The Project Gutenberg EBook of The American Quarterly Review, No. 17,
March 1831, by Various

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Title: The American Quarterly Review, No. 17, March 1831

Author: Various

Release Date: February 6, 2009 [EBook #28012]

Language: English

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MARCH, 1831.




Transcriber's notes: Minor typos have been corrected. Table of contents has been generated for HTML version.

Art. I.—France in 1829-30. By Lady Morgan.
Art. II.—Physiologie des Passions.
Art. III.—Travels in Kamtchatka and Siberia.
Art. IV.—Précis de la Geographie Universelle.
Art. V.—Auto-biography Of Thieves.
Art. VI.—Tobacco.
Art. VII.—Voyages and Discoveries of the Companions of Columbus.
Art. VIII.—The History of Louisiana, from the earliest period.
Art. IX.—A Full and Accurate Method of Curing Dyspepsia.
Art. X.—Bank Of The United States.

[Pg 1]



MARCH, 1831.

Art. I.France in 1829-30. By Lady Morgan. Author of "France in 1816," "Italy," &c. &c. &c. 2 vols. J. & J. Harper: New-York.

It was that solemn hour of the night, when, in the words of the poet, "creation sleeps;"—a silence as of the dead reigned amid the streets and alleys of the great city of Dublin, interrupted, ever and anon, only by the solitary voice of the watchman, announcing the time, and the prospects of fair or foul weather for the ensuing day. Even the noise of carriages returning from revels and festive scenes of various kinds, was no longer heard—

"The diligence of trades and noiseful gain,
And luxury more late, asleep were laid:
All was the night's:"

All! save the inhabitants of one mansion, situated in Kildare street, who were still invading nature's rest. Why were they alone up and stirring? Why were they debarred from taking their needful repose, and obliged to employ the time which should have been devoted to it, in active occupation? The reason is easily understood. Early in the morning, the master and mistress were to set off on a trip to Paris, and there was no small quantity of "packing up" yet to be done. Trunks innumerable lay scattered about a romantically furnished bed-chamber; some were partly filled with different articles of female habiliment; others seemed to be appropriated to literary purposes, and books without number, and of all descriptions, were lying around them—here was a pile of novels, amongst which, the titles of "The Novice of St. Dominick," "Ida of Athens," "The Wild Irish Girl," &c. &c. could be discerned—there was a heap of "Travels," composed of "Italy," "France in 1816,"[Pg 2] and others:—a couple of volumes, entitled "Life and Times of Salvator Rosa," were reposing in graceful dignity on the open lid of a portmanteau. Several maids were exerting all their activity to get every thing properly arranged; all was bustle and preparation.

Adjoining the chamber was a boudoir, furnished likewise in the most romantic manner, in which sat a lady of even a more romantic appearance than that of either of the apartments. How shall we describe her? She certainly (we must tell the truth, and shame you know whom) did not seem to be of that delightful age, in which a due regard to veracity would allow us to apply to her the line of the poet, "Le printemps dans sa fleur sur son visage est peint." Her cheeks, to be sure, were deeply tinged with a roseate hue, but it was not that with which nature loves to paint the face of spring; the colour proved too palpably, that it had been placed there by the exercise of those "curious arts" with which the sex are enabled to revive dim charms, "and triumph in the bloom of fifty-five." Her dress was romantic in the extreme. Of the unity of time, at all events, it was in direct violation, for its "gay rainbow colours," and modish arrangement, were out of all keeping with her matronly age. One would easily have inferred from it that she was fully impressed with the conviction, that the years which had glided over her head, were not of the old-fashioned kind that contain twelve months, or at least, that she did not consider the lapse of time as at all calculated to impair the attractions of her physiognomy, however prejudicial its effect might be upon the faces of the rest of the female part of the creation. In her countenance there was such an expression of blended affectation and self-complacency, that it was impossible to look upon it without feeling an inclination to smile. She was sitting near a prettily ornamented writing-desk, surmounted by a mirror (in which, by the way, she always found her greatest admirer), with her head reclining on her open hand, her elbow resting on a volume which bore on its back the appropriate title of "The Book of the Boudoir," and her eyes directed, we need hardly say where,—for who does not love to be admired? Her reflections were suddenly disturbed by a knock at the door, which she answered by an "Entrez!" "Ah, Sir Charles, c'est vous," she lisped, as the door opened, and a person in male attire entered, "eh bien, is every thing prêt for our voyage?" "Yes, my dear"—we presume, from this appellation, that the gentleman was her caro sposo, as she might say,—"or at least every thing will be ready shortly; but let me essay again to dissuade you from this foolish expedition"—"de grâce, Sir Charles, ayez pitié de moi; do not pester me with your bétises; I am determined to faire une autre visite to my cher Paris, so that all you may say will be tout[Pg 3] à fait inutile." "Well," sighed the caro sposo, "just as you please," and he returned to direct the "packing up," while she began to revel in the anticipations of triumphs, both personal and intellectual, which she intended to gain in the fashionable and literary capital of the world. Alas! "oft expectation fails, and most oft there where most it promises."

Who is this lady? Had she lived in the days of Juvenal, it might have been supposed that he had her in his eye, when he drew, in his sixth satire, the picture of the "greatest of all plagues"—had her existence been cast in the time of the prince of French comic writers, she would undoubtedly have been presumed to be the prototype of the heroine in one of his most exquisite comedies; we need hardly say, therefore, that she is, in the words of Boileau, "une précieuse,

"Reste de ces esprits jadis si renommés
Que d'un coup de son art Molière a diffamés."

Pity, then, kind reader, pity the lot of the unfortunate gentleman whom we have just introduced to your acquaintance. A further account of this dame may prove not unacceptable.

Her father was an honest actor, accustomed to afford great delight to those deities who inhabit the one shilling galleries of English and Irish theatres, and to receive, himself, vast gratification from worshipping at the shrine of Bacchus. The daughter having given early indications of quickness and pertness, came to be considered quite a genius by her family and friends, whose natural partiality soon induced her to entertain the same opinion. Determined, accordingly, not to hide her light under a bushel, she made her appearance before the world as an authoress, from which it may very reasonably be inferred that she had not yet attained the years of discretion. Her début, of course, was as a wanderer in the realms of imagination, alias, a novel-writer, and in this capacity she continued to make the public stare for a series of years. We say stare, for we can find no more appropriate word for expressing the feelings which her fictions are calculated to excite. With plots of almost incomprehensible absurdity, they combine a style more inflated than any balloon in which Madame Blanchard ever sailed through the regions of air—a language, or rather jargon, composed of the pickings of nearly every idiom that ever did live, or is at present in existence, and sentiments which would be often of a highly mischievous tendency, if they were not rendered ridiculous by the manner in which they are expressed. The singularity of these productions excited a good deal of sensation, and, if we believe her own words, she was placed by them "in a definite rank among authors, and in no undistinguished circle of society." In some of the principal journals, however, the lady was severely taken to task, at the same time[Pg 4] that she was counselled to obtain for herself a partner in weal and wo, by which she might be brought down from her foolish vagaries, to the sober realities of domestic duty. Wonderful to relate, she followed the advice of those whom her vanity must have taught her to consider as her bitterest foes, namely critics,—and as

"Nought but a genius can a genius fit,
A wit herself, Amelia weds a wit."

This wit was a regular knight of the pestle and mortar—a physician, whose pills and draughts had acquired for him the enviable right of placing that dignified appellation, Sir, before his Christian name, by which our authoress became entitled to be addressed as "Your Ladyship," as much as if she had married an Earl or a Marquis. Oh! how delighted the ci-devant plain "Miss" must have been at hearing the servants say to her, "Yes, my lady,"—"No, my lady."—The year in which the ceremony was performed that gave her a lord and master, we cannot precisely ascertain; but as the happy pair favoured the capital of France with their presence in 1816, it may not be unreasonable to suppose, that they went there to spend the honeymoon. Miraculous as are the changes which matrimony sometimes operates, it was powerless in its influence upon her Ladyship's propensities, and, consequently, not very long after returning to her "maison bijou" in Dublin, she put forth a quarto! with the magnificent title of "France." There are phenomena in the physical world, in the moral world, in the intellectual world, but this book was a phenomenon that beat them all. It was absolutely wonderful how so much ignorance, nonsense, vanity, and folly, could be compressed within the compass even of a quarto. All the sense that could be discerned in it, was contained in four or five essays, upon Love, Law and Physic, and Politics, contributed by Sir the husband. Being anxious that "France" should have a companion, she subsequently made an expedition to the land of the Dilettanti, in company with the dear man who had made her, "she trusts, a respectable, and she is sure, a happy mistress of a family," and forthwith "Italy" appeared to sustain her well-earned reputation for qualities, which she has the singular felicity of possessing without exciting envy. But her "never ending, still beginning" pen, was not satisfied with two volumes as the fruits of her Italian campaigning, especially as there happened to be a goodly quantity of memoranda in the "diary" which had not yet been turned to any use. Some subject, therefore, was to be hit upon for another publication, in which they could be inserted, when beat out into a sizeable shape; and what could be better adapted for that purpose than the biography of a great Italian artist? The life of poor Salvator Rosa was, in consequence,[Pg 5] attempted. Just think of making one of the greatest geniuses that ever lived, a peg to hang notes upon! The next offspring of her Ladyship's brain, was, we believe, another novel, which was as like its predecessors as possible. In the period that elapsed between this birth, and the moment in which we have had the honour of introducing her to our readers, her literary family was increased by another child, with the delightful name of "The Book of the Boudoir."

We hope we have not been understood as meaning to insinuate, that because her Ladyship is the mother of a couple of dozen of volumes, she is on that account a précieuse ridicule. This was far, very far from our intention. None can take more pleasure than ourselves in rendering all homage to genuine female talent, employed for useful and honourable purposes, or be more willing to acknowledge the peculiar excellence by which its productions are frequently marked. Were it our pleasant duty at present to notice the works of an Edgeworth, a Hemans, a Mitford, a Sedgwick, or of any others of that fair and brilliant assemblage, who reflect so great a lustre upon the literature of this age, we should use language as eulogistic as their warmest admirers could desire. But we have to do now with a person of a very different description from those bright ornaments of their sex—with one in whose mind, whatever flowers Nature may originally have planted, have been almost completely choked by the rank weeds of ignorance, presumption, frivolity, and vanity beyond measurement—who, in a list of works as long, to use one of her own delicate illustrations, as "Leporello's catalogue of Don Juan's mistresses," has given little or no aid to the cause of virtue generally, or evinced the slightest anxiety to improve and benefit her sex, but has devoted all her faculties to the erection of an altar on which she might worship herself, and only herself—who has even afforded cause, by the frequently extreme levity of her expressions, for the charge of lending countenance to licentiousness and impiety—whose writings, in fine, are calculated to inflict serious injury upon the tastes, the understandings, and the hearts of her youthful female readers, by accustoming them to a vicious and ridiculous style, by filling their minds with false and perverted sentiments and wrong impressions upon some of the most important matters, and by setting before them the example of a woman who boasts of being a member of no undistinguished circle of society, and yet constantly violates those laws of delicacy and refinement, the full observance of which is indispensable for every female who aspires to the name and character of a lady.

Pale Aurora began now to appear, "Tiphoni croceum linquens cubile," in vulgar parlance, day began to break. Behold our couple setting forth on their Parisian expedition. Some[Pg 6] months afterwards, the "maison bijou," in Kildare street, again was illumined by the presence of our fair traveller, whose pen was soon mended, dipped in ink, and busily employed. In due time its labours were brought to a termination, and two goodly volumes were ushered into the light of day, purporting to contain an account of "France in 1829-30." These are the identical volumes which it is our design in this article to notice.

"Facit indignatio versus," exclaimed the old Roman satirist, and "indignation makes us write," would we exclaim, in assigning our motives for devoting a number of our pages to "France in 1829-30," could we for a moment be persuaded that our readers would credit the assertion. It seems to us, that we already behold every one of them smiling in derision, and giving an incredulous shake of the head, at the bare idea of a cold-blooded reviewer being actuated by indignant feelings to place his critical lance in rest, and run a course against an unfortunate author. We must, nevertheless, be permitted to protest, that we do feel a considerable quantity of very honest and virtuous indignation against the trash last put forth by Miladi—quite as much, we are sure, as impelled Juvenal to the composition of his searing satires. We may be told, however, that we are waging battle with a lady, and that we should be upon our guard not to give fresh cause for the exclamation, that "the age of chivalry is gone." A lady, true; but, when in your boasted "age of chivalry," persons of her sex buckled on armour and rushed into the melée, were they spared by the courteous knights with whom they measured swords? Did not Clorinda receive her death wound from the hand of Tancred? And why should the Amazon who wields the pen, be more gently dealt with than she who meddles with cold iron? In literature, as in war, there is no distinction of sex. We hope, therefore, we shall not be accused of ungallant, or anti-chivalric bearing, on account of the blows we may inflict upon the literary person of a most daring Thalestris, especially as her vanity is a panoply of proof.

In her preface, Lady M. says, that a second work on France from her pen could only be justified by the novelty of its matter, or by the merit of its execution. Then do we pronounce this second work, this "France in 1829-30," to be the most unjustifiable imposition on the good nature of the reading community that ever was practised. Its matter is nothing more nor less than Miladi herself; and is she a novelty? Something less than half a century ago, her Ladyship undoubtedly was a novelty, and one too of an extraordinary kind. As to the "merit of its execution," it is quite sufficient to know that it is the work of Lady Morgan, to form an idea of that requisite for its "justification." Out of thine own mouth have we condemned thee. The fact is, that "France in 1829-30," is almost, the counterpart[Pg 7] of "France in 1816," and the same remarks may be made concerning it which we have already applied to the latter. All the information we could discover we had obtained from it on finishing its perusal, was that its author had improved in neither wisdom, knowledge, nor modesty, since her first visit to the land after which both of these productions have been christened. France! and what right have they to that name? Would it not induce one to suppose, that their author had at least travelled through the greater portion of that beautiful country, and eked out a number of her pages from the notes, such as they might be, made during the tour? And yet her Ladyship, on both occasions, went to Paris by the high road of Calais, remained in the capital a few months, and then returned by another high road. Even "Paris in 1816," "Paris in 1829-30," would be titles with which these publications would possess scarcely more affinity, than that by which children, on whom the preposterous fondness of their parents has bestowed the high-sounding appellations of warriors and monarchs, are connected with those worthies. Their only appropriate names would be, "Lady Morgan in 1816," "Lady Morgan in 1829-30;" for what information do they give about France or Paris, and what information do they not give about Lady Morgan? they even let us into the secrets of her Ladyship's wardrobe. It was Paris that saw Lady Morgan, and not Lady Morgan that saw Paris, in the same way as, according to Dr. Franklin, it was Philadelphia that took Sir William Howe, and not Sir William Howe that took Philadelphia.

To collect materials for a book of travels, it is necessary to be all eyes and ears with regard to every thing but one's self. Her Ladyship, however, was just the reverse throughout the whole period of her absence from Kildare street,—it seems always to have been her object to attract, and not to bestow, attention. In the volumes before us, it is her perpetual endeavour to win admiration by making known the admiration she entertains for herself, as well as that which she supposes she excites in others. They are consequently, in great measure, filled with what was said to Lady Morgan, and what Lady Morgan did and said during her last visit to Paris. While discoursing about anything else than herself, she appears to be on thorns until she gets back to that all absorbing subject, and no matter what is the title of the chapter, she generally contrives, by hook or by crook, to bring herself into it as the main object of interest. The poor reader is thus often sadly disappointed in the expectations he may form of deriving pleasure or information from various parts of her work, in consequence of the promises held out by their "headings." He almost always eventually discovers, that however he may have been induced to anticipate a meeting with other persons or matters, it is[Pg 8] still "Monsieur Tonson come again." We must confess, that it is rather too bad to be Morbleued in this way; though it is but fair to acknowledge, that her Ladyship is not an intentional tormentor, like the malicious wags by whom the unfortunate Frenchman was teased out of house and home. On the contrary, her design is one altogether consonant to the general benevolence of her character. It is to give pleasure; and as her greatest delight arises from the contemplation of herself, she has presumed, naturally enough if we may believe the philosophers, that the same cause will produce the same effect upon the rest of the world. All her pictures, therefore, like those of the painter who doated upon his mistress to such a degree as to introduce her face into every one of his works, contain the object of her idolatry, either prominently in the foreground, or so ingeniously placed in the background, as to be quite as well fitted to draw attention.—But it is time to follow her in some of her peregrinations.

On a certain day of the year 1829, which she has not had the goodness to designate, she arrived at Calais. She was accompanied by an Irish footman,—not, we presume, the "illiterate literatus," whom she has immortalized in her first "France,"—and by a person whom she once or twice alludes to in her volumes; first, by acknowledging her obligations to a "Sir C. M." for some articles which had been contributed by him to swell the dimensions of her work; and, secondly, by mentioning that somebody sent a "flask of genuine potteen," to her Ladyship's great delight, "with Mr. Somebody's compliments to Sir C. M." As there is an individual designated once or twice also as "my husband," we have shrewd suspicions that he and this Sir C. M. are one and the same being. The first thing that Miladi does at Calais, is to experience a "burst of agreeable sensations;" and the next, to feel a considerable degree of surprise at being delighted again with that renowned place—renowned for having been several times visited by Lady Morgan, besides other minor causes of celebrity, such as its sieges, and its having been the place where Yorick commenced his sentimental journey; but these have been completely forgotten since the year 1816. After her "little heart" had been fluttered by those agreeable and wonderful sensations, the nature of its palpitations was unfortunately changed by the indignation with which it was filled on her discovering "how English" every thing appeared. "English carpets, and English cleanliness; English delf and English damask," with various other Englishiana, gave such a John Bull aspect to the room of the hotel into which she was ushered, that she was on the point of swooning, when her ears were suddenly assailed by a loud sound—Gracious heavens! What noise is that? Her delicate little[Pg 9] head is in a twinkling thrust out of the window, and she beholds,—oh horror of horrors—she beholds a mail-coach, built on the regular English plan, cantering into the yard, with all its concomitants completely à l'Anglaise—"horses curvetting, and not a hair turned—a whip that 'tips the silk' like a feather—'ribbons,' not ropes—a coachman, all capes and castor—a guard that cries 'all right,'" and who was at that moment puffing most manfully into a "reg'lar mail-coach horn." This was too much, and her Ladyship would inevitably have been driven distracted, or, at least, have gone into hysterics, had not a most delicious idea interposed its aid, and she exclaimed, "What luck to have written my France, while France was still so French!"—and what luck, say we, to have so commodious a safety-valve as vanity, by means of which to let off the superabundant steam of one's ire!

Now, as to her Ladyship's having written her "France," while France was still "so French," this we do not deny; but we do deny that her France itself is "so French." It would be an affair of some considerable difficulty, in our humble opinion, to find any thing French either about it or the "France" we are now reviewing, except their titles, and innumerable scraps of the French language, not unfrequently so expressed and so applied that they would do honour to Mrs. Malaprop herself.

Lady M.'s fondness for generalizing, has led her to relate this apparition of the "Bang-up" in such a way as would induce any one who did not know better, to suppose that the "Coach" had entirely superseded the "Diligence" upon the French roads. Truly would such a change be a cause of regret; for the traveller in France would thus be deprived of a fruitful source of amusement. But we have the pleasure of announcing, for the satisfaction of such of our readers as may entertain the design of paying a visit to that country, that the coach which Lady Morgan saw, was the only vehicle of the kind with which her eyes could have been annoyed. We speak understandingly on the subject, as we happened to be in France about the same time as her Ladyship. This coach, which, if we recollect aright, was called the Telegraph, and not the "Bang-up," was a speculation of some Englishman, who ran it for a short time between Boulogne and Calais, but without much success. The old national vehicle had too strong a hold upon the affections of the most national people in the world, to be pushed from the field by any foreign opponent, and the slow, sure, and comfortable Diligence kept on the even tenor of its way, while the dashing, rapid Telegraph arrived prematurely at the end of its journeying.

We do not deem ourselves competent to decide upon so momentous a subject as the respective merits of the English and[Pg 10] French stages, to give them our technical appellation; but it may be remarked as perhaps somewhat singular, that with regard to comfort—a matter respecting which the French are as noted for their general heedlessness as the English are for their almost uniform concern—the Diligence can lay claim to unquestionable superiority over the coach. On the other hand, the coach is constructed in such a way as to possess far greater facilities for rapidity of locomotion,—a quality which it might be supposed the quick vivacious temperament of the French would especially prize in their conveyances. As to appearance also, the English vehicle is certainly a good deal better off than the French. Nothing, indeed, that a stranger may have heard or read about the latter, can prepare him for it sufficiently, to prevent him on first beholding it from giving way to something more than a smile. It is not, however, so much the mere machine itself that operates upon his risible faculties, as the whole equipage, or atalage,—the scare-crow horses, that seem to have been once the property of the keeper of some museum by whom their bones have been linked together and covered with skin as well as they might be, without inserting something between as a substitute for flesh; the non-descript gear by which these living anatomies are kept together and attached to the vehicle, composed of rope, leather, iron, steel, brass, and every thing else that could by any possibility be used for the purpose; the queer-looking postillion, with his long cue, huge boots, and pipe, all combine with the grotesque appearance of the Diligence itself, to form an ensemble irresistibly ludicrous.

What a difference, too, there is in the facility with which they get "under weigh." One crack of the coachman's whip, causes his fine animals to give "a long pull, a strong pull, and a pull together," and away you whirl in an instant. But the traveller in France does not find starting so easy a matter. He gets into the Diligence; every thing seems ready. The passengers are all in their places, and have saluted each other with true French politeness, except some gruff John Bull sitting in a corner seat and eyeing his associates with mingled scorn and distrust—the five or six apologies for horses are standing in an attitude of the greatest patience, waiting for the signal to make an attempt at putting one foot before the other—the conducteur, a person who has the supreme direction of the movements of the Diligence, is in his place on the top—the boots in which the legs of the postillion are buried, are dangling on both sides of the wheel horse on the left—crack! goes his whip—a jingling sound responds, caused by the endeavours of the "cattle" to advance—"mais que diable"—crack! crack! crack!—something like motion is experienced, when there is a sudden stop, and the conducteur is seen descending from his eminence, muttering sundry[Pg 11] expressions of no very gentle nature—"what the devil's the matter now," growls a more than bass voice out of one window—"qu'est ce que c'est, conducteur," simultaneously demand a treble and a tenor from another window—"rien, Madame," the answer is always addressed to the lady, "rien du tout," he replies whilst endeavouring to repair some part of the "rigging" that could not stand the efforts of the poor beasts to move from their position. At length, however, you get fairly under weigh, with about a four knot breeze, and continue to make some progress for an hour or two amidst a noise caused by the rumbling of the vehicle, the creaking, jingling, rattling, and clanking, of the atalage, the unceasing crack of the whip, and the chattering of your companions, to which the sounds at Babel were music. The movement then becomes adagio, and soon afterwards the conducteur's voice is heard, begging the passengers in all parts of the vehicle to descend. Wondering what is the matter, you get out with the rest, and find the cause of this commotion to be a grande Montagne—anglicè, a little hill—in mounting which, the tender care that is taken of the animals upon the road, however much the state of their flesh shows it is diminished in the stable, renders it indispensable that they should be relieved of every possible weight. To this inconvenience you are subjected on approaching almost every little elevation, the like of which in England or the United States, would not cause the slightest diminution of speed. But it must be confessed, that occasionally, a hill is to be passed of a magnitude which the steeds could never surmount without diminishing their load, and then the notice that is said to have been affixed to one of the Diligences, may very well be appended to all. "MM. les voyageurs, sont priés, quand ils descendent, de ne pas aller plus vite que la voiture:" passengers are requested, when they descend, not to go faster than the vehicle. A most necessary request! La Fontaine, when he wrote the fable in which he gives an account of a vehicle ascending a steep eminence, and the exertions of a fly to assist the horses, must have just returned from some excursion in a Diligence, during which he was witness to the creeping, toiling, panting of the animals pulling it up a hill. Pauvres diables! as the women are constantly exclaiming, a fly might really lend them some aid in their efforts. About every eight miles, fresh horses are in readiness, but the change is rarely for the better,—for the worse it cannot be.

It is only on the road that the postillions drive slowly; when they enter a town it is a sort of signal for them to dash on at a furious rate, notwithstanding the danger of going rapidly through streets which are little better than alleys, and in which there are no side-pavements to mark the limits for pedestrians. We never before experienced such philanthropic alarm for the[Pg 12] safety of our fellow-mortals, as on the evening of our arrival in Paris, whilst whirling at a furious rate through its narrow streets, which were thronged with people, when it was so dark that their ears alone could give them warning to get out of the way. No accident, however, occurred. The French drivers, it must be confessed, though not very elegant or stylish "whips," are very sure; they contrive to guide the immense Diligences through the crowded labyrinths of a large city with wonderful safety, notwithstanding the swiftness with which they generally pass through them, and the loose manner in which the horses are linked together.

But where did we leave our Ladyship? Oh, with her head out of the window of the hotel, saying something about her France and the other France. We really beg her pardon for keeping her so long in such a situation, and hasten to relieve her from it, by placing her, together with Sir C. M. and the Irish footman, in a,—but here again we are at fault. She has not had the kindness to inform us what was the species of conveyance that she consecrated to eternal veneration by employing for her journey to Paris, and as we have neither time nor space for an adequate investigation of this important point, we must leave it to be mooted by other commentators, contenting ourselves with the knowledge that the illustrious trio arrived safely at the capital.

On reaching the hotel in the Rue de Rivoli, which she had resolved upon immortalizing by residing in it during her sojourn in Paris, she was again fearfully agitated by that dreadful fondness for things English, in France, by which her nervous system had before been so greatly discomposed. Woful to relate, she was received by "a smart, dapper, English-innkeeper-looking landlord," and conducted to apartments "which were a box of boudoirs, as compact as a Chinese toy." "There were carpets on every floor, chairs that were moveable, mirrors that reflected, sofas to sink on, footstools to stumble over; in a word, all the incommodious commodities of my own cabin in Kildare street." Poor Miladi! this was really too provoking, to have all the trouble and expense of journeying from Dublin to see just what was to be seen there; but no matter, it will serve for the subject of some twenty pages in your intended book. But then the change, so trying to the nerves of a romantic lady, which had taken place since 1816. In that year, she remembered, on driving into the paved court of the hotel d'Orleans, she had seen "an elderly gentleman, sitting under the shelter of a vine, and looking like a specimen of the restored emigration. His white hair, powdered and dressed à l'oiseau royale; his Persian slippers and robe de chambre, à grand ramage, (we hope, reader, you have a French dictionary near you)[Pg 13] spoke of principles as old as his toilet. He was reading, too, a loyal paper, loyal, at least, in those days,—the Journal des Débats. Bowing, as we passed, he consigned us, with a graceful wave of the hand, to the care of Pierre, the frotteur. I took him for some fragment of a duc et pair of the old school; but, on putting the question to the frotteur, who himself might have passed for a figurante at the opera, he informed us that he was 'Notre bourgeois,' the master of the hotel." It is quite wonderful to us how Miladi could have survived to relate so shocking a metamorphosis. Ovid has nothing half so strange and heart-rending.

The instances we have mentioned are far from being the only ones in which her Ladyship was "put out of sorts" by the Anglomania, which, she would make us believe, is operating at present as great a revolution in the social, as was effected in '98 in the political condition of France. All along the road from Calais to Paris, she sees nothing but "youths galloping their horses in the cavalry costume of Hyde Park," "smart gigs and natty dennets," "cottages of gentility, with white walls and green shutters, and neat offices, rivalling the diversified orders of the Wyatvilles of Islington and Highgate," in short, nothing but "English neatness and propriety on every side," with one terrible exception, however, "an Irish jaunting car!" of which she chanced, to her infinite dismay, to catch a glimpse. The second appearance that she makes in the streets of Paris, is for the purpose of buying some "bonbons, diablotins en papillotes, Pastilles de Nantes, and other sugared prettinesses," for which Parisian confectioners are so renowned. Accordingly, she goes into a shop where she supposes that "fanciful idealities, sweet nothings, candied epics and eclogues in spun sugar, so light, and so perfumed as to resemble (was there ever such nonsense) congealed odours, or a crystallization of the essence of sweet flowers," are to be sold, but on inquiry she is told by a "demoiselle behind the counter, as neat as English muslin and French (what a wonder it wasn't English) tournure could make her," that 'we sell no such a ting,' but that she might have 'de cracker, de bun, de plom-cake, de spice gingerbread, de mutton and de mince pye, de crompet and de muffin, de gelée of de calves foot, and de apple dumplin.' Reader, Lady Morgan "was struck dumb!" She purchased a bundle of crackers, "hard enough to crack the teeth of an elephant," and hurried from the shop. But misfortunes never come single, and her ladyship, though an exception to most other general rules, was not destined to prove the correctness of that one in this instance, for just as she was escaping from the place where she had experienced the serious inconvenience of being "struck dumb," she was struck in another way—viz. on the left cheek, by the explosion[Pg 14] of a bottle of "Whitbread's entire," the consequence of which was, that the exterior of her head became covered with precisely the same thing with which its interior is filled—"froth."—

Foaming with rage and brown-stout, her Ladyship was hastening home as fast as her "little feet" could carry her, when a perfumer's shop "caught the most acute of all her senses."—What a delightful mode, by the way, her ladyship has, of imparting knowledge en passant, as it were; here we have the important information communicated to us, that her "acutest sense" is situated in her nose, just because she happened to pass by a perfumery store; but what a nose her ladyship's nose must be, since it is endowed with more wonderful faculties than her eyes, which possess such miraculous powers as to enable her to see things in France perceptible by no other mortal optics! But to proceed with our dismal story. Her ladyship's olfactory nerves, as we have already mentioned, having made her aware of the proximity of a perfumer's shop, she was induced to go into it by the desire of procuring something which might relieve them from the torture produced by the exhalations of 'Whitbread's entire.' But here again she was doomed to disappointment. She asked for various "eaux, essences, and extraits," and was presented with bottles of "lavendre vatre, honey vatre, and tief his vinaigre;" she asked for savons, and was shown cakes of "Vindsor soap," and "de Regent's vashball." In an agony of despair, she rushes from the shop, first taking care, however, to "gather up her purse and reticule," and soon arrives at her—alas! English furnished apartments. After stumbling over a footstool, and being incommoded by other "incommodious commodities," she at length sinks exhausted upon a sofa, just opposite to a "mirror that reflected." But what other singular looking object, besides Miladi's face, is it that forms a subject of that glass's reflections, and is lying on a table just behind her? It is a little basket, the contents of which her ladyship soon begins to investigate,—and what do you suppose she finds?—"A flask of genuine potteen!!" This time she is struck loquacious, and she shrieks out, "this is too much! was it for this we left the snugness and economical comfort of our Irish home, and encountered the expensive inconveniencies of a foreign journey, in the hope of seeing nothing British, 'till the threshold of that home should be passed by our feet;'—to meet at every step with all that taste, health, and civilization (exemplified by 'lavendre vatre,' 'vindsor soap,' and 'a flask of potteen,') we cry down at home, as cheap and as abundant abroad," &c. &c. The piercing key on which her Ladyship pitched her voice while declaiming this magnificent soliloquy, brought Sir C. M., the Irish footman, and the English-looking landlord into the room, in a terrible flurry. "My dearest dear what is the matter?"—"Och! my leddy,[Pg 15] what is it now that ails you?"—"Ah! madame, mille pardons, qu'est ce que c'est?" simultaneously issue from the mouths of the three worthies. "Avaunt! get out of my sight, you maudit imitateur; and you Sir Charles, et vous, Patrick, see that tout est preparé for returning to Dublin dans l'heure même," meekly responds Miladi. But a sudden change comes over her countenance—sudden as that which took place in the aspect of Juno when she beheld the waves raised to the very heavens by the power of Neptune, and supposed that they had overwhelmed the bark which carried Æneas and his companions, the objects of her eternal hatred. She smiled, as the face of Nature smiles when the clouds that have long covered it with gloom, have disappeared before the potent influence of the "glorious orb that gives the day," and at length she rapturously cried out, "How lucky to have written my France, while France was still so French!"—Lady Morgan was herself again.

Now we beg leave to observe, that this Anglomania bugbear, by which her ladyship pretends to have been so much distressed, is the merest piece of nonsense and affectation in the world. We will not be so ungallant as to suppose that Lady Morgan has intentionally related what is not altogether so true as might be, but she has been accustomed for such a length of time to roam about the varied realms of fancy, that it would be impossible for her ever to descend to the flat regions of fact. Besides, as we have already stated, she has been gifted with powers of vision more surprising than those of the lynx or the seer—the first can only see through a stone, the second can only see things which may exist at a future day, when they will be visible to every one else—but she sees things existing at present, that defy the ken of all other animals, rational and irrational. While reading her account of the English vehicles, English cottages, &c. &c. which she observed in her journey from Calais to Paris, we could not help asking ourselves, where were our eyes during the time we travelled that road? We are satisfied, however, that they were in their right place, and tolerably well employed; and that if they did not encounter the signs of Anglomania mentioned by her Ladyship, it was because these were to be perceived by no one but herself. Wide indeed is the difference between travelling in France and England! The poet Grey, in one of his charming letters, affirms, that in the former country it would be the finest in the world, were it not for the terrible state of the inns; but it must have greatly deteriorated there, or have improved in his native isle since his time, for there can not be the slightest question as to the superior delights of journeying in the latter at present. The inns in France are still bad enough, in all conscience, and offer but a dreary welcome to one who has been accustomed to the neatness[Pg 16] and comforts of English hostels. There are, however, various other particulars of importance for a traveller's enjoyment, which Shakspeare's "sea-walled garden" furnishes in by far the greater abundance. In France the roads are comparatively much inferior, and the general appearance of the country is less pleasing. You meet there with few or none of those detached farm-houses, with their little dependencies of cottages, which everywhere greet the eye in England, bespeaking the honest and well-conditioned yeoman, and presenting a picture of prosperity and contentment,—the villages through which you pass, mostly wear a decayed and squalid appearance—the magnificent country-seats, with their parks and other appurtenances, whose frequent recurrence in England constitutes so rich a feast for the gaze of the stranger, are rarely rivalled in France—the landscape here, also, is much seldomer able to borrow that venerable grace and romantic charm which the remains of feudal ages alone can lend. This last circumstance is one greatly to be regretted; for perhaps the most exquisite gratification to be derived from travelling through a country, where for centuries civilization in a greater or less degree has exercised sway, arises from the contemplation of the various monuments of by-gone days, some slowly mouldering into dust, others still proudly defying the assaults of the great destroyer. The mind dwells upon them with a species of pensive delight, and that peculiar charm which their association with the fictions and annals of times past inspires. It would seem, that France should be especially rich in the relics of that feudalism of which for a long time it was the chief seat, but a reason for their scantiness may be found in the policy which caused Louis XI., and which was subsequently pursued by Richelieu, and completed by Louis le Grand, to call the nobles from their estates, where they exercised almost sovereign authority, to the capital, and convert them into mere hangers on of the court—in the destructive hostilities which have almost incessantly desolated the kingdom—and especially in the determined war that was made upon castles by the patriots of the Revolution. These, at all events, are the causes which Sir Walter Scott, in his "Paul's Letters to his Kinsfolk," assigns for the circumstance we are lamenting. The first one of them had also been previously intimated by that worthy personage, the father of Tristram Shandy,—"Why are there so few palaces and gentlemen's seats, (he would ask with some emotion, as he walked across the room,) throughout so many delicious provinces in France? Whence is it that the few remaining chateaux amongst them are so dismantled, so unfurnished, and in so ruinous and desolate a condition?—Because, sir, (he would say,) in that kingdom no man has any country-interest to support:—the little interest of any kind which any man has anywhere[Pg 17] in it, is concentrated in the court, and the looks of the Grand Monarch; by the sunshine of whose countenance, or the clouds which pass across it, every Frenchman lives or dies." This, however, is certainly not the case with Frenchmen of the present day.

But the principal drawback upon the pleasure of travelling in France, is decidedly the multitude of mendicants by whom you are continually annoyed, and whose miserable appearance offends the eye, while it sickens the heart. Scarcely ever does the vehicle stop without being immediately surrounded by the most distressing objects that the mind can conceive, in such numbers as to render it impossible for any one except the possessor of Fortunatus's or Rothschild's purse, to bestow alms, however inconsiderable, upon them all. A humane individual, who should attempt to do it, with a pocket of but moderate dimensions, would soon be reduced to the necessity of enrolling himself in the mendicant band, and crying out with the rest of them, in their peculiar tone, "Donnez un sous, à un pauvre malheureux, pour l'amour de Dieu, et de la Sainte Vierge." "Give a sous to a poor unfortunate, for the love of God and of the Holy Virgin." The crowds of these beggars upon the French roads, lead the stranger to apprehend that in Paris they will swarm to such an extent as to mar in a degree the pleasure of his residence there; he is, however, agreeably disappointed at finding in his perambulations through its streets, that they are completely free from them, in consequence of the admirable regulations of the police. It is worthy of remark, that the reverse of this is the case in England. There the roads and villages rarely afford cause for the tear of compassion, or the exclamation of disgust, elicited by scenes of misery; but in walking about London, one must be made of sterner stuff than was sentimental Yorick, who can avoid endeavouring to repeat "Psha! with an air of carelessness," at almost every step, after being obliged to refuse infinitely stronger claims upon charity than those which were advanced by the poor Franciscan.

We have thus enumerated most of the reasons why travelling in England is preferable to that in France, yet there is one circumstance to be remarked in favour of the latter, which almost counterbalances every consideration of an unfavourable kind. We allude to the facility with which a stranger can make acquaintance with his fellow passengers, in the "gay, smiling land of social mirth and ease." In England he may journey from Plymouth to Berwick without speaking more than ten words to any persons who chance to be his companions in the coach, or hearing ten words spoken by them if they happen not to know each other; but in a French public conveyance, only a short time elapses before all its occupants are as much at ease, and upon as[Pg 18] good terms with each other, as if they were familiar acquaintances. Many a pleasant hour have we spent in a diligence, in consequence of the conversations we have fallen into with individuals whom we have there encountered, some of which were of a highly ludicrous character. We shall never forget a series of interrogatories put to us by a loquacious fellow next to whom we were seated in the diligence in going from Rouen to Paris, and who was about as ignorant as he was garrulous. Hearing us say, in answer to a question of another person, that we were from the United States, he asked us how we liked Italy; and on our telling him we had never been there, inquired with a face of great surprise, whether the United States was not on the other side of Italy? After endeavouring to give him an idea of the situation of our country, he asked successively, if we had crossed the ocean in a steam-boat, if the United States belonged to England or to France, and if Philadelphia was not the place where the great revolt of the Negroes took place. But we must return to her Ladyship, with the wish that she would contrive to render her company more agreeable, that we might have less temptation to wander from her at this rate.

With regard to the English furniture of her Ladyship's apartments, and the English confectionaries and perfumeries which gave rise to the memorable adventures we have related above, we may remark that it may have been so ordained by fate that she should light upon one of the very few hotels, one of the very few confectionary shops, and one of the very few perfumery stores in Paris, in which matters are ordered in the English style; but to give us to understand, in consequence, that all the hotels are furnished in the same way, and that bonbons, extraits, &c. are not to be procured, is like the proceeding of the Hon. Frederick de Roos, R. N. who affirms, in his sapient work on the United States, that all the inhabitants in Philadelphia take tea on the steps before their doors in summer evenings, because, forsooth, he saw a family sitting on those of the house in which they lived, in order to enjoy a July twilight.

One of the first things that her Ladyship does on the morning subsequent to her arrival, is to give notice to her friends of that important event,—a gratuitous piece of kindness altogether, as it seems to us, for it must doubtless have been announced by as many portentous signs as accompanied the birth of Owen Glendower. Nevertheless, in order to make assurance doubly sure, she despatched 'cards to some, and notes to others, after the Parisian fashion,' but previously indulged in a very pretty sentimental fit. This was caused by the first name that met her eye as she opened her 'old Paris visiting book for 1818'—that of Denon, "the page, minister, and gentilhomme de la chambre of Louis XV., the friend of Voltaire, the intimate of Napoleon,[Pg 19] the traveller and historian of Modern Egypt, the director of the Musée of France," &c. &c., who, we are informed, used always to be so particularly delighted with her Ladyship's visits to Paris, that he was wont to hail them with his hand, and welcome them with a cordial smile. Alas! death had overtaken him, notwithstanding his friendship with Lady Morgan; and she could no longer expect his salutations. "Other hands were now extended, other smiles beamed now as brightly; but his were dimmed for ever!" How kind her Ladyship is! Fearing her readers might be distressed by the idea, that, in consequence of the decease of Denon, she might have been in some want of welcoming, she has taken the precaution of setting them at ease upon that point, by the above ingenious sentence. In mentioning the reasons of her intimacy with Denon, she employs language of a very singular kind, which, if maliciously interpreted to the letter, might subject her to uncomfortable remarks, though we are sure it is nothing but an effusion of gurgling vanity. It is an instance, however, to what a degree that sentiment, when extreme, gets the better of all sense of propriety and decorum. She says, that even if Denon had not been such a person as she describes him, "still, he suited me, I suited him. There was between us that sympathy, in spite of the disparity of years and talents, which, whether in trifles or essentials,—between the frivolous or the profound,—makes the true basis of those ties, so sweet to bind, so bitter to break!" It is well for Sir Charles Morgan's peace of mind, that he is acquainted, as he must be, with his wife's frivolity and egotism. How, indeed, he could have allowed her to come before the world with such phraseology in her mouth, we cannot imagine, unless on the supposition that he is such a husband as La Bruyère has described. "Il ne sert dans sa famille qu' à montrer l'exemple, d'un silence timide et d'une parfaite soumission. Il ne lui est dû ni douaire ni conventions; mais à cela près, et qu'il n'accouche pas, il est la femme, et elle le mari."

After her Ladyship had "shuddered," and "felt as if she was throwing earth upon Denon's grave whilst drawing her pen across his precious and historical name," she spent about half an hour in weeping, "like a fair flower surcharged with dew," over the names of others of her departed friends, Guinguené, Talma, Langlois, Lanjuinais, &c., until she fortunately recollected that the climate of Paris is one that "developes a sensibility prompt, not deep." Lucky thought! She immediately threw down the visiting-book, threw up the window to let in the climate, wiped from her eyes the tears "which parted thence, as pearls from diamonds dropp'd," and began to think of "all that death had left her, of the 'greater still behind,'—of friends, each in his way, a specimen of that genius and virtue, which,[Pg 20] in all regions, and in all ages, make the ne plus ultra of human excellence." Admire the delicacy of the method by which Miladi lets us into the secret of her being a ne plus ultra; it is not by a bold assertion, but by a modest inuendo. She keeps company with ne plus ultras—birds of the same feather flock together—ergo, she is a ne plus ultra herself. And so she is, but in her own way. "Il y a malheureusement," observes a French writer of the present day "plus d'une manière de se rendre célèbre,"—"there is, unfortunately, more than one method of becoming celebrated,"—and as this writer is an acquaintance of Lady Morgan, we are half inclined to think he committed that sentence to paper after returning from a visit to her Celebrityship.

We may as well cite here a few more instances of her ingenuity in communicating, obliquely, how distinguished a personage she is,—a quality she possesses in a degree that we do not recollect ever to have seen rivalled. We copy verbatim.

"The other day I dined in the Chaussée d'Antin, in that house where it is always such a privilege to dine; where the wit of the host, like the menus of his table, combines all that is best in French or Irish peculiarity; and where the society is chosen with reference to no other qualities than merit and agreeability."

Speaking of the weekly assemblies at an eminent individual's house, at which she was a constant attendant, she says, they

"Are among the most select and remarkable in Paris. Inaccessible to commonplace mediocrity and pushing pretension, their visitor must be ticketted in some way or another" (by writing a "France," or an "Italy," for instance,) "to obtain a presentation."

With regard to another circle of which she was a large segment, she observes,—

"It is sufficient to have merit, agreeability, or the claims of old acquaintance to belong to it, but, truth to tell, it is still so far exclusive, that what Madame Roland calls l'universelle mediocrité, gains no admission there."


"I happened one night at Gen. La Fayette's to say that I should remain at home on the following morning, and the information brought us a numerous circle of morning visitors; others dropped in by chance, and some by appointment. From twelve till four, my little salon was a congress composed of the representatives of every vocation of arts, letters, science, bon ton," (the Congress of Vienna was nothing to this,) "and philosophy, in which, as in the Italian opera-boxes of Milan and Naples, the comers and goers succeeded each other, as the narrow limits of the space required that the earliest visitor should make room for the last arrival."

We might fill pages with similar specimens of her modesty, but we must proceed.

The notes and cards being all despatched, authentic intelligence is at length diffused throughout Paris of her arrival, and such a commotion is forthwith excited as had never been seen even in that city of commotions, since the time the Giraffe made her entrée into it, and said to the gaping multitude, "Mes amis,[Pg 21] il n'y a qu'une bête de plus." Perhaps the sensation might be excepted which was created by "Messieurs les Osages," the American deputation whose "France" has not yet, we believe, appeared in either hemisphere. The Rue de Rivoli was instantly crowded with "old friends" and "intimate acquaintances," ne plus ultras included, besides various others anxious for the honour of an introduction, all striving who should get first into the "Hôtel de la Terrasse;" and such was the press of visits, dinner-parties, suppers, balls, &c. &c. that for a period her Ladyship could not, as she says, "find leisure to register a single impression for her own amusement, or haply for that of a world, which, it must be allowed, is not very difficult to amuse." In this sentiment we request leave, before going further, to record our unqualified concurrence, and also to state, that we know of no one from whom it could proceed with more propriety and weight than from Miladi. It has been, doubtless, expressed before, by various other book-makers, but never, we feel confident, by one whose career affords fuller evidence of its correctness, or who could adduce more forcible proofs in support of it, should they be required. In such case, the simple fact need only be cited, that "France in 1830" is the work of the same hand which indited "Ida of Athens," some twenty years previous, and which, during that interval, has furnished the world almost annually, with quartos, octavos, or duodecimos.

The accounts that her Ladyship gives of the various festive entertainments of which she partook, constitute the matter of a large number of her pages. If it be true, however, that in order to observe well, one ought to screen one's self from observation, she could have had little opportunity of obtaining acquaintance with the constitution of French society; for, if we believe her own story, there was no social assemblage of any kind to which she went, where she was not the observed of every one, the centre of attraction, the nucleus of excellence. And what information is to be derived from her relation of a ball here, or a soirée there, beyond the very interesting, highly important, and most credible intelligence, that as soon as the announcement of Lady Morgan's name falls upon the ears of the company, everything else is forgotten; a dead silence instantaneously takes place of the conversational hum that before prevailed; all eyes are directed towards the door; Lady Morgan enters; a buzz of admiration succeeds; she advances with a dignified air towards the hostess, or rather the hostess runs eagerly forward to meet her; she drops a romantic curtesy; she sits down; and thenceforward nothing is thought of by any of the guests but Miladi, and the pearls that fall from her lips. As the French are fond of forming queues, or files, for the purpose of[Pg 22] avoiding confusion, when there is any great earnestness among a large collection of persons with regard to any object of curiosity, we can imagine the whole assemblage falling into one as soon as she takes her seat, and thus enjoying, each in turn, the coveted delight.—But we mistake; other information respecting French society is communicated, unwittingly however, by her Ladyship. It is this: that they are as fond of ridicule in 1830, as they were in 1816, and as they have ever been. We have little difficulty in believing, that her Ladyship received a vast deal of attention in Paris; still, we must confess, that it appears to us impossible not to be convinced, from her own story, that it was owing to a very different reason from the one to which it is attributed by her self-love. If there is any feature in the French character peculiarly salient or prominent, it is the love of ridicule. "Take care," said a lady to her son, who was on the eve of departure for his travels, "of the Inquisition at Madrid, of the mob at London, and of ridicule at Paris." Nothing that is at all calculated to excite an ironical smile or a sarcastic remark, escapes a "fasting Monsieur's" observation, and even the greatest virtues and genius, if combined with any quality which can afford matter for a joke, will scarcely prevent their possessor from being made a laughing-stock. Napoleon was so well aware of this propensity of his subjects, that he was prevented by it from placing his own figure in the car which surmounts the triumphal arch erected between the Court of the Tuileries and the Place du Carousal, being apprehensive that the wags would avail themselves of the opportunity thus afforded of punning at his expense—le char le tientle charlatan. What a delectable tit-bit, consequently, for this appetite of the Parisians, must be a darling little philosopher in petticoats, (not quite sexagenary,) who dabbles in all sciences and arts, and is at the same time a pretender to the pretty affectations and hoydenish manners of a youthful belle! Such a person, especially if she possess that happy opinion of herself, which prevents her from having the slightest suspicion that she can be the object of anything but admiration with all, is regarded by them as a legitimate subject for a mystification, which, in our vernacular, means hoax,—elle se prête au ridicule, as they say, she lends herself, as it were, to ridicule; and to be convinced that they know how to take consummate advantage of the loan, it is only necessary to glance over "France in 1830." Every one who does so will, we feel confident, understand in the same manner as ourselves, the meaning of that "brilliant welcome," which Miladi, with so much complacency, informs us she received "in the capital of European intellect." From beginning to end, these volumes afford almost continued specimens of perfection in the art of "quizzing," and may therefore be particularly indicated to such as[Pg 23] are anxious to acquire proficiency in that way. We are glad that we have at length discovered a description of persons to whom we can conscientiously recommend the work we are reviewing, as calculated to afford desirable information.

There is another cause, besides this fondness for ridicule, to which the mystification of her Ladyship may be attributed. Whoever is at all acquainted with her writings, must be aware that she pretends to be a great republican, and to entertain a most orthodox horror of royalism and the appendages thereof, and that she has called the royalist party in France all the hard names she could find in the most approved collection of opprobrious epithets. This circumstance, it is easy to imagine, may have excited a slight desire of revenge in the breasts of some of the younger members of that party.

In her very preface, we have an evidence of her having been the victim of as well concerted and admirably conducted a hoax, as was ever played off upon any one—it surpasses that which was put upon poor Malvolio in "Twelfth Night." After making the remark upon which we have already commented, that a second work on France from her pen could "alone be justified by the novelty of its matter, or by the merit of its execution," she says—

"It may serve, however, as an excuse, and an authentication of the attempt, that I was called to the task by some of the most influential organs of public opinion, in that great country. They relied upon my impartiality (for I had proved it, at the expense of proscription abroad, and persecution at home); and, desiring only to be represented as they are, they deemed even my humble talents not wholly inadequate to an enterprise whose first requisite was the honesty that tells the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth."

Oh you wicked wags! If the abolition of capital punishment be effected in France, we hope you will be specially excepted as unworthy of mercy for this cruel plot to make Miladi Morgan expose herself thus to the sneers of an ill-natured world. We think we see you in conclave, laughing and joking over an epistle you have just concocted and signed with the names of half a dozen of the leaders of the liberals, in which her Ladyship is earnestly conjured to cross the Irish and the English channels and hasten to Paris, in order to dispel by the effulgence of her intellectual rays, the mists and darkness that the fiend of ultraism had spread over the political horizon. Seriously speaking, we cannot divine any other than this or a similar manner of accounting for her Ladyship's assertion, that "she was called to the task by some of the most influential organs of public opinion in France;"—she would not certainly affirm what she knew to be false, and the idea that she did receive a bonâ fide request of the above purport from such individuals, is too absurd to command belief for a moment. Would any one in his senses, who is[Pg 24] "desirous of being represented as he is," put in requisition the pencil of an artist by which he would be sure to be caricatured?

The "persecution at home," that her Ladyship affects to have suffered, refers, we suppose, to sundry articles in the Quarterly Review and other Journals, in which she was rather roughly handled. We all know, however, what a pleasant thing it is to deem ourselves the objects of persecution, when it does not interfere with our profit—it is a flattering unction we love to lay to the soul, as it seems to augment our importance—and Miladi appears to have been highly delighted with the persecutions she has encountered. She is continually alluding to the attacks of the Quarterly, and whenever an opportunity occurs, favours us with extracts from them, and now and then she slips in some satirical observation concerning herself from the Journal des Débats. The different manner in which she has been treated by the Edinburgh and Quarterly Reviews, is an exemplification of the potent influence which party spirit exercises over those journals. In the latter, one or two of her works have been criticised with overwhelming power, and in a tone and spirit superlatively bitter. In the former, on the contrary, she is spoken of with studied lenity, although the Reviewer is obliged to confess that he is not one of her particular admirers, and seems to be perpetually restraining himself from indulging in the language of raillery and sarcasm. We need hardly add that the political principles which her Ladyship professes to entertain, are the main cause of this discrepancy. For our own part, we conscientiously believe that the English journal has not gone half so far beyond the truth as its Scotch rival has fallen short of it, in their respective strictures. With regard to the republican bursts of Lady Morgan, we cannot help suspecting that there is more affectation and cant in them than sincerity:—she is too anxious to let it be known that she is caressed every where by the ne plus ultras of aristocracy and rank, as well as by those of intellect, and, at the same time, there is too much parade and ostentatious vehemence in her explosions against the royalist party.

As to the other article which her Ladyship says she has received in exchange for her impartiality!—"proscription abroad,"—we feel pretty confident that it exists no where but in her own imagination. There it has, doubtless, been engendered by the malice of some ultra in disguise, who has made her Ladyship believe, that the Emperor of Austria, the Grand Signior, the King of Owyhee, and the other despots of the earth, have forbidden, on pain of racking, roasting, and every kind of torture, the importation of her books into their dominions, lest these should be revolutionized by them forthwith. Heaven defend us! we are very much afraid that Lady Morgan will set[Pg 25] this world of ours on fire, somewhere about the time when it comes in contact with the comet. It is not mere supposition on our part that her Ladyship deems herself an object of dread to the Austrian government at least;—read what she says àpropos of the entrée of its ambassador into a ball-room where she was making all the lamps and candles hide their diminished heads. "When his Austrian excellence was announced, how I started, with all the weight of Aulic proscription on my head! The representative of the long-armed monarch of Hapsburg so near me,—of him, who, could he only once get his fidgetty fingers on my little neck, would give it a twist, that would save his custom-house officers all future trouble of breaking carriages and harassing travellers, in search of the pestilent writings of 'Ladi Morgan.' I did not breathe freely, till his excellency had passed on with his glittering train, into the illumined conservatory, and was lost in a wilderness of flowering shrubs and orange trees." Ought not this ambassador to be recalled for his negligence, his want of loyalty, in not attempting to get his fingers about Miladi's 'little neck,' in order to restore his Imperial master to peace and tranquillity of mind? Poor Francis! still are you doomed to be fidgetty on your throne. We think we see you receiving intelligence of the appearance of this last emanation from Ladi Morgan's untiring pen—a mortal paleness overspreads your face, as Metternich rushes into your presence with terror depicted in his countenance, articulating only "Ladi Morgan, Ladi Morgan," having just obtained himself a knowledge of the dreadful fact from an almost breathless courier—in an agony of suspense you gaze wildly at your faithful counsellor, until he has recovered composure sufficient to unfold to you the whole tale of horror. It is told! The monarch in whose hands are the lives of fifty millions of subjects, lies himself, to all appearance, deprived of existence. But see! he revives—his lips move—what are the words which fall faintly upon the ears of the bewildered attendants who have been called into the apartment by the cries of the prime minister? They are words of malediction, of the same purport as those which Henry II. of England uttered against his servants, for their want of zeal in allowing him to be so long tormented by Thomas à Becket, and which caused that prelate's death. But alas! for your repose, Imperial Cæsar, it is not so easy at the present day, as in former times, for de Luces and de Morevilles to gratify the vengeful wishes of their masters, and Lady Morgan yet breathes the breath of life (although it is true she did not do it "freely," according to her own account, while in the vicinity of your ambassador in Paris,) to keep your nervous system in disorder, and for the continued vexation of the rational part of the reading world.

Multifarious are the other instances we might cite of the manner[Pg 26] in which her simple Ladyship was mystified by the ironical propensities of some, and the malicious ultraism of others, during her visit to Paris in 1829-30. "There are certain characters," observes M. Jouy, "who may be considered as the scourges of whatever is ridiculous (les fleaux du ridicule;) they discover it under whatever form it may be hid, and pitilessly immolate it with the weapon of irony," and into the hands of persons of this merciless tribe she seems to have been perpetually falling. We must content ourselves, however, with referring to but one example more; a conversation between herself and a young Frenchman, about Romanticism and Classicism, which she has detailed in her first volume. This is a subject, which, as every one must know, has set all Paris by the ears, and attracts almost as much attention there as the overthrow of one dynasty and the creation of another. Lady Morgan, of course, is a thorough-going romantique, and demonstrates the greater excellence of the school of which she deems herself the chief support and brightest ornament, in pretty much the same way as the superiority of modern writers over the ancients used to be proved by the advocates of the former, viz. by two methods, reason and example, the first of which they derived from their own taste, and the second from their own works. At the time she was delivered of her quarto about France in 1810, Paris was still immersed in classical darkness, and it may therefore be fairly inferred that the romantic light with which it has since been illumined, radiated from that same tome. What can be more natural? When she left France, "the word 'Romanticism' was unknown (or nearly so) in the circles of Paris; the writers à la mode, whether ultra or liberal, were, or thought themselves to be, supporters and practisers of the old school of literature;" in the interval of her absence she published a work in which she told the Parisians that Racine was no poet, and gave them other valuable information of the kind, calculated to dispel their classical infatuation:—when she returned, every thing was changed; poets and prosers were vieing with each other in gloriously offending against all rules and canons; Romanticism, in short, was, as she asserts, completely the order of the day. The classical wrath of one man was the source of unnumbered woes to ancient Greece, and why may not the romantic wrath of one woman—a woman too, who keeps autocrats and sultans fidgetty on their thrones, be the cause of a change in the literature of a country? This change, at all events, however it may have been operated, seems to have inspired her with additional courage in her assaults, and additional fury in her anathemas upon the poor French authors whom the ignorant world has hitherto been in the habit of regarding as objects of admiration. She now asserts, in "France in 1829-30," that the whole[Pg 27] classic literature of that country is "feeble and unuseful," nay, even fitted to "enervate and degrade;" and in a wonderfully luminous chapter about modern literature, she has shown as clearly as Hudibras could have proved by "force of argument" that "a man's no horse," that Classicism is the ally of despotism, and that it was the policy of arbitrary power to encourage a fondness for the ancient authors!

Fiercely romantic, however, as her Ladyship is, she is mild as a cooing dove in comparison with the male interlocutor in the famous conversation to which we have alluded. This personage completely out-herods Herod; but that he was an ultra in disguise, endeavouring to make her Ladyship write down absurdities, is a conviction which 'fire and water could not drive out of' us;—even she, herself, at one period of the dialogue, can not help doubting whether she "is or is not the subject of what in England is called a hoax, and in France a mystification," and when she doubts upon such a point, it would be extremely difficult for any one else not to deem it a matter of certainty. Had we space sufficient, we should transcribe the whole of this colloquy, as it deserves repetition; but we can only give a small specimen of it for the amusement of our readers. The gentleman having informed Miladi, that Racine, Corneille, and Voltaire, are "dethroned monarchs," and no longer tolerated at the Theatre, she asks him what is to be seen or heard there, to which he answers:—

"'Our great historic dramas, written not in pompous Alexandrines, but in prose, the style of truth, the language of life and nature, and composed boldly, in defiance of Aristotle and Boileau. Their plot may run to any number of acts, and the time to any number of nights, months, or years; or if the author pleases, it may take in a century, or a millennium: and then, for the place, the first scene may be laid in Paris, and the last in Kamschatka. In short, France has recovered her literary liberty, and makes free use of it.'

"'Oui da!' I rejoined, a little bothered, and not knowing well what to say, but still looking very wise, 'In fact, then, you take some of those liberties, that you used to laugh at, in our poor Shakspeare?'

"'Your poor Shakspeare! your divine, immortal Shakspeare, the idol of new France!—you must see him played textuellement at the Français, and not in the diffuse and feeble parodies of Ducis.'

"'Shakspeare played textuellement at the Français!" I exclaimed—'O, par exemple!'

"'Yes, certainly. Othello is now in preparation; and Hamlet and Macbeth are stock pieces. But even your Shakspeare was far from the truth, the great truth, that the drama should represent the progress, development, and accomplishment of the natural and moral world, without reference to time or locality. Unknown to himself, his mighty genius was mastered by the fatal prejudices and unnatural restrictions of the perruques of antiquity. Does nature unfold her plots in five acts? or confine her operations to three hours by the parish clock?'

"'Certainly not, Monsieur; but still....'

"'Mais, mais, un moment, chère Miladi. The drama is one great illusion of the senses, founded on facts admitted by the understanding, and presented in real life, past or present. When you give yourself up to believe that Talma was Nero, or Lafont Britannicus, or that the Rue Richelieu is the palace of the Cæsars, you admit all that at first appears to outrage possibility. Starting, then,[Pg 28] from that point, I see no absurdity in the tragedy, which my friend Albert de S—— says he has written for the express purpose of trying how far the neglect of the unities may be carried. The title and subject of this piece is "the Creation," beginning from Chaos (and what scenery and machinery it will admit!) and ending with the French revolution; the scene, infinite space; and the time, according to the Mosaic account, some 6000 years.'

"'And the protagonist, Monsieur? Surely you don't mean to revive the allegorical personages in the mysteries of the middle ages?'

"'Ah ça! pour le protagoniste, c'est le diable. He is the only contemporaneous person in the universe that we know of, whom in these days of cagoterie we can venture to bring on the stage, and who could be perpetually before the scene, as a protagonist should be. He is particularly suited, by our received ideas of his energy and restlessness, for the principal character. The devil of the German patriarch's Faust is, after all, but a profligate casuist; and the high poetical tone of sublimity of Milton's Satan is no less to be avoided in a delineation that has truth and nature for its inspiration. In short, the devil, the true romantic devil, must speak, as the devil would naturally speak, under the various circumstances in which his immortal ambition and ceaseless malignity may place him. In the first act, he should assume the tone of the fallen hero, which would by no means become him when in corporal possession of a Jewish epileptic, and bargaining for his pis aller in a herd of swine. Then again, as a leader of the army of St. Dominick, he should have a fiercer tone of bigotry, and less political finesse, than as a privy councillor in the cabinet of the Cardinal de Richelieu. At the end of the fourth act, as a guest at the table of Baron Holbach, he may even be witty; while as a minister of police, he should be precisely the devil of the schoolmen, leading his victim into temptation, and triumphing in all the petty artifices and verbal sophistries of a bachelor of the Sorbonne. But as the march of intellect advances, this would by no means be appropriate; and before the play is over, he must by turns imitate the patelinage of a Jesuit à robe courte, the pleading of a procureur général, the splendid bile of a deputy of the côté droit, and should even talk political economy like an article in the 'Globe.' But the author shall read you his piece—'La Création! drame Historique et Romantique, in six acts, allowing a thousand years to each act. C'est l'homme marquant de son siècle.''

"'But,' said I, 'I shall remain in Paris only a few weeks, and he will never get through it in so short a time.'

"'Pardonnez moi, madame, he will get through it in six nights—the time to be actually occupied by the performance; an act a night, to be distributed among the different theatres in succession, beginning at the Français and ending at the Ambigu.'"

It is here that her Ladyship begins to doubt whether this romantic gentleman was not hoaxing her, and certes it was time; but 'melt and disperse ye spectre doubts!' an attempt to hoax Lady Morgan, impossible! They do quickly pass away, and the conversation is pursued in the same strain, until "Monsieur de ——one of the conscript fathers of classicism" is announced. No sooner has his name passed the lips of the servant, than the romantic gentleman snatches up his hat, and endeavours to make an exit from the room, in as much consternation as if the "protagonist" himself were about to appear. But Monsieur de ——the classicist, enters before he can escape; "he draws up." The two then "glanced cold looks at each other, bowed formally, and the romanticist retired, roughing his wild locks, and panting like a hero of a tragedy." What a picture! We venture to affirm, however, that had an attentive observer been present,[Pg 29] he would have seen something like a wink or a covert glance passing between the two worthies as they enacted the above scene, which might have led him to suspect that they knew each other better than Miladi supposed: it was only on the previous evening, be it stated, on her own authority, that she had made the acquaintance of the romanticist, whom she describes as having "something of an exalté in his air, in his open shirt collar, black head, and wild and melancholy look." The dialogue that ensues with the classicist after the disappearance of the other, is quite as ridiculous as the foregoing one, and quite as well calculated to give her Ladyship a fit of the "doubts," though it does not appear that she suffered by them a second time. We may mention, before leaving this subject, that when the romanticist told her, in the extract we have just made, that Othello was in preparation for the Theâtre Français, he told her truth; but, if we are not very much mistaken, the other piece of information he communicated—that Hamlet and Macbeth are stock-tragedies at that theatre—could only have been related by a gentleman of great fertility of imagination. Othello, we know, was actually performed, and went off tolerably well until the final scene, but then the nerves of the Frenchmen were put to a trial they could not by any possibility endure. The sight of a Moor and an Infidel, endeavouring to smother a lady and a Christian, so completely aroused all the gallant and religious sensibilities of the audience, that shouts of terrible, abominable, resounded from every part of the house, and Monsieur Othello was (theatrically) damned for his wickedness. As far as we know, he never showed his copper-coloured visage again at the Theâtre Français, but contented himself thenceforward with running after poor Desdemona, and stabbing her behind the scene at the opera, where this minor exhibition of cruelty is tolerated in consideration of the roulades, with which he smooths her passage into the other world.

Speaking of theatres puts us in mind, as the story-tellers say, of a remark made by her Ladyship in the chapter she has devoted to the theatres of Paris, which we wish to notice. She says, "it is strange, that among the many men of genius who have treated the subject of the unities, none should have clearly laid it down, that the great object of dramatic composition is the satisfaction of the audience, no matter by what means." What a fine thing it is to be endowed with uncommon powers of original thought! It is so delightful to be able to belie the assertion, that it is too late now to think of propounding any new idea, every thing having already been said that can be said about any thing! Here, ye croakers about modern degeneracy, here is something that should cover you with confusion and shame. Lady Morgan, after having read all, aye,[Pg 30] all, that has been written about a certain subject by all the "many men of genius" who have treated it—which it would only require the lifetime of a Methuselah to do—has discovered an idea relating to it, which is to be found in none of the works of those "many men of genius," and this she has revealed for the edification and astonishment of the world, in the sentence we have quoted above. How every lover of new ideas now living, should bless his stars for having cast his existence in the same period as that of her Ladyship! It is, however, our melancholy duty, to be obliged to deprive our generation of the glory which would be shed upon it by such an intellectual invention as the foregoing. Though it has undoubtedly never been adverted to in any way, since she so asserts the fact, by any of the "many men of genius" who have exercised their minds upon the topic of the unities, yet by a singular chance we have fallen upon something very much like it in the petty effusions of two or three subordinate scribblers, who have presumed to hint at what was not excogitated by their betters. One of those effusions is a paper called a "Preface to Shakspeare," written about fifty years ago, as we have discovered, after long research and a great deal of trouble, by a certain Samuel Johnson, who dubbed himself Doctor, and published likewise, if our investigations have informed us rightly, other works, under the titles of "The Rambler," "Rasselas," "Biographies of the British Poets," &c., and tradition even says that he attempted a dictionary of the English language. Another of those effusions is an "Essay upon the Drama," by a person called Walter Scott, who, it is affirmed, is still in the land of the living, but where he dwelleth, and what other productions he hath printed, we have been able to obtain no clue for finding out. It must indeed be confessed, that neither of those individuals has so "clearly laid it down" as her Ladyship, that the audience should be pleased, "no matter by what means," though they certainly have intimated that its gratification ought to be one of the principal objects of a dramatic author. They were foolish enough to think, that to pander to the tastes of an audience, if corrupt and vitiated, is paltry, is despicable; that to consult its inclinations when at war with sound taste or proper decorum, is to do the work of those who are influenced only by a love of sordid gain, reckless of every pure and elevated feeling—that "the end of all writing is to instruct, the end of all poetry, to instruct by pleasing." This is the difference between the sentiment of the authors and that of the authoress; but were that same Samuel Johnson now alive, sooner than maintain an opinion in any the slightest manner at variance with one expressed by her Ladyship, he would,—as he was ready to do, according to his own avowal, when asserting something that was denied by persons[Pg 31] scarcely more important than himself,—"sink down in reverential silence, as Æneas withdrew from the defence of Troy, when he saw Neptune shaking the wall, and Juno heading the besiegers."

We do not wish to insinuate that her Ladyship has derived any advantage from consulting the pages of either the Preface or the Essay to which we have alluded. By no means. Nothing would be more unjust; for how could she be indebted for any thing to what may be contained in a couple of insignificant pamphlets, whose scarcity is such, that we might almost suppose our copies of them to be the only ones in existence? How they came into our hands, is a point we leave for elucidation to those who find pleasure or profit in unravelling mysteries. There is, to be sure, a wonderful similitude throughout, between her reflections upon the classical and romantic drama, and those which may be read in the Essay; but this circumstance must unquestionably be considered one of those "remarkable coincidences" that every now and then prompt the cry of "a miracle!" It must, else, be accounted for, by supposing that the author of the Essay is gifted with a power over future operations of mind, similar to that which was possessed over future events, by the wizard who warned Lochiel against the fatal day at Culloden, and that he is thus enabled, by his "mystical lore," to make

"Coming ideas cast their shadow before."

Seriously, however, the observations of her Ladyship on this head, furnish as nice an instance of plagiarism as we recollect. The best of the matter is, that after filling nearly a couple of pages with remarks, amongst which not a single original idea is to be found, save perhaps the rather novel one, that "in Macbeth the interest is suspended at the death of Duncan, and does not revive until that of the tyrant is at hand;" she winds up with saying, "obvious as this train of reasoning appears, it has been overlooked equally by the opponents and the sticklers for the old canons of criticism; a lamentable instance of the influence of authority, and of the spirit of party, on the judgments of the most cultivated minds." This is a sample of modest assurance in perfection. There is another "remarkable coincidence" in these volumes, between the biography they contain of General Lafayette, and an article about "the Nation's Guest" in a number of the North American Review for 1825. But we leave it to our contemporary to take her Ladyship to task for this appropriation of his property.

In our foregoing remarks we have confined ourselves, in great measure, to some of those portions of the volumes before us, which are most susceptible of ridicule, though we have adverted[Pg 32] to only a few even of those—there are others, however, that would require a graver tone. The sickly sentimentalism about Ninon de l'Enclos, La Vallière, Madame d'Houdetot, and other strumpets—such "free" conversations as those which are detailed at page 138, in the first volume, and page 108, in the second; especially as they were held in the presence of a young girl, her Ladyship's niece, who was doubtless one of the chief causes why so many gentlemen came "pour faire leurs hommages" to the aunt—and various expressions upon matters appertaining to religion, deserve reprehension in no measured terms. But we have not space enough at our disposal to bestow any further notice upon these, or to glance at other parts of "France in 1829-30," although we have reaped but a small portion of the harvest which it contains.

And this is the writer who pretends to enlighten the world upon the "state of society" in one of the greatest countries of the earth! This is the work by means of which she flatters herself that such an object is to be effected,—and this too, (proh pudor!) is the kind of work that can be republished in our country with a certainty of success! Should the fact come to the knowledge of posterity, what will be thought of the literary taste of this generation? We have, however, a cause for consolation—if that can be termed consolation which ministers only to selfish vanity, and is a source of pain to every better feeling—in the assurance that the literary history of future times, judging from the experience of the past, will present similar instances of depravity of intellectual appetite. We wonder now, how our ancestors could have relished what we regard with indifference if not with disgust, in the same way that our taste in some respects will be a matter of surprise with our descendants, and as theirs will be with those by whom they may be succeeded on the stage of life. Every age, since books have been written and books have been read, has furnished, and we may therefore assert, every age will furnish, reason upon reason for making the remark of the philosophic author of the "Caractères," that not to hazard sometimes a great deal of nonsense, is to manifest ignorance of the public taste—"c'est ignorer le goût du peuple, que de ne pas hasarder quelquefois de grandes fadaises." We do not wish to deny that Lady Morgan has been gifted with a modicum of talent; even in the work before us, there is occasional evidence of natural ability, which, had it been properly cultivated and modestly employed, might have earned for her honourable fame. But what advantage—we speak, of course, with reference to reputation; as to pecuniary profit we have no doubt that she has found her account in her 'fadaises,' or else they would not have been multiplied to such an extent—what advantage, we ask, has she derived from her faculty of[Pg 33] scribbling, except that she has made herself pretty widely known, and ridiculed wherever she is known? Presumptuous ignorance, and overweening conceit, have, in her case, completely nullified, nay worse, have converted into a curse, in some respects, what was intended every way for a blessing. If Lady Morgan would forego her mongrel idiom, and use the English language; if she would confine herself to subjects with which she has some acquaintance; if she would substitute a simple in the stead of her inflated style; and above all, if she could forget herself, she might write tolerably well; but there are too many ifs to render it probable, or even possible, that the defects to which they relate will ever be overcome. This being the case, we take leave of you, Miladi, not with the au revoir of which you are so fond, but with the parting salutation of Louis the Fourteenth to James the Second, when sending him with an army to recover his forfeited crown, "Adieu, and may we never meet again."

Art. II.—Physiologie des Passions, ou nouvelle Doctrine des Sentimens Moraux; par J. L. Alibert. Chapitre XI. de l'Ennui. Physiology of the Passions; or a New Theory of Moral Sentiments. Chap. XI. of Ennui.

This book is neither exact nor eloquent. The thoughts are not precise; the expressions are vague; and, of consequence, the reasonings of no value. The attempts at rich displays of imaginative power are contrasted with a want of invention; and illustrative stories, of feeble execution, are lavished abundantly in lieu of physiological facts. The volumes are too insipid to cheat an idle hour of its weariness; they rather engender fatigue than relieve it. The author will never enter the true elysium of glory; he has not substance enough to proceed straight up the ascent; but will certainly be "blown transverse into the devious air." Like most of the literature of the day, this new Theory of Moral Sentiments is essentially transient. It will pass, like anti-masonry, without producing an era.

Yet the chapter on Ennui is tolerably sensible. It is neither brilliant nor acute; but gives a superficial sketch of that state of being with considerable accuracy. To be sure, it is not from a Frenchman, that the best account of ennui should be expected. Of all nations of Europe, the French have the least of it, though they invented the word; while the Turks, with their untiring gravity, their lethargic dignity, their blind fatalism, their opium-eating, and midnight profligacies, have undoubtedly the largest share. But the Turks are only philosophers in practice; the[Pg 34] theory they leave to others. Now next to the Turks, the English suffer most from ennui. Do but hear the account which their finest poetical genius of the present century gives of himself, when he was hardly of age.

"With pleasure drugged he almost longed for wo,
And e'en for change of scene would seek the shades below."

The complaints of a young man in the bloom of life and the vigour of early hope, cannot excite much sympathy. But he interests all our feelings, when in the fullest maturity to which Lord Byron was permitted to attain, he still draws from his own bosom the appalling picture of unalleviated feelings, and describes the horrors of permanent ennui, in language that was doubtless but the mournful echo of an unhappy mind.

"'Tis time this heart should be unmoved,
Since others it has ceased to move;
Yet, though I cannot be beloved,
Still let me love.
My days are in the yellow leaf;
The flowers and fruits of love are gone;
The worm, the canker, and the grief,
Are mine alone.
The fire that in my bosom preys
Is like to some volcanic isle;
No torch is kindled at his blaze—
A funeral pile.
The hope, the fears, the jealous care,
The exalted portion of the pain
And power of love I cannot share,
But wear the chain."

Such was the harassed state of Lord Byron's mind, at the epoch of his life which seemed to promise a crowded abundance of exciting sensations. He had hastened to the consecrated haunts of classic associations; he was struggling for honour on the parent soil of glory; he was surrounded by the stir and tumult of barbarous warfare; he had the consciousness, that the eyes of the civilized world were fixed upon his actions; he professed to feel the impulse of enthusiasm in behalf of liberty; and yet there was not irritation enough in the new and busy life of a soldier, to overcome his apathy, and restore him to happy activity. He only sought to give away his breath on the field, and to take his rest in a soldier's grave.

The literature of the day is essentially transient. The rapid circulation of intelligence enriches the public mind by imparting and diffusing every discovery; and the active spirit of man, quickened by the easy possession of practical knowledge, rightly claims the instant distribution of useful truth. But with this is connected a feverish excitement for novelty. The world, in the earliest days of which accounts have reached us, followed after[Pg 35] the newest strains; and now the lessons of former ages, though they have a persuasive eloquence for the tranquil listener, are as blank and as silent as the grave to the general ear. The voice of the past, all musical as it is with the finest harmonies of human intelligence, is lost in the jangling din of temporary discussions. Philosophy steals from the crowd, and hides herself in retirement, awaiting a better day; true learning is undervalued, and almost disappears from among men. It would seem, as though the wise men of old frowned in anger on the turbulence of the petty passions, and withdrew from the noisy and contentious haunts, where wisdom has no votaries, and tranquillity no followers. In the days of ancient liberty, the public places rung with the nervous eloquence of sublime philosophy; and the streets of Athens offered nothing more attractive than the keen discussions, the piercing satire, and the calm philanthropy of Socrates. But now it is politics which rules the city and the country; the times of deep reflection, of slowly maturing thought, are past; and now that erudition is a jest, ancient learning an exploded chimera, and elaborated eloquence known chiefly by recollection, the ample gazette runs its daily career, and heralds, in ephemeral language, the deeds of the passing hours. The age of accumulated learning is past, and every thing is carried along the rushing current of public economy, or of private business.—Life is divided between excited passions and morbid apathy.

And is this current so strong, that it cannot be resisted? Are we borne without hope of rest upon the ebbing tide? Can we never separate ourselves from the theory, and with the coolness of an observer, watch the various emotions, motives, and passions by which the human world is moulded and swayed? Can we not trace the influence of the changes and chances of this mortal state on the character and minds of mortal men?

Life is a pursuit. The moralists, who utter their heathenish oracles in the commonplace complaints of a heathenish discontent, tell us, that we are born but to pursue, and pursue but to be deceived. They say, that man in his career after earthly honours, is like the child that chases the gaudy insect; the pursuit idle; the object worthless. They tell us, that it is but a deceitful though a deceptive star, which beams from the summit of the distant hill; advance, and its light recedes; ascend, and a higher hill is seen beyond, and a wider space is yet to be traversed. And they tell us, that this is vanity; this the worthlessness of human desire; this the misery and desolation of the human heart. But how little do they know of the throbbings of that heart! How poorly have they studied the secrets of the human breast! How imperfectly do they understand the feebleness and the strength of man's fortitude and will! If the bright object still gleams in the horizon, if the brilliancy of glory is[Pg 36] still spread on the remotest hill, if the distant sky is still invested with the delicate hues of promise, and the gentle radiance of hope, pursuit remains a pleasure; and the pilgrim, ever light-hearted, passes heedlessly over the barren wastes, and climbs with cheerful ardour each rugged mountain. But suppose that brilliant star to be blotted out of the sky; suppose the lustre of the horizon to have faded into the dank and gloomy shades of a cloudy evening; suppose the pursuit to be now without an object, and the blood which hope had sent merrily through the veins, to gather and curdle round the desponding heart. Then it is, that life is abandoned to persecuting fiends, and the springs of joy are poisoned by the demons of listlessness.

The scholar and the Christian have theirs guarantied against despair. The desire for intelligence is never satisfied but with the attainment of that wisdom which passes all understanding; and the eye discerning the bright lineaments of its perfect exemplar, can set no limits to the sacred passion, which recognises the connexion of the human mind with the divine, and places before itself a career of advancement, to which time itself can never prescribe bounds. But it is not with these high questions that we are at present engaged. We have thrown open the book of human life; we are to read there of this world and its littleness, of the springs of present action, of the relief of present restlessness.

We have said, that the pursuit of a noble object is in itself a pleasure. It is to the mind which holds up no definite object to its wishes, that the universe seems deficient in the means of happiness, and joy becomes a prey to the fiend of ennui.

Let us develop this principle more accurately. Let us examine into the nature of ennui, and fix with exactness its true signification. Let us see if it be a principle of action widely diffused. Let us ascertain the limits of its power; let us trace its influences on individual character. Perhaps the investigation may lead us to a more intimate acquaintance with our nature.

Ennui is the desire of activity without the fit means of gratifying the desire. It presupposes an acknowledgment of exertion as a duty, and a consciousness of the possession of powers suited to making an exertion. It is itself a state of idleness, yet of disquiet. It is inert, yet discontented.

Such is ennui in itself. In its effects, it embraces a large class of human actions, and its influences are widely spread throughout every portion of mental or physical effort. To trace these effects, and to prescribe their limits, will be a part of our object; at present we would observe, that wherever a course of conduct is the result of physical want, of a passion for intelligence, a zeal for glory, or to sum up a great variety of theories in one, of a just and enlightened self-love, there there is no trace of ennui.[Pg 37] But when the primary motives of human conduct have failed of their effect, and the mind has become a prey to listlessness, the career, then pursued, let it be what it may, is to be ascribed to the pain of ennui. When the mind gnaws upon itself, we have ennui; the course which is pursued to call the mind from this self-destructive process, is to be ascribed to the influence of that passion.

Are our definitions indistinct? Let us attempt illustration. When the several powers and affections of man are, in the usual course of existence, called into healthy exercise, on objects sufficient to interest and satisfy them; this is happiness. When those powers and affections are exercised by objects sufficient to excite them in their highest degree, but where, being thus excited, there exists no harmony between the mind and its pursuits, where the affections are aroused without being soothed, where the chime is rung, but rung discordantly, there is misery. Where the powers of the mind are vigorous but unoccupied; where there exist a restless craving, an inquiet mobility, yet without any definite purpose or commensurate object, there is ennui.

The state of mind is strongly delineated in the language of the sacred writer.—

"I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do; and behold all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun. And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly; for what can the man do that cometh after the king? Even that which hath already been done. Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness. The wise man's eyes are in his head; but the fool walketh in darkness; and I perceived also, that one event happeneth to them all. Then I said in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me; and why was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity. For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now is, in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dieth the wise man? As the fool. Therefore, I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me; for all is vanity and vexation of spirit."

Or, to take an example from the earliest monument of Grecian genius. Achilles, in the pride of youth, engaged in his favourite profession of arms, making his way to an immortality secured to him by the voice of his goddess mother, sure to gain the victory in any contest, and selecting for his reward the richest spoils and the fairest maid. Achilles, the heroic heathen, was then fully and satisfactorily employed, and according to his semi-barbarous notions of joy and right, was happy within his own breast, and was happy in the world around him. When the same youthful warrior was insulted by the leader under whose banners he had rallied, when the private recesses of his tent were invaded, and his domestic peace disturbed, his mind was strongly agitated by love, anger, hatred, the passion for strife, and the intense effort at forbearance; and though there was here room[Pg 38] enough for activity, there was nothing but pain and misery. But when the dispute was over, and the pupil of the Centaur, trained for strife, and victory, and glory, separated from the army, and gave himself up to an inactive contemplation of the struggle against Troy, his mind was abandoned to the sentiment of discontent, and his passions were absorbed in the morbid feeling of ennui. Homer was an exact painter of the human passions. The picture which he draws of Achilles,[1] receiving the subsequent deputation from the Greeks, illustrates our subject exactly. It was in vain for the hero to attempt to sooth his mind with the melodies of the lyre; his blood kindled only at the music of war; it was idle for him to seek sufficient pleasure in celebrating the renown of heroes; this was but a vain effort to quell the burning passion for surpassing them in glory. He listens to the deputation, not tranquilly, but peevishly. He charges them with duplicity, and avows that he loathes their king like the gates of hell.[2] He next reverts to himself: The warrior has no thanks, he exclaims in the bitterness of disappointment—"The coward and the brave man are held in equal honour." Nay, he goes further, and quarrels with providence and fixed destiny.—"After all, the idler, and the man of many achievements, each must die."[3] To-morrow, he adds, his vessels shall float on the Hellespont. The morning dawned; but the ships of Achilles still lingered near the banks of the Scamander. The notes of battle sounded, and his mind was still in suspense between the fiery impulse for war and the haughty reserve of revenge.

When Bruce found himself approaching the sources of the Nile, a thousand sentiments of pride rushed upon his mind; it seemed to him, that destiny had marked out for him a more fortunate and more glorious career, than for any European, kings or warriors, conquerors or travellers, that had ever attempted to penetrate into the interior of Africa. This was a moment of exultation and triumphant delight. But when that same traveller had actually reached the ultimate object of his research, he has himself recorded the emotions which were awakened within him. At the fountain-head of the Nile, Bruce was almost a victim to sentimental ennui.

In this anecdote of the Abyssinian traveller, we have an example of the rapidity with which ennui treads on the heels of triumph, and banishes the feelings of exulting joy. We will cite another, where misery was followed and consummated by ennui. The most eloquent of the Girondists was Vergniaud. It[Pg 39] was he that in the spirit of prophecy compared the French revolution to Saturn, since it was about to devour successively all its children, and finally to establish despotism with its attendant calamities. The rivalship of the Mountain in the Convention, the unsuccessful attack on Robespierre, the trial and condemnation of Louis XVI., the defection of Dumourier and its consequences, had doubtless roused the mind of the fervent but unsuccessful orator to the highest efforts which the decline of power, and the consciousness of wavering fortunes, and the menace of utter ruin, patriotism, honour, and love of life, could call forth. At last came the day, fraught with horrors, when the clamours of a despotic and inexorable mob, claimed of the convention Vergniaud and his associates, the little refuse of republican sincerity, to be the victims of their fiendish avidity for blood. Who will doubt, that during that fearful session the mind of Vergniaud was agitated in the extreme, that the highest possible excitement called him into the highest possible activity? Here there was no room for listlessness, and quite as little for happiness. The guarantees of order were failing, and the friends of order were to be buried under the same ruins with the remains of regular legislative authority. Vergniaud retired from the scenes where the foulest of the dogs of war were howling for their prey, and when Gregoire found him out in his hiding-place, the republican orator, though robbery and massacre were triumphant in the city, was discovered reading Tacitus. Why? From affectation? Surely not; Gregoire's visit was unexpected. From cool philosophy? still less, for it was the season of peril for an irritable man. The studies of Vergniaud on that day were the studies of one suffering from ennui.

Ennui was the necromancer which conjured up the ghost of Cæsar on the eve of the battle of Philippi. And when Brutus esteemed that battle lost, which in truth had been won, he had yet to wrestle with that unseen enemy, and enter on a new contest, where he was sure to be overthrown. The execution of Madame Roland was a scene, as far as she was concerned, of intense and unmitigated suffering; but when Brutus dared to despair of virtue, the atrocious sentiment was dictated, not by the spirit that had dared to plan the liberties of the world, but by the demon of ennui, which in an evil hour had possessed himself of the patriot's soul.

Finally, for we have surely made ourselves intelligible, if it is possible for us to do so—the timid lover, whose affections are moved, yet not tranquillized, who gazes with the eyes of fondness on an object that seems to be of a higher world, and admires as the stars are admired, which are acknowledged to be beautiful yet are never possessed; the timid lover, neither wholly doubting, nor wholly hoping, the sport alternately of joy and of[Pg 40] sorrow, full of thought and full of longing, feeling the sentiment of rapture yield to the faintness of uncertain hope, is half his time a true personification of ennui.

That ennui is a principle of action widely diffused, will hardly be denied by any careful observer of human nature. No individual can conscientiously claim to have been always and wholly free from its influences, except where there has been a life springing from the purest sources, sanctified by the early influence of religious motives, and protected from erroneous judgments by the constant exercise of a healthful understanding. For the rest, though few are constantly afflicted with it as an incurable evil, there are still fewer who are not at times made to suffer from its influence. It stretches its heavy hand on the man of business and the recluse; it makes its favourite haunts in the city, but it chases the aspirant after rural felicity, into the scenes of his rural listlessness; it makes the young melancholy, and the aged garrulous; it haunts the sailor and the merchant; it appears to the warrior and to the statesman; it takes its place in the curule chair, and sits also at the frugal board of old fashioned simplicity. You cannot flee from it; you cannot hide from it; it is swifter than the birds of passage, and swifter than the breezes that scatter clouds. It climbs the ship of the restless who long for the suns of Europe; it jumps up behind the horseman who scours the woods of Michigan; it throws its scowling glances on the attempt at present enjoyment; it scares the epicurean from his voluptuousness, and when the ascetic has finished his vow, it compels him once more to repeat the tale of his beads.

To the influence of ennui must be traced the passion for strong excitement. When life has become almost stagnant, when the ordinary course of events has been unable to excite any strong interest, ennui assumes a terrific power over the mind, and clamours for emotion, though that emotion is to be purchased by scenes of horror and of crime. "What a magnificent spectacle," said the Parisian mob, "how interesting a spectacle to see a woman of the wit and courage of Madame Roland on the scaffold!" And it is precisely the same power, which excites the sensitive admirer of works of fiction to ransack the shelves of a library for works of thrilling and "painful" interest.

To the same kind of restless curiosity we have to ascribe the passionate declamations of the tragic actor, and the splendid music of the opera; the cunning feats of the village conjuror, and the lascivious pantomime of the city ballet-dancers; the disgusting varieties of bull-fights, and the celebrated feats of pugilism; the locomotive zeal of the great pedestrians, and the perfect quiescence of the "pillar saints."

The habits of ancient Rome illustrate most clearly the extent to which this passion for strong sensations may hurry the public[Pg 41] mind into extravagances, and repress every sentiment of sympathy and generosity. Ambition itself is not so reckless of human life as ennui; clemency is the favourite attribute of the former; but ennui has the tastes of a cannibal, and the sight of human blood, shed for its amusement, makes it greedy after a renewal of the dreadful indulgence. No one need be informed, that the shows of ancient gladiators were attended by an infinitely more numerous throng than is ever gathered by any modern spectacle. And let it not be supposed, that the life of one of these combatants was the more safe, because it depended on the interposition of the Roman fair. The fondness for murderous exhibitions finally raged with such vehemence, that they were at length introduced as an attraction at a banquet, and the guests, as they reclined at table in the luxury of physical ease, have been wet by the life-blood from the veins of the wounded gladiators.

Quinetiam exhilarare viris convivia cæde
Mos olim, et miscere epulis spectacula dira
Certantum ferro, sæpe et super ipsa cadentum
Pocula, respersis non parco sanguine mensis.

Time would fail us were we to illustrate the various horrors which attended these amusements, designed to entertain the most refined population of Rome. Time would fail us were we to enumerate the various classifications in the art of murder on the stage, the signals which were made by the multitude in token of relenting clemency, the more usual signal, made by virgins and matrons, demanding the continuance of the combat unto death. Do we not call Titus the delight of the human race? Do we not praise his commonplace puerility, perdidi diem, the exclamation of conceit, rather than of manliness? And yet it was this philanthropist, this favourite of humanity, who caused the vast amphitheatre to be erected, as it were a monument to all ages of the barbarous civilization of the capital of his empire. And as to the numbers who appeared on these occasions, do we suppose it was a pair? or a score? We will not ask after the horrors commended and consummated by a Tiberius or a Caligula. Was not Trajan a moderate prince? Was he not disposed to introduce habits of a reasonable industry? Yet the active Trajan kept up a succession of games to cheat the population of Rome of ennui, during a hundred and twenty-three days, in which time ten thousand gladiators were decked for sacrifice.

Thus the vehemence of this passion is evident from the atrocity of the resources by which its cravings are satisfied. We may also remark, that superstition itself, interwoven as it is with all the fears and weaknesses of humanity, subjects the human mind to a bondage less severe and less permanent than that of[Pg 42] the terrific craving after something to dissipate the weariness of the heart. At Rome the sacrifices to the heathen deities were abolished before the games of the gladiators were suppressed; it was less difficult to take from the priests their spoils, from the altars their victims, from the prejudices of the people their religious faith, than to rescue from ennui the miserable wretches whose lives were to be the sport of the idle. The laws already forbade the offering the bull to Jove, when the poet still had to pray that none might perish in the city under the condemnation of pleasure,

Nullus in urbe cadat, cujus sit pœna voluptas.

Philosophy itself offers no guarantee against the common infirmities of listlessness. Many a stoic has resisted the attacks of external evils with an exemplary fortitude; and has yet failed in his encounters with time. Strange indeed that time should be an encumbrance to a sage! Strange indeed, that, when life is so short, and philosophy boundless, and time a gift of the most precious nature, dealt out to us in successive moments, a possession which is most coveted, and can the least be hoarded, which comes, but never returns, which departs as soon as given, and is lost even in the receiving,—strange indeed that such a gift, so precious, so transient, so fleeting, should ever press severely upon a philosopher!

And yet wisdom is no security against ennui. The man who made Europe ring with his eloquence, and largely contributed to the spirit of republican enthusiasm, wasted away for months in a state of the most foolish languor, under the idea that he was dying of a polypus at his heart.[4] Nay, this philosopher, who presumed to believe himself skilled in the ways of man, and an adept in the character of women, who dared to expound religion and proposed to reform Christianity, who committed and confessed the meanest actions,—and yet, as if in the presence of the Supreme Arbiter of life and before the tribunal of Eternal Justice, arrogated to himself an equality with the purest in the innumerable crowd of immortal souls,—he, the proud one, would so far yield to ennui, as to put the final and eternal welfare of his soul at issue on the throw of a stone. La Harpe, no correct writer, nor sound critic, affirms, that Rousseau undertook to decide the question of a Superintending Providence by throwing stones at a tree. That would have been not merely an imbecile but a blasphemous act. As the case stood, Jean Jacques must be acquitted of any charge worse than that of excessive and even ridiculous weakness. "Je m'en vais," he says to himself, [Pg 43] "je m'en vais jeter cette pierre contre l'arbre qui est vis-a-vis de moi: si je le touche, signe de salut; si je le marque, signe de damnation."

But Jean Jacques passes for an inspired madman. What shall we say to the temperate Spinoza, whose life was not variegated by the brightness of domestic scenes, and who, being cut off from active life and from social love, necessarily encountered a void within himself. It was his favourite resource against the visits of ennui, to catch spiders and teach them to fight; and when he had so far made himself master of the nature of these animals, that he could get them as angry as game cocks, he would, all thin and feeble as he was, break out into a roar of laughter, and chuckle to see his champions engage, as if they, too, were fighting for honour.

Poor Spinoza! It may indeed be questioned, whether his whole philosophy was not a sort of pastime with him. It may be, that after all he was ingenious because he could not be quiet, and wrote his attacks on religion from a want of something to do. At any rate it has fared strangely with his works. The world had well nigh become persuaded, that Spinoza was but a name for a degraded atheism, and now we have him zealously defended, and in fact we have seen him denominated a saint.[5] So near are extremes: the ridiculous borders on the sublime; and the same man is denounced as a parricide of society, and again extolled as a model of sanctity.

But we have a stronger example than either of these. The very philosopher, who first declared experience to be the basis of knowledge, and found his way to truth through the safe places of observation, gives in his own character some evidences of participation in the common infirmity. He said very truly, that there is a foolish corner even in the wise man's brain. Yet, if there has ever appeared on earth, a man possessed of reason in its highest perfection, it was Aristotle. He had the gift of seeing the forms of things, undisturbed by the confusing splendour of colours; his mind, like the art of sculpture, represented objects with the most precise outlines and exact images; but the world in his mind was a colourless world. He understood and has explained the secrets of the human heart, the workings of the human passions; but he performs all these moral dissections with the coolness of an anatomist, engaged in a delicate operation. The nicety of his distinctions, and his deep insight into the nature of man, are displayed without passion, while his constant[Pg 44] effort after the discovery of new truth, never for one moment betrays him into mysticism, or tempts him to substitute shadows for realities. One would think, that such a philosopher was the personification of self-possession; that his unruffled mind would always dwell in the serene regions of intelligence; that his step would be on the firm ground of experience; that his progress to the sublime temple of truth and of fame, would have been ever secure and progressive; that happiness itself would have blessed him for his tranquil and dispassionate devotedness to exalted pursuits.

But perhaps the clear perception of the realities of life is not the secret source of contentment. Many a scholar has shrunk from the contest of transient interests, and sought happiness rather in the world of contemplation; and perhaps the studies of antiquity derive a part of their charm, from their affording us a place of refuge against the clamours and persecutions which belong to present rivalries. If the view of human nature, adopted by a large portion of our theologians, is a just one, the heart must recoil with horror from the true consideration of the human world in its natural unmitigated depravity, and throw itself rather into the hopes that belong to the future, and the mercies that attach to the Supreme Intelligence, for relief against the apathy which so cold a contemplation of unmingled evil might naturally produce.

In the mouth of Pindar, life might be called a dream, and it would but pass for the effusion of poetic melancholy. But when the sagacious philosopher asserts it, that all hope is but the dream of waking man, a latent discontent broken from the concealment of an unsatisfied curiosity, a baffled pursuit; when his mind had arrived at that state, nothing but its remarkable vigour could have preserved him from settled gloom.

Again the venerable sage examined into the sources of happiness. It does not consist, he affirms, in voluptuous pleasures, for they are transient, brutalizing, and injurious to the mind; nor in public honours, for they depend on those who bestow them, and it is not felicity to be the recipient of an uncertain bounty; nor yet does happiness consist in riches, for the care of them is but a toil; and if they are expended, it is plainly a proof, that contentment is sought for in the possession of other things. In the view of the Stagyrite, happiness consists in the pursuit of knowledge, and in the practice of virtue, under the auspices of mind, and nature, and fortune. He that is intelligent, and young, and handsome, and vigorous, and rich, is alone the happy man. Did the world need the sublime wisdom, the high mental endowment of the Stagyrite, to learn, that neither the poor, nor the dull, nor the aged, nor the sick, can[Pg 45] share in the highest bounty of the Universal Father? When it is remembered that Aristotle was favoured above all his contemporaries in intellectual gifts, we ask the reader to draw an inference as to the state of his mind, which still demanded the beauties of personal attractions, and the lavish liberality of fortune.

When asked what is the most transient of fleeting things, the philosopher made but a harsh answer, in naming "gratitude;" but his mind must have been sadly a prey to ennui, when he could exclaim, "my friends! there are no friends."

He could not be content to sit or stand, when he gave lessons in moral science, but walked to and fro in constant restlessness; and, indeed, if tradition reports rightly, he could not wait the will of Heaven for his release from weariness, but in spite of all his sublime philosophy, and all his expansive genius, he was content to die as the fool dieth.

But ennui kills others beside philosophers. It is not without example, that men have committed suicide, because they have attained their utmost wishes. The man of business, finding himself possessed of a sufficient fortune, retires from active life; but the habit of action remains, and becomes a power of terrific force. In such cases, the sufferer sits away listless hours of intense suffering; the mind preys upon itself, and sometimes madness ensues, sometimes suicide is committed.

Saul went out to find his father's asses. With the humble employment he seems to have been reasonably pleased, and probably made search with a light heart and an honest one. But, seeking asses, he found a kingdom; and contentment fled when possession was full. In him, the reproofs of conscience and discontent with the world produced a morbid melancholy, and pain itself would have been to him a welcome refuge from ennui.

We detect the same subtle spirit at work, in the slanders in which gossips find relief. Truth is not exciting enough to those who depend on the characters and lives of their neighbours for all their amusement; and if a story is told of more than common interest, ennui is sure to have its joy in adding a few embellishments. If time did not hang heavy, what would become of scandal? Time, the common enemy, must be passed, as the phrase is, and the phrase bears its own commentary; and since the days of gladiators are passed, where can be the harm of blackening the reputation of the living? To the pusillanimous and the idle, scandal is the condiment of life; and while back-biting furnishes their entertainment abroad, domestic quarrelling fills up the leisure hours at home. It is a pretty general rule, that the médisante is a termagant in her household; and, as for our own sex, depend upon it, in nine cases out of ten, the evil[Pg 46] tongue belongs to a disappointed man. In the tenth case, the man is an imbécile.

Fashion, also, in its excess, is but a relief against ennui; and it is rather strong evidence of the universal prevalence of listlessness, that a change in dress at Paris, can, within a few months, be imitated in St. Louis. Yet, in the young and the fair, a milder sentiment influences conduct. In them, the latent consciousness of beauty, the charm of an existence that is opening in the fulness of its attractions, the becoming loveliness of innocence and youth, the simple cheerfulness of inexperience, lead to a modest and decorous display. Broadway, the unrivalled Broadway, is not without its loungers; yet the young and the gay are not discontented ones. They move in the strength of their own beauty, like the patriot statesman, neither shunning, nor yet courting admiration; and tripping along the brilliant street, half coveting half refusing attention,

"They feel that they are happier than they know."

From Broadway we pass to the crowded haunts of business. Is there ennui there? Do the money changers grow weary of profits? Is business so dull that bankers have nothing to do? Are doubtful notes so uncommon, that there is no latitude for shaving? Have the underwriters nothing at sea to be anxious about? Do the insurers on life omit to look after those who have taken out policies, and exhort them to temperance and exercise? These are all busy enough; too much engaged, and too little romantic to be much moved by sentimental regrets. But there are those, who plunge headlong into affairs from the restlessness of their nature, and who hurry into bold speculations, because they cannot endure to be idle. Now, business, like poetry, requires a tranquil mind. But there are those, who venture upon the career of business, under the impulse of ennui. How shall the young and haughty heirs of large fortunes rid themselves of their time, and acquit themselves in the eye of the public of their imagined responsibilities? One writes a tale for the Souvenirs, another speculates in the stocks. The former is laughed at, yet hoards an estate; the latter is food for hungry sharks. Then comes bankruptcy; sober thought repels the fiend that had been making a waste of life, or the same passion drives its possessor to become a busy body and zealot in the current excitement of the times; or absolute despair, ennui in its intensity, leads to insanity.

For the mad house, too, as well as the debtor's gaol, is in part peopled by the same blighting power, and nature recovers itself from a state of languid apathy, only by the terrific excitement of frenzy. Or a passion for suicide ensues; the mind revels[Pg 47] in the contemplation of the grave, and covets the aspect of the countenance of death as the face of a familiar friend. The mind invests itself in the sombre shades of a melancholy longing after eternal rest—a longing which is sometimes connected with unqualified disbelief, and sometimes associates itself with an undefined desire of a purely spiritual existence.

We might multiply examples of the very extensive prevalence of that unhappy languor of which we are treating. Let us aim rather at observing the limit of its power.

It was a foolish philosophy, which believed in ennui as an evidence and a means of human perfectibility. The only exertions which it is capable of producing, are of a subordinate character. It may give to passion a fearful intensity, consequent on a state of moral disease; but human virtue must be the result of far higher causes. The exercise of principle, the generous force of purified emotions, cheerful desire, and willing industry, are the parents of real greatness. If we look through the various departments of public and of intellectual action, we shall find the mark of inferiority upon every thing which has sprung from ennui. In philosophy, it might produce the follies of Cynic oddity, but not the sublime lessons of Pythagoras or Socrates. In poetry, it may produce effusions from persons of quality, devoid of wit, but it never could have pointed the satire of Pope. In the mechanic arts it may contrive a balloon, but never could invent a steam-boat. In religion, it stumbles at a thousand knotty points in metaphysical theology, but it never led the soul to intercourse with heaven, or to the contemplation of divine truth.

The celebrated son of Philip was a man of exalted genius; and political wisdom had its share in his career. Ennui could never have produced Macedonia's madman, but it may well put in its claim to the Swede. Or let us look rather for a conqueror, who dreamed that he had genius to rival Achilles, and yet never had a settled plan of action. The famous king of Epirus has seemed to be an historical puzzle, so uncertain was his purpose, so wavering his character. Will you know the whole truth about him? Pyrrhus was an ennuyé.

When a painter, in the pursuit of his vocation, is obliged to give a likeness of a person that has neither beauty nor soul, he may perhaps draw figures in the air, or spoil his picture by an inconsiderate flourish of his pencil. He dislikes his task, and his work will show it.

When a poet writes a song for hire, or solely to be sung to some favourite air, it is more than probable his verses will be languid, and his meaning doubtful. Thus, for example,—

"The smiles of joy, the tears of wo
Deceitful shine, deceitful flow."
[Pg 48]

This is sheer nonsense. Joy smiles in good earnest, and many an aching heart knows too well the deep truth of distress.

The fervent eloquence of true piety springs from conviction, and reaches the heart; but we have sometimes listened to a dull sermon, which proceeded from weariness more than from zeal, and belonged to ennui more than to the stirring action of eloquent religion. The lawyer, too, is sometimes overborne in his plea by disgust with his work, and in his tiresome repetitions you may plainly see how he loathes—

"To drudge for the dregs of men,
And scrawl strange words with the barbarous pen."

The life of Napoleon, in its busiest period, presents a remarkable instance of ennui. While the allies were collecting around him in their utmost strength, he was himself wavering in his purposes, and reluctant to decide on the retreat to Leipsic. Strange, that at such a time he should have given way to an overwhelming and almost childish languor. Yet an eyewitness relates, "I have seen him at that time, seated on a sofa, beside a table on which lay his charts, totally unemployed, unless in scribbling mechanically large letters on a sheet of white paper." Such was the power of ennui over Napoleon, at a time, when, in his own language, nothing but a thunderbolt could save him.

It is dangerous for a man of superior ability to find himself thrown upon the world without some regular employment. The restlessness inherent in genius being thus left undirected by any permanent influence, frames for itself occupations out of accidents. Moral integrity sometimes falls a prey to this want of fixed pursuits; and the man who receives his direction in active life from the fortuitous impulse of circumstances, will be very apt to receive his principles likewise from chance. Genius, under such guidance, attains no noble ends; but resembles rather a copious spring, conveyed in a falling aqueduct; where the waters continually escape through the frequent crevices, and waste themselves ineffectually on their passage. The law of nature is here, as elsewhere, binding; and no powerful results ever ensue from the trivial exercise of high endowments. The finest mind, when thus destitute of a fixed purpose, passes away without leaving permanent traces of its existence; losing its energy by turning aside from its course, it becomes as harmless and inefficient as the lightning, which, of itself irresistible, may yet be rendered powerless by a slight conductor.

These remarks apply perhaps in some measure even to Leibnitz, whose sublime intelligence and mental activity were the wonder of his age. He attained a celebrity of reputation, but hardly a contented spirit; at times he descended to the consideration[Pg 49] of magnitudes infinitely small, and at times rose to the belief that he heard the universal harmony of nature; for years he was devoted to illustrating the antiquities of the family of a petty prince; and then again he assumed the sublime office of defending the perfections of Providence. Yet with all this variety of pursuit, the great philosopher was hardly to be called a happy man; and it almost fills us with melancholy to find, that the very theologian who would have proved this to be absolutely the best of all possible worlds, died after all of chagrin.

Yet the name of Leibnitz is one which should rather excite unmingled admiration; for the rich endowments of Heaven distinguished him as one of the most favoured in that intellectual superiority which is the choicest gift of God. Our subject is more fully illustrated in the case of a less gifted, though a notorious man; one whose qualities have been recently held up to admiration, yet for whom we find it impossible to conceive sentiments of respect. We mean Lord Bolingbroke.

His talents as a writer have secured to him a very distinguished place in the literature of England; and his political services, during the reign of Queen Anne, have rendered him illustrious in English history. But though he was possessed of wit, eloquence, family, wealth, and opportunity, he never displayed true dignity of character, nor real greatness of soul. He seemed to have no fixed principles of action; and to have loved contest more than victory. Wherever there was strife, there you might surely expect to meet St. John; and his public career almost justifies the inference, that apostacy (if indeed a man who has no principles can be called an apostate) would have seemed to him, after his defeat, a moderate price for permission to appear again in the lists. But as he had always coveted power with an insatiable avidity, he never could rest long enough to acquire it. On the stormy sea of public life, he was for ever struggling to be on the topmost wave; but the waves receded as fast as he advanced; and fate seemed to have destined him to waste his life in fruitless efforts and as fruitless changes.

In early life he sought distinction by his debaucheries; and from the accounts of his biographer, it would seem, that he succeeded in becoming the most daring profligate in London. Tired of the excess of dissipation, he attempted the career of politics, and found his way into Parliament under the auspices of the whigs. When politics failed, he put on the mask of a metaphysician. Tired of that costume, he next attempted to play the farmer. Dissatisfied with farming, he wrote political pamphlets. Still discontented with his condition in the world, he strove to undermine the basis of religion.

He began public life as a whig; but as the tories were in the ascendant, he rapidly ripened into a tory; he ended his political[Pg 50] career by deserting the tories and avowing the doctrines of staunch and uncompromising whigs. He tried libertinism, married life, politics, power, exile, restoration, the House of Commons, the House of Lords, the city, the country, foreign travel, study, authorship, metaphysics, infidelity, farming, treason, submission, dereliction,—but ennui held him with a firm grasp all the while, and it was only in the grave that he ceased from troubling.

To an observer who peruses his writings with this view of his character, many of his expressions of wise indifference and calm resignation, have even a ludicrous aspect. The truth breaks forth from all his attempts at disguise. The philosopher's robes could not hide the stately wrecks of his political passions. They say, that round Vesuvius, the lava of former eruptions has so entirely resolved itself into soil, that vineyards thrive on the black ruins of the volcano; and that the ancient devastation could hardly be recognised, except for an occasional dark mass, which, not yet decomposed, frowns here and there over the surrounding fertility. Something like this was true of St. John; he believed his ambition extinct, and attempted to gather round its ruins all the beauties and splendour of contented wisdom; but his nature was still ungovernably fierce; and to the last, his passions lowered angrily on the quiet scenes of his literary retirement.

There is no clue to his character, except in supposing him to have been under the influence of ennui, which was perpetually terrifying him into the grossest contradictions. He could not be said to have had any principles, or to have belonged to any party; and to whatever party he rallied, he was sure to become utterly faithless. He was not less false to the Pretender than to the King, to Ormond than to Walpole. He was false to the tories and false to the whigs; he was false to his country, for he attempted to involve her in civil war; and false to his God, for he combated religion. He was not swayed by a passion for glory, for he did not pursue it steadily,—nor by a passion for power, for he quarrelled with the only man by whose aid he could have maintained it. He was rather driven to and fro by a wild restlessness, which led him into gross contradictions "for his sins." Nor was his falsehood without its punishment. What could be more pitifully degrading, than for one who had been a successful British minister of state, and had displayed in the face of Europe his capacity for business and his powers of eloquence, to have finally stooped to accept a seat in the Pretender's cabinet, where pimps and prostitutes were the prime agents and counsellors?

There exists a very pleasant letter from Pope, giving an account of Bolingbroke's rural occupations, during his country[Pg 51] life in England, after the reversal of his attainder. He insisted on being a farmer; and to prove himself so, hired a painter to fill the walls of his parlour with rude pictures of the implements of husbandry. The poet describes him between two haycocks, watching the clouds with all the apparent anxiety of a husbandman; but to us it seems, that his mind was at that time no more in the skies than when he quoted Anaxagoras, and declared heaven to be the wise man's home. His heart clung to earth, and to earthly strife; and his uneasiness must at last have become deplorably wretched, since he could consent to pick up stale arguments against Christianity, and leave a piece of patchwork, made up of the shreds of other men's scepticism, as his especial legacy to posterity, in proof of the masterly independence of his mind.

Thus we have endeavoured to explain the nature of that apathy which is worse than positive pain, and which impels to greater madness than the fiercest passions,—which kings and sages have not been able to resist, nor wealth nor pleasures to subdue. We have described ennui as a power for evil rather than for good; and we infer, that it was an absurd philosophy which classed it among the causes of human superiority, and the means of human improvement. It is the curse pronounced upon voluptuous indolence and on excessive passion; on those who decline active exertion, and thus throw away the privileges of existence; and on those who live a feverish life, in the constant frenzy of stimulated desires. There is but one cure for it: and that is found in moderation; the exercise of the human faculties in their natural and healthful state; the quiet performance of duty, in meek submission to the controlling Providence, which has set bounds to our achievements in setting limits to our power. Briefly: our ability is limited by Heaven—our desires are unlimited, except by ourselves—ennui can be avoided only by conforming the passions of the human breast to the conditions of human existence.

In pursuing this investigation, which we now bring to a close, we have not attempted to exhaust the subject; we refer it rather to the calm meditations of others, who will find materials enough within themselves. And lest the impatient should throw aside our essay with the disgust of satiety, or the persevering should by our prolixity be vexed with the very spirit which we would rather teach them to exorcise, we here take a respectful leave, with our sincerest wishes, that life may be to the reader a succession of pleasant emotions, and death a resting place neither coveted nor feared.


[1] Iliad, ix. 187-190.

[2] Iliad, ix. 310-320.

[3] Iliad. Pope renders this—Alike regretted in the dust he lies. But it is an expression of discontent with destiny, which sets a common limit to life, and not to men, whose regrets may be unequal.

[4] Jean Jacques Rousseau. Confessions, p. 1. l. vi.

[5] We remember perfectly well the beginning of an apostrophe to the Jewish philosopher; "Du heiliger Spinoza." Herder, too, has a good deal to say in defence of him.

[Pg 52]

Art. III.—Travels in Kamtchatka and Siberia; with a Narrative of a Residence in China. By Peter Dobell. 2 vols. 12mo. 1830.

Mr. Dobell, the author of these volumes, is an American gentleman, who formerly resided in the city of Philadelphia, where he was known as an enterprising and intelligent merchant. Commercial business led him to make several voyages, beyond the Cape of Good Hope; and circumstances at length induced him to prolong his residence in Asia. He established himself at Canton, where he lived for some years, and undertook, from time to time, trading expeditions to various ports on the shore of the Pacific Ocean. In the course of these, frequent opportunities were afforded of noticing the manners, country, and state of society in China, superior to such as occur to ordinary travellers; and much too of the remote people of Eastern Russia, who are very little known to those inhabiting the civilized portions of the world. These voyages were succeeded by more than one journey across the country to St. Petersburg, in which he observed, with an attentive eye and inquisitive disposition, the extensive regions forming the penetralia of that vast empire. His intelligence and exertions were noticed and rewarded by the confidence of the government, who conferred on him the office of Consul at some Eastern port, and he was subsequently raised to the post of "Counsellor of the court" of his Imperial Majesty, a rank which he still retains, having probably relinquished the intention of returning to his own country.

The account of China, which, in the natural order, would form the first portion of his narrative, is comprised in a sort of supplement to the travels in Siberia, and contains in a more compendious form, a good sketch of the manners and state of society in that singular country. The means of observation, and of obtaining information, are indeed greatly diminished, by the well known jealousy of the Chinese towards strangers, and the extreme vanity and exaggeration with which they speak of themselves and their country; but the pursuits of Mr. Dobell, together with the recurrence of the opportunities by which he profited, give to his account a considerable degree of novelty, and certainly entitle it to more than ordinary confidence.

On his first arrival at Canton, he was struck with the new and interesting scene that presented itself. Islands, hills, canals, and rivers, were scattered around. The verdure was lively, the population excessive, the vegetation and general appearance of the country totally different from those he had elsewhere beheld, and the waters glittered with innumerable fleets of boats of various sizes and descriptions. The boatmen and pilots addressed[Pg 53] him in a language which he afterwards found to prevail extensively at Canton, and which was called English; it is, in truth, a bad dialect of that language, the composition and pronunciation of which are so curious and difficult, that a residence of a year or two is necessary for its acquisition. None of the Chinese, rich or poor, understand those who speak plain English. The first intercourse of a foreigner with the natives, displays that imposition and venality which are more strongly exhibited, during every month of his residence among them. He is at once surrounded by persons, called compradors, who offer their assistance in supplying him with provisions of every description; they serve him without wages, although they are obliged to pay the Mandarins for the privilege of affording their generous aid to strangers; the consequence is, they take especial care to remunerate themselves handsomely at the expense of those to whom they extend their kindness. Besides this, as they bribe the custom-house officers, they are able to offer many facilities, and to carry on an extensive contraband commerce. Those officers are sent to a vessel immediately on her arrival, and their boats, called hoppoo-boats are constantly attached to her stern while she remains in port; their consciences, however, are easily satisfied by the liberality of the comprador, and they pass their time in smoking, sleeping, and playing at cards; indeed, if any extraordinary smuggling is desired to be accomplished, they protect the offender against the officious interference of other officers: they keep shops on board of their boats, where they exercise their expertness in cheating, and, as every thing is sold by weight, it is necessary to weigh for yourself what you buy, to avoid the tricks which they always endeavour to play.

Undoubtedly, the venality of the Chinese has been increased by the introduction of commerce from beyond the Cape of Good Hope; but there is no doubt also, that its existence is of very old date, and that it is owing to the nature and conduct of the government, more than to the character of the people. There are so many prohibitions and enormous duties to tempt their prevailing passion, avarice, that vast numbers engage in the contraband trade, as being the most profitable; moderate duties, and freedom of importation, would destroy the temptation, and render smuggling dangerous and unprofitable; at present it has become an organized system of plunder, protected by the Mandarins themselves.

"The opium trade," says Mr. Dobell, "with the exception of ten chests of that pernicious drug, that are allowed to be imported into Macao, for medicinal purposes, is entirely conducted by smugglers. In defiance of an annual edict from the Emperor, making it death to smuggle opium, the enormous quantity of nearly four thousand chests is imported every year to Macao and Whampoa; the greater part, however, goes to the former place. When I inform my readers[Pg 54] that each chest weighs a pecul, that is to say, 133-1/3 English pounds, and that it sells for twelve to fifteen hundred, and sometimes two thousand Spanish dollars a chest, they may form some judgment of the value and extent of smuggling in China. It is a business that all the inferior Mandarins, and some of the higher ones, their protectors, are engaged in; so that opium is carried through the streets of Macao, in the most bare-faced manner, in the open day. The opium dealers at Whampoa, formerly took it away by night, but latterly I have seen them go to the ship, with the linguist of the Whampoa custom-house officer, and take it out in the day time. Sixty Spanish dollars is the bribe paid for each chest of opium sold at Macao; and if it goes to Canton, it pays sixty more on its arrival there. Large boats armed, and having from thirty to forty men, called opium boats, ply between Macao and Canton, when that market offers an advantage in price. These boats carry this drug, and are sanctioned by the custom-house officers, who, of course, receive for this business likewise, a good bribe."

The only attempts made to suppress this practice, are on the initiation into office of new foo-yunes, or governors, who have not yet perfectly learned the established usages, or who have not been propitiated by the necessary gratuities. In these cases, a terrible revolution occurs in the peaceful and quiet frauds of the smugglers; their shops are broken up, their property confiscated without mercy, and all the terrors of the law invoked upon the persons of such, who indeed are few, as have not alertness and foresight enough to keep out of the way. This excess of virtue does not endure long however; and the liberal generosity of the traders generally contrives, in a month, to overcome the scruples of the most resolute.

"During my residence, however," says Mr. Dobell, "a foo-yune arrived, who proved incorruptible, and he almost destroyed the smugglers, as well as the profits of his colleagues; which latter, becoming tired of his persecutions, united together, and by their intrigues had him advanced to a much higher station. Being a man of talent, he got another step again in a short time, and at length came back to Canton as Tsan-tuk or viceroy. The opium dealers and smugglers were greatly alarmed, shut up their shops, and secreted themselves for some time. It appeared their fears were groundless. This artful man, who formerly persecuted them from political motives, to insure his advancement, was now as mild and propitious as possible. Having arrived at an elevated station, with the certainty of rising still higher, he sought to enrich himself, in order to be more sure of gratifying his ambition. Accordingly, he proved kind to his colleagues, and polite to Europeans; and by his affability of deportment, contrived to amass the largest fortune that ever fell to the share of a viceroy of Canton. He was afterwards made a member of the emperor's council at Pekin."

The robbery of the government, if conducted with sufficient skill and boldness, seems to be as successful as smuggling—indeed, it is a maxim with those in power, never to risk a defeat, and that it is best to accomplish their ends, by a crafty and cautious delay until a favourable moment for executing them arrives. The salt trade is one of the most lucrative, important, and extensive, and is conducted entirely under special licenses from Mandarins, appointed by the crown. Some years since, the pirates on the coast intercepted the salt-junks, and compelled the monopolists to negotiate with them, and pay a certain[Pg 55] sum for the safe passage of every vessel. After a while, this intercourse led to a regular trade, by which the captains of the salt-junks supplied the pirates with arms and ammunition, and the government discovering it, an entire stop was put to the salt trade. The pirates, however, were not to be so easily frightened or defeated; their admiral, Apo-Tsy, forthwith commenced an offensive warfare; assembled an immense fleet of junks and a force of upwards of twenty thousand men, invaded the country near Macao, cut all the ripe rice, and carried it off, as well as a great number of women, whom he presented to his followers. In vain did the viceroy attack the piratical fleet,—he was defeated in every engagement, and the affair was only terminated by making Apo-Tsy governor of the province of Fokien, and pardoning all his followers! Matters however did not stop here; in some of his battles, Apo-Tsy had taken prisoner an admiral nearly related to the heir to the crown, and cut off his head; as soon as the relative ascended the throne, he despatched a polite message to the governor of Fokien, to say, that the laws of the empire required blood for blood, and that his excellency's head was therefore required instead of the admiral's. There was no excuse to be made, and the twenty thousand pirates were no longer at hand, so that Apo-Tsy's head was conveyed to Pekin.

This salt trade is very extensive; no less than twenty thousand tons of shipping being occupied in it alone. Indeed the great commerce of the Chinese appears to be that carried on by their own junks to the Indo-Chinese islands. One of these vessels will carry a cargo of from three to five thousand dollars value, in earthenware, silks, nankeens, ironmongery, tea, and other productions and manufactures of the Chinese. They have settlements on all these islands, and are certainly invaluable colonists, as they have sufficiently proved wherever they are established. They work the mines, plant cotton, make indigo and sugar, and acquire large fortunes among the slothful and careless Malays. Though they intermarry with these people, they never adopt their habits or religion, but remain, as well as their descendants, a distinct race; and wherever found, their settlements present a complete miniature picture of China. It is indeed a gross error to consider China a country wholly agricultural and manufacturing; on the contrary, the Chinese are one of the most commercial nations of the globe. It is true, they affect themselves to hold the trade which they carry on with distant nations, as comparatively unimportant, and assert that with the contiguous islands to be infinitely more lucrative; yet this is to be ascribed to their habit of decrying other countries; and it is not to be doubted that the revenue derived from the commerce they thus contemn, is very great. The importations into Canton from England, America, Holland, France, Sweden, Denmark, Manilla, and India, in European[Pg 56] and American ships, in money and merchandise, must be annually from thirty to forty millions of dollars. The bad policy which occasions the immense contraband trade in opium, deprives the government of duties, annually, to the amount of four or five millions of dollars. Their commercial system with foreigners, shows a great deal of deep cunning, but it is repulsive to wisdom and good policy, and by no means calculated to afford them the advantages they might derive from that intercourse.

The highly wrought principles and moral maxims, which abound in the writings of the lawgivers and philosophers of China, have been sometimes cited to prove the existence of a superior system of institutions and laws. Theoretical speculations, vanity, and self adulation, are one thing; wise administration, and practical justice, are another. The doctrines of Confucius are worthy to be placed with those of Solon; the rescripts of the celestial emperor, abound in common-places of unbending integrity and the sternest equity; but notwithstanding all this, the morals of the people are debased, the very foundations of virtue are sapped by bribery and corruption, with all their concomitant vices; the sword of justice is arrested; and license is widely given to the violation of public and private rights. Some instances of this unblushing venality are mentioned by Mr. Dobell.

"By the law of homicide, life must atone for life; and, if a person dies suddenly, the master of the house is treated in the same manner as if he had been guilty, until he proves the fact. This keeps the Chinese always on their guard, and ready to deceive the mandarins, or to bribe them, if necessity should require. A person of my acquaintance related to me, that he had a large garden, where there were some nice fruits, which were often stolen; and although his servants had frequently watched, they could not detect the offender. He therefore determined to watch with them; and, having armed himself with a pike, accompanied his two servants in the night, to try and detect the thief. Not long after he had placed himself at his post, he saw a naked man approach the trees near where he stood. He called to him to stand still or he would kill him. The fellow, frightened at this summons, made off with all speed; and the master of the house, seeing him about to escape, threw his pike at him, which killed him on the spot. He was much alarmed at the accident; but recollecting himself, he promised his servants a handsome present to keep the affair secret; and with their assistance, threw the dead body over the wall, into his neighbour's garden. This, too, was managed in so careful manner, as to render it impossible to discover whence the body came. His neighbour, who was a very rich tea-merchant, felt no less alarmed than astonished, on the following morning, when his servants informed him that a dead man had been found in the garden, who to all appearance had been murdered. The story soon reached the mandarin of the district, who proceeded, in all due form, to execute the duties of his office, and examine the body; not a little delighted to have to deal with such a man as the rich tea-merchant. A corpse found in this way cannot be touched or removed until the police-mandarin of the district comes and inquires into the manner of the person's death; and if there is any thing suspicious, he will not suffer the dead man to be taken away, before he has had some satisfactory proofs of the cause of his death. As none such could be elicited from the merchant, who, conscious of his innocence, thought the mandarin could do him no harm,[Pg 57] the latter commenced a regular process, and made him daily visits, besides sending for him frequently, and thus perplexed him exceedingly. All this time the dead man was left in the garden, which being near the house, and the body beginning to putrefy, such an odour was caused as became almost insupportable. At length, the merchant, overpowered by the bad smell, and alarmed by the measures the mandarin was preparing to prove him culpable, was happy to compromise the affair, and have the dead body removed, on paying the sum of four thousand five hundred Spanish dollars!"

Nor was this the end of the adventure, which reminds one of the story of the Little Hunch-back, in the Arabian Nights Entertainments:—

"A few years after, the person who put the dead man into the merchant's garden, had himself a disagreeable affair, though it cost him less trouble and money to get rid of it. In the street where he lived, and not far from his house, was an eating house for the lower classes. A beggar, who had been half-starved, receiving from some compassionate person enough to purchase himself a very ample repast, repaired to this eating house, and called for several things at the same moment, which he ate most voraciously. The owner of the eating house requested him to stop a while before he ate again, as he perceived it must have been some time since he had satisfied his hunger. The beggar, however, would not listen to reason; he demanded food for his money till it was all expended, and then dropped down dead. This happened towards evening; and when the host perceived that it was dark, he and his servants took up the dead mendicant, and placed him at the door of the person before mentioned. On the following morning, the beggar-mandarin of the district came to him, and was very troublesome, declaring the beggar had been killed by some of his family, and that he should institute a process against him immediately. The accused, however, had the good fortune to find a witness, who had seen the keeper of the eating house and his servants put the body at his door. Although the beggar-mandarin could now do nothing against him in law, he refused to take the corpse away; and he was obliged to pay him two hundred dollars to have it removed before it became offensive. No doubt he got a good fee likewise from the master of the eating house."

The accounts we have of the population of China, greatly exaggerate it in the opinion of Mr. Dobell. The persons by whom these statements are given, have been generally ambassadors, missionaries and others, who were, from political motives, as well as convenience of travelling, conducted in boats on the canals and rivers which intersect the richest, best cultivated and most populous parts of the empire. But it is ridiculous to calculate the number of inhabitants, by assuming, as the basis, the population of a square league so settled, and to imagine that all the land is equally well cultivated. The truth is, that all the rice grounds of the empire—and the whole population eats rice—would be utterly insufficient to afford the necessary quantity, for any thing approaching to the numbers which it is currently asserted to contain.

The system of husbandry, too, is defective, though the cultivators of the soil are industrious; about Canton and Macao, they transplant every stalk of rice by hand with great regularity, and make two crops in the year; one in July, the other in October. In the cultivation of vegetables of all sorts, they are[Pg 58] not surpassed by any nation of the globe. Rents are usually paid in cattle, hogs, fowls, rice, and the various productions of the soil, and the tenure is a species of feudal one, derived primarily from the emperor, who is considered theoretically as the actual proprietor of all the soil.[6] Fruits are so plentiful, that there is less attention paid to them than in colder climates; almost every month of the year has its peculiar fruits; but those most esteemed are the oranges, mangoes, and lichees. Of the productions of the soil, however, that most prized by foreigners, as well as most used and esteemed in China, is tea. To the history of this celebrated plant, Mr. Dobell has devoted a whole chapter, but we confess that we have found it less perspicuous, except as to the commercial value of the various qualities offered for sale, than we desired or expected, after the opportunities of observation which he possessed. We infer, that he agrees with the prevailing opinion, that there is but one species of the tea plant. He speaks of four stocks, by which he seems to mean the varieties arising from a difference of cultivation, soil, or temperature. These four stocks are Bohea, Ankay, Hyson, and Singlo—names derived from the places in which they are particularly cultivated. From the two former are prepared what we call black teas, from the two latter green teas. According to the season at which the leaves are gathered, and the manner in which they are subsequently prepared, is the excellence of each kind. Of black teas, the Bohea kinds are superior to the Ankay; thus, the simplest or commonest sort of the first, sells at Canton for twelve to fourteen taels per pecul,[7] of the other for eight to ten; and the finest sort of the first, Bohea Pecho, brings from forty to one hundred and twenty taels; but of the latter, Ankay Pecho, only thirty-two to forty-two taels. In like manner of green teas, the Hyson kinds are superior to the Singlo; thus the commonest sort of the first, called Hyson Skin, sells for twenty-six to thirty taels, while that of the latter, called Singlo Skin, sells at twenty-two to twenty-five taels; and the finest sort of the first, or Hyson Gunpowder, brings eighty to one hundred and twenty taels, while Singlo Gunpowder brings only fifty to eighty taels. As the subject is one of considerable interest, we have condensed into a short table the comparative qualities and values of the different kinds of teas,[Pg 59] so far as we can do so from the remarks of Mr. Dobell:—the value is reduced to our own currency, and the quantity to our own weights; the price is that of the Canton market.

Black Teas.

Common Bohea,21dollarsper133-1/3 pounds
Bohea Congou,33"""
Bohea Campoi,34"""
Bohea Souchong,60"""
Bohea Pecho,133"""
Common Ankay,15"""
Ankay Congou,27"""
Ankay Campoi,38"""
Ankay Souchong,41"""
Ankay Pecho,61"""

Green Teas.

Hyson Skin,46dollarsper133-1/3 pounds
Hyson Young-hyson,63"""
Hyson Gunpowder,166"""
Singlo Skin,39"""
Singlo Young-hyson,47"""
Singlo Hyson,78"""
Singlo Gunpowder,108"""

Tea is the common beverage of all classes, and is always drunk warm, even in the hottest weather, and at all hours of the day. It is prepared by putting a small quantity of the leaves in a fine porcelain cup; boiling water is then poured on it, and it is covered immediately with another cup fitting closely: as soon as the flavour of the tea is slightly extracted, it is sipped hot, as it is, great strength being avoided; the cup is then filled again with boiling water, until all the flavour of the herb is exhausted. Mechanics and labourers, who cannot afford to drink it in this manner, draw it in a large block-tin tea-pot, cased with wood, and having cotton wool put between the wood and the vessel to preserve the warmth longer. The extreme heat of the tea, as preferred by the Chinese, is one of the causes, perhaps, that tend to produce the relaxation, weakness of digestion, and languor of nerve, with which they are much afflicted.

The perfection of many of the mechanic arts in China, which cannot be denied in some instances, results less from any scientific skill, than from the laboured experience of ages brought slowly to a certain point. Beyond that, no discoveries of modern knowledge have led them. Thus, the brightness and permanence of colouring in their silk manufactures, are not produced by any secret mordents or process, but derived from a very nice experience of the climate, and certain concurrent circumstances.[Pg 60] For instance, great numbers of persons are employed, so that great rapidity in the execution of the process is assured. The north wind, called Pak-fung, is the only period at which the silks are dried. And when they are packed up for exportation, great care is taken to avoid a time when there is the slightest dampness.

Nothing has ever been more exaggerated, than the state of civilization and social advancement among the Chinese. They are, in general, a frugal, sober, and industrious people; but the accounts of their government, sciences, religion, public institutions, and improvement in morals and arts, are both false and ridiculous. The administration of public affairs, is such as would disgrace any country on the globe; and the code of laws which is expressed in such high flown metaphors, and boasts such wonderful wisdom in its doctrines, serves, in truth, but as a cloak to hide injustice and oppression. In former times, the mandarins or nobles were said to be chosen from amongst the best of the nation, by wise men sent for that purpose by the emperor; at present, money wins its way more easily than talent or virtue, to the hearts of these electors. The poorer classes live in a state of extreme wretchedness; their houses are low, confined, and filthy, and they crowd together in great numbers; on the coasts, those who live in boats,—and they are stated to amount at Canton to sixty or eighty thousand souls,—have much cleaner and more commodious habitations. There is said to be more deformity among them than among any other people; and all classes are subject to the complaints which result from debauchery and the use of opium. In the latter, they appear to find an almost inexpressible delight. The Chinese have no surgeons, and are almost totally ignorant of anatomy; the first physicians of Canton, have none but the most confused notions of the circulation of the blood; they believe it flows differently on the right and left sides of the body, and they therefore feel both pulses when they visit a patient.

At Canton, during the summer months, the thermometer varies from 82° to 92°. There is but little frost in winter, and not much rain. The streets are only made for foot passengers. The mandarins ride in sedan-chairs of large size, with glass windows, carried on the shoulders of four, six, ten, or twelve men; several fellows run before with whips, which they apply without mercy to any one obstructing the way; others beat gongs to warn the crowd; whilst some cry out, with a shrill voice, like the howling of dogs. The Chinese, indeed, though supposed to be a grave nation, are remarkably fond of personal display; few countries abound more with fops. The dress of an exquisite is very expensive, being composed of the most costly crapes or silks; his boots or shoes are of a particular shape, and made of[Pg 61] the richest black satin of Nankin, with soles of a certain height; his knee caps are elegantly embroidered; his cap and button are of the neatest cut; his pipes elegant and high-priced; his tobacco of the best manufacture of Fokien; an English gold watch; a tooth-pick hung at his button, with a string of valuable pearls; and a fan from Nankin, scented with chulan flowers—such are his personal appointments. He is attended by servants in costly liveries; and, when he meets an acquaintance, his studied manners and ceremonial are as carefully displayed, as the airs of the most accomplished dandy in Christian countries.

All amusements are anxiously sought after. Theatrical exhibitions constantly take place after dinner in the houses of the rich. Cards and dice abound every where. Besides these, they have many other sports and games of chance, peculiar to the country. Cricket fighting and quail fighting are very common. To make two male crickets fight, they are placed in an earthen bowl, about five or eight inches in diameter; the owner of each, tickles his cricket with a feather, which makes them both run round the bowl different ways, frequently jostling one another as they pass. After several meetings in this way, they at length become exasperated, and fight with great fury until they literally tear each other limb from limb.

Quails for fighting are prepared with great care. Every one has a separate keeper, who has his bird confined in a small bag, which he carries with him wherever he goes. The poor prisoner is rarely permitted to see the light, except when he is fed, or it is deemed necessary for his health; he is then held by the keeper on his hand, sometimes for hours. When two quails are brought to fight, they are placed in a thing like a large sieve, in the centre of a table, round which the spectators stand to witness the battle and make their bets. Some grains of millet seed are put into the sieve, and the quails are taken from the bags and placed near it, opposite to each other. If they are birds of courage, the moment one begins to eat he is attacked by the other, and they fight hard for a few minutes. The quail that is beaten flies up, and the conqueror remains to eat the seed. The best fights seldom last more than five minutes. Immense sums of money are lost and won on them, for they are very uncertain; sometimes one quail has been known to win several hundred battles, and then suddenly to be beaten by a new and untutored bird.

Next to quail fighting, the flower-boats occupy most of a Chinese gentleman's leisure hours. They are the residence of women, generally of agreeable conversation and lively manners, but not of the purest character. The vessels are so called, from having the sides, windows, and doors, carved in flowers, and[Pg 62] painted green and gilded. They are divided into rooms, which are well ventilated and fitted up with verandas, galleries, and all the conveniences of comfort, luxury, and dissipation. The gentlemen go to them in the afternoon; parties are formed; they all sit round a large table, well furnished, and eat, drink, sing, and play, until morning. It is said that from forty to fifty thousand dollars are spent daily in the flower-boats of Canton. By an ancient custom, the Hong-merchants there, when making their contracts for tea, (which is generally done a year in advance,) are obliged to invite the persons with whom they wish to contract, to partake of a repast in one of those boats. The bargain is always easy in proportion to the sumptuousness and splendour of the supper, during which it is concluded; and although very expensive, is fully repaid by the advantages gained in the contract.

When a Chinese gives a ceremonious dinner, it is done with great splendour. Several days before, a large red paper is sent to the guests, on which the invitation is written in the politest terms of the language. On the day preceding the party, another invitation is sent on rose coloured paper, to remind them of it, and to ascertain whether they are coming. Again, on the next day, a short time before the hour appointed, the invitation is repeated, to inform them that the feast is prepared and awaits them. A great number of dishes are served on small ebony tables, and dressed in the most piquant manner; there are several courses; and, in addition to various wines, cordials of a fiery nature are offered from time to time. When two persons wish to pledge one another, they leave the tables, go into the middle of the room, and take care to place the cups to their lips exactly at the same instant. They are not apt to become intoxicated. Between the courses they rise from the table and walk about. The most expensive delicacy they can offer is birds' nest soup, with pigeons' or plovers' eggs floating on it. The birds' nests, so used, are formed of a mucilage supposed to be collected from certain weeds floating on the sea, by the swallows of the Indian, Chinese, and Pacific oceans; some of the best come from Batavia and the Nikobar Islands; they are sold by weight, and a catty (one pound and three quarters) of the best parts, sells for the enormous price of forty-five to sixty dollars.

The Chinese do not appear to be governed by fixed and solid principles of religion, such as the Christian faith, produced by conviction or reason. They have a superstitious reverence for certain ceremonies, rights, and ancient customs, which have prevailed for ages; and these serve, in many respects, to cover various vices and habits which are prevalent. They seem, however, to believe in a Supreme Being, called the Great Joss, or Yook-Chee, represented only to the mind, and not allowing his[Pg 63] image to be made on earth; and they say, should any one be rash enough to make a statue of him, he would be immediately struck dead. He is, however, described on paper, holding the little finger of his right hand across the first joint of the middle finger, the fore-finger resting on the point of the little finger, and the third finger bent round it, whilst the thumb is also bent upwards, a very curious and difficult position to place the fingers in. They believe that when he opens his hand, the world and mankind are to be destroyed; and they consider all the other deities and spirits, to whom, however, they do not pay a very great adoration, as sent by him to the world. These are supposed to preside over rain, crops, dreams, &c., and have various attributes, which it would require volumes to explain. The Chinese have no regular priesthood, supported by the government; it depends on voluntary contributions and endowments of the rich; it has its monasteries, where numbers of both sexes devote themselves to celibacy; but, in general, it seems, as a body, to have less influence than in most countries. In all rich families, there is a shing-shang, or astrologer, who is consulted on all occasions; he is the tutor, and generally the writer; and thus becomes a man of much importance. The funerals are objects of great attention; and, where it is possible, great expense is bestowed on them; every care is taken to choose a lucky spot for interment, and the tombs are made very splendid.

These are a few of the facts we have noted with regard to the Chinese, in perusing Mr. Dobell's volumes; and but a very few. Those who are desirous to obtain a fuller account of the country, manners, and state of society of that singular people, than our limited space will permit us to give, may turn to them with great profit. He has evidently devoted much attention to the collection of information; and, resulting as it does, from the observations of a number of years, with an opportunity of correcting and comparing accounts and impressions, received at various times and under various circumstances, we believe that just and great reliance may be placed on it. We must now leave China, however, and follow him on his expedition to the north of Asia.

Leaving Canton, and proceeding along the western shore of the Pacific ocean, he landed at the harbour of St. Peter and St. Paul, on the 25th of August, 1812. He describes the bay of the Avatcha, which forms the port, as forty versts in circumference, encompassed by forest-covered mountains and extensive meadows. It is so capacious and safe, that large fleets may securely lie there; and it affords a combination of picturesque beauty, grandeur, and security, rarely equalled in other parts of the globe. Immense tracts of low ground extend along the outlet of the river Avatcha, which present the appearance of having been banked out in former times, to prevent their being overflowed.[Pg 64] So numerous, indeed, are these embankments, and so far beyond the necessities or ability of such a population as the present, to erect, that they are by many of the inhabitants supposed to be natural mounds. This conjecture, however, Mr. Dobell was convinced was incorrect, from repeated observation.

"Evident marks remain," he observes, "where the earth has been dug out and thrown up; the holes, which were very deep, are now ponds, whilst the shallower ones have been filled up with soft mud, and have a thick surface of turf upon them, resembling what is called a shaking bog. There is no doubt of their being the work of man; but when and how it was performed was what I could not discover. The Kamtchatdales themselves could have had no inducement to undertake such a laborious task; as, when they were first known, they had neither horned cattle nor horses. They were probably made after the conquest of that country by the Russians, when domestic animals were introduced; as they are evidently intended to preserve the low lands for hay and pasture. This has been so well accomplished, that the greater part of them are still actually in good order."

After passing a few days at Avatcha, and gratifying the inhabitants with a ball on board of his vessel, Mr. Dobell set out, on the first of September, for Nijna Kamtchatsk, a town seven hundred and fifty miles distant, the residence of the governor, whom it was necessary for him to see, in order to make the commercial arrangements he desired. He ascended the Avatcha river, the banks of which are for the most part composed of fine meadow land, or hills thickly covered with birch. Early on the following day, the party left their boats, and proceeded on horseback over two or three very steep mountains, and amid clouds of mosquitoes, which tormented them exceedingly. The houses at which they stopped, from time to time, were in general black, smoky, and dirty, but the inhabitants kind and hospitable beyond measure, though poor. The universal food is fish—men, dogs, bears, wolves, and birds of prey, all live upon them, and indeed they abound, in quantities fully sufficient to supply all; they are seen in the streams sporting about by thousands, and even the shores are covered with dead ones thrown up by the current.

The dwelling of the Kamtchatdales is of two kinds—for the summer and the winter. The former, which is called a ballagan, is a building of a conical form, composed of poles fourteen or fifteen feet long, laid up from the edge of a circle, ten or twelve feet in diameter, the tops meeting at the centre, and tied there by ozier twigs or ropes. The outside of these is covered with birch or pine bark, over which there is sometimes a thatching of coarse grass, fastened down by other poles and oziers. This kind of hut is generally erected in the centre of a square platform, elevated ten or twelve feet, upon large posts planted deep in the ground. Poles are again placed in rows under the building and between the posts, where they dry their fish, which the hut serves to cover from the weather, as well as[Pg 65] to store and preserve them when dried. The door of the ballagan is always opposite to the water; the fire-place on a bed of earth outside, at one corner of the platform. A large piece of timber, with notches cut in it instead of steps, and placed against the platform at an angle of forty-five degrees, is the method of ascending and descending, particularly unsafe and inconvenient for those not accustomed to so uncouth a staircase.

The winter house, or jourta, is a sort of subterranean dwelling. It generally consists of a frame of timber, put into a square hole four or five feet deep, and within the frame a quantity of stakes are set close together, inclining a little inwards, and the earth thrown against them. The stakes are left round on the outside, but hewn within, and the top is framed over in the same manner and arched and supported by stanchions. In the centre of the roof is a square hole, which serves the double purpose of a door and a chimney, the inhabitants passing in or out by means of a piece of timber with notches cut in it, such as we have before described. The top and sides of the jourta are covered outside with a quantity of earth and sodded. At one end, there is a large hole with a stopper to it, which is opened when the oven is heating, to force the smoke out at the door. When once heated, and the stopper closed, jourtas are warm, and, were it not for the smoke, would be comfortable. The description of such subterranean habitations, and of the lives led by these rude people during their long and bitter winters, cannot be read without reviving in the memory those lines of Virgil, which describe a race similar in all respects—even to the acid liquors they distil; but dwelling in regions far less remote from the warm skies of Italy.—

"Ipsi in defossis specubus secura sub altâ
Otia agunt terrâ; congestaque robora, totasque
Advolvêre focis ulmos, ignique dedêre.
Hic noctem ludo ducunt, et pocula læti
Fermento atque acidis imitantur vitea sorbis.
Talis hyperboreo septem subjecta trioni
Gens effræna virûm Riphæo tunditur Euro
Et pecudum fulvis velantur corpora setis."

The increase of civilization, wealth, and intercourse with other nations, has however effected a great change in the mode of life among this remote people. Cottages, made generally of logs, are substituted for these ruder mansions, especially in the neighbourhood of the sea-ports; and a traveller occasionally meets with much that reminds him of fairer climes, and a state of society less primitive.

"On reaching Sherrom, a cottage was pointed out to us as the habitation of the Toyune, the outward appearance of which was too engaging not to excite anticipations of good cheer within. As it was a low building, I put my head into one of the windows that was open, and was quite surprised to see so neat and[Pg 66] clean a dwelling in that country. The name of the owner, who was Toyune of Sherrom, was Conon Merlin. He and his wife were absent fishing, but we were not less hospitably received by his daughter and daughter-in-law, two clean dressed pretty young women, who welcomed us with their smiles, and made us imagine, that, instead of Kamtchatka, we had got into the land of enchantment. Every thing about them seemed in unison with their appearance. The tables and stools were of poplar white as snow; no vermin was to be seen on the walls, which were hewn smooth and whitened; and the whole presented a picture of neatness, cleanliness, and comfort, such as we had not yet seen in Kamtchatka. In fifteen minutes after our arrival, a refreshing cup of tea was prepared, with fresh butter, cream, and milk; and their being served up in so neat a manner, made them taste more delicious than usual. Our hostess being a well-behaved young woman, we requested her to do the honours of the table, which she performed with the utmost cheerfulness and politeness, just as if she had been bred in a city. In the evening the old Toyune and his wife returned from fishing, and seemed quite overjoyed to see us, as such guests, they said, were not common; and they certainly took uncommon pains to treat and to please us. The old man appeared between sixty and seventy years of age, with a long white beard and moustachios, which, added to a mild, sensible, and prepossessing countenance, gave him a most sage and respectable appearance, and personified to my imagination the wise enchanter whose name he bore. Conon Merlin had been educated by the famous Mr. Evashkin, a Russian nobleman, who was banished to Kamtchatka during the reign of Catharine II., and is since dead; but who was well known to former travellers in Kamtchatka. Our Toyune, therefore, could write and read Russian well, knew most of the dialects of Kamtchatka, and was certainly the most intelligent man I ever met among the natives."

On the morning of the 13th, soon after leaving the village of Klutchee, they beheld the majestic volcano of Klootchefsky, rearing its awful and flaming head far above the clouds. This huge mountain, towering to the skies, is a perfect cone, decreasing gradually from its enormous base to the summit; its top is whitened by perpetual snow, and the flame and smoke, for ever issuing from its crater, are seen shading the sky at the distance of many miles. Sometimes quantities of ashes are thrown out, so fine as to impregnate the atmosphere, and be inhaled in breathing; and, it is said, that occasionally a white clammy substance, resembling, perhaps, the honey dew elsewhere observed, has flowed from the crater, sweet to the taste, and very adhesive when touched. Altogether, this mountain is one of the most picturesque and sublime of the volcanoes described by travellers, though from its remote situation it has been, and probably long will be, visited but by few.

Mr. Dobell reached Nijna Kamtchatsk on the 14th of September, and was most kindly received and treated by the governor, General Petrowsky, with whom he made all the arrangements he desired, and, after a visit of six days, returned to St. Peter and St. Paul. He describes the town of Nijna Kamtchatsk as one of eighty or ninety houses, and between four and five hundred inhabitants. Its situation is not good, the ground being low and moist. It is on the bank of the river Kamtchatka, about thirty-five versts from the sea. Since the period we allude[Pg 67] to, the seat of government has been removed to St. Peter and St. Paul, and the town has lost nearly all its population, there being but five or six families left there.

On his way back he again visited his kind host, the Toyune of Sherrom, whom he found laying in his winter stock of provisions, which offered a good example of the economy, wants, and supplies of a Kamtchatdale family. He assured Mr. Dobell that himself and his sons had killed twelve bears, eleven mountain sheep, several reindeer, a large number of geese, ducks, and tiel, and a few swans and pheasants. "In November," said he, "we shall catch many hares and partridges; and I have one thousand fresh salmon, lately caught, and now frozen for our winter's stock. Added to this, in my cellar there is a good supply of cabbages, turnips, and potatoes, with various sorts of berries, and about thirty poods of sarannas, the greater part of which we have stolen from the field mice, who collect them in large quantities for the winter." In the spring, the Kamtchatdales supply themselves with the skins of the hair seals and other sea animals, from whose fat also they obtain oil. The hunting of these is therefore a matter of no small importance, and carries many of the Kamtchatdales down to the coast. It is accompanied with great fatigue and occasional risk.

"The Toyune of Malka," says Mr. Dobell, "related to me a curious adventure that occurred to him and two of his friends. They repaired in the latter part of April to their usual hunting place, where they found the sea still covered with ice for a considerable extent. Each had a sledge and five dogs, and although the wind blew strongly off shore, they did not hesitate to go on the ice in search of seals, as it seemed firmly attached to the shore, and they observed some Kamtchatdales hunting on it farther up the coast. They discovered some seals at a considerable distance out, and repaired thither to kill them. Already had they killed two, and were preparing to tie them with thongs on their sledges, when one of the party, who staid a little behind, came to them of a sudden, crying that the ice was moving, and that all the other Kamtchatdales had gone to the shore! This news alarmed them so much, that they left their seals on the ice, and seating themselves on their sankas or sledges, pushed their dogs at full speed to regain the shore. Unfortunately they arrived too late; the ice had already separated from the land to the extent of a hundred yards; and as it began to break into pieces, they were obliged to return to the part that appeared to them the strongest and thickest. As the wind now blew extremely hard, they were soon driven out to sea, where the swell being very heavy, the ice began to break again all round them, leaving them at last on a solid clump, from forty to fifty feet in circumference, that was of great thickness and kept entire. They were now out of sight of land, driven before a gale of wind and a heavy sea, and their icy vessel rolled so dreadfully that they had much difficulty to keep themselves on its surface. However, being furnished with ostals, (poles pointed with iron,) they made holes and planted them firmly in the ice; and then tied themselves, their dogs, and sankas, fast to them. Without this precaution, the Toyune said they would all have been thrown into the sea. They were sea-sick and disheartened; but nevertheless, said Spiridon, (the Toyune,) 'I had hopes, and I told my comrades I thought we should be thrown on some coast.' It was now two days they had been at sea, and towards evening the wind abated a little, the weather cleared off, and they saw land not far off, which one of them, who had been formerly at the Kurile islands, knew to be Poromochin,[Pg 68] and they now fully expected to be drifted on its shores. However, as the night approached, the wind changed to the very opposite direction, and blew even more violently than before. The clump of ice was tossed about in a most uneasy manner, and several times the ostals and the thongs were in danger of being broken by the violent concussion of the waves against the ice.

"All that night and all the next day the storm continued with unceasing violence. On the morning of the fourth day, before daylight, they found that their clump had been driven amongst other cakes of ice, and was closely surrounded on all sides. When the day broke, how great was their joy and astonishment to perceive themselves near the land, and within about twenty versts of the place whence they had been driven! They had suffered much from thirst, as they found the ice salt as well as the water. Not having either eaten or drunk during all the time, they found themselves so weak that they had the greatest difficulty in preparing their sledges, and in getting from the ice to the land. The moment they landed, they offered up their prayers and thanks to God. Spiridon charged his companions not to eat snow or drink much water at a time, although they were almost dying with thirst; as they could soon get to an ostrog that was only about twenty or thirty versts distant. They had not proceeded far before Spiridon saw the tracks of some reindeer; he therefore made his companions stop, and, taking his gun, walked gently round a high bluff on the coast, whither the deer had gone, and had the good fortune to shoot one of them. His companions no sooner heard the noise of the gun than they came to him. They cut the throat of the deer immediately, and drank his blood while warm. Spiridon said that they felt their strength revived almost immediately after drinking the blood. Having given some of the meat to the dogs, they rested themselves about an hour, and then set off for the ostrog, where they arrived safely. One of them, who indulged too much in eating at first, died a short time after; the other two survived; but Spiridon said he had ever since been afflicted with a complaint in his breast and shortness of breath."

On the 21st of October the winter set in, and made the travelling much more difficult and uncomfortable. The cold, however, in Kamtchatka, is by no means so severe as is generally supposed. About the sea coast, the thermometer rarely passes 15° to 20° of Reaumur, and in the interior, seldom exceeds 20° to 25°; and even this but for a short time. The ordinary cold is about 8° to 10°.

After remaining nearly three months at St. Peter and St. Paul, Mr. Dobell set out on his expedition to Russia. He left the former place on the 15th of January, with the determination to proceed along the Aleuters or north-east coast of the peninsula of Kamtchatka, thence cross over to Kammina at the head of the sea of Ochotsk, and proceed along the eastern shore of that large bay to the town of Ochotsk itself. He was accompanied by two Chinese servants, and proceeded in sledges drawn by dogs. He had frequent occasions to confirm the sentiments he had previously entertained of the hospitable and honest character of the inhabitants of the peninsula of Kamtchatka; and he found the climate and natural resources of the country far superior to what he had been led to expect. He combats the opinion, long prevalent, that it is a barren and desolate country, depopulated of the aborigines through the extreme poverty of its resources; and contends that few parts of the world would more amply repay[Pg 69] the industry of the inhabitants, if well peopled and wisely governed.

The dogs displayed all the sagacity, perseverance, and swiftness for which they have been celebrated by travellers in northern regions, and he had frequent opportunities of observing the instinct or skill with which they pursued their way in the midst of the most violent storms, when every trace of the road had disappeared. He gives them a decided preference over the reindeer, though he states that the latter are more fleet, when put to their full speed. They are not docile however. When the snows are deep, and the roads difficult, if the reindeer be pressed to exert himself he becomes restive and stubborn, and neither beating nor coaxing will move him. He will lie down and remain in one spot for several hours, until hunger presses him forward; and if at the second attempt he is again embarrassed, he will lie down and perish in the snow for want of food. Reindeer consequently require a great deal of care and management, and should never be treated too roughly, or they become totally unmanageable. Besides, great attention must be paid to them in summer, and their pastures often changed, or they contract diseases and die fast.

At Veyteway, the most northern point on the eastern coast visited by Mr. Dobell, he found a Toyune who had come a hundred and fifty versts, from motives of curiosity, to meet him. Though he had never before seen any one adopting the customs of civilized life, he behaved with great propriety, and did not seem in the least embarrassed. Some of the trunks which were covered with lackered leather and full of brass nails, excited his astonishment, and indeed proved a fund of amusement for the natives on all the road. Bets were made constantly as to the number of nails on each trunk, and they were counted over and over, a hundred times, with the greatest care. From this point Mr. Dobell struck across the peninsula, and reached Kammina, at the head of the sea of Ochotsk, on the 24th of March.

In proceeding southwardly along the coast, the hardiness of his dogs was strongly put to the test. An insufficient supply of provisions had been laid in, and some time before they reached Igiga, the first town where a fresh stock could be obtained, they were reduced to an allowance of half a fish each, daily. When the dried fish were consumed, they were fed on reindeer meat and biscuit, of which but a very small supply was left; but it refreshed and strengthened them, so that one of the party, whose dogs were strongest, was enabled to go on more rapidly to Igiga, to beg from the commandant assistance and food for the rest of the party. When the poor creatures who were left perceived the dogs coming to assist them, nothing could exceed their joy. They sprang into the air, barked aloud, and set forward with such eagerness[Pg 70] to meet them, that restraint was impossible. When they came up, they jumped and fawned upon them, and licked them with an expression of pleasure and satisfaction which it was impossible to mistake. As they approached the town, it was utterly in vain to hold them back, they set off at full speed, and if it had not been for the assistance of several of the inhabitants, who ran and caught hold of them, the sledges would have been upset, and every thing broken to pieces.

Leaving Igiga, Mr. Dobell continued his journey by Yamsk and Towisk, through the country of the Tongusees. He found these people active, persevering, and obliging; those whom he employed performing every sort of service with cheerfulness. They are men of small stature, slightly made, and resembling the northern Chinese in features. Their countenances generally were indicative of a tractable mild disposition, and bore a strong Asiatic cast of character, which is indeed found amongst all the natives throughout Siberia. Their fidelity, however, was not on an equality with their other good characteristics, as our travellers had soon an opportunity of learning, by an event which placed their lives in most imminent peril. The provisions laid in at Towisk were nearly consumed, and the time at which they should have reached the next town had arrived, when the native guides confessed that they had mistaken the road, and there was every prospect of the whole party perishing in the desert. What were the feelings of Mr. Dobell, when awaking one morning, in this situation, he found that the Tongusees were no longer with him; the rascals had gone off in the night, not leaving a single deer for food, and deserting a party of five in number, all strangers, on one of the highest mountains of Siberia, in a wild and uninhabited country! In this emergency Mr. Dobell displayed great firmness, resolution, and all the energy and resources of an experienced traveller; indeed the portion of his volumes which contains the account of his escape from the perilous situation in which he was left, and of the sufferings he endured, and the expedients to which he was obliged to resort, is peculiarly and highly interesting. With the aid of a partial map of Kamtchatka, and a pocket compass, he set out to regain the sea coast, from which they were, as he supposed, not very far distant. Leaving all their clothes, and every article with which they could possibly dispense, they put the rest of their baggage on two sleds, which they dragged with them. They limited their nourishment to the least possible quantity of food, drinking tea, of which they had a small supply, twice in twenty-four hours, and in the morning taking some thin rice water, with a small lump of chocolate each, to make it palatable. They were obliged to construct bridges of logs over numerous rivulets, swelled with the snows, which crossed their path, and[Pg 71] they were exposed to a succession of furious storms. On the twentieth day they arrived at what they supposed a long narrow lake, and determined there to pass the night. Having left his companions to make what preparations for so doing their wretched situation afforded, Mr. Dobell went to examine the lake. On approaching the bank, he discovered two small ducks, quite near the shore, and had the good fortune to shoot them both at one shot. "Running to the water to pick them up," he says, "God only knows the inexpressible joy that filled my heart, at beholding the water move, and finding that we were on the banks of a large river." They all set to work actively the next day, and had soon completed a raft on which they embarked, and trusted themselves to the current to reach the ocean, so long and eagerly desired.

"We had" says Mr. Dobell, "a most unpleasant time, but anxious to arrive at the ocean, would not lie by—particularly as the stream increased greatly in rapidity, and hurried us along with considerable swiftness. About one o'clock on the 10th of June, although we were nearly in the middle of the river, which was here upwards of a verst wide, we were suddenly seized by a whirlpool, and in spite of our utmost efforts, having nothing but poles to guide the raft, were drawn violently towards the left bank, and forced under some large trees which had been undermined by the water and hung over the surface of the stream, the roots still holding them fast to the shore. I perceived the danger to which we were exposed, and called out to every one to lie flat on his face and hold fast to the baggage. The branches were so thick it was impossible for all to escape, and there being barely room to admit the raft under them, they swept off the two Chinese, the Karaikee, my tin-box with all my papers and valuables, our soup-kettle, &c. Nothing now remained but a small tea-kettle, and a few other things that happened to be tied fast with thongs. The Karaikee and one of the Chinese seized hold of the branches that swept them off, and held their heads above water, but the youngest of the Chinese having floated away with the current, the Cossack and myself had the greatest difficulty in paddling the raft up to him. We came just in time to poke our poles down after him as he sunk for the third time, which he fortunately seized, and we drew him upon the raft half drowned. As the current was running at the rate of six or seven miles an hour, we were carried more than half a verst down before we gained the shore; the other Chinese and the Karaikee crying out for assistance. I ran up the shore as quickly as possible, taking a long pole with me, and leaving the Cossack to take care of the raft and the young Chinese. When I arrived at the spot, my Chinese cook informed me he had seized my tin-box with one hand, and was so tired of holding with the other, that if I did not come soon to his assistance he must leave it to the mercy of the current. Whilst I attempted to walk out on the body of the tree whose branches they were holding, one of the roots broke and very nearly separated it from the shore; I was therefore obliged to jump off and stride to one that was nearly two feet under water, hauling myself along by the branches of the others, and at length I got near enough to give the Chinese the pole. He seized fast hold and I pulled him between two branches, enabling him to get a leg over one and keep his body above water. Thus placed he tied the tin-box with his handkerchief to the pole, and I got it safely ashore. I was now obliged to return and assist the Karaikee, who held by some branches far out, and where there were no others near enough for him to reach in order to draw himself in. After half an hour's labour I got them both on the bank, neither of them knowing how to swim, and both much exhausted by the cold, and the difficulty of holding so long against a rapid current."

They continued for several days longer buffeting with the[Pg 72] stream, and exposed to all the inclemencies of the weather. Their food depended on the scanty supplies of wild fowl they could shoot, and their stock of cooking utensils was reduced to a small tea-kettle and the lid of the tin box saved by the Chinese.

Between two and three o'clock in the afternoon of the seventh day since they had embarked on board their frail vessel, and nearly a month since they had been deserted on the mountains by the treacherous Tongusees, they found themselves in a fine wide channel, with a moderate current, and on a beach not far below descried a man and two boys mending a canoe. The effect the sight of human beings had upon them was deeply interesting. Every soul shed tears of joy, and when the natives approached to assist them in landing, they were unable for some minutes to reply to their inquiries, and could only answer by hasty signs. The elder person proved to be a Yakut who had seen Mr. Dobell before; as soon as he recognised him, he sprung into the raft, clasped him in his arms, and shed tears in abundance, exclaiming "thank God, thank God! you are all saved!" He informed them that the Tongusees having returned and confessed their treachery, an old chief living near Towisk had despatched his son with a party in search of them, but that every one there had given them up for lost, knowing how difficult it was to procure food on those deserted plains and mountains in the spring of the year. The miraculous escape of the party, after having been left in such a wilderness, was indeed a matter of surprise to every one; and they had particular reason to rejoice in having taken the route they did, as they found on inquiry that had they pursued any other they must infallibly have perished.

After remaining three days with the hospitable people whom they so fortunately encountered, and recovering their baggage which had been left on the mountain, by means of the party sent in search of them from Towisk, they resumed their journey, and reached Ochotsk without further accident, on the 4th of July.

Ochotsk, the capital of the Russian province of the same name, which embraces the most easterly portion of that vast empire, is a town composed of between two and three hundred houses, and about two thousand inhabitants. It is situated in north latitude 59° 20' 22", and east longitude from Greenwich 143° 20' 23", on a small island or sand bank, three versts and three hundred paces in length, and two hundred in breadth, where the town stands. The admiralty, marine stores, magazines, and workshops, were examined by Mr. Dobell, and found to be disposed in perfectly good order, and prepared for service in the best possible manner. In the admiralty, there are a school, and shops for coopers, turners, and blockmakers. There are[Pg 73] also large forges, ropewalks, and all the establishments necessary for a complete naval arsenal. Whilst Mr. Dobell was there, a large cable was prepared for the frigate Diana, in the course of four or five days, and appeared quite as well made as a European cable. The flour magazines are large, and well supplied by Yakut convoys, which constantly arrive and discharge their loads there. These convoys consist generally of ten to thirteen horses, having seldom more than two men to take care of them. Each horse carries on his back six pood weight of rye flour, packed in two leathern bags, called in Russian sumas, impenetrable to all sorts of weather, and extremely convenient for carriage, hanging one on each side of the horse. These bags are of green hide, without the hair; the flour is forced as tightly as possible into them while they are damp, and when dry the surface is as hard as stone. On opening them, the flour, for about half an inch deep, is attached in a hard cake to the bag, and, if originally good, is preserved in a very perfect state, and will keep for a great length of time. Some of them have been known to remain all the winter under the snow without being damaged; nor does it seem possible to carry over land this important article of life, by any other method so safely and conveniently as in sumas. Notwithstanding, however, all the attention which is thus exhibited on the part of the Russian government to make Ochotsk a complete and valuable naval station; and the care paid to its arrangement and furnishing supplies, there yet exists an insuperable obstacle to all their efforts, from the fact that it has not a good port. No vessel of any great burthen, carrying guns, can enter or be wintered there, without incurring the risk of being bilged by the ice of the river Ochota, which flows into or forms the harbour.

On the 19th of July Mr. Dobell left Ochotsk. He now turned inland, and leaving the shores of the Pacific ocean, directed his course westerly to Yakutsk, which was distant six hundred and fifty miles. He was accompanied a short distance by a young officer named Ivan Ivanovitch Kruz, who was forest-master at the first station called Maitah, fifty-four versts off. Such a companion was not less unexpected than agreeable, in so remote a corner of the world. He was a very good botanist, and understood French and Latin; a modest, sensible, genteel young man, and what must appear a little singular, perfectly happy and satisfied with his situation. Even in those wild regions he filled up his leisure hours with study and the chase, and said that he never found the time hang heavy on his hands.

On the road they met many convoys of horses carrying provisions to Ochotsk; and were obliged to keep a strict watch, in order to guard against the depredations of the Yakuts, by whom they were conducted. These people are in the habit of stealing[Pg 74] horses for food, whenever a good opportunity offers on the road, being fonder of horse flesh than of any other. When they get possession of a horse, they contrive to decamp suddenly, and ride several versts off, where they kill the animal, bury his bones, and conceal the flesh in their bags, before the person robbed discovers the theft. They are men generally of small stature, light, and very active when they choose to exert themselves; indefatigable on the road, and surpassing every other people in conducting and taking care of horses. In features they resemble strongly the Chinese of Nankin. The Tongusees, on the other hand, bear a striking resemblance to the Tartars who conquered China. The Yakuts and Tongusees however wear very much the same costume. The hair of the women, which hangs in two or three braids behind, is stuck over with small copper or silver plates, more or less rich in proportion to the fortune of the wearer. Sometimes a silver or copper plate is placed on the forehead. They occasionally wear a close cap, adorned likewise with plates and beads, and often ornament their boots with beads of various colours, having much the appearance of the work on the wampum belts of our Indians. The dress of the Tongusee men is a close coat, fitting tight round the body, with skirts reaching half way down the legs, and resembling a frock coat. It is composed of deer or dog skin, with the hair inward. In very cold weather they wear a shorter coat over this, as well as parkas and kokclankas or riding coats, which are nothing more than loose jackets or cloaks of skin, with sleeves reaching below the knees. The Yakut dress is made in the same way, but usually of horse or cow hide.

On the 25th, the party crossed the ridge of mountains which extends from the great central chain of Asia, towards the north-east, and divides the waters falling into the sea of Ochotsk, from those flowing through the more central parts of Siberia, towards the west and the north. On the western side of the ridge they passed a large lake, the source of the river Udama, surrounded by mountains, and three or four versts in length. The Udama is a fine river, and though not abounding either with fish or water in summer, is plentifully supplied with both in spring and autumn, and then navigable for boats of a considerable size. It falls into the Maia; the Maia into the Aldan; the Aldan into the Lena, one of whose branches ascends to within three hundred and fifty versts of Irkutsk, and which flows into the Northern ocean. A navigation is thus afforded through the very centre of Siberia for more than two thousand miles. It is also well adapted to the introduction of steam navigation; and flat bottomed boats drawing little water might be successfully used on most of these streams during a considerable portion of the year. The adoption of such a system would tend immensely to the improvement[Pg 75] of a vast country, where the population is thin, but of which the natural resources and advantages are very great. It is a mistake to suppose, as is usually done, that it is an ungrateful wilderness, fit only for the reception of criminals, or the home of wandering savages; no where is nature more profusely grand and magnificent than in Siberia; and she has offered many attractions to human industry and improvement in those remote regions. It cannot be denied that there are some parts totally incorrigible, owing to the severity of climate, bad soil, and other causes; but there is ample testimony that by far the largest portion of that country possesses resources, soil, and climate, very superior to what is generally believed, and that it would advance rapidly if well governed and better peopled.

On the 5th of August Mr. Dobell reached the river Aldan, one of the principal tributaries of the Lena, and found it a very deep stream, about a verst and a half wide, abounding with fish. On the western shore he saw several jourtas beautifully situated, and on inquiry was informed they contained a colony of banished men, sent there by order of the government. They appeared very well off, having comfortable houses, with cattle, an abundant supply of fish, and good pastures, so that they could never suffer from want, unless too indolent to secure the necessaries of life. They call themselves Possellencies or colonists, but are stiled Neshchastnie Loodie, or unfortunate people, by the natives, who avoid, even by a name, to remind them of their unhappy fate.

"Banishment, then," remarks Mr. Dobell, "to such a country as Siberia, is certainly no such terrible infliction, except to a Russian, who, perhaps, of all beings upon earth, possesses the strongest attachment to the soil on which he grows—taking root like the trees that surround him, and pining when transplanted to another spot, even though it should be a neighbouring province, better than his own. Too much praise cannot be bestowed on the humane system adopted by the Russian government in saving the lives of criminals without distinction, and transporting them to Siberia, to augment the population of a fine country, much in want of inhabitants, where their morals are strictly watched, and where they soon become useful, good people. Death, in fact, is so transitory a punishment, that unless a man has religion, and a perfect idea of rewards and penalties in a world to come, it may have no terrors for him, nor will its anticipation ever prevent the commission of crimes so well as the idea of banishment and long suffering. I would not be thought to be the advocate of cruelty; on the contrary, I warmly espouse the principle of producing a perfect contrition and change of sentiments and actions in the criminal, ere we send him into the presence of his God. To bring about this in an effectual manner, and be satisfied it springs from a thorough conviction of his error, we must not confine him in chains, with a priest praying at his side, until the moment he is launched into eternity. He should be made, as he generally is in Siberia, so far a free agent, as to have the power of again doing wrong; else his firmness and resolution are never put to the test; nor can that repentance be called sincere, which springs from the imperious necessity of immediately making his peace with his offended God, before whose awful tribunal his merciless government sends him suddenly to appear, with all his crimes fresh upon him. There are certainly instances[Pg 76] in Siberia, where convicts have again committed crimes, and some of them even murder, and such are confined to the mines for life; but there are few examples of this sort, and the majority of the convicts acquire habits of industry and good conduct superior to the same class of people in Russia. Having seen the good effects of the Russian penal code, what I say on the subject is no more than what truth and justice demand; and I wish, that for humanity's sake, so bright an example, which sheds a ray of unsullied glory on her sovereignty, may be followed with equal success by every nation of the earth."

The route of Mr. Dobell continued to lead him through the country of the Yakuts, a pastoral and industrious people, sufficient in numbers to relieve his mind from the painful idea that so fine a country should be destitute of inhabitants. Their whole attention is turned to the rearing of horned cattle and horses. Milk, prepared in various ways, is their principal sustenance; fish and water-fowl they obtain in abundance, except in the depth of winter; but pigs, sheep, or poultry, are never seen. On the 14th of August, he descended into an immense and fertile plain, through which he beheld the noble Lena flowing along, and reached the town of Yakutsk early in the evening.

This town was, at that time, composed of two hundred and seventy houses, and two thousand five hundred Russian inhabitants, besides a very considerable population of Yakuts, in and about it; since then, however, it is much increased and improved in every way. As regards climate, it is in winter the coldest spot in all Siberia, the frost often exceeding 40° of Reaumur; the average heat of summer is not beyond 16°, though there are periods at which it is as hot as in the torrid zone. The public buildings are well constructed, and kept in excellent order. There is an ancient citadel of wood, built by the Cossacks nearly two hundred years ago, which still forms a strong and good defence; and affords evidence of the courage, perseverance, and intelligence, of the conquerors of Siberia, who, with a handful of men, could erect such a fortress in the heart of an enemy's country, and during their daily attacks.

At Yakutsk, Mr. Dobell fell into the track of the carrying trade over land, which is pursued to so immense an extent through the Russian empire. The equipage, consisting of the pack-saddles, mats, girths, &c., is the manufacture of the Yakuts themselves, for the most part, and though exceedingly light, is not so constructed as to enable the horse to carry his burthen with ease. From this circumstance, great numbers of horses are lost in their long journeys. The Yakuts, however, are themselves excellent grooms, and, in general, kind and attentive to their animals. They seldom beat them, and many instances are exhibited of strong attachment between them. It is so much so, that a herd of horses will not proceed without their master, should he stop and leave them. They are turned out to feed at night, and are always collected in the morning by hallooing to them. Should[Pg 77] any of them get out of hearing, the Yakut jumps on one of the others, who is sure to find his companions in a very short time. When the Yakut calls, the first horse that hears answers by neighing, and immediately the whole herd begin to neigh and run to the keeper.

Mr. Dobell speaks of the society of Yakutsk as hospitable, kind, and gay. He was at several balls; found the belles well-mannered, and their dress, like that of their fair countrywomen farther west, an object of peculiar study. He describes the ceremonies of a Siberian wedding, which may amuse the votaries of Hymen, whose matrimonial customs are varied by half the circumference of the globe.

"In the evening, the Governor waited on me, and invited me to accompany him to a house, to see a ceremony performed, previously to a wedding that was to take place the next day. We repaired to the house, where we found a large party of gentlemen and ladies assembled. The bride and her attendants occupied one end of the room, near a large table, on which were placed fruits, cakes, wines, &c. Tea and coffee were then served. Afterwards, I was called to look at a procession from an opposite building or store, called in this country an anbar, where every sort of provisions, effects, &c. are kept. I saw several low, four-wheeled vehicles, each drawn by a single ox, loaded with furniture, bedding, clothing, &c. &c. for the new married couple. Lights were carried before them, and a number of young girls, assembled near the door of the anbar, sang in concert, as each vehicle was loaded with the effects of the bride. This ended, the party returned to the house, when dancing commenced, and was kept up with spirit the whole night. Before quitting the house, the parents of the young bridegroom requested me to come the following morning, and witness the ceremony of his taking leave of them, previously to his going to church. At twelve o'clock, on the 22d, we attended at the father's house, where a number of the friends of the bridegroom were collected: several large tables were laid for dinner, and at the principal one, near the images, which in a Russian house are always at the eastern corner of the room, sat the bridegroom and his attendants. A female relative, representing the bride, was placed in the chair on the left hand of the bridegroom; and the father and mother sat at the opposite side of the table. Three dishes of cold meat were placed before the principal attendant, and wine and watky being at the same time handed round, he cut a large cross on the first one, placing it aside; then the second, then the third, in the same way; and, at the cutting of each, wine and watky were handed round to the company, who rose, and drank to the wedding party. Nothing was eaten, this being merely a ceremony to prepare the feast for the young couple when they should return from the church. After this, the bridegroom went round to the opposite side of the table, holding the image of the Virgin in his hand, and crossed himself on his knees, and bowed his head three times to the ground, before his father, who, when he rose, took the image from him, kissed him, and crossed him with it on his head. The same homage was paid to his mother, on which she delivered the image to another person, who preceded the bridegroom and his party to the church, where they met the bride and her attendants; and the couple were then led to the altar, and united in the holy bands of wedlock, by the Protopope, or Chief of the Clergy. The ceremony resembles that of the Catholic church, except that, towards the close, the priest places a hymeneal crown on the heads of the man and woman, and they walk three times round a table, where lie the cross and the Bible. This part of the proceeding is regarded as alternately binding them in strict allegiance to each other during the rest of their lives. There are also two rings used, which are exchanged, from the man to the woman, during the ceremony. The whole party now returned to the house of the bridegroom's father, where a repast was prepared for them, resembling all large entertainments of this sort. The healths of the principal persons of the place were[Pg 78] drunk, and followed by a salute of three guns after each toast. The evening was crowned with an illumination, and a ball, at which, as a stranger, I had the honour of leading off the bride."

At Yakutsk Mr. Dobell embarked in a large covered boat on the Lena, which he ascended on his way to Irkutsk. He left the former place on the 29th of August, being drawn by horses, with the assistance of six peasants, whom he hired to go fifteen hundred versts to Kiringee, and who were employed at places where it was difficult for the horses. The banks of the river were varied and picturesque; sometimes steep cliffs and uncouth heaps of rock, in the most fantastic shapes, rose to a great height; sometimes the shores sloped away into mountains covered with thick forests of pine and spruce.

On the 5th of October he arrived at Olekma, a town six hundred versts above Yakutsk, in latitude 60° 22', and east longitude 89° 15' from St. Petersburg. He found it to contain four or five hundred inhabitants. It was, in former times, the place whence the Cossacks set out, when they waged their wars against the Chinese, and carried their depredations as far as the Amour. It is said, that three hundred and fifty of these barbarian warriors were once besieged in a fortress by twenty-two thousand Chinese, and held out against them a whole year, until a capitulation was agreed upon, at a period when their force was reduced to one hundred and fifty men.

At Olekma, the season had become so cold, and there was so much floating ice in the Lena, as to render it impossible to proceed any longer by water. The road lay along the shores of the river, frequently obstructed by half frozen torrents rushing into it, and occasionally cut off by points and precipices which compelled the party to venture on the ice.

"At Matcha, I found a clean, comfortable dwelling, and a hospitable reception from the hostess, an old woman, who said she had been seventeen years in Siberia, having been sent by the Government from Archangel, to assist in increasing the population; but she thanked God, at the same time, that she had not been banished for misconduct. She told me she had always lived much better than she did in Russia, and had been so happily situated as to have never felt a wish to return. Having received from her a fine fat fowl, some cream, vegetables, &c. I asked her in the morning what I must pay for them. She replied, 'a little tea and sugar, a piece of soap, and above all, a few glasses of watky—though I would not have you suppose I am addicted to liquor, for I only take a little now and then to preserve my health.' Her emaciated frame and sallow countenance belied her assertion. Complying with her request, I begged her to preserve her health by using as little of the spirit as possible, as it often had the opposite effect to that of assisting the health. She laughed, and drinking a bumper to my advice, wished me a safe journey."

Passing Veeteem and Kiringee, two considerable towns on the Lena, Mr. Dobell found the country improve gradually, and the post-houses throughout comfortable, clean, and convenient; much more so than could have been expected in remote Siberia. The horses were also furnished with great alacrity, and the inhabitants[Pg 79] generally were kind and hospitable. On the 30th of October he passed Katchuk, the place where all the merchandise is embarked in the spring for Yakutsk and other towns on the Lena. The river is generally free enough from ice by the 5th to the 12th of May, and but fourteen days are required for the voyage. From Katchuk to Irkutsk, the road leaves the Lena, and passes through a fine extensive plain, bounded on either side by well cultivated hills, and having villages and farm houses dispersed over it in all directions. This plain is principally inhabited by a horde called Burettas, who are, for the most part, Christians, and have taken to agriculture with a great deal of industry and zeal. The richer class live in log houses, but the great part dwell in cabins, similar to the winter jourtas of the more eastern hordes. Their clothing consists of a pelisse of dressed goat or sheep skin, with the wool inside, trimmed with fur, and painted in black and white stripes round the shoulders.

Irkutsk, the capital of eastern Siberia, is in latitude 52° 16' 41", and east longitude from St. Petersburg, 73° 51' 48". It is built on the margin of the river Angarra, and contains a population now probably exceeding twenty thousand souls. The markets are good, the society is pleasant, and a traveller finds in the very heart of Siberia almost all the luxuries of life. In visiting the public works, the governor took Mr. Dobell to an immense brick building, where he found the workshops of the exiles.

"In that large range, one sees joiners, carpenters, carriage-makers, saddlers, blacksmiths, and in short, all sorts of tradesmen, busily occupied, and all provided with comfortable apartments, clean clothing, and wholesome food. From this we passed to the cloth factory, the contemplation of which afforded me much pleasure, when I recollected that those beings before me, who were once the victims of depravity, exhibited no longer any thing to inspire me with the idea of their having been criminals. All was gaiety and cheerfulness. There I saw men, women, and children, all industriously employed in weaving, spinning, carding, picking wool, &c. They were arranged in several large, clean, warm, and comfortable apartments; and they really appeared as contented as any labourers I ever saw; for they looked fat and healthy.

"The cloth is made from the wool and hair of the Buretta sheep, camels, and goats. It stands the Government in about a rouble the arshin, and sells for two roubles. This profit, after paying the expenses of the manufactory, leaves a surplus that is used to furnish the hospitals, and for other laudable purposes. Such an institution does honour to any country; nor can there be a more praiseworthy application of the industry of those exiles than that which operates to relieve the sick, the fatherless, and the widow.

"There is every reason to conclude, from the examples which have been furnished by those countries which have adopted this system, that the idea of confinement and hard labour is a more powerful preventive of the commission of crimes than the fear of death."

At the public ship yard, Mr. Dobell saw a brig on the stocks, destined to navigate the Baikal. The vessels generally used on that sea are built on its shores, on account of the difficulty of ascending against the current of the Angarra. Those belonging to the government are employed principally to carry convicts and stores to Nerchinsk, where there are mines of silver, gold,[Pg 80] and precious stones, as well as a fine grain country. The neighbourhood of Irkutsk is fertile and prolific, and the population increasing. The climate is the mildest of Siberia, the thermometer of Reaumur seldom exceeding 30° to 34° of cold, and that but for short intervals.

On the 25th of November, having taken leave of his hospitable acquaintances, Mr. Dobell left Irkutsk on his journey towards St. Petersburg. He had fresh occasion to notice the kindness and simplicity of the people, which his subsequent visits to the country tended to confirm. On one occasion, at the village of Krasnoyesk, in this province, he took, at the recommendation of the governor, instead of the usual Cossack guides, two soldiers, one a grenadier of the guards of the regiment of Moscow, and the other of the Semenofsky, who, having been allowed a certain time to go and see their friends in Siberia, from whom they had been absent eleven years, were anxious to return to St. Petersburg, and had not money to hire a conveyance.

"They had travelled from Russia on foot, near five thousand versts, to see their relations. The elder of the two had a wife and two children. He related to me that when he returned to his family, his wife, who knew him immediately, was so frightened that she fell into a swoon; and it was nearly an hour before she recovered her senses. His parting with his wife and children again affected us exceedingly; but he seemed to bear it with firmness, and said, 'God bless you, put your trust in God: I shall return to you.' Both those men, but particularly the married one, were the most faithful, obedient, well-behaved men I ever saw, and proved of infinite service to me on the road, as I travelled not with the post-horses, but with those of the common peasants. This gives me an opportunity of expatiating again on the moral and religious character of the Siberians, as well as their intelligence, generosity, and hospitality. I found on the road, even amongst the peasants, a sympathy, a kindness and attention to the wants of my family and myself, and a disinterestedness, that I have no where else experienced. Many times it occurred that we lodged in a house for the night, were furnished with bread, milk, cream, and a supper for four servants, and I had a difficulty to make the man of the house accept of a couple of roubles. The demand was fifty to seventy kopeks; and sometimes payment was refused altogether. I met a carrier who was conveying goods from Tumen to Tomsk, a distance of about one thousand five hundred versts, for two and a half roubles per pood! On questioning him, how he could possibly afford to take merchandise at so cheap a rate, he said, 'the people of my country are kind and hospitable. I live about Tomsk, so that I must return thither; and I get a man and a horse found a whole day for fifteen kopeks.' The grenadier also assured me that the only expense his journey on foot to see his family had cost him, was about twenty-five roubles; and those were spent between St. Petersburg and Ecatherineburg. 'After getting fairly into Siberia,' said he, 'no one would ever receive a kopek from me for either food or lodging.'

"After we got into Russia, and began to suffer certain impositions which are put upon travellers on the great roads in every country, he would often exclaim, 'God be with me and my beloved Siberia! There people have their consciences and their hearts in the right place!'"

Tomsk is fifteen hundred versts from Irkutsk, and four thousand five hundred from St. Petersburg, being in latitude 56° 29' 6", and longitude 54° 50' 6" from the latter place. Its population is about ten thousand. It has many manufactories, and a[Pg 81] number of handsome houses, with a pleasant though small society. After leaving it, the traveller passes the vast and fertile plain of Baraba, where he is whirled along at the rate of two hundred and seventy versts a day.

The first place of importance which he reaches after crossing it, is Tobolsk, the chief town of the province of that name, and formerly of Siberia. Its latitude is 55° 11' 14", and its longitude 37° 46' 14" east from St. Petersburg, from which, and from Irkutsk, it is distant three thousand versts. Fourteen years ago its population amounted to thirty thousand inhabitants, since when it has in all probability very much increased. Its manufactories are numerous; its society is agreeable, and gives evidence of the same hospitality which is witnessed so generally and so gratefully by the traveller, in those remote regions; but has it not in its very name a charm to the reader who peruses an account of it, in its connexion with those incidents, fictitious or true, which have been formed into one of the most simple, beautiful, and touching tales, that have ever flowed from the imagination or the heart?

From Tobolsk, Mr. Dobell passed rapidly through the surrounding district of the same name, visited Ecatherineburg, where he admired, so far beyond the ordinary limits of the arts, works in marble, agate, and precious stones, which would have done honour to Italian artists; and arriving at the geographical boundary that divides Siberia from Russia, closes the narrative of his travels, which we would willingly have seen continued to the gates of the imperial capital of the north.

"I assure the reader," he says at the close of his truly interesting account, "that in my humble attempt to describe what I have seen and experienced, I have been governed by no partial motives whatever. On the contrary, I have laboured to represent every object faithfully as it has affected my senses. I am, however, conscious at the same time, that it requires an abler pen than mine to delineate adequately the sublime and majestic works of nature in the regions I have been describing, and to portray them to the imagination in all their simplicity, beauty, and grandeur. Siberia does not possess the climate of Italy, nor the luxurious productions of India; but she possesses a fertile soil, a climate much better than is generally believed, and natural resources of the highest value; and she presents to the traveller such a magnificent picture of natural objects, as is no where to be equalled except on the immense continent of America. There is no longer any doubt but the greater part of her territory is susceptible of high cultivation, having a strong fertile soil, covered with superb forests, and intersected by fine rivers, or watered by numerous lakes, many of which may fairly be called seas.

"The race of men produced there, are uncommonly tall, stout, and robust; certainly the best looking people I have ever seen, particularly those of the Western parts. My readers will now, I am sure, agree with me, that this country, hitherto considered the Ultima Thule, or the finis mundi, has been highly gifted by its Creator, and only wants population and improvement to render it the most valuable portion of his Imperial Majesty's dominions."


[6] The old English lawyers puzzled themselves greatly in tracing the origin of the feudal tenures. The truth is, they may be found in the incipient stages of society in nearly every nation. They existed, in fact, in Hindostan, China, and many other countries, for centuries before the time of the comites of the German princes, mentioned by Tacitus, who are supposed to have founded them. The services of the tenant varied according to the character and condition of the people—the principle was every where the same.

[7] The tael is $1.66; the pecul, 133-1/3 pounds.

[Pg 82]

Art. IV.—Précis de la Geographie Universelle ou Description de toutes les parties du Monde, sur un plan Nouveau D'aprês les grandes divisions Naturelles du Globe, &c. Par Malte-Brun: Bruxelles, 1829.

We place at the head of our article, which we mean to devote to Physical Geography, the title of the latest edition that we have seen of the great work of Malte-Brun. This, which has already become well known to our American public in translation, has received some additions from its Belgian editors, but has not been fully brought up to the present state of Science, nor does it contain all the new discoveries which have been made in that part, namely, physical geography, to which our attention is more immediately directed. We shall, however, endeavour to supply these deficiencies so far as lies in our power.

Physical geography stands in immediate connexion with subjects which have already been presented to the readers of this journal, namely with Celestial Mechanics,[8] and with the Phenomena of our Atmosphere.[9] It shall be our endeavour to proceed from the facts laid down in the first of the two articles to which we have referred, to the more particular consideration of the state, the structure, and the condition of the globe we inhabit.

The earth is a planet of the solar system, the third in distance from the sun, revolving upon its own axis, and around that central body attended by a satellite; circumstances which affect in a most important manner the phenomena that are observed upon its surface. Composed of material substances that mutually attract each other, each particle of which has a greater or less centrifugal force in proportion to its distance from the axis of rotation, it has a figure that is consistent with a state of equilibrium under the joint action of these two forces, and which is such as would have been assumed by a fluid body actuated by them. The figure that fulfils these conditions is an oblate spheroid, the axis of the generating ellipse coinciding with the polar diameter of the body. Had the earth a figure absolutely spherical, or less flattened than is consistent with the conditions of equilibrium, the ocean, by which so large a part of its surface is covered, would have arranged itself in a meniscoid zone around its equatorial regions; were the figure, on the other hand, one of greater oblateness, the waters would have been divided and accumulated[Pg 83] at either pole, leaving the equatorial regions dry. But did its figure fulfil the conditions of equilibrium, the fluid mass would tend to distribute itself equally over the whole surface, unless prevented by irregularities in the solid mass. The last is the actual state of things; the ocean occupies a bed formed of cavities, lying below the mean surface of the spheroid, and the land presents to us those asperities and elevations, which rise, although to a comparatively small height, above the general level.

Was then the earth originally in a fluid state, and has it assumed its present form under the strict action of mechanical laws, on a body of that class? are the bed of the ocean and the continents merely crusts formed upon the surface of a liquid globe? Does the interior still remain liquid, or has the induration proceeded until the whole internal mass has become solid? Nay, may not the interior be hollow, as we have recently seen gravely maintained, and heard sage legislatures recommend to the public attention?

Mathematical investigations of incontrovertible evidence, show us that were the earth of equal density throughout, the flattening at the poles would be 1/234 of the equatorial diameter; that in the hypothetical case of infinite density at the centre, and infinite rarity at the surface, the flattening would be no more than 1/578; while, were the surface more dense than the interior, or did a cavity exist within, the oblateness must be greater than 1/234. Actual measurements of portions of the surface, the variation in the length of the pendulum which beats seconds in different latitudes, and the effect of the earth's figure on the lunar motions, show us that the earth cannot be flattened more than 1/289, nor less than 1/312, or may, at a mean, be considered as a spheroid, whose polar and equatorial diameters are in the relation of 299 to 300.

Astronomers have ascertained the deflection of plumb lines from the vertical, by the action of mountains. The attraction of a projecting mass of known bulk and density, with one whose bulk alone is known, is thus determined, and hence the density of the latter may be calculated.

Even comparatively small masses of matter may be placed under such circumstances at the surface of the earth, that their mutual action can be observed uninfluenced by the preponderating attraction of the earth, and thus a new means of comparison obtained.

The pendulum whose vibrations ought to vary according to a definite law, as we recede from the surface of the earth, has that law affected by the elevated ground on which it is placed, and here again a comparison may be instituted between the general and local attractions.

All these modes of investigation concur in, and confirm the[Pg 84] general result, that the mean density of the earth is about five times as great as that of water. Now as a great portion of the surface is composed of that fluid, and as the general density of the land is little more than twice as great as that of water, it follows incontestably that the interior of the earth is far more dense than its outer covering.

All material substances are capable of assuming, under proper modifications of latent heat, either the solid, the liquid, or the gaseous form; yet all are beyond doubt composed of atoms, solid, hard, and incapable of further division. Under their own mutual attraction these particles tend to unite, and cohere in solid masses, and to this attractive force the repulsive power of heat is constantly opposed, tending to prevent their aggregation, and retaining them, according to its intensity, in the gaseous or liquid form.

The heat necessary to maintain these states of existence in bodies, may be produced in various ways. Our usual experience leads us to consider it as more generally arising from two causes, radiation from the sun, and the chemical action causing combustion. The former could never have produced the temperature known to exist at present upon the surface of the globe, for the earth radiates as well as the sun, and is constantly throwing off heat into the surrounding space. We know that these two actions have for twenty centuries exactly balanced each other, and that the mean temperature of the earth has neither increased nor diminished in all that period. Had the solar radiation been, previously to that epoch, in excess, it must at the more recent periods, counted backwards, have been but slightly so, and ages unnumbered must have elapsed, before the state of equilibrium which now exists could have been reached. The earth too, at distant periods, must have been colder than at present, while that the contrary is true is shown by numerous observations.

Neither could chemical action have had any great agency in establishing the present temperature of the earth. The substances which burn are but a small portion of the crust of the earth, and their combustion, if all fired at a time, would cause no perceptible effect on the sensible heat of the surface of our globe. Were combustible bodies even infinitely more abundant, the supporters are insufficient to keep up their combustion for any length of time, without sensible diminution, and this would be the case, even were the whole of the oxygen that now exists as a component of the waters of the ocean added to their present amount. It is indeed possible that the outer shell of the earth, which is no more than a crust of oxidated matter, may have existed at first in the metallic state, but that crust has long intervened, and prevented any contact between the air or ocean, and the metallic bases of the earths, that in this case must lie beneath.[Pg 85]

In spite of these obvious objections to their theory, some geologists have madly fancied to themselves a great internal fire, maintained by actual combustion, a fancy but little more rational than that which seeks, in the present order of things, precipitation from some vast quantity of a liquid menstruum, every trace of whose existence has now vanished.

There is, however, yet another source of heat, if indeed solar heat be not a mere case of its general action, far more general and universal, which has its origin in the bodies themselves, and has no reference to any extrinsic cause. All bodies are sensibly heated when condensed, and lose sensible heat when they expand, so that their temperatures vary with the greater or less distance of their particles. The atmosphere of the earth furnishes a marked illustration of this fact. Of nearly uniform chemical composition throughout, its elastic nature, conflicting with its gravity, renders it more dense in its lower than in its higher regions. The former are in consequence warmer than the latter, and the mean temperature of our climates is in fact due to this character of our atmosphere. But this mean temperature could not be maintained, were not that of the earth itself in harmony with it. The surface might, no doubt, be cooled or heated by the adjacent air, but the heat, if given out from an earth warmer than the atmosphere, would be rapidly replaced from within, and a constant accumulation ensue in the air, while, if the earth were cooler, a diminution, equally constant, of the temperature of the atmosphere, must take place. The earth is, however, itself subject to the same law. All the materials of which it is composed, are capable of compression, in a greater or less degree, and of being heated by compression. The tendency of all material substances to the centre of attraction, loads the parts nearest to that centre with the whole weight of the superincumbent mass. And in the depth of four thousand miles, which intervenes between the centre and the surface, the heat must be far more than equal to that obtained by the compound blow-pipe or galvanic deflagrator, under whose intense energies the most refractory substances liquefy. Hence it may be inferred as a fact, as certain as any in physical science, that the interior of the earth is at present in a state resembling igneous fusion, not produced, however, by any of the more familiar sources of heat, but by the intense pressure the upper masses exert upon those nearer to the centre.

Here, then, we find the reason of the earth's having assumed a figure consistent with the equilibrium of a fluid mass, whose particles are endued with a mutual attraction, and which has a motion around an axis.

Let us suppose all the particles which now constitute the earth, to have been originally disseminated throughout a vast space, and to have approached their common centre of gravity by the[Pg 86] force of mutual attraction; the consideration thus caused would have produced the state of intense heat that is now kept up within by pressure; and the conducting power of the bodies would have propagated the heat nearly equal throughout the mass. The surface would then have existed in a liquid state as well as that beneath. But as the radiation from the surface of a heated body is in exact proportion to its temperature, this cause of cooling would have been intense, and a crust must soon have formed upon the outer surface; this crust would have increased in thickness so long as the heat thrown off by radiation exceeded that received from the sun. When this state of equilibrium was finally attained, all the great phenomena which a body thus heated could exhibit, would cease, and the subsequent changes would become due only to forces such as we now see acting upon the surface, or would be the completion of actions commenced during the previous state.

We know, from astronomical investigations, that this state of equilibrium has existed for upwards of twenty centuries, while analogy would lead us to infer that it must have been attained at no long period after the last great catastrophe to which our planet was subjected.

Let us now see whether the fact of the interior of the globe being more intensely heated than its surface, can be inferred in any other manner than from the course of reasoning whose principles are here cited. The feeble power of man, feeble at least compared to the size of the globe he inhabits, has been able to penetrate to but small depths in its outer shell, but even at these small depths, an increase of temperature has been remarked, and so frequently and carefully observed, as to leave no doubt of its being a general law. This increase, too, appears exactly consistent with that which it might be inferred ought to take place. But we, even to the present day, occasionally see the igneous fluid from beneath forced up to the surface, and spreading from volcanic craters over great regions. Observation shows us that at remote epochs such phenomena were much more frequent than at present. We want no more positive proofs that the interior of the earth is still intensely heated, and that the bed of the ocean and the solid land are mere crusts formed upon the surface of a mass in a state analogous to that of igneous fusion.

Were the surface, as we have inferred it must have been, ever itself intensely heated, the volatile and gaseous matters which now constitute our atmosphere and oceans, must have united to form an atmosphere of far greater extent than it is at present. The aqueous matter rising into regions where the rarity of the air would cause cold sufficient to condense it, would have been in a state of constant motion, boiling in the lower regions, being[Pg 87] precipitated in the higher, and acting most energetically to promote the general cooling. And so soon as the surface became cooler than 212°, the water would begin to settle upon its surface, forming at first lakes in its basins or cavities, and finally extending itself into one vast ocean, covering the whole or parts of the solid crust according to its greater or less degree of uniformity.

The conversion of the igneous liquid surface into solid matter, could only have taken place in successive shells or concentric layers; hence would arise a stratified character. And as the cooling proceeded, lowering the mean temperature of the whole mass, a consequent diminution of bulk must have taken place, according to the well known law of expansion by heat and contraction on cooling. Such diminution in bulk must have broken the strata into fragments, through the fissures of which, according to the laws of hydrostatics, the fluid mass beneath would rise until the equilibrium of rotation would have been obtained, and the strata, originally concentric, would be dislocated and turned in every possible direction, pierced with veins and dikes of all possible magnitude, from slender threads to mountain masses, caused by the cooling and consolidation of the rising fluid, and occasionally spreading in overlying currents, congealed and fixed in ridges and chains. These veins and dykes would present different characters, according to the dates of their elevation. If raised at a period when the surface was still of high temperature, they must have crystallized slowly, and in a perfect manner; at diminished temperatures, the crystallization would be less complete; if raised into the mass of ocean, they would assume one character; if coming in contact with air, another. A breaking of the bed of the ocean, and bringing its waters in contact with the liquid mass beneath, might produce consequences extending in their action to districts of the globe, the most remote from those in which the convulsion occurred; for the water, rising into vapour, would tend to extend itself in one uniform atmosphere over the whole surface of the globe, and might be precipitated in unusual abundance wherever causes of condensation existed. Thus, partial, or even total deluges, may have occurred, great portions of the ocean being hurried in vapour from its bed, and precipitated upon the land whose temperature is not affected by the distant catastrophe.

The waters might, in some cases, flow directly back to the ocean, in others might accumulate in basins and form lakes, fresh at first, and gradually becoming saline. These in turn might burst their bounds, carrying ruin and devastation in their course, or might by evaporation be dried up, and be again filled by a recurrence of the original cause of supply.

Such violent and rapid action would finally be exhausted by[Pg 88] the gradual cooling of the earth, but the outer crust would still press on the igneous fluid beneath, and although far less liable to rupture, its fluid action might yet enable it to force its way occasionally to the surface, but at distant intervals, and with diminished energy. Now, a new series of phenomena must occur, similar to the more familiar of those we see acting at present; at first more intense, but finally, when the state of equilibrium of temperature is reached, exactly such as we now find them both in kind and in energy.

To see how far such a view of what might have occurred, under the action of well known causes, in case of a certain original order of things, is correct, let us examine the appearances our globe actually presents.

To a systematized and general examination, it presents the appearance of a great ocean, covering about three-fourths of its whole surface, and surrounding two great, and a number almost infinite of smaller islands. The two great islands are the old and the new continents; the largest of those that remain is New-Holland. To exhibit this great ocean in its most general aspect, take an artificial globe, raise the south pole 50° above the horizon, and bring New-Zealand to the meridian. The hemisphere above the horizon will now be wholly of water, with the exception of the southern part of South America on the one side, and New-Holland, with the Indian archipelago, on the other. These bear, when united, but a small proportion to the entire hemisphere. The opposite hemisphere contains more land than water; and when it is in its turn placed above the horizon, the Atlantic will be seen lying almost wholly on the western side of the meridian, and forming, with the Arctic ocean, a species of channel, narrowing from the latitude of the Cape of Good Hope towards the northern pole, and communicating with the great ocean which lies principally in the opposite hemisphere by Behring's straits. On this hemisphere are also seen parts of the Pacific and Indian oceans, which are considerably more than equal in surface to the lands which project into the opposite one.

If we turn our attention to the land, we find it unequal in its surface; and although compared with the whole diameter of the earth, the inequalities be very small, yet, compared with our own stature, they often present an imposing magnitude. These greater elevations are mountains; and we find them sometimes united in chains, sometimes isolated, and at other times uniting to form elevated plains or table lands. These table lands sometimes slope outwards, at others they are surrounded by eminences that prevent the efflux of the waters, or only admit them to pass through apertures made by their own action. Upon our continent, table lands of the latter description are to be found of great magnitude, entering as parts of the great system of the[Pg 89] Cordilleras or Andes; in Europe they are rare, but in Tartary, Persia, and in central Africa, they occur, forming regions of great extent. In general, the greater part of the mountains of a continent appear to have a connexion more or less obvious; it has even been conceived that they form the skeleton upon which the rest of the land has been deposited, and which has determined the form of the continent. Thus we speak habitually of chains of mountains. Mountains, however, do not always present a continuous ridge, from which the peaks or more elevated summits rise, but occasionally, the groups we call chains, are composed of separate mountains divided by valleys; such are the mountains of Scotland, of Sweden, and Norway; and such is the general structure of the chain of mountains called in the state of New-York the Highlands, of whose connexion and grouping we shall hereafter speak.

This being understood, namely, that by a chain or ridge of mountains we do not necessarily intend a continuous elevation, the term may be conveniently used in order to express the configuration of mountains. These chains surround or border upon greater or less basins, which are each distinguished by the name of the principal stream that conveys its surface waters to the ocean, or they may, as has been stated, envelop a table land, whence there is no issue for the waters, or no more than a mere passage sufficient to afford them an outlet. Even if a map contain no expression of the position of mountains, we can, by mere inspection of the courses of rivers, determine the lines in which the chains are directed, and, from the size of the rivers, judge in some measure of the elevation of the district. Thus, on inspection of the map of Europe, we find four of its greatest rivers rising at no great distance from each other, the Rhine, the Rhone, the Danube, and the Po; here, then, we might infer a great elevation, and here we accordingly find its highest mountains, the Alps. In another part of this continent, we see the Dwina, the Nieper, and the Volga, diverge from points not far distant from each other, and here accordingly we find an elevated table land, two hundred miles in length by fifty in breadth, marked however by no mountain summits. In central Asia, we see a vast space inclosed by lines joining the sources of a number of mighty rivers, the Indus, the Ganges, the Barrampooter, the Irrawaddy, the Houng Ha, and Kiang Ku, the Amour, the Lena, the Yermisir, and the Oby; accordingly, here we find the greatest table land surrounded by the highest mountains of the globe. Still, however, the instance we have cited of the rivers of Russia shows, that the land whence great rivers take their rise, is not necessarily mountainous; in this case the ascent is almost imperceptible, and the summit offers the aspect of a level and marshy plain. Such also occurs in the famous boundary between[Pg 90] the United States and Canada, where the highlands that figured in two successive treaties have disappeared, and in their supposed place has been found a series of swamps.

Attempts have been made to arrange the chains of mountains into connected systems. Of these the most successful is that of Malte-Brun.

"If we draw a line from the centre of Thibet, across Chinese Mongolia towards Ochotsk, and thence towards Cape Tchutscki, the eastern promontory of Asia, this line will in general coincide with a great chain of mountains which runs from the south-west to the north-east, and which every where descends rapidly towards the Indian and Pacific oceans, while on the contrary, it extends itself towards the Frozen ocean in high plains and secondary hills. It is probable that we may some day refer to the same rule the chain of Lapata, called the backbone of the world, in Africa; at any rate this chain runs from the Cape of Good Hope to that of Gardafui, in a direction south-east and north-west, and therefore in nearly the same direction as the great chain of Asia, but we are ignorant of the disposition of the slopes of these mountains. We may regard the mountains of the Happy Arabia, which are both steep and lofty, as the link that connects the mountains of Lapata with the table lands and mountains of Persia, which proceed from the mountains of Thibet.

"If we follow the western coasts of America, from Behring's straits, which hardly form a sensible interruption, to Cape Horn, we find an uninterrupted chain of mountains. From time to time this chain retires a little into the interior, but more frequently it immediately borders upon the great ocean, in immense cliffs, and often by frightful precipices. On the other side of it, the manner in which the lakes discharge themselves, and the direction of the great rivers, show sufficiently, that the surface of America inclines gently towards the Atlantic ocean.

"It results from a combination of these observations, that the greatest chains of mountains on our globe, are ranged in an arc of a circle around the great ocean, and the sea of India; that they seem to present rapid descents towards the immense basin they surround, and gentle slopes on their opposite sides; in fine, from the Cape of Good Hope to Behring's straits, and thence to Cape Horn, the eye of the most timid observer cannot fail to see some trace of an arrangement, as surprising from its uniformity, as from the vast extent of ground which it embraces.

"Let us pause for an instant to consider this great fact of physical geography. If we conceive ourselves placed in New South Wales, with our face turned towards the north, we have America on our right hand, Africa and Asia on our left. These continents, which we hardly before ventured to approach in our imagination, considered in this point of view, form a consistent system, whose structure, as far as we are acquainted with it, presents in its great features an astonishing symmetry. A chain of enormous mountains surrounds an enormous basin; this basin, divided into two by a vast collection of islands, often bathes with its waves the feet of this great primary chain of the earth."

In this chain lie the greatest mountains of the globe. One peak of the Himmalayah rises nearly five miles above the level of the sea; another has a height of 25,500 feet; and a third of 22,217 feet. In South America are Soratu, in height 25,250 feet.


not to mention Antisana, Mauflos, Chillau, Cotopaxi, all of which exceed in height any mountains that do not lie in this great system. Nay, did not the great Volcano of Owyhee enter into the order with a height of 18,000 feet, the list of those surpassing[Pg 91] the other mountains of the globe, might be very much extended.

We shall have occasion hereafter to speak of the volcanic energies still exerted in this vast stony girdle, and shall therefore confine ourselves strictly to mere external form.

The arms and branches of mountain chains enclose as has been seen, basins marked by rivers which convey their surface waters to the ocean. The rains which fall on the sides of mountains and hills, unite in torrents and streams, which follow the lines of most rapid slope in their course to the sea.

The greater rivers mark the lowest part of a principal basin, on each side of which, at a greater or less distance, are to be found rising grounds, themselves hollowed out into lateral secondary basins, containing courses of water less considerable than the first, into which they cast themselves, and whose branches they are. The borders of these secondary basins are again hollowed out into basins of a third order, whose slopes also contain water courses less considerable than the preceding, into which they in turn discharge themselves. This ramification continues until we reach the smallest ravines of the boundary mountains, and the map appears, as it were, covered with a net work of rivers and lesser streams. The great valley of the Mississippi and Missouri, forms perhaps the most striking instance of this sort, upon the surface of our globe.

Rivers and streams are constantly exerting a mechanical action on the surfaces over which they run; abrading and tearing off fragments even of the hardest rocks, they roll them in their course until the velocity becomes insufficient to transport them farther. At diminished velocities they move fragments of less size, down to the smallest pebbles; at still less velocities, they transport sand, and finally earthy matter, in the most minute division. These are deposited in succession in positions corresponding to the rapidity of the stream, and hence the beds of rivers present at each of their different sections, materials of magnitude and quality corresponding to the rate at which the stream usually flows. The increase in the magnitude of streams, due to violent rains and the melting of the snows, changes the position of the substances that compose their bed, and the more easily suspended materials are often held until the stream actually meets the ocean. In such sudden increases, the streams often overflow their usual banks, and make their deposits laterally, until the constant succession of such deposits raises the adjacent ground high enough to set bounds to the further spreading of the stream. This deposit is remarkable for its taking place in greatest quantity close to the usual bed of the stream; and thus it speedily opposes natural dykes to its own redundant waters. This action is most conspicuous[Pg 92] at points where marked changes take place either permanently or periodically in the rapidity of running water: when streams descend from mountains into lines of less descent, a deposit uniformly takes place, forming flats or intervals, as they are styled in the United States, of which we have such beautiful instances in the valleys of the Connecticut and Mohawk, and that part of the Hudson near Albany; again, where rivers meet the sea, they are interrupted in their course by the rise of the tides of the ocean, and here again deposits take place, sometimes forming shoals and banks in the ocean itself; at other times, bars and obstructions at their own mouths; and again, deltas of solid land, constantly encroaching upon the sea. This action, which is continually going forward, is called alluvial. The delta of greatest fame, and from which the others have derived their generic name, is that of the Nile; this we have evidence, almost historic, to prove to be wholly the gift of the river. And if it no longer increase as rapidly as in former ages, the cause is obvious, for the alluvion has been pushed so far forward as to meet a strong current that sweeps along the African coast, and must carry off much of the earth the Nile discharges into the Mediterranean. The great rivers of Asia and of America carry still greater quantities of solid matter, but we have not the same distant traditions to refer to for the amount of the increase they have caused; still, however, we know that the mouth of the Mississippi has been advanced into the Gulf of Mexico several leagues since the settlement of Louisiana; and that islands of great extent are frequently formed, in the course of a single year, by the deposits of the Ganges.

We however find traces of aqueous action far more extensive and powerful than those which are now taking place under our eyes by fluviatile action. There is no part of the globe that has been examined, which does not show that it has been subjected to the action of water, in floods far more powerful than any we now are in the habit of seeing. Every where, except in the case of rocky cliffs, and steep mountains, or where we see obvious evidence of a recent elevation, we find the surface strewn with the deposits of water: boulders of greater or less size, beds of gravel, sand, and clay, form the present outer coating of the greatest part of the land. These deposits were long confounded with the alluvial, but have at length been proved, by incontrovertible evidence, to be the results of an action, which if not contemporaneous, must have been universal. We have seen an able attempt to show that this species of deposit did not take place at one and the same period, but was merely the general consequence of similar causes acting at different epochs. Our impression, we must however confess to be, that the action was not only co-extensive with the globe, but contemporaneous. It at any rate exhibits[Pg 93] proofs the most satisfactory, that the last great and extensive change which our earth has undergone, was effected by the agency of water, in a state of rapid and violent motion. Ascribing this deposit to a single flood, it has been styled diluvial.

There are cases where alluvial deposits rest upon the diluvium, and from the depth of these it has been attempted to calculate the time that has elapsed since the former of these actions was resumed. The diluvium has also been found in caverns lying upon an ancient stalagmite, and covered again with a new formation of that modification of carbonate of lime. The thickness of the latter deposit has also been made the basis of a calculation, and although neither of these methods is to be considered as approaching to an accuracy more perfect than some hundreds of years, the two methods confirm each other in the general result, which is, that, at a date not more remote than fifty or sixty centuries, there must have taken place a total submersion of all the land, except, perhaps, the tops of high mountains, did they then exist. We have in the sacred volume, a record of such a catastrophe, the flood of Noah, and from that time to the present, no convulsion, equally extensive in its influence, has devastated the globe. Have not then the geologists who have seen in these indications the convincing evidence of that occurrence, been warranted in their inference, of the identity of an event pointed out by undeniable physical evidence, with one recorded in a history to which one of the most confirmed sceptics has recently admitted the merit of truth?

The diluvial deposits are found not only in the lower grounds, but on the tops and sides of lofty mountains; we have ourselves noted them distinctly characterized at high elevations upon the Kaatskills; they are found among the Alps at Valorsine, 6000 feet above the level of the sea, and in another place at more than 7000 feet. The excavations made in the extension of the city of New-York at Corlaer's Hook, have laid open a vast mass of diluvium, and afforded means for studying it with great facility. It in fact presented the appearance of a great cabinet of specimens of primitive and transition rocks, and it was possible in many cases to determine the very mountain whence the fragments had been torn. The most remarkable boulder, for instance, of a weight of at least an hundred tons, was distinctly recognisable as identical in every respect with the granitic syenite of Schooley's mountain, distant at least forty miles. Others had no known type nearer than Connecticut, in the opposite direction, while the gneiss and mica slate of the island of New-York, with their various embedded minerals, the serpentine and many of the magnesian minerals of Hoboken, with sandstone and trap of the Pallisadoc range, were distinctly recognisable. In this great excavation, where a region of a mile square was wholly[Pg 94] removed, to a depth, in many places, of thirty feet, no animal remains, as far as can be learnt, were detected; thus marking a most important difference between these deposits and those of the Old continent. Such is the remark of an intelligent geologist, whom we are proud to reckon as our collaborateur, and to whom that branch of Natural History is under no small obligations.

"Fragments of granite and other primitive rocks, cast here and there upon stratified formations, and interpersed in diluvium,[10] present a fact as certain as it is astonishing. All the chains of Mount Jura, all the mountains that precede the Alps, the hills and plains of Germany and Italy, are strewn with blocks of granite, often of a great dimension, and always of a composition as pure, and as perfect a crystallization, as the granites of the higher Alps. The same phenomenon is repeated in the plains of Russia, of Poland, of Prussia, of Denmark, and of Sweden. From Holstein to Eastern Prussia, diluvial[11]grounds, sand and clay, are covered with an immense number of blocks of granite. Near the island of Usedom, several points of granite rock rise from the bottom of the Baltic. We see in like manner, Scania and Jutland so filled with these fragments, that they construct of them enclosures, houses and churches. In the Lymfiord, a gulf of Jutland, and at some places on the western side of that peninsula, great points of granite rise from the bottom of the waters. But what is still more remarkable, is to see immense masses of granite lying on the tops of Rœduburg and Osmond, which are more than 6000 feet in height, and are therefore among the highest mountains in the North of Europe."

Beneath the diluvial deposit, we find beds and strata of substances of different character, and which appear on a cursory view to be involved in inextricable confusion. Long and careful examination has at length been efficient in ascertaining that in this apparent disorder are to be seen the traces of an order, as perfect as that of any other mechanism of nature, and of a succession of changes by which the earth has been finally fitted for the habitation of man. These strata have been finally arranged into five distinct classes, differing in their characters and position. These have been so fully described in a former article in this Journal, by the distinguished associate whom we have already quoted, that no more remains for us to say, than what is merely necessary to keep up the connexion of our subject.

These stratified rocks or formations are remarkable for the regular order in which they succeed and overlie each other, furnishing distinct and indisputable evidence of their having been formed in succession. The first set of strata, which are never covered by any of the others, and hence are conceived to be of most recent formation, lie inclined at a small angle to the horizon. In many cases they do not assume the character of rocks, but although distinctly stratified, are often soft and friable, presenting beds of marle and clay, and thick deposits of sand. In some cases their appearance is so similar to diluvial or even alluvial[Pg 95] deposits, that they might be mistaken for them, were it not for their more regular stratification. These are the tertiary formations of the German school, the superior order of Coneybeare and Philips.

Issuing from beneath these, and forming in their turn a considerable portion of the surface of the earth, rising occasionally into considerable hills, are strata of less uniform and regular inclination, forming basins and cavities in which the tertiary deposits are often found to lie, curved to conform to the bottoms of these basins.

The third and fourth series issue in their turn from beneath the preceding, as does the fifth from beneath the fourth. Each is marked in succession, by a greater degree of confusion or distortion in the stratification, until the last, which is apparently upheaved and thrown about without any regularity, its strata being occasionally found in positions almost vertical. Not only is the succession of the five different orders of rocks constant, but so is that in which the several rocks of each series overlie each other. This regularity of succession is, however, subject to this law; namely, that rocks of particular orders, or even the whole order itself, may be wanting in particular districts; thus, tertiary formations may be directly upon the lower order, and the second, third, and fourth, may not be present; or any one of the higher orders may lie directly upon any one of those we have stated to be inferior to it; but it has never been observed that the arrangement itself has been inverted, or that a rock which is in one place inferior, becomes, in its turn, superior in another.

The fifth, or inferior order, is uniformly found beneath one or all of the others; and, we may infer, that it in fact underlies the whole surface of the globe, forming not only the foundation of the solid land, but the original bottom on which the present bed of the sea is deposited. The rocks that compose this series are all highly crystalline in their character, are mostly composed of substances wholly or nearly insoluble in water, are wholly devoid of organic remains, and are in fact such substances as might be supposed to have been formed by slow cooling, from a state of igneous fusion. Is it then assuming too much to infer, that they are in fact the crust which has been first formed upon the surface of the earth, intensely heated by its own condensation, under the action of the gravitating force, that, communicated to it by the hand of the Creator, determined its figure, and still maintains its equilibrium. We do not include in this class, as is usually done, the crystalline rocks not stratified, as we conceive them to have been formed in another manner, to which we shall hereafter refer. All the four higher series of strata show, in the most evident manner, that their formation has been[Pg 96] due to the action of water; the grauwacke is, perhaps, the only rock that exists among them, in which the question could, even on simple inspection of specimens, appear doubtful; but this rock lies at the base of the old red sandstone, and upon the limestone of the submedial order, or transition, as it is styled by the Wernerians, and is equally regular in its stratification with either; we cannot, therefore, admit any other cause of its formation than what is common to them.

Some of these strata are obviously mechanical, others chemical deposits; thus, the sandstones and conglomerates are certainly the products of the disintegration of older rocks by a violent abrasion of running water, and have settled when the currents have ceased to flow; all calcareous rocks, except the limestones of the inferior or fifth order, the primitive of Werner, on the other hand, appear to have been products of chemical precipitation; while there are a few cases, as in the beds of rock salt, where the deposit must have been due to evaporation.

Of all these rocks and formations, the primitive, as has already been stated, and the sandstones, are wholly devoid of organic remains. And even the last rule is to be received as not wholly free from exception; for vegetable impressions have been found, as we are credibly informed, in sandstone, at Nyack on the Hudson, and near Belleville in New-Jersey, besides some other similar cases we shall hereafter note. All the other strata present a greater or less abundance of the traces of the organic kingdoms, from the slate, which lies lowest of the fourth order, to the most recent beds of the tertiary, and to so much of the diluvium as has been examined in the old continent. And although in the isolated case of the diluvium at New-York, no fossil remains have been found, we are yet unprepared to admit this as more than an exception, and are inclined to think that the remains of the mastodon, for instance, must be diluvian, or pre-diluvian. In this opinion, however, we know that we are opposed by high authority, and therefore do not express it without hesitation.

"Organized fossil remains belong to three different classes: the remains that have preserved their natural state, at least in part; petrifactions; and impressions.

"The remains of the first class are principally bones, and even entire skeletons, which, after having been stripped of the skin and flesh that covered them, have remained, some buried in the earth, others hidden in deep caverns. They are, sometimes, calcined in whole or in part, without having lost their configuration; they at others preserve, not only their texture, but even some traces of their hair and skin. They are also occasionally seen covered with a calcareous crust.

"Petrifactions, to use this word in its familiar sense, include all stony bodies that have the figure of an organized body. There are cases in which a strong solution has penetrated into a cavity formed by an organic body that has disappeared. Then the strong substance has occupied the cavity that has been left empty, and has taken the external form of the body that formerly existed there.[Pg 97] If this body were, for instance, a branch or trunk of a tree, the stone will have at its surface its knots and asperities; but within, it will present all the characters of a true stone; it will be no more, to use the language of Hauy, than the statue of the substance that it has replaced.

"At other times, a vegetable or animal substance, while undergoing decomposition in a successive manner, and by obvious degrees, is pressed by the petrifying liquid that already surrounds it. As soon as an organic particle has disappeared, its place is occupied by one of stone."

"Metallized bodies, and those which have been changed into bitumen or carbon, belong to this system of formation; thus, the turquoises, for instance, are the teeth of a great marine animal; a metallic substance has penetrated them, and has gradually replaced the softer parts of the bones.

"Impressions are often found between the plates of slaty rocks; they are relievos or intaglios representing the skeletons of animals, particularly fish, leaves, seeds, and entire plants, of which the most common kind belong to the forus."

The impressions of vegetables are most abundant in the shales that accompany coal formations; those of leaves and branches are the most common, but there are a few instances in which they retain the delicate structure of the flowers. All analogy leads to the inference, that those now found in temperate climates, are of such a character as could only exist in tropical regions; and when, as in some of the newer formations, the species are identical with those which now exist, the living type is only found within the torrid zone. A still more curious fact, is their identity in similar formations in different parts of the world. At the present day, the same soil in Pennsylvania and England produces plants of very different characters, and those which are native to each are of wholly distinct genera and species, while the fossils that accompany the coal in the two countries are precisely similar. But even those brought by Parry from the polar region of Melville island, are identical with those of England, and of course with those of this distant part of the same hemisphere in which the former are formed, although the character of the climate is so diverse. At the epoch of the coal formation, there existed plants, of genera, which, in temperate climates, at present rarely rise to more than a few inches in height, and which were at that remote period of enormous size. Thus, the forus must have attained the height of from fifty to sixty feet. At present, the forus assume the size of a tree only in the very warmest climates, and even there, are far inferior in magnitude to those of the coal formation. Now, it is well known, that the large size of the living species is due to great and constant heat, and copious moisture. Hence we may fairly infer that similar circumstances existed even at Melville island, where, at the present time, for the greater part of the year, the thermometer is below the freezing point.

As further instances of the same kind, we may quote the following facts. Faujas St. Fond found, in a marly slate, covered by lava, in France, the tree cotton, the liquid amber styrax, the[Pg 98] cassia fistula, and other plants of tropical regions. The same observer found the fruit of the arcea palm near Cologne. The elastic bitumen of Derbyshire in England, is identical with the caoutchouc, which now grows only in the warmer parts of South America; and the amber of Prussia appears to be a fossil gum, similar to the Copal.

Among the more recent in formation of fossil vegetables, are the bituminized woods; these are often buried to great depths by diluvian action, but are never found in perfect rock. The most remarkable instance of this kind is at Bovey-Heathfield, in England, and beneath is found the retinasphaltum, that seems to be no more than the expressed viscorous juice of the trees. Coal is a similar formation, but due to a more ancient period. The mines of Pennsylvania occasionally furnish specimens, in which the fibre of the wood is as distinctly visible as in recently prepared charcoal. However these vast beds may have been formed, no doubt whatever can exist in respect to their vegetable origin.

Among animal remains found in the fossil state, shells and zoophytes are the most abundant. They form the principal parts of rocks which often occupy considerable districts. They are most frequent in calcareous strata, from the transition limestones to the highest of the marles. A remarkable fact is observed in respect to these shells, and the other fossils which accompany them; those which are found in the oldest, or transition formations, are more different from those that now exist, than those in the more modern deposits. Thus the transition limestones and slates contain terrebratulites, with encrinites, pentacrinites, and trilobites; in those of the submedial and medial series we find belemnites and the cornu ammonis; many of which are extinct genera, and some of which are of families that are no longer found living on our globe, while even where the genus is now to be met with, the species at least has become extinct; while in the latest of the tertiary or superior formations, we find ostracites, pectinites, buccinites, chamites, and many other genera that are still abundant, and even types of living species.

By far the greater part of the animals whose remains are found in the older strata are aquatic, and the vast extents over which they are distributed, show, that the waters must at one time have covered a very great proportion of what is now dry land. Nor has this change been produced by any gradual subsidence, for we find no coincidence in the levels of those portions of the land that contain similar fossils; some for instance are still lower than the level of the present ocean; others, again, of similar character, rest upon the tops or sides of the highest mountains. In Europe, the tops of the highest of the Pyrenees, rising 11000 feet above the level of the sea, are of limestone, containing numerous[Pg 99] fossil remains, while Humboldt found a rock, similarly characterized, among the Andes, at the height of 14000 feet.

The ancient philosophers, who, in other departments of physical science, were far behind the moderns, seem in this alone to have pursued a process of inductive reasoning, which led to results far more accurate than any attained by the moderns, until within a very few years. The dogmatism which determined to find in every fossil aquatic remain a proof of the particular Noachic deluge, and the timidity of those whose researches had made them better informed, left the world wholly in the dark as to the real inferences to be drawn from a study of the structure of the earth; but what modern geologist could better express what are now admitted opinions, than the words which the Roman poet puts in the mouth of Pythagoras.

"Vidi ego, quod quondam fuerat solidissima tellus,
Esse Fretum. Vidi factas ex æquore terras:
Et procul a pelago conchæ jacuere marinæ;
Et vetus inventa est in montibus anchora summis.
Quodque fuit campus, vallem decursus aquarum
Fecit: et eluvie mons est deductus in æquor:
Eque paludosa siccis humus aret arenis;
Quæque sitim tulerant, stagnata paludibus hument.
Hic fontes Natura novos emisit, at illie
Clausit: et antiquis concussa tremoribus orbis
Flumina prosiliunt; aut exæcata resident."

The order in which fossil remains are found to succeed each other in the successive formations that are to be traced from the oldest rocks to the diluvial deposit, are well illustrated in the words of a late distinguished philosopher, whom we shall quote.

"In those strata which are deepest, and which must consequently be supposed to be the earliest deposited, forms, even of vegetable life, are rare; shells and vegetable remains are found the next in order; the bones of fishes and oviparous reptiles exist in the following class; the remains of birds, with those of the same genera mentioned before, in the next order; those of quadrupeds of extinct species in a still more recent class; and it is only in the loose and slightly consolidated strata of gravel and sand, and which are usually called diluvial formations, that the remains of animals such as now people the globe are found, with others of extinct species. But in none of these formations, whether called secondary, tertiary, or diluvial, have the remains of man, or any of his works, been discovered: and whoever dwells upon this subject, must be convinced that the present order of things, and the comparatively recent existence of man as the master of the globe, are as certain as the destruction of a former and different order, and the extinction of a number of living forms, which have types in being. In the oldest secondary strata there are no remains of such animals as now belong to the surface; and in the rocks which may be regarded as most recently deposited, these remains occur but rarely, and with abundance of distinct species;—there seems, as it were, a gradual approach to the present system of things, and a succession of destructions and creations preparatory to the existence of man."

We have stated that the zoophytes and shell-fish have left the most numerous fossil remains. Those of other families are not however rare. Fish, for instance, are found in great abundance,[Pg 100] near Glarus in Switzerland, in clay slate; in Germany, at Papenheim, in a slaty marle, in the cupriferous slate of Eisleben, in the fetid limestone of Oehningen. They are also found in Egypt, and we have specimens of the same sort from Lyria, in a limestone apparently belonging to the oolitic or Jura formation. China and the coast of Coromandel have also fossils of this sort, but by far the greatest quantity have been procured from Mount Bolea, near Verona. A splendid suite from the last locality are to be seen in the Gibbs' Cabinet at New-Haven. Besides the impressions of entire fish, separate portions are very abundant, and perhaps the most frequent of these are the teeth of sharks, which are sometimes of a magnitude vastly greater than those of any living species. Animals of the class of amphibia appear not to have existed until after the æra that gave birth to fish. The oldest are probably the tortoises, of which a specimen has been found in sandstone near Berlingen. They have also been found in England, in the Netherlands near Brussels, at Aix in Provence, and in the quarries near Paris. The most remarkable fossils of this class belong, however, to the lizard family. Of these the most remarkable are the plesiosaurus, the megalosaurus, the iguanodon, and the crocodile of Maestricht, all belonging to extinct species.

The marine animals that are met with in a fossil state, are in great part foreign to the climates in which they are found buried. It has been shown that the fish of Bolea have their nearest living prototypes in the seas of Otaheite. The perpites of Gothland have been supposed to be petrifactions of the medusæ of India. The madrepores, so abundant in Russia and in the frozen deserts of Siberia, only live now in seas within the tropics. Shells analogous to a great part of those found fossil in England, are only to be seen in the Atlantic, in a living state, on the coasts of Florida and Cuba. A shell-formed fossil at Havre is only to be met with recent at Amboyna.

Of the shells found in Italy, fossil in the sub Appenine hills, many are common to the Mediterranean and the Indian oceans. But while those in the fossil slate and the recent specimens from the tropics correspond in size, individuals of the same species from the Mediterranean are dwarfish and degenerate.

Thus then the remains of aquatic and amphibious animals appear to confirm the conclusion drawn from vegetable fossils, that a climate of temperature as elevated as that now found in the tropics, once extended into high northern latitudes. It has been seen that the fossil remains and impressions of shells have been found at great heights upon the sides, and even upon the tops of mountains; and that in the older of the strata no trace is to be found of any but aquatic animals. Thus before our existing mountains and the minerals they contain had arisen[Pg 101] above the general surface; before diluvial and alluvial deposits, or even the great formations of sandstone and conglomerate had arisen from their disintegration, the globe was covered, in a great degree, and as it appears from considerations we have not space to enter into, by various successive eruptions, with waters, sometimes fresh, sometimes saline. These waters have, it could be readily made to appear, often rested long on the surface in a quiet state, after having been in violent agitation; and long ages of tranquillity have been succeeded and closed by convulsions of the most violent character.

In all the regularly stratified formations, animals of the mammiferous or cetaceous classes are wholly wanting; at least we have no proof that can be relied upon of any having been found in formations which took place prior to the last great deluge, that covered so much of the land with diluvium. In this last formation, however, they are often found in great abundance. Some of them are of recent, others of extinct species. Among the most remarkable of the latter are, the palæotherium, and anoplotherium, found near Paris; the megalonyx, an animal of the sloth genus, but of the size of an ox, found in Virginia; a still larger sloth, called the megatherium, found near Buenos Ayres; the fossil elephant, as different from the living elephants of India or Africa, as the horse is from the ass, and which has been found in Europe, in Asia, and in America. The mastodon, of which several species have been discovered on the banks of the Hudson, in Kentucky, in Louisiana, in the plains of Quito, in France, and finally on the borders of the Irrawaddy.

The bones of rhinoceroses, bears, elephants, and hyænas, have been found mixed in confusion in caverns; and it has been shown by Buckland that the latter animal had inhabited these caverns, and drawn thither the carcasses of the others as his prey, in one of the most perfect inductive arguments which has been produced, since Bacon propounded the rules of that species of reasoning.

"The moveable earths that fill the bottoms of valleys, and which cover the surface of great plains, have furnished us in the above two orders, of pachidermata and elephants, the bones of twelve species, to wit: one rhinoceros, two hippopotami, two tapirs, an elephant, and six mastodons. All these twelve species are now absolutely extinct in the climates in which their bones are found. The mastodons alone may be considered as forming a separate genus, now unknown, but closely approaching to the elephant. All the others belong to genera now existing in the torrid zone. Three of these living genera are now found only in the ancient continent, to wit: the rhinoceros, the hippopotami, and the elephant; the fourth, that of the tapirs, only exist in the new. The distribution of the fossil species is different; the tapirs have been found only upon the old continent, while elephants have been discovered in the new."

The fossil species, although belonging to known and existing genera, are essentially different in species from those which now live upon the earth. The former are not mere varieties, but have marked specific differences. This at least is beyond all[Pg 102] doubt in respect to the smaller of the hippopotami, and the gigantic tapir, as well as the fossil rhinoceros, and is extremely probable in respect to the elephant and the smaller tapir. If there be any question of the fact, it is only in respect to the greater hippopotamus.

"These different bones are buried in all different places in beds that resemble each other. They are often mixed indiscriminately with those of other animals, identical with those which exist at present. These beds are generally moveable, sandy, or marly, and always within a short distance of the surface. It is therefore probable that these bones have been enveloped by the last catastrophe of the globe. In a great number of places, they are accompanied by the accumulated spoils of marine animals; in other places, but these are less numerous, the remains of marine animals are not found, and sometimes the sand or marle that covers them contains only fresh-water shells. Although a small number of shells attached to fossil bones indicate that, they have remained some time under water, yet is there no authentic account of their having been found covered with regular stony beds, filled with marine remains, nor, in consequence, is there any proof of the sea having made a long and peaceable stay above them.

"The catastrophe that has covered them, would appear then to have been a great marine inundation, of no long duration, were it not that they are found upon the tops of high mountains, whither the waters of our present ocean could never have reached in their most violent agitations. On the other hand, these bones presenting no appearance of having been rolled, being occasionally only fractured, as the remains of our present domestic animals may occasionally be, and being sometimes found in entire skeletons, and accumulated as if in a common cemetery, demonstrate that the living beings to which they have belonged, must have met their fate in the very parts of the globe in which we now find the fossil monuments of their existence."

All the animals of which we have particularly spoken, are of genera now only found in the torrid zone, and the abundance of food which their great size would have caused them to require, renders their existence in numbers only possible in a warm climate. Their remains are, however, found in almost polar regions, whence we obtain a third link in the chain of evidence, that before the last great catastrophe to which the globe was subjected, its surface must have been warmer than at present.

We have seen in a former place, that such a change of temperature may have gradually occurred in consequence of a cooling of the external surface of the globe by an excess of its radiation above the quantity of heat received from the sun. The final cooling of its solid crust, down to the mean temperature at which we now find it, might, as is obvious, have been effected by a great irruption of waters, like that of which we have distinct evidence in the diluvial deposits, and the animal remains upon its surface. From that time, a state of equilibrium in the action of solar and terrestrial radiation having been attained, while the mean temperature still continues to depend upon the internal structure and nature of the globe, the distribution of heat upon the surface, and the vicissitudes of the seasons, have been solely influenced by the varying relation between these two radiations, which if equal to each other in their total amounts, differ in every[Pg 103] different latitude, for every successive day in the year, and during each varying hour of the day.

It has been attempted to explain this change that has unquestionably taken place in the temperature of climate, by conceiving a change in the situation of the earth's axis. This hypothesis, however, is shown to be untenable by the calculations of physical astronomy: no other cause then remains but an actual change in the condition of the earth itself.

The most remarkable of all the phenomena which the earth presents, are the great changes of weight that have taken place in identical formations which must have arisen from the prevalence of water, and therefore nearly if not exactly upon the same level. The primitive or lowest stratified rocks, probably had not water for their cause; still, however, they must have been in the fluid state, and these are not only found beneath all other rocks, and in the lowest places to which the industry of man has penetrated, but they also rise and form the greatest part in bulk of many of the highest mountains; indeed, if we except volcanic mountains, of all the more elevated masses. The transition and secondary formations are subject to similar although less changes of level, rising, as has been seen, to the tops of the Pyrenees, and to even a greater height on the sides of the Andes. The tertiary or superior formations are found in Italy and Sicily, forming mountains several thousand feet in height, while the latest of all, the diluvial with its embedded mammalia, exists in the lofty table land of Quito. The inference is irresistible, that we do not now find these deposits at the levels where they were left by the ocean, as in the case of the primitive rocks by their own crystallization from a fluid state, but that they have been altered in their positions by actions of a character totally distinct from that by which they were originally formed.

This inference is still further confirmed by the great and sudden changes of level that are frequently to be seen in similar strata, faults, as they are styled by miners, in which the same bed has its level sometimes changed hundreds, nay even thousands of feet. These faults, if in greatest abundance in the more ancient rocks, are to be found even in the newest, and sometimes affect several formations incumbent on each other, of ages the most different. Thus, then, we have distinct and conclusive evidence, that as we inferred from theory, the solid crust of the globe has been shattered and fractured repeatedly, and at all the different epochs of its history. This fracturing and cracking we have shown, must, in conformity with strict mechanical laws, have been attended with the rise of the molten liquid from beneath, which ought in some cases to have formed veins and dykes, in the places where the fractures occurred. It is however possible, that the rise of the fluid from beneath, may not have taken[Pg 104] place where the pressure occurred; but it would then have been compelled by hydrostatic pressure, to issue at some other point, breaking and tearing the weaker parts of the solid crust, in order to afford itself a vent.

The latter class of phenomena are still in action, and we have evident traces of their occurrence in all the different stages of the world's existence; of the former it will also be seen there is conclusive evidence.

The visible effects of a subterranean heat, are most frequently met with at the present day in the form of volcanoes. Of these, there are not only a great number in activity, but there are still more that have been certainly active since the last great change that the surface of the earth has undergone.

That part of the great group of mountains which we have before described, which lies in the new continent, contains many active volcanoes, and others but recently extinct. Terra del Fuego, as its very name imports, is the seat of many; Chili has several; in Peru are to be noted Arequipa, Pichinca, and Cotapaxi; while Chimborazo is obviously one that has become extinct at a period not remote. Passing the Isthmus of Panama, we find the volcanoes of Guatimala and Nicaragua almost infinite in number. In Mexico, are Orezaba, Popocatepetl, and Jorullo; the last of which first rose from beneath the surface in 1759. California has five active volcanoes; and we know, from the observations of La Perouse and Cook, that they also exist along the north-western coast of America. Mount St. Elias, in particular, was seen in a state of eruption. These mountains connect those of Mexico with the volcanoes of the Aleutian islands and of the peninsula of Alaska, which continue the system towards Kamtschatka, in which peninsula there are three of great violence. We have seen some proofs, that there are active volcanoes to the north-west of China, but none now exist in Thibet; and the action that once took place there has sought new vents, in regions more near to the present bed of the ocean. Thus, Japan has eight volcanoes, Formosa several, and, in proceeding to the south, the land of volcanic action widens, and becomes of immense extent. It embraces the Philippine, Marian, and Molucca islands, Java, Sumatra, Queen Charlotte's islands, and the New-Hebrides. The active volcanoes of Europe and western Asia are few in number; but those that are extinct form a great system, in which the active ones are included, and which seems to spread in the form of a belt, from the Caspian sea to the Atlantic. Volcanic action still occurs on the shores of the Caspian. In the chain of Elburg is a lofty mountain that still emits smoke, and around whose base are several distinct craters. Syria and Palestine abound in volcanic appearances, of which the great crater that has swallowed[Pg 105] up the waters of the Jordan, and forms the Dead sea, is the most remarkable. Greece and the Grecian Archipelago have been, almost within historic times, the seat of a volcanic action, of great extent and violence, and which has not wholly exhausted itself. In Sicily, Ætna has burnt for 3300 years, and is yet surrounded by extinct craters of more ancient date. The Lipari islands are wholly volcanic. Vesuvius, that had long before intermitted its eruptions, and broke forth again in the great one that destroyed Herculaneum and Pompeii, is not the only volcanic mountain of Naples. An extinct one of much greater size is to be found near Roccafina. The catacombs of Rome are excavated in lava, and Tuscany contains strong evidences of volcanic action. Volcanic indications can be traced near Padua, Verona, and Vicenza, extending into Dalmatia. A district of Hungary was suspected of containing the seeds of subterranean fire, and the suspicion has been confirmed by an actual eruption. Germany and Bohemia contain a great number of extinct volcanoes, as does the south of France, and particularly Auvergne. In Spain, too, the proofs of a volcanic agency are clear and decisive.

Greenland and Iceland present a third group of volcanoes; in the latter island, a single volcano was in a state of continuous eruption for five or six years. The Azores, the Canaries and Madeiras, also contain numerous volcanoes, both active and extinct, as do the Caribbean islands.

In comparing together volcanoes that are in present activity, and others in which the crater and the streams of emitted lava are too distinct to permit a doubt of their having arisen from the same cause, differences are observed that only have arisen from great differences in the circumstances under which the eruption has taken place. In many of the ancient volcanoes, we find the emitted streams are arranged in prismatic forms, constituting basalt, and frequently passing into what under other circumstances would be styled trap by the Wernerians. Now, we know that when streams of lava enter the sea, they spontaneously assume the prismatic structure. Hence we may infer, that these ancient volcanoes originally gave vent to their craters beneath the level of the sea, at a time when the rocks through which they penetrated, and over which their streams have passed, were beds of the primitive ocean. The trap rocks themselves may have been formed in a similar manner, by upward pressure of the igneous fluid beneath, through the veins and fissures formed on the breaking of the solid crust. Trap traverses, in dykes of unknown depth, many formations, and is occasionally seen forming beds between successive strata. It frequently occurs in faults, and sometimes in extensive overlying masses. Close observation, and a just course of analogy, lead to the irresistible[Pg 106] conclusion, that all the trap rocks, however situated or arranged, grow out of the same great cause, the rising of the liquid interior of the earth to its surface. An action sometimes taking place through veins and fissures in the solid crust, and sometimes by the eruption of volcanoes, both occurring during the pressure of water upon the surface. One of the most extensive groups of trap-rocks is to be seen in the north-eastern part of the state of New-Jersey. The Hudson is bordered for nearly forty miles by a great ridge of columnar rock, lying upon sandstone. When this is surveyed with an eye to its analogy to volcanic action, it appears as if it were the outpourings of a crater, whose basin is now occupied by the lake in which the Hackensack river takes its rise, and whence a great stream of lava has run over the sandstone rock, as far as the strait that separates Staten Island from the main land. The two Newark mountains are ridges of the same description, of even greater extent; other smaller ridges of the same kind are also distinctly visible, and the whole of this last system appears to have proceeded from a crater now filled by the alluvion of the Passaic, but which is bordered by a ridge still occupying two-thirds of a circle, and showing conclusive marks of igneous action, that goes by the name of the Hook mountain. The phenomenon of a dyke of trap is well exhibited in the quarries near Hartford in Connecticut, where this rock has been laid bare for a considerable depth, as it rises through a sandstone rock, instead of overlying it, as it is seen to do on the Hudson.

The trap-rocks, which are, generally speaking, of the character called by mineralogists greenstone, vary in this district of New-Jersey, from a compact basalt of homogeneous structure, to one of regular and distinct crystallization, not distinguishable in hand specimens from primitive syenite. A rock of this last character is to be found in the mountain that extends from Morristown to Mount Kemble, which is columnar in its structure, but almost identical, in mere external characters, with stratified rocks of gneiss containing hornblende, that are found in the primitive ridges within a few miles.

Thus then the older volcanic rocks gradually pass in character into those which, under the general name of granitic, form the apparent nucleus of gneiss and mica slate mountains, and penetrate them, and the primitive limestones, in veins. One of the best instances of veins of granite with which we are acquainted, are those which occur in the quarries of white marble at Kingsbridge, which are traversed in every direction by thin veins of a rock, principally composed of a white fetid felspar, mixed with spangles of silvery mica, and small grains of quartz, interspersed with occasional masses of tourmaline. The famous locality of chrysoberyl, beryl, and other interesting minerals, at Haddam,[Pg 107] in Connecticut, is said to occur in a granitic vein passing through strata of gneiss.

In all these cases we cannot fail to see evidence of igneous eruptions, taking place, however, under circumstances widely different from those of our present terrestrial volcanoes, or of the submarine craters of more remote dates, but which can be readily explained by supposing, either that the penetration took place when the surface of the earth was so intensely heated as to admit of the injected veins being slowly cooled, and therefore more perfectly crystallized; or that the issuing mass was so great as to retain its heat for a great length of time.

It might at first sight appear difficult to explain how volcanic energies should still continue in activity, now that the mean temperature of the earth has become constant, and the outer crust can be no longer subject to the shrinking, and consequent cracking which it must have undergone while cooling. The phenomena that attend volcanic eruptions furnish a full explanation of this, for they are attended in almost all cases with the evolution of great quantities of gaseous matters, and steam, which must therefore exist in a state of intense compression, and at elevated temperatures, in the mass whence the volcanic flood issues. Their elastic energies are sufficient to account for all the striking effects that attend the action of volcanoes.

The earthquake is a phenomenon connected with volcanic eruptions, and arising from the same great cause; but while the latter are confined to certain mountains, and restricted within narrow limits at the present day, an earthquake is sometimes found to prevail over a very large portion of the earth's surface. To omit the more usual phenomena of earthquakes, we shall speak of but one, which has in some cases been observed, that throws a great light upon the manner in which the stratified rocks have had their levels changed, and been dislocated and distorted in the manner we now find them. We allude to the sudden raising of countries of greater or less extent. Of this we shall quote three several instances from a paper of Arago's.

"During the night of the 28th September 1759, a district of three or four square miles, situated in the Intendency of Valladolid, in Mexico, was raised up, like an inflated bladder. The limits where the elevation ceased may still be determined at the present day, by the fracture of the strata. At these limits the elevation of the ground above its primitive level, or that of the surrounding plain, is no more than thirty-seven feet; but towards the centre of the lifted district, the total elevation is not less than five hundred feet.

"This phenomenon had been preceded by earthquakes that lasted nearly two months; but when the catastrophe occurred, all seemed tranquil; it was announced only by a horrible subterranean noise, that took place at the moment when the ground was lifted. Thousands of little cones, of from six to ten feet in height, called by the natives ovens, arose in every direction; finally six great projections were suddenly formed along a great crevice lying in a north-east and south-west direction, all of which were elevated from 1200 to 1600 feet above[Pg 108] the adjacent plains. The greatest of these small mountains has become a true volcano, that of Jorullo, and vomits forth lava.

"It will be seen that the most evident and well characterized volcanic phenomena accompanied the catastrophe of Jorullo; that they were perhaps its cause; but this did not prevent an extensive plain, old and well consolidated, upon which the sugar-cane and indigo were cultivated, from being, in our own days, suddenly raised far above its primitive level. The escape of inflamed matter, the formation of the ovens and of the volcano of Jorullo, far from having contributed to produce this effect, must on the contrary have lessened it; for all these openings must have acted like safety valves, and permitted the elevating cause to have dissipated itself, whether it were a gas or a vapour. If the ground had opposed a greater resistance; if it had not given way in so many points, the plain of Jorullo, instead of becoming a simple hill five hundred feet in height, might have acquired the relief of the neighbouring summits of the Cordilleras.

"The circumstances that attended the formation of a new island near Santorin, in the Greek Archipelago, seem to me also well fitted to prove that subterranean fires not only contribute to elevate mountains by the aid of ejections furnished by the craters of volcanoes, but that they also sometimes lift the already consolidated crust of the globe.

"On the 18th and 22d May 1707, there were slight shocks of an earthquake at Santorin.

"On the 23d, at sun-rise, there was seen between the great and little Rameni (two small islands) an object that was taken for the hull of a shipwrecked vessel. Some sailors proceeded to the spot, and on their return reported, to the great surprise of the whole population, that it was a rock that had risen from the waves. In this spot the sea had formerly a depth of from 400 to 500 feet.

"On the 24th, many persons visited the new island, and collected upon its surface large oysters that had not ceased to adhere to the rock. The island was seen sensibly to increase in size.

"From the 23d May until the 13th or 14th June, the island gradually increased in extent and elevation, without agitation and without noise. On the 13th June it might be about half a mile in circuit, and from 20 to 25 feet in height. Neither flame nor smoke had issued from it.

"From the first appearance of the island, the water near its shores had been troubled; on the 15th June it became almost boiling.

"On the 16th, seventeen or eighteen black rocks rose from the sea between the new island and the little Rameni.

"On the 17th they had considerably increased in height.

"On the 18th smoke arose from them, and great subterranean noises were heard for the first time.

"On the 19th all the black rocks had united and formed a continuous island, totally distinct from the first; flames, columns of ashes, and red-hot stones arose from it.

"The volcanic phenomena still continued on the 23d May 1708. The black island, a year after its appearance, was five miles in circuit, a mile in breadth, and more than 200 feet in height.

"On the 19th November 1822, at a quarter past ten in the evening, the cities of Valparaiso, Melipilla, Quillota, and Casa Blanca, in Chili, were destroyed by a terrible earthquake that lasted three minutes. The following day several observers discovered that the coast, for an extent of thirty leagues, had been visibly elevated, for upon a coast where the tide never rises higher than five or six feet, any rise in the land is easily detected.

"At Valparaiso, near the mouth of the Coucon, and to the north of Quintero, rocks were seen in the sea, near the bank, that no person had before perceived. A vessel that had been stranded on the coast, and whose wreck had been visited by the curious, in boats, at low water, was left, after the earthquake, perfectly dry. In traversing the shore of the sea, for a considerable distance near Quintero, Lord Cochran, and Mrs. Maria Graham, found that the water, even at high tide, did not reach rocks, on which oysters, muscles, and shells[Pg 109] still adhered, the animals inhabiting which, recently dead, were in a state of putrefaction. Finally the whole banks of the lake of Quintero, which communicates with the sea, had evidently mounted considerably above the level of the water, and in this locality the fact could not escape the least attentive observers.

"At Valparaiso the country appeared to be raised about three feet, near Quintero about four. It has been pretended, that at a distance of a mile inland, the rise had been more than six feet; but I do not know the particulars of the measures that led to this last inference.

"In this case there was no volcanic eruption, no lava poured forth, no stones or ashes projected, into the atmosphere, and unless it be maintained that the level of the ocean have fallen, it must be admitted that the earthquake of 19th. November 1822, has raised the whole of Chili. Now the last consequence is inevitable, for a change of level in the ocean would have manifested itself equally along the whole extent of the coast of America, while nothing of the kind was observed in the ports of Peru, such as Paytu and Callao.

"If this discussion had not already carried us so far, the preceding observations, from which it results, that in a few hours, and by the effect of a few shocks of an earthquake, an immense extent of country rose above its former level, might have been compared with those which show, that there exists in Europe, a great country (Sweden and Norway) whose level is also rising, but in a gradual manner, and by a cause that acts unceasingly, but which cause is unknown."

Thus, then, to whatever portion of the earth's surface we turn our eyes, we find the proofs of igneous action; our existing volcanoes, protruding themselves through the newer stratified formations, and even the diluvium, being in some cases more recent in their origin than the last great catastrophe to which the earth has been subjected; those of more ancient date forcing their way through the upper and lower secondary and transition formations, which are also cut and intersected by dykes of trap, while granite from the size of mountain masses down to their veins, has upheaved and penetrated the oldest stratified rocks. We also find great extents of country rising, sometimes gradually, sometimes suddenly, above their former level.

Mountains, then, are not the nucleus on which our continents and islands have been deposited, but are of subsequent origin, and have in their rise elevated the land to such a height as to be no longer accessible to the waters of the ocean. We may, even by examining through what strata the mountains have been raised, or those which compose their sides and crests when the elevating agent has not pierced through to the surface, infer the geological age which gave them birth. A research of this sort has been recently attempted and conducted with great ability by M. E. De Beaumont.

We shall quote an abstract of his reasoning from the "Annuaire," for 1830, in the words of Arago, which will also serve to illustrate various other points upon which we have touched.

"Among the formations of so many different kinds that form the crust of our globe, there is a class which has been called sedimentary (terrains de sediment). Those formations to which this name is properly applied, are composed wholly, or in part, of detritus, carried by water like the mud of our rivers, or the sands[Pg 110] of the beaches of the sea. These sands, in a state of greater or less division, and agglutinated by siliceous or calcareous cements, form the rocks called sandstones.

"Certain calcareous formations may also be reckoned in the same class, even when they are wholly soluble, as is however rare, in nitric acid; for the fragments of shells which they contain, show, in another and perhaps better manner, that their formation has also taken place in the bosom of the waters.

"Sedimentary formations are always composed of successive layers, that are very distinctly marked. The more recent of them may be arranged into four great divisions, which, in the order of their antiquity, are

"The oolitic series or limestone of Jura;

"The system of greensand and chalk;

"The tertiary series; and finally

"The diluvian deposits.

"Although all these formations have been deposited by water, and although they may all be found in the same locality lying upon each other, the passage from the one to the other is never made by insensible gradations. A sudden and marked change is always to be perceived in the physical nature of the deposit, and in that of the organized beings whose remains are found in it. Thus it is evident, that between the epoch at which the limestone of Jura was deposited, and that of the precipitation of the system of greensand and chalk which covers it, there has been upon the surface of the globe a complete change in the state of things. The same may be said of the epoch that separates the precipitation of the chalk from that of the tertiary formations; as it is also evident that in every place the state or nature of the liquid, whence the earths were precipitated, must have changed completely between the time of the formation of the tertiary strata, and that of the diluvium.

"These considerable variations, sudden, and not gradual, in the nature of the successive deposits formed by the waters, are considered by geologists as the effects of what they call 'The Revolutions of the Globe.' And even although it is very difficult to say exactly in what these revolutions consisted, their occurrence is not the less certain on that account.

"I have spoken of the chronological order in which these different sedimentary strata have been deposited: I must therefore state that this order has been determined by following, without interruption, each different formation, to those regions in which it could be ascertained beyond question, and over a great horizontal space, that some particular layer was above some other. Natural excavations, such as the cliffs that border the sea, common wells, and Artesian fountains, with the excavation of canals, have furnished powerful aid in this inquiry.

"I have already remarked, that all these sedimentary formations are stratified. In level countries, as might be expected, the disposition of the layers is nearly horizontal. In approaching mountainous countries, this horizontality, generally speaking, ceases; finally, on the sides of mountains, some of these layers are very much inclined; they even sometimes attain a vertical direction.

"May not the inclined deposits that we see upon the slopes of mountains, have been deposited in inclined or vertical positions? Or is it not more natural to suppose, that they originally formed horizontal beds, like the contemporaneous beds of the same nature with which the plains are covered, and that they have been lifted up and assumed new directions at the moment of the elevation of the mountains on whose sides they rest?

"As a general principle, it does not appear impossible that the crests of mountains may have been incrusted in place, and in their actual position, by sedimentary deposits, since we daily see the vertical sides of vessels, in which waters charged with sulphate of lime evaporate, covered with a saline crust, whose thickness is continually augmented; but the question before us does not present this general aspect, for it is merely required to determine whether the known sedimentary formations can have been thus deposited. To this question we must reply in the negative, as can be shown by two species of considerations, wholly different from each other.

"Incontestable geological observations have shown, that the calcareous layers which constitute the summits of Buet in Savoy, and Mount Perden in the[Pg 111] Pyrenees, elevated 11,000 or 12,000 feet above the level of the sea, have been formed at the same time with the chalk of the cliffs that border the British channel. If the mass of water whence these strata were precipitated had risen 11,000 or 12,000 feet, the whole of France would have been covered, and analogous deposits must have existed upon all heights not exceeding 9,000 or 10,000 feet; now, it is found, on the contrary, that in the north of France, where these deposits appear to have undergone little change, the chalk never reaches a height of more than 600 feet above the level of the present sea. They present precisely the disposition of a deposit formed in a basin filled with a liquid whose level has never reached any points that are at the present day elevated more than 600 feet.

"I pass to the second proof, borrowed from Saussure, and which appears even more convincing.

"Sedimentary formations often contain pebbles rounded by attrition, and of a figure more or less elliptical. In the places where the stratification is horizontal, the longer axes of these pebbles are all horizontal, for the same reason that an egg cannot stand upon its point. But where the strata are inclined at an angle of 45°, the greater axes of many of these pebbles form this same angle with the horizon; and when the layers become vertical, the greater axes of many of the pebbles become vertical also.

"This observation, in respect to the position of the axes of the pebbles, demonstrates, that the sedimentary formations have not been deposited in the position they now occupy; they have been raised in a greater or less degree, when the mountains, whose sides they cover, have arisen from the bosom of the earth.

"This being proved, it is evident that these sedimentary formations, whose strata present themselves upon the slopes of mountains, in inclined or vertical directions, existed before these mountains arose. The formations of the same class that are prolonged horizontally, until they meet the same slopes, must be on the contrary of a date posterior to the formation of the mountain; for it cannot be conceived, that, in rising from the mass of the earth, it should not have elevated at the same time all previously existing strata.

"Let us introduce proper names into the general and simple theory which we have developed, and the discovery of M. de Beaumont will be announced.

"Of the four species of sedimentary formations that we have distinguished, three, and these are the uppermost, the nearest to the surface of the globe, or the most modern, extend in horizontal layers, from the Cote d'Or and from Forez, to the mountains of Saxony; and only one, which is the oolite or limestone of Jura, shows itself elevated within this district.

"Therefore the Hartz, the Cote d'Or, and Mount Pilus of Forez, have risen from the globe since the formation of the Jura oolite, and before the deposit of the three other formations.

"On the slopes of the Pyrenees and Appennines, two of the formations are raised up, namely, the oolite and the greensand and chalk; the tertiary formations, and the diluvium that covers them, have preserved their primitive horizontality. The Pyrenees and Appennines are, therefore, more modern than the limestone of Jura, and the greensand which they have raised, and more ancient than the tertiary strata and the diluvium.

"The western Alps, and among them Mount Blanc, have, like the Pyrenees, raised the limestone of Jura, and the greensand, but, in addition, they have also raised the tertiary formations; the diluvium is alone horizontal in the vicinity of these mountains.

"The date of the elevation of Mount Blanc must, therefore, inevitably be placed between the epoch of the formation of the tertiary strata and the diluvium.

"Finally, upon the sides of the central Alps, (Mount St. Gothard,) and of the mountains of Ventorix and Liberon, near Avignon, no one of the sedimentary formations is horizontal; all the four have been raised up. When these mountains arose, the diluvium itself must have already been deposited."[Pg 112]

"The sedimentary formations appear, from their nature, and the regular disposition of their layers, to have been deposited in times of tranquillity. Each of these formations being characterized by a particular system of organized beings, both vegetable and animal, it is indispensable to suppose, that between the epochs of tranquillity, corresponding to the precipitation of two of these overlying formations, there must have been a great physical revolution upon the globe. We now know that these revolutions have consisted in, or at least been characterized by, the raising of a system of mountains. The two first liftings-up pointed out by M. de Beaumont, not being by any means the greatest of the four he has succeeded in classing, it will be seen that we cannot infer that the globe, in growing older, becomes less fit to experience this species of catastrophe, and that the present period of tranquillity may not be terminated like those that have preceded it, by the elevation of some immense mountain chain."

M. de Beaumont next attempted, by a fancied arrangement of zones and parallels to great circles, to classify the mountains he had not an opportunity of examining, with those in respect to which he had obtained the above satisfactory conclusions. We fear, however, that he has proceeded to theorize too speedily, and before he had obtained a sufficient number of facts. We are certain, that in respect to the great Alleghany group of the United States, which he classes with the Pyrenees and Appennines, he must be mistaken, for no formations later than the transition limestone are to be found in their vicinity. In respect to the highlands of the state of New-York, and their branch of primitive rocks, which extends along the Hudson to the island of New-York, the sandstone of New-Jersey appears to continue horizontally until it reaches their bases, and no rocks appear to have been raised on the south-eastern side of the highlands, which are the easternmost of the five parallel ridges of the Alleghanies, older than the slate; but on their north-western side the transition limestone appears to have been raised. They therefore are older than any mountains examined by M. de Beaumont, and were we to hazard a conjecture, we should class them with the Grampians of Scotland, and the mountains of Wales, in both of which slate is the only rock of the transition series that appears to have been elevated.

To complete our subject, it would be necessary that we should enter into a discussion of the manner in which the ocean is now acting, by its currents and tides, to distribute and deposit in its bed the sediment which rivers and streams are constantly hurrying into it; and that we should form some estimate, from what occurs within our reach, of the effects produced in these deposits by the vast number of organized beings that must people them, the deposits of vegetable matter, and the exuviæ, of animals. Such discussion would, however, be in a considerable degree purely conjectural, and we therefore shall not enter into it. It is sufficient to say, that formations analogous to those which the elevation of the continents has exposed to our view, must be now taking place in the bed of the ocean, whence they[Pg 113] may be in their turn raised, to task the ingenuity of future races of reasoning beings.

Inquiries into the history of the changes which our earth has undergone, as they lead with infallible evidence to the proof of an existence of this globe at a period almost infinitely more remote than that at which man became its inhabitant, have been stigmatized as impious. The intolerant theologian, adhering with pertinacity to his own system of interpretation, fulminates anathemas against all who find in natural appearances convincing evidence, that the earth was not suddenly and by a single fiat called into existence in the exact, state in which we now find it. Timid geologists have bent to the storm, and have endeavoured to reconcile natural appearances with the arbitrary interpretations that have been deduced from scripture. But neither is the inquiry itself less holy than any of those which consider natural phenomena, exhibiting in their progress convincing proofs of infinite wisdom and power in the Creator, justifying the ways of God to man; nor is any one of the results of the inquiry in the slightest degree opposed to the texts of the sacred volume. The impiety rests with the interpreter, and not with the physical inquirer. The former unwisely links to his spiritual belief an interpretation at variance with natural appearances; and the latter, if he do not inquire for himself, and believe on the evidence of the former, that the truth or falsehood of the two distinct propositions are inseparably connected, must, as he sees the one to be inconsistent, hesitate with respect to the other. Some geologists, then, may have been sceptics; but could the secrets of the heart be laid open, we cannot help believing, that those who have most earnestly endeavoured to reconcile the phenomena we know to exist, with the interpretation of scripture, from which they appear to vary, have been at bottom the least sincere in their religious faith.

For ourselves, we see no difficulties, no discrepancies between the record of direct revelation, and the sublime passages of the book of nature. We believe that "in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth;" that he called at once into existence the whole material world; but we also believe that he then impressed matter with laws, under the action of which that material world must maintain its existence, and secure its permanence, until the same almighty power shall annihilate it. We are not of those who judge of the works of the Deity from the conditions of the works which can alone be effected by the power of man. However perfect or complete be human mechanism, it can only move by the application of some power inherent in matter; did not an elastic spring expand itself after being coiled,[Pg 114] the chronometer would be a dead and lifeless mass; did not fluids obey the force of gravitation, and currents in the atmosphere the expansive power of heat, the water-wheel and wind-mill would be useless; did not water form vapour at elevated temperatures, and condense when cooled, the still more powerful agency of steam would be wanting. Not only are machines of no value unless impelled by natural agents, but they themselves are subject to rapid decay, and require perpetual attention. Such is not the case with the machinery of the universe; its motions are perpetually varying, but yet in their variations invariable; continually oscillating on each side of mean rates, yet never losing or gaining in intensity. Such too is the case on the surface of our globe; the seasons alternately clothe the forests with verdure, and strip them of their leaves; seed time and harvest recur with invariable precision; the whole of existing vegetables perish, and animals die and decay, yet the race is perpetuated. Shall we set bounds to the exertion of almighty power, and say, that races, that families, that species and genera, nay that whole natural kingdoms may not in their turn decay and die, after providing for the repeopling of the earth by new inhabitants? The catastrophes of our planet are not yet at an end; the time will and must come, as we may guess from natural appearances, and as we find predicted in scripture, when the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll, and the earth shall melt with fervent heat; and in the new system of appearances, the new heaven and earth shall succeed—the corruptible bodies that are now sown in dishonour, shall be raised in honour and incorruptible.

The present surface of our globe is to our limited views slowly changing; to him who compares time with the immeasurable duration that has preceded and must succeed our existence, it is rapidly hastening to apparent ruin. The waters raised from the ocean, falling in greatest abundance on the land, tear and wear away the surface, and deposit it in the bed of the sea. Deltas form at the mouths of rivers by this action; the basin of the ocean is gradually elevated, and, in addition, islands and archipelagos are raised from its bed. The surface of the sea is for the present lessening under the influence of these causes, but the time must come, unless it be prevented by some catastrophe, when the ocean must in its turn encroach upon the land, when the plains and valleys shall become bays and gulfs, or even unite in continuous expanses of water, and the greater mountains alone, diminished in bulk by continued abrasion, shall stand as islands in the vast abyss. The earth would then again be without form and void of inhabitants, as it was before the creation of man. Such, however, will not be the termination of the present order of things; we are taught to look for this in an igneous eruption,[Pg 115] the source of which now slumbers almost quiescent beneath our feet.

Not only does revelation, but science, teach us that the earth must have been covered with water, and void of animate life, previous to its becoming the habitation of man. But they read their scriptures differently from us who think that this state of things was the actual beginning. There is no necessary connexion between the first verse of Genesis and the succeeding. The beginning of the existence of matter, and the state of vacuity and darkness whence the present order of things emerged, may have been, so far as the text is concerned, and were, as we know from appearances, separated from each other by unnumbered ages.

Neither is it necessary that we accept the literal meaning of the passage, and conceive the Deity speaking with human voice, and calling creation forth by audible fiat. The voice of the Deity is that unheard and silent command which nature hears and obeys throughout all his works. The pious and sincere believer sees an overruling providence preserving him in kindness when it saves him from shipwreck, or chastening him in mercy when it deprives him of friends or relations, as distinctly as if he beheld the prince of the air stayed in his furious course, or the angel of destruction taking his visible stand beside the pillow of departing life. No miracles are necessary to him who sees in the rising and setting of the sun, in the order and beauty of the universe, in the absolute perfection of its mechanical laws, in his own fearful and wonderful structure, the evidence of infinite wisdom in design, and infinite power in execution; and the examination of the structure and character of our globe, is as well calculated as any other physical study to exhibit in full and brilliant light these attributes of the Deity.


[8] See American Quarterly, Vol. V.

[9] See American Quarterly, Vol. III.

[10] Our author has "alluvion."

[11] Alluvial in our author.

[Pg 116]


1.—The American Trenck; or the Memoirs of Thomas Ward, now in confinement in the Baltimore Jail, under a sentence of ten years' imprisonment for robbing the United States Mail. Baltimore. 18mo: 1829.

2.—Memoirs of James Hardy Vaux, a Swindler and Thief, now transported to New South Wales, for the second time, and for life. Written by himself. London. 18mo: 1829.

3.—Memoirs of Vidocq, principal Agent of the French Police, until 1827, and since, Proprietor of the Paper Manufactory at St. Maudé. Written by himself. Translated from the French. London. 4 vols. 18mo: 1829.

"One half of the world does not know how the other half lives:"—so says the adage, and says truly. Men of reading, however, who direct their attention to biography, and especially to auto-biography, and who combine with their reading attention to the varied pursuits of mankind, may attain tolerably correct notions of the habits, modes of reasoning, and peculiarities of others, though living in evidently different stations, and engaged in occupations the most various. In this view, the volumes above announced are valuable. They furnish a remarkably clear insight of the ways and actings of professional thieves, and of the men with whom they often become connected,—police officers and jailers. But what assurance have we, it may be inquired, that they speak the truth? How can the evidence of such characters be received? These queries must be answered by considering several particulars. In the first place, then, the verity of a narrative may be partly established by its coherence and probability. When the events related have a manifest correspondence with each other, and are such as may be credited, we necessarily attach to them a degree of belief, which we cannot extend to those of an opposite character. The evidence from this source is, however, exceedingly imperfect, since many narratives, almost entirely fictitious, appear so natural, as to impose upon the reader with all the strength of unvarnished truth. Robinson Crusoe has deceived thousands, and Damberger's Travels in Africa were not suspected to be otherwise than true, for a considerable time after their publication; but they were at length proved to be a complete fabrication. Accordingly, in judging of doubtful works, we must resort to additional means; one of which is a comparison of works of a similar description with each other.

When an account appears to be too wonderful for credence, we are, of course, disposed to rank the author with romance-writers;[Pg 117] but when we find that divers accounts, equally extraordinary, are related by others as happening under similar circumstances, we then begin to suppose that we may have judged erroneously. Captain Riley's Narrative of his Captivity in Africa was rejected by many as half-fictitious: his sufferings were greater than human nature could bear, and the Arabs of the desert could never lead the life described. But since it has been found that the sufferings undergone by the crew of the French frigate, the Medusa, were no less horrible, and of the same kind, and that Clapperton and others who have subsequently crossed the Sahara, confirmed his statements respecting the Arabs,—he has been regarded very differently. And it may be supposed, that if Sir Walter Scott had known of the remarkable confirmation given by Benyouski, to Drury's account of Madagascar, he would not have expressed his doubts of the latter's veracity.[12] When writers, unacquainted with each other's productions, are found, by incidental allusions, to agree in minute particulars, the evidence is almost irrefutable. Paley has made an admirable use of this species of proof in his Horæ Paulinæ.

Another mode of judging of an author's credibility is sometimes furnished, by learning whether any of his alleged facts have been contradicted by persons acquainted with them, especially if they are such as these persons would be glad to contradict. If a person is charged with being an accomplice in a crime, and he fails to rebut the accusation, we may infer that he is unable to do so. Or, if the narrator give place and date to certain memorable transactions, which, if false, might easily be shown to be so, a similar inference may be deduced, when it can be shown that others are interested in such exposure.

Now, on bringing the works under notice to these different tests, we shall have tolerably strong presumptive evidence of their being, in the main, worthy of credence. Vaux's Memoirs contain nothing that may not be credited on the score of probability, while the circumstances detailed are remarkably coherent; they seem to arise naturally from each other. Vidocq's, on the contrary, contain so many marvellous escapes from prisons, so many perils from contests with ruffians and bravoes, and such varied turns of fortune, that the reader is necessitated to ask,—can this be true? Here, however, both Vaux and Ward offer him some assistance; the similarity of their accounts, though destitute of so many wonders, corroborating the probability of his. The three narratives are quite in keeping. We find in each the same restlessness, the same blind passion impelling to deeds of vice and desperation, and the same[Pg 118] proofs of treachery amongst their companions. Each, too, has furnished so many means of detection, by names of persons, dates, and places, that,—no attempt at refutation having been made by persons implicated,—we are to believe that they must, at any rate, contain much that is true. Neither Ward's nor Vidocq's Memoirs are so connected as Vaux's; but in Ward's case, this may be attributed to a want of scholarship, as he is evidently an ignorant man; and in Vidocq's, to a fondness for the marvellous, in consequence of which he has introduced many episodes. These episodes, accordingly, detract from the merit of the work, considered as a veritable narrative, they being garnished with more of the romantic than the regular account of his own performances.

After all, a degree of suspicion will attach to each of them, from the consideration that they are all avowed liars. If, indeed, there was proof, either external or internal, that they had become reformed characters, and, of course, abhorrers of deceit, we might value their self-condemnation as evidence of truth; for what man of moral feeling would proclaim that he had been an habitual liar, except conscious that the avowal was incumbent on him to substantiate the truth? This was done by Bunyan, the author of the Pilgrim's Progress, and by Cowper, the truly Christian poet:—they are respected accordingly. But in these narratives, except a little cant in Ward's, we find nothing approaching to a sense of shame or remorse. Vidocq, like Homer's Ulysses, has a lie ready for every occasion, and appears, like that hero, to regard himself as "the man for wisdom's various arts renowned." Vaux is almost equal to him in this respect, and exults in the success of his deceptions. If cunning were wisdom, Ulysses, Vidocq, and Vaux, would form a trio of eminently wise men. But this sort of wisdom, how much soever valued by pagans, must be regarded by Christians, enlightened by the Gospel, as utterly unjustifiable, even when employed as a means for the attainment of some good; since they are never to do evil that good may come. Accordingly, those persons who make lies their refuge, must be liable to be doubted, even when they speak the truth. Still, it is possible, that a man's conscience may be so obdurate, as not to perceive the pravity of mendacity, when exercised for his supposed benefit, while he yet retains a regard for truth when engaged in relating his exploits to others. This, we think, is partly the case with our heroes. Their acknowledgment of their disregard of truth, while prosecuting illegal measures, is, indeed,—so inconsistent is human nature,—some guarantee for the fidelity of their narratives. A solitary vice is a thing unknown; as Lillo expresses it, in his tragedy of George Barnwell,—"One vice as naturally begets another, as a father begets a son." Who,[Pg 119] then, could believe a practised villain, if he professed himself untainted by mendacity? But if, after a plain avowal of his constant resort to it, we find nothing contradictory in his relation, we may reasonably yield a qualified assent to it; since, as Lord Bacon remarks in his Essays, which "come home to men's business and bosoms," a liar had need possess a good memory to prevent his contradicting himself. Where he is consistent throughout a long narrative, the natural deduction is, that he has mainly depended on his memory, rejecting, for the occasion, his temptation to beguile.[13]

After these preliminary considerations, the relevancy of which is obvious, we proceed to furnish our readers with a few extracts; not doubting, that to such of them as lead domestic, retired lives, it will afford gratification to learn something of the ways of others, who are entirely opposite in their habits,—as opposite as the two electric poles, and, like them, "repelling and repelled." One of the most observable points in these volumes, is the contamination of jails. When men are thrown together in a place where reputation is valueless, they have no inducement to conceal their vices. What is the consequence? They delight in recounting to each other their nefarious exploits: thus conscience is more and more corrupted, and the young and inexperienced are initiated into the skilful manœuvres of adepts. Whoever has read the first edition of Ellwood's Life, (for the subsequent editions do not contain the passage,) may remember the amusing account he has given of the state of the common side of Newgate in the reign of Charles II. Ellwood was imprisoned in that persecuting reign, for adherence to his religious convictions as a Quaker, and had an opportunity of becoming acquainted with the ordinary behaviour and conversation of thieves in jail. He saw and lamented the evils incident to a promiscuous assemblage of old and young, of hardened villains and juvenile delinquents; but the remedy was reserved for the present age. That the remedy ought not to have been so long deferred, will be evident to every one who attends to Vaux's account of his first incarceration.

"On entering the gates of the gloomy receptacle to which I was now consigned, and which, on many accounts, has not been unaptly named the Bastile, the sensations I felt may be more easily felt than described. Besides that this was the first prison I had ever entered, every thing around me had an air of unspeakable horror. After being viewed and reviewed by the surly Cerberuses of this earthly Hell, I was conducted up some stairs to a long gallery, or passage,[Pg 120] six feet wide, having on either side a number of dismal cells, each about six feet by nine, formed entirely of stone, but having a small grated window near the roof, at the further end, which admitted a gloomy light, and overlooked a yard, in which other prisoners were confined; there was also a similar grate over the door; but, owing to their height, both these apertures were very difficult of access. The cells on the other side the passage were exactly similar, but overlooking another yard, and the doors were immediately opposite to each other. The only furniture of these dreary apartments was an iron bedstead, on which were a bed, blanket, and rug, but all of the coarsest kind. My conductor having given me a pitcher of water, without vouchsafing a word, locked the door, and left me in utter darkness.

"In order to amuse my mind during this solitary week, I climbed up to the grated aperture over the door of my cell, and listened to the conversation of the neighbouring prisoners; and, from their discourse, I acquired a more extensive knowledge of the various modes of fraud and robbery, which, I now found, were reduced to a regular system, than I should have done in seven years, had I continued at large. I was indeed astonished at what I heard; and I clearly perceived that, instead of expressing contrition for their offences, their only consideration was, how to proceed with more safety, but increased vigour, in their future depredations. And here I was struck with the fallacious notions entertained by the projectors of this prison, which was reputed to be upon the plan of the benevolent and immortal Howard, who had recommended the confinement of offenders in separate cells, in order to prevent the effects of evil communication among persons who had not all attained an equal degree of depravity. This object, however, was not effected here; for, being within hearing of each other, they could, by sitting up over the door as I have described, converse each with his opposite neighbour, and even form a line of communication, where the discourse became general, from one end of the gallery to the other. As a proof of what I have advanced, I knew several of the prisoners, then confined with me in this passage, who were at that time but striplings, and novices in villainy, and who, after several years continuance in their evil courses, at length became notorious offenders, and, having narrowly escaped a shameful death, are now prisoners for life in this colony."

As this subject is of great importance, we shall give a few more extracts connected with it. Crime, as Mr. Buxton has shown in his valuable Inquiry, is promoted, instead of being repressed, by such indiscriminate association. Corruption spreads by it, as surely as decomposition is assisted by heat and moisture. Ward thus describes the Baltimore jail:—

"About this time, I was ordered by the sheriff to be put into the criminal apartment, along with untried prisoners, hardened offenders, debtors, and among characters of the most abandoned and vicious stamp;—men of all nations and all colours. Among this mass of vile and depraved men, I had to take up my abode. There was no example of moral rectitude here exhibited but that of my own! No restraint was put by our keepers, on their profane and vile language and conduct. Every one indulged to an excess in every species of the most disgusting practices, profaning and scandalizing every thing holy."

Vidocq's description of the Bagne at Brest, corresponds with the above:—

"The Bagne is situated in the bosom of the bay; piles of guns, and two pieces of cannon, mounted at the gates, pointed out to me the entrance, into which I was introduced, after having been examined by the two guards of the establishment. The boldest of the condemned, however hardened, have confessed, that it is impossible to express the emotions of horror, excited by the first appearance of this abode of wretchedness. Every room contains twenty night camp couches, called bancs (benches,) on which lie six hundred fettered[Pg 121] convicts, in long rows, with red garbs, heads shorn, eyes haggard, dejected countenances, whilst the perpetual clank of fetters conspires to fill the soul with horror. But this impression on the convict soon passes away, who, feeling that he has here no reason to blush at the presence of any one, soon identifies himself with his situation. That he may not be the butt of the gross jests and filthy buffoonery of his fellows, he affects to participate in them; and soon, in tone and gesture, this conventional depravity gets hold of his heart. Thus, at Anvers, an ex-bishop experienced, at first, all the outpourings of the riotous jests of his companions; they always addressed him as monseigneur, and asked his blessing in their obscenities; at every moment they constrained him to profane his former character by blasphemous words, and, by dint of reiterating these impieties, he contrived to shake off their attacks. At a subsequent period, he became the public-house keeper at the Bagne, and was always styled monseigneur, but he was no longer asked for absolution, for he would have answered with the grossest blasphemies."

To complete the picture, we shall now transcribe Vaux's account of his being on board a prison-ship, with what he witnessed there.—

"I had now a new scene of misery to contemplate; and, of all the shocking scenes I had ever beheld, this was the most distressing. There were confined in this floating dungeon, nearly six hundred men, most of them double ironed; and the reader may conceive the horrible effects arising from the continual rattling of chains, the filth and vermin naturally produced by such a crowd of miserable inhabitants, the oaths and execrations constantly heard amongst them; and above all, from the shocking necessity of associating and communicating more or less with so depraved a set of beings. On arriving on board, we were all immediately stripped, and washed in large tubs of water; then, after putting on each a suit of coarse slop-clothing, we were ironed and sent below; our own clothes being taken from us, and detained, till we could sell, or otherwise dispose of them, as no person is exempted from the obligation to wear the ship-dress. On descending the hatchway, no conception can be formed of the scene which presented itself. I shall not attempt to describe it; but nothing short of a descent to the infernal regions, can be at all worthy of a comparison with it. I soon met with many of my old Botany Bay acquaintances, who were all eager to offer me their friendship and services; that is, with a view to rob me of what little I had; for, in this place, there is no other motive or subject for ingenuity. All former friendships and connexions are dissolved; and a man here will rob his best benefactor, or even messmate, of an article worth one half-penny. If I were to attempt a full description of the miseries endured in these ships, I could fill a volume; but I shall sum up all by stating, that, besides robbery from each other, which is as common as cursing and swearing, I witnessed, among the prisoners themselves, during the twelvemonth I remained with them, one deliberate murder, for which the perpetrator was executed at Maidstone, and one suicide."

These horrible accounts must, we suppose, convince every one of the necessity of keeping criminals separate from each other. In vain do you hope by classification, labour, discipline, and moral instruction, to reclaim men from their vices in prison, so long as you allow them to associate freely together. No compromise will do, short of preventing their conversing with each other. Whether solitary confinement, as practised in Pennsylvania, or public labour in silence, as in New-York, be the better mode of punishment, may admit of argument; but that either is incomparably superior to promiscuous intercourse, is unquestionable. And we do conjure magistrates and legislators in every[Pg 122] part of the United States, to rouse themselves from apathy on this momentous subject. It is due to their country and to posterity, to strive to remove an evil, which, like the Upas, extends its pestiferous influence in every direction. Let them reflect that the object of punishing criminals is to protect society. This object may be promoted by the reformation of the transgressor; but if he is placed in a situation where contagion is inevitable, the punishment, however severe, is not conducive to that result. A severe punishment may, indeed, be influential in deterring others from pursuing similar courses; but if he, on obtaining his release, instead of being disposed to conform to regularity of conduct, is only determined to practise more skilfully the very crime that was the cause of his commitment; or if, from his moral sense being deadened, in consequence of having heard others boast of their villainous exploits, he is ready to engage in new and more desperate attempts, the influence which his punishment may have had on others, is in danger of being overbalanced. What, in such a case, does society gain by the severity of the law? Is it not clear, that all the expense, trouble, and loss of time attendant on the prosecution, are almost fruitlessly bestowed? And here, it is impossible not to lament the accumulated evils arising from the slow operation of law. A man is charged, perhaps innocently, with petty larceny. The tribunal before which he is to be arraigned is not in session; accordingly, unable to procure bail, he is committed to jail, there to lie for three, or perhaps six months, and all the time uncertain whether he is to be acquitted or condemned. In the mean time, his character has deteriorated while his enjoyment has been abridged. Can such a method be consistent with civilization? Would it not be preferable, at the hazard of some injustice, to revert to the summary process of barbarism? Can it be right, that a magistrate shall be empowered to incarcerate a man for months, while he is debarred from pronouncing definitively on his guilt or innocence? There is an incongruity in all this, of which savages might be ashamed. We trust that the time is approaching when a better system will be established. Consolatory is it to consider, that in various countries of Europe, as well as in America, the subject of prison discipline, and of criminal jurisprudence, occupies the attention of philanthropists and statesmen to a degree never before witnessed, as from their simultaneous exertions much good may be anticipated. One of the causes assigned by Dr. Robertson and other historians, for the resuscitation of Europe from the intellectual degradation of the middle ages, is the discovery at Amalfi, in the twelfth century, of the Pandects of Justinian. Would it not then be irrational to conclude, that the improvements now taking place in law, will not be followed by a correspondent amelioration in society,[Pg 123] since it is obvious that a much higher degree of civilization is attainable by man, than any country has yet exhibited?

To those who wish for information on the subject of prison discipline, we recommend a perusal of the correspondence between Mr. R. Vaux of Philadelphia, and Mr. Roscoe of Liverpool; also of the account of the Auburn prison contained in Captain Hall's travels in the United States. In reference to the latter work, it gives us satisfaction to say, that the chapter referred to is unexceptionable. We wish we could say as much for the rest.

We now proceed to furnish some specimens of the modes of life which thieves and swindlers fall into, that our honest readers may have an opportunity of contrasting them with their own. In so doing, they will doubtless congratulate themselves on the possession of moral principle, satisfied that predatory propensities would have disturbed that calm which belongs only to virtue. The following is Ward's account of his first act of dishonesty.—

"Finding it impossible, as I thought, to withstand the impetuosity of my inclinations and desires for freedom and pleasure, I resolved, even against my better judgment, to leave Mr. Pusey and seek my fortune. My hopes were raised to the highest and most pleasing prospects of independence, ease, and affluence; and having in my earliest life cultivated the principle, that in all cases which require secrecy, we should never divulge to a friend what we wish to conceal from an enemy, I concealed my intentions from every body, determining to embrace the first opportunity favourable for prosecuting my first, long-cogitated, and, as I thought, exceedingly cunning plan. Accordingly, during the autumn of 1806, on a Sabbath afternoon, I determined to execute my scheme. Near home, there was a store kept by Mr. Kinsey, in copartnership with Mr. Pusey. I was on terms of the greatest harmony and friendship with Mr. Kinsey; and, taking advantage of this confidence, I had ascertained where his cash was kept. I entered the store, and found no difficulty in obtaining every cent. All the family being from home, I concluded to let the house take care of itself, as, having done thus much, I must inevitably make my departure. Having saddled Mr. Pusey's best horse, I mounted, and, with saddle-bags and clothing, started from the house. Being certain I should be pursued as soon as the robbery was discovered, I thought it would be proper to take a course, on which I could most advantageously travel by night as well as by day. I accordingly took my way towards Lancaster; but about four miles from home, I was seen by some person who knew me. Now I was likely to be defeated in all my calculations. At dark, I arrived at Witmer's Bridge, within two miles of Lancaster, having ridden sixteen miles in two hours. I stopt there only a few minutes to water and feed my horse, and, remounting, I rode to near daylight next morning, when I arrived at Anderson's Ferry on the Susquehanna. There I was detained some time by the negligence of the boatmen; and I had not proceeded more than half way across the river, when I heard the horn blow as a signal for them to hurry back. Although I trembled at the dread sound and alarm of the approach of my pursuers, I vainly hoped it was impossible for them to be so close after me. However, I determined now that I would give them every trouble, let them take me or not. I did not stop for breakfast, and as I had ridden the whole night, my horse became fatigued and slow, so that about noon I was overtaken by another horseman, whom I found to be my own cousin. He desired me to stop immediately and return, he himself having been suspected of the very act I had committed. As my horse was tired down, I sprang with all my might, to secure myself by taking to the woods. Here again my hopes were frustrated; for my foot caught in the stirrup, and I was forced to yield to[Pg 124] superior strength. On our way back, he explained the cause of his overtaking me. Having ridden his horse down, he had hired fresh ones at regular distances. This mode of pursuit I had not thought of; but, alas! I was told of it now, when it was too late! Every measure that I had thought most fitly adapted for my clearance, seemed now only to aggravate my folly. Shame for my guilt filled my mind with the keenest remorse.

Mr. Pusey sent for a constable, and informed me I must go to jail. Attended by the constable, and another as an assistant, I started with a heavy heart. We travelled on foot, and very slowly, so that when night came on, we had eight or nine miles yet to go. The constable being negligent, permitted me at times to be twenty or thirty yards from him; and of these opportunities I designed to avail myself. Accordingly, on reaching a place where the road made a short turn, I dashed from them into the bushes, where I hid myself. After they had passed me unnoticed, I cut a large club, and travelled my own way a short distance, when I met a man who eyed me in a scrutinizing manner. I immediately asked him, whether he had seen a fellow running that way from the constables who were taking him to jail? He answered that he had, and that he believed I was the very fellow! 'Well,' said I, 'if you think so, you are welcome to take me.' But fearing my large club, he left me to pursue my journey. Travelling a little distance, I came to a tavern, and looking through the window, saw the constable and his assistant eating their supper. Their horses resting under a shed, I was about to take one; but seeing a barn at a short distance from me, I abandoned my intention. I went into it, and retired to rest for the night. I arose next morning after a refreshing sleep, and pursued my journey to my father's, and arrived at Strasburgh about breakfast time. On entering the tavern, I saw an elderly lady who had lived with Mr. Pusey. She asked me how I was, and where I was going? I told her to visit my parents. She answered, that she really believed I was running away! Apprehensive of danger, I resumed my journey towards my father's, and on the road I met him. From my relation of the affair, he gave it as his opinion that it would be imprudent in me to return again; for he had not the least doubt that I should be arrested, and dealt with according to my offence; so, after remaining at his house a short time, I bent my course to Reading. I confidently believe, to this very day, that if I had not escaped punishment for this crime, I never should have committed another in my whole life."

Another of his escapes we shall here insert, premising that he had been apprehended for stealing a horse.

"He brought with him a blacksmith, who had a load of chains upon his shoulder. The smith put a collar round my neck, and shackles on my ankles. Between these was a small chain for the purpose of making me fast to any thing by a padlock. Mounted on horseback, this chain was passed to the one attached to my collar, and there locked; besides this I was hand-cuffed. Thus equipped, we repaired towards Georgia, through a country mostly inhabited by Indians. On arriving within two days' journey of home, we took lodging at a public house, the first we had seen. Dismounting, my chain was in part wrapped round one of my legs, and the others around my neck. In this situation we took supper with the family, and sat a considerable time after the table was removed. As it was determined we should remain here for the night, which was dark and rainy, I had hopes that I could some way or other make my escape. Having called to a servant to bring me a basin of water to wash my feet, I took care to wind the chain closely around my leg. I then asked her to open the front door for me, as though I intended only to throw out the dirty water; this I did, and finding there were no fears of my going out, I walked a few times across the floor. This gave me a chance to put on my hat unnoticed, when, taking the advantage of a minute, I dashed out and jumped the yard fence; but in so doing, I lost my hat. Having no time to lose, I made a straight course from the house. I soon heard them all in confusion, and saw some of them out of doors with a light. The landlord having a large dog, they brought him in pursuit of me. He took my track, and had nigh taken me when I just reached a creek, into[Pg 125] the waters of which I waded some distance, turning with the stream from the place I entered at. Here I stood, leg deep, for some time, hearing all their conclusions respecting me. Thinking I had crossed there, they gave me up, and returned to the house again. I immediately made my retreat from a place surrounding and threatening me with so many dangers. After running and walking about four miles, fatigued and lost, I lay down and slept till morning. I then steered my course across the country, avoiding houses and settlements, hoping to see some slaves in the fields to help me to take off my irons, but could see none. Near noon, I came in sight of an old house which I discovered was inhabited. I approached it at the side where there was no window. I went to a wagon, and taking from it an iron bolt and a linchpin, I made to the woods, where, with much difficulty, I succeeded in extricating myself from my collar and chains. I placed them in a pile at the root of a large tree, near which I lay down and slept till evening, being afraid to travel in the day-time. At dark I arose, and made my way towards South Carolina, walking the whole night, and by morning was thirty miles from where I started. My greatest difficulty was having no hat. Coming, however, to a river, I saw a bridge that crossed it a little below me. I went on it, and stood leaning over its wall, till I saw a traveller coming the other way. As soon as he approached me, I told him, with much concern, that I had met with bad luck; for I had just been looking over the wall when my hat fell off, and went rapidly down the stream, the sides of which were so dangerous I could not possibly get it again:—would he be so kind as to tell me where I could buy another? He told me he would conduct me to a store; I went with him and purchased one."

The life of a thief is one of perpetual anxiety, yet with many it becomes a sort of passion. The earnings of honest industry, even when sufficient to keep them in comfort, are not sufficient to keep them satisfied. The recollection of dangers escaped, the chance of similar fortune again, the prurience of activity,—all urge to a renewal of their lawless pursuits; and as a thoroughbred sportsman despises the practice of catching game by snares, deeming it unworthy of a skilful marksman, so, we suspect, do thieves regard the reward of industry, when compared with the booty of a dangerous encounter. In Vaux's Memoirs we find much to lead us to this conclusion. Several times was he well settled in the way of obtaining, not only an honest livelihood, but of participating in elegancies, luxuries, and agreeable society. Still, as if impelled by destiny, he continually risked the loss of all, to gratify his bad propensity. Ward, on the contrary, had been perpetually unfortunate in realizing his visionary hopes; he was entreated by his wife to forsake his evil courses; but it was all in vain. "Resorting occasionally," he says, "to the company of some adepts in crime, it seemed to afford me pleasure." And in the narratives of the other two, we find evident delight manifested at the success of a hazardous, fraudulent undertaking, while the guilt of the action, and the pain and misery it may have occasioned, are overlooked or lightly regarded, just as a military hero, exulting in a victory, laments the loss of neither friends nor foes. Human happiness, in truth, is connected in the minds of different persons with the most opposite deeds and qualities. Diogenes in his tub, and Alexander at the head of an army, was each pursuing his gratification;[Pg 126] and who shall decide which was the more successful? Hume, in one of his Essays, remarks, that there is no question that a boarding-school miss has often experienced as exquisite delight on finding herself the idol of a ball-room, as an orator when receiving the rapturous applauses of a delighted audience; and Colley Gibber says, that on hearing an old actor express admiration at one of his early performances on the stage, he felt so proud of the commendation, that he doubted whether "Alexander himself, or Charles XII., when at the head of their first victorious armies, could feel a greater transport in their bosoms." After reading this, some may perhaps think that Pope's epigram on Cibber[14] was not unmerited; but when they consider that thieves feel a similar exultation, they may rather be inclined to pity poor human nature. In exemplification of what we have advanced, we request attention to the following extract from Vaux. Some of his acquaintances in Newgate had informed him that Mr. Bilger, a jeweller and goldsmith, was a good flat.

"About 5 o'clock in the evening, I entered his shop, dressed in the most elegant style, having a valuable gold watch and appendages, a gold eye-glass, &c. I had posted my old friend and aid-de-camp, Bromley, at the door, in order to be in readiness to act as circumstances might require, and particularly to watch the motions of Mr. Bilger and his assistants on my quitting the premises. On my entrance, Mrs. Bilger issued from a back parlour behind the shop, and politely inquiring my business, I told her I wished to see Mr. Bilger; she immediately rang a bell, which brought down her husband from the upper apartments. He saluted me with a low bow, and handed me a seat. I was glad to find no other person in the shop, Mrs. Bilger having again retired. I now assumed the air of a Bond-street lounger, and informed Mr. Bilger, that I had been recommended by a gentleman of my acquaintance to deal with him, having occasion for a very elegant diamond ring, and requested to see his assortment. Mr. Bilger expressed his concern that he happened not to have a single article of that description by him, but if I could without inconvenience call again, he would undertake in one hour to procure me a selection from his working-jeweller, to whom he would immediately despatch a messenger. I affected to feel somewhat disappointed; but, looking at my watch, after a moment's reflection,[Pg 127] I said, 'Well, Mr. Bilger, I have an appointment at the Cannon coffee-house, which requires my attendance, and if you will, without fail, have the articles ready, I may probably look in a little after six.' This he promised faithfully to do, declaring how much he felt obliged by my condescension; and I sauntered out of the shop, Mr. Bilger attending me in the most obsequious manner to the outer door. After walking a short distance, Bromley tapped me on the shoulder, and inquired what conduct I meant next to pursue; for he had viewed my proceedings through a glass-door in the shop, and saw that I had not executed my grand design. I related to Bromley the result of my conversation with Mr. Bilger, and added that I meant to retire to the nearest public-house, where we could enjoy a pipe and a glass of negus, until the expiration of the hour to which I had limited myself. We accordingly regaled ourselves at a very snug house, nearly opposite Bilger's, until about half after six, when I again repaired to the scene of action, leaving Bromley, as at first, posted at the door. Mr. Bilger received me with increased respect, and producing a small card box, expressed his sorrow that his workman had only been enabled to send three rings for my inspection, but that if they were not to my taste, he should feel honoured and obliged in taking my directions for having one made, and flattered himself he should execute the order to my satisfaction. I proceeded to examine the rings he produced, one of which was marked sixteen guineas, another nine guineas, and the third six guineas. They were all extremely beautiful; but I affected to consider them as too paltry, telling Mr. Bilger that I wanted one to present to a lady, and that I wished to have a ring of greater value than the whole three put together, as a few guineas would not be an object in the price. Mr. Bilger's son, who was also his partner, now joined us, and was desired by his father to sketch a draught in pencil of some fancy rings, agreeable to the directions I should give him. The three rings I had viewed, were now removed to the end of the counter next the window, and I informed the young man that I wished to have something of a cluster, a large brilliant in the centre, surrounded with smaller ones; but repeated my desire that no expense might be spared to render the article strictly elegant, and worthy a lady's acceptance. The son having sketched a design of several rings on a card, I examined them with attention, and appeared in doubt which to prefer, but desired to see some loose diamonds, in order to form a better idea of the size, &c. of each ring described in the drawing. Mr. Bilger, however, declared he had not any by him. It is probable he spoke truth, or he might have lost such numbers by showing them, as to deter him from exhibiting them in future. Without having made up my mind on the subject, I now requested to see some of his most fashionable brooches, or shirt-pins. Mr. Bilger produced a show-glass, containing a great variety of articles in pearl, but he had nothing of the kind in diamonds. I took up two or three of the brooches, and immediately sunk a very handsome one, marked three guineas, in my coat sleeve. I next purloined a beautiful clasp for a lady's waist, consisting of stones set in gold, which had the appearance and brilliancy of real diamonds, but marked only four guineas. I should probably have gone still deeper, but at this moment a lady coming in, desired to look at some ear-rings, and the younger Mr. Bilger immediately quitted his father to attend upon her at the other end of the shop. It struck me that now was my time for a decisive stroke. The card containing the diamond rings, procured from the maker, lying very near the show-glass I was viewing, and many small articles irregularly placed round about them, the candles not throwing much light on that particular spot, and Mr. Bilger's attention being divided between myself and the lady, to whom he frequently addressed himself, I suddenly took the three rings from the card, and committed them to my sleeve, to join the brooch and lady's clasp; but had them so situated, that I could, in a moment, have released and replaced them on the counter, had an inquiry been made for them. I then looked at my watch, and observing that I was going to the theatre, told Mr. Bilger that I would not trouble him any further, as the articles before me were too tawdry and common to please me, but that I would put the card of draughts in my pocket-book, and if I did not meet with a ring of the kind I wanted, before Monday or Tuesday, I would certainly call again, and give him final directions. I was then drawing on my[Pg 128] gloves, being anxious to quit the shop while I was well; but Mr. Bilger, who seemed delighted with the prospect of my custom, begged so earnestly that I would allow him to show me his brilliant assortment of gold watches, that I could not refuse to gratify him, though I certainly incurred a great risk by my compliance. I therefore answered,—'Really, Mr. Bilger, I am loath to give you that unnecessary trouble, as I have, you may perceive, a very good watch already, in point of performance; though it cost me a mere trifle, only twenty guineas; but it answers my purpose as well as a more valuable one. However, as I may probably, before long, want an elegant watch for a lady, I dont care if I just run my eye over them.' Mr. Bilger replied, that the greater part of his stock were fancy watches, adapted for ladies, and he defied all London united, to exhibit a finer collection. He then took from his window a show-glass, containing about thirty most beautiful watches, some ornamented with pearls or diamonds, others elegantly enamelled, or chased in the most delicate style. They were of various prices, from thirty to one hundred guineas, and the old gentleman, rubbing his hands with an air of rapture, exclaimed,—'There they are, sir,—a most fashionable assortment of goods; allow me to recommend them; they're all a-going, sir—all a-going.' I smiled inwardly at the latter part of this speech, and thought to myself,—'I wish they were going, with all my heart, along with the diamond rings.' I answered, they were certainly very handsome, but I would defer a minute inspection of them till my next visit, when I should have more time to spare. These watches were ranged in exact order, in five parallel lines, and between each watch was placed a gold seal or other trinket appertaining to a lady's watch. It was no easy matter, therefore, to take away a single article without its being instantly missed, unless the economy of the whole had been previously deranged. I contrived, however, to displace a few of the trinkets, on pretence of admiring them, and ventured to secrete one very rich gold seal, marked six guineas. I then declared I could stay no longer, as I had appointed to meet a party at the theatre; but that I would certainly call again in a few days, and lay out some money in return for the trouble I had given. Mr. Bilger expressed his thanks in the most respectful terms, and waited upon me to the door, where he took leave of me with a low congé, à la mode de France, of which country he was a native. I now put the best foot foremost, and having gained a remote street, turned my head, and perceived Bromley at my heels, who seized my hand, congratulating me on my success, and complimenting me on the address I had shown in this exploit; for he had witnessed all that passed, and knew that I had succeeded in my object, by the manner in which I quitted the shop. He informed me that Mr. Bilger had returned to his counter, and without attending to the arrangement of the articles thereon, had joined his son, who was still waiting upon the lady, and that he, Bromley, had finally left them both engaged with her."

Who can fail to perceive, in the above narrative, the satisfaction of the author in displaying his adroitness? His vanity seems to be as much gratified, as if he had been relating some performance meriting approbation. The feeling of shame is altogether alien to him. And thus, by Vidocq's account, it always is with thieves, they glorying as much in detailing their successful exploits, as if no ignominy could attach to them. Amongst his confederates too, and all of the same class, his reputation is proportionate to his daring and skill. Of this, take the following instance related by Vidocq.—

"The incredible effrontery of Beaumont, almost surpasses belief. Escaped from the Bagne at Rochefort, where he was sentenced to pass twelve years of his life, he came to Paris, and scarcely had he arrived there, where he had already practised, when, by way of getting his hand in, he committed several trifling robberies, and when, by these preliminary steps, he had proceeded to exploits more worthy of his ancient renown, he conceived the project of stealing[Pg 129] a treasure. No one will imagine that this was in the Central Office, now the Prefecture of Police!! It was already pretty difficult to procure impressions of the keys, but he achieved the first difficulty, and soon had in his possession all the means of effecting an opening; but to open was nothing; it was necessary to open without being perceived, to introduce himself without fear of being disturbed, to work without witnesses, and go out again freely. Beaumont, who had calculated all the difficulties that opposed him, was not dismayed. He had remarked that the private room of the chief officer, M. Henry, was nigh to the spot where he proposed to effect his entrance; he espied the propitious moment, and wished sincerely that some circumstance would call away so dangerous a neighbour for some time, and chance was subservient to his wishes. One morning, M. Henry was obliged to go out. Beaumont, sure that he would not return that day, ran to his house, put on a black coat, and in that costume, which, in those days, always announced a magistrate, or public functionary, presents himself at the entrance of the Central Office. The officer to whom he addressed himself, supposed of course that he was at least a commissary. On the invitation of Beaumont, he gave him a soldier, whom he placed as sentinel at the entrance to the narrow passage which leads to the depôt, and commanded not to allow any person to pass. No better expedient could be found for preventing surprise. Thus Beaumont, in the midst of a crowd of valuable objects, could, at his leisure, and in perfect security, choose what best pleased him; watches, jewels, diamonds, precious stones, &c. He chose those which he deemed most valuable, most portable, and as soon as he had made his selection, he dismissed the sentinel and disappeared.

"This robbery could not be long concealed, and the following day was discovered. Had thunder fallen on the police, they would have been less astonished than at this event. To penetrate to the very sanctuary! The holy of holies! The fact appeared so very extraordinary, that it was doubted. Yet it was evident that a robbery had taken place, and to whom was it to be attributed? All the suspicions fell on the clerks, sometimes on one, sometimes on another, when Beaumont, betrayed by a friend, was apprehended, and sentenced a second time. The robbery he had committed might be estimated at some hundred thousand francs, the greater part of which were found on him.

"Beaumont enjoyed amongst his confraternity a colossal reputation; and even now, when a rogue boasts of his lofty exploits,—'Hold your tongue,' they say, 'you are not worthy to untie the shoe-strings of Beaumont!' In effect, to have robbed the police was the height of address."

We now proceed to make the reader acquainted with the habits and exertions of police-officers, who perform exploits equal in craft and danger to those of thieves. In order to detect the latter, they often resort to the vilest places, and associate with the vilest of mankind; assume various characters and occupations; and sometimes, perhaps,—stimulated by the hope of reward,—lead others to commit crimes in order to entrap them. Vidocq, however, professes in every case to have acted without any desire to entice. He says that he himself never proposed any scheme of robbery; but took care to concur in such as were proposed by others. This declaration must, we suppose, be received with some qualification, as without an occasional suggestion, he would probably have been suspected in his designs. Be that as it may, he was eminently successful in securing villains; for having practised villainy himself, he knew their ways and devices, thus verifying the propriety of the maxim,—"Set a thief to catch a thief." Some of the convicts at Botany Bay make the best police-officers. Of this we have an instance in[Pg 130] Barrington, the famous London pick-pocket, who rendered such essential services to the colony, that in his old age he was pensioned by the government. By what means Vidocq, after all his devotion, came to lose his office, he has not mentioned; an omission rather singular, which lays his character open to suspicion, especially as he has given the circumstances that first led him to offer himself to the police. These circumstances it may be proper to glance at, as they exhibit a view of the dangers attendant on a lawless course of life.

"At this period, it seemed as if the whole world was leagued against me; I was compelled to draw my purse-strings at every moment, and for whom? For creatures who, looking on my liberality as compulsory, were prepared to betray me as soon as I ceased to be a certain source of reliance. When I went home from my wife's, I had still another proof of the wretchedness affixed to the state of a fugitive galley-slave. Annette and my mother were in tears. During my absence, two drunken men had asked for me, and on being told that I was from home, they had broke forth in oaths and threats, which left me no longer in doubt of the perfidy of their intentions. By the description which Annette gave me of these two individuals, I easily recognised Blondy, and his comrade, Deluc. I had no trouble in guessing their names; and besides, they had left an address, with a formal injunction to send them forty francs, which was more than enough to disclose to me who they were, as there were not in Paris any other persons who could send me such an intimation. I was obedient, very obedient; only in paying my contribution to these two scoundrels, I could not help letting them know how inconsiderately they had behaved. 'Consider what a step you have taken,' said I to them; 'they know nothing at my house, and you have told them all. My wife, who carries on the concern in her name, will perhaps turn me out, and then I must be reduced to the lowest ebb of misery.'—'Oh! you can come and rob with us,' answered the two rascals. I endeavoured to convince them, how much better it was to owe an existence to honest toil, than to be in incessant fears from the police, which, sooner or later, catches all malefactors in its nets. I added, that one crime generally leads to another; that he would risk his neck who ran straight towards the guillotine; and the termination of my discourse was, that they would do well to renounce the dangerous career on which they had entered. 'Not so bad!' cried Blondy, when I had finished my lecture, 'not so bad.' 'But can you, in the mean time, point out to us any apartment that we can ransack? We are, you see, like Harlequin, and have more need of cash than advice;' and they left me, laughing deridingly at me. I called them back, to profess my attachment to them, and begged them not to call again at my house. 'If that is all,' said Deluc, 'we will keep from that.'—'Oh yes, we'll keep away,' added Blondy, 'since that is unpleasant to your mistress.' But the latter did not stay away long: the very next day, at night-fall, he presented himself at my ware-house, and asked to speak to me privately. I took him into my own room. 'We are alone?' said he to me, looking round at the room in which we were; and when he was assured that he had no witnesses, he drew from his pocket eleven silver forks, and two gold watches, which he placed on a stand. 'Four hundred francs for this would not be too much—the silver plate and the gold watches.—Come, tip us the needful.'—'Four hundred francs!' said I, alarmed at so abrupt a total,—'I have not so much money.'—'Never mind; go and sell the goods.'—'But if it should be known!'—'That's your affair; I want the ready; or if you like it better, I'll send you customers from the police-office;—you know what a word would do;—come, come,—the cash, the chink, and no gammon.' I understood the scoundrel but too well: I saw myself denounced, dragged from the state in which I had installed myself, and led back to the Bagne. I counted out the four hundred francs."

Considering the danger in which Vidocq was placed, his offer[Pg 131] to serve the police was judicious. What could be more trying than to lie at the mercy of rascals? Obliged to be continually supplying them with hush-money, and yet always afraid of being betrayed by them, he was in perpetual torment; but, his services once accepted by the police, all this was at an end. He must have felt himself like a man escaped from a wreck, and from the horrors of contending elements; like Ulysses, to whom we have before compared him, when, having accepted the mantle offered him by Leucothea, he reached the friendly shore of Pheacia. Like him, too, his toils were to be renewed. He had enemies to cope with and subdue, and who required to be encountered with as much subtlety and resolution as Penelope's suitors. The following is his account of his first capture.—

"One morning I was hastily summoned to attend the chief of the division. The matter in hand was to discover a man named Watrin, accused of having fabricated and put in circulation false money and bank-notes. The inspectors of the police had already arrested Watrin, but, according to custom, had allowed him to escape. M. Henry gave me every direction which he deemed likely to assist me in the search after him; but, unfortunately, he had only gleaned a few simple particulars of his usual habits and customary haunts. Every place he was known to frequent was freely pointed out to me; but it was not very likely he would be found in those resorts, which prudence would call upon him carefully to avoid: there remained, therefore, only a chance of reaching him by some bye-path. When I learnt that he had left his effects in a furnished house, where he once lodged, on the boulevard of Mont Parnasse, I took it for granted, that, sooner or later, he would go there in search of his property; or, at least, that he would send some person to fetch it from thence; consequently I directed all my vigilance to this spot; and after having reconnoitred the house, I lay in ambush in its vicinity, night and day, in order to keep a watchful eye upon all comers and goers. This went on for nearly a week, when, weary of not observing any thing, I determined upon engaging the master of the house in my interest, and to hire an apartment of him, where I accordingly established myself with Annette, certain that my presence could give rise to no suspicion. I had occupied this post for about fifteen days, when, one evening, at eleven o'clock, I was informed that Watrin had just come, accompanied by another person. Owing to a slight indisposition, I had retired to bed earlier than usual; however, at this news I rose hastily, and descended the staircase by four stairs at a time; but whatever diligence I might use, I was only just in time to catch Watrin's companion; him I had no right to detain, but I made myself sure that I might, by intimidation, obtain further particulars from him. I therefore seized him, threatened him, and soon drew from him a confession, that he was a shoemaker, and that Watrin lived with him, No. 4, Rue des Mauvais Garçons. This was all I wanted to know: I had only time to slip an old great coat over my shirt, and, without stopping to put on more garments, I hurried on to the place thus pointed out to me. I reached the house the very instant that some person was quitting it: persuaded that it was Watrin, I attempted to seize him; he escaped from me, and I darted after him up a staircase; but at the moment of grasping him, a violent blow, which struck my chest, drove me down twenty stairs. I sprung forward again, and that so quickly, that, to escape from my pursuit, he was compelled to return into the house through a sash-window. I then knocked loudly at the door, summoning him to open it without delay. This he refused to do. I then desired Annette, who had followed me, to go in search of the guard; and, whilst she was preparing to obey me, I counterfeited the noise of a man descending the stairs. Watrin, deceived by this feint, was anxious to satisfy himself whether I had actually gone, and softly put his head out of the window, to observe if all was safe. This was exactly what I wanted. I made a[Pg 132] vigorous dart forwards, and seized him by the hair of his head: he grasped me in the same manner, and a desperate struggle took place: jammed against the partition-wall which separated us, he opposed me with a determined resistance. Nevertheless, I felt that he was growing weaker; I collected all my strength for a last effort; I strained every nerve, and drew him nearly out of the window through which we were struggling; one more trial, and the victory was mine; but in the earnestness of my grasp, we both rolled on the passage floor, on to which I had pulled him. To rise, snatch from his hands the shoemaker's cutting knife with which he had armed himself, to bind him and lead him out of the house, was the work of an instant. Accompanied only by Annette, I conducted him to the prefecture, where I received the congratulations, first of M. Henry, and afterwards those of the prefect of police, who bestowed on me a pecuniary recompense."

The next account we shall transcribe, is one of his freeing the community of a receiver of stolen goods. This man had been long watched by the police; but all attempts to convict him had failed. Accordingly M. Henry was desirous that Vidocq should use his endeavours, which he readily did as follows.

"Posted near the house of the suspected dealer in stolen property, I watched for his going out; and, following him when he had gone a few steps down the street, addressed him by a different name to his own. He assured me I was mistaken; I protested to the contrary; he insisted upon it I was deceived; and I affected to be equally satisfied of his identity, declaring my perfect recognition of his person, as that of a man who, for some time, had been sought after by the police throughout Paris and its environs. 'You are grossly mistaken,' replied he warmly; 'my name is so and so, and I live in such a street.' 'Come, come, friend,' said I, 'excuses are useless; I know you too well to part with you so easily.' 'This is too much,' cried he, 'but, at the next police station, I shall probably be able to meet with those who can convince you, that I know my own name better than you seem to do.' This was exactly the point at which I wished to arrive. 'Agreed,' said I, and we bent our steps to the neighbouring guard-house. We entered, and I requested him to show me his papers; he had none about him. I then insisted upon his being searched, and, on his person, were found three watches, and twenty-five double Napoleons, which I caused to be laid aside till he should be examined before a magistrate. These things had been wrapped in a handkerchief, which I contrived to secure, and, after having disguised myself as a messenger, I hastened to the house of this receiver of stolen goods, and demanded to speak with his wife. She, of course, had no idea of my business, or knowledge of my person, and seeing several persons besides herself present, I signified to her, that my business being of a private nature, it was important that I should speak to her alone; and in token of my claims to her confidence, produced the handkerchief, and inquired whether she recognised it? Although still ignorant of the cause of my visit, her countenance became troubled, and her whole person was much agitated, as she begged me to let her hear my business. 'I am concerned,' replied I, 'to be the bearer of unpleasant news; but the fact is, your husband has just been arrested, every thing found on his person has been seized, and, from some words which he happened to overhear, he suspects he has been betrayed; he therefore wishes you to remove out of the house certain things, you are aware would be dangerous to his safety if found on the premises. If you please, I will lend you a helping hand, but I must forewarn you that you have not one moment to lose.' The information was of the first importance. The sight of the handkerchief, and the description of the objects it had served to envelope, removed from her mind every doubt as to the truth of the message I had brought her; and she easily fell into the snare I had laid to entrap her. She thanked me for the trouble I had taken, and begged I would go and engage three hackney coaches, and return to her with as little delay as possible. I left the house to execute my commission, but on the road, I stopped to give one of my people instructions to[Pg 133] keep the coaches in sight, and to seize them, with their contents, directly I should give the signal. The vehicles drew up to the door, and, upon re-entering the house, I found things in a high state of preparation for removing. The floor was strewed with articles of every description; time-pieces, candelabra, Etruscan vases, cloths, cachemires, linen, muslin, &c. All these things had been taken from a closet, the entrance to which was cleverly concealed by a large press, so skilfully contrived, that the most practised eye could not have discovered the deception. I assisted in the removal, and, when it was completed, the press having been carefully replaced, the woman begged of me to accompany her, which I did; and no sooner was she in one of the coaches, ready to start, than I suddenly pulled up the window, and, at this previously concerted signal, we were immediately surrounded by the police. The husband and wife were tried at the assizes, and, as may be easily conceived, were overwhelmed beneath the weight of an accusation, in support of which there existed a formidable mass of convicting testimony."

We must extract one more account from Vidocq, to show the desperate hazards which police-officers sometimes run, in capturing criminals; hazards which, when surmounted, they naturally exult in. Information had been received at the police-office, that one Fossard, who had several times effected escapes from jail, was living with his mistress in a certain district of Paris; that the windows of his apartment had yellow curtains; and that a hump-backed seamstress lived in the same house. This was very indefinite; for neither the street, nor the number of the house was known, and curtains might be changed. However, Vidocq was not deterred from undertaking a search; accordingly, disguised as an old-fashioned gentleman, he began the enterprise. He went from street to street; ascended staircase after staircase till his limbs ached; called at the doors of scores of seamstresses, but no hump-backed damsel appeared;—all were as straight as arrows! Not more ardently, he says, did Don Quixote pant for Dulcinea, than he for Humpina. Days rolled on unsuccessfully: he began to despair. At length he resolved to change his measures, and, instead of clambering up flights of steps, to station himself near the stand of a gossiping milk-woman, and watch her customers. Numbers of women came to buy their milk in the morning, but not one adorned with the delectable hump. At length, in the evening, he caught sight of one whose back had the desired ornament. He followed her from the milk-woman's to the grocer's, from the grocer's to the tripe-shop, and, finally, to her home; but when he got there, no yellow curtains were to be seen. What was to be done? He resolved to speak to her at all events; so, feigning himself to be a deserted husband, he inquired of her whether Fossard and his mistress were occupants of any part of the house? Her reply was disheartening:—they had quitted their lodgings, and were gone, she knew not where. Still, the case did not appear hopeless. He had employed a porter to carry his goods, and might not that porter be found? A new search was requisite, and it terminated successfully, by his tracing Fossard[Pg 134] to a vintner's. Considering, then, that it was advisable to have the vintner on his side, he called on him in his usual dress, and informed him, from the police, that his lodgers meditated robbing him. He and his wife were in consternation at the intelligence; but Vidocq having pacified them, arranged his plans. The grand difficulty to be overcome, arose from Fossard's always carrying a loaded pistol in his hand, and which, they knew from his character, he would assuredly discharge at the first man that laid hands on him. Here Vidocq must tell his own tale, we premising, that Fossard's mistress styled herself Madame Hazard.—

"At an early hour, on the 29th of December, I betook myself to my station. It was desperately cold; the watch was a protracted one, and the more painful as we had no fire. Motionless, however, and my eyes fixed against a small hole in the shutter, I kept my post. At last, about three o'clock, he went out. I followed gladly, and recognised him; for, up to that period, I had my doubts. Certain now of his identity, I wished, at that moment, to put into execution the order for his apprehension; but the officer who was with me, said he saw the terrible pistol. That I might authenticate the fact, I walked quickly and passed Fossard, and then returning, saw clearly that the agent was right. To attempt to arrest him would have been useless, and I resolved to defer it. On the 31st of December, at eleven o'clock, when all my batteries were charged and my plans perfect, Fossard returned, and, without distrust, ascended the staircase shaking with cold; and, twenty minutes after, the disappearance of the light indicated that he was in bed. The moment had now arrived. The commissary and gend'armes, summoned by me, were waiting at the nearest guard-house until I should call them, and then enter quietly. We deliberated on the most effectual mode of seizing Fossard, without running the risk of being killed or wounded; for they were persuaded, that, unless surprised, this robber would defend himself desperately. My first thought was, to do nothing till daybreak, as I had been told that Fossard's companion went down very early to get the milk; we should then seize her, and, after having taken the key from her, we should enter the room of her lover; but might it not happen that, contrary to his usual custom, he might go out first? This reflection led me to adopt another expedient. The vintner's wife, in whose favour, as I was told, M. Hazard was much prepossessed, had one of her nephews at her house, a lad about ten years of age, intelligent beyond his years, and the more desirous of getting money, as he was a Norman. I promised him a reward, on condition that, under pretence of his aunt's being taken suddenly ill, he should go and beg Madame Hazard to give him some Eau de Cologne. I desired the little chap to assume the most piteous tone he could; and was so well satisfied with the specimen he gave me, that I began to distribute the parts to my performers. The dénouement was near at hand. I made all my party take off their shoes, doing the same myself, that we might not be heard whilst going up stairs. The little snivelling pilot was in his shirt; he rang the bell;—no one answered: again he rang;—'Who's there,' was heard.—'It is I Madame Hazard; it is Louis: my poor aunt is very bad, and begs you will be so very obliging as to give her a little Eau de Cologne.—Oh! she is dying!—I have got a light.' The door was opened; and scarcely had Madame Hazard presented herself, when two powerful gend'armes seized on her, and fastened a napkin over her mouth to prevent her crying out. At the same instant, with more rapidity than the lion when darting on his prey, I threw myself upon Fossard; who, stupified by what was doing, and already fast bound and confined in his bed, was my prisoner before he could make a single movement, or utter a single word. So great was his amazement, that it was nearly an hour before he could articulate even a few words. When a light was brought, and he saw my black face and garb of a coalman, he experienced such an increase of terror, that I really believe he imagined himself in the devil's[Pg 135] clutches. On coming to himself, he thought of his arms,—his pistols and dagger,—which were upon the table; and, turning his eyes towards them, he made a struggle, but that was all; for, reduced to the impossibility of doing any mischief, he was passive."

From the above extracts, a tolerably correct idea may be formed of thieves and police-officers;—men who co-exist in every civilized community, but who lead lives requiring the cunning and personal bravery of savages. The thief exults in the success of a daring exploit, and prides himself on his skill in avoiding the meshes of magistrates and lawyers: the police-officer is no less vain of his skill, in detecting and dragging to justice the man who boasts of his superiority in artifice, while he almost defies the arm of vengeance. In order that the number of such characters may be reduced, all reasonable attempts should be made to reclaim juvenile delinquents; prisons should be not only places of terror, but places where the spread of corruption is effectually prevented, by the prohibition of intercourse amongst the inmates; and, above all, education, founded on a moral and religious basis, should be extended throughout society. Facts bear us out in asserting, that crimes of the greatest magnitude, such as murder, burglary, and arson, considerably diminish with the spread of civilization, which operates, like the circle formed by the pebble thrown into water, in extending its influence in proportion to its circumference. As philanthropists in many different countries are labouring simultaneously to promote this great end, we are justified in considering the present age as the harbinger of a better; and we may rejoice in the anticipation. The progressive improvement of the human family is a delightful subject for meditation, giving us, perhaps, a prelibation of the joys of futurity, and animating us to contribute our aid, trifling as it may be, to the melioration of the condition of our country.

Before closing this article, we can scarcely forbear remarking, that the translator of Vidocq has used various words which have been considered by English writers as Americanisms; such as to progress, to approbate, and lengthy; also chicken-fighting for cock-fighting. Whether he is an American or an Englishman we know not; but certain we are, that nearly every one of the alleged peculiarities in language, adopted by Americans, may be found either in old English authors, or are known to have been used in one or other of the provincial brogues of England. Captain Basil Hall notices the substitution of fall for Autumn; but he might have known, that though nearly obsolete in England, it is still current in the west of England amongst the vulgar.[15] Even the much laughed at I guess, is in vogue in[Pg 136] Lancashire; so that with the exception of to tote for to carry, which, as Dr. Webster remarks, was introduced by the negroes into the southern states, we do not know whether a single word or expression supposed to be peculiar to the United States, may be found, which cannot be traced to Great Britain or Ireland. In the volume on Insect Architecture, issued by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, we notice the word sparse, which, till then, we had supposed to be of American formation; and a late writer in Blackwood's Magazine says, that the New-England word tarnation, is current in the county of Suffolk in old England. The probability of its being introduced into Massachusetts from that part of England, is confirmed by the great number of towns in Massachusetts bearing the same names as towns in the counties of Suffolk and Essex, and by the correspondence remarked by travellers between the dialects of the two districts. Every one may have observed, that the New-Englanders,—many even of the educated amongst them,—pronounce the participle been, as if written ben; and this peculiarity, we are assured, is prevalent in the part of England just mentioned.


[12] See the second series of Tales of a Grandfather.

[13] Since the above was written, we have met with an old schoolfellow of Vaux's, and who also knew him in after life; and from him we have learnt that Vaux's Memoirs have strong claim to credence, from the circumstance that the account of his early life appears to be correctly given, as also that part of his subsequent career which is known to our informant. He added, that his manners were quite fascinating.

[14] As many of our readers may not recollect it, we here insert it. Cibber, it should be borne in mind, was poet-laureate.

"In merry old England, it once was a rule,
That the king had his poet, and also his fool;
But the times are so altered, I'd have you to know it,
That Cibber will serve both for fool and for poet!"

Cibber seems so little to have minded this, and the rest of Pope's satire on him in the Dunciad, that he wrote another epigram nearly as pungent on himself! We give the following stanzas as a specimen of it.

"When Bayes thou play'st, thyself thou art;
For that by nature fit,
No blockhead better suits the part,
Than such a coxcomb wit.

In Wronghead, too, thy brains we see
Who might do well at plough;
As fit for Parliament was he,
As for the laurel thou."

[15] See A Summary View of America. By an Englishman. 8vo. London: 1824.


1.—"Counterblaste to Tobacco." By King James I. of England. Works, fol. from 214 to 222.

2.—A Dissertation on the Use and Abuse of Tobacco. By The Rev. Adam Clarke. pp. 32. October: 1798.

3.—Observations upon the influence of the habitual use of Tobacco upon Health, Morals, and Property. By Benjamin Rush, M.D. Essays. p. 263 to 274. 1798.

4.—Notices relative to Tobacco. By Dr. A. T. Thomson. Appendix (Note B) to Mrs. A. T. Thomson's Life of Sir Walter Ralegh. pp. 24: 1830.

The annals of literature furnish abundant examples of authors, who, through wantonness, whimsicality, a desire to say something, where many could say nothing, and few could say much, or from some other impulse, (for which it were now unprofitable to search,) have adopted themes either insignificant in themselves, or repugnant to truth; subjects barren, or improbable, or laborious, or palpably absurd. Thus Homer has celebrated the battle of the Frogs and Mice; Virgil sung of Bees; Polycrates commended Tyranny; Phavorinus sets forth the praises of Injustice; and Cardan pronounced the eulogy of Nero.[Pg 137] The Golden Ass of Apulcius is well known; Henry Cornelius Agrippa has employed his wit and learning on an elaborate "Digression in praise of the Asse." Other authors have discovered virtues and excellencies in this animal, though the generality of mankind have agreed in supposing it possessed nothing remarkable but dulness and obstinacy. Lucian exercised his genius on a fly; and Erasmus has dignified Folly in his Encomium Moriæ, which, for the sake of the pun, he inscribed to Sir Thomas More. The subject of Michael Psellus is a Gnat; Antonius Majoragius took for his theme Clay; Julius Scaliger wrote concerning a Goose; Janus Dousa on a Shadow; and Heinsius (horresco referens) eulogized a Louse. This last animal elicited some fine moral verses from Burns; Libanus thought the Ox worthy of his pen; and Sextus Empiricus selected the faithful Dog. Addison composed the Battle of the Pigmies and Cranes; Rochester versified about Nothing; and Johannes Passeratius made a Latin poem on the same subject, which is quoted at full length by Dr. Johnson at the end of his Life of Rochester. The Jeffreidos were written to commemorate the perils to which Sir Jeoffrey Hudson was exposed; Sir William Jones thought Chess worthy of the epopee; and at the foot of this list of egregious triflers, we place Dr. Raphael Thorius, who wrote a much and often praised Latin poem on the Virtues of Tobacco.

Now, to most of our readers, this last theme would seem to offer fewer inducements to the poet's pen than any of those thus enumerated; and genius could scarcely have selected one, which seemed less ennobling in itself, or rather, which at once presented such palpable discouragements, from the coarse associations connected with it, and the cureless vulgarity and nauseousness with which the whole subject appears to be invested. In opposition to so many obstacles and dissuasives, this great man yielded to the impulse of his muse, and obtained an immortality to which no other action of his life would have entitled him. It is with unaffected regret that we are compelled to state, that, to procure a sight of this celebrated poem, we have ransacked our libraries without the least success. How painful is the reflection, that perhaps this work has never yet reached the United States! What a reproach to our republic, that a poem whose object was to celebrate the virtues of the most incomparable of all our native plants, should be totally unknown in that new world, with whose discovery it was nearly contemporaneous! But perhaps our Jeremiad may be premature; for in some obscure corner in Virginia, (the garden of this weed,) a copy of the poem may at this very moment exist, like unobtrusive merit, disregarded and despised. For the honour of our country, we hope this may prove true; since it may lessen the odium[Pg 138] with which men habitually load poor republics, a name which has long been the by-word and synonime of ingratitude.

We are fully aware of the contemptuous manner in which Doctor Clarke speaks of this production, and its English translation by the Rev. W. Berwick, declaring them to be "of equal merit, and that they scarce deserve to be mentioned." But to the merit of this work we have testimony infinitely higher than the opinion of the Reverend Doctor. Thus, Howell, in his inimitable "Familiar Letters," a book which cannot be too highly commended, or too often read, says, "if you desire to read with pleasure all the virtues of this modern herb, you must read Dr. Thorius's Potologis, an accurate peece, couched in a strenuous heroic verse, and continuing its strength from first to last; insomuch that for the bignes it may be compared to any piece of antiquity, and in my opinion is beyond Βατζαχομυομαχια or Γαλεωμυομαχια."[16] The learned Mr. Bayle speaks of the same production in very commendatory language.[17] Bayle tells an excellent story of Thorius, which, as it illustrates the character of the great tobacco poet, deserves to be read. He was extremely fond of his glass of wine, and had, beside, that hydrophobic distaste, which has been imagined essential to the true poet. Being one day seated at the dinner table, in company with the celebrated Peireskius, in the festivity of the occasion, he was urging the latter to quaff off a bumper of wine, and after the most importunate intreaties, Peireskius at last agreed to do it upon one condition, which was, that Thorius should immediately afterwards drink a bumper himself. No condition could be more acceptable, no penalty more easy; but what was the surprise and horror of Thorius, when his turn came, to find that he was called upon to drink a bumper, not of wine, but of water!—which insipid and unaccustomed beverage, after sundry efforts and awry faces, he contrived to get down, amidst peals of laughter from his hilarious and learned friends.

We classed Thorius's poem among the extravagant vagaries of genius; but the more we reflect upon the subject matter of this poem, the more the conviction fastens upon our minds, that it is by no means a trivial or undignified topic; that considered in what light it may, tobacco must be regarded as the most astonishing of the productions of nature, since, although unsightly, offensive, and, perhaps, in every way pernicious, it has, in the short period of about three centuries, subdued not one particular nation, but the whole world, Christian and Pagan, into a bondage more abject and irremediable than was ever known to tyranny or superstition. Kings have forbidden[Pg 139] it; popes have anathematized it; and physicians have warned against it. Even ministers of the gospel have lifted up their voices, and thundered their denunciations from the pulpit; but all has been in vain; its use has increased, is increasing, and will increase, as long as the earth continues to yield this miraculous vegetable to the unnatural appetite of man.

That what is persecuted should thrive the more in consequence of persecution, can excite no surprise in any one at all skilled in the history of human nature; but this is altogether inadequate to account for that preternatural eagerness with which men seek after this wonderful plant. In fact, there appears to be some occult charm connected with it—some invisible spirit, which, be it angel, or be it devil, has never yet been, and perhaps never will be, satisfactorily explained. To those who have never revelled in this habit, and consequently can neither comprehend its nature or strength, the hyperbolical language which most authors use when they speak of tobacco, must appear, in an eminent degree, burlesque and overstrained. "Tobacco," says the Anatomist of Melancholy, "divine, rare, superexcellent tobacco, which goes far beyond all their panaceas, potable gold, and philosophers' stones, a soveraign remedy to all diseases—A good vomit, I confess, a vertuous herb, if it be well qualified, opportunely taken, and medicinally used; but as it is commonly abused by most men, which take it as tinkers do ale, 'tis a plague, a mischief, a violent purger of goods, lands, and health; hellish, devilish, and damned tobacco; the ruine and overthrow of body and soul."[18] So in his valedictory to tobacco, Mr. Lamb is not less extravagant and contradictory. The health of the poet it appears had suffered seriously from the immoderate use of tobacco, which had been in consequence interdicted by his physician. Compelled to surrender his favourite enjoyment, he vents his feelings in a very spirited "Farewell to Tobacco," which exhibits a singular mixture of opposite sentiments, and of violent struggles between his propensity to the habit and his acquiescence in the necessity which severs him from it, together with feeble attempts to curse that, without which, life to the unhappy poet seemed scarcely endurable.

"Stinking'st of the stinking kind,
Filth of the mouth and fog of the mind,
Africa that brags her foyson,
Breeds no such prodigious poison,
Henbane, nightshade, both together,
Hemlock, aconite——
——Nay, rather
Plant divine, of rarest virtue;
Blisters on the tongue would hurt you;[Pg 140]
'Twas but in a sort I blamed thee,
None e'er prospered who defamed thee."

But tobacco has had enemies of exalted station, whose persecution has been uniform, and whose hatred has been unmixed. Such was James the First of England, who is not less remarkable for his sagacity in discovering the gunpowder plot, and having supported the divine right of kings, than for having written a "Counterblaste to Tobacco."[19] But let the king speak for himself:—

"Tobacco," says he, "is the lively image and pattern of hell, for it hath, by allusion, all the parts and vices of the world whereby hell may be gained; to wit. 1. It is a smoke; so are all the vanities of this world. 2. It delighteth them that take it; so do all the pleasures of the world delight the men of the world. 3. It maketh men drunken and light in the head; so do all the vanities of the world, men are drunkards therewith. 4. He that taketh tobacco can not leave it; it doth bewitch him; even so the pleasures of the world make men loath to leave them; they are for the most part enchanted with them. And, farther, besides all this, it is like hell in the very substance of it, for it is a stinking loathsome thing, and so is hell."

The mythological fable which existed among the Indians as to the manner in which this plant was first bestowed upon mankind, is extremely whimsical, somewhat discreditable, and withal of such a nature as to preclude the propriety of our introducing it in this place to the acquaintance of our readers. But writers are not wanting who have carried the original of tobacco into the Grecian fabulous ages, and attributed to Bacchus the glory of having discovered and disclosed to mortals its virtues. Thorius, as Dr. Clarke tells us, very ominously ascribes the discovery and first use of this herb to Bacchus, Silenus, and the Satyrs, (drunkenness, gluttony, and lust,) and yet, continues the Doctor, with a sneer, this poem was written in praise of it. Mr. Lamb, in the poem before quoted, has the same thought, and he farther adds a belief, that the tobacco plant was the true Indian conquest for which the jolly god has been so celebrated. He moreover intimates, that the Thyrsus of that deity was afterwards ornamented with leaves of tobacco, instead of ivy. Even the name of the plant has been derived from Bacchus. This is particularly mentioned by Mr. Joseph Sylvester, quoted by Dr. Clarke, who wrote a poem on tobacco which he inscribed to Villiers, Duke of Buckingham. The title of this tirade is very quaint, viz. "Tobacco battered, and the Pipes shattered (about their Ears who idly idolize so base and barbarous a Weed; or at least-wise overlove so loathsome a Vanity) by a Volley of holy Shot from Mount Helicon."

"For even the derivation of the name
Seems to allude and to include the same;
Tobacco as τωΒακχω one would say
To cup-god Bacchus dedicated ay."

[Pg 141]

Nor should all this appear so extraordinary, when we consider that Charlevoix, with the utmost seriousness, discusses the question, whether the calumet of the North American Indians was the same as the caduceus of Mercury.[20] It is however beyond all doubt, that tobacco has always been regarded by the Indians with religious veneration, and employed by them in all religious ceremonies. Mr. Stith informs us, that they thought this plant "of so great worth and virtue that the gods themselves were delighted with it; and therefore they sometimes made sacred fires, and instead of a sacrifice, threw in the dust of tobacco; and when they were caught in a tempest, they would sprinkle it into the air and water—upon all their new fishing nets they would cast some of it, and when they had escaped any remarkable danger, they would throw some of this dust into the air, with strange distorted gestures, sometimes striking the earth with their feet in a kind of time and measure, sometimes clapping their hands and throwing them up on high, looking towards the heavens, and uttering barbarous and dissonant words."[21]—Sir Hans Sloan tells us, also, that the Indians employ tobacco in all their enchantments, sorceries, and fortune-tellings; that their priests intoxicate themselves with the fumes, and in their ecstacies give forth ambiguous and oracular responses.[22]

A few words will now be devoted to the subject of the numerous names which have belonged to tobacco; many persons conceiving the title of any thing, to be of equal importance with the christening of a person; and surely where the etymology of a name of either person or thing can throw any light upon their respective histories, the time employed thereon can hardly be looked upon as either lost or misspent. But it unfortunately happens, as is almost always the case in regard to persons and things belonging to mythological eras, that the greatest confusion and perplexity exist in regard to the Indian titles which have been bestowed upon tobacco; and as we frankly confess ourselves utterly unversed in Occidental philology, we shall, with whatever reluctance, be obliged to omit even the mention of many appellations, whose true meaning and value have passed into obscurity, with the languages and nations from which such appellations were derived.[23]

[Pg 142]

Sir Hans Sloan informs us, that the name was originally picielt, and that tobacco was given it by the Spaniards.[24] Several authors say, that it was called by the inhabitants of the West India islands yoli—but that on the continent they gave it the name of pætum, peti, petunum, or petun.[25] Some say it was sent into Spain from Tabaco, a province of Yucatan, where it was first discovered, and from whence it takes its common name. Pourchot declares, that the Portuguese brought it into Europe from Tobago, an island in North America; but the island Tobago, says another, was never under the Portuguese dominion, and that it seems rather to have given its name to that island. The inhabitants of Hispaniola call it by the name cohiba, or pete be cenuc, and the instrument by which they smoke it tabaco, and hence, say they, it derived its name. Stith, in his History of Virginia, speaks of one Mr. Thomas Harriot,[26] a domestic of Sir Walter Ralegh, a man of learning, who was sent by Ralegh to Virginia chiefly to make observations, which were afterwards published. Now this Harriot, speaking of tobacco, says it was called, by the Indians of Virginia, uppowoc.[27] But the principal names by which this article is now known, either in common parlance or scientific discourse, are three, viz.—pætum, which seems to be its poetical title—tobacco, its vulgar and most intelligible name—and nicotiana, its scientific and botanical name; which latter we will explain more fully hereafter.[28]

The Abbot Nyssens thought it was the Devil who first introduced tobacco into Europe. We do not design to discuss so important a question, concerning which there must needs be a contrariety of opinions; but we cannot forbear to observe, that to[Pg 143] give the Devil more than his due, is by no means new or uncommon in ecclesiastical inquiries. We have something parallel to this in the history of Hercules, though springing most probably from a very different source; for to him the ancients were wont to attribute any great action for which they could not find a certain author. We are informed that this plant was first seen smoked by the Spaniards, under Grijalva, in 1518. In 1519, the illustrious Cortez sent a specimen of it to his king, and this was the date of its introduction into Europe. Others say, one Roman Pane carried it into Spain. By the Cardinal Santa Croce it was conveyed to Italy. It should be observed, however, that the ancestors of the Cardinal already enjoyed the reputation of having brought into Italy the true cross, and the double glory which attaches to the Santa Croce family in consequence, is well described in the following Latin lines, taken from Bayle's Dictionary.[29] These verses are valuable in another respect, since they contain a full enumeration of the real or supposed virtues of the herb. They are also copied by the Reverend Dr. Clarke; and the English verses which accompany them, are by the Dr. attributed to M. de Maizeaux.—

"Nomine quæ sanctæ crucis herba vocatur ocellis
Subvenit, et sanat plagas, et vulnera jungit,
Discutit et strumas, cancrum, cancrosaque sanat
Ulcera, et ambustis prodest, scabiemque repellit,
Discutit et morbum cui cessit ab impete nomen,
Calefacit, et siccat, stringit, mundatque, resolvit,
Et dentium et ventris mulcet capitisque dolores;
Subvenit antiquæ tussi, stomachoque rigenti
Renibus et spleni confert, ultroque, venena
Dira sagittarum domat, ictibus omnibus atris
Hæc eadem prodest; gingivis proficit atque
Conciliat somnum: nuda ossa carne revestit;
Thoracis vitiis prodest, pulmonis itemque,
Quæ duo sic præstat, non ulla potentior herba.
Hanc Sanctacrucius Prosper quum nuncius esset,
Sedis Apostolicæ Lusitanas missus in horas
Huc adportavit Romanæ ad commoda gentis,
Ut proavi sanctæ lignum crucis ante tulere
Omnis Christiadum quo nunc respublica gaudet,
Et Sanctæ crucis illustris domus ipsa vocatur
Corporis atque animæ nostræ studiosa salutis."

We subjoin the following "faithful but inelegant translation," which is given by M. de Maizeaux in his translation of Bayle.

"The herb which borrows Santa Croce's name
Sore eyes relieves, and healeth wounds; the same
Discusses the king's evil, and removes
Cancers and boils; a remedy it proves
For burns and scalds, repels the nauseous itch,
And straight recovers from convulsion fits.
It cleanses, dries, binds up, and maketh warm;
The head-ach, tooth-ach, colic, like a charm[Pg 144]
It easeth soon; an ancient cough relieves,
And to the reins and milt, and stomach gives
Quick riddance from the pains which each endures;
Next the dire wounds of poisoned arrows cures;
All bruises heals, and when the gums are sore,
It makes them sound and healthy as before.
Sleep it procures, our anxious sorrows lays,
And with new flesh the naked bone arrays.
No herb hath greater power to rectify
All the disorders in the breast that lie
Or in the lungs. Herb of immortal fame!
Which hither first by Santa Croce came,
When he (his time of nunciature expired)
Back from the court of Portugal retired;
Even as his predecessors great and good,
Brought home the cross, whose consecrated wood
All Christendom now with its presence blesses;
And still the illustrious family possesses
The name of Santa Croce, rightly given,
Since they in all respects resembling Heaven,
Procure as much as mortal men can do,
The welfare of our souls and bodies too."

It is agreed on all hands, that tobacco was introduced into France by John Nicot, (whence it obtains its common name Nicotiana) Lord of Villemain and Master of Requests of the household of Francis the Second. He was born at Nismes, and was sent as embassador to the Court of Portugal in 1559, from whence, on his return, he brought to Paris this herb. From Nicot, it was also called the embassador's herb. The question, whether it was known in France before it was carried into England, was long agitated, and is perhaps not settled yet, since the precise epocha of its introduction into any particular country, cannot with absolute certainty be fixed. The French writers, generally, are of opinion that Sir Francis Drake conveyed it to England before Nicot made it known in France. Thevet, who has discussed the subject, is thought by them to have settled it in favour of the English. A French writer, Jean Liebault, says tobacco grew wild in France long before the discovery of the New World. Mr. Murray inclines to the belief, that tobacco existed in Europe before the discovery of America, but he thinks it proceeded from Asia.[30] Mr. Savary asserts, that among the Persians it was known at least five hundred years since, but that they obtained it from Egypt, and not from the East Indies, where its cultivation was but recent. But, what has not been said of this extraordinary plant? It has often been called a Nepenthe, and we are under belief that some have even imagined that the tobacco leaf forms a principal ingredient in the wondrous and potent mixture which Helen prepares for her guests in the fourth Odyssey.—

[Pg 145]

χΝηπενδες τ' αχολον τε κακων επιληδον απαντων."
"Of sovereign use to assuage
The boiling bosom of tumultuous rage;
To clear the cloudy front of wrinkled care,
And dry the tearful sluices of despair."

In the same passage, Homer tells us that Helen learned the nature of drugs and herbs from the wife of Thone, King of Egypt. Now, by considering this latter fact, in conjunction with what is asserted by Mr. Savary, some verisimilitude seems to be imparted to the hypothesis of the tobacco plant having sprung originally from Egypt. We are not aware of any author (though we think it not improbable that such may exist) who has carried matters so far as to assert that tobacco was the tree of Paradise, "whose mortal taste brought death into the world,"—nor would this appear for a moment extravagant, if one only calls to mind the strange traditions which the Rabbinnical writers have handed down upon theological points of far more importance, or the equally absurd and monstrous notions which the modern history of sectarianism furnishes. From what has been said, however, it appears very clear, that Satan has had too much to do with tobacco. If it be verily the tree of knowledge, it must be admitted that he has preserved it with infinite care, as if grateful for the mighty mischief which was wrought in Eden, and as a fit instrument for those injuries in future to the human family, which so many authors assure us it is producing at the present day. How tobacco ever got to America is a difficulty of very little moment, when we remember that writers are not agreed in what manner America was even peopled. Even were we to admit that the aboriginal Americans were not descended from Adam and Eve, still if we concede that Satan has had the especial care of tobacco, we cannot be surprised at his finding the means, if he had the desire, of introducing it into America. We have before alluded to what the Abbot Nyssens says, and if in addition we call to mind what others have uttered about its diabolical nature, and that the American Indians were wont to propitiate the powers of darkness by making offerings to them of tobacco, we cannot help thinking that King James was nearer truth and propriety than he imagined, when he declared that if he were to invite the Devil to dine with him, he would be sure to provide three things,—1. a pig,—2. a poll of ling and mustard,—3. a pipe of tobacco for digestion.

It is not certainly known whether tobacco grew spontaneously in Virginia, or whether it came originally from some more southern region of America. At all events, the English who first visited Virginia certainly found it there, and Harriot is of opinion, that it was of spontaneous growth. Mr. Jefferson thinks it was[Pg 146] a native of a more southern climate, and was handed along the continent from one nation of savages to another.[31] Dr. Robertson informs us, that it was not till the year 1616 that its cultivation was commenced in Virginia.[32] However this may be, the gallant and unfortunate Sir Walter Ralegh has the credit of bringing it into fashion in England.[33] It is well known that the colony planted in Virginia by Sir Walter, suffered many calamities, and we are told, that Ralph Lane,[34] one of the survivers who was carried back to England by Sir Francis Drake, was the person who first made tobacco known in Great Britain. This was in the 28th year of Queen Elizabeth, A. D. 1585.[35] Sir Walter himself is said to have been very fond of smoking, and many humorous stories have been recorded concerning it, particularly of a wager he made with Queen Elizabeth, that he would determine exactly the weight of the smoke which went off in a pipe of tobacco. This he did by first weighing the tobacco which was to be smoked, and then carefully preserving and weighing the ashes, and the queen paid the wager cheerfully, being satisfied that what was wanting to the prime weight must have been evaporated in smoke. Every one remembers the story of the alarm of one of Sir Walter's servants, who, coming into a room and beholding his master enveloped in smoke, supposed him to be on fire.

To the devout and genuine worshippers of this weed, it may be satisfactory to know, that a tobacco-box and some pipes, belonging formerly to Sir Walter, are still in existence, and all smokers who may feel so disposed may perform a pilgrimage to them when they visit England, they being in the museum of Mr. Ralph Thoresby of Leeds, Yorkshire.[36] We shall conclude our remarks upon Sir Walter, by a poetical tribute to his memory, which is both apposite and eloquent.

[Pg 147]

"Immortal Ralegh! were potatoes not,
Could grateful Ireland e'er forget thy claim?[37]
'Were all thy proud historic deeds forgot,'
Which blend thy memory with Eliza's fame;
Could England's annals in oblivion rot,
Tobacco would enshrine and consecrate thy name."

We cannot forbear to make a quotation concerning the Virginia colony, at a more flourishing subsequent period, which, as it records a historical fact, cannot fail to be interesting, while at the same time it is sufficiently comic. "The adventurers," says Malte-Brun, "who increased from year to year, were reduced, in consequence of the scarcity of females, to import wives by order, as they imported merchandise. It is recorded, that ninety girls, 'young and uncorrupt,' came to the Virginia market in 1620, and sixty in 1621; all of whom found a ready sale. The price of each at first was one hundred pounds of tobacco, but afterwards rose to one hundred and fifty. What the prime cost was in England is not stated."[38]

In whatever manner tobacco found its way into Europe, it met with a very hostile reception from several crowned heads. Elizabeth published an edict against its use. James imposed severe prohibitory duties, and Charles, his successor, continued them.

"In 1590," says Dr. Thomson, "Shah Abbas prohibited the use of tobacco in Persia, by a penal law; but so firmly had the luxury rooted itself in the minds of his subjects, that many of the inhabitants of the cities fled to the mountains, where they hid themselves, rather than forego the pleasure of smoking. In 1624, Pope Urban VIII. anathematized all snuff-takers, who committed the heinous sin of taking a pinch in any church; and so late as 1690, Innocent XII. excommunicated all who indulged in the same vice in Saint Peter's church at Rome. In 1625, Amurath IV. prohibited smoking as an unnatural and irreligious custom, under pain of death. In Constantinople, where the custom is now universal, smoking was thought to be so ridiculous and hurtful, that any Turk, who was caught in the act, was conducted in ridicule through the streets, with a pipe transfixed through his nose. In Russia, where the peasantry now smoke all day long, the Grand Duke of Moscow prohibited the entrance of tobacco into his dominions, under the penalty of the knaut for the first offence, and death for the second; and the Muscovite who was found snuffing, was condemned to have his nostrils split. The Chambre au Tabac for punishing smokers, was instituted in 1634, and not abolished till the middle of the eighteenth century. Even in Switzerland, war was waged against the American herb: to smoke, in Berne,[Pg 148] ranked as a crime next to adultery; and in 1653, all smokers were cited before the Council at Apenzel, and severely punished."[39]

We shall see hereafter what a host of enemies tobacco found also among medical writers. We speak here particularly of the moderns; for many of the older physicians extolled its healing virtues to the skies, and they were giants in knowledge; but as an old author says, "Pigmei gigantum humeris impositi plusquam ipsi gigantes vident." Indeed it must be admitted, as a very powerful argument against the efficacy of tobacco as a medicine, that the physicians of our day have in many cases abandoned its use, and in others adopted some less dangerous succedaneum.

It may not be unamusing to the curious reader to know in what manner this subject is handled by King James. The "Counterblaste" commences by denouncing tobacco, because "the vile and stinking custome comes from the wilde, godlesse, and slavish Indians," by whom it was used as an antidote against the most dreadful of all diseases. Its use was introduced "neither by a king, great conqueror, nor learned Doctor of Physicke, but by some Indians who were brought over;" they died, but the "savage custome" survived. King James contents himself by examining only four of the principal grounds or arguments upon which tobacco is used, two founded "on the theoricke of a deceivable appearance of reason," and two "upon the mistaken practicke of generall experience." Thus, "1. An aphorisme in the Physickes that the brains of all men being naturally cold and wet, all dry and hote things should be good for them." Ergo, this "stinking suffumigation."—2. The argument grounded on a show of reason, is "that this filthy smoke, as well through the heat and strength thereof, as by a natural force and quality, is able and fit to purge both the head and stomach of rhewmes and distillations, as experience teacheth by the spitting and avoiding fleame immediately after the taking of it."—3. That "the whole people would not have taken so general a good liking thereof, if they had not by experience found it very soveraigne and good for them."—4. That "by the taking of tobacco, divers and very many doe finde themselves cured of divers diseases; as on the other hand no man ever received harme thereby." The King after having, as he trusts, sufficiently answered "the most principal arguments" that are used in defence of this "vile custome," proceeds "to speake of the sinnes and vanities committed in the filthy abuse thereof." And 1. As being a sinneful and shameful lust.—2. As a branch of drunkennesse.—3. As disabling both persons and goods. His majesty concludes the "Counterblaste" by calling the smoking of tobacco[Pg 149] "a custome loathsome to the eye, hateful to the nose, harmeful to the brain, dangerous to the lungs, and in the blacke and stinking fume thereof, nearest resembling the horrible Stigian smoke of the pit that is bottomlesse."[40]

Let it not be supposed that tobacco has been without friends, wise, learned, and distinguished; but space forces us to pretermit the mention of many who have ascribed to it as many virtues as were ever ascribed to the grand elixir of Alchemy. We shall content ourselves with two or three miscellaneous testimonies.—Thus Acosta tells us it is a plant, "which hath in it rare virtues, as amongst others it serves for a counterpoison—for the Creator hath imparted his virtues at his pleasure, not willing that any thing should grow idle."[41] Lord Bacon speaks of its "cheering and comforting the spirits," and that it relieves in lassitude.[42] Again he says, "doubtless it contributes to alleviate fatigues and discharge the body of weariness. 'T is also commonly said to open the passages, and draw off humours; but its virtues may be more justly attributed to its condensing the spirits."[43] "It is a good companion," says Howell, "to one that converseth with dead men, for if one hath bin poring long upon a book, or is toiled with the pen, or stupified with study, it quickeneth him, and dispels those clouds that usually oreset the brain. The smoke of it is one of the wholesomest sents that is against all contagious airs, for it oremasters all other smells; as King James they say found true, when being once a hunting, a showr of rain drave him into a pigsty for shelter, where he caused a pipe full to be taken of purpose."[44] It were easy to multiply quotations both in prose and verse, but it is to the latter, most especially, that we must look for the most glowing ascriptions—to poetry which has ever delighted.[45]

"To sing the praises of that glorious weed—
Dear to mankind, whate'er his race, his creed,
Condition, colour, dwelling, or degree!
From Zembla's snows to parched Arabia's sands,
Loved by all lips, and common to all hands!
Hail sole cosmopolite, tobacco, hail!
Shag, long-cut, short-cut, pig-tail, quid, or roll,
Dark Negrohead, or Orinooka pale,
In every form congenial to the soul."

Before we proceed to consider the use of tobacco as a habit,[Pg 150] which modern physicians are pleased to consider so pestiferous and baleful, let us attend for a few moments to what has been said concerning its culture and manufacture. Mr. Jefferson, in his Notes, says that its culture is productive of infinite wretchedness; that it is found easier to make 100 bushels of wheat than 1000 pounds of tobacco, and that they are worth more when made.[46] Davies, in his History of the Carriby Islands, after giving an account of the culture and preparation of tobacco, adds, "that if the people of Europe who are so fond of it, had themselves seen the poor servants and slaves who are employed about this painful work, exposed the greatest part of the day to the scorching heat of the sun, and spending one half of the night in reducing it to that posture wherein it is transported into Europe; no doubt they would have a greater esteem for, and think much more precious that herb which is procured with the sweat and labours of so many miserable creatures."[47]

Numerous medical writers, of the justest celebrity, have assured us, that endless and dreadful evils are the portion of all who are engaged in the manufacture of tobacco; that the workmen are in general meagre, jaundiced, emaciated, asthmatic, subject to colic, diarrheas, to vertigo, violent headach, and muscular twitchings, to narcotism, and to various diseases of the breast and lungs.[48] They have also declared that some of these evils have befallen families from the fact alone of being in the neighbourhood of a tobacco manufactory.[49] Ramazzini says that even the horses employed in the tobacco mills are most powerfully affected by the particles of the tobacco. Now if these things be true, when we call to mind the countless multitudes employed in this "dreadful trade," what a throng of evils present themselves upon the very threshold of our subject.[50] In this view of the case, one could not pass such a manufactory without an involuntary shudder, regarding it as a charnel house, or rather as a Pandora's box, to those wretched beings who are doomed to work or dwell within its pestilential precincts.[51] But in spite of the various and[Pg 151] respectable testimony which has been produced by writers opposed to the use of tobacco, we cannot help regarding their statements as exceedingly exaggerated. We have not space to enter into a more minute examination of this portion of our subject, but to such of our readers as may feel desirous of prosecuting the inquiry, we take great pleasure in recommending a very able memoir by Messieurs Parent-Duchatelet and D'Arcet,[52] in which the whole subject of the effects of tobacco upon the persons connected with its manufacture, is most satisfactorily discussed, and the opinions and assertions of those who have gone so far as to declare that it was even necessary to the public health that the manufactories of tobacco should be removed out of large towns because of their great insalubrity, shown to be either without any just grounds, or the results of prejudice and ignorance.

The fecundity of this plant is marvellous. Linnæus has calculated that a single plant of tobacco contains 40,320 grains, and says that if each seed came to perfection, the plants of tobacco in vegetation in the course of four years, would be more than sufficient to cover the whole surface of the earth. We are elsewhere informed that these seeds preserve their germinative properties for six years and even longer. "Sir Thomas Browne observes," says Mather, "that of the seeds of tobacco, a thousand make not one grain, (though Otto de Guericke, as I remember, says, fifty-two cyphers with one figure would give the number of those which would fill the space between us and the stars,) a plant which has extended its empire over the whole world, and has a larger dominion than any of all the vegetable kingdom."[53] Our readers may very easily amuse themselves by making calculations on the immense consumption and value of this plant. The following account from a French medical writer,[54] will be sufficient. On a rough calculation, the tobacco sold yearly in France amounts to 40,000,000 pounds weight, which at three francs per pound, the ordinary price, will make the enormous annual sum of 120,000,000 francs. One-fourth of the French population use tobacco, so that of 8,000,000 of human beings, each individual consumes annually, in the various forms of snuffing, chewing, and smoking, about six pounds. This quantity may seem too great for some persons, but it should be remembered that there are many who use a dozen or twenty pounds in the course of the year.

If we contemplate man in connexion with tobacco as a necessary, the juxtaposition cannot fail to strike us as exceedingly[Pg 152] ludicrous. From the earliest ages of philosophy, it has been a favourite employment of the wise to propose such definitions of man as should fully distinguish him from the rest of animated nature, and yet no definition of ancient times will, we are satisfied, appear so excellently discriminative as one which grows out of our present subject, and which denominates him the only tobacco loving animal, for (to pass over the tobacco-worm) the only creature known beside man, whose nature does not abhor tobacco, is, as Dr. Rush informs us, the solitary rock goat of Africa, one of the wildest and most filthy of animals. "Were it possible," says he, "for a being who had resided on our globe, to visit the inhabitants of a planet where reason governed, and to tell them that a vile weed was in general use among the inhabitants of the globe it had left, which afforded no nourishment; that this weed was cultivated with immense care, that it was an important article of commerce, that the want of it produced real misery, that its taste was extremely nauseous, that it was unfriendly to health and morals, and that its use was attended with a considerable loss of time and property, the account would be thought incredible."[55] It is idle to speak of tobacco, as being "extremely nauseous," that it is the "meanest and most paltry of all gratifications," &c. Had not man discovered in it a delight and comfort which was to be derived from few other sources, the habitual use of tobacco would long since have been neglected. To say man uses tobacco for no other reason but its offensiveness, is a solecism; scarcely would it be more absurd to adopt the habitual use of castor oil as a cordial, or assafœtida as a perfume. On this subject Mr. Chamberet[56] has a very interesting passage, which, as it is so well expressed by the author, we take the liberty of offering to our readers in his own language.

"Observons," says he, "que l'homme, en vertu de son organization a sans cesse besoin de sentir, que presque toujours il est malheureux, soit par les fleaux que la nature lui envoie, soit par les tristes resultats de ses passions aveugles, de ses erreurs de ses prejugés, de son ignorance, &c. Le tabac exercant sur nos organes une impression vive et forte, susceptible d'etre renouvelée frequemment et a volonté, on s'est livré avec d'autant plus d'ardeur a l'usage d'un semblable stimulant qu'on y a trouvé a la fois le moyen de satisfaire le besoin imperieux de sentir, qui caracterise la nature humaine, et celui d'etre distrait momentanément des sensations pénibles ou douloureuses qui assiégent sans cesse notre espèce, que le tabac aide ainsi a supporter l'accablant fardeau de la vie. Avec le tabac, le sauvage endure plus courageusement la faim, la soif, et toutes les vicissitudes atmospheriques, l'esclave endure plus patiemment la servitude, &c. Parmi les hommes qui se disent civilisés, son recours est souvent invoqué contre l'ennui, la tristesse; il soulage quelquefois momentanément les tourmens de l'ambition déçues de ses esperances, et concourt a consoler, dans certains cas les malheureuses victimes de l'injustice."

Dr. Walsh says that tobacco used with coffee, after the Turkish[Pg 153] fashion, "is singularly grateful to the taste, and refreshing to the spirits; counteracting the effects of fatigue and cold, and appeasing the cravings of hunger, as I have often experienced. Hearne, I think, in his journey to the mouth of the Coppermine river, mentions his experience of similar effects of tobacco. He had been frequently wandering without food for five or six days, in the most inclement weather, and supported it all, he says, in good health and spirits, by smoking tobacco, &c."[57] Willis, as quoted by Mons. Merat, recommends the use of tobacco in armies, as able to supply the necessaries of life to a great extent, and also as an excellent preventive against various diseases.[58] And Dr. Rush relates that he was informed by Colonel Burr, that the greatest complaints of dissatisfaction and suffering which he heard among the soldiers who accompanied General Arnold in his march from Boston to Quebec through the wilderness, in the year 1775, were from the want of tobacco. This was the more remarkable, as they were so destitute of provisions as to be obliged to kill and eat their dogs.[59]

Tobacco possesses narcotic powers in common with many other substances, of which neither time nor space will permit us to make mention. Narcotics, when used to a due extent, become poisons, and hence tobacco holds a very high rank in toxicology. A thousand experiments, as well as accidents, show that it is a most deadly poison.[60] It has also been called a counterpoison, but those who have asserted this have been contradicted by numerous writers. Dr. Rush affirms that repeated experience in Philadelphia has proved, that it is equally ineffectual in preserving those who use it from the influenza and yellow fever. In the plague, it was said to be useful, but what has been advanced on this subject is now shown to be without much foundation. Still it may be said of tobacco, that though it does not contain any specific antidote to contagion, or possess antiseptic properties, it may nevertheless, as a powerful narcotic, by diminishing the sensibility of the system, render it less liable to contagion. It also moderates anxiety and fear, which we are told quicken the activity of contagion. "Thus," says Cullen, "the antiloimic powers of tobacco are upon the same footing with wine, brandy, and opium."[61]

Dr. Fowler has written a treatise upon the effects of tobacco in the cure of dropsies and dysuries. The Doctor seemed determined to discover virtue in this plant, because he tells us in his preface, that he was nowise discouraged in his inquiries into[Pg 154] the medicinal effects of tobacco, although the generality of writers on the materia medica have spoken of it with great caution and reserve, and for the most part have declared it either obsolete, or so uncertain, violent, and deleterious in its effects, as to render its exhibition unadvisable. Dr. Cullen says that he employed tobacco in various cases of dropsy, but with very little success.[62] Even those who advocate the medicinal use of tobacco, admit that it is one of those violent remedies, which nothing but the most skilful management can render beneficial; such as arsenic, prussic acid, and many other deadly poisons, which, if cautiously and properly administered, become excellent medicines. Thus the liniment of tobacco, which has formerly been called one of the best in the dispensatory, is said, in a case mentioned by Mr. Murray, to have caused the deaths of three children, who expired within twenty-four hours in convulsions, in consequence of its application for scald head. Innumerable instances are given of its deleterious effects, even when used medicinally, and with the greatest caution. In some cases it has entirely failed to give the anticipated relief, and in others been followed by the most deplorable consequences. We believe, however, that eminent practitioners still continue to employ it, and find it serviceable in some diseases. We have indeed heard it remarked, by a distinguished physician, that much of the medicinal effect which might otherwise be derived from tobacco, is often lost by the habitual use of the article, which renders the system less sensible to its influence.

As a vulnerary, tobacco was used by the Indians, and physicians say that it promotes the cicatrization and healing of inveterate ulcers. It has been used in most cutaneous disorders, and its smoke has been considered useful in rheumatisms, gout, chronic pains, &c.; but in all these cases its virtue has also been denied, or it has been asserted that many other medicines possess more certain efficacy. As an emetic it is considered dangerous, being extremely violent, and succeeded by too much distress and sickness. That it has been found useful in destroying insects, and in preserving old clothes laid by against the inroads of vermin, there can be no doubt; but on the mosquito and fly, two pests to whose cruel torments we are most exposed, it will be within the painful remembrance of many of our readers, that no quantity of tobacco smoke appears to have the least effect.

Even though we admitted and could prove tobacco to be a useful medicine, still this fact would afford no argument in favour of its habitual use in a state of health. On the contrary, it would be the very reason for its non-use; for the habitual use[Pg 155] will in time weaken and destroy its medicinal powers. Many, after finding or fancying relief from its occasional, have fallen into its habitual use, and the remedy has thus virtually proved worse than the disease. Besides, by this course, persons take away the hope of future benefit from the application, in case of a recurrence of their disorder.

That this habit is entirely unevangelical, Dr. Clarke attempts to show with much zeal. Let those who profess to renounce the lusts of the flesh read his tract, and determine, conscientiously, how far his arguments are worthy of attention. That the devout "roll this sin as a sweet morsel under the tongue," is fully evinced by every day's experience; and the following anecdote from Dr. Clarke forms a good illustration of this text.

"An eminent physician," says he, "gave me the following account:—'When I was at L——, in the year 1789, a certain religious people at one of their annual meetings made a rule, or rather revived one which had been long before made and established among them by their venerable founder, but had been in a great measure lost sight of, viz.—That no minister in their connexion should use snuff or tobacco, unless prescribed by a physician. This rule at once showed their prudence and good sense. Towards the conclusion of the meeting, having offered my assistance to as many as stood in need of medical help, several of them consulted me on the subject of taking tobacco in one form or other; and with very little variation their mode of address was as follows:—'Doctor, I am troubled frequently with such a complaint, (naming it,) I take tobacco, and have found great benefit from the use of it; I am sure were I to give it up I should be very ill indeed; and I am certain that you are too wise and too skilful a man to desire me to discontinue a practice which has been so beneficial to me.' After such an address what could I say? It was spoken with serious concern, and was properly argumentum ad hominem: I knew they were sincere, but I knew also they were deceived: however, to the major part of them I ventured to speak thus: 'gentlemen, you certainly do me honour in the confidence you repose in my skill, but you have brought me into a dilemma from which I cannot easily extricate myself; as I find I must either say as you say on the subject, or else renounce all pretensions to wisdom and medical skill. However, I cannot in conscience and honour prescribe to you the continued use of a thing which I know does many of you immense hurt.'"

But the anti-christian nature of this habit is placed in a very strong light, in a curious passage, by Dr. Rush.[63] "What reception," says he, "may we suppose, would the apostles have met with, had they carried into the cities and houses to which they were sent, snuff-boxes, pipes, segars, and bundles of cut, or rolls of hog, or pigtail tobacco?"

The effects of tobacco upon the morals have been often animadverted upon, and in no particular more frequently, and with greater emphasis, than in its obvious tendency to promote temulency. Charlevoix intimates the near connexion which exists between intemperance and smoking, when he assures us, that amongst many nations, to smoke out of the same pipe in token of alliance, is the same thing as to drink out of the same cup.[64]

[Pg 156]

"Smoking and chewing tobacco," says Rush, "by rendering water and simple liquors insipid to the taste, dispose very much to the stronger stimulus of ardent spirits. The practice of smoking segars has, in every part of our country, been more followed by a general use of brandy and water as a common drink, more especially by that class of citizens who have not been in the habit of drinking wine or malt liquors."[65] "One of the greatest sots I ever knew," says the same author, "acquired a love for ardent spirits by swallowing cuds of tobacco, which he did to escape detection in the use of it; for he had contracted the habit of chewing, contrary to the advice and commands of his father. He died of a dropsy under my care, in the year 1780."[66] On this subject, a very late writer is still more express. "We consider tobacco," says he, "closely allied to intoxicating liquors, and its confirmed votaries as a species of drunkards." Again. "I have observed that persons who are much addicted to liquor, have an inordinate liking to tobacco in all its different forms; and it is remarkable, that in the early stages of ebriety, almost every man is desirous of having a pinch of snuff. This last fact it is not easy to explain; but the former may be accounted for by that incessant craving after excitement, which clings to the system of the confirmed drunkard."[67]

The limits of our article will not allow us to embrace all the considerations which belong to this subject, and which have been bestowed upon it by various writers. We will therefore proceed to the few remarks which we have to make upon the three chief modes of using tobacco, viz., snuffing, smoking, and chewing. Catherine de Medicis, the personage said to have prompted the horrible massacre of St. Bartholomew's day at Paris, is commonly regarded as the inventress of snuff-taking. In Russia and Persia the penalty of death was annexed to the use of tobacco in every form except that of snuff. For this lighter offence, the punishment was softened down to simple mutilation, no greater severity being deemed necessary than that of cutting off the nose. We doubt exceedingly whether either penalty would deter the inveterate snuff-takers of the present day. Indeed, we are told somewhere that it was very common among the Persians to expatriate themselves, when they were no longer allowed to indulge in tobacco in their native country. One of the first effects of snuff is to injure the nerves of the nose, which are endowed with exquisite sensibility, and of which an incredible number are spread over the inner membrane of the nostrils. This membrane is lubricated by a secretion,[Pg 157] which has a tendency to preserve the sense. By the almost caustic acrimony of snuff, the mucus is dried up, and the organ of smelling becomes perfectly callous. The consequence is, that all the pleasure we are capable of deriving from the olfactory organs, the omnis copia narium, as Horace curiously terms it, is totally destroyed. Similar effects are also produced upon the saliva, and hence it is that habitual snuff-takers are often unable to speak with proper distinctness; and the sense of taste for the same reason is very much obtunded. A snuffer may always be distinguished by a certain nasal twang—an asthmatic wheezing—and a sort of disagreeable noise in respiration, which is nearly allied to incipient snoring. Snuff also frequently occasions fleshy excrescences in the nose, which, in some instances, end in polypi. Individuals have oftentimes a predisposition to cancer in little scirrhous intumescencies, which, if kept easy and free from every thing of an irritating character, will continue harmless, but which the use of snuff sometimes frets into incurable ulcers and cancers. By the use of snuff, tumours are also generated in the throat, which obstruct deglutition, and even destroy life. Dr. Hill saw a female die of hunger, who could swallow no nourishment because of a polypus which closed up the stomach, the formation of which was attributed to the excessive use of snuff. Some portion of the snuff will involuntarily find its way into the stomach, where its pernicious properties soon manifest themselves, being frequently followed by nausea, vomitings, loss of appetite, and impaired digestion. The drain of the juices has a tendency to injure the muscles of the face, to render them flaccid, to furrow and corrugate the skin, and to give a gaunt, withered, and jaundiced appearance to "the human face divine."

We are also informed that it embrowns the complexion, by withdrawing those peculiar secretions which communicate the fine vermillion hue of beauty. In our country, however, women do not abandon themselves to this impure habit, till they are married, and have no farther desire to please, or till they are somewhat passées, and find their faculties of pleasing impaired. What a death-blow does snuffing give to all that romance with which it is the interest of refined society to invest the fair sex! How vulgar the thought "that a sneeze should interrupt a sigh!"—How unpoetical is snuff! The most suitable verses which a lover could address to a snuff-taking mistress, would be imitations of Horace's lines to the Sorceress Canidia. What sylph would superintend the conveyance of this dust to the nostrils of a belle? What Gnome would not take a fiendish delight in hovering over a pipe-loving beauty?

"The only advantage," says Dr. Leake, "of taking snuff, is that of sneezing, which, in sluggish phlegmatic habits, will give[Pg 158] universal concussion to the body, and promote a more free circulation of the blood; but of this benefit snuff-takers are deprived, from being familiar with its use." When the stimulus of snuff ceases to be sufficient, recourse is immediately had to certain admixtures, by which the necessary excitement is procured; thus pepper, euphorbium, hellebore, and even pulverised glass, are made use of to give it additional pungency. Snuffing is also a frequent cause of blindness. Nature has appointed certain fluids to nourish and preserve the eye, which, if withdrawn, cause the sight to become prematurely old, impaired by weakness, and sometimes totally destroyed. We are also told that it dries up and blackens the brain, and gives the stomach a yellow hue;[68] that it injures the moral faculties, impairs the memory, and, indeed, debilitates all the intellectual powers, and that it taints the breath "with the rank odour of a tobacco cask." "We read in the Ephemerides des Curieux de la Nature, that a person fell into a state of somnolency, and died apoplectic, in consequence of having taken by the nose too great a quantity of snuff."[69] In fine, snuffing is said to bring on convulsions, promote pulmonary consumption, and to cause madness and death! Napoleon is thought to have owed his death to a morbid state of stomach, superinduced by snuffing to excess. Dr. Rush relates that Sir John Pringle was afflicted with tremors in his hands, and had his memory impaired by the use of snuff; when, on abandoning the habit, at the instance of Dr. Franklin, he found his power of recollection restored, and he recovered the use of his hands.[70]

When the habit of snuffing is once contracted, it becomes almost impossible to divest ourselves of it. It becomes as necessary as food, or any of those first wants of life "quibus negatis natura doleat." The following story we translate from a French medical writer:[Pg 159]

"I recollect, about twenty years since, while gathering simples one day in the Forest of Fontainebleau, I encountered a man stretched out upon the ground; I supposed him to be dead, when, upon approaching, he asked in a feeble voice if I had some snuff; on my replying in the negative, he sunk back immediately, almost in a state of insensibility. In this condition he remained till I brought a person who gave him several pinches, and he then informed us that he had commenced his journey that morning, supposing he had his snuff-box with him, but found very soon he had started without it; that he had travelled as long as he was able, till at last, overcome by distress, he found it impossible to proceed any farther, and without my timely succour he would have certainly perished."[71]

The consumption of time and great expense of this artificial habit, almost surpass belief. "A man who takes a pinch of snuff every twenty minutes," says Dr. Rush, "(which most habitual snuffers do), and snuffs fifteen hours in four-and-twenty, (allowing him to consume not quite half a minute every time he uses the box,) will waste about five whole days of every year of his life in this useless and unwholesome practice. But when we add to the profitable use to which this time might have been applied, the expenses of tobacco, pipes, snuff, and spitting boxes—and of the injuries which are done to the clothing, during a whole life, the aggregate sum would probably amount to several hundred dollars. To a labouring man this would be a decent portion for a son or daughter, while the same sum saved by a man in affluent circumstances, would have enabled him, by a contribution to a public charity, to have lessened a large portion of the ignorance or misery of mankind." But Lord Stanhope makes a far more liberal estimate than Dr. Rush; "Every professed, inveterate, and incurable snuff-taker," says he, "at a moderate computation, takes one pinch in ten minutes. Every pinch, with the agreeable ceremony of blowing and wiping the nose, and other incidental circumstances, consumes a minute and a half. One minute and a half out of every ten, allowing sixteen hours to a snuff-taking day, amounts to two hours and twenty-four minutes out of every natural day, or one day of every ten. One day out of ten amounts to thirty six days and a half in a year. Hence, if we suppose the practice to be persisted in forty years, two entire years of the snuff-taker's life will be devoted to tickling his nose, and two more to blowing it." The same author proposes in a subsequent essay to show, that from the expense of snuff, snuff-boxes, and handkerchiefs, a fund might be formed to pay off the English National debt!

The subject of snuffing having employed more of our time than we anticipated, the two following heads of smoking and chewing will be more briefly noticed. On the subject of smoking, Mr. Beloe has preserved the following old epigram.[72]

[Pg 160]

"We buy the dryest wood that we can finde,
And willingly would leave the smoke behinde:
But in tobacco a thwart course we take
Buying the herb only for the smoke's sake."

Smoking was the earliest mode of using tobacco,[73] (as might be inferred from the epigram) and for a long time the only mode in which it was used in Europe. Certainly in our day it is the most general, and at the same time the most expensive, and although several rivals contend with Sir Walter Ralegh for the praise of having introduced tobacco into England, yet the "bright honour" of having taught his countrymen to imitate the Indians, in this particular, he "wears without corrival." Almost all the arguments which have been employed against the use of tobacco as a sternutatory, are more or less applicable to it when used in the way of fumigation.[74] Good old Cotton Mather, who was fully aware of the disadvantages as well as sinfulness of this habit, deprecates it with a qualification at which it is impossible to repress a smile. It savours so much of "beating the Devil round a bush." Thus he says—"May God preserve me from the indecent, ignoble, criminal slavery, to the mean delight of smoking a weed, which I see so many carried away with. And if ever I should smoke it, let me be so wise as to do it, not only with moderation, but also with such employment of my mind, as I may make that action afford me a leisure for!"[75]

The effects of smoking on the breath, clothes, hair, and indeed the whole body, are most offensive. What is more overpowering than the stale smell remaining in a room where several persons have been smoking? When the practice is carried to excess, it causes the gums to become lax and flabby, and to recede from the discoloured teeth, which appear long, unsightly, and at length drop out. Dr. Rush, in his "Account of the life and death of Edward Drinker," tells us that that individual lost all his teeth by drawing the hot smoke of tobacco into his mouth. By the[Pg 161] waste of saliva, and the narcotic power of tobacco, the digestive powers are impaired, and "every kind of dyspeptic symptoms," says Cullen, "are produced."[76] King James does not forget to note this habit as a breach of good manners. "It is a great vanitie and uncleannesse," says he, "that at the table, a place of respect, of cleanlinesse, of modestie, men should not be ashamed to sit tossing pipes, and puffing of the smoke of tobacco one to another, making the filthy smoke and stinke thereof to exhale athwart the dishes and infect the aire, when very often men that abhorre it, are at their repast."

We come now to the subject of chewing. Whether the rock goat, the filthy animal to which we have before adverted, or the tobacco worm, first taught imitative man to masticate tobacco, we are ignorant. One thing, however, is most certain, that of all modes of using it, chewing seems most vulgar and ungentlemanlike, and it is worthy of particular remark, that in our country it is more used in this manner, among the better class of society, than in any other part of the world.[77] All the worst effects which have been ascribed to it in the two former modes of using it, are, with increased severity, imputed to chewing. But tobacco used in this form is said to diminish hunger. "We have been told," says Dr. Leake, "that tobacco, when chewed, is a preservative against hunger; but this is a vulgar error, for in reality it may more properly be said to destroy appetite by the profuse discharge of saliva, which is a powerful dissolving fluid, essential both to appetite and digestion." In the use of the quid, or cud, accidents sometimes happen from swallowing portions, which must needs be very hurtful. Chewers are often taken by surprise, and rather than be detected in the unclean practice, they will, with Spartan fortitude, endure the horrible agonies of swallowing the juice, and sometimes even the quid itself. But we must close our remarks upon this vile habit, which we do by the following quotation from a French writer. "Quant a la coutume de chiquer le tabac, elle est bornée, je crois, à un petit nombre d'individus grossiers, et le plus souvent voués a des habitudes crapuleuses, du moins si j'en juge par ceux que j'y vois livrés." We take the liberty of referring tobacco chewers to Dr. Clark's treatise, (p. 24,) for a quotation he makes from Simon Paulli, physician to the King of Denmark, who wrote a treatise on the danger of using this herb, and also to a note at the foot of the page, both which we are unwilling to repeat.

We are almost prepared to assert, that there is scarcely a conceivable[Pg 162] mode of applying tobacco to the human body, which has not been thought of and practised. In former times, it was used by the oculists. Howell says "that it is good to fortify and preserve the sight, the smoak being let in round about the balls once a week, &c." We have even known snuff to be blown into the eyes to cure inflammation. This latter remedy should be somewhat perilous, if what Sauvages relates be true, that a female was thrown into a catalepsy by a small portion of snuff which had accidentally entered her eye. The Rev. S. Wesley, speaking of the abuse of tobacco, intimates an apprehension that the human ear will not long remain exempted from its application.

"To such a height with some is fashion grown,
They feed their very nostrils with a spoon,[78]
One, and but one degree is wanting yet,
To make their senseless luxury complete;
Some choice regale, useless as snuff and dear,
To feed the mazy windings of the ear."

Now, as a medicine, at least, it has been used for the ear; for Sir Hans Sloan positively affirms that the "oyl or juice dropped into the ear is good against deafness."[79] Another mode of using tobacco, and not very common we hope, is what is called plugging, that is, thrusting long pellets or rolls of tobacco up the nose, and keeping them there during the night. As a dentifrice it is used in many parts of the world. We have had an opportunity of witnessing this fact in various parts of South America, but especially in Brazil, where respectable women do not scruple openly to use tobacco for this purpose. We have known several very respectable individuals of both sexes in our own country, who use snuff as a tooth powder, and with them its employment was just as much a habit as any other mode of using tobacco. These have been generally West Indians, or persons who have resided much in the West India islands. In some of our southern states, tobacco is much used among the ladies as a dentifrice. Indeed there appears to prevail generally, a very strong opinion, that it is an excellent preservative of the teeth, which is certainly an error; though we think it probable that the stimulus of tobacco, to those who use it in excess, may become in a certain degree necessary to their preservation.

Tobacco is truly a leveller. It equalizes the monarch and the hind, and is acceptable to the sage as well as the sailor. "Its smoke," says Thomson, "rising in clouds from the idolatrous altar of the native Mexican, opened the world of spirits to his delirious imagination," while it has "even assisted in extending the boundaries of intellect, by aiding the contemplations of the[Pg 163] Christian philosopher." If we advert to the irrefragable proofs of the virulent properties of this plant, and the various arguments which have been urged against its habitual use, we cannot fail to be struck with the extraordinary fact, that so large a portion of mankind should voluntarily struggle through its repugnant qualities, both of taste and effect, until by habit its stimulus grows pleasurable, and the system becomes mithridated against its poison! It would almost seem as if the use of some substance of this class were necessary to the intellectual and physical economy of man, since no nation nor age, of which we have any account, has been found without. Of the various masticatories which have been in general use, if we except opium, tobacco is unquestionably the most pernicious. Although its moderate use may not shorten life, or prove perceptibly hurtful to health, yet its excessive employment certainly generates many formidable disorders, particularly of the nerves and stomach, and subjects its votary to innumerable inconveniences and sufferings. Our space will not permit us to expatiate any further; and we shall therefore conclude our article by relating from Rush a very interesting anecdote of Dr. Franklin, which places the common-sense view of this matter in the strongest possible light. A few months before Franklin's death, he declared to one of his friends, that he had never used tobacco in the course of his long life, and that he was disposed to believe there was not much advantage to be derived from it, for that he had never known a man who used it, who advised him to follow his example.


[16] Epistolæ Hoelianæ, p. 405.

[17] Critical and Historical Dictionary, article Thorius.

[18] Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, fol. p. 235.

[19] King James's Works, fol. p. 214.

[20] Hist. North America, vol. i. p. 322.—See also Hennepin's Voyages, p. 93 et seq.

[21] Stith's Hist. of Virginia, p. 19.

[22] Sloan's Nat. Hist. Jamaica, vol. i. p. 147.

[23] This hiatus we are in some measure able to supply from a note in the Appendix to Mrs. Thomson's Life of Ralegh, (Note B. Notices concerning Tobacco by Dr. Thomson,) p. 458. "In the Mexican or Aztuk tongue, it is called yetle; in Algonkin, sema; in the Huron, ayougoua; in the Peruvian, it is sayri; in Chiquito, pais; in Vilela, tusup; Albaja, nalodagadi; Moxo, sabare; Omagua, potema; Tumanac, cavai; Mayhure, jema; and in the Cabre, sena. The other synonymes are, tabac, in French; tabak, in German, Dutch, and Polish; tobak, in Swedish and Danish; tobaco, Spanish and Portuguese; and tobacco in the Italian. In the Oriental languages,—it is tambacu, in Hindostanee; tamracutta, in Sanscrit; pogheielly, in Tamool; tambracco, in the Malay tongue; tambracco, in Javanese; doorkoole, in Cingalese; and bujjerhony, in Arabic."

[24] Nat. Hist. Jam. vol. i. p. 147.

[25] Dr. Tobias Venner, in his "Treatise of Tobacco," at the end of his curious old work, entitled, "Via recta ad longam vitam," says humorously, that petum is the "fittest name that both we and other nations may call it by, deriving it of peto, for it is far-fetched and much desired." p. 386.

[26] This Harriot, or Herriot, was a distinguished mathematician, and the instructer of Ralegh, in whom both himself and the celebrated Richard Hakluyt, the industrious and indefatigable compiler of voyages, found a liberal friend and patron.—Mrs. A. T. Thomson's Life of Sir W. Ralegh, pp. 46 and 48.

[27] Stith, p. 17.

[28] "Le Cardinal de Sainte Croix, nonce en Portugal, et Nicholas Tornabon, legat en France, l'introduisent en Italie ou elle reçut les noms d'herbe de Sainte Croix, et de Tornabonne; elle a encore porté d'autres noms fondés sur des proprietés vraies ou supposées, ou sur la haute idée qu'on avait de ses vertus: c'est ainsi qu'on l'a appelée Buglose ou Panacée Antarctique, Herbe Sainte ou Sacrée, Herbe a tous maux, Jusquiame du Peron," &c. &c. Dictionnaire des Sciences Medicales, Art. Tabac, par Mons. Merat.

[29] Article Santa Croce, where they are attributed to Victor Duranti.

[30] M. Merat ut supra.

[31] Jefferson's Notes on Virginia, p. 62.

[32] Robertson's Hist. of America, vol. iv. p. 97.

[33] It is said that Ralegh used to give smoking parties at his house, where his guests were treated with nothing but a pipe, a mug of ale, and a nutmeg.—Thomson's Life of Ralegh, p. 471.

[34] Ralph Lane was lieutenant of the fleet of Sir Richard Grenville, which had been sent to Virginia by Sir Walter Ralegh, in 1585, where he was made governor.—Hakluyt's Voyages, vol. iii. p. 251.

[35] Camden has the following passage: "Et hi reduces," speaking of those survivers who were carried home by Drake, "Indicam illam plantam, quam tabaccam vocant et nicotiam, qua contra cruditates, ab Indis edocti, usi erant, in Angliam primi quod sciam, intulerunt. Ex illo sane tempore usu cœpit esse creberrimo, et magno pretio, dum quamplurimi graveolentem illius fumum, alii lascivientes, alii valetudini consulentes, per tubulum testaceum inexplebili aviditate passim hauriunt et mox e naribus efflant; adeo ut tabernæ tabacanæ non minus quam cervisiariæ et vinariæ," beer-houses and grog-shops, we presume, "passim per oppida habeantur. Ut Anglorum corpora (quod salse ille dixit) qui hac planta tantopere delectantur in barbarorum naturam degenerasse videantur; cum iisdem quibus barbari delectentur et sanari se posse credant."—Camdeni Ann. Rer. Anglican. p. 415.

[36] These valuables are thus described in a note to Cayley's Life of Sir Walter Ralegh, vol. i. p. 81. "Among Thoresby's artificial curiosities, we have Sir W. Ralegh's tobacco-box, as it was called, but is rather the case for the glass wherein it was preserved, which was surrounded with small wax candles of various colours. This is of gilded leather, like a muff-case, about half a foot broad and thirteen inches high, and hath cases for sixteen pipes in it.—Ducatus Leodensis, fol. 1715, p. 485."

[37] Ralegh is believed to have introduced the culture of the potato, as well as tobacco, into Ireland. The latter on his own estate at Youghal, in the county of Cork.

[38] Universal Geography, vol. iii. p. 223.

[39] Appendix, p. 466.

[40] King James's Works, fol. from page 214 to 222.

[41] Naturall and Morall Historie of the Indies, p. 289.

[42] Silva Silvarum—Lassitude.

[43] History of life and death. Lord Bacon's Works, vol. iii. p. 377.

[44] Howell's Epist. Hoel. or Familiar Letters, p. 405.

[45] In the TEXNODAMIA or Marriage of the Arts, by Barten Holiday, 1680, there is a singular poem on the subject of Tobacco, where, in successive stanzas, if is compared to a musician, a lawyer, a physician, a traveller, a crittike, an ignis fatuus, and a whyffler. Beloe's Sketches, vol. ii. p. 10.

[46] Notes on Virginia, pp. 278, 279.

[47] Davies' Hist. of the Carriby Islands, fol. p. 192.

[48] Ramazzini also says that the breath of those who labour at tobacco is intolerably offensive, "efficit, ut tabacariarum semper fœteant animæ."

[49] "Tanta enim ex illâ tritura partium tenuim," says Ramazzini, "æstate præsertim, diffunditur exhalatio, ut tota vicinia tabaci odorem, non sine querimonia, et nausea persentiat."

[50] Puellam hebræam novi, quæ tota die explicandas placentas istas ex tabaco incumbens, magnum ad vomitum irritamentum sentiebat, et frequenter alvi subductiones patiebatur, mihique narrabat, vasa hemorroidalia multum sanguinis profudisse, cum super placentas illas sederet.

[51] Tourtel, in his Elémens d'Hygiène tom. ii. p. 410, assures us it is very dangerous to sleep in tobacco magazines. He cites an observation of Buchoz, who says that a little girl, five years old, was seized with frightful vomitings, and expired in a very short time from this sole cause.

[52] This memoir is entitled "Influence du tabac sur la santé des ouvriers," and is published in the "Annales d'hygiène publique et de medecine legale," first volume, April, 1829—p. 169.

[53] Mather's Christian Philosopher, p. 128.

[54] M. Merat.

[55] Rush's Essays, p. 261.

[56] Flore Medicale, tom. six. p. 205.

[57] Journey from Constantinople to England, p. 4.

[58] Dictionnaire des Sciences Medicales. Art. Tabac.

[59] Essays, p. 267.

[60] Brodie, Macartney, &c. See also Nancrede's Orfila, p. 289.

[61] Materia Medica, vol. ii. p. 197.

[62] Mat. Med. vol. ii. p. 198.

[63] Essays, p. 271.

[64] Hist. N. America, vol. i. p. 322.

[65] Rush's Works, vol. i. p. 167.

[66] Essays, p. 270.

[67] Macnish's Anatomy of Drunkenness, p. 83.

[68] "Qu'on ne pense pas, malgré l'usage immense et presque general du tabac, qu'il n'y ait aucun inconvenient a s'en servir. Les auteurs rapportent des faits qui prouvent le contraire, et sans ajouter foi a ce que raconte Borrichius (dans un lettre ecrite a Bartholin) d'une personne qui s'etait tellement desséché le cerveau a force de prendre du tabac, qu'aprés sa mort, on ne lui trouva dans le crâne, au lieu d'encephale, qu'un petit grumeau noir; ni meme à ce que dit Simon Pauli, que ceux qui fument trop de tabac ont le cerveau et la crâne tout noirs, nonplus qu'a l'assertion de Van Helmont qui a vu, affirme-t-il, un estomac teint enjaune par la vapeur du tabac; tout le monde sait qu'il affaiblit l'odorat par suite de ses irritations répétées sur la membrane olfactive, qu'il nuit a l'integrité du gout, parce qu'il en passe toujours un peu dans la bouche et jusque sur la langue. Ce que l'on n'ignore pas nonplus c'est qu'il dérange la memoire, la rends moins nette, moins entière; il produit de plus des vertiges, des céphalées et meme l'apoplexie."—Dictionnaire des Sciences Medicales, art. Tabac.

[69] Orfila's Toxicology, p. 291.

[70] Essays, p. 265.

[71] M. Merat.

[72] Sketches of Literature and Scarce books, vol. ii. p. 130.

[73] Mr. Brodigan, in his treatise on the tobacco plant, quotes Herodotus, Strabo, Pomponius Mela, and Solinus, to prove that tobacco was smoked in very ancient times, but the passages merely go to show that the smoking of herbs was common.

[74] Venner gives ten precepts on the manner in which tobacco is to be used, and afterwards summarily rehearses the consequences to all who use it contrary to the order and way he sets down; viz. that "it drieth the brain, dimmeth the sight, vitiateth the smell, dulleth and dejecteth both the appitite and stomach, destroyeth the concoction, disturbeth the humours and spirits, corrupteth the breath, induceth a trembling of the limbs, exsiccateth the wind-pipe, lungs, and liver, annoyeth the milt, scorcheth the heart, and causeth the blood to be adusted. Moreover it eliquateth the pinguie substance of the kidneys, and absumeth the geniture. In a word, it overthroweth the spirits, perverteth the understanding, and confoundeth the sences with a sudden astonishment and stupiditie of the whole body." Via recta ad longam vitam. p. 404.

[75] Christian Philosopher, p. 136.

[76] Materia Medica, vol. ii. p. 196.

[77] In many parts of Europe it is almost impossible for a tobacco chewer to be regarded as a gentleman.

[78] The fashionable snuff-taker was formerly accustomed to dip up the snuff with a little spoon or ladle, "which ever and anon he gave his nose."

[79] Natural Hist. Jam. vol. i. p. 147.

Art. VII.Voyages and Discoveries of the Companions of Columbus. By Washington Irving: Philadelphia: Carey & Lea: 1831.

When we noticed, three years since, a former production of Mr. Irving, we took occasion to express an opinion of its merits, which has been fully confirmed. No work of the present era appears to have afforded more general and unmingled gratification to its readers, than his Life of Columbus; and he has received, in the approbation, not only of his own countrymen, but of Europeans, the most gratifying reward an author can desire. The fame which he had acquired, and that most justly, by the happy works of fiction in which he was introduced to the public, is now changed into one of higher character; and he becomes entitled to take his stand among those writers who have done more than amuse the fancy, or even gratify the heart. He is to be classed with the historians of great events; for if the[Pg 164] period of which he has treated is limited, or the persons whose actions he has described are not numerous, yet the one included within it, short as it was, circumstances that have produced an effect which long ages have not always surpassed in importance or wonderful consequences; and the others embrace individuals whose actions have more deeply affected the human race than many of the revolutions of great and populous nations.

Having these feelings in regard to the former work of Mr. Irving, we open the present volume with mingled apprehension and pleasure. We rejoice that we are to follow again the same guide in adventurous voyages among the clustering Antilles; but we almost fear that the narrative may want much of that interest, novelty, and beauty, which make the story of Columbus among the most attractive ever recorded. The followers of the Admiral were, it is true, brave, adventurous, gallant men; the skies beneath which they sailed were as blue, clear, and tranquil as when he first admired their delightful serenity; the islands they visited were as flowery and as fertile as when they first blessed the sight of the enterprising sailor; if the iron hand of Christian civilization had, here and there, broken down the gentle and benevolent spirit of the naked beings who wandered through a life of inglorious bliss, in their remote and peaceful regions, there were yet haunts undiscovered where they might roam in undisturbed security—there were yet bays over which they might dart unobstructed their light canoes—green and shady forests beneath which they might chant their songs, and rich valleys not yet searched for gold. But yet with all this, he, the master spirit, is no longer among the voyagers. There is no longer the novelty of a vast discovery. The way has been opened by the daring pioneer, and we are now only to follow in the plain track his genius conceived, discovered, and marked out. We can merely watch the footsteps of those who followed the triumphal chariot; the hero of the ovation has already passed along, and our eyes are still dazzled with his splendour—our minds are still filled with admiration of his genius, his enterprise, his undaunted and noble spirit. We are to turn from those loftier efforts of human intellect and perseverance, which mark, now and then, a human being, as a beacon in the midst of his fellow men, to the more common, though it is true, the bold and spirited adventures which attend the fortunes of many in the career of life. The story of these adventures is indeed full of interest, but it is an interest less in degree; and we can no more venture to compare it with that which attends the actions and fortunes of him who seeks and finds a new world, than we can compare the patient inquirer, who nightly searches through his telescope for new stars in the vast firmament, with him who proclaimed and proved the theory of the universe—than[Pg 165] we can see in every military exploit of Parmenio and Seleucus, the master spirit that planned and effected the subjugation of the world.

Yet the pen which has described with so much felicity the life of Columbus, cannot fail to impart great attraction to an account of those who followed in the career they had commenced with him; who were emboldened by the energy they had witnessed, and the success in which they had partaken; and who completed the discovery of those regions, which he was permitted scarcely to see, and of whose vast extent he had no conception. While they were yet his associates, these voyagers had become acquainted with the pearl fisheries of Paria and Cubaga; they learned to believe that they had approached the confines of the golden regions of the east, described by the ancients in glowing colours; and they had heard something of a vast ocean to the south, in which they expected to find the oriental islands of spice and perfumes. All that they thus collected from tradition or partial observation, they treasured up to form the groundwork of schemes for future adventures, which they might pursue for the purposes of individual gain, or from motives of individual ambition, when no longer sailing under the ensign of their great commander. The more selfish objects of these exploits, their want of connexion with the lofty views that inspired Columbus, the comparatively small scale on which they were conducted, gave to them a sort of daring and chivalrous character, which much resembles the warfare of the predatory nobles of Europe during the middle ages. While they were as far removed from the treacherous rapine of the buccaneers, as the inroads of the armed bands of knights were from the secret attacks of the robber and assassin; they were yet the offspring of personal interest, and were distinguished by innumerable incidents of personal valour. They offered new fields where the burning desire for romantic achievement might be gratified; and the old spirit of Castile, which no longer found scope among the fastnesses of Andalusia, or the rich valleys of Granada, was delighted to embark on the waves of an ocean scarcely known, and to seek beyond it wealth and glory in golden regions, of which the discovery had already made one man the object of unmingled admiration and applause.

Of these voyagers, the first to whom Mr. Irving directs our attention is Alonzo de Ojeda—a man whose daring exploits, enterprising spirit, and headlong valour, cannot be forgotten by those who have already read the History of Columbus. He was his companion in the second voyage, and, it may be remembered, attracted the admiration of the bold cacique Caonabo, who paid that reverence to his undaunted prowess, which he refused to the superior rank of Columbus. Whether his restless and ambitious spirit could not bear the control of a superior,[Pg 166] or whether he had formed, during the voyage he had made, some plan of individual enterprise, he did not accompany the admiral in his subsequent expeditions. He could not, however, long endure the irksome life of a courtier; and he could less bear to hear, without desiring to partake of the discoveries which were announced by every returning vessel, of new coasts and islands, abounding with drugs, spices, precious stones, and pearls, said to surpass in size and clearness those gathered in the East. Through the influence of a relative, he obtained the patronage of the bishop Don Juan Rodriguez Fonseca, who had the chief management of the affairs of the Indies, and was permitted to fit out an expedition to visit any territories in the new world, except such as appertained to Portugal, or such as had been discovered in the name of Spain previous to the year 1495. The latter part of the exception being craftily intended to leave open to him the coast and pearl fisheries of Paria, notwithstanding the rights reserved to Columbus. Destitute of wealth, the young adventurer contrived, by his reputation for boldness and enterprise, and by his confident promises of rich rewards, to obtain money from the merchants of Seville. He united with him as associates, Juan de la Cosa, a hardy veteran who had already navigated the new seas with the admiral, and Amerigo Vespucci, who seems then to have been distinguished by little but a roving disposition and a broken fortune, but who is now known from the accident which has forever attached his name to the discoveries of Columbus.

Ojeda sailed from Port St. Mary on the 20th of May 1499; he reached land on the coast of Surinam; thence he steered along the shore of South America, passed and beheld with wonder the mouths of the mighty rivers that there flow into the Atlantic, and first landed among the natives on the island of Trinidad. He then kept his course along the coast of Terra Firma, until he arrived at Maracapana, where he unloaded and careened his vessels, and built a small brigantine. He found the natives hospitable and well disposed, but differing greatly in character from the gentle and peaceful inhabitants of the islands within the gulf. They were tall, well made, and vigorous; expert with the bow, the lance, and the buckler, and ready for the wars in which they delighted to engage. The martial spirit of Ojeda was soon roused, and he readily proffered his aid to the savages, in an expedition against a hostile tribe of cannibals, in a neighbouring island. As soon as his ships were refitted, he attacked and defeated, with great slaughter, the savage warriors, who, decorated with coronets of gaudy plumes, their bodies painted, and armed with bows, arrows, and lances, gallantly met and resolutely fought him on the beach. He then pursued his voyage along the coast, passed the island of Curacoa,[Pg 167] and penetrated into the deep gulf to the south. On the eastern shore he found an Indian village which struck him with surprise. The houses were built on piles, and the communication was carried on in canoes. From these resemblances to the Italian city, he called it Venezuela, or little Venice, a name it still bears, and which is now extended to the bay and the province around. The natives made a treacherous attack on Ojeda, but manning his boats, the gallant Spaniard charged among the thickest of the enemy, and soon drove them to the shore, whence they fled into the woods. Not desiring to cause useless irritation, he continued his voyage as far as the port of Maracaibo, which still retains its Indian name. In the territory beyond, called Coquibacoa, he found a gentler race of inhabitants, who received the Spaniards with delight, and solicited them to visit their towns.

"Ojeda, in compliance with their entreaties, sent a detachment of twenty-seven Spaniards on a visit to the interior. For nine days they were conducted from town to town, and feasted and almost idolized by the Indians, who regarded them as angelic beings, performing their national dances and games, and chanting their traditional ballads for their entertainment.

"The natives of this part were distinguished for the symmetry of their forms; the females in particular appeared to the Spaniards to surpass all others that they had yet beheld in the new world for grace and beauty; neither did the men evince, in the least degree, that jealousy which prevailed in other parts of the coast.

"By the time the Spaniards set out on their return to the ship, the whole country was aroused, pouring forth its population, male and female, to do them honour. Some bore them in litters or hammocks, that they might not be fatigued with the journey, and happy was the Indian who had the honour of bearing a Spaniard on his shoulders across a river. Others loaded themselves with the presents that had been bestowed on their guests, consisting of rich plumes, weapons of various kinds, and tropical birds and animals. In this way they returned in triumphant procession to the ships, the woods and shores resounding with their songs and shouts.

"Many of the Indians crowded into the boats that took the detachment to the ships; others put off in canoes, or swam from shore, so that in a little while the vessels were thronged with upwards of a thousand wondering natives. While gazing and marvelling at the strange objects around them, Ojeda ordered the cannon to be discharged, at the sound of which, says Vespucci, the Indians 'plunged into the water like so many frogs from a bank.' Perceiving, however, that it was done in harmless mirth, they returned on board, and passed the rest of the day in great festivity. The Spaniards brought away with them several of the beautiful and hospitable females from this place, one of whom, named by them Isabel, was much prized by Ojeda, and accompanied him in a subsequent voyage."

Leaving these friendly Indians, Ojeda pursued his way along the coast to the westward, until he reached cape de la Vela. During his long voyage he had been disappointed in finding the ready treasures of gold and pearls which he had expected, and now, wearied with his fruitless efforts, and embarrassed by the crazy state of his vessels, he resolved reluctantly to return to Spain. On his way, he stopped, in spite of the clause in his[Pg 168] commission, at Hispaniola, to cut dye-wood, but was prevented by the governor, and obliged to set sail. He then cruised among the islands, and seizing the natives, carried them home to sell for slaves. He reached Cadiz in June, 1500, but so unproductive was his expedition, that it is said, after the expenses were paid, but five hundred ducats remained to be divided among fifty-five adventurers.

The private enterprise of Ojeda did not fail to excite the same spirit among other followers of Columbus, who remained in Spain. He had been scarcely a month gone, before Pedro Alonzo Niño, who had been the pilot of the admiral on his first voyage, set out from Palos with Christoval Guerra, the brother of a Sevillian merchant who supplied the outfit. The vessel of these bold adventurers was but a bark of fifty tons, the crew but thirty-three men—yet with the daring spirit of the Spanish sailors of those days, they embarked fearlessly and joyfully to explore barbarous shores and unknown seas. Reaching the coasts of Paria and Cumana, they carried on for some time a profitable commerce with the natives, from whom they obtained pearls and gold in exchange for glass beads and other trinkets; but falling in at length with tribes less peaceful, and not, like Ojeda, enjoying warlike renown as much as profitable traffic, they returned to Spain after an absence of ten months, and making fewer discoveries but more profit than had yet resulted from any voyage across the Atlantic.

In the month of December of the same year, 1499, Vicente, Yañez Pinzon, one of the three brave men of that family who aided Columbus in his first voyage, but who had since remained in Spain, owing to the difference that arose between his brother and the admiral, embarked with two of his nephews, sons of Martin Alonzo, in an armament consisting of four caravels, from the port of Palos, the cradle of American discovery. Carried by a storm south of the equator, they were perplexed with the new aspect of the heavens, and it was not till the 28th of January, 1500, that they were consoled by the sight of land. The headland they saw, now known as cape St. Augustin, the most prominent point of Brazil, they named Santa Maria de la Consolacion. They found the natives warlike and inhospitable, treating with haughty contempt the hawks' bills and trinkets which were exhibited to them; and Pinzon and his weary messmates were fain to pursue their voyages, amid occasional conflicts whenever they landed, along the shores that stretched to the north. He discovered the mouth of the vast river of the Amazons, visited a number of fresh and verdant islands lying within it, and thence passing the gulf of Paria, made his way directly to Hispaniola. From there, sailing to the Bahamas, he[Pg 169] encountered a violent storm, and sustained so much damage that he returned to Spain.

Scarcely had Pinzon sailed from Palos, when he was followed by his townsman Diego de Lepe. Of his voyage, however, but little is known, except that he doubled cape St. Augustin, and enjoyed for ten years the reputation of having extended his discoveries farther south than any other voyager.

In October following, soon after the return of Ojeda, a wealthy notary of Seville, by name Rodrigo de Bastides, desirous of speculating in the new El Dorado, engaged the services of the veteran pilot and companion of Ojeda, Juan de la Cosa, and set out with two caravels in quest of gold and pearls. They continued the discoveries along Terra Firma, from cape de la Vela, where Ojeda had stopped, to the port afterwards called Nombre de Dios; they treated the natives kindly, and acquired rich cargoes; but unfortunately their vessels were cast away on the coast of Hispaniola, and the crews were forced to travel on foot to the city of St. Domingo, provided only with a small store of trinkets and other articles of Indian traffic, with which to buy provisions on the road. The moment Bastides made his appearance, he was seized as an illicit trader by the governor Bobadilla, the oppressor and superseder of Columbus, and sent for trial to Spain. He was there acquitted, and his voyage was so lucrative, that he had considerable profit after all his misfortunes.

The reports of these successive adventures were not heard by Ojeda, who had continued to linger about the bishop of Fonseca, without reanimating his bold spirit. He found numbers ready to listen to his wonderful stories, and embark in his wild expeditions; he found others who desired to increase their wealth, by aiding him with the means to renew them. The king made him governor of the province of Coquibacoa, which he had discovered; and in 1502 he again set sail, with four vessels well fitted out. Arriving at his new government, he selected a bay which he named Santa Cruz, but which is supposed to be that now called Bahia Honda, as the site of a settlement, and commenced at once the erection of a fortress. Before long, however, dissensions broke out between him and some of his principal companions, which ended in his being seized by the latter, accused as a defaulter to the crown of Spain, and thrown into irons. The whole community then set sail with their former chief for St. Domingo. They arrived at the island of Hispaniola, and while at anchor within a stone's throw of the land, Ojeda, confident of his strength and skill as a swimmer, let himself quietly down the side of the ship during the night, and tried to gain the shore. His arms were free, but his feet were shackled, and the weight of the irons threatened to sink him. He was obliged to call for help; a boat was sent from the ship; and the unfortunate governor,[Pg 170] half drowned, was restored to captivity. He was tried at San Domingo and condemned, but appealing to the sovereign, was afterwards acquitted. The long litigation, however, exhausted his fortune, and he again found himself a ruined man.

If ruined, however, he was yet in the vigour of his years, and his spirit was undaunted. He still yearned for the gold of Terra Firma. All he wanted was money to fit out an armament. In this difficulty he was aided by an old and tried friend. Juan de la Cosa, the hardy pilot of Columbus, and the companion of Ojeda in his first voyage, and subsequently of Rodrigo de Bastides, had remained in Hispaniola, and contrived to fill his purse in subsequent cruises among the islands. The friends united together, and applied to the crown of Spain for a grant of territory and command on Terra Firma. A similar application was made about the same time by Diego de Nicuesa, an accomplished courtier of noble birth.—

"Nature, education, and habit, seemed to have combined to form Nicuesa as a complete rival of Ojeda. Like him he was small of stature, but remarkable for symmetry and compactness of form, and for bodily strength and activity; like him he was master at all kinds of weapons, and skilled, not merely in feats of agility, but in those graceful and chivalrous exercises, which the Spanish cavaliers of those days had inherited from the Moors; being noted for his vigour and address in the jousts or tilting matches after the Moresco fashion. Ojeda himself could not surpass him in feats of horsemanship, and particular mention is made of a favourite mare, which he could make caper and carricol in strict cadence to the sound of a viol; beside all this, he was versed in the legendary ballads or romances of his country, and was renowned as a capital performer on the guitar! Such were the qualifications of this candidate for a command in the wilderness, as enumerated by the reverend Bishop Las Casas. It is probable, however, that he had given evidence of qualities more adapted to the desired post; having already been out to Hispaniola in the military train of the late Governor Ovando."

King Ferdinand found some difficulty in deciding between the claims of candidates whose merits were so singularly balanced; he ultimately divided that part of the continent lying along the isthmus, and extending from cape de la Vela to cape Gracias à Dios, into two provinces, separated by the bay of Uraba, which is at the head of the gulf of Darien. Of these provinces, the eastern was assigned to Ojeda, the western to Nicuesa.

The armaments of the rival governors met in the port of St. Domingo. It was not long before cause of collision arose between two men, both possessed of such swelling spirits. They quarrelled about the boundaries of their governments, and the province of Darien was boldly claimed by each.—

"Their disputes on these points ran so high, that the whole place resounded with them. In talking, however, Nicuesa had the advantage; having been brought up in the court, he was more polished and ceremonious, had greater self-command, and probably perplexed his rival governor in argument. Ojeda was no great casuist, but he was an excellent swordsman, and always ready to fight his way through any question of right or dignity which he could not clearly argue with[Pg 171] the tongue; so he proposed to settle the dispute by single combat. Nicuesa, though equally brave, was more a man of the world, and saw the folly of such arbitrament. Secretly smiling at the heat of his antagonist, he proposed as a preliminary to the duel, and to furnish something worth fighting for, that each should deposit five thousand castillanos, to be the prize of the victor. This, as he foresaw, was a temporary check upon the fiery valour of his rival, who did not possess a pistole in his treasury; but probably was too proud to confess it."

How long the poverty of Ojeda could have kept down his fiery spirit, we may doubt. Fortunately he had in his companion, the brave Juan de la Cosa, a friend who could control him, as well as follow and support him. Juan reconciled, at least for a time, the quarrel of the rival governors, and it was agreed that the river Darien should be the boundary of their provinces. Things being thus arranged, Ojeda was anxious to set sail; he still, however, wanted pecuniary assistance to complete his equipment; though careless of money himself, he seems to have had a facility in commanding the purses of his neighbours; and on this occasion he found, in a quarter, where perhaps he could scarce have expected it, both personal and pecuniary aid. There lived at San Domingo, the bachelor Martin Fernandez de Enciso, a shrewd lawyer, who had contrived to accumulate a considerable fortune by the litigation which already flourished in the New World. He was dazzled by the visions of unbounded wealth, he was promised the lofty office and title of Alcalde Mayor, and in an evil hour the worthy bachelor united in the enterprise of Ojeda, in search of fame and fortune. It was determined that he should stay at St. Domingo till he could collect a larger store of provisions and more men; and then follow his partner, who set sail without delay. The armament of Nicuesa still remained in port; for that gallant cavalier, notwithstanding his challenge to his rival, had exhausted all the money he could raise; he was even threatened with a prison; and it was not till some time after his rival had sailed, that he was enabled by unexpected assistance to embark.

In the month of November 1509, Ojeda reached the harbour of Cartagena, in his new province. In addition to Juan de la Cosa, he had as a companion Francisco Pizarro, who afterwards conquered Peru. The former, knowing from previous voyages the savage character of the natives, advised Ojeda not to stop there, but to proceed to the bay of Uraba. Such advice was useless to a proud warrior, who despised a naked and a savage foe. Having failed to keep his commander from danger, the faithful Juan could only stand by to aid him. Ojeda, who was a good Catholic, thought that he performed a pious duty in reducing the savages to the dominion of the king and the knowledge of the true faith. He carried as a protecting relic a small painting of the Holy Virgin; he summoned the Indians in the name[Pg 172] of the Pope, and he assured them in the most solemn terms that they were the lawful subjects of the sovereigns of Castile.

"On landing, he advanced towards the savages, and ordered the friars to read aloud a certain formula, which had recently been digested by profound jurists and divines in Spain. It began in stately form. 'I, Alonzo de Ojeda, servant of the most high and mighty sovereigns of Castile and Leon, conquerors of barbarous nations, their messenger and captain, do notify unto you, and make you know, in the best way I can, that God our Lord, one and eternal, created the heaven and the earth, and one man and one woman, from whom you and we, and all the people of the earth proceeded, and are descendants, as well as all those who shall come hereafter.' The formula then went on to declare the fundamental principles of the Catholic Faith; the supreme power given to St. Peter over the world and all the human race, and exercised by his representative the pope; the donation made by a late pope of all this part of the world and all its inhabitants, to the Catholic sovereigns of Castile; and the ready obedience which had already been paid by many of its lands and islands and people to the agents and representatives of those sovereigns. It called upon those savages present, therefore, to do the same, to acknowledge the truth of the Christian doctrines, the supremacy of the pope, and the sovereignty of the Catholic King, but, in case of refusal, it denounced upon them all the horrors of war, the desolation of their dwelling, the seizure of their property, and the slavery of their wives and children. Such was the extraordinary document, which, from this time forward, was read by the Spanish discoverers to the wondering savages of any newly-found country, as a prelude to sanctify the violence about to be inflicted on them."

The pious manifesto was uttered in vain to the warlike savages: they brandished their weapons, and Ojeda, after a short prayer to the Virgin, had to discard the parchment, brace up his armour, and charge the foe at the head of his followers. He was not long in defeating his naked enemies, who fled into the forests. Juan de la Cosa again tried his influence with his commander, and urged him to desist from pursuit. It was in vain. Ojeda, with Juan faithfully at his side, rushed madly on through the mazes of unknown woods. The Indians rallied and waylaid the imprudent Spaniards. It was in vain that Ojeda inspired them with fresh courage by the example of his undaunted prowess. Numbers prevailed; the weapons of the savages were steeped in a deadly poison; and one after one the invaders were left dead. Among those who fell was the brave Juan de la Cosa; and a Spaniard, who was near him when he died, was the only surviver of seventy that had followed Ojeda in his rash and headlong inroad.

For days those who remained at the ships waited the arrival of their companions. They searched the woods and shouted along the shore, but they could hear no signal from them. What was their surprise one day, at catching in a thicket of mangrove trees, a glimpse of a man in Spanish attire. They entered, and found the unfortunate Ojeda; he lay on the matted roots of the trees; he was speechless, wan, and wasted; but his hand still grasped his sword. They restored him with wine and a warm[Pg 173] fire; he recounted the story of his rash expedition; of his struggles among rocks and forests to reach the shore; and he bitterly reproached himself with the death of his faithful companion. While the crowd of Spaniards were yet on the beach administering to the recovery of their commander, they beheld steering into the harbour, a squadron of ships, which they soon recognised as that of Nicuesa. Ojeda recollected at once his quarrel; his valiant spirit was quelled by the hardships he had suffered; he feared to meet his rival; and he directed his followers to leave him concealed in the woods until the disposition of Nicuesa should be known.—

"As the squadron entered the harbour, the boats sallied forth to meet it. The first inquiry of Nicuesa was concerning Ojeda. The followers of the latter replied, mournfully, that their commander had gone on a warlike expedition into the country, but days had elapsed without his return, so that they feared some misfortune had befallen him. They entreated Nicuesa, therefore, to give his word, as a cavalier, that should Ojeda really be in distress, he would not take advantage of his misfortunes to revenge himself for their late disputes.

"Nicuesa, who was a gentleman of noble and generous spirit, blushed with indignation at such a request. 'Seek your commander instantly,' said he; 'bring him to me if he be alive; and I pledge myself not merely to forget the past, but to aid him as if he were a brother.'

"When they met, Nicuesa received his late foe with open arms. 'It is not,' said he, 'for Hidalgos, like men of vulgar souls, to remember past differences when they behold one another in distress. Henceforth, let all that has occurred between us be forgotten. Command me as a brother. Myself and my men are at your orders, to follow you wherever you please, until the deaths of Juan de la Cosa and his comrades are revenged.'

"The spirits of Ojeda were once more lifted up by this gallant and generous offer. The two governors, no longer rivals, landed four hundred of their men and several horses, and set off with all speed for the fatal village. They approached it in the night, and, dividing their forces into two parties, gave orders that not an Indian should be taken alive."

Dreadful indeed was the carnage, and fierce the vengeance the two commanders wreaked upon the natives. Having sacked the village, they left it a smoking ruin, and returned in triumph to their ships. The spoil, which was great, was divided among the followers of each governor, and they now parted with many expressions of friendship, Nicuesa proceeding westward to his province.

Ojeda did not long continue at a spot so fatal. He proceeded along the coast, and at length selected a height on the east side, at the entrance of the gulf of Darien, as the place for his town, which he named St. Sebastian. He immediately erected a fortress to defend himself against the natives, and considering this as his permanent seat of government, despatched a ship to Hispaniola, with a letter to the bachelor Enciso, requesting him to join the colony with the provisions and men he had collected. In the meanwhile, those who remained soon exhausted the stores they had, and were reduced to great want. They were fortunately relieved by the arrival of a vessel commanded by Bernardo de[Pg 174] Talavera, a reckless adventurer, who being threatened with imprisonment by his creditors in St. Domingo, had persuaded a set of men, as reckless as himself, to seize by force a vessel, lying off shore loaded with provisions, and join the new colony. While the supply brought by Talavera lasted, Ojeda was able to pacify his murmuring companions, and to persuade them peacefully to await the arrival of Enciso. When this however was exhausted, and famine threatened them, they became outrageous in their clamours, and Ojeda was compelled, as the only means of appeasing them, to agree to go himself to St. Domingo for aid, leaving those who stayed under the command of Francisco Pizarro, as his lieutenant. Talavera, already tired of the hardships he had encountered, was willing enough to return, and set sail with the commander in his vessel. The ill luck which had attended Ojeda during this expedition still continued. The vessel was cast on the island of Cuba, and completely wrecked; and the unhappy Spaniards had no choice but to perish on the beach, or to traverse the wide morasses that spread along the coast, until they reached some place where they could obtain aid. These morasses, as they proceeded, became deeper and deeper, the water sometimes reaching to their girdles; and when they slept, they had to creep up among the twisted roots of the mangrove trees, which grew in clusters in the waters. Of all the party, Ojeda alone kept up his spirit undaunted. He cheered his companions; he shared his food among them; whenever he stopped to repose in the mangrove trees, he took out his treasured picture of the Virgin, which he had carefully preserved through all his troubles, and placing it before him, commended himself to the Holy Mother; and by persuading his companions to join him, he renewed their patience and courage. It was on one of these occasions that he made a vow to erect a chapel and leave his relic in the first Indian town to which he came. At length, after incredible sufferings, they reached a village; the natives gathered round the poor wanderers, and gazed at them with wonder; they treated them with humanity, and after restoring them to health and strength, aided and accompanied them till they reached the point of land nearest Jamaica. At that spot they procured canoes, arrived at a settlement of their countrymen, and thence returned to St. Domingo.

Ojeda was too pious a Catholic to forget the vow he had made in his distress, though it must have sorely grieved him to part with the relic to which he attributed his safety in so many perils. At the village, however, where he had been so kindly succoured, he faithfully performed it.

"He built a little hermitage or oratory in the village, and furnished it with an altar, above which he placed the picture. He then summoned the benevolent cacique, and explained to him, as well as his limited knowledge of the language, or the aid of interpreters would permit, the main points of the Catholic faith,[Pg 175] and especially the history of the Virgin, whom he represented as the mother of the Deity that reigned in the skies, and the great advocate for mortal man.

"The worthy cacique listened to him with mute attention, and though he might not clearly comprehend the doctrine, yet he conceived a profound veneration for the picture. The sentiment was shared by his subjects. They kept the little oratory always swept clean, and decorated it with cotton hangings, laboured by their own hands, and with various votive offerings. They composed couplets or areytos in honour of the Virgin, which they sang to the accompaniment of rude musical instruments, dancing to the sound under the groves which surrounded the hermitage.

"A further anecdote concerning this relique may not be unacceptable. The venerable Las Casas, who records these facts, informs us that he arrived at the village of Cuebás some time after the departure of Ojeda. He found the oratory preserved with the most religious care, as a sacred place, and the picture of the Virgin regarded with fond adoration. The poor Indians crowded to attend mass, which he performed at the altar; they listened attentively to his paternal instructions, and at his request brought their children to be baptized. The good Las Casas having heard much of this famous relique of Ojeda, was desirous of obtaining possession of it, and offered to give the cacique in exchange, an image of the Virgin which he had brought with him. The chieftain made an evasive answer, and seemed much troubled in mind. The next morning he did not make his appearance.

"Las Casas went to the oratory to perform mass, but found the altar stripped of its precious relique. On inquiring, he learnt that in the night the cacique had fled to the woods, bearing off with him his beloved picture of the Virgin. It was in vain that Las Casas sent messengers after him, assuring him that he should not be deprived of the relique, but, on the contrary, that the image should likewise be presented to him. The cacique refused to venture from the fastnesses of the forest, nor did he return to his village and replace the picture in the oratory, until after the departure of the Spaniards."

The fate of Ojeda was that of a ruined man. He lingered for some time at San Domingo, but he no longer appeared there as the governor of a province. He was a needy wanderer. His health was broken down by wounds and hardships, and he died at last so poor that he did not leave money enough to pay for his interment; and so broken in spirit, that he entreated with his last breath, that his body might be buried at the portal of the Monastery of St. Francisco, in humble expiation of his past pride, "so that every one who entered might tread upon his grave."

When the gallant and generous minded Nicuesa left Ojeda, he sailed to the west to encounter perils still greater than his rival endured. His squadron arrived safely on the coast of Veragua. He there embarked himself in a small caravel belonging to it, that he might the better explore the inlets and places along the shore, committing the charge of the other vessels to his lieutenant Lope de Olano. One night, shortly after making this arrangement, a violent storm came on, and when day dawned, Nicuesa was left without one of the squadron in sight. Taking refuge in a river, his caravel was wrecked, and the unfortunate commander was left on the desert shore with the crew of the vessel, and nothing remaining to them but the boat, which was accidentally cast on the beach. Day after day they hoped for[Pg 176] the arrival of their companions, until they began to suspect that the lieutenant had determined to profit by the absence of Nicuesa, assume his power, and leave him to perish. They wandered along shore, in the direction, as they supposed, of the place where they had been separated from the squadron. They crossed the rivers and sailed to the islands near the coast in their boat. At length, to complete their misfortunes, at one of the latter, four of the party deserted, took with them the boat, and left their commander and the rest of the party, without food, assistance, or means to regain the land. In this sad situation they remained for weeks; many of them died, and those who lived envied, instead of mourning over, their fate. At length one of the brigantines of the squadron appeared; it had been sent by Lope de Olano, who had been found by the four mariners in the boat; and Nicuesa and the survivers were conveyed to their companions, who had made a settlement at the mouth of the river Belen. Finding that spot unhealthy, Nicuesa broke up the settlement, and established the remnant of his once large colony, now reduced to a hundred emaciated wretches, at "El Nombre de Dios." "Here let us stop," exclaimed the weary commander to his companions, "in the name of God (en el nombre de Dios,)"—whence the port derived its name.

While the two governors were thus struggling to establish their colonies, the bachelor Enciso, whom we have mentioned as having enlisted with Ojeda, set out from St. Domingo to join that adventurer with the men and provisions he had collected. Among his recruits was Vasco Nuñez de Balboa, another name destined to become famous on these seas. The bachelor had hardly reached Terra Firma before he fell in with Francisco Pizarro, and the small remains of the colony left by Ojeda at St. Sebastian. He heard the story of their misfortunes and the departure of their commander, but nothing daunted, the worthy gentleman of the robe assumed the courageous bearing of a knight errant, and determined to pursue the adventures on which he had embarked. Having heard of a great sepulchre not far in the interior, where the natives were said to be buried with all their ornaments of gold, he determined at once to pounce on so valuable a mine. He held it no sacrilege to plunder the graves of pagans and infidels, and he took care to secure the law on his side, by causing to be read and interpreted to all the caciques, a declaration, informing them of the nature of the Deity, the supremacy of the pope, and the undoubted validity of his grant of their country to the Catholic sovereigns.

"The caciques listened to the whole very attentively, and without interruption, according to the laws of Indian courtesy. They then replied, that, as to the assertion that there was but one God, the sovereign of heaven and earth, it seemed to them good, and that such must be the case; but as to the doctrine that the[Pg 177] pope was regent of the world in place of God, and that he had made a grant of their country to the Spanish king, they observed that the pope must have been drunk to give away what was not his, and the king must have been somewhat mad to ask at his hands what belonged to others. They added, that they were lords of those lands, and needed no other sovereign, and if this king should come to take possession, they would cut off his head and put it on a pole; that being their mode of dealing with their enemies.—As an illustration of this custom, they pointed out to Enciso the very uncomfortable spectacle of a row of grisly heads impaled in the neighbourhood."

On hearing this answer, the bachelor at once discarded the legal, and assumed the warlike character. He charged the Indians, and routed them with ease. He forthwith plundered the sepulchres, but whether he obtained the expected booty is not recorded. After this exploit, the worthy bachelor set about establishing the provincial government as Alcalde Mayor of Ojeda. St. Sebastian being in ruins, and the scene of so many misfortunes, was speedily deserted, and by the advice of Vasco Nuñez he seized on the village of Darien, drove out the inhabitants, collected at it great quantities of food and golden ornaments, and established his capital under the sounding title of Santa Maria de la Antigua del Darien.

It so happened that this new town was on the western shore of the river Darien, and consequently within the province of Nicuesa, not of Ojeda. Some discontented or ambitious persons in the colony took advantage of this, and attacked the alcalde in his own way, with legal weapons, questioning his right to rule. Among these Vasco Nuñez and one Zamudio were the leaders, and aspired to the bachelor's post. It was however at last determined to seek for the rightful head of the colony, Nicuesa; and bring him to the new capital. That woe-worn commander accepted with delight the unexpected proffer; foolishly however he assumed at once the haughty airs of a governor, and before he had seen his new colony, spoke of the punishment he would inflict on the disturbers of its harmony. The inhabitants of Darien heard of this language, and repented of their hasty measure. Placing Vasco Nuñez at their head, they awaited the arrival of Nicuesa on the beach, and when they saw his vessel enter the bay, refused him permission to land. It was in vain that the unfortunate cavalier entreated, promised, and explained. Even Vasco Nuñez, who was of a generous spirit, supplicated for his reception as a private individual, without effect. The determination of the populace was made up; and sad to tell, Nicuesa was driven to sea in his crazy bark, and never heard of more.

The bachelor Enciso now again claimed his right to command the colony. The people, however, were all on the side of Vasco Nuñez; he had become a great favourite, from his frank and fearless character, and his winning affability; in fact, he was peculiarly calculated to manage the fiery and the factious, yet generous[Pg 178] and susceptible nature of his countrymen, and in addition to this he was in the vigour of his age, tall, well formed and hardy. After a fruitless struggle, Enciso left the colony, and Vasco Nuñez, well aware of the appeal he would make to the Spanish government, sent at the same time Zamudio to represent and defend him before the same tribunal. Vasco Nuñez at once exerted himself to prove his capacity as governor. His first expedition was against Careta, the neighbouring cacique of Coyba, for the purpose of obtaining supplies. By a stratagem he made captives of the cacique, his wives, and children, and many of his people. He discovered also their store of provisions, and returned with his booty and his captives to Darien.

"When the unfortunate cacique beheld his family in chains, and in the hands of strangers, his heart was wrung with despair; 'What have I done to thee,' said he to Vasco Nuñez, 'that thou shouldst treat me thus cruelly? None of thy people ever came to my land that were not fed, and sheltered, and treated with loving kindness. When thou camest to my dwelling, did I meet thee with a javelin in my hand? Did I not set meat and drink before thee, and welcome thee as a brother? Set me free therefore, with my family and people, and we will remain thy friends. We will supply thee with provisions, and reveal to thee the riches of the land. Dost thou doubt my faith? Behold my daughter, I give her to thee as a pledge of friendship. Take her for thy wife, and be assured of the fidelity of her family and her people!'

"Vasco Nuñez felt the force of these words, and knew the importance of forming a strong alliance among the natives. The captive maid, also, as she stood trembling and dejected before him, found great favour in his eyes, for she was young and beautiful. He granted, therefore, the prayer of the cacique, and accepted his daughter, engaging, moreover, to aid the father against his enemies, on condition of his furnishing provisions to the colony.

"Careta remained three days at Darien, during which time, he was treated with the utmost kindness. Vasco Nuñez took him on board of his ships and showed him every part of them. He displayed before him also the war horses, with their armour and rich caparisons, and astonished him with the thunder of artillery. Lest he should be too much daunted by these warlike spectacles, he caused the musicians to perform a harmonious concert on their instruments, at which the cacique was lost in admiration. Thus having impressed him with a wonderful idea of the power and endowments of his new allies, he loaded him with presents and permitted him to depart.

"Careta returned joyfully to his territories, and his daughter remained with Vasco Nuñez, willingly for his sake giving up her family and native home. They were never married, but she considered herself his wife, as she really was, according to the usages of her own country, and he treated her with fondness, allowing her gradually to acquire great influence over him. To his affection for this damsel, his ultimate ruin is, in some measure, to be ascribed."

Vasco Nuñez did not neglect the favourable occasion these circumstances offered, of extending his power among the neighbouring Indians. Those who were hostile he attacked; those who were friendly he conciliated. From all he obtained supplies of provisions and gold, to support and enrich his colony. It was in one of his excursions to a friendly chief, the cacique of Comagre, that he obtained the information which gave greater scope to his adventurous spirit, and enabled him to place himself in the same degree with Pizarro and Cortez among the discoverers[Pg 179] who succeeded the great admiral. The cacique had made a present or tribute of a large quantity of gold, and the followers of Vasco Nuñez quarrelled as they were dividing among them their respective shares in the presence of the Indian chief.

"The high minded savage was disgusted at this sordid brawl among beings whom he had regarded with such reverence. In the first impulse of his disdain he struck the scale with his fist, and scattered the glittering gold about the porch. Before the Spaniards could recover from their astonishment at this sudden act, he thus addressed them: 'Why should you quarrel for such a trifle? If this gold is indeed so precious in your eyes, that for it alone you abandon your homes, invade the peaceful lands of others, and expose yourselves to such sufferings and perils, I will tell you of a region where you may gratify your wishes to the utmost.—Behold those lofty mountains,' continued he, pointing to the south; 'beyond these lies a mighty sea, which may be discerned from their summit. It is navigated by people who have vessels almost as large as yours, and furnished, like them, with sails and oars. All the streams which flow down the southern side of those mountains into that sea abound in gold; and the kings who reign upon its borders eat and drink out of golden vessels. Gold, in fact, is as plentiful and common among those people of the south as iron is among you Spaniards.'

"Struck with this intelligence, Vasco Nuñez inquired eagerly as to the means of penetrating to this sea and to the opulent regions on its shores. 'The task,' replied the prince, 'is difficult and dangerous. You must pass through the territories of many powerful caciques, who will oppose you with hosts of warriors. Some parts of the mountains are infested by fierce and cruel cannibals, a wandering lawless race: but, above all, you will have to encounter the great cacique Tubanamá, whose territories are at the distance of six days journey, and more rich in gold than any other province; this cacique will be sure to come forth against you with a mighty force. To accomplish your enterprise, therefore, will require at least a thousand men armed like those who follow you."

The effect of this intelligence, on the enterprising spirit of Vasco Nuñez, may be well imagined. The Pacific ocean and its golden realms seemed to be at his feet. He beheld within his power an enterprise which would at once elevate him from a wandering and desperate man, to a rank among the great captains and discoverers of the earth. He lost no time in making every preparation to realize the splendid vision. With this object he sent for aid to Don Diego Columbus, who then governed at St. Domingo; and in the mean time endeavoured to strengthen himself with the surrounding tribes of natives, and to quiet the spirit of insubordination which would occasionally break out at Darien. At length, on the 1st of September, 1513, he set out with one hundred and ninety Spaniards, and a number of Indians. At Coyba he left half his company with the cacique Careta, to await his return, and with the residue, on the sixth of the month, struck off towards the mountains. By some of the Indian tribes he was kindly received, by others hostile intentions were displayed. These were soon overcome by the use of fire arms and blood hounds, which terrified the natives and put them at once to flight. On the evening of the 25th of September, the party, now reduced to sixty-seven Spaniards, arrived at the foot of the last mountain, from whose top they were told[Pg 180] they would command the long sought prospect. Vasco Nuñez obtained fresh Indian guides, and ordered his men to retire early to repose, that they might be ready to set off at the cool and fresh hour of daybreak, so as to reach the summit of the mountain before the noontide heat.

"The day had scarcely dawned, when Vasco Nuñez and his followers set forth from the Indian village and began to climb the height. It was a severe and rugged toil for men so wayworn, but they were filled with new ardour at the idea of the triumphant scene that was so soon to repay them for all their hardships.

"About ten o'clock in the morning they emerged from the thick forests through which they had hitherto struggled, and arrived at a lofty and airy region of the mountain. The bald summit alone remained to be ascended, and their guides pointed to a moderate eminence from which they said the southern sea was visible.

"Upon this Vasco Nuñez commanded his followers to halt, and that no man should stir from his place. Then, with a palpitating heart, he ascended alone the bare mountain-top. On reaching the summit the long-desired prospect burst upon his view. It was as if a new world were unfolded to him, separated from all hitherto known by this mighty barrier of mountains. Below him extended a vast chaos of rock and forest, and green savannahs and wandering streams, while at a distance the waters of the promised ocean glittered in the morning sun.

"At this glorious prospect Vasco Nuñez sank upon his knees, and poured out thanks to God for being the first European to whom it was given to make that great discovery. He then called his people to ascend: 'Behold, my friends,' said he, 'that glorious sight which we have so much desired. Let us give thanks to God that he has granted us this great honour and advantage. Let us pray to him that he will guide and aid us to conquer the sea and land which we have discovered, and in which Christian has never entered to preach the holy doctrine of the Evangelists. As to yourselves, be as you have hitherto been, faithful and true to me, and by the favour of Christ you will become the richest Spaniards that have ever come to the Indies; you will render the greatest services to your king that ever vassal rendered to his lord; and you will have the eternal glory and advantage of all that is here discovered, conquered, and converted to our holy Catholic faith.'

"The Spaniards answered this speech by embracing Vasco Nuñez, and promising to follow him to death. Among them was a priest, named Andres de Vara, who lifted up his voice and chanted Te Deum laudamus—the usual anthem of Spanish discoverers. The people, kneeling down, joined in the strain with pious enthusiasm and tears of joy; and never did a more sincere oblation rise to the Deity from a sanctified altar than from that wild mountain summit. It was indeed one of the most sublime discoveries that had yet been made in the New World, and must have opened a boundless field of conjecture to the wondering Spaniards. The imagination delights to picture forth the splendid confusion of their thoughts. Was this the great Indian Ocean, studded with precious islands, abounding in gold, in gems, and spices, and bordered by the gorgeous cities and wealthy marts of the East? Or was it some lonely sea, locked up in the embraces of savage uncultivated continents, and never traversed by a bark, excepting the light pirogue of the Indian? The latter could hardly be the case, for the natives had told the Spaniards of golden realms, and populous and powerful and luxurious nations upon its shores. Perhaps it might be bordered by various people, civilized in fact, but differing from Europe in their civilization; who might have peculiar laws and customs and arts and sciences; who might form, as it were, a world of their own, intercommuning by this mighty sea, and carrying on commerce between their own islands and continents; but who might exist in total ignorance and independence of the other hemisphere.

"Such may naturally have been the ideas suggested by the sight of this unknown ocean. It was the prevalent belief of the Spaniards, however, that they were the first Christians who had made the discovery. Vasco Nuñez, therefore,[Pg 181] called upon all present to witness that he took possession of that sea, its islands, and surrounding lands, in the name of the sovereigns of Castile, and the notary of the expedition made a testimonial of the same, to which all present, to the number of sixty-seven men, signed their names. He then caused a fair and tall tree to be cut down and wrought into a cross, which was elevated on the spot from whence he had at first beheld the sea. A mound of stones was likewise piled up to serve as a monument, and the names of the Castilian sovereigns were carved on the neighbouring trees. The Indians beheld all these ceremonials and rejoicings in silent wonder, and, while they aided to erect the cross and pile up the mound of stones, marvelled exceedingly at the meaning of these monuments, little thinking that they marked the subjugation of their land."

From the summit of the mountain Vasco Nuñez cheerfully pursued his journey to the coast; when he tasted the water and found it salt, he felt assured that he had indeed discovered an ocean; he again returned thanks to God, and drawing his dagger from his girdle, marked three trees with crosses in honour of the Trinity and in token of possession.

He remained on the shore of the Pacific ocean till the 3d of November. In the interval, he conciliated by his good management the kind feelings of the natives; he visited some of the neighbouring islands; he was shown the valuable pearl fisheries; and was loaded when he left there with pearls and gold. On his return he had several hostile rencounters with the natives, and reached Darien on the 19th of January, 1514.

"Thus ended one of the most remarkable expeditions of the early discoverers. The intrepidity of Vasco Nuñez in penetrating, with a handful of men, far into the interior of a wild and mountainous country, peopled by warlike tribes; his skill in managing his band of rough adventurers, stimulating their valour, enforcing their obedience, and attaching their affections, show him to have possessed great qualities as a general. We are told that he was always foremost in peril, and the last to quit the field. He shared the toils and dangers of the meanest of his followers, treating them with frank affability; watching, fighting, fasting and labouring with them; visiting and consoling such as were sick or infirm, and dividing all his gains with fairness and liberality. He was chargeable at times with acts of bloodshed and injustice, but it is probable that these were often called for as measures of safety and precaution; he certainly offended less against humanity than most of the early discoverers; and the unbounded amity and confidence reposed in him by the natives, when they became intimately acquainted with his character, speak strongly in favour of his kind treatment of them.

"The character of Vasco Nuñez had, in fact, risen with his circumstances, and now assumed a nobleness and grandeur from the discovery he had made, and the important charge it had devolved upon him. He no longer felt himself a mere soldier of fortune, at the head of a band of adventurers, but a great commander conducting an immortal enterprise. 'Behold,' says old Peter Martyr, 'Vasco Nuñez de Balboa, at once transformed from a rash royster to a politic and discreet captain:' and thus it is that men are often made by their fortunes; that is to say, their latent qualities are brought out, and shaped and strengthened by events, and by the necessity of every exertion to cope with the greatness of their destiny."

While Vasco Nuñez was thus exulting in his successful expedition, fortune was preparing for him a sad reverse. The bachelor Enciso had arrived in Spain, and notwithstanding the statements of Zamudio, had made an unfavourable impression[Pg 182] in regard to Vasco Nuñez. The result was, that a new governor of Darien was appointed, in the person of Pedro Arias Davila, commonly called Pedrarias, a brave warrior, but little fitted to command in a colony such as that to which he was sent. A number of young Spanish nobles and gentlemen determined to accompany him, having heard wild stories of the wealth and adventures which the new world offered. Pedrarias was also attended by his heroic wife, Doña Isabella de Bobadilla, and by the bishop Quevedo, a just and benevolent priest. Scarcely had the new expedition left the shores of Spain, when news arrived there of the splendid discoveries of Vasco Nuñez, and the king repented that he had so hastily superseded him.

In the month of June, the squadron of Pedrarias anchored before Darien. When the hardy veterans of the colony heard that their beloved commander was to be thus removed, they were loud in their murmurs, and eagerly desired to resist the newly arrived governor. Not so Vasco Nuñez; he bowed at once to the mandates of the king, and acknowledged the authority of Pedrarias. This frank and honourable conduct was ill repaid by the new chief; he took advantage of the unsuspecting confidence of Vasco Nuñez, and directed him to be prosecuted for usurpation and tyrannical abuse of power. Fortunately, the bishop was opposed to the conduct of the governor, and even his wife ventured to express her respect and sympathy for the discoverer. This alone saved him from being sent in irons to Spain. In the mean time, the gallant Spanish cavaliers sunk beneath the fatal climate, to which they were unaccustomed, and the affairs of the colony became distracted. Pedrarias, to engage them, fitted out an expedition for the Pacific, but it ended in disappointment and disaster, and had little result but to change some of the friendly Indian tribes into implacable enemies.

While things were in this state, despatches arrived from Spain. In a letter addressed to Vasco Nuñez, the king expressed his high sense of his merits and services, and constituted him adelantado of the South Sea, though subordinate to the general command of Pedrarias. That governor, still envious of the renown of his rival, refused to confer on him the powers belonging to his new office, and all that Vasco Nuñez could obtain was the recognition of the title. Still further to thwart the honourable plans of the discoverer, he determined to explore, under his own auspices, the pearl fisheries and islands discovered by Vasco Nuñez on the Pacific, and for this purpose fitted out an expedition under the command of his own relative Morales; he sent with him, however, Francisco Pizarro, who had accompanied Vasco Nuñez on his first expedition. These explorers were kindly received by the caciques, who willingly gave them pearls for hatchets, beads, and hawks' bills, which they valued[Pg 183] much more. An incident occurred on their visit to Isla Rica, which, connected with the future history of Pizarro, was singularly interesting.

"Finding that pearls were so precious in the eyes of the Spaniards, the cacique took Morales and Pizarro to the summit of a wooden tower, commanding an unbounded prospect. 'Behold before you,' said he, 'the infinite sea, which extends even beyond the sun-beams. As to these islands which lie to the right and left, they are all subject to my sway. They possess but little gold, but the deep places of the sea around them are full of pearls. Continue to be my friends, and you shall have as many as you desire; for I value your friendship more than pearls, and, as far as in me lies, will never forfeit it.'

"He then pointed to the main land, where it stretched away towards the east, mountain beyond mountain, until the summit of the last faded in the distance, and was scarcely seen above the watery horizon. In that direction, he said, there lay a vast country of inexhaustible riches, inhabited by a mighty nation. He went on to repeat the vague but wonderful rumours which the Spaniards had frequently heard about the great kingdom of Peru. Pizarro listened greedily to his words, and while his eye followed the finger of the cacique, as it ranged along the line of shadowy coast, his daring mind kindled with the thought of seeking this golden empire beyond the waters."

On their way back through the mountains, the Spaniards were attacked by the savages with great ferocity; and when they reached Darien their party was greatly diminished, though the spoil they brought with them was great.

In the mean time, the disagreement between Pedrarias and Vasco Nuñez continued, to the great regret of the bishop Quevedo, and the mortification of Doña Isabella. At length a plan was suggested by the former which had the fortunate effect of producing a reconciliation. It was agreed that Vasco Nuñez should marry the daughter of the governor, then in Spain, and he was accordingly betrothed at once. Pedrarias now looked upon the exploits of his rival as those of one of his own family, and no longer thwarted him. He cheerfully aided him in a new expedition which was planned for transporting timber across the isthmus, building brigantines on the Pacific, and exploring the country farther to the south. When Vasco Nuñez found himself floating in large vessels, on the waves of the vast ocean he had discovered, he felt an honourable pride, and a thousand visions of discoveries yet to be made crowded on his fancy. Alas! they were not destined to be realized. A person who had a private pique against him, insinuated himself into the confidence of Pedrarias; declared that Vasco Nuñez had schemes of boundless ambition; that he would soon throw off his connexion with the governor, and above all, that such was his devotion to the Indian damsel, the daughter of Careta, that he would never wed her to whom he was betrothed. All the ancient enmity of Pedrarias was renewed; he determined at once to put an end to the rivalry of Vasco Nuñez; by fair promises he induced him unsuspectingly to return; and as soon as he arrived within his power had him arrested and tried for treason. His condemnation[Pg 184] was to be expected, but deep was the emotion and surprise among the colonists when they learned that it was to be followed by the immediate death of the unfortunate soldier. No entreaties, however, could induce the governor to relent. He had his victim now in his power and he determined he should not escape.

"It was a day of gloom and horror at Acla, when Vasco Nuñez and his companions were led forth to execution. The populace were moved to tears at the unhappy fate of a man, whose gallant deeds had excited their admiration, and whose generous qualities had won their hearts. Most of them regarded him as the victim of a jealous tyrant; and even those who thought him guilty, saw something brave and brilliant in the very crime imputed to him. Such, however, was the general dread inspired by the severe measures of Pedrarias, that no one dared to lift up his voice, either in murmur or remonstrance.

"The public crier walked before Vasco Nuñez, proclaiming, 'This is the punishment inflicted by command of the king, and his lieutenant Don Pedrarias Davila, on this man, as a traitor and an usurper of the territories of the crown.'

"When Vasco Nuñez heard these words, he exclaimed, indignantly, 'It is false! never did such a crime enter my mind. I have ever served my king with truth and loyalty, and sought to augment his dominions.'

"These words were of no avail in his extremity, but they were fully believed by the populace.

"Thus perished, in his forty-second year, in the prime and vigour of his days and the full career of his glory, one of the most illustrious and deserving of the Spanish discoverers—a victim to the basest and most perfidious envy.

"How vain are our most confident hopes, our brightest triumphs! When Vasco Nuñez, from the mountains of Darien, beheld the Southern ocean revealed to his gaze, he considered its unknown realms at his disposal. When he had launched his ships upon its waters, and his sails were in a manner flapping in the wind, to bear him in quest of the wealthy empire of Peru, he scoffed at the prediction of the astrologer, and defied the influence of the stars. Behold him interrupted at the very moment of his departure; betrayed into the hands of his most invidious foe; the very enterprise that was to have crowned him with glory wrested into a crime; and himself hurried to a bloody and ignominious grave, at the foot, as it were, of the mountain from whence he had made his discovery! His fate, like that of his renowned predecessor Columbus, proves, that it is sometimes dangerous even to discern too greatly!"

There yet remain in this interesting volume the history of Valdivia and his companions, and of the bold Juan Ponce de Leon. Each contains scenes and incidents scarcely less interesting than those we have rapidly noticed; but the termination of the story of Vasco Nuñez affords us a place to pause, and we are recalled from the agreeable task of narrating to that of expressing some opinion on the merits of the work which has so delightfully detained us. We may add that there is also an appendix, containing a narrative of a visit or pilgrimage, truly American, made by the author to the little port of Palos, where Columbus and so many of his followers embarked for America; it is in the happiest style, and cannot be read without the strongest emotions; we can scarcely refrain, notwithstanding its length, from presenting it entire to the reader.

The copious quotations we have made, and the abstract of some of the more interesting parts of the narrative, will be sufficient[Pg 185] to relieve us in a great degree from the necessity of criticism. Our readers will, themselves, be able to form a just estimate of the power and skill of the writer, and of the pleasure to be derived from the story he has recorded. We venture to say, that by none will that estimate be otherwise than favourable, either to the talents of the author, or the interest of the work.

The style of Mr. Irving has been objected to as somewhat elaborate, as sacrificing strength and force of expression, to harmony of periods and extreme correctness of language. We cannot say that we have been inclined to censure him for this. If he assumed a style more than usually refined, it was in those works of fiction, those short but agreeable narratives, in which he desired to win the fond attention of the reader, but in which he never endeavoured to call up violent emotions, to engage in the wild speculations of a discursive fancy, or to treat topics requiring logical or historical correctness. For such works as the Sketch Book, we believe the style adopted by Mr. Irving to be eminently well fitted, and we do not hesitate to attribute much of the success of those charming tales to this very circumstance. We believe so the more readily, because we find him adopting in the Life of Columbus, and in the volume before us, a different manner, but one equally well suited to the different nature of the subject he treats. Without losing the elegance and general purity by which it has been always characterized, it seems to us to have acquired more freshness, more vivacity; to flow on more easily with the course of the spirited narrative; to convey to the reader that exquisite charm in historical writing—an unconsciousness of any elaboration on the part of the writer, yet a quick and entire understanding of every sentiment he desires to convey.

But connected with this, the writing of Mr. Irving possesses another characteristic, which has never been more strongly and beautifully exhibited than in the present volume. We mean that lively perception of all those sentiments and incidents, which excite the finest and the pleasantest emotions of the human breast. As he leads us from one savage tribe to another—as he paints successive scenes of heroism, perseverance, and self-denial—as he wanders among the magnificent scenes of nature—as he relates with scrupulous fidelity the errors, and the crimes, even of those whose lives are for the most part marked with traits to command admiration, and perhaps esteem—every where we find him the same undeviating, but beautiful moralist, gathering from all lessons to present, in striking language, to the reason and the heart. Where his story leads him to some individual, or presents some incident which raises our smiles, it is recorded with a naive humour, the more effective from its simplicity; where he finds himself called on to tell some tale of misfortune[Pg 186] or wo—and how often must he do so when the history of the gentle and peaceful natives of the Antilles is his subject—the reader is at a loss whether most to admire the beauty of the picture he paints, or the deep pathos which he imperceptibly excites.

Nor has he shown less judgment in the selection of his subject. To all persons the discovery of this continent is one which cannot fail to engage and reward attention—to him who loves to speculate on the changes and progress of society, to him who loves to trace the paths of science and knowledge, to him who loves to dwell on bold adventures and singular accidents, to him who loves carefully to ascertain historical truth. We scarcely know any topics at the present day, explored and exhausted as so many fields have been, that afford a richer harvest than those which Mr. Irving has now selected. We trust that many more works are yet to be the fruits of his most fortunate visit to the peninsula. The sources of information so liberally opened to him, and already so judiciously used—and which have contributed to add new reputation to so many names honourable to Spain—must yet furnish ample materials to illustrate other men, to disclose the incidents attending other adventures; and we trust that three years more may not elapse, before we again sail with our author over the newly discovered billows of the Pacific, or explore the plains of Mexico and Peru, or wander with some of the hardy adventurers who first dared to penetrate the defiles of the Andes.

We have already mentioned, in the notice of the Life of Columbus, the circumstances which led Mr. Irving to the investigation of this period of Spanish history, and the facilities afforded him in the prosecution of his labours. The materials for this volume were procured during the same visit. In addition to the historical collections of Navarrete, Las Casas, Herrera, and Peter Martyr, he profited by the second volume of Oviedo's history, of which he was shown a manuscript copy in the Columbian library of the cathedral of Seville, and by the legal documents of the law case between Diego Columbus and the crown, which are deposited in the Archives of the Indies.

Art. VIII.—The History of Louisiana, from the earliest period. By François-Xavier Martin: 2 vols. 8vo. New-Orleans: Lyman and Beardslee. 1827.

It is about a year and a half since a very good translation of the History of Louisiana by Barbé Marbois, was laid before[Pg 187] the public. Another work on the same subject, by Francis Xavier Martin, has recently come to our knowledge. We use this expression, because, although the title page shows a publication of the book in 1827, we neither saw it nor heard of it until the close of the last year; and, even now, we know of no copy but that in our possession. It may be that the honourable author, (for he is a Judge of the Supreme Court of the state whose history he has written,) was satisfied with collecting and preserving his materials by printing them, and cared not for the fame or profit of an extensive circulation and sale of his work. His philosophy may make him as indifferent to the one as his fortune does to the other, or his modesty may be greater than either. We think we shall perform an acceptable service by introducing the stranger to our readers, who will not fail to derive from him many things which will reward the time and trouble given to acquire them.

History has seldom appeared under the sanction of names better entitled to credit and respect than those we have mentioned. M. Marbois is known to us by his residence in the United States, as the secretary of the French legation, and Consul General of France, during the revolutionary war; and, afterwards, as Chargé d' Affaires; in which situations he was distinguished for his extraordinary capacity in the business of diplomacy, as well as for the integrity of his principles, and the frankness and amenity of his manners. By living long among us, he seems to have acquired not only an affection and respect for the American people, but an ardent admiration of our political institutions, which have adhered to him with undiminished strength through the various fortunes he has since encountered. He has prefixed to his History, an "Introduction," which is, as it professes to be, "An Essay on the Constitution and Government of the United States of America;" and although the venerable author had passed his eightieth year, he had lost none of the freshness of his attachment to our republic and its citizens, or of the vigour of his pen in portraying them. No foreigner has ever understood us so well, and few Americans better.

That part of his history which relates to the cession of Louisiana to the United States, is particularly entitled to attention from its curious details, and will be received with implicit belief, as M. Marbois was the negotiator on the part of France in that extraordinary transaction, fraught with consequences so momentous. He relates nothing but what was in his personal knowledge. We will not anticipate our notice of this event, but we cannot suppress the remark, that the acquisition of this vast region by the United States, now so prosperous, so loyal and efficient a portion of our grand confederacy, by which we were not only saved from a war, but liberty, happiness, and wealth have[Pg 188] been spread over a country, before that time neglected, mismanaged, and unproductive, and dispensed to an intelligent and industrious people, who had for a century been struggling with oppression and innumerable difficulties, changing with their repeated changes of masters, was owing to the keen sagacity and prompt decision of Napoleon. It is thus that the destinies of mankind wait upon the fortunes, the caprice, the foresight, and the blunders of the great, and are determined, for weal or wo, by causes and accidents in which those who are most affected by them have no agency. The people of Louisiana, and their fertile territory, which from their first settlement had been a subject of barter among the powers of Europe, to make a peace, to round off a treaty, or answer some policy or interest of a distant sovereign, are now irrevocably fixed as a member of a great republic, never again to be a helpless and degraded makeweight in the bargains of foreign princes.

F. X. Martin, the author of the work now in our review, has held for many years the high station of a Judge of the Supreme Court of Louisiana; respected for the learning and integrity with which he discharges the duties of his office, and equally so, in all his public and private relations. He, also, is at once the historian and the witness of some of the interesting transactions he narrates; and the veracity of his testimony is unquestionable, as to those matters of which he speaks from his personal knowledge. Being as independent in his circumstances as he is in his principles, and having no resentments, of which we have heard, to gratify, by calumniating any man, there is nothing to draw him from the line of rectitude, and we presume that no errors, at least of intention, will be imputed to him.

With this acquaintance with the character of the author, and his means of information, we may open his book with more than the confidence usually due to similar productions.

Before we introduce our readers to the materials of which these volumes are composed, we would say a word, and do it frankly, upon the plan adopted by the author in presenting them to the world. We speak not of the language or style of the composition, which is sufficiently clear and correct to be secure from criticism, especially under the apology of the writer, that "as he does not write in his vernacular tongue, elegance of style is beyond his hope, and consequently without the scope of his ambition." We are not so well satisfied with his reasons for the wide range he has taken over time and space in a "History of Louisiana." He has commenced, as every annalist of an American village has done, with the discoveries of Columbus; he has given us, with considerable detail, the circumstances which attended the settlements of the English and French provinces in this hemisphere; and has drawn "the attention of his readers[Pg 189] to transactions on the opposite side of the Atlantic," which have no apparent connexion with his subject. The "chronological order" which he has adopted, is not confined to the affairs of Louisiana, but comprehends occurrences in every part of the globe, and sometimes brings together on the same page such a heterogeneous mass, as to force a smile from us in spite of the official gravity which belongs to the office of a reviewer. The assemblages of events are often so unexpected and grotesque, that we should believe a joke was intended, if they had not been brought together on the summons of a Judge of a Supreme Court. Assuredly nothing like them was ever seen in a jury-box, even in the mixed population of Louisiana. A few references will explain the nature and meaning of our criticism.

The "Discovery of America" being disposed of, the reader of the History of Louisiana has his recollection recalled to the reigns of Charles VIII. in France; of Henry VII. of England; and Ferdinand and Isabella, of course; with notices of various movements in those countries in their several reigns. The second chapter is got up in the same manner, taking a zigzag course over our continent, north, south, east, and west, with occasional excursions to Europe to keep up the variety. This procedure often produces an assemblage of events, as we have said, on the same page, rather startling to themselves as well as to us.—Thus on page 48 of the first volume—"On the 20th of December, a ship from England landed one hundred and twenty men near Cape Cod, who laid the foundation of a colony, which, in course of time, became greatly conspicuous in the annals of the northern continent. They called their first town Plymouth. Philip III. on the 21st of March of the following year, the forty-third of his age, transmitted the crown of Spain to his son Philip IV. This year James I. of England granted to Sir William Alexander, all the country taken by Argal from the French in America. The Iroquois, apprehending that if the French were suffered to gain ground in America." So on page 157—"Iberville returned to France in the fleet—William III. of England died on the 16th of March, in consequence of a fall from his horse, in the fifty-third year of his age. Mary, his queen, had died in 1694; neither left issue. Anne, her sister, succeeded her." Can we avoid to ask what has all this to do with Louisiana? In page 234—John Law's well known scheme is thus abruptly introduced. "Another Guinea-man landed three hundred negroes a few days after. John Law, of Lauriston in North Britain, was a celebrated financier," &c.

The work abounds with such odd combinations, nor have we selected the most singular, arising from the "chronological order" adopted by the author, which, while it has advantages in narrations confined to one object, will not do in a history extended[Pg 190] over half of the world. We have presented to us, in the same incongruous manner, the settlement of Maryland—of Nova Scotia—sketches of English history under Oliver Cromwell—an account of the hooping cough in Quebec—and an earthquake in Canada. The cough was supposed to be the effect of enchantment,—"and many of the faculty did, or affected to believe it." "It was said a fiery crown had been observed in the air at Montreal; lamentable cries heard at Trois Rivieres, in places in which there was not any person; that, at Quebec, a canoe, all on fire, had been seen on the river, with a man armed cap-a-pie, surrounded by a circle of the same element." On the subject of the earthquake, the account of which is taken from Charlevoix, it was indeed a fearful visitation, if the truth be not exaggerated by terror and superstition.—

"A dreadful earthquake was felt in Canada, on the fifth of February, 1663. The first shock is said by Charlevoix, to have lasted half an hour; after the first quarter of an hour, its violence gradually abated. At eight o'clock in the evening, a like shock was felt; some of the inhabitants said they had counted as many as thirty-two shocks, during the night. In the intervals between the shocks, the surface of the ground undulated as the sea, and the people felt, in their houses, the sensations which are experienced in a vessel at anchor. On the sixth, at three o'clock in the morning, another most violent shock was felt. It is related that at Tadoussac, there was a rain of ashes for six hours. During this strange commotion of nature, the bells of the churches were kept constantly ringing, by the motion of the steeples; the houses were so terribly shaken, that the eaves, on each side, alternately touched the ground. Several mountains altered their positions; others were precipitated into the river, and lakes were afterwards found in the places on which they stood before. The commotion was felt for nine hundred miles from east to west, and five hundred from north to south.

"This extraordinary phenomenon was considered as the effect of the vengeance of God, irritated at the obstinacy of those, who, neglecting the admonitions of his ministers, and contemning the censures of his church, continued to sell brandy to the Indians. The reverend writer, who has been cited, relates it was said, ignited appearances had been observed in the air, for several days before; globes of fire being seen over the cities of Quebec and Montreal, attended with a noise like that of the simultaneous discharge of several pieces of heavy artillery; that the superior of the nuns, informed her confessor some time before, that being at her devotions, she believed 'she saw the Lord irritated against Canada, and she involuntarily demanded justice from him for all the crimes committed in the country; praying the souls might not perish with the bodies: a moment after, she felt conscious the divine justice was going to strike; the contempt of the church exciting God's wrath. She perceived almost instantaneously four devils, at the corners of Quebec, shaking the earth with extreme violence, and a person of majestic mien alternately slackening and drawing back a bridle, by which he held them.' A female Indian, who had been baptized, was said to have received intelligence of the impending chastisement of heaven. The reverend writer concludes his narration by exultingly observing, 'none perished, all were converted.'"

The fourth chapter still keeps us at a distance from the "promised land." The discontents and disturbances which agitated Canada, are minutely narrated, and, in some respects, not without considerable interest. One of the causes of the commotion, was an arbitrary act of power of the Count de Frontenac, who "had imprisoned the Abbe de Fenelon, then a priest of the seminary[Pg 191] of St. Sulpice at Montreal, who afterwards became archbishop of Cambray." Thus were the genius, the learning, and the virtues of this great and good man, laid prostrate at the feet of a petty tyrant; and might have been for ever lost to the world. It is by such abuses of power that men learn and feel the value of a government of laws, supreme and superior to the influence of office and the power of the sword. In this chapter we are introduced to the name of Robert C. Lasalle, afterwards so conspicuous for his courage and perseverance in the settlement of these regions. Some interesting details of his life and adventures, which may be called romantic, are given, for which we refer to the book.

As the character and conduct of the Founder of Pennsylvania has been lately assailed, with exceeding injustice, by a Pennsylvanian, and a judge too, it will add something to the testimony already so abundant in his behalf, to quote the following extract—

"The year 1680 is remarkable for the grant of Charles the Second, to William Penn, of the territory that now constitutes the states of Pennsylvania and Delaware. The grantee, who was one of the people called Quakers, imitating the example of Gulielm Usseling and Roger Williams, disowned a right to any part of the country included within his charter, till the natives voluntarily yielded it on receiving a fair consideration. There exists not any other example of so liberal a conduct towards the Indians of North America, on the erection of a new colony. The date of Penn's charter is the twentieth of February."

We follow our author into his fifth chapter, which we find occupied with a variety of matters, sufficiently interesting in themselves, but having no relation to the professed subject of our history; and which have been collected from works of no difficult access to any body. We notice, however, an occurrence, especially worthy of our attention at this time, when a project is entertained of introducing a government paper currency into the United States.—

"Louis the Fourteenth having approved the emission of card money made in Canada, during the preceding year, another emission was now prepared in Paris, in which pasteboard was used instead of cards. An impression was made on each piece, of the coin of the kingdom, of the corresponding value.

"Pasteboard proving inconvenient, cards were again resorted to. Each had the flourish which the intendant usually added to his signature. He signed all those of the value of four livres and upwards, and those of six livres and above were also signed by the governor.

"Once a year, at a fixed period, the cards were required to be brought to the colonial treasury, and exchanged for bills on the treasurer-general of the marine, or his deputy at Rochefort. Those which appeared too ragged for circulation were burnt, and the rest again paid out of the treasury.

"For a while the cards were thus punctually exchanged once a year; but in course of time bills ceased to be given for them. Their value, which till then had been equal to gold, now began to diminish; the price of all commodities rose proportionably, and the colonial government was compelled, in order to meet the increased demands on its treasury, to resort to new and repeated emissions; and the people found a new source of distress in the means adopted for their relief."

[Pg 192]

This subject is frequently referred to, and always as a source of distress; as a disastrous measure of policy.—

"Louisiana suffered a great deal from the want of a circulating medium. Card money had caused the disappearance of the gold and silver circulating in the colony before its emission, and its subsequent depreciation had induced the commissary ordonnateur to have recourse to an issue of ordonances, a kind of bills of credit, which although not a legal tender, from the want of a metallic currency, soon became an object of commerce. They were followed by treasury notes, which being receivable in the discharge of all claims of the treasury, soon got into circulation. This cumulation of public securities in the market, within a short time threw them all into discredit, and gave rise to an agiotage, highly injurious to commerce and agriculture."

"The province was at this time inundated by a flood of paper money. The administration, for several years past, had paid in due bills all the supplies they had obtained, and they had been suffered to accumulate to an immense amount. A consequent depreciation had left them almost without any value. This had been occasioned, in a great degree, by a belief that the officers who had put these securities afloat, had, at times, attended more to their own than to the public interest, and that the French government, on the discovery of this, would not perhaps be found ready to indemnify the holders against the misconduct of its agents. With a view, however, to prepare the way for the redemption of the paper, the colonial treasurer was directed to receive all that might be presented, and to give in its stead certificates, in order that the extent of the evil being known, the remedy might be applied."

"The province laboured under great difficulties, on account of a flood of depreciated paper, which, inundating it, annihilated its industry, commerce, and agriculture. So sanguine were the inhabitants of their appeal to the throne, that they instructed their emissary, after having accomplished the principal object of his mission, to solicit relief in this respect."

We turn also to Marbois, on this subject, and trust we shall be excused for giving so much of our time to it, by the interest the people of the United States now have in it. We have had our own experience of the fatal consequences of such schemes; let us also listen to the experience of others, which points to the distress and ruin that attend such experiments. Speaking of Law's great scheme of finance, this wise and venerable statesman says—"A foreigner of an eccentric mind, though a skilful calculator, had engaged the regent in operations the most disastrous to the finances of the state. John Law, after having persuaded credulous people that paper money might advantageously take the place of specie, drew from this false principle the most extravagant consequences. They were adopted by ignorance and cupidity." This writer, with the experience of more than half a century in public affairs, adds—"These chimeras, called by the name of system, do not differ much from the schemes that are brought forward in the present age, under the name of credit."

Speaking of the paper money created for Louisiana, M. Marbois tells us—

"The expenses resulting from want of order had no limits: in no condition to provide for them, the heads of the government had recourse to paper money, the desperate resource of financiers without capacity. The following remarks on this subject are from a despatch of M. Rouillé, minister of marine.[Pg 193]

"'The disorder, which has for some time prevailed in the finances and trade of Louisiana, principally arises from pouring into the province treasury orders and other kinds of paper money; all of which soon fell into discredit, and occasioned a depreciation of the currency, which has been the more injurious to the colony and its trade, as the prices of all things, and particularly of manual labour, have increased in proportion to the fall in the treasury notes.'

"It was on the 30th of November, 1744, that this minister thus expressed himself with regard to the chimerical systems of credit, which have never been more in vogue than in our time."

We pass over the sixth chapter of our book, without any particular notice of its contents. It is occupied with miscellaneous transactions in other provinces; with Indian wars; the abdication of James II., and the accession of William and Mary to the throne of England; which, in pursuance of the chronological order, we find snugly deposited between the census of Canada and some affairs in Fort Louis. These things, with the peace made between the Marquess de Denonville and some Indians, and some other matters, cover one page.

The seventh chapter of this volume brings us again in sight of Louisiana; and we thought our author was a little like Louis XIV., who, it is said, "seemed to have lost sight of Louisiana in the prosecution of the war," &c. Some interesting details are here given of the early attempts to plant a French colony in this territory, interrupted by hostilities with the Indians, and other impediments not unusual to enterprises of this kind. The northern provinces, however, are not neglected; and we are specially informed of the determination of the British cabinet to attack Montreal and Quebec—this was in 1710.

In tracing the history of a country which has attained the strength and importance of Louisiana, it is gratifying, occasionally, to look back to the days of its weakness, and particularly so when the advance has been surprisingly rapid, and may be fairly traced to the freedom of the government under which it was made. Our author has, from time to time, exhibited the population, agriculture, production, and trade of this province, at various periods, and under different circumstances.

"In 1713, there were in Louisiana two companies of infantry of fifty men each, and seventy-five Canadian volunteers in the king's pay. The rest of the population consisted of twenty-eight families; one half of whom were engaged, not in agriculture, but in horticulture: the heads of the others were shop and tavern keepers, or employed in mechanical occupations. A number of individuals derived their support by ministering to the wants of the troops. There were but twenty negroes in the colony: adding to these the king's officers and clergy, the aggregate amount of the population was three hundred and eighty persons. A few female Indians and children were domesticated in the houses of the white people, and groups of the males were incessantly sauntering or encamped around them.

"The collection of all these individuals, on one compact spot, could have claimed no higher appellation than that of a hamlet; yet they were dispersed through a vast extent of country, the parts of which were separated by the sea, by lakes, and wide rivers. Five forts, or large batteries, had been erected for[Pg 194] their protection at Mobile, Biloxi, on the Mississippi, and at Ship and Dauphine Islands.

"Lumber, hides, and peltries, constituted the objects of exportation, which the colony presented to commerce. A number of woodsmen, or coureurs de bois, from Canada, had followed the missionaries, who had been sent among the nations of Indians, between that province and Louisiana. These men plied within a circle, of a radius of several hundred miles, of which the father's chapel was the centre, in search of furs, peltries, and hides. When they deemed they had gathered a sufficient quantity of these articles, they floated down the Mississippi, and brought them to Mobile, where they exchanged them for European goods, with which they returned. The natives nearer to the fort, carried on the same trade. Lumber was easily obtained around the settlement: of late, vessels, from St. Domingo and Martinique, brought sugar, coffee, molasses, and rum, to Louisiana, and took its peltries, hides, and lumber, in exchange. The colonists procured some specie from the garrison of Pensacola, whom they supplied with vegetables and fowls. Those who followed this sort of trade, by furnishing also the officers and troops, obtained flour and salt provisions from the king's stores, which were abundantly supplied from France and Vera Cruz. Trifling but successful essays had shown, that indigo, tobacco, and cotton, could be cultivated to great advantage: but hands were wanting. Experience had shown, that the frequent and heavy mists and fogs were unfavourable to the culture of wheat, by causing it to rust."

What a change have a few years of good government and undisturbed industry and enterprise made in this country; for up to the time of its cession to the United States, its improvement was slow, uncertain, and by no means remarkable! Who can now recognise in this rich and prosperous state, the member of a great confederation, of a powerful republic, known and respected by every nation of the earth, the desolate wilds, the miserable and scattered habitations, "few and far between," with a population half savage and half civilized, of various bloods and colours, and scarcely able to support a pinched and comfortless existence, by excessive toil and a constant exposure to hardships and peril!

After the charter of Crouzat, in September 1712, and a subsequent charter to a new corporation five years after, the settlement of the colony was better attended to, and measures taken to advance its prosperity. Unfortunately for humanity, and perhaps for the ultimate happiness of the province, it was found, or thought, to be necessary, to introduce the negroes of Africa, for the cultivation of the soil. This species of labour was resorted to in Louisiana in the year 1719.

"Experience had shown the great fertility of the land in Louisiana, especially on the banks of the Mississippi, and its aptitude to the culture of tobacco, indigo, cotton, and rice; but the labourers were very few, and many of the new comers had fallen victims to the climate. The survivers found it impossible to work in the field during the great heats of the summer, protracted through a part of the autumn. The necessity of obtaining cultivators from Africa, was apparent; the company yielding thereto, sent two of its ships to the coast of Africa, from whence they brought five hundred negroes, who were landed at Pensacola. They brought thirty recruits to the garrison."

Whatever may hereafter be the consequences of this determination to employ slave-labour, its immediate effects were beneficial[Pg 195] to the planters; and in the next year, it is said that the company represented to the king that "the planters had been enabled, by the introduction of a great number of negroes, to clear and cultivate large tracts of land." It will be observed, that at this time the cultivation of sugar was not thought of.

The discursive manner of our author frequently furnishes us with anecdotes of interest, sometimes relating to habits of the Indians, and sometimes to other persons and subjects. In this class we reckon an account of a female adventurer who appeared in Louisiana so early as the year 1721.—

"There came, among the German new comers, a female adventurer. She had been attached to the wardrobe of the wife of the Czarowitz Alexius Petrowitz, the only son of Peter the Great. She imposed on the credulity of many persons, but particularly on that of an officer of the garrison of Mobile, (called by Bossu, the Chevalier d'Aubant, and by the king of Prussia, Maldeck) who having seen the princess at St. Petersburg, imagined he recognised her features in those of her former servant, and gave credit to the report which prevailed, that she was the Duke of Wolfenbuttle's daughter, whom the Czarowitz had married, and who, finding herself treated with great cruelty by her husband, caused it to be circulated that she had died, while she fled to a distant seat, driven by the blows he had inflicted on her—that the Czarowitz had given orders for her private burial, and she had travelled incog. into France, and had taken passage at L'Orient, in one of the company's ships, among the German settlers.

"Her story gained credit, and the officer married her. After a long residence in Louisiana, she followed him to Paris and the Island of Bourbon, where he had a commission of major. Having become a widow in 1754, she returned to Paris, with a daughter, and went thence to Brunswick, when her imposture was discovered; charity was bestowed on her, but she was ordered to leave the country. She died in 1771, at Paris, in great poverty.

"A similar imposition was practised for a while with considerable success, in the southern British provinces, a few years before the declaration of their independence. A female, driven for her misconduct from the service of a maid of honour of Princess Matilda, sister to George the Third, was convicted at the Old Bailey, and transported to Maryland. She effected her escape before the expiration of her time, and travelled through Virginia and both the Carolinas, personating the princess, and levying contributions on the credulity of planters and merchants; and even some of the king's officers. She was at last arrested in Charleston, prosecuted, and whipped."

When we read the account of New-Orleans, a century ago, we can hardly credit that it is the same New-Orleans which we now know.—

"New-Orleans, (according to his account,) consisted at that time of one hundred cabins, placed without much order, a large wooden warehouse, two or three dwelling houses, that would not have adorned a village, and a miserable storehouse, which had been at first occupied as a chapel; a shed being now used for this purpose. Its population did not exceed two hundred persons."

In the enormous increase of population and wealth which this highly favoured city exhibits, a Pennsylvanian may feel pride in observing, that the industrious Germans, who have never failed to improve and enrich the soil they inhabit, have had their share. John Randolph once said on the floor of Congress, that the land on which a slave set his foot was cursed with barrenness.[Pg 196] The reverse of this may be truly asserted of the German settlers. To their persevering industry, patient labour, and habitual economy, every difficulty yields, and every soil becomes fertile. An accident brought them to New-Orleans, with no intention of remaining; and their usefulness was felt and encouraged.

"Since the failure of Law, and his departure from France, his grant at the Arkansas had been entirely neglected, and the greatest part of the settlers, whom he had transported thither from Germany, finding themselves abandoned and disappointed, came down to New-Orleans, with the hope of obtaining a passage to some port of France, from which they might be enabled to return home. The colonial government being unable or unwilling to grant it, small allotments of land were made to them twenty miles above New-Orleans, on both sides of the river, on which they settled in cottage farms. The Chevalier d'Arensbourg, a Swedish officer, lately arrived, was appointed commandant of the new post. This was the beginning of the settlement, known as the German coast, or the parishes of St. Charles and St. John the Baptist. These laborious men supplied the troops and the inhabitants of New-Orleans with garden stuff. Loading their pirogues with the produce of their week's work, on Saturday evening, they floated down the river, and were ready to spread at sun-rise, on the first market that was held on the banks of the Mississippi, their supplies of vegetables, fowls, and butter. Returning, at the close of the market, they reached their homes early in the night, and were ready to resume their work at sun-rise; having brought the groceries and other articles needed in the course of the week."

A few years later, the Jesuit and Ursuline nuns arrived at New-Orleans, and began the improvement of a tract of land immediately above the city. They erected a house and chapel; they planted the front of their land with the myrtle wax shrub. Soon after, the foundation was laid for a large nunnery, into which the ladies removed in 1730, and occupied it until 1824. On every side the work of improvement proceeded gradually, but effectually. Among other expedients to hasten the progress of population, "a company ship brought out a number of poor girls, shipped by the company. They had not been taken, as those whom it had transported before, in the houses of correction in Paris. It had supplied each of them with a small box, cassette, containing a few articles of clothing. From this circumstance, and to distinguish them from those who had preceded them, they were called girls de la cassette. Till they could be disposed of in marriage, they remained under the care of the nuns."

The fig tree was introduced from Provence, and the orange from Hispaniola, both now so abundant and so excellent at New-Orleans.

Injustice to the aborigines seems to have marked the march of the white man in all its stages; nor were the victims of his cupidity slow in their revenge, or wanting in courage and ingenuity in prosecuting it. We have an instance of this, which we think interesting enough to be extracted.[Pg 197]

"The indiscretion and ill conduct of Chepar, who commanded at Fort Rosalie, in the country of the Natchez, induced these Indians to become principals, instead of auxiliaries, in the havock.

"This officer, coveting a tract of land in the possession of one of the chiefs, had used menaces to induce him to surrender it, and unable to intimidate the sturdy Indian, had resorted to violence. The nation, to whom the commandant's conduct had rendered him obnoxious, took part with its injured member—and revenge was determined on. The suns sat in council to devise the means of annoyance, and determined not to confine chastisement to the offender; but, having secured the co-operation of all the tribes hostile to the French, to effect the total overthrow of the settlement, murder all white men in it, and reduce the women and children to slavery. Messengers were accordingly sent to all the villages of the Natchez and the tribes in their alliance, to induce them to get themselves ready, and come on a given day to begin the slaughter. For this purpose bundles of an equal number of sticks were prepared and sent to every village, with directions to take out a stick everyday, after that of the new moon, and the attack was to be on that on which the last stick was taken out.

"This matter was kept a profound secret among the chiefs and the Indians employed by them, and particular care was taken to conceal it from the women. One of the female suns, however, soon discovered that a momentous measure, of which she was not informed, was on foot. Leading one of her sons to a distant and retired spot, in the woods, she upbraided him with his want of confidence in his mother, and artfully drew from him the details of the intended attack. The bundle of sticks for her village had been deposited in the temple, and to the keeper of it, the care had been intrusted of taking out a stick daily. Having from her rank access to the fane at all times, she secretly, and at different moments, detached one or two sticks, and then threw them into the sacred fire. Unsatisfied with this, she gave notice of the impending danger to an officer of the garrison, in whom she placed confidence. But the information was either disbelieved or disregarded."

This well concerted plan of revenge was carried into a terrible execution; and the aggressor who had caused it was among the victims.

A circumstance, purely accidental, and, in itself, altogether insignificant, was the beginning of an agricultural experiment in Louisiana, which, long afterwards, was followed by a success, important not only to that territory, but to these United States.

"Two hundred recruits arrived from France on the 17th of April, for the completion of the quota of troops allotted to the province. The king's ships, in which they were embarked, touched at the cape, in the Island of Hispaniola, where, with a view of trying with what success the sugar cane could be cultivated on the banks of the Mississippi, the Jesuits of that island were permitted to ship to their brethren in Louisiana, a quantity of it. A number of negroes, acquainted with the culture and manufacture of sugar, came in the fleet. The canes were planted on the land of the fathers immediately above the city, in the lower part of the spot now known as the suburb St. Mary. Before this time, the front of the plantation had been improved in the raising of the myrtle wax shrub; the rest was sown with indigo."

In this humble manner was the sugar cane introduced into Louisiana, which has now become a principal source of its wealth. We will here advance upon our work in order to trace, in a connected manner, the various attempts which were made to fix the cultivation of this plant, with their failures and success, for many years vibrating in uncertainty. The experiment we[Pg 198] have just alluded to was made in 1751; eight years afterwards, our author tells us:—

"Although the essay, which the Jesuits had made in 1751, to naturalize the sugar cane in Louisiana, had been successful, the culture of it, on a large scale, was not attempted till this year, when Dubreuil erected a mill for the manufacture of sugar, on his plantation, immediately adjoining the lower part of New-Orleans—the spot now covered by the suburb Marigny."

In 1769, the project seems to have been given up, as we are then informed that—"the indigo of Louisiana was greatly inferior to that of Hispaniola, the planters being quite unskilful and inattentive in the manufacture of it; that of sugar had been abandoned, but some planters near New-Orleans raised a few canes for the market."

No explanation is given of the causes of the abandonment of this most valuable product, which subsequent experience has shown is so admirably adapted to the soil and climate of Louisiana. It is the more unaccountable, as a large capital had been embarked in it, for the purchase of slaves principally. It may be that it did not receive the protection from jealous rivals, which is indispensable for the success of every new enterprise of this kind, even under the most favourable circumstances; at least until it is firmly established; its expenditures secured or reimbursed; and its capacity brought into full development and operation.

From the period we have last spoken of, 1769, until 1796, we hear, from our author, of no effort to resume the cultivation of the sugar cane; although we may presume it was not absolutely extinguished; for in the record of the events of this year, (1796) he tells us—"Boré's success, in his first attempt to manufacture sugar, was very great, and he sold his crop for ten thousand dollars. His example induced a number of other planters to plant cane." In the transactions of 1794, we are indeed informed upon this point; and of the origin of Boré's undertaking this culture.

"Since the year 1766, the manufacture of sugar had been entirely abandoned in Louisiana. A few individuals had, however, contrived to plant a few canes in the neighbourhood of the city: they found a vent for them in the market. Two Spaniards, Mendez and Solis, had lately made larger plantations. One of them boiled the juice of the cane into syrup, and the other had set up a distillery, in which he made indifferent taffia.

"Etienne Boré, a native of the Illinois, who resided about six miles above the city, finding his fortune considerably reduced by the failure of the indigo crops for several successive years, conceived the idea of retrieving his losses by the manufacture of sugar. The attempt was considered by all as a visionary one. His wife, (a daughter of Destrehan, the colonial treasurer under the government of France, who had been one of the first to attempt, and one of the last to abandon, the manufacture of sugar) remembering her father's ill success, warned him of the risk he ran of adding to instead of repairing his losses, and his relations and friends joined their remonstrances to hers. He, however, persisted; and, having procured a quantity of canes from Mendez and Solis, began to plant."

[Pg 199]

So that in two years after Boré began to plant, he was able to make a crop which sold for ten thousand dollars. From this time the culture of the cane may be considered as established in Louisiana, constantly and rapidly increasing in its importance, until it has become a principal product of its soil, in which an immense capital is embarked. We have before us a copy of a "Letter of Mr. Johnston of Louisiana, to the secretary of the treasury, in reply to his circular of the 1st July 1830, relative to the culture of the sugar cane." This interesting document contains a mass of authentic information, which leaves no doubt of the importance of the culture of the cane, not only to those regions of the United States which are suitable to it, but to all or most of the other states; and the inference he justly draws from it is, that it deserves and still requires all the protection it now receives from the government. If it should be discontinued or diminished so as to affect materially the sugar planter, the injury will not stop there, but be extended to thousands of our citizens, who may not have reflected upon the direct interest they have in this question. We deem it to be so important, that we believe our readers, many of whom may not see the letter of the honourable senator, will not find a page or two unprofitably given to some extracts from it. In the introduction of his subject he says:

"When Louisiana was acquired by the United States, there was a duty on brown sugar of two and a half cents a pound, levied for revenue. The people of that state, who had already made some experiments in the culture of the cane, saw that the duty afforded them some protection from foreign competition, and secured the benefit of the home market, which was then of considerable extent, and rapidly increasing. This induced them, within the region then considered adapted to the cane, to turn their attention to the production of sugar. They embarked their whole fortunes, and for a long time struggled, under very discouraging circumstances, against the effects of the climate, the vicissitudes of seasons, the deficiency of capital, the want of skill, and all the difficulties incident to the commencement of such an enterprise. It was for many years a doubtful experiment and hazardous undertaking, but they persevered.

"The cane gradually adapted itself to the climate. Different kinds of cane were introduced, skill was acquired by experience, capital increased, machinery and steam power applied, improvements adopted, and expenses diminished.

"At the close of the war, Congress, for the purpose of increasing the revenue, and of protecting the domestic industry, increased the rate of duty on sugar half a cent a pound, as a part of a general system. This had a most decisive effect in bringing this great national interest to its present state, and they have now finally triumphed over every obstacle.

"It was more than twenty years before they could produce 40,000 hogsheads; and during the greater part of that time very little profit was made upon the capital employed.

"The increase of capital, the introduction of machinery, the diversion of labour from other less profitable pursuits, the acquisition of skill, and, above all, the confidence of the people in the protection of the government, have vastly augmented the means of production. It now promises an ample supply for the consumption of the country, and a steady but moderate profit. They are in a course of experiment, that will in a short period establish this great interest upon a scale adequate to the wants of the people.[Pg 200]

"Under the faith of the laws, they have embarked their capital in the production of one of the great necessaries of life, and in support of a national system, which they understood it was the object of the government to establish. They have opened a new and extensive field of agricultural industry; directed labour to more profitable employment; maintained the value of slaves; and increased the internal commerce of the country. They have contributed their full share to all the duties paid on other articles. They came into this Union, charged with an immense public debt, which was greatly increased by the war, in which they suffered in common: they have freely contributed their portion to its payment."

He proceeds to show that the value of lands and slaves "is predicated upon the value of the sugar, and that depends upon the rate of duty established by the laws." The effects of a reduction of the duty is thus detailed.

"The present price of sugar, at 5-1/2 cents, is sustained by a duty of 3 cents a pound. If that duty was removed, foreign sugar would be sold 3 cents less, and ours would fall in the same proportion. That reduction would bring sugar below the actual cost, and therefore it could not be made, even if slaves and lands cost nothing. A reduction of 2 cents would bring the price to the exact amount of 3-1/2 cents a pound, the precise cost of the sugar, independent of the capital, and therefore would yield nothing to the cultivator. A reduction of 1 cent would bring sugar to 4-1/2 cents, which would leave only 1 cent profit to pay for the capital—that is, the lands and slaves. That would diminish the present profit one half, and the value of the slaves in the same proportion. This reduction of duty operates entirely upon the profit; and a reduction of one-third of the duty operates a reduction of one-half of the profit, and thereby one-half of the value of the capital, and one-half of the slaves. Capital has been invested in Louisiana by the present standard of value. A reduction in that standard would produce a corresponding reduction in the value of all property. A reduction of one-third of the duty would sink half the value of property in the state, and ruin all those who have made engagements upon the faith of the laws."

The writer subsequently presents very precise and satisfactory statements, to show the capital required for this branch of agriculture, and the prices which are necessary to sustain it; with some calculated anticipations of its increase, if not crushed by foreign competition. Should it be asked, what interest have the other states of the Union in this concern? It may be a very profitable employment of the money and slaves of the rich planters of Louisiana; but is this a fair reason for imposing heavy duties on a necessary of life, thus enhancing its cost to those who consume it? To meet this inquiry, and remove the objection contained in it; to show that the citizens of the states who consume the sugar have an immediate participation in the profits of its cultivator, Mr. Johnston says—

"It is said that this is a local concern, interesting only to Louisiana. The slaves are taken, as beforementioned, from cotton and tobacco, and are furnished by the Southern States.

"The provisions and animals come from the Western States.

"The clothing from the North.

"The engines, machinery, &c. come from the different foundries in the United States—principally from the West.

"One-third of the capital comes from the South—and more than three-fifths of the whole production goes either in sugar or money to the other states, as their portion of the contribution in making it. The remaining two-fifths, being[Pg 201] the profit on the capital, goes back chiefly to Virginia and Maryland, to purchase more slaves.

"There are estimated now, 35,000 slaves: it will require 26,000 more to supply the consumption of 1835.

"There are estimated 725 plantations, which, when brought into operation, will yield an average of 300 hogsheads, sufficient for the consumption of 1836.

"These have required 725 mills for grinding, as many sets of kettles, &c. There are now about 100 steam engines—there will be required in addition, upwards of 600 steam engines.

"These plantations require also a large amount of horses, mules, and oxen; carts, wagons, ploughs, tools, iron, &c.

"The present consumption for the slaves, is 35,000 barrels of pork.

"Which will be increased in 1835 to—say 60,000 " "

"They purchase now about ... 50,000 barrels of corn.

"Each mill, with steam engine and kettles, &c. will cost $5,000.

"There are employed on the sugar plantations (independent of the cotton estates) 22,000 horses—value $1,500,000. These are to be renewed every seven years, or it will require $200,000 a year to supply the market. There were purchased in 1827-8, 2,500 horses—in 1828-9, 2,800—in 1829-30, 3,000 horses.

"Of the 100,000 hogsheads of sugar made in Louisiana, 50,000 hogsheads are transported up the Mississippi in steam-boats, for the supply of the Western States, who obtain it in exchange for their productions. Here, then, there is an internal trade of five millions, created in the Western States.

"The remainder of the sugar is transported coastwise by our vessels, to the North, to restore the balance of trade with that quarter, as well as with foreign nations.

"Thus every interest of agriculture, manufactures, commerce, and navigation, connects itself intimately with this object.

"The sugar is indeed made in Louisiana, but a portion of the money on which the establishments are founded, the whole of the labour by which it is produced, the chief supply of food, and the entire amount of clothing, and the transportation of the article, are furnished from the different states."

A prospect is reasonably held out of the reduction of the price of the article, by continuing the protection, to a point as low as need be desired, or could be obtained if we were to depend upon a foreign supply.

"When the estates are paid for, and the general diminution of value in other things takes place, with the improvements in machinery and other causes, sugar will be profitably made at 4 cents, and that is about the price at which we purchase it now in the islands: at that price we can, after supplying this country, enter into the general market of the Baltic, Mediterranean, and Black Seas."

On this part of the case a more satisfactory ground is taken; and it is made manifest, by authentic documents, that since the production of sugar in Louisiana, with the duties by which it is protected, a reduction has taken place in the price of the article, of one-half. The results of the tables annexed to the letter are thus given.

"The protecting duty on sugar, besides opening a new field of industry, diverting a large portion of labour from other objects, maintaining the value of all the slave property in the country, and supplying the people with an article of general use and prime necessity, has actually diminished the price one-half in twelve years.

"In paper A, it will be seen that the prices in 1818 ranged from $14 to 15, and that in 1829 they had fallen to $7.50.

"In paper marked B, it will be seen, that the brown of Havana has fallen 3 cents in 6 years, from 10 to 7 cents, while the sugar of Louisiana has varied[Pg 202] from 8-1/2 to 6-1/2. The price of sugar has in that time depreciated more than the duty, and will produce still greater effect. The general average of Havana brown, for six years, is 9-3/4, which now sells at from 7 to 8. The general average of Louisiana for the same period is 8-1/4; the present price ranges from 6-1/2 to 7-1/2. The sugar of Louisiana now sells in New-Orleans at 5-1/2; freight, &c. will bring it to 6-1/2 in the Atlantic ports."

Mr. Johnston has no doubt of the capacity of the sugar region of the United States to supply all our demands for it, for a long period to come.

"Without entering into any exact calculation, I can with confidence assure you, that Louisiana alone can produce enough for the consumption of the country for twenty-five or thirty years, and including Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and Georgia south of the 32d degree, will supply it for twice that period.

"It thus appears, that the people of Louisiana, under a confidence in the permanency of the policy of the government, have embarked their fortunes in the production of an article of extensive use; that they are now in the course of successful experiment, which promises, in a few years, to supply the consumption of the country; that they have opened a new field of agricultural industry and enterprise, requiring a vast amount of labour and capital; that they have actually reduced the price of the article one-half, and have saved the country an expense of six or seven millions a-year, and will reduce the price still lower, when the experiment is complete."

Having found in our "History of Louisiana," the feeble commencement of the culture of the sugar cane in that country, we thought it not beside our purpose, and likely to be agreeable to our readers, to trace it to its present strong and flourishing condition; to show the causes of its increase, and its immense value to those who have embarked their fortunes in it; to those by whom its produce is consumed, and finally to the revenue of the government. All these matters, doubtless, will be carefully examined and considered by the public councils whose right and duty it is to decide upon them.

We return to our history; the colony seems now to have attracted the attention of the mother country, and liberal assistance was given to advance its population.

"The ships landed also sixty poor girls, who were brought over at the king's expense. They were the last succour of this kind, which the mother country supplied. They were given in marriage to such soldiers whose good conduct entitled them to a discharge. Land was allotted to each couple, with a cow and calf, a cock and five hens; a gun, axe, and hoe. During the three first years, rations were allowed them, with a small quantity of powder, shot, and grain for seed."

This was in 1751.

An anecdote is recorded, exhibiting at once a feature of aboriginal justice, and the strength of parental affection in the "poor Indian."

"In a quarrel between a Choctaw and a Colapissa, the former told the latter his countrymen were the dogs of the French—meaning their slaves. The Colapissa, having a loaded musket in his hands, discharged its contents at the Choctaw, and fled to New-Orleans. The relations of the deceased came to the Marquis de Vaudreuil to demand his surrender: he had in the mean while gone to the German coast. The Marquis, having vainly tried to appease them, sent orders[Pg 203] to Renaud, the commandant of that post, to have the murderer arrested; but he eluded the pursuit. His father went to the Choctaws and offered himself a willing victim: the relations of the deceased persisted in their refusal to accept any compensation in presents. They at last consented to allow the old man to atone, by the loss of his own life, for the crime of his son. He stretched himself on the trunk of an old tree, and a Choctaw severed his head from the body, at the first stroke. This instance of paternal affection was made the subject of a tragedy by Leblanc de Villeneuve, an officer of the troops lately arrived from France. This performance is the only dramatic work which the republic of letters owes to Louisiana."

In the same year the white men furnished a subject for a tragedy far more cruel and vindictive than the self-immolation of an Indian father, and far less just and amiable.

"During the summer, some soldiers of the garrison of Cat Island, rose upon and killed Roux, who commanded there. They were exasperated at his avarice and cruelty. He employed them in burning coal, of which he made a traffic, and for trifling delinquencies had exposed several of them, naked and tied to trees in a swamp, during whole nights, to the stings of musquetoes. Joining some English traders in the neighbourhood of Mobile, they started in the hope of reaching Georgia, through the Indian country. A party of the Choctaws, then about the fort, was sent after and overtook them. One destroyed himself; the rest were brought to New-Orleans, where two were broken on the wheel—the other, belonging to the Swiss regiment of Karrer, was, according to the law of his nation, followed by the officers of the Swiss troops in the service of France, sawed in two parts. He was placed alive in a kind of coffin, to the middle of which two sergeants applied a whip saw. It was not thought prudent to make any allowance for the provocation these men had received."

The removal of the Acadians from their country; stripping them of their lands and goods; permitting them to carry nothing away but their household furniture and money, of which they had but little; laying waste their fields and their dwellings, and consuming their fences by fire, was another awful tragedy performed by civilized man upon the weak and defenceless, upon the pretences of policy. It was an act of British inhumanity; the sufferings of these miserable outcasts and wanderers are described by our author.

"Thus beggared, these people were, in small numbers and at different periods, cast on the sandy shores of the southern provinces, among a people of whose language they were ignorant, and who knew not theirs, whose manners and education were different from their own, whose religion they abhorred, and who were rendered odious to them, as the friends and countrymen of those who had so cruelly treated them, and whom they considered as a no less savage foe, than he who wields the tomahawk and the scalping knife.

"It is due to the descendants of the British colonists, to say, that their sires received with humanity, kindness, and hospitality, those who so severely smarted under the calamities of war. In every province the humane example of the legislature of Pennsylvania was followed, and the colonial treasury was opened to relieve the sufferers; and private charity was not outdone by the public. Yet but a few accepted the proffered relief, and sat down on the land that was offered them.

"The others fled westerly, from what appeared to them a hostile shore—wandering till they found themselves out of sight of any who spoke the English language. They crossed the mighty spine, and wintered among the Indians. The scattered parties, thrown off on the coast of every colony from Pennsylvania to Georgia, united, and trusting themselves to the western waters, sought[Pg 204] the land on which the spotless banner waved, and the waves of the Mississippi brought them to New-Orleans."

The practice of shipping off individuals who were obnoxious to the dominant party, seems to have obtained in Louisiana at a very early period; and, as we shall see, became a favourite process in the administration of justice. A pretty strong case of this employment of physical force, without any consultation with the officers of the law, or any regard to the civil rights of the people, occured in 1759. We shall give it to our readers.

"Diaz Anna, a Jew from Jamaica, came to New-Orleans, on a trading voyage. We have seen, that by an edict of the month of March, 1724, that of Louis the Thirteenth, of the 13th of April, 1615, had been extended to Louisiana. The latter edict declared, that Jews, as enemies of the Christian name, should not be allowed to reside in Louisiana; and if they staid in spite of the edict, their bodies and goods should be confiscated: Rochemore had the vessel of the Israelite and her cargo seized. Kerlerec sent soldiers to drive away the guard put on board the vessel, and had her restored to the Jew. Imagining he had gone too far to stop there, he had Belot, Rochemore's secretary, and Marigny de Mandeville, de Lahoupe, Bossu, and some other officers, whom he suspected to have joined the ordonnateur's party, arrested, and a few days after shipped them for France."

Thus far we have seen this province under the dominion of France, and gradually ameliorating its condition under her government. We come now to the period when a new master was to be given to it, or rather, when it was to be given to a new master. It is thus that kings have used territories and their people, their industry and their wealth, as subjects of diplomatic traffic and political accommodation. "On the 3d of November 1763, a secret treaty was signed between the French and Spanish kings, by which the former ceded to the latter the part of the province of Louisiana which lies on the western side of the Mississippi, with the city of New-Orleans, and the island on which it stands." When the rumours of this cession reached the colonists, it produced the deepest distress; they had a dread of passing "under the yoke of Spain." Official intelligence of the event was not received until October 1764, when an order came from the king to deliver possession of the ceded territory to the governor of the Catholic king. "This intelligence plunged the inhabitants in the greatest consternation;" especially as it estranged them from their kindred and friends in the eastern part of the province—transferring them to a foreign potentate. Every effort was made by meetings and memorials to avert the calamity. The actual delivery was delayed; and a hope was entertained that the cession might be rescinded, for two years had elapsed since the direction had been given to surrender the province to Spain. In the summer of 1766, intelligence was received that Don Ulloa had arrived at Havana, to take the possession, for Spain, of Louisiana. Soon after he landed at New-Orleans, and was received "with dumb respect." He declined exhibiting his powers,[Pg 205] and of course delayed to receive the possession of the country. In 1768 the council insisted that Don Ulloa should produce his powers or depart from the province; he chose the latter alternative, and sailed for Havana, and from thence to Spain. In the following year a governor of a different temperament was sent from Spain, attended by a strong military force, with a large supply of arms and ammunition. On the 24th of July, Don Alexander O'Reilly landed on the levee. "The inhabitants immediately came to a resolution to choose three gentlemen to wait on him, and inform him that the people of Louisiana were determined to abandon the colony, and had no other favour to ask from him, but that he would allow them two years to remove themselves and their effects." O'Reilly received the deputies with great politeness; made professions of his desire to promote the interests of the colonists, and said every thing he thought would flatter the people. At this time the Spanish armament had not reached the city; it cast anchor on the 16th of August. In the afternoon of the 18th, the Spaniards disembarked; the French flag was lowered, and the Spanish was seen flying in its place in the middle of the square. We have been thus particular in narrating these events, because they were the precursors of a proceeding of military violence, astonishing even for that day, and under circumstances of open disaffection and opposition to the government; for some of the planters had taken up arms on the arrival of O'Reilly.

One of the first acts of O'Reilly's administration was to take a census of the inhabitants of New-Orleans. The aggregate population was 3190, of every age, sex, and colour; of these 1902 were free; 1225 slaves, and sixty domesticated Indians; the number of houses was 468; the whole province contained but 13,538 inhabitants.

We have seen that the cession of the province had created the utmost discontent; and the arrival of O'Reilly was considered as a general calamity. The transfer had been impeded and resisted by all the means in the power of the colonists. Although Don Ulloa had not ventured to execute his commission with the force at his command, he had, nevertheless, "set about building forts and putting troops into them." On the other side, plans of resistance were contemplated by the people; and assistance looked for from their English neighbours in West Florida; and in the fall of 1768 Don Ulloa was, as we have seen, ordered away. By this brief retrospect, the temper of the colonists, on the arrival of O'Reilly, will be understood, and will serve as a key to his proceedings. He resolved to lose nothing by timidity and hesitation. In the reckless pride and unbridled passions of military despotism, he disdained to temporize, or endeavour to sooth the irritated feelings of the people, or to conciliate their confidence,[Pg 206] or calm their fears. He had been accustomed to rely upon no power but that of the sword, and to respect no authority but a military commission. To him the law was a subject of scorn, and the civil rights of citizens or subjects an idle tale. He looked upon his five thousand troops, with their arms and ammunition, and he saw there the only power be respected, or would condescend to use to maintain his government. Such principles led or drove him to a course of desperate violence, having then no parallel in any country pretending to a government of laws, or any civil rights. We shall give his proceedings in the language of our historian.

"Towards the last day of August, the people were alarmed by the arrest of Foucault, the commissary-general and ordonnateur, De Noyant and Boisblanc, two members of the superior council; La Freniere, the attorney-general, and Braud, the king's printer. These gentlemen were attending O'Reilly's levé, when he requested them to step into an adjacent apartment, where they found themselves immediately surrounded by a body of grenadiers, with fixed bayonets, the commanding officer of whom informed them they were the king's prisoners. The two first were conveyed to their respective houses, and a guard was left there: the others were imprisoned in the barracks.

"It had been determined to make an example of twelve individuals; two from the army, and an equal number from the bar; four planters, and as many merchants. Accordingly, Marquis and De Noyant, officers of the troop; La Freniere, the attorney-general, and Doucet, (lawyers,) Villere, Boisblanc, Mazent, and Petit, (planters,) and John Milhet, Joseph Milhet, Caresse and Poupet, (merchants,) had been selected.

"Within a few days, Marquis, Doucet, Petit, Mazant, the two Milhets, Caresse, and Poupet, were arrested and confined.

"Villere, who was on his plantation at the German coast, had been marked as one of the intended victims; but his absence from the city rendering his arrest less easy, it had been determined to release one of the prisoners on his being secured. He had been apprized of the impending danger, and it had been recommended to him to provide for his safety by seeking the protection of the British flag waving at Manshac. When he was deliberating on the step it became him to take, he received a letter from Aubry, the commandant of the French troops, assuring him he had nothing to apprehend, and advising him to return to the city. Averse to flight, as it would imply a consciousness of guilt, he yielded to Aubry's recommendation, and returned to New-Orleans; but as he passed the gate, the officer commanding the guard arrested him. He was immediately conveyed on board of a frigate that lay at the levee. On hearing of this, his lady, a grand daughter of La Chaise, the former commissary-general and ordonnateur, hastened to the city. As her boat approached the frigate, it was hailed and ordered away. She made herself known, and solicited admission to her husband, but was answered she could not see him, as the captain was on shore, and had left orders that no communication should be allowed with the prisoner. Villere recognised his wife's voice, and insisted on being permitted to see her. On his being refused, a struggle ensued, in which he fell, pierced by the bayonets of his guards. His bloody shirt thrown into the boat, announced to the lady that she had ceased to be a wife; and a sailor cut the rope that fastened the boat to the frigate.

"O'Reilly's assessors heard and recorded the testimony against the prisoners, and called on them for their pleas.

"The prosecution was grounded on a statute of Alfonso the eleventh, which is the first law of the seventh title of the first partida, and denounces the punishment of death and confiscation of property against those who excite any insurrection against the king or state, or take up arms under pretence of extending their liberty or rights, and against those who give them any assistance.[Pg 207]

"Foucault pleaded he had done nothing, except in his character of commissary-general and ordonnateur of the king of France in the province, and to him alone he was accountable for the motives that had directed his official conduct. The plea was sustained; he was not, however, released; and a few days afterwards, he was transported to France.

"Brand offered a similar plea, urging he was the king of France's printer in Louisiana. The only accusation against him, was that he had printed the petition of the planters and merchants to the superior council, soliciting that body to require Ulloa to exhibit his powers or depart. He concluded that he was bound, by his office, to print whatever the ordonnateur sent to his press; and he produced that officer's order to print the petition. His plea was sustained and he was discharged.

"The other prisoners declined also the jurisdiction of the tribunal before which they were arraigned: their plea was overruled. They now denied the facts with which they were charged, contended that if they did take place, they did so while the flag of France was still waving over the province, and the laws of that kingdom retained their empire in it, and thus the facts did not constitute an offence against the laws of Spain; that the people of Louisiana could not bear the yokes of two sovereigns; that O'Reilly could not command the obedience, nor even the respect of the colonists, until he made known to them his character and powers; and that the Catholic king could not count on their allegiance, till he extended to them his protection.

"It had been determined at first, to proceed with the utmost rigour of the law against six of the prisoners; but, on the death of Villere, it was judged sufficient to do so against five only. The jurisprudence of Spain authorizing the infliction of a less severe punishment than that denounced by the statute, when the charge is not proved by two witnesses to the same act, but by one with corroborating circumstances.—Accordingly two witnesses were produced against De Noyant, La Freniere, Marquis, Joseph Milhet, and Caresse. They were convicted; and O'Reilly, by the advice of his assessor, condemned them to be hanged, and pronounced the confiscation of their estates.

"The most earnest and pathetic entreaties were employed by persons in every rank of society, to prevail on O'Reilly to remit or suspend the execution of his sentence till the royal clemency could be implored. He was inexorable; and the only indulgence that could be obtained, was, that death should be inflicted by shooting, instead of hanging. With this modification, the sentence was carried into execution on the twenty-eighth of September.

"On the morning of that day, the guards, at every gate and post of the city, were doubled, and orders were given not to allow any body to enter it. All the troops were under arms, and paraded the streets or were placed in battle array along the levee and on the public square. Most of the inhabitants fled into the country. At three o'clock of the afternoon, the victims were led, under a strong guard, to the small square in front of the barracks, tied to stakes, and an explosion of musketry soon announced to the few inhabitants who remained in the city, that their friends were no more.

"Posterity, the judge of men in power, will doom this act to public execration. No necessity demanded, no policy justified it. Ulloa's conduct had provoked the measures to which the inhabitants had resorted. During nearly two years, he had haunted the province as a phantom of dubious authority. The efforts of the colonists, to prevent the transfer of their natal soil to a foreign prince, originated in their attachment to their own, and the Catholic king ought to have beheld in their conduct a pledge of their future devotion to himself. They had but lately seen their country severed, and a part of it added to the dominion of Great Britain; they had bewailed their separation from their friends and kindred; and were afterwards to be alienated, without their consent, and subjected to a foreign yoke. If the indiscretion of a few of them needed an apology, the common misfortune afforded it.

"A few weeks afterwards, the proceedings against the six remaining prisoners were brought to a close. One witness only deposing against any of them, and circumstances corroborating the testimony, Boisblanc was condemned to imprisonment[Pg 208] for life; Doucet, Mazent, John Milhet, Petit, and Poupet, were condemned to imprisonment for various terms of years. All were transported to Havana, and cast into the dungeons of the Moro Castle."

O'Reilly was not satisfied with this bloody vengeance on the individuals who had incurred his resentment and offended his pride. The "Superior council" in a body must be prostrated by his power.

"A proclamation of O'Reilly, on the twenty-first of November, announced to them that the evidence received during the late trials, having furnished full proof of the part the superior council had in the revolt during the two preceding years, and of the influence it had exerted in encouraging the leaders, instead of using its best endeavours to keep the people in the fidelity and subordination they owed to the sovereign, it had become necessary to abolish that tribunal, and to establish, in Louisiana, that form of government and mode of administering justice prescribed by the laws of Spain, which had long maintained the Catholic king's American colonies in perfect tranquillity, content, and subordination."

A year after these deeds of military heroism, O'Reilly took passage for Europe. But what said his royal master, the King of Spain, for such outrages upon the lives and liberty of his newly acquired subjects? We are told in one short paragraph—"Charles III. disapproved of O'Reilly's conduct, and he received on his landing at Cadiz, an order prohibiting his appearance at court." Well, it is something that his conduct was disapproved of, and not rewarded with new honours and powers. Some sovereigns might have done this.

We pass from these distressing and disgraceful scenes, and find nothing of peculiar interest in our History, until we come to the period of our revolution. Although in 1778, the people of Louisiana could have had no prophetic vision to warn them that they would become a member of the American Republic, they felt and manifested a friendly disposition toward us, and rendered us efficient aid in the struggle then carrying on for our independence.

"During the month of January, Captain Willing made a second visit to New-Orleans. Oliver Pollock now acted openly as the agent of the Americans, with the countenance of Galvez, who now, and at subsequent periods, afforded them an aid of upwards of seventy thousand dollars out of the royal treasury. By this means, the posts occupied by the militia of Virginia on the Mississippi, and the frontier inhabitants of the state of Pennsylvania, were supplied with arms and ammunition."

Now that we have become one people, and our Independence has made the independence of Louisiana, it is gratifying to recall to our recollection every testimony that may draw us closer together in our affections, as we are in our interests and common welfare. We take pleasure also in presenting an instance of American enterprise and gallantry, which ought not to be forgotten.

"Colonel Hamilton, who commanded at the British post at Detroit, came this year to Vincennes, on the Wabash, with about six hundred men, chiefly Indians,[Pg 209] with a view to an expedition against Kaskaskia, and up the Ohio as far as Fort Pitt, and the back settlements of Virginia. Colonel Clark heard, from a trader who came down from Vincennes to Kaskaskia, that Hamilton, not intending to take the field until spring, had sent most of his force to block up the Ohio, or to harass the frontier settlers, keeping at Vincennes sixty soldiers only, with three pieces of cannon and some swivels. The resolution was immediately taken to improve the favourable opportunity for averting the impending danger; and Clark accordingly despatched a small galley, mounting two four pounders and four swivels, on board of which he put a company of soldiers, with orders to pursue her way up the Wabash, and anchor a few miles below Vincennes, suffering nothing to pass her. He now sat off with one hundred and twenty men, the whole force he could command, and marched towards Vincennes. They were five days in crossing the low lands of the Wabash, in the neighbourhood of Vincennes, after having spent sixty in crossing the wilderness, wading for several nights up to their breasts in water. Appearing suddenly before the town, they surprised and took it. Hamilton for a while defended the fort, but was at last compelled to surrender."

We now approach a period in the History of Louisiana when her direct communication and commerce with the United States began; and from this moment she became an object of great and growing interest to us. The commencement of this intercourse is of a singular character, and was conducted with singular address.

"The foundation was now laid of a commercial intercourse, through the Mississippi, between the United States and New-Orleans, which has been continued, with but little interruption, to this day, and has increased to an immense degree; and, to the future extent of which, the imagination can hardly contemplate any limit. Hitherto, the boats of the western people, venturing on the Mississippi, were arrested by the first Spanish officer who met them; and confiscation ensued, in every case; all communication between the citizens of the United States and the Spaniards being strictly prohibited. Now and then, an emigrant, desirous of settling in the district of Natchez, by personal entreaty and the solicitations of his friends, obtained a tract of land, with permission to settle on it with his family, slaves, farming utensils, and furniture. He was not allowed to bring any thing to sell without paying an enormous duty. An unexpected incident changed the face of affairs in this respect.

"The idea of a regular trade was first conceived by General Wilkinson, who had served with distinction as an officer in the late war, and whose name is as conspicuous in the annals of the west, as any other. He had connected with it a scheme for the settlement of several thousand American families in that part of the present state of Louisiana, now known as the parishes of East and West Feliciana, and that of Washita, and on White river, and other streams of the present territory of Arkansas. For these services to the Spanish government, he expected to obtain the privilege of introducing, yearly, a considerable quantity of tobacco into the Mexican market.

"With a view to the execution of his plan, Wilkinson descended the Mississippi, with an adventure of tobacco, flour, butter, and bacon. He stopped at Natchez while his boat was floating down the stream to New-Orleans, the commandant at the former place having been induced to forbear seizing it, from an apprehension that such a step would be disapproved by Miro, who might be desirous of showing some indulgence to a general officer of a nation with whom his was at peace—especially as the boat and its owner were proceeding to New-Orleans, where he could act towards them as he saw fit.

"Wilkinson having stopped at a plantation on the river, the boat reached the city before him. On its approaching the levee, a guard was immediately sent on board, and the revenue officers were about taking measures for its seizure, when a merchant, who was acquainted with Wilkinson, and had some influence with Miro, represented to him that the step Navarro was about to take might be attended[Pg 210] with unpleasant consequences; that the people of Kentucky were already much exasperated at the conduct of the Spaniards in seizing all the property of those who navigated the Mississippi, and if this system was pursued, they would probably, in spite of Congress, take means themselves to open the navigation of the river by force. Hints were, at the same time, thrown out, that the general was a very popular character among those who were capable of inflaming the whole of the western people, and that, probably, his sending a boat before him, that it might be seized, was a scheme laid by the government of the United States, that he might, on his return, influence the minds of his countrymen; and, having brought them to the point he wished, induce them to choose him for their leader, and, spreading over the country, carry fire and desolation from one part of Louisiana to the other.

"On this, Miro expressed his wish to Navarro that the guard might be removed. This was done; and Wilkinson's friend was permitted to take charge of the boat, and sell the cargo, without paying any duty.

"On his first interview with Miro, Wilkinson, that he might not derogate from the character his friend had given him, by appearing concerned in so trifling an adventure as a boat-load of tobacco, flour, &c. observed that the cargo belonged to several of his fellow-citizens in Kentucky, who wished to avail themselves of his visit to New-Orleans to make a trial of the temper of the colonial government. On his return he could then inform the United States government, of the steps taken under his eye; so that, in future, proper measures might be adopted. He acknowledged with gratitude the attention and respect manifested towards himself, and the favour shown to the merchant who had been permitted to take care of the boat; adding, he did not wish that the intendant should expose himself to the anger of the court, by forbearing to seize the boat and cargo, if such were his instructions, and he had no authority to depart from them when circumstances might require it.

"Miro supposed, from this conversation, that Wilkinson's object was to produce a rupture rather than to avoid one. He became more and more alarmed. For two or three years before, particularly since the commissioners of the state of Georgia came to Natchez to claim the country, he had been fearful of an invasion at every rise of the water; and the rumour of a few boats having been seen together on the Ohio, was sufficient to excite his apprehensions. At his next interview with Wilkinson, having procured further information of the character, number, and disposition of the western people, and having revolved, in his mind, what measures he could take, consistently with his instructions, he concluded that he could do no better than to hold out a hope to Wilkinson, in order to secure his influence in restraining his countrymen from an invasion of Louisiana, till further instructions could be received from Madrid. The general sailed in September for Philadelphia."

In 1788, Don Martin Navarro, the intendant, left the province for Spain, and we cannot deny him the credit of sagacity, in his last communication to the king.

"Navarro's last communication to the king was a memorial which he had prepared, by order of the minister, on the danger to be apprehended by Spain, in her American colonies, from the emancipation of the late British provinces on the Atlantic. In this document, he dwells much on the ambition of the United States, and their thirst for conquest; whose views he states to be an extension of territory to the shores of the Pacific ocean; and suggests the dismemberment of the western country, by means of pensions and the grant of commercial privileges, as the most proper means, in the power of Spain, to arrest the impending danger. To effect this, was not, in his opinion, very difficult. The attempt was therefore strongly recommended, as success would greatly augment the power of Spain, and forever arrest the progress of the United States to the west.

"It would not have been difficult for the King of Spain, at this period, to have found, in Kentucky, citizens of the United States ready to come into his views. The people of that district met, this year, in a second convention, and[Pg 211] agreed on a petition to congress for the redress of their grievances—the principal of which was, the occlusion of the Mississippi. Under the apprehension that the interference of congress could not be obtained, or might be fruitless, several expedients were talked of, no one of which was generally approved; the people being divided into no less than five parties, all of which had different, if not opposite, views.

"The first was for independence of the United States, and the formation of a new republic, unconnected with them, who was to enter into a treaty with Spain.

"Another party was willing that the country should become a part of the province of Louisiana, and submit to the admission of the laws of Spain.

"A third desired a war with Spain, and the seizure of New-Orleans.

"A fourth plan was to prevail on congress, by a show of preparation for war, to extort from the cabinet of Madrid, what it persisted in refusing.

"The last, as unnatural as the second, was to solicit France to procure a retrocession of Louisiana, and extend her protection to Kentucky."

We think the Don's scheme, for preventing the evils he anticipated, altogether chimerical; but our author has more faith in it, and believes "it would not have been difficult for the King of Spain, at this period, to find, in Kentucky, citizens of the United States ready to come into his views." We trust this is a mistake. The occlusion of the Mississippi was the grievance they deplored. It is, however, worthy of our special attention, that at the period when these matters were agitated in our western country, our states were held together by the weak and inefficient bonds of the old confederation, under which, state selfishness and state pride, now called state rights, predominated over the great and general interests of the Union; and the weaker members were neglected, having no superintending, supreme federal power to give an equal care and protection to every part. Our author distinctly says, that "it was in the western part of the United States that the inefficacy of the power of Congress was most complained of." The present strength and prosperity of the west, are the fruits of our "more perfect union," and the wisdom and gratitude of the west will forever make it the friend and support of that Union.

We are now introduced to the Baron de Carondelet, a name which afterwards became conspicuous in the History of Louisiana, and familiar to the citizens of the United States. He was appointed governor of the province, and entered upon his duties in 1792. "The sympathies and partialities of the people of Louisiana began to manifest themselves strongly in favour of the French patriots, principally in New-Orleans." The Baron thought it to be his duty, especially as he was a native of France, "to restrain excesses against monarchical government." He began by stopping "the exhibition of certain martial dances and revolutionary airs" at the theatre. He afterwards thought it necessary to adopt stronger measures to suppress the growing inclination to popular doctrines, and betook himself to the custom of the country, the New-Orleans common law, or rather the[Pg 212] law of its governors, to ship off the obnoxious persons, without any form of trial or condemnation. He caused six individuals to be arrested and confined in the fort, and soon afterwards, "shipped them for Havana, where they were detained a twelve month." This may be a very pretty military mode of getting rid of disagreeable or troublesome people—the summary arrest—the fort—the ship and banishment; but we cannot reconcile it to our notions of liberty and law.

We pass over, as matters well known, the plans of Genet at this period, and the proceedings of the Baron to defeat them.—The Baron also followed up, with great perseverance, "his favourite plan for the separation of the western people from the Union," and he continued to do so, subsequent to the ratification of the treaty between the United States and Spain. The report made by Power, the Baron's agent, of the dispositions of the western people, was altogether unpropitious to his design. He, however, delayed the delivery of the posts, to which the United States were entitled, under various pretences; still having the separation in view. His proceedings to effect this object are detailed, and will be read with interest. It is needless to say, that no ray of success shone upon his enterprise. Power, the active agent of the mischief, came very near to be tarred and feathered at Louisville, and was afterwards arrested by General Wilkinson, at Detroit. The Baron must have opened his eyes in astonishment at his egregious miscalculation of the dispositions of the West, when Wilkinson informed him, "that the people of Kentucky had proposed to him to raise an army of ten thousand men to take New-Orleans in case of a rupture with Spain."

Our author gives a concise account of the cession of Louisiana by Spain to France, and again by France to the United States. The negotiator by whom the latter transfer was conducted, on the part of France, was M. Marbois, and his work is the most satisfactory authority for the curious details of that extraordinary proceeding. The general character of the transaction, and the terms of purchase, are sufficiently known; but M. Marbois lets us into some of the secrets of the negotiation, and of the reasons which induced the first consul to part with this valuable territory as soon as he had acquired it. We will be brief with them.

The cession of Louisiana by France to Spain in 1763, was not only, as we have seen, a cause of violent discontent to the inhabitants of that province, but was considered in all the maritime and commercial cities of France, as impolitic and injurious; and a general wish prevailed to recover the colony. This did not escape Bonaparte, who did not delay to renew with the court of Madrid, a negotiation on the subject; having also in view a diminution of the power of England, which was never out of his mind. Profiting by the ascendancy he acquired by the victory[Pg 213] of Marengo, he easily persuaded the Prince of Peace to restore Louisiana to France. This was done by a treaty made in October 1800. It was stipulated that the surrender should be made six months after. The treaty of 21st March 1801, renews these dispositions; but Louisiana continued for some time longer under the dominion of Spain. The differences between the United States and the French republic were terminated by a convention at Paris, on 30th of September 1800; and on the next day the treaty above mentioned with Spain was concluded at St. Ildephonso. As the war between France and England still continued, the cession of Louisiana to France was not made public; nor was possession taken. This difficulty was not removed for some time. In October 1801, preliminaries of peace were signed at London, followed up by the treaty of Amiens in March 1802. In the following September General Victor was appointed governor general of Louisiana; and Laussat the prefect sailed for New-Orleans in January.

The retrocession of the province to France created much uneasiness and alarm in the United States. The free navigation of the Mississippi became daily of more importance, and it was apprehended that the French would not be found as peaceable neighbours as the Spaniards. Every one remembers the short and uneasy existence of the insincere peace of Amiens. A renewal of the war was seen to be inevitable, and the American cabinet perceived that, in such an event, France would postpone the occupation of Louisiana. This state of things was justly thought to be favourable to an arrangement with France on the subject of the deposit at New-Orleans and the navigation of the river. Mr. Monroe was sent to that country for this purpose, where Mr. Livingston, our minister, had been pursuing it for many months; his overtures received little or no attention. The debates in our senate are not forgotten, on the motion of Mr. Ross; nor the prospect then in view of our taking by force of arms what it was believed would never be gained by treaty. In the spring of 1803, war was clearly inevitable between France and England; and Bonaparte knew that Louisiana, in that event, would be at the mercy of his enemy. He at once determined to change his policy in regard to that province, and to part with it, as the only means of saving it from England. On the 10th of April 1803, he entered upon the execution of his design, and called two counsellors to him, and addressed them "with that vehemence and passion which he particularly manifested in political affairs." He said he knew the full value of Louisiana, and had been desirous of repairing the fault by which it was lost—that "a few lines of a treaty have restored it to me, and I have scarcely recovered it when I must expect to lose it." Looking to the strength it would give to the United States, he said:[Pg 214] "But if it escapes from me, it shall one day cost dearer to those who oblige me to strip myself of it, than to those to whom I wish to deliver it." After some remarks upon the naval strength in the Gulf of Mexico, and the ease with which they might take Louisiana, he added;—

"I think of ceding it to the United States. I can scarcely say that I cede it to them, for it is not yet in our possession. If, however, I leave the least time to our enemies, I shall only transmit an empty title to those republicans whose friendship I seek. They only ask of me one town in Louisiana, but I already consider the colony as entirely lost, and it appears to me that in the hands of this growing power, it will be more useful to the policy and even to the commerce of France, than if I should attempt to keep it."

The counsellors differed in their opinions, diametrically, each giving his reasons at large. The first consul decided the question immediately; he promptly declared, that

"Irresolution and deliberation are no longer in season. I renounce Louisiana. It is not only New-Orleans that I will cede, it is the whole colony without any reservation. I know the price of what I abandon, and I have sufficiently proved the importance that I attach to this province, since my first diplomatic act with Spain had for its object the recovery of it. I renounce it with the greatest regret. To attempt obstinately to retain it would be folly. I direct you to negotiate this affair with the envoys of the United States. Do not even await the arrival of Mr. Monroe: have an interview this very day with Mr. Livingston."

We hope and believe that one of the predictions of this luminous mind will not be fulfilled, although we have lately seen some appearances of its accomplishment.

"Perhaps it will also be objected to me, that the Americans may be found too powerful for Europe in two or three centuries: but my foresight does not embrace such remote fears. Besides, we may hereafter expect rivalries among the members of the Union. The confederations, that are called perpetual, only last till one of the contracting parties finds it to its interest to break them, and it is to prevent the danger, to which the colossal power of England exposes us, that I would provide a remedy."

"The conferences began the same day between Mr. Livingston and M. Barbé Marbois, to whom the first consul confided the negotiation." Pending the preliminary discussions, Mr. Monroe arrived at Paris; but even then Mr. Livingston despaired of success, and said to Mr. Monroe, "I wish that the resolution offered by Mr. Ross in the senate had been adopted. Only force can give us New-Orleans; we must employ force; let us first get possession of the country and negotiate afterwards." Mr. Livingston, however, was happily mistaken. "The first difficulties," says M. Marbois, "were smoothed by a circumstance which is rarely met with in congresses and diplomatic conferences. The plenipotentiaries having been long acquainted, were disposed to treat each other with confidence." The negotiation, under such auspices, proceeded rapidly, but not without some distrust on our part.

"Mr. Monroe, still affected by the distrust of his colleague, did not hear without surprise the first overtures that were frankly made by M. de Marbois.[Pg 215] Instead of the cession of a town and its inconsiderable territory, a vast portion of America was in some sort offered to the United States. They only asked for the mere right of navigating the Mississippi, and their sovereignty was about to be extended over the largest rivers of the world. They passed over an interior frontier to carry their limits to the great Pacific ocean."

The termination of this important negotiation was as speedy and satisfactory, as it has been and will be important in its consequences. M. Marbois truly observes, "the cession of Louisiana was a certain guarantee of the future greatness of the United States; and opposed an insurmountable obstacle to any design formed by the English of becoming predominant in America." In relation to the stipulations in the treaty, that the inhabitants should be incorporated in the Union, and, in due time, be admitted as a state, &c. M. Marbois records.

"The first consul, left to his natural disposition, was always inclined to an elevated and generous justice. He himself prepared the article which has been just recited. The words which he employed on the occasion are recorded in the journal of the negotiation, and deserve to be preserved. 'Let the Louisianians know that we separate ourselves from them with regret; that we stipulate in their favour every thing that they can desire, and let them hereafter, happy in their independence, recollect that they have been Frenchmen, and that France, in ceding them, has secured for them advantages which they could not have obtained from a European power, however paternal it might have been. Let them retain for us sentiments of affection; and may their common origin, descent, language, and customs, perpetuate the friendship.'"

The arrangement being completed, M. Marbois says—"the following words sufficiently acquaint us with the reflections which then influenced the first consul. This accession of territory, said he, strengthens forever the power of the United States, and I have just given to England a maritime rival, that will sooner or later humble her pride."

We return to the History of Judge Martin, who describes the ceremonies of delivering the colony to the United States. Some citizens of the United States waved their hats, but "no emotion was manifested by any other part of the crowd. The colonists did not appear conscious that they were reaching the Latium sedes ubi fata quietas ostendunt."

We pass on to the year 1806, when the celebrated plot of Aaron Burr is introduced. The president had received information of it, but not at first with such certainty as warranted any steps to be taken against the accused. General Wilkinson, then commanding in the west, afterwards made communications to the president, "involving men distinguished for integrity and patriotism; men of talents, honoured by the confidence of the government, in the flagitious plot." The designs of Burr and his associates were fully developed on his trial, and we need not repeat them here; but the proceedings of General Wilkinson are not so generally understood, and it is well that they should be. Nobody can be better qualified than our historian to give the information,[Pg 216] nor to obtain implicit belief of all he narrates. We shall here see again that the old practice of shipping off obnoxious individuals was resorted to by a military commander; as if there was something in the climate of New-Orleans to excite men in power to this mode of punishment or revenge. We cannot present these transactions better than in the language of our author.

"On Sunday, the fourteenth, Dr. Erick Bollman was arrested by order of Wilkinson, and hurried to a secret place of confinement, and on the evening of the following day application was made on his behalf, for a writ of habeas corpus, to Sprigg, one of the territorial judges, who declined acting, till he could consult Mathews, who could not then be found. On the sixteenth, the writ was obtained from the superior court; but Bollman was, in the meanwhile, put on board of a vessel and sent down the river. On the same day, application was made to Workman, the judge of the county of Orleans, for a writ of habeas corpus, in favour of Ogden and Swartwout, who had been arrested a few days before, by order of Wilkinson, at Fort Adams, and were on board of a bomb ketch of the United States lying before the city. Workman immediately granted the writ, and called on Claiborne to inquire whether he had assented to Wilkinson's proceedings: Claiborne replied he had consented to the arrest of Bollman, and his mind was not made up as to the propriety of that of Ogden and Swartwout. Workman then expatiated on the illegality and evil tendency of such measures, beseeching Claiborne not to permit them, but to use his own authority, as the constitutional guardian of his fellow-citizens, to protect them; but he was answered that the executive had no authority to liberate those persons, and it was for the judiciary to do it, if they thought fit. Workman added, that he had heard that Wilkinson intended to ship off his prisoners, and if this was permitted, writs of habeas corpus would prove nugatory.

"From the alarm and terror prevalent in the city, the deputy sheriff could procure no boat to take him on board of the ketch, on the day the writ issued. This circumstance was made known early on the next morning, to Workman, who thereupon directed the deputy sheriff to procure a boat by the offer of a considerable sum of money, for the payment of which he undertook the county would be responsible. The writ was served soon afterwards, and returned at five in the evening by Commodore Shaw, and the commanding officer of the ketch, Lieutenant Jones; Swartwout had been taken from the ketch before the service of the writ. Ogden was produced and discharged, as his detention was justified on the order of Wilkinson only.

"On the eighteenth of December, Wilkinson returned the writ of habeas corpus into the superior court, stating that, as commander in chief of the army of the United States, he took on himself all responsibility for the arrest of Erick Bollman, charged with misprison of treason against the government of the United States, and he had adopted measures for his safe delivery to the government of the United States: that it was after several conversations with the governor and one of the judges of the territory, that he had hazarded this step for the national safety, menaced to its basis by a lawless band of traitors, associated under Aaron Burr, whose accomplices were extended from New-York to New-Orleans: that no man held in higher reverence the civil authorities of his country, and it was to maintain and perpetuate the holy attributes of the constitution, against the uplifted arm of violence, that he had interposed the force of arms in a moment of the utmost peril, to seize upon Bollman, as he should upon all others, without regard to standing or station, against whom any proof might arise of a participation in the lawless combination.

"This return was, afterwards, amended, by an averment that, at the time of the service of the writ, Bollman was not in the possession or power of the person to whom it was addressed.

"On the following day Ogden was arrested a second time by the commanding officer of a troop of cavalry of the militia of the territory, in the service of the[Pg 217] United States, by whom Alexander was also taken in custody; on the application of Livingston, Workman issued writs of habeas corpus for both prisoners.

"Instead of a return, Wilkinson sent a written message to Workman, begging him to accept his return to the superior court, as applicable to the two traitors, who were the subjects of his writs. On this, Livingston procured from the court, a rule that Wilkinson make a further and more explicit return to the writs, or show cause why an attachment should not issue against him.

"Workman now called again on Claiborne, and repeated his observations, and recommended, that Wilkinson should be opposed by force of arms. He stated, that the violent measures of that officer had produced great discontent, alarm, and agitation, in the public mind; and, unless such proceeding were effectually opposed, all confidence in government would be at an end. He urged Claiborne to revoke the order, by which he had placed the Orleans volunteers under Wilkinson's command, and to call out and arm the rest of the militia force, as soon as possible. He stated it as his opinion, that the army would not oppose the civil power, when constitutionally brought forth, or that, if they did, the governor might soon have men enough to render the opposition ineffectual. He added, that, from the laudable conduct of Commodore Shaw and Lieutenant Jones, respecting Ogden, he not only did not apprehend any resistance to the civil authority from the navy, but thought they might be relied on. Similar representations were made to Claiborne by Hall and Mathews; but they were unavailing.

"On the twenty-sixth, Wilkinson made a second return to the writ of habeas corpus, stating that the body of neither of the prisoners was in his possession or control. On this, Livingston moved for process of attachment.

"Workman now made an official communication to Claiborne. He began by observing, that the late extraordinary events, which had taken place within the territory, had led to a circumstance, which authorized the renewal, in a formal manner, of the request he had so frequently urged in conversation, that the executive would make use of the constitutional force placed under his command, to maintain the laws, and protect his fellow-citizens against the unexampled tyranny exercised over them.

"He added, it was notorious that the commander in chief of the military forces had, by his own authority, arrested several citizens for civil offences, and had avowed on record, that he had adopted measures to send them out of the territory, openly declaring his determination to usurp the functions of the judiciary, by making himself the only judge of the guilt of the persons he suspected, and asserting in the same manner, and as yet without contradiction, that his measures were taken, after several consultations with the governor.

"He proceeded to state, that writs of habeas corpus had been issued from the court of the county of New-Orleans: on one of them, Ogden had been brought up and discharged, but he had been, however, again arrested, by order of the general, together with an officer of the court, who had aided professionally in procuring his release. The general had, in his return to a subsequent writ, issued on his behalf, referred the court to a return made by him to a former writ of the superior court, and in the further return which he had been ordered to make, he had declared that neither of the prisoners was in his power, possession, or custody; but he had not averred what was requisite, in order to exempt him from the penalty of a contempt of court, that these persons were not in his power, possession, or custody, at the time when the writs were served, and, in consequence of the deficiency, the court had been moved for an attachment.

"The judge remarked, that although a common case would not require the step he was taking, yet, he deemed it his duty, before any decisive measure was pursued against a man, who had all the regular force, and in pursuance of the governor's public orders, a great part of that of the territory, at his disposal, to ask whether the executive had the ability to enforce the decrees of the court of the county, and if he had, whether he would deem it expedient to do it, in the present instance, or whether the allegation by which he supported these violent measures was well founded?

"Not only the conduct and power of Wilkinson, said the judge, but various other circumstances, peculiar to our present situation, the alarm excited in the[Pg 218] public mind, the description and character of a large part of the population of the country, might render it dangerous, in the highest degree, to adopt the measure usual in ordinary cases, of calling to the aid of the sheriff, the posse comitatus, unless it were done with the assurance of being supported by the governor in an efficient manner.

"The letter concluded by requesting a precise and speedy answer to the preceding inquiries, and an assurance that, if certain of the governor's support, the judge should forthwith punish, as the law directs, the contempt offered to his court: on the other hand, should the governor not think it practicable or proper to afford his aid, the court and its officers would no longer remain exposed to the contempt or insults of a man, whom they were unable to punish or resist.

"The legislature met on the twelfth of January. Two days after, General Adair arrived in the city, from Tennessee, and reported he had left Burr at Nashville, on the twenty-second of December, with two flat boats, destined for New-Orleans. In the afternoon of the day of Adair's arrival, the hotel at which he had stopped was invested by one hundred and twenty men, under Lieutenant Colonel Kingsbury, accompanied by one of Wilkinson's aids. Adair was dragged from the dining table, and conducted to head quarters, where he was put in confinement. They beat to arms through the streets; the battalion of the volunteers of Orleans, and a part of the regular troops, paraded through the city, and Workman, Kerr, and Bradford, were arrested and confined. Wilkinson ordered the latter to be released, and the two former were liberated on the following day, on a writ of habeas corpus, issued by the district judge of the United States. Adair was secreted until an opportunity offered to ship him away."

We approach a very interesting portion of our history, in which certain transactions are detailed, with great precision, for some of which General Jackson has obtained, and deserved, a brilliant crown of military glory, and for others has been visited with deep and indignant reproaches; whether justly or not, the reader will decide by the facts of the case.

On the 2d of December 1814, General Jackson reached New-Orleans; and on the next day commenced his operations to put the city in a state of defence against the attack expected to be made upon it. A large naval force of the enemy was off the port of Pensacola; and it was understood that New-Orleans was their object. The force in New-Orleans consisted of seven hundred men of the United States regiments; one thousand state militia, and some sailors and marines. Reinforcements from Tennessee and Kentucky were looked for. It is not to our purpose, and must be unnecessary, to recapitulate all the interesting occurrences which took place at this alarming crisis; all evincing the gallantry and patriotism of our countrymen. In this early stage of the contest, our author, with great warmth and strong testimony, asserts the unshaken fidelity and active efficient attachment of the people of New-Orleans to the government of the United States, and repels with an honest indignation the charges of disaffection and treason which were on various occasions made upon them, to justify the tyrannical violence of certain proceedings against them. He says, "although the population of New-Orleans was composed of individuals of different nations, it was as patriotic as that of any city in the Union."[Pg 219] We believe him most sincerely; and who does not? Can any just and candid man doubt it after a sober perusal of his details, having a particular relation to this question? To suppose that they had any sympathies with the invading foe; any treasonable correspondence with them; any desire for their success; is to calumniate a people as deeply and dearly interested in our independence, as devotedly attached to our institutions, as any portion of the republic. We therefore not only excuse, but applaud, the feelings of resentment with which Judge Martin, himself one of the people of Louisiana, and honoured by her confidence, meets every assertion and insinuation of treachery or disaffection cast upon her. He assures us, that "Claiborne (the governor) was sincerely attached to the government of his country, and the legislature was prepared to call forth and place at Jackson's disposal, all the resources of the state." Again he says, "If some, in the beginning, doubted whether General Jackson's military experience had been of a kind to fit him for this service, his conduct very soon dispelled the doubt."

"The want of an able military chief was sensibly felt, and notwithstanding any division of sentiment on any other subject, the inclination was universal to support Jackson, and he had been hailed on his arrival by all. There were some, indeed, who conceived that the crisis demanded a general of some experience in ordinary warfare; that one whose military career had begun with the current year, and who had never met with any but an Indian force, was ill calculated to meet the warlike enemy who threatened; but all were willing to make a virtue of necessity, and to take their wishes for their opinions, and manifested an unbounded confidence in him. All united in demonstrations of respect and reliance, and every one was ready to give him his support. His immediate and incessant attention to the defence of the country, the care he took to visit every vulnerable point, his unremitted vigilance, and the strict discipline enforced, soon convinced all that he was the man the occasion demanded."

The general had, however, imbibed strong prejudices against the inhabitants of the city, infused into him by bad advisers who surrounded him.

"Unfortunately he had been surrounded, from the moment of his arrival, by persons from the ranks of the opposition to Claiborne, Hall, and the state government, and it was soon discovered that he had become impressed with the idea, that a great part of the population of Louisiana was disaffected, and the city full of traitors and spies. It appears such were his sentiments as early as the 8th of September; for in a letter of Claiborne, which he since published, the governor joins in the opinion, and writes to him, 'I think with you, that our country is full of spies and traitors.'"

The interest we feel to vindicate the people of Louisiana from the suspicions that were long entertained of their loyalty, and may not be yet wholly eradicated, induces us to trouble our readers with further extracts on this subject.

"The legislature was in session, since the beginning of the preceding month. We have seen that Claiborne, at the opening of the session, had offered them his congratulations on the alacrity with which the call of the United States for a body of militia had been met, which, with the detail of the proceedings of that body, is the best refutation of the charges which have been urged against them.[Pg 220] It will show, that in attachment to the Union, in zeal for the defence of the country, in liberality in furnishing the means of it, and in ministering to the wants of their brave fellow-citizens who came down to assist them in repelling the foe, the general assembly of Louisiana does not suffer by a comparison of its conduct with that of any legislative body in the United States. The assertion, that any member of it entertained the silly opinion, that a capitulation, if any became necessary, was to be brought about or effected by the agency of the houses, any more than by that of a court of justice, or the city council of New-Orleans, is absolutely groundless."

A proposition was made by the governor to the legislature, to suspend the writ of habeas corpus, in order that men might be pressed for the service, particularly naval, of the United States: the legislature knew it to be a dangerous measure, and thought it unnecessary.

"Coming from every part of the state, the representatives had witnessed the universal alacrity with which Jackson's requisitions for a quota of the militia of the state had been complied with; they knew their constituents could be depended on; they knew that Jackson, Claiborne, and many of the military, were incessantly talking of sedition, disaffection, and treason; but better acquainted with the people of Louisiana, than those who were vociferating against it, they were conscious, that no state was more free from sedition, disaffection, and treason, than their own; they thought the state should not outlaw her citizens, when they were rushing to repel the enemy. They dreaded the return of those days, when Wilkinson filled New-Orleans with terror and dismay, arresting and transporting whom he pleased. They recollected that in 1806 Jefferson had made application to congress for a suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, but that the recommendation of the president was not deemed sufficient to induce the legislature of the Union to suspend it: that of Claiborne, as far as it concerned Jackson, was not therefore acted on. The members had determined not to adjourn during the invasion, and thought they would suspend the writ when they deemed the times required it, but not till then."

That the refusal to put an uncontrouled power over the persons of the citizens, to withdraw from them the protection of the law, did not proceed from an unwillingness to obtain for the service the force required, is made manifest by the substitute adopted. "A sum of five thousand dollars was placed at the disposal of the commodore, to be expended in bounties; and, to remove the opportunity of seamen being tempted to decline entering the service of the United States, by the hope of employment on board of merchant vessels, an embargo was passed."

The general does not seem to have been satisfied with the reasons of the legislature for denying the power he desired, nor with their substitute for it.

"The suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, and adjournment of the houses, were measures which Jackson anxiously desired. There was a great inclination in the members of both houses to gratify him, in every instance in which they could do it with safety: in these two only, they were of opinion it would be unsafe to adopt his views."

General Carroll, with a brigade of Tennessee militia, arrived on the 19th, and the legislature were indefatigable in preparing for the expected attack.

"At this period the forces at New-Orleans amounted to between six and seven thousand men. Every individual exempted from militia duty on account of[Pg 221] age, had joined one of the companies of veterans, which had been formed for the preservation of order. Every class of society was animated with the most ardent zeal; the young, the old, women, children, all breathed defiance to the enemy, firmly disposed to oppose to the utmost the threatened invasion. There were in the city a very great number of French subjects, who from their national character could not have been compelled to perform military duty; these men, however, with hardly any exception, volunteered their services. The Chevalier Tousard, the Consul of France, who had distinguished himself, and had lost an arm in the service of the United States, during the revolutionary war, lamenting that the neutrality of his nation did not allow him to lead his countrymen in New-Orleans to the field, encouraged them to flock to Jackson's standard. The people were preparing for battle as cheerfully as if for a party of pleasure: the streets resounded with martial airs: the several corps of militia were constantly exercising, from morning to night: every bosom glowed with the feelings of national honour: every thing showed nothing was to be apprehended from disaffection, disloyalty, or treason."

On the 21st, the enemy landed with a strong force, and a proud one, confident of an easy victory. They looked upon all the wealth and comforts of New-Orleans as already their own. The battle that shortly after ensued, sought for and won by the Americans, can never be forgotten. The promptitude, decision, and skill, with which General Jackson took his measures; the bravery with which they were executed; and the glorious success which crowned the bold attack upon an enemy greatly superior in numbers, discipline, and experience, will be ranked among the most gallant achievements of military history. Our author assures us that the invading army "had a force of very near five thousand men; that which opposed him was not above two thousand." Preparations against the grand attack upon the city continued with unceasing vigilance and labour. The members of the legislature—the suspected legislature—old and young, joined some of the military corps; but lest their legislative aid might also be required, they continued their sessions; when a most extraordinary proceeding occurred.

"Every day, towards noon, three or four of the members of each house, who served among the veterans or on the committees, attended in their respective halls to effect an adjournment, in order that, if any circumstance rendered the aid of the legislature necessary, it might be instantly afforded. On going for this purpose to the government house, Skipwith, the speaker of the senate, and two of its members, found a sentinel on the staircase, who, presenting his bayonet, forbade them to enter the senate chamber. They quietly retired, and proceeded to the hall of the sessions of the city council, where an adjournment took place. The members of the other house, who attended for the same purpose, were likewise prevented from entering its hall, and acted like those of the senate."

A committee was appointed to wait upon the general, and inquire into the reasons of these violent measures against the legislature. The general gave his reasons, which, in short, were, that he had received information "that the assembly were about to give up the country to the enemy." The author goes into a full examination of this charge; and the refutation of it is entirely satisfactory.

The spirit of defence even entered the walls of the prisons.[Pg 222]

"A number of debtors, who had taken the benefit of the acts establishing the prison bounds, were anxious to join in the defence of the city, but were apprehensive of exposing their sureties. On this being represented to the legislature, an act was passed, extending the prison bounds, until the first of May following, so as to include Jackson's line."

The last effort of the invader was made by the battle of the 8th of January, and is described in our book with much effect. Long may it be read and remembered with an unextinguishable glow of pride and patriotism! The contest was ended; the foe hastily abandoned our shores, on which they left nothing but memorials of their defeat and shame, in the melancholy monuments of their slaughtered companions. Our author concludes his narrative of these eventful days, with an eloquent tribute to the general, by whose indefatigable activity and fearless gallantry a rich and populous city was saved.

"If the vigilance, the activity, and the intrepidity of the general had been conspicuous during the whole period of the invasion, his prudence, moderation, and self-denial, on the departure of the enemy, deserves no less commendation and admiration. An opportunity was then presented to him of acquiring laurels by a pursuit, which few, elated as he must have been by success, could have resisted. But, he nobly reflected that those who fled from him were mercenaries—those who surrounded his standard, his fellow-citizens, almost universally fathers of families;—sound policy, to use his own expressions, neither required nor authorized him to expose the lives of his companions in arms, in a useless conflict. He thought the lives of ten British soldiers would not requite the loss of one of his men. He had not saved New-Orleans to sacrifice its inhabitants."

On his return to the city, he was greeted with "tears of gratitude"—why were they not perpetual? His cruel suspicions; his unjust accusations of treason and disaffection, were forgotten or forgiven, and no sentiment remained in the hearts of the people of Louisiana, but admiration of his conduct in the day of trial, and gratitude for his services; why was not this perpetual? We shall see.

"By a communication of the 13th of January, from Admiral Cochrane, Jackson was informed that the Admiral had just received a bulletin from Jamaica, (a copy of which was enclosed) proclaiming that a treaty of peace had been signed by the respective plenipotentiaries of Great Britain and the United States, at Ghent, on the 24th of December. The despatch did not arrive till the 21st, by way of Balize; but the intelligence had been brought to the city by one of Jackson's aids, who had returned from the British fleet with a flag of truce." As in canvassing the subsequent proceedings of the General at New-Orleans, his advocates have pretended that he had no information of the peace to which he ought to have trusted, that point must not be overlooked in our inquiries. What was the evidence at this period, that is, on the 21st of January? A communication directly addressed to him, by and under the name of the British Admiral, with every sanction that honour and good faith could give it. This communication,[Pg 223] so vouched, was accompanied by a copy of a bulletin which the Admiral declared he had just received from Jamaica, too distant to have been fabricated there for the occasion; and all this was confirmed by the intelligence brought by one of the General's aids from the fleet. Is there any degree of military caution that would have doubted the truth of this information, in the manner and for the purposes for which the doubts, real or pretended, were used by the General? We will not say that he should, on such intelligence, have exposed himself to an attack from the enemy; that he should have disbanded his army, or thrown by his guards and defence, as if the intelligence had been authentic from his own government; but, assuredly there was that in the information he received, on which a strong reliance might reasonably and safely have been placed; at least enough to have suspended military operations against his own fellow-citizens. He must have imputed fraud, falsehood, and forgery, to an officer, who, although an enemy, was entitled to a more just and respectful consideration. No usage of modern warfare would have justified such practices, and therefore they ought not to have been presumed. With no disposition to "set down aught in malice" against the General, we cannot refrain from saying, that, whatever he may have found it convenient to believe or disbelieve, to justify the extravagance of ungovernable passions inflamed by evil counsellors, in his moments of sober thoughts, if any such happened to him, he could not reject the testimony before him, of the termination of the war. He certainly, at least, thought it worthy to be announced to the people, although he "forewarned them from being thrown into security by hopes that might be delusive." This was a prudent caution, and sufficient. "On the 22d, the gladsome tidings were confirmed, and a Gazette of Charleston was received, announcing the ratification of the Treaty by the Prince Regent." We assume then, that on the 22d of January, such intelligence was received of the Peace at New-Orleans, as might, and should have satisfied the most sceptical military caution, of its truth, at least to the extent required for our examination into the General's subsequent conduct.

It seems that a discontent had arisen, which led to serious consequences. The French subjects resident at New-Orleans, "had flocked round Jackson's standard, determined to leave it with the necessity that called them to it, and not till then." They endured much privation, toil, and danger; their families also were in a state of suffering, to whose relief they were anxious to return after the enemy had left the state. A few solicited a discharge; but the General insisted on their being retained. Some then demanded of the French consul, certificates of their national character, which were presented to the General, who[Pg 224] countersigned them, and the bearers were permitted to return home. So many, however, applied for this indulgence, that the General believed that the consul too easily granted his certificates, "and considering a compliance with his duty, as evidence of his adhesion to the enemy, ordered him out of the city."

We now come to a false step, of more importance, made by the General, to which he was led by that which has overthrown many men placed in elevated stations. It has been the misfortune and ruin of great men who were high; and, more frequently so, of high men who were not great; weak and evil counsellors.

"Yielding to the advice of many around him, who were constantly filling his ears with their clamours about the disloyalty, disaffection, and treason of the people of Louisiana, and particularly the state officers and the people of French origin, Jackson, on the last day of February, issued a general order, commanding all French subjects, possessed of a certificate of their national character, subscribed by the consul of France, and countersigned by the commanding general, to retire into the interior, to a distance above Baton Rouge:—a measure, which was stated to have been rendered indispensable by the frequent applications for discharges. The names were directed to be taken of all persons of this description, remaining in the city, after the expiration of three days.

"Time has shown this to have been a most unfortunate step; and those by whose suggestions it was taken, soon found themselves unable to avert from the general the consequences to which it exposed him. The people against whom it was directed were loyal—many of them had bled, all had toiled and suffered in the defence of the state. Need, in many instances, improvidence in several, had induced the families of these people to part with the furniture of their houses to supply those immediate wants, which the absence of the head of the family occasioned. No exception, no distinction was made. The sympathetic feelings of every class of inhabitants were enlisted in favour of these men; they lacked the means of sustaining themselves on the way, and must have been compelled, on their arrival at Baton Rouge, then a very insignificant village, to throw themselves on the charity of the inhabitants. Another consideration rendered the departure of these men an evil to be dreaded. The apprehension of the return of the enemy was represented, as having had much weight with Jackson in issuing his order. Their past conduct was a sure pledge that, in case of need, their services would again be re-offered; there were among them a number of experienced artillery-men; a description of soldiers, which was not easily to be found among the brave who had come down from Kentucky, or Tennessee, or even in the army of the United States. These considerations induced several respectable citizens to wait on Jackson, for the purpose of endeavouring to induce him to reconsider a determination, which was viewed as productive of flagrant injustice and injury to those against whom it was directed, without any possible advantage, and probably very detrimental, to those for whose benefit it was intended."

To quiet and console this distressed and injured people under this wanton decree of military power; this cruel exile; it was recommended to them to submit without resistance to the order.

"They were assured, that the laws of the country would protect them, and punish, even in a successful general, a violation of the rights of, or a wanton injury to, the meanest individual, citizen or alien. They were referred to the case of Wilkinson, against whom an independent jury of the Mississippi territory had given a verdict in favour of Adair, who had been illegally arrested and transported, during the winter of 1806."

It must be recollected, that this order was issued and executed[Pg 225] on the last day of February, six weeks after the Charleston Gazette had announced at New-Orleans, the ratification of the treaty of peace, as above stated. During all this period, there had not been an appearance of the enemy, or a movement by them, or the slightest occurrence or rumour, to raise a doubt of the truth of this intelligence. Not a doubt of it was expressed by any body or from any quarter. On the 14th of February, two weeks after the sentence of banishment upon the French subjects, "the mail brought northern Gazettes, announcing the arrival of the treaty at Washington." Was this also a British trick and delusion, not to be trusted even by a relaxation of the severest military discipline, or a mitigation of the dangerous predominance of martial law? Our author says, "the hope that had been entertained that Jackson would now allow these unfortunate people to stay with their families, was disappointed."

Louallier, a member of the House of Representatives, had been conspicuous in bringing forth the energies of the state for its defence. His activity and usefulness were properly appreciated by his fellow-citizens. An opinion prevailed, that Jackson was unfriendly to the French citizens, and to the officers of the state government.

"A report, which now was afloat, that those who surrounded Jackson were labouring to induce him to arrest some individuals, alluded to in the general orders of the 28th of February, roused his indignation, to which (perhaps more honestly than prudently) he gave vent in a publication, of which the following is a translation, in the Courier de la Louisiane of the 3d of March."

The publication is of considerable length, and written with warmth and ability. Our author, after giving it at large, proceeds—

"Man bears nothing with more impatience, than the exposure of his errors, and the contempt of his authority. Those who had provoked Jackson's violent measure against the French subjects, availed themselves of the paroxysms of the ire which the publication excited: they threw fuel into the fire, and blew it into a flame. They persuaded him Louallier had been guilty of an offence, punishable with death, and he should have him tried by a court martial, as a spy. Yielding to this suggestion, and preparatory to such a trial, he ordered the publication of the second section of the rules and articles of war, which denounces the punishment of death against spies, and directed Louallier to be arrested and confined. Eaton is mistaken when he asserts that the section had been published before. The adjutant's letter to Leclerc, the printer of the Ami des Lois, requesting him to publish it, bears date of the fourth of March, the day after Louallier's publication made its appearance. The section was followed by a notice that 'the city of New-Orleans and its environs, being under martial law, and several encampments and fortifications within its limits, it was deemed necessary to give publicity to the section, for the information of all concerned.'

"Great, indeed, must have been Jackson's excitement, when he suffered himself to be persuaded, that Louallier could successfully be prosecuted as a spy. Eaton informs us, Louallier was prosecuted as one owing allegiance to the United States. The very circumstance of his owing that allegiance, prevented his being liable to a prosecution as a spy. He was a citizen of the United States: his being a member of the legislature, was evidence of this. If he, therefore, committed any act, which would constitute an alien a spy, he was guilty of high treason,[Pg 226] and ought to have been delivered to the legitimate magistrate, to be prosecuted as a traitor."

Judge Martin goes into a short, but satisfactory argument, to prove that a citizen cannot be prosecuted as a spy under the articles of war. Whether, however, the General and his advisers considered Louallier as a spy, or a traitor, he "was arrested on Sunday the 5th of March, at noon, near the Exchange Coffee-house." He applied to a gentleman of the bar for legal relief. An application for this purpose was made to Judge Martin, (our author) one of the members of the Supreme Court of the state. The judge thought he had no jurisdiction over the case, and could not interfere. Hall, the District Judge of the United States, was then called upon for a writ of habeas corpus, which was granted. The attorney was directed by the Judge to inform the General of his application for the writ and the order for issuing it.—This was in courtesy.

"On receiving Morel's communication, the ebullition of Jackson's anger was such, that reason appeared to have lost its control. Those who had suggested the harsh measure against the French citizens, and the still more harsh one against Louallier, imagined the moment was come, when their enmity towards Hall might be gratified. We have seen that a number of individuals, who had hitherto sustained a fair character, were now known as accomplices of the Barrataria pirates. Prosecutions had been commenced against some of them, and Hall manifested that stern severity of character, which appals guilt. The counsel of these men had conceived the idea that he did not view their efforts to screen their clients, with the liberality and indulgence they deserved. The opportunity now offered of humbling this worthy magistrate, was not suffered to remain unimproved; and Jackson was assured that Hall, like Louallier, was guilty of an offence punishable with death.

"The general's attention was drawn to the seventh section of the rules and articles of war, which denounces the last punishment against persons aiding or abetting mutiny; and he was pressed to prosecute the judge before a court martial. As a preparatory step, with that promptitude of decision, which Eaton says is a leading trait in his character, he signed an instrument at once, the warrant for the arrest, and the mittimus for the imprisonment of Hall. He wrote to Colonel Arbuckle, who commanded at the barracks, that having received proof that Dominick A. Hall had been aiding, abetting, and exciting mutiny in his camp, he desired that a detachment might be ordered forthwith, to arrest and confine him; and that a report might be made as soon as he was arrested. 'You will,' as it is said in the conclusion of this paper, 'be vigilant; as the agents of our enemy are more numerous than we expected. You will be guarded against escapes.'

"The prosecution of the judge was intended to be grounded on the seventh section of the articles of war, which is in these words:—'Any officer or soldier, who shall begin, cause, excite, or join in, any mutiny or sedition, in any troop or company, in the service of the United States, or in any post, detachment, or guard, shall suffer death, or any other punishment, as by a court martial shall be inflicted.'

"Hall was not an officer, in the sense of the act of Congress—he was not a soldier, in the ordinary meaning of that word; but, according to the jurisprudence of head quarters, the proclamation of martial law had transformed every inhabitant of New-Orleans into a soldier, and rendered him punishable under the articles of war.

"The judge was accordingly arrested in his own house, at nine o'clock, and confined in the same apartment with Louallier, in the barracks.[Pg 227]

"As soon as this was reported at head quarters, Major Chotard was despatched to demand from Claiborne, the clerk of the district court of the United States, the surrender of Louallier's petition, on the back of which Hall had written the order for issuing the writ of habeas corpus. It has been seen that there was not any officer of the state government, nor of the United States, out of the army, who imagined that a proclamation of martial law gave the general any right, nor imposed on others any obligation, which did not exist before. The clerk accordingly answered that there was a rule of court, which forbade him to part with any original paper lodged in his office; and he was ignorant of any right, in the commander of the army, to interfere with the records of the court. He however was, after much solicitation, prevailed on to take the document in his pocket, and accompany Chotard to head quarters.

"In the meanwhile, an express from the department of war had arrived, with the intelligence that the President of the United States had ratified the treaty, and an exchange of the ratifications had taken place at Washington, on the 17th of February, the preceding month. By an accident, which was not accounted for, a packet had been put into the hands of the messenger, instead of the one containing the official information of the exchange of the ratifications. But the man was bearer of an open order of the postmaster, to all his deputies on the road, to expedite him with the utmost celerity, as he carried information of the recent peace. He declared he had handed an official notice of this event to the governor of the state of Tennessee.

"On the arrival of the clerk at head quarters, Jackson asked him whether it was his intention to issue the writ: he replied it was his bounden duty to do so, and he most assuredly would. He was threatened with an arrest, but persisted in his asseveration that he would obey the judge's order. He had handed Louallier's petition to Jackson, and, before he retired, demanded the return of it; this was peremptorily refused, and the paper was withheld. It appears the date of the fifth of March had been originally on this document, and that being Sunday, Hall changed it to that of the following day, the sixth. The idea had been cherished, that this alteration might support an additional article, in the charges against Hall. It is not extraordinary, that those who imagined that, as Louallier might be tried for a libel, in a court martial, Hall might for forgery. Thus one inconsistency almost universally leads to another.

"Duplessis, the marshal of the United States, had volunteered his services, as an aid to Jackson; a little after midnight he visited head quarters. The imprisonment of Hall, and the accounts from Washington, had brought a great concourse of people near the general; who, elated by the success of the evening, met the marshal at the door, and announced to him, he had shopped the judge. Perceiving that Duplessis did not show his exultation, he inquired whether he would serve Hall's writ. The marshal replied, he had ever done his duty, which obliged him to execute all writs directed to him by the court, whose ministerial officer he was; and, looking sternly at the person who addressed him, added, he would execute the court's writ on any man. A copy of the proclamation of martial law, that lay on the table, was pointed to him, and Jackson said, he also would do his duty.

"A large concourse of people had been drawn to the Exchange coffee-house, during the night, by the passing events, which were not there, as at head quarters, a subject of exultation and gratulation. The circumstances were not unlike those of the year 1806, which Livingston describes as 'so new in the history of our country, that they will not easily gain belief, at a distance, and can scarcely be realized by those who beheld them. A dictatorial power, assumed by the commander of the American army—the military arrest of citizens, charged with a civil offence—the violation of the sanctuary of justice—an attempt to overawe, by denunciations, those who dared, professionally, to assert the authority of the laws—the unblushing avowal of the employment of military force, to punish a civil offence, and the hardy menace of persevering in the same course, were circumstances that must command attention, and excite the corresponding sentiments of grief, indignation, and contempt.'"

We have made our extract so copiously of this dangerous and[Pg 228] extravagant proceeding, because we wish it to be represented in the language of the author, and not by any abridgment of ours. General Jackson having received intelligence of the treaty which he chose to agree that he relied upon, addressed a despatch to the British commander "to anticipate the happy return of peace." We again take up our author.

"Jackson now paused to deliberate, whether these circumstances did not require him, by a cessation of all measures of violence, to allow his fellow-citizens in New-Orleans, to anticipate this happy return of peace, the account of which, the first direct intelligence was to bring to him, in an official form—the untoward arrival of an orderly sergeant, with a message from Arbuckle, to whom the custody of Hall had been committed, prevented Jackson coming to that conclusion, which his unprejudiced judgment would have suggested. The prisoner had requested, that a magistrate might be permitted to have access to him, to receive an affidavit, which he wished to make, in order to resort to legal measures, for his release. Arbuckle desired to know the general's pleasure, on this application. Naturally impatient of any thing like control or restraint, the idea of a superior power to be employed against his decisions, threw Jackson into emotions of rage. Before they had sufficiently subsided to allow him to act on the message, some of his ordinary advisers came in, to recommend the arrest of Hollander, a merchant of some note. What was the offence of this man, has never been known; but Jackson's temper of mind was favourable to the views of his visiters. He ordered the arrest of the merchant, and forbade the access of the magistrate to Hall; the idea of allowing his fellow-citizens to anticipate the happy return of peace was abandoned, and measures were directed to be taken for the trial of Louallier."

The boasted "promptitude and decision" of the General's character, admirable qualities in their proper places and under proper regulation, carried him on, deeper and deeper, into the violation of the most sacred rights of a free citizen, and of the immunities of the officers of the law in the administration of the laws.

"Dick, the attorney of the United States, made application to Lewis, one of the district judges of the state, who was serving as a subaltern officer, in the Orleans rifle company, and whose conduct during the invasion, had received Jackson's particular commendation. Believing that his duty as a military man, did not diminish his obligation, as a judge, to protect his fellow-citizens from illegal arrest, Lewis, without hesitation, on the first call of Dick, laid down his rifle, and allowed the writ.

"Information of this having been carried to head quarters, Jackson immediately ordered the arrest of Lewis and Dick.

"Arbuckle, to whom Lewis's writ, in favour of Hall, was directed, refused to surrender his prisoner, on the ground he was committed by Jackson, under the authority of the United States.

"The orders for the arrest of Lewis and Dick were countermanded."

The effect of such proceedings, without parallel in a free government, and without apology any where, may be well imagined.

"The irritation of the public mind manifested itself, in the evening, by the destruction of a transparent painting, in honour of Jackson, which the proprietor of the Exchange coffee-house displayed, in the largest hall."

This brought the military in support of their General.

"A number of officers had compelled the proprietor of the Exchange coffee-house,[Pg 229] to exhibit a new transparent painting, and to illuminate the hall in a more than usual manner. They attended in the evening, and stood near the painting, with the apparent intention of indicating a determination, to resist the attempt of taking down the painting. It was reported, a number of soldiers were in the neighbourhood, ready to march to the coffee-house, at the first call. This was not calculated to allay the excitement of the public mind. The prostration of the legitimate government; the imprisonment of the district judge of the United States, the only magistrate, whose interference could be successfully invoked, on an illegal arrest, under colour of the authority of the United States, the ascendency assumed by the military, appeared to have dissolved all the bands of social order in New-Orleans."

The good sense, we are told, of some of the most influential characters in the city, prevented the extremities to which these proceedings were fast approaching. The injured and the irritated were assured, "that Jackson's day of reckoning would arrive; that Hall, with the authority (though now without the power) of chastising the encroachments of the military, possessed the resolution, and would soon have the power to punish the violators of the law." The court martial, by whom Louallier was tried, acquitted him.

"Jackson was greatly disappointed at the conclusion to which the court martial had arrived; he, however, did not release either of his prisoners, and on the tenth issued the following general order:—

"'The commanding general disapproves of the sentence of the court martial, of which Major-general Gaines is president, on the several charges and specifications exhibited against Mr. Louallier; and is induced by the novelty and importance of the matters submitted to the decision of that court, to assign the reasons of this disapproval.'"

He gave his reasons at length, which only show how hard it is for certain tempers to acknowledge a wrong, or return to the right.

"The court martial consoled themselves, by the reflection, that their sentence, though disapproved by Jackson, was in perfect conformity with decisions of the President of the United States, and of the supreme court of the state of New-York, in similar cases."

There is something in the name and character of a Court, which assures us of its respect for justice and the law.

"The independent stand, taken by the court martial, had left no glimpse of hope, at head quarters, that the prosecution of Hall, on the charge of mutiny, on which he had been imprisoned, could be attempted with any prospect of success—the futility of any further proceedings against Louallier was evident—Jackson, therefore, put an end to Hall's imprisonment on Saturday, the 11th of March. The word imprisonment is used, because Eaton assures his readers, that 'Judge Hall was not imprisoned; it was merely an arrest.' Hall had been taken from his bed chamber, on the preceding Sunday, at 9 o'clock in the evening, by a detachment of about one hundred men, dragged through the streets, and confined in the same apartment with Louallier, in the barracks. Three days after, it had been officially announced to the inhabitants of New-Orleans, that Jackson was in possession of persuasive evidence, that a state of peace existed, and the militia had been discharged, the door of Hall's prison was thrown open, but not for his release. He was put under a guard, who led him several miles beyond the limits of the city, where they left him, with a prohibition to return, 'till the ratification of the treaty was regularly announced, or the British shall have left the southern coast.'[Pg 230]

"This last, and useless display of usurped power, astonished the inhabitants. They thought, that, if the general feared the return of the British, the safety of New-Orleans would be better insured, by his recall of the militia, than by the banishment of the legitimate magistrate. It was the last expansion of light, and momentary effulgence, that precedes the extinguishment of a taper.

"At the dawn of light, on Monday, the 13th, an express reached head quarters, with the despatch which had accidentally been misplaced, in the office of the secretary of war, three weeks before. The cannon soon announced the arrival of this important document, and Louallier was indebted for his liberation, to the precaution, which Eaton says, the President of the United States had taken, to direct Jackson to issue a proclamation for the pardon of all military offences."

Judge Hall had suffered indignity without being disgraced; he had submitted to physical force without yielding his spirit to debasement; or surrendering one of his official or personal rights. His reward awaited him, and it is eloquently recorded by our historian.

"Hall's return to the city was greeted by the acclamations of the inhabitants. He was the first judge of the United States they had received, and they had admired in him the distinguishing characteristics of an American magistrate—a pure heart, clean hands, and a mind susceptible of no fear, but that of God. His firmness had, eight years before, arrested Wilkinson in his despotic measures. He was now looked upon to show, that if he had been unable to stop Jackson's arbitrary steps, he would prevent him from exulting, in the impunity of his trespass."

Dick, the District Attorney, has a fair claim to a participation in these honours.

"He was anxious to lose no time, in calling the attention of the district court of the United States, to the violent proceedings, during the week that had followed the arrival of the first messenger of peace; but Hall insisted on a few days being exclusively given to the manifestation of the joyous feelings, which the termination of the war excited. He did not yield to Dick's wishes till the 21st. The affidavits of the clerk of the district court, of the marshal of the United States, of the attorney of Louallier, and of the commander at the barracks, were then laid before the court."

The case presented to the court, was substantially such as appears in the foregoing narrative. Hall was as resolute in his court, as Jackson at the head of an army; the Judge was as fearless in maintaining the law, as the General had been in trampling upon it. "On motion of the Attorney of the United States, a rule to show cause, why process of attachment should not issue against Jackson, was granted."

On the return day, the General, accompanied by one of his aids, appeared before the court, and presented his answer to the rule. Some legal questions were discussed and decided on the propriety of admitting the answer. Finally, the rule was made absolute, that is, the attachment was ordered. The General is still haunted by bad advisers.

"Jackson's advisers now found he could not be defended on the merits, with the slightest hope of success, as the attorney of the United States would probably draw from him by interrogatories, the admission, that both Louallier and the judge were kept in prison, long after persuasive evidence had been received at[Pg 231] head quarters, of the cessation of the state of war. They therefore recommended to him not to answer the interrogatories, which would authorize the insinuation that he had been condemned unheard.

"It appears that some of his party, at this period, entertained the hope that Hall could be intimidated, and prevented from proceeding further. A report was accordingly circulated, that a mob would assemble in and about the court-house—that the pirates of Barataria, to whom the judge had rendered himself obnoxious before the war, by his zeal and strictness, in the prosecution that had been instituted against several of their ringleaders, would improve this opportunity of humbling him. Accordingly, groups of them took their stands, in different parts of the hall, and gave a shout when Jackson entered it. It is due to him to state, that it did not appear that he had the least intimation that a disturbance was intended, and his influence was honestly exercised to prevent disorder."

When the General was called, "he addressed a few words to the court, expressive of his intention not to avail himself of the faculty to answer interrogatories." The District Attorney then addressed the court, with firmness, but good temper. In conclusion he said,—

"That credulity itself could not admit the proposition, that persuasive evidence that the war had ceased, and belief that necessity required that violent measures should be persisted in to prevent the exercise of the judicial power of the legitimate tribunal, could exist, at the same time, in the defendant's mind."

The defendant—General Jackson—resorted to a strange equivocation to extricate himself.

"The general made a last effort to avert the judgment of the court against him, by an asseveration, he had imprisoned Dominick A. Hall, and not the judge: his attention was drawn to the affidavit of the marshal, in which he swore Jackson had told him, 'I have shopped the judge.'

We come, with unaffected gratification, to the final triumph of the law, in this contest with military power.

"The court, desirous of manifesting moderation, in the punishment of the defendant for the want of it, said that, in consideration of the services the general had rendered to his country, imprisonment should make no part of the sentence, and condemned him to pay a fine of one thousand dollars and costs, only."

We should indeed regret, if our history terminated these memorable transactions here. Every reader will be anxious to learn—How did the impetuous spirit of the General, inflamed by his recent triumphs and glories in the field, receive the condemnation of the law? What bursts of passionate violence did he exhibit? What terrible explosion followed the sentence of the court? Not a symptom or movement of the kind. He seemed to awaken, as from a tempestuous dream, "the helm of reason lost," and to fall into the character of a good citizen with dignity and grace.

"On Jackson's coming out of the court-house, his friends procured a hack, in which he entered, and they dragged it to the Exchange coffee-house, where he made a speech, in the conclusion of which he observed, that, 'during the invasion, he had exerted every faculty in support of the constitution and laws—on[Pg 232] that day, he had been called on to submit to their operation, under circumstances, which many persons might have deemed sufficient to justify resistance. Considering obedience to the laws, even when we think them unjustly applied, as the first duty of the citizen, he did not hesitate to comply with the sentence they had heard pronounced;' and he entreated the people, to remember the example he had given them, of respectful submission to the administration of justice."

We heartily wish that the scene had closed here, and the General had appeared no more on that stage. But there was that within him which forbade a quiet and unresisting resignation to his discomfiture and humiliation.

"A few days after, he published, in the Ami des Lois, the answer he had offered to the district court, preceded by an exordium, in which he complained, that the court had refused to hear it. He added, that the judge 'had indulged himself, on his route to Bayou Sarah, in manifesting apprehensions as to the fate of the country, equally disgraceful to himself, and injurious to the interest and safety of the state,' and concluded—'should Judge Hall deny this statement, the general is prepared to prove it, fully and satisfactorily.'

"The gauntlet did not long remain on the ground, and the following piece appeared in the Louisiana Courier:

"'It is stated in the introductory remarks of General Jackson,' that 'on the judge's route to Bayou Sarah, he manifested apprehensions as to the safety of the country, disgraceful to himself, and injurious to the state.' Judge Hall knows full well, how easy it is for one, with the influence and patronage of General Jackson, to procure certificates and affidavits. He knows that men, usurping authority, have their delators and spies: and that, in the sunshine of imperial or dictatorial power, swarms of miserable creatures are easily generated, from the surrounding corruption, and rapidly changed into the shape of buzzing informers. Notwithstanding which, Judge Hall declares, that on his route to Bayou Sarah, he uttered no sentiment disgraceful to himself, or injurious to the state. He calls upon General Jackson, to furnish that full and satisfactory evidence of his assertion, which he says he is enabled to do.' The pledge was never redeemed."

Judge Martin's book is here brought to a conclusion, with some appropriate and forcible reflections upon the duties and uses of History, in affording lessons to men, high in authority, to bridle their passions; to select capable and honest advisers; with other wise and wholesome admonitions.

We heartily unite with the Judge in his just and patriotic aspirations in behalf of the Judiciary.

Note.—In quoting from our history the anecdote respecting the residence and imprisonment of Fenelon in Canada, we do not intend to express a belief in its authenticity. It is the first time we have heard that the celebrated author of Telemachus had ever been in this country; and, as Judge Martin does not inform us of the authority on which the story is related, we know not what credit it is entitled to.

[Pg 233]

Art. IX.—A Full and Accurate Method of Curing Dyspepsia, Discovered and Practised by O. Halsted. New-York: 1830.

Every era has possessed its false prophet in religion, from the days of Mahomet to those of Joanna Southcot and Fanny Wright; not that the race commenced with the former, or has terminated with the latter; the records of history supply us with examples of "lying augurs," in every period previously to the career of the Impostor of Mecca, and our daily experience furnishes us with proofs that the tribe is by no means extinct. As in religion, so has it been, and still continues, in philosophy, and the whole circle of science: pretenders to excellence have started up in every age, and although their efforts in the cause of imposition have not been so splendid as the exertions of those who have made religion their tool, they have yet been sufficiently remarkable to excite the eager attention of mankind, and sufficiently profitable to reward themselves. Medical science in particular may boast of a numerous host of these worthies: it would far exceed the limits of this publication to trace the progress of the charlatan, through the records of ancient history; for the sake of brevity, a retrospective glance must not be directed beyond the fifteenth century, when the arch priest of "modern quackery" made his appearance upon the medical stage. In the year 1493, Phillippus Aureolus Theophrastus Paracelsus Bombastus de Hohenheim, was ushered into existence, and at a very early age announced his discovery, that the recognised principles of medical science were erroneous, and that in him alone was vested "the art divine, to heal each lurking ill." Possessing a panacea capable, as he boasted, of curing all diseases, and even of prolonging life to an indefinite period, this empiric made war upon the health of mankind, and at last, after a life of the most infamous debauchery, he died, in the forty-eighth year of his age, with a bottle of the "Elixir Vitæ" in his pocket. The mantle of Paracelsus has been left behind, and a rich inheritance of ignorance, insolence, and vanity, bequeathed to a multitude of heirs; the value of the legacy, however, would have been trifling, but for the credulity of mankind, which renders these worthless possessions of inestimable importance: during the last century, in particular, these descendants have attained an eminence truly astonishing. Medicine is admitted to be one of the noblest sciences, as tending, in its practice, to relieve the most irksome restraints upon existence; it is acknowledged to be a science founded upon close observation, and so nearly allied to other sciences, that its pursuit is impracticable without them; that it requires years of patient[Pg 234] toil to fathom its mysteries, and the undivided efforts of a mind to comprehend its purposes; and yet we are daily told of the most extraordinary cures, and of the discovery of sovereign remedies, in all cases and descriptions of disease, by individuals who have never

"Toil'd an hour in physic's cause,
Or giv'n one thought to Nature's laws:"

By men, in short, who are incapable of forming one rational opinion upon the subject, and unprepared, by previous study or information, to detect or remove one symptom.

It is an old and apt saying, that "the wilder the tale, the wider the ear;" and experience proves, that from the nursery to the tomb, no legend is too marvellous for the faith of the credulous, and that in many instances, the more incomprehensible the story, the more confirmed is the belief.

In the numerous newspapers daily published in the United States, a list of cures are detailed with sufficient precision to satisfy the sceptical, and sufficient plausibility to convince the ignorant, while a string of medicines is set forth, of such unrivalled excellence, that no disease is protected from their action; the panacea of Paracelsus is rivalled, and every calamity that can afflict the body, from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot, is at once relieved. "Vegetable Powders," "Botanical Syrup," "Bilious Pills," "Jaundice Bitters," "Eye Waters," ointments, &c. &c. are proclaimed as veritable specifics by these veritable physic-mongers: no disease is too subtle, no train of symptoms too severe, for them to contend with; they only meet the foe to conquer, and confer an immortality on suffering humanity and themselves. Thus they flourish, the quacks of the day, the impostors of the multitude, and, perhaps, the dupes of themselves! But if Reason, that plain and simple attribute, in its uncontrouled state, unfettered either by prejudice or wilfulness, can be brought to bear on the question between them and mankind, how little will their claims appear! Reason, in the exertion of a capable authority, is taught to discriminate fairly, and test candidly, and must therefore refuse the evidence tendered by folly, or something worse, by which ignorance is bewitched. Will the man of reflecting mind, and of candid judgment, admit the claims of these pretenders, and match the speculations of avarice and ignorance with the conclusions of science? Impossible! Safety consorts with skill in every path of life; he would not trust himself on the wide ocean with a man ignorant of navigation; nay, he would not trust a bale of merchandise with him; and surely he will not abandon his bark of existence to the command of a charlatan, who knows nothing of the principles of the art he professes, and is altogether incompetent to steer clear of the numerous rocks and quicksands in the course of[Pg 235] life; but a man of reflection and judgment is not a very common character; he is surrounded by hundreds who examine not for themselves; and are easily deluded, by the fairest promises, to surrender their opinions to another's guidance: these are the supporters of quackery, and the encouragers of those needy plunderers, who would render medicine a farce, that they might practice jugglery the better.

If the system of man resembled a machine, which, once in motion, continued an unvaried power, and retained an equality of force, merely requiring, when deranged, the tightening of a screw, the readjustment of a strap, or the addition of a quantity of oil, little knowledge would be required in the regulation of its functions; but when we find the constitutions of men as varied as their countenances, the affections of the body, numerous and diversified, never preserving identically the same characters in two cases, or requiring the same exact treatment in diseases, apparently of the same nature, we discover that something more than the artifice of the quack is necessary in their government and repair.

It would indeed be a Herculean task to administer the rod of correction to all the advertizing medical gentry of the day: it could be done, and with justice to the community; but it would be wearisome. A champion, however, has recently entered the medical arena, with whom we would fain contend, not only in the hope of conquest, but in the expectation that others may take warning by his defeat. With him we will now alone engage, and thus throw down our gauntlet.

A work has very lately appeared, professing to be a "New Method of Curing Dyspepsia, discovered and practised by O. Halsted of New-York." This publication sails in the wake of a tolerably successful practice amongst the dyspeptics of the day, who have resorted to the temple of our author "with faith sufficient to promote a cure." So long as this continued, all interference was of course out of the question, as every individual possesses an undoubted right to tamper either with his judgment or his money; but when this aspirer after dyspeptic fame leaves his concealment, and issues his discoveries and practices to the world, he invites the battery of opinion, and renders himself at once amenable to remark and investigation. A few words, however, on the subject of dyspepsia, may not be amiss, before we take leave to reply to Mr. Halsted.

This much abused term, is a compound of two Greek words, signifying "bad concoction," or bad digestion, alias indigestion, and sufficiently expressive of a condition in which the aliments supplied to the stomach are not met by a vigorous and sufficient action for the purposes of health; but this definition,[Pg 236] however just, is not comprehensive enough for the genius of mankind. That genius, which, in former times, has sanctioned the appellations of nervous disorders, and bilious complaints, as comprising nearly all others, has now selected the term of dyspepsia, as the covering for a multitude of real and imaginary woes; so that when an invalid approaches with a variety of symptoms, and a host of pains or whimsies, he is at once pronounced to be a Dyspeptic.

The book before us, commences with a short account of the organs engaged in the process of digestion, copied from a periodical work of the day, very good as far as it goes, and leaving nothing to be desired on the score of brevity: our author then pursues his task, by a detail of the symptoms of what he calls dyspepsia; from what work he procured these, or from what unhappy wretch he could gain such a list of grievances, as he describes arising from indigestion, does not appear; if they be in existence now, the sooner the one is burnt and the other buried, the better. It is evident that Mr. Halsted is unaware that dyspepsia occurs, in one of two ways; either as a primary affection, or as a symptom of other diseases; that he is unacquainted with the share the liver, with its biliary apparatus, the pancreas, the spleen, the mesentery, the omentum, &c. take in digestion, and of the symptoms occasioned by an affection of these organs; it may therefore be adviseable to devote a few lines to the consideration of these points, as well for the satisfaction of the public, as for his instruction and the improvement of his second edition. Dyspepsia, or indigestion in its simple form, occurs either as a disease of debility, or as a consequence of excess: the first arises from numerous causes, and seldom exists alone: the secretion of the gastric juice is not only impaired, for the office of no organ continues in a state of activity, all alike feeling the result of that general depression affecting the system at large: the second may be referred to the stomach itself, as a natural effect from over-feeding, or indulgence in spirituous liquors. Dyspepsia, occurring as a symptom in other diseases, appears under numerous characters, either from the effects of sympathy, or from an extension of the malady to the stomach itself. It may be readily granted that all the symptoms described by Mr. Halsted, take place, in consequence of an affection of the stomach, either primarily or secondarily; but to assert that they are the results of a bad concoction of the viands we eat and drink, and to act accordingly, is to misunderstand the meaning of a term, as well as the treatment of a disorder.

It is stated, in this work, that dyspepsia is Protean in its symptoms, but single and uniform in its nature; the very reverse is the fact; its symptoms are of a single character, and of an uniform attack, while its nature is variable and inconstant. A dyspeptic[Pg 237] will complain of a want of appetite, a degree of squeamishness and irritability, eructations, heart-burn, pain in the head, stomach, and bowels, with costiveness; his tongue will be furred, and his pulse a little increased in strength and quickness. To use the language of Dr. Armstrong, "the most constant symptoms of dyspepsia, are a furred tongue, flatulence of the stomach, and fretfulness, or depression of spirits;" he goes on to say, "these may arise primarily from disorder or disease in the stomach itself, or they may depend upon an affection of the brain, liver, bowels, or some other remote or adjacent part." The nature of dyspepsia depends totally upon its cause, and where so many circumstances may occasion it, it is difficult to imagine one more variable. The important organs before alluded to, so necessary to the economy of life, are all liable to the most severe visitations of disease. Not to be too prolix, take, for the sake of example, the first on the list, the liver: both in the acute and chronic forms of inflammation of this viscus, how important a change is wrought in the digestive functions, how enfeebled does the system become during its continuance, and how futile would be the attempt to relieve the malady by merely attacking one of its symptoms! And so, of the other viscera, all marked when in a morbid state by peculiar characteristics, not only affecting their own action, but all the parts in their neighbourhood, the stomach as one of the great centres of the system in particular; and yet, with all these facts in review, are we presented with a list of ailments as dependant upon an impropriety in digestion, which may in all probability (at least the greater part of them) be traced to a source totally different. A careful discrimination of the origin of disease is as necessary as any after treatment, which can never, indeed, be applied with a reasonable chance of success without it.

Mr. Halsted recommends a change to a more temperate climate, travelling, regular exercise, particularly on horseback, and above all, moderation in eating and drinking; asserting, that if these means of recovery be neglected, things will inevitably go on from bad to worse. Astonishing! These new precepts, from the pen of such a distinguished practitioner, cannot be too highly extolled, and should be classed with the recommendation of old Parr; "keep your head cool by temperance, your feet warm by exercise; never eat but when you are hungry, nor drink but when nature requires it." Had the author stopped here, there would have been no occasion for a rejoinder to his work; for directions so admirable could only have obtained a ready compliance. In addition, however, to these usual modes of recovering health and appetite, we are put in possession of a few others, as purely original as can be imagined—but of these anon.

Mr. Halsted arranges dyspepsia in three stages; he has the incipient,[Pg 238] the confirmed, and the complicated; in other words, dyspepsia in its commencement, in its continuance, and in its union with other affections. The two first may undoubtedly belong to dyspepsia, but the last, or complicated stage, is the one to which we must object; it is said, that this occurs when other organs are deranged, and a double set of symptoms produced; "when the patient will be said to die of liver complaint, an affection of the lungs, marasmus, dysentery, diarrhœa, or some anomalous complication of all these affections, conveniently classed by the Doctor when he renders his account to the sexton, under the sweeping term, consumption." The medical profession will doubtless appreciate the value of the connexion which Mr. Halsted is anxious to establish between the physician and the respectable officer who acts as the last gentleman-usher to mankind, and duly estimate the candid and gentlemanly mode of introduction of both parties to the public.

Dyspepsia, Mr. H. continues, is the original fountain from whence all this mischief, described in his third stage, proceeds; thus, according to him, a catarrh, pneumonia, and the numerous diseases attacking the respiratory organs, as "affections of the lungs," are occasioned by dyspepsia; the liver cannot be affected but by dyspepsia; marasmus proceeds from dyspepsia; dysentery depends on dyspepsia; and even diarrhœa must own dyspepsia as its parent. The effects of cold and damp, of obstructed perspiration, of scrofulous tendencies, and a thousand other causes, pass for nought; dyspepsia rears its head as the sole parent of ill, and little doubt can be entertained, that in the event of a man, a little weakened by sickness, falling and breaking his leg, this dyspeptic monitor would call the case dyspeptic fracture. Well may the poor patient who peruses the pages of his work be called "an unhappy dyspeptic;" and if he be not so already, he cannot read long, if his attention and conviction go hand in hand, before the discovery of such an accumulation of horrors, and all referred to his own person, will render him a fit subject for the author's experiments. Some of these symptoms are of too extraordinary a character to be passed over without notice: coldness in the head, ears, and eyes, difficulty of speech, and a jarring through the chest, numbness and coldness at the stomach, and sometimes a weight as if a lump of lead were there: if this be the case—

"Who breathes, must suffer; and who thinks, must mourn,
And he alone is bless'd, who ne'er was born."

Then again, our author has been told by a sufferer, that he felt as if a number of wires passed up from the stomach to the brain, and there ramifying into small branches, communicated a sort of jarring or vibrating sensation to each particular nerve. This is a perfect musical case of a dyspeptic, who has a sort of[Pg 239] piano-forte stomach; we might fancy him exclaiming in the language of Shakspeare,—

"This music mads me; let it sound no more;
For though it have help'd madmen to their wits,
In me, it seems, it will make wise men mad."

Then come "pains between the shoulders and in the small of the back, cramps, stitches, pains in joints, with universal soreness and weariness." This is as bad as the plague, a very wilderness of agonies. Heaven guard us from them! To crown all, the sufferings of Caliban under the magical touches of Prospero are applied to the wretched dyspeptic, who has "cramps by night, and side-stitches to pen his breath up; old cramps (one attack is not sufficient) shall rack him and fill his bones with aches, making him roar so loud, that beasts shall tremble at his din;" this is the very climax of bodily suffering—long may we all be preserved from the Halsted Dyspepsia!

Error in diet, and want of proper exercise, are correctly assigned as two great causes of this disease; the former as respects the quantity, quality, time and manner of taking food, and the latter as it affects persons of a sedentary habit. These causes lead to actual dyspepsia, or a bad concoction of the food in the stomach, from whence the evils described arise; and which are sufficient of themselves, without adding to the list those affections, dependant upon diseases of other organs, although occupying the stomach as their seat, and all of which our author has indiscriminately classed under his sweeping term, dyspepsia. A very common error of diet, as respects the time and manner of taking food, is not treated of with sufficient force, when its baneful tendency is considered:—the custom that prevails, of dining within a very short period, sometimes only a few minutes, and returning immediately to the avocations of the day; the food is sent to the stomach only half masticated, and the system directly subjected to exertion, during which, the process of digestion cannot take place. If we make a hearty meal, and at once proceed to labour of any kind, the food remains for hours in an unaltered state; whereas, if we give a short repose to our bodies, by assuming an easy posture, and partially dismissing the remembrance of past, and the prospect of future cares, allowing, in fact, the whole business of life a short rest, as far as may be, the stomach will perform its office with ease and certainty. Mr. Halsted devotes one section to the consideration "of the particular condition of the stomach in dyspepsia;" and as he confesses that doctors differ on this subject, he kindly lends his assistance to relieve their indecision, by roundly asserting "that it consists mainly, in a debility or loss of power of action, in the muscular coat of the stomach." That a feebleness of the system[Pg 240] may affect the muscular coat of the stomach, is far from a novel doctrine; but the idea that dyspepsia mainly depends upon this cause, is certainly as new as it is startling: the very meaning of the word would dispose us to consider that any want of action in the stomach, preventing the due concoction, or the breaking down of aliment for the purposes of nourishment to the frame, would apply to it, and, strictly speaking, it would; not that the muscular coat is alone, or the most powerful agent, in reducing the food to pulp or chyme; it is one of the many forces in the service of nature. It must be remembered that digestion, however well commenced in the stomach, is not perfected there; that, in the words of Dr. Mason Good, "it ranges through a wide spread of organs closely sympathizing with each other, and each, when disordered, giving rise to dyspepsia." After the formation of chyme, and the food has passed the pyloric orifice of the stomach, it undergoes a new process in the duodenum, when it is converted into chyle, probably by the action of the bile, although this is a point not absolutely determined by physiological experiment; even now, digestion is only half finished, the lacteals (a class of absorbing vessels particularly numerous in the duodenum, and also existing in the larger intestines) take up this fluid, for the purpose of conveying it into the thoracic duct, which terminates in the left subclavian vein, nor is the total process of digestion completed, until, in the language of the author above quoted, "it has been exposed to the action of the atmosphere, travelling, for this purpose, through the lungs, when it becomes completely assimilated with the vital fluids." Hence, although the meaning of dyspepsia must be restricted, as its derivations demand; the term, digestion, bears a much more extensive signification than it generally receives, and any error in its process may be properly denominated indigestion; however, Mr. Halsted regards the term dyspepsia as equivalent to indigestion, and we may, for once, adopt the same phraseology. Now, as digestion is of so complicated a nature, how will Mr. H. explain his reference to the muscular coat of the stomach as a chief cause of its derangement? Is he so admirable a pathologist as to discriminate, when called to a case of dyspepsia, whether, to use his own words, "it consists in a diminished quantity or vitiated state of the gastric fluid, in a morbid secretion from the inner coats of the stomach, or from a peculiar acid generated there; whether chronic inflammation of the mucous membrane of that organ, or a torpid state of the liver and a deficient secretion of the bile occasion it: it would appear that such conditions may exist, and then produce their different symptoms, requiring a modified treatment;" but it frequently happens that these cases, slight in themselves, determine principally to the stomach, and are not apparent to the keenest eye in any other organ upon the[Pg 241] first attack. Besides, it is the practice of Mr. Halsted, when he discovers that the digestive apparatus is not originally in fault, but that a chronic inflammation of the stomach, or a torpor of the liver, prevails, to modify his treatment; this, at all events, is new doctrine, to treat inflammation and torpor upon modified principles. If, however, diagnosis is so slight an affair in his hands, let him, without delay, inform his countrymen at what college he studied, and what were his plans of improvement.—Pathology is a difficult science, and needs mentors to point out the best paths for its attainment.

The muscular coat of the stomach has undoubtedly its proper office to perform, and, failing in its functions, it may, in conjunction with other causes, lead to dyspepsia; but to fix upon this, in particular, is to negative the effects of other organs, and to deceive both your patient and yourself.

One of the most important discoveries in this work appears under the title of "the state of the abdominal muscles during dyspepsia;" which is pronounced to be a very characteristic feature of the disease, never yet noticed by writers on the subject, or particularly attended to by physicians. It would certainly have been somewhat strange for medical writers to enlarge upon a symptom of one disease, which absolutely belongs to another; or for physicians to attend to what they could not detect; and it is equally singular, that this very characteristic feature should only have favoured Mr. Halsted and his patients with a visitation. Whenever the muscles of the abdomen are in a state of constriction, as described by him, the usual cause is spasm of some part of the intestinal canal, produced by colic, either of an accidental nature, arising from some acrid ingesta, which irritate the bowels without producing diarrhœa, attended with griping pains and distention, and spasmodic contraction of the abdominal muscles, with costiveness; or of a bilious form, closely allied to bilious diarrhœa and cholera (Gregory.) These are the varieties of colic which have been confounded with dyspepsia, particularly the first described; the symptom alluded to has little or nothing to do with the office of the stomach, but depends chiefly upon acrid substances, which have passed from that organ, to exercise their pernicious qualities upon the intestines; the sufferings of Mr. Halsted, so pathetically described, may at once be referred to a fit of the colic, which a due want of care rendered very frequent.

Pass we now to the treatment, premising that a ride in a stage-coach led to the discovery of its advantages, and taking care, at the same time, of our abdominal muscles, lest the exertion of laughter should occasion one of the muscular spasms so much dreaded by our author. The plan is divided into four compartments; tickling, pickling, ironing, and throwing up the bowels.[Pg 242] The tickling is performed by gentle taps and slight pushes in the pit of the stomach. (Who could bear it? It would throw nine patients out of ten into convulsions!) The pickling, by wrapping up the patient from the chest to the hips with flannel cloths, wrung out in a mixture of equal parts of hot vinegar and water. (This at all events tends to keep him.) The ironing, by spreading a coarse dry towel on the bowels, and passing over them "a bottle filled with boiling water, or, what is better, a common flat-iron, such as is used in smoothing linen, heated as warm as can well be borne, for fifteen or twenty minutes." Make an ironing-board of a patient's bowels! This is worse than all: a man might consent to be tickled and pickled—but to iron him for twenty minutes—mercy on us! the very thought is sudorific.

The throwing up of the bowels comes the last: fancy Mr. Halsted seated on the right side of his patient, and facing him; then placing his right hand upon the lower part of the abdomen, in such a manner, as to effect a lodgment (we quote his words) as it were, under the bowels, suffering them to rest directly upon the edge of the extended palm, and then, by a quick but not violent motion of the hand, in an upward direction, the bowels are thrown up much in the same manner as in riding on horseback, a sensation being communicated like that produced by a slight blow. (It is difficult to imagine who is entitled to the greatest admiration, the practitioner or the patient.) This treatment, it is said, will generally effect an increase in the strength of the pulse, a warmth in the extremities, and a gentle perspiration. So we should imagine: if such a mode of riding, with one's bowels in another man's hands, will not produce perspiration, what will? The position of the sufferer, during the last most remarkable process, may be occasionally altered, the practitioner taking his station behind him; or he may be placed with his back against the wall, whilst all these freedoms are taken with his bowels. Nay, more,—he may be instructed to perform the operation on his own person.

"Wer't not for laughing, I should pity him."

This, then, is the Halstedian treatment!

The former rules of quackery, reduced to the administration of sundry pills or elixirs, must be abandoned in favour of the manipulating and scouring process of the great medical wizard of the day, who relieves by a tap, and cures by a flat-iron; and although it may be difficult to conceive the chain of ideas by which the imagination can connect the bumpings of a stage-coach with the operations we have described, we may exclaim,—

"Your art
As well may teach an ass to scour the plain,
And bend obedient to the forming rein,"
[Pg 243]

as cure dyspepsia; still, we must yield our admiration to the novelty of invention, and to the ingenuity of application of these stomach and bowel working wonders.

It unfortunately happens sometimes, that the dyspepsia is connected with inflamed stomach, in which case the punching practice is death. We have heard from eminent physicians, that several lives have, within their knowledge, been endangered by it. Moreover, the real indecency of the Halstedian process, particularly in the case of women, has greatly shocked even the medical observers.

Before we dismiss this book from actual review, we will devote a short space to its probable effect upon the public, and upon the best means of counteracting its tendency.

Man, like a child, is amused by a novelty, and "tickled by a straw." His "reason too often stoops not" to inquiry before a ready surrender, and what is least comprehensible will occasionally receive the readiest credence: bare assertion is admitted without proof, the rhodomontade of enthusiasts passes for gospel, and the "leather and prunella" of impostors are regarded as commodities of sterling value. No wonder, then, that success attends a certain race, who are willing to prey upon the infirmity of reason; that the mountebanks of former days are emulated by the quacks of the present time; that Mr. Halsted has met with abundance of patients, and a ready sale for his work: a hope of relief from disease acts as a stimulant to faith, but "Hope is a cur-tail dog in some affairs."

It is said of Dr. Cameron, one of the most remarkable charlatans of his day, that when reproached by a physician concerning his deception on the public, he replied, "Out of twenty persons who pass this house in an hour, nineteen are fools who come to me, whilst the one wise man applies to you—which has the better practice? Believe me, doctor, that although the wise seek the wise in your person, the fools will find me out." How exactly is this assertion fulfilled in the present day! The wise man, who values his health as his greatest earthly blessing, scorns to resign it to the care of one who knows not the value of the trust; who cannot comprehend the principles upon which it depends, the cause which deranges it; or discover the particular organ requiring assistance: common sense interposes a bar to any communication between a wise man and a charlatan; while the multitude will flock to the snare, or swallow the bait; first the gulls, and then the victims; the nostrums, injurious or poisonous as they may be, find ready mouths for their reception; the dogmas, willing ears; and the system of Mr. Halsted, ready sufferers. Is it not to be lamented, that a man who claims a caste above this multitude, will sometimes forget himself so far as to follow their route, heedless of the lines of Horace?[Pg 244]

"When in a wood we leave the certain way
One error fools us, though we various stray."

He madly leaves the track of reason to tread in the steps of folly; but he may perhaps retrace them, and if an injured, yet a wiser man. Not so the generality,—they pursue an ignis fatuus, which, dazzling their perceptions as it lures them on, at last leaves them in the mire (from which no skill perhaps can extricate them) to curse themselves and their deceiver.

The exertion of medical science is sufficient for the removal of diseases capable of cure, and is unaccompanied by the risk of leaving others in their place: quackery, on the contrary, attempts what it cannot, from ignorance, perform, and frequently establishes a malady of more serious character than the one it professed to relieve. The medical man, aware of the structure of the human form, of the disposition and arrangement of its several parts in a state of health, is gradually led to a consideration of their condition in disease: that grand master, experience, enables him to discriminate between the cause and effect of morbid action; a long attention to the detail of practice gives him power over a list of remedies whose properties he has ascertained by observation; and in addition to all this, his daily thoughts are engaged in the investigation of sickness in its many forms, and, frequently, his midnight oil expended, while he peruses the observations, and profits by the researches of others. Again, the advertising quack is frequently an unlettered, never a well-informed man, at least on medical topics: his education, his habits, his purposes, are all foreign to science; the first has not been devoted to the accomplishment of a particular duty; the second have not received that polish, or acquired that delicacy so necessary in the hour of sickness and distress; and the third are directed solely to the purposes of gain, rather than to the noble aim of assisting his fellow-creatures; and yet such a character finds support. To the individual who can depend upon his abilities we may exclaim, "tibi seris, tibi metis," and so dismiss him to his fate.

After all that has been said of the exertions of the charlatan to abuse the confidence of mankind, particularly as far as dyspepsia is concerned, it is due to the medical profession, to state what claims they may fairly advance, to entitle them to the good opinion of the public, in the cure of this much talked of affection.

A physician, who understands what he is about, knows very well, when a case of this nature comes before him, that it may proceed from a variety of causes; that it may arise in the stomach from a want of digestive power, from the small intestines by a partial failure in the process of chymification; that it may depend upon the morbid action of the large intestines, or exist merely[Pg 245] as a symptom of an affection in other organs. Sedentary habits, or irregularities of diet, are causes which may be supposed to act locally on the digestive organs themselves; but the history of a case will generally show that the derangement of the digestive organs is secondary. When it arises from local irritation, it can only be produced through the medium of the sensorium; when it is idiopathic, it frequently originates in causes which affect the nervous system primarily; such as anxiety, too great exertion of body and mind, and impure air; in many instances, the nervous irritation which has induced the disease, being trivial, is only kept up by the reaction of its effects. Thus says Abernethy, one of the luminaries of modern medical science.

The first duty of a physician, therefore, is to ascertain from what source indigestion proceeds, and to frame his treatment accordingly. To act upon one system of cure, like our friend Mr. Halsted, in a disease arising from such a variety of circumstances, would be as reasonable as applying splints to an arm, when the thigh happens to be fractured; but enough, we would hope, has been said to disabuse the mind of the public of a predilection for these pretenders. Dyspepsia is a disease that has existed for ages, and through ages has it readily been cured. In its simple form there is no mystery about it, and when it becomes complicated, it requires more than the knowledge of a quack to master it. Confidence in a medical attendant, and an adherence to his directions, will surely suffice now, as in former times; and if the public will restrain a longing after novelty, and abandon those "who rather talk than act, and rather kill than cure," in short, who work upon their prejudices by artifice, we shall hear less of dyspepsia, simply because it exists too frequently but in their own fancies. True, there is a certain class, with such mental, as well as bodily infirmities, who, worn down by depraved habits, or suffering under weakened intellects, will permit the wildest chimeras to haunt them; hypochondriacs may be met with every day, and these may be fit patients for the charlatan, or legally subjected to the tickling, pickling, and ironing of Mr. Halsted: extraordinary maladies may justify extraordinary experiments.

The absurd and improper treatment proposed in the work we have noticed, can afford but little hope to any but the hypochondriacal dyspeptic; he may fly to any measures, however desperate or ludicrous; for "a mind diseased no medicine can cure." Let others, however, who cannot plead a malady of the mind as an excuse for resorting to such practice, be informed, that in most of the affections arising from, or confounded with dyspepsia, it is unavailing, and may prove injurious. There are many diseases which it is impossible that Mr. Halsted can distinguish[Pg 246] from dyspepsia, and to which he would apply his irons and bottles, towels and vinegar, at the risk of his patient's safety.

His views may be sound if adapted to the animal economy of a horse, but are certainly unsuitable to the constitution of a man.

We would say, then, to the public, in conclusion; be cautious how you trust your health and lives with those who neither comprehend the nature of the one, nor the value of the other—and who would exclaim behind your backs, with Shakspeare's Autolycus, merely altering the description of his wares:—

"Ha! ha! what a fool Honesty is! and Trust, his sworn brother, a very simple gentleman! I have sold all my trumpery; not a counterfeit stone, not a riband, glass, pomander, brooch, table-book, ballad, knife, tape, glove, shoe-tie, bracelet, horn-ring, to keep my pack from fasting: they throng who should buy first, as if my trinkets had been hallowed, and brought a benediction to the buyer; by which means, I saw whose purse was best in picture, and, what I saw, to my good use I remembered."

To the gentle pretenders themselves, we have but a few words to say at parting:—

"Out you impostors,
Quack-salving cheating mountebanks—your skill
Is to make sound men sick, and sick men, kill."


1.—Report of the Committee of Ways and Means of the House of Representatives of the United States, to which was referred so much of the President's Message as relates to the Bank of the United States. April 13th, 1830: pp. 31. 8vo.

2.—Message of the President of the United States to both Houses of Congress. December 8th, 1830.

When the President first presented the question of re-chartering the Bank of the United States to the national legislature, at the opening of the session of 1829-30, the measure was viewed very differently by different men. We do not speak of the vulgar herd of politicians, great and small, who approve or condemn indiscriminately all measures of the government, but of that more elevated and independent class, who ask nothing of any administration than that it shall do its duty; and who judge of its acts as they seem to be legal, useful, and wise. To some the president's course appeared to be highly objectionable. The bank charter had then six years to run, and, consequently, they said, neither this congress nor the next had any control over the subject.[Pg 247] Nor could it furnish matter of legislation, they added, whilst president Jackson remained in office, unless he should, by being elected for a second term, give his sanction to a principle which he had pronounced impolitic and dangerous. To have brought forward the subject, under these circumstances, with no very doubtful intimation of his own wishes, was as unnecessary as it was unusual, and implied a want of confidence in those who were ultimately to decide the question.

To others, however, this early notice of the subject seemed to be justified by its importance, and they thought that the public could not be too soon engaged in discussing the merits of a question which in so many ways concerned the general welfare. Of this opinion seemed to be the committee of the house of representatives, to which this part of the message was referred, and which, after giving the subject a full consideration, reported in favour of renewing the charter of the present bank, and against the substitute for it which the president had ventured to suggest.

The subject being thus fairly before the people, and in fact undergoing a very thorough investigation in the public journals, it was expected that the president would be contented with having done his duty on the occasion, and, if not silenced by the gentle dissuasive of the senate, or the bold and uncompromising logic of the house, he would merely regret that truth should be so hoodwinked by prejudice, or that error should have found so many apologists and supporters in those august bodies, and that he would leave the question where it properly belonged, and where he himself had placed it—with "the legislature and the people." It was, then, with no little surprise, perceived, that the succeeding annual message, which is at the head of this article, had brought the same subject to the notice of the legislature, consisting precisely of the same individuals as before, when nothing was pretended to have occurred to induce them to change their former opinion, and when the only reason which had been given, at the preceding session, for inviting the consideration of what neither required nor admitted immediate legislation, no longer existed. Public attention had been fully drawn to the subject. The stockholders of the bank, who are profiting by the good management of the institution, and who naturally wish the charter renewed, had taken the alarm, and, trusting to the omnipotence of truth, had every where invited investigation and discussion—and all those who hoped to profit by the new national bank, or who felt themselves bound to second the wishes of the administration, had opposed the renewal of the charter, through the prints devoted to the same cause.

When the avowed purpose of the president had been thus completely answered, by his first communication to congress,[Pg 248] it is natural to ask what could have prompted the second? Were the majorities in both houses of congress personally hostile to the president, or unfriendly to his administration; and was it necessary for him to defend himself from party prejudice by an appeal to the people? That could not be; for it is notorious that the president's friends, personal or political, are most numerous in both houses, and this advantage is a daily theme of party boast and congratulation. Were the chairmen of the respective committees his political opponents, and did they insidiously endeavour to bring his party into discredit for the purpose of advancing their own? But they were among his most zealous adherents—nay, it may be questioned whether there was a single individual in the United States to whom the president was more indebted for the vindication of his character before the people, than to Mr. M'Duffie, who wrote one of the reports;—unless it might be to Mr. Adams, when secretary of state. Was it then expected, that the house of representatives, which had disregarded his recommendation, would now approve his project? It is impossible that the president or his advisers could have believed they would carry their complaisance so far. They must have known that the subject would be referred to the same committee, composed of the same persons, as that of the preceding year, and who would be likely, if they reported at all, not only to support their first opinions by further arguments, but to express their disapprobation of a course so wanting in respect to the legislature, and so little calculated to promote harmony between the different branches of the government. As, then, we are compelled to give the negative to all these suppositions, we must infer that the object of this extraordinary course has been to influence public opinion. It seems essential to the views of the present executive of the United States, to put down the present national bank, and to erect another on its ruins; and this favourite purpose it hopes to attain by bringing the president's personal and official influence to bear on the question; and, under the forms of the constitution, to appeal from his party in congress, to his party in the nation.

On the dignity or good faith of this course we will not make any comment; but since the question is thus brought before the people, we will cheerfully meet it, and inquire how far the measure recommended by the president, against the opinions of the immediate representatives of the people, seems calculated to advance the public interest, or to promote a distinct and peculiar interest. We shall fearlessly, though temperately, examine the president's propositions, both as to the existing national bank and its proposed substitute; and we shall look at the subject with a single eye to the public good, for we have no other interest in the question than what is common to every citizen of the United[Pg 249] States. We know that there is much good sense in this nation, and although there is a full share of prejudice too, yet no one need despair, that the former, if properly addressed, will eventually prevail.

That part of the Message which relates to the bank is in these words,—

"The importance of the principles involved in the inquiry, whether it will be proper to re-charter the Bank of the United States, requires that I should again call the attention of congress to the subject. Nothing has occurred to lessen, in any degree, the dangers which many of our citizens apprehended from that institution, as at present organized. In the spirit of improvement and compromise which distinguishes our country and its institutions, it becomes us to inquire whether it be not possible to secure the advantages afforded by the present bank through the agency of a bank of the United States, so modified in its principles and structure as to obviate constitutional and other objections.

"It is thought practicable to organize such a bank, with the necessary officers, as a branch of the treasury department, based on the public and individual deposits, without power to make loans or purchase property, which shall remit the funds of the government, and the expenses of which may be paid, if thought advisable, by allowing its officers to sell bills of exchange to private individuals at a moderate premium. Not being a corporate body, having no stockholders, debtors, or property, and but few officers, it would not be obnoxious to the constitutional objections which are urged against the present bank; and having no means to operate on the hopes, fears, or interests, of large masses of the community, it would be shorn of the influence which makes that bank formidable. The states would be strengthened by having in their hands the means of furnishing the local paper currency through their own banks; while the bank of the United States, though issuing no paper, would check the issues of the state banks, by taking their notes in deposit, and for exchange, only so long as they continue to be redeemed with specie. In times of public emergency, the capacities of such an institution might be enlarged by legislative provisions.

"These suggestions are made, not so much as a recommendation, as with a view of calling the attention of congress to the possible modifications of a system, which cannot continue to exist in its present form without occasional collisions with the local authorities, and perpetual apprehensions and discontent on the part of the states and the people."

When the president's views, as here disclosed, are analyzed, they seem to involve the following propositions, to each of which we will give a separate consideration.

1. That the present Bank of the United States is unconstitutional.

2. That it exercises a dangerous influence.

3. That it creates discontent with the people, and collisions with the states.

4. That such a bank as is proposed in its place, is free from all these objections.

1. On the constitutionality of the bank, we have little to add to the remarks made on the subject in our last number. The arguments then urged having received no answer, and being, as we conceive, unanswerable, we must consider that the more the question is investigated, the more it will be found that a power which has been recognised by every branch of the government, and at some time or other, by every party that has administered[Pg 250] the affairs of the nation, will be found to be correct. We cannot, however, forbear to add one other, because of its peculiar fitness to the present occasion.

It is known, that the power of the general government to establish a national bank, mainly turns on that clause of the Constitution of the United States, which gives congress the power "to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution" the powers specifically granted—one party deducing the constitutionality of the bank from a liberal interpretation of the word "necessary," and the other drawing the opposite inference from their interpreting the same word in a narrower sense; both reasoning justly from their respective premises, and both agreeing, that on the true meaning of that term, rest the merits of the controversy.

Whenever a doubt occurs about the meaning of a phrase in a written instrument, it has always been considered a good rule of interpretation, to refer to the use of the same phrase in other parts of the same instrument, for the purpose of discovering the sense attached to it by those who used it. Applying this rule, we find in the article concerning the duties and powers of the president, (3d section) that "he shall, from time to time, give to the congress information of the state of the Union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient." It is by virtue of this power thus granted, and of this alone, that the president has recommended the creation of a new bank to the legislature. Now, it will not be pretended that he could have judged this recommendation to be necessary, in the strictest sense of the term, but at most, that it was highly useful and important. It must then be admitted, either that the narrow interpretation of the word "necessary," relied on by those who deny the constitutionality of the bank, is erroneous, or that the president himself has violated the constitution in the recommendation he has made. If it be insisted, that he had the constitutional right to recommend a measure, which both houses of congress had pronounced highly inexpedient, because he believed it prudent, and politic, and salutary—the ground on which he himself places it—then the same liberal interpretation of the term "necessary," which we admit to be the true one, will make the bank constitutional. We have resorted to this rule, not so much because it furnishes an argument ad hominem which is irresistible, as for the higher purpose of throwing light on one of the most controverted parts of the constitution.

But admitting, for the sake of argument, the constitutionality of the bank to be one of those difficult and complicated questions about which men's minds may always be divided, and that there are reasons on either side, sufficient, if not to convince, to perplex[Pg 251] and bewilder, and to afford pretexts for those who seek some sinister or selfish ends—and of such character are most constitutional questions—we would ask, if this is never to have a termination? Are questions of this kind to be always unsettled, so that no length of time, however sufficient to quiet private controversies, shall put an end to those which most nearly concern the tranquillity and permanence of the Union?

On this subject of constitutional questions generally, we would trespass awhile on the patience of our readers. It involves far higher considerations than whether this or that individual shall be president—this party or that shall exert a transient sway over the destinies of the country. Our remarks are independent of men, or times, or circumstances; and they are addressed to men of no party—to the intelligent and patriotic of all parties—to that fund of good sense which has ever characterized this nation.

As every officer of the government takes an oath to support the constitution, his conscience is appealed to, and that which he honestly and truly believes to be the meaning of the obligation he has incurred, must influence his votes and acts under the constitution. It is seriously and earnestly maintained by many of our citizens, that every man's own interpretation of the constitution must be his guide; and no matter what the public tribunals have determined—no matter for what length of time, or by what degree of unanimity a particular interpretation may have prevailed, it is to weigh as nothing with him, so far as it seems contrary to the conviction of his own mind. But is this a true understanding of the character of a written constitution, and of the oath which it enjoins? If so, would not the means devised to secure its more faithful observance be the most likely to defeat its provisions; and would it not make such a constitution the most impracticable and absurd form of government that human folly ever devised? Let us consider the consequences of this doctrine.

In the first place, let us call to mind the great number of constitutional questions which have arisen during the short period of little more than forty years, since the Federal government went into operation. In General Washington's administration, the most prominent of those questions were suggested by the establishment of a national bank—by the carriage tax—the proclamation of neutrality—and the appropriations to carry the British treaty into effect: in that of Mr. Adams, the elder, the alien and sedition laws: in Mr. Jefferson's, the repeal of the Judiciary law—the embargo for an indefinite period—the purchase of Louisiana: in Mr. Madison's, the United States Bank again, the power of the federal government over the militia of a state—the right of that government to construct roads: in Mr. Monroe's, the right in congress to pass the bankrupt law—to[Pg 252] lay a duty on imports for the encouragement of manufactures—to appropriate money for the relief of the poor of the district of Columbia: and in Mr. John Quincy Adams's, the Cherokee treaty—the nullification doctrine—the power of appointing public officers, together with several of the others previously mentioned.

To these questions we might add many of minor importance or interest, and that multitude which have arisen and been decided in the Supreme Court of the United States. But if the number is already so great, what will it be a century or two hence? Let it be remembered, too, that each of these legislative questions may give rise to many others connected with them, and that each one may be multiplied to infinity in the courts of justice. Thus, if protecting duties for the encouragement of manufactures are unconstitutional, the duty claimed on every bale of imported goods may be called in question.

Whenever, then, any of these constitutional questions can be made, it would be competent for the party interested, by the doctrines of these political puritans, to make them. So that in every controversy, public or private, every conflict of right or interest, as the question of constitutionality would be completely open to the judge, and in criminal cases, to the jury, either party may take his chance of success by urging that interpretation of the constitution which best suits him, and the same question would, of course, be decided one way in one place, and another way in another. One man would be convicted for an offence for which another would go unpunished; and one citizen, or one state, be subjected to taxes under the constitution, from which others would be shielded by the same instrument.

Does any one doubt, that if a constitution is left to the unrestricted interpretation of every one who swears to support it, there would be this diversity? Let him look at the various commentaries on the same text in the New Testament. Let him look at the various interpretations of the same decrees of the Senate by the Edicts of the Pretors in Roman jurisprudence—to say nothing of those countless decisions of the civil law, by which, before the time of Justinian, it was buried beneath its own rubbish. Let him look at the voluminous reports in our own language on the written, as well as common law—on the infinite number of questions that have arisen, and are yet arising on a single statute, or even one of its sections,—let him consider these apposite examples, and ask whether our constitution is likely to share a different fate? Such, indeed, is the indefinite nature of language, the ever-varying character of human concerns, and the subtlety of the human intellect, that it is utterly impossible to pen a constitution on which numerous questions would[Pg 253] not arise, which no sagacity of man could foresee, and which his language is too vague to provide for.

Constitutional questions then must arise, and the true point of inquiry is, whether our constitution meant that they should be finally settled, or whether they are to remain suspended between heaven and earth, until they are compelled to make their appearance by the necromancy of legal subtlety, or occasionally laid in the Red Sea.

But the evil would not stop with the federal government. We know that each state has also its own constitution, and that if their legislatures or executives transcend their powers, their acts, by the doctrines we are considering, are utterly void. They cannot exceed the limits of their charter, and those limits they have no exclusive right to define. Who that has attended the deliberations of a state legislature, and remarked the frequent recurrence of constitutional questions about their powers, but must see that there is scarcely any law concerning property, or office, or crime, on which ingenuity may not raise a doubt respecting either the letter or spirit of the constitution? And the same uncertainty and want of uniformity which would arise in the federal government, would arise in a much greater ratio in that of a state; so that no man could say certainly what were his duties or his rights. If such a state of things may now ensue, how would it be when the population of a single state should amount to several millions, and when the spirit of litigation, united with the extension of legal science, would give more than Norman acuteness to our constitutional lawyers? When that era shall arrive, if this quibbling spirit that is now so rife, shall not receive a timely check, where is the law, whose authority may not be questioned? Now is the time to arrest it, before our habits become indurated, and while our national character has that ductility which the changes our country is ever undergoing, naturally produces. Whoever is capable of taking a wide survey of human affairs, and of comparing ages and nations, must perceive that every generation of the civilized world is becoming more and more metaphysical—that the understanding is more appealed to, and has greater sway than formerly, and the imagination less. The age of magic, and witches, and ghosts, has passed away. That of poetry is on the wane. Speculation has taken the place of taste. What once passed unheeded, or was perceived only as it was felt, must now be analyzed, and sifted, and decompounded, until we have reached its elements, and a reason is required for every thing. Such is the spirit of the age, and it is eminently favourable to constitutional doubts and scruples.

We may already perceive the progress of this captious, inquisitive, hair-splitting spirit, in the brief chronicle of the federal[Pg 254] government. When congress met, immediately after the formation of the constitution, in laying an impost, they endeavoured so to lay it, as to give encouragement to those species of industry for which the country seemed best suited, and their successors continued the same policy for about thirty years, when it was discovered, (we think by a member from Maine) that the policy was contrary to the constitution. The discovery was soon welcomed by many of the politicians of the South, and it has since been so cordially embraced by them, that the opposite opinion is now looked upon as downright political heresy.

A bankrupt law was passed during the first Mr. Adams's administration, by virtue of the express power given to congress on that subject. When Mr. Jefferson came into power, the law was repealed as inexpedient, because it was believed to produce as much fraud and mischief in some ways as it prevented in others. But nobody had then discovered that the law was unconstitutional. Yet in 1822, that doctrine was broached and zealously maintained by three or four members from the South, so as to induce Mr. Lowndes, who was himself opposed to a bankrupt law, to disavow the doctrines of his associates. That exemplary man, the character of whose mind was sufficiently inclined to refined speculation, if it had not been so tempered by candour and sound practical sense, never lost sight of the end of government, in his view of the means; and he believed that in interpreting the constitution, we ought not to look at it through a microscope, for this plain reason, if for no other, because those who are finally to decide on it look at it with their ordinary eyes. Accordingly, in the first half of his speech, he aimed to show that congress had the power to pass the law, and in the last, that they ought not to exercise it.

Again: Mr. Jefferson gave his sanction to the Cumberland road, to be made at the national expense, provided the states through which it would pass gave their express assent to it. The states of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, did pass laws giving such consent. It was not then considered that congress had not the power of appropriating the money in the treasury to all purposes of general utility, provided they did not assume any other power, in the exercise of this; and it is clear that Mr. Jefferson did not think that the construction of a road, with the consent of the states through which it passed, was such an exercise of power. Yet after the road was made, by this growing disposition to strict construction, it was discovered that congress had no power to make such appropriations, under the constitution, and if the power could not be derived from that instrument, the consent of the states interested could not give it. It is here worthy of remark, that many of those who maintained that the general government possessed the power of making[Pg 255] roads, independently of the states, concurred in the preceding position; and thus a majority was obtained who agreed that congress could use the public money for no purpose, which they had not the independent power of executing. Each party hoped to derive strength by this decision. The one, because it advanced a step forward in strict construction; and the other, looking to the influence of the practical benefits to be derived from the exercise of the power of making roads and canals, flattered themselves that many, when they found themselves not able to attain their object by mere appropriations, would, rather than forego the promised benefits altogether, support a still more enlarged construction of the constitution; and the issue seems so far to have justified their expectations.

We will give one more example. It had been supposed that the vice-president, as presiding officer of the senate, had, by the force of the term itself, the power of keeping order and regulating the debate; yet three or four years ago, it was discovered by that officer, or some of his friends, that he did not possess that power, in certain cases, and he accordingly forbore to exercise it.

These remarks are made in no invidious spirit. We do not mean to give any opinions on these questions. In some of them, indeed, we scarcely know whether, in this age of nice discrimination, our impressions deserve to be called opinions. But we merely meant to refer to facts which are a part of the history of the country. They go to show, that constitutional doubts and difficulties are continually increasing, not only from the new positions and aspects of things in the endless vicissitudes of human affairs, but also by the progress of refinement in reasoning; because much is now considered unconstitutional that was not deemed so formerly.

If this doubting, disputatious spirit—this habit of questioning every thing whenever a quibble can be raised—should continue to advance, where is the law, which, after fighting its way through both houses of the legislature, and, perhaps, escaping the veto, may not be eventually contested and defeated? We know that in many of the states there are Bills of Rights, which are considered to have equal authority with their constitutions. Some, indeed, regard them as settling the principles of primordial law, which the constitution itself cannot countervail. These, then, may also be appealed to for the purpose of proving the unconstitutionality of a state law; and in the inferences which ingenuity, or even stupidity, may draw from such broad and indefinite principles, the clearest right may be disputed, and the most atrocious crime defended. The right of a community to take the life of any one of its citizens has been gravely denied, and the argument rests for its support on the[Pg 256] imprescriptible and immutable rights of man. If the net-work of the laws shall be thus chafed and frittered away, little fish, as well as big ones, may break through it when and where they please.

We are aware, that, in the ordinary concerns of life, nature and reason will often assert their empire. They cannot be altogether cheated out of their rights by sophisms and quibbling. But the latter will but too often prevail. They have prevailed, are yet prevailing; and, if a barrier is to be presented to their further progress, it must be by the common sense of the nation, frowning into contempt this constitutional casuistry, which would degrade our legislative halls into schools of sophists—would employ the best powers of the human mind, not in clearing up doubts, but in creating them—which considers that the most obvious and direct meaning of the constitution is always the wrong one, and that what the convention made the people say by that instrument, can be understood but by one man in ten thousand, who cannot show he is right, but by a commentary a hundred times as large as the text. It must be by going further, and saying that after a question has been fully discussed and solemnly decided—after it has been recognised by every department of the government—and acquiesced in by the people, it should be considered as the best exposition the constitution is capable of, and as no longer open to controversy: and if the decision was wrong, according to a maxim of the common law, and which became common law only because it was common sense, the universality of the error makes it right.

Let it not be supposed, that if a false or inconvenient construction is put on the constitution, or its meaning is considered doubtful and uncertain, the evil may be corrected by an amendment. Supposing it to take place, may we not, like bad tinkers, in stopping one hole, make two? We can judge of the probable success of this course, by the various laws passed to alter, or amend, or repeal, previous emendatory acts. But if the remedy were effectual when attained, is it attainable? What probability is there that three-fourths of the states will concur in any amendment, or that motives of interest—of party sympathy—of delusive argument—or the mere nonchalance of men about evils which are not immediately pressing, would not unite more than one-fourth of the states? Besides, if the constitution were always to be changed whenever a serious question of its construction arose, and amendments were as practicable as they are difficult, the time required for the operation would leave us nothing else to do. A century would scarcely suffice to settle the questions which may occur in a single year.

There is another mischief, of no insignificant character, which results from these excessive refinements in interpreting the constitution,[Pg 257] and from the doctrine that no length of time can settle its meaning. They afford ready pretexts to cunning and timid politicians for screening their real motives from the people. When they wish to evade responsibility for their votes, they have nothing more to do than to plead scruples of conscience, and the sacred obligation of an oath. Where is the measure which a moderate degree of ingenuity may not show—we may almost say—has not shown to be against the words, or the meaning and spirit of the constitution? It is true, if the people distrust the sincerity of this plea of conscience, or disapprove it, they may remove their representative. But that remedy may come too late, and may not always be applied. The people have always shown great indulgence and forbearance towards this plea: besides, before the time of re-election comes about, these inconvenient scruples may, in the din of new contests, be forgotten, or remembered only to be forgiven, and, by the hocus pocus of party, even metamorphosed into a recommendation. When, then, it is so easy to take shelter behind the ark of the constitution, ought we to enlarge the limits of this place of refuge for cunning and cowardice?

One more argument in favour of a fair, liberal, manly construction of the constitution. There would be a certain degree of inconvenience incident to every written constitution, if there were no difficulties in its interpretation, and its language was always understood in the same sense by all men. In making that distribution of its various powers which is deemed most likely to secure a safe and healthy action, the hands of its functionaries must often be tied up from doing that which particular circumstances may make highly expedient. Some imperative claim of humanity, some yet more pressing emergency of state, may call for powers which the constitution has withheld. Mr. Jefferson considered the acquisition of Louisiana to be a case of that character. He questioned the power of acquiring foreign territory under the constitution. But when he reflected that France could not retain possession of Louisiana, and that hither the constitution must be stretched, (his letter to W. C. Nicholas might almost justify a stronger expression,) or we must submit to having the greatest commercial nation in Europe—our most active rival in peace, our most powerful enemy in war—posted on our right and left flank, and, by and by, in our rear,—he sacrificed his opinions to the safety of the republic. The present president was no doubt actuated by similar considerations, when he pursued the Seminoles into the Spanish territory, and made war on the country in which they had taken refuge—the occasion not appearing to him to admit of the delay of a formal declaration by congress. Commodore Porter may be presumed to have acted on the same principle in Cuba.[Pg 258] No one regards these as fit cases for precedents. All agree, that if we have a constitution, its mandates should be obeyed, and that we must be content to put up with its partial inconvenience, for the sake of its general benefits. But surely we ought not to go to the other extreme, and so fetter the constituted authorities of the nation, by a spirit of interpretation which will deprive them of all salutary power, except by usurping it. Let us not lose sight of "the expedient," in discussing "the right;" but rather, as the common sense of mankind dictates in ordinary cases of conscience or morality, be liberal in construing the constitution, when its power is to be used for the good of the people, and captious and astute only when its exercise may be pernicious.

On these grounds, we earnestly beseech those who are friendly to our political institutions—who believe that no other than the complex government we have adopted can unite the adaptation of laws to local circumstances with the strength and security of a great empire, to discountenance the pestilent and absurd doctrine that the constitution is to be on all points forever unsettled. We beseech them to save this monument of our country's wisdom—this instrument of its safety, its liberty, and its future greatness, from the peril and reproach to which it is thus exposed. It is in their power to protect it from an evil which would convert a government intended to secure domestic peace, into one of perpetual civil strife, and which would confide the destinies of the country to sophists, and quibblers, and casuists—or rather to those political managers who would use them as tools to persuade the people that a good measure was unconstitutional, that they might pursue a bad one with impunity.

2. The next objection is, that the bank possesses a "formidable" influence on the community. It must be admitted, that this complaint of bank influence is not now brought forward for the first time. It was a favourite theme of the demagogue, from the time the first Bank of the United States was established, until its charter expired, when it appeared that its influence was not equal to its own preservation.

If, indeed, no other corporation had the right to issue notes of circulation, then the power of enlarging or contracting the common currency at pleasure would be a very great one—greater than ought to be put into the hands of any others than persons chosen by the people, or their representatives, and responsible to them. But as the bank and its offices are every where surrounded by competitors, some of which have a yet larger capital than themselves, they have no such exclusive control over the amount of money in circulation, and their influence, whatever it may be, can be exerted only as to its quality. It is precisely[Pg 259] on this last influence that the friends of the bank mainly rely for the public favour.

Let us inquire a little further into the extent of the bank's influence. The principal functions of this institution, except the services it renders the government, consist in discounting promissory notes, selling or buying bills of exchange, and receiving deposits of coin, or of its own notes, for safe keeping. It has no exclusive privilege of doing either of these acts, as every state bank may do, and actually does the same. But by means of its superior capital, and consequently its superior credit and resources, it can, in some of its operations, either undersell the other banks, or command a preference in the market;—aye, there's the rub. The banks in some of the large cities have persuaded themselves that if this "formidable" rival was out of the way, they would be able to buy and sell more bills, and upon better terms than at present. But if this consideration should make them an object of dread and dislike to the state banks, it should also recommend them to the favour of the public. Their notes, too, are generally preferred by travellers, and for distant remittances. But neither does this fact furnish any ground of dread to the community, whatever it may to their rivals.

It thus appears that they have the same advantage over other banks, which one tradesman or mechanic occasionally has over others of the same calling. He who does his work best, and sells it cheapest, will always get the most and best custom; and it would be just as reasonable for his rivals in business to complain of his making better wares, of being more accommodating, and of underselling them, as for the other banks to complain of the Bank of the United States. It is clear, that if the rival banks are losers, the public is a gainer, unless they can succeed in persuading the people, that competition, which is so salutary and beneficial to the public in every other business, should be mischievous only in this. The argument thus used against the Bank of the United States, is precisely that which might have been used, and, we presume, was used, by the owners of the Albany sloops against steam-boats; and which might be used against canals and rail-roads, by those who would find employment for their wagons in the former more expensive modes of conveyance.

But by an influence which is supposed to be so "formidable," is meant, perhaps, a political and corrupt influence. If there be such a one, it must be seen and felt; and we would ask in what way does it exert itself? Does the bank use its money in the elections? If so, its accounts must show it; and as there are men of all parties who own, or may own, shares in the stock, let those who suspect this abuse scrutinize those accounts for the purpose of detecting it. But those who manage the banks,[Pg 260] know very well, and so do those who accuse them, that nine-tenths, or rather ninety-nine hundredths of the stockholders, would not have given a five dollar note to get the president elected, or to get him turned out. Your office-seekers, indeed, might pay pretty liberally for such service, but they are seldom stockholders. These are, for the most part, thrifty, cautious men, who choose to vest their money in some fund which gives them regular returns; and they are content that they shall be small, provided they be certain. The rest are widows, guardians of orphan children, trustees of public institutions, and merchants who have more capital than they can safely and profitably employ. Now, who of these would allow a president and directors to squander their money in a matter in which they felt little interest, and that probably a divided one. No body believes this, and yet it is not easy to say in what other mode they could exercise a corrupt influence.

But if the stockholders were disposed to spend their money in electioneering, can they be prevented from acting so foolishly by putting down the bank? If the charter is not renewed, their money will be returned to them, and they would then have both the power and the inducement to use it for political purposes, which they cannot have while it is supplying a currency to the country, and invigorating its industry and commerce. But, in truth, it is well known, that those persons do not make ducks and drakes of their money now, and are not likely to do it then.

It is true, that in case of an extraordinary demand for money, beyond the means of supply by the state banks, the Bank of the United States may sometimes prefer discounting the note of one man to that of another—the paper of A to that of B; and that some of the directors might have given the preference to A, because he was a neighbour—others by his being a friend or relative, and others again by mere party sympathies. But we believe that none of these things go very far at bank. The object of its directors being to make money, they prefer the paper of a rich man they hate, to that of a poor friend. Nor do they widely differ from the rest of the world in this particular. But granting that moral and political considerations do influence the bank in its loans, who does not see that they could have no effect, except when the supply of money for loan was not equal to the demand, and that the mischief would be increased by putting down the richest and most substantial bank in the country?

Upon the whole, this cry against the influence of the bank, resolves itself into that of wealth and property. These do exert a certain influence in the community on some occasions, and it is more than counteracted on others, by the jealousy and ill[Pg 261] will it engenders. Whatever influence wealth may have, it is inseparable from our present condition, as we presume the United States are not yet prepared for the Agrarian system, and every man will be permitted to enjoy the fruits of his own industry, or that of his ancestors; but be it little or much, we cannot reasonably expect to see it exerted more harmlessly or more beneficially than in a solid, well managed bank. If, however, in spite of all these considerations, the power of these institutions be thought too great, and too liable to abuse, then there is no more effectual way of weakening it than by diffusion. As most of the state banks are more or less under the control of the state authorities, who may use the influence of these banks for political purposes, it must be desirable to all those who wish the public mind as free and unbiassed as possible, to see this influence weakened, if not neutralized; and there seems no more effectual mode of doing this than establishing a rival bank, over which the state politicians could exercise no sort of authority. Let us, for example, suppose that a system of banking was adopted for a state, by which, under the colour of guarding the public against their insolvency, those institutions were subjected to a surveillance and control which were calculated to make them feel their dependence on the state government, and when the plan was matured, to make them obsequious to its will. Would not every friend to the political purity of the state, and the independent spirit of its citizens, wish to see a scheme of this character frustrated? and what means so conducive to this end as the Bank of the United States, which, in the first place, by bringing so much capital into the market for loans, lessens the influence of all banks, and, in the next, may perform its several functions without regard to the smiles or frowns of any politicians whatever.

This is probably the influence which is really objected to in the Bank of the United States, that of disenthralling the people from an utter dependence on the state banks for the various accommodations those institutions afford—an influence which it appears to us no true friend to his country should wish to see diminished, however inconvenient it may be to those who would make banks and every thing else subservient to their purposes.

3. But the Bank of the United States, it seems, must be brought into collision with the local authorities, and occasion perpetual apprehensions and discontent on the part of the states and the people. We know not upon what facts the president or his advisers have made this statement. It is in direct contradiction to that made by the committee of ways and means, who say—

"It is due to the persons, who for the last ten years, have been concerned in the administration of the bank, to state, that they have performed the delicate and difficult trust committed to them, in such a manner as, at the same time, to[Pg 262] accomplish the great national ends for which it was established, and promote the permanent interest of the stockholders, with the least practicable pressure upon the local banks. As far as the committee are enabled to form an opinion, from careful inquiry, the bank has been liberal and indulgent in its dealings with these institutions, and, with scarcely an exception, now stands in the most amicable relation to them. Some of those institutions have borne the most disinterested and unequivocal testimony in favour of the bank.

"It is but strict justice also to remark, that the direction of the mother bank appears to have abstained, with scrupulous care, from bringing the power and influence of the bank to bear upon political questions, and to have selected, for the direction of the various branches, business men in no way connected with party politics. The Committee advert to this part of the conduct of the directors, not only with a view to its commendation, but for the purpose of expressing their strong and decided conviction that the usefulness and stability of such an institution will materially depend upon a steady and undeviating adherence to the policy of excluding party politics and political partisans from all participation in its management. It is gratifying to conclude this branch of the subject by stating, that the affairs of the present bank, under the able, efficient, and faithful guidance of its two last presidents and their associates, have been brought from a state of great embarrassment into a condition of the highest prosperity. Having succeeded in restoring the paper of the local banks to a sound state, its resources are now such as to justify the directors in extending the issue and circulation of this paper so as to satisfy the wants of the community, both as it regards bank accommodations and a circulating medium."

The committee, coming immediately from the people, are somewhat more likely to have accurate information on this subject than the president. We have heard of no recent collisions between any state and the bank; and those which formerly took place with the states of Ohio and Maryland, respectively, have been long since settled in the Supreme Court. The people of Tennessee, too, once objected, through their representatives, to the location of a branch bank in that state; but a subsequent legislature, believing that they better understood the interests or wishes of their constituents, withdrew their opposition, and the branch bank which was therefore established, is now in successful operation. The legislature of Mississippi, in like manner, has, within a few months, repealed a hostile act passed two years ago, and invited the establishment of a branch. The executive council of Florida, has recently requested a branch, and we understand that there are numerous applications for branches from all parts of the Western and Southern states. Surely the people of these and the neighbouring states cannot seriously object, that a portion of the moneyed capital which has been accumulated in the Atlantic states should be brought among them, to encourage their industry and facilitate their trade—to enable their own merchants to give them ready money, and a somewhat higher price for their cotton—to furnish one man with the means of building a mill—another a manufactory—and a third a steam-boat. We cannot believe that they are such novices in political economy. If their citizens do not want the money, they need not borrow it; and if they do, it is better to find it at home, than to be dependant on New-York, Philadelphia,[Pg 263] or Boston, for it. In the state of Alabama, if we are to believe the public prints, the United States Bank there has afforded great and most seasonable aid to the state bank. Nor do we know of a single state, in which there are any manifestations of popular discontent with the bank, notwithstanding the pains taken by some of the friends of the president to excite them.

Perhaps the apprehensions mentioned in the message may refer to the state banks rather than the people; and the president has presumed, that, as some of the states are interested in the stock of these institutions, and as their interests may conflict with those of the Bank of the United States, the people would be likely to side with their own institutions. The presumption is far from being unfounded. The sympathies of the people will always be with the states, rather than the general government, when the two are in conflict—a fact of which politicians are sufficiently apt to avail themselves. Thus, when the present Bank of the United States first went into operation, fears were entertained by the state banks and their friends, that the United States Bank and its branches would prove troublesome and dangerous neighbours. Their strength to oppress, and even crush, a rival, was supposed to be in proportion to their capital; and, comparing them with things with which they had no sort of analogy, it was argued, that a state bank, in the neighbourhood of a branch of the national bank, would be not more likely to thrive, than a delicate shrub under the shade of a spreading oak, or to find safety, than a light armed brig under the battery of a seventy-four. These arguments prevailed for a season in some of the states; but at length the experiment was made, in spite of these gloomy predictions, and it was found, as well it might be, that a small capital, if prudently managed, is as independent of the attacks of a rival, in banking, as in any other business. And why should there be a difference? A tailor or shoemaker who employs but two or three journeymen, may do as safe, though not so profitable a business, as he who employs twenty or thirty—in the same way as a small vessel may navigate the ocean as safely as a large one, and may be even less likely to overset in a storm, if it carry less sail in proportion to its ballast.

We do not mean to deny, that a bank with a superior capital, if it were disposed to injure a rival at all hazards, might prove an inconvenient neighbour, and greatly curtail its business. If it were to put itself to the trouble of procuring the paper of the other, as soon as it was issued, and convert it immediately into specie, the loans of that other might be restricted to the amount of its specie capital. But this could not be effected without a degree of trouble and expense which would make it impracticable. What means does such a bank possess of drawing in the paper of[Pg 264] the other bank, except so far as the debtors of the one institution chance to be the debtors of the other, or it choose to give a premium for the notes of its rival? It is not likely, that the same individuals would be the debtors to both banks, to a great extent; and as to a premium, such sacrifices seldom take place in individual competition, much less in that of banks. Besides, as soon as the bank which was thus assailed found that a premium was given for its paper, it would issue notes for the purpose of obtaining it, and the faster its notes were bought up and returned for specie, the more would be found in the market—a new swarm being attracted by the premium as soon as the first disappeared—until in a few months its hostile rival would share the fate of those who attempt to break another sort of banks—its own coffers would be exhausted.

The means then which a bank possesses of narrowing the sphere of circulation of a rival's paper, are much more limited than is commonly imagined; and such as they are, it will be cautious of exerting, lest the same game should be played on itself. A combination of the state banks, or even a single one of respectable capital, may practise the same means of annoyance against a Bank of the United States, as that could put in operation against them. But if both parties were wise, or rather not utterly foolish, they would each pursue their own business; and one not otherwise interfere with the other, than by occasionally exchanging notes, and receiving the difference in specie. This course might indeed prove a check to extravagant issues by either, but it is precisely that check which the public is interested in maintaining.

There is a further security against the wanton and bootless mischief which fear or design has imputed to the Bank of the United States. Public opinion would cry out against its illiberal course, and would fully avenge the wrong. Some of their best customers would desert them. They would lose most of their deposits. Their notes would be industriously collected and prematurely returned to them, and they would thus not only lessen their present profits, but furnish their enemies with arguments against the renewal of their charter. The supposition of such a course presumes the bank to be utterly regardless of their own interests, as well as of all sense of fairness and liberality—considerations which still have some weight with some men—and it is at variance with all that we have ever heard of the officers of that institution. As a proof that no fears or jealousies against the Bank of the United States are entertained by safe and substantial banks, we may remind our readers, that Mr. Girard, the greatest banker we have, was one of the most efficient supporters of the present national bank. No other individual in the United States would be so much affected as he, if its competition and[Pg 265] neighbourhood were pernicious, and yet no one subscribed so largely to its stock, and no one, we have reason to believe, deplores more strongly the confusion in the moneyed concerns of the country, which he thinks would be inevitable on the destruction of the bank.

It is probable enough, that although these alleged causes of jealousy and alarm are known to be groundless by the state banks, the proposition against re-chartering the bank addresses itself to those institutions in another way. They have been led to believe that the benefits of the business now done by the bank, and of the government deposits, would be apportioned among them. But let them not flatter themselves with profiting by a division of this spoil. That great void in the circulation which the withdrawal of the capital of the bank would occasion, would immediately and imperatively call for new banks, which the states would be sure to establish; and when once they began to meet the demand, it would not be strange if the supply sometimes exceeded it, according to the common occurrence of a scarcity being followed by a glut. In that event, the present state banks might find too late that they had exchanged one old and liberal rival for two or more new ones, of a different character, who would be their competitors not only for the profits of banking, but also for the favour or forbearance of the state politicians. What the community at large is likely to regret or to wish after the change, it is not difficult to conjecture.

One of the complaints against the Bank of the United States has been, that the notes issued by any one of its offices were not payable at every other indiscriminately; and to this the president must have referred, when, in his first message, he said that the bank "had failed in the great end of establishing a uniform and sound currency." As the same objection is not repeated in the last message, we are left at a loss to decide whether he has been convinced, by the very lucid and satisfactory views of Mr. Lowndes and Mr. M'Duffie, that the complaint was unfounded, or whether he means to comprehend this among the causes of discontent on the part of the states and the people.

As this subject has received so thorough an investigation in the report of the committee, and in our last number, it cannot be necessary to say more on it. It is there shown, as we think conclusively, that the Bank of the United States has done in this matter all that a bank can do—more, indeed, than could have been reasonably expected of it—towards furnishing the community with a sound and uniform currency: that its notes, at the places where they are issued, are, for all purposes, worth as much as gold and silver, and for distant payments something more: that if its notes are sometimes worth, in one place, a trifle less than specie, it is because they have been worth, at[Pg 266] another place, more than specie, since no one would transfer them to a great distance from the place of emission, unless he found them more convenient than specie: that as every bank has a direct interest in giving its notes as great a credit and as wide a circulation as it can, this institution will, for its own sake, redeem its notes at par, wherever issued, when it can safely do so; and that in most cases, it has actually done this; but that to make this obligatory would not only be unjust to the bank, but would be highly impolitic, by counteracting the natural and most efficient corrective of the over issues of banks, and the overtrading of individuals; and would be moreover impracticable.

To these irrefragable positions we may add, that the public has quite as much interest as the bank in keeping this matter on its present footing. One of the greatest benefits which a community derives from banking institutions, is the substitution for a part of its currency of the cheap article of paper for the costly one of specie, by which the capital that would otherwise have been used as money, may be employed for other useful purposes. But if the Bank of the United States, and each of its offices, were obliged, as a matter of right, to redeem the notes of every other, it would require an increase of specie which would deprive the country of the benefits of this substitution, as well as the bank of its profits. The same remark applies to their demanding a small premium for their drafts on each other. For each of the offices to be prepared not only to redeem its own paper, but to meet the drafts which others may draw on it, it is obliged to keep on hand an extra supply of specie; but if the check of the premium were removed, and it was no longer a matter of discretion, a much larger amount would be necessary, and nothing but experience could determine whether any thing short of the whole capital of the bank, or even that, would be sufficient for the purpose, under extraordinary circumstances, and great fluctuations of trade. So that upon the whole this complaint against the bank seems to be pretty much of the same character as these—that rivers do not run upwards as well as downwards—or that the same season which gives us ice does not also give us melons and peaches—or that a rail-road or a canal, which reduces the expense of carriage to one-tenth, does not reduce it to nothing.

4. Having thus noticed all the objections which the president has made to the bank, let us now turn our attention to the substitute that he has proposed. This is a national bank, at the seat of government, which is to be a branch of the treasury department, and which is, we presume, to have subordinate offices distributed among the several states. Its business will be to receive the public revenue from the collectors of the customs, receivers of the land offices, and postmasters, together with such deposits as individuals[Pg 267] choose to make, and to give drafts, from time to time, on distant offices, for a premium.

According to this project, the funds of the treasury, instead of being, as now, deposited in the several banks convenient to the receiving offices, are to be in the immediate keeping of the new corps of the treasury to be levied for the purpose, by which means the public is to lose one of its present checks on the malversation of its agents. It is known that there are in most banks various officers, each with his appropriate duty—as—one or more to keep accounts—another to receive money—another to pay it away—another to be its general depositary—and that they are all placed under the superintendence of a president, whose character and station in society give assurance for the faithful discharge of his duty. That there is, moreover, a board of directors, who hold their offices only for a year, and who, once a month or oftener, appoint a committee to examine the affairs of the bank, and especially to ascertain whether the amount of notes, securities, and specie, correspond with the accounts of the institution. Yet, with all these safeguards, it is found, now and then, that men who had previously been above all suspicion, have not been able to withstand the temptation to use the money thus placed in their charge, and that, occasionally, these frauds and peculations are practised a long time without detection. If this is the case, when there is such strict accountability, and unremitted vigilance, how would it be when there was neither, and when those who received the public money, instead of being compelled to deposit it in a bank, as soon as they received it, and to check for it when they paid it over, might use it as they pleased, provided they were always ready to meet the drafts of the government. At many places they might do this, and yet, in consequence of the large sum which is always lying idle, or rather unappropriated in the treasury, they might have the use of the excess, to a considerable amount, as long as they remained in office. For several years the amount in the treasury has never been less than five millions, and sometimes considerably more; and of this, according to the ordinary current of business, one-third or upwards would commonly be in the city of New-York, if it were not transferred to Washington; and this money, which is now invigorating industry and trade, it is proposed to consign either to utter idleness, or to the exclusive use of the officers of the treasury. In addition to that aversion to change which is felt by all office-holders, this plan might furnish them with no ordinary means of effecting their object.

But if for the sake of guarding against such strong temptation to speculate with the public funds, and against such an encouragement to corruption, by affording materials for it, the public money were required, as now, to be deposited in the banks;[Pg 268] though that plan would be free from the objection we have just made, it would be liable to another quite as great—the very one of influence which the president has made to the bank of the United States—with this difference, however, that the influence derived from the government funds is now exercised by the Bank of the United States, and is a salutary check upon that exercised by the state banks, but then, it would be added to that patronage which is already thought sufficiently great for every desirable purpose, and sometimes for purposes not desirable. The large receipts of public money in our chief importing cities, would be distributed among those banks which were most in favour with the government, by which is always meant those that were its most zealous and efficient supporters; and thus the revenue of the nation, that is, the use of it, would be set up at auction, to be purchased by the obsequious devotion of the state banks to the existing administration. In a division of parties, not more equal than that we often witness in our country, the vote of a single state may decide that of the Union, and the vote of its principal city may decide that of the state. All this is perfectly well known to some of the friends of the scheme, but it is not so to those who are to pay for it, and who are less familiar with the workings of the political wires.

There is another part of this notable scheme, (we mean no pun,) which merits our attention. This new bank and its offices are to sell drafts on each other for a premium, and as the bank itself is to issue no paper, the drafts may be paid for in the notes of the state banks, "only so long as they continue to be redeemed in specie,"—such are the President's words. But suppose the very common case of a bank paying specie to-day, and not paying it, and not being able to pay it, to-morrow, what becomes of the public revenue then? To be placed no doubt first to the account of "unavailable funds," and then, to the credit of the treasury. When these new bureaux of finance are distributed over the Union, and having no paper of their own, must carry on their operations altogether in gold and silver, and the paper of the banks in their vicinity, it is impossible that, with the highest degree of vigilance, prudence, impartiality, and firmness, united, they would always avoid loss. But does any one believe that this delicate and important trust would always be exercised with impartiality and firmness? To believe it, would be to disregard all experience, and to shut our eyes to what is passing before them every day. When the officers of the government—themselves dependant more or less directly on popular favour—were to have the power of discriminating between what paper they would take and what refuse, how many motives would be for ever presenting themselves for exercising it improperly? To reject the paper of a substantial bank, that was[Pg 269] hostile to the administration, if there were any such, and to take that of a tottering one, which was friendly. Let us suppose, by way of illustration, that some orator, or political manager, no matter which, being about to set out for congress, should apply to one of the treasury banks for a draft on Washington for a few thousand dollars, and should offer in payment of it the paper, not of a substantial bank, but of one which though poorer, was more patriotic,—this being the best he could get—is it probable that his application would be rejected? or that the officer would do more than inquire whether the bank then paid specie, without troubling his head to ascertain whether it merely made a show of paying it, and whether it would not be insolvent in a month. Let it not be said, that if doubts were entertained of the solidity of the bank, its paper might be immediately converted into specie; for, in the first place, the bank may be some hundreds of miles distant; and though it were in the immediate vicinity, payment of specie would not always be demanded before it was too late. Besides, the very demand of specie may, like a new weight breaking down an overloaded packhorse, make it stop payment at once. The bill now before congress, for allowing the treasury credit for certain "unavailable funds," received some years since, would form an excellent precedent for such occurrences, and it is one to which there would be frequent occasions of appealing. And this mode of managing the public revenue is proposed to take the place of that which now exists through the Bank of the United States, by which the government has not lost a dollar; and it is next to impossible can lose one. Verily, if the nation were to suffer itself to be gulled by such a scheme as this, they would deserve to suffer the loss they would be sure to incur.

But pecuniary loss may be but a small part of the price which the nation would pay for this new treasury bank. It may be made to pay, in addition, the richest jewel it possesses—its political purity. The influence which the national executive exercises over the present Bank of the United States, is moderate, and not more than is salutary. It annually appoints a part of its directors, and, at stated periods, may, moreover, exercise its right, of having the government funds transferred from one part of the Union to the other, in a more or less accommodating way. But here its influence stops. The law, in pursuance of the charter, directs that the public money shall be deposited in the Bank of the United States or its branches, and in these it must be deposited, whether the president or his secretaries have good will or ill will to the bank, or whether the bank is willing to give any thing in return for their favour or not. These public deposits are valuable to the bank; and, for the benefit, they have paid, and we presume are yet willing to pay, a fair price. But the compensation is not[Pg 270] paid to any officer of the government; it goes into the national treasury, and it consists of gold and silver, and not in the base metal of political influence.

We are well aware that many of the state banks are under the management of high-minded and honourable men, who would not be bidders at this auction, and who would scorn to purchase a share of the public deposits, at the price of their independence. But such might not prove to be the character of the greater number. Besides, in some of these cases, a majority of the stockholders might not sit idly by, and see the bank deprived of its share of government favour by the squeamishness of its officers, and might therefore either coerce them into compliance, or remove them.

If so much has been said about the influence attached to the office of the secretary of state, arising from the paltry patronage of printing the laws of the United States, what should be thought of that privilege of giving the permanent and uncompensated use of many millions of dollars to such powerful corporations as the state banks—embracing some thousands of directors, and some tens, nay, hundreds of thousands of stockholders and borrowers? We would appeal to that intelligent class of our citizens, who are quietly pursuing their occupations or professions at home, by which they secure to themselves independence and respectability, and who see, in the purity of our political institutions, their country's present happiness and future greatness, to take these things into consideration, and say whether they are willing to give to any administration such powerful means of exercising an influence of the worst sort over the minds of the people—whether they will take the money now gained or saved to the nation by means of the Bank of the United States, to enable a president and his cabinet to buy golden opinions of that numerous class who have them to sell.

The president lays some stress on the circumstance that his proposed treasury bank would not be a corporation, as is the Bank of the United States. But the lawyers tell us that there are two kinds of corporations—aggregate and sole—and the question is, whether influence is likely to be less extensive, or less dangerous, when it is transferred from the corporation aggregate, (the bank) to the corporation sole, (the executive). In the first case, the influence of the bank has checks from its charter—from its stockholders—from its directors—from public opinion—and, lastly, from the legislature. In the last, the influence would be added to that which is already deemed by many too great for the public tranquillity or safety. Whatever means the Bank of the United States possesses, of operating "on the hopes, fears, or interests of large masses of the community," the state banks possess, to a far greater extent; and it would always be[Pg 271] in the power of the government to act on these corporations, either by the treasury bank "checking their issues," as the president proposes; or, in case that monstrous scheme should be rejected, by means of the public deposits; so that, in any event, if the charter of the present bank is not renewed, the influence of the executive will receive a most formidable increase.

Nor could the proposed national bank answer the same useful purposes to the commercial world, as the present Bank of the United States. And, first, as to transmitting values from one part of the Union to another, by means of bills of exchange. The president informs us the new bank might sell these at a moderate premium. But its means of doing so would be evidently far more limited than those of the present bank, since the latter, in addition to all the means possessed by the treasury bank, has its own large capital and credit. In the year 1829, the amount of drafts on each other which the bank and its offices sold, was upwards of twenty-four millions, and the amount of its transfers of public money, by means of treasury drafts, amounted to upwards of nine millions; making, in all, more than thirty-three millions. Now, although the annual public revenue is about twenty-four millions, yet as the expenditures of the nation are going on at the same time as its receipts, the money on hand, at any one time, seldom exceeds six or seven millions. According to the monthly statement of the bank, for the 1st of January of the present year, the amount of deposits on account of the treasury of the United States, was, after deducting over drafts, 6,940,628 dollars. But as this sum would be distributed very unequally over the United States, there would be in some places more money than the government had occasion for, and in others less, so that it would be compelled to draw on the former, to meet the public exigencies, without regard to the state of the exchange market, by reason of which, it would not only not be able to afford the public that general accommodation which the Bank of the United States now does, but be sometimes obliged to sell its drafts for a discount, instead of a premium. Thus, suppose the government has a large sum lying in New-York, (it sometimes has more than two millions there,) and it has occasion for 200,000 dollars in Maine, as much in Missouri, &c. Although it might have found a ready sale in these places for its drafts, for a small amount, at par, or even at a premium, yet the amount offered exceeding the demands of the market, the government must either sell its drafts at a discount, or be at the expense of transmitting the specie. In the mean while, the drafts which are thus sold at one place at a loss, might be in demand at another, but that demand the government cannot meet, because it must give its money another direction. We therefore think that[Pg 272] this part of the scheme cannot be of much utility to the public, or of profit to the treasury.

It must be recollected, too, that the Bank of the United States is a buyer as well as a seller of bills of exchange, to the great advantage of the commercial community. Its purchases, during the same year, 1829, amounted to upwards of twenty-nine millions of dollars; and that in this business, the treasury bank, according to the president's programme, could not engage.

But besides the want of the accommodation now afforded by the purchase or sale of inland bills to all parts of the Union, there is a large further arrear of utility which the treasury bank would owe to the public. In what way would it make amends for the immense amount of currency withdrawn from circulation? The notes of the United States Bank in actual circulation, commonly amount to fourteen or fifteen millions, exclusive of its drafts, which, to a certain extent, perform the office of currency. As the new bank is to issue no paper, the chasm must be filled, either with the paper of the state banks, or not filled at all. If with the former, whence are they to derive their increased means of circulation, seeing that nearly all of them have carried their issues to the extreme verge of safety, and some of them, perhaps, beyond it? It will, however, be said, that there will be new banks established—the capital that is vested in the Bank of the United States will not be annihilated by the termination of that establishment, but will seek employment in new banks. Let it be so. In that case what becomes of the increased profits of which many of the state banks have been dreaming, and the hope of obtaining which has been so artfully appealed to?

But an addition to the state banks would fall far short of filling the void. Much of the capital of the present bank was obtained from Europe. We are told in the report of the committee, that foreigners own stock to the amount of seven millions. Is it probable that these capitalists will be as ready to venture their money in the state banks, as in one chartered by the general government? Would they even venture it again in a national bank, after we had shown so vacillating a policy? We establish a bank of that description in 1791—we put it down in 1811, as unconstitutional—we charter another, five years afterwards, 1816, and discontinue that in 1836. Assuredly, after this experience, they would prefer a somewhat smaller interest nearer home, rather than risk their money in a country exhibiting so little stability, and where what had been long determined to be legal by the highest authorities of the country, is liable to be revoked on the first revolution of parties.

There are persons who will consider the withdrawal of seven millions from our circulation, as no source of regret; and who think the money paid for the use of foreign capital, is so much[Pg 273] lost to the country; for the truths of political economy are not obvious to all. But no one who is acquainted with the elements of that science, will doubt, that a nation, not having as much capital as it can advantageously employ, may be improved and enriched by foreign capital as well as its own; and the benefit of these seven millions in stimulating the productive industry of the country—in building ships, and wharves, and mills, and manufactories, and steam-boats, is precisely the same as if they were domestic capital, with the single difference of the interest. Ask the owner of a thriving manufactory of woollens in Cincinnati, or of iron in Pittsburg, if he had been assisted in his enterprise by a loan of 10,000, or 20,000 dollars from the Bank of the United States—and he might answer, that, by the use of the money, in a few years, he had, besides paying the interest, realized the sum borrowed. Ask him further whether he would gain more by keeping the money longer, or returning it to the European stockholder, and he would laugh at you, thinking your question conveyed its own answer, as he had not chosen to return the money.

The president's project then of a treasury bank, seems to be liable to all the objections he makes to the present Bank of the United States, in a tenfold degree, as to influence, by adding so enormously to the executive patronage. It offers a far inferior substitute for the safety, and the easy transmission of the revenue; and no substitute at all for much of the accommodation now afforded to commerce, and the large amount of active capital it would throw out of circulation.

In making this comparison, we have had no reference to the former services of the Bank of the United States in restoring the currency of the country to a sound state, or to its power of so preserving it, if the country should be again involved in war. We have contented ourselves with refuting the objections which have been brought forward against that institution, under the sanction of the chief magistrate of the country, and with pointing out to the unprejudiced mind the inconveniences and serious mischiefs attendant on the scheme which has been proposed in its stead. In our last number, we asserted that the resumption of specie payments by the state banks, in 1817, was to be probably attributed to the establishment of the Bank of the United States, and we stated the facts upon which that opinion was founded. It was, then, with some surprise, that we saw the position roundly denied in a quarter (the North American Review) where we have been accustomed to look for just views on all commercial affairs; and the resumption of cash payments imputed to the resolution of congress, forbidding the officers of the government from receiving the notes of any banks which were not redeemable in specie. The question is not one of primary[Pg 274] importance, yet as it may affect our future policy, and concerns our present justice, we will add a few remarks on the subject. When we see that the measure of the government alluded to was not immediately followed by the desired effect, but that as soon as the Bank of the United States was about to go into operation, an arrangement was voluntarily entered into with it by the banks of New-York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Virginia, by which they all agreed to resume cash payments at the same time, it seems to afford prima facie evidence, that it is to the Bank of the United States, and not to the legislature, that the resumption is directly attributable. Whether the state banks might not, at some subsequent time, have paid specie, and at what time, must now remain a matter of conjecture; but we think it quite as likely, that the banks, making extraordinary profits as they were, so long as they were not compelled to redeem their notes in specie, would have procured a repeal of the resolution of congress, as that that measure would have operated coercively on them. In some of the states, the resumption of specie payments was discountenanced by the state legislatures; and in Virginia, if we mistake not, after the measure had been enjoined on the banks by the legislature, it afterwards retraced its steps, on the ground, that if they ventured to pay specie, the Bank of the United States, then about to go into operation, would immediately draw every dollar from their vaults. The banks of that state thus had the express sanction of its legislature for continuing the suspension; nor was it until after the meeting of the convention, mentioned in our last number, that they paid specie.

But in what way, it may be asked, could the Bank of the United States have compelled the state banks to resume specie payments, if they had not been so disposed? We answer, by giving the public the option of a better currency than theirs, and presenting an easy and ready standard in every part of the Union, by which the depreciation of their notes would have been manifest. As soon as the paper of the national bank had been put into circulation, it would command, by its convertibility into specie, a preference in the market over the paper of the state banks, and the difference would have been shown by the reduced rate at which the latter would have passed. The public then having such a standard of comparison, could no longer be deceived, and every one would have seen the depreciation, and known the extent of it. What would have been the natural consequence? The paper of the state banks, thus depreciated in the market, would have been bought up by their more prudent and substantial borrowers, and returned to them in discharge of their debts; and thus they would have had no notes in circulation except what was represented by the paper of their most straitened and doubtful customers, nor would any others[Pg 275] have continued to borrow of them. Thus, with a business decreased in amount and impaired in character, they would have found it impossible to make a profit equal to defraying their expenses and yielding a dividend to the stockholders.

All this the state banks distinctly foresaw, and not wishing to be compelled to resume specie payments, by which their profits would be diminished, they generally opposed the establishment of a national bank. But when they found that all opposition had been ineffectual, and that the bank was about to go into operation, and to pay specie, they immediately saw that they must follow the example, or that their gains were at an end—that the public, which took their paper, during the war and immediately after the peace, when there was no other currency, would not continue to take it, when they had the choice of a better—and thus the compact which has been mentioned was formed.

It is said, however, that the depreciated paper of the Baltimore banks would have circulated so long as the government received it at the custom-house, and that it was only after the government decided to receive it no longer, that those banks found themselves compelled to pay specie. But would this measure have been effectual without a national bank? We have already intimated that we thought not. It would have been vehemently attacked in congress and out, and all the states, except perhaps Massachusetts, might have instructed their representatives that the measure was premature, oppressive, and detrimental to the public interests. But after the Bank of the United States went into operation, the question was at an end. The government, whether the resolution of congress had been passed or not, could not with decency have taken, or been asked to take, any more than an individual, depreciated paper for its dues, when there was good paper and specie in circulation; and the Baltimore banks, as well as all others, must have followed suit, or given up the game.

For these reasons we must continue to think, that the claim urged by the friends of the Bank of the United States, that it operated, by its example, a salutary coercion on the state banks in their return to specie payments, is as well established as a question of its character can be, and that the same means by which it proved that remedy for the mischiefs of an unsound currency—its solid capital—unquestionable credit—and practical skill in business—would operate, on future occasions, as a preventive of similar mischiefs.

The same distinguished critic differs from the chairman of the committee of ways and means, as to the effect of an increase of money in producing depreciation. The proposition controverted is thus stated by Mr. M'Duffie in the Report.

"No proposition is better established than that the value of money, whether[Pg 276] it consists of specie or paper, is depreciated in exact proportion to the increase of its quantity, in any given state of the demand for it. If, for example, the banks, in 1816, doubled the quantity of the circulating medium by their excessive issues, they produced a general degradation of the entire mass of the currency, including gold and silver, proportioned to the redundancy of the issues, and wholly independent of the relative depreciation of bank paper at different places as compared with specie. The nominal money price of every article was of course one hundred per cent. higher than it would have been, but for the duplication of the quantity of the circulating medium. Money is nothing more nor less than the measure by which the relative value of all articles of merchandise is ascertained. If, when the circulating medium is fifty millions, an article should cost one dollar, it would certainly cost two, if, without any increase of the uses of a circulating medium, its quantity should be increased to one hundred millions. This rise in the price of commodities, or depreciation in the value of money, as compared with them, would not be owing to the want of credit in the bank bills, of which the currency happened to be composed. It would exist, though these bills were of undoubted credit, and convertible into specie at the pleasure of the holder, and would result simply from the redundancy of their quantity. It is important to a just understanding of the subject, that the relative depreciation of bank paper at different places, as compared with specie, should not be confounded with this general depreciation of the entire mass of the circulating medium, including specie."

Although the principle appears to us to be laid down somewhat too broadly by Mr. M'Duffie, as we shall presently state, yet he is supported in his position, to the letter, by Hume, by Mr. Jefferson, and virtually by Adam Smith, if we suppose that from any cause the excess of gold and silver, which causes the depreciation, cannot be exported. They all agree in this, that the amount of money which can circulate, and which does in fact circulate in any country, depends upon the number and value of its exchanges, and that, as its quantity increases, its value diminishes. But Hume and Smith, concurring in this general principle, drew very different inferences from it as to the paper currency of banks. Hume thought that the equilibrium between the money required for the country and that in circulation, was effected by depreciation; while Smith considered, that it was maintained by an exportation of the precious metals in proportion to the increase of paper. And the general principle thus ably supported by authority, was all, no doubt, that Mr. M'Duffie meant to assert. There is then probably no real difference between him and his reviewer in the North American.

We conceive that Mr. M'Duffie, in his application of the principle to our own situation, twelve or fifteen years since, has not greatly overrated the depreciation, if we regard the effect of the increase of money on every species of exchangeable value; but that it was very different with the different kinds. This difference requires explanation; but first, of the general principle itself, which, it seems to us, must be received with some qualification.

The effect of an increase of money is certainly to diminish its[Pg 277] value; but the extent of the diminution is one of those nice problems in political economy which has never been accurately settled. It has not yet been adjusted to a formula which will explain all the facts attending such increase. Although the quantity of money required in a country mainly depends upon the number and value of its purchases in a given time, yet with the same amount of these, much less money may be in circulation at one time than another. There are various expedients and substitutes for supplying a temporary deficiency of currency, which make the quantity of money in a commercial country a variable one, capable of considerable contraction or expansion. The actual money can be more or less aided by credit. A farmer, a horse-dealer, a shopkeeper, a mechanic—will all wait with a substantial purchaser for their money, rather than lose the sale of their commodities; and a sudden rise in the price of the staples of the country, such as our own often experience, while it increases the demand for money, proportionally improves the credit of individuals, and fits it as a substitute for cash. Money too may be much more active at one time than another; and when there has been a considerable increase of it, the greater comparative idleness of a part of it, in the strong boxes or pocket-books of individuals, may prevent or lessen its depreciation. These circumstances, and others which might be added, all inappreciable except by approximations, prevent the value of money from either rising or falling, in exact proportion to its increase or decrease in quantity.

To this qualification of the general principle, we would add another. When the money of a country has been considerably increased, and the excess cannot be exported, as was the case with our paper currency during the suspension of cash payments, the depreciation is much greater upon some articles than others. Its effect is least upon those commodities which find a market abroad, because the price there regulates the price here. It is by reason of this irregularity that depreciation is often so disguised as not to be perceptible to all, and that sometimes it is a matter of dispute whether it exists or not; as was the case in England in the controversy between the bullionists and their opponents, concerning the fact of the depreciation of their bank paper during the suspension of cash payments.

But if the increase of the currency has little effect on the prices of some articles, it has the greater on those for the estimation of which there is no such definite standard—as lands, town lots, and houses—and those domestic products which look exclusively to domestic consumption for a market, as butchers' meat, game, &c. All these took a prodigious rise in all parts of the Union, and most men mistaking the effect of a redundancy of money for a real rise of price consequent on our increased[Pg 278] population and capital, believed that real estate was the best investment they could make of their money, and purchased it accordingly—looking for remuneration, not to the rent or immediate profit, but to that future rise in value which was inferred from the past. This erroneous opinion brought capitalists into the market for real estate, and the competition created by their money, and that which others borrowed from the banks, raised the price extravagantly high. A natural though singular result of this state of things was, that those who had sold lands or lots at these factitious prices, could have made no use of their money that would have been so profitable as not using it at all; and the policy of hoarding, usually as unwise as it is odious, would have been, on this occasion, the most rational and gainful that could have been pursued.

If, then, we take the prices of every species of merchandise among us, together with that of real estate, we believe it will be found that such average of prices then, is very near double of what it is now; and consequently that Mr. M'Duffie's estimate of the late depreciation of our currency was not extravagant. But granting that it was exaggerated, he appears to us to have taken juster views than his critic, of its pernicious effects, as well as of the agency of the bank in arresting them; and we must think that he is the safer physician, who merely overrates the danger of a disease, than he, who, though he rightly judges it not mortal, mistakes both its cause and its remedy.

We think, too, that the report of the committee was correct in supposing, that the depreciation would not have taken place, if the Bank of the United States had then been in existence. At any rate it would have been postponed, and if not prevented altogether, under the disadvantages of having neither a navy to protect our commerce, nor manufactures to supply its place, it would have been greatly mitigated. It is probable that the suspension of cash payments would not have taken place at all, if the bank had followed the prudent course of the banks of Boston, and not lent its money to the government; but though it had, its paper would have been more nearly at par and more uniform than that of the state banks, which varied in value according to the public opinion of their prudence and solidity, as well as of the varying quantity of notes thrown into circulation in different places. It is possible that the national bank, being conducted with greater skill and knowledge of banking, would have seen that they could not safely accommodate the government with any large loan, and that when they were reduced to the dilemma of either suspending cash payments and having a depreciated currency, or of maintaining the currency sound, by withholding assistance to the government, they would have preferred the latter; and that the government would have been[Pg 279] thereby induced to resort sooner than they did to a system of taxation to support the war. It is indeed impossible to say, at this time, what would have been the precise result if we had possessed a national bank, but we think that this much may be affirmed with confidence, that the depreciation of its notes would have been far less, would have been uniform, and would have taken the place of much paper which had no solid foundation for the short-lived credit it obtained.

It remains for us now to see what will be the extent of the immediate pecuniary cost to the nation for pulling down the Bank of the United States, and building up the Treasury Bank on its ruins. This view is intelligible to all, and there are minds who will give more weight to this objection than that of increasing executive influence.

We know that it is an important function of every government to regulate its money, weights, and measures, not from any mystical notions of sovereignty, but because uniformity in these several standards is of the greatest utility in saving time and trouble, and in preventing frauds and disputes, and there is no effectual way of attaining uniformity except by the legislative power. It is, therefore, that these subjects were placed under the control of the general government, by the constitution, and it is in the exercise of the powers thus granted that it coins money of gold and silver, and determines their relative value.

But as among the inventions of commerce, it is found that such metallic money can be, to a considerable extent, substituted by paper, and thus a measure of value which costs nothing, can be made and is made to answer the same, and even a better purpose, than that which would cost a great deal, the same reasons which made the regulation of the coin by the government, necessary and proper, apply to the regulation of its substitute. The government thus having control over the subject, is furnished with the ready means of making a great profit by the substitution; and this it may do in two ways. It may either become a banker itself, and issue notes of circulation, having currency as money, in return for the notes of individuals bearing interest, or it may transfer the right of doing this to such a set of men as it deems worthy of the trust, and make them pay a fair price for the valuable privilege thus conferred.

Of these two modes of profiting by the substitution of paper for specie, the last is by far the best, for the same reason that it is best for the government to sell its public lands, rather than to cultivate them. It is incapable of commanding agents who will practise the same economy, industry, and skill, in the management of the public concerns, as their own. It must always pay higher than individuals for the same work, and the various peculations[Pg 280] to which it is exposed, besides the costly apparatus of superintendents, would make banking, carried on by itself, a bad measure of economy, to say nothing of the objections arising from its disturbing the distribution of political power, by affording the means of influence, patronage, and corruption.

But the scheme which the president has been persuaded to recommend, proposes, that the government should give up the advantages of both plans: that it should forego both the profit of issuing paper itself, and that of disposing of it to a corporate body, in which the community had entire confidence, and which has proved, by its previous unexampled success, its fitness for the duty—and in lieu of these plans, to let the valuable privilege evaporate into a sort of electioneering material, for whomsoever may hold the office of president, or may rule his cabinet. And what is it which the people of the United States are thus asked to surrender? Let us estimate it.

According to the bank charter, the government takes stock to the amount of seven millions of dollars, on which it pays to the bank an interest of 5 per cent., and it now receives on this stock an interest of 7 per cent, making a clear profit of 140,000 dollars a year, equal to a gross capital of 2,800,000 dollars, all of which must be lost on the proposed plan. But this is not all. The bank keeps the money of the government—keeps its accounts—keeps its officers out of temptation—and transfers the money from one part of the Union to another with promptitude and certainty, without the loss of a single dollar. We have seen that for some of these operations the treasury bank would be obliged to pay.

We do not mean to say that these various services of the bank are gratuitous. On the contrary, it is fairly remunerated for them by the privileges it enjoys, and by the public deposits; but still they are valuable services, and in this way the government obtains a fair equivalent for what it surrenders. Nor let it be supposed that as good a bargain could be made with the state banks. The general government could not be interested in their stock, nor could they afford to give as much for the privileges, because they would be more local. Being connected only by voluntary compacts, they could not do the business of the government to the same advantage as a single corporation. They could not circulate as much paper with the same safety, nor could they sell or buy bills at as small a profit. The superior advantages which the Bank of the United States enjoys in capital, in banking skill, and in the greater credit and wider circulation of its notes, enables it to give a liberal price for its charter, and the government would be false to the people to surrender this benefit.

But it would not become the government to attempt to extort, or to be illiberal, but to act on the principle of justice to the[Pg 281] public and the bank. The legislature should not furnish the bank with either the temptation or excuse of an Irish middle man, who grinds his sub-tenants in proportion as his landlord has pressed him. Upon these principles, we think the government should, by way of bonus, charge the bank a moderate interest on its deposits, and pay a small commission for the services of the bank. An adjustment of these several claims, by some general estimate, might leave to the nation the clear annual gain of perhaps 200,000 dollars, or a gross capital of four millions, instead of giving it away for the improvement of the machinery of our political wire-workers.

There is yet another mode by which the government might derive a profit from the bank, and which has this further recommendation, that it would not be at the expense of the stockholders, and it would be a value saved to the nation that would be otherwise lost. It is now a favourite object both with the people and the government to pay off the national debt; and from the novelty of the phenomenon it will give great eclat to the administration in which it takes place. It is known that upwards of thirteen millions of this debt bears an interest of but 3 per cent. This part of the public funds is held chiefly in Europe by large capitalists, it being preferred by them, because it could not be redeemed but at par, unless with the consent of the holders, and it was hardly expected that the government would choose to redeem it at par rather than pay so low an interest on it. They thus thought that the owners of the stock had the means of postponing its redemption in their own hands. For these reasons this stock has always been something higher in the market than any other, and it now sells at 93 dollars a share of 100 dollars, which is about 3-1/4 per cent. At the price at which the commissioners of the sinking fund are limited, they cannot buy this stock; but when all the rest of the debt is paid, this must come next, and as soon as the government offers to purchase, it will rise still higher, perhaps to par. In that event, the government will have to pay upwards of thirteen millions of dollars, drawn from the pockets of the poor as well as the rich, which they might keep for ever, by paying an annual interest of 3 per cent, or 390,000 dollars.

Now the use of this money, has been of immense advantage to this country, and may continue to be so, considering how inadequately many parts of it are supplied with real capital. It will build ships—erect mills and manufactories—salt works and iron works—and help to make rail roads and canals, by which our free and industrious population will be able to improve the condition of the country in bettering their own. This money, too, does not consist of paper which we can create at will, but of gold and silver, or their equivalents, which we must send out[Pg 282] of the country. Had it not better remain here? Every good economist will say yes. It will be not difficult, we should presume, for the government to make an arrangement with the bank to pay this 390,000 dollars, and release us from our obligations, and to receive a less sum than the thirteen millions. Their capital may be enlarged, and the rapid growth of our country will soon require its enlargement. The holders of this stock will indeed have a right to look to the United States for their money, but that would make only a nominal difference, and they might be offered stock of the bank in exchange on advantageous terms. Thus the money which would be appropriated to the payment of this debt, might be kept in the country and be vested in banking capital, by which it would give vigour to commerce, manufactures, and navigation, and, through them, render benefit to the whole nation.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The American Quarterly Review, No. 17,
March 1831, by Various


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