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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine - Volume 61, No. 376, February, 1847
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine - Volume 61, No. 376, February, 1847" ***

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    But the fair guerdon when we hope to find,
    And think to burst out into sudden blaze,
    Comes the blind Fury with the abhorred shears,
    And slits the thin-spun life.


The name of John William Smith, barrister-at-law, of the Inner Temple,
now appears, possibly for the first time, before nineteen-twentieths of
the readers of _Blackwood's Magazine_. It is that, however, of a
remarkable and eminent man, just cut off in his prime, before he had
completed his thirty-seventh year: having as yet lain little more than a
twelvemonth in his grave, to which he had been borne by a few of his
sorrowful and admiring friends, on the 24th of December, 1845. Another
eminent member of the English bar, Sir William Follett, belonging to the
same Inn of Court, and also cut off in the prime of life, while
glittering in the zenith of his celebrity and success, had been buried
only five months previously. I[1] endeavoured to give the readers of
this Magazine, in January 1846, some account of the character of that
distinguished person; and Mr. Smith, learning that I was engaged upon
the task, with morbid anxiety repeatedly begged me to show him what I
was writing, up to within a few weeks of his own decease: a request with
which, for reasons which will become obvious to the reader of this
sketch, I declined to comply. With Sir William Follett's name all the
world is acquainted: yet I venture to think that the name of John
William Smith has greater claims upon the attention of readers of
biography. His character and career will, it is believed, be found
permanently and intrinsically interesting,--at once affecting,
inspiriting, and admonitory. He fell a martyr to intense study, just as
that competent and severe body of judges, the English bench and bar, had
recognised his eminent talents and acquirements, and the shining and
substantial rewards of unremitting exertion were beginning to be
showered upon him. He came to the bar almost totally unknown, and was
destitute of any advantages of person, voice, or manner. His soul,
however, was noble, his feelings were refined and exalted; and, when he
departed from the scene of intense excitement and rivalry into which his
lot had been cast, those who had enjoyed the best opportunities for
forming a true judgment of him, knew not whether more to admire his
moral excellence or his intellectual eminence, which shone the more
brightly for the sensitive modesty which enshrouded them. Many have
expressed surprise and regret that so interesting a character should
fade from the public eye, without any attempt having been made by his
friends to give a full account of his character and career. I was one of
his very earliest friends; witnessed the whole of his professional
career, shared his hopes and fears, and, with two or three others,
attended upon him affectionately to the very last. During the year which
has since elapsed, I have reflected much upon his character, and had
many opportunities for ascertaining the respect with which his memory is
cherished in the highest quarters. I shall endeavour, therefore, though
with great misgivings as to my competency for the task, to present to
the reader an impartial account of my gifted friend: no one else, with
one exception,[2] having, up to this time, undertaken the task.

    [1] This narrative was originally composed in the third person; but
    so much of it consists of my own personal intercourse with Mr.
    Smith, that the use of that circuitous form of expression became as
    irksome to the writer, as he thinks it would have proved tedious and
    irritating to the reader.

    [2] See an eloquent but brief sketch, of W. Smith, in the _Law
    Magazine_ for February 1846, by Mr. Phillimore, of the Oxford
    Circuit, one of his most accomplished friends.

John William Smith, the eldest of eight children, was of a highly
respectable family: his father having died in 1835, Vice-treasurer and
Paymaster-general of the Forces in Ireland. Both his parents were
Irish--his mother having been a Miss Connor, the sister of a late Master
in Chancery, in Ireland. They lived, however, in London, where the
subject of this memoir was born, in Chapel Street, Belgrave Square, on
the 23d January, 1809. From the earliest period at which note could be
taken of their manifestation, he evinced the possession of superior
mental endowments. No one is less disposed than the writer of this
memoir, to set a high value upon precocious intellectual development.
_Observatum fere est_, says Quinctilian, in his passionate lamentation
for the death of his gifted son, _celerius occidere festinatam
maturitatem_.[3] The maturity, however, of John William Smith, far more
than realised his early promise, and renders doubly interesting any
well-authenticated account, and such I have succeeded in obtaining, of
his early childhood. When advanced not far from infancy, he appears to
have been characterised by a kind of quaint thoughtfulness, quick
observation, and a predilection for intellectual amusements. He was
always eager to have poetry read to him, and soon exhibited proofs of
that prodigious memory, by which he was all his life pre-eminently
distinguished, and which has often made the ablest of his friends
imagine that with him, _forgetting_ was a thing impossible. Before he
knew a single letter of the alphabet, which he learnt far earlier,
moreover, than most children, he would take into his hand his little
pictured story-book, which had been perhaps only once, or possibly
twice, read over to him, and pretend to read aloud out of it: those
overlooking him scarcely crediting the fact of his really being unable
to tell one letter from the other; for he repeated the letterpress
_verbatim_, from beginning to end. This feat has been repeatedly
witnessed before he had reached his third year. To all the friends of
Mr. Smith in after-life, this circumstance is easily credible: for the
quickness of his memory was equalled by its tenacity, and both appeared
to us almost unequalled. When three years old, he read with the greatest
facility all such books as are usually put into the hands of children;
and his delight was to _act_, in the evening, the fable which he had
read in the morning--and a reader insatiate he even then appeared to be.
Between his third and sixth year, he had read, _effectually_, many books
of history, especially those of Greece, Rome, England, and France;
acquiring with facility what he retained with the utmost fidelity. He
seems to have been, at this time, conscious of possessing a strong
memory, and pleased at testing it. When not five years old, he one day
put the parts of a dissected map, consisting of a hundred pieces, into
his father's pocket, and then called for them again one by one, without
having made a single mistake, till he had finished putting them together
on the carpet. At this early period, also, he displayed another
first-rate mental quality, namely, the power of abstraction--one by
which he was eminently distinguished throughout his subsequent life.
When a very young child, he was frequently observed exercising this rare
power--lost to all around him, and evidently intent upon some one
object, to the exclusion of all others. Thus, for instance, he would
often be occupied with a play of Shakspeare, while sitting in the corner
of the drawing-room, in which were many persons engaged in conversation,
or otherwise doing what would have effectually interrupted one who was
not similarly endowed with himself. One of his brothers often played at
chess with him, with closed folding doors between them, the former
moving the chess-men for both, and the latter calling out the moves,
without ever making an erroneous one, and frequently winning the game.
His partiality to poetry, from almost his infancy, has been already
noticed: and it is to be added, that he was equally fond of reading and
_writing_ verses. One of his relatives has at this moment in her
possession a "Poem" from his pen, in pencilled _printed_ characters,
before he had learned, though he learned very early, to write, entitled,
"The Mariner's Return." Till very recently, also, the same lady
possessed another curious relic of this precocious child,--namely, a
prose story; the hero of which was a peasant boy, whom he took through
almost all the countries of Europe, and through many vicissitudes,
finally exalting him to the post of Prime Minister to Henry VIII. The
knowledge of geography and history displayed in this performance, is
declared by those who have read it, to be truly wonderful. Shortly after
he had reached his eighth year, he was sent to a school at Isleworth,
kept by a Dr. Greenlaw, and remained there four years. I have heard him
frequently describe his first arrival at the school, and several
incidents attending it, in such a manner as showed him then to have had
great shrewdness and keenness of observation. One, in particular, struck
me at the time as illustrative of his stern sense of right, and habits
of reflection, at that very early period. "I remember," said he, "that
soon after I had got to school, a big boy called me aside, and told me
very seriously that I must prepare for a terrible flogging on Saturday
morning, and that however well I behaved, it would signify nothing, for
it was an old custom at the school to flog a little boy on his first
Saturday, before the whole school, by way of example, and to make him
behave well. I was horribly frightened at this; but the first thing that
struck me, and kept me awake a good while thinking of it, was, how very
_unjust_ a thing it was to do this; and I thought so much of _this_,
that I do believe I was at length far more angry than frightened. Of
course, when Saturday came, I found it had been all a joke only; but I
always thought it a very disagreeable and improper joke." I have several
times heard Mr. Smith mention this little circumstance, and I have above
given many of his own expressions. He used to proceed to describe the
reasonings which he had held in his own mind upon this subject, all
which, he said, he vividly recollected; and it was certainly both
curious and interesting to hear how he puzzled himself in trying to find
out "reasons why it might be right to flog him under these
circumstances." Dr. Greenlaw was not slow in discovering the
extraordinary abilities of the little new-comer, and used to describe
them in glowing terms to his father; but would add that, much as he
admired the child's talent and diligence, he entertained a still higher
opinion of the little fellow's perfect modesty, his seeming
unconsciousness of his mental superiority over his companions, his
honesty and simplicity of character, and, above all, his unwavering and
inflexible adherence to truth on even the most trifling occasions. Every
living friend of his will testify that he was thus distinguished
throughout life, exhibiting that

    Compositum jus, fasque animi, sanctosque recessus
    Mentis, et incoctum generoso pectus honesto,

which the stern moralist[4] declared to afford the noblest qualification
for approaching the presence of the gods.

    [3] Lib. vi. _proëm._

    [4] Pers. Sat. ii. 73, 74.

    Hæc cedo ut admoveam templis, et farre litabo.

During this period, namely, from his eighth to his twelfth year, he
became passionately fond of writing verses: and I have now before me,
kindly forwarded by one of his relatives in Ireland, two small quarto
MS. volumes, containing exclusively what he wrote during this period,
extending to upwards of seventy or eighty pieces, some of considerable
length, and in every kind of English verse. Their genuineness is
unquestionable; and I shall quote from them in the state in which they
were originally collected at the time, without the alteration of a
single letter. Having completely satisfied myself on this point, and I
hope the reader also, what will he think of the following evidence of
the creative perception of humour professed by a child scarce thirteen
years of age? I have transcribed it _verbatim_. It is prefixed to a
satirical poem of some length, entitled "Practical Morality."

Preface _loquitur_--

     "Though it may appear to thee, courteous reader, that I have in all
     ages been considered as a vehicle of fumbling apologies and trivial
     excuses, a sort of go-between employed by the writer to deprecate
     the anger of the peruser, in short, the literary servant of
     all-work, whether my duty be to expatiate on the merits, or
     apologise for the defects of my master, or (as it often is) to
     claim the pity and forbearance of the mobile, and set forth in
     humble terms the degradations he has submitted, and is still ready
     to submit to,--I say, reader, though a part so servile has been
     assigned to me, yet, should my natural claims and intrinsic merits
     be duly considered, different, far different would be my station.
     What! am I thus exalted in situation above my [_sic_] situated, (as
     I may say,) in the very van, exposed to the sneer of every
     satirical reader and sententious critic? Am I placed in a post so
     dangerous, and are contempt and humiliation my only reward? O,
     mankind, where is your gratitude? Think, generous reader, on the
     services I have so often rendered you: think how often, when you
     were about to enter upon the stupendous folio, or the dull and
     massy quarto, four inches at least in thickness, think, O think,
     how often my timely, though unpromising appearance, has warned you
     not to encumber your brain with the incalculable load of lumber!
     With me, then, let the glorious work of reformation commence,
     restore me to the honour and esteem I so justly deserve. I, for my
     part, shall still continue to be a spy upon stupidity, and oft
     shall you receive the reward of your benevolence from my friendly
     and seasonable admonitions."

       "Hezekiah Shortcut,
     O tempora! O mores!"

The poem is in two cantos: the first of which thus opens,--

    Long have I viewed the folly and the sin
    That fill this wicked globe of ours, call'd earth,
    And once a secret impulse felt within
    My bosom, to convert it into mirth;
    But then the voice of pity, softly sighing,
    Hinted the subject was more fit for crying.

    Democritus was once a Grecian sage--
    A famous man, as every one must know--
    But rather fond of sneering at the age,
    And turning into laughter human wo;
    Another sage, Heraclitus to wit,
    Considered it more wise to weep for it.
    I can't determine which of them was right,
    Nor can I their respective merits see;
    The subject, disputation may invite,
    But that belongs to wiser men than me.
    It has already been discuss'd by one,
    A better judge by far (see Fenelon.)

Verse the twelfth touches upon a topic with which its writer was
destined afterwards, for a short time, to be practically familiar.

    How sweet a fee unto the youthful lawyer
    Never before presented with a brief,
    To whose distressing case some kind employer
    Steps in, and brings his generous relief;
    Thus giving him a chance to show _that_ merit
    So long kept down by the world's envious spirit.

Here is the little practical moralist's advice to the ladies!--

    Ye ladies, list! and to my words attend,
    They're for your good, as you shall quickly see.
    Sit down by the fireside, your stockings mend,
    And never mingle spirits with your tea.
    When you retire at night, put out the candle,
    Discard your lap-dogs, leave off talking scandal.

    When card-tables are set, you must not play
    For ought beyond the value of one shilling:
    This is my firm decree, although you may,
    As ladies mostly are, be very willing.
    I bid you cease, for into debt 't will run ye,
    Do you no good, but spend your husband's money.

    Husbands are fools who let their wives do so,--
    I scarce can pity when I see them ruin'd.
    For when they squander all, they ought to know,
    Destruction is a consequence pursuant.
    When each has turn'd his home into a sad-house,
    He then finds out that he deserves a mad-house.

    I do denounce, in all the songs you sing,
    The words, _sweet_, _lovely_, dear angelic charmer,
    _Flames_, _darts_, _sighs_, _wishes_, _hopes_,--they only bring
    Thoughts to a lady which perchance may harm her.
    You therefore must consider as ironic
    Every expression which is not Platonic.

The whole poem is written in a droll, satirical strain, and shows a
great familiarity with the topics of ancient and modern literature. The
rest of the volume consists of translations from Anacreon, Horace, and
other Greek and Latin poets, and many original pieces; one of which
latter, entitled "The Prodigal Son," thus gravely and impressively

    Far from his kindred, from his country's soil,
    By want enfeebled, and oppress'd by toil,
    Compelled with slow reluctance to demand
    The niggard pity of a stranger's hand,
    And forced, in silent anguish, to abide
    The sneer of malice, the rebuke of pride:
    A wretch opprest by sorrow's galling weight,
    Deplored his ruined peace, his hapless fate.
    His was such anguish as the guilty know,
    For self-reproach was mingled with his wo.
    He dared not fortune's cruelty bemoan--
    The error, the offence, was all his own.

There are also scattered over the volume several epigrams, one of which
is headed thus: "On a Lady who married her Brother-in-law."

    After so many tedious winters past,
    The lovely S---- has caught a swain at last--
    A swain who twice has tried the marriage life,
    And now resolves again to take a wife.
    Behold! behold _the new-made_ mother runs,
    With ardour to embrace--_her nephew-sons_!

The second volume commences with a poem of considerable length,
entitled, "Salamis," with a notice that "The foregoing poem was
presented to his father, by John William Smith, January 23d, 1821, the
day on which he completed his twelfth year." The following is "The
Argument of Canto I:--

     "Themistocles lying awake in the night, is surprised by the
     entrance of Aristides, who informs him that the Persian fleet had
     completely surrounded them. Themistocles tells him that this was
     effected by a device of his own, to prevent the Greeks from
     deserting the Straits, and sends him to Eurybiades, calls a council
     in the morning, in which it is resolved to attack the enemy, and
     the whole fleet move forward in order of battle.--Scene, the
     Grecian camp on the sea-shore of Salamis."

The first Canto thus opens--

    Now darkness over all her veil had spread,
    Save where the moon her feeble lustre shed,
    When from the clouds emerging, her dim ray
    Mock'd the effulgence of the lucid day.
    Stretch'd on their beds, the Greeks in soft repose
    Awhile forgot their harass'd country's woes.
    Themistocles alone awake remain'd,
    By his anxiety from sleep restrain'd;
    Although the chief with labour was opprest,
    His care for Greece withheld his wonted rest.
    For three long hours, all had been still around,
    At length he hears (or thinks he hears) a sound;
    He starts, and sees a stately form advance,
    Clad in bright arms, and with a shining lance,
    And by the moon's faint beams, the chief descried
    A Persian sabre glittering at his side.

Here follows the "Argument of Canto II--

     "Mardonius is surprised by the noise of the Greeks advancing, and
     the hostile fleet appearing, the ships move forward to meet
     them.--Lycomedes takes the first galley, and consecrates the spoils
     to Apollo.--The acts of Eurybiades, Mardonius, and
     Themistocles.--Aristides and Lycomedes landing in the Isle of
     Psyttalia, destroy a number of Persians stationed there, at sight
     of which, part of the Persian fleet gives way.--Ariamenes
     endeavouring to rally them, is slain.--At his death the rest of the
     Persians fly. The Greeks pursue them to the Attic shore, and obtain
     a complete victory, which concludes the Poem."

The whole poem shows a mind thoroughly imbued with Grecian history, and
the action is conceived and described with considerable spirit. There
are a few lame verses, here and there, but scarcely a single puerile
conceit; while a perusal of the entire contents of these records of a
gifted child, is calculated to surprise, by the great extent of reading
displayed by its writer, and the ease and precision with which he brings
it to bear upon his subject.

In the spring of 1821 he entered Westminster School, taking his place on
the fourth form, which secured him all exemption from fagging. Here,
again, his progress was that of a boy of first-rate abilities, great
diligence, and unvarying good conduct. Two years afterwards, viz. in the
spring of 1823, he gained a king's scholarship, without the assistance
of a "_help_," a thing which it is believed was unprecedented. In the
College, however, he could not escape _fagging_; but such was his
independent spirit, that he refused to submit to it, and immediately
resigned his hard-won scholarship, with all its prospects. His father
was somewhat nonplussed by this occurrence; and presently sent him to a
school at Blackheath, kept by the present rector of Woolwich, the Rev.
Willain Greenlaw, a son of his former master, Dr. Greenlaw. The
Blackheath school contained no fewer than seventy-two boys, many of them
on the eve of quitting for the universities; but as soon as John William
Smith made his appearance, he was not only recognised as being far
superior to them all, but equally well read with the ushers; and he
consequently read with Mr. Greenlaw himself, alone! being then, it will
be recollected, little move than fourteen years of age! He wrote every
species of Latin verse with the utmost facility--of which he gave, on
one occasion, a proof not yet forgotten by his schoolfellows: for, one
evening, shortly after going there, he wrote all the Latin verses for
the entire school, from the highest to the lowest--in all metres, and on
every variety of subject. This feat was lately communicated to me by one
of his then schoolfellows; and I also recollect him once mentioning the
subject to me himself; adding, if I recollect correctly, that there was
not a blunder found in any of the verses which he had written. During
his vacations he visited France, and mastered the French and Italian
languages, with both of which, up to the period of his death, he
continued perfectly familiar, and very partial to the writers of both.
About this time he began to cast about for a profession; and entertained
the notion of either going out to India, in a military capacity, or
entering Woolwich academy as a cadet. His father persuaded him to
relinquish the former step, but assented to his adopting the latter; and
he paid close attention to engineering. He has often expressed to me the
delight he took in studying _fortification_; adding, that he had
sometimes regretted having abandoned that line of life, for that he
fancied he should have been successful in it. His father would have
procured him an appointment in conformity with his wishes, had not his
views concerning him been changed by his friend, the Right Honourable
Sir George Fitzgerald Hill, then Vice-treasurer of Ireland, who gave his
son an appointment in the Vice-treasurer's office at Dublin Castle. Sir
George quickly detected the superior talents and acquirements of young
Smith, and became much attached to him; evincing peculiar satisfaction
in conversing with him, and listening to his quaint, exact, pithy
answers to questions proposed to him. About this time he was smitten
with the love of Lord Byron's poetry, which he devoured with avidity,
and his own love of verse-writing revived. He became, indeed, very
anxious to excel in poetry. He was soon tired of his official duties,
and resigned his situation in favour of his brother, who at this moment
fills a responsible office in the same department in Dublin Castle.

In the year 1826, being then in his seventeenth year, Mr. Smith entered
Trinity College, Dublin, where his whole career was, as might have been
expected, one of easy triumph. He constantly carried off the highest
classical premiums, and occasionally those in science, as well
as--whenever he tried--for composition. In 1829, he gained a
scholarship, and in the ensuing year obtained the highest honours in the
power of Trinity College to bestow, namely, the gold medal for classics.
He thought so little, however, of distinctions gained so easily, that he
either forgot, or at all events neglected, even to apply for his gold
medal till several years afterwards; when, happening to be in Dublin,
and conversation turning upon the prize which he had obtained, he said,
in a modest, casual kind of way, to a friend, "By the way, I never went
after the medal; but I think, as I'm here, I'll go and see about it."
This he did, and the medal was of course immediately delivered to its
phlegmatic oblivious winner! He was a great favourite at college, for he
bore his honours with perfect meekness and modesty, was very kind and
obliging to all desiring his assistance, and displayed, on all
occasions, that truthful simplicity and straightforwardness of
character, which, as we have already seen, he had borne from his birth.
He was much beloved, in short, by all his friends and relations; and one
of the latter, his uncle, Mr. Connor, an Irish Master in Chancery,
confidently predicted that "John William would live to be an honour to
his profession and friends." In 1829, he joined his family, who were
settled in Versailles, and spent some time there. In the ensuing year,
his father, who possessed a first-rate capacity for business, was
appointed Vice-treasurer and Paymaster-general of the forces in Ireland,
and was obliged to reside in Dublin, whither he accordingly soon
afterwards repaired with his family. His son, John William, however,
remained in London, having determined upon forthwith commencing his
studies for the English bar: a step which his father and he had for some
time before contemplated; as it appears, from the records of the Inner
Temple, that he was entered as student for the bar on the 20th June,
1827, which was during his second year at Trinity College. The facility
with which he not only got through the requisite studies, but obtained
every honour for which he thought proper to compete, allowed of his
devoting much of his attention at that time to the acquisition of legal
knowledge. He procured a copy, therefore, of Blackstone; that, I
believe, which had appeared a year or two before, edited by the present
(then Sergeant,) Mr. Justice Coleridge,--the only edition of the
Commentaries of which he approved, and which he used to the last,--and
read it through several times with profound attention, as he has often
told me; expressing himself as having been charmed by the purity and
beauty of Blackstone's style, his remarkable power of explaining
abstruse subjects, and his perspicuous arrangement. The next book which
he read was, I believe, "Cruise's Digest of the Laws of England,
respecting Real Property," in seven volumes octavo, a standard work of
great merit; which, while at college, he read, I think, twice over, and
continued perfectly familiar with it for the rest of his life. He also
read carefully through nearly the whole of Coke upon Littleton, which he
told me he found very "troublesome," and that he had expended much
valuable time and attention on some of the most difficult portions,
which he very soon afterwards found to be utterly obsolete, particularly
mentioning those concerning "homage," "fealty," "knight-service,"
"wardship," &c. The above may seem a great undertaking for vacant hours
at college, but will not appear to any of Mr. Smith's friends to have
been such to him, who read as rapidly, as he attended closely to, and
tenaciously retained what he had read. It may here be mentioned, that in
this particular, viz. reading law at college, Mr. Smith resembled Sir
William Follett, who also devoted himself with ardour to the study of
the law when at Cambridge, but did _not_, like Mr. Smith, also gain the
highest college honours; for Sir William never competed, or at all
events never obtained college honours of any kind. Mr. Smith commenced
keeping terms at the beginning, I believe, of 1830; and it was at the
mess-table of the Inner Temple Hall that I, who had also shortly before
come up from Edinburgh University for the same purpose, first had the
happiness and the honour of becoming acquainted with my late
distinguished friend. He was then in about his twenty-first year. I
distinctly recollect the first time of our meeting, which was at the
aforesaid mess-table; and that his appearance struck me as that of a
bashful and awkward person dull and taciturn, with a formal precise way
of speaking, and a slight abruptness of manner. If Lord Bacon's saying
be correct, that a good face is a _letter of recommendation_--poor John
William Smith may be said to have come without a character! How little
did I dream of the bright jewel hid in so plain and frail a casket: how
often have I felt ashamed of my own want of discernment: what a lesson
has it been never again to contract any sort of prejudice against a man
from personal appearance! It was not till I had known him for nearly a
year, owing partly to our unfrequent meetings, and his absence, that I
began to be sensible of his superior talents and acquirements. His
personal appearance was, it must be candidly owned, certainly
insignificant and unprepossessing. He was of slight make, a trifle under
the middle height, his hair was rather light, and his complexion pale.
He wore spectacles, being excessively near-sighted, and had a very
slight cast in his eyes, which were somewhat full and prominent. The
expression of his features, at all events when in repose, was neither
intellectual nor engaging, but they improved when he was animated or
excited in conversation. His forehead, however, was, though retreating,
lofty, and I have heard it characterised as intellectual. At the time of
which I am speaking, he used to wear a white hat, placed so far back on
his head, that it gave him, to a stranger, almost a ludicrous aspect.
His utterance was slow, his demeanour very solemn; and he would sit at
dinner for a long time silent, till you would be surprised by his
bursting into a short, sudden, but very hearty laugh, when any thing had
been said which tickled his fancy; for I found out before long that he
had a great taste for the ludicrous, an exquisite perception of humour.
When he shook hands with you, he placed his cold hand into yours, like a
dead man's hand--even with his most intimate friends--instead of
greeting you with a hearty cordial grasp or pressure. How long again
this little circumstance misled me as to his supposed insensibility to
the claims of friendship or affection! whereas the very reverse was the
case; for he was a most firm and devoted friend, and of an exquisite
delicacy and sensitiveness of feeling. He did not, at first, as the
phrase is, _make way_ with his companions, nor appear desirous of doing
so. I recollect, on one occasion, that he and I remained the last at the
dinner-table; and, though he sate opposite to me for some minutes,
thoughtfully balancing his wine-glass in his hand, an empty decanter
being between us, he spoke not a syllable; and I was watching him (his
eyes being directed towards the floor) with an amused curiosity, on
account of his apparent eccentricity, when he suddenly said, "Mr.
Warren, will you take a walk with me up Regent Street, or any where
else, as it is such a fine evening?" What passed through my mind, on
being thus unexpectedly encountered, was, "Well--he's a curiosity, and
seems to know no one--so I _will_;" and, having said as much, we rose.
He walked down the hall, and we took off our gowns in the ante-room, and
quitted the building, without his having uttered a syllable! I recollect
feeling almost inclined to be offended. We then walked about the town
till nearly nine o'clock, and I think he talked a little about France,
and we compared notes together concerning Dublin and Edinburgh
Universities. I quitted him, musing upon his quaint manner, and his
solemn precision of language: but nothing that had passed between us
gave me the idea of his being a person of superior ability or
acquirements. He was, indeed, a very shy and modest man. It was not, for
instance, till after a seven years' intimacy, that I knew of the
distinction which he had obtained at college; and on my asking him, one
day, whether it was true that he had obtained the gold medal, he
blushed, slightly moved his head aside, and, after a pause, said, in a
tone rather even of displeasure than gratification, "Possibly I did!"
and we dropped the subject. In the year 1830, he entered the chambers of
Richard Grainger Blick, Esquire, one of the most eminent special
pleaders in the Temple, and who has assured me, that he always
considered Mr. John William Smith to be a remarkable man. Probably there
never before entered the chambers of pleader or barrister, in the
character of novice, a man of more formidable legal aptitude and
acquirements. We have already seen the substantial and extensive
character of his law-reading at college; but, between leaving it, and
entering Mr. Blick's chambers, Mr. Smith read carefully over "from cover
to cover"--such were his words to me--"Tidd's Practice," a standard
book, in two closely printed, large octavo volumes, and also "Selwyn's
Nisi Prius," in two similar volumes. He had not been long in chambers
before he found that "he had not a sufficient knowledge of pleading, to
get any benefit from the business, which he saw;" wherefore he absented
himself from chambers for some time, to enable him to read through the
first volume of "Mr. Chitty's Treatise on Pleading;" and some time
afterwards he again withdrew, for similar reasons, to read "Phillips on
Evidence." Having obtained such an acquaintance with these two works, as
to a person of inferior intellect or discipline might seem a complete
mastery, he returned to chambers, able better to avail himself of the
advantages afforded by Mr. Blick's extensive practice; very frequently
surprising that gentleman by his mental vigour, and accurate and
extensive legal knowledge. "I was very cunning," he has more than once
said to me, "at chambers; for I soon saw how to go to work, better than
the other pupils. They would be all for the 'heavy papers,' the great
cases that came in, not caring for the shoal of small things that were
continually appearing and disappearing. Now it seemed to me, that
_these_ constituted three-fourths of a lawyer's business, and that to be
able to do _them_, was three-fourths of the battle: so I very quietly
let my fine gentlemen take all the great papers, while I did nothing but
these same despised common things, till at length I really began to feel
that I was improving, and learning a good deal of law. But, as to the
other sort of cases and papers, as soon as my fellow-pupils had done,
puzzling their brains over them, and written the opinions, or drawn the
pleadings, and Mr. Blick had revised them, and given them his
_imprimatur_, I _then_ read them over very diligently, and with great
profit: but you must remember that this was before the late revolution
in pleading." All this he repeated to me one day, only a few months
before his death.--He never studied under any other practitioner than
Mr. Blick, with whom, moreover, he spent only one year: yet such was his
close application, his wonderful memory, his clear, vigorous, and
disciplined understanding, and the soundness and extent of his
previously acquired law, that on quitting Mr. Blick, Mr. Smith was
really an able pleader, and had laid the basis of an extended, profound,
and scientific knowledge of the law. Even at that early period, I
frequently heard his opinion deferentially asked by men far his seniors,
and of considerable standing in business. On quitting Mr. Blick, Mr.
Smith read a number of other law books, in his usual attentive and
thorough manner, completely mastering both them and the "cases"
contained in them, and of which, generally speaking, they were little
else than digests or epitomes. He was a very keen and acute logician,
and felt great satisfaction in balancing the _pros_ and _cons_ of the
reported cases, and testing the soundness of the judges' decisions, and
the relevancy and force of the arguments of council which had led to
them. Among the books which he read about this time, he enumerated to me
"Sanders on Uses and Trusts," (which, he said, he found to be a
difficult book to master practically;) "Fearne on Contingent
Remainders," which he represented as likely to prove interesting to
_any_ educated man of intellect, fond of exercising it, who would take
the trouble to read it; Sir Edward Sugden's Treatises on "Vendors and
Purchasers of Real Estates," and on "Powers," and Williams' "Saunders;"
while "Comyn's Digest" was ever lying before him, the subject of
continual reference, and with which he soon acquired an invaluable
familiarity. He also read several books on Equity with great attention,
and often said, that no one, who really knew law, could fail to feel a
deep interest in Equity, and the mode of its operating upon law. The
"Code Napoleon," too, he read very carefully, and for many years. He had
a copy of Justinian's Code, and Institutes, always lying on his
mantel-piece, and which he was very fond of reading. We have frequently
conversed together on the subject of the extensive obligations of our
Common Law to the Roman Law; to which he used to refer, in the absence
of the books, with great facility and accuracy. He was very fond of
Plautus, and would quote almost an entire scene, as accurately, and with
as natural a fluency and zest, as another would have shown in reading
off any of the scenes in a popular English play; often accompanying his
quotations with shrewd and ingenious critical comments. He was also very
fond of the French Dramatists, particularly Moliere, from whom I have
heard him quote entire scenes with wonderful accuracy. You might have
imagined him reading from the book, as I have several times myself
observed, and heard others remark: and all this he did in a perfectly
natural and unobtrusive way, as if merely to relieve an over-charged
mind, and give pleasure to those whom he credited with inclination and
ability to appreciate the excellencies which he pointed out. His memory
seemed, indeed, equally tenacious of things important and unimportant;
incapable, in short, of _forgetting_ any thing. I have heard him quote
long-forgotten but once popular and laughable trash, ballads, squibs,
epigrams, &c., till at length he revived in the listener such a sort of
recollection of them, as made him imagine that Mr. Smith must have
recently committed them to memory for some special purpose, but for
their appearing so really fresh and racy to him, and plainly suggested
by the casual current of conversation. He was, about this time, and for
years afterwards, a very frequent visiter at my house; and never was any
one, independently of my personal regard for him, more welcome; for his
conversation was always that of a ripe and varied scholar and fastidious
_gentleman_. He was ever gay and animated as soon as he had recovered,
which he quickly did, from the exhaustion of a long and severe day's
work, and his fund of anecdote appeared inexhaustible. Never was any man
farther removed from being that insufferable social nuisance, a
professed talker. Display of any kind was quite foreign to his nature;
and whenever he chanced to encounter a person cursed with that
propensity, he would sit in silence for a whole evening: not in the
silence of vexation or pique, but of a man left at leisure to pursue his
own thoughts, or calmly amuse himself with the characteristics of the
chatterer. If, while thus occupied, unexpectedly interrupted, or
appealed to by the aforesaid chatterer, or any one else, he readily
answered, though certainly with a somewhat frigid courtesy. It was
impossible for any one, of the least powers of observation, to fail of
detecting in Mr. Smith, though beneath a reserve and formality not very
easy to penetrate, a kind of scrupulous antique courtliness, suggesting
to you a resuscitated gentleman of the school of Addison, particularly
in his intercourse with ladies. He was caution personified,--never
saying any thing that required retraction or modification: and though
you might guess the contemptuous estimate which he had formed of some
particular person's character or doings, he rarely permitted himself to
express it. He would sometimes smile significantly at the recital, or
witnessing, of some particular absurdity or weakness; but I think that
no one ever heard him utter a hasty, harsh, or uncharitable judgment of
any body. He seemed, in fact, equally chary of giving praise or blame.
No man would laugh louder, or longer, on hearing, or being told, of some
signal and ludicrous miscarriage of another; but he would _say_ nothing,
except on very rare occasions, and among his intimate friends--and even
then, never any thing severe or violent. Tell him, however, of any thing
really mean and unworthy, or let him have witnessed it, and no one could
fail to see, calm and measured though Mr. Smith's _language_ might be,
the profound contempt, or the lively indignation with which he regarded
the delinquent and his delinquency. I fear, however, that I am
digressing.--He and I commenced our careers as special pleaders about
the same time, viz. in 1831; and not many days passed without our being
at each other's chambers, borrowing one another's books, or going out to
walk together, or conversing on law or other matters. I always listened
to what he said on legal subjects, as to a master: he was so ready, so
correct, so concise, so judicious, that his suggestions, upon any case
which I mentioned to him, were very valuable; and they were given with a
heartiness of good-nature that made them doubly welcome. He was
delighted to assist me, or any other of his friends. We were a small
circle, about that time, of some half a dozen; and I may take upon
myself to say, that we all cheerfully recognised in him our
superior--our _facile princeps_, from the first. Some of us set agoing a
little weekly periodical, called "The Legal Examiner," to which he was a
constant contributor--his papers being always characterised by point and
precision, though the style was dry and stiff. It grieves me to say,
that he met with no encouragement as a special pleader, consummately
qualified as he was for success in that department, and scarcely ever to
be found absent from his chambers; where he was at all hours to be
found, modest, patient, though sometimes a little dejected,--yet

    True as the dial to the sun,
    Although it be not shone upon.

I question whether, during this two or three years' bitter and
disheartening probation, he made more than thirty, or at least forty
guineas; his annual certificate for leave thus to do--nothing, cost him,
nevertheless, £12. Yet I never once heard him, nor I undertake to say,
did any of his friends, express fretfulness or impatience at his
disheartening lack of employment. He manifested, on the contrary, a
quiet fortitude that was touching to witness. I recollect him once,
however, when we were conversing on the subject, saying rather
pensively, "If one has not connexions, and cannot make them, it is next
to impossible to get any business." The professional public possess
conclusive and permanent evidence of the admirable use which he made of
his time, during the first year or two of his essaying to practise as a
pleader; for in July 1834, two months after having been called to the
bar, he gave to the world a work which, as soon as it had become known,
raised him to the very highest rank of legal writers. The more it was
read or referred to the higher was the estimate formed of its writer's
intellect and learning, alike by the bench and the bar; for he had most
discreetly, yet boldly, chosen a subject of great difficulty and
importance, properly treated by no work extant, and which gave him
opportunity of supplying a long-acknowledged deficiency in professional
literature. He undertook, in fact, to produce a comprehensive practical
treatise, within an exceedingly moderate compass, on "Mercantile Law:"
and he succeeded to admiration--did this neglected young man of scarce
twenty-five years old--in producing, entirely unassisted, a work
signally calculated to attain the proposed object; condensing into a
very small space, and with almost unerring accuracy, a great amount of
exceedingly difficult law, beautifully and perspicuously arranged, so as
that even laymen might read as they ran, and receive guidance in the
most perplexing exigencies of business, while the ablest lawyers, might
safely refer to the pages of the "Compendium" for a terse and true
statement of the result of many conflicting decisions, and a luminous
exposition of the _principles_ which ought to govern the administration
of commercial law. The calm, practised skill with which this young
unknown jurist moved about in these regions of subtle intricacy--_inter
apices juris_--excited the cordial admiration and respect of all
competent judges. He was manifestly a master of his subject; and having
quietly detected important but unoccupied ground, had possessed himself
of it with skill and resolution:--and this he did within little more
than two years after he had quitted the scene of his solitary year's
pupilage. Within six years this book has passed through three large
editions; and a fourth is, it is believed, in preparation, which will
comprise a great number of its departed author's own additions and
emendations, continued up to within two or three months of his decease.
Not only in this country, but in the United States of America, is this
valuable work deservedly held, at this moment, in the highest
estimation, as practically the only book of its kind. A glance at the
brief Preface will suffice to show to a competent judge, whether lay or
professional, at once the real and peculiar difficulty of the
undertaking, the author's exact and happy illustration of the sources of
that difficulty, and the simplicity and accuracy of his style.

     "The Mercantile Law is in one respect better adapted to compression
     than the Law of Real Property; inasmuch as the reasons upon which
     the former is based, can be explained more shortly than those which
     support the latter. The reasons upon which our Law of Real Property
     is founded, are, generally speaking, historical; and part of
     history must therefore be recounted, in order to explain them
     clearly and philosophically; while the Mercantile Law is deduced
     from considerations of utility, the force of which the mind
     perceives as soon as they are pointed out to it. For instance, if a
     writer were desirous of explaining why a rent-service cannot be
     reserved in a conveyance, by a subject, of lands in fee-simple, he
     would be obliged to show the feudal relations that existed between
     lord and tenant, the nature of sub-infeudations, and how the lord
     was injured by them, in such his relation to his tenant, how the
     statute _quia emptores_ was enacted to prevent this injury; in
     consequence of which statute a tenure, without which no
     rent-service exists, cannot be raised by a conveyance from one
     subject to another, in fee-simple. In like manner, the explanation
     of a recovery, of a fine, of a copyhold, of an estate in ancient
     demesne, of an use, of a trust, would require a process of
     historical deduction. But when the reader is told, that the drawer
     of a bill of exchange is discharged, if timely notice be not given
     him of its dishonour; because, without such notice, he might lose
     the assets he had placed to meet it in the drawee's hands; or, that
     if A hold himself out as B's partner, he will be liable as such,
     because he might else enable B to defraud persons who had trusted
     him upon the faith of the apparent partnership and joint
     responsibility: when these reasons, and such as these, are given,
     every man at once perceives their cogency, and needs not to be told
     _how_, that he may know _why_, the law was settled on its present
     footing. The fitness of this subject for compression is, therefore,
     hardly questionable. The difficulty of compressing it is, however,
     extreme. The author who attempts to do so, must continually keep in
     view a triple object, must aspire at once to clearness, brevity,
     and accuracy; a combination so difficult, that its difficulty may,
     it is hoped, be fairly pleaded in excuse for some of the
     deficiencies and imperfections which the reader may discover in the
     following pages."

After a luminous and elegant introductory account of the rapid growth
and development of mercantile law, the author thus announces the
convenient and comprehensive plan of his work:--

     "This treatise will be divided into four books. The first,
     concerning Mercantile _Persons_; the second, Mercantile _Property_;
     the third, Mercantile _Contracts_; the fourth and last, Mercantile
     _Remedies_; a method which appears the simplest and most
     comprehensive; since it includes, under a few heads, the
     description of those by whose intervention trade is carried on; of
     that which they seek to acquire by so employing themselves; of the
     arrangements which they are in the habit of adopting, in order to
     do so effectually; and of the mode in which the proper execution of
     those arrangements is enforced."

A striking evidence of the value of this work, the soundness of his
opinions, and the importance attached to them in the highest judicial
quarters, was afforded by the very first number of the Reports of the
Court of Exchequer, published after his death, where (in _Tanner_ v.
_Scovell_, 14 _Meeson and Welshy_, 37,) the Lord Chief Baron, after time
taken to consider an important question of mercantile law, delivered the
judgment of the Court in expressed conformity with the doctrine which
Mr. Smith has laid down in his "Mercantile Law," and in opposition to
the opinion of the late very learned Mr. Justice Taunton!

To retrace our steps, however, for a moment: Mr. Smith at length
despaired of getting business under the bar, and tired of sitting a
prisoner at chambers, in vain expectation of it. His rooms and mine were
directly opposite to each other, on the same floor; and rarely or never
was a knock heard at his door, except that of some friend coming either
to ask his able and willing assistance, or chat away a weary half hour.
Towards the close of 1833, he announced to his friends that he
contemplated trying his fortune at the bar, and was easily persuaded,
with that view, to commence attendance at a professional debating
society, called "The Forensic," which, confined to barristers and
students for the bar, and established so long ago as 1815, has numbered
among its members almost every lawyer of eminence who has appeared since
that year, including Sir William Follett and Mr. J.W. Smith. He entered
this society on the 29th January, 1834; and I well recollect his first
essay at addressing it. It was upon the discussion of a legal question.
He was evidently very nervous when he rose, for the colour quite
deserted his cheek. His manner was cold, dry, and formal, and
sufficiently uninteresting, and uninviting. We were all, however, soon
struck by the book-like precision of his language, the clearness and
closeness of his reasoning, and the extent of his legal knowledge. He
spoke for about ten minutes; and, having risen amidst a half-suppressed
titter, sate down amidst earnest cries of "Hear, hear, hear!" He
afterwards spoke pretty regularly, especially upon legal questions; and
those who, in due course, were appointed beforehand to argue against
him, felt it expedient to come particularly well prepared! Shortly
before he was called to the bar, he said to me, with a timid, dejected
air, "It is a bold step; but I really don't see what else is to be done.
Why should I sit any longer perishing in chambers? Besides, my
'Mercantile Law' will be out in a month or two, and if it succeed, it
may _possibly_ give me a lift--so I shall try it." He was accordingly
called to the bar on the 2d May, 1834, selecting the Oxford Circuit and
the Hereford and Gloucester Sessions. "There are only two ways," I heard
him say, (quoting the well-known dictum of a late able judge,) "of
getting on at the bar, Pleading or Sessions. I have failed in the
former, I shall now try the latter. _Flectere si nequeo superos,
Acheronta movebo!_" I was, I confess, amongst those of his friends who
were not sanguine as to his prospects of success at the bar, regarding
him as unlikely to attract favourable notice in court practice. Shortly
after he had attended at the Sessions, however, he began to obtain a
little employment in petty cases there; and, contrary to expectation,
became very successful in defending prisoners: his acuteness, vigilance,
ingenuity, and legal knowledge--particularly of the law of
evidence--became more apparent in every succeeding case intrusted to
him. In spite of the dry formality of his manner, he soon attracted the
_understanding_ of his hearers, exhibiting great caution and judgment in
dealing with the evidence, his tenacious memory here standing him in
great stead. His start at sessions, however, seemed likely to lead to
nothing, on the civil side at the assizes--where his reception was
sufficiently disheartening. He attended regularly, nevertheless, both
assizes and sessions; during his stay in town labouring with
indefatigable energy in the acquisition of law. In 1835, he composed a
lucid little treatise on the Law of Practice, entitled, "An Elementary
View of the Proceedings in an Action at Law," distinguished by
simplicity, correctness, and condensation, and calculated to give
students a perspicuous view of an extremely dry and troublesome subject.
This also has become a standard book. In 1836, he wrote another little
work--one upon Patent Law, explanatory, in a practical way, of a statute
which had just before been passed, and had effected important
alterations in that department of law. He told me that "he did not like
to throw a chance away," and this "might possibly get him some briefs in
Patent cases;" but I suspect that in this he was disappointed. In the
same year he and I occupied our long vacation in preparing together a
work entitled "Select Extracts from Blackstone's Commentaries, carefully
adapted to the use of schools and young persons." We both took great
pains with this book, and it has had a large sale: but for some
whimsical reason or other, he would not allow his name to appear, though
particular in retaining a share in the copyright.

Neglected and discouraged though he was, he continued to prosecute his
studies with patient energy, appearing to me scarcely ever to spend an
idle moment. He attended very frequently the Courts at Westminster, and
on returning to chambers would spend the rest of the day in reading the
constantly-accumulating Reports, and noting their more important
contents in his favourite text-books. He constantly sat up till a very
late, or rather early hour in the morning, and would frequently, on
awaking, lie reading in bed till noon, when he would rise and take a
sparing breakfast. I recollect calling upon him one gloomy day in
December, about the time of which I am writing, to ask him to accompany
me home to dinner, as he generally did once or twice a-week. He suffered
a martyrdom from tooth-ache; and on this occasion had passed a miserable
night from that cause, not having slept at all, and his swollen face
betokened the violence of the fit. He had, nevertheless, got up much
earlier than usual, to oblige one of his friends, for whom he had
promised to draw some very pressing and difficult pleadings, which he
was finishing as I entered. When he had despatched his clerk with them,
he requested me to sit down and take a cup of tea with him, as he was
suffering, both from pain, and fatigue, and _ennui_. I never saw him in
so desponding an humour. He promised to dine with me on the morrow,
provided I would sit with him for an hour "gossiping," for he said that
he could not sleep, he could not sit still, he could not read or write.
I complied with his request, and stayed with him a long time. In the
course of conversation, I recollect him saying, that "He supposed he was
not to get on in the law; that he could not fight against the want of a
connexion." I reminded him that it was surely premature to hold such
language, and that he must bide his time,--when he interrupted me by
saying, shaking his head, "Ah, but while the grass grows the steed
starves." Presently he said, rather suddenly, "Should you be surprised
to hear of my entering the church?" "The church!" I echoed with
surprise.--"What do you see so wonderful in the notion of my going into
the church?" said he gravely. "Do you think me unfit for it?"--"Not at
all; but what I wonder at is, that you should dream of quitting the
bar."--"Why not, if I find that it will not afford me a living? Let me
tell you, that I am very partial to the study of Divinity, and have read
a good deal of it, much more than you would suppose. I think I should
like composing sermons, though it is very possible that they might not
be popular; and I suppose you will not deny that Divinity is a nobler
study than law?" He said much more in the same strain, which led me to
believe that the subject had for some time occupied his thoughts, and
that he had begun seriously to contemplate quitting the bar--at all
events, if another year should leave him as little likely to succeed in
obtaining practice, as that which was on the eve of closing. Many of
even his intimate friends were unaware of his partiality for Divinity,
and the extent to which he had studied it; for he was very reserved on
such matters.

I once told him that I had read the whole, of "Pearson on the Creed;" at
which, in his usual cold dry way, he replied, "So have I, and very
carefully. I liked it much. And I'll tell you another book that I have
read still more carefully, both in Latin and English--Mosheim's
'Ecclesiastical History.'" I have heard him say the same of Hooker's
"Ecclesiastical Polity." We have often discussed the merits of Jeremy
Taylor, Barrow, and South; the last of whom was a favourite of his. He
had a surprising knowledge of the Old and New Testaments. One of his
oldest and ablest friends, and whom he appointed one of his executors,
recently alluded, in conversation with me, to this circumstance, adding,
"Smith _read_ the Bible as few but he could read it; and _remembered_
it, as very few but he could remember it." I have occasionally myself
had evidence of his exact knowledge of very recondite portions of the
Old Testament; but, as already intimated, he was always cautious and
sparing in scriptural allusions or quotations. Since writing the
foregoing sentences, a learned friend has informed me, that Mr. Smith,
about two years before his death, had entered into a prolonged and
ardent discussion with him on the subject of the _Apostolical
Succession_, insisting that no one who did not assent to that doctrine,
was in reality, or could be conscientiously, a minister of the Church of
England. Again and again, during a considerable interval of time,
whenever they met, Mr. Smith pertinaciously renewed the discussion,--his
friend for some time doubting whether Mr. Smith had any other motive
than to amuse himself with the matter as one of mere logical exercise,
but being at length satisfied that he was sincerely expressing his own
opinions. To a brother of this gentleman, Mr. Smith became closely
attached, on discovering the extent and depth of his knowledge of
divinity, a subject on which they conversed whenever they could, Mr.
Smith exhibiting, on all such occasions, the utmost zest and energy. I
have already intimated the extent of his acquaintance with general
literature; to which it may be here added that he possessed a correct
and very extensive knowledge of history, ancient and modern. He knew it,
_and its true uses_; and was equally conversant with its minute details,
and its general scope and bearing, as illustrative of the practical
operation of political principles and doctrines. He always, in short,
appeared to me to be a man, whose first anxiety in all matters was to
obtain a thorough knowledge of details, of facts; and then experienced
delight in contemplating and reflecting upon them with a view to the
discovery or detection of some leading principle of action or conduct
involved in them. Such grave matters, however, did not alone occupy him;
for I never saw a more eager and indiscriminate reader of even the
ephemeral trash loading the shelves of circulating libraries. Scarcely a
novel, play, or magazine appeared, which he did not take up, and,
whenever they happened to be mentioned, show as complete a knowledge of
them as if they had been worthy of it. I have often laughed at him on
these accounts; he generally receiving my sallies with a sort of piqued
silence, or simply saying, "It amuses me." I think that this
circumstance is well accounted for by Mr. Phillimore--that Mr. Smith's
over-tasked mind found light and easy narrative, of any kind, a

Early in the year 1835 appeared a work on legal education, in which was
enforced the advantage to the student and practitioner, of early
mastering, as so many _nuclei_ of future legal acquisitions, a few of
the "_leading cases_" in the Law Reports, which suggested to Mr. Smith
the idea of writing a book under the name of "Leading Cases." He was
engaged upon it from about the middle of 1835 till the early part of
1837. There was no book of the kind extant. The idea was felicitous; but
much learning and judgment were requisite to work it out practically.
Mr. Smith proved himself, however, fully equal to the undertaking.
Though in 1835 and 1836 he composed and published, as we have seen, two
other minor professional works, he was all the while quietly elaborating
this more important performance, the first volume of which (in large
8vo) he published in March 1837. His plan was, to select from the
recognised Law Reports some of the chief Cases which had been decided in
the Common Law Courts, and which were of such superior importance as to
have become "Leading Cases," _i.e._ in his own words, "involving, and
being usually cited to establish some point or principle of real
practical importance." Each of these he made the basis of an elaborate
disquisition, in which, to continue his own explanation, "in order that
the consequences of each 'Case' might be understood, and its authority
estimated as easily as possible, NOTES" were "subjoined, in which were
collected subsequent decisions bearing on the points reported in the
text, and in which doctrines having some obvious connexion with them,"
were "occasionally discussed," ... "without allowing them to digress so
far from the subject matter of the text, as to distract the reader's
mind from that to which they ought to be subsidiary." It is difficult to
speak in terms too highly commendatory of this masterly performance--one
quite of a judicial tone of investigation--and which, immediately upon
its appearance, arrested the attention of all persons competent to form
an opinion on the subject, as a sterling and permanent addition to the
highest class of legal literature, and entitled its author to be
regarded as really a first rate lawyer. Almost all the judges, and the
most eminent members of the bar, wrote to him in terms of warm respect
and approbation; and to this moment evince the same appreciation of the
excellence of the work by quoting it, not more frequently in the
arguments of counsel than in the most elaborate judgments delivered by
the bench. It is indeed difficult to know which most to admire--the
great extent and unerring accuracy of his law, or the clearness and
precision of his reasoning, rendering simple and easy of apprehension
the most obscure and perplexing subjects. The "Cases" were selected with
great judgment out of the many thousands contained in the Reports; and
whether he confirms, or questions, or illustrates the doctrine
established by the case upon which he is annotating, he exhibits the
same modest freedom, masterly ease, accuracy, and subtlety of
discrimination, distinctness of thought, and complete familiarity with
the progress of legal decision. Every note, in short, is a model of
legal analysis; and the style, also, is pure, simple, terse, and
perspicuous. He dedicated this work to his former tutor Mr. Blick: and I
recollect our having a long discussion upon the original terms of the
dedication; which were these, "To Richard Granger Blick, Esq., this work
is inscribed by his obliged friend and pupil." I suggested the insertion
of the word "_former_," before "pupil:" without which, I said, it might
appear that the work had been written by one still in _statu pupillari_.
He was a man always difficult to convince of the impropriety of any
thing on which he had once determined. He quitted my chamber unconvinced
by what I had said: but the dedication afterwards appeared in accordance
with my suggestion. I recollect being highly amused by the pertinacious
ingenuity with which he defended his own view of the case. The fame of
this work was not, however, confined to this country, but soon reached
the United States of America, where it immediately met with the most
flattering reception, and is at this moment accounted an established
text-book, and quoted as an authority by their best writers and judges.
I recollect Mr. Smith one day coming to me, and asking me, with a quaint
mixture of mystery, pleasure, and embarrassment, if I would "be sure not
to mention to any one what he was going to tell me:" and on my promising
him that I would not, he showed me a letter which he had just received
from that eminent American jurist, Mr. Justice Story, himself one of the
most elaborate and successful, legal writers of his age, and whose works
are continually cited by both Bench and Bar in their country, with the
utmost respect in this country, in which are contained the following.

"I consider your work among the most valuable additions to judicial
literature which have appeared for many years. The 'Notes' are
excellent, and set forth the leading principles of the various cases in
the most satisfactory form, with an accuracy and nicety of
discrimination equally honourable to yourself and to our common
profession. I know not, indeed, if any work can be found which more
perfectly accomplishes the purpose of the author.... I hope that your
life may long be spared, so that you may be able to devote yourself to
similar labours for the advancement of the learning and honour of the
profession." Alas! both Mr. Justice Story and Mr. Smith, each a great
ornament to his country, died within a few months of each other. When I
congratulated my friend on this encomium, from so competent and eminent
a judge, he replied modestly--"_Laudari à laudato viro_ is certainly

So great was the demand for this work, that Mr. Smith's publisher urged
him to proceed as quickly as possible with the second volume, which he
had, in his preface to the former one, announced his intention of doing,
in the event of the first portion of his labours meeting with the
approbation of the profession. He accordingly at once set to work upon
the second volume; and although he was beginning to have serious calls
upon his time, owing principally to his having accepted the appointment,
in November 1837, of Common Law Lecturer to the Law Institution, such
were his energy and industry, that by the 12th of May, 1838, he had
succeeded in bringing out the first part of the second volume, which was
fully equal in execution to the first. While, however, he was receiving
with his usual modesty the congratulations of his friends on this solid
addition to his reputation, he received a sort of _checkmate_, which
embarrassed and utterly confounded him; occasioning him infinitely
greater annoyance and mortification than he ever experienced in his
life. A highly respectable firm of law booksellers, the publishers of
his "Compendium of Mercantile Law," and to whom he had also offered the
publication of his "Leading Cases," which they had declined, without the
slightest intimation of any objection to the principle of selecting the
"Cases," which he had explained fully to them, suddenly took it into
their heads, that in thus selecting some few cases from "Reports"
published by them, as mere texts for his masterly legal discussions, he
had been guilty of PIRACY! and actually filed a bill in Equity against
him and his publisher, to restrain them "from printing, selling, or
publishing any copies of the first part of the second volume." I never
saw Mr. Smith exhibit such intense vexation as that occasioned him by
this proceeding: he felt at once his own honour impugned, and that he
might have seriously compromised the character and interests of his
publisher. Such, however, was the confidence in the justice of his case
felt by the latter, that he resolved to resist this attack upon his own
rights and those of Mr. Smith to the very last; and he did so, at his
own expense, and with triumphant success. The Vice-Chancellor of
England, (Sir Launcelot Shadwell,) after an elaborate argument, refused
to grant the desired injunction--expressing his very decided opinion
"that on the substance of the case, and on the conduct of the
plaintiffs, (the publishers in question,) they were not entitled to the
injunction which they had asked." Against this decision the plaintiffs
immediately appealed to the present Lord Chancellor, Lord Cottenham,
who, after another very elaborate argument, and taking time to consider,
delivered a luminous judgment confirming the decision of the
Vice-Chancellor, triumphantly vindicating the propriety of both author
and publisher's conduct, and supporting the right which Mr. Smith had
thought proper to exercise; and his lordship dismissed the appeal with
costs.[5] Thus ended, what has always appeared to me a very absurd, and
as the event proved, expensive experiment, on the part of the
plaintiffs. Only one of them now carries on the business, and is a
gentleman of such high respectability, and also liberality in his
dealings with the profession, that I feel satisfied he had really very
little part in this most unsatisfactory proceeding. Mr. Smith's right
to continue his selections from the Reports, for the purpose of
annotation, having been thus established, and the excellence and
importance of his labours conspicuously made known (had that, indeed,
been necessary) to the entire profession, he at once proceeded with, and
in due time completed the remaining portion of the second volume; and
for the sake of legal science, it is to be lamented that there this
admirable work ended. Mr. Smith felt no exultation at the defeat of this
most thoughtless and unjustifiable attack upon him, nor evinced any
pleasure in the friendly congratulations showered upon him. His
sensitive mind had, indeed, been thoroughly shocked by the imputation
which had been sought to be fixed upon him; and the only feeling on the
subject which he ever expressed to me, or appeared to entertain, was one
of calm indignation. I must say that in this I think he was abundantly
justified. He repeatedly told me that he should never write another
book, for "that he had had quite enough of it." As it happened, he never
did; nor do I think that he would ever have done so, even had his career
not been cut short by death. Whenever works of solid interest and
importance in general literature appeared, Mr. Smith was very eager to
peruse them, and seldom failed in doing so. I recollect him one day
borrowing from me the first volume of Mr. Hallam's, "Introduction to the
Literature of Europe in the 15th, 16th, and 17th Centuries," which was
published alone early in 1837. He read it with great interest, and
reviewed it very ably in this Magazine--his only contribution to its
pages, in the No. for May, 1837.

    [5] The leading Counsel for the plaintiffs was the present
    Vice-Chancellor Knight Bruce; for the defendants the present
    Vice-Chancellor Wigram.

He was about the same time reading largely in the State Trials, and
frequently conversed with me upon their interesting character, wondering
that they had so seldom been made really available for the purposes of
amusing literature. He himself selected one of the trials as one
possessed of peculiar capabilities, and intended to have completed it
for this Magazine, but was prevented by his other labours. These lighter
occupations, however, were soon interfered with by his appointment, as
already intimated, to be Common Law Lecturer to the Law Institution in
Chancery Lane, in November, 1837. This he owed entirely to his own
merit, and the reputation which his writings had already gained him in
the profession. I knew that fears were entertained by the directors of
that important institution, lest his unpopular _manner_ should stand in
the way of his usefulness as a lecturer; but aware of his rare
intellectual and legal qualifications, they wisely resolved to try an
experiment, which completely succeeded. I recollect accompanying him, at
his own request, to deliver his first lecture, at the close of 1837. He
was somewhat fluttered when he made his appearance before his audience,
but at once commenced reading with apparent calmness, a very able
introductory lecture, which soon arrested attention, and caused the
committee who sat before him to congratulate themselves on their
selection. He held this appointment till March, 1843, during which time
he delivered a great number of lectures to increasingly attentive
auditories; and as he read over several portions of them to me, I am
able to say that, in my humble judgment, they were of the highest value,
for their clear, close, and correct exposition of some of the most
difficult branches of the law. He had a great talent for communicating
elementary information; and even the most ignorant and stolid of his
listeners could scarce avoid understanding his simple and lucid
explanations of legal principles. One series of his lectures on "The Law
of Contracts," has just (1846,) been published[6] _verbatim_ from his
MSS. as they were delivered, and fully justifies the opinion here
expressed. He never designed them for publication, but solely for
delivery to the attorneys' and solicitors' clerks, for whom the
lectureship was founded; yet it is doubtful whether there be any book
extant in which the difficult and extensive subject of contracts is,
and that within the space of ten short lectures, comparably treated. The
most youthful student, with only moderate attention, can acquire from
it, in a short time, correct general notions calculated to be of
infinite service to him, while able practitioners will regard it as at
once concise, accurate, and practical, and evincing a thorough mastery
of the subject in all its branches. In the words of his editor, "The
lectures embody the chief _principles_ of that branch of the law, and
will be found equal to any of the former productions of the author for
that clear, concise, and comprehensive exposition of his subject, which
has characterised his works, and ensured the vitality of his reputation;
popularising a branch of law which peculiarly affects the ordinary
business of life; divesting it of the superfluities with which it is
often encumbered; educing the great maxims, and broad rules by which it
is moulded, and unravelling the perplexity in which an occasional
conflict of judgments had from time to time involved it." I am not aware
that Mr. Symonds had any personal knowledge of Mr. Smith, so that the
more valuable is his concluding eulogium,--"That the profession already
ranks him as among the most gifted of its writers, and most learned of
modern lawyers." As an example of the ease and precision with which he
elucidated the most difficult subjects, and brought them to the level of
youthful capacities, I select the following brief passage on a most
practically important subject, that of the "consideration" essential to
support a valid simple contract, according to the civil law and that of
England.[7] After explaining the doctrine of "_Nudum pactum_," he thus

    [6] In one vol. 8vo, pp. 386, Benning & Co. Fleet Street,
    accompanied by Notes by Jelinger C. Symons, Esq. Barrister-at-Law.

    [7] But not that of Scotland. Bell's Princip. Law of Scotland, p. 4,
    (4th Edition.)

"Now, with regard to the question,--_What does the law of England
recognise as a consideration capable of supporting a simple contract?_
the short practical rule" [after adverting to a well-known passage in
Blackstone, for which he substitutes his own definition] "is, that _any
benefit accruing to him who makes the promise, or any loss, trouble, or
disadvantage undergone by, or charge imposed upon, him to who it is
made_, is a sufficient consideration in the eye of the law to sustain an
assumpsit. Thus, let us suppose that I promise to pay B £50 at
Christmas. Now there must be a _consideration_ to sustain this promise.
It may be that B has lent me £50; here is a consideration by way of
_benefit_ or _advantage_ to me. It may be that he has performed, or has
agreed to perform, some laborious service for me; if so, here is a
consideration by way of _inconvenience_ to _him_, and of advantage to me
at the same time. It may be that he is to labour for a third person at
my request; here will be _inconvenience_ to him, without advantage to
_me_: or it may be that he has become surety for some one at my request;
here is a _charge_ imposed upon him: any of these will be a good
consideration to sustain the promise on my part....

"Provided there be _some_ benefit to the contractor, or _some_ loss,
trouble, inconvenience, or charge imposed upon the contractor, so as to
constitute a _consideration_, the courts are not willing to enter into
the question whether that consideration be ADEQUATE in value to the
thing which is promised in exchange for it. Very gross inadequacy,
indeed, would be an index of fraud, and might afford evidence of the
existence of fraud; and fraud, as I have already stated to you, is a
ground on which the performance of any contract may be resisted. But if
there be no suggestion that the party promising has been defrauded, or
deceived, the court will not hold the promise invalid upon the ground of
mere _inadequacy_; for it is obvious, that to do so would be to exercise
a sort of tyranny over the transactions of parties who have a right to
fix their own value upon their own labour and exertions, but would be
prevented from doing so were they subject to a legal scrutiny on each
occasion, on the question whether the bargain had been such as a prudent
man would have entered into. Suppose, for instance, I think fit to give
£1000, for a picture not worth £50: it is foolish on my part; but, if
the owner do not take me in, as the phrase is, no _injury_ is done. I
_may_ have my reasons. Possibly I may think that I am a better judge of
painting than my neighbours, and that I have detected in the picture the
touch of Raphael or Correggio. It would be hard to prevent me from
buying it, and hard to prevent my neighbour from making the best of his
property, provided he do not take me in by telling me a false story
about it. Accordingly, in the absence of fraud, mere _inadequacy_ of
consideration is no ground for avoiding a contract."[8]

    [8] Pp. 88-96.

Those who are acquainted with the practical difficulties of this
subject, will best appreciate the cautious accuracy, and yet elementary
simplicity and clearness, which characterised his teaching: he being
then, be it remembered, little more than twenty-eight years of age.

His writings having thus led to his being placed in a situation where he
had ample opportunities for exhibiting legitimately to the profession
his great legal acquirements and abilities, it was not long before he
became sensible of making his way, but gradually, nevertheless, into
business. He had given up practising at sessions some time before, and
resolved thenceforth to address himself entirely to civil business in
London, and at the Assizes. The late Mr. Robert Vaughan Richards,
Q.C.,[9] then one of the leaders of the Oxford Circuit, and himself an
eminent lawyer and accomplished scholar, was one of the earliest to
detect the superior qualifications of Mr. Smith, and lost no fair and
legitimate opportunity of enabling him to exhibit his abilities, by
naming him as an arbitrator, when the most important causes at the
Assizes had been agreed to be so disposed of; and he invariably gave the
highest satisfaction to both parties--the counsel before him, in
arbitrations both in town and country, finding it necessary to conduct
their cases as carefully as if they were before one of the astutest
judges on the bench. Though many important causes were thus referred to
him, and were attended by some of the most experienced members of the
bar, I am not aware of any instance in which his decisions were
afterwards reversed by, or even questioned before, the courts. When once
he had obtained a fair "start" on his circuit, he quickly overcame the
disadvantages of a person and manner which one _might_ characterise more
strongly than as unprepossessing. Few cases of great importance were
tried, in which Mr. Smith was not early engaged; and the entire conduct
of the cause, up to the hour of trial, confidently intrusted to his
masterly management. Amongst many others may be mentioned the great will
case of _Panton v. Williams_, and that of James Wood of Gloucester, and
other well-known cases. He was, without exception, one of the ablest
_pleaders_ with whom I ever came into contact: equally quick, sure, and
long-headed in selecting his point of attack or defence with reference
to the ultimate decision, skilfully escaping from difficulties, and
throwing his opponent in the way of them, and of such, too, as not many
would have had the sagacity to have foreseen, or thought of speculating
upon. A recent volume of the Law Reports contains a case which, though
his name does not appear in it, attests his appreciated superiority. It
involved a legal point of much difficulty, and so troublesome in its
facts as to have presented insuperable obstacles to two gentlemen
successively, one under the bar, the other at the bar, and both eminent
for their knowledge and experience. Their pleadings were, however,
successfully demurred to; and then their client was induced to lay the
case before Mr. Smith, who took quite a new view of the matter, in
accordance with which he framed the pleadings, and when the case came on
to be argued by the gentleman, (an eminent Queen's Counsel,) who has
recently mentioned it to me, he succeeded, and without difficulty. "I
never," said he, "saw a terribly bepuzzled case so completely
disentangled--I never saw the real point so beautifully put forward: we
won by doing little else than stating the course of the pleadings; the
court holding that the point was almost too clear for argument." I could
easily multiply such instances. Mr. Smith had a truly astonishing
facility in mastering the most intricate state of facts; as rapidly
acquiring a knowledge of them, as he accurately and tenaciously retained
even the slightest circumstances. He seldom used precedents, (often
observing that "no man who understood his business needed them, except
in very special occasions;") and, though a rapid draughtsman, it was
rarely, indeed, that he laid himself open to attack in matters of even
mere formal inaccuracy, while he was lynx-eyed enough to those of his
opponents. When _he_ was known to be the party who had demurred, his
adversaries began seriously to think of _amending_! When his cases were
ripe for argument _in banc_, he took extreme pains to provide himself
with authorities on every point which he thought it in the least
probable might be started against him by either the bench or the bar. I
told him, on one of these occasions, that I thought "he need not give
his enemy credit for such far-sighted astuteness."--"Oh," said he
quickly, "never undervalue an opponent: besides, I like turning up
law--I don't forget it, and, as Lord Coke says, it is sure to be useful
at some time or another." In court, he was absorbed in his case,
appearing to be sensible of the existence of nothing else but his
opponent and the bench. He was very calm, quiet, and silent, rarely, if
ever interrupting, and then always on a point proving to be of adequate
importance. He did not take copious or minute notes on his brief, but
never missed any thing of the least real significance or moment. When he
rose to speak, his manner was formal and solemn, even to a degree of
eccentricity calculated to provoke a smile from the hearers. His voice
was rather loud and hard, his features were inflexible, his utterance
was exceedingly deliberate, and his language precise and elaborate. His
motions were very slight, and, such as he had, ungraceful: for he would
stand with his right arm a little raised, and the hand hanging down
passively by his side for a long time together, except when a slight
vertical motion appeared--he, the while, unconscious of the
indication--to show that he was uttering what he considered very
material. When a question was put to him by the judges, he always paused
for a moment or two to consider how best he should answer it; and if it
_could_ be answered, an answer precise and pointed indeed he would give
it. He afforded, in this instance, a contrast to the case of a gentleman
then at the bar, about whom he has often laughed heartily with me.
"Whenever," said he, "the judges put a question to ----, however subtle
and dangerous it may be, and though he evidently cannot in the least
degree perceive the drift of it, before the words are out of their
mouths, he, as it were, thrusts them down again with a confident
good-humoured volubility, a kind of jocular recklessness of law and
logic, which often makes one wonder whether the judges are more inclined
to be angry or amused; nay, I have once or twice seen one of them lean
back and laugh outright, poor ---- looking upon that as an evidence of
his own success!" How different was the case with Mr. Smith, is known to
every one who has heard him argue with the judges. Nothing consequently
could be more flattering than the evident attention with which they
listened to him, and most properly; for he never threw away a word,
never wandered from the point, and showed on all occasions such a
complete mastery of his facts, and such an exact and extensive knowledge
of the law applicable to them, as not only warranted but required the
best attention of those whose duty it was to decide the case. His manner
was very respectful to the bench, without a trace of servility; and to
those associated with him, or opposed to him, he was uniformly courteous
and considerate. When he had to follow his leader, or even two of them,
he would frequently give quite another tone to the case, a new direction
to the argument, and draw his opponents and the judges after him,
unexpectedly, into the deeper waters of law. He was also distinguished
by a most scrupulous and religions fidelity and accuracy of statement,
whether of cases or facts, and documents, especially affidavits. The
judges felt that they might rely upon every syllable that fell from him;
that he was too accurate and cautious to be mistaken, too conscientious
to suppress, garble, mislead, or deceive, with whatever safety or
apparent advantage he might have done so. I have heard him say, that he
who made rash and ill-considered statements in arguing in a court of
justice, was not worthy of being there, and ought to be pitied or
despised, according as the fault arose from timidity and inexperience,
or confirmed carelessness or indifference, or fraudulent intention to
deceive. It was in arguing before the court _in banc_, that Mr. Smith so
much excelled; being equally lucid in stating and arranging his facts,
logical in reasoning upon them, and ready in bringing to bear on them
the most recondite doctrines of law. He was certainly not calculated to
have ever made a figure at Nisi Prius; yet I recollect one day that one
of the present judges, then a Queen's Counsel, was talking to me in
court as Mr. Smith entered, and said, "What think you? your friend Smith
has been opposing me to-day in a writ of inquiry to assess damages in a
crim. con. case." I laughed. "Ay, indeed,--I thought myself that if
there was a man at the bar more unfit than another for such a case, it
was Smith; but I do assure you that he conducted the defendant's case
with so much tact and judgment, that he reduced my verdict by at least
£500! He really spoke with a good deal of feeling and spirit, and when
the Jury had got accustomed to him, they listened most attentively; and
the result is what I tell you."

    [9] To this gentleman he dedicated, in 1843, the third edition of
    his "Mercantile Law." Within a very few months of each other, both
    of them died--Mr. Richards himself having, as he once told me,
    ruined his health by his intense and laborious prosecution of his
    profession. He had found it necessary to retire a year or two before
    his death. His brother, also, Mr. Griffith Richards, Q.C., one of
    the ablest members of the Chancery Bar, recently died under similar

Following the course of his professional progress, in 1840 Mr. Smith was
appointed a revising barrister for one of the counties on his circuit,
by Mr. Baron Alderson, who was personally a stranger to him, and named
him for the office solely on account of his eminent fitness for the
post. He held it for several years, giving unmixed satisfaction to all
parties, until precluded from further retaining it, in reference, I
believe, to a rule of etiquette respecting seniority, prevailing at the
bar of the Oxford circuit.

I recollect that, on one occasion, while he was waiting, apparently in
vain, for the chance of professional employment, and not long before the
occurrence of that moment of despondency already mentioned, when he
contemplated quitting the profession, he and I were walking in the
Temple Gardens, and he said, "Now, if I were to choose my future life at
the bar, I should, of all things, like to have, and should be delighted
with, a first-rate pleading business; not made up of many petty things,
but of a few very important cases,--of 'heavy business,' in short. I
feel that I could get on very well with it, and that it is just the
thing suited to me. It would exercise my mind, and also secure me a
handsome income, and, before long, an independence. What I should do
_then_ I don't know." His wishes were amply gratified a few years
afterwards, as the reader must have already seen. So rapidly, indeed,
did the calls of private practice increase upon him, that he was forced,
early in 1843, to resign his lectureship at the Law Institution, having,
in fact, got fairly into the stream of his desired "first-rate pleading
business" to an extent which heavily taxed both his physical and mental
energies. Whatever was brought to him, he attended to thoroughly, never
resting till he had completely exhausted the subject, and contemplated
it from every point of view. Even at this time, however, it would be
incredible to what an extent he obliged his friends at the bar,
principally by preparing for them arguments, and sketching for them
"opinions" on their cases, and these, too, generally of special
difficulty and importance. Some of the most admirable arguments
delivered by others of late, at the bar of the House of Lords, had been
really prepared by Mr. Smith. In one instance, indeed, I recollect
hearing the ablest living lawyer and advocate mention, that in a
particular cause of great magnitude, not having found it possible even
to open his ponderous brief before he was called upon to argue, he had
time, before he rose, barely to glance over a very brief "epitome" of
the facts, and of the _real_, though unsuspected point in which the case
ought to be decided, which had been prepared for his assistance by Mr.
Smith. In confident reliance upon his accuracy in matters both of fact
and law, the counsel in question boldly opened the case, implicitly
adopting, and ably enforcing Mr. Smith's view of it, and succeeded in
obtaining the judgment of the House. Mr. Smith never spoke, however, of
these his subsidiary labours to others, nor liked ever to have any
allusion made, to the subject. It was impossible that he could get
through all this business without sitting up during most of the night;
and I know that, for the last three or four years of his life, he was
rarely in bed before two, and sometimes three, and even four o'clock,
having to be, nevertheless, at Westminster or Guildhall as early as ten
o'clock, or half-past nine, on the ensuing morning. While thus arduously
engaged, he kept a constant eye upon the progress of the decisions of
the various courts, as bearing upon his "Mercantile Law," and "Leading
Cases," interleaved copies of which always lay on his table before him,
and received almost daily MS. additions. Thus it was that he was able,
in 1841 and 1843, to present new editions of his "Leading Cases," and
"Mercantile Law," greatly enlarged and improved, and in many instances,
especially in the "Leading Case," entirely remodelled. Nor was he, with
all this, so absorbed as to forget literature; for, amidst his piles of
opened law-books, you might often see a well-used copy of some classic
English, French, Spanish, or Italian author, either prose or poetry,
which he would read with equal zest and attention, as his pencil-marks
in such volumes even now attest. As for "Don Quixote", and "Gil Blas," I
really think he knew them almost by heart, in the originals. He was also
very fond of Tacitus, Cicero, and Demosthenes, from all of whom, as well
as the other leading classics, but especially the two latter, he could
quote to a surprising extent, and with signal accuracy--a fact well
known to all his friends. Of this, indeed, Mr. Phillimore[10] has given
a striking instance, in his sketch of Mr. Smith in the "Law Magazine."
After observing that "his memory was, indeed, astonishing, and the feats
which he performed with it were incredible; that the writer had heard
him repeat, successively, scene after scene from a French
vaudeville,--the Record in an Action filling up the "&c.'s," and a
passage from a Greek orator, without the least apparent difficulty or
hesitation," Mr. Phillimore proceeds to say, that the passage in
question "was one of the finest in the Greek language, being in the
speech of Æschines, which the most celebrated effort of the genius of
Demosthenes was required to answer; when, after adjuring the Athenians
not to raise a trophy to their own loss and shame, nor awaken in the
minds of their confederates the recollection of their misfortunes, he
proceeds--'[Greek: all' epeidê tois sômasin ou paregenesthe, alla tais
ge dianoiais apoblepsat' autôn eis tas symphoras],' &c., down to the
words, '[Greek: episkêptontas mêdeni tropôi ton tês helladus aleitêrion
stephanoun],' the writer well remembering that Mr. Smith insisted
particularly on the extraordinary force and beauty of the word, '[Greek:
episkêptontas].'" I, also, have often heard him quote long passages from
the Greek dramatists, particularly from "Aristophanes," really
_impromptu_, and with as much facility and vivacity as if he had been
reading English. I have already intimated that he read many of the new
publications of the day. One of these was Mr. Macaulay's "Lays of
Ancient Rome," with which he was much amused, saying that "some of them
were very clever and spirited;" and, after reading them, he sate down
one evening and wrote a humorous parody on them, which he showed me,
entitled, "Lay of Gascoigne Justice," prefaced by an "Extract from a
Manuscript of a Late Reporter," who says, "I had observed numerous
traces, in the old reports and entries, of the use of _Rhythm_ in the
enunciation of legal doctrines; and, pursuing the investigation, I at
length persuaded myself that, in the infancy of English law, the
business of the court was transacted _in verse_, or, at least, rhythm,
sometimes without, but on grand and solemn occasions with, the aid of
music; a practice which seems to have been introduced by the
ecclesiastical advocates." After a humorous argument in support of this
notion, he concludes: "The following attempt to restore certain of these
_Lays of Ancient Law_ is conceived, as the original lays themselves
probably were, partly in bad English, partly in Dog-Latin." Then follows
the "Lay of Gascoigne Justice, Chanted by Cooke and Coke, Serjeants, and
Plowden, Apprentice in the Hall of Serjeants' Inn, A.D., 15--." The
subject of the Lay was a certain highway exploit of Prince Harry, Poins,
and Peto. Poins gets into trouble, being brought incontinently before
Gascoigne Justice, "presiding at the Bailey." The concluding verses
contain a just satire on certain gross defects in the administration of
criminal justice, which have been only very recently remedied.

    [10] "Law Magazine," N.S. Vol. lxx. p. 183.

    "When Poins he spied, ho, ho! he cried,
      The caitiff hither bring!
    We'll have a quick deliverance,
      Betwixt him and the King:

    And sooth he said, for justice sped
      In those days at a rate
    Which _now_ 'twere vain to seek to gain,
      In matters small or great.

        *    *    *    *

    For sundry wise precautions,
      The sages of the law
    Discreetly framed, whereby they aimed
      To keep the rogues in awe.

    For lest some sturdy criminal
      False witnesses should bring--
    _His witnesses were not allowed
      To swear to any thing_.

    And lest his oily advocate
      The court should overreach,
    _His advocate was not allowed
      The privilege of speech_.

    Yet such was the humanity
      And wisdom of the law!
    That if in his indictment there
      Appeared to be a flaw--

    The court assigned him counsellors,
      To argue on the doubt,
    _Provided he himself had first
      Contrived to point it out_.

    Yet lest their mildness should perchance
      Be craftily abused,
    _To show him the indictment they
      Most sturdily refused_.

    But still that he might understand
      The nature of the charge,
    _The same was in the Latin tongue
      Read out to him at large_.

    'Twas thus the law kept rogues at awe,
      Gave honest men protection,
    And justly famed, by all was named,
      Of '_wisdom the perfection_!'

    But _now_ the case is different,
      The rogues are getting bold--
    It was not so, some time ago,
      In those good days of old!"

It may be gathered from what has gone before, that Mr. Smith's mind was
one of equal _activity_ and strength. His physical energies might flag,
but never those of his mind. He was always ready to pass from protracted
and intense professional study and exertion, to other kinds of mental
exercise--"from gay to grave, from lively to severe"--either reading
general literature, or amusing himself with slight affairs such as the
foregoing; or, as soon as a little leisure had recruited his spirits,
entering with infinite zest into superior conversation on almost any
topic that could be started. He was for a long time shy and distant to
strangers; but was quite a different person at the tables, and in the
company, of his old friends and companions. There certainly never sate
at _my_ table a man who, when in the humour, could supply for hours
together such genuine fun and amusement as Mr. Smith. Our little
children were always very glad to see him, for he was patient and gentle
with them, and contrived really to entertain them. Towards ladies, his
manner was always most fastidiously delicate and courteous. There was,
if I may so speak, a smack of days gone by--a kind of antique and rather
quaint gracefulness of demeanour and address, which I used frequently to
contemplate with lively interest and curiosity. When he returned from
dining out, to his chambers, he would light his candles, and, instead of
going to bed, sit up till a very late hour; for not only had he much to
get through, but was a bad sleeper. A few years before his death, he had
become a member of the Garrick Club, which was ever after his favourite
resort, and was also frequented by several other members of the bar. He
was delighted to take a friend or two to dinner with him, and would
entertain them most hospitably, and with increasing frequency, as his
means became rapidly more ample. He was also fond of the theatres,
taking special delight in comedies and farces, however broad, and even
pantomimes. With what solemn drollery he would afterwards dwell on the
feats of Clown and Pantaloon! I am here, however, speaking of several
years ago; for latterly he said, "It was a very hard thing to find any
thing to laugh at in a pantomime, however much one tried!"

During the years 1842, 1843, and 1844, his practice continued steadily
increasing, and that, too, in the highest and most lucrative class of
business--not only before special juries at Nisi Prius, and the Courts
in Banc and in Error in the Exchequer Chamber, but in the Privy Council
and the House of Lords. Before the last tribunal, in particular, he
appeared as one of the counsel in the O'Connell case, on behalf of Mr.
O'Connell and his companions. His time was now incessantly occupied, by
day and night; his slight intervals of relaxation necessarily becoming
fewer and fewer. His evenings, indeed, were almost always occupied with
arbitrations, consultations, or preparing those pleadings and writing
those opinions which his constant attendance in the Courts prevented his
_then_ disposing of. His friends saw with pain how grievously he was
over-tasking his strength, and earnestly importuned him to give himself
more intervals of relaxation--but in vain. For nearly two years before
his death, his haggard countenance evidenced the direful havoc which he
was making of a constitution never of the strongest. Sir William Follett
and he were both sitting at the bar of the House of Lords, on one of the
latest days of the hearing of Mr. O'Connell's case, each within a yard
or two of me. Two death-doomed beings they looked, each, alas! having
similarly provoked and accelerated his fate. On the same afternoon that
Sir William Follett leaned heavily and feebly on a friend's arm as he
with difficulty retired from the bar, I went home in a cab with Mr.
Smith, who sate by me silent and exhausted, and coughing convulsively. I
repeatedly conjured him to pause, and give his shattered health a chance
of recovery, by retiring for a few months, or even for a year or two,
from the excitement and wasting anxieties and exertions of business; but
he never would listen to me, nor to any of his friends. "It is all very
well," he said to me several times, "to talk of retiring _for a while_;
but what is to become of one's business and connexion in the mean time?
You know it will have melted away for ever." He had, however, been
persuaded to consult a physician of experienced skill in cases of
consumption; who, after having once or twice seen him, sent a private
message to the friend who had prevailed on Mr. Smith to call upon him;
and on that friend's attending the physician, he pronounced the case to
be utterly hopeless; that it might be a matter of months, even; but he
ought to be prepared for the worst, and apprised of his situation. His
friend requested the physician to undertake that duty, assuring him of
his patient's great strength of mind and character: but he declined. Mr.
Smith spent the long vacation of 1844 with his brothers and sisters in
Ireland. They were shocked at his appearance, and affectionately
implored him not to return to England, or attempt to resume his
professional duties; but in vain. While staying in Ireland, he regretted
the fast flight of time, evidently clinging to the society of his
brothers and sisters, to the latter of whom he was most devotedly
attached; but bleak, bitter, blighting November saw him again
established at the Temple, and fairly over head and ears in the business
of the commencing term. He attended the courts as usual; went out in the
evenings to arbitrations and consultations as of old; dined also at the
Garrick as before, and sat up as late at nights as ever. We all sighed
at this deplorable infatuation; but what could we do? He was a man of
inflexible will, and a peculiar idiosyncracy. Remonstrance and entreaty,
from the first useless, at length evidently became only irritating. Not
a judge on the bench, nor a member of the bar, but regretted to see him
persist in attending the courts; where he sat and stood, indeed, a
piteous spectacle. He resolved on going the Spring Circuit in 1845,
being retained in some of the heaviest cases tried there. Shortly before
this, the friend already referred to resolved to perform the painful
duty of telling him, that in his physician's opinion there was not a ray
of hope for his recovery; a communication which he received with perfect
calmness and fortitude. To his brother's entreaties, about the month of
June, that he would either go abroad, accompanied by one of his brothers
or sisters, or allow the latter to come and live with him, in a house a
little removed from town, he steadily turned a deaf ear. He evidently
knew that it was useless; and spoke of his desperate state as calmly as
he would have done in referring to the case of a mere stranger. It is
believed that his sole reason for refusing to permit his sister to come
over, was his fond and tender regard for her--a reluctance to permit her
to witness him waste away, injuring in vain her own health and spirits.
About this time, he said to his brother very quietly, but sadly, that
"he feared his sisters would soon have to bear a severe shock!" He sat
in his chambers, which were within only a few yards' distance from the
Temple Church, on the day of Sir William Follett's funeral. He heard the
tolling of the bell, and from his window[11] he could have seen much of
that solemn ceremonial. What must have been his feelings? This was on
the 4th July; and five days afterwards, (viz. on the 9th,) poor Mr.
Smith appeared, I believe for the last time in the Court of Exchequer,
during the post-terminal sittings in Trinity vacation, to argue a
demurrer! I was present during part of the time. What a dismal object he
looked, while addressing the Court! I think we drove up to the Temple
together. He had argued the case of Bradburne _v._ Botfield, (reported
in 14 Meeson and Welsby, 558,) the last time, I believe, that his name
appears in the Reports. It was a very nice question, as to whether
certain covenants in a lease were joint or several: his argument was
successful, and the Court gave judgment in his favour. The next day he
said to me, speaking of this occasion, "The judges must have thought me
talking great nonsense: I was so weak, that it was with very great
difficulty I could keep from dropping down, for my legs trembled under
me all the time violently, and now and then I seemed to lose sight of
the judges." Yet his argument was distinguished by his usual accuracy,
clearness, and force of reasoning. Nobody could prevail upon him to
abstain from going the summer circuit. He went accordingly, and unless I
am mistaken, held several heavy briefs. When the northern circuit had
closed, I joined my family at Hastings; and found that poor Mr. Smith
was staying alone at the Victoria Hotel, St. Leonards. I called upon him
immediately after my arrival. His appearance was truly afflicting to
behold. Consumption had fixed her talons still deeper in his vitals. He
sat in an easy chair, from which he could not rise without great effort;
and he expressed himself as delighted that I, and another of his oldest
friends, happened to have established ourselves so near him. He was
quite alone--no friend or relative with him; several briefs, &c. lay on
his table, together with the most recent numbers of the Reports, several
law-books, and works on general literature. A Bible also lay in the
room, with several papers placed within the leaves. Nothing could exceed
the attention paid him by the landlady and her daughter, and the
servants; but he gave them very little trouble. His cough was much
aggravated, as were the wasting night-sweats; and he could walk only a
few steps without assistance. Soon after having got to Hastings, I was
summoned away to attend a court-martial at Leeds, which kept me there
for upwards of a fortnight. On my return, Mr. Smith expressed a lively
anxiety to hear from me a detailed account of "how the military managed
law." He seemed never tired of hearing of those "curious proceedings,"
as he styled them. I spent nearly two hours a day with him during the
remainder of my stay, accompanying him in long drives whenever the
weather permitted. Weak though his body was, his mind was as active and
strong as ever. I saw several as heavy "sets" of papers, from time to
time, forwarded by his clerk from London, according to Mr. Smith's
orders, as I had ever seen even in his chambers. When I implored him to
send them back, and take a real holiday, he answered simply, "No; they
_must_ be attended to,"--and he did so: though I saw him once unable
from weakness to lift a brief from his knees to the table. I never
beheld so calm and patient a sufferer. He never repined at the fate
which had befallen him, nor uttered a word showing impatience or
irritability. When we drove out together, he generally said little or
nothing the whole time, lest his cough should be aggravated, but was
very anxious to be talked to. Once he suddenly asked me, when we were
driving out, "Whether I really ever intended to permit him to see the
sketch of Follett, which I was preparing." I parried the question, by
asking him, "Whether he thought Sir William Follett a great
lawyer."--"Certainly," said he, "if there _be_ such a character as a
great lawyer. What thing of importance that only a great lawyer could
do, did not Follett do? He _necessarily_ knew an immensity of law; and
his tact was a thing quite wonderful. I was a great admirer of
Follett.... I once heard him say, by the way, that either he had applied
for the place of a police magistrate, or would have accepted it, if it
had been offered, soon after he had come to the bar; so that it is quite
a mistake to suppose that he was all at once so successful.... And I can
tell you another little fact about Follett: though perhaps no man took
so few notes on his brief, during a cause: this was not always so; for,
when he first came to the bar, he took most full and elaborate notes of
every case, and prepared his arguments with extreme care. I have seen
proofs of this." Shortly before his leaving town, he purchased a copy of
Thirlwall's (the Bishop of St. David's) History of Greece, in eight
volumes, "to read over at the sea-side;" and he did so: telling me that
"he liked it much,--that it had told him many things which he had not
known before." This copy his brother presented to me after Mr. Smith's
death, and I value it greatly. One morning I found him much exhausted;
but soon after I had taken my seat, he said, "You can oblige me by
something, if you will do it for me. I recollect that there is generally
lying on your table, at chambers, 'Bell's Principles of the Law of
Scotland.' Now I am very anxious to read the book, as I expect to be in
one, if not two, Scotch appeal cases, in the House of Lords, next
session!--Will you do me this favour?" Of course I immediately procured
the book to be forwarded to him, and it afforded him uncommon pleasure
for many days. He read it entirely through with deep attention, as his
numerous pencil marks on the margin attest, as well as several notes on
the fly-leaf, of leading points of difference between our law and that
of Scotland. At page 35, §76, the text runs thus:--"Tacit acceptance may
be inferred from silence, when the refusal is so put as to require
rejection, if the party do not mean to assent; as when a merchant writes
to another, that he is against a certain day, to send him a certain
commodity, at a certain price, unless he shall previously forbid."
Opposite to this, Mr. Smith has written in pencil, "_Surely one man
cannot throw the duty of refusal on another, [in] that way?_" In the
course of a little discussion which we had on this subject, I said,
"Suppose the parties have had previously similar transactions?"--"Ah,"
he answered, "that might make a difference, and evidence a _contract_ to
the effect stated; but as nakedly enunciated in the text, I think It
cannot be the law of Scotland, or law any where." He made many
interesting and valuable remarks from time to time on Scotch law, and
expressed a high opinion of the work in question, referring to every
portion of it as readily as though it had been his familiar text-book
for years. I often found him reading the numbers of the Queen's Bench,
Common Pleas, and Exchequer Reports; and he once said, "I have a good
many arrears to get through, in this way, before the beginning of
term!" One day I saw a prodigious pile of law papers lying on his table,
which had just arrived from London. "Why, what are these, my dear
Smith?" said I earnestly--for he lay on the sofa in a state of miserable
exhaustion. After some minutes' pause, he replied, "It is a very
troublesome case. I have to reply or demur to some very harassing pleas
of ----."--"But why not postpone them till near the end of October?"
"When I am not fatigued, papers amuse me, and occupy my attention." I
offered to him my services. "No, thank you--it would fatigue me more to
explain the previous state of matters, with which I am familiar, than to
draw the pleadings"--and he did it himself. On another occasion, I saw
him sitting in his easy chair, deadly pale. When I had placed myself
beside him, he said in a faint tone, but calmly and deliberately, "This
morning a very serious thing has happened to me," and he mentioned a new
and very alarming feature in his complaint, which, alas! fully justified
his observation; and during the day he allowed me to request Dr. Duke,
who was attending a patient in the hotel, to see him. He did--and on
quitting him, told me that of course the case was hopeless; that his
friends should be sent for, and he would not answer for his life for a
few weeks, or even days. Two or three days afterwards, Dr. Duke saw him
again, and had left him only half-an-hour when I called. He was writing
a letter to an old friend (one of his executors,) and his face wore an
expression of peculiar solemnity. Laying down his pen, and leaning back
in his chair, he gently shook my hand, and, in an affectionate manner,
said, "Warren, I have just had a startling communication made me by Dr.
Duke; he has told me plainly that I cannot live much longer,--that
recovery is utterly out of the question,--and that I am nearer death
than I suppose." After a pause, I said, "He has been faithful, then, my
dear Smith. It was his duty; and I trust he did it in a prudent
manner."--"Perfectly," he replied. Profound gloom was in his features,
but he was perfectly calm. Presently he said, covering his face with his
attenuated hand, "I have none to thank but myself; I have killed myself
by going the last circuit, but I could not resist some tempting briefs
which awaited me! I now regret that I did not allow my sister to come
over, months ago, and go with her to the South of France; but of course
wishing _now_ is useless." Again I entreated him to allow her to be sent
for. "My dear Warren," said he very decisively, "you and B. have often
asked me to do so. I beg you to do so no more. I have private reasons
for declining to follow your advice." His voice slightly faltered. His
"private reasons" have already been adverted to--they were, his tender
love for one whom he would not shock by showing himself to her in the
rapid progress of decay! From that day I never saw the semblance of a
smile upon his face, nor any appearance of emotion, but only of solemn
thoughtfulness. A few days afterwards I said to him, "Well, if it be the
will of God that you should never return to your profession, it is
certainly consolatory for you to reflect how great a reputation you
justly enjoy at the bar, and in how short a time you have gained it.
Your name will live." He made no answer for some minutes, but shook his
head, and then said, "I have done nothing worthy of being remembered
for; but you are very kind for saying so." Even after this, the mail
every now and then brought him fresh "papers" from town; and Miss ----,
the daughter of the landlady, and who attended him with the utmost
solicitude, one evening burst into tears, as she showed me a fresh
packet; adding, "It is really heart-breaking to have to take them in to
him: he is so weak that he feels a difficulty in even opening them!" It
was so, indeed! The two old friends whom he had named as executors, came
down to St. Leonards two or three times, and spent several days with
him. As the time for our family's return to town approached, he
evidently regarded it with uneasiness, and almost daily said, "Must you
_really_ go by the 15th?... And ---- is also going before that: then I
shall be left quite alone, and shall certainly feel dull." A friend of
mine, a lady, who resides near St. Leonards, having requested me to
introduce her to him, in order that when we were gone she might come
and see him, I asked him if he would allow me to do so? "Indeed," said
he, faintly, and with a slight flush, "I should not only feel it a
compliment, but extremely kind." The lady in question accordingly drove
down very kindly almost daily, bringing him grapes and flowers, which he
said he felt to be a very delicate attention: and so anxious was he to
evince his sense of her courtesy, that he insisted on driving, when very
feeble, on a bleak day, to leave a card at the lady's residence, nearly
three miles off, with his own hand. When I took my leave of him, he
seemed, I thought, a little moved; but said calmly, "If the weather
breaks up, I shall return to the Temple: and it is possible that I may
take lodgings in another part of the town; but to court I _must_ go, at
whatever inconvenience--for I have cases there which I must personally
attend to!"

    [11] His chambers were No. 2, Mitre Court Buildings, to which he had
    removed from No. 12, King's Bench Walk, about two years before.

Towards the close of October he followed us to London, alone, and was
sadly fatigued and exhausted by his journey. He went at once to his
chambers; which he never, with one exception, quitted till his death;
lying stretched in his dressing-gown upon the sofa, a large table near
him being covered with briefs, cases, and pleadings, which he attended
to almost as regularly as if he had been in perfect health. Yet he found
it difficult to sit up, his hand trembled when holding even a small
book, and his cough was fearfully increased in frequency and violence,
and he could get little or no sleep at nights. The reader may imagine
the concern and astonishment with which I heard, that about a fortnight
after his return, he had actually gone to dine at the Garrick Club!
Sitting at his table there, as a friend who saw him told me, "more like
a corpse than a living being; in short, I almost thought it must be his
ghost!" He left his rooms, however, no more; having his dinner sent in,
till within the last few days of his life, from a neighbouring tavern.
He had several consultations held at his chambers, in cases where new
trials were to be moved for; his leaders, (one of whom was Mr. Sergeant
Talfourd,) considerately waving etiquette, and coming to their dying
junior's chambers. They were, as may be supposed, most reluctant to
transact business with one in his state, but he insisted upon it. He
earnestly requested me not to mention at Westminster, or elsewhere, how
ill I thought him; "for if you do, my clients will send me no business,
and then I shall have nothing to amuse my mind with." Towards the end of
the term, he observed to me one morning,--"See how very kind my clients
are to me! I suspect they have heard that I cannot go to court, so they
send me a great number of pleas, demurrers, and motion papers, which I
have merely to sign, and get half a guinea: I think it so considerate!"
About the last day of the term, I happened myself to be his opponent, in
one of those minor matters of form, a motion for judgment as in case of
a nonsuit, on account of my client's not having gone to trial at the
preceding assizes. Mr. Smith was lying in a state of great exhaustion on
the sofa; but mentioned the "rule." I told him that I had brought my
brief with me,--"A peremptory undertaking, I suppose," said he,
languidly, "to try at the next assizes?"--"Yes, and I will sign my own
papers, and yours too, to save you the trouble,--or your clerk
shall?"--"No, thank you," said he, and with difficulty raised himself.
"Will you oblige me by giving me a pen?" I did so, and with a trembling
hand he wrote his name on the briefs, saying, in a melancholy tone as he
wrote, "It is the last time I shall sign my name with yours. Even if you
_perform_ your undertaking, _I_ shall not be at the trial." About a week
afterwards I found him finishing the last sheet of a huge mass of
short-hand writer's notes of an important case in which he was
concerned, and he was grievously exhausted. It was in vain to
remonstrate with him! An early and devoted friend of his, and I, called
upon him daily two or three times, and sat with him as long as our
engagements would permit us. We found his mind always vigorous; and
though he could converse little, from weakness, and its irritating his
cough, his language was as exact and significant as ever, and he liked
to hear others talk, especially about what was going on at Westminster.
I was sitting silently beside him one afternoon, only a fortnight
before his death, when a friend came in, and, after we had sat some time
together, asked me a question which had just arisen in his practice.
"Don't you think," said he, "that, under these circumstances, we may
read the word '_forthwith_,' in this act of parliament, to mean, 'as
soon as reasonably may be?'" Our poor friend, who had not spoken before,
and lay apparently asleep, instantly raised his head, and with some
quickness observed, "Ah! if you could only read an act of parliament _in
any way you liked_, what fine things you could do!" The reader is not,
however, to suppose that Mr. Smith's mind was exclusively occupied with
business, and legal topics. On the contrary, I am certain that he both
read and thought much, and anxiously, on religious subjects. I saw the
Bible constantly open, and also one or two religious books; in
particular, Mr. Wilberforce's "Practical Christianity" lay on his table
and on his sofa. He seemed, however, to feel no disposition to
_converse_ on such topics, with any one. If any one attempted to lead
conversation in that direction, he would either be silent, or in a
significant manner change the subject. He had a favourite copy of Dante
lying often near him, and it may be interesting to state, that he has
left, underscored in pencil, the two following verses in the third
canto, (_Del Purgatorio_,) expressive of faith in the great mysteries of

    "Matto è chi spera che nostra ragione,
    Possa trascorrer la 'nfinita via,
    Che tiene una sustanzia in tre persone.

    State contente, umana gente, al quia:
    Che si potuto aveste veder tutto,
    Mestier non era partorir Maria."

It may not be necessary to say it, but I am persuaded that he was a firm
believer in the truths of Christianity, and a conscientious member of
the Church of England. One day, within about a fortnight of his death,
he said, "There is a work which I have often heard you speak of, and
which, it does so happen, I never read, though I have often wished to do
so; I mean Paley's _Horæ Paulinæ_. I may say almost that I know his
_Evidences_ off by heart. Now, will you do me the favour of procuring me
a copy of the other book, in as large type as you can, and as soon as
you can, for," he added with a slight sigh, after a pause, "I have not
much time to lose?" I immediately procured him the book in question; and
about three days afterwards he said to me, "I have read the Horæ
Paulinæ; it is a book of extraordinary merit; I very much wonder that I
never read it before." I asked him if he had read "Butler's Analogy."
"Oh yes, of course, several times, and know it well," he replied, rather
quickly. Life was visibly ebbing fast away during the first week in
December. He grew weaker and weaker almost hourly, and scarcely ever
rose from his sofa, where he always lay in his dressing-gown, except to
go to his bed-room, which adjoined and opened into his sitting-room. He
would even then allow no one to be in his chamber with him during the
might! not even his attentive and attached laundress, or his clerk! I
once very strongly urged upon him to allow the former to sleep in the
chambers. "Either she leaves my chambers at her usual hour," said he,
peremptorily, "or I do." We felt it, however, impossible to allow this;
and, without his being aware of it, his clerk and laundress by turns
continued to spend the night in one of the adjoining rooms. It was well
that such was the case, for he began to get delirious during the nights.
About ten days before his death, a great and marked change came very
suddenly over him: his eyes assumed a strange glazed appearance, and his
voice was altogether altered. His mind, however, continued calm and
collected as ever. He moaned continually, though gently, assuring us,
however, repeatedly that he felt no pain, "but an exhaustion that is
quite inconceivable by _you_." Not many days before his end, he gave us
a signal proof of the integrity of his reasoning faculties. Two of his
friends, I and another, were sitting with him, and he told us, as he
often latterly had, that he heard strange voices in the room. He asked
the one who sat next him if there were not strangers at that moment in
the room speaking? When assured that there were not, he said very
earnestly, "Will you, however, oblige me by looking immediately under
the sofa, and tell me whether there is really no one there?" His friend
looked, and solemnly assured him that there was no one there. "Now,"
said he, with some difficulty, after a pause, and suddenly looking at
us, "how extraordinary this is! Of course, after what you say, I am
bound to believe you, and the voices I hear are consequently imaginary:
yet I hear them uttering _articulate sounds_; they are human voices;
they speak to me intelligibly. What can make that impression upon the
organ of hearing--upon the tympanum? How is it done? There must be some
strange disorder in the organs. I can't understand it, nor the state of
my own faculties!" Then he relapsed into the state of drowsy, moaning,
half-unconsciousness, in which he spent the last fortnight of his life.
For a few days previously, no more briefs or papers were taken in by the
clerk: but one, a case for an opinion, which had been brought about a
week before, Mr. Smith immediately read over with a view of answering
it. In consequence of a communication from the physician, we at once
summoned Mr. Smith's two brothers, the one from Dublin Castle, and the
other (an officer on board the Devastation Steam Frigate) from
Portsmouth. Both of them came as quickly as possible, and remained to
the last in affectionate attendance upon their afflicted brother. About
three days before his death, he was asked if he wished to receive the
sacrament. "Yes," he immediately replied, "I was about to ask for it,
but feared I was too ill to go through with it. I request it may now be
administered to me as soon as can be, for I am sensible that I have no
time to lose; _and I beg that the rubric may be strictly complied with
in all respects_." This he said specially with reference to the
prescribed number ("three, or two at the least") of communicants beside
himself. The Rev. Mr. Harding, father of one of his intimate friends,
being near at hand, immediately attended, and administered that sacred
and awful rite: Lieutenant Smith, I, and another, partaking of the
sacrament with our dying friend. He was in full possession of his
faculties. He could not rise from the sofa, but made a great effort to
incline towards the clergyman, lying with his hands clasped upon his
breast. When the name of our Saviour was mentioned, he inclined his head
with profound reverence of manner. It was, indeed, a very solemn and
affecting scene, such as will never be effaced from my memory. When it
was over, Mr. Smith gently grasped the hand of Mr. Harding, and faintly
thanked him for his kindness in so promptly attending. He was unable, at
night, to walk to his bed; to which he was assisted by his brother and a
friend. The dark curtain was now rapidly descending between him and this
life. He never rose again from bed; but lay therein the same moaning yet
comparatively tranquil state in which he had been during the week. On
the morning of the day of his death, I went early to sit beside him,
alone; gazing at his poor emaciated countenance, with inexpressible
feelings. Shortly after I left, his oldest friend took my place; and,
after a while, to his great surprise, Mr. Smith, on recognising him,
asked if a particular "case,"--"Exparte ----" was not still in chambers?
On being answered in the affirmative, he requested his friend to get
pen, ink, and paper, and he would dictate the opinion! His friend,
though conceiving him to be wandering and delirious, complied with his
request; on which Mr. Smith slightly elevated himself in bed, and, to
the amazement of his friend, in a perfectly calm and collected manner,
but with great difficulty of utterance, dictated not only an
appropriate, but a correct and able opinion on a case of considerable
difficulty! When he had concluded, with the words, "the case is
practically remediless," he requested that what had been written might
be read over. It was done, and he said, on its being concluded, "There
is only one alteration necessary--strike out the words '_on the case_,'
leaving it '_action_,' simpliciter;" thereby showing an exact
appreciation of a point in the case, with reference to the suggested
form of action, of much difficulty! After this effort he rallied no
more, but lay in a dozing state all day; his friend, his brother, and
myself, by turns, sitting at his bedside. He appeared to suffer no pain.
I sate with him till about six o'clock, gazing at him with mournful
intensity, perceiving that the struggle was rapidly drawing to a close.
Being compelled to leave, I intended to have returned at eight o'clock;
but, alas! a little before that hour, tidings were brought me that at
shortly after seven o'clock our poor friend had been released from his
sufferings. A few minutes before he expired, none being present but his
brother and the laundress, he gently placed his left hand under his left
cheek, and, after a few soft breathings, each longer than the preceding
one, without apparent pain, ceased to exist upon earth. I immediately
repaired to his chambers, and joined his brother and his oldest friend.
They were sitting in mournful silence in his sitting room. Around us
were all the evidences of our departed friend's very recent
occupancy--his spectacles lay on the table;--many briefs, some of which
I had seen his own feeble hands open only a few days before, so
remained, as well as various books; among which were two large
interleaved copies of his "Mercantile Law" and "Leading Cases," with
considerable MS. additions and corrections in his own handwriting. When
I looked at all these, and reflected that the prematurely wasted remains
of one of my earliest and most faithful friends lay, scarce yet cold, in
the adjoining room, I own that I felt it difficult to suppress my

      Quis desiderio sit pudor, aut modus
    Tam cari capitis?

He died on the 17th December, 1845. On looking among his papers, there
was found a will which he had executed so long before as the year 1837,
for a reason assigned in that document, viz., that on the 3d of July in
that year, was passed the important Act of 7 Will. IV., and 1 Vict. c.
26, which rendered it necessary for all wills to be signed by the
testator in the presence of two or more attesting witnesses, none having
till then been necessary in the case of wills of personal estate, which
alone Mr. Smith left behind him. This document contains some
characteristic touches. It begins in this old fashioned and formal

"In the name of God, Amen!

"I, John William Smith, of the Inner Temple, barrister-at-law, being
minded to make my last will and testament before the act passed in the
first year of the reign of Her present Majesty, (whom God long
preserve,) entitled 'An Act for the Amendment of the Law with respect to
Wills,' shall have come into operation, do make this my last will and
testament; that is to say," &c. &c.: and he proceeded, after giving some
trifling mementoes to his friends, to bequeath all his property to his
two executors, in trust for his sisters. He directed that his coffin
should not be closed till after decay should have visibly commenced in
his body; a precaution against the possibility of premature interment:
which he always regarded with peculiar apprehension. He proceeded to
direct that he should be buried in the burying-ground around the Temple
church, a right which he always contended was possessed by every member
of the Inn. With this request, however, it was impossible for the
Benchers to comply, though anxious, by every means in their power, to do
honour to his memory. He was, therefore, buried, on the 24th December,
1845, at Kensal Green. Had it been deemed desirable by his brothers and
executors, a great number of the members of the bar would have attended
his funeral. As it was, however, sixteen only of those most intimate
with him followed his remains to their last resting-place. A small
stone, placed at the head of his grave, merely mentions his name, age,
and profession, and the day of his death; and adds, that a tablet to his
memory is erected in the Temple church. On the ensuing Sunday, the
Benchers of the Inner Temple caused the staff, or pole, surmounted with
the arms of the Inn, carved in silver, and which is always borne before
the Benchers into church, and placed at the corner of their pew, to be
covered with crape, and the vergers to wear scarves; a tribute of
respect which had never before then, I believe, been paid to any but
deceased Benchers. They expressed anxiety to pay every honour to the
memory of so distinguished a member of the Inn, and cordially assented
to the request that a tablet should be placed in the Triforium, where
one of white marble now stands, bearing the following fitting
inscription, written by his friend, Mr. Phillimore, of the Oxford

              JOH: GVL: SMITH

                H: L: S: E

Thus died, and thus was honoured in his, alas! premature death, John
William Smith: leaving behind him a name of unsullied purity, and a
permanent reputation, among a body of men noted for their severe
discrimination in estimating character. He practised his profession in
the spirit of a GENTLEMAN, disdaining all those vulgar and degrading
expedients now too often resorted to, for the purpose of securing
success at the bar. He waited, and prepared for, _his opportunity_ with
modest patience, and fortitude, and indomitable industry and energy. He
possessed an intellect of uncommon power, consummately disciplined, and
capable of easily mastering any thing to which its energies were
directed. Having devoted himself to jurisprudence, he obtained a
marvellously rapid mastery, both theoretically and practically, over its
greatest difficulties, leaving behind him writings which have
contributed equally to facilitate the study and the practice of the law,
in an enlightened spirit. Had Providence been pleased to prolong his
life, the voice of the profession would, within a very few years, have
called for his elevation to the judicial bench, and he would have proved
one of its brightest ornaments. Nor did he sink the scholar in the
lawyer, but cherished to the last those varied, elegant, refined, and
refining tastes and pursuits, which, having acquired him early
academical distinction, rendered in after life his intercourse always
delightful to the most accomplished and gifted of his friends and
acquaintance, and supplied him with a never-failing source of
intellectual recreation. Above all, his conduct was uniformly
characterised by truth and honour, by generosity and munificence, hid
from nearly all but the objects of it; and by a profound reverence for
religion, and a sincere faith in that Christianity whose consolations he
experienced in the trying time of sickness and death, and which could
alone afford him a well-founded hope of eternal peace and happiness.

_Inner Temple, 8th January, 1847._

       *       *       *       *       *


    [12] Memoirs of General Pépé. Written by himself. London, 1846.

Upon the fifth day of February, 1783, the province of Calabria was
visited with a terrific earthquake. "The sway of earth _shook_ like a
thing unfirm," thousands of houses crumbled to their base, tens of
thousands of human beings were buried beneath ruins, or engulfed by the
gaping ground. In the small and ancient town of Squillace, the
devastation was frightful; amongst others, the spacious mansion of the
noble family of PÉPÉ was overthrown and utterly destroyed. At the time
of this calamity, Irene Assanti, the wife of Gregorio Pépé, was in daily
expectation of being brought to bed. In vain was it attempted to find a
fitting refuge for the suffering and feeble woman. The ruin that had
overtaken her dwelling extended for leagues around; not a roof-tree
stood in the doomed district; misery and desolation reigned throughout
the land. A tent was hastily erected; and, under its scanty shelter, in
a season of extreme rigour, the lady gave birth to a son, who was
baptised by the name of William.

Soothsayers would have augured a stormy existence to the child who thus
first saw light when "the frame and huge foundation of the earth shak'd
like a coward." Such omens might have attended the birth of an
Alexander, a Cæsar, or a Napoleon, marking the advent of one of those
human meteors sent at long intervals to astonish and dazzle the world.
In this instance, if the man born during Nature's most terrible
convulsion, was not destined to exercise a material or lasting influence
on the fate of nations, at least his lot was cast in troublous and
agitated times; he took share in great events, came in contact with
extraordinary men, passed through perils and adventures such as few
encounter, and fewer still survive. The last sixty years, comprising the
most interesting and important chapter in the history of Europe, perhaps
of the world, have been prolific in sudden transformations and startling
reverses of fortune. During that period of revolution and restless
activity, we have seen peasants become princes, private soldiers
occupying the thrones of great and civilized countries, obscure
individuals in every walk of life raised by opportunity, genius, and the
caprice of fate, to the most exalted positions. Some of these have
maintained themselves on the giddy pinnacle on which fortune placed
them. They are the few. Reverses, even more sudden and extraordinary
than their upward progress, have cast down the majority from their high
estate. The transitions have been rapid, from the palace to the prison,
from the sway of kingdoms to the sufferings of emigration, from the
command of mighty armies to the weariness and obscurity of a forced
inactivity. Fortunes built up in a year, have been knocked down in a
month; again reconstructed, they have been yet more rapidly destroyed.
Such changes have been as numerous, often as strikingly contrasted, as
the shifting visions of a magic lantern, or the fitful corruscations of
a firework. Within a short half century, how often has the regal purple
been bartered for the fugitive's disguise, the dictator's robe for a
prison garb, the fortunate soldier's baton of command for the pilgrim's
staff and the bitter bread of exile. Notable instances of such
disastrous fluctuations are to be found in the memoirs of the Neapolitan
general Guglielmo Pépé.

One of the youngest of a family of two-and-twenty children, born of
wealthy and highly descended parents, young Pépé was placed, before he
was seven years old, in the royal college of Catanzaro. There, his
father, anxious that his education should be complete and excellent,
intended him to remain until the age of eighteen. The peculiar
disposition of the boy proved a grave obstacle to the accomplishment of
the paternal wish. Nature had destined him for a military career, and
his tendency to a soldier's life was early manifest. To the studies that
would have qualified him for a learned profession, he showed an
insurmountable aversion; Latin he detested; on the other hand,
geography, history, and mathematics, were cultivated by him with a zeal
and eagerness that astonished his professors. He had just attained his
fourteenth year, when two of his brothers, but a little older than
himself, left the military college at Naples, and received commissions
in the army. This redoubled the military ardour of their junior, who had
already caught the warlike feeling with which the Neapolitan government
strove at that time to inspire the nation. He urged his father to
purchase him a commission; his father refused, and the wilful boy
absconded from college. Brought back again, he a second time escaped,
and enlisted in a regiment of riflemen. Again he was captured, and the
poor Sergeant who had accepted the juvenile recruit, was thrown into
prison for enticing away a pupil of the royal college. But this time
Gregorio Pépé thought it advisable to yield to the wishes of his
headstrong son, and allowed him to enter the military school. He
remained there two years, and left it to join, as drill sergeant, a
company of the newly raised national guard. This was in 1799. Towards
the close of the previous year, the ill-disciplined and inefficient
Neapolitan army, composed for the most part of raw and uninstructed
levies, had marched into the Papal States; and, the French having
evacuated it, had entered Rome without opposition. The triumph was very
brief. Neither the Neapolitan troops, nor their leader, General Mack,
were capable of contending successfully against the skilful officers and
well-trained soldiers opposed to them. On the first alarm, the
pusillanimous Ferdinand of Naples fled from Rome in disguise, and soon
afterwards embarked for Sicily with his wife and court, carrying away
"the wealth and jewels of the crown, the most valuable antiquities, the
most precious works of art, and what remained from the pillage of the
banks and churches, which had been lying in the mint either in bullion
or specie." The amount of the rich treasure was estimated at twenty
millions of ducats. The French still advanced, feebly opposed by the
disheartened Neapolitans and their inefficient foreign leaders. Gaeta,
the Gibraltar of Italy, was surrendered after a few hours' siege, by an
old general so ignorant of his profession that we are told he was
accustomed to seek counsel from the bishop of the town. Capua, the
bulwark of the capital, was given up by Ferdinand's vicar-general,
Prince Pignatelli, in consideration of a two months' truce, which
lasted, however, but as many days. A condition of this disgraceful
armistice was a payment of two and a half millions of ducats. The money
was not forthcoming; and the French commander, General Championnet,
marched upon Naples. After three days' obstinate combat, maintained
around and in the city by the lazzaroni, victory remained with the
assailants. They were aided by the republican or patriot party, who
delivered up to them the fort of St. Elmo. By this party, then a very
small minority in Naples--much the greater part of whose population,
ignorant, fanatical, and worked upon by wily priests, were frantic in
their hatred of the French, and of the Jacobins, as they called the
liberal section of their own countrymen--the triumph of the invaders was
looked upon as a temporary evil, trifling when compared with the
advantages that would result from it. Amongst the most enthusiastic
liberals was young Pépé, who had already conceived that ardent love of
liberty, which, throughout life, has been his mainspring of action. He
hailed with delight the publication of the edict by which Naples was
erected into the Parthenopean Republic. He was eager to enter the new
army, whose organisation had been decreed, but his tender age made his
brothers oppose his wish, and he was fain to content himself with a post
in the national guard.

The new republic was destined to a very short existence. The provisional
government, consisting, in imitation of the French system, of six
committees, displayed little activity and still less judgment. It
neglected to conciliate and win over the popular party, which remained
stanch to the Bourbons and absolutism; it took little pains to convince
the bigoted multitude of the advantages and blessings of a free
constitution. The treasury was bare, the harvest had been bad, the coast
was blockaded, and their difficulties were aggravated by the heavy
taxes imposed, and rigorously levied by Championnet for the support of
his army. These impositions, and a decree for the disarming of the
people, produced discontent even amongst the friends of the new
institutions. Nevertheless, Championnet, by showing an interest in the
rising Republic, had gained a certain degree of popularity, when he was
recalled to Paris to be tried by a court-martial, for his opposition to
the exactions of a French civil commissary, "one of those voracious
blood-suckers, whom the French government was wont to fasten upon the
newly formed republics which it created, and upon which it bestowed the
derisive title of independent." General Macdonald succeeded Championnet;
the commissary, maintained in his functions, had full scope for
extortion, and the Republican government, unable, for want of money, to
organise an army that might have given permanence to its existence,
became daily more unpopular, and visibly tottered to its downfal.
Meanwhile, on the opposite coast of Sicily, Ferdinand, his adherents and
allies, were any thing but idle. They issued proclamations, lavished
money, spared no means to excite the people to revolt against the French
and their favourers. Every support and encouragement was given to the
disaffected, and at last Cardinal Ruffo landed in Calabria, and by
proclamations issued in his name, and in that of Ferdinand, promised the
property and estates of the patriots to those who should take up arms
for the holy cause of the king. Apulia was overrun by four Corsican
adventurers; the other provinces were infested by bands of ruffians,
mostly the outpourings of the prisons and galleys, which had been thrown
open by the furious populace when preparing to defend the city against
the French. A miller, by name Mammone, was one of the most ferocious and
dreaded leaders of these banditti. His cruelties, as related by General
Pépé, almost exceed belief. "He butchered in the most dreadful manner
all who fell into his power, and with his own hands murdered nearly four
hundred of them, chiefly Frenchmen and Neapolitans. Blood-thirsty by
nature, he seemed to revel in shedding blood, and carried his cruelty to
such a pitch, that when seated at his meals, he delighted in having
constantly before him a human head newly divided from the trunk and
streaming with blood. This monster, the perpetrator of so many horrors,
was, nevertheless, greeted by King Ferdinand and his Queen Caroline, in
the most affectionate manner by the title of 'dear general,' and of
'faithful supporter of the throne.'"

After long and unaccountable delay, two columns were formed for the
pursuit of the Bourbonites, and a regular civil war began. At first the
Republicans, supported by the French, had the best of the fight, and the
strong towns of Andria and Trani were taken, after a vigorous defence,
with great loss to the royalists, and no inconsiderable one to the
assailants. But the Austrians and Russians now prepared to drive the
French from northern Italy, and Macdonald, compelled to keep his army
together, was unable to follow up these successes. Cardinal Ruffo's
forces increased; he besieged and took several towns, and overran entire
provinces, his ferocious followers committing, as they proceeded, the
most terrible excesses and acts of cruelty. At last, in the month of
May, Macdonald evacuated the Neapolitan territory, placing French
garrisons in the castle of St. Elmo and in the fortresses of Capua and
Gaeta, and leaving the handful of republicans to defend themselves as
best they might against the vast majority of the nation that supported
the cause of the king. Against such odds, the enthusiasm of the
liberals, ill assisted by a feeble and vacillating government, was
unable successfully to contend. Nevertheless, they still struggled on;
fresh troops were raised, and in a sort of sacred battalion, composed of
officers, young Pépé, who had just completed his sixteenth year, was
appointed serjeant-major. In this capacity he first saw fire, in a
skirmish with a band of armed peasants. But the enemy gained ground, the
limits of the Republic grew each day narrower, until at last they were
restricted to the capital and its immediate environs. Cardinal Ruffo's
army, now amounting to forty thousand men, backed by detachments of
foreign troops, and by regiments landed from Sicily, had improved in
discipline and organisation, and, flushed with their successes, ventured
to attack Naples. They encountered an obstinate resistance. General
Schipani, an officer of distinguished bravery but little skill,
commanded the body of troops of which Pépé's battalion formed a part,
and occupied the most advanced of the Republican positions, between
Torre dell' Annunziata and Castella-mare. The Cardinal's troops cut him
off from Naples, and whilst gallantly endeavouring to force a passage
through them and assist the city, his little band, fifteen hundred in
number, was assailed by a body of Russians, and by a thousand Calabrians
under the command of Pano di Grano, a returned galley slave, and Ruffo's
favourite officer. In a narrow road a desperate contest ensued, and
terminated in the defeat of the Republicans. Pépé received a bayonet
thrust and a sabre cut, and although he escaped at the time, was soon
afterwards captured with some of his comrades, by a party of peasants
armed with scythes. This was the commencement of the young soldier's
misfortunes. Suffering from hunger, thirst, and wounds, he was
imprisoned in a damp and unwholesome warehouse, and subjected to the
brutality of his peasant guards, who called in their women to gaze at
the ill-fated patriots, as if they had been strange and savage animals
caught in a snare, and to be viewed as objects of mingled curiosity and
loathing. On the following day, when a detachment of the Cardinal's
troops came to take charge of the prisoners and escort them to the
capital, they were so exhausted with fatigue, loss of blood, and want of
food, that before they could move, it was necessary to supply them with
bread and water. This meagre refreshment taken, they were stripped to
their shirts, manacled in couples, and marched off to Naples. Although
informed of it by their captors, many of them had refused to credit the
downfal of the city. "This illusion was soon dispelled by the mournful
spectacle which presented itself to our gaze, and which I believe has
very rarely been equalled. Men and women of every condition were being
barbarously dragged along the road, most of them streaming with blood,
many half dead, and stripped of every article of apparel, presenting
altogether the most deplorable sight the mind can conceive. The shrieks
and howlings of that ferocious mob were such, that it seemed composed,
not of human beings, but of a horde of wild beasts. They cast stones and
every species of filth at us, threatening to tear us to pieces." The
Iazzaroni, instigated by the priests,--at Naples, as every where, the
steadfast partisans of absolutism,--were the chief perpetrators of these
atrocious misdeeds. Scarcely a party of patriot prisoners passed through
the streets without some of its number being torn from the hands of the
escort and sacrificed to the blind fury of the benighted populace. And
it was a question if death were not preferable to the barbarous
treatment reserved for the survivors. Twenty thousand men, half-naked,
many of them wounded, were crowded into the halls of the public granary,
now converted into a temporary prison. Heat, filth, and vermin, were the
least of the evils endured by these unfortunates, amongst whom were
noblemen, priests, officers of high rank, many literary men, several
Celestin monks, and, to crown all, a number of lunatics. The Hospital of
Incurables had been held out by the medical students against the
royalists, and when the latter took it, they sent both sane and insane
to prison, where some of the madmen were detained on suspicion of
feigning lunacy. "One of these poor wretches was the cause of a most
disastrous scene, which we witnessed. Having struck one of the royal
officers on the face, the latter called out, 'to arms!' and as soon as
he was surrounded by his followers, he rushed furiously upon the
lunatic, whom he clove in two by a sabre stroke. During this time the
sentinels placed in the street to guard the royal granary, fired
musket-shots at the windows, and the bullets, rebounding from the
ceiling of the building, wounded and killed several amongst us." The
horrors of their situation, and the pangs of hunger and thirst were so
great, that some of the sane amongst the prisoners nearly went mad. It
was not till the third day that a scanty ration of bread and water was
distributed. This spare diet and the absence of covering had one good
effect, in preserving them from fever, and causing their wounds to heal
rapidly. Their republican enthusiasm continued unabated, at least as
regarded the younger men. "We had four poets amongst us, who sang by
turns extemporary hymns to freedom." After twenty-two days passed in the
granary, Pépé and a number of his companions were placed on board a
Neapolitan corvette. Here they were, if any thing, worse off than in
their previous prison. In a short time they were taken on shore again
and lodged in the Vicaria prison, whence, each day, one or other of them
was conveyed to the scaffold. Pépé was summoned before the Junta of
State, where the bold sharpness of his replies irritated his judge, who
consigned him to the _Criminali_, dark and horrible dungeons,
appropriated to the worst of criminals. Three men loaded with fetters,
and entirely naked, were his companions in this gloomy cavern. Two of
them were notorious malefactors, "the third recalled vividly to my mind
Voltaire's Lusignan in the tragedy of Zaire, which I had been perusing a
few days before. His body was covered with hair, his head bald, a long
and thick black beard contrasted forcibly with his ruddy lips and pearly
teeth." His name was Lemaître, Marquis of Guarda Alfieri, and he had
been several years imprisoned for participation in a republican

At last, after six months of the most painful captivity, Pépé, and seven
hundred others sentenced to exile, were put on board three small
vessels, and after a voyage of twenty-two days, during which their
numbers were thinned by a destructive epidemic, were landed at
Marseilles. There the first thing they learned was the arrival of
Buonaparte from Egypt, and his enthusiastic reception in France. During
his absence nothing had gone well, and the French nation looked to him
to redeem their disasters. Italy was again in the hands of the
Austrians. To aid in their expulsion, the formation of an Italian legion
was decreed, and this Pépé hastened to join. Upon reaching Dijon, where
it was organising, he found that every corps had its full compliment of
officers. As a supernumerary he was ordered to a depot, where he would
receive lieutenant's half-pay until his services were required. Like
many others of the exiles, he preferred serving as a volunteer to
remaining idle, and accordingly joined a company of riflemen intended to
be mounted, but who, from the scarcity of horses, were for the most part
on foot. At the beginning of May, 1800, the legion, consisting of six
thousand men, marched into Switzerland, and crossed the St. Bernard.
They were detached from Napoleon's army during the battle of Marengo,
but distinguished themselves at the fight of the Jesia, and in the
Valteline, until, by the truce which followed that memorable campaign,
Pépé again found himself without employment, and in depot at Pavia. His
restless spirit would not tolerate repose, and he entered the service of
the Tuscan republic, where he continued until the truce of Luneville. An
amnesty for Neapolitan political refugees being a condition of the
treaty between France and Naples, he might now have returned home; but
his hatred of the Bourbons indisposed him to such a step, and he
resolved to enter the French army serving in Egypt. Murat was then
commander-in-chief of the French troops in central Italy, and to him the
young officer applied for a commission. He received that of a captain,
and was about to start for Alexandria when his purse was emptied at a
faro table. This compelled him to visit Naples for fresh supplies, and
owing to the delay, before he could embark, the French had received
orders to evacuate Egypt.

Notwithstanding the presence of the French troops, who by the treaty
concluded at Florence, on terms ignominious for Naples, occupied several
Neapolitan provinces, the patriot party again began to conspire against
Ferdinand, and in their machinations Pépé, in spite of his youth, soon
took a prominent share. His aversion to the Neapolitan Bourbons was only
equalled by the indignation with which he saw his native land garrisoned
by foreigners, feeding upon its fatness. Murat, who at first had viewed
him with favour, soon looked upon him as a dangerous political agitator.
At Rome he was imprisoned, but obtained his release through the interest
of a friend. All warnings were unavailing; he was foremost in every
plot, until at last he was arrested at Naples and sent to the Fossa del
Maritimo. He gives a striking description of this horrible place of
confinement. Opposite to the city of Trapano in Sicily, at a distance of
thirty miles, is the small island or rather the barren rock of the
Maritimo, "a Sicilian anagram of Morte-mia, a name quite characteristic
of the horror of the place. Upon a point of this island stands a castle
where, in former days, watch was kept for the approach of the African
pirates who infested the Sicilian coasts. Upon a platform of the castle,
situated at the north, a deep cistern had been made in the rock. Towards
the middle of the seventeenth century, the water had been emptied from
this cistern in order to transform it into a prison for a wretched youth
who had murdered his own father in the most barbarous manner, but who
was too young to be condemned to death." In this den, which since 1799
had been used as a state prison, Pépé and five other political offenders
were confined. It was six feet wide and twenty-two long; only in the
centre could they stand upright: it was so dark that a lamp was kept
constantly burning; the rain entered through the only opening that gave
air; and two prisoners, who had already been there some time, declared
that they had counted twenty-two species of insects. Fortunately for
him, Pépé was not kept long in this dismal cell, although his next
prison, a dungeon cut in the rock, in the very deepest vault of the
castle of St. Catherine, on the island of Favignana, was but little
preferable. Here, however, he obtained books, and was able to complete
his education, which had been interrupted by the revolution. "My passion
for study," he says, "was carried to such an extent, that I felt pain
and regret whenever I did not devote to it, either in reading or
writing, fourteen hours a-day. During the three years of my
imprisonment, my application was unremitting, and I owe to it that I did
not fall into the habits, so common to prisoners, of smoking and

Most graphically told, the chapters relating to General Pépé's
imprisonment, are as amusing as any romance. More than once did he and
his fellow-captive muse over an escape, and ponder its possibilities.
These were very remote. At last they devised a plan, which they thought
would ensure their transfer to a less rigorous confinement, whence they
might find means of flight. Twenty galley slaves were imprisoned in the
castle. At night they occupied the same apartment with Pépé; in the
day-time they were set to work in different parts of the fortress. These
men were easily persuaded to adopt an ingenious plan of escape devised
by Pépé, who, with his friend, was to remain behind, "upon the plea
that, as the government attached far more importance to the custody of
state prisoners, than to that of common criminals, our company would
prove more dangerous than useful to them." The fact was, that the
chances were a hundred to one against the escape. Nevertheless it was
accomplished, although the fugitives, with one exception, were promptly
retaken. Pépé and his companion now made a merit of not having
participated in it, and wrote to their friends at Naples, entreating
them to urge their release. This would hardly have been obtained but for
the outbreak of hostilities. Ferdinand, without waiting to see the
result of the struggle between Austria, Russia, and France, declared
against the latter power. He soon had reason to repent his
precipitation. The crushing campaign of Austerlitz, followed by the
march of Massena upon Naples, sent him and his court flying into Sicily.
In the confusion that ensued, Pépé was set at liberty. Embarking at
Messina, he once more landed in his native province of Calabria, and
reached Naples, a wiser and better man than he had left it. Three
years' study and reflection had cooled the rash fervour of his youthful
aspirations. His desire for his country's freedom was unabated, but his
Utopian visions of a republic had lost much of the brilliant colouring
that had dazzled his boyish imagination. Prudence told him that it was
unwise, by aiming at too much, to risk obtaining nothing. He was not
singular in this modification of his views. The great majority of the
liberal party had also moderated their pretensions; and in Naples, as in
France, the word republic was now seldom spoken but in derision. Pépé
was content that the desired changes should come more gradually than
would have suited him before three years of thought and dungeon-life had
sobered and matured his judgment. And henceforward we find his
endeavours directed, steadily and unceasingly, to the establishment of
free institutions under a constitutional monarchy.

By the grace of his brother the king-maker, Joseph Buonaparte was now
upon the throne of Naples. On arriving in that capital, Pépé was
presented to the minister of war, General Dumas. "From my extreme
anxiety to produce the well or ill digested theories I had imbibed in
prison, I was very loquacious, and urged so strongly the danger
threatened to Calabria by the impending landing, not only of the
British, but of all Cardinal Ruffo's banditti levies, who had acquired
consequence in 1799, that he ordered a militia to be raised throughout
the country." By Dumas, the young theorist, whose predictions, however,
were not ill-founded, was presented to King Joseph, of whom he speaks in
no very favourable terms. He admits him to have been courteous and
affable, not deficient in information, and to have established many of
those institutions which pave the way to liberty; but he blames him for
neglecting his ample opportunities of establishing his power on a solid
basis, and acquiring the affections of his subjects. The higher
classes--of which, in Naples, contrary to what is the case in many
countries, the liberal party consists--were devoted to Joseph, until he
disgusted them by various parts of his conduct, and especially by the
introduction of a horde of Frenchmen, who monopolised the most lucrative
posts, both civil and military. He also gave offence by his luxurious
and expensive manner of living. The sumptuousness of his table was
proverbial throughout the kingdom, and, having left Madame Joseph in
France, he permitted himself considerable license in other respects,
living a very free life amongst the young beauties of his court, whom he
used to take with him on his hunting excursions under the name of
_cacciatrici_. It is probable that Neapolitan morality might have found
little ground for censure in these Sardanapalian indulgences, but for
the heavy expenses they entailed upon Neapolitan pockets, and, indeed,
they were most unjustifiable in a country impoverished by wars and

Personally, Pépé had no reason to complain of the king, who gave him a
lieutenant-colonelcy and charged him with the organisation of the
militia in Upper Calabria. Eager to serve his country, the newly made
field officer hurried to his post. The English had not yet landed, but
some of Ruffo's former followers had been put on shore, and laboured,
not unsuccessfully, to induce the peasantry to revolt. Pépé soon found
himself in action. Surprised in the town of Scigliano, he shut himself
up in a house with two-and-twenty French soldiers, and there made a
desperate defence against an overpowering force of the insurgents.
Compelled to surrender, he received from his captors intelligence of the
battle of Maida. So persuaded was he of the invincibility of the French,
that at first he could not credit their defeat. He gives a brief account
of the action, founded upon the report of French officers of rank
present at it, and upon details collected from the inhabitants of Maida
and Nicastro. It smells of its French origin. At the battle of Maida
there were barely thirteen thousand men in the field, of which the
larger portion, by some twenty-five hundred, were French. But the
victory was as complete and as creditable to the handful of victors, as
it could have been had those numbers been multiplied by ten. And the
action was especially interesting as the first, during the late war, in
which the superiority of British bayonets over those of any other
nation, was proved and established beyond the possibility of
dispute,--the first of a long succession of triumphs, the Alpha of the
series of which Waterloo was the Omega. Destitute of cavalry, and
fiercely attacked by a superior force of horse and foot, the British
grenadiers stemmed the tide of the foeman's pride, and showed the men
who had overrun half Europe, that they had at last met their masters. By
General Pépé, Regnier's army is represented as worn out by fatigue, and
as attacking their opponents at the termination of a succession of
forced marches, without any interval for repose and refreshment. It is
well authenticated that this was the case with but a small portion of
the French force, which joined the main body during the night preceding
the action. The bulk of Regnier's division, numerically superior to the
British, had been encamped upon the heights of Maida at least
twenty-four hours previously to the battle. General Pépé says nothing of
the brilliant charge with the bayonet that first broke the French ranks,
and by which the victory was half won. "The English," he says, "who had
constantly practised firing at a target in Sicily, and who were become
skilful marksmen, directed their shot so ably that they caused great
havoc in the French ranks, killing and wounding many. General Regnier
now ordered the second line to advance and defile through the first, and
as the movement is extremely difficult of execution under an enemy's
fire, the French army fell into confusion, and Regnier was obliged to
retreat." A retreat which history calls a precipitate flight. General
Pépé's version of the affair reads like the bulletin of a vanquished
commander trying to make the best of his disaster. The General, although
he inveighs against the French when they interfere with the independence
of his _cara patria_, betrays a leaning to them on mere campaigning
questions. This is not unnatural. Both in Italy and Spain he fought by
their side and witnessed their gallantry. With regard to the English,
however his subsequent residence in this country and intimacy with
various Englishmen may have modified his opinion of them, they were
certainly in no good odour with him forty years ago, at least as a
nation. They supported the cause he detested, that of an absolute King;
and to their greatest naval hero, he attributes the death, not only of
Carraciolo, but of a long list of Italian patriots. His book is written
in something of a partisan spirit, nor could it well be otherwise, with
so fervent a politician. His account of many events and circumstances
differs widely from that given by his former companion in arms,
Colletta, whom he speaks of with contempt and dislike, and frequently
accuses of misstatement and wilful falsehood. "Men," he says, "of loose
morals, and so corrupt that they reflected contempt and abhorrence upon
those who associated with them. Such were Catalani d'Azzia and the
historian Pietro Colletta." That party feeling influenced Colletta, to
the prejudice of the impartiality of his writings, is pretty generally
admitted. But does General Pépé feel that his own withers are unwrung?
Can he, hand on conscience, declare himself guiltless of exaggeration?
Probably he believes himself so; there is evidence in his memoirs of
honesty of purpose, and of a wish to do justice to all; but the best of
us are led astray by our predilections, and it is right to be on one's
guard against the colouring given to men's actions, and to great events,
by the political prejudices of an ardent partisan.

Delivered into the hands of Pano di Grano, the ex-galley slave, now a
royalist chief, Pépé was kindly treated, and, being carelessly guarded,
effected his escape. Recaptured, he was about to be shot, when an order
for his release was obtained from Sir John Stewart, who offered him, he
informs us, the command of an English regiment, if he would change sides
and serve King Ferdinand. He blames that general for having been in such
haste to re-embark his troops, thus abandoning the insurgents to their
fate; and is of opinion, that if he had continued to advance, flanked by
the Calabrian bands, his forces would have increased, and he would have
reached Naples. On the departure of the British, Massena commenced
vigorous operations for the suppression of the insurrection, and Pépé
was actively employed in the organisation of the Calabrian patriots.
Massena promised him the colonelcy of a light infantry regiment about to
be raised; but upon the Marshal being summoned to Germany by Napoleon,
the project was given up, and Pépé could not even get employment in his
rank of lieutenant-colonel. Disgusted at this injustice, and preferring
foreign service to residence in his own country, where he had the
mortification of seeing the French paramount, he embarked for Corfu as
major on the staff.

After a year's absence, during which he narrowly escaped death by
shipwreck and met with various other adventures, Pépé returned to
Naples. It was in 1808: Napoleon had created his brother King of Spain,
and given the Neapolitan crown to the Grand Duke of Berg. _Soldat avant
tout_, Murat's first care was the amelioration of the army, then in a
deplorable state. To this end he sent for all the Neapolitan officers
employed in the Ionian islands. Pépé was amongst the number. Presenting
himself before King Joachim, he exhibited his testimonials of service,
and claimed the rank of colonel. The king replied, by appointing him one
of his orderly officers, as a proof of the good opinion he had of him.
"I recollect that I was so engrossed by admiration of the elegance of
his appearance, and the affability of his address, that I omitted
expressing my thanks. He talked to me a great deal about the Neapolitan
army, and manifested a confidence in us that even exceeded my own; and,
God knows, that was not small. His conversation filled me with such
delight, that, had it not been for fear lest he should mistake my ardour
of patriotism for courtier-like flattery, I could have fallen at his
feet and worshipped him. It seemed to me that I beheld in him the
Charles XII. of the Neapolitans."

Murat was the very man to become at once popular with an excitable and
imaginative people. His handsome person, his dash and brilliancy, his
reputation for romantic and chivalrous courage, his winning smile, and
affable manner, prepossessed the Neapolitans in his favour, and they
joyfully received him in exchange for Joseph. But the dashing commander
was not of the stuff of which kings should be made; still less was he
the man to found and consolidate a new dynasty, and reduce to order a
fickle and divided nation. Strong-handed, but weak-headed,--a capital
man of action, but valueless at the council-board,--Murat's place was at
the head of charging squadrons. There he was a host in himself; in the
cabinet he was a cipher. He was not equal even to the organisation of
the troops whom, in the field, he so effectively handled. His good
nature rendered him unwilling to refuse a favour, and, as there were no
fixed and stringent regulations for the appointment and promotion of
officers, the higher posts of his army were often most inefficiently
occupied. "He could never resist the supplications of the courtiers,
still less the entreaties of the ladies about the court."--(_Pépé's
Memoirs_, page 262.) And again, "Murat was a Charles XII. in the field,
but a Francis I. in his court. He would have regarded the refusal of a
favour to any lady of the court, even though she were not his mistress,
as an indignity." His _débonnaire_ facility was so well known, that
people used to way-lay him in the street with a petition and an
ink-stand, and he often signed, without inquiry, things that should
never have been granted. "One day he was returning from the Campo di
Marte, when a woman, in tears, and holding a petition in her hand, stood
forward to present it to him. His horse, frightened at the sight of the
paper, kicked and reared, and ended by throwing his majesty some
distance from the spot. After swearing roundly, in the French fashion,
Joachim took the paper and granted its request--the life of the woman's
husband, who was to have been executed the following day." As his
orderly officer, and subsequently, when promoted to a higher military
grade, as his aide-de-camp, General Pépé saw a great deal of Murat, and
we are disposed to place great faith in his evidence concerning that
splendid soldier but poor king. His feelings towards Joachim were of a
nature to ensure the impartiality of his testimony: as his military
chief, and as a private friend, he adored him; as a sovereign he blamed
his acts, and was strenuously opposed to his system of government. He
seems never to have satisfactorily ascertained the king's real feelings
towards himself: at times he thought that he was really a favourite, at
others, he imagined himself disliked for his obstinate political
opposition, and for the pertinacity with which he urged Murat to grant
the nation a constitution. It is probable that Joachim's sentiments
towards his wrong-headed follower, whom he used to call the _tribune_,
and the _savage_, were of a mixed nature; but, whether he liked him or
not, he evidently esteemed and valued him. No other officer was so
constantly employed on confidential, important, and hazardous missions,
both previously to the battle of Wagram, when the Anglo-Sicilians
menaced Naples with an invasion, and at a later period, when Murat
entertained a design of landing in Sicily. In this project the king was
thwarted by the chief of his staff, the French general, Grenier, a
nominee of Napoleon's, who, with three French generals of division,
strongly opposed the invasion of Sicily, acting, as General Pépé
believes, on private instructions from the emperor. "The great aim of
Napoleon was, so to divert the attention of the English, as to cause
them to withdraw part of their forces from Spain and the Ionian islands,
whilst that of Joachim was, simply to get possession of Sicily." In
pursuance of this design, the king established himself, with 22,000 men,
in and around the town of Scylla. His own head-quarters were upon the
summit of a hill, in a magnificent tent, containing one large saloon and
six small chambers. "The tricolor banners, streaming on its summit,
seemed to defy the English batteries on the opposite shore, which
discharged bombs and shot that not only could reach the king's tent, but
even fell beyond it. One day, three balls descended into the tent, where
I was dining with the other officers of the king's household, although
it was situated farther back than that of Joachim." From this exposed
position Murat gazed at Sicily through a telescope, and tried to
persuade himself that it was his. But English ships and men continued to
arrive at Messina, rendering his enjoyment of his nominal possession
each day less probable. So sharp a look-out was kept by the British
fleet, that it was impossible to obtain intelligence from Sicily. The
vessels could be counted; but the amount of land forces was unknown, and
this Murat was most anxious to ascertain. He ordered Pépé to take two of
the boats called _scorridore_, to land in Sicily during the night, and
bring off a peasant, a soldier, or even a woman; any thing, in short,
that could speak. The expedition was so dangerous, that Pépé expected
never to return, and made all arrangements respecting the disposal of
his property, as if condemned to certain death. The two naval officers
whom he warned for the duty, looked at him with horror and astonishment,
and asked what he had done, that the king wanted to get rid of him. To
add to the peril, it was a bright moonlight night. Instead of perishing,
however, he was fortunate enough to capture an English boat, having on
board eight smugglers, spies of General Stewart. Murat's impatience was
so great, that he came into the saloon of his tent, with only his shirt
on, to receive his successful emissary; and General Pépé confesses, that
if the king was delighted at receiving news, he himself was no less so,
at having escaped with life and liberty. At last the invasion was
attempted by a division of Neapolitan troops, and totally failed. Part
of the invaders were taken prisoners: the remainder only escaped by
favour of the strong current, which prevented the English from coming up
with them. Murat returned to Naples, having spent a vast deal of money
on these very expensive and fruitless operations. To Napoleon alone had
they been of any use. He had "succeeded in conveying the necessary
provisions to the Ionian islands whilst the seas were free from the
enemy. At the same time, he had not to contend in Spain with that
portion of the British forces which had been sent to protect Sicily."

In the stir and excitement of campaigning, Pépé managed to endure the
presence of the French, whom he disliked, not because they were
_Frenchmen_, but in their quality of foreigners, and of intruders in his
country. He felt them to be a necessary evil, in the absence of an
efficient native army, which Murat, impatient of his dependence on
Napoleon,--who, according to his custom, treated him rather as a subject
than as a sovereign,--perseveringly endeavoured to organise. Had the
king's talents been equal to his decision and industry, he could not
have failed of success. As it was, his efforts had little result. Pépé
observed this with pain, and his exaggerated feelings of nationality
again obtaining the ascendency, he determined once more to expatriate
himself. He reminded Murat of an old promise to give him the command of
one of the Italian regiments then serving in Spain. The king reproached
him slightly with wishing to leave him; but, on his urging his request,
and pleading a desire to improve himself in his profession, he appointed
him colonel of the 8th of the line, formed out of the remnants of three
regiments, food for powder, furnished to Napoleon by Naples. At the end
of 1810, Pépé took his departure, passed through France, and reached
Saragossa. There he met his brother Florestano, on his way back to
Naples, where he received, on the recommendation of Marshal Suchet, and
by the express desire of Buonaparte, the rank of major-general for his
good services in the Peninsula. The career of this distinguished officer
is highly interesting. At the siege of Andria, in 1799, he was shot
through the breast whilst scaling the walls at the head of his company
of grenadiers. Without being mortal, the wound was extremely severe, and
the surgeon who attended him, and who was esteemed the most skilful in
Naples, cut his chest completely open, in order the better to treat it.
An India-rubber tube was inserted in the centre of the gash to receive
the oozing blood. So terrible was the operation, that the surgeon wished
him to be held down by four strong men. To this Florestano refused to
submit, and bore the anguish without a movement or a murmur. He was then
told that the greatest care and regularity of living were essential to
his existence. His answer was, "that he preferred a month's life of
freedom to an age of solicitude about living;" and with this ghastly
gaping wound he lived, in spite of the predictions of his leech, through
fifteen campaigns. In command of a brigade of cavalry, he took share in
the Russian expedition, and, on the night of the 6th December 1812, it
fell to him to escort Napoleon from Osmiana to Wilna. Out of two
regiments, not more than thirty or forty men arrived. The emperor's
postilion was frozen to death, and had to be replaced by an Italian
officer, who volunteered his services. The two colonels of the brigade
had their extremities frozen, and Florestano Pépé shared the same fate,
losing half his right foot, and only reaching Dantzic through the
assistance of a devoted aide-de-camp. But, even thus mutilated, the
heroic soldier would not abandon his beloved profession, and, during the
final struggle against the Austrians in 1815, he was made
lieutenant-general, by Murat, upon the field of battle.

On assuming command of his regiment, Colonel Pépé was as much struck by
its martial aspect, as he was vexed at its clumsy manoeuvres, and low
moral condition. Both men and officers lacked instruction. The former
were most incorrigible thieves. Plundering was a pretty common practice
with the French armies in Spain, even in Suchet's corps, which was one
of the best disciplined: and the Italians, anxious not to be outdone in
any respect by their allies, were the most accomplished of depredators.
They had come in fact to hold theft meritorious, and designated it by
the elegant name of _poetry_. This slang term had become so general,
that it was used even by the officers; and the adjutant of Pépé's
regiment, in reporting a marauder to him, calls the man a _poet_. The
prosaic application of a couple of hundred lashes to the shoulders of
this culprit, served as a warning to his fellows, and soon the crime
became of rare occurrence. The officers, although deficient in the
theory of their profession, "were brave and honourable men, and had
shown their valour, not only against the enemy, but in numerous duels,
fought with the French, justifying fully, a saying of Machiavel, that
the courage of the Italians, when opposed man to man, is far superior to
that of other nations." The example of their new commander was not
likely to break the officers of the eighth infantry of their duelling
propensities. In the course of General Pépé's memoirs, he refers to at
least half a score encounters of the kind, in which he was a principal.
With the exception of two, which occurred when he was only seventeen,
and of his final one--as far as we are informed--with General Carascosa,
fought in England, in 1823, these single combats were invariably with
foreigners, with whom the general seems to have been very unenduring.
Not that provocation was wanting on the part of the French, more than
sufficient to rouse the ire of the meekest. The insolence of Napoleon's
victorious legions exceeded all bounds; nor was it the less irritating
for being often unintentional,--the result of a habit of gasconading,
and of a settled conviction that they were superior in valour and
military qualities to all the world besides. A certain General F. could
find no higher praise for Pépé's battalions, when they had gallantly
attacked and beaten a Spanish corps, than was conveyed in the
declaration that they ought, in future, to be regarded, not as
Neapolitans but as Frenchmen! A compliment which to patriotic Italian
ears, sounded vastly like an insult. Attributing it to stupidity, Pépé
did not resent the clumsy eulogium. But it was very rare that he allowed
slights of that kind to pass unnoticed, nor could he always restrain his
disgust and impatience at the fulsome praise he heard lavished upon
Napoleon. The officers who had gained rank and wealth under the French
emperor, exalted him above all the heroes of antiquity, and breathed
fire and flames when their Italian comrades supported the superior
claims to immortality, of an Alexander, a Hannibal, or a Cæsar. "I
believe Colonel Pépé loves neither Napoleon nor the French!" angrily
exclaimed a French general during one of these discussions. "I replied
instantly, that I was serving in the army of Arragon, but that I made no
parade of my affections." Words like these were, of course, neither
unheeded nor forgotten, and were little likely to push their utterer
upwards on the ladder of promotion. But at no period of his life did
General Pépé trust to courtier-like qualities for the advancement which
he well knew how to conquer at point of sword.

After two years passed in Spain, and with the reputation of one of the
best colonels in Suchet's army, Pépé returned to Naples. Murat, who had
just come back from Russia, received him kindly, and made him a
major-general. Notwithstanding this, he entertained serious thoughts of
quitting the service. He had left Spain full of political hopes; and now
the independence which Napoleon's disasters had given to Murat rendered
their realization more than ever improbable. His discontent was
participated in by many of his countrymen, especially by the Carbonari,
which sect was greatly on the increase, fostered by the Bourbonites,
who, for their own purposes, sought to sow dissensions in Naples. "I
looked upon this sect," says General Pépé, "as a useful agent for the
civilisation of the popular classes; but, at the same time, I was of
opinion that, as it was necessary to force the king to grant liberal
institutions, it was needful to make use of the army to avoid, as much
as possible, all disorders of the state." The Abruzzi were the focus of
the Carbonaro doctrines, and thither the general had been despatched
with his brigade. When there, he learned Murat's departure for Dresden,
to command Napoleon's cavalry. "Such was the eccentricity of Joachim,
that a few days before quitting Naples, he had been in treaty with
England to proclaim the independence of Italy, that nation engaging to
furnish twenty thousand men and a considerable sum of money for this
purpose. The ratification of the treaty only reached Naples after the
departure of the king." Caroline Buonaparte, regent of Naples during her
husband's absence, hated Pépé for his liberal principles and declared
opposition to the French party, and showed him marked distrust. October
came; Leipsic was fought, Napoleon retreated towards the Rhine,--Murat
returned to Naples. Deprived of the support of his brother-in-law, whose
star was visibly on the decline, it was time he should think and act
for himself. In this critical conjuncture, he displayed, as usual, a
grievous want of judgment. With a strong Bourbonite party against him,
he could not make up his mind to conciliate, by concession, the liberal
section of his subjects. On the other hand, Ferdinand, under the
guidance of England, had given a constitution to Sicily, and promised to
extend a similar boon to the Neapolitans if they would restore him to
his continental dominions. In this promise, it is true, the patriot
party, with the horrors of 1799 fresh in their memory, placed little
confidence. General Pépé attributes much of Murat's undecided and
injudicious conduct to Napoleon's treatment of him. "The emperor," he
says, "one day exalted him to the skies, and the next would humble him
to the very dust, condemning every thing he did, not only through the
public papers, but in his private correspondence." On this head, the
general gives very curious particulars, derived from the Duke of Campo
Chiaro, chief of the police, and minister under Murat. The dilemma in
which King Joachim found himself might have perplexed a wiser man. It
was an option between turning his arms against his country and his
benefactor, and losing his crown, which he could not hope to retain if
he declared against the allies. After negotiating at one and the same
time with all parties, he finally, at the commencement of 1814,
concluded a treaty of alliance with Austria. But his mind was in an
unsettled and wavering state; and he made no secret to those French
officers who still followed his fortunes, of the good will with which he
would once more fight beside, instead of against, his old companions in
arms. "The Austrians so firmly expected this _volta-facia_, that they
attempted, with one of Nugent's regiments of hussars, to take him
prisoner at Bologna." At times, Pépé fancied that the king was about to
comply with the wishes of the patriot party, grant a liberal
constitution, and proclaim the independence of Italy. His hopes of this
were particularly strong, when he found himself appointed to organise
and command a legion, to consist of men from all the provinces of Italy,
and of whose officers he was to have the nomination. That so important a
trust as this should be confided to a man noted for his democratic
principles, of whom the king never spoke but as the tribune and the
_tête de fer_, and who had been more than once suspected of an intention
to revolt, was indeed a symptom of a change in Murat's views. But it all
ended in smoke. Pépé drew up the plan of the legion, and submitted it to
the king, who took no further notice of it. He was engrossed in watching
the final struggle between Napoleon and the allies.

On the 19th April, when about to besiege Piacenza, news reached Murat of
the fall of Paris, and of the treaty of peace concluded with the viceroy
of the kingdom of Italy. The war was suspended, and the Neapolitan army
retired southwards. At Rimini, General Pépé, who commanded the rear
guard, fell in with the Pope, then proceeding to Rome, and was admitted
to an interview. Never oblivious of his political principles, he took an
opportunity of saying, "that it would be worthy of an Italian pontiff to
collect about him the sons of Italy, and to drive the foreigners out of
his native land." His holiness listened attentively, but made no reply.
When Murat was informed of this bold suggestion of Pépé's, he exclaimed,
"He will not leave even the Pope quiet," and this saying became a
standing joke against the tenacious patriot. A few days afterwards,
General Ambrosio, another of the liberal party, had been advocating to
the Pope the advantages of a constitution for Italy, "when a crippled
gentleman was brought to the carriage door, who requested the pontiff to
bestow his blessing upon him, that he might recover the use of his
limbs. The Pope, turning towards Ambrosio, said, 'You see, General,
where we are; Italy is still far from the period you so ardently
desire.'" Ambrosio and his friends, especially Pépé, were of the
contrary opinion, and conspired to compel Murat to grant them a
constitution. Seventeen general officers were implicated in the plot,
but when the moment for action came, the majority faltered, Pépé was
left in the lurch, and became the scapegoat. Urged to fly to Milan, he
refused to lower himself in the opinion of his countrymen by seeking
refuge amidst the oppressors of Italy. He was ordered to the castle of
St. Elmo, there to appear before a court-martial, but on reaching
Naples, the placable Murat had forgotten his anger, and received him
kindly. "I treat all my subjects, and you in particular, like my
children," were his first words. In the interesting conversation that
followed, Pépé urged the king to grant a constitution, as the surest
means of securing the affections of his subjects and consolidating his
throne. Murat replied, that he should long since have done so, but that
such a proceeding would draw upon him the implacable animosity of
Austria. And he declined relying, as his unceremonious counsellor urged
him to do, upon the courage of six millions of Neapolitans and the
natural strongholds of the country. He was never offended at Pépé's
frankness, for he had faith in his personal attachment. "It is certain,"
says the General, "that, after my country, I was most truly attached to
Joachim, and I would have given my life for him." Subsequent events
proved this, and showed Murat that the man who, boldly and to his face,
had blamed the conduct of the king, was the firm friend of the depressed
and unhappy fugitive. In the closing scene of Joachim's reign, when the
disbanded Neapolitans, badly led, and in some instances deserted by
generals who should never have held the rank, fled before the hosts of
Austria, the sympathy and friendship of his plain-spoken follower were
amongst the last and best consolations of the falling monarch. Very
bitter must have been Murat's reflections at that moment; the conviction
was forced upon him that his misfortunes resulted chiefly from his own
want of judgment and too great facility; captivity or exile stared him
in the face; the sunny smile which, even in moments of the greatest
peril, rarely left his countenance, was chased by shame and
self-reproach, and tears stood upon his cheeks. "I could not restrain my
own, and, instead of speaking, I advanced, took his hand, and kissed it.
Oh! how touched he was by this act of respectful affection on my part!
Who knows but at that moment he recollected the words I had addressed to
him in his palace, 'Whenever you shall find yourself in a situation of
danger, you will learn to distinguish your real friends from the friends
of your fortune.'" A very few days after this affecting scene, on the
night of the 20th May, Murat crossed over in disguise to Ischia, and
embarked for France. On the 23d, took place the triumphal entry of the
Austrians into the city of Naples.

The particulars of Murat's last mad act, his landing in Italy at the
head of thirty men, and of his consequent capture and tragical death,
have been related by many writers, and General Pépé could add little in
the way of facts to what was already known. He makes some interesting
reflections on the subject, and traces the supreme ill-luck by which
Joachim was pursued in his last desperate venture. On the return of the
Bourbons to France, two of his followers, who had accompanied him from
Naples, hired a vessel to convey him to England or America. But, as fate
would have it, the place of rendezvous was misunderstood. Murat missed
his friends, and, being in hourly peril of his life, put to sea in a
boat. Landed in Corsica, the affectionate welcome he met from thousands
of the inhabitants, many of whom had formerly served under him, cheered
his drooping spirits, and inspired him with the idea of a descent in
Italy. He had two hundred and seventy followers, hardy Corsican
mountaineers, and had they landed with him, General Pépé is of opinion
that he would soon have raised a force sufficiently strong to maintain
the campaign, and extort favourable conditions from Austria, as far, at
least, as regarded his life and liberty. But the six small vessels in
which he left Ajaccio were scattered by a tempest, and he was driven,
with but a tithe of his followers, to the very last port he ought to
have made. The inhabitants of Pizzo, whose coasting trade had been
ruined during the war, were glad of peace on any terms, and looked upon
Murat as a firebrand, come to renew their calamities. They assailed the
adventurers and drove them to the shore. But when Joachim would fain
have re-embarked, he saw his ship standing out to sea. The treacherous
commander had betrayed him for the sake of the valuables he had left on
board. And Murat, the chivalrous, the brave, remained a prisoner in the
hands of his former subjects, scoffed at and reviled by the lowest of
the people. Five days afterwards, twelve bullets in the breast
terminated his misfortunes. It was a soldier's death, but had been
better met on the battle-field. There, amidst the boom of artillery, and
the din of charging squadrons, should have terminated the career of the
most dashing cavalry officer of modern times, of one who might well have
disputed with Ney the proud title of the "_brave des braves_."

We have purposely dwelt upon the earlier portion of General Pépé's work,
to the exclusion of its latter chapters. We can take but little interest
in Neapolitan history since 1815, in the abortive revolutionary
struggles and manoeuvres of the Carbonari and other would-be
liberators. Nor do the ample details given by the general greatly
increase our respect for Italian patriotism; whilst we trace more than
one discrepancy between the conclusions he draws and the results he
exhibits. He holds his countrymen to have been long since ripe for a
constitutional government and free institutions, and yet he himself
shows us that, when a revolution was achieved, and those great objects
attained, the leading men of his party, those who had been foremost in
effecting the change, proved traitors or dupes, and that the people,
organised in militia and national guards, displayed so little
self-devotion, such small zeal in defence of their newly acquired
liberties, as to be utterly disheartened by the very first conflict with
their treacherous king's supporters, and to disperse, never again to
reassemble. Such was, the case in 1821, and in vain does General Pépé
try to justify his countrymen by attributing their weakness and
defection to the machinations of the evil-disposed. The truth, we
believe, is to be found in the final words of his own proclamation,
addressed to the national guards after the disastrous encounter, in the
vain hope of once more rousing them to resistance. "Your women," he
said, "will make you blush for your weakness, and will bid you hasten
again to surround that general whose confidence in your patriotism you
should have justified better than you did on the 7th of March, when you
fought at Rieti."

His darling Constitution overthrown, Pépé wandered forth an exile. But
hope never deserted him. Baffled, he was not discouraged. He sought on
all sides for means to renew the struggle. And truly some of his
projects, however creditable to his intrepidity and zeal, say little for
his prudence and coolness of judgment. What can be thought of his
application in 1823 to Mavrocordato for a thousand chosen Greeks, with
whom he proposed to land in Calabria! Of course the chief of the new
Greek government civilly declined leading a thousand of his countrymen
for any such desperate venture. In 1830 the general's hopes were raised
high by the success of the French revolution. His active brain teemed
with projects, and in his mind's eye he again saw the tri-colored banner
floating from St. Elmo's towers. Vain delusions, not destined to
realization. The feeble attempts of the Italian patriots were easily
suppressed, and Pépé retired to Paris, to mourn the fate of his beloved
and beautiful country, doomed to languish in Austrian servitude and
under Bourbon despotism.

       *       *       *       *       *


    [13] "_The Theatres of Paris_. By Charles Hervey." London and Paris,

In these dull days of latter winter few of our readers will quarrel with
us for transporting them to the gayest capital in Europe, the city of
pleasure, the Capua of the age. In London, at least, there is just now
little to regret; it wears its dreariest, dirtiest, and most
disconsolate garb. The streets are slippery with black mud and blacker
ice, a yellow halo surrounds the gas lamps, even the Bude lights look
quenched and uncomfortable; cabmen, peevish at the paucity of fares,
curse with triple intensity the wood pavement and the luckless garrons
that slide and stumble over it; the blue and benumbed fingers of Italian
grinders can scarcely turn the organ handles; tattered children and
half-starved women, pale, shivering, and tearful, pester the pedestrian
with offers of knitted wares, and of winter nosegays, meagre and
miserable as themselves. The popular cheerfulness and merry-making of
Christmas time are over, and have not yet been succeeded by the bustle
and gaiety of the fashionable world. London is abandoned to its million
of nobodies; the few thousands whose presence gives it life are still on
the list of absentees.

Mark the contrast. But a minute ago we were in London--dull, empty
London--and behold! we are in Paris--gay, crowded, lively Paris--now
at the height of its season, and in full swing of carnival dissipation.
By a process of which, since the days of Scheherazade, we alone possess
the secret, we have flown over Kent, skimmed the Channel, sped across
the uninteresting plains of Picardy, and are seated at dinner--where? In
the spacious saloon of the _Hotel des Princes_, at the succulent table
of the _Café de Paris_, or in the gaudy and dazzling apartments of the
_Maison Dorée_? No matter. Or let us choose the last, the _Maison
Dédorée_ as it has been called, its external gilding having ill resisted
the assaults of winter's snows and summer's parching heat. But although,
as Mr. Moore of Ireland has informed us, all that's bright must fade, it
follows not that the substantial deteriorates with the superficial. And
the cookery of the _Maison Dorée_ has improved as its gilding has rubbed
off, until even the _Café de Paris_ and the far-famed _Trois Frères_
must veil their inferior charms before the manifold perfections of this
Apician sanctuary. Here, then, we establish ourselves, in this snug
embrasure, whence we have a full view of the throng of diners, whilst
plate glass and a muslin curtain alone intervene between us and the
broad asphalt of the Boulevard. A morocco book, a sheet of vellum, and a
pencil, are before us. We write a dozen lines, and hand them to our
companion; he reads, nods approval, and transfers the precious document
to the smug and expectant waiter. The sharp eye of that Ganymede of the
Gilt House had at once detected our Britannic origin, conspicuous in our
sober garb and shaven chins; and doubtless he anticipated one of those
uncouth bills of fare, infamous by their gastronomical solecisms, which
Englishmen are apt to perpetrate, for he smiles with an air of agreeable
disappointment as he glances at our judicious _menu_. No cause for
wonder, most dapper of _garçons_! 'Tis not the first time, by many, that
we have tabled our Napoleons on your damask napery. Schooled by
indigestion, like Dido by misfortune, we have learned to order our
dinner, even at Paris; and are no more to be led astray in the labyrinth
of your interminable _carte_, than you, versed in the currency of
Albion, are to be deluded by a Brummagem sovereign, or a note of the
Bank of Elegance. So, _presto_, to work! our blessing and a double
_pourboire_ your promised reward. And, verily, he earns them well. The
_potage à la bisque_ is irreproachable; the truffles, those black
diamonds of the epicure, are the pick of Perigueux; the chambertin is of
the old green seal, the sparkling _ai frappé_ to a turn, and, whilst we
tranquilly degustate and deliberately imbibe, the influence of that
greatest achievement of human genius, a good dinner, percolates through
our system, telling upon our moral as upon our physical man. We feel
ineffably benevolent: doubtless we look so; for yonder old gentleman
with the white hair, red ribbon, and ditto face, dining, _tête-à-tête_
with himself, and who is now at his eleventh dish--a tempting but
inexplicable compound, which Ortila himself would be puzzled to
analyse--contemplates us, in the intervals of his forkings-in, with a
benign and admiring look. Our trusty friend and _vis-à-vis_ turns his
head, and we behold ourselves reflected in the opposite mirror. 'Tis as
we thought: our physiognomy is philanthropical in the extreme. Quite the
"mild, angelic air," that Byron talks of, when describing a gentleman in
very different circumstances.

But we have no time to dwell upon our personal fascinations, or to
speculate upon the cause of their increase within the last half hour; no
eyes have we save for that Lucullian _salmi_ steaming before us; and,
like ourselves, all around us are absorbed in absorbing. Though every
table is full, there is little noise in the crowded apartment. Men go to
the _Maison Dorée_ to eat, not to chatter. Without, too, there is a
lull, after the bustle and racket of the afternoon. The day has been
splendid--crisp, bright, and invigorating, and all the dandies and
beauties of Paris have been abroad, driving in the Champs Elysées,
galloping through the leafless avenues of the Bois de Boulogne, basking
in the winter sun upon the cheerful Boulevards. The morning's amusements
are over; those of the night have not yet begun. It is the moment of the
interlude, the hour of dine, and Paris is busied in the most important
of its diurnal acts. But, alas for the briefness of earthly joys, and
the limited capacity of mortal stomachs! Sad is it that not even in this
Golden Mansion can a feeble child of clay dine twice. We long for the
appetite of a Dando, for the digestion of the bird of the desert, to
recommence our meal, from the soup to the _fondu_. Vain are our
aspirations. The soft languor of repletion steals over us, as we dally
with our final olive, and _buzz_ the Lafitte. Waiter! the coffee. At the
word, the essence of Mocha, black as Erebus, and fragrant as a breeze,
from the Spice Islands, smokes beneath our nostrils, the sparkling
glasses receive the golden _liqueur_, and--WE HAVE DINED.

Good dinners and amusing theatricals enter largely into the pleasurable
anticipations of English visiters to Paris. The fame of French cooks and
actors is universal; all are eager to taste their productions, and
witness their performances. Let a tyrannical royal ordinance or
sumptuary law close the playhouses and cut down the bills of fare from a
volume to a page, and a sensible diminution will ensue in the influx of
foreigners into France. However great the desire to visit Versailles,
stare at the Vendôme column, and ramble round the Palais Royal, those
attractions, if put into the scale, will frequently be found less
weighty than a vaudeville, a dinner at Véry's, and a breakfast at the
renowned Rocher. In their expectations, both gastronomical and
theatrical, strangers in Paris are often disappointed. We refer, of
course, to tyros; not to the regular birds of passage who consider a
month or two in the French metropolis as essential a part of their
annual recreations as Ascot or the moors. These, of course, are well
versed in Parisian mysteries, both of the drama and the dining room. But
to the novice, a guide is necessary, whether through the crowded columns
of a _restaurateur's_ complicated _carte_, or amidst the fair promises
held out by the two dozen playbills posted each morning at eleven
o'clock upon the walls and pillars of Paris. For want of it, many a
Johnny Newcome finds himself, after much bewilderment and painful
deliberation, masticating an unsatisfactory dinner or witnessing a
stupid play. We have often wondered that, amongst the multitude of Paris
guide books, not one was to be found containing minute instructions to
the stranger as to the dinners he should order, and the plays and actors
he should see; giving, in short, a series of bills of fare, culinary and
histrionic. This deficit has at last been supplied, at least as regards
things theatrical. A book has been published which should find a place
in the portmanteau of every Englishman starting for the French capital.
Partly a compilation from French works, and partly the result of the
author's own experience, it contains the general history of each of the
Paris theatres, biographical and critical sketches of the actors, lists
and anecdotes of the principal musicians and authors who compose and
write for the stage, and, finally, an enumeration of the best performers
at each theatre, and of the pieces in which they are seen to the
greatest advantage. We need say no more to demonstrate the utility of
the work to those going abroad. And by those remaining at home, its
lively pages will be found a mine of amusing anecdote and curious
information. Abounding in racy and pungent details, sometimes valuable
from their connexion with historical characters, and as illustrations of
the manners and morals of the times, the history of the French stage
might almost be indefinitely prolonged; and, amidst the multitude of
materials, it required some ingenuity to select, as Mr. Hervey has done,
those most suitable to the taste of the day, and to pack them into a
single volume.

Less than a century ago Paris contained but four theatres. These were,
the French Comedy, the Royal Academy of Music or Grand Opera, the
Italian Comedy, where vaudevilles and comic operas were performed, and
the Theatre de la Foire. The two last named were the ancestors of the
present Opera Comique. "Up to 1593," says Mr. Hervey, "the actors of the
Théatres de la Foire St. Germain and St. Laurent consisted of dogs,
cats, monkeys, and even rats, some of the latter animals being so
admirably trained as to dance a grand ballet on a table, whilst one in
particular, a white rat from Lapland, executed a saraband with
surpassing grace." In 1716 the manager of one of these theatres obtained
leave to give musical performances. This was the origin of the Opera
Comique, which, forty years later, was amalgamated with the Italian
comedy at the Hôtel de Bourgogne, whence, in 1783, the united companies
transferred themselves to the Salle Favart. To the four theatres above
enumerated, a few others were added during the reigns of Louis XV. and
his successor, but they were of little note, and the increase in the
number of theatrical establishments was unimportant until the
revolution. Then license was universal, and no special one was required
to open theatres. In 1791 a prodigious number were established, and, for
some years afterwards, nearly fifty, large and small, existed in Paris.
In the time of the empire twenty-eight of these remained, until Napoleon
issued an edict reducing them to ten. At the present day the French
capital contains twenty-two theatres, including the new Théatre
Montpensier, the privilege for which was conceded to Alexandre Dumas at
the request of the prince whose name it bears. Besides these there are a
number of petty playhouses outside the barriers, at Batignolles,
Belleville, and similar places, and Mr. Hervey informs us that a license
has just been granted for a third French opera-house. Play-loving as the
population of Paris undoubtedly is, it must be admitted that ample
provision is made for its gratification.

The natural classification of the more important of the Parisian
theatres, about fifteen in number, is under four heads: opera--tragedy,
comedy, and drama--vaudeville--melodrama. The first division includes
the French opera, the Italians, the Opera Comique; the second, the
Français and the Odeon; at the Porte St. Martin and Ambigu Comique,
melodrama is the staple commodity, varied, however, with performances of
a lighter kind; whilst vaudevilles, broad farces, and short comedies
constitute the chief stock in trade of the remainder. At many of the
theatres an entire change in the style of the performances is of no
unfrequent occurrence. We have known the Gaité in the dolefuls, and the
Porte St. Martin abandoning its scaffolds, trap-doors, and other
melodramatic horrors, for fun, farce, and ballet. As a regular thing,
dancing is only to be seen at the Grand Opera. The license of each
theatre specifies the nature of the performances allowed it, but this
is a matter difficult exactly to define, and the rule is easy of
evasion. A better check, perhaps, is the jealousy with which one theatre
beholds another infringing on its attributes. Thus, some years ago, at
the Français, where the performances should be confined to tragedy, high
comedy, and drama, a play interspersed with songs was brought out. The
Vaudeville viewed this as a usurpation of its privileges, and forthwith
produced a piece called "La Tragédie au Vaudeville," saying that if the
Français sang vaudevilles, the Vaudeville was justified in singing

There are in Paris four Theatres Royal, subsidised by the French
government to the extent of about twelve hundred thousand francs, or
nearly £50,000. Rather more than the half of this sum goes to the Grand
Opera, nor is it too much, if we consider the enormous salaries paid to
the singers and dancers at that theatre, and the low prices of
admission; the best place in the house costing less than a pit-ticket at
the Italian opera in London. The Opera Comique receives nearly ten
thousand pounds a-year, the Français eight, the Odeon four. The other
theatres do as well as they can without subsidies, and, as in this
country, are losing or profitable concerns according to the skill of the
manager, to the merits of the actors and plays produced; and, oftener
still, according to the caprice and good pleasure of the public. Their
prices of admission are generally higher in proportion than those of the
larger theatres. It must be admitted that their performances are often
more amusing.

Although one or two attempts were made at earlier periods, the permanent
establishment of the opera in France cannot be traced further back than
the reign of Louis XIV., when Cardinal Mazarine had the happy idea of
introducing it, in hopes of amusing that most unamuseable of monarchs.
The novelty found great favour, both with sovereign and courtiers.
Performances took place in the king's private apartments; the Marquis of
Sourdeac, a man of immense wealth and considerable mechanical skill,
constructed a theatre in his Norman castle, and brought out the "Toison
d'Or," with words by Corneille. At last an opera company was regularly
installed in a building in the Rue Vaugirard, and here, upon one
occasion, when the King was present, the Prince of Condé, and other
great nobles, danced upon the stage amongst the actors. "The first opera
in which female dancers were introduced was the Triumph of Love, played
at St. Germains before Louis XIV. On the occasion of this brilliant
_fête_, several ladies of the court were amongst the performers, and it
was resolved that they should in future be replaced by professional
_danseuses_, the female characters in the ballet having previously been
sustained by men." Lully, the celebrated composer, was manager of the
opera house, where he amassed a very large fortune. He made himself
greatly dreaded by his orchestra, whom he used to belabour over the head
with his fiddle. In this manner he is said to have broken scores of
violins, and one unlucky clarionet-player, in particular, who was never
either in time or tune, cost him a vast number of instruments. They
shivered like glass upon the obdurate noddle of the faulty Orpheus, and
Lully swore he had never met with so vile a musician, or so hard a head.
After a time it was discovered that the offender wore a leaden lining to
his periwig. Louis XIV. never ceased to take a most paternal interest in
his opera company. He went so far as to regulate and write out with his
own hand, the salaries allowed to the performers. Those were not days
when a singer was better paid than the general of an army, or a minister
of state; when each note of a tenor's voice was worth a corresponding
one, and of no small figure, issued from the Bank of France. The salary
of a first rate tenor or barytone, was then less than is now given to a
chorister or walking gentleman. Sixty pounds were the highest yearly sum
granted by Louis XIV. to the best opera singer. The first female dancer
received thirty-six pounds! We are quite sure, that the waiting maid of
an Elssler or a Taglioni, would turn up her nose at such a pittance.
Louis XIV. was gathered to his fathers, and soon after his death
matters improved a little. Still the pay was poor enough. But what of
that? Those were the palmy days of the heroes and heroines of the foot
lamps. For the disciples of Thespis, Paris was a paradise. True, when
dead they were refused Christian burial, but they cared little about
that, sinners that they were, for, whilst living, courted, flattered,
and cherished, they amassed, or more often spent, princely fortunes.
During the dissolute half century preceding the revolution, they were at
the summit of their prosperity. High born dames, even princesses of
blood royal, culled their favourites from amongst the knights of the
buskin; actresses, dancers, mere figurantes, saw the wealthiest and
proudest languishing at their feet, and contending for their smiles.
That was the time when Vestris, the God of Dance, as he called himself,
said publicly, and with the most perfect conviction, that there were
only three great men in Europe, the King of Prussia, M. de Voltaire, and
himself! "There are roses as well as thorns in my profession," said he
to a friend who expatiated on the happiness of being a public favourite.
"I assure you, sometimes I think I would rather be a mere captain of
cavalry than what I am." "Old chronicles," says Albert Cler, in a
spirited sketch of the French opera, "tell us of the extraordinary
luxury, in carriages, liveries, furniture, and jewels, displayed by the
goddesses of the opera. The Prince d'Henin passed a contract with Sophie
Arnould, by a clause of which he engaged to supply her with a new
equipage every month. A nymph who flourished in the time of the
Directory, the celebrated Clotilde, enjoyed, thanks to the munificence
of an Italian prince and of a Spanish admiral, an income of two
millions, and managed, notwithstanding this royal revenue, to get into
debt to the tune of some five hundred thousand francs yearly." Earlier
than this, by fifty years, the Camargo and the Sallé were all the rage.
The latter, Mr. Hervey tells us, paid a visit to London, and there, at
one of her performances, gold and bank-notes were showered upon the
stage, to the amount of £800. Her annual salary at the French opera was
less than £150. The suppers of Mademoiselle Guimard, another of the
fairy-footed sisterhood, whose bust, bequeathed by her to the opera, is
still the principal ornament of the dancers' green-room, were renowned
throughout Europe. They occurred thrice in the week; the first was
attended by the most distinguished courtiers and nobles, the second by
artists and by men of letters and learning, the third, which deserved
the name of an orgie, by the prettiest women she could collect.

Few of the amateurs, who, armed with double-barrelled telescopes,
contemplate from box or stall the agile bounds and graceful evolutions
of the houris of the ballet, have any conception of the amount of labour
and torture gone through, before even an approach to perfection in the
Terpsichorean art is accomplished. Alberic Second, the very witty author
of a very amusing book (albeit in thorough French taste) "Les Petits
Mysteres de l'Opera," to whose pages Mr. Hervey confesses himself
largely indebted, gives many curious details on this subject. An immense
amount of courage, patience, resignation, and toil, is necessary, to
become even a middling dancer. The poor children--for dancing, above all
things, must be learnt young--commence with the stocks, heel to heel and
knees outwards. Half an hour of this, and another species of martyrdom
begins. One foot is placed upon a bar which is grasped by the contrary
hand. This is called _se casser_, to break one's self. After this
agreeable process come the thousand and one steps, essential to an opera
dancer. "Such," says an imaginary _danseuse_ from whom M. Second
professes to receive his information, "are the agreeable elements of the
art of dancing. And do not suppose that these rude fatigues are of short
duration. They are perpetual, and on that condition only does a dancer
retain her activity and suppleness. A week's idleness must be atoned for
by two months' double labour. The opera-dancer realises the fable of
Sisyphus and his rock. She resembles the horse, who pays with his
repose, his flesh and his liberty, the rapid victories of the
racecourse. I have seen Mademoiselle Taglioni, after receiving a two
hours' lesson from her father, fall helpless upon the floor, and allow
herself to be undressed, spunged, and again attired, without the least
consciousness of what passed. The agility and wonderful bounds with
which she, that same evening, delighted the public, were at this price."
Besides these terrible fatigues, dancers often run serious personal
risks. So, at least, says the author of the "Petits Mysteres" who, as a
journalist and frequenter of the _coulisses_, is excellent authority. He
cannot resist a joke, but it is easy to sift the facts from their
admixture of burlesque exaggerations. "By dint of incurring simulated
dangers, the dancer accustoms herself to real peril, as a soldier in war
time becomes habituated to murder and pillage. She suspends herself from
wires, sits upon pasteboard clouds, disappears through trap doors, comes
in by the chimney and goes out by the window. In the first act of the
Peri there is so dangerous a leap, that I consider Carlotta Grisi risks
her life every time she takes it. Let M. Petipa be once awkward, or even
absent, and Carlotta will break her head upon the boards. I know an
Englishman who attends every performance of this ballet. He is persuaded
it will be fatal to Carlotta, and would not for the world miss the
catastrophe. It is the same man who, for three years, followed Carter
and Van Amburgh, always hoping that a day would come when the animals
would sup with their masters, and upon their masters." Considering the
preparatory ordeal and frequent perils of their profession, dancers
fairly earn the money and honours paid to them. Crowned heads have
condescended to treat them as equals. At Stuttgart, we are told,
Taglioni, towards the commencement of her career, won the affections of
the Queen of Wurtemberg, who shed tears at her departure. At Munich, the
King of Bavaria introduced her to his Queen, with the words,
"_Mademoiselle, je vous présente ma femme_." "At Vienna she was once
called before the curtain twenty-two times in one evening, and was drawn
to her hotel, in her own carriage, by forty young men of the first
Austrian families." Every one remembers the enthusiasm excited by Fanny
Elssler amongst the matter-of-fact Yankees. During her last engagement
at the French opera her salary was eighty thousand francs a-year.
Taglioni and Elssler personify the two styles into which the present
school of dancing is divided, the _ballonné_ and the _tacqueté_. The
former is lightness combined with grace, when the dancer seems to float
upon air. The _tacqueté_ is vivacity and rapidity; little quick steps on
the points of the feet.

The principal singers now engaged at the French opera are Duprez and
Gardoni, tenors; Baroilhet, the barytone; Brémond and Serda, who have
succeeded, if they could not replace, the celebrated bass, Levasseur;
and Madame Stoltz. Duprez is well known in England as a singer of great
energy and admirable method, but whose powers have grievously suffered
from over-exertion. Halevy and Meyerbeer should be indicted as the
assassins of his once beautiful voice. The five tremendous acts of
Robert le Diable, and the stunning accompaniments of the author of the
Juive, are destructive to any tenor. In Paris, Duprez is still a
favourite, especially in Guillaume Tell, considered his crack part.
Gardoni, who has now been two years on the opera boards, has replaced
him in some of his characters. This young singer has a very fresh and
melodious voice, great taste and feeling, but lacks power, and, it is to
be feared, will share the fate of most of his predecessors, and soon
succumb to the thundering orchestra of the Academie Royale.[14] As Mr.
Hervey very justly observes, there is no medium for a tenor at the
French opera. He must either scream, in order to be heard above the
music, or be wholly inaudible. Baroilhet is unquestionably the best of
the present opera company. His acting and singing are alike good, and
his voice, of a less delicate texture than a tenor, has preserved its
vigour and freshness. It would be unfair to estimate his abilities by
his performance, some two years ago, at the London Opera-house. He was
then in ill health, and was heard to great disadvantage. He has been
fifteen years on the stage, but only the last five of them have been
passed at Paris. He previously sang at various Italian theatres, chiefly
at the San Carlo. Donizetti's Roberto Devereux and Belisario were
composed expressly for him. Madame Rosine Stoltz, whose portrait, a very
fair resemblance, is prefixed to Mr. Hervey's sketch of her operatic
career, is a highly dramatic singer and an excellent actress, but her
voice, of unusually extensive range, has a metallic sharpness which to
our ear is not pleasant. She possesses a good stage face and figure, and
her performance is most effective both in tragic and comic parts,
although she is usually preferred in the former. We believe she has
never sung in England, perhaps on account of the short respite allowed
her by the French opera--but one month in the year. She is said to be a
god-daughter of the Duchess of Berri. Various notices of her life have
been published, but there is little agreement between them. It is
generally understood that her early years were unprosperous, and that
she endured much suffering and misfortune. If so, she learned mercy from
persecution, for she is now noted for her benevolence, and for the
generous assistance she affords to the needy amongst her comrades.

    [14] Doubtless Gardoni was apprehensive of some such deterioration
    of his voice, for he has just left the _Académie_, after much
    opposition on the part of the manager, and has made a highly
    successful appearance at the Italian opera.

Notwithstanding the efforts and merits of these three or four singers,
the French opera is in a declining state. A numerous company is not
always synonymous with a strong one. The present manager, M. Léon
Pillet, has been accused of disgusting, dismissing, or omitting to
engage, some of the best singers of the day. Poultier, the Rouen cooper,
a tenor of the Duprez school, is cited as an instance. He was engaged by
a former management at a thousand francs a-month for eight months in the
year, but, although much liked by the public, he was kept in the
background, owing partly, it was reported, to his own unassuming
character, and partly to certain green-room intrigues and jealousies.
During his vacation he starred in the provinces, earning four or five
times the amount of his Paris salary. In his native town he was carried
in triumph, and treated to an interminable serenade, whose performers,
according to the deposition of our friend, M. Second, relieved each
other every two hours, and kept up their harmony for a whole day and
night. Roger, of the Opera Comique, is another singer whose proper place
is at the Grand Opera, he is young, handsome, a good actor, and since
Duprez' decline, the best French tenor extant.

At Paris theatres, and especially at the opera, the next best thing to
having a good company is to have a good _claque_. Such, at least, is the
theory of the actors and managers of the present day. The more rusty the
tenor, the more wrinkled the prima donna, the greater the need of an
army of iron-fisted, brazen-visaged hirelings to get artificial
applause, and inoculate the public with their factitious enthusiasm. In
this latter respect they now rarely succeed. The device is stale, the
trick detected, and yet the practice is maintained. It takes in no one.
Even raw provincials and newly imported foreigners are up to the
stratagem before they have been a week in Paris. The press inveighs
against it; audiences, far from being duped, often remain silent when
most pleased, lest they should be confounded with the _claqueurs_. But
no manager dares to strike the first blow at this troublesome abuse.
There is a regular contractor for the opera _claque_, receiving so much
a month from each actor. Duprez has always refused to submit to this
extortion, but he is, or was, the only exception to the rule. The
contractor has an organised regiment under his orders, mustering sixty
strong. Every opera night, before the opening of the doors, they
assemble at a low coffee-house in the Rue Favart, to receive his orders
for the evening, and thence follow him to the theatre, into which they
are admitted through a private entrance. Some of them are paid for
applauding--these are the chiefs, the veteran clappers; others applaud
for a free admission, whilst a third class are content to do their best
for the good of the house, and to pay half-price for their tickets. The
distribution of these _bravo_-battalions, these knights of the
chandelier, as they are called, from the post of their main body being
in the centre of the pit, requires much skill and judgment. The captain
of the _claque_ is an important personage, respected by his
subordinates, courted by the actors, and skilled in the strategy of his
profession, which yields him a handsome income. A tap of his cane on the
ground is the signal for applause. The _chatouilleur_, or tickler, a
variety of the genus _claqueur_, is in vogue chiefly at the smaller
theatres. His duty is to laugh, and, if possible, infect his neighbours
with his mirth. He stands upon a lower grade of the social step-ladder
than the _claqueur_; very unjustly, as it appears to us, his scope for
the display of original genius being decidedly larger. How delicately
may he modulate his merriment, and control his cachinnations,
establishing a regular gamut, rising from the titter to the guffaw,
abating from the irrepressible horse-laugh to the gratified snigger. He
may himself be a better actor than those for whose benefit his mirth is
feigned. And when, with aching ribs and a moist pocket-handkerchief--for
an accomplished _chatouilleur_ must be able to laugh till he cries--he
retires from the scene enlivened by his efforts, it is with the proud
consciousness that his contagious chuckle, as much as author's _jokes_
or _buffo's_ comicalities, has contributed to set the theatre in a roar.

Boileau said that

    Le Français, né malin, créa le vaudeville,

and Boileau was right, although, when he wrote the line, he referred to
a particular style of satirical song, and not to the farces and
comedies, intermixed with couplets and snatches of music, that have
since borne the name. The Frenchman not only created the vaudeville, but
he reserved to himself its monopoly. Essentially French, it is
inimitable on any other stage. Of the many attempts made, none have
succeeded in catching its peculiar spirit. The Englishman has his farce,
the German his _possenspiel_, the Spaniard his _saynete_, but the
vaudeville will only flourish on French soil, or, at least, in the hands
of French authors and actors. Piron and Lesage were its fathers; their
mantle has been handed down through succeeding generations, worn
alternately by a Piis and a Barré, by a Panard, whom Marmontel called
the La Fontaine of the vaudeville, and a Desaugiers, until, in the
present day, it rests upon the shoulders of Scribe, and his legion of
rivals and imitators. With the exception of the four theatres royal and
the Italian opera, there is not a playhouse in Paris where it is not
performed, although in each it takes a different tone, to which the
actors, as they change from one stage to another, insensibly adapt
themselves. Thus the four principal vaudeville theatres have each their
own style. There is an immeasurable distance between the vaudeville
_grivois_, the laxity, not to say the positive indecency, of the Palais
Royal--supported by the _double-entendres_ of Ravel and Madame Lemenil,
and the buffoonery of Alcide Tousez--and the neat and correct little
comedies of the Gymnase, so admirably enacted by a Ferville, a Numa, and
a Rose Chéri. To the latter theatre, the Parisian matrons conduct their
daughters; the former they themselves hesitate to visit. The substance
is not invariably more praiseworthy at the one than at the other, but
the form is always more decorous.

In discussing the vaudeville, the theatre bearing that name naturally
claims the precedence, to which the excellence of its present company
also gives it some title. Until the year 1792, there existed at Paris no
theatre specially appropriated to this style of performance, which was
given at the Comédie Italienne. It attracted crowds; and Sedaine, the
composer, vexed to see it preferred to his comic operas, wrote a couplet
against it, exhibiting more spleen than poetical merit. The attack,
however, together with the refusal of a small pension which he had
claimed from the Italian Comedy, to whose treasury he had brought
millions of francs, irritated Piis, the vaudevilliste then in vogue, the
Scribe of his day. In conjunction with Barré and a few actors, he opened
a theatre in the Rue de Chartres. The enterprise was crowned with
complete success, and an able company was soon assembled. Mr. Hervey has
collected some droll anecdotes of the actors who flourished under this
management, although they lose part of their point by translation.
Chapelle, a short stout man, "with eyes that were continually opening
and shutting, thick black eyebrows, a mouth always half open, and a pair
of legs resembling in shape the feet of an elephant," was remarkable for
his credulity, and his comrades took particular delight in mystifying
him. "Seveste, who had just returned from fulfilling an engagement at
Rouen, told the unfortunate dupe that, during his stay in that town, he
had succeeded in taming a carp so perfectly, that it followed him about
like a dog; adding, that he was much grieved at having lost it. 'How did
that happen?' said Chapelle, greatly interested. 'Why,' replied Seveste,
'one evening I took it to my dressing-room at the theatre; as I was
going home after the performance, a terrible storm came on, and my poor
carp, in trying to leap a gutter, fell in and was drowned.'--'How very
unlucky!' cried Chapelle; 'I always thought a carp could swim like a
fish!' As he grew older, however, Chapelle, weary of being continually
hoaxed, made up his mind to believe nothing, and carried his scepticism
so far as to reply to a friend's anxious inquiries after his health,
'Ask somebody else that question, my fine fellow; you can't take _me_ in
now.'" Another of the company, Carpentier, drank away his memory, forgot
his old parts, and could learn no new ones. For a long time he did not
act, but at last ventured to appear in a procession, as a barber who had
nothing to say. The audience immediately recognised their old favourite,
and applauded him for several minutes after he left the stage. Once more
behind the scenes, he exclaimed, "Ils m'ont reconnu! Ils m'ont reconnu!"
and burst into tears. "In one of his parts, Carpentier had some couplets
to sing, of which the first ran as follows:--

    Un acteur,
    Qui veut de l'auteur
    Suivre en tout
    L'esprit et le gout,
    Doit d'abord,
    De savoir son rôle,
    Faire au moins le petit effort.

Here he stopped short, and repeated the verse thrice, but could get no
further; from that day a settled gloom came over him, and he soon
committed suicide, by throwing himself out of a window."

The great guns of the present Vaudeville company are, Arnal, Bardou, and
Felix; Madame Albert, lately become Madame Bignon, by a second marriage;
and Madame Doche, sister of Miss Plunkett the dancer. It would be
difficult to find five better actors in their respective styles. All of
them, with the exception, we believe, of Bardou, have performed in
London, and been received with enthusiasm as great as the chilly
audience of the St. James's theatre ever thinks fit to manifest. Arnal,
although he has formidable rivals at his own and other theatres, is
unquestionably the first French comic actor of the day. Farce is his
_forte_--we ask his pardon, and would say, comedy, vaudeville, _charge_,
extravaganza, or any other names by which it may be fitting to designate
the very farcical pieces in which he usually performs. There are no
farces now upon the French stage; the term is voted low. Moliere, it is
true, wrote and acted farces, until he glided into a higher style; but
the more genteel authors and actors of the present time, will not so far
condescend. They willingly produce and perform the most pitiful
buffooneries, but then it is under a better sounding title. They look to
the letter and not the spirit; admit the thing, but repudiate the name.
_Les farceurs!_ Arnal, of course, follows the fashion of the times,
although too sensible a fellow, we suspect, to care a rush about the
matter. For the last twenty years he has been the chief prop of the
Vaudeville, where he performs for ten months out of the twelve, at a
salary of fourteen hundred pounds, with _feux_ or allowances of twenty
francs for every act he plays in. His first appearance was in the
tragic character of Mithridates, in which he convulsed his audience with
laughter. Convinced by this experiment that tragedy was not his line, he
turned his attention to low comedy, and enacted Jocrisse. "In this
part," he says, in a very clever poetical epistle to his friend Bouffé,
"I was allowed to be tolerably amusing, but all declared that I was much
more comic in Mithridates." Off the stage there is nothing particularly
funny in Arnal's appearance. The expression of his face, which is much
marked with the small pox, is quiet and serious, and it is by this same
seriousness that he makes his hearers laugh. When acting, nothing will
extort a smile from him. Gifted with extreme self-possession and a ready
wit, he now and then embroiders his parts, always with the happiest
effect. The excessive dryness with which he gives out his jokes often
constitutes their chief merit. To enumerate his crack characters, those
which he may be said to have created, would be too long a task. The
_Poltron_ is one of his best, and the story goes that his valet, who had
been a soldier, having seen him perform it, gave him warning the next
morning, declaring that he could not possibly remain in the service of
so inveterate a coward. Some of his happiest efforts have been made in
little one-act drolleries for two performers; such as _Passé Minuit_,
where he is ably seconded by Bardou. "In private life, Arnal is grave,
taciturn, and fond of study; he is said to be a regular frequenter of
the _Bibliothèque Royale_, and has published, besides his epistle to
Bouffé, a collection of prettily versified tales and fables." The letter
to Bouffé is an amusing, and witty sketch of his own career.

Happening, some seven years ago, to enter the ill-lighted, low-roofed
theatre of a third-rate French town, full five hundred miles from Paris,
we were struck and fascinated by the exquisite grace and feeling with
which an actress of the name of Albert enacted the part of a blind girl
in Frederick Soulié's painful drama of _Diane de Chivry_. The place of
so accomplished a performer was evidently on the Parisian boards, and we
learned with surprise, that she was on no mere starring expedition, but
had quitted the capital, where she was idolised, with a view to a long
stay in the provinces. It is rare that French actors who can obtain a
decent engagement at Paris, consent to waste their sweetness upon
provincials for more than a few nights in the year; and at the time, the
motives of Madame Albert's self-banishment, which has only recently
terminated, was to us a mystery. The explanation we subsequently heard
of it, agrees with that given by Mr. Hervey, and is most creditable to
the delicacy and good feeling of the actress who thus abandoned the
scene of her early triumphs to submit herself to the caprices and clumsy
criticisms of country audiences. She wished "to spare her husband--then
engaged in a subordinate capacity at the Théatre Français, and who was
seldom spoken of otherwise than as 'the husband of Madame Albert of the
Vaudeville'--the mortification of seeing his own efforts completely cast
into the shade by those of his wife; and it was with the view of
associating him in future with her own successes that she determined on
refusing every proposal made to her by the different managers of the
capital, a task she persevered in until his death enabled her to return
without compunction to Paris, where her place had long been empty."
Eclipsed and unnoticed in the metropolis, M. Albert, whose real name was
Rodrigues, passed muster very well in country towns. Of his widow, who
has been seen and appreciated in London, we need say nothing. All who
have witnessed her delightful performances, will admit her to be one of
the most charming actresses of the day. Voice, face, figure, every thing
is in her favour; her popularity is as well established as her talent is
versatile and perfect. "She is cited," says Mr. Hervey, "as one of those
who, not more by their brilliant natural gifts than by their private
worth, have become ornaments of the profession to which they belong, and
who, whilst they can fairly claim universal admiration, are not less
entitled to universal respect." There are few actresses upon any stage
deserving of so high an encomium; there is perhaps not one of whom, as
of Madame Albert, it may with truth be said, that in the several styles
of comedy, vaudeville, and domestic drama, she is unsurpassed, if not

Another pretty woman and excellent actress is the Belgian beauty, Madame
Doche, to whose personal attractions the lithograph prefixed to her
memoir does less than justice. She made her first appearance at the
early age of fourteen, at the Versailles theatre, under the assumed name
of Fleury. She is now only three-and-twenty, but her reputation as a
first-rate actress has been established for the last half-dozen years.
Of her it was said, when she acted at Brussels, her native city, that
she was pretty enough to succeed without talent, and had enough talent
to dispense with beauty. She was one of the first who, with Felix for
her partner, danced the Polka upon the Paris stage, in the piece called
_La Polka en Province_. The dance was then new, and her graceful
performance of it excited enthusiastic applause.

From the _Vaudeville_ to its neighbour and rival, the _Variétés_, the
distance is short; to choose between them, in respect of excellence of
acting, and amount of amusement, is very difficult. The founder of the
_Variétés_ was the witty Mlle. Montansier, who, previously to the first
French Revolution, had the management of the Versailles theatre, as well
as of several of the principal provincial ones. In 1790, she opened the
house now known as the _Palais Royal_, for mixed performances, tragedy,
comedy, and opera. There Mlle. Mars commenced her career. The prosperity
of the company dates from 1798, when the celebrated Brunet joined it.
Brunet was the theatrical joker of his time; and all stray puns and
witticisms, good, bad, and indifferent, were attributed to him as
regularly as, at a later day, and in another country, they have, been
fathered upon a Jekyll and a Rogers. Many of his jests had a political
character, and got him into serious scrapes. This, Mr. Hervey appears to
doubt, but without reason. In various memoirs and reminiscences of the
early years of the present century, we find recorded Brunet's stinging
sarcasms, and the consequent reprimands and even imprisonments be
incurred. "_L'Empereur n'aime que Joséphine et la chasse!_" was his
exclamation when Napoleon's project of divorce was first bruited about;
and for days Paris rang with the sharp jest. "_Le char l'attend!_" he
cried, pausing before the triumphal arch on which stood the horses and
empty chariot, the spoils of Venice. But the license of Monsieur
Brunet's tongue was little relished by the imperial _charlatan,--le
claqueur de la Grand Armée_, as he has been called. Corsican though he
was, he had a thorough French susceptibility of ridicule, and well knew
that, with his laughter-loving subjects, wit carried weight. The actor
was summoned before the prefect of police, severely lectured, and
admonished to abjure puns, if he would escape punishment. "_Mais que
voulez vous que je fasse_," replied poor Brunet, in piteous accents,
"_c'est mon metier de faire des calembourgs, j'y gagne ma vie. Voulez
vous donc que je scie du bois?_"[15] And, in spite of menaces and
imprisonment, he continued each evening to delight the audience of the
Variétés with his highly spiced allusions to the men and events of the
day. His reputation was European. "Brazier, in his _Histoire des Petits
Théatres de Paris_, relates that, being one day, (March 31st, 1814) on
guard at the Barrière St. Martin, a young Calmuck officer, who could
hardly speak a word of French, asked him the way to Brunet's theatre."
Aided by Tiercelin, the popular actor of the time, who took his types
from the lowest classes of the people, Brunet ensured the prosperity of
the theatre, until at last the actors at the Français, who had long
complained of the preference accorded by the public to Brunet's
performances, addressed repeated remonstrances to government, and
declared that the taste of the nation was becoming corrupted, and the
classic drama of Corneille and Racine despised. They were supported by
Fouché and a section of the press, until at last Napoleon, who meddled
greatly in theatrical matters, and one of whose sayings was, that if
Corneille had lived in his time, he would have made him a prince,
thought proper to interfere. Brunet's company was ejected from the
Palais Royal, and took refuge, whilst the present theatre on the
Boulevard Montmartre was building, in the Théatre de la Cité, on the
left bank of the Seine. On the last night at the Palais Royal, (31st
December, 1806,) the actors and actresses took their leave of the public
on that side the river, in a series of appropriate couplets. One of
these ran as follows:--

    Vous que l'tambour et tambourin
    A la gloir', au plaisir entraine;
    Quand vous avez passé le Rhin,
    Craindrez vous de passer la Seine?

    [15] Innumerable jests and lampoons circulated at the time of
    Napoleon's separation from Josephine, and second marriage. Conscious
    of the unworthy part he acted, the Emperor was greatly galled by
    them. "The keenest and most remarkable of these," says a German
    author who was in Paris at the time, "is unquestionably a _Chanson
    Poissarde_, of which hundreds of copies have been distributed, and
    which thousands have got by heart. Its author, in spite of
    Napoleon's fury, and of the zealous exertions of the police, has not
    been discovered. Several hundred persons have been arrested for
    copying or repeating it; but its original source remains unknown."
    It consists of nine verses, in the vulgar and mutilated French of
    the Paris _halles_. A couple of them will give a notion of the sly
    wit of the whole. They refer, of course, to the Emperor and to his
    future bride, Maria Louisa of Austria:--

        Pour ell' il s'est fait l'aut' jour
        Pemd'en bel habit d'dimanche,
        Et des diamants tout autour,
        Près d' sa figur comm' ça tranche!
        La p'tite luronne, j'en somm' sûr,
        Aim' mieux l'présent que l'futur.

        Ah! comm' ell' va s'amuser,
        C' te princess' qui nous arrive!
        Nous, j'allons boir' et danser,
        N's enrouer á crier: Vive!
        Ell, s' ra l'idol' d' la nation,
        J' l'ons lu dans l'proclamation.

This reference to the martial prowess of the "_grande nation_," of
course nearly brought down the house, but it did not carry the audience
over the water, at least for some time. At last a new and successful
play proved a magnet of irresistible attraction, and produced a receipt
of twelve thousand pounds in three months.

In June, 1807, the new Théatre des Variétés opened. Its situation, on a
crowded central boulevard, is excellent, and its vogue, with a few brief
intervals, has been constant. A large proportion of the best French
comic actors of the present century have acted there during the
thirty-nine years that have elapsed since its inauguration. Amongst
these are reckoned Bosquier Gavaudan, the best couplet singer of his
day,--remarkable for his distinct articulation, and who, "from
constantly personating officers of rank, grew so accustomed to wear a
red ribbon in his coat, that, even when sitting in his dressing-gown at
home, he did not feel comfortable without one in his button-hole;" Mme.
Barroyer, a flame of Charles X. before the Revolution, the protectress
and one of the teachers of Mlle. Mars; Potier, pronounced by Talma to be
the most consummate actor he ever knew; Vernet, the admirable comedian;
and Odry, who has been called the French Liston, but who is preferred,
by most of those whom a thorough knowledge of both languages renders
capable of equally appreciating French and English farce, even to the
great Paul Pry himself. Then came Frederick Lemaitre, the hero of the
melodrama, and sometimes of the more elevated class of drama. He was ill
supported at the Variétés, and consequently proved less attractive than
he has since been at the Porte St. Martin. He is remarkable for the care
with which he studies every detail of his characters, even to the most
trifling points of dress and accessories. His love of consistency
betrays him, at times, into what may be termed the pedantry of costume.
"When playing Buridan, in the Tour de Nesle, he appeared as prime
minister in the fourth act, clad in velvet, but with a plain woollen
shirt, whereas the courtiers around him wore fine linen garnished with
lace. On his being asked the reason of this apparent inconsistency, he
replied, that he did not wear a linen shirt because at the epoch
referred to in the piece, they were not in common use; 'Nay, more,'
added he, 'a century afterward, Isabel of Bavaria was reproached with
extravagance for having too much of linen in her _trousseau_." He was
once hissed at Orleans, when performing the part of a starving and
destitute man, for taking snuff out of a bit of paper. He had thought it
improbable that the needy wretch he represented would carry a
snuff-box. Guessing the cause of the public disapprobation, he produced
a gold one, which was vehemently applauded.

Jenny Vertpré the miniature Mars, as she has been called, in compliment
to her talent, and with reference to her diminutive stature, held more
than one engagement at the Variétés. She has been a great rambler,
having acted in Germany, Holland, and Belgium, and visited England as
manager of a French company. She married Carmouche, a writer of
vaudevilles, has left the stage, and teaches young actresses.

The present company at this pleasant theatre is rich in talent. It
includes seven or eight actors and actresses, who may be justly termed
excellent in their respective styles. At the top of the list stand
Bouffé and Déjazet. Respecting the latter, we have but little to add to
the opinion we expressed in a recent number of this Magazine. After a
long and fatiguing career, and at an age when most actresses have either
left the stage, or dwindled into duennas and other subordinate parts,
she still affords more pleasure by her performances than nine-tenths of
her youthful contemporaries. Her _making-up_, is admirable, and she and
Madame Doche divide between the honour of being the best dressed women
on the French stage. In the ball-room or the street she still looks
young; for although her face depends upon paint, her figure is erect and
juvenile, and one would hardly suspect her of being the mother of
"Monsieur Eugene Déjazet, who has attained some celebrity as a musical
composer, and of a daughter who appeared at the St. James's theatre, in
1844, under the name of Mademoiselle Herminie." Her generosity and
excellent heart have endeared her to her comrades. Her wit and ready
repartee are proverbial. Mr. Hervey quotes a few of her _bon mots_, but
he might have made a better selection. It is true that, besides the
difficulty of translation, he may have been hampered by the latitude the
lady allows herself. He regrets that a collection of her smart sayings
is not made, to be called Déjazetiana; and opines that it would rival in
merit, and far surpass in bulk, the volume containing the sallies of the
famous Sophie Arnould. Something of the sort has been published, under
the title of the "Perroquet de Mademoiselle Déjazet," but to its
authenticity or value we are unable to speak.

In the year 1821, a young man in his twenty-first year, by trade a
carver and gilder, was engaged to act at the new theatre of the Panorama
Dramatique, at the enormous salary of twelve pounds per annum. To
augment this pittance, and to please his father, who was averse to his
new profession, he employed himself between the acts in gilding frames
in a small workshop behind the scenes. This ill-paid aspirant to
histrionic fame was MARIE BOUFFÉ, "the most perfect comedian of his
day," says Mr. Hervey, and we fully coincide in the verdict. Bouffé, is
one of the most intelligent, accomplished, and agreeable actors we ever
saw; subtle and delicate in his conceptions of character, energetic
without rant, ever true to Nature, and of a rare versatility of talent.
We have known several persons who fancied, partly perhaps on account of
his name, that he only acted comic parts: they should see him obtain a
_succès de larmes_, throw a whole theatre into tears, by his exquisite
feeling and pathos in serious ones. No actor more thoroughly makes his
audience forget that he is one. His identification with his part is
complete. The two lines of characters he usually takes are old men and
lads, even very young boys. And in both he perfectly succeeds. We are
doubtful in which to prefer him. As the noisy, lively, mischievous
urchen in the _Gamin de Paris_, and as the griping old miser in the
_Fille de l'Avare_, he is equally excellent. His countenance is
remarkable. A clever critic has said of him, that he has the physiognomy
of a Mephistopheles and the eye of an angel. The observation is
singularly happy. There _is_ something Mephistophelian in the curve of
his nose, and in the lines around his mouth. His command of expression
is extraordinary; his eyes, especially, alternately flash fire and grow
dim with melancholy or tenderness. His figure is short, thin, and frail;
his general appearance sickly, and not without cause, for poor Bouffé
is consumptive, and, to judge from his looks, not long for this world.
The only actor upon the French or English stage with whom we can compare
him is the veteran Farren. But the comparison is to the advantage of the
Frenchman, whose chief characteristic is his entire freedom from
mannerism and stage trick. Mr. Farren is of the old and sterling school
of actors, of which, unfortunately, so few remain. He stands first in
his line upon the English boards, and deserves to be spoken of with all
respect. Would that we had a dozen as good. But he has his faults, and
the chief one is mannerism, certain peculiar ways that prevent the
spectator from forgetting the actor in the person he represents,
trifles, which it may be hypercritical to cavil at, but which
nevertheless spoil the illusion, and compel the exclamation, "There is
Farren." Take for example his favourite trick of scratching his upper
lip with his forefinger. We have seen Bouffé many times--less
frequently, certainly, than we have Farren--but we never perceived in
him any of these peculiarities. His creations are original and new
throughout; the mime disappears, and we have before as the gossiping old
man, the rough shipboy, the simple-hearted recruit. We are really at a
loss to point out a fault or suggest an improvement in Bouffé's acting.
"If the public," says M. Eugene Briffault, "finds that he makes but
little progress in the course of each year, it is because he is as near
perfection as an actor can be." Many of Mr. Hervey's criticisms are
excellent; none more so than the following:--"Bouffé's gaiety is frank
and communicative, his pathos simple, yet inexpressibly touching; the
foundation of his character is sensibility; he _feels_ all he says. He
never employs any superfluity of action for the purpose of producing
effect, nor does he seek, by first raising his voice almost to a shriek,
and then lowering it to a whisper, to _startle_ his audience into a fit
of enthusiasm; on the contrary, a studied sobriety, both of speech and
gesture, is one of the peculiar features of his acting." When Bouffé
visits England, we recommend some of our actors, who at present "imitate
humanity so abominably," to attend his performances, and strive to
profit by his example.

We have lingered at the Variétés, and must move onwards, rather against
our will, and although much remains to be said concerning that amusing
theatre and its actors. Hyacinthe's nose, alone, would furnish materials
for a chapter, and of alarming longitude, if in proportion with the
feature. The two Lepeintres would fill an article. They are brothers and
rival punsters. The jokes of Lepeintre, Jenue have been printed and sold
at the theatre door. His senior, who is no way inferior to him, either
as a wit or an actor, said, with reference to himself, that he carried
abundance, wherever he went, "_puisqu'on y voyoit le pain trainer_
(Lepeintre âiné.)"

On the site of an old cemetery stands the theatre known as the Gymnase
Dramatique. A suggestive fact for the moralist. Death replaced by Momus;
the mourner's tears succeeded by the quips and cranks of an Achard, by
the wreathed smiles of a Rose Chéri. Where the funeral once took its
slow and solemn way, rouged processions pass, tinsel heroes strut, and
vapour. Thousand-tinted garlands supplant the pale _immortelles_ that
decked the graves; the sable cloak is doffed, and motley's the only
wear. Surely actors must be bold men to tread a stage covering so many
mouldering relics of mortality. Not for Potosi, and the Real del Monte
to boot, would we do it, lest, at the witching hour, some ghastly
skeleton array should rise and drive us from the Golgotha, or drag us to
the charnel-house beneath. But we forget that the good old days are gone
when such things were, or were believed in, and that superstition is now
as much out of date as a heavy coach upon the Great North Road. Spectres
may occasionally be seen at the Gymnase, but they are very material,
flesh-and-blood sort of goblins, well known as impostors, even to the
scene-shifters. This need not prevent any aspiring young novelist,
desirous of coming out in the ghastly and ghostly line, from profiting
by our hint, and producing, after a little preparatory cramming with
Mrs. Radcliffe and the Five Nights of St. Albans, what the newspapers
call "a romance of thrilling interest" on the subject of the gay Gymnase
and its grave foundation.

Built in 1819, the Gymnase "was originally intended, as its name
denotes, to be a kind of preparatory school for dramatic aspirants,
whence the most promising actors and actresses were to be occasionally
transferred to the different royal theatres." For some years--from 1824
till the July Revolution--it was known as the _Théatre de Madame_, and
was under the special patronage of the Duchess of Berri, whom the
manager had propitiated by sending a part of his company to amuse her
when bathing at Dieppe. At that time it ranked immediately after the
theatres royal, taking the precedence of the Vaudeville and other
minors. Shorn by the Revolution of its honours and privileges, its
favour with the public suffered little diminution. For many years Bouffé
performed there, and there achieved his greatest triumphs. At the
Variétés he has not been so well catered for by the dramatists. The
present company at the Gymnase is very good. Bressant, Ferville, Numa,
Klein, and Achard, are excellent actors. In actresses, also, the theatre
is well provided, and the whole tone of its company and performances is
such as to render it one of the most correct and agreeable in Paris. But
the gem of the Gymnase, its grand attraction, to our thinking, is that
delightful little actress, Rose Chéri. Never, assuredly, was a pretty
name more appropriately bestowed. Her plump, fresh, pleasant little
face, reminds one of the _Rose_, and _chérie_ she assuredly is by the
hundreds of thousands whom her graceful and tasteful performance has
enchanted. Mademoiselle Chéri, who is only one-and-twenty, made her
"first appearance upon any stage" at the somewhat early age of five
years. "She acted the part of _Lisette_, in the _Roman d'une Heure_, for
the amusement of her parents, (the other two characters being sustained
by two of her playmates;) and the talent displayed by her was so
remarkable, that she was encouraged to repeat the essay in public at the
theatre of Bourges, on which occasion her infant exertions were rewarded
by the enthusiastic applause of the audience, and--which was probably
still more to her taste--by a shower of _bonbons_." Either the applause
or the _bonbons_, or both, decided her vocation, and she continued to
act from time to time, until at length she became a regular member of a
provincial company, whose manager was her father. In 1842, she went to
Paris, where she soon took rank with the best _jeunes premières_ of the
capital. She has been justly called the most loveable actress upon the
French stage; so graceful, so soft and womanly, displaying alternately
such genuine feeling and nature, and such arch coquetry of manner;
always such great freshness of style. We were pleased to see her
properly appreciated during her last visit to London, both by press and
public. Trained to the stage from so early an age--although not, as
Mademoiselle Déjazet is said to have been, born in a theatre--it is not
surprising that Rose Chéri is in the highest degree self-possessed and
at her ease. But if she is _sans peur_ on the boards, she is also--most
rare commendation for a French actress--_sans reproche_ in private life.
Such a Rose as this is indeed the pride of the garden.

Two words about the Palais Royal, and we have done; leaving the dramatic
aristocracy of the theatres royal, and the smaller fry of the
Boulevards, for some future opportunity of comment. The Français,
although it reckons in its company several excellent comic actors,
relies chiefly on tragedy, and will doubtless continue to do so, as long
as it possesses Rachel, or until a comedian of very extraordinary talent
starts up. And in French tragedies, even, heretical as it may sound, in
the classic masterpieces of Corneille and Racine, we take far less
pleasure than in the witty and sparkling comedies of many less renowned
authors, to which the genius of the language so much better adapts
itself. Nay, we confess to have more than once passed the Français
without the least compunction, with _les Horaces_ or _Andromaque_ on the
bills, and a crowd at the door, to commit ourselves, a few paces
farther, to the friendly arms of a stall at the Palais Royal, and the
mirth-inspiring influence of Tousez and Levassor, the most comical
buffoon and admirable mimic on the French stage.

When the _Variétés'_ company was expelled from the little theatre of the
Palais Royal, it became the scene of all manner of bastard performances.
Rope dancers, wooden puppets, even dogs were the actors. The most
intelligent of these were the quadrupeds. Mr. Hervey gives the following
analysis of a melodrama enacted by them:--

"A young Russian princess, held captive in a castle by a tyrant, has a
lover, who has sworn to effect her rescue. On the rising of the curtain,
the fair prisoner, a pretty spaniel, is discovered walking on the
parapet of a tower; the lover, a very handsome dog, presently appears at
the foot of the wall, barking most amorously. As for the tyrant, he is
represented by a ferocious-looking bull-dog, with a smashed nose. On a
given signal, the lover's army make their entrée, and scale the walls of
the castle, which, after a gallant defence on the part of the garrison,
is finally taken, and the princess delivered."

When the public had had enough of these canine comedies, the theatre was
converted into a coffee-house. But the old dramatic prestige still hung
about the place, and, after a time, the frequenters of the establishment
were diverted, whilst sipping their punch and lemonade, with detached
scenes and short vaudevilles, performed by two or three persons.
Finally, in 1830, the house was rebuilt, and a regular license obtained;
and from that date to the present day it has been a favourite resort of
all lovers of a hearty laugh. Déjazet and Achard were long its chief
support. They have left it; but others, little, if at all, inferior,
have replaced them. Foremost amongst these stands Pierre Levassor, the
best comic ballad-singer in France. Innumerable were the difficulties he
had to overcome before he could fully gratify his passion for acting,
and display his innate talent at a Paris theatre. His father, an old
soldier of Napoleon's armies, opposed his propensity, which early
manifested itself, in every possible way, and apprenticed him to a
trade. During the revolution of 1830, young Levassor was on business at
Marseilles, where a dinner was given to celebrate the event. "At the
general request, he sang the song of the _Trois Couleurs_, with such
immense success, that on the party adjourning after dinner to the
theatre, a note was thrown on the stage, in which he volunteered to sing
it in public, if agreeable to the audience. The offer was accepted; and
both song and vocalist were loudly applauded." This incident was
decisive of his future career. On his return to Paris he became an
actor, and soon conquered great popularity. He is particularly clever in
disguising himself, so as to be quite unrecognisable. With his dress he
changes his voice, gait, and even his face; and will look the part of a
decrepid old woman every bit as well as the more easily assumed one of a
scapegrace student. His vivacity, good-humour, and fun, are
inexhaustible. In the ludicrous extravaganzas, reviews of the past year,
which nearly every carnival sees produced at the Palais Royal, he is
perfectly irresistible. Powerfully aided by Grassot, Lemenil, Sainville,
and Alcide Tousez, he keeps the house in an unceasing roar, even at
pieces which, like the _Pommes-de-terre Malades_ and the _Enfant du
Carnaval_, are in themselves of very feeble merit. An excellent singer
and clever actor, he is also a capital dancer and first-rate mimic,
imitating with extraordinary facility every possible sound, whether the
cries of animals or any thing else. And, off the stage, Levassor is as
unassuming and gentlemanly as he is amusing and accomplished upon it.

Ravel is another droll dog, but quite in a different style from
Levassor. The latter is all quickness, impetuosity, and _entrain_; Ravel
is of a more passive style of comicality. At times he reminds us of two
English actors, Buckstone of the Haymarket, and Wright, the Adelphi low
comedian. He has something of Buckstone's odd monotony of manner, and,
like him, often excites the laughter of an audience by his mere look or
attitude. When Wright is not compelled to make a buffoon of himself in
some stupid travestie, but is allowed fair scope for the display of his
comic talents, which are really considerable, we prefer him to Ravel. He
is a steady and improving performer. In _Paul Pry_, and some other stock
pieces, his acting is quiet and excellent. Many of Ravel's characters
have been taken by him in the English version. Ravel is seldom seen to
greater advantage than as a soldier. He exactly renders the mingled
simplicity and cunning of the conscript; the tricks of the barrack-room
grafted upon clownish dulness. The piece called the _Tourlourou_--the
French nickname for a recruit--founded on a novel of Paul de Kock's, was
one of his triumphs, and another was _Le Caporal et la Payse_, Englished
as "Seeing Wright." In short, he occupies a high position amongst the
half-dozen drolls who, night after night, send home the audience of the
Palais Royal brimful of mirthful reminiscences.

In this imperfect sketch of some of the leading French theatres and
actors, we have taken little opportunity of censure. We could notice but
a few, and have selected from the most worthy. In Paris, as elsewhere,
_pumps_, to use a green-room term, are plentiful. But in the higher
class of theatres they are in the minority; and moreover there is a
neatness and _tact_ in the performance of French actors, which, in the
less prominent characters, at least, goes some way to atone for the
absence of decided talent. A French comedian may be tame, he may be
incorrect in the conception of his part; he is rarely vulgar or
ridiculous. We refer, of course, to the actors allowed to figure on the
boards of the half-score good theatres in Paris. There is no lack of
inferior ones, where the laugh is more often at the performer than at
the performance. But most even of these will repay a visit, if not for
the sake of the actors, for that of the audience. Despised by the
fashionable and pleasure-seeking, they afford a rich field to the
observant man. He must not, it is true, be squeamish, and fear to let
the unsavoury reek of _tabac-de-caporal_, or the odours of potato brandy
and logwood wine come betwixt the wind and his nobility. Neither must he
dread contact with the mechanic's blouse, with the cotton gown of the
grisette, or the velveteen vest of the _titi_ of the Boulevards; he must
even make up his mind to see his neighbour, dispensing with his upper
garment, exhibit his brawny arms in shirt sleeves of questionable
purity. If he dare encounter these little imaginary contaminations, he
will find entertainment in the humours of the Boulevard du Temple; in
the pantomimes of the Funambules--once the scene of poor Debureau's
triumphs--and in the ten-franc vaudevilles of the Petit Lazari.

       *       *       *       *       *


    [16] "Memoirs of the Reign of George the Second; by Horace Walpole."
    Edited by the late Lord Holland. 3 vols. Colburn: London.

Walpole, in giving his history to the world, renounces the title of an
historian. He proclaims himself simply a compiler; his volumes,
_Memoires Pour Servir_; and his chief purpose, simply, to give his own
recollections, day by day, of the men and things passing before his
eyes. Yet what historian has ever told his story with more spirit, ever
sketched his characters with more living truth, or led our curiosity
onward through the labyrinth of political intrigue, parliamentary
struggle, and national vicissitude, with so light, and yet so leading a
hand? A part of this charm arises from the interest which he himself
took in his performance. He evidently delighted in the revival of those
scenes in which he had once figured, and the powerful portraiture which,
in his study, realized the characters of the eminent men whom he had
seen successively depart from the political world. In this lies the
spell which makes Walpole the favourite of all the higher order of
readers in our age, and will make him popular to the last hour of the
English language.

We read Gibbon like a task. We are astonished at his learned opulence,
his indefatigable labour, and his flood of rich and high-wrought
conception; but we grow as weary of him, as if we walked through an
Indian treasury, and rested the eye only on heaps of gold. With all our
great historical writers, the mind feels a sense of their toil, and,
however it may be endured for the sake of its knowledge, _our_ toil,
too, is inevitable, and the crop must be raised only by the sweat of our
own brow.

But the pages of Walpole give us the knowledge without the toil, and,
instead of bending to the tillage, we pluck the fruit from the tree as
we pass along. When he, too, is heavy, his failure arises simply from
his attempting to assume the style of his contemporaries. He is not made
for their harness, however it may be plated and embroidered. He cannot
move in their stately and measured pace. His genius is volatile and
vivid; he moves by bounds: and his display is always the most effective
when, abandoning the beaten tracks of authorship, he speeds his light
way across the field, and exhibits at once the agility of his powers and
the caprice of his will.

What infinite gratification have we lost, by the want of such a writer
in the days of classical antiquity! With what interest would the living
world follow a Greek or a Roman Walpole! With what delight should we
contemplate a Greek Council, with Pericles for its president, sketched
by the hand of a spectator, and shown in the brilliant contests,
intellectual intrigue, and ardent ambition of these sons of soul! What a
scene would such a writer make of Cicero confronting Catiline, with the
supremacy of Rome trembling in the scale, and the crowded senate-house
preparing to hear the sentence of life or death! We might have wanted
the strong historic phraseology of Sallust; or, in a subsequent age, the
gloomy grandeur of Tacitus, that Caravaggio of ancient Rome; we might
have lost some of the classic beauty, and all the theatric drapery, but
we should have had a clearer, more emphatic, and more faithful picture,
than in the severe energy of the one, or the picturesque mysticism of
the other. We should have _known_ the characters as they were known to
the patrician and the populace of two thousand years ago; we should have
seen them as they threw out all their stately and muscular strength; we
should have been able to recover them from the tomb, make them move
before us "in their armour, as they lived," and gather from their lips
the language of times and things, now past away from man.

Still, we must acknowledge that Walpole's chief excellence is in his
letters. His sportive spleen, his polished sarcasm, and his keen
insight into the ways of men, place him at the head of all epistolary
authorship. He has had but two competitors for this fame,--it is
remarkable that they were both women,--De Sevigne in France, and Lady
Wortley Montague in England; yet, how utterly inferior are De Sevigne's
feeble sketches of court life, and vapid panegyrics on the "adorable
Grignan;" or the Englishwoman's rambling details of travels and
tribulations, to the pungent pleasantry and substantial vigour of
Walpole! The Frenchwoman's sketches are like her artificial flowers, to
the freshness of the true. Lady Mary's slipshod sentences and coarse
voluptuousness are equally inferior to the accurate finish and
fashionable animation of the man who combined the critic with the
courtier, and was the philosopher even more than he was the man of

Walpole is now an English classic. It is striking, to see a man of
talent thus vindicating his genius in the grave, making a posthumous
defence of his character, and compelling posterity to acknowledge the
distinctions of which he was defrauded by the petulance of his time. His
example and his success administer a moral which ought not to be thrown
away. There are many individuals in our own time, who might thus nobly
avenge themselves on the injustice of their age. The Frenchman's maxim,
_Il n'y a que bonheur, et malheur_, is unanswerably true; and not only
men of the finest faculties are often ill used by fortune, but they are
often the worst used. Their conscious superiority renders them
fastidious of the lower arts of success; their sense of honour
disqualifies them for all those services which require flexibility of
conscience; and their sensibility to injustice makes them retort public
injury, by disdainfully abandoning the struggle, and retiring from the
vulgar bustle of the world.

Let such men, then, glance over the pages of Walpole, and see how
productive may be made the hours of obscurity; how vigorously the
oblivion of one generation may be redeemed by the honours of another;
and how effectively the humble man of genius may survive the glaring
favourites of an ephemeral good fortune.

Walpole, in his lifetime, was either pitied as a disappointed official,
or laughed at as a collector of cracked china; but who either pities or
laughs at him now? Posterity delights in the products of his study,
while the prosperous tribe of his parliamentary day are forgotten, or
remembered only through those products of his study. The Pulteneys,
Granvilles, Lyttletons, and Wyndhams, are extinguished, and their chief
interest now arises from Walpole's fixing their names in his works; as
an architect uses the busts and masks of antiquity to decorate the
gates, or crowns the buttresses of his temple.

Lord Holland's preface contains the following brief statement relative
to the present publication.

Among the papers found at Strawberry Hill, after the death of Lord
Orford, was the following memorandum, wrapped in an envelope, on which
was written, "Not to be opened till after my will."

"In my library, at Strawberry Hill, are two wainscot chests or boxes,
the larger marked with an A, the lesser with a B. I desire that, as soon
as I am dead, my executor and executrix will cord up strongly and seal
the larger box marked A, and deliver it to the Honourable Hugh Conway
Seymour; to be kept by him unopened and sealed, till the eldest son of
Lady Waldegrave, or whichever of her sons, being Earl of Waldegrave,
shall attain the age of twenty-five years, when the said chest, with
whatever it contains, shall be delivered to him for his own."

The rest of the order refers simply to the keeping of the key in the
interim. The date is August 19, 1796.

Lord Holland then argues, with a rather unnecessary waste of argument,
that the history contained within this chest was intended for
publication, which, of course, it must have been.

In his private correspondence, Walpole frequently alludes to his
preparation of the present work. In a letter to Mr. Montague, in 1752,
he tells him, that "his memoirs of last year are quite finished," but
that he means to add some pages of notes, "that will not want
anecdotes;" and in answer to Montague, who had ludicrously menaced him
with a messenger from the Secretary's office, to seize his papers, he
says, "I have buried the memoirs under the oak in my garden, where they
are to be found a thousand years hence, and taken perhaps for a Runic
history in rhyme."

In another part of his memoirs of 1758, he says, with reference to the
different stages of his work, "During the former part, I lived in the
centre of business, was intimately acquainted with many of the chief
actors, was eager in politics, and indefatigable in heaping up materials
for my work. Now, detached from those busy scenes, with many political
connexions dropped or dissolved; indifferent to events, and indolent; I
shall have fewer opportunities of informing myself or others." And in
this supposed indolence and ignorance, he sits down to his work without
delay, and fills his volumes with information, inaccessible to
nine-tenths of the ablest and most active in his generation.

But it is not our purpose to give a consecutive view of the contents of
those volumes. Their nature is the reverse of consecutive. They are as
odd, irregular, and often as novel, as the changes of a kaleidoscope.
Nothing can be less like a picture, with its background, and foreground,
its middle tints and its _chiaroscuro_. Their best emblem perhaps would
be the "Dissolving views," where a palace has scarcely met the eye,
before it melts into an Italian lake; or the procession to a Romish
shrine is metamorphosed into a charge of cavalry. The volumes are a
_melange_ of characters, anecdotes, and reflections. We shall open the
pages at hazard, and take, as it comes first, in those "Sortes
Walpolianæ," a Westminster election.

There is "nothing new under the sun." What the Irish cry for "Repeal" is
now, the cry for the "Stuarts" was a hundred years ago. Faction equally
throve on both; and the tribe who live by faction in all ages uttered
both cries with equal perseverance--the only distinction between them
being, that as the Jacobite cry was an affair of the scaffold, it was
uttered with a more _judicious_ reserve.

Yet, it is only justice to the men of the older day, to acknowledge that
their motives were of a much higher order than the stimulants of the
modern clamour. With many of the Scottish Jacobites, the impulse was a
sense of honour to their chieftains, and a gallant devotion to their
king; with many of the English, it was a conscientious belief that they
were only doing their duty to the lawful throne in resisting the claims
of the Prince of Orange. It is remarkable, that of the "seven bishops"
sent to trial by James, but one, Trelawny, could be prevailed on to take
the oath of allegiance to William; yet, unfounded and extravagant as
were these conceptions, they showed manliness and conscience. Later
times have had motives, unredeemed by the chivalry of the Scotch, or the
integrity of the English; but the cause of both has been marked with a
similarity of operation, which makes Solomon still "an oracle."

The elections became the chief scenes of display. The efforts to return
Jacobite members were of the most pertinacious kind, and sometimes
proceeded to actual violence. In one of the Westminster elections, the
court candidate had been furiously attacked by a hired mob; and one
Murray, a man of family, and marked, by his name, for an adherent of the
Stuarts, had exhibited himself as a leader, had been captured, and
consigned to the custody of the Serjeant-at-arms.

After a period of confinement, pardon was tendered to him, if he would
ask it. He refused contemptuously, and obtained popularity by playing
the hero.

Murray was brought to the bar of the House of Commons to be heard in his
own defence. He asserted his innocence, smiled when he was taxed with
having called Lord Trentham and the High Bailiff rascals, desired
counsel, and was remanded. Another character then comes on the tapis by
way of episode. This was Sir William Yonge. It has been said of the
celebrated Erskine, that in the House he was a natural, out of the House
he was a supernatural; and certainly nothing could be less like, than
the orator of the bar, and the prattler of the House of Commons. Yonge's
characteristics were just the reverse. He was always trifling, out of
the House, and sometimes singularly effective in it. Walpole says of
him, that his Parliamentary eloquence was the more extraordinary, as it
seemed to come upon him by inspiration. Sir Robert Walpole frequently,
when he did not choose to enter early into the debate himself, gave
Yonge his notes as the latter came into the House; from which he could
speak admirably, though he had missed all the preceding discussion.

Sir Robert Walpole said of him, with a pungency worthy of his son, that
"nothing but Yonge's character could keep down his parts, and nothing
but his parts support his character;" but, whatever might be his
character, it is certain that his parts served him well, for though but
four-and-twenty years in Parliament, he was twice a Lord of the
Treasury, a Lord of the Admiralty and Secretary at War, finishing with
the then very lucrative situation of Vice-Treasurer of Ireland. For the
more honorary part of his distinctions, he had the Ribbon of the Bath,
was a Privy Councillor, and was appointed Lord Lieutenant of

We now return to Murray. It was moved that he should appear before the
House on his knees. Walpole's description is very graphic. "He entered
with an air of confidence, composed of something between a martyr and a

"The Speaker called out, Your obeisances, sir, your obeisances, and
then, sir, you must kneel. He replied, Sir, I beg to be excused, I never
kneel but to God. The Speaker repeated the command with great warmth.
Murray answered, Sir, I am sorry I cannot comply with your request: I
should in any thing else. Speaker cried, Sir, I call upon you again to
consider of it. Murray answered, Sir, when I have committed a crime, I
kneel to God for pardon, but I know my own innocence, and I cannot kneel
to any one else. The Speaker ordered the Serjeant to take him away and
secure him. He was going to reply, but the Speaker would not suffer him.
The Speaker then made a representation to the House of his contemptuous
behaviour, and said, However you may have differed in the debate, I hope
you will be unanimous in the punishment.

"Then ensued a long, tedious, and trifling succession of speakers,
finishing by an adjournment at two in the morning."

Then comes another character passing through the magic lantern. The
Mutiny Bill is the back-ground for this caricature. The front figure is
Lord Egmont. John Percival, second Earl of Egmont, seems to have been an
extraordinary compound of the fanatic and the philosopher. He was
scarcely of age, before he had a scheme of assembling the Jews, and
making himself their king. His great talent was, indefatigable
application. He was never known to laugh. He was once, indeed, seen to
smile; but _that was at chess_. His father had trained him to history
and antiquities; and he early settled his own political genius by
scribbling pamphlets. Towards the decline of Sir Robert Walpole's power,
he had created himself a leader of the Independents, a knot of desperate
tradesmen, many of them converted to Jacobinism, by being fined at the
custom-house for contraband practices. One of their chiefs was
Blackistone, a grocer in the Strand, detected in smuggling, and forgiven
by Sir Robert Walpole; detected again, and fined largely, on which he
turned patriot and became an alderman of London.

At the beginning of this parliament, rejected by Westminster, and
countenanced nowhere, he bought what Walpole pleasantly calls, the loss
of an election at Weobly, for which place, however, on a petition, Fox
procured his return to parliament, and immediately had the satisfaction
to find him declare against the court. At the Westminster election, his
indefatigability against the ministerial favourite came amply into play.
All the morning he passed at the hustings, then came to the House, where
he was a principal actor, and the rest of the day he spent at hazard,
not to mention the hours spent in collecting materials for his speeches,
or in furnishing them to his weekly mercenaries.

We then have a touch of the pencil at Lord Nugent.

"This Irishman's style was florid bombast; his impudence as great as if
he had been honest. He affected unbounded good-humour, and it was
unbounded, but by much secret malice, which sometimes broke out into
boisterous railing, but oftener vented itself in still-born satires.
Nugent's attachments were to Lord Granville; but all his flattery was
addressed to Mr. Pelham, whom he mimicked in candour, as he often
resembled Granville in ranting. Nugent had lost the reputation of a
great poet, by writing works of his own, after he had acquired fame by
an ode that was the joint production of several others."

Walpole certainly had an aversion to the wits of his day, with the
exception of George Selwyn; on whom he lavished a double portion of the
panegyric that he deserved, as a sort of compensation for his petulance
to others. His next portrait was Lord Chesterfield, the observed of all
observers, "the glass of fashion, and the mould of form," a man of
talent unquestionably, and a master of the knowledge of mankind, but
degrading his talent by the affectation of coxcombry, and turning his
knowledge into a system of polished profligacy.

Chesterfield, though not the first who had made a study of the art of
_nothings_, was the first who publicly prided himself on its study; and
while France owed her fashionable vice to a hundred sources, all England
looked up to Chesterfield as the high priest of that shrine, in which
time and reputation were equally sacrificed, and in which fame was to be
acquired alone by folly.

Walpole's sketch was struck off when Chesterfield was sinking into the
vale of years, and he exhibits that celebrated peer under the character,
at once melancholy and ridiculous, of a superannuated politician and an
old beau. Chesterfield, since he had given up the seals in 1748, had
retired from politics; in that spirit of resignation, which, in
extinguished politicians, is only a decent disguise for despair.

He had published what he called an apology for his resignation, which,
as Walpole says, excited no more notice than the resignation itself.
"From that time he had lived at White's, gaming, and pronouncing
witticisms among the boys of quality." He then proceeds to examine the
noble lord's construction, pretty much in the style of an anatomist with
the subject on the table, and cuts him up with all the zeal of angry

"Chesterfield, early in life, announced his claim to wit, and the women
believed in it. He had besides given himself out for a man of great
intrigue, and the world believed in that too. It was not his fault if he
had not wit, for nothing exceeded his efforts in that point. His
speeches were fine, but as much laboured as his extempore sayings. His
writings were every body's; that is, whatever came out good was given to
him, and he was too humble ever to refuse the gift. But besides the
passive enjoyment of all good productions in the present age, he had
another art of reputation, which was, either to disapprove of the
greatest authors of other times, or to patronize whatever was too bad to
be ascribed to himself."

We then have a slight glance at his public life. His debut in diplomacy
was as ambassador to Holland, where, as Walpole says, "he courted the
good opinion of that economical people," by losing immense sums at play.
On his return, he attached himself to Lord Townshend, an unlucky
connexion; but what did him more harm still, was the queen's seeing him
one Twelfth Night after winning a large sum of money at hazard, cross
St. James's Court, "to deposit it with my Lady Suffolk until next
morning." The queen never pardoned an intimacy there, and well she might
not, Lady Suffolk's royal intimacies being perfectly notorious.

His next employment of note was the vice-royalty of Ireland; in which
Walpole acknowledges that he was the most popular governor which that
luckless country ever had. "Nothing was cried up but his integrity. He
would have laughed at any man who had any confidence in his morality."

But Chesterfield's vice-royalty deserves better treatment than this. In
Ireland he _was_ an able governor. The man had something to do, and he
did it. The lounger of the London clubs could not dawdle through the
day in the midst of a fiery people full of faction, bleeding with the
wounds of civil war, and indignant at the supremacy of the "Saxon."

Jacobitism, in England a fashion, was in Ireland a fury. In England a
phantom of party, it was in Ireland a fierce superstition. In England a
fading recollection of power lost, and a still feebler hope of favours
to come, it was in Ireland a hereditary frenzy embittered by personal
sufferings, exalted by fantastic notions of pedigree, and sanctioned by
the secret but powerful stimulants of Rome. This was no place for a man
to take his rest, unless he could contrive to sleep on thorns.

Chesterfield was thus forced to be vigorous and vigilant; to watch every
symptom of disaffection, to suppress every incipient turbulence, to
guide without the appearance of control, and to make his popularity the
strength of a government almost wholly destitute of civil reputation or
military force. But the highest panegyric is to be found in the period
of his thus preserving the peace of Ireland. It was in 1745, when the
Pretender was proclaimed in Edinburgh, when the Highland army was on its
march to London, and when all the hopes of hollow courtiership and
inveterate Jacobitism were turned to the triumph of the ancient dynasty.
Yet, Ireland was kept in a state of quietude, and the empire was thus
saved from the greatest peril since the Norman invasion.

An Irish insurrection would have largely multiplied the hazards of the
Brunswick throne; and though we have firm faith in the power of England
to extinguish a foreign invader, yet, when the question came to be
simply one of the right to the crown, and the decision was to be made by
civil conflict, the alienation, or the insurrection, of Ireland might
have thrown an irresistible weight into the scale.

It is not our purpose, nor would it be becoming, to more than allude to
the private life of this showy personage. His was not the era of either
public or private morality. His marriage was contemptible, a connexion
equally marked by love of money and neglect of honour; for his choice
was the niece of the Duchess of Kendal, the duchess being notoriously
the king's mistress, and Chesterfield obviously marrying the niece as
being a probable heiress of her aunt, and also of bringing to her
husband some share of the royal favour. He was disappointed, as he
deserved, in the legacy; and seems to have been not much happier in the
wife, who brought him no heir, and was apparently a compound of pride
and dulness. He was more fortunate, however, in earning the political
favour of the old Duchess of Marlborough, who left him £20,000 in her

Still, with all the political chicanery, and all the official squabbles
of parliament, those were sportive times; and Walpole records the delay
of the debate on the bill for naturalizing the Jews, as arising from the
adjournment of the house, to attend private theatricals at Drury Lane,
where Delaval had hired the theatre to exhibit himself in Othello!
Walpole, in his pleasant exaggeration, says, that "the crowd of people
of fashion was so great, that the footman's gallery was hung with blue

For some reason, which must now sleep with the author, he had an
inveterate aversion to Seeker, then Bishop of Oxford, and afterwards
translated to Canterbury. "The King," said he, "would not go to chapel
because the Bishop of Oxford was to preach before him. The ministers did
not insist upon his hearing the sermon, as they had lately upon his
making him Dean of St. Paul's."

Character and popularity do not always depend upon the circumstances
which alone ought to fix either. He then proceeds to hew the right
reverend lord in pieces. "This bishop," says he, "who had been bred a
Presbyterian and man-midwife, which sect and profession he had dropt for
a season, while he was President of a Free-thinking Club, had been
converted by Bishop Talbot, whose relation he married, and his faith
_settled_ in a prebend of Durham, whence he was transplanted by the
queen, and advanced by her (who had no aversion to a medley of
religions, which she always compounded into a scheme of heresy of her
own) to the living of St. James's, vacant by the death of her favourite
_Arian_, Dr. Clarke, and afterwards to the bishoprics of Bristol and

Then, probably for the purpose of relieving the dark hues of this
desperate portrait, he throws in a touch of praise, and tells us that
Secker grew surprisingly popular in his parish of St. James's, and was
especially approved of in the pulpit.

Secker's discourses, with his charges and lectures, still remain; and it
is impossible to conceive any thing more commonplace in style, weaker in
conception, or more thoroughly marked with mediocrity of mind. And yet
it is perfectly possible to conceive such a man popular. What the
multitude call eloquence, in the pulpit, is palpably different from
eloquence any where else. At the bar, or in the legislature, it
evidently consists in a mixture of strong sense and powerful feeling. It
must exhibit _some_ knowledge of the subject, and more knowledge of
human nature. But the "sermons" which then achieved a passing popularity
were characterised by nothing but by the most shallow notions in the
most impotent language. The age of reasoners had passed away with
Barrow, South, and Sherlock; and a studied mingling of affected
simplicity and deliberate nonsense constituted the sole merits of the
pulpit in the middle of the eighteenth century. Then, according to the
proverb, that "when things come to the worst, they must mend," came the
gentle enthusiasm of Wesley and the fierce declamation of Whitefield,
both differing utterly in doctrine, practice, and principle, yet both
regarding themselves as missionaries to restore Christianity, and both
evidently believed by the multitude to be all but inspired. Their
example, however, infused some slight ardour into the established
pulpit, and its sermons were no longer dull _rechauffes_ of Epictetus,
and substitutes for the Gospel, taken from the schoolboy recollections
of Plato. Secker reigned in this middle-age of the pulpit, and his
performances are matchless as models of words without thought, doctrines
without learning, and language that trickled through the ear without the
possibility of reaching the understanding.

But Secker's faults were those of nature, which alone is to be blamed;
unless we are to join in the blame the ministers who placed such a
twinkling taper as a "shining light" in the church.

We do not believe in the story of his freethinking, though Walpole
strongly repeats it, and gives his authority. Secker's was obviously a
commonplace mind, wholly destitute of all pretension to ability, yet as
obviously not disinclined to make use of those means which often
constitute court favour, but which high minds disdain. He had been made
Dean of St. Paul's by the Chancellor's interest, though he had been for
some time in the shade at court, from being strongly suspected of
cultivating the Prince's connexions at the same time; however, he
achieved Canterbury at last, and, once sheltered in Lambeth, he might
laugh at the jealousies of courtiers.

Walpole now bursts out into indignant virtue; exclaims that even the
church has its renegades in politics, and almost compassionates the
king, "who was obliged to fling open his _asylum_ to all kinds of
deserters; revenging himself, however, by not speaking to them at his
levee, or listening to them in the pulpit."

In the meantime, the great source of all opposition, the dread of the
successful, the hope of the defeated, the thorn in the royal side, or,
to take a higher emblem, the tree of promise to all that contemptible
race who trade in conscience, and live on faction,--disappeared in a
moment. The heir-apparent died! The Prince of Wales had suffered from a
pleurisy, but was so much recovered as to attend the king to the House
of Lords. After being much heated in the atmosphere of the house, he
returned to Carlton House to unrobe, put on only a light frock, went to
Kew, where he walked some time, returned to Carlton House, and lay down
upon a couch for three hours on a ground floor next the garden. The
consequence of this rashness or obstinacy was, that he caught a fresh
cold, and relapsed that night.

After struggling with this illness for a week, he was suddenly seized
with an increase of his distemper. Three years before, he had received
a blow on the breast from a tennis ball, from which, or from a
subsequent fall, he often felt great pain. Exhausted by the cough, he
cried, "Je sens la mort," and died in the arms of his valet.

The character of this prince, who was chiefly memorable as the father of
George III., had in it nothing to eclipse the past age, conciliate the
present, or attract honour from the future. Walpole, in his keen way,
says, "that he resembled the Black Prince in nothing, but in dying
before his father." "Indeed," he contemptuously adds, "it was not his
fault if he had not distinguished himself by warlike achievements." He
had solicited the command of the army in Scotland in the rebellion of
1745, which was of course given to his brother; "a hard judgment," says
Walpole, "for what he could do, he did." When the royal army lay before
Carlisle, the prince, at a great supper which he gave his court and
favourites, had ordered for the dessert a model of the citadel of
Carlisle, in paste, which he in person, and the maids of honour,
_bombarded with sugar plumbs_!

The Prince had disagreed with the king and queen early after his coming
to England, "not entirely," says Walpole, "by his own fault." The king
had refused to pay his debts in Hanover, and "it ran a little in the
blood of the family to hate the eldest son!" The queen exerted more
authority than he liked, and "the Princess Emily, who had been admitted
into his greatest confidence, had not," the historian bitterly observes,
"forfeited her duty to the queen, by concealing any of his secrets that
_might do him prejudice_."

Gaming was one of his passions; "but his style of play did him less
honour than even the amusement." He carried this _dexterity_ into
practice in more essential points, and was vain of it. "One day at
Kensington that he had just borrowed £5000 of Doddington, seeing him
pass under his window, he said to Hedges, his secretary, 'that man is
reckoned one of the most sensible men in England; yet, with all his
parts, I have just tricked him out of £5000!'" A line from Earl Stanhope
summed up his character,--"He has his father's head and his mother's

A smart hit is mentioned of Pelham, who, however, was not remarkable for
humour. One Ayscough, who had been preceptor to Prince George, and who
had "not taught him to read English, though eleven years old," was about
to be removed from the preceptorship. Lyttleton, whose sister he had
married, applied to Pelham to save him. Pelham answered, "I know nothing
of Dr. Ayscough--Oh, yes, I recollect, a very worthy man told me in this
room, two years ago, that he was a _great rogue_." This very worthy man
happened to be _Lyttleton himself_, who had then quarrelled with
Ayscough about election affairs. Walpole abounds in sketches of
character, and they are generally capital. Here is a kit-cat of Lord
Albemarle, then ambassador in Paris. "It was convenient to him to be any
where but in England. His debts were excessive, though he was
ambassador, groom of the stole, governor of Virginia, and colonel of a
regiment of guards. His figure was genteel, his manner noble and
agreeable. The rest of his merit was the interest Lady Albemarle had
with the king through Lady Yarmouth. He had all his life imitated the
French manners since he came to Paris, where he never conversed with a
Frenchman. If good breeding is not different from good sense, Lord
Albemarle at least knew how to distinguish it from good nature. He would
bow to his postilion, while he was ruining his tailor."

The prince's death had all the effect of the last act of a melo-drama.
It had blown up more castles in the air, than any explosion in the
history of paint and pasteboard. All the rejected of the court had
naturally flocked round the heir-apparent, and never was worship of the
rising sun more mortified by its sudden eclipse. Peerages in embryo
never came to the birth, and all sorts of ministerial appointments, from
the premier downwards, which had been looked upon as solid and sure,
were scattered by this one event into thin air. Drax, the prince's
secretary, who "could not write his own name;" Lord Baltimore, who,
"with a great deal of mistaken knowledge, could not spell;" and Sir
William Irby, the princesses' Polonius, were to be barons; Doddington,
it was said, had actually kissed hands for the reversion of a dukedom!

The whole work is a picture gallery. Doddington, whose "Diary" has
placed him among those authors whose happiest fate would have been to
have been prohibited the use of pen, ink, and paper, is sketched to the
life in a few keen and graphic lines.

"This man, with great knowledge of business and much wit, had, by mere
absurdity of judgment and a disposition to finesse, thrown himself out
of all estimation, and out of all the views which his large fortune and
abilities could not have failed to promote, if he had preserved but the
least shadow of steadiness. He had two or three times gone all lengths
of flattery, alternately with Sir Robert Walpole and the prince. The
latter keenly said, 'that they had met again, at last, in a necessary
connexion, for no party would have any thing to do with either.'"

Why has not some biographer, curious in the dissection of human vanity,
written the real life of Doddington? There could be no richer subject
for a pen contemptuous of the follies of high life and capable of
dissecting that compound of worldly passion and infirm principle which,
in nine instances out of ten, figures in the front ranks of mankind.

Doddington had begun public life with higher advantages than most men of
his time. He had figure, fortune, and fashion; he was employed early in
Spain, with Sir Paul Methuen, our ambassador; where he signed the treaty
of Madrid. He then clung to Walpole, whom he panegyrised in verse and
adulated in prose. But Walpole thwarted his longing for a peerage, and
the refusal produced his revolt. He then went over to the Opposition,
and flattered the prince. But the prince had a favourite already; and
Doddington failed again. He then returned to Walpole, who made him a
lord of the treasury. But Walpole himself was soon to feel the chances
of power; and Doddington, who was never inclined to prop a sinking
cause, crossed the House again. There he was left for a while, to suffer
the penalties of a placeman's purgatory, but without being purified;
and, after some continuance in opposition, a state for which he was as
unfitted as a shark upon the sea-shore, he crossed over again to the
court, and was made treasurer of the navy. But he was now rapidly
falling into ridicule; and, determining to obtain power at all risks, he
bowed down before the prince. At this mimic court he obtained a mimic
office, was endured without respect, and consulted without confidence.
Even there he had not secured a final refuge.

The prince suddenly died; and Doddington's hopes, though not his
follies, were extinguished in his grave. Such was the fate of a man of
ability, of indefatigable labour, of affluent means, and confessedly
accomplished in all the habits and knowledge of public life. He wanted,
as Walpole observes, "nothing for power but constancy." Under a foreign
government he might have been minister for life. But in the free spirit
and restless parties of an English legislature, though such a man might
float, he must be at the mercy of every wave.

We then have the most extraordinary man in England in his day, under
review, the well-known Duke of Newcastle, minister, or possessing
ministerial influence, for nearly a quarter of a century! Of all the
public characters of his time, or perhaps of any other, the Duke of
Newcastle was the most ridiculed. Every act of his life, every speech
which he uttered, nay, almost every look and gesture, became instantly
food for burlesque. All the scribblers of the empire, with some of the
higher class, as Smollett, were pecking at him day by day; yet, in a
Parliament where Chatham, with his powerful eloquence, Bedford with his
subtle argument, Townshend with his wit, and the elder Fox with his
indefatigable intrigue, were all contending for the mastery; this man,
who seemed sometimes half-frenzied, and at other times half-idiotic,
retained power, as if it belonged to him by right, and resigned it, as
if he had given it away.

Walpole thus describes his appearance. "A constant hurry in his walk, a
restlessness of place, a borrowed importance, gave him the perpetual air
of a solicitor. His habit of never finishing, which proceeded from his
beginning every thing twenty times over, gave rise to the famous bon-mot
of Lord Wilmington: 'The Duke of Newcastle always loses half an hour in
the morning, which he is running after for the rest of the day.' But he
began the world with advantages:--an estate of £30,000 a-year, great
borough and county interest, the heirship of his uncle, the old Duke of
Newcastle, and a new creation of the title in his person." Walpole
curiously describes the temperament of this singular man. "The Duke of
Newcastle had no pride, though infinite self-love. He always caressed
his enemies, to enlist them against his friends. There was no service
that he would not do for either, till either was above being served by

"There was no expense to which he was not addicted, but generosity. His
houses, gardens, table, and equipage, swallowed immense treasures. The
sums which he owed were exceeded only by those which he wasted. He loved
business immoderately, yet was always only doing it, never did it. His
speeches in council and parliament were copious of words, but unmeaning.
He aimed at every thing, yet endeavoured nothing. A ridiculous fear was
predominant in him; he would venture the overthrow of the government,
rather than dare to open a letter that might discover a plot. He was a
secretary of state without intelligence, a man of infinite intrigue
without secrecy or policy, and a minister despised and hated by his
master, by all parties and ministers, without being turned out by any."
This faculty of retaining office is evidently the chief problem in
Walpole's eyes, and was as evidently the chief source of wrath, in the
eyes of his crowd of clever opponents.

But the duke must have had some qualities, for which his caricaturists
will not give him credit. He must have been shrewd, with all his oddity,
and well acquainted with the science of the world, with all his
trifling. He must have known the art of pulling the strings of
parliament, before he could have managed the puppet show of power with
such unfailing success. He must also have been dexterous in dealing with
wayward tempers, while he had to manage the suspicious spirit, stubborn
prejudices, and arrogant obstinacy of George II. It may be admitted that
he had great assistance in the skill and subtlety of his brother Pelham;
but there were so many occasions on which he must have trusted to
himself alone, that it may well be doubted, whether to be, constantly
successful, he must not have been singularly skilful, and that the
personal dexterity of the minister was the true secret of his prolonged

We now come to Walpole's summary of the career of the two most
celebrated men of his early life--his father and Bolingbroke.

Sir Robert Walpole and Lord Bolingbroke had begun, as rivals at school,
lived a life of competition, and died much in the same manner, "provoked
at being killed by empirics, but with the same difference in their
manner of dying as had appeared in the temper of their lives,--the first
with a calmness which was habitual philosophy, the other with a rage
which his affected philosophy could not disguise. The one had seen his
early ambition dashed with imprisonment, from which he had shot into the
sphere of his rival. The other was exiled, recalled, and ruined. Walpole
rose gradually to the height of power, maintained it by his single
talents against Bolingbroke, assisted by all the considerable men of
England; and when driven from it at last, resigned it without a stain or
a censure; retiring to private life without an attempt to re-establish
himself, and almost without a regret for what he had lost."

Though this was the tribute of a son to a father, it is, in all its
essentials, the tribute of truth; for Walpole was, beyond all doubt, a
man of great administrative abilities, remarkably temperate in the use
of power, and, though violently assailed both within and without the
house, neither insolent in the one instance, nor vindictive in the
other. It was equally beyond a doubt, that to him was in a great degree
owing the establishment of the Hanover succession. The peaceful
extinction of Jacobitism, whose success would have been the renewal of
despotism and popery; and that system of finance and nurture of the
national resources, which prepared the country for the signal triumphs
of the reign, were the work of Walpole.

Bolingbroke, with talents of the highest brilliancy, wanted that
strength of judgment without which the most brilliant talents are only
dangerous to their possessor. After tasting of power, only to feel the
bitterness of disappointment--after rising to the height of ambition,
only to be cast into the lowest depths of disgrace, after being driven
into exile, and returning from it only in the humiliation of a pardon
under the hand of his rival,--Bolingbroke died in retirement, without
respect, and in the obscurity, without the peace of a private station.
It must be acknowledged that, in his instance, ill-fortune was only
another name for justice; that the philosopher, whose pen was employed
in defaming religion, was punished in the politician, who felt the
uncertainty of human power; and that a life expended in treachery to the
religion in which he was born, was well punished by his being forced in
public life to drink the bitterest dregs of political shame, live with
an extinguished reputation, and be buried in national scorn, long before
his body was consigned to the tomb.

At this period, the king, far advanced in years, was destined to feel
the heaviest pressure of domestic calamity. His queen, a woman of sense
and virtue, to whom, notwithstanding the grossness of his vices, he
could not help paying public respect, died from the effects of an
accident, which had grown into a confirmed disease. Her death was
followed by that of his youngest daughter, the Queen of Denmark, a woman
"of great spirit and sense," who died of an accident resembling her
mother's. She, too, like the Queen of England, had led an unhappy
life,--for like her, she had the vice and scandal of royal mistresses to
contend with.

The king, on the news of this death, broke into unusual expressions of
sorrow and fondness. "This," said he, "has been a fatal year to my
family; I lost my eldest son, but I was _glad of it_. Then the Prince of
Orange died, and left every thing in confusion. Poor little Edward has
been cut open, (for an imposthume in his side,) and now the Queen of
Denmark is gone. I know I did not love my children when they were young,
I hated to have them running about my room; but now I love them as well
as most fathers."

The contrast between the Walpole and the Pelham administrations, is
sketched with great force and fidelity. In our days the character of a
cabinet depends upon the party. In those days the character of the
cabinet depended upon the premier. Walpole was bold, open, steady, and
never dejected: Pelham was timorous, reserved, fickle, and apt to
despair. Presumption made Walpole many enemies: want of confidence in
himself estranged from Pelham many friends. Walpole was content to have
one great view, and would overlook or trample on the intermediate
degrees: Pelham could never reach a great view, through stumbling at
little ones. Walpole loved power so much, that he would not endure a
rival: Pelham loved it so much that he would endure any thing. Walpole
would risk his administration by driving every considerable man from
court, rather than venture their rivalry: Pelham would employ any means
to take able men out of the opposition, though he ventured their
engrossing his authority and outshining his capacity; but he dreaded
abuse more than competition, and always bought off his enemies, to avoid
their satire, rather than to acquire their support.

The historian, on the whole, regards Pelham's conduct on this point,
though the less bold, as the more prudential. He acknowledges that the
result of Sir Robert's driving away all able men from him was, to gain
for himself but weak and uncertain assistance, while he always kept up a
formidable opposition. But he might have grounded Sir Robert's failure,
on insulted justice, as well as on mistaken policy; for, by depriving
able men of their natural right to official distinction, he did more
than enfeeble himself,--he deprived the country of their services.
Walpole's was the more daring plan, and Pelham's was palpably and
abjectly pusillanimous; but the result of the one was, to reduce the
government to a solitary minister, while the result of the other was
always to form an effective cabinet. The former plan _may_ subsist,
during a period of national peril; but the return of public
tranquillity, which, in England, is always the severest trial of
governments, invariably shows the superior stability of the other.

Both were valued in private life. "Walpole was fond of magnificence, and
was generous to a fault: the other had neither ostentation nor avarice,
and yet had but little generosity. The one was profuse to his family and
friends, liberal indiscriminately, and unbounded to his tools and spies:
the other loved his family and his friends, and enriched them as often
as he could _steal an opportunity_ from his extravagant bounty to his
enemies and antagonists." Walpole was "forgiving to a fault, if
forgiveness be a fault. Pelham _never_ forgave, but when he durst not
resent! The one was most appreciated while he was minister; the other
most, when he ceased to be minister. All men thought Pelham honest,
_until_ he was in power. Walpole was never thought so, until he was
out." Such is the lecture which this dexterous operator gives, knife in
hand, over the corpses of the two most powerful men of their age.

Is it to be supposed that Ireland was doing nothing during this bustling
period of English faction? Quite the contrary. It was in a flame, yet
the subject was as insignificant as the indignation was profuse. One
Jones, the court architect, was charged by the opposition with
irregularities in his conduct, and was defended by the ministry. On the
first division ministers had a majority, but it was almost a defeat, the
majority amounting to but three. All Ireland resounded with acclamation.
The "national cause" was to live, only with the expulsion of Jones from
his office; and to perish irrecoverably, if he should draw another
quarter's salary. His protectors were anathematised, his assailants were
the models of patriotism. The populace made "bonfires of reproach"
before the primate's house, a tolerably significant sign of what might
happen to himself; and stopped the coaches in the streets, demanding of
their passengers a pledge "whether they were for Ireland, or England."
Even the hackney coachmen exhibited their patriotic self-denial by the
heroism of refusing to carry any fare to the Castle, the residence of
the viceroy. The passion became even more powerful than duelling. A Dr.
Andrews, of the Castle party, challenging Lambert, a member, at the door
of the Commons, on some election squabble, Lambert said, "I shall go
_first_ into the house, and vote against that rascal Neville Jones."
Andrews repeating the insult, and, as it seems, not allowing time for
this patriotic vote, Lambert went in and complained; in consequence of
which Andrews was ordered into custody; Carter, the Master of the
Rolls,--for even the lawyers had caught fire on the
occasion,--exclaiming of Andrews, "What! would that man force himself
into a seat here, and for what? only to prostitute his vote to a man,
the sworn enemy of his country," (Lord George Sackville, then Secretary
for Ireland.) The Speaker, too, was equally hostile. The government were
finally defeated by 124 to 116. Never was ridiculous triumph more
ridiculously triumphant. The strangers in the gallery huzzaed, the mob
in the streets huzzaed. When Lord Kildare returned to his house (he had
been the leader of the debate,) there was a procession of some hours.
All the world was rejoicing, Neville Jones was prostrated, Ireland had
cast aside her sackcloth, and was thenceforth to be rich, loyal, and
happy. The triumph lasted during the night, and was forgotten in the
morning. Jones covered his retreat with a pleasantry, saying--"So, after
all, I am not to be In--igo, but Out--igo Jones," a piece of wit, which
disposed many in that wit-loving land to believe, that he was not so
very much a demon after all. But the revenge of government was longer
lived than the popular rejoicing. Their first intention was a general
casting out of all who had foiled them in the debate: a two-handed
slaughter of officials--a massacre of the innocents. But the wrath
cooled, and was satisfied with turning off Carter, master of the rolls;
Malone, prime serjeant; Dilks, the quarter-master general; and
abolishing the pension of Boyle, a near relative of the obnoxious

But a powerful man was now to be snatched away from the scene: Pelham
died. He had been for some time suffering under the great disease of
high life, high living. His health had given way to many feasts, many
physicians, and the Scarborough waters. He died on the 8th of March,

France next supplies the historian with another display. The two
countries differ, even in the nineteenth century, by characteristics
wholly irreconcilable; and they are both of a sterner order as time
advances with both. But, in the eighteenth century, each country in its
public transactions approached nearer to the propensities and passions
of the drama. The rapid changes of the English cabinet--the clever
circumventions of courtiers--the bold developments of political talent,
and the dexterous intrigues of office--bore some resemblance to the
graver comedy. On the other hand, the Court life of France was all a
ballet, of which Versailles was the patent theatre. There all was show
and scene-shifting the tinsel of high life, and the frolic, of brilliant
frivolity.--The minister was eclipsed by the mistress; the king was a
buffoon in the hands of the courtier; and the government of a powerful
nation was disposed of in the style of a flirtation behind the scenes.

Louis XV. had at this period grown weary of the faded graces of Madame
de Pompadour, and selected for his favourite a woman of Irish
extraction, of the name of Murphy. The monarch had stooped low enough,
for his new sultana was the daughter of a shoe-maker. The royal history
was scarcely more profligate, than it was ridiculous. His Majesty,
though the husband of a respectable queen, had seemed to regard every
abomination of life as a royal privilege. He had first adopted the
society of a Madame de Mailly, a clever coquette, but with the
disqualification of being the utter reverse of handsome. Madame, to
obviate the known truantry of the King, introduced her sister, Madame de
Vintinsille, as clever, but as ordinary as herself. The latter died in
child-birth, supposed to have been poisoned! The same family, however,
supplied a third sultana, a very pretty personage, on whom the royal
favour was lavished in the shape of a title, and she was created Duchess
de Chateauroux.

But this course of rivalry was interrupted. The king was suddenly seized
with illness. Fitzjames, Bishop of Soissons, came to the royal bedside,
and remonstrated. The mistress was dismissed, with a kind of public
disgrace, and the queen went in a sort of public pomp, to thank the
saints for the royal repentance.

"But," says Walpole, "as soon as the king's health was re-established,
the queen was sent to her prayers, the bishop to his diocese, and the
Duchess was recalled--but died suddenly." He ends the narrative with a
reflection as pointed and as bitter as that of any French chamberlain in
existence:--"Though a jealous sister may be disposed to despatch a
rival, can we believe that _bishops_ and _confessors_ poison?"

Madame de Pompadour had reigned paramount for a longer period than any
of those Medeas or Circes. Walpole describes her as all that was
charming in person and manner. But nearer observers have denied her the
praise of more than common good looks, and more than vulgar animation.
She, however, evidently understood the art of managing her old fool, and
of keeping influence by the aid of his ministers. Madame mingled eagerly
in politics, purchased dependents, paid her instruments well, gave the
gayest of all possible entertainments--a resistless source of
superiority in France--had a purse for many, and a smile for more; by
her liveliness kept up the spirits of the old king, who was now
vibrating between vice and superstition; fed, fêted, and flattered the
noblesse, by whom she was libelled, and _worshipped_; and with all the
remaining decencies of France exclaiming against her, but with all its
factions, its private licentiousness, and its political corruption,
rejoicing in her reign; she flourished before the eyes of Europe, the
acknowledged ruler of the throne.

Can we wonder that this throne fell--that this career of glaring guilt
was followed by terrible retribution--that this bacchanalian revel was
inflamed into national frenzy--that this riot of naked vice was to be
punished and extinguished by the dungeon and the scaffold?

Walpole, though formed in courts, fashioned in politics, and a haunter
of high life to the last, now and then exhibits a feeling worthy of a
manlier vocation, and an honester time. "If I do not forbid myself
censure," says he, "at least I shall shun that poison of histories,
flattery. How has it predominated in writers. My Lord Bacon was almost
as profuse of his incense to the memory of dead kings, as he was
infamous for clouding the memory of the living with it. Commines, an
honester writer, though I fear, by the masters whom he pleased, not a
much less servile courtier, says that the virtues of Louis XI.
preponderated over his vices. Even Voltaire has in a manner purified the
dross of adulation which contemporary authors had squandered on Louis
XIV. by adopting and refining it after the tyrant was dead."

He then becomes courageous, and writes in his castle of Strawberry Hill,
what he never would have dared to breathe in the circle of St. James's.
"If any thing can shock one of those mortal divinities, and they must be
shocked before they can be corrected, it would be to find, that the
truth would be related of them at last. Nay, is it not cruel to them to
hallow their memories. One is sure that they will never hear truth;
shall they not even have a chance of reading it?"

In all great political movements, where the authority of a nation has
been shaken, we are strongly inclined to think that the shock has
originated in mal-administration at home. Some of the most remarkable
passages in these volumes relate to our early neglect of the American
Colonies. In the perpetual struggles of public men for power, the remote
world of the West seemed to be wholly forgotten, or to be remembered
only when an old governor was recalled, or a new creature of office sent
out. Those great provinces had been in the especial department of the
Secretary of State, assisted by the Board of Trade. That secretary had
been the Duke of Newcastle, a man whose optics seem never to have
reached beyond Whitehall. It would scarcely be credited, what reams of
papers, representations, memorials, and petitions from that quarter of
the world lay mouldering and unopened in his office. He even knew as
little of the geography of his province, as of the state of it. During
the war, while the French were encroaching on the frontier; when General
Ligonier hinted some defence for Annapolis, he replied in his evasive,
lisping hurry, "Annapolis. Oh, yes, Annapolis must be defended--Where is

But a more serious impolicy was exhibited in the neglect of American
claims to distinctions and offices. No cabinet seems ever to have
thought of attaching the rising men of the colonies, by a fair and
natural distribution of honours. Excepting a few trifling offices,
scarcely more than menial, under the staff of the British governors, or
commissions in the provincial militia, the promotion of an American was
scarcely ever heard of. The result was natural,--the English blood was
soaked in the American veins; the original spirit of the colonist became
first sullen, and then hostile. It was natural, as the population grew
more numerous; while individual ability found itself thwarted in its
progress, and insulted by the preference of strangers to all the offices
of the country, that the feelings of the people should ponder upon
change. Nothing could be more impolitic than this careless insult, and
nothing more calamitous in its consequences. The intelligent lawyer, the
enterprising merchant, the hardy soldier, and America had them all, grew
bitter against the country of their ancestors. It would scarcely be
believed, that the Episcopal Church was almost wholly abandoned to
weakness, poverty, and unpopularity, and even that no bishop was sent to
superintend the exertions, or sustain the efficacy, or cement the
connexion of the Church in America with the Church in England. The whole
of the united provinces were, by the absurd fiction of a sinecure law,
"in the diocese of London!" Of course, in the first collision, the
Church was swept away like chaff before the wind. An Episcopal Church
has since risen in its room; but it has now no farther connexion with
its predecessor than some occasional civilities offered to its tourist
bishops on presenting their cards at Lambeth, or the rare appearance of
a volume of sermons transmitted to our public libraries.

Another capital fault was committed in the administration of those great
colonies: they had been peopled chiefly by emigrants of the humbler
order. Leaving England chiefly in times of national disturbance, they
had carried with them the seeds of republicanism; but all men love
public honours, and Englishmen love them as much as any others.
Hereditary honours, too, are the most valuable of all, from their giving
a certain rank to those objects of our regard, which every honest and
high-minded man values most, his children. To be the founder of a family
is the most honourable, the most gratifying, and the most permanent
reward of public talents. The Americans of our day affect to abhor a
peerage; though no people on earth are more tenacious of the trifling
and temporary titles of office. Nothing could have been easier at this
period, than the creation of an aristocracy in America; and nothing
could have been wiser. The landed proprietors, and there were some of
vast possessions; the leading men of commerce, and there were some of
great wealth; and the principal lawyers, and there were men of eloquence
and ability among them--would have formed the _nucleus_ of an
aristocracy purely English, closely connected with the English throne as
the fountain of honour, and not less strongly bound to English
allegiance. An Episcopacy, of all ties the most powerful, required only
a word for its creation. And in this manly, generous, and free-spirited
connexion, the colonies would have grown with the growth of England;
have shunned all the bitter collisions of rival interests; have escaped
the actual wars which inflicted disaster on both; and, by the first of
all benefits to America, she would have obtained the means of resisting
that supremacy of faction, which is now hurrying her into all the
excesses of democracy.

In Canada we are still pursuing the same system, inevitably to be
followed by the same fruits. We are suffering it to be filled with men
of the lowest order of society; with the peasant, the small dealer, the
fugitive, and the pauper. Those men no sooner acquire personal
independence, than they aim at political. But who ever hears of a title
of honour among even the ablest, the most gallant, or the most attached
of the Canadian colonists? The French acted more rationally. Their
Canadians have a noblesse, and that noblesse to this moment keep their
station, and keep up the interest of France in Canada. Our obvious
policy would be, to conciliate the leading men by titles of honour, to
conciliate the rising generation by giving them the offices of their own
country, and make it a principle of colonial government, that while the
command of the forces, or the governor-generalship should be supplied
from home, every office below those ranks should be given to those brave
and intelligent individuals of the colony who had best earned them. We
should then hear of no factions, no revolts, and no republicanism in

It is a curious contrast to the present state of things, that during the
long reign of George II. government was simply a game. Half a dozen
powerful men were the players. The king was merely the looker on, the
people knew no more of the matter than the passers by through Pall-Mall
know of the performances going on within the walls of its club-houses.
It must shock our present men of the mob to hear of national interests
tossed about like so many billiard balls by those powdered and ruffled
handlers of the cue. Yet every thing is to be judged of by the result.
Public life was never exhibited on a more showy scale. Parliament never
abounded with more accomplished ability. England never commanded higher
influence with Europe. If her commerce has since become more extensive,
it was then more secure, and if the victories of our own time have been
on a scale of magnitude, which throws the past into the shade, our
fleets and armies then gave proofs of a gallantry which no subsequent
triumphs could transcend.

It cannot be doubted, that the habits of that rank to which the
statesmen of that day were born, naturally influenced their views of
political transactions. Though party unquestionably existed in all its
force among them, there was no faction. If there was a strong
competition for power, there was little of the meanness of modern
intrigue; and a minister of the days of George II. would no more have
stooped to the rabble popularity, than he would have availed himself of
its assistance or dreaded its alienation.

We now come to one of those negociations which, like a gust of wind
against a tree, while they seemed to shake, only strengthened the
cabinet. A violent attack had been made in the house upon Sir Thomas
Robinson, a great favourite with the king. Walpole strikes off his
character with his usual spirit. Sir Thomas had been bred in German
courts, and was rather restored, than naturalised to the genius of
Germany. He had German honour, loved German politics, and "could explain
himself as little" as if he spoke "only German." Walpole attributes Sir
Thomas's political distinctions simply to Newcastle's necessity for
finding out men of talents inferior to his own, "notwithstanding the
difficulty of the discovery." Yet if the duke had intended to please his
master, he could not have done it more happily than by presenting him
with so congenial a servant. The king, "with such a secretary in his
closet, felt himself in the very Elysium of Heren-hausen."

Then follows a singular conversation between the king and Fox. The Duke
of Newcastle saw his power tottering, and had begun to look out for new
allies. His first thought was to dismiss Pitt, the next and more
natural, was to "try to sweeten Fox." Accordingly, on the morning of the
29th, the king sent for Fox, reproached him for concurring to wrong Sir
Thomas Robinson, and asked him if he had united with Pitt to oppose his
measures. Fox assured him he had not, and that he had given his honour
that he would resign first. Then, said the king, will you stand up and
carry on my measures in the House of Commons, as you can do with spirit.
Fox replied, I must know, sir, what means I shall have. "It would be
better for you," said the king, "you shall have favour, advantage, and
confidence," but would not explain particulars, only asking if he would
go to the Duke of Newcastle.

"I must, if you command me," said Fox, "go and say I have forgot every

"No," replied the king, "I have a good opinion of you. You have
abilities and honesty, but you are too warm. I will send a common
friend, Lord Waldegrave. I have obligations to you that I never
mentioned. The prince tried you, and you would not join him, and yet you
made no merit of it to me."

Mingled with these memoirs are appendices of anecdote, and those
anecdotes generally of remarkable characters. Among the rest is a sketch
of the famous Count Bruhl, one of those men who figured in Europe as the
grand burlesque of ministerial life, or rather of that life, which in
the East raises a slave into the highest appointments of the state, and
after showing him as a slipper-bearer, places him beside the throne. The
extravagances of the court of Saxony at that period were proverbial, the
elector being King of Poland, and lavishing the revenues of his
electorate alike on his kingdom and person. While the court was
borrowing at an interest of ten per cent. the elector was lavishing
money as if it rained from the skies. He had just wasted £200,000
sterling on two royal marriages, given £100,000 sterling for the Duke of
Modena's gallery of pictures, given pensions in Poland amounting to
£50,000 sterling above what he received, and enabled Count Bruhl
personally to spend £60,000 a-year.

This favourite of fortune, originally of a good family, was only a page
to the late king, and had the education of a page. By his assiduity, and
being never absent from the king's side, he became necessary to this
marvellously idle monarch; he himself, next to the monarch, being,
probably, the idlest man in his dominions. The day of a German prime
minister seems to have been a succession of formal idlenesses. Bruhl
rose at six in the morning, the only instance of activity in his
career. But he was obliged to attend the king before nine, after having
read the letters of the morning. With the king he staid until the hour
of mass, which was at eleven. From mass he went to the Countess
Moyensha, where he remained till twelve. From her house he adjourned to
dinner with the king, or to his own house, where he was surrounded by a
circle of profligates, of his own choosing. After dinner he undressed,
and went to sleep till five. He then dressed, for the second time in the
day, each time occupying him an hour. At six he went to the king, with
whom he staid till seven. At seven he always went to some assembly,
where he played deep, the Countess Moyensha being always of the party.
At ten he supped, and at twelve he went to bed. Thus did the German
contrive to mingle statesmanship with folly, and the rigid regularities
of a life not to be envied by a horse in a mill, with the feeble
frivolities of a child in the nursery. His expenses were immense; he
kept three hundred servants, and as many horses. Yet he lived without
elegance, and even without comfort. His house was a model of
extravagance and bad taste. He had contracted a mania for building, and
had at least a dozen country seats, which he scarcely ever visited. This
enormous expenditure naturally implied extraordinary resources, and he
was said to sell all the great appointments in Poland without mercy.

Frederick of Prussia described him exactly, when he said, that "of all
men of his age he had the most watches, dresses, lace, boots, shoes, and
slippers. Cæsar would have put him among those well dressed and perfumed
heads of which he was not afraid." But this mixture of prodigality and
profligacy was not to go unpunished, even on its own soil. Bruhl
involved Saxony in a war with Frederick. Nothing could be more foolish
than the beginning of the war, except its conduct. The Prussian king,
the first soldier in Europe, instantly out-manoeuvred the Saxons, shut
up their whole army at Pirna; made them lay down their arms, and took
possession of Dresden. The king and his minister took to flight. This
was the extinction of Bruhl's power. On his return to Dresden, after
peace had been procured, he lost his protector, the king. The new
elector dismissed him from his offices. He died in 1764.

Some scattered anecdotes of Doddington are characteristic of the man and
of the time. Soon after the arrival of Frederick Prince of Wales in
England, Doddington set up for a favourite, and carried the distinction
to the pitifulness of submitting to all the caprices of his royal
highness; among other instances, submitting to the practical joke of
being rolled up in a blanket, and trundled down stairs.

Doddington has been already spoken of as a wit; and even Walpole,
fastidious as he was, gives some instances of that readiness which
delights the loungers of high life. Lord Sunderland, a fellow
commissioner of the treasury, was a very dull man. One day as they left
the board, Sunderland laughed heartily about something which Doddington
had said, and, when gone, Winnington observed, "Doddington, you are very
ungrateful. You call Sunderland stupid and slow, and yet you see how
quickly he took what you said." "Oh no," was the reply, "he was only now
laughing at what I said last treasury day."

Trenchard, a neighbour, telling him, that though his pinery was
extensive, he contrived, by applying the fire and the tan to other
purposes, to make it so advantageous that he believed he got a shilling
by every pine-apple he ate. "Sir," said Doddington, "I would eat them
for half the money." Those are but the easy pleasantries of a man of
conversation. The following is better: Doddington had a habit of falling
asleep after dinner. One day, dining with Sir Richard Temple, Lord
Cobham, &c., he was reproached with his drowsiness. He denied having
been asleep, and to prove his assertion, offered to repeat all that
Cobham had been saying. He was challenged to do so. In reply, he
repeated a story; and Cobham acknowledged that he had been telling it.
"Well," said Doddington, "and yet I did not hear a word of it. But I
went to sleep because I knew that, about this time of day, you would
tell that story."

There are few things more singular than the want of taste, amounting to
the ludicrous, which is sometimes visible in the mansions of public men,
who have great opulence at their disposal. Walpole himself, when he
became rich, was an instance of this bad taste in the laborious
frivolity of his decorations at Strawberry hill. But in Doddington we
have a man of fashion, living, during his whole career, in the highest
circles, familiar with every thing that was graceful and classical in
the arts, and yet exhibiting at home the most ponderous and tawdry pomp.
At his mansion at Eastbury, in the great bed-chamber, hung with the
richest red velvet, was pasted on "every panel of the velvet his crest,
a hunting horn, supported by an eagle, cut out in gilt leather, while
the footcloth round his bed was a mosaic of the pocket flaps and cuffs
of all his embroidered clothes."

He was evidently very fond of this crest, for in his villa at
Hammersmith, (afterwards the well known Brandenburg House,) his crest in
pebbles was stuck in the centre of the turf before his door. The
chimney-piece was hung with spars representing icicles round the fire,
and a bed of purple lined with orange, was crowned by a dome of
peacock's feathers. The great gallery, to which was a beautiful door of
white marble, supported by two columns of lapis lazuli, was not only
filled with busts and statues, but had an inlaid floor of marble, and
all this weight was above stairs. One day showing it to Edward, Duke of
York, (brother of George III.) Doddington said, Sir, some persons tell
me, that this room ought to be on the ground. "Be easy, Mr. Doddington,"
said the prince, "it will soon be there."

At length this reign, which began in doubt of the succession, and was
carried on in difficulties both political and commercial, came to a
close in the most memorable prosperity. The British arms were triumphant
in every quarter, and the king had arrived at the height of popularity
and fortune, when the sudden bursting of a ventricle of the heart, put
an end to his life in October, 1760, in his seventy-seventh year, and
the thirty-third of his possession of the throne.

A general glance at the reigns of the first three Georges, might form a
general view of the operations of party. In other kingdoms, the will of
the monarch or the talents of the minister, alone stand before the eye
of the historian. In England, a third power exists, more efficient than
either, and moulding the character of both, and this is party, the
combination of able members of the legislature, united by similarity of
views, and continuing a systematic struggle for the supremacy. This
influence makes the minister, and directs even the sitter on the throne.
And this influence, belonging solely to a free government, is essential
to its existence. It is the legitimate medium between the people and the
crown. It is the peaceful organ of that public voice which, without it,
would speak only in thunder. It is that great preservative principle,
which, like the tides of the ocean, purifies, invigorates, and animates
the whole mass, without rousing it into storm.

The reign of George the First, was a continual effort of the
constitutional spirit against the remnants of papistry and tyranny,
which still adhered to the government of England. The reign of the
second George was a more decided advance of constitutional rights,
powers, and feelings. The pacific administration of Walpole made the
nation commercial; and when the young Pretender landed in Scotland, in
1745, he found adherents only in the wild gallantry, and feudal faith of
the clans. In England Jacobitism had already perished. It had undergone
that death from which there is no restoration. It had been swept away
from the recollections of the country, by the influx of active and
opulent prosperity. The brave mountaineer might exult at the sight of
the Jacobite banner, and follow it boldly over hill and dale. But the
Englishman was no longer the man of feudalism. The wars of the Roses
could be renewed no more. He was no longer the fierce retainer of the
baron, or the armed vassal of the king. He had rights and possessions of
his own, and he valued both too much to cast them away in civil
conflict, for claims which had become emaciated by the lapse of years,
and sacrifice freedom for the superstitious romance of a vanished

Thus the last enterprise of Jacobitism was closed in the field, and the
bravery of the Highlander was thenceforth, with better fortune, to be
distinguished in the service of the empire.

The reign of the third George began with the rise of a new influence.
Jacobitism had been trampled. Hanover and St. Germains were no longer
rallying cries. Even Whig and Tory were scarcely more than imaginary
names. The influence now was that of family. The two great divisions of
the aristocracy, the old and the new, were in the field. The people were
simply spectators. The fight was in the Homeric style. Great champions
challenged each other. Achilles Chatham brandished his spear, and
flashed his divine armour, against the defenders of the throne, until he
became himself the defender. The Ajax, the Diomede, and the whole tribe
of the classic leaders, might have found their counterparts in the
eminent men who successively appeared in the front of the struggle; and
the nation looked on with justified pride, and Europe with natural
wonder, at the intellectual resources which could supply so noble and so
prolonged a display of ability. The oratorical and legislative names of
the first thirty years of the reign of George the Third have not been
surpassed in any legislature of the world.

But a still more important period, a still more strenuous struggle, and
a still more illustrious triumph, was to come. The British parliament
was to be the scene of labours exerted not for Britain alone, but for
the globe. The names of Pitt, Fox, Burke, and a crowd of men of genius,
trained by their example, and following their career, are cosmopolite.
They belong to all countries and to all generations. Their successes not
only swept the most dangerous of all despotisms from the field, but
opened that field for an advance of human kind to intellectual
victories, which may yet throw all the trophies of the past into the

       *       *       *       *       *




"To-morrow we quit Rome," said Mildred; "let us spend the day in quest
of nothing new, but in a farewell visit to some of our first and oldest
friends. How soon does that which we very much admire, come to be an old

Winston felt the same inclination as herself; but Mr. and Miss
Bloomfield, since nothing new was to be seen, preferred to stay at home
and rest themselves, in anticipation of the morrow's journey. Winston
and Mildred therefore started together.

They entered a carriage and drove to St. Peter's; alighting, however, at
the entrance of the magnificent colonnade which extends before it. The
last visit we pay to any remarkable place bears a strong resemblance to
the first; for the prospect of quitting it revives the freshness of the
scene, and invests it for a second time with something like the charm of
novelty. As it broke on us before from a past spent in ignorance of it,
so now we seem to look out on it from the long anticipated absence of
the future.

"Standing at the extremity of the colonnade," said Winston, "how
diminutive seem the men who are ascending the broad flight of steps that
lead to the church itself; and the carriages and horses drawn up at the
bottom of those steps look like children's toys. Men have dwarfed
themselves by their own creations."

"Who is it," said Mildred, "that in his oracular criticism pronounced
this colonnade, beautiful as it is, to be disproportioned to the
building, and out of place. Whoever it was, he must have excogitated the
idea at a distance, and in some splenetic humour; it never could have
entered through his eyesight standing here. Had there been a portico to
the church, such as we are told Michael Angelo intended, resembling that
of the Pantheon, then this colonnade might have been unnecessary--it
would always have been a beautiful addition--but with so flat a façade,
(the only part of the building, I think, which disappoints expectation,)
I pronounce the colonnade to be absolutely essential. Without it the
temple would never seem to invite, as it does and ought to do, the whole
Christian world to enter it. Oh, if it were only to girdle in those two
beautiful fountains, it were invaluable."

"Beautiful indeed! Such should fountains be," said Winston. "The water,
in its graceful and noble play, should constitute the sole ornament. If
you introduce statuary, the water should be an accessary to the statue,
and no longer the principal ornament."

"How I abominate," said Mildred, "all those devices for spirting water
out of the mouths of animals! It is a constant surprise to me that a
taste so evidently revolting to all our natural associations, should be
still persevered in. To leave unmentioned more odious devices, I can
never pass without a sense of the disagreeable and the offensive, even
those lions or leopards, whichever they may be, in the _Piazza del
Popolo_, who are abundantly supplying the inhabitants with water through
their mouths. And where the fountain is made to play over the statue,
what a discoloured and lamentable appearance it necessarily gives to the
marble! Let the river god, if you will, lean safe and tranquil over his
reversed and symbolic pitcher: or at the feet of some statue, half
surrounded by foliage, let the little fountain be seen playing from the
ground; but keep the statue out of the water, and oh, keep the water out
of the statue!"[17]

    [17] "The good Abderites," writes Wieland in his _Abderiten_, "once
    got the notion that such a town as Abdera ought no longer to be
    without its fountain. They would have one in their market place.
    Accordingly, they procured a celebrated sculptor from Athens to
    design and execute for them a group of figures representing the god
    of the ocean, in a car drawn by four sea-horses, surrounded by
    nymphs, and tritons, and dolphins. The sea-horses and the dolphins
    were to spout a quantity of water out of their nostrils. But when
    all was completed, it was found that there was hardly water enough
    to supply the nose of a single dolphin. So that when the fountain
    began to play it looked for all the world as if the sea-horses and
    the dolphins had all taken a miserable cold, and were put to great
    shame there in the public place by reason of this dropping rheum. As
    this was too ridiculous for even the Abderites to endure, they
    removed the whole group into the temple of Neptune; and now, as
    often as it is shown to a foreigner, the custodian, in the name of
    the worthy town of Abdera, bitterly laments that so glorious a work
    of art should have been rendered useless _by the parsimony of

    In like manner, our good _Brightonians_ lately got possessed of the
    notion that their sea-beaten town ought no longer to be without its
    fountain. They accordingly procured, not an artist from Athens, but
    a tall iron machine from Birmingham, tall as their houses, and much
    resembling in form one candlestick put upon another. This they
    placed in the choicest site their town afforded. Its ugliness was of
    no importance, as it was to be hidden underneath the graceful and
    ample flow of water. But when this water-spouting instrument was
    erected, it was found here too that no water was to be had--no
    natural and gratuitous supply. And now when the stranger wonders at
    this tall disfigurement, and inquires into its meaning, he is told
    how the spirited efforts of the Brightonians to adorn their town
    have been rendered fruitless _by the parsimony of water-companies_.
    Once a week, however, his cicerone will advertise him--once every
    week and for two hours together--the fountain is _let off_ to the
    sound of music, and the people are gathered together to see it
    play--or rather, he might add, to _weep_--for even at these moments
    it feels the effect of the same cruel spirit of parsimony.

    Our countrymen had better leave fountains alone. The introduction of
    them into London is nothing but a thoughtless imitation of what can
    only be a pleasing and natural ornament in a quite different
    climate. Who cares to see water spirting in the fog of London, in an
    atmosphere cold and damp, where there is rain enough to drown the
    fountain, and wind enough to scatter it in the air? Out of the whole
    twelve months there are scarce twelve days where this bubbling up of
    water in our city does not look a very discomfortable object.

They ascended the broad flight of steps, and seemed now to feel
themselves dwarfs as they mounted--and entered the portico. Here are
several groups of allegorical figures, and to the right and left the
equestrian statues of Charlemagne and Constantine.

"I am not surprised," said Mildred, "at the mistake of a countryman of
ours, who took Charlemagne for St. Paul. One would more naturally look
for the apostle here."

"What! than the great benefactor of the Papacy! I rather suspect,"
replied Winston, "that St. Paul would find himself less at home in this
temple than Charlemagne. What think you of these colossal allegories?
Here we have Truth, with her invariable mirror."

"Which mirror, it has always appeared to me," said Mildred, "has a very
poor significance. It reflects faithfully the surface of all things. But
this is not the sort of truth we care much about."

"But it reflects _faithfully_."

"That would rather illustrate the good moral lesson to _speak_ the
truth, than the exalted effort to attain it."

"Here the lady--and a very sweet face she has--is looking at herself in
the mirror. This must represent, I suppose, metaphysic truth."

"If so, that must be the reason," rejoined Mildred, "that she is placed
here outside the temple. I am afraid she will never enter it. But we
will." And they proceeded into the church.

"What an admirable effect has this high altar!" said Winston, in a
subdued exclamation. "Standing as it does in the centre, just beneath
the dome, and so justly proportioned, it at once occupies the whole
building, and explains its purpose to the eye. I cannot agree with the
criticism which has objected to the twisted column in a position like
this. These four bronze and gilded pillars--how lofty they are!--sustain
nothing of greater weight than the canopy above them, and are here as
much in the character of ornament as support. The dove, in its golden
atmosphere of glory, the representation of the Holy Spirit, which is
indeed at the extremity of the church, seems brought within them, and to
be floating between the columns. In every picture or engraving I have
seen, the contrary effect is produced, and the high altar, losing its
central position, seems transferred, with the dove in it, to the
extremity of the church."

"And this semicircle of small burning lamps, arranged in their mystical
trinities on the marble balustrade before it; and this double flight of
stairs," continued Winston, as they approached the altar, and looked
over the balustrade, "leading down to those brazen doors below, before
which other burning lamps are suspended; and that marble figure of the
Pope kneeling before them, kneeling and praying incessantly for the
people--it is altogether admirable!"

"The light of lamps and tapers," said Mildred, "burning in midday, had
upon me at first an incongruous effect; they seemed so superfluous and
out of place. But after a little reflection, or a little habit, they
ceased to make this impression. The lamp and the taper are not here to
_give_ light, but to _be_ light. The light is a mystical and brilliant
ornament--it is here for its own sake--and surely no jewellery and no
burnished gold could surpass it in effect. These brazen lamps round the
altar, each tipped with its steady, unwavering, little globe of light,
are sufficiently justified by their beauty and their brightness. In the
light of the taper, as in the water of the fountain, the ordinary
purposes of utility are forgotten--enough that it is beautiful."

"How admirable the arrangement," said Winston, "of the tombs of the
pontiffs! The sculpture on them seems as much a part of the church as of
the monument. That kneeling figure of Clement XIII., kneeling upon its
exalted tomb--I shall see it whenever I think of St. Peter's. It is
here, and not in the Vatican, that Canova triumphs. That genius of
Death, reclining underneath the pontiff, with his torch reversed--what
could be more expressive, more tender, more melancholy! And Faith, or
Religion, whichever she may be, standing upright on the opposite side,
and leaning her outstretched hand _with force_ upon the marble--is a
noble figure too. But I could willingly have dispensed with those spikes
around her head, signifying rays of light."

"It is a fortunate subject for the artist, that of the Pope," said
Mildred. "Being a temporal prince, a high-priest, and it is to be
supposed, a saint, he can be represented in all attitudes; in the
humility of prayer, or the dignity of empire. Yonder he rises, blessing
the people, and here he sits enthroned, giving out the law, and Religion
is looking up to him! Have you observed this monument to our James
II.?--who certainly deserved a tomb in St. Peter's, since he paid the
price of a kingdom for it. It is one of the least conspicuous, but not
one of the least beautiful of Canova's. Those two youthful figures
leaning their brows each on his inverted torch--standing sentinels by
that closed door--are they not inexpressibly graceful? And that closed
door!--so firmly closed!--and the dead have gone in!"

"Mildred Willoughby," said Winston, "you are a poet."

It was the first time he had ever called his companion by her Christian
name. It was done suddenly, in the moment of admiration, and her other
name was also coupled with it; but he had no sooner uttered the word
"Mildred" than he felt singularly embarrassed. She, however, by not
perceiving, or not seeming to perceive his embarrassment, immediately
dissipated it.

"If I were," said she, "to tell me of it would for ever check the
inspiration. To banish all suspicion of poetry, let me make a carping
criticism, the only one, I think, which the whole interior of this
edifice would suggest to me. I do wish that its marble pillars could be
swept clean of the multitudes of little boys that are clinging to
them--cherubs I suppose they are to be called. By breaking the pillar
into compartments, they destroy the effect of its height. _Little_,
indeed, they are not; they are big enough. A colossal infant--what can
be made of it? And an infant, too, that must not smile, or he might be
taken for a representative of some other love than the celestial?"

"Ay, and do what the artist will," said Winston, "the two Loves often
bear a very striking resemblance. In the church of St. Giovanni, amongst
their wreaths of flowers, the cherubs have a very Anacreontic

"But away with criticism. One farewell look," cried Mildred, "at this
magnificent dome. How well all its accessaries, all its decorations, are
proportioned and harmonised--growing lighter as they rise higher. Here
at the base of each of the four vast columns which support it, we have
gigantic statuary--seen and felt to be gigantic, yet disturbing nothing
by its great magnitude--just above the columns those exquisite
bas-reliefs--next the circular mosaics--then the ribbed roof, so
chastely gilded and divided into compartments, distinct yet never
separated from the whole--it is perfection!"

They bade farewell to St. Peter's; and, in pursuance of their design,
re-entered their carriage and drove to its great dilapidated rival--the

"No dome here but the wide heavens," said Winston, as they approached
the vast circular ruin rising arch above arch into the air. "How it
scales, and would embrace the sky! Verily these old Romans seemed to
have no idea that any thing was to come after them; they lived and built
upon the earth as if they were the last types of the human species."

"Mutability and progress are modern ideas; they had not attained to
them," said Mildred.

They walked partly round the interior, looking through the deep arches,
overhung with verdure, and regretting the patches here and there too
perceptible of modern masonry, and still more the ridiculous attempt, by
the introduction of some contemptible pictures, or altar pieces, in the
arena, to _christianise_ the old heathen structure. They then ascended
to the summit to enjoy the prospect it commands, both of the distant
country, the beautiful hills of Italy, and of the neighbouring ruins of
ancient Rome.

"How plainly it is the change of religion," said Winston, "which gives
its true antiquity to the past! All that we see of ancient Rome bears
the impress of Paganism; every thing in the modern city, of Catholicism.
It is this which puts the great gulf between the two, and makes the old
Roman to have lived, as it seems to us, in a world so different from our
own. Strange! that what in each age is looked upon as pre-eminently
unchangeable and eternal, should by its transformations mark out the
several eras of mankind. Ay, and this religion which now fills the city
with its temples--which I do not honour with the name of
Christianity--will one day, by its departure from the scene, have made
St Peter's as complete an antiquity as the ruins we are now sitting on."

"I notice," said Mildred, "you are somewhat bitter against Catholicism."

"I was tolerant when at a distance from it, and when again at a distance
I shall perhaps grow tolerant again. But a priesthood, not teaching but
ruling, governing men in their civil relations, seizing all education
into its own hand, training the thinking part of the community to
hypocrisy, and the unthinking to gross credulity--it is a spectacle that
exasperates. I used in England to be a staunch advocate for educating
and endowing the Roman Catholic priesthood of Ireland. I shall never, I
think, advocate that cause again. To educate this priesthood,--what is
it but to perfect an instrument for the restraining and corrupting the
education of all the rest of the people? To endow this priesthood,--what
else would it be but to give them an additional influence and power, to
be used always for their own aggrandisement, and the strengthening of
their own usurpations? The donative of a Protestant government would not
make them dependent upon that government; they have sources of wealth in
their own superstitions; they draw their vitality, and strike their
roots, in a far other soil than the crafty munificence of an opponent.
They would use the gift as best it pleased them, and defy a
government--anxious only for peace--to withdraw it. No! even if the
tranquillity of the empire should require the two churches to be placed
on an equal footing, I still would not endow the Roman Catholic.--But
pardon me,--what have we to do with the politics of England here?"

"I cannot tell you," said Mildred, quite acquiescing in this dismissal
of the subject. "I cannot tell you what a singular pleasure it gave me
when I first saw the _classic_ ruin--the few upright Corinthian pillars
with their entablature across them, and the broken column lying at their
feet--which the pictures of Claude make us so familiar with. It must be
confessed, that the back-ground of my picture--such as the _Campo
Vaccino_ afforded me--was not exactly what a Claude would have selected.
How different in character and significance are the two ruins--the
classic and the romantic! The one square, well-defined,
well-proportioned, speaks of an age of _order_,--when Time stood still a
little, and looked with complacency on what he was about; the other,
with its round towers of unequal height, its arches of all shapes and
dimensions, full of grandeur, but never exhibiting either completeness
or congruity, tells us clearly of a period of turmoil and disorder, and
great designs withal,--when Time had struck his tent, and was hurrying
on in confused march, with bag and baggage, knight, standard, and the
sutler's wagon all jumbled together.--Let us, on our return, pass
through that group of desolate Corinthians; and, looking in at the
Capitol, bid farewell to the _Dying Gladiator_."

In retracing their steps, they therefore passed through the old forum,
and then ascending the Capitol, entered the museum there, and renewed
their impression of that admirable statue. What pain!--but pain
overmastered--on that brow, as he sinks in death! Nor was the charming
little group of _Cupid and Psyche_ forgotten. That kiss! it merits to be
eternised. In _his_ love, what delight! In _hers_, what devotion!

"But above all," said Mildred, "let us do reverence, before we part, to
_Aristides the Just_. How self-contained! Austere--the lover more of
virtue than of man. Full of his grand abstractions, he asks for nothing
even of the gods. Let them do justice! Nay, let them submit to justice
too! Great leveller! Is not virtue so uncompromising as this, very near
to rebellion against the gods and destiny?"


The next morning the whole party were packed in their travelling
carriage to start from Rome. Winston had no longer refused that fourth
seat which had been destined for him at Genoa. To say nothing of some
diminution of expense (a very worthy subject of consideration with all
travellers,) it was a great relief to Mr. Bloomfield to have a second
gentleman in their party. It decreased materially his own share of
personal trouble. Besides which, the travelling experience of Winston,
and his more familiar acquaintance with the Italian, rendered him very
acceptable. Mildred had generally acted as interpreter; and so long as
the speaker would answer in the same pure Tuscan in which she addressed
him, she could perform the office admirably well. But unfortunately, the
traveller in Italy has most need for his Italian exactly where any thing
but pure Tuscan is spoken. She could always succeed in making herself
understood; but was often sadly at a loss to understand that answer
which, with all due dexterity, she had elicited.

On they now rattled through the streets of Rome. What rags upon those
beggars! Patches of all colours, red, blue, brown; but worn with such an
air of calm assurance, as if the garment of many colours had been
bestowed on the most favoured son of humanity. They passed the peasant
dame, or damsel, in her gaudy attire, with gold comb and ear-rings
glittering in her jet black hair, and that square folded handkerchief on
her head, which we always associate with the bandit's wife; and amidst
the squalid populace there appeared now and then, quite distinct from
the rest, a form or face of some youth, or maiden, or old man, that
might have issued from the canvass of Raphael. The apostles of the old
masters, at least, are walking still about Rome; and sometimes a Virgin
Mary is seen sitting at the door, and still more often a young John the
Baptist looks up to you from the pavement. Their own postilion reminded
the whole party of the _Suonatore di Violino_ of Raphael--whose
fiddlestick, by the way, being that of a bass viol, might at first sight
be mistaken for a folded riding-whip.

On they pass by the beautiful church of St. Giovanni, the statues on the
roof and over the portico of which have at least one point of
resemblance with their saintly prototypes--they are standing out there
in the clear blue heavens, to which, and not to the earth, they seem to
belong. At the Port Sebastian they are detained by a string of
wine-carts, each drawn by one horse, with his plume of black feathers on
his head, and each cart furnished with its goatskin umbrella, under the
shade of which the driver lies fast asleep. Then follow a long cavalcade
of peasants, mounted on mules or asses--_mounted_ of a truth, for they
sit on a high wooden saddle, their arms folded under their long brown
cloaks, and a black pointed hat upon their heads. Strange figures!

"A flower in _that_ hat!" exclaimed Mildred, as one passed her with a
beautiful carnation stuck into a beaver, which, except that it retained
its pyramidal form, and was there upon a human head, could not have been
recognised as _hat_ at all. "And he wears it seriously," she continued,
"serenely--without the least feeling of incongruity. Oh, I like that!"

Getting clear of this train, they advanced through the gate into the
open country. To their left the old aqueduct extended on the horizon its
long line of ruined arches; to the right the plain was dotted with mere
massive fragments of undistinguishable ruin, looking like what the
geologists call boulders. The trace of man's labour was lost in them;
the work of the artificer had come to resemble the rudest accident of

And so Rome was left behind.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Is that smoke or a cloud," asked Miss Bloomfield, "that rests so
constantly upon that mountain?"

"It is Vesuvius! Vesuvius!" exclaimed the rest of the party.

But they found themselves in a position, at that moment, the least of
all favourable to enthusiastic emotions. Their carriage was delayed at
the entrance into Naples, in the middle of a wide road, the hottest and
the dustiest that can be imagined. There they were arrested to undergo
the examination and the extortions of the custom-house gentry. Poor Mr.
Bloomfield was in a fever. His passport had been asked for six several
times between Rome and Naples, and each time solely, as it seemed, to
extract a gratuity. Even the military guard stationed at the gates of
the towns had begged. No one in Italy seemed to speak to him but to beg,
or to _lay the foundation_, as a lawyer would say, for a begging
question. And now these fellows were examining, or pretending to examine
his baggage, and were evidently resolved to keep them there, in the sun
and the dust, till they had paid a sufficient ransom. In this position
it was that Winston and Mildred were, by stolen glances, taking their
first survey of the burning mountain. By stolen glances, because they
were compelled from a certain feeling of politeness to share in the
anxieties and chagrin of Mr. Bloomfield. For themselves, they both
agreed it was much better to submit quietly, and at once, to all these
impositions; even if there were a fair chance, after much controversy,
of a successful resistance. There is surely no money so well laid out as
that which purchases equanimity.

They were extricated at length, and the carriage rattled on into Naples.
Mr. Bloomfield had written to procure apartments in the quarter of the
_Chiaja_, opposite the Villa Reale, (or royal gardens.) To these
therefore they drove. Winston of course found his way to an hotel.

That evening he walked out to look at the burning mountain. It was now,
and during the whole period of their stay, in a state of great activity,
which some dignified with the name of an eruption. As Winston watched
its burning summit across an angle of the bay, he thought he had never
seen any thing which so completely _fascinated_ the eye. The flame
alternately rising and falling leads the spectator every moment to
expect something more than he has hitherto seen, and that _now_ it is
about to burst forth. And even at this distance it is so evidently not a
fire _upon_ but _within_ the mountain, from the manner in which the
flame sinks down, and that red metallic glare which shoots along the
rocky summits and cavities, here the fire is not visible. Yet
fascinating as the object was, it did not entirely rivet the thoughts of
Winston. To his own surprise and confusion, he found that he, a
professed admirer of nature, was standing, for the first time, by the
bay of Naples, under the beautiful star-light of Italy, watching one of
the most magnificent of nature's wonders with a divided and distracted
mind. All this scene, and all its novelty, could not keep Mildred from
his thoughts. Evidently he was a lost man.

And who or what, after all, was Alfred Winston? The, question, it may be
supposed, had often occurred to the Bloomfields. That he was an artist,
was a conjecture long ago given up; he travelled with no portfolio, and
was never known to use the pencil. That he was a literary man was also
contradicted by his own straightforward unaffected denials; if he had
cultivated his mind, it was solely for the pleasure or profit accruing
to himself. The manner in which his time was at his own disposal, seemed
to contradict the idea that he belonged to any of the learned
professions. What could he be therefore but simply a gentleman? And such
they had satisfied themselves, from many reasons, that he was. But there
are gentlemen and gentlemen--rich, and poor. To which of these two
classes did he belong? Question of questions. The moment it is asked how
all vain enchantments are dispersed! how the bare earth shows itself
directly beneath our feet! Where is now the bay of Naples, and
star-light, and Vesuvius? Is he rich or poor?

One word on the father of Alfred Winston will best explain his own
present position in the world. That father was one of a class of men
altogether inexplicable, quite unintelligible to sober-minded and
methodical persons; and yet the class is not so very rare. He was of
good birth and fortune, of agreeable manners, and witty conversation,
but utterly destitute of all prudential, all providential care, whether
for himself or others. He was born to an ample estate; and, fond of
pleasure as he was, he might have found it sufficient, with very little
effort of prudence, to gratify all his tastes. But from the very
commencement of his career, he entered upon the ruinous practice of
"eating the land with the revenue," and continued, in this manner,
consuming every year more of land and less of revenue. He early lost his
wife. He had been an amiable husband, and manifested a decorous sorrow
on the occasion; but could not disguise from his intimate friends the
pleasure he felt at the recovery of his bachelor freedom. He hated the
necessity of having to yield his own inclinations to another; though he
hated still more the alternative of having to dispute with that other
for liberty to follow his own inclinations.

After the decease of his wife, the elder Winston lived, for the most
part, a roaming life upon the Continent. A little intrigue, a little
gaming, the dinner, and the opera, sufficiently filled up the time of
one who, while he courted pleasure, was not difficult in his amusements.
And for _this_ he could continue, with the utmost calmness and freedom
from anxiety, a scale of expenditure which was rapidly dissipating his
hereditary estates. His son he treated with indulgence and liberality,
and when he saw him, which was seldom, with great kindness of manner. He
encouraged him in all the idle and expensive habits of a gentleman of
fortune, while he was utterly destroying the property which could alone
support them.

He died suddenly; a fever carried him off at the age of fifty. Had he
lived three years longer, he would have spent every shilling he
possessed. What had he intended to do _then_? It is impossible to say.
To all appearance he had never entertained the question. When young
Winston had paid off his father's debts and his own, he who had
expected to enter into an ample revenue found himself in the possession
only of a few thousand pounds. This was all his patrimony. What to do he
had not yet resolved; but this reverse had not prevented him from
accomplishing a long cherished wish of visiting Italy. Some idea also
was floating in his mind that perhaps he should select some place upon
the Continent where to reside permanently upon the small pittance that
was left to him.

It will be now seen at a glance, why it was that Winston fled from the
attractions of Mildred at Genoa: he knew himself to be poor, and had
become acquainted with the peculiar, and perhaps dependent, position in
which Miss Willoughby stood. No one will blame him for running away from
Genoa; but ought he to have lingered at Rome? We fear our friend was not
remarkable for resolution of character. He had ardent feelings, and to
counteract them he had just perceptions of what life demands from us;
but he lacked, evidently, in steadiness of purpose.

And what now _could_ he do? Flight, as at Genoa, was out of the
question. He could not, by any rude or abrupt behaviour, forfeit that
share of Mildred's esteem which he possessed. On his way back to his
hotel he resolved--it was the utmost that his prudence suggested--that
he would take occasion quietly and unostentatiously to intimate that,
like Bassanio,

                    "All the wealth he had
    Ran in his veins, he was a gentleman."

It would then be seen by Miss Willoughby, as clearly as by himself, that
his _attentions_, to use the appropriate phrase, _meant nothing_. What
might follow would be a torture merely to himself--the torture of a
hopeless passion. She would know how to regulate her own feelings
towards him. He alone should be the sufferer.

Very fallacious reasoning! If he with his eyes open loved and suffered,
how could he tell but that Mildred might do the same? and this quiet
intimation of certain barriers and impediments to his passion was likely
to prove--as indeed it did prove--little better than a declaration of
love, and not the less ardent because coupled with avowals of

Meanwhile, having made this concession to the cause of prudence and his
honour, he resigned himself to the charms of Mildred's society. Every
day brought some new excursion to scenes of surpassing beauty, in
companionship with one of the most lovely and gifted of women. Winston's
theory, that what is most beautiful in nature ought to be enjoyed in
solitude, was entirely overthrown. He cared to visit nothing unless in
her society; nor was there any scene whatever in which her presence was
not felt to be the higher gratification.

Mr. Bloomfield and his sister, after their first visit to some of the
environs of Naples, felt little disposed to make any unusual exertion.
They had both discovered that the bay was much the same whether viewed
from the right side or the left, and that in this warm weather--it was
now the month of May--the shady walks in the _Villa Reale_, or a
promenade in the town, was to be preferred to a ride in an open
carriage. To Mildred, on the contrary, almost every excursion, whatever
its professed object, derived its chief attraction from the different
points of view it presented her of that bay, which every hour seemed to
make more lovely. It followed, therefore, that Winston and Mildred were
sometimes left to proceed on their expedition alone. How the heart of
Winston beat as he, handed her into the carriage, and took his seat
beside her! It was something very like a curse which fell at that moment
upon the memory of his selfish parent. Had he been fairly dealt with, it
might have been his lot to hand her into a carriage of his own--and

Winston was almost in danger of forgetting the existence of Mr.
Bloomfield; but habitual politeness so far prevailed, that he
occasionally brought himself to listen to the account that gentleman
gave of his own impressions or afflictions.

"I was never more disappointed," said Mr. Bloomfield on one of these
occasions, "or rather, I was never more mistaken in any place in my life
than in this town of Naples. I had heard much of lazzaroni lying about
in the sun, eating maccaroni, and of the love of the people for gaudy
colours and tinsel, even to the sticking gold-leaf and little flags of
red paper upon the meat in the butcher's shop; and I had seen depicted
the more curious costumes of man and horse, and especially this
_curiculo_, as I believe they call it, which seems originally to have
been like our old-fashioned one-horse chaise, but by the extension of
the shafts into a sort of platform before and behind, and by means of a
network suspended underneath between the wheels, has been made to hold a
quite indefinite number of persons, and still remains a one-horse
chaise, inasmuch as the whole cluster of mortals is generally carried on
at a gallop by one little black horse, who, as some sort of compensation
for the work they give him, is tricked out as fine as leather and brass
nails, ribands and feathers, can make him. Well, out of all these
materials I had contrived for myself a picture of utter and contented
idleness on the one hand, and the extreme of hilarious activity on the
other. I need not tell you how little such a picture answers to the
reality, how little prepared I was to encounter the din, and more than
Cheapside confusion of this main thoroughfare, the _Toledo_ street. The
impression which Naples actually makes, is of a city where noise and
turmoil and confusion are at their very height. Carried one step
further, "chaos would come again." There is the same incessant toil for
gain as in London itself--as little of repose, as little of hilarity.
Here is the spirit of trade without the order and method which trade
should introduce. It is commerce bewildered, and passionate after pence.
There are some parts of London more thickly stocked perhaps with carts
and wagons, and carriages of all descriptions, but they are order itself
compared to this _Toledo_ street. Every thing one can desire to
purchase, every thing one can desire to escape from, comes walking
abroad upon its even, uniform pavement, where men and carriages are
circulating together. Glass, and tea-trays, and crokery-ware, and
haberdashery, all meet you in the street. You are running for dear life
from some devil of a driver, who thinks that if he does but shout loud
enough, he is at perfect liberty to break your bones, and you are stopt
in your flight by an industrious chapman, who spreads his stock of
pocket-handkerchiefs before your eyes. Men are walking about with live
fowls, cocks, hens, turkeys, which they hold, head downwards, in a
bunch, tied together by the legs. They are the quietest animals in the
street. They seem to have been touched by the utter inutility of their
loudest exclamations, and therefore to have resigned themselves in
silence; only when some cart-wheel grazes that head of theirs, which
they naturally hold up as high as possible, lest they should die of
apoplexy, do they make any ineffectual attempt to call attention to
their sufferings. Even money-changers, who, in all capitals of Europe,
carry on their business with a certain dignity and decorum, are here to
be seen, like our apple-women, ambulatory: they keep a stall with a sort
of bird-cage upon it, between the wires of which are glistening a store
of coins, gold, and silver, and much copper. I saw an old woman at one
of these stalls laying down the rate of exchange. No doubt she knew her
arithmetic that old crone, and made no mistake, at least on one side of
the account. A couple of lads with a large trayful of spectacles and
opera-glasses, were the great opticians of the day. I saw all sorts of
men, priests among them, trying on spectacles in the jostle of this
thoroughfare. The tailor and the hatter sit outside the door-way
stitching. I look into a baker's shop, if that can be called a shop
which is merely a square cavity laid open at the side near the
street--it is verily a baker's, and bread is made there, for you may see
the whole process carried on. Against the wall, on one side, a great
wheel is turning--grinding the corn; at the opposite side stands a man
up to his elbows in flour, kneading away with all his might; and in
front of you, if you will wait a moment, you will see the fiery oven
open, and the baked bread make its appearance--a sample of which is
deposited in the wire safe that hangs up at the entrance, and serves
for shop-window. Would that all handicrafts were but as peaceful! A few
doors further on there is _Rafaelle Papa_, the copper-smith, hammering
remorselessly at his copper pans. And, O heavens! the blacksmith himself
has come out in the open air with his fire and his forge; he has
established his smoking furnace in the only recess, the only place of
refuge, the whole street afforded."

"And in the midst of all this, and at every corner, what heaps of
beautiful flowers!" said Mildred. "It is curious, too," she added, "to
see, moving through this Cheapside throng, the mendicant friar, cowled
and sandaled, with his wallet, or double sack that hangs across his
shoulder before and behind, actually then and there collecting alms for
his convent."

"But you must not forget the sugar saints and saviours," said Miss
Bloomfield, "that one sees amongst the sweetmeats; and how in every shop
there hangs up the picture of some patron saint, before which on
holydays candles are burning; nor above all, those lemonade stalls,
which are certainly the gayest things in the town. But tell me," she
continued, "I do not quite understand them. First, there is a sort of
dresser heaped up with lemons and oranges. At each end of this rise two
little pillars, painted with red and white stripes, and supporting a
sort of canopy, on which figures, of course, the Virgin Mary--so that
the whole looks like a little altar. Well, but on each side, between
these pillars, there swings, suspended by the middle, a sort of wooden
barrel, and when the damsel, who makes the lemonade, has nothing else to
do, she gives it a touch, and sets it swinging. Now, what are those

"They hold the snow," said her brother, "which serves instead of ice,
and which the damsel, by this swinging process, helps to dissolve. Some
day we will have a glass of lemonade at one of these altars, as you call
them. We shall get it fresh enough, and cheap enough. But you must take
your sugar with you, for sugar they do not give; their customers are in
the habit of taking it without. I was amused to-day," he continued, "by
watching the progress down the street of a very simple style of
water-cart. A butt of water, with a leathern pipe issuing from it, is
drawn on a low cart by a donkey. A bare-legged fellow ties a string to
the end of the leathern pipe, and follows jerking it to and fro, this
side and that side--of course with many loud vociferations--and so
continues to distribute the contents of his butt over a pretty large

"Very surprising!" said Winston, who for some time past had not heard
one syllable of what was uttered.


We will not indulge ourselves, at the risk of wearying our readers, by
traversing in the society of Mildred and Winston the environs of Naples;
we will not wander with them through the disinterred streets and temples
of Pompeii; nor attempt to partake of their delight at those exquisite
views which their excursions, on both sides of the bay presented to
them. Often did Winston sit by the side of Mildred, looking at those
scenes, and his happy spirit for a while reflected them as calmly as the
blue waters those beautiful islands within them. Alas! the pebble soon
fell in _one_ of those mirrors--the tranquil mood was ever and anon
cruelly disturbed.

We will not even trust ourselves in the museum of Naples, so rich in the
curiosities of the antiquarian, and in works of art; nor stand with
Mildred before those statues of the goddess Isis, from which it was
difficult to persuade her to move, so much was there of thought as well
as beauty in the countenances. One especially (for there are several) of
these statues of Isis--it was the smallest in the group--she confessed,
after all she had seen of sculpture, had affected her more intensely
than any work of art, by its thrilling union of deep mystery with
perfect loveliness. Of Isis herself, or of the religion taught under her
name, she confessed, she said, to have very obscure ideas; but if ever
a temple should be erected to human philosophy, that statue, she
thought, was worthy to occupy the chief place in it.

One of their excursions, however, it is necessary, for the sake of our
narrative, to give some account of--it is that to Vesuvius. Perhaps
there are few travellers who have not recorded the day they visited the
burning mountain as amongst the most remarkable of their lives. The
extreme beauty of the views as you ascend, the strange desolation
immediately around, and the grand spectacle that awaits you on the
summit, so vary and sustain the interest, that every emotion which
nature is capable of producing, seems to have been crowded into one
spot, and one hour.

The whole party started together on this expedition, but Mr. and Miss
Bloomfield had no intention of proceeding further than the hermitage--a
small house erected, as every one knows, half way up the mountain,
before the ascent becomes steep or severe, and, for the rest, very
little like a hermitage. Here they designed to stay, enjoying the
magnificent view it commands, while the younger half of the party
proceeded to scale the mountain. It would have been easy for them to
ascend thus far by a circuitous route in a carriage, but, beside that
horses could convey Mildred and her companion somewhat further than the
carriage road extends, the uncle and aunt were not unwilling to partake
to a certain extent the spirit of the enterprise. They all, therefore,
mounted their horses, and, accompanied by their guide, advanced by the
steeper and more direct path.

The ascent begins amongst gardens and vineyards--the vine flowing from
tree to tree, and making of a whole field one continuous harbour. The
path next winds along a vast barren hill-side, utterly without verdure,
whose brown furrows present the appearance of a ploughed field; but the
clods here do not give way to the tread of your animal; you stoop and
touch them, they are of stone, they are the old lava. As you ascend,
these clods grow larger, grow darker, till the narrow road winds between
great blocks of black lava, pitched here and there in the wildest
confusion. You then reach a level piece of road, on which stands the

Here Mr. and Miss Bloomfield paused. The rest proceeded somewhat further
on horseback, till the mountain, taking the shape of a cone, presents a
steep ascent, to be mastered only on foot.

"Let us pause a moment here," said Mildred, when they had dismounted,
"and look at the bay. I have longed several times upon the road to make
a halt, but if I had, it would have been a signal for the general hubbub
of conversation. You," she continued with a smile, "are a sensible
companion, you know how to be silent, or can talk in those snatches or
broken utterances which rather relieve silence than dissipate it, which
do not scare the gentle goddess altogether from our company. Had I asked
my uncle to stop, he would immediately have commenced talking, and
talked till we went on again."

The scene lay outstretched before them in all its beauty, and under an
almost cloudless sky. One peculiar charm of this celebrated bay depends
on the islands scattered on both sides of its entrance, as Capri,
Ischia, and others. These, as you shift your position on the bay,
produce an endless variety--interlacing the azure water with stripes of
blue mountainous land, in the same manner as well-defined clouds are
sometimes set, ridge after ridge, in the clear sky. From their present
point of view, the centre of their picture was open sea, and the sides
filled up and diversified by these islands. Seen under the mid-day sun,
they appear invested in _a mist of light_.

"They rise from the deep blue sea like sapphires that love has breathed
upon," said Winston. "What fantastic tricks," he continued, "but always
beautiful--Nature plays under her own high heaven. The hills on yonder
coast, huge as they are, have a way of hiding themselves in the very
air--vanishing in the very light. And, look, yonder, in the extreme
distance, the light seems to have _cut away_ the solid basis of the
hills, and left nothing but the ridge, the wavy outline, which one might
expect to rise into the air, it is so cloud-like."

"The earth and heaven do so mingle here, there is no separating them,"
said Mildred. "I wonder not that the inhabitants of such a region as
this threw a certain dimness, as of twilight, over their future Elysium.
Some difference it was necessary to imagine between it and their
familiar earth, and could they fancy any thing more bright and beautiful
than this?"

"Look behind you," said Winston. She turned, and started at the sudden
and complete contrast which the utter desolation of the scathed mountain
presented to her.

They then addressed themselves to their somewhat arduous undertaking.
Mildred had refused to be carried up in a chair--had determined to walk.
She had received a very accurate description of this part of her task,
and found things exactly as she expected. The side of the mountain
seems, at first, composed of large loose stones, of a brown colour; but
the lava, which assumes this shape, is not loose, and you step from
projection to projection with perfect safety,--with the same
fatigue,--neither more nor less, as one walks up a flight of stairs. It
is rather a long flight, however, and there is no bannister. This last
deficiency the guide is in the habit of supplying--to such as condescend
to accept his assistance--by fastening a leathern strap round his waist,
and giving the end of it into the hand of the traveller. Winston
insisted upon putting this strap round his own waist, and that Mildred
should allow him to take what seemed to him the most enviable position,
of the guide. It was a dangerous experiment. Not the weight of
Mildred--for she leant very lightly--it was not the weight of Mildred
which he felt at every step was exhausting his strength, till his heart
beat and his knees trembled. After a little time he was compelled to sit
down, faint as a child. Mildred was far from guessing the cause of this
sudden weakness, but requested that the belt might be again transferred
to the guide. Nor did he hesitate a moment. Had he attempted to proceed
much farther they might both have been precipitated to the bottom.

Their march was toilsome; and Mildred, taking advantage of a commodious
place, sat down to rest upon the lava. At the altitude which they had
reached the temperature changes,--a cold wintry wind was blowing--and
she had not quite prepared herself for so sudden a change. Winston,
anxious only that the breath of heaven should not visit her too rudely,
and forgetting to ask himself whether there might not be a too familiar
kindness in the act, pulled off a light over-coat which he wore, and,
making the best shawl he could of it, put it over her shoulders. She was
not a little confused at the unaffected anxiety which had evidently
given rise to this prompt attention; and blushed as she refused to rob
him of his own attire. She attempted, by some playful remark, to remove
the feeling of embarrassment which had seized upon both parties.

"But from a poor gentleman," replied Winston, alluding to something that
had passed between them at an earlier part of the day, "any gift may be
safely accepted. Like the priest, he wears a tonsure, which at once
gives him unusual privileges, and reduces him to a subject of

Mildred made no answer; but she thought that, in one of these cases, the
tonsure was so little visible, was kept so much out of sight, that it
might fail of its due precautionary influence. She rose, and they
proceeded on their walk, or, rather, their climbing. And now the volume
of smoke which had, for some time, been concealed from view by the
mountain itself, burst upon them, and a few minutes placed them on the
summit. They stood within the crater, or what has been such, for, at
present, the mountain discharges itself through a lofty cone which rises
on one side of this strange, black, sulphurous amphitheatre. All around
them, however, the volcanic vapours were steaming up from innumerable
crevices, and the hot lava pouring out, moving slowly, with a dull red
heat. No need here of further clothing. Their feet were burning where
they stood. They had again exchanged the cold of winter, not for the
heat of summer, but of a furnace.

There is a terrific grandeur in the scene. The black masses of lava,
whose surface, here, is of the hue and texture of cinders, are piled and
jostled together with the utmost irregularity, with deep fissures
between them, in the same manner, though the material is so different,
as the blocks of ice in the glaciers of Mont Blanc. Sometimes these
cindery surfaces undulate and take the appearance of black coils, as of
a huge cable laid in parallel folds. These coils, as you advance, are
explained; for you will see the dull red lava sweltering out from
underneath one of those great blocks, in a long and narrow wave, which
does not subside, but stiffens as it cools, and, in this form, is pushed
forward by the succeeding wave. In another part, the lava is flowing in
a small stream, about a foot in breadth, just as the metal in a
foundery, but more slowly, and the surface dimmed with a black scaly
film; on raising which, with your stick, the flame bursts out. It flows
so slowly that, sometimes, you must watch it narrowly before you detect
the motion; you may be looking at such a stream and not suspect it to be
this stealthy Phlegethon, till suddenly it is seen to stir, like a vast
serpent moving in its sleep.

To the left of them, as they stood in this crater, the wall of the
mountain enclosed them in, utterly without vestige of any kind of
verdure, bare brown ore, with fissures exhaling their sulphurous vapour;
before them, extending to and meeting the horizon, lay the tumbled
masses of black lava, with the glowing at intervals of their dull red
furnaces, and every where the same vapour steaming up; and at their
right rose the conical summit from which Vesuvius was discharging its
artillery, the sides of which are covered with a green and yellow
sulphur that, elsewhere, might be mistaken at a distance for some sort
of moss or other vegetation, but the eye has learnt to expect here
nothing of so peaceful a nature. From this cone volleys of huge stones
were perpetually issuing, with thunder-like explosions; and, above all,
that majestic column of smoke! Smoke seems a very ordinary word,
expressive of a very ordinary thing, but it forms here no ordinary
spectacle. At each explosion it bursts up impetuously, struggling like
frenzy from its imprisonment, revolving with amazing rapidity, thick,
turbid, ruddy, mixed with flame; as it rises, it revolves less rapidly,
and becomes more pure, more calm; ever rising higher, and expanding in
greater and purer volumes, it at length fills the heavens, towering
majestically, whiter than the whitest cloud, and floating off in light
etherial vapours, which the blue sky gladly receives. "The spirit of
Beauty," said Mildred, as she gazed upwards, "has triumphed."

As she looked with increasing interest on this spectacle, the spirit of
enterprise grew strong within her, and she wished to ascend this cone
itself. But besides that the huge stones which at that time were being
constantly projected, rendered the expedition dangerous, the guide
assured her that the fatigue would be to her excessive. In fact, he
resolutely declined to lend his aid to such a scheme.

"If you had been alone," she said to Winston, "you would have gone
farther. I am a sore hinderance to you, I fear."

"On the contrary," he replied, "if you had not come, I should not have
ascended so far as this."

And he spoke the simple truth; for Vesuvius itself would have been
forgotten in the society of Mildred. To ascend the mountain at
night-time had been one of the most conspicuous objects he had proposed
to himself in his visit to Italy; but as it was out of the question (the
uncle and aunt would not have listened to it for a moment) that she
should accompany him in such an expedition, he had at once foregone it,
or rather it had slipped from his thoughts.

After some time longer spent in this remarkable scene, they began their
descent, which they found to be quite an easy and amusing piece of
business. The descent is made on a side of the mountain covered with
loose ashes that yield to the foot. _Up_ this it would be impossible to
get, but you go down it with the same facility as if you were skating
along the side of the mountain. Mildred, with the help of a staff,
accomplished this part of her task with much ease, and not without

Mr. and Miss Bloomfield were happy to see them return--had begun to
wonder what could keep them so long--had for some time grown quite
tired of their own position. The carriage had been ordered to come
slowly round by the other road, and meet them at the hermitage. It was
waiting for them. They were all willing to enter it, and return by the
carriage road to Naples.

On the ride home Mildred was very silent. Many little incidents had
occurred, many words had dropped, during the course of the day, which
became subjects of reflection, not quite so calm as the works of art or
nature had hitherto supplied. Winston--she could not refuse to see
it--loved! But loved, as he desired to intimate, without the least hope,
the least prospect of alliance. Well, she was warned. What remained for
her but to keep her own heart quite sure? Keep! was she quite sure that
she still retained it in undisputed custody?

But we have lost sight, all this while, of Mrs. Jackson and her
daughter, which it was not our intention to do. They had not lost sight
of Winston. As they had inquired of him, when at Rome, what hotel he
would recommend them at Naples, and as he had very naturally mentioned
the one he had selected for himself, it was not at all surprising that
he should find himself, one afternoon, seated very snugly by Mrs. and
Miss Jackson, at the comfortable quiet _table-d'hôte_ of the _Hôtel des
Etrangers_. Happily there existed no secrets, and no division of opinion
between the mother and daughter on what now chiefly preoccupied the
thoughts of both. Mrs. Jackson had herself conceived a great partiality
for Winston--sympathised entirely with her daughter's romantic
attachment--and was willing to promote her views by all means in her
power. She was at heart a generous woman, though certain petty and
rooted habits would, at first acquaintance, lead to an opposite
impression. There was nothing she was not ready to do for Winston. It
was only the good sense, or the somewhat better sense, of the daughter,
that prevented her at Rome from secretly calling for his bill and paying
it for him behind his back. At Naples, Winston almost always met them at
the dinner table; and it was impossible for him to be churlish towards
persons who seemed so very pleased with whatever he said, and so kindly
disposed towards him. Mrs. Jackson was confidential in the extreme as to
the several items which formed her worldly prosperity, and very clearly
intimated the extremely benevolent designs she had upon himself. To
Louisa, indeed, it was a sad blow and heavy discouragement when she met
him in the company of one so beautiful as Mildred; but she had tact
enough, even from Winston himself, to extract certain particulars
respecting the fortune of the lady, which went far to set her fears at

And now began in Winston's mind one of the saddest conflicts and
confusions that could visit a poor mortal. On the one hand was hopeless
passion--poverty forbidding; on the other, a fortune offered to a needy
gentleman--ay, and affection too, if he could resign himself to accept
it. Strange as it may seem, it was his very love for Mildred that gave
its greatest influence to the fortune of Miss Jackson. By a marriage
with this latter lady he should escape from the tortures of his hopeless
passion; it would be a refuge from this, and all like disquietudes. Most
people will be doubtless of opinion that the attractions of wealth need
no auxiliary. Those, however, who are well read in the human heart, will
have no difficulty in believing us when we say of Winston, that if he
had never encountered Mildred, he would have merely smiled at the idea
of a marriage with Louisa Jackson. It now came recommended to him as an
escape from an intolerable torture: he would rush into matrimony as a
shelter from love.

When passing the morning in the society of Mildred, not a single
fragment of a thought fell to the share of Louisa. But when, having left
her, he proceeded to his hotel with a heavy and perplexed heart, and
asked himself where all this was tending--when he afterwards found
himself seated by the side of two persons, somewhat silly and ridiculous
it is true, but kind-hearted and most amiably disposed, able and anxious
to offer him that only safe harbour of life which property builds up for
us--a harbour, too, which would secure him from that wild tempest so
evidently preparing for him--it seemed that a very little more would
turn the balance in favour of Louisa.

That _very little more_, an incident which we have to record, supplied.

Whilst walking and sitting with Mildred in the Villa Reale, he had
noticed that a tall, military-looking gentleman had appeared singularly
struck with the beauty Of his fair companion. In this there was nothing
unusual. Few people passed her without paying a certain silent homage to
those blue eyes and their singular sweetness of expression. Even the
common people, even the beggars, when they had received their alms and
stayed no longer to beg, would still stay, lingering about, to catch
another look at that face, when it should be turned towards them. But in
the stranger's manner there was something more than admiration
expressed; and, what was more remarkable and more alarming to the
feelings of Winston, Mildred herself manifested towards this
stranger--if he were a stranger--an almost equal degree of interest. On
the last occasion, when they encountered him, this gentleman was
observed to turn and follow them, and watch them to the door of Mr.
Bloomfield's residence. Winston, after parting with his companion,
re-entered the gardens opposite, and from this position he saw the same
stranger return to Mr. Bloomfield's door, ring at the bell, ask, as it
seemed, several questions of the porter, and then--enter the house!

As he stood staring at this inexplicable vision, he was accosted by a
young Englishman, with whom he had some slight travelling acquaintance;
and, by a singular coincidence, the very first question his companion
put, was--whether he knew that gentleman who had just entered the house

"No! do you?" was the prompt reply of Winston.

"I do not," said the other; "but I confess I am rather curious to learn.
He must be _somebody_--travels in grand style--has taken the best rooms
in the _Victoria_. I took him for a Russian prince, but he speaks
English like a native."

"The Russians are said to be such good linguists, this may be no
criterion," said Winston, hiding, as best he could, under the
commonplace remark, the agitation that he felt. He very soon made some
excuse to escape from his companion, and returned to his hotel. That day
he was at dinner more absent than usual; yet there was something in his
manner which Louisa liked, which gave her more hope than she had lately

The next morning Winston called as usual at the Bloomfields. They had
ridden out; and he learned, on inquiry, that his seat in the carriage
had been occupied by this mysterious stranger. Where should he go? what
should he do? He now felt how complete a slave he had become--how
utterly dependent for all his happiness upon another. His happiness!
what but misery could he reap from this passion? And now to love was to
be added all the pangs of jealousy.

He entered the gardens opposite the Villa Reale. That "prince of
promenades," as some one has called it, extending as it does along a
quay unparalleled for the beauty of its position, with its thick dark
shelter of olives on the one side of you, and its light and graceful
avenue of acacias on the other, with its statues surrounded each by its
parterre of flowers or niched in its green recess, with the fountain
bubbling from the ground at its feet--all had ceased to please. At one
part the promenade projects into a small semicircle, fitted up with
marble seats, which commands an uninterrupted view of the bay and of
Vesuvius. It is difficult to recognise our old boisterous friend, the
sea, such as we know him in our northern latitudes, in the dancing blue
waters which, stirred by the lightest breeze, are here flinging the
whitest foam over the polished black rocks or stones that line these
coasts, and still more, in the glassy azure which extends, like a lake,
in the distance: it is a scene to induce the most perfect repose. But
Winston found no repose in it, and its beauty awoke not a single emotion
of enthusiasm. He turned towards Vesuvius. Its column of smoke, rising
always there, neither subsiding nor increasing, now irritated him by
its sameness and its constancy. "Always thus!" he mentally exclaimed.
"Why does it not explode at once? Why not at once give out all its

He passed through the gardens. They lead, at the further extremity, into
an open space, where much rabble assemble, where a sort of market is
held, and where, on the neighbouring beach, the fishermen draw up their
boats: fishermen bare-legged, bare-thighed, but legs and thighs not of
flesh but mahogany. At other times he had been amused with the sudden
contrast this scene affords with the well-dressed crowd within the
gardens. It now disgusted him. There was nothing but noise and dirt,
nothing but dust and heat, and glare. The various beggars who had often
vexed him by their clamours, but had generally ended by extorting from
him some pence and some good-humour, were quite intolerable. The little
children, with their naked feet, tanned and dusted to the colour of the
road, girt with their scanty complement of rags, with nothing on earth
but their little shrill voices--their Signor! Signor!--to get their
daily morsel with, and who had so often, when Mildred was at his side,
received a whole handful of copper coins amongst them, now excited not
the least commiseration, called forth nothing but some passing
execration upon the slovenly government that could permit human life to
sink down into all the wildness, and more than the destitution of the
brute animal.

After the lapse of some hours, spent in this horrible restlessness, he
again called on the Bloomfields. They had returned from their drive. He
ran up the stairs: but, when he reached the landing-place, he paused.
Perhaps that stranger might have returned with them. The door of the
drawing-room was half-open: he looked, and saw that formidable intruder
seated there. He was not formidable, evidently, to Mildred. She stood
gracefully before him, and, putting back his dark hair from his fine
manly brow, she stooped, and laid a kiss upon his forehead. Winston drew
back instantly, and hurried from the house.

He had not retreated, however, so quickly, but that he had been seen by
Mildred--thanks to the tall mirror before which she stood, and which had
faithfully reflected his image. Had he been less distracted, he would
have heard a soft voice call him by his name, from the head of the
stairs; but he heard nothing, and he seemed to see nothing, as he strode
along the street, and, rushing into his hotel, shut himself up in his
room. "This intolerable anguish!" he cried; "it must have an end. To a
passion which itself is the merest despair, must I add the maddest of

That day, after the dinner was concluded, Winston accepted an invitation
which Mrs. Jackson had often pressed upon him in vain, to adjourn to her
sitting-room, and partake of a dessert there. He accepted the
invitation. It sealed his fate; and he intended that it should. He left
that room--he, the lover of Mildred--the affianced of Louisa Jackson!

The next morning--it was a sleepless night that intervened--he paid his
respects, with the due appearance of felicity upon his countenance, to
Mrs. Jackson and her daughter. It was into their carriage he was now to
enter, to take one of those drives in the environs which he had so often
enjoyed with Mildred. It was to _their_ admiration he was now to listen
and respond.

The party was preparing to start, when a message was brought to them
that two ladies were below who wished to speak to Mr. Winston. Mrs.
Jackson, all anxiety to be polite, told the servant to show the ladies
into her room. Immediately after Miss Bloomfield and Mildred Willoughby
were ushered up stairs.

Never was Mildred looking more beautiful, for never was she so happy in
her life. The name even of Mrs. Jackson she had never heard pronounced;
and, not aware of being in the apartment of that lady, but considering
she was in some room destined for the reception of visiters, she merely
made to the ladies that slight curtsey by which the presence of a
stranger is recognised, and immediately turned and addressed herself to

"Congratulate me!" she said. "Congratulate me!--But first I must repeat
my message from Mr. Bloomfield, who insists upon it that you break
through your unsocial rule, and dine with him to-day. And now again
congratulate me! My father has returned from India. It was he whom we
called the mysterious stranger. As to the conflicting reports which had
been spread of him in England, you shall hear all at leisure. But he has
returned!--and he has returned wealthy and amiable."

There was a slight tremor in her voice as she uttered these last words.
That slight tremor, it was the response now given to certain passionate
but desponding declarations, which he had so often half uttered in her

The answer came one day too late. Winston stood as if struck dumb. His
rage, his shame, his agony of vexation, he knew not how to express. And
indeed there was that convulsion in his throat which, if he had
attempted to speak, would have choked his utterance. But there was one
amongst the party who found words fit for the occasion, and quite
explanatory. In what she conceived the prettiest manner in the world,
Louisa Jackson laid her hand upon Winston's shoulder. She had heard
something of an invitation--"But, Alfred dear," she said, "you will not
surely dine out to-day!"

Mildred started at the tone of that address, telling as it did so
strange a history, so utterly unexpected. Then collecting herself, and
taking the arm of Miss Bloomfield, she expressed her regret, in some
words of course, that they could not have the pleasure of Mr. Winston's
company to dinner, and, curtseying slightly to the rest of the society,

What a drama had passed between them, and in silence! What feelings had
been hidden under those few words of formal and ceremonious speech!

No sooner had she left than Winston rushed into his own apartment.
Amongst the curiosities which he had collected in Italy was a genuine
stiletto. This had sometimes accompanied him in his solitary rambles;
and of late he had sometimes, in his moods of despondency, contemplated
that instrument, thinking the while of some other purpose than that of
striking a foe to which it might be applicable. They are dangerous
moments which we spend in reflecting on the mere possibility of some
fatal act. The imagination becomes familiarised with the deed. When the
fiery and ungovernable passion falls upon us, it finds the train ready
laid. Winston locked his door--ran to the stiletto--buried it in his

The horror and distraction of Louisa and her mother may be easily
imagined. It might be a subject of more deep and curious interest to
trace the influence of such a catastrophe on the mind of Mildred; but
this also we must leave to the reflection and perspicacity of the
reader. Mr. Bloomfield and his sister soon after left Italy, embarking
in the steam-boat direct for Marseilles: they had grown weary of travel.
Colonel Willoughby and his daughter Mildred took the route by land, and
quitted Naples for the north of Italy and the Alps.

       *       *       *       *       *


The idea embodied in the following verses is the subject of an old
German legend, intended, perhaps somewhat painfully, to represent a
repining and diseased spirit awed by a fearful vision of eventual
futurity into a becoming resignation for the early loss of those who
might have proved unequal to the temptations of a longer life.

    A mother mourned her children dead,
      Two blooming boys, whose opening prime
    Along her path a light had shed,
      Now quenched, alas! before its time.

    She mourned as one who dreamed that here
      Our home and dwelling place should be;
    She mourned as if she felt no fear
      Of earthly sin and misery.

    Once, in the watches of the night,
      Before her dim and tearful eye,
    Beyond the clouds an opening bright
      Revealed a vision of the sky.

    There, amid amaranthine bowers,
      Where God's own glory seemed to shine,
    She saw, on beds of golden flowers,
      Her dear departed ones recline.

    Thence bending down, a pitying smile
      Their fair illumined features wore:
    "For us now freed from guilt and guile,
      O, dearest mother, weep no more!"

    But still her tears rebellious flow,
      And still she raves of angry fate,
    As if, with blind and selfish wo,
      She grudged her children's blissful state.

    Again in visions of the night,
      Sent to impart a sad relief,
    The matron saw another sight
      That stayed the torrent of her grief.

    A youth, by wine to madness stirred,
      Stood brawling on the midnight street,
    And as a clash of swords was heard,
      Sunk lifeless at a rival's feet.

    New horrors o'er her senses steal;
      She sees, appearing through the gloom,
    A hardened outlaw on the wheel,
      While crowds around applaud his doom.

    She gazed upon the hapless youth,
      She gazed upon the hardened man,
    And dawnings of the dreadful truth
      To rise upon her soul began.

    Then thus a voice was heard to say,
      "What now they are thine eye hath seen:
    Here, had they not been snatch'd away,
      See also what they would have been."

       *       *       *       *       *



Smyrna is a capital starting point for eastern expeditions, though it is
too full of _gaóors_, of every description, to be, in itself, a fair
specimen of orientalism. The man would carry home a queer account of
Turkey who should begin his notes at Smyrna, and, passing up the
Dardanelles, make up his book as he travelled overland from
Constantinople to Jannina, _en route_ to Tower Stairs. This is the
approved track, or, perhaps, it may be up the Danube in the Austrian
steamer. Such an expedition is capital fun, no doubt, and to be
recommended to any of our friends with a little loose cash, and some six
weeks' holiday. It introduces to many notabilities, first-rate in their
way, but not to that singular notability, the genuine old Osmanli. He is
a branch of the ethnographical tree that will not flourish in European
atmosphere: though the same exuberance of vigour that first sent forth
the mighty shoot from central Asia, has prevailed to pass through the
feeble defences of the West. It is as an overgrown weakling that he
exists in our quarter of the world. His eyes are without fire, his
manners without the stamp of originality. He succumbs beneath the
presence of the Frank,--the hated and despised, and yet the feared and
the envied. The better feelings of his nature suffer from the constant
presence of those whose superiority he is forced to admire, but whose
personal character he naturally detests. Such conflict of feeling cannot
but be with detriment to the spirit, which, so fettered, refuses the
generous offices of brotherhood, and yields the debt of civility only
from policy or by constraint. How different is this man in his proper
country! where the usages and language, and ideas are unmixedly those
which have been his father's before him; where the leading idea of
_gaóors_ is, that they are infidel dogs, who eat pork and are
unenlightened of Islam; and where every one firmly believes that the
whole set of Franks are allowed to occupy and rule only by the clemency
of their high and mighty lord the Padishah! Here the Turk may
condescend, and here he can be truly generous and hospitable. The Frank
comes as a wanderer from his own remote, settlement (somewhere or other
at the world's end,) to see the lords of the earth, the true believers.
He is a poor ignorant stranger who cannot speak a word of intelligible
language. It is kind, and gratifying to self-esteem, to receive such an
one, and show him those good things that shall make him sigh to return
to his own forlorn fatherland. Besides all this, the outward
modifications affecting the European Turk spoil his nationality. The
reforms of Mahmoud, and of the present sultan, have wofully cut up the
appearance of their subjects; and, of course, sumptuary changes such as
these affect especially those who mix with the world, and are near
court. Who can believe in the ill-looking fellow with smooth face,
regular built boots, and tight frock coat, buttoned up to the chin,--to
say nothing of the wretched red cap he wears instead of a turban! That a
Turk! pshaw!

When I landed at that nest of pirates, Valona,--what time we bore a
message to the respectable inhabitants, that unless they took a little
more pains to grow honest, we should be under certain painful
necessities with respect to them,--was I to look upon that wretched
rabble as Turks? Men dressed in every variety of shabby frock coat and
trousers; and, above all, men who were undisguised in the exhibition of
vulgar curiosity. What amount of excitement would it take to make a
genuine Turk open the eyes of astonishment? or, should he even be
betrayed into an unguarded Mashhallah! has the power of morbid
attraction been discovered which may draw him from his seat and lead him
to any effort of inquiry? When, then, I saw these people flocking
together on their jetty to meet us, I at once recognised them as mongrel
and degenerated. They were queer fellows in their way, too, quite worthy
of observation. The whole community are piratical: the youth
practically, the seniors by counsel. They manage their evil deeds with a
singleness of purpose that neglects no feasible opportunity; and with a
caution that restrains from doubtful attempts, and almost secures them
from capture. They are not like the pirates of the nautical novels, who
embark in a sea-going ship, and stand by to fight it out with any
cruisers they may meet. Like cautious sportsmen, they mark down their
prey first, and do not waste powder and shot. In a breeze there is no
danger on their coast. But wo betideth the trabaccalo or short-handed
merchantman that may happen to be becalmed in their sight. Incontinent
they launch their boats,--terrible vessels that hold twenty or thirty
armed men besides the rowers, and cleave their irresistible course
towards the motionless and defenceless victim. On such occasions it is
only by rare hap that any individual survives to tell the tale and cry
for vengeance. And how shall this cry be satisfied? The bloody work is
no sooner over than its traces are obliterated and the community
restored to the appearance of inoffensiveness: the boats are pulled up
on shore, the crews dispersed. Should an avenger arrive on the spot, he
finds the miserable huts either deserted or tenanted by women and old
men. How can these be made to suffer for other men's offences, or forced
to give information which they declare themselves not to possess?

The same dissatisfaction must be confessed with Previsa Salonica, that
place of steady disrespectability, which has maintained its bad
character since the apostolic days, and even with Constantinople. This
last is a gem of the earth, but, its beauties are to a great extent
those of civilised elaboration. Courtiers form but one species, and
breathe pretty much the same atmosphere throughout the world. He who has
studied them throughout the world has marked only the circumstantial
differences of locality producing their effect on a spring of action,
itself one and constant. To search out and know this principle it may be
useful to visit foreign courts; but Man, beyond the exhibition of this
one phase of character, does not flourish in such places. If the best
place of observation be not actually the wilderness, because that too is
as extensive, calling forth necessarily particular energies, and
exhibiting to a great extent one effect, we may take favourable ground
somewhere midway between the extremes. It is to the heart and centre of
a country that we should go for the vigorous current of its life. Here
the colour is vivid, the speciality preserved, the family features of
our brethren distinguishable.

I suppose it was some such profound rumination as this that suggested to
my two friends and myself the idea of the cruise hereinafter to be
recorded. All three were right travel-smitten, a state of mind which
marvellously thrives on slight nourishment. We had had substantial food
in this way, and were proportionately vigorous in enterprise. We had
seen at odd times a good deal of our friends the Turks, but it had been
chiefly of the vagabonds near the coast. Into all sorts of queer creeks
and corners had we found our way in boat expeditions, that most capital
mode of adventure; though rather ticklish for those who are not pretty
strong in numbers. So had we dug into the sinuosities of Greece, of
which both eastern and western borders were familiar to us; and it is
not a little that I would take for my Horace, which I bore with me up
the Ambracian Gulf, and which bears over the "_nunc est bibendum_" the
note of my personal presence off Actium. Pleasant, too, are the
recollections of our visit to Nicopolis, the mighty monument of this
victory, now serving, as all things earthly must one day serve, to
display the victory of time. We were forced to walk on this occasion, as
to have touched a saddle or animal would have exposed us to the
penalties of quarantine. Our good friend Achmet walked before with a
long stick, booming the people off, who shrank from our contact right
and left, as if we had been the lords of the soil, or as if it had been
_they_, instead of us, who had to fear the plague-compromising touch.
And then when we returned hungry as hunters from our march, full of
ready forgiveness for any faults of cookery, what a banquet was that
which consular hospitality had prepared! Oh, the jocosity of that
breakfast, which was in the open air, because we could not go into the
house, where we could take nothing from, and could give nothing to, the
ladies, but had to keep them at most respectful distance, and be civil
under the control of a vigilant _guardiano_.

There is no mode of travelling which can possibly be compared to this
boat-work. The scope of such proceeding is certainly, by comparison,
confined; but, so far as it goes, nothing is to be mentioned in the same
day with it--that is, so far as comfort is concerned. Places even inland
may be visited in this way, for almost any where a horse or two can be
mustered, and the craft left in charge of her crew. What a difference
between turning into your own berth at night, and affording the
amusement one does on shore to the Hellenic vermin. One good joke in
this way happened to me once upon a time, showing what quarters
travellers may stumble upon even with the best recommendations. A large
party of us had started, particularly recommended by letter from the
consular agent of a place that shall be nameless, to no less a person
than the Demarch of a high-sounding Greek town, who was to do every
thing for us in the way of billeting. By great exertion, and with aching
bones, we managed to reach this place after night-fall, prolonging, for
its hope's sake, our course through a most break-neck road, and through
unseen but clamorous numbers of their wolf-like dogs. At last we came up
with a miserable shed, which proved to be the mansion of the great man.
Of course we should have looked for no other floor but the mudden one we
found, had it not been for our magnificent recommendation, which
warranted the expectation of a suite of apartments. But the floor was so
packed with goods and chattels, affording the most comfortable roosting
for the fleas, and with children who brought in ever-fresh collections
to the stock, that among the many undelectable nights we passed, none
equalled in horrors that one of official introduction and high classical
association. And such is pretty generally the hap of him who ventures to
pass the night in one of those habitations where sweeping and washing
remain exotics, and where the [Greek: autochthones] acquire impenetrable
skins. Now, all this sort of thing you avoid in a boat, besides
converting the mere locomotion from a frequent punishment into a
delight: always supposing, be it remembered, that you have not to beat
your way home up the Sinus Saronicus against a tempest. But the old
story of the rose and the thorn comes in here too. By land you are
exposed to the miseries of your nightly quarterings: by sea you may
rejoice your heart with the beauties with which Nature rejoices to
adorn, many of which she reserves for, the coast, and plunge each
morning into the brine with an unsmarting skin; and if you be a genuine
lover of the picturesque, you will be no less eager to seek it among the
fantasies of human society than among the rocks and crags of a

So thought I and my two friends as we sat smoking the chibouque of
reflection, at that best of Smyrna's cafés, on the French quay. We were
unanimous on the conclusion that Smyrna had no earthly right to the
title of a Turkish city, except the accident of its happening to be in
Turkey. You may go half over the place and meet not a single Turk,
except those wonderful fellows, the porters, whose Herculean powers have
been so often noticed; or perhaps friend Hassan, the chief of the
police, making a progress, with some couple of grim attendants. In fact,
in the motley of its society, if any one colour prevail, it is that of
France: for among all decent people her language is spoken, and in all
reunions of pretension, her colonists are the more numerous body. The
Greeks, to be sure, are in great plenty, but they occupy chiefly the
lower grades. And as it so happens that the Sisters of Charity have here
an establishment, and maintain, with much ability and diligence, a
female school, the only one in the place--and that the Lazarists are
equally sedulous in their province, it seems not unlikely that Smyrna
will become entirely French in spirit, so far as the upper classes are
concerned. At present the mixture only savours strongly of the Gallic
ingredient. And a most agreeable mixture it makes, affording the blended
essences of many nations. Few who have seen much of that society can
entertain its reflection without pleasure; and all are wise to make the
most of its image, as the wide world affords no twin establishment.
Coming from many parts of Europe, the colonists have, by the influences
of climate and association, been blended into a general assimilation of
character, yet retaining the one or two salient points of nationality.
Their physiognomies express the wild influences of Ionia; and it would
be vain to seek in their native countries such beautiful specimens of
French or Italian women (I except Englishwomen) as are to be found in
this birth-place of poetry. It is a city of wonderful linguists, for the
necessities of intercourse demand at least three, and in many cases
four, languages: Greek with the servants, Italian with the shop-keepers,
and French among the polished. Many of them possess more than this
number, and truly wonderful it is to see them turn from one guest to
another in their pleasant assemblies, and to each address the tongue of
his proper country. The same causes that loosened the vowels and
softened the utterance of the old Greek in Ionia, have dipped in honey
the tongues of the modern Levantines; and whatever they be speaking it
is always mellifluously. It is no less true that the old grace of these
shores revives in the persons of the ladies, and gives a Lydian softness
to all that they do. Whether you mark the Armenian matron, languid from
her siesta, seeking the breeze at her lattice; or the more active Frank
maiden at the hour of her evening promenade, you are ever struck with
the idea of grace and poetry. But chiefly is it pleasant to mark them
when the unruffled sea, and cloudless moon, invite them to wander on the
marina, and embark on the waters--when the hot sun has persecuted the
day, and evening first allowed to breathe freely. There is the bay alive
with boats, and resonant of music and laughter, and the shore alive with
gay promenaders. There are certain seasons when it might be presumed
that the Smyrnists divorce night from sleep; for often have I listened
to the cheerful sound till long past midnight, and still has some
passing boat brought music to contribute to my dreams. Or, take your
hat, and wander forth at evening to the banks of Meles, where Homer
sang--whose waters have washed the feet of the epic father, and say
whether Homer's self would not acknowledge these groups as worthy of the

Now this is all pleasant exceedingly, but to enjoy this sort of thing
sustainedly one should not have an English constitution. We are a
phlegmatic set, to whom such zests should be dealt out
homoeopathically: else do we soon begin to criticise and take
exceptions. Now it so happens that we had entered upon the experience of
this delectability with every good disposition towards it, but a still
better disposition towards the getting beyond it if we could, that we
might see something of the real state of the people. We soon voted
Smyrna a bore, as was likely with those who in coming thither had been
bent on using it only as a stepping-stone to get farther. But this was
more easily said than done with us, who were travellers not for our own
fancy's sake, but in the service of her most gracious Majesty. Had we
been simply unfettered, our will was good to have started directly
coastward, and to have explored those vast tracts of Asia Minor, of so
much of which nothing is known. The country between the coast and the
western border of Persia, explored in a direct line, not going towards
Eszeroun, and a divergence southward towards and about Caramania, would
be a fine field for travel. We could well afford to receive some
addition to our knowledge of the central parts of Asia Minor, and I
should like right well to be one of two bound to the borders of lake
Van, to pay a visit to the Armenian patriarch. But such an expedition
would take a deal of time and of money. Now we had but the short
interval of time at our disposal, during which it was judged that
Britannic interests might suffer our absence without detriment. Happily
for us, we knew that foreign infection was but skin deep in this
country; so that, although the curious recesses were beyond our reach,
we might, by a comparatively short expedition, arrive at the texture and
substance of the mass. Two cities invited us, Aidin, and Magnesia, both
of which are, as nearly as possible, free from foreigners: for the
rajahs, though they be Christians, are not, of course, to be considered
foreign to that soil, in which they have been implanted since before its
occupation by the Turks. In Magnesia, so far as we could discover, there
dwelt but a single Frank, who was consular agent for England, as he was,
probably, for half-a-dozen other European powers, an office little
likely to be useful or needful in the case of personal protection to
distressed wanderers, but no doubt not without value as a commercial
relationship. Magnesia also is interesting, because it is the seat of
the great Carasman, Oglû Pascha, a name to which are attached little
less than royal honours. He is one of the great hereditary dignitaries
of the kingdom, who, from olden time, and till but a few years ago, used
to be almost kings within their territory. At the command of the Sultan,
these men used to bring into the field enormous bodies of cavalry,
raised by themselves, forming the staple of the Ottoman armies; and Mr.
Slade, in his book on Turkey, places the alterations of Mahmoud with
respect to these Beys among the prominent causes of the decay of the
Ottoman empire.

The vote passed in favour of Magnesia; partly because we expected in
that place to find, through the good offices of the consular agent,
decent quarters in some Greek house. The question of ways and means
remained. The ordinary mode of conducting these proceedings is through
the ministry of a _Kawash_ or guide; a person whose assistance is
generally considered indispensable, in a country where one neither knows
the roads, nor can exchange a word of inquiry with the people. But this
plan was little suited to our taste, as we knew by experience that these
men are apt to assume the absolute control of their parties. In this
respect they are no worse than the other whole tribe of ciceroni, who
assuredly are among the greatest bores that necessity imposes. If they
would confine themselves to leading the way, and interpreting, and rest
contented with solicitude for the horses, they would be useful and
endurable. S---- forewent for a moment his amber mouthpiece to give us
his experience and opinion.

"These _kawashes_ are greater plagues on a journey than a pebble in the
shoe. When I was a youngster on board the Blanche, we started, a party
of us, for Aidin, under convoy of one of them with a first-rate
character. We had hardly got clear of the town when he began to take
command of us, coolly wanting to regulate our pace. We stood no
nonsense, but set off full cry, with him at our heels shouting like mad.
He was presently up with me, and caught my horse's bridle, uttering all
sorts of unintelligible exclamations. The fellow drew his yataghan, and
I really thought was going to cut my head off. However, he vented his
rage on the brute, striking him with the flat of his weapon; and it was
with difficulty I pacified him at last, by saying, 'Pasha!' several
times, and pointing forward; giving him to understand that if he did not
behave himself, I should complain to the Pasha as soon as we arrived."

"And then," said K----, "you must always battle with them for your
halting-place, if they do not happen to fancy it. If you want to go
ahead, the horses are tired; and if you want to stop, there's sure to be
some better place farther on."

I joined in the vote against subjecting ourselves to tutelage.

"But these fellows do something else besides showing the way--they
interpret. Isn't that rather a floorer for us?"

"Not a bit of it," said S----. "I'll be the [Greek: hêgemôn], for I've
been the road once before; and K---- there talks a little Turkish."

"Yes, I know the numbers, and can say '_Kateh saket_,' which means, 'how
many hours,' or 'how far to?'"

"That will do capitally; for if you say, '_Kateh saket_ Magnesia?' any
blockhead will know that you mean 'How far to Magnesia?' Besides, we all
can say, '_Salam Aleikum_,' so can do the polite as well as the

Reader, this was a mistake. A Mussulman loves not to hear this
salutation at the mouth of a Christian; it is the expression of a
religious wish; and when uttered by one who receives not the Korán, it
falls on the ear of a Turk as a profanation. The correct thing to say
by way of being civil is, "_A-oorahah_!"

Thus slender was the stock of language with which we started; but
perhaps we were not much worse off than we should have been had we known
a good deal more. It is all very well with our European dialects to have
a certain smattering of grammar and principle; but the hopeless
languages of the East come under a different category. Any knowledge of
their theory short of actual accuracy is nearly useless; perhaps worse
than useless, because, by beguiling the unhappy smatterer into ambitious
attempts, it cheats him of the little power he may have of rendering
himself intelligible. A man who is content with the attainment of a
certain vocabulary of substantives, in whose pronunciation he is
perfect, has much the best chance, because he can eke out the other
parts of speech by gesture. But the _attaché_ of legation, who has been
poring over their orthography, and hammering at principle, often proves
the uselessness of his acquisitions for colloquial purposes. However, we
might have done very well with a little more knowledge than we possessed
on this particular occasion.

We did not know at this time what Magnesia could do for us in the way of
an inn, though we were quite aware of the fact, that throughout the
kingdom khans are provided for the accommodation of travellers. What we
had seen in this way was very undesirable, being little more than what
might serve to minister to the comfort of the horses. In some places,
the subsiding stream of travellers has left them bare and ruined; in
others, Smyrna to wit, there is so ready entertainment elsewhere, that
the khan has become little more than a public stable yard. And here, any
time of the day, you may see tethered a collection of donkeys that would
set up all the costermongers in London, and drivers who would surely
make fortunes by their lessons, if their brethren of Hampstead possessed
ambition and gratitude. The vulgar argument of the stick may be
occasionally exhibited, but it is by the magic of a single word that the
energies of the donkey are usually aroused. And the mystery of the
training is this, that neither words nor blows are effective, except
from the initiated. Often it will happen, that after long trial of
coaxing, the meekest rider will be betrayed into the experiment of
cudgelling. It will then certainly happen, that after having cudgelled
his full, he will yield the victory to the impassible brute, and be
reduced to hope, that when he has had thistles enough, he may be induced
to move on. Suddenly there sounds behind him the exclamation of _Dêáh!
Dêáh!_ and the donkey starts into a dislocating trot. This is your true
driver's policy, to make his presence and aid indispensable. By dint of
great practice, I acquired a pretty accurate imitation of this sound,
and have practised it successfully. But the animals were quick to
discover the imposture, and to punish it by extra impassibility.

Many of the best khans or caravansaries are of royal foundation; others,
like the fountains, the monuments of departed piety. But much as we
might admire the institution, we could not feel very ambitious of
occupying a billet of so very gregarious and inexclusive character.
Besides, in these khans you must provide for yourself all that you
require in the shape of provisions; and it was too much of a good thing
to carry with us tea, and bread and butter. We clung to the hope of
finding lodging in the shade of domestic hospitality, the rather because
of our recommendation to the consular agent. A second string was added
to our bow by a worthy Armenian of Smyrna. He kindly assisted our
intention by a letter to a compatriot of his at Magnesia, of whom the
least that we could expect was, that he would receive us to the
fellowship of trencher and hearth; that is, should we present our
introduction, for, in the first instance, our purpose was to seek the
man of office.

We had some debate concerning the propriety of our going ostensibly
armed--no doubt, however, concerning the advisability of our actually
being armed. In those desolate tracts, where you may ride pretty well
all day and meet no wayfarer, except some lone camel-driver, riding at
the head of his long string of animals, it is impossible to say what
contingencies may be your hap. It is, to say the least, a locality where
thieves might have things pretty much their own way; for the
guard-houses, scattered throughout the routes, are far from being within
hail of each other, and far from possessing the control of the road
mid-way. Nay, they are themselves tenanted by men so fierce by nature,
and so imperfectly disciplined, that some people might fear the guards
more than the robbers. They are not detachments of the regular forces,
but men taken chiefly from the Xebeques, whose manners and dress are
sufficiently distinct from those of the ordinary Turks. Each of these
detachments is placed under the control of an Agah; and on the personal
character of this officer depends the security of the district. The
prescribed discipline is necessarily strict, for any admitted relaxation
would soon lead to confusion. Especially is it enjoined that all
spirituous liquors be absolutely excluded from the guard-houses--and a
neglect of this law by the Agah is never forgiven. When intoxicated,
they are said to rage like demons, respecting no person or
thing--utterly rejecting all semblance of discipline. It will be long
before I forget the apprehensions connected with even faint symptoms in
them of approach to such a state. A party of us, with ladies among our
numbers, had halted for night at a guard-house. The spot was of the
rarest beauty--the evening such as breathes only in Ionia; cities and
men were removed out of sight and thought; and, full of poetry and
peace--the pleasing sadness we had caught on the hallowed ground of
the mighty Ephesus,--we resigned ourselves to the influence of the
moment. What was that sound of revelry that broke upon the stillness?
The mandolin tinkled--voices were heard in chorus. We got up to explore,
and found, to our consternation, that the guards of our station, having
received a visit from their brethren of the next detachment, were
holding festival on the occasion. We had previously been informed that
the Agah was absent on duty, and had left the command to his
ancient--and this we were ready to suppose was not calculated to tighten
the reins of discipline. Drinking and jollity were such natural
associates, that we feared terribly these men would be getting at
spirits--and then what did we not fear for the fair companions of our
adventure? However, to make a long story short, the men did not get
drunk, and separated peacefully after the performance of many
Terpsichorean novelties. But they taught the careless to feel that
travellers in such a country should not be without the means of defence.
It is quite true that arms may do you a bad turn, either by tempting you
to a hasty display, or by being of so costly a character as to excite
the cupidity of some ruffian. But it is just as true that any other
thing you possess may do you the like ill turn among men who would shoot
you for the value of your skin. The golden mean is to be armed usefully,
but not showily; and, above all things, to be very discreet in the
production of weapons.

The first of these laws on this particular occasion I egregiously
transgressed. My two friends were supplied with unimpeachable pistols of
their own; but I, being of peaceable disposition, had made no such
provision. A worthy friend on shore supplied the deficiency, by lending
me a pair of the most formidable weapons one would wish to see. They
were of the old style of theatrical horse-pistols, as long nearly as a
small carbine, and beyond any ordinary man's power of holding steady.
The stocks were deeply incrusted with silver, or something that looked
very like it. The only objection to them was, that nothing could
persuade the flint to give out a spark, or induce the pan to take the
hint at the proper time. Yet though I knew them to be in fact thoroughly
useless, they contributed sensibly to my comfort, for they were most
excellent make-believes. Our steeds were supplied by our good friend
George, the Greek stable keeper, as no Turk would have let out his
animals on such an occasion without sending along with them a kawash to
look after the mad Franks. It betokened no little confidence in George,
that he allowed his horses to be taken away, whither and for how long he
know not.

It is a noble climate where you can start of a fine morning, with a
certainty that the weather will continue and fulfil its promise. One
starts light without any wrappings, or any thing more than he has on.
One _tescharé_, or passport, was our luggage for three. Our first little
adventure was about this same _tescharé_. It is to be got, as are all
things in this land, only through the medium of interpreters and
kawashs. A first-rate bore it is to be in all matters of business
subjected to the ministration of these gentry: and what a pity it is
that some steady Englishmen will not qualify themselves to fulfil their
functions. But, from the most important diplomatic negotiations down to
the most trivial matter of convenience, procedure can only be had
through such agency: at least almost without exception at present,
whatever revolutions may lurk in the recent studies of the _attachés_ at

Mahmoud, the Janissary--by the way it is odd that they should call this
consular body-guard of one by such a name--brought us the document, and
then, of course, stood by to pocket his _backshish_. We were then making
our final preparations for the start, laying in a little personal
provender at the _restaurant_ in Frank Street, at the door of which
stood our animals, saddled and impatient.

"Give him his tip," we said to S----, who had been installed pay-master
for the nonce.

A smile and a coin were forthwith presented to the functionary. "Bow,
wow, wow," or something like it, uttered by our Mahometan friend, made
us look up, and we saw him unaccepting and unsmiling. "Why, thou greedy
varlet," (friend, the words were innocuous, because unintelligible,)
"'tis by so much exactly too much for thee."

It is an amusing thing to have a dispute where words will not second
energy. Such a scene have I noted more than once, as a fine
psychological demonstration. You abuse a guide or a donkey driver in a
language he does not understand, for disobeying directions that he did
not understand, word or particle. The whole thing is absurd, and as a
man of sense you ought to be philosophical. But when I have noted you in
such case, and seen that you do not lose your temper, nor abuse the
offender in round English, I will set you down as of placid temperament.
Mahmoud growled, and looked as if he would fain have resumed the paper,
or abducted the horses; and thus it was with the interchange of such
pleasantries, and followed by his good wishes, that we started.

"Bravo," said K----; "we start with a row, we shall be all right

And now stoop well your head and keep your eyes open as you turn the
corner into the Armenian quarter. These houses that make such beautiful
streets, are ticklish things to ride by. They all project forward,
having the upper story supported by a kind of flying buttress. These are
at no great height from the ground, so that an unbending horseman
passing under, would infallibly knock his head against the corner of one
of their first floors. But chiefly on donkeys is this risk
noticeable--the stubborn brutes which it is much the fashion to ride,
and whom none but the drivers can guide. On entering Smyrna by
night--those dull streets where gas is not--your only plan is to keep
well in the middle of the street, right in the hollow. It is a beautiful
quarter of the town; in itself picturesque and variegated in colour, and
beset with the fairest embellishments. Look up at that lattice for a
moment only, and then prick your way again. Did you see those lustrous
eyes and graceful head-dress? The sun is now high, and these stars
twinkle but from lattices. Pass this way at even, and you shall see them
congregated in brilliancy. They are not of the retiring nature that
shuns observation. They sit congregated round every door wooing the
breeze. Supper is spread in the spacious halls, beyond which the open
doors give to view a perspective of garden. Nay, you may stop and
stare--the men are occupied with their pipes, and the women are not
offended at admiration.

Right interesting are these Armenians, of whom the men have all the
riches, and the women all the beauty (at least unveiled and cognisable)
of Turkey. They have lost all trace of the active spirit that in an age
of iron kept them busy in the _melée_ of nations. Their gravest senior
would stare unintelligent were you to speak to him of Tiridates, or the
Romans: and with their thoughts of Persia no ideas of tyranny are mixed;
no stirring of the ancient spirit that kept them faithful in an ocean of
foes, and rendered their land a continued battle-field. They give no
signs of intelligence if you challenge them on the subject of Eutychus,
by whose arch heresy they suffered severance from Catholicity, and in
whose dogmas they live. They are a quiet, matter-of-fact, business-like
people--the bankers and capitalists of the kingdom. Their mode of
existence under the shadow of the Sultan's mercy, but without national
representation or protection, has subdued them to a condition of patient
endurance, and killed the energy of their nature. They are quiet, fat,
and lethargic, reserving their anxieties for money-getting.

There might be to fiery spirits something humiliating in the dress to
which they are so anxious to acquire the right: the huge and ugly cap
which bespeaks them to be under some particular foreign protection, as
the case may be, which is their only safeguard against all sorts of
oppression. But where nationality is a mere idea without embodiment, it
soon becomes as a dream. The Armenian is content to be endured and
protected. Meanwhile he is not without a sort of national ambition; but
it is of a new kind for him. They believe themselves to be the most
ancient of people, retaining the original language that was spoken
before the dispersion of Babel, and by consequence the identical
language that was spoken by Adam. An interesting excursion might be made
on this subject, seemingly so far at variance with the conclusions of
learned ethnographers. Their deductions are from undoubted facts, and
tend to their conclusion with a force that some philologists at least
have considered irresistible.

Through the Armenian quarter our road lay onward for a short distance by
the banks of Miles. It is but an insignificant stream, of scarcely
sufficient tide to turn a mill; but in no better case are Ilissus and
Cephissus found to be in the present day. The shade of Socrates still
seems to linger over the Attic streamlet, swelling its puny tide to the
capacity of the loftiest musings of the humanized; and the memory of
Homer is wedded to these waters of Meles. The critics who would disprove
the existence of the bard, and assign the different members of his
compositions to numerous anonymous authors, or to indefinite traditions,
would find this no vantage ground. The influences of the place would
abash their contumacy. There is something poetical even now about the
locality. The stream flows through the Armenian quarter, passing by a
short course to the well-known Caravan-bridge, and thence into the open
country. At pretty well all hours of the day, groups of nymphs may be
seen washing clothes in the waters, exhibiting _tableaux vivans_ of
Nausicaa and her maidens. No vulgar washerwomen are these with
corrugated hands at reeking tubs, but such as painters and poets might
celebrate. Washing is with them a pastime, and an elegance: their
laundry a studio of art. They go right into the water, and splash about
their things like naiads sporting; and anon returning to the bank, put
forth their little strength in beating out the clothes. It would be rash
to say that the process is so effectual as our more homely method; but
it is at least pretty to look at. At evening the banks of the stream
assume another appearance. Gay crowds promenade, and cavalcades linger;
people of many nations congregate to unbend the brow laden with the
cares of the day. Fathers muse, maidens gambol, and matrons chide.

A little farther on, and we come to Caravan-bridge,--of all Smyrna's
objects, perhaps the one best known by reputation. It has its name from
the number of caravans that, entering Smyrna from the interior, have to
pass over it. And see, there is at this moment a string of camels in the
way, so that we may as well halt in this convenient shade till they be
gone by. That little Ethiopian will look after our horses, and Ali will
bring us coffee and chibouques in a twinkling. See how pleasantly these
trees overshadow our resting-place, and how the gliding of the water,
here a broader and more rapid stream, seems to cool our very thoughts.
This is the great picnic place for the citizens--a sort of Turkish
Vauxhall. Yet what a difference between the orderly composure of these
holiday makers, and the noisy mirth of our own compatriots. These folks
take their _kef_, as they do every thing else, quietly. Here you may see
hundreds of revellers, and not a drunkard among them. Perhaps the repose
of the scene draws some of its influence from those sombre burying
grounds, of which two are just opposite. No where is such truth of
funereal effect preserved as in this country. Père la Chaise, and all
European cemeteries are puerile in comparison. The stately evergreen
which they have consecrated to the overshadowing of the dead fulfils the
idea of solemnity and awe. There is effect in the manner in which the
simple head-stones are planted together, with no separation of rails, no
interspersion of pretending sarcophagi. All have returned to their dust,
and have put off the ephemeral distinctions of life; they have returned
to the bosom of their mother, where there is no aristocracy, and slumber
as brethren till they shall be awakened to new distinctions.

This is a place where at odd times many a pleasant hour may be passed.
It is such a thoroughfare, (at least the bridge, though you are in the
shade by its side, well out of the bustle,) that there is always
something passing worthy of notice. It is also a capital place to
practise the language, if you have any of it to expend. You see the
strangest figures entering from the interior with their merchandise,
which is all diligently examined by the officer of the customs here
posted. It is a singular thing that the long trains of camels are
invariably headed by a donkey; who takes the lead as coolly as if it
were quite in order that such an insignificant brute should drag after
him some five hundred animals, each big enough to eat him. The
Caravandgis might be supposed to come all from one locality, so strong
is the family likeness subsisting between them. Perhaps they actually
do, for this hereditary disposition of employments is quite according to
the genius of the nation. They are short, stout, little men, with round
smooth faces, especially stolid in expression. They dress in the old
style, never wearing the fez; and sure we ought to take the portrait of
one of them, were it only for the sake of their boots. Such buckets are
not often worn, and to pedestrians would be impracticable. But these men
do not walk: seated on their donkeys, they jog on at the head of the
caravan, bearing the merchandise of Asia through wildernesses where the
foot of man is strange. With man they have little communion, and with
nature they have little sympathy, or their soulless visages belie them.
Life to them must be a blended experience of tobacco and camel's bells.
I have marked them at night, when arrived at their journey's end, and
bivouacking in the midst of their animals. The brutes formed a circular
rampart, in the centre of which reclined the men. It was a desolate
spot, such as generally disposes men to sociability with the stray
fellow-creature or two who may happen to have been led to the same
point; and here were two or three fellow-countrymen of the drivers. But
they took no notice of their neighbours; they performed their
prostrations, they disposed of their supper, and coiled themselves up to
rest. If they rose for a moment, it was to look after some restless
camel; and early in the morning, long before the sun, when I turned out,
they were departed to a more remote solitude. But now the road is clear,
and we make a start of it, leaving the town fairly behind.

"Stop, my men," said J----; "look at your horses' feet."

"What's that for?"

"We shall pass never another smithy this livelong day; and should a
screw be loose in any of their shoes, it would be rather a bring up for
us." Sage and sound advice for those who have a long ride before them;
which yet at this time of our need we rejected; and for which I
afterwards suffered. Awakening to a sense of my error, I did afterwards
make a divergence to a village by the way; but there found no artist,
and in the course of the day I learned fully to appreciate the
importance of a nail in time. By the way, the shoes hereabout are of a
peculiar kind, composed of a plate that entirely covers the hoof. They
are at least effective in preventing the infraction of pebbles.

Our road was in the line that leads to the pretty village of Bonabat,
leaving the no less pretty village of Boujah on the right, but far away,
and hidden among the hills. These are two pleasant suburban retreats
that the merchants of Smyrna, have established as a _ricovero_ from the
toils of the city. Bonabat is more especially inhabited by the French,
and Boujah by the English. There is a third village somewhat farther off
in the direction of Ephesus called Sittagui. A few years ago, when the
Turkey trade was in its palmy days, the merchants used to do their
business in most agreeable style. It was during certain months only that
they went every day to their offices, the rest of the year being
permitted to enjoyment. At present, though perhaps somewhat less
magnificent in their style, they are eminently comfortable in their
ways. During the summer months, their families are removed to these
pretty country places; and at sundown each evening the ways are covered
with the returning fathers and brothers. For us Englishmen, Boujah was
naturally the accustomed haunt. Here is to be found the charming mixture
of nationalities, which is the feature of Smyrneot society. Their ways
are manly, without constraint, and in many respects patriarchal. The
young ladies never wear bonnets, and are generally to be seen of a fine
evening sitting in the open air before their own gates. The whole
community having been pretty well all brought up together from childhood
are on the happiest terms of intimacy: surnames are almost obsolete.
Ungrateful must the heart be that can remember without pleasure days
past in their society; where every house is open, and every face has a
smile for the guest. There is one particular spot here, called the Three
Wells, where my evening's walk has ever brought before me images fraught
with recollection of Rebecca's introduction to Isaac, or of Jacob wooing
Rachel. We now passed into the open country, where the road, leading
over a low ridge of hills, becomes of less definite track. And the last
village was passed, and thenceforward we were to meet stations only as
rare landmarks. Hereabouts sugar, as a general luxury, disappears; the
caffedgis supplying the mere coffee, unless some more luxurious stranger
demand the drug. It is then dealt out from a small private store, and
notified by a separate charge in the bill. The homely old Turks are
ignorant of the uses of sugar; and it would seem that their language
does not supply a descriptive term, as their "_shuk-kar_" is evidently a
mispronunciation of our word. One could not, without romancing, say much
of the beauty of the country through which we were passing at this early
stage of our journey. It is even flat, and tame; and appears to be so
more decidedly by contrast with most that lies in this region. Almost
every where else the prospect is bounded by beautiful hills, here and
there aspiring to the character of mountains, whose sides vary
constantly in tint as they rangingly receive the rays of the rising or
the setting sun. Or sometimes one has to pass through vast plains, where
neglect and desolation have, in the exuberance of nature, assumed the
appearance of luxuriant cultivation. Few artificial pastures could equal
the natural beds of oleander that are sometimes found here stretching
far away till lost behind the crags of a ravine; and which, in their
unconstrained vegetation, show colours that the hothouse might envy. And
particularly are the wildernesses of myrtle remarkable, which for miles
grow in thick jungle, through which it is difficult to preserve the
narrow track kept for passage. It is curious to pass through these
odorous thickets, where you can never see around you, and seldom many
feet before you, on account of the windings of the way. Long are heard
the tinklings of the camel's bells, and the heavy plod of their feet,
before the train comes into sight, and many are the manoeuvrings to
effect a passage in peace. The camels, however many, are all linked
together, and to the preceding donkey; and as they cannot be always
persuaded to observe due distance, so as to keep the line _taught_, nor
to follow each other on the same side of the road, it may be conceived
that to pass them is sometimes a work of difficulty. It is a comfort
that they never bite--at least never in ordinary cases; but still, till
one is used to their near contact, it does seem formidable to be
involved and hampered among these as one constantly must be. But this
particular road of ours was, for some way, diversified by neither beauty
nor incident; and, as things go, perhaps it is well that so it was; for
therefore have I the less scruple at passing over observations
topographical, and making haste to tell of what things befel us in the
city of the unbelievers. One single party of travellers we did meet,
whose journeying exercised considerable influence on our fortunes. It
was about mid-day that we saw approaching, from the opposite direction
to ourselves, a Frank gentleman, attended by a respectable looking
squire. We knew him to be coming from Magnesia, because there was no
other place from which he could be coming; and, by the same token, we
shrewdly guessed him to be the one Frank inhabitant, the pro-consul, on
whose good offices we had reckoned. The only alternative was, that he
might be some casual visiter like ourselves, whom business or curiosity
had led on a journey, whence he was returning. But, as he drew nearer,
we read in the incurious expression of his face, that he was certainly
at home; and the air of accustomed importance that beset him argued him
to be one in authority. No men, surely, can be so alive to the sense of
borrowed dignity as consular agents in out-of-the-way corners; at least
no men carry so pompous an exposition on their brow. By these tokens we
identified our stranger friend.

"Hail him," said K----.

"Bon giorno, signori!"

"Servo, signori. Andate in Magnesia?"

"I told you so," said K----.

And so it was. He, her Britannic Majesty's, and half-a-dozen other
majesty's agent, stood convicted by his speech. The man had not been out
of Magnesia, perhaps, any day for the last twelvemonths, and he had
chosen, for the prosecution of his foreign interests, that precise day,
when these three desolate Englishmen had come to throw themselves on his

However, our blood was up, and our souls superior to trifles.

"Here's a poser! shall we reveal?"

"Not a bit of it. We don't want him, nor any one else. Any mixture of
aid would have marred the spirit of our expedition: besides, remember
our friend the Seraph."

This Seraph was of no higher than terrestrial order, being no other than
the Armenian to whom we had the letter commendatory. What the word in
their application means, I cannot say exactly, but believe it to be
descriptive of the sordid occupation of a basqua; at any rate, it is a
common style and title [Greek: Armenikôs].

In the confidence of this our possession, we allowed the European to
pass on without giving him any hint of our forlorn condition, and
without craving any direction for our conduct. He evidently thought that
we had some bosom friend ready to receive us, or at any rate that we
were fully up to all the ways and means of the country--as well he
might, seeing us roam about in such _degagé_ style. We were far too
jealous of our dignity to betray any symptoms of indecision, or having
been taken aback; and our adieux were waved to him with a perfect air of
being at home and comfortable.

"Now then for an Armenian at home! How fortunate that fellow should be
out of the way, for now our friend the Seraph will be sure to insist on
our honouring his roof."

"Capital spreads, too, they give--judging by the samples one sees laid
out of an evening in their halls."

"Hospitable people; are they not, K----?"

"Oh, very. Not that ever I have been in one of their houses."

"Nor I--any farther than having a pipe with old John the Dragoman at his

"Nor I."

Here was a crown to our adventure! An untrodden city, an unvisited
people, a welcome to the mysterious bosom of Armenian hospitality!

       *       *       *       *       *


"Free Trade," say the Americans "is another word for direct taxation,
and direct taxation is another word for repudiation of states' debts."
The Americans are right; it is so: and the strongest proof of these
propositions is to be found in the conduct of the Americans themselves.
The subject, however, is one not less interesting on this than the other
side of the Atlantic. It involves the fortune and the temporal
prosperity of every man in the united kingdom; and we do not hesitate to
say that, on the embracing of just and reasonable views on this
all-important subject by the constituencies of the united kingdom, the
maintenance of the public credit,--the upholding of the public
prosperity,--the ultimate existence of England as an independent nation,
must come to depend.

We hear much, in the popular phrase of the day, of "great facts." We
will assume "free trade" as a "great fact." We will not stop to inquire
how it was brought about, or whether, by any means, it could have been
avoided. These are the topics of history, and history, no one need fear,
will do them justice. As little shall we stop to ask, whether direct or
indirect taxation is the best, or whether a mixture of both is to be
recommended. We shall not ask whether it is better to pay taxes on the
price of the articles we purchase, when the amount is not perceived, or,
if perceived, seldom objected to, at least against government, and when
the disagreeable operation of paying money is compensated, at least in
some degree, by the pleasure derived from the article purchased,--or to
pay them at once to the tax-gatherer, when we get nothing for our ample
disbursements but a bit of paper from the collector to remind us of the
extent of our losses. As little shall we inquire, from history, how many
nations have been ruined by direct taxation, and whether there is one,
the decline of which can be traced to indirect; or from reason, whether
it is _possible_ that a _nation_ can be ruined by indirect taxes, when
the only effect of their becoming too high is, that they check the
consumption of the articles on which they are laid, and therefore cease
to be paid. We shall not remind our readers that, in the latter years of
the war £72,000,000, under the protective system, was levied in the
shape of taxes amidst general prosperity, on eighteen millions of people
in the British empire; and that now, under the free trade system,
fifty-two millions net revenue is felt as extremely oppressive by
twenty-eight millions. These topics, vast and important as they are, and
deeply as they bear on the past history and future prospects of the
British empire, have become the province of history, because the great
change on which they hinge has been made and cannot be unmade. We have
chosen to have free trade,--in other words, to abandon indirect
taxation; and free trade we must have, and indirect taxation will in
consequence be abandoned.

But it is particularly to be observed, in the outset of this system,
that free trade, once adopted and applied to certain great branches of
national industry, must necessarily be _progressive_, and embrace _all_,
if we would avoid the total ruin of many of the staple branches of our
production and main source of our _direct_ revenue. In a short time,
grain of all sorts will be left with the nominal protection of a
shilling a quarter; and many branches of manufactures already find
themselves with a protecting duty so small that, keeping in view the
difference of the value of money in England and the continental states,
it amounts to nothing. If the classes thus left without any protection,
or a merely nominal one, exposed to the effects of foreign competition,
are not indemnified for their losses by the diminished price of the
articles which they themselves purchase, they must grow poorer every
day. Amidst the general cheapening of the articles _sold_, which
constitute the income of the productive classes, if there is not a
proportional cheapening of the articles _bought_ which compose their
_expenditure_, they must inevitably be destroyed.

This truth is so obvious that it is adapted to the level of every
capacity, and accordingly we already see it producing agitation for the
farther repeal of indirect taxes, which it does not require the gift of
prophecy to foresee will, in the end, though perhaps after a severe
struggle, prove successful. It may not do so in this session of
Parliament or the next; but, in process of time, the effect is certain.

A squeezable ministry, a yielding premier, will ere long be found, who,
in a moment of difficulty, will be glad to buy off one set of
assailants, as we did the Danes of old, by giving up what they desire.
The separate agitations which must, in the end, produce this result, are
already manifesting themselves. The West India planters allege, with
reason, that, exposed as they are, when burdened with costly and
irregular free labourers, to the competition of slave labour in Cuba and
Brazil, without, in a few years, any protection, it is indispensable
that the market of the mother country should be thrown open to them for
all parts of their produce, especially in distilleries and breweries.
The farmers, exposed to this attack in flank, while the corn laws have
been repealed in their front, have no resource left but to clamour
incessantly for the repeal of the malt-tax. In this attempt it is
probable they will, in the end, prove successful, not because their
demands are either just or reasonable, for as power is now constituted
in this country that affords no guarantee whatever for being listened
to, but because their claims are likely to be supported by the
_beer-drinkers in towns_, a numerous and influential class of the
community. The tea-dealers, encouraged by the success of agitation in
other quarters, are already making a loud clamour for a reduction of the
duty on tea, and prepared to prove, to the entire satisfaction of the
Chancellor of the Exchequer, that nothing is so likely to increase a
branch of revenue now producing £4,800,000 a-year, as to lower the duty
from half-a-crown to a shilling on the pound. The tobacco dealers will
not be behind their brethren in agitation; and we may soon expect to see
all the venal talent of the nation enlisted in the great cause of free
trade in smoking and chewing. The spirit-dealers will, most assuredly,
not be the last to insist upon a reduction of the duties affecting them;
and they are sure to be supported by the whole publicans in the urban
constituencies; a class of men so numerous that it is certain their
united voice is not long likely to be treated without attention. Every
class, in short, will insist for a remission of the taxes affecting
themselves, without the slightest regard to the effect it is likely to
have on the revenue, the public credit, or the general security of the
empire; and when we reflect on the stupendous array of indirect taxes,
which, under the influence of similar partial but fierce agitations,
have been abandoned by successive conceding administrations to purchase
temporary popularity, we feel convinced that the time is not far distant
when the remaining customs and excise, producing, at present, about
thirty millions of revenue, will share the same fate.

It is useless to lament this tendency, because lamentations will not
stop it, and the reform bill has vested power in classes who, for good
or for evil, will work it out. Nearly _two-thirds_ of the Imperial
Parliament are, under its enactments, the representatives of burghs.[18]
In these burghs the great majority of the voters are shop-keepers, that
is, persons whose interest it is to buy cheap and sell dear. In making
the first use of their newly acquired power to force on free trade, and
a repeal of all duties affecting themselves, our burghs have exactly
followed in the footsteps of their predecessors, when parliamentary
writs were first addressed to them by the Earl of Leicester, in 1264.
"The burghers," says Guizot, "as much astonished as charmed at the
importance which Leicester gave them, took advantage of their influence
to procure _freedom to trade, and to get quit of all custom-house
duties_, instead of establishing, in conjunction with him, the
government on a durable foundation."[19] The influence of these urban
constituencies is not likely to decrease under the increasing
embarrassments of the landed producers, and the augmented stimulus to
certain branches of trade from foreign importations. And, in
consequence, as the revenue melts away under the effect of successive
repeals of the indirect taxes, the question will, ere long, force itself
on the government and the country, How is the interest of the debt to be
paid? How are the charges of the national establishments to be defrayed?
The extraordinary prosperity of the last two years, the result of the
three fine harvests which had preceded them, cannot be expected to
continue. A railway mania is not immortal;--like every other violent
passion it must soon wear itself out. Peace cannot much longer be relied
on;--the clouds are already gathering in more than one quarter. A
recurrence to general indirect taxes is not to be thought of in these
days of restricted currency and unrestricted importation. The only
alternative is, either a reduction of the interest of the national debt,
or a great increase of direct taxation.


                 County Members.   Borough Members.
    England,           162              336
    Scotland,           30               23
    Ireland,            66               39
                      ----             ----
                       258              398

    Or as 2 to 3 nearly.

    [19] Guizot's Essais Sur l'Hist. de France, 475, 476.

It is not probable that a forcible reduction of the national debt will
be attempted, at least till the other alternative has been tried and
failed. The public funds are the great saving bank of the nation. Out of
192,970 persons who received the half-yearly dividend at the Bank of
England in the year 1841, no less than 158,735 drew dividends under £50
half-yearly, of whom 58,000 were under £5; while those above £50 and not
exceeding £200 were only 10,094, and those exceeding £2000 only 125![20]
This is the great security for the public funds in England--the extent
to which shares in them are held by persons composing that middle
commercial class, in whom, under the present constitution, supreme power
is practically vested.

    [20] Porter's Parliamentary Tables, xii. 6.

Nor is it only the actual holders of the public funds who would be
immediately struck at by an invasion of the national debt. Stock of
every kind would at once fall _pari passu_ with the three per
cents.--credit of every kind would be violently shaken--the rate of
discount at the Bank of England would instantly rise--money would become
scarce over the country--every debtor would find his whole creditors on
his back at once, while his means of recovering payment from those
indebted to him would be proportionately abated. It is not going too far
to say that, within a year after a blow had been struck at the public
funds, one-half of the whole trading classes would find themselves
insolvent. None would be able to stand the shock but those possessed of
considerable capital. The majority who carried the measure would, for
the most part, be ruined by its effects. This consequence is not a
remote or secondary one, which large bodies of men can never be brought
to see; it is immediate and direct, and is practically known, by the
intercourse with banks, and the necessity of getting bills discounted,
to the whole commercial community in the country. It is not probable
that the burgher class, to whom the Reform Bill has given power, will
voluntarily advocate a measure so evidently and palpably destructive to
themselves. The public funds of Great Britain rest on the securest of
all bases in a popular community, the self-interest of the holders of
power. They would soon be swept away under universal suffrage, as they
have been in so many states of America, because the majority under such
a system have no funds to hold.

Two things, then, may be considered as certain as any thing depending on
the varying chances of human affairs can be. 1. That the indirect taxes
which at present constitute three-fifths of the net revenue of Great
Britain will, in great part, in process of time, be swept away. 2. That
to uphold the public credit and save from ruin the commercial classes,
a great addition must be made to direct taxation.

It has become, therefore, a matter of the very highest importance to
consider how an additional revenue can be raised without wide-spread
ruin in that way; and what are the _principles_ on which direct taxation
should be founded, in order to be at once equal, just, and productive.
It will be found, on consideration, that they are simple and of
universal application--so plain as to be obvious, when stated, to every
capacity, although a protracted struggle may doubtless be anticipated
from the various classes whose immunities or exemptions such a just and
equal system may abolish or abridge.

The first principles on the subject will naturally suggest themselves on
the principle of "_lucus a non lucendo_," upon considering the gross
inequalities, the enormous injustice of our present system of direct
taxation. Upon reviewing it, one can hardly discover under what
prevailing interest in the Legislature the regulations have been framed,
so strangely is occasional and unjust favour to the landed interest, in
some particulars, blended with frequent and equally unjust oppression of
them in others--so unequally is undue favour to the middle classes, in
some respects, combined with unjust and partial burdens upon them in

To begin with one particular, in which the landed interest are greatly
and unjustly exempted, while the other classes are severely and unjustly
burdened. There is no duty on bequests or inheritance in land, while
there is such a duty, and a very heavy one, in movable succession. The
legacy duty on succession, from one unconnected with the legatee by
blood, is ten _per cent._; from relations six, and from parents one _per
cent._ By the aid of the probate duty, which must be paid by the
executors, and the expense of suing out letters of administration in
England, or an edict and confirmation as executor in Scotland, these
duties are practically nearly doubled. Succession in land, on the other
hand, costs nothing, at least nothing requires to be paid to government;
and though the expense of making up titles to landed estates is often
very heavy, that is a burden for the benefit of lawyers, not the good of
the state. A poor man who gets a legacy of £100, pays £10 direct to the
Exchequer, and the executor, in addition, pays the heavy stamp on
probate of the succession; but the great landholder succeeds to £100,000
a-year without paying a shilling to the state.

A creditor in Scotland, who succeeds to a bond for £100,000, heritably
secured, pays nothing; if it is on personal security, he pays the full
legacy duty of £10,000.

This glaring inequality, the remnant of the days of feudal oppression,
or the relic of a time when the landholders had no money, and taxes
could be extracted from movable property only, should forthwith be
abolished. Succession of all kinds, whether in land, bonds heritably
secured, or movable funds, should be taxed at the same rate. And by the
addition of the vast amount of the landed property to the produce of the
succession duty, it would be in the power of Government _to reduce the
general tax at least a half_ without any diminution, probably a large
increase, in the general result. This must be at once apparent, when it
is recollected that out of £5,303,000, which the income tax produced in
1845, from Britain, no less than £2,666,000, or nearly a half, came from
the land. When it is recollected that the remainder embraced, besides
income from realized money, no less than £1,541,000 for professional
income, which of course corresponds to a comparatively small amount of
realized capital, it is evident how great an increase to the taxable
amount of succession this most equitable change would produce. It need
hardly be said that the land should pay on so many years' purchase, say
thirty in Great Britain, and twenty in Ireland of the _clear rent_,
after deducting the interest of mortgages or heritable bonds or
jointures. _They_ would pay the tax on the succession of their holders
respectively. And the distinction as to the lesser amount of the tax to
be paid by children and relations, than strangers, now observed in the
succession to personal property, should be applied also to landed

This is one obvious burden, which should be applied equally to landed as
to any other class of proprietors. But there are several particulars in
which they are most unjustly subjected to burdens from which other
classes are relieved; and if they get justice done them in this respect,
they could well afford to pay the succession duty.

In the first place, the levying of the POOR'S RATE as a burden
exclusively laid on _real_ property in England, that is, lands and
houses, to the entire liberation of personal property or professional
incomes, is a most monstrous inequality--indefensible on every principle
of justice or expedience, and the long continuance of which can only be
explained by the well known and proverbial supineness of that class of
men, and their inability to rouse themselves to any combined or general
effort, even for matters in which their own vital interests are
concerned. The Poor's Rate, it is well known, is, especially in England,
a very heavy burden. It amounted, prior to the late change in the law in
England, to above £8,000,000 a-year: and although it was at first
considerably reduced in the years immediately succeeding the first
introduction of that Act in 1834, yet it has been steadily rising since,
and has now nearly attained its former level.[21] Under the most
favourable circumstances it cannot be estimated in round numbers at less
than £6,000,000 a-year; in seasons of distress it never fails to reach
£7,000,000. Scotland hitherto has paid less, because under the
administration of the old law, the support afforded to the poor was
miserably stinted, and quite inadequate to meet their necessities. This
was fully exposed by the efforts of Dr. Alison and other distinguished
philanthropists, and a parliamentary inquiry having demonstrated the
truth of their statements, the Act of 1846 introduced a more humane and
careful provision for the poor. Under the operation of this Act, the
Poor Rate in Scotland has in most places considerably, and in some
alarmingly, increased. The dreadful state of Ireland, suffering less
under the failure, total as it has been, of the potato crop, than the
general indigent condition of the poor, has at length forcibly aroused
the attention of all classes in the empire, and it may confidently be
predicted that the mockery of supposing the Irish paupers, 2,300,000 in
number, to be provided for because £240,000 a-year, or about _two
shillings_ a head a-year, is levied for their relief on a rental of
above £12,000,000 annually, cannot much longer be maintained. The Poor's
Rate, therefore, is a subject which already interests deeply, and is
likely to interest still more deeply, every part of the empire, and it
is of the highest importance to consider what are the principles on
which, in conformity with justice and expedience, it should be levied.


    Poor's Rate and County Rate.
    1832            £8,662,000
    1833             8,279,217
    1834             8,338,079
    1842             6,552,800
    1843             7,085,595
    1844             6,848,717

    Parl. Paper. Porter, xii. 247.

The monstrous injustice of the present system will be rendered apparent
by a single example. Manufactories, collieries, iron-works, and
commercial towns, are, it is well known, the great _producers_ of the
poor, because they bring together the labouring classes in vast numbers
from all quarters while trade is prosperous, and leave them in a state
of suffering or destitution a burden on the landholders the moment it
becomes depressed. The commercial classes, too, are immediately and
directly benefited by the labour of these manufacturing poor while they
retain their health; while the landholders in their vicinity are only so
indirectly and in a lesser degree. This is decisively demonstrated by
the colossal fortunes so frequently made in the commercial classes,
contrasted with the declining circumstances or actual insolvency of the
landholders by whom they are surrounded. Do these, the merchants and
manufacturers, pay the larger proportion of the poor tax, thus rendered
inevitable by the nature of their operations, which are in so high a
degree beneficial to themselves? Quite the reverse: they do not, in
proportion to their profits, pay a _tenth part_ of its amount. The
poor's rate, as at present levied, is on the rural proprietors an
_Income_, on burgh inhabitants a _House_ tax. The difference is
prodigious, and leads to results in practice of the grossest injustice.

A landowner has an estate of £2000 a-year in a parish of which the
poor's-rate is 1s. in the pound, or £100 a-year on his property. A
manufactory is established, or an iron-work set agoing, or a coal mine
opened upon it, from which the fortunate owner derives £50,000 a-year of
profit. The buildings on it, however, are only valued at £2000 a-year.
He pays for his _pauper creating_ work, yielding him £50,000 a-year,
£100 annually, the same as what the landowner in the same parish pays
for his _pauper-feeding_ estate of £2000 a-year. In other words, in
proportion to the respective incomes, the landholder, who had no hand in
bringing in the poor, and derives little or nothing from their labour,
pays just _five-and-twenty times_ as much as the manufacturer who
introduced them, and is daily making a colossal fortune by their
exertions! And this becomes the more unjust when it is recollected, that
under the present system of free trade in corn and easy communication
with distant quarters which railways and steam-boats afford, the little
benefit the neighbouring landholders formerly derived from the presence
of such manufacturing crowds, is fast disappearing. But further, the
manufacturer or mine-owner having got off thus easily during the time of
prosperous trade, when he was realising his fortune, stops his works,
and discharges his workmen when the adverse season arrives. The rateable
value of the manufactory or the mine has, for the present, almost or
wholly disappeared, and the poor starving workmen are handed over to be
supported by the land-owner.

Persons not practically acquainted with these matters may think this
statement is overcharged: on the contrary, it is _within_ the truth in
some instances. We know an instance of a great iron master, whose
profits average above £100,000 a-year, who pays less poor's rates for
the poor he has mainly created, than a landholder in the same parish, of
£2000 a-year, who never brought a pauper on its funds in his life. Such
is the consequences of the present barbarous system of levying the
poor's rate as an income tax on the landlords who are burdened with
paupers, and only a house tax on the manufacturers who create and profit
by them. The first thing to be done towards the introduction of a just
system of direct taxation is to lay the maintenance of the poor equally
on all classes; and above all to abolish the present most unjust system
of making it only a house tax on the producers of poor in towns, and an
income tax on their feeders in the country.

The LAND TAX is another burden, exclusively affecting real property,
which should either be abolished, altogether or levied equally on all
classes. Its amount is not so great as the poor's rate, nevertheless it
is considerable, as it produces about £1,172,000 a-year.[22]

    [22] Porter's Parl. Tables, xii. 36.

The whole ASSESSED TAXES, though not avowedly and exclusively a tax on
the landed interest, are, practically speaking, and in reality, a burden
on them almost entirely; at least they are so much heavier on the
landowners than the inhabitants of towns, that the burden is nothing in
comparison on urban indwellers. Had they been practically felt as a
grievance by the urban population they would long since have shared the
fate of the house tax and been abolished. They have so long been kept up
only because, with a few exceptions, they press almost exclusively upon
that passive and supine class of landlords, the natural prey of
Chancellors of the Exchequer, whom it seems generally impossible by any
exertions, or the advent of any danger how urgent soever, to rouse to
any common measure of defence. It no doubt sounds well to say that the
assessed taxes are laid generally on luxuries, and therefore they are
paid equally by all classes which indulge in them. But a closer
examination will show that this view is entirely fallacious, and that
the subjects actually taxed, though really luxuries to urban, are
necessary aids to rural life. For example, a carriage, a riding horse, a
coachman, a groom, are really luxuries in town, and their use may be
considered as a fair test of affluent, or at least easy circumstances.
But in the country they are absolutely necessaries. They are
indispensable to business, to health, to mutual communication, to
society, to existence. What similarity is there between the situation of
a merchant with £1000 a-year, living in a comfortable town house, with
an omnibus driving past his door every five minutes, a stand of cabs
within call, and dining three days in the week at a club where he needs
no servants of his own; and a landholder enjoying the same income,
living in a country situation, with no neighbour within five miles, and
having six miles to ride or drive to the nearest town or railway station
where his business is to be transacted, or where a public conveyance can
be reached?

Gardeners, park-keepers, foresters and the like, are generally not
luxuries in the country, they are a necessary part of an establishment
which is to turn the land to a profitable use. You might as well tax
operatives in mills, or miners in collieries, or mechanics in
manufactories, as such servants. Yet they are all swept into the
assessed taxes, upon the rude and unfounded presumption that they are,
equally with a large establishment of men-servants in towns, an
indication of affluent circumstances. The window tax is incomparably,
more oppressive in country houses than in town ones, from their greater
size in general, and being for the most part constructed at a period
when no attention was paid to the number of windows, and they were
generally made very small from being formed before the window tax was
laid on. Taking all these circumstances into view, it is not going too
far to assert, that on equal fortunes the assessed taxes are _twice as
heavy_ in the country as in towns; and that of £3,312,000 which they
produce annually, after deducting the land tax, about £2,500,000, is
paid by _landowners either in town or country_. It is inconceivable--no
one _a priori_ could credit it--how few householders in town, and not
being landowners, pay any assessed taxes at all--or any of such amount
as to be really a burden. The total number of houses charged to the
window tax, in Great Britain, is 447,000, and the duty levied on them
is, £1,613,774, or, at an average, about £3, 10s. a-house, while the
number of inhabited houses was, in 1841, 3,164,000, or above seven times
the number. The total number charged with one man-servant, is only
49,320, and, _persons keeping men-servants at all_, 110,849,[23] facts
indicating how extremely partial is the operation of these taxes, and
how severely they fall on the class most heavily burdened in other
respects, and therefore least able to bear them.

    [23] Porter's Parl. Tables, xii. 37, 42; and xi. 275.

The HIGHWAY RATES are another burden exclusively affecting land,
although the whole community derive benefit from their use. This burden,
exclusive of the sum levied at turnpike gates, in England amounted to
£1,169,891, a-year.[24] This charge, heavy as it is, is felt as the more
vexatious, that the rate-payers are not at liberty either to limit the
use of the road, for which they pay, to themselves, or to allow it to
fall into disrepair. An indictment of the road lies at common law, if it
becomes unfit for traffic, even at the instance of any party using the
road, though he does not pay any part of the rate. In other words, the
neighbouring landholders are compelled to keep up the roads for the
benefit of the public generally, who contribute nothing towards their
maintenance. This matter becomes the more serious that in consequence of
the general adoption and immense spread of railways, the traffic on the
principal lines of road in England, has either almost entirely
disappeared, or become inadequate to contributing any thing material to
the support even of the turnpikes hitherto entirely maintained by them.
It is not difficult to foresee, that the time is not far distant when
nearly the _whole roads of England will fall as a burden on the rate
payers_; for these roads cannot be abandoned, or the country off the
railway lines would have no communication at all. And the sums paid by
railway companies, how large soever, to landholders, afford no general
compensation; for they benefit a few in the close vicinity of the
railways only, while the highway rate affects all.

    [24] Lords' Report on Burdens on Real Property, 1846, p. vi.

The CHURCH RATE is another burden exclusively affecting land, though all
classes obtain the benefit of it in the comfort and convenience of
churches. It amounted, in 1839, the last year for which a return was
made, to £506,512.[25] Nothing can be clearer than that this is a burden
truly affecting real estates. It is entirely different from tithes,
which are not, correctly speaking, a burden on land, but a separate
estate apart from that of the landlord, which never was his, for which
he has given no valuable consideration. But on what principle of justice
is the burden of upholding churches exclusively laid on the land, when
all classes sit in churches, and enjoy the benefit of their
accommodation. The thing is evidently and palpably unjust, and won't
bear an argument.

    [25] Lords' Report on Burdens on Real Property, 1846, p. 6.

The POLICE, LUNATIC ASYLUM, and BRIDGE RATES, constitute another burden
on real property to which no other property is subject, which, though
not universally introduced, are very oppressive in those counties where
their establishment has been found necessary. Mr. Blamire, a very
competent witness, estimates these incidental and partial charges at 2s.
1d. an acre.[26] The land is still liable also to a heavy disbursement
on account of the Militia, if that national force should be again called
out. There has been no return yet laid before parliament of these
partial burdens on land, but they cannot be estimated at less than the
church rate, or £500,000 a-year.

    [26] Ibid. p. 7.

The STAMP DUTIES, from deeds and instruments which produce annually
£1,646,000 a-year, fall for the most part as a burden on real property.
This must be evident to every person who considers that real estates in
land or houses are the great security on which money is advanced in
every part of the country, and the extremely heavy burdens, in the shape
of a direct payment in the requisite stamps for deeds to government, is
imposed on the transmission and burdening of such property. It is
particularly severe, in proportion to the value of the subjects
burdened, in the mortgaging or alienating of small freeholds or
heritable subjects. It is stated in the Lords' Report, on the burdens
affecting real property, "The stamp on a conveyance of a certain length,
on a sale of real subjects of the value of £50, would cost 12-1/2 per
cent, or £6, 10s.; on a £100 sale, to 5 per cent; on a £200 sale, to
2-1/2 per cent; on a £500 sale, to £1, 14s. 3d. per £100; and above that
sum, to one per cent." The weight on the establishment of mortgages,
especially on small sums, is not less remarkable. The same report adds,
"A mortgage for £50 costs, in stamps, and law expenses, thirty per
cent.; a mortgage for £100, twenty per cent.; one for £450 seven per
cent.; for £1500 three per cent.; for £12,500 one per cent.; for £25,000
fifteen shillings per cent, and for £100,000 twelve shillings per
cent."[27] These burdens on the sale or mortgaging of real property are
felt as the more oppressive, when it is recollected that movable
property to the greatest amount, as in the public funds, or the like,
may be alienated, or burdened in the most valid and effectual manner for
the cost of a power of attorney, which is a guinea and half-a-crown per
cent. to the broker who executes the transaction. Materials do not exist
for separating exactly the deed-stamps falling as a burden on land
transmissions and mortgages, from those affecting personal estates; but
it is certainly within the mark to say, that they are three-fourths of
the whole stamp-duties on deeds and instruments, or £1,200,000 a-year.

    [27] Ibid. 1847, p. 8.

Thus, it appears that, setting aside the tithe, as not the land-owner's
property, and, therefore, a separate estate, and not, properly speaking,
a burden on land; and saying nothing of the malt-tax, which produces
annually £4,500,000 a-year, on the supposition that, at present at
least, that falls as a burden on the consumer; and saying nothing of the
income-tax, which, as will immediately appear, falls as a much severer
burden on land-rents than commercial incomes,--these distinct, clear,
and indisputable burdens laid on land, from which property of other
sorts in England are exempt, stand thus:--

  I. Poor's Rate in 1845, a very prosperous year,   £6,847,205
 II. Land-tax,                                       1,164,042
III. Highway Rates,                                  1,169,891
 IV. Church Rates,                                     506,812
  V. Police, Lunatic, and Bridge-rates, estimated,     500,000
 VI. Excess of assessed taxes falling on land above
      personal estates, estimated,                   1,500,000
VII. Stamp-duties peculiar to land,                  1,200,000

The rental of real property in England, rated to the Poor's Rates, is
£62,540,030;[28] but the real rental, as ascertained by the more rigid
and accurate returns for the Income-tax, is £85,802,735. On the first of
these sums, the taxes exclusively falling on land amount to a tax of
_twenty-five_, on the last of EIGHTEEN per cent. annually. This is in
_addition_ to the Income-tax, and all the indirect taxes which the
owners of land and houses pay in common with all the rest of the
community, and which by it are complained of as so oppressive.

    [28] Lords' Report, 1847, p. 7.

Enough, it is thought, has now been said to prove the extreme inequality
and injustice with which direct public burdens are levied in this
country, and the necessity for a thorough and searching revision of our
system of taxation, in this respect, especially since, from the way in
which the tide sets, it has become so evident that direct will
progressively be more extensively substituted for indirect taxation.
But, in addition to these, there are several other circumstances which
aggravate fourfold the burdens thus exclusively laid on real property.

I. In the first place, the alterations in the monetary system of the
country, by the resumption of cash payments in 1819, followed up in
Scotland and Ireland, as well as England, by the stringent Bankers' Act
of 1844, has added fully forty per cent. to the weight of all taxes and
other burdens, public or private, affecting landed property, because it
has altered, to that extent, the value of money, and diminished the
price of the articles of rural produce from which the laud-holders'
means of paying them are derived. If the prices of wheat and of all
other kinds of agricultural produce, for ten years before 1819, and ten
years before 1845, be compared, it will at once appear that the
difference is even greater than has been here stated.[29] But that
consideration is of vital importance in this question, for if the price
of all kinds of rural produce has declined nearly as nine to six by the
operation of these monetary changes, the weight of debts and taxes, of
course, must have been increased in the same proportion. We are not now
to enter into any argument as to the expedience or necessity of that
great change in our monetary system: we assume it as _a fact_, and refer
to it only as rendering imperative a revision of the direct taxes
bearing so heavily on the great interests whose means of paying them
have been thus so seriously abridged.

    [29] Prices of wheat average, per Winchester quarter, in the years
    after mentioned, viz.:--

          _s._ _d._           _s._ _d._
     1809   78  11      1834   46   2
     1810  103   3      1835   39   4
     1811   92   5      1836   28   6
     1812  122   8      1837   56  10
     1813  106   6      1838   64   7
     1814   72   1      1839   70   8
     1815   63   8      1840   66   4
     1816   76   2      1841   64   4
     1817   94   0      1842   64   6
     1818   83   8      1843   54   4
     1819   72   3      1844   51   3
            ------             ------
    Average 87   3     Average 56   5

    Tooke on Prices, ii. 389, and Lords' Report on Burdens on Real
    Property, App. No. 26.

II. In the second place, and this is a most important circumstance, the
burdens which have been mentioned all fall as a burden on the landowner,
how much soever his property may be charged with mortgages, jointures,
or other real burdens. These must all be paid in full by himself alone,
how small soever be the fraction of the nominal income of his estate
which remains to him after discharging the annual amount of its real
burdens. There is no right to deduct poor's rates, land tax, or other
burdens affecting land, from mortgages, or even jointure holders, unless
they are expressly declared liable to such, which is very seldom the
case. These annual charges must all be paid _clear_ to the creditor,
without any deduction, except that of the income tax, which the debtor
is allowed to retain by the Act imposing it. But this consideration is
of vital importance to the landholders when the amount of their
mortgages and other real burdens is taken into consideration. Their
annual amount has been estimated by very competent judges at
_two-thirds_ of the income derived from land, although, as there is no
general record in England for real burdens, their amount cannot at
present be accurately ascertained. But take it, in order to be within
the mark, at _three-fifths_ of the real rental, as ascertained by the
income tax returns, these show, as already stated, an income of
£85,000,000 annually derived from land. Take three-fifths, or
£51,000,000 of this sum as absorbed annually by mortgagers and
annuitants holding real and preferable securities over land, and there
will remain £34,000,000 annually to the holders of land and houses. Now
on this £34,000,000 the real burdens above mentioned, amounting to
£12,900,000 a-year, are fastened. If to these be added the income tax
paid by the land, amounting, by the income tax returns, to £2,112,000,
the clear income derived by landholders from the real property of
England, with the _direct_ taxes paid by them, will stand thus--

Clear Income as above                £34,000,000
Deduct direct taxes levied
  exclusively on land,   £12,900,000
Income tax paid
  by land,                 2,100,000
                           ---------  15,000,000
                   Remains,          £19,000,000

Thus it appears that out of thirty-four millions of clear rental left to
the owners of real property in England, no less than fifteen millions,
or nearly _a half_, is taken from them annually in the shape of direct
taxes which they cannot by any possibility avoid! How long would the
commercial or city industry of England stand direct taxes to the amount
of 46 per cent on their clear income? If that had been the state of
their finances, we should have had no clamour in 1831 for enlarged
representation, or in 1846 for the destruction, to their advantage, of
all the protection to other branches of industry. We should have had no
Anti-Corn Law League subscriptions of £100,000 to buy up all the venal
talent in the form of itinerant orators and pamphleteers in the country.
We should have had no conversions of conceding premiers by the weight of
external agitation. In social, not less than military warfare, the
longest purse carries the day; and the party which is the heaviest
burdened is sure to be in the end overthrown.

III. The abolition of the Corn Laws, partially at present, entirely at
the end of two years and a half, by the bill of 1846, not only has made
this enormous burden of 46 _per cent._ on their clear income _deductis
debitis_ a permanent load on the landowners, but it has rendered it a
hopeless one, because it has destroyed every means which they previously
might have possessed of indemnifying themselves for its weight, by
sharing its oppression with other classes. This is a matter of the very
highest importance, which will soon make itself felt, though, in
consequence of the nearly total failure of the potato crop in the west
of Great Britain and Ireland, it has not yet been so. The usual resource
of persons, who are burdened with heavy payments to government, is to
lay as much as they can of it on others, by enhancing as much as
possible the price of their produce. It is in this way that indirect
taxes fall in general on the consumer; and it is on this principle that,
in estimating the burdens exclusively affecting land, we have not
included the malt duty, because it is in great part at least paid by the
consumers of beer or porter. But, of course, if it becomes from any
cause impossible for the party burdened, in the first instance, to raise
the price of his produce, or if, on the contrary, he is compelled to
lower it, _the whole tax will fall direct on himself_, because he will
be without the means of laying it on the purchaser from him.

Now, the abolition of the Corn Laws has done this. In two years and a
half, the whole grain of Poland and America will be admitted into the
English market at the nominal duty of a shilling a quarter. It will be
impossible for the farmers and landowners after that to keep up the
price of grain of any sort in the British market beyond the prices in
Prussia, and with the addition of 5s. a quarter for the cost of transit,
and perhaps half as much for the profit of the importer. Wheat, beyond
all question, will fall on an average of years to forty shillings a
quarter, barley and oats to twenty. This is just as certain as the
parallel reduction of average prices of wheat from 87s. a quarter to
56s. has been by the money law of 1819. Accordingly, now that the stress
is over, they have no longer an interest to conceal or pervert the
truth; the anti-corn law journals are the first to proclaim this result
_as certain_, and they coolly recommend the English farmers to abandon
altogether the cultivation of wheat, which can no longer be expected to
pay, and to lay out their lands in pasture grass and the producing of
_garden stuffs_. But amidst this general and now admitted decline in the
price of grain, the 46 per cent. of direct burdens on land will continue
unchanged; happy if it does not receive a large augmentation. The effect
of this will be to augment the weight of the burdens to which they are
already subjected on the landholders by at least twenty per cent., and,
in addition, to _throw upon them the whole malt tax_, now amounting to
£4,500,000 a-year. The moment the British farmer is obliged to lower the
price of his barley to the level of the continental nations, where
labour is so much cheaper, and rents comparatively light, the whole malt
tax falls, without deduction or limitation, on British agriculture.

IV. The income tax, though apparently a burden equally affecting all
classes, in reality attaches with much more severity to the landed than
to any other class. There is, indeed, an advantage unduly enjoyed by
capitalists of all sorts, landed or moneyed, in comparison with
annuitants or professional men, which, as will immediately appear,
loudly calls for a remedy. But, as compared with the merchant or moneyed
man, who derives his income from trade or realised capital in a movable
form, the landholder is, in every direct taxation, exposed to a most
serious disadvantage. His income cannot be concealed, and it is returned
by others than himself. The farmer or tenant, who has no interest in the
matter, returns his landlord's rent. The trader, shopkeeper, or merchant
estimates and returns his own income. The possessions of the first, and
their annual rental, are universally known, and concealment as to them
is impossible or sure of detection; the gains of the last are entirely
secret, and wrapped up, even to the owner, in books or accounts,
generally unintelligible in all cases but those of considerable
merchants--to all but the persons who prepared them. Whoever is
practically acquainted with human nature will at once perceive the
immense effect which this difference must have on the amount of the
burden, in appearance the same, as it affects the different classes of

And the result of this difference appears in the most decisive manner,
in the amount of the sums paid by the different classes of society, as
shown by the income tax returns. From them, it appears that the
contributions from commerce, trades, and professions of _all sorts_, is
not _quite half_ of that obtained from landed property. The first is,
in round numbers, £2,700,000; the second, £1,500,000.[30] But let it be
recollected that the £1,541,000 a-year, which, in 1845, was paid by
professional men of all descriptions, in Great Britain, included,
besides merchants and traders, the whole class of professional men not
traders, as lawyers, attorneys, physicians, &c. At the very lowest
computation their share of this must amount to £341,000 a-year. There
remains then £1,200,000 as the contribution of trade and commerce, of
all kinds, from Great Britain, while that from land is £2,670,000
a-year, or _considerably more than double_. Can it be believed that this
is founded on a fair return of incomes by the commercial classes? Are
they prepared to admit that their property and income, and consequent
interest and title to sway in the state, is not half of that which is
derived from land? Or do they shelter themselves under the comfortable
assurance that their real income is incomparably greater, and that they
quietly escape with a half or a third of the income tax which they ought
to pay? We leave it to the trading class, and their abettors in the
press, to settle this question with the commissioners of income tax
throughout the country. We mention the fact, that trade and commerce do
not pay half the income tax that land does, as a reason, among the many
others which exist, for a thorough and radical reform of our financial
system, so far as direct taxation is concerned.

    [30] Net amount of income tax for year ending 5th April, 1845:--

                                        England.   Scotland.    Total.
    Schedule A, Land rents,            £2,112,072  £253,976  £2,366,048.
    -------- B, Tenants                   292,646    22,961     315,607.
    -------- C, Annuities, funds, &c.     766,066    ------     766,066.
    -------- D, Trades and professions, 1,424,017   117,953   1,541,970.
    -------- E, Offices, Pensions, &c.,   305,401     8,500     313,901.
                                       ----------  --------  -----------
                                       £4,900,202  £403,390  £5,303,502.

Whoever considers seriously, and in an impartial spirit, the various
particulars which have now been stated, will not only cease to wonder at
the frequent, it may almost be said universal, embarrassment of the
landed proprietors, but he will arrive at the conclusion, that if they
continue much longer unchanged, they must terminate in their general
ruin. We say _general_ ruin, because it will not be universal. The
_great_ landowners, the magnates, whether moneyed or territorial, of the
land will alone survive the general wreck. They will, by degrees,
swallow up all the smaller estates in their neighbourhood; and it will
come to be literally true in Britain what was said, by a Roman emperor,
of Gaul, in the decline of the empire, "That the estates of the rich go
on continually increasing and absorbing all lesser estates around them,
till they come to the estate of _another as rich as themselves_." With
direct taxes, amounting to 50 or 60 per cent. on the disposable income,
which, under the change of prices, induced by the change in the corn
laws, they will very soon be, even without any addition from farther
taxes, it is wholly impossible that any landowner who does not possess
enormous tracts of country, or vast funded or moneyed property in
addition to his territorial possessions, can avoid insolvency. What the
effect of the total destruction of the middle class of British
landholders must be on the balance of the constitution, and the state of
society in these islands, it is not our present purpose to inquire.
Suffice it to say, that it is precisely the state of things which
signalised the later stages of the Roman empire, and coincides with so
many other circumstances in marking the striking analogy between our
present condition and that which proved fatal to the ancient masters of
the world.

Well may the Lords' Committee on the burdens affecting landed property
have said, "Neither the law nor the spirit of the constitution
originally contemplated so partial a system of taxation."[31] In truth,
originally some of the heaviest present exclusive burdens on real
property were born equally by personal estates. "The poor law of
Elizabeth," says the report, "and the land tax of William and Mary,
_embraced every species of income_; but in consequence of the
comparative facility of rating visible property, and the small amount of
income derived from other sources in the early period of their
assessment, personalty seems to have escaped its legal share of
contribution to the public service. The liability of stock in trade,
however, was continued by law to a late period, and is, up to the
present day, only suspended by an annual act of exemption." The
Committee here point out, or rather hint at the real cause of the
extraordinary exemption from their due share of the public burdens which
has grown up insensibly in favour of movable property. Land has two
admirable qualities in the estimation of Chancellors of the Exchequer.
It can _neither be concealed nor removed_. Movable estates, stock in
trade, are susceptible of both. The landholder has no secret invisible
funds which he can bring forth when desired in the form of convenient
loans to government to meet the state necessities. He has only a visible
fixed estate, which can neither be concealed nor withdrawn from its
annual burdens. Hence the influence and exemptions of the one, and the
injustice experienced by and burdens of the other.

    [31] Report, p. 9.

But in addition to this, there is another circumstance which has
powerfully contributed to establish this extraordinary and iniquitous
exemption of personal property from direct taxation. This is the
difficulty which in practice amounts to an impossibility of getting by
any means at the real amount of rateable personal property. The
Commissioners of the Income Tax through the country will have no
difficulty in understanding what is here meant. All the efforts of
government and their official organs to ascertain the real amount of
assessable movable property, have been insufficient to accomplish that
end. Doubtless there are in the commercial and professional class many
just and honourable men who give a true account to the last farthing of
their gains. These are men, the honour and support of the country, whose
word is their bond, and who may confidently be relied on to speak the
truth under any circumstances. But, unhappily, experience has too
clearly proved that the facility of concealing gains derived from stock
in trade, and thus withdrawing it from its just liability for
assessment, is too strong a temptation to be resisted. The proof of this
is decisive. The returns of the income tax show £175,000,000 of annual
income rated to that assessment, while only £1,541,000 was in 1845 paid
by the whole professional persons in Great Britain. Of this £1,541,000,
only £1200,000, at the very utmost can be estimated as coming from
commercial or trade incomes, which, at sevenpence in the pound,
corresponds to about £40,000,000 of annual income. Is it possible to
believe that the whole commercial and trading classes in Great Britain,
whose wealth is in every direction purchasing up the estates of the
landed proprietors in the island, only enjoy forty out of one hundred
and seventy-five millions of the rateable national income? Have they
less than a fourth of the whole income rated to the income tax? If they
have no more, they certainly make a good use of what they have, and must
deem themselves singularly fortunate in that happy exemption from
taxation which has enabled them, with less than a fourth of the general
income, to get the command of the state, and buy up the properties of
all the other classes.

There is one peculiarity in the income tax as at present established,
which is productive of the greatest injustice, and loudly calls for
immediate remedy. This consists in the taxing _all incomes at the same
rate_, whether derived from professional income, annuity, land, or
realized funds. This is just another instance of the careless and
reckless way in which our system of direct taxation has at different
times been framed, without any regard to principle, and alternately
unjustly favouring or grossly oppressing every class in society, _except
the great capitalists_. They have been always and unduly considered.
What can be more unjust than to tax every man of the same income at the
same rate, whether it is derived from land or funded property, worth
thirty years' purchase, or railway or bank stock worth twenty, or an
annuity worth five, or a precarious professional income, which would not
bring, from the uncertainty of life and the public favour, or the winds
or monetary changes, above _two or three_? Under the present most unjust
system, they all pay alike on their income, that is, some pay about
FIFTEEN TIMES as much on what they are worth in the world in comparison
with others! A man who derives £300 a-year from the three per cents. on
land has a capital stock worth about £10,000. He pays as much, and no
more, as a poor widow, just dropping into the grave, who has a jointure
of £300 a-year, for which no insurance company in the kingdom would give
her above £500, or a hard-working lawyer or country surgeon with the
same income, whose chances of life and business are not worth three
years' purchase. The gross injustice of this inequality requires no

Nor is it any answer to this to say, that if the professional and
commercial classes are unduly oppressed by the income tax, they, are
proportionally benefited by their general exemption from the heavy,
direct taxation which in other respects weighs down the land; and that
the one injustice may be set off against the other. We protest against
the system of setting off one injustice against another: there is no
compensation of evils in an equitable administration. In the present
instance there can be no compensation, for the acts of injustice are
committed against different classes. It is the trading classes which
enjoy the means, from the occult nature of their gains, of evading by
fallacious returns the income tax. The honest and honourable pay it to
the last farthing: it is the _dishonest_ who escape. The persons upon
whom the levying the income tax in its present form operates with the
most cruel severity are the professional men and annuitants. They cannot
evade it, as the trading classes can. Their gains are generally known:
if they are at all eminent or prosperous, the kindness or envy of the
public generally helps them to at least a half more than they really
enjoy. Merchants or shopkeepers are less in the public eye; and even
when most prominent, their transactions are so various and wide-spread,
that no one but themselves can estimate their profits. Every one knows,
or can easily guess, what Dr. Chambers or the Attorney-General make
a-year; but it would puzzle the most experienced heads on 'Change to say
what were the yearly profits of the great bankers, merchants and

There is another enormous injustice connected with the income tax, and
indeed all the direct taxes to Government, which loudly calls for
remedy--_Ireland pays none of them_. It is high time that England and
Scotland should rouse themselves to a sense of this most unreasonable
and unjust exemption, and unite their strength by the proper
constitutional means to remove it. We are always told Ireland cannot
afford to pay any direct taxes. What, then, comes of its £12,000,000 of
rental? Scotland, with little more than _a third_ of that land rent,
pays it and the assessed taxes besides, without either complaint or
difficulty. But it is said the landlords are so eat up with mortgages,
that they have not a fourth part of their nominal incomes left to live
upon. That is a good reason for only making them pay, as under the
income tax they would, on the free balance, _deductis debitis_. But, in
the name of Heaven, why should the bondholders pay nothing? If they sit
at home at ease in Dublin, Cork, or Belfast, and quietly enjoy
£9,000,000 out of the £12,000,000 of Irish rental, why cannot _they_ as
well pay the income tax as their brethren in London, Liverpool, or
Glasgow? The bondholders of Ireland _alone_, would, if they paid an
income tax, contribute more to the common necessities of the State than
_the whole land and industry of Scotland put together_. So vast are the
natural resources which Providence has bestowed on that fickle and
misguided people, and so few those enjoyed by the hardy and industrious
Scotch mountaineers.

On what conceivable ground of justice or reason can this most monstrous
and invidious exemption in favour of Ireland from income and assessed
taxes be defended? Is it that Ireland with its 12,000,000 arable acres,
and 5,000,000 of mountain and waste, has fewer natural resources than
Scotland with its 4,500,000 of arable acres, and 12,000,000 of mountain
and waste? Is it that 8,500,000 persons now in Ireland, cannot pay even
what 2,900,000 now pay in Scotland? Is it that Ireland is so singularly
peaceable and loyal, and gives so little anxiety or disquiet to the rest
of the empire, that it must be rewarded for its admirable and dutiful
conduct by an absolute exemption from all direct taxation to government?
Is it that the troops required to be kept in it are so few, and in
Scotland so numerous, that the former country may be liberated from
taxation, while the latter is subjected to it in full extent? Is it that
industry in towns in Ireland is so great, and manufacturing skill so
transcendant, that it is entitled to be liberated from direct taxation
in consideration of the vast amount of its indirect custom-house duties,
in comparison of which those of London, yielding £12,000,000; of
Liverpool, yielding £4,500,000 a-year; or Glasgow and the Clyde
harbours, yielding £1,200,000; and Leith, yielding £589,000, are as
nothing? Or is it that this extraordinary exemption is the reward of
tumult, disaffection, and treason; of turbulent demagogues and factious
priests, and an indolent people; of active and incessant combination for
the purposes of evil, and total inability to combine for the purposes of
good? And is it the first fruits of the regeneration of government by
the Reform Bill, that it can raise a revenue only from the loyal and
pacific and industrious part of the empire, and must proclaim relief
from all taxation as the reward of tumult, disorder, murder, monster
meetings, and treason? We leave it to the advocates of the present
system of government, or those who established it, to answer these
questions. We did neither the one nor the other, but have constantly
opposed both; and Great Britain, in the system of direct taxation we
have now exposed, is reaping the fruits of the changes she has thought
proper to introduce.

Lastly, there is another peculiarity of the income tax which requires
revision, and that is this;--at present it descends only to £150 a-year
income; and every one practically acquainted with these matters, knows
that this, with the trading classes at least, whose gains can be
concealed, amounts to a practical exemption, generally speaking, of all
under at least £200 a-year. Nothing can be plainer than that, as matters
stand at least, this exemption of all below such line is invidious,
unjust, and, if persisted in, will lead to ruinous consequences. No
reason can be assigned for it which will bear examination; for it is to
be supposed the practical necessity of conciliating the ten pounders,
the great majority of whom escape the tax altogether in this way, will
not, in public at least, be assigned as a reason, how cogent soever it
may be felt and candidly acknowledged in private. Why should a man,
whose income, perhaps derived from land or funded property below £150,
pay nothing, while a hard working clerk, attorney, or country surgeon,
who makes £155, and is not worth a tenth part of the other's realised
capital, pays _income-tax_? It is in vain to say you must draw a line
somewhere. So you must, but you must not draw it in a way to do gross
and palpable injustice,--to exempt the comparatively affluent, and
oppress the industrious poor. There is a vital distinction, which it
would be well if the income tax recognised, between income, of any
amount, derived from realised property and from professional exertions.
By all means give the humble professional classes the benefit of this
distinction. But to draw the line, not according to the _quality_ of the
income as derived from capital or labour, but from its _absolute
amount_, is arbitrary, invidious, and unjust.

The great advantage to be derived from making the income tax, modified
as now suggested, descend lower in society is, that it would _interest a
larger number in guarding against its abuse_. At present, it is said,
there are three hundred and twenty thousand persons rated to the income
tax in Great Britain, but not half of them really pay on _their own
account_. Many pay the income tax of _one_; as a landlord's whole
tenants for his rent, though not more than one or two, perhaps none,
certainly not half the number, are separate persons whose incomes are
really made liable. But can any thing be more unjust than to select in
this way a particular class, not more than a _two-hundredth_ part of the
community, and subject them and _them alone_ to the heaviest of the
direct taxes? It is just the privileged class of old France over again,
with this difference, that the privileged class in England is
distinguished by being obliged _to bear_ not to _avoid_ the hated
taille. Nevertheless, nothing is more certain than that, as long as this
invidious and unjust accumulation of the whole direct tax is on one
class of 150,000 persons, it will be highly popular with the remaining
29,000,000, and that the popular journals will never cease to resound
with the propriety of extending still farther the _partial_ burden of
direct, and the _general exemption_ under the name of Free Trade from
the indirect taxes.

The increase of direct taxation, till it proved fatal to industry,
population, national strength, and every thing save great capital, was
the cause of the ruin of the Roman empire. Many circumstances, alas!
concur in showing, and will ere long demonstrate to the most
inconsiderate, that we are fast following in the same direction; and if
so, we shall beyond all question share the same fate. The extension of
the income tax, on a graduated scale, to persons as low even as £50
a-year, is the only way to arrest this great and growing evil. What is
wanted is not the money to be drawn from these poorer but more numerous
classes, but the _interesting them in resisting_ its undue extension. If
150,000 persons only pay the income tax, it is very likely ere long to
be raised to 10 or 15 per cent. _If a million pay it, no such extension
need be dreaded._ No matter though the additional 850,000 pay only 10s.
a piece, or £425,000 in all: their doing so would probably save the
state from ruin. What is wanted is not their money, but their breath;
not their contributions, but their clamour. They have a majority of
votes in the constituencies. In a serious conflict their voice would be
decisive in favour of any side they espoused. Interested to prevent the
confiscation of property, they will effectually do so. Exempted from
direct taxation, they will promote its increase till it has swallowed up
the state, and themselves in its ruin, as it did the Roman empire.

So much has been said on the inequalities and injustice of the present
system of direct taxation established in Great Britain, that little room
remains for the true principles on the subject; but fortunately, like a
beacon, it shows what rock should be avoided in the course. A system of
direct taxation would not be far from just, which in every respect was
precisely the reverse of that which at present exists amongst us.

I. The first thing to be done is to equalise the succession tax, lay it
equally on land and personal estate, and lower it to the whole
_one-half_. Five per cent. in succession to strangers; two-and-a-half to
relations; and a half per cent. to parents or brothers, alike in land
and money, would probably augment the produce of the tax, and certainly
greatly relieve a most meritorious class of society, the representatives
of small capitals.

II. All direct taxes should be levied equally on landed and personal
estates, and, subject to the distinction after-mentioned, equally on
professional income, as the fruit of realised capital. This rule should
apply to all local or parochial, as well as public burdens. The effect
of it would be to let in, as taxable income, in addition to the
£2,666,000 now derived from land, a sum at least as large derived from
personal estates or incomes. It would therefore lower this most
oppressive tax, supposing its absolute amount undiminished _one-half_.
The same would be the case with land tax, highway rates, church rates,
police rates, &c. They would all be lowered a-half to the persons at
present burdened with them, and that simply by the adoption of the just
principle, that all fortunes in the same situation should be taxed alike
for the general service of the state, and that the commercial classes
who create the poor, and are enriched by their labour, should contribute
equally with the landed to their support.

III. In levying the income tax, a different rate should be imposed on
income, according as it is derived or not derived from realised capital.
If it is so it should be taxed alike for all direct taxes. But if it is
derived from annuity or professions, a lower rate should be adopted. If
the _property_ tax is 5 per cent. the _income_ tax should not exceed
2-1/2 _per cent._; whatever the one is the other should be _a-half_ of
it only. This modification of an impost now felt as so oppressive by all
subjected to it, would go far towards reconciling the numerous class of
small traders, the great majority in all urban constituencies, to the
change--to its continuance, and also justify its extension to all
incomes above £50 or £100 a-year. Without that extension it will
inevitably degenerate into a confiscation of property above a certain

IV. Stamps or conveyances, or burdening of property, should be the same,
and _not higher_, on personalty or landed estates. For the additional
security of the latter, the borrower pays amply in the greater expense
of the law deeds requisite to constitute effectual securities over real
estates than over stock or movable funds. Stamps on bills, &c., which
are advances for a short period only, should be rated at a widely
different scale from that adopted in permanent loans. But there is no
reason why securities over real estates should require to be written on
paper bearing a higher stamp than those over personal effects.

V. The present system of the _assessed taxes_ should be altered, so as
to make it include all classes alike, and not, as at present, fall twice
as heavily on the inhabitants of the country as those of towns. This may
be done best by making these taxes a certain proportion of the _value of
the house_ inhabited by the party, as rated for the property
tax--perhaps a fourth or fifth part, abolishing all other assessed
taxes. This would reach all classes alike in town and country: for
whatever may be said as to doing without an establishment in town, no
one can do even there without a house. And the rich misers who live in a
poor lodging and spend nothing, would be effectually reached in the
heavy property tax, on their funds, wherever invested.

VI. To obviate the innumerable frauds daily practised in the concealment
of professional incomes, especially by small traders, a power should be
given to the Commissioners in all cases where they were dissatisfied
with the return of professional income, to assess the party for income
_at five times the value at which his house is rated_. On this principle
if a lawyer or physician lives in a house rated at £100 a-year, he would
pay on £500 a-year as income: if he occupied one rated at £2000, he
would be taxed on £10,000. If the tax on realised property was 5 per
cent. which it will soon be, that would just subject the professional
one to two and a half. Perhaps it would be better to adopt some such
general principle for all cases of professional income, and avoid the
_requiring returns at all_.

In some cases the above plan might be adopted as a substitute for the
income tax, or rather as a mode of levying it on _professional_ persons.
Those whose income is derived from land, the funds, or other realised
property, would be entitled to exemption or deduction, upon production
of the proper evidence that they were rated for the property tax at the
higher rate.

VII. _Ireland_ should pay the income and all direct taxes, at least on
land, bonds, and other _realised property_, as well as the assessed and
other direct taxes, just as Great Britain. Nothing can be advanced,
founded either in reason or justice, in favour of the further
continuance of their present most invidious and unjust exemption.

We have thus laid before our readers a just and reasonable system of
direct taxation, from which the landed interest, now so unjustly
oppressed, would derive great relief, simply by doing equal justice to
them and the other classes in the state. The amount of injustice which
such a system would remove, may be accurately measured by the amount of
resistance which the system we have now advocated would doubtless
experience, just as the injustice of the exemption from direct taxation
enjoyed by the nobles and clergy of old France was measured by the
obstinate resistance they made to an equalisation of the public burdens.
Men cling to nothing with such a tenacity as unjust privileges and
exemptions. But the changes we recommend have one lasting
recommendation: they are founded on obvious justice. They go only to
levy all taxes alike on all classes, in proportion, as nearly as may be,
to their ability to pay them. And we implore the Conservative body, with
whom we have so long acted, to consider whether it would not be far
wiser to unite their strength to convince the country of the justice and
expedience of some, at least, of these changes, than to follow the
example of the Free Traders in urging the repeal of the malt tax, which
could only be followed, as no addition to the indirect taxes is to be
thought of, by a vast increase of the _income tax_, two-thirds of which
would fall on the land itself.

And now a single word in conclusion on ourselves. We need not say how
long and steadily we ranged ourselves on the side of the late Premier,
or how widely the principles now contended for differ from those which
he has carried into effect. We are actuated by no spirit of hostility
either to the late or the present Government. Our course is that of
freedom and independence. During Sir R. Peel's long and able contest
with the movement party from 1838 to 1841, we stood faithfully by him,
and that when many who have been most courtly during the subsequent days
of his power, were not the least intemperate leaders on the other side.
From respect for his talents and gratitude for his public services when
in opposition, and a natural reluctance to believe that we had been
mistaken in one whom we so long acknowledged as the leader of the
Conservative party, we tempered our political discussion during the last
twelvemonths with more forbearance than we should have done under other
circumstances. But the die is now cast: it has been cast by himself. We
can feel no dependence in a minister who introduces measures directly at
variance with the whole principles of his public life: and we earnestly
trust that by far the greater portion of the true-hearted and loyal men
who, from over-confidence in their chief, have allowed themselves to be
compromised in the late political transactions, will not again commit
themselves to any leader in whose candour and integrity they cannot
thoroughly rely.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Printed by William Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh._

       *       *       *       *       *

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine - Volume 61, No. 376, February, 1847" ***

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