The Project Gutenberg EBook of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine--Volume 62,
No. 386, December, 1847, by Various

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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine--Volume 62, No. 386, December, 1847

Author: Various

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Language: English

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No. CCCLXXXVI.           DECEMBER, 1847.           VOL. LXII.



The genius of America seems hitherto disposed to manifest itself rather in works of reason and reflection than in those displays of poetic fervour which are usually looked for in a nascent literature. And a little consideration would lead us, probably, to expect this. America presents itself upon the scene, enters into the drama of the world, at a time when the minds of men are generally awakened and excited to topics of grave and practical importance. It is not a great poem that mankind now want or look for; they rather demand a great work, or works, on human society, on the momentous problems which our social progress, as well as our social difficulties, alike give rise to. If on a new literature a peculiar mission could be imposed, such would probably be the task assigned to it.

The energetic and ceaseless industry of the people of America, the stern and serious character of the founders of New England, the tendency which democracy must necessarily encourage to reason much and boldly on the interests of the community,—would all lead us to the same anticipation; so far as any anticipation can be warranted, regarding the erratic course and capricious development of literary genius.

The first contribution, we believe, our libraries received from America, was the half theological, half metaphysical treatise on the Will by Jonathan Edwards. This follower of Calvin is understood to have stated the gloomy and repulsive doctrines of his master with an unrivalled force of logic. Such is the reputation which Edwards on the Will enjoys, and we are contented to speak from reputation. The doctrine of necessity, even when intelligently applied to the circle of human thoughts and passions, is not the most inviting tenet of philosophy. It is quickly learned, and what little fruit it yields is soon gathered. But when combined with the theological dogma, wrung from texts of scripture, of predestination; when the law of necessity supposed to regulate the temper and affairs of the human being in this little life, is converted into a divine sentence of condemnation to a future and eternal fate—it then becomes one of the most odious and irrational of tenets that ever obscured the reason or clouded the piety of mankind. We confess, therefore, that we are satisfied with re-echoing the traditional reputation of Jonathan Edwards, without earning, by perusal of his work, the right to pronounce upon its justice.

The first contribution, also, which America made to the amount of our knowledge, was of a scientific character, and, moreover, the most anti-poetical [644]imaginable. As such, at least, it must be described by those who are accustomed to think that a peculiar mystery attached to one phenomenon of nature more than another, is essentially poetic. Several poets, our Campbell amongst the number, have complained that the laws of optics have disenchanted the rainbow; but the analysis of Newton is poetry itself compared to that instance of the daring and levelling spirit of science which Franklin exhibited, when he proved the lightning to be plain electricity; took the bolts of Jupiter, analysed them, bottled them in Leyden jars, and experimented on them as with the sparks of his own electrical machine.

As the first efforts of American genius were in the paths of grave and searching inquiry, so, too, at this present moment, if we were called upon to point out amongst the works of our trans-Atlantic brethren, our compatriots still in language, the one which, above all others, displayed the undoubted marks of original genius,—it would be a prose work, and one of a philosophical character we should single out:—we should point to the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson.

The Americans are frequently heard to lament the absence of nationality in their literature. Perhaps no people are the first to perceive their own character reflected in the writings of one of their countrymen; this nationality is much more open to the observation of a foreigner. We are quite sure that no French or German critic could read the speculations of Emerson, without tracing in them the spirit of the nation to which this writer belongs. The new democracy of the New World is apparent, he would say, in the philosophy of one who yet is no democrat, and, in the ordinary sense of the word, no politician. For what is the prevailing spirit of his writings? Self-reliance, and the determination to see in the man of to-day, in his own, and in his neighbour's mind, the elements of all greatness. Whatever the most exalted characters of history, whatever the most opulent of literatures, has displayed or revealed, of action or of thought,—the germ of all lies within yourself. This is his frequent text. What does he say of history? "I have no expectation that any man will read history aright, who thinks that what was done in a remote age, by men whose names have resounded far, has any deeper sense than what he is doing to-day." He is, as he describes himself, "an endless seeker of truth, with no past at his back." He delights to raise the individual existing mind to the level, if not above the level, of all that has been thought or enacted. He will not endure the imposing claims of antiquity, of great nations, or of great, names. "It is remarkable," he says, "that involuntarily we always read as superior beings. Universal history, the poets, the romancers, do not, in their stateliest pictures, in the sacerdotal, the imperial palaces, in the triumphs of will or of genius, anywhere make us feel that we intrude, that this is for our betters, but rather is it true that in their grandest strokes, there we feel most at home. All that Shakspeare says of the king, yonder slip of a boy that reads in the corner, feels to be true of himself."

Neither do the names of foreign cities, any more than of ancient nations, overawe or oppress him. Of travelling, he says, "I have no churlish objection to the circumnavigation of the globe, for the purposes of art, of study, and benevolence, so that the man is first domesticated, or does not go abroad with the hope of finding somewhat greater than he knows. He who travels to be amused, or to get somewhat which he does not carry, travels away from himself, and grows old even in youth among old things. In Thebes, in Palmyra, his will and mind have become old and dilapidated as they. He carries ruins to ruins. Travelling is a fool's paradise. We owe to our first journeys the discovery that place is nothing. At home, I dream that at Naples, at Rome, I can be intoxicated with beauty, and lose my sadness. I pack my trunk, embrace my friends, embark on the sea, and at last wake up in Naples, and there beside me is the stern fact, the sad self, unrelenting, identical, that I fled from. I seek the Vatican and the palaces. I affect to be intoxicated with sights and suggestions, but I am not intoxicated.[645] My giant goes with me wherever I go."

In a still higher strain he writes, "There is one mind common to all individual men. Every man is an inlet to the same, and to all of the same. He that is once admitted to the right of reason is made a freeman of the whole estate. What Plato has thought he may think; what a saint has felt he may feel; what at any time has befallen any man he can understand. Who hath access to this universal mind, is a party to all that is or can be done, for this is the only and sovereign agent." This passage is taken from the commencement of the Essay on History, and the essay entitled "Nature," opens with a similar sentiment. He disclaims the retrospective spirit of our age that would "put the living generation into masquerade out of the faded wardrobe of the past." He will not see through the eyes of others. "Why should not we also," he demands, "enjoy an original relation to the universe? Why should not we have a poetry and philosophy of insight, and not of tradition, and a religion by revelation to us, and not the history of theirs? The sun shines to-day also! Let us demand our own works, and laws, and worship."

In the Essay on Self-reliance—a title which might over-ride a great portion of his writings—he says: "Our reading is mendicant and sycophantic. In history, our imagination makes fools of us, plays us false. Kingdom and lordship, power and estate, are a gaudier vocabulary than private John and Edward in a small house and common day's work: but the things of life are the same to both: the sum total of both is the same. Why all this deference to Alfred, and Scanderberg, and Gustavus? Suppose they were virtuous: did they wear out virtue?" And in a more sublime mood he proceeds: "Whenever a mind is simple, and receives a divine wisdom, then old things pass away,—means, teachers, texts, temples fall. Whence, then, this worship of the past? The centuries are conspirators against the sanity and majesty of the soul.... Man is timid and apologetic. He is no longer upright. He dares not say 'I think,' 'I am,' but quotes some saint or sage. He is ashamed before the blade of grass or the blowing rose. These roses under my window make no reference to former roses, or to better ones; they are for what they are; they exist with God to-day. There is no time to them. There is simply the rose,—perfect in every moment of its existence. But man postpones or remembers; he does not live in the present, but with reverted eye laments the past, or, heedless of the riches that surround him, stands on tiptoe to foresee the future. He cannot be happy and strong until he, too, lives with nature in the present, above time."

Surely these quotations alone—which we have made with the additional motive of introducing at once to our readers the happier style and manner of the American Philosopher—would bear out the French or German critic in their views of the nationality of this author. The spirit of the New World, and of a self-confident democracy, could not be more faithfully translated into the language of a high and abstract philosophy than it is here. We say that an air blowing from prairie and forest, and the New Western World, is felt in the tone and spirit of Emerson's writings; we do not intend to intimate that the opinions expressed in them are at all times such as might be anticipated from an American. Far from it. Mr Emerson regards the world from a peculiar point of view, that of an idealistic philosophy. Moreover, he is one of those wilful, capricious, though powerful thinkers, whose opinions it would not be very easy to anticipate, who balk all prediction, who defy augury.

For instance, a foreigner might naturally expect to find in the speculations of a New England philosopher, certain sanguine and enthusiastic views of the future condition of society. He will not find them here. Our idealist levels the past to the present, but he levels the future to the present also. If with him all that is old is new, so also all that is new is old. It is still the one great universal mind—like the great ocean—ebbing, flowing, in tempest now, and now in calm.[646] He will not join in the shout that sees a new sun rising on the world. For ourselves, (albeit little given to the too sanguine mood) we have more hope here than our author has expressed. We by no means subscribe to the following sentence. The measure of truth it expresses—and so well expresses—bears but a small proportion to the whole truth. "All men plume themselves on the improvement of society, and no man improves. Society never advances. It recedes as fast on one side as it gains on the other. It undergoes continual changes: it is barbarous, it is civilised, it is christianised, it is rich, it is scientific; but this change is not amelioration. For every thing that is given, something is taken. Society acquires new arts and loses old instincts. What a contrast between the well-clad, reading, writing, thinking American, with a watch, a pencil, and a bill of exchange in his pocket, and the naked New Zealander, whose property is a club, a spear, a mat, and an undivided twentieth of a shed to sleep under. But compare the health of the two men, and you shall see that his aboriginal strength the white man has lost. If the traveller tell us truly, strike the savage with a broad axe, and in a day or two the flesh shall unite and heal as if you struck the blow into soft pitch, and the same blow shall send the white to his grave. The civilised man has built a coach, but has lost the use of his feet. He is supported on crutches, but loses so much support of muscle. He has got a fine Geneva watch, but he has lost the skill to tell the hour by the sun. A Greenwich nautical almanac he has, and so being sure of the information when he wants it, the man in the street does not know a star in the sky. The solstice he does not observe; the equinox he knows as little; and the whole bright calendar of the year is without a dial in his mind. His notebooks impair his memory; his libraries overload his wit; the insurance office increases the number of accidents; it may be a question whether machinery does not encumber; whether we have not lost by refinement some energy, by a christianity (entrenched in establishments and forms) some vigour of wild virtue. For every stoic was a stoic; but in Christendom where is the Christian?"

A French critic has designated Emerson the American Montaigne, struck, we presume by his independence of manner, and a certain egotism which when accompanied by genius is as attractive, as it is ludicrous without that accompaniment. An English reader will be occasionally reminded of the manner of Sir Thomas Brown, author of the "Religio Medici." Like Sir Thomas, he sometimes startles us by a curiosity of reflection, fitted to suggest and kindle thought, although to a dry logician it may seem a mere futility, or the idle play of imagination. Of course this similarity is to be traced only in single and detached passages; but we think we could select several quotations from the American writer which should pass off as choice morsels of Sir Thomas Brown, with one who was familiar with the strain of thought of the old Englishman, but whose memory was not of that formidable exactness as to render vain all attempt at imposition. Take the following for an instance:—"I hold our actual knowledge very cheap. Hear the rats in the wall, see the lizard on the fence, the fungus under foot, the lichen on the log. What do I know sympathetically, morally, of either of these worlds of life? As long as the Caucasian man—perhaps longer—these creatures have kept their council beside him, and there is no record of any word or sign that has passed from the one to the other.... I am ashamed to see what a shallow village tale our so-called history is. How many times we must say Rome, and Paris, and Constantinople. What does Rome know of rat or lizard? What are Olympiads and Consulates to these neighbouring systems of being?"

Or this:—"Why should we make it a point to disparage that man we are, and that form of being assigned to us? A good man is contented. I love and honour Epaminondas, but I do not wish to be Epaminondas. I hold it more just to love the world of this hour, than the world of his hour. Nor can you, if I am true, excite me to the least uneasiness by saying 'he acted and thou sittest still.'[647] I see action to be good, when the need is, and sitting still to be also good. Epaminondas, if he was the man I take him for, would have sat still with joy and peace, if his lot had been mine. Heaven is large, and affords space for all modes of love and fortitude. Why should we be busy-bodies, and superserviceable? Action and inaction are alike to the true.... Besides, why should we be cowed by the name of action? 'Tis a trick of the senses,—no more. We know that the ancestor of every action is a thought. The rich mind lies in the sun and sleeps, and is Nature. To think is to act."

Or if one were to put down the name of Sir Thomas Brown as the author of such a sentence as the following, are there many who would detect the cheat? "I like the silent church, before the service begins, better than any preaching. How far off, how cool, how chaste the persons look, begirt each one with a precinct or sanctuary; so let us always sit. Why should we assume the faults of our friend, or wife, or father, or child, because they sit around our hearth, or are said to have the same blood?"

But Emerson is too original a mind to be either a Montaigne or a Sir Thomas Brown. He lives, too, in quite another age, and moves in a higher region of philosophy than either of them. The utmost that can be said is, that he is of the same class of independent, original thinkers, somewhat wayward and fitful, who present no system, or none that is distinctly and logically set forth, but cast before us many isolated truths expressed in vivid, spontaneous eloquence.

This class of writers may be described as one whose members, though not deficient in the love of truth, are still more conspicuous for their love of thought. They crave intellectual excitement; they have a genuine, inexhaustible ardour of reflection. They are not writers of systems, for patience would fail them to traverse the more arid parts of their subject, or those where they have nothing new, nothing of their own, to put forth. The task of sifting and arranging materials that have passed a thousand times through the hands of others, does not accord with their temperament. Neither are they fond of retracing their own steps, and renewing, from the same starting-place, the same inquiry. They are off to fresh pastures. They care not to be ruffling the leaves of the old manuscript, revising, qualifying, expunging. They would rather brave all sorts of contradictions and go on, satisfied that to an ingenuous reader their thoughts will ultimately wear a true and faithful aspect. They will not be hampered by their own utterances more than by other men's—"If you would be a man," says Emerson, "speak what you think to-day in words as hard as cannon-balls, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day." These headstrong sages, full of noble caprice, of lofty humours, often pour forth in their wild profusion a strange mixture of great truths and petty conceits—noble principles and paradoxes no better than conundrums. As we have said, they are lovers pre-eminently of thought. Full of the chase, they will sometimes run down the most paltry game with unmitigated ardour. Such writers are not so wise as their best wisdom, nor so foolish as their folly. When certain of the ancient sages who were in the habit of guessing boldly at the open riddle of nature, made, amidst twenty absurd conjectures, one that has proved to be correct, we do not therefore give them the credit of a scientific discovery. One of these wise men of antiquity said that the sea was a great fish; he asserted also that the moon was an opaque body, and considerably larger than she appears to be. He was right about the moon; he was wrong about the fish; but as he speculated on both subjects in the same hap-hazard style, we give him very little more credit in the one case than the other. Perhaps his theory which transformed the sea into a fish, was that on which he prided himself most. Something of the same kind, though very different in degree, takes place in our judgment upon certain moral speculators. When a man of exuberant thought utters in the fervour or the fever of his mind what comes first, his fragments of wisdom seem[648] as little to belong to him as his fragments of folly. The reader picks up, and carries off, what best pleases him, as if there were no owner there, as if it were treasure-trove, and he was entitled to it as first finder. He foregoes the accustomed habit of connecting his writer with the assemblage of thoughts presented to him, as their sole proprietor for the time being: "he cries halves," as Charles Lamb has said on some similar occasion, in whatever he pounces on.

The task of the critic on a writer of this class, becomes more than usually ungracious and irksome. He meets with a work abounding with traits of genius, and conspicuous also for its faults and imperfections. As a reader only, he gives himself up to the pleasure which the former of these inspire. Why should he disturb that pleasure by counting up the blemishes and errors? He sees, but passes rapidly over them; on the nobler passages he dwells, and to them alone he returns. But, as critic, he cannot resign himself entirely to this mood; or rather, after having resigned himself to it, after having enjoyed that only true perusal of a book in which we forget all but the truth we can extract from it, he must rouse himself to another and very different act of attention; he must note defects and blemishes, and caution against errors, and qualify his admiration by a recurrence to those very portions of the work which he before purposely hurried over.

We take up such a book as these Essays of Emerson. We are charmed with many delightful passages of racy eloquence, of original thought, of profound or of naive reflection. What if there are barren pages? What if sometimes there is a thick entangled underwood through which there is no penetrating? We are patient. We can endure the one, and for the other obstacle, in military phrase, we can turn it. The page is moveable. We are not bound, like the boa-constrictor, to swallow all or none. Meanwhile, in all conscience, there is sufficient for one feast. There is excellence enough to occupy one's utmost attention; there is beauty to be carried away, and truth to be appropriated. What more, from a single book, can any one reasonably desire? But if the task of criticism be imposed upon us, we must, nevertheless, sacrifice this easy and complacent mood,—this merely receptive disposition; we must re-examine; we must cavil and object; we must question of obscurity why it should stand there darkening the road; we must refuse admittance to mere paradox; we must expose the trifling conceit or fanciful analogy that would erect itself into high places, and assume the air of novel and profound truth.

Some portion of this less agreeable duty we will at once perform, that we may afterwards the more freely and heartily devote ourselves to the more pleasant task of calling attention to the works of a man of genius,—for we suspect that Emerson is not known in this country as he deserves to be. With some who have heard his name coupled with that of Carlyle, he passes for a sort of echo or double of the English writer. A more independent and original thinker can nowhere in this age be found. This praise must, at all events, be awarded him. And even in America—which has not the reputation of generally overlooking, or underrating, the merits of her own children—we understand that the reputation of Emerson is by no means what it ought to be; and many critics there who are dissatisfied with merely imitative talent, and demand a man of genius of their own, are not aware that he stands there amongst them.

When we accuse Mr Emerson of obscurity, it is not obscurity of style that we mean. His style often rises—as our readers have had already opportunities of judging—into a vivid, terse, and graphic eloquence, agreeably tinged at times with a poetic colouring; and although he occasionally adopts certain inversions which are not customary in modern prose, he never lays himself open to the charge of being difficult or unintelligible. But there is an obscurity of thought—in the very matter of his writings—produced first by a vein of mysticism which runs throughout his works, and, secondly, by a manner he sometimes has of sweeping together into one paragraph a number of unsorted ideas, but scantily related to each other—bringing[649] up his drag-net with all manner of fish in it, and depositing it then and there before us.

Mysticism is a word often so vaguely and rashly applied, that we feel bound to explain the sense in which we use it. It is not because Mr Emerson is an idealist in his philosophy—what we are in the habit in the present day of describing as the German school of metaphysics, though he does not appear to have drawn his tenets from the Germans, and more frequently quotes the name of Plato than that of Kant or Hegel—it is not for this we pronounce him to be a mystic. Berkeley was no mystic. In support of this philosophy reasons may be adduced which appeal to the faculties, and are open to the examination of all men. We do not pronounce idealism to be mystical, but we pronounce him to be a mystic who upholds this, or any other philosophy, upon grounds of conviction not open to all rational men; whose convictions, in short, rest upon some profound intuition, some deep and peculiar source of knowledge, to which the great multitude of mankind are utter strangers. A man shall be an idealist, and welcome; we can discuss the matter with him, we can follow his reasonings, and if we cannot sustain ourselves in that nicely-balanced aerial position he has assumed, poised above the earth on a needle's point of faith, we can at least apprehend how the more subtle metaphysician has contrived to accomplish the feat. But the moment a man proclaims himself in the possession of any truth whatever, by an intuition of which we, and other men, find no traces in our own mind, then it is that we must, of force, abandon him to the sole enjoyment of an illumination we do not share, and which he cannot impart. We call him mystical, and he calls us blind, or sense-beclouded. We assume that he pretends to see where there is no vision, and no visual organ; he retorts that it is we, and the gross vulgar who have lost, or never attained, the high faculty of vision which he possesses. Whether it is Plato or Swedenborg, Pagan or Christian, who lays claim to this occult and oracular wisdom, we must proclaim it a delusion. It is in vain to tell us that these men may be the élite of humanity, that they are thus signally favoured because they have more successfully cultivated their minds, both intellectually and morally, and purified them for the reception of a closer communion with the divine and all-sustaining and interpenetrating Intelligence, than is vouchsafed to the rest of mankind. We, who have nothing but our eyesight and our reason, we of the multitude who are not thus favoured, can, at all events, learn nothing from them. Whether above or beside human reason, they are equally remote from intellectual communion. We do not recognise their reason as reason, nor their truth as truth; and we call them mystics to express this unapproachable nature of their minds, this hopeless severance from intercommunion of thought, from even so much of contact as is requisite for the hostilities of controversy. These wisest of mankind are in the same predicament as the maddest of mankind; both believe that they are the only perfectly sane, and that all the rest of the world have lost their reason. The rest of the world hold the opposite opinion, and we are not aware that in either case there is any appeal but to the authority of numbers, to which, of course, neither the lunatic nor the mystic will submit.

We have frequent intimations in Mr Emerson's writings of this high intuitive source of truth. Take the following passage in the Essay on Self-reliance:—

"And now at last the highest truth on this subject remains unsaid, probably, cannot be said; for all that we say is the far off remembering of the intuition. The thought by what I can now nearest approach to say it, is this. When good is near you, when you have life in yourself, it is not by any known or appointed way; you shall not discern the foot-prints of any other; you shall not see the face of man; you shall not hear any name; the way, the thought, the good, shall be wholly strange and new; it shall exclude all other being. You take the way from man not to man. All persons that ever existed are its fugitive ministers. There shall be no fear in it. Fear and hope are alike beneath it. It asks nothing. There is somewhat low even in hope. We are then in vision. There is nothing that can[650] be called gratitude, nor, properly, joy. The soul is raised over passion. It seeth identity and eternal causation. It is a perceiving that Truth and Right are. Hence it becomes a tranquillity out of the knowing that all things go well. Vast spaces of nature—the Atlantic Ocean—the South Sea—vast intervals of time—years—centuries—are of no account. This, which I think and feel, underlay that former state of life and circumstances as it does underlie my present, and will always all circumstance, and what is called life, and what is called death."

Whenever a man begins by telling us that he cannot find language to express his meaning, we may be pretty sure that he has no intelligible meaning to express; and Mr Emerson, in the above passage, fully bears out this general observation. "I cannot," he says in another place, "I cannot, nor can any man, speak precisely of things so sublime, but it seems to me, the wit of man, his strength, his grace, his tendency, his art, is the grace and the presence of God. It is beyond explanation. When all is said and done, the rapt saint is found the only logician. Not exhortation, not argument, becomes our lips, but pæans of joy and praise. But not of adulation: we are too nearly related in the deep of the mind to that we honour. It is God in us which checks the language of petition by a grander thought. In the bottom of the heart it is said 'I am, and by me, O child! this fair body and world of thine stands and grows. I am: all things are mine: and all mine are thine.'"

If we can gather any thing from this language, it must imply that the individual mind is conscious of being a part, an emanation of the Divine mind—is conscious of this union or identity—the pretension to which species of consciousness is, in our apprehension, pure mysticism.

But we shall not weary our readers by seeking further proofs of this charge of mysticism; for what can be more wearisome than to have a number of unintelligible passages brought together from different and remote parts of an author's works. We pass to that other cause of obscurity we have hinted at,—the agglomerations of a multitude of unrelated, or half-related, ideas. Sometimes a whole paragraph, and a long one too, is made up of separate fragments of thought or fancy, good or amusing, it may be, in themselves, but connected by the slightest and most flimsy thread imaginable. Glittering insects and flies of all sorts, caught and held together in a spider's web, present as much appearance of unity as some of these paragraphs we allude to.

For an example, we will turn to the first essay in the series, that on History. It is, perhaps, the most striking of the whole, and one which has a more distinct aim and purport than most of them, and yet the reader is fairly bewildered at times by the incongruous assemblage of thoughts presented to him. It is the drift of the essay to show, that the varied and voluminous record of history is still but the development and expansion of the individual being man, as he existed yesterday, as he exists to-day. "A man," he says, "is the whole encyclopædia of facts. The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn, and Egypt, Greece, Rome, Gaul, Britain, America, lie folded already in the first man. Epoch after epoch, camp, kingdom, empire, republic, democracy, are merely the application of his manifold spirit to the manifold world." This idea is explained, illustrated, amplified, and very often in a novel and ingenious manner. To exemplify the necessity we feel to recognise ourselves in the past, he says,—"All inquiry into antiquity, all curiosity respecting the pyramids, the excavated cities, Stonehenge, the Ohio circles, Mexico, Memphis, is the desire to do away this wild, savage, and preposterous There or Then, and introduce in its place the Here and the Now. It is to banish the Not me, and supply the Me. It is to abolish difference and restore unity. Belzoni digs and measures in the mummy-pits and pyramids of Thebes, until he can see the end of the difference between the monstrous work and himself. When he has satisfied himself, in general and in detail, that it was made by such a person as himself, so armed and so motived, and to ends to which he himself, in given circumstances, should also have worked, the problem is then solved, his thought lives along the whole line of temples and sphinxes and catacombs, passes through them all[651] like a creative soul, with satisfaction, and they live again to the mind, or are now."

This is good, but by and by he begins to intercalate all sorts of vagrant fantasies, as thus:—

"Civil history, natural history, the history of art, and the history of literature,—all must be explained from individual history, or must remain words. There is nothing but is related to us, nothing that does not interest us,—kingdom, college, tree, horse, or iron shoe, the roots of all things are in man. It is in the soul that architecture exists. Santa Croce and the dome of St Peter's are lame copies after a divine model. Strasburg cathedral is a material counterpart of the soul of Erwin of Steinbach. The true poem is the poet's mind, the true ship is the ship-builder," and so forth. It would be waste of time and words to ask how "tree and horse," in the same sense as kingdom and college, can be said to have "their roots in man;" or whether, when it is said that "Strasburg cathedral is the material counterpart of the soul of Erwin of Steinbach," this can possibly mean anything else than the undoubted fact, that the architect thought and designed before he built.

This subject of architecture comes sadly in the way of the author, and of the reader too, whom it succeeds in thoroughly mystifying. "The Gothic cathedral is a blossoming in stone, subdued by the insatiable demand of harmony in man. The mountain of granite blooms into an eternal flower with the lightness and delicate finish, as well as the aerial proportions and perspective of vegetable beauty. In like manner, all public facts are to be individualised, all private facts are to be generalised. Then at once history becomes fluid and true, and biography deep and sublime."

The fables of Pagan mythology next cross his path, and these lead to another medley of thoughts. "These beautiful fables of the Greeks," he says, "being proper creations of the imagination, and not of the fancy, are universal verities." And well they may be, whether of the fancy or the imagination (and the great distinction here marked out between the two, we do not profess to comprehend), if each mind, in every age, is at liberty to interpret them as it pleases, and with the same unrestrained license that our author takes. But how can he find here an instance of the present man being written out in history, when the old history or fable is perpetually to receive new interpretations, as it is handed down from generation to generation—interpretations which assuredly were never dreamt of by the original inventor?

"Apollo kept the flocks of Admetus, said the poets. Every man is a divinity in disguise, a god playing the fool. It seems as if heaven had sent its insane angels into our world as to an asylum, and here they will break out into their native music, and utter at intervals the words they have heard in heaven; then the mad fit returns, and they mope and wallow like dogs." Whether witty or wise, such interpretations have manifestly nothing to do with the fable as it exists in history, as part of the history of the human mind.

"The transmigration of souls: that too is no fable; I would it were. But men and women are only half human. Every animal of the barn-yard, the field and the forest, of the earth and of the waters that are under the earth, has contrived to get a footing, and to leave the print of its features and form in some one or other of these upright, heaven-facing speakers." Very good; only, if poets and wits are to set themselves to the task, we should like to know what fable there is in the world, whether the product of imagination or fancy, which might not be shown to abound in eternal verities.

Travelling on a little farther, we meet with the following paragraph, some parts of which are to be made intelligible by putting ourselves in the point of view of the idealistic philosopher; but the whole together, by reason of the incongruity of its parts, produces no other effect than that of mere and painful bewilderment,—

"A man is a bundle of relations, a knot of roots, whose flower and fruitage is the world. All his faculties refer to natures out of him. All his faculties predict the world he is to inhabit, as the fins of the fish foreshow that water exists, or the wings of an eagle in the egg presuppose a medium like air. Insulate and you destroy him. He cannot live[652] without a world. Put Napoleon in an island prison, let his faculties find no men to act on, no Alps to climb, no stake to play for, and he would beat the air and appear stupid. Transport him to large countries, dense population, complex interests and antagonist power, and you shall see that the man Napoleon, bounded, that is, by such a profile and outline, is not the virtual Napoleon. This is but Talbot's shadow;

"His substance is not here:
For what you see is but the smallest part,
And least proportion of humanity;
But were the whole frame here,
It is of such a spacious lofty pitch,
Your roof were not sufficient to contain it.

Columbus needs a planet to shape his course upon. Newton and Laplace need myriads of ages and thick-strewn celestial areas. One may say, a gravitating solar system is already prophesied in the nature of Newton's mind. Not less does the brain of Davy and Gay-Lussac, from childhood exploring always the affinities and repulsions of particles, anticipate the laws of organisation. Does not the eye of the human embryo predict the light? the ear of Handel predict the witchcraft of harmonic sound? Do not the constructive fingers of Watt, Fulton, Whittemore, and Arkwright, predict the fusible, hard, and temperable texture of metals, the properties of stone, water, and wood? the lovely attributes of the maiden child predict the refinements and decorations of civil society? Here, also, we are reminded of the action of man on man. A mind might ponder its thoughts for ages, and not gain so much self-knowledge as the passion of love shall teach it in a day. Who knows himself before he has been thrilled with indignation at an outrage, or has heard an eloquent tongue, or has shared the throb of thousands in a national exultation and alarm? No man can antedate his experience, or guess what faculty or feeling a new object shall unlock, any more than he can draw to-day the face of a person whom he shall see to-morrow for the first time."

And the essay concludes by presenting its leading idea in this distorted and exaggerated shape:—

"Thus, in all ways does the soul concentrate and reproduce its treasures for each pupil, each new-born man. He, too, shall pass through the whole cycle of experience. He shall collect into a focus the rays of nature. History no longer shall be a dull book. It shall walk incarnate in every just and wise man. You shall not tell me by languages and titles a catalogue of the volumes you have read. You shall make me feel what periods you have lived. A man shall be the Temple of Fame. He shall walk as the poets have described that goddess, in a robe painted all over with wonderful events and experiences;—his own form and features by that exalted intelligence shall be that variegated vest. I shall find in him the Foreworld; in his childhood the age of gold; the apples of knowledge; the Argonautic expedition; the calling of Abraham; the building of the temple; the advent of Christ; dark ages; the revival of letters; the Reformation; the discovery of new lands, the opening of new sciences, and new regions in man. He shall be the priest of Pan, and bring with him into humble cottages the blessing of the morning stars, and all the recorded benefits of heaven and earth."

We regret to say that instances of this painful obscurity, of this outrageous and fantastical style of writing, it would not be difficult to multiply, were it either necessary or desirable. We have quoted sufficient to justify even harsher terms of censure than we have chosen to deal in; sufficient to warn our readers who may be induced, from the favourable quotations we have made, and shall continue to make, to turn to the works of this author, that it is not all gold they will find there, that the sun does not always shine upon his page, that a great proportion of his writings may be little suited to their taste.

That which forms the great and inextinguishable charm of those writings is the fine moral temper they display, the noble ardour, the high ethical tone they every where manifest and sustain, and especially that lofty independence of his intellect, that freedom of his reason which the man who aspires after true cultivation should watch over and preserve with the utmost jealousy. Addressing the Divinity students of Cambridge, U. S., he says,—

"Let me admonish you, first of all, to go alone; to refuse the good models, even those most sacred in the imagination of men, and dare to love God without mediator or veil. Friends enough you will find, who will hold up to your emulation Wesleys and Oberlins, saints and prophets. Thank God for these good men, but say, 'I also am a man.' Imitation cannot go above its model. The[653] imitator dooms himself to hopeless mediocrity. The inventor did it because it was natural to him; and so in him it has a charm. In the imitator, something else is natural, and he bereaves himself of his own beauty, to come short of another man's....

"Let us not aim at common degrees of merit. Can we not leave to such as love it the virtue that glitters for the commendation of society, and ourselves pierce the deep solitudes of absolute ability and worth? We easily come up to the standard of goodness in society. Society's praise can be cheaply secured, and almost all men are content with those easy merits; but the instant effect of conversing with God, will be to put them away. There are sublime merits; persons who are not actors, not, speakers, but influences; persons too great for fame, for display; who disdain eloquence; to whom all we call art and artist seems too nearly allied to show and by-ends, to the exaggeration of the finite and selfish, and loss of the universal. The orators, the poets, the commanders, encroach on us only, as fair women do, by our allowance and homage. Slight them by preoccupation of mind,—slight them, as you can well afford to do, by high and universal aims, and they instantly feel that you have right, and that it is in lower places that they must shine. They also feel your right; for they, with you, are open to the influx of the all-knowing spirit, which annihilates before its broad noon the little shades and gradations of intelligence in the compositions we call wiser and wisest.

"In such high communion, let us study the grand strokes of rectitude: a bold benevolence, an independence of friends, so that not the unjust wishes of those who love us shall impair our freedom; but we shall resist, for truth's sake, the freest flow of kindness, and appeal to sympathies far in advance. And, what is the highest form in which we know this beautiful element?—a certain solidity of merit that has nothing to do with opinion, and which is so essentially and manifestly virtue, that it is taken for granted that the right, the brave, the generous step will be taken by it, and nobody thinks of commending it. You would compliment a coxcomb doing a good act, but you would not praise an angel. The silence that accepts merit as the most natural thing in the world, is the highest applause."

Nothing but the necessity to husband our space prevents us from quoting other passages of the same noble strain.

There is an Essay on Love which has highly pleased us, and from which we wish to make some extracts. To a man of genius the old subjects are always new. The romance and enthusiasm of the passion is here quite freshly and vividly portrayed, while the great moral end of that charming exaggeration which every lover makes of the beauty and excellence of his mistress, is finely pointed out. There is both poetry and philosophy in the essay—as our readers shall judge for themselves from the following extracts. We do not always mark the omissions we make for the sake of economy of space, nor always cite the passages in the order they appear in the essay.

"What fastens attention, in the intercourse of life, like any passage betraying affection between two parties? Perhaps we never saw them before, and never shall meet them again. But we see them exchange a glance, or betray a deep emotion, and we are no longer strangers. We understand them, and take the warmest interest in the development of the romance. All mankind love a lover. The earliest demonstrations of complacency and kindness are nature's most winning pictures. It is the dawn of civility and grace in the coarse and rustic. The rude village boy teases the girls about the school-house door;—but to-day he comes running into the entry, and meets one fair child arranging her satchel: he holds her books to help her, and instantly it seems to him as if she removed herself from him infinitely, and was a sacred precinct. Among the throng of girls he runs rudely enough, but one alone distances him; and these two little neighbours that were so close just now, have learned to respect each other's personality."

As is ever the case when men describe what is, or might be an exquisite happiness, there steals a melancholy over the description; and our author makes it a primary condition,

"That we must leave a too close and lingering adherence to the actual, to facts, and study the sentiment as it appeared in hope, and not in history. Let any man go back to those delicious relations which make the beauty of his life, which have given him sincerest instruction and nourishment, he will shrink, and shrink. Alas! I know not why, but infinite compunctions imbitter in mature life all the remembrances of budding sentiment, and cover every beloved name. Every thing[654] is beautiful seen from the point of the intellect, or as truth. But all is sour, as seen from experience. It is strange how painful is the actual world,—the painful kingdom of time and space. There dwell care, canker, and fear. With thought, with the ideal, is immortal hilarity, the rose of joy. Round it all the muses sing. But with names and persons and the partial interests of to-day and yesterday, is grief.

"But be our experience in particulars what it may, no man ever forgot the visitations of that power to his heart and brain which created all things new; which was the dawn in him of music, poetry, and art; which made the face of nature radiant with purple light, the morning and the night varied enchantments; when a single tone of one voice could make the heart beat, and the most trivial circumstance associated with one form, is put in the amber of memory; when we became all eye when one was present, and all memory when one was gone; when the youth becomes a watcher of windows, and studious of a glove, a veil, a ribbon, or the wheels of a carriage; when no place is too solitary, and none too silent for him who has richer company and sweeter conversation in his new thoughts, than any old friends, though best and purest, can give him; when all business seemed an impertinence, and all the men and women running to and fro in the streets, mere pictures.

"For, though the celestial rapture falling out of heaven, seizes only upon those of tender age, and although a beauty, overpowering all analysis or comparison, and putting us quite beside ourselves, we can seldom see after thirty years, yet the remembrance of these visions outlasts all other remembrances, and is a wreath of flowers on the oldest brows."

And on this matter of beauty how ingenious and full of feeling are the following reflections!—

"Wonderful is its charm. It seems sufficient to itself. The lover cannot paint his maiden to his fancy poor and solitary. Like a tree in flower, so much soft, budding, informing loveliness, is society for itself, and she teaches his eye why Beauty was ever painted with Loves and Graces attending her steps. Her existence makes the world rich. Though she extrudes all other persons from his attention as cheap and unworthy, yet she indemnifies him by carrying out her own being into somewhat impersonal; so that the maiden stands to him for a representation of all select things and virtues. For that reason the lover sees never personal resemblances in his mistress to her kindred or to others. His friends find in her a likeness to her mother, or her sisters, or to persons not of her blood. The lover sees no resemblance except to summer evenings and diamond mornings, to rainbows and the song of birds.

"Beauty is ever that divine thing the ancients esteemed it. It is, they said, the flowering of virtue. Who can analyse the nameless charm which glances from one and another face and form? We are touched with emotions of tenderness and complacency, but we cannot find whereat this dainty emotion, this wandering gleam, points. It is destroyed for the imagination by any attempt to refer it to organisation. Nor does it point to any relations of friendship or love that society knows or has, but, as it seems to me, to a quite other and unattainable sphere, to relations of transcendent delicacy and sweetness, a true faerie land; to what roses and violets hint and foreshow. We cannot get at beauty. Its nature is like opaline doves'-neck lustres, hovering and evanescent. Herein it resembles the most excellent things, which all have this rainbow character, defying all attempts at appropriation and use. What else did Jean Paul Richter signify, when he said to music, 'Away! away! thou speakest to me of things which in all my endless life I have found not, and shall not find.' The same fact may be observed in every work of the plastic arts. The statue is then beautiful, when it begins to be incomprehensible, when it is passing out of criticism, and can no longer be defined by compass and measuring wand, but demands an active imagination to go with it, and to say what it is in the act of doing. The god or hero of the sculptor is always represented in a transition from that which is representable to the senses, to that which is not. Then first it ceases to be a stone.

"So must it be with personal beauty which love worships. Then first is it charming and itself when it dissatisfies us with any end; when it becomes a story without an end; when it suggests gleams and visions, and not earthly satisfactions; when it seems

'Too bright and good
For human nature's daily food;'

when it makes the beholder feel his unworthiness; when he cannot feel his right to it, though he were Cæsar; he cannot feel more right to it, than to the firmament and the splendours of a sunset."

But this dream of love is but one scene in the play; and our author concludes his essay by pointing out what is, or should be, the denouement of the drama.

[655]"Meantime, as life wears on, it proves a game of permutation and combination of all possible positions of the parties to extort all the resources of each, and acquaint each with the whole strength and weakness of the other. For, it is the nature and end of this relation, that they should represent the human race to each other.

"At last they discover that all which at first drew them together,—those once sacred features, that magical play of charms, was deciduous, had a prospective end, like the scaffolding by which the house was built; and the purification of the intellect and the heart, from year to year, is the real marriage foreseen and prepared from the first, and wholly above their consciousness. Looking at these aims with which two persons, a man and a woman, so variously and correlatively gifted, are shut up in one house to spend in the nuptial society forty or fifty years, I do not wonder at the emphasis with which the heart prophesies this crisis from early infancy,—at the profuse beauty with which the instincts deck the nuptial bower, and nature and intellect and art emulate each other in the gifts and the melody they bring to the epithalamium. Thus are we put in training for a love which knows not sex, nor person, nor partiality, but which seeketh virtue and wisdom every where, to the end of increasing virtue and wisdom."

If there is some of the ideal in this account given of love and matrimony, there is, nevertheless, a noble truth in it. And surely in proportion as the sentiment of love is refitted and spiritualised, so also ought the moral culture, to which it is subservient, to be pure and elevated.

The longest essay in the collection, and that which approaches nearest to the more formidable character of a treatise, is that entitled "Nature." This exhibits, so to speak, the practical point of view of an idealist. The idealist has denied the substantial, independent existence of the material world, but he does not deny the existence of a phenomenal world. The Divine Nature reveals itself in the twofold form of finite mind and this phenomenal world. Thus, we believe, we may express the general creed of these philosophers, though it is a very delicate matter to act as interpreter to this class of thinkers: they are rarely satisfied with any expressions of their own, and are not likely to be contented with those of any other person. This phenomenal world has for its final cause the development and education of the finite mind. It follows, therefore, that all which a realist could say of the utility of nature can be advanced also by the idealist. He has his practical point of view, and can discourse, as Mr Emerson does here, on the various "uses" of nature which, he says, "admit of being thrown into the following classes:—commodity, beauty, language, and discipline."

We have not the least intention of proceeding further with an analysis of this essay; as we have already intimated, the value of Mr Emerson's writings appears to us to consist in the beauty and truthfulness of individual passages, not at all in his system, or any prolonged train of reasoning he may adopt. It is impossible to read this production without being delighted and arrested by a number of these individual passages sparkling with thought or fancy; it would be equally impossible to gather from it, as a whole, any thing satisfactory or complete.

On the beauty of nature he is always eloquent; he is evidently one who intensely feels it. "Every day, the sun; and, after sunset, night and the stars. Ever the winds blow; ever the grass grows." The shows of heaven and earth are with him a portion of daily life. "In the woods is perpetual youth." "We talk," he says in another place, "with accomplished persons who appear to be strangers in nature. The cloud, the tree, the turf, the bird are not theirs, have nothing of them; the world is only their lodging and table." No such stranger is our poet-philosopher. "Crossing a bare common, in twilight, under a clouded sky, without having in my thoughts any occurrence of special good fortune, I have enjoyed a perfect exhilaration. Almost I fear to think how glad I am."

The only quotation we shall make from the Essay on "Nature," shall be one where he treats of this subject—

"A nobler want of man is served by nature,—namely, the love of beauty. Such is the constitution of all things, or such the plastic power of the human eye, that the primary form, as the sky, the[656] mountain, the tree, the animal, give us a delight in and for themselves; a pleasure arising from outline, colour, motion, and grouping. And as the eye is the best composer, so light is the first of painters. There is no object so foul, that intense light will not make beautiful. And the stimulus it affords to the sense, and a sort of infinitude which it hath, like space and time, will make all matter gay. But besides this general grace diffused over nature, almost all the individual forms are agreeable to the eye, as is proved by our endless imitations of some of them; as the acorn, the grape, the pine-cone, the wheat-ear, the egg, the wings and forms of most birds, the lion's claw, the serpent, the butterfly, sea-shells, flames, clouds, buds, leaves, and the forms of many trees, as the palm.

"The influence of the forms and actions in nature is so needful to man that, in its lowest functions, it seems to lie on the confines of Commodity and Beauty. To the body and mind which have been cramped by noxious work or company, nature is medicinal and restores their tone. The tradesman, the attorney, comes out of the din and craft of the street, and sees the sky and the woods, and is a man again. In their eternal calm he finds himself. The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon. We are never tired so long as we can see far enough.

"But in other hours nature satisfies the soul purely by its loveliness, and without any mixture of corporeal benefit. I have seen the spectacle of morning from the hill-top over against my house, from daybreak to sunrise, with emotions which an angel might share. The long slender bars of cloud float like fishes in the sea of crimson light. From the earth, as a shore, I look out into that silent sea. I seem to partake its rapid transformations; the active enchantment reaches my dust, and I dilate and conspire with the morning wind. How does nature deify us with a few and cheap elements! Give me health and a day, and I will make the pomp of emperors ridiculous. The dawn is my Assyria, the sunset and moonrise my Paphos, and unimaginable realms of faerie."

Mr Emerson has published a volume of poems, and it has been generally admitted that he has not succeeded in verse. But there are touches of charming poetry in his prose. This discrepancy, which is not unfrequently met with, must result, we presume, from an inaptitude to employ the forms of verse, so that the style, instead of being invigorated, and polished, and concentrated by the necessary attention to line and metre, becomes denaturalised, constrained, crude, and unequal. We have looked through this volume of poems, but we should certainly not be adding to the reputation of the author by drawing attention to it. If we wished to find instances of the poetry of Emerson, we should still seek for them in his prose essays. Thus he says:—

"In this pleasing contrite wood-life which God allows me, let me record, day by day, my honest thought, without prospect or retrospect, and I cannot doubt it will be found symmetrical, though I mean it not and see it not. The swallow over my window should interweave that thread or straw he carries in his bill into my web also."

"Our moods," he says, "do not believe in each other. To-day I am full of thoughts; but yesterday I saw a dreary vacuity in this direction in which now I see so much; and a month hence, I doubt not, I shall wonder who he was that wrote so many continuous pages. Alas for this infirm faith, this will not strenuous, this vast ebb of a vast flow! I am God in nature—I am a weed by the wall!"

"A lady," he writes on another occasion, "with whom I was riding in the forest, said to me that the woods always seemed to her to wait, as if the genii who inhabit them suspended their deeds until the wayfarer has passed onward. This is precisely the thought which poetry has celebrated in the dance of the fairies which breaks off on the approach of human feet." The lady had a true poetic feeling. And the following thought is illustrated by a very happy image.

"In man, we still trace the rudiments or hints of all that we esteem badges of servitude in the lower races, yet in him they enhance his nobleness and grace; as Io in Æschylus, transformed to a cow, offends the imagination, but how changed when as Isis in Egypt she meets Jove, a beautiful woman, with nothing of the metamorphosis left but the lunar horns, as the splendid ornament of her brows!"

In his philosophy, we have seen that Mr Emerson is an idealist, something, too, of a pantheist. In theology, we have heard him described as[657] a Unitarian; but although the Unitarians of America differ move widely from each other, and from the standard of orthodoxy, than the same denomination of men in this country, we presume there is no body of Unitarians with whom our philosopher would fraternise, or who would receive him amongst their ranks. His Christianity appears rather to be of that description which certain of the Germans, one section of the Hegelians for instance, have found reconcilable with their Pantheistic philosophy. It is well for him that he writes in a tolerant age, that he did not make his appearance a generation too soon; the pilgrim fathers would certainly have burnt him at the stake; he would have died the death of Giordano Bruno. And we believe—if the spirit of his writings be any test of the spirit of the man—that he would have suffered as a martyr, rather than have foregone the freedom and the truthfulness of his thought. His essays are replete with passages such as this:—"God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose. Take which you please—you can never have both. Between these, as a pendulum, man oscillates ever. He in whom the love of repose predominates, will accept the first creed, the first philosophy, the first political party he meets,—most likely his father's. He gets rest, commodity, and reputation; but he shuts the door of truth. He in whom the love of truth predominates, will keep himself aloof from all moorings and afloat. He will abstain from dogmatism, and recognise all the opposite negations, between which, as walls, his being is swung. He submits to the inconvenience of suspense and imperfect opinion, but he is a candidate for truth, as the other is not, and he respects the highest law of his being."

We gather from what little has reached us of his biography, that he has in fact sacrificed somewhat of the commodity of this life, to this "higher law of his being." In a work which has just fallen into our hands, entitled "The Prose Writers of America, with a Survey of the Intellectual History, Condition, and Prospects of the Country, by Rufus Wilmot Griswold," we find the following scanty account of Emerson. "He is the son of a Unitarian clergyman of Boston, and in 1821, when about seventeen years of age, was graduated at Harvard University. Having turned his attention to theology, he was ordained minister of one of the congregations of his native city, but, embracing soon after some peculiar views in regard to the forms of worship, he abandoned his profession, and retiring to the quiet village of Concord, after the manner of an Arabian prophet, gave himself up to 'thinking,' preparatory to his appearance as a revelator." Which meagre narrative, not very happily told, leads us to infer that the recluse of Concord has lived up to the high spirit of his own teaching.

It is remarkable that Mr Griswold, in the prefatory essay which he entitles The Intellectual History, Condition, and Prospects of the Country, although he has introduced a host of writers of all grades, some of whom will be heard of in England for the first time, never once mentions the name of Emerson! Yet, up to this moment, America has not given to the world any thing which, in point of original genius, is comparable to his writings. That she has a thousand minds better built up, whose more equal culture, and whose more sober opinions, one might prefer to have,—this is not the question,—but in that highest department of reflective genius, where the power is given to impart new insights into truth, or make old truths look new, he stands hitherto unrivalled in his country; he has no equal and no second.

Very popular he perhaps never may become; but we figure to ourselves that, a century hence, he will be recognised as one of those old favourite writers whom the more thoughtful spirits read, not so much as teachers, but as noble-minded companions and friends, whose aberrations have been long ago conceded and forgiven. Men will read him then, not for his philosophy,—they will not care two straws for his idealism or his pantheism: they will know that they are there, and there they will leave them,—but they will read him for those genuine confessions of one spirit to another, that are often breathed in his writings; for those lofty sentiments to which all hearts respond; for those truths which make their way through all systems, and in all ages.



A pretty question this, my dear Eusebius,—and that the question comes from you, who at no time of your life were a "Beau Nash," is rather extraordinary. It is after the fashion of most of your movements, however, and so far should not be thought extraordinary in you. For as you do not walk in the track that other men's shoes have made, nor dress your thoughts in other men's draperies; but both walk and think as few other men do, I ought not to wonder that you turn suddenly round upon me, eye me from head to foot, and ask me this curious question, How I came to be a sloven. Now, I can easily imagine your own slovenly attitude and attire when you wrote me this precious letter, and how fantastically conceited you fancied yourself standing before me, ωστε Ζωγραφης —like a painter, as says Hecuba, when she bad her rags and misery be looked at,—and thought to put me out of countenance with your own perfections. Perfections, indeed! Why, your whole wardrobe would not be worth exporting in charity to the land of Ne'erdo-weels—and I doubt not that the loss of a single suit, bad as it may be, would leave you in some small respects as bare as when you came into the world. You have been reading, you tell me, the "Æsthetics of Dress," as you term them, those very amusing papers in Maga—from which you mean to cull materials for the history of the art, and to write a treatise on "The Philosophy of Tailors," wherein you intend to set forth upon what principles of the "Fitness of things" it is that nine tailors make a man. It is a whimsical notion of yours that the game of nine-pins was set up in honour of these nine worthies—"Knights of the thimble"—signifying how weakly they stand upon their pins, and how they go by the board at the very breath of a ball. You affect to think that the Templars were but the imitators of a more honourable cross-legged company—and that their antiquity is shown prior to the invention of Heraldry, for that the very term, the coat of arms, must have come from them. You say they can show parchments with the oldest companies and families, and cut to shivereens the longest pedigrees, and yet never go beyond their own measure.

What would a parliament be without them? They not only make their man, but seat him. Indeed, man is no man, till he is made one by these Novemviri, and hath been invested by them, as of old, with the toga virilis; and now-a-days (we vulgarise every thing even in the nomenclature) the first advance to manhood is to be "breeched:"—that first step when, with the dignity of newly assumed and duly authorised manhood, the dressed youth puts his best foot foremost, on the first step of the ladder of life, and is not ashamed, while ascending, to turn his back, and show what stuff he is made of.

It is said, that when a man marries he enters into a bond with society for his future good behaviour—but of what consequence is this, in comparison with that previous bottomry bond, to use a mercantile word suitable to these our mercantile days, that every man has entered into and given the surety of nine men besides, without which, whatever bottom he may show in the fight, the greatest hero would be but a sans culotte. Heroes! why, are not tailors the very models after which men should dress themselves? They have made, in all senses, the best regiments. And what a large slice of this globe is governed and commanded by the Board in Threadneedle Street.

Thread and thimble do wonders to make a man—rig him out with the best materials—no devil's dust, disdaining dishonest "thimble-riggery."

The son of Japetus admired not more his man-invention, than does the tailor. The fleshly life which he condescends to stuff into his manufacture, is with him but a secondary consideration; and it must be confessed he is often not very choice in these his human materials. Any thing that way will do to adorn the real "man of shreds and patches." Pegs and[659] lay figures would answer the purpose quite as well as these, pattern-humanities, if they would but walk. Bad, however, as they are, as specimens per se, they are made so much of by the adornments, that their painted effigies and portraits, as they are exhibited in tailors' laboratories, saloons, and establishments, excite the envy and wonder of a gaping population. They are set forth, to show what the worst man may be made—to portray vividly the excellence of the art, and to "give the world assurance of a man," even built and fabricated out of next to nothing but his dress. It is no longer "Ex pede Herculem." The boot-maker has been defeated—Hoby dethroned—you may have a Hercules or an Apollo only according to cloth measure. Then will the proud artificer hold the mirror up to Nature to show her how vastly she is improved, even though it be by the slandered hands of "Nature's journeymen." Then, so various in its powers is the art, that the real professors will at the shortest notice turn the shopman into the esquire, and, if need be, the thief into an archdeacon. They will fit you with any character, fit or unfit:—will send you most genteelly to the court or to the gallows. Vain is the conceit of the scoffing world of fashion that affect to scorn the craft that makes them what they are;—nay, a great deal better, and to look what they are not. Let them try to set up for themselves, what sorry figures they would be—perfectly ridiculous, to be kicked out of Fop's Alley, and whipped by the beadle!! worse clad than Prince Vortigern in that despicable and invisible slip of a vestment,

"Which from a naked Pict his grandsire won

But that can never be to any extent. What man in his senses would enter upon this stage of the world, rushing in like a wild man of the woods, a general wonder, and without the introductory aid of his proper master of the ceremonies; when, too, at a trifling cost, he can take his ticket of admission, and go boldly certificated by the sign-manual of a Doudney or a Moses? No man dares to walk entirely out of rules sartorial, nor utterly to despise the images which it pleaseth the tailors to set up. Not that their laws are like those of the Medes and Persians, which alter not—their very principle is change—and every change is suitable. The seasons change not fast enough for them. Is a man to be married?—even then he is in the tailor's hands—he must have a new suit—nay, he must wait for it, he dare not appear without it. Is he to be hanged?—he must have a new suit; nay, before condemnation he is tried in his best, as if he were to be judged as much by appearance as evidence. The public, the real thinking public, take more notice of his appearance than of his crimes. Every journal is full of accurate detail, not of his doings, but of his looks and of his dress. The Pictorials present the very cut of his coat, and pattern on his waistcoat; and what the graver cannot, they supply in words, so that you may see not only the shape but the colour. Blue is the favourite colour at the altar of Hymen,—a suit of black on the platform of the hangman—but that is a compliment to the clergy—or a malice, that folk may think most who go out of the world that way are of the cloth—and that is what they call giving the culprit "the benefit of clergy."

Really man should be defined "a dressing animal."—Were all the powers of the earth to meet together to consult upon their everlasting interests, the previous question would be, in what are they to appear; and the first announcement of the great congress of the gentlemen of the press would be what they wore,—what they said, would be slurred over as of less importance. Thus, for example, the Roman historian is particular when he describes the great ambassador before the senate of the Carthagenains, making a fold of his robe, as if it alone were worthy to contain the fate and fortunes of empires, asking them which they would have, Peace or War—and so letting it fall loose out of his hand,—just as a modern senator on the opposition side might put his hands into his breeches pockets, make a show of searching, and taking them out with nothing in them, might, with all the dignity of senatorial energy, declare that he could not surmise[660] where the minister would get his supplies.

It is extraordinary man is ashamed of nothing so much as of his own natural figure. It is a mean and low thing to appear to have flesh and blood, excepting in the face and hands,—this remark must, however, apply only to the male sex. The female is allowed a greater latitude. Even a Count D'Orsay would be hooted through the streets, should he dare to appear, on foot or on horseback, without a coat, and with his shirtsleeves tucked up,—such is the obeisance we make to the tailoring craft. And if it be a folly, it is one of an old growth, and is rife among our antipodes as ourselves. Savage and cultivated, civil and uncivil, all have the propensity. The Chinese exquisites felt the skirts of the coats of the members of our embassy, and burst out into immoderate laughter. They quizzed the cut and colour, proud of their own envelopes; and, to their cost, judged us by our clothes. They have since felt our arms. Your tailor is an important personage all the world over, but alas! he is too restricted in his commerce. He is confined to spots and spaces, that is, individually speaking,—universal is the race. It is quite curious to consider what free trade may do for him. The export and the import may quite change the appearances of all, men, women, and children. When navigation laws shall be done away with, and "free bottoms shall carry free goods," then, indeed, may it come to pass that "motley is your only wear." The picturesque will triumph; wondrous will be the variety; in apparel, China and Kamschatka shall meet and shuffle together in every public way. Then "all the world will be a stage," and all the men and women at least look like players. The drab world will be extinct—it is nearly so now. Quakers have been long since ashamed of their Sartorian antipathies, and from growing to be coxcombs in their own particular line, have pretty generally thrown off the dull garb, and plunged with eagerness into the emporium of fashion, and come out so as that their mothers would not know them. The snake throws off his old skin, and when he comes out shining in his new, looks with a sly leer from under the hedge, and seemeth to say, "Thanks, friend, thee hast complimented me by following my example, I am verily proud of thy similitude." Too many of us have a spice in our veins of the snake's venom,—shift skins, and turn coats,—but no more of that, Eusebius, it leads to fearful questioning, and we both eschew politics; and do not let us call up the evil one, whoever may be among the tailors. Yet let me remind you of a whimsical accident that happened the other day to a certain M.P., who, having bought a ready-made paletot, walked boldly into the streets, forgetting that he was thus ticketed on the back, "This neat article to be sold cheap." I dare to say, it was warranted to keep its gloss, and turn as good as new—and that the wearer peeled well in the house.

You would, I see, implicate me in fopperies. If it is not my humour to patronise by personal wear, I at least panegyrise all fraternities of tailors. You may make yourself look ridiculous if you please, and the change may not ill become your vagary-loving mind; but I do not mean to doff my old habit, not having faith in novelties, that I should trust the present easy motion of my limbs to unused ties and compressions. Dress, with such old ones as we are, Eusebius, should have the blessings Sancho bestows upon sleep, and "should wrap us warm like a blanket;" and what reason is there that we should think the worse of ourselves for showing the dates of our thoughts and ways, and bearing upon our coats the figures of a somewhat backward age. We may yet brighten up our countenances, and say out of the book of that dramatist who knew life so well, and may thus depict ours—even for some few years to come, my dear good Eusebius,—

"Though time hath worn us into slovenry,
But, by the mass, our hearts are in the trim."

They that have taken off and put on their clothes as often as you and I have done, may well look upon them as old friends, with their familiar looks, and see in their wear and tear a certain kinship with ourselves, and all our own elbow rubs that the world hath given us, and the thread-bare[661] arguments that we have put upon ourselves, from which we imagined we could raise fine flattering maxims, and substantial truths, which have more deceived us in the wear than in the affection with which they retain us and are still retained.

"When this old cloak was new,"

says the old song,—and how much does it imply—what a world of memory is involved in its every fold. At the shaking of the skirts out fly visions of the past,—familiar faces, endearing converse round the pleasant hearth,—cares that we have wrapped round with them, buried in them, and now come up but as effigies of thoughts that no longer trouble, dreams of life's anxieties, from which the mind takes wholesome food, indulging in the repose of the old envelopment. Would you exchange this, Eusebius, for any new untried thing, forcing its intimacy upon you without claim to your friendship, jerking you and twitting you with impertinent and ill-fitting pressure, with no other association but of the congregational squattings of the nine journeymen who made its existence, redolent of misshapen and snuff-stained thumbs?

I would no more willingly part with the habit that gives me personal ease, and is familiar with all my movements, than I would with that metaphorical habit of mind, of thoughts and feeling, that makes the continuing identity of my being. I say identity, for a man of any character must identify himself with his clothes: by wear they acquire somewhat more than a likeness. No man can ride the same horse daily for five years, but the two animals will in some strange way give out to each other something of their natures—there is sure to be a resemblance. So is it with our clothes. There is an old caricature of Bunbury's,—"The Country Club"—in which this truth is shown. You know you could put every man's hat upon his head, though they are all hung on pegs. And this is surely a most characteristic kind of portraiture. I should as much think of setting up the painted likeness of a deceased friend or dearer relative as a sign to a pot-house for the Saracen's head, as I would give his suit of clothes, at least in the shape in which he left them, to a mumper that should go begging in them. Would it not be an offence, that the noble air of freedom and of sentient responsibility they have acquired, should be doomed to contract in damp and unwholesome decay, the look of degradation and drooping melancholy of a vicious meanness, retaining, at the same time, that something of the departed, which, by its presence, seems to connect him with an abominable deterioration? Let the clothes be buried with the man, lest your friend's very effigies be seen in low haunts and vile places. For you can steep them in no dye of a Lethe that will wash away the remembrances, the likenesses they have acquired. Would you have the apron of sanctity transferred, by ill-advised gift, from a defunct archbishop to the boddice of an indecent figurante? Detestable notions these—that nothing should be lost, and all turned to use! What use of any thing is better than that one which keeps feelings, affections, respect, entire! Were I a modern iconoclast, I would rather burn the petticoats of "our Lady of Loretto," than transfer them to a still lower puppet-show. I had rather say for ever with the Mayor of Garratt, "Stand back, you gentleman without a shirt," than present him with one of my grandfather's wearing. When a boy, I always used to think it a painful sight to see cast clothes hung out on poles or lines, and extending half across a street, blown to and fro with the winds, like ghosts affecting the show and motion of vitality, undergoing their purification in an upper aerial purgatory, preparatory to their metempsychosis, uncertain if they should adopt unto themselves a bodily being of a higher or a lower order. To hang the coat seemed very like hanging the man.

Pythagoras was the first man, says history, that wore breeches. When he hung up the shield of Euphorbus in the temple of Juno, to show that he had been Euphorbus, did he suspend his breeches also? He probably did, disliking any meaner transmigration for them; for we are told his fashion was not followed until some generations had passed. The modern Pythagorean would send them to the pawnbrokers.

The fine idea of Lucian, that our[662] shadows will be our accusers, might very properly be transferred to coats and inexpressibles; for, besides that they might witness of our whereabouts and of our doings, they might witness of our ingratitude in casting them off,—wearing our old friends thread-bare, and then throwing them off when they have most singularly accommodated themselves to all our strange ways,—of sending them, as the unfeeling do the high-mettled racer to the cart, to other service to which they are but ill-fitted. The wearer of another man's coat is guilty of a kind of larceny; he does more than steal from the person, he in one sense steals the person itself! At least, he should be held responsible for all that has been done in the coat, and that on the principle of taxation, as the law comes not on the tenant gone off, but upon the land. Better that a man should make a museum of his apparel, than part with it out of the family of which it so properly forms a part.

A gallery of suspended braces might represent one's ancestors, equally with the be-wigged portraits that seem to lay their hands upon their hearts, and say from their frames, "Posterity, I begot you." A breeches-gallery might with much less expense serve the same purpose; for if these articles have not fittingly belonged to posterity, it is notorious that they have most fittingly belonged to something very like it. Do you not think, Eusebius, that these suspension breeches, the idea of which is worthy the Shandean philosophy, would be very expressive of family character, and nicely distinguish unseemly interpolation; and that a genealogical wardrobe-gallery would become an object of pride, and most proper appendage to the family seat? It could no more be doubted to what race and blood apparel would justly belong, than to what shoulders certain heads must belong—which illustration reminds me of that saying of Bishop Bonner's to Henry VIII. who threatened to cut off the head of every Frenchman in his power, should Francis I. take the life of the bishop? "True, sire," said he with a smile, "but I question, if any of their heads would fit my shoulders as well as that I have on." So would the family-fit be no bad test of the true character and vitality in the genealogical tree.

I suppose that, by your question—How I came to be a sloven—you would have me throw off my old habits, and put on new—and perhaps, in your satirical innuendo, attack more than apparel, which we abuse by metaphor, when we term ill manners "bad habits!" Did I tell you how ingeniously our gay and jocund friend and poetical satirist defended himself in encounter of wit with a bantering opponent? "How do we know," said he, "but that our vices may be our persecuted virtues." "Slovenry," Eusebius, is a persecuted virtue. It is a tone and virtue that unbends, loosens the stiffness of the social body, liberates it from the strict tie of an awkward formality, and is to the whole of society what variety is in the dress in an individual—a happy relief, without which there would be too much monotony. The philosopher who made his bow to the jewelled and richly dressed man, and thanked him for the sight, and the trouble he took in putting on and bearing such a costly suit, should have been thanked, in his turn, for acting the foil, the contrast, which made the finery so conspicuous. If we were all dressed up kings and queens—were all the world to wear a lord mayor's livery, there would be no show to see. It is the intermixture, the great variety, that makes the exhibition, which is only then complete when it has a little dash of slovenry. What a sorry picture it would be that should have all bright colours! the finest carnation is best set off with a little adjacent umber. You would no more wish to see people in the streets all dressed alike, than you would wish to see the streets all alike, and every house like another. Nature dresses not after this one millinery. In the richest corn field, it is not every blade, and ear, and stalk, that is equally broad, full, and straight. Some have a kind of slovenly lying off from others, a grace, the very purposed gift of Nature, to entice the eye to a more curious and nice selection, whereby to discover the infinite degrees of beauty, that all united make the whole perfection. The precision of the tall and[663] upright stalk is the more strongly marked in its strength, by the decoration of its neighbour—and how beautifully do a few clustered together plume off their individual irregularity into a graceful shape! Has not the tangled hedge its own beauty even when it "putteth forth disordered twigs?" You would not bear all pruned to one smooth fashion. The finery of Nature's robes makes but a small part of her wardrobe; she hath her ordinary wear, and even when she putteth on her mantle of the richest green, she trims it sparingly—and that for the most part with a loose lacery of unobtrusive jasmine and vine-weed. And the nature that bids all the garniture of earth thus grow variously in richness, in moderation, and in a sweet and humble disorder, putteth it into man's mind; for he is doomed to dress himself, so as to follow her law;—and thus it is, that in any given number of persons you shall see some few endowed with this natural gift and grace of slovenry. And that careless, modest, unassuming part in the arabesque ornament of life, you and I, Eusebius, are intended to perform. One character for the harlequin, another for the clown, and we must have the lean and slippered pantaloon—and there must be some one besides, my good friend, to play the fool too, or the stage will not be well filled, nor the comedy of life well performed, nor the spectators well pleased.

Take, Eusebius, which part you please,—you will ultimately fall into your natural character, and however you may shift a little with age, you will ever have a hankering after "one more last appearance" in motley. I doubt if the daily moving scene would be perfect without the beggar's rags. Their loose uncared for freedom, the independence of an escape beyond the limits of poverty, which, says the satirist, makes men ridiculous, floating in the wind or drooping in the rain, alike defying and disregarding the better or the worse of fortune, have their moral as well as pictorial use and dignity too in the panorama. The beggar's negligence is the running commentary on the rich man's anxieties. All is right in its place; you have only to look and admire the show. The grandest cathedrals, with their ornamented towers or spires seeking heaven as their own, are not always the worse for a contiguous poverty of humble dwellings, which they do but seem to take under their sacred protection; and thus the low elevates still more the great. You and I may be well content, by the lowness of our apparel, to magnify the magnificent; only, I confess that when I find myself standing as a foil to one of our rough-haired, be-whiskered and bearded fops, I do sometimes feel inclined to throw a nut in his way to see if he be a monkey or a man. One would not wish to be showman to the brute. The contempt of the fop is of little moment; and here I cannot but think Anacharsis was wrong, when he proposed to himself to leave Greece on account of the derision cast upon him for his dress.

I admire your offering the example of Aristippus, as an inducement to quit the character of the sloven. You say he accepted a rich robe; but you must remember that the wiser Plato refused it. Besides, it was in the philosophy of Aristippus to take either part, and to appear fop or sloven as his humour pleased him, or convenience led him. "Omnis Aristippum decuit color," says Horace; and let me suggest that color must have meant, not color vitæ, (or if it so be, it is a metaphor from the thing,) but the colour of his cloth—black, perhaps, turned brown—seedy. He was certainly one to "cut his coat according to his cloth." Diogenes in his rags and his tub was a coxcomb—one would not be like him; he tricked up his poverty, to be observed, and looked at, and admired, quite as much as any other coxcomb would trick out his fashion for the eye. When he desired Alexander to step aside, not to interpose his person between him and the sun, it was but a self-magnifying vanity, that his filthy rags might be the more conspicuous and set off in the splendour of a new light, as conceited religionist sects have done, calling aloud for the finger of scorn to point at the filthy rags of their own flesh and blood; vilifying their bodily man, that their unfleshed and spiritual selves might be seen by that glass through which they bid you look, to rise above and shine in the new[664] light of their own glorification—an idea which they have borrowed from those picture-cherubs, who, only heads and wings, seem altogether to have dropped their bodies and enveloped themselves in a smoky and cloudy vapour peculiarly their own. And truly, Eusebius, I am apt to agree with you, when we see these congregated saints of the New Calendar, and to join in their personal vilification, and to think that merely heads and wings might offer a more salutary odour of sanctity than that which you say you have ever found too pungent in the "Rag Fair" of their New-Paradise Row.

And your Aristippus was not quite to my mind; for though there was a show of wisdom in his carelessness, it was the very show that was displeasing, and the easy putting on of other men's tastes and opinions, as if he himself was as changeable as they. Does not the confirmed sloven appear to be actuated by a nobler kind of philosophy, who, with a soul bent, as man's should be, on durability, resisting to the utmost a common, degrading, and visible mutability, and seeing how changeable a thing fashion of any kind is, and how unworthy a thing it is to become to-morrow utterly unlike what he is to-day, and to be to-day what he was not yesterday, despises these shiftings and changes,—these fittings on and takings off,—these ever-varying metamorphoses that so unman him, and rests with a firm disregard of appearance, which, if unsteady, must be false to the character that is or should be within him; and if it be not false, is but the greater shame, and fixes the instability upon his mind? Is it not a kind of blot upon the fair profession of respect and reverence, to stoop and put on the livery of a fashion which leads you up to the portraits of your ancestors, and bids you turn to ridicule their attire, and perhaps makes you laugh at the father who begat you?—or subject yourself to a like disgrace, by imagining them to be looking down from the walls in contempt upon yourself, and that the fading colours blush for you? I have heard a neighbour tell of a friend of his, who had done great things, in a worldly sense, for his family, and who, wishing to stand well in the eyes of his posterity, with an affectionate reminiscence had his portrait taken in his wedding-suit. But after this, going to a play, and seeing the counterpart upon the stage, he bethought him that such might be the case with his suit,—that it might be sold, and go to the theatrical wardrobe: so, as he said, to save his posterity the disgrace of casting contempt or ridicule upon one who had done so much for them, he had the dress painted out, and left it in his will, that the real wedding-suit should be buried with him. Indeed, it is recorded of a gentleman about a century ago, who, having a very goodly show of ancestors, was so shocked at the unfashionable appearances of his Vandykes, that he had the fashionable bob-wigs of the day put upon them all.

And this, Eusebius, reminds me to speak of painters, who in nothing are more at a loss than in what manner to dress their sitters. They have almost all come to the conviction at last, that a kind of slovenly undress is the best, and are sure to adopt it, unless by particular desire, and to commemorate official consequence, the robes and chain of a lord mayor are required, at an extra charge, or the solemn look of one who is nobody must be removed from asinine insignificance by a great quantity of fur, or a red curtain suspended from a marble column in the open air. Sculptors take a bolder step, and, with a taste that does credit to their sagacity, give the bust, without hesitation, a slovenly dignity,—simply throw an old huckaback towel round the chest and over the shoulder, and trust to the features of the man and the material of the marble to add weight and consequence. The historical painter would be worse off still, had he not by common consent a kind of sovereignty over dress. His greatest desire is, upon all occasions, entirely to discard it, as much as may be to paint the nude, as if there were no truth but naked truth. The trim suit is his aversion; the wardrobe for his lay figures offers but a curious assemblage of rags.

It would be difficult to learn how to grapple with this Proteus of dress—mutable fashion. I am told that our dresses, male and female, were extremely[665] ridiculous in the eyes of the French, when we visited the continent after the Peace. The Persian visitors were astonished that we wore our hair in the wrong place—on the head instead of the chin. There is almost a slovenly simplicity which alone properly imitates the natural ease and grace of unconfined nature. The farther we depart from it, we go but back again to the rude, uncultured barbarian. Sir Joshua somewhere says, that if a tattooed Indian and a powdered and buttoned man of fashion should meet in the street, he that laughed first would be the real savage.

I am not, Eusebius, contending against the advice of Polonius,

"Costly your habit as your purse can buy."

You should, however, remember to whom that advice was given,—to the courtier Laertes, that "man about town" in Denmark.

Your quotation will not, be assured, fit me, and, I suspect, not yourself either, with a new suit. We must play our parts, and dress accordingly. For, as the old courtier adds—

"The apparel oft proclaims the man."

I would have your courtier, who is but a sort of palace furniture, dress to suit, and make perfect the millinery and upholstery about him. You say that the being a good dresser made the fortune of Sir Walter Raleigh, when he threw his costly paletot before the feet of Queen Elizabeth. True; but that trick is not to be played twice. You are more likely to enter the palace like the boy Jones, than through any such Eusebian gallantry. And what should you or I do there? You would make but a sorry Aristippus, wearing your court suit, indeed, "with a difference;" for there is not a tailor that would not mismeasure you in your unsteady postures; and you would make them worse by your uncontrolled laugh at your new position.

I am no greater sloven than yourself. You have, in fact, therein the advantage of me by a greater laxity. You could not make a Mantalini. But—not to think of that extravagance—let me remind you of a kind of "well-dressed man" whom I have often heard you say you should like to trip up and lodge in a gutter. It is one who is always well-dressed, always the same, whatever the temperature—one whom rain never wets, suns never make to fade, whom dirt will not splash. In summer he never looks hot. Dust will not attach to his boots or to his coat. He walks about, and always alone. He is quite out of the pale and contact of friendship, as if the invisible creatures so admirably described in the "Rape of the Lock" were with invisible brushes ever busying themselves about his male attire. You never see him accost or be accosted by man or woman. His shadow, if he has one, must smooth the dust upon which it falls. There is no wear and tear in him, nor in any thing about him. His voice, if utterance he hath, must be of a poor monotony, of a preservative tone, and without growth. Whence he comes or whither he goes, is an undivulged secret. Does he undress? He is so unchangeable, so ever the same neat, well-dressed, unsoiled, and unsoilable man. He never was in a chrysalis state. He must have been beat out of some tailor's brains with a goose, and come into the world ready dressed, and unborn of woman. However fashion changes, it is all the same, he is never out of it. Like dissolving views, he slides unnoticeably from costume to costume, without one article about him being ever newer or older, and you never can tell where the difference is. Changes must take place, yet in some charmed invisible manner. He is like a man made by the magical words of Pancrates the Memphian out of a broomstick, and set walking about, and as if the Encrates tailor had forgotten the charm to reduce him again; and so he had walked about ever since.

While I thus laugh in the glory of slovenliness, I must refrain from entering upon a wider field,—woman's influences in the full dressed world.—Let them enjoy their prerogative undisturbed. As we shall not undergo a feminine metamorphosis, we are not likely to suffer, from their amiable dress vagaries, unless they should return to some of their older fashions, in which case, we must alter our very houses to please them; as was done for Isabel of Bavaria, the luxurious[666] consort of Charles VI. of France, who, when he kept court at Vincennes, was compelled to call in the architect, and have all the doors of the palace made higher, to admit the head-dresses of the Queen and her ladies. Yet we need not laugh, for, Eusebius, if the trunk hose should come into vogue again, our doorways must be widened. That would not be so bad as a return on our side of the question to a tight fit, on which condition every limb was in misery, that, to think of, will reconcile you to our loose indifference. What a monstrous contrast of extremes has been exhibited, from the tight pantaloon, such as we see it in some old pictures, to the great breeches worn in the beginning of the reign of Elizabeth! In the "Pedigree of the English gallant," an account is given of a man, whom the Judges accused of wearing breeches contrary to law, (a law was made against them.) His defence of himself is curious. "He drawed out of his sloops the contents," viz., a pair of sheets, two table-cloths, ten napkins, four shirts, a brush, a glass, and a comb, with night-caps, and other things, saying, "Your worships may understand, that because I have no safer a store-house, these pockets do serve me for a room to lay up my goods in, and though it be a straight prison, yet it is big enough for them, for I have many things of value yet within it." He was discharged, as he should have been, with his merchandise, and allowed to trade freely on his own bottom. Hudibras carried some such a cupboard. Small must have been the population, when these inexpressibles, great inexpressibles, gallanted with the ladies' large hoop farthingales. A few pairs must have occupied no small space. A courtship in those days must have resembled a siege, where the principal defence lay in the outworks, and the difficulty of approach was not a little enhanced by the encumbrances of the advancing party.

Who was the first coxcomb? Was dress, in its origin, a modest or immodest appendage to the person; or rather when did it first cease to be merely a protection or concealment? Is love of ornament a natural virtue, or a superinduced vice? These are curious speculations. There is an old play I have somewhere read of, which represents our first parents in Paradise perfectly nude, and so were they exhibited, and in public, without shame. The subsequent acts introduced them dressed; and the last act, I believe, in the fashion of the day in which the play was acted. As all plays were then serious, was this representation a satire on coxcombry, and intended to exhibit the progress of personal degradation?

What does a man propose to himself when he goes to his tailor's? Is it to be clothed or adorned? Is it to hide a defect, that he may not appear worse than he is, or that he may appear better than he is? To attract observation or to escape it. Is the pride in dress, or in undress? Ingenious in self-deceit was the reply of the man reproved for the badness of his dress, "Oh every body knows me here;" and his reply when seen in the same suit far from his home, "Oh nobody knows me here." This was a true amateur; he loved slovenliness for its own sake. Few believe themselves so ill-made, as that the "dogs will bark at them." Even Richard III., who owned to his deformity, gets a little in love with himself, and thinks of adorning his person. "I do mistake my person all this while." He determines to act the exquisite.

"I'll be at charges for a looking-glass;
And entertain a score or two of tailors,
To study fashions to adorn my body.
Since I have crept in favour with myself,
I will maintain it with some little cost."

Or does the satirical and successful Richard merely laugh at your fop-wooers, and, proud of his own superiority, contemn them, by imagining their dress on his own person? One would really think, from the figures one sees, that there are people who dress purposely to spite the tailors, as there are those who are paid to be walking placards of recommendation.

The butcher who ran after the fat man, and stopped him crying, "Be so good, sir, as to say you buy your meat of me," was not more aware of the benefit of such a personal recommendation, than is our fashionable tailor. A well-made man, if he is in tolerable fashion, may be supplied with clothes, as I am credibly informed, for[667] nothing but the merely notifying the makers. They are the decoy-ducks, excepting that, though they have fine feathers, they have no bills.

I am told that a fashionable tailor would be quite shy of an ill-made and vulgar looking customer; and generally charges his dislike in his bill, that he may lose him. I knew a portrait painter, that professed to decline, painting ugly people, upon that principle, and consequently his success was quite astonishing; every one he did paint was in better humour with himself, and was proud of his certificate of beauty when he named the artist. Were you and I, Eusebius, to presume to enter the saloon of a fashionable cutter, and order suits, they would be purposely so ill-made, that no one should suspect from whence they came. And we should ever wear them with a hitch of discomfort in some part or other. So that, were we to try our best at foppery, we could not now succeed. I have tried it upon various occasions, and convinced myself that I was not born to it, and certainly neither of us has acquired a second nature that any tailor would recognise. A tailor's man, like the poet, must be born with nature's fit, or nothing else will fit him,—"nascitur non fit." Some wear their limbs so loosely, that they move them as do those German toys, whose legs you see children jerk with a string. The best Sartorial artist can make nothing of them; they are a mockery even upon the manufacture of "journeymen," they "imitate nature so abominably."

How I came to be a sloven! Well, if I am a sloven, which I hardly know how to admit, and if I am a little in love with a kind of genteel slovenry, how came I by it? I did not take to it naturally, as you did, Eusebius; I caught it. And once caught, however we may upon occasions throw it off, it returns like an influenza, and becomes a continual habit. Few, indeed, are there who are not born with a contrary propensity, inheriting it from their mothers, whose preparations for the coming offspring were of the finest, the ventum textilem, as Apuleius calls it,—woven wind. Early, indeed, in his day of existence, is the little infant taught to show off, both his nude and his finery, and to hear the beauty of both commended. Thus is vanity engendered in the bud. You were a born genius, and exempt from the cradle from this visible mark of frailty. It was not so with me; I was an incipient fop before I could walk. And now I remember, Eusebius, that I sent you a letter some years ago, that should have answered, though perhaps imperfectly, your question. It was a "passage of autobiography," giving you an account of my first entrance at a public school, and how I was "breeched." How one Mr. Flight, after much tugging and pulling, by himself and foreman, did contrive to fit me into a pair of mouse-colour leather inexpressibles,—a good name for them, too, for I was hardly pressible in or out of them. Do you not remember my narration of the second time of putting them on, on my first morning at Winchester College, while the chapel bell was going, and I not yet fitted in; and how at last I did contrive to get some portion of me into them, and to fasten one button, and how I ran (but that word won't express the movement I made) breathless into the chapel, and on kneeling down, the button gave way to my shame, discomfort, and disgrace, exposure, ridicule. I might parody what the cock said to the fox,

"The master my defeat, and all the school-boys, see."

This was my first disgust at my own personal appearance. I hated my leathers; but they stuck to me, nevertheless,—my wardrobe contained nothing but leathers. I was like the dog that had killed his first lamb, forced to wear the skin, that became more odious every day. Here was a first distaste to dress. The fit was uncomfortable enough; but, besides, I was a subject of ridicule.

Time, with its wear and tear, took off the pride of my nether garment, and affected at length a kind of reconciliation between us. We fitted each other better, and both entered into a compact of mutual slovenry. Things won't last for ever, although, in those days, the trade did affect to manufacture a material they called[668] "everlasting." As the quotation from an old song will show:

"And this my old coat, which is threadbare to-day,
May become everlasting to-morrow."

With new breeches come new manners, new ideas. Foppery takes growth again, though it is somewhat tender; struggles for life, but somehow or other acquires strength in the struggle. You contend against it, you wrestle with it, and, by a kind of enchantment, it becomes the tailor Antæus, and rises from every defeat a bigger man than ever. Behold me, let me stand for my picture, Ætatis 18, Scholæ Wintoniensis alumnus. The date is at present unmentionable,—it will be found one of these days at the back of the canvass; behold me at the college gates, turning my back, for about my last holidays, upon those statuesque antique worthies, Sophocles, Euripides, Æschylus. We have shaken hands finally with the sublime Longinus, preferring for the time a "sublime and beautiful" of our own, a butterfly of the first down. On second thoughts, I am not quite fit to stand there yet; I must describe my preliminary state. My boots, I rather think, my first boots, had come home the night before; boots then were no more like boots now, than are loose trousers to Mr. Flight's mouse-coloured tights. There was nearly the same process of pulling and tugging to get them on, and when once on, the revocare gradum was next to an impossibility. The leather, too, was of a more soaky oily kind, I suppose, and stuck like adhesive plaster, and drew like that medicated material. My boots were on, over-night, but no tug of war, no steam power of man or men—for we all tugged, and all steamed—could get them off. So it was determined I should sleep in them. It was very well so to determine, but sleep, as the negro said, "hab no massa," and would not obey. The bootmaker had advised and disappeared. It was soon found a just observation, Ne sutor ultra crepidam. Sleep would not be bed ridden, for I was booted, possibly spurred; not even a classical charm would do,

"Heus, al quis long â sub nocte, puellæ,
Brachia nexa tenens ultro te somne repellit,
Inde veni."

Sleep was only the more obstinate, and preferred better society, or worse. Sleep has been too much petted by panegyrists, till he has learnt ill manners, lies down with the clown and the drunkard, for whom he leaves the presence and courting arms of suffering beauty,—such were my thoughts in those youthful classical and romantic days, and the above passage was most likely Latinised,—"shown up." Probatum est.

I must hasten on, for I am, though booted, not dressed yet. With a sickening sensation, at the earliest gray light of a midsummer dawn, did I put on my clothes—my bran-new, in which I was to go out into the sunshine of life. First, there was a pair of bright orange-colour plush breeches; a light buff waistcoat with a sham-red under; a coat—no—nor jacket nor coat, but a beautiful tailor-creation, a coatee; colour, green; buttons, shining metal. My boots were of the kind called tops.

Now I am ready to stand at the college gates for my picture, whip in hand, though a chaise is waiting for me and two more. My "copartners in exile" temporary, are waiting for me. They vociferate impatience. Is the portrait finished? Then complete it at your leisure, secundum artem. I am off. But while I have been standing for this portrait, the sun has risen; it is intensely hot. Heat of weather, tight boots, and swelling legs and limbs, are doing their work in and out of me. I am in a sad perspiration; and so off we go. We had reached the first mile-stone; then I discover I had left my purse behind me. Out I leap, run all the way back to "chamber," and away again to the chaise. I have at this moment a painful remembrance of that short pedestrian excursion—the heat intense, the orange-yellow plush flushing up into my face, the glare of buttons, the now-agony of my booted legs and feet, the difficulty of making the needful speed, and fear of the practical joke of leaving me behind—altogether these pains and discomforts put me into a kind of bilious fever, so that, if I did not loathe myself, I did most thoroughly my clothes. From that day I took a disgust to yellows, any thing glaring—abhorred my orange-plush:[669] and I do not believe I had any symptom of foppery about me for three years after that memorable time. There is, indeed, a miniature portrait of me extant, taken about that period: it has a dash of powder in the hair, a rather smirking look; and there is a blue coat, metal buttons, the yellow waistcoat and red under; but I suspect these are not out of my wardrobe. They are from Mr Carmine's recipe-book of portrait costume, and may be found in page 6, lettered, "For very young gentlemen." I am pretty sure the dress, at least as it looks there, was not mine; for I remember well a remonstrance from my parent about that time, thus—"My son, you are too great a sloven."

I never quite recovered this; but there did come days of philandering, when I mended a little, and occasionally appeared thus. Behold me entering the ball-room—coat, blue, metal buttons; waistcoat, white dimity; nethers, black tights; pinkish silk stockings, highly-polished shoes, with small silver buckles; hair slightly powdered, and a slip of a tail that could flirt with either shoulder. You will see that there is a little of the sentimental cast in this: it was a doubtful dress, capable, by a very small change, of making the wearer a Hamlet or a Romeo for the night, as he might determine beforehand. I continued thus for a while respectable, and might have remained so to this day, but for an unfortunate taste which I acquired, and which threw me into irredeemable slovenry, in which I have remained ever since. In my idleness, which soon became, as Shakespeare so aptly calls it, "shapeless," I dabbled with paints, oils, and colours; and as with growing improvement I enlarged the dimensions of my operations from inch to the foot, and from foot to the yard, I was soon above my elbows in the unclean "materièl." There were no tube colours in those days; we had bladders. They were always bursting; and thus they bedaubed the hands, and the hands bedaubed the clothes; and amateurs were then Picts, up to their very eyes. Young as I was, I of course fancied myself a genius, and painted so large, and so largely, that a common-sized palette impeded my work. I enlarged that, and increased the quantity of my colours. I now mention a frequent disaster, that, being frequent, was quite enough to make a sloven of any one. Take the following scene:—A room such as could be spared me, not too large, in tolerable confusion; daubs in all states of disorder on the walls, against the walls, loose and strained, in all directions; large slabs for grinding colours—oils, turpentine, varnishes, &c. &c., all in that proper disorganisation to enable any youth of a tolerably slovenly person to set up for a genius. Now—it has taken me an hour to set my palette—look at it—here is a goodly row of colours mixed and intermixed after the recipe of Lionardo da Vinci, who would have added more, if paper, as he said, had not failed him. Here, however, are quite enough—and more than enough—satis superque—I look at the palette with extreme satisfaction—my canvass is on the easel—imagination begins to work—alas! too soon—I am not quite ready; I must put in a cup, that diluent oil—in another, turpentine; it is done. I am a little weary, and sit, down for a moment to rest, looking full on my canvass, and giving loose to my fancy—I rise, where is my palette—alas! I have sat upon it. I have had misfortunes in etching with aqua fortis—have been the "biter bit"—but here I was the painter painted. I do not know why the arts should be called Fine—"The Fine Arts"—unless it be in derision of the slovenliness which they occasion. Many a time have I sat upon my colours: a poetical friend once wrote me an ode upon it, and begged me to learn it by rote, as a kind of memoria technica, or charm of preservation. This I declined, not being good-humoured enough to admire any poetry not my own. But I remember upon one such occasion working off my vexation in a sonnet. And I recommend the recipe; you may successfully salve over many a sore distraction by soothing verse. There is a great charm in rhyme, or at least in searching for it, and versifying either altogether saves swearing, or enables you to throw it off very genteelly, and with a grace. I addressed the Fine[670] Arts, whose epithet Fine I take to be given with a superstition of dread, as the old poets did the Furies, calling them Eumenides, thinking they should not fare the worse for giving them a good name; and as later times called the Fairies "the good people," lest they should punish poor innocents, and pinch o'nights. Read, Eusebius, my remonstrance to these personified, deified, and worshipped Fine Arts.


O, ye Fine Arts—why were ye once so Fine,
So dingy now, and working sore disaster;
As that my best of pigments look like plaster,
Compared with those of "Raphael the divine,"
That grow by time still brighter like old wine,
And seem to renovate a dead old master.
Better had I been born to wield a mallet,
A hod, a plough—than sables, hogs and fitches;
If ye must mock and mark your fool your valet,
With motley livery on my coats and breeches;
Making me sit upon my well-set palette,
With merry jeers the whilst I hear you titter,
And compliment me on my only sitter.

Look, Eusebius, as I dare to say you have often done, into the smudge of a colour-maker's shop, and imagine a personification of it in a young amateur aspirant. What a ludicrously serious Harlequin he is made! At last, in despair of acquirement of cleanliness, I plunged, as it were, into the very mud and smudge of paint, and did not hesitate to wipe a brush upon my sleeves.

Thus, I acquired a bad habit—and as I often had the fit to paint when my better dress was on, I now and then seized an unlucky moment of desire, and the better soon came to be the worse. By degrees I fell into a despair of mending; and so I became a confirmed sloven.

One who fastens his knapsack on his back, that is to hold his temporary all, including materials for art, and pedestrianises over a roughish country, may acquire an exquisite taste; but he will not be personally an exquisite. He will be characteristic in look, of the picturesque which he hunts after. He will be very unlike the man I have described to you, whom dust would not soil, or rain wet, or sun burn. The geologist who walks forth, armed to tomahawk the mountains, and bag their bones, will, in a month or so, acquire a strange and stony look; and be, on his first return, and sitting in civil society, little better than the "Man Mountain" himself. Our pursuits are in us and about us, soil our dress and chisel our features. We look in the glass, easily reconcile ourselves to any metamorphosis, and think no one has a right to quarrel with that, which we think, in our self-satisfaction, makes up our beloved identity. No man can be every thing—not all "Admirable Crichtons"—it is the diversity and the difference that makes the pleasing motley in the masquerade of the world. Though you might dance more like the brutes, it does not at all follow but that you may fiddle like Orpheus. Johnson defended Kit Smart, the sloven, (mockery of a name,) having himself no great predilection for clean linen. Dionysius was more happy in the "inky cloak" of the slovenly schoolmaster, than in the golden mantle which his father took from the statue of Jupiter.

Let us both be content to remain as we are. For be assured, Eusebius, that if we make the attempt to change our habits, either of person or of mind, and put on the more trim, and of more fashionable cut, we shall but amuse the spectators by becoming ridiculous; and in making up the characters that are to figure on the stage of the drama of life, insignificant though we be, there will be found wanting two good slovens.



In the year 1843, a fancy fair was held at Paris, for the benefit of the sufferers by an earthquake in the island of Guadaloupe. The patronage of the Queen of the French, added to the strong sympathy awakened by the catastrophe, filled the bazaar with a gay throng, delighted to combine amusement with charity, and to chaffer for baubles with aristocratic saleswomen. Amidst the multitude of tasteful trifles, exposed for sale was a contribution from Queen Marie Amélie—fifty books, printed at the royal press and elegantly bound. They were fifty copies of a volume containing three charming tales, and soon it was whispered that no others had been printed, and that the author was a lady of rank, distinguished for grace and wit, but whose literary talents were previously unknown, save to a limited circle of discreet and admiring friends. At the queen's request, and at the voice of pity, pleading for the unfortunates of Point-à-Pitre, she had sanctioned the printing of fifty copies; these taken, the types had been broken up. Such rumours were more than sufficient to stimulate curiosity, and raise the value of the volume. Every body knows that an author's title often sells a stupid book; should any doubt it, we refer them to our friends Puff and Co.; how much greater the attraction when the book is a clever one, written by a countess, printed by a sovereign's command, and at a royal press. The market rose instantly. Sixty francs, eighty francs, five napoleons, were freely given; how much higher competition raised the price, we cannot say; but we are credibly informed the improvement did not stop there.

The editor of the Revue des Deux Mondes was not the last to hear the history of the volume. He procured a copy, and esteeming it unjust to reserve for a few what was meant for mankind, by limiting the produce of so graceful a pen to the narrow circulation of fifty copies—he laid violent hands upon one of the tales, and reprinted it in his excellent and widely-circulated periodical. Although literally a day after the fair, it was not the less acceptable and successful. The tale, whose title is "Resignation," was attributed by many to the amiable Duchess of Orleans, then in the first year of her widowhood. The real authoress is the Countess d'Arbouville, wife of the lieutenant-general of that name, granddaughter of Madame d'Houdetot, and niece by marriage of Monsieur de Barante. Inheriting much of the wit of her celebrated ancestress, and no small share of the literary aptitude of her accomplished uncle, this lady, without aiming at the reputation of a woman of letters, writes tales of very remarkable merit. Whilst her husband, as governor of Constantine, wields the sabre in defence of Algeria, the Countess, secluded in her boudoir, beguiles her leisure and delights her friends by the exercise of her pen. Last spring, it became known that she had completed the matter of a second volume. Thereupon, she was so besieged by petitioners for the favour of a perusal, that in self-defence, and out of regard to the integrity of her manuscript, she was compelled to print fifty copies for private circulation. Through the kindness of a Parisian friend one of these has reached us. It contains two tales. The first, "Le Medecin du Village," is a simple and touching story, highly attractive by its purity of style and exquisite feeling. The circumstances under which it was printed forbid criticism; otherwise we might cavil at its introduction as unartistical, and at one of the incidents—the restoration of an idiot boy of fifteen to unclouded reason—as unprecedented and out of nature. But one dwells not on these blemishes whilst reading the old doctor's affecting tale, which does equal honour to the heart and mind of the authoress. We would gladly place it before our readers in an English dress, but the indefatigable Monsieur Buloz, ever watchful of the interests of his review, has already pounced upon it. It had scarcely been printed, when he transferred it to the pages of the Revue des Deux Mondes. We are obliged, therefore,[672] to content ourselves with the second tale, no way inferior to its fellow, but whose greater length compels us to abridge. This we would fain avoid, for even without such curtailment it is impossible to render in another language the full charm of the original, a charm residing in delicacy of style and touch rather than in description or incident. We will do our best, however, and should the attempt meet the eye and disapproval of Madame d'Arbouville, we wish it may stimulate her to print her next work by thousands instead of tens, that all conversant with the French tongue may have opportunities of reading and appreciating the productions of so pleasing a writer.

The tale in question is entitled—


It was the hour of sunrise. Not the gorgeous sunrise of Spain or Italy, when the horizon's ruddy blaze suddenly revives all that breathes, when golden rays mingle with the deep azure of a southern sky, and nature bursts into vitality and vigour, as if light gave life. The sun rose upon the chilly shores of Holland. The clouds opened to give exit to a pale light, without heat or brilliancy. Nature passed insensibly from sleep to waking, but continued torpid when ceasing to slumber. No cry or joyous song, no flight of birds, or bleating of flocks, hail the advent of a new day. On the summit of the dykes, the reed-hedges bend before the breeze, and the sea-sand, whirled over the slight obstacle, falls upon the meadows, covering their verdure with a moving veil. A river, yellow with the slime of its banks, flows peaceably and patiently towards the expectant ocean. Seen from afar, its waters and its shore appear of one colour, resembling a sandy plain; save where a ray of light, breaking upon the surface, reveals by silvery flashes the passage of the stream. Ponderous boats descend it, drawn by teams of horses, whose large feet sink into the sand as they advance leisurely and without distress to the goal of their journey. Behind them strides a peasant, whip on shoulder; he hurries not his cattle, he looks neither at the stream that flows, nor the beasts that draw, nor the boat that follows; he plods steadily onwards, trusting to perseverance to attain his end.

Such is a corner of the picture presented to the traveller in Holland, the country charged, it would seem, more than any other, to enforce God's command to the waters, Thou shalt go no farther! This silent repose of creatures and things, this mild light, these neutral tints and vast motionless plains, are not without a certain poetry of their own. Wherever space and silence are united, poetry finds place; she loves all things more or less, whether smiling landscape or dreary desert; light of wing, a trifle will detain and support her—a blade of grass often suffices. And Holland, which Butler has called a large ship always at anchor, has its beauties for the thoughtful observer. Gradually one learns to admire this land at war with ocean and struggling daily for existence; those cities which compel the waters to flow at their ramparts' foot, to follow the given track, and abide in the allotted bed; then those days of revolt, when the waves would fain reconquer their independence, when they overflow and inundate, and destroy, and at last, constrained by the hand of man, subside and again obey.

As the sun rose, a small boat glided rapidly down the stream. It had a single occupant, a tall young man, lithe, skilful, and strong, who, although apparently in haste, kept near the shore, following the windings of the bank, and avoiding the centre of the current, which would have accelerated his progress. At that early hour the fields were deserted; the birds alone had risen earlier than the boatman, whose large hat of gray felt lay beside him, whilst his brown locks, tossed backward by the wind, disclosed regular features, a broad open forehead, and eyes somewhat thoughtful, like those of the men of the north. His costume denoted a student from a German university. One gathered from his extreme youth, that his life[673] had hitherto passed on academic benches, and that it was still a new and lively pleasure to him to feel the freshness of morning bathe his brow, the breeze play with his hair, the stream bear along his bark. He hastened, for there are times when we count the hours ill; when we outstrip and tax them with delay. Then, if we cannot hurry the pace of time, we prefer at least to wait at the appointed spot. It calms impatience, and resembles a commencement of happiness.

When the skiff had rounded a promontory of the bank, its speed increased, as if the eye directing it had gained sight of the goal. At a short distance the landscape changed its character. A meadow sloped down to the stream, fringed by a thick hedge of willows, half uprooted and inclined over the water. The boat reached the shadow of the trees, and stopping there, rocked gently on the river, secured by a chain cast round a branch. The young man stood up and looked anxiously through the foliage; then he sang, in a low tone, the burthen of a ballad, a love-plaint, the national poetry of all countries. His voice, at first subdued, not to break too suddenly the surrounding silence, gradually rose as the song drew to a close. The clear mellow notes escaped from the bower of drooping leaves, and expired without echo or reply upon the surface of the pasture. Then he sat down and contemplated the peaceful picture presented to his view. The gray sky had that melancholy look so depressing to the joyless and hopeless; the cold dull water rolled noiselessly onward; to the left, the plain extended afar without variety of surface. A few windmills reared their gaunt arms, waiting for the wind; and the wind, too weak to stir them, passed on and left them motionless. To the right, at the extremity of the little meadow, stood a square house of red bricks and regular construction, isolated, silent, and melancholy. The thick greenish glass of the windows refused to reflect the sunbeams; the roof supported gilded vanes of fantastical form; the garden was laid out in formal parterres. A few tulips, drooping their heavy heads, and dahlias, propped with white sticks, were the sole flowers growing there, and these were hemmed in and stifled by hedges of box. Trees, stunted and shabby, and with dust-covered leaves, were cut into walls and into various eccentric shapes. At the corners of the formal alleys, whose complicated windings were limited to a narrow space, stood a few plaster figures. One of these alleys led to the willow-hedge. There nature resumed her rights; the willows grew free and unrestrained, stretching out from the land and drooping into the water; their inclined trunks forming flying-bridges, supported but at one end. The bank was high enough for a certain space to intervene between the stream and the horizontal stems. A few branches, longer than the rest, swept the surface of the river, and were kept in constant motion by its current.

Beneath this dome of verdure the boat was moored, and there the young man mused, gazing at the sky—melancholy as his heart—and at the stream, in its course uncertain as his destiny. A few willow leaves fluttered against his brow, one of his hands hung in the water, a gentle breeze stirred his hair; nameless flowerets, blooming in the shelter of the trees, gave out a faint perfume, detectible at intervals, at the wind's caprice. A bird, hidden in the foliage, piped an amorous note, and the student, cradled in his skiff, awaited his love. Ungrateful that he was! he called time a laggard, and bid him speed; he was insensible to the charm of the present hour. Ah! if he grows old, how well will he understand that fortune then lavished on him the richest treasures of life—hope and youth!

Suddenly the student started, stood up, and, with outstretched neck, and eyes riveted on the trees, he listened, scarce daring to breathe. The foliage opened, and the face of a young girl was revealed to his gaze. "Christine!" he exclaimed.

Christine stepped upon the trunk of the lowest tree, and seated herself with address on this pliant bench, which her weight, slight as it was, caused to yield and rock. One of her arms, extended through the branches that drooped towards the water, reached that of her lover, who tenderly[674] pressed her hand. Then she drew herself up again, and the tree, less loaded, seemed to obey her will by imitating her movement. The young man sat in his boat, with eyes uplifted towards the willow on which she he loved reposed.

Christine Van Amberg had none of the distinguishing features of the country of her birth. Hair black as the raven's wing formed a frame to a face full of energy and expression. Her large eyes were dark and penetrating; her eyebrows, strongly marked and almost straight, would perhaps have imparted too decided a character to her young head, if a charming expression of candour and naïveté had not given her the countenance of a child, rather than of a woman. Christine was fifteen years of age. A slender silver circlet bound her brow and jet-black tresses—a holiday ornament, according to her country's custom: but her greatest festival was the sight of her lover. She wore a simple muslin dress of a pale blue colour; a black silk mantle, intended to envelope her figure, was placed upon her hair, and fell back upon her shoulders, as if the better to screen her from the gaze of the curious. Seated on a tree trunk, surrounded by branches and beside the water, like Shakspere's Ophelia, Christine was charming. But although young, beautiful, and beloved, deep melancholy was the characteristic of her features. Her companion, too, gazed mournfully at her, with eyes to which the tears seemed about to start.

"Herbert," said the young girl, stooping towards her lover, "Herbert, be not so sad! we are both too young to despair of life. Herbert! better times will come."

"Christine! they have refused me your hand, expelled me your dwelling,—they would separate us entirely: they will succeed, to-morrow perhaps!..."

"Never!" exclaimed the young girl, with a glance like the lightning's flash. But, like that flash, the expression of energy was momentary, and gave way to one of calm melancholy.

"If you would, Christine, if you would!... how easy were it to fly together, to unite our destinies on a foreign shore, and to live for each other, happy and forgotten!... I will lead you to those glorious lands where the sun shines as you see it in your dreams,—to the summit of lofty mountains whence the eye discovers a boundless horizon,—to noble forests with their thousand tints of green, where the fresh breeze shall quicken your cheek, and sweep from your memory these fogs, this humid clime, these monotonous plains. Our days shall pass happily in a country worthy of our loves."

As Herbert spoke, the young girl grew animated; she seemed to see what he described, her eager eye sought the horizon as though she would overleap it, her lips parted as to inhale the mountain breeze. Then she passed her hand hastily across her eyes, and sighed deeply. "No!" she exclaimed, "no, I must remain here!... Herbert, it is my country: why does it make me suffer? I remember another sky, another land,—but no, it is a dream! I was born here, and have scarcely passed the boundary of this meadow. My mother sang too often beside my cradle the ballads and boleros of her native Seville; she told me too much of Spain, and I love that unknown land as one pines after an absent friend!"

The young girl glanced at the river, over which a dense fog was spreading. A few rain-drops pattered amongst the leaves; she crossed her mantle on her breast, and her whole frame shivered with sudden chill.

"Leave me, Christine, you suffer! return home, and, since you reject my roof and hearth, abide with those who can shelter and warm you."

A sweet smile played upon Christine's lips. "My beloved," she said, "near you I prefer the chilling rain, this rough branch, and the biting wind, to my seat in the house, far from you, beside the blazing chimney. Ah! with what joy and confidence would I start on foot for the farthest corner of the earth, your arm my sole support, your love my only wealth. But ..."

"What retains you, Christine? your father's affection, your sisters' tenderness, your happy home?"

The young girl grew pale. "Herbert, it is cruel to speak thus. Well[675] do I know that my father loves me not, that my sisters are often unkind to me, that my home is unhappy; I know it, indeed I know it, and I will follow you ... if my mother consents!"

Herbert looked at his mistress with astonishment. "Child!" he exclaimed, "such consent will never leave your mother's lips. There are cases where strength and resolution must be found in one's own heart. Your mother will never say yes."

"Perhaps!" replied Christine, slowly and gravely. "My mother loves me; I resemble her in most things, and her heart understands mine. She knows that Scripture says a woman shall leave her father and mother to follow her husband; she is aware of our attachment, and, since our door has been closed against you, I have not shed a tear that she has not detected and replied to by another. You misjudge my mother, Herbert! Something tells me she has suffered, and knows that a little happiness is essential to life as the air we breathe. Nor would it surprise me, if one day, when embracing me, as she does each night when we are alone, she were to whisper: Begone, my poor child!"

"I cannot think it, Christine. She will bid you obey, be comforted, forget!"

"Forget! Herbert, my mother forgets nothing. To forget is the resource of cowardly hearts. No,—none will bid me forget."

And once more a gloomy fire flashed in Christine's eyes, like the rapid passage of a flame which illumines and instantly expires. It was a revelation of the future rather than the expression of the present. An ardent soul dwelt within her, but had not yet cast off all the encumbrances of childhood. It struggled to make its way, and at times, succeeding for a moment, a word or cry revealed its presence.

"No—I shall not forget," added Christine; "I love you, and you love me, who am so little loved! You find me neither foolish, nor fantastical, nor capricious; you understand my reveries and the thousand strange thoughts that invade my heart. I am very young, Herbert; and yet, here, with my hand in yours, I answer for the future. I shall always love you!... and see, I do not weep. I have faith in the happiness of our love; how? when? I know not,—it is the secret of my Creator, who would not have sent me upon earth only to suffer. Happiness will come when He deems right, but come it will! Yes,—I am young, full of life, I have need of air and space; I shall not live enclosed and smothered here. The world is large, and I will know it; my heart is full of love, and will love for ever. No tears, dearest! obstacles shall be overcome, they must give way, for I will be happy!"

"But why delay, Christine? My love! my wife! an opportunity lost may never be regained. A minute often decides the fate of a lifetime. Perhaps, at this very moment, happiness is near us! A leap into my boat, a few strokes of the oar, and we are united for ever!... Perhaps, if you again return to land, we are for ever separated. Christine, come! The wind rises: beneath my feet is a sail that will quickly swell and bear us away rapidly as the wings of yon bird."

Tears flowed fast over Christine's burning cheeks. She shuddered, looked at her lover, at the horizon, thought of liberty; she hesitated, and a violent struggle agitated her soul. At last, hiding her face amongst the leafage of the willow, she clasped her arms round its stem, as if to withhold herself from entering the boat, and in a stifled voice muttered the words,—"My mother!" A few seconds afterwards, she, raised her pallid countenance.

"If I fled," said she gently, "to whom would my mother speak of her dear country? Who would weep with her when she weeps, if I were gone? She has other children, but they are gay and happy, and do not resemble her. Only my mother and myself are sad in our house. My mother would die of my absence. I must receive her farewell blessing or remain by her side, chilled like her by this inclement climate, imprisoned in yonder walls, ill-treated by those who love me not. Herbert, I will not fly, I will wait!" And she made a movement to regain the strand.

"One instant,—yet one second,—Christine![676] I know not what chilling presentiment oppresses my heart. Dearest,—if we were to meet no more! If this little corner of earth were our last trysting-place—these melancholy willows the witnesses of of our eternal separation! Is it—can it be—the last happy hour of my life that has just slipped by?"

He covered his face with his hands, to conceal his tears. Christine's heart beat violently—but she had courage.

Letting herself drop from the tree, she stood upon the bank, separated from the boat, which could not come nearer to shore.

"Adieu, Herbert!" said she, "one day I will be your wife, faithful and loving. It shall be, for I will have it so. Let us both pray God to hasten that happy day. Adieu, I love you! Adieu, and till our next meeting, for I love you!"

The barrier of reeds and willows opened before the young girl. A few small branches crackled beneath her tread; there was a slight noise in the grass and bushes, as when a bird takes flight; then all was silence.

Herbert wept.

The clock in the red brick house struck eight, and the family of Van Amberg the merchant were mustered in the breakfast-room. Christine was the only absentee. Near the fire stood the head of the family—Karl Van Amberg—and beside him his brother, who, older than himself, yielded the prerogative of seniority, and left him master of the community. Madame Van Amberg was working near a window, and her two elder daughters, fair-haired, white-skinned Dutchwomen, prepared the breakfast.

Karl Van Amberg, the dreaded chief of this family, was of lofty stature; his gait was stiff; his physiognomy passionless. His face, whose features at first appeared insignificant, denoted a domineering temper. His manners were cold. He spoke little; never to praise, but often in terms of dry and imperious censure. His glance preceded his words and rendered them nearly superfluous, so energetically could that small sunken gray eye make itself understood. With the sole aid of his own patience and ambition, Karl Van Amberg had made a large fortune. His ships covered the seas. Never loved, always respected, his credit was every where excellent. Absolute monarch in his own house, none dreamed of opposing his will. All were mute and awed in his presence. At this moment, he was leaning against the chimney-piece. His black garments were very plain, but not devoid of a certain austere elegance.

William Van Amberg, Karl's brother, was quite of an opposite character. He would have passed his life in poverty, subsisting on the scanty income left him by his parents, had not Karl desired wealth. He placed his modest fortune in his brother's hands, saying, "Act as for yourself!" Attached to his native nook of land, he lived in peace, smoking and smiling, and learning from time to time that he was a richer man by a few hundred thousand francs. One day, he was told that he possessed a million; in reply, he merely wrote, "Thanks, Karl; it will be for your children." Then he forgot his riches, and changed nothing in his manner of life, even adhering in his dress to the coarse materials and graceless fashion of a peasant dreading the vicinity of cities. His youthful studies had consisted of a course of theology. His father, a fervent Catholic, destined him for the church, but it came to pass, as a consequence of his indecision of character, that William neither took orders nor married, but lived quietly in his brother's family. The habitual perusal of religious books sometimes gave his language a mystical tone, contrasting with the rustic simplicity of his exterior. This was his only peculiarity; otherwise he had nothing remarkable but his warm heart and strong good sense. He was the primitive type of his family: his brother was an example of the change caused by newly acquired wealth.

Madame Van Amberg, seated at the window, sewed in silence. Her countenance had the remains of great beauty, but she was weak and suffering. A single glance sufficed to fix her birth-place far from Holland. Her black hair and olive tint betrayed a[677] southern origin. Silently submissive to her husband, his iron character had pressed heavily upon this delicate creature. She had never murmured; now she was dying, but without complaint. Her look was one of deep melancholy. Christine, her third daughter, resembled her. Of dark complexion, like her mother, she contrasted strongly with her rosy-cheeked sisters. M. Van Amberg did not love Christine. Rough and cold, even to those he secretly cherished, he was severe and cruel to those he disliked. He had never been known to kiss Christine. Her mother's were the only caresses she knew, and even those were stealthily and tearfully bestowed. The two poor women hid themselves to love each other.

At intervals, Madame Van Amberg coughed painfully. The damp climate of Holland was slowly conducting to her grave the daughter of Spain's ardent land. Her large melancholy eyes mechanically sought the monotonous horizon, which had bounded her view for twenty years. Fog and rain surrounded the house. She gazed, shivered as if seized with deadly cold, then resumed her work.

Eight o'clock had just struck, and the two young Dutchwomen, who, although rich heiresses, waited upon their father, had just placed the tea and smoked beef upon the table, when Karl Van Amberg turned abruptly to his wife.

"Where is your daughter, Madam?"

He spoke of Christine, whom the restless gaze of Madame Van Amberg vainly sought through the fog veiling the garden. At her husband's question, the lady rose, opened the door, and, leaning on the banister, twice uttered her daughter's name. There was no reply; she grew pale and again looked out anxiously through the fog.

"Go in, Madame," was the surly injunction of Gothon, the old servant woman, who knelt on the hall flags, which she had flooded with soap and water, and was now vigorously scrubbing; "Go in, madame; the damp increases your cough, and Mademoiselle Christine is far enough away! The bird flew before daybreak."

Madame Van Amberg cast a mournful glance across the meadow, where nothing moved, and into the parlour, where her stern husband awaited her; then she went in and sat down at the table, around which the remainder of the family had already placed themselves. No one spoke. All could read displeasure upon M. Van Amberg's countenance, and none dared attempt to change the course of his ideas. His wife kept her eyes fixed upon the window, hoping her daughter's return. Her lips scarcely tasted the milk that filled her cup; visible anguish increased the paleness of her sweet, sad countenance.

"Annunciata, my dear, take some tea," said her brother-in-law. "The day is chill and damp, and you seem to suffer."

Annunciata smiled sadly at William. For sole answer she raised to her lips the tea he offered her, but the effort was too painful, and she replaced the cup upon the table. M. Van Amberg looked at nobody; he ate, his eyes fixed upon his plate.

"Sister," resumed William, "it is a duty to care for one's health, and you, who fulfil all your duties, should not neglect that one."

A slight flush tinged the brow of Annunciata. Her eyes encountered those of her husband, which he slowly turned towards her. Trembling, almost weeping, she ceased her attempts to eat. And the silence was again unbroken, as at the commencement of the meal. At last steps were heard in the passage, the old servant grumbled something which did not reach the parlour, then the door opened, and Christine entered; her muslin dress damp with fog, her graceful curls disordered by the wind, her black mantle glittering with a thousand little rain-drops. She was crimson with embarrassment and fear. Her empty chair was beside her mother; she sat down, and hung her head; none offered aught to the truant child, and the silence continued. Yielding to maternal anxiety, Madame Van Amberg took a handkerchief and wiped the moisture from Christine's forehead and hair; then she took her hands to warm them in her own. For the second time M. Van Amberg looked at his wife. She let Christine's hands fall, and remained downcast and motionless as her daughter. M. Van Amberg rose from[678] table. A tear glistened on the mother's eyes on seeing that her daughter had not eaten. But she said nothing, and returning to the window, resumed her sewing. Christine remained at table, preserving her frightened and abashed attitude. The two eldest girls hastened to remove the breakfast things.

"Do you not see what Wilhelmina and Maria are about? Can you not help them?"

At her father's voice, Christine hastily rose, seized the cups and teapot, and hurried to and fro from parlour to pantry.

"Gently! You will break something!" cried M. Van Amberg. "Begin in time, to finish without hurry."

Christine stood still in the middle of the room. Her two sisters smiled as they passed her, and one of them muttered—for nobody spoke loud in M. Van Amberg's presence,—"Christine will hardly learn housekeeping by looking at the stars and watching the river flow!"

"Now then, Mademoiselle, you are spoiling every thing here!" said the old servant, who had just come in; "go and change that wet gown, which ruins all my furniture."

Christine remained where she was, not daring to stir without the master's order.

"Go," said M. Van Amberg.

The young girl darted from the room and up the stairs, reached her chamber, threw herself upon the bed and burst into tears. Below, Madame Van Amberg continued to sew, her head bent over her work. When the cloth was removed, Wilhelmina and Maria placed a large jug of beer, glasses, long pipes, and a store of tobacco upon the mahogany table, and pushed forward two arm-chairs, in which Karl and William installed themselves.

"Retire to your apartment, Madam," said M. Van Amberg, in the imperious tone habitual to him when he addressed his wife; "I have to discuss matters which do not concern you. Do not leave the house; will call you bye and bye; I wish to speak with you."

Annunciata bowed in token of obedience, and left the room. Wilhelmina and Maria approached their father, who silently kissed their pretty cheeks. The two brothers lit their pipes, and remained alone. William was the first to speak.

"Brother Karl!" said he, resting his arms upon the table, and looking M. Van Amberg in the face, "before proceeding to business, and at risk of offending you, I must relieve my heart. Here, all fear you, and counsel, the salutary support of man, is denied you."

"Speak, William," coldly replied M. Van Amberg.

"Karl, you treat Annunciata very harshly. God commands you to protect her, and you allow her to suffer, perhaps to die before your eyes, without caring for her fate. The strong should sustain the weak. In our native land, we owe kindness to the stranger who cometh from afar. The husband owes protection to her he has chosen for his wife. For all these reasons, brother, I say you treat Annunciata ill."

"Does she complain?" said M. Van Amberg, filling his glass.

"No, brother; only the strong resist and complain. A tree falls with a crash, the reed bends noiselessly to the ground. No, she does not complain, save by silence and suffering, by constant and passive obedience, like that of a soul-less automaton. You have deprived her of life, the poor woman! One day she will cease to move and breathe; she has long ceased to live!"

"Brother, there are words that should not be inconsiderately spoken, judgments that should not be hastily passed, for fear of injustice."

"Do I not know your whole life, Karl, as well as my own, and can I not therefore speak confidently, as one well informed?"

M. Van Amberg inhaled the smoke of his pipe, threw himself back in his arm-chair, and made no reply.

"I know you as I know myself," resumed William gently, "although our hearts were made to love and not to resemble each other. When you found our father's humble dwelling too small, I said nothing; you were ambitious; when a man is born with that misfortune or blessing, he must do like the birds, who have wings to[679] soar; he must strive to rise. You departed; I pressed your hand, and reproached you not; it is right that each man should be happy his own way. You gained much gold, and gave me more than I needed. You returned married, and I did not approve your marriage. It is wiser to seek a companion in the land where one's days are to end; it is something to love the same places and things, and then it is only generous to leave one's wife a family, friends, well-known objects to gaze upon. It is counting greatly on one's self to take sole charge of her happiness. Happiness sometimes consists of so many things! Often an imperceptible atom serves as base to its vast structure: for my part, I do not like presumptuous experiments on the hearts of others. In short, you married a foreigner, who perishes with cold in this country, and sighs, amidst our fogs, for the sun of Spain. You committed a still greater fault—Forgive me, brother; I speak plainly, in order not to return to this subject.

"I am attending to you, William; you are my elder brother."

"Thanks for your patience, Karl. No longer young, you married a very young woman. Your affairs took you to Spain. There you met a needy Spanish noble, to whom you rendered a weighty service. You were always generous, and increasing wealth did not close your hand. This noble had a daughter, a child of fifteen. In spite of your apparent coldness, you were smitten by her beauty, and you asked her of her father. Only one thing struck you; that she was poor and would be enriched by the marriage. A refusal of your offer would have been ingratitude to a benefactor. They gave you Annunciata, and you took her, brother, without looking whether joy was in her eyes, without asking the child whether she willingly followed you, without interrogating her heart. In that country the heart is precocious in its awakening ... perhaps she left behind her some youthful dream ... some early love.... Forgive me, Karl; the subject is difficult to discuss."

"Change it, William," said M. Van Amberg coldly.

"Be it so. You returned hither, and when your business again took you forth upon the ocean, you left Annunciata to my care. She lived many years with me in this house. Karl, her youth was joyless and sad. Isolated and silent, she wore out her days without pleasure or variety. Your two eldest daughters, now the life of our dwelling, were then in the cradle. They were no society to their mother; I was a very grave companion for that young and beautiful creature. I have little reading and knowledge, no imagination; I like my quiet arm-chair, my old books, and my pipe. I at first allowed myself to believe—because I loved to believe it—that Annunciata resembled me,—that tranquillity and a comfortable dwelling would suffice for her happiness, as they sufficed for mine. But at last I understood—what you, brother, I fear have never comprehended—that she was never intended for a Dutch housewife. In the first place, the climate tortured her. She constantly asked me if finer summers would not come,—if the winters were always so rigorous,—the fogs so frequent. I told her no, that the year was a bad one; but I told her a falsehood, for the winters were always the same. At first she tried to sing her Sevillian romances and boleros, but soon her song died away and she wept, for it reminded her too much of her own native land. Silent and motionless she sat, desiring, as I have read in the Bible,—'The wings of the dove to fly away and be at rest.' Brother, it was a melancholy sight. You know not how slowly the winter evenings passed in this parlour. It was dark at four, and she worked by lamp-light till bed-time. I endeavoured to converse, but she knew nothing of the things I knew, and I was ignorant of those that interested her. I saw at last that the greatest kindness was to leave her to herself. She worked or was idle, wept or was calm, and I averted my eyes to give her the only consolation in my power,—a little liberty. But it was very sad, brother!"

There was a moment's silence, broken by M. Van Amberg. "Madame Van Amberg was in her own dwelling," said he, severely, "with[680] her children, and under the protection of a devoted friend. Her husband toiled in foreign parts to increase the fortune of the family; she remained at home to keep house and educate her daughters; all that is very natural." And he filled his pipe.

"True," replied William; "but still she was unhappy. Was it a crime? God will decide. Leave her to his justice, Karl, and let us be merciful! During your long absence, chance conducted hither some Spaniards whom Annunciata had known in her childhood, and amongst them the son of an old friend of her father's. Oh! with what mingled joy and agitation did the dear child welcome her countrymen! What tears she shed in the midst of her joy ... for she had forgotten how to be happy, and every emotion made her weep. How eagerly she heard and spoke her native tongue! She fancied herself again in Spain; for a while she was almost happy. You returned, brother, and you were cruel; one day, without explaining your motives, you shut your door upon the strangers. Tell me, why would you not allow fellow-countrymen, friends, a companion of her childhood, to speak to your wife of her family and native land? Why require complete isolation, and a total rupture with old friends? She obeyed without a murmur, but she suffered more than you thought. I watched her closely; I, her old friend. Since that fresh proof of your rigour, she is sadder than before. A third time she became a mother; it was in vain; her unhappiness continued. Brother, your hand has been too heavy on this feeble creature."

M. Van Amberg rose, and slowly paced the room. "Have you finished, William?" said he; "this conversation is painful, let it end here; do not abuse the license I give you."

"No; I have yet more to say. You are a cold and severe husband, but that is not all; you are also an unjust father. Christine, your third daughter, is denied her share of your affection, and by this partiality you further wound the heart of Annunciata. Christine resembles her; she is what I can fancy her mother at fifteen—a lively and charming Spaniard; she has all her mother's tastes; like her she lives with difficulty in our climate, and although born in it, by a caprice of nature she suffers from it as Annunciata suffered. Brother, the child is not easy to manage; independent, impassioned, violent in all her impressions, she has a love of movement and liberty which ill agrees with our regular habits, but she has also a good heart, and by appealing to it you might perhaps have tamed her wild spirit. For Christine you are neither more nor less than a pitiless judge. Her childhood was one long grief. And thus, far from losing her wild restlessness, she loves more than ever to be abroad and at liberty; she goes out at daybreak; she looks upon the house as a cage whose bars hurt her, and you vainly endeavour to restrain her. Brother, if you would have obedience, show affection. It is a power that succeeds when all others fail. Why prevent her marrying the man she loves? Herbert the student is not rich, nor is his alliance brilliant; but they love each other!"

M. Van Amberg, who had continued his walk, now stopped short, and coldly replied to his brother's accusations; "Christine is only fifteen, and I do my duty by curbing the foolish passion that prematurely disturbs her reason. As to what you call my partiality, you have explained it yourself by the defects of her character. You, who reproach others as pitiless judges, beware yourself of judging too severely. Every man acts according to his internal perceptions, and all things are not good to be spoken. Empty your glass, William, and if you have finished your pipe, do not begin another. The business I had to discuss with you will keep till another day; it is late, and I am tired. It is not always wise to rake up the memories of the past. I wish to be alone a while. Leave me, and tell Madame Van Amberg to come to me in a quarter of an hour."

"Why not say, 'Tell Annunciata?' Why, for so long a time, has that strange sweet name never passed your lips?"

"Tell Madame Van Amberg I would speak with her, and leave me, brother," replied Karl sternly.

[681]William felt he had pushed Karl Van Amberg's patience to its utmost limit; he got up and left the room. At the foot of the stairs he hesitated a moment, then ascended, and sought Annunciata in Christine's chamber. It was a narrow cell, shining with cleanliness, and containing a few flowers in glasses, a wooden crucifix, with chaplets of beads hanging on it, and a snow-white bed; a guitar (it was her mother's) was suspended on the wall. From the window was seen the meadow, the river, and the willows. Christine sat on the foot of the bed, still weeping; her mother was beside her, offering her bread and milk, with which Christine's tears mingled. Annunciata kissed her daughter's eyes, and then furtively wiped her own. On entering, William stood for a few moments at the door, mournfully contemplating this touching picture.

"My brother, my good brother," cried Annunciata, "speak to my child! She has forgotten prayer and obedience; her heart is no longer submissive, and her tears avail nothing, for she murmurs and menaces. Ask her, brother, by whom it was told her that life is joy? that we live only to be happy? Talk to her of duty, and give her strength to accomplish it!"

"Your husband inquires for you, sister. Go, I will remain with Christine."

"I go, my brother," replied Annunciata. Approaching the little mirror above the chimney-piece, she washed the tear-stains from her eyes, pressed her hand upon her heart to check its throbbings, and when her countenance had resumed its expression of calm composure, she descended the stairs. Gothon was seated on the lower steps.

"You spoil her, madame," said she roughly to her mistress; "foolish ears need sharp words. You spoil her."

Gothon had been in the house before Annunciata, and had been greatly displeased by the arrival of her master's foreign lady, whose authority she never acknowledged. But she had served the Van Ambergs' mother, and therefore it was without fear of dismissal that she oppressed, after her own fashion, her timid and gentle mistress.

Annunciata entered the parlour and remained standing near the door as if waiting an order. Her husband's countenance was graver and more gloomy than ever.

"Can no one hear us, madam? Are you sure we are alone?"

"Quite alone, sir," replied the astonished Annunciata.

M. Van Amberg recommenced his walk. For some moments he said nothing. His wife, her hand resting on the back of an arm-chair, silently awaited his pleasure. At last he again spoke.

"You bring up your daughter Christine badly; I left her to your care and guidance, and you do not watch over her. Do you know where she goes and what she does?"

"From her childhood, sir," replied Annunciata gently, pausing between each phrase, "Christine has loved to live in the open air. She is delicate, and requires sun and liberty to strengthen her. Till now you have allowed her to live thus; I saw no harm in letting her follow her natural bent. If you disapprove, sir, she will obey your orders."

"You bring up your daughter badly," coldly repeated M. Van Amberg. "She will dishonour the name she bears."

"Sir!!" exclaimed Annunciata, her cheeks suffused with the deepest crimson; her eyes emitting a momentary but vivid flash.

"Look to it, madam, I will have my name respected, that you know! You also know I am informed of whatever passes in my house. Your daughter secretly meets a man to whom I refused her hand; this morning, at six o'clock, they were together on the river bank!"

"My daughter! my daughter!"—cried Annunciata in disconsolate tones. "Oh! it is impossible! She is innocent! she shall remain so! I will place myself between her and evil, I will save my child! I will take her in my arms, and close her ears to dangerous words. My daughter, I will say, remain innocent, remain honoured, if you would not see me die!"

With unmoved eye M. Van Amberg beheld the mother's emotion. Beneath his frozen gaze, Annunciata[682] felt embarrassed by her own agitation; she made an effort to calm herself; then, with clasped hands, and eyes filled with tears, which she would not allow to flow, she resumed, in a constrained voice:

"Is this beyond doubt, sir?"

"It is," replied M. Van Amberg: "I never accuse without certainty."

There was a moment's silence. M. Van Amberg again spoke.

"You will lock Christine in her room, and bring me the key. She will have time to reflect, and I trust reflexion will be of service to her; in a prolonged seclusion she will lose that love of motion and liberty which leads her into harm; the silence of complete solitude will allay the tumult of her thoughts. None shall enter her room, save Gothon, who shall take her her meals, and return me the key. This is what I have decided upon as proper."

Madame Van Amberg's lips opened several times to speak, but her courage failed her. At last she advanced a pace or two.

"But I, sir, I," said she in a stifled voice, "I am to see my child!"

"I said no one," replied M. Van Amberg.

"But she will despair, if none sustain her. I will be severe with her; you may be assured I will! Let me see her, if only once a-day. She may fall ill of grief, and who will know it? Gothon dislikes her. For pity's sake, let me see Christine! For a minute only, a single minute."

M. Van Amberg once more stood still, and fixed upon his wife a look that made her stagger. "Not another word!" he said. "I allow no discussion, madam. No one shall see Christine; do you hear?"

"I will obey," replied Annunciata.

"Convey my orders to your daughter. At dinner bring me the key of her room. Go."

Madame Van Amberg found Christine alone, seated on her bed, and exhausted by long weeping. Her beautiful face, at times so energetic, wore an expression of profound and touching dejection. Her long hair fell in disorder on her shoulders, her figure was bent, as if weighed down by grief; her rosary had fallen from her half-open hand; she had tried to obey her mother and to pray, but had been able only to weep. Her black mantle, still damp with rain, lay upon a table, a few willow sprays peeping from its silken folds. Christine eyed them with mingled love and melancholy. She thought it a century since she saw the sun rise on the river, on the old trees, and on Herbert's skiff. Her mother slowly approached her.

"My child," said she, "where were you at daybreak this morning?"

Christine raised her eyes to her mother's face, looked at her, but did not answer. Annunciata repeated her question without change of word or tone. Then Christine let herself slide from the bed to the ground, and kneeled before her mother.

"I was seated," said she, "upon the trunk of a willow that overhangs the stream. I was near Herbert's boat."

"Christine!" exclaimed Madame Van Amberg, "can it be true? Oh, my child, could you so infringe the commands laid upon you! Could you thus forget my lessons and advice! Christine, you thought not of me when you committed that fault!"

"Herbert said to me, 'Come, you shall be my wife, I will love you eternally, you shall be free and happy; all is ready for our marriage and our flight; come!' I replied, 'I will not leave my mother!' Mother, you have been my safeguard; if it be a crime to follow Herbert, it is the thought of you alone that prevented my committing it. I would not leave my mother!"

A beam of joy illumined Annunciata's countenance. Murmuring a thanksgiving to God, she raised her kneeling child and seated her by her side.

"Speak to me, Christine," she said, "open your heart, and tell me all your thoughts. Together we will regret your faults, and seek hope for the future. Speak, my daughter; conceal nothing."

Christine laid her head upon her mother's shoulder, put one of her little hands in hers, sighed deeply, as though her heart were too oppressed for words, and spoke at last with effort and fatigue.

"Mother," she said, "I have[683] nothing to confess that you do not already know. I love Herbert. He is but a poor student, intrusted to my father's care, but he has a noble heart—like mine, somewhat sad. He knows much, and he is gentle to those who know nothing. Poor, he is proud as a king: he loves, and he tells it only to her who knows it. My mother, I love Herbert! He asked my hand of my father, whose reply was a smile of scorn. Then he was kept from me, and I tried to exist without seeing him. I could not do it. I made many neuvaines on the rosary you gave me. I had seen you weep and pray, mother, and I said to myself—Now that I weep as she does, I must also pray like her. But it happened once, as day broke, that I saw a small boat descend the stream, then go up again, and again descend; from time to time a white sail fluttered in the air as one flutters a kerchief to a departing friend. My thoughts, then as now, were on Herbert; I ran across the meadow—I reached the stream.—Mother, it was he! hoping and waiting my coming. Long and mournfully we bewailed our separation; fervently we vowed to love each other till death. This morning Herbert, discouraged and weary of waiting a change in our position, urged me to fly with him. I might have fled, mother, but I thought of you and remained. I have told you all; if I have done wrong, forgive me, dearest mother!"

With deep emotion Madame Van Amberg listened to her daughter, and remained buried in reflection, when Christina paused. She felt that the young girl's suffering heart needed gentle lessons, affectionate advice; and, instead of these, she was the bearer of a sentence whose severity must aggravate the evil—she was compelled to deny her sick child the remedies that might have saved her.

"You love him very dearly then," said she at last, fixing a long melancholy look on her daughter's countenance.

"Oh, mother!" exclaimed Christine, "I love him with all my soul! My life is passed in expecting, seeing, remembering him! I could never make you comprehend how entirely my heart is his. Often I dream of dying for him, not to save his life, that were too easy and natural, but uselessly, at his command."

"Hush! Christine, hush! you frighten me," cried Annunciata, placing both hands upon her daughter's mouth. By a quick movement Christine disengaged herself from her mother's arms.

"Ah!" she exclaimed, "you know not what it is to love as I do! My father could never let himself be loved thus!"

"Be silent, my child! be silent!" repeated Annunciata energetically. "Oh, my daughter! how to instil into your heart thoughts of peace and duty! Almighty Father! bless my weak words, that they may touch her soul! Christine, hear me!"

Annunciata took her daughter's hands, and compelled her to stand before her. "My child," she said, "you know nothing of life; you walk at random, and are about to wander from the right path. All young hearts have been troubled as yours is now. The noble ones have struggled and triumphed; the others have fallen! Life is no easy and pleasant passage; its trials are many and painful—its struggles severe; believe me, for us women there is no true happiness without the bounds of duty. And when happiness is not our destiny, many great things still remain to us. Honour, the esteem of others, are not mere empty words. Hear me, beloved child! That God, whom from your infancy I have taught you to love, do you not fear offending him? Seek Him, and you will find better consolation than I can offer. Christine, we love in God those from whom we are severed on earth. He, who in his infinite wisdom imposed so many fetters on the heart of woman, foresaw the sacrifices they would entail, and surely he has kept treasures of love for hearts that break in obedience to duty."

Annunciata rapidly wiped the tears inundating her fine countenance; then clasping, Christine's arm—

"On your knees, my child! on our knees both of us before the Christ I gave you! 'Tis nearly dark, and yet we still discern Him—his arms seeming to open for us. Bless and save and console my child, oh merciful God! Appease her heart; make it humble and obedient!"

[684]Her prayer at an end, she rose, and throwing her arms round Christine, who had passively allowed herself to be placed on her knees and lifted up again, she embraced her tenderly, pressed her to her heart, and bathed her hair with tears. "My daughter," she murmured between her kisses, "my daughter, speak to me! Utter one word that I may take with me as a hope! My child, will you not speak to your mother?"

"Mother, I love Herbert!" was Christine's reply.

Annunciata looked despairingly at her child, at the crucifix upon the wall, at the darkening sky seen through the open window. The dinner-bell rang. Madame Van Amberg made a strong effort to collect and express her ideas.

"M. Van Amberg," said she in broken voice, "orders you to remain in your room. I am to take him the key. You are to see no one. The hour is come, and he expects me."

"A prisoner!" cried Christine; "A prisoner,—alone, all day! Death rather than that!"

"He will have it so," repeated Annunciata, mournfully; "I must obey. He will have it so." And she approached the door, casting upon Christine a look of such ineffable love and grief, that the young girl, fascinated by the gaze, let her depart without opposition. The key turned in the lock, and Annunciata, supporting herself by the banister, slowly descended. She found M. Van Amberg alone in the parlour.

"You have been a long time up stairs," said he. "Have you convinced yourself that your daughter saw the student Herbert this morning?"

"She did," murmured Annunciata.

"You have told her my orders?"

"I have done so."

"Where is the key?" She gave it him.

"Now to dinner," said M. Van Amberg, walking into the dining-room. Annunciata endeavoured to follow him, but her strength failed her, and she sank upon a chair.

M. Van Amberg sat down alone to his dinner.

"A prisoner!" repeated Christine in her solitude; "apart from all! shut up! Yon meadow was too wide a range; the house too spacious a prison. I must have a narrower cell, with more visible walls—a straiter captivity! They deprive me of the little air I breathed—the scanty liberty I found means to enjoy!"

She opened the window to its full extent; leaned upon the sill, and looked at the sky. It was very dark; heavy clouds hid the stars; no light fell upon the earth; different shades of obscurity alone marked the outlines of objects. The willows, so beautiful when Herbert and the sun were there, were now a black and motionless mass; dead silence reigned around. In view of nature thus lifeless and lightless, hopes of happiness could hardly enter the heart. Christine was in a fever: she felt oppressed and crushed by unkindly influences, by the indifference of friends, by a tyrant's will, even by the cold and mournful night. The young girl's heart beat quickly and rebelliously.

"Be it so!" she exclaimed aloud; "let them have their way! They may render me unhappy; I will not complain. They sanctify my love by persecution. Happy, I should perhaps have been ashamed to love so much. But they rob me of air and liberty; I suffer; I weep. Ah! I feel proud that my heart still throbs with joy in the midst of so many evils. My sufferings will hallow my love, will compel the respect of those who scoffed and slighted it. Herbert! dear Herbert! where are you at this moment? Do you joyfully anticipate to-morrow's dawn: are you busy with your boat, preparing it for its early cruise? Or do you sleep, dreaming of the old willows in the meadow, hearing the waters murmur through their branches, and the voice of Christine promising her return? But no; it cannot be; our hearts are too united for their feelings thus to differ! You are sad, my love, and you know not why; I am sad with knowledge of our misfortune—'tis the sole difference separation can establish between us. When shall we meet again, Herbert? Alas! I know not, but meet we assuredly shall. If God lets me live, he will let me love you."

Christine shut the window and[685] threw herself on her bed without undressing. It was cold; she wrapped herself in her mantle, and gradually her head sank upon her breast. Her hands, at first pressed against each other, opened and fell by her sides. She dropped asleep, like an infant, in the midst of her tears.

The first sun-rays, feeble though they were, awoke Christine, who sprang hastily from her couch. "Herbert waits for me!" she exclaimed. At her age memory is better for joy than for sorrow. For her the dawn of day was still a rendezvous of love. The next moment she awoke to the consciousness of her captivity. She went to the window, leaned out as on the previous evening, and looked mournfully around. In a corner of the heavens was a glow of light, intercepted by billows of cloud. The pale foliage of the willows shivered in the breeze, which ruffled the leaves without bending the branches; the long fine grass of the meadow was seen through a veil of fog, as yet undispelled by the sun. The sounds of awakening nature had not yet begun, when a white sail stood out upon the surface of the stream, gliding lightly along like the open wing of a graceful bird. It passed to and fro in front of the meadow; was lowered before the trees, and then again displayed, bending the boat's gunwale to the water's surface, hovering continually around a point of the bank, as though confined within the circle of an invisible fascination. At long intervals the wind brought a faint and scarce perceptible sound, like the last notes of a song; then the little bark again manœuvred, and its sail flapped in the air. The pale tints of dawn gave way to the warmer sunbeams; passengers appeared upon the bank; trading boats ascended the river; the windows of the red brick house opened as if to inhale the morning air. The boat lowered its sail, and floated slowly away at the will of the current. Christine looked after it and wept.

Twice during that day, Gothon opened the door of the young girl's chamber, and brought her a frugal meal. Twice did Gothon depart without uttering a word. The whole day passed in silence and solitude. Christine knew not how to get rid of the weary hours. She knelt before the crucifix, her alabaster rosary in her hand, her head raised towards the cross, and prayed. But her prayer was for Herbert, to see him again; she never dreamed of praying to forget him. Then she took down the guitar, passed round her neck the faded blue riband, tied on it at Seville, and which her mother would never allow to be changed. She struck a few chords of the songs she best loved; but her voice was choked, and her tears flowed more abundantly when she tried to sing. She collected the little sprays of willow, and placed them in a book to dry and preserve them. But the day was very long; and the poor child fluttered in her prison like a caged bird, with an anguish that each moment increased. Her head burned, her bosom throbbed. At last night came. Seated near the open window, the cold calmed her a little. They brought her no light, and time passed more slowly than ever. She went to bed, but, deprived of her accustomed exercise, tormented by a thousand anxieties, she could not sleep; she got up, walked about in the darkness, and again lay down; slumber still avoided her. This time her eyes, red with tears and watchfulness, beheld the sunrise without illusion; she did not for a moment forget her captivity, but looked mournfully out at the little sail which, faithful to its rendezvous, came each morning with the sun. Again, none but Gothon disturbed her solitude. During another long day, Christine, alternately desponding and excited, walked, wept, lamented, and prayed. Night came again. Nothing broke the silence; the lights in the red house were extinguished one after the other. Profound darkness covered the earth. Christine remained at her window, insensible to cold. Suddenly she started: she heard her name pronounced in low tones at the foot of the wall. She listened.

"Christine, my daughter!" repeated the voice.

"Mother," exclaimed Christine, "you out in this dreadful weather! I conjure you to go in!"

"I have been two days in bed, my child; I have been unwell; to-night[686] I am better; I felt it impossible to remain longer without seeing you, who are my life, my strength, my health! Oh! you were right not to leave me; it would have killed me. How are you, dear Christine? Have you all you require? How do you live, deprived of my caresses?"

"Dearest mother, for heaven's sake, go in! The night is damp and cold; it will be your death!"

"Your voice warms me; it is far from you that I feel chill and faint. Dearest child, my heart sends you a thousand kisses."

"I receive them on my knees, mother, my arms extended towards you. But, when shall I see you again?"

"When you submit, and promise to obey; when you no longer seek him you are forbidden to see, and whom you must forget. My daughter, it is your duty."

"Oh mother, I thought your heart could better understand what it never felt. I thought you respected the true sentiments of the soul, and that your lips knew not how to utter the word 'forget.' If I forgot, I should be a mere silly child, capricious, unruly, unworthy your tenderness. If my malady is without remedy, I am a steadfast woman, suffering and self-sacrificing. Good God! How is it you do not understand that?"

"I understand," murmured Annunciata, but in so low a tone, that she was sure her daughter could not hear her.

"Mother," resumed Christine, "go to my father! summon up that courage which fails you when you alone are concerned; speak boldly to him, tell him what I have told you; demand my liberty, my happiness."

"I!" exclaimed Annunciata in terror, "I brave M. Van Amberg, and oppose his will!"

"Not oppose, but supplicate! compel his heart to understand what mine experiences; force him to see and hear and feel that my life may cease, but not my love. Who can do it, if you cannot? I am a captive. My sisters know not love, my uncle William has never known it. It needs a woman's voice to express a woman's feelings."

"Christine, you know not what you ask. The effort is above my strength."

"I ask a proof of my mother's love; I am sure she will give it me."

"I shall die in so doing. M. Van Amberg can kill me by a word."

Christine started and trembled. "Do not go then, dearest mother. Forgive my egotism; I thought only of myself. If my father has such terrible power, avoid his anger. I will wait, and entreat none but God."

There was a brief pause. "Christine," said Madame Van Amberg, "since I am your only hope, your sole reliance, and you have called me to your aid, I will speak to him. Our fate is in the hands of heaven."

Annunciata interrupted herself by a cry of terror; a hand rudely grasped her arm; M. Van Amberg, without uttering a word, dragged her to the house door, compelled her to enter, took out the key, and made her pass before him into the parlour. A lamp burned dimly upon the table, its oil nearly exhausted; at times it emitted a bright flash, and then suddenly became nearly extinguished. The corners of the room were in darkness, the doors and windows closed, perfect silence reigned; the only object on which a strong light fell, was the countenance of M. Van Amberg. It was calm, cold, motionless. His great height, the piercing look of his pale gray eyes, the austere regularity of his features, combined to give him the aspect of an implacable judge.

"You would speak with me, madam," said he to Annunciata, "I am here, speak!"

On entering the parlour, Annunciata let herself fall into a chair. Her clothes streamed with water; her hair, heavy with rain, fell upon her shoulders, her extreme paleness gave her the appearance of a corpse rather than of a living creature. Terror obliterated memory, even of what had just occurred, her mind was confused, she felt only that she suffered horribly. Her husband's voice and words restored the chain of her ideas; the poor woman thought of her child, made a violent effort, rallied her strength, and rose to her feet.

"Now then," she murmured, "since it must be so!"

[687]M. Van Amberg waited in silence, his arms crossed upon his breast, his eyes fixed upon his wife; he stood like a statue, assisting neither by word nor gesture the poor creature who trembled before him. Annunciata looked long at him before speaking; she hoped that at sight of her tears and sufferings, M. Van Amberg would remember he had loved her. She threw her whole soul into her eyes, but not a muscle of her husband's countenance moved. He waited for her to break silence.

"I need your indulgence," she at last said; "it costs me a fearful effort to address you. In general I do but answer; I am unaccustomed to speak first, and I am afraid. I dread your anger; have compassion on a trembling woman, who would fain be silent, and who must speak. Christine's happiness is in your hands. The poor child implores me to soften your rigour.... Did I refuse, not a creature upon earth would intercede for her. This is why I venture to petition you, sir."

M. Van Amberg continued silent. Annunciata wiped the tears from her cheeks, and resumed with more courage.

"The poor child is much to be pitied; she has inherited the faults you blame in me. Believe me, sir, I have laboured hard to check them in the bud. I have striven, exhorted, punished, have spared neither advice nor prayers, but all in vain. God has not been pleased to spare me this new grief. Her nature is unchangeable; she is to blame, but she is also much to be pitied. Christine loves with all her soul. Women die of such love as hers, and when they do not die, they suffer frightfully. For pity's sake, sir, let her marry him she loves!"

Annunciata covered her face with her hands, and awaited in an agony of anxiety her husband's reply.

"Your daughter," said M. Van Amberg, "is still a child; she has inherited, as you say, a character that needs restraint. I will not yield to the first caprice that traverses her silly head. Herbert is only two-and-twenty; we know nothing of his character. Your daughter requires a protector, and a judicious guide. Herbert has neither family, fortune, nor position. He shall never be the husband of a woman who bears the name of Mademoiselle Van Amberg!"

"Sir!" cried Annunciata, clasping her hands and breathless with emotion, "Sir! the best guidance for a woman's life is a union with the man she loves! It is her best safeguard, it strengthens her against the cares of the world. I entreat you, Karl!" exclaimed Madame Van Amberg, falling upon her knees, "have compassion on my daughter! Do not render duty a torture; do not exact from her too much courage! We are weak creatures: we have need both of love and virtue. Place her not in the terrible necessity of choosing between them. Pity, Karl, pity!"

"Madam," cried M. Van Amberg, and this time his frame was agitated by a slight nervous trembling, "Madam, you are very bold to speak to me thus! You! you! to dare to hold such language to me! Silence! and teach your daughter not to hesitate in her choice between good and evil. Do that, instead of weeping uselessly at my feet."

"Yes, it is bold of me, sir, thus to address you; but I have found courage in suffering. I am ill,—in pain,—my life is worthless, save as a sacrifice—let my child take it, I will speak for her! Her fate is in your hands, do not crush her by a cruel decision! An absolute judge and master should be guarded in word and deed, for a reckoning will be asked of him! Be merciful to my child!"

M. Van Amberg approached his wife, took her arm, placed his other hand on her mouth, and said:—

"Silence! I command you; no such scenes in my house, no noise and whimpering. Your daughters sleep within a few yards of you, do not disturb their repose. Your servants are above, do not awaken them. Silence! You had no business to speak; I was wrong to listen to you. Never dare again to discuss my orders; it is I whom your children must obey, I whom you must obey yourself. Retire to your apartment, and to-morrow let me find you what you yesterday were."

[688]M. Van Amberg had regained his usual calmness. He walked slowly from the room.

"Oh, my daughter!" exclaimed Annunciata, despairingly, "nothing have I been able to do for you! Merciful Father! what will become of me, placed between him and her, both inflexible in their resolves!"

The lamp which feebly illuminated this scene of sorrow, now suddenly went out and left the unhappy mother in profound darkness. The rain beat against the windows,—the wind howled,—the house clock struck four.

Christine had seen M. Van Amberg seize Annunciata's arm, and lead her away with him; afterwards, she had distinguished, through the slight partitions of the house, a faint echo as of mingled sobs, entreaties, and reproaches. She understood that her fate was deciding,—that her poor mother had devoted herself for her, and was face to face with the stern ruler whose look alone she usually dared not brave. Christine passed the night in terrible anxiety, abandoning herself alternately to discouragement and to joyful hopes. At her age it is not easy to despair. Fear, however, predominated over every other emotion, and she would have given years of existence to learn what had passed. But the day went by like the previous one. She saw none but Gothon. Her she ventured to question, but the old servant had orders not to answer.

Another day elapsed. Christine's solitude was still unbroken, no friendly voice reached her ear, no kind hand lifted the veil shrouding her future. The poor girl was exhausted, she had not even the energy of grief. She wept without complaint, almost without a murmur. Night came, and she fell asleep, exhausted by her sorrow. She had scarcely slept an hour when she was awakened by the opening of the door, and Gothon, lamp in hand, approached her bed. "Get up, Mademoiselle," said the servant, "and follow me."

Christine dressed herself as in a dream, and hastily followed Gothon, who conducted her to her mother's room, opened the door and drew back to let her pass. A sad spectacle met the young girl's eyes. Annunciata, pale and almost inanimate, lay in the agonies of death. Her presentiment had not deceived her; suffering and agitation had snapped the slender strings that bound her to the earth. The light of the lamp fell full upon her features, whose gentle beauty pain was impotent to deface. Resignation and courage were upon her countenance, over which came a gleam of joy when Christine appeared. Wilhelmina and Maria knelt and wept at the foot of their mother's bed. William stood a little apart, holding a prayer-book, but his eyes had left the page to look at Annunciata, and two large tears trembled on their lids. M. Van Amberg, seated beside his wife's pillow, had his face shaded by his hand, so that none could see its expression.

With a piercing cry, Christine rushed to Madame Van Amberg, who received her in her arms. "Mother!" she cried, her cheek against Annunciata's, "it is I who have killed you! For love of me you have exceeded your strength."

"No, my beloved child, no," replied Annunciata, kissing her daughter between each word, "I die of an old and incurable malady. But I die happy, since I once more clasp you in my arms."

"And they did not let me nurse you!" cried Christine, indignantly raising her head; "they concealed your illness! They let me weep for other sorrows than yours, my mother!"

"Dearest child," replied Annunciata gently, "this crisis has been very sudden; two hours ago they knew not my danger, and I wished to fulfil my religious duties before seeing you. I wished to think only of God. Now I can abandon myself to the embraces of my children." And she clasped her weeping daughters to her heart. "Dear children," said she, "God is full of mercy to the dying, and sanctifies a mother's benediction. I bless you, my daughters; remember and pray for me."

The three young girls bowed their heads upon their mother's hand, and replied by tears alone to this solemn farewell.

"My good brother," resumed Annunciata to William, "My good[689] brother, we have long lived together, and to me you have ever been a devoted friend, indulgent and gentle. I thank you, brother!"

William averted his head to conceal his tears, but a deep sob escaped him, and he turned his venerable face towards Annunciata.

"Do not thank me, sister," he said, "I have done little for you. I loved you, that is certain, but I could not enliven your solitude. My sister, you will still live for the happiness of us all."

Annunciata gently shook her head. Her glance sought her husband as if she would fain have addressed her last words to him. But they expired on her lips. She looked at him timidly, sadly, and then closed her eyes, to check the starting tears. She grew visibly weaker, and as death approached, a painful anxiety took possession of her. Resigned, she was not calm. It was ordained her soul should suffer and be troubled to the end. The destiny of one of her daughters disturbed her last moments; she dared not pronounce the name of Christine, she dared not ask compassion for her; a thousand conflicting doubts and fears agitated her poor heart. She died as she had lived, repressing her tears, concealing her thoughts. From time to time she turned to her husband, but his head continued sunk upon his hand; not one look of encouragement could she obtain. At last came the spasm that was to break this frail existence. "Adieu! Adieu!" she murmured in unintelligible accents. Her eyes no longer obeyed her, and none could tell whom they sought. William approached his brother, and placed his hand upon his shoulder. "Karl!" he whispered in tones audible but to him he addressed, "she is dying! Have you nothing to say to a poor creature who has so long lived with you and suffered by you? Living, you loved her not; do not let her die thus! Fear you not, Karl, lest this woman, oppressed and slighted by you, should expire with a leaven of resentment in her heart? Crave her pardon before she departs."

For an instant all was silent. M. Van Amberg stirred not. Annunciata, her head thrown back, seemed to have already ceased to exist. On a sudden, she moved, raised herself with difficulty, leaned over towards M. Van Amberg, and groped for his hand as though she had been blind. When she found it, she bowed her face upon it, kissed it twice, and expired in that last kiss.

"On your knees!" cried William, "on your knees, she is in heaven! let us implore her intercession!" And all knelt down.

Of all the prayers addressed to God by man during his life of trial, not one is more solemn than that which escapes the desolate heart, when a beloved soul flies from earth to heaven, to stand, for the first time, in the presence of its Creator.

M. Van Amberg rose from his knees.

"Leave the room!" said he to his brother and daughters, "I would be alone with my wife."

Alone, beside the bed of his dead wife, Karl Van Amberg gazed upon the pale countenance, to which death had restored all the beauty of youth. A tear, left there by human suffering, a tear which none other was to follow, glittered upon the clay-cold cheek; one arm still hung out of bed, as when it held his hand; the head was in the position in which it had kissed his fingers. He gazed at her, and the icy envelope that bound his heart was at last broken. "Annunciata!" he exclaimed, "Annunciata!"

For fifteen years that name had not passed his lips. Throwing himself on his wife's corpse, he clasped her in his arms and kissed her forehead.

"Annunciata!" he cried, "can you not feel this kiss of peace and love! Annunciata, we have both suffered terribly! God did not grant us happiness. I loved you from the first day that I saw you, a joyous child in Spain, till this sad moment that I press you dead upon my heart. Oh Annunciata, how great have been our sufferings!"

Karl Van Amberg wept.

"Repose in peace, poor woman!" he murmured, "may you find in heaven the repose denied you upon earth!" And with trembling hand he closed Annunciata's eyes. Then he knelt down beside her.

[690]"Almighty God!" he said, "I have been severe. Be thou merciful!"

When, at break of day, M. Van Amberg left the chamber of death, his face had resumed its habitual expression; his inflexible soul, for a moment bowed, had regained its usual level. To Annunciata had been given the last word of love, the last tear of that heart of adamant. To the eyes of all he reappeared as the stern master and father, the man on whose brow no sorrow left a trace. His daughters bowed themselves upon his passage, William spoke not to him, order and regularity returned to the house. Annunciata was buried without pomp or procession. She left, to revisit it no more, the melancholy abode where her suffering soul had worn out its mortal envelope; she ceased to live, as a sound ceases to be heard, as a cloud passes, as a flower fades; nothing stopped or altered because she went. If any mourned her, they mourned in silence; if they thought of her, they proclaimed not their thoughts; her name was no more heard; only the interior of the little red house was rather more silent, and M. Van Amberg's countenance appeared to all more rigid than before. During the day, Christine's profound grief obeyed the iron will that weighed on each member of the family. The poor child was silent, worked, sat at table, lived on as if her heart had not been crushed; but at night, when she was alone in the little room where her mother had so often wept with her, she gave free course to grief; she invoked her mother, spoke to her, extended her arms to her, and would fain have left the earth to be with her in heaven. "Take me to you, dear mother!" she would exclaim. "Deprived of you, apart from him, I cannot live! Since I saw you die, I no longer fear death."

Since the death of Annunciata, Christine was allowed her liberty, M. Van Amberg doubtless thinking, and with reason, that she would make no use of it during her first grief. Or, perhaps, with his wife's corpse scarcely cold, he hesitated to recur to the severity that had caused her so many tears. Whatever his motive, Christine was free, at least to all appearance. The three sisters, in deep mourning, never passed the threshold; they sat all day at work near the low window of the parlour, supped with their uncle and father, then retired to bed. During the long hours of their silent work, Christine often thought of her lover. She dared not attempt to see him; she would have expected to hear her mother's voice murmur in her ear,—"My daughter, it is too soon to be happy! Mourn me yet a little, alone and without consolation."

One morning, after a night of tears, Christine fell into a tardy slumber, broken by dreams. Now it was her mother, who took her in her arms, and flew with her towards heaven. "I will not let you live," said Annunciata, "for life is sorrow. I have prayed of God to let you die young, that you may not weep as I have wept!"

The next instant she beheld herself clothed in white, and crowned with flowers. Herbert was there, love sparkling in his eyes. "Come, my betrothed!" he said, "life is joy! My love shall guard you from all evil; come, we will be happy!"

She started up, awakened by a sudden noise in her chamber. The window was open, and on the floor lay a pebble with a letter attached. Her first impulse was to fly to the window; a bush stirred in the direction of the river, but she saw no one. She snatched up the letter, she guessed it was Herbert's writing. It seems as if one never saw for the first time the writing of him one loves; the heart recognises as if the eyes had already seen it. Christine was alone, a beam of the rising sun tinted the summits of the willows, and hope and love revived in the young girl's heart, as she read what follows:

"Christine, I can write but a few lines; a long letter, difficult to conceal, might never reach you. Hear me with your heart, and guess what I am unable to write. As you know, dearest, my family intrusted me to your father and gave him all authority over me. He can employ me at his will, and according to the convenience of his commercial[691] establishments. Christine, I have just received orders to embark in one of his ships, sailing for Batavia."

A cry escaped Christine's lips, and her eyes, suffused with tears, devoured the subsequent lines.

"Your father places the immensity of ocean between us; he separates us for ever. We are to meet no more! Christine, has your heart, since I last saw you, learned to comprehend those words? No, my adored Christine, we must live or die together! Your poor mother is no more; your presence is no longer essential to the happiness of any one. Your family is pitiless and without affection for you. Your future is gloom and unhappiness. Come, then, let us fly together. In the Helder are numerous ships; they will bear us far from the scene of our sufferings. All is foreseen and arranged. Christine, my life depends on your decision. For ever separated!... subscribe to that barbarous decree, and I terminate an existence which henceforward would be all bitterness! And you, Christine! will you love another, or live without love? Oh! come, I have suffered so much without you! I summon you, I await you, Christine! my bride! At midnight—on the river-bank—I will be there! and a world of happiness is before us. Come, dear Christine, come!"

As Christine read, her tears fell fast on Herbert's letter. She experienced a moment of agonising indecision. She loved passionately, but she was young and innocent, and love had not yet imparted to her pure soul the audacity that braves all things. The wise counsels heard in her father's house, uncle William's pious exhortations, the holy prayers she had learned from her infancy upwards, resounded in her ears; the Christ upon her wooden crucifix seemed to look at her; the beads of her rosary were still warm with the pressure of her fingers.

"Oh! my dream! my dream!" she exclaimed: "Herbert who calls his bride! my mother claiming her daughter! With him, life and love! With her, death and heaven!..." And Christine sobbed aloud. For an instant she tried calmly to contemplate an existence in that melancholy house, weeping for Herbert, growing old without him, without love, within those gloomy walls, where no heart sympathised with hers. The picture was too terrible; she felt that such a future was unendurable. She wept bitterly, kissed her rosary, her prayer book, as if bidding adieu to all that had witnessed the innocence of her early years. Then her heart beat violently. The fire of her glance dried her tears. She looked out at the river, at the white sail which seemed to remind her of her vows of love; she gave one last sob, as if breaking irrevocably the links between her past and future. The image of her mother was no longer before her. Christine, abandoned to herself, followed the impulse of her passionate nature; she wept, trembled, hesitated, and at last exclaimed,—

"At midnight, I will be there!"

Then she wiped her tears, and remained quite still for a few moments, to calm her violent agitation. A vast future unrolled itself before her; liberty would be hers; a new world was revealed to her eyes; a new life began for her.

At last night came. A lamp replaced the fading day-light. The window was deserted for the table. William and Karl Van Amberg came in. The former took a book; his brother busied himself with commercial calculations. The lamp gave a dull light; all was silent, sad, and monotonous in the apartment. The clock slowly told the succeeding hours. When its hammer struck ten, there was a movement round the table; books were shut, work was folded. Karl Van Amberg rose; his two eldest daughters approached him, and he kissed their foreheads in silence. Christine no longer a captive, but still in disgrace, bowed herself before her father. Uncle William, grown drowsy over his book, put up his spectacles, muttering a "good-night." The family left the parlour, and the three sisters ascended the wooden staircase. At her chamber door, Christine felt a tightness at her heart. She turned and looked after her sisters. "Good-night, Wilhelmina! good-night, Maria!"

The sisters turned their heads. By the faint light of their tapers Christine saw them smile and kiss their hands to her. Then they entered their rooms without speaking.[692] Christine found herself alone. She opened her window; the night was calm; at intervals clouds flitted across the moon, veiling its brightness. Christine made no preparations for departure; she only took her mother's rosary, and the blue ribbon so long attached to the guitar; then she wrapped herself in her black mantle and sat down by the window. Her heart beat quick, but no distinct thought agitated her mind. She trembled without terror; her eyes were tearful, but she felt no regret. For her, the hour was rather solemn than sad; the struggle was over, and she was irrevocably decided.

At last midnight came; each stroke of the clock thrilled Christine's heart; for an instant she stood still, summoning strength and courage; then, turning towards the interior of the room,—

"Adieu, my mother!" she whispered. Many living creatures dwelt under that roof. It seemed to Christine as if she left her only who was no longer there. "Adieu, my mother!" she repeated.

Then she stepped out of the window: a trellis, twined with creepers, covered the wall. With light foot and steady hand, Christine descended, aiding herself by the branches, and pausing when they cracked under her tread or grasp. The stillness was so complete that the slightest sound assumed importance. Christine's heart beat violently; at last she reached the ground, raised her head, and looked at the house. Her father's window was still lighted. Again she shuddered with apprehension; then, feeling more courage for a minute's daring than for half an hour's precautions, she darted across the meadow and arrived breathless at the clump of willows. Before plunging into it, she again looked round. All was quiet and deserted; she breathed more freely and disappeared amongst the branches. Leaning upon the old tree, the witness of her former rendezvous, she whispered, so softly that none but a lover could hear, "Herbert, are you there?"

A cautious oar skimmed the water; a well known voice replied. The boat approached the willow; the young student stood up and held out his arms to Christine, who leaped lightly into the skiff. In an instant, they were out of the willow-shaded inlet; in another, the sail—the signal of their loves—was hoisted to the breeze; the bark sped swiftly over the water, and Herbert, scarce daring to believe his happiness, was seated at Christine's feet. His hand sought hers; he heard her weep, and he wept for sympathy. Both were silent, agitated, uneasy, and happy.

But the night was fine, the moon shed its softest light, the ripple of the stream had a harmony of its own, the light breeze cooled their cheeks, the sail bent over them like the wing of an invisible being; they were young, they loved, it was impossible that joy should not revive in their hearts.

"Thanks, Christine, thanks!" exclaimed Herbert, "thanks a thousand times for so much devotedness, for such confidence and love! Oh how beautiful will life now appear! We are united for ever!"

"For ever!" repeated Christine, her tears flowing afresh. For the first time she felt that great happiness, like great grief, expresses itself by tears. Her hand in Herbert's, her eyes raised to heaven, she gazed upon bright stars and fleecy clouds, sole and silent witnesses of her happiness. Presently she was roused from this sweet reverie.

"See there, Herbert!" she exclaimed; "the sail droops along the mast, the wind has fallen, we do not advance."

Herbert took the oars, and the boat cut rapidly through the water. Wrapped in her mantle, Christine sat opposite, and smiled upon him. Onwards flew the boat, a track of foam in its wake. Day-light was still distant; all things favoured the fugitives. Again Christine broke silence.

"Herbert, dear Herbert, do you hear nothing?"

Herbert ceased to row, and listened. "I hear nothing," he said, "save the plash of the river against its banks." He resumed the oars; again the boat moved rapidly forward. Christine was pale; half risen from her seat, her head turned back, she strove to see, but the darkness was too great.

"Be tranquil, best beloved," said[693] Herbert with a smile. "Fear creates sounds. All is still."

"Herbert," cried Christine, this time starting up in the boat, "I am not mistaken! I hear oars behind us ... pause not to listen ... row, for Heaven's love, row!"

Her terror was so great, she seemed so sure of what she said, that Herbert obeyed in silence, and a sensation of alarm chilled his heart. Christine seated herself at his feet.

"We are pursued!" she said; "the noise of your own oars alone prevented your hearing. A boat follows us."

"If it be so," Herbert cried, "what matter! That boat does not bear Christine, is not guided by a man who defends his life, his happiness, his love. My arm will weary his, his bark will not overtake mine." And Herbert redoubled his efforts. The veins of his arms swelled to bursting; his forehead was covered with sweat-drops. The skiff clove the waters as though impelled by wings. Christine remained crouched at the young man's feet, pressing herself against him, as to seek refuge.

Other oars, wielded by stalwart arms, now struck the water not far from Herbert's boat. The young student heard the sound; he bent over his oars and made desperate efforts. But he felt his strength failing; as he rowed he looked with agony at Christine; no one spoke, only the noise of the two boats interrupted the silence. Around, all was calm and serene as when the fugitives set out. But the soul of the young girl had passed from life to death; her eyes, gleaming with a wild fire, followed with increasing terror each movement of Herbert's; she saw by the suffering expression of his countenance, that little hope of escape remained. Still he rowed with the energy of despair; but the fatal bark drew nearer, its shadow was seen upon the water, it followed hard in the foamy track of Herbert's boat. Christine stood up and looked back; just then the moon shone out, casting its light full upon the pale, passionless features of M. Van Amberg. Christine uttered a piercing cry.

"My father!" she cried, "Herbert, 'tis my father!"

Herbert also had recognised his pursuer. The youth had lived too long in Karl Van Amberg's house, not to have experienced the strange kind of fascination which that man exercised over all around him. Darkness had passed away to reveal to the fugitives the father, master, and judge!

"Stop, Herbert!" cried Christine, "we are lost, escape is impossible! Do you not see my father?"

"Let me row!" replied Herbert, disengaging himself from Christine, who had seized his arm. He gave so violent a pull with the oars, that the little boat bounded out of the water and seemed to gain a little on its pursuer.

"Herbert," cried Christine, "I tell you we are lost! 'Tis my father, and resistance is useless! God will not work a miracle in our favour! Herbert, I will not return to my father's house! Let us die together, dear Herbert!"

And Christine, threw herself into her lover's arms. The oars fell from the young man's hands; with a cry of anguish he pressed Christine convulsively on his heart. For a single instant he thought of obeying her, and of plunging with her into the dark tide beneath; but Herbert had a noble heart, and he repelled the temptation of despair. The next moment a violent shock made the boat quiver, and M. Van Amberg stepped into it. Instinctively, Herbert clasped Christine more tightly, and retreated; as if his strength could withhold her from her father; as if, in that little boat, he could retreat far enough not to be overtaken. With a vigorous arm, M. Van Amberg seized Christine, whose slender form bent like a reed over his shoulder.

"Have mercy on her!" cried the despairing Herbert; "I alone am guilty! Punish her not, and I promise to depart, to renounce her! Pity, sir, pity for Christine!"

He spoke to a deaf and silent statue. Wresting Christine's hand from the student's grasp, M. Van Amberg stepped back into his boat and pushed Herbert's violently with his foot. Yielding to the impulse, the boats separated; one was pulled swiftly up the river, whilst the other, abandoned to itself, was swept by the current in a contrary direction. Erect[694] on the prow of his bark, his head thrown back, his arms folded on his breast, M. Van Amberg fixed a terrible look upon Herbert and then disappeared in the darkness. All was over. The father had taken his daughter, and no human power could henceforward tear her from his arms.

Within eight days from this fatal night, the gates of a convent closed upon Christine Van Amberg.

On the frontier of Belgium, on the summit of a hill, stands a large white building of irregular architecture, a confused mass of walls, roofs, angles, and platforms. At the foot of the hill is a village, whose inhabitants behold with a feeling of respect the edifice towering above their humble dwellings. For there is seen the belfry of a church, and thence is heard unceasingly the sound of pious bells, proclaiming afar that on the mountain's summit a few devout souls pray to God for all men. The building is a convent; the poor and the sick well know the path leading to the hospitable threshold of the Sisters of the Visitation.

To this convent was Christine sent. To this austere dwelling, the abode of silence and self-denial, was she, the young, the beautiful, the loving, pitilessly consigned. It was as though a gravestone had suddenly closed over her head. With her, the superior of the convent received the following letter:

"Madame la Superieure,—I send you your niece, Christine Van Amberg, and beg you to oblige me by keeping her with you. I intend her to embrace a religious life; employ the influence of your wise counsels to predispose her to it. Her misconduct compels me to exclude her my house; she requires restraint and watching, such as are only to be found in a convent. Be pleased, dear and respected kinswoman, to receive her under your roof; the best wish that can be formed for her is that she may make up her mind to remain there for ever. Should she inquire concerning a young man named Herbert, you may inform her that he has sailed to Batavia, whence he will proceed to our most remote establishments.

"I am with respect, Madame la Supérieure, your kinsman and friend,

"Karl Van Amberg."

Five years had elapsed since the date of this letter, when one day the convent-gate opened to admit a stranger, who craved to speak with the superior. The stranger was an old man; a staff sustained his feeble steps. Whilst waiting in the parlour, he looked about him with surprise and emotion, and several times he passed his hand across his eyes as if to brush away a tear. "Poor, poor child!" he muttered. When the superior appeared behind the grating, he advanced quickly towards her.

"I am William Van Amberg," he said, "the brother of Karl Van Amberg. I come, madam, to fetch Christine, his daughter and my niece."

"You come very late!" replied the superior; "sister Martha-Mary is on the eve of pronouncing her vows."

"Martha-Mary!—I do not know the name!"—said William Van Amberg; "I seek Christine—my niece Christine."

"Christine Van Amberg, now sister Martha-Mary, is about to take the veil."

"Christine a nun! Oh, impossible! Madam, they have broken the child's heart; from despair only would she take the veil; they have been cruel, they have tortured her; but I bring her liberty and the certainty of happiness,—permission to marry him she loves. Let me speak to her, and she will quickly follow."

"Speak to her then; and let her depart if such be her will."

"Thanks, madam,—a thousand thanks! Send me my child, send me my Christine—with joy and impatience I await her."

The superior retired. Left alone, William again contemplated the melancholy abode in which he found himself, and the more he gazed, the sadder his heart became. He would fain have taken Christine in his arms, as he did when she was little, and have fled with her from those chilly walls and dismal gratings.

"Poor child!" he repeated, "what a retreat for the bright years of your youth!... How you must have suffered! But console thyself, dearest child, I am here to rescue thee!"

[695]He remembered Christine as a wild young girl, delighting in liberty, air, and motion; then as an impassioned woman, full of love and independence. And a smile crossed the old man's lips as he thought of her burst of joy, when he should say to her,—"You are free, and Herbert waits to lead you to the altar!" His heart beat as it had never beaten in the best days of his youth; he counted the minutes and kept his eyes fixed upon the little door through which Christine was to come. He could not fold her in his arms, the grating prevented it, but at least he should see and hear her. Suddenly all his blood rushed to his heart, for the hinges creaked and the door opened. A novice, clothed in white, slowly advanced; he looked at her, started back, hesitated, and exclaimed: "Oh God! is that Christine?"

William had cherished in his heart the memory of a bright-eyed, sunburnt girl, alert and lively, quick and decided in her movements, running more often than she walked, like the graceful roe that loves the mountain steeps. He beheld a tall young woman, white and colourless as the robes that shrouded her; her hair concealed under a thick linen band, her slender form scarcely to be distinguished beneath the heavy folds of her woollen vestments. Her movements were slow, her black eyes veiled by an indescribable languor; a profound calm was the characteristic of her whole being—a calm so great, that it resembled absence of life. One might have thought her eyes looked without seeing, that her lips could not open to speak, that her ears listened without hearing. Sister Martha-Mary was beautiful, but her beauty was not of the earth—it was the beauty of infinite repose,—of a calm that nothing could disturb.

The old man was touched to the bottom of his soul; the words expired on his lips, and he extended his hands towards Christine. On beholding her uncle, Martha-Mary endeavoured to smile, but moved not, and said nothing.

"Oh my child!" cried William at last, "how you must suffer here!"

Martha-Mary gently shook her head, and the tranquil look she fixed upon her uncle, protested against his supposition.

"Is it possible that five years have thus changed my Christine! My heart recognises you, my child, not my eyes! They have compelled you to great austerities, severe privations?"


"A cruel bondage has weighed heavily upon you?


"You have been ill then?"


"Your poor heart has suffered too much, and has broken. You have shed many tears?"

"I remember them no longer."

"Christine, Christine, do you live? or has the shade of Annunciata risen from the grave? Oh my child! in seeing, you, I seem to see her corpse, extended on the bed of death!"

Martha-Mary raised her large eyes to heaven; she joined her hands, and murmured, "My mother!"

"Christine, speak to me! weep with me! you frighten me by your calm and silence.... Ah! in my trouble and emotion, I have as yet explained nothing.... Listen: my brother Karl, by the failure of a partner, suddenly found his whole fortune compromised. To avoid total ruin he was obliged to embark immediately for the colonies. He set sail expecting to return in a few years; but his affairs prolong his absence, and his return is indefinitely postponed. His two eldest daughters are with him. To me, who am too old to follow him, too old to remain alone, he has given Christine. I would not accept the precious charge, my child, without the possibility of rendering you happy. I implored permission to marry you to Herbert. You are no longer a rich heiress: your father gone, you need protection, and that of an old man cannot long avail you. In short, your father has agreed to all I asked; he sends you, as a farewell gift, your liberty and his consent to your marriage.... Christine! you are free, and Herbert awaits his bride!"

The long drapery of the novice was slightly agitated, as if the limbs it covered trembled; she remained some[696] seconds without speaking, and then replied, "It is too late! I am the affianced of the Lord!"

William uttered a cry of grief, and looked with alarm at the pale calm girl, who stood immoveable before him.

"Christine!" he cried, "You no longer love Herbert?"

"I am the affianced of the Lord!" repeated the novice, her hands crossed upon her breast, her eyes raised to heaven.

"Oh my God! my God!" cried William, weeping bitterly, "my brother has killed his child! Her soul has been sad even unto death! Poor victim of our severity, tell me, Christine, tell me, what has passed within you, since your abode here?"

"I saw others pray, and I prayed also. There was a great stillness, and I was silent; none wept, and I dried my tears; a something, at first cold, then soothing, enveloped my soul. The voice of God made itself heard to me, and I listened; I loved the Lord, and gave myself to him."

Then, as if fatigued with speaking so much, Martha-Mary relapsed into silence, and into that absorbing meditation which rendered her insensible to surrounding things. Just then a bell tolled. The novice started, and her eyes sparkled.

"God calls me!" she said, "I go to pray!"

"Christine! my daughter, will you leave me thus?"

"Hear you not the bell? It is the hour of prayer."

"But, Christine, dearest child, I came to take you hence."

"I shall never leave these walls!" said Martha-Mary, gliding slowly away. As she opened the parlour door, she turned towards William; her eyes fixed upon him with a sad and sweet expression; her lips moved, as if to send him a kiss; then she disappeared. William made no attempt to detain her; his head was pressed against the grating, and big tears chased each other down his cheeks. How long he remained thus plunged in mournful reflection, he noted not. He was roused by the voice of the superior, who seated herself, wrapped in her black robes, on the other side of the grating.

"I foresaw your grief," she said. "Our sister Martha-Mary refuses to follow you."

With a despairing look, William answered the nun.

"Alas! alas!" he said, "the child I so dearly loved met me without joy, and left me without regret."

"Listen, my son," resumed the superior; "listen to me.—Five years ago, there came to this convent a young girl overwhelmed with grief and sunk in terrible despair; her entrance here was to her a descent into the tomb. During one entire year, none saw her but with tears on her face. Only God knows how many tears the eyes must shed, before a broken spirit regains calm and resignation; man cannot count them. This young girl suffered much; in vain we implored pardon for her, in vain we summoned her family to her relief. She might say, as is written in the psalm,—'I am weary with my groaning: mine eye is consumed because of grief.' What could we do, save pray for her, since none would receive her back!..."

"Alas!" cried William, "your letters never reached us. My brother was beyond sea; and I, having then no hope of changing his determination,—I had quitted his empty and melancholy house."

"Man abandoned her," continued the superior, "but God looked upon his servant, and comforted her soul. If He does not see fit to restore strength to her body, exhausted by suffering—His will be done! Perhaps it would now be wise and generous to leave her to that love of God which she has attained after so many tears; perhaps it would be prudent to spare her fresh shocks."

"No! no!" interrupted William, "I cannot give up, even to God, this last relic of my family, the sole prop of my old age. I will try every means to bring back her heart to its early sentiments. Give me Christine for a few days only! Let me conduct her to the place of her birth, to the scenes where she loved. She is deaf to my entreaties, but she will obey an order from you; bid her return for a while beneath her father's roof! Should she still wish it, after this last attempt, I will restore her hither."

[697]"Take her with you, my son," replied the superior, "I will bid her follow. If God has indeed spoken to her soul, no worldly voice will move her. If it be otherwise, may she return no more to the cloister, but be blessed wherever she goes! Adieu, my son; the peace of the Lord be with you!"

Hope revived in the heart of William Van Amberg; it seemed to him as if—the convent threshold once passed—Christine would revert to her former character, her youth and love. He believed he was about to remove his beloved child for ever from these gloomy walls, and with painful impatience he awaited her coming. Soon a light step was heard in the corridor; William threw open the door, Christine was there, and no grating now separated her from her uncle.

"My beloved Christine!" exclaimed William, "at last, then, you are restored to me; at last I can press you to my heart! Come, we will return to our own country, and revisit the house where we all dwelt together."

Sister Martha-Mary was still paler than at her first interview with William. If any expression was discernible upon that calm countenance, it was one of sadness. She allowed herself to be taken by the hand and conducted to the convent gate; but when the gate was opened, and, passing into the open air, she encountered the broad daylight and the fresh breeze, she tottered and leaned for support against the wall. Just then the sun rent the clouds, and threw its golden beams on plain and mountain; the air was clear and transparent, and the flat and monotonous horizon acquired beauty from the burst of light.

"See, my daughter!" said William, "see how lovely the earth looks! How soft is the air we breathe! How good it is to be free, and to move towards that immense horizon!"

"Oh, my dear uncle!" replied the novice, "how beautiful are the heavens! See how the sun shines above our heads! It is in heaven that his glory should be admired! His rays are already dim and feeble when they touch the earth!"

William led Christine to a carriage; they got in, and the horses set off. Long did the gaze of the novice remain fixed on her convent's walls; when these were hidden from her by the windings of the road, she closed her eyes and seemed to sleep. During the journey, William endeavoured in vain to make her converse; she had forgotten how to express her thoughts. When compelled to reply, fatigue overwhelmed her; her whole existence was concentrated in her soul, and detached entirely from the external world. At intervals, she would say to herself: "How long the morning is! Nothing marks the hours; I have not heard a single bell to-day!"

At last they reached the red house, and the carriage drove into the court, where the grass grow between the stones. Gothon came out to receive them, and Martha-Mary, leaning on her uncle's arm, entered the parlour where the family of Van Amberg had so often assembled. The room was deserted and cold; no books or work gave it the look of habitation; abandoned by its last occupants, it awaited new ones. Christine slowly traversed this well-known apartment, and sat down upon a chair near the window. It was there her mother had sat for twenty years; there had her childhood passed at the knees of Annunciata.

William opened the window, showed her the meadow, the willows, and the river. Christine looked at them in silence, her head resting on her hand, her eyes fixed on the horizon. For a long while William stood beside her, then he placed his hand on her shoulder and pronounced her name. She rose and followed him. They ascended the stairs, traversed the gallery, and William opened a door. "Your mother's room," said he to Christine. The novice entered and stood still in the middle of the chamber; tears flowed from her eyes, she clasped her hands and prayed.

"My daughter," said William, "she ardently desired your happiness."

"She has obtained it!" replied the novice.

The old man felt a profound sadness come over him. It was like pressing to his heart a corpse to which his love restored neither breath nor warmth. Martha-Mary approached her mother's bed, knelt down, and[698] kissed the pillow that had supported the dying head of Annunciata.

"Mother!" she murmured, "soon we shall meet again."

William shuddered. He took Christine's hand, and led her to the room she had formerly occupied. The little white-curtained bed was still there, the guitar hung against the wall, Christine's favourite volumes filled the shelves of her modest bookcase; through the open window were seen the willows and the river. Martha-Mary noticed none of these things: the wooden crucifix was still upon the wall; she rapidly approached it, knelt, bowed her head upon the feet of Christ, closed her eyes and breathed deeply, like one finding repose after long fatigue. Like the exile returning to his native land, like the storm-tossed mariner regaining the port, she remained with her brow resting upon her Saviour's feet.

Standing by her side, William looked on in tearful silence. Farther off, Gothon wiped her eyes with her apron. Several hours elapsed. The house-clock struck, the birds sang in the garden; the wind rustled among the trees; in the lofty pigeon-house the doves cooed; the cock crowed in the poultry-yard. None of these loved and familiar sounds could divert Martha-Mary from her devout meditation. Sick at heart, her uncle descended to the parlour. He remained there long, plunged in gloomy reflections. Suddenly hasty steps were heard; a young man rushed into the room and into William's arms.

"Christine! Christine!" cried Herbert; "where is Christine? Is it not a dream? M. Van Amberg gives me Christine!... Once more in my native land, and Christine mine!"

"Karl Van Amberg gives, but God refuses her to you!" replied William, mournfully. Then he told Herbert what had passed at the convent, and since their arrival at the house: he gave a thousand details,—he repeated them a thousand times, but without convincing Herbert of the melancholy truth.

"It is impossible!" cried the young man; "if Christine is alive, if Christine is here, to the first word uttered by her lover, Christine will reply."

"God grant it!" exclaimed William, "my last hope is in you."

Herbert sprang up the stairs, his heart too full of love to have room for fear. Christine free, was for him Christine ready to become his wife. He hastily opened her chamber door; but then he paused, as if petrified, upon the threshold. The day was closing in, and its fading light fell upon Martha-Mary, whose form stood out like a white shadow from the gloom of the room. She was still on her knees, her head resting on the feet of Christ, her fragile person lost in the multiplied folds of her conventual robes. She heard not the opening of the door, and Herbert stood gazing at her, till a flood of tears burst from his eyes. William took his hand and silently pressed it.

"I am frightened!" said Herbert, in a low tone. "That is not my Christine! A phantom risen from the earth, or an angel descended from Heaven, has taken her place!"

"No, she is no longer Christine!" replied William, sadly.

For a few moments more Herbert stood in mournful contemplation. Then he exclaimed:—"Christine, dear Christine!"

At the sound of his voice the novice started, rose to her feet, and pronounced his name. As in former days, when her lover called "Christine!" Martha-Mary had replied, "Herbert!"

The young man's heart beat violently; he stood beside the novice, he took her hands. "It is I, it is Herbert!" he said, kneeling down before her.

The novice fixed her large black eyes upon him with a long inquiring gaze; a slight flush passed across her brow; then she became pale as before, and said gently to Herbert:—"I thought not to see you again upon earth."

"Dear Christine! tears and suffering have long been our portion; but happy days at last dawn upon us! My love! my bride! we will never part again!"

Martha-Mary extricated her hands from those of Herbert, and retreated towards the image of Christ.

"I am the bride of the Lord" she said in trembling accents. "He expects me."

Herbert uttered a cry of grief.

"Christine! dear Christine! remember our oft-repeated pledges, our loves, our tears, our hopes. You left me[699] vowing to love me always. Christine, if you would not have me die of despair, remember the past!"

Martha-Mary's eyes continued riveted on the crucifix; her hands, convulsively clasped, were extended towards it.

"Gracious Lord!" she prayed, "speak to his heart as you have spoken to mine! It is a noble heart, worthy to love you. Stronger than I, Herbert may survive, even after much weeping! Console him, oh Lord!"

"Christine! my first and only love! sole hope and joy of my life! do you thus abandon me? That heart, once entirely mine, is it closed to me for ever?"

Her gaze upon the crucifix, her hands still joined, the novice, as if able to speak only to her God, gently replied:—"Lord! he suffers as I suffered! shed upon him the balm wherewith you healed my wounds! Leaving him life, take his soul as you have taken mine. Give him that ineffable peace which descends upon those thou lovest!"

"Oh Christine! my beloved!" cried Herbert, once more taking her hand, "do but look at me! turn your eyes upon me and behold my tears! Dearest treasure of my heart! you seem to slumber! Awake! Have you forgotten our tender meetings? the willows bending over the stream, the boat in which we sailed a whole night, dreaming the joy of eternal union? See! the moon rises as it rose that night. We were near each other as now; but then they tore us asunder, and now we are free to be together! Christine, have you ceased to love? Is all forgotten?"

William took her other hand. "Dear child," he said, "we entreat you not to leave us! To you we look for happiness; remain with us, Christine."

One hand in the hands of Herbert, the other in those of William, the novice slowly and solemnly replied:

"The corpse that reposes in the tomb does not lift the stone to re-enter the world. The soul that has seen Heaven, does not leave it to return to earth. The creature to whom God has said, 'Be thou the spouse of Christ,' does not quit Christ to unite herself to a man; and she who is about to die should turn her affections from mortal things!"

"Herbert!" cried William, "be silent! Not another word! I can scarcely feel the throbbing of her pulse! She is paler even than when I first saw her behind the convent grating. We give her pain. Enough, Herbert, enough! Better yield her to God upon earth, than send her to him in Heaven!"

The old man placed the almost inanimate head of Martha-Mary upon his shoulder, and pressed her to his heart as a mother embraces her child. "Recover yourself, my daughter," he said; "I will restore you to the house of God."

Martha-Mary turned her sad and gentle gaze upon her uncle, and her hand feebly pressed his. Then addressing herself to Herbert:

"You, Herbert," she said, in a scarcely audible voice, "you, who will live, do not abandon him!"

"Christine!" cried Herbert, on his knees before his betrothed. "Christine! do we part for ever?"

The novice raised her eyes to heaven.

"Not for ever!" she replied.

Some days afterwards the convent gates opened to receive sister Martha-Mary. They closed upon her for the last time. With feeble and unsteady step the novice traversed the cloisters to prostrate herself on the altar-steps. The superior came to her.

"Oh my mother!" exclaimed Christine, the fountain of whose tears was opened, and who wept as in the days of her childhood, "I have seen him and left him! To thee I return, oh Lord! faithful to my vows, I await the crown that shall consecrate me thy spouse. Thy voice alone shall henceforward reach my ears; I come to sing thy praises, to pray and serve thee until the end of my life!—Holy mother, prepare the robe of serge, the white crown, the silver cross; I am ready!"

"My daughter," replied the superior, "you are very ill, much exhausted by so many shocks; will you not delay the ceremony of profession?"

"No, holy mother! no; delay it not! I would die the bride of the Lord!... And I have little time!" replied sister Martha-Mary.



The Massacre of Glencoe is an event which neither can nor ought to be forgotten. It was one of the earliest fruits of the so-called glorious Revolution Settlement, and exhibits in their foulest perfidy the true characters of its authors.

After the battle of Killiecrankie the cause of the Scottish royalists declined, rather from the want of a competent leader than from any disinclination on the part of the people to vindicate the right of King James. No person of adequate talents or authority was found to supply the place of the great and gallant Lord Dundee, of whom it was truly written,—

"Te moriente, novos accepit Scotia cives,
Accepitque novos, te moriente, deos."

General Cannon, who succeeded in command, was not only deficient in military skill, but did not possess the confidence, nor understand the character of the Highland chiefs, who, with their clansmen, constituted by far the most important section of the army. Accordingly no enterprise of any importance was attempted, and the disastrous issue of the battle of the Boyne led to a negotiation which terminated in the entire disbanding of the royal forces. By this treaty, which was expressly sanctioned by William of Orange, a full and unreserved indemnity and pardon was granted to all of the Highlanders who had taken arms, with a proviso that they should first subscribe the oath of allegiance to William and Mary, before the 1st of January 1692, in presence of the Lords of the Scottish Council, "or of the sheriffs or their deputies of the respective shires wherein they lived." The letter of William addressed to the Privy Council, and ordering proclamation to be made to the above effect, contained also the following significant passage:—"That ye communicate our pleasure to the Governor of Inverlochy and other commanders that they be exact and diligent in their several posts; but that they show no more zeal against the Highlanders after their submission, than they have ever done formerly when these were in open rebellion."

This enigmatical sentence, which in reality was intended, as the sequel will show, to be interpreted in the most cruel manner, appears to have caused some perplexity in the Council, as that body deemed it necessary to apply for more distinct and specific instructions, which, however, were not then issued. It had been especially stipulated by the chiefs as an indispensable preliminary to their treaty, that they should have leave to communicate with King James, then residing at St Germains, for the purpose of obtaining his permission and warrant previous to submitting themselves to the existing government. That article had been sanctioned by William before the proclamation was issued, and a special messenger was despatched to France for that purpose.

In the mean time, troops were gradually and cautiously advanced to the confines of the Highlands, and, in some instances, actually quartered on the inhabitants. The condition of the country was perfectly tranquil. No disturbances whatever occurred in the north or west of Scotland; Lochiel and the other chiefs were awaiting the communication from St. Germains, and held themselves bound in honour to remain inactive; whilst the remainder of the royalist forces (for whom separate terms had been made) were left unmolested at Dunkeld.

But rumours, which are too clearly traceable to the emissaries of the new government, asserting the preparation made for an immediate landing of King James at the head of a large body of the French, were industriously circulated, and by many were implicitly believed. The infamous policy which dictated such a course is now apparent. The term of the amnesty or truce[701] granted by the proclamation expired with the year 1691, and all who had not taken the oath of allegiance before that term were to be proceeded against with the utmost severity. The proclamation was issued upon the 29th of August, consequently, only four months were allowed for the complete submission of the Highlands.

Not one of the chiefs subscribed until the mandate from King James arrived. That document, which is dated from St Germains on the 12th of December 1691, reached Dunkeld eleven days afterwards, and, consequently, but a very short time before the indemnity expired. The bearer, Major Menzies, was so fatigued that he could proceed no farther on his journey, but forwarded the mandate by an express to the commander of the royal forces, who was then at Glengarry. It was therefore impossible that the document could be circulated through the Highlands within the prescribed period. Lochiel, says Drummond of Balhaldy, did not receive his copy till about thirty hours before the time was out, and appeared before the sheriff at Inverara, where he took the oaths upon the very day on which the indemnity expired.

That a general massacre throughout the Highlands was contemplated by the Whig government, is a fact established by overwhelming evidence. In the course of the subsequent investigations before the Scots Parliament, letters were produced from Sir John Dalrymple, then Master of Stair, one of the secretaries of state in attendance upon the court, which too clearly indicate the intentions of William. In one of these, dated 1st December 1691,—a month, be it observed, before the amnesty expired—and addressed to Lieutenant-Colonel Hamilton, there are the following words:—"The winter is the only season in which we are sure the Highlanders cannot escape us, nor carry their wives, bairns, and cattle to the mountains." And in another letter, written only two days afterwards, he says,—"It is the only time that they cannot escape you, for human constitution cannot endure to be long out of houses. This is the proper season to maule them in the cold long nights." And in January thereafter, he informed Sir Thomas Livingston that the design was "to destroy entirely the country of Lochaber, Lochiel's lands, Keppoch's, Glengarry's, Appin, and Glencoe. I assure you," he continues, "your power shall be full enough, and I hope the soldiers will not trouble the Government with prisoners."

Lochiel was more fortunate than others of his friends and neighbours. According to Drummond,—"Major Menzies, who, upon his arrival, had observed the whole forces of the kingdom ready to invade the Highlands, as he wrote to General Buchan, foreseeing the unhappy consequences, not only begged that general to send expresses to all parts with orders immediately to submit, but also wrote to Sir Thomas Livingston, praying him to supplicate the Council for a prorogation of the time, in regard that he was so excessively fatigued, that he was obliged to stop some days to repose a little; and that though he should send expresses, yet it was impossible they could reach the distant parts in such time as to allow the several persons concerned the benefit of the indemnity within the space limited; besides, that some persons having put the Highlanders in a bad temper, he was confident to persuade them to submit, if a further time were allowed. Sir Thomas presented this letter to the Council on the 5th of January 1692, but they refused to give any answer, and ordered him to transmit the same to court."

The reply of William of Orange was a letter, countersigned by Dalrymple, in which, upon the recital that "several of the chieftains and many of their clans have not taken the benefit of our gracious indemnity," he gave orders for a general massacre. "To that end, we have given Sir Thomas Livingston orders to employ our troops (which we have already conveniently posted,) to cut off these obstinate rebels by all manner of hostility; and we do require you to give him your assistance and concurrence in all other things that may conduce to that service; and because these rebels, to avoid our forces, may draw themselves, their families, goods, or cattle, to lurk or be concealed[702] among their neighbours: therefore, we require and authorise you to emit a proclamation to be published at the market-crosses of these or the adjacent shires where the rebels reside, discharging upon the highest penalties the law allows, any reset, correspondence, or intercommuning with these rebels." This monstrous mandate, which was in fact the death-warrant of many thousand innocent people, no distinction being made of age or sex, would, in all human probability, have been put into execution, but for the remonstrance of one high-minded nobleman. Lord Carmarthen, afterwards Duke of Leeds, accidentally became aware of the purposed massacre, and personally remonstrated with the monarch against a measure which he denounced as at once cruel and impolitic. After much discussion, William, influenced rather by an apprehension that so savage and sweeping an act might prove fatal to his new authority, than by any compunction or impulse of humanity, agreed to recall the general order, and to limit himself, in the first instance, to a single deed of butchery, by way of testing the temper of the nation. Some difficulty seems to have arisen in the selection of the fittest victim. Both Keppoch and Glencoe were named, but the personal rancour of Secretary Dalrymple decided the doom of the latter. The Secretary wrote thus:—"Argyle tells me that Glencoe hath not taken the oath, at which I rejoice. It is a great work of charity to be exact in rooting out that damnable set." The final instructions regarding Glencoe, which were issued on 16th January 1692, are as follows:—

"William R.—As for M'Ian of Glencoe and that tribe, if they can be well distinguished from the rest of the Highlanders, it will be proper for public justice to extirpate that set of thieves."

"W. R."

This letter is remarkable as being signed and countersigned by William alone, contrary to the usual practice. The secretary was no doubt desirous to screen himself from after responsibility, and was further aware that the royal signature would ensure a rigorous execution of the sentence.

Macdonald, or as he was more commonly designed, M'Ian of Glencoe, was the head of a considerable sept or branch of the great Clan-Coila, and was lineally descended from the ancient Lords of the Isles, and from the royal family of Scotland, the common ancestor of the Macdonalds having espoused a daughter of Robert II. He was, according to a contemporary testimony, "a person of great integrity, honour, good nature, and courage, and his loyalty to his old master, King James, was such, that he continued in arms from Dundee's first appearing in the Highlands, till the fatal treaty that brought on his ruin." In common with the other chiefs, he had omitted taking the benefit of the indemnity until he received the sanction of King James; but the copy of that document which was forwarded to him, unfortunately arrived too late. The weather was so excessively stormy at the time that there was no possibility of penetrating from Glencoe to Inverara, the place where the sheriff resided, before the expiry of the stated period; and M'Ian accordingly adopted the only practicable mode of signifying his submission, by making his way with great difficulty to Fort-William, then called Inverlochy, and tendering his signature to the military governor there. That officer was not authorised to receive it, but at the earnest entreaty of the chief, he gave him a certificate of his appearance and tender, and on New-year's day, 1692, M'Ian reached Inverara, where he produced that paper as evidence of his intentions, and prevailed upon the sheriff, Sir James Campbell of Ardkinglass, to administer the oaths required. After that ceremony, which was immediately intimated to the Privy Council, had been performed, the unfortunate gentleman returned home, in the full conviction that he had thereby made peace with government for himself and for his clan. But his doom was already sealed.

A company of the Earl of Argyle's regiment had been previously quartered in Glencoe. These men, though Campbells, and hereditarily obnoxious to[703] the Macdonalds, Camerons, and other of the loyal clans, were yet countrymen, and were kindly and hospitably received. Their captain, Robert Campbell of Glenlyon, was connected with the family of Glencoe through the marriage of a niece, and was resident under the roof of the chief. And yet this was the very troop selected for the horrid service.

Special instructions were sent to the major of the regiment, one Duncanson, then quartered at Ballachulish, a morose, brutal, and savage man, who accordingly wrote to Campbell of Glenlyon in the following terms:—

"Ballacholis, 12 February, 1692.

"Sir,—You are hereby ordered to fall upon the rebels, the M'Donalds of Glencoe, and putt all to the sword under seventy. You are to have special care that the old fox and his sons doe upon no account escape your hands. You are to secure all the avenues that no man escape. This you are to put in execution att five o'clock in the morning precisely, and by that time or very shortly after it I'll strive to be att you with a stronger party. If I doe not come to you at five, you are not to tarry for me but to fall on. This is by the king's speciall command, for the good and safety of the country, that these miscreants be cutt off root and branch. See that this be putt in execution without feud or favour, else you may expect to be treated as not true to the king's government, nor a man fitt to carry a commission in the king's service. Expecting you will not faill in the fulfilling hereof as you love yourself, I subscrive these with my hand.

"Robert Duncanson.

"For their Majesty's service. To Captain
Robert Campbell of Glenlyon."

This order was too literally obeyed. At the appointed hour, when the whole inhabitants of the glen were asleep, the work of murder began. M'Ian was one of the first who fell. Drummond's narrative fills up the remainder of the dreadful story.

"They then served all within the family in the same manner, without distinction of age or person. In a word, for the horror of that execrable butchery must give pain to the reader, they left none alive but a young child, who being frighted with the noise of the guns, and the dismal shrieks and cries of its dying parents, whom they were a-murdering, got hold of Captain Campbell's knees and wrapt itself within his cloak; by which, chancing to move compassion, the captain inclined to have saved it, but one Drummond, an officer, arriving about the break of day with more troops, commanded it to be shot by a file of musqueteers. Nothing could be more shocking and horrible than the prospect of these houses bestrewed with mangled bodies of the dead, covered with blood, and resounding with the groans of wretches in the last agonies of life.

"Two sons of Glencoe's were the only persons that escaped in that quarter of the country; for, growing jealous of some ill designs from the behaviour of the soldiers, they stole from their beds a few minutes before the tragedy began, and chancing to overhear two of them discoursing plainly of the matter, they endeavoured to have advertised their father, but finding that impracticable, they ran to the other end of the country and alarmed the inhabitants. There was another accident that contributed much to their safety; for the night was so excessively stormy and tempestuous, that four hundred soldiers, who were appointed to murder these people, were stopped in their march from Inverlochy, and could not get up till they had time to save themselves. To cover the deformity of so dreadful a sight, the soldiers burned all the houses to the ground, after having rifled them, carried away nine hundred cows, two hundred horses, numberless herds of sheep and goats, and every thing else that belonged to these miserable people. Lamentable was the case of the women and children that escaped the butchery. The mountains[704] were covered with a deep snow, the rivers impassable, storm and tempest filled the air, and added to the horrors and darkness of the night, and there were no houses to shelter them within many miles."[2]

Such was the awful massacre of Glencoe, an event which has left an indelible and execrable stain upon the memory of William of Orange. The records of Indian warfare can hardly afford a parallel instance of atrocity; and this deed, coupled with his deliberate treachery in the Darien business, whereby Scotland was for a time absolutely ruined, is sufficient to account for the little estimation in which the name of the "great Whig deliverer" is still regarded in the valleys of the North.

Do not lift him from the bracken,
Leave him lying where he fell—
Better bier ye cannot fashion:
None beseems him half so well,
As the bare and broken heather,
And the hard and trampled sod,
Whence his angry soul ascended
To the judgment seat of God!
Winding-sheet we cannot give him—
Seek no mantle for the dead,
Save the cold and spotless covering,
Showered from heaven upon his head.
Leave his broadsword, as we found it,
Bent and broken with the blow,
That, before he died, avenged him
On the foremost of the foe.
Leave the blood upon his bosom—
Wash not off that sacred stain:
Let it stiffen on the tartan,
Let his wounds unclosed remain,
Till the day when he shall show them
At the throne of God on high,
When the murderer and the murdered
Meet before their Judge's eye!
Nay—ye should not weep, my children!
Leave it to the faint and weak;
Sobs are but a woman's weapon—
Tears befit a maiden's cheek.
Weep not, children of Macdonald!
Weep not thou, his orphan heir—
Not in shame, but stainless honour,
Lies thy slaughtered father there.
Weep not—but when years are over,
And thine arm is strong and sure,
And thy foot is swift and steady
On the mountain and the muir—
Let thy heart be hard as iron,
And thy wrath as fierce as fire,
Till the hour when vengeance cometh
For the race that slew thy sire!
Till in deep and dark Glenlyon
Rise a louder shriek of wo,
Than at midnight, from their eyrie,
Scared the eagles of Glencoe.
[705]Louder than the screams that mingled
With the howling of the blast,
When the murderer's steel was clashing,
And the fires were rising fast.
When thy noble father bounded
To the rescue of his men,
And the slogan of our kindred
Pealed throughout the startled glen.
When the herd of frantic women
Stumbled through the midnight snow,
With their fathers' houses blazing,
And their dearest dead below!
Oh, the horror of the tempest,
As the flashing drift was blown,
Crimsoned with the conflagration,
And the roofs went thundering down!
Oh, the prayers—the prayers and curses
That together winged their flight
From the maddened hearts of many
Through that long and woful night!
Till the fires began to dwindle,
And the shots grew faint and few,
And we heard the foeman's challenge,
Only in a far halloo.
Till the silence once more settled
O'er the gorges of the glen,
Broken only by the Cona
Plunging through its naked den.
Slowly from the mountain summit
Was the drifting veil withdrawn,
And the ghastly valley glimmered
In the gray December dawn.
Better had the morning never
Dawned upon our dark despair!
Black amidst the common whiteness
Rose the spectral ruins there:
But the sight of these was nothing,
More than wrings the wild dove's breast,
When she searches for her offspring
Round the relics of her nest.
For, in many a spot, the tartan
Peered above the wintry heap,
Marking where a dead Macdonald
Lay within his frozen sleep.
Tremblingly we scooped the covering
From each kindred victim's head,
And the living lips were burning
On the cold ones of the dead.
And I left them with their dearest—
Dearest charge had every one—
Left the maiden with her lover,
Left the mother with her son.
I alone of all was mateless,
Far more wretched I than they,
For the snow would not discover
Where my lord and husband lay.
But I wandered up the valley,
Till I found him lying low,
[706]With the gash upon his bosom
And the frown upon his brow—
Till I found him lying murdered,
Where he wooed me long ago!
Woman's weakness shall not shame me!
Why should I have tears to shed?
Could I rain them down like water,
O my hero, on thy head—
Could the cry of lamentation
Wake thee from thy silent sleep,
Could it set thy heart a throbbing,
It were mine to wail and weep!
But I will not waste my sorrow,
Lest the Campbell women say,
That the daughters of Clanranald
Are as weak and frail as they.
I had wept thee, hadst thou fallen,
Like our fathers, on thy shield,
When a host of English foemen
Camped upon a Scottish field—
I had mourned thee, hadst thou perished
With the foremost of his name,
When the valiant and the noble
Died around the dauntless Græme!
But I will not wrong thee, husband,
With my unavailing cries,
Whilst thy cold and mangled body,
Stricken by the traitor, lies;
Whilst he counts the gold and glory
That this hideous night has won,
And his heart is big with triumph
At the murder he has done.
Other eyes than mine shall glisten,
Other hearts be rent in twain,
Ere the heathbells on thy hillock
Wither in the autumn rain.
Then I'll seek thee where thou sleepest,
And I'll veil my weary head,
Praying for a place beside thee,
Dearer than my bridal bed.
And I'll give thee tears, my husband,
If the tears remain to me,
When the widows of the foemen,
Cry the coronach for thee!
W. E. A.




Baron Vaerst's animated account of his Pyrenean wanderings and observations, forms one of the pleasantest books of its class we for some time have met with. As the issue of a German pen, one so agreeable was scarcely to be expected. Whatever be thought of the present condition of German literature—and our opinion of it is far from favourable—all must admit that the department of voyages and travels has of late been execrably provided. Since Tschudi's Peru, now eighteen months old, nothing of mark—scarcely any thing worth a passing notice—has been produced by German travellers. There have appeared a few books of eastern travel, others of stale description and oft-repeated criticism from Italy. Prince Waldemar's physician gave us a dull narrative of his journey to and through India, where he was so injudicious as to get shot just as his observations became of interest. It was time something better should turn up. Germans, hardy and adventurous travelers and shrewd observers, are but moderately successful in describing what they see. Of course, there are brilliant exceptions. Tschudi is one of the most recent, Vaerst, allowing for the comparative staleness of his subject, really does not come far behind him as a lively and expert writer. Most German tourists either drivel or dogmatise; are awfully wise, and ponderous, and somniferous, or mere trivial verbose gossips, writing against time and paper, with a torrent of words and a drought of ideas, like Kohl, the substance of any four of whose volumes might, with perfect ease and great advantage, be compressed into one. The best travels, now-a-days, are written by Englishmen, and our large and daily-increasing store of admirable books of that class does honour to the country. The French are vastly amusing, but they are too fond of romancing, and do so artfully and unscrupulously mix up what they invent at home with what they see abroad, that they mislead and impose upon the simple and unwary. Without taking for example such an extreme case as Alexander Dumas—notorious as a hardened delinquent, writing travels in countries whose frontier he has never crossed, and chuckling when the same is imputed to him—we find abundance of more modest offenders, serving up their actual experiences with a humorous sauce, in whose composition and distribution they display much skill and wit. For instance,—one might suppose the vast number of books about Syria, Egypt, Turkey, and so forth, that have appeared within the last few years in England, France, and Germany, would have left little of interest to tell about those oriental regions, and that whatever was at present written would be a mere rechauffé, without spice or flavour,—an unpalatable dishing-up of yesterday's baked-meats. In his "Anti-Liban, Scènes de la Vie Orientale," M. Gerard de Nerval practically demonstrates the fallacy of such an opinion, and shows how talent and humour will give fresh zest to a subject already handled by a host of artists. Of course, we do not accept all his romantic scenes and contes dialoguées as literal facts,—they are the gilding of the pill, the seductive embellishments of a hackneyed subject; but an attentive reader will sift character and information from them. And after all, when a whole library of gravity has been written about a country, it is surely, allowable, in an age when fun is so rampant that even history is strained into burlesque, to write of it gaily, and place a setting of amusement round facts that would otherwise hardly obtain perusal. And we do not smile the less at M. de Nerval's facetious[708] stories about Javanese slaves, Greek captains and Druse festivals, at his proposals of marriage to Scheiks' daughters, recounted by him with commendable assurance, and at the smart French repartees he puts into the mouths of solemn Egyptian pachas, because we trace without difficulty the operation of his lively imagination and decorative pen. On the other hand, there are French books of travel as dull and sententious as those of any Teuton who ever twaddled. As a specimen, we refer our readers to the long-winded periods and inflated emptiness of that wearisome personage, Monsieur X. Marmier.

Less convenient of access, the Pyrenees are far less visited than the Alps. It is on that account, perhaps, that they are more written about. People now can go to Switzerland without rushing madly into print—indeed it would be ridiculous to write a descriptive tour in a country thoroughly well known to nine out of ten of the probable readers. But it seems very difficult for any one versed in orthography, and able to hold a pen, to approach the Pyrenees without flying to the ink-bottle. And it is astounding to behold the confidence with which, on the strength of a week or two at Pau, a few pints of water imbibed at Barèges, or a distant view of the Maladetta, they discourse of three hundred miles of mountain, containing infinite variety of scenery, and richer perhaps than any other mountain range in the world in associations historical, poetical, and romantic. On no such slender experience does Baron Vaerst found his claims as chronicler of this most splendid of natural partition-walls. "Thrice," he tells us, "and under very various circumstances, have I visited the Pyrenees, passing over and through them in all directions, both on the French and Spanish side; so that from the Garonne to the Ebro I am well acquainted with the country, to which an old predilection repeatedly drew me. It is now twenty years since I undertook my first journey, at the close of a long residence in France. At leisure, and with all possible convenience I saw the different Pyrenean watering-places, remaining six months amongst them. I was a sturdy pedestrian and good climber, and I passed nearly the whole summer in wandering over the mountains, accompanied by able guides, bending my stops whithersoever accident or the humour of the moment impelled me, and pausing in those spots that especially pleased me. The snug and secret valleys of the Pyrenees are world-renowned. I know no region which oftener suggests the thought,—Here it is good to dwell—here let us build our house!"

Ten years later the Baron re-visited his well-beloved vales and mountains; this time in the suite and confidence of the pretender to the Spanish crown. Thence he forwarded occasional details of the civil war to various English, French, and German newspapers, and had the reputation with many of being a secret agent of the northern powers, intrusted with a sort of half-official mission, and authorised on behalf of his employers to prepare the recognition of Don Carlos as king of Spain, which was to follow—so it was then believed—immediately on the capture of Saragossa, Bilboa, or any other important fortress. The favour shown him by the pretender accredited the report, which in some respects was disagreeable to the Baron, whilst in others he found it useful, as giving him facilities for seeing and getting knowledge of the country. In all security and with due military escort, he took his rambles, accompanied by Viscount de Barrés, a French officer in the Carlist service, who had been Zumalacarregui's aide-de-camp, and who conducted him over the early battle-fields of the civil war, in the valleys of Echalar and Bastan; to the sea-coast, to the sources of the Ebro, and over the high mountains of Guipuzcoa. Barrés spoke Spanish and Basque; he was familiar with the country and its usages, and able to give his companion an immense store of valuable information, the essence of which is concentrated in the book before us.

"My first journey in the Pyrenees was made on foot; the second entirely on horseback. Although the Carlist army in the Basque provinces was then thirty thousand strong, not a single carriage or cart followed it; even the royal baggage was carried on[709] mules. Finally, just one year ago, I started on my third Pyrenean expedition, this time in a comfortable travelling carriage. I undertook the journey not for amusement, but in obedience to medical injunctions. Lame and ill, I could neither ride nor walk, and was unable closely to approach my beloved mountains. I hovered around them, like a shy lover round his mistress, going as near as the carriage-roads would take me. How often, in the golden radiance of the sun, in its glorious rising and setting, in the soft moon-light, and through the driving storm, have I gazed with absorbing admiration at those mountain peaks, and forgotten myself, my sufferings, and the world!"

Cheerless and discouraging were the circumstances under which, in the autumn of 1844, Baron Vaerst started upon his third journey southwards. He was sick, dispirited, and in pain, the weather was abominable, and he felt uneasy lest the Breslau theatre, whose manager he for some years had been, should suffer from his absence. A strong love of sunshine and the south, however, consoled him in some measure for these disagreeables, and good news of the progress of his theatrical speculation contributed to raise his spirits. His plans were very vague. He would go south, and chance should fix him. At the "Roman Emperor," at Frankfort, he fell in with the hereditary prince of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt and Baron Rheinbaben. They agreed to travel together to Marseilles, and thence take ship for Madeira. Baron Vaerst had set his mind upon wintering in the Canaries. He had been reading Leopold Von Buch's fascinating description of their beauties, and had decided that the valley of Lavanda alone would repay the voyage. In imagination he already inhaled the perfumed air, spiced with odours of orange and pomegranate; already he sauntered beneath bowers of vines and through almond groves peopled with myriads of canary-birds. His friends took the contagion of his enthusiasm, and Funchal was the goal of all their desires. From Frankfort their second day's journey brought them to Mannheim. Here a gross attempt at imposition awaited them. "Having not a moment to lose, in order to catch the Mühlhausen railway, we called out somewhat impatiently from the steamer's deck for four horses to convey us to the station. A man made his appearance with two, and insisted upon harnessing one to each of our heavy travelling carriages, maintaining that he would drive us as fast as any body else could with four. Of course we accepted his offer, but on our way we were stopped by another coachman, who demanded payment for a second pair of horses, ordered, although not used, by us, and which he alleged were provided. We saw no signs of them, and refused payment. The man screamed and stormed, called heaven to witness our injustice, and appealed to the passers by to protect him against it. At last the spectators took our part, and it turned out that the fellow was owner of the two horses we used, which were all he possessed. The second pair existed but in his imagination. I had travelled over all Europe, and was accustomed to all kinds of cheating,—which I do not, like Herr Nicolai in his Italian tour, allow to disturb my good humour,—but I confess that such a magnificent piece of impudence was entirely new to me, and as such I deem it worthy of record."

After descending the Saone from Chalons to Lyons, cooped by hail and rain in the narrow cabin of the steamer, with a couple of hundred very miscellaneous companions, the three Germans posted forward to Marseilles, but were pulled up at Avignon by lack of post-horses, all engaged for the Prince of Joinville and Duke of Aumale, then on their way to Naples to celebrate the marriage of the latter with the Princess of Salerno. So they had time to examine the city which a partial chronicler has styled noble by antiquity, agreeable by situation, stately by its castle and battlements, smiling by the fertility of its fields, loveable for the gentle manners of its inhabitants, beautiful by its wide streets, wonderful for the architecture of its bridge, rich through its commerce, and renowned all the world over! This pompous description, always an exaggeration, is now little better than a[710] series of untruths. The walls are in ruins, the streets narrow, angular, and uneven, the old castle of the Popes looks more like a prison than a palace, commerce there is none, and the murder of Marshal Brune, in 1814, by a furious mob, belies the gentleness of the population. In Avignon, seven Popes reigned for seven times ten years; it had seven hospitals, seven fraternities of penitents, seven convents of monks and as many of nuns, seven parishes, and seven cemeteries.

At Marseilles disappointment awaited the pilgrims. They had planned to proceed to Lisbon, and thence by an English packet to Madeira; but they were now informed that no steam-boats went either from Cadiz or the Portuguese capital to the Canaries, and that the sailing vessels were of an uncomfortable and inferior description. By these, at that season of the year, they did not deem it advisable to proceed; so the trip to Madeira seemed unlikely to be accomplished. They consoled themselves as well as they could by inspecting all worthy of visit in the pleasant capital of Provence, and by enjoying the luxurious table-d'hôte dinners of the Hotel de l'Orient. At this excellent inn, as chance would have it, Prince Albert of Prussia, travelling incognito, a short time previously had for some days put up. The arms upon the carriage of Prince Schwarzburg included an imperial eagle, borne by the counts and princes of his house since the time of Günther, emperor of Germany and count of Schwarzburg. The prince travelled under the assumed name of Baron Leutenberg, but the double-headed eagle on his shield convinced the hotel keeper he was some imperial prince, and on learning this from the valet de place, he and his friends thought it advisable to come to an understanding about prices, the more so as they occupied the same rooms inhabited some time previously by Queen Christina of Spain, whose bill, in three weeks, amounted to eight-and-twenty thousand francs. The apartments were sumptuously fitted up, with mirrors that would have done honour to a palace, and in the centre of the hotel was a large court, after the Spanish fashion, enclosed on all sides with high arcades. In the centre of this patio a fountain threw up its waters, and around were planted evergreen bushes and creepers. In the burning climate of Marseilles, one of the most shadeless, and often—for two or three months of the year—one of the hottest places in Europe, such a cool and still retreat is especially delightful.

During Baron Vaerst's stay at Marseilles, the fine French war-steamer, Montezuma, arrived from Africa, bringing the hero of Isly, Marshal Bugeaud, and a numerous suite. The evening of his arrival, the conqueror of the infidel visited the theatre, where Katinka Heinefetter sang in the "Favorite." To give greater brilliancy to his triumphal progress through France, Bugeaud had brought over a number of Bedouin chiefs, who now accompanied him to the playhouse. Amongst them were the Aga of Constantine, Scheik El Garoubi, several learned Arabs proceeding to Paris to study Arabian manuscripts in the Royal Library, and, most remarkable of all, the son of the famous El Arrack, a stanch ally of France, who, after a victory over a hostile tribe, forwarded to the Marshal five hundred pair of salted ears, shorn from the heads of his prisoners. These Arabs, in their rich oriental garb, studded with gold and precious stones, and scenting the air with musk for a hundred yards around, interested the public far more than the opera. With characteristic gravity and indifference they listened to the music, and to the noise and exclamations of the restless southern audience. But the curtain rose on the ballet, and the first entrechat electrified them. They rose from their seats, leaned over the front of the box, and were as excited and alive to what went on as any vivacious passionate Provençal of them all. The next day, crowds assembled before the hotel, upon whose balcony the Bedouins complaisantly took their station, and sat and smoked their pipes in view of the people.

Future writers of travels would do well to take example from Baron Vaerst in the choice and arrangement of their materials. He sustains attention by a judicious alternation of lively and serious matter. After detailing his progress through a district, or observations in a town, he[711] usually devotes a chapter to a brief but lucid historical sketch of the place or province. For the filling of his volumes he does not rely solely on what he sees and orally gathers, but has studied numerous works relating to the history, traditions, and prospects of the interesting country he writes of, and makes good use of the knowledge thus acquired. A list of his authorities is prefixed to his book, and if some few of them are of no great value, the majority are trustworthy and of high standing. Caution, however, is necessary in our reception of the Baron's own opinions and inferences. He protests his wish to tell truth, to show no favour to friends, and render ample justice to enemies. But he is a rabid Carlist, a supporter of erroneous doctrines on more than one point relating to Spain, and at times his predilections clash with the desire to be impartial, by which we doubt not he is really animated.

Marseilles, the most flourishing of French seaports, is also one of the gayest and most agreeable of French provincial towns. Its inhabitants, active and industrious, have been noted from time immemorial as a hot-headed and turbulent race. Amongst them the peaceful pursuits of agriculture never found encouragement; they were always rough seamen and adventurous traders, bold, enterprising, and warlike. Both in ancient and modern times, they, like all commercial tribes, have ever shown an ardent love of freedom and independence. If they exhibited royalist tendencies, in 1814 and 1815, it was far less from love to the Bourbons than from hatred to Napoleon. The emperor's continental system had totally ruined the trade of Marseilles, and in his downfall the Marseillese foresaw a recommencement of their prosperity. During the blockade a paltry coasting trade was all they retained. At the present day, Marseilles, evidently intended by nature to be the greatest of French trading towns, has far outstripped its former rivals, Nantes, Bordeaux, and Havre. The port is the rendezvous of all the nations of the earth, a perpetual scene of bustle and excitement, resembling a great fair, or an Italian carnival. All varieties of oriental garb, Greek and Armenian, Egyptian and Turkish, are there to be seen; parrots and other exotic birds chatter and scream, apes and monkeys grimace in the rigging of the ships, and huge heaps of stockfish, spread or packed upon the quay, emit an unbearable stench. The water in the harbour is thick and filthy, but the natives proclaim this quality an advantage, as tending to preserve the shipping. The greatest faults to be found with Marseilles, are the want of cleanliness and abominable smells occasioned by want of proper sewerage. Otherwise, as a residence, few in France are more desirable. The streets are well paved, and consequently dry rapidly after rain: the climate is glorious, and although the immediate environs are barren and sandy, and the roads out of the town ankle-deep in dust, shade and verdure may be found within the compass of a moderate drive. Baron Vaerst stands up as a champion of Provence, which he maintains, with truth, has received less than justice at the hands of those who have written of it as a naked and melancholy desert, a patch of Africa transported to the northern shore of the Mediterranean. In the very barrenness of portions of it he finds a certain charm. "Even the environs of Marseilles," he says, "almost treeless and fountainless though they be, have a striking and majestic aspect. The clear deep blue of the heavens, the blinding sun, reflected in a blaze of fire from glittering waves to white chalk hillocks, half-hidden amongst which Marseilles coquettishly peeps forth; the scanty vegetation, of strange and exotic aspect to the wanderer from the north; the elegant country-houses, with their solitary pine trees, whose dark green crowns contrast with the pale foliage of the olive, compose a beautiful and characteristic picture. The chief colours are white and gold; green, more pleasant to the eye, shows itself but here and there, and at times entirely disappears. Those who speak of Provence as one broad barren tract, can know little beyond the naked cliffs of Toulon; are strangers assuredly to the Hesperides-gardens of Hyères, to Nice with its palm trees[712] and never-varying climate, and above all to Grasse. I do not mean the Grasse between Perpignan and Carcassone, but Grasse near Draguignan. The appearance and perfume of this garden defies description. In Grasse the best French pomatums are manufactured, and thence are forwarded to all parts of the world. Vast fields of roses, mignionette, pinks, violets, and hyacinths, swarming with bees, and hovered over by thousands upon thousands of bright-hued butterflies, and plantations of orange trees, covered at once with fruit and blossom, enchant the eye, and fill the air for leagues around with a balmy and exquisite fragrance. But even as the most venomous snakes dwell by preference under the stateliest palms, so is the whole of Provence too often swept by the terrible mistral. This pestilential wind, called by Strabo the black death, withers tree and flower, tears roofs from houses, raises clouds of dust and pebbles, and penetrates to the very marrow of man and beast. To me it was so painful, that it poisoned all my enjoyment of the beauty of the country. I can easily imagine that under the influence of so rough and rude a scourge, men may acquire the like qualities, and may justify the truth of Arago's reproach, that "the manners of the people of Toulon are brutal as the mistral which ravages their vineyards."

Upon inquiry it appeared that an English steamer would leave Lisbon for Madeira on the 1st of December. But the only possible way to reach Lisbon in time was by means of a Spanish boat, then lying in the harbour of Marseilles, and the Baron had little taste for that mode of conveyance. Only a few days previously, the boiler of the Secundo Gaditano, belonging to the same company, had burst far out at sea, when several persons were dangerously hurt, and the vessel was compelled to return to Marseilles, instead of prosecuting its voyage to Barcelona. Its successor, the Primer Gaditano, had good English engines, and seemed well appointed, and at last the three travellers engaged berths. The vessel was warranted to sail on the 23d November; but in spite of this promise, and of passengers' remonstrances, the faithless consignees detained her till the morning of the 27th. Of course there was no chance of getting to Lisbon in time for the packet, but there was a possibility of meeting it at Cadiz, where it was expected to touch; and the Baron and his companions, having paid for their places, took their chance. To their surprise and annoyance, when the overladen boat groaned and puffed its way out of the harbour, its prow was turned, not towards Spain, but towards Toulon and Italy. This strange circumstance was soon explained by one of those extraordinary laws peculiar to Spanish legislators, intended, we presume, to encourage the shipping interest of Spain, but which, to any but its framers, certainly appears wonderfully ill adapted to the end proposed. Spanish vessels, arriving from foreign ports, at a certain distance from the Spanish frontier, pay much lighter dues than those whose point of departure is nearer home. Marseilles is within the high duty limit, and accordingly the Gaditano wasted a day in sailing to the little port of Ciotat, to have her papers countersigned there, and obtain the benefit of the low rate. A pretty specimen of what are commonly called cosas de España. "This," exclaims M. Vaerst, with righteous indignation, "is what Spaniards call encouraging their trade and shipping. A compilation of the various contradictory commercial edicts and regulations propounded in Spain during the last few centuries, would add an instructive chapter to the history of the misgovernment of that unhappy country." And he cites a few glaring examples of blind and stupid legislation. If one sovereign gave wise decrees, and did not himself revoke and nullify them, his successor was sure to repair the omission. Thus we find Ferdinand the Catholic forbidding the importation of raw silk from Italy, in order to encourage the native silk-grower. Fifty years later, under Charles the Fifth, a law was published prohibiting the export of silk goods, and allowing the import of the raw material. By such absurd enactments, directly opposed to the true interests of the country, the[713] rapid decline of Spanish prosperity was prepared and precipitated. Many of the acts of Ferdinand and Isabella were directed to the encouragement of commerce. They improved roads, cut canals, built bridges, quays, and light-houses. Under the judicious rule, Spain grew in wealth and strength; her merchant fleets covered the seas, her navy was the first in Europe, her enterprising mariners discovered and conquered a new world. Now, how are the mighty fallen! Impoverished and indebted, without a fleet, almost without colonies, her commerce in the dust, her people, in misery, her rulers ignorant and corrupt, not a vestige of her former splendour remains: And foreign fishermen, intruding unopposed into Spanish waters, cast their nets in full view of that Cantabrian coast, whose hardy inhabitants were the first to chase the whale in his distant ocean haunts. A more melancholy picture it were difficult to find, and it is the more painful to contemplate, when we remember that no natural causes can be assigned for such a decline, which must be attributed to the influence of evil governors, worse counsellors, and a crafty and bigotted priesthood.

Although the weather was fine, and wind favourable, most of the passengers by the Primer Gaditano were grievously sick. Two Spanish prebendaries especially distinguished themselves by extremity of suffering, and at one of them the Baron, albeit an excellent seaman, feared to look, lest he should vomit for sympathy. The unfortunate clerigo had tucked the corner of a napkin under his huge black shovel-hat, and the cloth hung down over his shoulder and breast, contrasting with the cadaverous yellow of his complexion. He was the very incarnation of sea-sickness. At night, although the weather was cool, the berths were hot, and most of the passengers lay upon sofas in the cabin, where, when the wind rose, the state of affairs was neither comfortable nor savoury. The Spaniards would fain have smoked, but, fortunately for their companions, the prohibition affixed to the cabin-wall was rigidly enforced by the captain. The dinner was hardly of a nature to soothe squeamish stomachs. It was cooked Spanish fashion, with a liberal allowance of rancid oil and garlic-flavoured sausage. At last, on the evening of the second day, the steamer ran into the harbour of Barcelona. It was only half-past six o'clock, but the lazy quarantine and custom-house officials deemed it too late to perform their duty, and not till the next morning were the Baron and his friends allowed to land and take up their quarters in the Locanda de las Cuatro Naciones, which a Spanish colonel had assured them, with more patriotism than veracity, was equal to the first Parisian hotels. Although the best in Barcelona, it by no means justified such a comparison, but still it was excellent when contrasted with the majority of Spanish inns; and, moreover, it looked out upon the Rambla, a magnificent promenade, answering to the Boulevards of Paris and the Linden of Berlin. The edibles, too, were capital; the game and poultry and roasted pig's feet delicious, the dates fresh, the American preserves of exquisite flavour, the red Catalan wines objectionable only from their strength. And all these good things were supplied in an abundance astonishing to men accustomed to the scanty delicacies and make-believe desserts of most German table-d'hôtes, where dainties appear only when the guests have properly gorged themselves with bouilli and gherkins. Such sumptuous fare consoled the invalid Baron in some measure for insufficiency of furniture and absence of bed-curtains; and after dinner he strolled out upon the Rambla, which he found thronged with cloaked Dons, yellow-jacketed soldiers, and those pretty Catalan women, whose eyes, according to M. de Balzac, are composed of velvet and fire, and who paced to and fro, shrouded in the elegant mantilla, and going through the various divisions of the fan-exercise. The theatre in the evening, and a visit to the strong fortress of Moujuich, consumed the short stay the travellers were allowed to make in Barcelona, and they returned on board the steamer, which sailed for Valencia. They had got as far as Tarragona, when the engines suddenly stopped. All attempts to set them[714] going were in vain; they were completely out of order, and the unlucky Primer Gaditano lay tossing at the mercy of the waves, in imminent danger of going ashore, until an English ship hove in sight and towed her back to Barcelona. Here the Baron and his companions, heartily sick of Spanish steamers and captains, finally abandoned their Madeiran project, and resolved to cross the Pyrenees and winter at Pau. Notwithstanding the many alarming reports of ferocious highwaymen and recent robberies—reports of which every traveller in Spain is sure to hear an abundance—the German consul assured them they might proceed with perfect safety by the route of Gerona and Figueras. The diligences on that road had not been attacked for a whole year, and a terrible brigand, guilty of one hundred and seventeen murders, and known by the nickname of Pardon, because he never pardoned or spared any one who fell into his hands, had recently been captured. Having received a dangerous wound, he had betaken himself, with vast assurance, and under an assumed name, to a public hospital, and whilst there, an accomplice betrayed him. Baron Vaerst gives some curious statistical details concerning the number of murders annually occurring in Spain, with a list of the most remarkable persons slain in cold blood since the commencement of the civil war, and various particulars of the different styles of thieving practised in Spain. Some of his notions concerning the addictions and habits of highwaymen are rather poetical than practical. "It is strange," he says, "but not the less a fact, that brigands always abound most in beautiful countries. They require a bright sky, romantic cliffs, picturesque valleys, smiling plains, umbrageous palm-trees, and fragrant orange groves, and an olive-cheeked mistress, fanciful and fascinating, with raven-locks, and bright-glancing eyes. Thus we find them most numerous in the fair regions of Italy; and in that Spanish land so richly endowed by nature, that after all its wars and revolutions it still shows more signs of wealth than of desolation. Frederick the Great is said to have once asked which was the richest country in the world. Some guessed Peru, others Chili, but lie replied that Spain was the richest, since its rulers had for three centuries done their utmost to ruin it, and had not yet succeeded." It might have occurred to the worthy Baron, and we wonder it did not, that the very wars and revolutions he speaks of, added to gross misgovernment and absurd prohibitory tariffs (affording encouragement to the smuggler, who is the father of the highwayman) have much more to do with the multiplication of robberies, than the picturesque scenery and orange trees; more even than gazelle-eyed she-banditti, his idea of whom is evidently derived from the green-room of the Breslau theatre. From an old campaigner, who served under Marshal Vorwaerts, came up at La Belle Alliance to decide the fight, and has since rolled about the world in various capacities and occupations likely to quench romance, such fanciful notions were hardly to be expected. But the Baron takes a strong interest in the predatory portion of Spain's population, and has collected amusing stories of notable outlaws, amongst others of the celebrated Navarro, whose memory still lives amongst the people, perpetuated by hundreds of popular songs, and by numerous sainetes played at half the theatres in Spain. He was quite the gentleman, possessed considerable talents and some education, despised the vulgar luxury and ostentation of his subordinates, and rode the best horses in Andalusia. He would walk at noon-day into the country-house of some rich proprietor, order the poultry-yard to be stripped to supply dinner for his followers, and the fattest fowl of the flock to be stuffed for himself, not with truffles, but with gold quadruples. If he found the stuffing not sufficiently rich, he demanded a second bird, and left the house only when his appetite was fully satisfied, and his pocket well filled. He once stopped a jeweller on his way from a fair, took from him a sum of four thousand francs, and then inquired if he had no jewels about him. The man at once admitted that he had, and that he had sewn them into his clothes, not,[715] however, to preserve them from gallant cavaliers of the road, but from the vile rateros—an inferior class of thieves, operating on a small scale, who prowl in quest of isolated and defenceless travellers. He produced his treasure, and then, without waiting orders, took from off his mules a richly wrought silver service, at which Navarro was greatly pleased, and swore that in future he and his soldiers (he assumed at all times the style of a military chief) would in future dine off the elegant workmanship of the Castilian Cellini. Finally, having stripped him of every thing else, the robbers made the unlucky jeweller give them wine from his bota. It was very bad. "You are a miser," cried Navarro angrily, "and do not deserve your riches. With treasures of gold and silver in your coffers, you drink wretched country wine, like the meanest peasant!" "Alas! noble sir," replied the man of metal, "I am very poor, and live hardly and sparingly; I have eight children, no money, but some credit, and nothing of what you found on me belongs to me." "Sergeant," cried Navarro, "a glass of our best Malaga to the gentleman." The order was obeyed, and whilst his men finished the bottle, the captain again addressed the goldsmith. "See here," he said, showing him a list of the concealed jewels, "my last courier brought me this. Had you kept back a single stone, it would have fared ill with you. But I take nothing from honest men and skilful artists. Pack up your things, take this pass, give your wife and children a kiss for Navarro, and if you are robbed upon the road, come and tell me." Without wishing to calumniate the philanthropical M. Navarro in particular, or his fraternity in general, we will remark, that such stories as these may be picked up by the score in Spain by any one curious of their collection. As, in Italy, industrious rogues, with aid of file and verdigris, manufacture modern antiques for the benefit of English greenhorns, so, in Spain, a regular fabrication of robber-tales takes place; the same, when properly constructed and polished, being put into speedy circulation in diligences and coffee-houses, on the public promenades, and at the table-d'hôtes, for the delectation of foreign ramblers, and especially of the French, who gulp down the most astounding narratives with a facility of swallow beautiful to contemplate. For the Frenchman, cynic and unbeliever though he be, entertains extravagant ideas on the subject of Spain. It is rare that he has been in the country, unless his residence be within a very few leagues of its frontier, and he pictures to himself an infinity of perils and horrors, to be found neither in Spain nor any where else, save in his imagination. "Since the war of Independence," says Baron Vaerst, "the French nourish strong prejudices against the Spaniards; and old soldiers, especially, who fought in that war, are apt to consider a large majority of the nation as habitual murderers and poisoners. For certainly at that time, murder and poison were proclaimed from every pulpit as means approved by Heaven for the extermination of the arch-foe. The exiled Spaniards whom, one finds scattered over France, especially over its southern provinces, are more apt to confirm than to contradict such stories. Discontented with their own country, they represent its condition as worse even than it really is, and, like most unfortunate persons, add blacker shades to what is already black enough." In Spain, the land of idlers, not a town but has its gossip-market, an imitation more or less humble of that celebrated Gate of the Sun, where the newsmongers of the Spanish capital daily meet to repeat and improve the latest lie, much to their own pastime, and greatly to the consolation and advantage of the credulous correspondents of leading London journals. In provincial towns, whither palace-chronicles and metropolitan gossip come but in an abridged form, the report of a diligence stopped or a horseman fired at affords all agreeable variety, and is eagerly caught, magnified, and multiplied by the old women in cloaks and breeches, who hold their morning and evening confabulations in the sunshine of the Alameda, or beneath the plaza's snug arcades. Of course, the itinerant gavacho, the Parisian tourist on the look out for the picaresque and picturesque wherewith to swell future feuilletons, gets[716] the full benefit of such reports, expanded and embellished into romantic feats and instances of generosity, worthy of a Chafandin or a José Maria. The tourist, in his turn, superadds a coat of varnish to give glitter to the painting, which is subsequently retailed in daily shreds to the thirty thousand abonnès of the Presse or Débats. In his capacity of an old soldier, who has run real dangers, and despises the terrors (mostly imaginary) of gaping blunderbusses and double-edged knives, Baron Vaerst does not condescend to make himself the hero of an encounter or escape, although his last journey in the Peninsula led him through districts of evil repute and small security. In Arragon, where there had been no political disturbances for some short time before his visit, "the roads were so much the more dangerous, and could be considered safe only for muleteers, who have generally a pretty good understanding with the knights of the highway. I met several thousand mules going from France to Huesca, where a great cattle fair was held; this made the road lively. Muleteers, suspicious-visaged gentry, many of them doubtless smugglers or robbers, were there in numbers. The country people fear the robbers too much to betray or prosecute them; the authorities are feeble and inefficient; the rich proprietors pay black mail as protection against serious damage. And if robbers are captured, they at once become objects of general sympathy. There are places where the jailer lets them out for a few days on parole, and sends them to work unguarded in town or country, distinguished only by an iron ring upon the ankle. The true gentleman-highwayman, however, keeps his word of honour, even as he is gallant to the fair sex: he leaves the plundered traveller the long knife, without which the Spaniard rarely travels, and which is necessary, as he naively expresses it, to cut his tobacco. He leaves him also his cigarette, and often as much cash as will procure a night's lodging. If, favoured by fortune, he rises to be leader of a band of smugglers, be comes to a friendly understanding with the authorities, and agrees to pay a price—usually, it is said, a quadruple or sixteen dollars—for the unimpeded passage of each laden mule. For this premium the contraband goods are often escorted to their destination by soldiers. When the smuggler is unsuccessful, and finds himself with nothing but his tromblon and knife, he turns robber, the ultimate resource of this original class of men." There is here some exaggeration, especially as regards the military escort of the smuggled lace and cottons; but there is also much truth in this broadly pencilled sketch of how they manage matters in the Peninsula.

On his way from Barcelona, Baron Vaerst met his brother-baron, De Meer, then captain-general of Catalonia, who swayed the province with an iron rule that made him alike dreaded and detested. Such severity was necessary, for the Catalans are a troublesome and mutinous race, and Barcelona especially is the headquarters of sedition and discontent. Baron de Meer had a strong garrison at his orders, the city lies under the guns of Monjuich, and the breadth of the long handsome streets and open squares facilitate the suppression of insurrection. Nevertheless, it had been thought advisable to fortify and garrison several of the large buildings, and, in spite of the opposition of the magistrates and inhabitants, to break through various streets, so as to form long avenues, that might be swept in case of need by artillery. These extreme measures were imperatively called for by the numerous outbreaks in Catalonia, a province which gives more trouble to the government than all the rest of Spain. Barcelona has had a bad reputation for some hundred years past. It is a resort of Italian carbonari, German republicans, and discontented restless spirits from various countries; also the headquarters of sundry revolutionary committees, and of the secret society known as the Vengeurs d'Alibaud, to which that helpless and imbecile Bourbon, Don Francisco de Paula, was said, a short time since, to be affiliated. Alibaud himself lived in Barcelona, and only left it to go to Paris and make his attempt on the life of the King of the French. In one month (January 1845) sixty-two persons[717] died a violent death in Barcelona, of whom fifty-one were murdered and five executed, whilst six committed suicide. As regards popular commotions and revolts, so frequent of late years, Baron Vaerst, who has difficulty in admitting that any thing can go on well under a "so-called liberal system," maintains that the Barcelonese have strong cause and excuse for rebellion in the injury done to their manufactures by the close alliance between Spain and England. He apparently imagines the Spanish tariff to be highly favourable to English fabrics, and sighs over the misfortunes of the hardly-used manufacturers, whose smoking chimneys he complacently contemplated from the lofty battlements of Monjuich. In short, he indulges in a good deal of argument and assertion, which sound well, but, being based on false premises, are worth exactly nothing. When he talks of the Catalonian manufactures as important and flourishing, he is evidently ignorant that they are chiefly supplied with foreign goods, smuggled in and stamped with the mark of the Barcelona factories! This fact is notorious, and susceptible of easy proof. The amount of raw cotton imported into Spain would make, as the returns show, but a very small part of the goods issued from Spanish manufactories. Were the contraband system exchanged for legitimate commerce, at moderate duties, a few cotton-spinners, alias smugglers, might suffer in pocket, but the increased trade of Catalonia would employ far more hands than would be thrown out of work by putting down a few badly managed spinning-jennies. The bigoted and brutal Catalan populace, beyond comparison the worst race in the Peninsula, cannot comprehend this fact; and the cunning few who do comprehend it find their interest in suppressing the truth. The French, too, who well know that in a fair market English cottons would beat their's out of the field, take care, by means of such emissaries as Mr Lesseps, to keep up the cheat. So, whenever there is a talk of reducing the present absurd tariff of Spain, the Barcelonese fly to arms, throw up barricades, bluster about English influence, and, whilst thinking to defend their own interests, serve as blind instruments to a disreputable foreign potentate. The Spaniards are a very jealous and a very suspicious people, and have been ill-treated and imposed upon until they have acquired the habit of seeking selfish motives for the actions of all men. Such over-wariness defeats its object. A section—by no means a majority—of the Spanish nation look upon England as having only her own interests in view when she seeks a commercial treaty with Spain, arranged on fair and reasonable bases. Nothing can be more erroneous and delusive. England would gain very little by such a treaty; the great advantage would be derived by Spain, who now receives duty on one-eighth of the British goods annually imported. We need not say how the other seven-eighths enter. Spain has seven hundred and ten leagues of coast and frontier. Gibraltar and Portugal are convenient depôts, and there are one hundred and twenty thousand professional smugglers in Spain, the flower of the population, fine, active, stalwart fellows, imbued with hearty contempt for revenue officers, and whom we would back, after a month's organisation, against the entire Spanish army, now amounting, we believe, under the benign system of Christina, Narvaez, and Company, to something like a hundred and eighty thousand men. In short, it is notorious that Spain is inundated with English and French goods. "In this state of things," says an able and enlightened writer,[4] "I put the following dilemma to Spanish manufacturers:—Your manufactures are either prosperous, or the contrary. In the former case, conceding that the contraband trade knows no other limits to its criminal traffic than those of the possible consumption, the competition from which you suffer is as great as it can be. What does it signify to you, then, whether the goods enter through the custom-house, on payment of a protective duty, or are introduced by[718] smugglers at a certain rate of commission? And if your manufactures are not prosperous, what need you care whether foreign goods enter by the legal road or by illicit trade?" It were impossible to state the case more clearly and conclusively. The smugglers charge fixed per-centages, according to the nature of the goods and the place they are to be conveyed to. These rates are as easily ascertained as a premium at Lloyd's or the price of rentes on the Paris Bourse. Let the duties of foreign manufactures be regulated by them, and smuggling, one of the prominent causes of the demoralisation and misery of Spain, is at once knocked upon the head. At the same cost, or even at a slight advance, every importer will prefer having his goods through the legitimate channel, instead of receiving them crushed into small packages, and often more or less damaged by their clandestine transit. And the money now paid to the smuggling insurers would flow, under the new order of things, into the Spanish treasury, a change devoutly to be desired by Spanish creditors of all classes and denominations.

Between Barcelona and Gerona the Baron was much amused by the energetic proceedings of a zagal, or Spanish postilion, who jumped up and down from his seat, with the horses at full gallop, to the great peril of his neck, and sang never-ending songs in praise of Queen Christina and of the joyous life of a smuggler, only interrupting his melody to shout an oft-repeated tiro! tiro! (pull! pull!) and to swear Saracenic oaths at his steaming mules. "By the holy bones of Mahomet!"[5] he would exclaim, "I will make thee dance, lazy Valerosa! (the valorous;) rebaptize thee with a cudgel, and then hang thee. Holy St Anthony of Padua never had a lazier jackass!" "And then he ran himself breathless by the side of poor Valerosa, and screamed himself hoarse, and flogged and flattered; and the oddest thing was, that the beasts seemed to understand him, and showed fear or joy as he blamed or praised them. Each mule had a name of its own, pricked up its long ears when addressed by it, and testified, by more rapid movements, that it well knew what laziness would entail. Manuela, Luna, Justa, Generala, Valerosa, Casilda, and Pilar, the zagal loved them all, and preferred caressing to punishing them. If horses are generally bad in France, it is assuredly in great measure because no nation in the world are more unfeeling to their beasts, especially to horses, than the French. A large proportion of the cart-horses are blind from cuts of the whip in the eyes; the postilions cannot harness their cattle without giving them violent kicks in the side; and one sees the poor brutes tremble at the approach of their tyrants. Abuse, oaths, and blows are the order of the day. The Arab makes much of his noble steed, and even the rude Cossack looks to his horse's comfort before providing for his own."

The town of Gerona, well fortified, and possessing a strong citadel, is celebrated for its noble defence against the French, related, in interesting detail, by Toreno, in his "History of the War of Independence." Its brave governor, Don Mariano Alvarez, having few provisions, and a large garrison, economised the former, and was prodigal of the latter. In repeated sorties he inflicted severe loss on the besiegers. One officer, ordered on a very perilous expedition, inquired, with some anxiety, what point he was to fall back upon. "Upon the churchyard," was the consolatory reply of Alvarez. When things came to the pass that five reals were paid for a mouse, and thirty for a cat, and somebody talked of capitulating, Alvarez[719] swore he would have the offender slaughtered and salted, and would do the same by all who hinted at surrender. After nine months' continual fighting, all provisions being exhausted, the fortress was given up. The garrison had dwindled from fifteen thousand to four thousand men, and only a small portion of these were capable of bearing arms. The protracted and glorious defence was to be attributed—so some of the Spaniards thought—to the especial protection of the holy St Narcissa. That respectable lady is the patroness of Gerona, where her ashes repose; during the siege, a cocked and feathered hat was put upon her statue, and she received the title of generalissima. Figueras, the last town of any note before reaching the French frontier, is also a fortified place. Taken by the French in the Peninsular war, it was recaptured by the Spaniards, who entered in the night through a subterraneous passage. Its citadel of San Fernando is one of the strongest in Spain, and can accommodate fifteen thousand men. The town itself is insignificant, and only celebrated for the scale and solidity of its fortifications, which remain as a monument of former Spanish grandeur. But they lack completion, and are ill situated, which caused some connoisseur in the art to say that the mason should have been decorated, and the engineer flogged.

Pau, the favourite resort of English sojourners in southern France, was selected by the Baron and his companions for their winter-quarters; and although, upon their arrival there, the severe cold and heavy snow induced them to doubt the truth of the praises they had heard of its mild and beautiful climate, they soon became convinced the encomium was well merited. The meadows remained green the whole winter through, and once only, in the month of March, came a fall of snow, which disappeared, however, in forty-eight hours. From their windows, they commanded a magnificent view southwards, bounded in the distance by the lofty summits of the Pyrenees, supreme amongst which rises the snow-covered dome of the Pic du Midi,—"a magnificent amphitheatre, whose aspect is most sublime at night, in the full moon-light. Morning and evening, at the rising and setting of the sun, the snowy points of the Pic resemble great spires of flame, blazing through the gloom. With incredible suddenness darkness covers the lowlands, whilst the tall peaks, clothed in ice, still remain illuminated, gleaming far and wide above the broad panorama of mountains, like isolated lighthouses on the shores of the mighty ocean." Many of the Pyrenean mountains are known as the Pic du Midi; there is a Pic du Midi d'Ossau, another of Bigorre, a third of Valentine, &c.; but the Pic du Midi de Pau is the highest, and rises fifteen hundred and thirty-one toises (nearly ten thousand English feet) above the level of the sea. In like manner many rivers bear the name of Gave, a Celtic word, equivalent to mountain stream; but the Gave de Pau is the greatest and most celebrated of the family. The Pic du Midi, from certain peculiarities of position, was long thought the highest of the Pyrenees, till it was ascertained that the Monperdu, the Vignemale, and the Maladetta, are in certain parts more than a thousand feet higher.

Concerning the English residents at Pau, M. Vaerst says little or nothing, except that he and his companions, although unprovided with introductions, received visits and invitations from them, attentions for which they probably had their titles to thank. The Baron seems to have taken more pleasure in the society of the friendly French prefect, M. Azevedo, with whom he had strenuous discussions on the everlasting subject of the Rhine frontier. The Frenchman, like many of his countrymen, insisted that the far-famed German stream is the natural boundary of France, a proposition which M. Vaerst could by no means allow to pass unrefuted. Indeed, the excellent Baron seems particularly sensitive on this subject, for in various parts of his book we find him in hot dispute with presumptuous Gauls who hinted a wish to see the tricolor once more waving on the banks of that river, which Mr Becker has so confidently affirmed they shall never again possess. The Baron considers a hankering after the Rhine to be ineradicably fixed, in every Frenchman's[720] breast, and now and then shows a little uneasiness with regard to the strife and bloodshed which this unreasonable longing may sooner or later engender. We do not learn how he fared in his discussions at Pau and elsewhere, but in his book he advances eloquent and learned arguments against French encroachment. In the very midst of them he is unfortunately interrupted by a severe attack of illness, against which he bears up with much philosophy and fortitude. "If pain purifies and improves, as I have often been told, I ought assuredly to be one of the best and purest of men. But although I have never yet lost courage under physical or any other suffering, and have ever remained cheerful as in the joyous days of my youth, I have yet no wish to continue thus the darling of the gods, who, as it is said, chastise those they best love." His patience, proof against pain, gave way at last, under a less acute but more teasing infliction, and he breaks out into a humorous anathema of the well-meaning tormentors who pestered him with prescriptions. Every body who came within ten paces of him had some sovereign panacea and unfailing remedy to recommend. He began by taking a note of all these good counsels, with no intention to follow them, but out of malicious curiosity to see how far the persecution would extend. At the end of a week he abandoned the practice, finding it too troublesome. In that short time, he had been strongly enjoined to consult twenty different physicians, and to make trial of fourteen mineral baths. One kind friend insisted on bringing him a mesmeriser, another a shepherd, a third an old woman, all of whom had already wrought marvellous cures. One recommended swan's down, another a cat's skin, another talismanic rings and a necklace of wild chestnuts. He was enjoined to sew nutmegs in his clothes, to wear a certain sort of red ribbon round his throat, to cram himself with sourkraut. And each of his advisers thought him disgustingly obstinate because he turned a deaf ear to their advice, and discredited the virtues of their medicaments, preferring those of his doctor. "I should long since have been a millionaire," he says, "if every good counsel had brought me in a louis-d'or. And truly I uphold the old Spanish proverb against advice-givers: Da me dinero, y no consejos—Give me money, and not advice."

Chained to the chimney corner by the unsatisfactory state of his health, the Baron devoted himself to study and literary occupation, pored over Froissart, acquired the old French, and revelled in the gallant pages of Queen Margaret of Navarre. At Pau, indeed, his third Pyrenean expedition concludes, but not so his book, for which he finds abundant materials in the reminiscences of his two previous journeys. His account of the Basques is especially interesting, containing much that could only have been gleaned by long residence in the country, and great familiarity with the usages of that singular people. Few in number, these dwellers amongst the western Pyrenees are formidable by their courage and energy; and from the remotest periods of their history, have made themselves respected and even feared. Hannibal treated them with consideration, and was known to alter his proposed line of march to avoid the fierce attacks of this handful of mountaineers. The Roman proconsuls sought their alliance. Cæsar, against whom, and under Pompey's banners, they arrayed themselves, was unable to subdue them. After the fall of Rome, the men of the Pyrenees were attacked in turn by Vandals, Goths, and Franks; their houses were destroyed, their lands laid waste, but they themselves, unattainable in their mountains, continued free. A deluge of barbarians overflowed Gaul and Spain; conquerors and conquered amalgamated, and divided the territory amongst them; still the Pyreneans continued unmixed in race, and undisturbed in their fastnesses. The vanquished Goth retreated before the warlike and encroaching Saracen, and the crescent standard fluttered amongst the mountains of northern Spain. It found no firm footing, and soon its bearers retraced their bloody path, strewing it with the bones of their best and bravest, and pursued by the victorious warriors of Charles Martel. But of all the historical fights that have taken place in the Pyrenees, there is not one whose tradition has been so[721] well preserved as the great defeat of Charlemagne. The fame of Roland still resounds in popular melody, and echoes amongst the wild ravines and perilous passes, whose names, in numerous instances, connect them with his exploits.

The Basques are brave, intelligent, and proud,—simple but high-minded. They have ever shown a strong repugnance to foreign influence and habits; and have clung to old customs and to their singular language. It is curious to behold half a million of men—whose narrow territory is formed of a corner of France and another of Spain, closely hemmed in, and daily traversed, by hosts of Frenchmen and Spaniards—preserving a language which, from its difficulty and want of resemblance to any other known tongue, very few foreigners ever acquire. They have their own musical instruments—not the most harmonious in the world; their own music, of peculiar originality and wildness; their own dances and games, dress and national colours, all more or less different from those of the rest of Spain. There is no doubt of their being first-rate fighting men, but the habit of contending with superior numbers has given them peculiar notions on the subject of military success and glory. They attach no shame to a retreat or even to a flight; but those antagonists who suppose that because they run away they are beaten, sooner or later find themselves egregiously mistaken. Flight is a part of their tactics; to fatigue the enemy, and inflict heavy loss at little to themselves, is upon all occasions their aim. They care nothing for the empty honour of sleeping on the bloody battle-field over which they have all day fought. They could hardly be made to understand the merit of such a proceeding; they take much greater credit when they thin the enemy's ranks without suffering themselves. And if they often run away, they are ever ready to return to the fray. They are born with a natural aptitude for the only species of fighting for which their mountainous land is adapted. We have been greatly amused and interested, when rambling in their country, by watching a favourite game frequently played upon Sundays and other holidays. The boys of two villages meet at an appointed spot and engage in a regular skirmish; turf and clods of earth, often stones, being substituted for bullets. The spirit and skill with which the lads carry on the mock-encounter, the wild yells called forth by each fluctuation of the fight, the fierceness of their juvenile faces, when, after a well-directed volley, one side rushes forward to the charge, armed with the thick bamboo-like stems of the Indian corn, their white teeth firmly set, and a barbarous Basque oath upon their lips, strongly recall the more earnest and bloody encounters in which their fathers have so often distinguished themselves. These contests, which sometimes become rather serious from the passionate character of the Basques, and often terminate in a few broken heads, are encouraged by the elder people, and compose the sole military education of a race, who do not fight the worse because they are unacquainted with the drill-sergeant, and with the very rudiments of scientific warfare. The tenacity with which these mountaineers adhere to the usages of their ancestors, even when they are unfitted to the century, and disadvantageous to themselves, is very remarkable. The Basque is said to be so stubborn, that he knocks a nail into the wall with his head; but the Arragonese is said to surpass the Basque, inasmuch as he puts the head of the nail against the wall, and tries to drive it in by striking his skull against the point. When, in the ninth century, the French Kings conquered for a short time a part of the Basque provinces, they prudently abstained from interference with the privileges and customs of the inhabitants, and when the whole of Spain was finally united into one kingdom under Ferdinand the Catholic, the Basques retained their republican forms. Every Basque is more or less noble. The genealogical pride, proverbially attributed to Spaniards, is out-heroded by that of these mountaineers, amongst whom a charcoal-burner or a muleteer will hold himself as good and ancient a gentleman as the best duke in the land. "In the valley of the Bastan," says the Baron, "all the peasants' houses are decorated with coats of arms, hewn in stone, and generally placed over the[722] house door; the owner of the smallest cottage is rarely without a parchment patent of nobility. A peasant of that valley once told me his family dated from the time of Queen Maricastana. El tiempo de la reyna Maricastana, is a proverb implying, 'from time immemorial.'" Certainly there is no country where such equality exists amongst all classes; an equality, however, rather pleasing than disagreeable in its results. The demeanour of the less fortunate of the people towards those whom wealth and education place above them, is as remote from insolence and brutality, as it is from cringing servility. The poorest peasant, tilling his patch of maize, answers the question of the rich proprietor, who drives his carriage past his cottage, with the same frank courtesy and manly assurance, with which he would acknowledge the greeting or interrogatory of a fellow-labourer.

Baron Vaerst indulges in some curious speculations as to the origin of this flourishing and unmixed race of mountaineers. "Some say they are an aboriginal tribe, and that their language was spoken by Adam(!); others set them down as an old Phœnician colony, whilst others again vaguely guess them to be the descendants of a wandering horde from the north or east. The language is like no other, and those who speak it know nothing of its history. Except before God, these people have never bent the knee in homage, and have never paid taxes, but only a voluntary tribute, collected amongst themselves.

"Proud of the independence they have so well defended, they for the most part, in order to preserve their nationality, have married amongst themselves. The Basque tongue has one thing in common with those of Spaniard Gascony, namely, the indiscriminate use of the B. and the V. They say indifferently Biscaya or Viscaya, Balmaseda or Valmaseda. The story is a well-known one, of the Spaniard who maintained French to be a miserable language, because in speaking it no distinction was made between a widow and an ox,—veuve and bœuf receiving from him pretty nearly the same pronunciation. I have still a letter from the well-known Echeverria, addressed to me as Baron Baerst. Scaliger, when speaking of the Gascons and of their custom of confounding the v and b, says; felicitas populi quibus bibere est vivere." Many troubadours have written and sung in the Gascon dialect; the memory of one of the most ancient of them is preserved in popular legends on account of his tragical fate. Beloved by an illustrious lady, the wife of Baron Castel Roussillon, he was enticed into an ambuscade and murdered by the jealous husband, who then tore out his heart, and had it dressed for the Countess's dinner. The meal concluded, he produced the severed head of her lover, told her what she had eaten, and inquired if the flavour was good. "Si bon et si savoureux," she replied, "que jamais autre manger ne m'en ôtera le gout." And she threw herself headlong from her balcony. The nobles of the land, the King of Arragon at their head, held the conduct of the husband so unworthy that they threw him into prison, confiscated his estates, and united in one grave the mortal remains of the unfortunate lovers.

Whilst the Basques and Bearnese enjoyed a long series of tranquil and happy years, Roussillon was a prey to bloody wars and to the ravages of ruthless conquerors. Goths and Saracens, Normans, Arragonese, and French, fought for centuries about its possession. This state of perpetual warfare naturally had great influence on the character of the people, who continued wild and savage much longer than their neighbours. The passes of the Pyrenees were a constant motive for fresh hostilities, and pretext for lawless aggression. The rich committed every sort of crime, without being made personally answerable. One of the old laws of Roussillon, significant of the state of the country, fixes the rate of payment at which crimes might be committed. Five sous were the fine for inflicting a wound; if a bone was broken, it was ten times as dear; a box on the ear cost five sous, the tearing out of an eye a hundred; a common murder three hundred sous, that of a monk four hundred, and of a priest nine hundred. Other luxuries in proportion. From which curious statement, a priest in those days appears to have been worth three laymen, and a gouged eye to[723] have been estimated at twice the value of a broken bone. Flesh-wounds and punches on the head were decidedly cheap and within the reach of persons of very moderate means. For the delightful state of comfort and prosperity, indicated by this tariff of mutilation and manslaughter, the men of Roussillon had to thank their last Count, who, in the year 1173, bequeathed his dominions to Alphonso II. of Arragon. Thence eternal strife with the French, who did not choose to see the key to their country in the hands of a Spanish prince; and Roussillon, the bone of contention, was also the battle ground. Nearly five centuries elapsed before the treaty of the Pyrenees put an end to these dissensions.

The sea, the Ebro, and the Pyrenees, form the natural boundaries and bulwarks of the Spanish Basque provinces. Favoured by these defences, the three provinces were the natural and safe refuge of the Iberians, when hunted by various conquerors from the plains of southern and middle Spain. Of Navarre, only the mountainous portion afforded similar safety; the levels, and especially the rich banks of the Ebro, were occupied by the victors. Biscay, Alava, and Guipuzcoa were never under the dominion of the Moors, who obtained quiet possession of Navarre as far as Pampeluna, but only held it about twelve years. Each of the three provinces has its own constitution and rights, peculiar to itself, some of the privileges and laws being of a very original character. In Alava, the general procurator, or chief of the provincial government, swears every year upon an old knife—the Machete Vitoriano—to uphold the privileges of the province. "I desire," he says, "that my throat may be cut with this knife if I fail to maintain and defend the fueros of the land." The Biscayan coasts breed excellent sailors; as already mentioned, they were the first to undertake the distant fisheries of the whale and cod. They are probably better calculated for enterprising merchant-seamen than for men-of-war's men, the inveterate independence and stiff-neckedness of the race being obnoxious to regular military discipline. "Quisiera mucho mas ser leonero que tener carga de Biscaynos,"[6] was a saying of Gonsalvo de Cordova. The naval squadrons of Biscay, however, are to be read of in history. It seems strange enough to Englishmen, to whom these petty provinces are known but as obscure nooks of the Peninsula, to read in Baron Vaerst's pages that "the fleet of Guipuzcoa, united with that of Biscay, completely annihilated, in a bloody naval action, fought on the 29th August 1350, the English fleet of King Edward the Third, and thereby procured Spain an advantageous treaty of commerce with England." There is small probability, we presume, of Lord Auckland's sending half-a-dozen frigates to revenge this old insult by fetching the present Spanish fleet into an English port, and there retaining them until the wise men of Madrid reduce their suicidal duties on foreign manufactures. We have stated our firm conviction that England would gain little by such reduction. Little, that is to say, in the way in which Messieurs Louis-Philippe and Guizot and their organs are pleased to assume that she expects to be benefited. "England," says a writer, already quoted, "has never asked any thing for which she did not offer a generous reciprocity. If the Spanish government, blind to its true interests, has constantly refused, in consequence of chimerical fears and false views, to renounce a prohibitive system, rendered illusory by smuggling, itself alone has suffered. For England it is a mere question of morality. The contraband trade compensates her for the ignorance of Spanish rulers.... But the government of a commercial country must grieve to see commercial transactions resting on the basis of smuggling—on a violation of law and of public morality. England, where every thing reposes on credit and good faith, submits with strong repugnance to stipulations so organised that smuggling is the rule, and legal traffic the exception."[7]



It has been frequently observed, that the chief events of the English history, during the last three centuries, have turned on religion.

Until the Reformation, our history scarcely deserved the name. The government an iron despotism, the people serfs, the barons tyrants, and the religion Popery, England possessed neither equal law, nor popular knowledge, nor security of property. And she suffered the natural evils of a condition of moral disorder; all her nobler qualities only aggravated the national misfortune, her bravery only wasted her blood in foreign fields. Her fidelity to her lords only strewed the soil with corpses; her devotional spirit only bound her to the observances of a pedantic superstition. While every kingdom of the Continent was advancing in the march of power, or knowledge, or the arts; while Germany in her mail gathered round her the chivalry of Europe; while Italy began that glittering pageant of the arts which has left such brilliant remnants behind, even in her dilapidated archives and tottering palaces; while Portugal was spreading her sails for the subjugation of the ocean, and Spain was sending Columbus to the west for a prouder conquest than was ever won by consul or emperor,—England remained like a barbarian gazer on this passing pomp of kings.

The Reformation changed all,—gave her a new sense of existence, a new knowledge of her own faculties, new views of her destination; and brought her, like the wanderers in the parable, from the highways and hedges, to that marriage feast of power and fame, from which so many of the original guests were to be rejected.

The change was remarkable, even from its rapidity. It had none of the slow growth by which the infancy of nations ascends into manhood. She assumed the vigour of a leading member of the European commonwealth with the life of a generation. Actually expelled from the Continent in the middle of the sixteenth century, she held the balance of European power in its hand before its close. But the effect of the Reformation in England was of a superior order to its effect on the Continent. We shall not say that it lived and died in Germany with Luther; or in France with Calvin; but there can be no doubt, that its purer and loftier portion perished with those great reformers. The schools of the prophets remained; but when the Elijah had been swept upwards on the chariot and horses of fire, they uttered the prophetic voice more feebly, and their harps no longer resounded through Israel. But, in England, the double portion of the spirit had been given; the Reformation had become national; and there is scarcely a national act, from that period, which has not held some connexion with Protestantism; been modified by its influence, or required by its necessities, originated in its principles, or governed by its power.

And it is not the less remarkable, that this continued operation has existed in England alone.

The gift of the Reformation was, like the gift of Christianity, a universal offer. It came, as the rising of the sun comes, to all Europe at once. The preaching of Luther and his contemporaries was heard in every country of the civilised world, and by a large portion of that world is retained, in all its substantial doctrines, to the present hour. Within the lapse of a few years, it had made a progress scarcely less rapid and triumphant than the career of the apostolic mission; but in a period incomparably more intellectual, and among nations more active, intelligent, and vigorous, than the dwellers among the languor of Asia Minor, the dissolute populace of ancient Italy, or the rugged barbarians of Thrace and Arabia.

Before the close of the century in which it was born, the Reformation had founded churches far beyond the German frontier, in the most active portion of France, in the British Isles, in the north of Europe; it had[725] even forced its way through the sullen prejudices and fierce persecutions of Spain; by a still more singular success, it had given a temporary impulse to Italy itself; made converts in the natural land of the monk, built churches under the shadow of the convent; and redeemed at least one generation from the profligate supineness of their fathers. But this gush of the living breeze into the cloister was soon overpowered by the habitual heaviness of the atmosphere of cells and censers. The light, which had shot in through the chinks of the dungeon, was soon shut out, and all within was dark as ever. The multitude, at first exulting in their freedom, no sooner found that they must march through the wilderness, than they longed for the fatness and the flesh of Egypt, and returned to their house of bondage. The name of Protestantism still existed on the Continent, but its power was no more. Statesmen, in their political projects, passed it by; philosophers, in their calculations of human progress, left it out of their elements. The popular feelings were no longer roused or abused at its command. The teacher remained, but the gift of miracles was gone.

But, in England, it was a political creator. The manners, the feelings, the laws in a great degree, and the political movements almost wholly, were impressed with this one image and superscription. Since her first emergence from feudalism, when, like the traveller struggling through defiles and forests to the brow of the mountains which shows him the plain and the ocean before him, she saw the first boundless sweep of national power and moral renown before her, Protestantism, in all the casualties of its course, in its purity, or its profanation, in the vindication of its rights, or in the sufferance of its wrongs, in the national zeal for its advance, or in the national zeal for its retrenchment and spoil, has been the great object of contemplation and interest to every leader of the councils of England. It has been the voice which has never died in the statesman's ear, the shape which has met him at every step, the star which, whether clouded or serene, has never set in his horizon. The whole line of British sovereignty seemed scarcely more than royal administrators of the concerns of Religion.

Even the striking variety of royal character, during this long and stirring period, made but slight difference in their general connexion with the public belief. The brutish self-will of Henry, the savage bloodthirstiness of Mary, the proud supremacy of Elizabeth, the chivalry of Charles, the republicanism of Cromwell, the languid decline of the Stuarts, the energy of William, and the law-loving quietude of the Brunswicks, all bore the impress of the same principle.

During the last three hundred years, the world had been singularly active, and England perhaps its most active portion; but what relics of its political questions are left to posterity? The passions and the power of the great parties even of the last century have sunk into their graves. Even their names, which were supposed to have made an imperishable fixture in the political strifes of the country, and under which it was presumed that ministers and opposition would be marshalled for ever, have gone like the rest, and the difficulty would now be, to give a name to the political principles of any party in the state. But the religious questions of our ancestry are still not merely existing, but absorbing all others at this moment; instead of clearing up, they are darkening by time; instead of giving way to the thousand questions which year by year press on public deliberation, they still exalt their frowning front above them all. Ireland and Rome are as powerful objects of anxiety as in the days of Pius V. and Elizabeth; and Protestantism is forced to be as vigilant as in the days when the Bible was first read at Paul's Cross, or the Long Parliament drove the bishops out of the pale of the constitution.

In this language we are claiming no peculiar merit for the character of England; we are not arrogating for her any religious superiority; we are not pronouncing on her especial sensitiveness to conscience; we are simply giving facts; and those urge us to one conclusion alone, that by the determinate and original dispensation of[726] Providence, our country has been selected as the especial arena for great religious inquiries, and the establishment of great religious principles.

On this subject we speak with the utmost sincerity. There is nothing in historical experience to forbid the idea, that peculiar nations may have been appointed to separate purposes, and that they may be even divinely placed under the discipline most suitable to those purposes. If to ancient Greece was almost exclusively given the intellectual advancement of the world; if to ancient Rome was as exclusively given the preparative discipline for its government; there can be no doubt that to Judea was assigned the guardianship of religion.

The process may be diversified in later times; but the principle may remain. The rapidity with which the derelictions of duty in Judah were followed by punishments declaredly divine, finds a memorable counterpart in the annals of England, even down to the present hour. But we shall limit ourselves to the evidence in Ireland; and on this point we shall be as brief as possible.

In the latter part of the seventeenth century, Popery, hitherto kept down, became suddenly triumphant in Ireland, and began its habitual system of severity to the heretic. Confiscation and exile swept away the rights of Protestantism. The result was the national punishment by the scourge of civil war, a renewal of conquest, the expatriation of the Romish army, and the decay of all the sources of national prosperity.

Another era came. Under the government of Protestantism the country had recovered, privileges were successively awarded, and it enjoyed the peace and gradual opulence which belong to English government. But a parliamentary faction at length allied itself with Popery; parliament was subdued by clamour, or seduced by popularity, and the Popish population obtained the elective franchise. The elections instantly became scenes of national iniquity. Perjury was scarcely less than a profession, and that notoriously ruinous system of "sub-letting," which has covered Ireland with pauperism, became general, for the sole object of multiplying votes. This was followed by the foundation of Maynooth, a college expressly formed for the training of a Popish priesthood, whose tenets, every man who voted for this foundation, had sworn to be "superstitious and idolatrous." But when did faction care what it swore? The cup was now full. The priesthood of Maynooth had scarcely begun to learn their trade, when vengeance fell upon both Popery and the Parliament. Instead of the promise of popular gratitude, which had been so ostentatiously given by the Popish associations, and so ostentatiously echoed by parliamentary Liberalism, the first act of the Popish peasantry was to take up arms; a rebellion of the most treacherous and bloody nature broke out, in which the murder of Protestants was perpetrated in cold blood, and with the most horrid atrocity. Ireland was convulsed and impoverished, the rebellion was extinguished and punished by the sword, and at the cost of ten thousand peasant lives. The next blow was on the feeble and factious Parliament. The Irish Legislature was extinguished at a blow; and its fall was as ignominious as it was judicial. Its national pride and acknowledged talent gave way without a struggle, and with scarcely a remonstrance. It had already lost the respect of the nation. The mind of Ireland disdained the deliberations which had suffered the dictation of a mob. Parliament, existing without national honour, perished without national sympathy. Its own principle was retaliated on itself. The Papist sold it, the Borough-monger sold it, the Protestant sold it, not for the baser bribe of the populace, but for the prospect of peace; it was given over to execution, with the calm acquiescence of a sense of justice, and tossed on the funeral pile amid a population which danced round the blaze.

Popery now talks of its restoration. It is impossible. The very idea is absurd. As well might the ashes of the dead be gathered and reshaped into the living man. As well might the vapours of the swamp be purified by filling it with the firedamp. Every hour, since that time, has made the country still more unfit[727] for legislation, more furious and inflammable. As well might the nakedness of the people be covered by rags, reeking with the pestilence.

We rejoice to escape from the subject. It can be no gratification to us to trace the progress of disease through the political frame which it first enfeebles, and then makes a source of contagion. We have no love for the history of an hospital, or those frightful displays of a "surgeons' hall," where every skeleton is connected with public crime, and where science is demonstrated from the remnants of the scaffold. But it is notorious that the morals even of the Irish peasant have been degraded in the exact proportion of his rise in political power.

Every favour of the English parliament, from the beginning of the century until the fatal year 1829, only furnished him with an additional weapon, to be used with a more seditious violence. In that year, the British Legislature was thrown open to him, and he entered it in a barbarian triumph.

From that moment, England and Ireland were sufferers alike. In England, Irish faction was an insolent mercenary, which openly and alternately hired its services to both sides alike. In Ireland it was a ferocious rebel, which, as the notorious preparative for broader hostilities, exercised its arms in midnight murder.

At length the final endowment of Maynooth came; and an establishment, solely for the Romish priesthood, without any admixture of laity, and allowing the means of an increase in the number of those pupils of Rome, and propagators of Romish doctrines, from about five hundred to double the number, was fixed on the empire for ever, taken wholly out of the further deliberation of the Legislature, and conferred, to three times the amount of its former grant, on a religion which professes the worship of a Creature, the Virgin Mary; which bows down to images; which assigns thrones in heaven to dead men, promoted by itself to nominal saintship; which offers weekly absolution for all crimes; which apportions the judgments of the eternal tribunal in a purgatory, and releases the supposed criminal on payment of money for masses; and which offers the most solemn adoration to a composition of flour and water, manufactured by a baker, distributed by the hands of a priest, and which it actually declares to be the Eternal God, whom "the heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain."

These are doctrines utterly abhorrent to the feelings of all sincere Protestants; and unquestionably the encouragement of their teachers, and the virtual propagation of a belief which they pronounce desperate defiances of the truth, startled many wise and religious men with fear of the consequences. We leave the connexion of this most unhappy act with the subsequent events to the various contemplation of our countrymen.

The subject is too solemn for the mingling of human conjectures with its awful reality. But whether in the shape of retribution or warning, the singular force of the blow which has fallen on both—the Irish criminal and the English abettor of the crime—may well humble us before the Power which holds the prosperity of nations in its hand. Yet even now, while the two countries are still lying struck down by the same irresistible flash, and while the cloud which discharged it is still overhanging the horizon—while the only voice which ought to issue from the national lips would be the supplication for help and the hope of forgiveness, they are meditating an act more hazardous and daring than ever.

We disclaim all exclusiveness in the exercise of the common rights of man; we denounce all bigotry as a folly, and abhor all persecution as a crime; but we cannot venture an acquiescence in an attempt which we consider as an abandonment of the first dictates of Christianity; we cannot be silent when the intention is avowed to bring into a Christian legislature a sect which pronounces Christianity to be utterly a falsehood, its founder to be an impostor, (we shudder at the words,) and our whole hope of immortality, dependent on his sacrifice and merits, to be wicked and blasphemous delusion. And this attempt, from no additional discovery of the truth of[728] Judaism or the failings of Christianity, but simply from a sense of political convenience, (a most short-sighted sense, as we conceive;) a feeling of liberalism, (a most childish and uncalled for feeling, as we are perfectly convinced;) and the establishment of the general principle that, in the political system or government of nations, religion has no business whatever to interfere, to be regarded, or to be protected in any shape whatever, (an assumption which we believe to be contrary to all the experience of mankind.) Our remarks, of course, are not made with reference to the individual, of whom we know nothing but the name; we speak only of the principle.

But before we inquire into its good or ill, we shall give a glance at the past condition of the European Jews, and the privileges to which they have been admitted by the generosity of the British legislature.

With Charlemagne the political history of modern Europe begins, and with it we shall begin our sketch of the Jews. The soldiership of Charlemagne made him comparatively regardless of ecclesiastical jealousies, and at the same time made him require the services of agents, negotiators, and traffickers of all kinds. In all the wildest barbarism of the past ages, the sons of Israel had continued to sustain their connexion throughout Europe, and the emperor felt all their importance to his polity. But war always impoverishes, and the Jews were the only masters of European wealth. Thus they were essential in all points to the great warrior, who had spent thirty years of his life in the camp; to the great monarch, who ruled three-fourths of Europe; and to the great statesman, who legislated for Christendom, but who could not write his own name. Charlemagne, therefore, protected the Jews, as he did all whom he made useful to himself; and as disregard of opportunities has been at no time their failing, it is probable that the chief currency of Europe passed through Jewish hands.

The successors of the emperor retained his habits, without inheriting his abilities, and the Jews still stood high in the favour of the throne.

It is probable, too, that they profited enormously; for where they had no laws but their own, and no penalties to dread but those in the hand of the sovereign, the possession of the royal ear, and the replenishing of the royal purse, gave them chances which must have proved highly productive to the Rabbinical exchequer.

But their prosperity was soon to have its winter. Enormous wealth was hazardous in baronial times. The descendants of the Gaulish, the German, and the Norman conquerors—bold soldiers, but bad financiers; fond of magnificence, but narrow in rental; valorous in war, but pauperised in peace—saw with lordly indignation the crouching Israelite able to purchase principalities, while they were often obliged to levy the daily meal of their retainers on the high road.

The result was, a general robbery of the Jews. But as there is no robbery so sweeping as that which is performed under cover of law, the unfortunate Jews were charged with the most improbable crimes against popes and princes. They sometimes escaped the dungeon and the sword by large bribes to the judge and the king; but confiscation was too gainful to cease while there was a Jew to be drained. And at length, within the last years of the twelfth century, all the Jews of France were exiled by a stroke of the pen; their whole property was seized, and all their debts were decreed to be irrecoverable!

Still they were too useful to be entirely dispensed with; and the following Jewish generation, which had forgotten the sufferings of their fathers, once more sought admission into France. They there grew opulent again, were there fleeced again, and there were alternately fattened and fleeced, until a general rage against their existence seemed to seize all Europe. Then, with an injustice which scandalises the name of Europe, and with a cruelty which still more scandalises the name of Popery, they were persecuted, plundered, and hunted into the gentler and honester regions of the Mahometan and the idolator.

The history of the Jews in England commenced about the middle of the eighth century, and was a similar succession[729] of persecutions of the purse. Their persons were generally spared, for the piety of the Saxon monarchs was less provoked than their poverty. The Jews were a never-failing spring; and the Egberts and Ethelberts drank of it in all the emergencies of their dynasty, without ever cooling their royal thirst. Still the Jews clung to a land where they had probably become masters of the whole current coin; and though they complained furiously of the royal pressure, they bore it for the sake of the inordinate rent which they levied on peasant and priest, on baron bold, and perhaps on the monarch himself.

But William the Norman came, and the days of the Israelite brightened. William knew the value of having the synagogue for his bank; and though a descendant of those heroic pirates who had exhibited robbery on the largest scale in history, and plundered every sea-coast of Europe every year of their lives, he yet felt all the necessity of paying his fellow-freebooters, and regarded the Jews, next to his men-at-arms, as the main prop of his throne.

But it is a curious feature in the annals of Jewish wealth, that it has never lasted long; three generations, at the most, are sure to see its end. The gourd of Jonah is its emblem to this hour; the surprising growth of a night followed by the equally surprising decay of a morning.

The Jews were desperately mulcted by Stephen, a usurper, who felt that he had but little time to lose, and, of course, plundered accordingly. But these were glorious times for what is called "change of property;" the brave earls of the Norman had already run through their estates. Money was not to be found. The times were turbulent, and the barons were forced to build castles for themselves and their cattle. They kept retainers to rob and fight, and led the life of gallant captains of banditti. Italy, the native land of romance and robbery, (its principal talents to this hour,) never exhibited more elaborate specimens of both, than England did in the days of Stephen. But the royal and baronial necessities were not to be fully supplied by the high road, and the unfortunate Jew was made the paymaster of all.

At last the Romish priesthood attacked them. This was fatal. Isaac evaded the fighting baron and the fleecing king by his habitual adroitness, and by those small sacrifices which he well knew how to compensate. But the monks, friars, and bishops were a body with which all his acuteness was unable to contend. What the Jew gained was obviously lost to the monk; and the counter was forced to yield to the cloister. The thirteenth century is still recorded among the Israelites as a kind of secondary overthrow of their nation, and Edward I. as their English Titus. The act of royal and ecclesiastical atrocity banished nearly twenty thousand Jews to seek existence in some less savage region than the "land of chivalry."

From this period they are nearly lost sight of in our English records, until the reign of Charles II. The York and Lancastrian wars certainly offered but slight temptation to the man of traffic; he must have also remembered the penalty of his former sojourn in England, and he wisely left the Plantagenets, at last, to fight it out by themselves. The reign of Cromwell gave them some hope. It is astonishing how the English spirit of that one man raised the character of England throughout Europe. The world had never seen such a brewer before; whatever he did, or wherever he went, he carried with him the homeliness, the heartiness, and the strength of his trade. He kept the insolence of France in order, soundly punished the pride of Spain, and frightened the Teutonic ferocity of Germany into quiet. If he had lived a thousand years, so long would he have kept the Stuarts in banishment. His game was harder at home, but he played his cards with equal success. He crushed at once the king and the parliament; he crushed the Presbyterians, who had crushed the church; he bridled the Independents, who had bridled the Presbyterians; he tamed the army, who had conquered the constitution; and, highest triumph of all, he tamed Ireland. The difficulty of the Wellingtons, the Peels, and the Greys,—the grand problem of Whig[730] and Tory, was no problem to him; he suffered resistance neither moral nor physical; he would have hanged the orators and the gatherers of the "rent," on the same tree. His remedy was simple. He led his battalions at once into Ireland; stormed the rebel garrisons, hanged the rebel leaders; sent the rebel priests in droves to the West Indies; and in six months he made Ireland a place in which it was possible for an honest man to live; and this was while Ireland was still shouting for joy at Protestant massacre—while she was in the full riot of 1641—while legates, and prelates, and Jesuits were crowding the soil, and while tens of thousands of Protestants were weltering in bloody graves. The bold brewer of Huntingdon settled the country at once, and Ireland was obedient for a century to come.

It is not certain whether Cromwell had made overtures to the Jews, or the Jews to him; but the shortness of his reign precluded any actual measures in their favour. However, it is evident that they had received some impression that they would be protected; for immediately on the Restoration, and apparently without any further permission, they began to flock into England, where they have since remained under the general protection of the law.

The original condition of the Jew in England, was that of a man under the direct protection of the king,—a perilous protection, which gave his majesty the right of the liege lord over his bondsman, the right over property, and even over person. But the Jew was not long permitted to hold land. Of this right they were deprived in the reign of the third Henry, though they were suffered to retain the freehold of houses in towns. Successive acts deprived them even of this poor privilege, and no Jew was suffered to dispose of his house without the leave of the king. But, by a curious anomaly, they were again allowed to purchase houses and lands, provided they were held of the king, and even take farms for ten years. Though it seems probable that those alternations of favour and severity were but so many applications of the legal torture to the purses of the Jews.

On the Continent, the condition of the Jews was always opulent, and always comfortless. But, in general, they escaped with the simple penalty of popular contempt. There is money to be made in every country by parsimony, and a steady determination to do nothing but make money. The Jews thus escaped into the wild regions of the Goth and Vandal, and got rich among the Poles and the Russians. They were sometimes dreadfully fleeced; but the men of frost and snow were not men of massacre, and the Jews got rich again. Even now, with all the competition of all the beggars of Germany, they are the masters of all the shop-dealing and inn-keeping, and money-changing, and all the countless kinds of ingenuity that the smallest of traffics can practise upon a people who divide the farthing into a dozen fractions.

The Jew lives, fattens, and plays the financier in Morocco, as he plays the slop-seller, the quack, and the furrier in the north. He is the banker of his Highness Abderrhaman, and supplies Abd-el-Kader with sequins, Naples' soap, horses, and intelligence. The Jews in Turkey always lived in tremendous insecurity; but there too, they grew rich, they shared the favour of the sultans, (and the certainty of being occasionally plundered,) along with the Armenians, a sort of Epicene religionists, or link between the Christian and the Jew; the profession of both being money in every shape, from the hawking of pipes, and the selling of slippers, up to the court bankers; the last being notoriously a perilous distinction, for on the first necessity of the seraglio, the banker's confiscation was reckoned among the ways and means of the state. The banker's stock of bullion was "sent for," and his head generally accompanied it. His will was drawn up already by the Grand Cadi of Constantinople, and the Emperor of the Faithful was regularly declared "his heir."

The Jew in Algiers was, like the Jew every where, rich and wretched; reaping all the coin of the country,[731] and stripped of it at every caprice of the government. The French invasion threw all the Algerine Hebrews into rapture for a while; but they have continued wringing their hands, and hanging their heads, ever since. The Frenchman is as keen as the Jew in saying, though the Jew altogether distances in gain a man who would spend his last sou on a ball, a theatre, or a billiard-table. The Jew eschews all games of chance; the opera costs a franc in Algiers, when they have one; and the Jew would not spend a franc upon the music of the spheres. He laments hourly the Algerian revolution, gnashes his teeth at the name of Charles X., cautiously anathematises Louis Philippe, (whom he regards as the rival of his reputation,) and when out of the hearing of a French sentinel, vents the reverse of a panegyric on the green excellences of his royal highness the Duc d'Aumale. The burden of his political song, is "the Turks were fine fellows; they cut off our heads, but then they spent money. The French do not cut off our heads, but then they spend no money!" The Jew evidently preferred the chance of losing his head to the certainty of making nothing out of the shabbiness of his new masters. Thus Algiers no longer offers a harvest for the Israelite.

But the Jew had his reign of terror,—and Spain was the scene. Throughout the world,—for where was the Jew not to be found?—he was simply an object of personal scorn and of public plunder; and, fully acknowledging the popular crime in both, it must equally be acknowledged that his life naturally deprived him of public sympathy. The Jew was a being who took no share in advancing the good of the country; he promoted no national object, he assisted in no national advancement, he promoted none of the fine arts, he encouraged neither the painter, nor the poet, nor the student; he speeded neither the plough, nor the ship, nor the pen. He made money, and that was the sole object of his existence. And he made that money in the most obnoxious way,—by enormous interest ground out of enormous distress. Thus voluntarily depriving himself of all the defences which society throws round the promoters of its purposes; without any claims on the respect, the gratitude, or even on the self-interest of mankind; often, doubtless, a desperate extortioner, and always keen on the scent of gain, the Jew, in the best of times, was only endured, in hard times was hated; and when national necessity rose to severe pressure, was the first to be rifled of his hoards, in the midst of a race of rapine, which seemed to take the shape of justice, and of revenge, which seemed a vindication of human nature. There were doubtless, in the lapse of ages, instances of Jewish scholarship, and perhaps instances of Jewish generosity. But the character of the race was coldness, craft, and avarice. The European Jew was the counterpart of the ancient Ishmaelite, "his hand against every man," but without the free spirit, the bold courage, or the wild hospitality of the Ishmaelite. He was seen by mankind at once in the contradictory character of the reckless robber and the crouching slave: suffered in society only for his unwilling uses; and endured, like the jackal or the hyena, for its swallowing the refuse rejected by all the nobler feeders on the common of mankind.

But the bloody bigotry of Spain taught them that in "the lowest depth" there was a still lower depth. Spain, which, with the climate of Mauritania, appears to inherit all the fury of the Moor, in the first cessation from her war of eight hundred years, began a general persecution of all who would not acknowledge the Virgin Mary for a God, and St Dominic, for her prophet. The Inquisition, the prime instrument of Rome, was let loose against the unfortunate Jews; many of them apostatised under the terror of the sword. Some of the apostates more honourably repented of their cowardice, and returned to their ancient faith. On the relapsed the Inquisition fell with the fury of a wild beast. But even the fury of a wild beast is satiated by being gorged. The Inquisition had the insatiable love of human misery which belongs to the Demon. The wretched people were slain and burned—the rack and the pile were in constant action. At length, after a long period of agony,[732] the sweeping decree was issued in 1492, which banished the whole race from the kingdom. Their number was calculated at half a million! With some pretence of humanity, in allowing them to sell their scanty furniture, they were robbed of every thing. Naked and ruined, branded and bruised, they were driven away as if by a whirlwind, and their wrecks long covered the shores of Africa and Europe.

The present condition of the Jewish people in England is more favourable than, perhaps, in any other country, or in any other age of the world, since their national ruin. The principles of Protestantism abhor persecution; and although Protestant persecutors have existed, their crime has been always in open contradiction to their principle, always has been disavowed by Protestants, and always has fallen into disuse with the progress of Protestantism. But the right of persecution having been always avowed by Rome, being still in the statutes of Rome, and being still claimed as one of the national privileges of infallibility, the Jews are still under ban in Rome, and in every country where power is retained by Rome.

In England the Jews are protected by the Toleration Act of William and Mary. They may hold real estates, may be high sheriffs, and, in fact, may hold every privilege of British subjects, but admission to corporate offices and parliament. From those they are excluded by the 9th George IV., the oath being, "On the faith of a Christian," and the true objection being, not the desire of depressing the Jew, but the fear of injuring the Christian. Because those corporate offices are generally magistracies, which, implying the decision of causes on the oath of parties, as Christians, it might be hazardous to put the power of deciding into hands which disregarded Christian oaths altogether. But, as a sufficient answer to the charge of invidiousness, two Jews have, within these few years, been elected sheriffs of London.

On the Continent, the progress of the eighteenth century produced a general amelioration in the state of the Jews. Some part of this fortunate change was due to themselves; they had begun to enter into general commerce, and take some national interest in public and municipal affairs. A larger part was due to the increased intelligence of the age.

The emperor Joseph, the great "reformer" of every thing, right or wrong, gave them the general protection of the Christian laws. Frederick the Great, always boasting of liberality, and actually indifferent to all religion, gave them the benefit of his neglect. But, as war was his employment, he resolved that they should have no exception from his belligerency. After several bitter disputes with their Rabbis on the subject of Jewish soldiership, he contrived to raise a regiment of cavalry among them, which, in his sarcastic sport, he called Israelousky! But to make the Israelites warriors against their will was beyond the skill even of Frederick.

He first intended to make them lancers, but they entirely disapproved of the weapon; he then tried them with the sabre, but they had no taste for the sword; and, finally, he was forced to disband them. We shall not pledge ourselves for the exactness of this detail, but the story was long the amusement of Germany.

In France, Napoleon, shortly after his accession to the throne, and while preparing for the conquest of the Continent, called the chief Jews together, and formed what he entitled a Sanhedrin. As it is impossible to give his subtle and unscrupulous mind credit for any religious motive, his purpose was, probably, to use their influence in his designs on the North, where they were numerous, and, by their close mixture with the lower population, influential. Twelve questions were proposed to them, nominally to ascertain the general compatibility of Jewish opinions with French law.

But war suddenly absorbed the imperial attention; battles were more congenial to his taste than theology, councils than Sanhedrins, and conquest by the sword than successes by conspiracy. He dissolved the Sanhedrin, and left the Jews to the general protection of the French laws.

In England, the exclusion of the[733] Jews from Parliament depends on the Abjuration Act, George I. and III., and on the 9th George IV.; the latter act being intended to relieve the necessity of taking the sacrament, on appointment to places under government, a custom originally introduced to prevent disguised Papists from becoming members of the Protestant government, or holding offices under it,—it being supposed that the taking of the sacrament was the only test which the Papist was not permitted to evade; but it was a custom which frequently gave room for irreverence, and which thus produced public offence. For this test, a simple declaration was substituted, in which the person appointed pledged himself to the various requisitions "on the faith of a Christian," a form which of course excluded the Jew. By the combination of the two statutes, the Jew is still distinctly, and, as we think, with most sufficient reason, excluded from a Christian legislature.

In this country, Parliament, in the shape of its three estates, rules every thing. In making any man a member of Parliament, we, in a certain degree, make him our master—we give him the power of sharing, at least, in the making of those laws which are our masters; and although the individual may be but little, yet he may, if he have talent, or the industry or skill to form a party, or the skill to direct one, do infinite evil to any interest which he determines to destroy. Opening the doors of Parliament to the Jew, is actually opening the doors of power, and of a power which, if he have a conscientious adherence to his own belief, he must use against ours. The question, then, is not of mere municipal regulation, but of the very life of our religion. Religion is the highest concern of human existence, and the source not only of our immortal hopes, but of freedom and Protestantism in their purest form; and to possess it in its freedom, to preserve, it with its rights, and to transmit it unmutilated to posterity, has been the great struggle of ages, and has been well worth the struggle. It is unnecessary to detail here the especial doctrines of Christianity; but the Jew rejects them all, charges them all with falsehood, and affirms, that it would be our duty to both God and man, to cast them all under our feet. Therefore, we cannot expect any assistance from the Jew in defending our religion, or our religious rights, or the national support of that religion.

But in the legislature there is already a powerful party openly hostile to Protestantism, with many individuals who may be willing to aid that party, though not of their belief. On which side would the Parliamentary Jew vote? There can be no doubt that, if at all conscientious, he would vote for the extinction of Protestantism. Can we then be justified to ourselves, or our country, in giving the additional strength of a new, opulent, and influential party to the antagonists of Protestantism?

It is true, that any direct attempt to destroy our religion in England is not likely to occur, at least for a considerable time; but are there not a multitude of minor ways, of insidious approaches, of dangerous artifices, and malignant tamperings, which, without open violence, would have all the effect of active hostility? And in these, would the Jew be for or against us?

But there is a still more solemn consideration. God punishes those who abuse his gifts, or neglect his trusts. Protestantism is both a gift and a trust, and of the most invaluable order. Must there not be a public and personal crime in disregarding the interests of both; and disregarding them for a thing so worldly, contingent, and paltry, as political convenience? The Jew outside the legislature, however he may hate our religion, is powerless to injure it; but once inside the legislature, he may conspire to its ruin. If we put a weapon into the hand of an enemy, whom but ourselves can we blame for the consequences. If we do an act which cannot be undone, what sympathy shall our wailings deserve, when we feel that we have actually recruited for a hostile faction.

But having disposed of the cant of Liberalism, let, us now turn to the more dangerous cant of Security. "What reason is there to apprehend[734] public evil from a single Jew, or from half a dozen at most in Parliament?" We remember that exactly the same language was used for the admission of the Papists. "What harm can be done by letting in one or two Papists? they can never amount to above half-a-dozen, let them do what they will at the hustings." Yet their votes and partisans now amount to at least fifty; they carry every object which they determine to carry; and they have crumbled down cabinets like the discharge from a battery.

In the instance of the Jew, the answer is clear. They have the means among them of coming to the hustings with irresistible force. On this topic we say no more; but every body knows the nature of a popular election under the Reform Bill.

But then we are to "trust to character;" the individual in question is unambitious, or immersed in his own affairs, or afraid of the sound of his own voice, or is a parliament phantom. He may be all this, or quite the contrary, for any contrary knowledge of ours; but once in Parliament, with his whole sharp and craving community at his heels, he must make an effort—or he will be soon driven back to his counting-house. Or if he were at once as fixed and silent as a rock, who shall answer for his successors? In no instance of party violence is the first man the true representative. He comes full dressed into the levee, bows as he enters the presence, and offers his petition with the air pleasing to the souls of lords in waiting. His successor comes; the sans culotte roars at the head of his rabble in the streets, and storms the palace, stairs. The Jew in parliament will be no longer the emblem of sly submissiveness that traverses Houndsditch. History tells us well the fierceness of his day of authority; the daring zealotry, the bitterness of his national anger, and the mortal venom of his personal vindictiveness. If those outbursts have seldom occurred in our days, the loss of political position may be justly taken for the cause; with every thing to risk and nothing to gain, we can easily account for quietude. But, give him that position, make him the leader, the treasurer, or the recruiting officer of a party,—give him the hope of seizing place,—make his voice the key-note of doubtful debate,—make his party the prop of a tottering ministry, or the champions of an aspiring opposition,—give him the power of carrying fifty votes, or half the number, across the House, the utterers of the words of life or death to a cabinet standing in the Dock,—and what measure of revenge or spoliation, of insolent triumph or irremediable evil, might they not demand, and might they, not obtain?

We solemnly declare, that much as we deprecate Papist influence, we think that all its hostility is not to be dreaded the hundredth part so much as political power in Jewish hands. There would be no lazy braggadocio, no loose riot of success, none of the vulgar intoxication that goes to sleep after the victory,—we should have the steady, sullen, cool antagonism, whose subtlety never slumbers.

But there are other and important considerations. The British empire extends over a variety of creeds. If the Christian legislature admits one sect known as the open antagonist of Christianity, why not admit the neutrals? Why not the Mahometan? Why not the Hindoo? Are they half as much opposed to Christianity as the Jew? We have conquered a Chinese island,—why not have a parliamentary believer in the god Foh, and in his prophet Confutzee? Ceylon is ours,—why reject the votary of Boodh? We have the Cape, and we shall soon have the land of the Caffre,—why not admit the worshipper of the Serpent, or the man who trembles before the mystery of the Fetish? The Dyak of Borneo, and the Malay of Singapore are already basking under the beams of the British crown; neither will trouble us with controversies,—why not compile them all into one imperial representation? They are fully as honest as the Jew, not much more ignorant, and much less likely to quarrel with us.

In the largeness of this subject we are forced to pass by a multitude of pressing considerations; but there is one, to which we cannot avoid making some slight reference—the actual state of the Jewish religion. Many, who have not attended to this subject, evidently feel all interest in the Jew, as[735] the "descendant of the original receivers of the law, a mistaken and stiff-necked generation, perhaps, but still clinging to the law of Sinai." On this subject we speak with perfect reverence, but also with perfect truth, when we say, that it is scarcely possible to discover the religion of Sinai in the Jewish ritual of the present day; their religion is Rabbinism, precisely the same, (except for its additional excesses and inventions) that it was when the most sacred of all authorities pronounced to the Sadducee, and the Pharisee, and the nation, that they had made the law of Moses of "none effect by their traditions." The "oral law," wholly traditionary, is now the law of all the Jews, (the Karaites, a small sect, excepted.) Their liturgy is wholly formed from the oral law, and some of its comments, among an abundance of trivialities, are dangerous. The "deniers of the law are cut off for ever, and perish through their wickedness, and have no part in the world to come." Among those thus condemned for ever are the Christians and Mahometans. But some of the passages in the Talmud show the personal peril into which the oral law may condemn the recusants of any kind.

"It is lawful," says the Rabbi Eleazar, "to split open the nostrils of an unlearned man on the day of atonement, which falls on the Sabbath. And his disciples said, Rabbi, say rather that it is lawful to slaughter him. The Rabbi replied, That would require a benediction, but now no benediction is needful."

But we must leave the subject to be treated by others who have more time; assuring the reader that Rabbinism is a compilation very much in the following style:—

"Rabbi Judah said, Every thing that God created in the world he created male and female. And thus he did with Leviathan the piercing serpent, and Leviathan the crooked serpent, he created them male and female. But if they had been united, they would have desolated the entire world. What then did the Holy One? He took away the strength of the male Leviathan, and slew the female, and salted her for the righteous for the time to come."

And of this kind is the Scriptural(!) knowledge of the modern Jew. We really do not speak of these things in levity, but in deference for the truth, and to show how distinct the follower of Rabbinism is from the follower of Moses.

We now close the subject, disavowing all hostility to the Jew, but distinctly expressing our conviction, that his admission into a Christian parliament is wholly inconsistent with common right, common duty, or common sense. How can we offer the homage of either heart or lip to our Lord Christ, when we give the highest boon within our power to a sect who pronounce him all impostor? How can we respect his religion, when we regard it as a matter of total indifference whether we support its friends or encourage its enemies? or how can we deserve to retain the inestimable privileges, alike spiritual and temporal, which we have received from Christianity, when we negligently, or for some personal object, lay them at the mercy of the unbeliever?

What ought England to do at this moment? It ought to teem with petitions. Its clergy ought to meet, and give their most solemn pledge to resist this most fatal innovation. Its bishops ought each to take the lead in those meetings, and, instead of waiting to make a useless speech in the House of Lords, come forth and do their duty like men.




The maritime glory of ancient Athens has scarcely been regarded by Englishmen with the attention and sympathy which our own national interest and pride in the rule of the waves might be expected to create.

Our boast of trusting to our wooden walls is a literal translation of the Athenian statesman's maxim, which inspired his country's successful resistance to her Persian invader. Athens, like England, made herself, by her fleets, felt and feared in every region of the then known world. Like England, she won herself, beyond sea, an empire far disproportioned to the scanty extent of her domestic territory; and she held that empire, and defied all the assaults of combined enemies by land, so long as, and no longer than, she maintained her ascendency on the ocean.

In the palmy days of Athens every Athenian was a seaman. A state, indeed, whose members, of an age fit for service, at no time exceeded thirty thousand, and whose territorial extent did not equal half Sussex, could only have acquired such a naval dominion as Athens once held, by devoting, and zealously training, all its sons to service in its fleets.[8] The resident aliens, and some of the slaves, were also compelled to row in the Athenian galleys; foreign mariners were sometimes hired; but the staple of the crews consisted of free citizens of Athens, members of the sovereign republic, which they served with hearts and hands in the cause of her aggrandisement; zealously executing the decrees Which they themselves had voted, and each of them (as Herodotus remarked) feeling that what he wrought he wrought for himself, and striving to do the work thoroughly.[9]

We look back with just national pride on the energy which our country displayed, and the resources which she called into action during the fearful struggles of the last war. We dwell with honest complacency on the narrative that tells us how, when, after the rupture of the peace of Amiens, our Great Enemy menaced invasion, England, besides her preparations by land, put forth her might "on the element she calls her own. She covered the ocean with five hundred and seventy ships of war of various descriptions. Divisions of her fleet blocked up every French port in the Channel; and the army destined to invade our shores might see the British flag flying in every direction on the horizon, waiting for their issuing from the harbour, as birds of prey may be seen hovering in the air above the animal which they design to pounce upon:"[10] while, at the same time, along Indian seas, and by the shores of continents of whose existence the Ancients dreamed not, our squadrons commanded every coast that could supply an enemy's ship to chase, or an enemy's colony to capture. Yet, if we take into consideration the comparative populations and territories of the two states, we shall find instances in Greek history of Athens making exertions to secure her independence, and naval supremacy, which surpass even those which are the just boast of Britain. We may pass over the day of Salamis, when all Athens was on ship-board; nor need we, for this purpose, do more than glance at her armaments at the fatal siege of Syracuse, and in the other death-struggles of the Peloponnesian war. There is an original inscription still preserved in the Louvre, which attests the energies of Athens at another[737] crisis of her career, not, indeed, more intense or exciting than those which we have alluded to, but more interesting to Englishmen, from the variety of the, scenes of operation, on which Athens then, like England in modern wars, at once sought conquests abroad, and repelled enemies at home. At the period we now advert to (B. C. 457) an Athenian armament of two hundred galleys was engaged in a bold though unsuccessful expedition against Egypt. The Athenian crews had landed, had won a battle; they had then re-embarked and sailed up the Nile, and were busily besieging the Persian garrison in Memphis. As the complement of a trireme galley was at least two hundred men, we cannot estimate the forces then employed by Athens against Egypt at less than forty thousand men. At the same time she kept squadrons on the coasts of Phœnicia and Cyprus, and yet maintained a home-fleet that enabled her to defeat her Peloponesian enemies at Cecryphalea and Ægina, capturing in the last engagement seventy galleys. This last fact may give us some idea of the strength of the Athenian home-fleet that gained the victory: and by adopting the same ratio of multiplying whatever number of galleys we suppose to have been employed, by two hundred, so as to gain the aggregate number of the crews, we may form some estimate of the forces which this little Greek state then kept on foot. Between sixty and seventy thousand men must have served in her fleets during that year. Her tenacity of purpose was equal to her boldness of enterprise. Sooner than yield or withdraw from any of their expeditions, the Athenians at this very time, when Corinth sent an army to attack their garrison at Megara, did not recall a single crew or a single soldier from Ægina or from abroad; but the lads and old men, who had been left to guard the city, fought and won a battle against these new assailants. The inscription which we have referred to, is graven on a votive tablet to the memory of the dead, erected in that year by the Erechthean tribe, one of the ten into which the Athenians were divided. It shows, as Thirlwall has remarked,[11] "that the Athenians were conscious of the greatness of their own efforts;" and in it this little civic community of the ancient world still "records to us with emphatic simplicity, that its slain fell in Cyprus, in Egypt, in Phœnicia, at Haliæ, in Ægina, and in Megara, in the same year."

Of course, in order to man and keep afoot such armaments as these, Athens employed large numbers of her subject-allies, of hired mariners, and also of slaves. But, as has been marked before, her own citizens formed the staple of her forces. In the periods, indeed, of her deepest distress, towards the close of the Peloponnesian war, when her dreadful defeats in Sicily must have diminished the serviceable part of her free population, and swept off the flower of her youth, "as if the spring-time were taken out of the year," she was compelled to fill her fleets with a far larger proportion of slaves and hired foreigners. And then her enemies, by the offer of higher pay, could half unman the Athenian ships, and improve their own complements on the very eve of decisive operations.[12]

Themistocles was the great founder of the Athenian navy. He first taught Athens to disregard the land, and to look on the sea as her national element of empire. His enemies said of him that he took the spear out of his countrymen's grasp, and replaced it with the oar.[13] But the contemporary historian explicitly attests[14] that the salvation of Greece from Persia arose from the Athenians having become a sea-faring people: and it was Themistocles who made them so.

He persuaded his fellow-countrymen to devote the produce of their silver mines to building a fleet, instead of dividing it among themselves. This fleet, well exercised in contests with Ægina, was the nucleus of the navy of Athens, that taught the Greeks how to fight and conquer at Artemisium and Salamis. These victories, and the equally successful sea-fights in which Cimon afterwards led the[738] Greeks against the remnants of the Persian navy on the Asiatic coasts, raised the zeal of the Athenians for their sea service to the highest pitch. And when they had acquired the supremacy over the Greek islanders and cities of the coasts of the Ægean, they gained and sedulously employed fresh resources for augmenting the number of their galleys, and improving their own skill as mariners. For no nation was ever more thoroughly aware than the Athenians of the importance of assiduous training and perfect discipline in naval warfare. Their great orator, Pericles, mainly encouraged them to resist the combined powers of Lacedæmon and her allies, by reminding them of their long practice in seamanship compared with that of their enemies, who were more numerous, and might be equally brave, but never could equal their skill. He truly told them that seamanship is an art not to be acquired off-hand by landsmen, or to be picked up as a mere minor accomplishment, but that it requires long practice, uninterrupted by other occupations. "Athens had devoted herself to this since the invasion of the Medes; she had not, indeed, perfected herself; but the reward of her superior training was the rule of the sea—a mighty dominion, for it gave her the rule of much fair land beyond its waves, safe from the idle ravages with which the Lacedæmonians might harass Attica, but never could subdue Athens."[15]

An ancient Athenian trireme would make a poor figure beside a modern line-of-battle ship, the most majestic product of human skill and daring. Still, as we have seen, the number of men employed on board a naval armament in the old times far exceeded the united complements of a modern fleet. The slaughter in action was far greater, and, from the nature of the conflict, more depended upon discipline and seamanship, comparatively with mere animal courage, than is the case even in the sea-fights of the present time. The ancients contended in long light galleys, the prows of which were armed with sharp strong beaks, for the purpose of staying in an adversary's timbers, and more effectually running her down. Inexperienced crews sought only to grapple with an enemy, and to decide the affair by boarding. But the more highly-disciplined mariners avoided this unscientific mode of closing, in which numbers and brute force were sure to prevail, and sought by skill and speed, by manœuvring round their antagonists, by wheeling, halting, backing, and charging exactly at the right moment, to avoid the shocks intended for themselves, and to run an opponent down by taking her amidships or on the quarter, or to dash away and shatter part of her oars.

If we can picture to ourselves two hostile squadrons of modern steam-boats, without artillery, seeking to destroy each other principally by running down, we shall gain an idea in many respects analogous to the idea of a sea-fight of antiquity. But we must remember that the motive power of the old war-galleys, when contending, came entirely from oars, sails not being used in action: so that the efficiency of the manœuvres depended on the skill and nerve of the whole crew, and not merely on the excellence of machinery and the dexterity of one or two officers. Of the two hundred men who made the usual complement of a Greek trireme, at least four-fifths pulled at the oar; the proportion of mariners being continually diminished in the best navies, as they trusted more and more to swiftness and tactics, and less to hand-to-hand fighting. They pulled in three tiers, ranged one above another, the lowest having, of course, the shortest oars and lightest work; better men being required for the middle tier, and the most powerful and skilled rowers being alone fit to work the long oars of the upper rank.

The probable mode of arranging the tiers of oars, so that the higher should sufficiently overstretch the lower, so as not to interfere in stroke with them, is excellently explained by Mitford in an appendix to the eighth chapter of his second volume. Adopting the views of General Melville, and illustrating them by a description of war-galleys actually in use among the[739] islanders of the Pacific, Mitford says:—"Along the waist of the galley, from a little above the water's edge, a gallery projected at an angle of about forty-five degrees. In this the upper rowers were disposed, checkered with the lower. Space for them being thus gained, partly by elevation, partly by lateral projection, those of the highest tier were not too much above the water to work their oars with effect."

The system, too, of rowing with outriggers, which has lately been adopted in the boat-races on the Tyne, and thence in those of the Thames and Cam, suggests another mode by which sufficient sweep and space might have been gained for the oars of the upper tier, to keep them from clashing with those below them.

A galley thus manned, and built exclusively for speed, (for the war-ships seldom or never pushed across the open sea, but coasted along from point to point, landing their crews for meals and sleep,) must have moved with immense velocity and power. The boat-races at Cambridge, in which six or seven-and-twenty eight-oared boats may be seen contending close together, can give some faint idea of the speed with which a squadron of the old triremes must have rushed through the sea, and of the noise and wave which must have been raised in the water, by the displacing transit of such large and rapid bodies, and by the simultaneous lashing of so many thousand oars. One can understand the alarm with which their charge must have been watched by unpractised antagonists, and the shrinking back frequently caused, φοβω ῥοθιου και νεων δεινοτητος .[16] Steady bravery and alertness were therefore, essential qualities in the whole crew. For, if but a few of the oarsmen got frightened, and consequently pulled out of time, or if they failed to back water, to ease off, or to give all the way they could, exactly at the word of command, the calculated speed, or curve, or check, on the faith of which a manœuvre was attempted by the captain and steerer, would not be supplied; the manœuvre would fail; and the galley, instead of taking an antagonist at advantage, would herself lie at the mercy of some other of the enemy's ships that might be near enough to seize the moment of her confusion. Accordingly, besides assiduouslyο training their men to the use of the oar in rough as well as smooth water, the Athenian admirals inculcated as a seaman's prime duties order and silence in action, (Εν τω εργω κοσμον και σιγην περι πλειστου ἡγεισθε.)[17] To be steady and patient in the presence of the enemy until the signal for engaging was given; to listen attentively for the word of command as passed on by the boatswains (κελευϛαι) to the various banks of oars; to, obey each command instantly, unhesitatingly, and quietly; to keep time, to back promptly, and, in charging, to throw the utmost amount of physical power into each stroke of the oar, were the qualities that distinguished the able Athenian seaman. Impatience, clamour, clumsy and uneven rowing, slowness and confusion in catching and obeying signals, and flurried unsteadiness in the heat of battle, betrayed the inexperience of the crews with which the Peloponnesians manned their fleets in the early years of their great war with Athens; though probably each Dorian among them was constitutionally as brave as any Athenian, and might have excelled him in an encounter with spear and shield on land.

However skilfully the triremes might be manœuvred, it was impossible to prevent their sometimes getting foul of their adversaries. And, for the hand-to-hand fighting which this involved, a small body of fully armed soldiers (Επιβαται), or Marines, according to our modern term) served on board each galley. There were also a few bowmen or slingers for galling the enemy as opportunity offered. And although the oarsmen must, of course, have been unencumbered with armour, each seems to have been furnished with some light weapons, a cutlass probably and javelin, to play his part with in the exigencies which continually occurred during an action at sea. For we must bear in mind that, when we read of the ancient galleys running each other down in action, we[740] are not to suppose that the struck galley was instantly sunk by the shock. On the contrary, almost every account in the classics of a sea-fight proves that this was seldom or never the case. From the peculiarly light build of the triremes, and probably also from the effect of the lateral galleries in which the upper rowers were disposed, one of these vessels would be a long time before it foundered, even after receiving such a shock as to water-log it, and to leave it shattered and perfectly unmanageable. While the wreck thus kept above water, the crew clung to it in the hope of being rescued by successful friends. Sometimes, even after thus being run down, the crew would make a desperate effort, and carry their apparently triumphant opponent by boarding. A memorable instance of this is recorded by Herodotus as having occurred at the battle of Salamis, where a Samothracian galley in the Persian service was charged and run down by an Æginetan; "but the Samothracians, being javelin-men, sent a shower of darts at the marines who assailed them from the ship which had run them down, cleared her deck, and boarded and took possession of her."[18]

A mere successful charge, therefore, against an enemy's galley did not necessarily determine the fate of her crew; a flight or two of javelins and arrows were probably thrown in, especially if any resistance was shown, and then the victorious vessel generally moved of in search of fresh opponents until the event of the day was finally decided. The conquerors then had the easy task of rowing up and down among the half-swamped prizes, killing or taking off the men as prisoners, and towing the wrecks away in triumph, to be patched up or not for service, according to the extent of their respective damages.

The ascendancy is obvious, which skill and discipline must have exercised in such contests over equal courage and superior numbers. Often as this was displayed, the first victory of Phormio in the Corinthian gulf in the third year of the Peloponnesian war, as narrated by Thucydides, is one of the most splendid instances of it that history supplies. The Corinthians and other confederates of Sparta had prepared an armament of forty-seven galleys and a large number of transports on the Achaian side of the gulf, for the purpose of effecting a descent on the opposite coast of Acarnania, a country then in alliance with Athens. Phormio, the Athenian admiral who commanded in those seas, had only twenty galleys, with which he watched their movements from Chalcis and the river Evenus on the Ætolian coast. The Peloponnesians, notwithstanding their superiority in numbers, sought to avoid an action, and endeavoured to push across the gulf in the night. But the Athenians were too vigilant, and came up with them in the middle of the passage just about day-break. The gulf is of considerable width in the part where the rival fleets encountered, though immediately to the eastward it narrows into a mere strait between the two opposite capes, each of which the Greeks called the Promontory of Rhion. Thus intercepted, and forced to fight, the Peloponnesian commanders drew up their fleet in a way which they hoped would neutralise the superior skill and swiftness of the Athenian galleys. The great object in a sea-fight was to charge an opponent amidships, or on the stern, or on some defenceless part. Of course, as long as the enemy kept their line with the bows opposed to all their assailants, this was impossible. The favourite manœuvre then was cutting the line, (Διεκπλους.) The assailing galley dashed rapidly between two of her adversaries; and then, smartly wheeling round, sought to charge one of them in rear, or on the quarter while turning. To prevent this, various tactics were adopted. Sometimes, for instance, the assailed fleet was drawn up in two or more lines of squadrons placed checker-wise behind each other. On the present occasion, the Peloponnesians formed in a circle, placing the transports and a picked squadron of five of their best war-ships in the middle, and with the rest of their galleys ranged outside, with their sterns toward the centre, so as to present all round a front of armed beaks to[741] the enemy, and make a flank or rear attack impossible. But as our Nelson dealt with Villeneuve, so Phormio dealt with them. A novel mode of defence was overpowered by a novel mode of attack. The Athenian admiral formed his line-of-battle ahead, and rowed round them, continually threatening to charge, and cooping them into a narrower and narrower space, but having strictly enjoined his captains not to begin the engagement till he gave the signal. For he reckoned on the Peloponnesian galleys soon getting unsteady in their stations, and running foul of each other, so as to give, a favourable opportunity for charging them. And he also waited for the springing up of the east wind, which commonly blew out of the straits about sunrise; feeling sure that the enemy would never keep their array perfect in rough water. Even as he had anticipated, so fared it with the Peloponnesians. The wind came down upon them, and caught them (το πνευμα κατηει.) Their ships, already closely packed, fell foul of each other. The crews had to fend off, and mutual abuse and shouting confused the fleet, and drowned the officers' commands. The unpractised rowers also, as the water grew rougher, when they gave a stroke, could not clear their oars from the waves; (τας κωπας αδυνατοι οντες εν κλυδωνιω αναφερειν,) a difficulty which any one will appreciate, who learned to row on a river, and who remembers how many crabs he caught, when he afterwards first tried to pull a sea-oar in a fresh breeze. The helmsmen thus had no sufficient steerage-way on their ships; and any attempt at manœuvring became hopeless. When they were completely disordered, Phormio gave the signal to his captains, and the Athenian galleys, dashing forward, gained an easy victory, capturing twelve ships, one of which they dedicated to Poseidon.

This battle is the subject of the following lines, which are intended to be taken as composed by one of the Athenians who served on board Phormio's galley. The metre is the splendid measure invented by Mr Mitchell for the rendering of the Aristophanic Tetrameter Anapest.


Twas when our galleys lay along the winding bay,
Where Evenus with ocean is blended,
To watch the Dorian host, that 'gainst Acarnania's coast
At the mandate of Sparta descended.
In long and threatening line, at the margin of the brine,
Stretched the squadrons of proud Lacedæmon;
Our prows were but a score, yet we cooped them to the shore,
Oh they shrank from the clash with our seamen!
Not in the good daylight, not in fair and open fight,
Came over the boasting invaders;
But like thieves they sought to glide, to their booty o'er the tide,
With darkness and silence for aiders.
All voiceless was the deep; the winds had sunk to sleep;
The veil of the night earth was wearing;
But the stars had pined away; and the streaks of eastern gray
Told the morn was her chariot preparing.
A plash of distant oars as from th' Achaian shores
On our sentinel's ear faintly sounded;
Our watch was keen, and true, we were Phormio's chosen crew;
To his oar at the signal each bounded.
The warning cry speeds fast, "the foe, they come at last;"
Oh little they deem what will meet them;
Right soon equipped are we, and we push at once to sea,
On the mid-wave to baffle and beat them.
Now through the glimmering haze we strain our eager gaze;—
A dark mass on the dark water rises;—
'Tis a galley;—'tis their fleet—how our joyous bosoms beat,
As the dawning revealed us our prizes!
[742]Two score and seven prows were the squadrons of our foes,
There was sea-room and space for the meeting;
Yet they moved not to attack, but in troubled ring hung back
From the strife, whence was now no retreating.
Swift, swift, we glanced around them, and in closer circle bound them:
Still threat'ning the charge, still delaying:
For Phormio curbed our zeal, till the roughened main should feel
The breath of the east o'er it playing.
Blow, blow, thou Morning wind—why lingerest thou behind?
On high while the Day-god is soaring?
Come forth, and bid the Deep from the level slumber leap,
Its billows in majesty pouring.
Let the landsmen dread their swell—the mariner loves well
The laugh and the toss of the ocean;
Long time the gale and we have been comrades o'er the sea;
'Tis our helpmate in battle's commotion.
The shudder of the seas tells the coming of the breeze;
The ripples are glittering brightly;
Soon the purple billows grow, and their crests of foam they show,
As the freshening blast curls them lightly.
Swell higher, lusty gale—the Dorian crews are pale,
Their oars in the vexed surges drooping;
While our circling galleys halt, and veer round for the assault,
For the death-stroke each mariner stooping.
With heads bent forward low, with oars thrown back in row,
Trembling over the edge of the water,
With breathless gaze we watch from our captain's lip to catch
The word for the charge and the slaughter.
'Tis given—the oars dip—with a light half-stroke the ship
Glides off—the waves hiss in twain riven—
The trumpet clamours high; and our short sharp battle-cry,
As we strain every nerve, rings to heaven.
The oar tingles as we grasp it, like a limb of those who clasp it:
Lithe and light through the white froth it flashes;
And pulsating with life, savage, active for the strife,
At her quarry the war-galley dashes.
On, mariners, pull on—one glancing thought alone
Of the homes and the loves that we cherish;
For we know, from rush like this, as our prow may strike or miss,
Ourselves or the foemen must perish.
But our helmsman's skill is tried our armèd beak to guide,
Where their quarter lies helpless before us;
And the thrilling, jarring crash, and the music of the smash
Tell our rowers that fortune smiles o'er us.
Look round upon the wreck,—mark the haughty Dorians' deck,
How they reel in their armour along it:
While our bow-men ply each string; and each javelin's on the wing,
Wafting death mid the braggarts that throng it.
Look where our gallant prow struck deep the deadly blow,
Shattered oars, mangled oars-men are lying:
The rent and started side sucks in the swamping tide,
And the surge drowns the groans of the dying.
The reddening ocean-flood drinks deep their hated blood,—
It shall stream yet in richer libations:
We'll repeat the lesson stern—Lacedæmon well shall learn
That the sea mocks her rule o'er the nations.
[743]"Steady, steady now, my men—back her gently off again—
Give your helmsman free scope and dominion"—
We recoil for fresh attack, as a hawk may hover back,
Ere it swoop in the pride of its pinion.
Another charge,—another blow,—another crippled foe,—
'Tis Athenè herself that is guiding.
As, huddled in a flock, deer shrink back from the shock
Of the hunters that round them are riding,
So, disordered and dismayed, with ranks all disarrayed,
Their fleet crowds together in ruin;
While our galleys dashing in, with a loud and joyous din,
Their mission of death are pursuing.
See, again their oars are out—again a feeble shout
Rises up from their admiral-galley;
They come forth—'tis not to fight—they only push for flight—
One has burst through our line in the sally.
She's their best—she must not 'scape—cut her off from Rhion's cape—
Let not Dorians for speed triumph o'er us—
Our nearest consort views her,—the[19]Paralus pursues her—
Pull on—none must strike her before us.
"Quick, quicker on the feather—come forward well together—
Carry Phormio first in his glory"—
Each nerved him as he spoke, and we dash with stouter stroke
Through the waves carcase-cumbered and gory.
Oh! swiftly goes the prize as ahead of both she flies;
Oh! blithe was the contest that tried us,
When we saw our comrades true, their country's favoured crew,
In rivalry rowing beside us.
Their Sacred Bark apace bounds forward in the race,
Like a proud steed let loose from the bridle;
And we knew by the red streak on her bent and battered beak,
In the fray that she had not been idle.
On the prey each galley gains, and more and more each strains
In the emulous chase to the leading;
As two hounds pursue the hare, and each strives for amplest share
Of the conquest to which they are speeding.
Vainly struggles the spent foe. At her stern we feel our prow—
'Gainst its point ill her helmsman is shielded:
And the Paralus's sway breaks her starboard oars away.
Clear her deck!—No—they crouch—they have yielded.
Tow her, then, along in triumph—haul her up on yonder shore—
There she long shall crown the headland, never stemming billow more:
To the gracious God of Ocean votive offering shall she stand,
Telling of the deeds of Phormio and his bold Athenian band.
Sagest of his country's seamen, bravest captain of the brave;—
Every coast shall hear his glory, far as Athens rules the wave.
Choral lay shall long record him. Long our battle-cry shall be,
Cheering on our charging squadrons, "Phormio and Victory."



It is no matter of congratulation to us, that the remarks which we hazarded in July last, regarding the depressed and declining state of the internal trade of the country, and the miserable prospects which were in store for us in consequence of the mischievous operation of our restrictive monetary laws, have since been tested by experience, and have been fulfilled to the utmost letter. We then stated, that Great Britain was upon the very verge of a crisis more dangerous than any to which she had hitherto been exposed—that the evil was clearly traceable to the senseless machinery of the Banking Acts, introduced by Sir Robert Peel, and adopted by his Whig successors—and we warned the latter, that "if, during the recess, and before a new parliament shall meet, the present lamentable state of matters is to continue, no British ministry ever exposed themselves to such a frightful load of responsibility." Our sentiments with regard to the monetary laws were neither singular nor unsupported. They were in unison with those of an overwhelming majority of the press, of the heads of mercantile houses, and more especially of the bankers, who in vain had pointed out to Sir Robert Peel the imminent danger of his persevering with egotistic obstinacy in his foolish and pragmatical scheme. But our forebodings as to the future, and further depreciation of property down to the present miserable point, were, we are quite aware, considered by many as too gloomy to be by possibility realised. That month, however, which may hereafter be memorable in our history as the Black October, has, we hope, dispelled the delusion even of the few who still regarded Sir Robert Peel as the infallible minister of finance. His great juggle is now exposed; his currency engine has gone to pieces—but not before it has fulfilled its predestined task of crushing and annihilating credit.

It was, we are now free to acknowledge, a vain expectation to hope that any remedial measure could be carried in the last Parliament. That body was rapidly going down to its corporate grave, with little glory, and with no regret. It, too, was an engine, working, most unfortunately for us all, according to the will of one man, whose thoughts and ways were as secret and noiseless as the pestilence. It was pledged to support agriculture, which it abandoned; to foster native industry, which it gave up to foreign competition; to lighten the burdens of the people, which it augmented; to maintain the balance of power, which it permitted to be shifted and destroyed. Whether he was in office or not, that parliament was the plaything of Peel. At each successive move, he was the Mephistophiles who drew the string. He contrived to adjust parties with such infinite address, that what in reality was the weaker section became apparently the stronger one, and "government influence" was lavishly used to tempt the frailer brethren from their old profession. True, he lost office in consequence, but he did not on that account surrender one iota of power. The new ministry felt that they were in his hands, and that his fiat might determine at any moment the period of their political existence. There have been statesmen, even of the Whig school, who would not willingly have submitted to so poor and degrading a bondage. There have been those who would not have consented to hold office even for an hour, on the condition of their adopting implicitly the measures and the schemes of their antagonist; but we live in altered times, and free will is no longer a doctrine of the Whigs. Accordingly, the same lessons of financial wisdom, the same doctrines of political economy, which flowed from the lips of the converted Sir Robert Peel, were now pompously enunciated, though far worse expressed, by Sir Charles Wood, whom the malignant star of Britain has converted into a Chancellor of the Exchequer. The cries of the country, the warnings of the press, the representations of the merchants and bankers, were passed over with an[745] assurance of general prosperity, and Parliament was dissolved at the moment when the active interference of the legislature was most imperatively required.

At the elections the currency was made a prominent but not a vital question. This we regret exceedingly, for there never was a time when men of strong understanding, concentrated experience, and practical knowledge, were more needed in the House of Commons; and although there have been some accessions which we regard with hope, still we could have wished that more men of decided mercantile ability had been returned. The new Parliament has very great, important, and difficult functions to perform. It has to pronounce upon the fate of a monetary system which dear-bought and late experience has proved to be radically bad; and it must provide a substitute on which the nation may in future more confidently rely. It has further to decide, whether we are to persevere in a mercantile policy, which, so far as it has gone, appears most baneful to home production, and to the prosperity of our native artisans: and it will be forced in some measure to recast and remodel the system of our national taxation. All these are matters of infinite and pressing importance: they must be handled boldly, but not rashly, and discussed with temper and forbearance. Party strife must be forgotten when the great interests of the nation are so strangely and fearfully involved. We have arrived, through experiment-making and quackery, at such a point, that the best man, be his general politics what they may, must lead us on. But we must have no more experiments, lest a worse thing should happen to befall us. In our present position it would be madness to look for aid either from the flashy declaimer and rhetorician, or from the off-hand fabricator of systems, which are based upon no solid or intelligible foundation. What we want is solidity, prudence, and, above all, principle.

It will not do merely to extricate the nation from its immediate dilemma, for which task we observe there is already a sufficient number of volunteers; but we must absolutely see our way before us, a little more clearly than our political guides have hitherto been in the habit of permitting. We cannot suffer them to remain as solitary sentinels on the peaks of an imaginary Pisgah. The promised land, which they have discerned in the distance, has turned out, when we reached it, to be a mere mirage of the desert—a phantom which has disappeared, and left us in the arid sand. We are, as far as ever—nay, even farther—from our inheritance; and assuredly it would be a desirable thing for us if we could discover the true road by which we are to walk in future. We have deserted, unnecessarily and foolishly, as experience has shown us, the beaten track which we had hitherto pursued: if we cannot regain it, let us at least be diligent in our endeavours to find, but wary in our selection of a new one. It is in this temper that we venture to make a few observations upon our present position and prospects.

First, then, let us see how the Banking Act of 1844 has worked. All the world knows that by that preposterous measure, the free circulation of the paper money of the Bank of England was limited to £14,000,000 beyond the amount of bullion which was stored in the coffers of that establishment—that no loophole or device for expansion was given—and that the Scottish, Irish, and provincial banks were put into similar fetters, and compelled to provide and retain gold for every pound note which they might issue beyond the amount of their average circulation as taken at that period. We were told by the individual who was then kind enough to act as our Lycurgus, that this restriction was necessary for the safety of the trading community—that, in other words, it was intended to prevent the customer from being defrauded by his banker, and to keep the circulation of the country within proper bounds. Also, that it was intended to discourage undue and unwholesome speculation, which, according to the modern theory, is at the root of every evil. We believed him—that is, some of us did—and the measure was passed into a law.

Subsequent experience has shown[746] us, that this very measure has become an engine of destruction to the trading community—that it has not defended the customer from loss by the failure of his banker—and that it has not discouraged speculation, whether that be unwholesome or not. It has certainly kept the circulation of the country within such bounds, that money is at a minimum rate of eight and a half per cent; and the measure is itself suspended and virtually abrogated by the Whig ministry, who, with an inconsistency and stupidity which appear absolutely miraculous, pin their faith, in the very document which removed it, to the soundness and integrity of its principle!

Now, it is here proper to remark, that the principle to which the ministry have so needlessly committed themselves is not, strictly speaking, that of the convertibility of paper into gold at a fixed rate, but that of permanent restriction of the issues. The bullion principle may or may not be justly assailable upon other grounds, but it does not necessarily enter as an ingredient into the question of the present difficulty, and we are anxious, therefore, to keep it separate. The great alteration which the Act of 1844 effected in the monetary system of England, was the positive limitation of the unrepresented paper issues of the government to fourteen millions, and the contraction of the currency of the provincial banks. It thus left the directors of the Bank of England no option or power to move to the assistance of the public in time of emergency, and besides restricting them, it made the provincial banks in England wholly dependent upon the leading establishment in London. The Acts of 1845 which were applicable to Scotland and Ireland, were in many respects a much greater innovation. The amount of paper circulation in these countries was calculated on the average of the preceding year, and the issue restricted accordingly. It was provided that every note which might be put out beyond that amount, should be represented by bullion, and we shall immediately show that this measure has proved in its operation most injurious to the interests of the English public, by causing a large drain of bullion to countries where it is neither asked for, nor employed as a circulating medium at all. We, therefore, drop for the present the convertibility question, and Sir Robert's reiterated disquisitions as to the nature and character of a pound; and shall apply ourselves solely to the point of restriction, which we hold to be the leading cause of the present monetary distress.

A vast change has taken place in our social condition since the year 1844. This alteration has been produced by both natural and artificial causes. In the first place, we have had a famine and a failure of the potato crop, which has borne very heavily upon the population of the British islands, and has caused a large export of bullion for the necessary supply of food. In the second place, we have had a multiplicity of gigantic works going on at home, which, while they have afforded high wages to an important section of the community, and so tended in a great measure to ward off and counteract the more disastrous effects of the famine, have nevertheless undeniably caused an unusual absorption of capital, which must remain unproductive until those works are completed. In the third place, we have altered altogether our relation to the foreigner, and have admitted him to competition with our own producers in the home market, without securing that reciprocity without which free trade is a phantom and a delusion. The first and the third of these causes have led to a steady drain of bullion from the country; and although the famine may now be considered as over, and that drain stopped for the present, the other still continues and must continue in full operation, and the adverse rate of exchange as against Britain can only be overcome by a general decline of prices, in consequence of which men of every class, but especially the manufacturer and the artisan, must be serious and permanent losers. But the railway system on the whole has effected the most important change upon our position, and it is now indisputably necessary to find out in what way it has acted upon the money market.

In 1844, the restriction year, the railway system was, so to speak, in[747] its infancy. No doubt many works had been constructed and much surplus capital embarked, but the tide of enterprise or of speculation, if you so choose to term it, had not at that time set in nearly so vigorously as it did afterwards in the new channel. Still there were distinct indications of what was to come. Notice had been given of a multiplicity of works that were to be undertaken, involving in the aggregate an enormous expenditure of capital; and Parliament had pointedly constituted itself the censor and approver of these projects. It was not a period of private unguided speculation. Parties were not left as in former years to throw their capital rashly and without guarantee into American mining and canal adventures, for the purposes of foreign improvement and the employment of an alien population. Each railway bill was first considered by a ministerial body expressly constituted for that function: it then underwent the scrutiny of committees of both Houses of Parliament; and finally, when transformed into an act by receiving the royal assent, it bore within its preamble an express acknowledgment that it was a work of great advantage and benefit to the country at large. Nay more, by a notable act, authorising the government, whenever a railway should exhibit a certain amount of remunerative traffic, to purchase it at a statutory rate for the profit of the nation, the ministry were as deeply pledged as they could be to the maintenance, of the system; and if there has been in fact any excess in the number of works undertaken, the private promoters of these are far less chargeable with the blame than the ministry, who, with their eyes open, and the amount of pledged capital declared, yet suffered the system to go so far without interposing a decided and unsurmountable barrier to its progress.

Be that as it may—and we shall have a few words to say upon the point hereafter—it is impossible to suppose that Sir Robert Peel, or any other competent minister, can have failed to form the conclusion that altered circumstances must per force hereafter effect a vast change on the surface of our monetary transactions. Indeed Sir Robert now takes full credit for such prescience. He tells us that he foresaw what was about to happen, and that he framed his banking measures with a direct view to that result. A more humiliating confession, in our opinion, was never uttered by any man laying claim to the character of a statesman. It is in fact tantamount to an acknowledgment that he was then legislating for the prospective benefit of the moneyed interest exclusively, and not for that of the nation. For we hold it to be perfectly clear, upon every principle of honour and justice, that government, having allowed these railway bills to pass, and so far sanctioned their commencement, were bound to interpose no artificial impediment to their completion. Nay more—they were bound, before introducing any act for the future regulation of the currency, to take into consideration the changes which so vast an expenditure of capital at home was likely to cause in the adjustment of the different national interests, and the facilities which ought to be granted to each in the development of their several industry. But the Banking Acts of which we complain were framed upon a totally different principle.

Sir Robert Peel, in 1844, was, as it were, standing upon an elevation from which he could look backward upon the past condition of the country, and forward to the new state of things which was now certain to occur, and which he did not intend to prevent. On the one hand, he saw that, for a certain average of years, not distinguished by any great enterprise, nor shaken by any great convulsion, a certain quantity of currency had sufficed for the wants of the nation. This currency consisted of two things, gold and paper, for we drop the smaller change. The gold was principally, if not altogether, confined to England, where it circulated from hand to hand; and, issuing from the fountain of the Mint at a fixed rate of price, it was accessible to all parties, and always exchangeable for paper. Being exportable at fluctuating values abroad, the amount of gold at any time in the country could not be accurately ascertained, but it was acknowledged as the nominal basis of the circulation.

In Scotland and Ireland the system[748] was different. Both of these were poorer countries than England, and had been unable either to dispense with the smaller one-pound note circulation, or to provide gold, the most expensive and cumbrous representative of property. The currency of these countries, therefore, was paper, based directly upon property; and, in Scotland at least, secured by an admirably-devised system of interchange amongst the native banks, which effectually prevented the possibility of any over-issue. In consequence the circulation was extremely regular and steady, save at the two great terms of the year, being settling days, when a large expansion of the currency was required, to be, however, again withdrawn on the succeeding week.

On the other hand lay the more dubious prospect for the future. Parliament had already recognised the railway system, and numerous projects were waiting for the imperial sanction. These necessarily and avowedly involved an enormous expenditure of capital, and the active and lucrative employment for several years to come of a large class of persons throughout the three kingdoms. The railway system might indeed be said to have created a new class, whose necessary share in the currency would fall to be calculated in any future monetary measure. Add to this, that the population of the empire was rapidly and steadily increasing.

It was in this position, and with these prospects, that Sir Robert Peel fabricated his restrictive acts, which have since wrought a total change on the financial dispositions of the country. We do not think, and nothing has been brought forward to prove, that there was any call whatever for a change at that particular juncture. Certain it is, that the change was generally unpalatable, but was yet peremptorily forced on and effected in spite of the ominous looks of those whose experience entitled them to a hearing. And no wonder that the veterans of commerce should have received these measures with disapprobation. For, according to all rules of reasoning, an increased trade, an increased demand, a new population, and a new channel of industry, were so many additions to our former state which required additional facilities. The same amount of currency which had sufficed in former years to carry on our domestic arrangements, could not surely be expected to exercise a double function, and to meet the demand occasioned by the novel element of accretion. The money that, in prosperous times, barely answered the calls of manufacture and commerce, could not be converted from those streams to flow into another, without occasioning, at the same time, the greatest pinching and inconvenience. Yet, strange to say, Sir Robert Peel, instead of basing his calculations upon the future imperative demand, legislated as if no new element at all had appeared in our social position. And he further committed, what we maintain to be a great and inexcusable error, even had the railways not then been in actual progress, by utterly destroying all possible expansion of the currency, so as to bar us from the power of obviating any temporary difficulty or accident to which commerce is constantly exposed.

Thirty-two millions, therefore, of paper, whereof fourteen was apportioned to the Bank of England, was the bountiful allowance counted out for the daily augmenting wants of the first commercial nation of the world. All paper issue beyond that had to be represented by unfructifying bullion, stored up in bank vaults and cellars, as far away from profitable employment as if it had been buried beneath the ruins of Nineveh, with some tutelary demon as its guard. And it is a fact, which we do not remember to have seen stated elsewhere, but which, nevertheless, is notorious to all commercial people, that a vast deal of gold is constantly forced into the Bank to represent and occupy the place of paper which is absent from the country. In the Continent and in America, Bank of England notes are an extremely common tender, and are often actually at a premium; and each of these so circulating withdraws, under Peel's system, an equivalent amount of gold from the national use.

We do not mean to assert, for the[749] point is immaterial to our argument, that this thirty-two millions, plus the gold, might not at one time have sufficed for the country, and it may be that it shall again suffice. When we speak of expansion, we also give credit to the counter-state of contraction; and our experience of Scottish banking has gone far to prove, that a low rate of circulation is by no means incompatible with a healthy state of trade. But then, experience equally teaches us, that the low rate must be left to adjust itself. Expansion is not, as is commonly supposed, an inevitable sign of prosperity. On the contrary, it is too commonly a token of want of commercial confidence, and all indisposition to receive that far larger but uncalculated species of currency, by means of which the great transactions of the country are carried on, and to which the whole coinage and bank paper of the realm bears a mere fractional proportion—we mean the commercial bills of exchange. The ordinary currency of the country, the bank paper and all the gold which could possibly be imported, even were it all thrown into circulation, would be utterly insufficient to supply the place of that commercial paper which has for its basis nothing more than mutual confidence and credit; but then that paper must be realisable as it becomes due, and it is for that purpose that a large proportion of the ordinary currency is required.

Whenever a want of confidence is generated in the country, the merchant and manufacturer are immediately compelled to have recourse to the bank in order to have their bills discounted. The facility of these discounts, of course, depends upon the amount of money in circulation, and also very much upon the rapidity of its return in the shape of deposits or otherwise. A banker cannot, any more than a private person, discount without having money, and where no money is procurable, the ultimate result must be a stoppage. And so it is, as we know full well from the experience of the last two months, during which we have witnessed the unparalleled spectacle of houses suspending payment, and exhibiting at the same time a large excess of assets beyond all their liabilities. Want of confidence, therefore, however brought about, is the great evil against which, in this country, we ought especially to guard, since it seems almost apparent that, when it occurs, human ingenuity is not equal to provide a remedy.

Let us, however, look a little more closely into the present posture of affairs, and endeavour to ascertain whether the want of confidence which at present undoubtedly exists is the result of external and uncontrollable causes, or whether it is not in some way connected with, and occasioned by these restriction acts, which are just now affording so plentiful a harvest to the cautious and wary capitalist.

The monetary embarrassment may be said to have commenced with the famine of last year. That event not only caused an extra expenditure of public money at home, in the shape of subsidies to Ireland, but it occasioned a considerable drain of bullion to America. It so happened, that at that time America was in need of coin for her expenses in the Mexican war, and required less manufactures than we were usually in the habit of exporting. At least such was the statement commonly current in the commercial circles at the time; but we cannot, whilst calmly and dispassionately reviewing events, conceal our conviction, that the Americans were playing a deeper and more profitable game. A drain of gold from England must always, under our present laws, prove an enormous advantage to the foreigner, because, by retaining bullion for a time, and refusing manufactures in exchange, he can bring down prices in Britain in proportion to the scarcity of money. It was therefore clearly not the interest of the Transatlantic dealer to take commodities in exchange for his corn, until the depression had reached its lowest point. Be that as it may, the balance being decidedly against us, was liquidated in gold,—a mode of payment which this country can never refuse, since it has recognised the bullion principle, and laid down a fixed or inflexible standard. As the result of this, ten millions disappeared from the general circulation—that is, the bank, in order to maintain its full issues, was[750] compelled to find gold from some other source, and the exchanges being palpably against us, by reason of the famine, and from another cause to which we shall afterwards allude, this could only be done by an increase of the rates of interest, in other words, by turning the screw, which had this immediate effect of causing a fall or depreciation of property. Consequently the funds began to decline, but after a little, some temporary relief was afforded by the appearance of a new and unexpected customer in the stock-exchange.

The Russian system of banking is rather remarkable. That country, which has lately become one of the greatest gold producers of the world, employs for its own internal use a paper circulation, but the basis upon which that circulation rests, is commonly reported to be a sum of from thirty to forty millions in gold, lodged in the hands and at the disposal of the Emperor. This large amount of bullion had hitherto remained unemployed, but Nicholas, observing that the French funds had, like our own, very much declined, and that bullion was the great desideratum in both countries, determined, with much apparent generosity, to step forward to their rescue. No one save the Czar had any control over the keys which could open this hidden hoard, and with a discernment which does credit to his abilities, he set at liberty "the imprisoned angels," and in return for his unprofitable gold, purchased at most advantageous rates, a deep interest in the national securities of England and of France. The immediate result of that measure is a large accretion of revenue to the Emperor, who is now one of our chief creditors, for whom the manufacturer is bound to toil: the ultimate tendency is yet in the womb of time, but no thinking man will contemplate without alarm the power, which so gigantic and ambitious a state as Russia has thereby gained within the very fortress of our strength.

If we continue in a blind and obstinate adherence to the system of the bullionist party, we shall give the Russian government such opportunities of enriching itself at our expense, as no foreign potentate has ever possessed before. It is quite well known that large purchases of national stock have already been made with the gold of the Muscovite; and therein the autocrat has acted wisely for himself—far more wisely than our enlightened rulers have thought proper to act for us—for he has put out the money to usury, and the basis of the Russian circulation, instead of being profitless gold, is now composed of British and French securities, bought in when the market was at its lowest ebb, and yielding a large return. If our monetary laws should still remain unaltered, and trade should notwithstanding revive, it will be the interest of the Russian, so soon as the funds have reached their culminating point, to sell out largely, and by forcing the gold from the Bank of England, create an artificial scarcity of the precious metal, which, followed as it must be by an immediate contraction of our paper currency, would cause a second panic, and a second prostration of the funds. By buying cheap and selling high—the favourite maxim of the free-traders—he would thus realise an exorbitant profit, and be enabled, should he choose it, to replace the bullion basis of the Russian circulation. But this, as a matter of course, he would not do. The low state of the funds would again offer an irresistible temptation. Fresh purchases of stock, this time made with our own money, would revive public confidence in Britain, and so things would go on, alternately rising and falling without any obvious external cause, but in reality according to the will of a huge foreign fundholder, who, with each successive movement, must be the gainer, whilst we deny ourselves the means of securing the equilibrium of our own monetary transactions at home. Under our present system, the sale or purchase of national securities to the extent of a few millions, has a wonderful effect upon the market. Add the further elements of gold exportation and paper contraction, or the reverse, and the effect becomes prodigious. The purchases already made on the Emperor's account, are reported to have been most heavy, and the process, at the moment when we write, is being again repeated.

[751]This is, in reality, a subject of the gravest nature, and it should not be passed over by the legislature without remark. The Whigs, in all probability, hail such successive importation of Russian bullion, as so many pledges of returning prosperity, not seeing nor understanding the frightful price which we may hereafter be called upon to pay, nor the perils of that artificial fluctuation to which we may be exposed. We have put ourselves, as the experience of the last few months has shown, at the mercy of gold, and consequently at the mercy of any foreign power who can supply us with that coveted commodity; and so we must remain, if the plain sense of the nation does not rouse itself to sweep away the formula of our currency practitioners.

Our advantage from the Russian transaction was only temporary. Again the bullion decreased, and again the screw was tightened. Money was the universal demand, but money became scarcer every day, and the rates of interest increased. Hopeful people, notwithstanding, still adhered to the belief that the pressure was only temporary. The corn-law abolitionist pointed to the luxuriant harvest which was waving plentifully on the fields, and forgetting, with characteristic selfishness, the dogmas which he had so lately enunciated, prophesied a return of manufacturing prosperity from the well-being of that class, which, two years ago, he would ruthlessly have consigned to ruin. But when the plentiful harvest was gathered in, and all fear of another famine, and further bullion drain on that account, was removed, it appeared, to the disappointment of every one, that matters were not likely to mend. The screw was still revolving in the wrong way—prices went down, like the mercury in the barometer before a storm—the man who was rich even in April found himself worse than nothing in October—bills became stationary—the banks were besieged until they closed their doors in despair—and then came the Gazette, with its daily record of disaster.

In truth, we do not envy the situation of ministers during that period; and yet, we hardly know how to pity them. They alone, while the nation was writhing, around them, maintained an attitude of calm complacency. At first, Sir Charles Wood, the most singular optimist of his day, received the different deputations of pallid merchants with assurances that every thing was right. "There is not the slightest occasion for alarm," was the language of this sapient Solon. "Money never was more plentiful in the country—accommodation will readily be granted to every one who has property to show for it—the currency-machine is working remarkably well,"—and the Cabinet went placidly to sleep.

But the cries of distress from without became so loud, and the storm of indignation so vehement, that the ministry were at last compelled to exhibit some symptoms of action and vitality. Cabinet councils were summoned—new deputations received—the tale of sorrow was again heard, and this then with decreased disdain. But the perplexity of our rulers was such, or their dissension so great, that they could not devise a plan, whereby even temporary ease might be afforded; and as there is safety in a multitude of councillors, they eagerly inquired into the remedy which each successive sufferer could suggest. These of course were varied and conflicting, but in one point all were agreed—that the restriction act should be suspended. Even then, nothing would force conviction upon the impotent Whigs. They clung to restriction as if it had been the palladium of British credit, nor would they relax their hold of it until they were threatened with force. The crisis was so imminent, that the London bankers were compelled to exhibit the power which they undoubtedly possessed, and to threaten its immediate enforcement. The deposits which they held were immeasurably greater in amount than the quantity of bullion which the Bank of England could give out; and the Lombard Street deputation accordingly intimated that, if government would not suspend the operation of the Act of 1844, they would exercise their statutory right of demanding payment in specie, and expose the whole fallacy of our monetary laws by rendering the Bank insolvent. That threat had more effect than any amount of argument. At the eleventh hour the Whigs yielded, not to[752] remorse, but to necessity, and the Act was accordingly suspended, clogged, however, with a condition, which, instead of relieving the pressure, was infallibly calculated to increase it. The Bank of England alone—for both Peel and the Whigs contend for the monopoly of that establishment—was permitted to over-issue, but with a recommendation, which was in fact an order, that the minimum rate of interest on short bills should be eight per cent, a rate which no merchant or manufacturer can afford to pay. Surely the Bank of England might have been left in this crisis to use its own discretion. But there was another object in view. As the revenue had palpably fallen under the operation of the tariffs, which constitute the measure of free trade already dealt to us, the Whigs were desirous, even in extremis, to make a profit out of the national misery, and it was intimated that the additional gain was not to be appropriated by the Bank, who undertook the risk, but to be handed over hereafter to the government, who undertook the responsibility of suspending the operation of the Act. Under such circumstances, it is clear that real accommodation was almost as difficult to be obtained as before. The suspension, for which Ministry are entitled to no credit whatever, did little actual good, owing to this preposterous condition, beyond relieving the public mind from the apprehension of the frightful nightmare. In fact, the Bank of England did not avail itself of the liberty so granted. It merely raised the rate of discount, and therefore no indemnity is required. The only wise thing which the Cabinet has done, was the summoning together of Parliament at an early day, for assuredly there is need of wiser heads than those possessed either by Lord John Russell or by Chancellor Wood to help us out of the present dilemma.

But where, all this while, is the money? That is the question which every one is asking, and to which very few will venture to give a distinct reply. It is, however, a question which ought to be answered, and we think that there is no great mystery in the matter. The greater part of the money is still in the country, but it is not passing from hand to hand with its usual rapidity, nor in its ordinary equitable proportion. The portion of it which the banks do hold, is, of course, profitless in itself, but yet so far useful that it serves as a basis for paper; the portion which the public hold is fearfully checked in its circulation. This anomaly proceeds from the following causes: We have been forced to make that amount of money, which in ordinary times of unshaken credit was barely necessary to liquidate or balance the ordinary transactions of the community, embrace also the new operations rendered indispensable by the introduction and development of the railway system. We have called forth and created a new source of industry within ourselves, but we have omitted to provide the means by which that kind of industry can be maintained, without trenching upon and abstracting from the supply applicable, as formerly, to our other wants. This is not a question (and herein lies the fallacy of those who are waging such determined war against the railways) of absorption of capital, but of want of the circulating medium. We have been trying, under Peel's guidance, to make that amount of money which barely served eight persons before, suffice now for the extended wants of twelve; and we are perplexed at any scarcity, totally forgetting that we have advanced in the close of the year 1847, to a widely different position from that which we occupied at the commencement of 1844. Gold has become scarcer, altogether independent of the exportation, because there are more persons who require money; and when gold cannot be had, Sir Robert Peel forbids us to trade in paper. There is a minimum supply of money representing that portion of produce which is passing to consumption, without which no country can hope to prosper, and we have already passed that minimum. Hence, the sovereign, though it remains by statute of a fixed value, is of no use as a standard at all, because you cannot measure property by it. You cannot buy coin, except with coin, at any thing like a parity of exchange; and therefore, if the sovereign does not nominally rise, the same effect is produced by the depreciation of property,[753] which, and not bullion or notes, constitutes the real capital of the country. It is a frightful consideration, but nevertheless it is true, that the whole property of this vast country, estimated at something like five thousand millions, is, to all intents and purposes, paralysed for the want of some few millions of extra circulation to supply the extra work we have engaged in, and the extra population we have employed. And it is still more startling to think, that for the want of that circulation, the value of this property is merely nominal and relative, and has been, and is, declining at the rate of many millions a day. In fact, we have at this moment no standard of property, and with such a prodigious decline it may very soon become a serious question, how the revenue of the country is to be raised.

In ordinary times the circulation is extremely rapid. Coin and notes shift from hand to hand without delay, and alternate between the public and the banks; and instances of hoarding are rare. This is well known to be the case both in manufactures and commerce, the business of which is transacted in towns where savings' banks afford the labourer a ready means of depositing his earnings, and so contributing to the passage of the currency. But the railway workman, who is now an important personage in the state, possesses no such facilities. He is essentially a wandering character, shifting his ground and place of abode to accommodate himself to the scene of his labour, and he either does not understand, or he will not avail himself of, the ordinary channels of deposit. Many of this class have undoubtedly saved money out of their ample and remunerative wages, but these savings are just so many hoards which in the aggregate have an injurious effect upon so contracted a currency as ours. So far from the immense expenditure of capital upon the railways being a necessary drain upon the currency, it would in truth, if the wages of labour were rapidly exchanged for produce, have greatly facilitated the circulation; but the wages being hoarded, and the gold and notes kept out for an absolutely indefinite time, a new element of confusion has been introduced. It is not merely difficult but absolutely impossible to calculate how much of the circulating medium has been in this way withdrawn. We are inclined, from the testimony of persons engaged in the construction of railways, and intimately acquainted with the habits of the workmen, to place it at a large figure. And when we recollect that the wages of nearly 600,000 men so employed have been for more than three years greatly higher than those of the common agriculturist, we might be justified in making an assumption which assuredly would startle the reader. The hoarding of small sums, when that practice becomes general, has a most extraordinary effect upon the currency, as every one who looks at the amount of surplus wages invested in the savings' banks must acknowledge: and as we cannot force any portion of our population to deposit, we are bound to take care that their ignorance, or erroneous ideas of security, shall not be allowed to operate banefully upon so important a matter as the circulation. The money thus hoarded is not lost, but it is temporarily suspended, and its hoarding becomes an evil of no common magnitude, which pleads strongly for an augmented issue.

The Scottish and Irish banking acts of 1845, which were introduced, and in spite of all national remonstrance, forcibly carried through by Sir Robert Peel, ostensibly for the sake of uniformity, have very much deranged the currency of England, by locking up a large portion of the coin. We need not repeat here, for the fact is notorious, that sovereigns, except to a merely fractional extent, are not current in Scotland, and are received with absolute distrust. Nobody wants them; and the note of a joint-stock bank is at all times a more acceptable tender. But the acts which forced the banks to retain an amount of bullion for all paper issued beyond their average circulation, were based upon a false principle, which, three years ago, when the first aggressive step was taken, we urged upon the consideration of government, but unfortunately without success. The average circulation of the banks over the year was not a fair calculation. Twice a-year, as we have already remarked, all of[754] the banks in Scotland required to augment their issues in order to meet the term payments, and notwithstanding Sir Robert Peel's enactments, the same necessity exists. This will be better understood by comparing the amount of notes delivered and received by the Bank of Scotland in exchange with other banks on the term-days, with the like exchange during other periods of the same months.

1840. Delivered.Received.
May 1, £51,000£43,000
26, 38,00033,000
Nov. 3, 38,00032,000
27, 66,00042,000

There is also, we ought to remark, a considerable rise of the issue during the weeks which immediately precede and follow these terms. Now the same fluctuation occurs in every one of our banks, which about term-time are called upon to furnish accommodation to an extent of nearly three times their ordinary issue. No allowance was made in the act of 1845 for this inevitable expansion, and consequently the Scottish banker is forced to do one of two things. Either he must permanently hold during the whole year a much larger amount of gold than is necessary to satisfy the legal requirement for his ordinary over issue, or he must provide gold from London twice a-year, in boxes, which arrive sealed at his place of business, to be returned within a fortnight with the seals unbroken! Such is part of the absurd and ridiculous machinery, which it has been the study of Sir Robert Peel during half a lifetime to elaborate; and the practical result is, that nearly the whole of the gold required to balance the transactions of Scotland for the term weeks, is withdrawn from the ordinary circulation. Indeed, gold to the extent of the whole term payments would be required, save for the proviso in the act which allows the circulation to be calculated at the end of every week; but, as we have said already, the rise is gradual, not being limited to the term days, and for two weeks at least, the circulation, that is, the amount of the notes issued, is much larger than the ordinary average of the year. It thus follows that the bullion to represent the term issues, must either lie in the coffers of the Scottish banks, or in the hands of their correspondents in London, ready to be sent down whenever the appointed seasons shall arrive!

Here then is another drain, or rather suspension of a large proportion of our circulating medium, which has been most unnecessary. The Scottish public suffers from the want of accommodation; the Scottish banker suffers from the enormous expense which this juggle entails upon him; and the Englishman suffers by the gold which was formerly his currency, being kept in pawn at the period when he requires it most. Besides, it is well worthy of remark, and known to every banker here, that the circulation of Scotland during the year when the average was taken, had been reduced to its very lowest possible ebb. The frugality of the country, the extension of the branch banks, the efficient mode of interchange, and, above all, the interest allowed upon all deposits, were the causes which had led to this; and it seems now to be universally admitted by all writers on currency, that a more admirable and perfect system could not have been invented by the ingenuity of man. All this, however, has been overturned by Sir Robert Peel, to the great injury of Scotland, and the positive detriment of England; and had he succeeded in pushing his bullion theories further, and replaced the one pound note circulation in this country by the sovereign, a double amount of calamity would have been inflicted at the present moment. We entreat the attention of the English currency-reformers to this; for they may rely upon it, that the abolition and total repeal of the Scottish and Irish banking acts of 1845, without any new legislative enactment at all, would be an inestimable boon, not only to these countries, but to England, which is now compelled to furnish gold, which is neither used nor required, and so to cripple and impede materially her own circulation.

The hoarding, therefore, by the railway labourer, and the reserves nominally kept for the use of Scotland and Ireland, will account[755] for the disappearance of a large proportion of the coinage from the circle. These are only primary causes of the scarcity, yet they are material elements in inducing that want of confidence, which, as we have already said, is the mighty evil that is now oppressing and bearing us to the ground. Whenever want of confidence is manifested, the circulation must farther contract. Joint-stock and private bankers, for their own security, maintain a large reserve of Bank of England paper and bullion, and there are always terrified persons enough to occasion a partial run for gold. We do not charge the bankers with impolicy in thus abetting the general contraction. Situated as they are, it becomes a matter of necessity to look to their own interests in preference to the accommodation of the public; but it is right that the public should be made aware of the mischief which is caused thereby. The results are surely patent to the apprehension of all. In proportion as circulation contracts, interest rises; and the wary capitalist, foreseeing the advent of the dark hour, realises while he can, in the knowledge that his money hereafter, when things are at the worst, will enable him to drive the most exorbitant and usurious bargains. This is the class of men for whom Peel has uniformly legislated, and it is they who, under our present miserable monetary system, must ultimately absorb the hard-won earnings of thousands of their fellow-creatures. They are not enemies of speculation—on the contrary, they fatten upon it. They strive for a time to stimulate industry to its utmost, and then use every exertion to depreciate the industrial result. Hard times are their harvest, and prosperous years their seed-time; and never, so long as they can hold it, will they relax their pressure of the screw.

The sacrifices of good solid property which have been made during the last few months, and which were occasioned solely by the baneful contraction of the currency, have been positively enormous. It is common to hear the capitalists remark with a sneer, that such is the inevitable result of over-trade and over-speculation. It needs no prophet to tell us, that the man who has not a farthing in the world can neither buy nor sell; and we admit that, in the present monetary convulsion, as in every other, much ripe fruit has fallen to the ground. But we deny that present prices have been the result of over-speculation. We maintain that, sooner or later, the country must have been brought to this unhappy condition, simply by the operation of these currency restriction laws; and if we are insane enough to allow them to continue, we shall inevitably be plunged into the same abyss, even though temporary measures should effect a temporary rally. It is calculated, and with great appearance of probability, that the depreciation which has already taken place, is larger than the whole amount of our national debt!

It is necessary that we should grapple boldly with the proposition, that over-speculation in our home works, that is, the expenditure upon the railways in progress, is the cause of our present embarrassment. In order to do this, we must have recourse to statistics, and we shall now lay before our readers tables exhibiting the state of our revenue and population, for two periods of five years each.

Total,95,374,338336,187,051 137,341,960249,069,108
Average,19,074,86767,237,410 27,468,39249,917,821

[756]But, in addition to the taxes which were levied during the years 1811-15, there were loans contracted as follows:

1811£19,143,9531841 Nil.
181224,790,6971842 ...
181339,649,2821843 ...
181434,563,6031844 ...
181520,241,8071845 ...
Total,£138,389,342 ...

We thus arrive at the following results. About thirty years ago, with a population of nineteen millions, we were able to raise an annual sum of ninety-four and a half millions of pounds, whereof more than one-half was expended abroad in subsidies and the maintenance of an army, and little or none of it was returned in the shape of capital to this country.

At present, with a population of twenty-seven millions and a half, we are said to be unable to lay out thirty-five millions annually in the construction of our railways, in addition, to a taxation of fifty millions,—in other words, we cannot raise eighty-five millions a-year without approaching to the verge of bankruptcy!

This, if true, is a very humiliating position, and shows symptoms of a decadence so marked, that we question whether any parallel case can be extracted from history. A population augmented by one-third, say the economists, cannot afford to expend a sum less by ten millions than that which was raised without inconvenience towards the end of the great continental war; and this sum, far from being swallowed up abroad, is usefully employed at home, and is daily assuming the shape of realised capital, yielding a profitable return!

It would follow, then, as a matter of necessity, that we must be infinitely poorer now than we were thirty years ago. Let us see how that matter stands. The net rental of the real property, in England alone, as we find from the assessment tables for the poor-rates, had risen from £51,898,423 in 1815, to £62,540,030, in 1841, and may be estimated at the present moment as augmented by fully one-fourth all over the united kingdom. The personal property, according to Mr Porter, whose accuracy will be unquestioned by free-traders, was estimated at twelve hundred millions in 1814, at two thousand millions in 1841, and has since continued to augment, so that we may fairly assume, that within thirty years, that species of property has been doubled.

Here, then, are grounds for a panic such as that which is now shaking the empire! Here are reasons for leaving the inchoate railways unfinished, dismissing the workmen, and closing our accounts in terror of a national bankruptcy! Really, with such facts before us, we cannot avoid coming to the conclusion that men who use such language as has been too commonly prevalent of late, are either shamefully ignorant, or have a motive for promulgating error.

The expenditure from 1811 to 1815 was, as we have already seen, wholly profitless, and yet it in no way whatever deranged the economy of the country. The vast outlay of capital, which took place at subsequent speculative periods, was a thorough drain upon the country, because it was consumed abroad without return, and gave no employment or stimulus to the home producer. But the railways are investments of a very different description. They do not affect the currency farther than we have noted above, and the remedy for that is simple. By their means the pressure of the famine has been[757] lightened to the poorer classes, and they are not only remunerative to their owners, but of immense benefit to the districts through which they pass. Of three thousand one hundred miles of railway now open, the gross receipts may be taken, in round numbers, as at nine millions annually. Passengers are carried at one half the cost of the old conveyances—so are goods, and time is prodigiously economised. There is, therefore, a positive saving of other nine millions to the inhabitants of the country; and the completion of the works now in progress, will add immensely to, and more than double this. The cheapening of fuel, the transport of manure, and of building materials, and the opening up of mineral fields, hitherto unused and unprofitable, are vast boons to agriculture and trade, and there can be no doubt that the country is deeply interested in their progress.

If it be asked whether the public are able to spare the capital requisite for the completion of those lines without danger or embarrassment to other branches of industry, we think the calculations which we have already given will afford a satisfactory reply. There is no want of capital in Britain, and railway companies will always be able to obtain it at a certain rate of interest. But a currency contracted like ours, and totally incapable of expansion, must inevitably, upon the occurrence of any external accident, derange every branch of our social economy; and as interest rises, so, as a matter of course, will the value of realised property be depreciated. Money is at present the scarcest thing in the market: the capitalist may demand his own price of usance for it; and were this state of things to continue, the results would be far more ruinous than any one has yet anticipated. People are prepared to suffer almost any sacrifice for the maintenance of that credit which is the idol of the Englishman; but the sacrifice must be temporary, not prolonged, else a stoppage becomes inevitable. Neither the merchant nor the manufacturer, nor any other class of men, can afford to conduct their operations at a remunerative rate, while money is exorbitantly high; and all questions even of convertibility shrink into absolute insignificance before the fact, that were money to continue long at eight per cent., the mills and manufactories throughout the country must be shut up, and the public works discontinued. In other words, we would be plunged into a state of anarchy, the ultimate issue of which it would be very difficult to conceive.

No doubt, the railways have had their share in absorbing capital, but what we maintain is, that the capital is abundant and could not have been better employed. The mania of 1845,—for most assuredly enterprise at that time had assumed that extravagant form—was checked by the intervention of Parliament, and a host of crude and unnecessary schemes were at once consigned to oblivion. Should it be said that Parliament did not exercise with sufficient energy its undoubted controlling power, then we shall merely ask who the gentlemen were that, down to the end of the above year, lent their countenance to railway extension? On the 13th of November 1845, we find Sir Robert Peel near Tamworth, with electro-silver plated spade, and mahogany barrow, wheeling away the first sod raised on the line of the Trent Valley railway, and expatiating broadly upon the advantage of "a more direct and immediate communication between the metropolis on the one hand, and Dublin and a great part of Ireland on the other; between the metropolis and the west of Scotland; between the metropolis and that great commercial and manufacturing district of which Liverpool and Manchester are the capitals." Not a word of warning or reproach, or of indication of coming scarcity of money, fell then from the lips of the great author of the Restriction Acts,—measures which were still lying in abeyance to awake for the benefit of the capitalist, and the depression of every other class, long before the sod, so ostentatiously turned over, could be replaced by the permanent rail. What wonder, then, if Parliament, with such examples before their eyes, and such notable testimony in favour of the development of the railway system, should have been slow in foreseeing the danger[758] of too hasty an internal development?

It is also self-evident that during the last few months the frequent and heavy railway calls have added much to our pecuniary embarrassment. In some instances these calls have been by far too recklessly urged; in others it is difficult to see what other course could have been adopted. For whilst, on the one hand, the extreme dearness of money, the utter stoppage of credit, and the impossibility of disposing of property at any thing like its real value, were elements which the directors were bound to consider before using their statutory power; yet, on the other, they were not entitled to overlook the influence which a discontinuance of these works would exercise over the value of the capital already expended, and the great amount of individual and aggregate suffering which would result from the arbitrary dismissal of their labourers. It was the duty of government, while it was yet time, to have stepped in with some precautionary measure. They might have compelled the directors to summon a general meeting of the shareholders previous to the announcement of a call, and have allowed the latter a veto if their interests should have required it; but although proposals to that effect were laid before the Chancellor of the Exchequer, nothing whatever was done, and the increasing panic was heightened by the prospect of peremptory demands.

So much for the railways; by far the most useful class of works which the country has ever undertaken—useful, because, however they may appear to suffer by temporary depreciation, they will, we firmly believe, in the long run, prove amply remunerative; because, in a year of famine, they have given ample employment and adequate wages to a class of men who must otherwise have suffered unexampled deprivation; and because they have opened, and are opening up new elements of wealth, economising time, and facilitating our trade and our commerce. If, under the influence of monetary laws, for which their undertakers were in no wise responsible, they have tended in some degree to increase the common difficulty, let us recollect that the same power which sanctioned them is answerable for the restrictive measures. We have already shown that this new class of works required an increase of the internal currency which was not vouchsafed to it, and the authors of the Banking Act of 1844 are the parties chargeable with that neglect.

In short, to use the words of one of the Rothschilds, who surely is a competent judge, the prosperity of Britain depends, to a great degree, upon the amount of its circulating medium. It is our interest to have money plentiful and to keep it so; and we ought to interpose as few checks as possible to the fair operation of credit. With plenty of money we may command the markets of the world; with a restricted and contracting issue like the present we are comparatively powerless. The great fault of Sir Robert Peel and his coadjutors is, that they seek to confine credit within absolutely intolerable bounds. We may ask, with perfect propriety, whether the colossal fortunes, either of the right honourable Baronet or of his adviser Mr Jones Loyd, could, by any possibility, have been erected without this important element of credit, which they have now combined to prostrate? We apprehend not; and yet in a certain, though not very creditable sense of the phrase, both gentlemen have been true to their order. The new capitalist has the smallest possible degree of sympathy for those who are struggling upwards.

But a fettered currency is not the only evil for which the country demands a remedy. Far more perilous influences have been at work—influences which must be thoroughly probed and exposed at whatever cost of mortification to the dupes, or loss of credit to the schemer. We are willing, even in this age of free trade, when new principles are applauded to the echo and adopted with unseemly precipitation, to incur the odium of maintaining that protection to native industry is the foundation of the prosperity of Great Britain, and that in departing from it we have adopted a wrong course, which, if wise, we shall speedily abandon. Fortunately[759] there is yet time; for the measures to which we allude have been so rapidly productive of their effects, that very little demonstration is required to open the eyes of all men to their baneful nature. Glad indeed shall we be if experience can work conviction.

To prevent all misconception, we beg leave to premise, that we do not enter now into any discussion upon the subject of the repeal of the corn-laws. Our sentiments with regard to that measure have been stated in another place; and although we have seen no cause to alter them, they are unnecessary for our present argument. We have always maintained that the success or failure of that measure in so far as the interest of our agricultural population, no unimportant section of the community, was concerned, could not be immediately tested—that its effects would necessarily be slow, but not on that account the less insidious. Agriculture cannot decline in one day like commerce, and even were it otherwise, extraneous circumstances have since occurred to delay the period of trial. The operation of the tariffs introduced by Sir Robert Peel, with the full sanction of the free-trade party are far more open to comment, and, as we shall presently show, all classes have an interest in the national wager. It is, therefore, the nearer and more engrossing topic of free trade, as affecting commerce and the legitimate wages of the workman, with which we now propose to deal.

Burthened as he is with taxes, poor-rates, and every species of local impost, it would naturally be supposed, that the British manufacturer could hardly be able to compete with the foreigner even in an alien market. But we unquestionably possess great counterbalancing advantages in the abundance of our coal and iron, the skill and energy of our people, and above all, in our accumulated riches. These, if properly managed, are sufficient to enable us to maintain our old supremacy undiminished.

The whole manufactured produce of Great Britain may be estimated in round numbers, and on an average at two hundred millions yearly, whereof three-fourths are consumed at home, and about fifty-one millions or one-fourth of the whole are destined for exportation. The home market, therefore, being by far the most important, is the first province of the manufacturer: the foreign and lesser market, however, is to a certain extent the index of the nation's wealth, because we have a direct interest to see that our exports are larger than our imports, in other words, that we are not annually paying away a greater value than we receive. The home market is certain, or at all events we can render it so if we choose, and the field is constantly increasing. The foreign market, on the contrary, is fluctuating, and over it we have little control. Without an entire change in our colonial system, which, to say the least, would be attended with much difficulty and danger, we must continue to compete with the foreigner abroad on no other vantage ground than that of offering an article equal to or better than his at a smaller price and profit.

It has always been the policy of England, to enlarge this latter field as much as possible, and unquestionably the policy is sound. We give and take with foreign nations as freely as may be, sending out articles which we have produced, and bringing home cargoes for our own consumption. The balance of the two operations must be taken as the estimate of our increasing wealth.

We have paid in manufactures for the specie which constitutes great part of our currency, and which is no product of our own, certainly not less than forty millions. When any portion of that coinage is withdrawn from the country we become so much the poorer, because we are forced to replace the deficit by another exchange of manufactures and that at a diminished price.

The doctrines of the free-trade party may shortly be stated as follows: Sweep away, they say, all restrictions, and do every thing you can to encourage imports, that is, to swell the amount of consumption of foreign produce at home. The inevitable result of this policy will be an increased demand from abroad for the staple commodities which we produce, and an enlarged field for our operations. Therefore reduce the duties levied at the custom-house as much as possible,[760] and let the revenue be raised either directly by income tax, or in some other mode which may not interfere with the progress of trade.

Sir Robert Peel, who has adopted these doctrines, has acted upon them to a certain extent, and the history of his financial proceedings since he last assumed the reins of office is curious and characteristic of the man. He commenced by laying on an income tax, which we were assured was not to last beyond the period of three years, and he promised the public not only to relieve them from the load at the expiry of that time, but to exhibit the national revenue in a more flourishing condition than ever. Proposals so confidently made were cheerfully and even gratefully accepted, for no one could have supposed that there lurked a deception concealed beneath so plausible a scheme.

To the amazement of many, the adoption of an income tax was shortly followed by a reduction of revenue duties, an experiment which has since been repeated. The effect of those reductions was as follows:—the ordinary revenue of the country, at the time when Sir Robert Peel came into power, was within a fraction of forty-eight millions. Ten millions and a half were derived from certain articles, which were subsequently dealt with on free trade principles. These articles under the reduced duty now yield only six millions, whilst the other sources, that have not been tampered with, contribute, as is shown by late returns, forty-one and a half, instead of thirty-seven and a half millions to the revenue. The gain therefore to the country on those items which were left under the operation of our former system was four millions,—the loss upon the articles reduced by Peel was four millions and a half, whereof the greater part has gone into the pocket of the foreigner; and, as Lord George Bentinck well remarked, it is material, with such facts before us, to consider "what would have been the situation of the country if Sir Robert Peel had tried his experimentary hand upon the whole of what are called the ordinary sources of revenue to the country?" There must then have been a huge mistake somewhere. If Sir Robert really believed that in three years he would be enabled to dispense with the income tax, he must have calculated that the reduction of the duties would have the effect of increasing the consumption of imports to such a degree that the revenue would be largely augmented—a result which, we are sorry to say, has by no means arrived. On the contrary, the revenue has fallen off, and the income tax, far from being removed, will, in all human probability, be extended.

The avowed object of these reductions, which have curtailed our revenue, and saddled us permanently with a war tax, was to increase the amount of our exportations in exchange. If this effect has not been produced, or if there is no likelihood of its being produced within a reasonable period of time, then we are entitled to conclude, from the arguments of the free-traders themselves, that the experiment has been a total failure. We must never lose sight of the fact, that the sure test of free-trade, for which object we have sacrificed our revenue, is augmented export. Let us see how far this branch of the scheme has succeeded. We shall take the exports and imports for the years 1845 and 1846, which will afford a sufficient indication of the manner in which the new tariff is likely to work.

Exports 1845, L.53,298,026
Ditto 1846, 51,279,735
Duties on Imports, 1845, L.21,860,353
Ditto 1846, 22,498,827

Thus, while the exports are decreasing, the imports are augmenting; we are selling less and buying more, and the foreigner is reaping the profit.

We are fortunately enabled, from the last official tables, issued after the greater part of this article was sent to press, to show what the results of free trade have been since 1846. Several of our friends, who hold ultra liberal commercial opinions, are, as we full well know, slow to conviction, and will be apt to maintain that our experience of the new system up to that period, has not been large enough to[761] justify our condemnation of its failure. Let us then see what testimony 1847 can bear in favour of free trade.

These tables, according to the Economist, a free trade organ of undoubted ability, "continue to show an enormous comparative importation and consumption of all the chief articles which contribute to the daily sustenance of the people, and a marked falling off of those which form the basis of our manufacturing industry, and consequently of our future trade." In other words, whilst we are buying, and buying largely, our articles of provision and immediate consumpt from the foreigner, the supply of the raw material which we can reproduce in the shape of manufactures is falling off. The foreigner has the benefit of underselling us in the home market, and we are losing the power of competition in the markets abroad. The increase of our consumption is most remarkable, and the agriculturist will probably derive but little comfort from the following comparative statements, which show the amount of certain articles of import during nine months of the last three years.

Agricultural Produce Imported Jan. 5 to Oct. 10.

Provisions, beef, pork, &c. cwts.109,550206,455403,877
Butter, cwts.189,056177,165243,140
Cheese, do.183,891216,191243,601
Grain of all kinds, qrs.1,336,7392,635,2187,905,419
Flour and Meal, cwts.394,9082,631,3417,900,880

These, we think, are somewhat startling figures. All this has to be paid for by native industry, doubly taxed at present, in order to get back that gold which Sir Robert Peel has practically declared to be the life-blood of the community, and which cannot, under our monetary system, be expended abroad, without depressing credit and prostrating enterprise at home. Let us now see what kind of provision we have laid in for future manufactures—what amount of raw material we have on hand, which, when converted into goods, shall enable us to liquidate this heavy balance, and provide for the future payment of a constantly increasing supply of articles of daily consumpt. We were to be fed by the foreigner, and to work for him, he finding us both the food and materials. Such, we understood, were the terms of the contract, which the free-traders wished the nations of the world to accept. It has been acted upon in so far as regards the food for which we have paid; not so as to the means of payment.

Raw Material Imported Jan. 5. to Oct. 10.

Flax, cwt.,1,048,390744,861732,034
Silk, raw, lbs.,2,865,6053,429,2603,051,015
Do., thrown,311,413293,402200,719
Do., waste, cwt.,11,2386,1737,279
Cotton wool,5,495,7993,866,0893,423,061
Sheep's wool, lbs.,57,308,47751,058,20943,348,336

The above table affords us the means of estimating our immediate manufacturing prospects, and we need hardly say that these are any thing but cheering. In no one particular have the prophecies of the free traders been fulfilled. They were wrong in their revenue calculations with respect to the tariff; wrong in their anticipations regarding[762] the import of raw materials; and deplorably wrong in their promises of increased exportation. We hope that Sir Robert Peel will shortly favour the House of Commons, and the country with his explanation of the following mercantile phenomena. It will be listened to with more curiosity than his arguments upon the nature of a pound.

Declared Value of Exports of Home Produce and Manufactures for
Nine Months. Jan. 5 to October 10.


The general decrease is apparent, but it is necessary to go a little more minutely to work, and inquire into the respective items. It is only by doing so that we can fully understand the true operation of free trade, and the manner in which it is calculated to undermine and ultimately to overthrow the strongholds of our domestic industry. We entreat the earnest attention of our readers to the great decline, which is exhibited in the following staples of export.

Cotton Manufactures,£14,761,236£13,632,880£13,682,095
Ditto Yarn,5,379,4006,112,9184,601,180
Linen Manufactures,2,353,8792,110,6662,273,427
Ditto Yarn,807,418639,245504,727
Woollen Yarn,835,370685,712778,725
Woollen Manufactures,6,224,9815,146,6995,616,536

The decline upon these staple commodities of export is so obvious as to need no remark. There is also a falling off, as between 1845 and 1847, in the following exported articles:—Butter, candles, coals, earthenware, glass, leather, copper and brass, lead, tin-plates, soap, and refined sugar. The rise, on the contrary, is upon cheese, fish, hardwares, machinery, iron and steel, unwrought tin, salt, and silk manufactures; of which two items certainly important.

Iron and steel,2,854,0488,374,3354,096,367

This shows the pace at which manufactures are advancing abroad, and explains but too clearly the reason of the decrease in our staple exports. The product of British industry is declining; and we can only partially redeem the deficit by sending abroad the sinews of our national prosperity. We are in the condition of the artisan whose expenditure exceeds his wages, and who is driven to part with his tools. We are fitting up foreign mills with our choicest machinery, furnishing our opponents with weapons, and yet the free traders tell us that on such terms we can afford to cope with, and to vanquish them!

The truth is, so long as we proclaim ourselves the gold-bankers of the world, and make perpetual boast of the hoards which we have from time to time accumulated, we shall[763] never be safe against a money drain from England. We cannot force foreigners to take our British manufactures; the demand, as we said before, is precarious, and we cannot go on making calicoes and cottons for ever at a loss. In exchange for extended imports, two things may be taken, goods or specie, and with the prospect of lower prices to come, the foreigner will always choose the latter. Hence, in a great measure, arose the drain of bullion, which was sent to America. We were at that time in want not only of corn, but of cotton, and a supply of the latter material was indispensably necessary to keep the factories open. In ordinary times, no doubt, the American would have taken goods in exchange, but in the then posture of affairs, he saw the subsequent advantage which he must derive by carrying away her bullion from England, without decreasing her stock, for, as a natural consequence, that stock must sorely depreciate in value. And it is not until we can get rid of our ready manufactured stores, at whatever sacrifice, that we shall again recover that precious basis of our currency, which we cling to with the most doting affection, and for the sake of which we are content every few years to undergo a national convulsion.

Such being the state of our exports under the operation of free trade, let us now look a little to the other side of the balance sheet. The duties levied at the custom-houses constitute, as every one knows, the largest portion of our revenue, and therefore cannot be made the subject of experiment, without extreme risk of defalcation. We have already shown that, although, upon the whole, our imports have risen, the gain has exclusively proceeded from that portion of imports upon which the duty has not been reduced, and that wherever we have lost any thing, it has been through the attempt to approximate to free trade. The experiment, however, has already been made upon a large scale; it has cost us many millions, and the odious income tax remains as a tangible proof of its failure. It was, according to Sir Robert Peel, the sure method of commanding reciprocity from the foreigner, and of extending our exports largely. Neither result has followed; we are as far from reciprocity as ever, and the exports have seriously decreased.

It is necessary also that we should remark what kind of articles have been selected for the late experiment, because some, although not all, of our import duties are framed with a view to protection as well as for revenue purposes. For example, no one will dispute that we have a great interest in procuring such raw materials as cotton and silk for our manufactures as cheap as possible, because we cannot produce those articles at home, and our success depends upon their reproduction in the shape of fabrics. Here then there is no question of competition, apart from colonial interests, and we do right to throw no obstacle in the way of their introduction. But the admission of manufactured articles, either of silk or of cotton, at so low a rate of duty as to encourage the foreigner to compete with us in the home market, is a totally different matter. It is a blow to native industry of the worst and most insidious description, and cannot be justified even on the ground that the cheapness thereby induced is a recompense to the agricultural portion of the community for the sweeping measures which abrogated not only the grain duties, but those which were formerly imposed upon all kinds of foreign provisions. The agriculturists of Britain, from the landlord to the peasant, desire no such recompense. They do not wish that in addition to the hardships which they themselves have sustained, other classes of the community should be doomed to suffer; they do not wish that the wages of the manufacturing operative should be reduced in order that French silks and velvets and millinery may be brought in to inundate the market; and they will be no parties to any scheme for the depression of our national labour. It may suit Sir Robert Peel and the Whigs to hold up cheapness as the great desideratum of commercial legislation, but our creed, is otherwise: we protest against the tariff of 1846, as injurious to the revenue, as hostile to home industry, and as an engine of destruction to the already[764] over-taxed and over-burdened artisan. Let us extract from the tariffs of the last two years some instances of this unnatural policy:—

Duty levied on 1845.  1846.
Cotton manufactures,
per L.100 value,1000 Free
Gauze of thread,15001000
French lawns, per
Other lawns, per L.100
Linen manufactures,
plain,1500 Free
Woollen manufactures,
plain,1500 Free
Ditto, made up,20001000
Silk manufactures,25001500
Brocaded ditto,30001500
Silk dresses,40001500
Copper manufactures,15001000
Boots, per dozen,1800140
Shoes, per ditto,0140070
Paper, printed or
stained, per yard,010002
Lace thread,121001000
Platting of straw, per

and so on, ad infinitum.

What is this, we ask, but a direct invitation to the foreigner to step in and undersell us in our market? We are told, and we believe it to be true, that the revenue has been augmented in several of the above instances by the reduction of the duty; if so, the announcement should be received with any thing but feelings of exultation. There is the bread taken from the mouths of very many thousands of our industrial classes, in order that we may indulge to our heart's content in foreign finery and gewgaws! Not one article of reduction in the above list, but has been made at the expense of the life-blood of our fellow-subjects: not one duty removed without a permanent addition to the workhouse. We shall give but one instance to show how such alterations work even in the smallest cases.

The manufacture of straw-plait is, and has been for many years, one of the principal branches of industry practised in the Orkney islands. During the long winter nights in that stormy region, when almost every other occupation is suspended, the women are occupied with this work, from which they have hitherto derived a small but a certain profit. Sir Robert Peel, sitting at his ease in Whitehall, esteems straw-plait an article of no consideration; and in revising his tariff, with a view to temporary popularity, he strikes off one-third of the existing import duty, being half-a-crown per pound, and the peasantry of Normandy and Baden come in to supplant the unfortunate Orcadians! The youngest of us must recollect the distress which has frequently prevailed amongst the silk-weavers of Spitalfields, even under a protecting tariff, and the attempts which have repeatedly been made by Royalty itself, and by good Queen Adelaide in particular, to set the fashion and revive the taste for home manufactures. Was this attempt a wrong one? It would seem so, for the soul of Sir Robert Peel is set upon French brocades. The millinery of Paris is in the ascendant, and there is no longer any need for searching female smugglers at the custom-house. We are invited to wear French cravats, waistcoats, hats, handkerchiefs, boots, and gloves, all procurable at a cheaper rate than they can possibly be manufactured at home, and very few of us have sufficient patriotism to decline the advantage. Our ladies have their dresses sent ready-made from the capital of France, or if they still adhere to the native milliner, or the artiste who is a naturalised French-woman, the materials, fresh from Lyons or Marseilles, are invariably purchased at these huge emporiums in Regent Street and Bond Street, which you may search in vain for a specimen of British industry. The walls of our houses are covered with French fancy papers, brought down to a nominal price, with which the home producer cannot compete. Or molu clocks, and ornaments of French, German, and Bohemian glass are on every chimney-piece and table. Some articles of foreign cutlery are sold in Birmingham and Sheffield for about one-half of the price at which they can be manufactured in those towns; and the woollen productions of Saxony are competing with the staple of Yorkshire. These are the blessings of what is called free trade, though free trade, in the full sense of the word, is a manifest delusion and impossibility. We, the inhabitants of the highest-taxed country[765] of the world, have essayed the adventure of opening our ports to the products of other nations—if not altogether, at least in such a degree as to invite and stimulate competition; we have done so without asking reciprocity, and without finding it, in the mere vague hope that our exports might be doubled in return; and the result is, that our own labourers and artisans are swamped in the home market, and that our exports are lamentably decreased.

And, in the mean time, what is to become of our people, whom free trade is reducing to pauperism? The political economist, whose heart is as hard as the machinery he drives, will scarcely pause for a moment to answer so trivial a question. His ultimatum is, the factory, the workhouse, or emigration. But unfortunately the factory doors are not wide enough to admit all comers. Even now the mills of Lanarkshire and of Lancashire are on short time, and we cannot predict the quarter from which an augmented demand is to arise. Apart altogether from humanity, the workhouse is an expensive establishment for those who must maintain it, and the blessing of the Almighty will not rest with the nation which has so little regard for its poor. There remains then only emigration, whereof we have already some specimen. Whilst we are writing, the subjoined paragraph is going the round of the public press:—

"French Manufacturers and Scotch Manufacturers.—The following paragraph, from the Paris Moniteur, is not without some significance at the present time:—

'The steamer Finisterre landed, a few days ago, at Morlaix, thirty-eight Scotchwomen, who are to be employed in the spinning-mill of Landernau, which is to commence operations at the close of the month. The Morlaisien is to convey a similar number at her next trip. These women, who are intended to form the nucleus of the Flax-Spinning Company of Finisterre, will be lodged and fed together in a building constructed for that special purpose. Most of them are young, very neatly dressed, and all wear bonnets after the English fashion. Their countenances exhibited the satisfaction they experienced at having arrived in a country where they were certain to find employment and means of existence.'"

Alas! it is but too true. Let free trade continue to progress, and it is only amidst aliens, and far from their native soil, that the children of our poor can hope to find a refuge. What a tale of shattered hopes, of breaking hearts, and of domestic misery may be read in these few simple, sentences! Can Britain hope to be prosperous whilst such is the condition of her daughters?

From the position so imprudently occupied we must perforce recede, but we hope that the reasons for, and manner of doing so, will be distinctly marked in Parliament by some clear and unequivocal resolutions.

We have tried free trade, and it has failed. The specious promises of Sir Robert Peel have proved utterly delusive, and his disciples cannot point to one instance in which his anticipations have been realised. The question at present is, are we to try the experiment further? If we are to do so, it must be at the cost of a prolonged period of misery, with very little prospect and no certainty of an ultimate escape. The revenue has fallen off: that at least is certain and beyond cavil, and we presume that a sweeping property and income tax is the only remedy which Lord John Russell or his Chancellor of the Exchequer will propose. The imports of daily consumpt have prodigiously increased, in consequence of our altered tariffs, and must be paid for; whilst, on the other hand, the exports, which are the means of payment, are decreasing in a corresponding ratio. And should we be told that this decrease is merely temporary, and that a large demand for our manufactures must infallibly arise from abroad, we shall merely ask our opponents in what way that demand is to be supplied? The table of the imports of raw material which we have given above, speaks volumes as to the state of our industry. Cotton, wool, flax, hemp—all the products which kept the mills, not of one district, but of all the districts of this mighty empire, in motion, have, since the introduction of free trade, arrived in alarmingly diminished quantities, and extended export is an impossibility, because we have not got the material to keep our home machinery in motion.

These are not speculations, but facts: and it is very much to be[766] hoped that honest men of the free trade party will lay them earnestly to heart, and endeavour to retrieve the error into which they have been led by an over-sanguine estimate of our own powers, and a far too generous view of the commercial policy which influences the other nations of the world. The decline of our commerce is also inseparably connected with our mischievous currency laws. That an immediate reform of the latter is absolutely necessary, is quite clear from the monetary history of the last few months. We must adopt some system which shall maintain legitimate credit, and allow property at all times to command its commercial representative emblem at a fair rate, without subjecting the person who requires it to a worse than Israelitish rate of usury. Which of us is there in the country, one class alone excepted, who has not felt the pressure of the times? Is it a light matter, either to the landowner or the manufacturer or the merchant, that money should be driven up to its present exorbitant rate, and so maintained simply that the capitalist may step in, and reap an undue profit from the artificial and not the real necessities of the others? This is the motive which lies at the bottom of all the views of the bullionists. They know very well that perfect convertibility is a dream, but they try to keep up the semblance of it so far as they can, and the absurd and complicated machinery of the Bank of England was constructed for no other purpose. The public have been gulled by specious declamation about security, and when the crisis arrives, they find that they have got no security at all.

This state of things cannot be allowed to continue. If our exports are ever to revive—nay, if they are merely to continue at their present ebb without further declension—money must be made procurable at something like an easy rate. We cannot, and we will not permit the resources of the whole nation to fall a sacrifice to the insatiable avarice of the capitalist. We must not starve our population to allow him an exorbitant bargain. In the opinion of many we have already weathered the worst of the storm, and may prepare for a new career, though necessarily on a contracted scale. Certainly, if any thing could give us confidence, it is the knowledge of the fact that the mischievous monetary law is in abeyance, and we hardly think that, with the sight of the recent wreck which it has caused before our eyes, there is any chance of its remaining longer on the statute-book unrepealed. The very lowness of the ebb to which prices have been brought is a sort of guarantee of their revival; and although we have much to do, and perchance not a little to suffer, before we can regain the position which we once occupied, there is, at all events, some prospect of an advance. That, however, can only be gradual, and must depend upon our abandonment of theories, our renunciation of false guides, and our return to honest, humane, and intelligible principles. In the event of any temporary prosperity, it will be well to recollect that we owe the amendment neither to Sir Robert Peel nor to the Whigs. The former brought us into our difficulties; the latter did their best to keep us there, and yielded at the last moment with undeniably bad grace when matters were at the verge of desperation, and when no man could trust his neighbour. Warned by experience, it will be the duty of parliament, if it is wise, to apply itself diligently to the task, not of rash reform, but of wise remodelment. On many matters of the utmost financial importance there is little difference of opinion between the leaders of the country party and the representatives of large manufacturing constituencies. Peel and his few supporters, backed by the present ministry, stand isolated in their adherence to positions—it would be absurd to call them principles—which have been tried and found wanting in the balance. Except these, and unhappy Mr Jones Loyd, who stands forth in the midst of the group as the great hierophant of Mammon, there are few hardy enough to raise their voices in defence of arbitrary Bank restriction. It is clear to every thinking man, that extended operations require an extended currency; and that, as we cannot force gold into the country—for, after all, the supply[767] of that commodity is by no means limitless—except at a ruinous loss, we must adopt the principle already sufficiently recognised and tested, and make good the deficiency with paper. This might be done either by the resumption of a one pound note circulation in England, or by an issue of national paper to the amount of our ordinary taxation; or, better still, by setting banking free, and permitting the joint-stock companies to issue notes in proportion to the amount of national securities lodged by them in the hands of government Commissioners. At any rate, we do hope that so far as Scotland and Ireland are concerned, they may be allowed once more to resume the control of their own monetary matters, and be relieved from those golden chains which are not only cumbersome to them, but, as we have shown, are seriously detrimental to England, by locking up in time of need a large portion of her established currency. With regard to the public works now in progress, we deprecate rash interference. It is not likely, nor is it at all desirable that for some time to come, any new schemes of magnitude will be proposed: let us then apply ourselves seriously to finish what we have begun, and without calling new labour into existence, let us husband our employment for the old. A new element of danger and distress has been introduced by the dismissal of many thousands of the workmen from unfinished lines, owing to the tightness of the money market, and the impossibility of procuring loans. This must be looked to immediately. These men have a right to their employment, for they have been called forth from their other avocations by the sanction of Parliament, and neither good faith nor public policy will admit of their abandonment at present. Above all, let us look to the tariff, and, dismissing from our minds the delusions of free trade and the dreams of future reciprocity, let us stand forth manfully in defence of the rights of labour, and of that native industry which is the true source of our country's greatness and renown. It will not do for the rich to go flaunting in foreign manufacture and apparel, while the operative is starving at home with the doors of the factories closed. We must not fill our palaces and our homes with articles of continental manufacture, whilst British skill is left to languish unpatronised and unemployed. If we must have those things, let us pay for them at a rate which will leave to our own workmen the ordinary chances of competition, and we have no fear whatever of the result. If we make a national profit by the depression of industry at home, we are buying it with the tears, and the misery, and the curses of thousands of the poor; if, on the contrary, we make no profit by the sacrifice, we are wantonly betraying ourselves. Let us then be wise in time. We have tried the effects of quack experiments upon our monetary and commercial systems, and both of them have given way. Let us have no more such; but let men of all parties, who are true and honest in their opinions, unite together in putting an end to the disorders in our social economy. The new Parliament ere these pages can issue from the press will be convened, and the prosperity of the country rests in a great measure in their hands. We shall await the issue of their deliberations upon these momentous matters with much anxiety, some apprehension, but withal a large admixture of hope. For although parties at first sight appear to be more than commonly disorganised, the late discussions which have arisen in consequence of our unfortunate embarrassments have effected a mighty change in the sentiments and language of many. Men who were formerly held to represent opinions of conflicting tendency, have been forced into juxtaposition, and have discovered that their differences were far more nominal than otherwise; and we cannot but hope that all such will work together cordially and conscientiously, and apart from faction, in placing both our systems, monetary and commercial, upon a firm and permanent basis. Be this as it may, we are at least assured that the members of the country party, undismayed by defeat or by desertion, will be, as ever, at their posts, and will justify, by their maintenance and advocacy of sound national principles, the confidence which has been unhesitatingly accorded to them by an important section, of the people.



Adventures on West Coast of South America, by John Coulter, review of, 323.

Agrippa, 413.

Albani Villa, the, 626.

Alfred, fleets of, 88.

Alison, Dr on the Famine of 1846-7, review of, 634.

Almagro, one of Pizarro's companions, 5
death of, 19.

Altenburg, foundation of abbey of, 351.

Alvarado, Pedro de, 18.

Alvarez, Mariano, defence of Gerona by, 718.

Amelia, the Princess, 442.

America, Maga in, 422.

American Copyright, letter on, 534.

American Library, the, 574.

American Literature, general features of, 643.

Anabaptists, sketches of the, 355.

Andersen, Hans Christian, review of works of, 387.

Anglo Saxons, early fleets of the, 89.

Antipodes, navigation of the, 515.

Antomarchi, physician to Napoleon, 191.

Arbouville, Countess d', Tale by, 671.

Art in the Early Christian Ages, 446.

Atahuallpa, Inca of Peru, 12, 14
his seizure, 15
his death, 16, 17.

Athenian Navy, Pæans of the, No. I.—Phormio's victory in the Athenian Gulf, with some introductory remarks on the Athenian Sea Service, 736.

Athens, state of, during the era of Solon, 143.

Australia, interest of, 517.

Australia, research and adventure in, 602.

Avignon, city of, 709.

Avon, loch, 157, 158, 160.

Banking Act, Peel's, on, 113.

Barcelona, city of, 716.

Basque provinces and their population, the, 721.

Beethoven, 419.

Benalcazar, conquest of Quito by, 18.

Ben Nevis and Ben Muich Dhui, 149.

Bertrand, Count, at St Helena, 185.

Borghese villa, the, 622.

Borneo, island of, 528.

Braemar, scenery of, 153.

Brae Riach, Mount, 156, 157, 163.

Bruce, Travels of, 515.

Buckingham, Katherine Duchess of, 441.

Buckingham Bay, attack on the Fly, at, 521.

Burnet, Bishop, and his family, 443.

Byways of History, 347.

Cadet, Annetta, sketches of, 293.

Cæsar, 235.

Cagliostro, the vision of, 408
Tiberius, 411
Agrippa, 413
Milton, 415
Mirabeau, 417
Beethoven, 419.

Cairngorm, scenery of, 155, 156.

Cairn Toul, Mount, 163.

Campbell, Captain, of Glenlyon, 703.

Candia, Pedro de, 6.

Canvass for Painting, on, 307.

Capri, capture of Island of, from the British, 182.

Capricorn Islands, the, 519.

Captivity of Napoleon at St Helena, Montholon's narrative of, reviewed, 178.

Caroline, Queen of George II., character of, 437, 438.

Carteret, Lady, 441.

Catalans, character of the, 716.

Cennino Cennini, Mrs Merrifield's translation of, 309.

Centralisation, effects of, on Edinburgh, 75.

Charles V. interview of, with Pizarro, 9.

Charlotte, the Princess, Napoleon on the death of, 181.

Chien d' Alcibiade, Le, 102.

Children, Crusade of the, 285.

China, British voyages to, 516.

Christian Art, early character, &c. of, 446.

Cipriani, Napoleon's Maître d' hôtel, 182.

Clach Dhian, the, 160.

Clayton, Mrs, review of Memoirs of, 431.

Cochrane, Lord, gallant exploit of, 84.

Colouring of Rubens, on the, 564.

Common Sense, Philosophy of, 239.

Conquest of Peru, sketches of the, 1.

Constantinople, Napoleon's views on, 189.

Copyright between Great Britain and America, on, 534.

Coral Island, description of a, 518.

Coulter's Cruise, 323.

Cromwell, administration of Ireland by, 730.

Crossing the Desert, 21
continuation of, 334.

Crusade of the Children, the, 285.

Currency question, on the, 113, 744.

Cuzco, capture of, by Pizarro, 18.

Dalhousie Dinner, song for the, 493.

Danish Fleets, the Early, 88, 89.

Dee, Linn of, 153.

Dee, sources of the, 162, 164.

[769]Delta, poems by, viz., a Requiem, 358
Song for the Dalhousie Dinner, 493
A November's Morning Reverie, 618.

Demasis, anecdote of, in connexion with Napoleon, 188.

Derrie, Glen, scenery of, 155.

Desert, crossing the, 21
continuation of, 334.

Dog of Alcibiades, the, 102.

Dreepdaily Burghs, how I stood for the, Chap. I. 259
Chap. II. 264
Chap. III. 269
Chap. IV. 275
Chap. V. 279.

Drummer of Nicklashausen, the, 353.

Duncanson, Major, 703.

Early Christian Art, 446.

Eastlake's Materials for a history of Oil Painting, review of, 301.

Edinburgh, effects of centralisation on, 75.

Edwards, Jonathan, 643.

Emerald Studs, the, a reminiscence of the Circuit—Chap. I. 214
Chap. II. 218
Chap. III. 223
Chap. IV. 227
Chap. V. 231.

Emerson, R. Waldo, 643.

Emperor's New Clothes, the, 406.

England, History of the Navy of, 82.

England, Effects of the Reformation in, 724.

English Kennel at Rome, the, 485.

English Voyagers, recent achievements of, 515.

Epimenides, Legend of, 144.

Evenings at Sea: Introduction, 96
Evening the first, the Miner, 97
No. II. Henry Meynell, 547.

Famine of 1846-47, Alison on, reviewed, 634.

Figueras, town of, 719.

First Patient, the, 317.

Fitton, Lieutenant, gallant exploits of, 85.

Fly surveying ship, Narrative of the, reviewed, 515.

Fouché, anecdote of, 315.

France, History of the Jew in, 728.

Franklin, Benjamin, 644.

Free Trade, on, in connexion with the commercial depression, 759.

Fuller, S. M., Papers on Literature and Art by, reviewed, 575, 580.

Gambling, anecdotes of, 315.

Gamo, capture of the, by Lord Cochrane, 84.

Garchary Burn, the, 164.

Gautier, M.—Theophile, a tale, by, 197.

Gaza, three months at, 334.

George II., Times of, 431.

German Travels, character of, 707.

Gerona, town of, and its siege, 718.

Giacomo da Valencia; or, the Student of Bologna: Chap. I. 359.
Chap. II. 361.
Chap. III. 366.
Conclusion, 369.

Glencoe, the Widow of, 700.

Glen Derri, 155.

Glen Lui, scenery of, 154.

Gogol: the Portrait, a tale by, translated, Chap. I. 457
Chap. II. 475.

Gourgaud, General, 181.

Greece, Grote's History of, reviewed, 129.

Greek Fire, the, 92.

Grote's History of Greece, review of, 129.

Hamilton's (Sir William) edition of Reid's Works, review of, 239.

Hawthorne's Mosses from an Old Manse, review of, 587.

Henry IV. of France, 371.

Henry Meynell, 547.

Highland Destitution, 630.

Histoire Hollandaise, Une, 672.

History, Byways of, 347.

Homer, on the Authenticity of, 137.

Hounds and Horses at Rome—the English Kennel, 485
the Steeple-chase, 487
Roman Dogs, 489.

How I came to be a Sloven, 658.

How I stood for the Dreepdaily Burghs, Chap. I. 259
Chap. II. 264
Chap. III. 269
Chap. IV. 275
Chap. V. 279.

Iliad, authenticity of the, 138.

Improvisatore, Hans Andersen's, reviewed, 398.

India, Probable effects of the Railway on, 517.

Infernal, the, a fire-ship, 93.

James's Life of Henry IV., review of, 371.

Java, sketches of, 524.
Conquest of by the English, and its restoration, 527.

Jew, sketch of the history of the, 728.

Juancho the Bull-fighter, 197.

Judaism in the Legislature, 724.

Judgment of Paris, Rubens', 571.

Jukes, J. B., his Narrative of the Voyage of the Fly reviewed, 515.

Kinkel's History of Early Christian Art, review of, 446.

Lander, Richard, 516.

Larig Water, 164.

Law of Wreck, the, 93.

Legislature, Judaism in the, 724.

Leichhardt's researches in Australia, review of, 602.

Le Premier Pas, 312.

Letter from a Railway Witness in London, 68.

Letters on the Truths contained in Popular Superstitions. No. VII.—Objects to be gained by the artificial induction of trance, 166.

Life of Jean Paul Frederick Richter, review of, 33.

Lima, boundary of, 17.

London, Letter from a Railway Witness in, 68.

Lowe, Sir Hudson, 180.

Lui Water, 154.

Luque, Father, one of Pizarro's comrades, 5.

Maga in America, 422.

Magus Muir, 614.

[770]Manco, Inca of Peru, 17.

Mar Forest, the, 154.

Marie Louise, Letter from Gourgaud to, 181.

Marseilles, town of, 711.

Masorcha Club at Buenos Ayres, a tale of the, Chap. I. 47
Chap. II. 48
Chap. III. 50
Chap. IV. 55
Chap. V. 62.

Massacre of Glencoe, the, 700.

Materials for a History of Oil Painting, Eastlake's, review of, 301.

Mayenne, Theodore de, work by, on Painting, 304.

Memoirs of Viscountess Sundon, review of, 431.

Merrifield, Mrs, translation of Cennino Cennini, by, 309.

Mexico, Conquest of, by Spain, 1.

Meynell, Henry, a tale, 547.

Miltiades, investigation of history of, 145.

Milton, 415.

Miner, the, a tale, 97.

Mirabeau, 417.

Mitford's Greece, character of, 129.

Montholon's Napoleon at St Helena, review of, 178.

Mosses from an Old Manse, review of, 587.

Muich Dhui, ascent and scenery of, 153.

Munzer, the anabaptist, 385.

My Friend the Dutchman, 494.

Napoleon at St Helena, Montholon's History of, reviewed, 178.

Napoleon, Death scene of, 194;
his character, 195.

Navarro the Bandit, 714.

Navigation of the Antipodes, the, 515.

Navy, Nicolas' History of the, reviewed, 82.

Navy of Athens, Pæans of the, No. I. 736.

Nevis, Ben, ascent and scenery of, 149.

New Guinea, 332.

New Ireland, character of inhabitants of, 331.

Ney, Marshal, Napoleon's statement regarding the last acts of, 187.

Nicolas' History of the Navy, review of, 82.

November Morning's Reverie, a, by Delta, 618.

Oil Painting, Eastlake's History of, reviewed, 301.

O'Meara, connexion of, with Napoleon, 180.

Only a Fiddler, Andersen's, reviewed, 403.

O. T., Andersen's, reviewed, 405.

Our Currency, our Trade, and our Tariff, 744.

Pacific, Islands of the, 327.

Pæans of the Athenian Navy, No. I.;
Phormio's Victory in the Corinthian Gulf, 736.

Park, Mungo, 515.

Pau, Sketches of, 719.

Pauperism, management of, 630.

Peel, Sir Robert, and the Currency, 113, 744.

Peru, Sketches of conquest of, 1.

Phormio, Naval Victory of, in the Corinthian Gulf, 736.

Pizarro, Conqueror of Peru, Sketches of, 1.

Pizarro, Pedro, brother of the conqueror, 3.

Poe's Sketches and Tales, review of, 582.

Poetry—Cæsar, 235;
a Requiem, by Delta, 358;
Song for the Dalhousie Dinner, 493;
Magus Muir, 614;
a November Morning's Reverie, 618;
the Widow of Glencoe, 700;
Pæans of the Athenian Navy, No. 1, 741.

Pomfret, Lady, 441.

Popular Superstitions, Letters on the Truths contained in, Letter VII.;
objects to be gained by the Artificial Induction of Trance, 166.

Portrait, the, a tale abridged from the Russian of Gogol, by T. B. Shaw;
Chap. I. 457
Chap. II. 475.

Premier Pas, Le, 312.

Prescott's History of the Conquest of Peru, review of, 1.

Protestantism, Effects of, in England, 724.

Puna, Conquest of island of, by Pizarro, 11.

Pyrenees, the, 707.

Raffles, Sir Stamford, 526.

Railway, Probable Effects of, on India, 517.

Railway Witness, Letters from a, in London, 68.

Railways, the, in connexion with the financial depression, 777.

Reformation, Effects of the, in England, 724.

Reid and the Philosophy of Common Sense, 239.

Requiem, for the music of Mozart, by Delta, 358.

Research and Adventure in Australia, 602.

Richard Cœur de Lion, fleet of, 90, 91.

Richter, Jean Paul, Life of, 33.

Roman Dogs, 489.

Rome, Hounds and Horses at: the English Kennel, 485
the Steeple Chase, 487
Roman Dogs, 489.

Rome, Taxidermy in, 292.

Rome, Valedictory Visits at, 622
the Villa Borghese, ib.
the Villa Albani, 626.

Roussillon, province of, 722.

Rubens—was he a Colourist? 564.

Ruiz, Bartholomew, one of Pizarro's comrades, 6.

St Helena, Napoleon at, 178.

Sea, Evenings at—See Evenings.

Sharp, Archbishop, murder of, 615.

Shaw, T. B., translation by, of the Portrait, a tale;
Chap. I. 457
Chap. II. 475.

Sieyes, Anecdotes of, 190, 191.

[771]Sims' Wigwam, &c., review of, 575.

Sinnett's Byways of History, review of, 347.

Sir Robert Peel and the Currency, 113.

Smuggling in Spain, 717.

Solon, era of, in Greece, 143.

Song for the Dalhousie Dinner, 493.

Solo, Hernando de, 12.

Sourabaya, city of, 525.

South America, Adventures on coast of, 323.

South America, Spanish conquest in, 1.

Spain, conquests of, in South America, 1.

Spain, sketches of, 707.

Spain, History of the Jew in, 730.

Speedy, capture of the Gamo by the, 84.

Stair, Master of, and the Massacre of Glencoe, 700-1.

Steeple chase at Rome, the, 487.

Stone of Shelter, the, 158, 160.

Story of my Life, Andersen's, review of, 393.

Student of Bologna, the; Chap. I. 359
Chap. II. 361
Chap. III. 365
Conclusion, 369.

Suffolk, Lady, 439, 440.

Sumatra, island of, 528.

Tacamez, defeat of Pizarro at, 7.

Tale of the Masorcha Club at Buenos Ayres, a;
Chap. I. 47
Chap. II. 48
Chap. III. 50
Chap. IV. 55
Chap. V. 62.

Tariff, the new, in connexion with the commercial depression, 759.

Tales from Denmark, Andersen's, reviewed, 406.

Taxidermy in Rome, 292.

Tettenborn, General, rise of, 312.

Theophilus, work on Varnishes, &c., by, 303.

Thirlwall's Greece, character of, 129
on the siege of Troy, Homer, &c., 137, 138.

Thompson's Memoirs of Viscountess Sundon, review of, 431.

Three Months at Gaza, 334.

Tiberius, 411.

Times of George II., the, 431.

Torres Straits, surveying voyage through, 518.

Tournachou, M., tale from, 317.

Trance, objects to be gained by artificial induction of, 166.

Travels, modern, general character of, 707.

Troy, authenticity of the siege of, 136, 137.

Turkey, Napoleon's views on, 189.

Unpublished French novel, an, 671.

Units: Tens: Hundreds: Thousands:
Chap. I. 593
Chap. II. ib.
Chap. III. 595
Chap. IV. 596
Chap. V. 599
Chap. VI. 601.

Vaerst, Baron, Die Pyrenaën, review of, 707.

Valbezene, M., 102.

Valedictory Visits at Rome, 622
the Villa Borghese, ib.
the Villa Albani, 626.

Van Eyck, Eastlake on the invention of, 302.

Views and Reviews of American Literature, review of, 575.

Villa Borghese, the, 622; Albani, 626.

Vision of Cagliostro, the, 408;
Tiberius, 411;
Agrippa, 413;
Milton, 415;
Mirabeau, 417;
Beethoven, 419.

Voltaire, residence of, in England, 444.

W. E. A., Magus Muir, by, 614;
Widow of Glencoe, 700.

Waleska, Madame, anecdote of, 191.

Widow of Glencoe, the, 700.

William the Conqueror, landing of, 90.

William III. and the Massacre of Glencoe, 700.

Wolfian theory of the Iliad, the, 140.

Works of Hans Christian Andersen, the, 387.

Wreck, law of, 93.


Printed by William Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh.


[1] Essays. By Ralph Waldo Emerson. Nature, an Essay, and Orations. By the same.

[2] Memoirs of Sir Ewen Cameron of Lochiel.

[3] Die Pyrenäen. Von Eugen Baron Vaerst. Zwei Bände: Breslau, 1847.

[4] Marliani, Histoire Politique de l'Espagne Moderne, ii. 440.

[5] El santo zancarron, (literally, the holy dry bone,) an expression handed down from the Moors, and very dangerous to be used for some time after their expulsion, when an oath "by Mahomet" sufficed to make the utterer suspected by the Inquisition of addiction to the forbidden faith. It was to escape all suspicion of such addiction that the Spaniards became great consumers of pig's flesh, still a standard dish, in one form or other, at every Spanish dinner. Probably it was the excellent quality of Spanish pork, as much as the fear of the Inquisition, that perpetuated this custom.

[6] "I would much rather be a keeper of lions than have charge of Biscayans."

[7] Marliani, ii. 317.

[8] See Thucyd. i. 143, and Xenoph. de Repub. Ath. i. 19.

[9] See the remarkable passage in Herodotus (Terpsichore, 78) where he describes the change in the spirit of the Athenians after they had got rid of the yoke of the Pisistratidæ, and felt the full vigour of the free institutions which Cleisthenes had perfected for them.

[10] Scott's Life of Napoleon.

[11] History of Greece, vol. iii. p. 26, n.

[12] Plutarch in Vitâ Lysandri.

[13] Plutarch in Vitâ.

[14] Herodotus Polyhymnia, 144.

[15] See the speech of Pericles at the end of the first book of Thucydides, and also the great speech in the second book.

[16] Thucyd., iv. 10.

[17] Speech of Phormio to his crews before the second battle in the Gulf.—Thucyd. ii. 89.

[18] Herod., Urania, 90.

[19] The Paralus was the name of one of the two sacred galleys, which the Athenians employed for the conveyance of despatches, and state missions; and which were always equipped and manned with the greatest care. It is not specified in Thucydides that the Paralus was one of Phormio's galleys; but from the brilliant exploits of his squadron in this and a subsequent battle, we may fairly suppose it to have been composed of the Elite of the Athenian navy.

Transcriber's note:

Archaic spelling and variations in spelling and hyphenation have been retained except in obvious cases of typographical error.

Anchors to footnotes 1 and 2 have been supplied by the transcriber.

Table of contents has been created for the HTML version.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine--Volume
62, No. 386, December, 1847, by Various


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