued from a baffled and mortified party more audacious than this. As, on the other hand, in all history we remember nothing more anxiously or sublimely conscientious than the whole [pg 530] conduct of the trial. More conspicuously are these qualities displayed, as it was inevitable they should, in the verdict. Never yet has there been a document of this nature more elaborate and fervent in the energy of its distinctions, than this most memorable verdict; and the immortal twelve will send down their names to posterity as the roll-call of those upright citizens, who, in defiance of menaces, purchased peace to their afflicted country at the price of peril to themselves. With partisans, of course, all this goes for nothing; and no cry was more steadily raised in the House of Commons than the revolting falsehood—that the conspirators had not obtained a fair trial. Upon the three pretences by which this monstrous allegation endeavoured to sustain itself, we will say a word. Two quarrels have been raised with incidents occurring at separate stages in the striking of the jury. What happened first of all was supposed to be a mere casual effect of hurry. Good reason there has since appeared, to suspect in this affair no such excusable accident, but a very fraudulent result of a plan for vitiating the whole proceedings. Such things are likely enough to be attempted by obscure partisans. But at all events any trick that may have been practised, is traced decisively to the party of the defendants. But the whole effect of the trick, if such it were, was to diminish the original fund from which the names of the second list were to be drawn, by about one twenty-ninth part. But this inconsiderable loss was as likely to serve the defendants as not; for the object, as we have said, was—simply by vitiating the proceeding to protract the trial, and thus to benefit by a larger range of favourable accidents. But why not cure this irregularity, however caused, by the means open to the court? Simply for these reasons, explained by the Attorney-General:—1st, that such a proceeding would operate injuriously upon many other trials; and 2d, as to this particular trial, that it would delay it until the year 1845. The next incident is still more illustrative of the determination, taken beforehand, to quarrel with the arrangements, on whatever principle conducted. When the list of persons eligible as jurors has been reduced by the unobjectionable process of balloting to forty-eight, from that amount they are further reduced by ultimate challenges; and the necessity resting upon each party to make these challenges is not discretional, but peremptory. It happened that the officer who challenged on behalf of the crown, struck off about ten Roman Catholics. The public are weary of hearing it explained—that these names were not challenged as Catholics, but as Repealers. Some persons have gone so far as to maintain—that even Repealers ought not to have been challenged. This, however, has been found rather too strong a doctrine for the House of Commons—to have asked for a verdict of guilty from men glorying in the very name which expresses the offence. Did any man ever suggest a special jury of smugglers in a suit of our lady the Queen, for the offence of "running" goods? Yet certainly they are well qualified as respects professional knowledge of the case. We on our part maintain, that not merely Repealers were inadmissible on the Dublin jury, but generally Roman Catholics; and we say this without disrespect to that body, as will appear from what follows. It will often happen that men are challenged as labouring under prejudices which disqualify them for an impartial discharge of a juror's duty. But these prejudices may be of two kinds. First, they may be the natural product of a certain birth, education, and connexion; and these are cases in which it will almost be a duty for one so biased to have contracted something of a permanent inability to judge fairly under circumstances which interest his prejudices. But secondly, there are other prejudices, as, for instance, of passions, of blind anger, or of selfish interest. Such cases of prejudice are less honourable; and yet no man scruples to tell another, under circumstances of this nature, that he cannot place confidence in his impartiality. No offence is either meant or taken. A trial is transferred from Radnorshire to Warwickshire in order to secure justice: yet Radnorshire is not offended. And every day a witness is [pg 531] told to stand down, when he is acknowledged to have the slightest pecuniary interest in the case, without feeling himself insulted. Yet the insinuation is a most gross one—that, because he might be ten guineas richer or poorer by the event of the trial, he is not capable of giving a fair testimony. This would be humiliating, were it not seen that keen interests compel men to speak bluntly and plainly: men cannot sacrifice their prospects of justice to ceremony and form. Now, when a Roman Catholic is challenged as a juryman, it is under the first and comparatively inoffensive mode of imputation. It is not said—you are under a cloud of passion, or under a bias of gross self-interest. But simply—you have certain religious opinions: no imputation is made on your integrity. On the contrary, it is honourable to you that you should be alive to the interests of your class. Some think, and so may you, that separation from England would elevate the Catholics; since, in such a case, undoubtedly your religion would become predominant in Ireland. It is but natural, therefore, that you should lean to the cause of those who favour yours. In setting aside a Catholic as a juryman on the trial of Repealers, this is the imputation made upon him. Now, what is there in that to wound any man's feelings? Lastly, it is alleged that the presiding judge summed up in terms unfavourable to the Repealers. Of course he did; and, as an upright judge, how could he have done otherwise? Let us for one moment consider this point also. It is often said that the judge is counsel for the prisoner. But this is a gross misconception. The judge, properly speaking, is counsel for the law, and for every thing which can effect the right understanding of the evidence. Consequently he sometimes appears to be advocating the prisoner's cause, merely because the point which he is clearing up happens to make for the prisoner. But equally he would have appeared to be against the prisoner, if he found it necessary to dissipate perplexities that would have benefited the prisoner. His business is with no personal interest, but generally with the interest of truth and equity—whichever way those may point. Upon this principle, in summing up, it is the judge's duty to appraise the entire evidence; and if any argument lurks obscurely in the evidence, he must strip it of its obscurity, and bring it forward with fuller advantage. That may happen to favour the prisoner, or it may weigh against him. But the judge cannot have any regard to these consequences. His concern is simply with the pressure and incidence of the testimony. If, therefore, a prisoner has brought forward witnesses who were able to depose any thing in his favour, be assured that the judge will not overlook that deposition. But, if no such deposition were made, is it meant that the judge is to invent it? The whole notion has grown out of the original conceit—that a defendant in relation to the judge is in the relation of a client to an advocate. But this is no otherwise true than as it is true of every party and interest connected with the case. All these alike the judge is to uphold in their true equitable position and rights. In summing up, the judge used such facts as had been furnished to him. All these happened to be against the Repealers; and therefore the judge appeared to be against then. But the same impression would have resulted, if he had simply read his notes of the evidence.

Such are the desperate attempts to fasten charges of unfairness on this fairest of all recorded trials. And with an interest so keen in promoting the belief of some unfairness, was there ever yet a trial that could have satisfied the losing party? Losers have a proverbial privilege for being out of temper. But in this case more is sought than the mere gratification of wrath. Fresh hopes spring up in every stage of this protracted contest, and they are all equally groundless. First, Mr O'Connell was not to be arrested: it was impossible and absurd to suppose it. Next, being arrested, he was not to be tried. We must all remember the many assurances in Dublin papers—that all was done to save appearances, but that no trial would take place. Then, when it was past denial that the trial had really begun, it was to break down on grounds past numbering. Finally, [pg 532] the jury would never dare to record a verdict of guilty. This, however, being actually done, then was Mr O'Connell to bring writs of error; he was to "take the sense" of the whole Irish bench; and, having taken all that, he was to take the sense of the Lords. And after all these things were accomplished, finally (as we then understood it) he was to take himself off in the direction pointed out by the judges. But we find that he has not yet reconciled himself to that. Intimations come out at intervals that the judges will never dare to pass any but a nominal sentence upon him. We conclude that all these endless conflicts with the legal necessities of his case are the mere gasconades of Irish newspapers, addressing themselves to provincial readers. Were there reason to suppose them authorized by the Repealers, there would be still higher argument for what we are going to say. But under any circumstances, we agree with the opinion expressed dispassionately and seasonably by the Times newspaper—that judgment must be executed in this case. We agree with that journal—that the nation requires it as a homage rendered necessary to the violated majesty of law. Nobody wishes that, at Mr O'Connell's age, any severe punishment should be inflicted. Nobody will misunderstand, in such a case, the mitigation of the sentence. The very absence of all claim to mitigation, makes it impossible to mistake the motive to lenity in his case. But judgment must be done on Cawdor. Two aggravations, and heavy ones, of the offence have occurred even since the trial. One is the tone of defiance still maintained by newspapers under his control. Already, with one voice, they are ready to assure the country, in case of the sentence being incommensurate to the case, that Government wished to be severe, but had not courage for the effort; and that Government dares not enforce the sentence. The other aggravation lies in this—that he, a convicted conspirator, has presumed to take his seat amongst the senators of the land—"Venit in senatum, fit particeps consilii." Yet Catiline, here denounced to the public rage, was not a convicted conspirator; and even his conspiracy rests very much on the word of an enemy. It is true that, in some formal sense, a man's conviction is not complete in our law until sentence has been pronounced. But this makes no real difference as to the scandalous affront which Mr O'Connell has thus put upon the laws of the land. And in that view it is, viz. as an atonement for the many outrages offered to the laws, that the nation waits for the consummation of this public example.

Footnote 1: (return)

The reader may suppose that Lord John Russell had no motive for wishing his motion to fail, because (as he was truly admonished by Sir Robert Peel) that motion pledged him to nothing, and was "an exercise in political fluxions on the problem of combining the maximum of damage to his opponents with the minimum of prospective engagement to himself." True: but for all that Lord John would have cursed the hour in which he resolved on such a motion, had it succeeded. What would have followed? Ministers would have gone out: Sir Robert Peel has repeatedly said they would in the event of parliament condemning their Irish policy. This would bring in Lord John, and then would be revealed the distraction of his party, the chicanery of his late motion, and the mere incapacity of moving at all upon Irish questions, either to the right or to the left, for any government which at this moment the Whig-radicals could form. Doubtless, Lord John cherishes hopes of future power; but not at present. "Wait a little," is his secret caution to friends: let us see Ireland settled; let the turn be taken; let the policy of Sir Robert Peel (at length able to operate through the last assertion of the law) have once taken root; and then, having the benefit of measures which past declarations would not permit him personally to initiate, nor his party even to propose, Lord John might return to power securely—saying of the Peel policy, "Fieri non debuit, factum valet."

Footnote 2: (return)

The trial of the seven bishops for declining to obey the king's order in council against what, in conscience, they believed to be the law of the land, is the more strictly a parallel case, because, as in Ireland, the whole Popish part of the population—in effect, therefore, the whole physical strength of the land—seemed to have arrayed itself on the side of the conspiracy; so in England, the only armed force, and that close to London, was supposed to have been bought over by the systematic indulgence of the king. Himself and the queen (Mary of Modena) had courted them through the summer. But all was fruitless against the overwhelming sympathy of the troops with an universal popular feeling. Bishop Burnet mentions that this army (about 10,000 men, and then encamped beyond Hounslow) broke into tremendous cheers at the moment when the news of the acquittal reached them. Whilst lauding their Creator his majesty was present. But a far more picturesque account of the case is given by an ancestor of the present Lord Lonsdale's, whose memoirs (still in MS.) are alluded to in one of his Ecclesiastic Sonnets by Mr Wordsworth, our present illustrious laureate. One trait is of a nature so fine, and so inevitable under similar circumstances of interest, that, but for the intervention of the sea, we should certainly have witnessed its repetition on the termination of the Dublin trials. Lord Lowther (such was the title at that time) mentions that, as the bishops came down the Thames in their boat after their acquittal, a perpetual series of men, linked knee to knee, knelt down along the shore. The blessing given, up rose a continuous thunder of huzzas; and these, by a kind of natural telegraph, ran along the streets and the river, through Brentford, and so on to Hounslow. According to the illustration of Lord L., this voice of a nation rolled like a feu-de-joie, or running fire, the who le ten miles from London to Hounslow, within a few minutes; or, like a train of gunpowder laid from London to the camp, this irresistible sentiment finally involved in its torrent evenits professional and hired enemies. Cæsar mentions that such a transmission, telegraphically propagated from mouth to mouth, of a Roman victory, reached himself, at a distance of 160 miles, within about four hours.

Edinburgh: Printed by Ballantyne and Hughes, Paul's Work

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, No.
CCCXLII. Vol. LV. April, 1844, by Various


***** This file should be named 13633-h.htm or *****
This and all associated files of various formats will be found in:

Produced by Jon Ingram, Victoria Woosley, the PG Online Distributed
Proofreading Team, and The Internet Library of Early Journals

Updated editions will replace the previous one--the old editions
will be renamed.

Creating the works from public domain print editions means that no
one owns a United States copyright in these works, so the Foundation
(and you!) can copy and distribute it in the United States without
permission and without paying copyright royalties.  Special rules,
set forth in the General Terms of Use part of this license, apply to
copying and distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works to
protect the PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm concept and trademark.  Project
Gutenberg is a registered trademark, and may not be used if you
charge for the eBooks, unless you receive specific permission.  If you
do not charge anything for copies of this eBook, complying with the
rules is very easy.  You may use this eBook for nearly any purpose
such as creation of derivative works, reports, performances and
research.  They may be modified and printed and given away--you may do
practically ANYTHING with public domain eBooks.  Redistribution is
subject to the trademark license, especially commercial



To protect the Project Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting the free
distribution of electronic works, by using or distributing this work
(or any other work associated in any way with the phrase "Project
Gutenberg"), you agree to comply with all the terms of the Full Project
Gutenberg-tm License (available with this file or online at

Section 1.  General Terms of Use and Redistributing Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic works

1.A.  By reading or using any part of this Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work, you indicate that you have read, understand, agree to
and accept all the terms of this license and intellectual property
(trademark/copyright) agreement.  If you do not agree to abide by all
the terms of this agreement, you must cease using and return or destroy
all copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in your possession.
If you paid a fee for obtaining a copy of or access to a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work and you do not agree to be bound by the
terms of this agreement, you may obtain a refund from the person or
entity to whom you paid the fee as set forth in paragraph 1.E.8.

1.B.  "Project Gutenberg" is a registered trademark.  It may only be
used on or associated in any way with an electronic work by people who
agree to be bound by the terms of this agreement.  There are a few
things that you can do with most Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works
even without complying with the full terms of this agreement.  See
paragraph 1.C below.  There are a lot of things you can do with Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works if you follow the terms of this agreement
and help preserve free future access to Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works.  See paragraph 1.E below.

1.C.  The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation ("the Foundation"
or PGLAF), owns a compilation copyright in the collection of Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works.  Nearly all the individual works in the
collection are in the public domain in the United States.  If an
individual work is in the public domain in the United States and you are
located in the United States, we do not claim a right to prevent you from
copying, distributing, performing, displaying or creating derivative
works based on the work as long as all references to Project Gutenberg
are removed.  Of course, we hope that you will support the Project
Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting free access to electronic works by
freely sharing Project Gutenberg-tm works in compliance with the terms of
this agreement for keeping the Project Gutenberg-tm name associated with
the work.  You can easily comply with the terms of this agreement by
keeping this work in the same format with its attached full Project
Gutenberg-tm License when you share it without charge with others.

1.D.  The copyright laws of the place where you are located also govern
what you can do with this work.  Copyright laws in most countries are in
a constant state of change.  If you are outside the United States, check
the laws of your country in addition to the terms of this agreement
before downloading, copying, displaying, performing, distributing or
creating derivative works based on this work or any other Project
Gutenberg-tm work.  The Foundation makes no representations concerning
the copyright status of any work in any country outside the United

1.E.  Unless you have removed all references to Project Gutenberg:

1.E.1.  The following sentence, with active links to, or other immediate
access to, the full Project Gutenberg-tm License must appear prominently
whenever any copy of a Project Gutenberg-tm work (any work on which the
phrase "Project Gutenberg" appears, or with which the phrase "Project
Gutenberg" is associated) is accessed, displayed, performed, viewed,
copied or distributed:

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

1.E.2.  If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is derived
from the public domain (does not contain a notice indicating that it is
posted with permission of the copyright holder), the work can be copied
and distributed to anyone in the United States without paying any fees
or charges.  If you are redistributing or providing access to a work
with the phrase "Project Gutenberg" associated with or appearing on the
work, you must comply either with the requirements of paragraphs 1.E.1
through 1.E.7 or obtain permission for the use of the work and the
Project Gutenberg-tm trademark as set forth in paragraphs 1.E.8 or

1.E.3.  If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is posted
with the permission of the copyright holder, your use and distribution
must comply with both paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 and any additional
terms imposed by the copyright holder.  Additional terms will be linked
to the Project Gutenberg-tm License for all works posted with the
permission of the copyright holder found at the beginning of this work.

1.E.4.  Do not unlink or detach or remove the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License terms from this work, or any files containing a part of this
work or any other work associated with Project Gutenberg-tm.

1.E.5.  Do not copy, display, perform, distribute or redistribute this
electronic work, or any part of this electronic work, without
prominently displaying the sentence set forth in paragraph 1.E.1 with
active links or immediate access to the full terms of the Project
Gutenberg-tm License.

1.E.6.  You may convert to and distribute this work in any binary,
compressed, marked up, nonproprietary or proprietary form, including any
word processing or hypertext form.  However, if you provide access to or
distribute copies of a Project Gutenberg-tm work in a format other than
"Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other format used in the official version
posted on the official Project Gutenberg-tm web site (,
you must, at no additional cost, fee or expense to the user, provide a
copy, a means of exporting a copy, or a means of obtaining a copy upon
request, of the work in its original "Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other
form.  Any alternate format must include the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License as specified in paragraph 1.E.1.

1.E.7.  Do not charge a fee for access to, viewing, displaying,
performing, copying or distributing any Project Gutenberg-tm works
unless you comply with paragraph 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.8.  You may charge a reasonable fee for copies of or providing
access to or distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works provided

- You pay a royalty fee of 20% of the gross profits you derive from
     the use of Project Gutenberg-tm works calculated using the method
     you already use to calculate your applicable taxes.  The fee is
     owed to the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark, but he
     has agreed to donate royalties under this paragraph to the
     Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation.  Royalty payments
     must be paid within 60 days following each date on which you
     prepare (or are legally required to prepare) your periodic tax
     returns.  Royalty payments should be clearly marked as such and
     sent to the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation at the
     address specified in Section 4, "Information about donations to
     the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation."

- You provide a full refund of any money paid by a user who notifies
     you in writing (or by e-mail) within 30 days of receipt that s/he
     does not agree to the terms of the full Project Gutenberg-tm
     License.  You must require such a user to return or
     destroy all copies of the works possessed in a physical medium
     and discontinue all use of and all access to other copies of
     Project Gutenberg-tm works.

- You provide, in accordance with paragraph 1.F.3, a full refund of any
     money paid for a work or a replacement copy, if a defect in the
     electronic work is discovered and reported to you within 90 days
     of receipt of the work.

- You comply with all other terms of this agreement for free
     distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm works.

1.E.9.  If you wish to charge a fee or distribute a Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work or group of works on different terms than are set
forth in this agreement, you must obtain permission in writing from
both the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation and Michael
Hart, the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark.  Contact the
Foundation as set forth in Section 3 below.


1.F.1.  Project Gutenberg volunteers and employees expend considerable
effort to identify, do copyright research on, transcribe and proofread
public domain works in creating the Project Gutenberg-tm
collection.  Despite these efforts, Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works, and the medium on which they may be stored, may contain
"Defects," such as, but not limited to, incomplete, inaccurate or
corrupt data, transcription errors, a copyright or other intellectual
property infringement, a defective or damaged disk or other medium, a
computer virus, or computer codes that damage or cannot be read by
your equipment.

of Replacement or Refund" described in paragraph 1.F.3, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, the owner of the Project
Gutenberg-tm trademark, and any other party distributing a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work under this agreement, disclaim all
liability to you for damages, costs and expenses, including legal

defect in this electronic work within 90 days of receiving it, you can
receive a refund of the money (if any) you paid for it by sending a
written explanation to the person you received the work from.  If you
received the work on a physical medium, you must return the medium with
your written explanation.  The person or entity that provided you with
the defective work may elect to provide a replacement copy in lieu of a
refund.  If you received the work electronically, the person or entity
providing it to you may choose to give you a second opportunity to
receive the work electronically in lieu of a refund.  If the second copy
is also defective, you may demand a refund in writing without further
opportunities to fix the problem.

1.F.4.  Except for the limited right of replacement or refund set forth
in paragraph 1.F.3, this work is provided to you 'AS-IS' WITH NO OTHER

1.F.5.  Some states do not allow disclaimers of certain implied
warranties or the exclusion or limitation of certain types of damages.
If any disclaimer or limitation set forth in this agreement violates the
law of the state applicable to this agreement, the agreement shall be
interpreted to make the maximum disclaimer or limitation permitted by
the applicable state law.  The invalidity or unenforceability of any
provision of this agreement shall not void the remaining provisions.

1.F.6.  INDEMNITY - You agree to indemnify and hold the Foundation, the
trademark owner, any agent or employee of the Foundation, anyone
providing copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in accordance
with this agreement, and any volunteers associated with the production,
promotion and distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works,
harmless from all liability, costs and expenses, including legal fees,
that arise directly or indirectly from any of the following which you do
or cause to occur: (a) distribution of this or any Project Gutenberg-tm
work, (b) alteration, modification, or additions or deletions to any
Project Gutenberg-tm work, and (c) any Defect you cause.

Section  2.  Information about the Mission of Project Gutenberg-tm

Project Gutenberg-tm is synonymous with the free distribution of
electronic works in formats readable by the widest variety of computers
including obsolete, old, middle-aged and new computers.  It exists
because of the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and donations from
people in all walks of life.

Volunteers and financial support to provide volunteers with the
assistance they need, is critical to reaching Project Gutenberg-tm's
goals and ensuring that the Project Gutenberg-tm collection will
remain freely available for generations to come.  In 2001, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation was created to provide a secure
and permanent future for Project Gutenberg-tm and future generations.
To learn more about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation
and how your efforts and donations can help, see Sections 3 and 4
and the Foundation web page at

Section 3.  Information about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive

The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation is a non profit
501(c)(3) educational corporation organized under the laws of the
state of Mississippi and granted tax exempt status by the Internal
Revenue Service.  The Foundation's EIN or federal tax identification
number is 64-6221541.  Its 501(c)(3) letter is posted at  Contributions to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation are tax deductible to the full extent
permitted by U.S. federal laws and your state's laws.

The Foundation's principal office is located at 4557 Melan Dr. S.
Fairbanks, AK, 99712., but its volunteers and employees are scattered
throughout numerous locations.  Its business office is located at
809 North 1500 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84116, (801) 596-1887, email  Email contact links and up to date contact
information can be found at the Foundation's web site and official
page at

For additional contact information:
     Dr. Gregory B. Newby
     Chief Executive and Director

Section 4.  Information about Donations to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation

Project Gutenberg-tm depends upon and cannot survive without wide
spread public support and donations to carry out its mission of
increasing the number of public domain and licensed works that can be
freely distributed in machine readable form accessible by the widest
array of equipment including outdated equipment.  Many small donations
($1 to $5,000) are particularly important to maintaining tax exempt
status with the IRS.

The Foundation is committed to complying with the laws regulating
charities and charitable donations in all 50 states of the United
States.  Compliance requirements are not uniform and it takes a
considerable effort, much paperwork and many fees to meet and keep up
with these requirements.  We do not solicit donations in locations
where we have not received written confirmation of compliance.  To
SEND DONATIONS or determine the status of compliance for any
particular state visit

While we cannot and do not solicit contributions from states where we
have not met the solicitation requirements, we know of no prohibition
against accepting unsolicited donations from donors in such states who
approach us with offers to donate.

International donations are gratefully accepted, but we cannot make
any statements concerning tax treatment of donations received from
outside the United States.  U.S. laws alone swamp our small staff.

Please check the Project Gutenberg Web pages for current donation
methods and addresses.  Donations are accepted in a number of other
ways including including checks, online payments and credit card
donations.  To donate, please visit:

Section 5.  General Information About Project Gutenberg-tm electronic

Professor Michael S. Hart was the originator of the Project Gutenberg-tm
concept of a library of electronic works that could be freely shared
with anyone.  For thirty years, he produced and distributed Project
Gutenberg-tm eBooks with only a loose network of volunteer support.

Project Gutenberg-tm eBooks are often created from several printed
editions, all of which are confirmed as Public Domain in the U.S.
unless a copyright notice is included.  Thus, we do not necessarily
keep eBooks in compliance with any particular paper edition.

Most people start at our Web site which has the main PG search facility:

This Web site includes information about Project Gutenberg-tm,
including how to make donations to the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation, how to help produce our new eBooks, and how to
subscribe to our email newsletter to hear about new eBooks.