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No. 393, July 1848, by Various

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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 64, No. 393, July 1848

Author: Various

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No. CCCXCIII.       JULY, 1848.       Vol. LXIV.


The Laws of Land.1
Life in the "Far West." Part II.17
American Thoughts on European Revolutions.31
The Caxtons. Part IV.40
Republican France.—June 1848.51
The Scottish Deer Forests.92
The Buried Flower.108
Huzza for the Rule of the Whigs.112
The Navigation Laws.114



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




No. CCCXCIII.       JULY, 1848.       Vol. LXIV.


A Treatise on the Succession to Property vacant by Death. By J. R. M'Culloch, Esq. London: Longmans, 1848.

Mr M'Culloch's book introduces us to a question much debated in this age of class jealousy. As soon as we open it, we are straightway environed with "a barbarous noise of owls and cuckoos, asses, apes, and dogs," amid whose jargon of phrases rises loudest and most frequent the cry of "commercial principles." It is a great grievance, it seems, that land should not be disposed of according to "commercial principles;" that hill and holt, and moor and dale, should not pass from seller to buyer with the same readiness as candles and calicoes. Truly we have enough, and more than enough, of these same commercial principles in all walks of thought. Even the pulpit is not free from them. Politics are positively smothered with them. Ethical science, with the shallowisms of Paley and Bentham round her neck, struggles feebly with them. The book-keeper is abroad every where, with an indestructible faith in double entry. The Spirit of the Age wears a pen behind his ear, and sits on a high stool with three legs. That the prevailing commercial principles should have been so long excluded from the absolute possession of our laws of land, and that those laws should have preserved to a time like this so much of their feudal character, is a notable proof of the adaptation of the laws to the general requirements of the community, and of the steadiness of that social system which is so essentially linked to the maintenance of these laws.

The cry of complaint to which we have above alluded, is inspired by many diverse motives. As Mr Cochrane's ragged followers flocked to Trafalgar Square to denounce the income-tax, so many a man takes up the shout against the law of primogeniture and entail, as tying up lands and restricting their sale, who never had the wherewithal to purchase a single acre if all broad England was in the market. On the other hand, the purse-proud citizen, sore that ready money is not yet quite at the top of the tree, and that he does not receive the same consideration at St James's as in Change Alley, delights to have some grievance whereon he can vent his spleen; and really, in some stolid instances, persuades himself that he is kept out of the land which his gold could buy, through the agency of aristocratical laws, as if George Robins had been a mythical personage, or the advertisements of Farebrother, Clark, and Lye were a mockery and delusion.

But the largest class of assailants are those who come to the debate fortified with certain specious economical arguments, generally derived from a one-sided view of some particular effect of these restrictive laws. To the demolition of these objectors Mr M'Culloch's work is more immediately addressed; and very effectually, in our opinion, does it accomplish its end. He has not, perhaps, treated the subject so widely as it might have been treated: he has not entered into the indirect social influences that might be[2] traced to our system of the laws relating to land; but the economical part of the question he has grasped most completely, and supported by most able and practical reasoning.

We must, we suppose, look for the text of the work, not where the text is usually found, but at the end. The following sentence, which is almost the concluding one, may be taken as the leading proposition of the work:—

"A powerful and widely-ramified aristocracy like that of England, not resting for support on any oppressive laws, and enjoying no privileges but which are for the public advantage, is necessary to give stability and security to the government, and freedom to the people. And our laws in regard to succession being well fitted to maintain such an aristocracy, and, at the same time, to inspire every other class with the full spirit of industry and enterprise, to change them would not be foolish merely, but criminal,—a lèse majesté against the public interests."—P. 172.

It must not, however, be supposed from this remark, that any portion of the work is appropriated to a set defence of government by means of an aristocracy. By an aristocracy we mean the deposition of political power in the hands of men of leisure and education, as opposed to the tendency of the Reform Bill, to transfer the governing functions to the "practical" men of the trading and moneyed interests, and the analogous claims of Chartism, founded on Jack Cade's complaint, that the "king's council are no good workmen." In England, we are pretty sure to have an aristocracy—that is, the influences which affect government and legislation will emanate principally from that class which is socially at the head of the nation; and the question is, whether we are to have a mere moneyed aristocracy, or one qualified by those mixed and undefinable conditions which, more than any thing else, act to keep down the growing and eager ascendency of wealth per se. Among the safeguards of such an aristocracy as we have described, not the least powerful is to be found in the laws discussed in the work before us. Mr M'Culloch, as we have said, assumes the importance to the country of preserving the present characteristics of British aristocracy; and he therefore proceeds at once to show how the laws on which he treats operate for this preservation, and to rebut the objections advanced against them on the score of their relations to other classes of the community.

One of the most frequent of these objections is, that the laws in question tend to diminish the productiveness of the land, and thereby inflict a serious injury on the community at large; that they prevent, in many instances, the landlord from granting leases to his tenant beyond the term of his own life; that the tenant, in consequence, is not willing to incur the outlay of drainage and other expensive improvements, because he is not secured by a lease; while the landlord, on the other hand, will not enter into these expenses, because he does not feel the same interest in his limited estate which he would in the unconditional fee-simple.

Note first of all the logic of this argument. The tenant, it seems, will not spend his money in draining without a lease. As, however, a lease would suffice to induce him so to do, we might naturally suppose that the landlord's estate for life, or in tail, would be at least an equal inducement. These reasoners, however, aver, that the landlord is only to be tempted by the unrestricted fee. According to this progressive scale, it might be fairly, argued, that the tenant, on becoming lessee for years, would still require the landlord's life-interest; and the latter, when seised of the fee, would decline the requisite expense, except on a guarantee of immortality, and justify himself by Horace's authority,—

Sit proprium quidquam puncto quod mobilis horæ
Permutet dominos, et cedat in altera jura."

But the general scope of an argument may be just, though clumsily stated and fallaciously supported. We are, however, at no loss for experiments on the largest scale whereby to test the theory here noticed. We have English agriculture, subjected to a limited law of entail, contrasted on the one hand with Scottish agriculture, under a law of perpetual entail, and on the other with that of France and its compulsory gavelkind.[3] Mr M'Culloch has taken an elaborate view of the question in its relation to the tillage of the soil in these three countries respectively, more especially in France. We find, from the result of his investigation, that,—

"The average produce per acre of the crops of wheat in England and Wales in good years, has been carefully estimated at thirty-two bushels an acre, and it is certainly not under thirty bushels. But in France the produce of wheat, even in the richest and best cultivated departments, is little more, according to the official returns and the best private authorities, than twenty bushels an acre; and at an average of the entire kingdom, it hardly amounts in a good year to fourteen bushels. This result is completely decisive. It shows that one acre of land in England yields, from its being better farmed, considerably more wheat than two acres in France: and if we took barley or oats, turnips, beef, or wool for a standard, the difference in our favour would be seen to be still greater.... If labour were taken for a standard instead of land, the result would be still more in our favour. One man and one horse in England produce more corn and other agricultural produce than three men and three horses in France. Labour in the latter is misapplied and wasted."—P. 117.


"While two husbandmen in France furnish a surplus of food above their own consumption adequate for one individual, the same number of English husbandmen furnish a surplus for no fewer than four individuals; showing, that, as measured by its capacity of providing for the other classes of the population, English is to French agriculture as four to one."—P. 121.

So much for the comparison of French and English agriculture. Let us now turn to Scotland:—

"In an Appendix to the 'Sketches of the History of Man,' published in 1774, Lord Kames says, 'The quantity of land that is locked up in Scotland by entails has damped the growing spirit of agriculture. There is not produced sufficiency of corn at home for our consumption; and our condition will become worse and worse by new entails, till agriculture and industry be annihilated.' Now the extent of land under entail in Scotland has been certainly more than doubled, perhaps more than trebled, since this paragraph was written, and yet agriculture and manufactures have made a more rapid progress in Scotland in the interval, and especially during the last thirty years, when entails were most prevalent, than in England or in any other country whatever."—P. 71.

Lord Kames, in this respect, seems to have had the same subtle ingenuity in prophesying counter to the event, as distinguishes Mr Cobden.

The first part of Mr M'Culloch's volume contains a cursory historical view of the earliest regulations of succession and inheritance. Thus, at p. 16, he traces the right of primogeniture, or preference of the eldest son, to the Mosaic law. We are far from maintaining that the specific details of the code promulgated on Sinai are a model of law for all nations; on the contrary, they were no doubt intended to be such as a wise human law-giver would frame, and consequently more or less applicable according to the changes and differences of social organisation. But we do hold that these laws indicate to mankind principles which are to be observed in all times and by all nations. Thus, the septennial release of debts, the return of every man to his possession in the year of jubilee, the prohibition of interest upon loans except to an alien, even the poor man's portion in the field and vineyard, may or may not be regulations adapted to a particular existing state of society. But they enunciate a principle of mercy and forbearance towards the poor and unfortunate, of which, we fear, our political economists and commercial legislators are too apt to lose sight. In conformity with this view, when we hear the right of primogeniture assailed as contrary to the law of nature, (by the way, where is this much-talked-of law of nature to be found?) we may safely appeal to the express recognition by the Jewish law of "the right of the first-born as the beginning of his father's strength," to show that the custom of primogeniture is at all events not repugnant to instinctive justice or the common-sense of mankind. The old Saxon law of gavelkind might be better adapted to a superabundance of land and a thin population; the preference of the youngest son, by the custom of Borough-English, might well prevail among the far progenitors of the[4] Saxon race on the steppes of Scythia,[1] when the elder brothers would be sent forth to roam over the boundless plain with their flocks and herds, the youngest remaining at home to be the prop of his father's old age. But in a settled and cultivated country, and among an advanced people, we maintain succession by primogeniture to be the most consonant, as a matter of theory, to the social feelings and requirements of man; and we think our author has fully established his position as to the beneficial character of its practical results.

In the course of his historical survey, Mr M'Culloch has of course touched on the principle of succession under the Roman law, but more lightly than we should have expected in reference to a system which has entered so largely into our Scottish law, and which is still accepted as a model framework of legal principles in most of the universities of Christendom. And the slight notice taken traces an analogy between the feudal and civil principles of succession, which we think is altogether incorrect. Our author, in speaking of the Roman law of succession, appears to confound in some measure the Roman term hæres with the English word heir. The civilian definition of hæres is qui ex testamento succedit in universum jus testatoris. In Scotland the word heir has much the same import:—"The law deems it reasonable," says Erskine, (Inst. book iii. tit. 8, §. 2) "that every fiar shall have the power by deed, during his life, to declare who shall have the lands after his death: and the person so favoured is called the heir." Whereas the feudal notion of the word heir preserved in the English law, is of one upon whom the estate is cast, after the death of his ancestor, by act of law and right of blood. In other words, hæres is he who is appointed by the will of the deceased to succeed to his civil rights, and, in default of such appointment, the person indicated by a certain general law. But the heir (in English law) is the next and worthiest of blood, appointed by the common-law to succeed to his ancestor; although this rule of succession may be set aside by the appointment or will of the ancestor, if possessed of the fee-simple. Bearing in mind this distinction, we shall perceive the cause of Mr M'Culloch's error when he says—

"The Furian, the Voconian, and the Falcidian laws were passed, the first two under the republic, and the latter under Augustus, to secure the interests of children by limiting the power of fathers to make settlements to their prejudice." P. 6.

Now, the Voconian law, so far from protecting the interests of children, frequently operated in the case of daughters to prejudice them;—of this we have a remarkable instance in the case of Annius Asellus, dwelt upon by Cicero, in the second action against Verres, Orat. i., c. 41—44. The law prevented all registered or assessed (censi) citizens of Rome from appointing a female as their hæres. Again, the Furian and Falcidian laws were passed to secure the person nominated as hæres from being prejudiced by the excessive amount of legacies under the will. Hence, if a man died leaving only daughters, he was prohibited by the Voconian law from appointing any of them as his hæres; and the other two laws restrained him from appointing a nominal hæres, and leaving his property to his daughters by way of legacies (legata.)

In truth, the English notion of heirship, as succession by right of blood, seems to be entirely due to the northern nations and the feudal system. Under both systems, however, it is observable how the progress of legislation and society has been to increase the privileges and diminish the duties of the constituted successor. For as, in tenure by chivalry, the heir was rather the person to whom, in consequence of proximity of blood, the lord might look for the performance of the military services, than the fortunate acquirer of the property, so the Roman hæres was regarded more in the light of one on whom devolved the religious, civil, and private duties of the deceased; frequently so burdensome that the inheritance was altogether refused, until the heir was guarded by such laws as the Furian and Falcidian.

While we are in the humour of finding[5] fault, we may notice a passage in which we think Mr M'Culloch has not dealt fairly with the English law. It is as follows:—

"In one respect the law of intestacy appears to stand much in need of revision. It is interpreted so as to give, in many cases, more to the eldest son than the real estate and his share of the personalty. Suppose, for example, that a person dies intestate, leaving an estate worth (say) L.100,000, with a mortgage made by him upon it for half its value, or £50,000, and leaving also £50,000 of personal property, in this case the real estate is obviously worth only £50,000; and consistently with the principles previously laid down, the eldest son should succeed to the estate burdened with its debt, and the personal property be divided among the children generally. But a different rule has been permitted to grow up. The personal property of persons dying intestate is the first fund for their debts, though secured upon their estates; and it is the surplus only, if there be any, after these debts are paid, that is divisible among the children, who, in the above case, would be entitled to nothing. This appears to be in all respects a most objectionable arrangement."—P. 41.

We cannot see any anomaly here. "It is a rule in equity," says Cruise, (Digest, tit. xv. c. 4,) "that where a person dies, leaving a variety of funds, one of which must be charged with a debt, that the fund which received the benefit by the contracting the debt shall make satisfaction." This seems to us perfectly just and reasonable, according to the principles of the English law. In the case put by Mr M'Culloch, the personalty of £50,000 obviously owes its existence to the mortgage debt; and it is, therefore, fairly applied to the discharge of that debt. But, cessante ratione, cessat etiam lex; this only applies where the deceased was himself the mortgager. Where the lands came to him mortgaged, his personal estate will not be liable, even though he may have made a covenant to pay it. We may refer the legal reader to the judgment of Lord King, delivered, with the assistance of Lord Chief-Justice Raymond and the Master of the Rolls, in Evelyn v. Evelyn, 2 P. Wms. 659. Compare Cope v. Cope, 1 Salk. 449. Shafto v. Shafto, 2 P. Wms. 664.

Although the custom of primogeniture and the law of entail exercise a similar influence on our social state, yet, as they may be said in some measure to go by a different path towards the same end, Mr M'Culloch has treated them separately. With respect to the first, he begins by rebutting Adam Smith's sweeping denunciation:—"Nothing can be more contrary to the real interest of a numerous family, than a right which, in order to enrich one, beggars all the rest of the children." Wealth of Nations, p. 171.

"On the contrary," says Mr M'Culloch, "we are well convinced that much of the industry and of the superior wealth and civilisation of modern Europe, may be ascribed to the influence of the custom of primogeniture in determining the succession to estates; and that, were it abolished, or superseded by the opposite custom of equally dividing landed property among all the children, or even among all the sons, they would suffer universally by the change, the youngest as well as the oldest; while it would most seriously compromise the interests of every other class."—P. 28.

The truth is, that the right of primogeniture is rather to be regarded as having for its object the benefit of the community, than the interest of the particular family. If a man has £50,000 a-year and five sons, it may appear, at first sight, decidedly more conducive to "the greatest possible happiness of the greatest possible number," that each of these five sons should have £10,000 a-year, than that one should possess the whole, or bulk, of the paternal property, and the other four be left to buffet their way through the world. But it is for the interest of the nation that its aristocracy should be founded in old families, fortified and graced by historical associations; and these are only to be kept up by a devolution of their lands according to the feudal rule. But, as regards the interest of the particular family, it will appear on consideration that, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, this also is most effectually promoted by the law of primogeniture. By means of this law, the main stock of the family is left in its full strength as a nucleus round which the younger branches are united, and from which their members derive alike a great portion of their status in society, and inducement to advance themselves in their respective pursuits; and, on the other hand, the professions of the country are exalted and dignified by[6] the infusion into their ranks of men of birth and education, who are, at the same time, dependent on those professions for their advancement. Sir Matthew Hale, as quoted by Mr M'Culloch, forcibly describes the results of the opposite system. "This equal division of inheritance," he says, speaking of the old times of Saxon gavelkind, "did by degrees bring the inhabitants to a low kind of country living; and families were broken; and the younger sons which, had they not had these little parcels of land to apply themselves to, would have betaken themselves to trades, or to military, or civil, or ecclesiastical employments, neglecting those opportunities, wholly applied themselves to those small divisions of land; whereby they neglected the opportunities of greater advantage of enriching themselves and the kingdom." And if it should be urged that Sir Matthew Hale could do little more than form an à priori judgment of the social condition of England in the days of the Confessor, it should be remembered that the picture here drawn is precisely applicable to the state of France at the present day, and may easily be traced to its similar system of partition. An important public result of the same system, as regards the landholders in the exercise of their functions as citizens, may also be observed in that country. The large body of landed proprietors, amounting to between four and five millions, so far from being the leaders of the people, are, perhaps, the most inert and uninfluential class of the whole community. They pay the bulk of the taxes, and grumble accordingly; but beyond a vague dread of aristocracy—not unnaturally founded, perhaps, on the traditions of the vexatious privileges swept away in 1791—they seem disposed calmly to acquiesce in all the proclamations, charters, and chimeras that maybe thrust upon them by busier handlers of the tools of government, and behold revolutions concocted in Paris, and bursting over their heads, apparently without the remotest conception that it any wise rests with them to control or guide the convulsion.

"It has sometimes been contended that the custom of primogeniture is injurious, from its interesting the leading families of the country in the support of expensive public establishments, in which their younger branches are most commonly placed."—P. 38.

This objection also Mr M'Culloch brings to the test of experiment, and shows that this bias, if it really exist, is little perceptible, and that the aristocracy have shown much more zeal to discharge the functions of the ill-paid offices of the army and navy, than to get into their hands the lucrative situations connected with the administration of justice. It was certainly not the immediate interest of the aristocracy, for instance, to maintain the offices of the six clerks in Chancery, the profits on which were estimated for compensation at sums varying, we believe, from £2500 to £1000 per annum.

The law of entail is traceable to the same human instincts as the law of primogeniture. The clannish feelings of the northern nations, their notion of representation by blood, and the territorial character of their citizenship, all combined to produce an anxiety to perpetuate the old stocks in the homes of their fathers. Nor is this desire of posthumous control over the transmission of lands the product, as is sometimes alleged, of an artificial state of society. Man's possessory instinct essentially connects itself with the future—Serit arbores quæ alteri prosint sæculo. The justice of gratifying this wish by general laws of the community is not more impeachable than that of guarding the indefeasible possession of the owner during his lifetime. It remains to be seen how far the sanction of entails is consistent with the good of the nation in general.

Every lawyer knows that the progress of legal decisions in England has been adverse to entails, and that although the statute De Donis continues on the statute-book, yet it was long ago rendered almost nugatory by the introduction of fines and recoveries. Hence the term entail is now popularly applied to denote the strict settlement of lands, under provisions which prevent them from passing from the heirs to whom they are limited; this having been, of old, the result of an entail properly so called, though it now requires a more complicated mode of settling, and can only endure (so as to render the lands inalienable) for a[7] life or any number of lives in being, and twenty-one years afterwards. This more popular meaning of the word entail is that which Mr M'Culloch follows—his object being to treat of the influence of tying up lands from alienation.

Measuring the practice of entails by the rule of utility, Mr M'Culloch selects two points as the principal topics of discussion.

"In the first place, it is alleged in favour of entails that they stimulate exertion and economy; that they hold out to industry and ambition the strongest and safest excitement in the prospect of founding an imperishable name and a powerful family, and of being remembered and venerated by endless generations as their chief and benefactor. And, in the second place, it is said that entails form the only solid bulwark of a respectable aristocracy, and prevent generations from being ruined by the folly or misfortunes of an individual."—P. 78.

The first of these propositions is, no doubt, partially true; but the motive put forward has not, we think, as a matter of experience, the force that might, at first sight, be attributed to it. Perhaps the keenest accumulators of wealth have not been those who have fixed their capital in a landed estate. The man of business habits and judicious speculation is drawn to make his fortune in obedience to a passion which is partly developed, and at all events fostered, by the pursuit of his life. It cannot be said to arise altogether from a notion of benefiting posterity, of being the founder of a house—the man of whom future Fitztomkynses shall be ashamed—that John Tomkins, merchant, sets at nought all the expostulations of self-indulgence:

"Tun' mare transilias? tibi tortâ cannabe fulto
Cœna sit in transtro? Veientanumque rubellum
Exhalet vapidâ læsum pice fissilis obba?"

Enormous fortunes were accumulated during the declining days of the Roman republic. But entails being then unknown, and the Roman nobility having no territorial position, these fortunes, usually acquired by oppression and extortion in the provinces, were squandered in largesses and corruption at home. There was no other way in which a Roman citizen of great wealth could establish the influence of his family. He could not, like, all English gentleman, connect his name with a landed estate, and extend his influence by those good offices and local duties which lie so immediately open to a man in that capacity. As an almost necessary consequence, he sought for power through the demoralisation and corruption of the holders of the suffrage—causes which contributed more than any other to the downfall of the republic. By lavishing his gold in this manner, he obtained, not only political eminence for himself, but also that power which led to proconsulates and proprætorships among his heirs, and thus gave them the opportunity of repairing, by fresh exactions, his diminished revenues.

Hence we should rather view the law of entail as an inducement to a man to perpetuate his thousands in broad acres than to acquire his fortune in the first instance. And, in conformity with this view, it may be observed, that it is more generally the son or other successor than the architect of the fortune himself who converts the accumulated wealth into this permanent form.

Mr M'Culloch's second point—the preservation of families by means of entails—is one of wider interest and more general importance. In a bustling mercantile community like ours, we cannot too jealously guard any institution which, directly or indirectly, tends to preserve distinctions due to something more than mere wealth. And there can be no doubt that the system of entails has saved many an ancient line from being thrust from its home of centuries to a strange spot, and this not only among the titled and wealthy, but among the yeomanry and "statesmen." In England, of course, a family may frequently perish through the possession of an estate in fee-simple passing into the hands of an unthrifty representative of the line, as the settlements require constant renewal. But in Scotland the system of perpetual entail exercises a much more potent influence in their behalf. Mr M'Culloch, though he rebuts many of the objections urged against the Scottish law, is nevertheless anxious to see it assimilated[8] in a great measure to that of England. There is, however, an exception which he would make to the rule against perpetuity of entails. It is with regard to the peerage, in which matter we cordially agree with him. There were, in ancient times, instances of barons who were degraded from their dignity on account of their lack of sufficient revenue to support their hereditary title. The independence and the dignity of the House of Lords would be alike maintained by an enactment enabling, or even obliging, all peers to tie up by perpetual entail a certain portion of their estates to accompany the title. Such anomalies as that of an Earl of Buchan (Lord Erskine's father, see Lord Campbell's Lives of the Chancellors) living in the uppermost flat of a sixteen-story house, would thereby be avoided with considerable advantage to the national interests.

Mr M'Culloch, therefore, who quotes Sir William Temple and Dr Johnson on the same side, would preserve the law of perpetual entail for the Scottish peerage, and extend it also to that of England. In other respects he is, as we have above stated, in favour of a considerable modification of the Scottish law of entail. He admits, however, the difficulty of dealing with existing entails.

"These have established a right of property not only in the actual possessors and their families, but, speaking generally, in a wide circle of collateral heirs; nor could the rights of the unborn heirs be affected without annulling the clauses in a great number of settlements, and also in marriage-contracts and other deeds inter vivos. It is, therefore, hardly possible materially to relax the fetters of entails with strict justice to all parties, though it might perhaps be slowly and gradually effected without inflicting any very serious hardship on any individual. We incline to think that this might be most easily brought about by saving the rights of living heirs of entail, and of such heirs as may be born under existing marriage-contracts. The interests of the possible heirs that might be prejudiced by the adoption of some such rule as this, are of so very unsubstantial a description that they might safely be neglected." P. 78.

At the time we write, a measure is pending before Parliament, entitled "A Bill for the amendment of the Law of Entail in Scotland," and endorsed with the names of the Lord-Advocate, Sir George Grey, and Mr Solicitor-General for Scotland. Whatever difficulties Mr M'Culloch feels with regard to relaxing the fetters of entail, it is obvious that the contrivers of this bill are in nowise hampered by them. They go to work in the most off-hand manner possible. A short and unobtrusive-looking bill is to drive clean through all the existing settlements and deeds of tailzie, with their complicated train of clauses irritant and resolutive, as if no mortal was concerned in the matter, and estates were the proper toys of law-makers.

The fact of the quantity of alienable land diminishing in a commercial country, while trade and population are increasing, is no doubt a state of things which calls for a remedy, since there must at some period or another, be a failure of land adequate to meet the requirements of realised fortunes. If, in the judgment of reasonable and practical observers, the difficulty could be met by making all future entails subject to be barred by a process analogous to that existing in England, we should think there could be no hesitation in affirming it to be the most just and most expedient course to introduce such a change, and leave the existing settlements in their contemplated perpetuity. If, however, it can be clearly established that already too much land is locked up in the northern kingdom, and that the soil now free from entail is insufficient to satisfy the requirements of future buyers, then we should say that the utmost care and skill were required in framing enactments which should adapt themselves to the justice of particular cases, and should, as far as might be, save existing and vested interests in their delicate multiplicity and connexion. If ever such care and skill were required, it would be in a measure which interferes more extensively with vested rights—usually with good reason a sacred thing in the eye of the law—than any which appears in the statute-books of the three kingdoms. A statute to convert the Irish tenants into owners of the fee-simple of their several holdings, (a project which has been talked of,) would[9] scarcely be a more startling invasion of the rights of property as they are usually recognised. We do not, however, intend to impeach the general provisions of the bill. If, as we before observed, so important a change was found to be necessary, it is right to make it; and it is no more than was effected in England by a more gradual process—the subtle fictions of the law-courts, which virtually got rid of the statute De Donis. But we can anticipate nothing but uncertainty and multiplied litigation, from the apparently crude and careless project now before us.

An instance of the loose wording of this bill strikes the reader in the very first section. It proposes to enact "that where any estate in Scotland shall be entailed by a deed of tailzie, dated on or after the first day of March one thousand eight hundred and forty-eight, it shall be lawful for any heir of entail, born after the date of such tailzie, being of full age, and in possession of such entailed estate in virtue of such tailzie, to acquire such estate in fee-simple, by applying to the Court of Session, &c." Now, what is this estate which the heir of entail is to acquire in fee-simple? The estate-tail, for so it is by hypothesis. But to talk of acquiring an estate-tail in fee-simple is nothing better than downright nonsense. An estate-tail is, by the origin of the word, cut or carved (taillé) out of the fee-simple. You may talk of converting or enlarging the part into the whole, but you cannot talk of acquiring the part in the entirety of the whole. This is not all; the bill plunges at once in medias res, without favouring us with any sort of definition of the important phrase, "heir of entail," in this and other clauses. The same expression in the statute 1 Jac. VII. c. 32, has already (see Sandford's Entails, p. 231) given rise to no small questioning and litigation, which promise to be renewed in abundance should this measure pass into a law. Again, perpetual inalienability is not an incident to all estates-tail. Lands merely bound by what are called the prohibitive clauses, may be alienated for a valuable consideration, though not by a voluntary or (as the Scotch say) gratuitous conveyance. Tailzies, however, to which no clauses are annexed, do not prevent the heir from conveying the lands in any manner he pleases. Now, as, the object of this bill is to relax the bonds of perpetual inalienability, we presume that only those tailzies which are guarded by the irritant and resolutive clauses are within its purview. If so, the general expression "deed of tailzie" should have been distinctly limited. If that expression should be held to comprehend all deeds of tailzie, which it must of course do when taken by itself, then the proposed act will exercise a very extensive disabling power, by restricting the unlimited right of alienation under tailzies of simple destination,[2] and the right of alienation for value under tailzies with prohibitive clauses only introduced, to the peculiar form and instrument pointed out by this bill, and which we suppose was devised in analogy to the forms substituted for fines and recoveries by the statute 3 & 4 Will. IV. c. 74.

We have already seen how Mr M'Culloch would deal with the difficulty of disturbing the devolution of lands already limited in perpetual entail—namely, by "saving the rights of living heirs of entail, and of heirs born under existing marriage-contracts." We think our author has not, in this passage, expressed himself with due legal perspicuity and precision. The phrase "living heirs of entail" is somewhat vague and uncertain; we presume Mr M'Culloch intended the living issue of the heir of entail in possession, and all living heirs-substitute and their living issue. Again, what are existing marriage-contracts? Probably those marriage-contracts are intended, which are annexed to marriages solemnised before the introduction of a new system. Both these suggestions, as we have interpreted them, might with justice, and advantage have formed part of the new law. It is true that this would, at all events for a considerable period of time, stop short of that assimilation of the Scottish law to the English which seems[10] to have been a great object with the framers of this bill. But the two systems would gradually correspond; and we hold that there is a principle of justice involved in the upholding of contracts the objects of which are as yet unfulfilled. Where an English settler has limited lands to a man for life, remainder to his first and other sons successively in tail, he knew, at the time of making the settlement, that it was liable to be barred with consent of the eldest son on his coming of age. But it was not so with a Scotch settler who executed a deed of tailzie to several brothers as successive heirs-substitute; and the legislature has no right, without the gravest public cause, to step in and defeat his intention.

But the bill, though intending to give far greater liberty to the owner of an entailed estate than Mr M'Culloch does, or, as we think, is consistent with justice, sets about affording him aid in the most ambiguous and misty manner conceivable. The 2d clause enacts that the heir of entail in possession, born after the date of the act, may disentail in the manner provided by the act; and an heir of entail born before the date of the act may similarly disentail, "with the consent (and not otherwise) of the heir-substitute next in succession, and heir-apparent under the entail of the heir in possession," he being born after the date of the act, and capable of contracting.

We should recommend the tenant in tail to be very cautious how he attempts to "acquire his estate in fee-simple" under the provisions of this clause. He is to obtain the consent of the heir-substitute next in succession. So far his course is clear. But the same person is also designated by the term "heir-apparent under the entail of the heir in possession." Now, is this a qualification of the general term "heir-substitute next in succession," and must such person, under the act, be also heir-apparent? If so, what is the particular qualification required of him under the expression "heir-apparent?" Adhering to the use of the phrase in popular language, we must take, as the only circumstances under which the next heir-substitute and the heir-apparent are one and the same person, the case in which the first estate under the entail is limited to a man and the heirs of his body, and the second to his second son and the heirs of his body; then, supposing the eldest son to die in the lifetime of his father, the second son would be both the next heir-substitute and also the heir-apparent. Is this, therefore, the only case within the act? Scarcely, we should think, was it so intended. Are we, then, to interpret the word heir-apparent in the sense in which the phrase heir-presumptive is generally used; and must we suppose that the cases indicated are those in which there is no issue under the first entail, and therefore the next heir-substitute is what we should call heir-presumptive to the person in possession? If so, what is to become of the numerous cases where there is issue to take under the existing estate-tail? Or can it be that the issue in tail is altogether forgotten by this act, and that the person whose consent is required is merely the next heir-substitute in any case? We are inclined to think this the most probable explanation of this unfortunate clause, but can scarcely imagine that it will be suffered to pass into a law. A further ambiguity, however, arises with respect to this term heir-apparent, from its having a peculiar technical meaning in the Scottish law. "He who is entitled," says Erskine, "to enter heir to a deceased ancestor is, before his actual entry, styled, both in our statutes and by our writers, apparent heir." If the bill intends any reference to this legal acceptation of the phrase, we can only understand the person whose consent is required, to be such person as, being next heir-substitute, would, on the immediate decease of the possessor, be his apparent heir, or entitled to enter on the lands. This, again, shuts out all those estates where the possessor has issue in tail, and would, consequently, limit the operation of the bill to exceptional cases. We think we have said enough to convince our readers that this clause is not likely to set free many entailed estates in Scotland—at all events, not without a chaos of litigation, in which the elements of profit will have a tendency to range themselves on the side of the lawyers.

The person whose consent is to be[11] obtained (whoever that mysterious person may be) is, as we have seen, to be born after the date of the act. In conformity with this principle, one would have supposed that where the next heir-substitute shall have been born before that date, then it should be necessary to obtain the consent of the first person entitled to take per formam doni, who shall be born after this date, together with the consent of all those who are to take before him. The third clause, however, introduces a new form of protection to the settlement, and merely enacts that, in such cases, the consent of a certain number of the heirs-substitute is to be obtained, (the blank left for the number was filled up with the word "three" in committee of the House of Commons. Nothing said about the issue in tail, as before.

Where the main enactments of the bill are so incomprehensible, it is useless to dwell on its details. We can only say, that whatever evils may be shown to exist under the present law, they will not only fail to be cured, but must be aggravated tenfold, by such a product of off-hand legislation—

"Sent before its time
Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
And that so lamely and unfashionable,"

that it must necessarily die of its own deformity, unless the law-courts will lick it into shape by their decisions,—a shape (as it must be) in which its own parents would not know it again.

The law of real property in France exhibits a system so distinctly antagonistic to our English and Scottish law of entail, that we cannot be surprised at the attention with which Mr M'Culloch has investigated its influences.

"According to the law of France, a person with one child may dispose at pleasure of a moiety of his property, the child inheriting the other moiety as legitim, or matter of right; a person having two children can only dispose of a third part of his property; and those having more than two must divide three-fourths of their property equally amongst them, one-fourth part being all that is then left at their disposal. When a father dies intestate, his property is equally divided among his children, without respect to sex or seniority. Nothing can be more distinctly opposed to the principles we have endeavoured to establish, and to the system followed in this country, than this law. It is therefore lucky that it is now no novelty. It has been established for more than half a century, so that we may trace and exhibit its practical influence over the condition of the extensive population subject to its operation. Such an experiment is of rare occurrence, but when made is invaluable. And if its results should confirm the conclusions already come to, it will go far to establish them on an unassailable basis."—P. 80-81.

We have already seen how these results may be traced in the state of French agriculture. They may also, we think, be discerned in the relative position which the landholders of France bear to other classes in the social scale. These, numbering between four and five millions, ought, as a class, to constitute the leaders of the nation. So far from this being the case, they are perhaps the most inert and uninfluential portion of the community, having apparently had little or no voice in the two revolutions which have swept over their heads within the last eighteen years, and as little in the erection, maintenance, or downfall of the Throne of the Barricades. It yet remains to be seen whether they will continue to accept every thing which the clubs of Paris are willing to force upon them. As tax-payers and cultivators of the soil, it can hardly suit them to be propagandists; as men who have something to lose, they will not readily give in to the dictatorial vagaries of Ledru Rollin. If, however, they would hold their own, it is time for them to be up and doing. France has been governed by a minority before now.

We have always regarded it as one of the main advantages of a landed aristocracy, that it raises up a principle of social rank antagonistic to that of mere wealth. In France, the constant subdivision and transfer of land breaks down this influence, and causes land to be regarded as a mere marketable article and equivalent for money.

"In countries where the custom of primogeniture exercises a powerful influence, families become identified with estates—the family representing the estate, and the estate the family. The wealth and consideration enjoyed by the latter depend upon, and are intimately[12] connected with, the possession of the lands which have descended to them from their ancestors. They estimate their value by another than a mere pecuniary standard. They are attached to them by the oldest and most endearing associations; and they are seldom parted with except under the most painful circumstances. Hence the perpetuity of property in England in the same families, notwithstanding the limited duration of entails; great numbers of estates being at this moment enjoyed by those whose ancestors acquired them at or soon after the Conquest. But in France such feelings are proscribed. Estates and families have there no abiding connexion; and at the demise of an individual who has a number of children, his estate can hardly escape being subdivided. And this effect of the law tends to imbue the proprietors with corresponding sentiments and feelings. 'Non seulement,' says M. De Tocqueville, 'la loi des successions rend difficile aux familles de conserver intacts les mêmes domaines, mais elle leur òte le désir de le tenter, et elle les entraîne, en quelque sorte, à coopérer avec elle à leur propre ruine.'"—P. 85-86.

But Mr M'Culloch dwells more particularly on the injurious effects to agriculture from the parcelling out of the land into small properties. He shows that a small proprietor is not so efficient a cultivator of the soil as a tenant, in which doctrine Arthur Young had preceded him. He shows, also, that the subdivision of properties leads to the subdivision of farms, and urges that it is impossible to have good farming on small patches of land. Of the miseries of an agricultural system carried on by small farmers on petty holdings, we have already a sufficient example in Ireland. We cannot but think, however, that the progress of things in England has too much swallowed up those little farms of from thirty to fifty acres, which at one time were common over the country. Not but what capital is employed at a great disadvantage on these little holdings—but where there is a general system of good-sized farms, an intermixture, of smaller farms is not attended with injurious effects proportional to those which arise where the whole of the land is split up into minute parcels. And then small farmers furnish a link between the yeomanry and peasantry, which it is useful to maintain, cheering the poor man's lot by pointing out to him a path by which lie may advance from the position of a day-labourer to that of an occupier of land. On the same principle, we are rejoiced to observe the gradual extension of the allotment system; although it would have a still more beneficial effect, we think, if the land was granted in the shape of a croft about the cottage, thus giving the tenant a greater interest, and more individual sense of proprietorship, than when his piece of land is packed, along with a number of others, into a mass of unsightly patches.

In connexion with the small holdings in Ireland, it should not be forgotten that this subdivision of the land results mainly from the practice of sub-letting; and this again has arisen in a great degree from the practice of granting long leases, the want of which in England has served, among many other things, for an outcry against the landlords. Mr M'Culloch has pointed out the evils of too long leases on the farming tenant, that they superinduce a sense of security which easily degenerates into indolence. But the influence on Ireland is even worse, by breaking up the land into small patches, on which the occupier can but just maintain himself, paying an exorbitant rent to the middleman. For it is not the eager demand for land amongst the Irish peasantry, as we sometimes hear, that has produced this subdivision of the land, but the subdivision that has produced the demand, by putting the cultivation of the land into the hands of a class who are unable, through want of skill and capital, to carry it on; who cannot, therefore, furnish employment for the labourers, and thus drive them to grasp at little parcels of land as their only means of securing a wretched subsistence; and this security, as we know, has more than once proved but a fancied one, as in the disastrous failure of the potato crop.

While we are on this subject, we may draw the reader's attention to a very able pamphlet by an Irish gentleman, on Irish matters, which, though we believe it has never been published, has had an extensive private circulation. We allude to "An Address to the Members of the House, of Commons on the Landlord and[13] Tenant Question, by Warren H. R. Jackson, Esq." The work, though somewhat tinged with the hard politico-economical school, is written with great shrewdness of thought and freedom from prejudice, and is well worthy the careful attention of the honourable House. The writer, in discussing the vexed question he has taken in hand, fully coincides with the general principles laid down by Mr M'Culloch. "This," he says, (speaking of the subdivision of land) "is one of the monster grievances of Ireland, and you will do little good unless you abate it." This abatement he would bring about mainly by prospective laws, as by placing all contracts for subletting hors la loi, and so taking away from the first lessee all power of recovering his rent from the actual tenant. We cannot but think that this would be found a most salutary enactment. It should be remembered, that the occupier is responsible to the owner of the freehold by the power of distress vested in the latter, and it is but just that he should be relieved from the liability to pay two rents—a liability which it is manifest no good farmer would incur, but which the squalid ravager of the soil in Ireland is always eager for.

It has been said that no further legislative enactment is required in Ireland, and that administrative wisdom must do what yet remains to be done. Mr Jackson, however, shows that there are such deep-seated evils in Ireland as cannot be cured except by the direct interference of the legislature. But we think he expects too much from the Sale of Encumbered Estates Bill. An extensive change of proprietorship would, we are persuaded, be a great evil in Ireland. There is an attachment in general to the "ould stock" among their poorer neighbours, which would naturally be followed by a jealousy and prejudice against the new comers who displaced them. And this prejudice would of itself neutralise any efforts for improvement which the landlord might otherwise be disposed to make—although, in most cases, we should not expect much effort in this direction from a stranger mortgagee, often an unwilling purchaser, who would naturally be anxious to contract with those parties from whom he could obtain his rents with least trouble, leaving them to deal with the land as they liked, and thereby continuing and increasing the odious middleman system.

Mr M'Culloch does not confine his examination of the compulsory partition in France to its influence on agriculture. He has discerned certain political effects of that and the concomitant system of which it is a part, with a precision which subsequent events have elevated into a sort of prophecy. The preface to his work is dated December 1847, and the work was published, we believe, early in January. There can, therefore, be no grounds for classing the following passage with those anticipations which are made after the event:—

"The aristocratical element is no longer to be found in French society; and the compulsory division of the soil, while it prevents the growth of an aristocracy, impresses the same character of mobility upon landed possessions that is impressed on the families of their occupiers. Hence the prevalent want of confidence in the continuance of the present order of things in France. What is there in that country to oppose an effectual resistance to a revolutionary movement? Monarchy in France has been stripped of those old associations and powerful bulwarks whence it derives almost all its lustre and support in this and other countries. The throne stands in solitary, though not unenvied dignity, without the shelter of a single eminence, exposed to the full force of the furious blasts that sweep from every point of the surrounding level. There is nothing intermediate, nothing to hinder a hostile majority in the Chamber of Deputies from at once subverting the regal branch of the constitution, or changing the reigning dynasty."—P. 132-133.

Scarcely was the printer's ink dry on this passage when the Throne of the Barricades was gone. We have given our author full credit for his sagacity in penetrating into the future, but we think it would puzzle him to foretell what is to come next. We are disposed to doubt, however, whether an aristocracy could have preserved the throne of Louis Philippe. It is true that in our own country William of Nassau and George of Brunswick maintained their crowns by[14] the aid of powerful sections of the nobility. But the revolutions which gave them those crowns were not the volcanic outbursts of popular force. Under such outbursts, no successful usurper, no "Hero-king," no sovereign by the will of the people, has been able to devise a principle which shall establish his throne in security, and serve in the stead of that prestige of old hereditary succession, that grand feudal idea of kingly right, which is the essential fountain of the reverence that guards royalty. Louis Philippe would have confirmed his sovereignty by means of the influence exerted upon interested officials. No sooner was his power shaken in its unstable equilibrium than the men whom his gold had bought rushed to worship the rising sun of the young Republic. Napoleon, before him, would have built up a similar power on military glory: his doom was sealed when his eagles turned from the field of Leipsic. Cromwell employed religious fanaticism to the same end: the fanaticism lasted his time; but we will venture to say that, had he lived, his protectorate would not have reached the seventeen years allotted to the democratic King of the French.

Our author is of opinion that, after all, the system of compulsory partition will fail to guard what has since become the French Republic:—

"But, though it were possible, which it is not, to obviate the mischievous influence of the French and other plans for preventing the increase and continuance of property in the same families, it may be confidently predicted that they will, in time to come as hitherto, wholly fail in their grand object of perpetuating the ascendancy of the democracy. In old settled and fully peopled countries, where the bulk of the population is necessarily poor and dependent, an aristocracy is indispensable for the support of a free system of government—'Il importe à tous les peuples qui ont la prétention de devenir ou de rester puissants, d'avoir une aristocratie, c'est-à-dire un corps héréditaire ou non, qui conserve et perpetue les traditions, donne de l'esprit de suite à la politique, et se voue à l'art le plus difficile de tous, qu' aujourd'hui cependant tout le monde croit savoir sans l'avoir appris, celui de gouverner. Un peuple sans aristocratic pourra briller dans les lettres et les arts, mais sa gloire politique me semble devoir être passagère comme un méteore.' Chevalier, Lettres sur l'Amerique, ii. 379," pp. 171, 172.

We have already said that we think England certain to have an aristocracy of some description. The ambition of the people to advance themselves individually in the social scale will necessarily lead to a high value being set upon those advanced positions, and will tend to make them the fulcrum from which the country is governed. And we can conceive nothing more fatal to our national organisation than the result which would follow indirectly from the repeal of these laws. It may be supposed at first sight that no very vital question is involved here. Let those who suppose so, take a view of the probable condition of society which would ensue. These, and other so-called feudalities, being swept away, land becomes a commercial article, according to the desire of the plutocratic reformers. Estates are trucked about in the market like bills of exchange; constantly changing hands, their owners have little connexion with them or the people that live on them, regarding them merely in the light of so much realised capital. The old families gradually become dispossessed; mere wealth is recognised as the sole qualification for rank and influence; and the leading class in the state is composed of men who are an aristocracy by virtue of ready money. Far be it from us to undervalue the enterprise, integrity, and industry of our merchant manufacturers and tradesmen. But we will say that when we meet with a man, as we often do among those classes, endowed with a broad range of thought and high and noble aims, we regard him as possessing these qualities not as a consequence, but in spite of a commercial training. The immediate effects of such training are to narrow the mind and cramp the soul, not in respect of domestic and social life—for in these, perhaps, the middle classes are unsurpassed by any other—but in the provinces of the statesman and the politician.

In these times, it seems to be commonly[15] supposed that a legislator—like a poet—nascitur, non fit. There is a certain kind of training, the acquisition of a certain cast of thought, which are requisites for statesmen as a class, as much as his legal reading for a lawyer, or his apprenticeship for a handicraftsman. Statesmen, however, have to deal with practical matters; and therefore we think, as we have before said, that while the predominance of these requisites in the legislature is essential to good government, there may with advantage at the same time be a certain admixture of the men practically versed in commerce and manufactures. But this should be always a subordinate, not a leading, element in the principles which regulate the administration of government.—We repeat, that the counting-house, the loom, and the anvil, are not the best schools for legislators. For that office, a man requires leisure and education. We shall be told that a "Squire" is not necessarily an educated man. We do not maintain that he is. But, in the first place, as we cannot well have an education-test, we must go to the class in which, as a class, we find the highest and most enlarged form of education; and we believe that this qualification can, without question, be claimed for the leisure-class, or gentlemen of England. In the second place, it should be remembered, that if the squire is not always individually what we should call an educated man, he yet imbibes his thoughts and notions from those who are such, who give tone to the society in which he moves. In investigating the characteristics of classes, it can scarcely be but that a number of exceptions to our general rules will force themselves upon our attention. Yet, in good truth, we believe that almost all the individual examples which can be cited will bear out our estimate. The highest contributions to the legislature, on the part of the middle or commercial classes, have been the shrewd practical men of business, men of the stamp of Mr Hawes. As for the Cobdens and Brights, et hoc genus omne, their only motive principle appears to be the interests of My Shop. Their notion of loyalty, patriotism, and British prosperity, is nothing but low wages, high profits, and a brisk trade in calicoes.

Many of our readers will recollect a passage in Cicero, (Off. i. 42,) in which he reprobates, more or less, all commercial pursuits, in respect of their operations on the moral insight of man, and finishes with the praise of the culture of the soil, in these words: "Omnium rerum ex quibus aliquid acquiritur, nihil est agriculturâ meliùs, nihil uberiùs, nihil dulciùs, nihil homine libero digniùs." In this country we should find it difficult to go along with the feelings of the old Roman republican on these points. But though we have already expressed our high sense of the social and domestic virtues of the middle or trading classes, yet we are most confident in the truth of our position, that the shop is the worst possible preparation for the senate. We know that there is a talk abroad about earnest workers, drones of the hive, and so forth. By all means, let every man work who is fit to work. But it is not necessary, nor is it desirable, that every man should work for gain. On the contrary, we hold that a class endowed with leisure is indispensable, not only for the grace and civilisation, but even for the moral well-being of a community. That money should become the one grand loadstar of thought and action is the bane of those societies where the pursuit of money is the general employment; but where there is such a leisure-class as we have spoken of, forming the topmost rank of a nation otherwise chiefly mercantile, there are numberless influences derived from it which percolate through the underlying masses, and check or modify the exclusive reverence for wealth to which they would otherwise be prone. Even a mere blind respect for rank or title exalts the mind immeasurably as compared with mammon-worship.

While on the subject of our leisure-class, which is pretty nearly synonymous with the landed gentry, we must not pass over in silence a subject in connexion with which the outcry against "the drones of the hive" is frequently introduced. We refer to the Game-Laws. The whole question of these laws has been so fully discussed in a recent Number of this magazine,[16] that we will not attempt in any way to open that controversy. But they are so commonly coupled with the Laws of Entail as "feudalities," and as interfering with the transmission of land according to "commercial principles," that we could not altogether omit the mention of them. We will at this time only observe, that the denunciation of the Game-Laws is a part of the crusade which Hard-Cash, that arrogant monopolist who bears no brother near his throne, is waging against all other objects of interest or devotion. Let it not be supposed that laws are of minor importance because they relate to the amusements of any portion of the community. They may derive their importance from that circumstance as tending to raise up something which shall cope with the lust of gold. The game-preserving interest is worth maintenance if only as clashing with mammonism.

While the brawlers about "improvement" and "progress," are heaping their meaningless abuse upon feudalities, we should be glad to know what they purpose to do with that greatest feudality of all, the Crown? Already there are symptoms of an intention to take that matter in hand. Mr Cobden and some of his Calibans have talked in the House of Commons about curtailing the "barbarous splendour" of the throne. They know nothing and care nothing about the historical association and constitutional truths embodied in the ancient appendages of royalty. How should they? They want somebody to look after the police, and take care that no one robs their till; that is their idea of government. They want a man (some of them being willing to allow him a small salary, though others think that it does not pay) to preach to the masses, and tell them not to steal, and to be content with their wages; that is their idea of the church. We do not think, however, that the tone of thought prevalent among the Manchester school is destined yet to lead the mind of England. And we are the less inclined to look forward to such a national debasement when we find so enlightened an advocate of free-trade policy as Mr M'Culloch—the advocate of a theory which we hold to be erroneous, but not the selfish and greedy clamourer for the gain of himself and his class—thus coming forward to vindicate the laws which preserve the hereditary character of our aristocracy, which lend so efficient an aid in shielding us from the crushing tread of mammonism, and in preventing "commercial principles" from introducing the ledger and day-book into our manor houses, and the counter into our farmers' parlours. In this view we most heartily thank our author for his noble and energetic contribution to our National Defences at the present time; and as there is a wide field open in connexion with the subject he has so powerfully handled, we cannot take leave of him without expressing a hope that we may before long listen to him again "on the same side."




[The reader is informed that "Life in the Far West" is no fiction. The scenes and incidents described are strictly true. The characters are real, (the names being changed in two or three instances only,) and all have been, and are, well known in the Western country.]

"And Mary Brand herself,—what is she like?"

"She's 'some' now; that is a fact, and the biggest kind of punkin at that," would have been the answer from any man, woman, or child, in Memphis County, and truly spoken too; always understanding that the pumpkin is the fruit to which the ne-plus-ultra of female perfection is compared by the figuratively speaking westerns.

Being an American woman, of course she was tall, and straight and slim as a hickory sapling, well formed withal, with rounded bust, and neck white and slender as the swan's. Her features were small, but finely chiselled; and in this, it may be remarked, the lower orders of the American women differ from, and far surpass the same class in England, or elsewhere, where the features, although far prettier, are more vulgar and commonplace. She had the bright blue eye, thin nose, and small but sweetly-formed mouth, the too fair complexion and dark brown hair, which characterise the beauty of the Anglo-American, the heavy masses (hardly curls) which fell over her face and neck contrasting with their polished whiteness. Such was Mary Brand: and to her good looks being added a sweet disposition, and all the good qualities of a thrifty housewife, it must be allowed that she fully justified the eulogiums of the good people of Memphis.

Well, to cut a love-story short, in the which not a little moral courage is shown, young La Bonté fell desperately in love with the pretty Mary, and she with him; and small blame to her, for he was a proper lad of twenty—six feet in his moccassins—the best hunter and rifle-shot in the country, with many other advantages too numerous to mention. But when did the course, &c. e'er run smooth? When the affair had become a recognised "courting," (and Americans alone know the horrors of such prolonged purgatory,) they became, to use La Bonté's words, "awful fond," and consequently about once a-week had their tiffs and makes-up.

However, on one occasion, at a "husking," and during one of these tiffs, Mary, every inch a woman, to gratify some indescribable feeling, brought to her aid jealousy—that old serpent who has caused such mischief in this world; and by a flirtation over the corn-cobs with Big Pete, La Bonté's former and only rival, struck so hard a blow at the latter's heart, that on the moment his brain caught fire, blood danced before his eyes, and he became like one possessed. Pete observed and enjoyed his struggling emotion—better for him had he minded his corn-shelling alone; and the more to annoy his rival, paid the most sedulous attention to the pretty Mary.

Young La Bonté stood it as long as human nature, at boiling heat, could endure; but when Pete, in the exultation of his apparent triumph, crowned his success by encircling the slender waist of the girl with his arm, and snatched a sudden kiss, he jumped upright from his seat, and seizing a small whisky-keg which stood in the centre of the corn-shellers, he hurled it at his rival, and crying to him, hoarse with passion, "to follow if he was a man," he left the house.

At that time, and even now, in the remoter states of the western country, rifles settled even the most trivial differences between the hot-blooded youths; and of such frequent occurrence and invariably bloody termination did they become, that they scarcely produced sufficient excitement to draw together half a dozen spectators of the duel.

In the present case, however, so public was the quarrel, and so well[18] known the parties concerned, that not only the people who had witnessed the affair, but all the neighbourhood thronged to the scene of action, where, in a large field in front of the house, the preliminaries of a duel between Pete and La Bonté were being arranged by their respective friends.

Mary, when she discovered the mischief her thoughtlessness was likely to occasion, was almost beside herself with grief, but she knew how vain it would be to attempt to interfere. The poor girl, who was most ardently attached to La Bonté, was carried, swooning, into the house, where all the women congregated, and were locked in by old Brand, who, himself an old pioneer, thought but little of bloodshed, but refused to let the "women folk" witness the affray.

Preliminaries arranged, the combatants took up their respective positions at either end of a space marked for the purpose, at forty paces from each other. They were both armed with heavy rifles, and had the usual hunting-pouches, containing ammunition, hanging over the shoulder. Standing with the butts of their rifles on the ground, they confronted each other, and the crowd drawing away a few paces only on each side, left one man to give the word. This was the single word "fire;" and after this signal was given, the combatants were at liberty to fire away until one or the other dropped.

At the word both the men quickly raised their rifles to the shoulder, and as the sharp cracks rung instantaneously, they were seen to flinch, as either felt the pinging sensation of a bullet entering his flesh. Regarding each other steadily for a few moments, the blood running down La Bonté's neck from a wound under the left jaw, whilst his opponent was seen to place his hand once to his right breast, as if to feel the position of his wound, they commenced reloading their rifles. As, however, Pete was in the act of forcing down the ball with his long hickory wiping-stick, he suddenly dropped his right arm,—the rifle slipped from his grasp,—and, reeling for a moment like a drunken man,—he fell dead to the ground.

Even here, however, there was law of some kind or another, and the consequences of the duel were, that the constables were soon on the trail of La Bonté to arrest him. He, however, easily avoided them, and taking to the woods, lived for several days in as wild a state as the beasts he hunted and killed for his support.

Tired of this, however, he resolved to quit the country, and betake himself to the mountains, for which life he had ever felt an inclination.

When, therefore, he thought the officers of justice had tired of seeking him, and the coast was comparatively clear, he determined to start on his distant expedition to the Far West.

Once more, before he carried his project into execution, he sought and had a last interview with Mary Brand.

"Mary," said he, "I'm about to break. They're hunting me like a fall buck, and I'm bound to quit. Don't think any more about me, for I shall never come back." Poor Mary burst into tears, and bent her head on the table near which she was sitting. When again she raised it, she saw La Bonté, with his long rifle on his shoulder, striding with rapid steps from the house; and year after year rolled on, and he never returned.

A few days after this he found himself at St Louis, the emporium of the fur trade, and the fast rising metropolis of the precocious settlements of the west. Here, a prey to the agony of mind which jealousy, remorse, and blighted love mix into a very puchero of misery, La Bonté got into the company of certain "rowdies," a class which every western city particularly abounds in; and anxious to drown his sorrows in any way, and quite unscrupulous as to the means, he plunged into all the vicious excitements of drinking, gambling, and fighting, which form the every-day amusements of the rising generation of St Louis.

Perhaps in no other part of the United States, where indeed humanity is frequently to be seen in many curious and unusual phases, is there a population so marked in its general character, and at the same time divided into such distinct classes, as in the above-named city. Dating, as it does, its foundation from yesterday,—for what are thirty years in the growth of a metropolis?—its[19] founders are now scarcely passed middle life, regarding with astonishment the growing works of their hands; and whilst gazing upon its busy quays, piled with grain and other produce of the west, its fleets of huge steamboats lying tier upon tier alongside the wharves, its well-stored warehouses and all the bustling concomitants of a great commercial depot, they can scarcely realise the memory of a few short years, when on the same spot nothing was to be seen but the few miserable hovels of a French village—the only sign of commerce the unwieldy bateaux of the Indian traders, laden with peltries from the distant regions of the Platte and Upper Missouri. Where now intelligent and wealthy merchants walk erect, in conscious substantiality of purse and credit, and direct the commerce of a vast and numerously-populated region, but the other day stalked, in dress of buckskin, the Indian trader of the west; and all the evidences of life, mayhap, consisted of the eccentric vagaries of the different bands of trappers and hardy mountaineers, who accompanied, some for pleasure and some as escort, the periodically arriving bateaux, laden with the beaver skins and buffalo robes collected during the season at the different trading posts in the Far West.

These, nevertheless, were the men whose hardy enterprise opened to commerce and the plough the vast and fertile regions of the West. Rough and savage though they were, they alone were the pioneers of that extraordinary tide of civilisation which has poured its resistless current through tracts large enough for kings to govern; over a country now teeming with cultivation, where, a few short years ago, countless herds of buffalo roamed unmolested, the bear and deer abounded, and where the savage Indian skulked through the woods and prairies, lord of the unappreciated soil which now yields its prolific treasures to the spade and plough of civilised man. To the wild and half-savage trapper, who may be said to exhibit the energy, enterprise, and hardihood characteristic of the American people, divested of all the false and vicious glare with which a high state of civilisation, too rapidly attained, has obscured their real and genuine character, in which the above traits are eminently prominent—to these men alone is due the empire of the West—destined in a few short years to become the most important of those confederate states which compose the mighty union of North America.

Sprung, then, out of the wild and adventurous fur trade, St Louis, still the emporium of that species of commerce, preserves even now, in the character of its population, many of the marked peculiarities which distinguished its early founders, who were identified with the primitive Indian in hardiness and instinctive wisdom. Whilst the French portion of the population retain the thoughtless levity and frivolous disposition of their original source, the Americans of St Louis, who may lay claim to be native, as it were, are as particularly distinguished for determination and energy of character as they are for physical strength and animal courage; and are remarkable, at the same time, for a singular aptitude in carrying out commercial enterprises to successful terminations, which would appear to be incompatible with the love of adventure and excitement which forms so prominent a feature in their character. In St Louis, nevertheless, and from her merchants, have emanated many commercial enterprises of gigantic speculation, not confined to its own locality or the distant Indian fur trade, but embracing all parts of the continent, and even a portion of the Old World. And here it must be remembered that St Louis is situated inland, at a distance of upwards of one thousand miles from the sea, and three thousand from the capital of the United States.

Besides her merchants and upper class, who form a little aristocracy even here, she has a large portion of her population still connected with the Indian and fur trade, who preserve all their characteristics unacted upon by the influence of advancing civilisation, and between whom and other classes there is a marked distinction. There is, moreover, a large floating population of foreigners of all nations, who must possess no little amount of enterprise to be tempted to this spot, from whence they spread over the remote western tracts, still invested by the[20] savage; and, therefore, if any of their blood is infused into the native population, the characteristic energy and enterprise is increased, and not tempered down, by the foreign cross.

But perhaps the most singular of her casual population are the mountaineers, who, after several seasons spent in trapping, and with good store of dollars, arrive from the scene of their adventures, wild as savages, determined to enjoy themselves, for a time, in all the gaiety and dissipation of the western city. In one of the back streets of the town is a tavern well known as the "Rocky Mountain House," and here the trappers resort, drinking and fighting as long as their money lasts, which, as they are generous and lavish as Jack Tars, is for a few days only. Such scenes as are enacted in the Rocky Mountain House, both tragical and comical, are beyond the powers of pen to describe; and when a fandango is in progress, to which congregate the coquettish belles from "Vide Poche," as the French portion of a suburb is nicknamed,—the grotesque endeavours of the bear-like mountaineers to sport a figure on the light fantastic toe, and their insertions into the dance of the mystic jumps of Terpsichorean Indians when engaged in the "medicine" dances in honour of bear, of buffalo, or ravished scalp,—are such startling innovations on the choreographic art as would cause the shade of Gallini to quake and gibber in his pumps.

Passing the open doors and windows of the Mountain House, the stranger stops short as the sounds of violin and banjo twang upon his ears, accompanied by extraordinary noises—which sound unearthly to the greenhorn listener, but which the initiated recognise as an Indian song roared out of the stentorian lungs, of a mountaineer, who, patting his stomach with open hands, to improve the necessary shake, choruses the well-known Indian chant:—

&c. &c. &c.

and polishing off the high notes with a whoop which makes the old wooden houses shake again, as it rattles and echoes down the street.

Here, over fiery "monaghahela," Jean Batiste, the sallow half-breed voyageur from the north—and who, deserting the service of the "North-West," (the Hudson's Bay Company,) has come down the Mississippi, from the "Falls," to try the sweets and liberty of "free" trapping—hobnobs with a stalwart leather-clad "boy," just returned from trapping on the waters of Grand River, on the western side the mountains, who interlards his mountain jargon with Spanish words picked up in Taos and California. In one corner a trapper, lean and gaunt from the starving regions of the Yellow Stone, has just recognised an old companyero, with whom he hunted years before in the perilous country of the Blackfeet.

"Why, John, old hos, how do you come on?"

"What! Meek, old 'coon! I thought you were under?"

One from Arkansa stalks into the centre of the room, with a pack of cards in his hand, and a handful of dollars in his hat. Squatting cross-legged on a buffalo robe, he smacks down the money, and cries out—"Ho, boys, hyar's a deck, and hyar's the beaver, (rattling the coin,) who dar set his hos? Wagh!"

Tough are the yarns of wondrous hunts and Indian perils, of hairbreadth 'scapes and curious "fixes." Transcendant are the qualities of sundry rifles, which call these hunters masters; "plum" is the "centre" each vaunted barrel shoots; sufficing for a hundred wigs is the "hair" each hunter has "lifted" from Indians' scalps; multitudinous the "coups" he has "struck." As they drink so do they brag, first of their guns, their horses, and their squaws, and lastly of themselves:—and when it comes to that, "ware steel."

La Bonté, on his arrival at St. Louis, found himself one day in no less a place than this; and here he made acquaintance with an old trapper about to start for the mountains in a few days, to hunt on the head waters of Platte and Green River. With this man he resolved to start, and, having still some hundred dollars in cash, he immediately set about equipping himself for the expedition. To effect this, he first of all visited the[21] gun-store of Hawken, whose rifles are renowned in the mountains, and exchanged his own piece, which was of very small bore, for a regular mountain rifle. This was of very heavy metal, carrying about thirty-two balls to the pound, stocked to the muzzle and mounted with brass, its only ornament being a buffalo bull, looking exceedingly ferocious, which was not very artistically engraved upon the trap in the stock. Here, too, he laid in a few pounds of powder and lead, and all the necessaries for a long hunt.

His next visit was to a smith's store, which smith was black by trade and black by nature, for he was a nigger, and, moreover, celebrated as being the best maker of beaver-traps in St Louis, and of whom he purchased six new traps, paying for the same twenty dollars—procuring, at the same time, an old trap-sack, made of stout buffalo skin, in which to carry them.

We next find La Bonté and his companion—one Luke, better known as Grey-Eye, one of his eyes having been "gouged" in a mountain fray—at Independence, a little town situated on the Missouri, several hundred miles above St Louis, and within a short distance of the Indian frontier.

Independence may be termed the "prairie port" of the western country. Here the caravans destined for Santa Fé and the interior of Mexico, assemble to complete their necessary equipment. Mules and oxen are purchased, teamsters hired, and all stores and outfit laid in here for the long journey over the wide expanse of prairie ocean. Here, too, the Indian traders and the Rocky Mountain trappers rendezvous, collecting in sufficient force to ensure their safe passage through the Indian country. At the seasons of departure and arrival of these bands, the little town presents a lively scene of bustle and confusion. The wild and dissipated mountaineers get rid of their last dollars in furious orgies, treating all comers to galore of drink, and pledging each other, in horns of potent whisky, to successful hunts and "heaps of beaver." When every cent has disappeared from their pouches, the free trapper often makes away with rifle, traps, and animals, to gratify his "dry," (for your mountaineer is never "thirsty;") and then, "hos and beaver" gone, is necessitated to hire himself to one of the leaders of big bands, and hypothecate his services for an equipment of traps and animals. Thus La Bonté picked up three excellent mules for a mere song, with their accompanying pack saddles, apishamores,[3] and lariats, and the next day, with Luke, "put out" for Platte.

As they passed through the rendezvous, which was encamped on a little stream beyond the town, even our young Mississippian was struck with the novelty of the scene. Upwards of forty huge waggons, of Connestoga and Pittsburg build, and covered with snow-white tilts, were ranged in a semicircle, or rather a horse-shoe form, on the flat open prairie, their long "tongues" (poles) pointing outwards; with the necessary harness for four pairs of mules, or eight yoke of oxen, lying on the ground beside them, spread in ready order for "hitching up." Round the waggons groups of teamsters, tall stalwart young Missourians, were engaged in busy preparation for the start, greasing the wheels, fitting or repairing harness, smoothing ox-bows, or overhauling their own moderate kits or "possibles." They were all dressed in the same fashion: a pair of "homespun" pantaloons, tucked into thick boots reaching nearly to the knee, and confined round the waist by a broad leathern belt, which supported a strong butcher knife in a sheath. A coarse checked shirt was their only other covering, with a fur cap on the head.

Numerous camp-fires surrounded the waggons, and by them lounged wild-looking mountaineers, easily distinguished from the "greenhorn" teamsters by their dresses of buckskin, and their weather-beaten faces. Without an exception, these were under the influence of the rosy god; and one, who sat, the picture of misery, at a fire by himself—staring into the blaze with vacant countenance, his long matted hair hanging in unkempt masses over his face, begrimed with the dirt of a week, and pallid with the effects of ardent drink—was suffering[22] from the usual consequences of having "kept it up" beyond the usual point, and now was paying the penalty in a fit of "horrors"—as delirium tremens is most aptly termed by sailors and the unprofessional.

In another part, the merchants of the caravan and Indian traders were superintending the lading of the waggons, or mule packs. These were dressed in civilised attire, and some bedizened in St Louis or Eastern City dandyism, to the infinite disgust of the mountain men, who look upon a bourge-way (bourgeois) with most undisguised contempt, despising the very simplest forms of civilisation. The picturesque appearance of the encampment was not a little heightened by the addition of several Indians from the neighbouring Shawnee settlement, who, mounted on their small active horses, on which they reclined, rather than sat, in negligent attitudes, quietly looked on at the novel scene, indifferent to the "chaff" which the thoughtless teamsters indulged in at their expense. Numbers of mules and horses were picketed at hand, while a large herd of noble oxen were being driven towards the camp—the wo-ha of the teamsters sounding far and near, as they collected the scattered beasts in order to yoke up.

As most of the mountain men were utterly unable to move from camp, Luke and La Bonté, with three or four of the most sober, started in company, intending to wait on "Blue," a stream which runs into the Caw or Kanzas River, until the "balance" of the band came up. Mounting their mules, and leading the loose animals, they struck at once into the park-like prairie, and were out of sight of civilisation in an instant.

It was the latter end of May, towards the close of the season of heavy rains, which in early spring render the climate of this country almost intolerable, at the same time that they serve to fertilise and thaw the soil, so long bound up by the winter's frosts. The grass was every where luxuriously green, and gaudy flowers dotted the surface of the prairie. This term, however, should hardly be applied to the beautiful undulating scenery of this park-like country. Unlike the flat monotony of the Grand Plains, here well wooded uplands clothed with forest trees of every species, and picturesque dells through which run clear and bubbling streams belted with gay-blossomed shrubs, every where present themselves; whilst on the level meadowland, topes of trees with spreading foliage afforded a shelter to the game and cattle, and well-timbered knolls rise at intervals from the plain.

Many clear streams dashing over their pebbly beds intersect the country, from which, in the noonday's heat, the red-deer jump, shaking their wet sides, as the noise of approaching man disturbs them; and booming grouse rise from the tall luxuriant herbage at every step. Where the deep escarpments of the river banks exhibit the section of the earth, a rich alluvial soil of surprising depth appears to court the cultivation of civilised man; and in every feature it is evident that here nature has worked with kindliest and most bountiful hand.

For hundreds of miles along the western or right bank of the Missouri does such a country as this extend, to which, for fertility and natural resources, no part of Europe can offer even feeble comparison. Sufficiently large to contain an enormous population, it has, besides, every advantage of position, and all the natural capabilities which should make it the happy abode of civilised man. Through this unpeopled country the United States pours her greedy thousands, to seize upon the barren territories of her feeble neighbour.

Camping the first night on "Black Jack," our mountaineers here cut each man a spare hickory wiping-stick for his rifle, and La Bonté, who was the only greenhorn of the party, witnessed a savage ebullition of rage on the part of one of his companions, exhibiting the perfect unrestraint which these men impose upon their passions, and the barbarous anger which the slightest opposition to the will excites. One of the trappers, on arriving at the camping-place, dismounted from his horse, and, after divesting it of the saddle, endeavoured to lead his mule by the rope up to the spot where he wished to deposit his pack. Mule-like, however, the more[23] he pulled the more stubbornly she remained in her tracks, planting her fore-legs firmly, and stretching out her neck with provoking obstinacy. If truth be told, it does require the temper of a thousand Jobs to manage a mule; and in no case does the wilful mulishness of the animal stir up one's choler more than in the very trick which this one was playing, and which is a daily occurrence. After tugging ineffectually for several minutes, winding the rope round his body, and throwing himself forward and suddenly with all his strength, the trapper actually foamed with passion; and although he might have subdued the animal at once by fastening the rope with a half-hitch round its nose, with an obstinacy equal to that of the mule itself he refused to attempt it, preferring to vanquish her by main strength. However, this failed, and with a volley of blasphemous imprecations the mountaineer suddenly seized his rifle, and, levelling it at the mule's head, shot her dead.

Passing the Wa-ka-rasha, a well-timbered stream, they met a band of Osages going "to buffalo." These Indians, in common with some tribes of the Pawnees, shave the head, with the exception of a ridge from the forehead to the centre of the scalp, which is "roached" or hogged like the mane of a mule, and stands erect, plastered with unguents, and ornamented by feathers of the hawk and turkey. The naked scalp is often painted in mosaic with black and red, the face with shining vermilion. They were all naked to the breech-clout, the warmth of the sun having caused them to throw their dirty blankets from their shoulders. These Indians not unfrequently levy contributions on strangers whom they may accidentally meet; but they easily distinguish the determined mountaineer from the incautious greenhorn, and think it better to let the former alone.

Crossing Vermilion, they arrived on the fifth day at "Blue," where they encamped in the broad timber which belts the creek, and there awaited the arrival of the remainder of the party.

It was two days before they came up; but the day after, fourteen in number, they started for the mountains, striking a trail which follows the "Big Blue" in its course through the prairies, which, as they advance to the westward, are gradually smoothing away into a vast unbroken expanse of rolling plain. Herds of antelope began to show themselves, and some of the hunters, leaving the trail, soon returned with plenty of their tender meat. The luxuriant but coarse grass they had hitherto seen now changed into the nutritious and curly buffalo grass, and their animals soon improved in appearance on the excellent pasture. In a few days, without any adventure, they struck the Platte River, its shallow waters (from which it derives its name) spreading over a wide and sandy bed, numerous sand bars obstructing the sluggish current, and with nowhere sufficient water to wet the forder's knee.

By this time, but few antelope having been seen, the party became entirely out of meat; and, one whole day and part of another having passed without so much as a sage rabbit having presented itself, not a few objurgations on the buffalo grumbled from the lips of the hunters, who expected ere this to have reached the land of plenty. La Bonté killed a fine deer, however, in the river bottom, after they had encamped, not one particle of which remained after supper that night, but which hardly took the rough edge off their keen appetites. Although already in the buffalo range, no traces of these animals had yet been seen; and as the country afforded but little game, and the party did not care to halt and lose time in hunting for it, they moved along hungry and sulky, the theme of conversation being the well remembered merits of good buffalo meat,—of "fat fleece," "hump rib," and "tender loin;" of delicious "boudins," and marrow bones too good to think of. La Bonté had never seen the lordly animal, and consequently but half believed the accounts of the mountaineers, who described their countless bands as covering the prairie far as the eye could reach, and requiring days of travel to pass through; but the visions of such dainty and abundant feeding as they descanted on set his mouth watering, and danced before[24] his eyes as he slept supperless, night after night, on the banks of the hungry Platte.

One morning he had packed his animals before the rest, and was riding a mile in advance of the party, when he saw on one side the trail, looming in the refracted glare which mirages the plains, three large dark objects without shape or form, which rose and fell in the exaggerated light like ships at sea. Doubting what it could be, he approached the strange objects; and as the refraction disappeared before him, the dark masses assumed a more distinct form, and clearly moved with life. A little nearer, and he made them out—they were buffalo. Thinking to distinguish himself, the greenhorn dismounted from his mule, and quickly hobbled her, throwing his lasso on the ground to trail behind when he wished to catch her. Then, rifle in hand, he approached the huge animals, and, being a good hunter, knew well to take advantage of the inequalities of the ground and face the wind; by which means he crawled at length to within forty yards of the buffalo, who were quietly cropping the grass, unconscious of danger. Now, for the first time, he gazed upon the noble beast of which he had so often heard, and longed to see. With coal-black beard sweeping the ground as he fed, an enormous bull was in advance of the others, his wild brilliant eyes peering from an immense mass of shaggy hair, which covered his neck and shoulder. From this point his skin was bare as one's hand, a sleek and shining dun, and his ribs well covered with shaking flesh. As he leisurely cropped the short curly grass he occasionally lifted his tail into the air, and stamped his foot as a fly or musquito annoyed him—flapping the intruder with his tail, or snatching at the itching part with his ponderous head.

When La Bonté had sufficiently admired the animal, he lifted his rifle, and, taking steady aim, and certain of his mark, pulled the trigger, expecting to see the huge beast fall over at the report. What was his surprise and consternation, however, to see the animal flinch as the ball struck him, but gallop off, followed by the others, and apparently unhurt. As is generally the case with greenhorns, he had fired too high, not understanding that the only certain spot to strike a buffalo is but a few inches above the brisket, and that above this a shot is rarely fatal. When he rose from the ground, he saw all the party halting in full view of his discomfiture; and when he joined them, loud were the laughs, and deep the regrets of the hungry at his first attempt.

However, they now knew that they were in the country of meat; and a few miles farther, another band of stragglers presenting themselves, three of the hunters went in pursuit, La Bonté taking a mule to pack in the meat. He soon saw them crawling towards the band, and shortly two puffs of smoke, and the sharp cracks of their rifles showed that they had got within shot; and when he had ridden up, two fine buffaloes were stretched upon the ground. Now, for the first time, he was initiated into the mysteries of "butchering," and watched the hunters as they turned the carcass on the belly, stretching out the legs to support it on each side. A transverse cut was then made at the nape of the neck, and, gathering the long hair of the boss in one hand, the skin was separated from the shoulder. It was then laid open from this point to the tail, along the spine, and the skin was freed from the sides and pulled down to the brisket, but, still attached to it, was stretched upon the ground to receive the dissected portions. Then the shoulder was severed, the fleece removed from along the backbone, and the hump-ribs cut off with a tomahawk. All this was placed upon the skin; and after the "boudins" had been withdrawn from the stomach, and the tongue—a great dainty—taken from the head, the meat was packed upon the mule, and the whole party hurried to camp rejoicing.

There was merry-making in the camp that night, and the way they indulged their appetites—or, in their own language, "throw'd" the meat "cold"—would have made the heart of a dyspeptic leap for joy or burst with envy. Far into the "still watches of the tranquil night" the fat-clad "depouille" saw its fleshy[25] mass grow small by degrees and beautifully less, before the trenchant blades of the hungry mountaineers; appetising yards of well-browned "boudin" slipped glibly down their throats; rib after rib of tender hump was picked and flung to the wolves; and when human nature, with helpless gratitude, and confident that nothing of superexcellent comestibility remained, was lazily wiping the greasy knife that had done such good service,—a skilful hunter was seen to chuckle to himself as he raked the deep ashes of the fire, and drew therefrom a pair of tongues so admirably baked, so soft, so sweet, and of such exquisite flavour, that a veil is considerately drawn over the effects their discussion produced in the mind of our greenhorn La Bonté, and the raptures they excited in the bosom of that, as yet, most ignorant mountaineer. Still, as he ate he wondered, and wondering admired, that nature, in giving him such profound gastronomic powers, and such transcendent capabilities of digestion, had yet bountifully provided an edible so peculiarly adapted to his ostrich-like appetite, that after consuming nearly his own weight in rich and fat buffalo meat, he felt as easy and as incommoded as if he had been lightly supping on strawberries and cream.

Sweet was the digestive pipe after such a feast, and soft the sleep and deep, which sealed the eyes of the contented trappers that night. It felt like the old thing, they said, to be once more amongst the "meat;" and, as they were drawing near the dangerous portion of the trail, they felt at home; although not a night now passed but, when they lay down on their buffalo robes to sleep, they could not be confident that that sleep was not their last—knowing full well that savage men were hovering near, thirsting for their lives.

However, no enemies showed themselves as yet, and they proceeded quietly up the river, vast herds of buffaloes darkening the plains around them, affording them more than abundance of the choicest meat; but, to their credit be it spoken, no more was killed than absolutely required,—unlike the cruel slaughter made by most of the white travellers across the plains, who wantonly destroy these noble animals, not even for the excitement of sport, but in cold-blooded and insane butchery. La Bonté had practice enough to perfect him in the art, and, before the buffalo range was passed, he was ranked as a first-rate hunter. One evening he had left the camp for meat, and was approaching a band of cows for that purpose, crawling towards them along the bed of a dry hollow in the prairie, when he observed them suddenly jump away towards him, and immediately after a score of mounted Indians appeared in sight, whom, by their dress, he at once knew to be Pawnees and enemies. Thinking they might not discover him, he crouched down in the ravine; but a noise behind causing him to turn his head, he saw some five or six advancing up the bed of the dry creek, whilst several more were riding on the bluffs. The cunning savages had cut off his retreat to his mule, which he saw in the possession of one of the Indians. His presence of mind, however, did not desert him; and seeing at once that to remain where he was would be like being caught in a trap, (as the Indians could advance to the edge of the bluff and shoot him from above,) he made for the open prairie, determined at least to sell his scalp dearly, and make "a good fight." With a yell the Indians charged, but halted when they saw the sturdy trapper deliberately kneel, and, resting his rifle on the wiping-stick, take a steady aim as they advanced. Full well the Pawnees know, to their cost, that a mountaineer seldom pulls his trigger without sending a bullet to the mark; and, certain that one at least must fall, they hesitated to make the onslaught. Steadily the white retreated with his face to the foe, bringing the rifle to his shoulder the instant that one advanced within shot, the Indians galloping round, firing the few guns they had amongst them at long distances, but without effect. One young "brave," more daring than the rest, rode out of the crowd, and dashed at the hunter, throwing himself, as he passed within a few yards, from the saddle, and hanging over the opposite side of his horse,—presenting no other mark than his left foot,—discharged[26] his bow from under the animal's neck, and with such good aim, that the arrow, whizzing through the air, struck the stock of La Bonté's rifle, which was at his shoulder, and, glancing off, pierced his arm, inflicting, luckily, but a slight wound. Again the Indian turned in his course, the others encouraging him with loud war-whoops, and once more passing at still less distance, drew his arrow to the head. This time, however, the eagle eye of the white caught sight of the action, and suddenly rising from his knee as the Indian was approaching, hanging by his foot alone over the opposite side of the horse, he jumped towards the animal with outstretched arms and a loud yell, causing it to start so suddenly, and swerve from its course, that the Indian lost his foot-hold, and, after in vain struggling to regain his position, fell to the ground, but instantly rose upon his feet and gallantly confronted the mountaineer, striking his hand upon his brawny chest and shouting a loud whoop of defiance. In another instant the rifle of La Bonté had poured forth its contents; and the brave Indian, springing into the air, fell dead to the ground, just as the other trappers, who had heard the firing, galloped up to the spot, at sight of whom the Pawnees, with yells of disappointed vengeance, hastily retreated.

That night La Bonté first lifted hair!

A few days after they reached the point where the Platte divides into two great forks:—the northern one, stretching to the north-west, skirts the eastern base of the Black Hills, and sweeping round to the south rises in the vicinity of the mountain valley called the New Park, receiving the Laramie, Medicine Bow, and Sweet-Water creeks. The other, or "South Fork," strikes towards the mountains in a south-westerly direction, hugging the base of the main chain of the Rocky Mountains, and, fed by several small creeks, rises in the uplands of the Bayou Salado, near which is also the source of the Arkansa. To the forks of the Platte the valley of that river extends from three to five miles on each side, being enclosed by steep sandy bluffs, from the summits of which the prairies stretch away in broad undulating expanse to the north and south. The "bottom," as it is termed, is but thinly covered with timber, the cotton-woods being scattered only here and there; but some of the islands in the broad bed of the stream are well wooded, which leads to the inference that the trees on the banks have been felled by Indians who formerly frequented this river as a chosen hunting-ground. As during the long winters the pasture in the vicinity is scarce and withered, the Indians feed their horses on the bark of the sweet cotton-wood, upon which they subsist, and even fatten. Thus, wherever a village has been encamped, the trunks of these trees strew the ground, with their upper limbs and smaller branches peeled of their bark, and looking as white and smooth as if scraped with a knife.

On the forks, however, the timber is heavier and of greater variety, some of the creeks being well wooded with ash and cherry, which break the monotony of the everlasting cotton-wood.

Dense masses of buffalo still continued to darken the plains, and numerous bands of wolves hovered round the outskirts of the vast herds, singling out the sick and wounded animals, and preying upon the calves whom the rifles and arrows of the hunters had bereaved of their mothers. The white wolf is the invariable attendant upon the buffalo; and when one of these persevering animals is seen, it is certain sign that buffalo are not far distant. Besides the buffalo wolf, there are four distinct varieties common to the plains, and all more or less attendant upon the buffalo. These are the black, the gray, the brown, and last and least the coyote, or cayeute of the mountaineers, the "wach-unkamănet," or "medicine wolf" of the Indians, who hold the latter animal in reverential awe. This little wolf, whose fur is of great thickness and beauty, although of diminutive size, is wonderfully sagacious, and makes up by cunning what it wants in physical strength. In bands of from three to thirty they will not unfrequently station themselves along the "runs" of the deer and the antelope, extending their line for many miles,—and the quarry being started,[27] each wolf will follow in pursuit until tired, when it relinquishes the chase to another relay, following slowly after until the animal is fairly run down, when all hurry to the spot and speedily consume the carcass. The cayeute, however, is often made a tool of by his larger brethren, unless, indeed, he acts from motives of spontaneous charity. When a hunter has slaughtered game, and is in the act of butchering it, these little wolves sit patiently at a short distance from the scene of operations, while at a more respectful one the larger wolves (the white or gray) lope hungrily around, licking their chops in hungry expectation. Not unfrequently the hunter throws a piece of meat towards the smaller one, who seizes it immediately, and runs off with the morsel in his mouth. Before he gets many yards with his prize, the large wolf pounces with a growl upon him, and the cayeute, dropping the meat, returns to his former position, and will continue his act as long as the hunter pleases to supply him.

Wolves are so common on the plains and in the mountains, that the hunter never cares to throw away a charge of ammunition upon them, although the ravenous animals are a constant source of annoyance to him, creeping to the camp-fire at night, and gnawing his saddles and apishamores, eating the skin ropes which secure the horses and mules to their pickets, and even their very hobbles, and not unfrequently killing or entirely disabling the animals themselves.

Round the camp, during the night, the cayeute keeps unremitting watch, and the traveller not unfrequently starts from his bed with affright, as the mournful and unearthly chiding of the wolf breaks suddenly upon his ear: the long-drawn howl being taken up by others of the band, until it dies away in the distance, as some straggler passing within hearing answers to the note, and howls as he lopes away.

Our party crossed the south fork about ten miles from its juncture with the main stream, and then, passing the prairie, struck the north fork a day's travel from the other. At the mouth of an ash-timbered creek they came upon Indian "sign," and, as now they were in the vicinity of the treacherous Sioux, they moved along with additional caution, Frapp and Gonneville, two experienced mountaineers, always heading the advance.

About noon they had crossed over to the left bank of the fork, intending to camp on a large creek where some fresh beaver "sign" had attracted the attention of some of the trappers; and as, on further examination, it appeared that two or three lodges of that animal were not far distant, it was determined to remain here a day or two, and set their traps.

Gonneville, old Luke, and La Bonté, had started up the creek, and were carefully examining the banks for "sign," when the former, who was in front, suddenly paused, and looking intently up the stream, held up his hand to his companions to signal them to stop.

Luke and La Bonté both followed the direction of the trapper's intent and fixed gaze. The former uttered in a suppressed tone the expressive exclamation, Wagh!—the latter saw nothing but a wood-duck swimming swiftly down the stream, followed by her downy progeny.

Gonneville turned his head, and extending his arm twice with a forward motion up the creek, whispered—"Les sauvages."

"Injuns, sure, and Sioux at that," answered Luke.

Still La Bonté looked, but nothing met his view but the duck with her brood, now rapidly approaching; and as he gazed, the bird suddenly took wing, and, flapping on the water, flew a short distance down the stream and once more settled on it.

"Injuns?" he asked; "where are they?"

"Whar?" repeated old Luke, striking the flint of his rifle, and opening the pan to examine the priming. "What brings a duck a-streakin it down stream, if humans aint behint her? and who's thar in these diggins but Injuns, and the worst kind; and we'd better push to camp, I'm thinking, if we mean to save our hair."

"Sign" sufficient, indeed, it was to all the trappers, who, on being apprised of it, instantly drove in their animals, and picketed them; and hardly had they done so when a band of Indians made their appearance on the banks[28] of the creek, from whence they galloped to the bluff which overlooked the camp at the distance of about six hundred yards; and crowning this, in number some forty or more, commenced brandishing their spears and guns, and whooping loud yells of defiance. The trappers had formed a little breast-work of their packs, forming a semicircle, the chord of which was made by the animals standing in a line, side by side, closely picketed and hobbled. Behind this defence stood the mountaineers, rifle in hand, and silent and determined. The Indians presently descended the bluff on foot, leaving their animals in charge of a few of the party, and, scattering, advanced under cover of the sage bushes which dotted the bottom, to about two hundred yards of the whites. Then a chief advanced before the rest, and made the sign for a talk with the Long-knives, which led to a consultation amongst the latter, as to the policy of acceding to it. They were in doubts as to the nation these Indians belonged to, some bands of the Sioux being friendly, and others bitterly hostile to the whites.

Gonneville, who spoke the Sioux language, and was well acquainted with the nation, affirmed they belonged to a band called the Yanka-taus, well known to be the most evil-disposed of that treacherous nation; another of the party maintaining that they were Brulés, and that the chief advancing towards them was the well-known Tah-sha-tunga or Bull Tail, a most friendly chief of that tribe. The majority, however, trusted to Gonneville, and he volunteered to go out to meet the Indian, and hear what he had to say. Divesting himself of all arms save his butcher-knife, he advanced towards the savage, who awaited his approach, enveloped in the folds of his blanket. At a glance he knew him to be a Yanka-tau, from the peculiar make of his moccassins, and the way in which his face was daubed with paint.

"Howgh!" exclaimed both as they met; and, after a silence of a few moments, the Indian spoke, asking—"Why the Long-knives hid behind their packs, when his band approached? Were they afraid, or were they preparing a dog-feast to entertain their friends? That the whites were passing through his country, burning his wood, drinking his water, and killing his game; but he knew that they had now come to pay for the mischief they had done, and that the mules and horses they had brought with them were intended as a present to their red friends.

"He was Mah-to-ga-shane," he said, "the Brave Bear: his tongue was short, but his arm long; and he loved rather to speak with his bow and his lance, than with the weapon of a squaw. He had said it: the Long-knives had horses with them and mules; and these were for him, he knew, and for his 'braves.' Let the White-face go back to his people and return with the animals, or he, the 'Brave Bear,' would have to come and take them; and his young men would get mad and would feel blood in their eyes; and then he would have no power over them; and the whites would have to 'go under.'"

The trapper answered shortly.—"The Long-knives," he said, "had brought the horses for themselves—their hearts were big, but not towards the Yanka-taus: and if they had to give up their animals, it would be to men and not squaws. They were not 'wah-keitcha,'[4] (French engagés) but Long-knives; and, however short were the tongues of the Yanka-taus, theirs were still shorter, and their rifles longer. The Yanka-taus were dogs and squaws, and the Long-knives spat upon them."

Saying this, the trapper turned his back and rejoined his companions; whilst the Indian slowly proceeded to his people, who, on learning the contemptuous way in which their threats had been treated, testified their anger with loud yells; and, seeking whatever cover was afforded, commenced a scattering volley upon the camp of the mountaineers. The latter reserved their fire, treating with cool indifference the balls which began to[29] rattle about them; but as the Indians, emboldened by this apparent inaction, rushed for a closer position, and exposed their bodies within a long range, half-a-dozen rifles rang from the assailed, and two Indians fell dead, one or two more being wounded. As yet, not one of the whites had been touched, but several of the animals had received wounds from the enemy's fire of balls and arrows. Indeed, the Indians remained at too great a distance to render the volleys from their crazy fusees any thing like effectual, and had to raise their pieces considerably to make their bullets reach as far as the camp. After having lost three of their band killed outright, and many more being wounded, their fire began to slacken, and they drew off to a greater distance, evidently resolved to beat a retreat; and retiring to the bluff, discharged their pieces in a last volley, mounted their horses and galloped off, carrying their wounded with them. This last volley, however, although intended as a mere bravado, unfortunately proved fatal to one of the whites. Gonneville, at the moment, was standing on one of the packs, in order to get an uninterrupted sight for a last shot, when one of the random bullets struck him in the breast. La Bonté caught him in his arms as he was about to fall, and, laying the wounded trapper gently on the ground,—they proceeded to strip him of his buckskin hunting-frock, to examine the wound. A glance was sufficient to convince his companions that the blow was mortal. The ball had passed through the lungs; and in a few moments the throat of the wounded man began to swell, as the choking blood ascended, and turned a livid blue colour. But a few drops of purple blood trickled from the wound,—a fatal sign,—and the eyes of the mountaineer were already glazing with death's icy touch. His hand still grasped the barrel of his rifle, which had done good service in the fray. Anon he essayed to speak, but, choked with blood, only a few inarticulate words reached the ears of his companions, who were bending over him.

"Rubbed—out—at—last," they heard him say, the words gurgling in his blood-filled throat; and opening his eyes once more, and looking upwards to take a last look at the bright sun, the trapper turned gently on his side and breathed his last sigh.

With no other tools than their scalp-knives, the hunters dug a grave on the banks of the creek; and whilst some were engaged in this work, others sought the bodies of the Indians they had slain in the attack, and presently returned with three reeking scalps, the trophies of the fight. The body of the mountaineer was then wrapped in a buffalo robe, the scalps being placed on the dead man's breast, laid in the shallow grave, and quickly covered—without a word of prayer, or sigh of grief; for, however much his companions may have felt, not a word escaped them; although the bitten lip and frowning brow told tale of anger more than sorrow, and vowed—what they thought would better please the spirit of the dead man than sorrow—lasting revenge.

Trampling down the earth which filled the grave, they placed upon it a pile of heavy stones; and packing their mules once more, and taking a last look of their comrade's lonely resting-place, they turned their backs upon the stream, which has ever since been known as "Gonneville's Creek."

If the reader casts his eye over any of the recent maps of the western country, which detail the features of the regions embracing the Rocky Mountains, and the vast prairies at their bases, he will not fail to observe that many of the creeks or smaller streams which feed the larger rivers,—as the Missouri, Platte, and Arkansa—are called by familiar proper names, both English and French. These are invariably christened after some unfortunate trapper, killed there in Indian fight; or treacherously slaughtered by the lurking savages, while engaged in trapping beaver on the stream. Thus alone is the memory of these hardy men perpetuated, at least of those whose fate is ascertained: for many, in every season, never return from their hunting expeditions, having met a sudden death from Indians, or a more lingering fate from accident or disease in some of the lonely gorges of the mountains, where no footfall save their own, or[30] the heavy tread of grizzly bear, disturbs the unbroken silence of these awful solitudes. Then, as many winters pass without some old familiar faces making their appearance at the merry rendezvous, their long protracted absence may perhaps occasion such remarks, as to where such and such a mountain worthy can have betaken himself, to which the casual rejoinder of "Gone under, maybe," too often gives a short but certain answer.

In all the philosophy of hardened hearts, our hunters turned from the spot where the unmourned trapper met his death. La Bonté, however, not yet entirely steeled by mountain life to a perfect indifference to human feeling, drew his hard hand across his eye, as the unbidden tear rose from his rough but kindly heart. He could not forget so soon the comrade they had lost, the companionship in the hunt or over the cheerful camp-fire, the narrator of many a tale of dangers past, of sufferings from hunger, cold, and thirst, and from untended wounds, of Indian perils, and of a life spent in such vicissitudes. One tear dropped from the young hunter's eye, and rolled down his cheek—the last for many a long year.

In the forks of the northern branch of the Platte, formed by the junction of the Laramie, they found a big village of the Sioux encamped near the station of one of the fur companies. Here the party broke up; many, finding the alcohol of the traders an impediment to their further progress, remained some time in the vicinity, while La Bonté, Luke, and a trapper named Marcelline, started in a few days to the mountains, to trap on Sweet Water and Medicine Bow. They had leisure, however, to observe all the rascalities connected with the Indian trade, although at this season (August) hardly commenced. However, a band of Indians having come in with several packs of last year's robes, and being anxious to start speedily on their return, a trader from one of the forts had erected his lodge in the village.

Here, he set to work immediately to induce the Indians to trade. First, a chief appointed three "soldiers" to guard the trader's lodge from intrusion; and who, amongst the thieving fraternity, can be invariably trusted. Then the Indians were invited to have a drink—a taste of the fire-water being given to all to incite them to trade. As the crowd presses upon the entrance to the lodge, and those in rear become impatient, some large-mouthed possessor of many friends, who has received a portion of the spirit, makes his way, with his mouth full of the liquor and cheeks distended, through the throng, and is instantly surrounded by his particular friends. Drawing the face of each, by turns, near his own, he squirts a small quantity into his open mouth, until the supply is exhausted, when he returns for more, and repeats the generous distribution.

When paying for the robes, the traders, in measuring out the liquor in a tin half-pint cup, thrust their thumbs or the four fingers of the hand into the measure, in order that it may contain the less, or not unfrequently fill the bottom with melted buffalo fat, with the same object. So greedy are the Indians, that they never discover the cheat, and once under the influence of the liquor, cannot distinguish between the first cup of comparatively strong spirit, and the following ones diluted five hundred per cent, and poisonously drugged to boot.

Scenes of drunkenness, riot, and bloodshed last until the trade is over, which in the winter occupies several weeks, during which period the Indians present the appearance, under the demoralising influence of the liquor, of demons rather than men.



Boston, May 1848.

A thousand leagues of ocean, my Basil, are indeed between us, but it is no longer right to reckon distances by leagues. Time is your only measure. I know of a gentleman who had a home in Paris, while Paris was capable of homes, and he came every year across the Atlantic, only to fish for trout. Why do you stare? You know very well that you have often waited a fortnight for a good day to go a-fishing. Come, then, pack up your slender reed, and spend such a fortnight in a steamer. By God's favour you shall be the better for sea air; and in two weeks from Liverpool, you shall find yourself on the shores of a lake in the interior of the State of New York, where, since the fifth day of the creation, the trout have apparently been multiplying in a manner that would astonish a Malthus. Such is now that dissociable ocean, which was once thought too great a waste of waters to be passed by colonial members of parliament representing the provinces of America. "Opposuit Natura;" said Burke, "I cannot remove the eternal barriers of the creation." But Burke forgot his Greek:—

"Πολλὰ τὰ δεινὰ, κοὐδεν ανθρώπου δεινότερον πελει·τοῦτο καὶ πολιοῦ πέραν πόντου χειμερίῳ νοτῳ χωρεί, περιβρυχίοισι περῶν ἐρ' oἴδμασι·"

I know it is an old saw, but it is so freshened by the modern instance of steamers every week, that it has become quotable once more; and I have almost a mind to go on with the chorus, and show that Sophocles may be fairly rendered in favour of railways and iron-steeds. But the telegraph, Basil! I must even quote a bit of English for that. As gentle Cowper saith:—

"The tempest itself lags behind,
And the swift-wing'd arrows of light!"

The wires are already stretched from Massachusetts, and almost from Halifax to the Gulf of Mexico. A spark here, and the lettered bulletin is reeling off in Louisiana! The fresh news will, hereafter, be hawked in the streets of Boston and along the wharves of New Orleans in the same hour. It will soon be sent farther still; and a British fleet in the Pacific may be served with orders from the Admiralty Board, not two weeks old. We are fairly in hand-shaking neighbourhood. I remember when European intelligence came to us rather as history than as news. It is not so now. While emotion is yet warm with you, it sets our own hearts throbbing. We, too, are, in the present tense, with Europe; for the revolutions of peace have been more wonderful than those of warfare. They have reunited what strife had sundered, and rendered England and America again one family.

Talking of revolutions,—how hot the noon of the century is growing! You will allow, dear Basil, that we in America, are well situated to be lookers on. With all the security of distance, we have the advantages of nearness. You are on the stage—we are in the boxes. You go behind the scenes, and see the wire-working and machinery, but we get the effect of the spectacle. The great revolutionary drama is before us, and we can behold it calmly; interested, but not involved. For a devout or philosophical spectator, America is the true observatory. Here we can watch "the great Babel, and not feel the crowd." It is our own fault if, with such advantages, we do not anticipate the judgment of future ages, and arrive instinctively at conclusions which those who share the tumult itself must ordinarily learn in the soberness of after-thoughts, or, perhaps, by a dear experience.

Did you ask how the doings in France appear in republican eyes? And pray what do you expect me to answer? You appear to think republicanism a specific instead of a generic term, and to expect us to hail the French as our kindred. As well might I suppose that your monarchical sympathies deeply interest you in the autocracy of Dahomey and Dârfur. A boy may play with a monkey,[32] without admiring him; and although the monkey is a biped without feathers, the boy would not like to have him taken for a younger brother. Believe me, we are not yet ready to claim fraternity with the Provisional Government. How we apples swim, seems to be their salutation to America; but, for one, I reject the odorous impeachment. No one is very cordial, as yet, in returning it. There is a general gaping and staring; but the prevailing disposition towards France is to wait and see if she will be decent. You will agree with me, that this caution is creditable to the Model Republic.

In the spectacle before us, believe me, then, we know how to distinguish the harlequin from the hero, and are not in danger of clapping hands at the buffoonery of Paris, when we have just been charmed by the solemn buskin in which London came upon the stage—reluctant to play her part, but prepared to go through it nobly. A French melodrama, of men in smocks chanting Mourir pour la Patrie, or priests, in defiled surplices, asperging and incensing May-poles, must of course suit the tastes of the groundlings; but such inexplicable dumb-shows are generally understood to be only the prelude to something tragic that is coming. For one, I look for solemn monologues from Pio Nono and Lamartine; and, by-and-by, expect a scene between the Soldan and the Czar. I do not look without feelings of awe, for I am sure it is the shadow of God's own hand that is now passing over the nations. It is He that says, as of old, "remove the diadem and take off the crown; exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high." I am glad that others recognise his footsteps in the earth, and therefore was pleased with that motto lately quoted in Maga, from St Augustine—"God is patient, because He is eternal."

For seventeen years we have been watching the great political Humpty-Dumpty, in his efforts to come to an equilibrium, and to stand firm in his place; and the end is, that Humpty-Dumpty is fallen, according to the oracular rhyme of Mother Goose. What shall we say of him, except that he was barricaded in, and has been barricaded out? Laugh as we may at the undefinableness of legitimacy, one feels that the lack of it makes a great difference in our disposition towards a discrowned king. Still, Louis-Philippe is treated with much forbearance, and men think of his hoar hairs and his eventful life. In one of our newspapers, a generous word has been spoken for his government, as about the best that France deserved, and his best measures have been reviewed with praise. Still, he is much disliked in America. One of his earliest Claremonts was with us; and when Lafayette made him a king, Americans felt as if they had a right to be pleased with his accession. But his quarrel with his benefactor turned the feeling strongly against him, for Lafayette was revered among us to the hour of his death. I think there is a general satisfaction with the fall of the Orleans dynasty; but it certainly has not been malicious or spiteful. An eminent American, who has lived long in Paris, has written two letters in the leading democratic newspaper of New York, in which the fallen monarch is more severely handled than he has been elsewhere. He is there said to be a much overrated man—possessed of no great talents, except those which enable him to dissimulate with the utmost cunning, and to manage with the basest perfidy. The writer, nevertheless, has no confidence in the revolution as having destroyed the monarchy; and quotes with approbation a sentiment which he says was advanced in conversation with himself, so long ago as 1830, by Odillon Barrot,—"Enfin, monsieur, la France a besoin de se sentir gouvernée." He thinks two things will work against the Duc de Bordeaux—that he has married an Austrian, and grown fat; yet he confidently predicts that Henry V. will one day ascend the throne of his ancestors. "As for a republic that is to go on harmoniously, and with any thing like tolerable quiet, law, and order," he concludes, "I hold it to be just as impracticable as it would be to set up a Doge of Venice and a Council of Ten in the State of New York. We hear only the voices of the revolutionists, the rest of the nation being temporarily mute. The day[33] will come, however, when the last will speak."

These sentiments are not singular among us. I am agreeably surprised by the great moderation of our people and of our press. When the tidings of the outbreak reached us, it produced excitement, of course; but there was no echo of the French howl, and remarkably little enthusiasm, all things considered. You have seen reprinted in England some of the most foolish things that were said in our most worthless prints. The press in general behaved with great reserve and caution. Successive steamers brought continual abatements to the degree of confidence, or hope, that had been inspired in the minds of the more ardent; and so general was the candour of the newspapers, that when those of the Clay party were pettishly accused of a sympathy with tyranny, the charge was easily met by quotations from democratic newspapers, equally liable to the imputation, if a manly reprobation of revolutionary misrule and excess be sufficient to prove it. The truth is, our country was caught in the trap in 1792. Then, the pulpit and the press strove together in glorifying France; and the remorse and burning shame that were the consequence, have left a very salutary impression.

In fact, the violent democracy of Paris is exerting a beneficial effect upon our people. We see the degrading spectacle, and learn to value ourselves for a love of law and order. There is a reluctance to reduce ourselves to the level of such a republic as has sprung up like a mushroom in a night, and is likely to perish in the same way. Our own revolution was not one of drunken riot, and street-singing blouse-men: our constitution is not a mere poetical theory of liberty and equality, nor a socialist's dream of brotherhood. We now learn the secret of our strength, and of that comparative durability which has almost surprised ourselves. We are, after all, a transplanted slip of old England; nor are we so essentially changed, my Basil, as even you imagine. The spirit of our people is indeed democratic; but the spirit of our constitution is imbued with a stronger element. The facts concerning it will enable you to see one secret of our comparative success, and to judge whether France can possibly come to any thing as good. The founders of this republic were not Frenchmen, but Englishmen; I mean they were of English stock, and had learned all their notions of liberty from the history of England. Each province of America had taken shape under the British constitution; and when the provinces became independent, the general government was organised in such wise as to supply the place of that constitution. Its founders did not frame a new and untried constitution, a priori, according to their own schemes; they simply modified the great principles of British constitutional law to suit a new state of things, and a peculiar people. A monarchy was out of the question; but they did not intend to make a democracy. They only made a republic. The democratic spirit came in with Jefferson and French politics at the beginning of the present century. It has become dominant, but by no means triumphant; and its great obstacle has been the constitution. In the several states it has changed the constitutions one after the other, introducing universal suffrage, and other democratic features. But the national constitution has not been so easily reached; and it is the strength of the great party with which Clay and Webster are identified, and which is a constant check on the popular party. It is republican, but not simply democratic. The executive magistracy is elective; but the electors are not the people, directly, but electoral colleges, appointed by the several states; and the office itself is endowed with prerogatives, some of which are more unlimited than the corresponding rights of the British crown. Our senate is a mere modification of the House of Lords: it is a body more select than the lower house, and not so immediately responsible to constituents; and its practical working shows the great importance of such a balance-wheel in any government. There is no working without it, in spite of what your Roebucks may say. The House of Commons reappears in our House of Representatives, which, like its great original, is the safety-valve of popular[34] feeling, and gives sonorous vent to a mighty pressure of steam and vapour, which would otherwise blow us to atoms, with a much less endurable noise. The whole fabric of our law is a precious patrimony derived, with our blood, from England. Our new states are filling up with emigrants from the continent of Europe, but they all adopt the law of their older sisters; and thus the institutions of the immortal Alfred may be found among the Swedes and Danes of Wisconsin. These, then, are the elements of our strength; and you observe they partake of the strength of the British empire, which has been legitimately and naturally imparted to us, like the mother's life-blood to the daughter of her womb. We have indeed characteristic peculiarities. We have tried some new experiments; but let not France suppose she can imitate them. We are a new country, a sparse population, and our people have their heads full of subduing the soil, and setting water-wheels in streams, and making roads and canals. We have no natural taste for insurrection and confusion, for we have nobody that is idle enough to want such work. Our new wine, then, has been put into new bottles; and the fool that attempts to decant it into the old vessels of Europe, will ruin it and them together.

Our newspapers have pointed out another secret of our strength, which France cannot possibly enjoy. In spite of that wild prophecy of Lady Hester Stanhope to Lamartine—so much of which has come true—Paris is France, and will be France while France holds together. The city of Washington is not America; and its great acres of unoccupied building lots are the best thing about it. The State governments, which could not have been planned beforehand, but are a natural product of old events—which dispose of all local matters, and prevent sectional jealousies, which divide and balance power, and satisfy small ambition,—these are the helps, without which our national existence could not have been prolonged beyond the lifetime of Washington himself. The threatened disturbance of the admirable equilibrium which has heretofore been maintained between North and South, and East and West, by the introduction of Mexican and Texan states, and the power which it will throw into the hands of a few persons at the seat of government, is even now our most alarming danger. We know, from what we see among ourselves, that governments must take form, not from human devices, but from God's providences. We ourselves are the results of circumstances: no scheming patriot could have made us what we are; and no imitative Frenchman can give to his country a government like ours; nor, if he could, would it survive beyond the lifetime of some individual, whose popularity would supply a temporary strength to its essential weakness. An imported constitution must be a sickly one, in any country on earth.

For us, then, there is a legitimacy in our institutions which makes them durable, and dear to all classes of our people. But to be loyal to our own republic is by no means to be committed to universal republicanism, far less to be delighted with universal anarchy. You must pardon our tastes. We are young, and we think a jacket and shako becoming. We wear our appropriate costume as gracefully as we can. We are yet the growing, perhaps the awkward, but still the active boy. But when Europe befools itself, in its dotage, with republican attire, we lads have a right to laugh. It will do for us to play leap-frog, or cut any other caper that we choose; but who can restrain derision when corpulent imbecility assumes an unskirted coat, and submits its uncovered proportions to hootings and to kicks, or throws a ponderous summersault that less demonstrates agility than exposes nakedness!

I speak for myself, and for many, very many of my countrymen. Our mere populace are of course possessed with the idea that a universal Yankee-doodle is the panacea for all the miseries of the world. It has been told them so often by demagogues, that they are pardonable. But even they would probably allow that the Chinese, for instance, are not yet quite ready for liberty-poles and ballet-boxes, and by degrees might be brought to confess as much for any country less remarkable and astonishing than our own.[35] But there is a solid mass of good sense among us that is not so deceived. It consists of those who would rejoice to see a rational republic in France, or in any other country; but who know that, with the exception perhaps of Holland, such a thing is impossible, and that, in France, reason is more likely to reappear as the divinified harlot of Notre Dame than in any more respectable form. As to Great Britain, even our schoolboys have learned that, with all the stability of empire, it unites the freedom of a republic; and in spite of some feeling against John Bull, I scarcely know the man who would not be sorry to see it suddenly or violently revolutionised. On Irish affairs opinion is not so sane among us. Few of us know any thing about them; and for the sake of the starving peasantry of Ireland, there is some sympathy with its turbulent Gracchi. Believe it, the general tone of sentiment on this side the Atlantic, among reflecting men, is far more conservative than you imagine. Indeed, all classes stand amazed at the democracy of Europe. Our wildest enthusiasts are outdone, even by some who sit in the House of Commons; and the rampant socialism of Paris is as unlike the worst excesses of our elections, as the ferocity of a tiger is unlike the playfulness of a kitten. Young as we are, we are better mannered; and I must say, dear Basil, that when the older nations of the world are allowing themselves such license, we have a right to regard ourselves as taking new rank, and deserving more credit than has heretofore been given us, as, after all, a law-loving and law-maintaining people.

You will say, as was said to the trumpeter in Æsop—"No, no,—you make all the mischief; others cut throats, but you have set them on." But is the democratic spirit really of American origin? Our Plymouth orators—the men who annually glorify our earliest colonists—usually trace it to the Puritans, and through them to Geneva. At all events, it now infects the world, and those are the happy and the permanent governments which are prepared for its violence, by constitutional vents and floodgates. It is not to be stifled, or dammed up. We believe, therefore, that our own government is the best for ourselves, and few of us have any fear for that of England. On British matters we do not feel bound to judge by our own experiences. We are free to theorise on broader principles; and many of us form our own opinions, not as cool and critical foreigners, but as having a deep interest in the preservation of the institutions of our ancestors. Why should we not? The study of history carries us, at once, beyond the narrow limits of threescore years and ten, which is the age of our national existence, and as soon as we pass that boundary we too are Britons. The blood of our forefathers ran in English veins, or flowed for British freedom and sovereignty. This fact is enough to make our educated and reflecting men speculatively conservative as to British politics. We know the past, and do not feel the party-heats of the present in England. Hence I am far from being alone among my countrymen, in looking at English matters with an English heart. Even our commercial class have a reason for wishing internal peace and prosperity to England; and I believe there is generally something better than selfishness in the prevalent good-will toward her. I wish you could have watched, as I did, the feelings of our whole people, while lately, between the arrivals of two steamers, there was a solemn feeling of surprise as to what would be the results of the Chartist demonstration! Till the news came, the stoutest of us held our breath. I assure you, Basil, the peril of England was observed with a deep anxiety. During all that time I met not a respectable man who wished to see a revolutionary result. It was the talk of all circles. Our merchants trembled for England; our scholars hoped for her; a clerical gentleman assured me that he daily prayed for her. The press very generally predicted a triumph of order, but there were some specimens of newspaper literature that ventured an opposite augury. I wish you could have seen this city when the result was known. The news was received with a thrill. There was some laughing at the parturient mountain and the still-born mouse, but a graver cheerfulness was the reigning emotion. We deeply[36] felt that, by the mercy of God, the world had been spared from a conflagration which the match of a madman could light, but which only another deluge could extinguish. For one, I was as a watcher by the sea-side, who, after a night of tempest, waits for the fog to rise, and then thanks God to see the good old ship coming home, in season, her masts all standing, and her flag untorn.

I had felt fears, my Basil. What was not imaginable, when Europe presented the appearance of a table on which empires had fallen in a day, like card-houses blown down by the breath of children! I knew that neither France, nor Prussia, nor Austria, nor Italy, were any thing like England, which is founded on a rock, and knit together by joints and bands: but I felt that England is no longer what she was. With a Whig government she is never herself.[5] The Whigs are more than half Frenchmen. I tell you you seem to me not half enough afraid of your Whigs; they are worse than your Radicals. You show some uneasiness under the Jewish Disabilities Bill, but I wish you could see it as it strikes a looker-on. If time has on you the effect which distance has on me, you will yet look back on that measure as you now look back on the great mistake of 1829. It will haunt you like a nightmare, and you will regard it with less of anger than of shame and remorse; with the deep conviction that, if the friends of the constitution had done their duty, it never would have disgraced a Christian state. True, the Whigs are responsible for inflicting the blow; but what has been done to avert it? So far as I know, nothing commensurate with the greatness of the evil. You seem to give way to it as only one of many inroads upon old proprieties, which are inevitable, and cannot be withstood. But is the unchristianising of the state to be spoken of side by side with even the destruction of colonies, and the discouragement of agriculture? As it strikes me, it is not a thing of a class, it stands out a portent, a harbinger, a phenomenon of its own kind. Not that it surprises me. From Lord John Russell nothing that argues fatuity and lack of political principle should surprise any one. To carry out the plans to which he has committed himself, he must consistently pander to infidels, foster heretics, and subsidise Jews. To the reforms of the last score of years, there could be no more fitting sequel than this coalition with a people loaded with the hereditary burthen of the saving blood of the Crucified. I only marvel that the bill goes on so slowly. The Baron should have been long since in his place, and the Easter holidays should have been disregarded, out of respect to his feelings. It is astonishing that he is not already an ecclesiastical commissioner. The times are not now as during a former French revolution, when a British statesman could say[6]—"the Jews in Change Alley have not yet dared to hint their hopes of a mortgage on the revenues belonging to the see of Canterbury." You are always praising your church, Basil, but allow me to ask, Why you may not live to see a Jewish rabbi nominated to a bishopric. As I understand it, the obsequious chapter would be obliged to perform the election, and close all by anthems to Almighty God, ascribing to Him the glory of a gift so felicitous and so auspicious to the church! It would not be the first time, I believe, that Lord John has set the Te Deum of[37] cathedrals going, like the whistles of a juggler's barrel-organ. Forgive me, Basil; I am not mocking the agonies of your church, but I am scorning a British minister that can use for her destruction the powers confided to him for her nourishment and defence. I have learned my notions of your politics from Edmund Burke, and I remember what he said in his Reflections on the French Revolution of 1792—for, by the way, revolutions in France must be always referred to by dates, and will soon be known, like policemen, by letters and numbers. "The men of England," said that great and honest man, "the men I mean of light and leading in England, would be ashamed, as of a silly deceitful trick, to profess any religion in name which, by their proceedings, they appear to contemn." Does not Lord John profess to be a Christian? I must caution you, too, against supposing that I dislike the Israelites. Far from it. In my own country I am glad that they labour under no disabilities, and I can testify to their good order, decency, and propriety of behaviour as citizens. But we have "no past at our back," and nothing in our system which demands a prior consideration. No, Basil—I honour a Jew, however much I may pity him. Crying old clothes, or lolling in a banker's chariot, the Jew is to me a man of sacred associations. And then—a Jewish gentleman—he makes me think at once of the sons of Maccabæus and all the Asmoneans; those Hebrews of the Hebrews, those Tories of Israel! What natural sympathy has a Jewish gentleman with a Whig? Were I merely covetous of votes I would say—let the Jews in! I could trust their conscience; I could appeal to their own feelings; I would put it to them whether their liberalism would consent to eat pork with the Gentiles, or to call in the uncircumcised to make laws for the synagogue. We pity the blindness of the Jews that offered their thirty pieces of silver—but we do not despise them. Our contempt settles on the head of the Christian who consented to take them at the bargain.

You speak of this Jew bill as the first step! Why, yes, the first step in tragedy; there was a former one in farce. There is Sir Moses Montefiore! Who made him a knight? "A Jewish knight," said I, at the time—"hear it, ye dry bones,—ye cross-legged effigies—ye Paladins—ye Templars! Hear it, Du-Bois-Gilbert,—hear it, Richard Cœur-de-Lion! Yes, and thou, too, old Roger de Coverley! Hear it, thou true old English knight; for they that bought thine old clothes now come for thine old spurs!" So said I—wondering that no one seemed to wonder. The nineteenth century had not time to stare. There was not even a London Punch to laugh at such a Judy, and so Moses was belted and spurred, no man gainsaying; and knighthood, that was Sidney's once, is just the thing for Sir Peter Laurie now.

And if a Jewish knight, why not a Jewish senator! True, there is something grand in the idea of a nation that never, since the Wittenagemote, has seen a lawgiver unbaptised; and then there is still a red cross in the flag of England; and there has been a pleasing notion that the Christian faith was part and parcel with the British constitution; and even we in America, averse to church and state, have long allowed ourselves to admire one exception to the rule, and to confess the majestic figure made among the nations by a Christian empire, shining forth in splendid contrast to surrounding kingdoms, some of them infidel and some of them superstitious, but she alone the witness to reasonable faith, and faithful reason. But who regards it in this light? Who among you stands up to warn his country of the glory that is departing? Who has said any thing in parliament at all adequate to the turning-point of a nation's religion? I have looked for some one to speak as Burke would have spoken, of "uncovering your nakedness, by throwing off that Christian religion which has hitherto been your boast and comfort." I have longed to see his promise made good,—"we shall never be such fools as to call in an enemy to the substance of any system, to remove its corruptions, to supply its defects, or to perfect its construction." I read The Times, but as yet I have looked in vain. A few honest remonstrances have indeed been ventured amid cries of oh, oh! and vociferations of buck-toothed laughter[38] from the benches that support the honourable members from Cottonburgh and Calicopolis. But who has stood up as for altars and fires? I hope, ere this reaches you, the question will be creditably answered. I hope the Christianity of England will not die without a struggle. I suspect it will be of no use, but I look yet for some John of Gaunt in the House of Lords. Imagine him, my Basil:—

"This sceptred isle,
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England,
Renownèd for her deeds as far from home
(For Christian service and true chivalry)
As is the sepulchre in stubborn Jewry
Of the world's ransom, blessed Mary's Son;
This land of such dear souls, this dear, dear land,
Dear for her reputation through the world,
Is now—paun'd out to Jews!"

This is what ought to be said; and I look for it, if not from lords spiritual, then even from lords temporal. But surely it would well become the primate's mouth! Of course, it would do little good; but then the religion of England would fall at least dramatically. It would make a picture quite as good as the death of Chatham. Do you remember the lawn-sleeves in that picture? The bishops are "in at the death,"—but nothing more.

But another steamer has come in with news; and France is all the talk. The elections are over; the Modérés have triumphed; the National Assembly has convened, and the Provisional Government is at an end. Vive Lamartine! Of course the stock of the republic takes a rise, but holders are not firm. The bloodshed at Rouen, the émeutes at Elbœuf and Limoges, and the threats of the Communistes, do not precisely inspire confidence. Still, we are so far surprised, and those who have predicted favourably for France grow a little more sanguine in their hopes. I am glad to say that Louis Blanc has no sympathisers here. All are convinced that Lamartine will make the best of it, and that, if he fails, the republic will be suffocated and expire in a stench. For one, it seems to me that Lamartine is not bad enough to encounter successfully the frantic malice of his opponents, and that their eventual success is certain. Already, things have very likely taken a decisive turn, and by the time this letter reaches you, the doings of the Assembly will have enabled you to conjecture whether the nation is going by the long way, or the short cut, to Henry Fifth. As all will be stale before you can read what I now write, I will not presume to predict the immediate results; but I am sure that the assembling of such a set as have been returned to the legislature, would be enough to blow up the strongest government on earth. Jew, Dominican, pastor and bishop, poet and butcher, all in their tricoloured sashes—was there ever such a full-blown tulip-bed of liberty, equality, and fraternity!

The announcement of several clergymen as members of the Assembly reminds me that there has been some sickly sentiment among us, about the piety that has been displayed in this revolution. In Boston we are favoured with some strange types of religions enthusiasm; in fact, the type of Christianity that prevails among us is peculiarly our own; and like our improvements in machinery, deserves the proverbial name of a "Boston notion." Emerson, who is now illuminating England, may give you some idea of what I mean; and a queer story that is told of one of his disciples, may furnish you with an explanation of the fact, that some men see religion in the sacking of the Tuileries. The youth was at the Opera to see a celebrated danseuse, and excited general attention by his somewhat extraordinary applause. His enthusiasm so transported him, that the emotions of his heart became unconsciously audible. As the dancer began to whirl, he cried, "Ah, that is poetry!" As she stretched her toe to the horizontal, he exclaimed, "That's divinity!" but when she proceeded to an evolution that forced the ladies to pay attention to their fans, he burst into the climax—"That's religion!" If this be caricature, the Emersonians richly deserve it. They are laughed at even in Boston. But they are not alone in thinking well of the piety of Paris, and arguing from it that there will be no reign of terror; as if there was not vastly more show of religion in the first revolution! If there is an archbishop[39] of Paris now, there was formerly a Talleyrand for high-priest and master of ceremonies. Oh, but they rejoin with a story! When the blouses were gutting the palace of its pictures and marbles, they found, among other works of art, an image of the Crucified. As a blouseman was about to dash it to atoms, there was a cry, "Save it—save the great teacher of fraternity!" The crucifix was accordingly saved, and borne about the streets amid songs and curses, and, very appropriately, "with lanterns and torches." "Ah, that's religion!" says your Emersonian. So, when recreant priests baptise a liberty-pole, or join a procession of blouses, with crosses and censers, that's divinity, at least. Was ever hypocrisy so revolting! The nauseous mockery has its only parallel in the writings of George Sand, who makes a favourite hero and heroine betake themselves to an adulterous bed, after duly reciting their prayers, in which the absent husband is very affectionately remembered. If a revolution thus begun is not destined to go speedily through all the ripening and rotting of a godless anarchy, it is to be accounted for only on the principle that "He who is Eternal can wait." The old scene at Notre Dame may not be actually revived, and the Bible may not be literally dragged through Paris again tied to an ass's tail; but the undisguised atrocities of the first revolution may, after all, be exceeded by the smooth-faced blasphemies of that which has already degraded the world's Redeemer into the patron saint of insurrection, and the father of infidel fraternity.

Poor Lamartine! Is this the man, my Basil, whom you once likened to Chateaubriand? Quantum mutatus! I knew him, till lately, only as a poet and a traveller. He certainly went to Palestine with the spirit of a palmer. He bathed in Siloa with enthusiasm, and almost expired of feeling under the venerable olive-trees of Gethsemane.

How Frenchy—how intensely French! mass in the morning, and weeping and sighing,—a revel before nightfall, and desperate gaming. And this man to be the Cromwell of the commonwealth? He could hardly have been the Milton, though it would have been more becoming. And what will be his career? It is a pity Lady Hester Stanhope was not permitted to consult his stars in full when he met her on Mount Lebanon, when she praised his handsome foot and arched instep, and told him he should be very important in the history of the world. Ah, how certainly he will yet lament, if he does not lament already, the fulfilment of the oracle! Such weird sisters as Lady Hester generally tell only half, leaving the rest to imagination and to time. But whether this Phaeton, who has grasped the reins, is to set the world on fire; whether he, in turn, is only to try the game of Humpty-Dumpty and to fall; or whether, even as I write this, he be not already under the foot of Louis Blanc and his Communistes,—what probabilities or improbabilities shall aid my conjecture? This thing only will I venture as my surmise, though not my hope, that kings shall reign again in France, as if Lamartine never lived: that tricoloured cockades shall be made no more, and lilies be cultivated again: that there will soon be longings for a sight of the drapeau blanc, and a prince of the sons of St Louis: and that, fat as he is, and Bourbon as he is, and half Austrian as he has made himself, Henry Duke of Bordeaux will soon be known as Henri le Désiré.

Yours ever, my dear Basil,





I was always an early riser. Happy the man who is! Every morning, day comes to him with a virgin's love, full of bloom, and purity, and freshness. The youth of nature is contagious, like the gladness of a happy child. I doubt if any man can be called 'old' so long as he is an early riser, and an early walker. And oh, youth!—take my word of it,—youth in dressing-gown and slippers, dawdling over breakfast at noon, is a very decrepid ghastly image of that youth which sees the sun blush over the mountains, and the dews sparkle upon blossoming hedgerows.

Passing by my father's study, I was surprised to see the windows unclosed—surprised more, on looking in, to see him bending over his books—for I had never before known him study till after the morning meal. Students are not usually early risers, for students, alas! whatever their age, are rarely young. Yes; the great work must be getting on in serious earnest. It was no longer dalliance with learning: this was work.

I passed through the gates into the road. A few of the cottages were giving signs of returning life; but it was not yet the hour for labour, and no "Good morning, sir," greeted me on the road. Suddenly at a turn, which an overhanging beech-tree had before concealed, I came full upon my Uncle Roland.

"What! you, sir? So early? Hark, the clock is striking five!"

"Not later! I have walked well for a lame man. It must be more than four miles to —— and back."

"You have been to ——: not on business? No soul would be up."

"Yes, at inns there is always some one up. Ostlers never sleep! I have been to order my humble chaise and pair. I leave you to day, nephew."

"Ah, uncle, we have offended you. It was my folly—that cursed print—"

"Pooh!" said my uncle, quickly. "Offended me, boy! I defy you!" and he pressed my hand roughly.

"Yet this sudden determination! It was but yesterday, at the Roman Camp, that you planned an excursion with my father to C—— Castle."

"Never depend upon a whimsical man. I must be in London to-night."

"And return to morrow?"

"I know not when," said my uncle, gloomily; and he was silent for some moments. At length, leaning less lightly on my arm, he continued—"Young man, you have pleased me. I love that open saucy brow of yours, on which nature has written 'Trust me.' I love those clear eyes that look man manfully in the face. I must know more of you—much of you. You must come and see me some day or other in your ancestor's ruined keep."

"Come! that I will. And you shall show me the old tower—"

"And the traces of the out-works;" cried my uncle, flourishing his stick.

"And the pedigree—"

"Ay, and your great-great-grandfather's armour, which he wore at Marston Moor—"

"Yes, and the brass plate in the church, uncle."

"The deuce is in the boy! Come here—come here; I've three minds to break your head, sir!"

"It is a pity somebody had not broken the rascally printer's, before he had the impudence to disgrace us by having a family, uncle."

Captain Roland tried hard to frown, but he could not. "Pshaw!" said he, stopping, and taking snuff. "The world of the dead is wide; why should the ghosts jostle us?"

"We can never escape the ghosts, uncle. They haunt us always. We cannot think or act, but the soul of some man, who has lived before, points the way. The dead never die, especially since—"

"Since what, boy? you speak well."

"Since our great ancestor introduced printing," said I, majestically.

My uncle whistled "Malbrook s'en va-t-en guerre."

I had not the heart to plague him further.

"Peace!" said I, creeping cautiously within the circle of the stick.


"No! I forewarn you—"

"Peace! and describe to me my little cousin, your pretty daughter—for pretty I am sure she is."

"Peace," said my uncle, smiling. "But you must come and judge for yourself."


Uncle Roland was gone. Before he went, he was closeted for an hour with my father, who then accompanied him to the gate; and we all crowded round him as he stepped into his chaise. When the Captain was gone, I tried to sound my father as to the cause of so sudden a departure. But my father was impenetrable in all that related to his brother's secrets. Whether or not the Captain had ever confided to him the cause of his displeasure with his son,—a mystery which much haunted me,—my father was mute on that score, both to my mother and myself. For two or three days, however, Mr Caxton was evidently unsettled. He did not even take to his great work; but walked much alone, or accompanied only by the duck, and without even a book in his hand. But by degrees the scholarly habits returned to him; my mother mended his pens, and the work went on.

For my part, left much to myself, especially in the mornings, I began to muse restlessly over the future. Ungrateful that I was, the happiness of home ceased to content me. I heard afar the roar of the great world, and roved impatient by the shore.

At length, one evening, my father, with some modest hums and ha's, and an-unaffected blush on his fair forehead, gratified a prayer frequently urged on him, and read me some portions of "the great Work." I cannot express the feelings this lecture created—they were something akin to awe. For the design of this book was so immense—and towards its execution, a learning so vast and various had administered—that it seemed to me as if a spirit had opened to me a new world, which had always been before my feet, but which my own human blindness had hitherto concealed from me. The unspeakable patience with which all these materials had been collected year after year—the ease with which now, by the calm power of genius, they seemed of themselves to fall into harmony and system—the unconscious humility with which the scholar exposed the stores of a laborious life;—all combined to rebuke my own restlessness and ambition, while they filled me with a pride in my father, which saved my wounded egotism from a pang. Here, indeed, was one of those books which embrace an existence; like the Dictionary of Bayle, or the History of Gibbon, or the Fasti Hellenici of Clinton,—it was a book to which thousands of books had contributed, only to make the originality of the single mind more bold and clear. Into the furnace all vessels of gold, of all ages, had been cast, but from the mould came the new coin, with its single stamp. And happily, the subject of the work did not forbid to the writer the indulgence of his naïve, peculiar irony of humour—so quiet, yet so profound. My father's book was the "History of Human Error." It was, therefore, the moral history of mankind, told with truth and earnestness, yet with an arch unmalignant smile. Sometimes, indeed, the smile drew tears. But in all true humour lies its germ, pathos. Oh! by the goddess Moria or Folly, but he was at home in his theme! He viewed man first in the savage state, preferring in this the positive accounts of voyagers and travellers, to the vague myths of antiquity, and the dreams of speculators on our pristine state. From Australia and Abyssinia, he drew pictures of mortality unadorned, as lively as if he had lived amongst Bushmen and savages all his life. Then he crossed over the Atlantic, and brought before you the American Indian, with his noble nature, struggling into the dawn of civilisation, when friend Penn cheated him out of his birthright, and the Anglo-Saxon drove him back into darkness. He showed both analogy and contrast between[42] this specimen of our kind, and others equally apart from the extremes of the savage state and the cultured. The Arab in his tent, the Teuton in his forests, the Greenlander in his boat, the Fin in his rein-deer car. Up sprang the rude gods of the north, and the resuscitated Druidism, passing from its earliest templeless belief into the later corruptions of crommell and idol. Up sprang, by their side, the Saturn of the Phœnicians, the mystic Budh of India, the elementary deities of the Pelasgian, the Naith and Serapis of Egypt, the Ormuzd of Persia, the Bel of Babylon, the winged genii of the graceful Etruria. How nature and life shaped the religion; how the religion shaped the manners; how, and by what influences, some tribes were formed for progress; how others were destined to remain stationary, or be swallowed up in war and slavery by their brethren, was told with a precision clear and strong as the voice of Fate. Not only an antiquarian and philologist, but an anatomist and philosopher—my father brought to bear on all these grave points, the various speculations involved in the distinctions of race. He showed how race in perfection is produced, up to a certain point, by admixture: how all mixed races have been the most intelligent—how, in proportion as local circumstance and religious faith permitted the early fusion of differing tribes, races improved and quickened into the refinements of civilisation. He tracked the progress and dispersion of the Hellenes, from their mythical cradle in Thessaly; and showed how those who settled near the sea-shores, and were compelled into commerce and intercourse with strangers, gave to Greece her marvellous accomplishments in arts and letters—the flowers of the ancient world. How others, like the Spartans, dwelling evermore in a camp, on guard against their neighbours, and rigidly preserving their Dorian purity of extraction, contributed neither artists, nor poets, nor philosophers to the golden treasure-house of mind. He took the old race of the Celts, Cimry, or Cimmerians. He compared the Celt who, as in Wales, the Scotch Highlands, in Bretagne, and in uncomprehended Ireland, retains his old characteristics and purity of breed, with the Celt whose blood, mixed by a thousand channels, dictates from Paris the manners and revolutions of the world. He compared the Norman in his ancient Scandinavian home, with that wonder of intelligence and chivalry which he became, fused imperceptibly with the Frank, the Goth, and the Anglo-Saxon. He compared the Saxon, stationary in the land of Horsa, with the colonist and civiliser of the globe, as he becomes, when he knows not through what channels—French, Flemish, Danish, Welch, Scotch, and Irish—he draws his sanguine blood. And out from all these speculations, to which I do such hurried and scanty justice, he drew the blessed truth, that carries hope to the land of the Caffre, the hut of the Bushman—that there is nothing in the flattened skull and the ebon aspect that rejects God's law, improvement; that by the same principle which raises the dog, the lowest of the animals in its savage state, to the highest after man,—viz. admixture of race—you can elevate into nations of majesty and power the outcasts of humanity, now your compassion or your scorn. But when my father got into the marrow of his theme—when, quitting these preliminary discussions, he fell pounce amongst the would-be wisdom of the wise; when he dealt with civilisation itself, its schools, and porticos, and academies; when he bared the absurdities couched beneath the colleges of the Egyptians, and the Symposia of the Greeks;—when he showed that, even in their own favourite pursuit of metaphysics, the Greeks were children; and in their own more practical region of politics, the Romans were visionaries and bunglers;—when, following the stream of error through the middle ages, he quoted the puerilities of Agrippa, the crudities of Cardan; and passed, with his calm smile, into the salons of the chattering wits of Paris in the eighteenth century, oh, then his irony was that of Lucian, sweetened by the gentle spirit of Erasmus. For not even here was my father's satire of the cheerless and Mephistophelian school. From this record of error he drew forth the grand eras of truth. He showed how earnest men never think in vain, though their thoughts may be errors. He proved[43] how, in vast cycles, age after age, the human mind marches on—like the ocean, receding here, but there advancing. How from the speculations of the Greek sprang all true philosophy; how from the institutions of the Roman rose all durable systems of government; how from the robust follies of the North came the glory of chivalry, and the modern delicacies of honour, and the sweet harmonising influences of woman. He tracked the ancestry of our Sidneys and Bayards from the Hengists, Genserics, and Attilas. Full of all curious and quaint anecdote—of original illustration—of those niceties of learning which spring from a taste cultivated to the last exquisite polish—the book amused, and allured, and charmed; and erudition lost its pedantry now in the simplicity of Montaigne, now in the penetration of La Bruyère. He lived in each time of which he wrote, and the time lived again in him. Ah, what a writer of romances he would have been, if—if what? If he had had as sad an experience of men's passions, as he had the happy intuition into their humours. But he who would see the mirror of the shore, must look where it is cast on the river, not the ocean. The narrow stream reflects the gnarled tree, and the pausing herd, and the village spire, and the romance of the landscape. But the sea reflects only the vast outline of the headland, and the lights of the eternal heaven.


"It is Lombard Street to a China orange," quoth Uncle Jack.

"Are the odds in favour of fame against failure so great? You do not speak, I fear, from experience, brother Jack," answered my father, as he stooped down to tickle the duck under the left ear.

"But Jack Tibbets is not Augustine Caxton. Jack Tibbets is not a scholar, a genius, a wond—"

"Stop," cried my father.

"After all," said Mr Squills, "though I am no flatterer, Mr Tibbets is not so far out.... That part of your book which compares the crania or skulls of the different races is superb. Lawrence or Dr Pritchard could not have done the thing more neatly. Such a book must not be lost to the world; and I agree with Mr Tibbets that you should publish as soon as possible."

"It is one thing to write and another to publish," said my father irresolutely. "When one considers all the great men who have published; when one thinks one is going to intrude one's-self audaciously into the company of Aristotle and Bacon, of Locke, of Herder—of all the grave philosophers who bend over nature with brows weighty with thought—one may well pause, and—"

"Pooh!" interrupted Uncle Jack; "science is not a club, it is an ocean. It is open to the cockboat as the frigate. One man carries across it a freightage of ingots, another may fish there for herrings. Who can exhaust the sea? who say to intellect, the deeps of philosophy are preoccupied?"

"Admirable!" cried Squills.

"So it is really your advice, my friends," said my father, who seemed struck by Uncle Jack's eloquent illustration, "that I should desert my household gods; remove to London, since my own library ceases to supply my wants; take lodgings near the British Museum, and finish off one volume, at least, incontinently."

"It is a duty you owe to your country," said Uncle Jack, solemnly.

"And to yourself," urged Squills. "One must attend to the natural evacuations of the brain. Ah! you may smile, sir; but I have observed that if a man has much in his head, he must give it vent or it oppresses him; the whole system goes wrong. From being abstracted, he grows stupefied. The weight of the pressure affects the nerves. I would not even guarantee you from a stroke of paralysis."

"Oh, Austin!" cried my mother tenderly, and throwing her arms round my father's neck.

"Come, sir, you are conquered," said I.

"And what is to become of you, Sisty?" asked my father. "Do you[44] go with us, and unsettle your mind for the university?"

"My uncle has invited me to his castle; and in the meanwhile I will stay here, fag hard, and take care of the duck."

"All alone?" said my mother.

"No. All alone! Why Uncle Jack will come here as often as ever, I hope."

Uncle Jack shook his head.

"No, my boy—I must go to town with your father. You don't understand these things. I shall see the booksellers for him. I know how these gentlemen are to be dealt with. I shall prepare the literary circles for the appearance of the book. In short, it is a sacrifice of interest I know. My Journal will suffer. But friendship and my country's good before all things!"

"Dear Jack!" said my mother affectionately.

"I cannot suffer it," cried my father. "You are making a good income. You are doing well where you are; and as to seeing the booksellers—why, when the work is ready, you can come to town for a week, and settle that affair."

"Poor dear Austin," said Uncle Jack, with an air of superiority and compassion. "A week! Sir, the advent of a book that is to succeed requires the preparation of months. Pshaw! I am no genius, bu I am a practical man. I know what's what. Leave me alone."

But my father continued obstinate and Uncle Jack at last ceased to urge the matter. The journey to fame and London was now settled; but my father would not hear of my staying behind.

No; Pisistratus must needs go also to town and see the world; the duck would take care of itself.


We had taken the precaution to send, the day before, to secure our due complement of places—four in all (including one for Mrs Primmins)—in, or upon, the fast family coach called the Sun, which had lately been set up for the special convenience of the neighbourhood.

This luminary, rising in a town about seven miles distant from us, described at first a very erratic orbit amidst the contiguous villages before it finally struck into the high-road of enlightenment, and thence performed its journey, in the full eyes of man, at the majestic pace of six miles and a half an hour. My father, with his pockets full of books, and a quarto of "Gebelin on the Primitive World" for light reading under his arm; my mother, with a little basket, containing sandwiches and biscuits of her own baking; Mrs Primmins, with a new umbrella, purchased for the occasion, and a bird-cage containing a canary, endeared to her not more by song than age, and a severe pip through which she had successfully nursed it—and I myself, waited at the gates to welcome the celestial visitor. The gardener, with a wheel-barrow full of boxes and portmanteaus, stood a little in the van; and the footman, who was to follow when lodgings had been found, had gone to a rising eminence to watch the dawning of the expected planet, and apprise us of its approach by the concerted signal of a handkerchief fixed to a stick.

The quaint old house looked at us mournfully from all its deserted windows. The litter before its threshold, and in its open hall; wisps of straw or hay that had been used for packing; baskets and boxes that had been examined and rejected; others, corded and piled, reserved to follow with the footman: and the two heated and hurried serving-women left behind standing half-way between house and garden-gate, whispering to each other, and looking as if they had not slept for weeks—gave to a scene, usually so trim and orderly, an aspect of pathetic abandonment and desolation. The genius of the place seemed to reproach us. I felt the omens were against us, and turned my earnest gaze from the haunts behind with a sigh, as the coach now drew up in all its grandeur. An important personage, who, despite the heat of the day, was enveloped in a vast superfluity of belcher, in the midst of which galloped a gilt fox, and[45] who rejoiced in the name of "guard," descended to inform us politely that only three places, two inside and one out, were at our disposal, the rest having been pre-engaged a fortnight before our orders were received.

Now, as I knew that Mrs Primmins was indispensable to the comforts of my honoured parents, (the more so, as she had once lived in London, and knew all its ways,) I suggested that she should take the outside seat, and that I should perform the journey on foot—a primitive mode of transport which has its charms to a young man with stout limbs and gay spirits. The guard's outstretched arm left my mother little time to oppose this proposition, to which my father assented with a silent squeeze of the hand. And, having promised to join them at a family hotel near the Strand, to which Mr Squills lad recommended them as peculiarly genteel and quiet, and waved my last farewell to my poor mother, who continued to stretch her meek face out of the window till the coach was whirled off in a cloud like one of the Homeric heroes, I turned within, to put up a few necessary articles in a small knapsack, which I remembered to have seen in the lumber-room, and which had appertained to my maternal grandfather; and with that on my shoulder, and a strong staff in my hand, I set off towards the great city at as brisk a pace as if I were only bound to the next village. Accordingly, about noon, I was both tired and hungry; and seeing by the wayside one of those pretty inns yet peculiar to England, but which, thanks to the railways, will soon be amongst the things before the Flood, I sate down at a table under some clipped limes, unbuckled my knapsack, and ordered my simple fare, with the dignity of one who, for the first time in his life, bespeaks his own dinner, and pays for it out of his own pocket.

While engaged on a rasher of bacon and a tankard of what the landlord called "No mistake," two pedestrians, passing the same road which I had traversed, paused, cast a simultaneous look at my occupation, and, induced no doubt by its allurements, seated themselves under the same lime-trees, though at the farther end of the table. I surveyed the new-comers with the curiosity natural to my years.

The elder of the two might have attained the age of thirty, though sundry deep lines, and hues formerly florid and now faded, speaking of fatigue, care, or dissipation, might have made him look somewhat older than he was. There was nothing very prepossessing in his appearance. He was dressed with a pretension ill suited to the costume appropriate to a foot-traveller. His coat was pinched and padded; two enormous pins, connected by a chain, decorated a very stiff stock of blue satin, dotted with yellow stars; his hands were cased in very dingy gloves which had once been straw-coloured, and the said hands played with a whalebone cane surmounted by a formidable knob, which gave it the appearance of a "life-preserver." As he took off a white napless hat, which he wiped with great care and affection with the sleeve of his right arm, a profusion of stiff curls instantly betrayed the art of man. Like my landlord's ale, in that wig there was "no mistake:" it was brought—(in the fashion of the wigs we see in the popular effigies of George IV. in his youth)—low over his forehead and raised at the top. The wig had been oiled, and the oil had imbibed no small quantity of dust; oil and dust had alike left their impression on the forehead and cheeks of the wig's proprietor. For the rest, the expression of his face was somewhat impudent and reckless, but not without a certain drollery in the corners of his eyes.

The younger man was apparently about my own age, a year or two older perhaps—judging rather from his set and sinewy frame than his boyish countenance. And this last, boyish as it was, could not fail to demand the attention even of the most careless observer. It had not only the darkness but the character of the gipsy face, with large brilliant eyes, raven hair, long and wavy, but not curling; the features were aquiline but delicate, and when he spoke he showed teeth dazzling as pearls. It was impossible not to admire the singular beauty of the countenance; and yet, it had that expression at once stealthy and fierce, which war with society[46] has stamped upon the lineaments of the race of which it reminded me. But, withal, there was somewhat of the air of a gentleman in this young wayfarer. His dress consisted of a black velveteen shooting-jacket, or rather short frock, with a broad leathern strap at the waist, loose white trousers, and a foraging cap, which he threw carelessly on the table as he wiped his brow. Turning round impatiently and with some haughtiness from his companion, he surveyed me with a quick observant flash of his piercing eyes, and then stretched himself at length on the bench, and appeared either to doze or muse, till, in obedience to his companion's orders, the board was spread with all the cold meats the larder could supply.

"Beef!" said his companion, screwing a pinchbeck glass into his right eye. "Beef;—mottled, cowey—humph. Lamb;—oldish—rawish—muttony, humph. Pie;—stalish, veal?—no, pork. Ah! what will you have?"

"Help yourself," replied the young man peevishly, as he sat up, looked disdainfully at the viands, and after a long pause, tasted first one, then the other, with many shrugs of the shoulders and muttered exclamations of discontent. Suddenly he looked up and called for brandy; and to my surprise, and I fear admiration, he drank nearly half a tumblerful of that poison undiluted, with a composure that spoke of habitual use.

"Wrong!" said his companion, drawing the bottle to himself, and mixing the alcohol in careful proportions with water. "Wrong! coats of stomach soon wear out, with that kind of clothes' brush. Better stick to 'the yeasty foam' as sweet Will says. That young gentleman sets you a good example," and therewith the speaker nodded at me familiarly. Inexperienced as I was, I surmised at once that it was his intention to make acquaintance with the neighbour thus saluted. I was not deceived. "Any thing to tempt you, sir?" asked this social personage after a short pause, and describing a semicircle with the point of his knife.

"I thank you, sir, but I have dined."

"What then? 'Break out into a second course of mischief,' as the swan recommends—swan of Avon, sir! No? 'Well then, I charge you with this cup of sack.' Are you going far, if I may take the liberty to ask?"

"To London, when I can get there!"

"Oh!" said the traveller—while his young companion lifted his eyes; and I was again struck with their remarkable penetration and brilliancy.

"London is the best place in the world for a lad of spirit. See life there; 'glass of fashion and mould of form.' Fond of the play, sir?"

"I never saw one!"

"Possible!" cried the gentleman, dropping the handle of his knife, and bringing up the point horizontally: "then, young man," he added solemnly, "you have, but I won't say what you have to see. I won't say—no, not if you could cover this table with golden guineas, and exclaim with the generous ardour so engaging in youth 'Mr Peacock, these are yours, if you will only say what I have to see!'"

I laughed outright—may I be forgiven for the boast, but I had the reputation at school of a pleasant laugh. The young man's face grew dark at the sound: he pushed back his plate and sighed.

"Why," continued his friend, "my companion here, who I suppose is about your own age, he could tell you what a play is! he could tell you what life is. He has viewed the manners of the town: 'perused the traders,' as the swan poetically remarks. Have you not, my lad, eh?"

Thus directly appealed to, the boy looked up with a smile of scorn on his lips. "Yes, I know what life is, and I say that life, like poverty, has strange bedfellows. Ask me what life is now, and I say a melodrama; ask me what it is twenty years hence, and I shall say—"

"A farce?" put in his comrade.

"No, a tragedy—or comedy as Congreve wrote it."

"And how is that?" I asked, interested and somewhat surprised at the tone of my contemporary.

"Where the play ends in the triumph of the wittiest rogue. My friend hee has no chance!"

"'Praise from Sir Hubert Stanley,' hem—yes—Hal Peacock maybe witty, but he is no rogue."


"That was not exactly my meaning," said the boy dryly.

"'A fico for your meaning,'" as the swan says. "Hallo, you, sir! Bully Host, clear the table, fresh tumblers—hot water—sugar—lemon, and the bottle's out! Smoke, sir?" and Mr Peacock offered me a cigar.

Upon my refusal, he carefully twirled round a very uninviting specimen of some fabulous havannah—moistened it all over, as a boa-constrictor may do the ox he prepares for deglutition; bit off one end, and lighting the other from a little machine for that purpose which he drew from his pocket, he was soon absorbed in a vigorous effort (which the damp inherent in the weed long resisted) to poison the surrounding atmosphere. Therewith, the young gentleman, either from emulation or in self-defence, extracted from his own pouch a cigar-case of notable elegance, being of velvet, embroidered apparently by some fair hand, for "From Juliet" was very legibly worked thereon—selected a cigar of better appearance than that in favour with his comrade, and seemed quite as familiar with the tobacco as he had been with the brandy.

"Fast, sir—fast lad that!" quoth Mr Peacock, in the short gasps which his resolute struggle with his uninviting victim alone permitted—"nothing but—(puff, puff)—your true—(suck—suck,) syl—syl—sylva—does for him. Out, by the Lord! 'the jaws of darkness have devoured it up;'" and again Mr Peacock applied to his phosphoric machine. This time patience and perseverance succeeded, and the heart of the cigar responded by a dull red spark (leaving the sides wholly untouched) to the indefatigable ardour of its wooer.

This feat accomplished, Mr Peacock exclaimed triumphantly, "And now what say you, my lads, to a game at cards?—three of us—whist and a dummy?—nothing better—eh?" As he spoke, he produced from his coat-pocket a red silk handkerchief, a bunch of keys, a nightcap, a toothbrush, a piece of shaving-soap, four lumps of sugar, the remains of a bun, a razor, and a pack of cards. Selecting the last, and returning its motley accompaniments to the abyss whence they had emerged, he turned up, with a jerk of his thumb and finger, the knave of clubs, and, placing it on the top of the rest, slapped the cards emphatically on the table.

"You are very good, but I don't know whist," said I.

"Not know whist—not been to a play! not smoke! Then pray tell me, young man," (said he majestically, and with a frown,) "what on earth you do know!"

Much consternated by this direct appeal, and greatly ashamed of my ignorance of the cardinal points of erudition in Mr Peacock's estimation, I hung my head, and looked down.

"That is right," renewed Mr Peacock, more benignly; "you have the ingenuous shame of youth. It is promising, sir—'lowliness is young ambition's ladder,' as the swan says. Mount the first step, and learn whist—sixpenny points to begin with."

Notwithstanding my newness in actual life, I had had the good fortune to learn a little of the way before me, by those much-slandered guides called novels—works which are often to the inner world what maps are to the outer; and sundry recollections of "Gil Blas" and the "Vicar of Wakefield" came athwart me. I had no wish to emulate the worthy Moses, and felt that I might not have even the shagreen spectacles to boast of, in my negotiations with this new Mr Jenkinson. Accordingly, shaking my head, I called for my bill. As I took out my purse—knit by my mother—with one gold piece in one corner, and sundry silver ones in the other, I saw that the eyes of Mr Peacock twinkled.

"Poor spirit, sir! poor spirit, young man! 'This avarice sticks deep,' as the swan beautifully observes. 'Nothing venture, nothing have.'"

"Nothing have, nothing venture," I returned, plucking up spirit.

"Nothing have!—Young sir, do you doubt my solidity—my capital—my 'golden joys?'"

"Sir, I spoke of myself. I am not rich enough to gamble."

"Gamble!" exclaimed Mr Peacock, in virtuous indignation—"Gamble! what do you mean, sir? You insult me!" and he rose threateningly, and slapped his white hat on his wig.

"Pshaw! let him alone, Hal,"[48] said the boy contemptuously. "Sir, if he is impertinent, thrash him." (This was to me.)

"Impertinent!—thrash!" exclaimed Mr Peacock, waxing very red; but catching the sneer on his companion's lip, he sat down, and subsided into sullen silence.

Meanwhile I paid my bill. This duty, rarely a cheerful one, performed, I looked round for my knapsack, and perceived that it was in the boy's hands. He was very coolly reading the address which, in case of accidents, I had prudently placed on it—Pisistratus Caxton, Esq., —— Hotel, —— Street, —, Strand.

I took my knapsack from him, more surprised at such a breach of good manners in a young gentleman who knew life so well, than I should have been at a similar error on the part of Mr Peacock. He made no apology, but nodded farewell, and stretched himself at full length on the bench. Mr Peacock, now absorbed in a game of patience, vouchsafed no return to my parting salutation, and in another moment I was alone on the high-road. My thoughts turned long upon the young man I had left: mixed with a sort of instinctive compassionate foreboding of an ill future for one with such habits, and in such companionship, I felt an involuntary admiration, less even for his good looks than his ease, audacity, and the careless superiority he assumed over a comrade so much older than himself.

The day was far gone when I saw the spires of a town at which I intended to rest for the night. The horn of a coach behind made me turn my head, and, as the vehicle passed me, I saw on the outside Mr Peacock, still struggling with a cigar—it could scarcely be the same—and his young friend stretched on the roof amongst the luggage, leaning his handsome head on his hand, and apparently unobservant both of me and every one else.


I am apt—judging egotistically, perhaps, from my own experience—to measure a young man's chances of what is termed practical success in life, by what may seem at first two very vulgar qualities; viz., his inquisitiveness and his animal vivacity. A curiosity which springs forward to examine every thing new to his information—a nervous activity, approaching to restlessness, which rarely allows bodily fatigue to interfere with some object in view—constitute, in my mind, very profitable stock in hand to begin the world with.

Tired as I was, after I had performed my ablutions, and refreshed myself in the little coffee-room of the inn at which I put up, with the pedestrian's best beverage, familiar and oft-calumniated tea, I could not resist the temptation of the broad bustling street, which, lighted with gas, shone on me through the dim windows of the coffee-room. I had never before seen a large town, and the contrast of lamp-lit, busy night in the streets, with sober, deserted night in the lanes and fields, struck me forcibly.

I sauntered out, therefore, jostling and jostled, now gazing at the windows, now hurried along the tide of life, till I found myself before a cook' shop, round which clustered a small knot of housewives, citizens, and hungry-looking children. While contemplating this group, and marvelling how it comes to pass that the staple business of earth's majority is how, when, and where to eat, my ear was struck with "'In Troy there lies the scene,' as the illustrious Will remarks."

Looking round, I perceived Mr Peacock pointing his stick towards an open doorway next to the cook's shop, the hall beyond which was lighted with gas, while, painted in black letters on a pane of glass over the door, was the word "Billiards."

Suiting the action to the word, the speaker plunged at once into the aperture and vanished. The boy-copanion was following more slowly, when his eye caught mine. A slight blush came over his dark cheek; he stopped, and leaning against the door-jambs, gazed on me hard and long before he said—"Well met again, sir! You find it hard to amuse yourself in this dull place; the nights are long out of London."


"Oh," said I, ingenuously, "every thing here amuses me; the lights, the shops, the crowd; but, then, to me every thing is new."

The youth came from his lounging-place and moved on, as if inviting me to walk; while he answered, rather with bitter sullenness, than the melancholy his words expressed—

"One thing, at least, cannot be new to you; it is an old truth with us before we leave the nursery—'Whatever is worth having must be bought; ergo, he who cannot buy, has nothing worth having.'"

"I don't think," said I, wisely, "that the things best worth having can be bought at all. You see that poor dropsical jeweller standing before his shop-door,—his shop is the finest in the street,—and I dare say he would be very glad to give it to you or me in return for our good health and strong legs. Oh no! I think with my father—'All that are worth having are given to all;—that is, nature and labour.'"

"Your father says that; and you go by what your father says! Of course, all fathers have preached that, and many other good doctrines, since Adam preached to Cain; but I don't see that the fathers have found their sons very credulous listeners."

"So much the worse for the sons," said I bluntly.

"Nature," continued my new acquaintance, without attending to my ejaculation—"nature indeed does give us much, and nature also orders each of us how to use her gifts. If nature gave you the propensity to drudge, you will drudge; if she gives me the ambition to rise, and the contempt for work, I may rise—but I certainly shall not work."

"Oh," said I, "you agree with Squills, I suppose, and fancy we are all guided by the bumps on our foreheads?"

"And the blood in our veins, and our mother's milk. We inherit other things besides gout and consumption. So you always do as your father tells you! Good boy!"

I was piqued. Why we should be ashamed of being taunted for goodness, I never could understand; but certainly I felt humbled. However I answered sturdily—"If you had as good a father as I have, you would not think it so very extraordinary to do as he tells you."

"Ah! so he is a very good father, is he! He must have a great trust in your sobriety and steadiness to let you wander about the world as he does."

"I am going to join him in London."

"In London! Oh, does he live there?"

"He is going to live there for some time."

"Then, perhaps, we may meet. I, too, am going to town."

"Oh, we shall be sure to meet there!" said I, with frank gladness; for my interest in the young man was not diminished by his conversation, however much I disliked the sentiments it expressed.

The lad laughed, and his laugh was peculiar. It was low, musical, but hollow and artificial.

"Sure to meet! London is a large place: where shall you be found?"

I gave him, without scruple, the address of the hotel at which I expected to find my father; although his deliberate inspection of my knapsack must already have apprised him of that address. He listened attentively, and repeated it twice over, as if to impress it on his memory; and we both walked on in silence, till, turning up a small passage, we suddenly found ourselves in a large churchyard,—a flagged path stretched diagonally across it towards the market-place, on which it bordered. In this churchyard, upon a grave-stone, sat a young Savoyard; his hurdy-gurdy, or whatever else his instrument might be called, was on his lap; and he was gnawing his crust, and feeding some poor little white mice (standing on their hind-legs on the hurdy-gurdy) as merrily as if he had chosen the gayest resting-place in the world.

We both stopped. The Savoyard, seeing us, put his arch head on one side, showed all his white teeth in that happy smile so peculiar to his race, and in which poverty seems to beg so blithely, and gave the handle of his instrument a turn.

"Poor child!" said I.

"Aha, you pity him! but why? According to your rule, Mr Caxton, he is not so much to be pitied; the[50] dropsical jeweller would give him as much for his limbs and health as for ours! How is it—answer me, son of so wise a father—that no one pities the dropsical jeweller, and all pity the healthy Savoyard? It is, sir, because there is a stern truth which is stronger than all Spartan lessons—Poverty is the master-ill of the world. Look round. Does poverty leave its signs over the graves? Look at that large tomb fenced round; read that long inscription:—'virtues'—'best of husbands'—'affectionate father'—'inconsolable grief'—'sleeps in the joyful hope,' &c., &c. Do you suppose these stoneless mounds hide no dust of what were men just as good? But no epitaph tells their virtues; bespeaks their wives' grief; or promises joyful hope to them!"

"Does it matter? Does God care for the epitaph and tombstone?"

"Date qualche cosa!" said the Savoyard, in his touching patois, still smiling, and holding out his little hand.

Therein I dropped a small coin. The boy evinced his gratitude by a new turn of the hurdy-gurdy.

"That is not labour," said my companion; "and had you found him at work, you had given him nothing. I too have my instrument to play upon and my mice to see after. Adieu!"

He waved his hand, and strode irreverently over the graves back in the direction we had come.

I stood before the fine tomb with its fine epitaph; the Savoyard looked at me wistfully.


The Savoyard looked at me wistfully. I wished to enter into conversation with him. That was not easy. However, I began:—

Pisistratus.—"You must be often hungry enough, my poor boy. Do the mice feed you?"

Savoyard puts his head on one side, shakes it, and stroked his mice.

Pisistratus.—"You are very fond of the mice; they are your only friends, I fear."

Savoyard, evidently understanding Pisistratus, rubs his face gently against the mice, then puts them softly down on a grave, and gives a turn to the hurdy-gurdy. The mice play unconcernedly over the grave.

Pisistratus, pointing first to the beasts, then to the instrument.—"Which do you like best, the mice or the hurdy-gurdy?"

Savoyard shows his teeth—considers—stretches himself on the grass—plays with the mice—and answers volubly.

Pisistratus, by the help of Latin comprehending that the Savoyard says, that the mice are alive and the hurdy-gurdy is not—"Yes, a live friend is better than a dead one. Mortua est hurda-gurda!"

Savoyard shakes his head vehemently.—"Nô—nô! Eccellenza, non ê mortu!" and strikes up a lively air on the slandered instrument. The Savoyard's face brightens—he looks happy: the mice run from the grave into his bosom.

Pisistratus, affected.—"Have you a father—An vivat pater?"

Savoyard, with his face overcast.—"Nô—eccellenza!" then pausing a little, he says briskly, "Si-Si!" and plays a solemn air on the hurdy-gurdy—stops—rests one hand on the instrument, and raises the other to heaven.

Pisistratus understands.—"The father is like the hurdy-gurdy, at once dead and living. The mere form is a dead thing, but the music lives." Pisistratus drops another small piece of silver on the ground, and turns away.

"God help and God bless thee, Savoyard. Thou hast done Pisistratus all the good in the world. Thou hast corrected the hard wisdom of the young gentleman in the velveteen jacket; Pisistratus is a better lad for having stopped to listen to thee."

I regained the entrance to the churchyard—I looked back—there sate the Savoyard, still amidst men's graves, but under God's sky. He was still looking at me wistfully, and when he caught my eye, he pressed his hand to his heart, and smiled. "God help and God bless thee, young Savoyard."



JUNE 1848.

How far is the application to France, of the epithet employed in the title that heads these pages, a misnomer? This is a question that would be answered very differently by those who study its state of feeling, and those who judge its position by mere established fact. That the fact and the feeling are completely at issue throughout the country, is undoubted, indisputable. A republican government has been established by the coup de main of a small minority in France—has been accepted by the hesitation of surprise—has been maintained by the desire of peace and order:—so far goes fact. Republican principles were hateful to the immense majority of the country at large in the past, uncongenial to its habits and sentiments, impossible according to its views; they are productive, as yet, of nothing but confusion, distress, ruin, riot, and mistrust, in the present; they are looked upon with alarm as regards their results in the future:—so much for feeling. Fact and feeling, then, are at variance and in collision. The result of the conflict lies hidden in the mysteries of that future, the issue of which, at no epoch of history, perhaps, clearseeing eyes and wise foreseeing heads could less pretend to predict, than in the present chaotic hurly-burly of European society. The politicians who declared that the general spirit of the country in France was, in their vague and fantastic language of the Chamber, centre-gauche, or the advocate of liberal progress, may have been very right,—but republican it never was, republican it is not. Republican—without pretension to the audacity of a prediction but just stated as impossible—it certainly does not as yet appear ever likely to become.

In its present state of feeling, then, France—that is to say, the country, the provinces, the departments, or whatever France, out of Paris, may be called—is about as much genuine republican, as a white man who suddenly finds his face smeared over with the contents of a blacking-bottle is a genuine negro. But, for the sake of avoiding that confusion of terms and ideas in which the French themselves are so fond of indulging, to an extent that proves the deification of "the vague" to take far higher flights among them, especially in their republican tenets, than any flown by confused German head,—let it be taken as a rule, that fact is to have the precedence of feeling, as in most matters in the world,—and let it be supposed that the misnomer is no misnomer, that there has been no mistake, in truth, in the title of "Republican France."

Between France out of Paris and France in Paris, a great distinction, in speaking of the country, must always be drawn; although, in the matter of republicanism in the feelings of the mass, the same blacking-bottle remark might be applied to the majority of the citizens of the capital, as to the country at large. No family of grown-up daughters, who have been tyrannically kept in the nursery like children when they no longer felt themselves such, and made to wear mamma's worn-out dresses scantily cut down to their shapes, could be more sundered in feeling from their lady-mother, and jealous of her overgrown charms, her gaiety, her splendour, and her power, than the departments,—kept in the nursery upon centralisation system, and fed upon the bread-and-milk of insignificance,—are of the tyrannical supremacy, the overweening superiority, and the disdainful airs, affected to her despised progeny by Mother Paris. The pursuance of the concentrating system has thus produced an estrangement in the family,—a jealousy and spite on the one hand, a greater and increasing assumption of airs of supremacy on the other. The family ties between Paris and France are as wholly disunited as family ties can be, in the necessities of a more or less intimate connexion: the mother has isolated, in her despotism, herself from her children, the children have imbibed distrust and envy of the mother. The[52] consequence is, that there are two distinct families in feeling,—there are two Frances; there is the France of Paris, of Paris that asserts its right to be all France, and the France of the departments, that, in spite of the assertions of Paris, desire to put in their little claim for a small share in the name, and would like to have their own little fingers in the pies of revolutions, and changes of government in the family, that mamma cooks up. True, they are supposed to eat at the same table, but mamma has all the tit-bits. They have a voice in the family council, but it is when mamma has already issued her dictum, and declared that such and such things shall be as she has decided it. They help to support the family establishment with the moneys which mamma declares they must contribute out of their heritage; but then mamma, they declare, spends a most undue proportion upon herself, in dressing herself out with finery, keeping up an unnecessary state, and throwing away the sums confided to her to overpay a throng of unruly onhangers, with all the prodigality of fear; while they, the poor daughters, are made to put up with cast-off finery, and to be thwarted and twitted by harsh governesses, and to fight, as best they may, with an obstreperous herd of unpaid pensioners, which mamma's mismanagement has excited to uproar; and then, after all, to kiss hands and thank mamma for whatever they can get,—scanty sugar-plums and many cuffs. Is this to be endured? The children grumble much, and particularly since mamma has chosen to make changes in the direction of the household establishment of which they by no means approve, and has only produced confusion and disorder in it. But at present they can do no more than grumble; mamma has the rod, and they know that she will use it; mamma has the supreme influence, and habit makes them think they must abide by it. There is no doubt, at the same time, that the children and parent would unite in a common bond of union were the family honour to be asserted against an attack from any adversary to the family out of the house. Their intestine jealousies would be forgotten for the time, for the maintenance of the common good—a fancied good; for, after all, mother and daughters have the same blood, the same temperr and character, the same vain-glory, conceit, and irritability, the same strong prejudices of ignorance; and they would join hands and clamour together in the same opposition to the stranger. But this common-cause making, upon occasions of extraordinary pressure from without, detracts nothing, at other times, from the mistrust, jealousy, and angry susceptibility of the children in internal affairs. In moments of family crisis, will matters always go on as heretofore?

Nurseries will be obstreperous sometimes, and children will revolt, and mammas may pass very uncomfortable moments in the face of angry daughters in rebellion. Will the children take upon themselves, at last, to protest against mamma's disdainful commands, and assert a will of their own, and a right to think for themselves? This question is one upon the solution of which depends the fate of France, as well as upon the many thousand chances which the capricious and ever-shifting gales of a revolutionary atmosphere may, at any moment, suddenly blow, like a spark into a powder barrel, shattering the face of the past, and changing the direction of the future. Twice already, since the revolution of February, has the question been nearly answered in the affirmative. The last instance, of which more anon, may be taken as a striking proof that the children may possibly not always submit to the dictates of the mother,—that family mistrust may break out into family quarrel, and family quarrel in nations is civil war. Who again, however, may venture to predict what shall be the destinies of Republican France,—what web of darkness or of light, of blood-streaked stuff or of gold-threaded tissue, it may be weaving with its agitated and troubled hands, or what force it may interpose to tear the work to shreds before it be even yet completed? Most may fear, none may say. But prediction, upon whatever cunning foresight it may be based, must always call a sort of feeling of inspiration,[53] nearly allied to superstition, to its aid: and thus the fanciful mind may, without taking upon itself the airs of a Pythoness, give way to a little superstition, and yet, perhaps, be not too strongly condemned of folly. There exists an old prophecy in France, emanating from a monk of the middle ages, the authenticity of which cannot be doubted, or, at all events, cannot be disputed, in as far as it was in well-known existence at the commencement of this century. It predicts, in mystic language,—dark, it is true, but wonderfully clear after its verification,—all the many revolutionary changes that have taken place in France, and now once more proclaims the reign of the "sons of Brutus." "Armed men," it distinctly says, "will march upon the doomed city," "sword and fire will prevail against it," "the wolves will devour each other." May the seeming superstition of a fantastical question be pardoned! May not these words refer to the future outbreak of the provinces of France against the capital? If they do, in what sense, with what tendencies, to forward the views of what party, may it be? Be that as it may, however, it is not the obscure future that is dealt with here, but the present confused and uncertain state of Republican France.

As it may be inferred from what has been said, Paris, then, has put on its crown, as capital, to some purpose. Never did despot assert his right to dictate his autocratic will to serfs and slaves more authoritatively than does revolutionary and republican Paris to the provinces of France. No three-tailed Bashaw of old melodrams could be more imperative in his ordinances, more arrogant in the conviction of the indisputability of his will. The bare supposition that the provinces could have a will of their own would strike Paris dumb with astonishment. Paris has been accustomed to consider itself not only as the heart, but the head, and the arms and legs to boot, of the whole country. The inert body has no more, in its consideration, to do, than allow itself to be fed with what scanty morsels of bounty and importance Paris may choose to afford, and then not to dare to grumble afterwards if the food prove unsavoury to its tastes, or indigestible to its susceptibilities. Paris is "Sir Oracle," and, when it speaks, no provincial "dog dare bark." Paris, thus, is the great type of the mainspring of the national character,—which works sometimes, we allow, for good as well as for evil:—namely, of that mixture of vanity and overweening conceit, which may be found at the bottom of almost every action of the French. It calls itself "the great capital of the civilised world;" and thus considers that, although the departments may be admitted to the reflected rays of lustre that emanate from its superior glory, they must look upon themselves as mere satellites, created to revolve at its liking and its high will, and perform their revolutions in whatever direction it deems fit to make its own revolution. Let it not be supposed that this representation is exaggerated, or that it proceeds from the distorted views of a foreigner. Hear the Parisian himself speak; list to his expressions of contempt for those unknown and barbarous regions called departments; mark how he asserts the unutterable superiority of his Parisian essence; see how he tosses his head and curls his lip with an infinitely aristocratic air, when he condescends to notice them with a word; and never was Paris more eager in the maintenance of its tyrannical supremacy; never was it more despotically and autocratically disposed; never more aristocratic, to use the pet phrase of the day, than under the rule of soi-disant liberty, and of liberty of opinion, above all other liberties proclaimed by the French republic.

What were the expressions of the first republican minister of the interior, that type of republican exclusiveness and despotism, in his famous and rather too famous bulletins de la republique, issued to all France as the language and opinions of the government of the day? Paris, they informed the world, was the heart of France, from which all life and living principle emanated, through which every drop of the country's blood must flow, in order that it might beat in unison, and be refreshed with true republican vitality. Paris, they said again, was the hand that had created and fashioned[54] the republic, and that was to direct its steps, lead it vigorously forward in its way—as it was the head that conceived, it was the hand that executed: it was more than all this, it was the soul of France—the pure and true essence emanating from the new deity, the republic. Paris, they asserted in as many direct words, was the mistress whose will was to be obeyed. It is unnecessary to point out how little such declarations were in accordance with republican principles, what little affinity they had with the three great watchwords of the day, "Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity." Republicanism in France, according to those old traditions, to which those who call themselves the only true and pure republicans seem always to be looking back as the only true and pure models for their admiration and imitation, was always based upon despotism, supported by constraint, compulsion, violence, and even terrorism; and the first efforts of modern republicanism were evidently exerted to place their old, newfangled, statue of bastard liberty upon the same heterogeneous pedestal. The instructions of the same Bashaw-minister to the emissaries whom he despatched as Bashaws of lesser and fewer tails into the provinces, to see that they were duly disposed to fall down and worship the Goddess Republic, that had been set up, were modelled after the same and still rougher fashion.

The missionaries were invested with autocratic powers to make and unmake according to their own autocratic will; to send away functionaries who might appear lukewarm in the cause; to put in their places such acolytes as might better serve the altars of the goddess, and to offer up sacrifices to her, civil and military, judicial and political, as they might think pleasing to the divinity, or convenient and agreeable to their own hates and prejudices. They were particularly requested to travailler the country, to torture it, as the French phrase goes; and were taught, if they could not hammer the hard and unbending metal of departmental feeling to the shape they fancied, just gently to make the iron red-hot with the fire of terrorism, and then twist it to the suitable form. How well the workmen, in many instances, performed the task—how well they employed the fiery passions of the mob to produce the desired red-hot effect, and then strike—is a matter of historical fact.

In the elections for the National Assembly, the same dogmas of republican religion were strenuously enforced. No emissaries of the Inquisition ever used more moral violence to propagate a faith among suspected schismatics, than did these ministers of republican despotism to enforce the full, entire, and uttermost doctrines of their creed, even to the minutest articles. Where the moral influence appeared unlikely to penetrate as deeply into men's hearts as was desired, other and more direct methods were adopted to make entire converts; and, when these methods were found too mild to work the intended effect, and purge the land of moderatism and anti-whole-hog-ism, another stronger and more racking dose was administered: the mob was excited to overawe with threat and terrorism, and, where it could not prevent, to destroy. How should the departments dare to have a will of their own? The rebellious children were to be whipped like schoolboys into learning their lessons of pure and undefiled republicanism, and reciting them as Master Commissioner taught them; there was no better rod in pickle for such naughty urchins than the scourge of the fury of a mob, carefully taught another lesson, and one it was not slow of learning—namely, that it was master, and must constrain obedience to its will; while, in fact, itself obeyed the influence, and was the instrument of the master-spirit that ruled up above, and made the best, or rather the worst use of its rule. That all these measures failed in a great measure—those of violence as well as those of moral constraint—is attributable to a variety of complicated reasons, connected with the present state of the departments; and the how and why they failed, will be the subject of a few considerations presently.

What, again, were the expressions of the more violent and so-called only true republican party in the capital, proceeding from its organs, the clubs, upon the same occasion of the elections? To all the candidates who[55] presented themselves before them, the same question was propounded. If, when the votes of all France were taken, it should be found that the departments declared themselves averse to the establishment of a republic, what would be the duty they would have to perform,—what steps would they take? Those who did not declare that they would turn against that National Assembly, of which they themselves might then be members, and take up arms to march upon it, were denounced as traitors to their country, unworthy of the votes of true men, and hooted from the tribune, in which they had dared to stand forward as future representatives of the people. It would have been in vain to insinuate to these good gentlemen, that, in the application of the principle of universal suffrage, in which every man was not only an elector, but eligible as representative, the voice of the majority would be the voice of all France; and that it was for all France, by the voice of its majority, to decide upon the form of government best suited to all France. In vain, indeed. The ready answer would invariably have been—that Paris was the mistress of France, and had a right to dictate its will; that Paris had made the revolution, and that, consequently, Paris was privileged to support the principles of that revolution, and to arrogate to itself all its advantages: that the country at large, in fact, had nothing to do but to give in its approval, and be happy that its concurrence was so far demanded, and that, should it dare to have an opinion of its own, woe betide it! All this insolent bombast of the ultra party in Paris might have been spared, however; the cause of "Paris v. the Departments" was never called into the court of the country. The departments had accepted the establishment of the republic as a fait accompli: they never desired to subvert the new order of things by another convulsion, that would have plunged the country, already so miserable, into an increase of misery; but they protested in favour of a republic of peace and order, upon moderate principles; and, lo and behold, Paris itself combined with them in this desire. The disappointed party of the directing master-spirits of Paris have been none the less furious in their expressions of contempt for the openly declared will of all France. They had long kicked down their idol of universal suffrage with disdain, as soon as they had found that, in spite of all the hidden machinery they had set to work in it, the idol had not obeyed their will, or declared their oracles. Universal suffrage they pronounced a hoax: constraint, tyranny, anarchy, conspiracy, civil war, were proclaimed by them the only true elements of the only true republic. Frantic with disappointment at the result of their own manœuvres, by which they had been caught in their own toils, they seized upon the pretext of sympathy in the sorrows of another country; and, aided by the treachery of certain of their own party in authority, invaded the obnoxious Assembly, overthrew the government for an hour, and proclaimed a terrorist government of their own. Foiled again in this audacious attempt, foiled at least for the time being, they now endeavoured to patch up the shaking soil that has given way beneath their feet, and plunged their leaders into a quagmire, and to build new foundations for fresh aggressions upon the discontent of a part of the working-classes. For this purpose they have taken two newfangled tools into their hands, the one of impulsion, the other of repulsion—the one of enthusiasm, the other of alarm; and both are so vaguely fashioned, and of so unintelligible a nature, that the real fact of their existence can never be proved, although their use, their purpose, and their design, in the hands of these men, are very clear. The one of these tools is a bugbear, a phantom, a bogie, to which they endeavour to give as terrific an aspect as possible, in order to fright ignorant men over into their own ranks. This evil spirit, they declare, has an existence, although no one ever saw it, no one ever felt it, no one ever knew where it dwells. No superstitious people was ever endeavoured to be worked up into a more irrefragable belief of some mysterious demon that haunts them in dark woods and obscure places to devour them—nor, generally, with more complete success over the credulous; for[56] fear is the most powerful agent over the minds of the masses, and more especially when the fear is of the unknown and mysterious: and certainly no demon was ever described with a more hideous or blacker face. This bogie, phantom, bugbear, is a supposed influence called "Reaction." No precise form is given to it, for that would be to deprive it of more than half its terrors. No! onme ignotum pro terribili is the policy. Nothing can be more vague or indefinite than this same monster, Reaction; it remains an Ossianic cloudlike spectre, floating no one knows whence, but bringing death and pestilence in its train. If the working-classes suffer, it is the Reaction, they are told, that is the cause of all their sufferings. If all their exactions, however exorbitant and impossible, are not conceded at once, it is because that horrible Reaction labours that their just demands should be withheld. If the most violent of their own body are not elected as the true representatives of the people, it is because that pestilential Reaction has cast a spell over the minds of all the electors. The Reaction has also, potent demon although it be, all the freaks and caprices of a lesser imp; it performs the strangest and most incomprehensible feats,—for if a discontented mass of workmen revolt unsuccessfully, and gain not their ends, it was the Reaction again that was the cause of all. The Reaction, for its own vile reactionary purposes, it was, that treacherously induced them to revolt, when they themselves were naturally inclined to be the most peaceable, contented, and the least exorbitant people on the earth. See how perfidious, Machiavelic, and Jesuitical, is this horrible monster Reaction! Pity it is that, in order to establish the fact of its real existence, it should not as yet have made itself visible to mortal eyes in any incarnate form! The Reaction is, however, no less, men are told, the enemy of the republic, the adversary of all true republican principles, labouring ever to overthrow it; above all, the enemy of the people and the people's interests, their undermining serpent, their secret assassin. It is already sapping, unseen, the foundations of the republic, and it intends to pull down the ruins of that august structure upon the heads of the people, and crush it for ever beneath them. In spite of the infinite harm worked upon the spirit of the lower classes by the establishment of the belief in this phantom, there would, perhaps, be no real danger in the effect produced by the clamours of insensate ultra journals, the preachings of agitating demagogues, and the insidious insinuations of anarchist meneurs among the crowd, did not certain members of the government itself, and some of those in authority, render themselves parties concerned to the propagation of the belief, either genuinely, from having been themselves carefully inoculated with the virus of false fear, until they have really taken the disease, or designedly, for the advancement of their own purposes—did they not, in fact, throw a sop continually to mob-lecturers, by insinuating their own conviction in the existence of "bogie" by their decrees, edicts, and proclamations, and, when they are called to put down anarchy, never obey without crying "Reaction" at the same time, and vainly giving the phantom a slap on the face. As it is—and herein lies the evil—the people are taught that the National Assembly, as it is now constituted, is the concentrated essence of the spirit of Reaction—that the representatives of the people, with but few exceptions, are the ministering imps in a visible form of the invisible demon. If a word of reason is spoken in the Assembly against the clamours of unreasonable demand—"Look ye there! reaction!" is the cry; if it prepares safe measures of repression against the open efforts of anarchy—"reaction;" if it defends its own existence against the subversive attempts of conspirators—"reaction;" if it attempts to establish the republic upon a firm and solid, but moderate basis—"reaction;" if it does any thing—"reaction;" if it does nothing—"reaction;" if it cannot perform impossible wonders for the amelioration and prosperity of the lower working-classes,—at which, however, it labours most hard,—"reaction—reaction—reaction; the reaction of aristocratic feeling—the reaction of ill will—the reaction of indifference and indolence;" thereby always meaning reaction against the[57] true republic, and its true representatives, the lower classes. The phantom Reaction is thus used as a tool by a wild and violent party against the present order of things; against the moderate majority of the Assembly more particularly; against all things and all men not suiting its views, its schemes, its dreams, and its ambitions; and the bugbear is not ill got up to scare the credulous of the lower classes more completely into the toils of the malcontents, with the fear that reaction really may destroy that idol from which they have been taught to expect all the good gifts of "roasted larks," for which they have only to open their mouths, and "showers of gold," for which they have only to stretch forth their hands—that idol that has been lacquered over with the false gilding of delusive promises by imprudent rulers, and which the many still fancy to be all of solid gold—in a word, the Republic. The reaction, in truth, exists not, or exists not in the manner that people would be led to believe. If it exists, it is in the disgust of the more laborious and less tumultuous of the lower classes themselves, who, in their increasing misery, would be happy to accept the Lama of Thibet, or any other abstraction, with an absolute government, in the place of the false idol of their hopes, that has as yet only deluded them into greater misery— it is in the reactionary cry of the wretched, who call for "King Log," or any other senseless ruler that would bring with it peace, and order, and a hope of well-being.

The other tool employed by the designing malcontents—that of impulsion—is the banner upon which is inscribed "Republique Democratique." We have a republic, it is true, they say, but not the republic of our wishes. This is only a mere republic like any other: we want a democratic republic, and the democratic republic is taken from us; but the democratic republic we must and will have. Ask them what they mean by their "republique democratique," they will not be able to inform you. They launch into phrases which are but phrases: they lose themselves in a cloudy confusion of terms and ideas: they pretend to give you vague and chaotic explanations, that are no explanations at all: they know not themselves what they mean. Universal suffrage upon its broadest basis, with all the rights and privileges thereto attached, in their most democratic sense, is no democratic republic according to their view. What is? Who can tell?—certainly not they. "They have clamoured for the moon," says a wit of the day, "and the moon has been given them; and now they cry, 'we are betrayed; we wanted the sun, and the sun we will have.' But have a care! the sun will blind your eyes, my friends, and you will stagger in still greater darkness; the sun will burn your fingers, and you will smart beneath the blisters. But they heed not; they still clamour for the sun." At all events, the banner on which flaunts aloft the words—"Republique démocratique" is a good rallying banner for all malcontents, a good banner under which to enlist the unwary among their ranks. It is a cry, a clamour, and all the more enticing because it is vague, unexplained, mysterious in its fresh promises of some fancied good that has not yet arrived, full of the great and alluring unknown. Thus it serves a purpose.

But to return from this long digression upon the efforts of subversive parties, to the state of feeling that subsists in Republican France between its now well-sorted and divided elements—Paris and the provinces.

What are, again, the expressions used by the lower classes with regard to the departments? what the feelings they express? Ever the same. Paris, they declare, makes, has made, and will make all the revolutions of the country. Paris, consequently, is all in all in France: Paris is the mistress, and the queen, the supreme arbitress of the destinies of France: Paris must be obeyed in all its wishes and its high will. What were the words of the workmen of the national workshops, in a late revolt, to the Minister of Public Works? They were told that there was no longer any work for them in the capital, that their pretended labour was an irony of labour, that the country paid them for doing nothing, and that they were eating the bread of idleness under the name of work: they were told that[58] they were to be dispersed in the provinces, to be employed upon great works of public utility—upon railroads and canals, that stood still for want of hands: while money was lavishly promised them for this work, which the treasury could no longer afford upon unproductive labour. What was their answer? That they, the people, had made the revolution in Paris, that they were the masters of Paris, that Paris was theirs, to work in it their work; that, as masters of Paris, they were not to be bid leave it; that leave it they would not; that if labour failed, money must be found them at all events, or they would find means of taking it; in short, that they would not be degraded by being sent into the provinces. The workmen of Paris claim, then, to be the masters of the capital, and still more, in their esteem, the masters of all France. The people of Paris, then, is the people; it owns no other. Now the people, in modern republican phrase, and alas! in government decrees also, is by no means the nation; it means the lower classes alone. The people, it has been previously declared, is the sovereign people, whose voice is the voice of God; then, they reply, by the simplest reasoning, the sovereign people, whose voice is the voice of God—it is alone we: it is the lower classes. But there is still another deduction to be drawn. Among the lower classes it is only the active, the stirring, the discontented, the disorderly and tumultuous, who come forward in evidence as the representatives of this people. And thus it is very clear that the sovereign people, whose voice is the voice of God, the sovereign of France, is a small body of uneducated, misled, and wrong-headed men in the capital. So stands the account in theory. And who can deny that, in theory, they are in truth the masters? Who shall say when the chances of revolutionary struggles may not make them so in fact?

So stands the state of feeling on the side of Paris—how stands it on the other side?

When the revolution of February broke out, the departments scarcely knew themselves, their wishes, or their feelings. They had no mutual understanding. They were taken by surprise. They had not the time to consult their sentiments. Notoriously anti-republican as has been shown to have been the spirit of all France in the departments, they accepted, however, from old habit, the dictum of Paris: they accepted, as has been before remarked, from that species of resignation shown in France to a fait accompli: they accepted from a wish to avoid all further convulsion, from a love of established order in whatever shape it might come—from a hope that, whatever the form of government proclaimed and imposed upon the country, all would "go well." And besides, the republic, they were told, was only a provisional form of government at a moment of crisis, when no other could be adopted: upon its future form of government, the country, it was said, was to be freely consulted: the provinces were not prepared for the ulterior dictum of Paris, that, without consulting the nation at all, the republic was to be considered as definitive; and that those who desired a change would be regarded as traitors to their country. But France is not what it was; it is enlightened by the experience of successive revolutions. The jealousy of the departments, towards despotic Paris had long been boiling in men's hearts: it did not at first boil over; but when, instead of order and peace, the provinces found that the new government produced only results of disorder, animosity, and ruin, the departments began to grumble and murmur openly—for the first time they seemed determined to show that they ought to have, and would have, a will of their own. In the commencement all was tranquil. In some parts of France the republic was accepted, if not with that enthusiasm which lying Parisian papers would have induced the world to believe, at all events with a species of contentment, arising from the trust that a more equitable popular government would relieve the mass from some of those charges which weighed so heavily upon them under the former government, and remove constraints that were painful to them. In other parts, there prevailed a sort of sullen resignation to the establishment of a régime which was dreaded from an[59] experience of a hateful past, and was repulsive to its tastes—but it was a resignation to the fait accompli. Some thus hoped, and others feared; but all combined in assuming an attitude of quiet expectation.

In this state was France, when an imprudent Minister of the Interior, pushed on by ambitious, designing, misguided, and reckless men, sent down as a scourge upon the country those commissaries of obnoxious memory, who were publicly charged to work their will upon the departments as they pleased, by the means they pleased, by whatever oppressive or repressive measures they pleased, provided they worked the suspected and mistrusted departments into a proper feeling of true republican principle, according to the most ultra traditional doctrines of old republicanism. Down upon the country came the autocratic commissaries with these instructions; and, in too many instances, with the best intentions of torturing and tormenting the country, after their own fashion and according to their own views, to their heart's content. Down they came, with their history of the first republic in their heads, and the desire in their hearts of emulating the zeal of those fearful representatives of the people of the last century, who ruled in the departments, each a petty, but a bloody tyrant. To all alike the same violence of disposition must not be attributed: there were a few more prudent and better-thinking men among the number—although they, in certain instances, were afterwards accused in high quarters of mild laxity, and recalled as suspected of moderatism; but the many were evidently disposed to play the tyrant to the life, in their desperate measures to twist the country to their will. The times, however, were changed; the spirit of the age no longer permitted of the same violence. Messieurs les Commissaires could not well proceed by the old-established and expeditious method of cementing the foundations of republics, one and indivisible, by blood, or erecting the scaffolding of the edifice on scaffolds. Shootings, drownings, and guillotinings were instruments rather too rough to be accepted by the manners of the time. But they had other means in their power, and according to the tenor of their instructions, which they thought to use, and attempted to use, with just as much effect. They dismissed functionaries in wholesale numbers—put their creatures, or those who cringed and worshipped, in their places, with orders to brow-beat and bully the recalcitrant, and with the exhibition of high example before their eyes. They threatened and accused; and when these means failed, according to their fancy, or when they were too mild for the taste of Master Commissary, the other underhand instruments of terrorism, already mentioned, were employed to make men crouch and tremble. The manner in which mobs have been excited against the better classes, or those who were suspected of moderatism, by manœuvres unequivocally traced to the agency of the commissaries themselves, and the frightful excesses committed, are matters of common notoriety and of newspaper history. The scenes of the old Revolution were resorted to, although in another form; and not only supposed anti-republican sentiment, but moderatism, was endeavoured to be kept down by agents of terror, and the ever-ready riotous populations of the great towns. It would be an endless and a useless task to re-transcribe all the scenes of the violence of an insensate mob, secretly got up by the republican agents in authority, more than secretly connived at, and openly and avowedly excused and applauded. The rod that the commissary himself could not prudently employ, he placed in the hands of a designedly inflamed and infuriated people, to scourge the country to his will. One of the strongest instances, however, may be found in that state of continual terror on the one hand, and violence on the other, which for many long weeks hung over the head of the doomed city of Lyons. See there the mob constituting itself into illegally armed bodies, sundered from and inimical to the national guards, assuming names, such as les voraces and les dévorants, by which they themselves marked their character, ruling the whole city of Lyons by fear; exacting, spoliating, arresting suspects at will; searching the houses of quiet inhabitants under the pretext of conspiracies against the republic[60] that did not exist, and of concealed arms, such as they themselves illegally bore, that never could be found; dragging trembling priests from the altar to be confined in cellars, because they were suspected of anti-republicanism; laying their hands upon church plate as the property of traitors; liberating prisoners arrested for revolt and disorder—arresting the magistrates who had condemned them; dictating their orders to military officers for the release of soldiers put under restraint; pulling a general from his horse, and nearly immolating him to the wrath of their high justice in the streets; commanding the fortresses, making barricades at the least opposition to their will, domineering over the whole city as masters—a herd of power-intoxicated savages—and the commissary looking on, applauding, sanctioning their deeds, rubbing his hands with satisfaction, and approving them with the words "Allez, mes enfans! vous faites bien!" Such scenes as these, carried to the utmost limits of anarchy and excess in Lyons, have been exhibited also in almost all the great towns of France, with all the effect of well-applied terrorism. There is scarcely one that has not similar outrages, from the violence of an excited mob, to lay to the charge of him who was set in authority over them—to work his will, so said the letter of his instructions—but to preserve peace and order, in a country where convulsions, collisions, and commotions were so infinitely to be dreaded and avoided—so should his duty have told him. It ought to be said, at the same time, that the acknowledged authorities of the government were aided in their high revolutionary mission, and in the extraordinary means they employed in its execution, by less acknowledged agents, in the persons of emissaries from the violent ultra clubs of Paris; who, arrogating to themselves the right to the true expression of the only true feeling of Paris—and consequently, à fortiori, of all France—racked the country with their manœuvres, their excitements to violence, their bullying threats and intimidations. Unacknowledged by government authority as they were, however, their missions were bestowed on them by the quondam friends and fellow-conspirators, under the former reign of the Minister of the Interior; their expenses were supported by funds, supplied no one could say by what hand, although most might divine; their measures were evidently taken in accordance, and in perfectly good understanding, with the departmental commissary.

What, however, was the result? The very reverse from that intended by Messieurs les Commissaires and their supporter, the Minister of the Interior. They over-reached themselves, and worked the very effect they attempted to exterminate. Instead of subjugating the departments to their will of ultra-republicanism by the violence of terrorism, they almost roused the whole better feeling of the country, at first quietly disposed and resigned, against the very principles of republicanism in general. The sentiment at first accepted was soured and embittered; the discontent and aversion daily increased; and it was more than once openly affirmed that the departments were ready to revolt, and formed the design of marching upon Paris. That this subject was actually discussed in large, and not even secret meetings in the provinces—and even in such as had been always considered ultra-liberal and democratic in their opinions, as parts of Normandy, for instance—admits of but little doubt; and this feeling, although it was never actually embodied in any living and active fact of resistance, may be taken as one example in support of the opinion, that the children may not always prove so submissive to the dictates of the mother, and may one day raise their voices and hold forth their hands to dispute her will. The open and general outbreak of the provinces, which was at one time expected, and was the common topic of conversation in Paris, was suppressed, however, by the influence of the better-thinking and more prudential men in the country. But the feeling of opposition and resistance did not fail to manifest itself in minor demonstrations. Expostulations were at first made against the tyranny and the inflammatory manœuvres of the government commissaries; then broke out angry remonstrances on the part of the bourgeoisie, backed by the better and quieter of the working-classes; and at last, when all these more legitimate[61] means failed, the populations of several of the larger towns rose against the provisional despot, who played the autocrat and the tyrant in the name of "Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity."

The national guards took up arms to demand the revocation and the departure of the obnoxious commissary. The commissary, in opposition, acted the self-same part of which a despotic king has since been so violently accused by the republican journals. As Ferdinand of Naples is said to have excited the dregs of the populace, the lazzaroni, to aid him in a reactionary movement in his favour, so did even the republican commissary after the self-same system. He caused the mob to be roused to his assistance, as to that of the only true democratic friend of the people; he called upon them to take up arms and combat in his defence: the lazzaroni mob of the departments was the weapon he wielded to overcome the resistance of the majority to his will. In most instances the recalcitrant part of the provincial populations prevailed. In several of the larger towns, as in Bordeaux, Bourges, and many others, the commissary was obliged to take to flight: in some the palace of the little tyrant was stormed, he himself was made prisoner, and was taken to the railroad, and "packed off" back to that Paris which had sent him. In a very few instances only the influence of the commissary gained the day: in still less was he again returned, to be enforced upon the department from which he had been driven; and in one case he was sent back by the powers that were, only to be again ignominiously expelled.

In the department of the Ariège, at the town of Foix, a journal, founded under the auspices of the commissaries of the government, and professing the most violent ultra-republican doctrines, was publicly burnt by the magistrates and most influential persons of the place, to show their contempt and abhorrence of the principles and actions of the authority set over them. Other instances of the general opposition, either to the commissaries themselves or to the agents they had appointed and supported, on account of their violence, their tyrannical measures, and their anarchical principles, are too numerous to quote; and, generally speaking, the feeling was so strong, that the Messieurs les Commissaires, or rather, les Citoyens Commissaires, were obliged to give way before the expression of popular indignation.

The departments then, for the first time, have begun to show that they are determined not to be treated as the mere humble serfs of the capital,—that they are resolved to have a will and an action of their own. The results have been such that, even among the staunch republicans in the provinces, and among those who look to the republic as the only form of government at present suitable to France, symptoms of a tendency to a federal system have indubitably sprung up,—of a tendency, in fact, to that system in opposition to which, under the first revolution, the title of "one and indivisible,"—so little understood at the present day, so constantly repeated by the herd without any real meaning being attached to it,—was bestowed upon the republic. The fear of a powerfully organised resistance to the sacred principles of French republicanism,—unity and indivisibility,—is, at this very time, one of the bugbears by which those in power are terrified and haunted. But, whether this fear be well founded or not, it suffices for the present purpose, to show that a disunited feeling exists to a great extent between the departments and the capital; and that, while on the one hand the former begin to show a disposition to resist the overweening influence and tyrannical importance of the former, on the other, a dread is beginning to be expressed of their growing discontent, and a suspicion is constantly expressed of their increasing tendency to reactionary principles, likely to prove eventually subversive to the republic. Among those "lookers-on," who proverbially "see the most of the game," there are some who, in their exceptional and impartial position as foreigners, are able to see expressed in letters from the provinces "curses, not loud, but deep," against "that detestable, unruly, and insolent Paris, that has made alone a hateful revolution, which it imposes on all France." It cannot, however, be said, at the same time, that any reactionary feeling against the republic itself, and a republican form of government, prevails in the country at large. That which is thought to be stigmatised by[62] the ultra party with the term of "reaction," appears, as yet, to be nothing but the acceptation of a republic based upon the principles of peace and order; but, at the same time, an opposition to all views and doctrines likely to produce disorder and anarchy. And yet still, in another sense, the feeling of the country at large cannot be said to be strictly republican: the "true men" might be in vain sought except in the disorderly, tumultuous, excitable, and easily stirred populations of the great manufacturing towns.

Shortly after the appointment of the obnoxious commissaries, several causes arose to increase the discontent of the departments, not only among the ci-devant upper and middling classes, but among the lower classes,—particularly in the agricultural districts, and more especially among that peasant population that has so universally in France acquired a little property in land. One of these causes was the imposition of the new taxes. Under the former régime, France had been crushed down by the weight of its impositions. One of the first advantages of the republic was announced, in official proclamations, to consist in the removal of taxes, and in the enormous diminution of state expenses necessarily attendant upon a republican form of government. Already the country people looked to a release from the greater part of their obligations: the system of "no taxes at all," they thought, in their naïveté, was to follow; instead of which came very shortly the decree, begging the country for the loan of a certain proportion of the taxes for the ensuing year beforehand, in order to meet the deficiencies in the finances, followed up almost immediately by the more imperative ordinance, imposing the additional 45 per cent in support of the increased, not diminished, expenses of the republican government. In many parts of the country the peasant population refused to pay this additional tax, or responded only to the demand with that equivocal answer, so characteristic of the French peasant, "We'll see about it." It nevertheless, however, refused to pay at the same time the rents of its landlords, upon the pretext that it was ruined by the revolution, and the exactions of the republic. It was in vain that the government protested that these measures were necessitated by the financial dilapidations of the dethroned dynasty. Clear-sighted enough where their own interests are concerned, the French peasants in the provinces replied by denunciations of that odious Paris. Paris, they declared, had chosen to make for the nonce a revolution in which they had not aided, and which they had not desired; and then Paris turned to its own advantage alone the results of that revolution. It had imposed upon all France, by calling for resources from a country already drained, to be lavishly squandered in rewarding the idleness of its own tumultuous and unruly inhabitants among the working-classes, which it dreaded, by the establishment of its expensive so-called ateliers nationaux, and by paying fresh troops under the name gardes mobiles,—when the standing army was already such a burden the country,—for the sake of draining off and regularising the worst dregs of its own population, and satisfying the caprices of a riotous Parisian mob, that chose to object to the presence of the old military force among it, while it accepted a new defensive and repressive force, in addition to the former, under a new title. Upon such questions, of vital importance to their own interests, the country people of the provinces were not disposed to listen to argument or reason; and in the discontent at the exorbitant exactions of the capital the jealousy of the departments towards Paris waxed stronger and stronger.

Another cause, which added greatly to the increasing apprehension and aversion was the preaching of the communist doctrines in Paris, upon the first establishment of republican principles, and the support apparently given to these wild and spoliating principles by certain members of the Provisional Government itself. If there be any feeling more alive than any other in the breast of the French peasant, it is that attached to the acquirement and the possession of landed property in however humble a form, be it but a small field or a tiny vineyard. If he has any hope, any ambition, any sentiment, which he thinks worth living for, it is the extension, by any and every[63] means, of his small domain. On the fact of this possession are concentrated all the mainspring motives and agencies of his whole existence—in this, his industry, his talent, his cunning, his thoughts, his affections, his very love for his children, to whom he hopes to transmit it. The great mobile of the character of the French peasant is self-interest in this respect. The doctrines, then, which preached that the possession of all landed property by individuals is an infamous spoliation of the res publica, filled the country people in the provinces with the liveliest alarm, and contributed to establish a still greater hatred to a state of things that tended to produce results so fatally detrimental to all that they held dear. The Parisian, almost as blindly ignorant of the state of his own country—which, in his theory that Paris is all France, he looks upon with indifference, if not contempt—as he is proverbially utterly ignorant of every other country beyond the frontiers of France, even the most neighbouring—and, in fact, of every thing that touches upon geography or the state of nations, of which he has only the vaguest and most incorrect notions—thought that all his wild fraternity schemes, developed and accepted by those who possessed nothing, in the capital, would be received with enthusiasm also by the "miserable, oppressed, and tyrannised inhabitant of the fields and plains;"—such was the language used, and eagerly caught up. The Parisian soon found, by experience, that he had made a gross mistake. The emissaries sent down into the provinces by the professors and high-priests of communism, or by the ultra clubs, and supported, there is every reason to believe, by the members of the government before alluded to, met only with the most active repulsion. Their Utopian ideas of universal fraternity and spoliation of property were scorned, scouted, and opposed: themselves were hooted, pelted, almost lapidated as incendiary enemies of the peasant. "The innocent and humble inhabitant of the fields" was indignant, insulted, aggrieved, that he should be so contemptuously considered "miserable and oppressed:" he showed himself in the light of the landed proprietor, the most avariciously interested in the possession of property, and by no means the naif individual the Parisian had been accustomed to believe him, according to his text-books of vaudevilles and melodramas. The agents of communistic doctrines were forced to retreat in dudgeon, to declare the French peasant the most ignorant and pig-headed animal upon earth, still under the yoke of the tyrants, and endoctriné by the aristocrats; and to avow that the departments were not ripe for the enlightenment of communism, perhaps even to denounce them as infamously reactionary. Certain it is that communistic doctrines found no enthusiastic disciples in the country; or, if the propagandism made any steps, it was after the fashion so characteristically depicted in a caricature published by the Charivari, in which a peasant appears before the mayor of his commune to say, that, since a general partage des biens is to take place, he puts down his name for the château, but makes a most wofully wry face upon hearing that his own field has been already divided among the paupers of the village. The propagation of communism, then, only excited fears instead of hopes, consternation instead of joy, and tended still more to indispose the country people, and excite their aversion and discontent towards a state of things likely to become so prejudicial to their interests: more than ever, they were disposed to revolt.

In this state was the feeling of the country at large when the general elections came on, accompanied by all the violence of party manœuvre to support the principles of ultra-republicanism, advocated by the unscrupulous minister of the nation; but all these efforts tended only to indispose it still more, and to call forth, in spite of the desperate opposition made, its sense in favour of respect of property, order, and moderatism of views in the republic, if republic there was to be. As is well known, an immense majority of those men of moderate principles, whom all the ill-judged and hateful efforts of the violent and reckless republicans at the head of affairs had so greatly contributed to form into a decided, self-conscious, and compact party of opponents, was returned to the Assembly. Most of the leading men of the liberal party under[64] the former dynasty, who had stood forward as friends of progressive reform, but not as opponents to the constitutional monarchy principle, were likewise elected, with great majorities, by the suffrages of the people. The country declared its will to be against the views of the principal and stirring influence which emanated from the reckless man who governed the interior affairs of the country in the capital. But it did not forget, at the same time, and it still bears an inveterate grudge to the violent agents of that ultra-republicanism, chiefly concentrated in Paris, who had filled the country with disorder, tumult, terror, and, in some cases, bloodshed, by the atrocious and outrageous means it placed in the hands of a riotous mob to overawe them, and sway the direction of the elections, and by the base manœuvres employed to attain their ends. It does not forget the despotism of certain commissaries, who, after having their own lists of ultra-democratic candidates, whom they intended to force down the throats of the electors, printed, threatened the printer, who should dare to print any other, with their high displeasure, and caused them to shut up their press. It does not forget the seizure of those papers that proposed moderate candidates, with every attempt to strangle in practice that liberty of the press which was so clamorously claimed in theory. It does not forget the voters' lists torn from the hands of voters by a purposely excited mob. It does not forget the odious manœuvre by which agents were largely paid and sent about to cry "Vive Henri V." in the streets of towns, in order to induce the belief in a Bourbonist reactionary party, and thus rouse the passions and feelings of the flattered and declamation-intoxicated mob against the moderates, regardless of the consequences—of the animosity and the bloodshed. It does not forget the intimidation, the threat of fire and sword, the opposition by force to the voting of whole villages suspected of moderatism—the collision, the constraint, the conflict, the violence. It does not forget all this, nor also that it owes the outrage, the alarm, and the suffering, the ruin to peace and order, to commerce, to well-being, to fortune, to that central power which turned a legion of demons upon it, in the shape of revolutionary emissaries and agents. It forgets still less the scenes of Limoges, where a mob were turned loose into the polling-house to destroy the votes, drive out the national guards, disarm these defenders of order and right, and form a mob government, to rule and terrorise the town, while Master Commissary looked on, and told the people that it did well, and laughed in his sleeve. It forgets still less the fury of the disappointed upon the result of the elections, their incitements to insurrections, their preachings of armed resistance for the sake of annulling the elections, obtained, it must never be forgotten, by universal suffrage, in face of their culpable manœuvres: the emissaries again sent down from the clubs, and with an apparent connivance of certain ultra-members of the government, from the charge of which, now more than ever since the conspiracy of the 15th May, they will scarcely be able to acquit themselves: the efforts of these emissaries to make the easily excited and tumultuous lower classes take up arms, and the bloody conflicts in the streets of Rouen: the complicity of the very magistrates appointed by these members of the government—the terror and the bloodshed, and then the cry of the furious ultras that the people had been treacherously assassinated—the conspiracies and incendiary projects of the vanquished at Marseilles, the troubles of Lisle, of Amiens, of Lyons, of Aubusson, of Rhodez, of Toulouse, of Carcassonne—why swell the list of names?—of almost every town in France, all with the same intent of destroying those elections of representatives which the country had proclaimed in the sense of order and of moderatism. It forgets still less the dangers of that same 15th May, when the government was for a few hours overthrown, by the disorderly, the disappointed, the discontented, the violent ultra republicans, the conspirators of Paris,—when some of those, who had been formerly their rulers, were arrested as accomplices, and others still in power can scarcely yet again avoid the accusation and conviction of complicity.

All the other troubles of this distracted country, since the revolution of February, may be passed over—the[65] ruin to commerce, the poverty, misery, and want, the military revolts excited by the same emissaries to cause divisions in the army, as likewise the unhappy troubles of Nismes, where the disturbances took a religions tendency—as a conflict of creeds between Roman Catholics and Protestants, rather than a political or even a social character,—although they still bore evidence of the disorder of the times and the disturbance of the country. The elections, then, contributed more powerfully than ever to the fermentation, the discontent, the mistrust, and the ill-will of the country.

In this state of France, with the feeling of impatient jealousy and irritation against tyranny and despotism expressed by the departments towards the capital, with the evident disunion between the provinces and Paris, what are likely to be the destinies of the Republic hereafter? Again it must be said—who can tell, who foresee, who predict? The Republic has been accepted, and is maintained, from a love of order and the status quo: but there is no enthusiasm, no admiration for the republican form of government throughout the country at large; there is, at most, indifference to any government, whatever it may be, provided it but insure the stability and prosperity of the country. If an opinion may be hazarded, however, it is, that the danger to the present established form of things will not arise so much from the conflict of contending parties in the capital, as from the discontent, disaffection, jealousy, and, perhaps, final outbreak and resistance of the departments. Terrorism has had its day; and it would be difficult, if not impossible, to apply the system once again to the country in its present state. What other means will the violent possess—what coercive measures, if, when parties come to an issue, the wearied and disgusted country should rise to protest against the disorders of Republican Paris? There seem at present to be none. The result of such an outbreak would be inevitable civil war. The strong instance before alluded to, of the determination of the departments to assert a will of their own, was given in a very striking manner in the affair of the 15th May. One of the conspirators got possession of the electric telegraph at the Home Office, and sent down despatches into all the provinces, to inform the country that the Assembly was dissolved, and the new government of the ultra-anarchist party had taken the reins of power. Instead of being awed into submission as heretofore, instead of calmly and resignedly accepting the fait accompli as was their wont, the departments immediately rose to protest against the new revolution of Paris. Before a counter-despatch could be sent down into the provinces, to let them know that the former order of things was restored, the national guards of all the great towns were up and out, with the cry "to arms!" and it was resolved to march upon Paris. It was not only in the towns within a day's journey of the capital that the movement was spontaneously made. In the furthest parts of the country, from the cities of Avignon, Marseilles, Nismes, and all the south of France, the national guards were already on their way towards the capital, before the information that declared the more satisfactory result of the day could be made public. It is more than probable, then, that, should a desperate faction ever seize upon the power, or even should a close conflict of parties further endanger the safety of the country and its tottering welfare, that the provinces would again take up arms against Paris, and that a civil war would be the result.

This is rather a suggestion hazarded, than a prediction made, as to the future fate of the French republic. Whatever that future may be, an uneasy submission on the part of a great anti-republican majority to the active agency of a small republican minority—but, at the same time, a desire of maintaining a government, whatever it may be, if supportable, for tranquillity's sake; a feeling of humiliation and degradation in this utter submission to the will of Paris throughout the country—but, at the same time, an apparent growing determination eventually to resist that will, should it at last prove intolerable—such is the present state of Republican France.



Journal of an Expedition into the Interior of Tropical Australia, &c. By Lieut.-Colonel Sir T. Mitchell, Surveyor-General, &c. 1 vol. London: Longmans.

Australia is the greatest accession to substantial power ever made by England. It is the gift of a Continent, unstained by war, usurpation, or the sufferings of a people. But even this is but a narrow view of its value. It is the addition of a territory, almost boundless, to the possessions of mankind; a location for a new family of man, capable of supporting a population equal to that of Europe; or probably, from its command of the ocean, and from the improved systems, not merely of commercial communication, but of agriculture itself, capable of supplying the wants of double the population of Europe. It is, in fact, the virtual future addition of three hundred millions of human beings, who otherwise would not have existed. And besides all this, and perhaps of a higher order than all, is the transfer of English civilisation, laws, habits, industrial activity, and national freedom, to the richest, but the most abject countries of the globe; an imperial England at the Antipodes, securing, invigorating, and crowning all its benefits by its religion.

Within the last fifty years, the population of the British islands has nearly tripled; it is increasing in England alone at the rate of a thousand a day. In every kingdom of the Continent it is increasing in an immense ratio. The population is becoming too great for the means of existence. Every trade is overworked, every profession is overstocked, every expedient for a livelihood threatens to be exhausted under this vast and perpetual influx of life; and the question of questions is, How is this burthen to be lightened?

There can be but one answer,—Emigration. For the last century, common sense, urged by common necessity, directed the stream of this emigration to the great outlying regions of the western world. North America was the chief recipient. Since the conquest of Canada, annual thousands had directed their emigration to the British possessions: the conquest of the Cape has drawn a large body of settlers to its fine climate; but Australia remained, and remains for the grand future field of British emigration.

The subject has again come before the British public with additional interest. The Irish famine, the British financial difficulties, and the palpable hazard of leaving a vast pauperism to grow up in ignorance, have absolutely compelled an effort to relieve the country. A motion has just been made in Parliament by Lord Ashley, giving the most startling details of the infant population; and demanding the means of sending at least its orphan portion to some of those colonial possessions, where they may be trained to habits of industry, and have at least a chance of an honest existence. We shall give a few of these details, and they are of the very first importance to humanity. On the 6th of June Lord Ashley brought in a resolution, "That it is expedient that means be annually provided for the voluntary emigration, to some one of her Majesty's colonies, of a certain number of young persons of both sexes, who have been educated in the schools, ordinarily called 'ragged schools,' in and about the metropolis."

In the speech preparatory to this resolution, a variety of statements were made, obtained from the clergy and laity of London. It was ascertained that the number of children, either deserted by their parents, or sent out by their parents to beg and steal, could not be less than 30,000 in the metropolis alone. Their habits were filthy, wretched, and depraved. Their places of living by day were the streets, and by night every conceivable haunt of misery and sin. They had no alternative but to starve, or to grow up into professional thieves, perhaps murderers. Of the general population, the police reports stated, that in 1847 there had been taken into custody 62,181 individuals of[67] both sexes and all ages. Of these, 20,702 were females, and 47,479 males. Of the whole, 15,693 were under twenty years of age, 3,682 between fifteen and ten, and 362 under ten. Of the whole, 22,075 could neither read nor write, and 35,227 could read only, or read and write imperfectly.

The average attendance last year in the "ragged schools" was 4000. Of these 400 had been in prison, 600 lived by begging, 178 were the children of convicts, and 800 had lost one or both their parents, and of course were living by their own contrivances. Out of the 62,000, there were not less than 28,113 who had no trade, or occupation, or honest livelihood whatever!

The statement then proceeded to consider the expense to which the nation was put to keep down crime. It will perhaps surprise those readers who object to the expenses of emigration.

In 1847.The expense of Parkhurst Prison was£14,349
"Of Pentonville Prison,18,307
In 1846.Of County Gaols,147,145
"Of County Houses of Correction,160,841
"Of Rural Police,180,000
"Of Prosecutions for Coining,9,000
In 1847.Of Metropolitan Police,363,164

The whole but a few items, yet amounting to a million sterling annually. In this we observe the Millbank Penitentiary, an immense establishment, Newgate, the Compter, and the various places of detention in the city, are not included; and there is no notice of the expenses of building, which in the instance of the Penitentiary alone amounted to a million.

Yet, to dry up the source of this tremendous evil, Lord Ashley asks only an expenditure of £100,000 annually, to transform 30,000 growing thieves into honest men, idlers into cultivators of the soil, beggars into possessors of property, which the generality of settlers become, on an average of seven years.

There can be no rational denial of the benefit, and even of the necessity, of rescuing those unfortunate creatures from a career which, beginning in vice and misery, must go on in public mischief, and end in individual ruin. Lord Ashley's suggestion is that the plan shall be first tried on the moderate scale of sending 500 boys, and 500 girls, chosen from the ragged schools of London, under proper superintendents, to the most fitting of the colonies; by which we understand Australia. The plan may then be extended to the other parts of the kingdom, to Scotland and Ireland. He concluded by placing his motion in the hands of government, who, through the Home Secretary, promised to give it all consideration.

It is certainly lamentable that such statements are to be made; and we have little doubt that the foreign journalist will exult in this evidence of what they call "the depravity of England." But, it is to be remembered that London has a population of nearly two millions—that all the idleness, vice, and beggary of an island of twenty millions are constantly pouring into it—that foreign vice, idleness, and beggary contribute their share, and that what is abhorred and corrected in England, is overlooked, and even cherished abroad. It is also to be remembered, that there is a continual temptation to plunder in the exposed wealth of the metropolis, and a continual temptation to mendicancy in the proverbial humanity of the people.

Still, crime must be punished wherever it exists, and vice must be reformed wherever man has the means; and, therefore, we shall exult in the success of any judicious plan of emigration.

It happens, at this moment, that there is an extraordinary demand for emigration; that every letter from Australia calls for a supply of human life, and especially for an emigration of females,—the proportion of males to females in some of the settlements being 9 to 1, while the number of females predominates, by the last census in England.

There is a daily demand for additional labourers, artificers, and household servants, and with offers of wages which in England neither labourer nor artisan could hope to obtain. Thousands are now offered employment, comfort, and prospective wealth in Australia, who must burthen the[68] workhouse at home. The advantages are so evident, the necessity is so strong, and the opportunity is so prompt and perfect, that they must result in a national plan of constant emigration, until Australia can contain no more—an event which may not happen for a thousand years.

It happens, also, by a striking coincidence, that Australian discovery has just assumed new vigour; and that instead of the barrenness and deformity which were generally supposed to form the principal characteristics of this vast territory, immense tracts have been brought to European knowledge for the first time, exhibiting remarkable fertility, and even the most unexpected and singular beauty. We now give a sketch of the journey in which those discoveries were made.

To explore the interior of this great country has been the object of successive expeditions for the last five-and-twenty years. But such was the want of system or the want of means, that nothing was done, except to increase the tales of wonder regarding the middle regions of Australia. The theorists were completely divided; one party insisting on the existence of a mediterranean or mighty lake in the central region, because there was a tendency in some of the small rivers of the coast to flow inward. Others, with quite as much plausibility, laughed at the idea; and, from having felt a hot wind occasionally blowing from the west, had no doubt that the central region was a total waste, a desert of fiery sand, an Australian Sahara! while both parties seem to have been equally erroneous, so far as any actual discovery has been made.

But it seems equally extraordinary, that even the only two expeditions which within our time have added largely to our knowledge, alike should have neglected the most obvious and almost the only useful means of discovery. The especial object of exploration must be, to ascertain the existence of considerable rivers pouring into the sea, because it is only thus that the government can effectively form settlements. The especial difficulty of the explorers is, to find provisions, or carry the means of subsistence along with them. Both difficulties would be obviated by the steam-boat, and by nothing else. The natural process, therefore, would be, to embark the expedition in a well appointed and well provisioned steamer; to anchor it at the necessary distance from the coast, which in general has deep and sheltered water, within the great rocky ridge; and then send out the explorers for fifty or a hundred miles north and south, making the steamer the headquarters. Thus they might ascertain every feature of the coast, inch by inch, be secure of subsistence, and be free from native hostility.

Yet all the expeditions have been overland, generally with the most imminent hazard of being starved, and occasionally losing some of their number by attacks from the natives. Thus also the present expedition of the surveyor succeeded but in part, though it had the merit of discovering that the reports of Australian barrenness belonged but to narrow tracts, while the general character of the country towards the north was of striking fertility. The purpose of Sir T. Mitchell's late expedition was, to ascertain the probability of a route from Sydney to the Gulf of Carpentaria. But as this route was to be made dependent on a presumed river flowing into the gulf, the actual object was to reach the head of that river—an object which could have been more effectually attained by tracing it upward from the gulf; and, in consequence of not so tracing it, the expedition ultimately failed.

To establish an easy connexion between the colony of New South Wales and the traffic of the Indian Ocean had long been a matter of great interest. Torres Strait, the only channel to the north, is a remarkably dangerous navigation; while, by forming an overland communication directly with the Gulf of Carpentaria to the west of the strait, the commerce would find an open sea. A trade in horses had also commenced with India, which was impeded by the hazards of the strait. There had also been a steam communication with England by Singapore, and there was a hope that this line might be connected with a line from the gulf.

The idea of tracing a river towards[69] the north was a conjecture of several years' standing, in some degree founded on the natural probability that an immense indentation of the land could not but exhibit some outlet for the course of a considerable fall of waters, and also that there had been a report by a Bushman, of having followed its course to the sea.

After some difficulties with the governor, which were obviated by a vote of the Colonial Legislature of £2000 for the expenses of the expedition, it set out from Paramatta on the 17th of November 1845. The expedition consisted of Sir Thomas Mitchell; E. B. Kennedy, Esq., assistant-surveyor; William Stephenson, Esq., surgeon and naturalist; twenty-three convicts, who volunteered for the sake of a free pardon, which was to be their only payment; and three freemen. They had a numerous list of baggage conveyances, &c. &c.; eight drays, drawn by eighty bullocks; two boats, thirteen horses, four private horses, three light carts, and provisions for a year, including two hundred and fifty sheep, which travelled along with them, constituting a chief part of their animal food. They had also gelatine and pork. The surveyor-general preferred light carts, and horses in place of bullocks; but it was suggested that the strong drays were necessary, and that bullocks were more enduring than horses—the latter an opinion soon found to be erroneous. It is rather singular, that either opinion should not have been settled fifty years ago.

Some natural and well-expressed reflections arise, in the course of this volume, on the lonely life of the settler. Its despondency, and its inutility to advance his moral nature, are in some measure attributed to the absence of the "gentler sex."

"At this sheep station," says Sir Thomas, "I met with an individual who had seen better days, and had lost his property amid the wreck of colonial bankruptcies; a 'tee-totaller,' with Pope's 'Essay on Man' for his consolation, in a bark hut. This man spoke of the depravity of shepherd life as excessive.... The pastoral life, so favourable to the enjoyment of nature, has always been a favourite with the poets. But here it appears to be the antipodes of all poetry and propriety, simply because man's better half is wanting. Under this unfavourable aspect the white man comes before the aboriginal. Were they intruders, accompanied with wives and children, they would not be half so unwelcome. In this, too, consists one of the most striking differences between settling and squatting. Indeed, if it were an object to uncivilise the human race, I know of no method more likely to effect it, than to isolate a man from the gentler sex and children. Remove afar off all courts of justice and means of redress of grievances, all churches and schools, all shops where he can make use of money, and then place him in close contact with savages. 'What better off am I than a black native!' was the exclamation of a shepherd to me."

A general description of the aspect of New South Wales would be difficult, from its extreme diversity in parts; but the general face of the country is marked by lines of granite hills; short water-courses, which in summer are dry, or retain the water only in pools; clumps of trees, generally dotted over the soil, and occasional prairies. But the soil is generally fertile, and, in the spring, exhibits a great variety of flowers. Thus the land is every where fit for European life, though in the same latitude with the hottest portions of Africa. It has occasional gushes of intense heat, but they seem not to have affected the health of the expedition; and with that progress of comforts which follows all civilisation, the heat and cold alike may be successfully mitigated. We have not heard of any endemic in Australia; the epidemic has never visited its shores. The chief want in the pasture-grounds is water, but even that is merely the result of the rudeness of early settling; for vast quantities of water run to waste, or are lost in swamps, which future colonists will receive in tanks, and check with dams. The capricious abundance and deficiency of this prime necessary of life, for it is more essential than food, is shown in a striking, passage of this picturesque Journal. They were still within the sheep-feeding country. Water was much wanted. Mr Stephenson, the naturalist,[70] was sent out on the inquiry. He returned soon, having met two of the mounted police, who told him that "a flood was coming down from the Turon Mountains."

"But the little encampment was held in suspense. Still, the bed of the Macquarie continued so dry, that the report could scarcely be believed. Towards evening, a man was stationed with a gun, to give a signal on the appearance of the flood. The shades of evening came, but no flood; and the man returned. This was a period of considerable anxiety, for the need of water was urgent.

"Some hours later, and after the moon had risen, a murmuring sound, like that of a distant waterfall, mingled with occasional cracks, as of breaking timber, drew our attention." They then returned to the river bank. Still no flood appeared, though they continued to hear the sounds of the crashing timber. At length an increase of the sounds told them that the water was in the next bend. All this, in a serene moonlight night, was new. At length it came, and came in power and beauty.

"It rushed into our sight, glittering in the moonbeams, a moving cataract; tossing before it ancient trees, and snapping them against its banks. It was preceded by a point of meandering water, picking its way, like a thing of life, through the deepest parts of the dark, dry, and shady bed of what thus again became a flowing river." The phenomenon might make a fine subject for the pencil, if our artists were not divided between the palace and the pigstye. The noble river rolling along under a tropical moon; the wild country around, with its forests and hills touched by the light; the bronzed faces and bold figures of the men of the expedition, gazing with natural surprise and gladness at this relief, and at the majestic object before them; and even the cattle hurrying up from the encampment, to cool the thirst which had pressed so severely on them during the day, all were made for the finest efforts of the pencil.

"By my party," says Sir T. Mitchell, "situated as we were at the time—beating about the country, and impeded in our journey solely by the almost total absence of water—suffering excessively from thirst and extreme heat,—I am convinced the scene can never be forgotten! There came abundance at once, the product of storms in the far-off mountains, that overlooked our homes! My first impulse was to have welcomed this flood on our knees; for the scene was sublime in itself, while the subject, an abundance of water sent to us in a desert, greatly heightened the effect to our eyes. I had witnessed nothing of the kind in all my Australian travels."

But the writer is an accomplished man of science, and he leads the contemplation to still more glorious things, "Even the heavens presented something new, at least uncommon, and therefore in harmony with this scene. The variable Star of Argol had increased to the first magnitude, just above the beautiful constellation of the Southern Cross, which slightly inclined over the river, in the only portion of sky seen through the trees. That very red star, thus increasing in magnitude, might, as characteristic of her rivers, be recognised as the 'Star of Australia,' when Europeans cross the line. The flood gradually filled up the channel nearly bank high, while the living cataract travelled onward much slower than I had expected to see it; so slowly, indeed, that more than an hour after its first arrival, the sweet music of the head of the flood was distinctly audible from my tent, as the murmur of waters and crash of logs travelled slowly through the tortuous windings of the river bed. I was finally lulled to sleep by that melody of waters."

It has been often remarked, that Europeans once accustomed to a life of wandering, can never return to the life of cities; and even the clever journalist before us appears to have been a little captivated with this life of the wilderness. It may be easily admitted, that vigorous health, and active exercise, variety of objects, even if those objects are no more than new ridges of mountains or new rills of water; with keen appetite and sound sleep, are all excellent things in their style. But, is life given to man only to eat, gaze, and sleep? What is the life of the wilderness above that of the brute? The[71] true improvement of man, and, therefore, the especial employment intended for man, is, that increase of knowledge, of command over the powers of nature, and of the various means of adding to the conveniences, comforts and value of human existence, which, delivered down to us by our forefathers, it is our part to deliver with increase to our posterity. But the savage improves in nothing; he is as much a brute this year as he was a thousand years ago. Savagery is, in practice, a total defeat and denial of all the original purposes for which our nature was made. And it is with some regret and more surprise, that we quote, from such a source, such language as the following:—

"We set out, guided by our native friend," (a savage whom they had hired to lead them to some water-courses.) "He was a very perfect specimen of the genus homo, and such as is never to be seen, except in the precincts of savage life, undegraded by any scale of graduated classes; and the countless bars these present to the free enjoyment of existence." Whether this is actually a recommendation that we should throw off our clothes and walk in nudity, for the purpose of recovering the original elegance of our shapes, or whether it is the borrowed rapture of some savage in person which the gallant officer has transplanted into his pages, to vary his more rational conceptions, we know not; but he has not made us converts to the pleasures of cold, hunger, filth, and bloodshed, which furnish the realities of savage life, even in the paradisaic solitudes of Australia.

The savage, in his original state, is simply an animal, superior to his own dog only in sharpness of intellect; but wholly inferior to his dog in fidelity and affection. All savages are tyrannical—cruel to their wives, if wives they can be called—and in general cheating and plundering wherever they can. As to their bodily organs, of course, they cannot be perverted where they cannot reach temptation; but no savage comprehends moral restraint, and he gets drunk whenever he has the opportunity, and robs wherever he finds any thing to steal. On the other hand, civilisation necessarily enfeebles no man, and what the gallant Colonel regards as its "degradation of man by classes," produces quite the contrary effect; for the humbler the class, generally the more vigorous—as the peasant is a stronger man than the artisan, and the artisan than the nobleman. Even the idea that savage limbs can do more than civilised, is equally erroneous. A well clothed and well fed Englishman, if well formed, and with some training, will outwork, outrun, and outwrestle any savage from pole to pole. A ropedancer, a tumbler, or a horserider, at any of our theatres, though bred in the very heart of civilisation, or even in the hotbed of its temptations, will perform feats of activity which would defy all the muscles of a generation of savages. The truth is, that civilisation improves the features, the form, and the powers of the human frame. Men in society may be indolent, and throw away their advantages; but society is the place for man. Rousseau, once made a noise by talking nonsense on this subject; but Rousseau knew that he was talking nonsense. Whether his imitators are equally cognisant of their own performances, is another question; but we come to better things.

This journey settled the disputed point of "horses or bullocks, light carts, or heavy drays." The bullocks and the drays were a perpetual annoyance; to feed and water the one, and to drag the other, soon became the grand difficulty of the expedition. We find the Colonel perpetually leaving them to follow, when any peculiar object of exploration was in view. At length the whole "park" was left to take its rest, under the second in command; and the Colonel, with eight men, two native boys, fourteen horses, and two light carts, with provisions for ten weeks, moved to the northward, to trace where the division of the waters was to be found, and then follow some of them down to the Gulf.

We were not prepared for the beauty sometimes exhibited by the Australian landscape. The Journal compares it to a succession of Ruysdaels. "The masses of rock, lofty trees, shining sands, and patches of water in wild confusion; the mimosæ, the Anthistiria-grass, of a red brown, contrasting most harmoniously with the light[72] green bushes; all those again so opposed to the dark hues of the casuarinæ, mimosæ, and rifted rocks, that a Ruysdael or a Gainsborough might have found an inexhaustible stock of subjects for the pencil."

This wild travelling has its discomforts, and now and then its dangers; but it is a perpetual source of exciting sensations. Every step is new, and every day's journey may place the traveller within some region of unexpected value or beauty. One of the hopes of the Journalist, on commencing this portion of his travels, was to discover a chain of hills to the northwest, from which he might trace the course of a river to the Gulf. At last this chain rose before his eyes.

"The most interesting sight to me was that of blue pics at a great distance to the northwest, the object of all my dreams of discovery for years. No white man had before seen them. There we might hope to find the division of the waters still undiscovered—the pass to Carpentaria still unexplored. I called this hill Mount First-View, and descended, delighted with what I had seen from its rocky crest." The latitude was 27°, yet the thermometer at sunrise was but at 45°, at noon 68°, and at 9 P.M. 45°.

The captivations of the scenery were equal to the delights of the temperature, though so near the tropics.—"An Australian morning is always charming. Amid those scenes of primæval nature it seemed exquisitely so. The barita or gymnoskina, the organ-magpie, was here represented by a much smaller bird, whose notes, resembling the softest breathings of a flute, were the only sounds that met the ear. What the stillness of evening adds to such sounds in other climes, is felt more intensely in the stillness of morn in this."

The forms of the vegetation, both tree and shrub, are picturesque, and the colours are finer still:—"Instead of autumnal tints, there is a perpetual blending of the richest hues of autumn with the most brilliant verdure of spring; while the sun's welcome rays in a winter's morning, and the cool breath of the woods in a summer morning, are equally grateful. This was in the depth of the Australian winter, and, which sounds oddly to the European ear, in the 'merry month of June.'"

Advancing still to the north, a country of an extraordinary kind was reached in July; and they had now found, that most important of all objects in a wilderness, a fine "flowing stream, full of sparkling water to the margin." The Journalist seems quite enamoured with the surrounding scene, a miniature Australian Switzerland:—"The hills overhanging it surpassed any I had ever seen, in picturesque outline. Some resembled Gothic cathedrals in ruins; some forts; other masses were perforated; and being mixed and contrasted with the flowing outlines of evergreen woods, and having a fine stream in the foreground, gave a charming appearance to the whole country. It was a vision worthy of the toils of a pilgrimage. Those beautiful recesses of unpeopled earth could no longer remain unknown. The better to mark them out on any map, I gave to the valley the name of Salvator Rosa. The rocks stood out sharply and sublimely from the thick woods, just as John Martin's fertile imagination would dash them out in his beautiful landscapes. I never saw any thing in nature come so near those creations of genius and imagination." But this river, which they followed for some time, ran so far to the east, that they justly began to doubt its being the one of which they were in search and they turned again to the north. They now passed into a fine level country, incomparably formed for settlement. "An almost boundless extent of the richest surface in a solitude corresponding to that of (southern) China, yet still unoccupied by man. A great reserve provided by Nature for the extension of his race."

They left the Salvator between the 21st and 22d degrees of latitude, and moved to the north-west. There at length their aspirations, though only partially, were probably realised. In the middle of September they reached some heights, from which lay before them a vast extent of open downs traversed by a river, traceable to the utmost verge of the horizon, and falling to the north-west! "Ulloa's delight at the first view of the Pacific could not have surpassed mine," is the natural exclamation of the Journalist.[73] "Nor could the fervour with which he was impressed have exceeded my sense of gratitude for being allowed to make such a discovery. From that rock the scene was so extensive as to leave no room for doubt as to the course of the river, which, then and there revealed to me alone, seemed like a reward direct from Heaven for perseverance, and as a compensation for the many sacrifices which I had made, in order to solve the question as to the interior rivers of tropical Australia."

From the 16th to the 24th of September the course of the river was followed, which still was north-west, but at this period the party returned. The reason stated is the failure of provisions. This must have been a most vexatious disappointment—so vexatious, that we cannot comprehend how it could have been submitted to without some more remarkable effort than any thing that we find recorded in these pages. That an expedition equipped for a four months' journey should have turned back at the very moment when a few days', perhaps a few hours', march, might have completed its object, is altogether incomprehensible, while it had any conceivable means of subsistence. In such a condition of things, the traveller ought to have eaten his horse, if he could get nothing else. But there was actually, at no great distance behind, a depôt of their own bullocks and sheep, all feeding comfortably, and, as the party found on marching back to them, "Sheep and cattle fat, the whole a sort of farm." A good stackyard had been set up, a storehouse had been built, a garden had been fenced in, and contained lettuce, radishes, melons, and cucumbers. Indeed, the whole establishment exhibited the effects of good order and discipline.

Why, then, did not the Journalist return on his track, and establish the discovery which was the express object of his mission? This exceeds our knowledge. The only direct intimation of his necessities in these pages is, "our provisions were nearly out, the sun having reduced the mess sugar and melted the bacon, which had been boiled before we set out." Whether the lean of Australian bacon may liquefy in the sun is more than our European experience can tell, but we presume it must be ranked among the wonders of a new country; at all events, the Journalist returned without having done the very thing for which his expedition had been fitted out, and left the object to be completed by his subordinate, who was subsequently despatched in the direction of the north-west. Thus, though probabilities are in favour of the river, which the Colonel named the Victoria, the point is by no means settled, and Australian curiosity may be disappointed after all.

As the party approached the river, they saw considerable numbers of the natives. On reaching one of the lagoons, the shrieks of many women and children, and the angry voices of men, apprised them that they had at length overtaken the tribe, and unfortunately had come on them by surprise. "Aya, minya!" was vociferated repeatedly, and was understood to mean, "What do you want?" I steadily adhered to my own tactics towards the aborigines, and took not the slightest notice of them, but rode on according to my compass-bearing. On looking back for my men, I saw one beckoning me to return. He had observed two natives with spears and clubs hide themselves behind a bush in the direction in which I was advancing. On my halting, they stole away. The whole seemed to have been amusing themselves in the water during the noonday heat, which was excessive, and the cool shades round the lagoon looked most luxuriant. Our position, on the contrary, was any thing but enviable. Even there, in the heart of the interior, on a river utterly unheard of by white men, an iron tomahawk glittered in the hand of a chief. The anxious care of the females to carry off their children seemed the most agreeable feature of the scene. Some had been digging in the mud for worms, others searching for fresh-water mussels, and if the whole could have been witnessed unperceived, such a scene of domestic life among the aborigines had been worth a little more risk. The strong men assumed a strange attitude, which seemed very expressive of surprise, having the right knee bent, the left leg forward—the right arm dropping, but grasping clubs—the left arm raised,[74] and the fingers spread out. "Aya, aya, minya," they continually shouted. However, the party rode on, and the shouts died away.

The Journalist occasionally recovers from his enthusiasm for savagery. We have no more bursts in his earlier style, "Such truth and exemption from disease, such intensity of existence, in short, must be far beyond the enjoyments of civilised men, with all that art can do for them. And the proof of this is to be found, in the failure of all attempts to persuade these free denizens of uncultivated earth to forsake it for the tilled ground. They prefer the land, unbroken and free from the earliest curse pronounced against the first banished and first created man." All this unfortunately shows nothing, but that the gallant Colonel would be the wiser for going back to his Bible, where he would find the words, "I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake." But at last (page 328) we have a sketch of the reality. "It would appear that, the finer the climate and the fewer man's wants, the more he sinks towards the condition of the lower animals. Where the natives had passed the night, no huts, even of bushes, had been set up. A few tufts of dry grass only marked the spot, where, beside a small fire, each person had sat, folded up like the capital letter N. Their occupation during the day was only wallowing in a muddy hole, in no respect cleaner than swine. They have no idea of any necessity for washing themselves between their birth and the grave, while groping in mud for worms." After admitting the filth, the indolence, and the uselessness of the savage; contrasting, however, his teeth and tongue favourably with those of the civilised man or child, of which he pronounces it to be "ten to one but he should find only impurity and decay," (a point in which we are wholly at issue with him,) he asks, "what then is civilisation in the economy of the human animal?" He answers, "Cultivated man despises the perishable substance, and pursues the immortal shadow." We are but little satisfied with the language of this solution, nor is its meaning much more intelligible. In the first place, man, in a civilised state, does not necessarily injure his bodily organs. The fool who cannot stir, or even sit, without a cigar in his mouth, or the drunkard who continually sacrifices health and understanding to intoxication, has only to condemn himself. But, give the savage tobacco and rum, and he will as speedily destroy his organs, and bring himself to the grave, as the most civilised profligate in existence. And as to the grand supposed use of civilisation—the fixing our minds on "immortal shadows"—if by this he meant giving us ideas of religion, there are many highly civilised nations which think but very little of religion, and many highly civilised persons who think of it nothing at all. Yet, it is only justice to the gallant Colonel to quote this sentence. "Animal gratification is transient and dull compared to the acquisition of knowledge, the gratification of mind,—the raptures of the poet, or the delight of the enthusiast, however imaginary. Such were my reflections on this day of rest, in the heart of a desert, while protected from the sun's rays by a blanket."

But even his metaphysics are entirely a misconception. The original purpose of civilisation is, to enable man to live in society; that is, in peace, with the advantages of mutual assistance. That those objects are powerfully aided by religion is true, and that science may be best cultivated in settled life, is equally true; but those are merely collateral. Civilisation means the work of law, of safe intercourse, of secure property, and of all the safeguards of society which ultimately enable man to polish the general manners, and to improve the general mind. Religion is not the consequence, but the origin of Civilisation.

We now take leave of the journey, with the sketch of the rivers. After moving for some distance between two streams, they approached the junction, which formed—"the broad, deep, and placid waters of a river as deep as the Murray. Pelicans and ducks floated upon it, and mussel shells of extraordinary size lay in such quantities, where the natives had been in the habit of eating them, as to resemble snow covering the ground. But even that reach seemed diminutive,[75] when compared with the vast body of water of which traces had been left there; affording evidence, that though wide, they must have been impetuous in their course. Verdure alone shone now, over the wide extent to which the waters sometimes rose. Beyond that channel lay the almost boundless plains; the whole together forming the finest region I had ever seen in Australia."

Still the luckless character of the Australian rivers appears; and after expecting that this fine channel, which there seemed navigable for steamers, would continue, in a few miles more it exhibited only ponds. Whether the great central stream may not exhibit the same caprice, is still the question.

The party returned to Sydney in January 1847; and in March, Mr Kennedy, the second in command, was sent, as has been already stated, to explore the course of the Victoria.

There are some valuable observations on the aborigines. It is said that they have good natural faculties, all one of them named Uranigh, an attendant on the expedition, obtains especial praise for sagacity, fidelity, and courage. But, from inevitable circumstances, it appears to be the fate of the natives to waste away before the European blood, and, even without any violence or oppression, gradually to vanish. To teach them to earn their bread, to adopt European habits of any kind, or even to live with any sense of comfort in the vicinity of European settlers, seems impossible, and thus they gradually retire into the interior. This process has so uniformly occurred in all colonised countries, where a new civilisation has been introduced, that it may be regarded as almost a law of nature. "Fire, grass, and kangaroos," are essential to native life; and when the pastures are no longer suffered to be burned, and when the kangaroos disappear, the savage must retire. Sir T. Mitchell's favourite project would be, to send away a young married pair to the south of Europe, where they might learn the cultivation of the grape and olive, fig, &c.; then to bring them back with their children. But we are afraid they would make but few converts; that the benevolent experiment would be totally thrown away; and that the poor, idle, and useless being, whom Sir Thomas will persist in calling the noble savage, must be left to eat rats and mice, to live in misery and wretchedness, and to be inevitably pushed into the wilderness, to make way for a superior class of human capability.

But, regarding the condition of the natives as utterly beyond European influence, except so far as it may and ought to be exerted to protect them from all injury,—there are other questions of high importance, relative to the condition of the convicts. The preamble of the Transport Act made the reformation of the culprit a primary object. There never was any use of forced labour so effective. The galley-slaves of France and Italy were in general made more wicked, if possible, by their imprisonment and work. We think it also next to an impossibility that any culprit, punished by temporary imprisonment, and then thrown out again among his associates, can change his habits. Who will employ a known felon? A single act of robbery may give him more means of gross gratification, than he could obtain by the severest toil in a twelvemonth. The temptation is too strong. The only hope of his recovery, is in his being sent where his bad character will not utterly prevent his getting a good one; where he will have profitable work, (let the profit be more or less;) where he will have few temptations, and none of his old ones; and where he may have a prospect of bettering his condition among his fellows. All these he had, and has, in New South Wales.

But it is remarkable and unfortunate, that we seldom have a new head of the colonial department who does not bring with him some new theory; and the fashionable theory now is, to try the effect of prison discipline. We have no hesitation in denouncing this theory, as ineffectual, intolerably costly, highly dangerous, and even actually cruel. We take the points in succession: we doubt whether it has really reformed one prisoner out of a thousand. Its expense is enormous: the single prison at Millbank cost a million sterling, and probably £100,000 a-year for its support. The model prison at Pentonville is an architectural bijou,[76] but terribly expensive. Men cannot be reformed by turnkeys in the most moral costume, or by locks of the most exquisite invention.—It is dangerous: because those felons, once let loose, almost invariably become felons again; and a general jail-delivery once a year, from handcuffs and shackles, may people the streets with ruffianism.—It is even cruel. The prisoners are not merely deprived, for a long succession of years, of all healthful exercise—for who ever could take healthful exercise within prison walls?—but shut out from all the view and enjoyment of nature, and especially from matrimony; they cannot be husbands or fathers. It is true, that the felon forfeits all rights, if they are found incompatible with the public safety; but we have no right to inflict on him any suffering beyond that which is absolutely necessary. If by sending him to Australia we can accomplish, without cruelty, those objects which we cannot accomplish without cruelty at home, it is our duty to send him to Australia.

We know that a middle system of imprisonment, to be followed by transportation, has been attempted, but we have no faith in its operations. The true place is Australia.

Sir Thomas Mitchell, the very best authority on such subjects, tells us, "There is no country in which labour appears to be more required to render it available to, and habitable by civilised man, than New South Wales. Without labour, the inhabitants must be savages, or such helpless people as we find the Aborigines. With equal truth, it may be asserted that there is no region of earth susceptible of so much improvement solely by the labour and ingenuity of man." There are no unwholesome savannahs; the rocky ranges afford the means of forming reservoirs, &c., of water, which, under the tropics, is life, abundance, and health; there is an immensity if it be properly used, and Australia might be made the finest scene of vegetation and luxuriance in the world.

We take our leave of this volume with regret. It is strikingly written; it excites and rewards curiosity, and (a few rambling ideas excepted) it powerfully increases our interest in Australian discovery, and in that whole mighty region of the Pacific, which God's providence has given into the hands of England, for the happiness of mankind.


Travels in Siberia: including Excursions Northwards, down the Obi to the Polar Circle, and Southwards to the Chinese Frontier. By Adolph Erman. Translated from the German by W. R. Cooley. Two vols. London, 1848.

Of no important portion of the dominions of the five great European powers are such vague and imperfect notions entertained, as of the vast tract comprised between Russia in Europe and the Kamschatkan sea, between the Chinese empire and the Arctic Ocean. Courageous explorers have not been wanting, of the inclement steppes and rugged mountains forming Europe's bulwark against the Mongul and the Tartar. Men of enterprise and distinction have undertaken the task, and executed it well. But their journeys, usually performed with special objects and scientific views, have been recorded for the most part in a similar spirit. Either an ardent love of science and zeal for its advancement, or the strong encouragement and liberal subsidies of an enlightened government, are requisite inducements to brave the perils and hardships of Siberian travel. The mere inquisitive and speculative traveller has difficulty in persuading himself, that the country can reward him for the discomfort and inconvenience he must endure in traversing it. Not that Siberia is entirely devoid of wild attractions and romantic associations. To the adventurous hunter, its[77] vast forests and thinly-peopled plains give assurance of sport. The motley character of its native and immigrant population affords to the philosopher curious matter of consideration. A place of deportation for traitors and criminals—and not unfrequently for the innocent—its name is inseparably connected with the memory of innumerable unfortunates who have there pined out their existence in expiation of crime, or in obedience to mandates often as unjust as arbitrary. Fallen favourites of the Czars, rebels against their tyranny, traitors to their person, murderers, and other malefactors, and even prisoners of war, have here found a living grave till released by death, clemency, or flight. Did the tears of exiles fertilise, Siberia should be a teeming land. Since its first subjugation by Ivan the Terrible, how many a Russian magnate, lord of thousands of serfs, owner of millions of rubles, proud of his position, and confident of imperial favour, has suddenly found himself travelling eastward under escort, banished and a beggar. How many mournful trains of minor offenders have plodded their weary way across the Uralian chain, guarded by barbarian Bashkirs, to labour in the mines of Nerchinsk, or to lead a peasant's toilsome life on the margin of the Frozen Sea. From those vast and ice-bound regions, escape can rarely be accomplished. But at intervals, during the last five-and-thirty years, bearded and toil-worn men of martial aspect have crossed the German frontier, and astonished those they accosted by wild tales of suffering, and ignorance of the most notorious events. Some have inquired for Napoleon, and wept when they learned he was a captive, or dead. Circumstances of current history, known to each child and peasant, were to them a mystery and a marvel. These strange wanderers, escaped from long bondage in Siberia, were amongst the last survivors of that countless host led northwards by a Corsican's ambition, and whose funeral pile was lighted in Moscow's city.

Amongst the delineators of Siberia and its inhabitants, of the produce, customs, and peculiarities of the country and its people, one of the most successful is the German gentleman and scholar whose admirable work has just now appeared in a clever English dress. The son of a man of great learning and high attainments, Mr Adolph Erman treads nobly in his father's footsteps. Still young, he has done much to increase the lustre of the honourable name transmitted to him. Born in the year 1806, he was but two-and-twenty years of age when he undertook, at his own cost, a journey round the world, having for its chief object a series of magnetical observations. The expedition was completely successful. Starting from Berlin to St Petersburg, he crossed northern Asia, with occasional digressions of a few hundred leagues, took ship at Okhotsk for Kamschatka, thence proceeded to California, visited Otaheite, and came round by Cape Horn and Rio Janeiro to Europe and Berlin. Then he sat down to write of what he had seen, entitling his work—"Journey round the Earth, across North Asia and both Oceans." But the tale of travel so extensive takes time to tell; and, up to the present date, he has not protracted his narrative beyond Okhotsk. What he has done, however, is complete in itself, very interesting, and withal somewhat voluminous, since its abridged translation forms two heavy octavos, heavy in amount of paper and print, but not, we must in justice admit, in the nature of their contents. Whilst recording scientific investigations, the author does not neglect subjects more generally interesting. Upon all he brings to bear an extraordinary amount of reading and research. The result is a book of travels of no ephemeral nature, but that will long be esteemed as a standard work, and respected as a valuable authority.

Mr Erman commences his narrative of travel on the day of his departure from Berlin; but its earlier portion has been compressed by the translator, in order to escape as soon as possible from Europe, and get upon the less trodden ground east of Tobolsk. Much has been written of late years concerning European Russia and its inhabitants, and it was hardly to be expected that even so acute an observer as Mr Erman should find any thing particularly novel to say about them. He takes[78] a sensible and practical view of the condition, character, and disposition of the population; and is happy in his detection and indication of national peculiarities. He does not, like the majority of travellers in Russia, enter the country with a settled determination to behold nothing, from the White Sea to the Black, but oppression and cruelty on the one hand, slavery and suffering upon the other. He does not come to a premature decision, that because Russia is ruled by an absolute monarch, all happiness, prosperity, and justice are essentially banished from the land. It is really pleasant to find a deviation from the established routine of books about Russia. These are now nearly all concocted upon one and the same plan. The recipe is as exact as any in Mrs Rundell: and is as conscientiously adhered to by literary cooks, as that great artist's invaluable precepts are by knights and ladies of the ladle. Tyranny, misery, and the knout are the chief ingredients of the savoury dish. We are shown a nation of cretins, crushed under the boot-heel of an imperial ogre; whilst a selfish, servile aristocracy salaam their admiration, and catch greedily at the titles and gewgaws thrown to them as a sop by their terrible master. This is the substance of the mess, which, being handsomely garnished with lying anecdotes of horrible cruelties practised upon the unfortunate population, is deemed sufficiently dainty to set before the public, and is forthwith devoured as genuine and nutritive food by the large body of simpletons who take type for a guarantee of veracity. Mr Erman despises the common trick and claptrap resorted to by vulgar writers. Avoiding anecdotage, and abuse of the powers that be, he gives, in brief shrewd paragraphs, glimpses of Muscovite character and feelings, which clearly prove the people of that vast empire to be far happier, more prosperous, and more practically free, than the inhabitants of many countries who boast of liberty because anarchy has replaced good government. Judging less from any distinct assertions or arguments advanced in these volumes, than from their general tenor, and by the inferences to be gleaned from them, we must consider the Russians a contented and flourishing nation, likely to make the larger strides in civilisation that they are unimpeded by revolutionary agitation. Propagandists meet little encouragement amongst the loyal and light-hearted subjects of the autocrat. "We have often observed at Moscow," says Mr Erman, "birch-trees hewn for fencing, yet still alive in the horizontal position, and throwing out shoots. The great distinction of the vegetable nature in this region is its tenacity of life; and, singularly enough, the same capability of existing under oppression, and of withstanding stubbornly every revolutionising influence, is here the characteristic of man also. The ear of the stranger is sure, at every turn of conversation, to catch the sounds—'Kak ni bud,' (no matter how,) with which the Russians are used to give expression to their habitual indifference, and renunciation of all care.... Notwithstanding the great variety of condition which the population exhibit, every thing has the stamp of nationality, and an obstinate adherence to established usage may be plainly recognised as a fundamental principle. Some foreign customs, indeed, are adopted from strangers residing in Moscow; but they are, at the same time, so changed as to be assimilated to the national manners. Russian nationality may be compared to a river, which receives other streams without changing its name; or, still better, to a living organism, which, while devouring every variety of food, continues still the same."

It was on the 29th of July that Mr Erman, who travelled in company with the Norwegian professor Hansteen, left Moscow, and moved eastwards, passing through a productive country, strewn with populous and comfortable villages. At Pokròf, his first halting-place, his chamber walls were adorned with rude carvings and paintings, whose subjects were taken from the events of 1812, and represented the valiant deeds of the peasantry. Buikova, a village forty miles east of Moscow, was the farthest point to which the French penetrated.[79] Their invasion has left but a faint impression upon the popular mind in Russia—even in Moscow, which suffered so much at their hands. Conflagrations have been common occurrences in that city, and the inhabitants are accustomed to be burned out. We read of seven such events, from the thirteenth to the beginning of the nineteenth century, in all of which the destruction was complete, or very nearly so. The fire of 1812 spared many of the stone churches, on whose towers "the Mahomedan crescent rises above the cross, a monument of earlier revolutions. The yoke of the Tatars was so lasting and oppressive, that later events of a similar kind seem comparatively unimportant; and even the French invasion is here thought little of, being usually compared with the irruptions of the Pechenegues and that of the Poles in later times, but never set on a level with the Tatar domination." The French have little prestige in Russia. Whatever respect they previously enjoyed there, was completely annihilated by the pitiful figure they cut in the Moscow campaign; retreating, as they did, a ragged, disorderly, frost-bitten remnant, before a swarm of armed peasants and irregular horse. And Muscovite sign-painters and saint-carvers decorate village walls with episodes of the disastrous overthrow of an army, probably the most powerful and really efficient ever got together. Any notion entertained by the Russians of French invincibility was as completely dissipated in that country by the events of 1812, as it was in Germany by the ensuing, and scarcely less important, campaign of 1813.

Passing Murom, where a sort of Yankee tradition exists of a "robber-nightingale," which entices travellers into the woods by its song, and then kills them by the power of its notes, Mr Erman reached Nijni Novgorod at the moment of the great annual fair. The mixture of European and Asiatic produce and manufactures gives the Russian fairs an appearance singularly striking to the foreigner's eye. Things the most opposite are there brought together. Obrasá, or Greek holy images, amulets, and other objects used in the solemnities of the Græco-Russian church, are seen in juxtaposition with the elegant luxuries and superfluities of extreme European civilisation. The clumsy carvings of Uralian peasants are found in the next warerooms to the fragile and fashionable masterpieces of a Parisian milliner. The chief part of the goods come from great distances. Amongst the important articles of traffic are tea from China, horse-hides from Tatary, iron bars from Siberia, shawls of camel's-down from Bokhara. The Bokharians also import large quantities of cotton, partly raw and partly spun. This is one of the principal objects of trade at Nijni. Concerning the origin of this useful substance, curious fables were current in Russia not quite a century ago. "It appears to me certain," says Mr Erman, "that the story of the zoophytic plant called Baránez, or lamb-plant (formed as a diminutive from Barán, a sheep,) originated in some embellished account of the cotton plant. Herberstein relates it at full length and unchanged, just as he had heard it. 'There has been seen, near to the Caspian Sea, a seed, rather larger and rounder than that of a melon, from which, when set in the ground, is produced something similar to a lamb, of the altitude of five palms, having a very fine fleece, &c., &c. The German edition of Herberstein (Basel, 1563) adds that the Baránez has a head, eyes, ears, and all the limbs, like a sheep. But it mentions correctly 'the very fine fleece which the people of that country commonly made use of to pad their caps withal.' This is the ordinary use which the Tatar tribes in general make of cotton at the present day." The fair at Nijni lasts two months, and brings together six hundred thousand persons of different nations and tribes, or about thirty-three times the number of the stationary population. It produces a large revenue to the imperial treasury,—the letting of the wooden booths, and of two thousand five hundred and twenty-two stone storerooms, (to each of which latter is attached a chamber for the owner of the goods to live in) alone yielding, so far back as 1825, nearly four hundred thousand rubles; whilst the population of the government, or district, amounting to nearly a million of souls, paid taxes[80] to the amount of fourteen millions of rubles.

Nijni Novgorod is the point of rendezvous for criminals from the western provinces of the empire, condemned to Siberian exile. They arrive there in small detachments, to pursue their journey in large bodies. In the vicinity of every post-house along the road is another building known as the Ostrog or fort, which is merely a large barrack divided into numerous small chambers, and surrounded by a fence of palisades, where the convicts are lodged upon the journey. From various passages scattered through Mr Erman's book, it appears that these Siberian exiles are by no means so badly treated as has frequently been stated and believed. In most instances the punishment derives its severity less from any painful toil or cruel discipline imposed upon them, than from the rigidity of the climate, the separation from friends, and the mortal ennui those accustomed to civilisation and society cannot but experience, whilst leading the monotonous life of a peasant or Cossack in regions as dreary as any the globe's surface affords. The first caravan of prisoners encountered by Mr Erman, at about a hundred versts beyond Nijni, were well clothed and cared for, and seemed neither dissatisfied with their past journey, nor overwhelmed with care about the future. "With every train of them are several waggons, drawn by post-horses, to carry the women and the old and infirm men; the rest follow in pairs, in a long train, after the waggons, escorted by a militia established in the villages. It is but rarely that one sees special offenders with fetters upon their legs during the march." The majority of tales circulated by romancing travellers, with reference to Siberian exile, have little foundation save in the imagination of the narrators. Amongst these fictions is to be reckoned the statement that certain classes of the banished are compelled to pass their lives in hunting the sable, and other animals. The great majority of the delinquents are condemned only to settle in Siberia; and when hard labour in the Uralian mines, and in certain manufactories, is superadded, it is generally for a year or other limited period. Those of the peasant class have to support themselves, whilst offenders of a higher rank, and unused to manual labour, have an allowance made them by the government. In various places Mr Erman met with exiles, from some of whom he obtained curious information. They are usually known by the mild name of "the unfortunates," and are held in no particular disfavour by the natives, with whose families they intermarry. By a remarkable enactment of the Russian law, serfs, when transported to Siberia, become in all respects as free as the peasants in western Europe. Mr Erman refers to this with strong approval, and attributes to it the happiest results. "I have often," he says, "heard intelligent and reflecting Russians mention, as an almost inexplicable paradox, that the peasants condemned to become settlers, all, without exception, and in a very short time, change their habits and lead an exemplary life; yet it is certain that the sense of the benefit conferred on them by the gift of personal freedom is the sole cause of this conversion. Banishment subservient to colonisation, instead of close imprisonment, is, indeed, an excellent feature in the Russian code; and though the substitution of forced labour in mines for the punishment of death may be traced back to Grecian example, yet the improving of the offender's condition by bestowing on him personal freedom, is an original as well as an admirable addition of a Russian legislator." It is of course by the higher class of exiles that the banishment is most severely felt; but these live in the towns, that the succour received from government may reach them the more easily, and submit, for the most part, with great equanimity to the startling change from the luxury of Moscow or St Petersburg, to the dulness and simplicity of Tobolsk, and even of worse places. Some of them have to do penance in church for a certain time after their arrival, and a portion of these continue the practice when it is no longer compulsory. At Beresov, a town in western Siberia, which Mr Erman passed through on an excursion northwards from Tobolsk, the oral chronicles of the inhabitants[81] furnish curious details of the numerous illustrious exiles who have there ended their days. Menchikoff, the well-known favourite of Peter I., was one of these. "After his political extinction, he prepared himself, by devout penitence, for his natural decease. He worked with his own hands in erecting the little wooden church, now fallen to decay, which stands thirty or forty feet above the bank of the Sosva, at the southern extremity of the town: he then served in it as bell-ringer, and was finally buried by the grateful inhabitants of Beresov, immediately before the door of the building." It was here, at Beresov, that Mr Erman fell in with a number of unlucky conspirators, who had lost fortune, rank, and home, by their association in a recent abortive revolutionary attempt. Amongst them were a M. Gorski, at one time a count and general of cavalry, and the ex-chieftains Focht and Chernilov. They usually wore the costume of the country, but upon holidays they donned European coats, in order to display the vestiges of the orders which had once been sewed upon them. A curious instance of vanity, traceable, perhaps, to a desire to distinguish themselves from persons condemned to the same punishment for crimes of a more disgraceful nature.

In the streets of Yekaterinburg, the first town of importance after crossing the Asian boundary, parties of exiles are a frequent spectacle; the number passing through in a year being estimated at five thousand, or about two-fifths of the annual export of convicts to Siberia, as stated by Mr Stepanov, whose statement, however, Mr Erman seems disposed to consider exaggerated. The detachments are usually guarded by Kosaks of the Ural, and by a company of Bashkir militia. These Uralian Kosaks are well uniformed, armed, and mounted, and enjoy the same privileges as the Kosaks of the Don. They are allowed an immunity from every impost, but are bound to devote themselves to the public service. Touching the Bashkirs, another irregular and half-savage militia, serving to swell the ranks of Russia's enormous army, Mr Erman, who made some stay at Yekaterinburg, the northern limit of their residence, gives curious particulars. They are the only aboriginal Siberian tribe whose mode of life regularly alternates from the nomadic to the fixed. Their winters are passed in permanent villages of wooden huts, erected usually upon the skirt of a forest. But when spring approaches, they collect their flocks and herds, strap hair tent-cloths upon their saddles, and are off to the plains. They appear to live upon horseback, and are indolent, indocile, and useless out of the saddle. The only thing the men do, is to drive home the mares at milking-time; all other domestic toil is left to the women. And although grass abounds in the summer pastures, hay is unknown amongst them. The cattle sustain life in winter as best they may, on stunted or decayed herbage, sought under the snow and gathered on the dunghills. Fermented mare's milk is the favorite drink of the Bashkirs, who live chiefly upon mutton and fish, and upon the fruit of the bird-cherry (Prunus padus) kneaded into a sort of cake. In the chase they make use of hawks, which they are particularly skilful in training. The smaller species of these birds are used to take hares, whilst the greater will strike foxes, and even wolves. The roving careless life of the Bashkirs possesses a peculiar charm, admitted even by the civilised Russians; and it is with no good will that, on the return of winter, the tribes re-enter their settled habitations. "They approach them with reluctance, and believe that Shaitan, or the evil spirit, has taken up his abode in the huts that oppress them with such a sense of restraint. The men accordingly remain at some distance from the settlement, and send the women forward, armed with staves, with which they strike the door of every hut, uttering loud imprecations; and it is not till they have made the rounds with their noisy exorcisms, that the men ride forward at full speed and with terrific shouts, to banish the dreaded demon from his lurking-place." The chief weapon of these Bedouins of the north is the same which so forcibly excited Captain Dalgetty's risibility upon his visit to the Children of the Mist. But although[82] in these days of Paixhans and percussion, bows and arrows certainly appear rather anomalous, they are by no means contemptible weapons in the hands of some of the Siberian tribes. Of this Mr Erman had abundant opportunity to convince himself, especially when his ramble northwards from Tobolsk brought him amongst the Ostyaks of the river Obi. The ordinary hunting weapons of these people are bows six feet long, of very slight curve, and from which four-feet arrows are discharged with murderous effect. Much practice and strength are required to draw these bows; and our scientific traveller, who, not having taken the necessary precaution of shielding the left arm with a piece of horn, from the recoil of the string, had been unable to draw his bow to more than one third of the arrow's length, was not a little astounded to see an Ostyak pigmy, with sore eyes and a sickly aspect, send a blunt arrow one hundred and sixty feet, and strike the object aimed at, the stem of a larch, near its summit, fully sixty feet from the ground. Blunt arrows, headed with flattened iron balls, are used to kill sables and squirrels, that the skin may not be injured; the sharp ones are a settler for any quadruped the country produces.

After many days' journey through Tatar villages of wooden huts, and towns that are little better, the first view of Tobolsk, obtained some miles before reaching the place, is quite imposing; and the traveller, who might think he had got a few stages beyond civilisation, is cheered and encouraged by the sight of church-towers, lofty monasteries, and well-built houses. In vain does he seek an inn. Such things are unknown in Siberia; and, if he has no acquaintance in the town, he must apply to the police-master, who recommends him to the hospitality of an inhabitant, by whom he is made welcome during his stay, without demand for remuneration, although, if proffered, it will sometimes be accepted. In this manner Mr Erman and his companions were accommodated in the upper storey of a well-built wooden house; and here their progress eastward was arrested by the character of the weather. It was the commencement of October, the period of transition from summer to winter, and the traveller's entrance into the town was rendered memorable by a heavy fall of snow—"white flies," as the postilions called the flakes, which they beheld with much pleasure. Their satisfaction was probably owing to the fact that in Siberia the coldest part of the year is the most favourable for travelling, a matter of interest to people of their profession. But the moment of transition, whilst the struggle lasts between summer and winter, when snow encumbers the ground, and frost has not yet hardened it, is known, as well as the similar period at the close of winter, as "the time of the unroading," (spoiling of the roads;) and the Russians have even manufactured a verb "to be unroaded." The snow obstructs wheeled carriages, and forbids the use of the sledge; and, unless peremptorily compelled to move forward, the Russian merchants—the most experienced of Siberian travellers—await, in some convenient resting-place, the hardening of the winter road. From Mr Erman's account, a better place than Tobolsk could scarcely be found, in those wild regions, wherein to pass a few weeks of compulsory inaction. Nevertheless, and although cordially received by the governor-general, Velyaminov, from whom, and from other Russian officers, he got much useful information, our traveller was impatient to be off. He had a pet scheme in view. From the very commencement of the journey he had planned an excursion to the mouth of the Obi, within the Arctic circle. To this he was partly induced by the desire of tracing certain magnetic lines, and partly by "the alluring prospect of enjoying, on the northern part of the Obi, the first undisturbed intercourse with the aboriginal possessors of the land, where they are little changed by foreign influence." Accordingly, towards the middle of November, the drifting ice upon the Irtuish having united into a solid sheet, Mr Erman joyfully made final preparations for his journey to Obdorsk. They were few, and soon completed. A Kosak guide and interpreter, a fur dress, a copper kettle, bread and ham, salted salmon and caviar, were stowed in a[83] couple of sledges, one of which was light enough to be drawn by dogs or reindeer. It was held advisable also to take out a fresh passport, signed by the governor of Tobolsk, in lieu of the one delivered at St Petersburg, for, in places far removed from the great road across Siberia, people have confused and indistinct notions of the power which issues from the capital of the empire. The larger sledge was provided with otvódi or guides—two strong bars placed lengthways on either side the carriage to prevent an upset. "Towards the end of winter, the snow-ways, which are constantly travelled upon, have an undulating surface, like that of a stormy sea, and give the sledge a motion so like that of a ship tossed on the waves, that travellers unused to it often grow sea-sick on the road, and the use of otvódi is a very necessary precaution." Russian travelling, delightfully rapid, has many drawbacks. Upon the log-roads, (formed of tree-trunks,) the violent and incessant jolting is said to have even worse effects than the excessive undulations of the sledge. After a few years, it not only brings on a complete paralysis of the mental faculties of the Russian postilions, but also occasions spinal disease, to such an extent as to have obtained for those roads the significant name of spine-crushers.

On the 22d November, when Mr Erman began his slide northwards, traffic had not yet given the road that wavy configuration so uncomfortable to the bilious traveller. The post from Tobolsk to Beresov had made but one journey on the winter-track, and the sledges glided rapidly and smoothly on the almost virgin snow-way. Beyond Tugalova, a village 140 miles from Tobolsk, they travelled on the frozen Irtuish, and frequently passed the self-acting machinery used for the winter fishing. This consists of a strong pole in an inclined position, with its lower extremity frozen fast in the ice. "At the upper end of this pole was a continuation made of switches, which, bending down, reached to the surface of the ice; at that point was a hole through which was let down the hook and line. The upper part of the apparatus is seen bent down more or less according as the bait is still untouched, or as a fish pulling at it has freed a check put to the elasticity of the rod, and is thus, in consequence of its own efforts, drawn nearer to the surface of the water." The ingenuity of this contrivance would avail little, however, were not means found of rousing the sleepy sturgeon from their winter slumbers. They lie in muddy hollows in the bed of the river, quite motionless, and clustered together for the sake of warmth. To awaken them, hard balls of clay, heated in the fire, are thrown from time to time into the water, below the line. Driven from their resting-place, they swim up stream, according to their custom, and come upon the bait. This mode of fishing is very productive. Fishing, of one kind or other, is the principal occupation of the Ostyaks, in the heart of whose country, after three or four days' journey, Mr Erman found himself. The rivers abound with excellent fish—eels, especially, being very abundant, but not much eaten, although their skins are in great request as window-panes. These are rubbed with fat, to make them more transparent, but there are small roundish swellings in the skin which refract and confound the rays of light. A better substitute for glass is a flake of ice, used by the Sosnovian Ostyaks, a tribe further north. The flakes are about a foot thick, and are propped from without by a pole, whose lower end bears obliquely against the ground. The fire, kept burning in the hut, thaws the inner surface of the ice, rendering it smooth as a mirror. A whiter and brighter light penetrates through these windows than through the fish-skins, which the Sosnovians use for boots, and even for clothes. Strong and air-tight, and well rubbed with fat, they are almost as warm as fur, and better against the wet.

The commencement of a fishing season or expedition is celebrated by the Ostyaks with all manner of queer saturnalia. Although nominally Christians, and accustomed to attend church once a-year, they are very heathenish in some of their rites and ceremonies, and make a strange jumble of their old superstitions and their new faith. The priests do not invariably set them a good[84] example. "Our Russian informant complained bitterly of the priest in his neighbourhood, who came into the village on holidays so drunk, that the congregation assembled to no purpose." With such pastors, no wonder if the sheep cleave to some of their ancient usages. Those who are departing on an expedition, slaughter a tame animal, and smear their faces with its blood, accompanying the sacrifice with a carousal. In one village Mr Erman found the huts remarkably empty, and was told that the men had just gone a-fishing, and that their wives were drinking brandy in the kabak or public-house. The sale of spirits in Siberia, as in all the Russian dominions, is a government monopoly, and brandy is only to be had in certain houses, to whose keepers the privilege is farmed. In a small dark room, scarcely ten paces wide, Mr Erman found ten or twelve Ostyak dames clustered round the bottle, and benevolently drunk. His account of their maudlin state is amusingly grave and sentimental. "A number of short corpulent figures, with black sparkling eyes, could be just seen, moving and mingling together, in the narrow space. They all talked with animation, and with remarkably delicate voices, which now gave expression only to soft and joyous emotions. They embraced, one after the other, the Yamschik, who entered with us; and their soft voices, now almost whining, seemed attuned, not so much to words of old acquaintance, as to the endearments of young and growing love." The ladies having emptied their purses without quenching their thirst, the good-natured German, who observed that "the pleasure of drinking had but just risen to its highest pitch," opened them a credit with the kabak-keeper. "They now took especial pains to show themselves deserving of the European treat, by good Christian observance. Devout Russians are in the habit of neutralising the Satanic operation of spirituous liquors by a rapid movement of the right hand, intended to describe the cross, or by a softly-ejaculated prayer, or merely by blowing the breath upon the glass. But the good-humoured Ostyaks, novices in Christian prayer as in drinking, made the sign of the cross to such an extent, so slowly and with such deep bowing of the body, as would be required by the church only on the most solemn occasions."

Although much engrossed by fishing, the Ostyaks do not neglect the chase. Their thick woods abound in the better kinds of fur animals, and the annual tribute of two sable skins, payable by each family to the Russian government, is not very difficult to obtain. It is seldom found necessary to pay an equivalent in other skins. Although quite the beginning of winter, Mr Erman's host, in an Ostyak village, showed him a fine sable skin, which he kept in a strong box, like a treasure, concealed in a corner of his dwelling. Its value was diminished by a yellowish tinge, ascribed to the animal's having lived in a wood where there was too much light. Besides sable and squirrel, the reindeer, the fox, the glutton, and the elk, are objects of chase. Mr Erman tried to get at the fact of the enmity said to exist between the two latter animals. The reply to his inquiries was the old story current in Europe—how the glutton leaps from a branch on the elk's neck, and keeps his seat till the death of his steed. No one, however, had seen any thing of the kind: it was matter of tradition, handed down from their dead fathers. The ermine is taken in traps. The fox is in great variety, the most esteemed being the crossed stone fox, whose colour is partly a grayish yellow, partly white, so distributed that the grayish parts unite prettily to form a cross, one bar of which extends along the back, whilst the other stretches obliquely down the middle ribs to the belly. The fur of this animal is greatly prized by the Russian clergy, for whom pelisses, covered with natural crosses, are made from it. The latitude of the town of Beresov is the headquarters of the Siberian beaver, hunted not for the fur but for the precious castoreum or beaver-stone, to which such great medical virtues are ascribed. Attempts have been made in Germany to obtain from the beavers of that country a product which might replace that of Siberia; but all in vain. The fine quality is only to be had in the far north, where, as Mr[85] Erman fancifully observes, nature scatters animal perfumes in place of fragrant flowers. "The Kosaks and Russian traders have exalted the beaver-stone into a panacea.... To the sentence, 'God arose, and our enemies were scattered,' the Siberians add, very characteristically, the apocryphal interpolation, 'and we are free from headache.' To ensure this most desirable condition, every one has recourse, at home or on his travels, and with the firmest faith, to two medicines, and only two, viz., beaver-stone, or beaver-efflux, as it is here called, and sal-ammoniac." From the strength of the castoreum, the Siberians infer that other parts of the animal must possess peculiar virtues. Gouty swellings are said to subside rapidly when rubbed with the fat, and the beaver's teeth are popularly believed to cure toothach.

The beaver is the only fur animal in these latitudes that does not change its colour in the course of the year. This is probably owing to the circumstance, that in winter it dwells wholly in the water, thus enjoying a comparatively equable temperature. In the river Obi, at Beresov, the water does not usually freeze below the depth of four feet eight inches, and the beaver always has two entrances to his dwelling, one high on the bank above the stream, the other below the freezing limit. The architectural and wood-cutting habits of the animal are the same here as in America; but two assertions, new to Mr Erman, were made respecting it by the Beresov hunters. He was assured that "among beavers, as with bees and men, there are distinctions of ranks; each chief keeping a number of labourers, the toils of which he oversees and directs without taking part in them; and, again, it was stated that the contents of the castoreum bags depend on the moon." It was impossible to verify the veracity of these two statements. As regards the moon's influence, however, there is ground for a suspicion that its advantages are rather felt by the hunter, than essential to the virtues of the drug. Full moon is maintained, both by Ostyaks and Russians, to be the propitious time.

The most northern tribe of Ostyaks, who dwell between the rivers Obi and Yenisei, surpass their southern neighbours in venatorial skill, as they, in their turn, are surpassed by the Samoyedes, who live in the northernmost regions of Siberia. The men of the Yenisei kill wolves, which, on account of their long soft hair, are reckoned greatly superior to the forest and steppe wolves of middle Siberia. They are also famed for their dexterity in killing and capturing reindeer. "Tying leathern cords between the tops of the antlers of their tame deer, they turn the animals loose, one by one, in the neighbourhood of a wild herd: these do not fail to attack the strangers, and their antlers becoming entangled in the cords during the contest, they are held fast by the tame deer till the men arrive. These Ostyaks know also how to plant spring-bows, which send the arrow against the animal's breast." But the Samoyedes, besides these ordinary artifices, have other and ingenious ways, peculiar to themselves, of ensnaring and slaying the brute creation, by putting themselves as much as possible on an equality with the animals pursued, going on all-fours, and imitating them in voice and clothing. The Polar bear is a common victim to their cunning devices, and even to their open attacks; for their intimate acquaintance with the formidable beast makes them regard him as an easy prey. "The Samoyedes assert that the white bear far exceeds the black bear in ferocity and strength, whilst fully equal to it in cunning; yet, owing to his unwieldiness, they encounter it without fear, and always reckon on victory as certain. A man will often go singly against a Polar bear, eight feet long, without any other weapon than his knife, which he fastens to the end of a pole. In spring and autumn these animals are found upon the ice, near the hole, whence the seals come forth to breathe. There the bear covers himself up with snow, facing the hole, and with one paw stretched into the water." The Samoyede seal-hunters imitate the bears, and when the seal walks out upon the ice, they shove a board over the hole and capture the phoca. Concerning[86] the bear the Ostyaks entertain peculiar notions, viewing it with a sort of superstitious respect. "A member of the court of justice told me that, in suits between Russians and Ostyaks, it is still the custom here (at Beresov) to bring, into court the head of a bear, and that this animal, which is supposed to be omniscient, is there appealed to as a witness by the Ostyaks. In swearing, they make the gesture of eating, and call upon the bear to devour them in like manner if they do not tell the truth." Some similar reverence for Bruin exists, we believe, amongst certain North American tribes.

The draught-dogs, so faithful and useful to the northern Siberians, often receive but scurvy treatment at their masters' hands. The Ostyaks, who are honesty personified, and who laugh at the common European precautions of locking up valuables and bolting doors, cannot endure the predatory propensities of their canine allies, and fly into a passion whenever an unlucky dog sneaks into their dwelling in search of warmth or food. The poor brute is immediately a mark for the blows and kicks of every body present, the storm of abuse being justified by the cunning and greediness of its object, who, if allowed to abide in the house, would soon reduce its inmates to short commons. There is some excuse for the dogs' voracity, however; for, according to Mr Erman's account, they are considerably more than half-starved, and are rarely admitted to the fire to be fed, save when they return weary and distressed from a long journey. Severe as is the cold in those regions, protection from it is not essential to the existence, or even to the health of these hardy dogs. They sleep outside the houses, in holes which they thaw in the snow by their own warmth. At Obdorsk, where there are no pastures, and consequently no horses, four hundred dogs are kept by sixty inhabitants, and each of them is estimated to draw five poods' (two hundred pounds) weight in the loaded sledge. About eight o'clock in the evening these four hundred brutes set up a hideous howling, by way of claiming their daily meal, consisting invariably of fish, which, for them as well as for their owners' consumption, is first dried in the sun and then pounded, bones and all. Except this evening concert, a bark or a cry is rarely uttered by these dogs, unless at first starting when yoked to the sledge, or on coming across a reindeer team upon the road. Hydrophobia would be a terrible scourge in this dog-district, but the disease is fortunately unknown there. Steller has stated the same thing of the dogs of Kamschatka, and Mr Erman concludes that the malady is a result of the European system of living in towns. And as the Siberian dogs are so very moderately fed, he infers that excess, not want, generates the morbid habit. We are inclined to attribute more importance to the quality than to the quantity of the food. A fish diet may be more conducive to a wholesome state of the animals' blood than the masses of horse-flesh, paunch, and other rank and unclean offal commonly given to dogs in Europe, and especially in England, where the carnivorous addictions of the bipeds induce a belief in the propriety of unlimited flesh-feeding for quadrupeds.

The large annual importation of exiles, the system of conscription, and the advantages offered to public officers volunteering for Siberian service, are the most important and efficacious measures by which Russia proceeds gradually but steadily with the colonisation and civilisation of her Asiatic dominions. The conscripts are sometimes drawn, not only from Tobolsk, but from the remotest parts of Siberia, and the term of military service being twenty-eight years, it is probable that only a small proportion return to their native villages. Those who do are looked up to as oracles by their countrymen. They are objects of pride to their families and of respect to every body else; the place of honour is theirs by right, and they are addressed by the title of Master Soldier.[7] The ferry[87] of the Irtuish, by Tobolsk, whose passage is considered the symbol of political death to the numerous exiles who each year cross it—bestows a step of rank on all public servants offering themselves for duty in Siberia Proper. The passion for rank, stronger in Russia than in any other country, drives hosts of officers across this important boundary; but as they are not obliged to remain more than three years, most of them return home at the end of that time. Far nearer to St Petersburg than the Asiatic frontier, civilisation is still at a very low ebb amongst the aboriginal tribes. Close to Nijni Novgorod, and within a very short distance of Moscow, the prevailing population consists of Cheremisses and Chuvashes, two tribes many of whose customs are nearly as barbarous as their names. These people are shy and timid, very slow in acquiring industrious habits, and addicted to sundry practices stamping them as semi-savages. In some places they cling to paganism, and offer up horned beasts, fruit, and vegetables to their various deities. The Chuvash ladies wear a sort of bustle of sheet copper, hanging from the girdle backwards over the hips, and having appended to it all manner of metal ornaments, making a perpetual clatter in walking. But these tribes are the pink of refinement by comparison with those in the northern portion of the Muscovite empire,—with the Ostyaks, who eat out of the same trough with their dogs, or with the Samoyedes who tear with their teeth, and swallow with infinite relish, huge lumps of raw and reeking flesh. The women of the latter people wear, as their favourite decoration, (certainly no inappropriate one) a glutton's tail, hanging down the back of their pelisse. Their hair is plaited in tails, to which all manner of lumber, brass and iron rings, and rusty musket-locks, are attached. Mr Erman's account of "Life in the Chum" (the skin tent of the Samoyedes) is quaint and graphic.

"The reindeer calf, which we had got on the way, was killed and cut up in front of the tent a few minutes, after our arrival. The men now brought the bleeding flesh into the tent, and began devouring it immediately, quite raw, with the heartiest appetite. The old man was satisfied with sucking the brain from the head, whilst each of our younger comrades gnawed away at a limb of the animal, even to the bone. They laughed at the amazement which my good-humoured Esthonian attendant expressed at their blood-stained faces; and when he gave them to understand, through the interpreter, that they were no better than wolves, they seemed quite unprepared for such reproof; replying gravely, that they were at the same time no worse than the wolves, since they shared honestly with them, and left the bones and some scraps of flesh merely for their sake." In this same tent there was a little monster of a boy named Peina, whom one reads of with a sort of shudder, and with a strong suspicion that the creature was not canny. Mr Erman himself seems to write of him with peculiar reserve, stating facts, but evidently unwilling to give an opinion as to the exact nature of the beast. Peina, who had first-rate masticators, got his share of the raw meat, which did not prevent his drawing on his mother's lacteal resources, and thumping her brutally till she honoured the draft, or handed him the pot-ladle, with which he supped scalding porridge to his great internal contentment. The travellers' bread, although frozen hard and not easy eating for adult jaws, disappeared by wholesale within those of Peina. At night the anomalous urchin was laid naked in a canoe-shaped basket, and covered up so thickly with furs that his cries seemed to come from the depths of the earth. In the morning his mother took him from his bed and set him up, still naked, before the fire to warm himself. Sugar, when first presented to him, he called snow, and threw away, but when once he had tasted the dainty, his demands for it were unceasing and peremptory. Taking into consideration the uncomfortable and uncleanly peculiarities of the Samoyedes, both young and old, we cannot feel surprised that Mr Erman's interpreter conceived an intense dislike to their society, and so managed matters that one morning,[88] whilst the man of science was busy measuring a base-line to ascertain the heights of some mountains, his Samoyede companions suddenly disappeared with their tent and their reindeer, leaving him with three ill-equipped sledges and a few Ostyak attendants, and with no choice but to make the best of his way back to Obdorsk, whence he soon afterwards returned to Tobolsk. There he passed his Christmas, and then resumed his journey; but this time in a southerly direction. After having penetrated to sixty-seven degrees north, the region of eternal frost, he struck southwards to the latitude of the Land's End, making a dip into China, which furnishes some of the best chapters in his book.

Irkutsk, the last town of importance north of the Chinese frontier, consists of nineteen hundred houses, fifty being of brick, and the remainder of wood, and is probably the cheapest place in the civilised world as regards articles of food. We say "civilised," because, although situate in a barbarous region, and possessing a population of a very motley character, the town has much that is European in its aspect and usages. It possesses an exchange, government factories, where newly-arrived convicts are employed, a school of medicine, a gymnasium, and a handsome parade-ground. In the market, formed of wooden booths, the stores of food were enormous. Beef cost about a halfpenny a pound; of flour one penny would purchase nearly eight and a half pounds; partridges and heathfowl were sold at five farthings a-piece. But we are in haste to get amongst the Celestials. First comes a gallop across More Baikal, a large lake just beyond Irkutsk, on which the Russian government maintains an armed flotilla. This gallop is a fine bit of helter-skelter, over ice brilliant as glass. "There was no snow upon the ice, so that its surface shone like a polished mirror in the moonlight. The horses that were put under our sledges in Kadilnaya had to be held on each side till the very moment of starting, when they broke at once into full gallop, which they kept up till we landed on the further shore. We completed seven German miles in two hours and a quarter, undoubtedly the most extraordinary as well as the most speedy stage upon any route in Russia." Thence, onwards to the frontier line. "We followed the crowd that pressed forward towards a narrow door in the front of a long wooden building. This admitted us into the inner quadrangle of a Russian warehouse. A corresponding door, at the opposite side of this court, opens just upon a wooden barricade, which constitutes the barrier of China. In this there is a wide portal, ornamented with pillars, and displaying the Russian eagle above it, along with the cipher of the reigning emperor, Nicholas the First, by whom it was erected." On passing through this gate, the change is immediate and striking,—from Russian sobriety of aspect and hue to the gaudy finery of China. Maimachen, the name of the Chinese town visited by Mr Erman, has a very masquerading air to a European eye. The walls on either side of the streets do not look like house walls, the roofs being flat and invisible from the street. "Indeed, they are nearly altogether concealed by the gay-coloured paper lanterns and flags, with inscriptions on them, hung out on both sides of the way. Cords, with similar scrolls and lanterns, are likewise stretched from roof to roof across the street. These dazzling decorations stand out in glaring contrast with the dull yellow of the ground and walls. In the open crossings of the streets, which intersect each other at right angles, stood enormous chafing-dishes of cast-iron, like basins, upon a slender pedestal four feet in height. The benches by which they were surrounded were occupied by tea-drinkers, who sat smoking from the little pipes they carry at their girdles, whilst their kettles boiled at the common fire." Mr Erman had the good fortune to be on the frontier at the period of the Chinese festival of the White Moon, which is in fact the celebration of the new-year, and he had the still greater luck to be invited to share in it at Maimachen. He found the town in its gayest costume. The expenditure of flags and lanterns was prodigious. The scrolls usually contained the names of the families before whose houses they were hung out,[89] coupled with words of auspicious import, as gladness, riches, wisdom, &c. There was a great firing of crackers and rockets, partly to celebrate the day, but chiefly in honour of the guests. Before dinner the latter were diverted by a theatrical representation. Maimachen boasts a regular company of actors, and upon this great occasion they did their best. Their orchestra was of a rather violent description, consisting of "wooden drums, shaped like casks, brass cymbals, and plates of the same metal, or gongs, held by a string and beaten with knockers, and wooden truncheons, of different sizes, which they used as castanets." There were no actresses; but the deficiency was not to be detected, the younger and more delicate men personating women to the life by the aid of wigs and long tresses of black hair, but especially by curls pressed flat upon the forehead. Masks were not used, but paint was in abundance; in some cases with a view to represent spectacles, mustachios, &c.; in others to conceal the human features, or give them a monstrous aspect. "One face was covered with coloured rays, issuing from the mouth. The same actor had also a feather on his head—in Chinese comedy the conventional mark of a ghost or apparition. Another wore a golden helmet, which constituted him a warrior. Several kept beating themselves incessantly on the hip with a cane, and by so doing intimated that they were on horseback." The play itself was more like a game of romps than any regular dramatic representation. Little was said; but, on the other hand, there was a deal of dancing, drumming, and running about. Mr Erman could make neither head nor tail of the proceedings. By way of experiment, however, he made some tender gestures to one of the pseudo-ladies, who acknowledged them in the most amiable manner, and after that the horsemen without horses paid him much attention, pointing with their sticks to his spectacles, and trying to touch them as they passed. All this greatly diverted the Mongol audience, evidently delighted to see a real counterpart to the painted spectacles of some of the actors.

The play over, Mr Erman and the other guests, preceded by the uproarious orchestra, marched off to dinner at the house of the sarguchei or chief officer of Maimachen. This gentleman, a tall, thin person of stern countenance, dressed in gray velvet, had a white button on the crown of his black felt hat, indicating his rank, and a chalcedony ring, an inch wide, upon his right-hand thumb, this being a mark of official dignity. "His nails," says our traveller, "did not extend above half an inch beyond the tips of his fingers, his personal vanity being in this respect subdued, as might be expected in a man of sober mind and mature years." The man of short nails and sober mind was exceeding hospitable, welcomed his guests in a soft and sonorous voice, and sat down with them to dinner at tables covered with scarlet cloth. The regale that followed might have caused a European chef to pale his ineffectual fires from sheer envy. It began, oddly enough, with fruits, sweetmeats, and tea. These discussed, a piece of fine paper, for a napkin, and a pair of ivory chopsticks, were laid before each guest, and the tables, which were six feet wide, were covered over thickly with small porcelain plates full of all manner of complicated edibles. Fat abounded in the dressing, to neutralise which weak vinegar was used. The first series of saucers duly honoured, a second was brought in and put on the top of its predecessor. Others followed, and as the previous stratum was never removed, there soon arose upon the table a lofty pile of gastronomical curiosities. Pipes and chowsen, a Chinese spirit distilled from rice, concluded the feast, as the strangers thought;—but they were vastly mistaken. The soup course had still to come, and that was followed by an infusion of cabbage-leaves, drawn out of an urn by a cock, and drunk steaming hot. How a dinner commencing with preserved apricots, and concluding with cabbage water, agreed with German stomachs, Mr Erman does not inform us. After managing to taste upwards of a hundred dishes, he went to visit the temple of Fo, whose court was guarded by two clay lions painted green, whilst at his shrine were deposited, on account of the festive season, a prodigious heap of[90] delicacies. Whole sheep without the skin, plucked chickens, pheasants, and guinea-fowls, in their natural positions, and glistening with fat, lay in hillocks at the feet of half-a-dozen grotesque and indecent idols. On a long table, a wall of offerings was built up, consisting of dressed meat and cakes of every kind, the whole surrounded with an elaborate lattice-work of white dough, five or six feet high, the openings of which were filled with dried fruits and confectionary of the finest kind. Perfumed candles burned before the disgusting idols, and brass discs hung from the ceiling, and were struck with clappers when any bearing offerings approached.

The contents of the shops at Maimachen gave Mr Erman a very high opinion of Chinese skill and ingenuity. He saw scientific instruments of great merit, very clever clockwork, paintings drawn and finished with the greatest care, (although highly objectionable by the indelicacy of their subjects,) porcelain, sculpture, bowls, vases, and figures of various kinds of stone. "There were large spherical bowls, and oval vases, of chalcedony and agate, and reliefs cut in cornelians, nephrit, and other coloured stones. Of the latter kind, the most common are flowers, the several parts of which are formed of various and tastefully selected stones, and then cemented with mastic on a foundation of stone. For many of these articles, highly elaborate, and at the same time quite useless, the merchants of Maimachen asked four thousand tea-bricks, (a standard of currency,) or about two thousand five hundred Russian dollars. In this we saw a proof of luxury and profuse expenditure amongst the Chinese. Many other branches of industry indicated enervation and effeminacy of manners:" musk, for instance, and other perfumes, enclosed in little bags, and considered indispensable appendages to a young man's dress. A curious plaything, considered equally essential, is composed of two polished balls, about an inch in diameter, which the men always carry with them. "These are taken in the right hand, at idle times, and rolled and rubbed one over the other with the fingers; the noise they make amuses, and perhaps there is something agreeable also in the feel of them. Here, in Maimachen, I saw some of these balls made of glass, striped green and white, and, hollow, containing within them a little lump of clay, which rattled with every motion." The musk and perfumes, however abundantly used, are all insufficient to counteract a very peculiar and unpleasant smell attributed by Mr Erman to the Chinese. He first perceived it at the theatre, and took it to arise from an inordinate addiction to leeks on the part of actors and audience, whose breath and clothes were infected with the disagreeable odour of that bulb. But he was subsequently induced to regard it as a national taint, a Chinese exhalation, not to be overcome by any amount of artificial perfume, and whose cause is matter of inquiry for the chemist. Doubtless the Chinese would get rid of it, were it possible so to do, for the care they bestow on personal beauty and elegance is very great. Another striking defect in the inhabitants of Maimachen is to be found in their black and decayed teeth. The cause of this Mr Erman suspects to be the solution of copper, produced by the empyreumatic oil of tobacco in the bronze mouth-pieces of their pipes.

At a post-house upon his road back to Irkutsk, Mr Erman and his party were met by a deputation from no less a personage than the Khamba Lama, the high-priest of the Buraets, a Mongolian tribe closely allied in language and customs to the natives of the northern provinces of China. The embassy consisted of four lamas or priests attired in scarlet robes and bright yellow hats. They brought an invitation to a grand festival, which was readily accepted,—and a very remarkable business it proved to be. The discordant theatrical music at Maimachen was a mere trifle compared to the monstrous noise made by the Buraet kettle-drums, so large that they were dragged upon four wheels, and by copper trumpets ten feet long, borne by one man and blown by another. "The grave prelude of the wind instruments was like a roaring hurricane, and the chorus of brass gongs, drums, &c., resembled the crash of a falling mountain." In[91] this place we find some curious and interesting details respecting the Buddhist religion and priesthood, after which Mr Erman returns to Irkutsk, and resumes his journey eastward, through the valley of the Lena, to the land of the Tunguzes and Yakuts. The chief town of the latter people, Yakutsk, is two degrees to the south of Beresov, which Mr Erman had visited on his way to Obdorsk; but, nevertheless, the cold is far more severe at the former place, where frozen earth is found near the surface all the year round, and the same condition of the ground continues to the depth of six hundred feet. "The inhabitants of the Swiss Alps would not unjustly think themselves lost if they were compelled to live at the height of ten thousand feet, or two thousand three hundred feet above the hospital of the great St Bernard, and there to support and clothe themselves by keeping cattle, and with the productions of the surrounding mountains; yet they would then, and not until they arrived at that height, be settled on ground having the same temperature which I found here amongst the Yakuts, who are rich in cattle. It would seem, therefore, as if that succeeded in Siberia which was impossible in Europe, if we did not take into account that the same constant temperature of the ground may be made up at different places of very different elements." Notwithstanding the severity of their climate and resistance of their frozen soil, the Yakuts are a prosperous people, having attained a considerable degree of civilisation, and amongst whom crime is rare, although the influence of Russian example and contact daily renders it less so. There is much interest in Mr Erman's account of them, and of the wandering Tunguzses, the last tribe with whom he consorted before his arrival at Okhotsk. Here his reception was not very flattering. "We were looked at with much curiosity from all the house-doors on the way, for the devout elders of the place had been filled with anxious forebodings by the accounts of the arrival of a foreigner. They signed themselves with the cross whenever he was mentioned. And I learned to-day that they had fears of war, conscription, and other calamities." Nor was their alarm abated by learning that "the heathen foreigner wore snow-shades (spectacles) even in thick weather, and that he carried a dog in the sledge with him. Thus the return to civilised man was marked in the first instance by the encounter of intolerant superstition, and it was necessary to forget the nobler traits of the wilderness before we could become reconciled to the Russians of Okhotsk." At which place Mr Erman's narrative ceases. We await with interest its promised continuation—an account of his adventures in Kamschatka, California, and the Pacific.



Lays of the Deer Forest, with Sketches of Olden and Modern Deer Hunting, &c. &c. By John Sobieski and Charles Edward Stuart. 2 vols., post 8vo. William Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh and London.

We would that, like stout Lord Percy of yore, it were in our power at this present moment to chronicle a vow that we should forthwith take our pastime for three summer days on the pleasant hills of Scotland. Alas for us, that we are doomed, from divers causes, to absent ourselves from felicity awhile, and, amidst the heat and noise of London, listen with intense disgust to the brutal bayings of the Chartists! This very night, we hear, the ignoble hunt is to be up in Bishop Bonner's fields. Crowds of dirty, unshaven, squalid ruffians, who have not the strength to use the pike, but the will to employ the knife of the assassin—fellows whom even Cobden would be chary to recognise as his quondam supporters, defenders, and dupes—not unmingled with foreign propagandists, whom even France, in the fury of her revolutionary tornado, repudiates—are thronging to the place of rendezvous, where, doubtless, their souls will be worthily regaled by the ravings of some rascally vendors of sedition, blasphemy, and treason. Then will ensue the usual scene which for nights has disgraced the metropolis. Some unfortunate tradesman, whose curiosity has been stronger than his prudence, will be fixed upon as a "special" or a spy—the cowards, presuming upon their numbers, and the apparent absence of all executive power, will attempt a deliberate murder—the police will sally from their hiding-place to the rescue—there will be a storm of brickbats, a determined charge with the baton, a shop or two will be gutted, some score of craniums cracked, and to-morrow morning the greasy patriots, at the bar of Bow Street, will read their recantation, and, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, protest their loyalty to the Queen. Such are the pastimes of merry England in the month of June, and such the results of that enlightened policy which yields every thing to popular clamour, adopts the most fatal delusions as distinct principles of right, and then shrinks, trembling and aghast, from the inevitable result of their development!

We do not want—in this article, at least—to be political, and we vow that we took up our pen three minutes ago in a spirit of perfect good-will and harmony towards all manner of men. But the hoarse bawling of these cannibals has somewhat ruffled our temper, dispelled for the moment our dreams of the mountains, and forced us back to the sterner realities of popular tumult and the truncheon. If this sort of thing lasts, we shall indubitably emigrate. Assassination, as recommended by the modern Hamilcar, is by no manner of means to our taste. Our opinion coincides with that of the gracious Captain of Knockdunder, and, were we promoted to a judicial function, "the chiel they ca' the Fustler" should ere long fustle in a tow. Neither are we at all disposed to fraternise with the milder Cuffey—a fellow, by the way, who is not without some redeeming scintillations of humour. We have no wish to be introduced to him even at a mesmeric soiree; and, acting upon the principle of Jacquey, we shall pray heaven to decrease our acquaintance, and put the Tweed as speedily as possible between ourselves and the partisans of O'Connor. We hope the Lord Provost, though discomfited in his Police Bill, has been looking after the tranquillity of the Calton. If not, we must move further north, and finally locate ourselves somewhere in the vicinity of Dalnacardoch. The deuce is in it, if the revolutionary mania has penetrated to that sequestred region! No son of the mountains has ever yet given in his adhesion to the Charter—treason hath not stained the tartan, and no republican pins have ever been exposed beneath the checkered margin of the kilt. There is loyalty at least in the land which was traversed by Montrose and Dundee;[93] and without the slightest fear that any of the numerous points of that interesting but incomprehensible public document, which Mr Joseph Hume proposes to condense, shall be unduly obtruded on our notice, we shall at once exchange our London dwelling for the more pleasant bothy of the hills.

As for a companion, we shall seek none better—for we could not find one—than this last publication of the Stuarts. And here, once for all, let us draw a line of distinction betwixt the poetry and the prose of these very remarkable brothers. We have not the remotest intention of sitting in judgment on the "Lays," or of testing the poetical merits of John Sobieski and Charles Edward, either by the canons of Longinus, or by that superior code of literary laws which Maga has promulgated to the world. The poems, which occupy exclusively the first of these volumes, are, with one exception, fugitive in their nature, and appear to have been penned rather from occasional impulse, than from any deliberate intention of publication. Accordingly, we find that most of them relate to topics personal to the authors themselves—and with these we do not meddle. In others, there are flashes of the deep national spirit which still survives—though our rulers do not seem to mark it—in Scotland: indignation at the neglect with which too many of our national institutions have been treated, and mournful lamentings over the misfortunes of a former age. But the impulse which leads to the composition of poetry does not always imply its accomplishment. Poetry, as an art in which excellence can only be obtained by a combination of the simple and the sublime, requires a study far more intense and serious than the mere critic is apt to allow. In a former Number we devoted an article to an exposition of those principles, which are absolutely invariable in their application, and which must be thoroughly understood, if they are not intuitive to the poet; and, being in no mood for repetition, we shall simply say that we adhere to our recorded doctrines. The Stuarts, it must be confessed, are more successful with the rifle than the lyre. We would far rather meet them in the garb of the forester, than in the more fantastic fashion of the minstrel: be theirs the lot of Ryno the hunter, not the darkened destiny of the bard.

Do, therefore, what you please with the first volume—pack it up in your portmanteau, or place it on the shelf beside Chambers' History and the collections of good old Bishop Forbes. But if you profess to be a deer-stalker—though we fear your profession to be false—or if you are but an aspiring neophyte, and hankerer after that proud position—or if you merely bound your aspirations towards the compassing of the death of a roebuck—or if simply you have a keen and a kindly eye for nature, and are a lover of the sylvan solitudes—in one or other, or all of these characters, we pray you to deal more leisurely with the other tone, which is the Hunter's Vade-Mecum, the best guide ever yet published to the haunts of the antlered monarch.

We are fond of Mr Scrope, and we have an excessive partiality for St John. Two finer fellows never shouldered a rifle; and our conscience does not accuse us of having used too superlative, in epithet in their praise. This was the more creditable on our part, because we knew them both to be Southrons; and while freely admitting the sportsman-like qualities of the one, and the strong picturesque style and spirit of the other, we felt a slight, passing, but pardonable pang of jealousy, that they should have stepped in, and pre-occupied the native field. Where, thought we, are our Scottish deer-stalkers? Can the lads not handle a pen as well as touch a trigger? Will none of them, who have been trained to the hills since they were striplings, stand forth for the honour of Albyn, and try a match with these fustian-coated circumventers of the stag? By the shade of Domhnull Mac-Fhionnlaidlhnan Dan, we blush for the literary reputation of our country, and almost wish that we were young enough ourselves to take the hill against the invading Sassenach! At length—and we are delighted to see it—the reproach has been swept away. Two stalwart champions of the forest have risen in the persons of the Stuarts—they[94] have encountered the Englishmen with their own weapons, and, in our opinion, beaten them hollow.

Mr Scrope had the merit of producing the earliest work in which deer-stalking was treated as a distinct and peculiar branch of the art venatory. We speak of it now from recollection; for our copy, somewhat frayed and worn by the fingers of ambitious sportsmen, is in the snug corner of a library some hundred miles to the northward. But we remember well the Waltonian character of the book—the professional style in which the elder practitioner enforced his precepts upon the dawning intellect of his companion; and the adventures, neither few nor feeble, which were depicted in the heart of the Atholl forest. Taken as the production of an English sportsman, Mr Scrope's book is highly creditable: considered as the manual of a deer-stalker, it is at the best indifferent. Nor, indeed, could it well be otherwise. Not until middle age, if we are informed rightly, did Mr Scrope first send a ball into the ample shoulder of a hart: his young blood never beat tumultuously in his veins at the sight of the mighty creature rolling over upon the heather, and its antlers buried in the moss. His boyish enthusiasm, we fear, was expended upon game of less mark and likelihood—partridges, perchance, as they whirred from the turnips, or possibly he was "entered" with the hare. Wordsworth's maxim, that the boy is the father of the man, is peculiarly applicable in sporting matters. Upon the character of the country in which the latent spirit of the hunter is earliest developed, depends, in a great degree, his future success, and certainly his accomplishment as an Orion. The young squire, who has been brought up in the faith of Sykes, who never stirs abroad without a keeper, and who is accustomed to see his delicate pointers execute their manœuvres with almost mathematical precision on the flat stubbles of Norfolk, labours under a huge disadvantage in the higher branches of his science, compared with the Highland boy who has received his education on the hill. What though the single barrel of the latter be a clumsy implement indeed in competition with the Purdie which decorates the shoulder of the former—though the hound that sometimes attends him, though oftener he is alone, never slept a single night in a kennel, and is the ruggedest specimen of his kind—still he is in the enjoyment of advantages incomparably superior for the development of all his faculties, and the sharpening of every sense. The triumph of the sportsman does not lie so much in the killing as in the finding of his game. Were it otherwise, the pigeon-slayer of Battersea or the Red-house would have just claims to the honours of Sir Tristram, and the annihilator of poultry to rank with the Nimrods of the world. Our young friend the Squire shoots well—that is to say, he can kill with reasonable precision: but, after all, what is he save an instrument? Take Ponto away from him, tie up Juno, send a bullet through the brain of Basta, and a pretty beggarly account you will have of it in the evening when we come to the emptying of the bags! Or lead him down to the sea-shore, and show him a whaup, which in the English tongue is denominated a curlew; request him to use all his possible skill to compass possession of the bird; but do not set your heart on having it, else, as sure as fate, you are doomed to disappointment. Whaup is quite alive to his own interests, and by no means unsuspicious of the Saxon, who advances straight towards him with a hypocritical air of unconcern. Had the Highland lad been there, what a difference! He would have dropped like a stone behind that rock, wriggled like a serpent over the sand, kept the bird between himself and the sea, taken advantage of every inequality in the ground, discerned from the attitude of his quarry whether its suspicions were aroused or not, and in ten minutes a pluff of white smoke and a report would have announced its extermination. As it is, the curlew remains apparently unconcerned until the Lord of the Manor has reduced the intermediate distance to a hundred and twenty yards, and then, with a shrill whistle, takes flight along the margin of the tide. Or set him to stalk a blackcock, perched high of an Autumn morning on a dyke. How clumsily he sets about it! how miserable[95] is his stoop! how wretchedly he calculates his distance! That wide-awake hat, which, for the sake of symmetry, he has been pleased to surmount with a feather, is as conspicuous to the country for miles round, and of course to the blackcock, as was the white plume of Murat in the field of battle, and as potent to effect a clearance, of which we presently have ocular demonstration.

We contend, therefore, that it is extremely difficult for the man, be he ever so addicted to field-sports, who has been educated in a cultivated country, to disembarrass himself of the artificial habits which he is tolerably sure to acquire. His trolling may be excellent—indeed, English gentlemen are, generally speaking, first-rate shots—but he will be deficient in the science of the naturalist, and in that singular acuteness of perception which can hardly be gained save by an early intimacy with nature, on the mountain, the moor, or in the glen. No subsequent education or experience can make up for the normal deficiency, least of all in the pursuit of an animal so wary, so instinctive, and so peculiar in its habits as the deer. Of course we do not mean to deny that there is much which may be learned. What a pointer is to partridges, some wary and experienced forester may often be made to the deer; and if you put yourself under his tuition, and scrupulously obey his orders, you may very possibly succeed in attaining the object of your desires. Nor indeed can you do better, up to a certain point, notwithstanding the strictures of the Stuarts, who are, we think, unnecessarily wroth at the system which would call in the aid of any supplementary assistance. We hope no gentleman who has rented a forest for the ensuing season will be deterred from following the feet of a Highland Gamaliel on account of any ridicule which may be attached to the fact of his having been "taken up" to a deer. If he should rashly attempt stalking at his own hand, without any preliminary instruction, we should be sorry to found our hopes of dinner on the chance of his acquisition of a haunch.

"When advancing upon deer [say our authors]—except in strange ground—the forester, or any other attendant, should be left behind a stone, or in some covert, before the stalker commences his approach; not from any recognition of the false reproach made against the guides by Mr Scrope, but because there is no occasion for an assistant, and the action of one has more celerity, independence, and security from discovery, than when a greater number are in motion. The charge made by the author of 'The Art of Deer-stalking,' that the forester is often in the way, and sometimes obstructs the shot, is not true, unless in instances of inexperienced and awkward individuals, who are not to be found among that class of foresters of whom the guest of the Atholl Forest proposes his remarks. With a MacKenzie, or a MacDonald, a Catanach, and a MacHardie, the asserted inconvenience must proceed from the ignorance or maladroitness of the gray worm which crawls at his back, and who often does not know what he is doing, or where he is going, with his ideas égaré on his sensitive knees and varnished Purdie, unconscious of what he ought to do and nervous for what he ought not, flurried with eagerness and disgusted with his posture, and who, never seeing a deer except once in the year, is led up to him like a 'blind burraid,' by one whose language he scarcely understands. In general, therefore, the embarrassments of the 'creep' are those of the superior, who is frequently so ignorant, unpractised, and dependent upon the guidance of the forester, that to be 'taken up to the deer' has become the modern forest phrase for the approach of the sportsman. This contemptible term, and its contemptible practice, has only been introduced within the last quarter century, since the prevalence of stalking gentlemen utterly unacquainted with the ground and pursuit of deer. Of old, the 'Seàlgair uasal nam bèann' was initiated to the hill when yet but a 'biorach' of a stalker; and when he became a matured hill-man, he should no more have suffered himself to be—'taken up to his deer' by an attendant, than a Melton fox-hunter to be trained after the hounds by a whipper-in with a leading rein.—What should have been the sentiments of the old chiefs and Uaislean of the last century—the Dukes of Atholl and Gordon—Glengarrie—John Aberardar—Iain dubh Bhail-a-Chroäin—to hear a deer-hunter speak of being 'taken up to his deer!'—Certainly that he was a noble 'amadan' or 'gille-crùbach,' who had not the faculties or the limbs to act for himself.—But this is only one of the many instances for which the hills of Gael may mourn with the mountains of Gilboa—'Quomodo ceciderunt robusti!'"


Far are we from insinuating that Mr Scrope is at all liable to the remarks contained in the foregoing extract. On the contrary, we hold him to be a man of vigorous mind and acute eye, and any thing but a contemptible foe to the stags, after the measure of his own experience. If he is deficient at all, it is in the poetry and higher mysteries of the art, which hardly would be expected from a stranger, whose initiation was necessarily late. Waverley, though a respectable shot, and a man of literary taste, would, we apprehend, have described the driving and disposition of the tainchel less effectively, and certainly far less truly, than Fergus M'Ivor; so great a difference is there betwixt the craft of the master and his pupil. Let Mr Scrope, therefore, rest content with the laurels he has won, and the trophies he has taken from the forest. Not unforgotten is his name in Atholl, nor unloved. Let him be a guide to the Southren, but he must not dream of rivalling the Stuarts in woodcraft, or Stoddart in the science of piscation.

Of Mr St John's "Wild Sports of the Highlands," we have already spoken in terms of unqualified praise. A more delightful volume was never adapted for the pocket of the sportsman: a more truthful or observant work has seldom issued from the pen of the naturalist. His sketches and pictures of deer-stalking we allow to be as perfect in their way as the compositions of Landseer; and having said so much, we shall not make any further call upon that gentleman's blushes. Still, even his experience is limited, and his knowledge imperfect. He has given us a brilliant account of his own exploits upon the hill, but he has not lived long enough in the wilder haunts of the deer accurately to understand their habits. Not so our authors, who for years have been denizens of the mountains, speaking the tongue of the Gael, wearing the native garb, and following the chase with an ardour and enthusiasm unparalleled in these degenerate days.

Gentlemen who complain of the inferior accommodation afforded by some of the more distant hostelries of Scotland—who are shocked at the absence of warming-pans, and tremulously nervous about your sanatory condition, when subjected to the enormity of damp sheets—how would you like to spend a few nights on the misty hill-side, or even in the hut of the hunters? We shall take you if you please to the latter spot, merely premising that, in order to reach it, we must cross the Findhorn, now roaring down in spate. A terrible stream is that Findhorn, as Mr St John well knows; but we question whether he ever ventured to ford it on the rise, as was done by one of the Stuarts. For the information of distant friends, we beg to put our imprimatur to the following description of this furious Highland flood, which rolled between the residence of the hunters and their favourite ground.

"That stream, however, which was so calm, and bright, and sunny, when the otters floated down its current in a still summer's morning, was a fierce and terrible enemy in its anger; and, for a great part of the year, the dread of its uncertainty and danger was a formidable cause for the preservation of that profound solitude of the forest which so long made it the sanctuary of deer, roe, and every kind of wild game. The rapidity with which the river comes down, the impassable height to which it rises in an incredibly short time, its incertitude and fury, would render it an object of care to bold forders and boatmen; but with the peasants of the 'laich,' unaccustomed, like the Highlanders, to wrestle with a mountain torrent, and, excepting in rare instances, unable to swim or manage a coble, it inspires a dread, almost amounting to awe, and none except ourselves ventured to keep a boat above the fishing-station of Slui. Pent within a channel of rocks from fifty to a hundred and eighty feet in height, the rise of the water is rapidly exaggerated by the incapability of diffusion; and the length of its course sometimes concealing beyond the horizon the storms by which it is swelled at its source, its floods then descend with unexpected violence. Frequently when, excepting a low wreath upon Beann-Drineachain, the sun is shining in a cloudless sky, and the water scarce ripples over the glittering ford, a deep hollow sound—a dull approaching roar may be heard in the gorges of the river; and almost before the wading fisherman can gain the shore, a bank of water, loaded with trees, and rocks, and wreck, will come down three—four—five feet abreast—sweeping all before it[97] in a thunder of foam and ruin. In ordinary cases, after two days of rain, the stream will rise twenty or thirty feet—it has risen nearly ten fathoms in its rocky gulf; and once upon this occasion it mounted fifteen feet in a quarter of an hour. When the dawn broke, it appeared sweeping through the trees, which the evening before hung fifty feet above its brink—a black roaring tempest loaded with ruins and debris, from which were seen to rise at times the white skeletons of trees peeled of their bark, beams and couples of houses—a cart—a door—a cradle, hurrying and tilting through the foam and spray, like the scattered 'floatsome' of a wreck.

"It may be judged how far it was convenient in winter to hunt a forest separated by such a boundary, of which the nearest certain passage was by a bridge two miles to the west, with frequently the view of hunting three miles to the east. Often we have gone out in a clear sapphire morning, when there was scarce a ripple on the pools, and the water on the ford was not over our 'glunachan,' and when we returned at evening, and approached through the dark veil of pines which descended to the river, have heard a roar as if the world was rolling together down the black trough before us, and as we came out on the bank, found a furious tempest of water, tumbling, and plunging, and leaping, over stock and rock twenty feet upon the clatach, where we had left it whimpering among the pebbles in the morning; while, in the far, deep, birch-embowered channel, where the stream was then so still and placid that you could only guess its course by the bright glistening eye which here and there blinked between the trees and stones,—now it came yelling, and skirling, and clamouring down the rocks and falls, as if all the air was full of gibbering, babbling, laughing demons, who were muttering, and yammering, and prophesying, and hooting, at what you were going to do, if you attempted to cross."

We pray you at your leisure to read on, and you will presently see what peril our authors underwent at the fearful fords of the Findhorn. Once or twice in our life we have been in similar jeopardy, and we can testify with unction to the singular sensations which beset a man in the midst of a roaring river, when the rapids are shooting away below, and the boulder-stones rolling beneath his feet. We pass over some perilous instances of adventure, which at length became so frequent as to lead to the construction of the hut.

"Such continually and unexpectedly were the ferries of the Findhorn, and many such escapes we had, in daylight and in darkness.—Twice I have been swamped, often nearly upset, and more than once carried off my legs in the fords; and—I say it with humility, and always under the mercy of heaven—that I owed rescue either to actual swimming, or to the confidence inspired by that power when struggling with the strong and terrible enemy.

"This continual exposure to battle and disappointment, however, became at length too vexatious an abridgment of sport and certainty; and as I would—and often—have made my bed under a fir tree rather than go round by the bridge of Daltullich, I resolved upon another alternative—to build in the forest a 'bothan an t-sealgair,' or 'hunter's hut,' where we might lodge for the night when it was impossible to cross the water.

"There is a high and beautiful craig at the crook of the river near the 'Little Eas,'—a precipice eighty feet in height, and then like a vast stone helmet crowned with a feathery plume of wood, which nodded over its brow. From its top you might drop a bullet into the pool below, but on the south side there is an accessible woody bank, down which, by planting your heels firmly in the soil and among the roots of the trees, there is a descent to a deep but smooth and sandy ford. Upon the summit of the rock there is, or there was—my blessing upon it!—a thick and beautiful bird-cherry, which hung over the craig, and whose pendant branches, taking root on the edge of the steep, shot up again like the banana, and formed a natural arbour and close trellis along the margin of the precipice. Behind its little gallery, there is a mighty holly, under which the snow rarely lays in winter, or the rain drops in summer. Beneath the shelter of this tree, and within the bank at its foot, I dug a little cell large enough to hold two beds, a bench, a hearth, a table, and a 'kistie.' The sides were lined with deals well caulked with moss, and the roof was constructed in the same manner, but covered with a tarpauling, which, lying in the slope of the surrounding bank, carried off any water which might descend from thaw or rain, and, when the autumn trees shook off their leaves, could not be distinguished from the adjoining bank. Its door was on the brink of the craig, veiled by the thick bird-cherries on the edge of the[98] precipice; and the entrance to the little path, which ascended from either side upon the brow of the rock, was concealed by a screen of birch and hazel, beneath which the banks were covered with primroses, wood-anemones, and forget-me-not. Bowers of honeysuckle and wild-roses twined among the lower trees; and even in the tall pines above, the rose sometimes climbed to the very top, where all its blossoms, clustering to the sun, hung in white tassels out of the dark-blue foliage. There the thrush and the blackbird sang at morning and evening, and the owl cried at night, and the buck belled upon the Torr.—Blessed, wild, free, joyous dwelling, which we shall never see again!"

A lovely place indeed must that have been in the pleasant days of summer! We do not wonder at the fondness with which the Stuarts speak of that lodge in the wilderness, reared as it was in the midst of the most beautiful and romantic scenery which exists within the compass of the seas of Britain, or, for aught we know, elsewhere. Years have rolled by since we last set foot upon the banks of Findhorn; but never shall we forget the glories of that deep ravine, or the noble woods of Altyre, still possessed by the descendants of the princely Comyns. Did we not expect to be summoned out within half an hour to contribute to the safety of the realm by breaking the head of a Chartist, we should ourselves launch out into description, and try conclusions with Horatio M'Culloch. But, after all, it would be a work of supererogation. Mr St John has already illustrated most charmingly that abode of the faithful; and he will not be displeased to see that, even in painting, he has met with formidable rivals. Rarely, indeed, have we met with any thing so perfect as the following sketch:—

"Near Slui on the Findhorn there is a range of precipices and wooded steeps crowned with pine, and washed by a clear and rippling stream of the river, through which there is an excellent ford, very well known to the roe, for escaping to the woods of Slui when pressed by the hounds. This reach is called the Ledanreich, from a remarkable craig, a sheer naked even wall of sandstone, lying in horizontal strata eighty or ninety feet high: At the eastern extremity of this rock there is a great division, partly separated from the main curtain by a deep woody slope, which dips into the precipice with little more inclination from the perpendicular than to admit of careful footing. In the face of the divided craig, the decomposition of the softer stone between the courses of the strata has wasted it away into narrow galleries, which, passing behind the tall pillars of the pines growing from the rifts and ledges, extend along the face of the precipice, veiled by a deep tapestry of ivy, which spreads over the mighty wall of rock, and hangs from shelf to shelf over the covered ways. Beyond the craigs, the bank of the forest, an abrupt steep, covered with oak and copsewood, slopes down to the river, its brow darkened with a deep-blue cloud of pines, and its descent carpeted with moss, primroses, and pyrolas, here and there hollowed into quaint 'cuachs,' filled with hazels, thorns, and giant pines. Along this woody scarp, and through its thick copse, the roe had made narrow galleries, which communicated with the ivy corridors on the face of the craig, to which there were corresponding ways upon the opposite side. In that fortress of the rock, for shelter from the sun and flies, and seclusion from the stir of the world during the day in the heat of summer, the red-deer and roe made their secret haunt, concealed behind the deep dim veil of leaves, unseen and unsuspected in the cool hollows of the cliff. The prying eye might search the craig from below, and the beaters or the woodmen might whistle, and whoop, and shout above, but nothing appeared or moved except the gray falcon, which rose channering out of the rifts. Above the craig the wooded bank was so abrupt, that to the front view there was no indication of a slope, and any who passed quickly over the brow was immediately out of sight. At each descent beyond the extremities of the whole range of rocks there was a common roe's run and pass, which was supposed to be 'deadly sure' if the deer took the path, since the precipice below was believed to be an infallible barrier against any intermediate escape. Often, however, when pressed upon the terrace above, the deer neither went through the passes nor turned against the beaters, but vanished as if by magic—nobody could tell where; and it was the common opinion of the drivers and fishermen, that, when forced near the river, they threw themselves over the craigs 'for spite,'—a belief often confirmed by old Davie Simpson, who declared that he had often found their bodies beneath the rocks, and in the Cluach, the Clerk's Pool, and the 'Furling Hole.' He did not, however, relate what wounds they had, and the truth was,[99] that those which disappeared at the brow of the Ledanreich dashed down the sudden dip of the bank between the precipices, and, turning through the ivy corridors, went out through the copse galleries upon the other side, and either descended to the water or skirted below the pass, and went back into the forest. Those which were found dead were such as had been mortally wounded at some in-wood pass, and, unable to take, or cross the water, had died on the beach, or been carried down by the river. In the same mysterious passages which gave concealment and escape to the stags and bucks, the does were used to lay with their kids, and from thence at morning and evening they brought them out to pluck the tender grass upon the green banks beyond. Often from the brow above, or from behind the ivy screen, we have watched their 'red garment' stealing through the boughs, followed by their little pair drawing their slender legs daintily through the wet dew, and turning their large velvet ears to catch every passing sound upon the breeze as it brought the hum of the water, or the crow of the distant cock—now trotting before, now lingering behind their dam, now nestling together, now starting off as the gale suddenly rustled the leaves behind them—then listening and re-uniting in a timorous plump, pricking their ears, and bobbing their little black noses in the wind,—then, as the doe dropped on her knees in the moss, and laid her side on the warm spot where the morning sun glanced in through the branches, they gambolled about her, leaping over her back, and running round in little circles, uttering that soft, wild, plaintive cry like the treble note of an accordion, till, weary of their sport, they lay down at her side, and slept while she watched as only a mother can. No marvel it was that they loved that safe and fair retreat, with all its songs and flowers, its plenty and repose. All around was sweet, and beautiful, and abundant, such as the poetical imagination of the painter can rarely compose, and never, unless like Salvator he has lived in the wilderness with its free denizens. Upon the summit above the craig there was a broad and verdant terrace surrounded by ivied pines and feathering birches, and upon a little green glade in the midst grow two of the most beautiful objects ever produced by art or nature. These were a pair of twin thorns exactly similar in size, age, and form, and standing about three yards from each other: their stems as straight as shafts, and their round and even heads like vast bushes of wild thyme, but each so overgrown with ivy and woodbine, that their slender trunks appeared like fretted columns, over which the thorny foliage served as a trellis to suspend the heavy plumes of the ivy and the golden tassels of the woodbine. Many a 'ladye's bower' we have seen, and many a rich and costly plant reared by the care of man, but none so beautiful as those lonely sisters of the forest, planted by His hand in His great garden, where none beheld but those for whom He made it lovely—the ravens of the rock, the deer who couched under its shade by night, and the birds who sang their matins and their even-song out of its sweet boughs."

If we go on quoting at this rate, we shall never reach the hill, and as yet we have not started from the hut. To say the truth, we are in no hurry, and neither, we suspect, upon many occasions were the Stuarts, indomitable huntsmen as they are. What though at night the river swept with the sound of thunder below, making the solid rock vibrate to its deep foundation,—what though the wind swept mightily down the ravine, swaying the trees like saplings, and threatening to tear them away,—what though the windows of heaven were open, and the deluge came down, and the bark of the hill-fox sounded sharp above the roaring of the water and the wood,—yet within that little bothy that rests upon the face of the craig, the wearied huntsmen slept peacefully; and in the morning, says one of them,—"I was awakened as usual by the whistle of the robin in the bird-cherry, and the sharp note of the blue bonnet sharpening his little saw on the top of the holly. I went out to the narrow terre-plain over the craig. The wind was gone, and the sun smiling on the still leaves and dewy grass—the flood torrent of the river dancing and laughing in its light, and the calm bright air breathing with the sweet perfume of the damp plants, and all the freshness and fragrance of the forest wilderness." We back it against the forest of Ardennes!

Every true hunter is humane. What! you say—do you call it humane to persecute the unfortunate stag, the monarch of the wilds, to the death?—to drive rifle-bullets into the target of the harmless roe? to murder otters by the dozen, and to slaughter seals[100] by the score? Indubitably we do. Let us reason a little upon this. Yesterday, you recollect that you dined upon very juvenile veal, smothered in a mess of dingy vegetable matter which we apprehend to have been sorrel, after the beastly fashion of the Gauls. Posterior to that, you devoured the larger moiety of a duckling. This morning we saw you, with our own eyes, regaling yourself at the club, between the intervals of muffin, with what assuredly were cutlets of lamb. After all this, can you have the face to stand up and defend your own humanity? For how many days had the sun dawned upon that luckless calf, the mangled fragments of which upon your platter rather resembled the rags of a kid-glove, than food meet for the stomach of a Christian? How long had the feeble quackle of Draco been heard round the row of peas near which he unsuspiciously perambulated, little dreaming how much the pods thereof were mixed up with his future destiny? How many races were run upon the meadow by that perished daughter of the sheep? Three infantine lives cut off simply for your sole gormandising! This is but a slight case. Set you down to a rook-pie, and you will engulf a dozen unfortunates before you bury your visage in the pewter. Pay for you at Blackwall, and the whitebait will disappear by the thousand. It is in vain that you attempt to shift the atrocity of your inordinate appetite from your own shoulders to those of the grazier, the butcher, the poulterer, or the fisherman. Cobden, or Joe Hume, or any other of the political economists belonging to the tribe who would starve the workman in order that they may guzzle themselves, will tell you that invariably the demand regulates the supply. You, therefore, are the responsible party: the young have fallen into your Scylla—the immature of days have been swept into the vortex of your Charybdis! Moreover, if you were a sportsman—which you are not—our minds would be grievously troubled for the future safety of the singing-birds. Welford, the friend of Bright, as we all remember, proposed a grand crusade throughout Britain against the feathered tribe; and you are not at all unlikely to join in a general St Bartholomew of the sparrows. Do you venture to retort upon us? Do you think we take life unnecessarily, or that we are base enough to use our weapons until the quarry has reached its prime? No calf or fawn ever fell by the hand of the genuine hunter—no cheeper or pout ever sullied the interior of the sportsman's bag. Not until the better part of his life has been run,—till his muscles are hard as iron, his slot deep, and his branches towering on the beam,—not until he has lived and loved, do we strike down, as if with lightning and painless death, the great hart in the middle of the wilderness. But to all innocent things—to the harmless indwellers of the forest and moor, the true hunter is a guardian and a friend. The strong man is ever brave, and none but the strong can pass to where the herds of the mountain dwell.

One more scene at the Hut, and we shall illustrate this subject further.

"But though our bothie was far from resembling the Peri Paribanon's cell, or the rock-palace where the old kaiser keeps his court in the bowels of the Unterberg—we loved it, not only for its bucks and stags, and all its greenwood cheer, but for the love of nature by which it was surrounded. Beyond its 'vert and venison,' there was a world of life and interest for those who had the eye to mark and the heart to read its book. On every side we had companions; from the passenger which came from Norway, to the little native guest—the robin which roosted in the holly-bush above us. 'The robin?'—you smile and say. Yes, there was but one. He lived in the bush, as we lived in the bothie, and we were his neighbours too long not to be very well acquainted. His species, as well as all the small tribes, conformable to the minuteness of their range and habits, are very local, and may be found all the year in, or near, the same place; and those who feed them will rarely wait many minutes for their appearance. There were many robins which lived about the bothie, and all were continually in its vicinity, and very tame; but none so gentle and grateful as our little neighbour in the holly. They would, however, enter the hut, sit on the bed or the table, and hop about the floor, and, when I went out, follow me to the brae. They liked very much to see me turn up the soil, which always provided them with a little feast; accordingly,[101] they were never absent at the planting of a shrub or a flower; and when I brought home, in my shooting-bag, a tuft of primroses, pyrolas, or lilies of the valley, they were always in attendance to see them put into the bank. For watching my occupation, they preferred something more elevated than the ground, but not so high as the branches of the trees, which were too far from the earth to give them a clear sight of what I turned up; for their accommodation, therefore, I made little crosses and crotchets, and, when I was planting, set them up beside me, moving them as I proceeded from place to place. Each was immediately occupied by an attentive observer; and, whenever an insect or a worm was discovered, one of the nearest darted down and caught it, even from between my fingers, and disappeared for a few moments under the rock or behind the great holly, to enjoy his success undisturbed. At his disappearance his place was immediately occupied by another, but at the return of the first it was amiably resigned by his successor. The blue-bonnets were almost as numerous as the robins, but they never arrived at the same intimacy and confidence. They never entered the bothie in my presence, and even when I fed them they would not approach as long as I remained outside the door; but as soon as I went in they descended four or five together, chattering and fluttering about the entrance, peeping in at the little window, and stretching their necks as far as they could, to see where I was, and if all was right. Then they would begin their breakfast on what I had left for them, talking a great deal about it, but occasionally ogling the door, in a manner from which I concluded that there was but small esteem or gratitude in their conversation.——Far different was the friendship of our little neighbour in the holly. In the morning he used to come down and perch on the arm of the bird-cherry, which stretched over the precipice before the door, waiting for its opening and the preparation of the breakfast, which he always shared; and when we were seated he would venture over the sill, and gather the crumbs about the table at our feet. Often when the first blood-red streaks of the autumn morning shone like lurid fire through the little window, we were awakened by his sad and solitary whistle, as he sat on his usual branch, his jet-black eye cast towards the door, impatient for our appearance. Many of his little cousins there were in the wood, with whom we were also well acquainted, and between us happened many an incident, which increased our interest and familiarity.

"I remember a day, one of those deep still blue days so solemn in the forest; the ground was covered with a foot of snow, and all the trees were hanging like gigantic ostrich feathers; but all the world was blue,—the sky was a sleeping mass of those heavy indigo clouds which forebode a 'feeding storm,'—not a tempest, but a fall of snow; for, in Scotland, snow is called 'storm,' however light and still it falls: thus, in tracking the deer, we say he 'has brushed the storm from the heather;' and a 'feeding storm' is when the clouds are continually feeding the earth with its velvet pall.—The reflection of those deep-blue clouds cast a delicate tint of the same colour over the whitened world. I was standing with my back against a huge pine—one of the old remnant of the great forest of Moray, which had, no doubt, heard the bell toll for the first Stuart earl.—I counted the rings in a smaller tree which once stood in the same hollow;—I shunned its wreck as I would have avoided a corpse which I could not bury, and always, when I passed near it, averted my face; but one day running to cut off a buck, and just heading him, I dropped on my knee to receive him as he came out from a mass of junipers, and when reloading, I found that I had knelt by the stump of my old friend.—I counted two hundred and sixty-four rings in his wood!—how many earls had he seen?—Well, I was leaning against his elder brother, as I suppose by the size. I had been there for a long time, waiting to hear the dogs bring back a buck from—I don't know now from where.——As I had been through all the swamps, and stripes, and wet hollows on that side of the forest, and waded through two and three feet of snow-wreaths, my kilt and hose, and, as it seemed, my flesh was saturated to the bones with 'snaw-bree,' and I began to beat, first one foot, and then the other, to quicken the blood, which was warm enough in my trunk.—I had scarce commenced this exercise, when I heard a little 'tic!' close to my ear, and the soft low voice of a bird—a sound, neither a whistle nor a chirp, but which I knew very well before I turned and saw the robin, who sat on a dry branch within a yard of my cheek. I guessed what had brought him: he was very cold, his ruffled back humped as round as a ball, and his tail drooping almost perpendicular with his legs, as if it was a little brown peg to lean on, like that on which the travelling Tyrolean merchant rests his pack. He looked at me with his large black eye, then, with a flirt of his tail and a bow with his head, indicated that, if I had no objection, he should like to descend to the place which[102] I occupied; the object of which he expressed, by turning his head sidelong, and directing one eye into the black earth which my foot had beaten bare in the snow. I immediately drew back a couple of feet, and he instantly dropped into the spot of mould, peeped and picked under every leaf and clod of earth, and, when there was nothing more, hopped up on the guard of my rifle, on which I was leaning, and, turning his head, looked at me with his upper eye.—I again stepped forward, and recommenced my foot-exercise, during which he returned to his branch, examining my progress with some impatience. As soon as my foot was removed, he again dropped into the hollow, and busily collected all the little grubs and chrysales which, though too small for me to see as I stood, I knew abounded beneath the sere leaves and thatch of moss and sticks. In this manner I repeated his supply several times, on one of which, when I was too long, or he too impatient, he dropped from his perch, and hovered over the space in which my foot was at work, and, as I continued, lighted on the point of the other shoe, and remained there, peeping into the hollow, until I withdrew my foot, and then descended to finish his repast. When he was satisfied, he ruffed his feathers, looked up sidelong to me, and, after a shake of satisfaction, resumed his perch close to my head, and, after pruning and oiling his feathers, mounted another branch higher, and opened his little throat with that most sad, sweet, and intermitting warble which gives such a melancholy charm to a still winter's day."

Take a picture of the roe, and you will hardly doubt the humanity of our sportsmen. But why talk of it thus? No one, we hope, save a member of the Manchester manufacturing school could feel otherwise—certainly not a genuine hills-man; and we quote the passage simply for its extreme beauty and perfect fidelity to nature. No creature is more beautiful than the kid of the roe-deer, especially when seen in their rest, or moving through the ferns, on a summer evening, beside their gentle mother the doe.

"In the bedding season the does retire into the most secret thickets, or other lonely places, to produce their young, and cover them so carefully that they are very rarely found; we have, however, deceived their vigilance. There was a solitary doe which lived in the hollow below the Bràigh-cloiche-léithe in Tarnaway. I suppose that we had killed her 'marrow;' but I was careful not to disturb her haunt, for she was very fat and round, stepped with much caution, and never went far to feed. Accordingly, when at evening and morning she came out to pick the sweet herbs at the foot of the brae, or by the little green well in its face, I trode softly out of her sight, and if I passed at noon, made a circuit from the black willows, or thick junipers, where she reposed during the heat. At last, one fine sunny morning I saw her come tripping out from her bower of young birches as light as a fairy, and very gay and 'canty'—but so thin, nobody but an old acquaintance could have known her. For various mornings afterwards I saw her on the bank, but she was always restless and anxious—listening and searching the wind—trotting up and down—picking a leaf here and a leaf there, and after her short and unsettled meal, she would take a frisk round leap into the air—dart down into her secret bower, and appear no more until the twilight. In a few days, however, her excursions became a little more extended, generally to the terrace above the bank, but never out of sight of the thicket below. At length she ventured to a greater distance, and one day I stole down the brae among the birches. In the middle of the thicket there was a group of young trees growing out of a carpet of deep moss, which yielded like a down pillow. The prints of the doe's slender-forked feet were thickly tracked about the hollow, and in the centre there was a bed of the velvet 'fog,' which seemed a little higher than the rest, but so natural, that it would not have been noticed by any unaccustomed eye. I carefully lifted the green cushion, and under its veil, rolled close together, the head of each resting on the flank of the other, nestled two beautiful little kids, their large velvet ears laid smooth on their dappled necks, their spotted sides sleek and shining as satin, and their little delicate legs as slender as hazel wands, shod with tiny glossy shoes as smooth and black as ebony, while their large dark eyes looked at me out of the corners with a full, mild, quiet gaze, which had not yet learned to fear the hand of man: still they had a nameless doubt which followed every motion of mine—their little limbs shrunk from my touch, and their velvet fur rose and fell quickly; but as I was about to replace the moss, one turned its head, lifted its sleek ears towards me, and licked my hand as I laid their soft mantle over them. I often saw them afterwards when they grew strong, and came abroad upon the brae, and frequently I called off old Dreadnought[103] when he crossed their warm track. Upon these occasions he would stand and look at me with wonder—turn his head from side to side—snuff the ground again, to see if it was possible that he could be mistaken—and when he found that there was no disputing the scent, cock one ear at me with a keener inquiry, and seeing that I was in earnest, trot heavily onward with a sigh.

"The affection of the roe for their young is very strong; and timid and feeble as they are by nature, inspired by the danger of their offspring, they become brave and daring, and, in their defence, will attack not only animals but men. We were one day passing along the west walk of Eilean-Agais, and, beyond a turn in the path, heard the sound of feet running towards us, and immediately out shot a cat round the corner, and, close at her heels, a doe pursuing her with great eagerness. Knowing that her pursuer could not overtake her, and having no instinctive dread of her kind, the cat did not give herself the trouble to run faster than just sufficient to keep beyond her reach, while the doe pursued her with an angry scrambling pace, and, whenever she was near overtaking her, endeavoured to kneel on her back. This is a mode of attack common to deer as well as cattle, which, when they have overthrown their object, not only gore them with their horns, but bruise and crush them with their knees. At our appearance there was a pause; the cat cantered up the brae to the top of a little rock, where she lay down in the sun to see what would happen between us and her pursuer. The doe, after a few bounds, turned round and looked indignantly at us, and stamped and belled in great displeasure; this she continued for some moments, glancing occasionally at the cat with a strong desire to resume her chase; but being restrained by a sense of prudence, she slowly ascended the hill, stopping at intervals to stamp and bell at us, who knew very well that she had two kids in the junipers upon the craig."

Now let us up to the hill, where the mighty herds are feeding. Scotland will, in all probability, never see a tainchel more; indeed, save at a royal hunting, it were scarcely desirable now. The feudal system has melted away, the clans are broken and scattered, and we care not again to see a pageant which is indissolubly connected in our memories with national gallantry and misfortune. But the deer are still on the mountain and in the wood, and we shall seek them in their former haunt. Wood-stalking, though the Stuarts speak of it with considerable enthusiasm, was never much to our taste. It is true that the largest stags are generally to be met with in the wood, and we have followed the sport ere now in the Spessart, among the pines of Darmstadt, and the thickets of Strath Garve; but it must always partake more or less of the character of driving, and we never have felt, while engaged in it, that enthusiasm and keenness which sends the blood to the heart of the hunter when he first discovers a herd in the gorge of some solitary glen. Then he feels that he must put forth the whole resources of his art—that he must baffle the acutest of all instincts by the aid of human cunning—that he has a thousand difficulties to overcome before he can arrive within reach of his quarry, and that a single false step or miscalculation is sufficient to destroy the labour, the patience, and the vigilance of a day.

Great, fat fallow-deer, waxing into obesity in a park, do not seem to mind the approach of a human being, even were he an alderman redolent of black-currant jelly. But the red-deer, as many incipient stalkers know to their cost, has a very different amount of perception. Unless you take the wind of him, he is off like a shot, though your distance may be upwards of a mile. In the words of the old stalker, "Above all things, let not the devil tempt you to trifle with a deer's nose: you may cross his sight, walk up to him in a gray coat, or, if standing against a tree or rock near your own colour, wait till he walks up to you; but you cannot cross his nose, even at an incredible distance, but he will feel the tainted air. Colours or forms may be deceptive or alike; there are gray, brown, and green rocks and stocks as well as men, and all these may be equivocal; but there is but one scent of man, and that he never doubts or mistakes; that is filled with danger and terror, and one whiff of its poison at a mile off, and, whether feeding or lying, his head is instantly up, his nose to the wind, and, in the next moment, his broad antlers turn, and he is away to the hill or the wood; and if there are no green peas, corn, or potatoes in the neighbourhood, he may not be seen[104] on the same side of the forest for a month." A word to the wise, from the lips of a Celtic Solon!

So much for your chance, if, in the plenitude of your full flavour, you take the hill, regardless of the currents of the air, which, moreover, are perpetually shifting. But there are other difficulties. Though not impossible, it is very ticklish work to get within shot of a deer by any other means save diligent creeping, and sometimes, when the ground is unusually flat and open, that method of approach is impracticable. Then there are divers enemies—that is, of yours, for in reality they are scouts to the deer—whom you must try particularly to avoid. This is not easy. Sometimes when you are sinuating like a serpent towards the especial stag of your heart, a blundering covey of grouse will start from the heather, and give an effectual alarm; sometimes the shrill whistle of the plover will change your anticipated triumph into mourning; and sometimes a charge of that disagreeable cavalry the mountain sheep, little less sagacious and wary than the deer themselves, will put the whole of the glen into disorder. But the worst enemies you have to guard against are the hinds, who are usually so disposed as to be out upon the feeding-grounds, and thus to mask the stag. In such a position, it becomes a point of honour to circumvent the lady, which is any thing but an easy task. The Stuarts give us an admirable recollection of such a scene in the forest of Glen-Fidich, which is so exciting that, though rather long, we make no apology for transferring it to the columns of Maga.

"After about an hour's stalking, we came upon the shoulder of a long slope, which looks into the gorges of two or three short glens, opening to a narrow plain, on which we saw a noble sight—a herd of four or five hundred deer, among which were many very fine stags. After having feasted my eyes with this splendid sight—the illustrious cavalry of the hill, the crowned and regal array of the wilderness—I began to calculate how to make the approach, how to slip between the chain of vidette hinds, and numerous picquets of small stags, which commanded almost every knoll and hollow. In the centre of the main body, with a large plump of hinds—which he herded within a wide vacant circle—there was a mighty black hart, with a head like a blasted pine, and a cluster of points in each crown. Though each stag of the surrounding circle had not less than ten points, there were none which approached his size, and they all kept at a respectful distance, while he marched round and round the central group of hinds. 'He will have them all in the ring before long,' said MacLellan; 'yon's one of the old heroes of the Monadh-liath; he has not been four-and-twenty hours in the forest.' I looked with an eager and longing eye at his gigantic stature, but there was no apparent possibility of approaching even the outward circle of stags. The herd was scattered over all the ground between the hills, and every little knoll and eminence had its restless picquets, and plumps of discomfited stags, which had been beaten by the great hart, and were chafing about, driving off and broding the buttocks of all the inferior stags which came in their way, then returning and staring with jealous disgust at the mighty stranger, who gave them no notice, except when one or two more audacious, or less severely beaten, made a few steps before his companions; upon which he immediately charged, drove them before him, and scattered the nearest in every direction. Upon these occasions, some hind of greater levity than the rest took the opportunity of extending her pasture, or paying her compliments to her companions, for which she immediately received a good prod in the haunch, and was turned back again into the centre.

"'There is no doing any thing there,' said I.

"''Deed no', replied MacLellan, shutting up his glass, 'we be to go down to the foot of the burn.'

"This was a stream which runs through the middle of the narrow plain, and empties itself into the Fidich, about four miles below, at the east end of the forest. Before resolving upon this, however, we made an attempt to cross the little glen to the north-west; but, after passing round one hill, and nearly to the top of another, we fell in with a small herd of insignificant stags, but none among them being worth the disturbance of the great herd; and being unable to pass them unobserved, we were obliged to adopt the last alternative, and descend to the Fidich. In about an hour and a half we performed this retrogration, and, having crossed at the forester's house, ascended the burn till we again approached the deer, and stealing from knoll to knoll, again came in sight of the herd. The[105] outskirts of its wide circle had been much broken and deranged by the jousts and expulsions during our absence; and we saw that it was impossible to get near the better stags without taking the channel of the stream. We immediately descended into the water, and crept up the middle, sometimes compelled to crouch so low, that the pools reached our hips, and, as the stones were round and slippery, it was very uneasy to proceed without floundering and splashing. At length, however, we were within the circle of the deer: there was not a breath of wind, and the least sound was audible in the profound stillness. We slipped through the water like eels, till we came to a little rock, which, crossing the burn, made a shelving fall, which there was no means of passing, but by drawing ourselves up the shoot of the stream. With some difficulty I pushed my rifle before me along the edge of the bank, and then, while the water ran down our breasts, we glided up through the gush of the stream, and reached the ledge above. The return of the water, which I had obstructed, made, however, a rush and plash different from its accustomed monotonous hum, and I had scarce time to lay flat in the burn, when a hind sprung up within a few yards, and trotted briskly away, then another, and another. I thought that all was over, and that, in the next moment, we should hear all the clattering hoofs going over the turf like a squadron of cavalry. All remained still, however, and, in a few seconds, I saw the first hind wheel about, and look back steadily towards the fall. I was rejoiced to observe that she had not seen us, and had only been disturbed by the unusual sound of the water. She continued, however, anxious and suspicious—watched and listened—picked off the tops of the heather—then walked on, with her ears laid back, and her neck and step stilting away as stiff as if she had been hung up in the larder for a week. This, however, was not the worst; all the surrounding hinds which noticed her gait gathered here and there, and stood on the tops of the little knolls, like statues, as straight as pucks, with nothing visible but their narrow necks and two peg-legs, and their broad ears perked immovably towards us, like long-eared bats. MacLellan gave me a rueful look. 'Cha n'eil comas air.' 'Never mind,' said I, 'we shall see who will be tired first.' The forester gave a glance of satisfaction, slid up his glass on the dry bank, and we lay as still as the stones around us, till the little trouts, which had been disturbed by our convulsion, became so accustomed to our shapes, that they again emerged from under the flat pebbles, and returned to their station in the middle of the stream, skulling their little tails between my legs with no more concern than if I had been a forked tree. At length the immobility of the hinds began to give way: first one ear turned back, then another, then they became sensible of the flies, and began to flirt and jerk as usual, and, finally, one applied her slender toe to her ear, and another rubbed her velvet nose upon her knee;—it was more than half an hour, however, before, one by one, they began to steal away, perking and snuffing, and turning to gaze at the least air that whiffed about them. At length they all disappeared, except one gray, lean, haggard old grandmother of hinds, who had no teeth, and limped with one leg, probably from a wound which she received fifty or perhaps a hundred years before I was born. Her vigilance, however, was only sharpened by age; time, and the experience of many generations, had made her acquainted with all the wiles and crafts of the hill,—her eyes and ears were as active as a kid's, and I have no doubt she could smell like Tobit's devil.—MacLellan looked at her through his glass, and spit into the burn, and grinned against the sun—as if he was lying in the bilboes instead of cold water.—The old sorceress continued to watch us without relaxation, and at last lay down on the brow of the knoll, and employed her rumination in obstinate contemplation of the bank under which we were ambushed. There was now no alternative but to recommence our progress up the burn; and as I was determined to circumvent the hind, I prepared for every inconvenience which could be inflicted by the opposite vexations of a sharp, rough, slippery, and gravelly stream. Fortunately, at the place where we then were, it was so narrow, that we could hold by the heather on both sides, and thus drag ourselves forward through the water, between each of which advances I pushed my rifle on before me. In this manner we reached the turn of the brook, where I concluded that we should be round the shoulder of the knoll, and out of sight of the hind, who lay upon its east brow. This was effected so successfully, that, when we looked behind, we only saw her back, and her head and ears still pointing at the spot which we had left. One hundred yards more would bring us within sight of the great hart; the general position of the herd had not changed, and I hoped to find him near the central knoll of the flat, at the base of which the burn circled. We were almost surrounded by deer; but the[106] greater number were small vigilant hinds, the abomination and curse of a stalker. At length, however, we reached the knoll, and rested, to take breath, at its foot; I examined my rifle, to see that the lock was clean and dry. We took a view of all around us, and, drawing ourselves cautiously out of the burn, slid up through the heather on the south side of the eminence.—Scarce, however, had our legs cleared the stream, when we discovered a pair of ears not above fifteen yards from the other side.—'Mo mhallachd ort!' [My curse upon you]—whispered MacLellan. She had not discovered us, however, and we glided round the base of the knoll—but on the other side lay three hinds and a calf, and I could see no trace of the great hart.—On the edge of the burn, however, further up, there were five very good stags, and a herd of about thirty deer, on the slope of the north brae. All round us the ground was covered with hinds; for the prevalence of the westerly wind, during the last few days, had drawn the deer to that end of the forest. Upon the spot where I lay, though I could only see a portion of the field, I counted four hundred and seventy; and it was evident that no movement could be made upon that side. We tried again the opposite slope of the knoll;—the hind which we had first seen was still in the same place, but she had laid down her head, and showed only the gray line of her back over the heather. We drew ourselves cautiously up the slope and looked over the summit. On the other side there was a small flat moss, about seventy yards in breadth; then another hillock; and to the left two more, with little levels, and wet grassy hollows between them. Upon the side of the first knoll there were two young stags and some hinds; but the points of some good horns showed above the crest.—The intervening ground was spotted with straggling hinds, and we might lay where we were till to-morrow morning, without a chance of getting near any of the good deer. While we deliberated, MacLellan thought that, by crawling with extreme caution up a wet hollow to the left, we might have a chance to approach the stags whose horns we had seen behind the other knoll, and, as nothing better could be done, we decided upon this attempt. The sun was going down from the old towers of Auchandùn, and we had no more time than would give light for this venture.—We slid away towards the hollow, and, drawing ourselves, inch by inch, though the heather and tall thin grass, had reached the middle of the level between the hillocks, when we heard a stamp and a short grunt close beside us—I had scarce time to turn my head, and catch a glimpse of a base little gray hind who, in crossing the hollow, had stumbled upon us.—It was but a moment: a rapid wheel and rush through the long grass, and I heard the career of a hundred feet going through the hollow. I sprung on my knee, and skaled a dozen small stags and hinds which came upon us full speed; for those behind, not knowing from whence came the alarm, made straight for the hill. The herd were now gathering in all directions; charging—flying—re-uniting, dispersing, and reassembling in utter disorder, like a rout of cavalry.—I made a run for the middle knoll,—two stags, with pretty good heads, met me right in the face.—I did not stop to look at them, but rushed up the brae.—What a sight was seen from its top!—upwards of six hundred deer were charging past—before, behind, around, in all directions.—The stately figure which I sought—the mighty black hart, was slowly ascending an eminence about three hundred yards off, from whence he reconnoitred the ground below; while the disarray of stags and hinds gathered round him, like rallying masses of hussars in the rear of a supporting column. I was so intent upon the king of the forest, that I saw nothing else.—No other heads, forms, numbers, took any place in my senses; all my faculties were on the summit of that height.—At this moment I felt my kilt drawn gently; I took no notice—but a more decided pull made me look round:—MacLellan motioned up the slope, and I saw the points of a good head passing behind a little ridge, about eighty yards away. I looked back at the hart—he was just moving to the hill. What would I have given to have diminished a hundred and fifty yards of the distance which divided us! He passed slowly down the back of the eminence and disappeared, and the gathering herd streamed after him. 'O Chìal! A Chìal!' exclaimed the forester—'bithidh è air fàlbh!' The stag whose horns I had seen had come out from behind the ridge, and stood with his broad side towards me, gazing at the herd; but as they moved away, he now began to follow. The disappearance of the great hart, and the disappointment of MacLellan, recalled me to the last chance. I followed the retreating stag with my rifle, passed it before his shoulder, whiz went the two-ounce ball, and he rolled over headlong in the heath, on the other side of the knoll, which the next stretch would have placed between us. I looked to the hill above: the whole herd was streaming up the long green hollow in its west shoulder[107] headed 'by the mighty of the desert.' They rounded and passed the brow, and sloped upward on the other side, till the forest of heads appeared bristling along the sky-line of the summit. In a few moments afterwards, as the sun was going down upon Scùr-na-Lapaich, and the far western hills of Loch Duaich, the terrible wide-forked tree came out in the clear eastern sky on the top of the hill, and, crowding after, at least two hundred heads—crossing, and charging, and mingling—their polished points flashing in the parting sunbeams, and from many a horn, the long steamers of the moss fluttering and flying like the pennons and bannerolles of lances. The herd continued to file along the ridge of the hill, and wheeling below the crest, countermarched along the sky-line, till their heads and horns slowly decreased against the light."

With such a book as this before us, we could go on alternately commenting and extracting until we had broken the back of the Number. Even now we are dying to pilfer the account of the late Glengarry's course with "Black Dulochan," and the no less exciting history of the three day's ruse with a roebuck. But abstinence is a virtue which is forced upon us in the present instance, rather from the lack of space than from any exercise of voluntary discretion; and we shall now leave the deer without further molestation for a season, hoping soon to encounter them in person with our rifle somewhere about the skirts of Cairn-Gorm.

This is, we have no hesitation in saying, the best work on deer-stalking which has yet been written; and the amount of information which it contains regarding the habits of the stag and roe, combined with the vivid pictures of which we have made such ample use, cannot fail to render it popular. In an antiquarian point of view, it is also highly interesting; for it embodies a large amount of traditionary lore, sketches of the clans, and fragments of Highland song, of much superior merit to those which have hitherto come into our hands. The disquisitions, too, upon the disappearance of some animals once indigenous to Scotland—such as the wolf, the elk, the wild bull, and the beaver—exhibit a great amount of research, and supply a gap which has long been wanted in the page of natural history.

One word to the authors—though we fear our words must travel a long way before they can reach them in a foreign land. Why should they not recast and add to their second volume, so as to make it a single and unrivalled work upon the noblest sports of the Highlands? If it has proved so fascinating, as in truth we have felt it, in the more cumbrous shape of notes, how much better would it be if issued, not as an appendage to the poems, but in a distinct and articulate form? Perpend upon this, John Sobieski and Charles Edward, at your leisure; and let us add, that we trust some of your more gloomy anticipations may fall short of reality; that the walks of Eilean-Agais, that little Eden of the north, may again be gladdened by your presence; and that the sound of your hunting-horns may once more be heard in the woods of Tarnaway, and on the hills near the sources of the Findhorn.



In the silence of my chamber,
When the night is still and deep,
And the drowsy heave of ocean
Mutters in its charmèd sleep,
Oft I hear the angel voices
That have thrill'd me long ago,—
Voices of my lost companions,
Lying deep beneath the snow.
O, the garden I remember,
In the gay and sunny spring,
When our laughter made the thickets
And the arching alleys ring!
O the merry burst of gladness!
O the soft and tender tone!
O the whisper never utter'd
Save to one fond ear alone!
O the light of life that sparkled
In those bright and bounteous eyes!
O the blush of happy beauty,
Tell-tale of the heart's surprise!
O the radiant light that girdled
Field and forest, land and sea,
When we all were young together,
And the earth was new to me!
Where are now the flowers we tended?
Wither'd, broken, branch and stem;
Where are now the hopes we cherish'd?
Scatter'd to the winds with them.
For ye, too, were flowers, ye dear ones!
Nursed in hope and rear'd in love,
Looking fondly ever upward
To the clear blue heaven above:
Smiling on the sun that cheer'd us,
Rising lightly from the rain,
Never folding up your freshness
Save to give it forth again:
Never shaken, save by accents
From a tongue that was not free,
As the modest blossom trembles
At the wooing of the bee.
O! 'tis sad to lie and reckon
All the days of faded youth,
All the vows that we believed in,
All the words we spoke in truth.
Sever'd—were it sever'd only
By an idle thought of strife,
Such as time might knit together;
Not the broken chord of life!
O my heart! that once so truly
Kept another's time and tune,
Heart, that kindled in the spring-tide,
Look around thee in the noon.
Where are they who gave the impulse
To thy earliest thought and flow?
Look around the ruin'd garden—
All are wither'd, dropp'd, or low!
Seek the birth-place of the lily,
Dearer to the boyish dream
Than the golden cups of Eden,
Floating on its slumbrous stream;
Never more shalt thou behold her—
She, the noblest, fairest, best:
She that rose in fullest beauty,
Like a queen, above the rest.
Only still I keep her image
As a thought that cannot die,
He who raised the shade of Helen
Had no greater power than I.
O! I fling my spirit backward,
And I pass o'er years of pain;
All I loved is rising round me,
All the lost returns again.
Blow, for ever blow, ye breezes,
Warmly as ye did before!
Bloom again, ye happy gardens,
With the radiant tints of yore!
Warble out in spray and thicket,
All ye choristers unseen,
Let the leafy woodland echo
With an anthem to its queen!
Lo! she cometh in her beauty,
Stately with a Juno grace,
Raven locks, Madonna-braided
O'er her sweet and blushing face:
Eyes of deepest violet, beaming
With the love that knows not shame,—
Lips, that thrill my inmost being
With the utterance of a name.
And I bend the knee before her,
As a captive ought to bow,—
Pray thee, listen to my pleading,
Sovereign of my soul art thou!
O my dear and gentle lady,
Let me show thee all my pain,
Ere the words that late were prison'd
Sink into my heart again.
Love, they say, is very fearful
Ere its curtain be withdrawn,
Trembling at the thought of error
As the shadows scare the fawn.
Love hath bound me to thee, lady,
Since the well-remember'd day
When I first beheld thee coming
In the light of lustrous May.
Not a word I dared to utter—
More than he who, long ago,
Saw the heavenly shapes descending
Over Ida's slopes of snow:
When a low and solemn music
Floated through the listening grove,
And the throstle's song was silenced,
And the doling of the dove:
When immortal beauty open'd
All its grace to mortal sight,
And the awe of worship blended
With the throbbing of delight.
As the shepherd stood before them
Trembling in the Phrygian dell,
Even so my soul and being
Own'd the magic of the spell;
And I watch'd thee, ever fondly,
Watch'd thee, dearest, from afar,
With the mute and humble homage
Of the Indian to a star.
Thou wert still the Lady Flora
In her morning garb of bloom;
Where thou wert was light and glory,
Where thou wert not, dearth and gloom.
So for many a day I follow'd
For a long and weary while,
Ere my heart rose up to bless thee
For the yielding of a smile,—
Ere thy words were few and broken
As they answer'd back to mine,
Ere my lips had power to thank thee
For the gift vouchsafed by thine.
Then a mighty gush of passion
Through my inmost being ran;
Then my older life was ended,
And a dearer course began.
Dearer!—O, I cannot tell thee
What a load was swept away,
What a world of doubt and darkness
Faded in the dawning day!
All my error, all my weakness,
All my vain delusions fled:
Hope again revived, and gladness
Waved its wings above my head.
Like the wanderer of the desert,
When, across the dreary sand,
Breathes the perfume from the thickets
Bordering on the promised land;
When afar he sees the palm-trees
Cresting o'er the lonely well,
When he hears the pleasant tinkle
Of the distant camel's bell:
So a fresh and glad emotion
Rose within my swelling breast,
And I hurried swiftly onwards
To the haven of my rest.
Thou wert there with word and welcome,
With thy smile so purely sweet;
And I laid my heart before thee,
Laid it, darling, at thy feet!—
O ye words that sound so hollow
As I now recall your tone!
What are ye but empty echoes
Of a passion crush'd and gone?
Wherefore should I seek to kindle
Light, when all around is gloom?
Wherefore should I raise a phantom
O'er the dark and silent tomb?
Early wert thou taken, Mary!
In thy fair and glorious prime,
Ere the bees had ceased to murmur
Through the umbrage of the lime.
Buds were blowing, waters flowing,
Birds were singing on the tree,
Every thing was bright and glowing,
When the angels came for thee.
Death had laid aside his terror,
And he found thee calm and mild,
Lying in thy robes of whiteness,
Like a pure and stainless child.
Hardly had the mountain violet
Spread its blossoms on the sod,
Ere they laid the turf above thee,
And thy spirit rose to God.
Early wert thou taken, Mary!
And I know 'tis vain to weep—
Tears of mine can never wake thee
From thy sad and silent sleep.
O away! my thoughts are earthward!
Not asleep, my love! art thou,
Dwelling in the land of glory
With the saints and angels now.
Brighter, fairer far than living,
With no trace of woe or pain,
Robed in everlasting beauty,
Shall I see thee once again,
By the light that never fadeth,
Underneath eternal skies,
When the dawn of resurrection
Breaks o'er deathless Paradise.
W. E. A.


Air—"Old Rosin the Beau."

All ye who are true to the altar and throne,
Come join in this ditty with me;
And you who don't like it may let it alone,
Or listen a little and see.
How quietly now we may sleep in our beds,
And waken as merry as grigs;
Though fears of rebellion hang over our heads,
We're safe while we're ruled by the Whigs.
In the 'nineties we saw (I remember the day)
Revolution disguised as Reform;
But the country was saved in a different way,
By the Pilot that weather'd the storm.
Our vessel was steer'd by the bravest and best,
And, except a few quality sprigs,
The whole English nation had thought it a jest
To propose being ruled by the Whigs.
But as matters now stand in this ill-fated realm,
When old comrades will give us the slip,
We are strangely compell'd to put men at the helm.
To prevent them from scuttling the ship.
Only think, for a moment, if Russell were out,
How wild he'd be running his rigs!
About popular rights he would make such a rout—
'Tis lucky we're ruled by the Whigs.
The Church—can you doubt what her danger would be
Were Tories at present in power?
Lord John, or his friends, we should certainly see
Attacking her posts every hour.
  But as long as the Bishops may help out his lease,
He won't injure a hair of their wigs;
Nay, he even proposes the list to increase—
So huzza for the rule of the Whigs!
If Grey were at large, how he'd lay down the law
On the cures he for Ireland had found;
And swear that he never would rest till he saw
Her Establishment razed to the ground.
But Grey, while in office, sits muffled and mum,
Like a small bird asleep in the twigs;
And Ward, in the Commons, is equally dumb—
So huzza for the rule of the Whigs!
If any of us had made war on Repeal
With the weapons that Clarendon tries,
What shrieks of indignant invective from Shiel
At the wrongs of Old Erin would rise.
By millions of noisy Milesians back'd,
From the peer to the peasant that digs—
How would Monaghan murmur that juries were pack'd!—
So huzza for the rule of the Whigs!
On Aliens or Chartists to hear them declaim,
You'd think Castlereagh come from the dead.
Though the mixture of metaphors isn't the same,
And the courage and coolness are fled.
But the Whigs are becoming respectable men
As any that ever kept gigs,
They are practising now all they preach'd against then
So huzza for the rule of the Whigs!
Go on, my good lads—never think of retreat,
Though annoy'd by a squib or a squirt;
You're fulfilling the fate such impostors should meet,
And eating your bushel of dirt
Then swallow it fast, for your hour may not last—
We shall soon, if it pleases the pigs,
Give your places to men of a different cast,
And get rid of the rule of the Whigs!



"When the Act of Navigation," says Adam Smith, "was made, though England and Holland were not actually at war, the most violent animosity subsisted between the two nations. It is not impossible, therefore, that some of the regulations of this famous act may have proceeded from national animosity. They are as wise, however, as if they had all been dictated by the most deliberate wisdom. National animosity, at that particular time, aimed at the very object which the most deliberate wisdom would have recommended,—the diminution of the naval power of Holland, the only naval power which could endanger the security of England. The Act of Navigation is not favourable to foreign commerce, or to the growth of that opulence which can arise from it. As defence, however, is of much more value than opulence, the Act of Navigation is perhaps the wisest of all the commercial regulations of England."[8] Before these pages issue from the press, this, undoubtedly the wisest of all the commercial regulations of Great Britain, and under which the maritime strength and colonial empire of England have risen to a pitch of grandeur unknown in any other age or country, will be numbered among the things which have been. The House of Commons, by a majority, have voted for the repeal of the Navigation Laws.

Free trade will soon have done its work, so far, at least, as the House of Commons is concerned. It is gradually but unceasingly advancing, and swallowing up successively all the great interests of the empire, save that of the capitalists, as it moves forward. The agricultural interests will find themselves deprived, in February next, of all protection; and the British cultivator exposed to the competition, without any shield save a nominal duty of 1s. a quarter, of states where wheat can be raised, with a fair profit in average years, at 18s. a quarter, and brought to this country for 10s. at the very utmost of freight. As soon as we have two fine harvests in succession, it will be seen to what state this system will reduce British rural production. The West India interests have been next assailed; and our colonies, upon whom free labour has been forced, upon a compensation being given to the proprietors on an average of a fourth of the value of their slaves, are speedily to be exposed, with no protection but a differential duty of 5s. 6d. a hundredweight, diminishing 1s. 6d. a-year, till, in 1854, it disappears, to the competition of slave colonies, where sugar can be raised for £4 a ton, while in the British colonies the measures of government have precluded its being raised for less than £10 a ton. As a natural consequence, cultivation is about to cease in those noble settlements; the forest and the jungle will speedily supplant the smiling plantations, and £100,000,000 worth of British property will be lost beyond redemption.

Domestic manufactures were at the same time assailed, though with a more gentle hand than rude produce. Protective duties on them were lowered, though not entirely removed; and the consequence is, that at this time there are 8000 hands wholly unemployed at Manchester, and above 10,000 at Glasgow, and distress to an unparalleled extent pervades the whole commercial and manufacturing classes. Nothing daunted by these calamitous results, so exactly what the opponents of free trade predicted would ensue, so diametrically the reverse of the unbounded prosperity which they promised the nation as the consequence of their changes, the Free-traders, in pursuance of their usual system of preferring their own opinions to the evidence of facts, are preparing to apply the same system to the commercial navy of the country, and, by the repeal of the Navigation Laws, against the opinion of Adam Smith, to depress our shipping interest as much as they encourage that of foreign states, and endanger our national existence, by crippling our own means[115] of defence as much as they augment the means of attack in the hands of our enemies. Not content with rendering us dependent for a large part of our bread on foreign nations, they are determined on measures calculated to deprive us of the means of maintaining our naval superiority, or upholding the national independence. They are set upon saying the nation a few millions a-year in freight, though the consequence is, that we shall be alike unable to withstand a pacific blockade or hostile aggression.

Many estimable and thoughtful persons in the country, struck with astonishment at the adoption and determined adherence to such a suicidal policy—alike by our rulers and a powerful party in the country—in the face of the decisive evidence afforded by facts, and the universal distress of the nation, as to its ruinous tendency, have come to the opinion, that we have been struck with a judicial blindness, and that Providence, as a just punishment for our sins, and for the furtherance of its mysterious designs in the general government of mankind, has rendered our own infatuation the means of working out our destruction. They think it affords a marvellous proof of the weakness of the human mind, and the impotence of man against the arm of his Creator, that this vast empire, which has done such mighty things in the annals of history, and which has stood proof against the hostility of the combined world, directed by consummate ability, when its rule was that of justice, should thus crumble away and perish, not from external violence or foreign aggression, but solely from domestic infatuation, when that rule has passed away. And observing that this country has already suffered greater losses, and been more severely crippled in its resources by the effects of three years of free trade and fettered currency policy, than by the whole efforts of France during a war of twenty years—and still the same course is blindly persevered in—they draw the conclusion that the evil is irremediable by human means, and that the nation, if not absolutely shipwrecked, will approach as near the verge of ruin as the providence of God will permit human infatuation to effect.

Without denying that there is much truth in these observations, and humbly acknowledging a Divine superintendence alike in the rise and the decline, the prosperity and decay, of nations, it yet appears more reasonable to trace the extraordinary obstinacy of the ruling party in the nation to the causes which, humanly speaking, seem to have been mainly instrumental in producing it. The fanaticism of the political economists, who, like all other fanatics, are inaccessible to reason or experience, is, without doubt, a main cause of the disastrous policy to which the nation seems now irrevocably pledged. But a still more powerful agent in producing the determined adherence to this system, in the face of the most conclusive evidence of its pernicious tendency, is to be found in the class government which it is now apparent the Reform Bill has imposed upon the nation. It is now unhappily proved that the trading interest, in whom a decisive majority both in the constituency and the number of seats in parliament has been vested by the Reform Bill, are alive, like all other classes, mainly to the suggestions of their own advantage; and that advantage they think is, to buy cheap and sell dear. Whatever we were in the days when Napoleon said it, we are now, if not a nation of shopkeepers, at least a nation ruled by shopkeepers. The colonies are entirely unrepresented. Schedules A and B, sixteen years ago, cut off all their representatives. The landed interest is in a minority, from two-thirds of the seats in the Commons being for boroughs; and those boroughs, owing to the depression of the producing classes by the currency laws, and the vast increase of the trading interests from the same cause, being for the most part under the direction of the commercial part of the community. It is in these circumstances that we are to look for the real causes of the adoption of free-trade principles of late years by our statesmen, and the determined adherence to it, in spite of all experience, by a majority of the House of Commons. Such conduct is the inevitable result of every uniform system of representation, because that lands the government in the class government of the majority, composed of a particular interest. The evil was not felt under the old constitution, because it was not a class government,[116] being based on a multifarious, not a uniform representation. Its defects, as they are now called, i. e. its nomination boroughs, combined with the extension of our colonial and shipping interests, had let in a most efficient representation of all the interests in the empire, as well as that of the inhabitants of those islands, into the House of Commons. It is to this cause that the protection of all interests by the old House of Commons is to be ascribed. Doubtless, under the old system the Corn Laws would have been upheld; but the West Indies would have been saved from ruin, domestic industry rescued from bankruptcy and the Navigation Laws, the palladium of our national independence, preserved from destruction.

That the Navigation Laws have been a great advantage to our shipowners and seafaring interests is self-evident. They afforded superior advantages in conducting the trade of the empire to British over foreign shipowners; and they nursed up, accordingly, the immense and hardy body of British seamen, who have founded and protected our colonial empire, and rendered Great Britain the terror and admiration of the world. What, then, is the great benefit which is anticipated from the repeal of laws, the practical operation of which has been attended with such uniform and unparalleled benefits? The benefit is, that it will save our merchants some millions a-year in the payment of freights. It is calculated by the Free-traders that £30,000,000 yearly is paid by Great Britain for freights; and of this sum, it is thought a fourth, or £7,500,000 yearly, may be saved by the employment of foreign instead of British sailors in the conducting of our commerce, or the reduction of freight and seamen's wages in these islands, which will result from their unrestrained competition. This is the benefit to attain which our Navigation Laws, the nursery of our seamen, are to be sacrificed. And the question to be considered is,—Is the gain real, or apparent only; and, supposing it is real, is it worth the risk with which it is attended?

Is the advantage real, or apparent only? Concede to the Free-traders all they contend for: call the saving to the nation annually in freights, to be effected by free trade in shipping, not £7,500,000 but £10,000,000 annually. The strength of the argument will admit of almost any concession. Admit this, and consider what it is worth, and on whom it is made. It is not worth a fiftieth part of the revenue of the nation, which, in the produce of land and manufactures alone, is above £500,000,000 annually. A week of sunshine in autumn, a favourable set of Fall orders from America, the stoppage of a revolution in Europe, are each worth more to the nation. But, such as it is, from whom is it gained? Why, it is all gained from our own people: it is a saving effected to one class of our inhabitants by impoverishing another class. If our merchants and the purchasers from them pay £20,000,000 a-year for freight of goods sea-borne, instead of £30,000,000 as formerly, undoubtedly there is a saying of £10,000,000 to them, or the consumers who buy from them. But of whom is this saving made? From whom is it derived? Is it not from our shipbuilders, shipowners, and seamen, who get so much the less: either by being driven out of the market by foreign mercantile navies, or by getting their own profits or wages reduced by external competition to that amount? Ten millions now earned by shipowners and sailors in Great Britain, is, on the most favourable supposition for the Free-traders, taken from them, and given to the dealers in or consumers of the commodities which they transport. Is the nation, as a whole, any gainer by that transfer? If ten pounds are taken from John and given to James, are John and James, taken together, any gainers by the transfer? And is not the great family of the nation composed of all its members, not of John only, but of John and James taken together? Is not the repeal of the Navigation Laws, in this view robbing Peter to pay Paul? This is the mighty advantage, for the attainment of which we are going to crush by external competition our mercantile shipping; and endanger the national independence, by withering the nursery of the navy, by which it can alone be maintained! Can there be a stronger proof of how completely, by the operation of the Reform Bill, we have fallen under the influence of[117] class government; and how entirely such class government blinds the vision even of the most clear-sighted, to any thing but the perception of its own immediate interests?

The evidence taken before the Commons' committee, on the comparative cost of building and navigating ships in the north of Europe and in this country, comes to this, that both are about twice as expensive in this country as on the shores of the Baltic. A copper-sheathed vessel, which there costs £4500, cannot here be constructed for less than £9000: a master's wages there, which are £2, 11s. a month, are here £5 for the same period: seamen's, there 7d. a day, besides provisions, &c., are here 1s. 2d. Every thing else is in the same proportion. Shipbuilding and ship-navigating are twice as costly in Great Britain as they are in Norway and Denmark. How could it be otherwise, when they have the materials of ships and rigging at their doors, while we have to transport them to the British shores from Canada or the Baltic; and they are the poor nations, whose money being scarce goes far, and we are the rich one, whose money being comparatively plentiful goes but a little way. Compare the cost of living in London during the season, with what it is in Aberdeen or Inverness, and you will at once see the main cause of the extraordinary difference in the value of money, and consequently in the money-price of articles, in the two situations. The difference in the cost of shipbuilding and seamanship, viz. one half, is nearly the same as the difference in the cost of raising sugar in our free-labour colonies and the foreign slave ones, which is £10 a ton in the former situation, and £4 in the latter. And it is in the perfect knowledge of the entire ruin which the approach even to a free trade in sugar has brought, under these circumstances, upon the British West India islands, that government are prepared to force a similar disastrous competition upon the British shipowners, and through them on the palladium of British independence, the royal navy.

Mr Labouchere said, in the debate on this subject in the House of Commons, that the Protection Party seemed to consider every importation as in itself an evil, inasmuch as it displaced a corresponding amount of native industry; but that till he found that goods were brought by merchants into the country for nothing, he never could see how importation did not encourage domestic industry as much as home orders. This is manfully spoken: it comes home to the kernel of the question. It is pleasing to have to contend with such an antagonist. We will answer him equally briefly, and, as it seems to us, decisively. The difference between home orders and foreign orders is this, that the one encourages industry at both ends, viz., in the consumers and the producers; the other, at one end only, viz., in the consumer. This difference, however, may become vital to the national fortunes. If a London merchant pays £20,000 a-year to British shipowners and seamen, he keeps in motion at once the industry of the consumers, by whose produce the freights are ultimately paid, and the industry of the seafaring classes by whom they are earned. But if he pays the £20,000 a-year not to British but foreign shipowners, the only industry put in motion, so far as we are concerned, is that which raises the produce which is to pay the freight. The other end of the chain is placed in Norway or America, and any encouragement to industry there afforded is wholly lost to England. It is just the difference between rents spent in Great Britain, and rents spent in Paris or Naples.

Doubtless they are the same thing, so far as the whole world is concerned; but are they the same thing so far as that portion of the world in which we are interested, viz., the British Islands, is concerned? Unquestionably they are not. What the Protectionists say is, not that no British industry is encouraged when importation takes place: they know perfectly it is encouraged at their end of the line; what they say is, that it is not encouraged at the other end, because that other end rests in foreign states; and that it is unwise to encourage industry at one end only, when it is possible to do so at both. Adam Smith saw this perfectly when he so well explained the difference between the home trade and[118] foreign trade, and said the former was "worth all foreign trade put together." But his observations on this head are as much forgotten by the majority of our legislators as those he made on the great wisdom of our Navigation Laws, as the only security for our national independence.

Mr M'Gregor said in debate on the same subject, that "he admitted our naval strength had co-existed with the Navigation Laws, but he denied that they were cause and effect. They had about as much to do with each other as the height of the Pyramids had with the floods of the Nile."[9] We agree with the honourable member for Glasgow in one part of this observation. The Navigation Laws have had as much to do with our maritime prosperity as the Pyramids had with the floods of the Nile; and we will tell the ex-secretary of the board of trade what the relation was—it was that of cause and effect. Mr M'Gregor is too well informed not to know that there exists in Cairo a Nilometer, and that, during the period of the inundation, the spirits of the people and the animation of commerce rise and fall with the rise or fall of the prolific stream. It is no wonder they do so, for it is the source of life and prosperity to the whole community. Raised by the power of the Pharaohs from the riches produced by the inundations of former times, the Pyramids are the Nilometer of antiquity, as much as the tower of Babel and the ruins of Babylon were the monument of the opulence of the plain of Shinar; or as Waterloo Bridge is of the wealth produced by the favourable maritime situation of London, or York Cathedral of the agricultural riches of the plains of Yorkshire. In all these causes there is a relation between the natural advantages which produce the riches and the durable monument to the construction of which they lead, and that relation is that of cause and effect. We entirely concur with the member for Glasgow in thinking that the same connexion, and no other, subsists between the Navigation Laws and the maritime greatness of England as existed formerly between the Pyramids of Egypt and the fertilising floods which encircle their base.

To prove that these remarks are not made at random, but that the Navigation Laws really are the foundation of the maritime greatness of England, and that, when they are repealed, it must of necessity languish and ultimately expire, we subjoin three tables: one showing the progress of British as compared with foreign shipping, from 1801 to 1823, when the protection of the Navigation Laws was first infringed upon by the adoption of the reciprocity system with the Baltic powers; and another showing the comparative progress of our foreign and home shipping with Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Prussia, the countries with whom reciprocity treaties were first concluded, from 1823 to the end of 1847, when the reciprocity system had been a quarter of a century in operation.

Table showing the comparative progress of British and Foreign Tonnage inwards, from 1821 to 1847, both inclusive, with Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Prussia.

[Transcriber's note: Column headings: Y=Year. Bt=Brit. tons. Ft=For. tons.]


Porter's Parliamentary Tables; and Parliamentary Report, 3d April 1848.

Thus, while our shipping with the whole world quadrupled, as compared with the foreign employed in the same trade, under the protective system, from 1801 to 1823; it declined under the reciprocity system of equal duties, in the countries to which that system was applied in the next twenty years, till it had dwindled to a perfect fraction;—our tonnage with Sweden being, in 1847, not more than a sixteenth part of the foreign; with Norway, a fiftieth part; with Denmark somewhat above a sixth; with Prussia somewhat under a fourth.

But then it is said these are selected states which do not give a fair average of the reciprocity system, or afford a correct criterion of its probable effects when applied, as it is about to be by a general repeal of the Navigation Laws, to the whole world. If they are "selected states," we can only say they were selected by Mr Huskisson and the Free-traders themselves as likely to afford the best specimen of the effect of their principles, and therefore as the first on which the experiment was to be made. But we are quite willing to take the general tonnage of the empire as the test; and we shall commence with a quotation from the tables of the great statistical apostle of free trade, Mr Porter, to show the effect of free trade in shipping on the comparative growth of our whole tonnage, as compared with that of foreign states, from 1801 to 1823, when the reciprocity system began; and again from thence lo 1847, when free trade in shipping was in full operation by the temporary suspension of the Navigation Laws, from the effect of the Orders in Council in March 1847 suspending the Navigation Laws under the pressure of the Irish famine:—

Tons inward,Tons inward
1801     922,594 780,155 1,702,749 
1802   1,333,005 480,251 1,813,256 
1803   1,115,702 638,104 1,753,806 
1804   904,932 607,299 1,512,231 
1805   953,250 691,883 1,645,138 
1806   904,367 612,904 1,517,271 
1807   Records lost..............
1808   Records lost..............
1809   938,675 759,287 1,697,692 
1810   896,001 1,176,243 2,072,244 
1811   .....................
1812   Records destroyed by fire.
1813   .....................
1814   1,290,248 599,287 1,889,535 
1815   1,372,108 746,985 2,119,093 
1816   1,415,723 379,465 1,795,188 
1817   1,625,121 445,011 2,070,132 
1818   1,886,394 762,457 2,648,851 
1819   1,809,128 542,684 2,351,812 
1820   1,668,060 447,611 2,115,671 
1821   1,599,274 396,256 1,995,530 
1822   1,664,186 469,151 2,133,337 

Porter's Progress of the Nation, 407.


It appears from this most instructive table that, under the protection system, from 1801 to 1823, the British shipping employed in conducting our commerce had gained so decisively on the foreign employed in the same commerce, that it had increased, from having been on an average of five years, at the commencement of the second, about two British tons to one foreign, to be, on the last five years, about four British tons to one foreign: in other words, during these twenty-two years, the proportion of British to foreign shipping had doubled.

Turn now to the contrast afforded by the comparative progress of British and foreign shipping from 1823, when the reciprocity system was introduced with certain states, to 1847, when it was made universal by the suspension of the Navigation Laws in March of that year:—

Year.Tons inward,Tons inward,Total.

Porter's Progress of the Nation, 407, 2d edition;
and Parliamentary Paper, 3d April 1848.

Thus it appears that under the reciprocity system with some countries since 1823, and free trade in shipping with all in 1847, the foreign shipping employed in carrying on the British trade had so rapidly grown upon the British, that, while at the commencement of the period the British stood to the foreign as 174 to 58, or 3 to 1 exactly, at the close they stood as 49 to 22, or somewhat above 2 to 1 only. And observe the vast start of foreign shipping as compared with British, since free trade was introduced by Sir R. Peel in 1846. For while the British tonnage was to the foreign in 1845 as 43 to 17, or as 212 to 1; in the year 1847 it was as 49 to 229, or 213 to 1 only. So rapid has been the growth of foreign shipping over British in eighteen months of general free trade. In ten years of such a system, it is easy to see that the foreign tonnage employed in carrying on our trade will be equal to the British; and then our national independence is gone for ever, for we have nursed up in our harbours a body of foreign seamen equal to our own.

But we have not yet done with the parliamentary returns. From the return 3d April 1848, it appears that the total tonnage, British and foreign, employed in carrying on our trade was—

British Islands.Foreign.Total.
4,942,0942,253,9397,196,033 tons.
4,942,0942,253,9397,196,033 tons.

Deduct British and foreign tons employed in the colonial trade, viz.—

 Tons Brit.Tons For.
Brit. N. Amer. colonies953,4663,274
West Indies243,388
Channel islands131,8993,049
Ionian islands13,101
Asia and Australia379,5292,774
Total to colonies1,970,37219,847

Thus the British trade to our colonial settlements is about a hundred times the foreign, and constitutes nearly a third of the whole tonnage employed in carrying on our commerce, and about two-fifths of the total British tonnage,—(1,970,372 out of 4,942,094.)

But it is important to discover what proportion the British tonnage employed in conducting our trade with all the world, except our colonies, bears to the foreign tonnage employed in the same work. That is easily found:—


 Tons Brit. Tons For.
1847. Total British Tonnage,4,942,094Total For. ton.2,253,939
Deduct British colonial tonnage,1,970,372Foreign do.19,847
Remains in trade with all the world except colonies,2,971,722 2,233,092

So that, setting aside our colonial trade, the British tonnage is to the tonnage with all the rest of the world as 29 to 22, or as 4 to 3 only! Considering the rapid strides which, under the reciprocity system established only with a limited number of countries in 1823, the foreign shipping is making in encroachment upon the British, this fact affords room for the most serious reflections. It is clear, from the great advance of foreign over British shipping in the single year of temporary suspension of the Navigation Laws, under the pressure of famine in 1847—viz. from 1,735,679, to 2,253,979; while the British in the same period advanced only from 4,310,639, to 4,942,094,—that two or three years of free trade in shipping will bring the foreign vessels employed in conducting our trade, exclusive of those engaged in the colonial, to an equality with the British. The moment that period arrives, our maritime superiority, and with it our national independence, hang entirely on our colonial trade, which, and which alone, strikes the balance at present in our favour. And yet, the colonial trade is the precise thing which it is the object of the repeal of the Navigation Laws to throw open to foreign nations! In their anxiety to cheapen every thing, the Free-traders would gladly expose our shipping interest engaged in the colonial trade to the same competition, which has already proved so disastrous to that part of it which is engaged in the traffic with foreign nations.

Observe how one false step in policy by nations, like one deviation from virtue in private life, leads by natural consequences to a repetition of errors and crimes, till irreparable ruin ensues. The agricultural interest at home was first attacked; and by the cry of cheap bread, and the weight of class legislation, its protection was taken away. The West India islands were the next victims; because, if the farmer in England raises his wheat with nothing but a nominal protection, it was plausible to say the West India planter must raise his sugar on the same terms. The ruinous competition to which this exposed the West India planters naturally produced in them a desire to be liberated from any burdens to which they were subjected for the benefit of the mother country; and in this demand the Canadians, exposed to the competition of American grain, for a similar reason concurred. Thus the cry for cheap freights, originating in free-trade principles in England, came to be responded to from the British colonies on the other side of the Atlantic; and the Navigation Laws began to be repudiated by the colonies—the very thing which formerly it was their most anxious desire to uphold. The firm though unseen bond of mutual interest, founded on protective principles, which has hitherto held together the vast and widely separated dominions of the British empire, is dissolved. Being deprived of the benefit of protection, they very naturally wished to be relieved of its burdens. Such is the maze of error and danger into which we have been led by the sophistry of free trade; and such the way in which the greatest and best consolidated empires are first loosened, and then destroyed, by the delusions of those entrusted with their guidance.

The manner in which foreign shipping has encroached upon British, since the reciprocity system began in 1823, is clearly proved by the centesimal proportions of each, published by Mr Porter, from 1820 to 1844, both inclusive.

It will be seen from the following table, that, since 1820, the centesimal proportion of British shipping employed in conducting our trade has declined from 78 to 72, while that of foreign nations has increased from 21 to 27. But this proportion, such as it is, is solely upheld by our colonial trade, which, as already shown, employs nearly 2,000,000 tons of our shipping. But for it, the encroachment of foreign on British shipping would appear in such alarming colours as to strike the most inconsiderate. It is the rapid growth of our colonial trade under the protective system which has alone concealed the ravages effected on it by free trade under the reciprocity.


Centesimal Proportions of the British and Foreign Tonnage employed in the Import Trade of the United Kingdom from 1820 to 1844.

Year.Brit. inward.For. inward.Year.Brit. inward.For. inward.

Porter's Progress of the Nation, 416, 2d edition.

Mr Porter himself tells us that the centesimal proportion of our trade with the European powers has declined (p. 410) from 65 to 52·38, while that of our colonies has increased thus,—

 Tons.Cent. prop.Tons.Cent. prop.Tons.Cent. prop.Tons.Cent. prop.
India, &c.67,6273·7274,1174·16161,4734·88264,9785·25

Such has been the working of the reciprocity system, as compared with the protective and colonial—in other words, free trade in shipping with some particular nations—in twenty years. And it is from this experience of the effects of the partial adoption of these principles that the Free-traders now propose to make it universal!

America is the country to which, in comparison with Great Britain, the Free-traders constantly refer for a demonstration of the justice and beneficial operation of their principles. We accept the instance, and proceed to inquire into the comparative value of the American protected trade with our own colonies, and the American free trade with the United States, both at this time and in the respective progress of each for the last twenty-five years.

The foreign and British tonnage with the United States, Canada, and the West Indies, in the year 1847, stood thus, viz.:—

 British tons.Foreign tons.Total.
British North American Colonies953,4663,724954,190
British West Indies243,388.......243,388
Total protected1,196,854.......1,197,578
United States of America (unprotected)437,095651,1891,088,284

Parliamentary Paper, 3d April 1848.


So that, while our West India and North American colonies, under this Protective system, support 1,196,854 tons of British shipping against 3,724 of foreign, or 300 to 1 nearly; the American trade with the United States only maintains 437,095 of British against 651,189 of foreign; in other words, about 2 to 3 nearly! But the Free-traders think it better to adopt the system which makes the foreign shipping to the British as 3 to 2, than uphold the one which has brought the foreign shipping to the British, in the colonial trade, as 1 to 300!

Observe, too, the decisive proof which the same return affords of the vast superiority, in every point of view, of our colonial trade to our foreign, even in the hands of our best free-trade customers, the Americans. For while less than 3,000,000 of souls between the West India and North American colonies furnished employment to 1,197,000 tons of British and foreign shipping, of which 1,193,000 was British; twenty millions of Americans in the United States only furnished employment to 1,088,284 tons of shipping, in all of which no more than 437,095 were British! And this is the pet instance of the Free-traders—their favourite cheval de bataille—to demonstrate the great superiority of free and foreign over protected and colonial trade!

Again, if we take the comparative progress of British and American tonnage in conducting the trade of the United States, since the reciprocity system was begun in 1823, the same conclusion is forced upon the mind. Not only is the American shipping, throughout the whole period, superior to the British in the proportion generally of 3 to 1, but this superiority in their favour remains undiminished in any material degree. We take the following returns from Mr Porter:—

 tons inwards.tons inwards.

It is easy to see how it has happened that, in competition with the shipowners of every country, the British shipowners have suffered so much under the partial operation of the free-trade principles which the reciprocity system has afforded. It is the inevitable fate of the old and the rich state, in shipbuilding and agriculture, to be undersold by the young and the poor one. The reason is, that the old state, by the very magnitude of its wealth, the amount of its transactions, the number of its inhabitants, the multitude of its fabrics, is obliged to pay much higher for labour and materials of all sorts than the young and the poor one. Machinery and the steam-engine compensate, and more than compensate, this superiority in regard to manufactured articles. England undersells Hindostan, where wages are a penny or twopence a day, by the work of steam-power looms working on cotton raised on the banks of the Ganges. But there is no steam-power loom in shipbuilding any more than in agriculture. Great things in nautical affairs, as in rural economy, can be effected only by the labour of man's hands and the sweat of his brow, in the last ages of civilisation, as in the first. It would appear to be a permanent law of nature, to which there is no exception in any age of the world, or any stage of human progress, that the chief branches of industry on which the subsistence and defence of nations rest—agriculture, and the naval and military arts—are pursued more cheaply, and with more success by young and rising than old and opulent states. History is full of examples in which the manufactures of rich and ancient nations have obtained an undisputed supremacy over the fabrics of poor and rising ones; but it presents still more examples of the encroachments made on the industry and power of old nations by the agricultural produce, or naval and military efforts, of young ones. It is this law of nature which provides for the decay and ruin of nations when they are approaching the limit of their allotted space of existence, and should give place to others entering on the career which they have terminated. No efforts of human energy or virtue can prolong, for any considerable[124] period, this allotted space. But it is the peculiar reproach of free trade, whether applied to agriculture or nautical affairs, that it tends to shorten, instead of prolonging, the life of the nation to which it is applied, by oppressing instead of relieving those vital branches of industry on which its existence depends, and thus both aggravates the natural evils incident to old age, and accelerates the approach of the political society to the tomb.

When Mr Huskisson, in 1823, introduced the Reciprocity System, he did not dispute that it would injure our maritime interests; but he contended that it would open a new field for our manufactures,—that the time had now arrived when the Protective System could no longer be maintained, and it had become indispensable to sacrifice to a certain extent our maritime interests, in order to preserve the chief vents on Continental Europe for the industry of our artisans. The sacrifice was made, and the tables already given show with what fatal effect to our shipping interest. Has it extended the market for our manufactures, or diminished the jealousy with which they are regarded by the states of Continental Europe? Let the Zollverein league, at the head of which Prussia has placed herself, and which has imposed duties to an amount, in practical operation, of fifty per cent on our manufactures, give the answer. The exports which we send to the states of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Prussia, are still, after a quarter of a century's experience of the immense impulse it has given to their maritime interests, and corresponding depression to ours, a perfect trifle.[11] Our exports to America are less than they were fifteen years ago, despite the boasted conciliatory effect of twenty years' reciprocity.[12] What can be more injudicious, therefore, than to persist in, and even extend, a system which, without diminishing in the slightest degree the jealousy of Continental nations at our manufacturing superiority, has inflicted a serious and gratuitous wound on the naval resources by which alone that superiority can be maintained?

We have recently made a very great stride in free-trade principles, by the sacrifice of our agricultural protection, and the throwing open the English markets to cultivators of all nations. In the three last months of 1846 and even of 1847, in consequence of the import duties being removed, above £30,000,000 sterling was sent out of the country to purchase foreign grain; and the moderate duty of eight shillings a quarter has since been reimposed on wheat,—yet it terminates in February next, and corn from all quarters will then be admitted for the nominal duty of one shilling a quarter. We have abandoned the protection of our colonies to conciliate the slave-growing states, and augment the market for Manchester goods in Cuba and Brazil. With what disastrous effects these changes have been attended, upon the best interests of the empire, need be told to none who are familiar with the total ruin which has in consequence overtaken our West India colonies, and the unprecedented distress which prevails in all the great seats of our manufacturing industry. The loss of half the realised wealth of Liverpool, Manchester, and Glasgow, and the creation of nearly a hundred thousand persons, including dependants, in a state of pauperism, in each of those once rich and prosperous cities, is the price which, in a year and a half, we have paid for the adoption by Sir R. Peel of Mr Cobden's principles of free trade, and Mr Jones Loyd's principles of a fettered currency. Have we, in consequence, reaped any countervailing advantage,[125] or does the increase of our export and import trade show any benefit derived to the nation, to compensate such dreadful wounds inflicted on its internal prosperity, in the attempt to disarm the jealousy of foreign manufacturers? So far from it, our exports and imports have steadily declined since free-trade principles were introduced. All the main sources of our strength have diminished since Sir R. Peel abandoned protection in July 1846.[13] In adopting these principles, we have gratuitously inflicted a grievous wound on our own people, without having obtained for them the shadow even of a benefit to compensate the evil.

Such have been the effects of free-trade principles on the comparative prosperity of British and foreign shipping, on the showing of the Free-traders themselves, and according to the figures which their great statistician, Mr Porter, has prepared and published at the Board of Trade. We were unwilling to mix up a great national question, such as the repeal of the Navigation Laws, with any subordinate examination as to the accuracy or inaccuracy of the view of our maritime affairs which these figures exhibit. Such is the strength of the case, that it will admit of almost any concession; and the opponents of their repeal have no occasion to go farther than to the statistics of their adversaries for the most decisive refutation of their principles. But there are two observations on the tables published by the Board of Trade, so important that they cannot be passed over in silence. The first is, that in 1834, when Mr Poulett Thomson was president of the Board of Trade, a regulation was made by the Board as to the measurement of vessels, which had the effect of adding a fifth to the apparent tonnage of all British vessels, subsequent to that date. This change was clearly proved by the witnesses examined before the Commons' committee; but though Mr Porter, in his last edition of the Progress of the Nation, mentions the change, (p. 368,) he makes no allusion to it in comparing the amount of British and foreign tonnage since 1834. Of course a fifth must be deducted from British tonnage, as compared with foreign, since that time; and what overwhelming force does this give to the facts, already strong, in regard to the effect of the reciprocity system on our maritime interests!

The second is, that the tonnage with countries near Great Britain, such as France, Belgium, and Holland, includes steam vessels carrying passengers, and their repeated voyages. In this way a boat, measuring 148 tons, and carrying passengers chiefly, comes to figure in the returns for 24,000 tons! It is evident that this important circumstance deprives the returns of such near states of all value in the estimate of the comparative amount of tonnage engaged in the trade with different countries. That with France will appear greatest in spring 1848, in consequence of the number of large vessels then employed in bringing back English residents expelled by, or terrified at, the Revolution—though that circumstance was putting a stop to nearly all the commercial intercourse between the two countries. As steam navigation has so immensely increased since 1834, when the changes in the measurement was introduced—and Great Britain, from its store of coal and iron, enjoys more of that traffic than all Europe put together—this is another circumstance[126] which militates against the returns as exhibiting a fair view of our trade, compared with that of foreign nations, especially with near countries, and fully justifies Mr Porter's admission, when examined before the Lords' committee, that "considerable fallacy is to be found in the returns." Unfortunately for the Free-traders, however, who had the preparation of them in their hands, these fallacies all point one way—viz. to augment the apparent advantages of free trade in shipping.

Such as free-trade principles are, they are evidently not likely to remain, if these islands are excepted, long in the ascendant either in the Old or the New World. The American tariff shows us how little we have to expect from Transatlantic favour to our manufactures: the savage expulsion of English labourers from France, how far the principles of "Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity," are likely to be acted upon by our enthusiastic and democratic neighbours on the Continent of Europe. It is clear from the communist and socialist principles now in the ascendant, both at Paris, Berlin, and Vienna, that the interests of labour will above all things be considered by their governments in future times, and that the most rigorous measures, in the form of fiscal regulations, if not absolute prohibition, may shortly be expected in France, Italy, and Germany, against manufactures of any sort which interfere, or seem to interfere, with the interests of the dominant multitude of operatives. Why does our government adhere so strongly, in the face of the clearest evidence of their ruinous tendency, to the present system of free trade and a fettered currency? Because it works well for the great capitalists, who desire to have money dear, and the great manufacturers, who wish to have labour cheap, and because a majority of the House of Commons has been placed by the Reform Bill under their influence. Give the operatives the majority, and the opposite interest will instantly prevail. A successful Chartist revolt would at once send the whole free trade and fettered currency measures by the board in three months. In truth, it is the disasters they have produced which has revived Chartism, and rendered it so menacing in the land. We should like to see how long a legislature, elected by universal suffrage, would allow Spitalfields and Macclesfield to be pauperised by Lyons silks, and Manchester invaded by Rouen cottons, and the shipwrights of Hull and Sunderland to be ruined by Baltic shipbuilders. As the operative classes have obtained the ascendency in the principal Continental states, a similar jealousy of foreign interference with industry may with certainty be looked for in Continental Europe. Can any thing be more insane, therefore, than to persist in a policy fraught, as every thing around us demonstrates, with such ruinous social injury to ourselves, and which the progress of political change on the Continent renders incapable of producing the ultimate benefits, in exchange for those evils which their authors hold out as the inducing causes of the measures which have produced them?

While the political changes which have recently occurred on the Continent of Europe have rendered any reciprocity of advantages utterly hopeless from the most violent adoption of free-trade principles, they have augmented in a proportional degree the dangers to this country of foreign aggression, and the risk to be apprehended from any diminution of our naval resources. The days have gone by when the dream of a free-trade millenium, in which a reciprocity of advantages is to extinguish all feelings of hostility, and war is to be looked back to as a relic of the pre-Adamite world, can with safety be indulged. It is rather too late to think of the termination of the angry passions of men, when Europe, in its length and breadth, is devastated alike by civil dissension and foreign warfare; when barricades have so recently been erected in all its chief capitals; when bloodshed is hourly expected in Paris and Berlin; when the Emperor of Austria has fled to Innspruck; when every station in London was, only a few days ago, occupied by armed battalions; and when a furious war, rousing the passions of whole races of men, is raging on the Mincio and the Elbe. Threatened by a raging fire in all the countries by which we[127] are surrounded, uncertain whether we are not slumbering on the embers of a conflagration in our own, is this the time to relax in our warlike preparations, and, by crippling the nursery of our seamen, expose ourselves, without the means of resistance, to the assaults of hostile nations, envious of our fame, jealous of our manufactures, covetous of our wealth, desirous of our ruin?

While Western Europe is torn by revolutionary passions, and the seeds of a dreadful, because a popular and general war, are rapidly springing to maturity from the Seine to the Vistula, Russia is silently but unceasingly gathering up its giant strength, and the Czar has already 300,000 men, and 800 pieces of cannon, ready to take the field against the revolutionary enthusiasts of France and Germany. Sooner or later the conflict must arrive. It is not unlikely that either a second Napoleon will lead another crusade of the western nations across the Niemen, or a second Alexander will conduct the forces of the desert to the banks of the Seine. Whichever proves victorious, England has equal cause for apprehension. If the balance of power is subverted on Continental Europe, how is the independence of this country to be maintained? How are our manufactures or revenue to be supported, if one prevailing power has subjugated all the other states of Europe to its sway? It is hard to say whether, in such circumstances, we should have most to dread from French fraternity or Russian hostility. But how is the balance of power to be preserved in Europe amidst the wreck of its principal states? when Prussia is revolutionised, and has passed over to the other side; when Austria is shattered and broken in pieces, and Italy has fallen under the dominion of a faction, distinguished beyond any thing else by its relentless hatred of the aristocracy, and jealousy of the fabrics of England? What has Great Britain to rely on in such a crisis but the energy of its seamen and the might of its navy, which might at least enable it to preserve its connexion with its own colonies, and maintain, as during the Continental blockade, its commerce with Transatlantic nations? And yet this is the moment which our rulers have selected for destroying the Navigation Laws, so long the bulwark of our mercantile marine, and permitting all the world to make those inroads on our shipping, which have already been partially effected by the nations with whom we have concluded reciprocity treaties!

The defence of Great Britain must always mainly rest on our navy, and our navy is almost entirely dependent on the maintenance of our colonies. It is in the trade with the colonies that we can alone look for the means of resisting the general coalition of the European powers, which is certain, sooner or later, to arise against our maritime superiority, and the advent of which the spread of democratic principles, and the sway of operative jealousy on the Continent, is so evidently calculated to accelerate. But how are our colonies to be preserved, even for a few years, if free-trade severs the strong bond of interest which has hitherto attached them to the mother country, and the repeal of the Navigation Laws accustoms them to look to foreigners for the means of conducting their mercantile transactions? Charged with the defence of a colonial empire which encircles the earth, and has brought such countless treasures and boundless strength to the parent state, Great Britain at land is only a fourth-rate power, at least for Continental strife. At Waterloo, even, she could only array forty-five thousand men to contend with the conqueror of Europe for her existence. It is in our ships we must look for the means of maintaining our commerce, and asserting our independence against manufacturing jealousy, national rivalry, and foreign aggression. Is our navy, then, to be surrendered to the ceaseless encroachments of foreigners, in order to effect a saving of a few millions a-year on freights, reft from our own people, and sapping the foundations of our national independence?

How can human wisdom or foresight, the energy of the Anglo-Saxons, or the courage of the Normans, maintain, for any length of time, our independence in the perilous position into which free-trade policy has, during the short period it has been in operation, brought us? The repeal of the Corn Laws has already brought an importation[128] of eight or ten millions of foreign quarters annually upon our people—a full sixth of the national subsistence, and which will soon become indispensable to their existence. A simple non-intercourse act will alone enable Russia or America, without firing a shot, to compel us to lower the flag of Blake and Nelson. Stern famine will "guard the solitary coast," and famished multitudes demand national submission as the price of life. The repeal of the Navigation Laws will ere long bring the foreign seamen engaged in carrying on our trade to a superiority over our own, as has already taken place in so woful a manner with the Baltic powers. Hostile fleets will moor their ships of the line across our harbours, and throw back our starving multitudes on their own island for food, and their own market for employment. What will then avail our manufacturers and our fabrics,—the forges of Birmingham, the power-looms of Manchester, the iron-works of Lanarkshire,—if the enemies' squadrons blockade the Thames, the Mersey, and the Clyde, and famished millions are deprived alike of food and employment, by the suicidal policy of preceding rulers? Our present strength will then be the measure of our weakness; our vast population, as in a beleaguered town, the useless multitude which must be fed, and cannot fight,—our wealth, the glittering prize which will attract the rapacity of the spoiler. With indignant feelings, but caustic truth, our people will then curse the infatuated policy which abandoned the national defences, and handed them over, bound hand and foot, to the enemy, only the more the object of rapacity because such boundless wealth had accumulated in a few hands amongst them. Then will be seen, that with our own hands, as into the ancient city, we have admitted the enemies' bands; we have drawn the horse pregnant with armed men through our ramparts, and our weeping and dispersed descendants will exclaim with the Trojans of old—

"Fuimus Troës, fuit Ilium, et ingens
Gloria Teucrorum."

Printed by William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh.


[1] We suspect this custom may be traced in the Scythian legends of Herodotus. See his 4th book, chapters v., vi., and x.

[2] See Erskine's Institutes, B. iii. tit. 8, §§ 21-25.

[3] Saddle-blanket made of buffalo-calf skin.

[4] The French Canadians are called wah-keitcha—"bad medicine"—by the Indians, who account them treacherous and vindictive, and at the same time less daring than the American hunters.

[5] We fully agree with our correspondent as to the danger of Whiggery in our councils, but are so far reconciled to the Whigs being in office at the present crisis, by the knowledge that, had they been in opposition, they would, to a certain extent, have fraternised with French Republicans and English Chartists. Who could doubt that such would have been the conduct of the men who headed physical force processions, and hounded on window-breaking vagabonds in the Reform riots of 1830? What amount of profligate partisanship might not be expected from the men who, when thirsting for office, solemnly denounced as unconstitutional and unjust the course pursued by a conservative government towards O'Connell, which identical course they now, when in power, adopt towards Mitchell, a much less dangerous criminal?

[6] Burke's Reflections on the French Revolution.

[7] Gospodin Slujivui. Gospodin is equivalent to the French Monsieur or Seigneur, and Slujivui means literally one who has served in the army.

[8] Wealth of Nations, iv. c. 2.

[9] Times, June 9, 1848.

[10] Reciprocity System introduced.


Exports from Great Britain—to


Porter's Progress of the Nation, p. 366, 2d edition.


Exports to United States of America:—

 Porter, ibid.


 British Produce andImports.Revenue.
 Declared Value.
184750,897,790Not yet made up,52,082,757

Porter's Parl. Tables; and Parl. Paper, 3d April 1848.

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.

Page 11: There is a closing parenthesis missing in the following—(the blank left for the number was filled up with the word "three" in committee of the House of Commons. Nothing said about the issue in tail, as before ...

Page 22: The transcriber has inserted "the" ... rope up to the spot where he ...

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume
64, No. 393, July 1848, by Various


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