The Project Gutenberg EBook of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine -- Volume
55, No. 340, February, 1844, by Various

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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine -- Volume 55, No. 340, February, 1844

Author: Various

Release Date: July 14, 2005 [EBook #16293]

Language: English

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[pg 133]


It is now about three centuries since Richard Chancellor, pilot-major of the fleet which, under the command of Sir Hugh Willoughby, and by the advice of Sebastian Cabot, set out to discover a north-east passage to China, carried his ship, the Edward Bonaventura, into Archangel. The rest of the fleet put into a haven on the coast of Lapland, where all their crews, with the gallant commander, perished miserably of cold and hunger. Chancellor, accompanied by Master George Killingworthe, found his way to Moscow, where he was courteously entertained by the Tsar Iván IV., surnamed the Terrible. On his return to England in 1554, he delivered a friendly letter from the Tsar to King Edward VI., and announced to the people of England "the discovery of Muscovy." The English adventurers where mightily astonished by the state and splendour of the Russian court, and gave a curious account of their intercourse with the tyrant Iván, who treated them with great familiarity and kindness, though he was perhaps the most atrocious monster, not excepting the worst of the Roman emperors, that ever disgraced a throne. The Tsar "called them to his table to receive each a cup from his hand to drinke, and took into his hand Master George Killingworthe's beard, which reached over the table, and pleasantly delivered it to the metropolitan, who seeming to bless it, said in Russ, 'This is God's gift;' as indeed at that time it was not only thicke, broad, and yellow coulered, but in length five foot and two inches of a size."

Chancellor returned the following year to Moscow, and arranged with the Tsar the commercial privileges and immunities of a new company of merchant-adventurers who desired to trade with Muscovy; but in 1556, while on his way home, accompanied by Osep Neped, the first Russian ambassador to the court of England, their ship was wrecked on our own coast, at Pitsligo bay, where Chancellor was drowned, with most of the crew; but Osep Neped, who escaped, was conducted with much pomp to London, and there established on a firmer basis the commercial relations between the two countries, to which Chancellor's discovery had led, and of which he had laid the foundation. The commerce thus begun has continued uninterrupted, to the mutual advantage of both nations, up to this time, and thousands of our countrymen have there gained wealth and distinction, in commerce, in the arts, in science, and in arms.

But of the twenty-seven millions of men, women, and children who people Great Britain and Ireland, how many may be presumed to know any thing [pg 134]of Russian literature, or even to have enquired whether it contains any thing worth knowing? Are there a dozen literary men or women amongst us who could read a Russian romance, or understand a Russian drama? Dr Bowring was regarded as a prodigy of polyglot learning, because he gave us some very imperfect versions of Russian ballads; and we were thankful even for that contribution, from which, we doubt not, many worthy and well-informed people learned for the first time that Russia produced poets as well as potashes. Russia has lately lost a poet of true genius, of whom his countrymen are proud, and no doubt have a right to be proud, for his poetry found its way at once to the heart of the nation: but how few there are amongst us who know any thing of Poushkin, unless it be his untimely and melancholy end?

The generation that has been so prolific of prose fiction in other parts of Europe, has not been barren in Russia. She boasts of men to whom she is grateful for having adorned her young literature with the creations of their genius, or who have made her history attractive with the allurements of faithful fiction, giving life, and flesh, and blood to its dry bones; and yet, gentle reader, learned or fair—or both fair and learned—whether sombre in small clothes, or brilliant in bas-bleus—how many could you have named a year ago of those names which are the pride and delight of a great European nation, with which we have had an intimate, friendly, and beneficial intercourse for three consecutive centuries, and whose capital has now for some years been easily accessible in ten days from our own?

Surely it is somewhat strange, that while Russia fills so large a space, not only on the map, but in the politics of the world—while the influence of her active mind, and of her powerful muscle, is felt and acknowledged in Europe, Asia, and America—that we, who come in contact with her diplomatic skill and her intelligence at every turn and in every quarter, should never have thought it worth while to take any note of her literature—of the more attractive movements of her mind.

The history, the ancient mythology, and the early Christian legends of Russia, are full of interest. We there encounter the same energetic and warlike people, who, from roving pirates of the Baltic sea, became the founders of dynasties, and who have furnished much of what is most romantic in the history of Europe. The Danes, who ravaged our coasts, and gave a race of princes to England; the Normans, from whom are descended our line of sovereigns, and many of our noble and ancient families—the Normans, who established themselves in Sicily and the Warrhag, or Varangians, who made their leader, Rurik, a sovereign over the ancient Sclavonic republic of Nóvgorod, and gave their own distinctive appellation of Russ to the people and to the country they conquered, were all men of the same race, the same habits, and the same character. The daring spirit of maritime adventure, the love of war, and the thirst of plunder, which brought their barks to the coasts of Britain and of France, was displayed with even greater boldness in Russia. After the death of Rurik, these pirates of the Baltic, under the regent Oleg, launching their galleys on the Borysthenes, forced the descent of the river against hostile tribes, defeated the armies of Byzantium, exercised their ancient craft on the Black sea and on the Bosphorus, and, entering Constantinople in triumph, extorted tribute and a treaty from the Keisar in his palace.

Then, after a time, came the introduction of the Christian religion and of letters; and the contests which terminated in the triumph of Christianity over the ancient mythology, in which the milder deities of the Pantheon, with their attendant spirits of the woods, the streams, and the household hearth, would seem to have mingled with the fiercer gods of the Valhalla. Then the frequent contests and varying fortunes of the principalities into which the country was divided—the invasions of the Tartar hordes, under the successors of Chenjez Khan, destroying every living thing, and deliberately making a desert of every populous place, that grass might more abound for their horses and their flocks—the long and weary domination of these desolating masters; the gradual relaxation of the iron gripe with which they crushed the country; the pomp and power of the Russian church, even in [pg 135] the worst times of Tartar oppression; the first gathering together of the nation's strength as its spirit revived; the first great effort to cast off the load under which its loins had been breaking for more than two centuries, and the desperate valour with which the Russians fought their first great battle for freedom and their faith, and shook the Tartar supremacy, under the brave and skilful Dimítri, on the banks of the Don—the cautious wisdom and foresight with which he created an aristocracy to support the sovereignty he had made hereditary—the pertinacity with which, in every change of fortune, his successors worked out slowly, and more by superior intelligence than by prowess, the deliverance of their country—the final triumph of this wary policy, under the warlike, but consummately able and dexterous management of Iván the Great—the rapidity and force with which the Muscovite power expanded, when it had worn out and cast off the Tartar fetters that had bound it—the cautious and successful attempts of Iván to take from the first a high place amongst the sovereigns of Europe—the progress in the arts of civilized life which was made in his reign—the accession of weight and authority which the sovereign power received from the prudent and dignified demeanour of his son and successor—the sanguinary tyranny with which Iván IV., in the midst of the most revolting atrocities and debaucheries, broke down the power of the aristocracy, prostrated the energies of the nation, and paved the way for successive usurpations—the skilful and crafty policy, and the unscrupulous means by which Boris raised himself to the throne, after he had destroyed the last representatives of the direct line of Rurik, which, in all the vicissitudes of Russian fortune, had hitherto held the chief place in the nation—the taint of guilt which poisoned and polluted a mind otherwise powerful, and not without some virtues, and made him at length a suspicious and cruel tyrant, who, having alienated the good-will of the nation, was unable to oppose the pretensions of an impostor, and swallowed poison to escape the tortures of an upbraiding conscience—the successful imposture of the monk who personated the Prince Dimítri, one of the victims of Boris' ambition, and who was slaughtered on the day of his nuptials at the foot of the throne he had so strangely usurped, by an infuriated mob; not because he was known to be an impostor, but because he was accused of a leaning to the Latin church—the season of anarchy that succeeded and led to fresh impostures, and to the Polish domination—the servile submission of the Russian nobility to Sigismund, king of Poland, to whom they sold their country; the revival of patriotic feelings, almost as soon as the sacrifice had been made—the bold and determined opposition of the Russian church to the usurpation of a Latin prince, the persecutions, the hardships, the martyrdom it endured; the ultimate rising of the Muscovite people at its call—the sanguinary conflict in Moscow; the expulsion of the Poles; the election of Michael Romanoff, the first sovereign of his family and of the reigning dynasty—the whole history of the days of Peter, of Catharine, and of Alexander, and even the less prominent reigns of intermediate sovereigns—are full of the interest and the incidents which are usually considered most available to the writers of historical romance.

But such materials abound in the history of every people. Men of genius for the work find them scattered every where—in the peculiarities of personal character developed in the contests of petty tribes or turbulent burghers, as often as in the revolutions of empires. The value of historical, as well as of other fictions, must be measured by the power and the skill it displays, rather than by the magnitude of the events it describes, or the historical importance of the persons it introduces; and therefore no history can well be exhausted for the higher purposes of fiction. Of what historical importance are the stories on which Shakspeare has founded his Romeo and Juliet—his Othello—his Hamlet, or his Lear? Does the chief interest or excellence of Waverley, or Ivanhoe, or Peveril of the Peak, or Redgauntlet, or Montrose, depend on the delineation of historical characters, or the description of historical events? What space [pg 136] do Balfour of Burleigh, or Rob Roy, or Helen Macgregor, fill in history? The fact appears to be, that, even in the purest historical prose fictions, neither the interest nor the excellence generally depend upon the characters or the incidents most prominent in history. A man of genius, who calls up princes and heroes from the dust into which they have crumbled, may delight us with a more admirable representation than our own minds could have furnished of some one whose name we have long known, and of whose personal bearing, and habits, and daily thoughts, we had but a vague and misty idea; and acknowledging the fidelity of the portrait we may adopt it; and then this historical person becomes to us what the imagination of genius, not what history, has made him, and yet the portrait is probably one in which no contemporary could have recognized any resemblance to the original. But the characters of which history has preserved the most full and faithful accounts, whose recorded actions reflect most accurately the frame of their minds, are precisely those which each man has pictured to himself with most precision, and therefore those of which he is least likely to appreciate another man's imaginary portraits. The image in our own minds is disturbed, and we feel something of the disappointment we experience when we find some one of whom we have heard much very different from what we had imagined him to be. The more intimately and generally an historical character is known, the more unfit must it be for the purposes of fiction.

Then again, in fiction, as in real life, our sympathies are more readily awakened, and more strongly moved, by the sufferings or the successes of those with whom we have much in common—of whose life we are, or fancy that we might have been, a part. The figures that we see in history elevated above the ordinary attributes of man, are magnified as we see them through the mist of our own vague perceptions, and dwindle if we approach too near them. If they are brought down from the lofty pedestal of rank or fame on which they stood, that they may be within reach of the warmest sympathies of men who live upon a lower level, the familiarity to which we are admitted impairs their greatness, on the same principle, that "no man is a hero to his valet-de-chambre."

We are inclined to believe that the great attraction of historical prose fiction is not any facility which it affords for the construction of a better story—for we think it affords none—nor any superior interest that attaches to the known and the prominent characters with which it deals, or to the events it describes; but rather the occasion it gives for making us familiar with the everyday life of the age and the country in which the scene is laid. Independent of the merits of the fiction as a work of imagination, we find another source of pleasure; and, if it be written faithfully and with knowledge, of instruction in the vivid light it casts on the characteristics of man's condition, which history does not deign to record. This kind of excellence may give value to a work which is defective in the higher essential qualifications of imaginative writing; as old ballads and tales, which have no other merit, may be valuable illustrations of the manners of their time, so by carefully collecting and concentrating scattered rays, a man possessed of talents for the task may throw a strong light on states of society that were formerly obscure, and thus greatly enhance the pleasure we derive from any higher merits we may find in his story.

M. Lajétchnikoff, in the work before us, appears to have aimed at both these kinds of excellence; and, in the opinion of his countrymen, to have attained to that of which they are the best or the only good judges. Mr Shaw, to whom we are indebted for all we yet know of this department of Russian literature, tells us in his preface that he selected this romance for translation because—

"It is the work of an author to whom all the critics have adjudged the praise of a perfect acquaintance with the epoch which he has chosen for the scene of his drama. Russian critics, some of whom have reproached M. Lajétchnikoff with certain faults of style, and in particular with innovations on orthography, have all united in conceding to him the merit of great historical accuracy—not only as regards the events and characters of [pg 137] his story, but even in the less important matters of costume, language, &c.

"This degree of accuracy was not accidental: he prepared himself for his work by a careful study of all the ancient documents calculated to throw light upon the period which he desired to recall—a conscientious correctness however, which may be pushed too far; for the original work is disfigured by a great number of obsolete words and expressions, as unintelligible to the modern Russian reader (unless he happened to be an antiquarian) as they would be to an Englishman. These the Translator has, as far as possible, got rid of, and has endeavoured to reduce the explanatory foot-notes—those 'blunder-marks,' as they have been well styled—to as small a number as is consistent with clearness in the text."

M. Lajétchnikoff takes occasion, while referring to some anachronisms which will be found in The Heretic, to state, in the following terms, his opinion of the duties of an historical novelist—

"He must follow rather the poetry of history than its chronology. His business is not to be the slave of dates; he ought to be faithful to the character of the epoch, and of the dramatis personae which he has selected for representation. It is not his business to examine every trifle, to count over with servile minuteness every link in the chain of this epoch, or of the life of this character; that is the department of the historian and the biographer. The mission of the historical novelist is to select from them the most brilliant, the most interesting events, which are connected with the chief personage of his story, and to concentrate them into one poetic moment of his romance. Is it necessary to say that this moment ought to be pervaded by a leading idea?... Thus I understand the duties of the historical novelist. Whether I have fulfilled them, is quite another question."

We are not quite sure what is here meant by "a leading idea." If it be that some abstract idea is to be developed or illustrated, we can neither subscribe to the canon nor discover the leading idea of this specimen of the author's productions; but we rather suppose that he only means to say that there should be a main stream of interest running through the whole story, to which the others are tributary—and in this sense he has acted on the rule; for the heretic, from his birth to his burial, is never lost sight of, and almost the whole action, from the beginning to the end, is either directly or indirectly connected with his fortunes, which preserve their interest throughout, amidst sovereigns and ambassadors, officials and nobles, court intrigues and affairs of state, of love, of war, and of religion. This machinery, though somewhat complicated, is on the whole very skilfully constructed, and moves on smoothly enough without jolting or jarring, without tedious stops or disagreeable interruptions, and without having to turn back every now and then to pick up the passengers it has dropped by the way. The author, however, appears to have assumed—and, writing for Russians, was entitled to assume—that his readers had some previous acquaintance with the history of the country and the times to which his story belongs. His prologue, which has no connexion with the body of the work, but which relates a separate incident that occurred some years after the conclusion of the principal narrative, introduces us to the death-bed of Iván III., at whose court the whole of the subsequent scenes occur; and is calculated from this inversion of time, and the recurrence of similar names, and even of the same persons, to create little confusion in the mind of the reader who is ignorant of Russian history.

"The epoch chosen by Lajétchnikoff," says his translator, "is the fifteenth century; an age most powerfully interesting in the history of every country, and not less so in that of Russia. It was then that the spirit of enquiry, the thirst for new facts and investigations in religious, political, and physical philosophy, was at once stimulated and gratified by the most important discoveries that man had as yet made, and extended itself far beyond the limits of what was then civilized Europe, and spoke, by the powerful voice of Iván III., even to Russia, plunged as she then was in ignorance and superstition. Rude as are the outlines of this great sovereign's historical portrait, and rough as were the means by which he endeavoured to ameliorate his country, it is impossible to deny him a [pg 138] place among those rulers who have won the name of benefactors to their native land."

When Iván III., then twenty-two years old, mounted the tributary throne of Muscovy in 1462, the power of the Tartars, who for nearly two centuries and a half domineered over Russia, had visibly declined. Tamerlane, at the head of fresh swarms from the deserts of Asia, had stricken the Golden Horde which still held Russia in subjection; and having pursued its sovereign, Ioktamish Khan, into the steppes of Kiptchak and Siberia, turned back almost from the gates of Moscow, to seek a richer plunder in Hindostan. Before the Golden Horde could recover from this blow, it was again attacked, defeated, and plundered, by the khan of the Crimea. Still the supremacy of the Tartar was undisputed at Moscow. The Muscovite prince advanced to the outer door of his palace to receive the ambassador of his master; spread costly furs under his horse's feet; kneeled at his stirrup to hear the khan's orders read; presented a cup of kimmis to the Tartar representative, and licked off the drops that fell upon the mane of his horse.

But during nearly a century and a half, the Muscovite princes had laboured successfully to consolidate their own authority, and to unite the nation against its oppressors. The principle of hereditary succession to the dependent throne had been firmly established in the feelings of the people; the ties of country, kindred, and language, and still more the bonds of common religion, had united the discordant principalities into which the country was still divided, by a sentiment of nationality and of hatred against the Tartars, which made them capable of combining against their Mahommedan masters.

Iván's first acts were acts of submission. They were perhaps intended to tranquillize the suspicions with which the first movements of a young prince are certain to be regarded by a jealous superior; and this purpose they effectually served. Without courage or talent for war, his powerful and subtle mind sought to accomplish its objects by intellectual superiority and by craft, rather than by force. Warned by the errors of his predecessors, he did not dispute the right of the Tartars to the tribute, but evaded its payment; and yet contrived to preserve the confidence of the khan by bribing his ministers and his family, and by a ready performance of the most humiliating acts of personal submission. His conduct towards all his enemies—that is, towards all his neighbours—was dictated by a similar policy; he admitted their rights, but he took every safe opportunity to disregard them. So far did he carry the semblance of submission, that the Muscovites were for some years disgusted with the slavish spirit of their prince. His lofty ambition was concealed by rare prudence and caution, and sustained by remarkable firmness and pertinacity of purpose. He never took a step in advance from which he was forced to recede. He had the art to combine with many of his enemies against one, and thus overthrew them all in succession. It was by such means that he cast off the Tartar yoke—curbed the power of Poland—humbled that of Lithuania, subdued Nóvgorod, Tver, Pskoff, Kazán, and Viatka—reannexed Veira, Ouglitch, Rezan, and other appanages to the crown, and added nearly twenty thousand square miles with four millions of subjects to his dominions. He framed a code of laws—improved the condition of his army—established a police in every part of his empire—protected and extended commerce—supported the church, but kept it in subjection to himself; but was at all times arbitrary, often unjust and cruel, and throughout his whole life, quite unscrupulous as to the means he employed to compass his ends.

One of the most successful strokes of his policy, was his marriage with Sophia, daughter of the Emperor Paleologos, who had been driven from Constantinople by the Turks. This alliance, which he sought with great assiduity, not only added to the dignity of his government at home, but opened the way for an intercourse on equal terms with the greatest princes of Europe. It was Sophia who dissuaded him from submitting to the degrading ceremonial which had been observed on receiving the Tartar [pg 139] ambassadors at Moscow—and to her he probably owed the feelings of personal dignity which he evinced in the latter part of his reign. It was this alliance that at once placed the sovereigns of Russia at the head of the whole Greek church; whose dignitaries, driven from the stately dome of St Sophia in Byzantium, found shelter in the humbler temple raised by the piety of their predecessors, some ages before, in the wilds of Muscovy, and more than repaid the hospitality they received by diffusing a love of learning amongst a barbarous people. It was by means of the Greeks who followed Sophia, that Iván was enabled to maintain a diplomatic intercourse with the other governments of Europe; it was from her that Russia received her imperial emblem, the double-headed eagle; it was in her train that science, taste, and refinement penetrated to Moscow; it was probably at her instigation that Iván embellished his capital with the beauties of architecture, and encouraged men of science, and amongst others Antonio, "the heretic," and Fioraventi Aristotle, the architect and mechanician, to settle at Moscow.

But it is time we should proceed to the story. The greater part of the first volume is occupied by an account of the family, birth, and youth of the hero. Born of a noble family in Bohemia, he is educated as a physician. This was not the voluntary act of his parents; for what haughty German baron of those times would have permitted his son to degrade himself by engaging in a profession which was then chiefly occupied by the accursed Jews? No, this was a degradation prepared for the house of Ehrenstein, by the undying revenge of a little Italian physician, whom the stalwart baron had pitched a few yards out of his way during a procession at Rome. This part of the history, though not devoid of interest, is hardly within the bounds of a reasonable probability—but it contains some passages of considerable vigour. The patient lying in wait of the revengeful Italian, and the eagerness with which he presses his advantage, making an act of mercy minister to the gratification of his passion, is not without merit, and will probably have its attractions for those who find pleasure in such conceptions.

The young Antonio is educated by the physician, Antonio Fioraventi of Padua, in ignorance of his birth—is disowned by his father, but cherished by his mother; and grows up an accomplished gentleman, scholar, and leech, of handsome person, captivating manners, and ardent aspirations to extend the limits of science, and to promote the advancement of knowledge and of civilization all over the earth. While these dreams are floating in his mind, a letter on the architect Fioraventi, who had for some time resided in Moscow, to his brother, the Italian physician, requesting him to send some skilful leech to the court of Iván, decides the fate of Antonio.

"Fioraventi began to look out for a physician who would volunteer into a country so distant and so little known: he never thought of proposing the journey to his pupil; his youth—the idea of a separation—of a barbarous country—all terrified the old man. His imagination was no longer wild—the intellect and the heart alone had influence on him. And what had Antony to hope for there? His destiny was assured by the position of his instructor—his tranquillity was secured by circumstances—he could more readily make a name in Italy. The place of physician at the court of the Muscovite Great Prince would suit a poor adventurer; abundance of such men might be found at that time possessed of talents and learning. But hardly was Aristotle's letter communicated to Antony, than visions began to float in his ardent brain.—'To Muscovy!' cried the voice of destiny—'To Muscovy!' echoed through his soul, like a cry remembered from infancy. That soul, in its fairest dreams, had long pined for a new, distant, unknown land and people: Antony wished to be where the physician's foot had never yet penetrated: perhaps he might discover, by questioning a nature still rude and fresh, powers by which he could retain on earth its short-lived inhabitants; perhaps he might extort from a virgin soil the secret of regeneration, or dig up the fountain of the water of life and death. But he who desired to penetrate deeper into the nature of man, might have remarked other motives in his desire. Did not knightly blood boil in his veins? Did not the spirit of adventure whisper in his heart its hopes and high promises? However [pg 140] this might be, he offered, with delight, to go to Muscovy; and when he received the refusal of his preceptor, he began to entreat, to implore him incessantly to recall it.—'Science calls me thither,' he said, 'do not deprive her of new acquisitions, perhaps of important discoveries. Do not deprive me of glory, my only hope and happiness.' And these entreaties were followed by a new refusal.—'Knowest thou not,' cried Fioraventi angrily, 'that the gates of Muscovy are like the gates of hell—step beyond them, and thou canst never return.' But suddenly, unexpectedly, from some secret motive, he ceased to oppose Antony's desire. With tears he gave him his blessing for the journey.—'Who can tell,' said he, 'that this is not the will of fate? Perhaps, in reality, honour and fame await thee there?'

"At Padua was soon known Antony Ehrenstein's determination to make that distant journey; and no one was surprised at it: there were, indeed, many who envied him.

"In truth, the age in which Antony lived was calculated to attune the mind to the search after the unknown, and to serve as an excuse for his visions. The age of deep profligacy, it was also the age of lofty talents, of bold enterprises, of great discoveries. They dug into the bowels of the earth; they kept up in the laboratory an unextinguished fire; they united and separated elements; they buried themselves living, in the tomb, to discover the philosopher's stone, and they found it in the innumerable treasures of chemistry which they bequeathed to posterity. Nicholas Diaz and Vasco de Gama had passed, with one gigantic stride, from one hemisphere to another, and showed that millions of their predecessors were but pigmies. The genius of a third visioned forth a new world, with new oceans—went to it, and brought it to mankind. Gunpowder, the compass, printing, cheap paper, regular armies, the concentration of states and powers, ingenious destruction, and ingenious creation—all were the work of this wondrous age. At this time, also, there began to spread indistinctly about, in Germany and many other countries of Europe, those ideas of reformation, which soon were strengthened, by the persecution of the Western Church, to array themselves in the logical head of Luther, and to flame up in that universal crater, whence the fury, lava, and smoke, were to rush with such tremendous violence on kingdoms and nations. These ideas were then spreading through the multitude, and when resisted, they broke through their dikes, and burst onward with greater violence. The character of Antony, eager, thirsting for novelty, was the expression of his age: he abandoned himself to the dreams of an ardent soul, and only sought whither to carry himself and his accumulations of knowledge.

"Muscovy, wild still, but swelling into vigour, with all her boundless snows and forests, the mystery of her orientalism, was to many a newly-discovered land—a rich mine for human genius. Muscovy, then for the first time beginning to gain mastery over her internal and external foes, then first felt the necessity for real, material civilization."

Antony pays a farewell visit to his mother at the humble tower in Bohemia, where she resided estranged from his father, of whose rank and condition she left him ignorant.

"If there were a paradise upon earth, Antony would have found it in the whole month which he passed in the Bohemian castle. Oh! he would not have exchanged that poor abode, the wild nature on the banks of the Elbe, the caresses of his mother, whose age he would have cherished with his care and love—no! he would not have exchanged all this for magnificent palaces, for the exertions of proud kinsmen to elevate him at the imperial court, for numberless vassals, whom, if he chose, he might hunt to death with hounds.

"But true to his vow, full of the hope of being useful to his mother, to science, and to humanity, the visionary renounced this paradise: his mother blessed him on his long journey to a distant and unknown land: she feared for him; yet she saw that Muscovy would be to him a land of promise—and how could she oppose his wishes?"

Preceding our hero to Moscow, we are presented to the Great Prince before Antonio's arrival. Ambassadors had come from Tver, and a Lithuanian ambassador and his interpreter had been truly or falsely convicted of an attempt to destroy Iván by poison. The Great Prince's enquiry what punishment is decreed against the felon who reaches at another's life, leads to the following dialogue:— [pg 141]

"'In the soudébnik it is decreed,' replied Góuseff, 'whoever shall be accused of larceny, robbery, murder, or false accusation, or other like evil act, and the same shall be manifestly guilty, the boyárin shall doom the same unto the pain of death, and the plaintiff shall have his goods; and if any thing remain, the same shall go to the boyárin and the deacon.'...

"'Ay, the lawyers remember themselves—never fear that the boyárin and deacon forget their fees. And what is written in thy book against royal murderers and conspirators?'

"'In our memory such case hath not arisen.'

"'Even so! you lawyers are ever writing leaf after leaf, and never do ye write all; and then the upright judges begin to gloze, to interpret, to take bribes for dark passages. The law ought to be like an open hand without a glove, (the Prince opened his fist;) every simple man ought to see what is in it, and it should not be able to conceal a grain of corn. Short and clear; and, when needful, seizing firmly!... But as it is, they have put a ragged glove on law; and, besides, they close the fist. Ye may guess—odd or even! they can show one or the other, as they like.'

"'Pardon, my Lord Great Prince; lo, what we will add to the soudébnik—the royal murderer and plotter shall not live.'

"'Be it so. Let not him live, who reached at another's life.' (Here he turned to Kourítzin, but remembering that he was always disinclined to severe punishments, he continued, waving his hand,) 'I forgot that a craven2 croweth not like a cock.' (At these words the deacon's eyes sparkled with satisfaction.) 'Mamón, be this thy care. Tell my judge of Moscow—the court judge—to have the Lithuanian and the interpreter burned alive on the Moskvá—burn them, dost thou hear? that others may not think of such deeds.'

"The dvorétzkoi bowed, and said, stroking his ragged beard—'In a few days will arrive the strangers to build the palace, and the Almayne leech: the Holy Virgin only knoweth whether there be not evil men among them also. Dost thou vouchsafe me to speak what hath come into my mind?'


"'Were it not good to show them an example at once, by punishing the criminals before them?'

"The Great Prince, after a moment's thought, replied—'Aristotle answereth for the leech Antony; he is a disciple of his brother's. The artists of the palace—foreigners—are good men, quiet men ... but ... who can tell!... Mamón, put off the execution till after the coming of the Almayne leech; but see that the fetters sleep not on the evil doers!'

"Here he signed to Mamón to go and fulfill his order."

Here is another scene with the Great Prince.

"He stopped, and turned with an air of stern command to Kourítzin.

"The latter had addressed himself to speak—'The ambassadors from Tver ... from the'...

"'From the prince, thou wouldst say,' burst in Iván Vassílievitch: 'I no longer recognize a Prince of Tver. What—I ask thee, what did he promise in the treaty of conditions which his bishop was to negotiate?—the bishop who is with us now.'

"'To dissolve his alliance with the Polish king, Kazimír, and never without thy knowledge to renew his intercourse with him; nor with thine ill-wishers, nor with Russian deserters: to swear, in his own and his children's name, never to yield to Lithuania.'

"'Hast thou still the letter to King Kazimír from our good brother-in-law and ally—him whom thou yet callest the Great Prince of Tver?'

"'I have it, my lord.'

"'What saith it?'

"'The Prince of Tver urgeth the Polish King against the Lord of All Russia.'

"'Now, as God shall judge me, I have right on my side. Go and tell the envoys from Tver, that I will not receive them: I spoke a word of mercy to them—they mocked at it. What do they take me for?... A bundle of rags, which to-day they may trample in the mud, and to-morrow stick up for a scarecrow in their gardens! Or a puppet—to bow down to it to-day, and to-morrow to cast it into the mire, with [pg 142] Vuiduibái, father vuiduibái!3 No! they have chosen the wrong man. They may spin their traitorous intrigues with the King of Poland, and hail him their lord; but I will go myself and tell Tver who is her real master. Tease me no more with these traitors!'

"Saying this, the Great Prince grew warmer and warmer, and at length he struck his staff upon the ground so violently that it broke in two.

"'Hold! here is our declaration of war,' he added—'yet one word more: had it bent it would have remained whole.'

"Kourítzin, taking the fatal fragments, went out. The philosopher of those days, looking at them, shook his head and thought—'Even so breaketh the mighty rival of Moscow!'"

The Almayne physician is lodged by order of the Great Prince in one of the three stone houses which Moscow could then boast—the habitation of the voévoda Obrazétz, a fine old warrior, a venerable patriarch, and bigot, such as all Russians then were. To him the presence of the heretic is disgusting; his touch would be pollution; and the whole family is thrown into the utmost consternation by the prospect of having to harbour so foul a guest—a magician, a man who had sold his soul to Satan—above all, a heretic. The voévoda had an only daughter, who, with Oriental caution, was carefully screened from the sight of man, as became a high-born Russian maiden.

"From her very infancy Providence had stamped her with the seal of the marvellous; when she was born a star had fallen on the house—on her bosom she bore a mark resembling a cross within a heart. When ten years old, she dreamed of palaces and gardens such as eye had never seen on earth, and faces of unspeakable beauty, and voices that sang, and self-moving dulcimers that played, as it were within her heart, so sweetly and so well, that tongue could never describe it; and, when she awoke from those dreams, she felt a light pressure on her feet, and she thought she perceived that something was resting on them with white wings folded; it was very sweet, and yet awful—and in a moment all was gone. Sometimes she would meditate, sometimes she would dream, she knew not what. Often, when prostrate before the image of the Mother of God, she wept; and these tears she hid from the world, like some holy thing sent down to her from on high. She loved all that was marvellous; and therefore she loved the tales, the legends, the popular songs and stories of those days. How greedily did she listen to her nurse! and what marvels did the eloquent old woman unfold, to the young, burning imagination of her foster child! Anastasia, sometimes abandoning herself to poesy, would forget sleep and food; sometimes her dreams concluded the unfinished tale more vividly, more eloquently far."

We must give the pendant to this picture—the portrait of Obrazétz himself, sitting in his easy-chair, listening to a tale of travels in the East.

"How noble was the aged man, free from stormy passions, finishing the pilgrimage of life! You seemed to behold him in pure white raiment, ready to appear before his heavenly judge. Obrazétz was the chief of the party in years, in grave majestic dignity, and patriarchal air. Crossing his arms upon his staff, he covered them with his beard, downy as the soft fleece of a lamb; the glow of health, deepened by the cup of strong mead, blushed through the snow-white hair with which his cheeks were thickly clothed; he listened with singular attention and delight to the story-teller. This pleasure was painted on his face, and shone brightly in his eyes; from time to time a smile of good-humoured mockery flitted across his lips, but this was only the innocent offspring of irony which was raised in his good heart by Aphónia's boasting, (for very few story-tellers, you know, are free from this sin.) Reclining his shoulders against the back of his arm-chair, he shut his eyes, and, laying his broad hairy hand upon Andrióusha's head, he softly, gently dallied with the boy's flaxen locks. On his countenance the [pg 143] gratification of curiosity was mingled with affectionate tenderness: he was not dozing, but seemed to be losing himself in sweet reveries. In the old man's visions arose the dear never forgotten son, whom he almost fancied he was caressing. When he opened his eyes, their white lashes still bore traces of the touching society of his unearthly guest; but when he remarked that the tear betraying the secret of his heart had disturbed his companions, and made his daughter anxious, the former expression of pleasure again dawned on his face, and doubled the delighted attention of the whole party."

At length the dreaded guest arrived.

"Evil days had fallen on Obrazétz and his family. He seemed himself as though he had lost his wife and son a second time. Khabár raged and stormed like a mountain torrent. Anastasia, hearing the horrible stories—is sometimes trembling like an aspen-leaf, and then weeps like a fountain. She dares not even look forth out of the sliding window of her bower. Why did Vassílii Féodorovitch build such a fine house? Why did he build it so near the Great Prince's palace? 'Tis clear, this was a temptation of the Evil One. He wanted, forsooth, to boast of a nonsuch! He had sinned in his pride.... What would become of him, his son and daughter! Better for them had they never been born!... And all this affliction arose from the boyárin being about to receive a German in his house!"

The voévoda gave strict injunctions that none of his family should go to meet the procession; but M. Lajétchnikoff knows that all such orders are unavailing.

"Curiosity is so strong in human nature, that it can conquer even fear: notwithstanding the orders of the boyárin, all his servants rushed to obtain a glance at the terrible stranger; one at the gate, another through the crevices of the wooden fence, another over it. Khabár, with his arms haughtily a-kimbo, gazed with stern pride from the other gate. Now for the frightful face with mouse's ears, winking owlish eyes streaming with fiendish fire! now for the beak! They beheld a young man, tall, graceful, of noble deportment, overflowing with fresh vigorous life. In his blue eyes shone the light of goodness and benevolence through the moisture called up by the recent spectacle of the execution: the lips, surmounted by a slight soft mustache, bore a good-humoured smile—one of those smiles that it is impossible to feign, and which can only find their source in a heart never troubled by impure passions. Health and frost had united to tinge the cheeks with a light rosy glow; he took off his cap, and his fair curls streamed forth over his broad shoulders. He addressed Mamón in a few words of such Russian as he knew, and in his voice there was something so charming, that even the evil spirit which wandered through the boyárin's heart, sank down to its abyss. This, then, was the horrible stranger, who had harmed Obrazétz and his household! This, then, was he—after all! If this was the devil, the fiend must again have put on his original heavenly form. All the attendants, as they looked upon him, became firmly convinced that he had bewitched their eyes.

"'Haste, Nástia!4 look how handsome he is!' cried Andrióusha to the voevóda's daughter, in whose room he was, looking through the sliding window, which he had drawn back. 'After this, believe stupid reports! My father says that he is my brother: oh, how I shall love him! Look, my dear!'

"And the son of Aristotle, affirming and swearing that he was not deceiving his godmother, drew her, trembling and pale, to the window. Making the sign of the cross, with a fluttering heart she ventured to look out—she could not trust her eyes, again she looked out; confusion! a kind of delighted disappointment, a kind of sweet thrill running through her blood, never before experienced, fixed her for some moments to the spot: but when Anastasia recovered herself from these impressions, she felt ashamed and grieved that she had given way to them. She already felt a kind of repentance. The sorcerer has put on a mask, she thought, remembering her father's words: from this moment she became more frequently pensive."

We are conducted to the state prisons [pg 144] of Moscow, and introduced to some of the prisoners whose names have figured in history. We select the following dialogue as a specimen of the author's power to deal with such matters. The prisoner is Márpha, the lady of Novogorod, who, by her courage and her wealth, had laboured to preserve its independence.

"Here the Great Prince rapped with his staff at a grating; at the knock there looked out an old roman, who was fervently praying on her knees. She was dressed in a much-worn high cap, and in a short veil, poor, but white as new-fallen snow; her silver hair streamed over a threadbare mantle: it was easy to guess that this was no common woman. Her features were very regular, in her dim eyes was expressed intellect, and a kind of stern greatness of soul. She looked proudly and steadily at the Great Prince.

"'For whom wert thou praying, Marphóusha?' asked the sovereign.

"'For whom but for the dead!' she sullenly replied.

"'But for whom in particular, if I may make bold to ask?'

"'Ask concerning that of my child, thou son of a dog—of him who was called thy brother, whom thou murderedst—of Nóvgorod, which thou hast drowned in blood, and covered with ashes!'

"'O, ho, ho!... Thou hast not forgotten thy folly, then—Lady of Nóvgorod the Great.'

"'I was such once, my fair lord!'

"At these words she arose.

"'Wilt thou not think again?'

"'Of what?... I said that I was praying for the dead. Thy Moscow, with all its hovels, can twice a-year be laid in ashes, and twice built up again. The Tartar hath held it two ages in slavery.... It pined, it pined away and yet it remains whole. It hath but changed one bondage for another. But once destroy the queen—Nóvgorod the Great—and Nóvgorod the Great will perish for ever.'

"'How canst thou tell that?'

"'Can ye raise up a city of hewn stone in a hundred years?'

"'I will raise one in a dozen.'

"'Ay, but this is not in the fairy tale, where 'tis done as soon as said. Call together the Hanse traders whom thou hast driven away.'

"'Ha, hucksteress! thou mournest for the traders more than for Nóvgorod itself.'

"'By my huckstering she grew not poor, but rich.'

"'Let me but jingle a piece of money, and straight will fly the merchants from all corners of the world, greedy for my grosches.'

"'Recall the chief citizens whom thou hast exiled to thy towns.'

"'Cheats, knaves, rebels! they are not worth this!'

"'When was power in the wrong? Where is the water of life that can revive those thou hast slain? Even if thou couldst do all this, liberty, liberty would be no more for Nóvgorod, Iván Vassílievitch; and Nóvgorod will never rise again! It may live on awhile like lighted flax, that neither flameth nor goeth out, even as I live in a dungeon!'

"'It is thine inflexible obstinacy that hath ruined both of ye. I should like to have seen how thou wouldst have acted in my place.'

"'Thou hast done thy work, Great Prince of Moscow, I—mine. Triumph not over me, in my dungeon, at my last hour.'

"Márpha Borétzkaia coughed, and her face grew livid; she applied the end of her veil to her lips, but it was instantly stained with blood, and Iván remarked this, though she endeavoured to conceal it.

"'I am sorry for thee, Márpha,' said the Great Prince in a compassionate tone.

"'Sharp is thy glance.... What! doth it delight thee?... Spread this kerchief over Nóvgorod.... 'Twill be a rich pall!'... she added with a smile.

"'Let me in! let me in!... I cannot bear it.... Let me go in to her!' cried Andrióusha, bursting into tears.

"On the Great Prince's countenance was mingled compassion and vexation. He, however, lifted the latch of the door, and let the son of Aristotle pass in to Borétzkaia.

"Andrea kissed her hand. Borétzkaia uttered not a word; she mournfully shook her head, and her warm tears fell upon the boy's face.

"'Ask him how many years she can live,' said the Great Prince to Aristotle, in a whisper.

"'It is much, much, if she live three months; but, perhaps, 'twill be only till [pg 145] spring,' answered Antony. 'No medicine can save her: that blood is a sure herald of death.'

"This reply was translated to Iván Vassílievitch in as low a tone as possible, that Borétzkaia might not hear it; but she waved her hand, and said calmly—'I knew it long ago'....

"'Hearken, Márpha Isákovna, if thou wilt, I will give thee thy liberty, and send thee into another town.'

"'Another town ... another place ... God hath willed it so, without thee!'

"'I would send thee to Báyjetzkoi-Verkh.'

"''Tis true, that was our country. If I could but die in my native land!'

"'Then God be with thee: there thou mayst say thy prayers, give alms to the churches; I will order thy treasury to be delivered up to thee—and remember not the Great Prince of Moscow in anger.'

"She smiled. Have you ever seen something resembling a smile on the jaws of a human skull?

"'Farewell, we shall never meet again,' said the Great Prince.

"'We shall meet at the judgment-seat of God!' was the last reply of Borétzkaia."

The daughter of Obrazétz loved the heretic, who was long unconscious of the feelings he had inspired, and himself untouched by the mysterious fire that was consuming the heart of the young Anastasia. But his turn, too, had come—he, too, had seen and loved; but she knew not of his love—she hardly knew the nature of her own feelings; sometimes she feared she was under the influence of magic, or imagined that the anxiety she felt for the heretic was a holy desire to turn him from the errors of his faith to save his immortal soul—or, if she knew the truth, she dared not acknowledge it even to her own heart—far less to any human being. To love a heretic was a deadly sin; but to save a soul would be acceptable to God—a holy offering at the footstool of the throne of grace and mercy. This hope would justify any sacrifice. The great Prince was about to march against Tver, and Antonio was to accompany him. Could she permit him to depart without an effort to redeem him from his heresy, or, alas! without a token of her love? She determined to send him the crucifix she wore round her neck—a holy and a sacred thing, which it would have been a deadly sin to part with unless to rescue a soul from perdition—and she sent it. Her brother, too, was to accompany the army, and had besides, on his return, to encounter a judicial combat. The soul of the old warrior Obrazétz was deeply moved by the near approach of his son's departure. One son had died by his side—he might never see Iván more, and his heart yearned to join with him in prayer. "The mercies of God are unaccountable."

"Trusting in them, Obrazétz proceeded to the oratory, whither, by his command, he was followed by Khabár and Anastasia.

"Silently they go, plunged in feelings of awe: they enter the oratory; the solitary window is curtained; in the obscurity, feebly dispelled by the mysterious glimmer of the lamp, through the deep stillness, fitfully broken by the flaring of the taper, they were gazed down upon from every side by the dark images of the Saviour, the Holy Mother of God, and the Holy Saints. From them there seems to breathe a chilly air as of another world: here thou canst not hide thyself from their glances; from every side they follow thee in the slightest movement of thy thoughts and feelings. Their wasted faces, feeble limbs, and withered frames—their flesh macerated by prayer and fasting—the cross, the agony—all here speaks of the victory of will over passions. Themselves an example of purity in body and soul, they demand the same purity from all who enter the oratory, their holy shrine.

"To them Anastasia had recourse in the agitation of her heart; from them she implored aid against the temptations of the Evil One; but help there was none for her, the weak in will, the devoted to the passion which she felt for an unearthly tempter.

Thrice, with crossing and with prayer, did Obrazétz bow before the images; thrice did his son and daughter bow after him. This pious preface finished, the old man chanted the psalm—'Whoso dwelleth under the defence of the Most High.' Thus, even in our own times, among us in Russia, the pious warrior, when going to battle, almost always arms himself with this shield of faith. With deep feeling, Khabár repeated the words after his father. All this prepared Anastasia for something terrible [pg 146] she trembled like a dove which is caught by the storm in the open plain, where there is no shelter for her from the tempest that is ready to burst above her. When they arose from prayer, Obrazétz took from the shrine a small image of St George the Victorious, cast in silver, with a ring for suspending it on the bosom. 'In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost!' he said, with a solemn voice, holding the image in his left hand, and with his right making three signs of the cross—'with this mercy of God I bless thee, my dear and only son, Iván, and I pray that the holy martyr, George, may give thee mastery and victory over thine enemies: keep this treasure even as the apple of thine eye. Put it not off from thee in any wise, unless the Lord willeth that the foe shall take it from thee. I know thee, Ivan, they will not take it from thee living; but they may from thy corse. Keep in mind at every season thy father's blessing.'

"Anastasia turned as white as snow, and trembled in every limb; her bosom felt oppressed as with a heavy stone, a sound as of hammering was in her ears. She seemed to hear all the images, one after another, sternly repeating her father's words. He continued—'It is a great thing, this blessing. He who remembereth it not, or lightly esteemeth it, from him shall the heavenly Father turn away his face, and shall leave him for ever and ever. He shall be cast out from the kingdom of heaven, and his portion shall be in hell. Keep well my solemn word.'

"Every accent of Obrazétz fell upon Anastasia's heart like a drop of molten pitch. She seemed to be summoned before the dreadful judgment-seat of Christ, to hear her father's curse, and her own eternal doom. She could restrain herself no longer, and sobbed bitterly; the light grew dim in her eyes; her feet began to totter. Obrazétz heard her sobs, and interrupted his exhortation. 'Nástia, Nástia! what aileth thee?' he enquired, with lively sympathy, of his daughter, whom he tenderly loved. She had not strength to utter a word, and fell into her brother's arms. Crossing himself, the boyárin put back the image into its former place, and then hastened to sprinkle his child with holy water which always stood ready in the oratory. Anastasia revived, and when she saw herself surrounded by her father and brother, in a dark, narrow, sepulchral place, she uttered a wild cry, and turned her dim eyes around. 'My life, my darling child, my dove! what aileth thee?' cried the father. 'Recollect thyself: thou art in the oratory. 'Tis plain some evil eye hath struck thee. Pray to the Holy Virgin: she, the merciful one, will save thee from danger.'

"The father and son bore her to the image of the Mother of God. Her brother with difficulty raised her arm, and she, all trembling, made the sign of the cross. Deeply, heavily she sighed, applied her ice-cold lips to the image, and then signed to them with her hand that they should carry her out speedily. She fancied that she saw the Holy Virgin shake her head with a reproachful air.

"When they had carried Anastasia to her chamber, she felt better."

Hitherto none had shared her secret thoughts; but the experienced eye of the widow Selínova had detected the nature of her malady, and she longed to know the object of her affection.

"One day, they were sitting alone together, making lace. A kind of mischievous spirit whispered her to speak of the heretic. Imagine yourself thrown by destiny on a foreign land. All around you are speaking in an unknown tongue; their language appears to you a chaos of wild, strange sounds. Suddenly, amid the crowd, drops a word in your native language. Does not then a thrill run over your whole being? does not your heart leap within you? Or place a Russian peasant at a concert where is displayed all the creative luxury and all the brilliant difficulties of foreign music. The child of nature listens with indifference to the incomprehensible sounds; but suddenly Voróbieva with her nightingale voice trills out—The cuckóo from out the fírs so dánk hath not cúckooed. Look what a change comes over the half-asleep listener. Thus it was with Anastasia! Till this moment Selínova had spoken to her in a strange language, had only uttered sounds unintelligible to her; but the instant that she spoke the native word, it touched the heart-string, and all the chords of her being thrilled as if they were about to burst. Anastasia trembled, her hands wandered vaguely over her lace cushion, her face turned deadly pale. She dared not raise her eyes, and replied at random, absently.

"'Ah!' thought Selínova, 'that is [pg 147] the right key: that is the point whence cometh the storm!'

"Both remained silent. At length Anastasia ventured to glance at her visitor, in order to see by the expression of her face, whether she had remarked her confusion. Selínova's eyes were fixed upon her work, on her face there was not even a shade of suspicion. The crafty widow intended little by little, imperceptibly, to win the confidence of the inexperienced girl.

"'And where then is he gone?' she asked after a short pause, without naming the person about whom she was enquiring.

"'He is gone with the Great Prince on the campaign,' answered Anastasia blushing; then, after a moment's thought she added—'I suppose thou askedst me about my brother?'

"'No, my dear, our conversation was about Antony the leech. What a pity he is a heretic! You will not easily find such another gallant among our Muscovites. He hath all, both height and beauty: when he looketh, 'tis as though he gave you large pearls; his locks lie on his shoulders like the light of dawn; he is as white and rosy as a young maiden. I wonder whence he had such beauty—whether by the permission of God, or, not naturally, by the influence of the Evil One. I could have looked at him—may it not be a sin to say, I could have gazed at him for ever without being weary!'

"At these praises Anastasia's pale countenance blushed like the dawning that heralds the tempest. 'Thou hast then seen him?' asked the enamoured maiden, in a trembling, dying voice, and breaking off her work.

"'I have seen him more than once. I have not only seen him, but wonder now, my dear—I have visited him in his dwelling!'

"'The maiden shook her head, her eyes were dimmed with the shade of pensiveness; a thrill of jealousy, in spite of herself, darted to her heart. 'What! and didst thou not fear to go to him?' she said—'Is he not a heretic?'

"'If thou knewest it, Nástenka, what wouldst thou not do for love?'

"'Love?' ... exclaimed Anastasia, and her heart bounded violently in her breast.

"'Ah if I were not afraid, I would disclose to thee the secret of my soul.'

"'Speak, I pray thee, speak! Fear not; see! I call the Mother of God to witness, thy words shall die with me.'

"And the maiden, with a quivering hand, signed a large cross.

"'If so, I will confide in thee what I have never disclosed but to God. It is not over one blue sea alone that the mist lieth, and the darksome cloud: it is not over one fair land descendeth the gloomy autumn night; there was a time when my bosom was loaded with a heavy sorrow, my rebellious heart lay drowned in woe and care: I loved thy brother, Iván Vassílievitch. (The maiden's heart was relieved, she breathed more freely.) Thou knowest not, my life, my child, what kind of feeling is that of love, and God grant that thou mayest never know! The dark night cometh, thou canst not close thine eyes: the bright dawn breaketh, thou meetest it with tears, and the day is all weary—O, so weary! There are many men in the fair world, but thou see'st only one, in thy bower, in the street, in the house of God. A stone lieth ever on thy breast, and thou canst not shake it off.'

"Then Selínova wept sincere tears. Her companion listened to her with eager sympathy: the feelings just depicted were her own.

"There was a deep silence. It was broken by the young widow.

"'Nástenka, my life?' she began in a tone of such touching, such lively interest, as called for her reluctant confidence.

"The daughter of Obrazétz glanced at her with eyes full of tears, and shook her head.

"'Confide in me, as I have confided in thee,' continued Selínova, taking her hand and pressing it to her bosom. 'I have lived longer in the world than thou ... believe me, 'twill give thee ease ... 'tis clear from every symptom, my love, what thou ailest.'

"And Anastasia, sobbing, exclaimed at last—'O, my love, my dearest friend, Praskóvia Vladimírovna, take a sharp knife, open my white breast, look what is the matter there!'

"'And wherefore need we take the sharp knife, and wherefore need we open the white breast, or look upon the rebellious heart? Surely, by thy fair face all can tell, my child, how that fair face hath been darkened, how the fresh bloom hath faded, and bright eyes grown dull. After all, 'tis clear thou lovest some wandering falcon, some stranger youth.'

"Anastasia answered not a word; she could not speak for tears; and hid her [pg 148] face in her hands. At last, softened by Selínova's friendly sympathy, and her assurances that she would be easier if she would confide her secret to such a faithful friend, she related her love for the heretic. The episode of the crucifix was omitted in this tale, which finished, of course, with assurances that she was enchanted, bewitched.

"Poor Anastasia!

"Snowdrop! beautiful flower, thou springest up alone in the bosom of thy native valley! And the bright sun arises every day to glass himself in thy morning mirror; and the beaming moon, after a sultry day, hastens to fan thee with her breezy wing, and the angels of God, lulling thee by night, spread over thee a starry canopy, such as king never possessed. Who can tell from what quarter the tempest may bring from afar, from other lands, the seeds of the ivy, and scatter them by thy side, and the ivy arises and twines lovingly around thee, and chokes thee, lovely flower! This is not all: the worm has crawled to thy root, hath fixed its fang therein, and kills ye both, if some kind hand save ye not."

These extracts will enable our readers to judge for themselves of the merits of M. Lajétchnikoff's style as it appears in Mr Shaw's translation. A better selection might have been made, had we not been desirous to avoid any such anticipation of the development of the story as light diminish its interest; but we are inclined to believe that most of our readers will agree with us in thinking, that if M. Lajétchnikoff has succeeded in faithfully illustrating the manners of the age of Iván the Great, he has also shown that he possesses brilliancy of fancy, fervour of thought, and elevation of sentiment, as well as knowledge of the movements of the heart, revealed only to the few who have been initiated into nature's mysteries.

He does not appear to be largely gifted with the power of graphic description, of placing the scenes of nature, or the living figures that people them, vividly before us—he loves rather to indulge, even to excess, mystical or passionate thoughts that are born in his own breast, and to adorn them with garlands woven from the flowers of his fancy; but these flowers are of native growth, the indigenous productions of the Russian soil. His images often sound to our ears homely, sometimes even familiar and mean, but they may be dignified in their native dress. He has no lively perception of the beauties of external nature; his raptures are reserved for the wonders of art, for what the human mind can create or achieve; and, curiously enough, it is architecture that seems to excite in him the greatest enthusiasm. In illustration of this feeling, we must still extract an eloquent discourse on the life of the artist, which the author puts into the mouth of Fioraventi Aristotle—a passage of much feeling, and, we fear, of too much truth:—

"Thou knowest not, Antony, what a life is that of an artist! While yet a child, he is agitated by heavy incomprehensible thoughts: to him the sphynx, Genius, hath already proposed its enigmas; in his bosom the Promethean vulture is already perched, and groweth with his growth. His comrades are playing and making merry; they are preparing for their riper years recollections of childhood's days of paradise—childhood, that never can be but once: the time cometh, and he remembereth but the tormenting dreams of that age. Youth is at hand; for others 'tis the time of love, of soft ties, of revelry—the feast of life; for the artist, none of these. Solitary, flying from society, he avoideth the maiden, he avoideth joy; plunging into the loneliness of his soul, he there, with indescribable mourning, with tears of inspiration, on his knees before his Ideal, imploreth her to come down upon earth to his frail dwelling. Days and nights he waiteth, and pineth after unearthly beauty. Woe to him if she doth not visit him, and yet greater woe to him if she doth! The tender frame of youth cannot bear her bridal kiss; union with the gods is fatal to man; and the mortal is annihilated in her embrace. I speak not of the education, of the mechanic preparation. And here at every step the Material enchaineth thee, buildeth up barriers before thee: marketh a formless vein upon thy block of marble, mingling soot with thy carmine, entangling thy imagination in a net of monstrous rules and formulas, commandeth thee to be the slave of the house-painter or of the stone-cutter. And what awaiteth thee, when thou hast come forth victorious from this [pg 149] mechanic school—when thou hast succeeded in throwing off the heavy sum of a thousand unnecessary rules, with which pedantry hath overwhelmed thee—when thou takest as thy guide only those laws which are so plain and simple? ... What awaiteth thee then? Again the Material! Poverty, need, forced labour, appreciators, rivals, that ever-hungry flock which flieth upon thee ready to tear thee in pieces, as soon as it knoweth that thou art a pure possessor of the gift of God. Thy soul burneth to create, but thy carcass demandeth a morsel of bread; inspiration veileth her wing, but the body asketh not only to clothe its nakedness with a decent covering, but fine cloth, silk, velvet, that it may appear before thy judges in a proper dress, without which they will not receive thee, thou and thy productions will die unknown. In order to obtain food, clothes, thou must work: a merchant will order from thee a cellar, a warehouse; the signore, stables and dog kennels. Now at last thou hast procured thyself daily bread, a decent habit for thy bones and flesh: inspiration thirsteth for its nourishment, demanding from thy soul images and forms. Thou createst, thou art bringing thy Ideal to fulfilment. How swiftly move the wheels of thy being! Thy existence is tenfold redoubled, thy pulse is beating as when thou breathest the atmosphere of high mountains. Thou spendest in one day whole months of life. How many nights passed without sleep, how many days in ceaseless chain, all filled with agitation! Or rather, there is nor day nor night for thee, nor seasons of the year, as for other men. Thy blood now boileth, then freezeth; the fever of imagination wasteth thee away. Triumph setteth thee on fire, the fear of failure maddeneth thee, tearing thee to pieces, tormenting thee with dread of the judgments of men; then again ariseth the terror of dying with thy task unfinished. Add, too, the inevitable shade of glory, which stalketh ever in thy footsteps, and giveth thee not a moment of repose. This is the period of creation! While creating, thou hast been dwelling at the footstool of God. Crushed by thy contact with the hem of his garment, overwhelmed by inspiration from Him whom the world can scarcely bear, a poor mortal, half alive, half dead, thou descendest upon earth, and carriest with thee what thou hast created there, in His presence! Mortals surround thy production, judging, valuing, discussing it in detail; the patron laudeth the ornaments, the grandeur of the columns, the weight of the work; the distributors of favour gamble away thy honour, or creep like mice under thy plan, and nibble at it in the darkness of night. No, my friend, the life of an artist is the life of a martyr."

We are so much accustomed to see virtue rewarded and vice punished, that we might perhaps have been better pleased to have seen this kind of poetical justice more equitably dispensed; but the cause of virtue is perhaps as effectually served by making it attractive as by making it triumphant, and vice is as much discouraged by making it odious or contemptible as by making it unsuccessful.

It only remains to say a few words of the translator's labours; and although we do not pretend to decide on the fidelity of the version he has given us, or how much his author may have lost or gained in his hands, we cannot but think that we perceive internal evidence of efforts to be faithful, even at the hazard of losing perhaps something of more value in the attempt. However this may be, it is plain that Mr Shaw is himself a vigorous and eloquent writer of his own language, as the extracts we have given may vouch. We feel greatly indebted to him for unlocking to us the stores of Russian fiction, which, if they contain many such works as The Heretic, will well repay the labour of a careful examination. There is about every thing Russian an air of orientalism which gives a peculiar character to their dress, their mansions, their manners, their feelings, their expressions, and their prejudices, which will probably long continue to distinguish Russian literature on that of the other nations of Europe, whose steps she has followed, perhaps too implicitly, in her attempts to overtake them in the race of civilization and intellectual improvement.

[pg 150]



We have heard of certain cooks, the Udes and Vatels of their day, whose boast it was to manufacture the most sumptuous and luxurious repast out of coarse and apparently insufficient materials. We will take the liberty of comparing M. Dumas with one of these artistical cuisiniers, possessing in the highest degree the talent of making much out of little, by the skill with which it is prepared, and the piquant nature of the condiments applied. A successful dramatist, as well as a popular romance-writer, his dialogues have the point and brilliancy, his narrative the vivid terseness, generally observable in novels written by persons accustomed to dramatic composition. Confining himself to no particular line of subject, he rambles through the different departments of light literature in a most agreeable and desultory manner; to-day a tourist, to-morrow a novelist; the next day surprising his public by an excursion into the regions of historical romance, amongst the well-beaten highways and byways of which he still manages to discover an untrodden path, or to embellish a familiar one by the sparkle of his wit and industry of his researches. The majority of his books convey the idea of being written currente calamo, and with little trouble to himself; and these have a lightness and brilliancy peculiar to their lively author, which cannot fail to recommend them to all classes of readers. They are like the sketches of a clever artist, who, with a few bright and bold touches, gives an effect to his subject which no labour would enable a less talented painter to achieve. But M. Dumas can produce highly finished pictures as well as brilliant sketches, although for the present it is one of the latter that we are about to introduce to our readers.

Every body knows, or ought to know, that M. Dumas has been in Italy, and found means to make half a dozen highly amusing volumes out of his rambles in a country, perhaps, of all others, the most familiar to the inhabitants of civilized Europe—a country which has been described and re-described ad nauseam, by tourists, loungers, and idlers innumerable. On his way to the land of lazzaroni he made a pause at Marseilles to visit his friend Méry, a poet and author of some celebrity; and here he managed to collect materials for a volume which we can recommend to the perusal of the daily increasing class of our countrymen who think that a book, although written in French, may be witty and amusing without being either blasphemous or indecent.

We have reason to believe that many persons who have not visited the south-eastern corner of France, think of it as a "land of the cypress and myrtle;" where troubadours wander amongst orange groves, or tinkle their guitars under the shade of the vine and the fig-tree. There is something in a name, and Provence, if it were only for the sake of its roses, ought, one would think, to be a smiling and beautiful country. And so part of it is; but in this part is assuredly not included the district around its chief city. One hears much of the vineyards and orange groves of the south. We do not profess to care much about vines, except for the sake of what they produce; most of the vineyards we ever saw looked very like plantations of gooseberry bushes, and the best of them were not so graceful or picturesque as a Kentish hop-ground. As to olives, admirable as they undoubtedly are when flanking a sparkling jug of claret, we find little to admire in the stiff, greyish, stunted sort of trees upon which they think proper to grow. But neither vines nor olives are to be found around Marseilles. Nothing but dust; dust on the roads, dust in the fields, dust on every leaf of the parched, unhappy-looking trees that surround the country-houses of the Marseillais. The fruit and vegetables consumed there are brought for miles overland, or by water from places on the coast; [pg 151] flowers are scarce—objecting, probably, to grow in so arid a soil, and in a heat that, for some months of the year, is perfectly African. Game there is little or none; notwithstanding which, there are nowhere to be found more enthusiastic sportsmen than at Marseilles. It is on this hint M. Dumas speaks. His description of the manner in which the worthy burghers of Marseilles make war upon the volatiles is rather amusing.

"Every Marseillais who aspires to the character of a keen sportsman, has what is termed a poste à feu. This is a pit or cave dug in the ground in the vicinity of a couple of pine-trees, and covered over with branches. In addition to the pine-trees, it is usual to have cimeaux, long spars of wood, of which two are supported horizontally on the branches of the trees, and a third planted perpendicularly in the ground. These cimeaux are intended as a sort of treacherous invitation to the birds to come and rest themselves. So regularly as Sunday morning arrives, the Marseillais Cockney installs himself in his pit, arranges a loophole through which he can see what passes outside, and waits with all imaginable patience. The question that will naturally be asked, is—What does he wait for?

"He waits for a thrush, an ortolan, a beccafico, a robin-redbreast, or any other feathered and diminutive biped. He is not so ambitious as to expect a quail. Partridges he has heard of; of one, at least, a sort of phoenix, reproduced from its own ashes, and seen from time to time before an earthquake, or other great catastrophe. As to the hare, he is well aware that it is a fabulous animal of the unicorn species.

"There is a tradition, however, at Marseilles, that during the last three months of the year, flocks of wild pigeons pass over, on their way from Africa or Kamschatka, or some other distant country. Within the memory of man no one has ever seen one of these flights; but it would nevertheless be deemed heresy to doubt the fact. At this season, therefore, the sportsman provides himself with tame pigeon, which he fastens by a string to the cimeaux, in such a manner that the poor bird is obliged to keep perpetually on the wing, not being allowed rope enough to reach a perch. After three or four Sundays passed in this manner, the unfortunate decoy dies of a broken heart."

There is not nearly so much caricature in this picture as our readers may be disposed to think. Whoever has passed a few weeks of the autumn in a French provincial town, must have witnessed and laughed at the very comical proceedings of the chasseurs, the high-sounding title assumed by every Frenchman who ever pointed a gun at a cock-sparrow. One sees them going forth in the morning in various picturesque and fanciful costumes, their loins girded with a broad leathern belt, a most capacious game-bag slung over their shoulder, a fowling-piece of murderous aspect balanced on their arm; their heads protected from the October sun by every possible variety of covering, from the Greek skull-cap to the broad-brimmed Spanish sombrero. Away they go, singly, or by twos and threes, accompanied by a whole regiment of dogs, for the most part badly bred, and worse broken curs, which, when they get into the field, go pottering about in a style that would sorely tempt an English sportsman to bestow upon them the contents of both barrels. Towards the close of the day, take a stroll outside the town, and you meet the heroes returning. "Well, what sport?" "Pas mal, mon cher. Not so bad," is the reply, in a tone of ill-concealed triumph; and plunging his hand into his game-bag, the chasseur produces—a phthisical snipe, a wood pigeon, an extenuated quail, and perhaps something which you at first take for a deformed blackbird, but which turns out to be a water-hen. As far as our own observations go, we do aver this to be a very handsome average of a French sportsman's day's shooting. If by chance he has knocked down a red-legged partridge, (grey ones are very scarce in France,) his exultation knows no bounds. The day on which such a thing occurs is a red-letter day with him for the rest of his life. He goes home at once and inscribes the circumstance in the family archives.

But this state of things, it will perhaps be urged, may arise from the scarcity of game in France, as probably as from the sportsman's want of [pg 152] skill. True; but the worst is to come. After you have duly admired and examined snipe, pigeon, quail, and water-hen, your friend again rummages in the depths of his gibecière, and pulls out—what?—a handful of tomtits and linnets, which he has been picking off every hedge for five miles round. "Je me suis rabattu sur le petit gibier," he says, with a grin and a shrug, and walks away, a proud man and a happy, leaving you in admiration of his prowess.

M. Dumas expresses a wish to make the acquaintance of one of these modern Nimrods, and his friend Méry arranges a supper, to which he invites a certain Monsieur Louet, who plays the fourth bass in the orchestra of the Marseilles theatre. The conversation after supper is a good specimen of persiflage. After doing ample justice to an excellent repast, during which he had scarcely uttered a word,

"Monsieur Louet threw himself back in his chair and looked at us all, one after the other, as if he had only just become aware of our presence, accompanying his inspection with a smile of the most perfect benevolence; then, heaving a gentle sigh of satisfaction—'Ma foi! I have made a capital supper!' exclaimed he.

"'M. Louet! A cigar?' cried Méry: 'It is good for the digestion.'

"'Thank you, most illustrious poet!' answered M. Louet; 'I never smoke. It was not the fashion in my time. Smoking and boots were introduced by the Cossacks. I always wear shoes, and am faithful to my snuff-box.'

"So saying, M. Louet produced his box, and offered it round. We all refused except Méry, who, wishing to flatter him, attacked his weak side.

"'What delicious snuff, M. Louet! This cannot be the common French snuff?'

"'Indeed it is—only I doctor it in a particular manner. It is a secret I learned from a cardinal when I was at Rome.'

"'Ha! You have been to Rome?' cried I.

"'Yes, sir; I passed twenty years there.'

"'M. Louet,' said Méry, 'since you do not smoke, you ought to tell these gentlemen the story of your thrush-hunt.'

"'I shall be most happy,' replied M. Louet graciously, 'if you think it will amuse the company.'

"'To be sure it will,' cried Méry. 'Gentlemen, you are going to hear the account of one of the most extraordinary hunts that has taken place since the days of Nimrod the mighty hunter. I have heard it told twenty times, and each time with increased pleasure. Another glass of punch, M. Louet. There! Now begin.—We are all impatience.'

"'You are aware, gentlemen,' said M. Louet, 'that every Marseillais is born a sportsman.'

"'Perfectly true,' interrupted Méry 'it is a physiological phenomenon which I have never been able to explain; but it is nevertheless quite true.'

"'Unfortunately,' continued M. Louet, 'or perhaps I should say fortunately, we have neither lions nor tigers in the neighbourhood of Marseilles. On the other hand, we have flights of pigeons.'

"'There!' cried Méry, 'I told you so. They insist upon it.'

"'Certainly,' replied M. Louet, visibly vexed; 'and, whatever you may say to the contrary, the pigeons do pass. Besides, did you not lend me the other day a book of Mr Cooper's, the Pioneers, in which the fact is authenticated?'

"'Ah, yes! Authenticated in America.'

"'Very well! If they pass over America why should they not pass over Marseilles? The vessels that go from Alexandria and Constantinople to America often pass here.'

"'Very true!' replied Méry, thunderstruck by this last argument. 'I have nothing more to say. M. Louet, your hand. I will never contradict you again on the subject.'

"'Sir, every man has a right to his opinion.'

"'True, but I relinquish mine. Pray go on, M. Louet.'

"'I was saying, then, that instead of lions and tigers we have flights of pigeons.' M. Louet paused a moment to see if Méry would contradict him. Méry nodded his head approvingly.

"'True,' said he, 'they have flights of pigeons.'"

Satisfied by this admission M. Louet resumed.

[pg 153] "'You may easily imagine that at the period of the year when these flights occur, every sportsman is on the alert; and, as I am only occupied in the evening at the theatre, I am fortunately able to dispose of my mornings as I like. It was in 1810 or '11, I was five-and-thirty years of age; that is to say, gentlemen, rather more active than I am now. I was one morning at my post, as usual, before daybreak. I had tied my decoy pigeon to the cimeaux, and he was fluttering about like a mad thing, when I fancied I saw by the light of the stars something perched upon my pine-tree. Unfortunately it was too dark for me to distinguish whether this something were a bat or a bird, so I remained quite quiet, waiting for the sun to rise. At last the sun rose and I saw that it was a bird. I raised my gun gently to my shoulder, and, when I was sure of my aim, I pulled the trigger. Sir, I had omitted to discharge my gun on returning from shooting the evening before. It had been twelve hours loaded, and it hung fire.

"'Nevertheless I saw by the way in which the bird flew that he was touched. I followed him with my eyes till he perched again. Then I looked for my pigeon; but by an extraordinary chance a shot had cut the string which tied him, and he had flown away. Without a decoy I knew very well it was no use remaining at the post, so I resolved to follow up the thrush. I forgot to tell you, gentlemen, that the bird I had fired at was a thrush.

"'Unluckily I had no dog. When one shoots with a decoy, a dog is worse than useless—it is a positive nuisance. I was obliged, therefore, to beat the bushes myself. The thrush had run along the ground, and rose behind me when I thought I still had him in front. At the sound of his wings I turned and fired in a hurry. A shot thrown away, as you may suppose. Nevertheless I saw some feathers fall from him.'

"'You saw some feathers?' cried Méry.

"'Yes, sir. I even found one, which I put in my buttonhole.'

"'In that case,' said Méry, 'the thrush was hit?'

"'That was my opinion at the time. I had not lost sight of him, and I continued the pursuit; but the bird was scared, and this time flew away before I got within range. I fired all the same. There is no saying where a stray shot may go.'

"'A stray shot is not enough for a thrush,' said Méry, shaking his head gravely. 'A thrush is a very hard-lived bird.'

"'Very true, sir; for I am certain my two first shots had wounded him, and yet he made a third flight of nearly half a mile. But I had sworn to have him, and on I went. Impossible to get near him. He led me on, mile after mile, always flying away as soon as I came within fifty or sixty paces. I became furious. If I had caught him I think I should have eaten him alive, and the more so as I was beginning to get very hungry. Fortunately, as I had calculated on remaining out all day, I had my breakfast and dinner in my game-bag, and I eat as I went along.'

"'Pardon me,' said Méry, interrupting M. Louet; 'I have an observation to make. Observe, my dear Dumas, the difference between the habits of the human race in northern and southern climes. In the north the sportsman runs after his game; in the south he waits for it to come to him. In the first case he takes out an empty bag and brings home a full one; in the other he takes it out full and brings it home empty. Pray, go on, my dear M. Louet. I have spoken.' And he recommenced puffing at his cigar.

"'Where was I?' said M. Louet, who had lost the threat of his narrative through this interruption.

"'Speeding over hill and dale in pursuit of your thrush.'

"'True, sir. I cannot describe to you the state of excitement and irritation I was in. I began to think of the bird of Prince Camaralzaman, and to suspect that I, too, might be the victim of some enchantment. I passed Cassis and La Ciotat, and entered the large plain extending from Ligne to St. Cyr. I had been fifteen hours on my feet, and I was half dead with fatigue. I made a vow to Our Lady of La Garde to hang a silver thrush in her chapel, if she would only assist me to catch the living one I was following; but she paid no attention [pg 154] to me. Night was coming on, and in despair I fired my last shot at the accursed bird. I have no doubt he heard the lead whistle, for this time he flew so far that I lost sight of him in the twilight. He had gone in the direction of the village of St. Cyr. Probably he intended to sleep there, and I resolved to do the same. Fortunately there was to be no performance that night at the Marseilles theatre.'"

The worthy basso goes to the inn at St. Cyr, and relates his troubles to the host, who decides that the object of his pursuit must have halted for the night in a neighbouring piece of brushwood. By daybreak M. Louet is again a-foot, accompanied by the innkeeper's dog, Soliman. They soon get upon the scent of the devoted thrush.

"'Every body knows that a true sporting dog will follow any one who has a gun on his shoulder. "Soliman, Soliman!" cried I; and Soliman came. Sir, the instinct of the dog was remarkable: we had hardly got out of the village when he made a point—such a point, sir!—his tail out as straight as a ramrod. There was the thrush, not ten paces from me. I fired both barrels—Poum! Poum! Powder not worth a rush. I had used all my own the day before, and this was some I had got from my host. The thrush flew away unhurt. But Soliman had kept his eye on him, and went straight to the place where the bird was. Again he made a most beautiful point; but although I looked with all my eyes, I could not see the thrush. I was stooping down in this manner, looking for the creature, when suddenly it flew away, and so fast, that before I got my gun to my shoulder, it was out of reach. Soliman opened his eyes and stared at me; as much as to say, "What is the meaning of all this?" The expression of the dog's face made me feel quit humiliated. I could not help speaking to him. "Never mind," said I, nodding my head, "you will see next time." You would have thought the animal understood me. He again began to hunt about. In less than ten minutes he stopped as if he were cut out of marble. I was determined not to lose this chance; and I went right before the dog's nose. The bird rose literally under my feet; but I was so agitated that I fired my first barrel too soon, and my second too late. The first discharge passed by him like a single ball; the second was too scattered, and he passed between it. It was then that a thing happened to me—one of those things which I should not repeat, but for my attachment to the truth. The dog looked at me for a moment with a sort of smile upon his countenance: then, coming close up to me while I was reloading my gun, he lifted his left hind leg, made water against my gaiter, and then turning round, trotted away in the direction of his master's house. You may easily suppose, that if it had been a man who had thus insulted me, I would have had his life, or he should have had mine. But what could I say, sir, to a dumb beast which God had not gifted with reason?'"

This canine insult only acts as a spur to the indefatigable chasseur, who, dogless as he finds himself, follows up his thrush till he reaches the town of Hyères. Here he loses all trace of the bird, but endeavours to console himself by eating the oranges which grow in the garden of his hotel. Whilst thus engaged, a thrush perches on a tree beside him, and the first glance at the creature's profile satisfied him that it is the same bird whose society he has been rejoicing in the for the last two days. Unfortunately his gun is in the house, of which the thrush seems to be aware, for it continues singing and dressing its feathers on a branch within ten feet of his head. Afraid of losing sight of it, M. Louet waits till the landlord comes to announce supper, and then desires him to bring his gun. But there is a punishment of fine and imprisonment for whoever fires a shot, between sunset and sunrise, within the precincts of the town; and although the enthusiastic sportsman is willing enough to run this risk, the hotel-keeper fears to be taken for an accomplice, and refuses to fetch the gun, threatening to drive away the bird if M. Louet goes for it himself. At last they come to terms. M. Louet sups and sleeps under the tree, the bird roosts on the same; and at the first stroke of the matin bell, mine host appears with the fowling-piece. Our chasseur stretches out his hand to take it, and—the bird flies away.

M. Louet throws down the price of his supper, and scales the garden wall [pg 155] in pursuit. He follows his intended victim the whole of that day, and at last has the mortification of seeing it carried away before his eyes by a hawk. Foot-sore and tired, hungry and thirsty, the unfortunate musician sinks down exhausted by the side of a road. A peasant passes by.

"'My friend,' said I to him, 'is there any town, village, or house in this neighbourhood?'

"'Gnor si,' answered he, 'cé la citta di Nizza un miglia avanti.'

"The thrush had led me into Italy."

At Nice M. Louet is in great tribulation. In the course of his long ramble his money has worked a hole in his pocket, and he discovers that he is penniless just at the moment that he has established himself at the best hotel, and ordered supper for three by way of making up for past privations. He gets out of his difficulties, however, by giving a concert, which produces him a hundred crowns; and he then embarks for Toulon, on board the letter of marque, La Vierge des Sept Douleurs, Captain Garnier.

Once on the water, there is a fine opportunity for a display of French naval heroism, at the expense, of course, of the unfortunate English, to whom M. Dumas bears about the same degree of affection that another dark-complexioned gentleman is said to do to holy water. This is one of M. Dumas's little peculiarities or affectations, it is difficult to say which. Wherever it is possible to bring in England and the English, depreciate them in any way, or turn them into ridicule, M. Dumas invariably does it, and those passages are frequently the most amusing in his books. In the present instance, it is a very harmless piece of faufarronade in which he indulges.

The armed brig in which M. Louet has embarked, falls in which a squadron of English men-of-war. Hearing a great bustle upon deck, our musician goes up to enquire the cause, and finds the captain quietly seated, smoking his pipe. After the usual salutations—

"'M. Louet, have you ever seen a naval combat?' said the captain to me.

"'Never, sir.'

"'Would you like to see one?'

"'Why, captain, to say the truth, there are other things I should better like to see.'

"'I am sorry for it; for it you wished to see one, a real good one, your wish would soon be gratified.'

"'What! captain,' cried I, feeling myself grow pale; 'you do not mean to say we are going to have a naval combat? Ha, ha! I see you are joking, captain.'

"'Joking, eh? Look yonder. What do you see?'

"'I see three very fine vessels.'

"'Count again.'

"'I see more. Four, five, there are six of them.'

"'Can you distinguish what there is on the flag of the nearest one? Here, take the glass.'

"'I cannot make out very well, but I think I see a harp.'

"'Exactly.—The Irish harp. In a few minutes they'll play as a tune on it.'

"'But captain,' said I, 'they are still a long way off, and it appears to me, that by spreading all those sails which are now furled upon your masts and yards, you might manage to escape. In your place I should certainly run away. Excuse me for the suggestion, but it is my opinion as fourth bass of the Marseilles theatre. If I had the honour to be a sailor, I should perhaps think differently.'"

Very sensible advice, too, M. Louet, we should have thought at least, considering the odds of six to one. But the fire-eating Frenchman thinks otherwise.

"'If it were a man, instead of a bass, who made me such a proposal,' replied the captain, 'I should have had a word or two to say to him about it. Know, sir, that Captain Garnier never runs away! He fights till his vessel is riddled like a sieve, then he allows himself to be boarded, and when his decks are covered with the enemy, he goes into the powder magazine with his pipe in his mouth, shakes out the burning ashes, and sends the English on a voyage of discovery upwards.'

"'And the French?'

"'The French too.'

"'And the passengers?'

"'The passengers likewise.'

"'At that moment, a small white cloud appeared issuing from the side of one of the English ships. This was followed by a dull noise like a heavy blow on the big drum. I saw some [pg 156] splinters fly from the top of the brig's gunwale, and an artilleryman, who was just then standing on his gun, fell backwards upon me. 'Come, my friend,' said I, 'mind what you are about.' And, as he did not stir, I pushed him. He fell upon the deck. I looked at him with more attention. His head was off.

"My nerves were so affected by this sight, that five minutes later I found myself in the ship's hold, without exactly knowing how I had got there."

Thanks to a storm, the six English men of war manage to escape from the brig, and when M. Louet ventures to re-appear upon deck, he finds himself in the Italian port of Piombino, opposite the island of Elba. He has had enough of the water, and goes on shore, where he bargains with a vetturino to take him to Florence. A young officer of French hussars, and four Italians, are his travelling companions. The former, on learning his name and profession, asks him sundry questions about a certain Mademoiselle Zephyrine, formerly a dancer at the Marseilles theatre, and in whom he seems to take a strong interest.

Bad springs and worse roads render it very difficult to sleep. At last, on the second night of their journey, M. Louet succeeds in getting up a doze, out of which he is roused in a very unpleasant manner. We will give his own account of it.

"'Two pistol-shots, the flash of which almost burned my face, awoke me. They were fired by M. Ernest, (the hussar officer.) We were attacked by banditti.'

"'Faccia in terra! Faccia in terra!' I jumped out of the carriage, and as I did so, one of the brigands gave me a blow between the shoulders, that threw me upon my face. My companions were already in that position, with the exception of M. Ernest, who was defending himself desperately. At length he was overpowered and made prisoner.

"My pockets were turned inside out, and my hundred crowns taken away. I had a diamond ring on my finger, which I hoped they would not observe, and I turned the stone inside, heartily wishing, as I did so, that it had the power of Gyges' ring, and could render me invisible. But all was in vain. The robbers soon found it out. When they had taken every thing from us—

"'Is there a musician amongst you?' said he who appeared the chief.

"Nobody answered.

"'Well,' repeated he, 'are you all deaf? I asked if any of you knew how to play on an instrument.'

"'Pardieu!' said a voice, which I recognized as that of the young officer; 'there's M. Louet, who plays the bass.'

"I wished myself a hundred feet under ground.

"'Which is M. Louet?' said the brigand. 'Is it this one?' And, stooping down, he laid hold of the collar of my shooting-jacket, and lifted me on my feet.

"'For Heaven's sake, what do you want with me?' cried I.

"'Nothing to be so frightened about,' was the answer. 'For a week past we have been hunting every where for a musician, without being able to find one. The captain will be delighted to see you.'

"'What!' cried I, 'are you going to take me to the captain?'

"'Certainly we are.'

"'To separate me from my companions?'

"'What can we do with them? They are not musicians.'

"'Gentlemen!' cried I, 'for God's sake, help me! do not let me be carried off in this manner.'

"'The gentlemen will have the goodness to remain with their noses in the dust for the space of a quarter of an hour,' said the brigand. 'As to the officer, tie him to a tree,' continued he, to the four men who were holding the hussar. 'In a quarter of an hour the postillion will untie him. Not a minute sooner, if you value your life.'

"The postillion gave a sort of affirmative grunt, and the robbers now moved off in the direction of the mountains. I was led between two of them. After marching for some time, we saw a light in a window, and presently halted at a little inn on a cross-road. The bandits went up stairs, excepting two, who remained with me in the kitchen, and one of whom had appropriated my fowling-piece, and the other my game-bag. As to my diamond ring and my hundred crowns, they had become perfectly invisible.

[pg 157] "Presently somebody shouted from above, and my guards, taking me by the collar, pushed me up stairs, and into a room on the first floor.

"Seated at a table, upon which was a capital supper and numerous array of bottles, was the captain of the robbers, a fine-looking man of thirty-five or forty years of age. He was dressed exactly like a theatrical robber, in blue velvet, with a red sash and silver buckles. His arm was passed round the waist of a very pretty girl in the costume of a Roman peasant; that is to say, an embroidered boddice, short bright-coloured petticoat, and red stockings. Her feet attracted my attention, they were so beautifully small. On one of her fingers I saw my diamond ring—a circumstance which, as well as the company in which I found her, gave me a very indifferent idea of the young lady's morality.

"'What countryman are you?' asked the captain.

"'I am a Frenchman, your excellency.'

"'So much the better!' cried the young girl.

"I saw with pleasure that, at any rate, I was amongst people who spoke my own language.

"'You are a musician?'

"'I am fourth bass at the Marseilles theatre.'

"'Bring this gentleman's bass,' said the captain to one of his men. 'Now, my little Rina,' said he, turning to his mistress, 'I hope you are ready to dance."

"'I always was,' answered she, 'but how could I without music?'

"'Non ho trovato l'instrumento,' said the robber, reappearing at the door.

"'What!' cried the captain in a voice of thunder; 'no instrument?'

"'Captain,' interposed his lieutenant, 'I searched every where, but could not find even the smallest violoncello.'

"'Bestia!' cried the captain.

"'Excellency,' I ventured to observe, 'it is not his fault. I had no bass with me.'

"'Very well,' said the captain, 'send off five men immediately to Sienna, Volterra, Grossetto—all over the country. I must have a bass by to-morrow night.'

"I could not help thinking I had seen Mademoiselle Rina's face somewhere before, and I was cudgeling my memory to remember where, when she addressed the captain.

"'Tonino,' said she, 'you have not even asked the poor man if he is hungry.'

"I was touched by this little attention, and, on the captain's invitation, I drew a chair to the table, in fear and trembling I acknowledge; but it was nearly twelve hours since I had eaten any thing, and my hunger was perfectly canine. Mademoiselle Rina herself had the kindness to pass me the dishes and fill my glass; so that I had abundant opportunities of admiring my own ring, which sparkled upon her finger. I began to perceive, however, that I should not be so badly off as I had expected, and that the captain was disposed to treat me well.

"Supper over, I was allowed to retire to a room and a bed that had been prepared for me. I slept fifteen hours without waking. The robbers had the politeness not to disturb me till I awakened of my own accord. Then, however, five of them entered my room, each carrying a bass. I chose the best, and they made firewood of the others.

"When I had made my choice, they told me the captain was waiting dinner for me; and accordingly, on entering the principal room of the inn, I found a table spread for the captain, Mademoiselle Rina, the lieutenant, and myself. There were several other tables for the rest of the banditti. The room was lighted up with at least three hundred wax candles.

"The dinner was a merry one. The robbers were really very good sort of people, and the captain was in an excellent humour. When the feasting was over,

"'You have not forgotten your promise, Rina, I hope?' said he.

"'Certainly not,' was the reply. 'In a quarter of an hour I am ready.'

"So saying, she skipped out of the room.

"'And you, Signor Musico,' said the captain, 'I hope you are going to distinguish yourself.'

"'I will do my best, captain.'

"'If I am satisfied, you shall have back your hundred crowns.'

[pg 158] "'And my diamond ring, captain?'

"'Oh! as to that, no. Besides, you see Rina has got it, and you are too gallant to wish to take it from her.'

"At this moment Mademoiselle Rina made her appearance in the costume of a shepherdess—a boddice of silver, short silk petticoats, and a large Cashmere shawl twisted round her waist. She was really charming in this dress. I seized my bass. I fancied myself in the orchestra at Marseilles.

"'What would you like me to play, Mademoiselle?'

"'Do you know the shawl-dance in the ballet of Clary?'

"'Certainly; it is my favourite.'

"I began to play, Rina to dance, and the banditti to applaud. She danced admirably. The more I looked at her, the more convinced I became that I had seen her before.

"She was in the middle of a pirouette when the door opened, and the innkeeper entering, whispered something in the captain's ear.

"'Ove sono?' said the latter, quietly. 'Where are they?'

"'A San Dalmazio.'

"'No nearer? Then there is no hurry.'

"'What is the matter?' said Rina, executing a magnificent entrechat.

"'Nothing. Only those rascally travellers have given the alarm at Florence, and the hussars of the Grand-duchess Eliza are looking for us.'

"'They are too late for the performance,' said Rina, laughing. 'I have finished my dance.'

"It was lucky, for the bow had fallen from my hands at the news I had just heard. Rina made one bound to the door, and then turning, as if she had been on the stage, curtsied to the audience, and kissed her hand to the captain. The applause was deafening; I doubt if she had ever had such a triumph.

"'And now, to arms!' cried the captain. 'Prepare a horse for Rina and another for the musician. We will go on foot. The road to Romagna, remember! Stragglers to rejoin at Chianciano.'

"For a few minutes all was bustle and preparation.

"'Here I am,' cried Rina, running in, attired in her Roman peasant's dress.

"'Usseri, Usseri!' said the innkeeper.

"'Off with you!' cried the captain, and every one hurried towards the stairs.

"'The devil!' said the captain, turning to me, 'you are forgetting your bass, I think.'

"I took the bass. I would willingly have crept into it. Two horses stood ready saddled at the house door.

"'Well, Monsieur le Musicien,' said Rina, 'do you not help me to get on my horse? You are not very gallant.'

"I held out my arm to assist her, and as I did so she put a small piece of paper into my hand.

"A cold perspiration stood upon my forehead. What could this paper be? Was it a billet-doux? Had I been so unfortunate as to make a conquest, which would render me the rival of the captain? My first impulse was to throw the note away; but on second thoughts I put it in my pocket.

"'Usseri, Usseri!' cried the innkeeper again, and a noise like that of a distant galloping was heard. I scrambled on my horse, which two of the robbers took by the bridle; two others led that of Mademoiselle Rina. The captain, with his carbine on his shoulder, ran beside his mistress, the lieutenant accompanied me, and the remainder of the band, consisting of fifteen or eighteen men, brought up the rear. Five or six shots were fired some three hundred yards behind us, and the balls whistled in our ears. 'To the left!' cried the captain, and we threw ourselves into a sort of ravine, at the bottom of which ran a rapid stream. Here we halted and listened, and heard the hussars gallop furiously past on the high-road.

"'If they keep on at that pace, they'll soon be at Grossetto,' said the captain laughing."

This is the unfortunate musician's first essay in horsemanship, and when, after twelve hours' march across the country, with his bass strapped upon his shoulders, he halts at the inn at Chianciano, he is more dead than alive. He remembers, however, to read Mademoiselle Rina's note. From this, and a few words which she takes an opportunity of saying to him, he finds that she is an opera-dancer named Zephyrine, who had had an engagement [pg 159] a year or two previously at the Marseilles theatre. She had since transferred herself to the Teatro de la Valle at Rome, where the bandit captain, Tonino, happening to witness her performance, became enamoured of her, and laid a plan for carrying her off, which had proved successful. Her lover, however, Ernest, the same officer of hussars who had been M. Louet's travelling companion, is in search of her; and, to assist him in his pursuit, she writes her name, and that of the place they are next going to, upon the window of each inn they stop at. It was for this purpose she had secured M. Louet's diamond ring.

If contrast was Dumas' object in writing this volume, he has certainly been highly successful in carrying out his intention. Most writers would have contented themselves with composing the female portion of the brigands' society, of some dark-browed Italian contadina, with flashing eyes and jetty ringlets, a knife in her garter and a mousquetoon in her brawny fist, and a dozen crucifixes and amulets round her neck. At most, one might have expected to meet with some English lady in a green veil, (all English ladies, who travel, wear green veils,) whose carriage had been attacked, and herself carried off on the road from Florence to Rome. But M. Dumas scorns such commonplace dramatis personae, and is satisfied with nothing less than transporting a French ballet-dancer into the Appenines, with all her paraphernalia of gauze drapery, tinsel decorations, and opera airs and graces; not forgetting the orchestra, in the person of the luckless bass player. Yet so ingeniously does he dovetail it all together, so probable does he make his improbabilities appear, that we become almost reconciled to the idea of finding Mademoiselle Zephyrine Taglionizing away upon the filthy floor of a mountain osteria, and are inclined to be astonished that the spectators should not be provided with bouquets to throw at her upon the conclusion of her performance.

Several days are passed in running from one place to the other, always followed by the hussars, from whom the banditti have some narrow escapes. M. Louet is taken great care of in consideration of his skill as a musician, and he on his part takes all imaginable care of his bass, which he looks upon as a sort of a safeguard. At length they arrive at the castle of Anticoli, a villa which the captain rents from a Roman nobleman, and where he considers himself in perfect safety. Here M. Louet is installed in a magnificent apartment, where he finds linen and clothes, of which he is much in need. His toilet completed, he is conducted to the drawing-room by a livery servant, who bears a strong resemblance to one of his friends the banditti. But we will let him tell his story in his own words.

"There were three persons in the room into which I was ushered; a young lady, a very elegantly dressed man, and a French officer. I thought there must be some mistake, and was walking backwards out of the apartment, when the lady said—

"'My dear M. Louet, where are you going? Do you not mean to dine with us?'

"'Pardon me,' said I, 'I did not recognise you, Mademoiselle.'

"'If you prefer it, you shall be served in your apartment,' said the elegant-looking man.

"'What, captain,' cried I, 'is it you?'

"'M. Louet would not be so unkind as to deprive us of his society,' said the French officer with a polite bow. I turned to thank him for his civility. It was the lieutenant. It put me in mind of the changes in a pantomime.

"'Al suo commodo,' said a powdered lackey, opening the folding doors of a magnificent dining-room. The captain offered his hand to Mademoiselle Zephyrine. The lieutenant and I followed.

"'I hope you will be pleased with my cook, my dear M. Louet,' said the captain, waving me to a chair, and seating himself. 'He is a French artist of some talent. I have ordered two or three Provençal dishes on purpose for you.'

"'Pah! with garlic in them!' said the French officer, taking a pinch of perfumed snuff out of a gold box. I began to think I was dreaming.

"'Have you seen the park yet, M. Louet?' asked the captain.

"'Yes, Excellency, from the window of my room.'

"'They say it is full of game. Are you fond of shooting?'

[pg 160] "'I delight in it. Are there any thrushes in the park?'

"'Thrushes! thousands.'

"'Bravo! You may reckon upon me, captain, for a supply of game. That is, if you will order my fowling-piece to be returned to me. I cannot shoot well with any other.

"'Agreed,' said the captain.

"'Tonino,' said Mademoiselle Zephyrine, 'you promised to take me to the theatre to-morrow. I am curious to see the dancer who has replaced me.'

"'There is no performance to-morrow,' replied the captain, 'and I am not sure the carriage is in good condition. But we can take a ride to Tivoli or Subiaco, if you like.'

"'Will you come with us, my dear M. Louet?' said Mademoiselle Zephyrine.

"'Thank you,' replied I; 'I am not accustomed to ride. I would rather have a day's shooting.'

"'I will keep M. Louet company,' said the lieutenant.

"On retiring to my apartment that night, I found my fowling-piece in one corner, my game-bag in another, and my hundred crowns on the chimney-piece. Captain Tonino was a man of his word.

"Whilst I was undressing, the French cook came to know what I would choose for breakfast. 'Count Villaforte,' he said, 'had ordered that I should be served in my room, as I was going out shooting.' The captain, it appeared, had changed his name as well as his dress.

"The next morning I had just dressed and breakfasted, when the lieutenant came to fetch me, and I accompanied him down-stairs. In front of the villa four saddle-horses were being led up and down—one for the captain, one for Mademoiselle Zephyrine, and the two others for servants. The captain put a brace of double-barrelled pistols into his holsters, and the servants did the same. Master and men had a sort of fancy costume, which allowed them to wear a couteau-de-chasse. The captain saw that I remarked all these precautions.

"'The police is shocking in this country, M. Louet,' said he, 'and there are so many bad characters about, that it is well to be armed.'

"Mademoiselle Zephyrine looked charming in her riding-habit and hat.

"'Much pleasure, my dear M. Louet,' said the captain, as he got on his horse. 'Beaumanoir, take care of M. Louet.'

"'The best possible care, count.' replied the lieutenant.

"'The captain and Zephyrine waved their hands, and cantered away, followed by their servants.

"'Pardon me, sir,' said I, approaching the lieutenant; 'I believe it was you whom the count addressed as Beaumanoir.'

"'It was so.'

"'I thought the family of Beaumanoir had been extinct.'

"'Very possible. I revive it, that's all.'

"'You are perfectly at liberty to do so, sir,' replied I. 'I beg pardon for the observation.'

"'Granted, granted, my dear Louet. Would you like a dog, or not?'

"'Sir, I prefer shooting without a dog. The last I had insulted me most cruelly, and I should not like the same thing to occur again.'

"'As you please. Gaetano, untie Romeo.'

"We commenced our sport. In six shots I killed four thrushes, which satisfied me that the one which I had followed from Marseilles had been an enchanted one. Beaumanoir laughed at me.

"'What!' cried he. 'Do you amuse yourself in firing at such game as that?'

"'Sir,' replied I, 'at Marseilles the thrush is a very rare animal. I have seen but one in my life, and it is to that one I owe the advantage of being in your society.'

"Here and there I saw gardeners and gamekeepers whose faces were familiar to me, and who touched their hats as I passed. They looked to me very like my old friends, the robbers, in a new dress; but I had, of late, seen so many extraordinary things, that nothing astonished me any longer.

"The park was very extensive, and enclosed by a high wall, which had light iron gratings placed here and there, to afford a view of the surrounding country. I happened to be standing near one of these gratings, when M. Beaumanoir fired at a pheasant.

"'Signore,' said a countryman, who [pg 161] was passing, 'questo castello e il castello d'Anticoli?'

"'Villager,' I replied, walking towards the grating, 'I do not understand Italian; speak French, and I shall be happy to answer.'

"'What! Is it you, M. Louet?' exclaimed the peasant.

"'Yes, it is,' said I; 'but how do you know my name?'

"'Hush! I am Ernest, the hussar officer, your travelling companion.'

"'M. Ernest! Ah! Mademoiselle Zephyrine will be delighted.'

"'Zephyrine is really here, then?'

"'Certainly she is. A prisoner like myself.'

"'And Count Villaforte?'

"'Is Captain Tonino.'

"'And the castle?'

"'A den of thieves.'

"'That is all I wanted to know. Adieu, my dear Louet. Tell Zephyrine she shall soon hear from me.' So saying, he plunged into the forest.

"'Here, Romeo, here!' cried Mr. Beaumanoir to his dog, who was fetching the bird he had shot. I hastened to him.

"'A beautiful pheasant!' cried I. 'A fine cock!'

"'Yes, yes. Who were you talking to, M. Louet?'

"'To a peasant, who asked me some question, to which I replied, that unfortunately I did not understand Italian.'

"'Hum!' said Beaumanoir, with a suspicious side-glance at me. Then, having loaded his gun, 'We will change places, if you please,' said he. 'There may be some more peasants passing, and, as I understand Italian, I shall be able to answer their questions.'

"'As you like, M. Beaumanoir,' said I.

"The change was effected; but no more peasants appeared.

"When we returned to the house, the captain and Zephyrine had not yet come back from their ride, and I amused myself in my room with my bass, which I found to be an excellent instrument. I resolved, more than ever, not to part with it, but to take it back to France with me, if ever I returned to that country.

"At the hour of dinner, I repaired to the drawing-room, where I found Count Villaforte and Mademoiselle Zephyrine. I had scarcely closed the door, when it was reopened, and the lieutenant put in his head.

"'Captain!' said he, in a hurried voice.

"'Who calls me captain? Here there is no captain, my dear Beaumanoir, but a Count Villaforte.'

"'Captain, it is a serious matter. One moment, I beg.'

"The captain left the room. When the door was shut, and I was sure he could not hear me, I told Zephyrine of my interview with her lover. I had just finished when the captain reappeared.

"'Well,' said Zephyrine, running to meet him. 'What makes you look so blank? Are there bad news?'

"'Not very good ones.'

"'Do they come from a sure source?' asked she with an anxiety which this time was not assumed.

"'From the surest possible. From one of our friends who is employed in the police.'

"'Gracious Heaven! What is going to happen?'

"'We do not know yet, but it appears we have been traced from Chianciano to the Osteria Barberini. They only lost the scent behind Mount Gennaro. My dear Rina, I fear we must give up our visit to the theatre to-morrow.'

"'But not our dinner to-day, captain, I hope,' said I.

"'Here is your answer,' said the captain, as the door opened, and a servant announced that the soup was on the table.

"The captain and lieutenant dined each with a brace of pistols beside his plate, and in the anteroom I saw two men armed with carbines. The repast was a silent one; I did not dine comfortably myself, for I had a sort of feeling that the catastrophe was approaching, and that made me uneasy.

"'You will excuse me for leaving you,' said the captain, when dinner was over; 'but I must go and take measures for our safety. I would advise you not to undress, M. Louet, for we may have to make a sudden move, and it is well to be ready.'

"The lieutenant conducted me to my apartment, and wished me good-night with great politeness. As he left the room, however, I heard that he double-locked the door. I had nothing better to do than to throw myself on my [pg 162] bed, which I did; but for some hours I found it impossible to sleep, on account of the anxieties and unpleasant thoughts that tormented me. At last I fell into a troubled slumber.

"I do not know how long it had lasted, when I was awakened by being roughly shaken.

"'Subito! subito!' cried a voice.

"'What is the matter?' said I, sitting up on the bed.

"'Non capisco, seguir me!' cried the bandit.

"'And where am I to seguir you?' said I, understanding that he told me to follow him.

"'Avanti! Avanti!'

"'May I take my bass?' I asked.

"The man made sign in the affirmative, so I put my beloved instrument on my back, and told him I was ready to follow him. He led me through several corridors and down a staircase; then, opening a door, we found ourselves in the park. Day was beginning to dawn. After many turnings and windings, we entered a copse or thicket, in the depths of which was the opening of a sort of grotto, where one of the robbers was standing sentry. They pushed me into this grotto. It was very dark, and I was groping about with extended arms, when somebody grasped my hand. I was on the point of crying out; but the hand that held mine was too soft to be that of a brigand.

"'M. Louet!' said a whispering voice, which I at once recognized.

"'What is the meaning of all this, Mademoiselle?' asked I, in the same tone.

"'The meaning is, that they are surrounded by a regiment, and Ernest is at the head of it.'

"'But why are we put into this grotto?'

"'Because it is the most retired place in the whole park, and consequently the one least likely to be discovered. Besides there is a door in it, which communicates probably with some subterraneous passage leading into the open country.'

"Just then we heard a musket shot.

"'Bravo!' cried Zephyrine; 'it is beginning.'

"There was a running fire, then a whole volley.

"'Mademoiselle,' said I, 'it appears to me to be increasing very much.'

"'So much the better,' answered she.

"She was as brave as a lioness, that young girl. For my part I acknowledge I felt very uncomfortable. But it appears I was doomed to witness engagements both by land and sea.

"'The firing is coming nearer,' said Zephyrine.

"'I am afraid so, Mademoiselle,' answered I.

"'On the contrary, you ought to be delighted. It is a sign that the robbers are flying.'

"'I had rather they fled in another direction.'

"There was a loud clamour, and cries as if they were cutting one another's throats, which, in fact, they were. The shouts and cries were mingled with the noise of musketry, the sound of the trumpets, and roll of the drum. There was a strong smell of powder. The fight was evidently going on within a hundred yards of the grotto.

"Suddenly there was a deep sigh, then the noise of a fall, and one of the sentries at the mouth of the cave came rolling to our feet. A random shot had struck him, and as he just fell in, a ray of light which entered the grotto, we were able to see him writhing in the agonies of death. Mademoiselle Zephyrine seized my hands, and I felt that she trembled violently.

"'Oh, M. Louet.' said she, 'it is very horrible to see a man die!'

"At that moment we heard a voice exclaiming—'Stop, cowardly villain! Wait for me!'

"'Ernest!' exclaimed Zephyrine. 'It is the voice of Ernest!'

"As she spoke the captain rushed in, covered with blood.

"'Zephyrine!' cried he, 'Zephyrine, where are you?'

"The sudden change from the light of day to the darkness of the cave, prevented him from seeing us. Zephyrine made me a sign to keep silence. After remaining for a moment as if dazzled, his eyes got accustomed to the darkness. He bounded towards us with the spring of a tiger.

"'Zephyrine, why don't you answer when I call? Come!'

"He seized her arm, and began dragging her towards the door at the back of the grotto.

[pg 163] "'Where are you taking me?' cried the poor girl.

"'Come with me—come along!'

"'Never!' cried she, struggling.

"'What! You won't go with me?'

"'No; why should I? I detest you. You carried me off by force. I won't follow you. Ernest, Ernest, here!'

"'Ernest!' muttered the captain. 'Ha! 'Tis you, then, who betrayed us?'

"'M. Louet!' cried Zephyrine, 'if you are a man, help me!'

"I saw the blade of a poniard glitter. I had no weapon, but I seized my bass by the handle, and, raising it in the air, let it fall with such violence on the captain's skull, that the back of the instrument was smashed in and the bandit's head disappeared in the interior of the bass. Either the violence of the blow, or the novelty of finding his head in a bass, so astonished the captain that he let go his hold of Zephyrine, at the same time uttering a roar like that of a mad bull.

"'Zephyrine! Zephyrine!' cried a voice outside.

"'Ernest!' answered the young girl, darting out of the grotto.

"I followed her, terrified at my own exploit. She was already clasped in the arms of her lover.

"'In there,' cried the young officer to a party of soldiers who just then came up. 'He is in there. Bring him out, dead or alive.'

"They rushed in, but the broken bass was all they found. The captain had escaped by the other door.

"On our way to the house we saw ten or twelve dead bodies. One was lying on the steps leading to the door.

"'Take away this carrion,' said Ernest.

"Two soldiers turned the body over. It was the last of the Beaumanoirs.

"We remained but a few minutes at the house, and then Zephyrine and myself got into a carriage and set off, escorted by M. Ernest and a dozen men. I did not forget to carry off my hundred crowns, my fowling-piece, and game-bag. As to my poor bass, the captain's head had completely spoiled it.

"After an hour's drive, we came in sight of a large city with an enormous dome the middle of it. It was Rome.

"'And did you see the Pope, M. Louet?'

"'At that time he was at Fontainbleau, but I saw him afterwards, and his successor too; for M. Ernest got me an appointment as bass-player at the Teatro de la Valle, and I remained there till the year 1830. When I at last returned to Marseilles, they did not know me again, and for some time refused to give me back my place in the orchestra, under pretence that I was not myself.'

"'And Mademoiselle Zephyrine?'

"'I heard that she married M. Ernest, whose other name I never knew, and that he became a general, and she a very great lady."

"'And Captain Tonino? Did you hear nothing more of him?'

"'Three years afterwards he came to the theatre in disguise; was recognised, arrested, and hung.'

"'And thus it was, sir,' concluded M. Louet, 'that a thrush led me into Italy, and caused me to pass twenty years at Rome.'"

And so ends the thrush-hunt. One word at parting, to qualify any too sweeping commendation we may have bestowed on M. Dumas in the early part of this paper. While we fully exonerate his writings from the charge of grossness, and recognise the absence of those immoral and pernicious tendencies which disfigure the works of many gifted French writers of the day, we would yet gladly see him abstain from the somewhat too Decameronian incidents and narratives with which he occasionally varies his pages. That he is quite independent of such meretricious aids, is rendered evident by his entire avoidance of them in some of his books, which are not on that account a whit the less piquant. With this single reservation, we should hail with pleasure the appearance on our side the Channel of a few such sprightly and amusing writers as Alexander Dumas.

[pg 164]


The volumes of which we are about to give fragments and anecdotes, contain a portion of the letters addressed to a man of witty memory, whose existence was passed almost exclusively among men and women of rank; his life, in the most expressive sense of the word, West End; and even in that West End, his chief haunt St James's Street. Parliament and the Clubs divided his day, and often his night. The brilliant roués, the steady gamesters, the borough venders, and the lordly ex-members of ex-cabinets, were the only population of whose living and breathing he suffered himself to have any cognizance. In reverse of Gray's learned mouse, eating its way through the folios of an ancient library—and to whom

"A river or a sea was but a dish of tea,

And a kingdom bread and butter,"

to George Selwyn, the world and all that it inhabits, were concentrated in Charles Fox, William Pitt, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, and the circle of men of pleasantry, loose lives, and vivacious temperaments, who, with whatever diminishing lustre, revolved round them.

Of the City of London, Selwyn probably had heard; for though fixed to one spot, he was a man fond of collecting curious knowledge; but nothing short of proof positive can ever convince us that he had passed Temple Bar. He, of course, knew that there were such things on the globe as merchants and traders, because their concerns were occasionally talked of in "the House," where, however, he heard as little as possible about them; for in the debates of the time he took no part but that of a listener, and even then he abridged the difficulty, by generally sleeping through the sitting. He was supposed to be the only rival of Lord North in the happy faculty of falling into a sound slumber at the moment when any of those dreary persons, who chiefly speak on such subjects, was on his legs. St James's, and the talk of St James's, were his business, his pleasures, the exciters of his wit, and the rewarders of his toil. He had applied the art of French cookery to the rude material of the world, and refined and reduced all things into a sauce piquante—all its realities were concentrated in essences; and, disdaining the grosser tastes of mankind, he lived upon the aroma of high life—an epicure even among epicures; yet not an indolent enjoyer of the luxuries of his condition, but a keen, restless, and eager student of pleasurable sensations—an Apicius, polished by the manners, and furnished with the arts of the most self-enjoying condition of mankind, that of an English gentleman of fortune in the 18th century.

We certainly are not the champions of this style of life. We think that man has other matters to consider than pâtés and consommés, the flavour of his Burgundy and pines, or even the bons-mots of his friends. We are afraid that we must, after all, regard the whole Selwyn class as little better than the brutes in their stables, or on their hearth-rugs; with the advantage to the brutes of following their natural appetites, having no twinges of either conscience or the gout, and not being from time to time stripped by their friends, or plundered by the Jews. The closing hours of the horse or the dog are also, perhaps, more complacent in general, and their deaths are less a matter of rejoicing to those who are to succeed to their mangers and cushions. Of higher and more startling contemplations, this is not the place to speak. If such men shall yet have the power of looking down from some remoter planet on their idle, empty, and self-indulgent course in our own, perhaps they would rejoice to have exchanged with the lot of him whose bread was earned by the sweat of his brow, yet who had fulfilled the duties of his station; and whose hand had been withheld [pg 165] by necessity from that banquet, where all the nobler purposes of life were forgotten, and where the senses absorbed the higher nature. Still, we admit that these are topics on which no man ought to judge the individual with severity. We have spoken only of the class. The individual may have had virtues of which the world can know nothing; he may have been liberal, affectionate, and zealous, when his feelings were once awakened; his purse may have dried many a tear, and soothed many a pulse of secret suffering. It is, at all events, more kindly to speak of poor human nature with fellow feeling for those exposed to the strong temptations of fortune, than to establish an arrogant comparison between the notorious errors of others, and the secret failures of our own.

But we have something to settle with Mr Jesse. He is alive, and therefore may be instructed; he is making books with great rapidity, and therefore may be advantageously warned of the perils of book-making. The title of his volumes has altogether deceived us. We shall not charge him with intending this; but it has unquestionably had the effect. "George Selwyn and his contemporaries." We opened the volumes, expecting to find our witty clubbist in every page; George in his full expansion, "in his armour as he lived;" George, every inch a wit, glittering before us in his full court suit, in his letters, his anecdotes, his whims, his odd views of mankind, his caustic sneerings at the glittering world round him; an epistolary HB., turning every thing into the pleasant food of his pen and pungency. But we cannot discover any letters from him, excepting a few very trifling ones of his youth. We have letters from all sorts of persons, great lords and little, statesmen and travellers, placemen and place-hunters; and amusing enough many of them are. Walpole furnishes some sketches, and nothing can be better. In fact the volumes exhibit, not George Selwyn, the only one whose letters we should have cared to see, but those who wrote to him. And the disappointment is not the less, that in those letters constant allusions are made to his "sparkling, delightful, sportive, characteristic, &c. &c., epistles." Great ladies constantly urge him to write to them. Maids, wives, and widows, pour out a stream of perpetual laudation. Men of rank, men of letters, men at home, and men abroad, unite in one common supplication for "London news" réchaufféed, spiced, and served up, by the perfect cuisinerie of George's art of story-telling; like the horse-leech's two daughters, the cry is, "Give, give." And this is what we wanted to see. Selwyn, the whole Selwyn, and nothing but Selwyn.

It is true that there is a preface which talks in this wise:—

It seems to have been one of the peculiarities of George Selwyn, to preserve not only every letter addressed to him by his correspondents during the course of his long life, but also the most trifling notes and memoranda. To this peculiarity, the reader is indebted for whatever amusement he may derive from the perusal of these volumes. The greater portion of their contents consists of letters addressed to Selwyn, by persons who, in their day, moved in the first circles of wit, genius, and fashion."

We have thus let Mr Jesse speak for himself. If the public are satisfied, so let it be. But people seldom read prefaces. The title is the thing, and that title is, "George Selwyn and his contemporaries." If it had been "Letters of the contemporaries of George Selwyn," we should have understood the matter.

Still we are not at all disposed to quarrel with the volumes. They contain a great deal of pleasant matter; and the letters are evidently, in general, the work of a higher order of persons than the world has often an opportunity of seeing in their deshabille. The Persian proverb, which accounted for the fragrance of a pebble by its having lain beside the rose, has been in some degree realized in these pages. They are evidently of the Selwyn school; and if he is not here witty himself, he is, like the "fat knight," the cause of wit in others. We are enjoying a part of the feast which his science had cooked, and then distributed to his friends to figure as the chefs-d'oeuvre of their own tables. At all events, though often on trifling subjects, and often not worth preserving, they vindicate [pg 166] on the whole the claim of English letter-writing to European superiority. Taking Walpole as the head, and nothing can be happier than his mixture of keen remark, intelligent knowledge of his time, high-bred ease of language, and exquisite point and polish of anecdote; his followers, even in these few volumes, show that there were many men, even in the midst of all the practical business and nervous agitation of public life, not unworthy of their master. We have no doubt that there have been hundreds of persons, and thousands of letters, which might equally contribute to this most interesting, and sometimes most brilliant, portion of our literature. The French lay claim to superiority in this as in every thing else; but we must acknowledge that it is with some toil we have ever read the boasted letters of De Sévigné—often pointed, and always elegant, they are too often frivolous, and almost always local. We are sick of the adorable Grignan, and her "belle chevelure." The letters of Du Deffand, Espinasse, Roland, and even of De Staël, though always exhibiting ability, are too hard or too hot, too fierce or too fond, for our tastes; they are also so evidently intended for any human being except the one to whom they were addressed, or rather for all human beings—they were so palpably "private effusions" for the public ear—sentiments stereotyped, and sympathies for the circulating library—that they possessed as little the interest as the character of correspondence.

Voltaire's letters are always spirited. That extraordinary man could do nothing on which his talent was not marked; but his letters are epigrammes—all is sacrificed to point, and all is written for the salons of Paris. What Talleyrand's might be, we can imagine from the singular subtlety and universal knowledge of that most dexterous player of the most difficult game which was ever on the diplomatic cards. But as his definition of the excellence of a letter was—"to say any thing, but mean nothing," we must give up the hope of his contribution. Grimm's volumes are, after all, the only collection which belongs to the style of letters to which we allude. They are amusing and anecdotical, and, in our conception, by much the most intelligent French correspondence that has fallen into our hands. But they are too evidently the work of a man writing as a task, gathering the Parisian news as a part of his profession, and in fact sending a daily newspaper to his German patron.

Of the German epistolary literature we have seen nothing which approaches to the excellence of the English school. The conception is generally vague, vapourish, and metaphysical. And this predominates absurdly through all its classes. The poet prides himself on being as much a dreamer in his prose as in his poetry; the scholar is proud of being perplexed and pedantic; the statesman is naturally immersed in that problematic style, which belongs to the secrecy of despotic governments, and to the stiffness of circles where all is etiquette. But Walpole and his tribe have fashion wholly to themselves, and possess force without heaviness, and elegance without effeminacy.

We are strongly tempted to ask, whether there may not be letters of the gay, the refined, and the sparkling George Canning. He was constantly writing; knew every thing and every body; was engaged in all the high transactions of his time; saw human nature in all possible shades; and was a man whose talent, though capable of very noble efforts "on compulsion," yet naturally loved a more level rank of times and things. It is perfectly true to human experience, that there are minds, which, like caged nightingales and canary-birds, though their wings were formed with the faculty of cleaving the clouds, yet pass a perfectly contented existence within their wires, and sing as cheerfully in return for their water and seeds, as if they had the range of the horizon. Canning's whole song for thirty years was in one cage or another, and he sang with equal cheerfulness in them all. The moral of all this is, that we wish Mr Jesse, or any one else, to apply himself, without delay, to the depositaries of George Canning's familiar correspondence, and give his pleasant, piquant, and graceful letters (for we are sure that they are all these) to the world.

Lord Dudley's letters have disappointed [pg 167] every body: but it is to be observed, that we have only a small portion of them; that they were written to a college tutor, a not very exciting species of correspondent at any time, and who in this instance having nothing to give back, and plodding his way through the well-meant monotony of college news, allowed poor Lord Dudley not much more chance of brilliancy, than a smart drummer might have of producing a reveillé on an unbraced drum. We must live in hope.

Lord Holland, we think, might, as the sailors say, "loom out large." The life of that ancient Whig having been chiefly employed in telling other men's stories over his own table—and much better employed, too, than in talking his original follies in public—a tolerable selection from his journals might furnish some variety; for when Whigs are cased up no longer in the stiff braces and battered armour of their clique, they may occasionally be amusing men. But Walpole still reigns: his whims, his flirtings, his frivolities will disappear with his old china and trifling antiquities; but his best letters will always be the best of their kind among men.

George Selwyn was a man of fashionable life for the greater part of the last century, or perhaps we may more justly say, he was a man of fashionable life for the seventy-two years of his existence; for, from his cradle, he lived among that higher order of mankind who were entitled to do nothing, to enjoy themselves, and alternately laugh at, and look down upon the rest of the world. His family were opulent, and naturally associated with rank; for his father had been aide-de-camp to the Duke of Marlborough—a great distinction even in that brilliant age; and his mother was the daughter of a general officer, and woman of the bedchamber to Queen Caroline. She is recorded as a woman of talents, and peculiarly of wit; qualities which seem frequently connected with long life, perhaps as bearing some relation to that good-humour which undoubtedly tends to lengthen the days of both man and woman. If the theory be true, that the intellect of the offspring depends upon the mother, the remarkable wit of George Selwyn may be adduced in evidence of the position.

George, born in 1719, was sent, like the sons of all the court gentlemen of his age and of our own, to Eton. After having there acquired classics, aristocracy, and cricket, all consummated at Oxford, he proceeded to go through the last performance of fashionable education, and give himself the final polish for St James's; he proceeded to make the tour of Europe. What induced him to recommence his boyhood, by returning to Oxford at the ripe age of twenty-five, is among the secrets of his career, as also is the occasion of his being expelled from the university; if that occasion is not to be found in some of the burlesques of religion which he had learned amongst the fashionable infidels of the Continent, similar to those enacted by Wilkes in his infamous monkery. But every thing in his career equally exhibits the times. At an age when he was fit for nothing else, he was considered fit to receive the salary of a sinecure; and, at twenty-one, he was appointed to a brace of offices at the mint. His share of the duty consisted of his enjoying the weekly dinners of the establishment, and signing the receipts for his quarter's pay.

Within a few years more, he came into parliament; and in his thirty-second year, by the death of his father and elder brother, he succeeded to the family estates, consisting of three handsome possessions, one of which had the additional value of returning a member of parliament. Nor was this all; for his influence in Gloucestershire enabled him to secure, during many years, his own seat for Gloucester, thus rendering his borough disposable; and thus, master of a hereditary fortune, an easy sinecurist, the possessor of two votes, and the influencer of the third—a man of family, a man of connexion, and a man of the court—George Selwyn began a path strewed with down and rose leaves.

In addition to these advantages, George Selwyn evidently possessed a very remarkable subtlety and pleasantry of understanding; that combination which alone produced true wit, or which, perhaps, would be the best definition of wit itself; for subtlety [pg 168] alone may excite uneasy sensations in the hearer, and pleasantry alone may often be vulgar. But the acuteness which detects the absurd of things, and the pleasantry which throws a good-humoured coloring over the acuteness, form all that delights us in wit.

If we are to judge by the opinion of his contemporaries, and this is the true criterion after all, Selwyn's wit must have been of the very first order in a witty age. Walpole is full of him. Walpole himself, a wit, and infinitely jealous of every rival in every thing on which he fastened his fame, from a picture gallery down to a snuff-box, or from a history down to an epigram, bows down to him with almost Persian idolatry. His letters are alive with George Selwyn. The bons-mots which Selwyn carelessly dropped in his morning wall through St James's Street, are carefully picked up by Walpole, and planted in his correspondence, like exotics in a greenhouse. The careless brilliancies of conversation, which the one threw loose about the club-rooms of the Court End, are collected by the other and reset by this dexterous jeweller, for the sparklings and ornaments of his stock in trade with posterity.

Yet it may reconcile those less gifted by nature and fortune to their mediocrity; to know that those singular advantages by no means constitute happiness, usefulness, moral dignity, or even public respect. Selwyn, as the French Abbé said, "had nothing to do, and he did it." His possession of fortune enabled him to be a lounger through life, and he lounged accordingly. The conversations of the clubs supplied him with the daily toys of his mind, and he never sought more substantial employment. Though nearly fifty years in parliament, he was known only as a silent voter; and, after a life of seventy-two years, he died, leaving three and twenty thousand pounds of his savings to a girl who was not his daughter; and the chief part of his estates to the Duke of Queensberry, an old man already plethoric with wealth, of which he had never known the use, and already dying.

His passion for attending executions was notorious and unaccountable, except on the ground of that love of excitement which leads others to drinking or the gaming-table. Those sights, from which human nature shrinks, appear to have been sought for by Selwyn with an eagerness resembling enjoyment. This strange propensity was frequently laughed at by his friends. Alluding to the practice of criminals dropping a handkerchief as a signal for the executioner, says Walpole, "George never thinks, but à la tête tranchée. He came to town the other day to have a tooth drawn, and told the man that he would drop his handkerchief for the signal."

Another characteristic anecdote is told on this subject. When the first Lord Holland, a man of habitual pleasantry, was confined to his bed, he heard that Selwyn, who had been an old friend, had called to enquire for his health. "The next time Mr Selwyn calls," said he, "show him up; if I am alive, I shall be delighted to see him; and, if I am dead, he will be delighted to see me."

Walpole says, after telling a story of one Arthur Moore, "I told this the other day to George Selwyn, whose passion is to see corpses and executions. He replied, 'that Arthur Moore had his coffin chained to that of his mistress.'

"Said I, 'How do you know?'

"'Why, I—I saw them the other day in a vault in St Giles's.'

"George was walking this week in Westminster Abbey, with Lord Abergavenny, and met the man who shows the tombs. 'Oh, your servant, Mr Selwyn; I expected to have seen you here the other day, when the old Duke of Richmond's body was taken up.'" Walpole then mentions Selwyn's going to see Cornberry, with Lord Abergavenny and a pretty Mrs Frere, who were in some degree attached to each other.

"Do you know what you missed in the other room?" said Selwyn to the lady. "Lord Holland's picture."

"Well, what is Lord Holland to me?"

"Why, do you know," said he, "my Lord Holland's body lies in the same vault, in Kensington church, with my Lord Abergavenny's mother."

Walpole, speaking of the share which he had in capturing a [pg 169] house-breaker, says, "I dispatched a courier to White's in search of George Selwyn. It happened that the drawer who received my message had very lately been robbed himself, and had the wound fresh in his memory. He stalked up into the club-room, and with a hollow trembling voice, said, 'Mr Selwyn, Mr Walpole's compliments to you, and he has got a house-breaker for you.'"

But some of his practical pleasantries were very amusing. Lady Townshend, a woman of wit, but, in some points of character, a good deal scandalized, was supposed to have taken refuge from her recollections in Popery. "On Sunday last," says Walpole, "as George was strolling home to dinner, he saw my Lady Townshend's coach stop at Caraccioli's chapel. He watched; saw her go in; her footman laughed; he followed. She went up to the altar; a woman brought her a cushion; she knelt, crossed her self, and prayed. He stole up, and knelt by her. Conceive her face, if you can, when she turned and found him close to her. In his demure voice, he said, 'Pray, ma'am, how long has your ladyship left the pale of our church?' She looked furies, and made no answer. Next day he went to see her, and she turned it off upon curiosity. But is any thing more natural? No; she certainly means to go armed with every viaticum: the Church of England in on hand, Methodism in the other, and the Host in her mouth."

Every one knows that bons-mots are apt to lose a great deal by transmission. It has been said that the time is one-half of the merit, and the manner the other; thus leaving nothing for the wit. But the fact is, that the wit so often depends upon both, as to leave the best bon-mot comparatively flat in the recital. With this palliative we may proceed. Walpole, remarking to Selwyn one day, at a time of considerable popular discontent, that the measures of government were as feeble and confused as in the reign of the first Georges, and saying, "There is nothing new under the sun." "No," replied Selwyn, "nor under the grandson."

Selwyn one day observing Wilkes, who was constantly verging on libel, listening attentively to the king's speech, said to him, "May Heaven preserve the ears you lend!" an allusion to the lines of the Dunciad

"Yet, oh, my sons, a father's words attend;

So may the fates preserve the ears you lend."

The next is better. A man named Charles Fox having been executed, the celebrated Charles asked Selwyn whether he had been present at the execution as usual. "No," was the keen reply, "I make a point of never attending rehearsals."

Fox and General Fitzpatrick at one time lodged in the house of Mackay, an oilman in Piccadilly, a singular residence for two men of the first fashion. Somebody, probably in allusion to their debts, observed that such lodgers would be the ruin of Mackay. "No," said Selwyn, "it will make his fortune. He may boast of having the first pickles in London."

Nonchalant manners were the tone of the time; and to cut one's country acquaintance (a habit learned among the French noblesse) was high breeding. An old haunter of the pump-room in Bath, who had frequently conversed with Selwyn in his visits there, meeting him one day in St James's Street, attempted to approach him with his usual familiarity. Selwyn passed him as if he had never seen him before. His old acquaintance followed him, and said, "Sir, you knew me very well in Bath." "Well, sir," replied Selwyn, "in Bath I may possibly know you again," and walked on.

When High Life Below Stairs was announced, Selwyn expressed a wish to be present at its first night. "I shall go," said he, "because I am tired of low life above stairs."

One of the waiters at Arthur's had committed a felony, and was sent to jail. "I am shocked at the committal," said Selwyn; "what a horrid idea the fellow will give of us to the people in Newgate."

Bruce's Abyssinian stories were for a long time the laugh of London. Somebody at a dinner once asked him, whether he had seen any relics of musical instruments among the Abyssinians, or any thing in the style of [pg 170] the ancient sculptures of the Thebaid. "I think I saw one lyre there," was the answer. "Ay," says Selwyn to his neighbour, "and that one left the country along with him."

Selwyn did not always spare his friends. When Fox's pecuniary affairs were in a state of ruin, and a subscription was proposed; one of the subscribers said that their chief difficulty was to know "how Fox would take it." Selwyn, who knew that necessity has nothing to do with delicacies of this order, replied, "Take it, why, quarterly to be sure!"

Mr. Jesse's anecdotes are generally well told, but their version is sometimes different from ours. Selwyn was one day walking up St James's Street with Lord Pembroke, when a couple of sweeps brushed against them. "Impudent rascals!" exclaimed Lord Pembroke. "The sovereignty of the people," said Selwyn. "But such dirty dogs," said Pembroke. "Full dress for the court of St Giles's," said Selwyn, with a bow to their sable majesties.

But Selwyn, with all his affability and pleasantry, had his dislikes, and among them was the celebrated Sheridan. The extraordinary talent and early fame of that most memorable and unfortunate man, had fixed all eyes upon him from the moment of his entering into public life; and Selwyn, who had long sat supreme in wit, probably felt some fears for his throne. At all events, he determined to keep one place clear from collision with this dangerous wit; and, on every attempt to put up Sheridan's name for admission into Brookes's, two black balls were found in the balloting-box, one of which was traced to Selwyn, while the other was supposed to be that of Lord Besborough. One ball being sufficient to exclude, the opposition was fatal; but Fox and his friends were equally determined, on their side, to introduce Sheridan; and for this purpose a curious, though not very creditable, artifice was adopted. On the evening of the next ballot, and while George and Lord Besborough were waiting, with their usual determination, to blackball the candidate, a chairman in great haste brought in a note, apparently from Lady Duncannon, to her father-in-law Lord Besborough, to tell him that his house in Cavendish Square was on fire, and entreating him to return without a moment's delay. His lordship instantly quitted the room, and hurried homewards. Immediately after, a message was sent to George Selwyn that Miss Fagniani, the child whom he had adopted, and whom he supposed to be his own, was suddenly seized with a fit, and that his presence was instantly required. He also obeyed the summons. Both had no sooner left the room than the ballot was proceeded with, the two ominous balls were not to be found, and Sheridan was unanimously chosen. In the midst of the triumph, Selwyn and Lord Besborough returned, indignant at the trick, but of course unable to find out its perpetrators. How Sheridan and his friends looked may be imagined. The whole scene was perfectly dramatic.

Burke's speeches, which were destined to become the honour of his age, and the delight of posterity, were sometimes negligently received by the house. His splendid prolixity, which was fitter for an assembly of philosophers than an English Parliament, sometimes wearied mere men of business, as much as his fine metaphysics sometimes perplexed them; and the man who might have sat between Plato and Aristotle, and been listened to with congenial delight by both, was often left without an audience. One night, when Selwyn was hurrying into the lobby with a crowd of members, a nobleman coming up asked him, "Is the house up?" "No," was the reply, "but Burke is."

A model of fashionable life, Selwyn unhappily indulged in that vice which was presumed to be essential to the man of fashion. The early gaming propensities of Charles Fox are well known; he was ruined, estate, personal fortune, sinecures and reversions, and all, before he was five years in public life—ruined in every possible shape of ruin. There were times when he could not command a guinea in the world. Yet there were times when he won immensely. At one sitting he carried off £8000, but in a few more he lost £11,000. He was a capital whist player; and in the cool [pg 171] calculation of the clubs on such subjects, it was supposed that he might have made £4000 a-year, if he had adhered to this profitable direction of his genius. But, like many other great men, he mistook his forte, and disdained all but the desperation of hazard. There he lost perpetually and prodigiously, until he was stripped of every thing, and pauperised for life.

It gives a strong conception of the universality of this vice, to find so timid and girlish a nature as the late William Wilberforce's initiated into the same career.

"When I left the University," says Wilberforce, in his later reminiscences, "so little did I know of general society, that I came up to London stored with arguments to prove the authenticity of 'Rowley's Poems,' (the academic and pedantic topic of the day,) and now I was at once immersed in politics and fashion. The very first time I went to Boodle's, I won twenty-five guineas of the Duke of Norfolk. I belonged at this time to five clubs, Miles' and Evans', Brookes', Boodle's, White's, and Goosetree's. The first time I was at Brookes', scarcely knowing any one, I joined, from mere shyness, in play at the faro-table, where George Selwyn kept bank. A friend who knew my inexperience, and regarded me as a victim dressed out for sacrifice, called to me—'What, Wilberforce, is that you?' Selwyn quite resented the interference, and turning to him, said in his most expressive tone—'Oh, sir, don't interrupt Mr Wilberforce, he could not be better employed.' Nothing could be more harmonious than the style of those clubs—Fox, Sheridan, Fitzpatrick, and all your leading men frequented them, and associated upon the easiest terms. You either chatted, played at cards, or gambled, as you pleased."

We have no idea of entering into any of the scandals of the time. The lives of all the men of fashion of that day were habitually profligate. The "Grand Tour" was of but little service to their morals, and Pope's sarcastic lines were but too true.

"He travell'd Europe round,

And gather'd every vice on foreign ground;

Till home return'd, and perfectly well-bred,

With nothing but a solo in his head;

Stolen from a duel, follow'd by a nun,

And, if a borough choose him—not undone."

But this vice did not descend among the body of the people. It was limited to the idlers of high life, and even among them it was extinguished by the cessation of our foreign intercourse at the French revolution; or was at least so far withdrawn from the public eye, as to avoid offending the common decencies of a moral people.

Selwyn was probably more cautious in his habits than his contemporaries, for he survived almost every man who had begun life with him; and he lived to a much greater age than the chief of the showy characters who rose into celebrity during his career. He died at the age of seventy-two, January 25, 1791. He had long relinquished gaming, assigning the very sufficient reason, "It was too great a consumer of four things—time, health, fortune, and thinking." But what man of his day escaped the gout, and the natural termination of that torturing disease in dropsy? After seven years' suffering from both, with occasional intervals of relief, he sank at last. Walpole, almost the only survivor among his early friends, thus wrote on the day of his expected death:—"I have lost, or am on the point of losing, my oldest acquaintance and friend, George Selwyn, who was yesterday at the extremity. Those misfortunes, though they can be so but for a short time, are very sensible to the old: but him I loved, not only for his infinite wit, but for a thousand good qualities." He writes a few days after, "Poor Selwyn is gone; to my sorrow; and no wonder. Ucalegon feels it."

Selwyn, with all his pleasantry, had evidently a quick eye for his own interest. He contrived to remain in parliament for half a century, and he gathered the emoluments of some half dozen snug sinecures. Among those were the Registrar of Chancery in Barbadoes, and surveyor-general of the lands. Thus he lived luxuriously, and died rich.

Orator Henley is niched in an early part of this correspondence. The orator was known in the last [pg 172] century as a remarkably dirty fellow in his apparel, and still more so in his mind. He was the son of a gentleman, and had received a gentleman's education at St John's, Cambridge. There, or subsequently, he acquired Hebrew, and even Persian; wrote a tragedy on the subject of Esther, in which he exhibited considerable poetic powers; and finished his scholastic fame by a grammar of ten languages! On leaving college, he took orders, and became a country curate. But the decency of this life did not suit his habits, and he resolved to try his chance in London for fortune and fame. Opening a chapel near Newport market, Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, he harangued twice a-week, on theological subjects on Sundays, and on the sciences and literature on Wednesdays. The audience were admitted by a shilling ticket, and the butchers in the neighbourhood were for a while his great patrons. At length, finding his audience tired of common sense, he tried, like other charlatans since his day, the effect of nonsense. His manner was theatrical, his style eccentric, and his topics varied between extravagance and buffoonery. The history of such performances is invariably the same—novelty is essential, and novelty must be attained at all risks. He now professed to reform all literature, and all religion. But even this ultimately failed him. At length the butchers deserted him, and, falling from one disgrace to another, he sank into dirt and debauchery, and died in 1750 at the age of sixty-four, remembered in the world only by being pilloried in the Dunciad.

"Embrown'd with native bronze, lo! Henley stands,

Tuning his voice, and balancing his hands;

How fluent nonsense trickles from his tongue,

How sweet the periods neither said nor sung.

Still break the benches, Henley, with thy strain,

While Sherlock, Hare, and Gibson preach in vain."

The orator's contribution consists but of two notes; the first to Selwyn—

"I dine at twelve all the year, but shall be glad to take a glass with you at the King's Arms any day from four to six. If I have disobliged Mr Parsons, (who I hear was with you,) or any of you gentlemen, I never intended it, and ask your pardons. I shall be proud to oblige my Lord Carteret, or you, or the rest, at any time. Pray let them see this."


There appears to have been some kind of riot at one of Henley's lectures, probably a rough burlesque of his manner, in which Selwyn, then a student of Oxford, made himself conspicuous. At least the letter is addressed to him.

"I am accountable for the peace of my congregation; and among the rules and articles of my consent and conditions as owner and minister, one rule is, to go out directly, forfeiting what has been given, if any person cannot or will not preserve those conditions; for the smallest circumstance of disorder has been inflamed to the highest outrage. The bishop's nephew began something of the kind two months ago, and made me retribution; so have others, and I must send an attorney to warn them not to come whom I suspect hereafter. You have been at his sport before."

We now come to a man of more importance, Richard Rigby, the "blushing Rigby" of Junius. He was the son of a linen-draper, who, as factor to the South Sea Company, acquired considerable property. This, however, his son, who had adopted public life as his pursuit, rapidly squandered in electioneering, in pleasure, and the irresistible vice of the time, play. Frederic, Prince of Wales, was the first object of all needy politicians, and Rigby for a while attached himself to this feeble personage with all the zeal of a prospective placeman. But the prince remained too long in opposition for the fidelity of courtiership, and Rigby glided over to the Duke of Bedford; who unquestionably exhibited himself a steady and zealous friend to his new adherent. The duke lent him money to pay his debts; gave him the secretaryship for Ireland on his appointment to the viceroyalty; gave him a seat in Parliament for Tavistock; was the means of his being made a privy counsellor; obtained for him a sinecure of L.4000 a-year; and [pg 173] at that period when most men are sincere, on his deathbed, appointed Rigby his executor, and cancelled his bond for the sum which he had originally lent to him.

We know few instances of such steady liberality in public life, and the man who gave, and the man who received those munificent tokens of confidence, must have had more in them than the world was generally inclined to believe. The duke has been shot through and through by the pungent shafts of Junius: and Rigby was covered with mire throughout life by all the retainers of party. Yet both were evidently capable of strong friendship, and thus possessed the redeeming quality most unusual in the selfishness and struggles of political existence.

Amongst official men, Rigby is recorded as one of the most popular personages of his time. One art of official popularity, and that too a most unfailing one, he adopted in a remarkable degree—he kept an incomparable table. Sir Robert Walpole, one of the shrewdest of men, had long preserved his popularity by the same means. Rigby's paymastership of the forces enabled him to support a splendid establishment, and it was his custom, after the debates in the House of Commons, to invite the ministers and the pleasantest men of the time, to supper at his apartments in Whitehall. His wines were exquisite, his cookery was of the most recherché order; and by the help of a good temper, a broad laugh, natural joviality, and a keen and perfect knowledge of all that was going on round him in the world of fashion, he made his parties a delightful resource to the wearied minds of the Cabinet.

Wraxall, a very pleasant describer of men and manners, thus sketches him:—"In Parliament he was invariably habited in a full-dress suit of clothes, commonly of a dark colour, without lace or embroidery, close buttoned, with his sword thrust through the pocket. His countenance was very expressive, but not of genius; still less did it indicate timidity or modesty. All the comforts of the pay-office seemed to be eloquently depicted in it; his manner, rough yet frank, admirably set off whatever sentiments he uttered in Parliament. Like Jenkinson, he borrowed neither from ancient nor modern authors; his eloquence was altogether his own, addressed not to the fancy, but to the plain comprehension of his hearers. There was a happy audacity about him, which must have been the gift of nature—art could not obtain it by any efforts. He seemed not to fear, nor even to respect, the House, whose composition he well knew; and to the members of which assembly he never appeared to give credit for any portion of virtue, patriotism, or public spirit. Far from concealing those sentiments, he insinuated, or even pronounced them, without disguise; and from his lips they neither excited surprise, nor even commonly awaked reprehension."

But this flow of prosperity was to have its ebb. The jovial placeman was to feel the uncertainties of office; and on Lord North's resignation in 1782, and the celebrated Edmund Burke's appointment to the paymastership, Rigby found himself suddenly called on for a considerable arrear. It had been the custom to allow the paymaster to make use of the balances in his hands until they were called for, and this formed an acknowledged and very important part of his income. But his expenses left him no resource to meet the demand. Whether fortunately or unfortunately, Sir Thomas Rumbold, the recalled governor of Madras, had just then returned to England, under investigation by the House of Commons for malpractices in his office. It was the rumour of the day that Rigby, on the advance of a large sum by Rumbold, had undertaken to soften the prosecution against him. Whether this were the fact or not, it is certain that the charges soon ceased to be pursued, and that Rigby's nephew and heir was soon after married to Rumbold's daughter. Rigby, who had never been married, died in 1788, in his sixty-seventh year.

His letter to Selwyn, in 1745, is characteristic of the man and the time. "I am just got home from a cock match, where I have won forty pounds in ready money, and not having dined, am waiting till I hear the rattle of the coaches from the House of Commons, in order to dine at White's.

[pg 174]

"I held my resolution of not going to the Ridotto till past three o'clock, when, finding that nobody was willing to sit any longer but Boone, who was not able, I took, as I thought, the least of two evils, and so went there rather than to bed; but found it so infinitely dull, that I retired in half an hour. The next morning I heard that there had been extreme deep play, and that Harry Furnese went drunk from White's at six o'clock, and won the dear memorable sum of one thousand guineas.

"I saw Garrick in Othello that same night, in which, I think, he was very unmeaningly dressed, and succeeded in no degree of comparison with Quin, except in the second scene, where Iago gives the first suspicions of Desdemona."

As the letter does not describe Garrick's dress, we can only suppose it to have been remarkably absurd, when it could have attracted the censure of any one accustomed to the stage in the middle of the last century. Nothing could be more ignorant, unsuitable, or unbecoming, that the whole system of theatrical costume. Garrick, for example, usually played Macbeth in the uniform of an officer of the Guards—scarlet coat, cocked hat, and regulation sword, were the exhibition of the Highland chieftain's wardrobe, and the period, too, when the Highland dress was perfectly known to the public eye. It must be acknowledged that we owe the reformation of the stage, in this important point, to the French. It was commenced by the celebrated Clairon, and perfected by the not less celebrated Talma.

"I supped that night, tête-à-tête, with Metham, who was d——d angry with Hubby Bubby (Doddington) for having asked all the Musquetaires to supper but him. He went to sleep at twelve, and I to White's, where I staid till six. Yesterday I spent a good part of the day with my Lord Coke at a cock match; and went, towards the latter end of Quin's benefit, to Mariamne.

"The coaches rattle by fast, and George brings me word the House is up, and I assure you I am extremely hungry."

We now come to the name of a man who attained a considerable celebrity in his own time, but has almost dropped into oblivion in ours, Sir Charles Hanbury Williams. He was the third son of John Hanbury, Esq., a Monmouthshire gentleman, and took the name of Williams on succeeding to the property of his grandfather. His mother was aunt to George Selwyn. Entering Parliament early in life, he adopted the ministerial side, and was a steady adherent to Sir Robert Walpole. He had his reward in ministerial honours, being created a Knight of the Bath; and though Sir Robert died in 1745, Williams had so far established his court influence, that he was successively appointed envoy to Saxony, minister at Berlin, and ambassador at St Petersburg. He was a man of great pleasantry, some wit, and perpetual verse-making—the name of poetry is not to be stooped to such compositions as his; but their liveliness and locality, their application to existing times and persons, and their occasional hits at politics and principles, made both them and their author popular. But the fashionable language of the day had tendencies which would not now be tolerated; and Sir Charles, a fashionable voluptuary, is charged with having written what none should wish to revive. After a residence of ten years on the Continent, he fell into a state of illness which deranged his understanding. From this he recovered, but subsequently relapsed into the same unhappy state, and died, it was surmised, by his own hand in 1759. His letter details, in his own flighty style, one of the frolics of fashion.

"The town-talk for some time past has been your child, (a note says 'apparently the Honourable John Hobart, afterwards Earl of Buckinghamshire;') the moment you turned your back he flew out, went to Lady Tankerville's drum-major, (a rout,) having unfortunately dined that day with Rigby, who plied his head with too many bumpers, and also made him a present of some Chinese crackers. Armed in this manner, he entered the assembly, and resolving to do something that should make a noise, he gave a string of four and twenty [pg 175] crackers to Lady Lucy Clinton, and bid her put it in the candle, which she very innocently did, to her and the whole room's astonishment. But when the first went off she threw the rest upon the tea-table, where, one after the other, they all went off, with much noise and not a little stench, to the real joy of most of the women present, who don't dislike an opportunity of finding fault. Lady Lucy, indeed, was plentifully abused, and Mr Hobart had his share; and common fame says he has never had a card since. Few women will curtsy to him; and I question if he ever will lead any one to their chair again as long as he lives. I leave you to judge how deeply he feels this wound. Every body says it would never have happened if you had not retired to your studies; and you are a little blamed for letting him out alone. He has sunk his chairman's wages 5s. a-week upon this accident, and intends to turn them off in Passion week, because he then can go nowhere at all. All private houses are already shut against him, and at that holy time no public place is open."

We have then some letters written in a time of great public anxiety, 1745.

"All our forces are come from Flanders. The Pretender's second son (Henry Stuart, afterwards Cardinal of York) is come to Dunkirk, where it is said there are forty transports. The rebels, it is said, are very advantageously encamped between two rivers, and are fortifying their camp."

Another hurried letter says.

"An express arrives to-day, (Dec. 8th,) while his Majesty was at chapel, which brought an account of the rebels being close to Derby, and that the Duke of Cumberland was at Meredan, four miles beyond Coventry observing their motions."

Another of the same date, six o'clock at night, says, "The Tower guns have not fired to-day. A letter has been received, stating that the rebels had retreated towards Ashbourne."

Walpole, in a letter to Sir Horace Mann, on the 9th repeats the news, and says, "The Highlanders got nine thousand pounds at Derby, and had the books brought to them, and obliged everybody to give them what they had subscribed against them. They then retreated a few miles, but returned again to Derby, got £10,000 more, and plundered the town; they are gone again, and got back to Leake in Staffordshire, but miserably harassed; they have left all their cannon behind them, and twenty waggons of sick."

Nothing can give a stronger example of the changes which may take place in a country, than the different state of preparation for an invader, exhibited by England in 1745, and in little more than half a century after. On the threat of Napoleon's invasion, England exhibited an armed force of little less than a million, which would have been quadrupled in case of an actual descent. In 1745, the alarm was extravagant, and almost burlesque. The Pretender, with but a few thousand men—brave undoubtedly, but almost wholly unprovided for a campaign—marched into the heart of England, and reached within a hundred and thirty miles of the capital. But the enterprise was then felt to be wholly beyond his means. A powerful force under the Duke of Cumberland was already thrown between him and London. What was more ominous still, no man of English rank had joined him, London was firm, the Protestant feeling of the nation, though slowly excited, was beginning to be roused, by its recollection of the bigotry of James, and in England, this feeling will always be ultimately victorious. Even if Charles Edward had arrived in London, and seized the throne, he would have only had to commence a civil war against the nation. His retreat to the north saved England from this great calamity, and probably saved himself, and his adherents in both countries, from a more summary fate than that which drove his miserable and bigoted father from the throne.

One of the chief contributors to this correspondence is George James Williams, familiarly styled Gilly Williams; a man of high life, uncle by marriage to the minister Lord North, and lucky in the possession of an opulent office—that of receiver-general of the excise. He, with George Selwyn and Dick Edgecumbe, who met at Strawberry Hill at certain seasons, formed what Walpole termed [pg 176] his out-of-town party. Life seems to have glided smoothly with him, for he lived till 1785, dying at the ripe age of eighty-six.

He thus begins:—

"Dear George—I congratulate you on the near approach of Parliament, and figure you before a glass at your rehearsals. I must intimate to you not to forget to begin closing your periods with a significant stroke of the breast, and recommend Mr Barry as a pattern, (the actor.)

"You must observe, in letters from the country, every sentence begins with being either sorry or glad. Apropos, I am glad to hear B. Bertie (son of the Duke of Ancaster) is returned from Scarborough, having laid in such a stock of health and spirits by the waters, as to dedicate the rest of his days altogether to wine."

In another letter he says—"I had almost forgot to tell you, that I rode near ten miles on my way home with the ordinary of Gloucester, and have several anecdotes of the late burnings and hangings, which I reserve for your own private ear. I do not know whether he was sensible you had a partiality for his profession; but he expressed the greatest regard for you, and I am sure you may command his services."

Gilly writes from Crome, Lord Coventry's seat in Worcestershire—

"Our life here for a while would not displease you, for we eat and drink well, and the Earl (Coventry) holds a faro-bank every night to us, which we have as yet plundered considerably.

"I want to know where to find you, and how long you stay at your mansion-house; for it would not be pleasant to ride so far only to see squinting Jenny and the gardener at the end of my journey. I suppose we shall see you here, where you will find the Countess of Coventry in high spirits and in great beauty."

We now come to a brief mention of two women, the most remarkable of their day for popular admiration, if not for finish and fashion—the Gunnings, afterwards Lady Coventry and the Duchess of Hamilton. They were the daughters of an Irish country gentleman, John Gunning, of Castle Coote in Ireland. On their first appearance at court in England, the elder was in her nineteenth, and the second in her eighteenth year. They appear to have excited a most unprecedented sensation in London. Walpole thus writes to Sir Horace Mann—

"You, who knew England in other times, will find it difficult to conceive what indifference reigns with regard to ministers and their squabbles. The two Miss Gunnings are twenty times more the subject of conversation than the two brothers (the Pelhams) and Lord Granville. They are two Irish girls of no fortune, who are declared the handsomest women alive. I think there being two so handsome, and both such perfect figures, is their chief excellence, for, singly, I have seen much handsomer women than either. However, they can't walk in the Park, or go to Vauxhall, but such crowds follow them, that they are generally driven away." And this effect lasted; for, two months after, Walpole writes—"I shall tell you a new story of the Gunnings, who make more noise than any of their predecessors since the days of Helen. They went the other day to see Hampton Court. As they were going into the Beauty room, another company arrived, and the housekeeper said—'This way, ladies, here are the beauties,' the Gunnings flew into a passion, and asked her what she meant; they came to see the palace, not to be shown as sights themselves."

To the astonishment, and perhaps to the envy, of the fashionable world, those two unportioned young women made the most splendid matches of the season. The Duke of Hamilton fell in love with the younger at a masquerade, and made proposals to her. The marriage was to take place within some months; but his passion was so vehement, that in two nights after he insisted on marrying her at the moment. Walpole tells us that he sent for a clergyman, who however refused to marry them without license or ring. At this period marriages were frequently performed in a very unceremonious and unbecoming manner. From the laxity of the law, they were performed at all hours, frequently in private houses, and sometimes even in jails, by pretended clergymen. The law, however, was subsequently and properly reformed. The duke and [pg 177] duchess are said to have been married with a curtain-ring, at half-past twelve-at night, at May Fair Chapel. This precipitated the marriage of Lord Coventry, a personage of a grave stamp, but who had long paid attention to the elder sister Maria. He married her about three weeks after. Except that we are accustomed to hear of the frenzy which seizes people in the name of fashion, we should scarcely believe the effect which those two women, handsome as they were, continued to produce. On the Duchess of Hamilton's presentation at Court on her marriage, the crowd was immense; and so great was the curiosity, that the courtly multitude got on the chairs and tables to look at her. Mobs gathered round their doors to see them get into their chairs; people crowded early to the theatres when they heard they were to be there. Lady Coventry's shoemaker is said to have made a fortune by selling patterns of her shoe; and on the duchess's going to Scotland, several hundred people walked about all night round the inn where she slept, on the Yorkshire road, that they might have a view of her as she went off next morning.

Yet they appear to have been strangely neglected in their education; good-humoured and good-natured undoubtedly, but little better than hoydens after all. Lord Down met Lord and Lady Coventry at Calais, and offered to send her ladyship a tent-bed, for fear of bugs at the inn. "Oh dear!" said she, "I had rather be bit to death than lie one night from my dear Cov."

She is, however, memorable for one étourderie, which amused the world greatly. Old George II., conversing with her on the dulness of the season, expressed a regret that there had been no masquerades during the year, the handsome rustic answered him, that she had seen sights enough, and the only one she wanted to see now was—"a coronation." The king, however, had the good sense to laugh, and repeated it good-humouredly to his circle at supper.

Lady Coventry died a few years after of consumption, at the age of twenty-seven. It was said that her death was hastened by the habit of using white lead as a paint, the fashionable custom of the time. The Duke of Hamilton had died two years before, in 1758, and the duchess became subsequently the wife of Colonel John Campbell, afterwards Duke of Argyle. The narrative observes the remarkable circumstance, that the untitled daughter of an Irish commoner should have been the wife of two dukes and the mother of four. By her first husband she was the mother of James, seventh duke, and of Douglas, eighth duke, of Hamilton; and by her second husband, of William, sixth duke, and of Henry, seventh duke, of Argyle. The duchess, though at the time of Lady Coventry's illness supposed to be in a consumption, survived for thirty years, dying in 1790.

Mason the poet commemorated Lady Coventry's death in a long elegy, which had some repute in those days, when even Hayley was called a poet. They are dawdling and dulcified to a deplorable degree.

"Yes, Coventry is dead; attend the strain,

Daughters of Albion, ye that, light as air,

So oft have trips in her fantastic train,

With hearts as gay, and faces half as fair;

For she was fair beyond your highest bloom;

This envy owns, since now her bloom is fled.

&c. &c. &c.

We have then a sketch of a man of considerable celebrity in his day, Lord Sandwich. Educated at Eton and Cambridge; on leaving college, he made the then unusual exertion of a voyage round the Mediterranean, of which a volume was published by his chaplain on his return. Shortly after, taking his seat in the House of Lords, he came into ministerial employment as a Lord of the Admiralty. In 1746, he was appointed minister to the States General. And from that period, for nearly thirty years, he was employed in high public offices; was twice an ambassador, three times first Lord of the Admiralty, and twice Secretary of State. Lord Sandwich's personal character was at least accused of so much profligacy, that, if the charges be true, we cannot comprehend how he was suffered to retain employments of such importance for so many years. Wilkes, [pg 178] who had known him intimately, describes him, in his letters to the electors of Aylesbury, as "the most abandoned man of the age." He is even said not to have been a man of business; yet the Admiralty was a place which can scarcely be managed by an idler, and the Secretaryship of State, in this country, can never be a sinecure. He had certainly one quality which is remarkable for conciliation, and without which no minister, let his talents be what they may, has ever been personally popular; he was a man of great affability, and of shrewd wit. The latter was exhibited, in peculiarly cutting style, to Mr Eden, afterwards Lord Auckland. Eden, sagacious in his generation, had suddenly ratted to Pitt, adding, however, the monstrous absurdity of sending a circular to his colleagues by way of justification. Obviously, nothing could be more silly than an attempt of this order, which could only add their contempt for his understanding to their contempt for his conduct. Lord Sandwich's answer was in the most cutting spirit of scorn:—

"Sir,—Your letter is now before me, and in a few minutes will be behind me."

An unhappy circumstance brought Lord Sandwich with painful prominence before the world. A Miss Ray, a person of some attraction, had unfortunately lived under his protection for several years. It happened, however, that a young officer on the recruiting service, who had dined once or twice at Lord Sandwich's house in the country, thought proper to pay her some marked attentions, which, after allowing them, as it appears, to proceed to some extent, she suddenly declined. On this the officer, whose name was Hackman, and who was evidently of a fantastic and violent temperament, rushed from England in a state of desperation, flew over to Ireland, threw up his commission, and took orders in the church. But instead of adopting the quietude which would have been suitable for his new profession, the clerical robes seem to have made him more intractable than the military uniform. After some months of rambling and romance in Ireland, he rushed over to England again, resolving to conquer or die at her feet; but the lady still rejected him, and, being alarmed at his violence, threatened to appeal to Lord Sandwich. There are many circumstances in the conduct of this unfortunate man, amounting to that perversion of common sense which, in our times, is fashionably and foolishly almost sanctioned as monomania. But nothing can be clearer than the fact, that the most unjustifiable, dangerous, and criminal passion, may be pampered, until it obtains possession of the whole mind, and leads to the perpetration of the most atrocious offences against society. The modern absurdity is, to look, in the violence of the passion for the excuse of the crime; instead of punishing the crime for the violence of the passion. We might as well say, that the violences of a drunkard were more innocent the more furiously he was intoxicated; the whole being a direct encouragement to excessive guilt. The popular feeling of justice in the last century, however, was different; robbers and murderers were put to death as they deserved, and society was relieved without burlesquing the common understandings of man. Mr Hackman was a murderer, however he might be a monomaniac, and he was eventually hanged as he deserved. The trial, which took place in April 1779, excited the most extraordinary public curiosity. By the statement of the witnesses, it appeared that a Mr Macnamara, being in the lobby of Covent Garden Theatre when the audience were coming away, and seeing Miss Ray making her way with some difficulty through the crowd to her carriage, he went forward with Irish gallantry to offer her his arm, which she accepted; and as they reached the door of the carriage, a pistol was fired close to them, when Miss Ray clapped her hand to her forehead and fell, when instantly another pistol-report followed. He thought that she had fainted away through fright; but when he raised her up, he found that she was wounded, and assisted the people in carrying her into the Shakspeare Tavern; and on Hackman's being seized, and being asked what could possess him to be guilty of such a deed, his only answer was to give his name, and say, "It is not a proper [pg 179] place to ask such questions." It appeared in evidence, that Hackman had been waiting some time for Miss Ray's coming out of the theatre; that he followed her to the carriage door, and pulling out two pistols, fired one at the unfortunate woman, the ball of which went through her brain, and the other at himself, crying out as he fell, "Kill me—kill me!"

Of course, after evidence like this, there could be no defence, and none as attempted. Hackman evidently wished to have died by his own hand; but having failed there, his purpose was to perish by the law, and plead guilty. However, on being brought to trial, he said that he now pleaded not guilty, that he might avoid the appearance of contemning death—an appearance not suitable to his present condition; that, on second thoughts, he had considered the plea of guilty as rendering him accessory to a second peril of his life; and that he thought that he could pay his debt more effectually to the justice of the country by suffering his offences to be proved by evidence, and submitting to the forms of a regular trial. This, though it was penitence too late, was at least decorous language. His whole conduct on the trial showed that, intemperate as his passions were, he possessed abilities and feelings worthy of a wiser career, and a less unhappy termination. Part of his speech was even affecting.

"I stand here this day," he said, "the most wretched of human beings, and confess myself criminal in a high degree; yet while I acknowledge, with shame and repentance, that my determination against my own life was formal and complete, I protest, with that regard which becomes my situation, that the will to destroy her who was ever dearer to me than life, was never mine till a momentary frenzy overpowered me, and induced me to commit the deed I deplore. Before this dreadful act, I trust, nothing will be found in the tenor of my life which the common charity of mankind will not excuse. I have no wish to avoid the punishment which the laws of my country appoint for my crime; but being already too unhappy to feel a punishment in death, or a satisfaction in life, I submit myself with penitence and patience to the disposal and judgment of Almighty God, and to the consequences of this enquiry into my conduct and intentions."

After a few minutes' consultation, the jury returned a verdict of guilty, and he was executed two days after. It is surprising how strong an interest was felt on this subject by persons of every condition; by the populace, who loved excitement from whatever quarter it may come; by the middle order, to whom the romance of the early part of the transaction and the melancholy catastrophe were subjects of natural impression; and by the nobility, to whom the character of Miss Ray and the habits of Lord Sandwich were equally known.

The Earl of Carlisle thus writes to Selwyn, beginning with a sort of customary allusion to Selwyn's extraordinary fondness for those displays:—

"Hackman, Miss Ray's murderer, is hanged. I attended his execution in order to give you an account of his behaviour, and from no curiosity of my own. I am this moment returned from it. Every one enquired after you. You have friends every where. The poor man behaved with great fortitude; no appearances of fear were to be perceived, but very evident signs of contrition and repentance."

A novel, of some pathos and considerable popularity, was founded on this unhappy transaction, and "The Letters of Mr Hackman and Miss Ray" long flourished in the circulating libraries. But the groundwork was vulgar, mean, and vicious, after all; and, divested of that colouring which imagination may throw on any event, was degrading and criminal in all its circumstances. The shame of the wretched woman herself, living in a state of open criminality from year to year; the grossness of Hackman in his proposal to make this abandoned woman his wife; the strong probability that his object might have been the not uncommon, though infinitely vile one, of obtaining Lord Sandwich's patronage, by relieving him of a connexion of which that notorious profligate, after nine years, might be weary—all characterise the earlier portion of their intercourse as destitute of all pretence to honourable feelings. The [pg 180] catastrophe is merely the work of an assassin. If there may be some slight allowance for overwhelming passion, for suddenly excited jealousy, or for remediless despair, yet those impulses act only to the extent of inflicting injury on ourselves. No love ever seeks the death of its object. It is then mere ruffianism, brute cruelty, savage fury; and even this becomes more the act of a ruffian, when the determination to destroy is formed in cold blood. Hackman carried two loaded pistols with him to the theatre. What other man carried loaded pistols there? and what could be his purpose but the one which he effected, to fire them both, one at the wretched woman, and the other at himself? The clear case is, that he was neither more nor less than a furious villain, resolved to have the life of a profligate milliner's apprentice, who preferred Lord Sandwich's house and carriage, to Mr Hackman's hovel and going on foot. We shall find that all similar acts originate in similar motives—lucre, licentiousness, and rage—the three stimulants of the highwayman, the debauchee, and the ruffian; with only the distinction, that, in the case of those who murder when they cannot possess, the three criminalities are combined.

Even with the execution of the criminal, the excitement did not cease. The papers of the day tell us, that when the body was conveyed to the surgeon's hall, so great a crowd was assembled, and the efforts to obtain entrance were so violent, that caps, gowns, wigs, were torn and cast away in all directions. Old and young, men, women, and children, were trampled in the multitude. In the afternoon, the crowd diminished, and several persons of the better order made their way in, but with not a less vexatious result; for, on reaching the staircase leading to the theatre, they found themselves saluted with a shower from some engine worked under the staircase. This was rather a rough mode of tranquillizing public excitement, but seems to have been effectual. It was probably a trick of some of the young surgeons, and excited great indignation at the time. Hackman was but four-and-twenty, and rather a striking figure.

The letters to which we have alluded, entitled "Love and Madness," attracted attention in higher quarters, and even perplexed the fastidiousness of Walpole himself. In one of his letters of March 1780, he thus writes:—"Yesterday was published an octavo, pretending to contain the correspondence of Hackman and Miss Ray. I doubt whether the letters are genuine, and yet, if fictitious, they are executed well, and enter into his character. This appears less natural, and yet the editors were certainly more likely to be in possession of hers than his. It is not probable that Lord Sandwich should have sent what he found in her apartments to the press; no account is pretended to be given of how they came to light."

After having thus puzzled the dilettanti, it transpired that it was written by Sir Herbert Croft, Bart.

Another singular character, who, in connexion with one still more singular, remarkably occupied the ear and tongue of the beau monde of his day, is introduced in these volumes. This was Augustus John, Earl of Bristol, third son of John, Lord Hervey, by the beautiful Mary Lepel. He entered the sea service at an early age, and prospered as the sons of men of rank prospered in those days, being made a post-captain in 1747, when he was but three and twenty years old. Promotion was heaped upon him, and he was rapidly advanced to the rank of vice-admiral and colonel of marines. He was, however, said to be a brave and skilful officer. More good fortune was in store for him; he was placed in the king's household, was a member of Parliament, was appointed one of the Lords of the Admiralty, and finally rounded the circle of his honours by succeeding to the earldom of Bristol. The history of his wife is a continued adventure. Miss Chudleigh, maid of honour to the Princess of Wales, had, immediately on her appearance at court, become the observed of all observers. She was regarded as one of the most beautiful women of her time, was remarkably quick and witty in her conversation, of a most capricious temper and a most fantastic imagination—all qualities which naturally rendered her a topic in every [pg 181] circle of the country. The circumstances of her marriage rendered her if possible, still more a topic. On a visit at the house of a relation, she met Lord Bristol, then but a lieutenant in the navy, and plain Mr Hervey, and disregarding all the formalities of high life, they were privately married at Lainston, in Northamptonshire. They were, however, separated the very next day, the lady declaring her determination never to see her husband's face again. This, of course, produced an ample fund of conversation of every kind; but the lady returned to court, and the gentleman returned to his ship, and went to sea. However, they met again, and the result was, she became a mother. From her determination to keep her marriage secret, she retired for her accouchement to a secluded spot in Chelsea, where her child was born, and where it soon after died.

It may easily be supposed, that the sudden disappearance of so conspicuous a person from the most conspicuous society, must have given rise to rumours and ridicule of every kind. She returned to court nevertheless, and constantly denying her marriage, fought it out with the effrontery which is so easily forgiven, in fashionable life, to youth, wit, and beauty.

Yet she could not quite escape the flying shafts of wit herself. One day after her return, meeting the memorable Lord Chesterfield—"Think, my lord," said she, with an air of indignation, "to what lengths the scandalous chronicle will go, when it absolutely says that I have had twins." "My dear," said Lord Chesterfield, "I make it a rule never to believe above half what the world says."

She now received the attentions of many suitors, extraordinary as the circumstance may be, when the mystery of her own conduct and the surmises of the public are considered; and, to make assurance doubly sure, she determined to extinguish all proof of her hasty marriage. Ascertaining that the clergyman who had married her was dead, she went to Lainston church, and contrived to carry away the entry of her marriage from the register. Some time after this, Miss Chudleigh (for she never would take her husband's name) married the Duke of Kingston. It was strongly asserted, though the circumstance is so dishonourable that it can scarcely be believed, that the silence of the real husband was purchased by the advance of a large sum of money from the pretended one. The marriage remained undisturbed until the death of the duke. She then came into possession of his very large disposable property, and traveled in great pomp to Rome; but the duke's nephew and heir, having his suspicious of the fact excited, commenced proceedings against the duchess for bigamy. She was tried before her peers in Westminster hall, and found guilty of the offence, in April 1776; but by claiming the privilege of peerage, she was discharged on payment of the usual fees.

It is scarcely possible to believe that a man of the rank and profession of Lord Bristol, could have been base enough to connive at his wife's marriage with the Duke of Kingston. But there can be no question, that in the prevalent opinion of the time, he had even taken a large sum of money for the purpose. In one of Walpole's letters, subsequently to the trial, he says, "if the Pope expects his duchess back, he must create her one, for her peers have reduced her to a countess. Her folly and her obstinacy here appear in the full vigour, at least her faith in the ecclesiastical court, trusting to the infallibility of which she provoked this trial in the face of every sort of detection. The living witness of the first marriage, a register of it fabricated long after by herself, the widow of the clergyman who married her, many confidants to whom she had entrusted the secret, and even Hawkins, the surgeon, privy to the birth of the child, appeared against her. The Lords were tender, and would not probe the earl's collusion; but the ecclesiastical court, who so readily accepted their juggle, and sanctified the second match, were brought to shame—they care not if no reformation follows. The duchess, who could produce nothing else in her favour, tried the powers of oratory, and made a long oration, in which she cited the [pg 182] protection of her late mistress, the Princess of Wales. Her counsel would have curtailed this harangue; but she told them they might be good lawyers, but did not understand speaking to the passions. She concluded her rhetoric with a fit, and retired with rage when convicted of the bigamy."

The charge to which Walpole alludes, was, that the earl had given her a bond for L.30,000 not to molest her; but as there was no proof, this gross charge certainly has no right to be implicitly received. Still it is unaccountable why he should have suffered her to have married the Duke of Kingston without any known remonstrance, and why he should have allowed her to retain the title of the duke's widow until the rightful heir instituted the proceedings. The earl died in 1779, within three years from the trial.

Among the characters which pass through this magic-lantern, is Topham Beauclerk, so frequently mentioned, and mentioned with praise, in Boswell's Johnson. He seems to have been a man of great elegance of manner, and peculiarity of that happy talent of conversation whose wit seems to be spontaneous, and whose anecdotes, however recherché, seem to flow from the subject. "Every thing," remarked Johnson, "comes from Beauclerk so easily, that it appears to me that I labour when I say a good thing."

Beauclerk was the only son of Lord Sydney Beauclerk, a son of Charles, first Duke of St Albans. He was educated at Trinity College, Oxford, and, from the moment of his entering fashionable life, was remarked for the elegance of manner, and the liveliness of conversation, which continued to be his distinctions to the close of his career. Unfortunately, the fashion of the time not only allowed, but seems to have almost required, an irregularity of life which would tarnish the character of any man in our more decorous day. His unfortunate intercourse with Viscountess Bolingbroke, better known by her subsequent name of Lady Diana Beauclerk, produced a divorce, and in two days after a marriage. She was the eldest daughter of Charles, the second Duke of Marlborough, and was in early life as distinguished for her beauty, as in later years she was for her wit.

Johnson in his old age became acquainted with Topham Beauclerk, through their common friend, Langton, and even the sage and moralist acknowledged the captivation of his manners. "What a coalition!" said Garrick, when he heard of their acquaintance, "I shall have my old friend to bail out of the roundhouse." But whatever might be the elegance of his companion's laxity, Johnson did not hesitate to rebuke him. Beauclerk, like wits in general, had a propensity to satire, on which Johnson once took him to task in this rough style—"You never open your mouth but with the intention to give pain; and you have now given me pain, not from the power of what you have said, but from my seeing the intention." At another tine, applying to him that line of Pope's, slightly altered, he said—

'Thy love of folly, and thy scorn of fools;'

everything you do shows the one, and every thing you say the other."

Another rather less intelligible rebuke occurred in his saying, "Thy body is all vice and thy mind all virtue." As the actions of the body proceed from the mind, it is difficult to conceive how the one can be impure without the other. At least Beauclerk did not appear to relish the distinction, and he was angry at the phrase. However, Johnson's attempt to appease him was a curious specimen of his magniloquence. "Nay, sir, Alexander the Great, marching in triumph into Babylon, could not have desired to have had more said to him."

Topham Beauclerk had two daughters by Lady Diana, one of whom became Lady Pembroke. He died at his house in Great Russell Street, then a place of fashion, in 1780, in his 41st year.

Selwyn's seat, Matson, in Gloucestershire, received some pretty historical reminiscences. One of Walpole's letters to Bentley, thus speaks of a visit to his friend's villa in the autumn of 1753.

"I staid two days at George Selwyn's house, which lies on Robin Hood's hill. It is lofty enough for an [pg 183] Alp, yet is a mountain of turf to the very top, has woods scattered all over it, springs that long to be cascades in twenty places; and from the summits it beats even Sir George Littleton's views, by having the city of Gloucester at its foot, and the Severn widening to the horizon. The house is small but neat; King Charles (the First,) lay here at the siege, and the Duke of York, with typical fury, hacked and hewed the windows of his chamber, as a memorandum of his being there. The fact however being, that both the princes, Charles and James, who were then mere boys, remained at Matson—a circumstance frequently mentioned to Selwyn's grandfather by James II., observing:—'My brother and I were generally shut up in a chamber on the second floor during the day, where you will find that we have left the marks of our confinement inscribed with our knives on the ledges of all the windows."'

The house must have been quite a treasure to Walpole, for he found in it a good picture of the famous Earl of Leicester, which he had given to Sir Francis Walsingham; and what makes it very curious, Walpole observes his age is marked on it fifty-four, in 1752. "I had never been able to discover before in what year he was born, and here is the very flower-pot and counterfeit association for which Bishop Sprat was taken up, and the Duke of Marlborough sent to the Tower."

It is, however, by no means clear, that this was a "counterfeit association," though Walpole abandons his usual scepticism on all disputable points with such facility. The "association" was a plot to bring back that miserable blockhead and bigot, James II., said to be signed by Marlborough, the Bishop of Rochester, Lords Salisbury, Cornberry, and Sir Basil Firebrace. On the information of one Young, the draft of the plot was found in a flower-pot in the Bishop's house at Bromley. But fortunately the days of royal terror had passed by. The crown was strong enough to treat conspiracy with contempt, and the affair was suffered to fall into oblivion. Yet it is now so notorious that many of the highest persons in the state were tampering with the exiled family, that the plot is rendered sufficiently probable. There seems to have been some political infatuation connected with the name of the Stuarts. Though, excepting the bravery of Charles I. and the pleasantry of Charles II., they all were evidently the dullest, most mulish, and most repulsive of mankind; yet many brave men periled their lives to restore them, and many men of great distinction hazarded their safety to correspond with them. The "Stuart Correspondence" was less a breach of loyalty than a libel on the national understanding.

On the whole, these volumes are interesting, in many parts—very much so. The editor has evidently done his best to illustrate and explain. But can he not discover any remnant of the letters of Selwyn himself? he might then remove the objection to his title, and please all readers together.

[pg 184]




You have been pleased many times, in very decided terms, to express your ever-to-be-respected conviction that I should eventually come to something; haply to the woolsack—possibly to the gallows; from which prophetic sentiment, I have naturally inferred that my genius was rare, and that your eagle eye had discovered it.

Before my letter reaches your generous shores, twelve months will have elapsed, most reverend Christopher, since we parted in the Hibernian city. Then we were as near to one another as firmly grasped hands could render us; now sixteen thousand miles effectually divide us; and whilst I sit silently wishing you ages of health and mortal happiness, the mercury of my thermometer stands lazily at freezing point, whereas your own sprightly quicksilver rushes up to 92. All things tell me of our separation. We sailed, as you will find by referring to your pocket-book—for you made a memorandum at the time—on the 14th day of November last from Cork; sighted Madeira—about thirty miles abreast—in eight days, and out of sight of it on the 22d. A fine fair wind was sent to us, and we crossed the Line, all well, on the 14th of December; then steering pretty far to westward, we luckily caught the trade-wind, and rounded the Cape in a good gale on the 15th of January. And here it came on to blow right earnestly; but we kept the gale for about eight days on our larboard quarter, and we scudded on our course at a fearful rate. Our mizen mast was carried away—both our mainsails split—and we smashed a few spars, and lost some running gear; nothing more serious happened, save the loss of as fine a young fellow as ever trode shoe-leather—a seaman. He was caught sharply by one of the ropes that gave way, and it carried him overboard like a feather. We saw him drop—the sea was running mountains high—we could render him no assistance; and he perished under our very eyes. The wind, fortunately for us, continued on either quarter of our ship; and it is a remarkable fact, and deserving of notice, that, during the whole of our voyage, we had occasion only to put the ship about TWICE. We cast anchor in Hobson's Bay, Port Philip on the morning of the 21st of February, having made our voyage in the short space of ninety-nine days, and the land within a quarter of an hour of the captain's reckoning. The events of the passage may be given paucis verbis. We had nine accouchements in the steerage amongst the emigrants, some of them premature from violent sea-sickness, and seven deaths—all children.

Our deaths, as I have said, were confined to the children. The adults kept free from fever; an astonishing fact, when the confinement and closeness of a steerage birth is taken into account. The voyage was agreeable. We were good friends in the cabin. The captain, a prudent, temperate man, took his three glasses of grog per diem, and no more; the first at noon, the second at dinner, the third and last at "turn-in." Your obedient servant, ever mindful of your strict injunctions, and of your eloquent discourse on sobriety and self-denial, and believing that he could not do better than regulate his watch according to the captain's chronometer, followed precisely the same rule. We maintained a glorious state of health after the first week; and if all future voyagers would do the same, let them neither eat nor drink aboard ship to the full extent of their appetites. This is simple advice, but I reckon it the first great secret which my nomadic experience enables me to put down for the benefit of my fellow-creatures; especially on board of a ship, leave off with an appetite. We passed our time—not having the fear of the Ancient Mariner before our eyes—in shooting albatrosses, Cape pigeons, and the like; in picking up a porpoise, a bonnitta, or a dolphin. Books, backgammon, and whist, filled [pg 185] up the measure of the day. Mem.—had we been favoured with less wind, we should have got more porpoises. We speared many—first-raters; but the speed at which we cut along, prevented our securing them.

But we have cast anchor. The harbour of Hobson's Bay is a splendid inlet of the sea. The bay is very narrow at the entrance, but the moment you get past the Heads, it extends to a breadth of eight or ten miles, and to a length of twenty-two miles, from the mouth to the anchoring place. The land around the bay is flat and sandy, and covered with wood almost to the water's edge. The tree there resembles our common mountain fir: it is exactly like it in the bark; but it is called by the settlers, the she-oak. I reckon it to be the beef-tree, for it has its appearance when cut up, is hard, and takes a beautiful polish. Inland, this wood grows to a considerable height and thickness; but the principal part of the interior is thickly covered with the various species of the gum and peppermint trees, many of them of a singularly large growth: but more of the interior anon. Immediately opposite to the anchorage ground, there is a pretty little town called Williamstown, in which the water-police magistrate, an old seafaring gentleman, Captain ——, has his residence. The gallant captain has enough to do with the jolly tars, who invariably attempt to cut and run as soon as they have got here. A sailor misconducting himself on the voyage, has at least two months' reflection in the jail of Williamstown, commencing immediately upon his arrival. The news of this prison establishment will probably reach England before my letter. Should it be spoken of in your presence, say that it has been found absolutely necessary for the protection of shipmasters, and that an act was passed accordingly for its erection. Gordon law, so called after the first magistrate, is proverbial, and very summary. Every fellow found drunk gets two hours in the stocks, and he becomes sober there much sooner than if he had been simply fined five shillings.

The town of Melbourne is beautifully situated on the face of a hill, in the hollow of which runs the noble river called the Yarra-Yarra, words which signify in the native language, "flowing constantly." It is distinguished by its title from the large majority of rivers, which are nearly still, and which, after extending only for a mile or two, form at length a species of swamp. Such rivers are generally styled lagoons. The Yarra-Yarra is navigable up to the town of Melbourne for ships of a large size—say 400 tons; but the seven miles of distance being circuitous, and the banks of sand at the mouth of the river occasionally shifting, the larger class of ships generally remain at the anchorage ground in the bay, and discharge by common lighters. At the present moment, from twenty to thirty very large ships are riding in the bay. A pretty little steamer plies three times a-day between the towns of Melbourne and Williamstown—price five shillings, up and down. Another steamer, "The Sea Horse," plies between Melbourne and Sydney once a fortnight; the passage is made in three days, and the fares £12 for cabin, £6 for steerage. The communication is a vast accommodation to this district. The steamer is in private hands, and did not answer at first; she now carries the mail, and promises to turn out a profitable spec. The coast is very dangerous, and at every season of the year liable to very violent gales. Even in the bay the squalls are sudden, violent, and dangerous, and many lives are lost for want of proper precaution and care, on board of small boats. Only yesterday, my friend, Mr G——, and three men, were out in a pleasure boat; in five minutes they were swept off to leeward, the boat was upset, and they were all drowned.

Melbourne is perhaps the most surprising place in her Majesty's dominions. Nothing, in the history of colonization, approaches her as regards the rapidity of advancement and extent. Six years ago there were not twenty British subjects on the spot, and at the present hour, Melbourne and its suburbs boast of a population of ten thousand souls. There are already built four splendid edifices for public worship—Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Wesleyans, and [pg 186] Independents, are provided for—and there is in addition a very large Roman Catholic chapel in the course of erection. There are three banks all doing excellently well—"The Australasian," "The Union Bank of Australia," and "Port Philip's Bank"—and there is yet a good field for another, under prudent management. The rate of discount is £10 per cent; and the interest given on deposit accounts £7 per cent. The common rate of interest, given with good mortgage security, is £20 per cent; and in some instances, where a little risk is taken, £25 and £30. Bills past due at the bank, are charged £12 per cent. A court of law (by act of Council) allows £8 per cent on all bills sued upon, with a discretionary power of extending the rate to £12 per cent, to cover any damage or loss sustained. There are two Club houses, a Royal Exchange, and some very large buildings for stores. A spacious new jail is building in a most commodious situation, and a public court house will soon follow; the one existing being but small and temporary. The new customhouse, which has been completed since my arrival is a fine building, and forms one side of the Market Square. In front of this, and about four hundred yards distant, stands the wharf. Melbourne rejoices likewise in its theatre, or, as it is called, "pavilion," which place of amusement, however, the governor does not think proper to license. His refusal is, I believe, very properly founded upon the questionable condition of the morals of the great body of the population. Two hours at the police-office any morning, afford a stranger a tolerably clear insight into this subject generally, and acquaint him particularly with the over-night deportment of the Melbournese. The police magistrate holds any thing but a sinecure. We have three newspapers in Melbourne, namely, The Patriot, The Herald, and Gazette, each published twice a-week; the first on Monday and Thursday, the second on Tuesday and Friday, the third on Wednesday and Saturday; so that we have a newspaper every day. The advertisements are numerous and varied in matter. I have heard upon good authority that the proprietor of any one of these journals draws at least £4000 to £5000 per annum from the profits of them. It is not difficult to account for these enormous gains. Every thing here is sold by auction, and the advertisements are in consequence more numerous than they would otherwise be. An auctioneer alone, in good business, will pay each of the papers about £1000 per annum for printing and advertising his numerous sales. We have a supreme court with a suitable establishment of officers. John Walpole Willis, Esq., was resident judge. He is now amongst you, for, by the slip which carries this letter, he starts for England, circumstances having occurred that render it necessary for him to vindicate in person a character which requires no vindication. The people of Melbourne part with the upright and learned judge with infinite regret, softened only by the certain hope they entertain of his immediate return. The resident judge holds civil courts as in England during the several terms, and criminal courts of general jail-delivery every month. The pleadings are conducted by barristers at law, who have been duly admitted in England, Ireland, Scotland, or Isle of Man. The agents or attorneys and solicitors are those duly admitted at Sydney, at courts of Westminster in England, High Courts in Ireland, and writers to her Majesty's Signet in Scotland. Others who may have served a regular apprenticeship of not less than five years to any such agent, after undergoing a necessary examination, are likewise suffered to practise as attorneys. The supreme court has been established about twelve months. Before that time all suits were carried on in Sydney. Conveyances of land may be prepared by any one, and, before professional men appeared amongst the settlers, there were some rare specimens of deeds in this branch of English law. Now they are of course better—and those to which I have adverted have fortunately paved the way for endless litigation. We have a sprinkling of military and mounted police; two very large steam mills for grinding flour and sawing timber; and in a word, all the concomitants of a large and flourishing [pg 187] city. I should, however, except the public streets. These are still unpaved, and consequently in wet weather, in some places, impassable, and in dry weather insufferably dusty. I have spoken of the sudden squalls which arise often in the Bay. Whilst one of these prevails, clouds of dust are carried from the streets so dense that you cannot see half a yard before you. If you are exposed to the whirlwind, and chance to wear clothes of a dark colour, you issue from it with the appearance of a man who has been confined in a mill for a week. A house of furniture well cleaned in the morning, looks at dinner-time as if it had been coated with dirt for a twelvemonth. Should there be a sudden mortality among the ladies of Port Philip, it will undoubtedly be occasioned by this warfare with the dirt, which is carried forward day after day without any prospect of retreat on either side.

Having read thus far, you will very likely tap the floor impatiently with your foot, and say—if you have not said it already—"Well, but what is the fellow about himself?" Patience, gentle Christopher. I will tell you now. Upon my arrival with a pocket, as you are aware, not very inconveniently laden, I kept of course "my eye ahead" for any thing suitable in the farming way; sheep-stock or cattle. But it would not do. Capital was required to get a sheep-station, and employment as an overseer, in consequence of the depression that existed in the markets for all kinds of stock, altogether hopeless. No man is idle here longer than he can help it, unless he have the wherewithal to look to; and there are fifty modes of gaining bread here, if a man will turn to them? What could a briefless barrister do better than throw himself upon the law? I smelled out the attorneys to begin with. The first with whom I came in contact was one Mr ——, from a northern county in England. He had been here only three years, and was already rattling about in his carriage. He arrived without a shoe to his foot, or a sixpence in his pocket. Another was my old and respected friend Mr ——, writer to the signet, of Edinburgh, who had been here about eighteen months, was living like a gentleman, and on the point of entering a fine new dwelling-house, which he had himself erected out of his own honourable gains. Upon him I waited, and from his kindness I obtained all the information I stood in need of; and not only this, but immediate profitable employment in his office, which, with his leave, I hold until something offers—whether I shall claim admission as attorney, solicitor, and proctor, as some have done before me, or resort to my old calling of advocate, is as yet an undecided question. I am now in the receipt of more than is necessary for subsistence, and I shall look before I leap. The rents of houses are extravagantly high. The poorest tradesmen pay fifteen shillings a-week for his small house—and he must pay it weekly; the better class of tradesmen pay twenty and twenty-five shillings, and the higher class from two to four pounds a-week; for a petty dwelling containing only three rooms and a kitchen. A small brick cottage held by a friend of mine, and consisting of sitting-room, bed-room, servant's room, and kitchen, is considered a great bargain at a hundred pounds per annum. The hours of business are limited with strictness to seven—videlicit, from nine in the morning until four P.M. You are your own master after four o'clock, and need fear no business-calls or interruptions. Whilst business, however, is going on, the excitement and bustle compel me to regard Cheapside on a Saturday afternoon, as a place of great quietness and an agreeable promenade. Fellows are riding as hard as they can tear from one end of the town to the other—cattle are driving to and fro—bullock-drays are crowding from the interior with wood—auctions are eternally at work—settlers are coming from their stations, or getting their provisions in. Tradesmen and mercantile men are hurry-skurrying with their orders. A vast amount of work is done up to four o'clock, and afterwards all is silence, and the place looks unlike nothing so much as itself; and yet, notwithstanding all this bustle, money is altogether out of the question. From what exact cause or series of causes, I cannot tell you now—but the fact is certain [pg 188] that the mercantile community here is nearly bankrupt. There is a glut of goods, a superabundance of every thing in the market. It has been wrongfully supposed in England that every thing would sell here, and the consequence has been that an overflow of every kind of commodity has poured in upon us. The supply has doubled and trebled the demand. Upon the first establishment of these settlements the wants of the people were of course many, and their prices for stock were so good, and their speculations in land so profitable and bright, that they could afford the indulgence of a luxury, no matter what price was asked to purchase it. It is very different now. The staple commodity of this colony is wool. Well, so long as all the stations or sheep-runs continued unoccupied, and new settlers arrived, the price of sheep kept naturally very high; but every station that can command a due supply of water, is now in occupation, and consequently the demand for stock has ceased. Sheep, which three years ago sold for twenty-five and eighteen shillings, command now, for first quality, eight shillings and sixpence only; ordinary quality, six shillings; and middling as low as five shillings. For cash sale by sheriff-warrant, I have seen beautiful ewes, free from all disease—2000 of them—sold for two and sixpence each! Cattle three years ago sold for ten, twelve, and sometimes fifteen pounds per head. At this moment they are so plentiful that I could purchase a drove of fat cattle, two to three hundred head—and some of them weighing eighty stone—for eight pounds a beast, and that on credit too by approved bill at four months' date. Such are a few of the reasons why a damper has come over the Port Philip market, reducing amongst other things the price of wages by nearly a third. Emigrants continue to pour in, and they stare and are grievously disappointed at the rate of wages, so very different to that which they expected. Twelve months since, a single labouring man got forty pounds per annum, with weekly rations of provisions; now with his rations, he receives only twenty-five, or at most thirty pounds per annum. Married men with young families will not be hired at any rate, for they are only burdens on a station. A good thorough-bred shepherd maintains his price. He is still in great demand, and may command from sixty to seventy pounds per annum, with rations, cow's milk, free hut, and a portion of produce of stock in addition to all, if he chooses to put his wages to that mode of profit. Women servants were formerly much wanted. They are now at a discount. The filthy drabs ejected from Ireland are scarcely worth their meat. I am proud to say it, and you should be proud to hear it, gentle Christopher, that a Scotch servant, male or female, is forty per cent above every other in value in this colony. Scotch servants get ahead in spite of every thing. The Scotch tradesmen have almost all of them made money; some abundantly. I have met many here from the North who brought nothing but their energy, moderation, and unconquerable perseverance with them, and they are affluent, and are becoming daily more so. Donald ——, who was a servant lad at home, and is now a respected and respectable man in Melbourne, is independent. He went first to Van Diemen's Land, and came here some three years ago. "And had you arrived," he said to me the other day, "at the same time, you might now have been moving home a prosperous gentleman." However, nil desperandum. There is still a fair opportunity for an industrious man, who above all things has resolution to be SOBER in his habits. The mischief with the labouring man has been, that having suddenly discovered his wages to be high in comparison with those he received in the mother country, he has considered himself entitled to have a proportionate extra amount of enjoyment at the public-house, where drink is very high. Good tradesmen would infallibly make money, but for this great failing. The bullock dray-drivers, certainly the best paid of all the working men, absolutely think nothing of coming from the Bush into Melbourne, with twenty or thirty pounds in their pocket, and spending every farthing of the sum—in one night—champagne to the mast-head. The innkeepers make fortunes rapidly. [pg 189] Shall I tell how much Boniface will draw in a week? No—for you will not believe me. Certainly as much as many an innkeeper in a country town would draw in twelve months. An innkeeper's license to Government is thirty pounds per annum. This entitles him to keep his house open from six in the morning until eleven o'clock at night; ten pounds more enables him to have open house during the night; and an additional ten pounds enables him to keep a billiard table. There are a great many houses with tables and a number of light houses; but, as I have hinted before, our police courts exhibit abominations, and a police court is a good criterion of the morals of a people. In the first formation and early beginnings of this colony, a man having sheep took up his abode in the interior, on any spot which he considered suitable and agreeable, and he was called a squatter. Now no individual may pasture sheep or cattle of any kind without receiving a license from Government, for which he pays ten pounds annually, and making a return every year of all his stock, servants, and increase—the license, by the way, not being available within three miles of Melbourne. The holder of such a license is called a settler. A settler is entitled to cut wood upon his own station or run, for firing for himself and servants; but if he cut it for sale—and we have no coal here—he pays, in addition to the ten pounds, three pounds more per annum for the permission so to do.

You shall now receive a faithful account of the settling of a settler. Suppose him to have a station in the interior, or as it is invariably styled, "in the Bush." The distance is forty, fifty, or it may be eighty, miles from Melbourne, and the stock consists of from four to five thousand sheep, and from one to two hundred head of cattle. The settler, in all probability, has been accustomed in early life to good society, has been well educated and brought up. Living at his station he sees none but his own servants, his chère amie, (always a part of a settler's stock,) and perhaps a few black natives, not unfrequently hostile visitors. Business calls the settler to Melbourne; he puts up at his inn; any thing in the shape of society rejoices his heart, and forthwith he begins "the lark;" he dines out—gets fuddled, returns to his inn, finds a city friend or two waiting for him, treats them to champagne, of which, at ten shillings per bottle, they drink no end. Very well. His horse is in the stable at seven shillings and sixpence a-night, his own bill varies from six to eight pounds per diem, and at the end of a fortnight my settler is called upon to hand over a cheque upon his banker to the tune of a hundred pounds, or, if he has no bank-account, his promissory note at a very short date. Away starts the settler back to his solitude; he has given his bill, and he thinks no more about it; but the bill finds its way quickly into the hands of an attorney, and in eight days there is an execution out for recovery, with an addition of ten pounds already incurred in legal expenses. The sheriff's bailiff rides to the station and demands payment of the whole. He gets no money, but settler and bailiff return in company to Melbourne: a friend is applied to; he discounts a bill for the sum required. The attorney is paid the amount by the hands of the sheriff. The bill once more becomes due, and is once more dishonoured; expenses run up like wildfire. This time there is no escape, and a portion of the stock must be sold to avoid ruin—and it is sold sometimes at a fearful sacrifice. This is no insulated case. It is the history of nine-tenths of the thoughtless fellows who dwell away in the Bush. Such gentlemen at the present hour, in consequence of the depressed state of the stock market, are all but ruined. Any one of them, who twelve months since purchased his flock of two thousand sheep at eighteen or five-and-twenty shillings, can only reckon upon a fourth of the amount in value now. It is increase only that enables him to pay his servants, and he has as much off the wool as affords him the means of living. The sale of his wethers would not pay for the tear and wear of bullocks and drays; and if any profit does by any chance arise, it can be only from occasionally catching a few head of cattle, which, as they run wild in the woods, the settler can keep no account of, and only with difficulty [pg 190] secure when they come to a lagoon for water, where they are watched, because at one time or another they are certain to appear. Horses are very dear in Melbourne: a useless brute, which in England would be dear at ten pounds, sells here quickly for thirty; a good saddle horse will fetch a hundred, and I have seen some tolerable cart horses sold for fifty and sixty pounds. In a new colony, where almost all the draught is performed by bullocks, cart horses must realize a good price. The hire of a horse and cart in Melbourne is, one pound four shillings for the day.

In addition to those above spoken of there is another class of settlers, who were the original stock-holders and land-purchasers in the district. They have large tracts of country in the Bush, and thousands of sheep and cattle on then, and all managed by servants and overseers. These proprietors live at the clubs in Melbourne and constitute what is here termed the élite of society. A short time ago these gentlemen entertained the pleasing notion, that there was to be no termination to the increase and extent of their wealth; and one very young member of the society was heard to exclaim, in apparent agony at his excessive good fortune, "upon my soul, I am become most disgustingly rich." But mark the difference The élite have been living in the most extravagant manner. They discounted bills at their own pleasure here at ten per cent; and knowing well that these bills would not be honoured at maturity, they sent them to London, and cashed them there: with the funds thus raised, they speculated in the buying of land and stock, hoping to get (as in many instances they did) at least eighty per cent profit by their transactions. But now stock has fallen to a trifle; bills are falling due, rushing back from England under protest—and the bubble bursts. The banks are drawing in their accommodation, and the élite, who were a short time back so disgustingly rich, are, whilst I write, most disgustingly poor. This is no imaginative statement; it is a sober fact. But I do not suppose that the present state of things will last long. Speculation and the rate of interest must come down. When the human body is disordered, it is a happy time for the doctor; when the body mercantile is diseased, it is the attorney's harvest time. If an attorney has any business at all, he must do well in Melbourne, for his fees are inordinately high. Protesting a bill is five-and-twenty shillings; noting, half-a-guinea; every letter demanding payment of account, if under twenty pounds, half-a-guinea; above twenty and under a hundred pounds, one guinea; above a hundred, two guineas. Every summons (a summons being a short printed form) before the supreme court, is charged six guineas; and the clients pay down at once, without any questions, too glad to do so, provided they can get rid of their temporary difficulties. Litigation is short and quick. Conveyancing is downright profit; a deed, however short, conveying a piece of land, however trifling, costs five guineas. There are no stamps, and the work is done in an hour. More valuable properties are conveyed by a deed generally charged nine guineas. My friend —— has drawn twelve such deeds in his office in the course of one day; and with these eyes I have seen him earn six guineas in as many minutes, by appearing at the police-office when a dispute has arisen between a master and his servant. All quarrels of this kind are arranged at the police-office, when the amount of wages received by the servant does not exceed thirty pounds annually. An attorney with brains cannot fail to get ahead. He has only to use dispatch, and to begin and continue in one even and undeviating course. Our barristers are few in number. There are but four of then. There is still a glorious field for a barrister of talent, and especially if he be conversant with the nicer points of conveyancing. Any clever barrister up to the business and a good speaker, might rely upon making immediately at least a thousand a-year; the community are looking and waiting for such a man. A fellow with no capital and no profession had better not show his face in Melbourne. It is a thousand to one against him. Compared to his position that of a labourer is an enviable one; yet any respectable and intelligent man tolerably well educated, [pg 191] coming here with four or five hundred pounds in his pocket, may certainly, in a couple of years, and in twenty different ways, treble that capital. The best and most promising is the following:—Buy in any growing part of the town of Melbourne, a small piece of town allotment. This will cost fifty pounds, upon this you may erect two small brick cottages, containing each two rooms and a kitchen, and well fitted for a respectable tradesman. Two hundred and forty pounds will build them up; thus the whole expense of cottages and ground is two hundred and ninety pounds at most. Each cottage will, for a moral certainty, let for one pound five shillings per week, and thus return you a clear rental of sixty-four pounds per annum, for the sum of one hundred and forty-four pounds laid out. Some capitalists are not long in discovering this mode of adding to their fortunes, and it is not surprising that such men, with ease, get speedily rich. Many individuals are personally known to me who arrived here with small means a few years back, and who are now receiving an income of fifteen hundred pounds a-year from houses, which they have raised upon their profits and by not slow degrees. Their returns are certain for, mark you, every tradesman pays his rent every Monday morning, there is no delay. If it be not paid the hour it is due, the landlord is empowered by law to send a bailiff to the house, to keep him there at an expense to the tenant of three shillings per day—and to request him, at the end of five days, to sell off the goods and chattels provided the demand is still unsatisfied. I know no better investment for capital, be it large or small, than that of which I speak. There are no taxes, no ground-rents, and the tenant is bound to keep his premises in repair. If a mistake has been made in the building of houses, it is because some have overshot the mark, and built dwellings that are too large for the purposes required; these large houses cost a large sum of money, and neither let readily nor nearly so high in proportion, as the smaller houses occupied by the working-classes.

I am unable to give you an accurate notion of the general appearance of the country. Speaking in broad terms it is wooded, but not so densely as on the Sydney side, Van Diemen's Land, or New Zealand. The peculiar and beautiful feature of this country is the open plain which is found at every ten or twelve miles spreading itself over a surface not less than three miles in length and half the distance in breadth. It is as smooth as a lawn. A magnificent tree rears itself to a great height here and there upon the sward, on either side of which appears a natural park, the finest that taste could fashion or art could execute. Nature has done in fact what no art could accomplish. Gaze upon these grounds, and for a moment imagine that the enormous bullocks before you, with their fearful horns, are a gigantic herd of deer, and you have a sight that England, famous for her parks, shall in vain attempt to rival. But against this royal scene—set off a melancholy drawback, one which I fear may never be made good even by the ingenuity and indomitable energy of man. The land has an awful want of spring water. There are a few small holes, called lagoons, the remains of ancient rivers, met with now and then; and strange to say, one of such holes will be found to contain salt sea-water, whilst another, within a very few yards of it, has water quite fresh, or nearly so. In the former are found large seafish, such as cod, mullet, sea-carp, and a fish similar to our perch. I an speaking of holes discovered at a distance of a hundred and twenty miles from the sea, and having no visible communication with it. In several districts there are large rivers, but their course is uncertain, and it is impossible to say that any one river empties itself into the sea. Goulburn is a fine river, and ninety miles from this on the banks of that river, are found very large lobsters, and other shell-fish. To stand on an eminence, and to cast your eye down into the valley beyond and beneath you, is to have an enjoyment which the ardent lover of nature alone can appreciate. Far as the eye can look, there is uninterrupted harmony. Splendid plains covered with the fleecy tribe, and here and there (alas! only but here and there) a speck of water, enough to vindicate [pg 192] nature from the charge of utter neglect—and no more. A glance thrown in another direction brings to your view an endless tract of country deprived even of these solitary specks, where the grass grows as high as your knee, and where no man dare take his flocks and herds for lack of the sweet element. If the surface of this land were blessed with spring water as England is, the wealth of this colony would surpass the calculation of any living man. As it is, who can tell the ultimate effect of this important deprivation? There are one or two stations, on which spring water has been discovered, but it is a rare discovery, and dearly prized. In Melbourne we have no water, but such as is carted by the water barrel carters from the river Yarra-Yarra. Every house has its barrel or hogshead for holding water. The Yarra-Yarra water is brackish, and causes dysentery. The complaint is now prevailing. In many parts of the interior puddle holes are made, and water is thus secured from the heavy rain that falls in the early part of summer. Water saved in this manner never becomes putrid. The leaves of the gum-tree fall into the pool abundantly, and not only give to the water a very peculiar flavour, but preserve it from all putrefaction. This gum water is safest when boiled with a little tea, and drunk cold. Every settler in the Bush drinks water in no other way, and—for want of better things—he takes tea and fresh mutton at least three times a-day. His bread is a lump of flour and water rolled into a ball, and placed in hot ashes to bake. The loaf is called "a damper." The country, as far as I have seen it, bears evident marks of great volcanic change. You meet with a stone, round like a turnip, as hard as iron, like rusty iron in appearance, and on the outside honey-combed. There are large beds of it for miles. You then come to the flat country where the soil surpasses any thing you can conceive in richness, fit for any cultivation under heaven, and upwards of fifteen feet in depth. Before I quitted London, I heard that the climate of Australia was fine and equable, seldom varying, and well suited to a delicate constitution. I am satisfied that many consumptive persons live here, who in Scotland would be carried off in a month. You seldom hear a person cough. In church I have listened in vain for a single hoste; no, not even before the commencement of a psalm do you find the haughting and clachering that are indispensable in England. All pipes are clear as bell. I noticed this as a phenomenon on my first arrival. We are now, as you would say, in the dead of winter; a strange announcement to a British ear in the month of July. The air is chill in the morning and evening, before sunrise and after sunset, but during the day the weather is as fine as on the finest September day in Scotland. Notwithstanding what I have said, I would not have you ground any theory upon my remarks as yet—or deceive Sir James Clark, and the rest of the medical gentlemen, who are looking on all sides of the world for a climate for their hopeless invalids. I have stated facts, but those which follow are no less authentic. On the 30th and 31st of December last, the thermometer at the observatory stood in the shade at 70 deg. and 72 deg. noon. On the 1st of January at noon, and up to three clock, P.M., it stood in the shade at 92 deg. and 93 deg. On the 2d it rose to 95 deg. at noon, and fell at sunset, eight P.M., to 69 deg. In the middle of the foresaid month of December the thermometer was 86 deg. at breakfast time, and before dinner down to 63 deg. These memoranda, gained from undoubted sources, would show the climate—in summer at least—to be more variable than my reference proves it; yet I am told that even in summer time you hear of little sickness amongst grown up people. New comers suffer from dysentery, and children are attacked in the same way. I have had two visitations, from which I rallied in the course of four and twenty hours, with the aid of arrow root, port wine, and laudanum. A free use of vegetables is always dangerous to strangers, and they are obtained here in perfection. The weather is too hot for apples, pears, and gooseberries in the summer. Grapes and other English hot-house fruits come to delicious maturity in the open air. The melons are inconceivably [pg 193] exquisite, and grow, as they were wont in Paradise before the fall, without care or trouble spent upon them. The seed is put into the earth; a little water is given to it at that time, and the thing is done—"c'est un fait accompli." Potatoes grow at any season of the year, and cauliflowers and turnips spring up almost in a night like mushrooms. There are some five farms in cultivation around Melbourne, and the crops of wheat are very fair in quality but fall off in quantity. Thirty bushels per acre is considered a good crop. Oats grow too much to straw, and are generally cut in the slot blade, winnowed, and carted to Melbourne and sold for hay. Rye-grass hay does not answer, and clover is not more successful; but vetches have just been introduced on a small scale, and nothing yet grown has succeeded so well as green food for horses and cows. Hay of fine quality is brought from Van Diemen's Land, but it is very dear. A cart load of good oaten hay sells here for about forty-five shillings. Van Diemen's Land hay is at present eleven guineas per ton.

The aboriginal natives of this colony are a very savage race, and all the efforts hitherto made by missionaries, protectors, and others, have never given promise or warrant of effectual civilization. The males are tall, and of fierce aspect; the skin and hair are exceedingly black—the latter very smooth. In many instances, the features are striking and good. The women are slender, and during the summer, naked; in winter, the females in the immediate neighbourhood procure clothes from the inhabitants of Melbourne, and cut, as you may suppose, a very original figure. Nothing will induce the natives to work. They live in the Bush, and the bark of a large tree forms their habitation. There are three distinct tribes around us in a circuit of about a hundred miles, and the difference of features amongst these tribes is easily observed. The three tribes speak three different languages unintelligible to one another. They meet at different periods of the year, and hold what they term a "corroborice,"—that is—a dance. Their bodies on these occasions are covered with oil, red paint, and green leaves. I have seen two hundred at a meeting, but they assemble double that number at times. The festival concludes in pitched battle. There is a grand fight with clubs, or arrows and spears. Three or four are generally killed in the onslaught, and as many of the survivors as are fortunate enough to get a bite, feast upon the fat of the victims' hearts. This fat is their richest dainty. Those who are able to form an opinion on the subject, pronounce the aborigines of this colony to be cannibals. Many of their children disappear, and it is generally supposed that they are devoured by their friends and acquaintances. In many districts of the interior, the blacks have lately committed many depredations amongst the sheep, and many of the devils are shot without judge or jury. Two natives are now in the jail of Melbourne under sentence of death, for committing a dreadful murder upon two sailors who were cast ashore from a whaler. These savages had been for thirteen years under the instruction of a protector and others. They belonged originally to Van Diemen's Land, but migrated to a part of this colony called Portland Bay. They spoke English quite well, yet, notwithstanding all their advantages, they perpetrated this cruel and cold-blooded murder, and then cunningly hid the bodies in the ground. They were detected by the merest chance, in consequence of their having in possession of a few articles which had formerly belonged to the unhappy mariners. None of the natives is allowed to carry fire-arms, and a heavy fine is inflicted upon any individual who is known to give them spirits. They are passionately fond of spirits, and next to these of loaf bread. The females are called by the males "Loubras," and the males are designated "Coolies." There is not promiscuous cohabitation. When a Coolie reaches the age of twenty-one, he is allowed to choose his own "Loubra." Every male who then takes unto himself a helpmate, loses a front tooth, which is knocked out of him. The natives generally tattoo their arms and breasts, but not their faces; many carry a long white wooden pin, or a feather, pierced through the thin part of the nose; [pg 194] and they all twist kangaroo teeth and the bones of fishes more or less in their hair. Every thing small and diminutive they call "Pickaninnie," and any thing very good, "Merri jig." Their language is a queer, rattling, hard-sounding gibberish, incomprehensible to most people; they speak as fast as possible, laugh immoderately at trifles, and are excellent mimics. Their own children they stile "Pickaninnies."

From all that I have seen, I do not hesitate to say, that this country will prove a splendid field for future generations. At the present time, no man should venture here who is unprepared for many privations and a numerous list of annoyances. The common necessaries of life he will certainly find, but none of his ancient and English luxuries. Society is, as you may guess, very limited. You may acknowledge an acquaintance with any one, without committing yourself. To say that you know a man intimately is hazardous; I mean—a man whose friendship you have cultivated only since your arrival. There are many whom you have known at home, and whose friendship it is a pride and a pleasure to renew in your exile. But, as a general rule, "keep yourself to yourself" is a serviceable adage. If it be attended to—well. If it be neglected—you run your head against a stone in less than no time.

If any man have a competency, let him not travel hither to enjoy it. If he has a little money, and desires with a little trouble and inconvenience to double his capital in the shortest possible space of time—let him come out, and fearlessly. Living is cheap enough as far as the essentials are concerned. Butcher meat, not surpassed in any part of England, Scotland, or Ireland, is to be had at twopence per pound; the fine four pound loaf for sixpence halfpenny; brown sugar, fourpence; white, sixpence; candles, sixpence per pound; tea, the finest, three shillings the pound; fresh butter, one shilling and threepence per pound. Wild fowl in abundance. Vegetables are cheaper than in any part of England. Wines of moderate price, but not of good quality. Spirits first-rate, and every kind cheaper than in England, except whisky, which is seventeen and eighteen shillings per gallon; very old at twenty-one and twenty-two. The wine most wanted here is claret. A great deal of it is drunk during the summer, but the quality of it is bad. Fish are abundant in the river and pools, but the people will not trouble themselves to catch them. However, for eighteenpence or two shillings, you may get a good dish of mutteel, carp, or a small fish called "flatties." I have never seen any of the salmon tribe, or any fish like a sea or river trout. Wild swans—both black and white—quails, snipes, cranes, and water-hens, are everywhere abundant, and in the Bush, the varieties of the parrot kind are out of number. Kangaroos, opossums, and flying-squirrels, are common near the town, and afford plenty of amusement to the sportsman. No game license required! Sunday used to be the tradesman's day for shooting, and to a new comer the proceeding had a very queer appearance. By act of council, Sunday shooting is prohibited under a heavy penalty, which has been inflicted on several transgressors, but, like most laws, this is evaded. Shooting is forbidden, but hunting is not. Accordingly numerous parties sally forth on the Sabbath to hunt the kangaroo. The dog used for the sport is a cross between a rough greyhound and a bull; but others follow in the pack. Every man, woman, and child, keeps a dog. Some families have eight or nine running over a house, and the natives have them without number. A few months ago these animals congregated so thickly in the streets, that the magistrates directed the police to shoot all that were not registered and had a collar with the owner's name; as many as fifty were killed in a morning. It costs nothing to feed a dog; the heads of bullocks and the heads and feet of sheep are either thrown away or given to any one who asks for them. The bone manure system, if brought into operation, would help to keep the streets from a bony nuisance. Memorandum: Let the next emigrant to this colony bring a good strong fox-hound bitch with him; he will find it to his advantage. A cross between her and a Newfoundland or large greyhound would do any thing. There are [pg 195] a couple of fox-hounds here, but no bitch. It would do your heart good to see the pace at which the fellows ride. Twenty miles on horseback they think about as much of as we do of five. There is nothing to obstruct the animals; they are not even shod, and they fly over the smooth sward. A hundred and twenty miles is reckoned a journey of a day and a half. A dray, with eight, ten, or twelve bullocks in it, according, to load, will travel thirty miles a-day. When the folks travel, they take no shelter in a house or hut for the night. When night approaches, they alight, and tie their horses to a stump; they draw down some of the thick branches of the gum-tree, and peel off the bark of a large tree, kindle a fire with a match, or, for want of this, rubbing two sticks together, get up a blaze, and fall to sleep beside it. If the traveller be accompanied by a dray, the tarpauling, is drawn round, and he sleeps beneath it.

Not amongst the least of the annoyances found here are the ants. There are three species of the insect, and they are all very large. Many of them are an inch long, and they bite confoundedly. A hand bitten by some of the monsters will swell to the size of a man's head. Along the coast, and in every house, smaller ants prevail, and fleas innumerable. The number of the latter, which you shall find upon your blanket any day of the year, is literally not to be computed. No house is free from this little disturber, who spares neither age nor sex. I have stood upon the sea beach adorned with white trousers, which in less than ten minutes have been covered with hundreds of the vermin. It is an easy transition from the trousers to the inner legs. But this is nothing when you are used to it. The grey horse won't live in the colony. So it is said; at all events none are seen; and I am very sure that every emigrant ship brings its fair stock. It is a wise ordination that forbids their settling. The mawk fly is indigenous, and thrives wonderfully, as you shall hear. This fly is very like our British bluebottle, with a somewhat greener head, and a body entirely yellow. I have seen two mawk flies strike (as it seemed) a joint of meat, just as it was removing from the spit, leaving their fly blows there. Before the joint had been ten minutes upon the table, small white mawks were moving upon the surface of the meat in considerable numbers. If by any chance these animals are suffered to accompany the meat to the safe or larder, in the course of twenty-four hours the small white mawks increase to the length of one-eighth of an inch, and are found crawling in hundreds and moving about, as you have observed the yellow flies buzzing over the old and rotten carcass of a horse that has been exposed for weeks. In the winter these creatures are, of course, less troublesome than in summer. Wire meat-covers are in constant use during the latter season.

Thus far had got in my epistle, when a torrent of ill news rushed in upon us, and compelled me to delay my scribble. I am sorry to say, that in addition to the account which I have already given of the depressed state of the markets, I must add some dismal intelligence. The markets are in a deplorable state, and so is the mercantile community in general. Every day there is a fresh bankruptcy, and the heaviest yet has just taken place. I cannot but believe that if more emigrant laborers come out just now, they must starve. Any man with ten or fifteen thousand pounds could buy half of the district for ready cash. The moneyed men are making fearful hauls as it is. Let emigration stop for a time, and the markets must look up again. At the present moment every thing is selling cheaper here than in England; men's wages are down to the ordinary English rate. So long as the banks afford seven per cent for deposits, moneyed men will lie in wait for bargains, and until such present themselves, will lock up the capital which at first was in circulation through the immense speculations in land and stock. The men who saw no end to speculation are gone and floored, every one of them. Will you believe that Messrs —— sent out three thousand pounds worth of brandy to Sydney, and so glutted the market that part of the cargo was bought low enough to make it a good spec to reship it for England. Such is the fact. There never was a better moment than the present for a [pg 196] hit in land—sheep are at so low a figure, and settlers so hard run. The former I still believe will gradually rise; for, on the Sydney side, the process of boiling down sheep for the sake of the tallow, has commenced, and if it succeed, as I believe it will, the standard value of a sheep will be fixed at something like eight shillings. So much for the fleece and skin, so much for the bones, so much for the kidney fat, and so much for the tallow or fat recovered by boiling the carcass. The great object of this colony must be to increase the export produce, and to bring capital in its place. Wool no doubt is, and will prove to be, the staple commodity; and in time, the settlers will pay more attention to the getting up of it, and to the packing. But above all they must speedily rid themselves of their bloodsuckers, a set of men who charge enormous commissions for anticipated sales, and what not, amounting to thirty and forty per cent; a sum that is nothing short of utter ruin to a poor fellow who has nothing but his wool to depend upon. Had Judge Willis remained amongst us, he would have rooted out whole nests of these hornets. I have no fear of the ultimate success of the colonist, if they will but be faithful to themselves. They have a splendid country, and its capabilities are now only beginning to be known. Before the end of the present year, our exports will consist of wool, bark, tallow, gum, hides, furs, and last, although not least, the finest cured beef in the world. If the latter article of produce is acknowledged as it deserves to be, and finds and establishes an eastern market, nothing will prevent the colony from rising to importance. As far as price is concerned, we can compete with any country in the world. We have no politics in Port Philip. The community are far better employed in attending to their commercial affairs. Let them but persevere honestly and prudently in their course, and they must do well.

And so much for my first epistle, honoured Christopher. If it afford you amusement, you shall hear from me again. I have spoken the truth, and have writ down simple facts. As such, receive them, and communicate them to your neighbours. And now, with affectionate remembrances to yourself and all enquiring friends,

Believe me,

Reverend Christopher,

Your grateful and attached,



"And Jacob called into his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together,

that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.

"Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken

unto Israel your father."

—GENESIS, xlix. 1, 2, &c.

The Patriarch sat upon his bed—

His cheek was pale, his eye was dim;

Long years of woe had bow'd his head,

And feeble was the giant limb.

And his twelve mighty sons stood nigh,

In grief—to see their father die!

But, sudden as the thunder-roll,

A new-born spirit fill'd his frame.

His fainting visage flash'd with soul,

His lip was touch'd with living flame;

And burst, with more than prophet fire,

The stream of Judgment, Love, and Ire.

[pg 197]

"REUBEN,6 thou spearhead in my side,

Thy father's first-born, and his shame;

Unstable as the rolling tide,

A blight has fall'n upon thy name.

Decay shall follow thee and thine.

Go, outcast of a hallow'd line!

"SIMEON and LEVI,7 sons of blood

That still hangs heavy on the land;

Your flocks shall be the robber's food,

Your folds shall blaze beneath his brand.

In swamp and forest shall ye dwell.

Be scatter'd among Israel!

"JUDAH!8 All hail, thou priest, thou king!

The crown, the glory, shall be thine;

Thine, in the fight, the eagle's wing—

Thine, on the hill, the oil and wine.

Thou lion! nations shall turn pale

When swells thy roar upon the gale.

"Judah, my son, ascend the throne,

Till comes from heaven the unborn king—

The prophesied, the mighty one,

Whose heel shall crush the serpent's sting.

Till earth is paradise again,

And sin is dead, and death is slain!

"Wide as the surges, ZEBULON,9

Thy daring keel shall plough the sea;

Before thee sink proud Sidon's sun,

And strong Issachar toil for thee.

Thou, reaper of his corn and oil,

Lord of the giant and the soil!

"Whose banner flames in battle's van!

Whose mail is first in slaughter gored!

Thou, subtler than the serpent, DAN,10

Prince of the arrow and the sword.

Woe to the Syrian charioteer

When rings the rushing of thy spear!

[pg 198]

"Crush'd to the earth by war and woe,

GAD,11 shall the cup of bondage drain,

Till bold revenge shall give the blow

That pays the long arrear of pain.

Thy cup shall glow with tyrant-gore,

Thou be my Son—and man once more!

"Loved NAPHTALI,12 thy snow-white hind

Shall bask beneath the rose and vine.

Proud ASHER, to the mountain wild

Shall star-like blaze, thy battle-sign.

All bright to both, from birth to tomb,

The heavens all sunshine, earth all bloom!

"JOSEPH,13 come near—my son, my son!

Egyptian prince, Egyptian sage,

Child of my first and best-loved one,

Great guardian of thy father's age.

Bring EPHRAIM and MANASSEH nigh,

And let me bless them ere I die.

"Hear me—Thou GOD of Israel!

Thou, who hast been his living shield,

In the red desert's lion-dell,

In Egypt's famine-stricken field,

In the dark dungeon's chilling stone,

In Pharaoh's chain—by Pharaoh's throne.

"My son, all blessings be on thee,

Be blest abroad, be blest at home;

Thy nation's strength—her living tree,

The well to which the thirsty come;

Blest be thy valley, blest thy hill,

Thy father's GOD be with thee still!

"Thou man of blood, thou man of might,

Thy soul shall ravin, BENJAMIN.14

Thou wolf by day, thou wolf by night,

Rushing through slaughter, spoil, and sin;

Thine eagle's beak and vulture's wing

Shall curse thy nation with a king!"

Then ceased the voice, and all was still:

The hand of death was on the frame;

Yet gave the heart one final thrill,

And breathed the dying lip one name.

"Sons, let me rest by Leah's side!"

He raised his brow to heaven—and died.


[pg 199]



Mr Editor!—You have a great name with our sex! CHRISTOPHER NORTH is, in our flowing cups—of Bohea—"freshly remembered." To you, therefore, as to the Sir Philip Sidney of modern Arcadia, do I address the voice of my bewailment. Not from any miserable coveting after the publicities of printing. All I implore of you is, a punch of your crutch into the very heart of a matter involving the best interests of my sex!

You, dear Mr Editor, who have your eyes garnished with Solomon's spectacles about you, cannot but have perceived on the parlour-tables and book-shelves of your fair friends—by whose firesides you are courted even as the good knight, and the Spectator, by the Lady Lizards of the days of Anne—a sudden inundation of tabby-bound volumes, addressed, in supergilt letters, to the "Wives of England"—the "Daughters of England"—the "Grandmothers of England." A few, arrayed in modest calf or embossed linen, address themselves to the sober latitudes of the manse or parsonage-house. Some treat, without permission, of "Woman's Mission"—some, in defiance of custom, of her "Duties." From exuberant 4to, down to the fid-fad concentration of 12mo—from crown demy to diamond editions—no end to these chartered documentations of the sex! The women of this favoured kingdom of Queen Victoria, appear to have been unexpectedly weighed in the balance, and found wanting in morals and manners; or why this sudden emission of codes of morality?

No one denies, indeed, that woman has, of late, ris' wonderfully in the market; or that the weaker sex is coming it amazingly strong. The sceptres of three of the first kingdoms in Europe are swayed by female hands. The first writer of young France is a woman. The first astronomer of young England, idem. Mrs Trollope played the Chesterfield and the deuce with the Yankees. Miss Martineau turned the head of the mighty Brougham. Mademoiselle d'Angeville ascended Mont Blanc, and Mademoiselle Rachel has replaced Corneille and Racine on their crumbling pedestals. I might waste hours of your precious time, sir, in perusing a list of the eminent women now competing with the rougher sex for the laurels of renown. But you know it all better than I can tell you. You have done honour due, in your time, to Joanna Baillie and Mrs Jamieson, to Caroline Southey and Miss Ferrier. You praised Mrs Butler when she deserved it; and probably esteem Mary Howitt, and Mary Mitford, and all the other Maries, at their just value—to say nothing of the Maria of Edgworthstown, so fairly worth them all. I make no doubt that you were even one of the first to do homage to the Swedish Richardson, Frederika Bremer; though, having sown your wild oats, you keep your own counsel anent novel reading.

You will, therefore, probably sympathize in the general amazement, that, at a moment when the sex is signalizing itself from pole to pole—when a Grace Darling obtains the palm for intrepidity—when the Honourable Miss Grimston's Prayer-Book is read in churches—when Mrs Fry, like hunger, eats through stone walls to call felons to repentance—when a king has descended from his throne, and a prince from royal highnesshood, to reward the virtues of the fair partners to whom they were unable to impart the rights of the blood-royal—when the fairest specimen of modern sculpture has been supplied by a female hand, and woman, in short, is at a premium throughout the universe, all this waste of sermonizing should have been thrown, like a wet blanket, over her shoulders!

But this is not enough, dear Mr Editor. I wish to direct your attention towards an exclusive branch of the grievance. I have no doubt that, in your earlier years, instead of [pg 200] courting your fair friends, as Burns appears to have done, with copies of your own works, you used to present unto them the "Legacy of Dr Gregory to his Daughters"—or "Mrs Chapone's Letters," or Miss Bowdler's, or Mrs Trimmer's, appropriately bound and gilt; and thus apprized of the superabundance of prose provided for their edification, are prepared to feel, with me, that if they have not Mrs Barbauld and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded by the frippery tomes which load the counters of our bazars. This perception has come of itself. If I could only be fortunate enough to enlarge your scope of comprehension!

My dear Mr Editor, I am what is called a lone woman. Shakspeare, through whose recklessness originate half the commonplaces of our land's language, thought proper to define such a condition as "SINGLE BLESSEDNESS"—though he aptly enough engrafts it on a thorn! For my part, I cannot enough admire the theory of certain modern poets, that an angel is an ethereal being, composed by the interunion in heaven, of two mortals who have been faithfully attached on earth—and as to "blessedness" being ever "single," either in this world or the next, I do not believe a word about the matter! "Happiness," Lord Byron assures us, "was born a twin!"

I do not mean to complain of my condition—far from it. But I wish to say, that since, from the small care taken by English parents to double the condition of their daughters, it is clear the state of "single blessedness" is of higher account in our own "favoured country" than in any other in Europe; it certainly behoves the guardians of the public weal to afford due protection and encouragement to spinsters.

Every body knows that Great Britain is the very fatherland of old maids. In Catholic countries, the superfluous daughters of a family are disposed of in convents and béguinages, just as in Turkey and China they are, still more humanely, drowned. In certain provinces of the east, pigs are expressly kept, to be turned into the streets at daybreak, for the purpose of devouring the female infants exposed during the night—thus benevolently securing them from the after torments of single "blessedness."

But a far nobler arrangement was made by that greatest of modern legislators, Napoleon—whose code entitles the daughters of a house to share, equally with sons, in its property and bequeathments; and in France, a woman with a dowery is as sure of courtship and marriage, as of death and burial. Nay, so much is marriage regarded among the French as the indispensable condition of the human species, that parents proceed as openly to the task of procuring a proper husband for their daughter, as of providing her with shoes and stockings. No false delicacy—no pitiful manoeuvres! The affair is treated like any other negotiation. It is a mere question of two and two making four, which enables two to make one. How far more honest than the angling and trickery of English match-making—which, by keeping men constantly on the defensive, predisposes them against attractions to which they might otherwise give way! However, as I said before, I do not wish to complain of my condition.

I only consider it hard that the interests of the wives of England are to be exclusively studied, when the unfortunate females who lack the consolations of matronhood are in so far greater want of sustainment; and that all the theories of the perfectionizement of the fair sex now issuing from the press, should purport to instruct young ladies how to qualify themselves for wives, and wives how to qualify themselves for heaven; and not a word addressed, either in the way of exhortation, remonstrance, or applause, to the highly respectable order of the female community whose cause I have taken on myself to advocate. Have not the wives of England husbands to whisper wisdom into their ears? Why, then, are they to be coaxed or lectured by tabby-bound volumes, while we are left neglected in a corner? Our earthly career, the Lord he knows, is far more trying—our temptations as much greater, as our pleasures are less; and it is mortifying indeed to find our behavior a thing so little worth interference. We may conduct ourselves, it seems, as indecorously as [pg 201] we think proper, for any thing the united booksellers of the United Kingdom care to the contrary!

Not that I very much wonder at literary men regarding the education of wives as a matter of moment. The worse halves of Socrates, Milton, Hooker, have been thorns in their sides, urging them into blasphemy against the sex. But is this a reason, I only ask you, for leaving, like an uncultivated waste, that holy army of martyrs, the spinsterhood of Great Britain?

Mr Editor, act like a man! Speak up for us! Write up for us! Tell these little writers of little books, that however they may think to secure dinners and suppers to themselves, by currying favour with the rulers of the roast, the greatest of all women have been SINGLE! Tell them of our Virgin Queen, Elizabeth—the patroness of their calling, the protectress of learning and learned men. Tell them of Joan of Arc, the conqueror of even English chivalry. Tell them of all the tender mercies of the Soeurs de Charité! Tell them that, from the throne to the hospital, the spinster, unharassed by the cares of private life, has been found most fruitful in public virtue.

Then, perhaps, you will persuade them that we are worth our schooling; and the "Old Maids of England" may look forward to receive a tabby-bound manual of their duties, as well as its "Wives." I have really no patience with the selfish conceit of these married women, who fancy their well-doing of such importance. See how they were held by the ancients!—treated like beasts of burden, and denied the privilege of all mental accomplishment. When the Grecian matrons affected to weep over the slain, after some victory of Themistocles, the Athenian general bade them "dry their tears, and practise a single virtue in atonement of all their weaknesses." It was to their single women the philosophers of the portico addressed their lessons; not to the domestic drudges, whom they considered only worthy to inspect the distaffs of their slaves, and produce sons for the service of the country.

In Bath, Brighton, and other spinster colonies of this island, the demand for such a work would be prodigious. The sale of canary-birds and poodles might suffer a temporary depression in consequence; but this is comparatively unimportant. Perhaps—who knows—so positive a recognition of our estate as a definite class of the community, might lead to the long desiderated establishment of a lay convent, somewhat similar to the béguinages of Flanders, though less ostensibly subject to religious law—a convent where single gentlewomen might unite together in their meals and devotions, under the government of a code of laws set forth in their tabby-bound Koran.

Methinks I see it—a modern temple of Vesta, without its tell-tale fires—square, rectangular, simple, airy, isolated—chaste as Diana and quiet as the grave—the frescoed walls commemorating the legend of Saint Ursula and her eleven thousand—the sacrifice of Jephtha's daughter—Elizabeth Carter translating Epictetus—Harriet Martineau revising the criminal code. In the hall, dear Editor, should hang the portrait of Christopher North—in that locality, appropriately, a Kit-cat!

Ponder upon this! The distinction is worthy consideration. As the newspapers say, it is an "unprecedented opportunity for investment!" For the sole Helicon of the institution shall be—"Blackwood's Entire" its lady abbess—

Your humble servant to command, (for the old maids of England,)


1st Jan. 1844.

Lansdowne, Bath.

[pg 202]



"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?"


The action was a series of those grand manoeuvres in which the Prussians excelled all the other troops of Europe. From the spot on which I stood, the whole immense plain, to the foot of the defiles of Argonne, was visible; but the combat, or rather the succession of combats, was fought along the range of hills at the distance of some miles. These I could discover only by the roar of the guns, and by an occasional cloud of smoke rising among the trees. The chief Prussian force stood in columns in the plain below me, in dark masses, making an occasional movement in advance from time to time, or sending forth a mounted officer to the troops in action. Parks of artillery lay formed in the spaces between the columns, and the baggage, a much more various and curious sight than the troops, halting in the wide grounds of what seemed some noble mansion, had already begun to exhibit the appearance of a country fair. Excepting this busy part of the scene, few things struck me as less like what I had conceived of actual war, than the quietness of every thing before and around me. The columns might nearly as well have been streets of rock; and the engagement in front was so utterly lost to view in the forest, that, except for the occasional sound of the cannon, I might have looked upon the whole scene as the immense picture of a quiet Flemish holiday. The landscape was beautiful. Some showery nights had revived the verdure, of which France has so seldom to boast in autumn; and the green of the plain almost rivalled the delicious verdure of home. The chain of hills, extending for many a league, was covered with one of the most extensive forests of the kingdom. The colours of this vast mass of foliage were glowing in all the powerful hues of the declining year, and the clouds, which slowly descended upon the horizon, with all the tinges of the west burning through their folds, appeared scarcely more than a loftier portion of those sheets of gold and purple which shone along the crown of the hills.

But while I lingered, gazing on the rich and tranquil luxury of the scene, almost forgetting that there was war in the world, I was suddenly recalled to a more substantial condition of that world by the sound of a trumpet, and the arrival of my troop, who had at length struggled up the hill, evidently surprised at finding me there, when the suttlers were in full employment within a few hundred yards below. Their petition was unanimous, to be allowed to refresh themselves and their horses at this rare opportunity; and their request, though respectful in its words, yet was so decisive in its tone, that to comply was fully as much my policy as my inclination. I mounted my horse, and proceeded, according to the humble "command" of my brave dragoons. This was a most popular movement—the men, the very horses, evidently rejoiced. The fatigue of our hard riding was past in a moment—the riders laughed and sang, the chargers snorted and pranced; and, when we trotted, huzzaing, into the baggage lines, half their motley crowd evidently conceived that some sovereign prince was come in fiery haste to make the campaign. We were received with all the applause that is given by the suttler to all arrivals with a full purse in the holsters, and a handsome valise, no matter from what source filled, on the croupe of the charger. But we had scarcely begun [pg 203] to taste the gifts that fortune had sent us in the shape of huge sausages and brown bread—the luxuries! for which the soldier of Teutchland wooes the goddess of war—than we found ourselves ordered to move off the ground, by the peremptory mandate of a troop of the Royal Guard, who had followed our movement, more hungry, more thirsty, and more laced and epauleted than ourselves. The Hulans tossed their lances; and it had nearly been a business of cold steel, when their officer rode up, to demand the sword of the presumptuous mutineer who had thus daringly questioned his right to starve us. While I was deliberating for a moment between the shame of a forced retreat, and the awkwardness of taking the bull by the horns, in the shape of the King's Guard, I heard a loud laugh, and my name pronounced, or rather roared, in the broadest accents of Germany. My friend Varnhorst was the man. The indefatigable and good-humoured Varnhorst, who did every thing, and was every where, was shaking my hand with the honest grasp of his honest nature, and congratulating me on my return.

"We have to do with a set of sharp fellow," said he, "in these French; a regiment of their light cavalry has somehow or other made its way between the columns of our infantry, and has been picking up stragglers last night. The duke, with whom you happen to have established a favouritism that would make you a chamberlain at the court of Brunswick, if you were not assassinated previously by the envy of the other chamberlains, or pinked by some lover of the "dames d'honneur," was beginning to be uneasy about you; and, as I had the peculiar good fortune of the Chevalier Marston's acquaintance, I was sent to pick him up if he had fallen in honourable combat in the plains of Champagne, or if any fragment of him were recoverable from the hands of the peasantry, to preserve it for the family mausoleum."

I anxiously enquired the news of the army, and the progress of the great operation which was then going on.

"We have beaten every thing before us for these three hours," was the answer. "The resistance in the plain was slight, for the French evidently intended to make their stand only in the forest. But the duke has pushed them strongly on the right flank; and, as you may perceive, the attack goes on in force." He pointed to the entrance of one of the defiles, where several columns were in movement, and where the smoke of the firing lay heavily above the trees. He then laid his watch on the table beside our champagne flask. "The time is come to execute another portion of my orders. What think you of following me, and seeing a little of the field."

"Nothing could delight me more. I am perfectly at your service."

"Then mount, and in five minutes I shall allow you one of the first officers in Europe, the Count Clairfait, he is a Walloon, 'tis true, and has the ill luck to be an Austrian brigadier besides, and, to finish his misfortune, has served only against the Turks. But for all that, if any man in the army now in the field is fit to succeed to the command, that man is the Count Clairfait. I only wish that he were a Prussian."

"Has he had any thing to do in this campaign?"

"Every thing that has been done. He has commanded the whole advance guard of the army; and let me whisper this in your ear—if his advice had been taken a week ago, we should by this time have been smoking our cigars in the Palais Royal."

"I am impatient to be introduced to the Comte; let us mount and ride on." He looked at his watch again.

"Not for ten minutes to come. If I made my appearance before him five minutes in advance of the time appointed by my orders, Clairfait would order me into arrest if I were his grandmother. He is the strictest disciplinarian between this and the North Pole."

"A faultless monster himself, I presume."

"Nearly so; he has but one fault—he is too fond of the sabre and bayonet. 'Charge,' is his word of command. His school was among the Turks, and he fights à la Turque."

"I should like him the better for it. That dash and daring is the very thing for success."

[pg 204] "Ay, ay—edge and point are good things in their way. But they are the temptations of the general. Frederick's maxim was—The bullet for the infantry, the spur for the dragoon. The weight of fire is the true test of infantry, the rapidity of charge is the true test of cavalry. The business of a general is manoeuvring—to menace masses by greater masses, to throw the weight of an army on a flank, to pierce a centre while the flanks were forced to stand and see it beaten; these were Frederick's lessons to his staff: and if Clairfait shall go on, with his perpetual hand to hand work, those sharp Frenchmen will soon learn his trade, and perhaps pay him back in his own coin. But, Halt squadron. Dress—advance in parade order."

While I was thus taking my first tuition in the art of heroes, we had rode through a deep ravine, from which, with some difficulty, we had struggled our way to a space of more level ground. Our disorder on reaching it, required all the count's ready skill to bring us into a condition fit for the eye of this formidable Austrian. But before we were complete, a group of mounted officers were seen coming from a column of glittering lances and sabres, resting on the distant verge of the plain. My friend pronounced the name of Clairfait, and I was introduced to the officer who was afterwards to play so distinguished a part in the gallant and melancholy history of the Flemish fields. I had pictured to myself the broad, plump face of the Walloon. I say a countenance, darkened probably by the sultry exposure of his southern campaigns, but of singular depth and power. It was impossible to doubt, that within the noble forehead before me, was lodged an intelligence of the first order. His manners were cold, yet not uncourteous, and to me he spoke with more than usual attention. But when he alluded to the proceedings of the day, and was informed by Varnhorst that the time appointed for his movement was come, I never saw a more rapid transition from the phlegm of the Netherlander to the vividness of the man of courage and genius. Waiting with his watch in his hand for the exact moment appointed in the brief despatch, it had no sooner arrived than the word was given, and his whole force, composed of Austrian light infantry and cavalry, moved forward. Nothing could be more regular than the march for the first half mile; but we then entered a portion of the forest, or rather its border, thinly scattered over an extent of broken country: to preserve the regularity of a movement along a high-road, soon began to be wholly impossible. The officers soon gave up the attempt in despair, and the troops enjoyed the disorder in the highest degree. The ground was so intersected with small trenches, cut by the foresters, that every half dozen yards presented a leap, and the clumps of bushes made it continually necessary to break the ranks. Wherever I looked, I now saw nothing but all the animation of an immense skirmish, the use of sabre and pistol alone excepted. Between two and three thousand cavalry, mounted on the finest horses of Austria and Turkey, galloping in all directions, some springing over the rivulets, some dashing through the thickets, all in the highest spirits, calling out to each other, laughing at each other's mishaps, their horses in as high spirits as themselves, bounding, rearing, neighing, springing like deer; trumpets sounding, standards tossing, officers commanding in tones of helpless authority, to which no one listened, and at which they themselves often laughed. The whole, like a vast school broke loose for a holiday; the most joyous, sportive, and certainly the most showy display that had ever caught my eye. The view strongly reminded me of some of the magnificent old hunting pieces by Snyders, the field sports of the Archduke Ferdinand, with the landscape and horses by Rubens and Jordaens: there we had every thing but the stag or the boar and the dogs. We had the noble trees, the rich deep glades, the sunny openings, the masses of green; and all crowded with life. But how infinitely superior in interest! No holiday sport, nor imperial pageant, but an army rushing into action; one of the great instruments of human power and human change called into energy. Thousands of bold lives about to be periled; a victory about to be [pg 205] achieved, which might fix the fate of Europe; or perhaps losses to be sustained which might cover the future generation with clouds; and all this is on the point of being done. No lazy interval to chill expectancy; within the day, within the hour, nay, within the next five hundred yards, the decisive moment might be come.

Still we rushed on; the staff pausing from time to time to listen to the distant cannonade, and ascertain by its faintness or loudness, the progress of the attack which had been made on the great centre and right defiles of the forest. In one of these, while I had ridden up as near as the broken ground would suffer me, towards Count Clairfait, he made a gesture to me to look upwards, and I saw, almost for the first time, a smile on his countenance. I followed the gesture, and saw, what to me was the novelty of a huge shell, leisurely as it seemed, traversing the air. The Count and his staff immediately galloped in all directions; but I had not escaped a hundred yards, when the shell dropped into the spot where I had been standing, and burst with a tremendous explosion almost immediately on its touching the ground. The cavalry had dispersed and the explosion was, I believe, without injury. But this, at least, gave evidence that the enemy were not far off, and the eagerness of the troops was excited to the highest pitch: all pressed forward to the front, and their cries, in all the languages of the frontier of Europe, the voices of the officers, and the clangour of the bugles and trumpets became an absolute Babel, but an infinitely bold and joyous one. The yagers were now ordered to clear the way, and a thousand Tyrolese and Transylvanian sharpshooters rushed forward to line the border. A heavy firing commenced, and the order was given to halt the cavalry until the effect of the fire was produced. This was speedily done; the enemy, evidently in inferior force and unprepared for this attack, gave way, and the first squadrons which reached the open ground made a dash among them, and took the greater part prisoners.

This whole day was full of splendid exhibitions. On reaching the edge of the wood, the first object below us as the succession of deep columns which I had seen some hours before, and which appeared to have been rooted to the ground ever since. But an aide-de-camp from the circle where the count stood, darted down on the plain, and, as if a flash of lightning had awoke them, all were instantly in motion. The columns on the right now made a sudden rush forward, and to my surprise, four or five strong brigades, which rapidly followed from the centre, took up their position. Varnhorst, who had been beside me during the whole day, now exhibited great delight. "I told you," said he, "that Clairfait would turn out well. I see that he has been taught in our school. Observe that manoeuvre;" he continued his comment with increasing force of gesture—"That was the Great Frederic's favourite, the oblique formation. The finest invention in tactics, with that he gained Rosbach, and beat the French and Austrians; with that he gained the battle of Breslau; and with that he gained the grand fight of Torgau, and finished the war. Yet the king always said that he had learned the manoeuvre from Epaminondas, and was only fighting the battle of Leuctra over again. But look there!" He pointed to a rising ground, a bluff of the forest ridge, to which a battalion of sharpshooters were hastening; it had seemed destitute of defence, and the sharpshooters were already beginning to scramble up its sides; when on the instant a large body of the enemy which had been covered by the forest, rushed upon its summit with a shout, and poured down a general volley. The whole Prussian line returned it by one tremendous discharge. The drums and trumpets struck up, the battalions and squadrons advanced, singing their national hymn. The skirmishers poured forward and the battle began. How shall I speak of what I felt at that moment; the sensation was indescribable! It was mingled of all feelings but personal. I was absorbed in that glorious roar, in that bold burst of human struggle, in all that was wild, ardent, and terrible in the power of man. I had not a thought of any thing but of the martial pomp and spirit-stilling grandeur of the scene before me. I was aroused [pg 206] from my contemplations by the loud laugh of my veteran friend; he was trying the benefit of a large brandy flask, which I remembered, and with some not very respectful opinion of his temperance, to have seen him place in one of his holsters at our visit to the suttlers. He now offered it to me. "You look wretchedly pale," said he; "our kind of life is too rough for you gentlemen diplomats, and you will find this glass right Nantz, the very best thing, if not the only good thing, that its country has to give." This took me down from my heroics at once, the brandy was first-rate, and I found myself restored to the level of the world at once, and infinitely the better for the operation. We now followed the advance of the troops. The leading columns had already forced their way into the entrance of the forest; but it was a forest of three leagues' depth and twice the number in length, a wooded province, and the way was fought foot by foot. It is only justice to the French to say, that they fought well—held the pass boldly—often charged our advance, and gave way only when they were on the point of being surrounded. But our superiority of discipline and numbers combined, did not suffer the success to be for a moment doubtful. Still, as we followed, the battle raged in the depths of the forest, already as dark as if night had come on—our only light the incessant illumination of the musketry, and the bursts of fire from the howitzers and guns.

As we were standing on the last height at the entrance of the defile, "Look round," exclaimed Varnhorst, "and take your first lesson in our art, if you ever adopt the trade of soldiership. The Duke has outwitted the Frenchman. I suspected something of this sort in the morning, when I first heard his guns so far to the right. I allow that the enemy may be puzzled for a while who has five passes to defend, with half a dozen leagues between them, and a Prussian army in front ready to make him choose. He has evidently drawn off the strength of his troops to the Duke's point of attack, and has stripped the wing before us. Clairfait's mass has been thrown upon it, and the day is our own. Onward."

The roads and the surrounding glades gave fearful evidence of the obstinacy of the struggle; but it also gave some curious evidence of the force of habit in making light of the troubles of life. The cavalry, which had been comparatively unemployed, from the nature of the service during the day, had taken advantage of the opportunity to consult their own comfort as much as possible. On the flank and rear of the infantry the troopers had taken the whole affair en amateur, and had lit their campfires, cooked their rations, handsomely augmented by the general spoliation of the hen-coops within many a league. Something like a fair was established round them by the suttlers; while the shells were actually falling and many a branch was shattered over their banquets by the shot which constantly whizzed through the trees. But, "Vive la fortune!" Even the sober Teuton and the rough son of the Bannat could enjoy the few moments that war gives to festivity, and what the next night or morning might bring was not suffered to disturb their sense of "schnapps," and their supper.

The trampling of horses in our rear, and the galloping of the chasseurs of the ducal escort, now told us that the generalissimo was at hand. He rode up in high spirits, received our congratulations with princely courtesy, and bestowed praises on the troops, and especially on Clairfait, which made the count's dark features absolutely glow. The whole group rode together until we reached the open country. A decisive success had unquestionably been gained; and in war the first success is of proverbial importance. On this point, the duke laid peculiar weight on the few words which he could spare to me.

"M. Marston," he observed, taking me cordially by the hand, "we are henceforth more than friends, we are camarades. We have been in the field together; and, with us Prussians, that is a tie for life."

I made my acknowledgments for his highness's condescension. Business then took the lead.

"You will now have a good despatch to transmit to our friends in England. The Count Clairfait has shown himself worthy of his reputation. [pg 207] I understand that the enemy's force consisted chiefly of the household troops of France; if so, we have beaten the best soldiers of the kingdom, and the rest can give us but little trouble. You will remark upon these points; and now for Paris."

A cry, or rather a shout of assent from the circle of officers, echoed the words, and we all put spurs to our horses, and followed the cortège through the noble old groves. But before we reached its confines, the firing had wholly ceased, and the enemy were hurrying down the slope of the Argonne, and crossing in great disorder a plain which separated them from their main body. Our light troops and cavalry were dashing in pursuit, and prisoners were continually taken. From the spot where we halted, the light of the sinking day showed us the rapid breaking up of the fugitive column, the guns, one by one, left behind; the muskets thrown away; and the soldiers scattered, until our telescopes could discover scarcely more than a remnant reaching the protection of the distant hill.

We supped that night on the green sward. The duke had invited his own staff, and that of Clairfait, to his tent, in honour of the day, and I never spent a gayer evening. His incomparable finish of manners, mingled with the cordiality which no man could more naturally assume when it was his pleasure, and his mixture of courtly pleasantry with the bold humour which campaigning, in some degree, teaches to every one, made him, if possible, more delightful, to my conception, than even in our first interview. Towards the close of the supper, which, like every thing else round him, was worthy of Sardanapalus, he addressed himself to me, and giving a most gracious personal opinion of what my "services had merited from the English minister," said that, "limited as his own means of rewarding zeal and ability might be, he begged of me to retain a slight memorial of his friendship, and of our day together on the heights of Argonne." Taking from the hand of Guiscard the riband and star of the "Order of Merit," the famous order instituted by the Great Frederic, he placed it round my neck, and proposed my health to the table as a "Knight of Prussia."

This was a flattering distinction, and, if I could have had entire faith in all the complimentary language addressed to me by the sitters at that stately table, I should have had visions of very magnificent things. But there is no antidote to vanity equal to an empty purse. If I had been born to one of the leviathan fortunes of our peerage, I might possibly have imagined myself possessed of all the talents of mankind, and with all its distinctions waiting for my acceptance; but I never could forget the grave lesson that I was a younger son. I sat, like the Roman in his triumph, with the slave, to lecture him, behind. However, I had a more ample evidence of the sincerity with which those compliments were paid, in the higher degree of trust reposed in me from day to day.

After the repast was ended, and the principal part of the guests had withdrawn, I was desired to wait for the communication of important intelligence—Guiscard and Varnhorst being the only officers of the staff who remained. A variety of papers, taken in the portfolio of one of the French generals who had fallen in the engagement of the day, were laid before us, and our little council proceeded to examine them. They were of a very various kind, and no bad epitome of the mind of a gallant and crackbrained coxcomb. Reflections on the conduct of the Allied armies, and conjectures on their future proceedings—both of so fantastic a kind, that the duke's gravity often gave way, and even the grim Guiscard sometimes wore a smile. Then came in a letter from some "confrère" in Paris, a tissue of gossip and grumbling, anecdotes of the irregularities of private life, and merciless abuse of the leaders of party. Interspersed with those were epistles of a more tender description; from which it appeared that the general's heart was as capacious as his ambition, and that he contrived to give his admiration to half a dozen of the élite of Parisian beauty at a time. Varnhorst was delighted with this portion of the correspondence; even the [pg 208] presence of the duke could not prevent him from bursting into explosions of laughter; and he ended by imploring possession of the whole, as models of his future correspondence, in any emergency which compelled him to put pen to paper in matters of the sex. But nearly the last of the documents in the portfolio was one deserving of all attention. It was a statement of the measures which had been enjoined by the Republican government for raising the population in arms; and, as an appendix, the muster-roll of the various corps which were already on their way to join the army of Dumourier. The duke read this paper with a countenance from which all gaiety had vanished and handed it to Guiscard to read aloud.

"What think you of that, gentlemen?" asked the duke, in his most deliberate tone.

Varnhorst, in his usual unhesitating style, said—"It tells us only that we shall have some more fighting; but, as we are sure to beat them, the more the better. Your highness knows as well as any man alive, that the maxim of our great master was, 'Begin the war by fighting as many pitched battles as you can. Skirmishes teach discipline to the rabble; allow the higher orders time to escape, the government to tamper, and to encourage the resistance of all. Pitched battles are thunderbolts; they finish the business at once; and, like the thunderbolts, they appear to come from a source which defies resistance by man.'"

"I think," said Guiscard, with his deep physiognomy still darkening, "that we lost, what is the most difficult of all things to recover—time."

The duke bit his lip. "How was it to be helped, Guiscard? You know the causes of the delay; they were many and stubborn."

"Ay," was the reply, with an animation, which struck me with surprise, "as many as the blockheads in Berlin, and as stubborn as the rock under our feet, or the Aulic council."

"Well," said the duke, turning to me, with his customary grace of manner—"What does our friend, the Englishman, say?"

Of course, I made no pretence to giving a military opinion. I merely said, "That I had every reliance on the experienced conduct of his highness, and on the established bravery of his army."

"The truth is, M. Marston, as Guiscard says, we have lost time, though it is no fault of ours, and I observe, from these papers, that the enemy availed themselves of the delay, by bringing up strong corps from every point. Still, our duty lies plain before us; we must advance, and rescue the unfortunate royal family—we must tranquillize France, by overthrowing the rabble influence, which now threatens to subvert all law; and having done that, we may then retire, with the satisfaction of having fought without ambition, and been victorious without a wish for aggrandizement." After a pause, which none attempted to interrupt, he finished by saying—"I admit that our work is likely to become more difficult than I had supposed."

Varnhorst's sanguine nature bore this with visible reluctance. "Pardon me, your highness, but my opinion is for instant action, whatever may happen. Let us but move to-morrow morning, and I promise you another battle of Rosbach within the next twelve hours." The idea was congenial to the gallantry of the duke; he smiled, and shook the bold speaker by the hand.

"I see, by these lists," said Guiscard, as he slowly perused the returns, "that the troops with which we have been engaged to-day amounted to little more than twenty thousand men, under the new general, Dumourier. They fought badly, I think. I scarcely expected that they would have fought at all since the emigration of their officers. Sixteen or eighteen thousand men are already moving up from Flanders; a strong corps under my old acquaintance and countryman, Kellerman—and whatever he may be as an officer, a bolder and braver veteran does not exist—are coming, by forced marches, from the Rhine; the sea-coast towns are stripped of their garrisons, to supply a supplementary force; and I should not be surprised to find that we rather under, than over, calculated the force which will be in line against us within a week.

"So be it!" exclaimed Varnhorst, [pg 209] "What are troops without discipline, and generals without science? Both made to be beaten. The fifty thousand Prussians with us would march through Europe. I am for the advance. That was a brilliant dash of Clairfait's this afternoon. Let us match it to-morrow morning."

"It was admirable!" replied the duke, with the colour mounting to his cheek. "Any officer in Europe might envy the decision, the daring, and the success. His sagacity in discovering the weak point of the enemy's position, and his skill in its attack, deserve all praise. His flank movement was perfectly admirable."

"Well, we have only to try him again," exclaimed Varnhorst, with increasing animation. "We have turned the position, and taken a thousand prisoners and some guns. Our men are in high spirits; and, if I were in command of a corps to-morrow, my only countersign would be—'Paris.'"

"Varnhorst," said the duke, "you have only anticipated my intention with regard to yourself. You shall have a command; the three brigades of Prussian grenadiers shall be given into your charge, and you shall operate on the flank. It is my wish to make our principal movement in that direction, and I know you well."

Varnhorst's gratitude almost denied him words; but his countenance spoke better than his tongue.

One of those papers contained a detail of several projects by the leading members of the Assembly for the government of France. Guiscard, after bending his wise head over them, pronounced them all equally futile, and equally tending to democracy. The duke was of the opposite opinion, and after a glance at the papers, observed—"that he thought some of those schemes ingenious; but that they so closely resembled the ideas thrown out in Germany, under the patronage of the Emperor Joseph, as to deprive them of any strong claim to originality." "No," said he gaily, "I shall never believe that Frenchmen are changed, until I hear that there is no ballet in Paris; you might as well tell me, that the Swiss will abjure the money which makes a part of his distinction, as the Frenchman give up the laced coat, the powdered queue, and the order of St Louis at his buttonhole. Those things are the man, they are his mind, his senses, himself. He is a creation of monarchy—a clever, amusing, ingenious, and brave one; but rely upon my knowledge of human nature—if French nature be any thing of the kind—that Paris, a capital without balls, and a government without embroidery, will disgust him beyond all forgiveness. It is my opinion, that if democracy were formed to-morrow, it would be danced away in a week; or if every pedigree in France were burned in this evening's fire, you would have the Boulevards crowded with marquises and marchionesses before the month was over. Is my friend un peu philosophe?" He laughed at his own picture of a revolution, and his pleasantry of manner would have made his sentiments popular on any subject. Still, our long-headed friend, Guiscard, was not to be convinced.

"I may have every contempt," said he, in a hurried tone, "for the shallowness of idlers and talkers attempting to mould men by theories; but the question whether France is to remain a monarchy or not, is one of the most pressing importance to your highness's operations. It is only in this practical sense that I should think of the topic at all. You have taken the frontier towns, and have beaten the frontier army. Thus, so far as the regular force of France is concerned, the war is at an end. But then comes the grand point. A country of thirty millions of people cannot be conquered, if they can but be roused to resist. All the troops of Europe—nay, perhaps all the princes of the earth—might perish before they fully conquered a country so large as France, with so powerful a population. This seems even to be one of the provisions of Providence against ambition, that an invasion of a populous country is the most difficult operation in the world, unless the people welcome the invader. It gives every ditch the character of a fortress, and every man the spirit of a soldier. I recollect no instance in European history, where an established kingdom was conquered by invasion. They all stand at this hour, as they [pg 210] stood a thousand years ago. In France, we found the people without leaders, without troops, and without experience in war; of course they have not resisted our hussars and guns. But they have not joined us. In any other country of Europe, we should have recruits crowding to ask for service. But the French farmer shuts up his house; the peasant flies; the citizen barricades his gates, and gives a cannon-shot for an answer. The whole land rejects us, if it dares not repel; and, if we conquer, we shall have to colonize."

"Well, we must fight them into it," said Varnhorst.

"Or leave them to fight themselves out of it," I observed—"my national prejudices not being favourable to reasoning at the point of the bayonet."

"Or take the chances of the world, and float on wherever the surge carries us," laughed the duke.

But Guiscard was still inflexible. His deep eye flashed with a light which I never could have looked for under those projecting brows. His cheek was visited by a tinge which argued a passionate interest in the subject; and, as he spoke, his tongue uttered a nervous and powerful eloquence, which showed that Guiscard was thrown among camps, while he might have figured in senates and councils. Of course, at this distance of time, I can offer but a faint memory of his bold and spontaneous wisdom.

"I can see no result for France but democracy. This war is like no other since the fall of the Roman Empire. It is a war of the passions. What man can calculate the power of those untried elements? I implore your highness to consider with the deepest caution every step to be taken from this moment. Europe has no other commander whom it can place in a rank with yourself; and if you, at the head of the first army of Europe, shall find it necessary to retreat before the peasantry of France, it will form a disastrous era in the art of war, and a still more disastrous omen to every crowned head of Europe."

The duke looked uneasy. But he merely said with a smile—"My dear Guiscard, we must keep these sentiments to ourselves in camp. You are a cosmopolite, and look on these things with too refined a speculation. Like myself, you have dined and supped with the Diderots and Raynals—pleasant people, no doubt, but dangerous advisers."

"I have!" exclaimed his excited hearer; "and neither I, nor any other man, would have met them without admiring their talents. But I always looked on their coterie as a sort of moral lunatics, the madder the more light they have."

"Our question is simply one of fact," said the duke.

"Yes, and of a fact on which the fate of Europe hinges at this moment! The monarchy of France is already cloven down. What wild shape of power is now to take up its fallen sword? The sovereignty of time, laws, and loyalty are in the grave, and the funeral rites will be bloody; but what hand is to make the ground of that grave firm enough to bear the foundations of a new throne?

"The heels of our boots and the hoofs of our horses will trample it solid enough!" exclaimed Varnhorst.

"The much stronger probability is," replied Guiscard, "that they will trample it into a mire so deep, that we may reckon the Allied powers fortunate if they can draw themselves out of it. France is revolutionized irrecoverably. Three things have been done within the last three months, any one of which would overthrow the strongest government on the Continent. By confiscating the property of the nobles, she has set the precedent for breaking down all property, thrown the prize into the hands of the populace, and thus, after corrupting them by the robbery, has bound them by the bribe. By destroying and banishing the persons of the nobility, she has done more than extinguish an antagonist to the mob—she has swept away a protector of the people. The provinces will henceforth be helpless; Paris will be the sovereign, and Paris itself will have the mob for its master. And by her third step, the ruin of the church, she has given the death-blow to the few and feeble feelings which acknowledged higher objects than those of the hour. The pressing point for us, is, how the Revolution will act upon the military spirit of the nation. The French nay succumb; [pg 211] but they make good soldiers, they are the only nation in Europe who have an actual fondness for war, who contemplate it as a pastime, and, in spite of all their defeats, regard it as their natural path to power."

"But they fly before our squadrons," observed the duke.

"Yes, as schoolboys fly before their master, until they are strong enough to rebel; or as the Indians fled before the lances and horses of Cortes, until they became accustomed to them. It would be infinitely wiser to leave the republicans to struggle with each other, than unite them by a national attack. Mobs, like the wolves, always fall upon the first wounded. The first faction that receives a blow in those campaigns of the Palais Royal, will have all the others tearing it to fragments. The custom will spread; every new drop of blood will let loose a torrent in retaliation; and when France has thus been drained of her fever, will be the time, either to restore her, or to paralyse for ever her power of disturbing the world."

The sound of a gun from either flank of the army, reminded us that the hour of the evening hymn had come. It broke up our council. The incomparable harmony of so many thousand voices ascended into the air; and at the discharge of another gun, all was still once more. The night had now fallen, and the fatigues of the day made repose welcome. But the conversation of the last hour made me anxious to obtain all the knowledge of the actual state of the country, and the prospects of the campaign, which could be obtained from Guiscard. Varnhorst, full of a soldier's impetuosity, was gone to the quarters of his grenadiers, and was busy with hurried preparations for the morrow. The duke had retired, and, through the curtains of his tent, I could see the lamps by whose light his secretaries were in attendance, and with whom he would probably pass the greater part of the next twelve hours. With Guiscard I continued pacing up and down in front of our quarters, listening to the observations of a mind as richly stored, and as original, as I have ever met. He still persisted in his conviction, "that we had come at the wrong time, either too early or too late; before the nation had grown weary of anarchy, and after they had triumphed over the throne. "The rebound," said he energetically, "will be terrible. Ten times our force would be thrown away in this war. The army may drive all things before its front; but it will be assailed in the rear, in the flanks—every where. It is like the lava which I have seen pour down from Etna into the sea. It drove the tide before it, and threw the water up in vapour; but they were too powerful for it after all. And there stands the lava fixed and cold, and there roll the surges once again, burying it from the sight of man."

A sudden harmony of trumpets, from various points of the vast encampment, pierced the ear, and in another moment the whole line of the hills was crowned with flame. The signal for lighting the fires of the Austrian and Prussian outposts had been given, and the effect was almost magical. In this army all things were done with a regularity almost perfect. The trumpet spoke, and the answer was instantaneous. All comparisons are feeble to realities of this order—seen, too, while the heart of man is quickened to enjoy and wonder, and feels scarcely less than a new existence in the stirring events every where round him. The first comparison that struck me was the vague one of a shower of stars. The mountain pinnacles were in a blaze. The general fires of the bivouacs soon spread through the forest, and down the slopes of the hills, all round to the horizon.

The night was fine, the air flowed refreshingly from the verdure of the immense woods, and the scent of the thyme and flowers of the heath, pressed by my foot, rose "wooingly on the air." All was calm and odorous. The flourish of the evening trumpets still continued to swell in the rich harmonies which German skill alone can breathe, and thoughts of the past and the future began to steal over my mind. I was once more in England, gazing on the splendid beauty of Clotilde; and imagining the thousand forms in which my weary fortunes must be shaped, before I dared [pg 212] offer her a share in my hopes of happiness. I saw Mariamne once more, with her smile reminding me of Shakspeare's exquisite picture—

"Oh, what a deal of scorn looks beautiful,

In the contempt and anger of that lip!"

Then came a vision of my early home. The halls of Mortimer castle—the feebly surviving parent there, whom I still loved—the heartless and haughty brother—the pomp and pageantry to which he was born; while I was flung out into the wilderness, like the son of the handmaid, to perish, or, like him, escape only by a miracle. At that hour, perhaps, there were revels in the house of my fathers, while their descendant was wandering on a hill-side, in the midst of hostile armies, exposed to the chances of the conflict, and possibly only measuring with his pace the extent of his grave. But while I was thus sinking in heart, my hand, in making some unconscious gesture, struck the badge of Frederic's order on my bosom. What trifles change the current of human thoughts! That star threw more light over my darkness than the thousand constellations that studded the vault above my head. Success, honours, and public name, filled my mind. I saw all things, events, and persons through a brilliant haze of hope; and determining to follow fortune wherever she might lead me, abjured all thoughts of calamity in my unfriended, yet resolute career. Is it to consider the matter too curiously, to conceive that the laws of nature affect the mind? or that the spirit of man resembles an instrument, after all—an Aeolian harp, which owes all its pulses to the gusts that pass across its strings, and in which it simply depends upon the stronger or the feebler breeze, whether it shall smile with joyous and triumphant chords, or sink into throbs and sounds of sorrow?

The galloping of horses roused me. It was Guiscard with an escort. "What! not in your bed yet?" was his hurried salutation. "So much the better; you will have a showy despatch to send to England to-night. Clairfait has just outdone himself. He found that the French were retreating, and he followed them without loss of time. His troops had been so dispersed by the service of the day, that he could collect but fifteen hundred hussars; and with these he gallantly set forth to pick up stragglers. His old acquaintance, Chazot, whom he had beaten the day before, was in command of a rearguard of ten thousand men. His fifteen hundred brave fellows were now exposed to ruin; and doubtless, if they had exhibited any show of retreating, they must have been ruined. But here Clairfait's à la Turque style was exactly in place. He ordered that not a shot should be fired, but that the spur and sabre should do the business; and at once plunged into the mass of infantry, cavalry, and artillery. In five minutes the whole were put to the rout—guns, baggage, and ammunition taken; and the French general-in-chief as much stripped of his rearguard, as ever a peacock was plucked of his tail."

"Will the duke follow up the blow?" was my enquiry.

"Beyond doubt. I have just left him giving orders for the advancement of the whole line at daybreak; and unless M. Dumouier is remarkably on the alert, we shall have him supping in the camp within the next twenty-four hours. But you will have better intelligence from himself; for he bade me prepare you for meeting him, as he rides to the wing from which the march begins."

"Excellent news! You and Varnhorst will be field-marshals before the campaign is over." His countenance changed.

"No; my course unfortunately lies in a different direction. The duke has been so perplexed, by the delays continually forced upon him by the diplomacy of the Allied cabinets, that he has been more than once on the point of giving up the command. Clairfait's success, and the prospect of cutting off the retreat of the French, or of getting between them and Paris, have furnished him with new materials; and I am now on my way to Berlin, to put matters in the proper point of view. Farewell, Marston, I am sorry to lose you as a comrade; but we must meet again—no laurels [pg 213] for me now. The duke must not find me here; he will pass by within the next five minutes."

The noble fellow sprang from his horse, and shook my hand with a fervour which I had not thought to be in his grave and lofty nature.

"Farewell!" he uttered once more, and threw himself on his saddle, and was gone.

I had scarcely lost the sound of his horse's hoofs, as they rattled up the stony ravine of the hill, when the sound of a strong body of cavalry announced the approach of the generalissimo. He soon rode up, and addressed me with his usual courtesy. "I really am afraid, Mr Marston, that you will think me in a conspiracy to prevent your enjoying a night's rest, for all our meetings, I think, have been at the 'witching hour!' But would you think it too much to mount your horse now, and ride with me, before you send your despatches to your cabinet? I must visit the troops of the left wing without delay; we can converse on the way."

I was all obedience, a knight of Prussia, and therefore at his highness's service.

"Well, well, I thought so. You English gentlemen are ready for every thing. In the mean time, while your horse is saddling, look over this letter. That was a gallant attempt of Clairfait's, and, if we had not been too far off to support him, we might have pounced upon the main body as effectually as he did upon the rear. Chazot has escaped, but one of M. Dumourier's aides-de-camp, a remarkably intelligent fellow, has been taken, and on him has been found the papers which I beg you to peruse."

It was a letter from the commander-in-chief to the Bureau de la Guerre in Paris.

"MONSIEUR LE MINISTRE,—I write this, after having been on horseback for eighteen hours. We must have reinforcements without a moment's delay, or we are lost—the honour of France is lost—France herself is lost. I have with me less than 20,000 men to defend the road to Paris against 100,000. The truth must be told—truth becomes a citizen. We have been beaten! I have been unable to hold the passes of Argonne, and the enemy's hussars are already scouring the country in my rear. I have sent order upon order to Kellerman, and all my answer is, that he is preparing to advance; but he has not stirred a step. I daresay, that he is playing trictrac at Metz this moment.

"My march from the Argonne has been a bold manoeuvre, but it has cost us something. Chazot, to whom I entrusted the protection of the march, and to whom I had given the strictest orders to keep the enemy's light troops at a distance, has suffered himself to be entrapped by those experienced campaigners, and has lost men. Duval fought bravely at the head of his brigade, and Miranda narrowly escaped being taken, in a dashing attempt to save the park of artillery. He had a horse killed under him, and was taken from the field insensible. Macdonald, who takes this, will explain more. He is a promising officer—give him a step. In the mean time, send me every man that you can. France is in danger."

"The object now," observed the duke, "will be, to press upon the enemy in his present state of disorder, until we shall either be enabled to force him to fight a pitched battle at a disadvantage, or strike in between him and the capital. And now forward!"

I mounted, and we rode through the camp—the duke occasionally giving some order for the morning to the officers commanding the successive divisions, and conversing with me on the points in discussion between England and the Allies. He was evidently dissatisfied with continental politics.

"The king and the emperor are both sincere; but that is more than I can always say for those about them. We have too many Italians, and even Frenchmen, at our German courts. They are republicans to a man; and, by consequence, every important measure is betrayed. I can perceive, in the manoeuvres of the enemy's general, that he must have been acquainted with my last despatch from Berlin; and, I am so thoroughly persuaded of the fact, that I mean to manoeuvre to-morrow on that conviction. The order from Berlin is, that I shall act [pg 214] upon his flanks. Within two hours after daylight I shall make a push for his centre; and, breaking through that, shall separate his wings, and crush them at my leisure. One would think," said he, pausing, and looking round him with the exaltation of conscious power, "that the troops had overheard us, and already anticipated a victory."

The sight from the knoll, where we drew our bridles, was certainly of the most striking kind. The fires, which at first I had seen glittering only on the mountain tops, were now blazing in all quarters; in the cleared spaces of the forest, on the heaths and in the ravines: the heaps of fagots gathered for the winter consumption of the cities, by woodmen of the district, were put in requisition, and the axes of the pioneers laid many a huge larch and elm on the blaze. Soldiers seldom think much of those who are to come after them; and the flames shot up among the thickets with the most unsparing brilliancy. Cheerfulness, too, prevailed; the sounds of laughter, and gay voices, and songs, arose on every side. The well-preserved game of this huge hunting-ground, the old vexation of the French peasant, now fell into hands which had no fear of the galleys for a shot at a wild boar, or bringing down a partridge. The fires exhibited many a substantial specimen of forest luxury in the act of preparation. No man enjoys rest and food like the soldier. A day's fighting and fasting gives a sense of delight to both, such as the man of cities can scarcely conceive. No epicure at his most recherché board ever knew the true pleasure of the senses, equal to the campaigner stretched upon the grass, until his supper was ready, and then sitting down to it. I acknowledge, that to me that simple rest, and that simple meal, often gave a sense of enjoyment which I have never even conceived in the luxuries of higher life. The instantaneous sleep that followed; the night without a restless moment; the awaking with all my powers refreshed, and yet with as complete an unconsciousness of the hours past away, as if I had lain down but the moment before, and started from night into sunshine—all belong to the campaigner: he has his troubles, but his enjoyments are his own, exclusive, delicious, incomparable.

An officer of the staff now rode up to make a report on some movement of the division intended to lead in the morning, and the duke gave me permission to retire. He galloped off in the direction of the column, and I slowly pursued my way to my quarters. Yet I could not resist many a halt, to gaze on the singular beauty of the bursts of flame which lighted the landscape. More than once, it reminded me of the famous Homeric description of the Trojan bivouac by the ships. All the images were the same, except that, for the sea, we had the endless meadows of Champagne, and, for the ships, the remote tents of the enemy. We had the fire, the exulting troops, the carouse, the picketed horses, the shouts and songs, the lustre of the autumnal sky, and the bold longings for victory and the dawn. Even in Pope's feeble translation, the scene is animated—

"The troops exulting sate in order round,

And beaming fires illumined all the ground."

Then follows the famous simile of the moon, suddenly throwing its radiance over the obscure features of the landscape.

But Homer, the poet of realities, soon returns to the true material—

"So many flames before proud Ilion blaze,

And lighten glimmering Xanthus with their rays,

A thousand piles the dusky horrors gild,

And shoot a shadowy lustre o'er the field.

Full fifty guards each flaming pile attend,

Whose umber'd arms by fits thick flashes send;

Loud neigh the coursers o'er their heaps of corn,

And ardent warriors wait the rising morn."

I leave it to others to give the history of this campaign, one of the most memorable of Europe from its consequences—the tramp of that army roused the slumbering giant of France. If the Frenchman said of a battle, that it was like a ball-room, you see little beyond your opposite partner; he might have said of a campaign, that you scarcely see even so much. The largeness of the scale is beyond [pg 215] all personal observation. I can answer only for myself, that I was on horseback before daybreak, and marched in the midst of columns which had no more doubt of beating up the enemy's quarters than they had of eating their first meal. All were in the highest spirits; and the opinions of the staff, among whom the duke had assigned me a place, were so sanguine, that I felt some concern at their reaching the ear of the captive aide-de-camp. This induced me to draw him away gradually from the crowd. I found him lively, as his countrymen generally are, but exhibiting at once a strength of observation and a frankness of language which are more uncommon.

"I admit," said he, "that you have beaten us; but this is the natural effect of your incomparable discipline. Our army is new, our general new, every thing new but our imprudence, in venturing to meet your 100,000 with our 25,000. Yet France is not beaten. In fact, you have not met the French up to this hour."

"What!" I exclaimed in surprise; "of what nation are the troops which we have fought in the Argonne, and are now following through the high-road to Paris? The Duke of Brunswick will be amused by hearing that he has been wasting his cannon-shot on spectres."

"Ah, you English," he replied with a broad laugh, which made me still more doubt his nation, "are such matter-of-fact people, that you require substance in every thing. But what are the troops of France? Brave fellows enough, but not one of them has ever seen a shot fired in his life; even the few battalions which we had in America saw nothing but hedge-firing. The men before you have never seen more service than they could find in a cabaret, or hunting a highwayman. Some of them, I admit, have served their King in the shape of shouldering their muskets at his palace gates in Versailles, or marching in a procession of cardinals and confessors to Notre-Dame. My astonishment is, that at the first shot they did not all run to their soup, and at the second leave their muskets to take care of themselves. But they are brave; and, if they once learn to fight, the pupils will beat the master."

"You are a philosopher, Monsieur, but, I hope, no prophet. I think I observe in you something of our English blood after all. You have opinions, and speak them."

"Not quite English, nor quite French. My father was a borderer; so not even exactly either English or Scotch. He took up arms for the son of James—of course was ruined, as every one was who had to do with Stuart from the beginning of time—luckily escaped after the crash of Culloden, entered the Scottish Brigade here, and left to me nothing but his memory, his sword, and the untarnished name of Macdonald." I bowed to a name so connected with honour, and the lively aide-de-camp and I became from that moment, fast friends. After a long and fatiguing march, about noon, in one of the most sultry days of a British autumn, our advanced guard reached the front of the enemy's position. The outposts were driven in at once, and the whole army, as it came up, was formed in order of battle. Rumours had been spread of large reinforcements being on their way; and the clouds of dust which rose along the plain, and the confused sound of baggage-wagons, and heavy guns behind the hills, rendered it probable. Still the country before us was clear to the eye, and our whole force moved slowly forward to storm a range of heights, in the shape of a half-moon, which commanded the field. This was one of the sights which nothing but war can furnish, and to which no other sight on earth is equal. The motion, the shouts, the rapidity of all things—the galloping of the cavalry—the rolling of the parks of artillery—the rush of the light troops—the pressing march of the battalions—and all glittering with all the pomps of war, waving standards, flashing sabres, and the blaze thrown back from the columns' bayonets, that looked like sheets of steel, made me almost breathless. The aide-de-camp evidently enjoyed the sight as much as myself, and gave way to that instinct, by which man is a wolf, let the wise say what they will, and exults in war. But when he heard shots fired from the range of hills, his countenance changed.

"There must be some mistake here," he said, with sudden gravity. [pg 216] "Dumourier could never have intended to hold his position so far in advance, and so wholly unprotected. Those troops will be lost, and the whole campaign may be compromised."

The attack now commenced along the line, and the resistance was evidently serious. A heavy fire was sustained for some time; but the troops gradually established themselves on the lower part of the range. "I know it all now!" exclaimed my agitated companion, after a long look through my glass: "it is Kellerman's corps," said he, "which ought to have been a league to the rear of its present position at this moment. He must have received counter orders since I left him, or been desperately deceived; another half hour there, and he will never leave those hills but a prisoner or a corpse." From the shaking of his bridle, and the nervous quivering of his manly countenance, I saw how eagerly he would have received permission to bring the French general out of his dilemma. But he was a man of honour, and I was sure of him. In the midst of a thunder of cannon, which absolutely seemed to shake the ground under our feet, the firing suddenly ceased on the enemy's side. The cessation was followed on ours; there was an extraordinary silence over the field, and probably the generalissimo expected a flag of truce, or some proposal for the capitulation of the enemy's corps. But none came; and after a pause, in which aides-de-camp and orderlies were continually galloping between the advance and the spot where the duke stood at the head of his staff, the line moved again, and the hill was in our possession. But Kellerman was gone; and before our light troops could make any impression on the squadrons which covered the movement, he had again taken up a position on the formidable ground which was destined to figure so memorably in the annals of French soldiership, the heights of Valmy.

"What think you now, my friend?" was my question.

"Just what I thought before," was the answer. "We want science, without which bravery may fail; but we have bravery, without which science must fail. Kellerman may have been deceived in his first position, but he has evidently retrieved his error. He has now shortened his distance from his reinforcements, he has secured one of the most powerful positions in the country, and unless yon drive him out of it before nightfall, you might as well storm Ehrenbreitstein, or your own Gibraltar, by morning."

"Well, the experiment is about to be made, for my glass shows me our howitzers en masse, moving up to cannonade him with grape and canister. He will have an uneasy bivouac of it."

"Whether Kellerman can manoeuvre, I do not know. But that he will fight, I am perfectly sure. He is old, but one of the most daring and firm officers in our service. If it is in his orders to maintain those heights, he will hold them to his last cartridge and his last man."

Our conversation was now lost in the roar of artillery, and after a tremendous fire of an hour on the French position, which was answered with equal weight from the heights, a powerful division was sent to assail the principal battery. The attempt was gallantly made, and the success seemed infallible, when I heard, through all the roar, the exclamation of Macdonald, "Brave Steingell!" At the words, he pointed to a heavy column of infantry hurrying down the ravine in rear of the redoubt.

"Those are from the camp," he exclaimed, "and a few thousands more will make the post impregnable."

The sight of the column seemed to have given renewed vigour to both sides; for, while the French guns rapidly increased their fire, aided by the musketry of the newly arrived troops, the Prussian artillerists, then the first in Europe, threw in their balls in such showers, that the forest, which hitherto had largely screened the enemy, began to fall in masses; branch and trunk were swept away, and the ground became as naked of cover as if it had been stripped by the axe. The troops thus exposed could not withstand this "iron hail," and they were palpably staggered. The retreat of a brigade, after suffering immense loss, shook the whole line, and produced a charge of our dragoons up the hill. I gave an involuntary glance at Macdonald. He was pale and exhausted; [pg 217] but in another moment his eye sparkled, his colour came, and I heard him exclaim, "Bravo, Chazot! All is not lost yet." I saw a group of mounted officers galloping into the very spot which had been abandoned by the brigade, and followed by the colours of three or four battalions, which were planted directly under our fire. "There comes Chazot with his division!" cried the aide-de-camp; "gallant fellow, let him now make up for his ill fortune! Monsieur Brunswick will not sleep on the hill of Valmy to-night. He has been unable to force the centre, and now both flanks are secured: another attack would cost him ten thousand men. Nor will Monsieur Brunswick sleep on the hills of Valmy to-morrow. Dumourier was right; there was his Thermopylæ. But it will not be stormed. Vive la France!"

The prediction was nearly true. The unexpected reinforcements, and the approach of night, determined the generalissimo to abandon the assault for the time. The fire soon slackened, the troops were withdrawn, and, after a heavy loss on both sides, both slept upon the field.

I was roused at midnight from the deep sleep of fatigue, by an order to attend the duke, who was then holding a council. Varnhorst was my summoner, and on our way he slightly explained the purpose of his mission. "We are all in rather bad spirits at the result of to-day's action. The affair itself was not much, as it was only between detachments, but it shows two things; that the French are true to their revolutionary nonsense, and that they can fight. On even ground we have beaten them, and shall beat them again; but if Champagne gives them cover, what will it be when we get into the broken country that lies between this and Paris? Still there has been no rising of the people, and until then, we have nothing to fear for the event of the campaign."

"What then have you to fear?" was my question. "What calls the council to-night?"

"My good friend," said Varnhorst with a grave smile, which more reminded me of Guiscard, "remember the Arab apologue, that every man is born with two strings tied to him, one large and visible, but made of twisted feathers; the other so fine as to be invisible, but made of twisted steel. Thus there are few men without a visible motive, which all can see, and an invisible one—which, however, pulls then just as the puller pleases. Berlin pulls now, and the duke's glory and the good of Europe must be sacrificed to policy."

"But will the king suffer this? Will the emperor stand by and see this done?"

"They are both zealous for the liberation of the unfortunate royal family. But, entre nous—and this is a secret which I scarcely dare whisper even in a French desert—their counsellors have other ideas. Poland is the prize to which the ministers of both courts look. They know that the permanent possession of French provinces is impossible. It is against the will of your great country, against the deepest request of the French king, and against their own declarations. But Polish seizures would give them provinces to which nobody has laid claim, and which nobody can envy. The consequence is, that a negotiation is on foot at this moment to conclude the war by treaty, and, having ensured the safety of the royal family, to withdraw the army into Lorraine."

"Why am I then summoned?"

"To put your signature to the preliminaries."

I started with indignation. "They shall wait long enough if they wait till I sign them. I shall not attend this council."

"Observe," said Varnhorst, "I have spoken only on conjecture. If I return without you, my candour will be rewarded by an instant sentence for Spandau."

This decided me. I shook my gallant friend by the hand, the cloud passed from his brow, and we rode together to the council. This was of a more formal nature than I had yet witnessed. Two officers expressly sent from Vienna and Berlin, a kind of military envoys, had brought the decisions of their respective cabinets upon the crisis. The duke said little. He had lost his gay nonchalance of manners, and was palpably dispirited and disappointed. His address to me was gracious as ever; but he was more of the prince and the diplomatist, and less of the soldier. [pg 218] Our sitting closed with a resolution, to agree upon an armistice, and to make the immediate release of the king one of the stipulations. I combated the proposal as long as I could with decorum. I placed, in the strongest light that I could, the immense impulse which any pause in our advance must give to the revolutionary spirit in France, or even in Europe—the impossibility of relying on any negotiation which depended on the will of the rabble—and, above all, the certainty that the first sign of tardiness on the part of the Allies would overthrow the monarchy, which was now kept in existence only by the dread of our arms. I was overruled. The proposal for the armistice was signed by all present but one—that one myself. And as we broke up silently and sullenly, at the first glimpse of a cold and stormy dawn, the fit omen of our future fate, I saw a secretary of the duke, accompanied by Macdonald, sent off to the headquarters of the enemy.

All was now over, and I thought of returning to my post at Paris. I spent the rest of the day in paying parting civilities to my gallant friends, and ordered my calèche to be in readiness by morning. But my prediction had been only too true, though I had not calculated on so rapid a fulfilment. The knowledge of the armistice was no sooner made public—and, to do the French general justice, he lost neither time nor opportunity—than it was regarded as a national triumph. The electric change of public opinion, in this most electric of all countries, raised the people from a condition of the deepest terror to the highest confidence. Every man in France was a soldier, and every soldier a hero. This was the miracle of twenty-four hours. Dumourier's force instantly swelled to 100,000 men. He might have had a million, if he had asked for them. The whole country became impassable. Every village poured out its company of armed peasants; and, notwithstanding the diplomatic cessation of hostilities, a real, universal, and desperate peasant war broke upon us on every side.

After a week of this most harassing warfare, in which we lost ten times the number of men which it would have cost to march over the bodies of Dumourier's army to the capital, the order was issued for a general retreat to the frontier. I remembered Mordecai's letter; but it was now too late. Even if I could have turned my horse's head to a French post, I felt myself bound to share the fortunes of the gallant army to which I had been so closely attached. In the heat of youth, I went even further, and, as my mission had virtually ceased, and I wore a Prussian order, I took the undiplomatic step of proposing to act as one of the duke's aides-de-camp until the army had left the enemy's territory. Behold me now, a hulan of the duke's guard! I found no reason to repent my choice, though our service was remarkably severe. The present war was chiefly against the light troops and irregulars of the retreating army—the columns being too formidable to admit of attack, at least by the multitude. Forty thousand men, of the main army of France, were appointed to the duty of "seeing us out of the country." But every attempt at foraging, every movement beyond the range of our cannon, was instantly met by a peasant skirmish. Every village approached by our squadrons, exhibited a barricade, from which we were fired on; every forest produced a succession of sharp encounters; and the passage of every river required as much precaution, and as often produced a serious contest, as if we were at open war. Thus we were perpetually on the wing, and our personal escapes were often of the most hair-breadth kind. If we passed through a thicket, we were sure to be met by a discharge of bullets; if we dismounted from our horses to take our hurried and scanty meal, we found some of them shot at the inn-door; if we flung ourselves, as tired as hounds after a chase, on the straw of a village stable, the probability was that we were awakened by finding the thatch in a blaze. How often we envied the easier life of the battalions! But there an enemy, more fearful than the peasantry, began to show itself. The weather had changed to storms of rain and bitter wind; the plains of Champagne, never famed for fertility, were now as wild and bare as a Russian steppe. The worst provisions, supplied on the narrowest [pg 219] scale—above all, disgust, the most fatal canker of the soldier's soul—spread disease among the ranks; and the roads on which we followed the march, gave terrible evidence of the havoc that every hour made among them. The mortality at last became so great, that it seemed not unlikely that the whole army would thus melt away before it reached the boundary of this land of death.

The horror of the scene even struck the peasantry, and whether through fear of the contagion, or through the uselessness of hunting down men who were treading to the grave by thousands, the peasantry ceased to follow us. Yet such was the wretchedness of that hideous progress, that this cessation of hostility was scarcely a relief. The animation of the skirmishes, though it often cost life, yet kept the rest more alive; the strategem, the adventure, the surprise, nay, even the failure and escape, relieved us from the dreadful monotony of the life, or rather the half-existence, to which we were now condemned. Our buoyant and brilliant career was at an end; we were now only the mutes and mourners of a funeral procession of seventy thousand men.

I still look back with an indescribable shudder at the scenes which we were compelled to witness from day to day during that month of misery; for the march, which began in the first days of October, was protracted till its end. I had kept up my spirits when many a more vigorous frame had sunk, and many a maturer mind had desponded; but the perpetual recurrence of the same dreary spectacles, the dying, and the more fortunate dead, covering the highways, the fields, and the village streets, at length sank into my soul. Some recollections of earlier principles, and the memory of my old friend Vincent, prevented my taking the summary and unhappy means of ridding myself of my burden, which I saw daily resorted to among the soldiery—a bullet through the brain, or a bayonet through the heart, cured all. But, thanks to early impressions, I was determined to wait the hand of the enemy, or the course of nature. Many a night I lay down beside my starving charger, with something of a hope that I should never see another morning; and many a morning, when I dragged my feeble limbs from the cold and wet ground, I looked round the horizon for the approach of some enemy's squadron, or peasant band, which might give me an honourable chance of escape from an existence now no longer endurable. But all was in vain. For leagues round no living object was visible, except that long column, silently and slowly winding on through the distance, like an army of spectres.

My diminished squadron had at length become almost the only rear-guard. From a hundred and fifty as fine fellows as ever sat a charger, we were now reduced to a third. All its officers, youths of the first families of Prussia, had either been left behind dying in the villages, or had been laid in the graves by the road-side, and I was now the only commandant. Perhaps even this circumstance was the means of saving my life. My new responsibility compelled me to make some exertion; and I felt that, live or die, I might still earn an honourable name. Even in those darkest hours, the thought that Clotilde might ask where and how I finished my ill-fortuned career, and perhaps give a moment's sorrow to one who remembered her to the last, had its share in restoring me to a sense of the world. In that sort of fond frenzy, which seems so fantastic when it is past, but so natural, and is actually so irresistible while it is in the mind, I wrote down my feelings, wild as they were—my impossible hopes, and a promise never to forget her while I remained in this world, and, if there could be an intercourse between the living and the dead, in that world to which I felt myself hastening. I then bade her a solemn and heartfelt farewell. Placing the paper in my bosom, with a locket containing a ringlet of her beautiful hair, which Marianne had contrived to obtain for me, the only legacy I had to offer, I felt as if I had done my last duty among mankind.

Still we wandered on, through a country which had the look of a boundless cemetery. Not a peasant was met; not a sound of human labour, joy or sorrow, reached the ear; not a smoke rose from mansion or cottage; all was still, except when the wind burst in bitter gusts over [pg 220]the plain, or the almost ceaseless rain swelled into sheets, and sent the rivers roaring down before us. If the land had never been inhabited, or had been swept of its inhabitants by an avenging Providence, it could not have been more solitary. I never conceived the idea of the wilderness before. It was the intensity of desolation.

We seemed even to make no progress. We began to think that the scene would never change. But one evening, when the troop had lain down under the shelter of a knoll, my sergeant, a fine Hungarian, whose eyes had been sharpened by hussar service on the Turkish border, aroused me, saying that he had discovered French horse-tracks in advance of us. We were all instantly on the alert, the horse-tracks were found to be numerous, and it was evident that a strong body of the enemy's cavalry had managed to get in between us and the army. It is true that there was a treaty, in which the unmolested movement of the duke was an article. But, it might have been annulled; or the French general might have been inclined to make a daring experiment on our worn-down battalions; or, at all events, it was our business to keep him as far off as we could. We were on horseback immediately. The track led us along the high-road for one or two leagues and then turned off towards a village on a height at some distance. We now paused, and the question was, whether to follow the enemy, or to dismount and try to rest ourselves, and our tired horses, for the night. We had scarcely come to the decision of unloosing girths, when the sky above the village showed a sudden glow; and a confused clamour of voices came upon the wind. Dispatching an orderly to the duke, to inform him of the French movement, we rode towards the village. We found the road in its immediate neighbourhood covered with fugitives; who, however, instead of flying from us with the usual horror of the peasantry, threw themselves beside our stirrups, hung on our bridles, and implored us with every wild gesticulation to hasten to the gates. All that I could learn from the outcries of men, women, and children, was, that their village, or rather town—for we found it of considerable size—had been the quarters of some of the Austrian cavalry, and that the officers had given a ball, to which the leading families had been invited. The ball was charged as a national crime by the democrats in Paris, and a regiment of horse had been sent to punish the unfortunate town.

To attack such a force with fifty worn-out men, was obviously hopeless, and my hulans, brave as they were, hung down their heads; but a fresh concourse came rushing from the gates with even louder outcries than before, and the words, massacre and conflagration, were heard with fearful emphasis. While I pondered for a moment on our want of means, a fine old man, with his white hair stained with blood from a sabre wound in his forehead, clung to my charger's neck, and implored me, by the honour of soldiership, to make but one effort against the revolutionary brigands, as he termed them. "I am a French officer and noble!" he exclaimed—"I have served my king, I have a son in the army of Condé, and now the wretches have seized on my only daughter, my Amalia, and they are carrying her to their accursed guillotine." I could resist no longer; yet I looked round despairingly at my force. "Follow me," said the agonized old man; "one half of the villains are drunk in the cafes already, the other half are busy in that horrid procession to the axe. I shall take you by a private way, and you may fall upon them by surprise. You shall find me, and all who belong to me, sword in hand by your side. Come on; and the God of battles, and protector of the unhappy, will give you victory." He knelt at my feet, with his hands upraised.—"For my child's sake!"—he continued faintly to exclaim—"for my innocent child's sake!" I saw tears fall down some of our bronzed faces, and I had but one word to utter; but that was—"Forward!" We followed our guide swiftly and silently through the narrow streets; and then suddenly emerging into the public square, saw such a sight of terror as never before met my eyes.

[pg 221]


A great revolution has taken place in Scotland. A greater has been threatened. Nor is that danger even yet certainly gone by. Upon the accidents of such events as may arise for the next five years, whether fitted or not fitted to revive discussions in which many of the Non-seceders went in various degrees along with the Seceders, depends the final (and, in a strict sense, the very awful) question, What is to be the fate of the Scottish church? Lord Aberdeen's Act is well qualified to tranquillize the agitations of that body; and at an earlier stage, if not intercepted by Lord Melbourne, might have prevented them in part. But Lord Aberdeen has no power to stifle a conflagration once thoroughly kindled. That must depend in a great degree upon the favourable aspect of events yet in the rear.

Meantime these great disturbances are not understood in England; and chiefly on the differences between the two nations as to the language of their several churches and law courts. The process of ordination and induction is totally different under the different ecclesiastical administrations of the two kingdoms. And the church courts of Scotland do not exist in England. We write, therefore, with an express view to the better information of England proper. And, with this purpose, we shall lead the discussion through four capital questions:—

I. What is it that has been done by the moving party?

II. How was it done? By what agencies and influence?

III. What were the immediate results of these acts?

IV. What are the remote results yet to be apprehended?

I. First, then, WHAT is it that has been done?

Up to the month of May in 1834, the fathers and brothers of the "Kirk" were in harmony as great as humanity can hope to see. Since May 1834, the church has been a fierce crater of volcanic agencies, throwing out of her bosom one-third of her children; and these children are no sooner born into their earthly atmosphere, than they turn, with unnatural passions, to the destruction of their brethren. What can be the grounds upon which an acharnement so deadly has arisen?

It will read to the ears of a stranger almost as an experiment upon his credulity, if we tell the simple truth. Being incredible, however, it is not the less true; and, being monstrous it will yet be recorded in history, that the Scottish church has split into mortal feuds upon two points absolutely without interest to the nation: 1st, Upon a demand for creating clergymen by a new process; 2dly, Upon a demand for Papal latitude of jurisdiction. Even the order of succession in these things is not without meaning. Had the second demand stood first, it would have seemed possible that the two demands might have grown up independently, and so far conscientiously. But, according to the realities of the case, this is not possible, the second demand grew out of the first. The interest of the Seceders, as locked up in their earliest requisition, was that which prompted their second. Almost every body was contented with the existing mode of creating the pastoral relation. Search through Christendom, lengthways and breadthways, there was not a public usage, an institution, an economy, which more profoundly slept in the sunshine of divine favour or of civil prosperity, than the peculiar mode authorized and practised in Scotland of appointing to every parish its several pastor. Here and there an ultra-Presbyterian spirit might prompt a murmur against it. But the wise and intelligent approved; and those who had the appropriate—that is, the religious interest—confessed that it was practically successful. From whom, then, came the attempt to change? Why, from those only who had an alien interest, an indirect interest, an interest of ambition in its subversion. As matters stood in the spring of 1834, the patron of each benefice, acting under the severest restraints—restraints which (if the church courts did their [pg 222] duty) left no room or possibility for an unfit man to creep in, nominated the incumbent. In a spiritual sense, the church had all power: by refusing, first of all, to "license" unqualified persons; secondly, by refusing to "admit" out of these licensed persons such as might have become warped from the proper standard of pastoral fitness, the church had a negative voice, all-potential in the creation of clergymen; the church could exclude whom she pleased. But this contented her not. Simply to shut out was an ungracious office, though mighty for the interests of orthodoxy through the land. The children of this world, who became the agitators of the church, clamoured for something more. They desired for the church that she should become a lady patroness; that she should give as well as take away; that she should wield a sceptre, courted for its bounties, and not merely feared for its austerities. Yet how should this be accomplished? Openly to translate upon the church the present power of patrons—that were too revolutionary, that would have exposed its own object. For the present, therefore, let this device prevail—let the power nominally be transferred to congregations; let this be done upon the plea that each congregation understands best what mode of ministrations tends to its own edification. There lies the semblance of a Christian plea; the congregation, it is said, has become anxious for itself; the church has become anxious for the congregation. And then, if the translation should be effected, the church has already devised a means for appropriating the power which she has unsettled; for she limits this power to the communicants at the sacramental table. Now, in Scotland, though not in England, the character of communicant is notoriously created or suspended by the clergyman of each parish; so that, by the briefest of circuits, the church causes the power to revolve into her own hands.

That was the first change—a change full of Jacobinism; and for which to be published was to be denounced. It was necessary, therefore, to place this Jacobin change upon a basis privileged from attack. How should that be done? The object was to create a new clerical power; to shift the election of clergymen from the lay hands in which law and usage had lodged it; and, under a plausible mask of making the election popular, circuitously to make it ecclesiastical. Yet, if the existing patrons of church benefices should see themselves suddenly denuded of their rights, and within a year or two should see these rights settling determinately into the hands of the clergy, the fraud, the fraudulent purpose, and the fraudulent machinery, would have stood out in gross proportions too palpably revealed. In this dilemma the reverend agitators devised a second scheme. It was a scheme bearing triple harvests; for, at one and the same time, it furnished the motive which gave a constructive coherency and meaning to the original purpose, it threw a solemn shadow over the rank worldliness of that purpose, and it opened a diffusive tendency towards other purposes of the same nature, as yet undeveloped. The device was this: in Scotland, as in England, the total process by which a parish clergyman is created, subdivides itself into several successive acts. The initial act belongs to the patron of the benefice: he must "present"; that is, he notifies the fact of his having conferred the benefice upon A B, to a public body which officially takes cognizance of this act; and that body is, not the particular parish concerned, but the presbytery of the district in which the parish is seated. Thus far the steps, merely legal, of the proceedings, were too definite to be easily disturbed. These steps are sustained by Lord Aberdeen as realities, and even by the Non-intrusionists were tolerated as formalities.

But at this point commence other steps not so rigorously defined by law or usage, nor so absolutely within one uniform interpretation of their value. In practice they had long sunk into forms. But ancient forms easily lend themselves to a revivification by meanings and applications, new or old, under the galvanism of democratic forces. The disturbers of the church, passing by the act of "presentation" as an obstacle too formidable to be separately attacked on its own account, made their stand upon one of the two acts which lie next in [pg 223] succession. It is the regular routine, that the presbytery, having been warned of the patron's appointment, and having "received" (in technical language) the presentee—that is, having formally recognised him in that character—next appoint a day on which he is to preach before the congregation. This sermon, together with the prayers by which it is accompanied, constitute the probationary act according to some views; but, according to the general theory, simply the inaugural act by which the new pastor places himself officially before his future parishioners. Decorum, and the sense of proportion, seem to require that to every commencement of a very weighty relation, imposing new duties, there should be a corresponding and ceremonial entrance. The new pastor, until this public introduction, could not be legitimately assumed for known to the parishioners. And accordingly at this point it was—viz. subsequently to his authentic publication, as we may call it—that, in the case of any grievous scandal known to the parish as outstanding against him, arose the proper opportunity furnished by the church for lodging the accusation, and for investigating it before the church court. In default, however, of any grave objection to the presentee, he was next summoned by the presbytery to what really was a probationary act at their bar; viz. an examination of his theological sufficiency. But in this it could not be expected that he should fail, because he must previously have satisfied the requisitions of the church in his original examination for a license to preach. Once dismissed with credit from this bar, he was now beyond all further probation whatsoever; in technical phrase, he was entitled to "admission." Such were the steps, according to their orderly succession, by which a man consummated the pastoral tie with any particular parish. And all of these steps, subsequent to the "reception" and inaugural preaching, were now summarily characterised by the revolutionists as "spiritual;" for the sake of sequestering them into their own hands. As to the initiatory act of presentation, that might be secular, and to be dealt with by a secular law. But the rest were acts which belonged not to a kingdom of this world. "These," with a new-born scrupulosity never heard of until the revolution of 1834, clamoured for new casuistries; "these," said the agitators, "we cannot consent any longer to leave in their state of collapse as mere inert or ceremonial forms. They must be revivified. By all means, let the patron present as heretofore. But the acts of 'examination' and 'admission,' together with power of altogether refusing to enter upon either, under a protest against the candidate from a clear majority of the parishioners—these are acts falling within the spiritual jurisdiction of the church. And these powers we must, for the future, see exercised according to spiritual views."

Here, then, suddenly emerged a perfect ratification for their own previous revolutionary doctrine upon the creation of parish clergymen. This new scruple was, in relation to former scruples, a perfect linch-pin for locking their machinery into cohesion. For vainly would they have sought to defeat the patron's right of presenting, unless through this sudden pause and interdict imposed upon the latter acts in the process of induction, under the pretext that these were acts competent only to a spiritual jurisdiction. This plea, by its tendency, rounded and secured all that they had yet advanced in the way of claim. But, at the same tine, though indispensable negatively, positively it stretched so much further than any necessity or interest inherent in their present innovations, that not improbably they faltered and shrank back at first from the immeasurable field of consequences upon which it opened. Thy would willingly have accepted less. But, unfortunately, it sometimes happens, that, to gain as much as is needful in one direction, you must take a great deal more than you wish for in another. Any principle, which could carry them over the immediate difficulty, would, by mere necessity, carry them incalculably beyond it. For if every act bearing in any one direction a spiritual aspect, showing at any angle a relation to spiritual things, is therefore to be held spiritual in a sense excluding the interference of the civil power, there falls to the [pg 224] ground at once the whole fabric of civil authority in any independent form. Accordingly, we are satisfied that the claim to a spiritual jurisdiction, in collision with the claims of the state, would not probably have offered itself to the ambition of the agitators, otherwise than as a measure ancillary to their earlier pretension of appointing virtually all parish clergymen. The one claim was found to be the integration or sine quâ non complement of the other. In order to sustain the power of appointment in their own courts, it was necessary that they should defeat the patron's power; and, in order to defeat the patron's power, ranging itself (as sooner or later it would) under the law of the Land, it was necessary that they should decline that struggle, by attempting to take the question out of all secular jurisdictions whatever.

In this way grew up that twofold revolution which has been convulsing the Scottish church since 1834; first, the audacious attempt to disturb the settled mode of appointing the parish clergy, through a silent robbery perpetrated on the crown and great landed aristocracy, secondly, and in prosecution of that primary purpose, the far more frantic attempt to renew in a practical shape the old disputes so often agitating the forum of Christendom, as to the bounds of civil and spiritual power.

In our rehearsal of the stages through which the process of induction ordinarily travels, we have purposely omitted one possible interlude or parenthesis in the series; not as wishing to conceal it, but for the very opposite reason. It is right to withdraw from a representative account of any transaction such varieties of the routine as occur but seldom: in this way they are more pointedly exposed. Now, having made that explanation, we go on to inform the Southern reader—than an old traditionary usage has prevailed in Scotland, but not systematically or uniformly, of sending to the presentee, through the presbytery, what is designated a "call", subscribed by members of the parish congregation. This call is simply an invitation to the office of their pastor. It arose in the disorders of the seventeenth century; but in practice it is generally admitted to have sunk into a mere formality throughout the eighteenth century; and the very position which it holds in the succession of steps, not usually coming forward until after the presentation has been notified, (supposing that it comes forward at all,) compels us to regard it in that light. Apparently it bears the same relation to the patron's act as the Address of the two Houses to the Speech from the Throne: it is rather a courteous echo to the personal compliment involved in the presentation, than capable of being regarded as any original act of invitation. And yet, in defiance of that notorious fact, some people go so far as to assert, that a call is not good unless where it is subscribed by a clear majority of the congregation. This is amusing. We have already explained that, except as a liberal courtesy, the very idea of a call destined to be inoperative, is and must be moonshine. Yet between two moonshines, some people, it seems, can tell which is the denser. We have all heard of Barmecide banquets, where, out of tureens filled to the brim with—nothing, the fortunate guest was helped to vast messes of—air. For a hungry guest to take this tantalization in good part, was the sure way to win the esteem of the noble Barmecide. But the Barmecide himself would hardly approve of a duel turning upon a comparison between two of his tureens, question being—which had been the fuller, or of two nihilities which had been seasoned the more judiciously. Yet this in effect is the reasoning of those who say that a call, signed by fifty-one persons out of a hundred, is more valid than another signed only by twenty-six, or by nobody; it being in the mean time fully understood that neither is valid in the least possible degree. But if the "call" was a Barmecide call, there was another act open to the congregation which was not so.

For the English reader must now understand, that over and above the passive and less invidious mode of discountenancing or forbearing to countenance a presentee, by withdrawing from the direct "call" upon him, usage has sanctioned another and stronger sort of protest; one which [pg 225] takes the shape of distinct and clamorous objections. We are speaking of the routine in this place, according to the course which it did travel or could travel under that law and that practice which furnished the pleas for complaint. Now, it was upon these "objections," as may well be supposed, that the main battle arose. Simply to want the "call," being a mere zero, could not much lay hold upon public feeling. It was a case not fitted for effect. You cannot bring a blank privation strongly before the public eye. "The 'call' did not take place last week;" well, perhaps it will take place next week. Or again, if it should never take place, perhaps it may be religious carelessness on the part of the parish. Many parishes notoriously feel no interest in their pastor, except as a quiet member of their community. Consequently, in two of three cases that might occur, there was nothing to excite the public: the parish had either agreed with the patron, or had not noticeably dissented. But in the third case of positive "objections," which (in order to justify themselves as not frivolous and vexatious) were urged with peculiar emphasis, the attention of all men was arrested. Newspapers reverberated the fact: sympathetic groans arose: the patron was an oppressor: the parish was under persecution: and the poor clergyman, whose case was the most to be pitied, as being in a measure endowed with a lasting fund of dislike, had the mortification to find, over and above this resistance from within, that he bore the name of "intruder" from without. He was supposed by the fiction of the case to be in league with his patron for the persecution of a godly parish; whilst in reality the godly parish was persecuting him, and hallooing the world ab extra to join in the hunt.

In such cases of pretended objections to men who have not been tried, we need scarcely tell the reader, that usually they are mere cabals and worldly intrigues. It is next to impossible that any parish or congregation should sincerely agree in their opinion of a clergyman. What one man likes in such cases, another man detests. Mr A., with an ardent nature, and something of a histrionic turn, doats upon a fine rhetorical display. Mr B., with more simplicity of taste, pronounces this little better than theatrical ostentation. Mr C. requires a good deal of critical scholarship. Mr D. quarrels with this as unsuitable to a rustic congregation. Mrs X., who is "under concern" for sin, demands a searching and (as she expresses it) a "faithful" style of dealing with consciences. Mrs Y., an aristocratic lady, who cannot bear to be mixed up in any common charge together with low people, abominates such words as "sin," and wills that the parson should confine his "observations" to the "shocking demoralization of the lower orders."

Now, having stated the practice of Scottish induction, as it was formerly sustained in its first stage by law, in its second stage by usage, let us finish that part of the subject by reporting the existing practice as regulated in all its stages by law. What law? The law as laid down in Lord Aberdeen's late Act of Parliament. This statement should, historically speaking, have found itself under our third head, as being one amongst the consequences immediately following the final rupture. But it is better placed at this point; because it closes the whole review of that topic; and because it reflects light upon the former practice—the practice which led to the whole mutinous tumult: every alteration forcing more keenly upon the reader's attention what had been the previous custom, and in what respect it was held by any man to be a grievance.

This Act, then, of Lord Aberdeen's, removes all legal effect from the "call." Common sense required that. For what was to be done with patronage? Was it to be sustained, or was it not? If not, then why quarrel with the Non-intrusionists? Why suffer a schism to take place in the church? Give legal effect to the "call," and the original cause of quarrel is gone. For, with respect to the opponents of the Non-intrusionists, they would bow to the law. On the other hand, if patronage is to be sustained, then why allow of any lingering or doubtful force to what must often operate as a conflicting claim? "A call," which carries with it any legal force, [pg 226] annihilates patronage. Patronage would thus be exercised only on sufferance. Do we mean then, that a "call" should sink into a pure fiction of ceremony, like the English congé-d'élire addressed to a dean and chapter, calling on them to elect a bishop, when all the world knows that already the see has been filled by a nomination from the crown? Not at all; a moral weight will still attach to the "call," though no legal coercion: and, what is chiefly important, all those doubts be removed by express legislation, which could not but arise between a practice pointing sometimes in one direction, and sometimes in another, between legal decisions again upholding one view, whilst something very like legal prescription was occasionally pleaded for the other. Behold the evil of written laws not rigorously in harmony with that sort of customary law founded upon vague tradition or irregular practice. And here, by the way, arises the place for explaining to the reader that irreconcilable dispute amongst Parliamentary lawyers as to the question whether Lord Aberdeen's bill were enactory, that is, created a new law, or declaratory, that is, simply expounded an old one. If enactory, then why did the House of Lords give judgment against those who allowed weight to the "call?" That might need altering; that might be highly inexpedient; but if it required a new law to make it illegal, how could those parties be held in the wrong previously to the new act of legislation? On the other hand, if declaratory, then show us any old law which made the "call" illegal. The fact is—that no man can decide whether the act established a new law, or merely expounded an old one. And the reason why he cannot—is this: the practice, the usage, which often is the law, had grown up variously during the troubles of the seventeenth century. In many places political reasons had dictated that the elders should nominate the incumbent. But the ancient practice had authorized patronage: by the act of Queen Anne (10th chap.) it was even formally restored; and yet the patron in known instances was said to have waived his right in deference to the "call." But why? Did he do so, in courteous compliance with the parish, as a party whose reasonable wishes ought, for the sake of all parties, to meet with attention? Or did he do so, in humble submission to the parish, as having by their majorities a legal right to the presentation? There lay the question. The presumptions from antiquity were all against the call. The more modern practice had occasionally been for it. Now, we all know how many colourable claims of right are created by prescription. What was the exact force of the "call," no man could say. In like manner, the exact character and limit of allowable objections had been ill-defined in practice, and rested more on a vague tradition than on any settled rule. This also made it hard to say whether Lord Aberdeen's Act were enactory or declaratory, a predicament, however, which equally affects all statutes for removing doubts.

The "call," then, we consider as no longer recognised by law. But did Lord Aberdeen by that change establish the right of the patron as an unconditional right? By no means. He made it strictly a conditional right. The presentee is now a candidate, and no more. He has the most important vote in his favour, it is true: but that vote may still be set aside, though still only with the effect of compelling the patron to a new choice. "Calls" are no longer doubtful in their meaning, but "objections" have a fair field laid open to then. All reasonable objections are to be weighed. But who is to judge whether they are reasonable? The presbytery of the district. And now pursue the action of the law, and see how little ground it leaves upon which to hang a complaint. Every body's rights are secured. Whatever be the event, first of all the presentee cannot complain, if he is rejected only for proved insufficiency. He is put on his trial as to these points only: 1. Is he orthodox? 2. Is he of good moral reputation? 3. Is he sufficiently learned? And note this, (which in fact Sir James Graham remarked in his official letter to the Assembly,) strictly speaking, he ought not to be under challenge as respects the third point; for it is your own fault, the fault of your own licensing courts (the presbyteries,) if he is not qualified so far. You should not have created him a licentiate, should [pg 227] not have given him a license to preach, as must have been done in an earlier stage of his progress, if he were not learned enough. Once learned, a man is learned for life. As to the other points, he may change; and therefore it is that an examination is requisite. But how can he complain, if he is found by an impartial court of venerable men objectionable on any score? If it were possible, however, that he should be wronged, he has his appeal. Secondly, how can the patron complain? His case is the same as his presentee's case; his injuries the same; his relief the same. Besides, if his man is rejected, it is not the parish man that takes his place. No; but a second man of his own choice: and, if again he chooses amiss, who is to blame for that? Thirdly, can the congregation complain? They have a general interest in their spiritual guide. But as to the preference for oratory—for loud or musical voice—for peculiar views in religion—these things are special: they interest but an exceedingly small minority in any parish; and, what is worse, that which pleases one is often offensive to another. There are cases in which a parish would reject a man for being a married man: some of the parish have unmarried daughters. But this case clearly belongs to the small minority; and we have little doubt that, where the objections lay "for cause not shown," it was often for this cause. Fourthly, can the church complain? Her interest is represented, 1, not by the presentee; 2, not by the patron; 3, not by the congregation; but 4, by the presbytery. And, whatever the presbytery say, that is supported. Speaking either for the patron, for the presentee, for the congregation, or for themselves as conservators of the church, that court is heard; what more would they have? And thus in turn every interest is protected. Now the point to be remarked is—that each party in turn has a separate influence. But on any other plan, giving to one party out of the four an absolute or unconditional power, no matter which of the four it be—all the rest have none at all. Lord Aberdeen has reconciled the rights of patrons for the first time with those of all other parties interested. Nobody has more than a conditional power. Every body has that. And the patron, as necessity requires, if property is to be protected, has in all circumstances the reversionary power.

II. Secondly, How were these things done? By what means were the hands of any party strengthened, so as to find this revolution possible?

We seek not to refine; but all moral power issues out of moral forces. And it may be well, therefore, rapidly to sketch the history of religion, which is the greatest of moral forces, as it sank and rose in this island through the last two hundred years.

It is well known that the two great revolutions of the seventeenth century—that in 1649, accomplished by the Parliament armies, (including its reaction in 1660,) and secondly, that in 1688-9—did much to unsettle the religious tone of public morals. Historians and satirists ascribe a large effect in this change to the personal influence of Charles II., and the foreign character of his court. We do not share in their views; and one eminent proof that they are wrong, lies in the following fact—viz. that the sublimest act of self-sacrifice which the world has ever seen, arose precisely in the most triumphant season of Charles's career, a time when the reaction of hatred had not yet neutralized the sunny joyousness of his Restoration. Surely the reader cannot be at a loss to know what we mean—the renunciation in one hour, on St Bartholomew's day in 1662, of two thousand benefices by the non-conforming clergymen of England. In the same year, occurred a similar renunciation of three hundred and sixty benefices in Scotland. These great sacrifices, whether called for or not, argue a great strength in the religious principle at that era. Yet the decay of external religion towards the close of that century is proved incontestably. We ourselves are inclined to charge this upon two causes; first, that the times were controversial and usually it happens—that, where too much energy is carried into the controversies or intellectual part of [pg 228] religion, a very diminished fervour attends the culture of its moral and practical part. This was perhaps one reason; for the dispute with the Papal church, partly, perhaps, with a secret reference to the rumoured apostasy of the royal family, was pursued more eagerly in the latter half of the seventeenth than even in any section of the sixteenth century. But, doubtless, the main reason was the revolutionary character of the times. Morality is at all periods fearfully shaken by intestine wars, and by instability in a government. The actual duration of war in England was not indeed longer than three and a half years, viz. from Edgehill fight, in the autumn of 1642, to the defeat of the king's last force under Sir Jacob Astley at Stow-in-the-wolds in the spring of 1646. Any other fighting in that century belonged to mere insulated and discontinuous war. But the insecurity of every government between 1638 and 1702, kept the popular mind in a state of fermentation. Accordingly, Queen Anne's reign might be said to open upon an irreligious people. This condition of things was further strengthened by the unavoidable interweaving at that time of politics with religion. They could not be kept separate; and the favour shown even by religious people to such partisan zealots as Dr Sacheverell, evidenced, and at the same time promoted, the public irreligion. This was the period in which the clergy thought too little of their duties, but too much of their professional rights; and if we may credit the indirect report of the contemporary literature, all apostolic or missionary zeal for the extension of religion, was in those days a thing unknown. It may seem unaccountable to many, that the same state of things should have spread in those days to Scotland; but this is no more than the analogies of all experience entitled us to expect. Thus we know that the instincts of religious reformation ripened every where at the same period of the sixteenth century from one end of Europe to the other; although between most of the European kingdoms there was nothing like so much intercourse as between England and Scotland in the eighteenth century. In both countries, a cold and lifeless state of public religion prevailed up to the American and French Revolutions. These great events gave a shock every where to the meditative, and, consequently, to the religious impulses of men. And, in the mean time, an irregular channel had been already opened to these impulses by the two founders of Methodism. A century has now passed since Wesley and Whitfield organized a more spiritual machinery of preaching than could then be found in England, for the benefit of the poor and labouring classes. These Methodist institutions prospered, as they were sure of doing, amongst the poor and the neglected at any time, much more when contrasted with the deep slumbers of the Established church. And another ground of prosperity soon arose out of the now expanding manufacturing system. Vast multitudes of men grew up under that system—humble enough by the quality of their education to accept with thankfulness the ministrations of Methodism, and rich enough to react, upon that beneficent institution, by continued endowments in money. Gradually, even the church herself, that mighty establishment, under the cold shade of which Methodism had grown up as a neglected weed, began to acknowledge the power of an extending Methodistic influence, which originally she had haughtily despised. First, she murmured; then she grew anxious or fearful; and finally, she began to find herself invaded or modified from within, by influences springing up from Methodism. This last effect became more conspicuously evident after the French Revolution. The church of Scotland, which, as a whole, had exhibited, with much unobtrusive piety, the same outward torpor as the church of England during the eighteenth century, betrayed a corresponding resuscitation about the same time. At the opening of this present century, both of these national churches began to show a marked rekindling of religious fervour. In what extent this change in the Scottish church had been due, mediately or immediately, to Methodism, we do not pretend to calculate; that is, we do not pretend to settle the proportions. But mediately the [pg 229] Scottish church must have been affected, because she was greatly affected by her intercourse with the English church, (as, e.g., in Bible Societies, Missionary Societies, &c.;) and the English church had been previously affected by Methodism. Immediately she must also have been affected by Methodism, because Whitfield had been invited to preach in Scotland, and did preach in Scotland. But, whatever may have been the cause of this awakening from slumber in the two established churches of this island, the fact is so little to be denied, that, in both its aspects, it is acknowledged by those most interested in denying it. The two churches slept the sleep of torpor through the eighteenth century; so much of the fact is acknowledged by their own members. The two churches awoke, as from a trance, in or just before the dawning of the nineteenth century; this second half of the fact is acknowledged by their opponents. The Wesleyan Methodists, that formidable power in England and Wales, who once reviled the Establishment as the dormitory of spiritual drones, have for many years hailed a very large section in that establishment—viz., the section technically known by the name of the Evangelical clergy—as brothers after their own hearts, and corresponding to their own strictest model of a spiritual clergy. That section again, the Evangelical section, in the English church, as men more highly educated, took a direct interest in the Scottish clergy, upon general principles of liberal interest in all that could affect religion, beyond what could be expected from the Methodists. And in this way grew up a considerable action and reaction between the two classical churches of the British soil.

Such was the varying condition, when sketched in outline, of the Scottish and English churches. Two centuries ago, and for half a century beyond that, we find both churches in a state of trial, of turbulent agitation, and of sacrifices for conscience which involved every fifth or sixth beneficiary. Then came a century of languor and the carelessness which belongs to settled prosperity. And finally, for both has arisen a half century of new light—new zeal—and, spiritually speaking, of new prosperity. This deduction it was necessary to bring down, in order to explain the new power which arose to the Scottish church during the last generation of suppose thirty years.

When two powerful establishments, each separately fitted to the genius and needs of its several people, are pulling together powerfully towards one great spiritual object, vast must be the results. Our ancestors would have stood aghast as at some fabulous legend or some mighty miracle, could they have heard of the scale on which our modern contributions proceed for the purposes of missions to barbarous nations, of circulating the Scriptures, (whether through the Bible Society, that is the National Society, or Provincial Societies,) of translating the Scriptures into languages scarcely known by name to scholars, of converting Jews, of organizing and propagating education. Towards these great objects the Scottish clergy had worked with energy and with little disturbance to their unanimity. Confidence was universally felt in their piety and in their discretion. This confidence even reached the supreme rulers of the state. Very much through ecclesiastical influence, new plans for extending the religious power of the Scottish church, and indirectly of extending their secular power, were countenanced by the Government. Jealousy had been disarmed by the upright conduct of the Scottish clergy, and their remarkable freedom hitherto from all taint of ambition. It was felt, besides, that the temper of the Scottish nation was radically indisposed to all intriguing or modes of temporal ascendency in ecclesiastical bodies. The nation, therefore, was in some degree held as a guarantee for the discretion of their clergy. And hence it arose, that much less caution was applied to the first encroachment of the Non-intrusionists, than would have been applied under circumstances of more apparent doubt. Hence it arose, that a confidence from the Scottish nation was extended to this clergy, which too certainly has been abused.

In the years 1824-5, Parliament had passed acts "for building additional places of worship in the highlands [pg 230] and islands of Scotland." These acts may be looked upon as one section in that general extension of religious machinery which the British people, by their government and their legislature, have for many years been promoting. Not, as is ordinarily said, that the weight of this duty had grown upon them simply through their own treacherous neglect of it during the latter half of the eighteenth century; but that no reasonable attention to that duty could have kept pace with the scale upon which the claims of a new manufacturing population had increased. In mere equity we must admit—not that the British nation had fallen behind its duties, (though naturally it might have done so under the religious torpor prevalent at the original era of manufacturing extension,) but that the duties had outstripped all human power of overtaking them. The efforts, however, have been prodigious in this direction for many years. Amongst those applied to Scotland, it had been settled by parliament that forty-two new churches should be raised in the highlands, with an endowment from the Government of L.120 annually for each incumbent. There were besides more than two hundred chapels of ease to be founded; and towards this scheme the Scottish public subscribed largely. The money was entrusted to the clergy. That was right. But mark what followed. It had been expressly provided by Parliament—that any district or circumjacent territory, allotted to such parliamentary churches as the range within which the incumbent was to exercise his spiritual ministrations, should not be separate parishes for any civil or legal effects. Here surely the intentions and directions of the legislature were plain enough, and decisive enough.

How did the Scottish clergy obey them? They erected all these jurisdictions into bona fide "parishes," enjoying the plenary rights (as to church government) of the other parishes, and distinguished from them in a merely nominal way as parishes quoad sacra. There were added at once to the presbyteries, which are the organs of the church power, 203 clerical persons for the chapels of ease, and 42 for the highland churches—making a total of 245 new members. By the constitution of the Scottish church, an equal number of lay elders (called ruling elders) accompany the clerical elders. Consequently 490 new members were introduced at once into that particular class of courts (presbyteries) which form the electoral bodies in relation to the highest court of General Assembly. The effect of this change, made in the very teeth of the law, was twofold. First, it threw into many separate presbyteries a considerable accession of voters—all owing their appointments to the General Assembly. This would at once give a large bias favourable to their party views in every election for members to serve in the Assembly. Even upon an Assembly numerically limited, this innovation would have told most abusively. But the Assembly was not limited; and therefore the whole effect was, at the same moment, greatly to extend the electors and the elected.

Here, then, was the machinery by which the faction worked. They drew that power from Scotland rekindled into a temper of religious anxiety, which they never could have drawn from Scotland lying torpid, as she had lain through the 18th century. The new machinery, (created by Parliament in order to meet the wishes of the Scottish nation,) the money of that nation, the awakened zeal of that nation; all these were employed, honourably in one sense, that is, not turned aside into private channels for purposes of individuals, but factiously in the result, as being for the benefit of a faction; honourably as regarded the open mode of applying such influence—a mode which did not shrink from exposure; but most dishonourably, in so far as privileges, which had been conceded altogether for a spiritual object, were abusively transferred to the furtherance of a temporal intrigue. Such were the methods by which the new-born ambition of the clergy moved; and that ambition had become active, simply because it had suddenly seemed to become practicable. The presbyteries, as being the effectual electoral bodies, are really the main springs of the ecclesiastical administration. To govern them, was in [pg 231] effect to govern the church. A new scheme for extending religion, had opened a new avenue to this control over the presbyteries. That opening was notoriously unlawful. But not the less, the church faction precipitated themselves ardently upon it; and but for the faithfulness of the civil courts, they would never have been dislodged from what they had so suddenly acquired. Such was the extraordinary leap taken by the Scottish clergy, into a power of which, hitherto, they had never enjoyed a fraction. It was a movement per saltum, beyond all that history has recorded. At cock-crow, they had no power at all; when the sun went down, they had gained (if they could have held) a papal supremacy. And a thing not less memorably strange is, that even yet the ambitious leaders were not disturbed; what they had gained was viewed by the public as a collateral gain, indirectly adhering to a higher object, but forming no part at all of what the clergy had sought. It required the scrutiny of law courts to unmask and decompose their true object. The obstinacy of the defence betrayed the real animus of the attempt. It was an attempt which, in connexion with the Veto Act, (supposing that to have prospered,) would have laid the whole power of the church at their feet. What the law had distributed amongst three powers, patron, parish, and presbytery, would have been concentred in themselves. The quoad sacra parishes would have riveted their majorities in the presbyteries; and the presbyteries, under the real action of the Veto, would have appointed nearly every incumbent in Scotland. And this is the answer to the question, when treated merely in outline—How were these things done? The religion of the times had created new machineries for propagating a new religious influence. These fell into the hands of the clergy; and the temptation to abuse these advantages led them into revolution.

III. Having now stated WHAT was done, as well as HOW it was done, let us estimate the CONSEQUENCES of these acts; under this present, or third section, reviewing the immediate consequences which have taken effect already, and under the next section, anticipating the more remote consequences yet to be expected.

In the spring of 1834, as we have sufficiently explained, the General Assembly ventured on the fatal attempt to revolutionize the church, and (as a preliminary towards that) on the attempt to revolutionize the property of patronage. There lay the extravagance of the attempt; its short-sightedness, if they did not see its civil tendencies; its audacity, if they did. It was one revolution marching to its object through another; it was a vote, which, if at all sustained, must entail a long inheritance of contests with the whole civil polity of Scotland.

"Heu quantum fati parva tabella vehit!"

It might seem to strangers a trivial thing, that an obscure court, like the presbytery, should proceed in the business of induction by one routine rather than by another; but was it a trivial thing that the power of appointing clergymen should lapse into this perilous dilemma—either that it should be intercepted by the Scottish clerical order, and thus, that a lordly hierarchy should be suddenly created, disposing of incomes which, in the aggregate, approach to half a million annually; or, on the other hand, that this dangerous power, if defeated as a clerical power, should settle into a tenure exquisitely democratic? Was that trivial? Doubtless, the Scottish ecclesiastical revenues are not equal, nor nearly equal, to the English; still, it is true, that Scotland, supposing all her benefices equalized, gives a larger average to each incumbent than England, of the year 1830. England, in that year, gave an average of £299 to each beneficiary; Scotland gave an average of £303. That body, therefore, which wields patronage in Scotland, wields a greater relative power than the corresponding body in England. Now this body, in Scotland, must finally have been the clerus; but supposing the patronage to have settled nominally where the Veto Act had placed it, then it would have settled into the keeping of a fierce democracy. Mr Forsyth has justly remarked, that in such a case the hired ploughmen of a parish, mercenary [pg 232] hands that quit their engagements at Martinmas, and can have no filial interest in the parish, would generally succeed in electing the clergyman. That man would be elected generally, who had canvassed the parish with the arts and means of an electioneering candidate; or else, the struggle would lie between the property and the Jacobinism of the district.

In respect to Jacobinism, the condition of Scotland is much altered from what it was; pauperism and great towns have worked "strange defeatures" in Scottish society. A vast capital has arisen in the west, on a level with the first-rate capitals of the Continent—with Vienna or with Naples; far superior in size to Madrid, to Lisbon, to Berlin; more than equal to Rome and Milan; or again to Munich and Dresden, taken by couples: and in this point, beyond comparison with any one of these capitals, that whilst they are connected by slight ties with the circumjacent country, Glasgow keeps open a communication with the whole land. Vast laboratories of encouragement to manual skill, too often dissociated from consideration of character; armies of mechanics, gloomy and restless, having no interfusion amongst their endless files of any gradations corresponding to a system of controlling officers; these spectacles, which are permanently offered by the castra stativa of combined mechanics in Glasgow and its dependencies, (Paisley, Greenock, &c.,) supported by similar districts, and by turbulent collieries in other parts of that kingdom, make Scotland, when now developing her strength, no longer the safe and docile arena for popular movements which once she was, with a people that were scattered, and habits that were pastoral. And at this moment, so fearfully increased is the overbalance of democratic impulses in Scotland, that perhaps in no European nation—hardly excepting France—has it become more important to hang weights and retarding forces upon popular movements amongst the labouring classes.

This being so, we have never been able to understand the apparent apathy with which the landed body met the first promulgation of the Veto Act in May 1834. Of this apathy, two insufficient explanations suggest themselves:—1st, It seemed a matter of delicacy to confront the General Assembly, upon a field which they had clamorously challenged for their own. The question at issue was tempestuously published to Scotland as a question exclusively spiritual. And by whom was it thus published? The Southern reader must here not be careless of dates. At present, viz. in 1844, those who fulminate such views of spiritual jurisdiction, are simply dissenters; and those who vehemently withstand them are the church, armed with the powers of the church. Such are the relations between the parties in 1844. But in 1834, the revolutionary party were not only in the church, but (being the majority) they came forward as the church. The new doctrines presented themselves at first, not as those of a faction, but of the Scottish kirk assembled in her highest court. The prestige of that advantage, has vanished since then; for this faction, after first of all falling into a minority, afterwards ceased to be any part or section of the church; but in that year 1834, such a prestige did really operate; and this must be received as one of the reasons which partially explain the torpor of the landed body. No one liked to move first, even amongst those who meant to move. But another reason we find in the conscientious scruples of many landholders, who hesitated to move at all upon a question then insufficiently discussed, and in which their own interest was by so many degrees the largest.

These reasons, however, though sufficient for suspense, seem hardly sufficient for not having solemnly protested against the Veto Act immediately upon its passing the Assembly. Whatever doubts a few persons might harbour upon the expediency of such an act, evidently it was contrary to the law of the land. The General Assembly could have no power to abrogate a law passed by the three estates of the realm. But probably it was the deep sense of that truth, which reined up the national resistance. Sure of a speedy collision between some patron and the infringers of his right, other parties stood back for the present, to [pg 233] watch the form which such a collision might assume.

In that same year of 1834, not many months after the passing of the Assembly's Act, came on the first case of collision; and some time subsequently a second. These two cases, Auchterarder and Marnoch, commenced in the very same steps, but immediately afterwards diverged as widely as was possible. In both cases, the rights of the patron and of the presentee were challenged peremptorily; that is to say, in both cases, parishioners objected to the presentee without reason shown. The conduct of the people was the same in one case as in the other; that of the two presbyteries travelled upon lines diametrically opposite. The first case was that of Auchterarder. The parish and the presbytery concerned, both belonged to Auchterarder; and there the presbytery obeyed the new law of the Assembly: they rejected the presentee, refusing to take him on trial of his qualifications; And why? we cannot too often repeat—simply because a majority of a rustic congregation had rejected him, without attempting to show reason for his rejection. The Auchterarder presbytery, for their part in the affair, were prosecuted in the Court of Session by the injured parties—Lord Kinnoul, the patron, and Mr Young, the presentee. Twice, upon a different form of action, the Court of Session gave judgment against the presbytery; twice the case went up by appeal to the Lords; twice the Lords affirmed the judgment of the court below. In the other case of Marnoch, the presbytery of Strathbogie took precisely the opposite course. So far from abetting the unjust congregation of rustics, they rebelled against the new law of the Assembly, and declared, by seven of their number against three, that they were ready to proceed with the trial of the presentee, and to induct him (if found qualified) into the benefice. Upon this, the General Assembly suspended the seven members of presbytery. By that mode of proceeding, the Assembly fancied that they should be able to elude the intentions of the presbytery: it being supposed that, whilst suspended, the presbytery had no power to ordain; and that, without ordination, there was no possibility of giving induction. But here the Assembly had miscalculated. Suspension would indeed have had the effects ascribed to it; but in the mean time, the suspension, as being originally illegal, was found to be void: and the presentee, on that ground, obtained a decree from the Court of Session, ordaining the presbytery of Strathbogie to proceed with the settlement. Three of the ten members composing this presbytery, resisted; and they were found liable in expenses. The other seven completed the settlement in the usual form. Here was plain rebellion; and rebellion triumphant. If this were allowed, all was gone. What should the Assembly do for the vindication of their authority? Upon deliberation, they deposed the contumacious presbytery from their functions as clergymen, and declared their churches vacant. But this sentence was found to be a brutum fulmen; the crime was no crime, the punishment turned out no punishment: and a minority, even in this very Assembly, declared publicly that they would not consent to regard this sentence as any sentence at all, but would act in all respects as if no such sentence had been carried by vote. Within their own high Court of Assembly, it is, however, difficult to see how this refusal to recognise a sentence voted by a majority could be valid. Outside, the civil courts came into play; but within the Assembly, surely its own laws and votes prevailed. However, this distinction could bring little comfort to the Assembly at present; for the illegality of the deposal was now past all dispute; and the attempt to punish, or even ruin, a number of professional brethren for not enforcing a by-law, when the by-law itself had been found irreconcilable to the law of the land, greatly displease the public, as vindictive, oppressive, and useless to the purposes of the Assembly.

Nothing was gained except the putting on record an implacability that was confessedly impotent. This was the very lunacy of malice. Mortifying it might certainly seem for the members of a supreme court, like the General Assembly, to be baffled by those of a subordinate court: but still, [pg 234] since each party must be regarded as representing far larger interests than any personal to themselves, trying on either side, not the energies of their separate wits, but the available resources of law in one of its obscurer chapters, there really seemed no more room for humiliation to the one party, or for triumph to the other, than there is amongst reasonable men in the result from a game, where the game is one exclusively of chance.

From this period it is probably that the faction of Non-intrusionists resolved upon abandoning the church. It was the one sole resource left for sustaining their own importance to men who were now sinking fast in public estimation. At the latter end of 1842, they summoned a convocation in Edinburgh. The discussions were private; but it was generally understood that at this time they concerted a plan for going out from the church, in the event of their failing to alarm the Government by the notification of this design. We do not pretend to any knowledge of secrets. What is known to every body is—that on the annual meeting of the General Assembly, in May 1843, the great body of the Non-intrusionists moved out in procession. The sort of theatrical interest which gathered round the Seceders for a few hurried days in May, was of a kind which should naturally have made wise men both ashamed and disgusted. It was the merest effervescence from that state of excitement which is nursed by novelty, by expectation, by the vague anticipation of a "scene," possibly of a quarrel, together with the natural interest in seeing men whose names had been long before the public in books and periodical journals.

The first measure of the Seceders was to form themselves into a pseudo-General Assembly. When there are two suns visible, or two moons, the real one and its duplicate, we call the mock sun a parhelios, and the mock moon a paraselene. On that principle, we must call this mock Assembly a para-synodos. Rarely, indeed, can we applaud the Seceders in the fabrication of names. They distinguish as quoad sacra parishes those which were peculiarly quoad politica parishes; for in that view only they had been interesting to the Non-intrusionists. Again, they style themselves The Free Church, by way of taunting the other side with being a servile church. But how are they any church at all? By the courtesies of Europe, and according to usage, a church means a religious incorporation, protected and privileged by the State. Those who are not so privileged are usually content with the title of Separatists, Dissenters, or Nonconformists. No wise man will see either good sense or dignity in assuming titles not appropriate. The very position and aspect towards the church (legally so called) which has been assumed by the Non-intrusionists—viz. the position of protestors against that body, not merely as bearing, amongst other features, a certain relation to the State, but specifically because they bear that relation, makes it incongruous, and even absurd, for these Dissenters to denominate themselves a "church." But there is another objection to this denomination—the "Free Church" have no peculiar and separate Confession of Faith. Nobody knows what are their credenda—what they hold indispensable for fellow-membership, either as to faith in mysteries or in moral doctrines. Now, if they reply—"Oh! as to that, we adopt for our faith all that ever we did profess when members of the Scottish kirk"—then in effect they are hardly so much as a dissenting body, except in some elliptic sense. There is a grievous hiatus in their own title-deeds and archives; they supply it by referring people to the muniment chest of the kirk. Would it not be a scandal to a Protestant church if she should say to communicants—"We have no sacramental vessels, or even ritual; but you may borrow both from Papal Rome." Not only, however, is the Kirk to lend her Confession, &c.; but even then a plain rustic will not be able to guess how many parts in his Confession are or may be affected by the "reformation" of the Non-intrusionists. Surely, he will think, if this reformation were so vast that it drove them out of the national church, absolutely exploded them, then it follows that it must have interveined and indirectly modified innumerable questions: a difference that was punctually limited to this one or these two [pg 235] clauses, could not be such a difference as justified a rupture. Besides, if they have altered this one or these two clauses, or have altered their interpretation, how is any man to know (except from a distinct Confession of Faith) that they have not even directly altered much more? Notoriety through newspapers is surely no ground to stand upon in religion. And now it appears that the unlettered rustic needs two guides—one to show him exactly how much they have altered, whether two points or two hundred, as well as which two or two hundred; another to teach him how far these original changes may have carried with them secondary changes as consequences into other parts of the Christian system. One of the known changes, viz. the doctrine of popular election as the proper qualification for parish clergymen, possibility is not fitted to expand itself or ramify, except by analogy. But the other change, the infinity which has been suddenly turned off like a jet of gas, or like the rushing of wind through the tubes of an organ, upon the doctrine and application of spirituality, seems fitted for derivative effects that are innumerable. Consequently, we say of the Non-intrusionists—not only that they are no church; but that they are not even any separate body of Dissenters, until they have published a "Confession" or a revised edition of the Scottish Confession.

IV. Lastly, we have to sum and to appreciate the ultimate consequences of these things. Let us pursue them to the end of the vista.—First in order stands the dreadful shock to the National Church Establishment; and that is twofold: it is a shock from without, acting through opinion, and a shock from within, acting through the contagion of example. Each case is separately perfect. Through the opinion of men standing outside of the church, the church herself suffers wrong in her authority. Through the contagion of sympathy stealing over men inside of the church, peril arises of other shocks in a second series, which would so exhaust the church by reiterated convulsions, as to leave her virtually dismembered and shattered for all her great national functions.

As to that evil which acts through opinion, it works by a machinery, viz. the press and social centralization in great cities, which in these days is perfect. Right or wrong, justified or not justified by the acts of the majority, it is certain that every public body—how much more then, a body charged with the responsibility of upholding the truth in its standards!—suffers dreadfully in the world's opinion by any feud, schism, or shadow of change among its members. This is what the New Testament, a code of philosophy fertile in new ideas, first introduced under the name of scandal; that is, any occasion of serious offence ministered to the weak or to the sceptical by differences irreconcilable in the acts or the opinions of those whom they are bound to regard as spiritual authorities. Now here in Scotland, is a feud past all arbitration: here is a schism no longer theoretic, neither beginning nor ending in mere speculation: here is a change of doctrine, on one side or the other, which throws a sad umbrage of doubt and perplexity over the pastoral relation of the church to every parish in Scotland. Less confidence there must always be henceforward in great religious incorporations. Was there any such incorporation reputed to be more internally harmonious than the Scottish church? None has been so tempestuously agitated. Was any church more deeply pledged to the spirit of meekness? None has split asunder so irreconcilably. As to the grounds of quarrel, could any questions or speculations be found so little fitted for a popular intemperance? Yet no breach of unity has ever propagated itself by steps so sudden and irrevocable. One short decennium has comprehended within its circuit the beginning and the end of this unparalleled hurricane. In 1834, the first light augury of mischief skirted the horizon—a cloud no bigger than a man's hand. In 1843 the evil had "travelled on from birth to birth." Already it had failed in what may be called one conspiracy; already it had entered upon a second, viz. to rear up an Anti-Kirk, or spurious establishment, which should twist itself with snake-like folds about the legal establishment; surmount it as a Roman [pg 236] vinea surmounted the fortifications which it beleaguered; and which, under whatsoever practical issue for the contest, should at any rate overlook, molest, and insult the true church for ever. Even this brief period of development would have been briefer, had not the law courts interposed many delays. Demurs of law process imposed checks upon the uncharitable haste of the odium theologicum. And though in a question of schism it would be a petitio principii for a neutral censor to assume that either party had been originally in error, yet it is within our competence to say, that the Seceders it was whose bigotry carried the dispute to that sad issue of a final separation. The establishment would have been well content to stop short of that consummation: and temperaments might have been found, compromises both safe and honourable, had the minority built less of their reversionary hopes upon the policy of a fanciful martyrdom. Martyrs they insisted upon becoming: and that they might be martyrs, it was necessary for them to secede. That Europe thinks at present with less reverence of Protestant institutions than it did ten years ago, is due to one of these institutions in particular; viz. to the Scottish kirk, and specifically to the minority in that body. They it was who spurned all mutual toleration, all brotherly indulgence from either side to what it regarded as error in the other. Consequently upon their consciences lies the responsibility of having weakened the pillars of the Reformed churches throughout Christendom.

Had those abuses been really such, which the Seceders denounced, were it possible that a primary law of pure Christianity had been set aside for generations, how came it that evils so gross had stirred no whispers of reproach before 1834? How came it that no aurora of early light, no prelusive murmurs of scrupulosity even from themselves, had run before this wild levanter of change? Heretofore or now there must have been huge error on their own showing. Heretofore they must have been traitorously below their duty, or now mutinously beyond it.

Such conclusions are irresistible; and upon any path, seceding or not seceding, they menace the worldly credit of ecclesiastical bodies. That evil is now past remedy. As for the other evil, that which acts upon church establishments, not through simple failure in the guarantees of public opinion, but through their own internal vices of composition; here undeniably we see a chasm traversing the Scottish church from the very gates to the centre. And unhappily the same chasm, which marks a division of the church internally, is a link connecting it externally with the Seceders. For how stands the case? Did the Scottish Kirk, at the last crisis, divide broadly into two mutually excluding sections? Was there one of these bisections which said Yes, whilst the other responded No? Was the affirmative and negative shared between them as between the black chessmen and the white? Not so; and unhappily not so. The two extremes there were, but these shaded off into each other. Many were the nuances; multiplied the combinations. Here stood a section that had voted for all the changes, with two or three exceptions; there stood another that went the whole length as to this change, but no part of the way as to that; between these sections arose others that had voted arbitrarily, or eclectically, that is, by no law generally recognised. And behind this eclectic school were grouped others who had voted for all novelties up to a certain day, but after that had refused to go further with a movement party whose tendencies they had begun to distrust. In this last case, therefore, the divisional line fell upon no principle, but upon the accident of having, at that particular moment, first seen grounds of conscientious alarm. The principles upon which men had divided were various, and these various principles were variously combined. But, on the other hand, those who have gone out were the men who approved totally, not partially—unconditionally, not within limits—up to the end, and not to a given day. Consequently those who stayed in comprehended all the shades and degrees which the men of violence excluded. The Seceders were unanimous to a man, and of necessity; [pg 237] for he who approves the last act, the extreme act, which is naturally the most violent act, à fortiori approves all lesser acts. But the establishment, by parity of reason, retained upon its rolls all the degrees, all the modifications, all who had exercised a wise discretion, who, in so great a cause, had thought it a point of religion to be cautious; whose casuistry had moved in the harness of peace, and who had preferred an interest of conscience to a triumph of partisanship. We honour them for that policy; but we cannot hide from ourselves, that the very principle which makes such a policy honourable at the moment, makes it dangerous in reversion. For he who avows that, upon public motives, he once resisted a temptation to schism, makes known by that avowal that he still harbours in his mind the germ of such a temptation; and to that scruple, which once he resisted, hereafter he may see reason for yielding. The principles of schism, which for the moment were suppressed, are still latent in the church. It is urged that, in quest of unity, many of these men succeeded in resisting the instincts of dissension at the moment of crisis. True: But this might be because they presumed on winning from their own party equal concessions by means less violent than schism; or because they attached less weight to the principle concerned, than they may see cause for attaching upon future considerations; or because they would not allow themselves to sanction the cause of the late Secession, by going out in company with men whose principles they adopted only in part, or whose manner of supporting those principles they abhorred. Universally it is evident, that little stress is to be laid on a negative act; simply to have declined going out with the Seceders proves nothing, for it is equivocal. It is an act which may cover indifferently a marked hostility to the Secession party, or an absolute friendliness, but a friendliness not quite equal to so extreme a test. And, again, this negative act may be equivocal in a different way; the friendliness may not only have existed, but may have existed in strength sufficient for any test whatever; not the principles of the Seceders, but their Jacobinical mode of asserting them, may have proved the true nerve of the repulsion to many. What is it that we wish the English reader to collect from these distinctions? Simply that the danger is not yet gone past. The earthquake, says a great poet, when speaking of the general tendency in all dangers to come round by successive and reiterated shocks—

"The earthquake is not satisfied at once."

All dangers which lie deeply seated are recurrent dangers; they intermit, only as the revolving lamps of a lighthouse are periodically eclipsed. The General Assembly of 1843, when closing her gates upon the Seceders, shut in, perhaps, more of the infected than at that time she succeeded in shutting out. As respected the opinion of the world outside, it seemed advisable to shut out the least number possible; for in proportion to the number of the Seceders, was the danger that they should carry with them an authentic impression in their favour. On the other hand, as respected a greater danger, (the danger from internal contagion,) it seemed advisable that the church should have shut out (if she could) very many of those who, for the present, adhered to her. The broader the separation, and the more absolute, between the church and the secession, so much the less anxiety there would have survived lest the rent should spread. That the anxiety in this respect is not visionary, the reader may satisfy himself by looking over a remarkable pamphlet, which professes by its title to separate the wheat from the chaff. By the "wheat," in the view of this writer, is meant the aggregate of those who persevered in their recusant policy up to the practical result of secession. All who stopped short of that consummation, (on whatever plea,) are the "chaff." The writer is something of an incendiary, or something of a fanatic; but he is consistent with regard to his own principles, and so elaborately careful in his details as to extort admiration of his energy and of his patience in research.

But the reason for which we notice this pamphlet, is, with a view to the proof of that large intestine mischief which still lingers behind in the [pg 238] vitals of the Scottish establishment. No proof, in a question of that nature, can be so showy and ostensive to a stranger, as that which is supplied by this vindictive pamphlet. For every past vote recording a scruple, is the pledge of a scruple still existing, though for the moment suppressed. Since the secession, nearly 450 new men may have entered the church. This supplementary body has probably diluted the strength of the revolutionary principles. But they also may, perhaps, have partaken to some extent in the contagion of these principles. True, there is this guarantee for caution, on the part of these new men, that as yet they are pledged to nothing; and that, seeing experimentally how fearfully many of their older brethren are now likely to be fettered by the past, they have every possible motive for reserve, in committing themselves, either by their votes or by their pens. In their situation, there is a special inducement to prudence, because there is a prospect, that for them prudence is in time to be effectual. But for many of the older men, prudence comes too late. They are already fettered. And what we are now pointing out to the attention of our readers, is, that by the past, by the absolute votes of the past, too sorrowfully it is made evident, that the Scottish church is deeply tainted with the principles of the secession. These germs of evil and of revolution, speaking of them in a personal sense, cannot be purged off entirely until one generation shall have passed away. But, speaking of them as principles capable of vegetation, these germs may or may not expand into whole forests of evil, according to the accidents of coming events, whether fitted to tranquillize our billowy aspects of society; or, on the other hand, largely to fertilize the many occasions of agitation, which political fermentations are too sure to throw off. Let this chance turn out as it may, we repeat for the information of Southerns—that the church, by shutting off the persons of particular agitators, has not shut off the principles of agitation; and that the cordon sanataire, supposing the spontaneous exile of the Non-intrusionists to be regarded in that light, was not drawn about the church until the disease had spread widely within the lines.

Past votes may not absolutely pledge a man to a future course of action; warned in time, such a man may stand neutral in practice; but thus far they poison the fountains of wholesome unanimity—that, if a man can evade the necessity of squaring particular actions to his past opinions, at least he must find himself tempted to square his opinions themselves, or his counsels, to such past opinions as he may too notoriously have placed on record by his votes.

But, if such are the continual dangers from reactions in the establishment, so long as men survive in that establishment who feel upbraided by past votes, and so long as enemies survive who will not suffer these upbraidings to slumber—dangers which much mutual forbearance and charity can alone disarm; on the other hand, how much profounder is the inconsistency to which the Free church is doomed!—They have rent the unity of that church, to which they had pledged their faith—but on what plea? On the plea, that in cases purely spiritual, they could not in conscience submit to the award of the secular magistrate. Yet how merely impracticable is this principle, as an abiding principle of action! Churches, that is, the charge of particular congregations, will be with them (as with other religious communities) the means of livelihood. Grounds innumerable will arise for excluding, or attempting to exclude, each other from these official stations. No possible form regulating the business of ordination, or of induction, can anticipate the infinite objections which may arise. But no man interested in such a case, will submit to a judge appointed by insufficient authority. Daily bread for his family, is what few men will resign without a struggle. And that struggle will of necessity come for final adjudication to the law courts of the land, whose interference in any question affecting a spiritual interest, the Free church has for ever pledged herself to refuse. But in the case supposed, she will not have the power to refuse it. She will be cited before the tribunals, and can elude that citation in no way but by surrendering the [pg 239] point in litigation; and if she should adopt the notion, that it is better for her to do that, than to acknowledge a sufficient authority in the court by pleading at its bar, upon this principle once made public, she will soon be stripped of every thing, and will cease to be a church at all. She cannot continue to be a depository of any faith, or a champion of any doctrines, if she lose the means of defending her own incorporations. But how can she maintain the defenders of her rights or the dispensers of her truths, if she refuses, upon immutable principle, to call in the aid of the magistrate on behalf of rights, which, under any aspect, regard spiritual relations? Attempting to maintain these rights by private arbitration within a forum of her own, she will soon find such arbitration not binding at all upon the party who conceives himself aggrieved. The issue will be as in Mr O'Connell's courts, where the parties played at going to law; from the moment when they ceased to play, and no longer "made believe" to be disputing, the award of the judge became as entire a mockery, as any stage mimicry of such a transaction.

This should be the natural catastrophe of the case, and the probable evasion of that destructive consummation, to which she is carried by her principles, will be—that, as soon as her feelings of rancour shall have cooled down these principles will silently drop out of use; and the very reason will be suffered to perish for which she ever became a dissenting body. With this however, we, that stand outside, are noways concerned. But an evil, in which we are concerned, is the headlong tendency of the Free church, and of all churches adulterating with her principle, to an issue not merely dangerous in a political sense, but ruinous n an anti-social sense. The artifice of the Free church lies in pleading a spiritual relation of any case whatever, whether of doing or suffering, whether positive or negative as a reason for taking it out of all civil control. Now we may illustrate the peril of this artifice, by a reality at this time impending over society in Ireland. Dr Higgins, titular bishop of Ardagh, has undertaken, upon this very plea of a spiritual power not amenable to civil control, a sort of warfare with Government, upon the question of their power to suspend or defeat the O'Connell agitation. For, says he, if Government should succeed in thus intercepting the direct power of haranguing mobs in open assemblies, then will I harangue them, and cause then to be harangued, in the same spirit, upon the same topics, from the altar or the pulpit. An immediate extension of this principle would be—that every disaffected clergyman in the three kingdoms, would lecture his congregation upon the duty of paying no taxes. This he would denominate passive resistance; and resistance to bad government would become, in his language, the most sacred of duties. In any argument with such a man, he would be found immediately falling back upon the principle of the Free church: he would insist upon it as a spiritual right, as a case entirely between his conscience and God, whether he should press to an extremity any and every doctrine, though tending to the instant disorganization of society. To lecture against war, and against taxes as directly supporting war, would wear a most colourable air of truth amongst all weak-minded persons. And these would soon appear to have been but the first elements of confusion under the improved views of spiritual rights. The doctrines of the Levellers in Cromwell's time, of the Anabaptists in Luther's time, would exalt themselves upon the ruins of society, if governments were weak enough to recognise these spiritual claims in the feeblest of their initial advances. If it were possible to suppose such chimeras prevailing, the natural redress would soon be seen to lie through secret tribunals, like those of the dreadful Fehmgericht in the middle ages. It would be absurd, however, seriously to pursue these anti-social chimeras through their consequences. Stern remedies would summarily crush so monstrous an evil. Our purpose is answered, when the necessity of such insupportable consequences is shown to link itself with that distinction upon which the Free church has laid the foundations of its own establishment. Once for all, there is no act or function belonging to an officer of a church, which is faces. [pg 240] And every examination of the case convinces us more and more that the Seceders took up the old papal distinction, as to acts spiritual or not spiritual, not under any delusion less or more, but under a simple necessity of finding some evasion or other which should meet and embody the whole rancour of the moment.

But beyond any other evil consequence prepared by the Free Church, is the appalling spirit of Jacobinism which accompanies their whole conduct, and which latterly has avowed itself in their words. The case began Jacobinically, for it began in attacks upon the rights of property. But since the defeat of this faction by the law courts, language seems to fail them, for the expression of their hatred and affected scorn towards the leading nobility of Scotland. Yet why? The case lies in the narrowest compass. The Duke of Sutherland, and other great landholders, had refused sites for their new churches. Upon this occurred a strong fact, and strong in both directions; first, for the Seceders; secondly, upon better information, against them. The Record newspaper, a religious journal, ably and conscientiously conducted, took part with the Secession, and very energetically; for they denounced the noble duke's refusal of land as an act of "persecution;" and upon this principle—that, in a county where his grace was pretty nearly the sole landed proprietor, to refuse land (assuming that a fair price had been tendered for it) was in effect to show such intolerance as might easily tend to the suppression of truth. Intolerance, however, is not persecution; and, if it were, the casuistry of the question is open still to much discussion. But this is not necessary; for the ground is altogether shifted when the duke's reason for refusing the land comes to be stated: he had refused it, not unconditionally, not in the spirit of Non-intrusion courts' "without reason shown," but on this unanswerable argument—that the whole efforts of the new church were pointed (and professedly pointed) to the one object of destroying the establishment, and "sweeping it from the land." Could any guardian of public interests, under so wicked a threat, hesitate as to the line of his duty? By granting the land to parties uttering such menaces, the Duke of Sutherland would have made himself an accomplice in the unchristian conspiracy. Meantime, next after this fact, it is the strongest defence which we can offer for the duke—that in a day or two after this charge of "persecution," the Record was forced to attack the Seceders in terms which indirectly defended the duke. And this, not in any spirit of levity, but under mere conscientious constraint. For no journal has entered so powerfully or so eloquently into the defence of the general principle involved in the Secession, (although questioning its expediency,) as this particular Record. Consequently any word of condemnation from so earnest a friend, comes against the Seceders with triple emphasis. And this is shown in the tone of the expostulations addressed to the Record by some of the Secession leaders. It spares us, indeed, all necessity of quoting the vile language uttered by members of the Free Church Assembly, if we say, that the neutral witnesses of such un-Christian outrages have murmured, remonstrated, protested, in every direction; and that Dr Macfarlane, who has since corresponded with the Duke of Sutherland upon the whole case—viz. upon the petition for land, as affected by the shocking menaces of the Seceders—has, in no other way, been able to evade the double mischief of undertaking a defence for the indefensible, and at the same time of losing the land irretrievably, than by affecting an unconsciousness of language used by his party little suited to his own sacred calling, or to the noble simplicities of Christianity. Certainly it is unhappy for the Seceders, that the only disavowal of the most fiendish sentiments heard in our days, has come from an individual not authorized, or at all commissioned by his party—from an individual not showing any readiness to face the whole charges, disingenuously dissembling the worst of them, and finally offering his very feeble disclaimer, which equivocates between a denial and a palliation—not until after he found himself in the position of a petitioner for favours.

[pg 241] Specifically the great evil of our days, is the abiding temptation, in every direction, to popular discontent, to agitation, and to systematic sedition. Now, we say it with sorrow, that from no other incendiaries have we heard sentiments so wild, fierce, or maliciously democratic, as from the leaders of the Secession. It was the Reform Bill of 1832, and the accompanying agitation, which first suggested the veto agitation of 1834, and prescribed its tone. From all classes of our population in turn, there have come forward individuals to disgrace themselves by volunteering their aid to the chief conspirators of the age. We have earls, we have marquesses, coming forward as Corn-League agents; we have magistrates by scores angling for popularity as Repealers. But these have been private parties, insulated, disconnected, disowned. When we hear of Christianity prostituted to the service of Jacobinism—of divinity becoming the handmaid to insurrection—and of clergymen in masses offering themselves as promoters of anarchy, we go back in thought to that ominous organization of irreligion, which gave its most fearful aspects to the French Revolution.

Other evils are in the rear as likely to arise out of the funds provided for the new Seceders, were the distribution of those funds confessedly unobjectionable, but more immediately under the present murmurs against that distribution. There are two funds: one subscribed expressly for the building of churches, the other limited to the "sustentation" of incumbents. And the complaint is—that this latter fund has been invaded for purposes connected with the first. The reader can easily see the motive to this injustice: it is a motive of ambition. Far more display of power is made by the annunciation to the world of six hundred churches built, than of any difference this way or that in the comfort and decorous condition of the clergy. This last is a domestic feature of the case, not fitted for public effect. But the number of the churches will resound through Europe. Meantime, at present, the allowance to the great body of Seceding clergy averages but £80 a-year; and the allegation is—that, but for the improper interference with the fund on the motive stated, it would have averaged £150 a-year. If any where a town parish has raised a much larger provision for its pastor, even that has now become a part of the general grievance. For it is said that all such special contributions ought to have been thrown into one general fund—liable to one general principle of distribution. Yet again, will even this fund, partially as it seems to have been divided, continue to be available? Much of it lies in annual subscriptions: now, in the next generation of subscribers, a son will possibly not adopt the views of his father; but assuredly he will not adopt his father's zeal. Here however, (though this is not probable,) there may arise some compensatory cases of subscribers altogether new. But another question is pressing for decision, which menaces a frightful shock to the schismatical church: female agency has been hitherto all potent in promoting the subscriptions; and a demand has been made in consequence—that women shall be allowed to vote in the church courts. Grant this demand—for it cannot be evaded—and what becomes of the model for church government as handed down from John Knox and Calvin? Refuse it, and what becomes of the future subscriptions?

But these are evils, it may be said, only for the Seceders. Not so: we are all interested in the respectability of the national teachers, whatever be their denomination: we are all interested in the maintenance of a high standard for theological education. These objects are likely to suffer at any rate. But it is even a worse result which we may count on from the changes, that a practical approximation is thus already made to what is technically known as Voluntaryism. The "United Secession," that is the old collective body of Scottish Dissenters, who, having no regular provision, are carried into this voluntary system, already exult that this consummation of the case cannot be far off. Indeed, so far as the Seceders are dependent upon annual subscriptions, and coupling that relation to the public with the great doctrine of these Seceders, that congregations are universally to appoint their own pastors, we do not [pg 242] see how such an issue is open to evasion. The leaders of the new Secession all protest against Voluntaryism: but to that complexion of things they travel rapidly by the mere mechanic action of their dependent (or semi-dependent) situation, combined with one of their two characteristic principles.

The same United Secession journal openly anticipates another and more diffusive result from this great movement; viz. the general disruption of church establishments. We trust that this anticipation will be signally defeated. And yet there is one view of the case which saddens us when we turn our eyes in that direction. Among the reasonings and expostulations of the Schismatic church, one that struck us as the most eminently hypocritical, and ludicrously so, was this: "You ought," said they, when addressing the Government, and exposing the error of the law proceedings, "to have stripped us of the temporalities arising from the church, stipend, glebe, parsonage, but not of the spiritual functions. We had no right to the emoluments of our stations, when the law courts had decided against us but we had a right to the laborious duties of the stations." No gravity could refuse to smile at this complaint—verbally so much in the spirit of primitive Christianity, yet in its tendency so insidious. For could it be possible that a competitor introduced by the law, and leaving the duties of the pastoral office to the old incumbent, but pocketing the salary, should not be hooted on the public roads by many who might otherwise have taken no part in the feud? This specious claim was a sure and brief way to secure the hatefulness of their successors. Now, we cannot conceal from ourselves that something like this invidious condition of things might be realized under two further revolutions. We have said, that a second schism in the Scottish church is not impossible. It is also but too possible that Puseyism nay yet rend the English establishment by a similar convulsion. But in such contingencies, we should see a very large proportion of the spiritual teachers in both nations actually parading to the public eye, and rehearsing something very like the treacherous proposal of the late Seceders, viz. the spectacle of one party performing much of the difficult duties, and another party enjoying the main emoluments. This would be a most unfair mode of recommending Voluntaryism. Falling in with the infirmities of many in these days, such a spectacle would give probably a fatal bias to that system in our popular and Parliamentary counsels. This would move the sorrow of the Seceders themselves: for they have protested against the theory of all Voluntaries with a vehemence which that party even complain of as excessive. Their leaders have many times avowed, that any system which should leave to men in general the estimate of their own religious wants as a pecuniary interest, would be fatal to the Christian tone of our national morals. Checked and overawed by the example of an establishment, the Voluntaries themselves are far more fervent in their Christian exertions than they could be when liberated from that contrast. The religious spirit of both England and Scotland under such a change would droop for generations. And in that one evil, let us hope, the remotest and least probable of the many evils threatened by the late schism, these nations would have reason by comparison almost to forget the rest.

[pg 243]


What could induce you, my dear Eusebius, to commit yourself into the hands of a portrait-painter? And so, you ask me to go with you. Are you afraid, that you want me to keep you in countenance, where I shall be sure to put you out? You ask too petitioningly, as if you suspected I should refuse to attend your execution; for you are going to be be-headed, and soon will it be circulated through your village, that you have had your head taken off: I will not go with you—it would spoil all. You are afraid to trust the painter. You think he may be a physiognomist, and will hit some characteristic which you would quietly let slip his notice; and you flatter yourself that I might help to mislead him. Are you afraid of being made too amiable, or too plain? No, no! You are not vain. Whence comes this vagary?—well, we shall all know in good time. Were I to be with you, I should talk—perhaps maliciously—on purpose to see how your features would unsettle and shift themselves to the vagrant humour, that though one would know another from habit, and their old acquaintanceship, the painter would never be able to keep them steadily together. I should laugh to see every lineament "going ahead," and art "non compos."

I will, however, venture to put down some plain directions how you are to sit. First, let me tell you how you are not to sit. Don't, in your horror of a sentimental amiable look, put on yourself the air of a Diogenes, or you will be like nothing human—and if you shun Diogenes, you may put on the likeness of a still greater fool. No man living can look more wise than you; but if you fall out with wisdom, or would in your whim throw contempt on it, no one can better play the fool. You are the laughing or crying Philosopher at pleasure—but sit as neither, for in either character you will set the painter's house in a roar. I fear the very plaster figures in it will set you off—to see yourself in such motley company, with Bacchus and Hercules, and Jupiter and Saturn, with his marble children to devour. You will look Homer and Socrates in the face; and I know will make antics, throw out, and show fight to the Gladiator. This may be, if your painter, as many of them do, affect the antique; but if he be another sort of guess person, it may be worse still with you. You may not have to make your bow to a Venus Anadyomene—but how will you be able to face the whole Muggletonian synod? Imagine the "Complete Body," from the Evangelical Magazine, framed and glazed, round the walls, and all looking at you in the condemned cell. Against this you must prepare; for many country artists prefer this line to the antique. It is their connexion—and should you make a mistake and go to the wrong man, you will most assuredly be added to the Convocation, if not put to head a controversy as frontispiece. It will be in vain for you to say, "Fronti nulla fides;" "[Greek: gnothi seauton]" before you get there, or nobody will know you. Take care lest your physiognomy be canvassed by many more besides the painter. Are you prepared to have your every lineament scrutinized by every body? to hear behind a screen the disparagement of your lips, your eyes thought deceitful, and, in addition, a sentence of general ugliness passed upon you? So you must stoop to paint-pots, have daubs of reds, and yellows, and greys perked up against your nose for comparison. Your man may be a fancy mesmerizer, or mesmerize you, now that it is flying about like an epidemic, without knowing it. If he can, he will surely do it, to keep you still: that is the way to get a good sitter. Eusebius in a coma! answering all comers, like one of the heads in the play of Macbeth! But I was to tell you how to sit—that is the way, get into a coma—that will be the painter's best chance of having you; or, when he has been working for hours, he may find you a Proteus, and that you have slipped through his fingers after all his toil to catch you. I will tell you what happened to a painter of my acquaintance. A dentist sat to him two days—the third the painter [pg 244] worked away very hard—looked at the picture, then at his sitter. "Why, sir," said he; "I find I have been all wrong—what can it be? Why, sir, your mouth is not at all like what it was yesterday." "Ah! ah! I will tell you vat it ees," replied the French dentist; "ah! good—my mouse is not de same—no indeed—yesterday I did have my jaw in, but I did lend it out to a lady this day." Don't you think of this now while you are sitting. You know the trick Garrick played the painter, who, foiled in his attempt, started up, and said—"You must be Garrick or the d——!" Then as to attitude, 'tis ten to one but you will be put into one which will be quite uncomfortable to you. One, perhaps, after a pattern. I should advise you to resist this—and sit easy—if you can. Don't put your hand in your waistcoat, and one arm akimbo, like a Captain Macheath, however he may entreat you; and don't be made looking up, like a martyr, which some wonderfully affect; and don't be made turn your head round, as if it was in disgust with the body; and don't let your stomach be more conspicuous than the head, like a cucumber running to seed. Don't let him put your arm up, as in command, or accompanied with a rapt look as if you were listening to the music of the spheres; don't thrust out your foot conspicuously, as if you meant to advertise the blacking. Some artists are given to fancy attitudes such as best set off the coats, they are but nature's journeymen at the faces; don't fancy that the cut, colour, or cloth of your coat will exempt you from the penalty of their practice. Why, Eusebius, they have lay-figures, and dress them just as you see them at the tailor's or perfumer's; and one of these things will be put up for you—a mannikin for Eusebius! In such hands the coat is by far the best piece of work, you may be sure your own won't be taken for a pattern. You will despise it when you see it, and it will be one you can never change—it will defy vamping. You may be at any time new varnished whenever after generations shall wish to see how like a dancing-master the old gentleman must have looked. It is enough to make you a dancing bear now to think of it. Others, again, equip you with fur and make you look as if you were in the Hudson's Bay Company. Luckily for you, flowered dressing-gowns are out, or you might have been represented a Mantelini. What can you be doing! It is difficult to put you in your positions. There are some that will turn you about and about a half an hour or more before they begin, as they would a horse at the fair—ay, and look in your mouth too. If they cannot get you otherwise into an attitude, they will shampoo you into one. And, remember, all this they will do, because they have not the skill to paint any one sitting quite easy. Don't have a roll in your hand—that always signifies a member of Parliament. Don't have your finger on a book—that would be a pedantry you could not endure. I cannot imagine what you will do with your hands. Ten to one, however, but the painter leaves then out or copies them out of some print when you are gone. This will be picking and stealing that you will have no hand in. What to do with any one's hands is a most difficult thing to say—too many do not know what to do with them themselves; and, under the suffering of sitting, I think you will be one of them. If there is a child in the room, you will be making rabbits with your fingers. Then you are at the mercy of the painter's privilege—the foreground and background. If you have the common fate, your head will be stuck upon a red curtain, a watered pattern. If your man has used up his carmine, you will be standing in a fine colonnade, waiting with the utmost patience for the burst of a thunder cloud that makes the marble column stand out conspicuously, and there will be a distant park scene; and thus you will represent the landed interest: or you will perhaps have your glove in your hand—a device adopted by some, to intimate that they are hand and glove with all the neighbouring gentry. And it is a common thing to have a new hat and a walking-cane upon a marble table. This shows the sitter has the use of his legs, which otherwise might be doubted, and is therefore judicious. If you are supposed to be in the open air, you will not know at first sight that you are [pg 245] so represented, until you have learned the painter's hieroglyphic for trees. You will find them to be angular sorts of sticks, with red and yellow flag-rags flapping about; and ten to one but you have a murky sky, and no hat on your head; but as to such a country as you ever walked in, or ever saw, don't expect to see such a one as a background to your picture, and you will readily console yourself that you are turning your back upon it. If you are painted in a library, books are cheap—so that the artist can afford to throw you in a silver inkstand into the bargain, and a pen—such a pen! the goose wouldn't know it that bred it—and perhaps an open letter to answer, with your name on the cover. If you are made answering the letter, that will never be like you—perhaps it would be more like if the letter should be unopened. Now, do not flatter yourself; Eusebius, that all these things are matters of choice with you. "Non omnia possumus omnes," is the regular rule of the profession; some stick to the curtain all their lives, from sheer inability to set it—to draw it aside. You remember the sign-painter that went about painting red lions, and his reply to a refractory landlord who insisted upon a white lamb. "You may have a white lamb if you please, but when all is said and done, it will be a great deal more like a red lion." And I am sorry to say, the faces too, are not unfrequently in this predicament, for they have a wonderful family likeness, and these run much by counties. A painter has often been known totally to fail, by quitting his beat. There is certainly an advantage in this; for if any gentleman should be so unfortunate as to have no ancestors, he may pick up at random, in any given county in England, a number that will very well match, and all look like blood-relations. There is an instance where this resemblance was greatly improved, by the advice of an itinerant of the profession, who, at a very moderate price, put wigs on all the Vandyks. And there you see some danger, Eusebius, that—be represented how you may—you are not sure of keeping your condition ten years; you may have, by that time, a hussar cap put upon your unconscious head. But portraits fare far worse than that.

I remember, when a boy, walking with an elderly gentleman, and passing a broker's stall, there was the portrait of a fine florid gentleman in regimentals; he stopped to look at it—he might have bought it for a few shillings. After we had gone away,—"that," said he, "is the portrait of my wife's great uncle—member for the county, and colonel of militia: you see how he is degraded to these steps." "Why do you not rescue him?" said I. "Because he left me nothing," was the reply. A relative of mine, an old lady, hit upon a happy device; the example is worth following. Her husband was the last of his race, for she had no children. She took all the family portraits out of their frames, rolled up all the pictures, and put them in the coffin with the deceased. No one was more honourably accompanied to the grave—and so he slept with his fathers. It has not, to be sure, Eusebius, much to do with your portrait, but thinking of these family portraits, one is led on to think of their persons, &c.; so I must tell you what struck me as a singular instance of the 'sic nos non nobis.' I went with a cousin, upon a sort of pilgrimage at some distance, to visit some family monuments. There was one large handsome marble one in the chancel. You will never guess how it had been treated. A vicar's wife had died, and the disconsolate widower had caused a square marble tablet, with the inscription of his wife's virtues, to be actually inserted in the Very centre of our family monument: and yet you, by sitting for your portrait, hope to be handed down unmutilated to generations to come,—yes, they will come, and you will be a mark for the boys to shoot peas at—that is, if you remain at all in the family—you may be transferred to the wench's garret, or the public-house, and have a pipe popped through the canvass into your mouth, to make you look ridiculous. I really think you have a chance of being purchased, to be hung up in the club parlour as pictorial president of the Odd-Fellows. Why should you be exempt from what kings are subject to? The "king's head" is a sign in many a [pg 246] highway, to countenance ill-living. You too, will be bought at a broker's—have your name changed without your consent—and be adopted into a family whereof you would heartily despise the whole kith and kin. If pride has not a fall in the portraits of the great and noble, where shall we find it?"

A painter once told me, that he assisted one of the meanest of low rich men, to collect some family portraits; he recommended to him a fine Velasquez. "Velasquez!—who's he?" said the head of his family. "It is a superb picture, sir—a genuine portrait by the Spaniard, and doubtless, of some Spanish nobleman. "Then," said he, "I won't have it; I'll have no Spanish blood contaminate my family, sir." "Spanish blood," rejected by the plebeian! I have known better men than you, Eusebius—excuse the comparison—vamped up and engraved upon the spur of the moment, for celebrated highwaymen or bloody murderers. But this digression won't help you out in your sitting. Let me see what the learned say upon the subject—what advice shall we get from the man of academies. Here we have him, Gerrard Larresse; you may be sure that he treats of portrait-painting, and with importance enough too. Here it is—"Of Portraiture." But that is far too plan. We must have an emblem:—

"Emblem touching the handling of portraits."

"Nature with her many breasts, is in a sitting posture. Near her stands a little child, lifting her garment off her shoulders. On the other side stands Truth, holding a mirror before her, wherein she views herself down to the middle, and is seemingly surprised at it. On the frame of this glass, are seen a gilt pallet and pencils. Truth has a book and palm branch in her hand." What do you think of that, Eusebius, for a position? But why Nature or Truth should be surprised at viewing herself down to the middle, I cannot imagine. It evidently won't do to surprise you in that manner. Poor Gerrard, I see, thinks it a great condescension in him to speak of portrait-painting at all; he calls it, "departing from the essence of art, and subjecting (the painter) to all the defects of nature." Hear that, Eusebius! you are to sit to be a specimen of the defects of nature. He is indignant that "such great masters as Vandyke, Lely, Van Loo, the old and young Bakker, and others," possessed of great talents, postponed what is noble and beautiful to what is more ordinary. There you are again, Eusebius, with your ordinary visage, unworthy such men as the old and young Bakker, whoever they were. But since there must be portraits, he could endure the method of the ancients, who, "used to cause those from whom the commonwealth had received extraordinary benefits, either in war or civil affairs, or for eminence in religion, to be represented in marble or metal, or in a picture, that the sight of them, by those honours, might be a spur to posterity to emulate the same virtues. This honour was first begun with their deities; afterwards it was paid to heroes, and of consequence to philosophers, orators, religious men, and others, not only to perpetuate their virtues, but also to embalm their names and memories. But now it goes further; a person of any condition whatsoever, have he but as much money as the painter asks, must sit for his picture. This is a great abuse, and sprung from as laudable a cause."

Are you not ashamed to sit after that? He is not, however, without his indulgences. He will allow something to a lover and a husband.

"Has a citizen's wife but an only babe? he is drawn at half a year old; at ten years old he sits again; and for the last time in his twenty-fifth year, in order to show her tender folly: and then she stands wondering how a man can so alter in that time. Is not this a weighty reason? a reprovable custom, if painters did not gain by it. But again, portraits are allowable, when a lover is absent from his mistress, that they may send each other their pictures, to cherish and increase their loves; a man and wife parted so may do the same." You undertake, you perceive, a matter of some responsibility—you must account to your conscience for the act of sitting for your picture. Then there is a chapter upon defects, which, as I suppose he presumes people don't know [pg 247] themselves, he catalogues pretty fully, till you are quite out of humour with poor human nature. The defects are "natural ones—accidental ones—usual ones." Natural—"a wry face, squint eyes, wry mouth, nose," &c. Accidental. "Loss of an eye, a cut on the cheek, or other part of the face, pits of the small-pox and the like." Usual. "Contraction of the eyes and mouth, or closing or gaping of the latter, or drawing it in somewhat to this or that side, upwards or downwards," &c. As for other bodily infirmities, how many have wry necks, hunchbacks, bandy legs—withered or short arms, or one shorter than another; dead or lame hands or fingers." Now, are you so sure of the absence of all these defects, that you venture? You must think yourself an Adonis, and not think that you are to be flattered, by having any very considerable number of your defects hid. "The necessary ones ought to be seen, because they help the likeness; such as a wry face, squint eyes, low forehead, thinness, and fatness; a wry neck, too short or too long a nose; wrinkles between the eyes; ruddiness or paleness of the cheeks, or lips; pimples or warts about the mouth; and such like." After this, it is right you should know that "Nature abhors deformity." Nay, that we always endeavour to hide our own—and which do you mean to hide, or do you intend to come out perfect? I daresay you can discover some little habits of your own, Eusebius, free from vanity as you are, that tend to these little concealments! Do you remember how a foolish man lost a considerable sum of money once, by forgetting this human propensity? He had lost some money to little K—— of Bath, the deformed gambler—and being netted at his loss, thought to pique the winner. "I'll wager," said he, "£50, I'll point out the worst leg in company."—"Done," said K—— to his astonishment. "The man does not know himself," thought he, for there sat K—— crouched up all shapes by the fireside. The wagerer, to win his bet, at once cried, "Why, that," pointing to K——'s leg, which was extended towards the grate. "No," said K—— quietly unfolding the other from beneath the chair, and showing it, "that's worse." By which you may learn the fact—that every man puts his best leg foremost. But we must not quit our friend Gerard yet. I like his grave conceit. I rejoice to find him giving the painters a rap over their knuckles. He says, Eusebius, that they are fond of having "smutty pictures" in their rooms; and roundly tells them, that though fine pictures are necessary, there is no need of their having such subjects as "Mars and Venus, and Joseph and Potiphar's Wife." Now, though I do not think our moderns offend much in this respect—the hint is good—and some exhibit studies from models about their rooms, that evidently sat without their stays. Gerard was the man for contrivances—here is a capital one. He does not quite approve of painting a wooden leg; but if it be to be done, see with what skill even that in the hands of a Gerard may be dignified—and the painter absolved, "lege solutus." "But if the hero insist upon the introducing of such a leg, on a supposition that 'tis an honour to have lost a limb in his country's service, the painter must then comply with his desires; or else contrive it lying on a table covered with red velvet." But capital as this is, it is not all. He quite revels in contrivances; "if he desire it after the antique manner, it must be contrived in a bas-relief, wherein the occasion of it may be represented; or it may hang near him on a wall, with its buckles and straps, as is done in hunting equipages; or else it may be placed among the ornaments of architecture, to be more in view." You see he scorns to hide it—has worked up his imagination to conceive all possible ways of showing it; depend upon it he longed to paint a wooden leg, to which the face should be the appendage, the leg the portrait. "Hoc ligno," not "hoc signo vinces." But here Gerard bounces—giving an instance of a gentleman "who, being drawn in little, and comparing the smallness of the eyes with his own, asked the painter whether he had such? However, in complaisance, and for his pleasure, he desired that one eye at least might be as big as his own, the other to remain as it was." Fie, Gerard! you have spoiled your emblem by taking the mirror out of truth's hand.

[pg 248] He is particular about postures and backgrounds. "It will not be improper to treat also about easiness and sedateness in posture, opposed to stir and bustle, and the contrary—namely, that the picture of a gentlewoman of repute, who, in a grave and sedate manner, turns towards that of her husband, hanging near it, gets a great decorum by moving and stirring hind-works, whether by means of waving trees, or crossing architecture of stone and wood, or any thing else that the master thinks will best contrast, or oppose, the sedate posture of his principal figure." Here you see Eusebius, how hind-works tend to keep up a bustle! "And because these are things of consequence, and may not be plainly apprehended by every one," he explains himself by ten figures in one plate—and such figures! As a sitter, he would place you very much above the eye—that is, technically speaking, adopt a low horizon; "because—the because is a because—because it's certain that when we see any painted figure, or object, in a place where the life can be expected, as standing on the ground, leaning over a balcony or balustrade, or out at a window, &c., it deceives the eye, and by being seen unawares, (though expected,) causes sometimes a pleasing mistake; or it frightens and surprises others, when they meet with it unexpectedly, at such places as aforesaid, and where there is any likelihood for it." Your artist will probably put you on an inverted box, and sitting in a great chair, probably covered with red morocco leather, in which you will not be at home, and in any manner comfortable. We see this deal box sometimes converted into a marble step, as a step to a throne, and such it is in one of the pictures of the Queen; but it is so ill coloured, that it looks for all the world like a great cheese; it should be sent to the farmers who made the Queen the cheese present, to show the pride of England walking upon the "fat of the land." He presents us with many methods of showing the different characters of persons to be painted, some of which will be novel to you. For instance, you would not expect directions to represent a secretary of state with the accompaniments of a goose. "With a secretary the statue of Harpocrates, and in tapestry or bas-relief, the story of Alexander shutting Hephæstion's mouth with a seal-ring; also the emblem of fidelity, or a goose with a stone in its bill." Methinks the director, or governor, of the East India Company, must look very small beside his bedizened accessory, meant to represent Company. "She is to be an heroine with a scollop of mother-of-pearl on her head, in the nature of an helmet, and thereon a coral branch; a breast ornament of scales; pearls and corals about her neck; buskins on her legs, with two dolphins conjoined head to head, adorned with sea-shells; two large shells on her shoulders, a trident in her hand, and her clothing a long mantle; a landskip behind her of an Indian prospect, with palm and cocoa trees, some figures of blacks, and elephant's teeth. This figure also suits an admiral, or commander at sea, when a sea-fight is introduced instead of a landskip." Such a figure may, indeed, be more at home at sea, and such a one may have been that famous lady, whose captain so "very much applauded her," and

"Made her the first lieutenant

Of the gallant Thunder Bomb."

Not a painter of the present day, it seems, knows how to paint the clergy. Mr Pickersgill has done quite common things, and simply shown the cloth and the band—that is poor device. See how Gerard would have it done. Every clergyman should be a Dr Beattie. "With a divine agrees the statue of truth, represented in a Christian-like manner, or else this same emblem in one of his hands, and his other on his breast, besides tapestries, bas-reliefs, or paintings, and some Christian emblems of the true faith; and representation of the Old and New Testament—in the offskip a temple." All the portraits of the great duke are defective, inasmuch as none of them have "Mars in a niche," or Victory sitting on a trophy, or a statue of Hercules. You probably have no idea what a great personage is a "sea-insurer." He is accompanied by Arion on a dolphin; and in a picture a sea-haven, with a ship under sail making towards it; on the shore the [pg 249] figure of Fortune, and (who are, think you, the "supercargoes?") over the cargo "Castor and Pollux." In this mode of portrait-painting it would be absolutely necessary to go back to the old plan of putting the names underneath the personages; and even then, though you write under such, this is Castor, this Pollux, and this the sea-insurer, it will ever puzzle the whole ship's crew to conjecture how they came there together. Gerard admits we cannot paint what we have not seen, and by example rather condemns his own recommendations. Fewer have seen Castor and Pollux, than have seen a lion, and he says men cannot paint what they have not seen. "As was the case of a certain Westphalian, who, representing Daniel in the lions' den, and having never seen a lion, he painted hogs instead of lions, and wrote underneath, 'These should be lions.'"

By this time, Eusebius, you ought to know how to sit, if you have not made up your mind not to sit at all. You need not, however, be much alarmed about the emblems—modern masters cut all that matter short. They won't throw in any superfluous work, you may be sure of that, unless you should sit to Landseer, and he will paint your dog, and throw in your superfluous self for nothing. You would be like Mercury with the statuary, mortified to find his own image thrown into the bargain.

Besides your own defects, you have to encounter the painter's. His unsteady, uncertain hand, may add an inch to your nose before you are aware of it. It is quite notorious that few painters paint both eyes of the same size; and after your utmost efforts to look straight in his face, he may make you squint for ever, and not see that he has done so. Unless he be himself a sensible man, he will be sure to make you look like a fool. Then, what is like to-day will be unlike to-morrow. His megillups will change, so that in six months you may look like a copper Indian; or the colours may fade, and leave you the ghost of what you were. Again, he may paint you lamentably like, odiously like, yet give you a sinister expression, or at least an unpleasant one. Then, if you remonstrate, he is offended; if you refuse to take it, he writes you word that if not paid for and removed by next Tuesday, he will add a tail to it, and dispose of it to Mr Polito. Did not Hogarth do something of this kind? If he please himself he may not satisfy you, and if you are satisfied, none of your friends are, who take an opportunity of the portrait to say sarcastic things of you. For in that respect you may be most like your picture, or it most like you, for every body will have some fault to find with it. Why, don't you remember but last year some friends poked out the eye from a portrait, even after it had been on the exhibition walls. Then, what with the cleaning and varnishing, you have to go through as many disorders as when you were a child. You will have the picture-cleaner's measles. It was not long ago, I saw a picture in a most extraordinary state; and, on enquiry, I found that the cook of the house had rubbed it over with fat of bacon to make it bear out, and that she had learned it at a great house, where there is a fine collection, which are thus bacon'd twice every year. You are sure not to keep even your present good looks, but will become smoked and dirty. Then must you be cleaned, and there is an even chance that in doing it they put out at least one of your eyes, (I saw both eyes taken out of a Correggio,) and the new one to be put in will never match the other. The ills that flesh is heir to, are nothing to the ills its representative is heir to. At best, the very change of fashion in dress will make you look quizzical in a few years. For you are going to sit when dress is most unbecoming, and it is only by custom that the eye is reconciled to it, so that all the painted present generation must look ridiculous in the eyes of posterity. Don't have your name put on the canvass; then you may console yourself that, in all these mortal chances and changes, whatever happens to it, you will not be known. I have one before me now with the name and all particulars in large gilt letters. Happily this ostentation is out; you may therefore hope, when the evil day comes, fallere, to escape notice. I hope the painter will give you that bold audacious look which [pg 250] may stare the beholder in the face, and deny your own identity; no small advantage, for doubtless the "[Greek: sêmata lugra]" of Bellerophon was but his portrait, which, by a hang-look expression, intimatd death. Your painter may be ignorant of phrenology, and, without knowing it, may give you some detestable bumps; and your picture may be borrowed to lecture upon, at inns and institutions, and anecdotes rummaged up or forged, to match the painter's doing—the bumps he has given you.

You must not, however, on this account, think too ill of the poor painter. He is subject to human infirmities—so are you—and his hand and eye are not always in tune. He has, too, to deal with all sorts of people—many difficult enough to please. You know the fable of the painter who would please everybody, and pleased nobody. You sitters are a whimsical set, and most provokingly shift your features and position, and always expect miracles, at a moment, too; you are here to-day, and must be off to-morrow. It is nothing, to you that paint won't dry for you, so even that must be forced, and you are rather varnished in than painted, and no wonder if your faces go to pieces, and you become mealy almost as soon as you have had the life's blood in you, and that with the best carmine. And often you take upon yourselves to tell the painter what to do, as if you knew yourselves better than he, though he has been staring at nothing but you for an hour or two at a time, perhaps. You ask him, too, perpetually what feature he is now doing, that you may call up a look. You screw up your mouths, and try to put all the shine you can into your eyes, till, from continual effort, they look like those of a shotten herring; and yet you expect all to be like what you are in your ordinary way. After he has begun to paint your hair, you throw it about with your hands in all directions but the right, and all his work is to begin over again. You have no notion how ignorant of yourselves you are. I happened to call, some time since, upon a painter with whom I am on intimate terms. I found him in a roar of laughter, and quite alone. "What is the matter?" said I. "Matter!" replied he; "why, here has Mr B. been sitting to me these four days following, and at last, about half an hour ago, he, sitting in that chair, puts up his hand to me, thus, with 'Stop a moment, Mr Painter; I don't know whether you have noticed it or not, but it is right that I should tell you that I have a slight cast in my eye.' You know Mr B., a worthy good man, but he has the very worst gimlet eye I ever beheld." Yes, and only slightly knew it, Eusebius. And I have to say, he thought his defect wondrously exaggerated, when, for the first time, he saw it on canvas; and perhaps all his family noticed it there, whom custom had reconciled into but little observation of it, and the painter was considered no friend of the family. For the poor artist is expected to please all down to the youngest child, and perhaps that one most, for she often rules the rest. And people do not too much consider the feelings of painters. I knew an artist, a great humorist, who spent much time at the court at Lisbon. He had to paint a child, I believe the Prince of the Brazils. I remember, as if I saw him act the scene but yesterday, and it is many years ago. Well, the maid of honour, or whatever was her title, brought the child into the room, and remained some time, but at length left him alone with the painter. When he found himself only in this company, his pride took the alarm. He put on great airs, frowned, pouted, looked disdainful, superbly swelling, and got off the chair, retreating slowly, scornfully. The artist, who was a great mimic, imitated his every gesture, and, with some extravagance, frowned as he frowned, swelled as he swelled, blew out his breath as the child did, advanced as he retreated, till the child at length found himself pinned in the corner, at which the artist put on such a ridiculous expression, that risible nature could stand it no longer; pride was conquered by humour, and from that hour they were on the most familiar terms. It was not an ill-done thing of our Henry VIII. when he made one of his noble courtiers apologize to Holbein for some slight, bidding him, at the same time, to know that he could make a hundred such [pg 251] as he, but it was past his power to make a Holbein. And you know how a great monarch picked up Titian's pencil which had fallen. How greatly did Alexander honour Apelles, in that he would suffer none else to paint his portrait. And when the painter, by drawing his Campaspe, fell in love with her, he presented her to him. It is a bad policy, Eusebius, to put slights upon these men—and it is more, it is ungenerous; they may revenge themselves upon you whenever they please, and give you a black eye too, that will never get right again. They can in effigy, put every limb out of joint; and you being no anatomist, may only see that you look ill, and know not where you went wrong. All you sitters expect to be flattered, and very little flattery do you bestow. Perversely, you won't even see your own likenesses. Take, for instance, the following scene, which I had from a miniature painter:—A man upwards of forty years of age, had been sitting to him—one of as little pretensions as you can well imagine; you would have thought it impossible that he could have had an homoeopathic proportion of vanity—of personal vanity at least; but it turned out otherwise. He was described as a greasy bilious man, with a peculiarly conventicle aspect—that is, one that affects a union of gravity and love. "Well, sir," said the painter, "that will do—I think I have been very fortunate in your likeness." The man looks at it, and says nothing, puts on an expression of disappointment. "What! don't you think it like, sir?" says the artist. "Why—ye-ee-s, it is li-i-ke—but——" "But what sir?—I think it exactly like. I wish you would tell me where it is not like?" "Why, I'd rather you should find it out yourself. Have the goodness to look at me."—And here my friend the painter declared, that he put on a most detestably affected grin of amiability.—"Well, sir, upon my word, I don't see any fault at all; it seems to me as like as it can be; I wish you'd be so good as to tell me what you mean." "Oh, sir, I'd rather not—I'd rather you should find it out yourself—look again." "I can't see any difference, sir; so if you don't tell me, it can't be altered." "Well then, with reluctance, if I must tell you, I don't think you have given my sweet expression about the eyes." Oh, Eusebius, Eusebius, what a mock you would have made of that man; you would have flouted his vanity about his ears for him gloriously; I would have given a crown to have had him sit to you, and you should have let me be by, to attend your colours. How we would have bedaubed the fellow before he had left the room, with his sweet eyes! But there, your patient painter must endure all that, and not give a hint that he disagrees in the opinion: or if he speak his mind on the occasion, he may as well quit the town, for under the influence of those sweet eyes, nor man, woman, nor child, will come to sit to him. And consider, Eusebius, their misery in having such sitters at all. They are not Apollos, and Venuses, nor Adonises, that knock at painters' doors. Not one in a hundred has even a tolerably pleasant face. I certainly once knew a rough-dealing artist, who told a gentleman very plainly—"Sir, I do not paint remarkably ugly people." But he came to no good. Not but that a clever fellow might do something of this kind with management, with good effect; get the reputation of being a painter of "beauties," with a little skill, make beauties of every body, and stoutly maintain that he never will have any others sit to him. I am not quite certain, that something of this kind has been practised, or I do not think I should have the art to invent it. All those who sit during a courtship, to present their portraits as lovers, I look upon it come as professed cheats, and mean to be most egregiously flattered; and if the thing succeeds through the painter's skill, within six months after the marriage, he, the painter, is called the cheat, and the portrait not in the least like. So easy is it to get out of repute, by doing your best to please them with a little flattery. You will never get into a book of beauty, Eusebius. Hitherto, the list runs in the female line. The male will soon come in, depend upon it.

Have a little pity upon the poor artist, who would, but cannot, flatter—who is conscious of his inability to put in those blandishments that shall give a grace to ugliness—from whose [pg 252] hand unmitigated ugliness becomes uglier—who, at length, driven from towns, where people begin to see this, as a dauber, takes refuge among the farm houses; at first paints the farmers and their wives, their ugly faces stretching to the very edge of the frames, and is at last reduced to paint the favourite cow, or the fat ox—the prodigal (alas! no; the simply miserable, in mistaking his profession) feeding the swine, and with them, and they not over-proud of his doings. Then there is another poor, self-deluded character among the tribe. I have the man in my eye at this moment. It is not long since I paid him a visit to see a great historical composition, which I had been requested to look at. It was the most miserable of all miserable daubs; yet so conspicuously set off with colours and hardness, that the eye could not escape it. It was a most determined eye-sore. The quiet, the modest demeanour of the young man at first deceived me; I ventured to find some trifling fault. The artist was up—still his manner was quiet—somewhat, in truth, contemptuously so; but, as for modesty, I doubt not he was modest in every other matter relating to himself; but, in art, he as calmly talked of himself, Michael Angelo, and Raffaelle, as a trio—that two had obtained immortality of fame, and that he sought the same, and, he trusted, by the same means, and believed with similar powers: as calmly did he speak in this manner, as if it were a thing long settled in his own mind and in fate—and in the manner of an indulgent communication. He lamented the lack of taste and knowledge in the world; that so little was real art appreciated, that he was obliged to submit to the drudgery of portrait. Submit!—and such portraits. Poor fellow! how long will he get sitters to submit? I have recently heard the fate of one of his great compositions. He had persuaded the vicar and church-wardens of a parish to accept a picture. He attended the putting it up. It was a fine old church. With the quietest conceit, he had a fine east window blocked up to receive the picture—had the tables of Commandments mutilated, and thrust up in a corner—damaged the wall to give effect to the picture—and really believed that he was conferring an honour and benefit upon the parishioners and the county. Soon, however, men of better taste and sense began to cry out. The incumbent died. His successor related to me the shocking occurrence of the picture. He had it removed, and the damage done to the edifice repaired. And what became of the grand historical? The church-warden alone, who, in the pride of his heart and ignorance, had paid the poor artist for the colours, gladly took the picture. His account of it was, that it was so powerful in his small room, as to affect several ladies to tears—and that he had covered it with a thin gauze, to keep down the fierceness of the sentiment; for it was too affecting. Now, here is a man, who, if you should happen to sit to him, will think it the greatest condescension to take your picture, and will paint you such as you never would wish to be seen or known. There is a predilection now for schools of design; and the world will teem with these poor creatures.

Many there are, however, who, having considerable ability, have much to struggle against—who love the profession of art, and with that unaccountable giving themselves up to it, are quite unfit for any other occupation in life, yet, from adverse circumstances—ill health, strange temperaments—do not succeed. Many years ago, I knew a very interesting young man, and a very industrious one, too, of very considerable ability as a painter, but not, at that time, of portraits. While hard at work, getting just enough to live by, he was seized with an illness that threatened rapid consumption. The kind physician who gratuitously visited him, told him one day—"You cannot live here. I do not say that you have a year of safety in this climate, or a month of safety, but you have not weeks. You must instantly go to a warmer climate." Ill, and without means, beyond the few pounds he could gather from his hasty breaking-up, he had courage to look on the cheerful side of things, and went off in the first vessel to the West Indies. I saw him afterwards. He gave me a history of his adventures. He went [pg 253] from island to island—became portrait-painter—a painter of scenes—of any thing that might offer; by good conduct, urbanity, gentleness, and industry, was respected, liked, and patronized; lived, and sent home a thousand pounds or two—came to England to see his friends for a few months. I saw him on his way to them. He was then in health and spirits—told me the many events of the few years—and in six weeks the climate killed him. But the anecdote of his turning portrait-painter is what I have to tell. On the passage, they touched at one of the islands, and he found but very little money in his pocket; and, while others went off to hotels, or estates of friends, he went his way quietly to seek out cheap lodgings. He found such, which the good woman told him he could have in three hours. He afterwards learned that she waited that time for the then tenant to die in the bed which he was to occupy. Walking away to pass the time, he met some of his fellow passengers, who asked him if he had been to see the governor. He had not. They told him it was necessary he should go. So thither he went. Now, the governor asked him, "What brought him out to the West Indies?" He replied, that he came as an artist. "An artist!" said the governor. "That is a novelty indeed. Have you any specimens? I should like to see them." Now, among his things, he had a miniature of himself, painted by a man who attained eminence in the profession, and whom I knew well. Here, with an ingenuousness characteristic of the man, he acknowledged to me how, starvation staring him in the face, he stared in the governor's; and the governor being rather a hard-featured man, whose likeness, though he had never taken a portrait, he thought he could hit; when the governor admired the miniature, and asked him, "If it was his?" he did not resist the temptation, and said, "Yes." Upon which the governor sat to him. Then others sat to him; and so he left the island, with a replenished purse, and from that time became a portrait-painter. If the poor fellow had been the veriest dauber, you, Eusebius, would have sat to him twenty times over, and have told all the country round quite as great a fib as he did the governor, that he was a very Raffaelle in outline, and Titian in coloring. And what shall the "recording angel" do? Poor fellow! he had no conceit.

But you, Eusebius, need not trust or give your countenance, in the way of the art to any man because you like his history or his manners. A thing you are very likely to do in spite of this advice, though you multiply portraits for "Saracen's Heads."

Foolish artists themselves, who affect to talk of the great style, and set themselves up as geniuses, speak slightingly of portrait-painting, as degrading—as pandering to vanity, &c. I verily believe, that half this common cant arose from jealousy of Sir Joshua Reynolds. Degradation indeed! —as if Raffaelle and Titian, and Vandyk and Reynolds, degraded the art, or were degraded by their practice; and as to pandering to vanity—view it in another light, and it is feeding affection.

I knew a painter, who honourably refused to paint a lady's picture, when he waited upon her on purpose, sent by some injudicious friends to take her portrait in her last days. She had been a woman of great celebrity—she received the painter—but, with a weakness, pointed first to one side of the room where were portraits of earls and bishops, saying, "these are or were all my particular friends"—and then to the other side of the room, to a well filled library—"and these are all my works." "Now," said the painter to me, "I did not think it fair to her reputation to take her portrait—and she had had many taken at better times." Here was one who would not pander to vanity. After all, it is astonishing how few flattering painters there have been. Even he who made Venus, Minerva, and Juno, starting with astonishment at the presence of Queen Elizabeth, certainly made her by far the ugliest of the quartette. You may see the picture at Hampton Court. She must have been difficult to please, for she insisted upon being painted without shadow. "Glorious Gloriana" was to be the sun of female beauty. She is quite as well as some in "The Book." For modern "beauty" manufacturers make [pg 254] beauty to consist in silliness or sentimentality.

Do you believe in the story of the origin of portrait—the Grecian maid and her lover? I cannot—for I have often tried my hand, and such frights were the result, that it would have been a cure for love.

For lack of the art of portrait-painting, we have really no idea what mankind were like before the time of our Eighth Harry. What we see could not possibly be likenesses, because they are not humanity. But in Holbein's heads, such as the royal collection, published by Chamberlaine, we begin to see what men and women were. What our early Henrys and Edwards were: what the court or the people were, we cannot know; they are buried in the night of art, like the brave who lived before the time of Agamemnon. Perhaps it is quite as well—"omne ignotum pro mirifico"—and who would lose the pleasure of wonder and conjecture, with all its imaginary phantasmagoria? We might have a mesmeric coma that might put us in possession of the past, if it can of the future—and gratify curiosity wofully at the expense of what is more valuable than that kind of truth. A mesmeric painter may take the portrait of Helen of Troy, and you may knock at your twenty neighbours' doors, and find perhaps a greater beauty, especially if chronology be trusted as to her age at the Trojan war. Would you like to see a veritable portrait of Angelica—or of your Orlando in his madness?

The great portrait-painter—the sun, in his diurnal course all over the world, may be, for aught we know, photographing mankind, and registering us, too; and, if we are to judge from the specimens we do see, the collection cannot be very flattering. Who dares call the sun a flatterer?

"... Solem quis dicere falsum


At the very moment that you are sitting to your man, to be set off with smirk and smile and the graces of art, you are perhaps making a most formidable impression elsewhere. You would not like to

"Look upon this picture, and on this."

Some poor country people have an unaccountable dislike to having their portraits taken. Savages think them second selves, and that may be bewitched and punished; possibly something of this feeling may be at the bottom of the dislike. I was once sketching in a country village, and an old woman went by, and I put her into the picture. Some, looking over me, called out to her that her likeness was taken. She cried, because she had not her best cap and gown on. I was once positively driven from a cottage door, because a woman thought I was "taking her off." I know not but that it was a commendable wish in the old woman to appear decent before the world, and so might have been the fine lady's wish—

"Betty, put on a little red,

One surely need not look a fright when dead."

We choose to be satirical, and call it vanity; but put both anecdotes into tolerably good grave Latin, and name them Portia and Lucretia, and we should have as fine a sentiment as the boasted one of the hero endeavouring to fall decently. There may be but little difference, and that only just what we, in our humours, choose to make it. I am sure you, Eusebius, will stand up for the old village crone, and the fine lady, too. But the fraternity of the brush, if they do now and then promote vanity, much more commonly gratify affection. Private portraits seem to me to be things so sacred, that they ought not to survive the immediate family or friends for whose gratification they are painted. I much like the idea of burying them at last. I will show you how estimable these things sometimes are. You remember a portrait I have—a gentleman in a dress of blue and gold—in crayon. Did I ever tell you the anecdote respecting him? If not, you shall have it, as I had from my father. If you recollect the picture, you must recollect that it is of a very handsome man. His horses took fright, the carriage was overturned, and he was killed upon the spot. The property came to my father. One day an unknown lady, in a handsome equipage, stopped at his door, and, in an interview with him, requested a portrait of this very person, not the one you have seen, but [pg 255] another in oil-colour, and of that the head only. My father cut it out, and gave it to her. Many, many years afterwards it was returned to him by an unknown hand, with an account of the accident that caused the death, pasted on the back; and it is now in my possession. The lady was never known. No, Eusebius, we must not deny portrait-painters, nor portrait painting. It is the line in which we excel—and that we have above all others patronized, and had great men too arise from our encouragement—Who are so rich in Vandyks as we are? And some we have had better than the world allowed them to be—Sir Peter Lely was occasionally an admirable painter—though Sir Joshua did say, "We must go beyond him now." There was Sir Joshua himself, and Gainsborough—would that either were alive to take you, Eusebius, though I were to pay for the sitting. I think too, that I should have given the preference to Gainsborough—it would have been so true. Did you ever see his portrait of Foote?—so unaffected—it must be like. I won't be invidious by naming any, where we have so many able portrait-painters—but if you have not fixed upon your man, come to me, and I will tell half-a-dozen, and we will go to them, and you shall judge for yourself—and if you like miniature, there are those who will make what is small great. What wonderful power Cooper had in this way. I recently had in my hands a wondrous and marvellous portrait of Andrew Marvell by him. The sturdy honest Andrew. This man Cooper, had such wonderful largeness of style, of execution too, even in his highest finished small oil pictures—such as in this of Andrew Marvell. We had an age, certainly, of very bad taste, and it was not extinct in the days of Sir Joshua and Gainsborough; nay, sometimes under both of these, I am sorry to say, it was even made worse. The age of shepherds and shepherdesses—in the case of Gainsborough, brought down to downright rustics. This, of making the sitters affect to be what they were not, was bad enough—and it was any thing but poetical. But it was infinitely worse in the itinerants of the day—and is very well ridiculed by Goldsmith, who lived much among painters, in his Vicar of Wakefield and family sitting for the family picture. We have happily quite got out of that folly. But we are getting into one of most unpoetical pageantry—portrait likenesses. We have not seen yet a good portrait of Wellington, and the Queen, or the Prince; and if they must send their portraits to foreign courts, let them be advised to learn, if they know not yet how, and we are told they do, to paint them themselves. Montaigne tells us, that he was present one day at Bar-le-duc, when King Francis the Second, for a memorial of Réné, King of Sicily, was presented with a picture the king had drawn of himself. Some how or other, kings and queens are apt to have too many trappings about them; and the man is often chosen to paint, who paints velvets and satins best, and faces the worst. That is the reason we have them so ill done; and even if the faces are well painted, they are overpowered by the ostentation of the dress. Now, the Venetian portrait-painters contrived to keep down the glare of all this ornament, to make it even more rich, but not obtruding. I remember seeing a portrait of our queen, where, in a large bonnet, her face looked like a small pip in the midst of an orange. It would be a good thing, too, if you could contrive to spend a week or so in company with your painter before you sit, that he may know you. Many a characteristic may he lose, for want of knowing that it is a characteristic; and may give you that in expression which does not belong to you, while he may miss "your sweet expression about your eyes." He may purse up your large and generous mouth, because you may screw it for a moment to keep some ill-timed conceit from bolting out, and, besides missing that noble feature, may give you an expression of a caution that is not yours. A painter the other day, as I am assured, in a country town, made a great mistake in a characteristic, and it was discovered by a country farmer. It was the portrait of a lawyer—an attorney, who, from humble pretensions, had made a good deal of money, and enlarged thereby his pretensions, but somehow or other not very much [pg 256] enlarged his respectability. To his pretensions was added that of having his portrait put up in the parlour, as large as life. There it is, very flashy and very true—one hand in his breast, the other in his small-clothes' pocket. It is market-day—the country clients are called in—opinions are passed—the family present, and all complimentary—such as, "Never saw such a likeness in the course of all my born days. As like 'un as he can stare." "Well, sure enough, there he is." But at last—there is one dissentient! "'Tain't like—not very—no, 'tain't," said a heavy middle-aged farmer, with rather a dry look, too, about his mouth, and a moist one at the corner of his eye, and who knew the attorney well. All were upon him. "Not like!—How not like? Say where is it not like?" "Why, don't you see," said the man, "he's got his hand in his breeches' pocket. It would be as like again if he had his hand in any other body's pocket." The family portrait was removed, especially as, after this, many came on purpose to see it; and so the attorney was lowered a peg, and the farmer obtained the reputation of a connoisseur.

But it is high time, Eusebius, that I should dismiss you and portrait-painting, or you will think your thus sitting to me worse than sitting for your picture; which picture, if it be of my Eusebius as I know him and love him, will ever be a living speaking likeness, but if it be one but of outward feature and resemblance, it will soon pass off to make up the accumulation of dead lumber—while do you, Eusebius, as you are, vive valeque.


Wouldst thou be friend of mine?—

Thou must be quick and bold

When the right is to be done,

And the truth is to be told;

Wearing no friend-like smile

When thine heart is hot within,

Making no truce with fraud or guile,

No compromise with sin.

Open of eye and speech,

Open of heart and hand,

Holding thine own but as in trust

For thy great brother-band.

Patient and stout to bear,

Yet bearing not for ever;

Gentle to rule, and slow to bind,

Like lightning to deliver!

True to thy fatherland,

True to thine own true love;

True to thine altar and thy creed,

And thy good God above.

But with no bigot scorn

For faith sincere as thine,

Though less of form attend the prayer,

Or more of pomp the shrine;

Remembering Him who spake

The word that cannot lie,

"Where two or three in my name meet

There in the midst am I!"

I bar thee not from faults—

God wot, it were in vain!

Inalienable heritage

Since that primeval slain!

The wisest have been fools—

The surest stumbled sore:

Strive thou to stand—or fall'n arise,

I ask thee not for more!

This do, and thou shalt knit

Closely my heart to thine;

Next the dear love of God above,

Such Friend on earth, be mine!


LONDON, January 1844.

[pg 257]


"Le printemps—le printemps!"—Berenger.

'Twas a sunny holiday,

Scene, Killarney—time, last May;

In the fields the rustic throng,

Every linnet in full song,

Not a cloud to threaten rain,

As I walk'd with lovely Jane.

While we wander'd round the bay,

Came the gayest of the gay,

Pouring from a painted barge,

Anchor'd by the flowery marge;

Sporting round its cliffs and caves:—

Ireland is the land of slaves!

Next we met an infant group,

Never was a happier troop;

Dancing o'er the primrose plain.

"Joyous infancy!" said Jane;

"Free from care as winds and waves."

—"No, my darling, these are slaves!"

On we walk'd—a garden shade

Show'd us matron, man, and maid,

Laughing, talking, all coquetting,

"Here," said Jane, "I see no fretting:

Mammon makes but fools or knaves."

—"No, my darling, these are slaves!"

On we walk'd—we saw a dome,

Fill'd with furious dupes of Rome,

Ranting of the sword and chain.

"Let us run away," said Jane:

"How that horrid rebel raves!"

—"No, my darling, these are slaves!"

As we ran, a monster-crowd

Stopp'd us, uttering vengeance loud;

Giving nobles to the halter,

Cursing England's throne and altar,

Brandishing their pikes and staves.

"Love," said Jane, "are all these slaves?"

[Greek: Aion]


He is dead!—he died of a broken heart,

Of a frighten'd soul, and a frenzied brain:

He died—of playing a desperate part

For folly; which others play'd for gain.

Yet o'er his turf the rebels rave!

Be silent, wretches!—spare the grave!

[pg 258]

He is dead!—bewilder'd, betray'd, beguiled;

Swept on by faction's fiery blast.

In its blood-stain'd track, a fool, a child!

His doom is fix'd—his lot is cast.

Yet scowls by his bier earth's blackest knave.

Be silent, wretches!—spare the grave!

They dress'd the cold clay in mimic state,

And the peasants came crowding round;

And many a vow of revenge and hate

In that hour on their souls was bound—

Oh! ruthless creed, that never forgave!

Be silent, wretches!—spare the grave!

They bore him along by the village road,

And they yell'd at the village spire!

And they laid him at rest in his long abode,

In a storm of revenge and ire;

And round him their furious banners wave.

Be silent, wretches!—spare the grave!

Then o'er him the bigot chant was sung,

And was said the bigot prayer,

And wild hearts with many a thought were stung,

That left its venom there,

To madden in many a midnight cave.

Be silent, wretches!—spare the grave!

All is done; he is buried—the crowd depart,

He is laid in his kindred clay,

There, freed from the torture that ate his heart,

He rests, till the last great day.

O THOU! who alone canst defend and save,

Wake Ireland wise from this lowly grave.

[Greek: Aion.]


"Bide your time."—Rebel Song.

Bide your time—bide your time!

Patience is the true sublime.

Heroes, bottle up your tears;

Wait for ten, or ten score, years.

Shrink from blows, but rage in rhyme:

Bide your time—bide your time!

Bide your time—bide your time!

Snakes are safest in their slime.

Sages look before they leap;

Heroes, to your hovels creep.

Christmas loves pantomime:

Bide your time—bide your time!

Bide your time—bide your time!

"Shoulder arms"—but never prime.

Keep your skins from Saxon lead;

Plunder paupers for your bread.

Popish begging is no crime:

Bide your time—bide your time!

[Greek: Aion.]

[pg 259]


Whoever has travelled in the highlands of Scotland, or the mountains of Wales, must have observed the remarkable difference which exists between artificial plantations, and the natural woods of the country. Planted all at once, the former grow up of uniform height, and all their trees present nearly the same form and symmetry. Sown at different periods, with centuries between their growth, the latter exhibit every variety of age and form, from the decaying patriarchs of the forest, which have survived the blasts of some hundred years, to the infant sapling, which is only beginning to shoot under the shelter of a projecting rock or stem. Nor is the difference less remarkable in the room which is severally afforded for growth, in the artificial plantations and in the wilds of nature. The larches or firs, in the stiff and angular enclosure, are always crowded together; and if not thinned by the care of the woodsman, will inevitably choke each other, or shoot up thin and unhealthy, in consequence of their close proximity to each other, and the dense mass of foliage which overshadows the upper part of the wood. But no such danger need be apprehended In the natural forest. No woodman is called to thin its denizens. No forester's eye is required to tell which should be left, and which cut away, in the vast array. In the ceaseless warfare of the weaker with the stronger, the feeble plants are entirely destroyed. In vain the infant sapling attempts to contend with the old oak, the branches of which overshadow its growth—it is speedily crushed in the struggle. Nor are the means of removing the useless remains less effectual. The hand of nature insensibly clears the waste of its incumbrances; the weakness of time brings them to the ground when their allotted period is expired; and youth, as in the generations of men, springs beside the decay of age, and finds ample room for its expansion over the fallen remains of its paternal stems.

The difference between the artificial plantation and the natural wood, illustrates the distinction between the imaginary communities which the political economist expects to see grow up, in conformity with his theories, and acting in obedience to his dictates, and the nations of flesh and blood which exist around us, of which we form a part, and which are immediately affected by ill-judged or inapplicable measures of commercial regulation. Nations were planted by the hand of nature; they were not sown, nor their place allotted by human foresight. They exist often close to each other, and under apparently the same physical circumstances, under every possible variety of character, age, and period of growth. The difference even between those ruled by the same government, and inhabited apparently by the same race, is prodigious. Who could suppose that the Dutchman, methodical, calculating, persevering, was next neighbour to the fiery, war-like, and impetuous Frenchman? Or that the southern and western Irish, vehement, impassioned, and volatile, came from the same stock which pervades the whole west of Britain? England, for centuries the abode of industry, effort, and opulence, is subject to the same government, and situated in the same latitude as Ireland, where indolence is almost universal, wealth rare, and manufactures in general unknown. Russia, ignorant, united, and ever victorious, adjoins Poland, weak, distracted, and ever vanquished; and Prussia has risen with unheard-of rapidity in national strength, and every branch of industry, at the very time when Spain was fast relapsing into slavery and barbarism.

Familiar as these truths are to all they seem to have been, in an unaccountable manner, forgotten by our modern political economists; and the oblivion of them is the principal cause of the remarkable failure which has attended the application to practice of all their theories. They invariably forget the different age of nations; they overlook the essential difference between communities with different national character, or in different stages [pg 260] of manufacturing or commercial advancement, and fall into the fatal error of supposing that one general system is to be readily embraced by, and found applicable to, a cluster of nations existing under every possible variety of physical, social, and political circumstances. Fixing their eyes upon their own country, or rather upon the peculiar interest to which they belong in their own country, they reason as if all mankind were placed in the same circumstances, and would be benefited by the arrangements which they find advantageous. They forget that all nations were not planted at the same time, nor in the same soil; that the difference in their age, the inequality in their growth, the variety in their texture, is as great as in the trees of the forest, the seeds of which have been scattered by the hand of nature; that the incessant warfare of the weaker with the stronger, exists not less in the social than the physical world; and that all systems founded on the oblivion of that continued contest, must ever be traversed by the strongest of all moral laws—the instinct of SELF-PRESERVATION.

We have said that the modern theories when applied to practice, have, in a remarkable manner, failed. In saying so, we have chiefly in view the acknowledged failure of the strenuous efforts made by England, during the last twenty years, to effect an interchange in the advantages of free trade, and the entire disappointment which has attended the long establishment, on a great scale, of the reciprocity system. To the first we shall advert in the present paper; the second will furnish ample room for reflection in another.

The abstract principles on which the doctrines of free trade are founded, are these; and we put it to the warmest advocates of those principles, whether they are not fairly stated. All nations were not intended by nature, nor are they fitted by their physical circumstances, to excel in the same branches of industry; and it is the variety in the production which they severally can bring to maturity, which at once imposes the necessity for, and occasions the profit of, commercial intercourse. Nothing, therefore, can be so unwise as to attempt, either by arbitrary regulations, to create a branch of industry in a country for which it is not intended by nature, or to retain it in that branch where it is created by forced prohibitions. Banish all restrictions, therefore, from commerce; let every nation apply itself to that particular branch of industry for which it is adapted by nature, and receive in exchange the produce of other countries, raised, in like manner, in conformity with their natural capabilities. Then will the industry of each people be turned into the channel most advantageous and lucrative to itself; each will enjoy the immense advantage of purchasing the commodities it requires at the cheapest possible rate; hopeless or absurd hot-bed attempts to force extraneous industry will cease; and, in the mutual interchange of the surplus produce of each, the foundation will be laid of an advantageous and durable commercial intercourse. England, on this principle, should not attempt to raise wine, nor France iron or cotton goods; but the calicoes and hardware of Great Britain should be exchanged for the wines and fruits of France: both nations will thus be enriched, and a vast commercial traffic grow up, which, being founded on mutual interest and attended with mutual advantage, may be expected to be durable, and to extinguish, in the end, the rivalry of their respective people, or the jealousy of their several governments.

Such is the theory of free trade; and it may be admitted it wears at first sight a seducing and agreeable aspect. Let us now enquire how far experience, the great test of truth, has verified its doctrines, or demonstrated its practicability. To illustrate this matter, we shall have recourse to no mean or doubtful authority; we shall have recourse to the statement of an enlightened but candid contemporary, whose advocating of a moderate system of free trade has excited no small anxiety in the British empire; and which report, from the information and ability it displays, has assigned to the present accomplished head of the Board of Trade.

The efforts made in Great Britain to introduce a general system of free trade, especially within the last three [pg 261] years, are thus enumerated in the Foreign and Colonial Review.

"England, without gaining or asking a single boon from any foreign country, has—

"1. Reduced by about one-half the duties upon foreign corn.

"2. By nearly the same amount, the duties on foreign timber.

"3. Has removed her prohibitions against the importation of cattle and other animals for food, and has fixed upon them duties, ranging on the average at about ten per cent ad valorem.

"4. Has made flesh meat admissible.

"5. Has reduced the duty on salt provisions for home consumption by one-third, and one-half; and has placed them on a footing of entire equality with the British article for the supply of the whole marine frequenting her ports.

"6. Has lowered her duties on vegetables and seeds in general to one-half, one-sixth, and even one-twelfth (in the case of that most important esculent the potatoe) of what they formerly were.

"7. Has made all great articles of manufacture, except silk, which is reserved for future negotiations, admissible at duties of ten, twelve and a half, and fifteen per cent, and only in some few instances so much as twenty per cent.

"8. Upon some minor articles of manufacture, where our people lie under heavy disadvantages in obtaining the raw material, and where their habits have been formed in their particular occupation, wholly under the shelter, and therefore upon the responsibility of the law, she has retained duties in some cases as high as thirty per cent ad valorem, but yet has reduced them to rates insignificant in comparison with those formerly charged.

"9. In her colonies, she has fixed the ordinary rules of differential duties upon foreign productions at four and seven per cent, with exceptions altogether trifling in amount, on which a higher charge has been laid for special reasons.

"10. She has withdrawn the prohibition to export machinery, except so far as regards the linen manufacture, and the spinning of the yarns employed in it.

"11. With regard to many other articles, such as butter and cheese, indeed, with regard to all articles to which the simple and essential interests of the revenue will allow the same rules to be applied—it has been declared that they are only temporarily exempted from the operations of those rules, and it is well understood, that no time will be allowed to pass, except such as is necessary, before the work is completed; and lastly,

"12. She has not even excluded from the benefit of these reductions the very countries under whose simultaneous enactments, of a hostile character, she is at this moment suffering: these advantages will be enjoyed by the tar and cordage of Russia; by the corn and timber, the woollens, linens, and hosiery of northern Germany; by the gloves, the boots and shoes, the light writing-papers, the perfumery, the corks, the straw-hats, the cottons and cambrics, the dressed skins, the thrown silk, and even (from an incidental charge with respect to the charge of duty on the bottles) the wines of France; by the salt provisions, the ashes, the turpentine, the rice, the furs and skins, the sperm oil of America; and she in particular may expect to derive advantage from the alteration in our colonial import duties upon the great articles of flour, salt, provisions, fish and lumber."15

Such have been the sacrifices which Great Britain has recently made in order to secure a system of free commercial enterprise throughout the world. Let us now enquire what return she has met with for these concessions; and the recent occurrences in this respect are detailed in the same unexceptionable authority.

"Within the last year, France has passed an ordinance, doubling the duty on linen yarns—a measure hostile enough, had it been uniform in its application to all countries; but, lest there should be any ambiguity about its meaning, she has actually left open her Belgian frontier to that article at the former duty, on the condition that Belgium should levy the high French duty in her custom-houses, so as to prevent the transit of the British yarns through that country. To this disreputable and humiliating proposal, Belgium has consented. Again, amidst the loudest professions from the Prussian government, of an anxiety to [pg 262] advance the relaxation of commercial restrictions, that government has, nevertheless, adopted a proceeding not less hostile or mischievous than the measure of France with regard to linen yarns. The Congress of the Deputies of the Zollverein, at Stuttgard, have in a new tariff, which was to take effect on the 1st of January, besides some minor alterations of an unfavourable kind, decreed, upon the proposal of Prussia, that goods mixed of cotton and wool, if of more than one colour, shall pay fifty thalers the centner, instead of thirty; that is, instead of a very high, shall be liable to an exorbitant, and, as it may prove, a prohibitory duty. Next, America, as all our readers must be aware, has, after a struggle, passed a tariff, subverting altogether the arrangement established by the Compromise Act of 1833, and imposing upon the various descriptions of manufactured goods rates of duty varying from thirty to forty and fifty per cent and upwards, which have had the effect of stopping a great portion of the shipments of cotton goods to that country from Great Britain during the past autumn, and, without doubt, have added greatly to the distresses of our manufacturing population. Besides these greater instances, Russia, according to her wont in such matters, and Spain, have published, within the test fifteen months, new tariffs, of which it is difficult to say whether they are still worse than, or only as execrably bad, as those which they succeeded, but, in the close rivalry between the old and the new, the latter seem, upon the whole, entitled to the palm of prohibitive rigour. And Portugal, likewise, has augmented the duties payable upon certain classes of her imports, by a measure of the recent date of March 1841, and by another of last year. In the mean time, Spain has concluded a treaty with Belgium for the admission of her linens. And the king of Prussia has effected an arrangement with the czar, which, in certain particulars, secures, upon his own frontier, a relaxation of the iron strictness of the Russian system. England has concluded no commercial treaty with any of these powers; and the negotiation with France, which the measures of Lord Palmerston interrupted in 1840, at the very period of its ripeness, appears still to slumber—owing, we believe, in part, to the prevalence of an anti-Anglican feeling in that country, which, for the credit of common sense and of human nature, we trust will be temporary; but much more to the high protective notions, and the political activity and influence of the French manufacturers, which overawe an administration far less strong, we regret to say, than it deserves."

Our recent attempts, therefore, to introduce a general system of free trade among nations have proved a signal failure, on the admission of the most enlightened advocates for that species of policy. Nor have our earlier efforts been more successful. Mr Huskisson, as it is well known, introduced, full twenty years ago, the system of free trade, and repealed the navigation laws, in the hope of making the Northern Powers of Europe more favourable to the admission of British manufactures, and materially reduced the duties on French silks, watches, wines, and jewellery, in the hope that the Government of that country would see the expedience of making a corresponding reduction in the duties levied on our staple manufactures in the French harbours. But after twenty years' experience of these concessions on our part, the French Government are so far from evincing a disposition to meet us with a similar conciliatory policy, that they have done just the reverse. Scarce a year has elapsed without some additional duty being imposed on our fabrics in their harbours; and the great reductions contained in Sir R. Peel's tariff were immediately met, as already noticed, by the imposition of an additional and very heavy duty on British linens. Nay, so far has the free trade system been from enlarging the market for our manufactures in Europe, that after twenty years' experience of its effects, and an increase over Europe generally of fully a third in numbers, and at least a half in wealth, it is an ascertained fact, that our exports to the European-States are less than they were forty years ago.16 "That part of our commerce," says Mr Porter, himself a decided free trader, [pg 263] "which, being carried on with the rich and civilized inhabitants of European nations, should present the greatest field for extension, will be seen to have fallen off in a remarkable degree. The annual average exports to the whole of Europe were less in value by nearly twenty per cent, on an average of five years, from 1832 to 1836, than they were during the five years that followed the close of the war; and it affords strong evidence of the unsatisfactory footing on which our trading regulations with Europe are established, that our exports to the United States of America, which, with their population of 12,000,000, (in 1837,) are situated 3000 miles from us across the Atlantic, have amounted to more than half the sum of our shipments to the whole of Europe, with a population fifteen times as great as that of the United States of America, and with an abundance of productions suited to our wants, which they are naturally desirous of exchanging for the produce of our mines and looms."17

This was written by Mr Porter in 1837; but while subsequent times have evinced an increased anxiety on the part of this country to extend the principles of free trade, they have been met by such increased determination on the part of the European governments to resist the system, and adhere more rigorously to their protecting policy, that the disproportion is now universal, and is every day becoming more remarkable. The following table will show that our exports to Europe, notwithstanding our twelve reciprocity treaties with its maritime powers, and unceasing efforts to give a practical exemplification of the principles of free trade, are stationary or declining.18

In one particular instance, the entire failure of the free trade system to procure any corresponding return from the very continental states whose harbours it was chiefly intended to open, has been singularly conspicuous. In February 1821 the reciprocity system, in regard to shipping, was introduced by Mr Huskisson, and acted upon by the legislature; and the following reason was assigned by that eminent man for deviating from the old navigation laws of Cromwell, which had so long constituted the strength of the British navy. Mr Huskisson maintained—"That the period had now arrived, when it had become indispensable to introduce a more liberal system in regard to the admission of foreign shipping into our harbours, if we would avoid the total exclusion of our manufacturers into their harbours. The exclusive system did admirably well, as long as we alone acted upon it; when foreign nations were content to take our goods, though we excluded their shipping. But they had now become sensible of the impolicy of such a system, and, right or wrong, were resolved to resist it. Prussia, in particular, had resisted all the anxious endeavours [pg 264] of this country, to effect the introduction of goods of our manufacture, on favourable terms, into her harbours; and the reason assigned was, that the navigation laws excluded her shipping from ours. The reciprocity system has been rendered indispensable by the prohibitory system, which the other European powers have adopted. The only means of meeting the heavy duties they have imposed on our goods and shipping, is to place our duties upon a system of perfect reciprocity with theirs. Foreign nations have no advantage over us in the carrying trade: from the London report, it clearly appeared, that the ships of Norway, Sweden, Russia, Prussia, France, and Holland, cannot compete with British, either in long or short voyages. But at any rate, the repeal of our discriminating duties has become matter of necessity, if we would propose any trade with these countries."19

Such were Mr Huskisson's reasons. They were grounded on alleged necessity. He said in substance:—"The navigation laws are very good things; and if we could only persuade other nations to take our goods, while we virtually shut out their shipping, it would, doubtless, be very advisable to continue the present system. But you can no longer do this. Foreign nations see the undue advantage which has been so long obtained of them. They insist upon an exchange of interests. We, as the richer and the more powerful, are called on to make the first advances. We must relinquish our navigation laws in favor of their staple manufacture, shipping, if we would induce them to admit, on favourable terms, our staple article, cotton goods." These were [pg 265] Mr Huskisson's principles; and it may be admitted that, in the abstract, they were well-founded, for all commercial intercourse, to be beneficial and lasting, must be founded on a mutual exchange of advantages. But, in carrying into execution this principle, he committed a fatal mistake, which has already endangered, without the slightest advantage, and, if persevered in, may ultimately destroy the commercial superiority of Great Britain. He virtually repealed, by the 4 Geo. IV. c. 77 and the 5 Geo. IV. c. 1, the navigation laws, by authorizing the King, by an order in council, to permit the exportation and importation of goods in foreign vessels, on payment of the same duties as where chargeable on British vessels, in favour of those countries which did not levy discriminating duties on British vessels bringing goods into their harbours, and to levy on the vessels of such countries the same tonnage duties as they charged on British vessels. This was, in effect, to say—We will admit your vessels on the same terms on which you admit ours; and nothing, at first sight, could seem more equitable.

But, nevertheless, this system involved a fatal mistake, the pernicious effects of which have now been amply demonstrated by experience, and which lies at the bottom of the whole modern doctrines of free trade. It stipulates for no advantages corresponding to the concession made, and thus the reciprocity was on one side only. Mr Huskisson repealed, in favour of the Baltic powers, the British navigation laws; that is, he threw open to Baltic competition, without any protection, the British shipping interest: but he forgot to exact from them any corresponding favour for British iron or cotton goods in the Baltic harbours. He said—"We will admit your shipping on the same terms on which you admit ours." What he should have said is—"We will admit your shipping into our harbors on the same term you admit our cotton goods into your harbours." This would have been real reciprocity, because each side would have given free ingress to that staple commodity in which its neighbor had the advantage; and thus the most important branch of industry of each would have been secured an inlet into the other's territories. The British tonnage might have been driven out of the Baltic trade by the shipowners of Denmark and Norway, but the Prussian cotton manufacturers would have been crushed by the British. It might then have come to be a question of whether the upholding of our shipping interest or the extension of our cotton manufactures was the most advisable policy. But no such question need be considered now. We have gained nothing by exposing our shipping interest to the ruinous competition of the Baltic vessels. The Danish, Norwegian and Prussian ships have come into our harbours, but the British cotton and iron goods have not entered theirs. The reciprocity system has been all on one side. After having been twenty years in operation, it has failed in producing the smallest concession in favour of British manufactures, or producing in those states with whom the reciprocity treaties were concluded, the smallest extension of British exports. Since we so kindly permitted it, they have taken every thing and given nothing. They have done worse. They have taken good and returned evil. The vast concession contained in the repeal of our navigation laws, has been answered by the enhanced duties contained in the Prussian Zollverein. Twenty-six millions of Germans have been arrayed under a commercial league, which, by levying duties, practically varying from thirty to fifty, though nominally only ten per cent, effectually excludes British manufactures; and, after twenty years' experience, our exports are only a few hundred thousands a year, and our exports of cotton manufactures only a few hundreds a year, to the whole States of Northern Europe, in favour of whom the navigation laws were swept away, and an irreparable wound inflicted on British maritime interests, and in whose wants Mr Huskisson anticipated a vast market for our manufacturing industry, and an ample compensation for the diminution of our shipping interest.

Nature has established this great and all-important distinction between the effects of wealth and national age on the productions of agriculture and of manufactures. The reason is this:— [pg 266] If capital, machinery, and knowledge, conferred the same immediate and decisive advantage on agricultural that they do on manufacturing industry, old and densely-peopled states would possess an undue superiority over the ruder and more thinly-inhabited ones; the multiplication of the human race would become excessive in the seats in which it had first taken root, and the desert parts of the world would never, but under the pressure of absolute necessity, be explored. The first command of God to man, "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it," would be frustrated. The apprehensions of the Malthusians as to an excessive increase of mankind, with its attendant dangers, would be realized in particular places, while nineteen-twentieths of the earth lay neglected in a state of nature. The desert would be left alone in its glory. The world would be covered with huge and densely-peopled excrescences—with Babylons, Romes, and Londons—in which wealth, power, and corruption were securely and permanently intrenched, and from which the human race would ne'er diverge but under the pressure of absolute impossibility to wrench a subsistence from their over-peopled vicinities.

These dangers, threatening alike to the moral character and material welfare of nations, are completely prevented by the simple law, the operations of which we every day see around us—viz. that wealth, civilization, and knowledge, add rapidly and indefinitely to the powers of manufacturing and commercial, but comparatively slowly to those of agricultural industry. This simple circumstance effectually provides for the dispersion of the human race, and the check of an undue growth in particular communities. The old state can always undersell the young one in manufactures, but it is everlastingly undersold by them in agriculture. Thus the equalization of industry is introduced, the dispersion of the human race secured, and a limit put to the perilous multiplication of its members in particular communities. The old state can never rival the young ones around it in raising subsistence; the young ones can never rival the old one in manufactured articles. Either a free trade takes place between them, or restrictions are established. If the commercial intercourse between them is unrestricted, agriculture is destroyed, and with it national strength is undermined in the old state, and manufactures are nipped in the bud in the young ones. If restrictions prevail, and a war of tariffs is introduced, the agriculture of the old state, and with it its national strength, is preserved, but its export of manufactures to the adjoining states is checked, and they establish growing fabrics for themselves. Whichever effect takes place, the object of nature in the equalization of industry, the limitation of aged communities, and the dispersion of mankind, is gained, in the first, by the ruin of the old empire from the decay of its agricultural resources; in the second, by the check given to its manufacturing prowess, and the transference of mercantile industry to its younger rivals.

Generally the interests and necessities of the young states introduce a prohibitory system to exclude the manufactures of the old one; and it is this necessity which England is now experiencing, and vainly endeavours to obviate, by introducing a system of free trade. But in one memorable instance, and one only, the preponderance of a particular power rendered this impossible, and illustrated on a great scale, and over the whole civilized world, for a course of centuries, the effects of a perfect freedom of trade. The Roman empire, spreading as it did round the shores of the Mediterranean, afforded the utmost facilities for a great internal traffic; while the equal policy of the emperors, and indeed the necessity of their situation, introduced a perfect freedom in the interchange of commodities between every part of their vast dominions. And what was the result? Why, that the agriculture of Italy was destroyed—that 300,000 acres in the champaign of Naples alone reverted to a state of nature, and were tenanted only by wild-boars and buffaloes, before a single barbarian had crossed the Alps—that the Grecian cities were entirely maintained by grain from the plains of Podolia—and the mistress of the world, according [pg 267] to the plaintive expression of the Roman annalist, depended for her subsistence on the floods of the Nile.20 Not the corruption of manners, not the tyranny of the Caesars, occasioned the ruin of the empire, for they affected only a limited class of the people; but the practical working of free trade, joined to domestic slavery, which destroyed the agricultural population of the heart of the empire, and left only effeminate urban multitudes to contend with the hardy barbarians of the north.

The advocates of free trade are not insensible to the superior advantages of the rising over the old state in agriculture, and of the latter over the former in manufactures. On the contrary, it is a secret but clear sense of the reality of this distinction, which causes them so strenuously to contend for the removal of all restrictions. They hope, by so doing, to effect a great extension of their sales in foreign countries, without, as they pretend, creating any diminution in their own. But the views which have now been given show that this is a vain conceit, and demonstrate how it has happened, that the more strenuously England contends for the principles of free trade, and the more energetically that she carries them into practice, the more decided is the resistance which she meets on foreign states in the attempt, and the more rigorously do they act on the principles of protection. It is because they are striving to become manufacturing and commercial communities that they do this—it is a clear sense of the ruin which awaits them, if deluged with British goods, which makes them so strenuous in their system of exclusion. The more that we open our trade, the more will they close theirs. They think, and not without reason, that we advocate unrestricted commercial intercourse only because it would be profitable to us, and deprecate our old system of exclusion only because it has now been turned against ourselves. "Now, then," say they, "is the time, when England is suffering under the system of exclusion, which we have at length had sense enough to borrow from her, to draw closer the bonds of that system, and complete the glorious work of our own elevation on her ruins. Our policy is clearly chalked out by hers; we have only to do what she deprecates, and we are sure to be right." It is evident that these views will be permanently entertained by them, because they are founded on the strongest of all instincts that of self-preservation. When we cease to be a great manufacturing nation, when we are no longer formidable rivals, they will open their harbours; but not till then. In striving to introduce a system of free trade, therefore, we gratuitously inflict a severe wound on our domestic industry, without any chance even of a compensation in that which is destined for the foreign markets. We let in their goods into our harbours, but we do not obtain admission, nor will we ever obtain admission, for ours into theirs. The reciprocity is, and ever must be, all on one side.

It is by mistaking the dominant influence among the continental states, that so large a portion of the community are deceived on this subject. They say, if we take their grain and cattle, they will take our cotton goods; that their system of exclusion is entirely a consequence of, and retaliation for, ours. Can they produce a single instance in which our concessions in favour of their rude produce have led to a corresponding return in favour of ours? How can it be so, when, in all old states, the monied is the prevailing interest which sways the determinations of government? The landholders, separated from each other, without capital, almost all burdened with debt, are no match in the domestic struggle for the manufacturing and commercial interests. Their superiority is founded on a very clear footing—the same which has rendered the British House of Commons omnipotent. They hold the purse. It is their loans which support the credit of Government; it is by the customs which their imports pay that the public revenue is to be chiefly raised. The more popular that governments become, the more strongly [pg 268] will their influences appear in the war of tariffs. If pure democracies were established in all the neighbouring states, we would be met in then all by a duty of sixty per cent. Witness the American tariff of 1842, and the progressive increases of duties against us since the popular revolutions we have fostered and encouraged in France, Belgium, and Portugal.

Is, then, a free and unrestrained system of commercial intercourse impossible between nations, and must it ever end in a war of tariffs and the pacific infliction of mutual injury? We consider it is impossible between two nations, both manufacturing, or aspiring to be so, and in the same, or nearly the same, age and social circumstances. It is mere folly to attempt it; because interests which must clash, are continually arising on both parts, and reciprocity, if attempted, is on one side only. With such nations, the only wisdom is, to conclude treaties, not of reciprocity, but of commerce; that is, treaties in which, in consideration of certain branches of our manufactures being admitted on favourable terms, we agree to admit certain articles of their produce on equally advantageous conditions. Thus, a treaty, by which we agreed to admit, for a moderate duty, the wines of France, which we can never rival, in return for their admitting our iron and cotton goods on similar terns, would be a measure of equal benefit to both countries. It would be as wise a measure as Mr Huskisson's reduction of the duties on French silks, gloves, and clocks, was a gratuitous and unwarranted injury to staple branches of our own industry. The only countries to which the reciprocity system is really applicable, are distant states in an early state of civilization, whose natural products are essentially different from our own, and whose stage of advancement is not such as to have made them enter on the career of manufacture, of jealousy, and of tariffs. Colonies unite all these advantages; and it is in them that the real sources of our strength, and the only secure markets for our produce, are to be found; but that subject, so vast, so interesting, so vital to our individual and national advancement, must be reserved for a future occasion.


Footnote 1: (return) The Heretic. Translated from the Russian of Lajétchnikoff. By T.B. Shaw, B.A. of Cambridge. In three volumes.

Footnote 2: (return) A jeu de mots impossible to be rendered in English; Kourítza, in Russian, is a 'hen.'"—T.B.S.

Footnote 3: (return) "When Vladímir, to convert the Russians to Christianity, caused the image of their idol Peróun to be thrown into the Dniépr, the people of Kíeff are said to have shouted 'vuiduibái, bátioushka, vuiduibái!'—bátioushka signifies 'father;' but the rest of the exclamation has never been explained, though it has passed into a proverb."—T.B.S.

Footnote 4: (return) Nástia—the diminutive of Anastasia; Nástenka, the same. Russian caressing names generally end in sia, she, óusha, or óushka—as Vásia, (for Iván;) Andrióusha, (Andrei;) Varpholoméoushka, ( Bartholomew.)"—T.B.S.

Footnote 5: (return) George Selwyn and his Contemporaries, with Memoirs and Notes. By T.H. Jesse. 4 vols.

Footnote 6: (return) The privileges of the first-born passed away from the tribe of Reuben, and were divided among his brethren. The double portion of the inheritance was given to Joseph—the priesthood to Levi—and the sovereignty to Judah. The tribe never rose into national power, and it was the first which was carried into captivity.

Footnote 7: (return) The massacre of the Shechemites was the crime of the two brothers. For a long period the tribe of Simeon was depressed; and its position, on the verge of the Amalekites, always exposed it to suffering. The Levites, though finally entrusted with the priesthood, had no inheritance in Palestine: they dwelt scattered among the tribes.

Footnote 8: (return) The tribe of Judah was distinguished from the beginning of the nation. It led the van in the march to Palestine. It was the first appointed to expel the Canaanites. It gave the first judge, Othniel. It was the tribe of David, and, most glorious of all titles, was the Tribe of our LORD.

Footnote 9: (return) Zebulon was a maritime tribe, its location extending along the sea-shore, and stretching to the borders of Sidon. The tribe of Issachar were located in the country afterwards called Lower Galilee; were chiefly tillers of the soil; were never distinguished in the military or civil transactions of the nation, and, as they dwelt among the Canaanites, seem to have habitually served them for hire. Issachar is characterised as the "strong ass"—a drudge, powerful but patient.

Footnote 10: (return) The tribe of Dan were remarkable for the daring of their exploits in war, and not less so for their stratagems. Their great chieftain Samson, distinguished alike for strength and subtlety, might be an emblem of their qualities and history.

Footnote 11: (return) Gad; a tribe engaged in continual and memorable conflicts.

Footnote 12: (return) Naphtali and Asher inhabited the most fertile portions of Palestine.

Footnote 13: (return) The two tribes Ephraim and Manasseh, descended from Joseph, possessed the finest portion of the land, along both sides of the Jordan. The united tribes numbered a larger population than any of the rest. Besides Joshua, five of the twelve judges of Israel were of the united tribes. In the formation of the kingdom of Israel, an Ephraimite was the first king.

Footnote 14: (return) The tribe of Benjamin was conspicuous for valour. But its turbulence and ferocity wrought its fall, in the great battles recorded in Judges xix. and xx. Saul was of this fierce tribe. It was finally lost in that of Judah.

This great prophecy was delivered about three hundred years before the conquest of Palestine.

Footnote 15: (return) Foreign and Colonial Review, Vol. i. p. 235.

Footnote 16: (return) Foreign and Colonial Review, Vol. i. p. 233.

Footnote 17: (return) Porter's Progress of the Nation, Vol. i. p. 101.

Footnote 18: (return) Table showing the date and value of Exports of British Iron Manufacturers to Europe in the afore-mentioned years.

YearsNorthern Europe.Southern Europe.Total.
1815 11,791,692 8,764,552 20,556,544
1816 11,369,086 7,284,467 18,653,555
1817 11,408,083 9,685,491 19,093,574
1818 11,809,243 7,639,139 19,448,382
1819 9,805,397 6,896,287 16,601,684
1820 11,289,891 7,139,042 18,428,433
1833 9,313,549 5,686,949 15,000,498
1834 9,505,892 8,501,141 18,007,033
1835 10,303,316 8,161,117 18,464,433
1836 9,999,861 9,011,205 19,000,066
1837 11,097,436 7,789,126 18,187,662
1838 11,258,473 9,481,372 20,739,845
1839 11,991,236 9,376,241 21,367,477

Footnote 19: (return)

Hansard's Parliamentary Debates, February 13, 1823; and Annual Register, 1823, p. 104.

Table showing the British and Foreign tonnage, with Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Prussia, since 1823, when the reciprocity system began, in each of the following years:—

Years British
1821 23,005 8,508 13,855 61,342 5,312 3,969 79,590 37,720
1822 20,799 13,692 13,377 87,974 7,096 3,910 102,847 58,270
1823 20,986 22,529 13,122 117,015 4,413 4,795 81,202 86,013
1824 17,074 40,092 11,419 135,272 6,738 23,689 94,664 151,621
1825 15,906 53,141 14,825 157,910 15,158 50,943 189,214 182,752
1826 11,829 16,939 15,603 90,726 22,000 56,544 119,060 120,589
1827 11,719 21,822 13,945 96,420 10,825 52,456 150,718 109,184
1828 14,877 24,700 10,826 85,771 17,464 49,293 133,753 99,195
1829 16,536 25,046 9,985 86,205 24,576 53,390 125,918 127,861
1830 12,116 23,158 6,459 84,585 12,210 51,420 102,758 139,646
1831 11,450 39,689 4,518 114,865 6,552 62,190 83,908 140,532
1832 8,335 25,755 3,798 82,155 7,268 35,772 62,079 89,187
1833 10,009 29,454 5,901 98,931 6,840 38,620 41,735 108,753
1834 15,353 35,910 6,403 98,303 5,691 53,282 32,021 118,111
1835 12,036 35,061 2,592 95,049 6,007 49,008 25,514 124,144
1836 10,865 42,439 1,573 12,875 2,152 51,907 42,567 174,439
1837 7,608 42,602 1,035 88,004 5,357 55,961 67,566 145,742
1838 10,425 38,991 1,364 110,817 3,466 57,554 86,734 175,643
1839 8,359 42,270 2,582 109,228 5,535 106,960 111,470 229,208
1840 11,933 53,337 3,166 114,241 6,327 103,067 112,709 237,984

—PORTER'S Part. Tables.

Footnote 20: (return) Tacitus, Vol. xiv. p. 21; Michelet's Hist. de France, Vol. i. p. 217.

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

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Volume 55, No. 340, February, 1844, by Various


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