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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine — Volume 54, No. 337, November, 1843
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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 54, No. 337, November, 1843" ***

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Ingram, Brendan OConnor, Allen Siddle and the Online





       *       *       *       *       *


NO. 1.


Reader! Were you ever in a Texian prairie? Probably not. _I_ have been;
and this was how it happened. When a very young man, I found myself one
fine morning possessor of a Texas land-scrip--that is to say, a
certificate of the Galveston Bay and Texas Land Company, in which it was
stated, that in consideration of the sum of one thousand dollars, duly
paid and delivered by Mr Edward Rivers into the hands of the cashier of
the aforesaid company, he, the said Edward Rivers, was become entitled to
ten thousand acres of Texian land, to be selected by himself, or those he
should appoint, under the sole condition of not infringing on the property
or rights of the holders of previously given certificates.

Ten thousand acres of the finest land in the world, and under a heaven
compared to which, our Maryland sky, bright as it is, appears dull and
foggy! It was a tempting bait; too good a one not to be caught at by many
in those times of speculation; and accordingly, our free and enlightened
citizens bought and sold their millions of Texian acres just as readily as
they did their thousands of towns and villages in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois,
and Michigan, and their tens of thousands of shares in banks and railways.
It was a speculative fever, which has since, we may hope, been in some
degree cured. At any rate, the remedies applied have been tolerably severe.

I had not escaped the contagion, and, having got the land on paper, I
thought I should like to see it in dirty acres; so, in company with a
friend who had a similar venture, I embarked at Baltimore on board the
Catcher schooner, and, after a three weeks' voyage, arrived in Galveston

The grassy shores of this bay, into which the river Brazos empties itself,
rise so little above the surface of the water, to which they bear a strong
resemblance in colour, that it would be difficult to discover them, were
it not for three stunted trees growing on the western extremity of a long
lizard-shaped island that stretches nearly sixty miles across the bay, and
conceals the mouth of the river. These trees are the only landmark for the
mariner; and, with their exception, not a single object--not a hill, a
house, nor so much as a bush, relieves the level sameness of the island
and adjacent continent.

After we had, with some difficulty, got on the inner side of the island, a
pilot came on board and took charge of the vessel. The first thing he did
was to run us on a sandbank, off which we got with no small labour, and by
the united exertions of sailors and passengers, and at length entered the
river. In our impatience to land, I and my friend left the schooner in a
cockleshell of a boat, which upset in the surge, and we found ourselves
floundering in the water. Luckily it was not very deep, and we escaped
with a thorough drenching.

When we had scrambled on shore, we gazed about us for some time before we
could persuade ourselves that we were actually upon land. It was, without
exception, the strangest coast we had ever seen, and there was scarcely a
possibility of distinguishing the boundary between earth and water. The
green grass grew down to the edge of the green sea, and there was only the
streak of white foam left by the latter upon the former to serve as a line
of demarcation. Before us was a plain, a hundred or more miles in extent,
covered with long, fine grass, rolling in waves before each puff of the
sea-breeze, with neither tree, nor house, nor hill, to vary the monotony
of the surface. Ten or twelve miles towards the north and north-west, we
distinguished some dark masses, which we afterwards discovered to be
groups of trees; but to our eyes they looked exactly like islands in a
green sea, and we subsequently learned that they were called islands by
the people of the country. It would have been difficult to have given them
a more appropriate name, or one better describing their appearance.

Proceeding along the shore, we came to a blockhouse situated behind a
small tongue of land projecting into the river, and decorated with the
flag of the Mexican republic, waving in all its glory from the roof. At
that period, this was the only building of which Galveston harbour could
boast. It served as custom-house and as barracks for the garrison, also as
the residence of the director of customs, and of the civil and military
intendant, as headquarters of the officer commanding, and, moreover, as
hotel and wine and spirit store. Alongside the board, on which was
depicted a sort of hieroglyphic, intended for the Mexican eagle, hung a
bottle doing duty as a sign, and the republican banner threw its protecting
shadow over an announcement of--"Brandy, Whisky, and Accommodation for Man
and Beast."

As we approached the house, we saw the whole garrison assembled before the
door. It consisted of a dozen dwarfish, spindle-shanked Mexican soldiers,
none of them so big or half so strong as American boys of fifteen, and
whom I would have backed a single Kentucky woodsman, armed with a
riding-whip, to have driven to the four winds of heaven. These heroes all
sported tremendous beards, whiskers, and mustaches, and had a habit of
knitting their brows, in the endeavour, as we supposed, to look fierce and
formidable. They were crowding round a table of rough planks, and playing
a game of cards, in which they were so deeply engrossed that they took no
notice of our approach. Their officer, however, came out of the house to
meet us.

Captain Cotton, formerly editor of the _Mexican Gazette_, now civil and
military commandant at Galveston, customs-director, harbour-master, and
tavern-keeper, and a Yankee to boot, seemed to trouble himself very little
about his various dignities and titles. He produced some capital French
and Spanish wine, which, it is to be presumed, he got duty free, and
welcomed us to Texas. We were presently joined by some of our
fellow-passengers, who seemed as bewildered as we had been at the
billiard-table appearance of the country. Indeed the place looked so
desolate and uninviting, that there was little inducement to remain on
_terra firma_, and it was with a feeling of relief that we once more found
ourselves on board the schooner.

We took three days to sail up the river Brazos to the town of Brazoria, a
distance of thirty miles. On the first day nothing but meadow land was
visible on either side of us; but, on the second, the monotonous
grass-covered surface was varied by islands of trees, and, about twenty
miles from the mouth of the river, we passed through a forest of
sycamores, and saw several herds of deer and flocks of wild turkeys. At
length we reached Brazoria, which at the time I speak of, namely, in the
year 1832, was an important city--for Texas, that is to say--consisting of
upwards of thirty houses, three of which were of brick, three of planks,
and the remainder of logs. All the inhabitants were Americans, and the
streets arranged in American fashion, in straight lines and at right
angles. The only objection to the place was, that in the wet season it
was all under water; but the Brazorians overlooked this little
inconvenience, in consideration of the inexhaustible fruitfulness of the
soil. It was the beginning of March when we arrived, and yet there was
already an abundance of new potatoes, beans, peas, and artichokes, all of
the finest sorts and most delicious flavour.

At Brazoria, my friend and myself had the satisfaction of learning that
our land-certificates, for which we had each paid a thousand dollars, were
worth exactly nothing--just so much waste paper, in short--unless we chose
to conform to a condition to which our worthy friends, the Galveston Bay
and Texas Land Company, had never made the smallest allusion.

It appeared that in the year 1824, the Mexican Congress had passed an act
for the encouragement of emigration from the United States to Texas. In
consequence of this act, an agreement was entered into with contractors,
or _empresarios_, as they call them in Mexico, who had bound themselves to
bring a certain number of settlers into Texas within a given time and
without any expense to the Mexican government. On the other hand, the
Mexican government had engaged to furnish land to these emigrants at the
rate of five square leagues to every hundred families; but to this
agreement one condition was attached, and it was, that all settlers should
be, or become, Roman Catholics. Failing this, the validity of their claims
to the land was not recognised, and they were liable to be turned out any
day at the point of the bayonet.

This information threw us into no small perplexity. It was clear that we
had been duped, completely bubbled, by the rascally Land Company; that, as
heretics, the Mexican government would have nothing to say to us; and that,
unless we chose to become converts to the Romish Church, we might whistle
for our acres, and light our pipes with the certificate. Our Yankee
friends at Brazoria, however, laughed at our dilemma, and told us that we
were only in the same plight as hundreds of our countrymen, who had come
to Texas in total ignorance of this condition, but who had not the less
taken possession of their land and settled there; that they themselves
were amongst the number, and that, although it was just as likely they
would turn negroes as Roman Catholics, they had no idea of being turned
out of their houses and plantations; that, at any rate, if the Mexicans
tried it, they had their rifles with them, and should be apt, they
reckoned, to burn powder before they allowed themselves to be kicked off
such an almighty fine piece of soil. So, after a while, we began to think,
that as we had paid our money and come so far, we might do as others had
done before us--occupy our land and wait the course of events. The next
day we each bought a horse, or _mustang_, as they call them there, which
animals were selling at Brazoria for next to nothing, and rode out into
the prairie to look for a convenient spot to settle.

These mustangs are small horses, rarely above fourteen hands high, and are
descended from the Spanish breed introduced by the original conquerors of
the country. During the three centuries that have elapsed since the
conquest of Mexico, they have increased and multiplied to an extraordinary
extent, and are to be found in vast droves in the Texian prairies,
although they are now beginning to become somewhat scarcer. They are taken
with the _lasso_, concerning which instrument or weapon I will here say a
word or two, notwithstanding that it has been often described.

The lasso is usually from twenty to thirty feet long, very flexible, and
composed of strips of twisted ox hide. One end is fastened to the saddle,
and the other, which forms a running noose, held in the hand of the hunter,
who, thus equipped, rides out into the prairie. When he discovers a troop
of wild horses, he manoeuvres to get to windward of them, and then to
approach as near them as possible. If he is an experienced hand, the
horses seldom or never escape him, and as soon as he finds himself within
twenty or thirty feet of them, he throws the noose with unerring aim over
the neck of the one he has selected for his prey. This done, he turns his
own horse sharp round, gives him the spur, and gallops away, dragging his
unfortunate captive after him, breathless, and with his windpipe so
compressed by the noose, that he is unable to make the smallest resistance,
and after a few yards, falls headlong to the ground, and lies motionless
and almost lifeless, sometimes indeed badly hurt and disabled. From this
day forward, the horse which has been thus caught never forgets the lasso;
the mere sight of it makes him tremble in every limb; and, however wild he
may be, it is sufficient to show it to him, or lay it on his neck, to
render him as tame and docile as a lamb.

The horse taken, next comes the breaking in, which is effected in a no
less brutal manner than his capture. The eyes of the unfortunate animal
are covered with a bandage, and a tremendous bit, a pound weight or more,
clapped into his mouth; the horsebreaker puts on a pair of spurs six
inches long, and with rowels like penknives, and jumping on his back,
urges him to his very utmost speed. If the horse tries to rear, or turns
restive, one pull, and not a very hard one either, at the instrument of
torture they call a bit, is sufficient to tear his mouth to shreds, and
cause the blood to flow in streams. I have myself seen horses' teeth
broken with these barbarous bits. The poor beast whinnies and groans with
pain and terror; but there is no help for him, the spurs are at his flanks,
and on he goes full gallop, till he is ready to sink from fatigue and
exhaustion. He then has a quarter of an hour's rest allowed him; but
scarcely does he begin to recover breath, which has been ridden and
spurred out of his body, when he is again mounted, and has to go through
the same violent process as before. If he breaks down during this rude
trial, he is either knocked on the head or driven away as useless; but if
he holds out, he is marked with a hot iron, and left to graze on the
prairie. Henceforward, there is no particular difficulty in catching him
when wanted; the wildness of the horse is completely punished out of him,
but for it is substituted the most confirmed vice and malice that it is
possible to conceive. These mustangs are unquestionably the most deceitful
and spiteful of all the equine race. They seem to be perpetually looking
out for an opportunity of playing their master a trick; and very soon
after I got possession of mine, I was nearly paying for him in a way that
I had certainly not calculated upon.

We were going to Bolivar, and had to cross the river Brazos. I was the
last but one to get into the boat, and was leading my horse carelessly by
the bridle. Just as I was about to step in, a sudden jerk, and a cry of
'mind your beast!' made me jump on one side; and lucky it was that I did
so. My mustang had suddenly sprung back, reared up, and then thrown
himself forward upon me with such force and fury, that, as I got out of
his way, his fore feet went completely through the bottom of the boat. I
never in my life saw an animal in such a paroxysm of rage. He curled up
his lip till his whole range of teeth was visible, his eyes literally shot
fire, while the foam flew from his mouth, and he gave a wild screaming
neigh that had something quite diabolical in its sound. I was standing
perfectly thunderstruck at this scene, when one of the party took a lasso
and very quietly laid it over the animal's neck. The effect was really
magical. With closed mouth, drooping ears, and head low, there stood the
mustang, as meek and docile as any old jackass. The change was so sudden
and comical, that we all burst out laughing; although, when I came to
reflect on the danger I had run, it required all my love of horses to
prevent me from shooting the brute upon the spot.

Mounted upon this ticklish steed and in company with my friend, I made
various excursions to Bolivar, Marion, Columbia, Anahuac, incipient cities
consisting of from five to twenty houses. We also visited numerous
plantations and clearings, to the owners of some of which we were known,
or had messages of introduction; but either with or without such
recommendations, we always found a hearty welcome and hospitable reception,
and it was rare that we were allowed to pay for our entertainment.

We arrived one day at a clearing which lay a few miles off the way from
Harrisburg to San Felipe de Austin, and belonged to a Mr Neal. He had been
three years in the country, occupying himself with the breeding of cattle,
which is unquestionably the most agreeable, as well as profitable,
occupation that can be followed in Texas. He had between seven and eight
hundred head of cattle, and from fifty to sixty horses, all mustangs. His
plantation, like nearly all the plantations in Texas at that time, was as
yet in a very rough state, and his house, although roomy and comfortable
enough inside, was built of unhewn tree-trunks, in true back-woodsman
style. It was situated on the border of one of the islands, or groups of
trees, and stood between two gigantic sycamores, which sheltered it from
the sun and wind. In front, and as far as could be seen, lay the prairie,
covered with its waving grass and many-coloured flowers, behind the
dwelling arose the cluster of forest trees in all their primeval majesty,
laced and bound together by an infinity of wild vines, which shot their
tendrils and clinging branches hundreds of feet upwards to the very top of
the trees, embracing and covering the whole island with a green network,
and converting it into an immense bower of vine leaves, which would have
been no unsuitable abode for Bacchus and his train.

These islands are one of the most enchanting features of Texian scenery.
Of infinite variety and beauty of form, and unrivalled in the growth and
magnitude of the trees that compose them, they are to be found of all
shapes--circular, parallelograms, hexagons, octagons--some again twisting
and winding like dark-green snakes over the brighter surface of the
prairie. In no park or artificially laid out grounds, would it be possible
to find any thing equalling these natural shrubberies in beauty and
symmetry. In the morning and evening especially, when surrounded by a sort
of veil of light-greyish mist, and with the horizontal beams of the rising
or setting sun gleaming through them, they offer pictures which it is
impossible to get weary of admiring.

Mr Neal was a jovial Kentuckian, and he received us with the greatest
hospitality, only asking in return all the news we could give him from the
States. It is difficult to imagine, without having witnessed it, the
feverish eagerness and curiosity with which all intelligence from their
native country is sought after and listened to by these dwellers in the
desert. Men, women, and children, crowded round us; and though we had
arrived in the afternoon, it was near sunrise before we could escape from
the enquiries by which we were overwhelmed, and retire to the beds that
had been prepared for us.

I had not slept very long when I was roused by our worthy host. He was
going out to catch twenty or thirty oxen, which were wanted for the market
at New Orleans. As the kind of chase which takes place after these animals
is very interesting, and rarely dangerous, we willingly accepted the
invitation to accompany him, and having dressed and breakfasted in all
haste, got upon our mustangs and rode of into the prairie.

The party was half a dozen strong, consisting of Mr Neal, my friend and
myself, and three negroes. What we had to do was to drive the cattle,
which were grazing on the prairie in herds of from thirty to fifty head,
to the house, and then those which were selected for the market were to be
taken with the lasso and sent off to Brazoria.

After riding four or five miles, we came in sight of a drove, splendid
animals, standing very high, and of most symmetrical form. The horns of
these cattle are of unusual length, and, in the distance, have more the
appearance of stag's antlers than bull's horns. We approached the herd
first to within a quarter of a mile. They remained quite quiet. We rode
round them, and in like manner got in rear of a second and third drove,
and then began to spread out, so as to form a half circle, and drive the
cattle towards the house.

Hitherto my mustang had behaved exceedingly well, cantering freely along
and not attempting to play any tricks. I had scarcely, however, left the
remainder of the party a couple of hundred yards, when the devil by which
he was possessed began to wake up. The mustangs belonging to the
plantation were grazing some three quarters of a mile off; and no sooner
did my beast catch sight of them, than he commenced practising every
species of jump and leap that it is possible for a horse to execute, and
many of a nature so extraordinary, that I should have thought no brute
that ever went on four legs would have been able to accomplish them. He
shied, reared, pranced, leaped forwards, backwards, and sideways; in short,
played such infernal pranks, that, although a practised rider, I found it
no easy matter to keep my seat. I began heartily to regret that I had
brought no lasso with me, which would have tamed him at once, and that,
contrary to Mr Neal's advice, I had put on my American bit instead of a
Mexican one. Without these auxiliaries all my horsemanship was useless.
The brute galloped like a mad creature some five hundred yards, caring
nothing for my efforts to stop him; and then, finding himself close to the
troop of mustangs, he stopped suddenly short, threw his head between his
fore legs, and his hind feet into the air, with such vicious violence,
that I was pitched clean out of the saddle. Before I well knew where I was,
I had the satisfaction of seeing him put his fore feet on the bridle, pull
bit and bridoon out of his mouth, and then, with a neigh of exultation,
spring into the midst of the herd of mustangs.

I got up out of the long grass in a towering passion. One of the negroes
who was nearest to me came galloping to my assistance, and begged me to
let the beast run for a while, and that when Anthony, the huntsman, came,
he would soon catch him. I was too angry to listen to reason, and I
ordered him to get off his horse, and let me mount. The black begged and
prayed of me not to ride after the brute; and Mr Neal, who was some
distance off, shouted to me, as loud as he could, for Heaven's sake, to
stop--that I did not know what it was to chase a wild horse in a Texian
prairie, and that I must not fancy myself in the meadows of Louisiana or
Florida. I paid no attention to all this--I was in too great a rage at the
trick the beast had played me, and, jumping on the negro's horse, I
galloped away like mad.

My rebellious steed was grazing quietly with his companions, and he
allowed me to come within a couple of hundred paces of him; but just as I
had prepared the lasso, which was fastened to the negro's saddle-bow, he
gave a start, and galloped off some distance further, I after him. Again
he made a pause, and munched a mouthful of grass--then off again for
another half mile. This time I had great hopes of catching him, for he let
me come within a hundred yards; but, just as I was creeping up to him,
away he went with one of his shrill neighs. When I galloped fast he went
faster, when I rode slowly he slackened pace. At least ten times did he
let me approach him within a couple of hundred yards, without for that
being a bit nearer getting hold of him. It was certainly high time to
desist from such a mad chase, but I never dreamed of doing so; and indeed
the longer it lasted, the more obstinate I got. I rode on after the beast,
who kept letting me come nearer and nearer, and then darted off again with
his loud-laughing neigh. It was this infernal neigh that made me so
savage--there was something so spiteful and triumphant in it, as though
the animal knew he was making a fool of me, and exulted in so doing. At
last, however, I got so sick of my horse-hunt that I determined to make a
last trial, and, if that failed, to turn back. The runaway had stopped
near one of the islands of trees, and was grazing quite close to its edge.
I thought that if I were to creep round to the other side of the island,
and then steal across it, through the trees, I should be able to throw the
lasso over his head, or, at any rate, to drive him back to the house. This
plan I put in execution--rode round the island, then through it, lasso in
hand, and as softly as if I had been riding over eggs. To my consternation,
however, on arriving at the edge of the trees, and at the exact spot where,
only a few minutes before, I had seen the mustang grazing, no signs of him
were to be perceived. I made the circuit of the island, but in vain--the
animal had disappeared. With a hearty curse, I put spurs to my horse, and
started off to ride back to the plantation.

Neither the plantation, the cattle, nor my companions, were visible, it is
true; but this gave me no uneasiness. I felt sure that I knew the
direction in which I had come, and that the island I had just left was one
which was visible from the house, while all around me were such numerous
tracks of horses, that the possibility of my having lost my way never
occurred to me, and I rode on quite unconcernedly.

After riding for about an hour, however, I began to find the time rather
long. I looked at my watch. It was past one o'clock. We had started at
nine, and, allowing an hour and a half to have been spent in finding the
cattle, I had passed nearly three hours in my wild and unsuccessful hunt.
I began to think that I must have got further from the plantation than I
had as yet supposed.

It was towards the end of March, the day clear and warm, just like a
May-day in the Southern States. The sun was now shining brightly out, but
the early part of the morning had been somewhat foggy; and, as I had only
arrived at the plantation the day before, and had passed the whole
afternoon and evening indoors, I had no opportunity of getting acquainted
with the bearings of the house. This reflection began to make me rather
uneasy, particularly when I remembered the entreaties of the negro, and
the loud exhortations Mr Neal addressed to me as I rode away. I said to
myself, however, that I could not be more than ten or fifteen miles from
the plantation, that I should soon come in sight of the herds of cattle,
and that then there would be no difficulty in finding my way. But when I
had ridden another hour without seeing the smallest sign either of man or
beast, I got seriously uneasy. In my impatience, I abused poor Neal for
not sending somebody to find me. His huntsman, I had heard, was gone to
Anahuac, and would not be back for two or three days; but he might have
sent a couple of his lazy negroes. Or, if he had only fired a shot or two
as a signal. I stopped and listened, in hopes of hearing the crack of a
rifle. But the deepest stillness reigned around, scarcely the chirp of a
bird was heard--all nature seemed to be taking the siesta. As far as the
eye could reach was a waving sea of grass, here and there an island of
trees, but not a trace of a human being. At last I thought I had made a
discovery. The nearest clump of trees was undoubtedly the same which I had
admired and pointed out to my companions soon after we had left the house.
It bore a fantastical resemblance to a snake coiled up and about to dart
upon its prey. About six or seven miles from the plantation we had passed
it on our right hand, and if I now kept it upon my left, I could not fail
to be going in a proper direction. So said, so done. I trotted on most
perseveringly towards the point of the horizon where I felt certain the
house must lie. One hour passed, then a second, then a third; every now
and then I stopped and listened, but nothing was audible, not a shot nor a
shout. But although I heard nothing, I saw something which gave me no
great pleasure. In the direction in which we had ridden out, the grass was
very abundant and the flowers scarce; whereas the part of the prairie in
which I now found myself presented the appearance of a perfect
flower-garden, with scarcely a square foot of green to be seen. The most
variegated carpet of flowers I ever beheld lay unrolled before me; red,
yellow, violet, blue, every colour, every tint was there; millions of the
most magnificent prairie roses, tuberoses, asters, dahlias, and fifty
other kinds of flowers. The finest artificial garden in the world would
sink into insignificance when compared with this parterre of nature's own
planting. My horse could hardly make his way through the wilderness of
flowers, and I for a time remained lost in admiration of this scene of
extraordinary beauty. The prairie in the distance looked as if clothed
with rainbows that waved to and fro over its surface.

But the difficulties and anxieties of my situation soon banished all other
thoughts, and I rode on with perfect indifference through a scene, that,
under other circumstances, would have captivated my entire attention. All
the stories that I had heard of mishaps in these endless prairies,
recurred in vivid colouring to my memory, not mere backwoodsman's legends,
but facts well authenticated by persons of undoubted veracity, who had
warned me, before I came to Texas, against venturing without guide or
compass into these dangerous wilds. Even men who had been long in the
country, were often known to lose themselves, and to wander for days and
weeks over these oceans of grass, where no hill or variety of surface
offers a landmark to the traveller. In summer and autumn, such a position
would have one danger the less, that is, there would be no risk of dying
of hunger; for at those seasons the most delicious fruits, grapes, plums,
peaches, and others, are to be found in abundance. But we were now in
early spring, and although I saw numbers of peach and plum-trees, they
were only in blossom. Of game also there was plenty, both fur and feather,
but I had no gun, and nothing appeared more probable than that I should
die of hunger, although surrounded by food, and in one of the most
fruitful countries in the world. This thought flashed suddenly across me,
and for a moment my heart sunk within me as I first perceived the real
danger of my position.

After a time, however, other ideas came to console me. I had been already
four weeks in the country, and had ridden over a large slice of it in
every direction, always through prairies, and I had never had any
difficulty in finding my way. True, but then I had always had a compass,
and been in company. It was this sort of over-confidence and feeling of
security, that had made me adventure so rashly, and spite of all warning,
in pursuit of the mustang. I had not waited to reflect, that a little more
than four weeks' experience was necessary to make one acquainted with the
bearings of a district three times as big as New York State. Still I
thought it impossible that I should have got so far out of the right track
as not to be able to find the house before nightfall, which was now,
however, rapidly approaching. Indeed, the first shades of evening, strange
as it may seem, gave this persuasion increased strength. Home bred and
gently nurtured as I was, my life before coming to Texas had been by no
means one of adventure, and I was so used to sleep with a roof over my
head, that when I saw it getting dusk I felt certain I could not be far
from the house. The idea fixed itself so strongly in my mind, that I
involuntarily spurred my mustang, and trotted on, peering out through the
now fast-gathering gloom, in expectation of seeing a light. Several times
I fancied I heard the barking of the dogs, the cattle lowing, or the merry
laugh of the children.

"Hurrah! there is the house at last--I see the lights in the parlour

I urged my horse on, but when I came near the house, it proved to be an
island of trees. What I had taken for candles were fire-flies, that now
issued in swarms from out of the darkness of the islands, and spread
themselves over the prairie, darting about in every direction, their small
blue flames literally lighting up the plain, and making it appear as if I
were surrounded by a sea of Bengal fire. It is impossible to conceive
anything more bewildering than such a ride as mine, on a warm March night,
through the interminable, never varying prairie. Overhead the deep blue
firmament, with its hosts of bright stars; at my feet, and all around, an
ocean of magical light, myriads of fire-flies floating upon the soft still
air. To me it was like a scene of enchantment. I could distinguish every
blade of grass, every flower, each leaf on the trees, but all in a strange
unnatural sort of light, and in altered colours. Tuberoses and asters,
prairie roses and geraniums, dahlias and vine branches, began to wave and
move, to range themselves in ranks and rows. The whole vegetable world
around me seemed to dance, as the swarms of living lights passed over it.

Suddenly out of the sea of fire sounded a loud and long-drawn note. I
stopped, listened, and gazed around me. It was not repeated, and I rode on.
Again the same sound, but this time the cadence was sad and plaintive.
Again I made a halt, and listened. It was repeated a third time in a yet
more melancholy tone, and I recognised it as the cry of a whip-poor-will.
Presently it was answered from a neighbouring island by a Katydid. My
heart leaped for joy at hearing the note of this bird, the native minstrel
of my own dear Maryland. In an instant the house where I was born stood
before the eyesight of my imagination. There were the negro huts, the
garden, the plantation, every thing exactly as I had left it. So powerful
was the illusion, that I gave my horse the spur, persuaded that my
father's house lay before me. The island, too, I took for the grove that
surrounded our house. On reaching its border, I literally dismounted, and
shouted out for Charon Tommy. There was a stream running through our
plantation, which, for nine months out of the twelve, was only passable by
means of a ferry, and the old negro who officiated as ferryman was
indebted to me for the above classical cognomen. I believe I called twice,
nay, three times, but no Charon Tommy answered; and I awoke as from a
pleasant dream, somewhat ashamed of the length to which my excited
imagination had hurried me.

I now felt so weary and exhausted, so hungry and thirsty, and, withal, my
mind was so anxious and harassed by my dangerous position, and the
uncertainty how I should get out of it, that I was really incapable of
going any further. I felt quite bewildered, and stood for some time gazing
before me, and scarcely even troubling myself to think. At length I
mechanically drew my clasp-knife from my pocket, and set to work to dig a
hole in the rich black soil of the prairie. Into this hole I put the
knotted end of my lasso, and then pushing it in the earth and stamping it
down with my foot, as I had seen others do since I had been in Texas, I
passed the noose over my mustang's neck, and left him to graze, while I
myself lay down outside the circle which the lasso would allow him to
describe. An odd manner, it may seem, of tying up a horse; but the most
convenient and natural one in a country where one may often find
one's-self fifty miles from any house, and five-and-twenty from a tree or

I found it no easy matter to sleep, for on all sides I heard the howling
of wolves and jaguars, an unpleasant serenade at any time, but most of all
so in the prairie, unarmed and defenceless as I was. My nerves, too, were
all in commotion, and I felt so feverish, that I do not know what I should
have done, had I not fortunately remembered that I had my cigar-case and a
roll of tobacco, real Virginia _dulcissimus_, in my pocket--invaluable
treasures in my present situation, and which on this, as on many other
occasions, did not fail to soothe and calm my agitated thoughts.

Luckily, too, being a tolerably confirmed smoker, I carried a flint and
steel with me; for otherwise, although surrounded by lights, I should have
been sadly at a loss for fire. A couple of Havannahs did me an infinite
deal of good, and after a while I sunk into the slumber of which I stood
so much in need.

The day was hardly well broken when I awoke. The refreshing sleep I had
enjoyed had given me new energy and courage. I felt hungry enough, to be
sure, but light and cheerful, and I hastened to dig up the end of the
lasso, and saddled my horse. I trusted that, though I had been condemned
to wander over the prairie the whole of the preceding day, as a sort of
punishment for my rashness, I should now have better luck, and having
expiated my fault, be at length allowed to find my way. With this hope I
mounted my mustang, and resumed my ride.

I passed several beautiful islands of pecan, plum, and peach trees. It is
a peculiarity worthy of remark, that these islands are nearly always of
one sort of tree. It is very rare to meet with one where there are two
sorts. Like the beasts of the forest, that herd together according to
their kind, so does this wild vegetation preserve itself distinct in its
different species. One island will be entirely composed of live oaks,
another of plum, and a third of pecan trees; the vine only is common to
them all, and embraces them all alike with its slender but tenacious
branches. I rode through several of these islands. They were perfectly
free from bushes and brushwood, and carpeted with the most beautiful
verdure it is possible to behold. I gazed at them in astonishment. It
seemed incredible that nature, abandoned to herself, should preserve
herself so beautifully clean and pure, and I involuntarily looked around
me for some trace of the hand of man. But none was there. I saw nothing
but herds of deer, that gazed wonderingly at me with their large clear
eyes, and when I approached too near, galloped off in alarm. What would I
not have given for an ounce of lead, a charge of powder, and a Kentucky
rifle? Nevertheless, the mere sight of the beasts gladdened me, and raised
my spirits. They were a sort of society. Something of the same feeling
seemed to be imparted to my horse, who bounded under me, and neighed
merrily as he cantered along in the fresh spring morning.

I was now skirting the side of an island of trees of greater extent than
most of those I had hitherto seen. On reaching the end of it, I suddenly
came in sight of an object presenting so extraordinary an appearance as
far to surpass any of the natural wonders I had as yet beheld, either in
Texas or the United States.

At the distance of about two miles rose a colossal mass, in shape somewhat
like a monumental mound or tumulus, and apparently of the brightest silver.
As I came in view of it, the sun was just covered by a passing cloud, from
the lower edge of which the bright rays shot down obliquely upon this
extraordinary phenomenon, lighting it up in the most brilliant manner. At
one moment it looked like a huge silver cone; then took the appearance of
an illuminated castle with pinnacles and towers, or the dome of some great
cathedral; then of a gigantic elephant, covered with trappings, but always
of solid silver, and indescribably magnificent. Had all the treasures of
the earth been offered me to say what it was, I should have been unable to
answer. Bewildered by my interminable wanderings in the prairie, and
weakened by fatigue and hunger, a superstitious feeling for a moment came
over me, and I half asked myself whether I had not reached some enchanted
region, into which the evil spirit of the prairie was luring me to
destruction by appearances of supernatural strangeness and beauty.

Banishing these wild imaginings, I rode on in the direction of this
strange object; but it was only when I came within a very short distance
that I was able to distinguish its nature. It was a live oak of most
stupendous dimensions, the very patriarch of the prairie, grown grey in
the lapse of ages. Its lower limbs had shot out in an horizontal, or
rather a downward-slanting direction; and, reaching nearly to the ground,
formed a vast dome several hundred feet in diameter, and full a hundred
and thirty feet high. It had no appearance of a tree, for neither trunk
nor branches were visible. It seemed a mountain of whitish-green scales,
fringed with long silvery moss, that hung like innumerable beards from
every bough and twig. Nothing could better convey the idea of immense and
incalculable age than the hoary beard and venerable appearance of this
monarch of the woods. Spanish moss of a silvery grey covered the whole
mass of wood and foliage, from the topmost bough down to the very ground;
short near the top of the tree, but gradually increasing in length as it
descended, until it hung like a deep fringe from the lower branches. I
separated the vegetable curtain with my hands, and entered this august
temple with feelings of involuntary awe. The change from the bright
sunlight to the comparative darkness beneath the leafy vault, was so great,
that I at first could scarcely distinguish any thing. When my eyes got
accustomed to the gloom, however, nothing could be more beautiful than the
effect of the sun's rays, which, in forcing their way through the silvered
leaves and mosses, took as many varieties of colour as if they had passed
through a window of painted glass, and gave the rich, subdued, and solemn
light of some old cathedral.

The trunk of the tree rose, free from all branches, full forty feet from
the ground, rough and knotted, and of such enormous size that it might
have been taken for a mass of rock, covered with moss and lichens, while
many of its boughs were nearly as thick as the trunk of any tree I had
ever previously seen.

I was so absorbed in the contemplation of the vegetable giant, that for a
short space I almost forgot my troubles; but as I rode away from the tree
they returned to me in full force, and my reflections were certainly of no
very cheering or consolatory nature. I rode on, however, most
perseveringly. The morning slipped away; it was noon, the sun stood high
in the cloudless heavens. My hunger had now increased to an insupportable
degree, and I felt as if something were gnawing within me, something like
a crab tugging and riving at my stomach with his sharp claws. This feeling
left me after a time, and was replaced by a sort of squeamishness, a faint
sickly sensation. But if hunger was bad, thirst was worse. For some hours
I suffered martyrdom. At length, like the hunger, it died away, and was
succeeded by a feeling of sickness. The thirty hours' fatigue and fasting
I had endured were beginning to tell upon my naturally strong nerves: I
felt my reasoning powers growing weaker, and my presence of mind leaving
me. A feeling of despondency came over me--a thousand wild fancies passed
through my bewildered brain; while at times my head grew dizzy, and I
reeled in my saddle like a drunken man. These weak fits, as I may call
them, did not last long; and each time that I recovered I spurred my
mustang onwards, but it was all in vain--ride as far and as fast as I
would, nothing was visible but a boundless sea of grass.

At length I gave up all hope, except in that God whose almighty hand was
so manifest in the beauteous works around me. I let the bridle fall on my
horse's neck, clasped my hands together, and prayed as I had never before
prayed, so heartily and earnestly. When I had finished my prayer I felt
greatly comforted. It seemed to me, that here in the wilderness, which man
had not as yet polluted, I was nearer to God, and that my petition would
assuredly be heard. I gazed cheerfully around, persuaded that I should yet
escape from the peril in which I stood. As I did so, with what
astonishment and inexpressible delight did I perceive, not ten paces off,
the track of a horse!

The effect of this discovery was like an electric shock to me, and drew a
cry of joy from my lips that made my mustang start and prick his ears.
Tears of delight and gratitude to Heaven came into my eyes, and I could
scarcely refrain from leaping off my horse and kissing the welcome signs
that gave me assurance of succour. With renewed strength I galloped
onwards; and had I been a lover flying to rescue his mistress from an
Indian war party, I could not have displayed more eagerness than I did in
following up the trail of an unknown traveller.

Never had I felt so thankful to Providence as at that moment. I uttered
thanksgivings as I rode on, and contemplated the wonderful evidences of
his skill and might that offered themselves to me on all sides. The aspect
of every thing seemed changed, and I gazed with renewed admiration at the
scenes through which I passed, and which I had previously been too
preoccupied by the danger of my position to notice. The beautiful
appearance of the islands struck me particularly as they lay in the
distance, seeming to swim in the bright golden beams of the noonday sun,
like dark spots of foliage in the midst of the waving grasses and
many-hued flowers of the prairie. Before me lay the eternal flower-carpet
with its innumerable asters, tuberoses, and mimosas, that delicate plant
which, when you approach it, lifts its head, seems to look at you, and
then droops and shrinks back in alarm. This I saw it do when I was two or
three paces from it, and without my horse's foot having touched it. Its
long roots stretch out horizontally in the ground, and the approaching
tread of a horse or man is communicated through them to the plant, and
produces this singular phenomenon. When the danger is gone by, and the
earth ceases to vibrate, the mimosa may be seen to raise its head again,
but quivering and trembling, as though not yet fully recovered from its

I had ridden on for three or four hours, following the track I had so
fortunately discovered, when I came upon the trace of a second horseman,
who appeared to have here joined the first traveller. It ran in a parallel
direction to the one I was following. Had it been possible to increase my
joy, this discovery would have done so. I could now entertain no doubt
that I had hit upon the way out of this terrible prairie. It struck me as
being rather singular that two travellers should have met in this immense
plain, which so few persons traversed; but that they had done so was
certain, for there was the track of the two horses as plain as possible.
The trail was fresh, too, and it was evidently not long since the horsemen
had passed. It might still be possible to overtake them, and in this hope
I rode on faster than ever, as fast, at least, as my mustang could carry
me through the thick grass and flowers, which in many places were four or
five feet high.

During the next three hours I passed over some ten or twelve miles of
ground, but although the trail still lay plainly and broadly marked before
me, I say nothing of those who had left it. Still I persevered. I must
overtake them sooner or later, provided I did not lose the track; and that
I was most careful not to do, keeping my eyes fixed upon the ground as I
rode along, and never deviating from the line which the travellers had

In this manner the day passed away, and evening approached. I still felt
hope and courage; but my physical strength began to give way. The gnawing
sensation of hunger increased. I was sick and faint; my limbs became heavy,
my blood seemed chilled in my veins, and all my senses appeared to grow
duller under the influence of exhaustion, thirst, and hunger. My eyesight
became misty, my hearing less acute, the bridle felt cold and heavy in my

Still I rode on. Sooner or later I must find an outlet; the prairie must
have an end somewhere. It is true the whole of Southern Texas is one vast
prairie; but then there are rivers flowing through it, and if I could
reach one of those, I should not be far from the abodes of men. By
following the streams five or six miles up or down, I should be sure to
find a plantation.

As I was thus reasoning with, and encouraging myself, I suddenly perceived
the traces of a third horse, running parallel to the two which I had been
so long following. This was indeed encouragement. It was certain that
three travellers, arriving from different points of the prairie, and all
going in the same direction, must have some object, must be repairing to
some village or clearing, and where or what this was had now become
indifferent to me, so long as I once more found myself amongst my
fellow-men. I spurred on my mustang, who was beginning to flag a little in
his pace with the fatigue of our long ride.

The sun set behind the high trees of an island that bounded my view
westward, and there being little or no twilight in those southerly
latitudes, the broad day was almost instantaneously replaced by the
darkness of night. I could proceed no further without losing the track of
the three horsemen; and as I happened to be close to an island, I fastened
my mustang to a branch with the lasso, and threw myself on the grass under
the trees.

This night, however, I had no fancy for tobacco. Neither the cigars nor
the _dulcissimus_ tempted me. I tried to sleep, but in vain. Once or twice
I began to doze, but was roused again by violent cramps and twitchings in
all my limbs. There is nothing more horrible than a night passed in the
way I passed that one, faint and weak, enduring torture from hunger and
thirst, striving after sleep and never finding it. I can only compare the
sensation of hunger I experienced to that of twenty pairs of pincers
tearing at my stomach.

With the first grey light of morning I got up and prepared for departure.
It was a long business, however, to get my horse ready. The saddle, which
at other times I could throw upon his back with two fingers, now seemed
made of lead, and it was as much as I could do to lift it. I had still
more difficulty to draw the girths tight; but at last I accomplished this,
and scrambling upon my beast, rode off. Luckily my mustang's spirit was
pretty well taken out of him by the last two days' work; for if he had
been fresh, the smallest spring on one side would have sufficed to throw
me out of the saddle. As it was, I sat upon him like an automaton, hanging
forward over his neck, some times grasping the mane, and almost unable to
use either rein or spur.

I had ridden on for some hours in this helpless manner, when I came to a
place where the three horsemen whose track I was following had apparently
made a halt, perhaps passed the previous night. The grass was trampled and
beaten down in a circumference of some fifty or sixty feet, and there was
a confusion in the horse tracks as if they had ridden backwards and
forwards. Fearful of losing the right trace, I was looking carefully about
me to see in what direction they had recommenced their journey, when I
noticed something white amongst the long grass. I got off my horse to pick
it up. It was a piece of paper with my own name written upon it; and I
recognized it as the back of a letter in which my tobacco had been wrapped,
and which I had thrown away at my halting-place of the preceding night. I
looked around, and recognized the island and the very tree under which I
had slept or endeavoured to sleep. The horrible truth instantly flashed
across me--the horse tracks I had been following were my own: since the
preceding morning I had been riding in _a circle_!

I stood for a few seconds thunderstruck by this discovery, and then sank
upon the ground in utter despair. At that moment I should have been
thankful to any one who would have knocked me on the head as I lay. All I
wished for was to die as speedily as possible.

I remained I know not how long lying in a desponding, half insensible,
state upon the grass. Several hours must have elapsed; for when I got up,
the sun was low in the western heavens. My head was so weak and wandering,
that I could not well explain to myself how it was that I had been thus
riding after my own shadow. Yet the thing was clear enough. Without
landmarks, and in the monotonous scenery of the prairie, I might have gone
on for ever following my horses track, and going back when I thought I was
going forwards, had it not been for the discovery of the tobacco paper. I
was, as I subsequently learned, in the Jacinto prairie, one of the most
beautiful in Texas, full sixty miles long and broad, but in which the most
experienced hunters never risked themselves without a compass. It was
little wonder then that I, a mere boy of two and twenty, just escaped from
college, should have gone astray in it.

I now gave myself up for lost, and with the bridle twisted round my hand,
and holding on as well as I could by the saddle and mane, I let my horse
choose his own road. It would perhaps have been better if I had done this
sooner. The beast's instinct would probably have led him to some
plantation. When he found himself left to his own guidance he threw up his
head, snuffed the air three or four times, and then turning round, set off
in a contrary direction to that he was before going, and at such a brisk
pace that it was as much as I could do to keep upon him. Every jolt caused
me so much pain that I was more than once tempted to let myself fall off
his back.

At last night came, and thanks to the lasso, which kept my horse in awe, I
managed to dismount and secure him. The whole night through I suffered
from racking pains in head, limbs, and body. I felt as if I had been
broken on the wheel; not an inch of my whole person but ached and smarted.
My hands were grown thin and transparent, my cheeks fallen in, my eyes
deep sunk in their sockets. When I touched my face I could feel the change
that had taken place, and as I did so I caught myself once or twice
laughing like a child--I was becoming delirious.

In the morning I could scarcely rise from the ground, so utterly weakened
and exhausted was I by my three days' fasting, anxiety, and fatigue. I
have heard say that a man in good health can live nine days without food.
It may be so in a room, or a prison; but assuredly not in a Texian prairie.
I am quite certain that the fifth day would have seen the last of me.

I should never have been able to mount my mustang, but he had fortunately
lain down, so I got into the saddle, and he rose up with me and started
off of his own accord. As I rode along, the strangest visions seemed to
pass before me. I saw the most beautiful cities that a painter's fancy
ever conceived, with towers, cupolas, and columns, of which the summits
lost themselves in the clouds; marble basins and fountains of bright
sparkling water, rivers flowing with liquid gold and silver, and gardens
in which the trees were bowed down with the most magnificent fruit--fruit
that I had not strength enough to raise my hand and pluck. My limbs were
heavy as lead, my tongue, lips, and gums, dry and parched. I breathed with
the greatest difficulty, and within me was a burning sensation, as if I
had swallowed hot coals; while my extremities, both hands and feet, did
not appear to form a part of myself, but to be instruments of torture
affixed to me, and causing me the most intense suffering.

I have a confused recollection of a sort of rushing noise, the nature of
which I was unable to determine, so nearly had all consciousness left me;
then of finding myself amongst trees, the leaves and boughs of which
scratched and beat against my face as I passed through them; then of a
sudden and rapid descent, with the broad bright surface of a river below
me. I clutched at a branch, but my fingers had no strength to retain their
grasp--there was a hissing, splashing noise, and the waters closed over my

I soon rose, and endeavoured to strike out with my arms and legs, but in
vain; I was too weak to swim and again I went down. A thousand lights
seemed to dance before my eyes: there was a noise in my brain as if a
four-and-twenty pounder had been fired close to my ear. Just then a hard
hand was wrung into my neck-cloth, and I felt myself dragged out of the
water. The next instant my senses left me.

       *       *       *       *       *



We left our friend the Khan, at length comfortably established in London,
and pursuing his observations on the various novel objects of interest
which every where presented themselves to his gaze. The streets lighted by
gas (which the Persian princes call "the spirit of coals") are described
in terms of the highest admiration--"On each side, as far as the eye could
see, were two interminable lines of extremely brilliant light, produced by
a peculiar kind of vapour here called gas, which made the city infinitely
more interesting to look at by night than by day; but the most
extraordinary thing in reference to the flame in the lamps was, that this
appeared to be produced without the medium of either oil or wick, nor
could I discern the cause of the lighting. The houses have from three to
seven stages or stories, one of which is underground--each stage
containing at least two rooms. The walls fronting the streets are of brick
or stone, and the interior of woodwork; but the wood of the rooms inside
is covered with a peculiar sort of paper of various colours and curious
devices, highly elaborate and ingenious. The balconies outside were
generally filled with flowers of various hues: but notwithstanding the
wonders which surrounded me, and made me fancy myself in a world of
talismanic creation, my spirits were for some time depressed, and this
immense city seemed to me worse than the tomb; for I had not yet recovered
from the bewilderment into which all that I had seen had thrown me."

The feeling of loneliness, resulting from this oppressive sense of
novelty, wore off, however, as the Khan began to find out his friends, and
accustom himself to the fashions of the country; and he was one day
agreeably surprised by a visit from one of the suite of Moulavi Afzul Ali,
an envoy to the Court of Directors from the Rajah of Sattarah;[1] "I need
not say how delighted I felt, not having the least idea of meeting any of
my countrymen so far from Hindustan." The 11th of August, the day fixed
for the prorogation of Parliament by the Queen, now arrived; and the khan
"accompanied some gentlemen in a carriage to see the procession, but it
was with extreme difficulty that we got a place where we could see her
Majesty pass; at last, however, through the kindness of a mounted officer,
we succeeded. First came the Shahzadehs, or princes of the blood, in
carriages drawn by six horses, and then the wazirs (viziers) and nobles,
and the ambassadors from foreign states, in vehicles, some with six, and
some with four horses. When all these had passed, there came the Queen
herself in a golden carriage, drawn by eight magnificent steeds; on her
right was Prince Arleta, and opposite her was Lord Melbourne, the grand
wazir, (prime minister.) The carriage was preceded by men who, I was
surprised to observe, were dressed in the Hindustani fashion, in red and
gold, with broad sleeves.[2] But those nearest her Majesty, strange to
say, wore almost exactly the costume of Hindustan, and to these my eyes
were immediately directed; and I felt so delighted to see my own
countrymen advanced to the honour of forming the body-guard of the
sovereign, that I could scarcely believe the evidence of my senses, when I
perceived on closer inspection, by their complexions, that they were
English. Still I could not (nor can I even now) understand the reason of
their adopting the Hindustani dress--though I was told on enquiry, that it
was the ancient costume of the guard called _yeomen_." ... "As the Queen
approached the people took off their hats, nor was I less astonished[3]
when I heard them begin to shout _hurra! hurra_! as she passed; which in
their language seems to imply approbation. When her Majesty turned towards
our carriage, I immediately made a _salaam_ after the manner of my own
country, which she graciously acknowledged, seeing, no doubt, that I was a
native of a strange land!"

    [1] This must have been one of the _vakeels_ or envoys, whose
    departure from Bombay, in March 1839, is mentioned in the _Asiatic
    Journal_, (xxix. 178;) the party is there said, on the authority
    of the _Durpun_, (a native newspaper,) to have consisted of
    eleven, Mahrattas and Purbhoos, no mention being made of Moulavi
    Afzul Ali. We have been unable to trace the further proceedings of
    the deputation in this country; but they probably found on their
    arrival, that the fate of their master was already decided, as he
    was dethroned by the Company, in favour of his cousin Appa Sahib,
    in September of the same year, on the charge of having
    participated in a conspiracy against the English power. The
    justice, as well as policy of this measure, was, however, strongly
    canvassed, and gave rise to repeated and violent debates in the
    Court of Proprietors.

    [2] The native servants of the Governor-General at Calcutta, on
    state occasions, wear splendid scarlet and gold caftans.--_See_
    Bishop Heber's Journal.

    [3] The Khan nowhere exactly explains the surprise which he
    expresses, here and at other times, at the shouts of
    _hurra_!--perhaps his ear was wounded by the resemblance of the
    sound to certain Hindustani epithets, by no means refined or

This fancied metamorphosis of the sturdy beef-eaters with their partisans,
whose costume has never been altered since the days of Henry VII., into
Hindustani _peons_ and _chuprassees_, seems to show that the enthusiasm of
the Khan must have been considerably excited--and after this cruel
disappointment he dismisses the remainder of the procession in a few words.
To a native of India, indeed, accustomed to see every petty rajah or nawab
holding a few square miles of territory as the tenant of the Company,
surrounded on state occasions by a crowd of the picturesque irregular
cavalry of the East, and with a _Suwarree_ or cavalcade of led horses,
gayly caparisoned elephants, flaunting banners, and martial music, the
amount of military display in attendance on the Queen of Great Britain
must naturally have appeared inconsiderable--"The escort consisted of only
some two hundred horsemen, but these were cased in steel and leather from
head to foot, and their black horses were by far the finest I have yet
seen in this country. But though the multitudes of people were immense,
yet the procession tell much short of what I had expected from the monarch
of so great and powerful a nation! I returned home, however, much
gratified by the sights I had seen to-day."

The sight of this ceremony naturally leads to a digression on the origin
and constitution of the English parliament, and its division into the two
houses of Lords and Commons. The events leading to these institutions, and
the antecedent civil wars between the king and the barons, in the reign of
Henry III. and Edward I., are given by the Khan, on the whole, with great
accuracy--probably from the information of his English friends since the
knowledge of the ancient history and institutions of the country, which he
displays both here and in other parts of his narrative, can scarcely have
been acquired through the medium of a native education in Hindustan. The
deductions which he draws, however, from this historical summary, are
somewhat curious; since he assumes that the power of the crown, though
limited in appearance by the concessions then made, and the legislative
functions vested in parliament, was in truth only strengthened, and
rendered more securely despotic:--"But this is entirely lost sight of by
the people, who, even at the present day, imagine that the parliament is
all-powerful, and the sovereign powerless. But I must be allowed to say,
that those ancient monarchs acted wisely, and the result of their policy
has not been sufficiently perceived.... For when parliament was
constituted, the power of retaining armed vassals and servants, which the
barons had enjoyed for so long a period, was abolished, and has never been
resumed even by princes of the blood; so that they could no longer resist
the authority of the king, who alone had the privilege of raising and
maintaining troops--a right never conceded to parliament. Besides this the
powers of life and death, and of declaring war, were identified with the
person of the sovereign; and with respect to the latter, it is never,
until it has been decided upon, even intimated to the parliament, which
possesses _only_ the power of collecting the taxes, from which the
expenses of the war the king may enter into must be paid. The possession,
therefore, of these two rights by the king, is equivalent to the tenure of
absolute power." The possibility of the supplies being refused by a
refractory House of Commons, seems either not to have occurred to the khan,
or to have escaped his recollection at the moment of his penning this
sentence; and though he subsequently alludes to the responsibility of
ministers, he never seems to have comprehended the nature and extent of
the control exercised by parliament over the finances of the nation, so
fully as the Persian princes, who tell us, in their quaint phraseology,
that "if the expenses that were made should be agreeable to the Commons,
well and good--if not, the vizirs must stand the consequences; and every
person who has given ten _tomâns_ of the revenue, has a right to rise up
in the House of Commons, and seize the vizir of the treasury by the collar,
saying, 'What have you done with my money?'"--a mode of _putting to the
question_ which, if now and then practically adopted by some hard-fisted
son of the soil, we have no doubt would operate as a most salutary check
on the vagaries of Chancellors of the Exchequer.

It is strange that the Khan should not, in this case, perceive the fallacy
of his own argument, or see that the power of the sword must always
virtually rest with the holder of the purse; since immediately afterwards,
after enlarging on the enormous amount of taxes levied in England, the
oppressive nature of some of them, especially the window-tax, "for the
light of heaven is God's gift to mankind," he proceeds--"In other
countries it would perhaps cost the king, who imposed such taxes, his head;
but here the blame is laid on the House of Commons, without any one
dreaming of censuring the sovereign, in whose name they are levied, and
for whose use they are applied;" citing as a proof of this the ease with
which the insurrection of Wat Tyler and his followers, against the
capitation tax, was suppressed by the promise of the king to redress their
grievances. The subject of English taxation, indeed, both from the amount
levied, and the acquiescence of the people in such unheard-of burdens,
seems to have utterly bewildered the khan's comprehension.[4] "All classes,
from the noble to the peasant, are alike oppressed; yet it is amusing to
hear them expatiate on the institutions of their country, fancying it the
freest and themselves the least oppressed of any people on earth! They are
constantly talking of the tyranny and despotism of Oriental governments,
without having set foot in any of those regions, or knowing any thing
about the matter, except what they have gleaned from the imperfect
accounts of superficial travellers--deploring the state of Turkey, Persia,
and other Mahommedan countries, and calling their inhabitants slaves, when,
if the truth were known, there is not a single kingdom of Islam, the
people of which would submit to what the English suffer, or pay one-tenth
of the taxes exacted from them."

    [4] The views of Mirza Abu-Talib on this important subject, are
    far more enlightened and correct than those of Kerim Khan. "The
    public revenue of England," he observes, "is not, as in India,
    raised merely from the land, or by duties levied on a few kinds of
    merchandise, but almost every article of consumption pays its
    portion. The taxes are levied by the authority and decree of
    parliament; and are in general so framed _as to bear lightly on
    the poor_, and that _every person should pay in proportion to his
    income_. Thus bread, meat, and coals, being articles of
    indispensable use, are exempt; but spirits, wines, &c., are taxed
    very high; and the rich are obliged to pay for every horse, dog,
    and man-servant they keep; also for the privilege of throwing
    _flour_ on their heads, and having their _arms_ (insignia of the
    antiquity and rank of their family) painted on their carriages,
    &c. Since the commencement of the present war, a new law has been
    passed, compelling every person to pay annually a tenth of his
    whole income. Most of the taxes are permanent, but some of them
    are changed at the pleasure of parliament. Abu-Talib visited the
    country in the first years of the present century, when the
    capability of taxation was strained to the utmost, but the words
    which we have given in italics, contain the secret which Kerim
    failed to detect."

Relieved, it is to be hoped, by this tirade against the ignominious
submission of the Franks to taxation, the Khan resumes the enumeration of
the endless catalogue of wonders which the sights of London presented to
him. On visiting the Polytechnic Institution--"which means, I understand,
a place in which specimens of every science and art are to be seen in some
mode or other, there being no science or art of any other country unknown
here"--he briefly enumerates the oxyhydrogen microscope, "by which water
was shown so full of little animals, nay, even monsters, as to make one
shudder at the thought of swallowing a drop"--the orrery, the
daguerreotype, and the diving-bell, (in which he had the courage to
descend,) as the objects principally deserving notice, "since it would
require several months, if not years, to give that attention to each
specimen of human industry which it demands, in order thoroughly to
understand it." The effects of the electrical machine, indeed, "by which
fire was made to pass through the body of a man, and out of the
finger-ends of his right hand, without his being in any way affected by it,
though a piece of cloth, placed close to this right hand, was actually
ignited," seem to have excited considerable astonishment in his mind; but
it does not appear that his curiosity led him to make any attempt in
investigating the hidden causes of these mysterious phenomena. His apathy
in this respect presents a strong contrast with the minute and elaborate
description of the same objects, the mode of their construction, and the
uses to which they may be applied, given in the journal of the two Parsees,
Nowrojee and Merwanjee. "To us," say they, "brought up in India for
scientific pursuits, and longing ardently to acquire practical information
connected with modern improvements, more particularly with naval
architecture, steam-engines, steam-boats, and steam navigation, these two
galleries of practical science (the Adelaide and Polytechnic) seemed to
embrace all that we had come over to England to make ourselves acquainted
with; and it was with gratitude to the original projectors of these
institutions that we gazed on the soul-exciting scene before us. We
thought of the enchantments related in the _Arabian Nights'
Entertainments_, and they faded away into nothingness compared with what
we then saw."

But however widely apart the nonchalance of the Moslem, and the
matter-of-fact diligence of the Parsee,[5] may have placed them
respectively in their appreciation of the scientific marvels of the
Polytechnic Institution, they meet on common ground in their admiration of
the wax-work exhibition of Madame Tussaud; though the Khan, who was not
sufficiently acquainted with the features of our public characters to
judge of the likenesses, expresses his commendation only in general terms.
But the Parsees, with the naïveté of children, break out into absolute
raptures at recognising the features of Lord Melbourne, "a good-humoured
looking, kind English gentleman, with a countenance, perhaps, representing
frankness and candour more than dignity"--William IV., "looking the very
picture of good-nature"--the Duke of Wellington, Lord Brougham, &c.;
"indeed, we know of no exhibition (where a person has read about people)
that will afford him so much pleasure, always recollecting that it is only
_one_ shilling, and for this you may stop just as long as you are
inclined." Their remarks, on seeing the effigy of Voltaire, are too
curious to be omitted. "He is an extraordinary-looking man, dressed so
oddly too, with little pinched-up features, and his hair so curiously
arranged. We looked much at him, thinking he must have had much courage,
and have thought himself quite right in his belief, to have stood opposed
to all the existing religious systems of his native land. He, however, and
those who thought differently from him, have long since in another world
experienced, that if men only act up to what they believe to be right, the
Maker of the Deist, the Christian, and the Parsee, will receive them into
his presence; and that it is the _professor of religion_, who is _nothing
but a professor_, let his creed be what it may, that will meet with the
greatest punishment from Him that ruleth all things." But before we quit
the subject of this attractive exhibition, we must not omit to mention an
adventure of the Persian princes, two of whom, having paid a previous
visit, persuaded the third brother, on his accompanying them thither, that
he was in truth in the royal palace, (whither he had been invited for one
of the Queen's parties on the same evening.) and in the presence of the
court and royal family! The embarrassment of poor Najef-Kooli at the
_morne silence_ preserved, which he interpreted as a sign of displeasure,
is amusingly described, till, on touching one of the figures, "he fell
down, and I observed that he was dead; and my brothers and Fraser Sahib
laughed loudly, and said, 'These people are not dead but are all of them
artificial figures of white wax.' Verily, no one would ever have thought
that they were manufactured by men!"

    [5] "The Parsees," says Mirza Abu-Talib, describing those whom he
    saw at Bombay on his return to India, "are not possessed of a
    spark of liberality or gentility.... The only Parsee I was ever
    acquainted with who had received a liberal education, was Moula
    Firoz, whom I met at the house of a friend; he was a sensible and
    well-informed man, who had travelled into Persia, and there
    studied mathematics, astronomy, and the sciences of Zoroaster." If
    this account be correct, a marvellous improvement must have taken
    place during the last forty years. Many of the Parsees of the
    present day are almost on a level with Europeans in education and
    acquirements; and in their adoption of our manners and customs,
    they stand alone among the various nations of our Oriental
    subjects--but their exclusive addiction to mercantile pursuits,
    and their pacific habits, (in both which points they are hardly
    exceeded by the Quakers of Europe,) make them objects of contempt
    to the haughty Moslems.

A few days after his visit to Madame Tussaud, we find the Khan making an
excursion by the railroad to Southampton, in order to be present at a
banquet given on board the Oriental steamer, by the directors of the
Oriental Steam Navigation Company, from whom he had received a special
invitation. With the exception of the brief transit from Blackwall to
London on his arrival, this was his first trip by rail, but, as his place
was in one of the close first-class carriages, he saw nothing of the
machinery by which the motion was effected, "though such was the rapidity
of the vehicles, that I could distinguish nothing but an expanse of green
all round, nor could I perceive even the trunks of the trees. Every now
and then we were carried through dark caverns, where we could not see each
others' faces; and sometimes we met other vehicles coming in the opposite
direction, which occasioned me no small alarm, as I certainly thought we
should have been dashed to pieces, from the fearful velocity with which
both were running. We reached Southampton, a distance of seventy-eight
miles, in three hours; and what most surprised me was, being seriously
told on our arrival, that we had been unusually long on our way. I was
told that this iron road, from London to Southampton, cost six crores of
rupees, (L.6,000,000.)" The town of Southampton is only briefly noticed as
well built, populous, and flourishing; but he had no time to visit the
beautiful scenery of the environs, as the entertainment took place the
following afternoon in the cabin of the Oriental, "which is a very large
vessel, well constructed, and in admirable order, and is intended to carry
the _dak_ (mail) to India, which is sent by the way of Sikanderîyah,
(Alexandria.)" Our friend the khan, however, must have been always rather
out of his element at a feast; unlike his countryman, Abu-Talib--who
speedily became reconciled to the forbidden viands and wines of the Franks,
and even carried his laxity so far as to express a _hope_, rather than a
_belief_, that the brushes which he used were made of horsehair, and not
of the bristles of the unclean beast--Kerim Khan appears (as we have seen
on a previous occasion) never to have relaxed the austerity of the
religious scruples which the _Indian_ Moslems have borrowed from the
Hindus, so far as to partake of food not prepared by his own people; and
on the present occasion, in spite of the instances of his hosts, his
simple repast consisted wholly of fruit. The cheers which followed on the
health of the Queen being given, appeared to him, like those which hailed
her passage at the prorogation of Parliament, a most incomprehensible and
somewhat indecorous proceeding; his own health was also drunk as a _lion_,
but "not being able to reply from my ignorance of the language, a
gentleman of my acquaintance thanked them in my name; while I also stood
up and made a _salaam_, as much as to say that I highly appreciated the
honour done me." While the festivities were proceeding in the cabin, the
steamer was got underway and making the circuit of the Isle of Wight; and
on landing again at Southampton, "I was surrounded by a concourse of
people, who had collected to look at me, imagining, no doubt, that I was
some strange creature, the like of which they had never seen before."
Whether from want of time or of curiosity, he left Portsmouth, and all the
wonders of its arsenal and dockyard, unvisited, and after again going on
board the Oriental the next day, to take leave of the captain and officers,
returned in the afternoon by the railway to London.

He was next shown over the Bank of England, his remarks on which are
devoid of interest, and he visited the Paddington terminus of the Great
Western Railway, in the hope of gaining a more accurate idea of the nature
of the locomotive machinery, the astonishing powers of which he had
witnessed in his journey to Southampton. But mechanics were not the Khan's
forte; and, dismissing the subject with the remark, that "it is so
extremely complicated and difficult that a stranger cannot possibly
understand it,"[6] he returns at once to the haunts of fashion, Hyde Park
and the Opera. Hitherto the khan had been unaccountably silent on the
subject of the "Frank moons, brilliant as the sun," (as the English ladies
are called by the Persian princes, who, from the first, lose no
opportunity of commemorating their beauty in the most rapturous strains of
Oriental hyperbole;) but his enthusiasm is effectually kindled by the
blaze of charms which meets his eye in the "bazar of beauty and garden of
pleasure," as he terms the Park, his account of which he sums up by
declaring, that, "were the inhabitants of the celestial regions to descend,
they would at one glance forget the wonders of the heavens at the sight of
so many bright eyes and beautiful faces! what, therefore, remains for
mortals to do?" The Opera is, he says, "the principal _tomashagah_"
(place of show or entertainment) in London, and best decorated and
lighted;" though he does not go the length of affirming, as stated in the
account given by the Persian princes, that "before each box are forty
chandeliers of cut glass, and each has fifty lights!"--"I could not,"
continues the khan, "understand the subject of the performances--it was
all singing, accompanied with various action, as if some story were meant
to be related; but I was also told that the language was different from
English, and that the majority of those present understood it no more than
myself." The scanty drapery and liberal displays of the figurantes at
first startled him a little; but "the beauty of those _peris_ was such as
might have enslaved the heart of Ferhad himself;" and he soon learned to
view all their _pirouettes_ and _tours-de-force_ with the well-bred
nonchalance of a man who had witnessed in his own country exhibitions
nearly as singular in their way "though the style of dancing here was of
course entirely different from what we see in India." The impression made
by the sight of the ballet on the Parsees, who invariably reduce every
thing to pounds, shillings, and pence, took a different form; and they
express unbounded astonishment, on being told that Taglioni was paid a
hundred and fifty guineas a-night, "that such a sum should be paid to a
woman to stand a long time like a goose on one leg, then to throw one leg
straight out, twirl round three or four times with the leg thus extended,
curtsy so low as nearly to seat herself on the stage, and spring from one
side of the stage to another, all which jumping about did not occupy an

    [6] The Persian princes go more into detail; but we doubt whether
    their description will much facilitate the construction of a
    railway from Ispahan to Shiraz. "The roads on which the coaches
    are placed and fixed, are made of iron bars; all that seems to
    draw them is a box of iron, in which they put water to boil;
    underneath, this iron box is like an urn, and from it rises the
    steam which gives the wonderful force; when the steam rises up,
    the wheels take their motion, the coach spreads its wings, and the
    travellers become like birds."

Astley's (which the Persian princes call the "opera of the horse") was the
Khan's next resort; and as the feats of horsemanship there exhibited did
not require any great proficiency in the English language to render them
intelligible, he appears to have been highly amused and gratified, and
gives a long description of all he saw there, which would not present much
of novelty to our readers. He was also taken by some of his acquaintance
to see the industrious fleas in the Strand; but this exhibition, which
accorded unbounded gratification to the grandsons of Futteh Ali Shah,
seems to have been looked upon by the khan rather with contempt, as a
marvellous piece of absurdity. "Would any one believe that such a sight as
this could possibly be witnessed any where in the world? but, having
personally seen it, I cannot altogether pass it over." But the then
unfinished Thames Tunnel, which he had the advantage of visiting in
company with Mr Brunel, appears to have impressed his mind more than any
other public work which he had seen; and his remarks upon it show, that he
was at pains to make himself accurately acquainted with the nature and
extent of the undertaking, the details of which he gives with great
exactness. "But," he concludes, "it is impossible to convey in words an
adequate idea of the labour that must have been spent upon this work, the
like of which was never before attempted in any country. The emperors of
Hindustan, who were monarchs of so many extensive provinces, and possessed
such unlimited power and countless treasures, desired a bridge to be
thrown across the Jumna to connect Delhi with the city of Shahdarah--yet
an architect could not be found in all India who could carry this design
into execution. Yet here a few merchants formed a company, and have
executed a work infinitely transcending that of the most elaborate bridge
ever built. In the first instance, as I was given to understand, they
applied to Government for leave to construct a bridge at the same spot,
but as it was objected that this would impede the navigation of the river,
they formed the design, at the suggestion of the talented engineer above
mentioned, of actually making their way across the river underground, and
commenced this great work in spite of the general opinion of the
improbability of success."[7]

    [7] The Parsees, in their account of the Tunnel, mention a fact
    now not generally remembered, that the attempt was far from a new
    one:--"In 1802, a Cornish miner having been selected for the
    purpose, operations were commenced 330 feet from the Thames, on
    the Rotherhithe side. Two or three different engineers were
    engaged, and the affair was nearly abandoned, till in 1809 it was
    quite given up."

"Some days after this," continues the khan, "I paid a visit to the Tower,
which is the fortress of London, placed close to the Thames on its left
bank. Within the ramparts is another fort of white stone, which in past
times was frequently occupied by the sovereigns of the country. It is said
to have been constructed by King William, surnamed _Muzuffer_, or the
Conqueror; others are of opinion that it was founded by Keesar the Roman
emperor; but God alone can solve this doubt. In times past it was also
used as a state prison for persons of rank, and was the scene of the
execution of most of the princes and nobles whose fate is recorded in the
chronicles of England. They still show the block on which the
decapitations took place." Among the trophies in the armoury, he
particularizes the gun and girdle of Tippoo Sultan, "which seemed to be
taken great care of, and were preserved under a glass case;" but the horse
armoury and the regalia, usually the most attractive part of the
exhibition to strangers, are passed over with but slight notice, though,
from the Parsees, the sight of the equestrian figures in the former, draws
the only allusion which escapes them throughout their narrative to the
fallen glories of their race. "The representations of some of these
monarchs was in the very armour they wore; and we were here very forcibly
put in mind of Persia, once our own country, where this iron clothing was
anciently used; but, alas! we have no remains of these things; all we know
of them is from historical works." The crown jewels might have been
supposed to present to a native of India an object of peculiar interest;
but the khan remarks only the great ruby, "which is so brilliant that (it
is said) one would be able to read by its light by placing it on a book in
the dark. I made some enquiries respecting its value, but could not get no
satisfactory answer, as they said no jeweller could ascertain it."

It would appear that the Khan must now have been for several months
resident in London, (for he takes no note of the lapse of time,) since we
next find him a spectator of the pomps and pageants of Lord Mayor's day.
He gives no account, however, of the procession, but contents himself with
informing his readers that the Lord Mayor (except in his tenure of office
being annual instead of for life) is the same as a "patel" or "mukaddam"
in the East: adding that "he is the only person in England, except the
sovereign, who is allowed to have a train of armed followers in attendance
on him." It is not very evident whether the idea of civic army was
suggested to the mind of the khan simply by the sight of the men in armour
in the procession, or whether dark rumours had reached his ear touching
the prowess of the Lumber troopers, and other warlike bodies which march
under the standard of the Lord Mayor; but certain it is that this most
pacific of potentates cannot fairly be charged with abusing the formidable
privilege thus attributed to him--the city sword never having been
unsheathed in mortal fray, as far as our researches extend, since Wat
Tyler fell before the doughty arm of Sir William of Walworth. On returning
from the show, the khan was taken to see Newgate, with the gloomy aspect
of which, and the silent and strict discipline enforced among the
prisoners, he was deeply impressed; "to these poor wretches the gate of
mercy is indeed shut, and that of hardship and oppression thrown open."
His sympathies were still more strongly awakened on discovering among
those unfortunate creatures an Indian Moslem, who proved, on enquiry, to
be a Lascar sailor, imprisoned for selling smuggled cigars--"and, in my
ignorance of the laws and customs of the country, I was anxious to procure
his liberation by paying the fine; but my friends told me that this was
absolutely impossible, and that he must remain the full time in prison. So
we could only thank the governor for his attention, and then took our

Following the steps of the Khan from grave to gay, in his desultory course
through the endless varieties of "Life in London," we are at once
transported from the dismal cells of Newgate to the fancy-dress ball at
Guildhall for the aid of the refugee Poles. This seems to have been the
first scene of the kind at which Kerim Khan had been present since his
arrival in England; and though he was somewhat scandalized at perceiving
that some of those in male attire were evidently ladies, he describes with
considerable effect "the infinite variety of costumes, all very different
from those of England, as if each country had contributed its peculiar
garb," the brilliant lighting and costly decoration of the rooms, and the
picturesque grouping of the vast assemblage. But his first impressions on
English dancing are perfectly unique in their way, and we can only do
justice to them by quoting them at length. "It is so entirely unlike any
thing we ever heard of in Hindustan, that I cannot refrain from giving a
slight sketch of what I saw. In the first place, the company could not
have been fewer than 1500 or 2000, of the highest classes of society, the
ministers, the nobles, and the wealthy, with their wives and daughters.
Several hundreds stood up, every gentleman with a lady; and they advanced
and retired several times, holding each other by the hand, to the sound of
the music: at last the circle they had formed broke up, some running off
to the right, and some to the left--then a gentleman, leaving his lady,
would strike out obliquely across the room, sometimes making direct for
another lady at a distance, and sometimes stooping and flourishing with
his legs as he went along: when he approached her, he made a sort of
salaam, and then retreated. Another would go softly up to a lady, and then
suddenly seizing her by the waist, would turn and twist her round and
round some fifty times till both were evidently giddy with the motion:
this was sometimes performed by a few chosen dancers, and sometimes by
several hundreds at once--all embracing each other in what, to our notions,
would seem rather an odd sort of way, and whirling round and round; and
though their feet appeared constantly coming in contact with each other, a
collision never took place. And those who met in this affectionate manner
were, as I was told, for the most part perfect strangers to each other,
which to me was incomprehensible! Several ladies asked me to dance with
them, but I excused myself by saying that their dancing was so
superlatively beautiful that it was sufficient to admire it, and that I
was afraid to try--'besides,' said I, 'it is contrary to our customs in
Hindustan.' To which they replied that India was far off, and no one could
see me. 'But,' said I 'there are people who put every thing in the
newspapers, and if my friends heard of it I should lose caste.' The ladies
smiled; and after this I was not asked to dance." The Persian princes,
when in a similar dilemma, evaded the request by "taking oath that we did
not know how, and that our mother did not care to teach us; and thank
God," concludes Najef-Kooli with heartfelt gratitude, "we never did dance.
God protect the faithful from it!" Independent of the above recorded
opinions on the singularity of quadrilles and waltzes, the khan takes this
occasion to enter into a disquisition on the inconsistency (doubly
incongruous to an Oriental eye) of the ladies having their necks, arms,
and shoulders uncovered, while the men are clothed up to the chin, "and
not even their hands are allowed to be seen bare," and returned from the
ball, no doubt, more lost than ever in wonder at the strange extravagances
of the Feringhis.

These opinions are repeated, shortly after, on the occasion of the Khan's
being present at an evening party at Clapham, which, as the invitation was
_for the country_, he seems to have expected to find quite a different
sort of affair from the entertainments at which he had already assisted in
London. He was greatly surprised, therefore, to find the assemblage, on
his arrival, engaged in the everlasting toil of dancing, "the men, as
usual in this country, clad all in dismal black, and the ladies sparkling
in handsome costumes of bright and variegated colours--another singular
custom, of which I never could learn or guess the reason." But, however
great a bore the sight of quadrilles may have been to the khan, ample
amends were made to him on this occasion by the musical performances, with
which several of the ladies ("though they all at first refused, evidently
from modesty") gratified the company in the intervals of the dance, and at
which he expresses unbounded delight; but this does not prevent his again
launching out into a tirade against the unseemly methods, as they appear
to him, used by the English to signify applause or approbation. "The
strangest custom is, that the audience _clapped their hands_ in token of
satisfaction whenever any of the ladies concluded their performance....
The only occasion on which such an exhibition of feeling is to be
witnessed in Hindustan, is when some offender is put upon a donkey, with a
string of old shoes round his neck, and his face blackened and turned to
the tail, and in this plight expelled from the city. Then only do the
boys--men never--clap their hands and cry hurra! hurra! Thus, that which
in one country implies shame and disgrace, is resorted to in another to
express the highest degree of approbation!"

Passing over the Khan's visits to the Athenæum Club-house, to Buckingham
Palace, &c., his remarks on which contain nothing noticeable, except his
mistaking some of the ancient portraits in the palace, from their long
beards and rosaries, for the representations of Moslem divines, we find
him at last fairly in the midst of an English winter, and an eyewitness of
a spectacle of all others the most marvellous and incredible to a
Hindustani, and which Mirza Abu-Talib, while describing it, frankly
confesses he cannot expect his countrymen to believe--the ice and the
skaters in the Regent's Park.[8] "What I had previously seen in the
summer as water, with birds swimming and boats rowing upon it, was now
transformed into an immense sheet of ice as hard as rock, on which
thousands of persons, men, women, and children, were actually walking,
running, and figuring in the most extraordinary manner. I saw men pass
with the rapidity of an arrow, turning, wheeling, retrograding, and
describing figures with surprising agility, sometimes on both, but more
frequently on only one leg; they had all a piece of steel, turned up in
front somewhat in the manner of our slippers, fastened to their shoes, by
means of which they propelled themselves as I have described. After much
persuasion, I went on the ice myself; though not without considerable fear;
yet such a favourite sport is this with the English, and so infatuated are
some of these _ice players_, that nothing will deter them from venturing
on those places which are marked as dangerous; and thus many perish, like
moths that sacrifice themselves in the candle flame. They have, therefore,
parties of men, with their dresses stuffed with air-cushions, whose duty
it is to watch on the ice, ready to plunge in whenever it breaks and any
one is immersed."

    [8] Bishop Heber, in his journal, also mentions the wonder of his
    Bengali servants on their first sight of a piece of ice in
    Himalaya, and their regret on finding that they could not carry it
    home to Calcutta as a curiosity.

The national theatres were now open for the winter, and the Khan paid a
visit to Covent-Garden; but he gives no particulars of the performances
which he witnessed, though he was greatly struck by the splendour of the
lighting and decoration, and still more by the almost magical celerity
with which the changes of scenery were effected. The scanty notice taken
of these matters, may perhaps be partly accounted for by the extraordinary
fascination produced in the mind of the khan by the charms of one of the
houris on the stage--whose name, though he does not mention it, our
readers will probably have no difficulty in supplying; and it may be
doubted whether the warmest panegyrics of the most ardent of her
innumerable admirers ever soared quite so high a pitch into the regions of
hyperbole as the Oriental flights of the khan, who exhausts, in the praise
of her attractions, all the imagery of the eastern poets. She is described
as "cypress-waisted, rose-cheeked, fragrant as amber, and sweet as sugar,
a stealer of hearts, who unites the magic of talismans with loveliness
transcending that of the _peris!_ When she bent the soft arch of her
eyebrows, she pierced the heart through and through with the arrows of her
eyelashes; and when she smiled, the heart of the most rigid ascetic was
intoxicated! She was gorgeously arrayed, and covered all over with
jewels--and the _tout-ensemble_ of her appearance was such as would have
riveted the gaze of the inhabitants of the spheres--what, then, more can a
mere mortal say?"[9]

    [9] The sober prose of the Parsees presents, as usual, an amusing
    contrast with the highflown rhapsodies of the Moslem; their
    remarks on the same lady are comprised in the pithy
    observation--"We should not have taken her for more than
    twenty-six years of age; but we are told she is near fifty."

At Rundell and Bridge's, to a view of the glittering treasures of whose
establishment the Khan was next introduced, he was not less astonished at
the incalculable value of the articles he saw exhibited, "where the
precious metals and magnificent jewellery of all sorts were scattered
about as profusely as so many sorts of fruit in our Delhi bazars"--as
surprised at being informed that many of the nobles, and even of the royal
family, here deposited their plate and jewels for safe custody; and that,
"though all these valuables were left without a guard of soldiers, this
shop has never been known to be attacked and plundered by robbers and
thieves, who not unfrequently break into other houses.' Among the models
of celebrated gems here shown him, he particularizes a jewel which, for
ages, has been the wonder of the East--"the famous _Koh-in-Noor_,
(Mountain of Light,) now in the possession of the ruler of Lahore and well
known to have been forcibly seized by him from Shah-Shoojah, king of Cabul,
when a fugitive in the Panjab;" as well as another, (the Pigot diamond,)
"now belonging to Mohammed Ali of Egypt." The Adelaide Gallery of Science
is passed over with the remark, that it is, on the whole, inferior to the
Polytechnic, which he had previously visited. But the Diorama, with the
views of Damascus, Acre, &c., seems to have afforded him great
gratification, as well as to have perplexed him not a little, by the
apparent accuracy of its perspective. "Some objects delineated actually
appeared to be several _kos_ (a measure of about two miles) from us,
others nearer, and some quite close. I marvelled how such things could be
brought together before me; yet, on stretching out the hand, the canvass
on which all this was represented might be touched." But all the wonders
of the pictorial art, "which the Europeans have brought to unheard of
perfection," fade before the amazement of the khan, on being informed that
it was possible for him to have a transcript of his countenance taken,
without the use of pencil or brush, by the mere agency of the sun's rays;
and even after having verified the truth of this apparently incredible
statement by actual experiment in his own person, he still seems to have
entertained considerable misgivings as to the legitimacy of the
process--"How it was effected was indeed incomprehensible! Here is an art,
which, if it be not magic, it is difficult to conceive what else it can

The spring was now advancing; "and one day," says the Khan, "not being
Sunday, I was surprised to observe all the shops shut, and the courts of
justice, as well as the merchants' and public offices, all closed. On
enquiry, I was told this was a great day, being the day on which the Jews
crucified the Lord Aysa, (Jesus,) and that a general fast is, on this day,
observed in Europe, when the people abstain from flesh, eating only fish,
and a particular kind of bread marked with a cross. This custom is,
however, now confined to the ancient sect of Christians called Catholics
for the real English never _observe fasts of any kind on any occasion
whatever_; they eat, nevertheless, both the crossed bread and the fish.
This fast is to the Europeans what the _Mohurrum_[10] is to us; only here
no particular signs of sorrow are to be seen on account of the death of
Aysa;--all eat, drink, and enjoy themselves on this day as much as any
other; or, from what I saw, I should say they rather indulged themselves a
little more than usual. Another remarkable thing is, that this fast does
not always happen at the same date, being regulated by the appearance of
the moon; while, in every thing else, the English reckon by the solar

    [10] The ten days' lamentation for the martyred imams, Hassan and
    Hussein, the grandsons of the Prophet, who were murdered by the
    Ommiyades. Some notice of this ceremonial is given at the
    beginning of his narrative by the Khan, who attended it just
    before he sailed from Calcutta.

We shall offer no comment, as we fear we can offer no contradiction, on
the Khan's account of the singular method of fasting observed in England,
by eating salt fish and cross-buns in addition to the usual viands--but
digressing without an interval from fasts to feasts, we next find him a
guest at a splendid banquet, given by the Lord Mayor. Though Mirza
Abu-Talib, at the beginning of the present century, was present at the
feast given to Lord Nelson during the mayoralty of Alderman Coombe, the
description of a civic entertainment, as it appeared to an Oriental, must
always be a curious _morceau_; and doubly so in the present instance, as
given by a spectator to whom it was as the feast of the Barmecide--since
Kerim Khan, unlike his countryman, the Mirza, religiously abstained
throughout from the forbidden dainties of the Franks, and sat like an
anchorite at the board of plenty. To this concentration of his faculties
in the task of observing, we probably owe the minute detail he has given
us of the festive scene before him, which we must quote, as a companion
sketch of Feringhi manners to the previously cited account of the ball at
Guildhall:--"At length dinner was announced: and all rose, and led by the
queen of the city, (the lady mayoress,) withdrew to another room, where
the table was laid out in the most costly manner, being loaded with dishes,
principally of silver and gold, and covered with _sar-poshes_, (lids or
covers,) some of which were of immense size, like little boats. When the
servants removed the _sar-poshes_, fishes and soup of every sort were
presented to view: some of the former, I was told, brought as rarities
from distant seas, and at great expense. Before every man of rank there
was an immense dish, which it is his duty to cut up and distribute,
putting on each plate about sufficient for a baby to eat. I turned to a
friend and enquired why the guests were helped so sparingly? 'It is
customary,' said he, 'to serve guests in this way.' 'But why not give them
enough?' rejoined I. 'You will soon see,' replied he, 'that they will all
have enough.'[11]

    [11] To explain the Khan's ignorance of the form of an English
    entertainment, it should be remembered that his religious scruples
    excluded him from dinner parties--and that, except on occasions of
    form like the present, or the party on hoard the Oriental at
    Southampton, he had probably never witnessed a banquet in England.

"Soon after, all the dishes, spoons, &c., were removed by the servants. I
thought the dinner was over, and was preparing to go, not a little
astonished at such scanty hospitality, when other dishes were brought in,
filled with choice viands of every kind--bears from Russia and
Germany--hogs from Ireland--fowls and geese from France--turtle from the
Mediterranean(?)--venison from the parks of the nobility--some in joints,
some quite whole, with their limbs and feet entire. Operations now
recommenced, the carvers doling out the same small quantities as before:
but though many of the gentlemen present were anxious to prevail on me to
partake, and recommended particular dishes, one as being 'a favourite of
the King of the French'--another as particularly rare and exquisite, I
could not be prevailed upon to partake of any. Thus did innumerable dishes
pour and disappear again, the servants constantly changing the plates of
the guests: till I began to form quite a different idea of the appetites
of the guests, and the hospitality of the Lord Mayor, on which I had
thought that a reflection was thrown by the small portions sent to them. I
now saw that many of them, besides being served pretty often, helped
themselves freely to the dishes before them--indeed, their appetite was
wonderfully good: some, doubtless, thinking that such an opportunity would
not often recur. Nor did they forget the juice of the grape--the bottles
which were opened would have filled a ship, and the noise of the champagne
completely drowned the music. One would have thought that, after all this,
no men could eat more: but now the fruits, sweetmeats ices, and jellies
made their appearance, pine-apples, grapes, oranges, apples, pears,
mulberries, and confectionaries of such strange shapes that I can give no
name to them--and before each guest were placed small plates, with
peculiarly shaped knives of gold and silver. Of this part of the banquet I
had the pleasure of partaking, in common with the selfsame gentlemen who
had done such honour to the thousand dishes above mentioned, and who now
distinguished themselves in the same manner on the dessert. The price of
some of the fruit was almost incredible; the reason of which is, that in
this country it can only be reared in glass-houses artificially heated ...
thus the pine-apples, which are by no means fine, cost each twenty rupees,
(L.2,) which in India would be bought for two pice--thus being 640 times
dearer than in our country. Thus in England the poorer classes cannot
afford to eat fruit, whereas in all other countries they can get fruit
when grain is too dear.

"The guests continued at table till late, during which time several
gentlemen rose and spoke: but, from my imperfect knowledge of the language,
I could not comprehend their purports beyond the compliments which they
passed on each other, and the evident attacks which they made on their
political opponents. I at last retired with some others to another room,
where many of the guests were dancing--coffee and tea were here taken
about, just as sherbets are with us in the Mohurrum. I must remark that
the servants were gorgeously dressed, being covered with gold like the
generals of the army; but the most extraordinary thing about them was,
there having their heads covered with ashes, like the Hindoo fakirs-a
custom indicative with us of sorrow and repentance. I hardly could help
laughing when I looked at them; but a friend kindly explained to me that,
in England, none but the servants of the great are _privileged_ to have
ashes strewed on their heads, and that for this distinction their masters
actually pay a tax to government! 'Is this enjoined by their religion?'
said I. 'Oh no!' he replied. 'Then,' said I, 'since your religion does not
require it, and it appears, to our notions at least, rather a mark of
grief and mourning, where is the use of paying a tax for it?' '_it is the
custom of the country_.' said he again. After this I returned hone, musing
deeply on what I had seen."

With this inimitable sketch, we take leave of the Khan for the present,
shortly to return to his ideas of men and manners in _Feringhistan_.

       *       *       *       *       *





If, as Wordsworth, that arch-priest of poesy, expresses it, I could place
the gentle reader "_atween the downy wings_" of some beneficent and
willing angel, in one brief instant of time should he be deposited on the
little hill that first discovers the smiling, quiet village of Ellendale.
He would imbibe of beauty more in a breath, a glance, than I can pour into
his soul in pages of spiritless delineation. I cannot charm the eye with
that great stream of liquid light, which, during the long and lingering
summer's day, issues from the valley like an eternal joy; I cannot
fascinate his ear, and soothe his spirit with nature's deep mysterious
sounds, so delicately slender and so soft, that silence fails to be
disturbed, but rather grows more mellow and profound; I cannot with a
stroke present the teeming hills, flushed with their weight of corn, that
now stands stately in the suspended air--now, touched by the lightest wind
that ever blew, flows like a golden river. As difficult is it to convey a
just impression of a peaceful spot, whose praise consists--so to
speak--rather in privatives than positives; whose privilege it is to be
still free, tranquil, and unmolested, in a land and in an age of ceaseless
agitation, in which the rigorous virtues of our fathers are forgotten, and
the land's integrity threatens to give way. If Ellendale be not the most
populous and active village, it is certainly the most rustic and winning
that I have ever beheld in our once _merry_ England. It is secreted from
the world, and lies snugly and closely at the foot of massive hills, which
nature seems to have erected solely for its covert and protection. It is
situated about four miles from the high-road, whence you obtain at
intervals short glimpses as it rears its tiny head into the open day. If
the traveller be fresh from an overworked and overworking city, he looks
upon what he deems a sheer impossibility--the residence of men living
cheerfully and happily in solitude intense. The employment of the
villagers is in the silent fields, from day to day, from year to year.
Their life has no variety, the general heart has no desire for change. It
was so with their fathers--so shall it be with their own children, if the
too selfish world will let them. The inhabitants are almost to a man poor,
humble, and contented. The cottages are clean and neat, but lowly, like
the owners. One house, and one alone, is distinguished from the rest; it
is aged, and ivy as venerable as itself clings closer there as years roll
over it. It has a lawn, an antique door and porch, narrow windows with the
smallest diamond panes, and has been called since its first stone was laid,
_the Vicarage_. Forget the village, courteous reader, and cross with me
the hospitable threshold, for here our history begins--and ends.

The season is summer--the time evening--the hour that of sunset. The big
sun goes down like a ball of fire, crimson-red, leaving at the horizon's
verge his splendid escort--a host of clouds glittering with a hundred hues,
the gorgeous livery of him they have attended. A borrowed glory steals
from them into an open casement, and, passing over, illumines for a time a
face pale even to sadness. It is a woman's. She is dressed in deepest
mourning, and is--Heaven be with her in her solitariness!--a recent widow.
She is thirty years of age at least, and is still adorned with half the
beauty of her youth, not injured by the hand of suffering and time. The
expression of the countenance is one of calmness, or, it may be,
resignation--for the tranquility has evidently been taught and learnt as
the world's lesson, and is not native there. Near her sits a man benign of
aspect, advanced in years; his hair and eyebrows white from the winter's
fall; his eye and mien telling of decline, easy and placid as the close of
softest music, and nothing harsher. Care and trouble he has never known;
he is too old to learn them now. His dress is very plain. The room in
which he sits is devoid of ornament, and furnished like the study of a
simple scholar. Books take up the walls. A table and two chairs are the
amount of furniture. The Vicar has a letter in his hand, which he peruses
with attention; and having finished, he turns with a bright smile towards
his guest, and tells her she is welcome.

"You are very welcome, madam, for your own sake, and for the sake of him
whose signature is here; although, I fear, you will scarcely find amongst
us the happiness you look for. There will be time, however, to consider"--

"I _have_ considered, sir;" answered the lady, somewhat mournfully. "My
resolution has not been formed in haste, believe me."

The vicar paused, and reperused the letter.

"You are probably aware, madam, that my brother has communicated"--

"Every thing. Your people are poor and ignorant. I can be useful to them.
Reduced as I am, I may afford them help. I may instruct the
children--attend the sick--relieve the hungry. Can I do this?"

"Pardon me, dear lady. I am loth to repress the noble impulses by which
you are actuated. It would be very wrong to deny the value and importance
of such aid; but I must entreat you to remember your former life and
habits. I fear this place is not what you expect it. In the midst of my
people, and withdrawn from all society, I have accustomed myself to seek
for consolation in the faithful discharge of my duties, and in communion
with the chosen friends of my youth whom you see around me. You are not
aware of what you undertake. There will be no companionship for you--no
female friend--no friend but myself. Our villagers are labouring men and
women--our population consists of such alone. Think what you have been,
and what you must resign."

The lady sighed deeply, and answered--

"It is, Mr Littleton, just because I cannot forget what I have been, that
I come here to make amends for past neglect and sinfulness. I have a debt
_there_, sir"--and she pointed solemnly towards the sky--"which must be
paid. I have been an unfaithful steward, and must be reconciled to my good
master ere I die. You may trust me. You know my income and my means. It is
trifling; comparatively speaking--nothing. Yet, less than half of it must
suffice for my support. The rest is for your flock. You shall distribute
it, and you shall teach me how to minister to their temporal
necessities--how to labour for their eternal glory. The world and I have
parted, and for ever."

"I will not oppose you further madam. You shall make the trial if you
please, and yet"--the vicar hesitated.

"Pray speak, sir," said the lady.

"I was thinking of your accommodation. Here I could not well receive
you--and I know no other house becoming"--

"Do not mock me, Mr Littleton. A room in the cot of your poorest
parishioner is more than I deserve--more than the good fishermen of
Galilee could sometimes find. Think of me, I beg, as I am--not as I have

As the lady spoke, a servant-maid entered the apartment with the
supper-tray, which the good vicar had ordered shortly after the arrival of
his guest. During the repast, it was arranged that the lady should pass
the night in the cottage of John Humphrys, a man acknowledged to be the
most industrious in the village, and who had become the especial favourite
of the vicar, by marrying, as the latter jocosely termed it, into his
family. John Humphrys' wife had been the vicar's housekeeper. The Reverend
Hugh Littleton was a bachelor, and had always been most cautious and
discreet. Although he had a bed to spare, he did not think of offering it
to his handsome visitor; nor, and this is more remarkable, did he again
that evening resume the subject of their previous conversation. He spoke
of matters connected with the world, from which he had been separated for
half a century, but from whose turmoil the lady had only a few weeks
before disentangled herself. To a good churchman, the condition of the
Church is always a subject of the deepest interest, as her prosperity is a
source of gratitude and joy. Tidings of the movement which had recently
taken place in the very heart of the Establishment had already reached his
secluded parish, filling him with doubt and apprehension. He was glad
to gain what further information his friendly visitor could afford him. We
may conclude, from the observations of the vicar, that her communication
was unsatisfactory.

"It is a cowardly thing, madam," said he, "to withdraw from a scene of
contest in the hour of danger, and when all our dearest interests are at
stake; and yet I do thank my God, from the bottom of my heart, that I am
not an eyewitness to the dishonour and the shame which men are heaping on
our blessed faith. Are we Christians? Do we come before the world as the
messengers of glad tidings--of _unity_ and _peace_? We profess to do it,
whilst discord, enmity, hatred, and persecution are in our hearts and on
our tongue. The atheist and the worldling live in harmony, whilst the
children of Christ carry on their unholy warfare one against the other.
Strange anomaly! Can we not call upon our people to love their God with
all their hearts--and their neighbours as themselves? Can we not strive by
our own good example to teach them how to do this? Would it not be more
profitable and humane, than to disturb them with formalities that have no
virtue in themselves--to distress them with useless controversies, that
settle no one point, teach no one doctrine, but unsettle and unfix all the
good that our simple creed had previously built up and made secure?"

"It is very true, sir;--and it is sweet to hear you talk so."

If the lady desired to hear more, it was unwise of her to speak so plainly.
The vicar was unused to praise, and these few words effectually stopped
him. He said no more. The lady remained silent for a minute or two, then
rose and took her leave. The night was very fine, and the vicar's servant
maid accompanied her to John Humphrys' door. Here she found a wholesome
bed, but her pillow did not become a resting-place until she moistened it
with tears--the bitterest that ever wrung a penitent and broken heart.

       *       *       *       *       *



James Mildred was a noble-hearted gentleman. At the age of eighteen he
quitted England to undertake an appointment in India, which he had
obtained through the interest of his uncle, an East Indian Director. He
remained abroad thirty years, and then returned, a stranger, to his native
land, the owner of a noble fortune. His manners were simple and
unassuming--his mind was masculine and well-informed--his generous soul
manifest in every expression of his manly countenance. He had honourably
acquired his wealth, and whilst he amassed, had been by no means greedy of
his gains. He dealt out liberally. There were many reasons why James
Mildred at the age of forty-eight returned to England. I shall state but
one. He was still a bachelor. The historian at once absolves the gentler
sex from any share of blame. It was not, in truth, their fault that he
continued single. Many had done their utmost to remove this stigma from
James Mildred's character; had they done less they might, possibly, have
been more successful. Mildred had a full share of sensibility, and
recoiled at the bare idea of being snared into a state of blessedness. The
woman was not for him, who was willing to accept him only because his gold
and he could not be separated. Neither was he ambitious to purchase the
easy affection of the live commodity as it arrives in ships from England,
with other articles of luxury and merchandize. After years of successful
exertion, he yearned for the enjoyments of the domestic hearth, and for
the home-happiness which an Englishman deserves, because he understands
so well its value. Failing to obtain his wish in India, he journeyed
homeward, sound in mind and body, and determined to improve the comfort
and condition of both, by a union with amiability, loveliness, and virtue,
if in one individual he could find them all combined, and finding, could
secure them for himself. It might have been a year after his appearance in
London, that he became acquainted with the family of Mr Graham, a
lieutenant in the navy on half-pay, and the father of two children. He was
a widower, and not affluent. His offspring were both daughters, and, at
the time to which I allude, full grown, lovely women. Their mother had
been a governess previously to her marriage, and her subsequent days had
been profitably employed in the education of her daughters; in preparing
them, in fact, for the condition of life into which they would inevitably
fall, if they were still unmarried at the dissolution of their father.
They were from infancy taught to expect their future means of living from
their own honourable exertions, and they grew happier and better for the
knowledge. Mildred had retired to a town on the sea-coast, in which this
family resided; and, shortly after his arrival, he first beheld the elder
of the lieutenant's children. She was then in her nineteenth year, a
lovely, graceful, and accomplished creature. I cannot say that he was
smitten at first sight, but it must have been soon afterwards; for the day
succeeding that on which he met her, found him walking and chatting with
her father, as familiarly as though they had been friends from infancy.
Before a week was over, the lieutenant had dined three times with Mildred
at his hotel, and had taken six pipes, and as many glasses of grog, in
token of his fidelity and good fellowship. From being the host of
Lieutenant Graham, it was an easy transition to become his guest. Mildred
was taken to the mariner's cot, and from that hour his destiny was fixed.
In Margaret Graham he found, or he believed he had, the being whom he had
sought so long--the vision which had not, until now, been realized. Six
months elapsed, and found the lover a constant visitor at the lieutenant's
fireside. He had never spoken of his passion, nor did any of the household
dream of what was passing in his heart, save Margaret, who could not fail
to see that she possessed it wholly. His wealth was likewise still a
secret, his position in society unknown. His liberal sentiments and
unaffected demeanour had gained him the regard of the unsophisticated
parent--his modest bearing and politeness were not less grateful to the
sisters. Mildred had resolved a hundred times to reveal to Margaret the
depth and earnestness of his attachment, and to place his heart and
fortune at her feet, but he dared not do it when time and opportunity
arrived. Day by day his ardent love increased--stronger and stronger grew
the impression which had first been stamped upon his noble mind; new
graces were discovered; virtues were developed that had escaped his early
notice, enhancing the maiden's loveliness and worth. Still he continued
silent. He was a shy, retiring man, and entertained a meek opinion of his
merits. The difference of age was very great. He dwelt upon the fact,
until it seemed a barrier fatal to his success. Young, accomplished, and
exceeding beautiful, would she not expect, did she not deserve, a union
with youth and virtues equal to her own? Was it not madness to suppose
that she would shower such happiness on him? Was he not over bold and
arrogant to hope it? Aware of his disadvantage, and rendered miserable by
the thought of losing her in consequence, he had been tempted once or
twice to communicate to Margaret the amount of wealth that he possessed;
but here, too, his reluctant tongue grew ever dumb as he approached the
dangerous topic. No; his soul would pine in disappointment and despair,
before it could consent to _purchase_ love--love which transcends all
price when it becomes the heart's free offering, but is not worth a rush
to buy or bargain for. Could he but be sure that for himself alone she
would receive his hand--could he but once be satisfied of this, how paltry
the return, how poor would be the best that he could offer for her virgin
trust? What was his wealth compared with that? But _how_ be sure and
satisfied? Ask and be refused? Refused, and then denied the privilege to
gaze upon her face, and to linger hour after hour upon the melody which,
flowing from her fair lips, had so long charmed, bewildered him! To be
shut out for ever from the joy that had become a part of him, with which,
already in his dreams, he had connected all that remained to him as yet of
life!--It is true, James Mildred was old enough to be sweet Margaret's
father; but for his _heart_, with all its throbbings and anxieties, it
might have been the young girl's younger brother's. A lucky moment was it
for Mildred, when he thought of seeking counsel from the straightforward
and plain-speaking officer. A hint sufficed to make the parent wise, and
to draw from him the blunt assurance, that Mildred was a son-in-law to
make a father proud and happy. "I never liked, my friend, superfluous
words," said he; "you have my consent, mind that, when you have settled
matters with the lass."

It was a very few hours after the above words were spoken, that, either by
design or chance, Mildred and Margaret found themselves together. The
lieutenant and his younger daughter were from home, and Margaret was
seated in the family parlour, engaged in profitable work, as usual. Upon
entering the room, the lover saw immediately that Graham had committed him.
His easy and accustomed step had never called a blush into the maiden's
cheek. Wherefore should it now? He felt the coming and the dreaded crisis
already near, and that his fate was hanging on her lips. His heart
fluttered, and he became slightly perturbed; but he sat down manfully;
determined to await the issue. Margaret welcomed him with more restraint
than was her wont, but not--he thought and hoped--less cordially. Maidens
are wilful and perverse. Why should she hold her head down, as she had
never done before? Why strain her eyes upon her work, and ply her needle
as though her life depended on the haste with which she wrought? Thus
might she receive a foe; better treatment surely merited so good a friend?

"Miss Graham," said at length the resolute yet timid man, "do I judge
rightly? Your father has communicated to you our morning's conversation?"

"He has, sir," answered Margaret too softly for any but a lover's ear.

"Then, pardon me, dear lady," continued Mildred, gaining confidence, as he
was bound to do, "if I presume to add all that a simple and an honest man
can proffer to the woman he adores. I am too old--that is to say, I have
seen too much of life, perhaps, to be able to address you now in language
that is fitting. But, believe me, dear Miss Graham, I am sensible of your
charms, I esteem your character, I love you ardently. I am aware of my
presumption. I am bold to approach you as a suitor; but my happiness
depends upon your word and I beg you to pronounce it. Dismiss me, and I
will trouble you no longer. I will endeavour to forget you--to forget that
I beheld you--that I ever nourished a passion which has made life sweeter
to me than I believed it could become; but if, on the other hand"--

How strange it is, that we will still create troubles in a world that
already abounds with them! Here had Mildred lived in a perpetual fever for
months together, teazing and fretting himself with anxieties and doubts;
whilst, as a reasonable being, he ought to have been as cheerful and as
merry as a lark singing at the gate of heaven. In the midst of his oration,
the gentle Margaret resigned her work, and wept. I say no more. I will not
even add that she had been prepared to weep for months before--that she
had grown half fearful and half angry at the long delay--that she was
woman, and ambitious--that she had heard of Mildred's mine of wealth, and
longed to share it with him. Such secrets, gentle reader, might, if
revealed, attaint the lady's character. I therefore choose to keep them to
myself. It is very certain that Mildred was forthwith accepted, and that,
after a courtship of three months, he led to the altar a woman of whose
beauty and talents a monarch might justly have been proud. It is not to
the purpose of this narrative to describe the wedding guests and
garments--the sumptuous breakfast--the continental tour. It was a fair
scene to look at, that auspicious bridal morn. The lieutenant's unaffected
joy--the bridegroom's blissful pride--the lady's modesty, and--shall I
call it?--triumph, struggling through it; these and other matters might
employ an idle or a dallying pen, but must not now arrest one busy with
more serious work. Far different are the circumstance and season which
call for our regard. We leave the lovers in their bridal bower, and
pensively approach the chamber of sickness and of death.

It is ten years since Mildred wedded. He is on the verge of sixty, and
seems more aged, for he is bowed down with bodily disease and pain. His
wife, not thirty yet, looks not an hour older than when we saw her last,
dressed like a queen for her espousal. She is more beautiful, as the full
developed rose in grace surpasses the delicate and still expanding bud;
but there she is, the same young Margaret. How they have passed the
married decade, how both fulfilled their several duties, may be gathered
from a description of Mildred's latest moments. He lies almost exhausted
on his bed of suffering, and only at short intervals can find strength to
make his wishes known to one who, since he was a boy, has been a faithful
and a constant friend. He is his comforter and physician now.

"You have not told me, Wilford," said Mildred in a moment of physical
repose, "you have not told me yet how long. Let me, I implore you, hear
the truth. I am not afraid to die. Is there any hope at all?"

The physician's lip quivered with affectionate grief; but did not move in

"There is _no_ hope then," continued the wasting invalid. "I believe it--I
believe it. But tell me, dearest friend, how long may this endure?"

"I cannot say," replied the doctor; "a day or two, perhaps: I fear not
longer, Mildred."

"Fear _not_, old friend," said Mildred. "I do not fear. I thank my God
there is an end of it."

"Is your mind happy, Mildred?" asked the physician.

"You shall judge yourself. I die at peace with all men. I repent me
heartily of my sins. I place my hope in my Redeemer. I feel that he will
not desert me. I did never fear death, Wilford. I can smile upon him now."

"You will see a clergyman?"

"Yes, Wilford, an hour hence; not now. I have sent _her_ away, that I
might hear the worst from you. She must be recalled, and know that all is
fixed, and over. We will pray together--dear, faithful Margaret--sweet,
patient nurse! Heaven bless her!"

"She is to be pitied, Mildred. To die is the common lot. We are not all
doomed to mourn the loss of our beloved ones!"

"But, Wilford, you will be good and kind to her, and console her for my
loss. You are my executor and dearest friend. You will have regard to my
dying words, and watch over her. Be a father and a brother to her. You
will--will you not?"

"I will," answered the physician solemnly.

"Thank you, brother--thank you," replied the patient, pressing his
friend's hand warmly. "We are brothers now, Wilford--we were children,
schoolboys together. Do you remember the birds'-nesting--and the
apple-tree in the orchard? Oh, the happy scenes of my boyhood are fresher
in my memory to day than the occurrences of yesterday!"

"You were nearer heaven in your boyhood, Mildred, than you have been since,
until this hour. We are travelling daily further from the East, until we
are summoned home again. The light of heaven is about us at the beginning
and the close of life. We lose it in middle age, when it is hid by the
world's false and unsubstantial glare."

"I understand something of what you say. I never dreaded this hour. I have
relied for grace, and it has come--but, Wilford"--

"What would you say?"


"What of her?"

"If you could but know what she has done for me--how, for the last two
years, she has attended me--how she has sacrificed all things for me, and
for my comfort--how she has been, against my will, my servant and my
slave--you would revere her character as I do. Night after night has she
spent at my bedside; no murmur--no dull, complaining look--all
cheerfullness! I have been peevish and impatient--no return for the harsh
word, and harsher look. So young--so beautiful--so self devoted. I have
not deserved such love--and now it is snatched from me, as it should be"--

"You are excited, Mildred," said the good doctor. "You have said too much.
Rest now--rest."

"Let me see her," answered Mildred. "I cannot part with her an instant

And in a few minutes the angel of light--for such she was to the declining
man--glided to the dying bed. When she approached it his eyes were shut,
and his lips moved as if in prayer. At his side she stood, the faithful
tears pouring down her cheek, her voice suspended, lest a breath should
fall upon the sufferer and awaken him to pain. Quietly at last, as if from
sweetest sleep, his eyes unclosed, and, with a fond expression, fixed
themselves on _her_. Faster and faster streamed the unchecked tears adown
the lovely cheek, louder and louder grew the agonizing sobs that would not
be controlled. He took her drooping palm, pressed it as he might between
his bony hands, and covered it with kisses. Doctor Wilford silently

"Dear, good Margaret," the sick man faltered, "I shall lose you soon.
Heaven will bless you for your loving care."

"Take courage, dearest," was Margaret's reply; "all will yet be well."

"It will, beloved--but not here," he answered. "We shall meet again--be
sure of it. God is merciful, not cruel, and our happiness on earth has
been a foretaste of the diviner bliss hereafter. We are separated but for
an hour. Do not weep, my sweet one, but listen to me. It was my duty to
reward you, Margaret, for all that you have done for the infirm old man. I
have performed this duty. Every thing that I possess is yours! My will is
with my private papers in the desk. It will do you justice. Could I have
given you the wealth of India, you would have deserved it all."

Tears, tears were the heart's intense acknowledgment. What could she say
at such a time?

"I have thought fit, my Margaret, to burden you with no restrictions. I
could not be so wicked and so selfish as to wish you not to wed again"--

"Speak not of it, James--speak not of it," almost screamed the lovely wife,
intercepting the generous speaker's words. "Do not overwhelm me with my

"It is best, my Margaret, to name these things whilst power is still left
me. Understand me, dearest. I do not bid you wed again. You are free to do
it if it will make you happier."

"Never--never, dearest and best of men! I am yours in life and
death--yours for ever. Before Heaven I vow"--

Mildred touched the upraised hand, held it in his own, and in a feeble,
worn-out voice, said gravely--

"I implore you to desist--spare me the pain--make not a vow so rash. You
are young and beautiful, my Margaret--a time may come--let there be no vow.
Where is Wilford? I wish to have you both about me."

The following morning Margaret was weeping on her husband's corpse. Ten
years before, she had wept when he proposed for her, and ten years
afterwards, almost to a day, she was weeping on John Humphrys' pillow,
distressed with recollections that would not let her rest.

       *       *       *       *       *



Doctor Chalmers was right. The discovery of the telescope was very fine in
its way; but the invention of the microscope was, after all, a much more
sensible affair. We may look at the mountains of the moon, and the spots
on the sun, until we have rendered our eyes, for all practical purposes,
useless for a month, and yet not bring to light one secret worth knowing,
one fact that, as inhabitants of the earth, we care to be acquainted with.
Not so with one microscopic peep at a particle of water or an atom of
cheese. Here we arrive at once at the disclosure of what modern
philosophers call "a beautiful law"--a law affecting the entirety of
animal creation--invisible and visible; a law which proclaims that the
inferior as well as the superior animals, the lowest as well as the
highest, the smallest as well as the largest, live upon one another,
derive their strength and substance from attacking and devouring those of
their neighbours. Shakspeare, whom few things escaped, has not failed to
tell us, that "there be land rats and water rats, water thieves and land
thieves;" he knew not, however, that there be likewise water devils as
well as land devils--water lawyers as well as land lawyers--water
swindlers as well as land swindlers. In one small liquid drop you shall
behold them all--indeed a commonwealth of Christians but for their forms,
and for the atmosphere in which they live and fight. I have often found
great instruction in noting the hypocritical antics of a certain watery
rascal, whose trick it is to lie in one snug corner of the globule,
feigning repose, indifference, or sleep. Nothing disturbs him, until some
weak, innocent animalcule ventures unsuspiciously within his reach, and
then with one muscular exertion, the monster darts, gripes, gulps him
down--goes to his sleep or prayers again, and waits a fresh arrival. The
creature has no joy but in the pangs of others--no life but in their
sufferings and death. Even worse than this thing is the worm, its earthly
prototype, with whom, rather than with himself, this chapter has to deal.
Whilst the last most precious drops of Mildred's breath were leaving him,
whilst his cleansed soul prepared itself for solemn flight, whilst all
around his bed were still and silent as the grave already digging for
him--one human eye, secreted from the world and unobserved, peered into
the lonely chamber, watching for the dissolution, impatient at delay, and
greedy for the sight. I speak of an old, grey-headed man, a small, thin
creature of skin and bone, sordid and avaricious in spirit--one who had
never known Mildred, had not once spoken to or seen him, but who had heard
of his possessions, of his funded gold, and whose grasping soul was sick
to handle and secure them. Abraham Allcraft, hunks as he was, was reputed
wealthy. For years he had retained a high position as the opulent banker
of the mercantile city of ----. His business was extensive--his habits
mean, penurious; his credit was unlimited, as his character was
unimpeachable. There are some men who cannot gain the world's favour, do
what they will to purchase it. There are others, on the other hand, who,
having no fair claim at all to it, are warmed and nourished throughout
life by the good opinion of mankind. No man lived with fewer virtues than
Abraham Allcraft; no man was reputed richer in all the virtues that adorn
humanity. He was an honest man, because he starved upon a crust. He was
industrious, because from morn till night he laboured at the bank. He was
a moral man, because his word was sacred, and no one knew him guilty of a
serious fault. He was the pattern of a father--witness the education of
his son. He was the pattern of a banker--witness the house's regularity,
and steady prosperous course. He lived within view of the mansion in which
Mildred breathed his last; he knew the history of the deceased, as well as
he knew the secrets of his own bad heart. He had seen the widow in her
solitary walks; he had made his plans, and he was not the man to give them
up without a struggle.

It was perhaps on the tenth day after Mildred had been deposited in the
earth, that Margaret permitted the sun once more to lighten her abode.
Since the death of her husband the house had been shut up--no visitor had
been admitted--there had been no witness to her agony and tears. It should
be so. There are calamities too great for human sympathy; seasons too
awful for any presence save that of the Eternal. Time, reason, and
religion--not the hollow mockery of solemn words and looks--must heal the
heart lacerated by the tremendous deathblow. Abraham Allcraft had waited
for this day. He saw the gloomy curtains drawn aside--he beheld life
stirring in the house again. He dressed himself more carefully than he had
ever done before, and straightaway hobbled to the door, before another and
less hasty foot could reach it. A painter, wishing to arrest the look of
one who smiles, and smiles, and murders whilst he smiles, would have been
glad to dwell upon the face of Abraham, as he addressed the servant-man
who gave him entrance. Below the superficial grin, there was, as clear as
day, the natural expression of the soul that would not blend with any show
of pleasantry. Abraham wished to give the attendant half-a-crown as soon
as possible. He dared not offer it without a reason, so he dropped his
umbrella, and, like a generous man, rewarded the honest fellow who stooped
to pick it up. This preliminary over, and, as it were, so much of dirt
swept from the very threshold, he gave his card, announced himself as Mr
Allcraft, banker, and desired to see the lady on especial business. He was
admitted. The ugliest of dresses did not detract from the perfect beauty
of the widowed Margaret; the bitterest of griefs had not removed the bloom
still ripening on her cheek. Time and sorrow were most merciful. The wife
and widow looked yet a girl blushing in her teens. Abraham Allcraft gazed
upon the lady, as he bowed his artful head, with admiration and delight,
and then he threw one hurried and involuntary glance around the gorgeous
room in which she sat, and then he made his own conclusions, and assumed
an air of condolence and affectionate regard, as the wolf is said to do in
fables, just before he pounces on the lamb and strangles it.

The villain sighed.

"Sad time, madam," he said, in a lugubrious tone--"sad time. _Strangers_
feel it."

Margaret held down her face.

"I should have come before, madam, if propriety had not restrained me. I
have only a few hours which I can take from business, but these belong to
the afflicted and the poor."

"You are very kind, sir."

"I beg you, Mrs Mildred, not to mention it. It was a great shock to me to
hear of Mr Mildred's death--a man in the prime of life. So very good--so
much respected."

"He was too good for this world, sir."

"Much, madam--very much; and what a consolation for you, that he is gone
to a better--one more deserving of him. You will feel this more as you
find your duties recalling you to active usefulness again."

The lady shook her head despairingly.

"I hope, madam, we may be permitted to do all we can to alleviate your
forlorn condition. I am one of many who regard you with the deepest
sympathy. You may have heard my name, perhaps."

The lady bowed.

"You _must_ be very dull here," exclaimed the wily Abraham, gazing round
him with the internal consciousness that the death of every soul he knew
would not make _him_ dull in such a paradise--"very dull, I am sure!"

"It was a cheerful home while _he_ lived, sir," answered Margaret, most

"Ah--yes," sighed Abraham; "but now, too true--too true."

"I was thinking, Mr Allcraft"--

"Before you name your thought, dear madam, let me explain at once the
object of my visit. I am an old man--a father, and a widower--but I am
also" (oh, crafty Allcraft!) "a simple and an artless man. My words are
few, but they express my meaning faithfully. There was a time when, placed
in similar circumstances to your own, I would have given the world had a
friend stepped forward to remove me for a season from the scene of all my
misery. I remembered this whilst dwelling on your solitariness. Within a
few miles of this place, I have a little box untenanted at present. Let me
entreat you to retire to it, if only for a week. I place it at your
command, and shall be honoured if you will accept the offer. The house is
sweetly situated--the prospect charming; a temporary change cannot but
soothe your grief. I am a father, madam--the father of a noble youth--and
I know what you must suffer."

"You anticipate my wish, sir, and I am grateful for your kindness. I was
about to move many miles away; but it is advisable, perhaps, that for the
present I should continue in this neighbourhood. I will see your cottage,
and, if it pleases me, you will permit me to become your tenant for a

"My guest rather, dear Mrs Mildred. The old should not be thwarted in
their wishes. Let me for the time imagine you my daughter, and act a
father's part."

The lady smiled in gratitude, and said that "she would see"--and then the
following day was fixed for a short visit to the cottage and then the
virtuous Allcraft took his leave, and went immediately to Mr Final, house
agent and appraiser. This gentleman was empowered to let a handsome
furnished villa, just three miles distant from poor Margaret's residence.
Allcraft hired it at once for one month certain, reserving to himself the
option of continuing it for any further period. He signed the
agreement--paid the rent--received possession. This over, he hurried back
to business, and by the post dispatched a letter to his absent son,
conjuring him, as he loved his father, and valued his regard, to return
to ---- without an instant's hesitation or delay.

       *       *       *       *       *



Reader, I have no heart to proceed; I am sorry that I began at all--that I
have got thus far. I love Margaret, the beautiful and gentle--Margaret,
the heart-broken penitent. I love her as a brother; and what brother but
yearns to conceal his erring sister's frailty? The faithful historian,
however, is denied the privileges of fiction. He may not, if he would,
divert the natural course of things; he cannot, though he pines to do it,
expunge the written acts of Providence Let us go or in charity.

Michael Allcraft, in obedience to his father's wish, came home. He was in
his twenty-fourth year, stood six feet high, was handsome and
well-proportioned. He was a youth of ardent temperament, liberal and
high-spirited. How he became the son of such a sire is to me a mystery. It
was not in the affections that the defects of Michael's character were
found. These were warm, full of the flowing milk of human kindness.
Weakness, however, was apparent in the more solid portions of the edifice.
His morals, it must be confessed, were very lax--his principles unsteady
and insecure--and how could it be otherwise? Deprived of his mother at his
birth, and from that hour brought up under the eye and tutelage of a man
who had spent a life in the education of one idea--who regarded
money-making as the business, the duty, the pleasure, the very soul and
end of our existence--who judged of the worth of mankind--of men, women,
and children--according to their incomes, and accounted all men virtuous
who were rich--all guilty who were poor--whose spirit was so intent upon
accumulation, that it did not stop to choose the straight and open roads
that led to it, but often crept through many crooked and unclean--brought
up, I say, under such a father and a guide, was it a wonder that Michael
was imperfect in many qualities of mind--that reason with him was no tutor,
that his understanding failed to be, as South expresses it, "the soul's
upper region, lofty and serene, free from the vapours and disturbances of
the inferior affections?" In truth there was no upper region at all, and
very little serenity in Michael's composition. He had been a wayward and
passionate boy. He was a restless and excitable man--full of generous
impulses, as I have hinted, but sudden and hasty in action--swift in
anger--impatient of restraint and government. His religious views were
somewhat dim and undistinguishable even to himself. He believed--as who
does not--in the great First Cause, and in the usefulness of religion as
an instrument of good in the hands of government. I do not think he
troubled himself any further with the subject. He sometimes on the Sabbath
went to church, but oftener stayed at home, or sought excitement with a
chosen friend or two abroad. He hated professing people, as they are
called, and would rather shake hands with a housebreaker than a saint. It
has been necessary to state these particulars, in order to show how
thoroughly he lived uninfluenced by the high motives which are at once the
inspiration and the happiness of all good men--how madly he rested on the
conviction that religion is an abstract matter, and has nothing more to do
with life and conduct than any other abstruse branch of metaphysics. But
in spite of this unsound state of things, the gentleman possessed all the
showy surface-virtues that go so very far towards eliciting the favourable
verdict of mankind. He prided himself upon a delicate, a surprising sense
of honour. He professed himself ready to part with his life rather than
permit a falsehood to escape his lips; he would have blushed to think
dishonestly--to _act_ so was impossible. Pride stood him here in the stead
of holiness; for the command which he refused to regard at the bidding of
the Almighty, he implicitly obeyed at the solicitation of the most ignoble
of his passions. It is difficult to imagine a more dangerous companion for
a young widow than Michael Allcraft was likely to prove. Manliness of
demeanour, and a handsome face and figure, have always their intrinsic
value. If you add to these a cultivated mind, a most expressive and
intellectual countenance, rich hazel eyes, as full of love as fire, a warm
impulsive nature, shrinking from oppression, active in kindness and deeds
of real benevolence--you will not fail to tremble for my Margaret. Abraham
Allcraft was too shrewd a man to allude even most remotely to the actual
reason of his son's recall. He knew very well that to hint at it was in
the very outset to defeat his purpose. He acted far more cautiously.
Michael had received a first rate education--he had been to the
university--he had travelled through Italy and Germany; and when he
received his father's letter was acquiring business habits in a
banking-house in London. It was high time to settle seriously to work, so
thought Allcraft senior, and suddenly determined to constitute his son a
partner in his bank. "He himself was getting old," he said. "Who knew what
would happen? Delays were dangerous. He would delay no longer. Now he was
well, and Michael might learn and profit by his long experience." Michael
consented--why should he not?--to be the junior partner in the prosperous
house of Allcraft senior and Son. Three months passed speedily, and
Margaret still continued Abraham's tenant. She had lost the sting of her
sorrow in the scenes of natural beauty by which she was surrounded. She
had lived in strict retirement, and a gentle tide of peace was flowing
gradually and softly to her soul again. She thought of quitting the
tranquil cot with pain, and still fixed day after day for a departure that
she could not take. The large house, associated as it was with all her
grief, looked dismal at a distance. How would it be when she returned to
it, and revisited the well-known rooms? Every article of furniture was in
one way or another connected with the departed. She never--no never could
be happy there again. The seclusion to which she doomed herself had not
prevented Abraham Allcraft from being her daily visitor. His age and
character protected her from calumny. His sympathy and great attention had
merited and won her unaffected gratitude. She received his visits with
thankfulness, and courted them. The wealth which it was known he possessed
acquitted him of all sinister designs; and it was easy and natural to
attribute his regard and tenderness to the pity which a good man feels for
a bereavement such as she had undergone. The close of six months found her
still residing at the cottage, and Abraham still a constant and untiring
friend. He had been fortunate enough to give her able and important
counsel. In the disposition of a portion of her property, he had evinced
so great a respect for her interest, had regarded his own profit and
advantages so little, that had Margaret not been satisfied before of his
probity and good faith, she would have been the most ungrateful of women
not to acknowledge them now. But, in fact, poor Margaret did acknowledge
them, and in the simplicity of her nature had mingled in her daily prayers
tears of gratitude to Heaven for the blessing which had come to her in the
form of one so fatherly and good. In the meanwhile where was Michael? At
home--at work--under the _surveillance_ of a parent who had power to check
and keep in awe even his turbulent and outbreaking spirit. He had taken
kindly to the occupation which had been provided for him, and promised,
under good tuition, to become in time a proper man of business. He had
heard of the Widow Mildred--her unbounded wealth--her unrivalled beauty.
He knew of his father's daily visit to the favoured cottage, but he knew
no more; nor more would he have _cared_ to know had not his father, with a
devil's cunning, and with much mysteriousness, forbidden him to speak
about the lady, or to think of visiting her so long as she remained
amongst them. Such being the interdict, Michael was, of course, impatient
to seek out the hidden treasure, and determined to behold her. Delay
increased desire, and desire with him was equal to attainment. Whilst he
was busy in contriving a method for the production of the lovely widow,
his father, who had watched and waited for the moment that had come,
suddenly requested him to accompany him to Mrs Mildred's house--to dine
with that good lady, and to take leave of her before she departed from the
neighbourhood for ever. Michael did not need a second invitation. The
eagerness with which he listened to the first was a true joy for Abraham.
Margaret, be it understood, had not invited Michael. The first year of her
widowhood was drawing to a close, and she had resolved at length to remove
from the retreat in which she had been so long hidden from mankind. Her
youthful spirits had rebounded--were once more buoyant--solitude had done
its work--the physician was no longer needed. That she might gradually
approach the busy world again, she proposed to visit, for a time, a small
and pretty town, well known to her, on the eastern coast. The day was
fixed for her removal, and, just one week before, she invited Mr Allcraft
senior to a farewell dinner. She had not thought it necessary to include
in the invitation the younger gentleman, whom she had never seen, albeit
his father's constant and unlimited encomiums had made the _woman_ less
unwilling to receive than to invite the youth, in whom the graces and the
virtues of humanity were said to have their residence. And Allcraft was
aware of this too. For his head he would not have incurred the risk of
giving her offence. With half an eye he saw the danger was not worth the
speaking of. When I say that Michael never eat less food at a meal in his
life--never talked more volubly or better--never had been so thoroughly
entranced and happy--so lost to every thing but the consciousness of _her_
presence, of the hot blood tingling in his cheek--of the mad delight that
had leapt into his eyes and sparkled there, it will scarcely be requisite
to describe more particularly the effect of this precious dinner party
upon _him_. As for the lady, she would not have been woman had she failed
to admire the generous sentiments--the witty repartees--the brilliant
passages with which the young man's taste and memory enabled him to
entertain and charm his lovely hostess. As for his handsome face and manly
bearing--but, as we have said already, these have their price and value
always. Allcraft senior had the remarkable faculty of observing every
thing either with or without the assistance of his eyes. During the whole
of dinner he did not once withdraw his devil's vision from his plate, and
yet he knew more of what was going on above it than both the individuals
together, whose eyes it seemed had nothing better to do than just to take
full notes of what was passing in the countenance of either. Against this
happy talent we must set off a serious failing in the character of Abraham.
He always had a nap, he said, the moment after dinner. Accordingly, though
he retired with the young people to the drawing-room, he placed himself
immediately in an easy-chair, and quickly passed into a deep and
long-enduring sleep. Margaret then played sacred airs on the piano, which
Michael listened to with most unsacred feelings. Fathers and mothers! put
out your children's eyes--remove their toes--cut off their fingers. Whilst
with a lightning look, a hair-breadth touch, they can declare, make known
the love, that, having grown too big for the young heart, is panting for a
vent--you do but lose your pains whilst you stand by to seal their
tremulous lips. Speech! Fond lovers did never need it yet--and never shall.
What Margaret thought when the impassioned youth turned her pages over one
by one, (and sometimes two and three together,) and with a hand quivering
as if it had committed murder--what she felt when his full liquid eye
gazed on her, thanking her for her sweet voice, and imploring one strain
more, I cannot tell, though Abraham Allcraft guessed exactly, bobbing and
nodding, though he was, in slumber most profound.

Your talking and susceptible men are either at summer heat or zero.
Michael, who had been all animation and garrulity from the moment he
beheld the widow until he looked his last unutterable adieus, became
silent and morose as soon as he turned his back upon the cottage, and lost
sight, as he believed, of the divinity for ever. He screwed himself into a
corner of the coach, and there he sat until the short homeward journey was
completed, mentally chewing, with the best appetite he could, the cud of
that day's delicious feast. Judging from his frequent sighs, and the
uneasy shiftings in his seat, the repast was any thing but savoury.
Abraham said nothing. He had but a few words to utter, and these were
reserved for the quiet half hour which preceded the usual time of rest.

"Michael," said the sire as they sat together in the evening.

"Father," said the junior partner.

"Two hundred thousand clear. She'll be a duchess!"

A sigh, like a current of air, flowed through the room.

"She deserves it, Michael--a sweet creature--a coronet might be proud of
her. Why don't you answer, Mike?"

"Father, she is an angel!"

"Pooh, pooh!"

"A heavenly creature!"

"I tell you what, Mike, if I were a royal duke, and you a prince, I should
be proud to have her for a daughter. But it is useless talking so. I sadly
fear that some designing rascal, without a shilling in his pocket, will
get her in his clutches, and, who knows, perhaps ruin the poor creature.
What rosy lips she has! You cunning dog, I saw you ogle them."


"You did, sir--don't deny it; and do you think I wonder at you, Mike?
Ain't I your father, and don't I know the blood? Come, go to bed, sir,
and forget it all."

"Do you, father, really think it possible that--do you think she is in
danger? I do confess she is loveliest, the most accomplished woman in the
world. If she were to come to any harm--if--if"--

"Now look you, Mike. There are one or two trifling business matters to be
arranged between the widow and myself before she leaves us. You shall
transact them with her. I am too busy at the bank at present. You are my
junior partner, but you are a hot-headed fellow, and I can hardly trust
you with accounts. All I ask and bargain for is, _that you be cautious
and discreet_--mark me, cautious and discreet. Let me feel satisfied of
this, and you shall settle all the matters as you please. Business, sir,
is business. I must acknowledge, Mike, that such a pair of eyes would
have been too much for old Abraham forty years ago; and what a neck and
bust! Come, go to bed, sir, and get up early in the morning."

       *       *       *       *       *



Margaret Mildred had not failed to note the impression which had been made
upon the warm and youthful heart of Michael; she was not displeased to
note it; and from her couch she rose, the following morning, delighted
with her dreams, and benevolently disposed towards mankind in general. She
lingered at her toilet, grew hypercritical in articles of taste, and found
defects in beauty without the shadow of a blemish. Had some wicked sprite
but whispered in her ear one thought injurious to the memory of her
departed husband, Margaret would have shrunk from its reception, and would
have scorned to acknowledge it as her own. Time, she felt and owned with
gratitude, had assuaged her sorrows--had removed the sting from her
calamity, but had not rendered her one jot less sensible to the great
claims _he_ held, even now, on her affection. From the hour of Mildred's
decease up to the present moment, the widow had considered herself
strictly bound by the vow which she had proposed to take, and would have
taken, but for the dying man's earnest prohibition. Her conscience told
her that that prohibition, so far from setting her free from the
engagement, did but render her more liable to fulfill it. Her feelings
coincided with the judgment of her understanding. Both pronounced upon her
the self-inflicted verdict of eternal widowhood. How long this sentence
would have been respected, had Michael never interfered to argue its
repeal, it is impossible to say; as a general remark it may be stated,
that nothing is so delusive as the heroic declarations we make in seasons
of excitement--no resolution is in such danger of becoming forfeited as
that which Nature never sanctioned and which depends for its existence
only upon a state of feeling which every passing hour serves to enfeeble
and suppress.

When Margaret reached her breakfast-room, she found a nosegay on the table,
and Mr Michael Allcraft's card. He had called to make enquiries at a very
early hour of the morning, and had signified his intention of returning on
affairs of business later in the day. Margaret blushed deeper than the
rose on which her eyes were bent, and took alarm; her first determination
was to be denied to him; the second--far more rational--to receive him as
the partner in the banking-house, to transact the necessary business, and
then dismiss him as a stranger, distantly, but most politely. This was as
it should be. Michael came. He was more bashful than he had been the night
before, and he stammered an apology for his father's absence without
venturing to look towards the individual he addressed. He drew two chairs
to the table--one for Margaret, another for himself. He placed them at a
distance from each other, and, taking some papers from his pocket with a
nervous hand, he sat down without a minute's loss of time to look over and
arrange them. Margaret was pleased with his behaviour; she took her seat
composedly, and waited for his statement. There were a few select and
favourite volumes on the table, and one of these the lady involuntarily
took up and ran through, whilst Michael still continued busy with his
documents, and apparently perplexed by them. Nothing can be more ill
advised than to disturb a man immersed in business with literary or any
other observations foreign to his subject.

"You were speaking of Wordsworth yesterday evening, Mr Allcraft," said
Margaret suddenly--Allcraft pushed every paper from him in a paroxysm of
delight, and looked up--"and I think we were agreed in our opinion of that
great poet. What a sweet thing is this! Did you ever read it? It is the
sonnet on the Sonnet."

"A gem, madam. None but he could have written it. The finest writer of
sonnets in the world has spoken the poem's praise with a tenderness and
pathos that are inimitable. There is the true philosophy of the heart in
all he says--a reconciliation of suffering humanity to its hard but
necessary lot. How exquisite and full of meaning are those lines--

          'Bees that soar for bloom,
  High as the highest peak of Furness fells,
  Will murmur by the hour in foxglove bells;'

and then the touching close--

  'In truth, the prison unto which we doom
  Ourselves, no prison is; and hence to me,
  In sundry moods, 'twas pastime to be bound
  Within the sonnets scanty plot of ground;
  Pleased if some souls, for such there needs must be,
  Who have felt the weight of too much liberty,
  Should find brief solace there as I have found.'

_The weight of too much liberty_. Ah, who has not experienced this!"--Mr
Michael Allcraft sighed profoundly. A slight pause ensued after this
sudden outbreak on the part of the junior partner, and then he proceeded,
his animated and handsome countenance glowing with expression as he spoke.

"You are really to be envied, Mrs Mildred, with your cultivated tastes and
many acquirements. You can comply with every wish of your elegant and
well-informed mind. There is no barrier between you and a life of high
mental enjoyment. The source of half my happiness was cut off when I
exchanged my study for the desk. Men cease to live when what is falsely
called life begins with them."

"We have all our work to do, and we should do it cheerfully. It is a
lesson taught me by my mother, and experience has shown it to be just."

"Yes, madam, I grant you when your mother spoke. But it is not so now.
Mercantile occupation in England is not as it has been. I question whether
it will ever be again. It is not closely and essentially associated, as it
was of yore, with high principle and strict notions of honour. The simple
word of the English merchant has ceased to pass current through the world,
sacred as his oath--more binding than his bond; fair, manly dealing is at
an end; and he who would mount the ladder of fortune, must be prepared to
soil his hands if he hope to reach the top. Legitimate trading is no
longer profitable. Selfishness is arrayed against selfishness--cunning
against cunning--lying against lying--deception against deception. The
great rogue prospers--the honest man starves with his innate sense of
honour and integrity. Is it possible to enter cheerfully upon employment
which demands the sacrifice of soul even at the outset?"

"You draw a dark picture, Mr Allcraft, slightly tinged, I trust, with the
poetic pencil. But be it as gloomy as you paint it, we have still religion
amongst us, and individuals who adapt their conduct to its principles"--

"Ay, madam," said Michael, quickly interrupting her, "I grant you all you
wish. If we did but adapt our conduct to the doctrines of the
Testament--to that unequalled humanizing moral code--if we were taught to
do this, and how to do it, we might hope for some amendment. But look at
the actual state of things. The religious world is but a portion of the
whole--a world within a world. Preachers of peace--men who arrogate to
themselves the divine right of inculcating truth, and who, if any, should
be free from the corruption that taints the social atmosphere,--such men
come before mankind already sick with warfare, widening the breaches,
subdividing our divisions. Are these men pure and single-minded? Are these
men free from the grasping itch that distinguishes our age? Is there no
such thing as trafficking with souls? Are chapels bought and sold only
with a spiritual view, or sometimes as men bargain for their theatres? Are
these men really messengers of peace, living in amity and union, acting
Christianity as well as preaching it? Ask the Papist, the Protestant, the
Independent, and the thousand sects who dwell apart as foes, and, whilst
they talk of love, are teaching mankind how to hate beneath the garb of
sanctimoniousness and hollow forms!"

"You are eloquent, Mr Allcraft, in a bad cause."

"Pardon me, Mrs Mildred," answered the passionate youth immediately, and
with much bitterness, "but in the next street you shall find one eloquent
in a worse. There is what some of us are pleased to call a popular
preacher there. I speak the plain and simple truth, and say he is a
hireling--a paid actor, without the credit that attaches to the open
exercise of an honourable profession. The owner of the chapel is a usurer,
or money-lender--no speculation answers so well as this snug property. The
ranter exhibits to his audience once a-week--the place is crowded when he
appears upon the stage--deserted when he is absent, and his place is
occupied by one who fears, perhaps, to tamper with his God--is humble,
honest, quiet. The crowds who throng to listen to the one, and will not
hear the other, profess to worship God in what they dare to call _his_
sanctuary, and look with pity on such as have not courage to unite in all
their hideous mockery."

Right or wrong, it was evident that Michael was in earnest. He spoke
warmly, but with a natural vehemence that by no means disfigured his
good-looking visage, now illuminated with unusual fire. In these days of
hollowness and hypocrisy, an ingenuous straightforward character is a
refreshing spectacle, and commands our admiration, be the principles it
represents just what they may. Hence, possibly, the unaffected pleasure
with which Margaret listened to her visitor whilst he declaimed against
men and things previously regarded by her with reverence and awe. He
certainly was winning on her esteem. Women are the strangest beings! Let
them guard against these natural and impetuous characters, say I. The
business papers lay very quietly on the table, whilst the conversation
flowed as easily into another channel. Poets and poetry were again the
subject of discourse; and here our Michael was certainly at home. The
displeasure which he had formerly exhibited passed like a cloud from his
brow; he grew elated, criticized writer after writer, recited compositions,
illustrated them with verses from the French and German; repeated his own
modest attempts at translation, gave his hearer an idea of Goethe, Uhland,
Wieland, and the smaller fry of German poets, and pursued his theme, in
short, until listener and reciter both were charmed and gratified beyond
expression--she, with his talents and his manners--he, with her patience
and attention, and, perhaps, her face and figure.

Mr Allcraft, junior, after having proceeded in the above fashion for about
three hours, suddenly recollected that he had made a few appointments at
the banking-house. He looked at his watch, and discovered that he was just
two hours behind the latest. Both blushed, and looked ridiculous. He rose,
however, and took his leave, asking and receiving her permission to pay
another visit on the following day for the purpose of arranging their
eternal "business matters." Things take ugly shapes in the dark; a tree,
an object of grace add beauty in the meridian sun, is a giant spectre in
the gloom of night. Thoughts of death are bolder and more startling on the
midnight pillow than in the noonday walk. Our vices, which are the pastime
of the drawing-room, become the bugbears of the silent bedchamber.
Margaret, when she would have slept, was haunted by reproaches, which
waited until then to agitate and frighten her. A sense of impropriety and
sinfulness started in her bosom, and convicted her of an
offence--unpardonable in her sight--against the blessed memory of Mildred.
She could not deny it, Michael Allcraft had created on her heart a
favourable impression--one that must be obliterated at once and for ever,
if she hoped for happiness, for spiritual repose. She had listened to his
impassioned tones with real delight; had gazed upon his bright and beaming
countenance, until her eyes had stolen away the image, and fixed it on her
heart. Not a year had elapsed since the generous Mildred had been
committed to the earth, and could she so soon rebel--so easily forget his
princely conduct, and permit his picture to be supplanted in her breast?
Oh, impossible! It was a grievous fault. She acknowledged it with her warm
tears, and vowed (Margaret was disposed to vow--too readily on most
occasions) that she would rise reproved; repentant, and faithful to her
duty. Yes, and the earnest creature leapt from her couch, and prayed for
strength and help to resist the sore temptation; nor did she visit it
again until she felt the strong assurance that her victory was gained, and
her future peace secured. It is greatly to be feared that the majority of
persons who make resolutions, imagine that all their work is done the
instant the virtuous determination is formed. Now, the fact is, that the
real work is not even begun; and if exertion be suspended at the point at
which it is most needed, the resolute individual is in greater danger of
miscarriage than if he had not resolved at all, but had permitted things
to take their own course and natural direction. I do believe that Margaret
received Michael on the following day without deeming it in the slightest
degree incumbent upon her to act upon the offensive. She established
herself behind her decision and her prayers, and, relying upon such
fortifications, would not permit the idea of danger. A child might have
prophesied the result. Michael was always at her side--Margaret's
departure from the cottage was postponed day after day. The youth, who in
truth ardently and truly loved the gentle widow, had no joy away from her.
He supplied her with books, the choice of which did credit to his
refinement and good taste. Sometimes she perused them alone--sometimes he
read aloud to her. His own hand culled her flowers, and placed the
offering on her table. He met her in her walks--he taught her botany--he
sketched her favourite views--he was devoted to her, heart and soul. And
_she_--but they are sitting now together after a month's acquaintance, and
the reader shall judge of Margaret by what he sees. It is a day for lovers.
The earth is bathed in light, and southerly breezes, such as revive the
dying and cheer their heavy hours with promises of amendment and recovery,
temper the fire that streams from the unclouded sun. In the garden of the
cottage, in a secluded part of it, there is a summer-house--call it
beauty's bower--with Margaret within--and honeysuckle, clematis, and the
passion flower, twining and intertwining, kissing and embracing, around,
above, below, on every side. There they are sitting. He reads a book--and
a paragraph has touched a chord in one of the young hearts, to which the
other has responded. She moves her foot unconsciously along the floor, her
downcast eye as unconsciously following it. He dares to raise his look,
and with a palpitating heart, observes the colour in her cheek, which
tells him that the heart is vanquished, and the prize is won. He tries to
read again, but eyesight fails him, and his hand is shaking like a leaf.
His spirit expands, his heart grows confident and rash--he knows not what
he does--he cannot be held back, though death be punishment if he goes
on--he touches the soft hand, and in an instant, the drooping, almost
lifeless Margaret--drawn to his breast--fastens there, and sobs. She
whispers to him to be gone--her clammy hand is pressing him to stay.

       *       *       *       *       *



I am really inclined to believe, after all, that the best mode of finally
extinguishing sorrow for a dead husband, is to listen quietly to the
reasonable pleas of a live lover. After the scene to which it has been my
painful task to allude in the last chapter, it would have been the very
height of prudery on the part of the lady and gentleman, had they avoided
speaking on the subject in which they had both become so deeply interested.
They did not attempt it. The first excitement over, Margaret entreated her
lover to be gone. He did not move. She conjured him, as he valued her
esteem, to flee from that spot, and to return to it no more. He pressed
her hand to his devoted lips. "What would become of her?" she emphatically
exclaimed, clasping her taper fingers in distrust and doubt. "You will be
mine, dear Margaret," was the wild reply, and the taper fingers easily
relaxed--gave way--and got confounded with his own. After the lapse of
four-and-twenty hours, reason returned to both; not the cold and
calculating capacity that stands aloof from every suggestion of feeling,
but that more sensible and temporizing reason, that with the _will_ goes
hand-in-hand, and serves the blind one as a careful guide. They met--for
they had parted suddenly, abruptly--in the summer-house, by previous
appointment. Michael pleaded his affection--his absorbing and devoted love.
She has objections numerous--insuperable; they dwindle down to one or two,
and these as weak and easily overcome as woman's melting heart itself.
They meet to argue, and he stays to woo. They bandy words and arguments
for hours together, but all their logic fails in proof; whilst one long,
passionate, parting kiss, does more by way of demonstration than the art
and science ever yet effected.

Abraham Allcraft, who had been busily engaged behind the scenes pulling
the wires and exhibiting the puppets, appeared upon the stage as soon as
the first act of the performance was at an end. His son had said nothing
to him, but Abraham had many eyes and ears, and saw and heard enough to
make him mad with villainous delight. The second year of widowhood had
commenced. Margaret had doffed her weeds. She openly received the man on
whom she had bestowed her heart. They were betrothed. The public voice
proclaimed young Allcraft the luckiest of men; the public soul envied and
hated him for his good fortune. Abraham could never leave the presence of
his future daughter--and in her presence could never cease to flatter her,
and to grow disgusting in his lavish praises of his son.

"When I first saw you, my dear lady," said the greedy banker, "I had but
one thought on my mind that livelong day. 'What would I give,' said I,
'for such a daughter? what would I give if for my noble son I could secure
so sweet a wife? I never met his equal--I say it, madam--who, being his
father, should perhaps not say it; but a stranger can admire his lusty
form and figure, and his mind is just as vigorous and sprightly. A rare
youth, madam, I assure you--too disinterested, perhaps--too generous, too
confiding--too regardless of the value of that necessary evil--money; but
as he gets older he will be wiser. I do believe he would rather have died,
though he loved you so much--than asked you for your hand, if he had not
been thoroughly independent without it.'"

"I can believe it, sir," sighed Margaret.

"I know you can--bless you! You were born for one another. You are a sweet
pair. I know not which is prettiest--which I love the best. I love you
both better than any thing in the world--that is at present; for by-and-by,
you know, I may love something quite as well. Grandfathers are fond and
foolish creatures. But, as I was saying--his independence is so fine--so
like himself. Every thing I have will be his. He is my partner now--the
bank will be his own at my death, madam. A prosperous concern. Many of our
neighbours would like to have a finger in the pie; but Abraham Allcraft
knows what he is about. I'll not burden him with partners. He shall have
it all--every thing--he is worthy of it, if it were ten tines as much--he
can do as he likes--when I am cold and mouldering in the grave; but he
must not owe any thing to the lady of his heart, but his attention, and
his kindness, and his dear love. I know my spirited and high-minded boy."

Yes, and he knew human nature generally--knew its weaknesses and
faults--and lived upon them. His words require but little explanation. The
wedding-day had not been fixed. The ceremony once over, and his mind
would be at rest. "It was a consummation devoutly to be wished." Why? He
knew well enough. Michael had proposed the day, but she asked for time,
and he refrained from further importunity. His love and delicacy forbade
his giving her one moment's pain. Abraham was less squeamish. His long
experience told him that some good reason must exist for such a wish to
dwell in the young bosom of the blooming widow. It was unnatural and
foreign to young blood. It could be nothing else than the fear of parting
with her wealth--of placing all at the command of one, whom, though she
loved, she did not know that she might trust. Satisfied of this, he
resolved immediately to calm her apprehensions, and to assure her that not
one farthing of her fortune should pass from her control. He spoke of his
son as a man of wealth already, too proud to accept another's gold, even
were he poor. Perhaps he was. Margaret at least believed so. Abraham did
not quit her till the marriage day was settled.

He returned from the widow in ecstasy, and called his son to his own snug
private room.

"I have done it for you, Michael," said the father, rubbing his grasping
hands--it's done--it's settled, lad. Two months' patience, and the jewel
is your own. Thank your father, on your knees--oh, lucky Mike! But mark me,
boy. I have had enough to do. My guess was right. She was afraid of us,
but her fears are over. Till I told her that the bank would make you rich
without her, there was no relenting, I assure you.

"You said so, father, did you?" asked the son.

"Yes--I did. Remember that Mike when I am dead--remember what I have done
for you--put a fortune in your pocket, and given you an angel--remember
that, Mike, and respect my memory. Don't let the world laugh at your
father, and call him ugly names. You can prevent it if you like. A son is
bound to assert his father's honour, living or dead, at any price."

"He is, sir," answered Michael.

"I knew, Mike, that would be your answer. You are a noble fellow--don't
forget me when I am under ground; not that I mean to die yet no--no--I
feel a score of years hanging about me still. I shall dandle a dozen of
your young ones before these arms are withered. I shall live to see you--a
peer of the realm. That money--with your talents, Mike, will command a

"I am not ambitious, father."

"You lie--you are, Mike. You have got your father's blood in you. You
would risk a great deal to be at the top of the tree; so would I. _Would_
I? Haven't I? We shall see, Mike--we shall see. But it isn't wishing that
will do it. The clearest head--the best exertions must sometimes give in
to circumstances; but then, my boy, there is one comfort, those who come
after us can repair our faults, and profit by our experience. That thought
gives us courage, and makes us go forward. Don't forget, Mike, I say, what
I have done for you, when you are a rich and titled man!"

"I hope, father, I shall never forget my duty."

"I am sure you won't, Mike--and there's an end of it. Let us speak of
something else. Now, when you are married, boy, I shall often come to see
you. You'll be glad to have me, sha'n't you?"

"Is it necessary to ask the question?"

"No, it isn't, but I am happy to-night, and I am in a humour to talk and
dream. You must let me have my own room--and call it Abraham's _sanctum_.
A good name, eh? I will come when I like, and go when I like--eat, drink,
and be merry, Mike. How white with envy Old Varley will get, when he sees
me driving to business in my boy's carriage. A pretty match he made of
it--that son of his married the cook, and sent her to a boarding-school.
Stupid fool!"

"Young Varley is a worthy fellow, father."

"Can't be--can't be--worthy fellows don't marry cooks. But don't stop me
in my plans. I said you should give me my own room, Mike--and so you
shall--and every Wednesday shall be a holiday. We'll be in the country
together, and shoot and fish, and hunt, and do what every body else does.
We'll be great men, Mike, and we'll enjoy ourselves."

And so the man went on, elevated by the circumstances of the day, and by
the prospects of the future, until he became intoxicated with his pleasure.
On the following morning he rose just as elated, and went to business like
a boy to play. About noon, he was talking to a farmer in his quiet back
room, endeavouring to drive a hard bargain with the man, whom a bad season
had already rendered poor. He spoke loud and fast--until, suddenly, a
spasm at the heart caught and stopped him. His eyes bolted from their
sockets--the parchment skin of his face grew livid and blue. He staggered
for an instant, and then dropped dead at the farmer's foot. The doctors
were not wrong when they pronounced the banker's heart diseased. A week
after this sudden and awful visitation, all that remained of Abraham
Allcraft was committed to the dust, and Michael discovered, to his
surprise and horror, that his father had died an insolvent and a beggar.

       *       *       *       *       *



Abraham Allcraft, with all his base and sordid habits, was a beggar. His
gluttony had been too powerful for his judgment, and he had speculated
beyond all computation. His first hit had been received in connexion with
some extensive mines. At the outset they had promised to realize a
princely fortune. All the calculations had been made with care. The most
wary and experienced were eager for a share in the hoped for _el dorado_,
and Abraham was the greediest of any. In due time the bubble burst,
carrying with it into air poor Abraham's hard-earned fifty thousand pounds,
and his hearty execrations. Such a loss was not to be repaired by the
slow-healing process of legitimate business. Information reached him
respecting an extensive manufactory in Glasgow. Capabilities of turning
half a million per annum existed in the house, and were unfortunately
dormant simply because the moving principle was wanting. With a
comparatively moderate capital, what could not be effected? Ah, what? Had
you listened to the sanguine manufacturer your head would have grown giddy
with his magnificent proposals, as Allcraft's had, to the cost of his
unhappy self, and still unhappier clients. As acting is said to be not a
bare servile exhibition of nature, but rather an exalted and poetic
imitation of the same, so likewise are the pictures of houses, the
portraits of geniuses, _the representations of business facts_, and other
works of art which undertake to copy truth, but only embellish it and
render it most grateful to the eye. Nothing could _look_ more substantial
than the Glasgow manufactory on paper. A prettier painting never charmed
the eye of speculating amateur. Allcraft was caught. Ten thousand pounds,
which had been sent out to bring the fifty thousand back, never were seen
again. The manufacturer decamped--the rickety house gave way, and failed.
From this period Allcraft entangled himself more and more in schemes for
making money rapidly and by great strokes, and deeper he fell into the
slough of difficulty and danger. His troubles were commencing when he
heard of Mildred's serious illness, and the certainty of his speedy death.
With an affectionate solicitude, he mentally disposed of the splendid
fortune which the sick man could not possibly take with him, and contrived
a plan for making it fill up the gaps which misfortune had opened in the
banking-house. This was a new speculation, and promised more than all the
rest. Every energy was called forth--every faculty. His plans we already
know--his success has yet to be discovered. Abraham did not die intestate.
He left a will, bequeathing to Michael, his son and heir, a rotten firm, a
dishonourable name, a history of dishonesty, a nest of troubles.
Accompanying his will, there was a letter written in Allcraft's hand to
Michael, imploring the young man to act a child's part by his unhappy
parent. The elder one urged him by his love and gratitude to save his name
from the discredit which an exposure of his affairs must entail upon it;
and not only upon _it_, he added, but upon the living also. He had
procured for him, he said, an alliance which he would never have aspired
to--never would have obtained, had not his father laboured so hardly for
his boy's happiness and welfare. With management and care, and a gift from
his intended wife, nothing need be said--no exposure would take place--the
house would retain its high character, and in the course of a very few
years recover its solvency and prosperity. A fearful list of the
engagements was appended, and an account of every transaction in which the
deceased had been concerned. Michael read and read again every line and
word, and he stood thunderstruck at the disclosure. He raved against his
father, swore he would do nothing for the man who had so shamefully
involved himself; and, not content with his own ruin, had so wickedly
implicated him. This was the outbreak of the excited youth, but he sobered
down, and, in a few hours, the creature of impulse and impetuosity had
argued himself into the expediency of adapting his conduct to existing
circumstances--of stooping, in short, to all the selfishness and meanness
that actuate the most unfeeling and the least uncalculating of mortals. If
there were wanting, as, thank Heaven, there is not, one proof to
substantiate the fact, that no rule of life is safe and certain save that
made known in the translucent precepts of our God--no species of thought
free from hurt or danger--no action secure from ill or mischief, except
all thoughts and actions that have their origin in humble, loving,
_strict_ obedience to the pleasure and the will of Heaven; if any one
proof, I say, were wanting, it would be easy to discover it in the natural
perverse and inconsistent heart of man. A voice louder than the
preacher's--the voice of daily, hourly experience--proclaims the
melancholy fact, that no amount of high-wrought feeling, no loftiness of
speech, no intensity of expression, is a guarantee for purity of soul and
conduct, when obedience, simple, childlike obedience, has ceased to be the
spring of every motion and every aim. Reader, let us grapple with this
truth! We are servants here on earth, not masters! subjects, and not
legislators! Infants are we all in the arms of a just father! The command
is from elsewhere--_obedience_ is with us. If you would be happy, I charge
you, fling away the hope of finding security or rest in laws of your own
making in a system which you are pleased to call a code of
_honour_--honour that grows cowardlike and pale in the time of trial--that
shrinks in the path of duty--that slinks away unarmed and powerless, when
it should be nerved and ready for the righteous battle. Where are the
generous sentiments--the splendid outbursts--the fervid eloquence with
which Michael Allcraft was wont to greet the recital of any one short
history of oppression and dishonesty? Where are they now, in the first
moments of real danger, whilst his own soul is busy with designs as base
as they are cowardly? Nothing is easier for a loquacious person than to
talk. How glibly Michael could declaim against mankind before the
fascinating Margaret, we have seen; how feelingly against the degenerate
spirit of commerce, and the back-slidings of all professors of religion.
Surely, he who saw and so well depicted the vices of the age, was prepared
for adversity and its temptations! Not he, nor any man who prefers to be
the slave of impulse rather than the child of reason. After a day's
deliberation, he had resolved upon two things--first, not to expose
himself to the pity or derision of men, as it might chance to be, by
proclaiming the insolvency of his deceased father and secondly, not to
risk the loss of Margaret, by acknowledging himself to be a beggar. His
father had told him--he remembered the words well that she was induced to
name the wedding-day, only upon receiving the assurance of his
independence. Not to undeceive her now, would be to wed her under false
pretences; but to free her from deception, would be to free her from her
plighted word, and this his sense of honour would not let him do. I will
not say that Michael grossly and unfeelingly proposed to circumvent--to
cheat and rob the luckless Margaret; or that his conscience, that mighty
law unto itself, did not wince before it held its peace. There were
strugglings and entreaties, and patchings up, and excuses, and all the
appliances which precede the commission of a sinful act. Reasons for
honesty and disinterestedness were converted for the occasion into
justifications of falsehood and artifice. A paltry regard for himself and
his own interests was bribed to take the shape of filial duty and
affection. The result of all his cogitation and contrivances was one great
plan. He would not take from his Margaret's fortune. No, under existing
circumstances it would be wrong, unpardonable; but at the same time he was
bound to protect his father's reputation. The engagement with the widow
must go on. He could not yield the prize; life without her would not be
worth the having. What was to be done, then? Why, to wed, and to secure
the maintenance of the firm by means which were at his command. Once
married to the opulent Mrs Mildred, and nothing would be easier than to
obtain men of the first consideration in the county to take a share of his
responsibilities. Twenty, whom he could name, would jump at the
opportunity and the offer. The house stood already high in the opinion of
the world. What would it be with the superadded wealth of the magnificent
widow? The private debts of his father were a secret. His parsimonious
habits had left upon the minds of people a vague and shadowy notion of
surpassing riches; Had he not been rich beyond men's calculation, he would
not have ventured to live so meanly. Michael derived support from the
general belief, and resolved most secularly to take a full advantage of it.
If he could but procure one or two monied men as partners in the house,
the thing was settled. Matters would be snug--the property secured. The
business must increase. The profits would enable him in time to pay off
his father's liabilities, and if, in the meanwhile, it should be deemed
expedient to borrow from his wife, he might do so safely, satisfied that
he could repay the loan, at length, with interest. Such was the outline of
Michael Allcraft's scheme. His spirit was quiet as soon as it was
concocted, and he reposed upon it for a season as tired men sleep soundly
on a bed of straw.

Whilst the bridegroom was distressed with his peculiar grievances, the
lovely bride was doomed to submit to annoyances scarcely less painful. Her
late husband's friend, Doctor Wilford, who had been abroad for many months,
suddenly returned home, and, in fulfilment of Mildred's dying wish,
repaired without delay to the residence of his widow. Wilford had seen a
great deal of the world. He did not expect to find the bereaved one
inconsolable, but he was certainly staggered to behold her busy in
preparations for a second marriage. Indignant at what he conceived to be
an affront upon the memory of his friend, he argued and remonstrated
against her indecent haste, and besought her to postpone the unseemly
union. Roused by all he saw, the faithful friend spoke warmly on the
deceased's behalf, and painted in the strongest colours he could employ,
the enormity of her transgression. Now Margaret loved Michael as she had
never loved before. Slander could not open its lying lips to speak one
word against the esteem and gratitude she had ever entertained for Mildred
but esteem and gratitude--I appeal to the best, the most virtuous and
moral of my readers--cannot put out the fire that nature kindles in the
adoring heart of woman. Her error was not that she loved Michael more, but
that she had loved Mildred less. Ambition, if it usurp the rights of love,
must look for all the punishment that love inflicts. Sooner or later it
must come. "Who are you?" enquires the little god of the greater god,
ambition, "that you should march into my realms, and create rebellion
there? Wait but a little." Short was the interval between ambition's crime
and love's revenge with our poor Margaret. Wilford might never know how
cruelly his bitter words wrung her smitten soul. She did not answer him.
Paler she grew with every reproach--deeper was the self-conviction with
every angry syllable. She wept until he left her, and then she wrote to
Michael. As matters stood, and with their present understanding--he was
perhaps her best adviser. Wilford called to see her on the following
day--but Margaret's door was shut against him, and she beheld her
husband's friend no more.

And the blissful day came on--slowly, at last, to the happy lovers--for
happy they were in each other's sight, and in their passionate attachment.
And the blissful day arrived. Michael led her to the altar. A hundred
curious eyes looked on, admired, and praised, and envied. He might be
proud of his possession, were she unendowed with any thing but that
incomparable, unfading loveliness. And he, with his young and vigorous
form, was he not made for that rare plant to clasp and hang upon? "Heaven
bless them both!" So said the multitude, and so say I, although I scarce
can hope it; for who shall dare to think that Heaven will grant its
benediction on a compact steeped in earthliness, and formed without one
heavenward view!

       *       *       *       *       *


I knew, my dear Eusebius, how delighted you would be with that paper in
Maga on "Woman's Rights." It was balm to your Quixotic spirit. Though your
limbs are a little rheumatic, and you do not so often as you were wont,
when your hair was black as raven's wing, raise your hands to take down
the armour that you have long since hung up, you know and feel with pride
that it has been charmed by due night-watchings, and will yet serve many a
good turn, should occasion require your service for woman in danger. Then,
indeed, would you buckle on in defence of all or any that ever did, or did
not, "buckle to." Then would come a happy cure to aching bones--made whole
with honourable bruises, oblivious of pain, the "_bruchia livida_,"
lithesome and triumphant. Your devotion to the sex has been seasoned under
burning sun and winter frost, and has yet vital heat against icy age, come
on fast as it will. You would not chill, Eusebius, though you were hours
under a pump in a November night, and lusty arms at work watering your
tender passion.

I know you. Rebecca and her daughters had a good word, a soft word from
you, till you found out their beards. No mercy with them after that with
you--the cowardly disguise--pike for pike was the cry. It was laughable to
see you, and to hear you, as you brought a battery that could never reach
them--fired upon them the reproach of Diogenes to an effeminate--"If he
was offended with nature for making him a man, and not a woman;" and the
affirmation of the Pedasians, from your friend Herodotus, that, whenever
any calamity befell them, a prodigious beard grew on the chin of the
priestess of Minerva. You ever thought a man in woman's disguise a
profanation--a woman in man's a horror. The fair sex were never, in your
eyes, the weaker and the worse; how oft have you delighted in their
outward grace and moral purity, contrasting them with gross man,
gloriously turning the argument in their favour by your new
emphasis--"Give every _man_ his deserts, and who shall escape
whipping"--satisfying yourself, and every one else, that good, true,
woman-loving Shakspeare must have meant the passage so to be read. And do
you remember a whole afternoon maintaining, that the well-known song of
"Billy Taylor" was a serious, true, good, epic poem, in eulogy of the
exploits of a glorious woman, and in no way ridiculous to those whose
language it spoke; and when we all gave it against you, how you turned
round upon the poor author, and said he ought to have the bastinado at the
soles of his feet?

And if an occasional disappointment, a small delinquency in some feminine
character did now and then happen, and a little sly satire would force its
way, quietly too, out of the sides of your mouth, how happily would you
instantly disown it, fling it from you as a thing not yours, then catch at
it, and sport with it as if you could afford to sport with it, and thereby
show it was no serious truth, and pass it off with the passage from

  "Madam, these words are chanticleer's, not mine;
  I honour dames, and think their sex divine!"

No human being ever collected so many of the good sayings and doings of
women as you, Eusebius. I am not, then, surprised that, having read the
"Rights of Women," you are come to the determination to take up "The
Wrongs of Women." The wrongs of women, alas!

  ----"Adeo sunt multa loquacem
  Delassare valent Fabium."

And so you write to me, to supply you with some sketches from nature,
instances of the "Wrongs of Woman." Ah me! Does not this earth teem with
them--the autumnal winds moan with them? The miseries want a good hurricane
to sweep them off the land, and the dwellings the "foul fiend" hath
contaminated. Man's doing, and woman's suffering, and thence even arises
the beauty of loveliness--woman's patience. In the very palpable darkness
besetting the ways of domestic life, woman's virtue walks forth loveliest--

  "Virtue gives herself light, through darkness for to wade."

The gentle Spenser, did he not love woman's virtue, and weep for her
wrongs? You, Eusebius, were wont ever to quote his tender lament:--

  "Naught is there under heaven's wide hollowness
  That moves more clear compassion of mind
  Than beauty brought to unworthy wretchedness
  By envy's frowns or fortune's freaks unkind.
  I, whether lately through her brightness blind,
  Or through allegiance and fast fealty,
  Which _I do owe unto all womankind_,
  Feel my heart pierced with so great agony,
  When such I see, that all for pity I could die."

This melting mood will not long suit your mercurial spirit. You used to
say that the fairies were all, in common belief, creatures feminine, hence
deservedly called "good people,"--that they made the country merry, and
kept clowns in awe, and were better for the people's morals than a justice
of the peace. They tamed the savage, and made him yield, and bow before
feminine feet. Sweet were they that hallowed the brown hills, and left
tokens of their visits, blessing all seasons to the rustic's ear,
whispering therein softly at nightfall--

  "Go, take a wife unto thy arms, and see
  Winter and brownie-hills shall have a charm for thee."

Such was your talk, Eusebius, passing off your discontent of things that
are, into your inward ideal, rejoicing in things unreal, breaking out into
your wildest paradox--"What is the world the better for all its boasted
truth! It has belied man's better nature. Faith, trust, belief, is the
better part of him, the spiritual of man; and who shall dare to say that
its creations, visible, or invisible, all felt, acknowledged as vital
things, are not realities?" All this--in your contempt for beadles and
tip-staves, even overseers and churchwardens, and all subdividing
machinery of country government, that, when it came in and fairly
established itself, drove away the "good people," and with them merriment
and love, and sweet fear, from off the earth--that twenty wheedling,
flattering Autolycuses did not do half the hurt to morals or manners that
one grim-visaged justice did--the curmudgeon, you called him, Eusebius,
that would, were they now on earth, and sleeping all lovely with their
pearly arms together, locked in leafy bower, have Cupid and Psychè taken
up under the Vagrant Act, or have them lodged in a "Union House" to be
disunited. You thought the superstition of the world as it was, far above
the knowledge it now brags of. You admired the Saxons and Danes in their
veneration of the predictions of old women, whom the after ungallantry of
a hard age would have burned for witches. Marriage act and poor act have,
as you believe, extinguished the holy light of Hymen's torch, and
re-lighted it with Lucifer matches in Register offices; and out it soon
goes, leaving worse than Egyptian darkness in the dwellings of the
poor--the smell of its brimstone indicative of its origin, and ominous of
its ending.

I verily believe, Eusebius, you would have spared Don Quixote's whole
library, and have preferred committing the curate to the flames. Your
dreams, even your day-dreams, have hurried you ever far off and away from
the beaten turnpike-road of life, through forests of enchantment, to
rescue beauty which you never saw, from knight-begirt and dragon-guarded
castles; and little thankful have you been when you have opened your eyes
awake in peace to the cold light of our misnamed utilitarian day, and
found all your enchantment broken, the knights discomfited, the dragon
killed, the drawbridge broken down, and the ladies free--all without your
help; and then, when you have gone forth, and in lieu of some rescued
paragon of her sex, you have met but the squire's daughter, in her trim
bonnet, tripping with her trumpery to set up her fancy-shop in Vanity-Fair,
for fops to stare at through their glasses, your imagination has felt the
shock, and incredulous of the improvement in manners and morals, and
overlooking all advancement of knowledge, all the advantages of their real
liberty, momentarily have you wished them all shut up in castles, or in
nunneries, to be the more adored till they may chance to be rescued. But
soon would the fit go off--and the first sweet, innocent, lovely smile
that greeted you, restored your gentleness, and added to your stock of
love. And once, when some parish shame was talked of, you never would
believe it common, and blamed the Overseer for bringing it to light--and
vindicated the sex by quoting from Pennant, how St Werberg lived
immaculate with her husband Astardus, copying her aunt, the great
Ethelreda, who lived for three years with not less purity with her good man
Tonberetus, and for twelve with her second husband the pious Prince Egfrid:
and the churchwarden left the vestry, lifting up his hands, and
saying--"Poor gentleman!"--and you laughed as if you had never laughed
before, when you heard it, and heartily shook him by the hand to convince
him you were in your senses; which action he nevertheless put to the
credit of the soundness of your heart, and not a bit to that of your head.
You saw it--and immediately, with a trifling flaw in the application quite
worthy yourself, reminded me of a passage in a letter from Lord
Bolingbroke to Swift, that "The truest reflection, and at the same time
the bitterest satire, which can be made on the present age, is this, that
to think as you think, will make a man pass for romantic. Sincerity,
constancy, tenderness, are rarely to be found. They are so much out of use,
that the man of mode imagines them to be out of nature." So insane and
romantic, you added, are synonymous terms to this incredulous, this
matter-of-fact world, that, like the unbelieving Thomas, trusts in,
believes in nothing that it does not touch and handle. Your partiality for
days of chivalry blinds you a little. The men were splendid--women shone
with their reflected splendour--you see them through an illuminated haze,
and, as you were not behind the curtain, imagine their minds as cultivated
as their beauty was believed to be great. The mantle of chivalry hid all
the wrongs, but the particular ones from which they rescued them. If the
men are worse, our women are far better--more like those noble Roman
ladies, intellectual and high-minded, whom you have ever esteemed the
worthiest of history. Then women were valued. Valerius Maximus gives the
reason why women had the upper-hand. After the mother of Coriolanus and
other Roman women had preserved their country, how could the senate reward
them?--"Sanxit uti foeminis semitâ viri cederent--permisit quoque his
purpureâ veste et aureis uti segmentis." It was sanctioned by the senate,
you perceive, that men should yield the wall to the sex, in honour, and
that they should be allowed the distinction of purple vests and golden
borders--privileges the female world still enjoy. Yet in times you love to
applaud, the paltry interference of men would have curtailed one of these
privileges. For a mandate was issued by the papal legate in Germany in the
14th century, decreeing, that "the apparel of women, which ought to be
consistent with modesty, but now, through their foolishness, is
degenerated into wantonness and extravagance, more particularly the
immoderate length of their petticoats, with which they sweep the ground,
be restrained to a moderate fashion, agreeably to the decency of the sex,
under pain of the sentence of excommunication." "Velamina etiam mulierum,
quæ ad verecundiam designandam eis sunt concessa, sed nunc, per
insipientiam earum, in lasciviam et luxuriam excreverunt, it immoderata
longitudo superpelliccorum quibus pulverem trahunt, ad moderatum usum,
sicut decet verecundiam sexus, per excommunicationis sententiam

Excommunication, indeed! Not even the church could have carried on that
war long. Every word of this marks the degradation to which those monkish
times would have made the sex submit, "velamina _concessa_ insipientiam
earum!" and pretty well for men of the cloth of that day's make, to speak
of women's "lasciviam et luxuriam," when, perhaps, the hypocritical
mandate arose from nothing but a desire in the coelibatists themselves to
get a sly peep at the neatly turned feet and ankles of the women. One
would almost think the old nursery song of

  --"The beggar whose name was Stout,
  He cut her petticoats all round about,
  He cut her petticoats far above her knee, &c.,"

was written to perpetuate the mandate. Certainly a "Stout beggar was the
Papal church." "Consistent with modesty," "sicut decet verecundiam sexus;"
nothing can beat that bare-faced hypocrisy. So when afterwards the sex
shortened their petticoats, other Simon Pures start up and put them in the
stocks for immodesty. Poor women! Here was a wrong, Eusebius. Long or
short, they were equally immodest. Immodest, indeed! Nature has clad them
with modesty and temperance--their natural habit--other garment is
conventional. I admire what Oelian says of Phocion's wife.

  "[Greek: Êmpeicheto de prôtê tê sôphrosunê,
    deuterois ge mên tois parousi.]"

"She first arrayed herself in temperance, and then put on what was
necessary." Every seed of beauty is sown by modesty. It is woman's glory,
"[Greek: hê gar aidôs anthos epispeirei]" says Clearchus in his first
book of Erotics, quoting from Lycophronides. The appointment of
magistrates at Athens, [Greek: gunaikokosmoi], to regulate the dress of
women, was a great infringement on their rights--the origin of
men-milliners. You are one, Eusebius, who

  "Had rather hear the tedious tales
  Of Hollingshed, than any thing that trenches
  On love."

I remember how, in contempt of the story of the Ephesian matron, you had
your Petronius interleaved, and filled it with anecdotes of noble virtue,
till the comment far exceeded the text--then, finding your excellent women
in but bad company, you tore out the text of Petronius, and committed it
to the flames. Preserve your precious catalogue of female worthies--often
have you lamented that of Hesiod was lost, of all the [Greek: Hoiai
megalai] Alcmena alone remaining, and you will not make much boast of her.
How far back would you go for the wrongs of women--do you intend to write
a library--a library in a series of novels in three volumes--what are all
that are published but "wrongs of women?" Could but the Lion have written!
Books have been written by men, and be sure they have spared
themselves--and yet what a catalogue of wrongs we have from the earliest
date! Even the capture of Helen was not with her consent; and how lovely
she is! and how indicative is that wondrous history of a high chivalrous
spirit and admiration of woman in those days! Old Priam and all his aged
council pay her reverence. Menelaus is the only one of the Grecian heroes
that had no other wife or mistress--here was devotion and constancy!
Andromache has been, and ever will be, the pride of the world. Yet the
less refined dramatist has told of her wrongs; for he puts into her mouth
a dutiful acquiescence in the gallantries of Hector. Little can be said
for the men. Poor old Priam we must pardon, if Hecuba could and did; for
Priam told her that he had nineteen children by her, and many others by
the concubines in his palace. He had enough, too, upon his hands--yet
found time for all things--"[Greek: hôrê eran, hôrê de gamein, hôrê de
pepausthai]." How lovely is Penelope, and how great her wrongs!--and the
lovely Nausicaa complains of scandal. But great must have been the
deference paid to women; for Nausicaa plainly tells Ulysses, that her
mother is every thing and every body. People have drawn a very absurd
inference to the contrary, from the fact of the princess washing the
clothes. That operation may have been as fashionable then as worsted work
now, and clothes then were not what clothes are now--there were no
Manchesters, and those things were rare and precious, handed down to
generations, and given as presents of honour. You have shed tears over the
beautiful, noble-hearted Iphigenia--wronged even to death. Glorious was
the age that could find an Alcestis to suffer her great wrong! Such women
honour human nature, and make man himself better. Oh, how infinitely less
selfish are they than we are--confiding, trusting--with a fortitude for
every sacrifice! We have no trust like theirs, no confidence--are jealous,
suspicious, even on the wedding-day. You quite roared with delight when
you heard of a fool, who, mistrusting himself and his bride, tried his
fortune after the fashion of the Sortes Virgilianæ, by dipping into
Shakspeare on his wedding-day and finding

      "Not poppy nor mandragora,
  Nor all the drowsy syrups of the East,
  Shall ever med'cine to thee that sweet sleep
  Which thou ow'dst yesterday."

You have rather puzzled me, Eusebius, by giving me so wide a field of
enquiry--woman's wrongs; of what kind--of ancient or modern times--general
or particular? You should have arranged your objects. It is you that are
going to write this "Family Library," not I. For my own part, I should
have been contented in walking into the next village, an unexpected guest,
to the houses of rich and poor--do you think you would have wanted
materials? But forewarned is forearmed--and few will "tell the secrets of
their prison-house," if you take them with a purpose. On your account, in
this matter, I have written to six ladies of my acquaintance, three
married and three single. Two of the married have replied that they have
nothing to complain of--not a wrong. The third bids me ask her husband. So
I put her down as ambiguous--perhaps she wishes to give him a hint through
me; I am wise, and shall hold my tongue. Of the unmarried, one says she
has received no wrong, but fears she may have inflicted some--another,
that as she is going to be married on Monday, she cannot conceive a wrong,
and cannot possibly reply till after the honeymoon. The third replies,
that it is _very wrong_ in me to ask her. But stay a moment--here is a
quarrel going on--two women and a man--we may pick up something. "Rat
thee, Jahn," says a stout jade, with her arm out and her fist almost in
Jahn's face, "I wish I were a man--I'd gie it to thee!" She evidently
thinks it a wrong that she was born a woman--and upon my word, by that
brawny arm, and those masculine features, there does appear to have been a
mistake in it. If you go to books--I know your learning--you will revert
to your favourite classical authorities. Helen of Troy calls herself by a
sad name, "[Greek: kuôn hôs eimi]," dog (feminine) as I am--her wrongs
must, therefore, go to no account. I know but of one who really takes it
in hand to catalogue them, and she is Medea. "We women," says she, "are
the most wretched of living creatures." For first--of women--she must buy
her husband, pay for him with all she has--secondly, when she has bought
him, she has bought a master, one to lord it over her very
person--thirdly, the danger of buying a bad one--fourthly, that divorce is
not creditable--fifthly, that she ought to be a prophetess, and is not to
know what sort of a man he is to whose house she is to go, where all is
strange to her--sixthly, that if she does not like her home, she must not
leave it, nor look out for sympathising friends--seventhly, that she must
have the pains and troubles of bearing children--eighthly, she gives up
country, home, parents, friends, for one husband--and perhaps a bad one.
So much for Medea and her list; had she lived in modern times it might
have been longer; but she was of too bold a spirit to enter into minutiæ.
Hers, too, are the wrongs of married life. Nor on this point the wise son
of Sophroniscus makes the man the sufferer. "Neither," he says, "can he
who marries a wife tell if he shall have cause to rejoice thereat." He had
most probably at that moment Xantippe in his eye. You remember how
pleasantly Addison, in the _Spectator_, tells the story of a colony of
women, who, disgusted with their wrongs, had separated themselves from the
men, and set up a government of their own. That there was a fierce war
between them and the men--that there was a truce to bury the dead on
either side--that the prudent male general contrived that the truce should
be prolonged; and during the truce both armies had friendly
intercourse--on some pretence or other the truce was still lengthened,
till there was not one woman in a condition, or with an inclination, to
take up her wrongs--not one woman was any longer a fighting man--they saw
their errors--they did not, as the fable says we all do, cast the burden
of their own faults behind them, but bravely carried them before
them--made peace, and were righted.

We would not, Eusebius, have all their wrongs righted--so lovely is the
moral beauty of their wonderful patience in enduring them. What--if they
were in a condition to legislate and impose upon us some of their burdens,
or divide them with us? What man of your acquaintance could turn
dry-nurse--tend even his own babes twelve hours out of the twenty-four?

A pretty head-nurse would my Eusebius make in an orphan asylum. I should
like to see you with twins in your arms, both crying into your sensitive
ears, and you utterly ignorant of their wants and language. And I do think
your condition will be almost as bad, if you publish your catalogue of
wrongs in your own name. By all means preserve an incognito. You will be
besieged with wrongs--will be the only "Defender of the Faithful"--not
knight-_errant_, for you may stay at home, and all will come to you for
redress. You will be like the author, or rather translator, of the Arabian
Tales, whose window was nightly assailed, and slumber broken in upon, by
successive troops of children, crying "Monsieur Galland if you are not
asleep, get up--come and tell us one of those pretty stories." Keep your
secret. Now, the mention of the Arabian Tales reminds me of
Sinbad--_there_ is a true picture of man's cowardice; what loathsome holes
did he not creep into to make his escape when the wife of his bosom was
sick, and he understood the law that he was to be buried with her. It is
all very well, in the sick chamber, for the husband to say to his
departing partner for life--"Wait, my dearest--I will go with you." She is
sure, as La Fontaine says in his satire, reversing the case, "to take the
journey alone." This is all talk on the man's side--but see what the
master of the slave woman has actually imposed upon her as a law. The
Hindoo widow ascends the funeral pile, and is burnt rejoicing. What male
creature ever thought of enduring this for his wife?--this wrong, for it
is a grievous wrong thus to tempt her superior fortitude. It was not
without reason that, in the heathen mythology, (and it shows the great
advancement of civilization when and wherever it was conceived,) were
deified all great and noble qualities in the image of the sex. What are
Juno, Minerva, and Venus, but acknowledgments of the strength, wisdom,
fortitude, beauty, and love, of woman, while their male deities have but
borrowed attributes and ambiguous characters? It is a deference--perhaps
unintentionally, unconsciously--paid to the sex, that in every language
the soul itself, and all its noblest virtues, and the personification of
all virtue, are feminine.

I supposed woman the legislatrix--what reason have we to say she would
enact a wrong? The story of the mother of Papirius is not against her; for
in that case there was only a choice of evils. It is from Aulus Gellius,
as having been told and written by M. Cato in the oration which he made to
the soldiers against Galba. The mother of young Papirius, who had
accompanied his father into the senate-house, as was usual formerly for
sons to do who had taken the _toga prætexta_, enquired of her son what
the senate had been doing; the youth replied, that he had been enjoined
silence. This answer made her the more importunate and he adopted this
humorous fallacy--that it had been discussed in the senate which would be
most beneficial to the state, for one man to have two wives, or for one
woman to have two husbands? Hearing this, she left the house in no small
trepidation, and went to tell other matrons what she had heard. The next
day a troop of matrons went to the senate-house, and implored, with tears
in their eyes, that one woman might be suffered to have two husbands,
rather than one man have two wives. The senate honoured the young Papirius
with a special law in his favour; they should rather have conferred honour
upon his mother and the other matrons for their disinterested virtue, who
were content to submit themselves to so great an evil, I may say _wrong_,
as to have imposed upon them two masters instead of one. Not that you,
Eusebius, ever entertained an idea that women are wronged by not being
admitted to a share of legislation. I will not suppose you to be that
liberal fool. But you are aware that such a scheme has been, and is still
entertained. I believe there is a Miss Somebody now going about our towns,
lecturing on the subject, and she is probably worthy to be one of the
company of the "Ecclesiagusæ." This idea is not new. The other day I hit
upon a letter in the _Gentleman's Magazine_ for the year 1740 on the
subject, by which you will see there was some amusement about it a century


"Sir,--I am a mournful relict of _five husbands_, and the happy mother of
_twenty-seven_ children, the tender pledges of our chaste embraces. Had
_old Rome_, instead of _England_, been the place of my nativity and abode,
what honours might I not have expected to my person, and immunities to my
fortune? But I need not tell you that virtue of this sort meets with no
encouragement in our northern climate. _Children_, instead of freeing us
from _taxes_ increase the weight of them, and matrimony is become the jest
of every coxcomb. Nor could I allow, till very lately, that an old
bachelor, as you profess yourself to be, had any just pretence to be
called a patriot. Don't think that I mean to offer myself to you; for I
assure you that I have refused very advantageous proposals since the
decease of my _last poor spouse_, who hath been dead near _five months_. I
have no design at present of altering my condition again. Few women are so
happy as to meet with _five good husbands_, and therefore I should be glad
to devote the remaining part of my life to the good of my country and
family, in a more public and active station than that of a _wife_,
according to your late scheme for _a septennial administration of women_.
But I think you ought to have enforced your project with some instances of
_illustrious females_, who have appeared in the foremost classes of life,
not only for heroic valour, but likewise for several branches of learning,
wisdom, and policy--such as _Joan of Naples_, the _Maid of Orleans,
Catherine de Medicis, Margaret of Mountfort, Madame Dacier, Mrs Behn, Mrs
Manly, Mrs Stephens_, Doctor of Physic, _Mrs Mapp_, Surgeon, the valiant
_Mrs Ross_, Dragoon, and the learned _Mrs Osborne_, Politician. I had
almost forgot the present Queen of _Spain_, who hath not only an absolute
ascendant over the counsels of her _husband_, but hath often outwitted the
_greatest statesmen_, as they fancy themselves, of _another kingdom_,
which hath already felt the effects of her _petticoat government_.

"If we look back into history, a thousand more instances might be brought
of the same kind; but I think those already mentioned sufficient to prove,
that the best capacities of _our sex_ are by no means inferior to the best
capacities _of yours_; and the triflers of _either sex_ are not designed
to be the subject of this letter. But much as _our sex_ are obliged to you,
in general, for your proposal, I have one material objection against it;
for I think you have carried the point a little too far, by excluding _all
males_ from the enjoyment of any office, dignity, or employment; for as
they have long engrossed the public administration of the government to
themselves, (a few women only excepted,) I am apprehensive that they will
be loth to part with it, and that if they give us power for _seven years_,
it will be very difficult to get it out of our hands again. I have,
therefore, thought of the following expedient, which will almost answer
the same purpose--viz. that all power, both _legislative and executive,
ecclesiastical and civil_, may be divided among _both sexes_; and that
they may be equally capable of sitting in Parliament. Is it not absurd
that _women_ in _England_ should be capable of inheriting _the crown_, and
yet not intrusted with the representation of a _little borough_, or so
much as allowed to vote for a representative? Is this consistent with the
rights of a _people_, which certainly includes both _men and women_,
though the latter have been generally deprived of their privileges in all
countries? I don't mean that the people should be obliged to choose
_women_ only, as I said before, for that would be equally hard upon the
_men_--but that the _electors_ should be left at their own liberty; for it
is certainly a restraint upon the _freedom of elections_, that whatever
regard a _corporation_ may have for a _man of quality's family_, if he
happened to have no _sons_ or _brothers_, they cannot testify their esteem
for it by choosing his _daughters_ or _sisters_. I am for no restraint
upon the _members of either sex_; for if the honour, integrity, or great
capacity of a _fine lady_ should recommend her to the intimacy or
confidence of a _Prime Minister_, in consequence of which he should get
her a _place_--would it not be very hard that this very act of mutual
friendship must render her incapable of doing either _him_ or _her
country_ any real service in the _senate-house_? Is _freedom_ consistent
with _restraint_? or can we propose to serve our country by obstructing
the natural operations of _love and gratitude_? I would not be understood
to propose increasing the number of members. Let every county or
corporation choose _a man or a woman_, as they think proper; and if either
of the members should be married, let it be in the power of the
_constituents_ to return both _husband and wife as one member_, but not to
sit at the same time; from whence would accrue great strength to our
constitution, by having the _house_ well attended, without the present
disagreeable method of _frequent calls_, and putting several _members_ to
the expense and disgrace of being brought up to town in the custody of
_messengers_; for if a _country gentleman_ should like _fox-hunting_, or
any other _rural diversion_, better than attending his _duty in
Parliament_, let him send up his _wife_. Or if an _officer in the army_
should be obliged to be at his post in _Ireland_, the _Mediterranean_, the
_West Indies_, or aboard the _fleet_, a thousand leagues off, or upon any
_public embassy_, if his _wife_ should happen to be chosen, never fear
that she would do the _nation's business_, full as well. Besides, in
several affairs of great consequence, the resolutions might perhaps be
much more agreeable to the tenderness of _our sex_ than the roughness of
_yours_. As, for instance, it hath often been thought unnatural for
_soldiers_ to promote _peace_. When a debate, therefore, of that sort
should be to come on, if the _soldiers_ staid at home, and their _wives_
attended, it would very well become the softness of _the female sex_ to
show a regard for their _husbands_; especially if they should be such
_pretty, smart, young fellows_, as make a most considerable figure at a
review." The lady writer goes on at some length, that she has a borough of
her own, and will be certainly returned whether she marries or not, and
will act with inflexible zeal, naïvely adding--"If, therefore, I should
hereafter be put into a _considerable employment_, and _fourteen of my
sons_ be advanced in the _army_; should _the ministry_ provide for the
_other seven_ in the _Church_, _Excise Office_, or _Exchequer_; and my
poor _girls_, who are but tender infants at the boarding-school, should
have places given to them in the _Customs_, which they might officiate by
_deputy_--don't imagine that I am under any _undue influence_ if I should
happen always to vote with the _Ministry_." We do not quote further. The
letter is signed "MARGERY WELDONE."

It is needless to tell you the wrong done to the sex by the rigour of
modern law. You have stamped the foot at it often enough. I mean, not so
much the separation in the whimsically-called _union_ houses, for, as
husbands go, they may have little to complain of on that score; but that
dire injustice which throws upon woman the whole penalty of a mutual crime,
of which the instigator is always man. Then, is she not injured by the
legislative removal of the sanctity of marriage, by which the man is less
bound to her--thinks less of the bond--the _vinculum matrimoniæ_ being,
in his mind, one of straw, to her one of iron. And here, Eusebius, a
difficulty presents itself which I do not remember ever to have seen met,
no, nor even noticed. How can a court _ecclesiastical_, which from its
very constitution and formula of marriage which it receives and
sanctions--that marriage is a Divine institution, that man shall not put
asunder those by this matrimony made one--I ask, how can such a court deal
with cases where the people have not been put together by the only bond of
matrimony which the church can allow? But these are painful subjects, and
I feel myself wading in deeper water than will be good for one who can't
swim without corks, though he be _levior cortice_; and lighter than cork,
too, will be the obligation on the man's side, who has taken trusting
woman to one of these registry houses, leaped over a broomstick and called
it a marriage. It will soon come to the truth of the old saying, "The
first month is the honeymoon or smick-smack, the second is hither and
thither; the third is thwick-thwack; the fourth, the devil take them that
brought thee and I together."

  "Love, light as air, at sight of _human_ ties,
  Spreads his light wings, and in a moment flies."

The great walking monster that does the great wrong to women is, depend
upon it, Eusebius, the "brute of a husband," called, by courtesy, in
higher life, "_Sir_ John Brute." Horace says wittily, that Venus puts
together discordant persons and minds with a bitter joke, "sævo mittere
cum joco;" it begins a jest, and ends a _crying_ evil. We name the thing
that should be good, with an ambiguous sound that gives disagreement to
the sense. It is marry-age, or matter o' money. And let any man who is a
euphonist, and takes omens from names, attend the publication of banns, he
will be quite shocked at the unharmonious combination. Now, you will laugh
when I tell you positively, that within a twelvemonth I have heard called
the banns of "John Smasher and Mary Smallbones;" no doubt, by this time
they are "marrow bones and cleaver," what else could be expected? Did you
never note how it has puzzled curates to read the ill-assorted names?

  "Serpentes avibus geminantur, tigribus agni."

Then to look at the couples as they come to be bound for life. One would
think they had been shaken together hap-hazard, each in a sack. I have met
with a quotation from Hermippus who says--"There was at Lacedæmon a very
retired hall or dwelling, in which the unmarried girls and young bachelors
were confined, till each of the latter, in that obscurity which precluded
the possibility of choice, fixed on one, which he was obliged to take as a
wife, without portion. Lysander having abandoned that which fell to his
lot, to marry another of greater beauty, was condemned to pay a heavy
fine." Is there not in the _Spectator_ a story or dream, where every man
is obliged to choose a wife unseen, tied up in a sack? At this said
Lacedæmon, by the by, women seem to have somewhat ruled the roast, and
taken the law, at least before marriage, into their own hands; for
Clearchus Solensis, in his adages, reports, that "at Lacedæmon, on a
certain festival, the women dragged the unmarried men about the altar, and
beat them with their hands, in order that a sense of shame at the
indignity of this injury might excite in them a desire to have children of
their own to educate, and to choose wives at a proper season for this
purpose." Mr Stephens, in his _Travels in Yucatan_, shows how wives are
taken and treated in the New World. "When the Indian grows up to manhood,
he requires a woman to make him tortillas, and to provide him warm water
for his bath at night. He procures one sometimes by the providence of the
master, without much regard to similarity of tastes or parity of age; and
though a young man is mated to an old woman, they live comfortably
together. If he finds her guilty of any great offence, he brings her up
before the master or the alcalde, gets her a whipping, and then takes her
under his arm, and goes quietly home with her." This "whipping" the
unromantic author considers not at all derogatory to the character of a
kind husband, for he adds--"The Indian husband is rarely harsh to his wife,
and the devotion of the wife to her husband is always a subject of remark."
Some have made it a grave question whether marriages should not be made by
the magistrate, and be proclaimed by the town-crier. To imagine which is a
wrong and tyranny, and arises from the barbarous custom that no woman
shall be the first to tell her mind in matters of affection. Men have set
aside the privilege of Leap year; it is as great a nickname as the
church's "convocation." We tie her tongue upon the first subject on which
she would speak, then impudently call woman a babbler. There is no end,
Eusebius, to the _wrongs_ our tongues do the sex. We take up all old, and
invent new, proverbs against them. Ungenerous as we are, we learn other
languages out of spite, as it were, to abuse them with, and cry out, "One
tongue is enough for a woman." We _rate_ them for every thing and at
nothing--thus: "He that loseth his wife and a farthing, hath a great loss
of his farthing." There's not a natural evil but we contrive to couple
them with it. "Wedding and ill-wintering tame both man and beast." I heard
a witty invention the other day--it was by a lady, and a wife, and perhaps
in her pride. It was asked whence came the saying, that "March comes in
like a lion, and goes out like a lamb." "Because," said she, "he meets
with Lady Day, and gets his quietus." Whatever we say against them,
however, lacks the great essential--truth, and that is why we go on saying,
thinking we shall come to it at last. We show more malice than matter.
Birds ever peck at the fairest fruit; nay, cast it to the ground, and a
man picks it up, tastes it, and says how good is it. He enjoys all good in
a good wife, and yet too often complains. He rides a fast mare home to a
smiling wife, pats them both in his delight, and calls them both jades--he
unbridles the one, and bridles the other. There is no end to it; when one
begins with the injustice we do the sex, we may go on for ever, and stick
our rhapsodies together "with a hot needle, and a burnt thread," and no
good will come of it. It is envy, jealousy--we don't like to see them so
much better than ourselves. We dare not tell them what we really think of
them, lest they should think less of us. So we speak with a disguise. Sir
Walter Scott forgot himself when he spoke of them:--

  "Oh woman, in our hours of ease,
  Uncertain, coy, and hard to please;"

as if they were stormy peterals, whose appearance indicated shipwreck and
troubled waters on the sea of life. Woman's bard, and such he deserves to
be entitled, should only have thought of her as the "fair and gentle maid,"
or the "pleasing wife," _placens uxor_--the perfectness of man's nature,
by whom he is united to goodness, gentleness, the two, man and woman
united, making the complete one--as "_Mulier est hominis
confusio_"--malevolent would he be that would mistranslate it "man's
confusion," for--

  "Madam, the meaning of this Latin is,
  That womankind to man is sovereign bliss."--_Dryden_.

By this "mystical union," man is made "Paterfamilias," that name of truest
dignity. See him in that best position, in the old monuments of James's
time, kneeling with his spouse opposite at the same table, with their
seven sons and seven daughters, sons behind the father, and daughters
behind the mother. It is worth looking a day or two beyond the turmoil or
even joys of our life, and to contemplate in the mind's eye, one's own
_post mortem_ and monumental honour. Such a sight, with all the loving
thoughts of loving life, ere this maturity of family repose--is it not
enough to make old bachelors gaze with envy, and go and advertise for
wives?--each one sighing as he goes, that he has no happy home to receive
him--no best of womankind his spouse--no children to run to meet him and
devour him with kisses, while secret sweetness is overflowing at his heart
and so he beats it like a poor player, and says, that is, if he be a

  "At non domus accipiet te læta, neque uxor
  Optima, nec dulces occurrent oscula nati
  Præripère, et tacitâ pectus dulcedine tangent."--_Lucret_.

But leaving the "gentle bachelor" to settle the matter with himself as he
may, I will not be hurried beyond bounds--not bounds of the subject, or
what is due to it, but of your patience, Eusebius, who know and feel, more
sensibly than I can express, woman's worth. You want to know her
wrongs--and you say that I am a sketcher from life. Well, that being the
case, though it is painful to dwell upon any case, accept the following
sketch from nature; it is a recent event--you may not question the
truth--the names I conceal. A sour, sulky, cantankerous fellow, of some
fortune, lean, wizened, and little, with one of those parchment
complexions that indicate a cold antipathy to aught but self, married a
fine generous creature, fair and large in person; neither bride nor
bridegroom were in the flower of youth--a flower which, it is hard to say
why, is supposed to shed "a purple light of love." After the wedding, the
"happy couple" departed to spend the honeymoon among their relations. In
such company, the ill-tempered husband is obliged to behave his best--he
coldly puts on the polite hypocrite in the presence of others--but, every
moment of _tête-à-tête_, vents maliciously his ill-temper upon his spouse.
It happened, that after one day of more remarkably well-acted sweetness,
he retired in more than common disgust at the fatigue he had been obliged
to endure, to make himself appear properly agreeable. He gets into bed,
and instantly tucks up his legs with his knees nigh to his chin,
and--detestable little wretch!--throws out a kick with his utmost power
against his fair, fat, substantial partner. What is the result? He did not
calculate the "_vis inertiæ_," that a little body kicking against the
greater is wont to come off second best--so he kicks himself out of bed,
and here ends the comedy of the affair; the rest is tragic enough. Some
how or other, in his fall, he broke his neck upon the spot. This was a
very awkward affair. The bell is rung, up come the friends; the story is
told, nor is it other than they had suspected. It does not end here, for,
of course, there must be an inquest. It is an Irish jury. All said it
served him right--and so what is the verdict?--Justifiable _felo-de-se_."
Here, Eusebius, you have something remarkable;--one happier at the
termination than the commencement of the honeymoon--a widow happier than a
bride. She might go forth to the world again, with the sweet reputation of
having smothered him with kisses, and killed him with kindness--if the
verdict can be concealed; if not, while the husband is buried with the
ignominy of "felonious intent," the widow will be but little disconsolate,
and universally applauded. To those of any experience, it will not be a
cause of wonder how such parties should come together. It is but an
instance of the too common "bitter jokes" of Love, or rather Hymen. I only
wish, that if ever man try that experiment again, he may meet with
precisely the same success; and that if any man marries, determined to
_fall out_ with his bride, he may _fall out_ in that very way, and at the
very first opportunity.

The next little incident from married life which I mean to give you, will
show you the wonderful wit and ingenuity of the sex. Here the parties had
been much longer wedded. The poor woman had borne much. The husband
thought he had a second Griselda. The case of his tyranny was pretty well
known; indeed, the poor wife too often bore marks, that could not be
concealed, of the "purple light" of his love--his passion. The gentleman,
for such was, I regret to say, his grade of life, invited a number of
friends to dine with him, giving directions to his lady that the dinner
should be a good one. Behold the guests assembled--grace said--and hear
the dialogue:--Husband--"My dear, what is that dish before you?" Wife--"Oh,
my dear, it is a favourite dish of yours--stewed eels." Husband--"Then, my
dear, I will trouble you." After a pause, during which the husband
endeavours in vain to cut through what is before him--Then--Husband--"Why,
my dear, what _is_ this--it is quite hard, I cannot get through it."
Wife--"Yes, my dear, it is _very_ hard, and I rather wished you to know
_how_ hard--it is the horse whip you gave me for breakfast this morning."
I will not add a word to it. You, Eusebius, will not read a line more; you
are in antics of delight--you cannot keep yourself quiet for joy--you walk
up and down--you sit--you rise--you laugh--you roar out. Oh! this is
better than the "taming of a shrew." And do you think "a brute of a
husband" is so easily tamed? The lion was a gentle beast, and made himself
submissive to sweet Una; but the brute of a husband, he is indeed a very
hideous and untameable wild-fowl. Poor, good, loving woman is happily
content at some thing far under perfection. In a lower grade of life, good
wife once told me, that she had had an excellent husband, for that he had
never kicked her but twice. On enquiry, I found he died young.--My dear
Eusebius, yours ever, and as ever,


       *       *       *       *       *



  "Have I not in my time heard lions roar?
  Have I not heard the sea, puft up with wind,
  Rage like an angry boar chafed with sweat?
  Have I not heard great ordinance in the field,
  And heaven's artillery thunder in the skies?
  Have I not in the pitched battle heard
  Loud 'larums, neighing steeds, and trumpets clang?"


I found the Jew in his den as usual, and communicated my object, like a
man of business, in as few words as possible, and in that tone which
showed that I had made up my mind. To my surprise, and, I must own, a
little to the chagrin of my vanity, he made no opposition to it whatever.
I afterwards ascertained that, on the day before, he had received a
proposal of marriage for his daughter from a German _millionaire_ of his
own line; and that, as there could be no comparison between a penniless
son-in-law, if he came of the blood of all the Paleologi, and one of the
tribe of Issachar with his panniers loaded with guineas, the sooner I took
my flight the better.

"You are perfectly right," said he, "in desiring to see the Continent; and
in Paris you will find the Continent all gathered into a glance, as a
French cook gives you a dozen sauces in compounding one fricassee. It
happens, curiously enough, that I can just now furnish you with some
opportunities for seeing it in the most convenient manner. A person with
whom I have had occasional business in Downing Street, has applied to me
to name an individual in my confidence, as an _attaché_ to our embassy in
France, though, be it understood, without an actual appointment."

I started at this dubious diplomacy.

"This," said he, "only shows that you have still to learn the trade. Let
me then tell you, that it is by such persons that all the real work of
diplomacy is carried on. Can you suppose that the perfumed and polished
young gentlemen who, under the name of secretaries and sub secretaries,
superior and inferior _attachés_, and so forth, haunt the hotels of the
embassy, are the real instruments? It is true, they are necessary to the
dinners and balls of the embassy. They are useful to drive out the
ambassador's horses to air, escort his wife, and dance with his daughters.
But the business is uniformly done by somebody of whom nobody knows any
thing, but that he is never seen loitering about the ambassador's
drawing-room though he has the _entrée_ of his closet; and that he never
makes charades, though he corresponds from day to day with the government
at home. Of course you will accept the appointment--and now, let me give
you your credentials."

He unlocked a cabinet, which, except for its dust and the coating of
cobwebs which time had wrought upon it, might have figured in the saloons
of the Medici. The succession of springs which he touched, and of secret
drawers which started at the touch, might have supplied a little history
of Italian intrigue. At last he found the roll of papers which he sought,
and having first thrown a glance round the room, as if a spy sat on every
chair, he began to unroll them; with a rapid criticism on each as the few
first lines met his eye. Every nerve of his countenance was in full play
as he looked over those specimens of the wisdom of the wise; It would have
been an invaluable study to a Laveter. He had evidently almost forgotten
that I was present; and the alternate ridicule and disdain of his powerful
physiognomy were assisted, in my comprehension, by notes from time to
time--certainly the antipodes of flattery--"paltry knave"--"pompous
fool"--"specious swindler." "Ambassador! ay, if we were to send one to a
nation of baboons." "Here," said he, throwing, the bundle on the table,
"if I did not despise mankind enough already, I have sufficient evidence
to throng the pillory. I deal in gold; well, it is only such that can know
the world. Hate, ambition, religion--all have their hypocrisies; but money
applies the thumbscrew to them all. Want, sir, want, is the master of
mankind. There have been men--ay, and women too--within this dungeon, as
you think it, whose names would astonish you. Oh! Father Abraham"--

I finished the quotation.--"What fools these Christians are!" He burst
into grim laughter. "Here you have the paper," said he, "and I must
therefore send you back to the secretary's office. But there you must not
be known. Secrecy is essential even to your life. Stabbing in Paris is
growing common, and the knowledge that you had any other purpose than
gambling, might be repaid by a poniard."

He now prepared his note, and as he wrote, continued his conversation in
fragments. "Three-fourths of mankind are mere blunderers, and the more you
know of them the more you will be of my opinion. I am by no means sure
that we have not some of them in Whitehall itself. Pitt is a powerful man,
and he alone keeps them together; without him they would be
potsherds.--Pitt thinks that we can go on without a war: he is mistaken.
How is it possible to keep Europe in peace, when the Continent is as
rotten as thatch, and France as combustible as gunpowder?--The minister is
a man of wonders, but he cannot prevent thirty millions of maniacs from
playing their antics until they are cooled by blood-letting; or a hundred
millions of Germans, Spaniards, Dutch, and Italians from being pilfered to
their last coin!--Old Frederick, the greatest genius that ever sat upon a
German throne, saw this fifty years ago. I have him at this moment before
my eyes, as he walked with his hands behind his bent back in the little
parterre of Sans Souci. I myself heard him utter the words--'If I were
King of France, a cannon-shot should not be fired in Europe without my
permission.'--France is now governed by fools, and is nothing. But if
ever she shall have an able man at her head, she will realize old
Frederick's opinion."

As no time was to be lost, I hurried with my note of introduction to
Whitehall, was ushered through a succession of dingy offices into a small
chamber, where I found, busily employed at an escrutoire, a young man of a
heavy and yet not unintelligent countenance. He read my note, asked me
whether I had ever been in Paris, from which he had just returned; uttered
a sentence or two in the worst possible French, congratulated me on the
fluency of my answer, rang his bell, and handed me a small packet,
endorsed--_most secret and confidential_. He then made the most awkward of
bows; and our interview was at an end. I saw this man afterwards prime

Till now, the novelty and interest of any new purpose had kept me in a
state of excitement; but I now found, to my surprise, my spirits suddenly
flag, and a dejection wholly unaccountable seize upon me. Perhaps
something like this occurs after all strong excitement; but a cloud seemed
actually to draw over my mind. My thoughts sometimes even fell into
confusion--I deeply repented having involved myself in a rash design,
which required qualities so much more experienced than mine; and in which,
if I failed, the consequences might be so ruinous, not merely to my own
character, but to noble and even royal lives. I now felt the whole truth
of Hamlet's description--the ways of the world "flat, stale, and
unprofitable;" the face of nature gloomy; the sky a "congregation of
pestilent vapours." It was not the hazard of life; exposed, as it might be,
in the midst of scenes of which the horrors were daily deepening; it was a
general undefined feeling, of having undertaken a task too difficult for
my powers, and of having engaged in a service in which I could neither
advance with hope nor retreat with honour.

After a week of this painful fluctuation, I received a note, saying that I
had but six hours before me, and that I must leave London at midnight.

I strayed involuntarily towards Devonshire House. It was one of its state
dinner-days, and the street rang with the incessant setting down of the
guests. As I stood gazing on the crowd, to prevent more uneasy thoughts,
Lafontaine stood before me. He was in uniform, and looked showily. He was
to be one of the party, and his manner had all the animation which scenes
of this order naturally excite in those with whom the world goes well. But
my countenance evidently startled him, and he attempted to offer such
consolation as was to be found in telling me that if La Comtesse was
visible, he should not fail to tell her of the noble manner in which I had
volunteered; and the happiness which I had thus secured to him and
Mariamne. "You may rely on it," said he, "that I shall make her sick of
Monsieur le Marquis and his sulky physiognomy. I shall dance with her,
shall talk to her, and you shall be the subject, as you so well deserve."

"But her marriage is inevitable," was my sole answer.

"Oh, true; inevitable! But that makes no possible difference. You cannot
marry all the women you may admire, nor they you. So, the only imaginable
resource is, to obtain their friendship, to be their _pastor fido_, their
hero, their Amadis. You then have the _entrée_ of their houses, the honour
of their confidence, and the favoured seat in their boxes, till you prefer
the favoured seat at their firesides, and all grow old together."

The sound of a neighbouring church clock broke off our dialogue. He took
out his diamond watch, compared it with the time, found that to delay a
moment longer would be a solecism which might lose him a smile or be
punished with a frown; repeated a couplet on the pangs of parting with
friends; and with an embrace, in the most glowing style of Paris, bounded
across the street, and was lost in the crowd which blocked up her grace's

Thus parted the gay lieutenant and myself; he to float along the stream of
fashion in its most sparkling current--I to tread the twilight paths of
the green park in helplessness and heaviness of soul.

This interview had not the more reconciled me to life. I was vexed with
what I regarded the nonchalance of my friend, and began to wish that I had
left him to go through his own affairs as he might. But reflection did
justice to his gallant spirit, and I mentally thanked him for having
relieved me from the life of an idler. At this moment my name was
pronounced by a familiar voice; it was Mordecai's. He had brought me some
additional letters to the leaders of the party in Paris. We returned to
the hotel, and sat down to our final meal together. When the lights were
brought in, I saw that he looked at me with some degree of surprise, and
even of alarm. "You are ill," said he; "the life of London is too much for
you. There are but three things that constitute health in this world--air,
exercise, and employment." I acknowledged to him my misgivings as to my
fitness for the mission. But he was a man of the world. He asked me, "Do
you desire to resign? If so, I have the power to revoke it at this moment.
And you can do this without loss of honour, for it is known to but two
persons in England--Lafontaine and myself. I have not concealed its danger
from you, and I have ascertained that even the personal danger is greater
than I thought. In fact, one of my objects in coming to you at this hour
was, to apprise you of the state of things, if not to recommend your
giving up the mission altogether."

The alternative was now plainly before me; and, stern as was the nature of
the Israelite, I saw evidently that he would be gratified by my abandoning
the project. But this was suddenly out of the question. The mission, to
escape which in the half hour before I should have gladly given up every
shilling I ever hoped to possess, was at once fixed in my mind as a
peculiar bounty of fortune. There are periods in the human heart like
those which we observe in nature--the atmosphere clears up after the
tempest. The struggle which had shaken me so long had now passed away, and
things assumed as new and distinct an aspect as a hill or a forest in the
distance might on the passing away of a cloud. Mordecai argued against my
enthusiasm; but when was enthusiasm ever out-argued? I drove him horse and
foot from the field. I did more, enthusiasm is contagious--I made him my
convert. The feverish fire of my heart lent itself to my tongue, and I
talked so loftily of revolutions and counter-revolutions; of the
opportunity of seeing humankind pouring, like metal from the forge, into
new shapes of society, of millions acting on a new scale of power, of
nations summoned to a new order of existence, that I began to melt even
the rigid prepossessions of that mass of granite, or iron, or whatever is
most intractable--the Jew. I could perceive his countenance changing from
a smile to seriousness; and, as I declaimed, I could see his hollow eye
sparkle, and his sallow lip quiver, with impressions not unlike my own.

"Whether you are fit for a politician," said he, "I cannot tell; for the
trade is of a mingled web, and has its rough side as well as its smooth
one. But, young as you are, and old as I am, there are some notions in
which we do not differ so much as in our years. I have long seen that the
world was about to undergo some extraordinary change. That it should ever
come from the rabble of Paris, I must confess, had not entered into my
mind; a rope of sand, or a mountain of feathers, would have been as fully
within my comprehension. I might have understood it, if it had come from
John Bull. But I have lived in France, and I never expected any thing from
the people; more than I should expect to see the waterworks of Versailles
turned into a canal, or irrigating the thirsty acres round the palace."

"Yes," I observed; "but their sporting and sparkling answers their purpose.
They amuse the holiday multitude for a day."

"And are dry for a week.--If France shall have a revolution, it will be as
much a matter of mechanism, of show, and of holiday, as the '_grand
jet-d'eau_.'" He was mistaken. We ended with a parting health to Mariamne,
and his promise to attend to my interests at the Horse-guards, on which I
was still strongly bent. The Jew was clearly no sentimentalist; but the
glass of wine, and the few words of civility and recollection with which I
had devoted it to his pretty daughter, evidently touched the father's
heart. He lingered on the steps of the hotel, and still held my hand. "You
shall not," said he, "be the worse for your good wishes, nor for that
glass of wine. I shall attend to your business at Whitehall when you are
gone; and you might have worse friends than Mordecai even there." He
seemed big with some disclosure of his influence, but suddenly checked
himself. "At all events," he added, "your services on the present occasion
shall not be forgotten. You have a bold, ay, and a broad career before you.
One thing I shall tell you. We shall certainly have war. The government
here are blind to it. Even the prime minister--and there is not a more
sagacious mind on the face of the earth--is inclined to think that it may
be averted. But I tell you, as the first secret which you may insert in
your despatches, that it will come--will be sudden, desperate, and

"May I not ask from what source you have your information; it will at
least strengthen mine?"

"Undoubtedly. You may tell the minister, or the world, that you had it
from Mordecai. I lay on you only one condition--that you shall not mention
it within a week. I have received it from our brethren on the Continent,
as a matter of business. I give it to you here as a flourish for your
first essay in diplomacy."

We had now reached the door of the post-chaise. He drew out another letter.
"This," said he, "is from my daughter. Before you come among us again, she
will probably be the wife of one of our nation, and the richest among us.
But she still values you as the preserver of her life, and sends you a
letter to one of our most intimate friends in Paris. If he shall not be
frightened out of it by the violence of the mob, you will find him and his
family hospitable. Now, farewell!" He turned away.

I sprang into the post-chaise, in which was already seated a French
courier, with despatches from his minister; whose attendance the Jew had
secured, to lighten the first inconveniences to a young traveller. The
word was given--we dashed along the Dover road, and I soon gave my last
gaze to London, with its fiery haze hanging over it, like the flame of a

My mind was still in a whirl as rapid as my wheels. Hope, doubt, and
determination passed through my brain in quick succession, yet there was
one thought that came, like Shakspeare's "delicate spirit," in all the
tumult of soul, of which, like Ariel in the storm, it was the chief cause,
to soothe and subdue me. Hastily as I had driven from the door of my hotel,
I had time to cast my eye along the front of Devonshire House. All the
windows of its principal apartments shone with almost noonday
brightness--uniforms glittered, and plumes waved in the momentary view.
But in the range above, all was dark; except one window--the window of
the boudoir--and there the light was of the dim and melancholy hue that
instinctively gives the impression of the sick-chamber. Was Clotilde still
there, feebly counting the hours of pain, while all within her hearing was
festivity? The answers which I had received to my daily enquiries were
cheerless. "She had not quitted the apartment where she had been first
conveyed."--"The duchess insisted on her not being removed."--"Madame was
inconsolable, but the doctor had hopes." Those, and other commonplaces of
information, were all that I could glean from either the complacent
chamberlains or the formal physician. And now I was to give up even this
meagre knowledge, and plunge into scenes which might separate us for ever.
But were we not separated already? If she recovered, must she not be in
the power of a task-master? If she sank under her feebleness, what was
earth to me?

In those reveries I passed the hours until daybreak, when the sun and the
sea rose together on my wearied eyes.

       *       *       *       *       *

The bustle of Dover aroused me to a sense of the world. All was animation
on sea and shore. The emigration was now in full flow, and France was
pouring down her terrified thousands on the nearest shore. The harbour was
crowded with vessels of every kind, which had just disgorged themselves of
their living cargoes; the streets were blocked up with foreign carriages;
the foreign population had completely overpowered the native, and the town
swarmed with strangers of every rank and dress, with the hurried look of
escaped fugitives. As I drove to the harbour, my ear rang with foreign
accents, and my eyes were filled with foreign physiognomies. From time to
time the band of a regiment, which had furnished a guard to one of the
French blood-royal, mingled its drums and trumpets with the swell of sea
and shore; and, as I gazed on the moving multitude from my window, the
thunder of the guns from the castle, for the arrival of some ambassador,
grandly completed the general mass and power of the uproar.

       *       *       *       *       *

Three hours carried me to the French shore. Free from all the vulgar
vexations of the road, I had the full enjoyment of one of the most
pleasant of all enjoyments--moving at one's ease through a new and
interesting country. The road to Paris is now like the road to Windsor, to
all the higher portions of my countrymen; but then it was much less known
even to them than in later days, and the circumstances of the time gave it
a totally new character. It was the difference between travelling through
a country in a state of peace and in a state of war; between going to
visit some superb palace for the purpose of viewing its paintings and
curiosities, and hurrying to see what part of its magnificence had escaped
an earthquake. The landscape had literally the look of war; troops were
seen encamped in the neighbourhood of the principal towns; the national
guards were exercising in the fields; mimic processions of children were
beating drums and displaying banners in the streets, and the popular songs
were all for the conquest of every thing beneath the moon.

But I was to have a higher spectacle. And I shall never forget the mixture
of wonder and awe which I felt at the first distant sight of the capital.

It was at the close of a long day's journey, while the twilight gave a
mysterious hue to a scene in itself singular and stately.--Glistening
spire on spire; massive piles, which in the deepening haze might be either
prisons or palaces; vast ranges of buildings, gloomy or glittering as the
partial ray fell on them; with the solemn beauty of the Invalides on one
wing, the light and lovely elegance of the St Genevieve on the other, and
the frowning majesty of Notre-Dame in the midst, filled the plain with a
vision such as I had imaged only in an Arabian tale. Yet the moral reality
was even greater than the visible. I felt that I was within reach of the
chief seat of all the leading events of the Continent since the birth of
monarchy; every step which I might tread among those piles was historical;
within that clouded circumference, like the circle of a necromancer, had
been raised all the dazzling and all the disturbing spirits of the world.
There was the grand display of statesmanship, pomp, ambition, pleasure,
and each the most subtle, splendid, daring, and prodigal ever seen among
men. And, was it not now to assume even a more powerful influence on the
fates of mankind? Was not the falling of the monarchical forest of so many
centuries, about to lay the land open to a new, and perhaps a more
powerful produce; where the free blasts of nature were to rear new forms,
and demand new arts of cultivation? The monarchy was falling--but was not
the space, cleared of its ruins, to be filled with some new structure,
statelier still? Or, if the government of the Bourbons were to sink for
ever from the eyes of men, were there to be no discoveries made in the
gulf itself in which it went down; were there to be no treasures found in
the recesses thus thrown open to the eye for the first time; no mines in
the dissevered strata--no founts of inexhaustible freshness and flow
opened by thus piercing into the bowels of the land?

There are moments on which the destiny of a nation, perhaps of an age,
turns. I had reached Paris at one of those moments. As my calèche wound
its slow way round the base of Montmartre, I perceived, through the
deepening twilight, a long train of flame, spreading from the horizon to
the gates of the city. Shouts were heard, with now and then the heavy
sounds of cannon. This produced a dead stop in my progress. My postilion
stoutly protested against venturing his calèche, his horses, and, what he
probably regarded much more than either, himself, into the very heart of
what he pronounced a counter-revolution. My courier, freighted with
despatches, which might have been high treason to the majesty of the mob,
and who saw nothing less than suspension from the first lamp-post in their
discovery, protested, with about the same number of _sacres_; and my
diplomatic beams seemed in a fair way to be shorn.

But this was the actual thing which I had come to see: Paris in its new
existence; the capital of the populace; the headquarters of the grand army
of insurgency; the living centre of all those flashes of fantasy, fury,
and fire, which were already darting out towards every throne of Europe. I
determined to have a voice on the occasion, and I exerted it with such
vigour, that I roused the inmates of a blockhouse, a party of the National
Guard, who, early as it was, had been as fast asleep as if they had been a
_posse_ of city watchmen. They clustered round us, applauded my resolve,
to see what was to be seen, as perfectly national, _vraiment Français_;
kicked my postilion till he mounted his horse, beat my sulky courier with
the flats of their little swords, and would have bastinadoed, or probably
hanged him, if I had not interposed; and, finally, hoisting me into the
calèche, which they loaded with half a dozen of their number before and
behind, commenced our march into Paris. This was evidently not the age of

It may have been owing to this curious escort that I got in at all; for at
the gate I found a strong guard of the regular troops, who drove back a
long succession of carriages which had preceded me. But my cortège were so
thoroughly in the new fashion, they danced the "_carmagnole_" so
boisterously, and sang patriotic rhymes with such strength of lungs, that
it was impossible to refuse admission to patriots of such sonorousness.
The popular conjectures, too, which fell to my share, vastly increased my
importance. In the course of the five minutes spent in wading through the
crowd of the rejected, I bore fifty different characters--I was a state
prisoner--a deputy from Marseilles, a part of the kingdom then in peculiar
favour; an ex-general; a captain of banditti, and an ambassador from
England or America; in either case, an especially honoured missionary, for
England was then pronounced by all the Parisian authorities to be on the
verge of a revolution. Though, I believe, Jonathan had the preference, for
the double reason, that the love of Jean Français for John Bull is of a
rather precarious order, and that the American Revolution was an egg
hatched by the warmth of the Gallic bird itself; a secondary sort of

As we advanced through the streets, my noisy "compagnons de voyage"
dropped off one by one, some to the lowest places of entertainment, and
some tired of the jest; and I proceeded to the Place de Vendome, where was
my hotel, at my leisure. The streets were now solitary; to a degree that
was almost startling. As I wound my way through long lines of houses,
tortuous, narrow, and dark as Erebus, I saw the cause of the singular
success which had attended all Parisian insurrections. A chain across one
of these dismal streets, an overturned cart, a pile of stones, would
convert it at once into an impassable defile. Walls and windows, massive,
lofty, and nearly touching each other from above afforded a perpetual
fortification; lanes innumerable, and extending from one depth of darkness
and intricacy into another, a network of attack and ambush, obviously gave
an extraordinary advantage to the irregular daring of men accustomed to
thread those wretched and dismal dens, crowded with one of the fiercest
and most capricious populations in the world. Times have strikingly
changed since. The "fifteen fortresses" are but so many strong bars of the
great cage, and they are neither too strong nor too many. Paris is now the
only city on earth which is defended against itself, garrisoned on its
outside, and protected by a perpetual Praetorian band against a national
mania of insurrection.

But, on turning into the Boulevards, the scene changed with the rapidity
of magic. Before me were raging thousands, the multitude which I had seen
advancing to the gates. The houses, as far as the eye could reach, were
lighted up with lamps, torches, and every kind of hurried illumination.
Banners of all hues were waving from the casements, and borne along by the
people; and in the midst of the wild procession were seen at a distance a
train of travelling carriages, loaded on the roofs with the basest of the
rabble. A mixed crowd of National Guards, covered with dust, and drooping
under the fatigue of the road, poissardes drunk, dancing, screaming the
most horrid blasphemies, and a still wider circle, which seemed to me
recruited from all the jails of Paris, surrounded the carriages, which I
at length understood to be those of the royal family. They had attempted
to escape to the frontier, had been arrested, and were now returning as
prisoners. I caught a glimpse, by the torchlight, of the illustrious
sufferers, as they passed the spot where I stood. The Queen was pale, but
exhibited that stateliness of countenance for which she was memorable to
the last; she sat with the Dauphiness pressed in her arms. The King looked
overcome with exhaustion; the Dauphin gazed at the populace with a child's

At the moment when the carriages were passing, an incident occurred
terribly characteristic of the time. A man of a noble presence, and with
an order of St Louis at his breast, who had been giving me a hurried and
anxious explanation of the scene, excited by sudden feeling, rushed
forward through the escort, and laying one hand on the royal carriage,
with the other waved his hat, and shouted, "Vive le Roi!" In another
instant I saw him stagger; a pike was darted into his bosom, and he fell
dead under the wheel. Before the confusion of this frightful catastrophe
had subsided, a casement was opened immediately above my head, and a woman,
superbly dressed, rushed out on the balcony waving a white scarf, and
crying, "Vive Marie Antoinette!" The muskets of the escort were turned
upon her, and a volley was fired at the balcony. She started back at the
shock, and a long gush of blood down her white robe showed that she had
been wounded. But she again waved the scarf, and again uttered the loyal
cry. Successive shots were fired at her by the monsters beneath; but she
still stood. At length she received the mortal blow; she tottered and fell;
yet, still clinging to the front of the balcony, she waved the scarf, and
constantly attempted to pronounce the words of her generous and devoted
heart, until she expired. I saw this scene with an emotion beyond my power
to describe; all the enthusiasm of popular change was chilled within me;
my boyish imaginations of republicanism were extinguished by this plunge
into innocent blood; and I never felt more relieved, than when the whole
fearful procession at length moved on, and I was left to make my way once
more, through dim and silent streets, to my dwelling.

       *       *       *       *       *

I pass by a considerable portion of the time which followed. The
Revolution was like the tiger, it advanced couching; though, when it
sprang, its bound was sudden and irresistible. My time was occupied in my
official functions, which became constantly more important, and of which I
received flattering opinions from Downing Street. I mingled extensively in
general society, and it was never more animated, or more characteristic,
than at that period in Paris. The leaders of faction and the leaders of
fashion, classes so different in every other part of the world, were there
often the same. The woman who dazzled the ball-room, was frequently the
_confidente_ of the deepest designs of party. The coterie in a _salon_,
covered with gilding, and filled with _chefs-d'oeuvre_ of the arts, was
often as subtle as a conspiracy in the cells of the Jacobins; and the
dance or the masquerade only the preliminary to an outbreak which
shattered a ministry into fragments All the remarkable men of France
passed before me, and I acknowledge that I was frequently delighted and
surprised by their extra ordinary attainments. The age of the
_Encyclopédie_ was in its wane, but some of its brilliant names still
illustrated the Parisian _salons_. I recognised the style of Buffon and
Rousseau in a crowd of their successors; and the most important knowledge
was frequently communicated in language the most eloquent and captivating.
Even the mixture of society which had been created by the Revolution, gave
an original force and freshness to these assemblies, infinitely more
attractive than the most elaborate polish of the old _régime_. Brissot,
the common printer, but a man of singular strength of thought, there
figured by Condorcet, the noble and the man of profound science. St
Etienne, the little bustling partizan, yet the man of talent, mingled with
the chief advocates of the Parisian courts; or Servan fenced with his
subtle knowledge of the world against Vergniaud, the romantic Girondist,
but the most Ciceronian of orators. Talleyrand, already known as the most
sarcastic of men, and Maury, by far the most powerful debater of France
since Mirabeau--figured among the chief ornaments of the _salons_ of De
Staël. Roland, and the showy and witty Theresa Cabarrus, and even the
flutter of La Fayette, the most tinsel of heroes, and the sullen
sententiousness of Robespierre, then known only as a provincial deputy,
furnished a background which increased the prominence of the grouping.

But the greatest wonder of France still escaped the general eye. At a ball
at the Hotel de Staël, I remember to have been struck with the energetic
denunciation of some rabble insult to the Royal family, by an officer whom
nobody knew. As a circle were standing in conversation on the topic of the
day, the little officer started from his seat, pushed into the group, and
expressed his utter contempt for the supineness of the Government on those
occasions, so strongly, as to turn all eyes upon him. "Where were the
troops, where the guns?" he exclaimed. "If such things are suffered, all
is over with royalty; a squadron of horse, and a couple of six pounders,
would have swept away the whole swarm of scoundrels like so many flies."
Having thus discharged his soul, he started back again, flung himself into
a chair, and did not utter another word through the evening. I little
dreamed that in that meagre frame, and long, thin physiognomy, I saw

I must hasten to other things. Yet I still cast many a lingering glance
over these times. The vividness of the collision was incomparable. The wit,
the eccentricity, the anecdote, the eloquence of those assemblages, were
of a character wholly their own. They had, too, a substantial nutriment,
the want of which had made the conversation of the preceding age vapid,
with all its elegance.--Public events of the most powerful order fed the
flame. It was the creation of a vast national excitement; the rush of
sparks from the great electrical machine, turned by the hands of thirty
millions. The flashes were still but matters of sport and surprise. The
time was nigh when those flashes were to be fatal, and that gay lustre was
to do the work of conflagration.

I had now been a year in Paris, without returning, or wishing to return,
to London. A letter now and then informed me of the state of those who
still drew my feelings towards England. But I was in the centre of all
that awoke, agitated, or alarmed Europe; and, compared with the glow and
rapidity of events in France, the rest of Europe appeared asleep, or to
open its eyes solely when some new explosion shook it from its slumber.

My position, too, was a matchless school for the learner in diplomacy.
France shaped the politics of the Continent; and I was present in the
furnace where the casting was performed. France was the stage to which
every eye in Europe was turned, whether for comedy or tragedy; and I was
behind the scenes. But the change was at hand.

One night I found an individual, of a very marked appearance, waiting for
me at my hotel. His countenance was evidently Jewish, and he introduced
himself as one of the secret police of the ministry. The man handed me a
letter--it was from Mordecai, and directed to be given with the utmost
secrecy. It was in his usual succinct and rapid style.

"I write this in the midst of a tumult of business. My friend Mendoza will
give you such knowledge and assistance as may be necessary. France is on
the point of an explosion. Every thing is prepared. It is impossible that
it can be delayed above a week or two, and the only origin of the delay is
in the determination to make the overthrow final. Acquaint your English
officials with this. The monarchy of the Bourbons has signed its
death-warrant. By suffering a legislature to be formed by the votes of the
mere multitude, it has put property within the power of all beggars; rank
has been left at the mercy of the rabble; and the church has been
sacrificed to please a faction. Thus the true pillars of society have been
cut away; and the throne is left in the air. Mendoza will tell you more.
The train is already laid. A letter from a confidential agent tells us
that the day is fixed. At all events, avoid the mine. There is no pleasure
in being blown up, even in company with kings."

A postscript briefly told me--that his daughter sent her recollections;
that Clotilde was still indisposed; La Fontaine giddier than ever; and, as
the proof of his own confidence in his views, that he had just sold out
100,000 three per cent consols.

My first visit next morning was to the British embassy. But the ambassador
was absent in the country, and the functionary who had been left in charge
was taking lessons on the guitar, and extremely unwilling to be disturbed
by matters comparatively so trifling as the fate of dynasties. I explained,
but explained in vain. The hour was at hand when his horses were to be at
the door for a ride in the Bois de Boulogne. I recommended a ride after
the ambassador. It was impossible. He was to be the escort of a duchess;
then to go to a dinner at the Russian embassy, and was under engagements
to three balls in the course of the evening. Nothing could be clearer than
that such duties must supersede the slight concerns of office. I left him
under the hands of his valet, curling his ringlets, and preparing him to
be the admiration of mankind.

I saw Mendoza secretly again; received from him additional intelligence;
and, as I was not inclined to make a second experiment on the "elegant
extract" of diplomacy, and escort of duchesses, I went, as soon as the
nightfall concealed my visit, to the hotel of the Foreign Minister. This
was my first interview with the celebrated Dumourier.

He received me with the courtesy of a man accustomed to high life; and I
entered on the purport of my visit at once. He was perfectly astonished at
my tidings. He had known that strong resolutions had been adopted by the
party opposed to the Cabinet; but was startled by the distinct avowal of
its intention to overthrow the monarchy. I was struck with his appearance,
his quickness of conception, and that mixture of sportiveness and depth,
which I had found characteristic of the higher orders of French society.
He was short in stature, but proportioned for activity; his countenance
bold, but with smiling lips and a most penetrating grey eye. His name as a
soldier was at this period wholly unknown, but I could imagine in him a
leader equally subtle and daring;--he soon realized my conjecture.

We sat together until midnight; and over the supper-table, and cheered by
all the good things which French taste provides and enjoys more than any
other on earth, he gave full flow to his spirit of communication. The
Frenchman's sentences are like sabre-cuts--they have succession, but no

"I shall always converse with you, M. Marston," said he, "with ease; for
you are of the noblesse of your own great country, and I am tired of
_roturiers_ already.--The government has committed dangerous faults. The
king is an excellent man, but his heart is where his head ought to be, and
his head where his heart.--His flight was a terrible affair, but it was a
blunder on both sides; _he_ ought never to have gone, or the government
ought never to have brought him back.--However, I have no cause to
complain of its epitaph. The blunder dissolved that government. I have to
thank it for bringing me and my colleagues into power. Our business now is
to preserve the monarchy, but this becomes more difficult from day to day."

I adverted to the personal character of the royal family.

"Nothing can be better. But chance has placed them in false position.--If
the king were but the first prince of the blood, his benevolence without
his responsibility would make him the most popular man in France.--If the
queen were still but the dauphiness, she would be, as she was then, all
but worshipped. As the leader of fashion in France, she would be the
leader of taste in Europe.--Elegant, animated, and high-minded, she would
have charmed every one, without power. If she could but continue to move
along the ground, all would admire the grace of her steps; but, sitting on
a throne, she loses the spell of motion."

"Yet, can France ever forget her old allegiance, and adopt the fierce
follies of a republic?"

"I think not. And yet we are dealing with agencies of which we know
nothing but the tremendous force. We are breathing a new atmosphere, which
may at first excite only to kill.--We have let out the waters of a new
river-head, which continues pouring from hour to hour, with a fulness
sufficient to terrify us already, and threatening to swell over the
ancient landmarks of the soil.--It is even now a torrent--what can prevent
it from being a lake? what hand of man can prevent that lake from being an
ocean? or what power of human council can say to that ocean in its
rage--Thus far shalt thou go?"

"But the great institutions of France, will they not form a barrier? Is
not their ancient firmness proof against the loose and desultory assaults
of a populace like that of Paris?"

"I shall answer by an image which occurred to me on my late tour of
inspection to the ports in the west. At Cherbourg, millions of francs have
been spent in attempting to make a harbour. When I was there one stormy
day, the ocean rose, and the first thing swept away was the great
_caisson_ which formed the principal defence against the tide,--its wrecks
were carried up the harbour, heaped against the piers, which they swept
away; hurled against the fortifications, which they broke down; and
finally working ten times more damage than if the affair had been left to
the surges alone. The thought struck me at the moment, that this _caisson_
was the emblem of a government assailed by an irresistible force. The
firmer the foundations, and the loftier the superstructure, the surer it
was to be ultimately carried away, and to carry away with it all that the
mere popular outburst would have spared.--The massiveness of the obstacle
increased the spread of the ruin. Few Asiatic kingdoms would be overthrown
with less effort, and perish with less public injury, than the monarchy of
the Bourbons, if it is to fall. Yet, your monarchy is firmer. It is less a
vast building than a mighty tree, not fixed on foundations which can never
widen, but growing from roots which continually extend. But, if that tree
perish, it will not be thrown down, but torn up; it will not leave a space
clear to receive a new work of man, but a pit, which no successor can fill
for a thousand years."

"But the insurrection; I fear the attack on the palace."

"It will not take place. Your information shall be forwarded to the court;
where, however, I doubt whether it will be received with much credence.
The Austrian declaration of war has put the flatterers of royalty into
such spirits, that if the tocsin were sounding at this instant, they would
not believe in the danger. We have been unfortunately forced to send the
chief part of the garrison of Paris towards the frontier. But we have
three battalions of the Swiss guard within call at Courbevoie, and they
can be ready on the first emergency. Rely upon it, all will go well."

With this assurance I was forced to be content; but I relied much more
upon Mordecai and his Jewish intelligence. A despatch to London gave a
minute of this conversation before I laid my head on my pillow; and I
flung myself down, not without a glance at the tall roofs of the Tuileries,
and a reflection on how much the man escapes whose forehead has no wrinkle
from the diadem.

Within twenty four hours of this interview the ministry was dissolved!
Dumourier was gone posthaste to the command of one of the armies on the
frontier, merely to save his life from the mob, and I went to bed, in the
Place Vendôme, by the light of Lafayette burned in effigy in the centre of
the square. So much for popularity.

At dusk, on the memorable ninth of August, as I was sitting in a café of
the Palais Royal, listening to the mountain songs of a party of Swiss
minstrels in front of the door, Mendoza, passing through the crowd, made
me a signal; I immediately followed him to an obscure corner of one of the

"The insurrection is fixed for to-night," was his startling announcement.
"At twelve by the clock of Notre-Dame, all the sections will be under
arms. The Jacobin club, the club of the Cordeliers, and the Faubourg St
Antoine, are the alarm posts. The Marseillais are posted at the Cordeliers,
and are to head the attack. Danton is already among them, and has
published this address.

He gave me the placard. It was brief and bold.

"Citizens--The country is betrayed. France is in the hands of her enemies.
The Austrians are advancing. Our troops are retreating, and Paris must be
defended by her brave sons alone. But we have traitors in the camp. Our
legislators are their accomplices: Lafayette, the slave of kings, has been
suffered to escape; but the nation must be avenged. The perfidious Louis
is about to follow his example and fly, after having devoted the capital
to conflagration. Delay a moment, and you will have to fight by the flame
of your houses, and to bleed over the ashes of your wives and children.
March, and victory is yours. To arms! To arms!! To arms!!!"

"Does Danton lead the insurrection?"

"No--for two reasons: he is an incendiary but no soldier; and they cannot
trust him in case of success. A secret meeting of the heads of the party
was held two days since, to decide on a leader of the sections. It was
difficult, and had nearly been finished by the dagger. Billaud de Varennes,
Vanquelin, St Angely, and Danton, were successively proposed. Robespierre
objected to them all. At length an old German refugee, a beggar, but a
soldier, was fixed on; and Westerman is to take the command. By one
o'clock the tocsin is to be rung, and the insurgents are instantly to move
from all points on the Tuileries."

"What is the object?"

"The seizure, or death, of the King and Royal Family!"

"And the result of that object?"

"The proclamation of a Republic!"

"Is this known at the palace?"

"Not a syllable. All there are in perfect security; to communicate
intelligence there is not in my department."

As I looked at the keen eye and dark physiognomy of my informant, there
was an expression of surprise in mine at this extraordinary coolness,
which saved me the trouble of asking the question.

"You doubt me," said he, "you feel distrust of information unpaid and
voluntary. But I have been ordered by Mordecai, the chief of our tribe in
England, to watch over you; and this information is a part of my obedience
to the command." He suddenly darted away.

Notwithstanding the steadiness of his assertions I still doubted their
probability, and, to examine the point for myself, I strayed towards the
palace. All there was tranquil; a few lights were scattered through the
galleries, but every sound of life, much less of watchfulness and
preparation, was still. The only human beings in sight were some
dismounted cavalry, and a battalion of the national guard, lounging: about
the square. As I found it impossible to think of rest until the truth or
falsehood of my information was settled, I next wandered along the
Boulevarde, in the direction of the Faubourg St Antoine, the focus of all
the tumults of Paris; but all along this fine avenue was hushed as if a
general slumber had fallen over the city. The night was calm, and the air
was a delicious substitute for the hot and reeking atmosphere of this
populous quarter in the day. I saw no gathering of the populace; no
hurrying torches. I heard no clash of arms, nor tramp of marching men; all
lay beneath the young moon, which, near her setting, touched the whole
scene with a look of soft and almost melancholy quietude. The character of
my Israelite friend began to fall rapidly in the scale, and I had made up
my mind that insurrection had gone to its slumbers for that night; when,
as I was returning by the _Place de Bastile_, and was passing under the
shadow of one of the huge old houses that then surrounded that scene of
hereditary terror, two men, who had been loitering beside the parapet of
the fosse, suddenly started forward and planted themselves in my way. I
flung one of them aside, but the other grasped my arm, and, drawing a
dagger, told me that my life was at his mercy. His companion giving a
signal, a group of fierce-looking fellows started from their
lurking-places; and of course further resistance was out of the question.
I was ordered to follow them, and regarding myself as having nothing to
fear, yet uneasy at the idea of compulsion, I remonstrated, but in vain;
and was finally led through a labyrinth of horrid alleys, to what I now
found to be the headquarters of the insurrection. It was an immense
building, which had probably been a manufactory, but was now filled with
the leaders of the mob. The few torches which were its only light, and
which scarcely showed the roof and extremity of the building, were,
however, enough to show heaps of weapons of every kind--muskets, sabres,
pikes, and even pitchforks and scythes, thrown on the floor. On one side,
raised on a sort of desk, was a ruffianly figure flinging placards to the
crowd below, and often adding some savage comment on their meaning, which
produced a general laugh. Flags inscribed with "Liberty Bread or
Blood--Down with the Tyrant"--and that comprehensive and peculiarly
favourite motto of the mob--"May the last of the kings be strangled with
the entrails of the last of the priests," were hung from the walls in all
quarters; and in the centre of the floor were ranged three pieces of
artillery surrounded by their gunners. I now fully acknowledged the
exactness of Mendoza's information; and began to feel considerable
uncertainty about my own fate in the midst of a horde of armed ruffians,
who came pouring in more thickly every moment, and seemed continually more
ferocious. At length I was ordered to go forward to a sort of platform at
the head of the hall, where some candles were still burning, and the
remnants of a supper gave signs that there had been gathered the chief
persons of this tremendous assemblage. A brief interrogatory from one of
them armed to the teeth, and with a red cap so low down on his bushy brows
as almost wholly to disguise his physiognomy, enquired my name, my
business in Paris, and especially what I had to allege against my being
shot as a spy in the pay of the Tuileries. My answers were drowned in the
roar of the multitude. Still, I protested firmly against this summary
trial, and at length threatened them with the vengeance of my country.
This might be heroic, but it was injudicious. Patriotism is a fiery affair,
and a circle of pistols and daggers ready prepared for action, and roused
by the word to execute popular justice on me, waited but the signal from
the platform. Their leader rose with some solemnity, and taking off his
cap, to give the ceremonial a more authentic aspect, declared me to have
forfeited the right to live, by acting the part of an _espion_, and
ordered me to be shot in "front of the leading battalion of the army of
vengeance." The decree was so unexpected, that for the instant I felt
absolutely paralyzed. The sight left my eyes, my ears tingled with strange
sounds, and I almost felt as if I had received the shots of the ruffians,
who now, incontrollable in their first triumph, were firing their pistols
in all directions in the air. But at the moment, so formidable to my
future career, I heard the sound of the clock of Notre Dame. I felt a
sudden return of my powers and recollections, but the hands of my
assassins were already upon me. The sound of the general signal for their
march produced a rush of the crowd towards the gate, I took advantage of
the confusion, struck down one of my captors, shook off the other, and
plunged into the living torrent that was now pouring and struggling before

But even when I reached the open air--and never did I feel its freshness
with a stronger sense of revival--I was still in the midst of the
multitude, and any attempt to make my way alone would have obviously been
death. Thus was I carried on along the Boulevarde, in the heart of a
column of a hundred thousand maniacs, trampled, driven, bruised by the
rabble, and deafened with shouts, yells, and cries of vengeance, until my
frame was a fever and my brain scarcely less than a frenzy.

That terrible morning gave the deathblow to the mighty monarchy of the
Bourbons. The throne was so shaken by the popular arm, that though it
preserved a semblance of its original shape, a breath was sufficient to
cast it to the ground. I have no heart for the recital. Even now I can
scarcely think of that tremendous pageant of popular fantasy, fury, and
the very passion of crime; or bring to my mind's eye that column, which
seemed then to be boundless and endless, with the glare of its torches,
the rattle of its drums, the grinding of its cannon-wheels, as we rushed
along the causeway, from time to time stopping to fire, as a summons to
the other districts, and as a note of exultation; or the perpetual, sullen,
and deep roar of the populace--without a thrilling sense of perplexity and

Long before daybreak we had swept all minor resistance before us,
plundered the arsenal of its arms, and taken possession of the Hotel de
Ville. The few troops who had kept guard at the different posts on our way,
had been captured without an effort, or joined the insurgents. But
intelligence now came that the palace was roused at last, that troops were
ordered from the country for its defence, and that the noblesse remaining
in the capital were crowding to the Tuileries. I stood beside Danton when
those tidings were brought to him. He flung up his cap in the air, with a
burst of laughter. "So much the better!" he exclaimed; "the closer the
preserve, the thicker the game." I had now a complete view of this hero of
democracy. His figure was herculean; his countenance, which possibly, in
his younger days, had been handsome, was now marked with the lines of
every passion and profligacy, but it was still commanding. His costume was
one which he had chosen for himself, and which was worn by his peculiar
troop; a short brown mantle, an under-robe with the arms naked to the
shoulder, a broad leathern belt loaded with pistols, a huge sabre in hand,
rusted from hilt to point, which he declared to have been stained with the
blood of aristocrats, and the republican red cap, which he frequently
waved in the air, or lifted on the point of his sabre as a standard. Yet,
in the midst of all this savage disorder of costume, I observed every hair
of his enormous whiskers to be curled with the care of a Parisian
_merveilleux_. It was the most curious specimen of the ruling passion that
I remember to have seen.

At the Hotel de Ville, Danton entered the hall with several of the
insurgents; and the crowd, unwilling to waste time, began to fire at the
little statues and insignia of the French kings, which ornamented this old
building. When this amusement palled--the French are easily
_ennuied_--they formed circles, and danced the Carmagnole. Rum and brandy,
largely introduced among them, gave them animation after their night's
watching, and they were fit for any atrocity. But the beating of drums,
and a rush to the balconies of the Hotel de Ville, told us that something
of importance was at hand; and, in the midst of a group of municipal
officers, Petion, the mayor of Paris, arrived. No man in France wore a
milder visage, or hid a blacker heart under it. He was received with
shouts, and after a show of resistance, just sufficient to confirm his
character for hypocrisy, suffered himself to be led to the front of the
grand balcony, bowing as the man of the people. Another followed, a
prodigious patriot, who had been placed at the head of the National Guard
for his popular sycophancy, but who, on being called on by the mob to
swear "death to the King;" and hesitating, felt the penalty of being
unprepared to go all lengths on the spot. I saw his throat cut, and his
body flung from the balcony. A cannon-shot gave the signal for the march,
and we advanced to the grand prize of the day. I can describe but little
more of the assault on the Tuileries, than that it was a scene of
desperate confusion on both sides. The front of the palace continually
covered with the smoke of fire-arms of all kinds, from all the casements;
and the front of the mob a similar cloud of smoke, under which men fired,
fled, fell, got drunk, and danced. Nothing could be more ferocious, or
more feeble. Some of the Sections utterly ran away on the first fire; but,
as they were unpursued, they returned by degrees, and joined the fray. It
may be presumed that I made many an effort to escape; but I was in the
midst of a battalion of the Faubourg St Antoine. I had already been
suspected, from having dropped several muskets in succession, which had
been thrust into my hands by the zeal of my begrimed comrades; and a
sabre-cut, which I had received from one of our mounted ruffians as he saw
me stepping to the rear, warned me that my time was not yet come to get
rid of the scene of revolt and bloodshed.

At length the struggle drew to a close. A rumour spread that the King had
left the palace, and gone to the Assembly. The cry was now on all
sides--"Advance, the day is our own!" The whole multitude rushed forward,
clashing their pikes and muskets, and firing their cannon, which were
worked by deserters from the royal troops; the Marseillais, a band of the
most desperate-looking ruffians that eye was ever set upon, chiefly
galley-slaves and the profligate banditti of a sea-port, led the column of
assault; and the sudden and extraordinary cessation of the fire from the
palace windows, seemed to promise a sure conquest. But, as the smoke
subsided, I saw a long line of troops, three deep, drawn up in front of
the chief entrance. Their scarlet uniforms showed that they were the Swiss.
The gendarmerie, the National Guard, the regular battalions, had abandoned
them, and their fate seemed inevitable. But there they stood, firm as iron.
Their assailants evidently recoiled; but the discharge of some
cannon-shots, which told upon the ranks of those brave and unfortunate men,
gave them new courage, and they poured onward. The voice of the Swiss
commandant giving the word to fire was heard, and it was followed by a
rolling discharge, from flank to flank, of the whole battalion. It was my
first experience of the effect of fire; and I was astonished at its
precision, rapidity, and deadly power. In an instant, almost the whole
troop of the Marseillais, in our front, were stretched upon the ground,
and every third man in the first line of the Sections was killed or
wounded. Before this shock could be recovered, we heard the word "fire"
again from the Swiss officer, and a second shower of bullets burst upon
our ranks. The Sections turned and fled in all directions, some by the
Pont Neuf, some by the Place Carrousel. The rout was complete; the terror,
the confusion, and the yelling of the wounded were horrible. The havoc was
increased by a party of the defenders of the palace, who descended into
the court and fell with desperation on the fugitives. I felt that now was
my time to escape, and darted behind one of the buttresses of a royal
_porte cachere_, to let the crowd pass me. The skirmishing continued at
intervals, and an officer in the uniform of the Royal Guard was struck
down by a shot close to my feet. As he rolled over, I recognised his
features. He was my young friend Lafontaine! With an inconceivable shudder
I looked on his pale countenance, and with the thought that he was killed
was mingled the thought of the misery which the tidings would bring to
fond ears in England. But as I drew the body within the shelter of the
gate, I found that he still breathed; he opened his eyes, and I had the
happiness, after waiting in suspense till the dusk covered our movements,
of conveying him to my hotel.

Of the remaining events of this most calamitous day, I know but what all
the world knows. It broke down the monarchy. It was the last struggle in
which a possibility existed of saving the throne. The gentlest of the
Bourbons was within sight of the scaffold. He had now only to retrieve his
character for personal virtue by laying down his head patiently under the
blade of the guillotine. His royal character was gone beyond hope, and all
henceforth was to be the trial of the legislature and the nation. Even
that trial was to be immediate, comprehensive, and condign. No people in
the history of rebellion ever suffered, so keenly or so rapidly, the
vengeance which belongs to national crimes. The saturnalia was followed by
massacre. A new and darker spirit of ferocity displayed itself, in a
darker and more degraded form, from hour to hour, until the democracy was
extinguished. Like the Scripture miracle of the demoniac--the spirits
which had once exhibited the shape of man, were transmitted into the shape
of the brute; and even the swine ran down by instinct, and perished in the

       *       *       *       *       *


    [12] CEYLON, AND ITS CAPABILITIES. BY J.W. Bennett, Esq. F.L.S.
    London Allen: 1843. With Plain and Coloured Illustrations. 4to.

There is in the science and process of colonization, as in every complex
act of man, a secret philosophy--which is first suspected through results,
and first expounded by experience. Here, almost more than any where else,
nature works in fellowship with man. Yet all nature is not alike suited to
the purposes of the early colonist; and all men are not alike qualified
for giving effect to the hidden capacities of nature. One system of
natural advantages is designed to have a long precedency of others; and
one race of men is selected and sealed for an eternal preference in this
function of colonizing to the very noblest of their brethren. As
colonization advances, that ground becomes eligible for culture--that
nature becomes full of promise--which in earlier stages of the science was
_not_ so; because the dreadful solitude becomes continually narrower under
the accelerated diffusion of men, which shortens the _space_ of
distance--under the strides of nautical science, which shortens the _time_
of distance--and under the eternal discoveries of civilization, which
combat with elementary nature. Again, in the other element of colonization,
races of men become known for what they are; the furnace has tried them
all; the truth has justified itself; and if, as at some great memorial
review of armies, some solemn _armilustrum_, the colonizing nations, since
1500, were now by name called up--France would answer not at all; Portugal
and Holland would stand apart with dejected eyes--dimly revealing the
legend of _Fuit Ilium_; Spain would be seen sitting in the distance, and,
like Judæa on the Roman coins, weeping under her palm-tree in the vast
regions of the Orellana; whilst the British race would be heard upon every
wind, coming on with mighty hurrahs, full of power and tumult, as some
"hail-stone chorus,"[13] and crying aloud to the five hundred millions of
Burmah, China, Japan, and the infinite islands, to make ready their paths
before them. Already a ground-plan, or ichnography, has been laid down of
the future colonial empire. In three centuries, already some outline has
been sketched, rudely adumbrating the future settlement destined for the
planet, some infant castrametation has been marked out for the future
encampment of nations. Enough has been already done to show the course by
which the tide is to flow, to prefigure for languages their proportions,
and for nations to trace their distribution.

    [13] "Hailstone chorus:"--Handel's Israel in Egypt.

In this movement, so far as it regards man, in this machinery for sifting
and winnowing the merits of races, there is a system of marvellous means,
which by its very simplicity masks and hides from us the wise profundity
of its purpose. Often-times, in wandering amongst the inanimate world, the
philosopher is disposed to say--this plant, this mineral, this fruit, is
met with so often, not because it is better than others of the same family,
perhaps it is worse, but because its resources for spreading and
naturalizing itself, are, by accident, greater than theirs. That same
analogy he finds repeated in the great drama of colonization. It is not,
says he pensively to himself, the success which measures the merit. It is
not that nature, or that providence, has any final cause at work in
disseminating these British children over every zone and climate of the
earth. Oh, no! far from it! But it is the unfair advantages of these
islanders, which carry them thus potently a-head. Is it so, indeed?
Philosopher, you are wrong. Philosopher, you are envious. You speak
Spanish, philosopher, or even French. Those advantages, which you suppose
to disturb the equities of the case--were they not products of British
energy? Those twenty-five thousand of ships, whose graceful shadows darken
the blue waters in every climate--did they build themselves? That myriad
of acres, laid out in the watery cities of docks--were they sown by the
rain, as the fungus or the daisy? Britain _has_ advantages at this stage
of the race, which make the competition no longer equal--henceforwards it
has become gloriously "unfair"--but at starting we were all equal. Take
this truth from us, philosopher; that in such contests the power
constitutes the title, the man that has the ability to go a-head, is the
man entitled to go a-head; and the nation that _can_ win the place of
leader, is the nation that ought to do so.

This colonizing genius of the British people appears upon a grand scale in
Australia, Canada, and, as we may remind the else forgetful world, in the
United States of America; which States are our children, prosper by our
blood, and have ascended to an overshadowing altitude from an infancy
tended by ourselves. But on the fields of India it is, that our aptitudes
for colonization have displayed themselves most illustriously, because
they were strengthened by violent resistance. We found many kingdoms
established, and to these we have given unity; and in process of doing so,
by the necessities of the general welfare, or the mere instincts of
self-preservation, we have transformed them to an empire, rising like an
exhalation, of our own--a mighty monument of our own superior civilization.

Ceylon, as a virtual dependency of India, ranks in the same category.
There also we have prospered by resistance; there also we have succeeded
memorably where other nations memorably failed. Of Ceylon, therefore, now
rising annually into importance, let us now (on occasion of this splendid
book, the work of one officially connected with the island, bound to it
also by affectionate ties of services rendered, not less than of unmerited
persecutions suffered) offer a brief, but rememberable account; of Ceylon
in itself, and of Ceylon in its relations historical or economic, to

Mr Bennett says of it, with more and less of doubt, three things--of which
any one would be sufficient to detain a reader's attention; viz., 1. That
it is the Taprobane of the Romans; 2. That it was, or has been thought to
be, the Paradise of Scripture; 3. That it is "the most magnificent of the
British _insular_ possessions," or in yet wider language, that it is an
"incomparable colony." This last count in the pretensions of Ceylon is
quite indisputable; Ceylon is in fact already, Ceylon is at this moment, a
gorgeous jewel in the imperial crown; and yet, compared with what it may
be, with what it will be, with what it ought to be, Ceylon is but that
grain of mustard-seed which hereafter is destined to become the stately
tree,[14] where the fowls of heaven will lodge for generations. Great are
the promises of Ceylon; great already her performances. Great are the
possessions of Ceylon, far greater her reversions. Rich she is by her
developments, richer by her endowments. She combines the luxury of the
tropics with the sterner gifts of our own climate. She is hot; she is cold.
She is civilized; she is barbarous. She has the resources of the rich; and
she has the energies of the poor.

    [14] St Mark, iv. 31, 32.

But for Taprobane, but for Paradise, we have a word of dissent. Mr Bennett
is well aware that many men in many ages have protested against the
possibility that Ceylon could realize _all_ the conditions involved in the
ancient Taprobane. Milton, it is true, with other excellent scholars, has
_insinuated_ his belief that probably Taprobane is Ceylon; when our
Saviour in the wilderness sees the great vision of Roman power, expressed,
_inter alia_, by high officers of the Republic flocking to, or from, the
gates of Rome, and "embassies from regions far remote," crowding the
Appian or the Emilian roads, some

  "From the Asian kings, and Parthian amongst these;
  From India and the golden Chersonese,
  And utmost Indian isle Taprobane
         *       *       *       *       *
  Dusk faces with white silken turbans wreathed;"

it is probable, from the mention of this island Taprobane following so
closely after that of the Malabar peninsula, that Milton held it to be the
island of Ceylon, and not of Sumatra. In this he does but follow the
stream of geographical critics; and, upon the whole, if any one island
exclusively is to be received for the Roman Taprobane, doubt there can be
none that Ceylon has the superior title. But, as we know that, in regions
less remote from Rome, _Mona_ did not always mean the Isle of Man, nor
_Ultima Thule_ uniformly the Isle of Skye or of St Kilda--so it is pretty
evident that features belonging to Sumatra, and probably to other oriental
islands, blended (through mutual misconceptions of the parties, questioned
and questioning) into one semi-fabulous object not entirely realized in
any locality whatever. The case is precisely as if Cosmas Indicopleustes,
visiting Scotland in the sixth century, should have placed the scene of
any adventure in a town distant six miles from Glasgow and eight miles
from Edinburgh. These we know to be irreconcilable conditions, such as
cannot meet in any town whatever, past or present. But in such a case many
circumstances might, notwithstanding, combine to throw a current of very
strong suspicion upon Hamilton as the town concerned. On the same
principle, it is easy to see that most of those Romans who spoke of
Taprobane had Ceylon in their eye. But that all had not, and of those who
really _had_, that some indicated by their facts very different islands,
whilst designing to indicate Ceylon, is undeniable; since, amongst other
imaginary characteristics of Taprobane, they make it extend considerably
to the south of the line. Now, with respect to Ceylon, this is notoriously
false; that island lies entirely in the northern tropic, and does not come
within five (hardly more than six) degrees of the equator. Plain it is,
therefore, that Taprobane, it construed very strictly, is an _ens
rationis_, made up by fanciful composition from various sources, and much
like our own mediæval conceit of Prester John's country, or the fancies
(which have but recently vanished) of the African river Niger, and the
golden city Tombuctoo. These were lies; and yet also, in a limited sense,
they were truths. They were expansions, often fabulous and impossible,
engrafted upon some basis of fact by the credulity of the traveller, or
subsequently by misconception of the scholar. For instance, as to
Tombuctoo, Leo Africanus had authorized men to believe in some vast
African city, central to that great continent, and a focus to some mighty
system of civilization. Others, improving on that chimera, asserted, that
this glorious city represented an inheritance derived from ancient
Carthage; here, it was said, survived the arts and arms of that injured
state; hither, across Bilidulgerid, had the children of Phoenicia fled
from the wrath of Rome; and the mighty phantom of him whose uplifted
truncheon had pointed its path to the carnage of Cannæ, was still the
tutelary genius watching over a vast posterity worthy of himself. Here was
a wilderness of lies; yet, after all, the lies were but so many voluminous
_fasciæ_, enveloping the mummy of an original truth. Mungo Park came, and
the city of Tombuctoo was shown to be a real existence. Seeing was
believing. And yet, if, before the time of Park, you had avowed a belief
in Tombuctoo, you would have made yourself an indorser of that huge
forgery which had so long circulated through the forum of Europe, and, in
fact, a party to the total fraud.

We have thought it right to direct the reader's eye upon this correction
of the common problem as to this or that place--Ceylon for
example--answering to this or that classical name--because, in fact, the
problem is more subtle than it appears to be. If you are asked whether you
believe in the unicorn, undoubtedly you are within the _letter_ of the
truth in replying that you do; for there are several varieties of large
animals which carry a single horn in the forehead.[15] But, _virtually_, by
such an answer you would countenance a falsehood or a doubtful legend,
since you are well aware that, in the idea of an unicorn, your questioner
included the whole traditionary character of the unicorn, as an antagonist
and emulator of the lion, &c.; under which fanciful description, this
animal is properly ranked with the griffin, the mermaid, the basilisk, the
dragon--and sometimes discussed in a supplementary chapter by the current
zoologies, under the idea of heraldic and apocryphal natural history. When
asked, therefore, whether Ceylon is Taprobane, the true answer is, not by
affirmation simply, nor by negation simply, but by both at once; it is,
and it is not. Taprobane includes much of what belongs to Ceylon, but also
more, and also less. And this case is a type of many others standing in
the same logical circumstances.

    [15] _Unicorn_: and strange it is, that, in ancient dilapidated
    monuments of the Ceylonese, religious sculptures, &c., the unicorn
    of Scotland frequently appears according to its true heraldic
    (_i.e._ fabulous) type.

But, secondly, as to Ceylon being the local representative of Paradise, we
may say, as the courteous Frenchman did to Dr Moore, upon the Doctor's
apologetically remarking of a word which he had used, that he feared it
was not good French--"Non, Monsieur, il n'est pas; mais il mérite bien
l'être." Certainly, if Ceylon was not, at least it ought to have been,
Paradise; for at this day there is no place on earth which better supports
the paradisiacal character (always excepting Lapland, as an Upsal
professor observes, and Wapping, as an old seaman reminds us) than this
Pandora of islands, which the Hindoos call Lanka, and Europe calls Ceylon.
We style it the "Pandora" of islands, because, as all the gods of the
heathen clubbed their powers in creating that ideal woman--clothing her
with perfections, and each separate deity subscribing to her dowery some
separate gift--not less conspicuous, and not less comprehensive, has been
the bounty of Providence, running through the whole diapason of
possibilities, to this all-gorgeous island. Whatsoever it is that God has
given by separate allotment and partition to other sections of the planet,
all this he has given cumulatively and redundantly to Ceylon. Was she
therefore happy, was Ceylon happier than other regions, through this
hyper-tropical munificence of her Creator? No, she was not; and the reason
was, because idolatrous darkness had planted curses where Heaven had
planted blessings; because the insanity of man had defeated the
graciousness of God. But another era is dawning for Ceylon; God will now
countersign his other blessings, and ripen his possibilities into great
harvests of realization, by superadding the one blessing of a dovelike
religion; light is thickening apace, the horrid altars of Moloch are
growing dim; woman will no more consent to forego her birthright as the
daughter of God; man will cease to be the tiger-cat that, in the _noblest_
chamber of Ceylon, he has ever been; and with the new hopes that will now
blossom amidst the ancient beauties of this lovely island, Ceylon will but
too deeply fulfill the functions of a paradise. Too subtly she will lay
fascinations upon man; and it will need all the anguish of disease, and
the stings of death, to unloose the ties which, in coming ages, must bind
the hearts of her children to this Eden of the terraqueous globe.

Yet if, apart from all bravuras of rhetoric, Mr Bennett seriously presses
the question regarding Paradise as a question in geography, we are sorry
that we must vote against Ceylon, for the reason that heretofore we have
pledged ourselves in print to vote in favour of Cashmeer; which beautiful
vale, by the way, is omitted in Mr Bennett's list of the candidates for
that distinction already entered upon the roll. Supposing the Paradise of
Scripture to have had a local settlement upon our earth, and not in some
extra-terrene orb, even in that case we cannot imagine that any thing
could now survive, even so much as an angle or a curve, of its original
outline. All rivers have altered their channels; many are altering them
for ever.[16] Longitude and latitude might be assigned, at the most, if
even those are not substantially defeated by the Miltonic "pushing askance"
of the poles with regard to the equinoctial. But, finally, we remark, that
whereas human nature has ever been prone to the superstition of local
consecrations and personal idolatries, by means of memorial relics,
apparently it is the usage of God to hallow such remembrances by removing,
abolishing, and confounding all traces of their punctual identities.
_That_ raises them to shadowy powers. By that process such remembrances
pass from the state of base sensual signs, ministering only to a sensual
servitude, into the state of great ideas--mysterious as spirituality is
mysterious, and permanent as truth is permanent. Thus it is, and therefore
it is, that Paradise has vanished; Luz is gone; Jacob's ladder is found
only as an apparition in the clouds; the true cross survives no more among
the Roman Catholics than the true ark is mouldering upon Ararat; no
scholar can lay his hand upon Gethsemane; and for the grave of Moses the
son of Amram, mightiest of lawgivers, though it is somewhere near Mount
Nebo, and in a valley of Moab, yet eye has not been suffered to behold it,
and "no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day."[17]

    [16] See Dr Robison on _Rivers_.

    [17] Deut. xxxiv. 6.

If, however as to Paradise in connexion with Ceylon we are forced to say
"_No_," if as to Taprobane in connexion with Ceylon we say both "_Yes_"
and "_No_,"--not the less we come back with a reiterated "_Yes, yes, yes_,"
upon Ceylon as the crest and eagle's plume of the Indies, as the priceless
pearl, the ruby without a flaw, and (once again we say it) as the Pandora
of oriental islands.

Yet ends so glorious imply means of corresponding power; and advantages so
comprehensive cannot be sustained unless by a machinery proportionately
elaborate. Part of this machinery lies in the miraculous climate of Ceylon.
Climate? She has all climates. Like some rare human favourite of nature,
scattered at intervals along the line of a thousand years, who has been
gifted so variously as to seem

  "Not one, but all mankind's epitome,"

Ceylon, in order that she might become capable of products without end,
has been made an abstract of the whole earth, and fitted up as a
_panorganon_ for modulating through the whole diatonic scale of climates.
This is accomplished in part by her mountains. No island has mountains so
high. It was the hideous oversight of a famous infidel in the last century,
that, in supposing an Eastern prince _of necessity_ to deny frost and ice
as things impossible to _his_ experience, he betrayed too palpably his own
non-acquaintance with the grand economies of nature. To make acquaintance
with cold, and the products of cold, obviously he fancied it requisite to
travel northwards; to taste of polar power, he supposed it indispensable
to have advanced towards the pole. Narrow was the knowledge in those days,
when a master in Israel might have leave to err thus grossly. Whereas, at
present, few are the people, amongst those not openly making profession of
illiteracy, who do not know that a sultan of the tropics--ay, though his
throne were screwed down by exquisite geometry to the very centre of the
equator--might as surely become familiar with winter by ascending three
miles in altitude, as by travelling three thousand horizontally. In that
way of ascent, it is that Ceylon has her regions of winter and her Arctic
districts. She has her Alps, and she has her alpine tracts for supporting
human life and useful vegetation. Adam's Peak, which of itself is more
than seven thousand feet high, (and by repute the highest range within her
shores,) has been found to rank only fifth in the mountain scale. The
highest is a thousand feet higher. The maritime district, which runs round
the island for a course of nine hundred miles, fanned by the sea-breezes,
makes, with these varying elevations, a vast cycle of secondary
combinations for altering the temperature and for _adapting_ the weather.
The central region has a separate climate of its own. And an inner belt of
country, neither central nor maritime, which from the sea belt is regarded
as inland, but from the centre is regarded as maritime, composes another
chamber of climates: whilst these again, each individually within its
class, are modified into minor varieties by local circumstances as to wind,
by local accidents of position, and by shifting stages of altitude.

With all this compass of power, however, (obtained from its hills and its
varying scale of hills,) Ceylon has not much of waste ground, in the sense
of being irreclaimable--for of waste ground, in the sense of being
unoccupied, she has an infinity. What are the dimensions of Ceylon? Of all
islands in this world which we know, in respect of size it most resembles
Ireland, being about one-sixth part less. But, for a particular reason, we
choose to compare it with Scotland, which is very little different in
dimensions from Ireland, having (by some hundred or two of square miles) a
trifling advantage in extent. Now, say that Scotland contains a trifle more
than thirty thousand square miles, the relation of Ceylon to Scotland will
become apparent when we mention that this Indian island contains about
twenty-four thousand five hundred of similar square miles. Twenty-four and
a half to thirty--or forty-nine to sixty--there lies the ratio of Ceylon to
Scotland. The ratio in population is not less easily remembered: Scotland
has _now_ (October 1843) hard upon three millions of people: Ceylon, by a
late census, has just three _half_ millions. But strange indeed, where
every thing seems strange, is the arrangement of this Ceylonese territory
and people. Take a peach: what you call the flesh of the peach, the
substance which you eat, is massed orbicularly around a central
stone--often as large as a pretty large strawberry. Now in Ceylon, the
central district, answering to this peach-stone, constitutes a fierce
little Liliputian kingdom, quite independent, through many centuries, of
the lazy belt, the peach-flesh, which swathes and enfolds it, and perfectly
distinct by the character and origin of its population. The peach-stone is
called Kandy, and the people Kandyans. These are a desperate variety of the
tiger-man, agile and fierce as he is, though smooth, insinuating, and full
of subtlety as a snake, even to the moment of crouching for their last
fatal spring. On the other hand the people of the engirdling zone are
called the Cinghalese, spelled according to fancy of us authors and
compositors, who legislate for the spelling of the British empire, with an
S or a C. As to moral virtue, in the sense of integrity or fixed principle,
there is not much lost upon either race: in that point they are "much of a
muchness." They are also both respectable for their attainments in
cowardice; but with this difference, that the Cinghalese are soft, inert,
passive cowards: but your Kandyan is a ferocious little bloody coward, full
of mischief as a monkey, grinning with desperation, laughing like a hyena,
or chattering if you vex him, and never to be trusted for a moment. The
reader now understands why we described the Ceylonese man as a tiger-cat in
his noblest division: for, after all, these dangerous gentlemen in the
peach-stone are a more promising race than the silky and nerveless
population surrounding them. You can strike no fire out of the Cinghalese:
but the Kandyans show fight continually, and would even persist in
fighting, if there were in this world no gunpowder, (which exceedingly they
dislike,) and if their allowance of arrack were greater.

Surely this is the very strangest spectacle exhibited on earth: a kingdom
within a kingdom, an _imperium in imperio_, settled and maintaining itself
for centuries in defiance of all that Pagan, that Mahommedan, that Jew, or
that Christian, could do. The reader will remember the case of the British
envoy to Geneva, who being ordered in great wrath to "quit the territories
of the republic in twenty-four hours," replied, "By all means: in ten
minutes." And here was a little bantam kingdom, not much bigger than the
irate republic, having its separate sultan, with full-mounted
establishment of peacock's feathers, white elephants, Moorish eunuchs,
armies, cymbals, dulcimers, and all kinds of music, tormentors, and
executioners; whilst his majesty crowed defiance across the ocean to all
other kings, rajahs, soldans, kesars, "flowery" emperors, and
"golden-feet," east or west, be the same more or less; and really with
some reason. For though it certainly _is_ amusing to hear of a kingdom no
bigger than Stirlingshire with the half of Perthshire, standing erect and
maintaining perpetual war with all the rest of Scotland, a little nucleus
of pugnacity, sixty miles by twenty-four, rather more than a match for the
lazy lubber, nine hundred miles long, that dandled it in its arms; yet, as
the trick was done, we cease to find it ridiculous.

For the trick _was_ done: and that reminds us to give the history of
Ceylon in its two sections, which will not prove much longer than the
history of Tom Thumb. Precisely three centuries before Waterloo, viz.
_Anno Domini_ 1515, a Portuguese admiral hoisted his sovereign's flag, and
formed a durable settlement at Columbo, which was, and is, considered the
maritime capital of the island. Very nearly halfway on the interval of
time between this event and Waterloo, viz. in 1656 (ante-penultimate year
of Cromwell,) the Portuguese nation made over, by treaty, this settlement
to the Dutch; which, of itself, seems to mark that the sun of the former
people was now declining to the west. In 1796, now forty-seven years ago,
it arose out of the French revolutionary war--so disastrous for
Holland--that the Dutch surrendered it per force to the British, who are
not very likely to surrender it in _their_ turn on any terms, or at any
gentleman's request. Up to this time, when Ceylon passed under our flag,
it is to be observed that no progress whatever, not the least, had been
made in mastering the peach-stone, that old central nuisance of the island.
The little monster still crowed, and flapped his wings on his dunghill, as
had been his custom always in the afternoon for certain centuries. But
nothing on earth is immortal: even mighty bantams must have their decline
and fall; and omens began to show out that soon there would be a dust with
the new master at Columbo. Seven years after our _debut_ on that stage,
the dust began. By the way, it is perhaps an impertinence to remark it,
but there certainly _is_ a sympathy between the motions of the Kandyan
potentate and our European enemy Napoleon. Both pitched into _us_ in 1803,
and we pitched into both in 1815. That we call a coincidence. How the row
began was thus: some incomprehensible intrigues had been proceeding for a
time between the British governor or commandant, or whatever he might be,
and the Kandyan prime minister. This minister, who was a noticeable man,
with large grey eyes, was called _Pilamé Tilawé_. We write his name after
Mr Bennett: but it is quite useless to study the pronunciation of it,
seeing that he was hanged in 1812 (the year of Moscow)--a fact for which
we are thankful as often as we think of it. _Pil_. (surely _Tilawé_ cannot
be pronounced Garlic?) managed to get the king's head into Chancery, and
then fibbed him. Why Major-General M'Dowall (then commanding our forces)
should collude with Pil Garlic, is past our understanding. But so it was.
_Pil_. said that a certain prince, collaterally connected with the royal
house, by name Mootto Sawmé, who had fled to our protection, was, or might
be thought to be, the lawful king. Upon which the British general
proclaimed him. What followed is too shocking to dwell upon. Scarcely had
Mootto, apparently a good creature, been inaugurated, when _Pil_. proposed
his deposition, to which General M'Dowall consented, and his own (_Pil.'s_)
elevation to the throne. It is like a dream to say, that this also was
agreed to. King Pil. the First, and, God be thanked! the last, was raised
to the--_musnud_, we suppose, or whatsoever they call it in Pil.'s jargon.
So far there was little but farce; now comes the tragedy. A certain Major
Davie was placed with a very inconsiderable garrison in the capital of the
Kandyan empire, called by name Kandy. This officer, whom Mr Bennett
somewhere calls the "gallant," capitulated upon terms, and had the
inconceivable folly to imagine that a base Kandyan chief would think
himself bound by these terms. One of them was--that he (Major Davie) and
his troops should be allowed to retreat unmolested upon Columbo.
Accordingly, fully armed and accoutred, the British troops began their
march. At Wattépolowa a proposal was made to Major Davie, that Mootto
Sawmé (our _protégé_ and instrument) should be delivered up to the Kandyan
tiger. Oh! sorrow for the British name! he _was_ delivered. Soon after a
second proposal came, that the British soldiers should deliver up their
arms, and should march back to Kandy. It makes an Englishman shiver with
indignation to hear that even this demand was complied with. Let us pause
for one moment. Wherefore is it, that in all similar cases, in this
Ceylonese case, in Major Baillie's Mysore case, in the Cabool case,
uniformly the privates are wiser than their officers? In a case of
delicacy or doubtful policy, certainly the officers would have been the
party best able to solve the difficulties; but in a case of elementary
danger, where manners disappear, and great passions come upon the stage,
strange it is that poor men, labouring men, men without education, always
judge more truly of the crisis than men of high refinement. But this was
seen by Wordsworth--thus spoke he, thirty-six years ago, of Germany,
contrasted with the Tyrol:--

  "Her haughty schools
  Shall blush; and may not we with sorrow say--
  A few strong instincts, and a few plain rules,
  Among the herdsmen of the Alps, have wrought
  More for mankind at this unhappy day
  Than all the pride of intellect and thought."

The regiment chiefly concerned was the 19th, (for which regiment the word
_Wattépolowa_, the scene of their martyrdom, became afterwards a memorial
war-cry.) Still, to this hour, it forces tears of wrath into our eyes when
we read the recital of the case. A dozen years ago we first read it in a
very interesting book, published by the late Mr Blackwood--the Life of
Alexander. This Alexander was not personally present at the
bloody catastrophe; but he was in Ceylon at the time, and knew the one
sole fugitive[18] from that fatal day. The soldiers of the 19th, not even
in that hour of horror, forgot their discipline, or their duty, or their
respectful attachment to their officers. When they were ordered to ground
their arms, (oh, base idiot that could issue such an order!) they
remonstrated most earnestly, but most respectfully. Major Davie, agitated
and distracted by the scene, himself recalled the order. The men resumed
their arms. Alas! again the fatal order was issued; again it was recalled;
but finally, it was issued peremptorily. The men sorrowfully obeyed. We
hurry to the odious conclusion. In parties of twos and of threes, our
brave countrymen were called out by the horrid Kandyan tiger cats.
Disarmed by the frenzy of their moonstruck commander, what resistance
could they make? One after one the parties, called out to suffer, were
decapitated by the executioner. The officers, who had refused to give up
their pistols, finding what was going on, blew out their brains with their
own hands, now too bitterly feeling how much wiser had been the poor
privates than themselves. At length there was stillness on the field.
Night had come on. All were gone--

  "And darkness was the buryer of the dead."

    [18] _Fugitive_, observe. There were some others, and amongst them
    Major Davie, who, for private reasons, were suffered to survive as

The reader may recollect a most picturesque murder near Manchester, about
thirteen or fourteen years ago, perpetrated by two brothers named McKean,
where a servant woman, whose throat had been effectually cut, rose up,
after an interval, from the ground at a most critical moment, (so critical,
that, by that act, and at that second of time, she drew off the murderer's
hand from the throat of a second victim,) staggered, in her delirium, to
the door of a room where sometime a club had been held, doubtless under
some idea of obtaining aid, and at the door, after walking some fifty feet,
dropped down dead. Not less astonishing was the resurrection, as it might
be called, of an English corporal, cut, mangled, remangled, and left
without sign of life. Suddenly he rose up, stiff and gory; dying and
delirious, as he felt himself, with misery from exhaustion and wounds, he
swam rivers, threaded enemies, and moving day and night, came suddenly
upon an army of Kandyans; here he prepared himself with pleasure for the
death that now seemed inevitable, when, by a fortunate accident, for want
of a fitter man, he was selected as an ambassador to the English officer
commanding a Kandyan garrison--and thus once more escaped miraculously.

Sometimes, when we are thinking over the great scenes of tragedy through
which Europe passed from 1805 to 1815, suddenly, from the bosom of utter
darkness, a blaze of light arises; a curtain is drawn up; a saloon is
revealed. We see a man sitting there alone, in an attitude of alarm and
expectation. What does he expect? What is it that he fears? He is
listening for the chariot-wheels of a fugitive army. At intervals he
raises his head--and we know him now for the Abbé de Pradt--the place,
Warsaw--the time, early in December 1812. All at once the rushing of
cavalry is heard; the door is thrown open; a stranger enters. We see, as
in Cornelius Agrippa's mirror, his haggard features; it is a momentary
king, having the sign of a felon's death written secretly on his brow; it
is Murat; he raises his hands with a gesture of horror as he advances to M.
l'Abbé. We hear his words--_"L'Abbé, all is lost!"_

Even so, when the English soldier, reeling from his anguish and weariness,
was admitted into the beleaguered fortress, his first words, more homely
in expression than Murat's, were to the same dreadful purpose--"Your
honour," he said, "all is dished;" and this being uttered by way of
prologue, he then delivered himself of the message with which he had been
charged, and _that_ was a challenge from the Kandyan general to come out
and fight without aid from his artillery. The dismal report was just in
time; darkness was then coming on. The English officer spiked his guns;
and, with his garrison, fled by night from a fort in which else he would
have perished by starvation or by storm, had Kandyan forces been equal to
such an effort. This corporal was, strictly speaking, the only man who
_escaped_, one or two other survivors having been reserved as captives,
for some special reasons. Of this captive party was Major Davie, the
commander, whom Mr Bennett salutes by the title of "gallant," and regrets
that "the strong arm of death" had intercepted his apology.

He could have made no apology. Plea or palliation he had none. To have
polluted the British honour in treacherously yielding up to murder (and
absolutely for nothing in return) a prince, whom we ourselves had seduced
into rebellion--to have forced his men and officers into laying down their
arms, and sueing for the mercy of wretches the most perfidious on earth;
these were acts as to which atonement or explanation was hopeless for
_him_, forgiveness impossible for England. So this man is to be called
"the gallant"--is he? We will thank Mr Bennett to tell us, who was that
officer subsequently seen walking about in Ceylon, no matter whether in
Western Columbo, or in Eastern Trincomalé, long enough for reaping his
dishonour, though, by accident, not for a court-martial? Behold, what a
curse rests in this British island upon those men, who, when the clock of
honour has sounded the hour for their departure, cannot turn their dying
eyes nobly to the land of their nativity--stretch out their hands to the
glorious island in farewell homage, and say with military pride--as even
the poor gladiators (who were but slaves) said to Cæsar, when they passed
his chair to their death "Morituri te salutamus!" This man and Mr Bennett
knows it, because he was incrusted with the leprosy of cowardice, and
because upon him lay the blood of those to whom he should have been _in
loco parentis_, made a solitude wherever he appeared, men ran from him as
from an incarnation of pestilence; and between him and free intercourse
with his countrymen, from the hour of his dishonour in the field, to the
hour of his death, there flowed a river of separation--there were
stretched lines of interdict heavier than ever Pope ordained--there
brooded a schism like that of death, a silence like that of the grave;
making known for ever the deep damnation of the infamy, which on this
earth settles upon the troubled resting-place of him, who, through
cowardice, has shrunk away from his duty, and, on the day of trial, has
broken the bond which bound him to his country.

Surely there needed no arrear of sorrow to consummate this disaster. Yet
two aggravations there were, which afterwards transpired, irritating the
British soldiers to madness. One was soon reported, viz. that 120 sick or
wounded men, lying in an hospital, had been massacred without a motive, by
the children of hell with whom we were contending. The other was not
discovered until 1815. Then first it became known, that in the whole
stores of the Kandyan government, (_à fortiori_ then in the particular
section of the Kandyan forces which we faced,) there had not been more
gunpowder remaining at the hour of Major Davie's infamous capitulation
than 750 lbs. avoirdupois; other munitions of war having been in the same
state of bankruptcy. Five minutes more of resistance, one inspiration of
English pluck, would have placed the Kandyan army in our power--would have
saved the honour of the country--would have redeemed our noble
soldiers--and to Major Davie, would have made the total difference between
lying in a traitor's grave, and lying in Westminster Abbey.

Was there no vengeance, no retribution, for these things? Vengeance there
was, but by accident. Retribution there was, but partial and remote.
Infamous it was for the English government at Columbo, as Mr Bennett
insinuates, that having a large fund disposable annually for secret
service, between 1796 and 1803, such a rupture _could_ have happened and
have found us unprepared. Equally infamous it was, that summary
chastisement was not inflicted upon the perfidious court of Kandy. What
_real_ power it had, when unaided by villainy amongst ourselves, was shown
in 1804, in the course of which year, one brave officer, Lieutenant
Johnstone of the 19th, with no more than 150 men, including officers,
marched right through the country, in the teeth of all opposition from the
king, and resolutely took[19] Kandy in his route. However, for the present,
without a shadow of a reason, since all reasons ran in the other direction,
we ate our leek in silence; once again, but now for the last time, the
bloody little bantam crowed defiance from his dunghill, and tore the
British flag with his spurs. What caused his ruin at last, was literally
the profundity of our own British humiliation; had _that_ been less, had
it not been for the natural reaction of that spectacle, equally hateful
and incredible, upon barbarian chief, as ignorant as he was fiendish, he
would have returned a civil answer to our subsequent remonstrances. In
that case, our government would have been conciliated; and the monster's
son, who yet lives in Malabar, would now be reigning in his stead. But
_Diis aliter visum est_--earth was weary of this Kandyan nuisance, and the
infatuation, which precipitated its doom, took the following shape. In
1814, certain traders, ten in number, not British but Cinghalese, and
therefore British subjects, entitled to British protection, were wantonly
molested in their peaceable occupations by this Kandyan king. Three of
these traders one day returned to our frontier wearing upon necklaces,
inextricably attached to their throats, their own ears, noses, and other
parts of their own persons, torn away by the pincers of the Kandyan
executioners. The seven others had sunk under their sufferings. Observe
that there had been no charge or imputation against these men, more or
less: _stet proratione voluntas_. This was too much even for our
all-suffering[20] English administration. They sent off a kind of
expostulation, which amounted to this--"How now, my good sir? What are you
up to?" Fortunately for his miserable subjects, (and, as this case showed,
by possibility for many who were _not_ such,) the vain-glorious animal
returned no answer; not because he found any diplomatic difficulty to
surmount, but in mere self glorification, and in pure disdain of _us_.
What a commentary was _that_ upon our unspeakable folly up to that hour!

    [19] "_Took_ Kandy in his route." This phrase is equivocal, it
    bears two senses--the traveller's sense, and the soldier's. But
    _we_ rarely make such errors in the use of words; the error is
    original in the Government documents themselves.

    [20] Why were they "all-suffering?" will be the demand of the
    reader, and he will doubt the fact simply because he will not
    apprehend any sufficient motive. That motive we believe to have
    been this: war, even just or necessary war, is costly; now, the
    governor and his council knew that their own individual chances of
    promotion were in the exact ratio of the economy which they could

We are anxious that the reader should go along with the short remainder of
this story, because it bears strongly upon the true moral of our Eastern
policy, of which, hereafter, we shall attempt to unfold the casuistry, in
a way that will be little agreeable to the calumniators of Clive and
Hastings. We do not intend that these men shall have it all their own way
in times to come. Our Eastern rulers have erred always, and erred deeply,
by doing too little rather than too much. They have been _too_
long-suffering; and have tolerated many nuisances, and many miscreants,
when their duty was--when their power was--to have destroyed them for ever.
And the capital fault of the East India Company--that greatest benefactor
for the East that ever yet has arisen--has been in not publishing to the
world the grounds and details of their policy. Let this one chapter in
that policy, this Kandyan chapter, proclaim how great must have been the
evils from which our "usurpations" (as they are called) have liberated the
earth. For let no man dwell on the rarity, or on the limited sphere, of
such atrocities, even in Eastern despotisms. If the act be rare, is not
the anxiety eternal? If the personal suffering be transitory, is not the
outrage upon human sensibilities, upon the majesty of human nature, upon
the possibilities of light, order, commerce, civilization, of a duration
and a compass to make the total difference between man viler than the
brutes, and man a little lower than the angels?

It happened that the first noble, or "Adikar," of the Kandyan king, being
charged with treason at this time, had fled to our protection. That was
enough. Vengeance on _him_, in his proper person, had become impossible:
and the following was the vicarious vengeance adopted by God's vicegerent
upon earth, whose pastime it had long been to study the ingenuities of
malice, and the possible refinements in the arts of tormenting. Here
follows the published report on this one case:--"The ferocious miscreant
determined to be fully revenged, and immediately sentenced the Adikar's
wife and children, together with his brother and the brother's wife, to
death after the following fashion. The children were ordered to be
decapitated before their mother's face, and their heads to be pounded in a
rice-mortar by their mother's hands; which, to save herself from a
diabolical torture and exposure," (concealments are here properly
practised in the report, for the sake of mere human decency,) "she
submitted to attempt. The eldest boy shrunk (shrank) from the dread ordeal,
and clung to his agonized parent for safety; but his younger brother
stepped forward, and encouraged him to submit to his fate, placing himself
before the executioner by way of setting an example. The last of the
children to be beheaded was an infant at the breast, from which it was
forcibly torn away, and its mother's milk was dripping from its innocent
mouth as it was put into the hands of the grim executioner." Finally, the
Adikar's brother was executed, having no connexion (so much as alleged)
with his brother's flight; and then the two sisters-in-law, having stones
attached to their feet, were thrown into a tank. These be thy gods, O
Egypt! such are the processes of Kandyan law, such is its horrid religion,
and such the morality which it generates! And let it not be said, these
were the excesses of a tyrant. Man does not brutalize, by possibility, in
pure insulation. He gives, and he receives. It is by sympathy, by the
contagion of example, by reverberation of feelings, that every man's heart
is moulded. A prince, to have been such as this monster, must been bred
amongst a cruel people: a cruel people, as by other experience we know
them to be, naturally produce an inhuman prince, and such a prince
reproduces his own corrupters.

Vengeance, however, was now at hand: a better and more martial governor,
Sir Robert Brownrigg, was in the field since 1812. On finding that no
answer was forthcoming, he marched with all his forces. But again these
were inadequate to the service; and once again, as in 1803, we were on the
brink of being sacrificed to the very lunacies of retrenchment. By a mere
godsend, more troops happened to arrive from the Indian continent. We
marched in triumphal ease to the capital city of Kandy. The wicked prince
fled: Major Kelly pursued him--to pursue was to overtake--to overtake was
to conquer. Thirty-seven ladies of his _zenana_, and his mother, were
captured elsewhere: and finally the whole kingdom capitulated by a solemn
act, in which we secured to it what we had no true liberty to secure, viz.
the _inviolability_ of their horrid idolatries. Render unto Cæsar the
things which are Cæsar's--but this was _not_ Cæsar's. Whether in some
other concessions, whether in volunteering certain civil privilages of
which the conquered had never dreamed, and which, for many a long year
they will not understand, our policy were right or wrong--may admit of
much debate. Often-times, but not always, it is wise and long-sighted
policy to presume in nations higher qualities than they have, and
developments beyond what really exist. But as to religion, there can be no
doubt, and no debate at all. To exterminate their filthy and bloody
abominations of creed and of ritual practice, is the first step to any
serious improvement of the Kandyan people: it is the _conditio sine quâ
non_ of all regeneration for this demoralized race. And what we ought to
have promised, all that in mere civil equity we had the right to promise;
was--that we would _tolerate_ such follies, would make no war upon such
superstitions as should not be openly immoral. One word more than this
covenant was equally beyond the powers of one party to that covenant, and
the highest interests of all parties.

Philosophically speaking, this great revolution may not close perhaps for
centuries: historically, it closed about the opening of the Hundred Days
in the _annus mirabilis_ of Waterloo. On the 13th of February 1815, Kandy,
the town, was occupied by the British troops, never again to be resigned.
In March, followed the solemn treaty by which all parties assumed their
constitutional stations. In April, occurred the ceremonial part of the
revolution, its public notification and celebration, by means of a grand
processional entry into the capital, stretching for upwards of a mile; and
in January 1816, the late king, now formally deposed, "a stout,
good-looking Malabar, with a peculiarly keen and roving eye, and a
restlessness of manner, marking unbridled passions," was conveyed in the
governor's carriage to the jetty at Trincomalee, from which port H.M.S.
Mexico conveyed him to the Indian continent: he was there confined in the
fortress of Vellore, famous for the bloody mutiny amongst the Company's
sepoy troops, so bloodily suppressed. In Vellore, this cruel prince, whose
name was Sree Wickremé Rajah Singha, died some years after; and one son
whom he left behind him, born during his father's captivity, may still be
living. But his ambitious instincts, if any such are working within him,
are likely to be seriously baffled in the very outset by the precautions
of our diplomacy; for one article of the treaty proscribes the descendants
of this prince as enemies of Ceylon, if found within its precincts. In
this exclusion, pointed against a single family, we are reminded of the
Stuart dynasty in England, and the Bonaparte dynasty in France. We cannot,
however, agree with Mr Bennett's view of this parallelism--either in so
far as it points our pity towards Napoleon, or in so far as it points the
regrets of disappointed vengeance to the similar transportation of Sree.

Pity is misplaced upon Napoleon, and anger is wasted upon Sree. He ought
to have been hanged, says Mr Bennett; and so said many of Napoleon. But it
was not our mission to punish either. The Malabar prince had broken no
faith with _us_: he acted under the cursed usages of a cruel people and a
bloody religion. These influences had trained a bad heart to corresponding
atrocities. Courtesy we did right to pay him, for our own sakes as a high
and noble nation. What we could not punish judicially, it did not become
us to revile. And finally, we much doubt whether hanging upon a tree,
either in Napoleon's case or Sree's, would not practically have been found
by both a happy liberation from that bitter cup of mortification which
both drank off in their latter years.

At length, then, the entire island of Ceylon, about a hundred days before
Waterloo, had become ours for ever. Hereafter Ceylon must inseparably
attend the fortunes of India. Whosoever in the East commands the sea, must
command the southern empires of Asia; and he who commands those empires,
must for ever command the Oriental islands. One thing only remains to be
explained; and the explanation, we fear, will be harder to understand than
the problem: it is--how the Portuguese and Dutch failed, through nearly
three centuries, to master this little obstinate _nucleus_ of the peach.
It seems like a fairy tale to hear the answer: Sinbad has nothing wilder.
"They were," says Mr Bennett, "repeatedly masters of the capital." What
was it, then, that stopped them from going on? "At one period, the former
(_i.e._ the Portuguese) had conquered all but the impregnable position
called _Kandi Udda_." And what was it then that lived at Kandi Udda? The
dragon of Wantley? or the dun cow of Warwick? or the classical Hydra? No;
it was thus:--_Kandi_ was "in the centre of the mountainous region,
surrounded by impervious jungles, with secret approaches for only one man
at a time." Such tricks might have answered in the time of Ali Baba and
the forty thieves; but we suspect that, even then, an "_open sesame_"
would have been found for this pestilent defile. Smoking a cigar through
it, and dropping the sparks, might have done the business in the dry
season. But, in very truth, we imagine that political arrangements were
answerable for this long failure in checkmating the king, and not at all
the cunning passage which carried only one inside passenger. The
Portuguese permitted the Kandyan natives to enter their army; and that one
fact gives us a short solution of the case. For, as Mr Bennett observes,
the principal features of these Kandyans are merely "human imitations of
their own indigenous leopards--treachery and ferocity," as the
circumstances may allow them to profit by one or the other. Sugarcandy,
however, appears to have given very little trouble to _us_; and, at all
events, it is ours now, together with all that is within its gates. It is
proper, however, to add, that since the conquest of this country in 1815,
there have been three rebellions, viz. in 1817-18, in 1834, and finally in
1842. This last comes pretty well home to our own times and concerns; so
that we naturally become curious as to the causes of such troubles. The
two last are said to have been inconsiderable in their extent. But the
earlier of the three, which broke out so soon after the conquest as 1817,
must, we conceive, have owed something to intrigues promoted on behalf of
the exiled king. His direct lineal descendants are excluded, as we have
said, from the island for ever; but his relatives, by whom we presume to
be meant his _cognati_ or kinspeople in the female line, not his _agnati_,
are allowed to live in Kandy, suffering only the slight restriction of
confinement to one street out of five, which compose this ancient
metropolis. Meantime, it is most instructive to hear the secret account of
those causes which set in motion this unprincipled rebellion. For it will
thus be seen how hopeless it is, under the present idolatrous superstition
of Ceylon, to think of any attachment in the people, by means of good
government, just laws, agriculture promoted, or commerce created. More
stress will be laid, by the Ceylonese, on our worshipping a carious tooth
two inches long, ascribed to the god Buddha, (but by some to an
ourang-outang,) than to every mode of equity, good faith, or kindness. It
seems that the Kandyans and we reciprocally misunderstood the ranks,
orders, precedencies, titular distinctions, and external honours attached
to them in our several nations. But none are so deaf as those that have no
mind to hear. And we suspect that our honest fellows of the 19th Regiment,
whose comrades had been murdered in their beds by the cursed Kandyan
"nobles," neither did nor would understand the claim of such assassins to
military salutes, to the presenting of arms, or to the turning out of the
guard. Here, it is said, began the ill-blood, and also on the claim of the
Buddhist priests to similar honours. To say the simple truth, these
soldiers ought not to have been expected to show respect towards the
murderers of their brethren. The priests, with their shaven crowns and
yellow robes, were objects of mere mockery to the British soldier. "Not to
have been kicked," it should have been said, "is gain; not to have been
cudgeled, is for you a ground of endless gratitude. Look not for salutes;
dream not of honours." For our own part--again we say it--let the
government look a-head for endless insurrections. We tax not the rulers of
Ceylon with having caused the insurrections. We hold them blameless on
that head; for a people so fickle and so unprincipled will never want such
matter for rebellion as would be suspected, least of all, by a wise and
benevolent man. But we _do_ tax the local government with having
ministered to the possibility of rebellion. We British have not sowed the
ends and objects of conspiracies; but undoubtedly, by our lax
administration, we have sowed the _means_ of conspiracies. We must not
transfer to a Pagan island our own mild code of penal laws: the subtle
savage will first become capable of these, when he becomes capable of
Christianity. And to this we must now bend our attention. Government must
make no more offerings of musical clocks to the Pagan temples; for such
propitiations are understood by the people to mean--that we admit their
god to be naturally stronger than ours. Any mode or measure of excellence
but that of power, they understand not, as applying to a deity. Neither
must our government any longer wink at such monstrous practices as that of
children ejecting their dying parents, in their last struggles, from the
shelter of their own roofs, on the plea that death would pollute their
dwellings. Such compliances with Paganism, make Pagans of ourselves. Nor,
again, ought the professed worship of devils to be tolerated, more than
the Fetish worship, or the African witchcraft, was tolerated in the West
Indies. Having, at last, obtained secure possession of the entire island,
with no reversionary fear over our heads, (as, up to Waterloo, we always
had,) that possibly at a general peace we might find it diplomatically
prudent to let it return under Dutch possession, we have no excuse for any
longer neglecting the jewel in our power. We gave up to Holland, through
unwise generosity, already one splendid island, viz. Java. Let one such
folly suffice for one century.

For the same reason--namely, the absolute and undivided possession which
we now hold of the island--it is at length time that our home government
should more distinctly invite colonists, and make known the unrivaled
capabilities of this region. So vast are our colonial territories, that
for every class in our huge framework of society we have separate and
characteristic attractions. In some it is chiefly labour that is wanted,
capital being in excess. In others these proportions are reversed. In some
it is great capitalists that are wanted for the present; in others almost
exclusively small ones. Now, in Ceylon, either class will be welcome. It
ought also to be published every where, that immediately after the
conquest of Kandy, the government entered upon the Roman career of
civilization, and upon that also which may be considered peculiarly
British. Military roads were so carried as to pierce and traverse all the
guilty fastnesses of disease, and of rebellion by means of disease.
Bridges, firmly built of satin-wood, were planted over every important
stream. The Kirimé canal was completed in the most eligible situation. The
English institution of mail-coaches was perfected in all parts of the
island. At this moment there are three separate modes of itinerating
through the island--viz., by mail-coach, by buggy, or by palanquin; to say
nothing of the opportunities offered at intervals, along the maritime
provinces, for coasting by ships or boats. To the botanist, the
mineralogist, the naturalist, the sportsman, Ceylon offers almost a
virgin Eldorado. To a man wishing to combine the lucrative pursuits of the
colonist with the elegances of life, and with the comforts of compatriot
society, not (as in Australia, or in American back settlements) to weather
the hardships of Robinson Crusoe, the invitations from the infinite
resources of Ceylon are past all count or estimate. "For my own part,"
says Mr Bennett, who is _now_ a party absolutely disinterested, "having
visited all but the northern regions of the globe, I have seen nothing to
equal this incomparable country." Here a man may purchase land, with
secure title, and of a good tenure, at five shillings the acre; this, at
least, is the upset price, though in some privileged situations it is
known to have reached seventeen shillings. A house may be furnished in the
Morotto style, and with luxurious contrivances for moderating the heat in
the hotter levels of the island, at fifty pounds sterling. The native
furniture is both cheap and excellent in quality, every way superior,
intrinsically, to that which, at five times the cost, is imported from
abroad. Labour is pretty uniformly at the rate of six-pence English for
twelve hours. Provisions of every sort and variety are poured out in
Ceylon from an American _cornucopia_ of some Saturnian age. Wheat,
potatoes, and many esculent plants, or fruits, were introduced by the
British in the great year, (and for this island, in the most literal sense,
the era of a new earth and new heavens)--the year of Waterloo. From that
year dates, for the Ceylonese, the day of equal laws for rich and poor,
the day of development out of infant and yet unimproved advantages;
finally--if we are wise, and they are docile--the day of a heavenly
religion displacing the _avowed_ worship of devils, and giving to the
people a new nature, a new heart, and hopes as yet not dawning upon their
dreams. How often has it been said by the vile domestic calumniators of
British policy, by our own anti-national deceivers, that if tomorrow we
should leave India, no memorial would attest that ever we had been there.
Infamous falsehood! damnable slander! Speak, Ceylon, to _that_. True it is,
that the best of our gifts--peace, freedom, security, and a new standard
of public morality--these blessings are like sleep, like health, like
innocence, like the eternal revolutions of day and night, which sink
inaudibly into human hearts, leaving behind (as sweet vernal rains) no
flaunting records of ostentation and parade; we are not the nation of
triumphal arches and memorial obelisks; but the sleep, the health, the
innocence, the grateful vicissitudes of seasons, reproduce themselves in
fruits and products enduring for generations, and overlooked by the
slanderer only because they are too diffusive to be noticed as
extraordinary, and benefiting by no light of contrast, simply because our
own beneficence has swept away the ancient wretchedness that could have
furnished that contrast. Ceylon, of itself, can reply victoriously to such
falsehoods. Not yet fifty years have we held this island; not yet thirty
have we had the _entire_ possession of the island; and (what is more
important to a point of this nature) not yet thirty have we had that
secure possession which results from the consciousness that our government
is not meditating to resign it. Previously to Waterloo, our tenure of
Ceylon was a provisional tenure. With the era of our Kandyan conquest
coincides the era of our absolute appropriation, signed and countersigned
for ever. The arrangements, of that day at Paris, and by a few subsequent
Congresses of revision, are like the arrangements of Westphalia in
1648--valid until Christendom shall be again convulsed to her foundations.
From that date is, therefore, justly to be inaugurated our English career
of improvement. Of the roads laid open through the island, we have spoken.
The attempts at improvement of the agriculture and horticulture furnish
matter already for a romance, if told of any other than this wonderful
labyrinth of climates. The openings for commercial improvement are not
less splendid. It is a fact infamous to the Ceylonese, that an island,
which might easily support twenty millions of people, has been liable to
famine, not unfrequently, with a population of fifteen hundred thousand.
This has already ceased to be a possibility: is _that_ a blessing of
British rule? Not only many new varieties of rice have been introduced,
and are now being introduced, adapted to opposite extremes of weather: and
soil--some to the low grounds warm and abundantly irrigated, some to the
dry grounds demanding far less of moisture--but also other and various
substitutes have been presented to Ceylon. Manioc, maize, the potato, the
turnip, have all been cultivated. Mr Bennett himself would, in ancient
Greece, have had many statues raised to his honour for his exemplary
bounties of innovation. The food of the people is now secure. And, as
regard their clothing or their exports, there is absolutely no end to the
new prospects opened before them by the English. Is _cotton_ a British
gift? Is sugar? Is coffee? We are not the men lazily and avariciously to
anchor our hopes on a pearl fishery; we rouse the natives to cultivate
their salt fish and shark fisheries. Tea will soon be cultivated more
hopefully than in Assam. Sugar, coffee, cinnamon, pepper, are all
cultivated already. Silk worms and mulberry-trees were tried with success,
and opium with _virtual_ success, (though in that instance defeated by an
accident,) under the auspices of Mr Bennett. Hemp (and surely it is
wanted?) will be introduced abundantly: indigo is not only grown in plenty,
but it appears that a beautiful variety of indigo, a violet-coloured
indigo, exists as a weed in Ceylon. Finally, in the running over hastily
the _summa genera_ of products by which Ceylon will soon make her name
known to the ends of the earth, we may add, that salt provisions in every
kind, of which hitherto Ceylon did not furnish an ounce, will now be
supplied redundantly; the great mart for this will be in the vast bosom of
the Indian ocean; and at the same time we shall see the scandal wiped
away--that Ceylon, the headquarters of the British navy in the East, could
not supply a cock-boat in distress with a week's salt provisions, from her
own myriads of cattle, zebus, buffaloes, or cows.

Ceylon has this one disadvantage for purposes of theatrical effect; she is
like a star rising heliacally, and hidden in the blaze of the sun: any
island, however magnificent, becomes lost in the blaze of India. But
_that_ does not affect the realities of the case. She has _that_ within
which passes show. Her one calamity is in the laziness of her native
population; though in this respect the Kandyans are a more hopeful race
than the Cinghalese. But the evil for both is, that they want the
_motives_ to exertion. These will be created by a new and higher
civilization. Foreign labourers will also be called for; a mixed race will
succeed in the following generations; and a mixed breed in man is always
an improved breed. Witness every where the people of colour contrasted
with the blacks. Then will come the great race between man indefinitely
exalted, and glorious tropical nature indefinitely developed. Ceylon will
be born again, in our hands she will first answer to the great summons of
nature; and will become, in fact, what by Providential destiny, she
is--the queen lotus of the Indian seas, and the Pandora of islands.

       *       *       *       *       *



In our September number, we succeeded in establishing the fact, upon the
best official records which could be accessible either to ourselves or to
Mr Cobden, that the renowned Leaguer had magnified that portion of the
army estimates, or expenditure, falling properly under the lead of
colonial charge, by about thirty-five per cent beyond its real amount, as
tested _seriatim_ and starting upon his own arithmetical elements of gross
numbers and values. We arrived at the truth by the careful process of
dissecting, analysing, and classifying, under each colonial head, the
various items of which his gross sum of aggregates must necessarily be
composed; and the result was, that of the _four millions and a-half
sterling_, with such dauntless assurance set down as the proportion of
army charge incurred for the colonies by the parent state, it was found,
and proved in detail by official returns, colony by colony, and summed up
in tabular array at the close, that the very conscientiously calculating
Leaguer had made no scruple, under his lumping system, of overlaying
colonial trade with upwards of one million and a half of army expenditure,
one million and a quarter of which, in all probability, appertaining to,
and forming part of the cost nationally at which foreign trade was carried
on. The cunning feat was bravely accomplished by ranging Gibraltar, Malta,
&c. &c., as trading and producing colonies, for the purpose of swelling
out the colonial army cost; whilst, to complete the cheat cleverly, they
were again turned to account in his comparative statistics of foreign and
colonial trade, to the detriment of the latter, by carrying all the
commerce with, or through them, to the credit of foreign trade. This was
ringing the changes to one tune with some effect, for the time being--and
so astutely timed and intended, that no discussion could be taken in the
House of Commons upon the informal motion, serving as the peg on which to
hang the prepared speech of deceptive figures and assertions inflicted on
the House the 22d of June last; whilst thus, as the Leaguer shrewdly
anticipated, it might run uncontroverted for months to come until another
session, and, through _Anti-Corn-Law circulars_ and tracts of the League,
do the dirty work of the time for which concocted, when no matter how
consigned and forgotten afterwards among the numberless other lies of the
day, fabricated by the League. Unluckily for the crafty combination,
_Blackwood_ was neither slow to detect, nor tardy in unmasking, the
premeditated imposture, the crowning and final points of which we now
propose to deal with and demolish. Betwixt the relative importance in the
cost, and in the profit and loss sense, of foreign and colonial trade, on
which the question of the advantages or disadvantages attending the
possession or retention of colonies is made exclusively to hinge, with a
narrow-mindedness incapable of appreciating the other high political and
social interests, the moral and religious considerations, moreover,
involved--we shall now proceed with the task of arbitrating and striking
the balance. If that balance should little correspond with the bold and
unscrupulous allegations of Mr Cobden--if it should be found to derogate
from the assumed super-eminence of the foreign trading interest over the
colonial, let it be remembered that the invidious discussion was not
raised by us, nor by any member of the Legislature who can rightfully be
classed as the representative of great national and constitutional
principles; that the distinction and disjunction of interests, both
national, with the absurd attempt unduly to elevate the one by unjustly
depreciating the other, is the work of the League alone, which, having
originated the senseless cry of "class interests," would seem doggedly
determined to establish the fact, _per fas et nefas_, as the means of
funding and perpetuating class divisions.

 In our last number, we left Mr Cobden's sum
   total of army  expenditure for colonial
   account charged by him, at                    L.4,500,000

 Reduced by deductions for military and other
   stations,  maintained for the protection
   and promotion of foreign trade, for the
   suppression of slave dealing, and as penal
   colonies, in the total amount of--              1,550,000
 To apparent colonial charge, --                 L.2,950,000

We have, however, to reform this statement, so far as Mr Cobden's basis
upon which founded. Accustomed to his blunders undesigned and mistatements
intentional as we are, it is not always easy to ascertain their extent at
the moment. Thus, the army estimates for 1843, amounting to L.6,225,000 in
the whole, as he states, include a charge of, say about L.2,300,000 for
"half-pay, pensions, superannuations, &c.," for upwards of 80,000 officers
and men. This fact it suited his convenience to overlook. Now, of this
number of men it is not perhaps too much to assume, that more than
one-half consists of the noble wreck and remainder of those magnificent
armies led to victory by the illustrious Wellington, but certainly not in
the colonies, and the present cost of half-pay and invaliding not
therefore chargeable to colonial account. It may be taken for granted,
that at least to the amount of L.1,300,000 should be placed against
ancient foreign service, separate from colonial; whilst, for the balance,
home, foreign, and colonial service since the war may be admitted to enter
in certain proportions each. Deducting, in the first place, from the total
estimates of, say


 The "dead-weight" of pensions, &c.,               2,300,000

 We have, as expenditure for military force on
   foot, L.3,925,000, but say--                  L.4,000,000

 Taking the Cobden dictum of three-fourths of
   this charge for the colonies, we have in
   round numbers, say--                            3,000,000

 And the incredibly absurd sum left for home
   and foreign service of                        L.1,000,000

As we have, in our last number, established deductions from the gross sum
of L.4,500,000 put down to the colonies by Mr Cobden, to the amount of
L.1,550,000, we shall now remodel our table thus:--

 To colonial account, as per Mr Cobden, of
   active force,--                               L.3,000,000

 Add colonial proportion of half-pay,
   pensions, &c., as per id., three-fourths
   of L.1,000,000                                    750,000
                                                  ----------  L.3,750,000

 Deduct military and other stations, falsely
   called colonial, as per former account,--     L.1,550,000

 Deduct again charges for the Chinese war,
   exact amount unknown, deceptively included
   in colonial account--say for only                 250,000
                                                   ---------    1,800,000

 Approximate, but still surcharged proportion of
   army estimates for colonial service, on Mr
   Cobden's absurd basis of three-fourths,                    L.1,950,000

This is a woful falling off from Mr Cobden's wholesale colonial invoice of
_four and a half millions sterling_! It amounts to a discount or rebate
upon his statistical ware of L.2,550,000, or say, not far short of sixty
per cent. Had the Leaguer been in the habit of dealing cotton wares to his
customers, so damaged in texture or colours as are his wares political and
economical, we are inclined to conceit, that he would long since have
arrived at the _finiquito de todas cuentas_.

We now come to his naval cost of colonies, with a margin for ordnance as
well. On this head, Mr Cobden remarks, with much sagacity--and, for once,
Mr Cobden states one fact in which we may agree with him:--"But the
colonies had no ships to form a navy. The mother country had to send them
ships to guard their territories, which were not paid for by the colonies,
but out of the taxation of this country. The navy estimates for this year
amounted to L.6,322,000. He had no means of ascertaining what proportion
of this large amount was required for their colonies; but a very large
proportion of it was taken for the navy in their colonies. The ordnance
estimate was L.1,849,142, a large share of which was required for their
colonial expenditure. The House would find, that from the lowest estimate,
from L.5,000,000 to L.6,000,000 out of the taxes of this country were
required for maintaining their colonial army and navy." True it is, the
colonies have no ships of war; true, the navy expenses count for the
gigantic sum stated--in the estimates at least, and estimates seldom fall
short, however budgets may; true, also, that ordnance is the heavy item
represented. And we also are without the means for any, not to say
accurate, but fair approximative estimate of the proportion of this
expenditure which may be incurred for, and duly chargeable against the
colonies. In the case of the army, as we have shown, the possession and
facilities of reference to documents, enabled us to resolve Mr Cobden's
bill of totals, in one line, into the elements of which composed, to
classify the items under distinct heads, and so to detect the errors, and
redress the balance of his own account. The authorities, of official origin
mostly, to which we had recourse, were equally open to Cobden, had he been
actuated by an anxious desire to arrive at the truth, earnest in his
enquiries after the means of information, laborious in his investigations,
and, beyond all, with honesty of purpose resolved nothing to withhold, nor
aught to set down in malice, as the result of his researches.
Unfortunately, the navy is not a stationary body, as the army may be said
to be; squadrons are not fixtures like corps in garrison; here to-day and
gone to morrow. The naval strength on the various stations, never
permanent, escapes calculation, as the due apportionment of expenditure
between each, and again of the quotas corresponding to the colonies or to
foreign commerce alone, defies any approach to accurate analysis. But we
have at least common observation and common sense to satisfy us that but a
small proportion of the naval outlay can be justly laid to colonial
account, because so unimportant a proportion of the naval armament afloat,
can be required for colonial service or defence. We have, assuredly, a
certain number of gun-boats and schooners on the Canadian lakes, which are
purely for colonial purposes; and we may have some half-a-dozen vessels of
war prowling about the St Lawrence and the British American waters, which
may range under the colonial category. Wherever else our eyes be cast, it
would be difficult to find one colony, east or west, which can be said to
need, or gratuitously to be favoured with, a naval force for protection.
We have a naval station at Halifax chargeable colonially. We have also a
naval station, with headquarters at Jamaica, but certainly that forms no
part of a colonial appendage. The whole of the force on that station is
employed either in cruizing after slavers, and assisting to put down the
slave trade, or it is hovering about the shores of the Spanish Main and
the Gulf of Mexico, for the protection of British foreign commerce, for
redressing the wrongs to British subjects and interests in Colombia,
Guatemala, Mexico, Cuba, or Hayti, or for conveying foreign specie and
bullion from those countries for the behoof of British merchants at home.
We have a naval station at the Cape of Good Hope, with the maintenance of
which, that colony, Australia, New Zealand, &c., may be partly debited.
And we have a naval station in India, the expense of which, so far as
required for that great colonial empire, is, we believe, borne entirely by
India herself. But by far the largest proportion of the expense is
incurred, as the great bulk of the force is destined, for the protection
of foreign commerce in the Indian and Chinese seas.

If we are to seek where the British navy is really to be found and heard
of in masses, we have only to voyage to Brazil, where whole squadrons
divide their occupations betwixt coursing slavers and waiting upon foreign
commerce. Further south, we find the River Plate blocked up with British
war ships, watching over the interests of British commerce, and
interposing betwixt the lives and properties of thousands of British
subjects, and the unslaked thirst of the daggers of Rosas and his
sanguinary _Mas-horcas_, that Ægis flag before which the most fearless
and ferocious have quailed, and quail yet. So also, rounding Cape Horn,
traversing the vast waters of the Great Pacific, the British ensign may
ever be met, and swarming, too, on those west and northwestern coasts of
Spanish America, where, as from Bolivia to California, war and anarchy
eternal seem to reign. Assuredly, no colonial interests, and as little do
political combinations, carry to those far off regions, and there keep,
such large detachments of the British fleet. Nearer home we need not
signalize the Mediterranean and Levant, where British navies range as if
hereditary owners of those seas nor the western coasts of Spain, along
which duly cruise our men-of-war, keeping watch and ward; certainly in
neither one case nor the other for colonial objects.

From this sweep over the seas, it may readily be gathered how
comparatively insignificant the proportion in which the British colonies
are amenable for the cost of the British navy; and, on the contrary, how
large the cost incurred for the guardianship of the foreign commerce of
Great Britain. In the absence of those authentic data which would warrant
the construction of approximate estimates, we are willing, however, as
before, to accept the basis of Mr Cobden's--not calculations, but--rough
guesses; and as the colonial share of army, navy, and ordnance estimates
altogether, he taxes in "from five to six millions," of which four and a
half millions, according to a previous statement of his, were for the army
alone, we arrive at the simple fact, that the navy and ordnance are rated
rather widely at a cost ranging from half a million to one million and a
half sterling per annum. The mean term of this would be three quarters of
a million; but truth may afford to be liberal, and so we throw in the
other quarter, and debit the colonies with one million sterling for naval
service, which, so far as isolated sections of the great body political,
they can hardly be said, with exceptions noted before, either to receive
or need. We have before, and we believe conclusively, disposed of Mr
Cobden's colonial army estimates; and now we arrive at the total burden,
under the weight of which the empire staggers on colonial account.

 Army charge,         L.1,950,000, but say       L.2,000,000
 Navy and Ordnance,                                1,000,000
           Total to Colonial debit,                           L.3,000,000

Mr Cobden enumerates a variety of expenditure against the colonies besides,
under the head of civil establishments, public works, and grants for
educational and religious purposes. We need not--there is no occasion to
discuss these minutiæ with him; we prefer to make him a bargain at once,
and so we throw in, against these civil contingencies for the colonies, the
whole lump of the estimates for the diplomatic and consular service, Dr
Bowring's commissionerships inclusive; all the charges for civil
government, education, religion, public works, &c., besides of those
stations, such as Gibraltar, Malta, the Ionian Isles, Singapore, Penang,
&c., occupied altogether, or chiefly, for the purposes of foreign commerce,
partially from political views, but assuredly not at all with reference to
colonial objects. If he be not content with this bargain of a set-off, we
are quite ready to call over the account with him at any time, crediting
him not more liberally than justly besides, with all the prodigal waste
imposed upon the country by the colonial imposture facetiously styled the
"self-supporting system," in his smart exposure of which our sympathies are
all with him, zealous advocates though we be of colonization, of
colonization on a national scale moreover, and therefore on a national and
commensurate scale of expenditure; which, however, can only be undertaken
by the government when the fiat of financial insolvency which, with the
Exchequer bill fraud, was the last legacy of Mr Spring Rice and Lord
Monteagle, shall be superseded, and the Treasury rehabilitated, and then
only by slow degrees, but sure. An individual may, perchance, thrive upon
an imposture, a government never; the late Ministry are the living evidence
of the truth. We can comprehend "self-supporting colonization" in the
individual sense of the pioneers and backwoodsmen of the United States; in
the "squatting" upon wild lands in Canada and the West Indies; in the
settlement of isolated adventurers among the savages of New Zealand; but
the "self-supporting" settlement of communities, or, as more fancifully
expressed, of "society in frame," is just as sound in principle, and as
possible in practice, as would be the calculation of the Canadian
shipwright, who should nail together a mass of boards and logs as a
leviathan lumber ship for the transport of timber, on the calculation that
at the end of the voyage it would be rated A1 at Lloyd's, or grow into the
solid power and capacity of a first-rate Indiaman, or man-of-war. We all
know that such timber floaters went to wreck in the first gale on our
coasts; the crews, indeed, did not always perish, they were only tossed
about at the mercy of the winds and waves with the wooden lumber which
would not sink, so long as hunger and helplessness did not disable hands
and limbs from holding fast. And just so with the "self-supporting system
of colonization."

Having ascertained, upon bases laid down by Mr Cobden himself, but without
adopting his slashing unproved totals, the extent to which colonial trade
is criminally accessory to the financial burdens of the United Kingdom,
(not, by the way, of the empire of which they form a component part,) it
behoves us now to establish the proportion in which we are taxed for
foreign trade, for there is clearly more than one vulture preying upon the
vitals of this unhappy land.

We established, in our September number, an army cost of about L.1,200,000
against foreign trade for Gibraltar, Malta, the Ionian Islands, Singapore,
Penang, &c. We may add, as a very low valuation, in the absence of
accounts, L.250,000 more for the war with China. Of the estimates for the
navy, L.6,322,000, and ordnance, L.1,849,000--total, L.8,175,000;--we are
fully entitled to charge about three-eighths to foreign commerce, or say
L.3,000,000. The numerous and extensive naval stations kept up for the
protection of our foreign commerce exclusively, together with the
Mediterranean, Levant, and Spanish coast naval expenditure, to no
inconsiderable extent for the same object, will sufficiently justify this
estimate. We have apportioned one million of the naval and ordnance
estimates for colonial purposes; one million more may be safely placed to
the account of the slave trade; the remainder, L.3,175,000, is certainly
an ample allowance for home naval stations, Channel fleet, if there be any,
Mediterranean and other naval armaments, so far as for political objects
only. We remain, therefore, for foreign trade with--

 Garrisons, Gibraltar, &c., and reliefs at home, L.1,200,000
 War with China,                                     250,000
 Navy and Ordnance,                                3,000,000
    Total cost of foreign trade,                              L.4,450,000
    Id. colonial, as before stated,                             3,000,000
        Excess foreign,                                       L.1,450,000

This excess might justly be swelled to at least half a million more by a
surcharge of army expenditure in China; of navy expenditure on foreign
stations, that for China is not taken into account at all; and in respect
of various other items of smaller consideration, separately, although in
the aggregate of consideration, the account might still more be aggravated.
There would be some difficulty, it must be allowed, in clearly
disinvolving them from masses of general statements, although for an
approximate valuation it might not amount to an impossibility; we prefer,
however, to leave Mr Cobden in possession of all the advantages we cannot
make a clear title to. The advantages, indeed, are of dubious title, and
something of the same kind as the entry into a house of which the owner
cannot be found, or of which he cannot lay his hands on the title-deeds.

We have now disposed of the preposterous exaggerations of the
anti-colonial school, so far as that school can be said to be represented
by Mr Alderman Cobden, under the head of colonial cost to the metropolitan
state. We have reduced his amount of that cost to its fair approximate
proportions, item by item, of gross charge, so far as we are enabled by
those parliamentary or colonial documents, possessing the character of
official or quasi-official origin. We have necessarily followed up this
portion of our vindication of the colonies from unjust aspersions by a
concurrent enquiry into the cost at which our foreign trade is carried on,
in the national sense of the military, naval, and other establishments
required and kept up for its protection and encouragement. And, finally,
we have struck the balance between the two, the results of which are
already before the public.

There remains one other essential part of the duty we have undertaken to
fulfill. It is true that it did not suit the purposes of Mr Cobden to
enter himself into any investigation of the comparative profitableness of
foreign and colonial commerce, nor did he, doubtless, desire to provoke
such an investigation on the part of others. With the cunning of a
prejudiced partizan, he was content to skim superficially the large
economical question he had not scrupled to raise from the depths of
discomfiture and oblivion, in which abandoned by the colonial detractors,
his predecessors, who had tried their art to conjure "spirits from the
vasty deep," which would not come when they did "call for them." With
gross numerical proportions apparently in his favour, but well-grounded
convictions that more might be discovered than met the eye, or squared
with the desire, should the component elements of those proportions be
respectively submitted to the process of dissection, he preferred to leave
the tale half told, the subject less than half discussed, rather than
challenge the certain exposure of the fallacious assumptions on which he
had reconstructed a seemingly plausible, but really shallow dogma. A
foreign export trade of thirty-five millions he wished the world to
believe must represent, proportionally, a larger amount of profit, than
sixteen millions of colonial export trade; that the difference, in fact,
would be as thirty-five to sixteen, and so, according to his Cockerian
rule of calculation, it should be. But, it is said and agreed, that two
and two do not always make four, as in the present case will be verified.
We may, indeed, place the matter beyond dispute, by a homely illustration
level to every man's capacity. For example, a Manchester banker, dealing
in money, shall turn over in discounts and accounts-current, with a
capital of L.100,000, the sum of one million sterling per annum. As he
charges interest in current-account at the rate of 5 per cent, so he
allows the same. His profit, therefore, _quoad_ the interest on
current-accounts and balances in hand, is _nil_; but for the trouble of
managing accounts and for discounts, his charge is five shillings per
L.100. In lending out his capital, he realises five per cent more upon
that. But the return upon capital embarked, say, in the cotton manufacture,
is calculated, at the least, at an average of fifteen per cent. What, then,
are the relative profit returns upon the same sum-total of operations for
the banker and manufacturer?

                     Manufacturer's Balance Sheet.
                                                    On Capital.
Operations, L.1,000,000  Capital, L.100,000  Profit, 15 per cent, L.15,000

                         Banker's Balance Sheet.
Operations, L.1,000,000  Profit thereon, 5s. per L.100, L.2500
Capital,        100,000  Interest thereon, 5 per cent,    5000
                                     Return on Capital, ------       7,500
                         Excess manufacturing profit,               L.7500

That is, double the amount, or, as rateably may be said, 100 per cent
greater profit for the manufacturer than the banker. Now, what is true
of banking and commerce, may be--often is, true of one description of
commerce, as compared with another.

It is not meant to be inferred, however, that applied to colonial trade,
as compared with foreign trade, the analogy holds good to all the extent;
but that it does in degree, there can be no doubt, and we are prepared to
show. It will, we know, be urged, that there can be no two _sale_ prices
for the same commodity in the same market, a dictum we are not disposed to
impugn; but we shall not so readily subscribe to the doctrine, that the
prices in the home and colonial markets are absolutely controlled and
equalized by those of the foreign market. This is a rule absolute, not
founded in truth, but contradicted by every day's experience. It would be
equally correct to assert, that the lower rates of labour in the European
foreign market, or the higher rates in the North American, controlled and
equalized in the one sense, and in the other opposing, the rates in this
country, than which no assertion could be more irreconcilable with fact.
Prices and labour rates elsewhere, exercise an influence doubtless, and
would have more in the absence of other conditions and counteracting
influences, partly arising from natural, partly from artificially created
causes. Prices, in privileged home and colonial markets, cannot generally
fall to the same level as in foreign neutral markets, or, as in foreign
protected markets, where the rates of labour are low. Keen as is the
competition in the privileged home and colonial trade among the domestic
and entitled manufacturers themselves, it will hardly be denied that
larger as well as more steady profits are realized from those trades than
from the foreign and fluctuating trade, exposed, as in most cases the
latter is, to high fiscal, restrictive, and capricious burdens. These,
_pro tanto_, shut out competition with the protected foreign producer,
unless the importer consent to be cut down to such a modicum of price or
profit, as shall barely, or not at all, return the simple interest of
capital laid out. Such is the position of foreign, in comparison with home

The foreign glut, in such case, reacts upon the privileged home and
colonial markets, no doubt affecting prices in some degree, and if not
always the rates of labour, at all events the sufficiency of employment,
which is scarcely less an evil. But the reaction presses with nothing like
the severity, which in a similar case, and to the same extent only, would
follow from a glut in the home privileged markets. The cause must be
sought in the general rule, that the inferior qualities of merchandise and
manufactures are for the most part the objects of exportation only.
Consequently, in case of a glut, or want of demand abroad, as such are not
suited by quality for home taste and consumption, the superabundance of
accumulated and unsaleable stock, with the depression of prices consequent,
affects comparatively in a slight degree only the value and vent of the
wares prepared expressly for home consumption. But a different and more
modified action takes place in case of over-production of the latter, or
upon a failure of demand, arising from whatever cause. For, being then
pressed upon the foreign market, the superior quality of the goods
commands a decided preference at once, and that preference ensures
comparatively higher rates of price in the midst of the piled up packages
of warehouse sweepings and goods, made, like Peter's razors, for special
sale abroad, which are vainly offered at prime or any cost. These and
other specialties escape, and not unaccountably, the view and the
calculation of the speculative economist, who is so often astounded to
find how a principle, or a theory, of unquestionable truth abstractedly,
and apparently of general application, comes practically to be controlled
by circumstances beyond his appreciation, or even to be negatived
altogether. An example or two in illustration, may render the question
more clearly to the economical reader; although taken from the cotton
trade, they are not the less true, generally, of all other branches of
home manufacturing industry. As we shall have to mention names, a period
long past is purposely selected; but although the parties, so far as
commercial pursuits, may be considered as no longer in existence, yet they
cannot fail to be well remembered. The former firm of Phillips and Lee of
Manchester, were extensive spinners of cotton yarn for exportation, and
extensive purchasers of other cotton yarns for exportation also; but for
home manufacture they never could produce a quality of yarn equally
saleable in the home market with other yarn of the same counts, and
nominally classed of the same quality. The principal reason was, that they
spun with machinery solely adapted for a particular trade, and the
production of quantity was more an object than first-rate quality; to
these ends their machinery was suited, and to have produced a first-rate
article, extensive and expensive alterations in that machinery would have
been required. Mr Lee himself, the managing partner, was an ingenious and
theoretically scientific man, and often experimentalizing, but in general
practically with little success. When, therefore, the export trade in
yarns fell off, as, in some years during the war and the continental
system of Bonaparte, we believe it was almost entirely suspended, the
yarns so described of this firm, and of any others the same, could find no
vent--abroad no opening--at home not suited for the consumption. As the
firm were extremely wealthy the accumulation of stock was, however, of
small inconvenience; time was no object, the Continent was not always
sealed. With the great spinner Arkwright the case was entirely different;
at home as abroad his yarn products were always first in demand; his
qualities unequalled; his prices far above all others of even the first
order; his machinery of the most finished construction. If, perchance,
home demand flagged, the export never failed to compensate in a great

So with all other subdivisions of the same or other manufactures, more or
less. And this may explain the seeming phenomenon why; when the foreign
trade has been so prostrate as we have seen it during the last three years,
the home trade did not cease to be almost as prosperous as before.
Political economy would arbitrarily insist that, repelled from the foreign
market, or suffering from a cessation of foreign demand, the manufacturer
for exportation had only to direct his attention, carry his stocks to, and
hasten to swell competition and find relief in, the home market. In
products requiring little skill, such as common calicoes, such efforts
might, to some extent, be successful; but there the invasion ends. In all
the departments requiring greater skill, more perfect machinery, more
taste, and the peculiar arts of finish which long practice alone can give,
the old accustomed manufacturer for the home trade remains without a rival,
still prospering in the midst of depression around, and whilst secure
against intrusion in his own special monopoly of home supply, commanding
also a superiority in foreign markets for his surplus wares, in the event
of stagnation in home consumption, over the less finished and reputed
products of his less-skilled brethren of the craft.

In the enquiry into the advantages relatively of foreign and colonial
export trade, it is not pretended literally to build upon the premises
here established; the analogy would not always be strictly in point, but
the fact resulting of the greater gainfulness of one description of trade
over another is incontestable, and in the national sense perhaps much more
than the individual. We shall take it for granted that British and Irish
products and manufactures enjoy a preference on import into the colonies,
over imports from foreign countries, of at least five per cent, resulting
from differential duties in favour of the parent state: it may be more,
and we believe it will be found more; but such is the preference. This
profit must be all to the account of the British exporter; for it is not
received by the colonial custom-house, and whatever the reduction of
prices by excess of competition, it is clear prices would be still more
deranged by the introduction of another element of competition in more
cheaply produced foreign products at only equal rates of duty. Take, for
examples, Saxon hose, French silks, American domestics, but more
especially all sorts of foreign made up wares, clothes, &c. _Quoad_ the
foreigner, the preferential duties make two prices therefore, by the very
fact of which he is barred out. We shall now proceed to assess the
mercantile profits respectively upon the sums-total of foreign and
colonial trade by the correct standard; and then we shall endeavour to
arrive at a rough but approximate estimate of the value respectively of
foreign and colonial export trade in respect of the descriptions of
commodities exported from this country, classified as finished or partly
finished, in cases where the raw material is wholly or partially of
foreign origin, and measured accordingly by the amount of profit on
capital, and profit in the shape of wages, which each leave respectively
in the country. It will be understood that no more than a rough estimate
of leading points is pretended; the calculation, article by article, would
involve a labour of months perhaps, and the results in detail fill the
pages of Maga for a year, and after all remain incomplete from the
inaccessibility or non-existence of some of the necessary materials. There
are, however, certain landmarks by which we may steer to something like
general conclusions.

The profits on exports, as on all other trade, exceptional cases apart,
which cannot impeach the general rule, are measured to a great extent by
the distance of the country to which the exports take place, and therefore
the length of period, besides the extra risk, before which capital can be
replaced and profits realized. Within the compass of a two months'
distance from England, we may include the Gulf of Mexico west, the Baltic
and White Seas north, the Black Sea south-east, the west coast of Africa
to the Gulf of Guinea, and the east coast of South America to Rio Janeiro.
We come thus to the limits within which the smaller profits only are
realized; and all beyond will range under the head of larger returns. It
is not necessary to determine the exact amount of the profit in each case,
the essential point being the ratio of one towards the other. An average
return in round numbers of seven and a half per cent many, therefore, be
taken for the export commerce carried on within the narrower circle, and
of twenty per cent for the _voyages à long cours_, say those to and round
the two Capes of Good Hope and Horn. It is making a large allowance to say
that each shipment to Holland, France, or even the United States, for
example, realizes seven and a half per cent clear profit, or that the
aggregate of the exports cited yields at that rate. Twenty per cent on
exports to China and the East Indies, in view of the more than double
distance, and increase of risk attendant, does not seem proportionally
liable to the same appearance of exaggeration. Under favourable
circumstances returns cannot be looked for in less than a year on the
average, and then the greater distance the greater the risk of all kinds.
Classifying the exports upon this legitimate system, we find that, in
round numbers, not very far from eight-ninths of the total amount of
foreign trade exports come under the denomination of the shorter voyage.
Thus of these total exports of thirty-five millions, less than four
millions belong to the far off traffic. The account will, therefore, stand

Foreign trade profit of 7-1/2 per cent on L.31,000,000     L.2,325,000
           Do.           20       do.        4,000,000         800,000
                               Total mercantile profit,    L.3,125,000

The quantities colonial would range thus:--

Colonial trade profit, long voyage, of 20 per cent
    on L.8,820,000                                         L.1,764,000
Colonial trade profit, short voyage, of 7-1/2 per cent
    on L.7,180,000                                             538,000
                                 Total colonial profit,    L.2,302,000

Truth, like time, is a great leveller--a fact of which no living man has
had proof and reproof administered to him more frequently and severely
that Mr Cobden himself. As culprits, however, harden in heart with each
repetition of crime, until from petty larceny, the initiating offence,
they ascend unscrupulously to the perpetration of felony without benefit
of clergy; so he, with effrontery only the more deeply burnt in, and
conscience the more callous from each conviction, will still lie on, so
long as lungs are left, and vulgar listeners can be found in the scum of
town populations. How grandiloquent was Mr Cobden with his "_new_ facts,"
brand new, as he solemnly assured the House of Commons, which was not
convulsed with irrepressible derision on the announcement! How swelled he,
"big with the fate" of corn and colony, as the mighty secret burst from
his labouring breast, "that the whole amount of their trade in 1840 was,
exports, L.51,000,000; out of that L.16,000,000 was (were) exported to the
colonies, including the East Indies; but not one-third went to the
colonies. Take away L.6,000,000 of the export trade that went to the East
Indies, and they had L.10,000,000 of exports," &c. Oh! rare Cocker; 10 not
the third of 16; "take away" one leg and there will only be the other to
stand upon. Cut off, in like manner, the twenty-one millions of exports to
Europe, and what becomes of the foreign trade? "An eye for an eye, and a
tooth for a tooth," is the old _lex talionis_, and we have no objection to
part with a limb on our side on the reciprocal condition that he shall be
amputated of another. We engage to wage air battle with him on the stumps
which are left, he with his fourteen millions of foreign against our ten
millions of colonial trade, like two _razées_ of first and second rates
cut down. Before next he adventures into conflict again--better had he so
bethought him before his colonial debut in the House last June--would it
not be the part of wisdom to take counsel with his dear friend and
neighbour Mr Samuel Brookes, the well-known opulent calico-printer,
manufacturer, and exporting merchant of Manchester, who proved, some three
or four years ago, as clearly as figures--made up, like the restaurateur's
_pain_, at discretion--can prove any thing, that the larger the foreign
trade he carried on, the greater were his losses, in various instances
cited of hundreds per cent; from whence, seeing how rotund and robust
grows the worthy alderman, deplorable balance-sheets notwithstanding,
which would prostrate the Bank of England like the Bank of Manchester, it
should result that he, like another Themistocles, might exclaim to his
family, clad in purple and fine linen, "My children, had we not been
ruined, we should have been undone!"

But _revenons á nos moutons_. According to Mr Cobden's _new_ facts,
borrowed from Porter's Tables, so far as the figures, the superior
importance and profit of foreign trade should be measured by the gross
quantities, and be, say, as 35 to 16. We have shown that the relation of
profit really stands as 31 to 23, starting from the same basis of total
amounts as himself. The total profit upon a foreign trade of thirty-five
millions, to place it on an equal rateable footing with colonial, should
be, not three millions and an eighth, but upwards of five millions, or the
colonial trade of sixteen millions, if no more gainful than foreign, should
be, not L.2,300,000, but about one million less. And here the question
naturally recurs, assuming the principle of Mr Cobden to be correct--as so,
for his satisfaction, it has been reasoned hitherto--at what rate of charge
nationally are these profits, colonial and foreign, purchased? Fortunately
the materials for the estimates are already in hand, and here they are:

  Colonial trade--cost in Army, Navy,
    Ordnance, &c.,                          L.3,000,000
  Colonial trade--profit to exporters,        2,302,000

      Deficit--loss to the country,                            L.698,000
  Foreign trade--cost in Army, Navy,
    Ordnance, &c.,                          L.4,500,000
 Foreign trade exporting profit,              3,125,000
      Deficit--loss to the country,                          L.1,375,000

As nearly, therefore, as may be, foreign trade costs the country twice as
much as colonial. Such are the conclusions, the rough but approximately
accurate conclusions, to which the _new_ facts of Mr Cobden and the old
hobby of Joseph Hume, mounted by the _new_ philosopher, have led; and the
public exposition of which has been provoked by his ignorance or
malevolence, or both. In order to gain less than 9 per cent average upon a
foreign trade of thirty-five millions, the country is saddled, for the
benefit of Messrs Brookes and Cobden, _inter alios_, with a cost of nearly
13 per cent upon the same amount; whilst the cost of colonial trade is
about 18-3/4 per cent on the total of sixteen millions, but the profit
nearly fifteen per cent. In the account of colonial profit, be it observed,
moreover, no account is here taken of the supplementary advantage derived
from the differential duties against foreign imports.

In the national point of view, the profitableness of the foreign export
trade, as compared with colonial, would seem more dubious still, when the
values left and distributed among the producing classes are taken into
calculation. Of the total foreign exports of thirty-five millions,
considerably above one-fifth--say, to the value of nearly seven and a half
millions sterling--were exported in the shape of cotton, linen, and
woollen yarns in 1840, the year selected by Mr Cobden, of which, in cotton
yarn alone, to the value of nearly 6,200,000. According to _Burn's
Commercial Glance for_ 1842, the average price of cotton-yarn so exported,
exceeds by some 50 per cent the average price of the cotton from which
made. Applying the same rule to linen yarn as made from foreign imported
flax, and to woollen yarn as partly, at least, from foreign wool, we come
to a gross sum of about L.3,750,000 left in the country, as values
representing the wages of labour, and the profits of manufacturing capital
in respect of yarn. The quantity of yarn, on the contrary, exported
colonially, does not reach to one-sixteenth of the total colonial exports.
In order to manifest the immense superiority nationally of a colonial
export trade in finished products, over a foreign trade in _quasi_ raw
materials, we need only take the article of "apparel." Of the total value
of wearing apparel exported in 1840, say for L.1,208,000, the colonial
trade alone absorbed the best part of one million. Now, it may be
estimated with tolerable certainty, that the average amount, over and
above the cost of the raw material, of the values expended upon and left
in the country, in the shape of wages and profits, upon this description
of finished product, does not fall short of the rate of 500 per cent. So
that apparel to the total value of one million would leave behind an
expenditure of labour, and a realization of profits, substantially
existing and circulating among the community, over and above the cost of
raw material, of about L.800,000, upon a basis of raw material values of
about L.160,000. Assuming for a moment, that yarns were equally improved
and prolific in the multiplication of values, the seven millions and a
half of foreign exports should represent a value proportionally of
forty-five millions sterling. The colonial exports comprise a variety of
similar finished and made-up articles, to the extent of probably about
four millions sterling, to which the same rate of home values, so swelled
by labour and profits, will apply.

It remains only to add, that the foreign export trade gave employment in
1840--the date fixed by Mr Cobden, but to which, in some few instances, it
has been impossible to adhere for want of necessary documents, as he
himself experienced--to 10,970 British vessels, of 1,797,000 aggregate
tonnage outwards, repeated voyages inclusive, for the verification of the
number of which we are without any returns, those made to Parliament by
the public offices bearing the simple advertence on their face, with
official nonchalance, that "there are no materials in this office by which
the number of the crews of steam and sailing vessels respectively
(including their repeated voyages) can be shown." And yet a "statistical
department" has now been, for some years, founded as part of the Board of
Trade, whose pretensions to the accomplishment of great works have
hitherto been found considerably to transcend both the merit and the
quantity of its performances. The proportion of foreign vessels sharing in
the same export traffic in 1840, was little inferior to that of the
British. Thus, 10,440 foreign vessels, of 1,488,888 tonnage, divided the
foreign export trade with 10,970 British vessels. The returns for 1840
give 6663 as the number of British vessels, and 1,495,957 as the aggregate
tonnage, carrying on the export trade with the colonies; thus it will be
seen that the exportation of _thirty-five millions_ of pounds' worth of
British produce and manufactures to foreign countries, employed only about
300,000 tons of British shipping more than the export to the colonies of
_sixteen millions_ of pounds' worth of products, or say, less than one
half. Proportions kept according to values exported respectively, foreign
trade should have occupied about 3,250,000 tons of British shipping,
against the colonial employment of 1,496,000 tons.

Nor is this all the difference, large as it is, in favour of colonial over
foreign trade, with respect to the employment of shipping. For it may be
taken for granted that, in fact, so far as the amount of tonnage,
_repeated voyages not included_, the colonial does actually employ a much
larger quantity relatively than foreign trade. It may be fairly assumed
that, on the average, the shipping in foreign trade make one and a half
voyages outwards--that is, outwards and inwards together, three voyages in
the year; for, upon a rough estimate, it would appear that not one-tenth
of this shipping was occupied in mercantile enterprise beyond the limits
of that narrower circle before assigned, ad within which repeated voyages
of twice and thrice in the year, and frequently more often, are not
practicable only but habitually performed. Taking one-tenth as
representing the one voyage and return in the year of the more distant
traffic, and one and a half outward sailings for the other nine tenths of
tonnage, we arrive at the approximative fact, that the foreign trade does
in reality employ no more (repeated voyages allowed for as before stated)
than the aggregate tonnage of 1,258,000, instead of the 1,797,000 gross
tonnage as apparent. Applying the same rule, we find that the long or one
year's colonial voyage traffic is equal to something less than two-ninths
of the whole tonnage employed in the colonial trade, and that, assuming
one and a half voyages per annum for the remainder trafficking with the
colonies nearer home, the result will be, that the colonial traffic
absorbs an aggregate of 1,113,000 actual tonnage, exclusive of repeated
voyages of the same shipping. Here, for the satisfaction of colonial
maligners, like Mr Cobden, we place the shipping results for foreign and
colonial traffic respectively.

The registered tonnage of the 13,927 British vessels above fifty tons
burden, stood, on the 31st of December 1841, (the returns for 1840 or 1839,
we do not chance to have,)

  At                                                    2,578,862
  Of which foreign trade, in the export of products
    and manufactures to the value of _thirty-five
    millions_ sterling, absorbed                        1,258,000

  Colonial trade in the transport of _sixteen
    millions_ only of values,                           1,113,000

  Considering the greater mass of values transported,
    the foreign trade should have employed, to have
    kept its relative shipping proportion and
    importance with colonial trade, above               2,400,000

We are, however, entirely satisfied, and it would admit of easy proof,
were time and space equally at our disposal for the elaborate development
of details, not only that the colonial trade gives occupation to an equal,
but to a larger proportion of registered British shipping than the foreign
trade. But we have been obliged to limit ourselves to the consideration of
such facts as are most readily accessible, so as to enable the general
reader to test at once the approximative fidelity of the vindication we
present, and the falsehood, scarcely glozed over with a coating of
plausibility, of the vague generalities strung together as a case against
the colonies by Mr Cobden and the anti-colonial faction. We have, moreover,
to request the reader to observe, that we have proceeded all along on the
basis of the wild assumptions of Mr Cobden's own self created and
unexplained calculations; that by his own figures we have tried and
convicted his own conclusions of monstrous exaggeration, and ignorant, if
not wilful, deception. The three fourths charge of army expenditure upon
the colonies, is a mere mischievous fabrication of his own brain. In
ordinary circumstances the colonial charge would not enter for more than
half that amount; and even with the extraordinary expenditure rendered
necessary by Gosford and Durham misrule in Canada, the colonial charge is
not equal to the amount so wantonly asserted. We have likewise not
insisted with sufficient force, and at suitable length of evidence, upon
the fact of the infinitely greater values proportionally left in the
country, in the shape of the wages of labour, and the profits upon
capital, by colonial than by foreign trade. It would not, however, be too
much to assume, and indeed the proposition is almost self-evident, that
whereas about 150 per cent may be taken as the average improved value of
the products absorbed by the foreign trade, over and above the first cost
of the raw material from which fabricated, where such material is of
foreign origin, the similarly improved excess of values absorbed by the
colonial trade, would not average less than from 250 to 300 per cent.
Other occasions may arise, hereafter, more convenient than the present,
for throwing these truths into broader relief; we are content, indeed, now
to leave Mr Cobden to chew the cud of reflection upon his own colonial
blunders and misrepresentations.

Here, therefore, we stay our hand; we have redeemed our pledge; we have
more than proved our case. Various laborious researches into the real
values of colonial and foreign exported commodities, have amply satisfied
our mind, as they would those of any impartial person capable of
investigation into special facts, of the superior comparative value, in
the mercantile and manufacturing, or individual sense, as well, more
specially, as in the economical and social, or national sense, of colonial
over foreign trade. Do we therefore seek to disparage foreign trade? Far
from it: our anxious desire is to see it prosper and progress daily and
yearly, fully impressed with the conviction that it is, as it long has
been, one of the sheet-anchors of the noble vessel of the State, by the
aid of which it has swung securely in, and weathered bravely, many a
hurricane--and holding fast to which, the gallant ship is again repairing
the damage of the late long night of tempest. But we deprecate these
invidious attacks and comparisons by which malice and ignorance would
depreciate one great interest, for the selfish notion of unduly elevating
another; as if both could not equally prosper without coming into
collision; nay, as if each could not contribute to the welfare of the
other, and, in combined result, advance the glory and prosperity of the
common country.

We have not deemed it proper, to mix up with the special argument of this
article those political, moral, and social considerations of gravest
import, as connected with the possession, the government, and the
improvement of colonial dependencies, which constitute a question apart,
the happy solution of which is of the highest public concernment; and
separately, therefore, may be left for treatment. But in the economical
view, we may take credit for having cleared the ground and prepared the
way for its discussion to no inconsiderable extent. Nor have we thought it
fitting to nix up the debate on differential duties in favour of the
colonies with the other objects which have engaged our labour. We are as
little disposed as any free trader to view differential duties in excess,
with favour and approval. The candid admission of Mr Deacon Hume on that
head, that in reference to the late Slave colonies the question of those
duties is "taken entirely out of the category of free trade," should set
that debate at rest for the present, at all events.

       *       *       *       *       *


How can that which is a purely subjective affection--in other words, which
is dependent upon us as a mere modification of our sentient
nature--acquire, nevertheless, such a distinct objective reality, as shall
compel us to acknowledge it as an independent creation, the permanent
existence of which, is beyond the control of all that we can either do or
think? Such is the form to which all the questions of speculation my be
ultimately reduced. And all the solutions which have hitherto been
propounded as answers to the problem, may be generalized into these two:
either consciousness is able to transcend, or go beyond itself; or else
the whole pomp, and pageantry, and magnificence, which we miscall the
external universe, are nothing but our mental phantasmagoria, nothing but
states of our poor, finite, subjective selves.

But it has been asked again and again, in reference to these two solutions,
can a man overstep the limits of himself--of his own consciousness? If he
can, then says the querist, the reality of the external world is indeed
guaranteed; but what an insoluble, inextricable contradiction is here:
that a man should overstep the limits of the very nature which is _his_,
just because he cannot overstep it! And if he cannot, then says the same
querist, then is the external universe an empty name--a mere unmeaning
sound; and our most inveterate convictions are all dissipated like dreams.

Astute reasoner! the dilemma is very just, and is very formidable; and
upon the one or other of its horns, has been transfixed every adventurer
that has hitherto gone forth on the knight-errantry of speculation. Every
man who lays claim to a direct knowledge of something different from
himself, perishes impaled on the contradiction involved in the assumption,
that consciousness can transcend itself: and every man who disclaims such
knowledge, expires in the vacuum of idealism, where nothing grows but the
dependent and transitory productions of a delusive and constantly shifting

But is there no other way in which the question can be resolved? We think
that there is. In the following demonstration, we think that we can
vindicate the objective reality of things--(a vindication which, we would
remark by the way is of no value whatever, in so far as that objective
reality is concerned, but only as being instrumental to the ascertainment
of the laws which regulate the whole process of sensation;)--we think that
we can accomplish this, without, on the one hand, forcing consciousness to
overstep itself, and on the other hand, without reducing that reality to
the delusive impressions of an understanding born but to deceive. Whatever
the defects of our proposed demonstration may be, we flatter ourselves
that the dilemma just noticed as so fatal to every other solution, will be
utterly powerless when brought to bear against it: and we conceive, that
the point of a third alternative must be sharpened by the controversialist
who would bring us to the dust. It is a new argument, and will require a
new answer. We moreover pledge ourselves, that abstruse as the subject is,
both the question, and our attempted solution of it, shall be presented to
the reader in such a shape as shall _compel_ him to understand them.

Our pioneer shall be a very plain and palpable illustration. Let A be a
circle, containing within it X Y Z.


X Y and Z lie within the circle; and the question is, by what art or
artifice--we might almost say by what sorcery--can they be transplanted
out of it, without at the same time being made to overpass the limits of
the sphere? There are just four conceivable answers to this
question--answers illustrative of three great schools of philosophy, and
of a fourth which is now fighting for existence.

1. One man will meet the difficulty boldly, and say--"X Y and Z certainly
lie within the circle, but I believe they lie without it. _How_ this
should be, I know not. I merely state what I conceive to be the fact. The
_modus operandi_ is beyond my comprehension." This man's answer is
contradictory, and will never do.

2. Another man will deny the possibility of the transference--"X Y and Z,"
he will say, "are generated within the circle in obedience to its own laws.
They form part and parcel of the sphere; and every endeavour to regard
them as endowed with an extrinsic existence, must end in the discomfiture
of him who makes the attempt." This man declines giving any answer to the
problem. We ask him _how_ X Y and can be projected beyond the circle
without transgressing its limits; and he answers that they never are, and
never can be so projected.

3. A third man will postulate as the cause of X Y Z a transcendent
X Y Z--that is, a cause lying external to the sphere; and by referring the
former to the latter, he will obtain for X Y X, not certainly a real
externality, which is the thing wanted, but a _quasi-externality_, with
which, as the best that is to be had, he will in all probability rest
contented. "X Y and Z," he will say, "are projected, _as it were_, out of
the circle." This answer leaves the question as much unsolved as ever. Or,

4. A fourth man (and we beg the reader's attention to this man's answer,
for it forms the fulcrum or cardinal point on which our whole
demonstration turns)--a fourth man will say, "If the circle could only be
brought _within itself_, so--


then the difficulty would disappear--the problem would be completely
solved. X Y Z must now of necessity fall as extrinsic to the circle A; and
this, too, (which is the material part of the solution,) without the
limits of the circle A being overstepped."

Perhaps this may appear very like quibbling; perhaps it may be regarded as
a very absurd solution--a very shallow evasion of the difficulty.
Nevertheless, shallow or quibbling as it may seem, we venture to predict,
that when the breath of life shall have been breathed into the bones of
the above dead illustration, this last answer will be found to afford a
most exact picture and explanation of the matter we have to deal with. Let
our illustration, then, stand forth as a living process. The large circle
A we shall call our whole sphere of sense, in so far as it deals with
objective existence--and X Y Z shall be certain sensations of colour,
figure, weight, hardness, and so forth, comprehended within it. The
question then is--how can these sensations, without being ejected from the
sphere of sense within which they lie, assume the status and the character
of real independent existences? How can they be objects, and yet remain

Nothing will be lost on the score of distinctness, if we retrace, in the
living sense, the footprints we have already trod in explicating the
inanimate illustration. Neither will any harm be done, should we employ
very much the same phraseology. We answer, then, that here, too, there are
just four conceivable ways in which this question can be met.

1. The man of common sense, (so called,) who aspires to be somewhat of a
philosopher, will face the question boldly, and will say, "I feel that
colour and hardness, for instance, lie entirely within the sphere of sense,
and are mere modifications of my subjective nature. At the same time, feel
that colour and hardness constitute a real object, which exists out of the
sphere of sense, independently of me and all my modifications. _How_ this
should be, I know not; I merely state the fact as I imagine myself to find
it. The _modus_ is beyond my comprehension." This man belongs to the
school of Natural Realists. If he merely affirmed or postulated a miracle
in what he uttered, we should have little to say against him, (for the
whole process of sensation is indeed miraculous.) But he postulates more
than a miracle; he postulates a contradiction, in the very contemplation
of which our reason is unhinged.

2. Another man will deny that our sensations ever transcend the sphere of
sense, or attain a real objective existence. "Colour, hardness, figure,
and so forth," he will say, "are generated within the sphere of sense, in
obedience to its own original laws. They form integral parts of the sphere;
and he who endeavours to construe them to his own mind as embodied in
extrinsic independent existences, must for ever be foiled in the attempt."
This man declines giving any answer to the problem. We ask, _how_ can our
sensations be embodied in distinct permanent realities? And he replies,
that they never are and never can be so embodied. This man is an
Idealist--or as we would term him, (to distinguish him from another
species about to be mentioned, of the same genus,) an _Acosmical_ idealist;
that is, an Idealist who absolutely denies the existence of an independent
material world.

3. A third man will postulate as the cause of our sensations of hardness,
colour, &c., a transcendent something, of which he knows nothing, except
that he feigns and fables it as lying external to the sphere of sense: and
then, by referring our sensations to this unknown cause, he will obtain
for them, not certainly the externality desiderated, but a
_quasi-externality_, which he palms off upon himself and us as the best
that can be supplied. This man is _Cosmothetical_ Idealist: that is, an
Idealist who postulates an external universe as the unknown cause of
certain modifications we are conscious of within ourselves, and which,
according to his view, we never really get beyond. This species of
speculator is the commonest, but he is the least trustworthy of any; and
his fallacies are all the more dangerous by reason of the air of
 plausibility with which they are invested. From first to last, he
represents us as the dupes of our own perfidious nature. By some
inexplicable process of association, he refers certain known effects to
certain unknown causes; and would thus explain to us how these effects
(our sensations) come to assume, _as it were_, the character of external
objects. But we know not "as it were." Away with such shuffling
phraseology. There is nothing either of reference, or of inference, or of
quasi-truthfulness in our apprehension of the material universe. It is
ours with a certainty which laughs to scorn all the deductions of logic,
and all the props of hypothesis. What we wish to know is, _how_ our
subjective affections can _be_, not _as it were_, but in God's truth, and
in the strict, literal, earnest, and unambiguous sense of the words, real
independent, objective existences. This is what the cosmothetical idealist
never can explain, and never attempts to explain.

4. We now come to the answer which the reader, who has followed us thus
far, will be prepared to find us putting forward as by far the most
important of any, and as containing in fact the very kernel of the
solution. A fourth man will say--"If the whole sphere of sense could only
be withdrawn _inwards_--could be made to fall somewhere _within
itself_--then the whole difficulty would disappear, and the problem would
be solved at once. The sensations which existed previous to this
retraction or withdrawal, would then, of necessity, fall without the
sphere of sense, ( see our second diagram;) and in doing so, they would
necessarily assume a totally different aspect from that of sensations.
They would be real independent objects: and (what is the important part of
the demonstration) they would acquire this _status_ without overstepping
by a hair's-breadth the primary limits of the sphere. Were such
phraseology allowable, we should say that the sphere has _understepped_
itself, and in doing so, has left its former contents high and dry, and
stamped with all the marks which can characterize objective existences."

Now the reader will please to remark, that we are very far from desiring
him to accept this last solution at our bidding. Our method, we trust, is
any thing but dogmatical. We merely say, that _if_ this can be shown to be
the case, then the demonstration which we are in the course of unfolding,
will hardly fail to recommend itself to his acceptance. Whether or not it
is the case, can only be established by an appeal to our experience.

We ask, then--does experience inform us, or does she not, that the sphere
of sense falls within, and very considerably within, itself? But here it
will be asked--what meaning do we attach to the expression, that sense
falls within its own sphere? These words, then, we must first of all
explain. Every thing which is apprehended as a sensation--such as colour,
figure, hardness, and so forth--falls within the sentient sphere. To be a
sensation, and to fall within the sphere of sense, are identical and
convertible terms. When, therefore, it is asked--does the sphere of sense
ever fall within itself? this is equivalent to asking--do the senses
themselves ever become sensations? Is that which apprehends sensations
ever itself apprehended as a sensation? Can the senses he seized on within
the limits of the very circle which they prescribe? If they cannot, then
it must be admitted that the sphere of sense never falls within itself,
and consequently that an objective reality--_i.e._ a reality extrinsic to
that sphere--can never be predicated or secured for any part of its
contents. But we conceive that only one rational answer can be returned to
this question. Does not experience teach us, that much if not the whole of
our sentient nature becomes itself in turn a series of sensations? Does
not the sight--that power which contains the whole visible space, and
embraces distances which no astronomer can compute--does it not abjure its
high prerogative, and take rank within the sphere of sense--itself a
sensation--when revealed to us in the solid atom we call the eye? Here it
is the touch which brings the sight within, and very far within, the
sphere of vision. But somewhat less directly, and by the aid of the
imagination, the sight operates the same introtraction (pardon the coinage)
upon itself. It ebbs inwards, so to speak, from all the contents that were
given in what may be called its primary sphere. It represents itself, in
its organ, as a minute visual sensation, out of, and beyond which, are
left lying the great range of all its other sensations. By imagining the
sight as a sensation of colour, we diminish it to a speck within the
sphere of its own sensations; and as we now regard the sense as for ever
enclosed within this small embrasure, all the other sensations which were
its, previous to our discovery of the organ, and which are its still, are
built up into a world of objective existence, _necessarily_ external to
the sight, and altogether out of its control. All sensations of colour are
necessarily out of one another. Surely, then, when the sight is subsumed
under the category of colour--as it unquestionably is whenever we think of
the eye--surely all other colours must, of necessity, assume a position
external to it; and what more is wanting to constitute that real objective
universe of light and glory in which our hearts rejoice?

We can, perhaps, make this matter still plainer by reverting to our old
illustration. Our first exposition of the question was designed to exhibit
a general view of the case, through the medium of a dead symbolical figure.
This proved nothing, though we imagine that it illustrated much. Our
second exposition exhibited the illustration in its application to the
living sphere of sensation _in general_; and this proved little. But we
conceive that therein was foreshadowed a certain procedure, which, if it
can be shown from experience to be the actual procedure of sensation _in
detail_, will prove all that we are desirous of establishing. We now, then,
descend to a more systematic exposition of the process which (so far as
our experience goes, and we beg to refer the reader to his own) seems to
be involved in the operation of seeing. We dwell chiefly upon the sense of
sight, because it is mainly through its ministrations that a real
objective universe is given to us. Let the circle A be the whole circuit
of vision. We may begin by calling it the eye, the retina, or what we will.
Let it be provided with the ordinary complement of sensations--the colours
X Y Z. Now, we admit that these sensations cannot be extruded beyond the
periphery of vision; and yet we maintain that, unless they be made to fall
on the outside of that periphery, they cannot become real objects. How is
this difficulty--this contradiction--to be overcome? Nature overcomes it,
by a contrivance as simple as it is beautiful. In the operation of seeing,
admitting the canvass or background of our picture to be a retina, or what
we will, with a multiplicity of colours depicted upon it, we maintain that
we cannot stop here, and that we never do stop here. We invariably go on
(such is the inevitable law of our nature) to complete the picture--that
is to say, we fill in our own eye as a colour within the very picture
which our eye contains--we fill it in as a sensation within the other
sensations which occupy the rest of the field; and in doing so, we of
necessity, by the same law, turn these sensations out of the eye; and they
thus, by the same necessity, assume the rank of independent objective
existences. We describe the circumference infinitely within the
circumference; and hence all that lies on the outside of the intaken
circle comes before us stamped with the impress of real objective truth.
We fill in the eye greatly within the sphere of light, (or within the eye
itself; if we insist on calling the primary sphere by this name,) and the
eye thus filled in is the only eye we know any thing at all about, either
from the experience of sight or of touch. _How_ this operation is
accomplished, is a subject of but secondary moment; whether it be brought
about by the touch, by the eye itself, or by the imagination, is a
question which might admit of much discussion; but it is one of very
subordinate interest. The _fact_ is the main thing--the fact that the
operation _is_ accomplished in one way or another--the fact that the sense
comes before itself (if not directly, yet virtually) as _one_ of its own
sensations--_that_ is the principal point to be attended to; and we
apprehend that this fact is now placed beyond the reach of controversy.

To put the case in another light. The following considerations may serve
to remove certain untoward difficulties in metaphysics and optics, which
beset the path, not only of the uninitiated, but even of the professors of
these sciences.

We are assured by optical metaphysicians, or metaphysical opticians, that,
in the operations of vision, we never get beyond the eye itself, or the
representations that are depicted therein. We see nothing, they tell us,
but what is delineated within the eye. Now, the way in which a plain man
should meet this statement, is this--he should ask the metaphysician
_what_ eye he refers to. Do you allude, sir, to an eye which belongs to my
visible body, and forms a small part of the same; or do you allude to an
eye which does not belong to my visible body, and which constitutes no
portion thereof? If the metaphysician should say, that he refers to an eye
of the latter description, then the plain man's answer should be--that he
has no experience of any such eye--that he cannot conceive it--that he
knows nothing at all about it--and that the only eye which he ever thinks
or speaks of, is the eye appertaining to, and situated within, the
phenomenon which he calls his visible body. Is _this_, then, the eye which
the metaphysician refers to, and which he tells us we never get beyond? If
it be--why, then, the very admission that this eye is a part of the
visible body, (and what else can we conceive the eye to be?) proves that
we _must_ get beyond it. Even supposing that the whole operation were
transacted within the eye, and that the visible body were nowhere but
within the eye, still the eye which we invariably and inevitably fill in
as belonging to the visible body, (and no other eye is ever thought of or
spoken of by us,)--_this_ eye, we say, must necessarily exclude the
visible body, and all other visible things, from its sphere. Or, can the
eye (always conceived of as a visible thing among other visible things)
again contain the very phenomenon (_i.e._ the visible body) within which
it is itself contained? Surely no one will maintain a position of such
unparalleled absurdity as that.

The science of optics, in so far as it maintains, according to certain
physiological principles, that in the operation of seeing we never get
beyond the representations within the eye, is founded on the assumption,
that the visible body has no visible eye belonging to it. Whereas we
maintain, that the only eye that we have--the only eye we can form any
conception of, is the visible eye that belongs to the visible body, as a
part does to a whole; whether this eye be originally revealed to us by the
touch, by the sight, by the reason, or by the imagination. We maintain,
that to affirm we never get beyond this eye in the exercise of vision, is
equivalent to asserting, that a part is larger than the whole, of which it
is only a part--is equivalent to asserting, that Y, which is contained
between X and Z, is nevertheless of larger compass than X and Z, and
comprehends them both. The fallacy we conceive to be this, that the
visible body can be contained within the eye, without the eye of the
visible body also being contained therein. But this is a procedure, which
no law, either of thought or imagination, will tolerate. If we turn the
visible body, and all visible things, into the eye, we must turn the eye
of the visible body also into the eye; a process which, of course, again
turns the visible body, and all visible things, _out_ of the eye. And thus
the procedure eternally defeats itself. Thus the very law which appears to
annihilate, or render impossible, the objective existence of visible
things, as creations independent of the eye--this very law, when carried
into effect with a thorough-going consistency, vindicates and establishes
that objective existence, with a logical force, an iron necessity, which
no physiological paradox can countervail.

We have now probably said enough to convince the attentive reader, that
the sense of sight, when brought under its own notice as a sensation,
either directly, or through the ministry of the touch or of the
imagination, (as it is when revealed to us in its organ,) falls very
far--falls almost infinitely within its own sphere. Sight, revealing
itself as a sense, spreads over a span commensurate with the diameter of
the whole visible space; sight, revealing itself as a Sensation, dwindles
to a speck of almost unappreciable insignificance, when compared with the
other phenomena which fall within the visual ken. This speck is the organ,
and the organ is the sentient circumference drawn inwards, far within
itself, according to a law which (however unconscious we may be of its
operation) presides over every act and exercise of vision--a law which,
while it contracts the sentient sphere, throws, at the same time, into
necessary objectivity every phenomenon that falls external to the
diminished circle. This is the law in virtue of which subjective visual
sensations are real visible objects. The moment the sight becomes one of
its own sensations, it is restricted, in a peculiar manner, to that
particular sensation. It now falls, as we have said, within its own sphere.
Now, nothing more was wanting to make the other visual sensations real
independent existences; for, _quà_ sensations, they are all originally
independent of each other, and the sense itself being now a sensation,
they must now also be independent of it.

We now pass on to the consideration of the sense of touch.

Here precisely the same process is gone through which was observed to take
place in the case of vision. The same law manifests itself here, and the
same inevitable consequence follows, namely--that sensations are
things--that subjective affections are objective realities. The sensation
of hardness (softness, be it observed, is only an inferior degree of
hardness, and therefore the latter word is the proper generic term to be
employed)--the sensation of hardness forms the contents of this sense.
Hardness, we will say, is originally a purely subjective affection. The
question, then, is, how can this affection, without being thrust forth
into a fictitious, transcendent, and incomprehensible universe, assume,
nevertheless, a distinct objective reality, and be (not as it were, but in
language of the most unequivocating truth) a permanent existence
altogether independent of the sense? We answer, that this can take place
only provided the sense of touch can be brought under our notice _as
itself hard_. If this can be shown to take place, then as all sensations
which are presented to us in space necessarily exclude one another, are
reciprocally _out_ of each other, all other instances of hardness must of
necessity fall as extrinsic to that particular hardness which the sense
reveals to us as its own; and, consequently, all these other instances of
hardness will start into being, as things endowed with a permanent and
independent substance.

Now, what is the verdict of experience on the subject? The direct and
unequivocal verdict of experience is, that the touch reveals itself to us
as one of its own sensations. In the finger-points more particularly, and
generally all over the surface of the body, the touch manifests itself not
only as that which apprehends hardness, but as that which is itself hard.
The sense of touch vested in one of its own sensations (our tangible
bodies namely) is the sense of touch brought within its own sphere. It
comes before itself as _one_ sensation of hardness. Consequently all its
_other_ sensations of hardness are necessarily excluded from this
particular hardness; and, falling beyond it, they are by the same
consequence built up into a world of objective reality, of permanent
substance, altogether independent of the sense, self-betrayed as a
sensation of hardness.

But here it may be asked, If the senses are thus reduced to the rank of
sensations, if they come under our observation as themselves sensations,
must we not regard them but as parts of the subjective sphere; and though
the other portions of the sphere may be extrinsic to these sensations,
still must not the contents of the sphere, taken as a whole, be considered
as entirely subjective, _i.e._ as merely _ours_, and consequently must not
real objective existence be still as far beyond our grasp as ever? We
answer. No, by no means. Such a query implies a total oversight of all
that experience proves to be the fact with regard to this matter. It
implies that the senses have not been reduced to the rank of
sensations--that they have _not_ been brought under our cognizance as
themselves sensations, and that they have yet to be brought there. It
implies that vision has not been revealed to us as a sensation of colour
in the phenomenon the eye--and that touch has not been revealed to us as a
sensation of hardness in the phenomenon the finger. It implies, in short,
that it is not the sense itself which has been revealed to us, in the one
case as coloured, and in the other case as hard, but that it is something
else which has been thus revealed to us. But it may still be asked, How do
we know that we are not deceiving ourselves? How can it be proved that it
is the senses, and not something else, which have come before us under the
guise of certain sensations? That these sensations are the senses
themselves, and nothing but the senses, may be proved in the following

We bring the matter to the test of actual experiment. We make certain
experiments, _seriatim_, upon each of the items that lie within the
sentient sphere, and we note the effect which each experiment has upon
that portion of the contents which is not meddled with. In the exercise of
vision, for example, we remove a book, and no change is produced in our
perception of a house; a cloud disappears, yet our apprehension of the sea
and the mountains, and all other visible things, is the same as ever. We
continue our experiments, until our test happens to be applied to one
particular phenomenon, which lies, if not directly, yet virtually, within
the sphere of vision. We remove or veil this small visual phenomenon, and
a totally different effect is produced from those that took place when any
of the other visual phenomena were removed or veiled. The whole landscape
is obliterated. We restore this phenomenon--the whole landscape reappears:
we adjust this phenomenon differently--the whole landscape becomes
differently adjusted. From these experiments we find, that this phenomenon
is by no means an ordinary sensation, but that it differs from all other
sensations in this, that it is the sense itself appearing in the form of a
sensation. These experiments prove that it is the sense itself, and
nothing else, which reveals itself to us in the particular phenomenon the
eye. If experience informed us that the particular adjustment of some
other visual phenomenon (a book, for instance) were essential to our
apprehension of all the other phenomena, we should, in the same way, be
compelled to regard this book as our sense of sight manifested in one of
its own sensations. The book would be to us what the eye now is: it would
be our bodily organ: and no _à priori_ reason can be shown why this might
not have been the case. All that we can say is, that such is not the
finding of experience. Experience points out the eye, and the eye alone,
as the visual sensation essential to our apprehension of all our other
sensations of vision, and we come at last to regard this sensation as the
sense itself. Inveterate association leads us to regard the eye, not
merely as the organ, but actually as the sense of vision. We find from
experience how much depends upon its possession, and we lay claim to it as
a part of ourselves, with an emphasis that will not be gainsaid.

An interesting enough subject of speculation would be, an enquiry into the
gradual steps by which each man is led to _appropriate_ his own body. No
man's body is given him absolutely, indefeasibly, and at once, _ex dono
Dei_. It is no unearned hereditary patrimony. It is held by no _à priori_
title on the part of the possessor. The credentials by which its tenure is
secured to him, are purely of an _à posteriori_ character; and a certain
course of experience must be gone through before the body can become his.
The man acquires it, as he does originally all other property, in a
certain formal and legalized manner. Originally, and in the strict legal
as well as metaphysical idea of them, all bodies, living as well as dead,
human no less than brute, are mere _waifs_--the property of the first
finder. But the law, founding on sound metaphysical principles, very
properly makes a distinction here between two kinds of finding. To entitle
a person to claim a human body as his own, it is not enough that he should
find it in the same way in which he finds his other sensations, namely, as
impressions which interfere not with the manifestations of each other.
This is not enough, even though, in the case supposed, the person should
be the first finder. A subsequent finder would have the preference, if
able to show that the particular sensations manifested as this human body
were essential to his apprehension of all his other sensations whatsoever.
It is this latter species of finding--the finding, namely, of certain
sensations as the essential condition on which the apprehension of all
other sensations depends; it is this finding alone which gives each man a
paramount and indisputable title to that "treasure trove" which he calls
his own body. Now, it is only after going through a considerable course of
experience and experiment, that we can ascertain what the particular
sensations are upon which all our other sensations are dependent. And
therefore were we not right in saying, that a man's body is not given to
him directly and at once, but that he takes a certain time, and must go
through a certain process, to acquire it?

The conclusion which we would deduce from the whole of the foregoing
remarks is, that the great law of _living_[21] sensation, the _rationale_
of sensation as a _living_ process, is this, that the senses are not
merely _presentative_--_i.e._ they not only bring sensations before us, but
that they are _self-presentative_--_i.e._ they, moreover, bring themselves
before us as sensations. But for this law we should never get beyond our
mere subjective modifications; but in virtue of it we necessarily get
beyond them; for the results of the law are, 1st, that we, the subject,
restrict ourselves to, or identify ourselves with, the senses, not as
displayed in their primary sphere, (the large circle A,) but as falling
within their own ken as sensations, in their secondary sphere, (the small
circle A.) This smaller sphere is our own bodily frame; and does not each
individual look upon himself as vested in his own bodily frame? And 2ndly,
it is a necessary consequence of this investment or restriction, that
every sensation which lies beyond the sphere of the senses, viewed as
sensations, (_i.e._ which lies beyond the body,) must be, in the most
unequivocal sense of the words, a real independent object. If the reader
wants a name to characterise this system, he may call it the system of
_Absolute or Thorough-going presentationism_.

    [21] We say _living_, because every attempt hitherto made to
    explain sensation, has been founded on certain appearances
    manifested in the _dead_ subject. By inspecting a dead carcass we
    shall never discover the principle of vision. Yet, though there is
    no seeing in a dead eye, or in a camera obscura, optics deal
    exclusively with such inanimate materials; and hence the student
    who studies them will do well to remember, that optics are the
    science of vision, with the _fact_ of vision left entirely out of
    the consideration.

       *       *       *       *       *


To shorten the navigation between the eastern and western divisions of our
globe, either by discovering a north-west passage into the Pacific, or
opening a route across the American continent, with European philosophers
and statesmen has for centuries been a favourite project, and yet in only
one way has it been attempted. Large sums of money were successively voted
and expended, in endeavouring to penetrate through the Arctic sea; and
such is the persevering enterprise of our mariners, that in all likelihood
this gigantic task eventually will be accomplished: but, even if it should,
it is questionable whether a navigable opening in that direction would
prove beneficial to commerce. The floating ice with which those high
latitudes are encumbered; the intricacy of the navigation; the cold and
tempestuous weather generally prevailing there, and the difficulty of
obtaining aid, in cases of shipwreck, must continue to deter the ordinary
navigator from following that track.

Enquiry, therefore, naturally turns to the several points on the middle
part of the American continent, where, with the aid of art, it is supposed
that a communication across may be effected. These are five in number, and
the facilities for the undertaking which each affords, have been discussed
by a few modern travellers, commencing with Humboldt. On a close
investigation into the subject, it will, however, appear evident, that
although the cutting of a canal on some point or order, may be within the
compass of human exertion, still the undertaking would require an enormous
outlay of capital, besides many years to accomplish it; and even if it
should be completed, the result could never answer the expectations formed
upon this subject in Europe. On all the points proposed, and more
especially in reference to the long lines, the difficulty of rendering
rivers navigable, which in the winter are swelled into impetuous torrents;
the want of population along the greater part of the distances to be cut;
the differences of elevation; and, above all, the shallowness of the water
on all the extremities of the cuts projected, thus only affording
admission to small vessels, are among the impediments which, for the time
being at least, appear almost insuperable.

Without entering further into the obstacles which present themselves to
the formation of a canal along any one of the lines alluded to, I shall at
once come to the conclusion, that for all the practical purposes of
commercial intercourse which the physical circumstances of the country
allow, a railroad is preferable, and may be constructed at infinitely less
expense. This position once established, the question next to be asked is,
which is the most eligible spot for the work proposed? On a careful
examination of the relative merits of the several lines pointed out, that
of the isthmus of Panama unquestionably appears to be the most eligible.
From its central position, and the short distance intervening between the
two oceans, it seems, indeed, to be providentially destined to become the
connecting link between the eastern and western worlds; and hence its
being made a thoroughfare for all nations, must be a subject of the utmost
importance to those engaged in commerce.

Some of our most eminent public writers of the day, anticipating the
advantages likely to result from the emancipation of Spanish America,
considered the opening of a passage across that isthmus as one of the
mightiest events which could present itself to the enterprise of man; and
it is well known, that during Mr Pitt's administration projects on this
subject were submitted to him--some of them even attempting to show the
feasibility of cutting a canal across, sufficiently deep and wide to admit
vessels of the largest class. Report says, that the minister frequently
spoke in rapturous terms on the supposed facilities of this grand project;
and it is believed, that the sanguine hopes of its realization had great
weight with him when forming his plans for the independence of the
southern division of the New World. The same idea prevailed in Europe for
the greater part of the last century; but yet no survey was instituted--no
steps taken to obtain correct data on the subject. Humboldt revived it;
and yet this great and beneficial scheme again remained neglected, and, to
all appearance, forgotten. At length the possession of the Marquesas
islands by the French, brought the topic into public notice, when, towards
the close of last April, and while submitting the project of a law to the
Chamber of Deputies for a grant of money to cover the expenses of a
government establishment in the new settlements, Admiral Roussin expressed
himself thus:--"The advantages of our new establishments, incontestable as
they are even at present, will assume a far greater importance hereafter.
They will become of great value, should a plan which, at the present
moment, fixes the attention of all maritime nations, be realized, namely,
to open, through the isthmus of Panama, a passage between Europe and the
Pacific, instead of going round by Cape Horn. When this great event, alike
interesting to all naval powers, shall have been effected, the Society and
Marquesas islands, by being brought so much nearer to France, will take a
prominent place among the most important stations of the world. The
facility of this communication will necessarily give a new activity to the
navigation of the Pacific ocean; since this way will be, if not the
shortest to the Indian and Chinese seas, certainly the safest, and, in a
commercial point of view, unquestionably the most important."

In his speech in support of the grant, M. Gaizot, in the sitting of the
10th inst., asserted that the project of piercing the isthmus of Panama
was not a chimerical one, and proceeded to read a letter from Professor
Humbolt, dated Angust 1842, in which that learned gentleman observed, that
"it was twenty-five years since a project for a communication between the
two oceans, either by the isthmus of Panama, the lake of Nicaragua, or by
the isthmus of Capica, had been proposed and topographically discussed; and
yet nothing had been yet commenced." The French minister also read
extracts from a paper addressed to the Academy of Sciences, by an American
gentleman named Warren, advocating the practicability of a canal, by means
of the rivers Vinotinto, Beverardino, and Farren, after which he
enthusiastically exclaimed, that should this great work ever be
accomplished--and in his own mind he had no doubt that some day or other
it would--then the value of Oceana would be greatly increased, and France
would have many reasons to congratulate herself on the possession of them.
This has thus become one of the most popular topics in France, where the
views of the minister are no longer concealed, and in England are we
slumbering upon it? Certainly we have as great an interest in the
accomplishment of the grand design as the French, and possibly possess
more correct information on the subject than they do. Why, then, is it
withheld from the public? What are our government doing?

To supply this deficiency, as far as his means allow, is the object of the
writer of these pages; and in order to show the degree of credit to which
his remarks may be entitled, and his reasons for differing from the French
as regards the means by which the great desideratum is to be achieved, he
will briefly state, that in early life he left Europe under the prevailing
impression that the opening of a canal across the isthmus of Panama was
practicable; but while in the West Indies, some doubts on the subject
having arisen in his mind, he determined to visit the spot, which he did
at his own expense, and at some personal risk--the Spaniards being still
in possession of the country. With this view he ascended the river Chagre
to Cruces, and thence proceeded by land to Panama, where he stopped a
fortnight. In that time he made several excursions into the interior, and
had a fair opportunity of hearing the sentiments of intelligent natives;
but, although he then came to the conclusion that a canal of large
dimensions was impracticable, he saw the possibility of opening a railroad,
with which, in his opinion, European nations ought to be satisfied, at
least for the present. Why he assumed this position, a description of the
locality will best explain.

The river Chagre, which falls into the Atlantic, is the nearest
transitable point to Panama, but unfortunately the harbour does not admit
vessels drawing more than twelve feet water.[22] There the traveller
embarks in a _bonjo_, (a flat-bottomed boat,) or in a canoe, made of the
trunk of a cedar-tree, grown on the banks to an enormous size. The
velocity of the downward current is equal to three miles an hour, and
greater towards the source. The ascent is consequently tedious; often the
rowers are compelled to pole the boat along, a task, under a burning sun,
which could only be performed by negroes. In the upper part of the stream
the navigation is obstructed by shallows, so much so as to render the
operation of unloading unavoidable. Large trunks of trees, washed down by
the rains, and sometimes embedded in the sands, also occasionally choke up
the channel, impediments which preclude the possibility of a steam power
being used beyond a certain distance up. No boat can ascend higher than
Cruces, a village in a direct line not more than twenty-two miles from
Chagre harbour; but owing to the sinuosities of the river, the distance to
be performed along it is nearly double. To stem the current requires from
three to eight days, according to the season, whereas the descent does not
take more than from eight to twelve hours.

From Cruces to Panama the distance is five leagues, over a broken and
hilly country. The town is situated at the head of the gulf, on a neck of
land washed by the waters of the Pacific; but the port is only accessible
to flat-bottomed boats, owing to which it is called _Las Piraguas_. The
harbour, or rather the roadstead, is formed by a cluster of small islands
lying about six miles from the shore, under the shelter of which vessels
find safe anchorage. The tides rise high, and, falling in the same
proportion, the sloping coast is left dry to a considerable distance
out--a circumstance which precludes the possibility of forming an outlet
in front of Panama. The obstacles above enumerated at once convinced the
writer that a ship canal in this direction was impracticable. The Spanish
plan was to make the Chagre navigable a considerable distance up, by
removing the shallows and deepening the channel; but owing to the great
inclination in the descent, and the immense volumes of water rushing down
in winter, the task would be a most herculean one; and, even if
accomplished, this part of the route could only serve for small craft. A
canal over five leagues of hilly ground would still remain to be cut.

Although the plan, so long and so fondly cherished in Europe, and now
revived in France, must, for the reasons here assigned, be abandoned, on
this account we ought not to be deterred from availing ourselves of such
facilities as the locality affords. The geographical position of the
isthmus of Panama is too interesting to be any longer disregarded. "When
the Spanish discoverers first overcame the range of mountains which divide
the western from the Atlantic shores of South America," said a
distinguished statesman,[23] "they stood fixed in silent admiration, gazing
on the vast expanse of the Southern ocean which lay stretched before them
in boundless prospect. They adored--even those hardened and sanguinary
adventurers adored--the gracious providence of Heaven, which, after lapse
of so many centuries had opened to mankind so wonderful a field of untried
and unimagined enterprize." The very same point of land where, in 1515,
the Spaniards first beheld the Pacific, is the spot formed by nature for
the realization of those advantages which their cautious policy caused
them to overlook. The Creator seems to have intended it for general
use--as the highway of nations; and yet, after a period of more than three
centuries, scarcely has the solitude which envelopes this interesting
strip of land been broken. Is Europe or America to blame for this?

    [22] This is the first impediment to an oceanic canal, and one
    equally felt on the other proposed lines. Captain Sir Edward
    Belcher, when recently surveying the western coasts of America,
    availed himself of the opportunity to explore the Estero Real, a
    river on the Pacific side, which he did by ascending it to the
    distance of thirty miles from its mouth, but he found that it only
    admits a vessel drawing ten feet water. That intelligent officer
    considered this an advantageous line for a canal, which by lake
    navigation, he concluded might be connected with San Salvador,
    Honduras, Nicaragua, and extended to the Atlantic; but the
    distance is immense, the country thinly inhabited, and besides
    unhealthy, and, after all, it could only serve for boats.

    [23] Lord Grenville in his speech on Indian affairs, April 9,

In the present state of our trade, and the increasing competition which we
are likely to experience, unquestionably it would be advisable for British
subjects to exert themselves in securing a free passage across the isthmus
above-named. It is not, however, to be imagined that this is a new project
in our history. Towards the close of the seventeenth century, one was
formed in Scotland for the establishment of a national company to trade
with the Indies through the Pacific, which became so popular that most of
the royal burghs subscribed to it. The scheme originated with William
Patterson, a Scotchman, of a bold and enterprizing character, who, in
early life, is supposed to have been a Bucanier, and to have traversed
several sections of South America. At all events, he seems to have been
acquainted with the views of Captain, afterwards Sir Henry Morgan, who, in
1670, took and burned Panama.

In England, the "Scots Company" was strenuously opposed by the
incorporated traders to the East Indies, as well as by the West India
merchants. Parliament equally took the alarm, and prayed the king not to
sanction the scheme. So powerful did this opposition at length become,
that the sums subscribed were withdrawn. Nothing daunted by this failure,
Patterson resolved to engraft upon his original plan one for the
establishment of an emporium on the Isthmus of Darien, whither he
anticipated that European goods would be sent, and thence conveyed to the
western shores of America, the Pacific islands, and Asia; and, in order to
attract notice and gain support, he proposed that the new settlement
should be made a free port, and all distinctions of religion, party, and
nation banished. The project was much liked in the north of Europe, but
again scouted at the English court; when the Scotch, indignant at the
opposition which their commercial prospects experienced from King William's
ministers, which they attributed to a contrariety of interests on the
part of the English, subscribed among themselves L.400,000 for the object
in view, and L.300,000 more were, in the same manner, raised at Hamburg;
but, in consequence of a remonstrance presented to the senate of that city
by the English resident, the latter sum was called in.

Eventually, in 1699, Patterson sailed with five large vessels, having on
board 1200 followers, all Scotch, and many of them belonging to the best
families, furnished with provisions and merchandise; and, on arriving on
the coast of Darien, took possession of a small peninsula lying between
Porto Bello and Carthagena, where he built the Fort of St Andrew. The
settlement was called New Caledonia; and the directors having taken every
precaution for its security, entered into negotiations with the
independent Indians in the neighbourhood, by whom it is believed that the
tenure of the "Scots Company" was sanctioned. The Spaniards took offence
at this alleged aggression, and angry complaints were forwarded to the
court of St James's. To these King William listened with something like
complacency, his policy at the time being to temporize with Spain, in
order to prevent the aggrandizement of the French Bourbons. The new
settlement was accordingly denounced, in proclamations issued by the
authorities of Jamaica, Barbadoes, and the American plantations, and soon
afterwards attacked by a Spanish force. Pressed on all sides, the
adventurers, for a period of eight months, bore up against accumulated
misfortunes; when at length, receiving no succours from their copartners
at home, convinced that they had to contend against the hostility of the
English government, and their provisions being exhausted, the survivors
were compelled to abandon their enterprise and return to Scotland. To add
to their chagrin, a few days after their departure two vessels arrived
with supplies and a small reinforcement of men.

Incensed at the second failure of their favourite scheme, the Scotch
endeavoured to obtain from King William an acknowledgment of the national
right to the territory of New Caledonia, and some reparation for the loss
sustained by the disappointed settlers. Unsuccessful in their application,
they next presented an address to the ruling power, praying that their
parliament might be assembled, in order to take the matter into
consideration; when, at the first meeting, angry and spirited resolutions
were passed upon the subject. No redress was, however, obtained; and thus
terminated the Darien scheme of the seventeenth century, founded, no one
will venture to deny, on an enlarged view of our commercial interests, and
a just conception of the means by which they might have been promoted. In
the state of our existing treaties with Spain, the seizure of territory
possibly was unjust, the moment unseasonable, and the plan, in one respect,
obviously defective, inasmuch as the projectors had not taken into account
the hostility of the Spaniards, and could not, consequently, rely on an
outlet for their merchandize in the Pacific. Had the scheme been delayed,
or had the settlement survived some months longer, the War of Succession
would, however, have given to the adventurers a right of tenure stronger
than any they could have obtained from the English court; for it is to be
borne in mind that, on the 3d of November 1700, Charles II. of Spain died
leaving his crown to a French branch of the House of Bourbon--an event
which threw Europe into a blaze, and, in the ensuing year, led to the
formation of the Grand Alliance.

This short digression may serve to show the spirit of the age towards the
close of the seventeenth century, and more particularly the light in which
the Scotch viewed an attempt, made nearly a century and a half ago, to
establish a commercial intercourse with the Pacific; and, had they then
succeeded, other objects of still mightier import than those at first
contemplated--other benefits of a more extended operation, would have been
included in the results. The opportunity was lost, evidently through the
want of support from the ruling power; but it must have been curious to
see the English government, at the close of the war, endeavouring to have
conceded to them by the Spanish court, and in virtue of the memorable
Aziento contract of 1713, those very same advantages which the "Scots
Company" sought to secure, by their own private efforts, and almost in
defiance of a most powerful interest. And when our prospects in the same
quarter have been enlarged, to an extent far beyond the most sanguine
expectations of our forefathers--when, through the independence of South
America, we have had the fairest opportunities of entering into
combinations with the natives for the accomplishment of the
grand design--is it yet to be said that spirited and enlightened
Englishmen are not to be found, ready and willing enough to support a
scheme advantageous to the whole commercial community of Europe? It is
confidently understood that the best information on the subject has been
submitted to her Majesty's government, even recently. If so, is it then a
fact that no one member of the Cabinet has shown a disposition to lend a
helping hand?

But what have the South Americans done in furtherance of the scheme in
question? Among the projects contemplated by Bolivar, the Liberator, for
the improvement of his native land, as soon as its independence should
have been consolidated, was one to form a junction between the
neighbouring oceans, so far as nature and the circumstances of the country
would allow. In November 1827, he accordingly commissioned Mr John
Augustus Lloyd, an Englishman, to make a survey of the isthmus of Panama,
"in order to ascertain," as that gentleman himself tells us, "the best and
most eligible line of communication, whether by road or canal, between the
two seas." In March 1828 the commissioner arrived at Panama, where he was
joined by a Swedish officer of engineers in the Colombian service, and,
provided with suitable instruments, they proceeded to perform the task
assigned to them.[24] Their first care was to determine the relative height
of the two oceans, when, from their observations, it appeared that the
tides are regular on both sides of the isthmus, and the time of high water
nearly the same at Panama and Chagre. The rise in the Pacific is, however,
the greatest, the mean height at Panama being rather more than three feet
above that of the Atlantic at Chagre; but, as in every twelve hours the
Pacific falls six feet more than the Atlantic, it is in that same
proportion lower; yet, as soon as the tide has flowed fully in, the level
assumes its usual elevation. Although the measurements of Bolivar's
commissioners were not, perhaps, performed with all the exactitude that
could have been wished, sufficient was then and since ascertained to
establish the fact, that the difference between the levels of the two
oceans is not so great as to cause any derangement, in case the
intervening ground could be pierced.

    [24] The result of their labours was published in the _Philosophic
    Transactions_ for 1830, accompanied by drawings.

In the pursuit of his object, Mr Lloyd seems altogether to set aside the
idea of a canal, and leaving his readers to judge which is the best
expedient to answer the end proposed, he thus describes the topography and
capabilities of the country:--"It is generally supposed in Europe that the
great chain of mountains, which, in South America, forms the Andes,
continues nearly unbroken through the isthmus. This, however, is not the
case. The northern Cordillera breaks into detached mountains on the
eastern side of the province of Vevagna, which are of considerable height,
extremely abrupt and rugged, and frequently exhibit an almost
perpendicular face of bare rock. To these succeed numerous conical
mountains, rising out of savannahs or plains, and seldom exceeding from
300 to 500 feet in height. Finally, between Chagre on the Atlantic side,
and Chorrera on the Pacific side, the conical mountains are not so
numerous, having plains of great extent, interspersed with occasional
insulated ranges of hills, of inconsiderable height and extent. From this
description, it will be seen," continues Mr Lloyd, "that the spot where
the continent of America is reduced to nearly its narrowest limits, is
also distinguished by a break for a few miles of the great chain of
mountains, which otherwise extend, with but few exceptions, to its extreme
northern and southern limits. This combination of circumstances points out
the peculiar fitness of the isthmus of Panama for the establishment of a
communication across."

Here, then, we have an avowal, from the best authority before the public,
and founded on a survey of the ground, that the intervening country is
sufficiently open, even for a canal, if skilfully undertaken, and with
adequate funds--consequently it cannot present any physical obstacles in
the way of a railroad which cannot readily be overcome. The same opinion
was formed by the writer of these pages, when, at a much earlier period,
he viewed the plains from the heights at the back of Panama; and that
opinion was borne out by natives who had traversed the ground as far as
the forests and brushwood allowed. In the sitting of the Royal Academy of
Sciences, held in Paris on the 26th of last December, Baron Humboldt
reported, that the preparatory labours for cutting a canal across the
isthmus of Panama were rapidly advancing; to which he added that the
commission appointed by the government of New Granada had terminated their
survey of the localities, after arriving at a result as fortunate as it
was unexpected. "The chain of the Cordilleras," he observed, "does not
extend, as it was formerly supposed, across, since a valley favourable to
the operation had been discovered, and the natural position of the waters
might also be rendered useful. Three rivers," the Baron proceeded to say,
"had been explored, over which an easy control might be established; and
these rivers, there was every reason to think, might be made partially
navigable, and afterwards connected with the proposed canal, the
excavations for which would not extend beyond 12-1/2 miles in length. It
was further expected that the fall might be regulated by four double locks,
138 feet in length; by which means the total extent of the canal would not
be more than 49 miles, with a width of 136 feet at the surface, 56 at the
base, and 20 in depth, sufficiently capacious for the admission of a
vessel measuring 1000 to 1400 tons. It was estimated by M. Morel, a French
engineer, that the cost of these several works would not be more than
fourteen millions of francs."

This is a confirmation of the fact, that on the isthmus facilities exist
for either cutting a canal, or constructing a railroad; but while the
French seem inclined to revive the primitive project, it is to be feared
that they overlook the paramount difficulty, which, as already noticed,
occurs on both sides, through the want of water. Unless admission and an
outlet can be obtained for men-of-war, and the usual class of vessels
trading to India, it would scarcely be worth while to attempt a canal, and
it has not been ascertained that both those essential requisites can be
found. The other plan must therefore be held to be the surest and most
economical. This also seems to have been the conclusion at which Mr Lloyd
arrived. Having made up his mind that a railroad is best adapted to the
locality, he proceeds to trace two lines, starting from the same terminus,
near the Atlantic, and terminating at different points on the Pacific,
respecting which he expresses himself thus:--"Two lines are marked on the
map, commencing at a point near the junction of the rivers Chagre and
Trinidad, and crossing the plains, the one to Chorrera, and the other to
Panama. These lines indicate the directions which I consider the best for
a railroad communication. The principal difficulty in the establishment of
such a communication, would arise from the number of rivulets to be
crossed, which, though dry in summer, become considerable streams in the
rainy season. The line which crosses to Chorrera is much the shortest, but
the other has the advantage of terminating in the city and harbour of
Panama. The country intersected by these lines is by no means so abundant
in woods as in other parts, but has fine savannahs, and throughout the
whole distance, as well as on each bank of the Trinidad, presents flat,
and sometimes swampy country, with occasional detached sugar-loaf
mountains, interspersed with streams that mostly empty themselves into the

Would it not, then, be more advisable to act on this suggestion, than run
the risk and incur the expense of a canal? On all hands it is agreed, that
as far as the mouth of the Trinidad the Chagre is navigable for vessels
drawing twelve feet water, by which means twelve or fourteen miles of road,
and a long bridge besides, would be saved. Under this supposition, the
proposed line from the junction of the two rivers to Panama would be about
thirty miles, and to Chorrera twenty four; while on neither of them does
any other difficulty present itself than the one mentioned by Mr Lloyd.
"Should the time arrive," says that gentleman, "when a project of a water
communication across the isthmus may be entertained, the river Trinidad
will probably appear the most favourable route. That river is for some
distance both broad and deep, and its banks are also well suited for
wharfs, especially in the neighbourhood of the spot whence the lines
marked for a railroad communication commence."

It therefore only remains to be determined which of the two lines is the
preferable one; and this depends more on the facilities afforded by the
bay of Chorrera for the admission of vessels, than the difference in the
distances. However desirable it might be to have Panama as the Pacific
station, it will already have been noticed, that the great distance from
the shore at which vessels are obliged to anchor, is a serious impediment
to loading and unloading--operations which are rendered more tedious by
the heavy swell at certain seasons setting into the gulf. The distance
from Chorrera to Panama, over a level part of the coast, is only ten miles.
Should it therefore be deemed expedient, these two places may afterwards
be connected by means of a branch line. As regards the difficulty
mentioned by Mr Lloyd, arising out of "the number of rivulets to be
crossed," it may be observed that this section of the country remains in
nearly the same state as that in which it was left by nature. No
artificial means have been adopted for drainage; but the assurances of
intelligent natives warrant the belief, that by cross-cuts the smaller
rivulets may be made to run into the larger ones, whereby the number to be
crossed would be materially diminished. The contiguous lands abound in
superior stone, easily dug, and well suited for the construction of
causeways as well as arches; while the magnificent forests, which rear
their lofty heads to the north of the projected line, would for sleepers
furnish any quantity of an almost incorruptible and even incombustible
wood, resembling teak.[25]

The Honourable P. Campbell Scarlett, one of the last travellers of note
who crossed the isthmus and favoured the pubic with the result of his
observations, says, "that for a ship canal the locality would not answer,
but presents the greatest facilities for the transfer of merchandize by
river and canal, sufficiently deep for steam-boats, at a comparatively
trifling expense."[26] He then proceeds to remark, "that Mr Lloyd seemingly
turned his attention more to the practicability of a railroad along the
level country between the mouth of the Trinidad and the town or river of
Chorrera, and no doubt a railroad would be very beneficial;" adding, "that
an explicit understanding would be necessary to prevent interruption,
(meaning with the local government and ruling power:) and the subject
assuredly is of sufficient magnitude and importance to justify, if not
call on, the British government, or any other power, to encourage and
sanction the enterprise by a solemn treaty."

In proportion to its size, no town built by the Spaniards in the western
world contains so many good edifices as Panama, although many of them are
now falling to decay. It was rebuilt subsequent to the fire in 1737, and
from the ornamental parts of some structures, it is evident that superior
workmen were employed in their erection;[27] and should notice at any time
be given that public works were about to commence there, accompanied by an
assurance that artisans would meet with due encouragement, thither
able-bodied men would flock, even from the West Indies and the United
States. Hardy Mulattoes, Meztizoes, free Negroes, and Indians, may be
assembled upon the spot, among whom are good masons and experienced hewers
of wood; and, being intelligent and tractable, European skill and example
alone would be requisite to direct them. The existence of coal along the
shores of Chili and Peru, is also another encouraging feature in the
scheme;[28] and as the ground for a railroad would cost a mere trifle, if
any thing, the whole might be completed at a comparatively small expense.

The profits derivable from the undertaking, when accomplished, are too
obvious to require enumeration. The rates levied on letters, passengers,
and merchandize, after leaving a proportionate revenue to the local
government, must produce a large sum, which would progressively increase
as the route became more frequented. Mines exist in the neighbourhood, at
present neglected owing to the difficulty of the smelting process. It may
hereafter be worth while for return vessels to bring the rough mineral
obtained from them to Europe, as is now done with copper ore from Cuba,
Colombia, and Chili. Ship timber, of the largest dimensions and best
qualities, may also be had. The charges on the transit of merchandize
would never be so heavy as even the rates of insurance round Cape Horn and
the Cape of Good Hope. The first of these great headlands mariners know
full well is a fearful barrier, advancing into the cheerless deep amidst
storms, rocks, islands, and currents, to avoid which the navigator is
often compelled to go several degrees more to the south than his track
requires; whereby the voyage is not only lengthened, but his water and
provisions so far exhausted, that frequently he is under the necessity of
making the first port he can in Chili, or seeking safety on the African

    [25] Ulloa (Book iii. chap. 11) remarks, that although the greater
    part of the houses in Panama were formerly built of wood, fires
    very rarely occurred; the nature of the timber being such, that if
    lighted embers are laid upon the floor, or wall made of it, the
    only consequence is, that it makes a hole without producing a

    [26] America and the Pacific, 1838.

    [27] Ulloa affirms, that the greater part of the houses in Panama
    are now built of stone; all sorts of materials for edifices of
    this kind being found there in the greatest abundance. Mr Scarlett
    also acknowledges that he there saw more specimens of
    architectural beauty than in any other town of South America which
    he had occasion to visit.

    [28] In 1814 the writer had coal in his possession, in London,
    brought from the vicinity of Lima, which he had coked and tried in
    a variety of ways. It was gaseous and resembled that dug in the
    United States. Since that period coal has been found near
    Talcahuano and at Valdivia, on the coast of Chili; on the island
    of Chiloe, and on that of San Lorenzo, opposite to Lima; in the
    valley of Tambo, near Islay; at Guacho, and even further down on
    the coast of Guayaquil. Mr Scarlett quotes a letter from the Earl
    of Dundonald. (Lord Cochrane,) in which his lordship affirms,
    "that there is plenty of coal at Talcahuano, in the province of
    Conception." It was used on board of her Majesty's ship Blossom;
    and Mr Mason, of her Majesty's ship Seringspatam, pronounced it
    good when not taken too near the surface. Mr Wheelright, the
    American gentleman who formed the Steam Navigation Company along
    the western coast, coked the coal found there; and in the general
    plan for the formation of his company, assured the public that
    "coal exists on various parts of the Chili coast in great
    abundance, and will afford an ample supply for steam operations on
    the Pacific at a very moderate expense." The fact is confirmed by
    various other testimonies, and there is every reason to believe
    that coal will be hereafter found at no great distance from

To escape from the perils and delays of this circuitous route has long
been the anxious wish of all commercial nations, and to a certain extent
this may be accomplished in the manner here pointed out. In the course of
time, and in case prospects are sufficiently encouraging--or, in other
words, should the surveys required for a ship canal correspond with the
hopes entertained upon this subject by the French--the great desideratum
might then be attempted. The work done would not interfere with any other
afterwards undertaken on an increased scale. On the contrary, a railroad
would continue its usual traffic, and afford great assistance. Fortunately
the obstruction to the admission of vessels into Chagre harbour, on the
Atlantic side, may be obviated, as will appear from the following passage
in Mr Lloyd's report--a point of extreme importance in the prosecution of
any ulterior design; but even then the great difficulty remains to be
overcome on the Pacific shore:--

"The river Chagre," says the Colombian commissioner, "its channel, and the
barks which in the dry season embarrass its navigation, are laid down in
my manuscript plan with great care and minuteness. It is subject to one
great inconvenience; viz. that vessels drawing more than twelve feet water
cannot enter the river, even in perfectly calm weather, on account of a
stratum of slaty limestone which runs, at a depth at high water of fifteen
feet, from a point on the mainland to some rocks in the middle of the
entrance into the harbour, and which are just even with the water's edge.
This, together with the lee current that sets on the southern shore,
particularly in the rainy season, renders the entrance extremely difficult
and dangerous. The value of the Chagre, considered as the port of entrance
for all communication, whether by the river Chagre, Trinidad, or by
railroad, across the plains, is greatly limited owing to the
above-mentioned cause. It would, in all cases, prove a serious
disqualification, were it not one which admits of a simple and effectual
remedy, arising from the proximity of the bay of Limon, otherwise called
Navy Bay, with which the river might be easily connected. The coves of this
bay afford excellent and secure anchorage in its present state, and the
whole harbour is capable of being rendered, by obvious and not very
expensive means, one of the most commodious and safe in the world."

After expressing his gratitude for the good offices of her Majesty's
consul at Panama, and the services rendered to him by the officers of her
Majesty's ship Victor, with the aid of whose boats, and the assistance of
the master, he made his survey of the bay of Limon, obtained soundings,
and constructed his plan, (the shores of which bay, he says, are therein
laid down trigonometrically from a base of 5220 yards)--Mr Lloyd remarks
thus, "It will be seen by this plan that the distance from one of the
best coves, in respect to anchorage, across the separating country from
the Chagre, and in the most convenient track, is something less than three
miles to a point in the river about three miles from its mouth. I have
traversed the intervening land, which is perfectly level, and in all
respects suitable for a canal, which, being required for so short a
distance, might well be made of a sufficient depth to admit vessels of any
reasonable draught of water, and would obviate the inconvenience of the
shallows at the entrance of the Chagre."

Granting, however, that the admission from the Atlantic into the Chagre of
a larger class of vessels than those drawing twelve feet might be thus
facilitated, according to Mr Lloyd's own avowal a breakwater would still
be necessary at the entrance of Limon Bay, which is situated round Point
Brujas, about eight geographical miles higher up towards Porto Bello than
the mouth of that river, as the heavy sea setting into the bay would
render the anchorage of vessels insecure. An immense deal of work would
consequently still remain to be performed before a corresponding outlet
into the Pacific could be obtained; and whether this can be accomplished
is yet problematical. In the interval, a railroad, on the plan above
suggested, would answer many, although not all the purposes desired by the
commercial community, and serve as a preparatory step for a canal, should
it be deemed feasible. After the country has been cleared of wood and
properly explored--after the population has been more concentrated, and
the opinions of experienced men obtained--a project of oceanic navigation
may succeed; but, for the present, we ought to be content with the best
and cheapest expedient that can be devised; and the distance is so short,
and the facilities for the enterprise so palpable, that a few previous
combinations, and a small capital only, are required to carry it into
effect. By using the waters of the Chagre and Trinidad, a material part of
the distance across is saved;[29] and as, as before explained, the ground
will cost nothing, and excellent and cheap materials exist, the work might
be performed at a comparatively trifling expense. When completed, the trip
from sea to sea would not take more than from six to eight hours.

Avowedly, no ocean is so well adapted for steam navigation as the Pacific.
Except near Cape Horn, and in the higher latitudes to the north-west, on
its glassy surface storms are seldom encountered. With their heavy ships,
the Spaniards often made voyages from Manilla to Acapulco in sixty-five
days, without having once had occasion to take in their light sails. The
ulterior consequences, therefore, of a more general introduction of steam
power into that new region, connected with a highway across the isthmus of
Panama, no one can calculate. The experiment along the shores of Chili and
Peru has already commenced; and the cheap rate at which fossil fuel can be
had has proved a great facility. Under circumstances so peculiarly
propitious, to what an extent, then, may not steam navigation be carried
on the smooth expanse of the Southern ocean? If there are two sections of
the globe more pre-eminently suited for commercial intercourse than others,
they are the western shores of America and Southern Asia. To these two
markets, consequently, will the attention of manufacturing nations be
turned; and, should the project here proposed be carried into effect,
depots of merchandize will be formed on and near the isthmus, when the
riches of Europe and America will move more easily towards Asia; while, in
return, the productions of Asia will be wafted towards America and Europe.
If we entertain the expectation, that at no distant period of time our
West India possessions will become advanced posts, and aid in the
development of the resources abounding in that extended and varied region
at the entrance of which they are stationed--if the several islands there
which hoist the British flag are destined to be resting-places for that
trade between Great Britain and the Southern sea, now opening to European
industry--these two great interests cannot be so effectually advanced as
by the means above suggested.

    [29] Mr Scarlett says, that the depth of water at Chagre is
    sufficient for steamers and large schooners, which can be
    navigated without obstruction as far up as the mouth of the
    Trinidad. By descending that river, he himself crossed the isthmus
    in seventeen hours--viz. from Panama to Cruces, eight; and thence
    to Chagre, nine. Mr Wheelright, the American gentleman above
    quoted, says that the transit of the isthmus during the dry
    season, (from November to June--and wet from June to November,) is
    neither inconvenient nor unpleasant. The canoes are covered,
    provisions and fruits cheap along the banks of the Chagre, and
    there is always personal security. The temperature, although warm,
    is healthy. At the same time it must be confessed, that in the
    rainy season a traveller is subject to great exposure and
    consequent illness; but if the railroad was roofed this objection
    might be removed. It is on all hands agreed, that the climate of
    the isthmus would be greatly improved by drainage, and clearing
    the country of the immense quantities of vegetable matter left
    rotting on the ground. The beds of seaweed, in a constant state of
    decomposition on the Pacific shore, create miasmata unquestionably
    injurious to health.

It has generally been thought that the long-neglected isthmus of Suez is
the shortest road to India, but besides being precarious, and suited only
for the conveyance of light weights, that line only embraces one object;
whereas the establishment of a communication across that of Panama, would
be like the creation of a new geographical and commercial world--it would
bring two extremities of the earth closer together, and, besides, connect
many intermediate points. It would open to European nations the portals to
a new field of enterprise, and complete the series of combinations forming
to develop the riches with which the Pacific abounds, by presenting to
European industry a new group of producers and consumers. The remotest
regions of the East would thus come more under the influence of European
civilization; while, by a quicker and safer intercourse, our Indian
possessions would be rendered more secure, and our new connexion with
China strengthened. Besides the wealth arriving from Asia and the islands
in the wide Pacific, the produce of Acapulco, San Blas, California, Nootka
Sound, and the Columbia river, on the one side, and of Guayaquil, Peru,
and Chili, on the other, would come to the Atlantic by a shorter route, at
the same time that we might receive advices from New Holland and New
Zealand with only half the delay we now do.

The mere recurrence to a map will at once show, that the isthmus of Panama
is destined to become a great commercial thoroughfare, and, at a moderate
expense, might be made the seat of an extensive trade. By the facilities
of communication across, new wants would be created; and, as fresh markets
open to European enterprise, a proportionate share of the supplies would
fall to our lot. In the present depressed state of our commercial
relations, some effort must be made to apply the industry of the country
to a larger range of objects. A century of experiments and labour has
changed the face of nature in our own country, quadrupled the produce of
our lands, and extended a green mantle over districts which once wore the
appearance of barren wastes; but the consumption of our manufactures
abroad has not risen in the same proportion. It behoves us, then, to
explore and secure new markets, which can best be done by connecting
ourselves with those regions to which the isthmus of Panama is the
readiest avenue. In a mercantile point of view, the importance of the
western coasts of America is only partially known to us. With the
exception of Valparaiso and Lima, our merchants seldom visit the various
ports along that extended line, to which the establishment of the Hudson's
Bay Company on the Columbia river gives a new feature. Although abounding
in the elements of wealth, in many of these secluded regions the spark of
commercial life has scarcely been awakened by foreign intercourse. Our
whale-fisheries in the Pacific may also require more protection than they
have hitherto done; and if we ever hope to have it in our power to obtain
live alpacas from Peru as a new stock in this country, and at a rate cheap
enough for the farmer to purchase and naturalize them, it must be by the
way of Panama, by which route guano manure may also be brought over to us
at one half of the present charges. We are now sending bonedust and other
artificial composts to Jamaica and our other islands in the West Indies,
in order to restore the soil, impoverished by successive sugar-cane crops,
while the most valuable fertilizer, providentially provided on the other
side of the isthmus, remains entirely neglected.

The establishment of a more direct intercourse with the Pacific, it will
therefore readily be acknowledged, is an undertaking worthy of a great
nation, and conformable to the spirit of the age in which we are
living--an undertaking which would do more honour to Great Britain, and
ultimately prove more beneficial to our merchants, than any other that
possibly could be devised. Nor is it to be imagined that other nations are
insensible to the advantages which they would derive from an opening of
this kind. The feelings and sentiments of the French upon this subject
have already been briefly noticed. The King of Holland has expressed
himself favourable to the undertaking, nor are the Belgians behind hand in
their good wishes for its accomplishment. If possible, the North Americans
have a larger and more immediate interest in its success than the
commercial nations of Europe. Ever since their acquisition of Louisiana, a
general spirit of enterprise has directed a large portion of their
population towards the head waters of the Mississippi and Missouri--a
spirit which impels a daring and thrifty race of men gradually to advance
towards the north-west. Captain Clark's excursion in 1805, had for its
object the discovery of a route to the Pacific by connecting the Missouri
and Columbia rivers, a subject on which, even at that early period, he
expressed himself thus:--"I consider this track across the continent of
immense advantage to the fur trade, as all the furs collected in
nine-tenths of the most valuable fur country in America, may be conveyed
to the mouth of the Columbia river, and thence shipped to the East Indies
by the 15th of August in each year, and will, of course, reach Canton
earlier than the furs which are annually exported from Montreal arrive in
Great Britain."

This extract will suffice to show the spirit of emulation by which the
citizens of the Union were, even at so remote a period, actuated in
reference to the north-west coast of America--a spirit which has since
manifested itself in a variety of ways, and in much stronger terms. The
distance overland is, however, too great, and the population too scanty,
for this route to be rendered available for the general purposes of
traffic, at least for many years to come. The North Americans have,
therefore, turned their attention to other points offering facilities of
communication with the Pacific; and the line to which they have usually
given the preference is the Mexican, or more northern one, across the
isthmus of Tehuantepec, situated partly in the province of Oaxaca and
partly in that of Vera Cruz. The facilities afforded by this locality have
been described by several tourists; but supposing that the river
Guassacualco, on the Atlantic, is, or can be made navigable for large
vessels as high up as the isthmus of Tehuantepec, (as to deep water at the
entrance, there is no doubt,) still a carriage road for at least sixteen
leagues would be necessary. The intervening land, although it may contain
some favourable breaks, is nevertheless avowedly so high, that from some
of the mountain summits the two oceans my be easily seen. The obstacles to
a road, and much more so to a canal, are therefore very considerable; and
a suitable and corresponding outlet into the Pacific, besides, has not yet
been discovered.

This, then, is by no means so eligible a spot as the isthmus of Panama.
From its situation, the Tehuantepec route would, nevertheless, be
extremely valuable to the North Americans; and it must not be forgotten
that, in this stirring age, there is scarcely an undertaking that baffles
the ingenuity of man. Owing to their position, the North Americans would
gain more by shortening the passage to the Pacific than ourselves; and
Tehuantepec being the nearest point to them suited for that object, and
also the one which they could most effectually control, it is more than
probable that, at some future period, they will use every effort to have
it opened. The country through which the line would pass is confessedly
richer, healthier, and more populous, than that contiguous to the Lake of
Nicaragua, or across the isthmus of Panama; but should the work projected
ever be carried into execution, eventually this route must become an
American monopoly.

The citizens of the United States, it will therefore readily be believed,
are keenly alive to the subject, and calculate thus:--A steamer leaving
the Mississippi can reach Guassacualco in six days; in seven, her cargo
might be transferred across the isthmus of Tehuantepec to the Pacific, and
in fifty more reach China--total, sixty-three days. As an elucidation, let
us suppose that the usual route to the same destination, round Gape Horn,
from a more central part of the Union--Philadelphia, for example--is 16,
150 miles; in that case the distance saved, independent of less sea risk,
would be as follows:--From the Delaware to Guassacualco, 2100 miles;
across Tehuantepec to the Pacific, 120; to the Sandwich Islands, 3835; to
the Ladrone do., 3900; and to Canton, 2080--total, 12,035 miles; whereby
the saving would be 4115, besides affording greater facilities for the
application of steam. Their estimate of the saving to the Columbia river
is still more encouraging. From one of their central ports the distance
round Cape Horn is estimated at 18,261 miles; whereas by the Mexican route
it would be, to Guassacualco and overland to the Pacific, 2220 miles, and
thence to the Columbia river, 2760--total, 4980; thus leaving the enormous
difference of 13, 281 miles--two-thirds of the distance, besides the
advantage of a safer navigation. By the new route, and the aid of steam, a
voyage to the destination above named may be performed in thirty instead
of a hundred and forty days; and as the population extends towards the
north-west, the Columbia river must become a place of importance. Hitherto
the Pacific ports of Mexico and California have chiefly been supplied with
goods carried overland from Vera Cruz, surcharged with heavy duties and
expenses. More need not be said to show that the United States are on the
alert; nor can it be imagined that they will allow any favourable
opportunity of securing to themselves an easier access to the Pacific to
escape them. On finding another road open, they would, however, be
inclined to desist from seeking a line of communication for themselves.
There is, indeed, every reason to expect that they would cheerfully concur
in a work, the completion of which would so materially redound to their

Nothing, indeed, can be more evident than the fact, that not only Great
Britain and the United States, but also all the commercial nations of
Europe, are deeply interested in securing for themselves a shorter and
safer passage into the great Pacific, on terms the most prompt and
economical that circumstances will allow; and the success which has
attended civilization within the present century, demands that this effort
should be made, in which, from her position, Great Britain is peculiarly
called upon to take the initiative. For the last twenty years the Panamese
have been buoyed up with the hope, that an attempt, of some kind or other,
would be made to open a communication across their isthmus, calculated to
compensate them for all their losses; and hence they have always been
disposed to second the exertions of any respectable party prepared to
undertake a work which they cannot themselves accomplish. They have heard
of the time of the _Galeones_, when the fleet, annually arriving from Peru,
landed its treasures in their port, which were exultingly carried overland
to Porto Bello, where the fair was held. "On that occasion," says Ulloa,
"the road was covered with droves of mules, each consisting of above a
hundred, laden with boxes of gold and silver," &c. Panama then rose into
consequence, attaining a state of wealth and prosperity which ceased when
the trade from the western shores took another direction. The natives and
local authorities would consequently rejoice at an event so favourable to
them, and vie with each other in according to the projectors every aid and
protection. Provisions and rents are cheap, and, under all circumstances,
the work might be completed at half the expense it would cost in Europe.

At various periods foreign individuals have obtained grants to carry the
project into execution, but time proved that they were mere speculators,
unprovided with capital, and unfortunately death prevented Bolivar from
realizing his favourite scheme. For the same object, attempts have also
been made to form companies; but, owing to the hitherto unsettled state of
the government in whose territory the isthmus is situated, the
unpopularity of South American enterprizes, and the fact that no grant
made to private individuals could afford sufficient security for the
outlay of capital, these schemes fell to the ground. The non-performance
of the promises made by the grantees, at length induced the Congress of
New Granada to annul all privileges conferred on individuals for the
purpose of opening a canal, or constructing a railroad across the isthmus,
and notifying that the project should be left open for general competition.
This determination, and the ulterior views of the French in that quarter,
have again brought the subject under discussion; and it is thought that a
fresh attempt will, erelong, be made to organize a company. It must,
however, be evident to every reflecting mind, that although the scheme has
a claim on the best energies of our countrymen, and is entitled to the
efficient patronage of government, yet, even if the funds were for this
purpose raised through private agency, the works never could be carried
into execution in a manner consistent with the magnitude of the object in
view, or the concern administered on a plan calculated to produce the
results anticipated. No body of individuals ought, indeed, to receive and
hold such a grant as would secure to them the tenure of the lands required
for the undertaking. If such a privilege could be rendered valid, it would
place in their hands a monopoly liable to abuses.

The best expedient would be for the several maritime and commercial
nations interested in the success of the enterprize, to unite and enter
into combinations, so as to secure for themselves a safe and permanent
transit for the benefit of all; and then let the work be undertaken with
no selfish or ambitious views, but in a spirit of mutual fellowship; and,
when completed, let this be a highway for each party contributing to the
expense, enjoyed and protected by all. At first sight this idea may appear
romantic--the combinations required may be thought difficult; but every
where the extension of commerce is now the order of the day, and the good
understanding which prevails among the parties who might be invited to
concur in the work, warrants the belief that, at a moment so peculiarly
auspicious, little diplomatic ingenuity would be required to procure their
assent and co-operation. By means of negotiations undertaken by Great
Britain and conducted in a right spirit, trading nations would be induced
to agree and contribute to the expenses of the enterprize in proportion to
the advantages which they may hope to derive from its completion. If, for
example, the estimate of the cost amounted to half a million sterling,
Great Britain, France, and the United States might contribute L.100,000
each, and the remainder be divided among the minor European states--each
having a common right to the property thereby created, and each a
commissioner on the spot, to watch over their respective interests.

This would be the most honourable and effectual mode of improving
facilities to which the commerce and civilization of Europe have a claim.
It is the settled conviction of the most intelligent persons who have
traversed the isthmus, that these facilities exist to the extent herein
described and unity of purpose is therefore all that is wanting for the
attainment of the end proposed. Jealousies would be thus obviated; and to
such a concession as the one suggested, the local government could have no
objection, as its own people would participate in the benefits flowing
from it. This is indeed a tribute due from the New to the Old World; nor
could the other South American states hesitate to sanction a grant made
for a commercial purpose, and for the general advantage of mankind. The
isthmus of Panama, that interesting portion of their continent, has
remained neglected for ages; and so it must continue, at least as regards
any great and useful purpose, unless called into notice by extraordinary
combinations. With so many prospective advantages before us, it is
therefore to be hoped that the time has arrived when Great Britain will
take the initiative, and promote the combinations necessary to establish a
commercial intercourse between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, an event
that would widen the scope for maritime enterprizes more than any that has
happened within the memory of the present generation, and connect us more
closely with those countries which have lately been the theatre of our
triumphs. The East India and Hudson's Bay Companies, the traders to China
and the Indian archipelago, the Australian and New Zealand colonists,
together with their connexions at home--in a word, all those who are
desirous of shortening the tedious and perilous navigation round Cape Horn
and the Cape of Good Hope--would be benefited by the construction of a
railroad; which, by making Panama an entrepot of supplies for the western
shores of America and the islands in the Pacific, either in direct
communication with Great Britain or the West India colonies, our
manufacturers would participate in the profits of an increased demand for
European commodities, which necessarily must follow the accomplishment of
so grand a design.

       *       *       *       *       *


The Germans and French differ more from each other in the art and mystery
of story-telling than either of them do from the English. It would be very
easy to point out tales which are very popular in Paris, that would make
no sensation at Vienna or Berlin; and, _vice versa_, we cannot imagine how
the French can possibly enter into the spirit of many of the best known
authors of Deutschland. In England, we are happy to say we can appreciate
them all. History, philology, philosophy--in short, all the modes and
subdivisions of heavy authorship--we leave out of the question, and
address ourselves, on this occasion, to the distinctive characteristics of
the two schools of _light_ literature--schools which have a wider
influence, and number more scholars, than all the learned academies put

In this country an outcry has been raised against the French authors in
this department, and in favour of the Germans, on the ground of the
frightful immorality of the first, and the sound principles of the other.
French impiety is not a more common expression, applied to their writings,
than German honesty. It will, perhaps, be right at starting to state, that,
in regard to decency and propriety, the two nations are on a par; if there
is any preponderance, one way or other, it certainly is not in favour of
the Germans, whose derelictions in those respects are more solemn, and
apparently sincere, than their flippant and superficial rivals. Many
authors there are, of course, in both countries, whose works are
unexceptionable in spirit and intention; but as to the assertion, that one
literature is of a higher tone of morals than the other, it is a mistake.
The great majority of the entertaining works in both are unfit _pueris

Before the Revolution, Voltaire was as popular in England as in the rest
of Europe; his powers as highly admired, and his short _historiettes_ as
much quoted: their wit being considered a sufficient counterbalance of
their coarseness. But with the war between the two nations, arose a hatred
between the two literatures; with Swift and Tristram Shandy in our hands,
we turned up our eyes in holy indignation at Candide; we saw nothing to
admire in any thing French; and as our condition in politics became more
isolated, and we grew like our ancestors, _toto divisos orbe Britannos_--
we could see no beauty in any thing foreign. The Orders in Council
extended to criticism; and all continental languages were placed in
blockade. The first nation who honestly and zealously took our part
against the enemy was the German; and from that time we began to study
_achs_ and _dochs_. Leipsic, that made Napoleon little, made Goethe great;
and to Waterloo we are indebted for peace and freedom, and also for a
belief in the truth and talent of a host of German authors, whose
principal merit consisted in the fact of their speaking the same language
in which Blucher called for his tobacco. The opposite feelings took rise
from our enmity to the French; and though by this time we have sense
enough to be on good terms with the _crapauds_, and on visiting terms with
Louis Philippe, we have not got over our antipathy to their tongue. During
the contest, we had constantly refreshed our zeal by fervent declarations
of contempt for the frog-eating, spindle shanked mounseers, and persuaded
ourselves that their whole literature consisted in atheism and murder, and
though we now know that frogs are by no means the common food of the
peasantry--costing about a guinea a dish--and that it is possible for a
Frenchman to be a strapping fellow of six feet high, the taint of our
former persuasion remains with us still as to their books; and, in some
remote districts, we have no doubt that Peter Pindar would be thought a
more harmless volume in a young lady's hands than _Pascal's Thoughts_--in

It is not unlikely that the Customs' Union may lower our estimate of
Weimar; a five years' war with Austria and Prussia, especially if we were
assisted by the French, would make us rank Schiller himself--the greatest
of German names--on the same humble level where we now place Victor Hugo.
But there are thousands, of people in this good realm of England, who
actually consider such beings a Spindler and Vandervelde superior to the
noble genius who created _Notre Dame de Paris_. Poor as our own
novel-writers, by profession, have shown themselves of late years, their
efforts are infinitely superior to the very best of the German
novelists; and yet we see advertisements every day in the newspapers, of
new translations from fourth or fifth-rate scribblers for Leipsic fair,
which would lead one to expect a far higher order of merit than any of
our living authors can show. "A new work by the Walter Scott of
Germany!" A new work by the Newton of Stoke Pogis! A new picture by the
Apelles of the Isle of Man! The Walter Scott of Germany, according to
somebody's saying about Milton, is a very _German_ Walter Scott; and, if
under this ridiculous pull is concealed some drivelling historical hash
by Spindler or Tromlits, the force of impudence can no farther go.

But we must take care not to be carried too far in our depreciation of
German light literature by our indignation at the over-estimate formed of
some of its professors. Let us admit that there are admirable authors--a
fact which it would be impossible to deny with such works before us as
Tieck's, and Hoffman's, and a host of others--_quos nunc perscribere
longum est_. Let us leave the small fry to the congenial admiration of the
devourers of our circulating libraries, and form our judgment of the
respective methods of conducting a story of the French and Germans, from a
comparison of the heroes of each tongue. Let us judge of Greek and Roman
war from the Phalanx and the Legion, and not from the suttlers of the two
camps. A great excellence in a German novelist is the prodigious faith he
seems to have in his own story; he relates incidents as if he knew them of
his own knowledge; and the wilder and more incredible they are, the more
firm and solemn becomes his belief. The Frenchman never descends from
holding the wires of the puppets to be a puppet himself, or even to delude
spectators with the idea that they are any thing but puppets; he never
forfeits his superiority over the personages of the story, by allowing the
reader to lose sight of the author; no, he piques himself on being the
great showman, and would scarcely take it as a compliment if you entered
into the interest of the tale, unless as an exhibition of the narrator's
talent. But then he handles his wires so cleverly, and is really so
immensely superior to the fictitious individuals whom he places before us,
that it is no great wonder if we prefer Alexander Dumas or Jules Janin to
their heroes. The Germans, relying on their own powers of belief, have
taxed their readers' credulity to a pitch which sober Protestants find it
very difficult to attain. Old Tieck or Hoffman introduces you to ghouls
and ghosts, and they look on them, themselves, with such awestruck eyes,
and treat them in every way with such demonstrations of perfect credence
in their being really ghouls and ghosts, that it is not to be denied that
strange feelings creep over one in reading their stories at the witching
hour, when the fire is nearly out, and the candle-wicks are an inch and a
half long. The Frenchman seldom introduces a ghost--never a ghoul; but he
makes up for it by describing human beings with sentiments which would
probably make the ghoul feel ashamed to associate with them. The utmost
extent of human profligacy is depicted, but still the profligacy is human;
it is only an amplification--very clever and very horrid--of a real
character; but never borrows any additional horrors from the other world.
A French author knows very well that the wickedness of this world is quite
enough to set one's hair on end--for we suspect that the _Life in Paris_
would supply any amount of iniquity--and professors of the shocking, like
Frederick Soulie or Eugene Sue, can afford very well to dispense with
vampires and gentlemen who have sold their shadows to the devil. The
German, in fact, takes a short cut to the horrible and sublime, by
bringing a live demon into his story, and clothing him with human
attributes; the Frenchman takes the more difficult way, and succeeds in it,
by introducing a real man, and endowing him with the sentiments of a fiend.
The fault of the one is exaggeration; of the other, miscreation: redeemed
in the first by extraordinary cleverness; in the other, by wonderful
belief. What a contrast between La Motte Fouqué and Balzac! how national
and characteristic both! No one can read a chapter of the _Magic Ring_
without seeing that the Baron believes in all the wonders of his tale; a
page of the other suffices to show that there are few things on the face
of the earth in which he believes at all. Dim, mystic, childish, with
open mouth and staring eyes, the German sees the whole phantasmagoria of
the nether world pass before him: keen, biting, sarcastic--egotistic as
a beauty, and cold-hearted as Mephistopheles--the Frenchman walks among
his figures in a gilded drawing room; probes their spirits, breaks their
hearts, ruins their reputation, and seems to have a profound contempt
for any reader who is so carried away by his power as to waste a touch
of sympathy on the unsubstantial pageants he has clothed for a brief
period in flesh and blood. We confess the sober _super_-naturalism of
the German has less attractions with us, than the grinning
_infra_-naturalism of the Frenchman. There is more sameness in it, and,
besides, it is to be hoped we have at all tines less sympathy for the
very best of devils than for the very worst of men. Luckily for the
Frenchman, he has no need to go to the lower regions to procure monsters
to make us shudder. His own tremendous Revolution furnishes him with
names before which Lucifer must hide his diminished head; and from this
vast repertory of all that is horrid and grotesque--more horrid on
account of its grotesqueness--the _feuilletonists_, or short
story-tellers, are not indisposed to draw. We back Danton any day
against Old Nick. And how infinitely better the effect of introducing a
true villain in plain clothes, relying for his power only on the known
and undeniable atrocity of his character, than all the pale-faced,
hollow-eyed denizens of the lower pit, concealing their cloven feet in
polished-leather Wellington boots, and their tails in a fashionable
surtout. We shall translate a short story of Balzac, which will
illustrate these remarks, only begging the reader to fancy to himself
how different the _denouément_ would have been in the hands of a German;
how demons, instead of surgeons and attorneys, would have disclosed
themselves at the end of the story, how blue the candles would have
burned; and what an awful smell of brimstone would have been perceptible
when they disappeared. It is called the _Two Dreams_, and, we think, is
a sketch of great power.

       *       *       *       *       *

Bodard de St James, treasurer of the navy in 1786, was the best known, and
most talked of, of all the financiers in Paris. He had built his
celebrated Folly at Neuilly, and his wife had bought an ornament of
feathers for the canopy of her bed, the enormous price of which had put it
beyond the power of the Queen. Bodard possessed the magnificent hotel in
the Place Vendôme which the collector of taxes, Dangé, had been forced to
leave. Madame de St James was ambitious, and would only have people of
rank about her--a weakness almost universal in persons of her class. The
humble members of the lower house had no charms for her. She wished to see
in her saloons the nobles and dignitaries of the land who had, at least,
the _grand entrées_ at Versailles. To say that many _cordons bleus_
visited the fair financier would be absurd; but it is certain she had
managed to gain the notice of several of the Rohan family, as came out
very clearly in the celebrated process of the necklace.

One evening, I think it was the 2d of August 1786, I was surprised to
encounter in her drawing-room two individuals, whose appearance did not
entitle them to the acquaintance of a person so exclusive as the
Treasurer's wife. She came to me in an embrasure of the window where I had
taken my seat.

"Tell me," I said, with a look towards one of the strangers, "who in the
world is that? How does such a being find his way here?"

"He is a charming person, I assure you."

"Oh--you see him through the spectacles of love!" I said, and smiled.

"You are not mistaken," she replied, smiling also. "He is horribly ugly,
no doubt, but he has rendered me the greatest service a man can do to

I laughed, and I suppose looked maliciously, for she hastily added--"He
has entirely cured me of those horrid eruptions in the face, that made my
complexion like a peasant's."

I shrugged my shoulders. "Oh--he's a quack!" I said.

"No, no," she answered, "he is a surgeon of good reputation. He is very
clever, I assure you; and, moreover, he is an author. He's an excellent

"And the other?" I enquired.

"Who? What other?"

"The little fellow with the starched, stiff face--looking as sour as if he
had drunk verjuice."

"Oh! he is a man of good family. I don't know where he comes from. He is
engaged in some business of the Cardinal's, and it was his Eminence
himself who presented him to St James. Both parties have chosen St James
for umpire; in that, you will say, the provincial has not shown much
wisdom; but who can the people be who confide their interests to such a
creature? He is quiet as a lamb, and timid as a girl; but his Eminence
courts him--for the matter is of importance--three hundred thousand francs,
I believe."

"He's an attorney, then?"

"Yes," she replied; and, after the humiliating confession, took her seat
at the Faro table.

I went and threw myself in an easy chair at the fireplace; and if ever a
man was astonished it was I, when I saw seated opposite me the
Controller-General! M. de Calonne looked stupified and half-asleep. I
nodded to Beaumarchais, and looked as if I wished an explanation; and the
author of Figaro, or rather Figaro himself, made clear the mystery in a
manner not very complimentary to Madame de St James s character, whatever
it might be to her beauty. "Oho! the minister is caught," I thought; "no
wonder the Collector lives in such style."

It was half-past twelve before the card-tables were removed, and we sat
down to supper. We were a party of ten--Bodard and his wife, the
Controller-General, Beaumarchais, the two strangers, two handsome women
whose names I will not mention, and a collector of taxes, I think a M.
Lavoisier. Of thirty who had been in the drawing-room when I entered,
these were all who remained. The supper was stupid beyond belief. The two
strangers and the Collector were intolerable bores. I made signs to
Beaumarchais to make the surgeon tipsy, while I undertook the same kind
office with the attorney, who sat on my left. As we had no other means of
amusing ourselves, and the plan promised some fun, by bringing out the two
interlopers and making them more ridiculous than we had found them already,
M. de Calonne entered into the plot. In a moment the three ladies saw our
design, and joined in it with all their power. The surgeon seemed very
well inclined to yield; but when I had filled my neighbour's glass for the
third time, he thanked me with cold politeness, and would drink no more.
The conversation, I don't know from what cause, had turned on the magic
suppers of the Count Cagliostro. I took little interest in it, for, from
the moment of my neighbour's refusal to drink, I had done nothing but
study his pale and small featured countenance. His nose was flat and
sharp-pointed at the same time, and occasionally an expression came to his
eyes that gave him the appearance of a weasel. All at once the blood
rushed to his cheeks when he heard Madame St James say to M. de Calonne--

"But I assure you, sir, I have actually seen Queen Cleopatra."

"I believe it, madame," exclaimed my neighbour; "for I have spoken to
Catharine de Medicis."

"Oh! oh!" laughed M. De Calonne.

The words uttered by the little provincial had an indefinable sonorousness.
The sudden clearness of intonation, from a man who, up to this time, had
scarcely spoken above his breath, startled us all.

"And how was her late Majesty?" said M. De Calonne.

"I can't positively declare that the person with whom I supped last night
was Catharine de Medicis herself, for a miracle like that must be
incredible to a Christian as well as to a philosopher," replied the
attorney, resting the points of his fingers on the table, and setting
himself up in his chair, as if he intended to speak for some time; "but I
can swear that the person, whoever she was, resembled Catharine de Medicis
as if they had been sisters. She wore a black velvet robe, exactly like
the dress of that queen given in her portrait in the Royal Gallery; and
the rapidity of her evocation was most surprising, as M. De Cagliostro had
no idea of the person I should desire him to call up. I was confounded.
The sight of a supper at which the illustrious women of past ages were
present, took away my self-command. I listened without daring to ask a
question. On getting away at midnight from the power of his enchantments,
I almost doubted of my own existence. But what is the most wonderful thing
about it is, that all those marvels appear to be quite natural and
commonplace compared to the extraordinary hallucination I was subjected to
afterwards. I don't know how to explain the state of my feelings to you in
words; I will only say that, from henceforth, I an not surprised that
there are spirits--strong enough or weak enough, I know not which--to
believe in the mysteries of magic and the power of demons."

These words were pronounced with an incredible eloquence of tone. They
were calculated to arrest our attention, and all eyes were fixed on the
speaker. In that man, so cold and self-possessed, there burned a hidden
fire which began to act upon us all.

"I know not," he continued, "whether the figure followed me in a state of
invisibility; but the moment I got into bed, I saw the great shade of
Catharine rise before me: all of a sudden she bent her head towards
me--but I don't know whether I ought to go on," said the narrator,
interrupting himself; "for though I must believe it was only a dream, what
I have to tell is of the utmost weight."

"Is it about religion?" enquired Beaumarchais.

"Or, perhaps, something not fit for ladies' ears?" added M. de Calonne.

"It is about government," replied the stranger.

"Go on, then," said the Minister: "Voltaire, Diderot, and Company, have
tutored our ears to good purpose."

"Whether it was that certain ideas rose involuntarily to my mind, or that
I was acting under some irresistible impulse, I said to her--'Ah, madame,
you committed an enormous crime.'

"'What crime?' she asked me in a solemn voice.

"'That of which the Palace clock gave the signal on the 24th of August.'

"She smiled disdainfully. 'You call that a crime?' she said: ''twas
nothing but a misfortune. The enterprise failed, and has, therefore, not
produced all the good we expected from it--to France, to Europe, to
Christianity itself. The orders were ill executed, and posterity makes no
allowance for the want of communication which hindered us from giving all
the unity to our effort which is requisite in affairs of state;--that was
the misfortune. If on the 26th of August there had not remained the shadow
of a Huguenot in France, the latest posterity would have looked upon me
with awe, as a Providence among men. How often have the clear intellects
of Sextus the Fifth, of Richelieu, and Bossuet, secretly accused me of
having failed in the design, after having had the courage to conceive it;
and therefore how my death was regretted! Thirty years after the St
Bartholomew, the malady existed still; and cost France ten times the
quantity of noble blood that remained to be spilt on the 26th August 1572.
The revocation of the Edict of Nantes, in honour of which medals were
struck, cost more blood, more tears, and more treasure, and has been more
injurious to France, than twenty St Bartholomews. If on the 25th August
1572, that enormous execution was necessary, on the 25th August 1685 it
was useless. Under the second son of Henry de Valois heresy was almost
barren; under the second son of Henry de Bourbon she had become a fruitful
mother, and scattered her progeny over the globe. You accuse _me_ of a
crime, and yet you raise statues to the son of Anne of Austria!'

"At these words--slowly uttered--I felt a shudder creep over me. I seemed
to inhale the smell of blood."

"He dreamt that to a certainty," whispered Beaumarchais; "he _could_ not
have invented it."

"'My reason is confounded,' I said to the queen. 'You plume yourself on an
action which three generations have condemned and cursed, and'--

"'And,' she interrupted, 'that history has been more unjust to me than my
contemporaries were. Nobody has taken up my defence. I am accused of
ambition--I, rich and a queen--I am accused of cruelty; and the most
impartial judges consider me a riddle. Do you think that I was actuated by
feelings of hatred; that I breathed nothing but vengeance and fury?' She
smiled. 'I was calm and cold as Reason herself. I condemned the Huguenots
without pity, it is true, but without anger. If I had been Queen of
England, I would have done the same to the Catholics if they had been
seditious. Our country required at that time one God, one faith, one
master. Luckily for me, I have described my policy in a word. When Birague
announced to me the defeat at Dreux--well, I said, we must go to the
Conventicle.--Hate the Huguenots, indeed! I honoured them greatly, and I
did not know them. How could I hate those who had never been my friends?'

"'But, madame, instead of that horrible butchery, why did you not try to
give the Calvinists the wise indulgences which made the reign of the
Fourth Henry so peaceable and so glorious?'

"She smiled again, and the wrinkles in her face and brow gave an
expression of the bitterest irony to her pale features.

"'Henry committed two faults,' she said. He ought neither to have abjured,
nor to have left France Catholic after having become so himself. He alone
was in a position to change the destinies of France. There should have
been either no Crosier or no Conventicle. He should never have left in the
government two hostile principles, with nothing to balance them. It is
impossible that Sully can have looked without envy on the immense
possessions of the church. But,' she paused, and seemed to consider for a
moment--'is it the niece of a pope you are surprised to see a Catholic?
After all,' she said, 'I could have been a Calvinist with all my heart.
Does any one believe that religion had any thing to do with that movement,
that revolution, the greatest the world has ever seen, which has been
retarded by trifling causes, but which nothing can hinder from coming to
pass, since I failed to crush it? A revolution,' she added, fixing her eye
on me, 'which is even now in motion, and which you--yes, you--you who now
listen to me--can finish.'

"I shuddered.

"'What! has no one perceived that the old interests and the new have taken
Rome and Luther for their watchwords? What! Louis the Ninth, in order to
avoid a struggle of the same kind, carried away with him five times the
number of victims I condemned, and left their bones on the shores of
Africa, and is considered a saint; while I--but the reason is soon
given--I failed!'

"She bent her head, and was silent a moment. She was no longer a queen,
but one of those awful druidesses who rejoiced in human sacrifices, and
unrolled the pages of the Future by studying the records of the Past. At
length she raised her noble and majestic head again. 'You are all
inclined,' she said, 'to bestow more sympathy on a few worthless victims
than on the tears and sufferings of a whole generation! And you forget
that religious liberty, political freedom, a nation's tranquillity,
science itself, are benefits which Destiny never vouchsafes to man without
being paid for them in blood!'

"'Cannot nations, some day or other, obtain happiness on easier terms?' I
asked, with tears in my eyes.

"'Truths never leave their well unless to be bathed in blood. Christianity
itself--the essence of all truth, since it came from God--was not
established without its martyrs. Blood flowed in torrents.'

"Blood! blood! the word sounded in my ear like a bell.

"'You think, then,' I said, 'that Protestantism would have a right to
reason as you do.'

"But Catharine had disappeared, and I awoke, trembling and in tears, till
reason resumed her sway, and told me that the doctrines of that proud
Italian were detestable, and that neither king nor people had a right to
act on the principles she had enounced, which I felt were only worthy of a
nation of atheists."

When the unknown ceased to speak, the ladies made no remark. M. Bodard was
asleep. The surgeon, who was half tipsy, Lavoisier Beaumarchais, and I,
were the only ones who had listened. M. de Calonne was flirting with his
neighbour. At that moment there was something solemn in the silence. The
candles themselves seemed to me to burn with a magic dimness. A hidden
power had riveted our attention, by some mysterious links, to the
extraordinary narrator, who made me feel what might be the inexplicable
influence of fanaticism. It was only the deep hollow voice of Beaumarchais'
neighbour that awakened us from our surprise.

"I also had a dream," he said. I looked more attentively at the surgeon,
and instinctively shuddered with horror. His earthy colour--his features,
at once vulgar and imposing, presented the true expression of _the
canaille_. He had dark pimples spread over his face like patches of dirt,
and his eyes beamed with a repulsive light. His countenance was more
horrid, perhaps, than it might otherwise have been, from his head being
snow-white with powder.

"That fellow must have buried a host of patients," I said to my neighbour
the attorney.

"I would not trust him with my dog," was the answer.

"I hate him--I can't help it," I said.

"I despise him."

"No--you're wrong there," I replied.

"And did you also dream of a queen?" enquired Beaumarchais.

"No! I dreamt of a people," he answered with an emphasis that made us
laugh. "I had to cut off a patient's leg on the following day, and"--

"And you found the people in his leg?" asked M. de Calonne.

"Exactly," replied the surgeon.

"He's quite amusing," tittered the Countess de G----.

"I was rather astonished, I assure you," continued the man, without
minding the sneers and interruptions he met with, "to find any thing to
speak to in that leg. I had the extraordinary faculty of entering into my
patient. When I found myself, for the first time, in his skin, I saw an
immense quantity of little beings, which moved about, and thought, and
reasoned. Some lived in the man's body, and some in his mind. His ideas
were living things, which were born, grew up, and died. They were ill and
well, lively, sorrowful; and in short had each their own characteristics.
They quarrelled, or were friendly with each other. Some of these ideas
forced their way out, and went to inhabit the intellectual world; for I
saw at a glance that there were two worlds--the visible and the invisible,
and that earth, like man, had a body and soul. Nature laid itself bare to
me; and I perceived its immensity, by seeing the ocean of beings who were
spread every where, making the whole one mass of animated matter, from the
marbles up to God. It was a noble sight! In short, there was a universe in
my patient. When I inserted the knife in his gangrened leg I annihilated
millions of those beings. You laugh, ladies, to think you are possessed by

"Don't be personal," sneered M. de Calonne--"speak for yourself and your

"He, poor man, was so frightened by the cries of those animals, and
suffered such torture, that he tried to interrupt the operation. But I
persevered, and I told him that those noxious animals were actually
gnawing his bones. He made a movement, and the knife hurt my own side."

"He is an ass," said Lavoisier.

"No--he is only drunk," replied Beaumarchais.

"But, gentlemen, my dream has a meaning in it," cried the surgeon.

"Oh! oh!" exclaimed Bodard, who awoke at the moment--"my leg's asleep."

"Your animals are dead, my dear," said his wife.

"That man has a destiny to fulfill," cried my neighbour the attorney, who
had kept his eyes fixed on the narrator the whole time.

"It is to yours, sir," replied the frightful guest, who had overheard the
remark, "what action is to thought--what the body is to the soul." But at
this point his tongue became very confused from the quantity he had drunk,
and his further words were unintelligible.

Luckily for us, the conversation soon took another turn, and in half an
hour we forgot all about the surgeon, who was sound asleep in his chair.
The rain fell in torrents when we rose from table.

"The attorney is no fool," said I to Beaumarchais.

"He is heavy and cold," he replied; "but you see there are still steady,
good sort of people in the provinces, who are quite in earnest about
political theories, and the history of France. It is a leaven that will
work yet."

"Is your carriage here?" asked Madame de St James.

"No"--I replied coldly. "You wished me, perhaps, to take M. de Calonne

She left me, slightly offended at the insinuation, and turned to the

"M. de Robespierre," she said, "will you have the kindness to set M. Marat
down at his hotel? He is not able to take care of himself."

       *       *       *       *       *


"The game is up." Such were the words uttered with a somewhat different
intonation, which last month, in speaking of Mr O'Connell's crusade
against the peace of Ireland, we used tentatively, almost doubtfully, but
still in the spirit of hope, in reference to the crisis then apparently
impending, that the agitation might prolong itself by transmigrating into
some other shape, for that case we allowed. But in any result, foremost
amongst the auguries of hope was this--that the evil example of Mr O'
Connell's sedition would soon redress itself by a catastrophe not less
exemplary. And no consummation could satisfy us as a proper euthanasy of
this memorable conspiracy, which should not fasten itself as a _moral_ to
the long malice of the agitation growing out of it, as a natural warning,
and saying audibly to all future agitators--try not this scheme again, or
look for a similar humiliation. Those auguries are, in one sense,
accomplished; that consummation substantially is realized. Sedition has,
at last, countermined itself, and conspiracy we have seen in effect
perishing by its own excesses. Yet still, ingenuously speaking, we cannot
claim the merit of a felicitous foresight. That result _has_ come round
which we foreboded; but not in that sense which we intended to authorize,
nor exactly by those steps which we wished to see. We looked for the
extinction of this national scourge by its own inevitable decays: through
its own organization we had hoped that the Repeal Association should be
confounded: we trusted that an enthusiasm, founded in ignorance, and which,
in no one stage, could be said to have prospered, must finally droop
_spontaneously_, and that once _having_ drooped, through mere defect of
actions that bore any meaning, or tendencies that offered any promise, by
no felicities of intrigue could it ever be revived. Whether we erred in
the philosophy of our anticipations, cannot now be known; for, whether
wrong or right in theory, in practice our expectation has been abruptly
cut short. _A deus ex machinâ_ has descended amongst us abruptly, and
intercepted the natural evolution of the plot: the executive Government
has summarily effected the _peripetteia_ by means of a _coup d'état_; and
the end, such as we augured, has been brought about by means essentially

Yet, if thus far we were found in error, would _not that_ argue a
corresponding error in the Government? If we, relying on the
self-consistency of the executive, and _because_ we relied on that
self-consistency, predicted a particular solution for the _nodus_ of
Repeal, which solution has now become impossible; presuming a
perseverance in the original policy of ministers, now that its natural
fruits were rapidly ripening--whereas, after all, at the eleventh hour
we find them adopting that course which, with stronger temptation, they
had refused to adopt in the first hour--were this the true portrait of
the case, would it be ourselves that erred, or Government?--ourselves in
counting on steadiness, or Government in acting with caprice? Meantime,
_is_ this the portrait of the case?

_That_ we shall know when Parliament meets; and possibly not before. At
present the attempts to explain, to reconcile, and, as it were, to
construe the Government system of policy, is first almost neglecting the
Irish sedition, and then (after half-a-year's sedentary and distant
skirmishing, by means of Chancery letters) suddenly, on the 7th day of
October, leaping into the arena armed cap-a-pie, dividing themselves like
a bomb-shell amongst the conspirators, rending--shattering--pursuing to
the right and to the left;--all attempts, we say, to harmonize that past
quiescence (almost _ac_quiescence) with this present demoniac energy, have
seemed to the public either false or feeble, or in some way insufficient.
Five such attempts we have noticed; and of the very best we may say that
perhaps it tells the truth, but not the whole truth. _First_ came the
solution of a great morning journal--to the effect that Government had,
knowingly and wilfully, altered their policy, treading back their own
steps upon finding the inefficiency of gentler measures. On this view no
harmonizing principle was called for the discord existed confessedly, and
the one course had been the _palinode_ of the other. But such a theory is
quite inadmissible to our minds; it tallies neither with the long-headed
and comprehensive sagacity of Sir Robert Peel, nor with the spirit of
simplicity, directness, and determination in the Duke of Wellington.
_Next_ came an evening paper, of high character for Conservative honesty
and ability, which (having all along justified the past policy of vigilant
neutrality) could not be supposed to acknowledge any fickleness in
ministers: the time for moderation and indulgence, according to this
journal, had now passed away: the season had arrived for law to display
its terrors. Not in the Government, but in the conspirators had occurred
the change: and so far--to the extent, namely, of taxing these
conspirators with gradual increase of virulence--it may ultimately turn
out that this journal is right. The fault for the present is--that the
nature of the change, its signs and circumstances, were not specified or
described. How, and by what memorable feature, did last June differ from
this October? and what followed, by its false show of subtlety,
discredited the whole explanation. It seems that notice was required of
this change: in mere equity, proclamation must be made of the royal
pleasure as to the Irish sedition: _that_ was done in the Queen's speech
on adjourning the two Houses. But time also must be granted for this
proclamation to diffuse itself, and _therefore_ it happened that the
Clontarf meeting was selected for the _coup d'essai_ of Government; in its
new character for "handselling" the new system of rigour, this Clontarf
assembly having fallen out just about six weeks from the Royal speech. But
this attempt to establish a metaphysical relation between the time for
issuing a threat, and the time for acting upon it, as though forty and two
days made that act to be reasonable which would _not_ have been so in
twenty and one, being suited chiefly to the universities in Laputa, did
not meet the approbation of our captious and beef-eating island: and this
second solution also, we are obliged to say; was exploded as soon us it
was heard. _Thirdly_, stepped forward one who promised to untie the knot
upon a more familiar principle: the thunder was kept back for so many
months in order to allow time for Mr O'Connell to show out in his true
colours, on the hint of an old proverb, which observes--that a baboon, or
other mischievous animal, when running up a scaffolding or a ship's
tackling, exposes his most odious features the more as he is allowed to
mount the higher. In that idea, there is certainly some truth. "Give him
rope enough, and every knave will hang himself"--is an old adage, a useful
adage, and often a consolatory one. The objection, in the case before us,
is--that our Irish hero _had_ shown himself already, and most redundantly,
on occasions notorious to every body, both previously to 1829, (the year
of Clare,) and subsequently. If, however, it should appear upon the trial
of the several conspirators for seditious language, that they, or that any
of them, had, by good _affidavits_, used indictable language in September,
not having used it sooner, or having guarded it previously by more
equivocal expressions, then it must be admitted that the spirit of this
third explanation _does_ apply itself to the case, though not in an extent
to cover the entire range of the difficulty. But a _fourth_ explanation
would evade the necessity of showing any such difference in the actionable
language held: according to this hypothesis, it was not for subjects to
prosecute that the Government waited, but for strength enough to prosecute
with effect, under circumstances which warned them to expect popular
tumults. In this statement, also, there is probably much truth, indeed, it
has now become evident that there is. Often we have heard it noticed by
military critics as the one great calamity of Ireland, that in earlier
days she had never been adequately conquered--not sufficiently for
extirpating barbarism, or sufficiently for crushing the local temptations
to resistance. Rebellion and barbarism are the two evils (and, since the
Reformation, in alliance with a third evil--religious hostility to the
empire) which have continually sustained themselves in Ireland, propagated
their several curses from age to age, and at this moment equally point to
a burden of misery in the forward direction for the Irish, and backwards
to a burden of reproach for the English. More men applied to Ireland, more
money and more determined legislation spent upon Ireland in times long
past, would have saved England tenfold expenditure of all these elements
in the three centuries immediately behind us, and possibly in that which
is immediately a-head. Such men as Bishop Bedell, as Bishop Jeremy Taylor,
or even as Bishop Berkeley, meeting in one generation and in one paternal
council, would have made Ireland long ago, by colonization and by
Protestantism, that civilized nation which, with all her advances in
mechanic arts[30] of education as yet she is not; would have made her that
tractable nation, which, after all her lustrations by fire and blood, for
her own misfortune she never has been; would have made her that strong arm
of the empire, which hitherto, with all her teeming population, for the
common misfortune of Europe she neither has been nor promises to be. By
and through this neglect it is, that on the inner hearths of the Roman
Catholic Irish, on the very altars of their _lares_ and _penates_, burns
for ever a sullen spark of disaffection to that imperial household, with
which, nevertheless and for ever, their own lot is bound up for evil and
for good; a spark always liable to be fanned by traitors--a spark for ever
kindling into rebellion; and in this has lain perpetually a delusive
encouragement to the hostility of Spain and France, whilst to her own
children, it is the one great snare which besets their feet. This great
evil of imperfect possession--if now it is almost past healing in its
general operation as an engine of civilization, and as applied to the
social training of the people--is nevertheless open to relief as respects
any purpose of the Government, towards which there may be reason to
anticipate a martial resistance. That part of the general policy fell
naturally under the care of our present great Commander-in-chief. Of him
it was that we spoke last month as watching Mr O'Connell's slightest
movements, searching him and nailing him with his eye. We told the reader
at the same time, that Government, as with good reason we believed, had
not been idle during the summer; their work had proceeded in silence; but,
upon any explosion or apprehension of popular tumult, it would be found
that more had been done by a great deal, in the way of preparations, than
the public was aware of. Barracks have every where been made technically
defensible; in certain places they have been provisioned against sieges;
forts have been strengthened; in critical situations redoubts, or other
resorts of hurried retreat, or of known rendezvous in cases of surprise,
have been provided; and in the most merciful spirit every advantage on the
other side has been removed or diminished which could have held out
encouragement to mutiny, or temptation to rebellion. Finally, on the
destined moment arriving, on the _casus foederis_ (whatever _that_ were)
emerging, in which the executive had predetermined to act, not the
perfection of clockwork, not the very masterpieces of scenical art, can
ever have exhibited a combined movement upon one central point--so swift,
punctual, beautiful, harmonious, more soundless than an exhalation, more
overwhelming than a deluge--as the display of military force in Dublin on
Sunday the 8th of October. Without alarm, without warning--as if at the
throwing up of a rocket in the dead of night, or at the summons of a
signal gun--the great capital, almost as populous as Naples or Vienna, and
far more dangerous in its excitement, found itself under military
possession by a little army--so perfect in its appointments as to make
resistance hopeless, and by that very hopelessness (as reconciling the
most insubordinate to a necessity) making irritation impossible. Last
month we warned Mr O'Connell of "the uplifted thunderbolt" suspended in
the Jovian hands of the Wellesley, but ready to descend when the "dignus
vindice nodus" should announce itself. And this, by the way, must have
been the "thunderbolt," this military demonstration, which, in our blind
spirit of prophecy doubtless, we saw dimly in the month of September last;
so that we are disposed to recant our confession even of partial error as
to the coming fortunes of Repeal, and to request that the reader will
think of us as of very decent prophets. But, whether we were so or not,
the Government (it is clear) acted in the prophetic spirit of military
wisdom. "The prophetic eye of taste"--as a brilliant expression for that
felicitous _prolepsis_ by which the painter or the sculptor sees already
in its rudiments what will be the final result of his labours--is a
phrase which we are all acquainted with, and the spirit of prophecy, the
far-stretching vision of sagacity, is analogously conspicuous in the
arts of Government, military or political, when providing for the
contingencies that may commence in pseudo-patriotism, or the
possibilities that may terminate in rebellion. Whether Government saw
those contingencies, whether Government calculated those possibilities
in June last--that is one part of the general question which we have
been discussing; and whether it was to a different estimate of such
chances in summer and in autumn, or to a necessity for time in preparing
against them, that we must ascribe the very different methods of the
Government in dealing with the sedition at different periods--_that_ is
the other part of the question. But this is certain--that whether seeing
and measuring from the first, or suddenly awakened to the danger of
late--in any case, the Government has silently prepared all along;
forestalling evils that possibly never were to arise, and shaping
remedies for disasters which possibly to themselves appeared romantic.
To provide for the worst, is an ordinary phrase, but what _is_ the
worst? Commonly it means the last calamity that experience suggests; but
in the admirable arrangements of Government it meant the very worst that
imagination could conceive--building upon treason at home in alliance
with hostility from abroad. At a time when resistance seemed supremely
improbable, yet, because amongst the headlong desperations of a
confounded faction even this was possible, the ministers determined to
deal with it as a certainty. Against the possible they provided as
against the probable; against the least of probabilities as against the
greatest. The very outside and remote extremities of what might be
looked for in a civil war, seem to have been assumed as a basis in the
calculations. And under that spirit of vista-searching prudence it was,
that the Duke of Wellington saw what we have insisted on, and
practically redressed it--viz. the defective military net-work by which
England has ever spread her power over Ireland. "This must not be," the
Duke said; "never again shall the blood of brave men be shed in
superfluous struggles, nor the ground be strewed with supernumerary
corpses--as happened in the rebellion of 1798--because forts were
wanting and loopholed barracks to secure what had been won; because
retreats were wanting to overawe what, for the moment, had been lost.
Henceforth, and before there is a blushing in the dawn of that new
rebellion which Mr O'Connell disowns, but to which his frenzy may rouse
others having less to lose than himself, we will have true technical
possession, in the military sense, of Ireland." Such has been the recent
policy of the Duke of Wellington: and for this, in so far as it is a
violence done to Ireland, or a badge of her subjection, she has to thank
Mr O'Connell: for this, in so far as it is a merciful arrangement,
diminishing bloodshed by discouraging resistance, she has to thank the
British Government. Mr O'Connell it is, that, by making rebellion
probable, has forced on this reaction of perfect preparation which, in
such a case, became the duty of the Government. The Duke of Wellington
it is, that, by using the occasion advantageously for the perfecting of
the military organization in Ireland, has made police do the work of
war; and by making resistance maniacal, in making it hopeless, has
eventually consulted even for the feelings of the rebellious, sparing to
them the penalties of insurrection in defeating its earliest symptoms;
and for the land itself, has been the chief of benefactors, by removing
systematically that inheritance of desolation attached to all civil
wars, in cutting away from below the feet of conspirators the very
ground on which they could take their earliest stand. Finally, it is Mr
O'Connell who has raised an anarchy in many Irish minds, in the minds of
all whom he influences, by placing their national feelings in collision
with their duty it is the Duke of Wellington who has reconciled the
bravest and most erroneous of Irish patriots to his place in a federal
system, by taking away all dishonour from submission under circumstances
where resistance has at length become notoriously as frantic as would be
a war with gravitation.

    [30] "_Mechanic arts of education_:"--Merely in reading and
    writing, the reader must not forget, that according to absolute
    documents laid before Parliament, Ireland, in some counties, takes
    rank before Prussia; whilst probably, in both countries, that real
    education of life and practice, which moves by the commerce of
    thought and the contagion of feelings, is at the lowest ebb.

As to the _fourth_ hypothesis, therefore, for explaining the apparent
inconsistencies of the Executive, we not only assent to it heartily as
involving part of the truth, but we have endeavoured to show earnestly
that the truth is a great truth; no casual aspect, or momentary feature of
truth, depending upon the particular relation at the time between Ireland
and the Horse Guards, or pointing simply to a better cautionary
distribution of the army; but a truth connected systematically with the
policy for Ireland in past times and in times to come. Where men like Mr O'
Connell _can_ arise, it is clear that the social condition of Ireland is
not healthy; that, as a country, she is not fused into a common substance
with the rest of the empire; that she is not fully to be trusted; and that
the road to a more effectual union lies, not through stricter coercion,
but through a system of instant defence making itself apparent to the
people as a means of provisional or potential coercion in the proper case
arising. One traitor cannot exist as a public and demonstrative character
without many minor traitors to back him. To Great Britain it ought to cost
no visible effort, resolutely and instantly to trample out every overture
of insubordination as quietly, peacefully, effectually, as the meeting of
conspirators at Clontarf on the 8th day of October 1843. Ireland is
notoriously, by position and by imaginary grievances--grievances which,
had they ever been real for past generations, would long since have faded
away, were it not through the labours of mercenary traders in treason--
Ireland is of necessity, and at any rate, the vulnerable part of our
empire. Wars will soon gather again in Christendom. Whilst it is yet
daylight and fair weather in which we can work, this open wound of the
empire must be healed. We cannot afford to stand another era of collusion
from abroad with intestine war. Now is the time for grasping this nettle
of domestic danger, and, by crushing it without fear, to crush it for ever.
Therefore it is that we rejoice to hear of attention in the right quarter
at length drawn to the _radix_ of all this evil; of efforts seriously made
to grapple with the mischief; not by mere accumulation of troops, for
_that_ is a spasmodic effort--sure to relax on the return of tranquillity;
but by those appliances of military art to the system of attack and
defence as connected with the soil and buildings of Ireland, which will
hereafter make it possible for even a diminished army to become all potent
over disaffection, by means of permanent preparations, and through
systematic links of concert.

_Fifthly_ comes Mr Stuart Wortley, the Parliamentary representative for
Bute, who tells his constituents at Bute, that the true secret of the
apparent incoherency in the conduct of Government, of that subsultory
movement from almost passive _surveillance_ to the most intense
development of power, is to be found in some error, some lapse as yet
unknown, on the part of the conspirators. Hitherto Mr Wortley, as lawyer,
had persuaded himself that the craft of sedition had prevailed over its
zeal. Whatever might be the _animus_ of the parties, hitherto their legal
adroitness had kept them on the right side of the fence which parts the
merely virulent or wicked language from the indictable. But security, and
apparently the indifference of the Government, had tempted them beyond
their safeguards. Government, it is certain, have latterly watched the
proceedings of the Repeal Association in a more official way; they have
sent qualified and vigilant reporters to the scene; and have showed signs
of meaning speedily "to do business" upon a large scale. We do not, indeed,
altogether agree with Mr Wortley, that the earlier language, if searched
with equal care, would be found less offending than the later; but this
later we believe it to be which, as an audacious reiteration of sentiments
that would have been overlooked had they seemed casual or not meant for
continued inculcation, will be found in fact to have provoked the
executive energies. We believe also, in accord with Mr Wortley, that
something or other has transpired by secret information to Government in
relation to this last intended meeting at Clontarf, which authorized a
separate and more sinister construction of _that_, or of its consequences,
than had necessarily attended the former assemblies, however similar in
bad meaning and in malice. This secret information, whether it pointed to
words uttered, to acts done, or to intentions signified, must have been
sudden, and must have been decisive; an impression which we draw from the
hurried summoning of cabinet councils in England on or about the 4th of
October, from the departures for Ireland, apparently consequent upon these
councils--of the Lord Lieutenant, of the Chancellor, and other great
officers, all instant and all simultaneous--and finally, from the
continued consultations in Dublin from the time when these functionaries
arrived; viz. immediately after their landing on Friday morning, October
6th, until the promulgation and enforcement of that memorable proclamation
which crushed the Repeal sedition. A Paris journal of eminence says, that
we are not to exult as if much progress were made towards the crushing of
Repeal, simply by the act of crushing a single meeting; and, strange to
say, the chief morning paper of London echoes this erroneous judgment as
if self-evident, saying, that "it needs no ghost to tell us _that_." We,
however, utterly deny this comment, and protest against it as an absurdity.
Were _that_ true, were it possible that the Clontarf meeting had been
suppressed on its own separate merits, as presumed from secret information,
and without ulterior meaning or application designed for the act--in that
case nothing has been done. But this is not so: Government is bound
henceforwards by its own act. That proclamation as to one meeting
establishes a precedent as to all. It is not within the _power_ of
Government, having done that act of suppression, and still more having
spoken that language of proclamation, now to retreat from their own rule,
and to apply any other rule to any subsequent meeting. The act of
suppression was enough. The commentary on the proclamation is more than
enough. Therefore it is, that we began by saying "the game is up;" and,
because it is of consequence to know the principle on which any act is
done, therefore it is that we have discussed, at some length, the various
hypotheses now current as to the particular principle which, in this
instance, governed our Executive. Our own opinion is, that all these
hypotheses, except the first, which ascribes blank inconsistency to the
Government, and so much of the second as stands upon some fanciful
limitation of time within which Government could not equitably proceed to
action, are partially true. If this be so, there is an answer in full to
the Whigs, who at this moment (October 23) are arguing that no
circumstances of any kind have changed since our ministers treated the
Repeal cause with neglect. Neglect it, comparatively, they never did: as
the cashiering of magistrates ought too angrily to remind the Whigs. But
if the different solutions, which we have here examined, should be
carefully reviewed, it will be seen that circumstances _have_ changed, and,
under the fourth head, it will be seen that they have changed in a way
which required time, selection, and great efforts: what is more, it will
be seen that they have changed in a way critically important for the
future interests of the empire.

Yes; the game is up! And what now remains is, not to suffer the coming
trials to sink into fictions of law--as a _brutum fulmen_ of menace, never
meant to be realized. Verdicts must be had: judgments must be given: and
then a long farewell to the hopes of treason!

Yes, by a double proof the Repeal sedition is at an end: were it not, upon
Clontarf being prohibited, the Repealers would have announced some other
gathering in some other place. You that say it is _not_ at an end, tell us
why did they forbear doing _that_? Secondly, Mr O'Connell has substituted
for Repeal--what? The miserable, the beggarly petition, for a dependent
House of Assembly, an upper sort of "Select Vestry," for Ireland; and
_that_ too as a _bonus_ from the Parliament of the empire. This reminds us
of a capital story related by Mr Webster, and perhaps within the
experience of American statesmen, in reference to the claims of electors
upon those candidates whom they have returned to Congress. Such a
candidate, having succeeded so far as even to become a Secretary for
Foreign Affairs, was one day waited on by a man, who reminded him that
some part of this eminent success had been due to _his_ vote; and really--
Mr Secretary might think as he pleased--but _him_ it struck, that a
"pretty considerable of a debt" was owing in gratitude to his particular
exertions. Mr Secretary bowed. The stranger proceeded--"His ambition was
moderate: might he look for the office of postmaster-general?"
Unfortunately, said the secretary, that office required special experience,
and it was at present filled to the satisfaction of the President. "Indeed!
_that_ was unhappy: but he was not particular; perhaps the ambassador to
London had not yet been appointed?" There, said the secretary, you are
still more unfortunate: the appointment was open until 11 P.M. on this
very day, and at that hour it was filled up. "Well," said the excellent
and Christian supplicant, "any thing whatever for me; beggars must not be
choosers: possibly the office of vice-president might soon be vacant; it
was said that the present man lay shockingly ill." Not at all; he was
rapidly recovering; and the reversion, even if he should die, required
enormous interest, for which a canvass had long since commenced on the
part of fifty-three candidates. Thus proceeded the assault upon the
secretary, and thus was it evaded. So moved the chase, and thus retreated
the game, until at length nothing under heaven remained amongst all
official prizes which the voter could ask, or which the secretary could
refuse. Pensively the visitor reflected for a few minutes, and, suddenly
raising his eye doubtfully, he said, "Why then, Mr Secretary, have you
ever an old black coat that you could give me?" Oh, aspiring genius of
ambition! from that topmast round of thy aerial ladder that a man should
descend thus awfully!--from the office of vice-president for the U.S. that
he should drop, within three minutes, to "an old black coat!" The
secretary was aghast: he rang the bell for such a coat; the coat appeared;
the martyr of ambition was solemnly inducted into its sleeves; and the two
parties, equally happy at the sudden issue of the interview bowing
profoundly to each other, separated for ever.

Even upon this model, sinking from a regal honour to an old black coat, Mr
O' Connell has actually agreed to accept--has volunteered to accept--for
the name and rank of a separate nation, some trivial right of holding
county meetings for local purposes of bridges, roads, turnpike gates. This
privilege he calls by the name of "federalism;" a misnomer, it is true;
but, were it the right name, names cannot change realities. These local
committees could not possibly take rank above the Quarter Sessions; nor
could they find much business to do which is not already done, and better
done, by that respectable judicial body. True it is, that this descent is
a thousand times more for the benefit of Ireland than his former ambitious
plan. But we speak of it with reference to the sinking scale of his
ambition. Now this it is--viz. the aspiring character of his former
promises, the assurance that he would raise Ireland into a nation distinct
and independent in the system of Europe, having her own fleets, armies,
peerage, parliament--which operated upon the enthusiasm of a peasantry the
vainest in Christendom after that of France, and perhaps absolutely the
most ignorant. Is it in human nature, we demand, that hereafter the same
enthusiasm should continue available for Mr O'Connell's service, after the
transient reaction of spitefulness to the Government shall have subsided,
which gave buoyancy to his ancient treason? The chair of a proconsul, the
saddle of a pasha--these are golden baits; yet these are below the throne
and diadem of a sovereign prince. But from these to have descended into
asking for "an old black coat," on the American precedent! Faugh! What
remains for Ireland but infinite disgust, for us but infinite laughter?

No, no. By Mr O'Connell's own act and capitulation, the game is up.
Government has countersigned this result by the implicit pledge in their
proclamation, that, having put down Clontarf, for specific reasons there
assigned, they will put down all future meetings to which the same reasons
apply. At present it remains only to express our fervent hope, that
ministers will drive "home" the nail which they have so happily planted.
The worst spectacle of our times was on that day when Mr O'Connell,
solemnly reprimanded by the Speaker of the House of Commons, was
suffered--was tolerated--in rising to reply; in retorting with insolence;
in lecturing and reprimanding the Senate through their representative
officer; in repelling just scorn by false scorn; in riveting his past
offences; in adding contumely to wrong. Never more must this be repeated.
Neither must the Whig policy be repeated of bringing Mr O'Connell before a
tribunal of justice that had, by a secret intrigue, agreed to lay aside
its terrors.[31] No compromise now: no juggling: no collusion! We desire
to see the majesty of the law vindicated, as solemnly as it has been
notoriously insulted. Such is the demand, such the united cry, of this
great nation, so long and so infamously bearded. Then, and thus only,
justice will be satisfied, reparation will be made: because it will go
abroad into all lands, not only that the evil has been redressed, but that
the author of the evil has been forced into a plenary atonement.

    [31] The allusion is to Mr O'Connell's _past_ experience as a
    defendant, on political offences, here the Court of Queen's Bench
    in Dublin; an experience which most people have forgotten; and
    which we also at this moment should be glad to forget as the
    ominous precedent for the present crisis, were it not that
    Conservative honesty and Conservative energy were now at the helm,
    instead of the Whig spirit of intrigue with all public enemies.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Edinburgh: Printed by Ballantyne and Hughes, Paul's Work._

       *       *       *       *       *

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine — Volume 54, No. 337, November, 1843" ***

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