The Project Gutenberg EBook of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 63,
No. 391, May, 1848, by Various

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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 63, No. 391, May, 1848

Author: Various

Release Date: June 26, 2012 [EBook #40090]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Brendan OConnor, Jonathan Ingram, Julia Neufeld
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images
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Transcriber's note:

Spelling and punctuation are sometimes erratic. A few obvious misprints have been corrected, but in general the original spelling and typesetting conventions have been retained. Accents in foreign language phrases are inconsistent, and have not been standardised.



No. CCCXCI.    MAY, 1848.     Vol. LXIII.


The Caxtons. Part II.525
Education in Wales540
The Silver Cross564
Republican Paris—(March, April, 1848,)573
The Spaniard in Sicily589
Crimes and Remarkable Trials in Scotland. Kidnapping—Peter
Williamson's Case607
The Repealer's Wish Granted627
The Last Walk. By B. Simmons629
Man is a Featherless Biped631
The Revolutions in Europe638


To whom all Communications (post paid) must be addressed.





When I had reached the age of twelve, I had got to the head of the preparatory school to which I had been sent. And having thus exhausted all the oxygen of learning in that little receiver, my parents looked out for a wider range for my inspirations. During the last two years in which I had been at school, my love for study had returned; but it was a vigorous, wakeful, undreamy love, stimulated by competition, and animated by the practical desire to excel.

My father no longer sought to curb my intellectual aspirings. He had too great a reverence for scholarship not to wish me to become a scholar if possible; though he more than once said to me somewhat sadly, "Master books, but do not let them master you. Read to live, not live to read. One slave of the lamp is enough for a household; my servitude must not be a hereditary bondage."

My father looked round for a suitable academy; and the fame of Dr Herman's "Philhellenic Institute" came to his ears.

Now, this Dr Herman was the son of a German music-master, who had settled in England. He had completed his own education at the university of Bonn; but, finding learning too common a drug in that market to bring the high price at which he valued his own, and having some theories as to political freedom which attached him to England, he resolved upon setting up a school, which he designed as an "era in the history of the human mind." Dr Herman was one of the earliest of those new-fashioned authorities in education, who have, more lately, spread pretty numerously amongst us, and would have given, perhaps, a dangerous shake to the foundations of our great classical seminaries, if those last had not very wisely, though very cautiously, borrowed some of the more sensible principles which lay mixed and adulterated amongst the crotchets and chimeras of their innovating rivals and assailants.

Dr Herman had written a great many learned works against every pre-existing method of instruction: that which had made the greatest noise was upon the infamous fiction of Spelling-Books: "A more lying, roundabout, puzzle-headed delusion than that by which we CONFUSE the clear instincts of truth in our accursed systems of spelling, was never concocted by the father of falsehood." Such was the exordium of this famous treatise. "For instance, take the monosyllable Cat. What brazen forehead you must have, when you say to an infant C, A, T,—spell CAT: that is, three sounds, forming a totally opposite compound—opposite in every detail, opposite in the whole—compose a poor little monosyllable, which, if you would but say the simple truth, the child will learn to spell merely by looking at it! How can three sounds, which run thus to the ear, seeehtee, compose the sound cat? Don't they rather compose the sound see-eh-té, or[526] ceaty? How can a system of education flourish that begins by so monstrous a falsehood, which the sense of hearing suffices to contradict? No wonder that the horn-book is the despair of mothers!" From this instance, the reader will perceive that Dr Herman, in his theory of education, began at the beginning!—he took the bull fairly by the horns. As for the rest, upon a broad principle of eclecticism, he had combined together every new patent invention for youthful idea-shooting. He had taken his trigger from Hofwyl; he had bought his wadding from Hamilton; he had got his copper-caps from Bell and Lancaster. The youthful idea! he had rammed it tight! he had rammed it loose! he had rammed it with pictorial illustrations! he had rammed it with the monitorial system! he had rammed in every conceivable way, and with every imaginable ramrod; but I have mournful doubts whether he shot the youthful idea an inch farther than it did under the old mechanism of flint and steel! Nevertheless, as Dr Herman really did teach a great many things too much neglected at schools; as, besides Latin and Greek, he taught a vast variety in that vague complexity now-a-days called "useful knowledge;" as he engaged lecturers on chemistry, engineering, and natural history; as arithmetic and the elements of physical science were enforced with zeal and care; as all sorts of gymnastics were intermingled with the sports of the play-ground;—so the youthful idea, if it did not go farther, spread its shots in a wider direction; and a boy could not stay there five years without learning something, which is more than can be said of all schools! He learned at least to use his eyes, and his ears, and his limbs; order, cleanliness, exercise, grew into habits; and the school pleased the ladies, and satisfied the gentlemen; in a word, it thrived: and Dr Herman, at the time I speak of, numbered more than one hundred pupils. Now, when the worthy man first commenced the task of tuition, he had proclaimed the humanest abhorrence to the barbarous system of corporeal punishment. But, alas! as his school increased in numbers, he had proportionately recanted these honourable and antibirchen ideas. He had, reluctantly, perhaps,—honestly, no doubt, but with full determination,—come to the conclusion, that there are secret springs which can only be discovered by the twigs of the divining-rod; and having discovered with what comparative ease the whole mechanism of his little government, by the admission of the birch-regulator, could be carried on, so, as he grew richer, and lazier, and fatter, the Philhellenic Institute spun along as glibly as a top kept in vivacious movement by the perpetual application of the lash.

I believe that the school did not suffer in reputation from this sad apostacy on the part of the head master; on the contrary, it seemed more natural and English,—less outlandish and heretical. And it was at the zenith of its renown, when, one bright morning, with all my clothes nicely mended, and a large plumcake in my box, I was deposited at its hospitable gates.

Amongst Dr Herman's various whimsicalities, there was one to which he had adhered with more fidelity than to the anti-corporeal punishment articles of his creed; and, in fact, it was upon this that he had caused those imposing words, "Philhellenic Institute," to blaze in gilt capitals in front of his academy. He belonged to that illustrious class of scholars who are now waging war on our popular mythologies, and upsetting all the associations which the Etonians and Harrovians connect with the household names of ancient history. In a word, he sought to restore to scholastic purity the mutilated orthography of Greek appellatives. He was extremely indignant that little boys should be brought up to confound Zeus with Jupiter, Ares with Mars, Artemis with Diana—the Greek deities with the Roman; and so rigidly did he inculcate the doctrine that these two sets of personages were to be kept constantly contradistinguished from each other, that his cross-examinations kept us in eternal confusion.

"Vat," he would exclaim to some new boy fresh from some grammar-school on the Etonian system—"Vat do you mean by dranslating Zeus[527] Jupiter? Is dat amatory, irascible, cloud-compelling god of Olympus, vid his eagle and his ægis, in the smallest degree resembling de grave, formal, moral Jupiter Optimus Maximus of the Roman Capitol?—a god, Master Simpkins, who would have been perfectly shocked at the idea of running after innocent Fraulein dressed up as a swan or a bull! I put dat question to you vonce for all, Master Simpkins." Master Simpkins took care to agree with the Doctor. "And how could you," resumed Dr Herman majestically, turning to some other criminal alumnus—"how could you presume to dranslate de Ares of Homer, sir, by de audacious vulgarism Mars? Ares, Master Jones, who roared as loud as ten thousand men when he was hurt, or as you vill roar if I catch you calling him Mars again! Ares who covered seven plectra of ground; Ares, the man-slayer, with the Mars or Mavors whom de Romans stole from de Sabines! Mars, de solemn and calm protector of Rome! Master Jones, Master Jones, you ought to be ashamed of yourself!"—and then waxing enthusiastic, and warming more and more into German gutturals and pronunciation, the good Doctor would lift up his hands, with two great rings on his thumbs, and exclaim—"Und Du! and dou, Aphroditè; dou, whose bert de Seasons velcomed! dou, who didst put Atonis into a coffer, and den tid durn him into an anemone; dou to be called Venus by dat snivel-nosed little Master Budderfield! Venus, who presided over Baumgartens and funerals, and nasty tinking sewers! Venus Cloacina,—O mein Gott! Come here, Master Budderfield; I must a flog you for dat; I must indeed, liddle boy!" As our Philhellenic preceptor carried his archæological purism into all Greek proper names, it was not likely that my unhappy baptismal would escape. The first time I signed my exercise, I wrote "Pisistratus Caxton" in my best round-hand. "And dey call your baba a scholar!" said the Doctor contemptuously. "Your name, sir, is Greek; and, as Greek, you vill be dood enough to write it, vith vat you call an e and an oP, E, I, S, I, S, T, R, A, T, O, S; and you vill alway put de accent over de i. Vat can you expect for to come to, Master Caxton, if you don't pay de care dat is proper to your own dood name—de e, and de o, and de accent? Ach! let me see no more of your vile corruptions! Mein Gott! Pi! ven de name is Pei!"

The next time I wrote home to my father, modestly implying that I was short of cash, that a trap-bat would be acceptable, and that the favourite goddess amongst the boys (whether Greek or Roman was very immaterial) was Diva Moneta, I felt a glow of classical pride in signing myself, "your affectionate Peísistratos." The next post brought a sad damper to my scholastic exultation. The letter ran thus:

"My dear Son,—I prefer my old acquaintances Thucydides and Pisistratus to Thoukudídes and Peísistratos. Horace is familiar to me, but Horatius is only known to me as Cocles. Pisistratus can play at trap-ball; but I find no authority in pure Greek to allow me to suppose that that game was known to Peísistratos. I should be too happy to send you a drachma or so, but I have no coins in my possession current at Athens at the time when Pisistratus was spelt Peísistratos. Your affectionate father,

"A. Caxton."

Verily, here indeed was the first practical embarrassment produced by that melancholy anachronism which my father had so prophetically deplored. However, nothing like experience to prove the value of compromise in this world! Peísistratos continued to write exercises, and a second letter from Pisistratus was followed by the trap-bat.


I was somewhere about sixteen when, on going home for the holidays, I found my mother's brother settled among the household lares. Uncle Jack, as he was familiarly called, was a light-hearted, plausible,[528] enthusiastic, talkative fellow, who had spent three small fortunes in trying to make a large one.

Uncle Jack was a great speculator; but in all his speculations he never affected to think of himself,—it was always the good of his fellow-creatures that he had at heart, and in this ungrateful world fellow-creatures are not to be relied upon! On coming of age, he inherited £6000 from his maternal grandfather. It seemed to him then his fellow-creatures were sadly imposed upon by their tailors. Those ninth-parts of humanity notoriously eked out their fractional existence by asking nine times too much for the clothing which civilisation, and perhaps a change of climate, render more necessary to us than to our ancestors the Picts. Out of pure philanthropy, Uncle Jack started "a Grand National Benevolent Clothing Company," which undertook to supply the public with inexpressibles of the best Saxon cloth at 7s. 6d. a pair; coats, superfine, £1, 18s.; and waistcoats at so much per dozen. They were all to be worked off by steam. Thus the rascally tailors were to be put down, humanity clad, and the philanthropists rewarded (but that was a secondary consideration) with a clear return of 30 per cent. In spite of the evident charitableness of this Christian design, and the irrefragable calculations upon which it was based, this company died a victim to the ignorance and unthankfulness of our fellow-creatures. And all that remained of Jack's £6000 was a fifty-fourth share in a small steam-engine, a large assortment of ready-made pantaloons, and the liabilities of the directors.

Uncle Jack disappeared, and went on his travels. The same spirit of philanthropy which characterised the speculations of his purse attended the risks of his person. Uncle Jack had a natural leaning towards all distressed communities: if any tribe, race, or nation was down in the world, Uncle Jack threw himself plump into the scale to redress the balance. Poles, Greeks, (the last were then fighting the Turks,) Mexicans, Spaniards,—Uncle Jack thrust his nose into all their squabbles! Heaven forbid I should mock thee, poor Uncle Jack! for those generous predilections towards the unfortunate; only, whenever a nation is in misfortune, there is always a job going on! The Polish cause, the Greek cause, the Mexican cause, and the Spanish cause, are necessarily mixed up with loans and subscriptions. These Continental patriots, when they take up the sword with one hand, generally contrive to thrust the other deep into their neighbours' breeches' pockets. Uncle Jack went to Greece, thence he went to Spain, thence to Mexico. No doubt he was of great service to these afflicted populations, for he came back with unanswerable proof of their gratitude in the shape of £3000. Shortly after this appeared a prospectus of the "New, Grand, National Benevolent Insurance Company, for the Industrious Classes." This invaluable document, after setting forth the immense benefits to society arising from habits of providence, and the introduction of insurance companies—proving the infamous rate of premiums exacted by the existent offices, and their inapplicability to the wants of the honest artisan, and declaring that nothing but the purest intentions of benefiting their fellow-creatures, and raising the moral tone of society, had led the directors to institute a new society, founded on the purest principles and the most moderate calculations—proceeded to demonstrate that twenty-four and a half per cent was the smallest possible return the shareholders could anticipate. The company began under the fairest auspices: an archbishop was caught as president, on the condition always that he should give nothing but his name to the society. Uncle Jack—more euphoniously designated as "the celebrated philanthropist, John Jones Tibbets, Esquire"—was honorary secretary, and the capital stated at two millions. But such was the obtuseness of the industrious classes, so little did they perceive the benefits of subscribing one-and-ninepence a-week from the age of twenty-one to fifty, in order to secure at the latter age the annuity of £18, that the company dissolved into thin air, and with it dissolved also Uncle Jack's £3000. Nothing more was then seen or heard of him for three years. So obscure was his existence, that on the death of an[529] aunt, who left him a small farm in Cornwall, it was necessary to advertise that "If John Jones Tibbets, Esq., would apply to Messrs Blunt and Tin, Lothbury, between the hours of ten and four, he would hear of something to his advantage." But, even as a conjuror declares that he will call the ace of spades, and the ace of spades, that you thought you had safely under your foot, turns up on the table—so with this advertisement suddenly turned up Uncle Jack. With inconceivable satisfaction did the new land-owner settle himself in his comfortable homestead. The farm, which was about two hundred acres, was in the best possible condition, and saving one or two chemical preparations, which cost Uncle Jack, upon the most scientific principles, thirty acres of buckwheat, the ears of which came up, poor things, all spotted and speckled, as if they had been inoculated with the small-pox, Uncle Jack for the first two years was a thriving man. Unluckily, however, one day Uncle Jack discovered a coal-mine in a beautiful field of swedish turnips; in another week the house was full of engineers and naturalists, and in another month appeared, in my uncle's best style, much improved by practice, a prospectus of "the Grand, National, anti-Monopoly Coal Company, instituted on behalf of the poor Householders of London, and against the Monster Monopoly of the London Coal Wharfs.

"A vein of the finest coal has been discovered on the estates of the celebrated philanthropist, John Jones Tibbets, Esq. This new mine, the Molly Wheel, having been satisfactorily tested by that eminent engineer, Giles Compass, Esq., promises an inexhaustible field to the energies of the benevolent and the wealth of the capitalist. It is calculated that the best coals may be delivered, screened, at the mouth of the Thames, for 18s. per load, yielding a profit of not less than forty-eight per cent to the shareholders. Shares, £50, to be paid in five instalments. Capital to be subscribed, one million. For shares, early application must be made to Messrs Blunt and Tin, solicitors, Lothbury."

Here, then, was something tangible for fellow-creatures to go on—there was land, there was a mine, there was coal, and there actually came shareholders and capital. Uncle Jack was so persuaded that his fortune was now to be made, and had, moreover, so great a desire to share the glory of ruining the monster monopoly of the London wharfs, that he refused a very large offer to dispose of the property altogether, remained chief shareholder, and removed to London, where he set up his carriage, and gave dinners to his fellow-directors. For no less than three years did this company flourish, having submitted the entire direction and working of the mines to that eminent engineer, Giles Compass—twenty per cent was paid regularly by that gentleman to the shareholders, and the shares were at more than cent per cent, when, one bright morning, when least expected, Giles Compass, Esq. removed himself to that wider field for genius like his, the United States; and it was discovered that the mine had for more than a year run itself into a great pit of water, and that Mr Compass had been paying the shareholders out of their own capital. My uncle had the satisfaction this time of being ruined in very good company: three doctors of divinity, two county members, a Scotch lord, and an East India director, were all in the same boat,—that boat which went down with the coal-mine into the great water pit!

It was just after this event that Uncle Jack, sanguine and light-hearted as ever, suddenly recollected his sister, Mrs Caxton; and not knowing where else to dine, thought he would repose his limbs under my father's trabes citrea, which the ingenious W. S. Landor opines should be translated "mahogany." You never saw a more charming man than Uncle Jack. All plump people are more popular than thin people. There is something jovial and pleasant in the sight of a round face! What conspiracy could succeed when its head was a lean and hungry-looking fellow, like Cassius? If the Roman patriots had had Uncle Jack amongst them, perhaps they would never have furnished a tragedy to Shakspeare. Uncle Jack was as plump as a partridge—not unwieldy, not corpulent, not obese, not "vastus," which Cicero[530] objects to in an orator—but every crevice comfortably filled up. Like the ocean, "time wrote no wrinkles on his glassy (or brassy) brow." His natural lines were all upward curves, his smile most ingratiating, his eye so frank, even his trick of rubbing his clean well-fed English-looking hands, had something, about it coaxing and debonnair, something that actually decoyed you into trusting your money into hands so prepossessing. Indeed, to him might be fully applied the expression—"Sedem animæ in extremis digitis habet;" "He had his soul's seat in his finger ends." The critics observe that few men have ever united in equal perfection the imaginative with the scientific or musing faculties. "Happy he," exclaims Schiller, "who combines the enthusiast's warmth with the worldly man's light"—light and warmth, Uncle Jack had them both. He was a perfect symphony of bewitching enthusiasm and convincing calculation. Dicæopolis in the Acharnenses, in presenting a gentleman called Nicharchus to the audience, observes—"He is small, I confess, but there is nothing lost in him: all is knave, that is not fool." Parodying the equivocal compliment, I may say, that though Uncle Jack was no giant, there was nothing lost in him. Whatever was not philanthropy was arithmetic, and whatever was not arithmetic was philanthropy. He would have been equally dear to Howard and to Cocker. Uncle Jack was comely, too—clear-skinned and florid, had a little mouth, with good teeth, wore no whiskers, shaved his beard as close as if it were one of his grand national companies; his hair, once somewhat sandy, was now rather grayish, which increased the respectability of his appearance, and he wore it flat at the sides and raised in a peak at the top; his organs of constructiveness and ideality were pronounced by Mr Squills to be prodigious, and those freely developed bumps gave great breadth to his forehead. Well-shaped, too, was Uncle Jack, about five feet eight, the proper height for an active man of business. He wore a black coat; but to make the nap look the fresher, he had given it the relief of gilt buttons, on which were wrought a small crown and anchor; at a distance this button looked like the king's button, and gave him the air of one who has a place about Court. He always wore a white neckcloth without starch, a frill and a diamond pin; which last furnished him with observations upon certain mines of Mexico, which he had a great but hitherto unsatisfied desire of seeing worked by a Grand National United Britons Company. His waistcoat of a morning was pale buff—of an evening, embroidered velvet; wherewith were connected sundry schemes of an "association for the improvement of native manufactures." His trousers, matutinally, were of the colour vulgarly called "blotting-paper;" and he never wore boots, which, he said, unfitted a man for exercise, but short drab gaiters and square-toed shoes. His watch-chain was garnished with a vast number of seals: each seal, indeed, represented the device of some defunct company, and they might be said to resemble the scalps of the slain, worn by the aboriginal Iroquois, concerning whom indeed he had once entertained philanthropic designs, compounded of conversion to Christianity on the principles of the English Episcopal Church, and of an advantageous exchange of beaver-skins for bibles, brandy, and gunpowder.

That Uncle Jack should win my heart was no wonder; my mother's he had always won from her earliest recollection of his having persuaded her to let her great doll (a present from her godmother) be put up to a raffle for the benefit of the chimney-sweeps. "So like him—so good!" she would often say pensively; "they paid sixpence a-piece for the raffle—twenty tickets, and the doll cost £2. Nobody was taken in, and the doll, poor thing, (it had such blue eyes!) went for a quarter of its value. But Jack said nobody could guess what good the ten shillings did to the chimney-sweeps!" Naturally enough, I say, my mother liked Uncle Jack! but my father liked him quite as well, and that was a strong proof of my uncle's powers of captivation. However, it is noticeable that when some retired scholar is once interested in an active man of the world, he is more inclined to admire him than others are. Sympathy with such a companion gratifies[531] at once his curiosity and his indolence: he can travel with him, scheme with him, fight with him, go with him through all the adventures of which his own books speak so eloquently, and all the time never stir from his easy-chair. My father said "that it was like listening to Ulysses to hear Uncle Jack!" Uncle Jack, too, had been in Greece and Asia Minor, gone over the site of the siege of Troy, eat figs at Marathon, shot hares in the Peloponnesus, and drank three pints of brown stout at the top of the Great Pyramid.

Therefore, Uncle Jack was like a book of reference to my father. Verily at times he looked on him as a book, and took him down after dinner as he would a volume of Dodwell or Pausanias. In fact, I believe that scholars who never move from their cells are not the less an eminently curious, bustling, active race, rightly understood. Even as old Burton saith of himself—"Though I live a collegiate student, and lead a monastic life, sequestered from those tumults and troubles of the world, I hear and see what is done abroad, how others run, ride, turmoil and macerate themselves in town and country," which citation sufficeth to show that scholars are naturally the most active men of the world, only that while their heads plot with Augustus, fight with Julius, sail with Columbus, and change the face of the globe with Alexander, Attila, or Mahomet, there is a certain mysterious attraction, which our improved knowledge of mesmerism will doubtless soon explain to the satisfaction of science, between that extremer and antipodal part of the human frame, called in the vulgate "the seat of honour," and the stuffed leather of an armed-chair. Learning somehow or other sinks down to that part in which it was first driven in, and produces therein a leaden heaviness and weight, which counteract those lively emotions of the brain, that might otherwise render students too mercurial and agile for the safety of established order. I leave this conjecture to the consideration of experimentalists in the physics.

I was still more delighted than my father with Uncle Jack. He was full of amusing tricks, could conjure wonderfully, make a bunch of keys dance a hornpipe, and if ever you gave him half-a-crown, he was sure to turn it into a halfpenny. He was only unsuccessful in turning my halfpennies into half-crowns.

We took long walks together, and in the midst of his most diverting conversation my uncle was always an observer. He would stop to examine the nature of the soil, fill my pockets (not his own) with great lumps of clay, stones, and rubbish, to analyse when he got home, by the help of some chemical apparatus he had borrowed from Mr Squills. He would stand an hour at a cottage door, admiring the little girls who were straw-platting, and then walk into the nearest farm-houses, to suggest the feasibility of "a national straw-plat association." All this fertility of intellect was, alas! wasted in that "ingrata terra" into which Uncle Jack had fallen. No squire could be persuaded into the belief that his mother-stone was pregnant with minerals; no farmer talked into weaving straw-plat into a proprietary association. So, even as an ogre, having devastated the surrounding country, begins to cast a hungry eye on his own little ones, Uncle Jack's mouth, long defrauded of juicier and more legitimate morsels, began to water for a bite of my innocent father.


At this time we were living in what may be called a very respectable style for people who made no pretence to ostentation. On the skirts of a large village, stood a square red brick house, about the date of Queen Anne. Upon the top of the house was a balustrade; why, heaven knows—for nobody, except our great tom-cat Ralph, ever walked upon the leads—but so it was, and so it often is in houses from the time of Elizabeth, yea, even to that of Victoria. This balustrade was divided by low piers, on each of which was placed a round ball. The centre of the house[532] was distinguishable by an architrave, in the shape of a triangle, under which was a niche, probably meant for a figure, but the figure was not forthcoming. Below this was the window (encased with carved pilasters) of my dear mother's little sitting-room; and lower still, raised on a flight of six steps, was a very handsome-looking door. All the windows, with smallish panes and largish frames, were relieved with stone copings;—so that the house had an air of solidity and well-to-do-ness about it—nothing tricky on the one hand, nothing decayed on the other. The house stood a little back from the garden gates, which were large, and set between two piers surmounted with vases. Many might object, that in wet weather you had to walk some way to your carriage; but we obviated that objection by not keeping a carriage. To the right of the house the enclosure contained a little lawn, a laurel hermitage, a square pond, a modest green-house, and half-a-dozen plots of mignionette, heliotrope, roses, pinks, sweet-william, &c. To the left spread the kitchen-garden, lying screened by espaliers yielding the finest apples in the neighbourhood, and divided by three winding gravel-walks, of which the extremest was backed by a wall, whereon, as it lay full south, peaches, pears, and nectarines sunned themselves early into well-remembered flavour. This walk was appropriated to my father. Book in hand, he would, on fine days, pace to and fro, often stopping, dear man, to jot down a pencil-note, gesticulate, or soliloquise. And there, when not in his study, my mother would be sure to find him. In these deambulations, as he called them, he had generally a companion so extraordinary, that I expect to be met with a hillalu of incredulous contempt when I specify it. Nevertheless I vow and protest that it is strictly true, and no invention of an exaggerating romancer. It happened one day that my mother had coaxed Mr Caxton to walk with her to market. By the way they passed a sward of green, on which sundry little boys were engaged upon the lapidation, or stoning, of a lame duck. It seemed that the duck was to have been taken to market, when it was discovered not only to be lame, but dyspeptic; perhaps some weed had disagreed with its ganglionic apparatus, poor thing. However that be, the good-wife had declared that the duck was good for nothing; and upon the petition of her children, it had been consigned to them for a little innocent amusement, and to keep them out of harm's way. My mother declared that she never before saw her lord and master roused to such animation. He dispersed the urchins, released the duck, carried it home, kept it in a basket by the fire, fed it and physicked it till it recovered; and then it was consigned to the square pond. But lo! the duck knew its benefactor; and whenever my father appeared outside his door, it would catch sight of him, flap from the pond, gain the lawn, and hobble after him, (for it never quite recovered the use of its left leg,) till it reached the walk by the peaches; and there sometimes it would sit, gravely watching its master's deambulations; sometimes stroll by his side, and, at all events, never leave him, till, at his return home, he fed it with his own hands; and, quacking her peaceful adieus, the nymph then retired to her natural element.

With the exception of my mother's dining-room, the principal sitting-rooms—that is, the study, the dining-room, and what was emphatically called the "best drawing-room," which was only occupied on great occasions—looked south. Tall beeches, firs, poplars, and a few oaks, backed the house, and indeed surrounded it on all sides but the south; so that it was well sheltered from the winter cold and the summer heat. Our principal domestic, in dignity and station, was Mrs Primmins, who was waiting gentlewoman, housekeeper, and tyrannical dictatrix of the whole establishment. Two other maids, a gardener, and a footman composed the rest of the serving household. Save a few pasture-fields, which he let, my father was not troubled with land. His income was derived from the interest of about £15,000, partly in the three per cents, partly on mortgage; and what with my mother and Mrs Primmins, this income always yielded[533] enough to satisfy my father's single hobby for books, pay for my education, and entertain our neighbours, rarely, indeed, at dinner, but very often at tea. My dear mother boasted that our society was very select. It consisted chiefly of the clergyman and his family, two old maids who gave themselves great airs, a gentleman who had been in the East India service, and who lived in a large white house at the top of the hill; some half-a-dozen squires and their wives and children; Mr Squills, still a bachelor: And once a-year cards were exchanged—and dinners too—with certain aristocrats, who inspired my mother with a great deal of unnecessary awe; since she declared they were the most good-natured easy people in the world, and always stuck their cards in the most conspicuous part of the looking-glass frame over the chimney-place of the best drawing-room. Thus you perceive that our natural position was one highly creditable to us, proving the soundness of our finances and the gentility of our pedigree, of which—but more hereafter. At present I content myself with saying on that head, that even the proudest of the neighbouring squirearchs always spoke of us as a very ancient family. But all my father ever said, to evince pride of ancestry, was in honour of William Caxton, citizen and printer in the reign of Edward IV.—"Clarum et venerabile nomen!" an ancestor a man of letters might be justly vain of.

"Heus," said my father, stopping short, and lifting his eyes from the Colloquies of Erasmus, "salve multum, jucundissime."

Uncle Jack was not much of a scholar, but he knew enough Latin to answer, "Salve tantundem, mi frater."

My father smiled approvingly. "I see you comprehend true urbanity, or politeness, as we phrase it. There is an elegance in addressing the husband of your sister as brother. Erasmus commends it in his opening chapter, under the head of 'Salutandi formulæ.' And indeed," added my father thoughtfully, "there is no great difference between politeness and affection. My author here observes that it is polite to express salutation in certain minor distresses of nature. One should salute a gentleman in yawning, salute him in hiccuping, salute him in sneezing, salute him in coughing;—and that evidently because of your interest in his health; for he may dislocate his jaw in yawning, and the hiccup is often a symptom of grave disorder, and sneezing is perilous to the small blood-vessels of the head, and coughing is either a tracheal, bronchial, pulmonary, or ganglionic affection."

"Very true. The Turks always salute in sneezing, and they are a remarkably polite people," said Uncle Jack. "But, my dear brother, I was just looking with admiration at these apple-trees of yours. I never saw finer. I am a great judge of apples. I find, in talking with my sister, that you make very little profit of them. That's a pity. One might establish a cider orchard in this county. You can take your own fields in hand; you can hire more, so as to make the whole, say a hundred acres. You can plant a very extensive apple-orchard on a grand scale. I have just run through the calculations; they are quite startling. Take 40 trees per acre—that's the proper average—at 1s. 6d. per tree; 4000 trees for 100 acres £300;, labour of digging, trenching, say £10 an acre—total for 100 acres, £1000. Pave the bottoms of the holes, to prevent the tap-root striking down into the bad soil—oh, I am very close and careful, you see, in all minutiæ,!—always was—pave 'em with rubbish and stones, 6d. a hole; that, for 4000 trees the 100 acres is £100. Add the rent of the land, at 30s. an acre, £150. And how stands the total?" Here Uncle Jack proceeded rapidly ticking off the items with his fingers:—

Paving holes,100

That's your expense. Mark.—Now to the profit. Orchards in Kent realise £100 an acre, some even £150; but let's be moderate, say only £50 an acre, and your gross profit per year, from a capital of £1550, will be £5000.—£5000 a year. Think of that,[534] brother Caxton. Deduct 10 per cent, or £500 a-year, for gardeners' wages, manure, &c., and the net product is £4500. Your fortune's made, man—it is made—I wish you joy!" And Uncle Jack rubbed his hands.

"Bless me, father," said eagerly the young Pisistratus, who had swallowed with ravished ears every syllable and figure of this inviting calculation, "Why, we should be as rich as Squire Rollick; and then, you know, sir, you could keep a pack of fox-hounds!"

"And buy a large library," added Uncle Jack, with more subtle knowledge of human nature as to its appropriate temptations. "There's my friend the archbishop's collection to be sold."

Slowly recovering his breath, my father gently turned his eyes from one to the other; and then, laying his left hand on my head, while with the right he held up Erasmus rebukingly to Uncle Jack, he said—

"See how easily you can sow covetousness and avidity in the youthful mind! Ah, brother!"

"You are too severe, sir. See how the dear boy hangs his head! Fie!—natural enthusiasm of his years—'gay hope by fancy fed,' as the poet says. Why, for that fine boy's sake, you ought not to lose so certain an occasion of wealth, I may say, untold. For, observe, you will form a nursery of crabs; each year you go on grafting and enlarging your plantation, renting, nay, why not buying, more land? Gad, sir! in twenty years you might cover half the county; but say you stop short at 2000 acres, why, the net profit is £90,000 a-year. A duke's income—a duke's—and going a begging as I may say."

"But stop," said I modestly; "the trees don't grow in a year. I know when our last apple tree was planted—it is five years ago—it was then three years old, and it only bore one half bushel last autumn."

"What an intelligent lad it is!—Good head there. Oh, he'll do credit to his great fortune, brother," said Uncle Jack approvingly. "True, my boy. But in the meanwhile we could fill the ground, as they do in Kent, with gooseberries and currants, or onions and cabbages. Nevertheless, considering we are not great capitalists, I am afraid we must give up a share of our profits to diminish our outlay. So, harkye, Pisistratus—(look at him, brother—simple as he stands there, I think he's born with a silver spoon in his mouth)—harkye, now to the mysteries of speculation. Your father shall quietly buy the land, and then, presto! we will issue a prospectus, and start a company. Associations can wait five years for a return. Every year, meanwhile, increases the value of the shares. Your father takes, we say, fifty shares at £50 each, paying only an instalment of £2 a share. He sells 35 shares at cent per cent. He keeps the remaining 15, and his fortune's made all the same; only it's not quite so large as if he had kept the whole concern in his own hands. What say you now, brother Caxton? 'Visne edere pomum?' as we used to say at school."

"I don't want a shilling more than I have got," said my father, resolutely. "My wife would not love me better; my food would not nourish me more; my boy would not, in all probability, be half so hardy, or a tenth part so industrious; and——"

"But," interrupted Uncle Jack, pertinaciously, and reserving his grand argument for the last, "the good you would confer on the community—the progress given to the natural productions of your country, the wholesome beverage of cider, brought within cheap reach of the labouring classes. If it was only for your sake, should I have urged this question? should I now? is it in my character? But for the sake of the public! mankind! of our fellow-creatures! Why, sir, England could not get on if gentlemen like you had not a little philanthropy and speculation."

"Papæ!" exclaimed my father, "to think that England can't get on without turning Augustine Caxton into an apple-merchant! My dear Jack, listen. You remind me of a colloquy in this book; wait a bit—here it is—Pamphagus and Cocles—'Cocles recognises his friend who had been absent for many years, by his eminent and remarkable nose.—Pamphagus says, rather irritably, that he is not ashamed of his nose. 'Ashamed of it! no, indeed,' says Cocles: 'I never saw a nose that could be put to so many uses!' 'Ha,' says Pamphagus,[535] (whose curiosity is aroused,) 'uses! what uses?' Whereon (lepidissime frater!) Cocles, with eloquence rapid as yours, runs on with a countless list of the uses to which so vast a development of the organ can be applied. 'If the cellar was deep, it could sniff up the wine like an elephant's trunk,—if the bellows were missing, it could blow the fire,—if the lamp was too glaring, it could suffice for a shade,—it would serve as a speaking-trumpet to a herald,—it could sound a signal of battle in the field,—it would do for a wedge in wood-cutting,—a spade for digging,—a scythe for mowing,—an anchor in sailing; till Pamphagus cries out, 'Lucky dog that I am! and I never knew before what a useful piece of furniture I carried about with me.'" My father paused and strove to whistle, but that effort at harmony failed him—and he added, smiling, "So much for my apple trees, brother John. Leave them to their natural destination of filling tarts and dumplings."

Uncle Jack looked a little discomposed for a moment; but he then laughed with his usual heartiness, and saw that he had not yet got to my father's blind side. I confess that my revered parent rose in my estimation after that conference; and I began to see that a man may not be quite without common-sense, though he is a scholar. Indeed, whether it was that Uncle Jack's visit acted as a gentle stimulant to his relaxed faculties, or that I, now grown older and wiser, began to see his character more clearly, I date from those summer holidays the commencement of that familiar and endearing intimacy which ever after existed between my father and myself. Often I deserted the more extensive rambles of Uncle Jack, or the greater allurements of a cricket match in the village, or a day's fishing in Squire Rollick's preserves, for a quiet stroll with my father by the old peach wall;—sometimes silent, indeed, and already musing over the future, while he was busy with the past, but amply rewarded when, suspending his lecture, he would pour forth hoards of varied learning, rendered amusing by his quaint comments, and that Socratic satire which only fell short of wit because it never passed into malice. At some moments, indeed, the vein ran into eloquence; and with some fine heroic sentiment in his old books, his stooping form rose erect, his eye flashed; and you saw that he had not been originally formed and wholly meant for the obscure seclusion in which his harmless days now wore contentedly away.


"Egad, sir, the county is going to the dogs! Our sentiments are not represented in parliament or out of it. The County Mercury has ratted, and be hanged to it! and now we have not one newspaper in the whole shire to express the sentiments of the respectable part of the community!"

This speech was made on the occasion of one of the rare dinners given by Mr and Mrs Caxton to the grandees of the neighbourhood, and uttered by no less a person than Squire Rollick, of Rollick Hall, chairman of the quarter sessions.

I confess that I, (for I was permitted on that first occasion not only to dine with the guests, but to outstay the ladies, in virtue of my growing years, and my promise to abstain from the decanters)—I confess, I say, that I, poor innocent, was puzzled to conjecture what sudden interest in the county newspaper could cause Uncle Jack to prick up his ears like a warhorse at the sound of the drum, and rush so incontinently across the interval between Squire Rollick and himself. But the mind of that deep and truly knowing man was not to be plumbed by a chit of my age. You could not fish for the shy salmon in that pool with a crooked pin and a bobbin, as you would for minnows; or, to indulge in a more worthy illustration, you could not say of him, as St Gregory saith of the streams of Jordan, "a lamb could wade easily through that ford."

"Not a county newspaper to advocate the rights of—" here my uncle stopped, as if at a loss, and whispered in my ear, "What are his politics?" "Don't know," answered I. Uncle Jack intuitively took down from his memory the phrase most readily at hand, and added, with a nasal intonation,[536] "the rights of our distressed fellow-creatures!"

My father scratched his eyebrow with his forefinger, as he was apt to do when doubtful; the rest of the company—a silent set—looked up.

"Fellow-creatures!" said Mr Rollick—"fellow-fiddlesticks!"

Uncle Jack was clearly in the wrong box. He drew out of it cautiously—"I mean," said he, "our respectable fellow-creatures;" and then suddenly it occurred to him that a "County Mercury" would naturally represent the agricultural interest, and that if Mr Rollick said that the "County Mercury ought to be hanged," he was one of those politicians who had already begun to call the agricultural interest "a Vampire." Flushed with that fancied discovery, Uncle Jack rushed on, intending to bear along with the stream, thus fortunately directed, all the "rubbish"[1] subsequently shot into Covent Garden and the Hall of Commerce.

"Yes, respectable fellow-creatures, men of capital and enterprise! For what are these country squires compared to our wealthy merchants? What is this agricultural interest that professes to be the prop of the land?"

"Professes!" cried Squire Rollick, "It is the prop of the land, and as for those manufacturing fellows who have bought up the Mercury—"

"Bought up the Mercury, have they, the villains!" cried Uncle Jack, interrupting the Squire, and now bursting into full scent—"Depend upon it, sir, it is a part of a diabolical system of buying up, which must be exposed manfully.—Yes, as I was saying, what is that agricultural interest which they desire to ruin? which they declare to be so bloated—which they call 'a vampire!' they the true blood-suckers, the venomous millocrats! Fellow-creatures, sir! I may well call distressed fellow-creatures, the members of that much suffering class of which you yourself are an ornament. What can be more deserving of our best efforts for relief, than a country gentleman like yourself, we'll say—of a nominal £5000 a-year—compelled to keep up an establishment, pay for his fox-hounds, support the whole population by contributions to the poor rates, support the whole church by tithes; all justice, jails, and prosecutions by the county rates, all thoroughfares by the highway rates—ground down by mortgages, Jews, or jointures; having to provide for younger children; enormous expenses for cutting his woods, manuring his model farm, and fattening huge oxen till every pound of flesh costs him five pounds sterling in oil-cake; and then the lawsuits necessary to protect his rights; plundered on all hands by poachers, sheep-stealers, dog-stealers, church-wardens, overseers, gardeners, gamekeepers, and that necessary rascal, his steward. If ever there was a distressed fellow-creature in the world, it is a country gentleman with a great estate."

My father evidently thought this an exquisite piece of banter; for by the corner of his mouth I saw that he chuckled inly.

Squire Rollick, who had interrupted the speech by sundry approving exclamations, particularly at the mention of poor rates, tithes, county rates, mortgages, and poachers, here pushed the bottle to Uncle Jack, and said civilly—"There's a great deal of truth in what you say, Mr Tibbets. The agricultural interest is going to ruin; and when it does, I would not give that for Old England!" and Mr Rollick snapped his finger and thumb. "But what is to be done—done for the county? There's the rub."

"I was just coming to that," quoth Uncle Jack. "You say that you have not a county paper that upholds your cause, and denounces your enemies."

"Not since the Whigs bought the ——shire Mercury."

"Why, good heavens! Mr Rollick, how could you suppose that you will have justice done you, if at this time of day you neglect the press? The press, sir—there it is—air we breathe! What you want is a great national—no, not a national—A PROVINCIAL proprietary weekly journal, supported liberally and steadily by that mighty party whose very existence is at stake. Without such a paper, you are gone, you are dead, extinct, defunct, buried alive; with such a paper, well conducted, well edited by a man of the world, of[537] education, of practical experience in agriculture and human nature, mines, corn, manure, insurances, acts of parliament, cattle shows, the state of parties, and the best interests of society—with such a man and such a paper, you will carry all before you. But it must be done by subscription, by association, by co-operation, by a grand provincial Benevolent Agricultural, Anti-innovating Society."

"Egad, sir, you are right!" said Mr Rollick, slapping his thigh; "and I'll ride over to our Lord-Lieutenant to-morrow. His eldest son ought to carry the county."

"And he will, if you encourage the press, and set up a journal," said Uncle Jack, rubbing his hands, and then gently stretching them out, and drawing them gradually together, as if he were already enclosing in that airy circle the unsuspecting guineas of the unborn association.

All happiness dwells more in the hope than the possession; and at that moment, I dare be sworn that Uncle Jack felt a livelier rapture, circum præcordia, warming his entrails, and diffusing throughout his whole frame of five feet eight the prophetic glow of the Magna Diva Moneta, than if he had enjoyed for ten years the actual possession of King Crœsus's privy purse.

"I thought Uncle Jack was not a Tory," said I to my father the next day.

My father, who cared nothing for politics, opened his eyes.

"Are you a Tory or a Whig, papa?"

"Um," said my father—"there's a great deal to be said on both sides of the question. You see, my boy, that Mrs Primmins has a great many moulds for our butter-pats; sometimes they come up with a crown on them, sometimes with the more popular impress of a cow. It is all very well for those who dish up the butter to print it according to their taste, or in proof of their abilities; it is enough for us to butter our bread, say grace, and pay for the dairy. Do you understand?"

"Not a bit, sir."

"Your namesake Pisistratus was wiser than you, then," said my father. "And now let us feed the duck. Where's your uncle?"

"He has borrowed Mr Squills's mare, sir, and gone with Squire Rollick to the great lord they were talking of."

"Oho!" said my father, "brother Jack is going to print his butter!"

And indeed Uncle Jack played his cards so well on this occasion, and set before the Lord-Lieutenant, with whom he had a personal interview, so fine a prospectus, and so nice a calculation, that before my holidays were over, he was installed in a very handsome office in the county town, with private apartments over it, and a salary of £500 a-year—for advocating the cause of his distressed fellow-creatures, including noblemen, squires, yeomanry, farmers, and all yearly subscribers in the New Proprietary Agricultural, Anti-innovating ——shire Weekly Gazette. At the head of his newspaper Uncle Jack caused to be engraved a crown supported by a flail and a crook, with the motto "Pro rege et grege," and that was the way in which Uncle Jack printed his pats of butter.


I seemed to myself to have made a leap in life when I returned to school. I no longer felt as a boy. Uncle Jack, out of his own purse, had presented me with my first pair of Wellington boots; my mother had been coaxed into allowing me a small tail to jackets hitherto tailless; my collars, which had been wont, spaniel-like, to flap and fall about my neck, now, terrier-wise, stood erect and rampant, encompassed with a circumvallation of whalebone, buckram, and black silk. I was, in truth, nearly seventeen, and I gave myself the airs of a man. Now be it observed, that that crisis in adolescent existence wherein we first pass from Master Sisty into Mr Pisistratus, or Pisistratus Caxton, Esq.—wherein we arrogate, and with tacit concession from our elders, the long envied title of "young man"—always seems a sudden and imprompt up-shooting and elevation. We do not mark the gradual preparations thereto; we remember only one distinct period in which all the signs and symptoms burst and effervesced together;—Wellington boots, tail, stiffener, down on the upper lip, thoughts on razors,[538] reveries on young ladies, and a new kind of sense of poetry.

I began now to read steadily, to understand what I did read, and to cast some anxious looks towards the future, with vague notions that I had a place to win in the world, and that nothing is to be won without perseverance and labour; and so I went on till I was seventeen, and at the head of the school, when I received the two letters I subjoin.

1.—From Augustine Caxton, Esq.

"My Dear Son,—I have informed Dr Herman that you will not return to him after the approaching holidays. You are old enough now to look forward to the embraces of our beloved Alma Mater, and I think studious enough to hope for the honours she bestows on her worthier sons. You are already entered at Trinity,—and in fancy I see my youth return to me in your image. I see you wandering where the Cam steals its way through those noble gardens; and, confusing you with myself, I recall the old dreams that haunted me when the chiming bells swung over the placid waters. 'Verum secretumque Mouseion, quam multa dictatis, quam multa invenitis!' There, at that illustrious college, unless the race has indeed degenerated, you will measure yourself with young giants. You will see those who, in the Law, the Church, the State, or the still cloisters of Learning, are destined to become the eminent leaders of your age. To rank amongst them you are not forbidden to aspire; he who in youth 'can scorn delight, and love laborious days,' should pitch high his ambition.

"Your Uncle Jack says he has done wonders with his newspaper,—though Mr Rollick grumbles, and declares it is full of theories, and that it puzzles the farmers. Uncle Jack, in reply, contends that he creates an audience, not addresses one,—and sighs that his genius is thrown away in a provincial town. In fact, he really is a very clever man, and might do much in London, I dare say. He often comes over to dine and sleep, returning the next morning. His energy is wonderful, and—contagious. Can you imagine that he has actually stirred up the flame of my vanity, by constantly poking at the bars? Metaphor apart—I find myself collecting all my notes and common-places, and wondering to see how easily they fall into method, and take shape in chapters and books. I cannot help smiling when I add, that I fancy I am going to become an author; and smiling more when I think that your Uncle Jack should have provoked me into so egregious an ambition. However, I have read some passages of my book to your mother, and she says "it is vastly fine," which is encouraging. Your mother has great good sense, though I don't mean to say that she has much learning,—which is a wonder, considering that Pic de la Mirandola was nothing to her father. Yet he died, dear great man, and never printed a line,—while I—positively I blush to think of my temerity!

"Adieu, my son; make the best of the time that remains with you at the Philhellenic. A full mind is the true Pantheism, plena Jovis. Wherever there is knowledge, there is God. It is only in some corner of the brain which we leave empty, that Vice can obtain a lodging. When she knocks at your door, my son, be able to say, 'No room for your ladyship,—pass on.'—Your affectionate father,

"A. Caxton."

2.—From Mrs Caxton.

"My Dearest Sisty,—You are coming home!—My heart is so full of that thought that it seems to me as if I could not write any thing else. Dear child, you are coming home;—you have done with school, you have done with strangers,—you are our own, all our own son again! You are mine again, as you were in the cradle, the nursery, and the garden, Sisty, when we used to throw daisies at each other! You will laugh at me so, when I tell you, that as soon as I heard you were coming home for good, I crept away from the room, and went to my drawer where I keep, you know, all my treasures. There was your little cap that I worked myself, and your poor little nankeen jacket that you were so proud to throw off—oh! and many other relics of you when you were little Sisty, and I was not that cold formal 'Mother' you call me now, but dear 'Mamma.' I[539] kissed them, Sisty, and said 'My little child is coming back to me again!' So foolish was I, I forgot all the long years that have passed, and fancied I could carry you again in my arms, and that I should again coax you to say 'God bless papa.' Well, well! I write now between laughing and crying. You cannot be what you were, but you are still my own dear son—your father's son—dearer to me than all the world—except that father.

"I am so glad, too, that you will come so soon: come while your father is really warm with his book, and while you can encourage and keep him to it. For why should he not be great and famous? Why should not all admire him as we do? You know how proud of him I always was; but I do so long to let the world know why I was so proud. And yet, after all, it is not only because he is so wise and learned,—but because he is so good, and has such a large noble heart. But the heart must appear in the book too, as well as the learning. For though it is full of things I don't understand, every now and then there is something I do understand—that seems as if that heart spoke out to all the world.

"Your uncle has undertaken to get it published; and your father is going up to town with him about it, as soon as the first volume is finished.

"All are quite well except poor Mrs Jones, who has the ague very bad indeed; Primmins has made her wear a charm for it, and Mrs Jones actually declares she is already much better. One can't deny that there may be a great deal in such things, though it seems quite against the reason. Indeed your father says, 'Why not? A charm must be accompanied by a strong wish on the part of the charmer that it may succeed,—and what is magnetism but a wish?' I don't quite comprehend this; but, like all your father says, it has more than meets the eye, I am quite sure.

"Only three weeks to the holidays, and then no more school, Sisty—no more school! I shall have your room all done freshly, and made so pretty; they are coming about it to-morrow.

"The duck is quite well, and I really don't think it is quite as lame as it was.

"God bless you, dear, dear child!—Your affectionate happy mother,

"K. C."

The interval between these letters and the morning on which I was to return home, seemed to me like one of those long, restless, yet half dreamy days which in some infant malady I had passed in a sick-bed. I went through my task-work mechanically, composed a Greek ode in farewell to the Philhellenic, which Dr Herman pronounced a chef-d'œuvre, and my father, to whom I sent it in triumph, returned a letter of false English with it, that parodied all my Hellenic barbarisms by imitating them in my mother tongue. However, I swallowed the leek, and consoled myself with the pleasing recollection that, after spending six years in learning to write bad Greek, I should never have any further occasion to avail myself of so precious an accomplishment.

And so came the last day. Then, alone, and in a kind of delighted melancholy, I revisited each of the old haunts. The robbers' cave we had dug one winter, and maintained, six of us, against all the police of the little kingdom. The place near the pales where I had fought my first battle. The old beech stump on which I sate to read letters from home!

With my knife, rich in six blades, (besides a cork-screw, a pen-picker, and a button-hook,) I carved my name in large capitals over my desk. Then night came, and the bell rang, and we went to our rooms. And I opened the window and looked out. I saw all the stars, and wondered which was mine—which should light to fame and fortune the manhood about to commence. Hope and Ambition were high within me;—and yet, behind them, stood Melancholy. Ah! who amongst you, readers, can now summon back all those thoughts, sweet and sad—all that untold, half-conscious regret for the past—all those vague longings for the future, which made a poet of the dullest amongst you on the last night before leaving boyhood and school for ever!




That it is the duty of a wise and foreseeing government to inquire into the condition of whatever affects the well-being of the people, is almost a political truism, and may certainly be received as a political axiom. More especially, however, when the subject is one of such vital importance as education, does such an inquiry become necessary: and, in truth, the leaders of the state cannot be considered as doing their duty, unless they make themselves acquainted with the practical bearings and results of the system, whatever it may be, that exists. Not that the government of this country, until very recent periods at least, ever troubled themselves with such matters: the more direct political business of the state, the clash of parties, and the struggle for power, absorbed their whole attention; and education was left, as a matter of private and local concern, to the clergy and the gentry exclusively. The voluntary system, superinduced upon the country by the indolence or neglect of those who held the reins of authority, was allowed to remain in unaided operation as far as education was concerned; and until the establishing of National Schools, as they are commonly termed, and for some time after that event, the governments that followed each other in the dingy recesses of Downing Street cared no more for village schoolmasters, and knew no more about them, than they did about village blacksmiths. It was enough if the people went on tolerably well, and paid their taxes; whether they learned any thing at school, or whether they had schools in which any thing might be learned, was, at head-quarters, a matter of no moment. Most of the upper classes of the nation were of the same feeling—the middle classes, too, folded their arms and looked on.[3] Had it not been for the force of events, and the efforts of a few energetic men, education had been shelved, as a musty useless topic, for an indefinite period.

Now, however, in this forty-eighth year of the nineteenth century, it is viewed in a far different light. The middle classes have begun to take up the matter as they had never done before,—"purging and unsealing their long abused sight" to the manifold advantages involved in it for themselves; while the upper classes look more to how it fares in this respect with the very poor or the profligate. And so much pressed on this subject, from many quarters, is the government, that neither Lord John Russell, as long as he remains on the Treasury Bench, nor any body else, who may get there, can ever hope to avoid doing something for the education of the people.

There has been a growing sense of the importance of this subject on the part of the nation at large, which has acted on the nervous sensibilities of all occupants of office in later years; and the very force of events themselves, apart from all theoretic reasoning as to expediency or the contrary, has compelled each successive government to look after the schoolmaster, and even to send him abroad in the world, though at the risk of making him the laughing-stock of his scholars for want of due preparation.

We do not purpose to write the history of the educational movement of this realm since the middle of the eighteenth century—volumes might be compiled on the topic, and it would still remain unexhausted.

There are, however, two things which we would point out to the attention of our readers. The first is,[541] that the constituted authorities of this country and the legislature, ever since the time of the Reformation, have acted too much upon the principle that the ecclesiastical establishments of the nation, aided by the Foundation schools of the land, not only were sufficient to attend to the moral and religious welfare of the community, but that they actually did effect this end, and that they did bring up the people in the right way; whereas we now know, that not only has the constitution of the ecclesiastical revenues and administration been lamentably unequal and ineffective, but that provisions for teaching, upon a general and effective plan, could hardly be said to exist. At all events, when the population began to increase rapidly—when the great movement of the Methodists took place in England—and later, when religious dissent not only reared its hydra head, but became encouraged in high places—the nation seemed all at once to start from its lethargy, and to inquire into what means it possessed for enlightening and civilising the humblest classes of its children; and, when it did so inquire, those means were found wanting.

Again, in these our own days, when crime is shown to be increasing in a much faster ratio than either the enormous wealth or the already great population of the country; and when legal inquirers have traced back adult crime to puerile and even infantine neglect and ignorance; when the brutality of the people shows itself at every man's door and homestead, in the burning of farming-stock or the destruction of machinery and dwelling-houses, and makes itself to be paid for in the form of constantly increasing poor-rates,—in times such as these, it behoves every man, who has any thing to dread from the insurrectionary rising of the lower classes, to look sharply around him, and to see how best the sources of the evil torrent may be dried up; where the strongest dam may be thrown across its impetuous course, and into what side-channels its blind strength may be diverted. It behoves every thoughtful lover of his country to consider well how the innate national energies of his fellow countrymen may be improved, humanised, and directed to proper objects; and how the mass of the people, instead of being dreaded as a mob of hungry, savage levellers, may come to be looked on as the broad basis and support of the whole national edifice. And this is to be effected by attending, not merely to the physical and material well-being of the people, but by giving well directed and unceasing diligence to the promotion of "true religion and sound knowledge" among them. We maintain that hitherto, and even at the present time, the public constituted means for attaining this important end have been, and are, altogether insufficient; and we further maintain, that the necessity of making some adequate provision is increasing every day, and cannot long be postponed without imminent danger to the community.

We would also beg our readers to observe that, in the case of these commissions of inquiry into the existing state of education in any given district, but especially in Wales, the commissioners had not got to look into what the existing government, or previous governments, had done, nor into how their systems acted—those governments had done nothing, and they had no system; but they rather went to see what the people, abandoned to their own resources by the state, which ought to have aided them, had been able to effect out of their own means and goodwill, and to witness the results of the voluntary and fortuitous systems which were then in full and unaided operation. Whatever causes of blame and offence the commissioners might meet with—whatever imperfections, and shortcomings, and ill doings, they might perceive—these could not so much be laid to the blame of the people, as they might in fairness be attributed to the neglect and apathy of the nation at large. It was entirely owing to the private efforts of the people in their various localities, unconnected with each other—to their desultory and varying efforts—that any thing had been done at all. It was obviously better that something should have been done rather than nothing; but the debt of gratitude for the "something" was due to the people—the blame of the[542] "nothing" lay with the legislature and the nation at large.

It would, therefore, be highly unbecoming in such commissioners, to show any flippant petulancy in their animadversions on the generally defective results which the isolated operations of the several parishes and districts might evince. It would behove them to look on with rather a benevolent eye, and to speak with a guarded tongue concerning the evils they might witness. We think they have not altogether shown these qualifications in the Reports now before us; and after perusing them, we rise with the feeling that the commissioners seem to have thought themselves authorised to find out how far the various teachers, &c., had neglected duties imposed on them by the public, and that they had expected to find perfection pervading the country; whereas they should have anticipated that imperfection and neglect would prove to be the rule—perfection and care the few and distant exceptions.

It is by no means so easy to inspect a school, or to find out the knowledge and the modes of thinking of young people, as might be supposed. It is not to be done by any one stalking stiffly into a school-room, giving himself the airs of a Dr Busby, and putting questions with the consequence of an examiner in the schools at Oxford. The very idea of a stranger being in the room, and much more of one authorised to examine, is enough to dislocate the thoughts of children, older and riper than village boys and girls commonly are; and the mere interruption of the usual formalities of class arrangement and class work is sufficient to break up the discipline which, in all parochial schools at least, rests upon a very precarious and doubtful basis. Much less is it possible, by a flying visit of one, or two, or three hours, to get at a true perception of what the average knowledge of children may be fairly rated at: it is only by repeated and patient inspection that the ordinary amount of work done, and knowledge gained, can be discovered. The young mind, too, does not commonly retain facts—it rather receives general impressions, and, though this is not produceable knowledge, it is, nevertheless, information, and cultivation of the mental powers, and formation of the character, not without great value. But because a child cannot answer certain questions at a certain time and place, it does not therefore follow that it is ignorant of the subject. The thoughts cannot be concentrated, the powers of the memory and of expression have not been sufficiently cultivated; the faculty of reproduction, and the method of arrangement and classification of ideas, do not exist. It is impossible for such a child to pass through the ordeal. And yet the common expression of young people, when the question they could not answer is explained for them—"Oh yes! I knew that—only I could not remember it," tells the whole truth, and reveals at once the constitution and the weakness of their minds. Examinations, unless they immediately follow the subject learnt, are not suited to young children, and may tend to give a false idea of their real acquirements. But, if to this dread of answering questions be added the awe arising from an examiner's—a strange examiner's presence, the physical impossibility of obtaining satisfactory replies is thereby confirmed. We remember it in our own case at school; in the presence of the university examiner, who periodically visited us, it was

"Obstupui, steteruntque comæ; vox faucibus hæsit;"

and even in the schools of adolescent life, the examiners put us many a stiff question in Plato and Aristotle at which we hung our heads and stammered out nonsense; but which, as soon as we got back to our rooms in college, came to our memory in provoking vividness.

The commissioners seem to have hoped for unimpeachable examinations—and in almost every case they were disappointed: they could often hardly get a reply to the commonest questions. Much of this arose from their examining chiefly in subjects that were taught in a foreign language. But of this more anon.

The nature and object of this inspection[543] of Welsh schools are sufficiently explained in the instructions from Mr Kay Shuttleworth, the secretary to the Committee of Council, which preface the first of the three goodly volumes to which these Reports extend. These instructions say:—

"Attention was called, during the last session of parliament, to the state of education in Wales, by a motion in the house of commons, for an address to the Queen, praying her majesty 'to direct an inquiry to be made into the state of education in the principality of Wales, especially into the means afforded to the labouring classes of acquiring a knowledge of the English language.'

"The secretary of state for the home department undertook on that occasion, on behalf of her majesty's late government, that such an inquiry should be instituted, and he intimated that it should be conducted under the authority of the committee of council on education.

"The object of your commission is, to ascertain, as accurately as circumstances will permit, the existing number of schools of all descriptions, for the education of the children of the labouring classes, or of adults—the amount of attendance—the ages of the scholars—and the character of the instruction given in the schools; in order that her majesty's government and parliament may be enabled, by having these facts before them, in connexion with the wants and circumstances of the population of the principality, to consider what measures ought to be taken for the improvement of the existing means of education in Wales."

It will be perceived from this portion of the instructions, that the inquiries of the Commissioners were to be limited to the schools intended for the lower classes only; and therefore that they would have to look for the workings of the voluntary and the isolated system in its fullest extent. The further definition of the object of the Commission is thus specified:—

"The schools for the instruction of the poorer classes in Wales have chiefly been erected by private beneficence, and some have been endowed from the same source; such of them as have no permanent endowment are supported by the small payments of the poor, by collections in religious congregations, and by voluntary subscriptions.

"Their lordships cannot confer on you any absolute authority to enter into and examine schools, nor to require from any persons information respecting them which they may be unwilling to communicate.

"If no objection is made to your visit, you will personally examine, where practicable, the condition of the school, keeping in view the following particulars, as those on which it will be important to obtain correct information:—The tenure of the school, whether held under a mere temporary occupation, or secured by deed for ever, or for a term of years—the capacity of the school-room—the state of the school furniture and apparatus—the number of the children on the books—the average attendance—the organisation of the school, and the methods used—the subjects professed to be taught—the time allotted to each—the books used—whether the children are instructed in the Welsh language, or in the English, or in both—whether in each case in the grammar or not—the actual condition of their instruction on all subjects professed to be taught. You will ascertain the amount and sources of the annual income available for the necessary expenses; the number of teachers—their ages—whether trained at a normal school or at a model school—for what period, and when. At what age they commenced their vocation as teachers; their previous occupation—the salaries of each teacher—their income from school pence, and other emoluments. Whether they follow any trade, or hold any other office. Whether they have a house rent-free, a garden rent-free, fuel, or other emoluments.

"Numerous Sunday-schools have been established in Wales, and their character and tendencies should not be overlooked, in an attempt to estimate the provision for the instruction of the poor. The Sunday-school must be regarded as the most remarkable, because the most general, spontaneous effort of the zeal of Christian congregations for education. Its origin, organisation, and tendencies, are purely religious."

So far so good; the spirit of these instructions is wise and humane; we can only regret that such a commission had not been issued a century earlier. But shortly after, there follows a sentence which, to any one tolerably well acquainted with Wales, must appear at first sight absolutely trivial, and then highly extraordinary:—

"In some parts of the country it will probably be necessary that you[544] should avail yourselves of the services of persons possessing a knowledge of the Welsh language."

Why, of course, when Welsh is the living spoken language of three-fourths of the whole district to be examined, and when English is essentially a foreign language, imperfectly understood in those portions,—in some parts, indeed, hardly at all known,—the very least of the qualifications that we should suppose a commissioner or school inspector ought to possess, would be a good knowledge of the Welsh language. Did, then, the lords of the privy council, composing the committee of education, know so little of the country they wished to have inspected, that they thought it only "probable" that in "some parts" of the country a knowledge of Welsh would be necessary? If they had been sending travelling commissioners to the Continent to inquire into the state of public education in France or Germany, would they then have sent to the former country those who knew no other foreign language than German, and to the latter those who knew none but French? This is a regular piece of official oversight, betraying one-sided and crude views of the subject to be treated; and showing that the examination of it was begun in a hasty and somewhat inconsiderate manner. It might have been predicted that any one not thoroughly conversant with Welsh could never obtain original information for himself, but would have to speak through other people's mouths, hear with their ears, and even see with their eyes. He would never gain the confidence of the people, but would return with an imperfect, and all but a second-hand report. He would resemble the honest tar who, on his return from Cherbourg, gave it as his opinion that the French were the dullest nation on the face of the earth, since they could not speak common English. And so it has actually proved to be the case with these very Commissioners. Not only do we find the main grievance in their reports to be the ignorance of the children in the English language, but the prevalent feeling, all over Wales, is, that these gentlemen have gone out of it nearly as wise, concerning the actual knowledge of the people, as they came into it: and that, could the examinations have been conducted by them in the Welsh tongue, their reports would have assumed a very different character. What? complain of children not twelve years of age for not comprehending questions addressed to them in a foreign language? Bring a French Government inspector of schools from Paris, and set him to examine all the boarding-schools round London in the French tongue, he himself using it all the while for his questions; and then let him go home and declare that not one child in ten knew any thing about what he said to them,—and he would come near the truth;—and very like this is the result of this inspection of Welsh schools by English examiners. The Government, however, do not seem to have learnt wisdom in this respect, for they have very recently appointed, as permanent inspectors for Wales, a gentleman named Morell, and one of the authors of this very report, Mr Symons; neither of whom, we will bet a leek to a potato, can hold a conversation in Welsh.

One of the main difficulties in the way of education in Wales, if not the principal difficulty of all, results from the circumstance that the language of the principality is not that of the rest of the kingdom. To understand this difficulty fully, it must be remembered that the Welsh belong to a race of men essentially and altogether distinct from those that inhabit the lands eastward of Offa's dyke; that the peculiarities of national character which subsist among them have been only in a very small part removed by amalgamation of the two races; and that these differences are so wide, and so deeply seated, that here, as elsewhere—wherever, indeed, the Celtic and Teutonic races have been brought into contact,—a struggle and an opposition, a repulsive tendency, more or less open and active, have ever existed, and have brought about the subjugation, the inferiority, and, to a certain degree, the degradation of the former. The Saxons produced few or no results of importance by[545] their attacks on the Welsh; the hardy mountaineers generally gave them as much as they brought; and, had they been doomed to meet with no men of sterner stuff, they would still have held their own in unbroken integrity. But the energy of the Normans, their fire and gallantry, animating and directing the slower impulses of their Teutonic vassals, made the monarch of England at length the conquering sovereign of Wales; and, from that moment, with the transient exception of Owen Glyndwr's bright resistance, Wales not only became the conquered and suffering country, but showed all the symptoms of it, and brought forth all its fruits. The higher classes either became replaced by Anglo-Norman nobles, or imitated both their customs and their language;—many of the largest landed proprietors no longer resided in the principality; and those who did, held themselves far above their Celtic vassals in proud and domineering exclusiveness. The common people—the mass of the nation, including the petty free-holders and the remains of the conquered native nobles—formed a national party, ever opposed to their haughty masters; adhered to their national language with the greater devotion, as it was to them the only relic of their former independence; retained their ancient national customs and superstitions; and were content to turn their backs upon the progress of that nation whose power they could not throw off, though the desire to do so remained, and is not, even at the present day, extinguished. The Welsh still call themselves "the Cymry," and the English "the Saeson." They still look on the English as foreigners; and this fact alone speaks volumes as to the antagonism that still subsists between the two races. It is not our intention to go into any discussion upon the political bearings of this state of things: we will only observe, that the gentry and clergy of Wales having mainly carried on their studies in the English language, and having been anxious to do so as a mark of distinction from their humbler neighbours, not only has the Welsh language remained almost stationary since the time of the conquest, but the national mind, the intelligence of the common people, has never kept pace with that of England. Nearly all the literature and science, all the poetry, history, and belles-lettres of the English nation, have been to the Welsh totally unknown. They have never been translated; and, for that very reason, the middle classes of the country, and of course all the lower ones, are, it may be said, almost totally ignorant of them.

Another circumstance tending to this comparative isolation, is the physical formation of the country, which, by keeping the people, down to the present time, fixed to their bleak hills and extensive moorlands, and by discouraging the growth of large towns, has retained the people in a state of primitive agricultural simplicity, which, while it may make them enjoy a certain amount of happiness not inferior to that of their trade-enslaved neighbours, retards them in what we suppose to be the summum bonum—the march of civilisation.

The language, the feelings, the aspirations of the Welsh are different from those of the English—altogether different: and the million of inhabitants, who are of Celtic race—just like the two millions of Celts in France who retain the name of Britons; and the seven millions of the Erse in Ireland, who also differ altogether in sympathies, and to a great extent in language, from their conquerors—never will unite with the Saxon race so far as to keep pace with them in what is called "improvement" and "knowledge." This fundamental difference is alone sufficient to account for the different degrees of education in the two countries, even supposing that, after all, this difference should turn out to be less than it is actually supposed to be by her Majesty's inspectors; and it will also account for the immense preponderance of dissent in Wales, and for the pining state of the church. Ever since the time of Henry VIII., the English church has been the church of the conqueror. The conquered have been left to form their own religious creed; and, at the present moment, the Welsh adhere with all the warmth of national enthusiasm, and with all the devotion of a conquered people, to any form of worship but that which they see adopted by the upper classes—by their Anglo-Norman lords and[546] masters. The limits of a review do not allow of our pursuing this portion of the subject to the extent we might wish; but we know that what we have here asserted is at the bottom of some of the main differences between the Welsh and the English characters; and we do not know of any means whereby these causes can be removed, except through the soothing and permuting influence of time. We appeal to the knowledge and experience of the more intelligent of the Welsh gentry for a confirmation of these views; we find ample evidence in support of them in the pages of these very reports. All through these volumes—in almost every page—there is the same complaint that the difference of language impedes the communication of knowledge; and, indeed, we very much doubt whether any English parent or schoolmaster, who wished to convey all ideas of religious and secular knowledge to his children through the medium of the Welsh language,—to be taught them by an Englishman,—from the age of eight years old and upwards, would not arrive at the same negative result as the Welshman who makes the same experiment by means of the English tongue.

We may here quote the following important observations from the report of Mr Lingen—by far the most able, and the best digested of the three. And we take the opportunity of pointing out this gentleman's introductory remarks, as conveying the most valuable information which we have met with concerning the actual state of Wales,—as well as for the highly enlightened and philosophic spirit in which they are conceived.

Mr Lingen observes:—

"My district exhibits the phenomenon of a peculiar language isolating the mass from the upper portion of society; and, as a further phenomenon, it exhibits this mass engaged upon the most opposite occupations at points not very distant from each other; being, on the one side, rude and primitive agriculturists, living poorly, and thinly scattered; on the other, smelters and miners, wantoning in plenty, and congregated in the densest accumulations. An incessant tide of immigration sets in from the former extreme to the latter, and, by perpetuating a common character in each, admits of their being contemplated under a single point of view. Whether in the country, or among the furnaces, the Welsh element is never found at the top of the social scale, nor in its own body does it exhibit much variety of gradation. In the country, the farmers are very small holders, in intelligence and capital nowise distinguished from labourers. In the works, the Welsh workman never finds his way into the office. He never becomes either clerk or agent. He may become an overseer or sub-contractor, but this does not take him out of the labouring and put him into the administering class. Equally in his new, as in his old, home, his language keeps him under the hatches, being one in which he can neither acquire nor communicate the necessary information. It is a language of old-fashioned agriculture, of theology, and of simple rustic life, while all the world about him is English.

"Thus his social sphere becomes one of complete isolation from all influences, save such as arise within his own order. He jealously shrinks from holding any communication with classes either superior to, or different from, himself. His superiors are content, for the most part, simply to ignore his existence in all its moral relations. He is left to live in an under world of his own, and the march of society goes so completely over his head that he is never heard of, excepting when the strange and abnormal features of a revival, or a Rebecca or Chartist outbreak, call attention to a phase of society which could produce any thing so contrary to all that we elsewhere experience.

"Cut off from, or limited to a purely material agency in, the practical world, his mental faculties, so far as they are not engrossed by the hardships of rustic, or the intemperance of manufacturing, life, have hitherto been exerted almost exclusively upon theological ideas. In this direction too, from causes which it is out of my province to particularise, he has moved under the same isolating destiny, and his worship, like his life, has grown different from that of the classes over him. Nor has he failed of tangible results in his chosen province of independent exertion. He has raised the buildings, and maintains the ministry of his worship over the whole face of his country, to an extent adequate to his accommodation."

"On the manifold evils inseparable from an ignorance of English, I found but one opinion expressed on all hands. They are too palpable, and too universally admitted, to need particularising. Yet, if interest pleads for English, affection[547] leans to Welsh. The one is regarded as a new friend to be acquired for profit's sake; the other as an old one, to be cherished for himself, and especially not to be deserted in his decline. Probably you could not find in the most purely Welsh parts a single parent, in whatever class, who would not have his child taught English in school; yet every characteristic development of the social life into which that same child is born—preaching—prayer-meetings—Sunday-schools—clubs—biddings—funerals—the denominational magazine (his only press), all these exhibit themselves to him in Welsh as their natural exponent, partly, it may be, from necessity, but, in some degree also, from choice. 'In the Cymreigyddion (benefit societies) it is a rule that no English shall be spoken.' It is true that the necessities of the world more and more force English upon the Welshman; but, whether he can speak no English, or whether he speaks it imperfectly, he finds it alike painful to be reminded of his utter, or to struggle against his partial, inability of expression. His feelings are impetuous; his imagination vivid; his ideas (on such topics as he entertains) succeed each other rapidly. Hence he is naturally voluble, often eloquent. He possesses a mastery over his own language far beyond that which the Englishman of the same degree possesses over his. A certain power of elocution (viz., to pray 'doniol,' as it is called, i. e., in a gifted manner), is so universal in his class that to be without it is a sort of stigma. Hence, in speaking English, he has at once to forego the conscious power of displaying certain talents whereon he piques himself, and to exhibit himself under that peculiar form of inability which most offends his self-esteem. From all those favourite scenes of his life, therefore, which can still be transacted without English, he somewhat eagerly banishes it as an irksome imposition.

"Through no other medium than a common language can ideas become common. It is impossible to open formal sluice-gates for them from one language into another. Their circulation requires a net-work of pores too minute for analysis, too numerous for special provision. Without this net-work, the ideas come into an alien atmosphere in which they are lifeless. Direct education finds no place, when indirect education is excluded by the popular language, as it were by a wall of brass. Nor can an old and cherished language be taught down in schools; for so long as the children are familiar with none other, they must be educated to a considerable extent through the medium of it, even though to supersede it be the most important part of their education. Still less, out of school, can the language of lessons make head against the language of life. But schools are every day standing less alone in this contest. Along the chief lines of road, from the border counties, from the influx of English, or English-speaking labourers, into the iron and coal-fields—in short from every point of contact with modern activity, the English tongue keeps spreading, in some places rapidly, but sensibly in all. Railroads, and the fuller development of the great mineral beds, are on the eve of multiplying these points of contact. Hence the encouragement vigorously to press forward the cause of popular education in its most advanced form. Schools are not called upon to impart in a foreign, or engraft upon the ancient tongue a factitious education conceived under another set of circumstances (in either of which cases the task would be as hopeless as the end unprofitable), but to convey in a language, which is already in process of becoming the mother tongue of the country, such instruction as may put the people on a level with that position which is offered to them by the course of events. If such instruction contrasts in any points with the tendency of old ideas, such contrast will have its reflex and its justification in the visible change of surrounding circumstances."

We find the same statements amply corroborated by the evidence of Mr Symons, another of her Majesty's inspectors. He observes:—

"The Welsh language is a vast drawback to Wales, and a manifold barrier to the moral progress and commercial prosperity of the people. It is not easy to overestimate its evil effects. It is the language of the Cymri, and anterior to that of the ancient Britons. It dissevers the people from intercourse which would greatly advance their civilisation, and bars the access of improving knowledge to their minds. As a proof of this, there is no Welsh literature worthy of the name. The only works generally read in the Welsh language are the Welsh monthly magazines, of which a list and description are given in the Appendix lettered H. They are much more talented than any other Welsh works extant, but convey, to a very limited extent, a knowledge of passing events, and are chiefly polemical and full of bitter sectarianism, and indulge a great deal in highly-coloured caricatures and personality. Nevertheless they have partially lifted the people from that perfect ignorance and utter vacuity of thought which otherwise would possess at least two-thirds of them.[548] At the same time, these periodicals have used their monopoly as public instructors in moulding the popular mind, and confirming a natural partiality for polemics, which impedes the cultivation of a higher and more comprehensive taste and desire for general information. This has been conclusively proved by Mr Rees, the enterprising publisher at Llandovery. He commenced the publication of a periodical similar to the Penny Magazine, in the Welsh language, but lost L.200 by it in a year. This was probably too short a trial of the experiment; but it sufficiently evinces the difficulty of supplanting an established taste, by means however inoffensive.

"The evil of the Welsh language, as I have above stated, is obviously and fearfully great in courts of justice. The evidence given by Mr Hall (No. 37) is borne out by every account I have heard on the subject; it distorts the truth, favours fraud, and abets perjury, which is frequently practised in courts, and escapes detection through the loop-holes of interpretation. This public exhibition of successful falsehood has a disastrous effect on public morals and regard for truth. The mockery of an English trial of a Welsh criminal by a Welsh jury, addressed by counsel and judge in English, is too gross and shocking to need comment. It is nevertheless a mockery which must continue until the people are taught the English language; and that will not be done until there are efficient schools for the purpose."

The Reverend Mr Griffiths, of the Dissenting college, Brecknock, says:—

"It (the English language) is gaining ground in the border counties, but not so fast as Englishmen are apt to suppose. Very few pulpits or Sunday-schools have changed languages within the memory of man. Until that is done, the English, however employed in ordinary matters of business, can have little effect on the formation of character. As to the desirableness of its being better taught, without entering on considerations of commerce or general literature, confessedly important as they are, perhaps you will forgive my taking an extract from the address published by the Llandovery conference" [from which the following passage may be cited]:—"'Hallowed by religion and rich with the magic of genius and associations of home, it (the Welsh language) cannot be otherwise than dear to our hearts. It has done good service in its day, and the sooner that service is acknowledged, the better for all parties concerned. If die it must, let it die fairly, peacefully, and reputably. Attached to it as we are, few would wish to postpone its euthanasy. But no sacrifice would be deemed too great to prevent its being murdered. At the best, the vanishing for ever of a language which has been spoken for thousands of years is a deeply touching event. There is a melancholy grandeur in the very idea, to which even its bitterest enemies cannot be wholly insensible. What, then, must the actual fact be to those who have worshipped and loved in its accents from the earliest hours of childhood, and all whose fondest recollections and hopes are bound up in its existence?'"

Mr Johnson, the third inspector, publishes a most curious list of all the books now circulating in the Welsh language. They are only 405 in number, and out of these 309 relate to religion or poetry, 50 to scientific subjects, and only the remaining 46 to general subjects. What can be done for the education of a people with such a literature? Evidently nothing, until one of these two contingencies shall take place: either that the people forsake their own language, and adopt English exclusively, or that a very considerable number of the best elementary and educational books in the English language be translated into Welsh, and the people taught in them. Neither of which contingencies are likely to fall out for many generations yet to come; though the latter is clearly possible and desirable; and the former not only impossible except in the lapse of ages, but also, for reasons that we shall advert to hereafter, highly to be deprecated even if it lay within the limits of feasibility.

We now address ourselves to the main features of the reports themselves; and shall begin by observing that each volume consists of an introductory report, followed and supported by an immense mass of detailed evidence, accounts of the examination of each school, and elaborate tables, enough to confound the diligence of the most indefatigable reader, and amply sufficient to satisfy the statistical appetites of Mr Kay Shuttleworth, the secretary of the committee, and Mr Williams, late M.P. for Coventry, in whose motion these volumes originated.

The first volume (Mr Lingen's) contains 62 pages of introductory report, and 492 of evidence and tables.[549] The second volume, (Mr Symons's,) 68 of report, and 266 of evidence, &c.; and the third, (Mr Johnson's,) which is the volume devoted to North Wales, has also 68 of report, and 358 of evidence.

The reports of nearly all the schools, with very few and widely-scattered exceptions, run all on the same themes; the inability of the children to answer the examiner's questions, and their ignorance, bad pronunciation, bad syntax, &c., of the English language. We know for a fact, on the other hand, that the returns of the inspectors are disputed in a great number of cases by competent judges residing in or near the parishes where the examinations took place; and that the inspectors are accused of having conducted their examinations not only in an off-hand flippant manner, with much precipitancy, but with a method so decidedly English, and therefore foreign, as at once to unnerve both the children and the schoolmasters, and thus to have produced the most negative and unfavourable results possible. In a great many instances, too, the inspectors are accused of having made erroneous returns. We have been ourselves at the pains to make inquiries into these points, but for the very obvious reason of not wishing to involve ourselves in controversy, we abstain from discussing the evidence, especially with three lawyers for our antagonists: we leave this task to the Welsh local press, which has been for some time past running a-muck at them, and is disposed to devour them—reports, pens, ink, wigs, gowns, and all. We shall content ourselves with stating, that we know of one instance in which the inspector has sent in a very unfavourable report of a considerable school, which had been thoroughly and patiently examined only a few weeks before by one of the Welsh bishops, aided by some local clergymen, in the presence of a large concourse of the laity, and when the result had turned out to be highly creditable both to the teachers and the scholars. In the latter case, the children had been questioned both in Welsh and English by Welsh people, and by people whom they knew and were not afraid of. In the former, they had been examined by one of her Majesty's inspectors, learned in the law, but not in the Welsh language, nor in the art of conciliating the Welsh people. We shall take instances from each of the three reports, diving into these parliamentary folios quite at hazard, and fishing up the first returns that meet our eye: they will give some idea of the inspectors' skill, and of the condition of the schools.

Mr Lingen reports as follows of a school in the parish of Llangwnnor, Carmarthenshire.

"I visited this school on the 24th of November; it is held in a ruinous hovel of the most squalid and miserable character, which was originally erected by the parish, but apparently by encroachment. On Sunday the Calvinistic Methodists hold a school in it; the floor is of bare earth, full of deep holes; the windows are all broken; a tattered partition of lath and plaster divides it into two unequal portions; in the larger were a few wretched benches, and a small desk for the master in one corner; in the lesser was an old door with the hasp still upon it, laid crossways upon two benches, about half a yard high, to serve for a writing-desk! Such of the scholars as write retire in pairs to this part of the room, and kneel on the ground while they write. On the floor was a heap of loose coal, and a litter of straw, paper, and all kinds of rubbish. The vicar's son informed me that he had seen eighty children in this hut. In summer the heat of it is said to be suffocating; and no wonder.

"The master appeared a pains-taking and amiable man, and had a very good character given of him. He had been disabled from following his trade (that of a carpenter) by an accident. He was but indifferently acquainted with English; one of the copies set by him was 'The Jews slain Christ.' I stood by while he heard two classes—one of two little girls, and another of three little boys and a girl—read. The two first read an account of our Lord's temptation; the master asked them to spell a few words, which they did, and then to give the Welsh equivalents for several English words, which they also did; he asked no other questions. The other class read small sentences containing a repetition of the same word, e. g., 'The bad do sin—wo to the bad—the bad do lie,' &c. They were utterly unable to turn such sentences into Welsh; they knew the letters (for they could point to particular words when required,) and they knew to some extent the English sound of them; they knew also the[550] meaning of the single words (for they could give the Welsh equivalents,) but they had no idea of the sentence. With them, therefore, English reading must be (at best) a mere string of words, connected only by juxtaposition."

Mr. Symons gives the following report of a school at Llanfihangel Creiddyn, in Cardiganshire.

"This parish contains a very good modern school-room, but it is not finished inside. There is no floor of any sort. The school, nevertheless, is of the most inferior description, devoid of method in the instruction, and of capacity in the master. During the whole of last summer the school was shut, and the room was used by the carpenters who were repairing the church. One of their benches is now used as a writing table. Few of the children remain a year; they come for a quarter or half-a-year, and then leave the school. Fourteen children were present, together with two young men who were there to learn writing. Four of the children only could read in the Testament, and the master selected the 1st chapter of Revelation for them to read in. They stammered through several verses, mispronouncing nearly every word, and which the master took some pains to correct. None of them knew the meaning, or could give the Welsh words for 'show,' 'gave,' or 'faith.' One or two only knew that of 'grace,' 'woman,' 'nurse.' Their knowledge of spelling was very limited. Of Scripture they knew next to nothing. Jesus was said to be the son of Joseph; one child only said the Son of God; another thought he was on earth now; and another said he would come again 'to increase grace,' grace meaning godliness. Three out of the five could not tell why Christ came to the earth, a penny having been offered for a correct answer. Two could not tell any one thing that Christ did, and a third said he drew water from a rock in the land of Canaan. None knew the number of the Apostles; one never heard of them, and two could not name any of them. Christ died in Calvary, which one said was in England, and the others did not know where it was. Four could not tell the day Christ was born, or what it was called. The days of a week were guessed to be five, six, four, and seven. The days in the month twenty and fifteen, and nine could name the months. None knew the number of days in the year; and all thought the sun moved round the world. This country was said to be Cardiganshire, not Wales. Ireland one thought a town, and another a parish. England was a town, and London a country. A king was a reasonable being (creadwr rhesymnol.) Victoria is the Queen, and it is our duty to do every thing for her. In arithmetic they could do next to nothing, and failed to answer the simplest questions. I then examined the young men, promising two-pence to those who answered most correctly. They had a notion of the elements of Scripture truths. Two of them had no notion of arithmetic. The third answered easy questions, and could do sums in the simple rules. On general subjects their information was very little superior to that of the children."

And Mr Vaughan Johnson, in examining the church school of Holyhead, in the Isle of Anglesey, reports as follows:—

"Holyhead Church School.—A school for boys and girls, taught by a master and mistress, in separate rooms of a large building set apart for that purpose. Number of boys, 96; of girls, 47; 10 monitors are employed. Subjects taught, reading, writing, and arithmetic, the Holy Scriptures and Church catechism. Fees, 1d. per week.

"This school was examined November 9. Total number present, 117. Of these, 20 could write well on paper; 40 were able to read with ease; and 22 could repeat the Church catechism, 15 of them with accuracy. In knowledge of Holy Scripture and in arithmetic, the boys were very deficient. Scholars in the first class said that there were 18 gospels, that Bartholomew wrote one and Simon another; that Moses was the son of David. These answers were not corrected by the rest. By a lower class it was said, that Jerusalem is in heaven, and that St Paul wrote the gospel according to St Matthew; another believed it was written by Jesus Christ. The oldest boy in a large class said, that Joseph was the son of Abraham. A child about 10 years old said, that Jesus Christ was the Saviour of men; but, upon being asked 'From what did he save mankind?' replied, 'from God.'

"Having heard from the patrons that the scholars were particularly expert in arithmetic, I requested the master to exhibit his best scholars. Thirteen boys accordingly multiplied a given sum of £ s. d. by (25 + ½.) The process was neatly and accurately performed by every boy. I then examined the same class in arithmetic, and set each boy a distinct sum in multiplication of money. Instead of (25 + ½) I gave 5 as the number by which the several sums were to be multiplied. I allowed each boy for this simple process twice as much time as he had required for the preceding, which was far more complicated; but only two of[551] the 13 could bring me a correct answer. This is well worthy of remark. The original sum appears to be one which they are in the habit of performing before strangers; many had copied the whole process from those next them, without understanding a single step.

"The girls were further advanced in arithmetic and in Holy Scripture. But the 2d class asserted that St Matthew was one of the prophets; that Jesus Christ is in the grave to this day; and two stated that Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary were the same person. Although these questions were put in English and in Welsh, few of the children could understand what they heard or read in the English language. The questions were therefore interpreted."

We should here observe that a considerable number of the examinations were conducted not by the inspectors themselves, but by persons hired by them, more or less on account of their knowledge of the Welsh language. To these we attach little or no weight, because they have not the sanction of a Government commission, nor do the persons themselves hold any official or private rank by which their capacities for conducting such examinations can be ascertained.

As a specimen of the state in which some of the peasantry are, we find Mr Lingen, while in Pembrokeshire, remarking thus:—

"I entered two cottages, where the children were said not to be attending school. In the first I found an extremely well-spoken and intelligent girl of twelve or thirteen years old, and her brother somewhat younger. They had been to Yerbeston day-school for about a quarter, and to Molleston Sunday-school for about two years, though not for the last month. It was closed during the bad weather and short days. She read about Jesus in the Testament; but could tell me nothing about him except that he was called the Son of Man. She said, 'They only teach us to read; they don't tell us any of these things at the Sunday-school.'

"In the other cottage I found two little children, a boy and girl, going, and having been, to no school of any kind. The girl was nursing an infant: there were two other children from home. The mother of four of them was a widow, the fifth child was apparently a pauper, billeted upon her in consideration of 5s. per week from the parish. At the time of my visit the mother was out at farm-work (winnowing), and had to be called; I could get no answer from the two children. The girl, who was the eldest, and in her ninth year, only replied to my questions by a cunning, unpleasant grin, though her face was intelligent and not ill-looking. The boy had a most villainous expression of sullen stolidity; he was mixing culm with his hands. They knew no prayers, nor who to pray to—and of course never prayed. The mother could not read nor write—'worse luck,' as she said; her only chance of educating these children was a free-school. The entire 5s. went in food at the present high prices, and 'not enough then.'

"In this same neighbourhood I asked some questions of a little boy, nearly seven, whom I met on the road. It was in vain that I tempted him with half-pence to answer; he knew nothing of Sunday—of God—of the devil—'had heard of Jesus Christ from Jemmy Wilson,' but could give no account whatever about him; he knew neither the then day of the week, nor how many days in a week, nor months in a year; he had never been in any school; his brother and sister were going to St Issell's school. I had to repeat my questions two or three times over before they seemed to impress any thing more than his ears. The first answer invariably was, and it was, often repeated half a dozen times—'What ee' say?' and the next 'Do' know.'"

The condition of the buildings in which the schools are commonly held in the country parishes is wretched in the extreme. Take the following brief accounts, some of which might furnish admirable sketches to a Cattermole or a Maclise:—

"(1.) The school was held in a miserable room over the stable; it was lighted by two small glazed windows, and was very low; in one corner was a broken bench, some sacks, and a worn-out basket; another corner was boarded off for storing tiles and mortar belonging to the chapel. The furniture consisted of one small square table for the master, two larger ones for the children, and a few benches, all in a wretched state of repair. There were several panes of glass broken in the windows; in one place paper served the place of glass, and in another a slate, to keep out wind and rain; the door was also in a very dilapidated condition. On the beams which crossed the room were a ladder and two larch poles.

"(2.) The school was held in a room built in a corner of the churchyard; it was an open-roofed room; the floor was of the bare earth, and very uneven; the[552] room was lighted by two small glazed windows, one-third of each of which was patched up with boards. The furniture consisted of a small square table for the master, one square table for the pupils, and seven or eight benches, some of which were in good repair, and others very bad. The biers belonging to the church were placed on the beams which ran across the room. At one end of the room was a heap of coal and some rubbish, and a worn-out basket, and on one side was a new door leaning against the wall, and intended for the stable belonging to the church. The door of the schoolroom was in a very bad condition, there being large holes in it, through which cold currents of air were continually flowing."

If, however, the condition of the school-buildings is thus unsuitable, the previous education and training of the teachers is not less faulty. The subjoined extract from Mr Lingen's report is borne out by precisely similar statements from those of his coadjutors:—

"The present average age of teachers is upwards of 40 years; that at which they commenced their vocation upwards of 30; the number trained is 12·5 per cent of the whole ascertained number; the average period of training is 7·30 months; the average income is L.22, 10s. 9d. per annum; besides which, 16·1 per cent have a house rent-free. Before adopting their present profession, 6 had been assistants in schools, 3 attorneys' clerks, 1 attorney's clerk and sheriff's officer, 1 apprentice to an ironmonger, 1 assistant to a draper, 1 agent, 1 artilleryman, 1 articled clerk, 2 accountants, 1 auctioneer's clerk, 1 actuary in a savings' bank, 3 bookbinders, 1 butler, 1 barber, 1 blacksmith, 4 bonnet-makers, 2 booksellers, 1 bookkeeper, 15 commercial clerks, 3 colliers, 1 cordwainer, 7 carpenters, 1 compositor, 1 copyist, 3 cabinet-makers, 3 cooks, 1 corn-dealer, 3 druggists, 42 milliners, 20 domestic servants, 10 drapers, 4 excise-men, 61 farmers, 25 farm-servants, 1 farm-bailiff, 1 fisherman, 2 governesses, 7 grocers, 1 glover, 1 gardener, 177 at home or in school, 1 herald-chaser, 4 housekeepers, 2 hatters, 1 helper in a stable, 8 hucksters or shopkeepers, 1 iron-roller, 6 joiners, 1 knitter, 13 labourers, 4 laundresses, 1 lime-burner, 1 lay-vicar, 5 ladies'-maids, 1 lieutenant R. N., 2 land-surveyors, 22 mariners, 1 mill-wright, 108 married women, 7 ministers, 1 mechanic, 1 miner, 2 mineral agents, 5 masons, 1 mate, 1 maltster, 1 militia-man, 1 musician, 1 musical-wire-drawer, 2 nursery-maids, 1 night-schoolmaster, 1 publican's wife (separated from her husband,) 2 preparing for the church, 1 policeman, 1 pedlar, 1 publican, 1 potter, 1 purser's steward, 1 planter, 2 private tutors, 1 quarryman, 1 reed-thatcher, 28 sempstresses, 1 second master R. N., 4 soldiers, 14 shoemakers, 2 machine-weighers, 1 stonecutter, 1 serjeant of marines, 1 sawyer, 1 surgeon, 1 ship's cook, 7 tailors, 1 tailor and marine, 1 tiler, 17 widows, 4 weavers, and 60 unascertained, or having had no previous occupation.

"In connexion with the vocation of teacher, 2 follow that of assistant-overseer of roads, 6 are assistant overseers of the poor, 1 accountant, 1 assistant parish clerk, 1 bookbinder, 1 broom and clog-maker, 4 bonnet-makers, 1 sells Berlin wool, 2 are cow-keepers, 3 collectors of taxes, 1 drover (in summer,) 12 dressmakers, 1 druggist, 1 farmer, 4 grocers, 3 hucksters or shopkeepers, 1 inspector of weights and measures, 1 knitter, 2 land-surveyors (one of them is also a stonecutter,) 2 lodging-house keepers, 1 librarian to a mechanics' institute, 16 ministers, 1 master of a workhouse, 1 matron of a lying-in hospital, 3 mat-makers, 13 preachers, 18 parish or vestry clerks (uniting in some instances the office of sexton), 1 printer and engraver, 1 porter, barber, and layer-out of the dead in a workhouse, 4 publicans, 1 registrar of marriages, 11 sempstresses, 1 shopman (on Saturdays,) 8 secretaries to benefit societies, 1 sexton, 2 shoemakers, 1 tailor, 1 teacher of modern languages, 1 turnpike man, 1 tobacconist, 1 writing-master in a grammar-school, and 9 are in receipt of parochial relief."

Upon this the inspector observes with great good sense—

"No observations of mine could heighten the contrast which facts like the above exhibit, between the actual and the proper position of a teacher. I found this office almost every where one of the least esteemed and worst remunerated; one of those vocations which serve as the sinks of all others, and which might be described as guilds of refuge; for to what other grade can the office of teacher be referred after the foregoing analysis? Is it credible that, if we took 784 shoemakers, tailors, carpenters, or any other skilled workmen, we should find them (one with another) not to have commenced their calling before 30 years of age? nor more than 47·3 per cent of them who had not previously followed some other calling nor more than 1 in every 8 who had served any apprenticeship to it, nor even this 8th man for a period much longer than half a[553] year? The miserable pittance which they get is irregularly paid."

The pecuniary part of the question, the ways and means for supporting an efficient system of education in Wales, may be very fairly inferred from the following extract of the report on three of the most prosperous counties in the principality, corroborated as it is by similar statements and returns in other districts:—

"There is a great and general deficiency of voluntary funds for the maintenance of schools for the poor in the rural parts of South Wales. By far the most liberal contributors to such schools in England are the clergy. The following table exhibits the clerical income of the beneficed clergy in my district. I would beg to call particular attention to the average area and population of the parishes in Carmarthenshire, and to the income of the clergy in the remote hundreds of Dewisland and Kemess:—

"The poor provision which the church offers to an educated man, and the necessity of ordaining those only, for the great majority of parishes, who understand the Welsh language, are facts which bear powerfully upon the education of the country. A large portion of the Welsh clergy complete their education exclusively in Wales. The licensed grammar schools, from which they were formerly ordained, have been superseded for St David's College, Lampeter.

"Still, so far as daily education has hitherto been supported by voluntary payments, this has been mostly in connexion with the church. For, putting aside 31·1 per cent of the day-scholars as belonging to private adventure schools, and 10·9 percent for children in union workhouse and workmen's schools, there remains 39·9 per cent of the day-scholars in connexion, and 18·1 per cent not in connexion, with the church."

 Number of Vicarages orNumber ofTotal Income
Counties.Parishes.Rectories.PerpetualGlebeof Clergy from
The three Counties,3421272409345,493
 Average  Number of Average area
 Income of  Parishes onAverageof square
CountiesClergy per  which thepopulationmiles
 Parish.  average Incomeper Parish.per Parish.
    is taken.
Carmarthenshire, 119130751,38012
The three Counties,133043281,0686

Whatever deficiencies there may be in the system of daily and secular education, much more zeal and energy is shown in the Sunday schools; the causes and objects of which are so graphically and accurately described by Mr Lingen, that we must again quote his own words:—observing that the two other reports tell the same tale exactly, only in different language—

"The type of such Sunday schools is no more than this. A congregation meets in its chapel. It elects those whom it considers to be its most worthy members, intellectually and religiously, to act as 'teachers' to the rest, and one or more to 'superintend' the whole. Bible classes, Testament classes, and classes of such as cannot yet read, are formed. They meet once, generally from 2 to 4 P.M., sometimes in the morning also, on each Sunday. The superintendent, or one of the teachers, begins the school by prayer; they then sing; then follows the class instruction, the Bible and Testament classes reading and discussing the Scriptures, the others learning to read; school is closed in the same way as it began. Sections of the same congregation, where distance or other causes render it difficult for them to assemble in the chapel, establish similar schools elsewhere. These are called branches. The constitution throughout is purely democratic, presenting an office and some sort of title to almost every man who is able and willing to take an active part in its administration, without much reference to his social position during the other six days of the week. My returns show 11,000 voluntary teachers, with an allowance of about seven scholars to each. Whatever may be the accuracy of the numbers, I believe this relative proportion to be not far wrong. The position of teacher is coveted as a distinction, and is multiplied accordingly. It is not unfrequently the first prize to which the most proficient pupils in the parochial schools look. For them it is a step towards the office of preacher and minister. The universality of these schools, and the[554] large proportion of the persons attending them who take part in their government, have very generally familiarised the people with some of the more ordinary terms and methods of organisation, such as committee, secretary, and so forth.

"Thus, there is every thing about such institutions which can recommend them to the popular taste. They gratify that gregarious sociability which animates the Welsh towards each other. They present the charms of office to those who, on all other occasions, are subject; and of distinction to those who have no other chance of distinguishing themselves. The topics current in them are those of the most general interest; and are treated in a mode partly didactic, partly polemical, partly rhetorical, the most universally appreciated. Finally, every man, woman, and child feels comfortably at home in them. It is all among neighbours and equals. Whatever ignorance is shown there, whatever mistakes are made, whatever strange speculations are started, there are no superiors to smile and open their eyes. Common habits of thought pervade all. They are intelligible or excusable to one another. Hence, every one that has got any thing to say is under no restraint from saying it. Whatever such Sunday-schools may be as places of instruction, they are real fields of mental activity. The Welsh working man rouses himself for them. Sunday is to him more than a day of bodily rest and devotion. It is his best chance, all the week through, of showing himself in his own character. He marks his sense of it by a suit of clothes regarded with a feeling hardly less Sabbatical than the day itself. I do not remember to have seen an adult in rags in a single Sunday school throughout the poorest districts. They always seemed to me better dressed on Sundays than the same classes in England."

As a specimen of the relative number of Sunday schools belonging to the different religious persuasions in North Wales, we will take Mr Johnson's summary, which gives the following tabular result; and which is nearly in the same proportion in the rest of the principality:—


Church of England,124
Calvinistic Methodists,545
Wesleyan Methodists,183
Other Denominations,4

But if we take the returns of the daily schools for the same six counties, the proportions will be found to, be greatly changed:—


Calvinistic Methodists,3140
Roman Catholics,255
British and Foreign,424,979
Schools, not British and Foreign,291,726
Workhouse Schools,8463
Private adventure,2165,348

Out of these daily schools for the poor, not less than 269, or 46½ per cent of the whole number, (to say nothing of many of the private schools,) are publicly provided by the Church; and it should be remembered that of the Dissenting Sunday schools nearly all are held in their meeting-houses, and form part and parcel of their religious system; whereas the Church Sunday school is mostly an institution apart from the church itself, and established on its own separate footing.

With regard to the funds for supporting schools, the following remarks by Mr Johnson, as applied to North Wales, are too important to be omitted. He says:—

"It appears, from the foregoing analysis of the funds of 517 schools, that the amount annually raised by charitable contributions of the rich is (in round numbers) £5675, that raised by the poor £7000. It is important to observe the misdirection of these branches of school income, and the fatal consequences which ensue.

"The wealthy classes who contribute towards education belong to the Established Church; the poor who are to be educated are Dissenters. The former will not aid in supporting neutral schools; the latter withhold their children from such as require conformity to the Established Church. The effects are seen in the co-existence of two classes of schools, both of which are rendered futile—the Church schools supported by the rich, which are thinly attended, and that by the extreme poor; and private-adventure schools, supported by the mass of the poorer classes at an exorbitant expense, and so utterly useless that nothing can account for their existence except the unhealthy division of[555] society, which prevents the rich and poor from co-operating. The Church schools, too feebly supported by the rich to give useful education, are deprived of the support of the poor, which would have sufficed to render them efficient. Thus situated, the promoters are driven to establish premiums, clothing-clubs, and other collateral inducements, in order to overcome the scruples and reluctance of Dissenting parents. The masters, to increase their slender pittance, are induced to connive at the infringement of the rules which require conformity in religion, and allow the parents (sometimes covertly, sometimes with the consent of the promoters) to purchase exemption for a small gratuity; those who cannot afford it being compelled to conform, or expelled in case of refusal. Where, however, the rules are impartially enforced, or the parents too poor to purchase exemption, a compromise follows. The children are allowed to learn the Church catechism, and to attend church, so long as they remain at school, but are cautioned by their parents not to believe the catechism, and to return to their paternal chapels so soon as they have finished schooling. A dispensation, in fact, is given, allowing conformity in matters of religion during the period required for education, provided they allow no impression to be made upon their minds by the ritual and observances to which they conform. The desired object is attained by both parties. Outward conformity is effected for the time, and the children return in after-life to the creed and usages of their parents."

The fact is, that the farmers and all the lower classes care little for education per se, though they wish their children to profit by a knowledge of English, in order to facilitate their advancement in after life; and they are unwilling, at the same time, to support schools in connexion with the Church. That Church is to them the church of the rich man as distinguished from the poor; of the conqueror as distinguished from the conquered; of the Englishman as distinguished from the Welsh; it is the Church of England, not of Wales; and their affections as well as their prejudices are all opposed to it. This again is one of the main causes—and it is so pointed out by the commissioners—of the slow progress of education in Wales, supported, as it mainly is, by the upper classes. It is not the proper place to enter here into any further discussion as to all the causes of dispute in Wales; we will merely state that we believe it to be now confirmed, not only by the national antagonism of the two races, but also by the democratic principles which are so widely diffused throughout the country, and which are sure to break out again to a most dangerous extent in Wales on the first opportunity. Hear what Mr Lingen states on the subject:—

"Most singular is the character which has been developed by this theological bent of minds isolated from nearly all sources, direct or indirect, of secular information. Poetical and enthusiastic warmth of religious feeling, careful attendance upon religious services, zealous interest in religious knowledge, the comparative absence of crime, are found side by side with the most unreasoning prejudices and impulses; an utter want of method in thinking and acting; and (what is far worse) wide-spread disregard to temperance, wherever there are the means of excess, of chastity, of veracity, and of fair dealing. I subjoin two extreme instances of the wild fanaticism into which such temperaments may run. The first concerns the Rebecca riots. W. Chambers, jun., Esq. of Llanelly House, kindly furnished me with a large collection of contemporary documents and depositions concerning the period of those disturbances. An extract from the deposition of one Thomas Phillips of Topsail, is illustrative of the vividly descriptive and imaginative powers of the Welsh, and of the peculiar forms under which popular excitement among them would be sure to exhibit itself.

"Shoui-yschwr-fawr and Dai Cantwr were noms de guerre borne by two ringleaders in these disturbances.

"Between ten and eleven o'clock on the night of the attack on Mr Newman's house, I was called upon by Shoui-yschwr-fawr, and went with the party. On my way I had a conversation with Dai Cantwr. Thomas Morris, a collier, by the Five Cross Roads, was walking before us, with a long gun. I said "Thomas is enough to frighten one with his long gun." Dai said, "There is not such a free man as Tom Morris in the rank. I was coming up Gellygwlwnog field, arm in arm with him, after burning Mr Chambers's ricks of hay; and he had a gun in the other hand, and Tom said, "Here's a hare," and he up with his gun and shot it slap down—and it was a horse—Mr Chambers's horse. One of the party stuck the horse with a knife—the[556] blood flowed—and Tom Morris held his hand under the blood, and called upon the persons to come forward and dip their fingers in it, and take it as a sacrifice instead of Christ; and the parties did so.' And Dai added, 'that he had often heard of a sacrament in many ways, but had never heard of a sacrament by a horse before that night.'

"The other instance was told me by one who witnessed much of the Chartist outbreak. He said that 'the men who marched from the hills to join Frost, had no definite object beyond a fanatical notion that they were to march immediately to London, fight a great battle, and conquer a great kingdom.' I could not help being reminded of the swarm that followed Walter the Penniless, and took the town which they reached at the end of their first day's march for Jerusalem."

We could point out several districts in Wales, in which few gentry reside, such as the south-western portion of Caernarvon, and some parts of Anglesey, where the most republican and levelling doctrines prevail extensively among the farmers and the labouring classes, and where resistance to tithes, and not only to tithes, but to rents, is a subject fondly cherished for future opportunity. The town of Caernarvon itself is a pestilent hot-bed of discontent; so is Merthyr Tydvil; so is Newtown; so is Swansea; and so are many others.

The commissioners dwell rather lightly on this part of the subject—on these consequences of the past and present condition of the country, and of the defective education existing in it. Many of the assistants employed by the commissioners were Dissenters, and their examinations of Church schools may be therefore suspected; at least we fancy that we can discern a certain warmth of admiration, and intensity of unction, in the reports on the Dissenting schools, which are not bestowed on the others. However this may be, we cannot but admit that these reports do actually show the existence of a very defective state of things in the principality; and we find the commissioners justly pointing out and reprobating two glaring vices in the Welsh character, the existence of which we admit, and to which we shall, of our own knowledge, add a third.

The first refers to the want of chastity, or rather to the lax ideas of the common order of people on that subject previous to marriage. This, with every wish to excuse the national feelings and failings of the Welsh, we must allow to be proved by the concurrent testimony and experience of every one well acquainted with the principality. This vice, however, is more systematically established in the northern than in the southern counties; and the existence of this system is, we have no doubt, of very long standing, ranking, indeed, among the national customs which lose their origin in the night of ages. The common notion prevalent among the lower classes in Wales, and generally acted on, is, that want of chastity before marriage is no vice, though afterwards it is considered a crime, which is very rarely committed. Before we pass a sweeping condemnation on the rude population of the Welsh mountains for this laxity, let us remember that, such is the false state of "over-civilisation" in England, the same ideas and practices exist universally among the male portion, at least, of the people, and pass without any thing beyond a formal, we might almost say, a legal reprimand: that in France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and, it may be, other countries of Europe, this laxity exists not so much before as after marriage; and that therefore the poor Celtic mountaineers do not stand alone in their ignorance of what is better.

It appears by the official returns, that the proportion of illegitimate children in North Wales shows an excess of 12·3 per cent above the average of all England and Wales upon the like numbers of registered births. We know ourselves of a union of 48 parishes in which there are now 500 bastard children supported out of the poor-rates; and, in fact, the prevalence of the vice is not to be denied. The volumes of these reports contain numerous minutes of evidences and letters from magistrates and clergymen corroborative of this fact; and they all agree in referring it to the ignorance of the people. We are not inclined to lift the veil which we would willingly allow to hang over the faults, the weaknesses, and the ignorance of a poor uncultivated people; believing, as we do, that the[557] remedies for such a state of things are not far off, nor difficult to find; and knowing that, if there be any palliation of such a state of things, it is to be found in this circumstance, that the married state is most duly honoured and observed in that country, and also, that the women marry early in life, and support all the duties of their state in an exemplary manner. We could also pick out county after county in England, where we know that the morality of the lower orders is little, if at all, elevated above this standard, and where the phenomenon of the pregnant bride is one of the most ordinary occurrence. The statement of these facts, as published by the commissioners, has caused great indignation throughout Wales, and has set the local press in a ferment, but has not produced any satisfactory refutation of the impeachment.

Another vice, correlative to, and consequent upon the other, is the want of truth and honesty in petty matters observable throughout the land. This is the common complaint of almost every gentleman and magistrate in the twelve counties—that the word of a Welshman of the lower classes is hardly to be trusted in little matters; and that the crime of false swearing in courts and at quarter-sessions is exceedingly frequent. In the same manner, the people generally, in the minor transactions of life, are given to equivocations and by-dealing, and make light of telling an untruth if it refers only to a matter of minor importance. Were a Welshman called as a witness in a case of felony, we think his oath might be depended upon as much as an Englishman's; but is he called up on a case of common assault, or the stealing of a few potatoes from his neighbour's field—or is he covenanting to sell you coals or corn at a certain price and weight—we should be uncommonly careful how we trusted to his deposition or his assurances.

A clergyman of Brecknockshire says:—

"The Welsh are more deceitful than the English; though they are full of expression, I cannot rely on them as I should on the English. There is more disposition to pilfer than among the English, but we are less apprehensive of robbery than in England. There is less open avowal of a want of chastity, but it exists; and there is far less feeling of delicacy between the sexes here in every-day life than in England. The boys bathe here, for instance, in the river at the bridge in public, and I have been insulted for endeavouring to stop it. There is less open wickedness as regards prostitution than in England. Drunkenness is the prevailing sin of this place and the county around, and is not confined to the labouring classes, but the drunkenness of the lower classes is greatly caused by the example of those above them, who pass their evenings in the public-houses. But clergymen and magistrates, who used to frequent them, have ceased to do so within the last few years. I have preached against the sin, and used other efforts to check it, though I have been insulted for doing so in the street. I think things are better than they were in this respect.... I do not think they are addicted to gambling, but their chief vice is that of sotting in the public-houses."

A magistrate, in another part of the county, gives the following testimony:—

"Crimes of violence are almost unknown, such as burglary, forcible robbery, or the use of the knife. Common assaults are frequent, usually arising from drunken quarrels. Petty thefts are not particularly numerous. Poultry-stealing and sheep-stealing prevail to a considerable extent. There is no rural police, and the parish constables are for the most part utterly useless, except for serving summonses, &c. Sheep and poultry stealers, therefore, very frequently escape with impunity. Drunkenness prevails to a lamentable extent—not so much among the lowest class, who are restrained by their poverty, as among those who are in better circumstances. Every market or fair day affords too much proof of this assertion. Unchastity in the women is, I am sorry to say, a great stain upon our people. The number of bastard children is very great, as is shown by the application of young women for admission into the workhouse to be confined, and by the application to magistrates in petty sessions for orders of affiliation. In hearing these cases, it is impossible not to remark how unconscious of shame both the young woman and her parents often appear to be. In the majority of cases where an order of affiliation is sought, marriage was promised, or the expectation of it held out. The cases are usually cases of bonâ fide seduction. Those who enter the workhouse to be confined are generally girls of[558] known bad character. I believe that in the rural districts few professed prostitutes would be found."

The clerk, to the magistrates at Lampeter observes:—

"Perjury is common in courts of justice, and the Welsh language facilitates it; for, when witnesses understand English, they feign not to do so, in order to gain time in the process of translation, to shape and mould their answers according to the interest they wish to serve. Frequently neither the prisoner nor the jury understand English, and the counsel, nevertheless, addresses them in English, and the judge sums up in English, not one word of which do they often understand. Instances have occurred when I have had to translate the answers of an English witness into Welsh for the jury; and once even to the grand jury at Cardigan I had to do this. A juryman once asked me, 'What was the nature of an action in which he had given his verdict.'

"Truth and the sacredness of an oath are little thought of; it is most difficult to get satisfactory evidence in courts of justice."

Upon the above evidence, Mr Symons, the inspector, remarks:—

"Notwithstanding the lamentable state of morals, the jails are empty. The following comparison between the relative criminality of the three counties in my district with that of the neighbouring agricultural county of Hereford, exhibits this moral anomaly in the Welsh character very forcibly:—

  for Trial atCentesimal
  Assizes andProportion
Counties ofPopulationQuarter Sessionsof Offenders
 in 1841for the 5 yearsto Population
  ending with 1845.

"Crimes, therefore, are twice as numerous in Herefordshire as in Radnorshire or Brecknockshire, and five times more so than in Cardiganshire.

"I attribute this paucity of punishable offences in Wales partly to the extreme shrewdness and caution of the people, but much more to a natural benevolence and warmth of heart, which powerfully deters them from acts of malice and all deliberate injury to others. And I cannot but express my surprise that a characteristic so highly to the credit of the Welsh people, and of which so many evidences presented themselves to the eye of the stranger, should have been left chiefly to his own personal testimony. Facts were nevertheless related to me which bore out my impression; and I may instance the ancient practice among neighbouring families of assisting the marriages of each other's children by loans or gifts of money at the 'biddings' or marriage meetings, to be repaid only on a similar occasion in the family of the donor, as well as the attendance of friends at times of death or adversity, as among the incidents which spring from and mark this honourable characteristic."

Notwithstanding all this, we know, from official sources, that the proportion per cent of commitments for North Wales is sixty-one per cent below the calculated average for all England and Wales, on the same amount of male population of the like ages. In fact, the jails of Wales are commonly empty, or the next thing to it; and the whole twelve counties would hardly keep one barrister, on the crown side, above starving-point. Maiden assizes are any thing but uncommon in that country.

That particular foci of evil do exist, we have asserted before; and we find the following trace of this portion of the subject in the report of Mr Vaughan Johnson on Montgomeryshire:—

"The following evidence relates to the parishes of Newtown and Llanllwchaiarn, which contain 6842 inhabitants:—

'It appears that, previously to the year 1845, no district in North Wales was more neglected, in respect of education, than the parishes of Newtown and Llanllwchaiarn. The effects were partly seen in the turbulent and seditious state of the neighbourhood in the year 1839. The permanent evils which have sprung from this neglect it will require many years of careful education to eradicate. A memorial, presented by the inhabitants to the Lords of the Committee of Council on Education, at the close of the year 1845, contains the following plea for assistance in providing popular education:—

"In the spring of the year 1839 the peace of the town and neighbourhood was threatened by an intended insurrection on the part of the operative class, in connexion, it is supposed, with other parts of the kingdom, with a view to effect a change in the institutions of the country; but such an insurrection, if intended, was prevented by the presence of an armed force; and a military force has ever since[559] been stationed in the town, with a view of preserving its peace.

'Your memorialists believe that, if the inhabitants had had the benefit of a sound moral and religious culture in early life, the presence of an armed force to protect the peace of the town would not be needed in so comparatively small a place; and your memorialists are under a firm conviction that no better way can be devised for the removal of all disposition to vice and crime, than by enlightening the ignorant, and especially by sowing in early life, by the hands of the teacher, the seeds of religion and morality.'"

'The alarm occasioned by these disturbances has passed away; but I ascertained, by a careful inquiry among the persons best acquainted with the condition of the working-classes, that even at the present day low and unprincipled publications, of a profane and seditious tendency, are much read by a class of the operatives; that private and secret clubs exist for the dissemination of such writings, by means of which the class of operatives have access to the writings of Paine and Volney, to Owen's tracts, and to newspapers and periodicals of the same pernicious tendency. It is stated that many persons who read such works also attend Sunday schools, from their anxiety to obtain a knowledge of the art of reading, which they cannot otherwise acquire. It is the opinion of those who are best acquainted with the evils complained of, that the most efficacious remedy would be the circulation of intelligent publications on general subjects, within the comprehension of the working-classes, by the help of reading-societies and circulating libraries, at terms which the operatives would be able to afford.'"

The third vice—for it is a vice—which we know to be prevalent in Wales, is the extreme dirt and untidiness of all the inhabitants. Go into any Welsh town or village, and observe the squalid shabby look of the houses and their tenants; visit their farms and cottages, and see the wretched filth in which men and animals herd together, and you will bear witness to the truth of our assertion. There is no spirit of order and improvement among them; every thing is done on the principle of the least possible present trouble. Were the Welsh blessed with the climate of Naples, they would, every one of them, become pure Lazzaroni,—as it is, they approximate to the Irish in their innate indolence and love of dirt. Whenever the commissioners for the health of towns receive their full power, they will have an Augean stable to cleanse, comprising the whole Principality.

Even here, however, we are disposed to find some excuse for the people. They have so few resident gentry, at least of the larger proprietors; their country is so wild and so lonely; the difficulties of poverty and bad weather which they have to contend against are so great, that the philanthropical inquirer must make large allowances for them on this head. The commissioners found most of the country schools conducted in the most wretched buildings; but perhaps these buildings were some of the very best and cleanest in the district: they thought them neglected, and in bad repair; whereas the inhabitants might have supposed that they "had done the correct thing," and had adorned them in a style of lavish expenditure.

We might go on multiplying our extracts and our comments ad infinitum, but we purposely abstain; and we shall conclude our review of these highly important documents with one or two inferences that seem to us obviously necessary.

In the first place, as long as the Welsh language cannot reckon, among its literary treasures, the principal portion of the good elementary books of instruction which have long been employed in England, and are still issuing from the English press, it is obviously impossible to place the education of the Welsh on the same level as that of their Saxon neighbours. Not only should the best English books be translated into Welsh—we mean for the instruction and amusement of the middle and lower classes,—but translations might be made most advantageously from other tongues; and the literature of Wales might become permanently enriched with the best fruits of all nations. We by no means coincide in opinion with those who would discourage the study of Welsh, and would even attempt to suppress that language altogether; we look upon it as one of the most interesting and valuable, though not one of the most fortunate and gifted, of European tongues. In[560] ancient literature, in poetry, and in an immense mass of oral tradition, it is uncommonly rich, and, by the mere dignity of age, is worthy of its place being ever kept for it among the languages of the world. But, further than this, though it operates to a certain extent as a social bar to the more intimate connexion of the Welsh and English populations, it serves also as a strong bond and support of Welsh nationality, and keeps alive in their breasts that indomitable love of their country, and that spirit of national pride, which is the best safeguard of the liberties of the realm, and its protection from democratic invasion. It hinders the operations of centralisation—that odious and destructive principle of government which Whigs and Democrats are so fond of copying from their masters, the revolutionary French; and it teaches the people to rely on their own resources, and to preserve the ancient freedom of their country. In times like these, when the aggressive levelling spirit of democracy is actively at work, and when the ancient liberties of the country are gradually falling beneath the scythe of radical innovation, any thing that may serve as a check to the decline and fall of the empire is not to be lightly despised or abandoned. The Welsh, like the Basques, like the Bretons, like the Hungarians, have preserved their national language and feelings, though all these are united to empires and people far more powerful and numerous than themselves; and thus are destined to form the most energetic and abiding portions of those empires, when the excessive advance of civilisation, and the destruction of all national virtues, shall have brought about their disruption and ruin. Let the higher orders and the government of the country show, the former more enlightened and more energetic patriotism, and the latter more intelligence and foresight than hitherto. Let them provide the people with the materials of education and instruction; let them call forth the numerous learned men to be found amongst the clergy of the Principality; let them require and pay for the formation of an elementary literature, and the nucleus thus originated will grow betimes into a goodly mass, fit for the work required, and itself generating the means of its future increase. The natural acuteness of the Welsh people is such—and the Commissioners bear ample testimony to the fact—that, had they but books in their own tongue, the facts of knowledge would be universally acquired. They would make as much progress in secular as they now do in theological research; and were their powers of acquisition well directed, the whole character of the nation would undergo an elevating and improving change.

We would have them taught English as a foreign language—as an accomplishment, in fact. It belongs to a totally different family of languages, and must always be a foreign tongue to a Celt—but still it may be acquired sufficiently for all the common purposes of life; while all facts, all instruction, all matters for reflection and memory, should be conveyed in the national tongue, the pure Cymric language.

Government need not trouble itself by attempting to carry the details of educational systems into operation; all that it is required to supply is the moving and the controlling power; the various duties of the great machine will be better fulfilled by the people at large—that is to say, by the local authorities, the constituted voices and hands of the national body.

We are aware of the many difficulties that are sure to meet any government, or rather any political party, that should attempt at the present day to carry into effect a scheme of general education. The sectarian spirit of the country is so thoroughly excited, the minds of the people are so thoroughly wild upon certain subjects, that any thing like a patriotic sinking of interests for the general good is out of the question; much less is it to be expected that, under Whig leaders, the discordant members of the state would be inclined to defer to the superior authority of the legislators. The predominance of the democratic element in the present phase of the constitution of England hinders the action of government, and injures in this, as in most other respects, the very best interests of the[561] country. Still we cannot but think that, were there at the head of affairs a band of statesmen in whose political integrity, private honour, and public capacity, the country could firmly rely, the mass of the people might be made to rally round their standard, rather than round the gathering-posts of factious leaders, whether political or religious. But at the present moment, when the tone of political morality and parliamentary consistency is so low, when treason and tergiversation are the order of the day, and when the undisguised pursuit of gain—by fair means or by foul, but still by some means or other—is allowed to usurp an undue place in the councils of the nation, it is in vain to hope for any very satisfactory results.

We would say, follow out the Church scheme fearlessly and boldly, but without intolerance—follow it out consistently and honestly, and you will obtain more numerous and more worthy followers, you will produce more permanent and more beneficial results, than by truckling to this sect or to that, or by the vain endeavour to curry favour with all. At the same time we think, with the commissioners, that to make the Bible the sole book of education, as is the case in most schools, is a bad plan; it brings the sacred volume itself into contempt and dislike, and it limits the field of instruction in an undue degree. We would introduce more of secular subjects even into the common schools, and certainly not less of real religion; and to that end we would endeavour to fit the teachers for their duties, and suit the extensiveness of the schools to the amount of work to be done. Religious education being maintained daily as a part, not as the whole, of education, it should be made the exclusive topic of Sunday education; and the amount of information on religious topics thus gained would be found to be greater, in a given time, than when the child's mind is bent to that one subject alone—the hardest, the sublimest of all subjects—and when all his thoughts, all his ideas, are concentrated on the Bible, the Prayer-Book, and the Catechism. In this matter, however, the heads of the Church are the authorities with whom the move for improvement ought to originate; and, would they but act with energy and unanimity, there is no doubt that they would carry the weight and influence of the nation along with them.

The third observation we have to offer refers to the lamentably inadequate provision made, in a pecuniary point of view, for the education of the people. Not only are the teachers totally unprepared by previous education, but, even let their talents and acquirements be what they may, their brightest prospect is that of earning less than at any trade to which they may be take themselves—without any prospect of ever, by some turn of fortune's wheel, amassing for themselves a store for their declining years. Work, to be done well, no matter what its nature may be, must be properly recompensed; no system that is not adequately supported with funds can be expected to continue in a state of efficiency—it will speedily degenerate, decline, and ultimately perish.

Not to dwell upon truisms of this kind, we shall at once state what we think would form a sufficient fund for the maintenance of a uniform and effective system of public instruction in Wales, and the means of carrying it into effect. We conceive that the advantages of education, being felt by every man—even whether he be the direct recipient of it or not—should be paid for out of a common fund, raised in an equitable manner by the state. On the other hand, in an agricultural country, where the main interests of the state are in the hands of the great landed proprietors, and where the well-being and safety of the whole depends upon the morality and the physical good of the labouring classes, the magistrates of the country, and all the owners of land, are most intimately bound up with the healthy action and welfare of the whole people; nor can they by any means shift from their shoulders the duty of providing for the happiness of their tenants and dependents. For similar reasons, the merchants, manufacturers, and other citizens of large towns, have a direct interest in the welfare and in the in moral advancement of all the working and inferior classes of the urban population. Now, we maintain that one of[562] the most efficient and ready methods for the promotion of industry, the suppression of vagrancy, the diminution of drunkenness, sensuality, and crime, and therefore the lowering of poor-rates, police-rates, county-rates, &c., would be the giving the people a better religious and secular education, and the raising of them in the scale of social beings. It would follow from these premises, if assented to, that an education tax would be one of the fairest and most directly advantageous which could be imposed on the country; and we are further persuaded that, as its effects began to make themselves felt, its justice would be acquiesced in by all who should pay it.

We would therefore suggest, 1st, That a general poll-tax should be raised on the country, without distinction of person, or age, or sex, for the purposes of education; and, in order that people might not murmur at it for its oppressiveness, we would fix it at the value of one day's work of an adult agricultural labourer. 2d, On all the acreage of the country we would recommend a land-tax to be levied, with the same intent, and without exception for any class of property whatsoever. This we would fix at some small fractional part of the annual value of the land in rent charge,—say at one penny per acre. 3d, On all household property in towns, for tenements, belonging to persons not in the condition of labourers, we would lay a similar tax of a small fractional portion of the annual rent; and on all mining and manufacturing property, wherever situated, we would impose a certain small annual charge. To fix ideas, we will suppose that the sum produced by this latter class of property should be equal to one-half of that charged for the same purpose on the landed proprietors. The sums to be raised may be thus calculated:—

1st., The entire population of North and South Wales, as ascertained by the census of 1841, is 911,603: and the average rate of wages for an able-bodied agricultural labourer may be safely estimated at 1s. 6d. per diem, as a minimum throughout Wales, A poll-tax, therefore, of 1s. 6d. per head on the whole population, would produce a sum of £68,375.

2d., The entire acreage of Wales is very nearly 5,206,900 acres; and a land-tax of 1d. per acre would therefore produce £21,695.

3d., Estimating a tax on houses, and mining and manufacturing property throughout Wales, at only half the amount of that raised on the land, we should have a sum of £10,847.

The whole would stand thus:—

House-tax, &c.10,847

Now assuming that, whether by adhering to the old division of parishes for the formation of educational districts—and for many reasons, religious as well as political, we should be sorry to see this arrangement disturbed—there would be required, at the rate of at least one school for each parish, the total number of 863 schools. But on account of the increased size of some of the towns, and the accumulation of mining population in several mountainous districts, it might be necessary to provide more than this number. We will therefore, at a guess, fix it at 1000, and this would furnish at least one school for every 1000 of the whole population, adult as well as infantine—a proportion which will be allowed to be abundantly sufficient, when it is considered that such schools are intended only for the lower classes.

To support, however, a school in a proper state of efficiency—that is to say, to furnish it with properly trained teachers, male and female, and with the requisite books and other instruments of teaching—we do not think that we are overstraining the point if we assign the annual sum of one hundred pounds as necessary. This sum might either be divided in the proportion of sixty pounds per annum for a male teacher, and forty pounds per annum for a female,—or it might most advantageously, in some cases, be bestowed on a teacher and his wife, supposing them both capable of undertaking such duties. Of course, in all cases suitable buildings, including school-rooms for both sexes, residences and gardens for the teachers, should be provided at the public expense, and maintained in repair from[563] a distinct fund. We shall then perceive that the sum mentioned above, amounting in round numbers to one hundred thousand pounds per annum, would be sufficient for the purpose; and we think that it would not only be so, but that, it would be made to furnish a sufficient sum for retiring and superannuated pensions, on the principle adopted in several of the Continental states, of an annual percentage being deducted from the salaries of all civil servants to form a fund of this nature, specially devoted to their own benefit. We do not throw out any specific hints for the collection and management of this fund; but it might be raised along with other local rates, and by the same local officers, so that the smallest possible addition might be thereby made to the cost of collecting it.

One part of this plan, however, without which the whole would be inefficient, would be the forming of a body of inspectors, and the establishing of training-schools or colleges for teachers. The latter are already beginning to exist, and machinery for the former is now at work under the direction of the Committee of Council. But we should hope to see training-schools established on a much larger and more efficient scale than at present; and we should desire to see the appointment of inspectors, and the management of the education funds, taken out of the hands of such a body as the Privy Council, and given to the local and provincial authorities, civil and ecclesiastical, of Wales. If such appointments remained in the hands of government, political jobbing would act upon them with greater intensity than through the medium of local interests and county influence; and, what would be far worse than this, another impulse would be given to the principle of centralisation, one of the most fatal for national spirit and national freedom that can be devised, and which we are called upon to resist at all times, but especially when a party of Whig politico-economists, as wild and destructive in the ultimate tendencies of their theories as the Girondists of France, are in possession of the reins of power.

We say nothing on the subject of Sunday schools; we leave them altogether to the consideration and support of the Church, and the various sects in Wales, by whom, if they are wanted, they can be efficiently maintained without any interference of the state. But we call loudly upon the legislature of the United Kingdom to give at least the initiative and the moving power to the natural inertness of the Welsh people; and we would summon them, as they value the happiness, the tranquillity, and the moral advancement of that portion of the country, to take the matter of education under their primary control, and to form a general system, harmonious in its manner of working, comprehensive in its extent, and tolerant in its religious tendencies. Much opposition and prejudice and clamour would have to be combated, as upon every question seems now to be the case in what we fondly consider the model of all political constitutions. But unless the legislature and the statesmen at the head of affairs are prepared to meet these obstacles, and to remove them in their sovereign wisdom, they had better declare their incapacity openly, and renounce their functions.






In the village of Careta, upon the mountains near the Arga, which flows from the Pyrenees to Pampeluna, the wind whistled and the snow drifted upon a stormy January evening of the year 1836. It was about seven of the clock: José, a sturdy peasant, sat by his kitchen fire, on which withered vine-branches blazed and crackled, and dried his hempen sandals. Beside him knelt a haggard old woman, handsome in the ugliness of one of those strongly-marked, melancholy, yellow countenances, in which a legend of the Alhambra seems to lurk. Dressed in rusty black, she crouched like an animal by the hearth, poking and blowing at the fire, which sometimes broadly illuminated the remotest corners of the room and rafters of the roof, at others was barely sufficiently vivid to light up her mysterious old physiognomy. Suddenly a tremendous gust of wind burst open the wooden shutter, and howled into the apartment.

"Dios! what weather!" croaked the old woman.

An affirmative carajo was her husband's reply, as he knocked the dry mud from his leathern gamashes against the edge of the raised hearthstone.

"God help the poor troops in the mountains!" continued the old woman. "Daughter, shut the window."

A young girl, who sat, spindle in hand, upon a wooden bench in the gloom of the chimney corner, obeyed the order. Her coarse woollen dress could not wholly disguise the graces of her form, as she tripped across the kitchen through the fitful firelight, which shone upon her gipsy features and clear brown skin, and upon the two long plaited tails of jet-black hair that fell down her back nearly to her heels. Before closing the window she listened, with the true instinct of a vedette, to the sounds without. In a lull of the blast, her ear caught the noise of distant drums, beaten not in irregular guerilla fashion, but by well-trained drummers, in steady quick time.

"Father," cried Manuela, "troops are at hand."

"Nonsense, child: 'tis the garrison tattoo below at Larasuena."

"No, father, it draws nearer. 'Tis the French. Mother, hide the beds."

Beds were hidden, a sack of white beans was carefully concealed, the family jackass was tethered in the darkest corner of the cellar-like stable. Preceded by rattle of drums, two wet and weary battalions of the French Legion marched into Careta, and after a few minutes' halt the shivering alcalde was hurrying from house to house, allotting quarters to the tired strangers.

An hour later I sat beside José's hearth, smoking a friendly cigarillo, with the surly old peasant. Upon the earthen floor, at various distances from the fire, at which sundry pair of white gaiters, newly washed, hung to dry, lay those soldiers of my squad (I was then a corporal) who had not fallen in that day's fight by Larasuena. At a sort of loop-hole in the wall, looking out into the street, a sentry stood. For a long while José sat with folded hands, gazing at the fire. I did all I could to make him talk; told him about German customs and German men; then spoke of Spain, of the Constitution and so forth; less, however, if truth must be told, with a view to his amusement than to that of the sweet-faced girl with the long black locks who sat over her spindle in the opposite corner. At last José's sullenness thawed so[565] far that he asked me very earnestly if the German jackasses were as big and as strong as those in Navarre. What could I reply to such a question!

Suddenly a long shrill whistle was heard outside the house. "Keep a bright look-out!" cried I, to the sentry at the loophole. Again all was still. Father José dropped off to sleep; the patrona went down stairs to fodder the donkey, and I addressed my conversation to pretty Manuela. I know not how it was, but we got on so well together that soon I found myself seated close beside her, one arm round her waist, whilst the other hand played with a silver cross that hung from her neck, and on which were engraved the words, "Mary, pray for me!" And she told me of her brother Antonio, who was away from home, and of her sister Maria, who was with relations at Hostiz, in the valley of the Bastan.

"And where is your brother Antonio, Manuela?"

"My brother is—in the mountains. You seem good and kind, stranger; you tell me you are not a Frenchman, but a German. Oh! if you meet my brother in fight, do not kill him—spare him for my sake!"

"But, dear Manuela, how am I to know your brother? One Carlist is so like another."

"No, no! you are sure to know him: he resembles me, and he wears upon his breast a silver cross like mine. The same words are written upon it, and not a bullet has touched him since he has worn it."

"So, your brother is a soldier of Don Carlos, your sister dwells in a Carlist village, and your parents—at least your father, judging from his looks when I spoke of the Constitution,—also hold for the Pretender. Do you not fear Christino troops?"

"No, Señor—at least I should not, if they were all as good as you, who protected me from that rude Italian.—Dios!" she exclaimed, suddenly interrupting herself, and springing from her chair like a scared deer. From under the bench on the other side of the fire peered forth the dark countenance of a Piedmontese soldier, his checks flushed with wine, his eyes sparkling with a sullen fire, his ignoble, satyr-like features expressing a host of evil passions. He shot a venomous glance from under his dirty eyelashes, then turned himself round, grinding between his teeth an Italian malediction. He still lay where I had violently thrown him, when, upon our first entrance, I rescued Manuela from his brutality.

"To bed, girl!" screamed the old woman, who just then re-entered the kitchen. Manuela went to bed, and I composed myself to sleep upon the bench by the fire. It was eleven o'clock, and the silence in the village was unbroken save by the howling of the storm and the occasional challenge of a sentry.


The road from Pampeluna to France passes by a mountain of some size, whose real name I have forgotten, but which our soldiers called the Hill of Death, because, for a league around, it emitted an odour of unburied corpses. Close to the road, but at a considerable elevation, a conical peak springs from the hill-side.

Around this peak, upon a July night, about six months after the scene at Careta, lay a column of Carlists, awaiting the dawn. There they are, scattered about the fires, forlorn figures of unconquerable endurance, barefoot, in linen trousers and thin cloth jackets, the scarlet plate-shaped cap upon their heads. Burnt brown by the Castilian sun, their daring picturesque countenances assume an additional wildness of aspect in the red light of the watch-fires. From one of these, Fernando, a handsome Arragonese lad, whose father and brothers have been shot, and whose sister is a fille-de-joie at Saragossa, snatches a charcoal with his fingers, and places it upon a stone, to light his paper cigar. Then comes Hippolito, a pale emaciated boy of sixteen, and sets upon the fire a small pot of potatoes, which he has carried with him since morning. The Carlists caught him in Catalonia, and dragged him along with them, and often does he swear a peevish oath that his death will be in the hospital.[566] Beside him lies Cyrillo, a desperate scapegrace from Estremadura, intended for the university, but whom restlessness and evil courses have brought under the banners. He has a piece of bacon on his bayonet, and toasts it at the flame. Hard by, a brace of Andalusians have got a guitar, and strike up a melody, so plaintive and yet so strangely spirit-stirring, that a bearded dragoon, slumbering upon his back, with his hands beneath his head, suddenly opens his great wild eyes. One of his comrades stands near him, his arms folded on his breast, gazing down wistfully into the valley of the Arga, now veiled by the mists of evening, and which he perhaps for many a long day has not dared to visit—as if the tones of the guitar brought melancholy to his mind. Suddenly the measure is changed, and the musician breaks into the lively fandango; a joyous Navarrese seizes the pensive trooper by the arm and whirls him round, but receives in return a push that sends him staggering against the guitar player, whilst he grasps at his girdle for the ready knife. An obscene curse burst from half-a-dozen throats; with fierce looks the two men confront each other, but are separated by force, and again the guitar tinkles in the night air, whilst Hippolito gathers up his potatoes, upset and scattered in the scuffle. A dirty priest comes up, a decoration upon his black coat, and enjoins order and peace. He has scarcely walked away, when a soldier in handsome uniform rushes up to the fire, and throws himself down, breathless and half fainting. He is a deserter from the Christino regiment of Cordova. They give him unlimited wine, and he tells them the latest news from the hostile camp. The bota passes from mouth to mouth; and whilst the deserter sleeps off his libations and fatigue, his new comrades cast lots for his good shirt and strong shoes.

The same evening four battalions of the foreign legion were quartered at Villalba, four leagues nearer to Pampeluna. Upon an open space in the village, whence the sun had long since burned away the grass, a party of Germans sat upon scattered blocks of stone, and discussed, whilst a gourd of wine circulated slowly amongst them, an order just issued to hold themselves ready to march at a minute's notice.

"Who knows," said one of them, a tailor from Regensburg, "whether we shall be alive to-morrow? Let's have a song."

"A song, a song!" repeated another, a shoemaker from Rhenish Prussia, who had found himself uncomfortable in the Vauban barracks in Luxemburg.

"What shall it be?" cried a journeyman mechanic, who, when upon his travels, ran short of work and money.

Before any one could answer, a capering Frenchman struck up,

"Entendez-vous, le tambour bat, le clairon sonne," &c.

"Hold your infernal French tongue!" shouted the Germans. "Here's the sergeant from Munich will give us a song."

The Bavarian, nothing loath, struck up a song, whose simple strain and familiar words brought home and friends to the memory of all present. The melody echoed far through the still evening air, and, when it concluded, tears were in every eye, and no one spoke, save the Regensburg tailor, who muttered,

"God take us safe out of this cutthroat country!"

The sun went down. A few pieces of ship-biscuit were shared for the evening meal, and then the drums beat to roll-call, which was held in quarters, and at whose next repetition many a man then present was doomed to be missing.

That same night, twelve o'clock had scarcely struck, when the three solemn taps with which the French générale begins, resounded through the village of Villalba. In less than ten minutes the battalions were under arms, hurrying at quick step along the desolate road to Larasuena. In a meadow, outside this village, half an hour's halt was allowed, for the men to fill their flasks with vinegar and water, as a remedy for the faintness occasioned by heat. Then the march continued. The column had scarcely halted, for the second time, in rear of[567] the houses of Zubiri, when a sharp fire of musketry was heard from the mountain above. At charging pace the weary troops hurried up the steep acclivity. The sun was scorching hot; the knapsacks seemed insupportably heavy. Nearer and nearer was the noise of the fight; in the ranks of the ascending soldiers short suppressed gasps and groans were heard. The tailor from Regensburg fell forward, with froth upon his lips, and gave up the ghost.

On reaching a small level, we saw it was high time for our arrival. The second regiment of the royal guard already gave ground, when the cry "La Legion!" changed the fortune of the day. With fixed bayonets our battalions rushed like tigers upon the factious ranks, which were disordered by the shock. The Bavarian sergeant fell amongst five Carlists, who settled him with their knives. A pale subaltern of the factious came in contact with three of our grenadiers, and begged piteously for mercy. But the grenadiers had no time; they cut a bad joke in Swabian dialect, and brained him with their muskets. Of the first encounter of the day, these are the only episodes I remember. Suddenly the Carlist bugles sounded the retreat. We formed column and hurried in pursuit, followed by the royal guard. From time to time the enemy halted, till the bayonet again dislodged them. By turns our battalions were sent forward as skirmishers. It was nearly noon. A dying officer of ours begged me for a mouthful of vinegar. I had but two; one for myself, and one for my comrade, whom I had not seen, however, the whole of the day, and never saw afterwards. It was about twelve o'clock when my company advanced to skirmish. The line deployed, and as we slowly advanced, loading and firing, I had to pass through the corner of a small thicket. Just as I entered it, I observed a Carlist horseman, at its other extremity, fire his carbine at one of our men. Then he disappeared amongst the trees, and five seconds later I saw him riding towards me. "Surrender!" he shouted in Navarrese patois, and stooped behind his horse's head. At my shot the animal stood stock-still, and the rider fell from his saddle. Blood streamed from a wound between neck and shoulder. I released his foot from the stirrup, propped him up against a beech-tree, and unbuttoned his jacket from over his panting breast. As I did so, a silver cross fell almost into my hand. It hung from his neck by a ribbon, and upon it were the words, "Mary, pray for me!" I had seen such a cross before. "Open your mouth, Antonio!" I cried. He obeyed, and I poured upon his parched tongue the last contents of my flask. He thanked me with his dying breath. I concealed the cross within his jacket, and followed the signal that called the skirmishers forward.


A fortnight later, at about the same hour as in the previous January, the Legion marched into Careta. As before, old José was seated upon the bench in the chimney corner, making a cigarillo out of the stumps of a dozen others, carefully treasured in his coat cuff; and the patrona jumped up with a shrill "Dios de mi alma!" as the foreign drums announced her former guests. "The old billets" was the convenient order, as regarded quarters; and with shout and song, and clatter of musket-buts, my company rushed up the well-known staircase. The rough greeting over, and a demand for wine complied with, I inquired after Manuela. "She is with friends in the mountains," grumbled the old woman.

It was ten o'clock. With four other non-commissioned officers I betook myself, an iron lamp in hand, to the room allotted us. José and the patrona had been long asleep. The soldiers lay for the most part in the deathlike slumber of extreme fatigue, upon the chairs and in the kitchen. The floor of our room was of tiles, affording a cold, uncomfortable resting-place. As to bedding, it was not to be thought of.

Whilst examining our dreary lodgings, one of my companions pointed out an opening in the wall, closed up with square flat stones, laid upon[568] each other, but not cemented. Judging from the external aspect of the house, we conjectured this condemned doorway to lead into another apartment.

The suspicion that beds or wine were perhaps concealed there, induced us to remove the upper stones, and when enough of them were out to allow of ingress, my comrades hoisted me up to the opening, through which I held the lamp, and saw a passage with several doors. Taking my bayonet and havresack, I bid my comrades remain where they were, and, promising an equitable division of spoils, I climbed over the wall. Shading the lamp with my hand lest a ray should meet the eye of old José, I moved along as noiselessly as possible, whilst behind me my companions poked their heads through the opening, and made eager and curious inquiries as to what I saw. In one corner I found a pile of sheep's wool, which I threw out to serve as bed. In the room I found some rude furniture, broken and worthless, old shrivelled goatskins, empty casks, and the like. I was about to cease my investigation, when I noticed a wooden partition cutting off the end of a room. There was a door in it, which I opened. Whilst my comrades were busy spreading out the wool, it revealed an alcove, containing a clean, white bed, in which some one lay.

Hastily shading the lamp I gently closed the door. But perceiving that the person in the bed, whoever it was, did not stir, I ventured nearer, and beheld a mass of long black hair spread out in rich waves over the snow-white sheet. The sleeper's face was turned to the wall; another glance, and I recognised Manuela. My heart throbbed violently. It was a hard fight, harder than that on the 4th July. She lay so still and unconscious, breathing so softly, and her dark hair twined so temptingly over the bed-clothes, like snakes out of paradise. But upon her partially unveiled bosom lay the silver cross, and the lamp-light shone upon the words, "Mary, pray for me!" Silently I shut the door and returned to my comrades. Upon my assurance that I had found nothing worth looking after, the stones were replaced in the opening, and we lay down to sleep. But I have often slept more soundly upon bare tiles than I did that night upon José's wool.

At daybreak the diana called us, as usual, under arms, to wait the return of the morning reconnoissance. After that, various duties occupied me for some hours. Upon my return to the house, I had all the difficulty in the world to appease Manuela's mother, who showered upon us, to the astonishment of the whole company, every malediction the Spanish language affords. The old lady had found the wool scattered about our room, and naturally concluded that was not the full extent of our depredations. Manuela now made her appearance, bathed in tears—her presence in the house being already known, so her mother supposed, to all of us.

It was again evening. The thunder rolled, and a heavy summer shower poured down in torrents, when, as I ascended the stairs, a flash of lightning showed me José equipped and girt for the road. Manuela hung sobbing round his neck, and bid him God-speed. On my appearance, the old peasant darted through the back-door; and a second flash gave me a glimpse of his brown cloak as he strode over the garden fence and disappeared across the country.

An hour later our drums beat for unexpected departure, and the soldiers hurried out of the house. I lingered an instant, and, with my arm round Manuela's waist, told her, in few words, my discovery of the previous night. Her cheeks burned like flame, and she raised her great dark eyes timidly and gratefully to my face. "May God repay it to your sisters and mother!" were her words. "I said you were not like the rest. But your home is far hence, and if the war spares you, poor Manuela will soon be forgotten."

"Give me something whereby to remember you, Manuela. A kiss, if you will."

"Take this cross. I give it you. Wear it in battle, as my brother Antonio does his, and show it him if you meet in strife. May it shield and accompany you to your distant home, and remind you sometimes of the poor Navarrese maiden."

[569]I pressed the sweet girl closer to my breast, took a farewell kiss, and whispered, "Adieu, poor Manuela!" Just then, through the half-open door, appeared the unclean countenance of the Piedmontese. He grinned with rage and disappointment, and disappeared at Manuela's cry of alarm.

Ten or twelve leagues south-west from Pampeluna lies the fortress of Lerin, perched high upon the summit of a hill. Thence, a few weeks after the preceding scene, the second division of the foreign legion started suddenly at midnight, the object of the mysterious march unknown even to the officers. When the column had reached the bottom of the road that zig-zags down the hill, a peasant, tied, by precaution, to one of the horses of the advanced guard, conducted them rapidly across the Ega, through meadows and vineyards, and wild broken country. It was very dark, and now and then a man or horse fell down a bank or into a ditch. When day broke, however, it was discovered that the wrong direction had been taken. The column went to the right about, and reached, just as the sun rose, a beaten track leading direct to Sesma, a village occupied by Carlist troops. Bright blazed the bayonets in the sunbeams, betraying our presence to the foe we were to have surprised. Whilst we gave the Carlists employment in the adjacent woods and fields, our general made a dash into the village, caught the alcalde, and, by threats of a short shrift and a sharp volley, made him pay down a small portion of the long arrears due to the legion.

Upon our orderly retreat to Lerin, effected in squares of battalions, on whose skirts hosts of Carlist cavalry impotently hovered, we were surprised to see our peasant guide led along with bound hands. When the sight of the fort's artillery made the enemy cease the pursuit and return to Sesma, the column was formed into one large square, a drum-head court-martial was held upon the peasant, and preparation made for his instant execution. Although well acquainted with the country, he had led the troops astray, exposing them to great danger, and partly frustrating the object of the expedition. Further proof of his guilt was found upon him, in the shape of a letter from the Carlist village of Hostiz. With bowed head, and in sullen silence, he listened to his sentence, announced with a threefold rattle of drums. For the first time the unpleasant duty devolved upon me of forming one of the firing party. Heavens! how I started as I drew near to the victim, and recognised old José from Careta. Poor Manuela! I trembled as I looked round, expecting her to appear. Just then came pouring out of the town, with a woman at their head, a crowd of peasants in Sunday garb, hat in hand, and approached the general, slackening their pace respectfully as they drew near. But Manuela's mother (she it was who accompanied them) sprang forward like a fury, menacing the general with her clenched fist and mad Cassandra-like countenance, and heaping upon him curses such as only an angry Spaniard can lay tongue to. Her shrill imprecations contrasted oddly with the humble and deprecating entreaties of the men, and with the muttered prayers of José, who awaited his last minute upon his knees before the firing party.

Permission given, one of the men stepped forward as spokesman.

"May it please your Excellency," said he to the general, "to spare this man's life. He is unacquainted with the country. He first came hither only a month ago, after his hearth had been ravaged, his family scattered, his house burned. Be merciful, Señor. We will all be sureties for his good behaviour. Let him return to his wife: and so shall the blessed Mary and the angels comfort your Excellency in the hour of agony!"

"No, no!" yelled the woman, sputtering with fury, her long grizzled hair streaming around her distorted face. "No! they shall not comfort him, the vile heretic! José Lopez! husband! die bravely, curse the heretic dogs with thy last breath, and the angels will hear thee! Curse upon ye, strangers, come to destroy our dwellings, to slay our men, to slight our faith! Death and agony to your souls, pest in your veins, ravens on your carcass, ashes on your threshold! Die, José, for[570] the King and the holy faith! Viva la Santa Maria! Viva Carlos Quinto!"

Four men led away the peasants and the furious woman. The word of command was given, and I had to aim at the breast to which, only a month previously, poor Manuela had been pressed in the cottage at Careta. Once more José exclaimed, in a loud voice, "Mary, pray for me!" Then there was the rattle of a volley, the peasant sprang into the air, and fell down upon his face, his jacket smoking with burnt wadding.

The band struck up, and we marched back to Lerin.


Three days afterwards, on the 14th August, the legion made an unexpected incursion into the valley of the Bastan, a district full of strong positions, and formerly, for some time, the abiding place of the Pretender, of whose cause its inhabitants were enthusiastic partisans.

Moving with extreme rapidity, we swept, with small resistance, one village after another. On our approach, soldiers, peasants, women, and children, packed their beds upon jackasses, and fled with bag and baggage to concealment in the mountains. Towards noon, every sign of a foe having disappeared, we retired rapidly through the valley towards the Arga, and on this retreat some plundering occurred in the villages.

Arrived at Hostiz, I entered what appeared the best house in the village. The streets were strewn with clothes, linen, and other objects, dropped or thrown away by the fugitives. I met two soldiers carrying large red curtains of heavy rich silk; others had laden themselves with cheeses, others with honey or wine; one man had got a large crucifix. Half-naked women ran screaming through the streets. Eager for a draught of wine, for I was exhausted to faintness by the extreme heat and by the fatigue of a long rapid march, I hurried up the stairs. The house bore witness to utter wantonness of destruction. Every thing was broken and smashed; and hence I was not a little surprised to observe the good-humoured air with which a handsome young woman, standing in the roomy vestibule, distributed wine to a large party of our soldiers, who drank in greedy haste, laughing, singing, and extolling the charms of their Hebe.

"Hallo! my girl, a drink of wine, for heaven's sake!"

I had scarcely uttered the words when an adjacent door opened; and, with arms extended and dishevelled hair, Manuela rushed towards me.

"Give him none, Maria!" she cried; "and you," she added, seizing both my hands, "for God and the saints' sake, drink not a drop!"

At the words, her sister Maria dropped the mouth of the wine-skin, allowing the red liquor to gush over the floor, and disappeared. The drums beat to fall in and march. But now the soldiers, an instant before so joyous, sank down, one after the other, like poisoned flies, writhing and bemoaning themselves upon the stairs and in the passage. Manuela hung senseless upon my arm. I stooped to lay her gently on the ground, when a musket was fired not three paces behind me. I looked round. It was the Piedmontese, grinning horribly in mingled agony and exultation, as he doubled himself like a worm in the pangs of poison. But the wretch's aim had been too true. Her breast pierced by the bullet, Manuela fell dead beside the other victims.

How beautiful she was, even in death, whilst her left breast poured forth in a crimson stream the many sorrows she had sighed under! Poor Manuela! How pale was now your cheek! How different the last farewell kiss on your chill blue lips from that warm and thrilling one in Careta!


The military hospital at Pampeluna was formerly the palace of the bishop, who fled to Don Carlos at the commencement of the war. Its spacious halls and corridors were converted into twelve large wards,[571] four of them for wounded men, and four others for fever patients. Each ward contained about fifty beds, in which, upon dirty mattresses, Christino soldiers pined and suffered. Most of the sick of the foreign legion there gave up the ghost. The nurses were sisters of the Order of Mercy; but these, like nearly all Spaniards pertaining to the church, were adherents of the Pretender, and any thing but zealous in the discharge of their duty towards us. People spoke even of the poisoning of soups and drinks given to the patients—a thing certainly not impossible, all such matters being prepared by the sisterhood, whose proceedings were but carelessly superintended.

In each of these wards, during the dead hours of night, a single lamp burned, leaving the two extremities of the room in darkness. The hospital being close to the town wall, there was never a lack of night-birds, attracted to the windows by the smell of corpses. Day and night the sisters moved about the wards, in white veils and black dresses—a mass of keys, beads, and crucifixes, suspended at their side. And frequent were the visits of the episcopal chaplain, Don Rafael Salvador, preceded by bell-ringing urchins, and bearing the last sacrament to some expiring sinner.

Repeated bivouacs in inclement weather, and especially that of the 11th March, at the foot of the Dos Hermanas, laid me, on the 15th March 1837, seven months after the incident last related, upon a sick bed in this house of suffering.

Four bloodlettings within two days had done something towards calming the fever that burned in my veins, but still enough remained to beset my couch with delirious images. Grim and horrible visages, pale, mournful figures that seemed of moonshine, and vaguely reminded me of my home, scenes from my childhood, and others from the war in which I had been nearly two years a sharer, passed rapidly before me. Now it was the tailor from Regensburg, with froth on his lips, expiring on the mountain side; then old José, with sightless eyes and pierced by a dozen bullets, danced a ghastly fandango at my bed-foot; and then I beheld a colossal breast, white and beautiful, offering blood to drink to a host of thirsty soldiers.

From such visions as these I one night awoke and lay with my eyes fixed upon the lamp, which hung just opposite to me, revolving wild and melancholy fancies in my fevered brain. Do what I would, Manuela's image continually recurred to me, and with the strange pertinacity of delirium I repeated to myself that she would come and rescue me from my unhappy condition. In a bed behind me, an Andalusian prayed with the chaplain, who threw a red silk coverlid over his emaciated body, received his confession, and administered the holy wafer. At the window a screech-owl uttered its annoying cries. Upon a bed opposite to me a sick German sang—

"Jetzt bei der Lampe Dämmerschein
Gehst du wohl in dein Kämmerlein."

Further off another patient whistled a fandango; and next to me, upon my left hand, an unhappy creature, frantic with fever, and bound down upon his bed with leathern straps, wrought and strove till he got rid of his coverings, and wrenched the bandage from his arm, which forthwith sent up into the air a spout of blood from a recently opened vein. For a moment the German's kindly song soothed and calmed my perturbed ideas; but suddenly José gave a bound before me, and held up his fist with a frightful laugh, and yelled out like a lunatic, "Viva Carlos Quinto!" And Manuela wrung her hands till my two sisters came and consoled and prayed with her. Then suddenly her pale face, surrounded by a white veil, was bent down till it nearly touched mine; and she said, in soft and tender tones:—

Poor stranger, will you drink?"

"Yes," I replied, and looked her full in the face. Manuela it was. I well remembered the sweet countenance, first seen in Careta. I raised myself, and would fain have seized hold of her, but she moved slowly away, her rosary and golden crucifix and black gown rustling through the room. It was no deception. Again Manuela came, and brought me some cooling drink. Once more I looked her hard in the eyes. God! now I[572] remembered! It was the same beautiful woman who distributed the wine at Hostiz and would fain have given me some. "Faugh!" I exclaimed, and raised myself in bed to call the Piedmontese to shoot her. But she bent soothingly over me, and laid hold of the ribbon upon which I wore Manuela's silver cross. I thought she was about to strangle me; but she smiled kindly, and showed me that she wore a similar cross upon her breast. And she gave me to drink, and then took away the little earthen jug, and disappeared at the dark end of the room. And I lay thinking how like she was to Manuela, the poor girl in Careta, who loved me and saved my life.

The same night—how long afterwards I cannot tell, perhaps five minutes, perhaps two hours—the pale sad face again bowed over me. Just then two hospital attendants bore away a corpse, rolled in its bed-clothes. My neighbour, No. 50, cried out, "Pierre! they are burying you!" and laughed horridly, whilst the German opposite sang gently and mournfully:

"Sei still! ich steh' in Gottes Hut,
Der schützt ein treu Soldatenblut."

But close beside me a soft voice whispered: "Sleep, and be at rest; God give thee peace and health. I am not Manuela—I am Maria. I found thy cross, and I pray for thee. Thou shalt recover and return to thy country!"

And her prayers and care prevailed. I did recover, and returned to friends and home. But often still do I think of poor Manuela, and of my loves and perils and sufferings in yon strange land beyond the Pyrenees.


A pretty young maiden sat on the grass,
Sing heigh-ho! sing heigh-ho!
And by a blythe young shepherd did pass,
In the summer morning so early.
Said he, "My lass will you go with me,
My cot to keep, and my bride to be,
Sorrow and want shall never touch thee,
And I will love you rarely?"
"Oh! no, no, no!" the maiden said,
Sing heigh-ho! sing heigh-ho!
And bashfully turn'd aside her head,
On that summer morning so early:
"My mother is old, my mother is frail,
Our cottage it lies in yon green dale;
I dare not list to any such tale,
For I love my kind mother rarely."
The shepherd took her lily-white hand,
Sing heigh-ho! sing heigh-ho!
And on her beauty did gazing stand,
On that summer morning so early.
"Thy mother I ask thee not to leave,
Alone in her frail old age to grieve,
But my home can hold us all, believe—
Will that not please thee fairly?"
"Oh! no, no, no! I am all too young,
Sing heigh-ho! sing heigh-ho!
I dare not list to a young man's tongue,
On a summer morning so early."
But the shepherd to gain her heart was bent;
Oft she strove to go, but she never went;
And at length she fondly blush'd consent—
Heaven blesses true lovers so fairly.



[MARCH, APRIL 1848.]

Is there any former lover of Paris who imagines that, when the barricades of the last insurrection have been removed, the devastations repaired, and the street lanterns mended, Paris will wear, with its republican face, the same aspect as it did of old? If there be such a man, let him still cherish the fond delusion, and not come and see. Or, would he learn the truth, let him try the experiment of taking from the fairest face he knows and loves, the gay, coquettish cap of gauze and ribbon, the light, butterfly-like chef-d'œuvre of the most tasty fancy of a French marchande des modes, and let him put on that head the Phrygian cap of liberty, the bonnet rouge, in all its startling coarseness of red cloth. He thinks, perhaps, that the face will be the same, or at least wear the same expression as before! Fatal mistake! Animated, gay with colour, flushed with the red reflected tints, picture-like even, may be the pretty face—but it will have utterly lost its former charm; it will look staring, vulgar, swaggering, disordered, at best Bacchante-like. Or, to take a more psychological comparison:—Let him think back upon the time when he was in love, and wandered in the company of the beloved, and try to remember how he looked upon the objects that surrounded him. Of a surety, whatever their natural want of beauty they wore a peculiar look of brightness; there was a magical veil of rose-coloured charm upon all. Let him then reflect upon the aspect of the same spot when she was gone. The objects remained the same, but certainly they wore not the same air to his eyes; they were the identical objects he had looked upon before, and yet he could have sworn that they were changed—that the whole landscape was discoloured. And so it is with Paris. Streets, squares, and houses are the same, but its moral appearance is totally altered: there is a changed look in the very air; the impression on the mind is as different as rose-colour is from gray upon the sense; the psychological tint has been washed out, blurred away, and replaced by a troubled, confused, indescribably unharmonious and uncongenial colour.

But without attempting to convey to others a feeling impossible to define, it is easy enough to point out the altered state of being of the French capital in the outward physical aspect of republican Paris. True, the marks of devastation have been almost entirely removed from the Boulevards and principal streets with wonderful alacrity on the part of the municipal authorities. Young trees have been planted on the spots where the old ones were cut down to form barricades: they look stunted, meagre, and unhappy enough, to be sure—very like the young republic that their frail stems typify—but they manage to keep up the look of the line of avenue. There they stand, all ready to be cut down again for the construction of fresh barricades, if ever they grow big enough before they are wanted, which is certainly a very doubtful matter. The asphalte is already laid down once more in the holes of the broken-up trottoirs, or at least smoke and stench enough prevail in the labours of plastering it down; and in a short time the iron railings of the Boulevard du Rempart will again prevent drunken citizens in smocks from falling down into the street below; at all events, there is mortar and solder enough ready on the pavement to do the work. On the opposite side of the way, that fatal building, the Hotel of Foreign Affairs, before which so frightful a scene of carnage was acted, looks much as it did of yore—perhaps only a little dirtier, a little more public-office-like—although young citizens en blouse mount guard before its gates instead of soldiers of the line, and on its walls, smeared with blood-dipped fingers, glare before one's eyes, unwashed away by rain, the startling capitals—"Mort a Guizot." But it is to be presumed that the eyes of passers-by will get used to the bloody words—forgotten,[574] perhaps, before many months in other visions of blood—perhaps smeared over in their turn by "Mort à ——." Who can tell? The pavement has been long since restored to the streets; although, to tell the truth, here and there the disjointed, ill-replaced stones still slightly lift their heads to tell a tale of past devastation, and proclaim their readiness to rise again at a moment's warning; and fiacres jolt uneasily over them—very much like the Provisional Government over the rough work left them to stumble against by the Revolution. But, upon the whole, Paris has nigh recovered its former material look, and might almost cheat the wanderer, who looks only upon stone walls, and pavements, and lamp-posts, into the belief that it has undergone no change, and retained no scars from its late burning eruptive disorder, unless he stroll past two spots which startle him into a recollection of the truth. Here the long façade of the palace of the Tuilleries, its window-panes all smashed, its shutters shattered—the broken casket of royalty! There the quondam Palais-Royal, its walls still blackened by the bonfires of royal furniture lighted in its courts; its windows paneless, its once flowered terraces bare or boarded with planks. And, opposite, the smoked walls of that ruined building, on the other side of the square, where the last defenders of royalty were shot down, or were flung back to perish in the blazing pile of the vast guard-house.

But if Paris has thus washed away its blood and dirt, thus mended its rent garments, thus patched over its scars, where then is the great change? Come and see! The scenes with which the streets of republican Paris teem are such as those who have only known the city in its kingly garb have never witnessed.

What was the aspect of Paris formerly on one of those bright champagne-like spring days, when the Parisian butterflies of all classes, the humble gray moth as the sparkling tiger-fly, came forth to sun themselves in the golden air? There were crowds—but listless, easy, careless crowds, that sauntered they knew not whither, and turned back they knew not why—crowds of beings who ran over each other, and almost over themselves, as they fluttered hither and thither, enjoying the brightness of the sky without rendering themselves any reckoning of their enjoyment. There are still crowds in the streets; but no longer listless, easy, careless crowds. They form in large groups, and knots, and circles on the pavement, and at street corners, and at the entrance of galleries and passages; and, from the midst of the mass, if you can get near enough to hear, comes the sound of haranguing or of disputing. Each group is an al fresco club in which the interests of the country at large are being discussed; and round about is ever a dark murmuring, and a rumour, and a ferment—and sometimes minor disputants break off from the parent knot; and presently they form a nucleus for a fresh encircling crowd; and another group takes up its standing; and a great banian-tree of politicising knots drops its branches, which thus take root up and down the Boulevards, far and wide, until the whole long avenue is planted with separate little circles of disputants or spouters. Here a well-dressed man assures his unknown auditors that the arbitrary and despotic measures of an obnoxious Minister of the Interior destroy all confidence, and prepare the ruin of the country, with the fear of another Reign of Terror: there a workman on a bench, with violent gesture and inflamed countenance, declares that the salvation of the republic, one and indivisible, hangs upon the despotism—he gives it another name—of the same Minister of the Interior—for the time being, the hero of the people. But think not that the blouse is sundered from the frock-coat, or the varnished boot from the clouted shoe. Here you see a young élégant of the Faubourg St Germain, his legitimist principles and his old dynastic hopes prudently concealed behind the axiom, "All for France! Français avant tout!" discussing amicably a knotty point about elections, or the measures of the Provisional Government, with an unshaved artisan in a smock: and look! they are of one mind—or apparently so—and the kid-gloved hand grasps the rough,[575] callous, toil-hardened palm. Here again a good bourgeois, a shopkeeper, in his uniform as a National Guard, the grocer of your street corner maybe, holds Monsieur the ex-Count, his customer, by the button, to develop his last republican scheme for the certain remedy of the financial crisis. A little further on, a dark-browed man, in a ragged coat, with a tricolor cockade, scarcely concealing the blood-red ribbon beneath, declares to a knot of young schoolboys, that the only method to avert the general misery is by the spoliation of the vile rich; but meets with little sympathy, and goes away scowling, as if he thought that his time would yet come. And here again a gamin, a very child, with his snub nose insolently cocked in the air, his sabre bound about his body, and his musket on his arm—for he just comes from keeping guard—is holding forth upon the interests of the Republic to a red-faced, mustached old gentleman, who looks like an old general; and who smiles good-temperedly on the urchin, and listens, until the young patriot thinks probably that he has sufficiently enlightened "granny" upon the art of sucking republican eggs, and swaggers off, screeching Mourir pour la Patrie, at the top of his shrill voice. And around each of these minor centres of two suns is all the hemisphere of listening planets and satellites. And thus every where is a fusion, according to the best-established republican principles of égalité: and no great harm done, were the doctrine to rest there—every where ferment, commotion, murmur, movement. But the old Parisian flaneur, with his easily satisfied curiosity, his desultory wanderings, his careless movements—and what Parisian of the street-crowds, man, woman, or child, had not formerly more or less of the spirit of a true flaneur?—is gone from the streets of Paris. A citizen has something else to do than flaner: he feels all the weight of the interests of the country on his own individual shoulders; and he has no time now but for making harangues, on which the welfare of France depends, and discussing political or social questions, equally for the welfare of all humanity. It is wonderful how quickly the change has come over the spirit of his dream. But fashion and contagion work miracles.

Come! look at this picture now. It is a bright moonlight night. The beams of the full moon are whitening the long line of elevated columns of the Bourse. In the large, open, moonlit place before it are crowds—every where crowds—in isolated circles again, looking like clumps of little wooded islands in a glistening lake. Let us approach one of the dark masses. In the midst of the circle stands a young fellow, bare-headed, shaking his fair locks about him most theatrically, and "baying at the moon." He is mounted on a tub, or some such temporary pulpit. His arms are tossed aloft in the moonlight with such energy that we feel convinced he fancies himself a second Camille Desmoulins animating the Parisian population against the tyrants of the country. We get as near as we can, and we now catch his words. He is, in truth, haranguing against tyranny, but the tyranny of the shopkeepers; and he calls upon all citoyens and true patriots to join him in a petition to the Government for the closing of shops on Sundays and holidays at twelve o'clock, instead of three in the afternoon! But the mass around does not seem to catch his enthusiasm; for I see none of those shifting lights in the chiaro-obscuro of the crowd, that would indicate one of those electric movements that fall upon popular masses, under the influence of inspiration. Now, he cries, "Vive la Republique! citizens, friends, let us to the Faubourg St Antoine!"—the workman's quarter, where émeutes are generally cooked up. But no one seems inclined to follow him into that distant region, in order to get up a shop-shutting insurrection; and more than one voice calls out, "plus souvent!" or, Anglice, "I wish you may get it!"

Come! here is another picture. The night this time is dark and drizzly. Upon the pavement of the now naked flower-market, beneath the quiet ghostly white walls of the Madeleine, stand thick groups of men: there are some hundreds of them—some in cloaks,[576] some in thick coats, some with their hats slouched down upon their brows, all wearing, in their several patches of murmuring forms, an air of conspiracy, which is greatly increased by the sombre and inclement state of the night. And conspirators they are—but bold-faced conspirators in the face of a dripping heaven. In republican Paris, however, there is, as yet, no police to prevent conspiracy: and in this instance the plotters are not conspiring against republican France, but against monarchies and empires. The dusky forms are those of the German democrats, who are holding a desultory council for the raising of a German army to go and conquer the liberties of the great German republic they intend to found. To-morrow their address to the "citoyens Français," calling on them to lend arms and give money towards the recruitment of their force, will be on all the walls of Paris. In a day or two a few hundreds will be off, with the full conviction that they are to mix their own republican leaven of sourness into all the freshly baked German constitutional governments, and proclaim their republic wherever they go. They are talking, in this bigger group, not only of "breaking tyrant-chains," but of "wreathing laurels for their own brows."

Think not also that the Boulevards retain their glittering aspect of rich decorated shops, teeming with the luxury of colour and gilding as before. We are in the midst of a financial crisis, and misery and want are increasing daily. Trade has ceased with the want of confidence; ruin has fallen on many; workmen have been dismissed, and shop-boys turned adrift in hundreds upon the streets; and, in spite of the "roasted larks" all ready for hungry mouths, and "showers of gold" which the Government promises as about to fall from the heaven of the republic upon the working classes, it is not only on the faces of the tradespeople at their shop-doors, or behind the mockery of their plate-glass windows, that there is impressed a gloom, but upon the many hundreds and thousands who seek work and cannot find it, and who wander up and down with hanging heads, or while away their weary hours in lounging about the outskirts of the disputing groups. See! how many shops are shut! See! how sadly the placard of "boutique à louer," upon the closed doors, meets the eye at every ten steps, and tells a tale of bankruptcy; how many rows of dismal shutters, like coffin-lids erect upon their ends, give by day to the streets that funereal look they formerly only gave by night; and chalked upon these shutters are still the words—"armes donnés au peuple," a still remaining souvenir of the days of tumult, disorder, and bloodshed, when every house in Paris was scrawled over by the same announcement, in order to prevent the forcible entry of the mob into private dwellings to carry off defensive weapons. If we step aside into one of those monster-shops, with their vast corridors, and avenues, and galleries, and staircases, which lately were so crowded that it was difficult for customers to be served even by the hundred commis within, what a scene of desert listlessness meets our eyes! There is scarce a solitary customer who wanders amongst their long galleries, vainly draperied and beshawled with all the rich wonders of modern manufacture. The weary-looking shop-boys, the few that remain, run out of breath from one end of a long gallery to another to get what you want, for they have now several departments of the establishment under their care. There is not a trace here of Paris as it was.

Come out in the streets again! What has become of the bright look they wore? There are no longer the belles toilettes of the last Parisian fashion—no gay dresses, or but a scanty, worn-out, tawdry show—none of the ancient splendour of rich Paris. A few élégants, it is true, familiar faces, may be still met upon their former lounging haunts on the Boulevards; but they are few, and their varnished boots even have a dull lustreless look, that is perfectly sympathetical with the general gloom. Several, certainly, may be met in the uniform of the National Guard, but with such an altered, any thing but "lion"-like mien, that you do not recognise them at first, and cut half your best acquaintances. The equipages which formerly dashed hither and thither over the pavement, are now raræ aves in the streets; and the few[577] who exhibit thus openly their superior wealth have, for the most part, considered it advisable to have the armorial bearings upon the pannels of their vehicles painted over. Most of the upper classes have put down their carriages, and sold or sent away their horses. The unfortunate "rich," however, are in sad straits; if they show themselves en voiture, while their humbler neighbours walk on foot, they may stand a chance, in the new realm of "égalité," of having their ears saluted with the menacing cry of "à bas les aristocrates—à bas les riches!" if they restrict their expenses and reduce their establishments, they run the risk of being seriously denounced as favourers of the "conspiration de l`économie," which they are supposed to form in order to injure the republic by refusing to spend their money. Where the people are lords and masters, the upper classes have evidently a far harder game to play, and much less tolerance to expect, than in the contrary rule. In the aspect of the streets, then, there is not a trace of Paris as it was.

How looks the scene? There are plenty of ill-dressed men moving about with anxious faces: they are the hungry crew from the provinces, come to solicit places in the new order of things, and snatch what morsel of the cake they can in the general scramble. They may be known by the size of their tricolor cockades, and streaming ribbons at their buttonhole; for they think it necessary to proclaim, as flauntingly as they can, by symbol, the republican principles which, they suddenly find out, always and from all times, although unknown to themselves, animated their souls. And blouses there are in plenty, as of course. They are the kings of the day, and they are not yet chary of their royal persons, or tired of exhibiting the consciousness of their royalty in the streets. Some of these braves citoyens have got far beyond the comparison, "drunk as a lord"—they are "drunk as an emperor:" and with their ideas of aristocratic power, and their maxim of "all for us, and nothing for nobody else," why should they not be? Besides, as they choose to have much pay and no work, how could they better employ their time? The uniforms of the National Guards are now almost more numerous than the frock-coat and round hat; and though so fallen from their high estate before the frowning demonstration of the people, these former soi-disant defenders of the liberties of their country assert a certain predominance in the aspect of the moving scene. Where so lately arms were never seen, having been strictly prohibited by orders of the police, now pass by you, at all times, bands of armed men, in tolerably ragged attire, or en blouse, with muskets on their arms, their white sword and cartouche belts crossing their breasts, and little bits of card-paper stuck in their caps. These are small battalions of the newly recruited garde mobile—recruited chiefly from the idle refuse of the people; and as they march hither and thither continually, they seem still to have a faint idea that they are obeying orders from their officers: but how long this fancy of obedience and discipline will be still entertained among them, is a very ticklish question. Some of them are standing sentinels at the gates of the government buildings and public offices, in lieu of the soldiers of the line that formerly met your eye there. Here again, before the Hotel de la Marine, are a few sturdy-looking sailors, the most honest in physiognomy of most of the individuals you meet; and with their blue dresses, and ribbon-bound glazed hats, give a new feature, and not an unpicturesque one, to the street scene. A few soldiers still roam about in desultory manner; the jealousy of the people will not allow of any armed force but their own within the walls of Paris; and they have a debauched demoralised look that they wore not of old; for they no longer obey orders, wander about at will, and return to their barracks only when they want to be fed. Without seeking for any marked republican fashion, there may be thus found sufficient change in the outward attire of the general throng to show at once that you are in the streets of republican Paris, and not Paris as it was. And yet, specimens of the fantastic republican attire of a gone-by time, the recollections of which few, one would think, would wish to recall, are not altogether wanting. A few[578] bonnets rouges,—the Phrygian caps of liberty,—with tricolor cockades on one side, startle the eye sometimes: some adventurous female of the lower classes crosses your path now and then with a similar coiffure, and in a tricolor dress of red, blue apron, and white collar; and here and there a tricolor-bedecked fellow, with a fanner in his hands, invites you to witness his feats of republican jugglery. This, however, is the mere child's play that mocks an old comedy,—an old tragedy, I should have said. Little is as yet done to parody that fearful epoch of French history: people do not even address each other as "citoyen" and "citoyenne." The name appears only in public documents. What King People may require, when it feels more fully its own strength—what comedy, or what tragedy, of old times it may choose to act again, remains to be seen upon the dark and gloomy page of the future. The new-born giant only stretches his arms as yet, and crushes a fly or two in sport; as yet he scarcely knows his awful power.

Now listen to the street-cries in the formerly orderly thoroughfares of the capital. What an incessant screeching of voices,—rough, shrill, clear, and husky—fills the air, and, if not deafens, tears the ears. From an early hour of the morning until after midnight, the hoarse screaming ceases not in the streets. Wo betide the nervous and impressionable! they are sure to go to bed nightly with a headach. All this eardrum-rending clamour has reference only to one object of all,—that of the necessary daily food of republican Paris—of the newspapers. Their name now is legion. With one ambitious exception, all the old established newspapers are submerged in this deluge of republican prints. We have now two or three "Republiques," "La Reforme," "La Liberté," "Le Salut Public," "La voix du Peuple," and who can tell how many other "voices" besides, including "La voix des Femmes;" for the milder sex already lifts its voice still more fiercely if possible than the ruder. But it would be as difficult to enumerate all the names of the demons in a fantastic poet's "inferno," as all the titles of the new republican newspapers that howl around one in the distracted streets of Paris. There is one, as was before said, that is screeched more noisily, more assiduously, more sturdily, than all the others; and the sounds of its hawking ring long in the ears after the streets have been left, and even pursue the bewildered street-wanderer to his bed, and in his dreams. It weighs in weight of noise against all the other papers of Paris taken in the mass. Listen! What do you hear? Nothing but "Démandez la Presse!" "La Patrie!" "Démandez la Presse!" "La voix des Clubs!" "Démandez la Presse!" "La vrai Démocrate!" "Démandez la Presse!" and so on to the "crack of doom." It is the journal of an intriguing man, of strong sense, and stronger ambition, who has not yet obtained that power at which he grasps; but as the whole paper is for one sou, it will be strange if, with this active system of living puffing, he arrive not at some great pinnacle, or fall not into some deep abyss. Ears, however, will get accustomed to the cannon of the battlefield; but the harassed spirit gets not easily accustomed to the bodily assaults of every moment. At every step newspaper-venders obstruct your path, rushing down upon you like cab-drivers in the streets of Naples: the thousand rival sheets of printed paper are flared in your face, thrust into your hand, forced into your bosom, ten at a time, with the accompanying howl of "only a sou!—only five centimes!"

Suppose that, for a moment—a bold supposition!—you have escaped from the attacks of these invading hordes of republican journalism, you must not fancy that your future path is unobstructed. Of course, in republican Paris, a street-police would be considered as the most frightful of tyrannies; universal license is the order of the day. Besides the politicising and haranguing crowds already mentioned, your course is hemmed by countless others. Here is a juggler—there a quack-doctor—there a monkey—here a pamphlet-vender; and each has its thick encircling throng of idlers around it. And, alas! how many there are who have now no business but to idle. The thickest crowd, perhaps, is round a long-haired meagre fellow, who is crying "Les crimes de Louis Philippe,[579] et les assassinats qu'il a commis—all for two sous!" to an admiring and applauding throng of the lowest classes. Some better feelings murmur at this useless ass's kick at the dead lion; but they are few. Move on! There is another obstructing crowd before a host of caricatures on the walls; of course, they are all directed against Louis File-vite," as he is termed, and his accolyte "Cuit-sot." There is a rare lack of wit in them, be they allegorical, typical, or fanciful; but they are sure to attract a gaping and a laughing throng. Move on again, if you can! You find two or three hommes du peuple, in blouses, planted before you, who cry, authoritatively, and without budging themselves to the right or to the left—"Faites place, nom de Dieu!" And you, of course, make room; and if you are disposed to reverence, you will take off your hat to them too; for these are your lords and masters,—what say I? your kings! and no autocrat was ever more despotically disposed. Move on again, if you can! You will stumble over the countless beggars stretched across the pavement, or squatting in gipsy-like groups, or thrusting wounds and sores into your face. Many there may be real sufferers from the present misery, but the most are of the got-up species. It is now the beggars' saturnalia; they keep high holiday in the streets. The people have cried "A bas les municipaux—à bas les sergents de ville!" Those execrable monsters, the agents of a tyrannical power, have been driven away, if not massacred, in the last "three glorious days:" and the people want no police,—"the great, the magnanimous, the generous, the virtuous," as the Government calls it in its proclamations.

Try to move on once more! Before the walls, all plastered with handbills of every kind, are again throngs to read and comment. On every vacant space of wall, at every corner, are posted countless addresses and advertisements. The numerous white bills are decrees, proclamations, addresses, and republican bulletins of the Provisional Government, all headed with those awful words, "Republique Française," which make many a soul sink, and sicken many a heart, with the remembrance of a fearful time gone by. And decrees there are which hurry on the subversion of all the previously existing social edifice, without reorganising in the place, destroying and yet not building anew;—and proclamations more autocratic and despotic, in the announcement of the reign of republican liberty, than ever was monarchic ordinance;—and addresses to the people, couched in vague declamation, telling these rulers of the day, "Oui, peuple! tu es grand—oui, tu es brave—oui, tu es magnanime—oui, tu es généreux—oui, tu es beau!" with an odious flattering such as the most slavering courtier never ventured to bestow upon the most incensed despot;—and bulletins declaring France at the pinnacle of glory, and happiness, and pride—the object of envy and imitation to all people. Private addresses from individuals or republican bodies there are also innumerable, in the same sense; until one expects to see angels' wings growing behind the backs of every blouse, forming harmonious contrast with the black unshaven faces. But we are far from being at the end of the long lines of handbills, that give Paris the look of a city built up of printed paper. Here we have announcements of clubs—the mille e tre noisy mistresses that court the fascinating, seductive, splendid Don Juan of a Republic; there are four or five in every quarter of the town, almost in every street. And then come their professions de foi; and then their addresses to the people, and their appeals, and their counsels to the Government, and their last resolutions, and their future intentions—say, their future exactions. Most greet the fall of the social edifice with triumph; but few, if any, let you know how they would reconstruct anew: some boldly state their object to be "the enlightenment of a well-intentioned but ignorant Government, which it is their duty to instruct:" others call down "the celestial vengeance, and the thunders of heaven, on their head, if ever they should deceive or lead astray the people." Here again we have petitions to Government, and demands, and remonstrances from individuals or small bodies—delegates, they tell you, of the people's rights;—some wild and inflammatory, some visionary to the very seventh heaven of[580] political rhapsody, but all flattering to the Peuple Souverain, whose voice is the voix de Dieu! Here again we have whole newspapers pasted on the walls, with articles calling upon the people to take arms again, since their first duty to their country is "mistrust." Now a proposition to tax the revenues of the rich in a progressive proportion of one per cent for every fortune of a thousand francs, two for every two thousand, fifty for every fifty thousand, "and so on progressively,"—without stating, however, whether those who possess a revenue of a hundred thousand francs are to pay a hundred per cent, or what is to become of those who possess two hundred thousand. Now, a menacing call upon the Government to perform their duty in exacting the disgorgement of that vile spoliation of the nation, the indemnity granted to the emigrants at the Restoration, as belonging to the people alone. Here again are numerous addresses and appeals from and to all foreign democrats in Paris—Germans, Belgians, Italians, Poles—calling for meetings, and begging the "braves Français" to give them arms and money to go and conquer the republics of their respective countries by force. Here again, other notices from all trades, and companies, and employments, appointing meetings for the consideration of the interests of their partie; tailors, café-waiters, bootmakers, choristes of theatres, gens de maisons, (servants,) even to the wandering hawkers on the public ways, and lower still, all wanting to complain to the Provisional Government of the restraint laid on their free rights. Here again, proposals for congratulatory addresses, and felicitations to the Government, from all manner of various representatives of nations resident in Paris. Here again, ten or twelve solitary voices of braves citoyens, proposing infallible remedies for the doctoring of the financial crisis. Here again, advertisements, in republican phrase, recommending to the "citoyennes," "now that the hour is come, to take up their carpets," some especial wax for their floors; or reminding the "Citoyens Gardes Nationaux," that, "in this moment of the awakening of a country's glory, when they watch over the interests of France, and are indefatigable in patrolling the streets of the capital," the citoyen "so and so" will cut their corns with cheapness and ease! And all these are pasted about in confused pell-mell; all are headed with the necessary "Vive la Republique!" Wonder then not, at the thick crowds about these documents, all treating of a country's weal, all announcing some new and startling design, all devoured by eager eyes. Wo betide, however, the citoyen who may leave his house door closed for a whole day!—he will find it barricaded with plastered paper from top to bottom on the morrow; or the shopkeeper who may lie too long a-bed—it will be a difficult task for him to take down his placarded shutters: and both will stand a chance of getting hooted for venturing to displace a printed paper headed with the talismanic words, proclaiming individual liberty of person and opinion. No tyranny like a mob tyrant, I trow.

Apropos of advertisements, the play-bills will no less startle the ancient habitué of Paris, were he now again to return to his old haunts. The names, formerly so familiar to his eyes, are gone in many instances. The old Académie de Musique is now the Théâtre de la Nation; the Théâtre Français, the Théâtre de la Republique; the Théâtre du Palais Royal, the Théâtre Montansier. In this confusion he will be still more confounded by the composition of the bills: every where the announcement of patriotic songs and chorusses, sung between the acts—of àpropos pieces, allegorical or historical—of titles such as "Les Barricades," "Les Trois Revolutions," "Les Filles de la Liberté," "La Revolution Française," and so forth, throughout all the theatres in Paris. Even in the ex-Théâtre Français he will scarcely trust his astonished eyes to see that "Mademoiselle Rachel will sing the Marseillaise between the acts." Oh! theatre-loving old habitué of Paris, you will think that your wits have gone astray, and that your senses are deceiving you! The new names of streets will no less bewilder your mind. All that smacked of royalty, or dynasty, or monarchic history have already republicanised themselves, as is the old wont of Paris streets under[581] every change of government: there are many that have long since forgotten all the hundred and one names that they have already borne. Then you will know how to pity the embarrassment of an unlucky man who lived in the Rue Royale St Honoré. On going out in the morning of the 25th of February, he found unexpectedly that he lived in the Rue de la Republique. Well, he made up his mind to that; but the Rue Rambuteau had already claimed this glorious title; so the Rue Royale had to make shift with that of the Rue de la Revolution. But now came again another prior claim; and the ex-Rue Royale was again despoiled. Now it has no name at all: and the poor individual in question, as far as his direction goes, might as well live in the ruins of Palmyra.

But to return to the outward aspect of republican Paris.

Hark! what a noise of awkward drumming! and see! a host of men of the lower classes comes pouring down the street, in hundreds—nay, in thousands. Several banners are borne among them: they shout "Vive la Republique!" and sing with that utter bold disregard of time, which, the French themselves would tell you, is peculiar only to supposed unmusical England. The Marseillaise or the now so popular Mourir pour la Patrie, or the Ca ira of fearful memory; and interlard their discordant efforts at chorus with screams of "à bas les aristocrates!" Scarcely has the horde rushed past you, than there comes another, and another, and another, until your brain whirls with the unceasing throngs. Now it is a troop of women, banners also at their head; now again a long line of more orderly, and better dressed men; but they cry "Vive le Gouvernement Provisoire!" Now again a band of ruffian fellows, with the howl of "à bas les riches!" They cross your path at every step, these marching bands. Sometimes they are deputations of all the different trades, or subdivisions of peculiar branches of handiwork—tailors, joiners, scavengers, paviours, sign-painters, wet-nurses, cooks, and so forth, as far as the imagination or the memory can reach in enumeration, and still further; and they are all streaming to the Hotel de Ville, to harangue the Provisional Government on their several rights and wrongs, desires and demands. Sometimes they are mere bands promenading for the sake of promenading, screeching for the sake of screeching, and making demonstrations, because whatever is theatrical, whatever smacks of show and parade, whatever gives them the opportunity of exhibition, and with it the hope of admiration, is the ruling passion of the people; or because they have nothing else to do, and will not work, although the Government pays them daily with the country's money. Now comes a troop of would-be Hungarian patriots, in their national dress, their attilas, pelisses, braided pantaloons, singing a national hymn—somewhat better than the French, by the way—flaring about banners, and getting up all sorts of Quixotic theatrical manifestations, lowering their banners in mere sport, flourishing them upon others, and calling upon the manes of several of the "victims of liberty murdered in their country's cause." These are specimens of the Hungarian nation of the frantic description, who, after carrying felicitations to the Provisional Government in the name of their country, are now parading the streets to show themselves off. Now comes again a long troop of young fellows in light-coloured blouses, bound with lacquered leather belts around their waists: they have broad white beavers on their heads, mounted by black, red, and yellow cocks' feathers; and they bear banners of black, red, and gold—a more picturesque throng than those you usually meet. The colours are the colours of the German nationality: the young men are German patriots. Poor deluded young fellows! their minds have been excited by designing men; and they are about to march off to Germany "to conquer the liberties of the German republic," expecting that all Germany is to rise again at their puny call, and at the sound of that magical name "republic." They have been begging for arms and ammunition, and money, of all Paris; and now, with the slender succour they have obtained, they go to meet their fates.

[582]But now comes a fresh marching mass of many thousands, with the usual accompanying drums and banners: there are women and children among the throng—if children still there be in France, when every urchin fancies himself a man. They distinguish themselves from the others by the tall bare poplar stems they bear. These are great poetically and symbolically-minded patriots of the lower classes, who are bent on planting trees of liberty all over Paris. They protest that they are fully earning the pay the country gives them, by enacting these wonderful feats for the country's good. Their delegates knock at house-doors, and thrust themselves into private dwellings, to beg—no! to demand contributions for the celebration of their fête; and these republican fêtes are of every day and every hour. The ancient habitué of Paris will not find his capital much embellished by the aspect of these tall unsightly bare stems erected at every corner, on every square, on every vacant space of ground, although they be all behung with banners, and garlands, and tricolor streamers. Let us follow some of these immense gangs. In some instances they have got a priest among them to bless their patriotic fête: and the poor ecclesiastic is dragged along with them, oft-times pale and trembling at the thought of the unusual ceremony he is thus violently called upon to perform. Now again they summon the whole clergy of some rich parish church to come forth in cope and stole, and with incense and banner, and all the hundred other rich accessories of the pomp of Catholic ceremony, to bestow the blessing on these naked emblems of a country's naked liberties, and pronounce a political sermon, felicitating France on the awakening glories of the republic, established by divine Providence and a people's might, before the poor ragged pole. Sometimes again they come, fresh with triumphs, from the Hotel de Ville, where they have constrained one or more of the members of the Provisional Government to accompany them—some of them nothing loth, when popular demonstrations are to be theatrically made—and to give vent to wonderful speeches, flattering to this people, "si grand, si magnanime, si généreux, si beau!" &c., &c., as before, as every day, as in every word they are to hear; all which flattering words teach them how their excellence is ill recompensed, and how it ought to exact still more. They are now at work with more or less of this pomp, and in the midst of a greater or lesser concourse of spectators. The pavement is torn up: a hole is dug in the street; the tree is planted, pulled up to its elevation, firmly fixed in the ground—although, by the way, in many instances, the poor tree of liberty looks in a very tottering state—and the havock committed in the pavement more or less repaired. The acclamation is great: shouts, shrieks, cries rend the air: the religious benediction is over: the priests hurry away as quietly as they can: the members of the Government retreat, escorted by a deputation of delegates, after an oration: and now the Marseillaise, or the Mourir pour la Patrie, are again screeched in discordant chorus, amidst the incessant firing off of guns. All day the tumult lasts throughout the city: to a late hour of night the firing in the air is incessant. A barricade of stones and poles is erected round the precious emblem of liberty: the surrounding houses are constrained by threats of window-breaking to illuminate in honour of King-People: pitch fires are bright at each corner of the barricade: and patriotic boys, who devote themselves for their country's weal, are posted, with muskets on arm, to do sentry-duty all night round the tree—lest any audacious enemy of the country should compromise the safety of the republic by attempting to pull down one of the many hundreds of its emblems that now disfigure the streets of Paris. Again, who would recognise his old Paris in these strange scenes, or in the night pictures, thus faintly sketched, which meet his eye at every turn? When these mighty deeds for a country's welfare and glory shall come to end—when Paris shall have been all so beplanted that it will resemble a naked forest, what great feats to prove their zeal in behalf of Republican France will they next invent? "Qui vivra verra" is a[583] favourite French proverb. Heaven grant that it be not reversed, and that "qui verra ne vivra pas!"

But see! they have already invented another great patriotic amusement. Whence come those discordant howlings? A band of fellows is rushing up and down the Boulevards, dragging along a bust of the ex-King, by means of a rope round its neck; they have attached to it a label, "Louis Philippe à la lanterne!" See! what a frantic delight they express in their schoolboy amusement. How wonderfully their ferocious faces picture forth "the grand, the generous, the magnanimous, the beautiful!" They flourish sticks about at carriage windows, with the cry of "à bas les riches! à bas les aristocrates!" and they forcibly turn such equipages out of their royal way, if their path be crossed by adventurous coachmen. But as yet they do no real harm; and the pacific majority is hopeful in its force to restrain, if the time for restraint should come.

Now again comes pouring down from the Rue du Faubourg St Denis, another host of men, women, and children, howling the "Ca Ira." They have got a great placard among them, declaring, that if their landlords do not remit to them their rents, for two quarters at least, they will burn down their masters' houses over their heads: and, unobstructed, this screeching mob invades the streets. But this is rather too much, even amidst the license due to King People in Republican Paris. To-morrow will be posted on the walls of the capital, a notice from the Prefet de Police, appealing to the good sense of the mob not to burn houses, and containing a half-concealed under-current, but an under-current only, of threat.

Now again you may be witness to a grotesque scene of a high revolutionary tone. We are in the purlieus of one of the great public schools of Paris—the colléges, as they are termed. Suddenly the street is invaded by several hundred boys: they rush along uttering hideous vociferations; before them flies a well-dressed middle-aged man: he flies as if for his life, and is pursued by showers of stones from the young revolutionary insurgents. This flying man, these screaming and pursuing children—what a lesson there is in it! Let us catch hold of one of the little urchins, and ask what all the uproar means. He tells us that the object of all his schoolboy hate, is a tyrant—a tyrant like Louis Philippe; and that, like Louis Philippe, they are driving him forth with scorn. "What has he done then?" we ask. "He was too strict," is the only reply; and on rushes again the young revolutionist to join in the general pursuit, with a big oath, and the cry of "Vive la Republique! à bas les tyrans!"

Now again, late in the evening, hurries past a detachment of National Guards. We ask, what now is afloat in a city where every day something new and startling crosses our life's path. We are told that the citizen troops are hastening to the rescue of a newspaper editor, who has ventured to write articles in opposition to the Government. His house is being stormed by an angry and excited mob; they threaten to break his presses, if not burn the whole establishment. In vain he meets the mob with courage, and asserts the right of that "liberty of opinion," which the republic has proclaimed as one of its first benefits. He is not listened to. What is liberty of opinion, or any liberty, in the sense of a mob, compared with its own liberty of doing what it listeth? They advance upon the house with threatening gesture—they pour in: the National Guards arrive, and a scuffle ensues. With difficulty the mob is driven back, and sentinels are posted. But now the crowds, in the dim night, grow thicker on the Boulevards than ever; and violent declamation is still heard from the midst against the man who, whatever be his real ends and aims, has the courage to assert an opinion contrary to the mass. Partisans there are, for and against: and high words arise, and threats are again proffered: and along the damp night air comes ever the murmur of many angry voices far and near: and the rumour ceases not, the crowd disperse not. And in the distracted city, where was firing, and shouting, and singing, and drumming, all day, there is still the agitation and the tumult long and late into the night.

[584]But let us take a turn to the neighbourhood of the Hotel de Ville, the seat of the Government; other fresh scenes will there meet our eyes.

Daily and hourly pour up into the open space before the fine old building, such troops of drumming, banner-bearing men and women as have been before described. Sometimes they are deputations from the various trades, full of all sorts of grievances, for which the members of the Provisional Government are expected to find immediate remedy;—sometimes they are bands of workmen, all couching, under different expressions, the demand for much pay and little work;—sometimes they bear addresses from various nations all speaking in the name of their country, which probably would disavow them;—sometimes they are delegates from the thousand and one clubs of Paris, who all choose to lay their resolutions, however frantic and impracticable they may be, before the Government, and expect to impose upon it their distracted will;—sometimes they are a body of individuals, who have got some fancy for a remedy of the financial crisis, which, of course, unless it would offend them bitterly, the Government is expected forthwith to adopt. Deputations, addresses, counsels, demands, exactions,—they must all be admitted, they must all be heard, they must all receive flattering promises, that probably never will, and never can be fulfilled. See! they come streaming up from all sides, from streets and quays, in noisy inundating floods; and now the streams mingle and roar together, and struggle for precedence. Generally, delegates are despatched to obtain audiences of the persecuted members of the Government; but sometimes, again, some tired minister or other is forced to appear in front, and harangue their importunate petitioners, amidst cries of "Vive la Republique!" For those who dwell upon this place, Paris must appear to be in a state of constant revolution. The noise, the tumult, the drumming, the shouting, the marching and the countermarching, never cease for a moment.

See! to-day there is a tumult before the façade of the old building. Battalions of National Guards have marched up, without arms, to protest against a despotic and arbitrary ordinance of an ambitious and reckless minister. They bring up their petition as thousands of other deputations have brought up theirs; the square is filled for the most part with long military-looking lines of their uniforms. But in a sudden, they have come to a check. Before the long façade of the line of building, are posted bodies of armed men, of the lower classes, with muskets charged and bayonets fixed. The demonstration of the National Guards, who dare to murmur at the will of their governors, spite of the proclamation of the reign of liberty, is not to be received. Anger and indignation is on the faces of all the citizen-soldiers; their feelings are excited; they cry, "down with" the obnoxious minister; they are met by cries from the armed people, of "down with the National Guards! down with the aristocrats!" The middling classes are now considered, then, as the aristocrats of the day; and the people treat them, as they have treated, in days gone by, the titled noblesse—as enemies! But now they advance in rank and file, determined to force an entrance to the Government palace: and the people oppose them with pointed bayonets; and drive them back; disperse them like sheep; pursue them down the quays; and the unarmed mob, collected in countless crowds around, joins in the cry of "down with the National Guards!" The National Guards are vanquished. They were considered in the revolutionary days of combat as the heroes, and allies, and defenders of the people. Only a few weeks are gone by since then; and they, in turn, are overthrown in a bloodless revolution. Their prestige is lost for ever. The last barrier is thrown down between the upper and the lower classes—the breakwater is swept away: and when the day of storm and tempest shall come, when the angry waters shall rise, when the inundation shall sweep on and on in tumultuous tide, what shall there be now to oppose it?

On the morrow, what a scene! From a very early hour of the morning, bands of hundreds and of thousands, in marching order, have poured down upon Paris from all the suburbs.[585] From north, south, east, and west, they have come in countless hordes into the central streets and squares of the capital. Along the Boulevards, from the Bastile, from the heights of Montmartre, down the avenues of the Champs Elysées and the quays—from beyond the water and the Faubourg St Martel, they have come, sweeping on like so many mountain torrents. Every where as they advanced they have proferred cries of "Down with the National Guards! down with the aristocrats! down with the legitimists! down with the enemies of the Republic!" Better dressed men in many instances have marshalled them on their way; and among the inhabitants of Paris goes forth a murmur, that they have been roused to this state of tumult by the accolytes of the obnoxious minister, with the intention of overawing his colleagues and displaying his own power. And if, in truth, they shout "long live" any one, it is his name they cry: his noble-hearted and more moderate colleague, lately so popular, has lost a people's favour. And now the hundred torrents have met upon the quays, and before the Hotel de Ville; and hundreds of banners with manifold inscriptions are waving in the air; and troop upon troop is marshalled into some degree of order: but fearful is the mass: awful is the demonstration of a people! And now the members of the Government are compelled, one and all, to come down upon the elevated terrace before the façade of the Hotel de Ville: they are behung with tricolor scarfs, the ends of which stream with long gold fringes; their heads are bared before their masters and the rulers of the land. And now the host of people defiles before them; and they make speeches, and cry "Vive la Republique! Vive le peuple!" And the people, proud of its force, and rejoicing in its demonstration, that shows its power over the bourgeois, answers with shouts that rend the air. Heavens! what a scene! This is Republican Paris, indeed, I trow!

But come quickly to the Boulevards: the mighty mass has passed away to the column of liberty in the Place de la Bastile; and it will come down the Boulevards in overwhelming tide, exulting in its triumph. And now it comes. The long line, five abreast—there are nearly two hundred thousand in this great army—stretches on and on, almost from one end to the other of the immense central artery of the capital. It comes, and the chorus of the Marseillaise rolls like thunder along, dying away but to burst forth again. Hark! how it peels along the Boulevards! It comes, and the senses swim as the host goes by, marching on, and on, and on—confusing the sight with the incessant passing of such a stream of living beings, and its waving banners; deafening the ears with the menacing cries of "Down with the aristocrats!" and the discordant chorussing of confused patriotic songs—for the Marseillaise now gives way to the fearful Ca Ira. It comes, and it seems as if it never would end. Awful, indeed, is the display of a people's force, thus excited and inflamed by designing leaders! At last the mighty procession passed away, leaving consternation and alarm behind it. But think not that Paris resumes its usual aspect. The various bands break up at last, but they still parade the streets in several battalions: and the shouting and howling and singing cease not during the day.

But the night of the same day is come, and all is not yet done. Not content with its triumph, the people demands that all Paris should honour it with a festival, whether it will or not. Down the Boulevards come the hordes again, slowly, and pausing as they came on: they are chanting, in measured notes, the words "Des lampions! des lampions!" amidst the cries of "Illuminate, or we break your windows! Down with the aristocrats!" Why all Paris should be illuminated, because it has pleased King People to make a demonstration, it would be too insolent to inquire. It is a fancy, a caprice—and autocrats will have fancies and caprices. It is the people's will; and, however fantastic or unreasonable, the will must be obeyed. "Des lampions! des lampions!" The monotonous chant is impressed upon the ears with stunning force, until you believe that you must retain it in your bewildered brain until your dying day. And as they come along, see how readily the will of the people is obeyed![586] There is no readiness so quick as the readiness of fear. Up and down, from above and from below, right and left, in long irregular lines, until the lines of light become more general and more regular—see the illumination bursts forth from the façades of all the houses. Windows are rapidly opened on every side, in sixth stories as on first floors, on every terrace, on every balcony; and lamps, lanterns, candles, pots of grease, all flaming, are thrust out at every one. See! how the light darts up and down like wildfire, dancing along the houses in the darkness of the night, with an increasing phosphoric flicker. You may mark the progress of the mob, as it goes farther on in dusky mass, and is lost to sight in the gloom, not only by the eternal monotonous cry that bids the inhabitants illuminate, coming from the distance, but by the gleaming track it leaves behind it like a gigantic, broad tail of fire. Presently all the Boulevards will be brightly lighted; and the gleams of the many thousand points of light will illuminate a thickly moving crowd of beings, that look like the uneasy spirits of some gloomy pandemonium. Fairy-like, however, has the magical illumination sprung forth at the people's bidding, and fairy-like does it flicker on all sides in the night. All the other principal streets are burning also on either side, like long bands of spangled stuff glittering in the sun. The Faubourg St Germain, suspected of legitimacy, has long since been the first to yield to threats, and demonstrate at its windows its supposed sympathy in a people's triumph; and to-morrow we shall be told by the republican papers, how Paris was in an ecstasy of joy—how all the population strove in zeal, with one accord, to fêter le peuple généreux—how spontaneous was this illumination of republican enthusiasm. Spontaneous was the feeling that dictated it, certainly; but it was the spontaneity of fear—the fear of the quietly-disposed in the face of a reckless and all-powerful mob!

Let us turn now from the glittering illuminated streets.

What is that unusual light, streaming dimly, and in blurred rays, across the damp night air, from the windows of the chapel of St Hyacinthe, attached to the church of the Assumption in the Rue St Honoré? In such a place, at such an hour, it has something ghastly and unearthly in its nature. And hark! from within there comes a noise of hoarse murmuring, which swells sometimes suddenly into discordant shouts, that are almost groans. The impression conveyed by both sight and sound is little like any that Paris, even on its murkiest nights, and under its most dismal veil, ever bestowed on you before. The unwary wanderer in Paris streets by night, in search of romance, may have had visions of theft, assassination, misery, crime, before his eyes, in the dark silent thoroughfares, but always visions of a most positive earthly nature; now he cannot help fancying himself transported into some old town of mystic Germany, with some fantastic, mysterious, unearthly, Hoffmannish deed going on near him. Are the headless dead, among the victims of a prior revolution, risen from their bloody vaults, to beckon unto their ghastly crew new victims of another? or are demons rejoicing in that once sanctified building, that the reign of men's most evil passions should have begun again in that disturbed and fermenting city? Such is the first impression the dim scene conveys. Do you ever remember such in other days? Let us follow those dark forms that are gliding across the court of the church, and mounting the steps of the illumined chapel. We enter; and the scene, although neither ghastly nor demoniac, is scarcely less strange than if spectres and demons had animated the interior. Faintly lighted by a few dripping candles is the long dismantled chapel; and damp, dreary, funereal-looking, is the whole scene. A dim crowd, in this "darkness visible," is fermenting, thronging, struggling, and pushing in the aisle. At the further end, in that vaulted semicircle where once stood the altar of the Lord, rises a complicated scaffolding behung with black cloth. With your imagination already excited, you may fancy the dark construction a death-scaffold for the execution of a criminal—it is only the death-scaffold of the social state of France. We are in the midst of a[587] republican club. On the highest platform, occupying the space where was the altar, sit president and secretaries of the society—the new divinities of the consecrated building. Yes! the new divinities; for they arrogate to themselves the same right against which they declaimed as blasphemy in kings—the "right divine." You will not listen long before they tell you so; besides, their first maxim is, "La voix du peuple est la voix de Dieu." On the lower platform before them stand the orators. Hark to the doctrines that they promulgate for the subversion of all existing order in the country, amidst shouts and screams, and cries of violent opposition sometimes, but generally of applause. See! the haggard, lanky-haired republican youths, who have shouted out all their fury, give way to a quiet, respectable-looking old man, whose gray hairs glimmer faintly in the candle-light. A feeling of greater calm comes over you: you imagine, after all this "sound and fury, signifying nothing," his old head will pacify the hot, maddened blood of frantic boys. What does he say?—"Yes, the republic is one and indivisible—it is more than indivisible—it is God!" You shrink back disgusted. Can the rhapsody of republican fanaticism go further? Are these Christian men? or are they really evil unearthly beings in a human form? The confused scene around you is almost enough to make you think so. But real enough is the eternal clatter of the president's hammer on his table. He rolls his eyes furiously; he browbeats every orator who may not be of his own individual opinion, and dares to be "moderate" when he is "exalté;" and when your head aches—your heart has ached long ago—with the furious noise of the president's hammer, which you expect every moment to smash the table to pieces, you edge your way out of the dark fermenting crowd, and hurry forth, glad to breathe the purer air of heaven.

Ferment there is ever enough now in the streets of Paris by night: it ceases not. There are throngs pouring in and out of all the various thousand-and-one republican clubs of Paris, like wasps about their nest; but it is in the dim night air, and not in the bright sunlight of day—in dirty coats and smocks, and not with bright wings and variegated bodies. The wasp, too, stings only when he is attacked—the republican wasps seek to attack that they may sting. The al fresco clubs also crowd the Boulevards, in the chance medley confusion of all men and all principles. But see! there is here again, in the Rue du Faubourg du Roule, a confusion of a still more complicated nature—the swarming in and out of the small district school-house is even more virulent than is usual. It is another night-scene, such as the old habitué of Paris never witnessed, certainly. What is occurring? Let us crowd in with the others. What a scene of frantic confusion! A crowd springing upon benches, howling, screeching, yelling. At the further end of the low room is a ruined gallery, in which stands, surrounded by his friends, a man dressed in a red scarf, with the red cap of liberty on his head: he has a pike in his hand, and he vainly endeavours to make himself heard by the excited crowd. For some time you will be unable to comprehend the nature of the scene: at last you discover that an ultra republican, of the most inflamed ideas, wants to establish a Jacobin club. A "Jacobin club!" There is terror in the very word, and in all the fearful recollections it conveys. But here the good sense of the artisans and small tradespeople of the district is against so appalling a reminiscence of a fatal time. "Down with the bonnet rouge!" they cry. "Down with the red scarf! No Jacobins! no Jacobins! their day is gone. No terror!" Thank God! there is some good sense still among the people. "Down with the president—away with him!" they cry. He doffs at last his blood-red Phrygian cap—they are not content: he doffs his blood-red scarf—they are not content: he lays aside his red cravat—they are not content: the pike—all—his very principles, probably, if they would have them. But no. They make a rush at last up into the "tribune;" they drive the would-be Jacobin and his friends down. In vain a small minority declares them all "aristocrats—paid agents of legitimacy"—I know not[588] what republican names of reproach. The honest workmen thrust the party forth from their district school-house. They escort these objects of their contempt with ironical politeness to a side-door, bearing the candles they have seized from the tribune in their hands. The door is closed over the Jacobin party—a shout of triumph resounds. But in the street, before the school, is long a noisy throng. The good moon, although now and then obscured by passing clouds, shines kindly on it. She seems to smile more kindly upon those who have done a good deed, although a deed of suppressed violence, than on most of the distracted throngs she illumines in her course over the disturbed city. Good moon! would we could accept thy augury, and hope for holy calm! The scenes thou shinest upon cannot continue thus, 'tis true. A change must come—a change for the better or the worse. Heaven grant that our foreboding prove not true—that, when thou comest forth in thy fulness again, another month, thou mayest smile on better order, on calmer groups!

Before we part company, old habitué of Paris, we must cast a glance at all the public buildings we pass. On all—public offices, columns, fountains, monuments, churches, dismantled palaces—on all alike floats the republican banner—on all are painted in broad characters the words, "Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité!" "Fraternité!" Vain word, when each man grows day by day more and more bitterly his neighbour's enemy. "Egalité!" Vain word again, and vain word ever, spite of the efforts of the rulers of France to bring down to one level all the intelligence, the talent, the feelings, and passions of human nature, that Providence, in its holy wisdom, has made so different and so unequal. "Liberté!" Vainest word of all! In the present state of things, there is constraint in every scheme, tyranny in every tendency, despotism in every doctrine.

But enough. We will not begin to discuss and speculate upon the destinies of France. All this sketch would strive to do, is to convey an idea, however vague, of the present outward state of Republican Paris.




The insatiable spider, who, after securing in her gossamer meshes ample store of flies for the day's consumption, again repairs, with unwarrantable greed, to the outer circles of the delicate network, in quest of fresh and superfluous victims, must not wonder if, on return to the heart of the citadel, she finds a rival Arachne busy in the larder, and either is expelled from her own cobweb, or suffers seriously in ejecting the intruder. At risk of offending his admiring biographer by so base a parallel, we compare Charles of Anjou to the greedy spider, and think him justly punished for his rash cupidity by the evils it entailed. This French count, who, although a king's brother, had no chance of a crown save through aggressive conquest, found himself, whilst still in the vigour of life, and as the result of papal favour, great good fortune, and of his own martial energy, sovereign of an extensive and flourishing realm. King of Southern Italy, Protector of the North, Count of Provence, Vicar of Tuscany, Senator of Rome, all-powerful with the Pope—whose word had then such weight that his friendship was worth an army, whilst from his malison men shrunk as from the dreaded and inextinguishable fire of Greece—Charles of Anjou was still unsatisfied. The royal spider had cast his web afar; it embraced wide possessions, with whose enjoyment he might well have been content, whose administration claimed his undivided attention. But on their verge an object glittered from which he could not avert his eyes, whose acquisition engrossed his every thought. "'Twas the clime of the East, 'twas the land of the sun," the gorgeous and romantic region so attractive to European conquerors. Doubtless, crusading zeal had some share in his oriental cravings; but ambition was his chief motor. He was willing enough to wrest Palestine from the infidel, but his plan of campaign led first to Constantinople. His notion was to seek at St Sophia's mosque the key of Christ's sepulchre.

Whilst thus looking abroad and meditating distant conquest, Charles treated too lightly the projects of a prince, less celebrated, but younger and more crafty than himself, who silently watched the progress of events, and skilfully devised how best he might derive advantage from them. Pedro of Arragon, who had married Mainfroy's daughter, Constance, cherished pretensions to the crown of the Sicilies; and, ever since the year 1279, he had been intriguing with the chiefs of the Ghibellines, with a view to an invasion of Charles's dominions. He spoke publicly of Sicily as the inheritance of his children, and did not dissimulate his animosity to its actual ruler. Whilst Charles prepared a fleet for his Eastern expedition, Don Pedro assembled another in the harbour of Portofangos, and kept it in constant readiness to sail, but none knew whither. Its destination was suspected, however, by some; and the Pope, who entertained no doubt concerning it, demanded to know Pedro's intentions, whilst Philip III. of France, at the request of his uncle, Charles of Anjou, sent ambassadors to the Arragonese monarch to make a similar inquiry. The answer given is variously stated by the archives and chronicles of the time, as evasive, prevaricatory, and even as a direct falsehood. It left no doubt upon Charles's mind that mischief was meant him by the Spaniard. "I told you," he wrote to Philip, "that the Arragonese was a contemptible wretch." Unfortunately, he carried his contempt of his wily foe rather too far; he would not believe that so small a potentate, "un si petit prince," would dare attack him in Italy, but[590] took for a strategem the avowal of his intentions that appears to have escaped Pedro, and thought his views were directed in reality to Provence, whither he accordingly despatched his eldest son. Meanwhile, Don Pedro lingered in port, in hopes of an insurrection in Sicily, which John of Procida and others of his Sicilian adherents were fomenting by every means in their power, until his position became positively untenable, so pressed was he with questions by different European powers, and even by his own great vassals. One of these, a rico hombre, by name the Count of Pallars, having publicly asked him, in the name of the Arragonese nobility, the object of his voyage, and whither it would lead, Don Pedro replied: "Count, learn that if my left hand knew what my right was about to do, I would instantly cut it off." And still he clung to the Catalan coast, always on the eve of departure, but never lifting an anchor, until the tidings, so long and ardently desired, at last reached his car. They were unaccompanied, however, by the popular summons and proffered sceptre he had sanguinely and confidently anticipated. But we are outstripping events, and must revert to the eloquent opening of M. de St Priest's fourth volume.

"The name of Sicily is illustrious in history. If the reputation of a people had for sole foundation and measure the number of inhabitants, the extent of its territory, the duration of its influence, the Sicilians, impoverished by continual revolutions, decimated by sucessive tyrannies, more isolated from the general progress by their internal organisation, than from the mainland by their geographical position, would hold, perhaps, in the annals of the world, no more room than their island occupies on the map of Europe. But they need not fear oblivion: they have known glory,—and what glory touches, though but transitorily, for ever retains the mark. For individuals as for nations, it suffices that their lot be cast in those rare and splendid epochs whose contact ennobles every thing, which illuminate all things by their brilliancy, and stamp themselves indelibly upon the memory of the remotest generations. Happy who then lives, for he shall never die! Vast kingdoms, boundless regions, peopled by numerous races, powerful by material force, but intellectually vulgar, then yield in dignity and grandeur to the least nook of land, to some petty peninsula or remote island. Such was Greece, such also was Sicily, her rival, her competitor, and the asylum of her illustrious exiles.

"In the middle ages there was no vestige of the ancient Trinacria—of that land of art and learning, the home of every branch of human knowledge—of that politic and warlike power which yielded to Rome and Carthage only when she had made them dearly pay a long-disputed victory—of that Sicily, in short, which Plato taught and Timoleon governed—which Archimedes defended and Theocritus sang. Formerly the whole island was covered with cities. In the thirteenth century, most of these had disappeared. Agrigentum could boast but the ruins of its colossus and temples. Syracuse still retained some shadow of past greatness: she was not yet reduced, as now, to the quarries whence she sprung; she had not yet become less than a ruin; but her splendour was extinct. Catania, overthrown by earthquakes, found it difficult again to rise. Nevertheless other Sicilian towns preserved their importance, and Christendom could not boast cities handsomer and more populous—more abounding in wealth and embellished by monuments—than commercial Messina and kingly Palermo."

These two cities were at the time referred to the abode of luxury and pleasure. Messina, at once the market and the arsenal of the island, "portus et porta Siciliæ," as Charles of Anjou called it, was the principal posting-house upon the road from Europe to Asia, and was enriched by the constant passage of pilgrims and crusaders. Sumptuary laws were deemed necessary to repress the extravagance of a population whose women wore raiment of silk, then more precious than silver and gold, with tiaras upon their heads, encrusted with pearls and diamonds[591] and other precious stones. Asia and Europe were there united; Catholics and Mussulmans lived side by side in peace and amity. In the streets, the Arab's burnous and the turban of the Moor moved side by side with priestly robe and cowl of monk. The pleasures there in vogue were no longer the simple and innocent ones vaunted by Virgil and Theocritus. It was a hotbed of debauchery, frequented by pirates, gamblers, and courtesans—a mart of commerce, whither traders of all nations repaired. Palermo, on the other hand, was the residence of kings. The Normans established there the seat of their power, inhabiting it constantly; and although the wandering life of Frederick of Swabia denied him a fixed abode, he loved Palermo the Happy, and dwelt there whenever able. Very different were the predilections of Charles of Anjou. He disliked Sicily as much as he loved Naples. By an effect, perhaps, of that love of contrast often found implanted in the human breast, his stern and sombre gaze took pleasure in the bright and joyous scenery of his continental dominions, which it could not derive from the more sad and serious beauties of the opposite island. Moreover, he held the Sicilians disaffected to his rule, and his hand was heavy upon them. Heavier still, doubtless, were those of his delegates and officers, who presumed upon his known dislike, and upon his preoccupation with schemes of foreign aggrandisement, to exceed the measure of oppression he prescribed and authorised. A very different course should have been adopted with a nation already abundantly prepared to detest their French masters. The antagonism of character was alone sufficient cause for mutual aversion. There was no point of sympathy between conquerors and conquered—nothing that could lead to friendly amalgamation. On the one hand, reserve, dissimulation, silence; on the other, an indiscreet frankness, vivacity, and noise. On both sides, a strong attachment to their native country, and conviction of its superiority over all others—a strong partiality for its language, usages, and customs—a sincere contempt for all differing from them. M. de St Priest, who strives earnestly, but not very successfully, to vindicate the memory of his countrymen of the thirteenth century, is still too veracious a historian not to admit that they treated with shameful insolence and rudeness a people whom the kindest treatment would with difficulty have induced to look kindly upon their conquerors. He is painfully anxious to make out a good case for those he calls his "brothers," (very old brothers by this time,) but succeeds so little to his satisfaction, that he is fain to throw himself on the mercy of his readers, by asking the rather illogical question, whether the crime of a few individuals is to be imputed to a nation, or even to a part of a nation? Then he enumerates some of the grievances which brought on the massacre known as the Vespers. "It is certain," he says, "that Charles of Anjou, not by himself, but by military chiefs, to whom he abandoned himself without reserve, abused of the means necessary to retain in subjection a people hostile to his cause, and whom that very excess of oppression might drive to shake off an iron yoke. He abused of the feudal prerogative which gave him right of controlling the marriages of the vassals of the crown, by compelling rich heiresses to marry his Provençal adherents, or by retaining in forced celibacy noble damsels whose inheritance the royal exchequer coveted." This is pretty well for a beginning, and enough to stir the bile of a more patient race than the Sicilians, even in an age when such acts of feudal tyranny were less startling and odious than they now would seem. But this is merely the first item. Charles also abused of an old law that existed both in Sicily and Spain, and which has been but recently abolished in the latter country. The law of the mesta gave the sheep of the royal domain right of range of all the pastures in the country, no matter who the proprietors. With this vexatious privilege Charles combined exorbitant monopolies. He compelled the rich landholders to take on lease his horses, flocks, cattle, bees, and fruit-trees, and to account to him for them every year at a fixed rate, even when disease decimated the animals, and the sirocco had[592] withered and uprooted the trees and plants. And nothing was less rare, M. de St Priest acknowledges, than the personal ill-treatment of those who delayed to pay the impost, often twice levied upon the same persons, under pretence of chastising their unwillingness. Imprisonment, confiscation, and the bastinado, punished their indigence. The nefarious tricks played with the currency completed the measure of misery poured out upon the unhappy Sicilians. Like Alphonso X. of Castile, and most of the potentates of the period, Charles coined pieces of money with much alloy, which he named, after himself, Carlini d'oro, and exchanged them by force against the augustales, an imperial coinage of the purest gold. The public voice was loud against such tyranny and abuse, but it reached not the arrogant ears of the Beaumonts, the Morhiers, and other haughty Frenchmen who successively governed Sicily. The Bishop of Patti and brother John of Messina, complained to the Pope in presence of Charles himself. The king heard them in silence, but, after the pontifical audience, he had his accusers seized. Brother John was thrown into a dungeon, and the bishop only escaped prison by flight.

Besides the heavy griefs above stated, other grounds of complaint, more or less valid, were alleged against Charles I. Amongst these, he was accused of persecuting highwaymen and banditti with overmuch rigour. The nations of southern Europe have ever had a sneaking tenderness for the knights of the road. He was also reproached with the abolition of certain dues, unjustly exacted in the ports of Patti, Cefalu, and Catania, by the bishops of those towns. M. de St Priest brands the Sicilians as barbarians for thus quarrelling with their own advantage. But it is a fair query how far Charles made the diminution of episcopal exactions a pretext for the increase of royal ones, and whether the draconic system adopted for the repression of evil-doers, may not have been occasionally availed of for the oppression of the innocent. Then the Sicilian nobles, lovers of pomp, show, and external distinctions, grumbled at the absence of a court; and this was in fact so weighty a grievance, that its removal might perhaps have saved Sicily for Charles, or at any rate have retarded the revolt, and given him time to prosecute his designs on the East. Palermo might have been conciliated by sending the Prince of Salerno to live there. A gay court, and the substitution of the heir to the throne for obscure and detested governors, would have made all the difference. Charles did not think of this, and moreover he had no great affection for his eldest son, "a prince of monkish piety, timid and feeble, although brave; a dull and pale copy of his uncle Louis IX., and whose faults and virtues were not altogether of a nature to obtain his father's sympathy. When speaking of the Prince of Salerno, the King of Naples sometimes called him 'That Priest!'" The strongest motive of discontent, however, the most real, and which placed the nobility and higher classes amongst the foremost of the disaffected, was the bestowal of all public offices upon foreigners. At the beginning of his reign Charles had left to Neapolitans and Sicilians all fiscal and judicial posts, lucrative to the holders and productive to him; the strangers who accompanied him, ignorant of the country, would not have known how to squeeze it properly, as did Gezzolino della Marra, Alaimo de Lentini, Francesco Loffredo, and other natives. In these he reposed confidence, and, even after the defeat of Conradin, he still left Sicilians in the places of Maestri razionali, Segreti, Guidizieri, &c. But about 1278, we find Italian names disappearing from the list, and replaced almost entirely by those of Provençals and Frenchmen. At that date there seems to have been a clean sweep made of the aborigines. Such a measure was sure to cause prodigious dissatisfaction and hatred to the government. Those who depended on their places were reduced to beggary, and those who had private fortunes regretted a state of things which swelled these, besides giving them influence and power.

To the latter class belonged Alaimo de Lentini, one of the richest and best born of the Sicilian barons, possessed of great political and military talents. He had served Mainfroy, had quarrelled[593] with and been proscribed by him, and then, espousing the interests of Charles, had shown himself an implacable persecutor of his countrymen. His good qualities were frequently clouded and neutralised by his versatility and evil passions; his life was a mingled yarn of noble actions and frequent treachery. Left to himself, he might have bequeathed a higher reputation to his descendants, but he was led astray by the evil influence of his wife. He was already in the decline of life when he married this woman, who was of plebeian birth and Jewish origin, but the widow of Count Amico, one of the principal nobles of Sicily. Her name was Maccalda Scaletta, and soon she obtained complete empire over Alaimo. Of dissolute morals, ironical wit, and of an insolent and audacious character, that feared nothing and braved every thing, Maccalda's youth had been more adventurous than reputable, and amongst other pranks she had rambled over all Sicily in the disguise of a Franciscan monk. Her love of pleasure was not more insatiable than her vanity, and she eagerly desired to figure in the first rank at a court. So long as Alaimo retained the high office of chief magistrate of Sicily, her gratified pride allowed him to remain a faithful subject: but towards the year 1275, Charles of Anjou suspected and dismissed him, and thenceforward Alaimo, instigated by his wife, was the mortal enemy of the French. He joined the intrigue set on foot by John of Procida in favour of the King of Arragon, and laboured efficiently in the cause of his new patron.

M. de St Priest does not himself narrate the oft-told tale of the Sicilian Vespers, but gives the accounts of Saba Malaspina and Bartolomeo de Neocastro, asserting that of the former writer to be the most correct, as it is certainly the most favourable to the French. He then enters into a long argument on points of no great importance; his logic being principally directed to show that if the French fell an easy prey to the infuriated Sicilians, it was through no lack of courage on their part, but because they were unarmed, surprised, and overmatched. He also takes some useless trouble to upset the story generally accredited of the immediate cause of the massacre, namely, an insult offered to a bride of high birth. The spirit of exaggerated nationality, apparent in this part of his book, stimulates his ingenuity to some curious hypotheses. It is a French failing, from which the best and wisest of that nation are rarely quite exempt, never to admit a defeat with temper and dignity. There must always have been treachery, or vastly superior numbers, or some other circumstance destructive to fair play. Not a Frenchman from Strasburg to Port Vendres, but holds, as an article of faith, that, on equal terms, the "grande nation" is unconquered and invincible. M. de St Priest seems to partake something of this spirit, so prevalent amongst his countrymen, and actually gets bitter and sarcastic about such a very antiquated business as the Sicilian Vespers. "Who does not recognise in this story (that of the insulted lady) an evident desire to exalt the deed of the Sicilians of the thirteenth century by assimilating it to analogous traits, borrowed from Roman history? Who does not here distinguish a Lucretia, or, better still, a Virginia; a Tarquin, or an Appius? The intention is conspicuous in the popular manifestos that succeeded the event. In these, reminiscences of antiquity abound. The heroes of the Vespers sought to make themselves Romans as quickly as possible, lest they should be taken for Africans." And so on in the same strain. "It is clearly seen," says the French historian in another place, "that the first outrage upon that day was perpetrated by the Sicilians, and not by the French; we behold brave and unsuspicious soldiers, inspired by good-humoured gaiety and deceitful security, barbarously stricken, in consequence of demonstrations, very indiscreet certainly, but whose inoffensive character is deposed to by a contemporary, hostile to the French and to their chief." The facts of the case are told in ten words. By a long course of injustice and oppression the French had dug and charged, beneath their own feet, a mine which a spark was sufficient to ignite. It is immaterial what hand applied that spark. Enough that the subsequent explosion[594] involved the aggressors in universal destruction, and freed Sicily from its tyrants. The statement of Saba Malaspina is not, however, altogether so exculpatory of the French, on the unimportant point of ultimate provocation, as might be inferred from some of M. de St Priest's expressions. "When the Signor Aubert (Herbert) d'Orleans governed Sicily," says the chronicler, "several citizens of Palermo, of both sexes, went out of the town to celebrate the festival of Easter. Some young strangers joined them, and perhaps amongst those were many who carried weapons, concealing them on account of the edict forbidding them to be borne under very severe penalties. Suddenly some French varlets, probably servants of the justiciary of the province, associated themselves with the public rejoicings, less, however, to share than to trouble them. Would to heaven they had never been born, or had never entered the kingdom! At sight of all this crowd which danced and sang, they joined the dancers, took the women by the hands and arms, (more, perhaps, than was decent and proper,) ogling the handsomest, and provoking, by significant words, those whose hands or feet they could not press. At these excessive familiarities, which may be said, however, to have been inspired only by gaiety, several young men of Palermo, and certain exiles from Gaéta, lost their senses so far as to assail the foreigners with injurious words, such as the French do not easily suffer. Then said the latter amongst themselves, 'It is impossible but that these pitiful Patarins[6] have arms about them, otherwise they would never venture such insolent language; let us see if some of them have not concealed swords, or, at any rate, poignards or knives.' And they began to search the Palermitans. Then these, very furious, threw themselves upon the French with stones and weapons, for a great number came up who were armed. The varlets fell for the most part stoned and stabbed to death. Thus does play engender war. The entire island revolted, and every where was heard the cry, 'Death to the French!'" The details of the ensuing massacre are as horrible as they are well known; and M. de St Priest passes lightly over them. Men, women, and children, soldiers and priests, all fell before the vengeful steel of the insurgents. The little fortress of Sperlinga alone afforded shelter to the fugitive Frenchmen, giving rise to the proverb still current in Sicily, "Sperlinga negó."[7] Messina, however, at first took no part in the movement, and continued tranquil in the possession of a French garrison. This was cause for great alarm to the Palermitans, already somewhat embarrassed with their rapid victory and sudden emancipation. Messina hostile, or even neuter, nothing was done, and Sicily must again fall into the vindictive hands of Charles of Anjou. As usual, in Sicilian revolutions, Palermo had given the impulse, but a satisfactory result depended on the adhesion of Messina. Flattering overtures were made by the insurgents to the Messinese; but the latter still hesitated, and, far from joining the massacre, sent six galleys to blockade Palermo, and armed two hundred cross-bowmen to reduce the fortress of Taormine. The effort was in vain. Instead of attacking Taormine, the bowmen re-entered Messina, and pulled down the fleurs-de-lis, whilst the inhabitants of Palermo, upon the appearance of the galleys, hoisted the Messinese cross beside their own flag, and fraternised with the fleet that came to block their port. This completed the revolution, and Messina also had its massacre. The viceroy, Herbert of Orleans, finding it impossible to hold out longer in his fortress of Mattagriffone, capitulated,[595] and embarked for Calabria with five hundred Frenchmen, amidst the menacing demonstrations of a furious mob. Sicily was declared a republic, and a deputation was sent to the Pope, to place it under his protection. An attempt made by the Arragonese party to obtain the preference for Don Pedro was premature, and consequently failed.

Charles of Anjou was with the Pope at Montefiascone, when news reached him of the revolt and massacre at Palermo. His first emotion was a sort of religious terror, which expressed itself in the following singular prayer, recorded by Villani and all the historians:—"Lord!" he said, "you who have raised me so high, if it be your will to cast me down, grant at least that my fall be gradual, and that I may descend step by step." Although he as yet knew nothing but the insurrection of a single town, he seems to have beheld the shadow cast before by the evil day at hand. He left Montefiascone, having obtained from Martin IV., whose indignation equalled his own, a bull of conditional interdiction against the Sicilians, should they not return to their allegiance. The Pope also sent Cardinal Gerard of Parma to Sicily, to bring about the submission of the rebels. But at Naples Charles learned the insurrection of Messina, and his fury knew no bounds. Neocastro and other chroniclers represent him as roaring like a lion; his eyes full of blood, and his mouth of foam, whilst he furiously bit the baton he bore in his hand—a favourite practice of his when angry and excited. After writing to his nephew, Philip of France, for a subsidy and five hundred men, he set sail himself with his queen, Margaret of Burgundy, at the head of the formidable armament fitted out for the conquest of the East. There were two hundred vessels bearing an army composed of French and Provençals, of Lombards and Tuscans, including fifty young knights of the noblest families in Florence, and (a strange spectacle in the host of Mainfroy's conqueror) a thousand Lucera Saracens. The total was fifteen thousand cavalry and sixty thousand infantry, and the rendezvous was at Catona, a Calabrian town opposite Messina, where, by the king's orders, forty galleys already awaited him.

Undaunted by the formidable array, the Messinese prepared a vigorous defence, repairing their walls, barricading their port with beams, and even assuming the offensive with their galleys, which chased some of the King's into the port of Scylla. Yet a bold and sudden assault would probably have taken the town, and the reduction of all Sicily must necessarily have followed. This course was urged by Charles's principal officers; but he preferred the advice of the Count of Acerra, who, from cowardly or perfidious motives, urged him to wait the result of the legate's negotiations with the rebels. This was a fatal error. Delay was destruction. At the very moment it would well have availed him, Charles abdicated his usual fiery impetuosity in favour of temporising measures. Encamping four leagues to the south of Messina, he lost precious time in idle skirmishes. Whilst he burned their woods and vines, the Messinese raised fortifications, and named Alaimo de Lentini captain of the people, the chief office in the new republic. Whilst Alaimo took charge of the defence of Messina, his wife Maccalda, with helm on head and cuirass upon breast, armed and valiant like another Pallas, marshalled the garrison of Catania.

Hostilities were about to commence when Cardinal Gerard of Parma reached Messina. Alaimo received him with the greatest respect, and offered him the keys of the town in token of liege homage to the holy see. The Cardinal replied by a vague offer of pardon if they submitted to the King. "At the word submission, Alaimo snatched the keys from the legate's hand, and exclaimed in a voice of thunder, 'Sooner death than a return to the odious French yoke!' After this theatrical burst, probably a piece of mere acting on the part of a man who had served under so many banners, serious negotiations began." It was impossible to agree. The exasperation of the Messinese reached a height that terrified the legate, who made his escape, after placing the city under interdict. The proposals he took to Charles[596] were "the immediate raising of the siege, and return of the army to the Continent; taxes as in the time of William the Good; and, finally, a formal engagement that the island should no longer be garrisoned by French or Provençals, but by Italians or Latins. "If these conditions are refused," said the bold Messinese, "we will resist till death, though we should eat our children!" The Cardinal admonished Charles of the prudence of accepting these terms, hinting that it might be less necessary to observe them, when the island was again in his hands. Charles was too angry and too honourable to listen to the jesuitical insinuation, and war was the word. The legate returned to Rome, in despair at the hot-headed monarch's intractability. Charles's knights and officers were clamorous for an instant assault; but he preferred a blockade, not wishing, he said, to punish the innocent with the guilty. M. de St Priest discredits the motive, and attributes such unusual forbearance on the part of the Lion of Anjou to the fear of losing, by the indiscriminate pillage that would follow a successful assault, the great riches Messina was known to contain.

The foe's decision published, Messina threw away the scabbard. A life of freedom, or a glorious death, was the unanimous resolve of its heroic inhabitants. Every man became a warrior; the very women gave example of the purest patriotism and sublimest devotedness. "Matrons who, the preceding day, clothed themselves in gold and purple, young girls, brought up in the lap of luxury and ease—all, without distinction of rank or riches, with bare feet and dresses tucked up to the knee, bore upon their shoulders stones and fascines, and heavy baskets of bread and wine. They helped the labourers, supplied them with food, attended to all that could increase their physical and moral strength. From the summit of the ramparts they hurled missiles on the besiegers. They held out their children to their husbands, bidding them fight bravely, and save their sons from slavery and death. Oh! it was a pity, says a song still popular in Sicily, great pity was it to see the ladies of Messina carrying chalk and stones."

"Deh com' egli é gran pictate
Delle donne di Messina,
Veggiendo iscapighate,
Portando pietre e calcina."

Not long ago a wall was still shown, built by these heroines. The names of two of them, Dina and Clarentia, have been handed down to posterity. Whilst Dina upset whole squadrons by hurling stones from warlike engines, Clarentia, erect upon the ramparts, sounded the charge with a brazen trumpet. Such incidents gave a fine field to the superstitious and imaginative; and persons were not wanting who affirmed they had seen the Virgin Mary hover in white robes above the city, whilst others maintained she had appeared to Charles of Anjou's Saracens.

The great assault was on the 14th September 1282. "You have no need to fight with these boors and burgesses," said Charles to his knights; "you have merely to slaughter them." He undervalued his foe. In vain did his chivalry advance against the town like a moving wall of steel; in vain did his fleet assail the port. Beams and chains, hidden under water, checked and destroyed his shipping; men and horses fell beneath the missiles of the besieged. One of these would have killed Charles, had not two devoted knights saved him. They covered the King with their bodies, and fell crushed and lifeless at his feet. On the side of the Sicilians, Alaimo displayed great military talents and personal courage. He was every where to be seen, animating his men by his example. When the French were finally repulsed with terrible loss, and compelled to raise the siege, Charles tried to corrupt Alaimo by immense offers, and went so far as to send him his signature upon a blank paper. The Sicilian resisted the temptation—rejecting treasures and dignities, to yield, at a later period, to the influence of a treacherous woman.

Meanwhile the deputation charged to offer Sicily to the Pope, returned with a refusal. Martin IV. would have nothing to say to them. He would have better served Charles by acceptance. Subsequently he might[597] have restored the island to the King. As it was, he drove the Sicilians into the snares of the aristocratic league that supported Pedro of Arragon. The republican government was unequal to the task it had undertaken, and the Pope's rejection of the protectorate threw them into great perplexity. A meeting was held to debate the course to be adopted; and the Spanish party, schooled by former failure, achieved a decisive triumph. Its leaders remained mute; but an old man, of such obscure condition that his name was not exactly known, harangued the assemblage, recalled the memory of the house of Swabia, reminded his countrymen that Constance was the legitimate heiress to the crown, and proposed to offer it to her husband, the King of Arragon, then at the port of Collo, on the coast of Africa, near Constantina. The words were scarcely spoken, when a thousand voices extolled the wisdom of the speaker, and ambassadors were immediately named from the people of Palermo to the King of Arragon. Don Pedro had lingered at Portofangos, in expectation of such a summons, for more than a month after the insurrection at Palermo; but finding the secret negotiations of John of Procida with the chiefs of the Sicilian aristocracy less immediately successful than he had hoped, he had sailed for the coast of Africa, on pretext of interfering in a quarrel between the King of Constantina and two of his brothers, but in reality to be nearer the stage on which he hoped soon to play an important part. He affected surprise at the arrival of the Sicilian envoys, who threw themselves at his feet, bathed in tears and dressed in deep mourning, and in a studied harangue implored him to reign over Sicily, and relieve them from the intolerable yoke of the Count of Provence. They said nothing of Conradin's glove,—the anecdote, M. de St Priest says, not having been yet invented.

Don Pedro delayed reply till he should have consulted his principal vassals. Most of them urged him not to engage in a hazardous enterprise, that would draw upon him the displeasure of the King of France; "but to be content with what he already possessed, without seeking to acquire what would assuredly be valiantly defended. Don Pedro heard their objections in silence, and broke up the council, merely announcing that the fleet would sail next day, without saying whether for Catalonia or Sicily. According to one account, scarcely credible, and bearing strong resemblance to a popular report, he declared the wind should decide his destination. The wind blew for Sicily, much to the discontent of some of the barons, and to the secret and profound joy of the King. After a prosperous voyage of only three days' duration, Don Pedro landed at the port of Trapani. The inhabitants received him as a liberator, and he proceeded to Palermo, where his stay was one unbroken triumph." He did not remain there long. He was as active and indefatigable as Charles of Anjou; like him sleeping little, and rising before the sun. He resolved to march to the succour of Messina, and to intercept the French army's communications with Calabria. He sent forward two noble Catalan knights to warn the King of Naples off the island, with the alternative of war should he refuse. A judge from Barcelona accompanied them,—it being the custom of the time to compose such embassies partly of military men, and partly of persons learned in the law. The envoys were courteously received in the French camp, but their lodging did not correspond with their reception. Either through contempt or through negligence, they were quartered in a church, without bed or chair, and had to sleep upon straw. At night they received two jugs of black wine, six loaves equally dark coloured, two roasted pigs, and an enormous quantity of bacon-soup. Coarse fare and hard couch did not, however, prevent their sleeping soundly, and repairing next morning to the royal presence, richly attired in fine cloth lined with vair. Charles, who was unwell, received them reclining under curtains of magnificent brocade, and with a little stick between his teeth, according to his habit. He listened patiently whilst the chief of the embassy summoned him to evacuate the island, and replied, after a few minutes' reflection, that Sicily belonged neither to him nor to the King of Arragon, but[598] to the holy see. "Go then," he said, "to Messina, and bid the people of that city declare an eight days' truce, for the discussion of necessary things." This the ambassadors agreed to do, but got a rude reception from Alaimo, who would not credit their quality of Arragonese envoys, when he heard them advocate a truce. Don Pedro was no longer at liberty to treat with Charles, even had he wished it: the Sicilians, at least that party of them that had invoked his aid, had done so for their own ends, and would permit no transaction. The ambassadors returned to Charles and announced their ill success, and the King bade them repose till next morning, when he would speak further with them. But the next morning they learned that he and the Queen had left the camp during the night, and had embarked for Calabria. Many historians have severely blamed this retreat; M. de St Priest vindicates its wisdom and propriety. Defection was increasing in Charles's army, weary of a fruitless siege that had lasted seventy-four days, and he was in danger of being cut of from Calabria; for although he still had his fleet, it consisted of heavy, unwieldy transports, and was very unmanageable. Soon after his departure from Sicily it was destroyed and captured by the Arragonese fleet. He began also to form a juster estimate of his formidable adversary, whose politic and generous conduct contrasted with his own severity, often pushed to barbarity. He resolved to try a system of conciliation with the Sicilians; and, being too proud and stiff-necked to adopt it in person, he sent his son Charles, Prince of Salerno, to carry it out. "It was necessary to find a pretext in order honourably to absent himself. The customs of the time furnished him with one. He did not show himself their slave, as has often been said, but made them serve his purpose, and skilfully used them to mask the difficulties of his position. It was not, then, from a Quixotic and foolish impulse, unbecoming at his age, but with a political object,—in order to escape from the scene of his disappointments and defeats, and to draw his enemy from that of his victories and triumphs,—that he took the resolution to challenge Pedro of Arragon to single combat." A friar bore the cartel; Pedro accepted it; and this strange duel between two powerful kings was fixed to take place in a plain near Bordeaux, an English town, as the chroniclers call it, Bordeaux then belonging to Edward I. of England. Pending the preliminary negotiations and arrangements for this combat, hostilities continued, and the results were all in favour of Don Pedro. His natural son, Don Jaime Pâris, or Peres, admiral of the Catalan fleet, made a night excursion from Messina to Catona, upon the opposite coast, surprising and massacring five hundred French soldiers. Carried away by youthful ardour, he then pushed on to Reggio; but fell into an ambush, and lost a dozen men. Although the final result of the enterprise was highly satisfactory, Pâris returning victor with a rich booty, his father, indignant that his orders had been overstepped, spared his life only at the entreaties of his courtiers, degraded and banished him, and gave the command of the fleet to Ruggiero de Lauria. This was a lucky hit. Lauria, although violent and perfidious by character, was of courage as great as his good fortune was invariable. Once at the head of the Arragonese fleet, the success of Don Pedro ceased to be doubtful.

The conditions of the projected duel being arranged and agreed to by both parties, Charles left Reggio, the Prince of Salerno remaining there at the head of an army brought in great part from France. The war was now transported in great measure into Calabria. There every thing was favourable to the Arragonese. His soldiers found themselves in a climate, and amongst mountains, reminding them of their native country. The Almogavares, hardy and reckless guerillas, lightly equipped, and with sandalled feet, were more than a match for the French knights and men-at-arms, with their heavy horses and armour. "One day, whilst the Prince of Salerno was at Reggio, an Almogavare came alone to his camp to defy the French. At first they despised the challenge of the ill-clad savage, but finally a handsome young knight left the ranks, and[599] accepted the defiance. He was conquered by his opponent, who, after bringing him to the ground, buried his knife in his throat. The Prince of Salerno, true to the laws of chivalry, dismissed the conqueror with rich guerdon. The King of Arragon would not be surpassed in courtesy, but sent in exchange ten Frenchmen, free and without ransom, declaring that he would always be happy to give the same number for one Arragonese." This piece of Spanish rodomontade was backed, however, by deeds which proved Pedro no impotent boaster; and the Prince of Salerno was compelled to retire from Reggio—whose inhabitants, favourable to his rival, hypocritically affected grief at his departure—to an adjacent level, known as the pianura di San Martino.

Charles of Anjou was now at Rome, whose Pope he found friendly and supple as ever. A crusade was promulgated, the usurper of Sicily was excommunicated, and his Arragonese crown was declared forfeit and given to Charles de Valois, second son of Philip the Bold, whom the Italians called Carlo Senza Terra, because he tried many crowns but could never keep one. To cloak his manifest partiality, Martin IV. strove to make Charles give up the duel, and, failing to do so, declared himself openly against a project which he treated as mad and impious. He declared null and void the agreement and conditions fixed between the champions, and exhorted the King of England to forbid the encounter of the two sovereigns upon his territory. Edward I. was not the man to spoil sport of this kind; he neither made nor meddled in the matter. On the appointed day, (25th May 1283,) Charles, coming from Paris, where his intended duel had excited the enthusiasm of the French youth, entered Bordeaux, armed cap-à-pie, at the head of a hundred knights, established himself with them in the lists, and waited from sunrise till sundown. Then, the King of Arragon not appearing, he sent for Jean de Grailly, seneschal of Guienne, had a certificate of his presence at Bordeaux drawn up in due form, and set out for his county of Provence. Various causes have been assigned for Pedro's non-appearance. It is certain that he left Sicily, after having summoned thither his queen and all his children, excepting the eldest, Alphonso, who remained in Arragon. The only distinct cause assigned by M. de St Priest, for his defalcation in the lists, is the Arragonese version. "Don Pedro had gone from Valentia to Collioure, and already the hundred chevaliers he had chosen to accompany him were assembled at Jaca, on the frontier, ready to enter Guienne, when he was suddenly informed that, at the request of Charles of Anjou, Philip of France had accompanied his uncle to Bordeaux, and lay near that town with twenty thousand men. Warned by the King of England that the King of France was in ambush for him, Pedro decided not to show himself publicly at Bordeaux; but being at the same time fully resolved to acquit his promise by going thither, he disguised himself as a poor traveller, and took with him two gentlemen dressed with less simplicity, all three mounted on good horses, and without other baggage than a large bag full of provisions, that they might not be obliged to stop any where. The King acted as servant to his companions, waiting on them at table, and giving the horses their corn. In this manner they arrived very quickly at Bordeaux, where Don Pedro was received and concealed by an old knight, a friend of one of the two gentlemen. Upon the morrow, which was the day appointed for the duel, Pedro repaired to the lists, with the seneschal, who was devoted to him, before the sun rose, consequently earlier than Charles of Anjou. There he caused his presence to be certified by a notarial act, then fled precipitately, and put an interval of several hours between his departure and the pursuit of the Kings of France and Sicily." This is rather an improbable story, as M. de St Priest justly remarks; and, even if true, it is a sort of evasion that does little credit to the King of Arragon's chivalry. It appears likely that Pedro, standing upon his well-established reputation of personal bravery, thought himself justified for once in consulting prudence,[600] and felt little disposed to stake his life and crown upon the goodness of his lance and charger. Abandoning to his rival the honours of the tourney, he gained, with his fleet and army, more solid advantages. Soon after Charles's return to Provence, twenty-nine galleys despatched by him from Marseilles to the succour of Malta were attacked and destroyed by Ruggiero de Lauria, in spite of the valiant efforts of the Provençal admiral, William Cornut.

"In the heat of a terrible and prolonged combat, and seeing himself about to be vanquished, Cornut jumped upon Lauria's galley and attacked the admiral, axe in one hand and lance in the other. The lance point pierced Ruggiero's foot, and, nailing him to the deck, broke off from the pole; the Provençal raised his axe, when the Sicilian, active and furious as a tiger, snatched the iron from his bleeding wound, and, using it as a dagger, stabbed his enemy to the heart." The sea was the real field of battle, and, unfortunately for Charles of Anjou, the French lacked the naval skill and experience of the Catalans. Pedro was detained in Arragon by some turbulent proceedings of his nobility, but he was ably replaced by his wife. Queen Constance was no ordinary woman. Adored by the Sicilians, who persisted in regarding her as the rightful descendant of their kings, her influence exceeded that of Pedro himself. Surrounded by her children, and followed by her Almogavares, she traversed the island in all directions, going from Palermo to Messina, from Messina to Catania, encouraging the people by kind and valiant words, giving bread to the necessitous, and followed by the blessings and admiration of her new subjects. By the advice of John of Procida, she resolved to anticipate the Prince of Salerno, who only awaited his father's arrival to make a descent upon Sicily. "She sent for Ruggiero de Lauria, who was the son of Madonna Bella, her nurse, and spoke to him thus: 'Friend Ruggiero, you know that you have been brought up, from your earliest infancy, in my father's house and in mine; my lord the King of Arragon has loaded you with favours, making you first a good knight and then an admiral, such confidence has he in your valour and fidelity. Now, do better still than heretofore; I recommend to you myself, my children, and all my family.' When the Queen had spoken, the admiral put knee on ground, took the hands of his good mistress in his in sign of homage, kissed them devoutly, and replied: 'Madonna, have no fear; the banner of Arragon has never receded, and still shall conquer. God gives me confidence that I shall again work to your satisfaction, and that of my lord the King.' Then the Queen made the sign of the cross over the admiral, who quitted her to put himself at the head of thirty galleys, and of a host of light vessels armed at Messina. With these he entered the gulf of Salerno." The son of Charles of Anjou had no suspicion of the sortie of the Arragonese fleet, and an officer whom he sent to reconnoitre brought back a false account of the enemy's strength, diminishing the number of their vessels. Thereupon the Prince of Salerno resolved to give battle, being urged to do so by the Count of Acerra, the same who had formerly advised Charles to postpone the assault of Messina. The count's advice, whether treacherous or sincere, proved fatal in both instances. The Sicilian fleet, which had advanced to the very Molo of Naples, passed under the windows of the Castello Nuovo, insulting the Prince of Salerno by words injurious to his nation, his father, and himself. Too angry to be prudent, and forgetting Charles's orders on no account to stir before his arrival, the prince, covered with new and brilliant armour, bravely embarked, lame though he was, on board the royal galley, followed by the flower of the French chivalry. Lauria, cunning as skilful, feigned to fly at his approach. Riso, the Messinese, and other Sicilian exiles, showed chains to Lauria, calling out, "Brave admiral, here is what awaits you; turn and look!" Lauria obeyed their order, turned about, and fell furiously upon the Neapolitan fleet, which was defeated by the very first shock. The Prince of Salerno and the French knights defended themselves with the courage of despair. The royal galley alone held[601] out, until at last the Prince, seeing it about to sink with the weight of combatants, and having bravely fought and dearly sold his liberty, gave up his sword to Ruggiero, who offered him his hand to conduct him on board the admiral's galley. "Sir Prince," said the Arragonese, "if you do not covet the fate of Conradin, order your captive, the Infanta Beatrix, sister of our Queen, and daughter of King Mainfroy, to be instantly delivered up to us." With the fierce Lauria it was unsafe to trifle or delay. The Prince wrote to his wife, Mary of Hungary, that, vanquished and a prisoner, his life depended on the release of Beatrix. On receiving his letter, the Princess of Salerno hurried to the prison of Mainfroy's daughter, embraced her, clothed her in her richest apparel, and instantly gave her up to Lauria's envoy.

At the news of the Prince's capture, the Neapolitans were on the point of revolt. An incident occurred that did not leave him the least doubt of their sentiments. When seated on the deck of Ruggiero's galley, in the midst of a circle of knights who kept respectful silence, he saw approach a number of boats filled with peasants, who asked permission to come on board. They brought baskets of those large figs called palombale, and also a present of gold augustales. Taking the Prince, on account of his magnificent armour, and of the respect of those around him, they knelt before him and said, "Admiral, accept this fruit and this gold; the district of Sorrento sends them you as an offering, and may you take the father as you have taken the son!" Notwithstanding his misfortunes, the young man could not help smiling, as he said, "Truly these are very faithful subjects of my lord the King." He was taken to Sicily and landed at Messina, where Queen Constance and the Infante Don Jaime then resided.

When Charles of Anjou learned the double disaster that had befallen him in the capture of his fleet and son, his first expression was one of bitter irony. "The better," he exclaimed, "that we are quit of that priest, who spoiled our affairs and took away our courage!" Bitter grief succeeded this factitious gaiety. He shut himself up in a private chamber of the Castel Capuano, sent away the attendants and torches, repulsing even the tender caresses of his queen, and groaned and lamented in solitude and darkness. When day appeared he forgot his sorrow to think of vengeance. In his absence, Naples had nearly escaped him. From Pausilippo to the Molo, shouts for Pedro of Arragon had been heard. Naples must expiate the crime. Charles prepared to shed an ocean of blood, but the Pope's legate interceded; and the enraged sovereign contented himself with hanging a hundred and fifty of the most guilty from the battlements of the Castel Nuovo. Then, with his usual impetuous activity, he armed a fleet, and sailed for Messina, but was met by a message from Constance, that if he touched the shore of Sicily his son's head should roll upon the scaffold. What could the murderer of Conradin reply to this threat? Trembling with fury, he returned to Calabria. The position of his son justified great anxiety. A large majority of the Sicilians were clamorous for his death, as an expiatory sacrifice to the manes of Conradin. Queen Constance, who had nobly resolved to save him, was compelled so far to yield to public clamour that a parliment was assembled to deliberate on his fate. With the exception of Alaimo de Lentini, all the members voted for the Prince's death. But Constance would not ratify the sentence till she heard from Don Pedro, to whom she had already despatched intelligence of the important capture. As she had foreseen, Pedro ordered the Prince, and the chief amongst his companions, to be sent immediately to Arragon. This was done, and Sicily seemed guaranteed for a long time from the aggressions of the house of Anjou.

To foreign warfare internal strife succeeded. The Sicilian nobles, the same men who had entreated Pedro of Arragon to reign over them, now repented of their choice. They had found a master where they had intended a crowned companion. Already the failure of a rebellion had cost several of them their heads, when a second plot was got up, in which Alaimo de Lentini took a prominent part. The rank, influence, and services of this man, the first in Sicily,[602] rendered Pedro uneasy, and excited the jealousy of his two ministers, John of Procida and Ruggiero de Lauria. Alaimo's indulgent vote upon the trial of the Prince of Salerno, although conformable to the wishes of the King, yet had increased suspicions he for some time had entertained. These, however, would not have broken out but for the imprudent audacity of Maccalda, Alaimo's wife, who had flattered herself she should be able to govern Pedro of Arragon. During the siege of Messina, she presented herself before him in her Amazonian garb, a silver mace in her hand; but this warlike equipment could not restore her youth, and, notwithstanding the King's passionate admiration of the fair sex, he passed the night in talking to her of his ancestors, and finally fell asleep. Irritated by this contempt of her charms, Maccalda vowed hatred to Queen Constance. Although of very low origin, the insolent matron pretended herself at least the equal of the daughter of Mainfroy the bastard. She refused her the title of queen, and never spoke of her but as the mother of the Infante Don Jaime. Every advance made by Don Pedro's wife was insolently rejected by her. The Queen wished to become godmother to one of her children; Maccalda disdainfully declined the honour. The Queen had a litter made to take air in Palermo, a piece of luxury unprecedented in Sicily. Maccalda immediately rambled about the island in a litter twice the size, eclipsing her sovereign by her presumptuous splendour. In short, the court of Arragon could not endure this incessant struggle, and soon serious grounds for vengeance were found. All powerful with her husband, Maccalda excited him to revolt. He corresponded with Charles of Anjou, then in Calabria; one of his letters, in which he promised to deliver Sicily to the King of Naples, fell into the hands of John of Procida. Don Pedro, informed of Alaimo's treason, dissimulated and wrote him an affectionate invitation to Spain, under pretence of conferring with him on the affairs of Sicily. Resistance and obedience were equally dangerous; but the latter left most time to turn in, so Alaimo obeyed. He no sooner reached Arragon than he was thrown into a dungeon. At the same time Maccalda, stripped of her husband's possessions, was put in prison in Sicily. There she preserved her courage and gaiety, and passed her time in laughing at Queen Constance, and in playing at chess with a Moorish king, prisoner like herself.

Sixty French knights were massacred in the prison of Matagrifone, at the instigation of the ferocious Ruggiero de Lauria, so soon as he learned the treason of Alaimo and Maccalda. For these a tragical end was reserved. At the commencement of the following reign, the defender of Messina was thrown into the sea, a halter round his neck; and it was conjectured that Maccalda Scaletta, also met a violent death in the obscurity of her dungeon.

Charles was not more fortunate in military operations than in secret plottings. In vain did he besiege Reggio; for want of provisions he was compelled to return to Naples. But although fortune proved so fickle, his bold spirit remained unbroken, and he conceived a gigantic plan, which was to avenge all his disasters. He resolved to fall upon Sicily at the head of considerable forces, whilst a powerful French army entered Arragon. But death nullified his schemes. Whilst upon the road from Naples to Brindes, to prepare the new armament, he was compelled by the violent attacks of ague, from which he suffered continually since his misfortunes, to stop at Foggia. His hour had come. By his will, made upon the day of his death, he left the kingdom of the Two Sicilies and the county of Provence to his son Charles prince of Salerno; and, failing him, to his grandson Charles Martel, then twelve years old. His testamentary dispositions completed, he turned his thoughts to things spiritual. Margaret of Burgundy, summoned in all haste to her husband's side, arrived but just in time to receive his last adieu. He expired in her arms, the victim of grief as much as of disease, overtaken by premature old age, but full of faith in his good right and in divine justice. Upon his deathbed he was untormented by remorse; he beheld neither the threatening shade of Conradin nor[603] the rivers of blood with which he had inundated Sicily; his eyes and lips were fixed with love upon the cross, whose most faithful defender he esteemed himself. At the supreme hour, and with his last breath, he made a final and impious manifestation of the overweening pride and self-confidence that were amongst his most prominent qualities during his life. "He confessed himself, and demanded the last sacrament, sat up in his bed to receive it worthily, fixed his eyes upon the redoubtable mystery, and, speaking directly to the body and blood of Christ, addressed to them these words of audacious conviction: 'Sire Dieu, as I truly believe you to be my Saviour, I pray you show mercy to my soul. Since it is certain that I undertook the affair of Sicily more to serve the holy church than for my own advantage, you ought to absolve me of my sins.'"[8]

The body of Charles was transported to Naples, and buried in the cathedral, under a pompous mausoleum. His heart was taken to Paris, and deposited in the church of the Grands Jacobins, with this inscription:—


Upon her husband's death Margaret retired to her county of Tonnerre, where she had founded an hospital, and passed the rest of her life in pious and charitable exercises. "The first chevalier in the world has ceased to live," exclaimed Pedro of Arragon, on learning the death of Charles of Anjou. He himself survived his great rival but a few months. After conquering Philip III. of France in the defiles of Arragon, a victory which procured the fortunate Arragonese the soubriquet of Pedro de los Franceses, he died very penitent, restoring his possessions to the church, whose liegeman he acknowledged himself, and putting under the protection of the holy see his two kingdoms of Arragon and Sicily, which he bequeathed to his sons, Alphonso III. and Jaime II. About the same time Martin IV. ended his days, full of grief for the loss of Charles of Anjou, to whom he was devotedly and blindly attached,—"An attachment," says M. de St Priest, "which excites interest, so rare is friendship upon thrones, and especially in old age. Thus was Charles of France, brother of St Louis, followed to the tomb by the most remarkable of his contemporaries. A new epoch began; the age of Philip le Bel, of Boniface VIII., and of Dante. The great poet, so severe to the living Capétiens, has treated them better in the invisible world. Whilst he has precipitated Frederick II. and the most illustrious Ghibellines into the depths of the eternal chasms, he shows us—not in torture, but awaiting a better destiny—not in the flames of purgatory, but in the bosom of monotonous repose, in the shade of a peaceful forest, in a valley strewed with unknown flowers—Charles of Anjou and Pedro of Arragon, seated side by side, reconciled by death, and uniting their grave and manly voices in hymns to the praise of the Most High."

The political separation of the island and continent of Sicily was now complete, but none foresaw its long duration. The period immediately succeeding the death of Charles of Anjou was one continuous struggle between Naples and Palermo, the former striving to regain lost supremacy, the latter to retain conquered independence. For a moment the kingdom of the Two Sicilies, torn in twain by a great popular movement, was on the point of reuniting; the great result obtained by the Sicilian Vespers seemed about to be lost, and the Vespers themselves to lose their rank of revolution, and subside into the vulgar category of revolts and insurrections. Strange to say, the foreign dynasty that had profited by the successful rebellion, was itself[604] on the eve of destroying the work of its partisans. After the ephemeral reign of Alphonso III. King of Arragon, eldest son and successor of Don Pedro, Don Jaime, second son of this Prince, united upon his head the crowns of Sicily and Arragon. The will of the two deceased kings had been to keep these crowns separate. Don Pedro verbally, Don Alphonso by a written will, had called the Infante Frederick, son of one and brother of the other, to reign in Sicily so soon as Don Jaime should take possession of the hereditary sceptre of Arragon and Catalonia. Jaime disregarded their wishes. He kept Sicily, not for himself, but to restore it to the enemies of his family, to his prisoner, now chief of the house of Anjou, agreeably to a secret treaty they had entered into during the captivity of Charles II. If M. de St Priest is correct in placing the first negotiation of this treaty so far back as the summer of 1284, soon after the action in which Charles lost his liberty, it is difficult to understand what could then have been Don Jaime's motives. His father and elder brother dead, it is more easy to explain them. We must remember that before falling into the hands of the terrible Ruggiero de Lauria, Charles, then Prince of Salerno, commissioned by the King of Naples to make concessions to his subjects, had proclaimed a political reform, under the auspices of Martin IV. After the death of this Pope, his successor Honorius, also a declared partisan of the house of Anjou, extended still further these political privileges, and the convention known in the history of Naples as the Statutes of Honorius (Capitoli d'Onorio) there long had the force of law. In view of these privileges, imposed by papacy, and conceded by the dynasty whose despotism had driven Sicily to revolt, the dynasty established by that revolt was compelled to bid higher for popular approbation. The rival royalties began a dangerous race in the path of reform. The Arragonese could not allow the Angevine to surpass him in generosity. Don Jaime saw himself compelled to make such concessions to the clergy and aristocracy, that Sicily retained but the mere shadow of a monarchy. The authority awaiting him in Arragon was certainly not more absolute; but there, at least, he found himself in his native country and hereditary dominions; habit, tradition, old affinities, compensated what the supreme power lacked in strength and extent. In Sicily things were very different. The island was altogether in an unsatisfactory state. The chiefs of the aristocracy, the authors of the revolution, had all rebelled in turn. It had been found necessary to put to death Caltagirone, Alaimo de Lentini, and other leaders of the Arragonese intrigue. The air of Sicily seemed loaded with rebellious infection. Even Ruggiero de Lauria, and John of Procida,[9] were suspected of disaffection. Nor did the profits of the island compensate the anxiety it caused. Exhausted by war, Sicily yielded no revenue, but required support in men and money. More than this, the papal anathema still remained upon the family of Pedro of Arragon. It weighed upon Don Jaime and upon his mother Queen Constance. Courageous though she was, the daughter of the excommunicated Mainfroy, the widow of the excommunicated Pedro, had difficulty to support the interdict. Successive popes sustained the interests of the French dynasty, and bestowed the crown of Arragon, a fief of the holy see, upon Charles of Valois, brother of Philip le Bel. True, possession did not accompany the gift, to which the Arragonese did not subscribe, but drove back Philip the Bold when he tried to introduce his son into his new kingdom, an attempt which cost him his reputation and his life. Still Don Jaime was anxious, for various reasons, to have the donation annulled. To this end he addressed himself to the King of Naples, still prisoner at Barcelona, offering to give him up Sicily, and even to aid him to reconquer it, on condition that the Pope removed the interdict from his house, and that Charles of Valois was[605] compelled to renounce the title of King of Arragon. Moreover, a matrimonial alliance, always an important tie, but especially so in the middle ages, was to seal the friendship of the two monarchs. Don Jaime was to marry the princess Blanche, eldest daughter of the King of Naples, and granddaughter of the great Charles of Anjou. Boniface VIII., greatly attached, at the commencement of his popedom, to the interests of France, joyfully acquiesced in these arrangements.

Every thing seemed arranged, when unexpected obstacles arose. On the one hand, Charles of Valois, having neither dominions nor crown, obstinately resisted the transfer of his imaginary kingdom; on the other, the Sicilians declared they would die to a man rather than acknowledge the sovereignty of the house of Anjou. They summoned Don Jaime to renounce his project, and when he persisted in it, they raised to the throne the Infante Frederick, at first with the title of Lord of Sicily, afterwards with that of King. This prince proved worthy of the national choice. In vain did Boniface VIII. assail him in turn with flattery and menace; the new king of Sicily remained faithful to his people. By a strange concurrence of circumstances, he found himself opposed in arms to his brother Jaime of Arragon, now the ally of his father-in-law, Charles II., who had recovered his liberty and returned to his dominions. In spite of his own and his subjects' valour, Frederick III. was at first nearly overcome. The house of Anjou would have reconquered Sicily, but for the defection of the fickle King of Arragon, who abandoned his allies and returned home, carrying with him the contempt of all parties. After various changes of fortune, a definitive treaty of peace was concluded between the belligerents, under the auspices of Rome. By its conditions, Frederick III. was to retain the crown of Sicily for his life, with the title of King of Trinacria, invented to avoid infringement on the rights of Charles II., who kept the title of King of Sicily, with the reversion of the dominions for himself and his direct heirs, after the death of Frederick, who married Eleanor, youngest daughter of Charles. The basis of this treaty was manifestly unstable, its very letter was soon effaced: and Frederick, disdaining the singular title of King of Trinacria, soon resumed his rightful one. There were thus two kings of Sicily, on this and that side the straits, and from that period dates the term, the Two Sicilies.

During a reign of thirty-four years, Frederick III. did much for the nation that had placed him at its head. A scholar and a legislator, he encouraged letters, navigation, and trade, established a national representation, and bequeathed his subjects the famous Sicilian constitution, which was entirely destroyed only in the present century. But the tendency of power in Sicily was to the hands of the nobles. Frederick struggled hard to keep down the aristocracy, but his efforts had no permanent success: at his death the barons became omnipotent, the feudal system prevailed, and for more than a century the annals of the island are but a confused history of the rivalries of the Chiaromonte and the Vintimiglia, the Palizzi and the Alagona, the Luna and the Perolla, and many others besides. The Chiaromonte, notwithstanding their French origin,[10] were the chiefs of the Italian or Latin party; they became absolute masters of Palermo, and reigned over it from the summit of their castle of Steri, whose massive masonry still exists in the heart of that city. The kings of Sicily, to obtain their support, sought the hands of their daughters; but at last the haughty patricians fell from their pinnacle of greatness, and by treason or stratagem were led to the scaffold. Distracted and weakened by[606] discord, Sicily offered, at this time, an easy prey to Naples, had the descendants of the first Charles been the men to profit by the opportunity. But they were far from inheriting the martial energy of their great ancestor, and, in spite of circumstances frequently favourable, Sicily was never reconquered by the race of Charles of Anjou.

The concluding line of M. de St. Priest's work contains a sentiment which will doubtless find ready echo in the hearts of his countrymen, ever jealous of Great Britain's aggrandisement and territorial growth. "May Sicily" he says, "never become a second Malta." The wish, whose heartfelt sincerity cannot be doubted, points to the possibility, not to say the probability, of the event deprecated; an event which, however unwelcome to France, would, in many respects, be highly advantageous to the two parties more immediately concerned. So manifest are the benefits that it is almost impertinent to point them out. Sicily would find efficient protection, commercial advantages, a paternal and liberal government; England would obtain a storehouse and granary, and an excellent position whence to observe and check French progress in Northern Africa, should the ambition of the young republic, or of any other government that may succeed it, render interference necessary. At the present moment, when half Europe is unhinged, political speculation becomes doubly difficult; but whatever turn events take, there is little likelihood of France either abandoning her African colony or resting contented with its present extent. Doubtless, she will some day lay hold of Tunis, or at least make the attempt. It is but a short sail from Tunis to Sicily. The peace-at-all-price men, who would fain dispense with fleets and armies, and trust to the spread of philanthropy for the protection of Britain and its colonies, would have no fresh cause for their insipid and querulous grumblings in the annexation of Sicily to the British empire. It would be unnecessary to recruit an additional drummer, or man a cock-boat the more. The island Sicilians, of more hardy frame and courageous temper than their Continental neighbours, are, as they have lately shown, able to defend their liberties. They would furnish troops and mariners, who, with British discipline and direction, need be second to none in Europe. Increased advantages should of course be afforded to Sicilian produce imported into Great Britain. This would cut two ways. Whilst benefiting the Sicilian, and encouraging him to industry, it would spur the stolid and stubborn lawgivers of Spain to moderate the absurd tariff which excludes foreign manufactures from that country, save through illicit channels. Under British protection and British laws, Sicily, if she cannot hope ever to resume her ancient grandeur and prosperity, would flourish and improve to an extent impossible during her ill-assorted union with Naples.




Before entering on the personal history of a man whose adventures carried him through all the strata of social life, from the feathered savage of the Prairies to the industrious burgess in small-clothes, let us give a few incidental notices of that crime—kidnapping, or man-stealing,—his subjection to which was the opening scene of his eventful career. We can, perhaps, scarcely point to a more distinct type of feebleness in the law of any country than the frequency of this crime. In that community where the people, marked off by any distinction in race or appearance—where persons born in serfdom, or of a particular line, or speaking a peculiar language—are doomed to slavery, the laws may be unjust and barbarous in the extreme, but it does not follow that they are feeble. The slavery exists by them, not in spite of them. It is in the country where the person, free by the law, is seized, and, in defiance of the law, held in forced bondage, in obedience to the interest or the malevolence of individuals, that this characteristic of feebleness is so prominently developed. The purloiner of coin or plate can only be tracked by external incidents; there is nothing in his connexion with the property that in itself proclaims his crime. The horse and cattle-stealer have to deal with less silent commodities; but even the objects of their depredations are not placed in an unnatural position by ownership, and have no voice wherewith to proclaim their custodier's dishonesty. But the man who holds another in possession in a free country, is a criminal in the eye of every one who sees him exercise his ownership; and he carries about with him a perpetual witness and accuser, who is under the strongest inducements to be ever vigilant and ever active. The law under which common thefts are practised, is only that which does not see far into a millstone; but the law under which kidnapping may be pursued with impunity, is deaf, and blind, and, paralytic. Owing to the strong central administration of justice in England, it does not appear that this crime was ever very prevalent in the south. We find, indeed, in Whitelock's Memorials, under the date of 9th May 1645—"An ordinance against such who are called spirits, and use to steal away and take up children, and, bereave their parents of them, and convey them away." The measure then adopted, which will be found among the ordinances of the Long Parliament, shows us that it had become customary to seize children and carry them out of the country, to be employed as slaves in the plantations, or probably to be sold to the Mediterranean pirates. The ordinance says, "Whereas, the houses of Parliament are informed that divers lewd persons do go up and down the city of London and elsewhere, and in a most barbarous and wicked manner steal away many little children, it is ordered by the Lords and Commons, in Parliament assembled, that all officers and ministers of justice be hereby straitly charged and required to be very diligent apprehending all such persons as are faulty in this kind, either in stealing, selling, buying, enveigling, purloining, conveying, or receiving children so stolen, and to keep them in safe imprisonment till they may be brought to severe and exemplary punishment. It is further ordered, that the marshals of the Admiralty and the Cinque Ports do immediately make strict and diligent search in all ships, and vessels upon the river, and at the Downs, for all such children, according to such directions as they have, or shall receive from the committee of the Admiralty and Cinque Ports." The few reports we have of English cases of kidnapping are too profusely dressed up with technicalities to permit us to see the naked facts. Shower reports the case of Lees v. Dassigny, the 34th of Charles II. An English common-law reporter never condescends to know the year of the Christian era; he knows only[608] that of the king's reign, and if he had to mention the foundation of the Turkish empire, he would mark it as the 28th Edward I.; while the discovery of America would as undoubtedly be an event of the 8th Henry VII. When we turn to our chronological tables, we find that the 34th of Charles II. means the year 1682. How far the pleadings throw any light on the adventures of the youth who had been kidnapped and sent abroad, the reader may judge from a fair specimen:—"They sue an homine replegiando in the name of the young Turbett; and after an alias and a pluries, they get an elongatus est per quendam Philippum Dassigny infra nominatum. This was to the Sheriff of London, whereas the defender never lived in London, but at Wapping, in Middlesex," &c. The effect of the pleading, of which this is the commencement, was, that the accused might be bailed, "and on security to bring home the boy in six months, death and the perils of the seas excepted, he was discharged on bail. In Trinity term the boy came home, and being brought into court was delivered to the father; but they never proceeded." Sir Thomas Raymond gives us the further information, that the kidnapper was a merchant trading to Jamaica, and that the victim "was a scholar at Merchant Taylor's school, and a hopeful young youth."[11] An act of King William's reign shows that the offence was still prevalent, by imposing penalties on the masters of vessels leaving people behind in "his Majesty's plantations or elsewhere." It appears to have been almost solely for the foreign market that kidnapping was practised in England. The cultivated and populous character of the country, the power of the laws, and the perpetual vicinity of a kind of parochial municipalities, probably rendered the forcible seizure and imprisonment of individuals within the country too difficult and dangerous an operation to have been frequently accomplished by force; though the fatal facilities for confinement in lunatic asylums may have frequently made them the living tombs of those whom the rapacity, or the malignant passions of others, have doomed to imprisonment. Yet, were we to take foreign novelists as true painters of English manners, we would find in Madame Cotin's Malvina, that a French beauty having secured the affections of an English duke, his powerful relations seize her after she has become his wife, and lock her up in a turret of their private castle, where, though the neighbouring physician and the clergyman visit her, and all the world knows that she is imprisoned, no one dares to interfere in her behalf; and her fate is only balanced by that of her husband, whom the Attorney-General transports, by a writ of Habeas Corpus, to the West Indies. Somewhat similar, if our memory serves us right, are the notions of British liberty embodied in Walladmor, the story got up to pass as a Waverley novel at one of the Leipsic fairs, where, in the year 1818, the Lord Lieutenant is found committing every person with whom he quarrels to his private dungeons in his own castle.

We need no writers of romance to find instances of kidnapping in Scotland before the Union. The vast solitudes which frequently separated inhabited districts from each other, the feudal fortalices scattered hither and thither, the weakness of the crown, the judicial powers possessed by many of the barons; and we may add to this, the spirit of clanship, which surrounded every Highland chief with an army of retainers, as faithful to the preservation of his secrets as they were relentless in avenging his feuds—all conspired to render it too easy for a powerful individual to adopt such a form of outrage against his enemy. Not that the practice was pursued in the manner of a sordid trade, as we have found it followed in England, and as we shall find that at a later period it was adopted among ourselves. The Scots had no colonies to be supplied with this species of living merchandise; and in truth the human animal has seldom been with us so valuable a commodity in the home market, as greatly to raise the cupidity of his neighbour.

Those who ventured on kidnapping flew at high game. A young or a[609] superannuated king requiring the aid of able counsellors, nay, sometimes a monarch in the vigour of his power, would be the object of such an attempt. Among lesser personages, statesmen offensively powerful, dignified churchmen about to issue ecclesiastical censures, and judges of the Court of Session prepared to give adverse decisions, were in great request, and eagerly sought after. Alexander Gibson of Durie, for some time a principal clerk of session, and afterwards a judge in that court—lawyers know him as the author of a folio volume of reports of more than average unreadability—was a special victim, having been twice successfully spirited away. In 1604, George Meldrum, younger of Dumbreck, was tried for several acts of this description, of one of which Durie, then "ane of the clerks of our sovereign Lord's Council and Session," was a victim. Among those whom the kidnapper took to his assistance were—"John Johnston, called Swyne-foot," and some other worthies, comprehensively described as "ane company of common and notorious thieves, brigands, and murderers," who assembled "with swords, hagbuts, and pistolets." Durie was residing in St Andrews, and it appears that his enemy employed "ane fellow called Craik, the said George Meldrum's own man," to watch his motions. He was riding, as it would appear, on the bank of the Firth of Tay, opposite to Dundee, accompanied by a brother barrister and his servant, when the ambuscade "treasonably put violent hands on their persons," and "took them captives and prisoners." Their captor "reft fra them their purses, with certain gold and silver being therein, extending to the quantity of three hundred merks or thereby"—an act which the indictment reproachfully mentions as specially unworthy of "ane landed man." Meldrum proceeded with his captive through Fifeshire to Kinghorn, on the Forth; thence, crossing over to Leith, he marched through Edinburgh, "passing the palace gate of Holyroodhouse"—a circumstance to which the indictment alludes as a powerful illustration of the audacity of the transaction. The party then proceeded through Lothian and Tweeddale across the Border "unto England, to George Ratcliff's house, where they detained him captive and prisoner for the space of eight days or thereby."[12] Thus was this high official conveyed a distance of about a hundred miles, not only through the most populous and fertile part of the kingdom, but through the centre of the metropolis, under the very shadow of the throne; and that not by any of the great barons who could command an army of followers, but by a petty country gentleman, aided by a few Border freebooters.

The second private captivity of Durie was accomplished on the principle on which an elector is sometimes abstracted. It was for the purpose of defeating his adverse vote on the bench in a cause then before the court. Sir Walter Scott mentions the incident in the notes to the "Border Minstrelsy;" and the reader who remembers his picturesque and spirited narrative may perhaps be amused by seeing how the same event appears in the sober garb of a reporter of decisions. Forbes, in his "Journal of the Session," says—

"Some party in a considerable action before the session, finding the Lord Durie could not be persuaded to think his plea good, fell upon a stratagem to prevent the influence and weight that his lordship might have to his prejudice, by causing some strong masked men kidnap him in the Links of Leith at his diversion on a Saturday afternoon, and transport him to some blind and obscure room in the country, where he was detained captive without the benefit of daylight a matter of three months—though otherwise civilly and well entertained—during which time his lady and children went in mourning for him as dead. But after the cause aforesaid was decided, the Lord Durie was carried back by incognitoes, and dropped in the same place where he had been taken up."[13]

During the civil wars of the seventeenth century, the victorious party frequently found it difficult to dispose of their captives. In England many of them were sent to the plantations; and perhaps the idea which this practice[610] communicated to the public, of the value of captives transported to the colonies, may have first instigated those acts of kidnapping against which we have found the Long Parliament protesting. Scotland had no such means of disposing of her prisoners, whose numbers were frequently very inconvenient. Many of them were sent abroad to be soldiers under those continental leaders who were considered on the same side with the victorious party at home; others were subjected to a sort of slavery in this country; but wherever their lot might be cast, their captivity would be very apt to be abbreviated by some revolution in the fortunes of war. A person who preserved accurate notes of political events as they passed under his eye, kept the following very business-like account of the distribution of the common soldiers taken in the battle in which Montrose was made prisoner:—

"Tuesday, 21st May [1650].—This day the two hundred and eighty-one common soldiers taken at Kerbester, that were in the Canongate prison—the house ordains forty of them, being forced from Orkney, and have wife and children, to be dismissed. The house gives six of them, being fishers, to the lieutenant-general; also other six fishers of them, given by the parliament to the Marquis of Argyle; and six of them being lusty fellows, given to Sir James Hope, to his lead-mines. The remnant of them the house gives to the Lord Angus and Sir Robert Murray, to recruit the French regiments with, to be transported out of the country to France."[14]

It may be questioned if these gifts were very valuable to their receivers, or if the coerced labour they inferred was worth possessing. Certainly so little valuable was the mere human being to the community, some thirty years afterwards, that the liberal and patriotic Fletcher of Saltoun pleaded hard for the establishment of slavery in Scotland, not as a privilege to the aristocracy, but as a boon to "so many thousands of our people who are, at this day, dying for want of bread." He saw that sheep and oxen, being property, were cared for and kept alive, and, by a process of reasoning which he seemed to consider a very natural one, he thought that he had but to convert his fellow beings into property, to let them be also cared for. Yet, like all men who conceive social paradoxes, he was haunted by the shadow, cast before, of the revulsion of common sense against his proposal, and thus anticipated the obloquy it would incur. "I doubt not that what I have said will meet, not only with all the misconstruction and obloquy, but all the disdain, fury, and outcries, of which either ignorant magistrates or proud lazy people are capable. Would I bring back slavery into the world? Shall men of immortal souls, and by nature equal to any, be sold as beasts? Shall they and their posterity be for ever subjected to the most miserable of all conditions, the inhuman barbarity of masters, who may beat, mutilate, torture, starve, or kill, so great a number of mankind at pleasure? Shall the far greater part of the commonwealth be slaves, not that the rest may be free, but tyrants over them? With what face can we oppose the tyranny of princes, and recommend such tyranny as the highest virtue, if we make ourselves tyrants over the greatest part of mankind? Can any man, from whom such a thing has escaped, ever offer to speak for liberty? But they must pardon me if I tell them, that I regard not names but things; and that the misapplication of names has confounded every thing."[15]

His plan of social reorganisation was, that "every man of a certain estate in this nation should be obliged to take a proportional number of the poor, and employ them in hedging and ditching his grounds, or any other sort of work," while the young were to be "educated in the knowledge of some mechanical art." Here we have one of the earliest undoubted expositions of communism. But Fletcher called things by their accepted names, and for Saint Simon's industriel and chef, we have slave and owner; for Fourier's Phalanges we have gangs. Nor does the illustrious patriot flinch from describing in their proper harsh colours the coercive means necessary[611] for thus keeping society in fetters. We recommend to M. Louis Blanc the passage where he says:—"These things, when once resolved, must be executed with great address, diligence, and severity; for that sort of people is so desperately wicked, such enemies of all work and labour, and, which is yet more amazing, so proud, in esteeming their own condition above that which they will be sure to call slavery; that, unless prevented by the utmost industry and diligence, upon the first publication of any orders necessary for putting in execution such a design, they will rather die with hunger in caves and dens, and murder their young children, than appear abroad, to have them and themselves taken into such a kind of service."

There is spirit—almost sympathy in this picture of the desperation of savage liberty; and the enthusiasm with which the lover of his own freedom describes the love of the poor outcasts for theirs, sounds as if it gave the lie to the sincerity of the project. It seems to have had no supporters. The state of "the labour market" did not make the possession of human beings a desirable investment, and landed gentlemen were not anxious to become the owners of their poorer neighbours, for the general good of the community. Kidnappings and deportations for political purposes, still continued to be occasionally practised. One memorable instance was the far-famed story of Lady Grange, to which we propose to dedicate a separate notice, in virtue of our having perused some documents with which the world at large does not seem yet to be acquainted. There is little doubt that occasionally a person who showed a disposition to impart dangerous Jacobite secrets was spirited away to France, to give an account of his views and intentions, under circumstances in which he might not be so likely to forget the obligations he had incurred to the exiled house. Generally speaking, however, kidnapping was worthless in a commercial sense; though Lovat, whose actions were scarcely in conformity with any particular social rule, choosing to have in his service a well-trained London footman, without paying him, got possession of his person, and kept it as safe in his own custody at Castle Dounie as if he had taken him to Algiers.

It was, however, when the Scottish trade with the plantations began to open up, soon after the Union, that the disgraceful practice of kidnapping and transporting children became prevalent. The power possessed by many of the chiefs, as independent local judges, with but a nominal responsibility to the control of the crown or the intervention of the supreme courts, gave facilities for this traffic, which poor human nature seems to have been incapable of resisting. The victims were sometimes persons tried and convicted before the hereditary tribunal; and since they must be punished, it were pity to allow an opportunity to be lost, by which the infliction might be turned to the profit of the judge or his friends. Thus we find Lovat, desirous to propitiate the favour of Duncan Forbes, offering his brother a gift of "a few Strathglass rogues," clansmen of his next neighbour and hereditary enemy, whom he had caught in his own domain, and convicted in his own court. He had at first proposed to send them to America; but, as they are "handsome fellows," he offers them to Forbes, for his nephew's Dutch regiment. "I shall send them to him," says the accommodating chief, "without any expense in keeping of them; for I will send immediately orders to carry them south with a guard. There is a captain there of Arthur's regiment, who will receive them and deliver them to Arthur; and I'll send him other two Camerons that are in your prison—tall fellows; and five such good men will do him more service, now that the Dutch expect a war, than thirty men next season."[16]

It was in reference to such practices that the engineer officer, who, while employed in laying out the military roads through the Highlands, preserved so many shrewd remarks on[612] the manners of the people, added the following to his budget:—

"When any ship in these parts is bound for the West Indies, to be sure, a neighbouring chief, of whom none dares openly to complain, has several thieves to send prisoners to town.

"It has been whispered their crimes were only asking their dues, and such-like offences; and I have been well assured they have been threatened with hanging, or at least perpetual imprisonment, to intimidate and force them to sign a contract for their banishment, which they seldom refused to do, as knowing there could be no want of witnesses against them, however innocent they were; and then they were put on board the ship, the master paying so much a head for them. Thus two purposes were served at once—viz.: the getting rid of troublesome fellows, and making money of them at the same time."[17]

But our more immediate concern, in the present instance, is with no frightful feudal baron, presiding over chains and dungeons, in the mysterious recesses of his own solitary moated tower. The offenders exposed in Peter Williamson's history, were grave, sober burghers—bailies and town-councillors of one of the most worshipful and respectable corporations in the United Kingdom—men of peace, staid in their demeanour, cautious in their walk of life—careful not to rub their smooth, well-brushed broad-cloth against any impure thing. Their proceedings had the fairest and most innocent appearance: men of industry and business themselves, keepers of their bonds and engagements, they were but somewhat rigid in exacting industry and punctual performance of obligations from others. "Kidnapping," "crimping," "deforcement," "slavery," were words unknown in their vocabulary,—they did but hire servants: it was nominally for a period of years, it might happen to be virtually for life; it might be to bear the burden, under a tropical sun, in the steaming swamps of the Antillas—still it was a mere contract. They would have been frightened by the name of a slave-ship, but they meekly acknowledged that they freighted vessels "in the servant trade," with "cargoes of boys."

"For them alone did seethe
A thousand men in troubles wide and dark:
Half-ignorant, they turn'd an easy wheel,
That set sharp racks at work to pinch and peel."

Many years had passed over the guilty traffic, ere an accident having disturbed the placid surface it assumed to the world, some men of honour, courage, and high station resolved to probe its mysteries; and discovered that the sleek burgesses, by their corporate authority, had been able noiselessly to accomplish as wide and devastating a tyranny as ever had been revealed by the dungeons of some mouldering baronial tower to frighten this world against feudality.

Peter Williamson was born at Hirnley, in the parish of Aboyne, Aberdeenshire, the clergyman of which mentions him in the statistical account, along with the celebrated Father Innes, and Ross, the author of "the Fortunate Shepherdess," as one of the eminent men connected with his parish.[18]

The district, though situated on the slopes of the higher Grampians, has not, within the reach of history, been inhabited by Celts, and Williamson's name speaks to his Saxon origin. He says he was, "if not of rich, yet of reputable parents;" and they evidently belonged to a poor and frugal, but independent class, who may still be found rearing their humble fortunes on those somewhat sterile uplands, neither as masters nor as servants, but each independently farming his own croft. One of the witnesses, examined more than twenty years afterwards, said "he knew James Williamson having a plough going in Upper Balnacraig, to the best of the deponent's remembrance, and heard he had likewise a plough going in Hirnley, when he lived there; and that he was in such circumstances as to keep his children and his family,[613] without their being obliged to beg their bread." We take the brief history of his seizure from Peter's own narrative.

"I was sent to live with an aunt at Aberdeen, where, at eight years of age, playing on the quay, with others of my companions, being of a stout, robust constitution, I was taken notice of by two fellows belonging to a vessel in the harbour, employed (as the trade then was) by some of the worthy merchants of the town, in that villanous and execrable practice called kidnapping; that is, stealing young children from their parents, and selling them as slaves in the plantations abroad. Being marked out by those monsters of iniquity as their prey, I was easily cajoled aboard the ship by them, where I was no sooner got, than they conducted me between the decks, to some others they had kidnapped in the same manner. At that time I had no sense of the fate that was destined for me, and spent the time in childish amusements with my fellow-sufferers in the steerage, being never suffered to go upon deck while the vessel lay in the harbour, which was till such a time as they had got in their loading, with a complement of unhappy youths for carrying on their wicked commerce."[19]

We shall take our further notices of this occurrence from a very different source—a huge bundle of papers, chiefly printed, consisting of the documents connected with the long train of litigation in which Williamson was subsequently involved, owing to the publication of the passage we have just cited. The papers consist of pleadings, accounts, letters, and the testimonies of witnesses—a sort of mass in which it is clear from the beginning that one cannot fail to find curious things by boring holes through it here and there. We are not aware that this valuable source of information about the manners of the place and period has ever been heretofore applied to literary uses, with the exception of some references made to it, in a curious and very able compendium of provincial lore, called "The Book of Bon Accord, or a guide to the city of Aberdeen;" a work which, like "Tooke's diversions of Purley," not unknown to collectors of juvenile circulating libraries, appears to have been christened with some peculiar object of hiding the learning and ingenuity of its contents under a frivolous exterior.

At the time when legal investigations were commenced, Williamson was a man in middle life, who had gone through adventures and vicissitudes enough for a century of ordinary human existence. The first step was to identify the trained travelled man with the poor boy who had mysteriously disappeared from the streets of Aberdeen; and the next to prove the act of kidnapping. Several witnesses remembered Williamson; he was described by them as "a rough, ragged, bumble-headed, long, stourie clever boy, by which is meant a growthy boy;" and "a stout, clever, rough loon, and very ill to guide, and very ragged till he got clothes." A neighbour of the old crofter said he believed, "upwards of four years before the battle of Culloden, it was the general report of the country, that when the said Peter Williamson was a little boy going with a clipped head, he was taken at Aberdeen, and carried to Philadelphia with several other boys." He remembered conversations with the youth's father, who complained that "he came into Aberdeen seeking his son Peter, but they would not let him near hand him; that his son Peter was in a barn in Aberdeen, and they would not let him speak with him;" and, "that the merchants in Aberdeen had carried away his son to Philadelphia, and sold him for a slave"—observing, that it was commonly rumoured that several merchants there, whom he named, "did deal in that way of carrying away boys;" and he concluded by saying "he saw the father shed many salt tears on that account." The session clerk, who had been at Peter's baptism, recognised him when he saw him, as "the same identical Peter Williamson at whose baptism he had been present," and confirmed the story of his father's having attempted in vain to get access to him in the barn, characterising the old man's lamentation as "very sore and grievous." Mr Fraser of Findrac, a[614] neighbouring proprietor, "knew several of James Williamson's children, and had heard it was the practice of some of the merchants of Aberdeen to kidnap young children, and send them to the plantations to be sold as slaves. He heard in the country that the said James Williamson or his wife had gone into Aberdeen, and one of their sons called Peter Williamson had followed; and that James Smith, saddler in Aberdeen, had picked up the said Peter; and the deponent heard he was either put in prison, or put on board a ship, till the ship sailed; it was the voice of the county that James Williamson and his wife regretted, or made a clamour for the loss of their son, not knowing what was become of him."

The investigation brought to light some other cases, and gradually opened up the whole mystery of iniquity. One old woman, the miller's widow, who remembered that Peter "was sent into Aberdeen, to be under his aunts, his mother being dead, and that soon thereafter he was missing," said that in the parish of Aboyne "they were generally afraid to send their boys on errands to Aberdeen, for fear they should be carried off." Some witnesses remembered having in their youth made marvellous escapes; and Alexander Grigson, domestic at Aboyne Castle, had a story to tell, "that about twenty years ago, he and another boy were coming from the mill of Crathie, where they had been seeking their meat; and near to a birch wood, near to the Kirk of Crathy, three countrymen on horseback came up with them, but the deponent knew none of them; and they asked him and the other boy that was along with him, if they would go with them, and they would clothe them like gentlemen; but the deponent being elder than the other boy, made answer that they would not go along with them, for it struck the deponent in the head that perhaps he and the other boy were to be carried abroad, in respect a rumour prevailed in the country that young boys were carried abroad at that time." The men threatened force; and the boys, who could not fail then to have the blackest notions of their intentions, took to their heels while the kidnappers were tying their horses, and defied discovery in the recesses of the old forest of Mar, which, fortunately for them, skirted the road. This incident may have been a trick to frighten two country lads. Another, recorded by a chairman in Edinburgh, has a more business-like appearance. "In the year 1728 or 1729, he went to Aberdeen to see an uncle and an aunt, who lived there; and whilst he was there he was carried up to a house by a person whom he did not know, where he got a dram and a piece of biscuit, and was promised a new coat and great encouragement, if he would agree to go over to America with the other lads that were engaged to go there; that he signified his willingness to agree to the proposal; that upon this he was desired to go and come back to his breakfast again; but when he told this to some of the countrymen of his acquaintance, they told him that he was a fool, for he would be sold to the blacks, and they would eat him; that upon this he resolved immediately to leave the town, which he did."

It appeared that those who endeavoured to recover their children were threatened with coercive measures; and the poor people seem to have been impressed with the conviction, that they were in the hands of an overwhelming power, with which it would be vain to contend. Thus one individual, having recovered possession of his son, met the captain of the transport vessel in the street, who bade him send back the youth, otherwise he might expect unpleasant consequences. Therefore he "promised and engaged to return his said son, which he accordingly did. Depones, that if he could have hindered his son from going to America he would have done it; and if he had known as much then as he does now, he would have done it. Depones, that before he promised to return his son to the said ship as above, he was himself threatened to be put into the Tolbooth."

The line of defence adopted by the kidnappers was, that no one was forced, in the first instance; that each boy was the object of a distinct agreement, either with his parents or with himself; and the subsequent coercion employed towards them, which could[615] not be denied, was thus interpreted to be a judicious protection by the employers of the property they had fairly acquired. But the very evidence given by their own emissaries—almost every sentence bearing in its bosom a general assurance that nothing illegal was done—is quite sufficient in the description of minute facts to support, if not confirm, the darkest suspicions. Thus one of the crimps, desiring to excite some feeling against the exiles, as a graceless inconsiderate class, unworthy of sympathy, said "that such persons, whether boys or older people, whom the deponent engaged to go to America on board the said ship, the Planter, after they had been—some four, some five, some six weeks clothed and maintained by him at the expense of his employers, were endeavouring to desert and run away, and were tampered with, or decoyed to engage or take on with other people in the town of Aberdeen, who were, at the very same time, engaging and indenting servants to America; and, in order to prevent their being so decoyed, the older people so engaged by the deponent were put in prison, and the younger people were put into the workhouse or poor's hospital." There was, it seems, much competition in the trade; and, at the same time, the live commodity had a propensity to remove itself from the custody of its owners. Thus might the employment be termed a doubly hazardous one; and a certain scrupulous citizen, who had grave doubts about the propriety of joining the speculation, though he wished to be a part-owner of the ship in which it was conducted, gave this account of his hesitation: "Having been informed that servants had been indented by Ragg and his owners to go on board of his said ship to America, and the deponent not inclining to be concerned in that servant trade, proposed to Ragg to hold a share of the ship if he was to have no concern of that adventure of the servants, as he was an utter stranger to any merchandise or trade in that way; to which Robert Ragg said, that he could not have any concern with the ship without having a concern in the servants, which made him break up any farther communing with Ragg about the matter." But this witness was an instance of the instability of good resolutions: he was strongly pressed by friends for whom he had a high esteem; the profits and advantages of the undertaking—but that, of course, was a secondary matter—were largely spoken of in support of these importunities, "to hold a share in the same way as the other owners had done, as well in the adventure of the servants as in the ship,—to which importunities the deponent at last yielded." Not less tell-tale is a letter by the captain of the vessel, written in a spirit of honest indignation to one of the parties involved in the legal proceedings.

"Dear Sir,—I am favoured with yours of the 28th September, and am sorry you are put to trouble about one Williamson. I do not remember any of that name that went out in the Planter, and am certain, if he is not mentioned in the account of what was got for the servants' indentures," [that is to say, of course, for the sale of the 'servants' themselves,] "if even he was ever indented, he must have run away at Aberdeen, or at Cape May, where the ship was lost: and I am sure there was no servant in that ship but what was legally attested before they went from Aberdeen. I cannot tell if any register is kept at Philadelphia of the sale of servants, but I imagine not."

These admissions, that the "servants" required coercion; that they were confined in the public prison and other convenient places; and that they were sold, are of course, amply confirmed by the witnesses on the other side. A witness, William Jamieson, had a pathetic little history of his own to tell. He lived in the village of Old Meldrum, in the year 1740, and he had then a son John, between ten and eleven years old. One evening his boy did not come home; and in the course of his anxious inquiries, next day, about the missing youth, he was told by some neighbours, "that they saw a man, whom they said was a servant to John Burnet, late merchant in Aberdeen, who was commonly called Bonny John, with the deponent's said son, and two other boys, much about the same age, travelling towards Aberdeen, and that his son would be sent to the plantations." The kind of alarm that would be conveyed to the father's heart by such an intimation, may be imagined;[616] and the poor villager, surrounded by people among whom a dread of this species of kidnapping had become a panic, would be little relieved from his anxieties, by hearing the neighbours describe the horrors of the slavery to which such of their offspring as underwent the calamity of capture were subjected, and lament their utter feebleness to resist the strong hand, fortified by law and authority, by which the injury was perpetrated. Jamieson, however, resolved to make an effort for his son. He went presently to Aberdeen, and saw Burnet, who apparently transacted too large a business in the "servant trade," to be conscious of so small an item in the account as the villager's son, "and told him that he had several boys, but did not know whether the deponent's son was amongst them; but said, though he was, the deponent would not get him back, because he was engaged with him." The "deponent"—a word which in Scotland is the technical term for witness; we are sorry that it is necessary to use it so often, but we cannot help it—after his interview with the great kidnapper, wandered along the broad links or downs on the sea-shore, "where he had been informed the boys were out getting the air." There "he observed a great number of boys—he thinks about sixty: that they were attended by a man who, the deponent was informed by the people of the town, was employed for the purpose by the said John Burnet; that this man had a horsewhip, and the deponent observed him striking the boys therewith, when they went out of the crowd." The poor man saw his own boy John in the little herd, and joyfully hailed him. The boy, by a natural impulse, ran to his father, and said he would gladly follow him home if he dared. "Immediately upon this, the person who was Mr Burnet's overseer, came up and gave the boy a lash with his whip, and took him by the shoulder and carried him amongst the rest, and immediately drove them off." The father kept company with the procession, and thus describes its progress.

"When the boys were marching up to the barn, the deponent kept pace with the overseer, who followed immediately after the boys, entreating of him to get liberty to speak to his son; who answered him that he should get leave to speak to him by-and-by, when they were come to the barn; but when they came there the overseer locked the door, and refused the deponent access; that he never saw his son after this. That the deponent in passing through the town of Aberdeen, after his son was so locked up from him, was told by several tradespeople, and others to whom he had told the story of his son, that it would be in vain for him to apply to the magistrates to get his son liberated, because some of the magistrates had a hand in those things, as well as the said John Burnet; upon which the deponent went home."

A very characteristic record of these transactions still remained in the books and accounts of the parties implicated. Among these documents, one of the witnesses, denominated "Walter Scott, writer to the signet," produces "the ship book," apparently the same which some of the witnesses more descriptively call "the kidnapping book." It is needless to say whose father it was who possessed this curious document. The investigation occurred in 1762—nine years before the birth of Sir Walter; and it was perhaps one of the last ideas that would have ever occurred to his respectable parent, that it was worth while communicating to his offspring any information from a mere merchant's account book, which had been placed in his hands in the usual routine of his business, and probably afterwards forgotten. Yet what a lively history might have been woven out of its dry materials, had it remained among the other lumber in George Square, to be rummaged out by the lame boy! Mr Scott was the agent for the kidnappers. It is satisfactory to observe that he appears to have been too honest an agent for their purposes; for we find that he transmitted to them this book by post, in order that it might be exhibited in the course of the arbitration, to which we shall hereafter allude; but his employers knew their own interest too well to produce it, until they were subsequently compelled to do so.

The extracts from the books transferred to the papers before us, are of course those only which have some[617] reference to the case of Peter Williamson; thus—

"Jan. 8, 1743. To a pair of stockingss.d.
to Peter Williamson06
To a woollen cap to ditto05
13, To five days of ditto13

And a more emphatical entry—

"To the man that brought Williamson16

Listing appears to have been the slang, or, more properly speaking, the business term for kidnapping, and the price of the operation passes through a scale of sums, graduated probably to the difficulty of the task. Thus, while Williamson was procured for 1s. 6d., there is an entry "To a Serjeant for listing Mackie, 5s.;" while on the other hand, there is only "1s. 4½d. to Lighton and a soldier for listing Robert Paterson." There is one sweeping charge of a guinea, "to Maclean, sent to the country to list servants,"—amount of business done not stated, but it must have been considerable, as there are occasional entries of "cash sent to the country to Maclean." Sometimes sums are entered as paid to the parties themselves—as 5s. "to Margaret Robertson, when listed;" yet this can scarcely have been a voluntary operation on Margaret's part, as the immediate succeeding item is 1s. 6d. "to the wright on board and one of the boys for listing her." Five shillings are entered as "to two soldiers for listing Allardyce." He must have been a difficult boy to catch, as there is a further entry of 2s., as "cash they spent with him."

This item introduces us to a dark feature in the expenditure of the kidnappers,—the sums that appear to have been spent by them in vicious indulgences to their young captives, to prevent the tedium of their imprisonment, from driving them to desperate efforts for their escape. We have thus,—"to the boys to play at cards, 1s.;" and in another place, "to the boys to drink, when put in the workhouse, 1s.; to six packs of cards to them, 9d." It is almost a relief in the perusal of these heartless business-like columns—every red line of which has the hard outline of premeditated cruelty—to read of 1s. 6d. being paid "to the piper for playing in the workhouse two days." But in the neighbourhood of this, there are some entries which we dare not copy. There is a candid explicitness about these accounts, which we must confess that we have not sufficient virtuous courage to imitate, by transferring to our columns some charges, of which we would yet fain give our readers an idea. The person who kept the books no doubt "called a spade a spade;" and, indeed, he bestowed on many other things their ordinary vulgar nomenclature. We tremble in approaching his most explicit declarations; we almost fear reproach in offering to the reader an extract of an item, in which he has been very decorous, considering the subject; but such an item! who shall explain its meaning? Here it is—"To Colonel Horsie for his concubine, £1!"

Some entries referring to "the boys in the Tolbooth," or, more briefly, the prisoners," remind us, were this necessary, that these accounts related to persons kept in bondage. Other parts indicate the comprehensive nature of the business done in "the servant trade." Thus, on the 12th of May, there is a charge of 7s. 6d. "to three days' board of ten servants from the Tolbooth;" and on the same day, "to five days' board of thirty-four servants, £2, 2s. 6d." The latter number is frequently repeated in the account, and probably represents the stock of one considerable holder. It was estimated by the witnesses that sixty-nine were transported in one cargo in 1743; "and when," says a writer already alluded to, "it is considered that the trade was carried on to an equal extent for nearly six years, it is impossible to estimate the number of unhappy beings carried off at less than six hundred.[20]

We have endeavoured in our account of these transactions to be sternly and rigidly prosaic,—perhaps our readers may think we have no great merit in accomplishing such a resolution, but we also take merit for having adhered to the facts attested with impartial accuracy. To afford some relief to the plainness of our[618] detail, we shall wind it up by treating the reader to a part of the eloquent and denunciatory exordium of Williamson's counsel, Maclaurin, brother of the great mathematician.

"Persons of every character, sex, and age, were kidnapped,—men, women, half-grown lads, and infants, some of them not above six years old. The whole country was in terror and consternation, afraid to let their children go near Aberdeen, and trembling for fear of a kidnapping excursion from that place. The unfortunate creatures that had been wheedled or pressed into the service, were at first confined in a barn or workhouse, where they had a piper to play to them, and cards allowed them, in order to hinder them to think, or meditate their escape; but that they soon attempted, and one or two of them with success; upon which the rest were shut up in the Tolbooth.

"During their confinement, the parents and other relations of those who had been enticed or forced away, flocked to Aberdeen in hopes of effectuating their release,—hopes which they would never have entertained had they reflected that the town-clerk and one of the bailies were deeply interested to thwart them. Accordingly, no entreaties or solicitations availed; and those who seemed too importunate were threatened themselves with banishment, incarceration, and other distress. It will readily occur that it is much easier to imagine than describe the scenes which it is in proof ensued; for nothing more piteous and moving can well be figured than to see fathers and mothers running frantic through the streets, crowding to the doors and windows where their children were imprisoned, there giving them their blessing, taking farewell of them for ever, and departing in anguish and despair, imprecating curses upon those who were the authors of their misery."

So much for the first step,—the catching of the prey.

We have some farther testimony to the judicious strictness with which the worshipful merchants protected their property after it was stowed away; but we do not hear that their "cargo of young lads," as one of them calls it in a confidential letter, was insured. William Wilson, one of the sailors, testified, however,—"that there were several men in the ship besides the sailors, and also several boys and girls; that he saw these boys and girls put on board; that they were brought to the ship in a boat, and were guarded by a number of porters from Aberdeen, who continued to guard them all night till the ship sailed, going home always in the morning and returning at night; that during the day they were guarded by the ship's crew, the one half of whom did the duty of the ship, and the other half took care of the boys and girls, notwithstanding whereof two of them made their escape. Some of these boys appeared to the deponent to be about fourteen years of age, some to be about sixteen or eighteen, and others not to exceed ten or twelve years of age; that after the boys were put on board, the hatches of the ship were put down and locked every night, both while the ship continued in the harbour of Aberdeen, and afterwards when she was at sea."

It will naturally occur to the reader, that though the magistrates and other public officers of a corporation might combine together to perpetrate such acts, they could not carry their authority across the Atlantic, or compel the governors of the foreign possessions of the crown to acknowledge the brand of slavery they had set upon their captives. This naturally suggested itself to us from the beginning, as throwing a doubt over the essential movements of the transaction; but it was speedily cleared away by discoveries very creditable to the ingenuity, if to no other quality, of these astute burgesses. Every captive was indented in the presence of a magistrate,—the captor himself, of course, or some other person engaged in "the servant trade"—and that for a limited number of years. The indenture was certified and transmitted to the place of destination. This expedient brought each captive within the colonial code, which applied very rigorous rules to indented emigrants,—rules which virtually placed them in the category of slaves. These harsh regulations were justified by the circumstance that the class generally consisted of convicts—indenture being the form in which criminals obtained the alternative of transportation as a mitigation of some more dreaded punishment. When the emigrant arrived at Virginia, the ceremony by which he was sold was an assignment of his indenture.[619] This could, of course, only convey a right to the labour of his body for a limited period; but as the convict emigrants required to be under a very potent discipline, powers were put into the hands of the planters by which they were enabled to protract the indented period; and Williamson himself describes with apparent accuracy,—"the children sent off and sold, no doubt to cruel masters, whose ill treatment obliges them often-times to elope to avoid slavery; and as there is no probability of making their escape, as they are always taken and brought back, and for every day they are away from their master they serve a week, and for every week a month, and for every month a year; besides obliged to pay all costs and charges that is advertised for apprehending them, which will probably bring him in a slave for four or five years longer at least."

We shall now, in the briefest shape, give an outline of Williamson's adventures, as detailed by himself, between his removal from the country, and his return to vex his oppressors with multiform litigation.

The vessel stranded on a sand bank at the mouth of the Delaware, and was for some time deserted by its crew, the cargo of boys being left to an anticipated fate, which Williamson says he often in his subsequent miseries wished had really overtaken them. Being afterwards taken on shore, they were relieved by a vessel sailing to Philadelphia, where they were sold "at about £16 per head." "What became of my unhappy companions," says Williamson, "I never knew; but it was my lot to be sold to one of my countrymen, whose name was Hugh Wilson, a North Briton, for the term of seven years, who had in youth undergone the same fate as myself.... Happy was my lot in falling into my countryman's power, as he was, contrary to many others of his calling, a humane, worthy, honest man. Having no children of his own, and commiserating my unhappy condition, he took care of me until I was fit for business." He was allowed by his indulgent master occasionally to attend a school, where he picked up some crumbs of education; and finally, at the age of seventeen, he became the old gentleman's heir. After a few vagrant years he married, and settled as a substantial planter near the forks of the Delaware. He was in a place much exposed to the inroads of the French Indians, who, he tells us, in the spirit of the military profession to which he was subsequently attached, "generally appeared in small skulking parties, with yellings, shoutings, and antic postures, instead of trumpets and drums." In one of these inroads they burned his comfortable dwelling and substantial steadings, and carried him off captive. All the world knows what is conveyed in the simple statement of such a fact; and Williamson's description of the tortures he underwent impart little additional horror to the simple announcement of his seizure. It is possible to discern people's nature in their own account of their actions; and not unfrequently do we see the brave man in the description of dangers avoided, as we do the poltroon in the exaggerated account of those courted and overcome. Williamson's narrative conveys the irresistible impression that he was a man of eminently firm nerve, undying hope, and unconquerable energy—such a character as the Indian tribe would respect, and, after a sufficient trial, desire to incorporate with itself. Hence, while others are slowly slaughtered, Williamson is still permitted to live, struggle, and endure. In the difference between his own trials, terrible as they were, and the ignominious brutalities heaped on a poor fellow captive, who met his fate with gentleness, prayers, and weeping, we see the indication of the savage respect paid to the unbroken spirit of the Aberdonian, whose body they might rend inch by inch, but whose spirit remained firm and impenetrable as his native granite. At length, after several months of wandering, he made his escape; and the manner in which he did so was in keeping with his resolute spirit. He planned no stratagems, and consulted no confederates, but fled outright; and, though naked, emaciated, and ignorant of the country, defeated his pursuers by sheer fleetness of foot and endurance of fatigue. Profusely bleeding—without even such a[620] verdant show of clothing as Ulysses endowed himself with when he met Nausica—emaciated to the last extremity, he somewhat astonished and also alarmed a female neighbour by an unceremonious morning call, dropping exhausted on the floor ere he could communicate or receive intelligence. Little need had he too speedily to recover his faculties; the first news he heard was that his broken-hearted wife had not long survived the calamity of his capture. He seems to have now acquired a decided taste for vagrant habits, mingled with a spirit of vindictive animosity towards the Indians, against whom he records several exterminating onsets with a sort of horrible relish. He enlisted himself as a soldier. But American warfare then allowed a far wider latitude for varied military operations than the ordinary experience of the ranks: and sometimes he was an Indian warrior, patiently unravelling and following up a trail; at another time we find him commanding a detachment of colonists as one versed in the native mode of fighting, with the rank and emoluments of a lieutenant. In his little book he details his various military adventures with much spirit and apparent truthfulness. We have from his pen a description of one enterprise, which is a little romance in itself. A lover, hearing that the home of the object of his affections has been desolated, and his beloved carried off by a band of one of the most formidable of the tribes of predatory Indians, in his frantic zeal raises a party of adventurers, with whom he tracks their path. He arrives just in time to save the damsel from the worst horrors of such a fate, and the marauders are put to the sword. The whole narrative has an animation and interest not unworthy of Cooper, who appears to have been acquainted with Williamson's book, and may not improbably have derived from it a part of his information about the military operations of Vaudreuil and Montcalm with the Indians in the French interest. Williamson was indeed a captive at that capitulation of Oswego which has cast so deep a stain on the honour of this commander, and he was soon afterwards sent to England as an exchanged prisoner. He complains that, on his voyage, "though the French behaved with a good deal of politeness, we were almost starved for want of provisions." He arrived at Plymouth in November 1765, and, owing to a severe wound in one of his hands, was discharged as incapable of farther service.

No longer able to apply his energies to Indian warfare, he looked around him for that employment which in his native country would best supply its place, and found it to be—literature. He published "A Brief Account of the War in North America, showing the principal causes of our former miscarriages; as also the necessity and advantage of keeping Canada, and maintaining a friendly correspondence with the Indians." This pamphlet is dated in 1760; and we here mention it, that we may not allow it to interrupt the narrative of the somewhat momentous consequences of a little book which he published two years later, with the title "French and Indian cruelty exemplified, in the Life and various Vicissitudes of fortune of Peter Williamson: containing a particular account of the manners, customs, and dress, of the savages; of their scalping, burning, and other barbarities committed on the English in North America, &c., &c." Mr Williamson was somewhat prolix in his title pages, and we cannot inflict the whole of this one on the reader. It was dedicated, with considerable sagacity, to William Pitt. In the frontispiece there is a full-length portrait of "Mr Peter Williamson, in the dress of a Delaware Indian." Much as Catlin's book and other works have tended to make us acquainted of late with Indian customs, the drapery of this portrait carries with it a decided appearance of accuracy, and attention to detail. The face is probably a likeness. Divest it of the feathered head-gear, it is that of a hard-featured inhabitant of the north-east coast, somewhat impregnated with an air of fierceness and excitement. Contemplate the entire figure: it is certainly a very fair representation of the Indian, such as we have seen him in the few importations[621] exhibited in this country. For several years this representation was one of the main attractions of the booksellers' windows in Scotland; and many an infant has the careless parent or ignorant nurse frightened into constitutional nervousness, by the intimation that the wild man, whose picture had been seen during the morning walks, would appear to the infant in the dark, and visit his misdeeds with some mysterious punishment. Besides the occupation of the literary man, Williamson pursued that of the actor. During the day he sat behind a stall, vending his account of his adventures—in the evening he rehearsed them in the largest room of some popular tavern; where, like Catlin, he made the people acquainted with the costume and habits of the people, of whom he had acquired that acute experience which boys are said to have obtained of the boundary marks where they have been whipped.

In a moment of infatuation, the magistrates of Aberdeen, finding that the interest attached to Williamson's narrative and exhibitions subjected them to unpleasant reflections, resolved to punish him. He had migrated northwards, creating a little public curiosity and wonder wherever he went, until, on reaching his native city, he was brought before the magistrates, charged with a libel on the community, contained in that passage descriptive of his seizure on the pier of Aberdeen, which has been already quoted. The magistrates, being at once the prosecutors and the judges, had little difficulty in committing him; and he was thus very roughly awakened from a dream in which he "began to think himself happy in having endured these misfortunes, a recital of which promised to put him in a more prosperous situation than he had ever hoped for." The stock in hand of his books, amounting to three hundred and fifty copies, was seized and burned in the market-place by the common hangman, and he was committed to prison until he should sign a recantation of the passage containing the account of the kidnapping. The mind that bore up against the fiercest cruelties of the savages, seems to have bowed before these judicial terrors. In the centre of the torturing hordes, without a civilised eye to look on him, he acquired the stern virtues of those on whom he looked—

"Impassive, fearing but the shame of fear,
A stoic of the woods, a man without a tear."

Among his own people, beneath the shield of British justice, with a public to whom oppression never appeals in vain he sank unmanned; and in utter prostration of spirit he signed the recantation in the terms in which it was desired, and marched out of prison a heartbroken and ruined man.

But the cup of the iniquities of his oppressors was now full, and their hour of retribution was at hand. The blow dealt against them was not so severe as injured justice might have required, but it was dealt with an ignominious scorn that made compensation for its want of severity. There were at that time many men of high spirit and great attainments in the Scottish bar. They knew that the age they belonged to was one, in which the safety of the public liberties was intimately allied with the independence of the bar. It was not an uncommon practice for a few of the ablest and most popular advocates to unite together in vindication of the victim of some formidable system of oppression; and, fortunately for Williamson, his case attracted their generous interest. Andrew Crosbie, the prototype of Scott's Pleydell, threw his whole energies, and they were not small, into this cause. The pleadings at our bar at that time were full of philosophy, general declamation, and poetry; and we have before us some papers from Crosbie's pen which are brilliant and pleasing specimens of this class of forensic rhetoric. At the present day the rhetoric of the law appeals only to the jury, and in the shape of vocal oratory. In the days of our grandfathers it was addressed to the learned bench, and was embodied in carefully prepared written pleadings. The intellectual rank of the audience to be influenced, and the medium of communication, would thus naturally invest the pleadings of these old lawyers with a literary turn, not equalled in the corresponding productions of this age. So we find that[622] Crosbie bursts open the case with these well-turned periods:—

"That liberty which the constitution of this country considers as its favourite object, is the result of the due equipoise which our law has established between the authority of magistrates and the rights of the people. As the relative duties of society must be enforced by the magistrate, and compliance with the laws exacted from the citizens by means of his authority, all the power that is necessary for these salutary purposes is bestowed upon him; and, in the due execution of it, he is not only entitled to the protection of the law, but is an object of its veneration. Yet the same principles that have thus armed him with authority, for the benefit of society, have wisely imposed on him a restraint from abusing it."

The result of these proceedings was, that, in 1762, the Court unanimously awarded to Williamson damages to the extent of £100; and it was declared that, for this sum as well as £80 of costs, the guilty individuals should be personally liable, "and that the same shall be no burden upon the town of Aberdeen." A corporation is a sort of ideal object; it has no personality; it has been pronounced, by a high authority, to have no conscience; it has just one reality about it—it has a purse. Into this purse its members may have been accustomed, from time to time, to dip for the deeds done by them in the flesh—that is, in their corporeal, not their corporate capacity. Perhaps the law, in countenancing this arrangement, considered that the members of a corporation must be so essentially wound up in its interests, that parting with the money of the corporation—that is, with the money of the public—was as great a punishment for their own individual delicts as parting with their own. Be this as it may, the Court decreed that, on this occasion, the public of Aberdeen should not pay for the outrage inflicted on Williamson. Now let us behold the ingenuity with which these worshipful gentlemen baffled the Court, and made the public pay after all. There were certain dues collected by the magistrates, as deputies of the Lord High Admiral of the Coast. It appears that this high official might have applied the sums so levied to his own use, but he had ceased for some considerable time to exact them, and, by consuetude, they had been added to the revenues of the corporation. Now, if the Lord High Admiral had set covetous eyes on this fund, to apply it to his own domestic purposes, the act might have been considered one of unutterable meanness—perhaps the corporation would have resisted it. But, on the other hand, to demand a portion of this money, and use it for getting the members of the corporation out of a scrape, was a highly public-spirited act. The High Admiral assigned £180 from this fund, to pay the damages and costs to Williamson:[21] it need not be said, that of course this application was suggested to him by persons who had the best reason to believe that the corporation would not resist it, and that all the business arrangements for his operation on the fund were simplified to his hand.

Having been so far successful, Williamson, who seems to have had an insuperable objection to half-measures, raised an action of damages against his kidnappers. It has been asserted, though we do not know on what authority, that the Crown was desirous to institute criminal proceedings against them, but that they were protected by a clause of indemnity in some act of parliament. Williamson boldly laid his damages at £1000. His perseverance drove his adversaries to a series of extraordinary, and in this country, fortunately, unprecedented measures. They persuaded Williamson that it would be for the mutual advantage of the parties to have the matter settled by arbitration, without the costly intervention of the Court of Session. He adopted the advice, and the decision fell to be given by James Forbes of Shiels, Sheriff-Substitute of Aberdeenshire, acting as oversman. We are introduced to this gentleman's convivial character in a most startling manner, by the statement of counsel that the Sheriff's mother, Lady Shiels, "died about the 4th of November, and there can be no[623] doubt that he would get a hearty dose at her burial." It was accordingly on that occasion that the worthy judge appears to have commenced a series of potations, under the pressure of which he speedily followed his parent to the grave. Williamson's affair came through his hands in the very climax of his convivial fit; and both parties seem to have considered it their duty to minister assiduously to these furious cravings, which ever cried with the Cyclop "Δος μοι ἑτι προφρων."

Williamson was not backward in contributing to the Sheriff's conviviality. His own account of his motives was, that knowing Forbes to be prepared to decide unfairly, he wished to keep him so hard at his beloved pursuit of drinking, that he should have no opportunity of exercising his other avocation of judging. Accordingly, he employed a friend "to tenchel and drink" the Sheriff—or, as it is elsewhere expressed, "to drink him hard;" in fact, the operation is talked of quite in an abbreviated and technical form, as a common proceeding in the way of business in the Sheriff Court. The drouthy crony who performed this duty seems to have taken to it with the same disinterested zeal, with which Kean sat up three nights drinking with a friend under depression, for the purpose of keeping up his spirits. The favoured individual must have felt his task coming light to his hands, when he found the Sheriff in a tavern "busy at hot punch about eleven o'clock forenoon." An attempt was made on him by the enemy, but Williamson and his drinking assistant carried him off in triumph to the "New Inn" to dinner, where, however, they were obliged to submit to the presence of the other party, who held a hospitable competition with them in plying the Sheriff with the liquor which he loved. Here they all "sat close drinking, as is the phrase in that part of the country, helter skelter—that is, copiously and alternately of different liquors—till 11 o'clock at night, when Forbes, by this time dead-drunk, was conveyed home by his two servant maids, with the assistance of George Williamson, Gerard, and the Pursuer." This is the counsel's history of the day, and that it is not an exaggerated one, we may infer from an average quotation from the evidence: one of the witnesses thus concludes his narrative:—

"Depones, that from four o'clock in the afternoon to eleven o'clock that night, they all drunk what they call in Aberdeenshire Helter Skelter, alternately of different liquors, and plentifully, in such a way that the Sheriff in particular was very drunk, and the deponent himself was also drunk. That the Sheriff's two servant maids came for him with a lantern to carry him home, and came into the room where the company was, and staid there some time—fully a quarter of an hour—and got some drink, but what it was he cannot tell. That the Sheriff called for a good part of the liquor which was drunk. That at last the deponent assisted to carry home the Sheriff, who was not able to walk; and either the pursuer or Mr Gerard assisted the deponent in so doing; and the two maids went before him with a lantern, and placed him in his easy-chair in his bedroom, and then the Sheriff called upon his maids to give the company drink, which the maids refused to give, and then they came away and left him."

Next day the enemy took possession of Forbes by a coup de main. They seized him in bed, half through his drunken sleep, and conveyed him to a favourite houf, kept by a man with the historical name of Archibald Campbell. There "tea and coffee were called for to breakfast, but as these insipid liquors were not to Forbes's mind, a large dose of spirits, white wine, and punch was administered to him, with cooling draughts of porter from time to time." The kidnappers hired a whole floor of the inn for that eventful day—it was the last on which the reference remained valid, so that if it passed without a decision, the question went back to the Court of Session; and the worthy confederates gave express instructions that Williamson was not to obtain access to their conclave, and that Forbes was to be denied to him. That sport of fortune became naturally alarmed when he heard that Forbes was not at home; and knowing instinctively where else he was likely to be, searched for him "in all the taverns in town," as Seldon tells us that the King of Spain was searched for in London when he was outlawed. One of the waiters, in his evidence, stated that Williamson came to the house and "inquired at the deponent[624] if Shiels was there, to which he answered, in obedience to the orders he had received from collector Finlayson, that Shiels was not there; that on this the pursuer left Mr Campbell's house, and (having returned in about an hour) he insisted with the deponent that Shiels was in the house, and that it was to no purpose to deny him, for that he knew by the deponent's face that he was there. But deponent still denied that Shiels was in the house." Deponent was, unfortunately for his professional prospects, not sufficiently brazen-faced for a waiter. The Sheriff was soon brought "up to the mark." Cards were introduced, and they had a roaring day of it. For the sake of appearances, at the time when he was making up his judicial mind, the Sheriff retired to a room alone. Here a message was conveyed to him from his sister, intimating that he had made an appointment for that day, and the time to keep it had arrived. "Whereupon," says a witness, "Shiels touched his nose with his finger, and said 'Jode'—a by-word of his—'Davie, you see from whence this comes'—that Shiels returned for answer to his servant that he could not go, being engaged about peremptory business." He first spoke about awarding "a trifle" to Williamson. In the end he gave a decision entirely against his claim; and the confederates considered this so great a triumph, that next morning, being Sunday, they were reported to have read the "Decree Arbitral" to a circle of impatient well-wishers on the "Plainstones" or market-place, while the citizens were on their way to church. After having pronounced the decree, the Sheriff, according to the testimony of one witness, "was very merry and jocose, and engrossed a good deal of the conversation;" and the waiter who refused Williamson admission to him had to testify that "he conveyed him home to his own house, as he had done many a night besides that."

There were many picturesque little incidents in the whole affair. Thus we are told by one witness, in a very pathetic strain, of abortive efforts made by the Sheriff to go through the public market-place from one tavern to another. "In a little the Sheriff and the deponent came down to go to the New Inn; and upon the Sheriff's observing that there were too many people upon the exchange, and that he was too far gone in liquor to cross the street, he turned in again to John Bain's, and afterwards made another attempt of the same kind, and returned for the same reason; and a little after two o'clock they made a third attempt, and, observing that the exchange was thin of people, they went over to the New Inn." Discreet Sheriff—he had achieved the Greek sage's problem of knowing himself! But other people knew him, too; and thus the hostess of the inn, being asked if "when Shiels was once drunk, he did not keep in a hand—that is, he continued drunk for some days," answered, that "she has observed Shiels as in drink at one time and to continue so for several days after, and that was too commonly his case; that it is her opinion, when Shiels was in liquor, by flattering of his vanity, he might be very easily induced to do things which he would not otherwise do; and the deponent has had occasion to see several instances of this sort, by which she means that she has heard Shiels, when in liquor, promise to do things which she believes he would not have done if sober; nor does the deponent remember or know that ever Shiels did do any of these things when sober that he said he would do when in liquor."

But there are two sides to all questions; and as human nature has a tendency towards extremes, there were some people prepared to testify to the supernatural and alarming intenseness of the Sheriff's sobriety. It was, we believe, a townsman of this same Sheriff who, when thrown from his horse, being asked by a sympathising lady who was passing, if he were hurt? answered in the intenseness of his politeness—"Oh! no, mem! quite the reverse—quite the reverse." So it appeared in the eyes of some of his friends that Forbes was not merely as sober as a judge, but upon the whole a good deal more sober than a well-constituted judge ought to be—if he had any blemish, it was on the reverse side of intoxication. One of the several landladies whose establishments he frequented—not the lady already quoted—was especially eloquent on this[625] point. "At dinner-time they only drank a bottle of wine and half a mutchkin of punch [the witness makes no allusion to the consumption before and after.] Mr Forbes also drank tea in the deponent's house, and she had occasion to see Mr Forbes at breakfast and dinner, and when he went out of her house when the company parted after supper at night; and upon all these occasions he, Mr Forbes, was perfectly sober, and sufficiently capable of business, and when he went out of her house, she remembers perfectly, she turned in to her servants and said, that she never knew Mr Forbes sit so long in her house on so little drink; and she added, God grant that neither Mr Forbes nor she might be fey." So awful and portentous was his sobriety! Another witness who testified to the production of so many items of liquor that it makes one giddy to read the list, winds up by saying—"After drinking a few glasses, they were told that supper was on the table in another room, to which they moved: That after supper they drank a moderate quantity of wine, and punch, and parted sober about eleven o'clock: That the deponent had a particular proof of Mr Forbes's sobriety after supper, by his maintaining, with great spirit and elocution, one side of a problematical question that occurred in the company."

The law is extremely averse to review the decision of an arbiter. He may be stupid and careless; he may have utterly misunderstood both the law and the facts; but the parties have adopted the reference as a succedaneum to litigation, and they "must stand the hazard of the die." In a few instances, however, where there has been gross corruption, or a palpable combination against one of the parties, the law has interfered to reverse the proceedings. The case of Peter Williamson is one of these instances; and on the 3d of December 1768, some years after the poor Sheriff-Substitute had bidden himself from his disgrace by drinking himself into the grave, the Court awarded Peter Williamson damages to the extent of £200 against the persons who, nearly thirty years previously, had spirited him away from the pier of Aberdeen.

The subsequent career of Peter Williamson, though not all directly our present purpose, is so inviting that we cannot pass it over. He was one of those men who, with no settled purpose of life, have their brains perpetually spinning forth projects, and their hands perpetually putting them in operation. Wherever external circumstances placed him, there his internal nature predestined him turn the opportunities afforded him to the best account. We have seen him exercising the isolated energies of the self-sustaining savage in the wilderness; we shall now see him regulating the complex wheels of mutually dependent civilisation. One of his earliest projects was announced, in 1762, through a letter in the Edinburgh Courant. The drain of able-bodied men by the war had, he stated, prompted him to endeavour to discover some labour-saving machine, to facilitate the operations of the harvest; and he had at considerable expense invented an engine which would, "in the hands of a single man, do more execution in a field of oats in one day, and to better purpose, than it is in the power of six shearers to do. This machine," he continues, "is now completed, and is constructed in such a manner that, when the corn is tolerably thick, it will cut down near a sheaf at a stroke, and that without shaking the grain, or disordering the straw, besides laying down the corn as regularly as the most expert shearer can do." The machine possessed other qualifications far too numerous to be recapitulated here; and though the inventor protested that "neither vanity nor conceit," but the sole desire to serve the public, prompted him to expatiate on its merits, it is not absolutely necessary, at the present day, to join in all his anticipations of its wonderful influence on the amelioration of mankind. We are no authority on the abstruse practical subject of reaping-machines; but justice to our hero renders it right to say that his invention found a place in agricultural nomenclature, as "the basket-scythe."[22] We have already[626] mentioned some of his achievements in literature. He published a pamphlet on the Militia: and, contemporaneously with the invention of the scythe, we find him advertising, along with his account of his adventures, that "Commissions from the country will be punctually answered for this and all other sorts of books; as also stationery-ware of all sorts;" and in connexion with this general announcement of a stationery-establishment, he enlarges on another book, apparently of his own composition, called "A General View of the Whole World; containing the Names of the principal Countries, Kingdoms, States, and Islands,—their length, breadth, and capital cities, with the longitude and latitude; also the produce, revenue, strength, and religion of each country." This encyclopedia, political, statistical, and theological, was to be had for six shillings sterling. From such comprehensive themes we find him descending to the object of the following curious advertisement, dated 9th April 1772:—

"This day was published, price one shilling the pack, and sold by Peter Williamson, printer, in the head of Forester's Wynd, Edinburgh, the Impenetrable Secrets which is called Proverb-Cards, containing excellent sentiment, and are so composed, that they discover the thoughts of one's mind in a very curious and extraordinary manner. The explanation of the secret is given gratis with the pack; each set consists of twenty cards, and ten lines upon each card."[23]

We may here, perhaps, have traced to its invention the well-known toy called "Conversation-Cards," which has enlivened many a little Christmas party. If this be so, the debt of youth in general, to the poor kidnapped boy, is not small.

In 1776 he started a weekly periodical called "The Scot's Spy, or Critical Observer," which appears to have been continued through the following year with the title of "The New Scot's Spy." In the mean time, he kept a tavern, over the door of which he advertised himself as "from the other world." It appears to have been for some time in the Parliament Square, and subsequently in the interior of the Parliament House itself, part of the wide area of which was partitioned into booths. Every now and then he was dropping before the public some invention great or small. Now it was a "new invented portable printing-press;" next, marking-ink for linen, "which stands washing, boiling, and bleaching, and is more regular and beautiful than any needle." But the chief monument of his energy was the establishment of a penny post-office for the city of Edinburgh, which he supported as a private speculation. It appears to have been soon after the year 1780 that he commenced this undertaking, and contemporaneously with it he published a Street Directory. One might suppose that the post-office, the directory, and the tavern, with an occasional invention or pamphlet, would form sufficient occupation, not only for one head, but one family. Williamson, however, must have all his fires full of irons; and so we find that his wife and daughter had to appear before the public as busy as himself in their own department. On the cover of his directory it is intimated, that "Mantua-making is carried on in all its branches as formerly," by "Mrs Williamson and daughter;" who, lest any means of exercising their craft should pass them, by reason either of its insignificance or its gravity, are made to state, that they "engraft silk, cotton, thread, and worsted stockings; make silk gloves, and every article in the engrafting branch, in the neatest manner, and on the most reasonable terms; likewise silk stockings washed in the most approved style; also grave-clothes made on the shortest notice."

One would naturally imagine that all these professions of activity must have indicated a thrifty, industrious, moral, happy home. Alas, no! In 1789 Williamson was obliged to divorce his second wife, the mother of several children; and the revolting details of the inquiry show too plainly that the degraded woman pursued another profession besides those efforts of decent[627] industry which her husband advertised to the world. She, on her part, charged her husband with having acquired tipling habits, and keeping low dissipated company; while she stated that, notwithstanding the considerable sums that passed through his hands in the course of his various speculations, his family were frequently subjected to great privations. The inquiries connected with the divorce exhibit throughout, tokens of sordid squalor, which show that Williamson was little fitted to seize the tides of fortune that so frequently ran in his favour, or to direct his energies into any satisfactory path of self-advancement. Active and turbulent as he had been—dreaded, admired, nay, respected for his services as a citizen—he had never bettered his condition, or risen above the rank of the vagabond. His total want of early education may have unfitted him to take advantage of his opportunities. "The reader," he says, in one of his pamphlets, "will be here asking what school I was brought up at? I shall only tell them, that the extent of it was upwards of four thousand miles, and the height thereof as high as the heavens, governed by Indians of many nations; and regular education is no way taught among them, but handed down from one generation to another; and their records are kept, marked with tomahawks on the outside of trees, and can be distinguished by themselves for centuries back." It might be a sublime school—but not a hopeful seminary for sober citizens. Yet, among Kay's exquisitely hard etchings there is a portrait of Peter, from which it is evident that lie must have been a very handsome worshipful-looking man, with that well-fed self-assured air—that corporation dignity of manner, and citizen urbanity, if one may use the expression, which beseem the corporate officer. Nature and the tailor seem at the moment to have united to represent in his person a Deacon at least, if not a Bailie. He is depicted in conversation with Abyssinian Bruce, and as saying to the haughty Lord of Kinnaird—"There is more truth in one page of my Edinburgh directory, than in all your five volumes 4to; so, when you talk to me, don't imagine yourself at the source of the Nile." Poor Williamson's eventful life came to an end on the 19th January 1769.




Nobody doubts that there was hot blood—misunderstanding—difficulty—at the beginning. It is clear enough, also, that many arrangements which followed were not of a soothing kind. Nor can it well be denied;—but stop a little! The other side of the question seems to be perpetually consigned to oblivion. Numbers of people are in ecstasies with the year 1782. The wildest democrats of the present day revert with pride to the glimpse of nationality exhibited by Ireland immediately before the Union. The grand choral cry of Repealers is for a Parliament once more in Dublin. Oh, melancholy, deplorable, almost ludicrous inconsistency! The year 1782 and Repeal! The independence of Ireland after 1782 and Repeal! The old Irish Parliament and Repeal! Plunket—a son of Ireland—talked of history being an old almanac. Memorable indeed was the year 1782. But its trophies were, the handiwork of the Saxon. Bright may have been the gleam of independence which succeeded that year. The whole movement owed character and solidity to great Saxon leaders. Conspicuous is the fame of those men who protested with fiery eloquence[628] against the treaty of the Union; and these were all Saxons. It is very strange, but very true, that the sinews and loins of the agitation now-a-days are all begotten of Saxon spirit and Saxon freedom. There is not a letter in the alphabet of self-government—there is not a syllable in the code of municipal law—there is not a sentence in the charter of political liberty—of Ireland, which is not the lesson, the example, or the boon of the Saxon. Every thing that Ireland now demands is an imitation of a Saxon institution. And Ireland only demands these things, because for ages Saxon institution have pervaded her soil, and imbued her people. Grattan and Charlemont are Saxon names. In all the principles for which these remarkable men contended, no vestige of a Celtic idea can be traced. Until the Saxon—conqueror as he was—touched the Irish soil, there did not grow, blossom, or bear fruit any intelligible notion of social order, or public liberty. But the gratitude of nations is not different from the gratitude of individuals. Away with the Saxon!

Can nothing cure the madness? Large practical wisdom in legislation, exuberant boundless prodigality of munificence, are equally unavailing. Away with the Saxon! But disgust may at length do what force never could have done. Honest, sober, orderly folks in Britain begin to cherish strange thoughts. And the wings of thoughts are words outspoken.

Are ye ready, O Milesians! for such a dawn when it breaks?

There was nothing either very bright or very dull about the morning. Yet not a single human being you met was inclined even to whistle merrily or recklessly. And was there, then, silence over the whole land? Very far from it, I assure you. At the harbour of every sea-port, where a vessel of any size could come, there was a most unmistakeable noise. Heavily, steadily, dreadfully, came down along the rugged stones of each quay the continual tread and tramp of armed men, who, coldly and speechlessly as statues, marched towards the ships. But there was no other noise. The officers gave no word of command; nor was any command needed. Unbroken as the stream of the river, hundreds after hundreds, without any clash, or din, or tumult, passed from the solid land on board of the floating bulwarks of Old England, and without a shout or a sigh—without a murmur of adieu—without the momentary radiance of a smile on a solitary face—departed from Ireland. The Saxons were going. The quick strokes of the paddle-wheels whitened the waters;—the sail bellied bigly to the wind. From Erin the Green, the Saxons were GONE. Then rose from earth to sky—what?

For many a day thousands of eyes had been gazing at the bustling scene. At first, the spectacle of such crowds of all sorts of people going leisurely away with all their kith and kin, with all their bag and baggage, brought with it no distinct idea. The first loaded ship which left the harbour with such a freight took its departure beneath a shower of triumphantly derisive shouts. And so did many a vessel afterwards. But people become tired of shouting at the same thing. Likewise, a constant repetition of the same thing, which in certain circumstances will destroy wonder, does in other circumstances beget and spread wonder. The sameness of the business began to be painful. Countless throngs of lookers-on still choked the quay: but the gibe was rarely heard; the cheer had quite died away. It was incredible how time lagged in its flight. Suddenly, once more, a stir ran through these gazing tens of thousands. A feeble cry—more like a cry of pain than of joy—rang from the discord of the innumerable lips. Every body was gone, except the soldiers. Of the hated Saxons, all who lived by the arts or occupations of peace, all were at length away—men, women, and children. The soldiers remained till all their peaceful brethren were safely on the bosom of the treacherous sea—safer than the bosom of ungrateful Ireland. The soldiers now went themselves. It was not an hour or a day, in which that embarkation could be completed. On it went without interruption. And the people stood by, and saw it going on. Why was there not the continuous roar of exultation from moment to moment, as file[629] after file, regiment after regiment, mass after mass of the bloody servants of the Saxon sullenly and silently retreated? Strange, surely, that it was not so! Strange, surely, that there was no whisper all this time from the bystanders! Strange, surely, that the bystanders, as the ships, ship after ship, sailed away with those very Saxon soldiers, began to turn their regards off altogether from the ships, and to fling unquiet doubtful glances one on the other! The detested foreigner was gone;—and was there, therefore, more neighbourly love among those that remained?

What! Erin Mavourneen, is not your emancipation come? Why is there no shout? The Saxons are going. The quick strokes of the paddle-wheels whiten the waters. Where is the pæan of the ransomed and redeemed? The sail bellies bigly to the wind. From Erin the Green, the Saxons are gone. Then rose from earth to sky—what?

Ireland is left to itself—wholly, entirely, absolutely to itself. The Repealer has his wish. The sea runs between Ireland and England—and all that is Irish and all that is English. The cable is cut. The Emerald Isle is adrift. No Saxon soldier pollutes her soil; but not a Saxon shilling glistens in her purse. The British Viceroy is no more; neither is the British Chancellor of the Exchequer any more—THERE. Ireland has got its own parliament. Also Ireland has got its own poor. Not a stiver of English millions now crosses St George's Channel. Not for one death by starvation now is England or the Saxon answerable. Ireland has her own exuberant Exchequer. Ireland pours abundance into the myriad mouths of her famine-stricken People. Shout, then, O Ireland! shout!

The sail bellies bigly to the wind. From Erin the Green the Saxons are gone. The sun of Repeal is at its noon. Then rose from earth to sky—what?

And they looked into the faces of each other with a dull, blank look—and from earth to sky arose the yell of wild despair, of irretrievable confusion, and of maddening perdition.

The Repealer had his wish. The cable was cut. Ireland was adrift—and LEFT TO ITSELF. Order, law, justice, peace, trade, industry, money, prosperity, and—oh terrible truth!—Independence were gone away—quite away with the Saxon.

And the Milesian Republic endured—we blush to number the hours of its ephemeral and horrible existence. Every where the fair face of the beautiful Isle was hideously seamed with scars of civil war. Every where mounted upwards the smoke of roof-trees destroyed, and hearthstones desolated. Every where over the surface of the great surrounding ocean boomed the discordant wail of the land torn by the vultures of anarchy.

Again! at the harbours of sea-ports there was an unmistakeable noise. Over the rugged stones went the continual tramp and tread of armed men, who, with bursts of brutal insolence, marched from the ships. The clang of foreign arms again sounded in the cities, along the plains, and across the hills of Erin. Ireland had become the province of a foreign power which did not speak the English tongue. Ireland was that day trampled on by the iron heel of a new master.

Albion, from its white cliffs, saw the scene. But the ties had been long broken.



Oh lost Madonna, young and fair!
O'er-leant by broad embracing trees,
A streamlet to the lonely air
Murmurs its meek low melodies;
And there, as if to drink the tune,
And mid the sparkling sands to play,
One constant Sunbeam still at noon
Shoots through the shades its golden way.
[630] My lost Madonna, whose glad life
Was like, that ray of radiant air,
The March-wind's violet scents blew rife
When last we sought that fountain fair.
Blythe as the beam from heaven arriving,
—Thy hair held back by hands whose gleam
Was white as stars with night-clouds striving—
Thy bright lips bent and sipp'd the stream.
Fair fawn-like creature! innocent
In soul as faultless in thy form,—
As o'er the wave thy beauty bent
It blushed thee back each rosy charm.
How soon the senseless wave resign'd
The tints, with thy retiring face,
While glass'd within my mournful mind
Still glows that scene's enchanting grace.
Ah! every scene, or bright or bleak,
Where once thy presence round me shone,
To echoing Memory long shall speak
The Past's sweet legends, Worshipp'd One!
The wild blue hills, the boundless moor,
That, like my lot, stretch'd dark afar,
And o'er its edge, thine emblem pure,
The never-failing evening star.
The lawn on which the Sunset's track
Crimson'd thy home beside the Glen—
The village pathway, leading back
From thee to haunts of hated men—
The walk to watch thy chamber's ray,
'Mid storm and midnight's rushing wings—
These, these were joys, long pass'd away,
To dwell with Grief's eternal things.
My lost Madonna, fair and young!
Before thy slender-sandall'd feet
The dallying wave its silver flung,
Then dash'd far ocean's breast to meet;
And farther, wider, from thy side
Than unreturning streams could rove,
Dark Fate decreed me to divide—
To me, my henceforth buried Love!
Yes! far for ever from thy side,
Madonna, now for ever fair,
To death of Distance I have died,
And all has perished, but—Despair.
Whether thy fate with woe be fraught,
Or Joy's gay rainbow gleams o'er thee,
I've died to all, but the mad thought
That what was once no more shall be.
'Tis well:—at least I shall not know
How time or tears may change that brow;
Thine eyes shall smile, thy cheek shall glow
To me in distant years as now.
And when in holier worlds, where Blame,
And Blight, and Sorrow, have no birth,
Thou'rt mine at last—I'll clasp the same
Unalter'd Angel, loved on earth.



I have heard—I saw yesterday that fact enlarged upon in Mrs Thunder's Tales of Passion—that people's hair may be turned gray by intense anxiety, intense fear, intensity of any kind, in a single day. My hair is not exactly gray (far from it, indeed, considering my time of life)—but, if the above physical phenomenon did ever really occur, it ought to be silvery-white. For I have passed through a day, the consequences of which colour, and will colour, my whole existence. Life's fever came to a crisis, and the crisis turned out unfavourably. The threads of my destiny got into a tangle, and Fate in a passion cut the knot with her scissors. My earthly career has been divided into two distinctly-marked portions, and the point where the two are united—the bending-stone (as the Greeks say) of the race-course, is the day on which I was plucked.

Reader of Maga, as your experiences are possibly confined to the land of Maga's nativity, I will explain to you what it is to be plucked. It is to have your degree refused at one of the English universities. Now don't suppose that, when I have said this, I have said all. The mischief does not end with the refusal. It is bad enough, truly, to have gone through three years of reading and walking, or of port-wine drinking and tandem-driving, and then to get nothing for your trouble. But that's not it. A plucking brings with it consequences quite peculiar to itself—consequences hardly intelligible out of England—hardly intelligible, indeed, out of the sphere of the upper classes in England. The English universities are the nurseries of adolescent English gentlemen—of the whole aristocracy, church, and bar. And the many thousand persons comprised in these very extensive denominations, although they may have nothing else in common, agree in fond and not very discriminating reverence for Oxford and Cambridge. I really believe that many a man, whose actual reminiscences of these seats of learning are confined to the pace of the boats and the badness and dearness of the wine, yet manages to persuade himself that his being was somehow exalted by his three years' course. And then the sacredness which attaches to their verdict! A fellow will pass current any where with the university stamp upon him. I know that Muggleton, who got a medal, and is the slowest dummy in creation, used to be invited occasionally to dinner-parties as a substitute for the late S. S. Besides, university life is common ground to half the world. You place Tories and Whigs, high churchmen and low churchmen, round the same table, and there follows a wrangle or a quarrel; but, let the conversation once veer round to the incidents of "Slogger's year," or the character of Dr ——, and you will find the talk flowing freely, and opinions unanimous.

So you see the unpleasantness of there being nothing to be said about one, under such circumstances, except that one was plucked. Of Mr Pennefeather, of Elmstead Lodge, Surrey, (my present designation,) little is known in the neighbourhood of the aforesaid Elmstead Lodge, beyond the fact that he and his charming family live there. But the name of Pennefeather of St Saviour's, Cambridge, is common property, and hundreds know it in connexion with certain unfortunate circumstances, already alluded to.

I was always in my college considered rather a reading man. I attended chapel and lecture regularly. I went to few parties or none. Grindham of St John's (the present dean of ——), and Swetter of Trinity (the new Queen's counsel), backed by their respective colleges for the senior wranglership, were old school-fellows of mine, and we continued our acquaintance. By dint of flattering Swetter, and listening to Grindham's endless holdings forth on mathematical subjects, I grew into favour with both. I believe the worthy fellows began to think me one of themselves,—nothing very brilliant, perhaps, but still sure of a decent place in the honour-list. And, indeed, had fate pleased, their influence might have brought things to a better issue. I was induced to keep my outer door scrupulously shut till two o'clock P.M.; and, though I often fell asleep in my chair, and[632] conic sections always made my head ache, I nevertheless made some way. But I was ruined by a flute! I had learned to play in early life—my mother liked me to accompany my sisters; and now the accomplishment, of which I had grown most school-boyishly ashamed, was discovered by a lazy, handsome, perfumed, kid-gloved flaneur of a fellow, Jenkyns of our college, whose rooms were above mine. He was just then getting up a musical association, and of all things wanted a second flute. I have no patience to narrate the steps of the seduction and triumph,—how I resisted his overtures at first, then gave way conditionally, then unconditionally,—how we had meetings, and held committees, and gave concerts,—how the dons first looked suspicious, then indifferent, then applausible,—and how, finally, far conspicuous with my white waistcoat and baton, I led the band on the first anniversary of our foundation, in the presence of the vice-chancellor and a brilliant assemblage of professors and heads of houses. But the degree examination was approaching—unappeasable, inevitable.

Grindham, I confess, had begun to look cold on me; but Swetter, who was a little ambitious of being considered an accomplished gentleman as well as a great mathematician, rather countenanced my proceedings. He never joined us himself—he was a great deal too deep for that—but he largely affected contempt for fellows who maintained that fiddling and reading were incompatible. And indeed, without being in the least aware of it, I had been made, as it were, the pattern-man of our association and the new system. Did any one object to our concerts, rehearsals, and practisings, as occupying too much time, he was referred to Pennefeather of St Saviour's, "a regular leading man, by Jove—pal of Grindham and Swetter—goes home after a concert, and sits up half the night with a wet cloth round his head." So said report—lying as usual; and my fall was the greater in consequence.

The examination was over, and the result was to be announced next morning. I had felt my ideas rather vague on the subject of the questions asked, and half suspected that my answers partook of their looseness. Still I had my hopes—I had covered a good deal of paper with my writing—a wranglership was not so very unlikely. With this conviction I went to bed, and slept, on the whole, very soundly. In the morning I dressed, shaved, and breakfasted, with considerable deliberation; and, just before nine o'clock, walked down to the senate-house. The scene there, on this and like occasions, is sufficiently exciting to an uninterested person—something more than exciting to one in a situation like mine. A crowd of young men, half mad with expectation, beset the doors of the edifice. The fate of themselves and their friends, their bets and the honour of their respective colleges, are at stake. They shout and scream. The doors are thrown open. All rush in. A pandemoniac confusion ensues. Then some patriotic individual volunteers to read aloud the expanded list, and, hoisted on the shoulders of his neighbours, begins,—wranglers, "Grindham, St John's; Swetter, Trinity; Pump, Trinity, ("Hooray!" shouts somebody, and runs off to convey the intelligence to Mr Pump, who is funking in his room)—Mullins, St John's; Shobley, St Saviours; &c., &c." I listened calmly to the first half of the wrangler-list, anxiously to the last, tremblingly to the names in the next class, agonisedly to those in the third and last. My name was not there at all! In the hope that it might have been omitted by mistake, I waited until the crowd thinned, and then, with dim eyes, read the paper myself. There was no mistake at all. I ran, unobserved, to my rooms, locked myself in, and during the next three hours I won't say what I did or thought. There are moments—but never mind! I'm a father of a family now.

The day was verging towards the afternoon when I put on my hat, determined to go out and brave the mocking looks of the undergraduate world. I thought I had some notion of what was to be expected, but the bitterness of the draught surpassed all my anticipations. I had hardly got outside the gate of my college, when there turned the nearest corner a walking party of fifteen gentlemen abreast—the centre-piece was Grindham.[633] The two wings were composed of his admiring, flattering friends. My appearance caused a singular alteration in the countenances of the party. Some looked awkwardly; most of them manifested a strong inclination to laugh; but Grindham himself would have passed without recognising me, had not his neighbour whispered something in his ear. He turned and shook hands—I would have given the world so that he had cut me, for I expected some of that pity which "d——d goodnatured" friendship proffers on such occasions. Alas! my friend had forgotten my position in his own: he did not seem in the least aware that any person except himself and Swetter, the defeated Swetter, had been interested in the late examination. He talked incoherently for some minutes, for repressed exultation was making his eyes dim, and causing his tongue to stutter; and there we stood, he the victor and I not even worthy to be considered the vanquished, chattering on the most indifferent matters—even about that confounded musical association—and neither of us venturing to touch upon the subject which was filling each of our hearts to overflowing. Had any one of the fourteen young men who were tittering together at a little distance, been a cynic or a psychologist, he might have freely fed his humour, or made a valuable addition to his stock of observation. Grindham, Pennefeather—pride struggling hard to be modest; shame striving to gloss itself over with gay indifference—human nature in either case denying and belying itself—what lesson, or what a caricature! But, just before we separated, something seemed to strike my companion. He suddenly became more confused than ever, and then was clearly striving hard to look sentimental. "By the bye, my dear fellow—oh! ah! I was very sorry ... better luck next time, eh!" And so we parted. But I had lost my friend.

I proceeded. An indistinct object became visible on the other side of the way, which, as I approached, gradually assumed the form and proportions of a man. It was a figure, not unfrequently seen in my day in the streets of Cambridge: a broad-brimmed, low-crowned hat, which completely concealed the countenance of the wearer, just permitted to loom out of its shadow a many-coloured neckhandkerchief, printed with the flags of all nations. This last cosmopolitan habiliment shone in advantageous contrast to a dogskin waistcoat, of indescribable hue, and immensely broad trousers of white flannel. No coat at all was visible in front, but behind you might perceive that one of bright olive-coloured cloth came sharply out immediately below the arms,—a sporting Newmarket coat, exaggerated to intensity. Such was the outer man of Mr Charles Maxey, of St Saviour's; the inner man was full of all corruption and wickedness. This gentleman, being rather at a loss for occupation amid the uncongenial excitements of the day, was engaged in somewhat roughly schooling a small and horribly ugly terrier puppy to follow him up and down the street. I had no acquaintance with him. I knew nothing of him whatever, beyond the fact that he generally entered the College Hall very much after the proper time, dressed in a rough pilot coat, and invariably swearing violently, as he came in, at some unknown person or object outside the door. But it appeared that, if I had lost one friend, I had gained another. He, who would never have ventured to speak to me before—for the credit of our college, let me say that he was completely and universally cut—now rushed across the street, and shaking me by the hand, bade me "cheer up, (I had flattered myself I was looking tolerably cheerful,) and d—n the concern!" The beast then favoured me with a dissertation on the nature, cause, and consequences of mishaps like mine; in the course of which he explained that his own two pluckings had been entirely owing to the remissness of his private tutor, in not providing cigars at his (the private tutor's) rooms, and thereby failing to render Mr Maxey's studies sufficiently agreeable. "B— and T—," censoriously remarked that gentleman, "always do it: so I shall go to one of them, and cut old Z—, next term." Finally, he insisted on taking me off to breakfast, (breakfast at two o'clock!) at the rooms of a friend of his, who had been plucked fifteen times, and meant going on to the twentieth plucking, to entitle himself[634] (according to an old Cambridge tradition,) to a gratuitous degree. I accompanied him in passive helplessness, and found a room some thing more than filled with about thirty Maxeys, smoking and singing. I remember it all to this day;—the indescribable songs—the spiced ale—Maxey's story about trotting the gray mare to Newmarket—the jocular allusions to myself—all this comes over me now like a dream of purgatory. The events of that day are indissolubly linked together in my mind; and I can never recall my misfortune without recalling too the meeting with Grindham and the party at the rooms of Mr Maxey's friend. But hard as these things were to endure in our little world at Cambridge, I have since experienced worse consequences of that accursed plucking among grown men, and in a manner made more painful to a sensitive organisation like mine.

I won't say what my father said when he heard of this termination of my university career. He had been a chancellor's medallist himself, and, in virtue of his medal, was listened to in parliament before the war. I believe he thought that all a man's doings in life were contained in his university exploits, like the chicken in the egg. Me he sent off to read theology with a clergyman in the country, previously to taking orders—for a family living awaited me. In this position I remained two years. I may mention, in passing, that my worthy instructor, a perfect ninny, though a former fellow of his college, despised me utterly for my past failure, and was at no pains to conceal his contempt; and at the end of that time, I set out for the cathedral city of F——, to go through the bishop's preparatory examination. Now, there is a prevalent notion in England, or at least in the English universities, that a bishop's examination is regulated after a peculiar fashion. It is reported that the prelate, or his chaplain, examines beforehand the calendars of the two universities, and adapts his subsequent questions to the information thence derived, in what may be called reverse order. Thus, a wrangler or first-classman, being supposed fit for any thing, is asked nothing in particular. It was even whispered—ay! even in these days of priestly dignity—that when my friend Grindham's eldest son, himself a second senior wrangler, went up a few weeks ago to the Bishop of ——, his lordship merely demanded information respecting the feeling of the university on the Hampden question, and on being satisfactorily answered, remarked that he dined at six, and dismissed his examinee. But, to resume—the questions are said, or rather were said, to increase in difficulty with the decreasing honours of the applicant. A second-classman had questions of average difficulty put to him, a man who took no honours, was stiffly catechised; a plucked man—but how it fared, and perhaps still fares, with plucked men, you shall judge from my case. After a night of excessive nervousness at the inn, I proceeded to the palace at ten o'clock in the morning. A number of serious-looking, white-cravatted, young men were waiting in the outer room, into which I was ushered. It was bitterly cold: there was, it is true, a fire; but it was actually going out, because no one dared to stir the Episcopal embers. An inner door every now and then opened and shut, admitting each time some one individual of the shivering crowd into the dreaded presence. Many old familiar faces were there. I should perhaps have shrunk from their aspect, had not nervousness, and perhaps a feeling that every one of them might in a few minutes find himself in my identical position, placed us all on a level. So I looked almost boldly about me. After a few minutes, I was on the point of addressing an old acquaintance, when, above the shoulder of the man to whom I was about to speak, there appeared a face, often seen but always loathed in my walking and sleeping visions. It was Maxey's. The cosmopolitan handkerchief had disappeared, and the debauched eyes looked brighter and less bloodshot than of old; but it was the same Maxey who fraternised with me on the day of my fall. He was—I am sorry to say—attempting to get into orders. He had been rejected, he told me, once before, but he had now been "coached by so-and-so half a year, and meant to manage it this time." Whether Mr So-and-So provided cigars for theological pupils I did not inquire; I was too much sickened by Maxey's presence,—so much so that[635] it was really a relief when I was summoned in my turn to the Bishop's apartment. I passed through a long passage, then through an ante-room; lastly, a door opened, and displayed his lordship sitting solemnly at a large green table. The chaplain was leaving the room just as my name was announced. I saw him put his hand to his mouth, and distinctly heard him whisper in a loud aside—"Plucked in 18—, my Lord."

The Bishop's face assumed an expression of yet more awful solemnity. He gravely motioned me to sit down, and then, looking me full in the eyes, said—"Ah hem! I have no doubt, Mr Pennefather, you have sufficiently prepared yourself for the—hem—important office you propose to take on yourself. I am sorry to say that this—ah!—hem—most important office is often entered upon without sufficient—hem—preparation."

A pause. Fluency was not his lordship's forte. But if the moral annihilation of the object addressed is the end and aim of oratory, he proved himself in this case a Demosthenes.

He then continued—"Nothing is more—hem—essential to a clergyman than a knowledge of the early history of Christianity. Let me ask you what you know of the Patripassian heresy?"

I don't know what I might have answered under other circumstances, but the chaplain's whisper and the Bishop's exordium were too much for me. I could not utter a word. Other questions followed, to which I answered nothing or nonsense. In the end I recollect that his lordship made me a long speech, from which I gathered—it was not difficult to do this, as it consisted of the same sentence repeated in every variety of collocation—that he was very sorry that he could not admit me into orders with such—hem—ah—insufficient preparation.

I bowed and left the room, passed through the ante-chamber and passage into the apartment where the rest of the candidates were waiting, and thence made my exit with some words of Mr Maxey's dancing and humming in my ears,—"so we're plucked again, old boy!"

Between this scene and the next passage of my life, which I shall sketch or the reader's benefit, there was an interval of several years. I had been abroad most of the time, and had very nearly managed to forget my university misfortune. There was no occasion to revert to the bishop, for my elder brother died, and I stepped into his place—the family living being duly put out to nurse for my brother Tom. From the proximate parson, I had become the bachelor heir, with rooms in Piccadilly, a groom, and a brougham.

One day—it was in the course of my first season in town—I was dining with Jobson in Hamilton Place. Why I went so frequently to Jobson's, any body who remembers Emily Jobson, and what an angel she looked in that lilac silk, will easily guess. I had flattered myself I was not prospering badly with her. But I knew there was a rival in the field—no other person than my old friend Swetter, then a rising junior of five-and-thirty at the chancery bar. We were running on a tie, as I fancied—Swetter and I. The dear girl was, I am sure, very much puzzled to decide between us; and I often thought I could see, by the expression of her face, that she was balancing Swetter, his advantages and disadvantages, his possible peerage, and the necessity entailed on his wife of staying in London through the winter, against me and my little place in Surrey. And all the time, I had an uneasy consciousness that my rival could get the start, if he pleased, by confiding to Emily certain awkward antecedents of mine, known to the reader. But, to do him justice, he was too much of a gentleman to head me by such means. This I knew, and though at this very dinner-party he was sitting opposite Emily and myself, and looking exquisitely uncomfortable every time I whispered in her ear between the spoonfuls of bisque d'écrivisses, I felt certain that even greater provocation would not tempt him to peach. So all went smoothly—as smoothly as things ought to go at one of Jobson's admirable dinners. But towards the middle of the second course, Jobson's voice, which had been growing gradually louder since we sat down, became so overpowering as to beat down and absorb all other conversation. He was talking about Cambridge and his son Plantagenet. Jobson is a nouveau riche (some of his friends call him Tyburn[636] Jobson, because he made his money in hemp), and rather unnecessarily fond of introducing the now well-known facts that Plantagenet is at the university, and Tudor in the Guards. So, Jobson giving the cue, Cambridge became the text of the general conversation. Glauber, who stammers horridly, and, like most stammering men, takes every opportunity of telling long and inextricable stories, began to hold forth, in the midst of general silence, concerning Lady Ligham's son William, whom her ladyship would persist in believing a genius, and whom she had sent to Cambridge expressly to be senior wrangler. "But," added Glauber, "only the other I heard he was p..p..p..pluck—."

The word was not out of his mouth, when that brute Jones, who was next him, gave him a tremendous admonitory poke in the side. Glauber first turned wrathfully on him, and then, beginning to comprehend, looked straight at me—his red face becoming redder with confusion, and his great goggle eyes almost starting out of his head.

"I b . . b . . b . . beg your p . . p . ." begun the wretch; but Swetter and Jones, who had been writhing with suppressed laughter, here gave vent to such sounds as effectually drowned his miserable voice. I gulped down a glass of champagne, and made things worse by choking myself. Meanwhile Emily looked on with a face of the utmost astonishment.

Well, we concluded dinner, drank Jobson's wine, and ascended to the drawing-room. No sooner did we enter, than I saw Emily go straight up to Swetter, and ask a question. He laughed a good deal at first, and then visibly commenced a long story. I followed it in Emily's face as clearly as if I had been listening to it. Yes! the temptation was too much for Swetter; and, to say the truth, he only did what any one else would have done in like circumstances. He told all. Determined to know my fate, I walked to Emily's chair, and began conversing in my usual strain. She was civil—just civil—but in less than five minutes, she managed to inform me that she hoped her dear brother Plantagenet would work hard at Cambridge—for the honour of his family. It was enough. Swetter and she were married in two months.

I left London without waiting for the season to conclude, and buried myself and a fishing-rod in a lonely Welsh cottage. For months I saw nobody but the old woman whom I brought from Monmouth to cook my dinners. She, I believe, thought me decidedly mad—principally because I once swore dreadfully at her, when, àpropos of a chicken on which I was to dine, she used a word vernacularly employed to signify the stripping birds of their feathers. I fished, caught nothing, and mused on Emily. At last, however, on casually extending a ramble to a greater length than usual, I found that a house, five miles from my present residence, and quite as solitary, had been taken by an English family. As a matter of course—though I really cannot precisely remember in what way—we became acquainted. All I know is, that I determined the acquaintance should commence as soon as possible, immediately after meeting a young lady in a pink bonnet, who was sauntering along the side of the stream in which I was pretending to fish. This was Caroline Lumley. They were the Lumleys—Captain and Mrs Lumley, and two daughters. The family had lived the anomalous life common to English semi-genteel families with small incomes. They had resided, now in Jersey, now in Dublin, now on the Continent—every where but in civilised and inhabitable parts of England. At present they had settled themselves down, for the sake of cheapness, in a spot where every thing except mutton and house-rent was twice as expensive as in London, and where they had to walk five miles to meet with a neighbour.

That neighbour was myself. I was sick with disappointed love, and Caroline Lumley was dying with ennui. Need I say that in six weeks we were engaged!

I really believe that she worshipped me as a superior being. There had been few or no men in the out-of-the-way places where they had lived. There never are. They are all draughted off to business and employments of various kinds. So I not only had no equal in her estimation, but could not, by any possibility, have had one. She[637] thought me the handsomest man in the world. She used to praise my talents and accomplishments to my face. Indeed, by the side of old Captain Lumley, who, prosy by nature, had long ago exhausted all his topics, I might have appeared a Crichton. Every now and then, however, when Caroline had called me clever, there used to come over me a shudder. Could she be ever brought to think of me as Emily Jobson probably did? The idea was positively maddening. Many a night did I lie awake, speculating whether, after all, it might not be better to secure myself against another such cross of destiny by freely revealing to her my great secret.

At last, reflection, building on the reminiscences of an old Cambridge tradition, suggested to me a plan which I lost no time in executing.

"My love," said I to Caroline one morning, "did you ever hear of Cambridge?"

"Oh yes!" she replied, apparently quoting from Pinnock; "it's the capital of Cambridgeshire."

"Did you never hear any thing else about it?" rejoined I.

"It's famous for its university, isn't it?" said she, seemingly from the same source.

"On this hint I spake," and told her how that I had been educated at Cambridge, and how that, after three years of intense study, I had received the greatest honour the university had to bestow—a plucking.

"Yes," said I, my face radiant with a triumphant expression—"I was actually plucked."

"I am sure you were, you dear, clever thing!" cried she, throwing her arms round my neck.

We were married at Monmouth, and I took my bride straight to London. I own I was a little desirous of showing Emily Jobson, or rather Emily Swetter, that there was a young lady in the world quite as pretty as herself, and with better taste. Swetter and his wife called on us as soon as he heard we were in town; and shortly afterwards we dined with them at their new house in Torrington Square. Among the guests was Grindham—my Grindham, but how changed! He had become tutor of his college, and had expanded into the most perfect specimen of the university don I ever beheld. He was positively swelling with importance. So inordinately conspicuous, indeed, was his air of self-appreciation, that even my little Caroline noticed it; and I heard her ask Mrs Swetter who and what he was.

"He took the very highest honours at Cambridge," said she in reply.

Caroline smiled, and seemed to think him quite justified in looking as important as he did.

The cloth was removed. Caroline was sitting by Grindham's side. She had spoken little during dinner-time; but I had noticed that several times she had seemed fidgetty, as though she ought to say something to her neighbour. Now my wife had at that time a bad habit of speaking in a very loud voice—in consequence of a deaf father, and of the little society she had seen. The conversation, accordingly, had no sooner stopped (as is its wont) with a dead pause, than she turned to Grindham, and said in a tone of appalling distinctness—

"Mr Grindham, were you ever plucked?"

Had a trumpet been suddenly blown close to Grindham's ear, he could not have looked more thoroughly taken aback.

Caroline repeated her words with yet more frightful clearness—

"I understand that you were plucked at Cambridge."

Grindham's countenance grew purple; we had a room full of university men, and the insulting speech was overheard by all. There was a universal stare and stir; and Mrs Swetter seemed to be saying to herself, "what wild beast have I got here!"

Caroline, perceiving she had done something very much amiss, got frightened, and bent over her plate during the rest of dinner.

When the gentlemen came to the drawing-room, Mrs Swetter and she were sitting together. They had been talking, and Caroline's face was very red. Our eyes met: her look was full of contempt.

She has been more than my better half ever since. There never passes a day on which I am not taunted with my plucking.



When an Eastern sage was desired by his sultan to inscribe on a ring the sentiment which, amidst the perpetual change of human affairs, was most descriptive of their real tendency, he engraved on it the words:—"And this, too, shall pass away." It is impossible to imagine a thought more truly and universally applicable to human affairs than that expressed in these memorable words, or more descriptive of that perpetual oscillation from good to evil, and from evil to good, which from the beginning of the world has been the invariable characteristic of the annals of man, and so evidently flows from the strange mixture of noble and generous with base and selfish inclinations, which is constantly found in the children of Adam.

"And this, too, shall pass away." The moral whirlwind which has lately swept over the states of Europe, and shaken all the kingdoms to their foundations, will subside. Old habits will in the end return—old affections revive—old desires resume their sway—old necessities become imperious. Institutions may be modified—dynasties overturned—forms of government altered—monarchs sent into exile; but the human heart remains, and will for ever remain, the same. That foundation being unaltered, the social necessities of men will in the end compel them to the old establishment of authority, under names perhaps new. Old power will revive, old rule be established, old authority be confirmed. The great body of men will still remain hewers of wood and drawers of water; because Nature never intended them for any other destination, and she has rendered them incapable of discharging the duties of any other station. Respectable, useful, and virtuous, when confined to it, they become pernicious and ridiculous when for a time withdrawn from it to be placed in another. Mind will ere long resume its sway over matter, moral over physical strength. Nations may rise in insurrection; they may destroy the existing government; they may establish a democratic or republican institution;—but that will not alter the nature of things; it will not compensate the incapacity for self-government of the great body of mankind; it will not relieve them from the first of human necessities, that of being directed by a few. Under one name or another—that of Decemvirs, a Triumvirate, a Committee of Public Salvation, a Directory, or a Provisional Government, the old authority is speedily evolved, only the more powerful that it has been cradled in violence. It is not the weakness, it is the irresistible strength of a democratic government which is its greatest evil. It is the iron grasp it never fails to lay on the property of others which is its principal danger, the never-failing instrument of its speedy overthrow. Property is soon swept away by it, but liberty is swept away still more quickly. A Cæsar, a Cromwell, a Napoleon, arises like an avatar to stay the wrath of Heaven let loose in the unbridled passions of men; and ages of servitude succeed one terrible and unforgotten period of popular license.

It is the more important to refer to these lasting principles in human affairs at this time that the events which have recently occurred on the Continent seem at first sight to set all former experience and history at defiance. Not only has monarchy been again overthrown, and a republic restored in France by a single urban tumult, but the contagion of the example has spread to other countries, hitherto deemed the stronghold of the conservative principle, and farthest removed from the influence of the revolutionary mania. That Italy, following in the wake of a reforming Pope, should be speedily convulsed by popular fervour, was anticipated, and might easily be understood. That Lombardy and Venice, long impatient of the Tramontane yoke, should seize the first opportunity to cast it off, was what every person acquainted with the feelings of the people in those beautiful provinces has long expected. That Prussia, the most highly educated[639] state in Europe, and which has long murmured at the delay in conceding the popular institutions promised during the struggle with Napoleon in 1813, should make an effort now to obtain them, might be understood. That the Poles, smarting under their recent dismemberment, and mourning their lost nationality, should eagerly grasp at the shadow even of the means of restoring it, was of course to be expected. But that Austria, the most aristocratic monarchy in Europe—that Austria, without either seaports, commercial cities, or manufacturing emporiums, should be seized by the same passions, and that the monarchy which had defeated Napoleon at Aspern, and all but destroyed him at Wagram, should be overturned by an urban tumult, headed by a burgher guard and the beardless students of the university—this indeed surpassed human comprehension.

It not unnaturally induced in superstitious or highly excited minds the belief that the end of the world was approaching, or that an entire new era had opened upon human affairs, to which nothing which had preceded it could furnish any thing like a parallel. According to the temper of their minds, men and women either believed that the dark prophecies of the Revelation were about to be accomplished, and that the great battle of Armageddon was to precede the advent of the Millennium, or that the era of commercial organisation and socialist felicity was approaching, and that all the miseries of mankind were to expire amidst the universal dominion of the people. In the midst of these general hopes and fears, more experienced or practical observers fixed their eyes on the spoliation of Austria by liberalised Piedmont; of Denmark, by revolutionised Prussia; and of Lithuania, by regenerated Poland; and drew the conclusion that human selfishness was the same in all times and ages; that pirates could sail under the red as well as the black flag, and that the fervour of Louis Blanc and Lamartine would terminate in a conflict as fierce, and disasters as wide-spread, as those which followed the visions of Siêyes, and the philanthropy of Robespierre.

What is in a peculiar manner worthy of consideration in the overthrow, in so short a time, of so many of the established governments of Europe, is the facility with which they appear to have been overturned by sudden urban tumult, and the immediate submission of the whole provinces and remainder of the empire, the moment the ruling power in the capital was changed. It was not thus, in former days, either in France or any of the other European monarchies. Paris was often lost and won during the English wars, the contests of the League and the Fronde, but the provinces were not dismayed by the loss of the capital; and, in their fidelity, Charles VII. and Henry V. found the means of changing the scales of fortune, and again wresting it from the arms of rebels or strangers. Charles I. set up his standard at Northampton; and London, from the very outset of the conflict, was in the hands of the Long Parliament; but he found, in the fidelity of the northern and western counties, the means of maintaining for years a gallant conflict, in which victory more than once was on the verge of rendering triumphant the royalist cause. Berlin, during the Seven Years' War, was twice taken by the Russians; but Frederick the Great emerged victorious out of that terrible strife. Vienna, in the time of Maria Theresa, was wrested from her arms by the French and Bavarians; but she threw herself on the fidelity of the Hungarians, and, ere long, the standards of France were driven with disgrace behind the Rhine. The double capture of the same city by Napoleon did not determine the conflict between France and Austria; but a desperate struggle was subsequently maintained, with almost balanced success, at Austerlitz, Aspern, and Wagram. But now a single tumult, in which the loss of life does not equal that of an ordinary skirmish, has overthrown the greatest monarchies. That of Louis Philippe fell before fifty men had been killed in the streets of Paris; that of Prussia sank in a conflict in which one hundred and eighty-seven men fell on the popular side; and an échauffourée, which scarcely would deserve a place in military history, overturned the[640] monarchy of Austria, within sight of the steeples of Aspern, and around the cathedral which had witnessed the victory of John Sobieski and the triumphant entry of Maria Theresa!

It is impossible not to conclude that moral and political causes have here enervated the minds of men, and weakened, to a most ruinous extent, the strength of nations. The depositaries of power have not, in general, shown themselves worthy of the trust which they held. There is no reason to suspect them of personal cowardice; but the moral courage which carries through a crisis, and so often averts danger by venturing to face it, appears to have been generally awanting. Men forgot the words of Napoleon, on occasion of Malet's conspiracy—"The death of a soldier would be the most glorious of all, if that of a magistrate, slain in the faithful discharge of his civil duties, were not still more honourable." Of few in these days can it be said, in the words of the poet,—

"Justum et tenacem propositi virum
Non civium ardor prava jubentium,
Non vultus instantis tyranni,
Mente quatit solidâ;
Si fractus illabatur orbis,
Impavidum ferient ruinæ."

A long peace seems to have enervated the minds of the higher orders on the Continent; habitual luxury to have disinclined them to sacrifices by which it might be endangered. To slip through a crisis quietly, and with as little risk or disturbance as possible, seems to have been the great object; to avert danger at the moment, by pushing it forward to future times, the universal system. With how much success it was practised, the present deplorable state of France, Prussia, Austria, and Lombardy, sufficiently attests. The army was apparently everywhere faithful, and fought bravely; it was the want of moral courage and determination in the government which ruined every thing. They forgot the words of Mirabeau—"Such is the fate of those who hope, by concessions dictated by fear, to disarm a revolution."

But farther, the surprising facility with which the governments of these great military monarchies have been overthrown, in the late extraordinary revolutions, and the immediate submission of all the provinces to the new central power in the capital, suggests another, and a still more important consideration:—that is, the danger attendant on that system of centralisation, which, adopted by all the governments of France, monarchical and republican, for two centuries, from Imperial Rome, and from thence imitated over all Europe, has now apparently concentrated the whole strength of a state, moral as well as physical, in the capital. That such a system is very convenient; that it improves and facilitates administration in many respects, and greatly augments the national strength, when held together by unanimous feeling, and ably directed, may readily be conceded. The great power and extraordinary triumphs of Prussia under Frederick the Great, and of France under Louis XIV. and Napoleon, sufficiently demonstrate that. But what is the situation of such a centralised power when assailed, not in its circumference, but in its centre; not in the extremities, but the heart? Can any thing be expected of it but immediate submission to the power, whatever it be, which is in possession of the wonted seat of government, which has the command of the palace, the bank, the treasury, the post-office, and the telegraph? These revolutions, of which so much is said, cease to be national, to become merely urban movements; they are no longer an effort of plebeians against patricians, but of one set of prætorians in the capital against another. They are no longer "révolutions d'état," but "révolutions du palais." It is of no consequence who inhabits the palace—a king, a tribune, an emperor, or a decemvir. It is there, under whatever name that despotic power resides, it is discovered where the vital spring is to be found. Deprived of its capital, a centralised state, be it republican or monarchical, is Samson when shorn of his hair; it becomes the victim of any Dalilah who takes the trouble to lure it to perdition.

That this is the true character of the revolutions which have lately taken place on the Continent, and struck the world with such astonishment, from the magnitude of the[641] changes which they involved, and the facility with which they were accomplished, is apparent on the very surface of things. They were all urban tumults, not national movements; the nation was never consulted on them at all. They were all concluded before the provinces heard of their commencement; they succeeded so easily, because the nations in which they occurred had been accustomed to obey the commands of the capital as implicitly as troops do the orders issuing from headquarters. The national consent of France, so far as it could be collected, was decidedly in favour of the Duchess of Orleans and the Count de Paris on the night of the 24th February; for two-thirds of the Chamber of Deputies were for that government. But what then? The armed mob, the prætorians of the capital, rushed in—the refractory deputies were dragged from their benches as summarily as the Council of Five Hundred were expelled from their seats by the grenadiers of Napoleon on the 18th Brumaire; a voice called "C'est trop tard. A l'Hotel de Ville! Vive la Republique!" and the Orleans dynasty was overthrown, and universal suffrage established. In Prussia the whole affair was a combat in the capital, between fifteen thousand regular troops and thirty thousand trained and disciplined citizens, (every man in Prussia is bred a soldier;) and after one hundred and eighty-seven men on the popular side had been killed, the King yielded, and the nation rushed headlong, from absolute despotism to household suffrage, equal electoral districts, and a single National Assembly. This is just the Cadiz constitution of 1812, which has ever since been the rallying point of the democrats throughout the south of Europe, over again. It was the same at Vienna: the whole affair there was determined in a single day, before intelligence of the commencement of the revolt had reached either Lintz or Presburg. It is ridiculous to talk of these as national movements, or revolutions of the state: they are mere urban tumults, originating in a struggle for the dictatorship in the capital, and decided without the sense of the nation being taken either on the one side or the other.

But, most of all, these Continental revolutions teach a lesson of inestimable importance to the people of this country, and which recent events have so well illustrated, as to the incalculable value of a hereditary order of succession in the government, supported by hereditary respect, and resting on the disinterested loyalty of the people. It is in vain to conceal that it was the fact of its being a usurping government which proved fatal, in the crisis of its fate, to the monarchy of Louis Philippe. He was the King of the Barricades, and how could he withstand the force of the Barricades? It was the same with the government of Robespierre, the Directory, and Napoleon: they were all usurpations, and fell before the power which had created them. They had not taken root in the loyal and generous affections of men. The dynasty of Cromwell perished with himself; Charles II. was restored amidst the unanimous transports of the whole nation. It was the same with the government of Great Britain for long after the Revolution of 1688: it is well known that, during the last years of the reign of Queen Anne, it was almost an open question in both houses of parliament, whether the Stuart line should be restored, or the Hanoverian family, in terms of the Act of Settlement, be called to the throne. The devastating civil wars and bloody contests of the Prætorian Guards with the legions, which stained with blood the annals, and shortened the existence of the Roman empire, may show what is the fate of a great nation which, having cast away the bonds of hereditary loyalty, has nothing to be guided by, in the choice of a ruler, but the blind partiality of armed men, or the corrupted support of interested hirelings. It will be long before either will produce the fidelity of the Scottish Highlanders in 1745, or the glories of La Vendée in 1793. Usurpation of the throne is a sure prelude to endless dissension, national corruption, and endangered freedom. The expulsion of the Tarquins brought Rome to the brink of ruin; its effects were not removed for two centuries. England took nearly a century to recover the effects of the most just and necessary revolution in which[642] men were ever engaged—that which chased James II. from the throne. Our present stability, amidst the fall of so many other governments, is mainly owing to this, that by the long possession of the throne by her ancestors, Queen Victoria unites in her person the two firmest foundations of regal power—a nation's consent, and a nation's loyalty.

If any doubt could exist as to the importance of the barrier which the government of Louis Philippe and the administration of M. Guizot opposed to the torrent of revolutionary anarchy, and the ascendant of selfish ambition, it would be removed by the dreadful nature of the events which have since taken place, or are in progress, in every part of Europe. Never was so clearly demonstrated the incalculable moment of the restraint which religion, law, and order impose on the rapacious and selfish passions of men, or the truth of Hobbes' doctrine that the natural state of man is a state of war. Instantly, as if by magic, the world has been thrown into confusion; and out of the chaos have arisen not the virtuous and benevolent, but the vicious and aggrandising propensities. While "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" are in every mouth, "tyranny, rapacity, enmity" are in every heart. A legion of demons seem to have been suddenly let loose upon the world; the original devil was expelled, but straightway he returned with seven other devils, worse than himself, and the last state was worse than the first. Kings and Kaisars, ministers and generals, demagogues and aristocrats, seem to have become alike seized with the universal contagion. In the general scramble, when society seemed to be breaking up, as in the horrors of a shipwreck or the disasters of a retreat, all subordination has been lost, all sense of rectitude passed away, and the prevailing principle appears to have been to make the most of the crisis to the purpose of separate advantage.

The great parent republic took the lead in this demoniac race. From the very first, its steps were disgraced by rapine and robbery; by the most audacious violation of vested rights, and the most shameful disregard of private interests. The first thing they did was to burn the railway stations, and expel with savage barbarity several thousand inoffensive and industrious English and Belgian labourers and artisans, without their wages or their effects, from the French territory. The next was, to confiscate the savings' banks throughout France—virtually destroying thereby nine-tenths of the accumulated savings of French industry since the peace. The suspension of cash payments soon after lowered the value of all realised property a third. A heavy addition (45 per cent) was imposed on direct taxes: the period of payment anticipated by six months. Fifty millions of francs (£2,000,000) was next exacted from the Bank of France without interest; the "Bons du Trésor Royal" (Exchequer Bills) were thrown overboard; a progressive income-tax is hinted at; and Government have now openly commenced the work of spoliation by seizing upon the Paris and Orleans and Orleans and Vierzon railways, and directing their whole proceeds, averaging 200,000 francs (£8000) a week, to be paid into the public treasury! This is done without a hint at disapprobation, or even an expression of dissent, from the whole press of France. Nay, they have now taken to stopping, like footpads, common travellers, and forcing them to give up their specie in exchange for worthless paper. We doubt if the whole history of mankind contains an account of the perpetration, in so short a time, of so many acts of rapacity, or such an instance of the slavish degradation into which the press has fallen.

Lord Brougham, a great liberal authority in his day, has given, in the House of Peers, the following graphic and characteristic account of the state of France at this time, (April 17,) from which he has just returned:—

"The present condition of Paris, if it continue for any time, would inevitably effect the ruin of that glorious country. Paris governs France, and a handful of the mob govern Paris. He hoped and trusted that they would live to see better times. He hoped that what they now saw passing before their eyes—the general want of credit, the utter impossibility of commerce going on, the complete ruin of trade in the capital and great towns, the expedients to which the Provisional[643] Government finds itself compelled to have recourse day by day to perpetuate its existence, and to make its ephemeral being last—one day taking possession of the banks of deposit to the robbery of the poor—another, stopping the supplies of the rich—a third day stopping travellers for the purpose of taking their money from them (hear, hear, and laughter) at the barriers, upon the ground that the town was in want of cash. He hoped, he said, that they would soon see such an unsettled state of things give way to a more firm form of government. He knew some of those individuals who had severely suffered by these circumstances—(hear, and laughter)—but he should inform their Lordships that he was not here present. (Continued laughter.) Although it was a pity to spoil their merriment, he yet rejoiced in being able to show them that there was not a shadow of foundation for the report which had been circulated respecting himself; when he came to the barrier, the circumstance occurred which had no doubt given rise to the story. He was told that he should stop in order that his baggage might be examined. On requiring further explanation for this conduct, he was informed that the inquiry was sought for for the purpose of seeing whether he had any money. (Laughter.) He had heard a great deal respecting the misgovernment of former rulers, but he had never heard of such a step as this being tolerated. He knew one person from whom they took 200,000 francs, giving him bank paper instead. The state of trade in that country was dreadful—the funds falling suddenly from 70 to 32; the bank stopping, notwithstanding the order for the suspension of cash-payments; the taking possession of one of the railways, with the proceeds, amounting to about £8000 a-week, which were put into Louis Blanc's pocket to be dispensed again according to his peculiar theory. In the same way, it was said, the Provisional Government intended to act with all the other railways. They had, no doubt, a right to do all this, if they pleased, and also, as it was rumoured they intended to do, to seize the bank, and to issue a paper currency to a very large amount. He only hoped that at the meeting of the National Assembly, they would open their eyes to the necessity of taking such steps as to prevent that mischief to which such experiments as these were likely to lead. (Hear, hear.) He believed that the certain result of such a government would be this—that they would be stricken down with imbecility, and would become too weak to perform the ordinary functions of a government. They might struggle on for a time, until some military commander would rise and destroy the Republic, and perhaps plant in its place a military despotism. At this moment he was of opinion that any one general, with 10,000 men, marching into Paris, would have the effect of at once putting an end to the Republic. No man could doubt it. The Belgian ambassador the other day had applied to M. Lamartine for protection; the latter said in reply, he admitted the full right of the ambassador to such protection, but he had not really three men at his disposal. The people in Paris were as uneasy as any persons could be at this state of things, but they have made up their minds to the fact that this experiment of a Republic must be tried; so that France must remain a Republic for some time, whether it be for her advantage or not."—Morning Chronicle, April 13, 1848.

Wretched as this account of the present state of France is, its prospects are if possible still more deplorable. The misery brought on the working-classes by the ruin of commerce, destruction of credit, and flight of the opulent foreigners, is such that it is absolutely sickening to contemplate it. Seventy-five thousand persons are out of employment in Paris alone, which, with the usual number of dependents, must imply two hundred thousand human beings in a state of destitution. The only way of supporting this enormous mass of indigence is by maintaining it as an armed force; and it is said that 200,000 idlers are in this way paid thirty sous a-day to keep them from plundering the capital! But the resources of no country, far less one shipwrecked in capital, trade, and industry, can withstand such a strain. The following is one of the latest accounts of the financial and social condition of France, by an able observer on the spot:—

"The time is now fast approaching when the pecuniary resources left in the treasury at the revolution will be exhausted. The old loan has ceased to be paid up. The new loan remains a barren failure. The regular taxes are paid with reluctance, and are not paid beforehand except in Paris. The additional impost of 45 centimes (near 50 per cent on the direct taxes) is positively refused as illegal by the rural districts and provincial cities. The stock of bullion in the Bank of France decreases, and, in short, the progress of financial ruin goes steadily on. We pointed out some weeks ago the[644] exact and inevitable course of this decline, and we now read in a French journal of repute the precise confirmation of our predictions:—'We are now,' says the Journal des Debats, 'but two steps removed from a complete system of paper-money; and if we enter on that system, we shall not get out of it again short of the total ruin of private persons and of the state, after having passed through the most rigorous distress; for it would be the suspension of production and of exchange.' The plan proposed, though not yet sanctioned by the Provisional Government, seems to be a general seizure and incorporation with the state of all the great financial and trading companies, such as the Bank of France, the railways, the canals, mines, &c., and the issue of a vast amount of paper by the state on the alleged credit of this property—in short, a pure inconvertible system of assignats. Monstrous as such a proposal appears, we are inclined to think that the rapid disappearance of the precious metals will render some such scheme inevitable, and it will be the form given to the bankruptcy and ruin of the nation."—Times, 14th April.

In the midst of these woful circumstances, the Provisional Government does not for a moment intermit in the inflaming the public mind by the most fallacious and false promises of boundless future prosperity from the adherence to republican principles, and the return of stanch republicans to the approaching assembly. In the same able journal it is observed,—

"We have now before us a handbill entitled the Bulletin de la Republique, and printed on white paper, the distinctive mark of official proclamations, headed, moreover, with the words "Ministère de l'Intérieur." This document is one of those semi-officially circulated, as we understand, by M. Ledru Rollin, for the purpose of exciting the Republican party. A more disastrous appeal to popular passions, and a more delusive pledge to remedy all human sufferings, we never read; for after having laid to the charge of existing laws all the miseries of a poor man's lot, heightened by inflammatory description, the working classes are told that 'henceforth society will give them employment, food, instruction, honour, air, and daylight. It will watch over the preservation of their lives, their health, their intelligence, their dignity. It will give asylum to the aged, work for their hands, confidence to their hearts, and rest to their nights. It will watch over the virtue of their daughters, the requisite provision for their children, and the obsequies of the dead.' In a word, this exceptional and transitory power, whose very form and existence are still undefined, announces some necromantic method of interposing between man and all the laws of his existence on this globe—of suspending the principles of human nature, as it has already done those of society—and of changing the whole aspect of human life. No delusions can be so enormous: the word is too good for them—they are frauds; and these frauds are put forward by men who know well enough that the effect of the present crisis already is, and will be much more hereafter, to plunge the very classes to whom these promises are made into the lowest depths of human suffering."—Times, 14th April.

One of the most instructive facts as to the ruinous effect of the late Revolution on the best interests of French industry, is to be found in the progressive and rapid decline in the value of all French securities, public and private, since it took place. It distinctly appears that two-thirds of the capital of France has been destroyed since the Revolution, in the short space of six weeks! Attend to the fall in the value of the public funds during that brief but disastrous period:—

French 3 per cents.                                         5 per cents.
Fr. Ct.                                                 Fr. Ct.
18257635July 231817690July 29
18298616Dec. 518219060Nov. 2
18308535Jan. 181822950Sept. 5
18317050Dec. 2182410480Feb. 5
18348550Nov. 3018281090Sept. 4
18408665July 22182911065Mar. 4
18448565Dec. 2218319830Dec. 15
18458640May 20183511036Feb. 4
1846850Feb. 2818371110Sept. 5
18478030Jan. 218411175Sept. 4
1848470Mar. 15184412630Mar. 4
18484127Mar. 28184711940Feb. 22
18483567April 1184811675Feb. 22
18483464April 518489750{fell to 80 Mar. 7.}
18483310April 1418486580April 2
    1848510April 12

La Presse, March 12, and Times since that date.

The value of railway stock and bank shares has declined in a still more alarming proportion. Bank shares, which in 1824 sold for 3400 francs, are now selling at 900 francs—or little more than A FOURTH of their former value. Railway stock is unsaleable, being marked out for immediate confiscation. Taking one kind of stock with another, it may safely be affirmed[645] that TWO-THIRDS of the capital of France has perished since the Revolution, in the short space of seven weeks. The fruit of thirty-three years' peace, hard labour, and penurious saving, has disappeared in seven weeks of anarchical transports!! Of course, the means of employing the people have declined in the same proportion; for where credit is annihilated, how is industry to be maintained, before its produce comes in, but by realised capital? How is its produce to be disposed of if two-thirds of the classes possessed of property have been rendered bankrupt? Already this difficulty has been experienced in France. The Paris papers of 13th April announce that seventy-five thousand persons will be employed at the "ateliers Nationaux," or public workshops, at 30 sous a-day, in the end of April—at a cost of 112,500 francs a-day, or 3,375,000 francs, (£150,000) a-month. This is in addition to an armed force of above 100,000 men, paid for the most part two francs a-day for doing nothing. No exchequer in the world can stand such a strain; far less that of a bankrupt and revolutionised country like France. It is no wonder that the French funds are down at 32, and an issue of assignats—in other words, the open and avowed destruction of all realised property—is seriously contemplated.

This is exactly the condition to which France was brought during the Reign of Terror, when the whole inhabitants of Paris fell as a burden on the government, and the cost of the 680,000 rations daily issued to them, exceeded that of the fourteen armies which combated on the frontiers for the Republic. In those days the misery in Paris, the result of the Revolution, was so extreme, that the bakers' shops were besieged day and night without intermission by a famishing crowd; and the unhappy applicants were kept all night waiting during a severe frost, with a rope in their hands, and the thermometer often down at 5° Fahrenheit, to secure their place for the distribution when the doors were opened. There is nothing new in the condition of France and Paris at this time: it has been seen and experienced in every age of the world; it has been familiar to the East for three thousand years. The principle that the state is the universal proprietor, the middle class the employés of government, and the labouring class the servants of the state, is exactly the oriental system of government. It is just the satraps and fellahs of Persia—the mandarins and peasants of China—the zemindars and ryots of Hindostan over again. Exact parallels to the armed and insolent rabble who now lord it over Paris, and through it over France, may be found in the Prætorians of Rome—the Mamelukes of Egypt—the Janissaries of Constantinople. The visions of perfectibility and utopian projects of Louis Blanc, Lamartine, and Ledru Rollin, have already landed the social interests of France in the straits of the Reign of Terror—its practical government in the armed despotism of the Algerine pirates, or the turbulent sway of the Sikh soldiery.

But the contagion of violence, the ascendant of ambition, the lust of rapine have not been confined to the armed janissaries of Paris, or their delegates the Provisional Government. They have extended to other countries: they have spread to other states. They have infected governments as well as their subjects; they have disgraced the throne as well as the workshop. Wherever a revolution has been successful, and liberal governments have been installed, there a system of foreign aggression has instantly commenced. The first thing which the revolutionary government of Piedmont did, was to invade Lombardy, and drive the Austrian armies beyond the Po; the first exploit of constitutional Prussia, to pour into Sleswig to spoliate Denmark. Open preparations for revolutionising Lithuania are made in the grand-duchy of Posen. A war has already commenced on the Po and the Elbe; it is imminent on the Vistula. Lamartine's reply to the Italian deputation proves that France is prepared, on the least reverse to the Sardinian arms, to throw her sword into the scale; his conduct in permitting an armed rabble to set out from Paris to invade Belgium, and another from Lyons to revolutionise Savoy, that the extension of the frontier of France to the Rhine and the Alps is still the[646] favourite project of the French republic. If he declines to do so, the armed prætorians of Paris will soon find another foreign minister who will. France has 600,000 men in arms: Austria 500,000: 150,000 Russians will soon be on the Vistula. Hardly was uttered Mr Cobden's memorable prophecy of the approach of a pacific millennium, and a universal turning of swords into spinning-jennies, when the dogs of war were let slip in every quarter of Europe. Hardly was M. Lamartine's hymn of "liberty, equality, fraternity," chanted, when the reign of internal spoliation and external violence commenced in France, and rapidly extended as far as its influence was felt throughout the world.

"And this, too, shall pass away." The reign of injustice is not eternal: it defeats itself by its own excesses: the avenging angel is found in the human heart. In the darkest days of humanity, this great law of nature is unceasingly acting, and preparing in silence the renovation of the world. It will bring about the downfall of the prætorian bands who now rule France, as it brought about the overthrow of Robespierre, the fall of Napoleon. The revolutionary tempest which is now sweeping over Europe cannot long continue. The good sense of men will reassume its sway after having violently reeled: the feelings of religion and morality will come up to the rescue of the best interests of humanity: the generous will yet combat the selfish feelings: the spirit of heaven will rise up against that of hell. It is in the eternal warfare between these opposite principles, that the true secret of the whole history of mankind is to be found: in the alternate triumph of the one and the other, that the clearest demonstration is to be discerned of the perpetual struggle between the noble and generous and selfish and corrupt desires which for ever actuate the heart of man.

"To rouse effort by the language of virtue," says Mr Alison, "and direct it to the purposes of vice, is the great art of revolution." What a commentary on these words have recent events afforded! Judging by the language of the revolutionists, they are angels descended upon earth. Nothing but gentleness, justice, philanthropy is to be seen in their expressions: nothing but liberty, equality, fraternity in their maxims. Astræa appears to have returned to the world: the lion and the kid have lain down together—Justice and Mercy have kissed each other. Judging by their actions, a more dangerous set of ruffians never obtained the direction of human affairs: justice was never more shamelessly set at nought in measures, robbery never more openly perpetrated by power. Their whole career has been one uninterrupted invasion of private rights; their whole power is founded on continual tribute to the selfish desire of individual aggrandisement among their followers. We do not ascribe this deplorable contrast between words and actions to any peculiar profligacy or want of conscience in the Provisional Government. Some of them are men of powerful intellect or fine genius; all, we believe, are sincere and well-meaning men. But "Hell is paved with good intentions." They are pushed on by a famishing crowd in their rear, whom they are alike unable to restrain or to feed. They are fanatics, and fanatics of the most dangerous kind—devout believers in human perfectibility, credulous assertors of the natural innocence of man. Thence their enormous error—thence the enormous evils they have brought upon the world—thence the incalculable importance of the great experimentum crucis as to the justice of these principles which is now taking place upon the earth.

To give one instance, among many, of the way in which these regenerators of society proceed to spoliate their neighbours, it is instructive to refer to the proposals officially promulgated by the Provisional Government, in their interview with the railway proprietors of France, whom, by one sweeping act, it was proposed to "absorb" into the state. The Minister of the Interior stated that it was proposed to "purchase" the shares of the proprietors; and the word "purchase" sounded well, and was doubtless a balm to many a quaking heart, expecting unqualified confiscation. But he soon explained what sort of "purchase" it was which was in contemplation. He said[647] that it was the intention of Government to "absorb" all the railway shares throughout France; to take the shares at the current price in the market, and give the proprietors not money but rentes, or public securities, to the same amount! That is, having first, by means of the revolution, lowered the current value of railway stock to a twentieth, or, in some cases, a fiftieth part of what it was previous to that convulsion, they next proceed to estimate it at that depreciated value, and then pay the unhappy holders, not in cash, but in Government securities, themselves lowered to a third of their value, and perhaps ere long worth nothing. A more shameful instance of spoliation, veiled under the fine names of "absorption," centralisation, and the like, never was heard of; but the Minister of the Interior had two conclusive arguments to adduce on the subject. Some of the railway lines at least were "paying concerns," and the republic must have cash; and all of them afforded work for the labouring classes, and Government must find employment for the unemployed.

To such a length have these communist and socialist projects proceeded in Paris, that a great effort of all the holders of property was deemed indispensable to arrest them. The effort was made on Monday, 17th April; but it is hard to say whether the dreaded evils or the boasted demonstration were most perilous, or most descriptive of the present social condition of the French capital. Was it by argument in the public journals, or by influencing the electors for the approaching Assembly, or even by discussion at the Clubs, as in the days of the Jacobins and the Cordeliers, that the thing was done? Quite the reverse: it was effected by a demonstration of physical strength. They took a leaf out of the book of the Chartists—they copied the processions of the Janissaries in the Atmeidan of Constantinople. The National Guard, two hundred and twenty thousand strong, mustered on the streets of Paris: they shouted out, "A bas les Communistes!"—"A bas Blanqui!"—"Vive le Gouvernement Provisoire!" and the Parisians flattered themselves the thing was done. Is not the remedy worse than the disease? What were fifteen thousand unarmed workmen spouting socialist speeches in the Champs de Mars to 200,000 armed National Guards, dictating their commands alike to the Provisional Government and the National Assembly! Was ever a capital handed over to such a lusty band of metropolitan janissaries? What chance is there of freedom of deliberation in the future Assembly in presence of such formidable spectators in the galleries? Already M. Ledru Rollin is calculating on their ascendancy. Like all persons engaged in a successful insurrection—in other words, who have been guilty of treason—he is haunted by a continual, and in the circumstances ridiculous, dread of a counter-revolution; and in his circular of 15th April, he openly avows the principle that Paris is the soul of France; that it is the advanced guard of Freedom, not for itself alone, but the whole earth; and that the departments must not think of gainsaying the will of their sovereign leaders, or making the cause retrograde, in which all nations are finally to be blessed.

The account of this extraordinary demonstration, given in the Paris correspondence of the Times of 19th April, is so characteristic and graphic, that we cannot forbear the satisfaction of laying it before our readers. It recalls the preludes to the worst days of the first Revolution.

"Ever since the appearance of this bold defiance to the moderate majority in the Provisional Government, and its announcement that 'the gauntlet was thrown down—the death-struggle was at hand,' the city has naturally been in a state of subdued ferment. Various reports, some of the most extravagant kind, were circulated from mouth to mouth. It was said that the majority of the members of the Government intended retreating to the Tuileries, and fortifying their position—that a collision between the violent and moderate parties was imminent—that the Ultras, led by Blanqui, were to profit by a new manifestation in favour of a further delay in the general elections, and against the admission of the military into the city upon the occasion of the great fraternisation fete, in order to upset the moderate party in the Government; in fine, that Ledru Rollin, with two or three of his colleagues, was instigating, aiding, and abetting Blanqui in this movement[648] to get rid of that majority of his other colleagues that thwarted his designs. Whatever the truth of all these rumours, the alarm was general. It soon became generally known that a monster meeting of the working classes was to be held in the Champ de Mars on the Sunday, and that Messrs Louis Blanc and Albert, instigated, it was said, by the Minister of the Interior, had convoked this assembly. The Ultra party, it was added, designed to make use of this manifestation in order to forward the schemes already mentioned. This was the state of things on Sunday morning. In the Champ de Mars, a little after noon, the scene was certainly an exciting one. Delegates of all the trades and guilds of Paris were assembled, to the number of nearly 100,000 men. Banners were waving in all directions, and the fermenting crowd filled about a third of the vast space of the plain. It was with difficulty that an explanation could be obtained of the real object of the meeting. Its ostensible object, however, appeared to be the election from among the working classes of fourteen officers for the staff of the National Guard; although other motives, such as the choice of candidates among them for the general elections, and various deputations to the Government upon various matters connected with the endless organisation of work, were also put forward. There is every reason to believe that the greater part of the meeting had in reality no other object in view, and that the other secret intrigues fomented by the Blanqui party were confined, at all events, to but a chosen few. About two o'clock the monster procession began to move towards the Hotel de Ville. Along the outer boulevards, along the esplanade of the Invalides, over the Pont de la Concorde, and along the quays, it moved on, like a huge serpent, bristling with tricoloured banners. The head of the monster appeared to have nearly reached its destination before the tail had fully left the Champ de Mars. In passing through the Faubourg St Germain, I found the rappel beating in every street; the National Guards were hurrying to their places of meeting, columns were marching forward; in every mouth was the cry that the Provisional Government was in danger from the anarchists of the Ultra party.

On reaching the quays, I found every thing in a state of revolution. They were already lined, literally from one end to the other, by files of the National Guards; other battalions were advancing towards the Hotel de Ville; the legions of the Garde Mobile were hurrying in the same direction, and seemed, as far as I could judge, animated by the same spirit of resistance as the National Guards to the supposed coup-de-main expected to be directed against the majority of the Government. It was with difficulty that the advancing legions could proceed along with the monster procession, which seemed surprised and stupified by the force displayed. Thousands upon thousands of spectators crowded the long thoroughfare also, all endeavouring to push on to the scene of action. I reached at last the Place de l'Hotel de Ville; it appeared a very sea of bayonets; a small space only was left for the passage of the procession. The force of the armed citizens of the National Guards and the Garde Mobile made certainly a tremendous show. In this state matters remained upon the Place for about four hours, during which the members of the Government were employed probably in receiving the delegates of the monster meeting of the working classes. From time to time, however, when they appeared at the windows of the old building, shouts were raised by the Guards, and the caps, hats, shakos, képys, and all the other variations of coiffure, that suddenly burst up, like a forest, into the air upon every bayonet point, had a most singular effect. This was repeated continually. During the whole of this long scene, in which such of the armed force as filled the Place kept its position, the ferment among the surrounding crowd was intense. Several hommes du peuple were in a very angry and excited state; they declared that the working classes were insulted by this demonstration of the National Guards; that the National Guards were the enemies of the people; that the people must rise once more against them, &c. The cry against the Moderates was raised under the name of "reactionaires" and "faux republicains;" the counter cry was "anarchie" and "communisme." Several times the angry parties among the spectators were on the point of coming to blows, and much hustling took place. This state of things remained the same when I left the Place de l'Hotel de Ville at six o'clock. In addition to the lines of National Guards that still occupied the quays, battalions after battalions of the different legions were still pouring along towards the Hotel de Ville even at that hour. The advancing columns reached through the Place du Carrousel far upon the Rue de Rivoli. They were hurrying on as quickly as the intense press permitted them, shouting almost universally, "A bas les Anarchistes!" or more commonly, for that was the real rallying cry,[649] "A bas les Communistes!" General Courtais, with his staff, was riding up and down among the advancing ranks, declaring, as far as I could hear, that the Government was no longer in danger, but thanking them for this demonstration of their desire to support it.—Times, 19th April.

On the following night, (Monday 17,) attacks were made by the Communists on the Treasury, the Hotel de Ville, and several other posts; but they were defeated by the National Guard.

It thus appears that the Provisional Government, before it has been seven weeks in office, is already passed in the career of revolution by a force from below! It is fain to summon the National Guard for its protection, and to receive the petitions of the proletaires and ouvriers from the Champ de Mars, surrounded not by the love of the people, but the bayonets of sixty thousand National Guards grouped round the Hotel de Ville! Insane projects of communism, and the division of all profits among the workmen, without leaving any thing for the profits of stock, have made such progress among them, that in a few weeks the Provisional Government is accused of imitating the conduct of Louis Philippe, because they do not forthwith adopt these without limitation, and are significantly warned to avoid his fate. It is evident that the destiny of the whole civilised world is wound up with allowing these communist ideas in France to run their course unmolested, and work out their appropriate and inevitable fruits.

We anticipate no good from the revolution in Prussia. We are well aware, indeed, of the intelligence and energy of that gallant people. We know that her inhabitants are the most highly educated of any people in Europe, and second to none in patriotism and spirit. Prussia is capable, in good time, and from her own exertions, of working out the elements of constitutional freedom. But we distrust all revolutions brought about by example. Contagion never yet spread the spirit of real freedom: foreign imitation may for a while overthrow existing governments, but it cannot establish new ones in their stead on a durable foundation. The Republic of Rienzi, who, according to the fine expression of Madame de Stael, "mistook recollections for hopes," perished in a few years without leaving a wreck behind. Where are now the Batavian, Cisalpine, Ligurian, and Parthenopeian Republics, which arose during the fervour of the first Revolution around the great parent Republic? What has been the result of the revolutionary mania which in 1820 threw down the established government in Piedmont, Naples, Spain, or Portugal? What has become of the Republics of South America, which borrowed their institutions from the French or Spanish model? Has any one of these countries obtained real freedom in consequence of their exertions? Have they not all, on the contrary, suffered dreadfully, and in nothing so much as their capacity for liberty, from their effects? Has not capital been so abridged, industry so blighted, security so endangered, violence so general, that the cause of freedom has been postponed for centuries, if not rendered entirely hopeless, from the triumph of foreign imported liberalism? Whatever it may effect elsewhere, free-trade in revolutions does nothing but evil in society. Nothing but what is of home growth, in constitutions at least, can succeed there. It is difficult enough to make the tree of liberty prosper even where it is indigenous in the earth; but who ever heard of a transplanted tree of liberty thriving in the soil to which it was transferred?

Already all the usual and well-known effects of successful revolution are to be seen in Berlin. Extravagant ideas among the working classes,—visions of unbounded felicity in all. Hopes that can never be realised,—expectations inconsistent with the first laws of society. In the midst of this chaos of excitement, transports, and chimerical projects, have come the inevitable attendants on such an assault on the established interests and order of society,—shaken credit, frequent bankruptcy, diminished employment, a falling revenue, augmented discontent, foreign warfare, general suffering. These effects follow so universally and invariably from the triumph of Revolution, that they may be fairly[650] set down as its inevitable results. It is in the midst of this scene of danger, excitement, and tribulation, that Prussia, without the least previous preparation for it, is to plunge at once into universal suffrage, equal electoral districts, and a deputy for every 50,000 souls! England, with its centuries of freedom, cautious habits, realised wealth, and opulent middle classes, could not withstand such a constitution. The abolition of the national debt, of the house of peers, and a division of property, would follow from it in three months. What, then, is to be expected from Prussia, which, so far from having served an apprenticeship to freedom, is not yet entered with the craft?

So strange and sudden has been the revolt at Vienna, that it is scarcely possible to conceive that it can be of lasting effects. The framework of society there, the habits of the people, the ideas prevalent among them, are essentially aristocratic. The change in the government was entirely the work of a few thousand ardent students and discontented burghers in the capital. There is no material suffering in the Austrian provinces: Chartism is not there, as here, fanned by the misery produced by free-trade and a contracted currency. In these circumstances, it is not unlikely that, after the first blush of the insurrection is over, and men begin to consider in what respect they have benefited by it, there will be a general inclination to return to the former government. Probably a few concessions—as of a national Diet, where the wants of the country may be made known by a majority, still composed of nobles and landed proprietors—will satisfy the general wish. Old feelings will revive, old ideas return, old habits retain their ascendancy; foreign warfare will make the national supersede the social passions. It will be with them as was said of the first French Revolution in La Vendée,—giving privileges to the people is like casting water on a higher level—it speedily finds its way to the lower. The Revolution of 1848 in Vienna will be—like that of Jack Cade in England, or Rienzi in Italy, and all similar movements in countries not prepared for them—a brief and painful effort which leaves not a trace behind. But this much may without the least hesitation be predicted. If this return to old feelings and habits does not take place—and Austria, with its various races, provinces, and interests, and accustomed submission to authority, is really revolutionised, its power will be annihilated, its provinces partitioned, its people enslaved, its happiness destroyed, and a fatal breach made in the great Germanic barrier which separates French Insurrection from Russian Absolutism.

What a contrast to the storms which now agitate and have so profoundly shaken the Continental states does the aspect of Great Britain at the same period afford? We, too, have our dangers: we have our Chartists and our Repealers: the whole force of revolution in this island, and of insurrection in the neighbouring one, have been directed to assail and overturn the constitution. This treasonable attempt, too, has been made at a time of all others most likely to give it success: when the ruinous dogmas of free-trade had paralysed industry, and of a gold currency had shattered it; when bankruptcies to an unheard of extent had shaken commerce to its centre, and an unexampled number of persons in all the manufacturing districts were thrown out of employment. Yet even in these, the most favourable of all circumstances for the success of sedition, when real and wide-spread internal suffering is aggravated by vehement external excitement, how has it fared with the revolutionists? Their treasonable designs have been every where met with calm resolution by the Government and the country; and with scarce any effusion of blood, without a contest which can be dignified with the name of rebellion, without a single execution, as yet at least, on the scaffold, their designs have been rendered abortive. The Press has stood nobly forward on this momentous crisis; and to its ability and truly patriotic spirit, the defeat of the disaffected, without bloodshed, is mainly to be ascribed. England has shown one instance at least of an empire saved by the unbought loyalty of her people and the free independence of her Press. The metropolis has set[651] a splendid example of mingled patriotism and firmness: and Europe, which expected to see the treason of the Chartists triumphant on the 10th of April, and another republic, proclaimed on the banks of the Thames, was astonished to behold their boasted multitudes shrink from a contest with six thousand soldiers supported by an equal number of police. Beyond all question, it was the glorious display of public spirit then made by the middle and higher classes, who came forward to a man to defend the cause of order, which paralysed the audacity of the revolutionists, and saved the empire from the horrors of hopeless indeed, but in any event disastrous, civil warfare.

The following observations by a distinguished journal, long known for its able and intrepid defence of the cause of religion and order, put this memorable event in its true light:—

"The eleventh of April, in the year 1848, has arrived, and the United Kingdom is still a monarchy. The day, the great day, which was to revolutionise the nation, and to establish a republic on the French model, has passed over, and we find no change. The Parliament sits at its ease as heretofore; the courts of law administer justice as heretofore; and the officers of the executive are transacting the business of the Government without molestation. All other business, too, is proceeding in its ordinary course.

"A better means of estimating the strength of the Chartists than has yet been afforded, was afforded by the exhibition yesterday on Kennington Common. The five millions and a half mustered 10,000, or, to take the highest estimate, 15,000. It may be said that these were the Chartists of London and its neighbourhood; but though we have shown that this is not the fact, let it be so,—London and its neighbourhood comprise a population of two millions, giving five hundred thousand men of military age. Of these, then, but 15,000 at most—we say but 10,000—are Chartists: 1 in 500 according to our estimate, 1 in about 330 according to the higher estimate of the number on the common.

"Let us now turn to the more pleasing side of yesterday's proceedings; and let us, in the first place, acknowledge the true fountain of domestic peace, and of every other blessing—'Unless the Lord keepeth the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.' To the bounty of Divine Providence we owe it, that this morning we arise in peace to pursue our peaceful occupations. May we not add, with humility, that to the Giver of all good we owe the honour that the metropolis of England has won, in setting to the world an example of a peaceful victory over the worst spirit of rebellion, encouraged by the triumph of rebellion in almost every other capital of Europe. Yes, it is to Him, and to the teaching of His word, the glory is due.

"We have told the number of Chartists; now what was the number of special constables?—Two hundred thousand; the Morning Chronicle says, we believe truly, two hundred and fifty thousand—no sickly spectres, like those whose perverse activity summoned them from their usual avocations, but the manhood of the metropolis, from the high-spirited nobility and gentry downward, through all the gradations of society, to the strong-armed artisan, and the robust drayman or coal-whipper. Yes, the special constables enrolled yesterday presented a body for spirit, strength, and number, not to be matched, out of Great Britain, on the face of the earth. How truly did we say a few weeks ago, that every Sunday saw meekly kneeling in the churches of the metropolis a body of men that could laugh to scorn the assault of any enemy, foreign or domestic, that could by possibility be brought to confront them. These men look for spirit, and strength, and safety in the right quarter, and they themselves yesterday exhibited the proof.

"The military preparations of the Government were prudent, as providing against the danger of local success on the part of the enemies of order, but it is plain that they did not operate by terror, for a soldier was not to be seen; it was the little staff of the special constable that quelled sedition, and it is right that this should be known to all our foreign enemies, and to domestic traitors, as proof beyond all doubt that the people of England are firmly united in defence of their constitution."—Standard, April 11.

That the Chartists fully expected a Revolution to be effected in London that day is decisively proved by their conduct in the provinces. At Glasgow, a placard appeared, headed

Revolution in London;"

and invited the people to be ready to come out by their thousands and tens of thousands, the moment farther intelligence was received. The "absorption" of the Electric Telegraph by Government was a sad blow to them, for it left them at a loss how to act.[652]

It is impossible to exaggerate the moral guilt of the movement thus happily defeated by the firmness of the Government and the loyalty of the immense majority of the people. Situated as the Continent now is—with capital destroyed and credit ruined in France; war imminent, and commerce paralysed in Germany; and hostilities actually raging in Italy, it is evident that Great Britain, if secure of internal tranquillity, may again, as during the war, become the workshop and emporium of the world. Secure within her sea-girt shores, protected alike by her fleets, her armies, her past renown and present spirit, she, has advantages during such a strife which no other country possesses, provided she does not throw them away by her own insanity. But this the proceedings of the Chartists and Repealers are precisely calculated to do. Had the London demonstration turned out successful, these prospects would have been utterly ruined, credit destroyed here as it has been in France, and the misery of the people augmented to a degree never, perhaps, before witnessed in modern Europe. Every Chartist meeting, by prolonging the period of distrust, by checking the return of confidence, by preventing the outlay of capital, postpones the restoration of prosperity by a certain period. As long as they continue, trade never can revive, industry must continue to languish, poverty to increase, suffering to be prolonged, woe to be augmented. What, then, is the guilt of those who, for their own selfish purposes, or to gratify a senseless vanity, prolong an agitation fraught with such disastrous consequences—retain the people, in whom they profess to be interested, steeped in such misery—and avert, when about to set in, the returning flood of prosperity to their country?

The French journalists, in the interest of revolution, are loud in their condemnation of the apathy, as they call it, of the great bulk of the English nation on this occasion, and express their astonishment that the Chartists, for some reason they cannot understand, shrank from a contest with the Government, under circumstances which gave them, as they think, every prospect of success. We will tell them the reason—which is not the less true, that it may not be altogether pleasing to their vanity: The English are major and they are minor; the English are men and they are schoolboys. We, too, have had our dreams of communism, but they were brought forward by Jack Cade in the days of Richard II.; we, too, have indulged in social aspirations, but it was in the days of the Fifth-Monarchy Men, and they ended in the despotism of Cromwell. It is very well for schoolboys and juvenile academicians to indulge in extravagant freaks suited to their years; but they do not become bearded veterans. When England became a man, she put away childish things. France, by the spoliations and destruction of the first Revolution, has lost the elements of freedom. But Germany yet possesses them; and if she does not abuse her advantages, in two hundred years she may possess the mingled freedom and stability which now constitute at once the glory and happiness of England. It requires that time to be free of the craft of liberty; there is no royal road to freedom any more than geometry. England has preceded other nations by two centuries in this glorious path; it would ill suit the masters to recede, and imitate the follies of such as are only becoming tyros in the attempt to follow it. Those who have long ago reached the summit, and know with what difficulty it was attained, can afford to smile at the young aspirants who invite them to descend and renew the toil of the ascent. Those who have spread political power with safety over a million of pacific electors diffused over a whole empire, have no occasion to imitate the example of those who would establish despotic power in the hands of two hundred thousand armed Janissaries of a single capital.

Printed by William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh.


[1] "We talked sad rubbish when we first began," says Mr Cobden in one of his speeches.

[2] Reports of the Commissioners of Inquiry into the State of Education in Wales, appointed by the Committee of Council on Education. Parts I. II. III. 1847.

[3] This, it will be understood, does not apply to Scotland,—where education has been a very popular interest for nearly two centuries back.

[4] This sketch is derived partly from the note-book, and partly from the conversation, of a young German, now living upon a small estate near Barèges in the Upper Pyrenees.

[5] Histoire de la Conquête de Naples par Charles d'Anjou, frère de St Louis. Par le Comte Alexis de St Priest, Pair de France. 4 vols. 8vo. Paris, 1848. Vol. iv.

[6] "Is it true that virgins, torn from their mothers' arms, were the habitual victims of the conqueror's brutality?... Is it true that, when a Frenchman met a Sicilian on horseback, he made him dismount, and forced him to follow upon foot, however long the road? Is it true, that the foreigners could not find themselves with the people of the country without insulting them with the odious name of Patarins, an insult which the Sicilians repaid with usury, by styling them Ferracani?"—St Priest, vol. iv. pp. 23, 24.

[7] Since augmented into the Latin line—

"Quod placuit Siculis, sola Sperlinga negavit."

[8] The death of Cardinal Richelieu offers a singular resemblance with that of Charles of Anjou. Having demanded the Viaticum: "Here is my Lord and my God," he exclaimed; "before him I protest that in all I have undertaken, I have had nothing in view but the good of religion and of the state."—St Priest, vol. iv. p. 165.

[9] Procida died at an advanced old age, in his native province of Salerno, reconciled with the Pope and with the King of Naples, at enmity with Sicily, and re-established in his possessions by Charles II.—St Priest, vol. iv. p. 172.

[10] "It is at this time (the moment when Charles of Anjou raised the siege of Messina) that estimable, but second-rate historians place the pretended adventure of a French chevalier of the name of Clermont, to whose wife, they say, Charles of Anjou had offered violence. They add, that, after revenging himself by a similar outrage to one of the king's daughters, this French knight fled to Sicily, where he founded the powerful house of Chiaromonte, Counts of Modica." (St Priest, vol. iv. p. 104.) M. de St Priest disbelieves this anecdote, which is certainly inconsistent with the character for rigid morality and chastity he assigns to his hero.

[11] Raymond's Reports, 474.

[12] Pitcairn, ii. 428.

[13] Forbes's Journal of the Session, preface, p. xviii.

[14] Balfour's Brieffe Memorials of Church and State, 18.

[15] Balfour's Brieffe Memorials of Church and State, 18.

[16] Culloden Papers, 118.

[17] Burt's Letters from the North of Scotland, 5th Edit., i. 50.

[18] New Statistical Account, Aberdeen, 1054.

[19] Life and various Vicissitudes of Peter Williamson.

[20] Book of Bon Accord, 90.

[21] Kennedy's Annals of Aberdeen, i. 296.

[22] A representation of it will be found in the Scots Magazine for 1762, p. 404.

[23] This advertisement, with other curious newspaper-scraps regarding Williamson, is preserved in the biographical notices of Kay's Portraits, i. 137.

[24] As this paper was being printed, we were struck with the coincidence between the general idea contained in it and two striking articles in the Times newspaper. We know that the writer of the present article had not, when he wrote it, seen the articles in the Times. But these views, in our opinion, cannot be too often impressed on the attention of the reflecting portion of the Irish people.

Transcriber's note:

Page 553: The transcriber has divided the large table into two sections.

Page 596: No closing quotation mark was provided in the original. 'were "the immediate raising of the siege, and return of the army to the Continent; ...'

Page 636: "she used a word vernacularly employed to signify the stripping birds of their fathers." 'fathers' has been replaced with 'feathers'.

The chapter title "THE CAXTONS" has two consecutive chapters entitled Chapter IX.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume
63, No. 391, May, 1848, by Various


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