The Project Gutenberg EBook of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Vol. 65,
No. 400, February, 1849, by Various

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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Vol. 65, No. 400, February, 1849

Author: Various

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Language: English

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No. CCCC.        FEBRUARY, 1849.        Vol. LXV.


Caucasus and the Cossacks,129
The Caxtons. Part X.,147
Statistical Accounts of Scotland,162
The Poetry of Sacred and Legendary Art,175
American Thoughts on European Revolutions,190
Dalmatia and Montenegro,202
Modern Biography.—Beattie's Life of Campbell,219
The English Universities and their Reforms,235
The Covenanters' Night-Hymn. By Delta,244
The Carlists in Catalonia,248





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






No. CCCC.      FEBRUARY, 1849.      Vol. LXV.


Der Kaukasus und das Land der Kosaken in den Jahren 1843 bis 1846. Von Moritz Wagner. 2 vols. Dresden und Leipzig, 1848.

A handful of men, frugal, hardy, and valiant, successfully defending their barren mountains and dearly-won independence against the reiterated assaults of a mighty neighbour, offer, apart from political considerations, a deeply interesting spectacle. When, upon a map of the world's eastern hemisphere, we behold, not far from its centre, on the confines of barbarism and civilisation, a spot, black with mountains, and marked "Circassia;" when we contrast this petty nook with the vast territory stretching from the Black Sea to the Northern Ocean, from the Baltic to Behring's Straits, we admire and wonder at the inflexible resolution and determined gallantry that have so long borne up against the aggressive ambition, iron will, and immense resources of a czar. Sixty millions against six hundred thousand—a hundred to one, a whole squadron against a single cavalier, a colossus opposed to a pigmy—these are the odds at issue. It seems impossible that such a contest can long endure. Yet it has lasted twenty years, and still the dwarf resists subjugation, and contrives, at intervals, to inflict severe punishment upon his gigantic adversary. There is something strangely exciting in the contemplation of so brave a struggle. Its interest is far superior to that of any of the "little wars" in which Europe, since 1815, has evaporated her superabundant pugnacity. African raids and Spanish skirmishes are pale affairs contrasted with the dashing onslaughts of the intrepid Circassians. And, in other respects than its heroism, this contest merits attention. As an important section of the huge mountain-dyke, opposed by nature to the south-eastern extension of the Russian empire, Circassia is not to be overlooked. On the rugged peaks and in the deep valleys of the Caucasus, her fearless warriors stand, the vedettes of southern Asia, a living barrier to the forward flight of the double eagle.

Matters of pressing interest, nearer home, have diverted public attention from the warlike Circassians, whose independent spirit and unflinching bravery deserves better than even temporary oblivion. Not in our day only have they distinguished themselves in freedom's fight. Surrounded by powerful and encroaching potentates, their history, for the last five hundred years, records constant struggles against oppression. Often conquered, they never were fully subdued. Their obscure chronicles are illumined by flashes of patriotism and heroic courage. Early in the fifteenth century, they conquered their freedom from the Georgian yoke. Then came long wars with the Tartars, who could[130] hardly, perhaps, be considered the aggressors, the Circassians having overstepped their mountain limits, and spread over the plains adjacent to the Sea of Azov. In 1555, the Russian grand-duke, Ivan Vasilivitch, pressed forward to Tarki upon the Caspian, where he placed a garrison. A Circassian tribe submitted to him; he married the daughter of one of their princes, and assisted them against the Tartars. But after a while the Russians withdrew their succour; and the Circassians, driven back to the river Kuban, their natural boundary to the north-west, paid tribute to the Tartars, till the commencement of the eighteenth century, when a decisive victory liberated them. Meanwhile Russia strode steadily southwards, reached the Kuban in the west, whilst, in the east, Tarki and Derbent fell, in 1722, into the hands of Peter the Great. The fort of Swiatoi-Krest, built by the conqueror, was soon afterwards retaken by a swarm of fanatical mountaineers from the eastern Caucasus. It is now about seventy years since Russian and Circassian first crossed swords in serious warfare. A fanatic dervise, who called himself Sheikh Mansour, preached a religious war against the Muscovites; but, although followed with enthusiasm, his success was not great, and at last he was captured and sent prisoner into the interior of Russia. With his fall the furious zeal of the Caucasians subsided for a while. But the Turks, who viewed Circassia as their main bulwark against the rapidly increasing power of their dangerous northern neighbour, made friends of the mountaineers, and stirred them up against Russia. The fortified town of Anapa, on the north-west coast of Circassia, became the focus of the intercourse between the Porte and its new allies. The creed of Mahomet was actively propagated amongst the Circassians, whose relations with Turkey grew more and more intimate, and in the year 1824 several tribes took oath of allegiance to the sultan. In 1829, during the war between Russia and Turkey, Anapa, which had more than once changed hands in the course of previous contests, was taken by the former power, to whom, by the treaty of Adrianople, its possession, and that of the other Turkish posts on the same coast, was finally conceded. Hence the chief claim of Russia upon Circassia—although Circassia had never belonged to the Turks, nor been occupied by them; and from that period dates the war that has elicited from Russia so great a display of force against an apparently feeble, but in reality formidable antagonist—an antagonist who has hitherto baffled her best generals, and picked troops, and most skilful strategists.

The tribes of the Caucasus may be comprehended, for the sake of simplicity, under two denominations: the Tcherkesses or Circassians, in the west, and the Tshetshens in the east. In loose newspaper statements, and in the garbled reports of the war which remote position, Russian jealousy, and the peculiarly inaccessible character of the Caucasians, suffer to reach us, even this broad distinction is frequently disregarded.[A] It is nevertheless important, at least in a physiological point of view;[131] and, even as regards the resistance offered to Russia, there are differences between the Eastern and the Western Caucasians. The military tactics of both are much alike, but the character of the war varies. On the banks of the Kuban, and on the Euxine shores, the strife has never been so desperate, and so dangerous for the Russians, as in Daghestan, Lesghistan, and the land of the Tshetshens. The Abchasians, Mingrelians, and other Circassian tribes, dwelling on the southern slopes of Caucasus, and on the margin of the Black Sea, are of more peaceable and passive character than their brethren to the North and East. The Tshetshens, by far the most warlike and enterprising of the Caucasians, have had the ablest leaders, and have at all times been stimulated by fierce religious zeal. As far back as 1745, Russian missionaries were sent to the tribe of the Osseti, who had relapsed from Christianity to the heathen creed of their forefathers. Every Osset who presented himself at the baptismal font received a silver cross and a new shirt. The bait brought thousands of the mountaineers to the Russian priests, who contented themselves with the outward and visible sign of conversion. These propagandist attempts enraged the Mahomedan tribes, and then it was that they thronged around Sheikh Mansour, as they have done in our day (in 1830) around that strange fanatic Chasi-Mollah, when in his turn he preached a holy war against the Russian. In the latter year, General Paskewitch had just been called away to Poland, and his successor, Baron Rosen, found all Daghestan in an uproar. He immediately opened the campaign, but met a strenuous resistance, and suffered heavy loss. The defence of the village of Hermentschuk, held against him, in the year 1832, by 3000 Tshetshens, was an extraordinary example of heroism. When the Russian infantry forced their way into the place with the bayonet, a portion of the garrison shut themselves up in a fortified house, and made it good against overwhelming numbers, singing passages from the Koran amidst a storm of bombs and grapeshot. At last the building took fire, and its undaunted defenders, the sacred verses still upon their lips, found death in the flames. In an equally desperate defence of the fortified village of Himri, Chasi-Mollah met his death, falling in the very breach, bleeding from many wounds. The chief who succeeded him was less venerated and less energetic, and for a few years the Tshetshens remained tolerably quiet, but without a thought of submission. Nevertheless the Russians flattered themselves that the worst was past; that the death of the mad dervish was an irreparable loss to the mountaineers. They were mistaken. Out of his most ardent adherents Chasi-Mollah had formed a sort of sacred band, whom he called Murides, gloomy fanatics, half warriors, half priests. They composed his body-guard, were unwearied in preaching up the fight for the Prophet's faith, and in battle devoted themselves to death with a heroism that has never been surpassed. From these, within a short time of their first leader's death, Chamyl, the present renowned chief of the Tshetshens, soon stood forth pre-eminent, and the Murides followed him to the field with the same enthusiasm and valour they had shown under his predecessor. He did not prove less worthy of guiding them; and the Russians were compelled to confess, that it was easier for the Tshetshens to find an able leader than for them to find a general able to beat him. And victories over the restless and enterprising Caucasians were of little profit, even when obtained. For the most part, they only served to fill the Russian hospitals, and to procure the officers those ribbons and distinctions they so greedily covet, and which, in that service, are so liberally bestowed.[2] Thus, in 1845, Count Woronzoff made a most daring expedition[132] into the heart of Daghestan. He found the villages empty and in flames, lost three thousand men, amongst them many brave and valuable officers, and marched back again, strewing the path with wounded, for whom the means of transport (the horses of the Cossack cavalry) were quite insufficient. With great difficulty, and protected by a column that went out to meet them, the Russians regained their lines, harassed to the last by the fierce Caucasians. This affair was called a victory, and Count Woronzoff was made a prince. Two more such victories would have reduced his expeditionary column to a single battalion. Chamyl, who had cannonaded the Russians with their own artillery, captured in former actions, possibly considered himself equally entitled to triumph, as he slowly retreated, after following up the foe nearly to the gates of their fortresses, into the recesses of his native valleys. [1]

The interior of Circassia is still an unknown land. The investigations of Messrs Bell, Longworth, Stewart, and others, who of late years have visited and written about the country, were confined to small districts, and cramped by the jealousy of the natives. Mr Bell, who made the longest residence, was treated more like a prisoner than a guest. Other foreigners find a worse reception still. Even the Poles, who desert from the Russian army, are made slaves of by the Circassians, and so severely treated that they are often glad to return to their colours, and endure the flogging that there awaits them. The only European who, having penetrated into the interior, has again seen his own country, is the Russian Baron Turnau, an aide-de-camp of General Gurko; but the circumstances of his abode in Circassia were too painful and peculiar to allow opportunity for observation. They are well told by Dr Wagner.

"By the Emperor's command, Russian officers acquainted with the language are sent, from time to time, as spies into Circassia,[3]—partly to make topographical surveys of districts previously unknown; partly to ascertain the numbers, mode of life, and disposition of those tribes with whom no intercourse is kept up. These missions are extremely dangerous, and seldom succeed. Shortly before my arrival at Terek, four Russian staff-officers were sent as spies to various parts of Lesghistan. They assumed the Caucasian garb, and were attended by natives in Russian pay. Only one of them ever returned; the three others were recognised and murdered. Baron Turnau prepared himself long beforehand for his dangerous mission. He gave his complexion a brownish tint, and to his beard the form affected by the aborigines. He also tried to learn the language of the Ubiches, but, finding the harsh pronunciation of certain words quite unattainable, he agreed with his guide to pass for deaf and dumb during his stay in the country. In this guise he set out upon his perilous journey, and for several days wandered undetected from tribe to tribe. But one of the works (nobles) under whose roof he passed a night, conceived suspicions, and threatened the guide, who betrayed his employer's secret. The baron was kept prisoner, and the Ubiches demanded a cap-full of silver for his ransom from the Russian commandant of Fort Ardler. When this officer declared himself ready to pay, they increased their demand to a bushel of silver rubles. The commandant referred the matter to Baron Rosen, then commander-in-chief[133] of the army of the Caucasus; the baron reported it to St Petersburg, and the Emperor consented to pay the heavy ransom. But Rosen represented it to him as more for the Russian interest to leave Turnau for a while in the hands of the Ubiches; for, in the first place, the payment of so large a sum was a bad precedent, likely to encourage the mountaineers to renew the extortion, instead of contenting themselves, as they previously had done, with a few hundred rubles; and, secondly, as a prisoner, Baron Turnau would perhaps have opportunities of gathering valuable information concerning a country and people of whom little or nothing was known. The unfortunate young officer was cruelly sacrificed to these considerations, and passed a long winter in terrible captivity, tortured by frost and hunger, compelled, as a slave, to the severest labour, and often greatly ill-treated. Several attempts at flight failed; and at last the chief, in whose hands he was, confined him in a cage half-buried in the ground, and withal so narrow that its inmate could neither stand upright nor lie at length."

Thus immured, a prey to painful maladies, his clothes rotting on his emaciated limbs, the unhappy man moaned through his long and sleepless nights, and gave up hope of rescue. No tender-hearted Circassian maiden brought to him, as to the hero of Pushkin's well-known Caucasian poem, deliverance and love. Such luck had been that of more than one Russian captive; but poor Turnau, in his state of filth and squalor, was no very seductive object. He might have pined away his life in his cage, before Baron Rosen, or his paternal majesty the Czar, had recalled his fate to mind, but for an injury done by his merciless master to one of his domestics, who vowed revenge. Watching his opportunity, this servant, one day that the rest of the household were absent, murdered his lord, released the prisoner, tied him with thongs upon his saddle, upon which the baron, covered with sores and exhausted by illness, was unable to support himself, and galloped with him towards the frontier. In one day they rode eighty versts, (about fifty-four English miles,) outstripped pursuers, and reached Fort Ardler. The accounts given by Baron Turnau of the land of his captivity could be but slight: he had seen little beyond his place of confinement. What he did relate was not very encouraging to Russian invasion. He depicted the country as one mass of rock and precipice, partially clothed with vast tracts of aboriginal forest, broken by deep ravines and mountain torrents, and surmounted by the huge ice-clad pinnacles of the loftiest Caucasian ridge. The villages, some of which nestle in the deep recesses of the woods, whilst others are perched upon steep crags and on the brink of giddy precipices, are universally of most difficult access.

Dr Wagner, whose extremely amusing book forms the text of this article, has never been in Circassia, although he gives us more information about it, of the sort we want, than any traveller in that singular land whose writings have come under our notice. His wanderings were under Russian guidance and escort. During them, he skirted the hostile territory on more than one side; occasionally setting a foot across the border, to the alarm of his Cossacks, whose dread by day and dreams by night were of Circassian ambuscades; he has lingered at the base of Caucasus, and has traversed its ranges—without, however, deeming it necessary to penetrate into those remote valleys, where foreigners find dubious welcome, and whence they are not always sure of exit. He has mixed much with Circassians, if he has not actually dwelt in their villages. It were tedious and unnecessary to detail his exact itinerary. He has not printed his entire journal—according to the lazy and egotistical practice of many travellers—but has taken the trouble to condense it. The essence is full of variety, anecdote and adventure, and gives a clear insight into the nature of the war. Professedly a man of science, an antiquary and a naturalist, Dr Wagner has evidently a secret hankering after matters military. He loves the sound of the drum, and willingly directs his scientific researches to countries where he is likely to smell powder. We had heard of him in the Atlas mountains, and at the siege of Constantina, before we met him risking his neck along the banks of the Kuban, and across the wild steppes of the Caucasus. He has travelled much in the[134] East, and prepared himself for his Caucasian trip by a long stay in Turkey and in Southern Russia. Well introduced, he derived from distinguished Russian generals, intelligent civilians, and Circassian chiefs, particulars of the war more authentic than are to be obtained either from St Petersburg bulletins, or from the ordinary trans-Caucasian correspondents of German and other newspapers, many of whom are in the pay of Russia. His African reminiscences proved of great value. The officers of the army of Caucasus take the strongest interest in the contest between French and Arabs, finding in it, doubtless, points of similitude with the war in which they themselves are engaged. Amongst these officers he met, besides Russians and Germans, several naturalised Poles and Frenchmen, Flemings and Spaniards, who gave in exchange for his tales of razzias and Bedouins, details of Circassian warfare which he highly prized, as likely to be more impartial than the accounts afforded by the native Russians. His own journey to the Caucasus took place in 1843; but a subsequent correspondence with well-informed friends, on both sides the Caucasian range, enabled him to bring down his sketch of the struggle to the year 1846.

Many English writers on Circassia have been accused of an undue preference for the mountaineers, of exaggerating their good qualities, and of elevating them by invidious contrasts with the Russians. There is no ground for suspecting a German of such partiality; and Dr Wagner, whilst lauding the heroic valour and independent spirit of the Circassians—qualities which Russian authors have themselves admitted and extolled—does not forget to do justice to his Muscovite and Cossack friends, to whom he devotes a considerable portion of his book, many of his details concerning them being extremely novel and curious. He carefully studied both Cossacks and Circassians, living amongst the former and meeting thousands of the latter, who go and come freely upon Russian territory. At Ekaterinodar, the capital of the Tchernamortsy Cossacks, the Friday's market swarmed with Circassians. In Turkey, and elsewhere, Dr Wagner had met many individuals of that nation, but this was the first time he beheld them in crowds. He describes them as very handsome men, with black beards, aquiline noses, and flashing black eyes. He was struck with their lofty mien, and attributes it to their mental energy, and to a consciousness of physical strength and beauty.

"This superiority of the pure Circassian blood does not belie itself under Russian discipline, any more than it does in Mahometan lands, where, as Mamelukes in Cairo, and as pashas in Stamboul, the sons of Caucasus have ever played a prominent and distinguished part. The Turk, who by certain imposing qualities awes all other Orientals, tacitly recognises the superiority of the Circassian ousden, or noble. The Emperor Nicholas, who preserves so rigid a discipline in the various corps of his vast army, shows himself extraordinarily considerate towards the Circassian squadrons of his guard. Persons well versed in the military chronicles of St Petersburg relate many a characteristic trait, proving the bold stubborn spirit of these Caucasian men to be still unbroken, and showing how it more than once has so imposed upon the emperor, and even upon the grand-duke Michael, reputed the strictest disciplinarian in Russia, that they have shut their eyes even to open mutiny. At a review, where the Caucasian cavalry formally refused obedience, the emperor contented himself with sending a courteous reproof by General Benkendorf. Beside the coarse common Russians, the Circassian looks like an eagle amidst a flock of bustards. Even capital crimes are not visited upon Circassians with the same severity as upon the other subjects of the emperor. A Circassian who had struck his dagger into the heart of a hackney-coachman at St Petersburg, in requital of an insolent overcharge, was merely sent back to the Caucasus. For a like offence a Russian might reckon upon the knout, and upon banishment for life to the Siberian mines.

"Amongst the Circassians at Ekaterinodar, a work, or noble, of the Shapsookian tribe, was particularly remarkable for his beauty and dignity. None of the picturesque figures of Arabs and Moors furnished me by my African recollections, could bear comparison with this Caucasian eagle. I afterwards saw, in Mingrelia, a more ideal mould of feature, resembling the antique Apollo type: but there the expression was too effeminate;[135] the heroic head of the dweller on the Kuban pleased me better. I stood a good while before the Shapsookian, as if fettered to the ground, so extraordinary was the effect of his striking beauty. What a study, I thought, for a German painter, who would in vain seek such models in Rome; or for a Vernet, whose Arabian groups prove the great power of his pencil! The Arabs, rather priestly than knightly in their aspect, produce far less effect upon the large Algerine pictures at Versailles than the Circassian warrior would do in a battle-piece by such masters as Vernet or Peter Hess. The Shapsook chief at Ekaterinodar seemed conscious of his magnificent appearance. With proud mien, and that light half-gliding gait observable in most Caucasians, he sauntered amongst the groups of Cossacks upon the market-place, casting glances of profoundest scorn upon their clumsy sheepskin-wrapped figures. His slender form and small foot, the grace and elegance of his person and carriage, the richness of his costume and beauty of his weapons, contrasted most advantageously with the muscular but somewhat thickset figures, and with the ugly woolly winter dress of the Tchernamortsies. By help of a Cossack I made his acquaintance, and got into conversation. His name was Chora-Beg, and he dwelt at a hamlet thirty versts south of Ekaterinodar."

Chora-Beg wondered greatly that his new acquaintance was neither Russian nor English. He had heard vaguely that there was a third Christian nation, which, under Sultan Bunapart, had made war upon the Padisha of the Russians, but he had no notion of such a people as the Germans. He greatly admired Dr Wagner's rifle, but rather doubted its carrying farther than a smooth bore, and allowed free inspection of his own arms, consisting of pistols and dagger, and of the famous shaska—a long heavy cavalry sabre, slightly curved, with hilt of silver and ivory. At the doctor's request he drew this weapon from the scabbard, and cut twice or thrice at the empty air, his dark eyes flashing as he did so. "How many Russians has that sabre sent to their account?" asked the inquisitive Doctor. The Circassian's intelligent countenance assumed an expression hard to interpret, but in which his interlocutor thought he distinguished a gleam of scorn, and a shade of suspicion. "It was long," he replied, "since his tribe had taken the field against the Russians. Since the deaf general (Sass) had left the land of the Cossacks, peace had reigned between Muscovite and Shapsookian. Individuals of his tribe had certainly been known to join bands from the mountains, and to cross the Kuban with arms in hand." And as Chora-Beg spoke, the expression of his proud eye belied his pacific pretensions.

The general Sass above-named commanded for several years on the line of the Kuban, and is the only Russian general who has understood the mountain warfare, and proved himself a match for the Circassians at their own game of ambuscades and surprises. His tactics were those of the Spanish guerilla leaders. Lavish in his payment of spies, he was always accurately informed of the musters and projects of the Circassians; whilst he kept his own plans so secret, that his personal staff often knew nothing of an intended expedition until the call to "boot and saddle" sounded. His raids were accomplished, under guidance of his well-paid scouts, with such rapidity and local knowledge that the mountaineers rarely had time to assemble in force, pursue the retiring column, and revenge their burnt vilages and ravished cattle. But one day the report spread on the lines of the Kuban that the general was dangerously ill; shortly afterwards it became known that the physicians had given him up; and finally his death was announced, and bewailed by the whole army of the Caucasus. The consternation of the Cossacks, accustomed, under his command, to victory and rich booty, was as great as the exultation of the mountaineers. Hundreds of these visited the Russian territory, to witness the interment of their dreaded foe. A magnificent coffin, with the general's cocked hat and decorations laid upon it, was deposited in the earth amidst the mournful sounds of minute guns and muffled drums. With joyful hearts the Circassians returned to their mountains, to tell what they had seen, and to congratulate each other at the prospect of tranquillity for themselves, and safety to their flocks and herds. But upon the second night after Sass's funeral,[136] a strong Russian column crossed the Kuban, and the dead general suddenly appeared at the head of his trusty lancers, who greeted with wild hurrahs their leader's resurrection. Several large auls (villages) whose inhabitants were sound asleep, unsuspicious of surprise, were destroyed, vast droves of cattle were carried off, and a host of prisoners made. This ingenious and successful stratagem is still cited with admiration on the banks of the Kuban. Notwithstanding his able generalship, Sass was removed from his command when in full career of success. All his military services could not shield him from the consequences of St Petersburg intrigues and trumped-up accusations. None of his successors have equalled him. General Willaminoff was a man of big words rather than of great deeds. In his bombastic and blasphemous proclamation of the 28th May 1837, he informed the Circassians that "If the heavens should fall, Russia could prop them with her bayonets;" following up this startling assertion with the declaration that "there are but two powers in existence—God in heaven, and the emperor upon earth!"[4] The Circassians laughed at this rhodomontade, and returned a firm and becoming answer. There were but few of them, they said—but, with God's blessing, they would hold their own, and fight to the very last man: and to prove themselves as good as their word, they soon afterwards made fierce assaults upon the line of forts built by the Russians upon the shores of the Black Sea. In 1840 four of these were taken, but the triumph cost the victors so much blood as to disgust them for some time with attacking stone walls, behind which the Russians, perhaps the best defensive combatants in the world, fight like lions. Indeed, the Circassians would hardly have proved victorious, had not the garrisons been enfeebled by disease. During the five winter months, the rations of the troops employed upon this service are usually salt, and the consequences are scurvy and fever. Informed by Polish deserters of the bad condition of the garrisons, the Circassians held a great council in the mountains, and it was decided to take the forts with the sabre, without firing a shot. It is an old Caucasian custom, that, upon suchlike perilous undertakings, a chosen band of enthusiastic warrors devote themselves to death, binding themselves by a solemn oath not to turn their backs upon the enemy. Ever in the van, their example gives courage to the timid; and their friends are bound in honour to revenge their death. With these fanatics have the Circassian and Tshetshen chiefs achieved their greatest victories over the Russians.

When it was decided to attack the forts, several hundred Shapsookians, including gray-haired old men and youths of tender age, swore to conquer or to die. They kept their word. At the fort of Michailoff, which made the most obstinate defence, the ditch was filled with their corpses. The conduct of the garrison was truly heroic. Of five hundred men, only one third were fit for duty; the others were in hospital, or on the sick-list. But no sooner did the Circassian war-cry rend the air than the sufferers forgot their pains; the fever-stricken left their beds, and crawled to the walls. Their commandant called upon them to shed their last drop of blood for their emperor; their old papa exhorted them, as Christians, to fight to the death against the unbelieving horde. But numbers prevailed: after a valiant defence, the Russians retreated, fighting, to the innermost enclosures of the fortress. Their chief demanded a volunteer to blow up the fort when farther resistance should become impossible. A soldier stepped forward, took a lighted match, and entered the powder magazine. The last defences were stormed, the Circassians shouted victory. Then came the explosion. Most of the buildings were overthrown, and hundreds of maimed carcases scattered in all directions. Eleven Russians escaped with life, were dragged off to the mountains, and subsequently ransomed, and from them the details of this bloody fight were obtained.

The capture of these forts spread[137] discouragement and consternation in the ranks of the Russian army. The emperor was furious, and General Rajewski, then commander-in-chief on the Circassian frontier, was superseded. This officer, who at the tender age of twelve was present with his father at the battle of Borodino, and who has since distinguished himself in the Turkish and Persian wars, was reputed an able general, but was reproached with sleeping too much, and with being too fond of botany. His enemies went so far as to accuse him of making military expeditions into the mountains, with the sole view of adding rare Caucasian plants to his herbarium, and of procuring seeds for his garden. General Aurep, who succeeded him, undertook little beyond reconnoissances, always attended with very heavy loss; and the Circassians remained upon the defensive until the year 1843, when the example of the Tshetshens, who about that time obtained signal advantages over the Russians, roused the martial ardour of the chivalrous Circassians, and spurred them to fresh hostilities. But the war at the western extremity of Caucasus never assumed the importance of that in Daghestan and the country of the Tshetshens.

From the straits of Zabache to the frontier of Guria, the Russians possess seventeen Kreposts, or fortified posts, only a few of which deserve the name of regular fortresses, or could resist a regular army provided with artillery. To mountaineers, however, whose sole weapons are shaska and musket, even earthen parapets and shallow ditches are serious obstacles when well manned and resolutely defended. The object of erecting this line of forts was to cut off the communication by sea between Turkey and the Caucasian tribes. It was thought that, when the import of arms and munitions of war from Turkey was thus checked, the independent mountain tribes would soon be subjugated. The hope was not realised, and the expensive maintenance of 15,000 to 20,000 men in the fortresses of the Black Sea has but little improved the position of the Russians in the Caucasus. The Caucasians have never lacked arms, and with money they can always get powder, even from the Cossacks of the Kuban. In another respect, however, these forts have done them much harm, and thence it arises that, since their erection, and the cession of Anapa to Russia, the war has assumed so bitter a character. So long as Anapa was Turkish, the export of slaves, and the import of powder, found no hindrance. The needy Circassian noble, whose rude mountains supply him but sparingly with daily bread, obtained, by the sale of slaves, means of satisfying his warlike and ostentatious tastes—of procuring rich clothes, costly weapons, and ammunition for war and for the chase. In a moral point of view, all slave traffic is of course odious and reprehensible, but that of Circassia differed from other commerce of the kind, in so far that all parties were benefited by, and consenting to, the contract. The Turks obtained from Caucasus handsomer and healthier wives than those born in the harem; and the Circassian beauties were delighted to exchange the poverty and toil of their father's mountain huts for the luxurious farniente of the seraglio, of whose wonders and delights their ears were regaled, from childhood upwards, with the most glowing descriptions. The trade, although greatly impeded and very hazardous, still goes on. Small Turkish craft creep up to the coast, cautiously evading the Russian cruisers, enter creeks and inlets, and are dragged by the Circassians high and dry upon the beach, there to remain till the negotiation for their live cargo is completed, an operation that generally takes a few weeks. The women sold are the daughters of serfs and freedmen: rarely does a work consent to dispose of his sister or daughter, although the case does sometimes occur. But, whilst the sale goes on, the slave-ships are anything but secure. It is a small matter to have escaped the Russian frigates and steamers. Each of the Kreposts possesses a little squadron of row-boats, manned with Cossacks, who pull along the coast in search of Turkish vessels. If they detect one, they land in the night, and endeavour to set fire to it, before the mountaineers can come to the assistance of the crew. The Turks, who live in profound terror of these Cossack coast-guards, resort to every[138] possible expedient to escape their observation; often covering their vessels with dry leaves and boughs, and tying fir branches to the masts, that the scouts may take them for trees. If they are captured at sea by the cruisers, the crew are sent to hard labour in Siberia, and the Circassian girls are married to Cossacks, or divided as handmaidens amongst the Russian staff officers. From thirty to forty slaves compose the usual cargo of each of these vessels, which are so small that the poor creatures are packed almost like herrings in a barrel. But they patiently endure the misery of the voyage, in anticipation of the honeyed existence of the harem. It is calculated that one vessel out of six is taken or lost. In the winter of 1843-4, eight-and-twenty ships left the coast of Asia Minor for that of Caucasia. Twenty-three safely returned, three were burned by the Russians, and two swallowed by the waves.

A Turkish captain at Sinope told Dr Wagner the following interesting anecdote, illustrating Circassian hatred of the Russians:—"A few years ago a slave-ship sprang a leak out at sea, just as a Russian steamer passed in the distance. The Turkish slave-dealer, who preferred even the chill blasts of Siberia to a grave in deep water, made signals of distress, and the steamer came up in time to rescue the ship and its living cargo from destruction. But so deeply is hatred of Russia implanted in every Circassian heart, that the spirit of the girls revolted at the thought of becoming the helpmates of gray-coated soldiers, instead of sharing the sumptuous couch of a Turkish pasha. They had bid adieu to their native mountains with little emotion, but as the Russian ship approached they set up terrible and despairing screams. Some sprang headlong into the sea; others drove their knives into their hearts:—to these heroines death was preferable to the bridal-bed of a detested Muscovite. The survivors were taken to Anapa, and married to Cossacks, or given to officers as servants." Nearly every Austrian or Turkish steamboat that makes, in the winter months, the voyage from Trebizond to Constantinople, has a number of Circassian girls on board. Dr Wagner made the passage in an Austrian steamer with several dozens of these willing slaves, chiefly mere children, twelve or thirteen years old, with interesting countenances and dark wild eyes, but very pale and thin—with the exception of two, who were some years older, far better dressed, and carefully veiled. To this favoured pair the slave-dealer paid particular attention, and frequently brought them coffee. Dr Wagner got into conversation with this man, who was richly dressed in furs and silks, and who, despite his vile profession, had the manners of a gentleman. The two coffee-drinkers were daughters of noblemen, he said, with fine rosy cheeks, and in better condition than the others, consequently worth more money at Constantinople. For the handsomest he hoped to obtain 30,000 piastres, and for the other 20,000—about £250 and £170. The herd of young creatures he spoke of with contempt, and should think himself lucky to get 2000 piastres for them all round. He further informed the doctor that, although the slave-trade was more dangerous and difficult since the Russian occupation of the Caucasian coast, it was also far more profitable. Formerly, when Greek and Armenian women were brought in crowds to the Constantinople market, the most beautiful Circassians were not worth more than 10,000 piastres; but now a rosy, well-fed, fifteen-year-old slave is hardly to be had under 40,000 piastres.

The Tshetshen successes, already referred to as having at the close of 1842 stirred into flame and action, by the force of example, the smouldering but still ardent embers of Circassian hatred to Russia, are described with remarkable spirit by Dr Wagner, in the chapter entitled "Caucasian War-Scenes,"—episodes taken down by him from the lips of eye-witnesses, and of sharers in the sanguinary conflicts described. This graphic chapter at once familiarises the reader with the Caucasian war, with which he thenceforward feels as well acquainted as with our wars in India, the French contest in Africa, or with any other series of combats, of whose nature and progress minute information has been regularly received. The first[139] event described is the storming of Aculcho, in the summer of 1839. It is always a great point with guerilla generals, and with leaders of mountain warfare, to have a centre of operations—a strong post, whither they can retreat after a reverse, with the confidence that the enemy will hesitate before attacking them there. In Spain, Cabrera had Morella, the Count d'Espagne had Berga, the Navarrese viewed Estella as their citadel. In the eastern Caucasus, Chasi-Mollah had Himri, and preferred falling in its defence to abandoning his stronghold; his successor, Chamyl, who surpasses him in talent for war and organisation, established his headquarters at Aculcho, a sort of eagle's nest on the river Koisu, whither his escorts brought him intelligence of each movement of Russian troops, and whence he swooped, like the bird whose eyrie he occupied, upon the convoys traversing the steppe of the Terek. Here he planned expeditions and surprises, and kept a store of arms and ammunition; and this fort General Grabbe, who commanded in 1839 the Russian forces in eastern Caucasus, and who was always a strong advocate of the offensive system, obtained permission from St Petersburg to attack. General Golowin, commander-in-chief of the whole army of the Caucasus, and then resident at Teflis, approved the enterprise, whose ultimate results cost both generals their command. The taking of Aculcho itself was of little moment; there was no intention of placing a Russian garrison there; but the double end to be obtained was to capture Chamyl, and to intimidate the Tshetshens, by proving to them that no part of their mountains, however difficult of access and bravely defended, was beyond the reach of Russian valour and resources. Their submission, at least nominal and temporary, was the result hoped for.

Nature has done much for the fortification of Aculcho. Imagine a hill of sand-stone, nearly surrounded by a loop of the river Koisu—a miniature peninsula, in short, connected with the continent by a narrow neck of land—provided with three natural terraces, accessible only by a small rocky path, whose entrance is fortified and defended by 500 resolute Tshetshen warriors. A few artificial parapets and intrenchments, some stone huts, and several excavations in the sand rock, where the besieged found shelter from shot and shell, complete the picture of the place before which Grabbe and his column sat down. At first they hoped to reduce it by artillery, and bombs and congreve rockets were poured upon the fortress, destroying huts and parapets, but doing little harm to the Tshetshens, who lay close as conies in their burrows, and watched their opportunity to send well-aimed bullets into the Russian camp. From time to time, one of the fanatical Murides, of whom the garrison was chiefly composed, impatient that the foe delayed an assault, rushed headlong down from the rock, his shaska in his right hand, his pistol in his left, his dagger between his teeth; causing a momentary panic among the Cossacks, who were prepared for the whistling of bullets, but not for the sudden appearance of a foaming demon armed cap-à-pie, who generally, before they could use their bayonets, avenged in advance his own certain death by the slaughter of several of his foes, whilst his comrades on the rock applauded and rejoiced at the heroic self-sacrifice. The first attempt to storm was costly to the besiegers. Of fifteen hundred men who ascended the narrow path, only a hundred and fifty survived. The Tshetshens maintained such a well-directed platoon fire, that not a Russian set foot on the second terrace. The foremost men, mown down by the bullets of the besieged, fell back upon their comrades, and precipitated them from the rock. General Grabbe, undismayed by his heavy loss, ordered a second and a third assault; the three cost two thousand men, but the lower and middle terraces were taken. The defence of the upper one was desperate, and the Russians might have been compelled to turn the siege into a blockade, but for the imprudence of some of the garrison, who, anxious to ascertain the proceedings of the enemy's engineers—then hard at work at a mine under the hill—ventured too far from their defences, and were attacked by a Russian battalion.[140] The Tshetshens fled; but, swift of foot though they were, the most active of the Russians attained the topmost terrace with them. A hand-to-hand fight ensued, more battalions came up, and Aculcho was taken. The victors, furious at their losses, and at the long resistance opposed to them, (this was the 22d August,) raged like tigers amongst the unfortunate little band of mountaineers; some Tshetshen women, who took up arms at this last extremity, were slaughtered with their husbands. At last the bloody work was apparently at an end, and search ensued amongst the dead for the body of Chamyl. It was nowhere to be found. At last the discovery was made that a few of the garrison had taken refuge in holes in the side of the rock, looking over the river. No path led to these cavities; the only way to get at them was to lower men by ropes from the crag above. In this manner the surviving Tshetshens were attacked; quarter was neither asked nor given. The hole in which Chamyl himself was hidden held out the longest. Escape seemed, however, impossible; the rock was surrounded; the banks of the river were lined with soldiers; Grabbe's main object was the capture of Chamyl. At this critical moment the handful of Tshetshens still alive gave an example of heroic devotion. They knew that their leader's death would be a heavy loss to their country, and they resolved to sacrifice themselves to save him. With a few beams and planks, that chanced to be in the cave, they constructed a sort of raft. This they launched upon the Koisu, and floated with it down the stream, amidst a storm of Russian lead. The Russian general doubted not that Chamyl was on the raft, and ordered every exertion to kill or take him. Whilst the Cossacks spurred their horses into the river, and the infantry hurried along the bank, following the raft, a man sprang out of the hole into the Koisu, swam vigorously across the stream, landed at an unguarded spot, and gained the mountains unhurt. This man was Chamyl, who alone escaped with life from the bloody rock of Aculcho. His deliverance passed for miraculous amongst the enthusiastic mountaineers, with whom his influence, from that day forward, increased tenfold. Grabbe was furious; Chamyl's head was worth more than the heads of all the garrison: three thousand Russians had been sacrificed for the possession of a crag not worth the keeping.

After the fall of Aculcho, Chamyl's head-quarters were at the village of Dargo, in the mountain region south of the Russian fort of Girselaul, and thence he carried on the war with great vigour, surprising fortified posts, cutting off convoys, and sweeping the plain with his horsemen. Generals Grabbe and Golowin could not agree about the mode of operations. The former was for taking the offensive; the latter advocated the defensive and blockade system. Grabbe went to St Petersburg to plead in person for his plan, obtained a favourable hearing, and the emperor sent Prince Tchernicheff, the minister at war, to visit both flanks of the Caucasus. Before the prince reached the left wing of the line of operations, Grabbe resolved to surprise him with a brilliant achievement; and on the 29th May 1842, he marched from Girselaul with thirteen battalions, a small escort of mounted Cossacks, and a train of mountain artillery, to attack Dargo. The route was through forests, and along paths tangled with wild flowers and creeping plants, through which the heavy Russian infantry, encumbered with eight days' rations and sixty rounds of ball-cartridge, made but slow and painful progress. The first day's march was accomplished without fighting; only here and there the slender active form of a mountaineer was descried, as he peered between the trees at the long column of bayonets, and vanished as soon as he was observed. After midnight the dance began. The troops had eaten their rations, and were comfortably bivouacked, when they were assailed by a sharp fire from an invisible foe, to which they replied in the direction of the flashes. This skirmishing lasted all night; few were killed on either side, but the whole Russian division were deprived of sleep, and wearied for the next day's march. At daybreak the enemy retired; but at noon, when passing[141] through a forest defile, the column was again assailed, and soon the horses, and a few light carts accompanying it, were insufficient to convey the wounded. The staff urged the general to retrace his steps, but Grabbe was bent on welcoming Tchernicheff with a triumphant bulletin. Another sleepless bivouac—another fagging day, more skirmishing. At last, when within sight of the fortified village of Dargo, the loss of the column was so heavy, and its situation so critical, that a retreat was ordered. The daring and fury of the Tshetshens now knew no bounds; they assailed the troops sabre in hand, captured baggage and wounded, and at night prowled round the camp, like wolves round a dying soldier. On the 1st June, the fight recommenced. The valour displayed by the mountaineers was admitted by the Russians to be extraordinary, as was also their skill in wielding the terrible shaska. They made a fierce attack on the centre of the column—cut down the artillery-men and captured six guns. The Russians, who throughout the whole of this trying expedition did their duty as good and brave soldiers, were furious at the loss of their artillery, and by a desperate charge retook five pieces, the sixth being relinquished only because its carriage was broken. Upon the last day of the retreat, Chamyl came up with his horsemen. Had he been able to get these together two days sooner, it is doubtful whether any portion of the column would have escaped. As it was, the Russians lost nearly two thousand men; the weary and dispirited survivors re-entering Girselaul with downcast mien. Preparations had been made to celebrate their triumph, and, to add to their general's mortification, Tchernicheff was awaiting their arrival. On the prince's return to St Petersburg, both Grabbe and Golowin were removed from their commands.

Against this same Tshetshen fortress of Dargo, Count Woronzoff's expedition (already referred to) was made, in July 1845. A capital account of the affair is given in a letter from a Russian officer engaged, printed in Dr Wagner's book. Dargo had become an important place. Chamyl had established large stores there, and had built a mosque, to which came pilgrims from the remotest villages of Daghestan and Lesghistan, partly to pray, partly to see the dreaded chief—equally renowned as warrior and priest—and to give him information concerning the state of the country, and the movements of the Russians. Less vigorously opposed than Grabbe, and his measures better taken, Woronzoff reached Dargo with moderate loss. "The village," says the Russian officer: "was situated on the slope of a mountain, at the brink of a ravine, and consisted of sixty to seventy small stone-houses, and of a few larger buildings, where the stones were joined with mortar, instead of being merely superimposed, as is usually the case in Caucasian dwellings. One of these buildings had several irregular towers, of some apparent antiquity. When we approached, a thick smoke burst from them. Chamyl had ordered everything to be set on fire that could not be carried away. One must confess that, in this fierce determination of the enemy to refuse submission—to defend, foot by foot, the territory of his forefathers, and to leave to the Russians no other trophies than ashes and smoking ruins—there is a certain wild grandeur which extorts admiration, even though the hostile chief be no better than a fanatical barbarian." This reminds us of the words of the Circassian chief Mansour:—"When Turkey and England abandon us," he said, to Bell of the 'Vixen,'—"when all our powers of resistance are exhausted, we will burn our houses,and our goods, strangle our wives and our children, and retreat to our highest rocks, there to die, fighting to the very last man." "The greatest difficulty," said General Neidhardt to Dr Wagner, who was a frequent visitor at the house of that distinguished officer, "with which we have to contend, is the unappeasable, deep-rooted, ineradicable hatred cherished by all the mountaineers against the Russians. For this we know no cure; every form of severity and of kindness has been tried in turn, with equal ill-success." Valour and patriotism are nearly the only good qualities the Caucasians can boast. They are cruel, and for the most part[142] faithless, especially the Tshetshens, and Dr Wagner warns us against crediting the exaggerated accounts frequently given of their many virtues. The Circassians are said to respect their plighted word, but there are many exceptions. General Neidhardt told Dr Wagner an anecdote of a Circassian, who presented himself before the commandant of one of the Black Sea fortresses, and offered to communicate most important intelligence, on condition of a certain reward. The reward was promised. Then said the Circassian,—"To-morrow after sunset, your fort will be assailed by thousands of my countrymen." The informer was retained, whilst Cossacks and riflemen were sent out, and it proved that he had spoken the truth. The enemy, finding the garrison on their guard, retired after a short skirmish. The Circassian received his recompense, which he took without a word of thanks, and left the fortress. Without the walls, he met an unarmed soldier; hatred of the Russians, and thirst of blood, again got the ascendency: he shot the soldier dead, and scampered off to the mountains.

Chamyl did not long remain indebted to the Russians for their visit to Dargo. His reputation of sanctity and valour enabled him to unite under his orders many tribes habitually hostile to each other, and which previously had fought each "on its own hook." Of these tribes he formed a powerful league; and in May 1846 he burst into Cabardia at the head of twenty thousand mountaineers, four thousand of whom were horsemen. Formidable though this force was, the venture was one of extreme temerity. He left behind him a double line of Russian camps and forts, and two rivers, then at the flood, and difficult to pass. With an undisciplined and heterogeneous army, without artillery or regular commissariat, this daring chief threw himself into a flat country, unfavourable to guerilla warfare; slipping through the Russian posts, marching more than four hundred miles, and utterly disregarding the danger he was in from a well-equipped army of upwards of seventy thousand men, to say nothing of the numerous military population of the Cossack settlements on the Terek and Sundscha, and of the fact that the Cabardians, long submissive to Russia, were more likely to arm in defence of their rulers than to favour the mountaineers. Shepherds and dwellers in the plain, and far less warlike than the other Circassian tribes, they never were able to make head against the Russians; and had remained indifferent to all the incentives of Tshetshen fanatics and propagandists. For years past, Chamyl had threatened them with a visit; but nevertheless, his sudden appearance greatly surprised and confounded both them and the Russian general, who had just concentrated all his movable columns, with a view to an expedition, relying overmuch upon his lines of forts and blockhouses. The Tshetshen raid was more daring, and at least as successful, as Abd-el-Kader's celebrated foray in the Metidja, in the year 1839. Chamyl addressed to the Cabardians a thundering proclamation, full of quotations from the Koran, and denouncing vengeance on them if they did not flock to the banner of the Prophet. The unlucky keepers of sheep found themselves between the devil and the deep sea. From terror rather than sympathy, a large number of villages declared for Chamyl, whose wild hordes burned and plundered the property of all who adhered to the Russians; leaving, like a swarm of locusts, desolation in their track. When the Cossacks began to gather, and the Russian generals to manœuvre, Chamyl, who knew he could not contend in the plain with disciplined and superior forces, and whose retreat by the road he came was already cut off, traversed Great and Little Cabardia, burning and destroying as he went; dashed through the Cossack colonies to the south of Ekaterinograd, and regained his mountains in safety—dragging with him booty, prisoners, and Cabardian recruits. These latter, who had joined through fear of Chamyl, remained with him through fear of the Russians. By this foray, whose apparent great rashness was justified by its complete success, Chamyl enriched his people, strengthened his army, and greatly weakened the confidence of the tribes of the plain in the efficacy of Russian protection. As usual, in cases of disaster,[143] the Russians kept the affair as quiet as they could; but the truth could not be concealed from those most concerned, and murmurs of dismay ran along the exposed line fringing the Muscovite and Circassian territories.

The Russian army of the Caucasus reckoned, in 1843, about eighty thousand men, exclusive of thirty-five thousand who had little to do with the war, but were more especially employed in watching the extensive line of Turkish and Persian frontier, and in endeavouring to exclude contraband goods and Asiatic epidemics. But the severe fighting that occurred in 1842 and 1843, showed the necessity of an increase of force. Subsequent events have not admitted of a reduction in the Caucasian establishment; and we are probably very near the mark, in estimating the troops occupying the various forts and camps on the Black Sea, and the lines of the rivers, (Terek, Kuban, Koisu, &c.,) at about one hundred thousand men—not at all too many to guard so extensive a line, against so active and enterprising a foe. The Russian ranks are constantly thinned by destructive fevers, which, in bad years, have been known to carry off as much as a sixth of the Caucasian army. At a review at Vladikawkas, Dr Wagner was struck by the powerful build of the Russian foot-soldiers—broad-shouldered, broad-faced Slavonians, with enormous mustaches, drilled to automatical perfection. In point of bone and limb, every man of them was a grenadier. In a bayonet charge, such infantry are formidable opponents. Ségur mentions that, on the battle-field of Borodino, the nation of the stripped bodies was easily known—the muscle and size of the Russians contrasting with the slighter frames of French and Germans. "You may kill the Russians, but you will hardly make them run," was a saying of Frederick the Great; and certainly Seidlitz, who scattered the French so briskly at Rossbach, had to sweat blood before he overcame the Russians at Zorndorf. Those survivors of Napoleon's famous Guard who fought in the drawn battle of Eylau, will bear witness to the stubborn resistance and bull-dog qualities of the Muscovite. But the grenadier stature, and the immobility under fire—admirable qualities on a plain, and against regular troops—avail little in the Caucasus. The burly Russian pants and perspires up the hills, which the light-footed chamois-like Circassians and Tshetshens ascend at a run. The mountaineers understand their advantages, and decline standing still in the plain to be charged by a line of bayonets. They dance round the heavy Russian, who, with his well-stuffed knapsack and long greatcoat, can barely turn on his heel fast enough to face them. They catch him out skirmishing, and slaughter him in detail. "One might suppose," said a foreigner in the Russian service to Dr Wagner, "that the musket and bayonet of the Russian soldier would be too much, in single combat, for the sabre and dagger of the Tshetshen. The contrary is the case. Amongst the dead, slain in hand-to-hand encounter, there are usually a third more Russians than Caucasians. Strange to say, too, the Russian soldier, who in the serried ranks of his battalion meets death with wonderful firmness, and who has shown the utmost valour in contests with European, Turkish, and Persian armies, often betrays timidity in the Caucasian war, and retreats from the outposts to the column, in spite of the heavy punishment he thereby incurs. I myself was exposed, during the murderous fight near Ischkeri (Dargo,) in 1842, to considerable danger, because, having gone to the assistance of a skirmisher, who was sharply engaged with a Tshetshen, the skirmisher ran, leaving me to fight it out alone." This shyness of Russian soldiers in single fight and irregular warfare, is not inexplicable. They have no chance of promotion, no honourable stimulus: food and brandy, discipline and dread of the lash, convert them from serfs into soldiers. As bits of a machine, they are admirable when united, but asunder they are mere screws and bolts. Fanatic zeal, bitter hatred, and thirst of blood, animate the Caucasian, who, trained to arms from his boyhood, and ignorant of drill, relies only upon his keen shaska, and upon the Prophet's protection.

Presuming Dr Wagner's statement[144] of Russian rations to be correct, it is a puzzle how the soldier preserves the condition of his thews and sinews. The daily allowance consists of three pounds of bread, black as a coal; a water-soup, in which three pounds of bacon are cut up for every two hundred and fifty men; a ration of wodka, or bad brandy, and once a-week a small piece of meat. The pay is nine rubles a-year, (about one-third of a penny per diem,) out of which the unfortunate private has to purchase his stock, cap, soap, blacking, salt, &c., &c. Any surplus he is allowed to expend upon his amusement. "Our soldiers are obliged to steal a little," said a German officer in the Russian service to Dr Wagner; "their pay will not purchase soap and blacking; and if their shirts are not clean, and their shoes polished, the stick is their portion." "Stealing a little," in one way or other, is no uncommon practice in Russia, even amongst more highly placed personages than the soldiers. Officials of all kinds, both civil and military, particularly those of the middle and lower ranks, are prone to peculation. Dr Wagner was deafened with the complaints that from all sides met his ear. "Ah! if the emperor knew it!" was the usual cry. The subjects of Nicholas have strong faith in his justice. It is well remembered in the Caucasus, especially by the army, how one day, at Teflis, the emperor, upon parade, in full view of mob and soldiers, tore, with his own hand, the golden insignia of a general's rank from the coat of Prince Dadian, denounced to him as enriching himself at his men's expense. For several years afterwards, the prince carried the musket, and wore the coarse gray coat of a private sentinel. The officers pitied him, although his condemnation was just. "Il faut profiter d'une bonne place," is their current maxim. The soldiers rejoiced; but in secret; for such rejoicings are not always safe. A sentence often recoils unpleasantly upon the accuser. Dr Wagner gives sundry examples. A major in Sewastopol fell in love with a sergeant's wife; and as she disregarded his addresses, he persecuted her and her husband at every opportunity. In despair, the sergeant at last complained to the general commanding. He was listened to; an investigation ensued; the major was superseded; and from his successor the sergeant received five hundred lashes, under pretence of his having left his regiment without permission when he went to lodge his charge. Corporal punishment, of frequent application, at the mere caprice of their superiors, to Russian serfs and soldiers, is inflicted with sticks or rods, the knout being reserved for very grave offences, such as murder, rebellion, &c., and preceding banishment to Siberia, should the sufferer survive. Dr Wagner's description of this dreadful punishment is horribly vivid. Few criminals are sentenced to more than twenty-five lashes, and less than twenty often kill. Running the gauntlet through three thousand men is the usual punishment of deserters; and this would usually be a sentence of death but for the compassion of the officers, who hint to their companies to strike lightly. If the sufferer faints, and is declared by the surgeon unable to receive all his punishment, he gets the remainder at some future time. "Take him down" is a phrase unknown in the Russian service, until the offender has received the last lash of his sentence.

Severity is doubtless necessary in an army composed like that of Russia. Two-thirds of the soldiers are serfs, whose masters, being allowed to send what men they please—so long as they make up their quota—naturally contribute the greatest scamps and idlers upon their estates. The army in Russia is what the galleys are in France, and the hulks in England—a punishment for an infinity of offences. An official embezzles funds—to the army with him; a Jew is caught smuggling—off with him to the ranks; a Tartar cattle-stealer, a vagrant gipsy, an Armenian trader convicted of fraud, a Petersburg coachman who has run over a pedestrian—all food for powder—gray coats and bayonets for them all. Jews abound in the Russian army, being subjected to a severe conscription in Poland and southern Russia. They submit with exemplary patience to the hardships of the service, and to the taunts of their Russian comrades. Poles are of course numerous in the ranks, but[145] they are less enduring than the Israelite, and often desert to the Circassians, who make them work as servants, or sell them as slaves to the Turks. No race are too unmilitary in their nature to be ground into soldiers by the mill of Russian discipline. Besides Jews, gipsies and Armenians figure on the muster-roll. It must have been a queer day for the ragged Zingaro, when the Russian sergeant first stepped into his smoky tent, bade him clip his elf locks, wash his grimy countenance, and follow to the field. For him the pomp of war had no seductions; he would far rather have stuck to his den and vermin, and to his meal of roast rats and hedgehogs. But military discipline works miracles. The slouching filthy vagabond of yesterday now stands erect as if he had swallowed his ramrod, his shoes a brilliant jet, his buttons sparkling in the sun—a soldier from toe to top-knot.

The right bank of the Kuban, from the Sea of Azov to the mouth of the Laba, (a tributary of the former stream,) is peopled with Tchernamortsy Cossacks, who furnish ten regiments, each of a thousand horsemen, for the defence of their lands and families. These cavalry carry a musket, slung on the back, and a long red lance: their dress is a sheepskin jacket, except on state occasions, when they sport uniform. They are much less feared by the Circassians than are the Cossacks of the Line, who wear the Circassian dress, carry sabres instead of lances, and are more valiant, active and skilful, than their Tchernamortsy neighbours. The Cossacks of the Caucasian Line dwell on the banks of the Kuban and Terek, form a military colony of about fifty thousand souls, and keep six thousand horsemen ready for the field. There is a mixture of Circassian blood in their veins, and they are first-rate fighting men. Their villages are exposed to frequent attacks from the mountaineers; but when these are not exceedingly rapid in collecting their booty, and effecting their retreat, the Cossacks assemble, and a desperate fight ensues. When the combatants are numerically matched, the equality of arms, horses, and skill renders the issue very doubtful. The Tchernamortsies and Don Cossacks are less able to cope with the Circassians. In a mêlée their lances are inferior to the shaska. The rival claims of lance and sabre have often been discussed; many trials of their respective merits have been made in English, French, and German riding-schools; and much ink has been shed on the subject. Unquestionably the lance has done good service, and in certain circumstances is a terrible arm. "At the battle of Dresden," Marshal Marmont tells us, "the Austrian infantry were repeatedly assailed by the French cuirassiers, whom they as often beat back, although the rain prevented their firing, and the bayonet was their sole defence. But fifty lancers of Latour-Maubourg's escort at once broke their ranks." Had the cuirassiers had lances, their first charge, Marmont plausibly enough asserts, would have sufficed. This leads to another question, often mooted—whether the lance be properly a light or a heavy cavalry weapon. When used to break infantry, weight of man and horse might be an advantage; but in pursuit, where—especially in rugged and mountainous countries—the lance is found particularly useful, the preference is obviously for the swift steed and light cavalier. In the irregular cavalry combats on the Caucasian line, the sabre carries the day. Unless the Don Cossack's first lance-thrust settles his adversary, (which is rarely the case,) the next instant the adroit Circassian is within his guard, and then the betting is ten to one on Caucasus. Moreover, the Don Cossacks, brought from afar to wage a perilous and profitless war, are unwilling combatants. They find blows more plentiful than booty, and approve themselves arrant thieves and shy fighters. Relieved every two or three years, they have scarcely time to get broken in to the peculiar mode of warfare. The Cossacks of the Line are the flower of the hundred thousand wild warriors scattered over the steppes of Southern Russia, and ready, at one man's word, to vault into the saddle. Their gallant feats are numerous. In 1843, during Dr Wagner's visit, three thousand Circassians dashed across the Kuban, near the fortified village of Ustlaba.[146] A dense fog hid them from the Russian vedettes. Suddenly fifty Cossacks of the Line, the escort of a gun, found themselves face to face with the mountaineers. The mist was so thick that the horses' heads almost touched before either party perceived the other. Flight was impossible, but the Cossacks fought like fiends. Forty-seven met a soldier's death; only three were captured, and accompanied the cannon across the river, by which road the Circassians at once retreated, having taken the brave detachment for the advanced guard of a strong force.

The word Kasak, Kosak, or Kossack, variously interpreted by Klaproth and other etymologists as robber, volunteer, daredevil, &c., conveys to civilised ears rude and inelegant associations. Paris has not yet forgotten the uncouth hordes, wrapped in sheepskins and overrun with vermin, who, in the hour of her humiliation, startled her streets, and made her dandies shriek for their smelling-bottles. Not that Paris saw the worst of them. Some of the Uralian bears, centaurs of the steppes, Calibans on horseback, were never allowed to pass the Russian frontier. Their emperor appreciated their good qualities, but left them at home. Since then, a change has occured. Civilisation has made huge strides north-eastward. Near Fanagoria, Dr Wagner passed a pleasant evening with a Cossack officer, a prime fellow, with all unquenchable thirst for toddy, and an inexhaustible store of information. He had made the campaigns against the French; had evidently been bred a savage, or little better; but had acquired, during his long military career, knowledge of the world and a certain degree of polish. Amongst other interesting matters, he gave a sketch of his grandfather, a bloodthirsty old warrior and image-worshipper, the scourge of his Nogay neighbours, and a great slayer of the Turk; who in 1812, at the mature age of ninety, had responded to Czar Alexander's summons to fight for "faith and fatherland," and had taken the field under Platoff, at the head of thirteen sons and threescore grandsons. Whilst the Cossack major told the history of the "Demon of the Steppes," as his ferocious ancestor was called, his son, a gay lieutenant in the Cossacks of the Guard, entered the apartment. This young gentleman, slender, handsome, with well-cut uniform, graceful manners, and well-waxed mustaches, declined the punch, "having got used at St Petersburg to tea and champagne." He brought intelligence of promotions and decorations, of high play at Tcherkask, (the capital of the Don-Cossacks' country,) and of the establishment at Toganrog of a French restaurateur, who retailed Veuve Clicquot's genuine champagne at four silver rubles a bottle. He was fascinated by the French actresses at St Petersburg, and enthusiastic in praise of Taglioni, then displaying her legs and graces in the Russian metropolis. Dr Wagner left the symposium with a vivid impression of the contrast between the bearded barbarian of 1812 and the dapper guardsman of thirty years later; and with the full conviction that the next Russian emperor who makes an inroad into civilised Europe, will have no occasion to be ashamed of his Cossacks, even though his route should lead him to the polite capital of the French republic.




My uncle's conjecture as to the parentage of Francis Vivian seemed to me a positive discovery. Nothing more likely than that this wilful boy had formed some headstrong attachment which no father would sanction, and so, thwarted and irritated, thrown himself on the world. Such an explanation was the more agreeable to me, as it cleared up all that had appeared more discreditable in the mystery that surrounded Vivian. I could never bear to think that he had done anything mean and criminal, however I might believe he had been rash and faulty. It was natural that the unfriended wanderer should have been thrown into a society, the equivocal character of which had failed to revolt the audacity of an inquisitive mind and adventurous temper; but it was natural, also, that the habits of gentle birth, and that silent education which English gentlemen commonly receive from their very cradle, should have preserved his honour, at least, intact through all. Certainly the pride, the notions, the very faults of the wellborn had remained in full force—why not the better qualities, however smothered for the time? I felt thankful for the thought that Vivian was returning to an element in which he might repurify his mind,—refit himself for that sphere to which he belonged;—thankful that we might yet meet, and our present half intimacy mature, perhaps, into healthful friendship.

It was with such thoughts that I took up my hat the next morning to seek Vivian, and judge if we had gained the right clue, when we were startled by what was a rare sound at our door—the postman's knock. My father was at the Museum; my mother in high conference, or close preparation for our approaching departure, with Mrs Primmins; Roland, I, and Blanche had the room to ourselves.

"The letter is not for me," said Pisistratus.

"Nor for me, I am sure," said the Captain, when the servant entered and confuted him—for the letter was for him. He took it up wonderingly and suspiciously, as Glumdalclitch took up Gulliver, or as (if naturalists) we take up an unknown creature, that we are not quite sure will not bite and sting us. Ah! it has stung or bit you, Captain Roland! for you start and change colour—you suppress a cry as you break the seal—you breathe hard as you read—and the letter seems short—but it takes time in the reading, for you go over it again and again. Then you fold it up—crumple it—thrust it into your breast pocket—and look round like a man waking from a dream. Is it a dream of pain, or of pleasure? Verily, I cannot guess, for nothing is on that eagle face either of pain or pleasure, but rather of fear, agitation, bewilderment. Yet the eyes are bright, too, and there is a smile on that iron lip.

My uncle looked round, I say, and called hastily for his cane and his hat, and then began buttoning his coat across his broad breast, though the day was hot enough to have unbuttoned every breast in the tropics.

"You are not going out, uncle?"

"Yes, yes."

"But are you strong enough yet? Let me go with you?"

"No, sir; no. Blanche, come here." He took the child in his arms, surveyed her wistfully, and kissed her. "You have never given me pain, Blanche: say, 'God bless and prosper you, father!'"

"God bless and prosper my dear, dear papa!" said Blanche, putting her little hands together, as if in prayer.

"There—that should bring me luck, Blanche," said the Captain, gaily, and setting her down. Then seizing his cane from the servant, and putting on his hat with a determined air, he walked stoutly forth; and I saw him, from the window, march along the streets as cheerfully as if he had been besieging Badajoz.

"God prosper thee, too!" said I, involuntarily.

And Blanche took hold of my hand, and said in her prettiest way, (and her pretty ways were many), "I wish you[148] would come with us, cousin Sisty, and help me to love papa. Poor papa! he wants us both—he wants all the love we can give him!"

"That he does, my dear Blanche; and I think it a great mistake that we don't all live together. Your papa ought not to go to that tower of his, at the world's end, but come to our snug, pretty house, with a garden full of flowers, for you to be Queen of the May—from May to November;—to say nothing of a duck that is more sagacious than any creature in the Fables I gave you the other day."

Blanche laughed and clapped her hands—"Oh, that would be so nice! but,"—and she stopped gravely, and added, "but then, you see, there would not be the tower to love papa; and I am sure that the tower must love him very much, for he loves it dearly."

It was my turn to laugh now. "I see how it is, you little witch," said I; "you would coax us to come and live with you and the owls! With all my heart, so far as I am concerned."

"Sisty," said Blanche, with an appalling solemnity on her face, "do you know what I've been thinking?"

"Not I, miss—what?—something very deep, I can see—very horrible, indeed, I fear, you look so serious."

"Why, I've been thinking," continued Blanche, not relaxing a muscle, and without the least bit of a blush—"I've been thinking that I'll be your little wife; and then, of course, we shall all live together."

Blanche did not blush, but I did. "Ask me that ten years hence, if you dare, you impudent little thing; and now, run away to Mrs Primmins, and tell her to keep you out of mischief, for I must say good-morning."

But Blanche did not run away, and her dignity seemed exceedingly hurt at my mode of taking her alarming proposition, for she retired into a corner pouting, and sate down with great majesty. So there I left her, and went my way to Vivian. He was out; but, seeing books on his table, and having nothing to do, I resolved to wait for his return. I had enough of my father in me to turn at once to the books for company; and, by the side of some graver works which I had recommended, I found certain novels in French, that Vivian had got from a circulating library. I had a curiosity to read these—for, except the old classic novels of France, this mighty branch of its popular literature was then new to me. I soon got interested, but what an interest!—the interest that a nightmare might excite, if one caught it out of one's sleep, and set to work to examine it. By the side of what dazzling shrewdness, what deep knowledge of those holes and corners in the human system, of which Goethe must have spoken when he said somewhere—(if I recollect right, and don't misquote him, which I'll not answer for)—"There is something in every man's heart which, if we could know, would make us hate him,"—by the side of all this, and of much more that showed prodigious boldness and energy of intellect, what strange exaggeration—what mock nobility of sentiment—what inconceivable perversion of reasoning—what damnable demoralisation! I hate the cant of charging works of fiction with the accusation—often unjust and shallow—that they interest us in vice, or palliate crime, because the author truly shows what virtues may entangle themselves with vices; or commands our compassion, and awes our pride, by teaching us how men deceive and bewitch themselves into guilt. Such painting belongs to the dark truth of all tragedy, from Sophocles to Shakspeare. No; this is not what shocked me in those books—it was not the interesting me in vice, for I felt no interest in it at all; it was the insisting that vice is something uncommonly noble—it was the portrait of some coldblooded adultress, whom the author or authoress chooses to call pauvre Ange! (poor angel!);—it was some scoundrel who dupes, cheats, and murders under cover of a duel, in which he is a second St George; who does not instruct us by showing through what metaphysical process he became a scoundrel, but who is continually forced upon us as a very favourable specimen of mankind;—it was the view of society altogether, painted in colours so hideous that, if true, instead of a revolution, it would draw down a deluge;—it was the hatred, carefully instilled, of the poor against the rich—it was the war breathed between class and class—it was that envy of all superiorities, which loves to show itself[149] by allowing virtue only to a blouse, and asserting that a man must be a rogue if he belong to that rank of society in which, from the very gifts of education, from the necessary associations of circumstances, roguery is the last thing probable or natural. It was all this, and things a thousand times worse, that set my head in a whirl, as hour after hour slipped on, and I still gazed, spell-bound, on these Chimeras and Typhons—these symbols of the Destroying Principle. "Poor Vivian!" said I, as I rose at last, "if thou readest these books with pleasure, or from habit, no wonder that thou seemest to me so obtuse about right and wrong, and to have a great cavity where thy brain should have the bump of 'conscientiousness' in full salience!"

Nevertheless, to do those demoniacs justice, I had got through time imperceptibly by their pestilent help; and I was startled to see, by my watch, how late it was. I had just resolved to leave a line, fixing an appointment for the morrow, and so depart, when I heard Vivian's knock—a knock that had great character in it—haughty, impatient, irregular; not a neat, symmetrical, harmonious, unpretending knock, but a knock that seemed to set the whole house and street at defiance: it was a knock bullying—a knock ostentatious—a knock irritating and offensive—"impiger" and "iracundus."

But the step that came up the stairs did not suit the knock: it was a step light, yet firm—slow, yet elastic.

The maid-servant who had opened the door had, no doubt, informed Vivian of my visit, for he did not seem surprised to see me; but he cast that hurried, suspicious look round the room which a man is apt to cast when he has left his papers about, and finds some idler, on whose trustworthiness he by no means depends, seated in the midst of the unguarded secrets. The look was not flattering; but my conscience was so unreproachful that I laid all the blame upon the general suspiciousness of Vivian's character.

"Three hours, at least, have I been here!" said I, maliciously.

"Three hours!"—again the look.

"And this is the worst secret I have discovered,"—and I pointed to those literary Manicheans.

"Oh!" said he carelessly, "French novels!—I don't wonder you stayed so long. I can't read your English novels—flat and insipid: there are truth and life here."

"Truth and life!" cried I, every hair on my head erect with astonishment—"then hurrah for falsehood and death!"

"They don't please you; no accounting for tastes."

"I beg your pardon—I account for yours, if you really take for truth and life monsters so nefast and flagitious. For heaven's sake, my dear fellow, don't suppose that any man could get on in England—get anywhere but to the Old Bailey or Norfolk Island, if he squared his conduct to such topsy-turvy notions of the world as I find here."

"How many years are you my senior," asked Vivian sneeringly, "that you should play the mentor, and correct my ignorance of the world?"

"Vivian, it is not age and experience that speak here, it is something far wiser than they—the instinct of a man's heart, and a gentleman's honour."

"Well, well," said Vivian, rather discomposed, "let the poor books alone; you know my creed—that books influence us little one way or the other."

"By the great Egyptian library, and the soul of Diodorus, I wish you could hear my father upon that point! Come," added I, with sublime compassion—"come, it is not too late—do let me introduce you to my father. I will consent to read French novels all my life, if a single chat with Austin Caxton does not send you home with a happier face and a lighter heart. Come, let me take you back to dine with us to-day."

"I cannot," said Vivian with some confusion—"I cannot, for this day I leave London. Some other time perhaps—for," he added, but not heartily, "we may meet again."

"I hope so," said I, wringing his hand, "and that is likely,—since, in spite of yourself, I have guessed your secret—your birth and parentage."

"How!" cried Vivian, turning pale,[150] and gnawing his lip—"what do you mean?—speak."

"Well, then, are you not the lost, runaway son of Colonel Vivian? Come, say the truth; let us be confidants."

Vivian threw off a succession of his abrupt sighs; and then, seating himself, leant his face on the table, confused, no doubt, to find himself discovered.

"You are near the mark," said he at last, "but do not ask me farther yet. Some day," he cried impetuously, and springing suddenly to his feet—"some day you shall know all: yes; some day, if I live, when that name shall be high in the world; yes, when the world is at my feet!" He stretched his right hand as if to grasp the space, and his whole face was lighted with a fierce enthusiasm. The glow died away, and with a slight return of his scornful smile, he said—"Dreams yet; dreams! And now, look at this paper." And he drew out a memorandum, scrawled over with figures.

"This, I think, is my pecuniary debt to you; in a few days, I shall discharge it. Give me your address."

"Oh!" said I, pained, "can you speak to me of money, Vivian?"

"It is one of those instincts of honour you cite so often," answered he, colouring. "Pardon me."

"That is my address," said I, stooping to write, to conceal my wounded feelings. "You will avail yourself of it, I hope, often, and tell me that you are well and happy."

"When I am happy, you shall know."

"You do not require any introduction to Trevanion?"

Vivian hesitated: "No, I think not. If ever I do, I will write for it."

I took up my hat, and was about to go—for I was still chilled and mortified—when, as if by an irresistible impulse, Vivian came to me hastily, flung his arms round my neck, and kissed me as a boy kisses his brother.

"Bear with me!" he cried in a faltering voice: "I did not think to love any one as you have made me love you, though sadly against the grain. If you are not my good angel, it is that nature and habit are too strong for you. Certainly, some day we shall meet again. I shall have time, in the meanwhile, to see if the world can be indeed 'mine oyster, which I with sword can open.' I would be aut Cæsar aut nullus! Very little other Latin know I to quote from! If Cæsar, men will forgive me all the means to the end; if nullus, London has a river, and in every street one may buy a cord!"

"Vivian! Vivian!"

"Now go, my dear friend, while my heart is softened—go, before I shock you with some return of the native Adam. Go—go!"

And taking me gently by the arm, Francis Vivian drew me from the room, and, re-entering, locked his door.

Ah! if I could have left him Robert Hall, instead of those execrable Typhons! But would that medicine have suited his case, or must grim Experience write sterner recipes with her iron hand?


When I got back, just in time for dinner, Roland had not returned, nor did he return till late in the evening. All our eyes were directed towards him, as we rose with one accord to give him welcome; but his face was like a mask—it was locked, and rigid, and unreadable.

Shutting the door carefully after him, he came to the hearth, stood on it, upright and calm, for a few moments, and then asked—

"Has Blanche gone to bed?"

"Yes," said my mother, "but not to sleep, I am sure; she made me promise to tell her when you came back."

Roland's brow relaxed.

"To-morrow, sister," said he slowly, "will you see that she has the proper mourning made for her? My son is dead."

"Dead!" we cried with one voice, and surrounding him with one impulse.

"Dead! impossible—you could not say it so calmly. Dead!—how do you know? You may be deceived.[151] Who told you?—why do you think so?"

"I have seen his remains," said my uncle, with the same gloomy calm. "We will all mourn for him. Pisistratus, you are heir to my name now, as to your father's. Good-night; excuse me, all—all you dear and kind ones; I am worn out."

Roland lighted his candle and went away, leaving us thunderstruck; but he came back again—looked round—took up his book, open in the favourite passage—nodded again, and again vanished. We looked at each other, as if we had seen a ghost. Then my father rose and went out of the room, and remained in Roland's till the night was wellnigh gone. We sat up—my mother and I—till he returned. His benign face looked profoundly sad.

"How is it, sir Can you tell us more?"

My father shook his head.

"Roland prays that you may preserve the same forbearance you have shown hitherto, and never mention his son's name to him. Peace be to the living, as to the dead. Kitty, this changes our plans; we must all go to Cumberland—we cannot leave Roland thus!"

"Poor, poor Roland!" said my mother, through her tears. "And to think that father and son were not reconciled. But Roland forgives him now—oh, yes! now!"

"It is not Roland we can censure," said my father, almost fiercely; "it is—but enough. We must hurry out of town as soon as we can: Roland will recover in the native air of his old ruins."

We went up to bed mournfully.

"And so," thought I, "ends one grand object of my life!—I had hoped to have brought those two together. But, alas! what peacemaker like the grave!"


My uncle did not leave his room for three days, but he was much closeted with a lawyer; and my father dropped some words which seemed to imply that the deceased had incurred debts, and that the poor Captain was making some charge on his small property. As Roland had said that he had seen the remains of his son, I took it at first for granted that we should attend a funeral, but no word of this was said. On the fourth day, Roland, in deep mourning, entered a hackney coach with the lawyer, and was absent about two hours. I did not doubt that he had thus quietly fulfilled the last mournful offices. On his return, he shut himself up again for the rest of the day, and would not see even my father. But the next morning he made his appearance as usual, and I even thought that he seemed more cheerful than I had yet known him—whether he played a part, or whether the worst was now over, and the grave was less cruel than uncertainty. On the following day, we all set out for Cumberland.

In the interval, Uncle Jack had been almost constantly at the house, and, to do him justice, he had seemed unaffectedly shocked at the calamity that had befallen Roland. There was, indeed, no want of heart in Uncle Jack, whenever you went straight at it; but it was hard to find if you took a circuitous route towards it through the pockets. The worthy speculator had indeed much business to transact with my father before we left town. The Anti-Publisher Society had been set up, and it was through the obstetric aid of that fraternity that the Great Book was to be ushered into the world. The new journal, the Literary Times, was also far advanced—not yet out, but my father was fairly in for it. There were preparations for its debut on a vast scale, and two or three gentlemen in black—one of whom looked like a lawyer, and another like a printer, and a third uncommonly like a Jew—called twice, with papers of a very formidable aspect. All these preliminaries settled, the last thing I heard Uncle Jack say, with a slap on my father's back, was, "Fame and fortune both made now!—you may go to sleep in safety, for you leave me wide awake. Jack Tibbets never sleeps!"

I had thought it strange that, since[152] my abrupt exodus from Trevanion's house, no notice had been taken of any of us by himself or Lady Ellinor. But on the very eve of our departure, came a kind note from Trevanion to me, dated from his favourite country seat, (accompanied by a present of some rare books to my father,) in which he said briefly that there had been illness in his family, which had obliged him to leave town for a change of air, but that Lady Ellinor expected to call on my mother the next week. He had found amongst his books some curious works of the Middle Ages, amongst others a complete set of Cardan, which he knew my father would like to have, and so sent them. There was no allusion to what had passed between us.

In reply to this note, after due thanks on my father's part, who seized upon the Cardan (Lyons edition, 1663, ten volumes folio) as a silkworm does upon a mulberry leaf, I expressed our joint regrets that there was no hope of our seeing Lady Ellinor, as we were just leaving town. I should have added something on the loss my uncle had sustained, but my father thought that, since Roland shrank from any mention of his son, even by his nearest kindred, it would be his obvious wish not to parade his affliction beyond that circle.

And there had been illness in Trevanion's family! On whom had it fallen? I could not rest satisfied with that general expression, and I took my answer myself to Trevanion's house, instead of sending it by the post. In reply to my inquiries, the porter said that all the family were expected at the end of the week; that he had heard both Lady Ellinor and Miss Trevanion had been rather poorly, but that they were now better. I left my note, with orders to forward it; and my wounds bled afresh as I came away.

We had the whole coach to ourselves in our journey, and a silent journey it was, till we arrived at a little town about eight miles from my uncle's residence, to which we could only get through a cross-road. My uncle insisted on preceding us that night, and, though he had written, before we started, to announce our coming, he was fidgety lest the poor tower should not make the best figure it could;—so he went alone, and we took our ease at our inn.

Betimes the next day we hired a fly-coach—for a chaise could never have held us and my father's books—and jogged through a labyrinth of villanous lanes, which no Marshal Wade had ever reformed from their primal chaos. But poor Mrs Primmins and the canary-bird alone seemed sensible of the jolts; the former, who sate opposite to us, wedged amidst a medley of packages, all marked "care, to be kept top uppermost," (why I know not, for they were but books, and whether they lay top or bottom it could not materially affect their value,)—the former, I say, contrived to extend her arms over those disjecta membra, and, griping a window-sill with the right hand, and a window-sill with the left, kept her seat rampant, like the split eagle of the Austrian Empire—in fact it would be well, now-a-days, if the split eagle were as firm as Mrs Primmins! As for the canary, it never failed to respond, by an astonished chirp, to every "Gracious me!" and "Lord save us!" which the delve into a rut, or the bump out of it, sent forth from Mrs Primmins's lips, with all the emphatic dolor of thἂe "Ἂῖ, ἂῖ" in a Greek chorus.

But my father, with his broad hat over his brows, was in deep thought. The scenes of his youth were rising before him, and his memory went, smooth as a spirit's wing, over delve and bump. And my mother, who sat next him, had her arm on his shoulder, and was watching his face jealously. Did she think that, in that thoughtful face, there was regret for the old love? Blanche, who had been very sad, and had wept much and quietly since they put on her the mourning, and told her that she had no brother, (though she had no remembrance of the lost), began now to evince infantine curiosity and eagerness to catch the first peep of her father's beloved tower. And Blanche sat on my knee, and I shared her impatience. At last there came in view a church spire—a church—a plain square building near it, the parsonage, (my father's old home)—a long straggling street of cottages and rude shops, with a better kind of house here[153] and there—and in the hinder ground, a gray deformed mass of wall and ruin, placed on one of those eminences on which the Danes loved to pitch camp or build fort, with one high, rude, Anglo-Norman tower rising from the midst. Few trees were round it, and those either poplars or firs, save, as we approached, one mighty oak—integral and unscathed. The road now wound behind the parsonage, and up a steep ascent. Such a road!—the whole parish ought to have been flogged for it! If I had sent up a road like that, even on a map, to Dr Herman, I should not have sat down in comfort for a week to come!

The fly-coach came to a full stop.

"Let us get out," cried I, opening the door and springing to the ground to set the example.

Blanche followed, and my respected parents came next. But when Mrs Primmins was about to heave herself into movement,

"Papæ!" said my father. "I think, Mrs Primmins, you must remain in, to keep the books steady."

"Lord love you!" cried Mrs Primmins, aghast.

"The subtraction of such a mass, or moles—supple and elastic as all flesh is, and fitting into the hard corners of the inert matter—such a subtraction, Mrs Primmins, would leave a vacuum which no natural system, certainly no artificial organisation, could sustain. There would be a regular dance of atoms, Mrs Primmins; my books would fly here, there, on the floor, out of the window!

"Corporis officium est quoniam omnia deorsum."

The business of a body like yours, Mrs Primmins, is to press all things down—to keep them tight, as you will know one of these days—that is, if you will do me the favour to read Lucretius, and master that material philosophy, of which I may say, without flattery, my dear Mrs Primmins, that you are a living illustration."

These, the first words my father had spoken since we set out from the inn, seemed to assure my mother that she need have no apprehension as to the character of his thoughts, for her brow cleared, and she said, laughing,

"Only look at poor Primmins, and then at that hill!"

"You may subtract Primmins, if you will be answerable for the remnant, Kitty. Only, I warn you that it is against all the laws of physics."

So saying, he sprang lightly forward, and, taking hold of my arm, paused and looked round, and drew the loud free breath with which we draw native air.

"And yet," said my father, after that grateful and affectionate inspiration—"and yet, it must be owned, that a more ugly country one cannot see out of Cambridgeshire."[5]

"Nay," said I, "it is bold and large, it has a beauty of its own. Those immense, undulating, uncultivated, treeless tracks have surely their charm of wildness and solitude! And how they suit the character of the ruin! All is feudal there: I understand Roland better now."

"I hope in heaven Cardan will come to no harm!" cried my father; "he is very handsomely bound; and he fitted beautifully just into the fleshiest part of that fidgety Primmins."

Blanche, meanwhile, had run far before us, and I followed fast. There were still the remains of that deep trench (surrounding the ruins on three sides, leaving a ragged hill-top at the fourth) which made the favourite fortification of all the Teutonic tribes. A causeway, raised on brick arches, now, however, supplied the place of the drawbridge, and the outer gate was but a mass of picturesque ruin. Entering into the courtyard or bailey, the old castle mound, from which justice had been dispensed, was in full view, rising higher than the broken walls around it, and partially overgrown with brambles. And there stood, comparatively whole, the tower or keep, and from its portals emerged the veteran owner.

His ancestors might have received us in more state, but certainly they could not have given us a warmer greeting. In fact, in his own domain, Roland appeared another man. His stiffness, which was a little repulsive to those[154] who did not understand it, was all gone. He seemed less proud, precisely because he and his pride, on that ground, were on good terms with each other. How gallantly he extended—not his arm, in our modern Jack-and-Jill sort of fashion—but his right hand, to my mother; how carefully he led her over "brake, bush, and scaur," through the low vaulted door, where a tall servant, who, it was easy to see, had been a soldier—in the precise livery, no doubt, warranted by the heraldic colours, (his stockings were red!)—stood upright as a sentry. And, coming into the hall, it looked absolutely cheerful—it took us by surprise. There was a great fire-place, and, though it was still summer, a great fire! It did not seem a bit too much, for the walls were stone, the lofty roof open to the rafters, while the windows were small and narrow, and so high and so deep sunk that one seemed in a vault. Nevertheless, I say the room looked sociable and cheerful—thanks principally to the fire, and partly to a very ingenious medley of old tapestry at one end, and matting at the other, fastened to the lower part of the walls, seconded by an arrangement of furniture which did credit to my uncle's taste for the Picturesque. After we had looked about and admired to our hearts' content, Roland took us—not up one of those noble staircases you see in the later manorial residences—but a little winding stone stair, into the rooms he had appropriated to his guests. There was first a small chamber, which he called my father's study—in truth, it would have done for any philosopher or saint who wished to shut out the world—and might have passed for the interior of such a column as Stylites inhabited; for you must have climbed a ladder to have looked out of the window, and then the vision of no short-sighted man could have got over the interval in the wall made by the narrow casement, which, after all, gave no other prospect than a Cumberland sky, with an occasional rook in it. But my father, I think I have said before, did not much care for scenery, and he looked round with great satisfaction upon the retreat assigned him.

"We can knock up shelves for your books in no time," said my uncle, rubbing his hands.

"It would be a charity," quoth my father, "for they have been very long in a recumbent position, and would like to stretch themselves, poor things. My dear Roland, this room is made for books—so round and so deep. I shall sit here like Truth in a well."

"And there is a room for you, sister, just out of it," said my uncle, opening a little low prison-like door into a charming room, for its window was low, and it had an iron balcony; "and out of that is the bed-room. For you, Pisistratus, my boy, I am afraid that it is soldier's quarters, indeed, with which you will have to put up. But never mind; in a day or two we shall make all worthy a general of your illustrious name—for he was a great general, Pisistratus the First—was he not, brother?"

"All tyrants are," said my father: "the knack of soldiering is indispensable to them."

"Oh, you may say what you please here!" said Roland, in high good humour, as he drew me down stairs, still apologising for my quarters, and so earnestly that I made up my mind that I was to be put into an oubliette. Nor were my suspicions much dispelled on seeing that we had to leave the keep, and pick our way into what seemed to me a mere heap of rubbish, on the dexter side of the court. But I was agreeably surprised to find, amidst these wrecks, a room with a noble casement commanding the whole country, and placed immediately over a plot of ground cultivated as a garden. The furniture was ample, though homely; the floors and walls well matted; and, altogether, despite the inconvenience of having to cross the courtyard to get to the rest of the house, and being wholly without the modern luxury of a bell, I thought that I could not be better lodged.

"But this is a perfect bower, my dear uncle! Depend on it, it was the bower-chamber of the Dames de Caxton—heaven rest them!"

"No," said my uncle, gravely; "I suspect it must have been the chaplain's room, for the chapel was to the right of you. An earlier chapel, indeed, formerly existed in the keep tower—for, indeed, it is scarcely a[155] true keep without chapel, well, and hall. I can show you part of the roof of the first, and the two last are entire; the well is very curious, formed in the substance of the wall at one angle of the hall. In Charles the First's time, our ancestor lowered his only son down in a bucket, and kept him there six hours, while a Malignant mob was storming the tower. I need not say that our ancestor himself scorned to hide from such a rabble, for he was a grown man. The boy lived to be a sad spendthrift, and used the well for cooling his wine. He drank up a great many good acres."

"I should scratch him out of the pedigree, if I were you. But, pray, have you not discovered the proper chamber of that great Sir William, about whom my father is so shamefully sceptical?"

"To tell you a secret," answered the Captain, giving me a sly poke in the ribs, "I have put your father into it! There are the initial letters W. C. let into the cusp of the York rose, and the date, three years before the battle of Bosworth, over the chimneypiece."

I could not help joining my uncle's grim low laugh at this characteristic pleasantry; and after I had complimented him on so judicious a mode of proving his point, I asked him how he could possibly have contrived to fit up the ruin so well, especially as he had scarcely visited it since his purchase.

"Why," said he, "about twelve years ago, that poor fellow you now see as my servant, and who is gardener, bailiff, seneschal, butler, and anything else you can put him to, was sent out of the army on the invalid list. So I placed him here; and as he is a capital carpenter, and has had a very fair education, I told him what I wanted, and put by a small sum every year for repairs and furnishing. It is astonishing how little it cost me, for Bolt, poor fellow, (that is his name,) caught the right spirit of the thing, and most of the furniture, (which you see is ancient and suitable,) he picked up at different cottages and farmhouses in the neighbourhood. As it is, however, we have plenty more rooms here and there—only, of late," continued my uncle, slightly changing colour, "I had no money to spare. But come," he resumed, with an evident effort—"come and see my barrack: it is on the other side of the hall, and made out of what no doubt were the butteries."

We reached the yard, and found the fly-coach had just crawled to the door. My father's head was buried deep in the vehicle,—he was gathering up his packages, and sending out, oracle-like, various muttered objurgations and anathemas upon Mrs Primmins and her vacuum; which Mrs Primmins, standing by, and making a lap with her apron to receive the packages and anathemas simultaneously, bore with the mildness of an angel, lifting up her eyes to heaven and murmuring something about "poor old bones." Though, as for Mrs Primmins's bones, they had been myths these twenty years, and you might as soon have found a Plesiosaurus in the fat lands of Romney Marsh as a bone amidst those layers of flesh in which my poor father thought he had so carefully cottoned up his Cardan.

Leaving these parties to adjust matters between them, we stepped under the low doorway, and entered Rowland's room. Oh, certainly Bolt had caught the spirit of the thing!—certainly he had penetrated down even to the very pathos that lay within the deeps of Roland's character. Buffon says "the style is the man;" there, the room was the man. That nameless, inexpressible, soldier-like, methodical neatness which belonged to Roland—that was the first thing that struck one—that was the general character of the whole. Then, in details, there, in stout oak shelves, were the books on which my father loved to jest his more imaginative brother,—there they were, Froissart, Barante, Joinville, the Mort d'Arthur, Amadis of Gaul, Spenser's Fairy Queen, a noble copy of Strutt's Horda, Mallet's Northern Antiquities, Percy's Reliques, Pope's Homer, books on gunnery, archery, hawking, fortification—old chivalry and modern war together cheek by jowl.

Old chivalry and modern war!—look to that tilting helmet with the tall Caxton crest, and look to that trophy near it, a French cuirass—and that old banner (a knight's pennon) surmounting those crossed bayonets. And over the chimneypiece there—bright,[156] clean, and, I warrant you, dusted daily—are Roland's own sword, his holsters, and pistols, yea, the saddle, pierced and lacerated, from which he had reeled when that leg——I gasped—I felt it all at a glance, and I stole softly to the spot, and, had Roland not been there, I could have kissed that sword as reverently as if it had been a Bayard's or a Sidney's.

My uncle was too modest to guess my emotion; he rather thought I had turned my face to conceal a smile at his vanity, and said, in a deprecating tone of apology—"It was all Bolt's doing, foolish fellow."


Our host regaled us with a hospitality that notably contrasted his economical thrifty habits in London. To be sure, Bolt had caught the great pike which headed the feast; and Bolt, no doubt, had helped to rear those fine chickens ab ovo; Bolt, I have no doubt, made that excellent Spanish omelette; and for the rest, the products of the sheepwalk and the garden came in as volunteer auxiliaries—very different from the mercenary recruits by which those metropolitan Condottieri, the butcher and green-grocer, hasten the ruin of that melancholy commonwealth called "genteel poverty."

Our evening passed cheerfully; and Roland, contrary to his custom, was talker in chief. It was eleven o'clock before Bolt appeared with a lantern to conduct me through the court-yard to my dormitory, among the ruins—a ceremony which, every night, shine or dark, he insisted upon punctiliously performing.

It was long before I could sleep—before I could believe that but so few days had elapsed since Roland heard of his son's death—that son whose fate had so long tortured him; and yet, never had Roland appeared so free from sorrow! Was it natural—was it effort? Several days passed before I could answer that question, and then not wholly to my satisfaction. Effort there was, or rather resolute systematic determination. At moments Roland's head drooped, his brows met, and the whole man seemed to sink. Yet these were only moments; he would rouse himself up like a dozing charger at the sound of a trumpet, and shake off the creeping weight. But, whether from the vigour of his determination, or from some aid in other trains of reflection, I could not but perceive that Roland's sadness really was less grave and bitter than it had been, or than it was natural to suppose. He seemed to transfer, daily more and more, his affections from the dead to those around him, especially to Blanche and myself. He let it be seen that he looked on me now as his lawful successor—as the future supporter of his name—he was fond of confiding to me all his little plans, and consulting me on them. He would walk with me around his domains, (of which I shall say more hereafter,)—point out, from every eminence we climbed, where the broad lands which his forefathers owned stretched away to the horizon; unfold with tender hand the mouldering pedigree, and rest lingeringly on those of his ancestors who had held martial post, or had died on the field. There was a crusader who had followed Richard to Ascalon; there was a knight who had fought at Agincourt; there was a cavalier (whose picture was still extant, with fair lovelocks) who had fallen at Worcester—no doubt the same who had cooled his son in that well which the son devoted to more agreeable associations. But of all these worthies there was none whom my uncle, perhaps from the spirit of contradiction, valued like that apocryphal Sir William: and why?—because, when the apostate Stanley turned the fortunes of the field at Bosworth, and when that cry of despair—"Treason, treason!" burst from the lips of the last Plantagenet, "amongst the faithless," this true soldier "faithful found!" had fallen in that lion-rush which Richard made at his foe. "Your father tells me that Richard was a murderer and usurper," quoth my uncle. "Sir, that might be true or not;[157] but it was not on the field of battle that his followers were to reason on the character of the master who trusted them, especially when a legion of foreign hirelings stood opposed to them. I would not have descended from that turncoat Stanley to be lord of all the lands the Earls of Derby can boast of. Sir, in loyalty, men fight and die for a grand principle, and a lofty passion; and this brave Sir William was paying back to the last Plantagenet the benefits he had received from the first!"

"And yet it may be doubted," said I maliciously, "whether William Caxton the printer did not—"

"Plague, pestilence, and fire seize William Caxton the printer, and his invention too!" cried my uncle barbarously. "When there were only a few books, at least they were good ones; and now they are so plentiful, all they do is to confound the judgment, unsettle the reason, drive the good books out of cultivation, and draw a ploughshare of innovation over every ancient landmark; seduce the women, womanize the men, upset states, thrones, and churches; rear a race of chattering, conceited, coxcombs, who can always find books in plenty to excuse them from doing their duty; make the poor discontented, the rich crotchety and whimsical, refine away the stout old virtues into quibbles and sentiments! All imagination formerly was expended in noble action, adventure, enterprise, high deeds and aspirations; now a man can but be imaginative by feeding on the false excitement of passions he never felt, dangers he never shared; and he fritters away all there is of life to spare in him upon the fictitious love-sorrows of Bond Street and St James's. Sir, chivalry ceased when the press rose! And to fasten upon me, as a forefather, out of all men who have ever lived and sinned, the very man who has most destroyed what I most valued—who, by the Lord! with his cursed invention has wellnigh got rid of respect for forefathers altogether—is a cruelty of which my brother had never been capable, if that printer's devil had not got hold of him!"

That a man in this blessed nineteenth century should be such a Vandal! and that my uncle Roland should talk in a strain that Totila would have been ashamed of, within so short a time after my father's scientific and erudite oration on the Hygeiana of Books, was enough to make one despair of the progress of intellect and the perfectibility of our species. And I have no manner of doubt that, all the while, my uncle had a brace of books in his pockets, Robert Hall one of them! In truth, he had talked himself into a passion, and did not know what nonsense he was saying, poor man. But this explosion of Captain Roland's has shattered the thread of my matter. Pouff! I must take breath and begin again!

Yes, in spite of my sauciness, the old soldier evidently took to me more and more. And, besides our critical examination of the property and the pedigree, he carried me with him on long excursions to distant villages, where some memorial of a defunct Caxton, a coat of arms, or an epitaph on a tombstone, might be still seen. And he made me pore over topographical works and county histories, (forgetful, Goth that he was, that for those very authorities he was indebted to the repudiated printer!) to find some anecdote of his beloved dead! In truth, the county for miles round bore the vestigia of those old Caxtons; their handwriting was on many a broken wall. And, obscure as they all were, compared to that great operative of the Sanctuary at Westminster, whom my father clung to—still, that the yesterdays that had lighted them the way to dusty death had cast no glare on dishonoured scutcheons seemed clear, from the popular respect and traditional affection in which I found that the name was still held in hamlet and homestead. It was pleasant to see the veneration with which this small hidalgo of some three hundred a-year was held, and the patriarchal affection with which he returned it. Roland was a man who would walk into a cottage, rest his cork leg on the hearth, and talk for the hour together upon all that lay nearest to the hearts of the owners. There is a peculiar spirit of aristocracy amongst[158] agricultural peasants: they like old names and families; they identify themselves with the honours of a house, as if of its clan. They do not care so much for wealth as townsfolk and the middle class do; they have a pity, but a respectful one, for wellborn poverty. And then this Roland, too—who would go and dine in a cook shop, and receive change for a shilling, and shun the ruinous luxury of a hack cabriolet—could be positively extravagant in his liberalities to those around him. He was altogether another being in his paternal acres. The shabby-genteel, half-pay captain, lost in the whirl of London, here luxuriated into a dignified case of manner that Chesterfield might have admired. And, if to please is the true sign of politeness, I wish you could have seen the faces that smiled upon Captain Roland, as he walked down the village, nodding from side to side.

One day a frank, hearty, old woman, who had known Roland as a boy, seeing him lean on my arm, stopped us, as she said bluffly, to take a "geud luik" at me.

Fortunately I was stalwart enough to pass muster, even in the eyes of a Cumberland matron; and, after a compliment at which Roland seemed much pleased, she said to me, but pointing to the Captain—

"Hegh, sir, now you ha the bra time before you; you maun een try and be as geud as he. And if life last, ye wull too—for there never waur a bad ane of that stock. Wi' heads kindly stup'd to the least, and lifted manfu' oop to the heighest—that ye all war' sin ye came from the Ark. Blessins on the ould name—though little pelf goes with it—it sounds on the peur man's ear like a bit o' gould!"

"Do you not see now," said Roland, as we turned away, "what we owe to a name, and what to our forefathers?—do you not see why the remotest ancestor has a right to our respect and consideration—for he was a parent? 'Honour your parents'—the law does not say, 'Honour your children!' If a child disgrace us, and the dead, and the sanctity of this great heritage of their virtues—the name;—if he does—" Roland stopped short, and added fervently, "But you are my heir now—I have no fear! What matters one foolish old man's sorrow?—the name, that property of generations, is saved, thank Heaven—the name!"

Now the riddle was solved, and I understood why, amidst all his natural grief for a son's loss, that proud father was consoled. For he was less himself a father than a son—son to the long dead. From every grave, where a progenitor slept, he had heard a parent's voice. He could bear to be bereaved, if the forefathers were not dishonoured. Roland was more than half a Roman—the son might still cling to his household affections, but the lares were a part of his religion.


But I ought to be hard at work, preparing myself for Cambridge. The deuce!—how can I? The point in academical education on which I require most preparation is Greek composition. I come to my father, who, one might think, was at home enough in this. But rare indeed is it to find a great scholar who is a good teacher.

My dear father! if one is content to take you in your own way, there never was a more admirable instructor for the heart, the head, the principles, or the tastes—in your own way, when you have discovered that there is some one sore to be healed—one defect to be repaired; and you have rubbed your spectacles, and got your hand fairly into that recess between your frill and your waistcoat. But to go to you, cut and dry, monotonously, regularly—book and exercise in hand—to see the mournful patience with which you tear yourself from that great volume of Cardan in the very honeymoon of possession—and then to note those mild eyebrows gradually distend themselves into perplexed diagonals, over some false quantity or some barbarous collocation—till there steal forth that horrible "Papæ!" which means more on your lips than[159] I am sure it ever did when Latin was a live language, and "Papæ!" a natural and unpedantic ejaculation!—no, I would sooner blunder through the dark by myself a thousand times, than light my rush-light at the lamp of that Phlegethonian "Papæ!"

And then my father would wisely and kindly, but wondrous slowly, erase three-fourths of one's pet verses, and intercalate others that one saw were exquisite, but could not exactly see why. And then one asked why; and my father shook his head in despair, and said—"But you ought to feel why!"

In short, scholarship to him was like poetry: he could no more teach it you than Pindar could have taught you how to make an ode. You breathed the aroma, but you could no more seize and analyse it, than, with the opening of your naked hand, you could carry off the scent of a rose. I soon left my father in peace to Cardan, and to the Great Book, which last, by the way, advanced but slowly. For Uncle Jack had now insisted on its being published in quarto, with illustrative plates; and those plates took an immense time, and were to cost an immense sum—but that cost was the affair of the Anti-Publisher Society. But how can I settle to work by myself? No sooner have I got into my room—penitus ab orbe divisus, as I rashly think—than there is a tap at the door. Now, it is my mother, who is benevolently engaged upon making curtains to all the windows, (a trifling superfluity that Bolt had forgotten or disdained,) and who wants to know how the draperies are fashioned at Mr Trevanion's: a pretence to have me near her, and see with her own eyes that I am not fretting;—the moment she hears I have shut myself up in my room, she is sure that it is for sorrow. Now it is Bolt, who is making book-shelves for my father, and desires to consult me at every turn, especially as I have given him a Gothic design, which pleases him hugely. Now it is Blanche, whom, in an evil hour, I undertook to teach to draw, and who comes in on tiptoe, vowing she'll not disturb me, and sits so quiet that she fidgets me out of all patience. Now, and much more often, it is the Captain, who wants me to walk, to ride, to fish. And, by St Hubert! (saint of the chase,) bright August comes—and there is moor-game on those barren wolds—and my uncle has given me the gun he shot with at my age—single-barrelled, flint lock—but you would not have laughed at it if you had seen the strange feats it did in Roland's hands—while in mine, I could always lay the blame on the flint lock! Time, in short, passed rapidly; and if Roland and I had our dark hours, we chased them away before they could settle—shot them on the wing as they got up.

Then, too, though the immediate scenery around my uncle's was so bleak and desolate, the country within a few miles was so full of objects of interest—of landscapes so poetically grand or lovely; and occasionally we coaxed my father from the Cardan, and spent whole days by the margin of some glorious lake.

Amongst these excursions, I made one by myself to that house in which my father had known the bliss and the pangs of that stern first love that still left its scars fresh on my own memory. The house, large and imposing, was shut up—the Trevanions had not been there for years—the pleasure-grounds had been contracted into the smallest possible space. There was no positive decay or ruin—that Trevanion would never have allowed; but there was the dreary look of absenteeship everywhere. I penetrated into the house with the help of my card and half-a-crown. I saw that memorable boudoir—I could fancy the very spot in which my father had heard the sentence that had changed the current of his life. And when I returned home, I looked with new tenderness on my father's placid brow—and blessed anew that tender helpmate, who, in her patient love, had chased from it every shadow.

I had received one letter from Vivian a few days after our arrival. It had been redirected from my father's house, at which I had given him my address. It was short, but seemed cheerful. He said, that he believed he had at last hit on the right way, and should keep to it—that he and the world were better friends than they had been—and that the only way[160] to keep friends with the world was to treat it as a tamed tiger, and have one hand on a crow-bar while one fondled the beast with the other. He enclosed me a bank-note which somewhat more than covered his debt to me, and bade me pay him the surplus when he should claim it as a millionnaire. He gave me no address in his letter, but it bore the post-mark of Godalming. I had the impertinent curiosity to look into an old topographical work upon Surrey, and in a supplemental itinerary I found this passage, "To the left of the beech-wood, three miles from Godalming, you catch a glimpse of the elegant seat of Francis Vivian, Esq." To judge by the date of the work, the said Francis Vivian might be the grandfather of my friend, his namesake. There could no longer be any doubt as to the parentage of this prodigal son.

The long vacation was now nearly over, and all his guests were to leave the poor Captain. In fact, we had made a long trespass on his hospitality. It was settled that I was to accompany my father and mother to their long-neglected penates, and start thence for Cambridge.

Our parting was sorrowful—even Mrs Primmins wept as she shook hands with Bolt. But Bolt, an old soldier, was of course a lady's man. The brothers did not shake hands only—they fondly embraced, as brothers of that time of life rarely do now-a-days, except on the stage. And Blanche, with one arm round my mother's neck, and one round mine, sobbed in my ear,—"But I will be your little wife, I will." Finally, the fly-coach once more received us all—all but poor Blanche, and we looked round and missed her.


Alma Mater! Alma Mater! New-fashioned folks, with their large theories of education, may find fault with thee. But a true Spartan mother thou art—hard and stern as the old matron who bricked up her son Pausanias, bringing the first stone to immure him; hard and stern, I say, to the worthless, but full of majestic tenderness to the worthy.

For a young man to go up to Cambridge (I say nothing of Oxford, knowing nothing thereof) merely as routine work, to lounge through three years to a degree among the ὁι πολλοι—for such an one, Oxford Street herself, whom the immortal Opium-eater hath so direly apostrophised, is not a more careless and stony-hearted mother. But for him who will read, who will work, who will seize the rare advantages proffered, who will select his friends judiciously—yea, out of that vast ferment of young idea in its lusty vigour, choose the good and reject the bad—there is plenty to make those three years rich with fruit imperishable—three years nobly spent, even though one must pass over the Ass's Bridge to get into the Temple of Honour.

Important changes in the Academical system have been recently announced, and honours are henceforth to be accorded to the successful disciples in moral and natural sciences. By the side of the old throne of Mathesis, they have placed two very useful fauteuils à la Voltaire. I have no objection; but, in those three years of life, it is not so much the thing learned, as the steady perseverance in learning something that is excellent.

It was fortunate, in one respect, for me that I had seen a little of the real world—the metropolitan, before I came to that mimic one—the cloistral. For what were called pleasures in the last, and which might have allured me, had I come fresh from school, had no charm for me now. Hard drinking and high play, a certain mixture of coarseness and extravagance, made the fashion among the idle when I was at the university sub consule Planco—when Wordsworth was master of Trinity: it may be altered now.

But I had already outlived such temptations, and so, naturally, I was thrown out of the society of the idle, and somewhat into that of the laborious.


Still, to speak frankly, I had no longer the old pleasure in books. If my acquaintance with the great world had destroyed the temptation to puerile excesses, it had also increased my constitutional tendency to practical action. And, alas! in spite of all the benefit I had derived from Robert Hall, there were times when memory was so poignant that I had no choice but to rush from the lonely room, haunted by tempting phantoms too dangerously fair, and sober down the fever of the heart by some violent bodily fatigue. The ardour which belongs to early youth, and which it best dedicates to knowledge, had been charmed prematurely to shrines less severely sacred. Therefore, though I laboured, it was with that full sense of labour which (as I found at a much later period of life) the truly triumphant student never knows. Learning—that marble image—warms into life, not at the toil of the chisel, but the worship of the sculptor. The mechanical workman finds but the voiceless stone.

At my uncle's, such a thing as a newspaper rarely made its appearance. At Cambridge, even among reading men, the newspapers had their due importance. Politics ran high; and I had not been three days at Cambridge before I heard Trevanion's name. Newspapers, therefore, had their charms for me. Trevanion's prophecy about himself seemed about to be fulfilled. There were rumours of changes in the cabinet. Trevanion's name was bandied to and fro, struck from praise to blame, high and low, as a shuttlecock. Still the changes were not made, and the cabinet held firm. Not a word in the Morning Post, under the head of fashionable intelligence, as to rumours that would have agitated me more than the rise and fall of governments—no hint of "the speedy nuptials of the daughter and sole heiress of a distinguished and wealthy commoner:" only now and then, in enumerating the circle of brilliant guests at the house of some party chief, I gulped back the heart that rushed to my lips, when I saw the names of Lady Ellinor and Miss Trevanion.

But amongst all that prolific progeny of the periodical press—remote offspring of my great namesake and ancestor, (for I hold the faith of my father,)—where was the Literary Times?—what had so long retarded its promised blossoms? Not a leaf in the shape of advertisements had yet emerged from its mother earth. I hoped from my heart that the whole thing was abandoned, and would not mention it in my letters home, lest I should revive the mere idea of it. But, in default of the Literary Times, there did appear a new journal, a daily journal too; a tall, slender, and meagre stripling, with a vast head, by way of prospectus, which protruded itself for three weeks successively at the top of the leading article;—with a fine and subtle body of paragraphs;—and the smallest legs, in the way of advertisements, that any poor newspaper ever stood upon! And yet this attenuated journal had a plump and plethoric title, a title that smacked of turtle and venison; an aldermanic, portly, grandiose, Falstaffian title—it was called The Capitalist. And all those fine subtle paragraphs were larded out with receipts how to make money. There was an El Dorado in every sentence. To believe that paper, you would think no man had ever yet found a proper return for his pounds, shillings, and pence. You would have turned up your nose at twenty per cent. There was a great deal about Ireland—not her wrongs, thank Heaven! but her fisheries: a long inquiry what had become of the pearls for which Britain was once so famous: a learned disquisition upon certain lost gold mines now happily rediscovered: a very ingenious proposition to turn London smoke into manure, by a new chemical process: recommendations to the poor to hatch chickens in ovens like the ancient Egyptians: agricultural schemes for sowing the waste lands in England with onions, upon the system adopted near Bedford, net produce one hundred pounds an acre. In short, according to that paper, every rood of ground might well maintain its man, and every shilling be like Hobson's money-bag, "the fruitful parent of a hundred more." For three days, at the newspaper room of the Union Club, men talked[162] of this journal: some pished, some sneered, some wondered; till an ill-natured mathematician, who had just taken his degree, and had spare time on his hands, sent a long letter to the Morning Chronicle, showing up more blunders, in some article to which the editor of The Capitalist had specially invited attention, (unlucky dog!) than would have paved the whole island of Laputa. After that time, not a soul read The Capitalist. How long it dragged on its existence I know not; but it certainly did not die of a maladie de langueur.

Little thought I, when I joined in the laugh against The Capitalist, that I ought rather to have followed it to its grave, in black crape and weepers,—unfeeling wretch that I was! But, like a poet, O Capitalist! thou wert not discovered, and appreciated, and prized, and mourned, till thou wert dead and buried, and the bill came in for thy monument!

The first term of my college life was just expiring, when I received a letter from my mother, so agitated, so alarming, at first reading so unintelligible, that I could only see that some great misfortune had befallen us; and I stopped short and dropped on my knees, to pray for the life and health of those whom that misfortune more specially seemed to menace; and then—and then, towards the end of the last blurred sentence—read twice, thrice, over—I could cry, "Thank Heaven, thank Heaven! it is only, then, money after all!"


It is a term of very wide application, this of statistics—extending to everything in the state of a country subject to variation either from the energies and fancies of men, or from the operations of nature, in so far as these, or the knowledge of them, has any tendency to occasion change in the condition of the country. Its elements must be either changeable in themselves, or the cause of change; because the use of the whole matter is to direct men what to do for their advantage, moral or physical—by legislation, when the case is of sufficient magnitude—or otherwise by the wisdom and enterprise of individuals.

Governments, it is plain, must have the greatest interest in possessing knowledge of this sort; but they have not been the first to engage very earnestly in obtaining it. It would seem that, in all countries, the first very noticeable efforts in this way have been made by individuals.

In this country we have now from government more and better statistics than from any other source; for besides the decennial census, there is the yearly produce in this way of Crown Commissions and of Parliamentary Committees; and, moreover, there is the late institution of a statistical department in connexion with the Board of Trade, for arranging, digesting, and rendering more accessible all matter of this kind collected, from time to time, by the different branches of the administration. But before statistical knowledge became the object of much care to the government of this country, it had been well cultivated by individuals. So in Germany statistics first took a scientific form in the works of an individual about the middle of the last century: and in France, the unfinished Mémoires des Intendants, prepared on the order of the king, were scarcely an exception, since meant for the private instruction of the young prince. But without attaching undue importance to the fact of mere precedence, it may be said that, considering the chief uses of this kind of knowledge, it has received more contributions from individuals than could have been expected.

This admits of being easily explained. It has been well said that, while history is a sort of current statistics, statistics are a sort of stationary history. The one has therefore much the same invitations to mere literary taste as the other; and if the subject[163] be not so generally engaging, the fancy way be as strong, and produce as pure a devotion to statistics as there ever is to history. More than this, the statist may care far less for his subject than its uses,—that is, he may choose to undergo the toil of researches only recommended by the chance of their ministering to the better guidance of some part of public policy, and therefore to the public good. The impulse is then not literary; nor is it legislative, for the power is wanting; it is simply patriotic, for so it must be considered, even when, in the words of Mr M'Culloch, the object is only "to bring under the public view the deficiencies in statistical information, and so to contribute to the advancement of the science."

This public nature of the aim of statistical works, and the unlikelihood of their authors choosing that medium to set forth anything supposed worthy of notice in the figure of their own genius, seem to have been recognised, except in rare instances, as giving to works of this kind a title to be well received, and to have their faults very gently remarked.

Again, it might be expected that the statistics of individuals should have a more limited range than those of governments; that they should refer to districts of less extent; and to the state of the country in fewer of its aspects. But the case is somewhat different. The statistics of individuals are often more national than local, and generally consist of many branches presented in some connexion; while those of governments are commonly confined to the single department on which some question of policy may chance for the time to have fixed attention.

On the occasion mentioned, the inquiries instituted in France were not so confined, but embraced all the points of chief interest in the state of the country. In England, nothing similar has been attempted; although, some years ago, it is known that a proposal to institute a general survey of Ireland—on the plan, we believe, of the Ordnance Survey of the parish of Templemore—was for some time under consideration of the government.

On the other hand, the instances of individual enterprise in this way to a national extent are numerous, both at home and abroad. Among the latter, Aucherwall gives the first example, and Peuchet probably the best; both treating of the country not in parts but as a whole,—not in one respect but in many. Of the same sort are the excellent statistical works of Colquhoun, M'Culloch, Porter, and others, relating to the British empire, and directed to many aspects of its condition. To these we add the Statistical Account of Scotland,—occupied with as many or more matters of inquiry, but not so properly national, since viewing not the country collectively, but its parochial divisions in succession.

One advantage belongs to the collection of statistics upon many points, which is not found in those that are limited to one. It is remarked by Schlozer in his Theorie der Statistik, that "there are many facts seemingly of no value, but which become important as soon as you combine them with other facts, it may be of quite another class. The affinities subsisting among these facts are discovered by the talent and genius of the statist; and the more various the knowledge he possesses, with so much the more success he will perform this last and crowning part of his task." The observation need not be confined to facts apparently unimportant: for even those, whose importance is at once perceived, may acquire a new value from a skilful collation. In either case, there seems a necessity for remitting the detached statistics collected by government to some such department as that in connexion with the Board of Trade; otherwise, the works of individual statists must continue to afford the only opportunity of tracing the latent relations of one branch of statistics to another.

The individual, however, who attempts so much, is in hazard of attempting more than any individual can well perform. For, besides this, he has to make another effort quite distinct—in the investigation of facts. All the needed scientific knowledge he may possess; but the same sufficiency of local or topographical knowledge is not supposable. The work so produced,[164] therefore, cannot easily avoid the defects, either of error in the details of some branch, of unequal development of the parts, or of a superficial treatment of the whole. Against these dangers some writers have had recourse to assistance, inviting contributions from others favoured with better means of information than themselves; and to them attributing, in so far as they assisted, the entire merit and responsibility of the work.

This transference of responsibility is warranted by the necessity of the case—but it is unusual; and as it scarcely occurs except in works of the kind in question, it may happen that even a professing judge of such works, if the habit of attention be not good, may entirely overlook the circumstance.

In the Statistical Account of Scotland, the obligation to individual contributions has been carried to the greatest extent; indeed, it is simply a collection of such contributions, and nothing more. This part of the plan was necessitated by another, in which the work is equally peculiar—namely, the distinct treatment of smaller divisions of the country, than have been taken up in any other work of the kind, having an entire country for its object. To obtain a body of parochial statistics, it was necessary to have recourse to persons well acquainted with the bounds, and intelligent, at the same time, upon the various subjects of inquiry. But to find such in nine hundred parishes would, of itself, have required much of that local knowledge, the want of which was the occasion of the search—had there not been a class or order of men among whom the desired qualification, in many points, might be supposed to be pretty generally diffused; and from whose favour to a project of public usefulness much aid might be expected. It was in this manner that the co-operation of the parochial clergy came to be suggested.

The Statistical Account of Scotland was originated, promoted, and superintended by the late Sir John Sinclair. The authors of such works, as one of the best of them remarks, should be careful to explain their motives in undertaking it—we presume, because undertakings of the kind are felt to be scarcely an affair of individuals. In this instance, a desire to promote the public good was at once professed and accredited by many other acts apparently inspired by the same sentiment. The devotion of Sir John Sinclair's life in that direction was complete, and the example uncommon. In this a late reviewer perceives nothing more than a restless pursuit of plans of no further interest to himself than as they bore the inscription of his own name. But whenever public spirit is professed, and by anything like useful acts attested, our faith, we think, should be more generous. On such occasions, if on any, it is right to waive all speculation upon private motives, and to presume the best—for reasons so well understood in general that they do not need to be explained. But if genius, with a bent to that sort of penetration, must have its freedom, we do demand that some token should appear of a belief in the possibility of the virtue which is denied.

It does not improve the grace of any such judgments that they are passed fifty years after the occasion; for, in the meantime, the work may have acquired merits which could not belong to it at first:—and so it has happened with the Statistical Account of Sir John Sinclair. Results may be fairly ascribed to that performance which were not intended nor foreseen, and which seem to have come from its very defects, as well as from the defects which it revealed in the condition of the country, and in the means of ascertaining what the condition of the country was. Its population-statistics were extremely imperfect; the census followed in a very few years. Its scanty and unequal notices of agriculture suggested the project of the County Reports; and to these succeeded the General Report of Scotland—a work still useful, and of the first authority in much that relates to the agriculture and other industry of the country. To take advantage of those capabilities which the statistical accounts had shown his country to possess, Sir John Sinclair originated the Agricultural Society. All of those things, and more, appear to have resulted from the Statistical Account.[165] They are honours that have arisen to it in the course of time, and may be fairly permitted to mitigate the notice and recollection of its faults.

After the lapse of fifty years, Scotland had ceased to be the country represented in the old Statistical Account; for the greater part of what is proper to such a work is, as we have said, changeable and changing. It contained not a little, however, which remained as true and as interesting as at first: the topography, the physical characters, the civil divisions of the country were the same; all that had been said of its history, whether local or general, might be said again as seasonably as before. It occurred, then, to those to whom the author had presented the right of this work, to attempt to restore it in those parts which time had rendered useless, preserving those which were under no disadvantage from that cause. This, as we learn, was the plain, unambitious intention of the New Statistical Account of Scotland. It was projected and carried on during ten years by a Society, whose object it is to afford aid, where aid is needed, in the education of the children of the clergy of the Church of Scotland. Nothing could be more foreign to that object than to engage in a work of national statistics; nothing more natural than that, in their relation to the clergy, and with their interest in the first work, they should propose to renew it in the manner mentioned. A society expressly formed for statistical purposes, and not restrained like the Society for the Sons and Daughters of the Clergy, would probably have proposed something different—something more new; it might have been expected to produce something more excellent—though, even in that case, the demand of excellence would have been limited by the consideration, that the means of completely investigating the statistics of a country are not at the command of any statistical society that exists. A modernisation, so to speak, of the first work appears to have been the idea of the second.

It has been executed, however, in the freest style, and scarcely admitted, indeed, of being accomplished at all in any other manner. In such cases, it is seldom that the adaptation is effected by mere numerical changes; the whole statement, in form, manner, and substance, behoves to be remodelled. Then, certain parts of the original may have been deficient, and become more evidently so by the changes that have since ensued in the state of the object: here the task is less one of correction than of supplement. For example, the very interesting and full accounts of mining and manufacturing industry which abound in the new work are nearly peculiar to it, and have scarcely an example in the old. One entire section of the latter, that of natural history, has been developed to an extent not attempted in the former, nor indeed in any other statistical work. These are rather noticeable licenses, on the supposition of the aim being as moderate as professed, and they go far to form a new and independent work—having nothing in common with the first, except the parochial divisions and the obligation to the clergy, as respects the plan; and as respects the matter, only the small part of it which is historical, and therefore not obsolete.

We observe, accordingly, that the society who promoted the new work have put it forward as taking some things from the old, for which they are not responsible, but as containing far more which must form a new and separate character for itself. In both respects, we think they have viewed the work with a proper reference to the conditions under which it was produced.

In other points, the new Account has improved upon the old, and might be expected to do so. It has more matter, by a third part, neither less suited to the place, nor more diffuse in the statement; and, as befits a work of reference, the arrangement is more orderly and more uniform. It is, on the whole, more carefully and better written, and shows, on the part of the reverend contributors, a remarkable advance in the many sorts of knowledge requisite to the task. If the comparison were pursued further, it might be said that some contributions to the first are not surpassed in the value of what they contain; while, from the greater novelty of the task at that time, as well as from the[166] greater freedom of the method, they are somewhat fresher and more genial in manner. The later work, if fuller, more exact, more statistical throughout, possesses that advantage at the cost of appearing sometimes more like a collection of returns in answer to submitted points of inquiry,—a character, however, by no means unsuitable to a compilation of the kind. In all other points a decided superiority must be attributed to the new Account.

Our remarks at this time shall be confined to the plan of the new Account, and to the general description of its contents.[6]

The chief feature of the plan is the distinct treatment of each parish—producing a body neither of county nor of national, but merely of parochial statistics. This was the design, and there is much to recommend it. It is the last thing that can take the aspect of a fault in statistics, to view the matter in very minute portions; for thus, and thus only, it is possible to arrive at an accurate knowledge of the whole. There can be no good county statistics which do not suppose inquiries limited, at first, to lesser divisions of the country, and which do not express the sum of particulars taken from subdivisions that can hardly proceed too far. If such minor surveys do not come before the public, they are presumptively carried on in private. But, in the latter case, they are the more apt to be superficial, as they can be so with the less chance of being noticed; they are apt to take aid from mere computation of averages; they are apt, also, to result in that vague description which is the master-vice of statistics. "In this town, there are manufactures which employ many hands; in this district, vast quantities of silk are produced. These," says Schlozer, "are pet phrases of tourists, who would say something, when they know nothing; but they are not the language of statistics." The parochial method stands, then, on two good grounds: it is inevitable either in an open or a latent form; and it favours the collection of sufficient data for those specific enumerations which are the true worth and the characteristic grace of this branch of knowledge.

This plan, however, has some disadvantages; in referring to which we shall find occasion to bring to view some of the proper merits of the work.

In the first place, a work on this plan is inevitably voluminous. The territorial divisions submitted to distinct treatment are about nine hundred in number, and the matter is still further augmented by the occasional assignment to different hands of different parts of the survey of a single parish. In proportion to the descent of the details, is the bulk of the production; which we suppose to be an evil in the same measure in which it exceeds the necessity of the case. Now the New Statistical Account is at once seen to contain not a little matter of merely local interest, and of the smallest value considered as pertaining to a body of national statistics; and here, if anywhere, it is apt to be regarded as at fault. It is right, however, to recollect the privilege of every work to be judged according to the conditions of the species to which it belongs. The present is not set forth as a statistical account of Scotland, but as a collection of the statistical accounts of all the parishes in Scotland; for this, we perceive, is not merely implied in the plan of the work, but is declared in the prospectus, where the hope is expressed that, by exhibiting the actual state of the parishes, with whatever is therein amiss, it may lead to parochial improvements. It does not appear, therefore, to have been from any miscalculation of their worth, that matters of merely local interest have been so liberally admitted; and, all things considered, more of that nature might have been expected. Let us quote again from the best theory of statistics that has ever been produced. "An object may be deserving of remark in the description of some particular portion of a country, and at the same time have no claim to notice in any general account of that country at large. In the former case, the rivulet is not to be omitted; in the latter, any allusion to it would be a defect, for it would be matter of unnecessary[167] and trifling detail."[7] It is recorded, in the New Statistical Account, that "Will-o'-wisp had never appeared in the parish of South Uist previous to the year 1812." Nothing, in a national point of view, can be conceived more insignificant than this fact; but, taken in connexion with a notable superstition in that district, its local importance appears.[8] To the credit of this method, it may be noticed, that the accounts which are most parochial are, at the same time, among those which have been drawn up with the most general intelligence; and, this being the case, it is not a strange wish that the accounts, in general, had been somewhat more parochial than they are.

On this plan, it is certain there is a risk of much repetition, many parishes having some common characterists which, in place of being recounted for each, might be stated once for all. How far does the Statistical Account offend in this manner? It is true that, where the same facts occur in many parishes, a single statement might suffice; though this might be at the cost of violating the plan which for the whole it might be fittest to adopt, upon consideration that the like resemblance is not found among the greater number of the parishes. But it is remarkable, how seldom different parishes have all the similarity requisite for such a common description; for, in statistics, a difference in mere number or quantity is a vital difference, and expresses essentially different facts. Many parishes have the same articles of produce; while no two produce exactly the same quantities. A very short distance often brings to view considerable varieties in climate, soil, and other physical qualities of a country. Now, considering that the object of this work is to present the parishes in their distinguishing, as well as in their common features, we do not see much sameness in the substance of the details which could have been avoided. A sameness there is; but more in form than in substance—each account delivering its matter under the same general heads, recurring in all cases in exactly the same order. This is convenient when the book is used for reference; it may be wearisome to one who reads only for amusement: it is monotonous; but who looks for any "soul of harmony" in such a quarter? We repeat, it is not attended, on the whole, with much importunate reappearance of the same facts, and cannot seem to be so, except to a very careless or distempered eye. But if, perchance, there may be some facts much alike in several parishes, this itself is an unusual fact, and we should not object to its coming out in the usual way of each parish speaking for itself; in which case, there is always a chance of some variety in the description, from the same thing presenting itself to different persons under different aspects. But, on the whole, we think there is less repetition in these accounts, and indeed less occasion for it, than might at first sight be supposed.

There is another obvious tendency to imperfection in the plan of parochial accounts. Their first, but not their sole object, is to describe the parishes; it is certainly meant that they should furnish, at the same time, the grounds of statistical computation for the whole country. This is the natural complement and the proper conclusion to a work of parish statistics. It is, however, a part of the plan which, not being quite necessary, and requiring a fresh effort at the last, is apt to be omitted. It was not till twenty-five years after the publication of the old Account that[168] Sir John Sinclair at length produced his Analysis of the Statistical Account of Scotland considered as one District. It came too late. A similar analysis or summary appears to have been at first intended for the new Account: and we regret that this part of the design was, by force of circumstances, not carried into effect. One use of it would have been to evince that parochial statistics do not assume the character of national; while yet, for even national statistics, they furnish the most proper foundation. To pass at once, however, from parochial to national statistics would have been too great a step; there is an intermediate stage, at which the new Account would certainly have paused, though it had designed to proceed farther; and at which, without that design, it has here rested; presenting the statistics of each county in a summary of the more important particulars concerning the included parishes; but making no nearer approach to any general computations for the country at large.

The method of proceeding from parishes to counties suggests that other plan for the entire work, which would have followed the opposite course—the plan that would have begun with counties, and given County, not Parochial reports. Somewhat in this fashion has been formed the Géographie Départementale of France, now in course of publication, in which the whole matter is rigorously subjected to as skilful an arrangement as has ever been devised for matters of the kind. It is plain, however, that greater difficulty and more expense would have attended the construction of the Scotch work on that scheme, than private parties could have undertaken; and even the example of the French work does not show that, for the compacter method thus obtained, there might not have been a sacrifice of much that is valuable in detail.

It may be added, that when parishes are well described, and a county or more general summary succeeds, we ask no more; a work like this has then accomplished its object, and what remains must be sought for elsewhere. What remains is this—to interpret the statistics thus laid down, for they are often very far from interpreting themselves; to ascertain, by analysis or combination of their different parts, what they signify in regard to the condition of the country. Thus, betwixt the rate of wages and the habits of a people—the prevailing occupations and the rate of mortality—the description of industry and the amount of pauperism—there are relations which it is exceedingly important to remark. But if a statistical account simply notes the kind, number, or quantity of each of these particulars, it performs its part,—no matter how blindly, how unconsciously of the relation that subsists betwixt them, this may be done. The rest is so different a work, that it must be left to other hands. It is not to be forgotten, that, for bringing out the more latent truths of statistics in the manner mentioned, a work like this is merely pour servir; and, keeping that in view, our prepossessions are all in favour of abundance and minuteness of detail.

Lastly, a work made up of contributions from nine hundred individuals must be of unequal merit, according to the different measures of intelligence or care, and according to the feeling with which a task of that nature may happen to have been undertaken. A slight inspection, accordingly, discovers that it is the character of the writer, more than of the parish, that determines the length and interest of any one of these reports. This is an imperfection, and something more—for it makes one part of the book, by implication, reveal the defects of another. A few years ago, when a Crown commission considered a project for a general survey and statistical report of Ireland, their attention was much attracted to the New Statistical Account of Scotland; and, in their report, they notice, in the course of a very fair estimate, this inequality as the main disadvantage of the plan. It is, however, inevitable, except upon a scheme which, from the expense attending it, would have hindered the existence of the Scottish work, and which appears to have prevented or postponed the Irish. From a single author, something like proportion might be expected in the parts of such a compilation; but to that perfection a work like the Statistical Account of Scotland, with its hundreds of avowed responsible,[169] and therefore uncontrolled authors, could not pretend. For this reason, it is the more proper to follow a rule of judgment which, in any case, is a good one:—to estimate the general character of the work with a lively recollection of its merits; and to be much upon our guard against the mean instinct of looking only to the weaker and more peccant parts of it.

Passing from the plan to the matter of the work, we now ask, whether all that it contains is properly statistical, and whether it contains all of any consequence that falls under that description.

Nothing, we suppose, is alien to this branch of knowledge that tends, in however little, to show the state of a country—social, political, moral—or even physical.

But this last, comprising somewhat of geography and natural history, some writers would remove entirely from the sphere of statistics. Among these is Peuchet, in his work before mentioned—who gives as the reason of the exclusion, that, in any analysis of the wealth or power of a state, neither its geography nor natural history ever come into view: a fact rather hastily assumed. The parallel work for this country, by Mr. M'Culloch, while it follows Peuchet's method in much, leaves it in this instance, admitting various branches of natural history to ample consideration. It is true that trespass on the proper ground of statistics has been so common an offence, that writers have been careful to mark those cases in which no title exists. Thus Schlozer, looking to the intrusions that come from the quarter we refer to, is averse to all imaginative descriptions of the physical aspect of a country, but does not prohibit natural history. Hogel, who also writes well upon the theory of statistics,[9] is more explicit—admitting that natural history may encroach too far, but asserting that its several branches may be received to a certain extent. "Whatever, in the physical nature of a country, has any influence upon the life, occupations, or manners of the people, pertains to statistics; by all means, therefore, in any body of statistics, let us have as much of mineralogy, hydrology, botany, geology, meteorology, as has any bearing upon the condition of the people." All of these subjects have been allowed to enter largely into the New Statistical Account.

They form a feature of that work which scarcely belonged to the old Account, and which is new, indeed, to parochial statistics. Investigations of natural history have usually been carried on with reference to other bounds than those of parishes; but, when confined to parishes, it is remarkable how much this has been at once for the advantage of the science, and for the enhancement of any interest in these territorial divisions by the picturesque mixture of natural objects with the works and pursuits of men. More of this parochial treatment of natural history we may possibly have hereafter, upon the suggestion of the Statistical Account.

For the abundant favour which the work has shown to the whole subject of natural history, reasons are not wanting. One portion of that matter has obviously the quality that designates for statistical treatment,—comprising, for example, mines, whether wrought or unwrought; animals, profitable or destructive; plants, in all their variety of uses: the connexion of which with the wealth and industry of the country is at once apparent. The same connexion exists for another class of objects; but not so obviously. For example, there is a detailed account of the flowering periods of a variety of plants in one parish; the pertinence of which is not perceived, until it is mentioned that, in the same neighbourhood, there are two populous and well-frequented watering-places, which owe their prosperity to the qualities of the climate: there the trade of the locality connects itself with the early honours of the hepaticas. A third class of facts, and not the least in amount, is not qualified by any relation they are known to possess to the social condition of the country; but then they belong to a body of facts, some of which have that relation; and the same may be established for them hereafter. Still, it may be said that the matter, if appropriate,[170] behoves to be presented in a statistical, not in a scientific form. But this, perhaps, is to interpret too strictly the laws of statistical writing, which do not seem to forbid the predominance of a scientific interest in the description, when the matter fairly belongs to the province of statistics. And if any license at all may be allowed in works of so severe a character, it is precisely here where that is least unbefitting. It is not among the faults of the New Statistical Account, but rather among its most interesting features, that the mineral resources of the country are so often described with all the skill and passion of the mineralogist, forgetting for the moment everything but the phenomena of nature.

Under the head of Natural History, we have many instances of the landscape painting proscribed by Schlozer. But it is remarked, that the same authority, when adverting to another matter, lays down a principle of admission which is equally applicable here. "Antiquities," he observes, "become a proper subject of statistics in such a case as that of Rome, where a large amount of money was at one time annually expended by the strangers who came to form their taste, or to indulge their curiosity, upon the remains of ancient art." In like manner, if there are places in Scotland that profit economically by the attractions of their natural beauty, we do not see that there is any obligation to be silent upon the cause, by reason merely of the seeming dissonance betwixt an imaginative description and the austere account of statistics. Other and better apologies might be offered; and, on the whole, we are not satisfied that, in this respect, any less indulgence of the gentler vein would have been attended with advantage to the work.

On these grounds it appears to have been, that so much scope is allowed to the whole subject of natural history. But if too much, the fault has been redeemed by the frequent excellence of what is put forth on that head. Here the New Statistical Account passes expectation; and to it we may attribute much of the increased interest that has lately attached to that branch of knowledge in Scotland.

Another thing of questionable connexion with statistics is history, which imports a reference to the past; whereas, as the name declares, statistics contemplates but the present, and can look neither backward nor forward, without trenching upon other provinces. Many excellent statistical works, accordingly, have allowed no place to history at all; and the writers before cited, on the theory of the subject, concur in excluding it. Hogel is most explicit. "Statistics never go beyond the circle of the present in their representations of the condition of a country: they are like painting—they fix upon a single point of time; and the facts which they select are those which come last in the series, though the series they belong to may extend backwards for ages. All that went before rests on testimony, and is therefore beyond the sphere of statistics, whose grounds are in actual observation. There is no limit to the number of facts with which statistics have to do, provided they are co-existing facts, and do not present themselves in succession: facts, and not their causes, are the proper matter of statistics; and they must be facts of the present time." This doctrine, in which there seems nothing in the main amiss, if strictly applied to the work under consideration, cancels a large part of it. But against that consequence we can suppose it to be pleaded—First, that for relief from a continuity of details somewhat arid to many readers, the work borrows something from a neighbouring branch of knowledge, and so far, of purpose, drops its statistical character—the more allowably, as in this way no harm ensues to the statistical character of the rest. And next—that all the history of a place has not equally little to do with its present state; for past events are often, casually or otherwise, related to the present, and so become a fair subject of retrospect, unless restraints are to be imposed on this branch of knowledge which are unknown to any other. The fault, in this instance, is at least not so great, as where no discoverable relation exists. It may be worth while, then, to observe how far the historical matter of the Statistical Account does show any connexion of the sort in question.

It includes, under the head of history,[171] various classes of particulars. 1. The parish has been the scene of some event remarkable in the history of the country. Of this, perhaps, distinct traces remain, not in memory alone, but in some local custom or institution. But the most common case is, that, as the range extends to the remotest periods, all influence or effect of the event has ceased, and the interest of its recital is purely historical. Here the Statistical Account transgresses one rule of such a work by the admission of such matter, and asks, as we perceive it does ask in the prospectus, liberty to do so on one of the grounds above suggested.

2. The same apology is required for the antiquities, that form a large section under this head. These have sometimes perceptibly the connexion that gives the title we desire; a connexion, perhaps, no more than perceptible. Thus, in reference to the round hill in the parish of Tarbolton, on which the god Thor was anciently worshipped, we are told that, "on the evening before the June fair, a piece of fuel is still demanded at each house, and invariably given, even by the poorest inhabitant," in order to celebrate the form of the same superstitious rite which has been annually performed on that hill for many centuries. The famous Pictish tower at Abernethy is said to be used "for civil purposes connected with the burgh." In these cases it is seen how very slight is the qualifying circumstance; but it is still more so for much the greater number of particulars of this kind which the book contains—such as ancient coins, ancient armour, barrows, standing-stones, camps, or moat hills: all of which particularly belong to archæology, and obtain a place here simply by favour. Indeed, no part of the work adheres to it so loosely as this of antiquities. Their objects live as curiosities; but, to all intents that can recommend them to the notice of statistics, they are dead, "and to be so extant is but a fallacy in duration."

If this portion of the matter be the least appropriate, it is, at the same time, not the least difficult to handle; for uncertainty besets a very great part of it, and nothing more tries the reach of knowledge than conjecture. Besides, the knowledge here requisite implies both taste and opportunities for its cultivation,—which may belong to individuals, but which cannot be attributed to an entire profession, spread over all parts of the country, and designated to very different studies. If antiquities could be considered as a main part of statistics, it is, assuredly, not to the clergy we should look for a statistical account; nor indeed to any other body, however learned, if it be not the Society of Antiquaries. The clergyman who honours his profession with the greatest amount of appropriate learning, may in this particular know but little; and if we do not, on that account, the less value him, it is assuredly not from undervaluing in the slightest degree a very interesting branch of knowledge.

In these circumstances, the reasons for allowing to antiquities so much of this compilation appear to have been,—the compelling example of the old Account, the occasional aptness of the matter, and the effect of such a mélange upon the mass of details that form the body of the work. But a better apology remains; and it may be extended to what is said of the remarkable events of history. We are warranted in saying, that the New Statistical Account has contributed much to the history and antiquities of Scotland,—evincing on these subjects a frequent novelty and fulness of knowledge far surpassing what either the design or the apparatus of the undertaking gave any title to expect.

Of one fault, in particular, there is no appearance in the archæology of this work. Nowhere is there any sign of an idiosyncracy which is not without example—that of professing to speak of statistics, and yet speaking of nothing but antiquities; as if these, which are saved with so much difficulty from the charge of being wholly out of place, were the pith and marrow, the most vital part of any body of statistics. This is a small merit, but it is allied to a greater. Throughout these volumes, there is no tendency to discuss such futile questions as have sometimes lowered the credit of antiquarian pursuits. We have seen it solemnly inquired, whether Æneas, upon landing in Italy, touched the soil with the right or with the left[172] foot foremost; whether Karl Haco was in person present at the sacrifice of his son; whether a faded inscription upon the walls of an old church be of this import or that—in either case the interest having so little to support it in the significance of the record that it can scarce be imagined to exist at all, except as it may centre in the mere truth of the deciphering. Nothing of this doting, degenerate character, repudiated by all antiquaries, occurs in the Statistical Account: if it did, the sum of all the errors in names, dates, and other things, inevitably incident to so vast a variety of details, would not have been an equal blemish.

It is probable that neither history nor antiquities will find a place in any future statistics of Scotland. Not that they have been enough examined either in that connexion, or elsewhere; but it is now common to make them the subject of separate, independent essays—the most proper form for the delivery of anything that pertains to such matters. The good service done in this department, by both of these Accounts, now falls to be performed by such works as the "Baronial and Ecclesiastical Antiquities of Scotland,"[10] which have this for their single object; and the presumption is only fair, that some further light on such matters may be contributed by the "Parochiale Scoticanum," lately announced as in the course of preparation[11]—though our expectations would not have been at all lessened by a somewhat less magnificent promise than that "every man in Scotland may be enabled to ascertain, with some precision, the first footing and gradual progress of Christianity in his own district and neighbourhood."

It is not to be supposed, however, that some other topics which regularly appear in this New Account, under the head of history, will ever drop from any work of parochial statistics. We refer to what may be termed Parish History, as distinct from what belongs to the history of the country,—notices of distinguished individuals and of ancient families, changes of property, territorial improvements, variations in the social state of the people. No part of a book is more novel, or, to a proper curiosity, more interesting; and no indication is needed of the fair incidence of such matters to a work of this description.

If the New Statistical Account contains, then, some particulars not quite proper to the professed object, the excess appears to be on the whole venial. But it may still be asked, whether any important and proper matters appear to have been omitted.

Now, considering how many things of nature, art, institutions, and industry pertain to statistics, we do not expect any compilation to embrace all, or to treat completely of all such things as it does embrace,—we expect imperfection in the details.

Accordingly, it is seen that some subjects well described in some accounts, are either not at all, or not so fully, taken up in others; while yet the occasion may be much the same. The climate of some districts, for instance, is well illustrated by careful observations from the rain-gage and thermometer; in some parishes we are informed of the size of the agricultural possessions, the number of ploughs, the rent of land; in some, manufactories, mines, and other kinds of industry, are viewed in all their aspects. But, for other districts or parishes, reports on these subjects are wanting; and the disadvantage is, not merely that such desirable information is not given for such places, but that the means are not furnished of making any general computations for the whole country. It is plain there have been special reasons for the less satisfactory representation of particular parishes in these respects: but for all such faults, both of omission and imperfection, we understand the New Statistical Account to have one general apology; which is this.

Two distinct efforts are requisite to the preparation of a comprehensive work of statistics. There is first, the investigation of facts; and next, the task of arranging and presenting them in the report. One of the theorists before-mentioned, views it as a necessary[173] division of labour, that both things should not be attempted by one and the same party,—especially as the first, when the subjects are numerous, is not to be accomplished but by the assistance of many hands—all of which, as he observes, must be at once skilful and suitably rewarded. Now, here, the task of inquiring and reporting was not divided; the whole of it was placed, by the necessities of the case, in the hands of the reverend contributors. But, as no private society had the means or authority to investigate the facts completely, it is urged that the defects to which we have alluded, were for the most part inevitable.

We believe it; and, recognising how much the clergy had thus to do, which could only be done completely by the government, we only advert to the sources of information to which they could have recourse.

Public documents seem to have been consulted, when information of a later date could not be had,—and chiefly the parliamentary reports on population, crime, education, and municipal affairs, from which the parish accounts appear to have been supplemented with whatever was necessary to the completion of the county summaries. Much has also been derived from the reports of Societies, Boards, and mercantile companies; of this there is evidence in the account of every considerable town.

Public records appear also to have been examined, and chiefly the parish registers. Every parish has a record of the transactions of its kirk-session,—sometimes extending to distant periods. Extracts from these occasionally show, in a clear light, the state and manners of the country in former times; more of which authentic illustration we could have wished, and more the same sources might possibly have supplied. Most parishes have also records of births or baptisms, marriages and deaths. From these, and these only, this work could derive the elements of its important section of vital statistics; but how far were they fitted to serve that purpose? It is certain that they nowhere form a complete register of these occurrences, and that for the most part they are very defective. Baptisms appear to have been entered, in the parish register, regularly till the year 1783, when the imposition of a small tax first broke the custom of registration; and, when that tax was removed, dissenting bodies were unwilling to resume the practice. The proportion of registered baptisms to births, for instance, is at the present time not more than one fourth in Edinburgh, and one third in Glasgow. The marriage register is also unavailable to statistical purposes, by reason of the practice of double enrolment—in the parish of each party. In many parishes no record of burials exists: in others, those of paupers are omitted. In short, there is scarcely a country in Europe that does not, by proper arrangements, furnish better information on these important points; and no industry of individuals can remedy that defect. It is therefore among the postulates of a work like this, for Scotland, that its vital statistics should be imperfect.

Books relating to the history, civil or natural, the institutions or manners of the country, have in many instances been well consulted; in some, not at all; but probably as much from want of opportunity as from any other cause.

Still much occasion for inquiry remained after all the use that could be made of reports, registers, and books. Much of what related to the institutions of Religion, education, and the poor, might be supposed to come readily to hand, the clergy themselves being most conversant with such matters. But they appear to have charged themselves with the toil of very different investigations. Some have been at the pains to ascertain the amount and occupations of the population, betwixt the decennial terms of the parliamentary census. Few have omitted to state, in connexion with the agriculture of the parish, the quantities of land under tillage or under wood, in pasture or in moor, and the amount respectively of the different kinds of produce—facts that imply not a little correspondence with land-owners and land-occupiers, and much industry in the collation of returns. They have had recourse, frequently, to mineralogists, botanists,[174] overseers of mining and manufacturing works, whose contributions are of as much value as the fullest and ripest knowledge can give. Picture-galleries are sometimes described by their owners; family papers occasionally disclose facts of some interest in the history of the country. Throughout the work there are signs not to be mistaken, of much private and unwonted inquiry on the part of the reverend authors, to do, in a creditable way, a work that, from the nature of it, ought to have been apportioned to at least two different parties.

The defects which remain only suggest to us the hope which was thus expressed in similar circumstances, that "the circulation of this work, by bringing the deficiencies in the means of statistical information under the public view, and drawing attention to them, may, in this respect, also contribute to the advancement of the science." It is implied, of course, that the work, to be useful in this indirect way, must have merits of another kind. On these the New Statistical Account may stand. No other book affords the same insight into the various natural resources of the country; none describes so well, and so skilfully, the most considerable branches of industry, and the methods of conducting them; none has brought together the same variety of statistics, with the same ample means of speculating upon their mutual relations. It is still more remarkable, that such a work, embracing, as it does, so much beyond the usual sphere of their observation, should proceed from the clergy; but the explanation is, that the position and character of that body open to them the best means of information on many subjects with which they are themselves not at all conversant. They have produced here a work, which, as a collection of parochial statistics, stands alone, without either rival or resemblance in any other country, representing the state of Scotland, at the period to which it refers, in all its aspects, and so affording the means of a definite comparison between the past and the present, such as, in all cases, it is at once natural and profitable to make. A peculiar interest arises from the unusual diversity of the matter, and the familiarity of the writers with the bounds which they describe. It is a useful work, and will continue long to be so, in as many ways as it throws light upon the condition of the country—and, not least, in the local improvements to which its suggestions may give rise. But, if its uses were less than they are, it would still leave an impression of respect for the general intelligence and the readiness to employ their opportunities for the public good, which its authors have known to unite with exemplary devotion to the duties of their calling.



The Poetry of Sacred and Legendary Art. By Mrs Jameson.

We are of the belief that art without poetry is worthless—dead, and deadening; or, if it have vitality, there is no music in its speech—no command in its beauty. We treat it with a kind of contempt, and make apology for the pleasure it has afforded. Sacred and Legendary Art! How different—how precious—how life-bestowing! The material and immaterial world linked, as it were, together by a new sympathy, working out a tissue of beautiful ideas from the golden threads of a Divine revelation! By Sacred and Legendary Art is meant the treatment of religions subjects, commencing with the Old Testament, and terminating in traditionary tales and legends. It is from the latter that the old painters have, for the most part, taken that rich poetry, which, glowing on the canvass, shows, even amidst the wild errors of fable, a truth of sentiment belonging to a purer faith.

By the Protestant mind, nursed, perhaps, in an undue contempt of histories of saints and martyrs of the Romish Church, the treasures of art of the best period are rarely understood, and still more rarely felt, in the spirit in which they were conceived. Those for whom they were painted needed no cold inquiry into the subjects. They accepted them as things universally known and religiously to be received, with a veneration which we but little comprehend. With them pictures and statues were among their sacred things, and, together with architecture, spoke and taught with an authority that books, which then were rare in the people's hands, have since scarcely ever obtained. Men of genius felt this respect paid to their works, if denied too often to themselves; and thus to their own devotion was added a kind of ministerial importance. Their work became a duty, and was very frequently prosecuted as such by the inmates of monasteries. Besides their works on a large scale, upon the walls and in their cloisters, the ornamenting and illustrating missals embodied a religious feeling, if in some degree peculiar to the condition of the workers, of a vital form and beauty. Treasures of this kind there are beyond number; but they have been hidden treasures for ages. A Protestant contempt for their legends has persecuted, with long hatred, and subsequent long indifference, the art which glorified them. And now that we awake from this dull state, and begin to estimate the poetry of religious art, we stand before the noblest productions amazed and ignorant, and looking for interpreters, and lose the opportunity of enjoyment in the inquiry. Art is too valuable for all it gives, to allow this entire ignorance of the subjects of its favourite treatment. If, for the better understanding of heathen art, an acquaintance with classical literature is thought to be a worthy attainment, the excellence of what we may term Christian art surely renders it of importance that we should know something about the subjects of which it treats. The inquiry will repay us also in other respects, as well as with regard to taste. If we would know ourselves, it is well to see the workings of the human mind, under its every phase, its every condition. And in such a study we shall be gratified, perhaps unexpectedly, to find the good and the beautiful still shining through the obscurity of many errors, predominant and influential upon our own hearts, and scarcely wish the fabulous altogether removed from the minds of those who receive it in devotion, lest great truth in feeling be removed also. Indeed, the legends themselves are mostly harmless, and, even as they become discredited, may be interpreted as not unprofitable allegories. Had we not, in a Puritanic zeal, discarded art with an iconoclast persecution, The Pilgrim's Progress had long ere this been a "golden legend" for the people, and spoken to them in worthy[176] illustration; nor would they have been religiously or morally the worse had they been imbued with a thorough taste for the graceful, the beautiful, and the sublime, which it is in the power of well cultivated art to convey to every willing recipient. It is a great mistake of a portion of the religious world to look upon ornament as a sin or a superstition. Religion is not a bare and unadorned thing, nor can it be so received without debasing, without making too low and mean the worshipper for the worship. The "wedding garment" was not the every-day wear. The poorest must not, of a choice, appear in rags before the throne of Him who is clothed in glory, nor with less respect of their own person than they would use in the presence of their betters. It was originally of God's doing, command, and dictation, to sanctify the beautiful in art, by making his worship a subject for all embellishment. For such a purport were the minute directions for the building of His temple. And yet how many "religious" of our day contradict this feeling, which seems to come to us, not only by a natural instinct, but with the authority of a command! It is a deteriorated worship that prefers four bare, unadorned, whitened walls of a mean conventicle to the lofty and arched majesty and profuse enrichment of a Gothic minster. We want every aid to lift every sense above our daily grovelling cares, and ought to feel that we are acceptable and invited guests in a house far too great, spacious, and magnificent for ourselves alone. Even our humility should be sublime, as all true worship is, for we would fain lift it up as an offering to the Heaven of heavens. It has its aspect towards Him who deigns to receive, together with consciousness of the lowliness of him that offers. It is good that the eye and the ear should see and hear other sounds and sights than concern things, not only of time, but of that poor portion of it which hems in our daily wants and businesses. Beauty and music are of and for eternity, and will never die; and in our perception of them we make ourselves a part of all that is undying. These are senses that the spiritualised body will not lose. Their cultivation is a thing for ever; we are now even here the greater for their possession in their human perfection. The wondrous pile so elaborately finished; the choral service, the pealing organ, and the low voice of prayer, and, it may be, angel forms and beatified saints in richly-painted windows:—we do not believe all this to be solely of man's invention, but of inspiration; how given we ask not, seeing what is, and acknowledging a greatness around us far greater than ourselves, and lifting up the full mind to a magnitude emulous of angelic stature. Yes—poetic genius is a high gift, by which the gifted make discoveries, and show high and great truths, and present them, palpable and visible, before the world—by architecture, by painting, by sculpture, by music—rendering religion itself more holy by the inspiration of its service. Take a man out of his common, so to speak, irreverent habit, and place him here to live for a few moments in this religious atmosphere—how unlike is he to himself, and how conscious of this self-unlikeness! Would that our cathedrals were open at all times! Even when there is no service, though that might be more frequent, there would be much good communing with a man's own heart, when, turning away for a while from worldly troubles and speculations, in midst of that great solemn monument, erected to his Maker's praise, and with the dead under his feet—the dead who as busily walked the streets and ways he has just left—he would weigh the character of his doings, and in a sanctified place breathe a prayer for direction. Nor would it be amiss that he should be led to contemplate the "storied pane" and religious emblems which abound; he will not fail, in the end, to sympathise with the sentiment even where he bows not to the legend. He may know the fact that there have been saints and martyrs—that faith, hope, and charity are realities—that patience and love may be here best learnt to be practised in the world without.

It is curious that the saints, those Dii minores, to whom so many of our churches are dedicated, still retain their holding. Beyond the evangelists and the apostles, little do the people know of the other many saints[177] while they enter the churches that bear their names. Few of a congregation, we suspect, could give much account of St Pancras, St Margaret, St Werburgh, St Dunstan, St Clement, nor even of St George, but that he is pictured slaying a dragon, and is the patron saint of England. Yet were they once "household gods" in the land. It is a curious speculation this of patron saints, and how every family and person had his own. There is a great fondness in this old personal attachment of his own angel to every man. That notion preceded Christianity, and was easily engrafted upon it: and the angel that attended from the birth was but supplanted by some holy dead whom the Church canonised. And a corrupt church humoured the superstition, and attached miracles to relics; and thus, as of old, these came, in latter times, to be "gods many." And what were these but over again the thirty thousand deities who, Hesiod said, inhabited the earth, and were guardians of men? Yet, it must be confessed, there has been a popular purification of them. They are not the panders to vice that infested the morals of the heathen world.

But how came the heathen world by them? Did they invent, or where find them? And how came their characteristics to be so universal, in all countries differing rather in name than personality? The most intellectually-gifted people under the sun, the ancient Greeks, give nowhere any rational account how they came by the gods they worshipped. They take them as personifications from their poets. There is the theogony of Hesiod, and the gods as Homer paints them. They have called forth the glory of art; and wonderful were the periods that stamped on earth their statues, as if all men's intellect had been tasked to the work, that they should leave a mark and memorial of beauty than which no age hereafter should show a greater. We acknowledge the perfection in the remains that are left to us. Greek art stills sways the mind of every country—all the world mistrusts every attempt in a contrary direction. The excellence of Greek sculpture is reflected back again upon Greek fable, the heathen mythology from which it was taken; and perhaps a greater partiality is bestowed upon that than it deserves,—at least, we may say so in comparison with any other. We must be cautious how we take the excellence of art for the excellence of its subject. The Greeks were formed for art beyond every other people; had their creed been hideous—and indeed it was obscene—they would have adorned it with every beauty of ideal form. And this is worthy of note here, that their poetry in art was infinitely more beautiful than their written poetry. Their sculptors, and perhaps their painters, of whom we are not entitled to speak but by conjecture, and from the opinions formed by no bad judges of their day, did aim at the portraying a kind of divine humanity. If their sculptured deities have not a holy repose, they are singularly freed from display of human passions; whereas, in their poetry, it is rarely that even decent repose is allowed them; they are generally too active, without dignity, and without respect to the moral code of a not very scrupulous age. Yet have these very heathen gods, even as their historians the poets paint them—for it would disgrace them to speak of their biographers—a trace of a better origin than we can gather out of the whimsical theogony. There are some particulars in the heathen mythology that point to a visible track in the strange road of history. Much we know was had from Egypt; more, probably, came with the Cadmean letters from Phœnicia—a name including Palestine itself. Inventions went only to corruptions—the original of all creeds of divinity is from revelation. We may not be required to point out the direct road nor the resting-places of this "santa casa," holding all the gods of Greece, so beautiful in their personal portraiture, that we love to gaze with the feeling of Schiller, though their histories will not bear the scrutiny: but it will suffice to note some similitudes that cannot be accidental. Somehow or other, both the historic and prophetic writings of the Bible, or narratives from them, had reached Greece as well as other distant lands. The Greeks had, at a very early period, embodied in their myths even the personal characters as shown in those writings. Let us, for example, without[178] referring to their Zeus in a particular manner, find in the Hermes or Mercury of the Greeks the identity with Moses. What are the characteristics of both? If Moses descended from the Mount with the commands of God, and was emphatically God's messenger, so was Hermes the messenger from Olympus: his chief office was that of messenger. If Moses is known as the slayer of the Egyptian, so is Hermes, (and so is he more frequently called in Homer,) Αργειφοντης, the slayer of Argus, the overseer of a hundred eyes. Moses conducted through the wilderness to the Jordan those who died and reached not the promised land; nor did he pass the Jordan. So was Hermes the conductor of the dead, delivering them over to Charon, (and here note the resemblance of name with Aaron, the associate of Moses); nor was he to pass to the Elysian fields.

Then the rod, the serpents,—the Caduceus of Hermes, with the serpents twining round the rod. The appearance of Moses, and the shining from his head, as it is commonly figured, is again represented in the winged cap of Hermes. There are other minute circumstances, especially some noted in the hymn of Hermes, ascribed to Homer, which we forbear to enumerate, thinking the coincidences already mentioned are sufficiently striking.

Then, again, the idea of the serpent of the Greek mythology, whence did it come, and the slaying of it by the son of Zeus—and its very name, the Python, the serpent of corruption? And in that sense it has been carried down to this day as an emblem in Christian art. But, to go back a moment, this departure of the Israelites from Egypt, is there no notice of it in Homer? We think there is a hint which indicates a knowledge of at least a part of that history—the previous slavery, the being put to work, and the after-readiness of the Egyptians to be "spoiled." Ulysses, giving a false account of himself, if we remember rightly, to Eumæus, says he came from Egypt, where he had been a merchant, that the king of that country seized him and all his men, whom he put to work, but that at length he found favour, and was allowed to depart with his people; adding that he collected much property from the people of Egypt, "for all of them gave."

"Πολλὰ αγειρα,
Χρηματ' Αἰγυπτίους ἄνδρας, διδοσαν γαρ ἄπαντες."

We do not mean to lay any great stress upon this quotation, and but think at least that it shows a characteristic of the Egyptians as narrated by Moses; and never having met with any allusion to it, nor indeed to our parallel between Moses and Hermes, which it may seem to support, we have thought it worthy this brief notice.

We fancy we trace the history of the cause of the fall of man, in the eating of the pomegranate seed which doomed Proserpine to half an existence in the infernal regions. Can there be anything more striking than the Prometheus Bound of Æschylus? Whence could such a notion come, that a man-god would, for his love to mankind, (for bringing down fire from heaven,) suffer agonies, nailed not upon a cross indeed, but on a rock, and, in the description, crucified? "It is, after a manner," says Mr Swayne, who has with great power translated this strange play of Æschylus, "a Christian poem by a pagan author, foreshadowing the opposition and reconciliation of Divine justice and Divine love. Whence the sublime conception of the subject of this drama could have been obtained, it is useless to speculate. Some even suppose that its author must have been acquainted with the old Hebrew prophets."

Even the introduction of Io in the tale is suggestive—the virgin-mother who was so strangely to conceive (and this too given in a prophecy) miraculously.

"Jove at length shall give thee back thy mind,
With one light touch of his unquailing hand,
And, from that fertilising touch, a son
Shall call thee mother."

Her whom Prometheus thus addresses,—

"In that the son shall overmatch the sire."
—"Of thine own stem the strong one shall be born."

Then again Sampson passes into the Egyptian or Tyrian Hercules, to lose his life by another Delilah in Dejaneira. Whence the prophetic Sybils, whence and what the Eleusinian mysteries? and that strange glimpse of them in[179] the significant passage of the Alcestis, where the restored from the dead must abstain from speech till the third day—the duration of her consecration to Hades!

"Ὁύπω δέμις σοι τησδε προσφωνηματων,
Κλύειν, πρίν ἄν θεωισι τοῖσι νερτέροις
Αφαγνῖσηται, καὶτρίτον μολῃ φαος."

We might enter largely into the mysteries of heathen mythology, and discover strange coincidences and resemblances, but it would take us too wide from our present subject. Our present purpose is to show that we are apt to attribute too much to the Grecian fable, when we ascribe to it all the beauty which Grecian art has elaborated from it. For, in fact, the origin of that fabulous poetry is beyond them in far-off time; and by them how corrupted, shorn of its real grandeur, and at once magnificent and lovely beauty! How much more, then, is it ours than theirs, as it is deducible from that high revelation which is part of the Christian religion. We overlook, in the excellence of Grecian art, the far better materials for all art, which we in our religion possess, and have ever possessed. With the Greeks it was an instinct to love the beautiful, sensual and intellectual: it was a part of their nature to discover it or to create it. They would have fabricated it out of any materials; and deteriorated, indeed, were those which came to their hands. And even this excess of their love, at least in their poets, made the sensuous to overcome the intellectual; but the far higher than intellectual—the celestial, the spiritual—they had not: their highest reach in the moral sense was a sublime pride: they had no conception of a sublime humility. Their highest divinity was how much lower than the lowest order of angels that wait around the heavenly throne and adore,—low as is their Olympus, where they placed their Zeus and all his band, to the Christian "heaven of heavens," which yet cannot contain the universal Maker. It is bad taste, indeed, in us, as some do, to give them the palm of the possession of a better field—poetic field for the exercise of art. "Christian and Legendary art" has a principle which no other art could have, and which theirs certainly had not; they were sensuous from a necessity of their nature, lacking this principle. We ought to ascribe all which they have left us to their skill, their genius: wonderful it was, and wonderful things did it perform; but, after all, we admire more than we love. Their divine was but a grand and stern repose; their loveliness, but the perfection of the human form. And so great were they in this their genius, that the monuments of heathen art are beyond the heathen creed; for in those the unsensuous prevailed.

Let us suppose the gift of their genius to have been delayed to the Christian era—as poetical subjects, their whole mythology would have been set aside for a far better adoption; and we should be now universally acknowledging how lovely and how great, how full and bountiful, for poetry and for art, are the ever-flowing fountains, gushing in life, giving exuberance from that high mount, to the sight of which Pindus cannot lift its head, nor show its poor Castalian rills. The "gods of Greece," the far-famed "gods of Greece," what are they to the hierarchy of heaven—angels and archangels, and all the host—powers, dominions, hailing the admission to the blissful regions of saints spiritualised, and after death to die no more—glorified? What loveliness is like that of throned chastity? Graces and Muses in their perfectness of marbled beauty—what are they to faith, hope, and charity, and the veiled virtues that like our angels shroud themselves? When these became subjects for our Christian art, then was true expression first invented in drapery. "Christian and legendary art" is not denied the nude; but no other has so made drapery a living, speaking poetry. There is a dignity, a grace, a sweetness, in the drapery of mediæval sculpture, that equally commands our admiration, and more our reverence and our love, than ancient statues, draped or nude. And this is the expression of Scripture poetry—the represented language, the "clothing with power," the "garment of righteousness." We often loiter about our old cathedrals, and look up with wonder at the mutilated remains as a new type of beauty, beaming through the obscurity of the so-called dark ages. Lovers of art, as we profess to be, in all its forms, we profess without[180] hesitation that we would not exchange these—that is, lose them as never to have existed—for all that Grecian art has left us. Even now, what power have we to restore these specimens of expressive workmanship, broken and mutilated as they have been by a low and misbegotten zeal? We maintain further, generally, that the works of "Christian and legendary art," in painting, sculpture, and architecture, are as infinitely superior to the works of all Grecian antiquity, as is the source of their inspiration higher and purer: we are, too, astonished at the perfect agreement of the one with the other, showing one mind, one spirit—devotion. We strongly insist upon this, that there has been a far higher character and equal power in Christian art compared with heathen. It ought to be so, and it is so. It has been too long set aside in the world's opinion (often temporary and ill-formed) to establish the inferior. This country, in particular, has yielded a cold neglect of these beautiful things, in shameful and indolent compliance with the mean, tasteless, degrading Puritanism, that mutilated and would have destroyed them utterly if it could, as it would have treated every and all the beautiful.

Even at the first rise of this Christian art, the superiority of the principle which moved the artists was visible through their defect of knowledge of art, as art. The devotional spirit is evident; a sense of purity, that spiritualised humanity with its heavenly brightness, dims the imperfections of style, casting out of observation minor and uncouth parts. Often, in the incongruous presence of things vulgar in detail of habit and manners, an angelic sentiment stands embodied, pure and untouched, as if the artist, when he came to that, felt holy ground, and took his shoes from off his feet. It was not long before the art was equal to the whole work. There are productions of even an early time that are yet unequalled, and, for power over the heart and the judgment, are much above comparison with any preceding works of boasted antiquity.

Take only the full embodying of all angelic nature: what is there like to it out of Christian art? How unlike the cold personifications of "Victories" winged,—though even these were borrowed,—are the ministering and adoring angels of our art—now bringing celestial paradise down to saints on earth, and now accompanying them, and worshipping with them, in their upward way, amid the receding and glorious clouds of heaven! Look at the sepulchral monuments of Grecian art—the frigid mysteries, the abhorrent ghost, yet too corporeal, shrinking from Lethé; and the dismal boat—the unpromising, unpitying aspect of Charon: then turn to some of the sublime Christian monuments of art, that speak so differently of that death—the Coronation of the Virgin, the Ascension of Saints. The dismal and the doleful earth has vanished—choirs of angels rush to welcome and to support the beatified, the released: death is no more, but life breathing no atmosphere of earth, but all freshness, and all joy, and all music; the now changed body glowing, like an increasing light, into its spirituality of form and beauty, and thrilling with

"That undisturbed song of pure consent,
Aye sung before the sapphire-colour'd throne
To Him that sits thereon;
With saintly shout and solemn jubilee,
Where the bright seraphim, in burning row,
Their loud uplifted angel-trumpets blow;
And the cherubic host, in thousand choirs,
Touch their immortal harps of golden wires,
With those just spirits that wear victorious palms,
Hymns devout and holy psalms
Singing everlastingly."

Then shall we doubt, and not dare to pronounce the superior capabilities of Christian art, arising out of its subject—poetry? We prefer, as a great poetic conception, Raffaelle's Archangel, Michael, with his victorious foot upon his prostrate adversary, to the far-famed Apollo Belvidere, who has slain his Python; and his St Margaret, in her sweet, her innocent, and clothed grace, to that perfect model of woman's form, the Venus de Medici. Not that we venture a careless or misgiving thought of the perfectness of those great antique works: their perfectness was according to their purpose. Higher purposes make a higher perfectness. Nor would we have them viewed irreverently; for even in them, and the genius that produced them, the Creator, as in "times past, left not Himself without witness." In showing forth[181] the glory of the human form, they show forth the glory of Him who made it—who is thus glorified in the witnesses; and so we accept and love them. But to a certain degree they must stand dethroned—their influence faded. Lowly unassuming virtues—virtues of the soul, far greater in their humility, in the sacred poetry of our Christian faith, shine like stars, even in their smallness, on the dark night of our humanity; and they are to take their places in the celestial of art; and we feel that it is His will, who, as the hymn of the blessed Virgin—that type of all these united virtues—declares, "hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble and meek."

We trust yet to see sacred art resumed; for the more we consider its poetry, the more inexhaustible appears the mine. Nor do we require to search and gather in the field of fabulous legends; though in a poetic view, and for their intention, and resumed merely as a fabulous allegory, they are not to be set aside. But sure we are that, whatever can move the heart, can excite to the greatest degree our pity, our love, or convey the greatest delight through scenes for which the term beautiful is but a poor describer, and personages for whose magnificence languages have no name—all is within the volume and the history of our suffering and triumphant religion.

Would that we could stir but one of our painters to this, which should be his great business! Genius is bestowed for no selfish gratification, but for service, and for a "witness," to bear which let the gifted offer only a willing heart, and his lamp will not be suffered to go out for lack of oil. Why is the tenderness of Mr Eastlake's pencil in abeyance? That portion of the sacred history which commences with his "Christ weeping over Jerusalem," might well be continued in a series. Even still more power has he shown in the creative and symbolic, as exemplified in his poetic conception of Virtue from Milton—

"She can teach you how to climb
Higher than the sphery chime;
Or if Virtue feeble were,
Heaven itself would stoop to her."

If we believe genius to be an inspiring spirit, we may contemplate it hereafter as an accusing angel. With such a paradise of subjects before them, why do so many of our painters run to the kennel and the stable, or plunge their pencils into the gaudy hues of meretricious enticement? We do verily believe that the world is waiting for better things. It is taking a greater interest in higher subjects, and those of a pure sentiment. It is that our artists are behind the feeling, and not, as they should be, in the advance. It is a great fact that there is such a growing feeling. The resumption of sacred art in Germany is not without its effect, and is making its way here in prints. Most of these are from the Aller Heiligen Kapelle at Munich, the result of the taste of at least one crowned head in Europe, who, with more limited means and power, has set an example of a better patronage, which would have well become Courts of greater splendour, and more imperial influence. Must it be asked what our own artists—the Academy, with all its staff—are doing?

We must stay our hand; for we took up the pen to notice the two volumes just published of Mrs Jameson's Sacred and Legendary Art. They have excited, in the reading, an enthusiastic pleasure, and led the fancy wandering in the delightful fields sanctified by heavenly sunshine, and trod by sainted feet; and, like a traveller in a desert, having found an oasis, we feel loath to leave it, and would fain linger and drink again of its refreshing springs. These volumes have reached us most seasonably, at a period of the year when the mind is more especially directed to contemplate the main subjects of which they treat, and to anticipate only by days the vision of joy and glory which will be scripturally put before us—to see the Virgin Mother and the Holy Babe—

"And all about the courtly stable,
Bright harness'd angels sit in order serviceable."

Mrs Jameson disclaims in this work any other object than the poetry of Sacred and Legendary Art; and to enable those who are, or wish to be, conversant with the innumerable productions of Italian and other schools, in an artistic view, likewise[182] at once to know the subjects upon which they treat. Even as a handbook, therefore, these volumes are valuable. Much of the early painting was symbolical. Ignorance of the symbols rejects the sentiment, or at least the intention, and at the same time makes what is only quaint appear absurd.

"The first volume contains the legends of the Scripture personages, and the primitive fathers. The second volume contains those sainted personages who lived, or are supposed to have lived, in the first ages of Christianity, and whose real history, founded on fact or tradition, has been so disguised by poetical embroidery, that they have in some sort the air of ideal beings." Possibly this poetical disguise is favourable upon the whole to art, but it renders a key necessary, and that Mrs Jameson has supplied—not pretending, however, to more than a selection of the most interesting; and, what is extremely valuable, there are marginal references to pictures, and in what places they are to be met with, and by whom painted, of the subjects given in the text, and of the view the artists had in so painting them. The emblems are amply noted with their meanings; and even the significance of colours, which has been so commonly overlooked, and is yet so important for the comprehension of the full subject of a picture, is clearly laid down. It is well said:

"All the productions of art, from the time it has been directed and developed by the Christian influences, may be regarded under three different aspects:—1st, The purely religious aspect, which belongs to one mode of faith; 2d, The poetical aspect, which belongs to all; 3d, The artistic, which is the individual point of view, and has reference only to the action of the intellect on the means and material employed. There is a pleasure, an intense pleasure, merely in the consideration of art, as art; in the faculties of comparison and nice discrimination brought to bear on objects of beauty; in the exercise of a cultivated and refined taste on the productions of mind in any form whatever. But a threefold, or rather a thousandfold, pleasure is theirs, who to a sense of the poetical unite a sympathy with the spiritual in art, and who combine with a delicacy of perception and technical knowledge, more elevated sources of pleasure, more variety of association, habits of more excursive thought. Let none imagine, however, that in placing before the uninitiated these unpretending volumes, I assume any such superiority as is here implied. Like a child that has sprang on a little way before its playmates, and caught a glimpse through an opening portal of some varied Eden within, all gay with flowers, and musical with birds, and haunted by divine shapes which beckon forward, and, after one rapturous survey, runs back and catches its companions by the hand, and hurries them forwards to share the new-found pleasure, the yet unexplored region of delight: even so it is with me: I am on the outside, not the inside, of the door I open."

This is a happy introduction to that which immediately follows of angels and archangels.

Mrs Jameson has so managed to open the door as to frame in her subject to the best advantage; and the reader is willing to stand for a moment with her to gaze upon the inward brightness of the garden, ere he ventures in to see what is around and what is above. It is on the first downward step that we stand breathless with Aladdin, and feel the influence of the first—the partial and framed-in picture—glowing in the unearthly illumination of its magical creation.

There is nothing more interesting than these few pages upon angels. The information we receive is very curious. It is beautiful poetry to see orders, and degrees, and ministrations various, types of an embodied, a ministering church here, and ordained, together with the saints of earth, to make one glorified triumphant church hereafter. Without entering upon the theological question, as to the extension and mystification of the ideas of angels after the Captivity, (yet we think it might be shown that there was originally no Chaldaic belief on the subject not taken, first or last, from the Jews themselves,) it may not be unworthy of remark, that the word "angel," signifying messenger, could scarcely with propriety have been at the first applied to Satan, the deceiving serpent, until, in the after-development of the history of the human race, the ministering offices gave the general title, which, when established, included all who had not "kept their first estate." Nor do we think, with Mrs Jameson, that Chaldea[183] had anything to do with the introduction of the worship of angels into the Christian church. The "gods many" of the heathen countries in which Christianity established itself, will sufficiently account for the readiness of the people to transfer the multifarious worship to which they had been accustomed to names more suitable to the new religion. It is with the poetical development we have here to do; and what ground is there for that full development in the New Testament, wherein they are represented as "countless—as superior to all human wants and weaknesses—as deputed messengers of God? They rejoice over the repentant sinner; they take deep interest in the mission of Christ; they are present with those who pray; they bear the souls of the just to heaven; they minister to Christ on earth, and will be present at his second coming." From such authority, from such a sacred theatre of scenes and celestial personages, arose the beautiful, the magnificent visions of the workers of sacred art. Heresy, however, reached it, as might have been expected; and the agency of angels, in the creation of the world and of man, has been represented, to the deterioration of its great poetry. From the beginning of the fourteenth century, a great change seems to have taken place in the representation of the angel with reference to the Virgin: the feeling is changed; "the veneration paid to the Virgin demanded another treatment. She becomes not merely the principal person, but the superior being; she is the 'regina angelorum,' and the angel bows to her, or kneels before her, as to a queen. Thus, in the famous altar-piece at Cologne, the angel kneels; he bears the sceptre, and also a sealed roll, as if he were a celestial ambassador delivering his credentials. About the same period we sometimes see the angel merely with his hands folded over his breast, and his head inclined, delivering his message as if to a superior being."

It is a great merit in this work of Mrs Jameson's, that we are not only referred to the most curious and to the best specimens of art, but have likewise beautiful woodcuts, and some etchings admirably executed by Mrs Jameson's own hand in illustration. There is a greatness in the simplicity of Blake's angels: "The morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy." Poor Blake! Yet why say poor? he was happy in his visions—a little before his time, and one of whom the world (of art) in his day were not worthy: though, with a wild extravagance of fancy, his creations were his faith, often great, and always gentle. Exquisitely beautiful are the "angels of the planets" from Raffaelle, and copied by Mrs Jameson from Gruner's engravings of the frescoes of the Capella Chigiana. That great painter of mystery, Rembrandt, whom the mere lovers of form would have mistakenly thought it a profanation to commission with an angelic subject, is justly appreciated. A perfect master of light, and of darkness, and of colour, it mattered not what were the forms, so that they were unearthly, that plunged into or broke through his luminous or opaque. Of the picture in the Louvre it is thus remarked: "Miraculous for true and spirited expression, and for the action of the soaring angel, who parts the clouds and strikes through the air like a strong swimmer through the waves of the sea." Strange—but so it is—we cannot conceive an alteration of his pictures, all parts so agree. Attention to the more beautiful in form would have appeared to him a mistrust in his great gift of colour and chiaroscuro; and, stranger still, that without, and seemingly in a marked defiance of mere beauty, he is, we would almost say never, vulgar, never misses the intended sentiment, nor fails where it is of tenderness, even of feminine tenderness, for which, if he does not give beauty, he gives its equivalent in the fulness of the feeling. We instance his Salutation—Elizabeth and the Virgin Mary. There is something terrifically grand in the crouching angel in the Campo Santo,—not in the form, nor in the face, which is mostly hid, but in the conception of the attitude of horror with which he beholds the awful scene. It is from the Last Judgment of Orcagua in the Campo Santo. We must not speak of Rubens as a painter of angels; and, for real angelic expression, perhaps the earlier painters are the best. It is surprising that Mrs Jameson,[184] from whose refined taste, and from whose sense of the beautiful and the graceful in their highest qualities, we should have expected another judgment, could have ventured to name together Raffaelle and Murillo as angel painters. It is true, in speaking of the Visit to Abraham, she admits that the painter has set aside the angelic and mystic character, and merely represented three young men travellers; but she generally, throughout these volumes, speaks of that favourite Spaniard in terms of the highest admiration,—terms, as we think, little merited. The angels in the Sutherland Collection are as vulgar figures as can well be, and quite antagonistic in feeling to a heavenly mission. We confess that we dislike almost all the pictures by this so much esteemed master: their artistic manner is to us uncertain and unpleasing,—disagreeable in colour, deficient in grace. We often wonder at the excess of present admiration. We look upon his vulgarity in scriptural subjects as quite profane. His highest power was in a peasant gentleness; he could not embody a sacred feeling: yet thus is he praised for a performance beyond his power:—"St Andrew is suspended on the high cross, formed not of planks, but of the trunks of trees laid transversely. He is bound with cords, undraped, except by a linen cloth, his silver hair and beard loosely streaming on the air, his aged countenance illuminated by a heavenly transport, as he looks up to the opening skies, whence two angels, of really celestial beauty, like almost all Murillo's angels, descend with the crown and palm." The angels of Correggio are certainly peculiar: they are not quite celestial, but perhaps are sympathetically more lovely from their touch of humanity; they are ever pure. Those in the Ascension of the the Virgin, in the Cupola at Parma, seem to be rather adopted angels than of the "first estate;" for they are of several ages, and, if we mistake not, many of them are feminine, and, we suspect, are meant really to represent the loveliest of earth beatified, adopted into the heavenly choir. Those who have seen Signor Toschi's fine drawings of the Parma frescoes, (now in progress of engraving), will readily give assent to this impression. We remember this feeling crossing our mind, and as it were lightly touching the heart with angelic wings—if we have lost a daughter of that sweet age, let us fondly see her there. We cannot forbear quoting the passage upon the angels of Titian:—"And Titian's angels impress me in a similar manner: I mean those in the glorious Assumption at Venice, with their childish forms and features, but an expression caught from beholding the face of 'our Father which is in heaven:' it is glorified infancy. I remember standing before this picture, contemplating those lovely spirits one after another, until a thrill came over me, like that which I felt when Mendelssohn played the organ: I became music while I listened. The face of one of those angels is to the face of a child, just what that of the Virgin, in the same picture, is, compared with the fairest daughter of earth. It is not here superiority of beauty, but mind, and music, and love, kneaded together, as it were, into form and colour." This is very eloquent, but it was not the thought which supplied that ill word "kneaded."

It is remarked by Mrs Jameson, as a singular fact, that neither Leonardo da Vinci, nor Michael Angelo, nor Raffaelle, have given representations of the Four Evangelists. In very early art they are mostly symbolised, and sometimes oddly and uncouthly; and even so by Angelico da Fiesole. In Greek art, the Tetramorph, or union of the four attributes in one figure, is seen winged. "The Tetramorph, in Western art, in some instances became monstrous, instead of mystic and poetical." The animal symbols of the Evangelists, however familiarised in the eyes of the people, and therefore sanctioned to their feeling, required the greatest judgment to bring within the poetic of art. We must look also to the most mysterious subjects for the elucidation, such as Raffaelle's Vision of Ezekiel. There we view in the symbols a great prophetic, subservient to the creating and redeeming power, set forth and coming out of that blaze of the clouds of heaven that surround the sublime Majesty.

The earlier painters were fond of representing everything symbolically: hence the twelve apostles are so[185] treated. In the descending scale, to the naturalists, the mystic poetry was reduced to its lowest element. The set of the apostles by Agostino Caracci, though, as Mrs Jameson observes, famous as works of art, are condemned as absolutely vulgar. "St John is drinking out of a cup, an idea which might strike some people as picturesque, but it is in vile taste. It is about the eighth century that the keys first appear in the hand of St Peter. In the old churches at Ravenna, it is remarked, St Peter and St Paul do not often appear." Ravenna, in the fifth century, did not look to Rome for her saints.

After his martyrdom, St Paul was, it is said, buried in the spot where was erected the magnificent church known as St Paolo fuorè-le mura. "I saw the church a few months before it was consumed by fire in 1823. I saw it again in 1847, when the restoration was far advanced. Its cold magnificence, compared with the impressions left by the former structure, rich with inestimable remains of ancient art, and venerable from a thousand associations, saddened and chilled me." We well remember visiting this noble church in 1816. A singular coincidence of fact and prophecy has imprinted this visit on our memory. Those who have seen it before it was burnt down, must remember the series of portraits of popes, and that there was room but for one more. We looked to the vacant place, as directed by our cicerone, whilst he told us that there was a prophecy concerning it to this effect, that when that space was filled up there would be no more popes. The prophecy was fulfilled, at least with regard to that church, for it was burnt down after that vacant space had been occupied by the papal portrait.

The subject of the Last Supper is treated of in a separate chapter. There has been a fresco lately discovered at Florence, in the refectory of Saint Onofrio, said to have been painted by Raffaelle in his twenty-third year. Some have thought it to be the work of Neri de Bicci. Mrs Jameson, without hesitation, pronounces it to be by Raffaelle, "full of sentiment and grace, but deficient, it appears to me, in that depth and discrimination of character displayed in his later works. It is evident that he had studied Giotto's fresco in the neighbouring Santa Croce. The arrangement is nearly the same." All the apostles have glories, but that round the head of Judas is smaller than the others. Does the prejudice against thirteen at table arise from this betrayal by Judas, or from the legend of St Gregory, who, when a monk in the monastery of St Andrew, was so charitable, that at length, having nothing else to bestow, he gave to an old beggar a silver porringer which had belonged to his mother? When pope, it was his custom to entertain twelve poor men. On one occasion he observed thirteen, and remonstrated with his steward, who, counting the guests, could see no more than twelve. After removal from the table, St Gregory called the unbidden guest, thus visible, like the ghost of Banquo, to the master of the feast only. The old man, on being questioned, declared himself to be the old beggar to whom the silver porringer had been given, adding, "But my name is Wonderful, and through me thou shalt obtain whatever thou shalt ask of God." There is a famous fresco on this subject by Paul Veronese, in which the stranger is represented to be our Saviour. To entertain even angels unknowingly, and at convivial entertainments, and visible perhaps but to one, as a messenger of good or of evil, would be little congenial with the purport of such meetings.

Mrs Jameson objects to the introduction of dogs in such a subject as the Last Supper, but remarks that it is supposed to show that the supper is over, and the paschal lamb eaten. It is so common that we should rather refer it to a more evident and more important signification, to show that this institution was not for the Jews only, and alluding to the passage showing that "dogs eat of the crumbs which fell from their masters' table." The large dogs, however, of Paul Veronese, gnawing bones, do not with propriety represent the passage; for there is reason to believe that the word "crumbs" describes the small pet dogs, which its was the fashion for the rich to carry about with them. The early painters introduced Satan in person tempting Judas. When Baroccio, with little[186] taste, adopted the same treatment, the pope, Clement VIII., ordered the figure to be obliterated—"Che non gli piaceva il demonio si dimésticasse tanto con Gesu Christo." We know not where Mrs Jameson has found the anecdote which relates that Andrea del Castagno, called the Infamous, after he had assassinated Dominico his friend, who had intrusted him with Van Eyck's secret, painted his own portrait in the character of Judas, from remorse of conscience. We are not sure of the story at all respecting Andrea del Castagno: there may be other grounds for doubting it, but this anecdote, if true to the fact, would rather indicate insanity than guilt. The farther we advance in the history and practice of art, the more we find it suffering in sentiment from the infusion of the classical. In the Pitti Palace is a picture by Vasari of St Jerome as a penitent, in which he has introduced Venus and cupids, one of whom is taking aim at the saint. It is true that, as we proceed, legends crowd in upon us, and the painters find rather scope for fancy than subjects for faith and resting-places for devotion. Art, ever fond of female forms, readily seized upon the legends of Mary Magdalene. Her penitence has ever been a favourite subject, and has given opportunity for the introduction of grand landscape backgrounds in the lonely solitudes and wildernesses of a rocky desert. The individuality of the characters of Mary and Martha in Scripture history was too striking not to be taken advantage of by painters. There is a legend of an Egyptian penitent Mary, anterior to that of Mary Magdalene, which is curious. Whether this was another Mary or not, she is represented as a female anchoret; and we are reminded thereby of the double story of Helen of Troy, whom a real or fabulous history has deposited in Egypt, while the great poet of the Iliad has introduced her as so visible and palpable an agent in the Trojan war, and not without a touch of penitence, not quite characteristic of that age. Accounts say that it was her double, or eidolon, which figured at Troy.

Mrs Jameson makes a good conjecture with regard to the famous picture by Leonardo da Vinci, known as Modesty and Vanity, and that it is Mary Magdalene rebuked by her sister Martha for vanity and luxury, which exactly corresponds with the legend respecting her. We cannot forbear quoting the following eloquent passage:—

"On reviewing generally the infinite variety which has been given to these favourite subjects, the life and penance of the Magdalene, I must end where I began. In how few instances has the result been satisfactory to mind, or heart, or soul, or sense! Many have well represented the particular situation, the appropriate sentiment, the sorrow, the hope, the devotion; but who has given us the character? A noble creature, with strong sympathies and a strong will, with powerful faculties of every kind, working for good or evil. Such a woman Mary Magdalene must have been, even in her humiliation; and the feeble, girlish, commonplace, and even vulgar women, who appear to have been usually selected as models by the artists, turned into Magdalenes by throwing up their eyes and letting down their hair, ill represent the enthusiastic convert, or the majestic patroness!"

The second volume commences with the patron saints of Christendom. These were delightful fables in the credulous age of first youth, when feeling was a greater truth than fact; and we confess that we read these legends now with some regret at our abated faith, which we would not even "now have shaken in the chivalric characters of the seven champions of Christendom."

The Romish Church (we say not the Catholic, as Mrs Jameson so frequently improperly terms her) readily acted that part, to the people at large, which nurses assume for the amusement of their children; and in both cases, the more improbable the story the greater the fascination; and the people, like children, are more credulous than critical. Had we not known in our own times, and nearly at the present day, stories as absurd as any in these legends, gravely asserted, circulated, and credited, and maintained by men of responsible station and education—to instance only the garment of Treves—we should have pronounced the aurea legenda to have been a creation of the fancy, arising, not without their illumination, from the fogs and fens of the Middle Ages, adapted solely for[187] minds of that period. But the sanction of them by the Church of Rome leads us to view them as ignes fatui of another character, meant to amuse and to bewilder. We must even think it possible now for people to be brought to believe such a story as this:—"It is related that a certain man, who was afflicted with a cancer in his leg, went to perform his devotions in the church of St Cosmo and St Damian at Rome, and he prayed most earnestly that these beneficent saints would be pleased to aid him. When he had prayed, a deep sleep fell upon him. Then he beheld St Cosmo and St Damian, who stood beside him; and one carried a box of ointment, the other a sharp knife. And one said, 'What shall we do to replace this diseased leg, when we have cut it off?' And the other replied, 'There is a Moor who has been buried just now in San Pietro in Vincolo; let us take his leg for the purpose!' Then they brought the leg of the dead man, and with it they replaced the leg of the sick man—anointing it with celestial ointment, so that he remained whole. When he awoke, he almost doubted whether it could be himself; but his neighbours, seeing that he was healed, looked into the tomb of the Moor, and found that there had been an exchange of legs; and thus the truth of this great miracle was proved to all beholders." It is, however, rather a hazardous demand upon credulity to serve up again the feast of Thyestes, cooked in a caldron of even more miraculous efficacy than Medea's. Such is the stupendous power of St Nicholas:—"As he was travelling through his diocese, to visit and comfort his people, he lodged in the house of a certain host, who was a son of Satan. This man, in the scarcity of provisions, was accustomed to steal little children, whom he murdered, and served up their limbs as meat to his guests. On the arrival of the Bishop and his retinue, he had the audacity to serve up the dismembered limbs of these unhappy children before the man of God, who had no sooner cast his eyes on them than he was aware of the fraud. He reproached the host with his abominable crime; and, going to the tub where their remains were salted down, he made over them the sign of the cross, and they rose up whole and well. The people who witnessed this great wonder were struck with astonishment; and the three children, who were the sons of a poor widow, were restored to their weeping mother."

But what shall we say to an entire new saint of a modern day, who has already found his way to Venice, Bologna, and Lombardy,—even to Tuscany and Paris, not only in pictures and statues, but even in chapels dedicated to her? The reader may be curious to know something of a saint of this century. In the year 1802 the skeleton of a young female was discovered in some excavations in the catacomb of Priscilla at Rome; the remains of an inscription were, "Lumena Pax Te Cum Tri." A priest in the train of a Neapolitan prelate, who was sent to congratulate Pius VII. on his return from France, begged some relics. The newly-discovered treasure was given to him, and the inscription thus translated—"Filomena, rest in peace." "Another priest, whose name is suppressed because of his great humility, was favoured by a vision in the broad noonday, in which he beheld the glorious virgin Filomena, who was pleased to reveal to him that she had suffered death for preferring the Christian faith, and her vow of chastity, to the addresses of the emperor, who wished to make her his wife. This vision leaving much of her history obscure, a certain young artist, whose name is also suppressed—perhaps because of his great humility—was informed in a vision that the emperor alluded to was Diocletian; and at the same time the torments and persecutions suffered by the Christian virgin Filomena, as well as her wonderful constancy, were also revealed to him. There were some difficulties in the way of the Emperor Diocletian, which inclines the writer of the historical account to adopt the opinion that the young artist in his vision may have made a mistake, and that the emperor may have been his colleague, Maximian. The facts, however, now admitted of no doubt; and the relics were carried by the priest Francesco da Lucia to Naples; they were inclosed in a case of wood, resembling in form the human body.[188] This figure was habited in a petticoat of white satin, and over it a crimson tunic, after the Greek fashion; the face was painted to represent nature; a garland of flowers was placed on the head, and in the hands a lily and a javelin—with the point reversed, to express her purity and her martyrdom; then she was laid in a half sitting posture in a sarcophagus, of which the sides were glass; and after lying for some time in state, in the chapel of the Torres family in the Church of Saint Angiolo, she was carried in procession to Magnano, a little town about twenty miles from Naples, amid the acclamations of the people, working many and surprising miracles by the way. Such is the legend of St Filomena, and such the authority on which she has become, within the last twenty years, one of the most fashionable saints in Italy. Jewels to the value of many thousand crowns have been offered at her shrine, and solemnly placed round the neck of her image, or suspended to her girdle."

We dare not in candour charge the Romanists with being the only fabricators or receivers of such goods, remembering our own Saint Joanna, and Huntingdon's Autobiography. There are aurea legenda in a certain class of our sectarian literature, presenting a large list of claimants of very high pretensions to saintship, only waiting for power and an established authority to be canonised.

It is not surprising, as the world is—working often in the dark places of ignorance—if a few glossy threads of a coarser material, and deteriorating quality, be taken up by no wilful mistake, and be interwoven into the true golden tissue. Nevertheless the mantle may be still beautiful, and fit a Christian to wear and walk in not unbecomingly. There are worse things than religious superstition, whose badness is of degrees. In the minds of all nations and people there is a vacuum for the craving appetite of credulity to fill. The great interests of life lie in politics and religion. There are bigots in both: but we look upon a little superstition on the one point as far safer than upon the other, especially in modern times; whereas political bigotry, however often duped, is credulous still, and becomes hating and ferocious. We fear even the legends are losing their authority in the Roman States, whose history may yet have to be filled with far worse tales. A generous, though we deem it a mistaken feeling, has induced Mrs Jameson to make what we would almost venture to call the only mistake in her volumes: the following passage is certainly not in good taste, quite out of the intention of her book, and very unfortunately timed—"But Peter is certainly the democratical apostle par excellence, and his representative in our time seems to have awakened to a consciousness of this truth, and to have thrown himself—as St Peter would most certainly have done, were he living—on the side of the people and of freedom." A democratical successor to St Peter! He is, then, the first of that character. With him the "side of freedom" seems to have been the inside of his prison, and his "side of the people" a precipitate flight from contact with them in their liberty—and for his tiara the disguise of a valet. We more than pardon Mrs Jameson—we love the virtue that gives rise to her error; for it is peculiarly the nature of woman to be credulous, and to be deceived. We admire, and more than admire, women equally well, whether they are right or wrong in politics: these are the business of men, for they have to do with the sword, and are out of the tenderer impulses of woman. But we are amused when we find grave strong men in the same predicament of ill conjectures. We smile as we remember a certain dedication "To Pio Nono," which by its simple grandeur and magnificent beauty will live splendide mendax to excuse its prophetic inaccuracy. It is not wise to foretell events to happen whilst we live. Take a "long range," or a studied ambiguity that will fit either way. The example of Dr Primrose may be followed with advantage, who in every case of domestic doubt and difficulty concluded the matter thus—"I wish it may turn out well this day six months;" by which, in his simple family, he attained the character of a true prophet.

We fear we are losing sight of the "Poetry of Sacred and Legendary Art," and gladly turn from the thought[189] of what is to be, to those beautiful personified ideas of the past, whether fabulous or historical, in which we are ready to take Mrs Jameson as our willing and sure guide. The four virgin patronesses and the female martyrs are favourite subjects, which she enters into with more than her usual spirit and feeling. These two have chiefly engaged and fascinated the genius of the painters of the best period, and will ever interest the world of taste by their sentiment, as well as by their grace of form and beauty, and why not say improved them too? The really beautiful is always true. It is not amiss that we should be continually reminded, or, as Mrs Jameson better expresses it—"It is not a thing to be set aside or forgotten, that generous men and meek women, strong in the strength, and elevated by the sacrifice of a Redeemer, did suffer, did endure, did triumph for the truth's sake; did leave us an example which ought to make our hearts glow within us." The memory of Christian heroism should never be lost sight of in a Christian country, and we earnestly recommend this part of Mrs Jameson's volumes to the attention of our painters: they will find not unfrequent instances of fine subjects yet untouched, which may sanctify art, and dignify the profession by making it the teacher of a purer taste—not that true genius will ever lack materials, for materials are but suggestive to an innate inventive power. It is curious that the authoress should not yet have satisfied our expectation with regard to the legends of the Virgin. Whatever the motive of her forbearance, we hope this subject will take the lead in the promised third volume, which is to treat of the legends of the monastic orders, considered, as she cautiously observes, "merely in their connexion with the development of the fine arts in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries."

The numerous pictures in Italy which represent parts of the legends of the Virgin render this work incomplete without a full development of the subject. If her forbearance arises from a fear that at this particular time, when mariolatry is dreaded by a large portion of the religious world, we would remind her that the Virgin Mother is still "the blessed" of our own church.

It is a question if the list of sainted martyrs in repute has not been left to the arbitrament of the painters; for we find many deposed, and the adopted favourites of art not found in the early list, as represented in their processions. We find a Saint Reparata, after having been the patroness saint of Florence for six hundred years, deposed, and the city placed under the tutelage of the Virgin and St John the Baptist.

Yet these were early times for the influence of art; but, at a period when pictures were thought to have a kind of miraculous power, it is not improbable that some potent work of art representing the Virgin and St John may have caused the new devotional dedication—as was the case in modern times, when the imaged Madonna de los Dolores was appointed general-in-chief of the Carlist army. Painters were what the poets had been—Vates sacri. Events and the memory of saints may have perished, Carent quia vate sacro. We wish our own painters were more fully sensible of the power of art to perpetuate, and that it is its province to teach. With us it has been too long disconnected with our religion. It will be a glorious day for art, and for the people that shall witness the reunion.

In taking leave of these two fascinating volumes, we do so with the less regret, knowing that they will be often in our hands, as most valuable for instant reference. No one who wishes to know the subjects and feel the sentiment of the finest works in the world, will think of going abroad without Mrs Jameson's book. We must again thank her for the beautiful woodcuts and etchings; the latter, in particular, are lightly and gracefully executed, we presume mostly (to speak technically) in dry point. Mrs Jameson writes as an enthusiast, her feeling flows from her pen. Her style is fascinating to a degree, forcible and graceful; but there is no mistaking its character—feminine. We know no other hand that could so happily have set forth the Poetry of Sacred and Legendary Art.



Boston, December 1848.

The Year of Constitutions is drawing to its end, to be succeeded, I doubt not, by the Year of Substitutions. I am sorry, my Basil, that you do not quite agree with me as to the issue of all this in France; but I am sure you will not dispute my opinion that this year's work is good for nothing, so far as it has attempted construction, instead of fulfilling its mission by overthrow. Its great folly has been the constitution-fever, which has amounted to a pestilence. When mushrooms grow to be oaks, then shall such constitutions as this year has bred, stand a chance of outliving their authors. Will men learn nothing from the past? How can they act over such rotten farces,—make themselves such fools!

You admit the difference, which I endeavoured to show you, between the American constitution and that of any conceivable constitution which may be cooked up for an old European state. I am glad if I have directed your attention, accordingly, to the great mistake of France. She supposes that a feeble, and debauched old gentleman can boil himself in the revolutionary kettle, and emerge in all the tender and enviable freshness of the babe just severed from the maternal mould. Politicians have committed a blunder in not allowing the natural, and hence legitimate, origin of the American constitution in that of its British parent. They have thus favoured the theory that a tolerably permanent constitution can be drafted a priori, and imposed upon a state. This is the absurdity that makes revolutions. If the silly French, instead of reading De Tocqueville, would study each for himself the history of our constitution, and see how gradually it grew to be our constitution, before pen was put to paper to draft it, they might perhaps stop their abortive nonsense in time, to save what they can of their national character from the eternal contempt of mankind.

But you cannot think the French will find so fair a destiny as a Restoration! Tell me, in what French party, at present existing, there is any inherent strength, save in that of the legitimists? Other parties are mere factions; but the legitimists have got a seminal principle among them, which dies very hard, and of which the nature is to sprout and make roots, and then show itself. I am no admirer of the Bourbons: their intrigues with Jesuitism have been their curse, and are the worst obstacle to their regaining a hold on the sympathies of freemen. The reactionary party have in vain endeavoured to overcome it for fifty years. Yet there is such tenacity of life in legitimacy, that it seems to me destined to outlive all opposition, and to succeed by necessity. The rapid developments of this memorable year strengthen the probability of my prediction. Revolutionism is spasmodic, but not so long in dying as it used to be. I cannot but think this year has done more for a permanent restoration of the Bourbons than any year since Louis XVI. ascended the scaffold. In this respect the Barricades of 1848 may tell more impressively on history than the Allies of 1814, or even the carnage of Waterloo.

Why should I be ashamed of my theory, when everything, so far, has gone as I supposed it would, only a hundred times more rapidly than any body could have thought possible? What must be the residue of a series which thus far has tended but one way?—what say you of the Bartholomew-butchery in June?—what of Lamartine's fall?—what of the dictatorship of Cavaignac? If things have gone as seems probable, Louis Napoleon is president of the republic. If so, what is the instinct which has thus called him into power? The hereditary principle is abolished on paper, and instantly recognised by the first popular act done under the new constitution! But, for all we can tell in America, things may have taken another turn. Is Cavaignac elected? Then a military master is put over the republic, who can Cromwellise the[191] Assembly, and Monk the state, as soon as he chooses. The republic has given itself the form of a dictatorship, and demonstrated that it does not exist, except on paper. Has there been an insurrection? Then the republic is dead already. But I shall assume that Louis has succeeded: then it is virtually an hereditary empire. To be sure, instinct has for once failed to know "the true prince,"—has accorded, to the mere shadow of a usurper, what, in a more substantial form, is due to the heir of France; but long-suspended animation must make a mistake or two in coming to life again. The events of the year have been all favourable to a restoration, because they have crushed a thousand other plans and plottings for the sovereignty, and because they must have forced upon at least as many theorists the grand practical conclusion, that there is to be no rational liberty in France until she returns to first principles, and finds the repose which old nations can only know under their legitimate kings.

I am ashamed of you for more than hinting that legitimacy must be given up, as far as kings are concerned. Alas! Diogenes must light his lantern, and hunt through England for a Tory! You are bewhigged, indeed, if you give it up that George III. was a legitimate king, and that his grand-daughter is to you what no other person alive can possibly be,—your true and hereditary sovereign lady! Must I, a republican, say this to an English monarchist, who votes himself a conservative, and who is the son of a sturdy old English Tory? Is there no virtue extant, that even you allow yourself to be flippant about "the divinity that hedges kings," and to trifle with suggestions which your immortal ancestor, who fell at Prestonpans, would have drummed out of doors with poker and tongs? Why, even I, who have a right to be whatever I choose, by way of amateur allegiance, and who have always found myself a Jacobite whenever the talk has been against the White Rose—even I, in sober earnest, yield the point, that George I. was a legitimate sovereign, and that Charlie was a bit of a rebel. Those stupid Dutchmen! it makes me mad to say as much for them; but I love Old England too well to own that she bore with such sovereigns on any lower grounds than that of their right to reign.

I am sorry you give in to the silly cant of revolutionists, and confess yourself posed with their challenge. What if they do insist upon a definition? Are you bound to keep your heart from beating till you can tell why it throbs over a page of Shakspeare's Richard II., and bounces, in precisely an opposite manner, over Carlyle's Cromwell? Am I going to let a Whig choke me with a dictionary, because it contains no explanation of my good old-fashioned word? Let him, with his "Useful Knowledge Society" information, give me an explanation of the magnetic needle, or tell me why it turns to the pole, and not to the antipodes? The fellow will recollect some twopenny picture of the compass, and retail me half a column of the Penny Magazine about the mysteries of nature. And what if I talk as sensibly from nature in my own heart, and tell the stereotype philosopher that I am conscious of an ennobling affection, which honest men never lack, and which God Almighty has made a faculty of the human soul to dignify subordination; and that loyalty has no lode-star but legitimacy? At least, my dear Whigo-Tory, you must allow, I should succeed in answering a fool according to his folly. But I claim more: I have defined legitimacy when I say it is the home of loyalty.

I have amused myself during the summer with some study of the history of reaction in France, and flatter myself that I have discovered the secret of its failure, and the great distinction between its spirit and that of English Conservatism. But this by the way; for I was going to say that I have found, in the writings of one of the chief of the reactionary party, some very sensible hints upon the subject I am discussing with you. Though in many respects a dangerous teacher, and, I fear, a little jesuitical in practice as well as in theory, I have been surprised to find the Count de Maistre willing "to be as his master" on this point, and to[192] rest legitimacy very nearly on the sober principles of Burke. He is far from the extravagances of Sir Robert Filmer, though he often expresses, in a startling form, the temperate views of English Anti-Jacobins. Thus he says, with evident relish of its smart severity, the people will always accept their masters, and will never choose them. Strongly and unpalatably put, but most coincident with history, and not to be disputed by any admirer of the glorious Revolution of 1688! I suspect the Frenchman made his aphorism without stopping to ask whether it suited any other case. But Burke has virtually said the same thing in his reply to the Old Jewry doctrine of 1789, in which he so forcibly urges the fact, that the settlement of the crown upon William and the Georges "was not properly a choice, ... but an act of necessity, in the strictest moral sense in which necessity can be taken." Mary and the Hanoverians, then, were acknowledged by the nation, in spite of itself, as legitimate sovereigns; and even William was smuggled into the acknowledgment as quasi-legitimate. It is the clear, reasonable, and truly English doctrine of Burke, that the constitution of a country makes its legitimate kings; and that the princes of the House of Brunswick, coming to the crown according to constitutional law, at the date of their respective accessions, were as legitimate as King James before he broke his coronation oaths, and abdicated, ipso facto, his crown and hereditary rights. But De Maistre talks more like the schoolmen, though he comes to the same practical results. Constitutions, the native growth of their respective countries, he would argue, are the ordinance of God; and kings, though not the subjects of their people, are bound to do homage to them, as, in a sense, divine. Legitimacy, therefore, is the resultant of hereditary majesty and constitutional designation; it being always understood that constitutional laws are never written till after they become such by national necessities, which are divine providences. Apply this to 1688. The Bill of Rights was an unwritten part of the constitution even when James was crowned; and so was the principle, that the king must not be a Papist, at least in the government of his realms. Such, if I may so speak, was the Salic law of England, by which his public and political Popery stripped him of his right to the throne. It was the same principle that invested the House of Brunswick with a legitimacy which the heart of the nation did not hesitate to recognise, in spite of unfeigned disgust with the prince in whom the succession was established. To throw the proposition into the abstract—there can be no legitimacy without hereditary majesty, but that member of a royal line is the legitimate king in whom concur all the elements of constitutional designation. If the phrase be new, the idea is as old as empire. I mean that constitutional power which, without reference to national choice or personal popularity, selects the true heir of the throne, among the descendants of its ancient possessors, on fixed principles of national law. Thus, in Portugal, the constitution sets aside an idiot heir-apparent for a cadet of the same family, or, if need be, for a collateral relative; while, in France, it proclaims the line of a king extinct in his female heir, and ascends, perhaps, to a remote ancestor for a trace of his rightful successor. It is a principle essentially the same which, in England, pronounces a Popish prince as devoid of hereditary right to the crown, as a bastard, or the child of a private marriage; and by which the hereditary blood, shut off from its natural course, immediately opens some auxiliary channel, and widens it into the main artery of succession, with all the precision of similar resources in physical nature. With such an argument, if I understand him, the Count de Maistre would put you to the blush for sneering sub rosâ at the legitimacy of your Sovereign. I wish his principles were always as capable of being put to the proof, without any absurdity in the reduction. Hereditary majesty is the only material of which constitutions make sovereigns; and that, too, deserves a word in the light which this sage Piedmontese Mentor of France has endeavoured to throw on the subject. It is interesting in the present dilemma of France, which stands like the ass between two haystacks—rejecting[193] one dynasty, but not yet choosing another. I am a republican, you know, holding that my loyalty is due to the constitution of my own country; and yet I subscribe to the doctrine that this idea of majesty is a reality, and that, confess it or not, even republicans feel its reality. The king's name is a tower of strength; and inspiration has said to sovereign princes, with a pregnant and monitory meaning—ye are gods. This is not the fawning of courts, but the admonition of Him who invests them with His sword of avenging justice, and gives them, age after age, the natural homage of their fellow-men. Not that I would flatter monarchs: I see that they die like men, and, what is worse, live, very often, like fools, if not like beasts. Yet I am sure that they have something about them which is personally theirs, and cannot be given to others, and which is as real a thing as any other possession. God has endowed them with history, and they are the living links which connect nations with their origin, and the men of the passing age with bygone generations. Reason about it as we may, it is impossible not to look with natural reverence on the breathing monuments of venerable antiquity. For a Guelph, indeed, I cannot get up any false or romantic enthusiasm; and yet I find it quite as impossible not to feel that the house of Guelph entitles its royal members to a degree of consideration which is the ordinance of Heaven. For how many ages has that house been a great reality, casting its shadow over Europe, and stretching it over the world, and as absolutely affecting the destinies of men as the geographical barriers and highways of nations! The Alps and the Oceans are morally, as well as naturally, majestic; and a moral majesty like theirs attaches to a line of princes which has stood the storms of centuries like them, and like them has been always a bulwark or a bond between races and generations. Like the solemnity of mountains is the hereditary majesty of a family, of which the origin is veiled in the twilight of history, but which is always seen above the surface of cotemporary events, a crowned and sceptred thing that never dies, but perpetuates, from generation to generation, a still increasing emotion of sublimity and awe, which all men feel, and none can fully understand. There are many women in England who, for personal qualities and graces, would as well become the throne as she whom you so loyally entitle "Our Sovereign Lady." Why is it that no election, nor any imaginable possession of her place, could commend the proudest or the best of them to the homage of the nation's heart? Such a one might wear the robes, and glitter like a star, outshining the regalia, and might walk like Juno; but not a voice would cry God save her!—while there is a glory, not to be mistaken, which invests the daughter of ancient sovereigns, even when she is recognised, against her will, in the costume of travel, or when she shows herself among her people, and treads the heather in a trim little bonnet and a Highland plaid. Why is it that ten thousand feel a thrill when her figure is seen descending from the wooden walls of her empire, and alighting upon some long unvisited portion of its soil? It is not the same emotion which would be inspired by the landing of Wellington. Then the roaring of cannon and the waving of ensigns would appear to be a tribute rendered to the hero by a grateful country; but when her Majesty touches the shore, she seems herself to wake the thunders and to bow the banners which announce her coming. The pomp is all her own, and differs from the tributary pageant, as the nod of Jove is different from the acclamation of Stentor. Even I, who "owe her no subscription," can well conceive what a true Briton cannot help but feel, when, with an ennobling loyalty, he beholds in her the concentrated blood of famous kings, and the propagated soul of mighty monarchs; and when he calls to mind, at the same moment, the thousand strange events and glorious histories which have their august and venerable issue in Victoria, his queen.

But you will bring me back to my main business, by asking—who, then, was the legitimate king of France at the beginning of this year? The King of the Barricades was not lacking in hereditary majesty, and you will make[194] out a case of constitutional designation, by a parallel between England in 1688, and France in 1830. If you do so, you will greatly wrong your country. The loyalty of England settled in the house of Brunswick, and would have been even less tried if there had been a continuance of the house of Orange; but no French loyalist could ever be reconciled to the dynasty of Orleans. And why? It was not the natural constitution of France, but the mere blunder of a mob, that selected Louis Philippe as the king of the French. It was an election, as the accession of William and Mary was not: it was a choice, and not a necessity—the mere caprice of the hour, and in no sense the rational designation of law. Did ever his Barricade Majesty himself, in all his dreams of a dynasty, pretend that any unalterable principle, or fundamental law of France, had turned the tide of succession from the heir-presumptive of Charles X., and forced heralds upon the backward trail of genealogy, till they could again descend, and so find the hereditary king of the French in the son of Egalité? Louis Philippe was not legitimate, in any reasonable sense of the word; and, could he have made such men as Chateaubriand regard him as other than a usurper, he would not be at Claremont now. That splendid Frenchman uttered the voice of a smothered, but not extinguished, constitution, when he closed his political life in 1830, by saying to the Duchess de Berry—"Madame, votre fils est mon roi." He lived to see the secret heart of thousands of his countrymen repeating his memorable words, and died not till Providence itself had overturned the rival throne, and directed every eye in hope, or in alarm, to the only prince in Europe who could claim to be their king.

I care very little what may be the personal qualifications of Henry of Bordeaux; it seems to me that he is destined to reign upon the throne of his ancestors—and God grant he may do it in such wise as shall make amends for all that France has suffered, by reason of his ancestors, since France had a Henry for her king before! The prestige of sovereignty is his; and while he lives, no republic can be lasting; no government, save his, can insure the peace which the state of Europe so imperatively demands. If "experience has taught England that in no other course or method than that of an hereditary crown her liberties can be regularly perpetuated and preserved sacred,"[12]—why should not an experience, a thousandfold severer, teach France the same lesson? It has already been taught them by a genius which France cannot despise, and to whose oracular voice she is now forced to listen, because it issues from his fresh grave! "Legitimacy is the very life of France. Invent, calculate, combine all sorts of illegitimate governments, you will find nothing else possible as the result, nothing which gives any promise of duration, of tolerable existence during a course of years, or even through several months. Legitimacy is, in Europe, the sanctuary in which alone reposes that sovereignty by which states subsist." So I endeavour to render the eloquent sentence of Chateaubriand;[13] and though, since he wrote it, a score of years have passed, it is stronger now than ever—for what was then his prophecy is already the deplorable history of his country. Had ever a country such a history, without learning more in a year than France has gained from a miserable half-century?

Just so long as France has been busy with experiments, in the insane effort to separate her future from her past, just so long have all her labours to lay a new foundation been miserable failures, covering her, in the eyes of the world, with shame and infamy. What has been wanting all the time? I grant that the first want has been a national conscience—a sense of religion and of duty. But I mean, what has been wanting to the successive administrations and governments? Certainly not splendour and personal dignity, for the Imperial government had both; and the King of the Barricades made himself to be acknowledged and feared as one who bore not the sword in vain. But the prestige of legitimacy was wanting; and that want has been the downfall of everything that has been tried. You will ask, what was the downfall of Charles[195] X? The answer is, that it was not a downfall further than concerned himself; for everybody feels that the Bourbon claim survives, while every other has been forced to yield to destiny and retribution. How is it that legitimacy makes itself felt after years of exile and obscurity? Is it not that instinct of loyalty which cannot be duped or diverted, and which detects and detests all shams? Is it not the instinct which constitution-makers have endeavoured to appease by pageants and by names, but which has continually revolted against the emptiness of both? The existence of that instinct has been perpetually exposed by miserable attempts to satisfy its demands with outside show and splendid impositions. The French cannot even go to work, under their present republic, as we do in America. The common-sense of our people teaches them that a republican government is a mere matter of business, which must make no pretences to splendour; and hence, the constitution once settled, the president is elected and sworn-in with no nonsense or parade; and Mr Cincinnatus Polk sits down in the White House, and sends every man about his business. A young country has as yet but the instincts of infancy; there is as yet nothing to satisfy but the craving for nourishment, and the demand for large room. But it is not so where nations are full-grown. Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Can France forget that she had once a court and a throne that dazzled the world? No! says every craftsman of the revolution; and therefore our republic, too, must be splendid and imperial! So, instead of going to work as if their new constitution were a reality, there must be a fète of inauguration. In the same conviction, Napoleon is nominated for the presidency, because he has a name; and he immediately withdraws from vulgar eyes, to keep his "presence like a robe pontifical," against the investiture. Oh, for some Yankee farmer to look on and laugh! It would not take him long to calculate the end of such a republic. Jonathan can understand a queen, and would stare at a coronation in sober earnest, convinced that it had a meaning—at least, in England! But a republic of kettle-drums and trumpets will never do with him; and if he were favoured with an interview with the pompous aspirant to the French presidency, it would probably end in his telling Louis Napoleon the homely truth—that he has nothing to be proud of, and had better eat and drink like other folk, and "define his position" as a candidate, if he don't want to find himself used-up, and sent on a long voyage up Salt River; which, you may not know, my Basil, is a Stygian stream, and the ancients called it Lethe. So much, then, for the ultima ratio of illegitimate governments—the attempt to satisfy the demand for national dignity by pageants and by names, and to drown the outcries of natural discontent by the sounding of brass and the tinkling of cymbals.

In vain did the sage Piedmontese foretell it all, like a Cassandra. "Man is prohibited," said that admirable Mentor, "from giving great names to things of which he is the author, and which he thinks great; but if he has proceeded legitimately, the vulgar names of things will be rendered illustrious, and become grand." How specially does England answer to the latter half of this maxim! and who can read the former without seeing France, in her fool's-cap, before his mental eye? De Maistre himself has instanced the revolutionary follies of Paris, and lashed them with unsparing severity. Whatever is national in England seems to have grown up, like her oaks, from deep and strong roots, and to stand, like them, immovable, They make their own associations, and dignify their own names. Everything is home-born, natural, and real. The Garter, the Wool-sack, Hyde Park, Epsom and Ascot—these things in France would be the Legion of Honour, the Curule-chair, the Elysian fields, the Olympic games! The veritable attempt was made to reinstitute, in the Champ-de-Mars, the sports of antiquity; and they received the pompous name of Les jeux Olympiques. De Maistre ridicules their nothingness, and adds that, when he saw a building erected and called the Odéon, he was sure that music was in its decline, and that the place would shortly be to let. In like manner, he says of the motto of Rousseau, with intense naïvete, "Does any man dare to write[196] under his own portrait, vitam impendere vero? You may wager, without further information, fearlessly, that it is the likeness of a liar." How quick the human heart perceives what is thus put into words by a philosopher! It is in vain for France to think of covering her nakedness with a showy veil. The Empire was a glittering gauze, but how transparent! They saw one called Emperor and a second Charlemagne; and the Pope himself was there to give him a crown. But it was a meagre cheat. Poor Josephine never looked ridiculous before, but then she acted nonsense. The imperial robes were gorgeous, but they meant nothing on the Citizen Buonaparte. Everybody saw behind the scenes. They detected Talma in the strut of Napoleon; they pointed at the wires that moved the hands and eyes of the Pope. All stage-effect, machinery, and pasteboard. The imperial court was all what children call make-believe: it vanished like the sport of children.

The great feast of fraternity, last spring, was, on de Maistre's principles, the natural harbinger of that fraternal massacre in June; and the ineffectual attempt to be festive over the late inauguration of the constitution, has but one redeeming feature to prevent a corresponding augury of disaster. Its miserable failure makes it possible that the constitution will survive its anniversary. Then there will be a demonstration, at any rate, and then the thing will be superannuated. Since 1790, there has been no end to such glorifications; each chased and huzza'd, in turn, by a nation of full-grown children, and all hollow and transient as bubbles. Perpetual beginnings, every one warranted to be no failure this time, and each going out in a stench. What continual Champs-de-Mars and Champs-de-Mai! what wavings of new flags, and scattering of fresh flowers! and all ending in confessed failure, and beginning the same thing over again! "Nothing great has great beginnings"—says Mentor again. "History shows no exception to this rule. Crescit occulto velut arbor ævo,—this is the immortal device of every great institution."

Legitimacy never makes such mistakes, except when permitted by God, to accomplish its own temporary abasement. It needs not to support itself by tricks and shams. It has a creative power which dignifies everything it touches; which often turns its own occasions into festivals, but makes no festivals on purpose to dignify itself. When Henry V. is crowned at Rheims, or at Notre-Dame, he will not send over the Alps for Pio Nono, nor consult Savans to learn how Cæsar should be attired that day. That youth may safely dispense with all superfluous pageantry, for he is not new Charlemagne, but old Charlemagne. The blood of the Carlovingians has come down to him from Isabella of Hainault, through St Louis and Henry IV. Chateaubriand should not have forgotten this, when (speaking of this prince's unfortunate father, the Duke de Berry) he enthusiastically sketched a thousand years of Capetian glory, and cried—"He bien! la revolution a livré tout cela au couteau de Louvel." Another revolution has thus far relegated the same substantial dignity to exile and obscurity, as if France could afford to lose its past, and begin again, as an infant of days. But besides the evident tendency of things to reaction, there is something about the legitimate king of France which looks like destiny. He was announced to the kingdom by the dying lips of his murdered sire, while yet unborn, as if the fate of empire depended on his birth. Ménagez-vous, pour l'enfant que vous portez dans votre sein," said the unhappy man to his duchess, and the group of bystanders was startled! It was the first that France heard of Henry the Fifth, and it seemed to inspire Chateaubriand with the spirit of prophecy, and he eloquently remarks upon it as a dernière espérance. "The dying prince," he says, "seemed to bear with him a whole monarchy, and at the same moment to announce another. Oh God! and is our salvation to spring out of our ruin? Has the cruel death of a son of France been ordained in anger, or in mercy? is it a final restoration of the legitimate throne, or the downfall of the empire of Clovis?" This grand question now hangs in suspense: but, as I said, Chateaubriand must have taken courage before he died, and inwardly answered it favourably. That great writer seems to have felt beforehand,[197] for his countrymen, the loyalty to which they will probably return. To the prince he stood as a sort of sponsor for the future. When the royal babe was baptised, he presented water from the Jordan, in which the last hope of legitimacy received the name of Dieu-donné: when Charles the Tenth was dethroned, he stood up for the young king, and consented to fall with his exclusion; and the last years of France's greatest genius were a consistent confessorship for that legitimacy with which he believed the prosperity of his country indissolubly bound. Now, I should like to ask a French republican—if I could find a sane one,—what would you wish to do with Henry of Bordeaux? Would you wish this heir of your old histories to renounce his birth-right, declare legitimacy an imposition, and undertake to settle down in Paris as one of the people? Why not, if you are all republicans, and see no more in a prince than in a gamin? Why should not this Henry Capet throw up his cap for the constitution, and stick up a tradesman's sign in the Place de la Revolution, as "Henry Capet, parfumeur?" Why not let him hire a shop in the lower stories of the Palais Royal and teach the Parisians better manners than to cut off his head, by devoting himself to shaving their beards? Everybody knows the reason why not; and that reason shows the reality of legitimacy. Night and day such a shop would be mobbed by friends and foes alike. Go where he might, the parfumeur would be pointed at by fingers, and aimed at by lorgnettes, and bored to death by a rabble of starers, who would insist upon it that he was the hereditary lord of France. Mankind cannot free themselves from such impressions, and, what is more conclusive, princes cannot free themselves from the impressions of mankind, or undertake to live like other men, as if history and genealogy were not facts. For weal or for woe, they are as unchangeable as the leopard with his spots. Let Henry Capet come to America, and try to be a republican with us. Our very wild-cats would assert their inalienable right to "look at a king," and he would certainly be torn to pieces by good-natured curiosity.

It is curious to see the natural instinct amusing itself, for the present, with such a mere nominis umbra as Louis Napoleon. In some way or other the hereditary prestige must be created; nothing less is satisfactory, and the "imperial fetishism" will answer very well till something more substantial is found necessary. Richard Cromwell was necessary to Charles II., and so is Louis Napoleon to Henry V. Napoleon still seems capable of giving France a dynasty; this possibility will be soon extinguished by the incapability of his representative. Louis will reign long enough to exhibit that recompense to Josephine, in the person of her grandson, which heaven delights to allot to a repudiated wife; and then, for his own sake, he will be called coquin and poltron. Napoleon will take his historical position as an individual, having no remaining hold on France; and the imperial fetishism will be ignominiously extinguished. Richard Cromwell made a very decent old English gentleman, and Louis Napoleon may perhaps end his days as respectably, in some out-of-the-way corner of Corsica. Let me again quote the French Mentor. He says, "There never has existed a royal family to whom a plebeian origin could be assigned. Men may say, if Richard Cromwell had possessed the genius of his father, he would have fixed the protectorate in his family; which is precisely the same thing as to say—if this family had not ceased to reign, it would reign still." Here is the formula that will suit the case of Louis Napoleon; but future historians will moralise upon the manner in which Napoleon himself worked out his own destruction. For the sake of a dynasty, he puts away poor Josephine. The King of Rome is born to him, but his throne is taken. The royal youth perishes in early manhood, and men find Napoleon's only representative in the issue of the repudiated wife. Her grandson comes to power, and holds it long enough to make men say—how much better it might have been with Napoleon had he kept his faith to Josephine, and contentedly taken as his heir the child in whom Providence has revealed at last his only chance of continuing his family on a throne! It makes one thing of Scripture, "Yet ye say wherefore?[198] because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously; ... therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth, for the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away."

A traveller from the south of France says that he saw everywhere the portrait of Henry V. Besides the mysterious hold which legitimacy keeps upon the vulgar and the polite alike, there are associations with it which operate on all classes of men. Tradesmen and manufacturers are for legitimacy, because they love peace, and want to make money. The roturiers sooner or later learn the misery of mobs, and the love of change makes them willing to welcome home the king, especially as they mistake their own hearts, and flatter themselves that their sudden loyalty is proof of remaining virtue. Then the profligate and abandoned, they want a monarchy, in hopes of another riot in the palace. It may be doubted whether the blouses can be permanently contented without a king to curse. The national anthem cannot be sung with any spirit, unless there be a monarch who can be imagined to hear all its imprecations against tyrants: in fact, the king must come back, if only to make sense of the Marseilles Hymn.

Que veut cette horde d'esclaves,
De traîtres, de rois conjurés?
Pour qui ces ignobles entraves,
Ces fers, dès long-tems préparés?

What imaginable sense is there in singing these red-hot verses at a feast of fraternity, and in honour of the full possession of absolute liberty? Then, where is the sport of clubs, and the excitement of conspiracies, if there's no king to execrate within locked doors? Is Paris to have no more of those nice little émeutes? What's to be done with the genius that delights in infernal machines? Who's to be fired at in a glass coach? Everybody knows that Cavaignacs and Lamartines are small game for such sport. Your true assassin must have, at least, a duke of the blood. These are considerations which must have their weight in deciding upon probabilities; though, for one, I am not sure but France is doomed, by retributive justice, to be thus the Tantalus of nations, steeped to the neck in liberty, but forbidden to drink, with kings hanging over them to provoke the eye, and yet escaping the hand.

In 1796 de Maistre published his Considérations sur la France. They deserve to be reproduced for the present age. Nothing can surpass the cool contempt of the philosophical réactionnaire, or the confidence with which, from his knowledge of the past, he pronounces oracles for the future. Do you ask how Henry V. is to recover his rights? In ten thousand imaginable ways. See what Cavaignac might have done last July, had the time been ripe for another Monk! There's but one way to keep legitimacy out; it comes in as water enters a leaky ship, oozing through seams, and gushing through cracks, where nobody dreamed of such a thing. As long as even a tolerable pretender survives, a popular government must be kept in perpetual alarm. But you shall hear the Count, my Basil! Let me give you a free translation.

"In speculating about counter-revolutions, we often fall into the mistake of taking it for granted that such reactions can only be the result of popular deliberation. The people won't allow it, it is said; they will never consent; it is against the popular feeling. Ah! is it possible? The people just go for nothing in such affairs; at most they are a passive instrument. Four or five persons may give France a king. It shall be announced to the provinces that the king is restored: up go their hats, and vive le roi! Even in Paris, the inhabitants, save a score or so, shall know nothing of it till they wake up some morning and learn that they have a king. 'Est-il possible?' will be the cry: 'how very singular! What street will he pass through? Let's engage a window in good time, there'll be such a horrid crowd!' I tell you the people will have nothing more to do with re-establishing the monarchy, than they have had in establishing the revolutionary government!... At the first blush one would say, undoubtedly, that the previous consent of the French is necessary to the restoration; but nothing is more absurd. Come, we'll crop theory, and imagine certain facts.

"A courier passes through Bordeaux,[199] Nantes, Lyons, and so en route, telling everybody that the king is proclaimed at Paris; that a certain party has seized the reins, and has declared that it holds the government only in the king's name, having despatched an express for his majesty, who is expected every minute, and that every one mounts the white cockade. Rumour catches up the story, and adds a thousand imposing details. What next? To give the republic the fairest chance, let us suppose it to have the favour of a majority, and to be defended by republican troops. At first these troops shall bluster very loudly; but dinner-time will come; the fellows must eat, and away goes their fidelity to a cause that no longer promises rations, to say nothing of pay. Then your discontented captains and lieutenants, knowing that they have nothing to lose, begin to consider how easily they can make something of themselves, by being the first to set up Vive-le-roi! Each one begins to draw his own portrait, most bewitchingly coloured; looking down in scorn on the republican officers who so lately knocked him about with contempt; his breast blazing with decorations, and his name displayed as that of an officer of His Most Christian Majesty! Ideas so single and natural will work in the brains of such a class of persons: they all think them over; every one knows what his neighbour thinks, and they all eye one another suspiciously. Fear and distrust follow first, and then jealousy and coolness. The common soldier, no longer inspired by his commander, is still more discouraged; and, as if by witchcraft, the bonds of discipline all at once receive an incomprehensible blow, and are instantly dissolved. One begins to hope for the speedy arrival of his majesty's paymaster; another takes the favourable opportunity to desert and see his wife. There's no head, no tail, and no more any such thing as trying to hold together.

"The affair takes another turn with the populace. They push about hither and thither, knocking one another out of breath, and asking all sorts of questions; no one knows what he wants; hours are wasted in hesitation, and every minute does the business. Daring is everywhere confronted by caution; the old man lacks decision, the lad spoils all by indiscretion; and the case stands thus,—one may get into trouble by resisting, but he that keeps quiet may be rewarded, and will certainly get off without damage. As for making a demonstration—where is the means? Who are the leaders? Whom can ye trust? There's no danger in keeping still; the least motion may get one into trouble. Next day comes news—such a town has opened its gates. Another inducement to hold back! Soon this news turns out to be a lie; but it has been believed long enough to determine two other towns, who, supposing that they only follow such example, present themselves at the gates of the first town to offer their submission. This town had never dreamed of such a thing; but, seeing such an example, resolves to fall in with it. Soon it flies about that Monsieur the mayor has presented to his majesty the keys of his good city of Quelquechose, and was the first officer who had the honour to receive him within a garrison of his kingdom. His Majesty—of course—made him a marshal of France on the spot. Oh! enviable brevet! an immortal name, and a scutcheon everlastingly blooming with fleurs-de-lis! The royalist tide fills up every moment, and soon carries all before it. Vive-le-roi! shouts out long-smothered loyalty, overwhelmed with transports: Vive-le-roi! chokes out hypocritical democracy, frantic with terror. No matter! there's but one cry; and his Majesty is crowned, and has all the royal makings of a king. This is the way counter-revolutions come about. God having reserved to himself the formation of sovereignties, lets us learn the fact, from observing that He never commits to the multitude the choice of its masters. He only employs them, in those grand movements which decide the fate of empires, as passive instruments. Never do they get what they want: they always take; they never choose. There is, if one may so speak, an artifice of Providence, by which the means which a people take to gain a certain object, are precisely those which Providence employs to put it from them. Thus, thinking to abase the aristocracy by hurrahing for Cæsar, the Romans got themselves masters. It is just so with all popular[200] insurrections. In the French revolution the people have been perpetually handcuffed, outraged, betrayed, and torn to pieces by factions; and factions themselves, at the mercy of each other, have only risen to take their turn in being dashed to atoms. To know in what the revolution will probably end, find first in what points all the revolutionary factions are agreed. Do they unite in hating Christianity and monarchy? Very well! The end will be, that both will be the more firmly established in the earth."

Cool, certainly; is it not, my Basil? The legitimists are the only Frenchmen who can keep cool, and bide their time. Chateaubriand has observed, in the same spirit, that there is a hidden power which often makes war with powers that are visible, and that a secret government was always following close upon the heels of the public governments that succeeded each other between the murder of Louis XVI. and the restoration of the Bourbons. This hidden power he calls the eternal reason of things; the justice of God, which interferes in human affairs just in proportion as men endeavour to banish and drive it from them. It is evident that the whole force of de Maistre's prophecy was owing to his religious confidence in this divine interference. He wrote in 1796. That year the career of Napoleon began at Montenotte; and, for eighteen years succeeding, every day seemed to make it less and less probable that his predictions could be verified. The Bourbon star was lost in the sun of Austerlitz. The Republic itself was forgotten; the Pope inaugurated the Empire; Austria gave him a princess, to be the mould of a dynasty, and the source of a new legitimacy. France was peopled with a generation that never knew the Bourbons, and which was dazzled with the genius of Napoleon, and the splendour of his imperial government. But the time came for this puissance occulte, cette justice du ciel! When the Allies entered Paris in 1814, it was suggested to Napoleon that the Bourbons would be restored; and, with all his sagacity, he made the very mistake which de Maistre had foreshown, and said, in almost his very words—"Never! nine-tenths of the people are irreconcilably against it!" One can almost hear what might have been the Count's reply—"Quelle pitié! le peuple n'est pour rien dans les revolutions. Quatre ou cinq personnes, peut-être, donneront un roi à la France." What could Talleyrand tell about that? The facts were, that in four days the Bourbons were all the rage! The Place Vendôme could hardly hold the mob that raved about Napoleon's statue; and, with ropes and pulleys, they were straining every sinew to drag it to the ground, when it was taken under the protection of Alexander![14] What next? In terror for his very life, this Napoleon flies to Frejus, now sneaking out of a back-window, and now riding post, as a common courier, actually saving himself by wearing the white cockade over his raging breast, and all the time cursing his dear French to Tartarus! A British vessel gives him his only asylum, and the salute he receives from a generous enemy is all that reminds him what he once had been in France. Meantime these detested Bourbons are welcomed home again, with De Maistre's own varieties of Vive-le-roi! The Duke d'Angouleme, advancing to the capital, sees the silver lilies dancing above the spires of Bordeaux: the Count d'Artois hails the same tokens at Nancy: not captains and lieutenants, but generals and marshals, rush to receive His Most Christian Majesty; and the successor of the butchered Louis XVI. comes to his palace, after an exile of twenty years, with the title of Louis the Desired! Nor are subsequent events anything more than the swinging of a pendulum, which must eventually subside into a plummet. If the first disaster of Napoleon, in the fulness of his strength, could make France welcome her legitimacy in 1814, why should not the imbecility of the mere shadow of his name produce a stronger revulsion before this century gains its meridian? There is a residuary fulfilment of de Maistre's augury, which remains to the Bourbons, when all of Napoleon that survives has found its ignominious[201] extinction. Then will the ripe fruit fall into the lap of one who, if he is wise, will make the French forget his kindred with the fourteenth and fifteenth Louises, and remember only that Henry of Bordeaux has before him the example of Henry of Navarre.

There is, indeed, another conceivable end. C'est l'arrêt que le ciel prononce enfin contre les peuples sans jugement, et rebelles à l'expérience.[15] If France does not soon come back to reason, we shall be forced to think her given up of God, to become such a country as Germany, or perhaps as miserable as Spain. But we must not be too hasty in coming to conclusions so deplorable. Let the republic have its day. It will work its own cure; for the chastisement of France must be the curse of ancient Judah. "The people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and everyone by his neighbour; the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honourable." For the mob of Paris, who got drunk with riot, and must grow sober with headache; for the blousemen and the boys who have pulled a house upon their head, and now maul each other in painful efforts to get from under the ruins; and for the miserable philosophes who see, in the charming state of their country, the fruit of their own atheistic theories; for all these it is but retribution. They needed government; they resolved on license: God has sent them despotism in its worst form. One pities Paris, but feels that it is just. My emotions are very different when I think of what were once "the pleasant villages of France." Miserable campagnards! There are thousands of them, besides the poor souls starving in provincial towns, who curse the republic in their hearts; and, from Normandy to Provence and Languedoc, there are millions of such Frenchmen, who care nothing for dynasties, or fraternities, or democracy, but only pray the good Lord to give peace in their time, that they may sit under their own vine, and earn and eat their daily bread. For them—may God pity them!—what a life Dame Paris leads them! If, with the simplicity of rustics, they were for a moment disposed to be merry last February—when they heard that thereafter loaves and fishes were to fling themselves upon every table, for the mere pleasure of being devoured—how bitterly the simpletons are undeceived! Their present notions of fraternity and equality they get from hunger and from rags. It is not now in France as in the days of Henry IV., when every peasant had a pullet in the pot for his Sunday dinner. That was despotism. It is liberty now—liberty to starve. There is no more oppression, for the very looms refuse to work, and water-wheels stand still; and the vines go gadding and unpruned, and the grape disdains to be trampled in the wine-vat. Yes—and the old paysan and his sprightly dame, who used to drive dull care away in the sunshine—she, with her shaking foot and head, and he with his fiddle and his bow, they have liberty to the full; for their seven sons, who were earning food for them in the sweat of their brow, have come home to the old cabin, ragged and unpaid; and they lounge about in hungry idleness, longing for war, but only because war would provide them with a biscuit or a bullet. What care they for glory, or for constitutions? They ask for bread, and their teeth are ground with gravel-stones. Let England look and learn. If she has troubles, let her see how easily troubles may be invested at compound interest, with the certainty of dividends for years to come. Is hard thrift in a kingdom so bad as starvation in a democracy? And whether is it better to wear out honestly, in this work-day world, as good and quiet subjects; or to be thrust out of it, kicking and cursing, behind a barricade of cabs and paving-stones, in the name of equality? These are the common-sense questions, that every English labourer should be made to feel and answer.

It provokes me, Basil, that my letter may be superannuated while it is travelling in the steamer! The changes of democracy are more frequent than the revolutions of a paddle-wheel. Adieu. Yours,




Dalmatia and Montenegro. By Sir J. Gardner Wilkinson. London: Murray.

It is really astonishing that our want of information respecting Dalmatia, and its neighbourhood, has not long ago been supplied. It is by no means easy, now-a-days, to hit upon a line of country that may afford subject-matter for acceptable illustration. Travellers are so numerous, and authorship is so generally affected, that the best part of Europe has been described over and over again. You may get from Mr Murray a handbook for almost any place you will. Manners and customs, roads, inns, things to be suffered, and notabilities to be visited—in short, all the probable contingencies of travel between this and the Vistula, are already noted and set down. We take it upon ourselves to say, that it is one of the most difficult things in life to realise the sense of desolation and unwontedness that are poetic characteristics of the traveller. How can a man feel himself strange to any place where he is so thoroughly up to usages that no locandière can cheat him to the amount of a zwanziger? And, thanks to the books written, it is a man's own fault if he wend almost anywhither except thus μύστης γενόμενος.

In truth, European travelling is pretty nearly reduced to the work of verification. Events are according to prescription; and there remains very little room for the play of an exploring spirit. The grand thing to be explored is a matter pysychological rather than material; it is to prove experimentally what are the emotions that a generous mind experiences, when vividly acted upon by association with the world of past existences. Beyond doubt, this is the highest range of intellectual enjoyment; and to its province may be referred much that at first sight would appear to be heterogeneous, as, for instance, delights purely scientific. But at any rate, we must all agree that the main privilege of a traveller is, that he is enabled to test the force of this power of association. It is an enjoyment to be known only by experiment. No power of description can give a man to understand what is the sensation of gazing on the Acropolis, or of standing within Ἁγία Σοφία. It is as another sense, called into existence by the occasion of exercise.

To any but the uncommonly well read, there has hitherto been meagre entertainment in travelling among the Slavonian borderers on the Adriatic. It has been impossible to realise on their subject these high pleasures of association, because so little has been known of the facts of their history; rather should we perhaps say, that, of what has been known, so little has been generally accessible. But we are happy to find that the right sort o' "chiel has been amang them, takin' notes." The way is now open; and henceforth it will be easy to follow with profit. The book which Sir Gardner Wilkinson has given us seems to be exactly the thing which was wanted; and certainly the use of it will enable a man to travel in Dalmatia as a rational creature should. No mere dotter down of events could have passed through the course of this country without producing a document of considerable value. The widespread family of which its inhabitants are a branch have been intimately mixed up with the history of the Empire and of Christendom; and now again we behold them playing a conspicuous part in European politics. Modern Panslavism deepens the interest to be felt in this family, and quickens the anxiety to know what they are doing and thinking now, as well as what they have done in days of old. In the present volumes we have, besides the memoranda of things existing, a compendium of Slavonian history and antiquities, and an exhibition of the degree in which the race have been mixed up with European history. Besides this, an account is given of their more domestic traditions, of which monuments survive; and it must be a man's own fault if, having this book with him, he miss extracting the utmost of profit from a visit to the country.

In one way, we can surely prophesy that this book will prove the means of bringing to us increase of lore from out of that land of which it treats.[203] It will naturally be taken on board every yacht that, when next summer shall open skies and seas, may find its way into the Mediterranean. Among these birds of passage, it can scarcely be but that some one will shape its course for this land of adventure, thus, as it were, newly laid open. It is a little, a very little out of the direct track, in which these summer craft are apt to be found, plentiful as butterflies. They may rest assured that in no place, from the Pillars of Hercules to the Pharos of Alexandria, can they hope to find such provision of entertainment. The stories they may thence bring will really be worth something—a value much higher than we can vote ascribable to much that we hear of the well-frequented shores of the French lake.

We prophesy, also, that an inspiriting effect will be produced on men better qualified even than the yachtsmen for the work of travel—we mean on the gallant officers who garrison the island of Corfu. They occupy a station so exactly calculated to facilitate excursions in the desirable direction, that it will be too bad if some of them do not start this very next spring. We do not recommend the Adriatic in winter time, and so give them a few months' grace, just to keep clear of the Bora. Let them, as soon as possible after the equinox, avail themselves of one of those gaps which will be occurring in the best-regulated garrison life. Times will come round when duty makes no exaction, and when the indigenous resources of the island afford no amusement. Should such occasion have place out of the shooting months—or when, haply, some row with the Albanians has placed Butrinto under interdict—woful are the straits to which our ardent young fellow-countrymen are reduced. A ride to the Garoona pass, or a lounge into Carabots; or, to come to the worst, an hour or two's flané round old Schulenberg's statue, are well in their way, but cannot please for ever. All these things considered, it is, we say, but likely that we shall reap some substantial benefit from the leisure of our military friends, so soon as their literary researches shall have carried them into the enjoyment of this book. Dalmatia is almost before their very eyes. If hitherto they have not drifted thither, under the combined influences of a long leave and an uncertain purpose, it is because they have not been in a condition to prosecute researches. We must not blame them for their past neglect, any more than we blame the idleness of him who lacks the implements of work. Give a man tools, and then, if he work not, monstrare digito. Henceforth they must be regarded as thoroughly equipped, and without excuse. Let us hope that some two or three may be roused to action on the very next opportunity—that is to say, on the very next occasion of leave. Let us hope that, instead of sloping away to Paxo, or Santa Maura, they may shape their course through the North Channel, and begin, if they please, by exploring the Bocca di Cattaro.

Sir Gardner speaks of difficulties and vexatious delays interposed between the traveller and his purpose by the Austrian authorities. These scrutineers of passports seem to grow worse; and with them bad has long been the best. We used to think that the palm of pettifogging was fairly due to the officials of his Hellenic majesty. It was bad enough, we always thought, to be kept waiting and watching for a license to move from the Piræus to Lutraki, by steam; but we confess that Sir Gardner makes out a case, or rather several cases, that beat our experience hollow. We should like to commit the passport system to the verdict to be pronounced by common-sense after perusal of the two or three pages he has written on this subject. But common-sense must be far from us, or the mob would not be raving for liberty while still tolerant of passports.

There is another point in respect of which a change for the worse appears to have taken place, and that is in the important point of bienveillance towards English travellers. We learn that, at present, Austrian officers are shy of English companionship; and that it is even enjoined on them authoritatively that they avoid intimacy with stragglers from Corfu. The reason assignable is found in the late sad and absurd conspiracy hatched in[204] that island—a conspiracy which would have been utterly ridiculous, had it not in the event proved so melancholy. It will freely be admitted that the English would deserve to be sent, as they are, to Coventry, were it fact that the insane project of the young Bandieras had found English partisans, and that such partisanship had been winked at by the authorities. But the real state of the case is exactly contrary to this supposition. Humanity must needs have mourned over the cutting off of the young men, and the sorrow of their father, the gallant old admiral. But common-sense must have condemned the undertaking as utterly absurd and mischievous. It is a pity that any misunderstanding should be permitted to qualify the good feeling towards us, for which the Austrians have been remarkable. This good feeling has been observable eminently among their naval officers, who have got up a strong fellowship with us, ever since they were associated with our fleet in the operations on the coast of Syria. That particular service has done much towards the exalting of them in their own estimation; and, of course, the increase of friendship for us has been in the direct proportion of the lift given to them. The Austrian militaires, also, used to be a very good set of fellows, and only too happy to be civil to an Englishman. At their dull stations an arrival is an event, and any considerable accession of visitors occasions quite a jubilee. These gentlemen, however, cannot have among them much of the spirit of enterprise, or they would take more trouble than they do to learn something of the condition of their neighbours. They will complain freely of the dulness of the place of their location, but at the same time will evince little interest in the condition of the world beyond their immediate ken. Many of them who live almost within hail of the Montenegrini, have never been at the trouble of ascending the mountains. Nothing seems to astonish them more than the erratic disposition which leads men in quest of adventure; they cannot conceive such an idea as that of volunteering for a cruise. Yachts puzzle them: the owners must be sailors. Of any military officers who may chance to visit them in yachts, they cannot conceive otherwise than that they belong to the marine. Nevertheless they are, or used to be, kind and hospitable; and would treat you well, although they could not quite make you out.

That this country is a neglected portion of the Austrian empire is very evident. The officials sigh under the very endearments of office. The sanità man, who comes off to greet your arrival, will tell you how insufferably dull it is living in the Bocca,—and how he longs to be removed anywhither. Place, people, climate, all will be condemned. Yet, to a stranger, many of the localities seem exquisitely beautiful. The same cause seems to mar enjoyment here that spoils the beauty of our own Norfolk Island. The Austrian residents regard themselves as being in a state of banishment, and take up their abode only by constraint: the constraint, that is to say, of mammon. By the government, its possessions in this quarter have been neglected in a manner most impolitic. The value of this strip of coast to an empire almost entirely inland, yet wishing to foster trade, and to possess a navy, is obvious. Yet even the plainest use of it they seem, till lately, to have missed. Promiscuous conscriptions were the order of the day, and men born sailors were enrolled in the levies for the army. Of course they were miserable and discontented, and the public service suffered by the use of these unfit instruments. Recently it seems that a change has been made in this respect, and we doubt not that the navy has consequently been greatly improved. But many glaring instances of neglect in the administration of the affairs of the country continue to astonish beholders, and to prove that the paternal government is not awake to its own interests.

But of all objections to be made to the wisdom of the government, the strongest may be grounded on the condition of the agricultural population in various parts of Dalmatia. Nothing is done to improve their knowledge of the primary art of civilisation. Their implements of husbandry are described as being on a par with[205] those used by the unenlightened inhabitants of Asia Minor. The waggons to be encountered in the neighbourhood of Knin are referable to the same date in the progress of invention, as are the conveniences in vogue in the plains about Mount Ida. The mode of tillage is like that followed in the remote provinces of Turkey; the ploughs of the rustic population are often inferior to those to be seen in the neighbouring Turkish provinces. Lastly—most incredible of all!—we learn that there is not to be found in the whole district of the Narenta such a thing as a mill, wherein to grind their corn. Will it be believed that the rustics have to send all the corn they grow into the neighbouring province of Herzegovina to be ground? The inconvenience of such an arrangement may easily be conceived. Their best of the bargain—i. e. the being obliged to seek from across the frontier all the flour they want—is bad enough, and must be sufficiently expensive; but their predicament is apt to be much worse than this. In that part of the world, people are subject to stoppages of intercommunication. The plague may break out in the Turkish province, and thus a strict quarantine be established, to the interdiction even of provisions that generally pass unsuspected; or the country may be flooded, and the ways impassable. What are the poor people to do then for flour? Why, the only thing they can do is, to send their corn to their nearest neighbours possessed of mills—that is to say, to Salona, or to Imoschi. As these places are distant, the one about thirty-five miles, and the other about seventy miles, we may fancy how serious must be the pressure of this necessity. The ordinary expense of grinding their corn is stated to be about 13 per cent. What it must be when the seventy miles' carriage of their produce is an item in the calculation, we are left to conjecture. Now these poor folks are not to be blamed—they have no funds to enable them to build mills; but that they are left to themselves in this inability is a reproach to the government under which they live. This inconvenience so intimately affects their social wellbeing, that we cannot put faith in the benevolence of the rulers who allow them to remain so destitute.

Despite, however, of the disadvantages under which the people of Dalmatia labour, it will be seen that pictures chiefly pleasurable are to be met by him who shall travel amongst them. Their honest nature seems to comprise within itself some compensating principle, which makes amends for the damage of circumstances. The Morlacci, especially, seem to be a simple, hardy set, of whom one cannot read without pleasure. These are the rustic inhabitants of the agricultural districts, who eschew the great towns. They made their entry into the roll of the peasantry of Dalmatia at a comparatively late date. The first notice of them, we are told, is about the middle of the fourteenth century. After that time they began to retire with their families from Bosnia, as the Turks made advances into the country. They are of the same Slavonic family as the Croatians; though their hardy manner of life, and the purity of the air in which they have dwelt, on the mountains, have co-operated to confer on them superiority of personal appearance, and of physical condition. On a general estimate of the people of the land, and of their mode of receiving strangers, we are disposed to rank highly their claims to the title of hospitable and honest.

Sir Gardner Wilkinson certainly travelled amongst them most effectually. North, south, east, and west, he intersected the country. One part of his travels possesses especial interest, because, so far as we know, no denizen of civilised Christendom has ever before been so completely over the ground. We refer to his expedition into, and through the territory of the Montenegrini. Others—some few only, but still some others—have been far enough to get a peep at these wild children of the mountains; and more than once of late years, Maga has given notices concerning them:[16] but only scanty knowledge of their domestic condition has been attainable.[206] Sir Gardner went right through their country to the Turkish border, and tarried amongst them long enough to form pretty accurate notions of their state. . In the account of our author's first journey, no serious stop is made till we come alongside of the island of Veglia: apropos to the passage by which, we have given to us, at some length, an interesting extract from the report of a Venetian commissioner sent to the island, in 1481, to inquire into its state. Of this document we will say no more than that it is exceedingly curious, and will well reward the pains of reading. A passing notice is given to Segna, situated on the mainland, near Veglia, for the memory's sake of those desperate villains the Uscocs, to whom it belonged of old. A good deal of their history is given in the last chapter of the second volume, which serves as a documentary appendix to the work. Everything necessary to beget interest in the islands scattered hereaway is told; but we pass them by, and are brought to Zara. What of antiquities is here discoverable is rooted out for our benefit, but not much remains. The most interesting relic in the place, to our mind, is the inscription recording the victory of Lepanto. As Zara is the capital of Dalmatia, occasion is taken, while speaking of the city, to give some account of the government of the province, and of the general condition of the people.

An incident mentioned by Sir Gardner displays, in a painful light, the kind of feeling entertained by the Austrian government towards these its subjects, and permitted by its officials to find expression before the natives. We cannot take it as a case of isolated insolence: because men in responsible situations, especially where the social system comprises an indefinite supply of spies, do not ostentatiously commit themselves, unless they have a foregone conviction, that what they say is according to the authorised tone. Men under inspection of the higher powers do not put themselves out of their way to make a display of bitterness, unless they think thereby to conciliate the good-will of their superiors. This is the incident in question: On a certain occasion, the conversation happened to turn on the subject of a then recent disturbance in a Dalmatian town. The soldiery and the people had quarrelled, and in the émeute two of the soldiers had been killed. On these data forth spake a Jack in office. He knew not, nor did he care to know, how many of the peasants had fallen, nor does he appear to have entered at all curiously into the question of the casus belli. He simply recommended, as the disturbance had taken place, and as the actual perpetrators of the violence were not forthcoming, that the whole population of the town should be "decimated and shot." "The butchery of any number of Dalmatians," says our author, "was thought a fit way of remedying the incapacity of the police." One would hardly imagine that this counsel could have been met by the applauses of persons holding official situations; but so, we are assured, it was in fact received. This manifestation of feeling is a sort of thing which, when emanating from a group of merely private individuals, may be disregarded. Idle people will talk, and their hard words will break no bones. But the hard words of the ministers of government do break bones; and such words must be accepted as serious indications of subsistent evil. Such receipts for keeping people in peace and quietness are consistent enough with the genius of their neighbours the Turks. Retrenchment of heads, and of causes of complaint, are to their apprehension one and the same thing—πολλων ὀνομάτων, μορφὴ μία. We know this, and expect it. It is not so very long ago since the Capitan Pasha gave the word to heave the officer of the watch overboard, because his ship missed stays in going about in the Black Sea. But the Austrians are civilised and Christian; we expect better things of them, and can but mourn over their misapprehension of the true principles of polity. The Englishman who stood by rebuked the promoters of these atrocious sentiments, and for this act of championship he was subsequently thanked by the Dalmatians who were present. They could not have ventured to undertake their own defence, but must have listened in silence to this outrageous language.[207] Our author doubts not that this exhibition of simple humanity on his part, had the effect of causing him to be forthwith placed under the surveillance of the police; and that such a consequence should be so very likely to follow the honest expression of a common-sense opinion in society is a fact that shows clearly enough how unsound that state of things must be. Assuredly one of the best effects of intercourse with civilised nations is, that we thereby become enabled to institute a comparison between their social condition and our own. Even those unhappy Chartists, who lately have acquired the habit of addressing one another as "brother slaves," would learn to value British freedom, if they knew something of the social condition of their European brethren: they would see some difference between the security of their own hours of relaxation, and the degree in which a man's freedom in Austria is invaded by the espionage of the police.

From Zara the course of the narrative takes us to Sebenico, a town situated on the inner side of the lake or bay into which the waters of the Kerka debouch. It is one of the coaling stations of the steamer; and, when the time of arrival will allow such concession, the passengers are permitted to take a trip in a four-oared boat, to visit the falls of the Kerka. Here the costume of the women is noticed as being singularly graceful. In coasting along from Sebenico to Spalato, the headland of la Planca is remarkable. Near it is a little church which is famous in local chronicle for having once upon a time served as a trap, wherein an ass caught a wolf. How this marvellous feat was accomplished, we will not just now stop to tell, but must refer the curious to the book itself. This point is also remarkable, because here begins abruptly a change in the climate. Some plants unknown to the northward begin to appear; and henceforward, to one proceeding southward, the dreaded Scirocco will be a more frequent infliction. To the southward of la Planca, this objectionable wind is constantly blowing; and at Spalato, we are told, it assumes for its allowance 100 days out of the 365. Apropos to the Scirocco, we have an episode on anemology, and are taught how the old Greeks and Romans used to box the compass—at least how they would have done so, had they had compasses to box. In the distance, to the south of the promontory of la Planca, is the island of Lissa, famous in modern history for Sir William Hoste's action in 1811. "Such an action," says James, "stands unrivalled in the annals of the naval history of Great Britain, or that of any other country, from the great disproportion in numerical force, as well as the beauty and address of its manœuvres; it stands surpassed by none in the spirit and enterprise with which it was encountered, and carried through to a successful issue." There is not much risk in making this assertion, when we consider that on that occasion the French squadron consisted of four forty-gun frigates, two of a smaller class, a sixteen-gun corvette, a ten-gun schooner, one six-gun xebec, and two gunboats; and that the English squadron was of three frigates, and one twenty-two gunship. Lissa was also famous in the time of the Romans, being then called Issa. We have a notice of its history, and then pass on to Bua, and so to Spalato.

Concerning Spalato details are given, as might be expected, at some length. Much is told us of its past and present condition; in fact, there is presented to us a very sufficient assemblage of indicia concerning it. We recommend any one who wishes to enjoy a visit to Spalato to take with him this book, and chapter 13th of Gibbon. The extract from Porphyrogenitus, given by Gibbon, tells us what the palace of Diocletian was; and Sir Gardner Wilkinson tells us what it is now, and what has been its history. Besides verbal description, his pencil affords some apt illustrations of the actual condition of the buildings. We see by these, and by his account, that the treasures of Spalatine architecture have been obscured by the building up of modern edifices on their sites. "The stranger," he says, "is shocked to see windows of houses through the arches of the court, intercolumniations filled up with petty shops, and the peristyle of the great temple masked[208] by modern houses." Doubtless, many a precious relic has been appropriated by modern barbarians to common uses, and so perished out of sight. But with joy we learn that the government has taken measures to prevent the continuance of such destruction, and that the remaining monuments are safe, however they may be mixed up with the houses and shops of the present generation. We are told that, under the care of the present director of antiquarian researches, there is good reason to hope that the collection at Spalato may become truly valuable. The high character of Professor Carrara is a sure warrant that all will be done which is within scope of the means afforded. But as the government allowance for excavations at Salona is only £80 yearly, we cannot think that the work is likely to proceed rapidly. While we condemn as barbarous this carelessness on the part of the Austrians, we must bear in mind that we are open to a retort of the censure. We neglect altogether the remains of Samos in Cephalonia, and nothing at all is allowed for the expense of operations there; yet these remains are very extensive, and there is every reason to believe that their actual condition would amply repay a diligent search.

We must stop here a moment to congratulate Sir Gardner, on his rencontre with the sphinx.

"A captive when he gazes on the light,
A sailor when the prize has struck in fight,"

and so forth, are the only people who may venture to talk of Sir Gardner's delight at the sight of a sphinx, or a mummy. With great gusto he gives the description of the black granite sphinx, in the court of the palace, near the vestibule; and in the drawing which he has made of the same court, the sphinx is conspicuous.

From Spalato to Salona, is a distance of some three miles and a half, by a good carriage-road. This road crosses the Jader, or Il Giadro—a stream so famous for its trout, that it has been thought necessary seriously to prove that it was not for the sake of these—not in order that of them he might eat his soûl in peace and quietness—that Diocletian retired from the command of the world.

Salona is rich in antiquarian remains, though nothing is extant to redeem from improbability the testimony of Porphyrogenitus, that Salona was half the size of Constantinople. Of its origin no record exists, nor is much known of its history till the time of Julius Cæsar. Subsequently to that era it was subject to various fortunes, and bore various titles. At last, in Christian times it became a Bishop's see, and was occupied by 61 bishops in succession. Diocletian was its great embellisher and almost rebuilder. Later in the day, we find that it was from Salona that Belisarius set out in 544, when recalled to the command of the army of Justinian, and intrusted with the conduct of the war against Totila. The town remained populous and fortified, till destroyed by the Avars in 639. These ferocious barbarians having established themselves in Clissa, the terror of their propinquity scared away the Salonitans. The terrified inhabitants, after a short and ineffectual resistance, fled to the islands. The town was pillaged and burnt, and from that time Salona has been deserted and in ruins.

"With these historical facts before us, it is interesting to observe the present state of the place, which affords many illustrations of past events. The positions of its defences, repaired at various times, may be traced: an inscription lately discovered by Professor Carrara, shows that its walls and towers were repaired by Valentinian II., and Theodosius; and the ditch of Constantianus is distinctly seen on the north side. Here and there, it has been filled up with earth and cultivated; but its position cannot be mistaken, and in places its original breadth may be ascertained. A very small portion of the wall remains on the east side, and nearly all traces of it are lost towards the river: but the northern portion is well preserved, and the triangular front, or salient angle of many of its towers, may be traced.

"In the western part of the town are the theatre, and what is called the amphitheatre. Of the former, some portion of the proscenium remains, as well as the solid tiers of arches, built of square stone, with bevelled edges, about 6¼ feet diameter, and 10 feet apart."

We have a good description of the annual fair of Salona. The description will be suggestive of picturesque[209] recollections to those who have seen the open air festivities celebrated by the orthodox—i. e. by the children of the Greek Church, about Easter time. We can take it upon ourselves to recommend highly the lambs, wont to be roasted whole on these occasions. The culinary apparatus is rude—consisting merely of a few sticks for a fire, and another stick to be used as a spit—but the result of their operations is most satisfactory.

"All Spalato is of course at the fair; and the road to Salona is thronged with carriages of every description, horsemen, and pedestrians. The mixture of the men's hats, red caps, and turbans, and the bonnets and Frank dresses of the Spalatine ladies, contrasted with the costume of the country women, presents one of the most singular sights to be soon in Europe, and to a stranger the language adds in no small degree to the novelty. Some business is done as well as pleasure; and a great number of cattle, sheep, and pigs are bought and sold—as well as various stuffs, trinkets, and the usual goods exhibited at fairs. Long before mid-day, the groups of peasants have thronged the road, not to say street, of Salona; some attend the small church, picturesquely placed upon a green, surrounded by the small streams of the Giadro, and shaded with trees; while others rove about, seeking their friends, looking at, and looked at by strangers, as they pass; and all are intent on the amusements of the day, and the prospect of a feast.

"Eating and drinking soon begin. On all sides sheep are seen roasting whole on wooden spits, in the open air; and an entire flock is speedily converted into mutton. Small knots of hungry friends are formed in every direction: some seated on a bank beneath the trees, others in as many houses as will hold them; some on grass by the road-side, regardless of sun and dust—and a few quiet families have boats prepared for their reception.

"In the mean time, the hat-wearing townspeople from Spalato and other places, as they pace up and down, bowing to an occasional acquaintance, view with complacent pity the primitive recreations of the simple peasantry; and arm-in-arm, civilisation, with its propriety and affectation, is here strangely contrasted with the hearty laugh of the unrefined Morlacchi."

We do not know the country where men will meet together and eat without drinking also: at the al-fresco entertainments of this kind which we have seen, the kegs of wine have ever been in goodly proportion to the spitted lambs. And wherever a mob of men set to drinking together, they will most assuredly take to fighting. The rows at this fair used to be considerable; and, considering that more wine is said to be consumed here on this one day than during the whole of the rest of the year, we cannot be surprised that fights should come off worthy of Donnybrook. At present, better order is preserved than of old, because these rows have been so excessive that they have enforced the attendance of the police.

At this fair is to be seen the picturesque collo dance of the Morlacchi, of which our author affords a capital pencil-sketch, as well as the following description:—

"It sometimes begins before dinner, but is kept up with greater spirit afterwards. They call it collo, from being, like most of their national dances, in a circle. A man generally has one partner, sometimes two, but always at his right side. In dancing, he takes her right hand with his, while she supports herself by holding his girdle with her left; and when he has two partners, the one nearest him holds in her right hand that of her companion, who, with her left, takes the right hand of the man; and each set dances forward in a line round the circle. The step is rude, as in most of the Slavonic dances, including the polka and the radovatschka; and the music, which is primitive, is confined to a three-stringed violin."

Dancing for dancing's sake, is what enters into no Englishman's category of the enjoyable, nor into many an Englishwoman's either, we should think, after the passage out of her teens; but that it is, in sober earnest, an enjoyment to many people under the sun, there is no doubt. Surely there is something wonderful in the faculty of finding pleasure in the elephantine manœuvres of the romaika, or in the still more clumsy gyrations of a palicari's performance. The collo we readily believe to be a picturesque dance: but such qualification is not the general condition on which the people of a nation accept dances as national. Most of these exhibitions in Greece and Eastern Europe must be[210] condemned as graceless and unmeaning: as an exhibition of earnest tomfoolery, they may be accepted as wonderful; and, at all events, may safely be pronounced co-excellent with the music that inspires them.

In passing from Salona to Traü, a distance of about thirteen miles and a half to the westward, the traveller passes by several of the villages called Castelli. The name has been given them from the circumstance of their having been built near to, and under the protection of, the castles which, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, were constructed here by some of the nobles.

"The land was granted to them by the Venetians, on condition of their erecting places of refuge for the peasants during the wars with the Turks. A body of armed men lived within them, and, on the approach of danger, the flocks and herds were protected beneath the walls; and, at harvest time, the peasantry had a place of security for their crops within range of the castle guns."

The rights of lordship over the villages, which used to be exercised by the nobles in virtue of the protection afforded, have nearly all fallen into disuse. The only relic of feudalism that seems to survive is found at Castel Cambio, over which two nobles still possess certain rights. One of these was the hospitable host of Sir Gardner, and his friend Professor Carrara, on their passage to and from Traü.

A fact connected with the peculiarity of the position of this town is, we think, well worthy of notice, and deservedly recorded by our author. The town stands partly on a peninsula, and partly on the island of Bua. A fosse, cut across the narrow neck of the peninsula, has completed its isolation. This ditch has proved, on occasion, the most effectual of fortifications to the Traürines. They were, in 1241, besieged by the Tartars in pursuit of King Bela IV., who had fled hither before them. These impetuous assailants were unable to pass the ditch; and, having waited on the other side till food and forage were exhausted, they were obliged to retire. One cannot read this story without thinking of the account that Sir Francis Head gives of the La Plata Indians, whose habits of warfare are in many respects so exactly akin to those of the Tartars. These terrific horsemen would be scarcely resistible by their less robust enemies, save for their inability to cross anything in the shape of a ditch. Out of the saddle they can do nothing, and their horses will not leap; so that, if you wish to be safe from their inroads, you have but to surround your dwellings with a moderate trench. And very striking is the story that Sir Francis Head tells of the handful of men who, under such protection, held out successfully against a host of Indians. Traü, however, has been elaborately fortified in European fashion, though now the works are neglected, as being a useless precaution against dangers no longer existent. It has also a fine old cathedral, and some pictures of pretension.

After a brief notice of the islands of Brazza and Solta—a notice, however, sufficient for all useful purposes—we pass on to the picturesque neighbourhood of the falls of the Kerka. Sir Gardner speaks of the delay to which the passage by boat from Sebenico to Scardona is subject, but does not exactly complain of it. In fact, we can easily understand that, for the sake of the passenger, it is expedient that some authoritative note should be taken of his departure under charge of the particular boatmen who undertake his convoy. We never did ascend to Kerka, but from what we have seen of the class of men under whose guidance the expedition has to be performed, we are disposed to vote the caution of the police to be anything but superfluous. Every now and then one hears dreadful stories of the atrocities of boatmen in convenient parts of the Mediterranean; and there is good reason to be thankful that the Austrians think it worth while to be so careful of strangers.

The people about Sebenico, through whose lands the course of the lake leads, are spoken of as not paying much attention to agriculture or to their fisheries; but it seems that they are sedulously bent on raising grapes, and neglect no patch of ground at all likely to be available for this purpose. The lake of Scardona is considerably larger than that of Sebenico. On the shore here the Romans had a settlement,[211] of which scarcely any remains are perceptible. They are, however, remarkable as affording a manifest proof of the rise of the level of the lake, for some of them are under water.

Scardona, we are told, does not occupy the site of the old Scardon, which was a place of considerable importance under the empire. Some have even imagined that the old city stood on the opposite bank of the river. The town at present is small, but well furnished for the convenience of strangers. It boasts an inn, at which Sir Gardner put up for one night. He then proceeded to the falls, which are distant from the inn a three-quarters-of-an-hour journey. As he intended to ascend the river above the falls, he had to send to the monks of Vissovaz to ask for a boat, and they readily complied with his request. The falls do not seem to have been full on the occasion of this visit—but, when full, the effect must be striking. They are divided into two parts, and their picturesque effect is greatly enhanced by the surrounding scenery.

At a distance of a few minutes' walk up the river, above the falls, the boat was waiting to transport Sir Gardner to the convent of Vissovaz. It is to this fraternity that we have before alluded, as being the sole mill-owners on the Kerka. Their convent must indeed be beautifully situated, and we can quite enter into the eulogium bestowed on it. The fathers are of the Franciscan order. The name of Vissovaz is of curious allusion; and as probably few of our courteous readers will be the worse for a little help in the matter of Slavonian etymology, we may as well tell them that its import is "the place of hanging." Not a very complimentary or well-omened name, certainly, we would think at first sight; but we see that it is so when we learn that the allusion is to the martyrdom of two priests, who were hanged here by the Turkish governor of Scardona. By the record left of the event, we cannot see that the death of these unfortunate victims was in any sense martyrdom: they were cruelly and unjustly put to death, but for a cause entirely worldly. However, they were Christians, and their murderers were Turks; and this has been enough to constitute a claim to canonisation in more places than at Vissovaz.

Sir Gardner arrived at the picturesque, red-tiled convent in time for dinner; but as the day happened to be a fast, the fare provided was not sufficiently tempting to induce a wish to stay. He therefore was preparing, with many thanks, to take his leave of the good fathers, and proceed on his journey, when he found himself brought up by an unexpected difficulty. He was informed that he could not proceed except by favour of the monks of the Greek convent of St Archangelo, another religious house still farther up the stream. His hospitable entertainers readily volunteered to send in quest of the requisite assistance. These are the conditions of travelling, because there are no carriages for hire hereaway, nor any boats to let. The Franciscans had volunteered to do what, when it came to the point, was found to be rather an awkward thing. No great cordiality subsists generally between the Latins and the orthodox. Each charges the other with destructive heresy; and doubtless both of these great branches of the church esteem a Protestant safe, by comparison with the arch-heretics that they each see the other to be. Thus, though dwelling on the confines of Christendom, and in a solitude that might have rendered them neighbourly, we find that very little intercourse takes place between the two religious establishments. Accordingly, the writing of the letter was found to be no easy affair; and their guest saw them lay their heads together in consultation, after a fashion that boded ill for the prospects of his journey. They confessed themselves to be in a fix; and were afraid of exposing themselves to some affront if, contrary to their wont, they should open a communication with the Greeks, asking of them a favour.

"'Did you ever go as far as the convent?' said an old father to a more restless and locomotive Franciscan, and a negative answer seemed to put an end to the incipient letter; when one of the party suggested that those Greeks had shown themselves very civil on some occasion, and the writer of the epistle once[212] more resumed his spectacles and his pen. 'They are,' he observed, 'after all, like ourselves, and must be glad to see a stranger who comes from afar; and besides, our letter may have the effect of commencing a friendly intercourse with them, which we may have no reason to regret.'"

This very sensible hint of the Franciscan philosopher was happily acted out. The letter was sent, and in due course of time—i. e. in time for a start next morning—an answer arrived from the Archimandrite. It was to welcome the stranger to their hospitality, and to inform him that a boat awaited him at the falls. As the issue on the first intention was so favourable, let us hope that the other good results anticipated from the sending of the letter will have been by this time realised. At all events, Sir Gardner may congratulate himself on having afforded occasion for the opening of personal as well as epistolary communication between the convents, as one of the Franciscans accompanied him in the expedition to St Archangelo.

Much praise is bestowed on the beauty of the Kerka, and the view of the Falls of Roncislap is especially distinguished. Sir Gardner praises it in artistic language; and we may be allowed to regret that he has not added a sketch of this scene to the views with which his book is embellished. The waters of the Kerka possess a petrifying quality that is common in Dalmatia. Much of the rock has been formed under the water, and must present a singular appearance.

Near the Falls of Roncislap a depôt for coal has been established, that, by all accounts, would seem to be anything but a good speculation. We mention it merely for the sake of a good story that hangs by it. It seems that the Austrian Lloyds' Company patronise this coal because it is cheap. It is one reason, certainly, for buying it; but, as the coal will not burn, we may doubt their wisdom. We do not wish to spoil the market of the Company of Dernis, but we agree with Sir Gardner, that there are reasonable objections to the using of food for the furnaces that will get up no steam, and must be taken on board in such quantities, as to lumber up the decks. Besides this, hear how it goes on when it does burn:—

"It has also the effect of causing much smoke, and the large flakes of soot that fall from the chimney upon the awning actually burn holes in it, till it looks like a sail riddled with grape-shot; and I remember one day seeing the awning on fire from one of these showers of soot; when the captain calmly ordered it to be put out, as if it had been a common occurrence."

"A Russian consul,"—this is the story:—

"A Russian consul, who happened to be on board, and who was not much accustomed to the smoky doings of steamers, seemed to be deeply impressed with the inconvenience of the falling flakes of soot. His voice had rarely been heard during the voyage, and he appeared to shun communication with his fellow-passengers; when one afternoon, the awning not being up, he burst forth with these startling remarks, uttered with a broad Slavonian accent,—'Que ces baateaux à vapeur sont sales! Par suite de maaladie, il y a dix ans que je ne me zuis paas lavré, mais maintenant j'ai zenti le bezoin de me lavver, et je me zuis lavvé!!'"

This must have been a Russian of the old school.

Arrived at the convent of St Archangelo, they had every reason to be content with their hospitable reception. The Archimandrite is praised as being gentlemanlike, and of mien as though educated in a European capital. This is a very unusual characteristic of any Greek ecclesiastic, and what we could predicate of but one or two out of the numbers that we have seen. Greek priests of any kind are bad enough, but those living in convents seem generally to go on the principle of the Russian consul just mentioned, and might fitly be invited to associate with him. All honour, then, to Stefano Knezovich, and may his example be abundantly followed among his brethren!

There was not much in the Greek convent to induce a long visit; so the next morning Sir Gardner pushed on to Kistagne, in his progress through the country. Here he was again the victim of letter-writing, but in a different way. The sirdar of Kistagne took offence at the tone of the letter sent to him by the Archimandrite, ordering horses for the next morning; and the luckless traveller was consequently left in the lurch. However,[213] the monk did his best to make up for the deficiency. He lent him his own horse, and had his baggage conveyed by some peasants—an excellent arrangement, saving that the porters were female peasants. This is a sort of thing that sadly shocks our sense of decorum, but which many folks besides the Dalmatians take as a matter of course. Sir Gardner says that the custom of assigning the heavy burden to the women is prevalent among the Montenegrini; it is so also among the Albanians; and to a most atrocious extent in the Peloponnesus. In this particular case, they were well off to get the job; it was to exchange their task of carrying heavy loads of water up the hill for that of shouldering his light impedimenta.

Arrived at Kistagne, he found the sirdar, who had been so disobliging at a distance, much improved on acquaintance, and from him he received all requisite assistance for the prosecution of his journey to Knin; and by him was guided in his visit to the Roman arches, which point out the site of the ancient city of Burnum.

Knin is still a place of considerable strength, and has been once upon a time still stronger. It is identified with the ancient Arduba. The marshy character of the ground in its immediate neighbourhood renders it an unhealthy place of abode; but this evil is easily removable by a moderate attention to drainage. Not very far from Knin, but over the Turkish border, on the other side of Mount Gniath, is supposed to be situated the gold mine that of old conferred on Dalmatia the title of auriferous. The mine is said to exist here; but so much mystery is observed on its subject by the Turks that nothing certain can be affirmed of it. From Verlicca, to Sign we pass as quickly as may be, merely noticing that there is another convent to be visited en route, and that we have the opportunity of putting up at the Han, as Sir Gardner did. These people certainly have admitted a great many Turkish words into their vocabulary: we have Sirdar, and Han, and Arambasha—to say nothing of others. At last we come to Sign; and, touching this place, we must give an extract from the book. An annual tilting festival has been established here, in commemoration of the brave defence maintained in 1715, against the Pasha of Bosnia with forty thousand men.

"The privilege of tilting is confined to natives of Sign, and its territory. Every one is required to appear dressed in the ancient costume, with the Tartar cap, called kalpak, surmounted by a white heron's plume, or with flowers interlaced in it. He is to wear a sword, to carry a lance, and to be mounted on a good horse richly caparisoned."

"The opening of the giostra is in this manner: The footmen, richly dressed and armed, advance two by two before the cavaliers. In the usual annual exhibitions each cavalier has one footman; and on extraordinary occasions, besides the footman, he has a padrino well mounted and equipped. After the footmen come three persons in line—one carrying a shield, and the other two by his side bearing a sort of ancient club; then a fair manège horse, led by the hand, with large housings and complete trappings, richly ornamented, followed by two cavaliers—one the adjutant, the other the ensign-bearer. Next comes the Maestro-di-Campo, accompanied by the two jousters, and followed by all the others, marching two and two. The rear of the procession is brought up by the Chiauss, who rides alone, and whose duty it is to maintain order during the ceremony."

We have a description of a fair at Sign that is almost as suggestive of the picturesque as was the account of similar doings at Salona. Sir Gardner shall give his own account of his departure from the town.

"In the midst of the bustle and business going on at Sign, I found some difficulty in getting horses to take me on to Spalato; but a letter to the Sirdar removed every impediment, and, after a few hours' delay, the animals being brought out, I prepared to start from the not very splendid inn.' 'Can you ride in that?' asked the ostler, pointing to a huge Turkish saddle that nearly concealed the whole animal, with stirrups that might pass for a pair of coal scuttles; and finding that I was accustomed to the use as well as sight of that un-European horse-furniture, he seemed well satisfied—observing, at the same time, that it was fortunate, as there was no other to be had.... I was glad to take what I could get, and my only question in return was, whether the horse could trot; which being settled, I posted off, leaving my guide and baggage to come after me—for, thanks to the Austrian police, there is no fear of robbers appropriating a[214] portmanteau in Dalmatia: the interesting days of adventure and the Haiduk banditti have passed, and the Morlacchi have ceased to covet, or at least to take other men's goods."

And now we make a resolute halt, and determine to pass sub silentio all that intervenes between this part of the book and the coming into the country of the Montenegrini. Unless we act thus discreetly, we shall never contrive to compress all we have to say into due limits; and even now we hardly know how this desirable result is to be effected. What we thus leave as fallow-ground for the reader will yield to his research a history of the coast and islands between Spalato and Cattaro. The notice of Ragusa is especially and deservedly full, and presents an admirable condensation of Ragusan history.

But it is high time for us to get amongst the children of the Black Mountain. Among things excellent it is permitted to institute comparison without disparagement to any of them: and, in virtue of this license, we are free to say that this part of Sir Gardner's book shines forth as inter minora sidera. The subject itself is of deep intrinsic interest; and he has treated it as we well knew that he would. A picture is given of the actual condition of a scion of the Christian stock that must astonish those who, by this book, first learn to think of the Montenegrini; and must delight those who, having heard somewhat of them, or haply even paid them a flying visit, have looked in vain for some accurate statement of detail to help out their personal observations.

The Montenegrini are descended from the old Servian stock, and still look to modern Servia with affection, as to their mother country. Thither also we find them, by Sir Gardner's account, retiring, when forced by poverty to emigrate from their own territory. Among them the Slavonian language is preserved in unusual purity. The present population is about 100,000; and the number of fighting men amounts to 20,000—a number which, on occasion of need, would be greatly augmented by the calling out of the veterans. In fact every individual man of the nation, whose arm has power to wield a weapon, is a warrior; and the very women are ready to assist in defence. On the Turkish border, as is well known, a constant system of bloody reprisals is going on; and the endeavours of the Vladika to reduce their hostilities to civilised fashion have hitherto failed of success. They are sustained at the highest pitch of confident daring by the successful war which they have so long been able to carry on against their powerful neighbours. One is glad of the opportunity of giving, on the authority of Sir Gardner, some of the stories of their prowess; for to retail, without the authority of some such padrino, the tales current in Cattaro, would be to win the reputation of talking like Mendez Pinto.

In judging the Montenegrini, we should give charitable consideration to their circumstances. War is a system of violence; and with them, unhappily, war is a permanent condition of existence. The treachery and cruelty of the Turks—are these such recent developments that we need make any doubt of them?—have worked out cruel consequences in the character of the Montenegrini. They believe a Turk to be utterly without honesty and good faith—one with whom it is impossible to hold terms—and such, probably, is about the right estimate of some of their Turkish neighbours. Who, for instance, that knows anything about them, has any other opinion of the Albanians? Are Kaffirs much more hopeless subjects? The Montenegrini are far from the commission of the horrid cruelties that are of everyday occurrence among the Albanians. Their imperfect appreciation of Christianity allows them to behold in revenge a virtue; and hence the acts of violence which are quoted to their dispraise. Their marauding expeditions are but according to the usages of war; and if they sometimes break through the restrictions of a truce, it would seem to be because they really do not understand what a truce is. We think that a very apt apology for the Montenegrini is found in the speech of a German traveller quoted by Sir Gardner. He had been mentioning several occurrences of English and Scotch history, and spoke in allusion to them.


"'What think you,' he observed, 'of the state of society in those times? Were the border forays of the English and Scotch more excusable than those of the Montenegrins? And how much more natural is the unforgiving hatred of the Montenegrins against the Turks, the enemies of their country, and their faith, than the relentless strife of Highland clans, with those of their own race and religion! Has not many an old castle in other parts of Europe, witnessed scenes as bad as any enacted by this people? I do not wish to exculpate the Montenegrins; but theirs is still a dark age, and some allowance must be made for their uncivilised condition.'"

The character of the present Vladika affords good hope that an improvement will take place among the people; for he evidently has devoted all his energies to their amelioration. Sir Gardner entered their territory, by what we believe to be the only route—that is to say from Cattaro—whence he took letters of introduction from the Austrian governor to the Vladika.

We shall best illustrate the condition of the Montenegrini by quoting some of Sir Gardner's accounts.

"Four Montenegrins, and their sister, aged twenty-one, going on a pilgrimage to the shrine of St Basilio, were waylaid by seven Turks, in a rocky defile, so narrow that they could only thread it one by one; and hardly had they entered between the precipices that bordered it on either side, when an unexpected discharge of fire-arms killed one brother, and desperately wounded another. To retrace their steps was impossible without meeting certain and shameful death, since to turn their backs would give their enemy the opportunity of destroying them at pleasure.

"The two who were unhurt, therefore, advanced and returned the fire, killing two Turks—while the wounded one, supporting himself against a rock, fired also, and mortally injured two others, but was killed himself in the act. His sister, taking his gun, loaded and fired simultaneously with her two brothers, but, at the same instant, one of them dropped down dead. The two surviving Turks then rushed furiously at the only remaining Montenegrin—who, however, laid open the skull of one of them with his yatagan, before receiving his own death-blow. The hapless sister, who had all this time kept up a constant fire, stood for an instant irresolute; when suddenly assuming an air of terror and supplication, she entreated for mercy; but the Turk, enraged at the death of his companions, was brutal enough to take advantage of the unhappy girl's agony, and only promised her life at the price of her honour. Hesitating at first, she pretended to listen to the villain's proposal; but no sooner did she see him thrown off his guard, than she buried in his body the knife she carried at her girdle. Although mortally wounded, the Turk endeavoured to make the most of his failing strength, and plucking the dagger from his side, staggered towards the courageous girl,—who, driven to despair, threw herself on the relentless foe, and with superhuman energy hurled him down the neighbouring precipice, at the very moment when some shepherds, attracted by the continued firing, arrived just too late for the rescue."

Fancy the tone that must be given to their lives by the constant necessity of being ready for encounters such as this. They never lay aside their arms; but in the field, or by the wayside, are armed and alert. One hand may be allowed to the implement of tillage, but the other must be reserved for the weapon of defence.

On many occasions, Montenegrin courage has prevailed against odds far greater than in the above case—indeed such odds as, but for authentication of facts, would be incredible. In the year 1840, "seventy Montenegrins, in the open field, withstood the attack of several thousand Turks; and having made breastworks with the bodies of their fallen foes, maintained the unequal conflict till night; when forty who survived forced their way through the hostile army, and escaped with their lives." Another astonishing achievement was the successful defence of a house held by seven-and-twenty Montenegrins, against a body of about six thousand Albanians. Of this last action, trophies are preserved by the Vladika in his palace at Tzetinié, and there Sir Gardner saw them.

We cannot wonder that the effect on their minds of these astonishing successes, should be an unbounded confidence in their superiority over the Turks. Sir Gardner Wilkinson found them impressed with the idea, that bread and arms were the only needful requisites to enable them to drive the Turks out of Albania and[216] Herzegovina. It seems certain that, in their rencontres With these enemies, they dismiss all ordinary considerations of prudence. The spirit of their feeling with regard to the Turks is thus portrayed:—

"It is not the courage, but the cruelty of the Turks which inspires him (the Montenegrin) with hatred; and the sufferings inflicted upon his country by their inroads makes him look upon them with feelings of ferocious vengeance.

"These savage sentiments are kept alive by the barbarous custom, adopted by both parties, of cutting off the heads of the wounded and the dead; the consequences of which are destructive of all the conditions of fair warfare, and preclude the possibility of peace. The bitter remembrance of the past is constantly revived by the horrors of the present; and the love of revenge, which strongly marks the character of the Montenegrin, makes him insensible to reason or justice, and places the Turks, in his opinion, out of the pale of human beings. He dreams only of vengeance; he cares little for the means employed, and the man who should make any excuse for not persecuting those enemies of his country and his faith, would be treated with ignominy and contempt. Even the sanctity of a truce is not always sufficient to restrain him; and the hatred of the Turk is paramount to all ordinary considerations of honour or humanity."

This cutting off of heads is not peculiar to the Montenegrins. The Turks are, in this respect, just as bad, and Sir Gardner found, on the occasion of his visit to Mostar, that, in point of this barbarism, there is not a pin to choose between them. The Turks, however, exceed in cruelty. It appears, on the evidence of the letter of the Vladika, given in the second volume, that they (the Turks) impale men alive; whereas the Montenegrins are chargeable with no wanton cruelty. Indeed, they do not restrict the performance of this operation to the case of enemies; but, as an act of friendship, decapitate any comrade who may so be wounded in action as to have no other means of avoiding capture by the enemy. "You are very brave," said a well-meaning Montenegrin to a portly Russian officer, who was unable to keep up with his detachment in its retreat,—"you are very brave, and must wish that I should cut off your head: say a prayer, and make the sign of the cross."

Life, passed amidst every hardship, and threatened by constant and deadly peril, ought, we suppose, according to all rule, to be short in duration. But we find that these people are remarkable for longevity. A family is mentioned, in one of the villages, which reckoned six generations, there and then extant. The head of the family was a great-great-great-grandfather.

The Vladika received his visitor most courteously, as he always does those who have the privilege of being presented to him. He afforded to Sir Gardner every facility for seeing the country, and engaged his secretary to draw up for him a précis of Montenegrin history. We will condense some of its more important facts. The supremacy in things spiritual and temporal has not been very long vested, as it at present is, in the person of the Vladika. The two chieftain-ships were of old distinct, and the figment of a separate temporal authority was continued till comparatively lately: the year 1832 is mentioned as the epoch at which the office of civil chief was definitely suppressed. The present family (Petrovich) have possessed the dignity of the Vladikate since the close of the seventeenth century. The reigning Vladika—this man of magnificent presentment—this brave, intellectual, and athletic ruler of an indomitable race—is nephew of the late Vladika, who has been canonised, although but few years have passed since his death. The prince-bishop is not theoretically absolute in power, as the form of a republic is kept up: the general assembly has the right of deliberation, under the presidency of the Vladika. But this restriction of power is pretty nearly nominal only: we give Sir Gardner's account of the native Diet.

"In a semicircular recess, formed by the rocks on one side of the plain of Tzetinié, and about half a mile to the southward of the town, is a level piece of grass land, with a thicket of low poplar trees. Here the diet is held, from which the spot has received the name of mali sbor (the small assembly.) When any matter is to be discussed, the people meet in this their Runimede, or 'meadow of council,' and partly on the level space,[217] partly on the rocks, receive from the Vladika notice of the question proposed. The duration of the discussion is limited to a certain time, at the expiration of which the assembly is expected to come to a decision; and when the monastery bell orders silence, notwithstanding the most animated discussion, it is instantly restored. The Metropolitan asks again what is their decision, and whether they agree to his proposal or not. The answer is always the same: 'Budi po to oyema, Vladika,'—'Let it be as thou wishest, Vladika.'"

Montenegro first secured its independence about a generation or two before the time of the famous Scanderbeg, on the breaking up of the kingdom of Servia. Since that time they have constantly been subject to the inroads of the Turks, who, claiming them as tributaries, have continued to invade their country every now and then with savage cruelty. More than once they have carried fire and sword to Tzetinié, but have never been able to hold their ground. The Montenegrins sought the protection of Russia in the time of Peter the Great, and still continue to be subsidised by Russia. At the desire of Peter, they invaded the Turkish territory, and were subjected to reprisals on a grand scale. At one time 60,000 Turks, at another 120,000, broke into Montenegro. The first invasion was gloriously repulsed; but the second, combining treachery with violence, was successful. Great damage was done to the country; but the invaders were at last obliged to quit, on the breaking out of war between Turkey and Venice. The Montenegrins then returned to their desolate homes, and have since been unintermitting in their diligence to pay off old scores. They co-operated with the Austrians and Russians, when they had the opportunity of such assistance; and when they stood alone, they did so nobly and bravely. The last great expedition of the Turks was in the time of the late Vladika. The Pasha of Scutari, with an enormous force, invaded the country; and the result of the expedition was that 30,000 Turks were killed, and among them the Pasha of Albania, whose head now serves as a trophy of victory to decorate Tzetinié.

The capital of the Vladika, has been described before—for instance, in the pages of this Magazine; so, with one brief extract concerning it, we will follow Sir Gardner in his progress through the country.

"On a rock immediately above the convent is a round tower pierced with embrasures, but without cannon, on which I counted the heads of twenty Turks fixed upon stakes round the parapet—the trophies of Montenegrin victory; and below, scattered upon the rock, were the fragments of other skulls, which had fallen to pieces by time,—a strange spectacle in a Christian country, in Europe, and in the immediate vicinity of a convent and a bishop's palace!"

And, as we said before, when he got to Mostar, in Herzegovina, he found a spectacle of the same shocking kind. He did allow his horror at this sight to evaporate ineffectually; but in earnest tried to interpose his good offices to prevent a continuance of these doings. He talked to the two people mainly concerned—i. e. to the Vizir of Herzegovina, and to the Vladika. He also, at Constantinople, endeavoured to effect the making of an appeal to the highest Turkish authority. His correspondence with the Vladika on the subject is evidence of his zeal; but no positive good seems to have been the result of his intercession.

The road leading from the capital to Ostrok is described as being very bad at first, and bad beyond description as it recedes from the capital. The Vladika kindly sent with Sir Gardner one of his guards and an interpreter. The party passed by several villages, and arrived at Mishke, the principal village of the Cevo district, where they put up for the night at the house of the principal senator of the province. Here some amusement was afforded by Sir Gardner's proceeding to sketch the domestic party.

In the course of the evening a scene occurred, which sets forth their social condition as graphically as the artist's pencil has their personal appearance. A party of friends came in to have a quiet pipe, and to plan a foray over the border.

"On inquiry, I found the expedition was to take place immediately. "Is there not," I asked, "a truce at this moment[218] between you and the Turks of Herzegovina?" They laughed, and seemed much amused at my scruples. "We don't mind that," said a stern swarthy man, taking his pipe from his mouth, and shaking his head to and fro; "they are Turks"—and all agreed that the Turks were fair game. "Besides," they said, "it is only to be a plundering excursion;" and they evidently considered that any one refusing to join in a marauding expedition into Turkey, at any time, or in an open attack during a war, would be unworthy the name of a brave man. They seemed to treat the matter like boys in "the good old times," who robbed orchards; the courage it showed being in proportion to the risk, and scruples of conscience were laughed at as a want of spirit."

In a freshly-decapitated head, affixed to a stake at Mostar, he shortly afterwards recognised the features of one of these very men.

On the next day he proceeded to Ostrok, and found occasion to admire the scenery by the way, especially the vale of Oranido, distant from Mishke about four hours. From the vale of Oranido to Ostrok is a journey of about the same time. At Ostrok he underwent a grand reception, and fully won the hearts of his new friends by proposing a ride to the Turkish frontier, and affording them by the way an exhibition of Memlook riding. On the frontier is constantly maintained a guard of Montenegrins, to give timely warning of any suspicious movement among the Turks; and so well do they execute this office that no Turk can approach the border without being shot at. Near this border it was that, some little time ago, in 1843, an affair took place which does not tell well for the Montenegrini; and which seems for the present to preclude hope of amicable arrangement with the Turks. A deputation of twenty-two Turks, returning from Ostrok, were attacked by the people, and nine of them killed. This breach of faith is, to their minds, excused by the suspicion of meditated treachery on the part of the Turks. But it is a sad affair; and the only circumstance which goes in mitigation of its guilt is, that the Vladika took precautions against its occurrence. He sent an armed guard to protect the deputation, but their defence proved insufficient.

The Archimandrite of Ostrok is the person who holds the place of second dignity in the government. He ranks next to the Vladika; and we are glad to find, by Sir Gardner's account, that he cordially co-operates with the Vladika in his plans of amelioration. Here also was met the celebrated priest and warrior, Ivan Knezovich, or Popé Yovan—a man who, in this nation of brave men, is renowned as the bravest. There are two convents at Ostrok, of which one fulfils also the function of powder magazine and store depot. Its position is very remarkable; and certainly it does bear a strong family likeness to Megaspelion. The same quality of not being within reach of any missile from above belongs to both of them, and has proved the saving of both.

The return to Tzetinié was by a different route, which took Sir Gardner within near view of the northern end of the lake of Scutari. The island of Vranina, situated at this extremity of the lake, is likely to afford the next ostensible ground for an outbreak. It belonged to Montenegro, but, a few years ago, was treacherously seized by the Albanians, who effected a surprise in time of peace. Remonstrances and hard blows have equally failed to promote a restoration, et adhuc sub judice lis est. Throughout the course of his journey, Sir Gardner experienced much and genuine kindness from the rude people of the country; they brought him presents of such things as they had to offer, and would accept no compensation. When at last he bade them farewell, and returned to the haunts of civilisation, it was evidently with kindly recollections of them, and with the best of good-will towards them. He was able to give a satisfactory account of his impressions to the Vladika, who inquired thus,—"What do you think of the people? Do they appear to you the assassins and barbarians some people pretend to consider them? I hope you found them all well-behaved and civil—they are poor, but that does not prevent their being hospitable and generous."




Life and Letters of Thomas Campbell. Edited by William Beattie, M.D., one of his Executors. 3 vols. London: Moxon, 1849.

The ancients, who lived beyond the reach of the fangs and feelers of the printing press, had, in one respect, a decided advantage over us unlucky moderns. They were not beset by the terrors of biography. No hideous suspicion that, after he was dead and gone—after the wine had been poured upon the hissing embers of the pyre, and the ashes consigned, by the hands of weeping friends, to the oblivion of the funereal urn—some industrious gossip of his acquaintance would incontinently sit down to the task of laborious compilation and collection of his literary scraps, ever crossed, like a sullen shadow, the imagination of the Greek or the Latin poet. Homer, though Arctinus was his near relative, could unbosom himself without the fear of having his frailties posthumously exposed, or his amours blazoned to the world. Lucius Varius and Plotius Tucca, the literary executors of Virgil, never dreamed of applying to Pollio for the I O Us which he doubtless held in the handwriting of the Mantuan bard, or to Horace for the confidential notes suggestive of Falernian inspiration. Socrates, indeed, has found a liberal reporter in Plato; but this is a pardonable exception. The son of Sophroniscus did not write; and therefore it was incumbent on his pupil to preserve for posterity the fragments of his oral wisdom. The ancient authors rested their reputation upon their published works alone. They knew, what we seem to forget, that the poet, apart from his genius, is but an ordinary man, and, in many cases, has received, along with that gift, a larger share of propensities and weaknesses than his fellow-mortals. Therefore it was that they insisted upon that right of domestic privacy which is common to us all. The poet, in his public capacity as an author, held himself responsible for what he wrote; but he had no idea of allowing the whole world to walk into his house, open his desk, read his love-letters, and criticise the state of his finances. Had Varius and Tucca acted on the modern system, the ghost of Virgil would have haunted them on their death-beds. Only think what a legacy might have been ours if these respectable gentlemen had written to Cremona for anecdotes of the poet while at school! No doubt, in some private nook of the old farm-house at Andes, there were treasured up, through the infinite love of the mother, tablets scratched over with verses, composed by young Master Maro at the precocious age of ten. We may, to a certainty, calculate—for maternal fondness always has been the same, and Virgil was an only child—that, in that emporium, themes upon such topics as "Virtus est sola nobilitas" were religiously treasured, along with other memorials of the dear, dear boy who had gone to college at Naples. Modern Varius would remorselessly have printed these: ancient Tucca was more discreet. Then what say you to the college career? Would it not be a nice thing to have all the squibs and feuds, the rows and rackettings of the jovial student preserved to us precisely as they were penned, projected, and perpetrated? Have we not lost a great deal in being defrauded of an account of the manner in which he singed the wig of his drunken old tutor, Parthenius Nicenus, or the scandalously late hours which he kept in company with his especial chums? Then comes the period, darkly hinted at by Donatus, during which he was, somehow or other, connected with the imperial stable; that is, we presume, upon the turf. What would we not give for a sight of Virgil's betting-book! Did he back the field, or did he take the odds on the Emperor's bay mare, Alma Venus Genetrix? How stood he with the legs? What sort of reputation did he maintain in the ring of the Roman Tattersall?[220] Was he ever posted as a defaulter? Tucca! you should have told us this. Then, when sobered down, and in high favour with the court, where is the private correspondence between him and Mæcenas, the President of the Roman Agricultural Society, touching the compilation of the Georgics? The excellent Equestrian, we know, wanted Virgil to construct a poem, such as Thomas Tusser afterwards wrote, under the title of a "Hondreth Good Points of Husbandrie," and, doubtless, waxed warm in his letters about draining, manure, and mangel-wurzel. What sacrifice would we not make to place that correspondence in the hands of Henry Stephens! How the author of the Book of the Farm would revel in his exposure of the crude theories of the Minister of the Interior! What a formidable phalanx of facts would he oppose to Mæcenas' misconceptions of guano! Through the sensitive delicacy of his executors, we have lost the record of Virgil's repeated larks with Horace: the pleasant little supper-parties celebrated at the villa of that dissipated rogue Tibullus, have passed from the memory of mankind. We know nothing of the state of his finances, for they have not thought fit to publish his banking-account with the firm of Lollius, Spuræna, and Company. Their duty, as they fondly believed, was fulfilled, when they gave to the world the glorious but unfinished Æneid.

Under the modern system, we constantly ask ourselves whether it is wise to wish for greatness, and whether total oblivion is not preferable to fame, with the penalty of exposure annexed. We shudder at the thoughts of putting out a book, not from fear of anything that the critics can do, but lest it should take with the public, and expose us to the danger of a posthumous biography. Were we to awake some fine morning, and find ourselves famous, our peace of mind would be gone for ever. Mercy on us! what a quantity of foolish letters have we not written during the days of our youth, under the confident impression that, when read, they would be immediately committed to the flames. Madrigals innumerable recur to our memory; and, if these were published, there would be no rest for us in the grave! If any misguided critic should say of us, "The works of this author are destined to descend to posterity," our response would be a hollow groan. If convinced that our biography would be attempted, from that hour the friend of our bosom would appear in the light of a base and ignominious spy. How durst we ever unbosom ourselves to him, when, for aught we know, the wretch may be treasuring up our casual remarks over the fifth tumbler, for immediate registration at home? Constitutionally we are not hard-hearted; but, were we so situated, we own that the intimation of the decease of each early acquaintance would be rather a relief than otherwise. Tom, our intimate fellow-student at college, dies. We may be sorry for the family of Thomas, but we soon wipe away the natural drops, discovering that there is balm in Gilead. We used to write him letters, detailing minutely our inward emotions at the time we were distractedly in love with Jemima Higginbotham; and Tom, who was always a methodical dog, has no doubt docqueted them as received. Tom's heirs will doubtless be too keen upon the scent of valuables, to care one farthing for rhapsodising: therefore, unless they are sent to the snuff-merchant, or disseminated as autographs, our epistles run a fair chance of perishing by the flames, and one evidence of our weakness is removed. A member of the club meets us in George Street, and, with a rueful longitude of countenance, asks us if we have heard of the death of poor Harry? To the eternal disgrace of human nature, be it recorded, that our heart leaps up within us like a foot-ball, as we hypocritically have recourse to our cambric. Harry knew a great deal too much about our private history just before we joined the Yeomanry, and could have told some stories, little flattering to our posthumous renown.

Are we not right, then, in holding that, under the present system, celebrity is a thing to be eschewed? Why is it that we are so chary of receiving certain Down-Easters, so different from the real American gentlemen whom it is our good fortune to know? Simply because Silas[221] Fixings will take down your whole conversation in black and white, deliberately alter it to suit his private purposes, and Transatlantically retail it as a specimen of your life and opinions. And is it not a still more horrible idea that a Silas may be perpetually watching you in the shape of a pretended friend? If the man would at once declare his intention, you might be comparatively at ease. Even in that case you never could love him more, for the confession implies a disgusting determination of outliving you, or rather a hint that your health is not remarkably robust, which would irritate the meekest of mankind. But you might be enabled, through a strong effort, to repress the outward exhibition of your wrath; and, if high religious principle should deter you from mixing strychnia or prussic acid with the wine of your volunteering executor, you may at least contrive to blind him by cautiously maintaining your guard. Were we placed in such a trying position, we should utter, before our intending Boswell, nothing save sentiments which might have flowed from the lips of the Venerable Bede. What letters, full of morality and high feeling, would we not indite! Not an invitation to dinner—not an acceptance of a tea and turn-out, but should be flavoured with some wholesome apothegm. Thus we should strive, through our later correspondence, to efface the memory of the earlier, which it is impossible to recall,—not without a hope that we might throw upon it, if posthumously produced, a tolerable imputation of forgery.

In these times, we repeat, no man of the least mark or likelihood is safe. The waiter with the bandy-legs, who hands round the negus-tray at a blue-stocking coterie, is in all probability a leading contributor to a fifth-rate periodical; and, in a few days after you have been rash enough to accept the insidious beverage, M'Tavish will be correcting the proof of an article in which your appearance and conversation are described. Distrust the gentleman in the plush terminations; he, too, is a penny-a-liner, and keeps a commonplace-book in the pantry. Better give up writing at once than live in such a perpetual state of bondage. What amount of present fame can recompense you for being shown up as a noodle, or worse, to your children's children? Nay, recollect this, that you are implicating your personal, and, perhaps, most innocent friends. Bob accompanies you home from an insurance society dinner, where the champagne has been rather superabundant, and, next morning, you, as a bit of fun, write to the President that the watchman had picked up Bob in a state of helpless inebriety from the kennel. The President, after the manner of the Fogies, duly docquets your note with name and date, and puts it up with a parcel of others, secured by red tape. You die. Your literary executor writes to the President, stating his biographical intentions, and requesting all documents that may tend to throw light upon your personal history. Preses, in deep ecstasy at the idea of seeing his name in print as the recipient of your epistolary favours, immediately transmits the packet; and the consequence is, that Robert is most unjustly handed down to posterity in the character of a habitual drunkard, although it is a fact that a more abstinent creature never went home to his wife at ten. If you are an author, and your spouse is ailing, don't give the details to your intimate friend, if you would not wish to publish them to the world. Drop all correspondence, if you are wise, and have any ambition to stand well in the eyes of the coming generation. Let your conversation be as curt as a Quaker's, and select no one for a friend, unless you have the meanest possible opinion of his capacity. Even in that case you are hardly secure. Perhaps the best mode of combining philanthropy, society, and safety, is to have nobody in the house, save an old woman who is so utterly deaf that you must order your dinner by pantomime.

One mode of escape suggests itself, and we do not hesitate to recommend it. Let every man who underlies the terror of the peine forte et dure, compile his own autobiography at the ripe age of forty-five. Few people, in this country, begin to establish a permanent reputation before thirty; and we[222] allow them fifteen years to complete it. Now, supposing your existence should be protracted to seventy, here are clear five-and-twenty years remaining, which may be profitably employed in autobiography, by which means you secure three vast advantages. In the first place, you can deal with your own earlier history as you please, and provide against the subsequent production of inconvenient documents. In the second place, you defeat the intentions of your excellent friend and gossip, who will hardly venture to start his volumes in competition with your own. In the third place, you leave an additional copyright as a legacy to your children, and are not haunted in your last moments by the agonising thought that a stranger in name and blood is preparing to make money by your decease. It is, of course, unnecessary to say one word regarding the general tone of your memoirs. If you cannot contrive to block out such a fancy portrait of your intellectual self as shall throw all others into the shade, you may walk on fearlessly through life, for your biography never will be attempted. Goethe, the most accomplished literary fox of our age, perfectly understood the value of these maxims, and forestalled his friends, by telling his own story in time. The consequence is, that his memory has escaped unharmed. Little Eckermann, his amanuensis in extreme old age, did indeed contrive to deliver himself of a small Boswellian volume; but this publication, bearing reference merely to the dicta of Goethe at a safe period of life, could not injure the departed poet. The repetition of the early history, and the publication of the early documents, are the points to be especially guarded.

We beg that these remarks may be considered, not as strictures upon any individual example, but as bearing upon the general style of modern biography. This is a gossiping world, in which great men are the exceptions; and when one of these ceases to exist, the public becomes clamorous to learn the whole minutiæ of his private life. That is a depraved taste, and one which ought not to be gratified. The author is to be judged by the works which he voluntarily surrenders to the public, not by the tenor of his private history, which ought not to be irreverently exposed. Thus, in compiling the life of a poet, we maintain that a literary executor has purely a literary function to perform. Out of the mass of materials which he may fortuitously collect, his duty is to select such portions as may illustrate the public doings of the man: he may, without transgressing the boundaries of propriety, inform us of the circumstances which suggested the idea of any particular work, the difficulties which were overcome by the author in the course of its composition, and even exhibit the correspondence relative thereto. These are matters of literary history which we may ask for, and obtain, without any breach of the conventional rules of society. Whatever refers to public life is public, and may be printed: whatever refers solely to domestic existence is private, and ought to be held sacred. A very little reflection, we think, will demonstrate the propriety of this distinction. If we have a dear and valued friend, to whom, in the hours of adversity or of joy, we are wont to communicate the thoughts which lie at the bottom of our soul, we write to him in the full conviction that he will regard these letters as addressed to himself alone. We do not insult him, nor wrong the holy attributes of friendship so much, as to warn him against communicating our thoughts to any one else in the world. We never dream that he will do so, else assuredly those letters never would have been written. If we were to discover that we had so grievously erred as to repose confidence in a person who, the moment he received a letter penned in a paroxysm of emotion and revealing a secret of our existence, was capable of exhibiting it to the circle of his acquaintance, of a surety he should never more be troubled with any of our correspondence. Would any man dare to print such documents during the life of the writer? We need not pause for a reply: there can be but one. And why is this? Because these communications bear on their face the stamp of the strictest privacy—because they were addressed to, and meant for the eye of but one human being in the universe—because[223] they betray the emotions of a soul which asks sympathy from a friend, with only less reverence than it implores comfort from its God! Does death, then, free the friend and the confidant from all restraint? If the knowledge that his secret had been divulged, his agonies exposed, his weaknesses surrendered to the vulgar gaze, could have pained the living man—is nothing due to his memory, now that he is laid beneath the turf, now that his voice can never more be raised to upbraid a violated confidence? Many modern biographers, we regret to say, do not appear to be influenced by any such consideration. They never seem to have asked themselves the question—Would my friend, if he had been compiling his own memoirs, have inserted such a letter for publication—does it not refer to a matter eminently private and personal, and never to be communicated to the world? Instead of applying this test, they print everything, and rather plume themselves on their impartiality in suppressing nothing. They thus exhibit the life not only of the author but of the man. Literary and personal history are blended together. The senator is not only exhibited in the House of Commons, but we are courteously invited to attend at the accouchement of his wife.

What title has any of us, in the abstract, to write the private history of his next-door neighbour? Be he poet, lawyer, physician, or divine, his private sayings and doings are his property, not that of a gaping and curious public. No man dares to say to another, "Come, my good fellow! it is full time that the world should know a little about your domestic concerns. I have been keeping a sort of note-book of your proceedings ever since we were at school together, and I intend to make a few pounds by exhibiting you in your true colours. You recollect when you were in love with old Tomnoddy's daughter? I have written a capital account of your interview with her that fine forenoon in the Botanical Gardens! True, she jilted you, and went off with young Heavystern of the Dragoons, but the public won't relish the scene a bit the less on that account. Then I have got some letters of yours from our mutual friend Fitzjaw. How very hard-up you must have been at the time when you supplicated him for twenty pounds to keep you out of jail! You were rather severe, the other day when I met you at dinner, upon your professional brother Jenkinson; but I daresay that what you said was all very true, so I shall publish that likewise. By the way—how is your wife? She had a lot of money, had she not? At all events people say so, and it is shrewdly surmised that you did not marry her for her beauty. I don't mean to say that I think so, but such is the on dit, and I have set it down accordingly in my journal. Do, pray, tell me about that quarrel between you and your mother-in-law! Is it true that she threw a joint-stool at your head? How our friends will roar when they see the details in print!" Is the case less flagrant if the manuscript is not sent to press, until our neighbour is deposited in his coffin? We cannot perceive the difference. If the feelings of living people are to be taken as the criterion, only one of the domestic actors is removed from the stage of existence. Old Tomnoddy still lives, and may not be abundantly gratified at the fact of his daughter's infidelity and elopement being proclaimed. The intimation of the garden scene, hitherto unknown to Heavystern, may fill his warlike bosom with jealousy, and ultimately occasion a separation. Fitzjaw can hardly complain, but he will be very furious at finding his refusal to accommodate a friend appended to the supplicating letter. Jenkinson is only sorry that the libeller is dead, otherwise he would have treated him to an action in the Jury Court. The widow believes that she was made a bride solely for the sake of her Californian attractions, and reviles the memory of her spouse. As for the mother-in-law, now gradually dwindling into dotage, her feelings are perhaps of no great consequence to any human being. Nevertheless, when the obnoxious paragraph in the Memoirs is read to her by a shrill female companion, nature makes a temporary rally, her withered frame shakes with agitation, and she finally falls backward in a fit of hopeless paralysis.


Such is a feeble picture of the results that might ensue from private biography, were we all permitted, without reservation, to parade the lives and domestic circumstances of our neighbours to a greedy and gloating world. Not but that, if our neighbour has been a man of sufficient distinction to deserve commemoration, we may gracefully and skilfully narrate all of him that is worth the knowing. We may point to his public actions, expatiate on his achievements, and recount the manner in which he gained his intellectual renown; but further we ought not to go. The confidences of the dead should be as sacred as those of the living. And here we may observe, that there are other parties quite as much to blame as the biographers in question. We allude to the friends of the deceased, who have unscrupulously furnished them with materials. Is it not the fact that in very many cases they have divulged letters which, during the writer's lifetime, they would have withheld from the nearest and dearest of their kindred? In many such letters there occur observations and reflections upon living characters, not written in malice, but still such as were never intended to meet the eyes of the parties criticised; and these are forthwith published, as racy passages, likely to gratify the appetite of a coarse, vulgar, and inordinate curiosity. Even this is not the worst. Survivors may grieve to learn that the friend whom they loved was capable of ridiculing or misrepresenting them in secret, and his memory may suffer in their estimation; but, put the case of detailed private conversations, which are constantly foisted into modern biographies, and we shall immediately discover that the inevitable tendency is to engender dislikes among living parties. Let us suppose that three men, all of them professional authors, meet at a dinner party. The conversation is very lively, takes a literary turn, and the three gentlemen, with that sportive freedom which is very common in a society where no treachery is apprehended, pass some rather poignant strictures upon the writings or habits of their contemporaries. One of them either keeps a journal, or is in the habit of writing, for the amusement of a confidential friend at a distance, any literary gossip which may be current, and he commits to paper the heads of the recent dialogue. He dies, and his literary executor immediately pounces upon the document, and, to the confusion of the two living critics, prints it. Every literary brother whom they have noticed is of course their enemy for life.

If, in private society, a snob is discovered retailing conversations, he is forthwith cut without compunction. He reads his detection in the calm, cold scorn of your eye; and, referring to the mirror of his own dim and dirty conscience, beholds the reflection of a hound. The biographer seems to consider himself exempt from such social secresy. He shelters himself under the plea that the public are so deeply interested, that they must not be deprived of any memorandum, anecdote, or jotting, told, written, or detailed by the gifted subject of their memoirs. Therefore it is not a prudent thing to be familiar with a man of genius. He may not betray your confidence, but you can hardly trust to the tender mercies of his chronicler.

Such are our deliberate views upon the subject of biography, and we state them altogether independent of the three bulky volumes which are now lying before us for review.

We cordially admit that it was right and proper that a life of Campbell should be written. Although he did not occupy the same commanding position as others of his renowned contemporaries—although his writings have not, like those of Scott, Byron, and Southey, contributed powerfully to give a tone and idiosyncrasy to the general literature of the age—Campbell was nevertheless a man of rich genius, and a poet of remarkable accomplishment. It would not be easy to select, from the works of any other writer of our time, so many brilliant and polished gems, without flaw or imperfection, as are to be found amongst his minor poems. Criticism, in dealing with these exquisite lyrics, is at fault. If sometimes the suspicion of a certain effeminacy haunts us, we have but to turn the page, and we arrive at some magnificent, bold, and trumpet-toned ditty,[225] appealing directly from the heart of the poet to the imagination of his audience, and proving, beyond all contest, that power was his glorious attribute. True, he was unequal; and towards the latter part of his career, exhibited a marked failing in the qualities which originally secured his renown. It is almost impossible to believe that the Pilgrim of Glencoe, or even Theodric, was composed by the author of the Pleasures of Hope or Gertrude; and if you place the Ritter Bann beside Hohenlinden or the Battle of the Baltic, you cannot fail to be struck with the singular diminution of power. Campbell started from a high point—walked for some time along level or undulating ground—and then began rapidly to descend. This is not, as some idle critics have maintained, the common course of genius. Chaucer, Spenser, Shakspeare, Milton, Dryden, Scott, Byron, and Wordsworth, are remarkable instances to the contrary. Whatever may have been the promise of their youth, their matured performances, eclipsing their earlier efforts, show us that genius is capable of almost boundless cultivation, and that the fire of the poet does not cease to burn less brightly within him, because the sable of his hair is streaked with gray, or the furrows deepening on his brow. Sir Walter Scott was upwards of thirty before he began to compose in earnest: after thirty, Campbell wrote scarcely anything which has added permanently to his reputation. Extreme sensitiveness, an over-strained and fastidious desire of polishing, and sometimes the pressure of outward circumstances, may have combined to damp his early ardour. He evidently was deficient in that resolute pertinacity of labour, through which alone great results can be achieved. He allowed the best years of his life to be frittered away, in pursuits which could not secure to him either additional fame, or the more substantial rewards of fortune: and, though far from being actually idle, he was only indolently active. Campbell wanted an object in life. Thus, though gifted with powers which, directed towards one point, were capable of the highest concentration, we find him scattering these in the most desultory and careless manner; and surrendering scheme after scheme, without making the vigorous effort which was necessary to secure their completion. This is a fault by no means uncommon in literature, but one which is highly dangerous. No work requiring great mental exertion should be undertaken rashly, for the enthusiasm which has prompted it rapidly subsides, the labour becomes distasteful to the writer, and unless he can bend himself to his task with the most dogged perseverance, and a determination to vanquish all obstacles, the result will be a fragment or a failure. Of this we find two notable instances recorded in the book before us. Twice in his life had Campbell meditated the construction of a great poem, and twice did he relinquish the task. Of the Queen of the North but a few lines remain: of his favourite projected epic on the subject of Wallace, nothing. Elegant trifles, sportive verses, and playful epigrams were, for many years, the last fruits of that genius which had dictated the Pleasures of Hope, and rejoiced the mariners of England with a ballad worthy of the theme. And yet, so powerful is early association—so universal was the recognition of the transcendant genius of the boy, that when Campbell sank into the grave, there was lamentation as though a great poet had been stricken down in his prime, and all men felt that a brilliant light had gone out among the luminaries of the age. Therefore it was seemly that his memory should receive that homage which has been rendered to others less deserving of it, and that his public career, at least, should be traced and given to the world.

It was Campbell's own wish that Dr Beattie should undertake his biography. Few perhaps knew the motives which led to this selection; for the assiduity, care, and filial attachment, bestowed for years by the warm-hearted physician upon the poet, was as unostentatious as it was honourable and devoted. Not from the pages of this biography can the reader form an adequate idea of the extent and value of such disinterested friendship: indeed it is not too much to say, that the rare and exemplary[226] kindness of Dr Beattie was the chief consolation of Campbell during the later period of his existence. It was therefore natural that the dying poet should have confided this trust to one of whose affection he was assured by so many rare and signal proofs; and it is with a kindly feeling to the author that we now approach the consideration of the literary merits of the book.

The admiration of Dr Beattie for the genius of Campbell has in some respects led him astray. It is easy to see at a glance that his measure of admiration is not of an ordinary kind, but so excessive as to lead him beyond all limit. He seems to have regarded Campbell not merely as a great poet, but as the great poet of the age; and he is unwilling, æsthetically, to admit any material diminution of his powers. He still clings with a certain faith to Theodric; and declines to perceive any palpable failure even in the Pilgrim of Glencoe. Verses and fragments which, to the casual reader, convey anything but the impression of excellence, are liberally distributed throughout the pages of the third volume, and commented on with evident rapture. He seems to think that, in the case of his author, it may be said, "Nihil tetigit quod non ornavit;" and accordingly he is slow to suppress, even where suppression would have been of positive advantage. In short, he is too full of his subject to do it justice. In the hands of a skilful and less biassed artisan, the materials which occupy these three volumes, extending to nearly fourteen hundred pages of print, might have been condensed into one highly interesting and popular volume. We should not then, it is true, have been favoured with specimens of Campbell's college exercises, with the voluminous chronicles of his family, with verses written at the age of eleven, or with correspondence purely domestic; but we firmly believe that the reading public would have been grateful to Dr Beattie, had he omitted a great deal of matter connected with the poet's earlier career, which is of no interest whatever. The Campbells of Kirnan were, we doubt not, a highly respectable sept, and performed their duty as kirk-elders for many generations blamelessly in the parish of Glassary. But it was not necessary on that account to trace their descent from the Black Knight Of Lochawe, or to give the particular history of the family for more than a century and a half. Gillespic-le-Camile may have been a fine fellow in his day; but we utterly deny, in the teeth of all the Campbells and Kembles in the world, that he had a drop of Norman blood in his veins. It is curious to find the poet, at a subsequent period, engaged in a correspondence, as to the common ancestor of these names, with one of the Kembles, who, as Mrs Butler somewhere triumphantly avers, were descended from the lords of Campo-bello. Where that favoured region may be, we know not; but this we know, that in Gaelic Cambeul signifies wry-mouth, and hence, as is the custom with primitive nations, the origin of the name. And let not the sons of Diarmid be offended at this, or esteem their glories less, since the gallant Camerons owe their name to a similar conformation of the nose, and the Douglases to their dark complexion. Having put this little matter of family etymology right, let us return to Dr Beattie.

The first volume, we maintain, is terribly overloaded by trivial details, and specimens of the kind to which we have alluded. We need not enter into these, except in so far as to state that Thomas Campbell was the youngest child of most respectable parents: that his father, having been unfortunate in business, was so reduced in circumstances, that, whilst attending Glasgow College, the young student was compelled to have recourse to teaching; that he acquitted himself admirably, and to the satisfaction of all his professors in the literary classes; and that, for one vacation at least, he resided as private tutor to a family in the island of Mull. He was then about eighteen, and had already exhibited symptoms of a rare poetical talent, particularly in translations from the Greek. Dr Beattie's zeal as a biographer may be gathered from the following statement:—

"I applied last year to the Rev. Dr M'Arthur, of Kilninian in Mull, requesting him to favour me with such traditional particulars regarding the[227] poet as might still be current among the old inhabitants; but I regret to say that nothing of interest has resulted. 'In the course of my inquiries,' he says, 'I have met with only two individuals who had seen Mr Campbell while he was in Mull, and the amount of their information is merely that he was a very pretty young man. Those who must have been personally acquainted with him in this country, have, like himself, descended into the tomb; so that no authentic anecdotes of him can now be procured in this quarter.'"

There is a simplicity in this which has amused us greatly. Campbell, in those days, was conspicuous for nothing—at least, for no accomplishment which could be appreciated in that distant island. In all probability two-thirds of the inhabitants of the parish were Campbells, who expired in utter ignorance of the art of writing their names; so that to ask for literary anecdotes, at the distance of half a century, was rather a work of supererogation.

For two years more, Campbell led a life of great uncertainty. He was naturally averse to the drudgery of teaching—an employment which never can be congenial to a poetical and creative nature. He had no decided predilection for any of the learned professions; for though he alternately betook himself to the study of law, physic, and divinity, it was hardly with a serious purpose. He visited Edinburgh in search of literary employment, was for some time a clerk in a writer's office, and, through the kindness of the late Dr Anderson, editor of a collection of the British poets,—a man who was ever eager to acknowledge and encourage genius,—he received his first introduction to a bookselling firm. From them he received some little employment, but not of a nature suited to his taste; and we soon afterwards find him in Glasgow, meditating the establishment of a magazine—a scheme which proved utterly abortive.

In the mean time, however, he had not been idle. At the age of twenty the poetical instinct is active, and, even though no audience can be found, the muse will force its way. Campbell had already translated two plays of Æschylus and Euripides—an exercise which no doubt developed largely his powers of versification—and, further, had begun to compose original lyric verses. In the foreign edition of his works, there is inserted a poem called the Dirge of Wallace, written about this period, which, with a very little concentration, might have been rendered as perfect as any of his later compositions. In spirit and energy it is assuredly inferior to none of them. "But," says Dr Beattie, "the fastidious author, who thought it too rhapsodical, never bestowed a careful revision upon it, and persisted in excluding it from all the London editions." We hope to see it restored to its proper place in the next: in the mean time we select the following noble stanzas:—

"They lighted the tapers at dead of night,
And chaunted their holiest hymn:
But her brow and her bosom were damp with affright,
Her eye was all sleepless and dim!
And the Lady of Ellerslie wept for her lord,
When a death-watch beat in her lonely room,
When her curtain had shook of its own accord,
And the raven had flapped at her window board,
To tell of her warrior's doom.
"'Now sing ye the death-song, and loudly pray
For the soul of my knight so dear!
And call me a widow this wretched day,
Since the warning of God is here.
For a nightmare rests on my strangled sleep;
The lord of my bosom is doomed to die!
His valorous heart they have wounded deep,
And the blood-red tears shall his country weep
For Wallace of Ellerslie!'
"Yet knew not his country, that ominous hour—
Ere the loud matin-bell was rung—
That the trumpet of death, from an English tower,
Had the dirge of her champion sung.
When his dungeon-light looked dim and red
On the highborn blood of a martyr slain,
No anthem was sung at his lowly death-bed—
No weeping was there when his bosom bled,
And is heart was rent in twain.
"Oh! it was not thus when his ashen spear
Was true to that knight forlorn,
And hosts of a thousand wore scattered like deer
At the blast of a hunter's horn;
When he strode o'er the wreck of each well-fought field,
With the yellow-haired chiefs of his native land;
[228] For his lance was not shivered on helmet or shield,
And the sword that was fit for archangel to wield
Was light in his terrible hand!
"Yet, bleeding and bound, though the Wallace wight
For his long-loved country die,
The bugle ne'er sung to a braver knight
Than William of Ellerslie!
But the day of his triumphs shall never depart;
His head, unentombed, shall with glory be palmed—
From its blood-streaming altar his spirit shall start;
Though the raven has fed on his mouldering heart,
A nobler was never embalmed!"

Nothing can be finer than the lines we have quoted in Italics, nor perhaps did Campbell himself ever match them. Local reputations are dearly cherished in the west of Scotland, and even at this early period our poet was denominated "the Pope of Glasgow."

Again Campbell migrated to Edinburgh, but still with no fixed determination as to the choice of a profession: his intention was to attend the public lectures at the University, and also to push his connexion with the booksellers, so as to obtain the means of livelihood. Failing this last resource, he contemplated removing to America, in which country his eldest brother was permanently settled. Fortunately for himself, he now made the acquaintance of several young men who were destined afterwards to attract the public observation, and to win great names in different branches of literature. Among these were Scott, Brougham, Leyden, Jeffrey, Dr Thomas Brown, and Grahame, the author of The Sabbath. Mr John Richardson, who had the good fortune to remain through life the intimate friend both of Scott and Campbell, was also, at this early period, the chosen companion of the latter, and contributed much, by his judicious counsels and criticisms, to nerve the poet for that successful effort which, shortly afterwards, took the world of letters by storm. Dr Anderson also continued his literary superintendence, and anxiously watched over the progress of the new poem upon which Campbell was now engaged. At length, in 1799, the Pleasures of Hope appeared.

Rarely has any volume of poetry met with such rapid success. Campbell had few living rivals of established reputation to contend with; and the freshness of his thought, the extreme sweetness of his numbers, and the fine taste which pervaded the whole composition, fell like magic on the ear of the public, and won their immediate approbation. It is true that, as a speculation, this volume did not prove remarkably lucrative to the author: he had disposed of the copyright before publication for a sum of sixty pounds, but, through the liberality of the publishers, he received for some years a further sum on the issue of each edition. The book was certainly worth a great deal more; but many an author would be glad to surrender all claim for profit on his first adventure, could he be assured of such valuable popularity as Campbell now acquired. He presently became a lion in Edinburgh society; and, what was far better, he secured the countenance and friendship of such men as Dugald Stewart, Henry Mackenzie, Dr Gregory, the Rev. Archibald Alison, and Telford, the celebrated engineer. It is pleasant to know that the friendships so formed were interrupted only by death.

Campbell had now, to use a common but familiar phrase, the ball at his foot, but never did there live a man less capable of appreciating opportunity. At an age when most young men are students, he had won fame—fame, too, in such measure and of such a kind as secured him against reaction, or the possibility of a speedy neglect following upon so rapid a success. Had he deliberately followed up his advantage with anything like ordinary diligence, fortune as well as fame would have been his immediate reward. Like Aladdin, he was in possession of a talisman which could open to him the cavern in which a still greater treasure was contained; but he shrunk from the labour which was indispensable for the effort. He either could not or would not summon up sufficient resolution to betake himself to a new task; but, under the pretext of improving his mind by travel, gave way to his erratic propensities, and departed for the Continent with a slender purse, and, as usual, no fixity of purpose.


We confess that the portion of his correspondence which relates to this expedition does not appear to us remarkably interesting. He resided chiefly at Ratisbon, where his time appears to have been tolerably equally divided between writing lyrics for the Morning Chronicle, then under the superintendence of Mr Perry, and squabbling with the monks of the Scottish Convent of Saint James. Some of his best minor poems were composed at this period; but it will be easily comprehended that, from the style of their publication in a fugitive form, they could add but little at the time to his reputation, and certainly they did not materially improve his finances. With a contemplated poem of some magnitude—the Queen of the North—he made little progress; and, upon the whole, this year was spent uncomfortably. After his return to Britain, he resided for some time in Edinburgh and London, mixing in the best and most cultivated society, but sorely straitened in circumstances, which, nevertheless, he had not the courage or the patience to improve.

A quarto edition of the Pleasures, printed by subscription for his own benefit, at length put him in funds, and probably tempted him to marry. Then came the real cares of life,—an increased establishment, an increasing family: new mouths to provide for, and no settled mode of livelihood. Of all literary men, Campbell was least calculated, both by habit and inclination, to pursue a profession which, with many temptations, was then, and is still, precarious. He was not, like Scott, a man of business habits and unflagging industry. His impulses to write were short, and his fastidiousness interfered with his impulse. Booksellers were slow in offering him employment, for they could not depend on his punctuality. Those who have frequent dealings with the trade know how much depends upon the observance of this excellent virtue; but Campbell never could be brought to appreciate its full value. The printing-press had difficulty in keeping pace with the pen of Scott: to wait for that of Campbell was equivalent to a cessation of labour. Therefore it is not surprising that, about this period, most of his negotiations failed. Proposals for an edition of the British Poets, a large and expensive work, to be executed jointly by Scott and Campbell, fell to the ground: and the bard of Hope gave vent to his feelings by execrating the phalanx of the Row.

At the very moment when his prospects appeared to be shrouded in the deepest gloom, Campbell received intimation that he had been placed on the pension-list as an annuitant of £200. Never was the royal bounty more seasonably extended; and this high recognition of his genius seems for a time to have inspired him with new energy. He commenced the compilation of the Specimens of British Poets; but his indolent habits overcame him, and the work was not given to the public until thirteen years after it was undertaken. No wonder that the booksellers were chary of staking their capital on the faith of his promised performances!

Ten years after the publication of the Pleasures of Hope, Gertrude of Wyoming appeared. That exquisite little poem demonstrated, in the most conclusive manner, that the author's poetical powers were not exhausted by his earlier effort, and the same volume contained the noblest of his immortal lyrics. Campbell was now at the highest point of his renown. Critics may compare together the longer poems, and, according as their taste leans towards the didactic or the descriptive form of composition, may differ in awarding the palm of excellence, but there can be but one opinion as to the lyrical poetry. In this respect Campbell stands alone among his contemporaries, and since then he has never been surpassed. Lochiel's Warning and the Battle of the Baltic were among the pieces then published; and it would be difficult, out of the whole mass of British poetry, to select two specimens, by the same author, which may fairly rank with these.

A new literary field was shortly after this opened to Campbell. He was engaged to deliver a course of lectures on poetry at the Royal Institution of London, and the scheme proved not only successful but lucrative. In after years he lectured repeatedly on the belles lettres at Liverpool, Birmingham, and other places, and the celebrity of[230] his name always commanded a crowd of listeners. We learn from Dr Beattie, that at two periods of his life it was proposed to bring him forward as a candidate, either for the chair of Rhetoric or that of History in the University of Edinburgh; but he seems to have recoiled from the idea of the labour necessary for the preparation of a thorough academical course, a task which his extreme natural fastidiousness would doubtless have rendered doubly irksome. Several more years, a portion of which time was spent on the Continent, passed over without any remarkable result, until, at the age of forty-three, Campbell entered upon the duties of the editorship of the New Monthly Magazine.

He held this situation for ten years, and resigned it, according to his own account, "because it was utterly impossible to continue the editor without interminable scrapes, together with a law-suit now and then." In the interim, however, certain important events had taken place. In the first place, he had published Theodric—a poem which, in spite of a most laudatory critique in the Edinburgh Review, left a painful impression on the public mind, and was generally considered as a symptom either that the rich mine of poesy was worked out, or that the genius of the author had been employed in a wrong direction. In the second place, he took an active share in the foundation of the London University. He appears, indeed, to have been the originator of the scheme, and to have managed the preliminary details with more than common skill and prudence. It was mainly through his exertions that it did not assume the aspect of a mere sectarian institution, bigoted in its principles and circumscribed in its sphere of utility. Shortly after this academical experiment, he was elected Lord Rector of the Glasgow University. Whatever abstract value may be attached to such an honour—and we are aware that very conflicting opinions have been expressed upon the point—this distinction was one of the most gratifying of all the tributes which were ever rendered to Campbell. He found himself preferred, by the students of that university where his first aspirations after fame had been roused, to one of the first orators and statesmen of the age; and his warm heart overflowed with delight at the kindly compliment. He resolved not to accept the office as a mere sinecure, but strictly to perform those duties which were prescribed by ancient statute, but which had fallen into abeyance by the carelessness of nominal Rectors. He entered as warmly into the feelings, and as cordially supported the interests of the students, as if the academical red gown of Glasgow had been still fresh upon his shoulders; and such being the case, it is not surprising that he was almost adored by his youthful constituents. This portion of the memoirs is very interesting: it displays the character of Campbell in a most amiable light; and the coldest reader cannot fail to peruse with pleasure the records of an ovation so truly gratifying to the sensibilities of the kind and affectionate poet. For three years, during which unusual period he held the office, his correspondence with the students never flagged; and it may be doubted whether the university ever possessed a better Rector.

In 1831 he took up the Polish cause, and founded an association in London, which for many years was the main support of the unfortunate exiles who sought refuge in Britain. The public sympathy was at that time largely excited in their favour, not only by the gallant struggle which they had made for regaining their ancient independence, but from the subsequent severities perpetrated by the Russian government. Campbell, from his earliest years, had denounced the unprincipled partition of Poland; he watched the progress of the revolution with an anxiety almost amounting to fanaticism; and when the outbreak was at last put down by the strong hand of power, his passion exceeded all bounds. Day and night his thoughts were of Poland only: in his correspondence he hardly touched upon any other theme; and, carried away by his zeal to serve the exiles, he neglected his usual avocations. The mind of Campbell was naturally of an impulsive cast: but the fits were rather violent than enduring. This psychological tendency was, perhaps, his most serious misfortune, since it invariably prevented[231] him from maturing the most important projects he conceived. Unless the scheme was such as could be executed with rapidity, he was apt to halt in the progress.

He next became engaged in a new magazine speculation—The Metropolitan—which, instead of turning out, as he anticipated, a mine of wealth, very nearly involved him in serious pecuniary responsibility. After this, his public career gradually became less marked. The last poem which he published, The Pilgrim of Glencoe, exhibited few symptoms of the fire and energy conspicuous in his early efforts. "This work," says Dr Beattie, "in one or two instances was very favourably reviewed—in others, the tone of criticism was cold and austere; but neither praise nor censure could induce the public to judge for themselves; and silence, more fatal in such cases than censure, took the poem for a time under her wing. The poet himself expressed little surprise at the apathy with which his new volume had been received; but whatever indifference he felt for the influence it might have upon his reputation, he could not feel indifferent to the more immediate effect which a tardy or greatly diminished sale must have upon his prospects as a householder. 'A new poem from the pen of Campbell,' he was told, 'was as good as a bill at sight;' but, from some error in the drawing, as it turned out, it was not negotiable; and the expenses into which he had been led, by trusting too much to popular favour, were now to be defrayed from other sources." It ought, however, to be remarked, that he had now arrived at his great climacteric. He was sixty-four years of age, and his constitution, never very robust, began to exhibit symptoms of decay. Dr Beattie, who had long watched him with affectionate solicitude, in the double character of physician and friend, thus notes his observation of the change. "At the breakfast or dinner table—particularly when surrounded by old friends—he was generally animated, full of anecdote, and always projecting new schemes of benevolence. But still there was a visible change in his conversation: it seemed to flow less freely; it required an effort to support it; and on topics in which he once felt a keen interest, he now said but little, or remained silent and thoughtful. The change in his outward appearance was still more observable; he walked with a feeble step, complained of constant chilliness; while his countenance, unless when he entered into conversation, was strongly marked with an expression of languor and anxiety. The sparkling intelligence that once animated his features was greatly obscured; he quoted his favourite authors with hesitation—because, he told me, he often could not recollect their names."

The remainder of his life was spent in comparative seclusion. Long before this period he was left a solitary man. His wife, whom he loved with deep and enduring affection, was taken away—one of his sons died in childhood, and the other was stricken with a malady which proved incurable. But the kind offices of a nephew and niece, and the attentions of many friends, amongst whom Dr Beattie will always be remembered as the chief, soothed the last days of the poet, and supplied those duties which could not be rendered by dearer hands. He expired at Boulogne, on 15th June 1844, his age being sixty-seven, and his body was worthily interred in Westminster Abbey, with the honours of a public funeral.

"Never," says Beattie, "since the death of Addison, it was remarked, had the obsequies of any literary man been attended by circumstances more honourable to the national feeling, and more expressive of cordial respect and homage, than those of Thomas Campbell.

"Soon after noon, the procession began to move from the Jerusalem Chamber to Poet's Corner, and in a few minutes passed slowly down the long lofty aisle—

'Through breathing statues, then unheeded things;
Through rows of warriors, and through walks of kings.'

On each side the pillared avenues were lined with spectators, all watching the solemn pageant in reverential silence, and mostly in deep mourning. The Rev. Henry Milman, himself an eminent poet, headed the procession; while the service for the dead, answered by the deep-toned organ, in sounds like distant thunder, produced an effect of indescribable solemnity. One only feeling seemed to pervade[232] the assembled spectators, and was visible on every face—a desire to express their sympathy in a manner suitable to the occasion. He who had celebrated the glory and enjoyed the favour of his country for more than forty years, had come at last to take his appointed chamber in the Hall of Death—to mingle ashes with those illustrious predecessors, who, by steep and difficult paths, had attained a lofty eminence in her literature, and made a lasting impression on the national heart."

We observe that Dr Beattie has, very properly, passed over with little notice certain statements, emanating from persons who styled themselves the friends of Campbell, regarding his habits of life during the latter portion of his years. It is a misfortune incidental to almost all men of genius, that they are surrounded by a fry of small literary adulators, who, in order to magnify themselves, make a practice of reporting every circumstance, however trivial, which falls under their observation, and who are not always very scrupulous in adhering to the truth. Campbell, who had the full poetical share of vanity in his composition, was peculiarly liable to the attacks of such insidious worshippers, and was not sufficiently careful in the selection of his associates. Hence imputations, not involving any question of honour or morality, but implying frailty to a considerable degree, have been openly hazarded by some who, in their own persons, are no patterns of the cardinal virtues. Such statements do no honour either to the heart or the judgment of those who devised them: nor would we have even touched upon the subject, save to reprobate, in the strongest manner, these breaches of domestic privacy, and of ill-judged and unmerited confidence.

A good deal of the correspondence printed in these volumes is of a trifling nature, and interferes materially with the conciseness of the biography. We do not mean to say that anything objectionable has been included, but there are too many notes and epistles upon familiar topics, which neither illustrate the peculiar tone of Campbell's mind, nor throw any light whatever upon his poetical history. But the correspondence with his own family is highly interesting. Nowhere does Campbell appear in a higher and more estimable point of view, than in the character of son and brother. Even in the hours of his darkest adversity, we find him sharing his small and precarious gains with his mother and sisters; and they were in an equal degree the participators of his better fortunes. His fondness and consideration for his wife and children are most conspicuous; and many of his letters regarding his boy, when "the dark shadow" had passed across his mind, are extremely affecting. Those who have a taste for the modern style of maundering about children, and the perverted pictures of infancy so common in our social literature, may not, perhaps, see much to admire in the following extract from a letter by Campbell, announcing the birth of his eldest child: to us it appears a pure and exquisite picture:—

"This little gentleman all this while looked to be so proud of his new station in society, that he held up his blue eyes and placid little face with perfect indifference to what people about him felt or thought. Our first interview was when he lay in his little crib, in the midst of white muslin and dainty lace, prepared by Matilda's hands, long before the stranger's arrival. I verily believe, in spite of my partiality, that lovelier babe was never smiled upon by the light of heaven. He was breathing sweetly in his first sleep. I durst not waken him, but ventured to give him one kiss. He gave a faint murmur, and opened his little azure lights. Since that time he has continued to grow in grace and stature. I can take him in my arms; but still his good nature and his beauty are but provocatives to the affection which one must not indulge: he cannot bear to be hugged, he cannot yet stand a worrying. Oh! that I were sure he would live to the days when I could take him on my knee, and feel the strong plumpness of childhood waxing into vigorous youth. My poor boy! shall I have the ecstasy to teach him thoughts and knowledge, and reciprocity of love to me? It is bold to venture into futurity so far! at present his lovely little face is a comfort to me; his lips breathe that fragrance which it is one of the loveliest kindnesses of Nature that she has given to infants—a sweetness of smell more delightful than all the treasures of Arabia. What adorable beauties of God and Nature's bounty we live in without knowing! How few have ever seemed to think an infant beautiful! But to me there seems to be a beauty[233] in the earliest dawn of infancy which is not inferior to the attractions of childhood, especially when they sleep. Their looks excite a more tender train of emotions. It is like the tremulous anxiety which we feel for a candle new lighted, which we dread going out."

The sensibility, too, which he uniformly exhibited towards those who had shown him kindness, especially his older and earlier friends, is exceedingly pleasing. In writing to or speaking of the Rev. Archibald Alison and Dugald Stewart, his tone is one of heartfelt, and almost filial, affection and reverence; and amongst all the benevolent actions performed by those great and good men, there were few to which they could revert with more pleasure than to their seasonable patronage of the young and sanguine poet. With his literary contemporaries, also, he lived upon good terms,—a circumstance rather remarkable, for Campbell, notwithstanding his good-nature, was sufficiently touchy, and keenly alive to satire or hostile criticism. Excepting an early quarrel with John Leyden, on the score of some reported misrepresentation, a temporary feud with Moore, which was speedily reconciled, and a short and unacrimonious disruption from Bowles, we are not aware that he ever differed with any of his gifted brethren. He was upon the best terms with Scott; and Dr Beattie has given us several valuable specimens of their mutual correspondence. With Rogers he was intimate to the last: and even the sarcastic and dangerous Byron always mentioned him with expressions of regard. Let us add, moreover, that, whenever he had the power, he was ready, even in instances where his own interest might have counselled otherwise, to lend a helping hand to others who were struggling for literary reputation. This generous impulse was sometimes carried so far as to injure him in his editorial capacity; for, although fastidious to a degree as to the quality of his own writings, it was always with a sore heart that he shut the door in the face of a needy contributor.

The querulousness with which Campbell complains throughout, of the cruel treatment which he met with at the hands of the publishers, would be amusing if it were not at the same time most unjust. He acknowledges, in a letter written to Mr Richardson, so late as 1812, that the sale of his poems, for a series of years before, had yielded him, on an average, £500 per annum: not a bad annuity, we think, as the proceeds of a couple of volumes! We happen to know, moreover, that by the first publication of Gertrude Campbell made upwards of a thousand pounds; and, unless we are grievously misinformed, he received from Mr Murray, for the copyright of the Specimens, a similar sum, being double the amount contracted for. We have already mentioned the publication of a subscription edition of the Pleasures of Hope, "which," says Dr Beattie, "with great liberality on the part of the publishers, was to be brought out for his own exclusive benefit." We should not have alluded to these matters, which, however, we believe, are no secrets, but for the publication by Dr Beattie of some very absurd expressions used and reiterated by Campbell. Such phrases as the following constantly occur: "They are the greatest ravens on earth with whom we have to deal—liberal enough as booksellers go—but still, you know, ravens, croakers, suckers of innocent blood, and living men's brains." Nor, in the opinion of Campbell, were these outrages confined merely to the living subjects, for he says, in reference to the older tenants of Parnassus, "Poor Bards! you are all ill used, even after death, by those who have lived upon your brains. And now, having scooped out those brains, they drink out of them, like Vandals out of the skulls of the severed and slain, served up by a Gothic Ganymede!" Further, in speaking of Napoleon, he says, " Perhaps in my feelings towards the Gallic usurper there may be some personal bias; for I must confess that, ever since he shot the bookseller in Germany, I have had a warm side to him. It was sacrificing an offering, by the hand of genius, to the manes of the victims immolated by the trade; and I only wish we had Nap here for a short time, to cut out a few of our own cormorants." The fact is, that so far from Campbell being ill-used by the trade, they behaved towards him with uncommon liberality. It is true that,[234] in several instances, they hesitated in making high terms for work not yet commenced, with a man who was notoriously deficient in punctuality and perseverance; nor are they to be blamed, when we consider the number of his schemes, and the very few instances in which these were brought to maturity.

On the whole, then, though we cannot bestow unqualified praise upon Dr Beattie, for the manner in which he has compiled these volumes, we shall state that we have passed no unprofitable hours in their perusal. We rise from them with full appreciation of the many excellent points in the poet's character, with an augmented regard for his memory on account of the virtues so eminently displayed, and with no lessened reverence for the man in consequence of the admitted foibles from which none of the human family are exempt. The book may be practically useful to those who aspire to literary eminence, and who are apt to rely too confidently and implicitly on the powers with which they are naturally gifted. So long as Campbell was under restraint—so long as he was subjected to the wholesome discipline of the University, and forced into the race of emulation, we find that his genius was largely and rapidly developed. He was not a mere philological scholar, though his attainments in Greek might have put many a pedant to the blush; but he improved his sense of beauty and his taste by the contemplation of the Attic flowers; and, without injuring his style by any affectation of antiquity unsuited to the tone of his age, he adorned it by many of the graces which are presented by the ancient models. At Glasgow he worked hard and won merited honours. But afterwards, by abandoning himself to a desultory course of study and of composition, by never acting upon the wise and sure plan of keeping one object only steadily in view, and persevering in spite of all difficulties until that point was attained,—he failed in realising the high expectations which were justified by his early promise. As it is, Campbell's name is ranked high in the roll of the British poets; but assuredly he would have occupied a still more exalted place, and also have avoided much of that anxiety which at times clouded his existence, if he had used his fine natural gifts with but a portion of the energy and determination of his great compatriot, Scott.

In conclusion let us remark, that however Dr Beattie may have erred on the side of prolixity, by including in the compass of the memoirs some trifling and irrelevant matter, he is more than concise whenever it is necessary to allude to his own relationship with Campbell. He has made no parade whatever of his intimacy with the poet; and no stranger, in perusing these volumes, could discover that to Beattie Campbell was substantially indebted for many disinterested acts of friendship, which contributed largely to the comfort of his declining years. This modesty is a rare feature in modern biography; and, when it does occur so remarkably as here, we are bound to mention it with special honour.



All over Europe, of late, we have been hearing a great deal of universities and students. The trencher-cap has claimed a right to take its part in the movements which make or mar the destinies of nations, by the side of plumed casque and priestly tiara. Whether it was the beer of the German burschen that "decocted their cold blood to such valiant heat," or whether their practice in make-believe duels had imparted a savage appetite for foeman's blood in some more genuine combat, or whether Fichte's metaphysics had fairly muddled their brains into delirium, certain it is that they have, wheresoever they could find an opportunity, been foremost in the cause of demolition and disorder, vied with and encouraged the lowest of the rabble in lawless aggressions, exulted in the glow of blazing houses, and cried havoc to rapine and murder.

It is curious that, while all this has been going on in Europe, the attention of the public should have been so much occupied by the condition of our English universities. Still more curious is it, perhaps, that so large a portion of the attention thus directed should have assumed an objurgatory tone, as if Oxford and Cambridge were not duly performing their functions, as if they were of a character suited only to bygone ages, as if, in short, they were doing nothing. True enough, in one sense, they were "doing nothing." There was no academical legion formed—none, at least, that we heard of—in Christchurch Meadows or Trinity Walks; no body of sympathising students marched to London, with the view of taking part in the democratic exhibitions of the 10th of April. If Cuffey is to be President of the British Republic, he must search for the body-guard of democracy elsewhere than on the banks of the Cam and the Isis. No doubt this excellent result is attributable, in a great measure, to the loyalty of the professional and middle classes, from which our university students principally spring. Their feelings will naturally be akin to those of their relations and friends. But when, in so many other instances, we see the academic population taking the lead in the work of revolution, beyond any spirit which exists among their kindred, and urged on by a democratic madness of purely academic growth, we cannot help holding that some credit on behalf of the loyalty of English students is due to the institutions by the influence of which they are surrounded.

We are inclined to think that the public have not been sufficiently alive to this not unimportant difference between Oxford and Heidelberg—Cambridge and Vienna. Certes, but little account was taken of the peaceful bearing of our academic population. On the contrary, much supercilious wordiness has been lavished, more or less to the discredit of cap and gown, by portions of the London press in the lead, and, as a necessary consequence, by provincial journalists ad libitum. This talk, current now for some years, was all concentrated and endued with new vigour by a movement of the University of Cambridge itself. The people who stop your way by talking of "progress," and deal out dark rhodomontade on the subject of "enlightenment," were all set agog by what they thought a symptom of capitulation in the strongholds of the Ancient. All our old imbecile friends, the cant phrases of twenty and thirty years ago, started up as fresh as paint, ready to go through all the handling they had before endured. We heard of, "keeping alive ancient prejudices," "cleaving pertinaciously to obsolete forms," "following a monastic rule," "forgetting the world outside their college walls," and multifarious twaddle of this sort, till the Pope fled from Rome, or some other little revolution occurred to withdraw the attention of the public from this set of phrases to another, no doubt not less forcible and original. Others, again, took a friendly tone and spoke apologetically: it was a great thing to get any move at all from the[236] university: those who took the lead in her management were not men who mixed with the world at large, and allowance must be made if they did not altogether march with the times. "The world at large" is an expression of very doubtful import: "all think their little set mankind:" but when the resident fellows of colleges are charged with not duly mixing with the world at large, we cannot help thinking that those who use the phrase are ignoring the existence of the Didcot Junction and Eastern Counties Railway, and borrowing their ideas of academic life from the time when Hobson travelled "betwixt Cambridge and the Bull." As far as our observation goes, we should say that there is no class of persons who have better opportunities of taking an extended view of different phases of social being, or who are more disposed to take advantage of those opportunities. A fellow of a college is not engaged much more than half the year in university business; for four months, at the very least, he generally has it in his power to expatiate where he will, from May Fair to Mesopotamia; he has no household ties to detain him, and if he does not rub off the lexicographic rust, and the mathematical mouldiness, which he may have contracted during his labours of the term, he must be possessed of a local attachment almost vegetable: some few instances of which secluded existence still linger in quiet nooks of our halls and colleges, but which are no more the types of their class than Parson Trulliber is a representative of the country clergy, or the stage Diggory of the English yeoman. But the self-complacency of Cockneyism is the most unshaken thing in this revolutionary age. It is perfectly ready to lecture the parson on the teaching of Greek, or the Yorkshire farmer on the fattening of bullocks. All the distributive machinery in the world does not diminish, it would seem, the absorption of intelligence by the Ward of Cheap.

We are not, however, surprised that the conclusions, on which we have remarked, should be those arrived at by the large class of small observers whose phraseology we have quoted. The bustling man of business, who takes his day-ticket to Oxford or Cambridge, is of course struck by seeing a number of usages, for the original of which, if he inquire, he is referred back to hoar mediæval times—times which his Cockney guides dispose of by some such phrase as crass ignorance, or feudal barbarism. He is naturally surprised at such things; he never saw anything like it before; they don't do so in Mincing Lane, or even in Gower Street. He can hardly be expected to view these matters in their relation to the system of which they form a part; he can hardly be expected to realise in them the symbols through which the genius loci finds an utterance and exerts an agency; and so he goes smiling home in his railway carriage, and perhaps buys a number of Punch by the way, and thinks that there is more practical wisdom in that periodical than is embodied in the great monuments of William of Wykeham or Lady Margaret.

Nevertheless, while we rebut these vague general charges of a blind impassibility to the influences of the time, we are far from denying that a tendency to cling to ancient ideas and observances is a characteristic of the universities. This tendency is a property of all corporate institutions, and is commonly the reason of their foundation. They are to perpetuate to a future time a feeling or design of the present; to form a nucleus, round which the thoughts and principles of one age congregate, and are thus handed down to another in a preserved and crystallised form. Changes of ideas pass upon them of necessity, through the individual liability of their constituent members to be affected by the current of the passing time; but these changes take place rather by a gradual fusion of the old into the new, than by those sudden transitions to which the popular and prevailing opinions are so often subjected. And it may fairly be supposed that, by means of this property, corporations are more likely to adopt and amalgamate into their framework that which is most permanent and genuine, out of all that the ever-changing tide of time casts upon the shore.

Perhaps, too, this tenacity of the[237] bygone will more naturally be found to be a characteristic of the universities, than of other corporations. The spots which they occupy are holy ground, fraught with historic memories of the great and wise of former days. The genius loci is a mighty advocate in behalf of antiquity:—

"As the ghost of Homer clings
Round Scamander's wasting springs;
As divinest Shakspeare's might
Fills Avon and the world with light;"

—so we may not well pass unaffected by the congregation of priest, and poet, and sage, whose recollections consecrate the banks of our academic rivers. As we go beneath "Bacon's mansion," or about Milton's mulberry tree; as we kneel where Newton knelt, or dine in halls where the portraits of Erasmus, and Fisher, and Taylor, look down upon us,—these are not times and places for the dogmatism and arrogance of "the nineteenth century"—for bragging of our advance and illumination, or sneering at "the good old times." This is in accordance with the law of our nature; but these recollections, and the lessons which they teach, are not, if rightly laid hold of, such as to induce a mere blind attachment to the skeletons of dead notions and practices. And although it may, perhaps must, happen that, at any given time, there may be found relics adhering to the system, whose vitality and meaning have been withdrawn by time, and left them dry and sapless, yet we will venture to assert that, if a dogged adherence to antiquated forms could fairly be charged on the universities, they could never have maintained their ground amidst the mighty historical transmutations that have passed over their heads. Civil wars and popular tumults have raged around them; the throne has yielded to violence and to intrigue; the Church has admitted modifications, both of her doctrine and her discipline; and, more than all, the still more important, though silent and gradual changes—changes to which the striking and salient events of history are but the indexes and visible signs—changes of thought and rule of action—have risen and sunk, and ebbed and flowed, and still these stable monuments of the piety and munificence of men whose names are almost unknown, remain unshorn of their ancient vigour, and intimately entwined with our social system.

But it is time that we should come to particulars, and make known to our readers, as briefly as we can, the nature of the alterations recently introduced at Cambridge, which have called forth so much objurgatory commendation from quarters, which were commonly considered to entertain tolerably destructive views in regard to the universities. We say objurgatory commendation, because the faint praise of a "move in the right direction" was generally more or less coupled with vigorous denunciation of the antiquated obstinacy which had so long kept in the wrong. And here we must premise the statement of certain qualities of the age in which we live, which will have fallen under the notice of all observers. Perhaps the most distinguishing feature of our time is the principle which forms the life and soul of retail trade—the principle which sets men to busy themselves about small and immediate returns for outlay; which looks more to the gains across the counter, than to the advantage which is general, or distant, or future. In a word, practicality is the ruling passion of our day. As might have been expected, education, among other things, has been subjected to this huckstering test. People have asked, what is the market value of this or that branch of learning? Will it get a boy on in the world? Will it enable him to provide for himself soon? Will the returns for the expenditure I am going to make be quick and certain? Cowper represents the father of a son intended for the church as speculating on his young hopeful's prospects after the following fashion:—

"Let reverend churls his ignorance rebuke,
Who starve upon a dog's-eared Pentateuch,
The parson knows enough who knows a duke."

In these days the acquaintance of a duke is not of the same relative value as it was when Cowper wrote; but this sort of worldly-wise calculation is more prevalent than ever, and the cry of the largest class of the public is—give us such knowledge as will pay. Those who took this commercial view of education derived no small encouragement[238] from the circumstance that Prince Albert, the learned field-marshal, and warlike chancellor of Cambridge University, had interfered to promote the culture of modern languages in these venerable precincts of Eton, where for many a year Henry's holy shade had watched the growth of an education of less obvious utility. How was young Thomas or William "the better off" for being able to con "the tale of Troy divine?" But teach him to mince a little French, simper a little Italian, snarl a little German, and there he is at once accomplished for an attaché, a correspondent, or a bagman—profitable walks of life all of them. And the same notions mounted still higher in the ascendant, when the senate of the University of Cambridge apparently evinced a desire to examine the requirements of that body by the same standard.

The first step of this kind was taken about three years ago. Most of our readers are aware that, at Cambridge, those candidates for a degree who do not aspire to honours are said to go out in the poll; this being the abbreviated term to denote those who were classically designated ὁι πολλοι. Now the qualifications required for attaining this poll degree consisted of an acquaintance with a part of Homer, a part of Virgil, a part of the Greek Testament, and Paley's Evidences of Christianity, over and above the mathematics, of which we shall speak presently. By what curious infelicity the recondite, and, in many particulars, inexplicable language of Homer has been so commonly selected for beginners in Greek at school, and, as in this case, for those who were not expected to appear as accomplished scholars—we need not here stop to inquire. Suffice it to say that the university, in this initial reform, ousted Homer and Virgil from the course, and supplied their places with a Latin and Greek author, to be varied in each successive year. This was decidedly an improvement, at least as regards Homer, for the reason we have alluded to above. Perhaps a better innovation would have been to have followed the Oxford system, and allowed to the student a choice of his author. But it is a great misfortune that the university, in recasting this course, did not substitute a work of some one of the logical or philosophical authors current in the English language, for the shallow and plausible book of Paley's above mentioned—with regard to which it would be difficult to say whether it is worse chosen as a model of reasoning, or as a proof of Christian facts.

The mathematical portion of this course consisted of Euclid, algebra, and trigonometry, the student being thus trained in the model processes of pure mathematical reasoning left us by the first, and also brought acquainted with the elementary operations of analysis. As a matter of mental training, the most valuable portion of this curriculum was the knowledge acquired of the geometrical processes employed by Euclid, as familiarising the mind of the student with the severest forms of reasoning, and the steps whereby indubitable verity is attained. This portion, however, was most especially selected for curtailment by the reforms to which we are alluding. In the stead of the requirements thus displaced, a motley amount of elementary propositions in statics, dynamics, and hydrostatics, were substituted—useful information enough as instances of the simpler applications of the analytical machinery of mathematics, but comparatively worthless as an exercise of the mind. Country clergymen, whose forgotten mathematics loomed grandly on their minds through the mist of years, were confounded with disappointment at beholding their sons, in whom they expected to find philosophers, return to them with an examination paper, apparently rather calculated to unfold the mysteries of engineering, well-sinking, and carpentering.

This object—the practicability and immediate utility of the studies pursued, in preference to the superiority of mental training derivable from them—seems to be simply that which has dictated the recent innovations of 1848. The principle which entered into both measures may easily be traced in the prevalent phases of literature and science throughout the public at large. A few years ago, every one fancied himself a philosopher. Little volumes, cabinet cyclopædias and the like, swarmed on the[239] booksellers' shelves, containing a string of disjointed and bald scientific facts, involving no truth and expressive of no law, but more or less adroitly arranged under several heads, with a savant air. The man of business—the apprentice—the boarding-school miss—took it into their heads that a royal road was thus opened to all branches of useful and entertaining knowledge,—that the acquirements of Bacon were "in this wonderful age" brought within the reach of every one who had an occasional hour or two in the day to spare from more mechanical employments; and that the progress from ignorance to philosophy was as much facilitated by these little-book contrivances, as the journey from London to Birmingham, by the rushing railway-train, was an advance upon the week's toil of our forefathers in accomplishing the same space. Much of this mania for desultory knowledge has evaporated, but its influences are still distinctly to be traced among us. It is not surprising that those influences should in some measure have affected the universities. In accordance with the popular notions afloat, the Cambridge legislators followed up the alteration which we have been describing by the adoption of their recent measures, by which they effected an extension of their field of "honours" similar to that which they had already accomplished in the qualifications for the ordinary degree. To the old "triposes," or classes of honours in mathematics and classics, they have now added two more—namely, one in moral sciences and one in natural sciences.

Before, however, we offer any conjectures as to the probable effect of these yet untried changes, we must remind our readers of a certain characteristic of the Cambridge system, which is important in estimating the internal relations of the late reforms. The academic life of Cambridge circulates through two concurrent systems, which we may term the university and the collegiate system. The university is one corporation, and each individual college is altogether another. The union between the two systems might be dissolved without difficulty. If the university were to abandon her ancient seat, and take up some new abode, as she did for a time at Northampton some centuries ago, the colleges might still remain as places of education, with but little modification of their present character. The older system—the university—has had its functions gradually absorbed in a great measure by the collegiate. The earliest form in which Cambridge appears, dimly seen in hoar antiquity, is that of a congregation of students, commonly living together for mutual convenience in hostels, governed by a code of statutes, and endowed with the privilege of granting degrees. Then came the founders of colleges, with their noble endowments, and reared edifices, in which societies of these students should live together under a common rule, and form distinct corporations by themselves, for purposes connected with, and auxiliary to, those of the university. The latter body has from time immemorial matriculated only those who were already members of some one or other of the colleges; but there probably was a time at which a student in the university was not necessarily a member of any college, until by degrees these foundations absorbed into their composition the whole of the academic population. By-and-by, the principal part of the functions of teaching also lapsed into the hands of the colleges. In the old times, the university discharged this duty by means of the public readings or lectures by the newly admitted masters of arts, (termed regents,) and by the keeping of acts and opponencies—being certain vivâ voce disputations—by the students. To this system, comprehending the main studies of the place, was superadded, by individual endowment or royal beneficence, the collateral information on special subjects given by the professors. The colleges were altogether subsidiary to this mode of instruction—the practice being that every student who enrolled himself in the ranks of a particular college, must do so under the charge of some one of the fellows of the college, who became a kind of private tutor to him. Hence arose college tutors; and as their lectures, given in each separate college, were found to be the most efficient aids in prosecuting the university studies, the[240] readings of the masters of arts gradually fell altogether into disuse, and the vivâ voce exercises of the students have nearly done so.

Possibly, along with the transfer of the functions of lecturing from the university regents to the college tutors, the professorial chairs may also have declined in importance as an element of the academic education. But, as we have before seen, these were never the main vehicle for the dispensation of knowledge on the part of the university. Nevertheless, we suspect that one object of the recently erected triposes is to revive the importance of the professors' lectures in the university course. For it is now required that every one who presents himself as a candidate for the ordinary or poll degree, shall have attended the lectures of some one of the professors at his individual choice; and these lectures will, moreover, be necessary guides in the studies required of those who aim at the honours of the new triposes. It seems clear, therefore, that the devisers of the scheme had it in contemplation, through the medium of their changes, to fill the class-rooms of the professors, and so far to assimilate the modern system to the ancient, by bringing the university instruction into more active play. We are disposed to question the wisdom of these proceedings. Until now, the university and the colleges had apportioned their several functions, by assigning to the latter the duty of imparting proficiency in the studies cultivated; to the former, that of testing proficiency attained. The two systems had thus harmonised, as we believe, in conformity with the requirements of the age by lapse of time; and if it was deemed desirable to disturb this arrangement, and restore the faculty of teaching to the university, this should rather have been done, we think, by reviving the system of vivâ voce disputations, now altogether disused except in the progress to a degree in law, physic, or divinity; but which would form, under proper regulations, an important adjunct to the ordinary course, by cultivating a decision, a readiness, and an ingenuity in reasoning, which are comparatively left dormant by a written examination. Again, it is, as we consider, altogether a mistake to suppose that the primary end of a professorial existence is to deliver lectures. The endowment of a professorship is rather, as we take it, to enable the holder of it to give up his time to the particular science to which he is devoted; and it is by no means necessary, especially in these days, when words are so easily winged by the printer's devil, that the results of his labours should be given forth by oral lectures. At the same time, when his subject, and his manner of treating it, were such as to command interest, he was at no loss for an audience. The professorships, however, being mostly established for the purpose of aiding the pursuit of the inductive sciences, side by side with the severer studies of the university, fell under the patronage of the spirit of the age. Whether the sciences, for the promotion of which they were founded, will be materially advanced by this sort of "protection," remains to be seen.

It is likely enough, we think, that some confusion may arise from this revival of the lecturing powers of the university. This, however, will be easily obviated in practice, as the two systems have never, so far as we are aware, manifested anything like a mutual antagonism or jealousy of each other. A greater practical difficulty is one which appears to be left untouched by the new regime. We allude to the growing plan of instruction by private tutors—a calling which has sprang up, in the strictest principles of demand and supply, to meet the eagerness for external aid which has been induced by the great competition for university honours. The existence and increasing importance of the class of private tutors has been decried as an evil; and it, no doubt, enhances considerably the expenses attendant on a college education. But, after all, this is only part and parcel of the lot which has fallen to us in these latter days of merry England. There are so many of us, and we keep so constantly adding to our numbers, that we must not be surprised at more pushing and contrivance being required to realise a livelihood than heretofore; and as the end to be attained increases in its relative importance, the outlay attendant on its attainment will, in the ordinary course of things, be augmented[241] also. It is not our intention, however, to discuss at this time the merits or demerits of the private-tutor system; it suffices for our purpose to notice it as the reappearance, in another form, of the old functions of instruction, as lodged in the hands of the university regents. As the collegiate system gradually supplanted that pristine form, so the office of the private tutors is, to a certain extent, supplanting the collegiate system. These instructors are likely, as we before said, to occupy, under the new rules, much the same place as they held under the old; and indeed it appears that, whether desirable or not, it would be extremely difficult to get rid of them; at all events the colleges, being now trenched upon by the university professors on the one hand, and by the private tutors on the other, must exert themselves to ascertain their proper functions, and to fulfil them with zeal and energy.

As for the new triposes themselves, it may be doubted whether the name given to them is not the most unfortunate part of them. The common name of Tripos looks like a confusion of ideas on the part of the university itself, and a want of discrimination between its old studies and its new. At first, probably, the recent triposes will be comparatively neglected, and on that ground alone it is both misjudging and unfair to include in the same category of "honours" and "tripos," classes which are respectively the subject of ardent competition and of none at all. But supposing that the new classes attracted their fair share of competitors, it would still be a grievous fault in the university to hold out to the world so false an estimate of the vehicle of mental training, as it would appear to do by placing on a par the new studies and the old—by assuming, or seeming to assume, that ratiocinative thought may be as well employed about the fallacies of Mr Ricardo, as the exact reasoning and indubitable verities of Euclid and Newton; or that the faculties of discrimination and speculation may be unfolded by the "getting up" of botanical or chemical nomenclature, not less than by the new world of thought opened through the authors of Greece and Rome. We must, however, confess that we are now taking the most unfavourable view of the matter. With respect, indeed, to the natural sciences' tripos, we cannot help being fully of opinion, that it should have been distinctly recognised as subsidiary to the main vehicles of education adopted at Cambridge. But the moral sciences' tripos furnishes, if properly constructed, an excellent means for training thought. It is a great misfortune that the study of Aristotle has been suffered at Cambridge to fall almost into desuetude: we speak of the philosophical study of his works in contradistinction to the philological. The former is maintained at Oxford with great success; thus combining, with Oxford scholarship, a training of the reasoning powers which is almost an equivalent for the mathematical studies of her sister university. Moreover, the literature of Great Britain boasts of a band of moral philosophers far greater than any other modern nation can produce. The works of Butler, Cudworth, Berkeley, Hume, Reid, and Stewart, with many others, form a group of authorities worthy of the groves of Academus. The metaphysics of Locke—we should rather say, the wall which Locke has built up between the English mind and the science of metaphysics—has too long prevented the moral reasoners of this country from duly availing themselves of the treasures at their command. Under the guidance of such lights as those we have enumerated, we may hope to see a school of metaphysical thinkers arise in England, whose exertions may dissipate the mist of half-thought in which Teutonic speculation has involved the science of its choice. If, however, the tap-root of our metaphysical thought is to be cut through by the study of the plausibilities of Locke and Paley, (no very unlikely issue, we should fear, at least under present circumstances,) then this moral sciences' tripos also is one of those things which had better never have been.

We repeat that Cambridge has incurred great blame, if she has allowed herself to mislead, or to seem to mislead, the popular mind on these matters. The more talkative portion of[242] the public, and the newspapers which commonly represent that more talkative portion, have evidently been inclined to interpret this movement of Cambridge as an indication of a most utilitarian system of education coming to supplant the old rules. They anticipate all sorts of civil engineering, butterfly-dissecting, light geology, and a whole Babel of modern languages, to be victoriously let loose on the home where for many a century Wisdom has sat with the scroll of Plato on her knee, and Science has unravelled the wizard lore of fluxion and equation. The senate of Cambridge is egregiously mistaken if it supposes that it will win over to its body the students of these popular branches of knowledge, by following the dictation of the popular taste. Those who want to be civil engineers will not come to a university to learn their art. They will follow Brunel and Stephenson, and see how the work is actually done in practice; and those who do so will soon prove themselves far superior, quoad civil engineering, to the Cambridge-bred theorist. In like manner, a month's flirtation in Paris, or a few games at écarté with a German baron, will teach the student of modern languages more French or German than all the philologists of Oxford, Cambridge, or Eton can impart in a year.

"Quam quisque nôrit artem, in hâc se exerceat."

If the public have mistaken the functions of the university, it is the more incumbent on her to assert them correctly. Nor is the outcry less groundless, that the universities have failed to furnish the best men in law and medicine. With regard to the law, certain gentlemen were even cited by name, in leading articles of newspapers, as types of the class of men who were now taking the lead at the bar, and representing an altogether different school from that trained at the universities. The fact of the university men being supplanted, or being likely to be supplanted, at the bar, may admit of considerable question. But it is not, after all, the question by which the universities are to be judged. They do not undertake to make men great lawyers or skilful physicians; this, where it does belong to their functions, is a collateral duty, and not the main object of their training. That object is distinctly avowed in their own formularies. That noble clause in the "bidding prayer" will attach itself to the memories of most of those who have heard it:

"And that there never may be wanting a supply of persons duly qualified to serve God, both in Church and State, let us pray for a blessing on all seminaries of sound learning and religious education, particularly the universities of this realm."

A higher end to be attained, perhaps, than that of merely qualifying the student to "get on in the world." His university education is not so much to enable him to attain those eminent stations which are the prizes of ability and industry, as to fit him to adorn and fill worthily those stations when he has attained them. In truth, we think it is not desirable, any more than necessary, that a degree should be an essential opening to the bar, the profession of medicine, or even the Church. The university is injured by being too much regarded as a step to be got over with the view of reaching some ulterior end.

We dwell on this point with the more interest, because we are satisfied that a still greater responsibility rests with the universities, to guard the fountains of knowledge pure and unsullied, in those days of professed knowledge, than in the so-called dark ages. Our day is rich in the knowledge of facts; there were many truths influencing those men of the times we please to call dark, which we have ignored or forgotten. The general demand for information—for this knowledge of facts—has made it a marketable commodity, a subject of commercial speculation; consequently, a vast deal that is shallow and desultory, a vast deal, too, that is counterfeit and fraudulent, is abroad, made up for the market, and circulates among multitudes who are incapable of separating the grain from the chaff. It is therefore, we repeat, even more important that the sources of learning should be guarded from contamination, now that the antagonistic principles are the knowledge of truth and the subserviency to falsehood, than when, at the revival of literature, the struggle[243] was between knowledge and ignorance.

We would have the universities remember that it is their best policy as corporations, as well as a duty they owe to those great medieval spirits who planted them where they stand, to own a better principle than that which would lead them to succumb to what is called popular opinion—in other words, the floating fallacy of the day—and aim at producing the shallow party leaders and favourite writers of the passing moment. They cannot control the frothy surface and the deep under-current at the same time. It would be a sacrifice to expediency which, after all, would not serve their turn. There are institutions which will do that work, and which will beat them in the race. Let all such take their own course.

"Let Gryll be Gryll, and have his hoggish kinde:" let Stinkomalee train the statesmen for the League and the jokers for Punch,—but Oxford and Cambridge have other rôles.

It is true, we are told there is a new aristocracy rising in England, and that the English universities are gaining no hold upon the coming generation of "chiefs of industry." It would be far better for our social condition that these same chiefs of industry should be educated men, and should pass through a training which might tend to neutralise the power of the mercantile iron in entering into their soul. But at present the race to be rich is so strong and hardly contested, that this class is hardly likely, in general, to devote their scions to academical studies of any description; and the merchant or manufacturer who came from the banks of Isis or Cam, at the age of twenty-one, to the Exchange or the Cloth-hall, would find himself starting under a most heavy disadvantage as compared with his neighbour of the same age, who had spent the last three or four years in a counting-house. The reason that this class is not commonly trained in the national seminaries, is to be sought in the habit and requirements of the class, and not in the nature of the education afforded them.

We have spoken chiefly of Cambridge, because Cambridge has put herself forward as the representative of a system of so-called university reform—of a certain movement in the direction of that principle which would accommodate the education of our higher classes to the caprice of a popular cry or cant phrase. We care not so much whether that movement in itself be advantageous or the reverse: it is against the principles supposed to be involved in it that we protest. The report goes, that changes of some kind or other are contemplated at Oxford also. If these changes be made, we trust that they will not be devised in deference to the noisier portion of the public, or to that fondness for short-cuts to knowledge, which fritters away the energies of the rising man in the collection of desultory facts, and the dependence upon shallow plausibilities. The Scottish universities, too, are likely to be put to the test in the same manner as their sisters of the Southern kingdom; and the questions raised cannot be uninteresting to them.

Nor, indeed, can the whole nation be otherwise than deeply concerned in this matter; and we are not surprised, at the interest which has been excited by the recent alterations at Cambridge, though not measures in themselves of any great importance. While we have contended for a higher ground on the part of the universities than that of merely finding such knowledge as is required by the popular taste, and happens to be most current in the market, and have called upon them to lead the public mind in these matters, we need hardly say that we must not be understood as failing to see the necessity of those institutions closely observing the shifting relations of our social equilibrium, and adapting their policy by judicious change, if need be, to the circumstances in which they find themselves. We might perhaps adduce the altered position of the Church with respect to the nation at large, as an instance of these changes. We have before hinted that the universities have, as we think, in some degree aimed at being too exclusively the training-schools of the clergy; and this circumstance, in our judgment, so far as England is concerned, has both narrowed the operations of the Church and the influence of the universities. The[244] Church and European civilisation—the latter having grown up under the tutelage of the former—stand no longer in the relation of nurse and bantling, though Heaven forbid that they should ever be other than firm friends and allies! But the Church is no longer the exclusive teacher of the world: mankind are in a great measure taught by books. Viewing the clergy not in respect of their sacerdotal functions, but as the instructors of mankind, we find their office shared by a motley crowd of authors, pamphleteers, newspaper editors, magazine contributors, quales nos vel Cluvienus. It is incumbent, then, on the universities to consider how they may bring within the sphere of that control which they exercised in old times over the clergy, this mixed multitude of public instructors; how they may become not merely the schools of the clerical order, but also the nurseries of a future caste of literary men, who are to bear their part with that order in the coming development of human thought.



[Making all allowances for the many over-coloured pictures, nay, often onesided statements of such apologetic chroniclers as Knox, Melville, Calderwood, and Row, it is yet difficult to divest the mind of a strong leaning towards the old Presbyterians and champions of the Covenant—probably because we believe them to have been sincere, and know them to have been persecuted and oppressed. Nevertheless, the liking is as often allied to sympathy as to approbation; for a sifting of motives exhibits, in but too many instances, a sad commixture of the chaff of selfishness with the grain of principle—an exhibition of the over and over again played game, by which the gullible many are made the tools of the crafty and designing few. Be it allowed that, both in their preachings from the pulpit and their teachings by example, the Covenanters frequently proceeded more in the spirit of fanaticism than of sober religious feeling; and that, in their antagonistic ardour, they did not hesitate to carry the persecutions of which they themselves so justly complained into the camp of the adversary—sacrificing in their mistaken zeal even the ennobling arts of architecture, sculpture, and painting, as adjuncts of idol-worship—still it is to be remembered, that the aggression emanated not from them; and that the rights they contended for were the most sacred and invaluable that man can possess—the freedom of worshipping God according to the dictates of conscience. They sincerely believed that the principles which they maintained were right: and their adherence to these with unalterable constancy, through good report and through bad report; in the hour of privation and suffering, of danger and death; in the silence of the prison-cell, not less than in the excitement of the battle-field; by the blood-stained hearth, on the scaffold, and at the stake,—forms a noble chapter in the history of the human mind—of man as an accountable creature.

Be it remembered, also, that these religious persecutions were not mere things of a day, but were continued through at least three entire generations. They extended from the accession of James VI. to the English throne, (testibus[245] the rhymes of Sir David Lyndsay, and the classic prose of Buchanan,) down to the Revolution of 1688—almost a century, during which many thousands tyrannically perished, without in the least degree loosening that tenacity of purpose, or subduing that perfervidum ingenium, which, according to Thuanus, have been national characteristics.

As in almost all similar cases, the cause of the Covenanters, so strenuously and unflinchingly maintained, ultimately resulted in the victory of Protestantism—that victory, the fruits of which we have seemed of late years so readily inclined to throw away; and, in its rural districts more especially, of nothing are the people more justly proud than

——"the tales
Of persecution and the Covenant,
Whose echo rings through Scotland to this hour."

So says Wordsworth. These traditions have been emblazoned by the pens of Scott, M'Crie, Galt, Hogg, Wilson, Grahame, and Pollok, and by the pencils of Wilkie, Harvey, and Duncan,—each regarding them with the eye of his peculiar genius.

In reference to the following stanzas, it should be remembered that, during the holding of their conventicles,—which frequently, in the more troublous times, took place amid mountain solitudes, and during the night,—a sentinel was stationed on some commanding height in the neighbourhood, to give warning of the approach of danger.]


Ho! plaided watcher of the hill,
What of the night?—what of the night?
The winds are lown, the woods are still,
The countless stars are sparkling bright;
From out this heathery moorland glen,
By the shy wild-fowl only trod,
We raise our hymn, unheard of men,
To Thee—an omnipresent God!


Jehovah! though no sign appear,
Through earth our aimless path to lead,
We know, we feel Thee ever near,
A present help in time of need—
Near, as when, pointing out the way,
For ever in thy people's sight,
A pillared wreath of smoke by day,
Which turned to fiery flame at night!


Whence came the summons forth to go?—
From Thee awoke the warning sound!
"Out to your tents, O Israel! Lo!
The heathen's warfare girds thee round.
  Sons of the faithful! up—away!
The lamb must of the wolf beware;
The falcon seeks the dove for prey;
The fowler spreads his cunning snare!"


Day set in gold; 'twas peace around—
'Twas seeming peace by field and flood:
We woke, and on our lintels found
The cross of wrath—the mark of blood.
Lord! in thy cause we mocked at fears,
We scorned the ungodly's threatening words—
Beat out our pruning-hooks to spears,
And turned our ploughshares into swords!


Degenerate Scotland! days have been
Thy soil when only freemen trod—
When mountain-crag and valley green
Poured forth the loud acclaim to God!—
The fire which liberty imparts,
Refulgent in each patriot eye,
And, graven on a nation's hearts,
The Word—for which we stand or die!


Unholy change! The scorner's chair
Is now the seat of those who rule;
Tortures, and bonds, and death, the share
Of all except the tyrant's tool.
That faith in which our fathers breathed,
And had their life, for which they died—
That priceless heirloom they bequeathed
Their sons—our impious foes deride!


So We have left our homes behind,
And We have belted on the sword,
And We in solemn league have joined,
Yea! covenanted with the Lord,
Never to seek those homes again,
Never to give the sword its sheath,
Until our rights of faith remain
Unfettered as the air we breathe!


O Thou, who rulest above the sky,
Begirt about with starry thrones,
Cast from the Heaven of Heavens thine eye
Down on our wives and little ones—
From Hallelujahs surging round,
Oh! for a moment turn thine ear,
The widow prostrate on the ground,
The famished orphan's cries to hear!



And Thou wilt hear! it cannot be,
That Thou wilt list the raven's brood,
When from their nest they scream to Thee,
And in due season send them food;
It cannot be that Thou wilt weave
The lily such superb array,
And yet unfed, unsheltered, leave
Thy children—as if less than they!


We have no hearths—the ashes lie
In blackness where they brightly shone;
We have no homes—the desert sky
Our covering, earth our couch alone:
We have no heritage—depriven
Of these, we ask not such on earth;
Our hearts are sealed; we seek in heaven,
For heritage, and home, and hearth!


O Salem, city of the saint,
And holy men made perfect! We
Pant for thy gates, our spirits faint
Thy glorious golden streets to see;—
To mark the rapture that inspires
The ransomed, and redeemed by grace;
To listen to the seraphs' lyres,
And meet the angels face to face!


Father in Heaven! we turn not back,
Though briers and thorns choke up the path;
Rather the tortures of the rack,
Than tread the winepress of Thy wrath.
Let thunders crash, let torrents shower,
Let whirlwinds churn the howling sea,
What is the turmoil of an hour,
To an eternal calm with Thee?



The debates in the Cortes, and the increasing development of the civil war in Catalonia, have again called attention to the affairs of Spain. Three months ago we glanced at the state of that country, briefly and broadly sketching its political history since the royal marriages. The quarter of a year that has since elapsed has been a busy one in Spain. Two things have been clearly proved: first, that the Carlist insurrection is a very different affair from the paltry gathering of banditti, as which the Moderados and their newspapers so long persisted in depicting it; and, secondly, that the Madrid government are heartily repentant of their unceremonious dismissal of a British ambassador. Christina and her Camarilla scarcely know which most deeply to deplore—the intrusion of Cabrera or the expulsion of Bulwer.

In Catalonia, we have a striking example of what may be accomplished, under most unfavourable circumstances, by one man's energy and talent. Nine months ago there was not a single company of Carlist soldiers in the field. A few irregular bands, insignificant in numbers, without uniform and imperfectly armed, roamed in the mountains, fearing to enter the plain, hunted down like wolves, and punished as malefactors when captured. To persons ignorant how great was the difference made by the fall of Louis Philippe in the chances of the Spanish Carlists, the cause of these never appeared more hopeless than in the spring of 1848. Suddenly a man, who for seven years had basked in the orange groves of Hyères, and listlessly lingered in the mountain solitudes of Auvergne,—reposing his body, scarred and weary from many a desperate combat, and recruiting his health, impaired by exertion and hardship—crossed the Pyrenees, and appeared upon the scene of his former exploits. The news of his arrival spread fast, but for a time found few believers. Cabrera, said the incredulous, who evacuated Spain at the head of ten thousand hardy and well-armed soldiers, because he would not condescend to a guerilla warfare, after having held towns and fortresses, and won pitched battles in the field—Cabrera would never re-enter the country to take command of a few hundred scattered adventurers. Others denied his presence, because he had not immediately signalised it by some dashing feat, worthy the conqueror of Morella and Maella. Various reports were circulated by those interested to discredit the arrival of the redoubted chief. He was ill, they said; he had never entered Spain or dreamed of so doing; he had come to Catalonia, others admitted, but was so disgusted at the scanty resources of his party, at the few men in the field, at the lack of arms, money, organisation,—of everything, in short, necessary for the prosecution of a war,—that he cursed the lying representations which had lured him from retirement, and was again upon the wing for France. The truth was in none of these statements. If Cabrera sounded a retreat in 1840, when ten thousand warlike and devoted followers were still at his orders, it was because the Carlist prestige was gone for a time, the country was exhausted by war, anarchy reigned in the camp, and he himself was prostrated by sickness. In seven years, circumstances had entirely changed; the country, galled by misgovernment and oppression, was ripe for insurrection; the intermeddling of foreign powers was no longer to be apprehended; and Cabrera emerged from his retirement, not expecting to find an army, or money, or organisation, but prepared to create all three. In various ingenious and impenetrable disguises he moved rapidly about eastern Spain; fearlessly entering the towns, visiting his old partisans, and reviving their dormant zeal by ardent and confident speech; giving fresh spirit to the timid, shaming the apathetic, and enlisting recruits. His unremitting efforts were crowned with success. Numbers of his former followers rallied round him; secret adherents of the[249] cause contributed funds; arms and equipments, purchased in France and England, safely arrived; officers of rank and talent, distinguished in former wars, raised their banners and mustered companies and even battalions; and soon Cabrera was strong enough to traverse Catalonia in all directions, and to collect from the inhabitants regular contributions, in almost every instance willingly paid, and gathered often within cannon-shot of the enemy's forts. He seemed ubiquitous. He was heard of everywhere, but more rarely seen, at least in his own character. In various assumed ones, not unfrequently in the garb of a priest, he accompanied small detachments sent to collect imposts; doing subaltern's rather than general's duty, ascertaining by personal observation the temper and disposition of the peasantry, and making himself known when a point was to be gained by the influence of his name and presence. His prodigious activity and perseverance wrought miracles in a country where those qualities by no means abound. Doubtless he has been well seconded, but his has been the master-spirit. The result of his exertions is best shown by a statement of the present Carlist strength in Catalonia. We have already mentioned what it was eight or nine months ago—a few hundred men, half-armed and ill disciplined, wandering amongst ravines and precipices. At the close of 1848, the Moderado papers, without means of obtaining correct information, estimated the Carlist army in Catalonia at 8000 men. The Carlists themselves, whose present policy is rather to under-state their strength, admitted 10,000. Their real numbers—and the accuracy of these statistics may be relied upon—are 12,000 bayonets and sabres, exclusive of small guerilla parties, known as volantes, and other irregulars. A large proportion of the 12,000 are old soldiers, who served in the last war; and all are well armed, equipped, and disciplined, and superior to their opponents in power of endurance, and of effecting those tremendous marches for which Spanish troops are celebrated. Regularly rationed and supplied with tobacco, they wait cheerfully till the military chest is in condition to disburse arrears. The curious in costume may like to hear something of their appearance. The brigade under the immediate orders of Cabrera wears a green uniform with black facings: Ramonet's men have dark blue jackets; there is a corps clothed à l'Anglaise, in scarlet coats and blue continuations, which is known as Count Montemolin's own regiment. The old boina or flat cap, and a sort of light, low-crowned shako, such as is worn by the French in Africa, compose the convenient and appropriate head-dress. With the important arms of artillery and cavalry, in which armies raised as this one has been are apt to be deficient, Cabrera is well provided. A number of guns were buried and otherwise concealed in Spain ever since the last war, and others have been procured from France. As to cavalry, the want of which was so frequently and severely felt by the Carlists during the former struggle, the Christinos will be surprised, one of these days, to find how formidable a body of dragoons their opponents can bring into the field, although at the present moment they have but few squadrons under arms. Nearly four thousand horses are distributed in various country districts, comfortably housed in farm and convent stables, and divided amongst the inhabitants by twos and threes. They are well cared for, and kept in good condition, ready to muster and march whenever required.

What the Catalonian Carlists are now most in want of, is a centre of operations, a strong fortress—a Morella or a Berga—whither to retreat and recruit when necessary. That Cabrera feels this want is evident from the various attempts he has made to surprise fortified towns, with a view to hold them against the Christinos. Hitherto these attempts have been unsuccessful, but we may be prepared to hear any day of his having made one with a different result.

When the general tranquillity of Europe brought Spanish dissensions into relief, a vast deal of romance was written in France, Spain, and England, in the guise of memoirs of Cabrera, and of other distinguished leaders of the civil war, and not a little was swallowed by the simple as historical fact. We remember to[250] have seen the Convention of Bergara accounted for in print by a game at cards between Espartero and Maroto, who, both being represented as desperate gamblers, met at night at a lone farm-house between their respective lines, and played for the crown of Spain. Espartero won; and Maroto, more loyal as a gamester than to his king, brought over his army to the queen. This marvellous tale, although not exactly vouched for in the original English, was gravely translated in French periodicals; and the chances are that a portion of the French nation believe to the present hour that Isabella owes her crown to a lucky hit at monté. Fables equally preposterous have been circulated about Cabrera. Of his personal appearance, especially, the most absurd accounts have been published; and type and graver have furnished so many fantastical and imaginary portraits of him, that one from the life may have its interest. Ramon Cabrera is about five feet eight inches in height, square built, muscular, and active. He is rather round-shouldered; his hair is abundant and very black; his grayish-brown eyes must be admitted, even by his admirers, to have a cruel expression. His complexion is tawny, his nose aquiline; he has nothing remarkable or striking in his appearance, and is neither ugly nor handsome, but of the two may be accounted rather good-looking than otherwise. He has neither an assassin-scowl nor an expression like a bilious hyena, nor any other of the little physiognomical agrémens with which imaginative painters have so frequently embellished his countenance. His character, as well as his face, has suffered from misrepresentation. He has been depicted as a Nero on a small scale, dividing his time between fiddling and massacre. There is some exaggeration in the statement. Unquestionably he is neither mild nor merciful; he has shed much blood, and has been guilty of divers acts of cruelty, but more of these have been attributed to him than he ever committed. His mother's death by Christino bullets inspired him with a burning desire of revenge. The system of reprisals, so largely adopted by both sides, during the late civil war in Spain, will account for many of his atrocities, although it may hardly be held to justify them. But in the present contest he has hitherto gone upon a totally different plan. Mercy and humanity seem to be his device, as they are undoubtedly his best policy. His aim is to win followers, by clemency and conciliation, instead of compelling them by intimidation and cruelty. There is as yet no authenticated account of an execution occurring by his order. One man was shot at Vich by the troops blockading the place; but he was known as a spy, and was twice warned not to enter the town. He pretended to retire, made a circuit, tried another entrance, and met his death. As to Cabrera's having shot four or five officers for a plot against his life, as was recently reported in Spanish papers, and repeated by English ones, the tale is unconfirmed, and has every appearance of a fabrication. There is no doubt he finds it necessary to keep a tight hand over his subordinates, especially in presence of the recent defection of some of their number, whose treachery, however, is not likely to be very advantageous to the Christinos. The troops whom Pozas, Pons, Monserrat, and the other renegade chiefs induced to accompany them, have for the most part returned to their banners, and the queen has gained nothing but a few very untrustworthy officers. These, by one of the conditions of their desertion, her generals are compelled to employ, thus creating much discontent among those officers of the Christino army over whose heads the traitors are placed. The principal traitor, General Miguel Pons, better known as Bep-al-Oli, has been known as a Carlist ever since the rising in Catalonia in 1827, when he was captured by the famous Count d'Espagne, and was condemned to the galleys, as was his brother Antonio Pons, one of those whom Cabrera was lately falsely reported to have shot. After the death of Ferdinand, both brothers served under their former persecutor, who thought to extinguish their resentment by good treatment and promotion, in spite of which precaution a share in his assassination is pretty generally attributed to Antonio Pons. Bep-al-Oli is Catalan for Joseph-in-oil,[251] or Oily Joe, a slippery cognomen, which his recent change of sides seems to justify. Still he is a model of consistency compared to many Spanish officers, who have changed sides half-a-dozen times in the last fifteen years. And, indeed, after one-and-twenty years' stanch and active Carlism, the sincerity of Bep's conversion may perhaps be considered dubious. It would be no way surprising if he were to return to his first love, carrying with him, of course, the large sum for which he was bought. Another chief, Monserrat, passed over to the Christinos with two or three companions, and the very next week he had the misfortune to fall asleep, whereupon the better half of his band took advantage of his slumbers to go back to their colours, much comforted by the gratuities they had received for changing sides. When Monserrat awoke, he was furious at this defection, and instantly pursued his stray sheep. Not having been heard of since, it is not unlikely he may ultimately have followed their example. Of course, money is the means employed to seduce these fickle partisans. They are all bought at their own price, which rate is generally so high as to preclude profit. The cash-keepers at Madrid will soon get tired of such purchases. The regular expenses of the war are enormous, without squandering thousands for a few days' use of men who cannot be depended upon. It is notorious that immense offers were made to Cabrera to induce him to abandon the cause of Charles VI., of which he is the life and soul. Gold, titles, rank, governorships, have been in turn and together paraded before him, but in vain. He would indeed be worth buying, at almost any price; for he could not be replaced, and his loss would be a death-blow to the Carlist cause. Knowing this, and finding him incorruptible, it were not surprising if certain unscrupulous persons at Madrid sought other means of removing him from the scene. Cabrera, aware of the great importance of his life, very prudently takes his precautions. He has done so, to some extent, at various periods of his career. During the early portion of his exile in France, when that country, especially its southern provinces, swarmed with Spanish emigrants, many of whom had deep motives for hating him—whilst others, needy and starving, and inured to crime and bloodshed, might have been tempted to knife him for the contents of his pockets—the refugee chief wore a shirt of mail beneath his sheepskin jacket. He had also a celebrated pair of leathern trousers, which were generally believed to have a metallic lining. And, at the present time, report says that his head is the only vulnerable part of his person.

In presence of their Catalonian anxieties, of Cabrera's rapidly increasing strength, and of the impotence of Christino generals, who start for the insurgent districts with premature vaunts of their triumphs, and return to Madrid, baffled and crestfallen, to wrangle in the senate and divulge state secrets—the Narvaez government is secretly most anxious to make up its differences with England. This anxiety has been made sufficiently manifest by the recent discussions in the Cortes. Notwithstanding his assumed indifference and vain-glorious self-gratulation, the Duke of Valencia would gladly give a year's salary, perquisites, and plunder, to recall the impolitic act by which a British envoy was expelled the Spanish capital. Señor Cortina, the Progresista deputy, after denying that there were sufficient grounds for Sir Henry Bulwer's dismissal, and lamenting the rupture that has been its consequence, politely advised Narvaez to resign office, as almost the only means of repairing the dangerous breach. The recommendation, of course, was purely ironical. General Narvaez is the last man to play the Curtius, and plunge, for his country's sake, into the gulf of political extinction. In his scale of patriotism, the good of Spain is secondary to the advantage of Ramon Narvaez. We can imagine the broad grins of the Opposition, and the suppressed titter of his own friends, upon his having the face to declare, that, when the French Revolution broke out, he was actually planning a transfer of the reins of government into the hands of the[252] Progresistas. The bad example of democratic France frustrated his disinterested designs, changed his benevolent intentions, and compelled him to transport and imprison, by wholesale, the very men towards whom, a few weeks previously, he was so magnanimously disposed. Returns of more than fifteen hundred persons, thus arbitrarily torn from their homes and families, were moved for early in the session; but only the names were granted, the charges against them being kept secret, in order not to give the lie to the ministerial assertion that but a small minority were condemned for political offences. As to the dispute with England, although Narvaez' pride will not suffer him to admit his blunder and his regrets, many of his party make no secret of their desire for a reconciliation at any price; fondly believing, perhaps, that it would be followed, upon the amantium iræ principle, by warmer love and closer union than before. The slumbers of these ojalatero politicians are haunted by sweet visions of a British steam-flotilla cruising off the Catalonian coast, of Carlist supplies intercepted, of British batteries mounted on the shores of Spain, and manned by British marines—the sight of whose red jackets might serve, at a pinch, to bolster up the wavering courage of a Christino division—and of English commodores and artillery-colonels supplying such deficient gentlemen as Messrs Cordova and Concha with the military skill which, in Spain, is by no means an indispensable qualification for a lieutenant-general's commission. Doubtless, if the alliance between Lord Palmerston and Queen Christina had continued, we should have had something of this sort, some more petty intermeddling and minute military operations, consumptive of English stores, and discreditable to English reputation. As it is, there seems a chance of the quarrel being fairly fought out; of the Spaniards being permitted to settle amongst themselves a question which concerns themselves alone. If the Carlists get the better of the struggle, (and it were unsafe to give long odds against them,) it is undeniable that they began with small resources, and that their triumph will have been achieved by their own unaided pluck and perseverance.

Puzzled how to make his peace with England, without too great mortification to his vanity and too great sacrifice of what he calls his dignity, Narvaez falls back upon France, and does his best to curry favour there by a fulsome acknowledgment of the evils averted from Spain by the friendly offices of Messrs Lamartine and Bastide, and of "the illustrious General Cavaignac." The fact is, that during the first six months of the republic, nobody in France had leisure to give a thought to Spain, and Carlists and Progresistas were allowed to concert plans and make purchases in France without the slightest molestation. At last, General Cavaignac, worried by Sotomayor—and partly, perhaps, through sympathy with his brother-dictator, Narvaez—sent to the frontier one Lebrière, a sort of thieftaker or political Vidocq, who already had been similarly employed by Louis Philippe. This man was to stir up the authorities and thwart the Carlists, and at first he did hamper the latter a little; but whether it was that he was worse paid than on his former mission—Cavaignac's interest in the affair being less personal than that of the King of the French—or that some other reason relaxed his activity, he did not long prove efficient. Then came the elections, and the success of Louis Napoleon was unwelcome intelligence to the Madrid government—it being feared that old friendship might dispose him to favour Count Montemolin as far as lay in his power: whereupon—the influence of woman being a lever not unnaturally resorted to by a party which owes its rise mainly to bedchamber intrigue and to the patronage of Madame Muñoz—the notable discovery was made that the Duchess of Valencia (a Frenchwoman by birth) is a connexion of the Buonaparte family, and her Grace was forthwith despatched to Paris to exercise her coquetries and fascinations upon her far-off cousin, and to intrigue, in concert with the Duke of Sotomayor, for the benefit of her husband's government. The result of her mission is not yet apparent. Putting all direct intervention completely out of the question, France[253] has still a vast deal in her power in all cases of insurrection in the northern and eastern provinces of Spain. A sharp look-out on the frontier, seizure of arms destined for the insurgents, and the removal of Spanish refugees to remote parts of France, are measures that would greatly harass and impede Carlist operations; much less so now, however, than three or four months ago. Most of the emigrants have now entered Spain; and horses and arms—the latter in large numbers—have crossed the frontier.

Up to the middle of January, the Montemolinist insurrection was confined to Catalonia, where alone the insurgents were numerous and organised. This apparent inactivity in other districts, where a rising might be expected, was to be attributed to the season. The quantity of snow that had fallen in the northern provinces was a clog upon military operations. About the middle of the month, a thousand men, including three hundred cavalry, made their appearance in Navarre, headed by Colonel Montero, an old and experienced officer of the peninsular war, who served on the staff so far back as the battle of Baylen. This force is to serve as a nucleus. The conscription for 1849 has been anticipated; that is to say, the young soldiers who should have joined their colours at the end of the year, are called for at its commencement; and it is expected that many of these conscripts, discontented at the premature summons, will prefer joining the Carlists. When the weather clears, it is confidently anticipated that two or three thousand hardy recruits will make the valleys of Biscay and Navarre ring once more with their Basque war-cries, headed by men whose names will astonish those who still discredit the virtual union of Carlists and Progresistas.

The masses of troops sent into Catalonia have as yet effected literally nothing, not having been able to prevent the enemy even from recruiting and organising. General Cordova made a military promenade, lost a few hundred men—slain or taken prisoners with their brigadier at their head—and resigned the command. He has been succeeded by Concha, a somewhat better soldier than Cordova, who was never anything but a parade butterfly of the very shallowest capacity. Concha has as yet done little more than his predecessor, (his reported victory over Cabrera between Vich and St Hippolito was a barefaced invention, without a shadow of foundation,) although his force is larger than Cordova's was, and his promises of what he would do have been all along most magnificent. Already there has been talk of his resignation, which doubtless will soon occur, and Villalonga is spoken of to succeed him. This general, lately created Marquis of the Maestrazgo for his cruelty and oppression of the peasantry in that district, will hardly win his dukedom in Catalonia, although dukedoms in Spain are now to be had almost for the asking. Indeed, they have become so common that, the other day, General Narvaez, Duke of Valencia, anxious for distinction from the vulgar herd, was about to create himself prince; but having unfortunately selected Concord for his intended title, and the accounts from Catalonia being just then anything but peaceable, he was fain to postpone his promotion till it should be more de circonstance. The Prince of Concord would be a worthy successor to the Prince of the Peace. Spain was once proud of her nobility and choice of her titles. Alas! how changed are the times! What a pretty list of grandees and titulos de Castilla the Spanish peerage now exhibits! Mr Sotomayor, the other day a bookseller's clerk, then sub-secretary in a ministry, then understrapper to Gonzales Bravo, now duke and ambassador at Paris! What a successor to the princely and magnificent envoys of a Philip and a Charles! And Mr Sartorius, lately a petty jobber on the Madrid Bolsa, is now Count of St Louis, secretary of state, &c.! When the Legion of Honour was prostituted in France by lavish and indiscriminate distribution, and by conversion into an electioneering bribe and a means of corruption, many old soldiers, who had won their cross upon the battle-fields of the Empire, had the date of its bestowal affixed in silver figures to their red ribbon. The old nobility of Spain must soon resort to a similar plan, and sign their date of creation after their names, if[254] they would be distinguished from the horde of disreputable adventurers on whom titles have of late years been infamously squandered.

When the Madrid government has performed its promise, so often repeated during the last six months, of extinguishing the Carlists and restoring peace to Spain, we hope those ill-treated gentlemen in the city of London, who, from time to time, draw up a respectful representation to General Narvaez on the subject of Spanish debts—a representation which that officer blandly receives, and takes an early opportunity of forgetting—will pluck up courage and sternly urge the Duke of Valencia and the finance minister of the day to apply to the liquidation of Spanish bondholders' claims a part, at least, of the resources now expended on military operations. Forty-five millions of reals, about half-a-million of pounds sterling, are now, we are credibly informed, the monthly expenditure of the war department of Spain. That this is squeezed out of the country, by some means or other, is manifest, since nobody now lends money to Spain. A very large part of this very considerable sum being expended in Catalonia, goes into the pockets of the inhabitants of that province, who pay it over to the Carlists in the shape of contributions, and still make a profit by the transaction—so that they are in no hurry to finish the war; and Catalonia presents at this moment the singular spectacle of two contending armies paid out of the same military chest. But Spain is the country of anomalies; and nothing in the conduct of Spaniards will ever surprise us, until we find them, by some extraordinary chance, conducting their affairs according to the rules of common sense and the dictates of ordinary prudence.

Printed by William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh.


[1] "Amongst the Caucasian tribes, the interest of Europe has attached itself especially to the Circassians, because they are regarded (in Urquhart's words) 'as the only people, from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean, ever ready to revenge an injury and retort a menace proceeding from the Czar of the Muscovites.' Urquhart's opinion, which is shared by the great majority of the European public, is not quite correct, the Circassians not being the only combatants against Russia. Indeed it so happens that, for the last four years, they have kept tolerably quiet in their mountains, contenting themselves with small forays into the Cossack country on the Kuban; whilst the warlike Tshetshens in the eastern Caucasus, their chief, Chamyl, at their head, have given the Russian army much more to do. But, in the absence of official intelligence, and of regular newspaper information concerning the events of the war, people in Europe have got accustomed to admire and praise the Circassians as the only defenders of Caucasian freedom against Russian aggression; and even in St Petersburg the intelligent public hold the famous Chamyl to be chief of the Circassians, with whom he has nothing whatever to do."—Der Kaukasus, &c., vol. ii. p. 22-3.

[2] "It must be admitted that Russian officers are second to those of no other nation, in thirst for distinction, and in honourable ambition, to awaken and stimulate which, innumerable means are employed. In no other army are the rewards for those officers who distinguish themselves in the field of so many kinds, and so lavishly dealt out. There are all manner of medals and marks for good service—crosses and stars of Saints George, Stanislaus, Vladimir, Andrew, Anna, and other holy personages; some with crowns, some with diamonds, peculiar distinctions on the epaulets and uniforms, &c. &c. I was once in a distinguished society, composed almost entirely of officers of the army of the Caucasus. Not finding very much amusement, I had the patience to count all the orders and decorations in the room, and found that upon the breasts of the thirty-five military guests, there glittered more than two hundred stars, crosses, and medals; on some of the generals' coats were more orders than buttons. As it usually happens, the desire for these distinctions increases with their possession. The Russian who has obtained a medal leaves no stone unturned to get a knight's cross, and when the cross is at his button-hole, he is ravenous for the glittering star, and ready to make any sacrifice to obtain it."—Der Kaukasus, &c., vol. ii. p. 98.

[3] The reference in this instance is more particularly to the land of the Ubiches and Tchigetes, two tribes that abide south of Circassia Proper, and whose language differs from those of the Circassians and Abchasians, their neighbours to the north and south. The general medium of conversation amongst the various Caucasian tribes is the Turkish-Tartar dialect, current amongst most of the dwellers on the shores of the Black and Caspian Seas.

[4] Longworth's Circassia, vol. i. p. 1589.

[5] This certainly cannot be said of Cumberland generally, one of the most beautiful counties in Great Britain. But the immediate district to which Mr Caxton's exclamation refers; if not ugly, is at least savage, bare, and rude.

[6] The New statistical Account of Scotland. In 15 vols. Edinburgh, 1845.

[7] Schlozer.

[8] "It is said that a woman in Benbecula went at night to the Sandbanks, to dig for some roe used for dyeing a red colour, against her husband's will; that, when she left her house, she said with an oath she would bring some of it home, though she knew there was a regulation by the factor and magistrates, prohibiting people to use it or dig for it, by reason that the sandbanks, upon being excavated, would be blown away with the wind. The woman never returned home, nor was her body ever found. It was shortly thereafter that the meteor was first seen; and it is said that it is the ghost of the unfortunate and profane woman that appears in this shape."—New Statistical Account, "Inverness," p. 184.

[9] Hogel, Entwurf zur Theorie der Statistik.

[10] The Baronial and Ecclesiastical Antiquities of Scotland. Illustrated by R. W. Billings, and William Burn.

[11] Prospectus Parochiale Scoticanum, now editing by Cosmo Innes, Esq., Advocate.

[12] Burke.

[13] Memoires sur le Duc de Berry.

[14] Alison.

[15] Chateaubriand.

[16] See Blackwood's Magazine, for January 1845, and for October 1846

Transcriber's note:

Minor typographical errors have been corrected without note. Irregularities and inconsistencies in the text have been retained as printed.

Mismatched quotes are not fixed if it's not sufficiently clear where the missing quote should be placed.

The cover for the eBook version of this book was created by the transcriber and is placed in the public domain.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Vol.
65, No. 400, February, 1849, by Various


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