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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine — Volume 55, No. 339, January, 1844
Author: Various
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine — Volume 55, No. 339, January, 1844" ***

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Library of Early Journals.



                         BLACKWOOD'S

                          Edinburgh

                          MAGAZINE.



                          VOL. LV.

                     JANUARY-JUNE, 1844.

                      [Illustration]


                           1844.


             *       *       *       *       *


                        BLACKWOOD'S

                      EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.


             *       *       *       *       *

            No. CCCXXXIX. JANUARY, 1844. VOL. LV.

             *       *       *       *       *



                          CONTENTS.


        STATE PROSECUTIONS,                                 1
        ADVENTURES IN TEXAS. NO. III. THE STRUGGLE,        18
        CLITOPHON AND LEUCIPPE,                            33
        THE NEW ART OF PRINTING. BY A DESIGNING DEVIL,     45
        THE BANKING-HOUSE. PART THE LAST,                  50
        KÍEFF, FROM THE RUSSIAN OF KOZLÓFF,                80
        MARSTON; OR, THE MEMOIRS OF A STATESMAN. PART VII. 81
        LETTER FROM LEMUEL GULLIVER,                       98
        THE PROCLAMATION,                                 100
        THE FIREMAN'S SONG,                               101
        POSITION AND PROSPECTS OF THE GOVERNMENT,         103


             *       *       *       *       *

                         EDINBURGH:

         WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS, 45, GEORGE STREET;
                 AND 22, PALL-MALL, LONDON.

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

       SOLD BY ALL THE BOOKSELLERS THE UNITED KINGDOM.

             *       *       *       *       *

        PRINTED BY BALLANTYNE AND HUGHES, EDINBURGH.


             *       *       *       *       *



STATE PROSECUTIONS.


The Englishman who, however well inclined to defer to the wisdom "of
former ages," should throw a glance at the stern realities of the
past, as connected with the history of his country, will be little
disposed to yield an implicit assent to the opinions or assertions of
those, who maintain the superiority of the past, to the disparagement
and depreciation of the present times. Maxims and sayings of this
tendency have undoubtedly prevailed from periods of remote antiquity.
The wise monarch of the Jewish nation even forbade his people to ask
"the cause that the former days were better than these;" "for," he
adds, "thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this." Far different
would be the modern precept of a British monarch. Rather let the
English subject "enquire _diligently_ concerning this," for he cannot
fail to enquire wisely. Let him enquire, and he will find that "the
former days" of England were days of discord, tyranny, and oppression;
days when an Empson and a Dudley could harass the honest and
well-disposed, through the medium of the process of the odious
star-chamber; when the crown was possessed of almost arbitrary power,
and when the liberty and personal independence of individuals were in
no way considered or regarded; days when the severity of our criminal
laws drew down from a French philosopher the sneer, that a history of
England was a history of the executioner; when the doomed were sent
out of the world in bands of twenty, and even thirty, at a time, at
Tyburn or at "Execution dock;" and when, in the then unhealthy tone of
public morals, criminals famous for their deeds of violence and
rapine, were regarded rather as the heroes of romance, than as the
pests and scourges of society. Let him enquire, and he will find that
all these things have now long since passed away; that the rigours of
the criminal law have been entirely mitigated, and that the great
charters of our liberties, the fruits of accumulated wisdom and
experience, have now been long confirmed. These facts, if universally
known and duly pondered over, would go far to banish discontent and
disaffection, and would tend to produce a well-founded confidence in
the inherent power of adaptation to the necessities of the people,
possessed by the constitution of our country. Thus, the social wants
of the outer man having been in a great measure supplied, the
philanthropy of modern times has been chiefly employed on the mental
and moral improvement of the species; the wants of the inner man are
now the objects of universal attention, and education has become the
great necessity of the age. Hitherto, the municipal laws and
institutions of this country have been defective; inasmuch as they
have made little or no provision for the adequate instruction of the
people. Much, no doubt, has been already done, and education, even
now, diffuses her benignant light over a large portion of the
population; among whom, the children of the ignorant are able to
instruct their parents, and impart, to those who gave them being, a
share in the new-found blessing of modern times. Much, however,
remains still to be done, and the splendid examples of princely
munificence which a great minister of the crown has recently shown the
wealthier classes of this wealthy nation, may, in the absence of a
state provision, have the effect of stimulating private exertion and
generosity. In spite, however, of the moral and intellectual
advancement of the present age, the passions and evil designs of the
vicious and discontented are still able to influence vast masses of
the people. The experience of the last few years unfortunately teaches
us, that increased knowledge has not yet banished disaffection, and
that though, during the last quarter of a century, the general
standard of the nation's morality may have been elevated above its
former resting-place, that education, in its present state of
advancement, has not as yet effectually disarmed discontent or
disaffection, by showing the greater evil which ever attends the
endeavour to effect the lesser good, by violent, factious, or
seditious means.

Within the last thirteen years, the government has been compelled, on
several occasions, to curb the violence and to repress the outbreaks
of men who had yet to learn the folly of such attempts; and the powers
of the executive have been frequently evoked by those who, of late
years, have wielded the destinies of this country. Several state
prosecutions have taken place during this period. They never occur
without exciting a lively interest; the public eye is critically
intent upon the minutest detail of these proceedings; and the public
attention is concentrated upon those to whom is confided the
vindication of the public rights and the redressing of the public
wrongs. It has been often asked by some of these critical observers,
How is it that, when great crimes or misdemeanours are to be punished,
when the bold and daring offender is to be brought to justice, when
the body politic is the offended party, when the minister honours a
supposed offender with his notice in the shape of criminal
proceedings, and the government condescends to prosecute--how is it,
it has been asked on such occasions, when the first talent, science,
and practical skill, are all arranged against the unfortunate object
of a nation's vengeance, that the course of justice should be ever
broken or impeded? Is the machinery then set in motion in truth
defective--is there some inherent vice in the construction of the
state engine? Is the law weak when it should be strong? Is its boasted
majesty, after all, nothing but the creation of a fond imagination, or
a delusion of the past? Are the wheels of the state-machine no longer
bright, polished, and fit for use as they once were? or are they
choked and clogged with the rust and dust of accumulated ages? Or, if
not in the machine, does the fault, ask others of these bold critics,
rest with the workmen who guide and superintend its action? Are the
principles of its construction now no longer known or understood? Are
they, like those of the engines of the Syracusan philosopher, lost in
the lapse of time? Is the crown less efficiently served than private
individuals? and can it be possible, it has even been demanded, that
those who are actively employed on these occasions have been so long
removed on the practice of what is often deemed the simpler portion of
the law, and so long employed in the higher and more abstruse branches
of the science, that they have forgotten the practice of their youth,
and have lost the knowledge acquired in the commencement of their
professional career? Lesser criminals, it is said, are every day
convicted with ease and expedition--how is it, therefore, that the
cobweb of the law holds fast the small ephemeræ which chance to stray
across its filmy mesh, but that the gaudy insect of larger form and
greater strength so often breaks through, his flight perhaps arrested
for a moment, as he feels the insidious toil fold close about him? It
is, however, only for a moment; one mighty effort breaks his bonds--he
is free--and flies off in triumph and derision, trumpeting forth his
victory, and proclaiming his escape from the snare, in which it was
hoped to encompass him. The astute and practised gentlemen thus
suspected, strong in the consciousness of deep legal knowledge, and
ready practical skill and science, may justly despise the petty
attacks of those who affect to doubt their professional ability and
attainments. Some in high places have not hesitated to hint, on one
occasion, at collusion, and to assert, that a certain prosecution
failed, because there was no real desire to punish.

Such is the substance of the various questions and speculations to
which the legal events of the last thirteen years have given rise. We
have now collected and enumerated them in a condensed form, for the
purpose of tracing their rise and progress, and in order that we may
demonstrate that, though there may possibly exist some reasons for
these opinions, founded often on a misapprehension of the real
circumstances of the cases quoted in their support, that they have, in
fact, little or no substantial foundation. With this view, therefore,
we shall briefly notice those trials, within the period of which we
speak, which form the groundwork of these charges against the
executive, before we proceed to state the real obstacles which do, in
fact, occasionally oppose the smooth and _rapid_ progress of a "State
Prosecution."

The first of these proceedings, which occurred during the period of
the last thirteen years, was the trial of Messrs O'Connell, Lawless,
Steel, and others. This case perhaps originated the opinions which
have partially prevailed, and was, in truth, not unlikely to make a
permanent impression on the public mind. In the month of January 1831,
true bills were found against these parties by the Grand Jury of
Dublin, for assembling and meeting together for purposes prohibited by
a proclamation of the Lord Lieutenant; and for conspiring to do an act
forbidden by the law. By every possible device, by demurrers and
inconsistent pleas, delays were interposed; and though Mr O'Connell
withdrew a former plea of not guilty, and pleaded guilty to the counts
to which he had at first demurred--though Mr Stanley, in the House of
Commons, in reply to a question put by the Marquis of Chandos,
emphatically declared, that it was impossible for the Irish
government, consistently with their dignity as a government, to enter
into any negotiation implying the remotest compromise with the
defendants--and that it was the unalterable determination of the
law-officers of Ireland to let the law take its course against Mr
O'Connell--and that, let him act as he pleased, judgment would be
passed against him--still, in spite of this determination of the
government, so emphatically announced by the Irish Secretary, the
statute on which the proceedings were founded was actually suffered to
expire, without any previous steps having been taken against the state
delinquents. There has ever been that degree of mystery about this
event, which invariably rouses attention and excites curiosity; the
escape of those parties was a great triumph over the powers, or the
expressed inclinations of the government, which was well calculated to
set the public mind at work to discover the latent causes which
produced such strange and unexpected results. After an interval of
seven years, another case occurred, which was not calculated
materially to lessen the impression already made upon the public; for
although, in the following instance, the prosecution was conducted to
a successful termination, yet questions of such grave importance were
raised, and fought with such ability, vigour, and determination, that
the accomplishment of the ends of justice, if not prevented, was
certainly long delayed.

On the 17th December 1838, twelve prisoners were brought to Liverpool,
charged in execution of a sentence of transportation to Van Diemen's
Land for having been concerned in the Canadian revolt. Here the
offenders had been tried, convicted, sentenced, and actually
transported. The prosecutors, therefore, might naturally be supposed
to have got fairly _into_ port, when they saw the objects of their
tender solicitude fairly _out_ of port, on their way to the distant
land to which the offended laws of their country had consigned them.

If justice might not account her work as done, at a time when her
victims had already traversed a thousand leagues of the wide
Atlantic, when could it be expected that the law might take its course
without further let or hindrance? On the 17th of December, as has been
observed, the prisoners arrived at Liverpool, and were straightway
consigned to the care and custody of Mr Batcheldor, the governor of
the borough jail of Liverpool; by whom they were duly immured in the
stronghold of the borough, and safely placed under lock and key.
Things, however, did not long continue in this state. In a few days
twelve writs of _habeas corpus_ made their sudden and unexpected
appearance, by which Mr Batcheldor was commanded forthwith to bring
the bodies of his charges, together with the causes of detention,
before the Lord Chief Justice of England. Mr Batcheldor obeyed the
command in both particulars; the judges of the Court of Queen's Bench
met; counsel argued and re-argued the matter before them, but in
vain--the prisoners were left in the governor's care, in which they
remained, as if no effort had been made to remove then from his
custody. All, however, was not yet over; for, as though labouring
under a strange delusion, four of the prisoners actually made oath
that they had never been arraigned, tried, convicted, or sentenced at
all, either in Canada or elsewhere! Upon this four more writs of
_habeas corpus_ issued, commanding the unhappy Mr Batcheldor to bring
the four deluded convicts before the Barons of the Exchequer. This was
done; arguments, both old and new, were heard with exemplary patience
and attention; the play was played over again; but the Barons were
equally inexorable with the Court of Queen's Bench, and the four
prisoners, after much consideration, were again remanded to the
custody of the governor of the jail, and, together with their eight
fellow-prisoners, were, in course of time, duly conveyed to the place
of their original destination.

The next of these cases, in chronological order, is that of the
Monmouthshire riots in 1839. This case, also, might tend to
corroborate the opinion, that the service of the state, in legal
matters, is attended with much difficulty and embarrassment. It will,
however, be seen upon examination of the facts of the case, that the
difficulty which then arose, proceeded solely from the lenity and
indulgence shown to the prisoners by the crown. On New-Year's day
1840, John Frost and others, were brought to trial, on a charge of
high treason, before a special commission at Monmouth. The proceedings
were interrupted by an objection taken by the prisoners' counsel, that
the terms of a statute, which requires that a list of witnesses should
be delivered to the prisoners _at the same time_ with a copy of the
indictment, had not been complied with. The indictment had, in fact,
been delivered five days before the list of witnesses. This had been
done in merciful consideration to the prisoners, in order that they
might be put in possession of the charge, to be brought against them,
as early as it was in the power of the crown to give them the
information, and probably before it was _possible_ that the list of
witnesses could have been made out. The trial, however, proceeded,
subject to the decision of the fifteen judges upon the question, thus
raised upon the supposed informality, which nothing but the _anxious
mercy_ of the crown had introduced into the proceedings; and the
parties were found guilty of the offence laid to their charge. In the
ensuing term, all other business was, for a time, suspended; and the
fifteen judges of the land, with all the stately majesty of the
judicial office, were gathered together in solemn conclave in
Westminster Hall. A goodly array, tier above tier they sat--the heavy
artillery of a vast legal battery about to open the fire of their
learning, with that imposing dignity which becomes the avengers of the
country's and the sovereign's wrongs. Day after day they met, heard,
and deliberated upon arguments, which were conspicuous from their
consummate learning and ability. At length these learned persons
delivered their judgments, and, amid much diversity of opinion, the
majority thought, upon the whole, that the conviction was right, and
that the terms of the statute had been virtually complied with. The
criminals, however, probably in consequence of the doubts and
difficulty of the case, were absolved on the most highly penal
consequences of their crime, and were, by a sort of compromise,
transported for life to one of the penal settlements.

The doubt which some have entertained of the real insanity of Oxford,
and others who have recently attempted the same crime which he so nearly
committed, has caused these cases also to be brought forward in
confirmation of the opinions, which we contend rest upon no real
foundation. The insanity of a prisoner is, however, a fact, upon which
it is the province of the jury to decide, under the direction of the
presiding judge. In each case the law was luminously laid down by the
judge for the guidance of the jury, who were fully instructed as to what
the law required to establish the insanity of its prisoner, and to prove
that "lesion of the will" which would render a human being irresponsible
for his acts. These verdicts, undoubtedly, gave rise to a grave
discussion, whether the law, as it now stands, was sufficiently
stringent to have reached these cases; and though this question was
decided in the affirmative, the mere entertaining of the doubt afforded
another specious confirmation of the impression, that a singular
fatality was attendant upon a state prosecution. This idea received
another support from the case of Lord Cardigan, who, about this period,
was unexpectedly acquitted, on technical grounds, from a grave and
serious charge. This, however, was no state prosecution, and we do but
notice it, _en passant_, in corroboration of our general argument.

We now come to the case of the Chartists in 1842. For some time
previous to the summer of 1842, great distress, it will be remembered,
prevailed among the manufacturing population of the northern and
midland counties. The misery of the preceding winter had been dreadful
in the extreme; emaciated, haggard beings might be daily seen
wandering about the country half naked, in the coldest weather;
sufferings, almost without a parallel, were borne with patience and
resignation. Despair there might be in the hearts of thousands, but
those thousands were mute and passive in their misery; all was dark,
all was hopeless; the wintry wind of penury blew untempered, keen upon
them, but still they cried not; hunger preyed upon their very vitals,
but they uttered no complaint. Let us not, even now, refuse a passing
tribute of honour and respect to the passive heroism which in many an
instance marked the endurance of the hopeless misery of those dreadful
times. At length, however, evil and designing men came among the
sufferers--remedies for the pressing evil, and means of escape from
the wretchedness of their condition, were darkly hinted at; redress
was whispered to be near, and they, the hungry fathers of famished
children, lent a greedy ear to the fair promises of men whom they
deemed wiser than themselves. The tempter's seedtime had arrived, the
ground was ready, and the seed was sown. Day by day, nay, hour by
hour, was the bud of disaffection fostered with the greatest care;
and, day by day, its strength and vitality increased. When, at length,
the people were deemed ripe for action, the mask was thrown off,
treasonable schemes and projects were openly proclaimed by the leaders
of the coming movement, and echoed, from a hundred hills, by vast
multitudes of their deluded followers. Large meetings were daily held
on the neighbouring moors, where bodies of men were openly trained and
armed for active and offensive operations. At length the insurrection,
for such in truth it was, broke forth. Then living torrents of excited
and exasperated men poured down those hillsides; the peaceful and
well-affected were compelled to join the insurgent ranks, busy in the
work of destruction and intimidation; when each evening brought the
work of havoc to a temporary close, they laid them down to rest where
the darkness overtook them. The roads were thus continually blockaded,
and those who, under cover of the night, sought to obtain aid and
assistance from less disturbed districts, were often interrupted and
turned back by bodies of these men. Authority was at an end, and a
large extensive district was completely at the mercy of reckless
multitudes, burning to avenge the sufferings of the past, and bent on
preventing, as they thought, a recurrence of them in future. The very
towns were in their hands; "in an evil hour" a vast body of insurgents
was "admitted" into one of the largest mercantile towns of the
kingdom, where they pillaged and laid waste in every direction. In
another town of the district a fearful riot was put down by force,
some of the leaders of the mob being shot dead while heading a charge
upon the military. The ascendancy of the law was at length asserted;
many arrests took place; the jails were crowded with prisoners; and
the multitudes without, deserted by those to whom they had looked up
for advice, their friends in prison, with the unknown terrors of the
law suspended over them, probably then felt that, miserable and lost
as they had been before, they had now fallen even lower in the scale
of human misery. Criminal proceedings were quickly instituted. Several
commissions were sent down to the districts in which these
disturbances had take place, in order that the offenders might meet
with _speedy_ punishment. The law officers of the crown, with many and
able assistants, in person conducted the proceedings. Temperate, mild,
dignified, and forbearing was their demeanour; in no case was the
individual the object of prosecution; it was the _crime_, through the
person of the criminal, against which the government proceeded. No
feelings of a personal nature were there exhibited; and a mild, but
firm, as it were, a parental correction of erring and misguided
children, seemed to be the sole object of those who then represented
the government. Conviction was heaped upon conviction--sentence
followed sentence--the miserable tool was distinguished from the man
who made him what he was--the active emissary, the secret conspirator,
also received each their proportionate amount of punishment. True, a
few of the more cautious and crafty, all included in one indictment,
eventually escaped the penalty due to their crimes; but, among the
multitude of cases which were then tried, this was, we believe, the
only instance even of partial failure. In spite of this single
miscarriage of the government, the great object of these proceedings
was completely answered; the end of all punishment was attained; the
vengeance which the law then took had all the effect which the most
condign punishment of these few men could have accomplished; the
constitutional maxim of "_poena ad paucos, metus ad omnes_," has been
amply illustrated by these proceedings; Chartism has been suppressed,
by the temperate application of the constitutional means which were
then resorted to for the correction of its violence, and the
prevention of its seditious schemes.

We must not omit to mention the instances of signal and complete
success which have been, from time to time, exhibited in other
prosecutions against Feargus O'Connor and different members of the
Chartist body, within the period of which we speak. On none of these
occasions has the course of justice been hindered, or even turned
aside; but the defendants have, we believe, without exception, paid
the penalty of their crimes by enduring the punishments awarded by the
court.

The recent trials of the Rebecca rioters were also signally successful
and effective; and the prejudices of a Welsh jury, which some feared
would prove a fatal stumblingblock, were overcome by the dispassionate
appeal to their better judgment then made by the officers of the
crown.

From a review of the cases, it therefore appears, that the failures of
a state prosecution have been comparatively few; and that the crown
has met with even more than the average success which the "glorious
uncertainty of the law" in general permits to those who tempt its
waywardness, and risk the perils of defeat. The welfare and interest
of the nation, however, lie in the _general_ results of these
proceedings, rather than the _particular event_ of an individual
trial. Therefore, though we should assume that a part only of what was
intended has been accomplished, still if that portion produces the
same general results as were hoped for from the successful
accomplishment of the whole, the object of the government has been
attained. Now, it may be observed, that, with perhaps the single
exception of the case of Mr O'Connell in 1831, the end and object of
all state prosecution has been uniformly and completely accomplished,
by the suppression of the evil which the crown in each instance was
anxious to put down. When this has taken place, there can have been no
failure. Beyond what is necessary for the welfare of the state, and
the general safety and security of the persons and property of
individuals, the crown has no interest in inflicting punishment; it
never asks for more than is required to effect _these objects_, and it
can scarcely be content with less.

There are, however, difficulties almost peculiar to the more serious
offences against the state, but which are entirely different, in their
nature, from those imaginary difficulties which have formed the
subject of so much declamation. A passing glance at the proceedings
now pending in Ireland, will give the most casual observer some idea
of what is sometimes to be encountered by those to whom is entrusted
the arduous duty of conducting a state prosecution. Look back on the
"tempest of provocation," which recently assailed the Irish
Attorney-General, on the vexatious delays and frivolous objections
which sprang up at every move of the crown lawyers, called forth by
one who, though "_not valiant_," was well known to the government to
be "most cunning offence" ere they challenged him, but who, "despite
his cunning fence and active practice," may perhaps find, that this
time the law has clutched him with a grasp of iron. In ordinary cases,
criminals may, no doubt, be easily convicted; and in the great
majority of the more common crimes and misdemeanours, the utmost legal
ingenuity and acumen might be unable to detect a single error in the
proceedings, from first to last. Still it must be remembered, that
even among the more common of ordinary cases, in which the forms are
simple, the practice certain, and in which the law may be supposed to
be already defined beyond the possibility of doubt, error, or
misconception--even in such cases, questions occasionally arise which
scarcely admit of any satisfactory solution--questions in which the
fifteen judges, to whom they may be referred, often find it impossible
to agree, and which may therefore be reasonably supposed to be
sufficiently perplexing to the rest of the world. State offences, such
as treason and sedition, which are of comparatively rare occurrence,
present many questions of greater intricacy than any other class of
crimes. In treason especially, a well-founded jealousy of the power
and prerogatives of the crown has intrenched the subject behind a line
of outposts, in the shape of forms and preliminary proceedings; the
accused, for his greater security against a power which, if unwatched,
might become arbitrary and oppressive, has been invested with rights
which must be respected and complied with, and by the neglect of which
the whole proceedings are rendered null and void. At this moment, in
all treasons, except attempts upon the person of the sovereign, "the
prisoner," in the language of Lord Erskine, "is covered all over with
the armour of the law;" and there must be twice the amount of evidence
which would be legally competent to establish his guilt in a criminal
prosecution for any other offence, even by the meanest and most
helpless of mankind. Sedition is a head of crime of a somewhat vague
and indeterminate character, and, in many cases, it may he extremely
difficult, even for an acute and practised lawyer, to decide whether
the circumstances amount to sedition. Mr East, in his pleas of the
crown, says, that "sedition is understood in a more general sense than
treason, and extends to other offences, not capital, of a like
tendency, but without any actual design against the king in
contemplation, such as contempts of the king and his government,
riotous assemblings for political purposes, and the like; and in
general all contemptuous, indecent, or malicious observations upon his
person and government, whether by writing or speaking, or by tokens,
calculated to lessen him in the esteem of his subjects, or weaken his
government, or raise jealousies of him amongst the people, will fall
under the notion of seditious acts." An offence which admits of so
little precision in the terms in which it is defined, depending often
upon the meaning to be attached to words, the real import of which is
varied by the tone or gesture of the speaker, by the words which
precede, and by those which follow, depending also upon the different
ideas which men attach to the same words, evidently rests on very
different grounds from those cases, where actual crimes have been
perpetrated and deeds committed, which leave numerous traces behind,
and which may be proved by the permanent results of which they have
been the cause. Technical difficulties without number also exist: the
most literal accuracy, which is indispensable--the artful inuendoes,
the artistical averments, which are necessary, correctly to shape the
charge ere it is submitted to the grand jury, may be well conceived to
involve many niceties and refinements, on which the case may easily be
wrecked. It must also be remembered that the utmost legal ingenuity is
called into action, and the highest professional talent is engaged in
the defence of the accused. The enormous pressure upon the accused
himself, who, probably from the higher or middle classes, with ample
means at his command, an ignominious death perhaps impending, or, at
the least, imprisonment probably for years in threatening prospect
close before him; his friends active, moving heaven and earth in his
behalf, no scheme left untried, no plan or suggestion rejected, by
which it may, even in the remotest degree be possible to avert the
impending doom; the additional rancour which politics sometimes infuse
into the proceedings, the partisanship which has occasioned scenes
such as should never be exhibited in the sacred arena of the halls of
justice, animosities which give the defence the character of a party
conflict, and which cause a conviction to be looked upon as a
political defeat, and an acquittal to be regarded as a party
triumph--all these circumstances, in their combined and concentrated
force, must also be take into consideration. In such a case every step
is fought with stern and dogged resolution; even mere delay is
valuable, for when all other hope is gone, the chapter of accidents
_may_ befriend the accused; it is one chance more; and even one
chance, however slight, is not to be thrown away. Such is a faint
picture of the defensive operations on such occasions: how is this
untiring, bitter energy met by those who represent the crown?

    "Look on this picture and on that."

Here all is calm, dignified, generous, and forbearing; every
consideration is shown, every indulgence is granted, to the
unfortunate being who is in jeopardy. The crown has no interest to
serve beyond that which the state possesses in the vindication of the
law, and in that cool, deliberate, and impartial administration of
justice which has so long distinguished this country. Nothing is
unduly pressed against the prisoner, but every extenuating fact is
fairly laid before the jury by the crown; it is, in short, generosity,
candor, and forbearance, on the one side, matched against craft,
cunning and the resolution _by any means_ to win, upon the other. Such
are the real difficulties which may be often felt by those who conduct
a state prosecution. Surely it is better far that these difficulties
should, in some instances, be even wholly insuperable, and that the
prosecution should be defeated, than that any change should come over
the spirit in which these trials are now conducted; or that the crown
should ever even attempt to make the criminal process of the law an
instrument of tyranny and oppression, as it was in the days of Scroggs
and Jefferies, and when juries, through intimidation, returned such
verdicts as the crown desired. Our very tenacity of our liberties may
tend to render these proceedings occasionally abortive; and the twelve
men composing a jury of the country, though possibly all their
sympathies would be at once enlisted in behalf of a wronged and
injured subject, may, unconsciously to themselves, demand more
stringent proof, in cases where the sovereign power appears before
then as the party; and more especially, when the offence is of an
impersonal nature, and where the theory of the constitution, rather
than the person or property of individuals, is the object of
aggression. In the olden time such was the power of the crown, that,
whenever the arm of the state was uplifted, the blow fell with
unerring accuracy and precision; but now, when each object of a state
prosecution is a sort of modern Briareus, the blow must be dealt with
consummate skill, or it will fail to strike where it was meant to
fall. On this account, perhaps, in addition to then own intrinsic
paramount importance, the proceedings now pending in Ireland, have
become the object of universal and absorbing interest throughout the
whole of the United Kingdom. Under these circumstances it has occurred
to us, that a popular and accurate review of the several stages of a
criminal prosecution, by which the general reader will be able, in
some degree, to understand the several steps of that proceeding which
is now pending, might not be unacceptable or uninstructive at the
present moment. It must, however, be observed, that it is scarcely
possible to divest a subject so technical in it very nature from those
terms of art which, however familiar they may be to many of our
readers, cannot be understood by all without some explanation, which
we shall endeavour to supply as we proceed.

The general importance of information of this nature has been well
summed up by a great master of criminal law. "The learning touching
these subjects," says Sir Michael Foster, "is a matter of great and
universal concernment. For no rank, no elevation in life, and, let me
add, no conduct, how circumspect soever, ought to tempt a reasonable
man to conclude that these enquiries do not, nor possibly can, concern
him. A moment's cool reflection on the utter instability of human
affairs, and the numberless unforeseen events which a day may bring
forth, will be sufficient to guard any man, conscious of his own
infirmities, against a delusion of this kind."

Let us suppose the minister of the day, having before been made aware
that, in a portion of the kingdom, a state of things existed that
demanded his utmost vigilance and attention, to have ascertained the
reality of the apparent danger, and to have procured accurate
information as to the real character of the proceedings, and to find
that acts apparently treasonable or seditious, as the case may be, had
been committed. Suppose him, charged with the safety of the state, and
responsible for the peace, order, and well-being of the community, to
set the constitutional process of the law in motion against the
offending individuals; his first step, under such circumstances, must
be to procure full and satisfactory evidence of the facts as they
really exist. For this purpose agents must he employed, necessarily in
secret, or the very end and object of their mission would be
frustrated, to collect and gather information from every authentic
source, and to watch, with their own eyes the proceedings which have
attracted attention. This is a work of time, perhaps; but suppose that
it is complete, and that the minister having before him in evidence,
true and unmistakable, a complete case of crime to lay before a jury,
what, under these circumstances, is the first step to be taken by the
crown? Either of two distinct modes of procedure may be chosen; the
one mode is by an _ex officio_ information, the other is by
indictment. An indictment is the mode by which all treasons and
felonies must be proceeded against, and by which ordinary
misdemeanours are usually brought to punishment. An _ex officio_
information is an information at the suit of the sovereign, filed by
the Attorney-General, as by virtue of his office, without applying to
the court where filed for leave, and without giving the defendant any
opportunity of showing cause why it should not be filed. The principal
difference between this form of procedure and that by indictment,
consists in the manner in which the proceedings are commenced; in the
latter case, the law requires that the accusation should be warranted
by the oath of twelve men, before he be put to answer it--or in other
words that the grand jury must give that information to the court,
which, in the former case, is furnished by the law officer of the
crown. The cases which are prosecuted by _ex officio_ information, are
properly such enormous misdemeanours as peculiarly tend to disturb and
endanger the government or to molest or affront the sovereign in the
discharge of the functions of the royal office. The necessity for the
existence of a power of this nature in the state, is thus set forth by
that learned and illustrious judge, Sir William Blackstone. "For
offences so highly dangerous, in the punishment or prevention of which
a moment's delay would be fatal, the law has given to the crown the
power of an immediate prosecution, without waiting for any previous
application to any other tribunal: which power, thus necessary, not
only to the ease and safety, but even to the very existence of the
executive magistrate, was originally reserved in the great plan of the
English constitution, wherein provision is wisely made for the
preservation of all its parts."

The crown, therefore, in a case such as we have imagined, must first
make choice between these two modes of procedure. The leniency of
modern governments has of late usually resorted to the process by
indictment; and the crown, waiving all the privileges which appertain
to the kingly office, appears before the constituted tribunals of the
land, as the redresser of the public wrongs, invested with no powers,
and clothed with no authority beyond the simple rights possessed by
the meanest of its subjects. We shall, for this reason, take no
further notice of the _ex officio_ information; and as treasons form a
class of offences governed by laws and rules peculiar to itself, we
shall also exclude this head of crime from our consideration, and
confine ourselves solely to the ordinary criminal process by which
offenders are brought to justice.

In, general, the first step in a criminal prosecution, is to obtain a
warrant for the apprehension of the accused party. In ordinary cases,
a warrant is granted by any justice of the peace upon information, on
the oath of some credible witness, of facts from which it appears that
a crime has been committed, and that the person against whom the
warrant is sought to be obtained, is probably the guilty party, and is
a document under the hand and seal of the justice, directed generally
to the constable or other peace-officer, requiring him to bring the
accused, either generally before _any_ justice of the county, or only
before the justice who granted it. This is the practice in ordinary
cases; but in extraordinary cases, the warrant may issue from the Lord
Chief Justice, or the Privy Council, the Secretaries of State, or from
any justice of the Court of Queen's Bench. These latter warrants are,
we believe, all tested, or dated England, and extend over the whole
kingdom. So far the proceedings have been all _ex parte_, one side
only has been heard, one party only has appeared, and all that has
been done, is to procure or compel the appearance of the other. The
warrant is delivered to the officer, who is bound to obey the command
which it contains. It would seem, however, that, as was done in a
recent case in Ireland, it is sufficient if the appearance of the
accused be virtually secured, even without the intervention of an
actual arrest.

When the delinquent appears, in consequence of this process, before
the authorities, they are bound immediately to examine into the
circumstances of the alleged crime; and they are to take down in
writing the examinations of the witnesses offered in support of the
charge. If the evidence is defective, and grave suspicion should
attach to the prisoner, he may be remanded, in order that fresh
evidence may be procured; or the magistrate, if the case be surrounded
with doubt and difficulty, may adjourn it for a reasonable time, in
order to consider his final decision. The accused must also be
examined, but not upon oath; and his examination also must be taken
down in writing, and may be given in evidence against him at the
trial; for although the maxim of the common law is "_nemo tenebitur
prodere seipsum_," the legislature, as long ago as the year 1555,
directed that, in cases of felony, the examination of the prisoner
should be taken; which provision has recently been extended to
misdemeanours also. Care must be taken that his examination should not
even _appear_ to have been taken on oath; for in a very recent case,
in which _all_ the examinations were contained upon one sheet of
paper, and under one general heading--from which they all purported to
have been taken upon oath, the prisoner's admission of his guilt
contained in that examination, was excluded on the trial, and the rest
of the evidence being slight, he was accordingly acquitted. Now, if
upon the enquiry thus instituted, and thus conducted, it appears,
either that no such crime was committed, or that the suspicion
entertained against the accused is wholly groundless, or that, however
positively accused, if the balance of testimony be strongly in favour
of his innocence, it is the duty of the magistrate to discharge him.
But if, on the other hand, the case seems to have been entirely made
out, or even if it should appear probable, that the alleged crime has
in fact been perpetrated by the defendant, he must either be committed
to prison, there to be kept, in safe custody, until the sitting of the
court before which the trial is to be heard; or, he may be allowed to
give bail--that is, to put in securities for his appearance to answer
the charge against him. In either of these alternatives, whether the
accused be committed or held to bail, it is the duty of the magistrate
to subscribe the examinations, and cause them to be delivered to the
proper officer, at, or before, the opening of the court. Bail may be
taken by two justices in cases of felony, and by one in cases of
misdemeanour. In this stage of the proceedings, as the commitment is
only for safe custody, whenever bail will answer the same intention,
it ought to be taken, as in inferior crimes and misdemeanours; but in
offences of a capital nature, such as the heinous crimes of treason,
murder, and the like, no bail can be a security equivalent to the
actual custody of the person. The nature of bail has been explained,
by Mr Justice Blackstone, to be "a delivery or bailment of a person to
his sureties, upon their giving, together with himself, sufficient
security for his appearance: he being supposed to continue in their
friendly custody, instead of going to gaol." To refuse, or even to
delay bail to any person bailable, is an offence against the liberty
of the subject, in any magistrate, by the common law. And the Court of
Queen's Bench will grant a criminal information against the magistrate
who improperly refuses bail in a case in which it ought to have been
received. It is obviously of great importance, in order to ensure the
appearance of the accused at the time and place of trial, that the
sureties should be men of substance; reasonable notice of bail, in
general twenty-four or forty-eight hours, may be ordered to be given
to the prosecutor, in order that he may have time to examine into
their sufficiency and responsibility. When the bail appear, evidence
may be heard on oath, and they may themselves be examined on oath upon
this point; if they do not appear to possess property to the amount
required by the magistrates, they may be rejected, and others must be
procured, or the defender must go to prison. Excessive bail must not
be required; and, on the other hand, the magistrate, if he take
insufficient bail, is liable to be fined, if the criminal do not
appear to take his trial. When the securities are found, the bail
enter into a recognizance, together with the accused, by which they
acknowledge themselves bound to the Queen in the required sums, if the
accused does not appear to take his trial, at the appointed time and
place. This recognizance must be subscribed by the magistrates, and
delivered with the examinations to the officer of the court in which
the trial is to take place. With this, the preliminary proceedings
close: the accused has had one opportunity of refuting the charge, or
of clearing himself from the suspicion which has gathered round him;
but as yet, there is no written accusation, no written statement of
the offence which it is alleged he has committed. True, he has heard
evidence--he has heard a charge made orally against him--but the law
requires greater particularity than this before a man shall be put in
peril upon a criminal accusation. The facts disclosed in the evidence
before the magistrates must be put in a legal form; the offence must
be clearly and accurately defined in writing, by which the accused may
be informed what specific charge he is to answer, and from which he
may be able to learn what liability he incurs; whether his life is put
in peril, or whether he is in danger of transportation or of
imprisonment, or merely of a pecuniary fine. This is done by means of
the indictment. The indictment is a written accusation of one or more
several persons, preferred to and presented upon oath by a grand jury.
This written accusation, before being presented to the grand jury, is
properly termed a "bill;" and, in ordinary cases, it is generally
prepared by the clerk of the arraigns at the assizes, and by the clerk
of the peace at the quarter sessions; but, in cases of difficulty, it
is drawn by counsel. It consists of a formal technical statement of
the offence, which is engrossed upon parchment, upon the back of which
the names of the witnesses for the prosecution are indorsed. In
England it is delivered to the crier of the court, by whom the
witnesses are sworn to the truth of the evidence they are about to
give before the grand jury. In the trial now pending in the Court of
Queen's Bench in Ireland, a great question was raised as to whether a
recent statute, which, on the ground of convenience, enabled grand
juries in Ireland themselves to swear the witnesses, extended to
trials before the Queen's Bench. This question was decided in the
affirmative; therefore, in that country, the oath, in every case, must
be administered by the grand jury themselves; whereas, in this
country, the witnesses are sworn _in court_, and by the crier, as we
have already mentioned. The grand jury, ever since the days of King
Ethelred, must consist of twelve at least, and not more than
twenty-three. In the superior courts they are generally drawn from the
magistracy or superior classes of the community, being, as Mr Justice
Blackstone expresses it, "usually gentlemen of the best figure in the
county." They are duly sworn and instructed in the articles of their
enquiry by the judge who presides upon the bench. They then withdraw,
to sit and receive all bills which may be presented to them. When a
bill is thus presented, the witnesses are generally called in the
order in which their names appear upon the back of the bill. The grand
jury is, at most, to hear evidence only on behalf of the prosecution;
"for," says the learned commentator already quoted, "the finding of an
indictment is only in the nature of an enquiry or accusation, which is
afterwards to be tried and determined; and the grand jury are only to
enquire upon their oaths, whether there be sufficient cause to call
upon a party to answer it." They ought, however, to be fully persuaded
of the truth of an indictment as far as the evidence goes, and not to
rest satisfied with remote probabilities; for the form of the
indictment is, that they, "_upon their oath_, present" the party to
have committed the crime. This form, Mr Justice Coleridge observes, is
perhaps stronger than may be wished, and we believe that the criminal
law commissioners are now seriously considering the propriety of
abolishing it.

After hearing the evidence, the grand jury endorse upon the bill their
judgment of the truth or falsehood of the charge. If they think the
accusation groundless, they write upon it, "not found," or "not a true
bill;" in which case the bill is said to be ignored: but, on the other
hand, if twelve at least are satisfied of the truth of the accusation,
the words "true bill" are placed upon it. The bill is then said to be
found. It then becomes an indictment, and is brought into court by the
grand jury, and publicly delivered by the foreman to the clerk of
arraigns, or clerk of the peace, as the case may be, who states to the
court the substance of the indictment and of the indorsement upon it.
If the bill is ignored, and no other bill is preferred against the
party, he is discharged, without further answer, when the grand jury
have finished their labours, and have been themselves discharged. To
find a bill, twelve at least of the jury must agree; for no man, under
this form of proceeding at least, can be convicted even of a
misdemeanour, unless by the unanimous voice of twenty-four of his
equals; that is, by twelve at least of the grand jury assenting to the
accusation, and afterwards by the whole petit jury of twelve more
finding him guilty upon the trial.

This proceeding is wholly _ex parte_. As the informal statement of the
crime brought the supposed criminal to answer before the inferior
tribunal, so does the formal accusation call upon him to answer before
the superior court. The preliminary proceedings being now complete,
and every step having been taken which is necessary to put the accused
upon his trial, the _ex parte_ character of the proceedings is at an
end. The time approaches when the accused must again be brought face
to face with his accusers; and when, if he has been admitted to bail,
his sureties must deliver him up to the proper authorities, or their
bond is forfeited; in which case, a bench warrant for the apprehension
of the delinquent may issue; and if he cannot still be found, he may
be pursued to outlawry. It may be here mentioned, that the
proceedings may be, at any period, removed from any inferior court
into the Queen's Bench, by what is called a writ of _certiorari_. When
the offender appears voluntarily to an indictment, or was before in
custody, or is brought in upon criminal process to answer it in the
proper court, he is to be immediately arraigned. The arraignment is
simply the calling upon the accused, at the bar of the court, to
answer the matter charged upon him in the indictment, the substantial
parts, at least, of which are then read over to him. This is
indispensable, in order that he may fully understand the charge. So
voluminous are the counts of the indictment recently found against Mr
O'Connell and others, that the reading of the charges they contained
was the work of many hours. The accused is not always compelled
immediately to answer the indictment; for if he appear in term-time to
an indictment for a misdemeanour in the Queen's Bench, it is
sufficient if he plead or demur within four days; the court has a
discretionary power to enlarge the time; but if he neither pleads nor
demurs within the time prescribed, judgment may be entered against him
as for want of a plea. It he appear to such an indictment, having been
committed or held to bail within twenty days before the assizes or
sessions at which he is called upon to answer, he has the option of
_traversing_, as it is termed, or of postponing his trial to the next
assizes or sessions. He is also always entitled, before the trial, on
payment of a trifling charge, to have copies of the examinations of
the witnesses on whose evidence he was committed or held to bail; and
at the trial he has a right to inspect the originals gratuitously. In
prosecutions for misdemeanours at the suit of the Attorney-General, a
copy of indictment must be delivered, free of expense, if demanded by
the accused. These seem to be all the privileges except that of
challenge, which we shall explain hereafter, which the accused
possesses, or to which the law gives him an absolute indefeasible
claim as a matter of right. The _practice_ of different courts may
possibly vary in some degree on points such as those which have been
recently mooted in Ireland; for instance, as to whether the names of
the witnesses should be furnished to the accused, and whether their
address and description should also be supplied. In such matters the
practice might vary, in a considerable degree, in the superior courts
of England and Ireland; and yet each course would be strictly legal,
in the respective courts in which it was adopted; for, as it was
clearly put by one of the Irish judges on a recent occasion, the
practice of the court is the law of the court, and the law of the
court is the law of the land.

When the time has arrived at which the accused must put in his answer
to the indictment, if he do not confess the charge, or stand mute of
malice, he may either plead, 1st, to the jurisdiction, which is a good
plea when the court before whom the indictment is taken has no
cognizance of the offence, as when a case of treason is prosecuted at
the quarter sessions; or, 2dly, he may demur, by which he says, that,
assuming that he has done every thing which the indictment lays to his
charge, he has, nevertheless, been guilty of no crime, and is in
nowise liable to punishment for the act there charged. A demurrer has
been termed an issue in law--the question to be determined being, what
construction the law puts upon admitted facts. If the question of law
be adjudged _in favour_ of the accused, it is attended with the same
results as an acquittal in fact, except that he may be indicted afresh
for the same offence; but if the question be determined _against_ the
prisoner, the law, in its tenderness, _will not_ allow him, at least
in cases of felony, to be punished for his misapprehension of the law,
or for his mistake in the conduct of his pleadings, but will, in such
case, permit him to plead over to the indictment--that is, to plead
not guilty; the consequences of which plea we will consider hereafter.

A third alternative is a plea of abatement, which is a plea praying
that the indictment may be quashed, for some defect which the plea
points out. This plea, though it was recently, made use of by the
defendants in the case now pending in Ireland, is of very rare
occurrence in ordinary practice--a recent statute having entirely
superseded every advantage formerly to be derived from this plea, in
cases of a misnomer, or a wrong name, and of a false addition or a
wrong description of the defendant's rank and condition, which were
the principal occasions on which it was resorted to.

The next alternative which the prisoners may adopt, is a special plea
in bar. These pleas are of four kinds: 1. a former acquittal; 2. a
former conviction; 3. a former attainder; 4. a former pardon, for the
same offence. The first two of these pleas are founded on the maxim of
the law of England, that no man is to be twice put in jeopardy for the
same offence. A man is attainted of felony, only by judgment of death,
or by outlawry; for by such judgment, the prisoner being already dead
in law, and having forfeited all his property, there remains no
further punishment to be awarded; and, therefore, any further
proceeding would be superfluous. This plea has, however, been
practically put an end to by a recent statute. A plea of pardon, is
the converse of a plea of attainder; for a pardon at once destroys the
end and purpose of the indictment, by remitting that punishment which
the prosecution was calculated to inflict.

All these pleas may be answered by the crown in two ways--issue may be
joined on the facts they respectively set forth; or they may be
demurred to; by which step, the facts, alleged in the plea, are denied
to constitute a good and valid defence in law. In _felony_, if any of
these pleas are, either in fact or in law, determined against the
prisoner, he cannot be convicted or concluded by the adverse judgment;
and for this reason. Formerly all felonies were punishable with death,
and, in the words of Mr Justice Blackstone, "the law allows many pleas
by which a prisoner may escape death; but only one plea in consequence
whereof it can be inflicted, viz., the general issue, after an
impartial examination and decision of the facts, by the unanimous
verdict of a jury." The prisoner, therefore, although few felonies
remain still capital, is nevertheless still allowed to plead over as
before. In misdemeanours, however, which are never capital, and in
which, therefore, no such principle could ever have applied, the
judgment on these pleas appears to follow the analogy of a civil
action. Thus, if, upon issue joined, a plea of abatement be found
against the accused, the judgment, on that indictment, is final;
though a second indictment may be preferred against him; but if, upon
demurrer, the question of law is held to be against him, the judgment
is, that he do answer the indictment. If a plea in bar, either on
issue joined, or on demurrer, be determined against the defendant, the
judgment is in such case final, and he stands convicted of the
misdemeanour.

The general issue, or the plea of "not guilty," is the last and most
usual of those answers to the indictment which we have enumerated, the
others being all of extremely rare occurrence in the modern practice
of the criminal law. By this plea, the accused puts himself upon his
county, which county the jury are. The sheriff of the county must then
return a panel of jurors. In England the jurors are taken from the
"jurors' book" of the current year. It must be observed, that a new
jurors' book comes into operation on the first of January in each
year, having previously been copied from the lists of those liable to
serve on juries, made out in the first instance, between the months of
July and October, both inclusive, by the churchwardens and overseers
of each parish, then reviewed and confirmed by the justices of the
peace in petty sessions, and, through the high constable of the
district, delivered to the next quarter sessions. If the proceedings
are before the Queen's Bench, an interval is allowed by the court, in
fixing the time of trial, for the impanneling of the jury, upon a writ
issued to the sheriff for that purpose. The trial in a case of
misdemeanour in the Queen's Bench is had at _nisi prius_, unless it be
of such consequence as to merit a trial at bar, which is invariably
had when the prisoner is tried for any capital offence in that court.
But before the ordinary courts of assize, the sheriff, by virtue of a
general precept directed to him beforehand, returns to the court a
panel of not less than forty-eight nor more than seventy-two persons,
unless the judges of assize direct a greater or smaller number to be
summoned. When the time for the trial has arrived, and the case is
called on, jurors, to the number of twelve, are sworn, unless
challenged as they appear; their names being generally taken
promiscuously, one by one, out of a box containing a number of
tickets, on each of which a juror's name is inserted. Challenges may
be made, either on the part of the crown or on that of the accused,
and either to the whole array or to the separate polls. The challenge
to the array, which must be made in writing, is an exception to the
whole panel, on account of some partiality or default in the sheriff,
or his officer, who arrayed the panel, the ground of which is examined
into before the court. Challenges to the polls--_in capita_--are
exceptions to particular persons, and must be made in each instance,
as the person comes to the box to be sworn, and before he is sworn;
for when the oath is once taken the challenge is too late.

Sir Edward Coke reduces the heads of challenge to four. 1st, _propter
honoris respectum_; as if a lord of Parliament be impannelled. 2d,
_propter defectum_; as if a juryman be an alien born, or be in other
respects generally objectionable. 3d, _propter affectum_; for
suspicion of bias or partiality: and 4th, _propter delictum_; or, for
some crime that affects the juror's credit, and renders him infamous;
In treason and felony, the prisoner is allowed the privilege of a
limited number of _peremptory_ challenges; after which, as in
misdemeanours, there is no limit to the number of challenges, if the
party shows some cause for each challenge to the court. This cause is
tried by persons appointed for that purpose by the court, when no
jurymen have been sworn; but when two jurymen have been sworn, they
are the parties who must adjudicate upon the qualifications of those
who are afterwards challenged, who, except when the challenge is
_propter delictum_, may be themselves examined upon oath. The crown,
also, we have seen, can exercise this privilege, but with this
difference, that no cause for challenge need be shown by the crown,
either in felonies or misdemeanours, till the panel is exhausted, and
unless there cannot be a full jury without the persons so challenged.

When twelve men have been found, they are sworn to give a true verdict
"according to the evidence," and the jury are then ready to hear the
merits of the case. To fix their attention the closer to the facts
which they are impannelled and sworn to try, the indictment, in cases
of importance, is usually opened by the junior counsel for the
crown--a proceeding, by which they are briefly informed of the charge
which is brought against the accused. The leading counsel for the
crown then lays the _facts_ of the case before the jury, in a plain
unvarnished statement; no appeal is made to the passions or prejudices
of the twelve men, who are to pronounce upon the guilt or innocence of
the accused; but every topic, every observation, which might warp
their judgment, or direct their attention from the simple facts which
are about to be proved before them, is anxiously deprecated and
avoided by the counsel for the prosecution. The witnesses for the
crown are called one by one, sworn, examined, and cross-examined by
the accused, or his counsel. When the case for the crown has been
brought to a close, the defence commences, and the counsel for the
defendant addresses the jury. It is the duty of the advocate, on such
an occasion, to put forth all his powers in behalf of his client; to
obtain acquittal is his object: he must sift the hostile evidence, he
must apply every possible test to the accuracy of the testimony, and
to the credibility of the witnesses; he may address himself to the
reason, to the prejudices, to the sympathies, nay, even to the worst
passions of the twelve men whose opinions he seeks to influence in
favour of his client. He may proceed to call witnesses to disprove the
facts adduced on the other side, or to show that the character of the
accused stands too high for even a suspicion of the alleged clime; he
has the utmost liberty of speech and action He may indefinitely
protract the proceedings, and there seems to be scarcely any limit, in
point of law, beyond which the ultimate event of the trial may not be,
by these means, deferred. Whenever the defence closes, in those cases
in which the government is the real prosecutor, the representative of
the crown has the general reply; at the close of which the presiding
judge sums up the evidence to the jury, and informs them of the legal
bearing of the facts, on the effect and existence of which the jury
has to decide. This having been accomplished, it becomes the duty of
the jury to deliberate, decide, and pronounce their verdict. If the
verdict be "Not guilty," the accused is for ever quit and discharged
of the accusation; but if the jury pronounce him guilty, he stands
convicted of the crime which has been thus charged and proved against
him, and awaits the judgment of the court. In felonies and ordinary
misdemeanours, judgment is generally pronounced immediately upon, or
soon after, the delivery of the verdict; in other cases, when the
trial has been had before the Queen's Bench, the judgment may, in
England, be pronounced either immediately or during the ensuing term.
But whenever this event occurs, the prisoner has still one chance more
for escape: he can move an arrest of judgment, on the grounds either
that the indictment is substantially defective, or that he has already
been pardoned or punished for the same offense. These objections, if
successful, will, even at this late stage of the proceedings, save the
defendant from the consequences of his crime. But if these last
resources fail, the court must give the judgment, or pronounce the
measure of that punishment, which the law annexes to the crime of
which the prisoner has been convicted.

By the law of this country, the _species_ of punishment for every
offence is always ascertained; but, between certain defined limits,
the measure and degree of that punishment is, with very few
exceptions, left to the discretion of the presiding judge. Treasons
and some felonies are, indeed, capital: but, in the mercy of modern
times, the great majority of felonies, and all misdemeanours, are
visited, some with various terms of transportation or imprisonment,
which, in most cases, may be with or without hard labour, at the
discretion of the court. In these cases, the punishment is prescribed
by the statute law; but there are some misdemeanours the punishment of
which has not been interfered with by any statute, and to which,
therefore, the common law punishments are still attached. The case of
Mr O'Connell, which is now in abeyance, seems to range itself under
this head of misdemeanours. Such cases are punishable by fine or
imprisonment, or by both; but the amount of the one, or the duration
of the other, is each left at large to be estimated by the court,
according to the more or less aggravated nature of the offence, and,
as it is said, also according to the quality and condition of the
parties. That a fine should, in all cases, be reasonable, has been
declared by Magna Charta; and the Bill of Rights has also provided,
that excessive fine, or cruel and unusual punishments, should not be
inflicted; but what may or may not be unreasonable or excessive, cruel
or unusual, is left entirely to the judgment of the executive.

For crimes of a dark political hue, which, by their tendency to
subvert the government or destroy the institutions of the country,
necessarily assume a character highly dangerous to the safety and
well-being of the state, it might be difficult to say what degree of
punishment would be excessive or unusual. It seems probable, that in
cases of this nature, which include crimes, so varied in their
circumstances that there appears no limit to the degree of guilt
incurred--crimes, the nature and character of which could not possibly
be foreseen or provided for, in all their infinite multiplicity of
detail; it seems probable that, in such cases, a large discretion may
have been purposely left by the framers of our constitution, in order
that the degree of guilt, on each occasion, should be measured by an
expansive self-adjusting scale of punishment, applied, indeed, and
administered by the judges of the land, but regulated and adjusted, in
each succeeding age, by the influence of public opinion, and by the
spirit and temper of the times.

Even at this latest stage of criminal prosecution, in the interval
which must necessarily elapse between the pronouncing and the
infliction of the sentence, the convicted delinquent is not without a
remedy for any wrong he may sustain in the act which terminates the
proceedings. If any judgement not warranted by law be given by the
court, it may be reversed upon a _writ of error_, which lies from all
inferior criminal jurisdictions to the Queen's Bench, and from the
Queen's Bench to the House of Peers. These writs, however, in cases of
misdemeanour, are not allowed, of course, but on probable cause shown
to the Attorney General; and then they are understood to be grantable
of common right, and _ex debito justitiæ_. The crown, if every other
resource has failed the prisoner, has always the power of exercising
the most amiable of its prerogatives. Though the sovereign herself
condemns no man, "the great operation of her sceptre is mercy," and
the chief magistrate, in the words of Sir William Blackstone, "holding
a court of equity in his own breast, to soften the rigour of the
general law, in such criminal cases as merit an exemption from
punishment," is ever at liberty to grant a free, unconditional, and
gracious pardon to the injured or repentant convict.

We have now rapidly traced the progress of a criminal prosecution from
its commencement to its close, and we have given a summary of the
_ordinary_ proceedings on such occasions. Although it may be possible
that the practice of the courts in Ireland on minor points, should
occasionally differ in some degree from the practice of the English
Courts, we may, nevertheless, have rendered the proceedings now
pending in the sister isle, more intelligible to the general reader,
who may now, perhaps, be enabled to see the bearing, and understand
the importance of many struggles, which, to the unlearned, might
probably appear to be wholly beside the real question now at issue
between the crown and Mr O'Connell. Whatever be the result of that
prosecution, whether those indicted be found guilty, or acquitted, of
the misdemeanours laid to their charge; we feel assured, on the one
hand, however long and grievous may have been the "provocation," that
while there will be "nothing extenuate," neither will there be "set
down aught in malice;" but that the measure of the retribution now
demanded by the state, will be so temperately and equitably adjusted,
that while the very semblance of oppression is carefully avoided, the
majesty of the law, and the powers of the executive, will be amply and
entirely vindicated. On the other hand, if Mr O'Connell, and his
companions, in guilt or misfortune, should break through the cobwebs
of the law, and hurl a _retrospective_ defiance at the Government; we
feel the utmost confidence, that the learning, foresight, and ability,
of the eminent lawyers who represent the crown, together with the
firmness and integrity of the Irish bench, "_sans peur et sans
reproche_," will demonstrate to the millions who look on, that the
constitutional powers of the state still remain uninjured and
unimpaired in all their pristine and legitimate energy and vigour; and
that neither in the machinery now set in motion, nor with those who
conduct or superintend its action, but with others on whom, in the
course of these proceedings, will be thrown the execution of a grave
and all-important duty, must rest the real blame, if blame there be,
of the failure of _this_ "State Prosecution."

       *       *       *       *       *



ADVENTURES IN TEXAS.

No. III.

THE STRUGGLE.


I had been but three or four months in Texas, when, in consequence of
the oppressive conduct of the Mexican military authorities, symptoms
of discontent showed themselves, and several skirmishes occurred
between the American settlers and the soldiery. The two small forts of
Velasco and Nacogdoches were taken by the former, and their garrisons
and a couple of field-officers made prisoners; soon after which,
however, the quarrel was made up by the intervention of Colonel Austin
on the part of Texas, and Colonel Mejia on the part of the Mexican
authorities.

But in the year '33 occurred Santa Anna's defection from the liberal
party, and the imprisonment of Stephen F. Austin, the Texian
representative in the Mexican congress, by the vice-president, Gomez
Farias. This was followed by Texas adopting the constitution of 1824,
and declaring itself an independent state of the Mexican republic.
Finally, towards the close of 1835 Texas threw off the Mexican yoke
altogether, voted itself a free and sovereign republic, and prepared
to defend by arms its newly asserted liberty.

The first step to be taken was, to secure our communications with the
United States by getting possession of the sea-ports. General Cos had
occupied Galveston harbour, and built and garrisoned a block-fort,
nominally for the purpose of enforcing the customs laws, but in
reality with a view to cut off our communications with New Orleans and
the States. This fort it was necessary to get possession of, and my
friend Fanning and myself were appointed to that duty by the Alcalde,
who had taken a prominent part in all that had occurred.

Our whole force and equipment wherewith to accomplish this enterprise,
consisted in a sealed despatch, to be opened at the town of Columbia,
and a half-breed, named Agostino, who acted as our guide. On reaching
Columbia, we called together the principal inhabitants of the place,
and of the neighbouring towns of Bolivar and Marion, unsealed the
letter in their presence, and six hours afterwards the forces therein
specified were assembled, and we were on our march towards Galveston.
The next day the fort was taken, and the garrison made prisoners,
without our losing a single man.


We sent off our guide to the government at San Felipe with news of our
success. In nine days he returned, bringing us the thanks of congress,
and fresh orders. We were to leave a garrison in the fort, and then
ascend Trinity river, and march towards San Antonio de Bexar. This
route was all the more agreeable to Fanning and myself, as it would
bring us into the immediate vicinity of the _haciendas_, or estates,
of which we had some time previously obtained a grant from the Texian
government; and we did not doubt that we were indebted to our friend
the Alcalde for the orders which thus conciliated our private
convenience with our public duty.

As we marched along we found the whole country in commotion, the
settlers all arming, and hastening to the distant place of rendezvous.
We arrived at Trinity river one afternoon, and immediately sent
messengers for forty miles in all directions to summon the
inhabitants. At the period in question, the plantations in that part
of the country were very few and far between, but nevertheless by the
afternoon of the next day we had got together four-and-thirty men,
mounted on mustangs, each equipped with rifle and bowie-knife,
powder-horn and bullet-bag, and furnished with provisions for several
days. With these we started for San Antonio de Bexar, a march of two
hundred and fifty miles, through trackless prairies intersected with
rivers and streams, which, although not quite so big as the
Mississippi or Potomac, were yet deep and wide enough to have offered
serious impediment to regular armies. But to Texian farmers and
backwoodsmen, they were trifling obstacles. Those we could not wade
through we swam over; and in due time, and without any incident worthy
of note, reached the appointed place of rendezvous, which was on the
river Salado, about fifteen miles from San Antonio, the principal city
of the province. This latter place it was intended to attack--an
enterprise of some boldness and risk, considering that the town was
protected by a strong fort, amply provided with heavy artillery, and
had a garrison of nearly three thousand men, commanded by officers who
had, for the most part, distinguished themselves in the revolutionary
wars against the Spaniards. Our whole army, which we found encamped on
the Salado, under the command of General Austin, did not exceed eight
hundred men.

The day after that on which Fanning and myself, with our four and
thirty recruits, reached headquarters, a council of war was held, and
it was resolved to advance as far as the mission of Santa Espada. The
advanced guard was to push forward immediately; the main body would
follow the next day. Fanning and myself were appointed to the command
of the vanguard, in conjunction with Mr Wharton, a wealthy planter,
who had brought a strong party of volunteers with him, and whose
mature age and cool judgment, it was thought, would counterbalance any
excess of youthful heat and impetuosity on our part. Selecting
ninety-two men out of the eight hundred, who, to a man, volunteered to
accompany us, we set out for the mission.

These missions are a sort of picket-houses or outposts of the Catholic
church, and are found in great numbers in all the frontier provinces
of Spanish America, especially in Texas, Santa Fe, and Cohahuila. They
are usually of sufficient strength to afford their inmates security
against any predatory party of Indians or other marauders, and are
occupied by priests, who, while using their endeavours to spread the
doctrines of the Church of Rome, act also as spies and agents of the
Mexican government.

On reaching San Espada we held a discussion as to the propriety of
remaining there until the general came up, or of advancing at once
towards the river. Wharton inclined to the former plan, and it was
certainly the most prudent, for the mission was a strong building,
surrounded by a high wall, and might have been held against very
superior numbers. Fanning and I, however, did not like the idea of
being cooped up in a house, and at last Wharton yielded. We left our
horses and mustangs in charge of eight men, and with the remainder set
out in the direction of the Salado, which flows from north to south, a
third of a mile to the westward of the mission. About half-way between
the latter and the river, was a small group, or island, of muskeet
trees, the only object that broke the uniformity of the prairie. The
bank of the river on our side was tolerably steep, about eight or ten
feet high, hollowed out here and there, and covered with a thick
network of wild vines. The Salado at this spot describes a sort of
bow-shaped curve, with a ford at either end, by which alone the river
can be passed, for although not very broad, it is rapid and deep. We
resolved to take up a position within this bow, calculating that we
might manage to defend the two fords, which were not above a quarter
of a mile apart.

At the same time we did not lose sight of the dangers of such a
position, and of the almost certainty that if the enemy managed to
cross the river, we should be surrounded and cut off. But our success
on the few occasions on which we had hitherto come to blows with the
Mexicans, at Velasco, Nacogdoches, and Galveston, had inspired us with
so much confidence, that we considered ourselves a match for thousands
of such foes, and actually began to wish the enemy would attack us
before our main body came up. We reconnoitred the ground, stationed a
picket of twelve men at each ford, and an equal number in the island
of muskeet trees; and established ourselves with the remainder amongst
the vines and in the hollows on the river bank.

The commissariat department of the Texian army was, as may be
supposed, not yet placed upon any very regular footing. In fact,
every man was, for the present, his own commissary-general. Finding
our stock of provisions to be very small, we sent out a party of
foragers, who soon returned with three sheep, which they had taken
from a _rancho_, within a mile of San Antonio. An old priest, whom
they found there, had threatened them with the anger of Heaven and of
General Cos; but they paid little attention to his denunciations, and,
throwing down three dollars, walked off with the sheep. The priest
became furious, got upon his mule, and trotted away in the direction
of the City to complain to General Cos of the misconduct of the
heretics.

After this we made no doubt that we should soon have a visit from the
worthy Dons. Nevertheless the evening and the night passed away
without incident. Day broke--still no signs of the Mexicans. This
treacherous sort of calm, we thought, might forbode a storm, and we
did not allow it to lull us into security. We let the men get their
breakfast, which they had hardly finished when the picket from the
upper ford came in with news that a strong body of cavalry was
approaching the river, and that their vanguard was already in the
hollow way leading to the ford. We had scarcely received this
intelligence when we heard the blare of the trumpets, and the next
moment we saw the officers push their horses up the declivitous bank,
closely followed by their men, whom they formed up in the prairie. We
counted six small squadrons, about three hundred men in all. They were
the Durango dragoons--smart troops enough to all appearance, capitally
mounted and equipped, and armed with carbines and sabres.

Although the enemy had doubtless reconnoitred us from the opposite
shore, and ascertained our position, he could not form any accurate
idea of our numbers, for with a view to deceive him, we kept the men
in constant motion, sometimes showing a part of them on the prairie,
then causing them to disappear again behind the vines and bushes. This
was all very knowing for young soldiers such as we were; but, on the
other hand, we had committed a grievous error, and sinned against all
established military rules, by not placing a picket on the further
side of the river, to warn us of the approach of the enemy, and the
direction in which he was coming. There can be little doubt that if we
had earlier notice of their approach, thirty or forty good
marksmen--and all our people were that--might not only have delayed
the advance of the Mexicans, but perhaps even totally disgusted them
of their attempt to cross the Salado. The hollow way on the other side
of the river, leading to the ford, was narrow and tolerably steep, and
the bank was at least six times as high as on our side. Nothing would
have been easier than to have stationed a party, so as to pick off the
cavalry as they wound through this kind of pass, and emerged two by
two upon the shore. Our error, however, did not strike us till it was
too late to repair it; so we were fain to console ourselves with the
reflection that the Mexicans would be much more likely to attribute
our negligence to an excess of confidence in our resources, than to
the inexperience in military matters, which was its real cause. We
resolved to do our best to merit the good opinion which we thus
supposed them to entertain of us.

When the whole of the dragoons had crossed the water, they marched on
for a short distance in an easterly direction: then, wheeling to the
right, proceeded southward, until within some five hundred paces of
us, where they halted. In this position, the line of cavalry formed
the chord of the arc described by the river, and occupied by us.

As soon as they halted, they opened their fire, although the could not
see one of us, for we were completely sheltered by the bank. Our
Mexican heroes, however, apparently did not think it necessary to be
within sight or range of their opponents before firing, for they gave
us a rattling volley at a distance which no carbine would carry. This
done, others galloped on for about a hundred yards, halted again,
loaded, fired another volley, and then giving another gallop, fired
again. They continued this sort of _manège_ till they found themselves
within two hundred and fifty paces of us, and then appeared inclined
to take a little time for reflection.

We kept ourselves perfectly still. The dragoons evidently did not
like the aspect of matters. Our remaining concealed, and not replying
to their fire, seemed to bother them. We saw the officers taking a
deal of pains to encourage their men, and at last two squadrons
advanced, the others following more slowly, a short distance in rear.
This was the moment we had waited for. No sooner had the dragoons got
into a canter, than six of our men who had received orders to that
effect, sprang up the bank, took steady aim at the officers, fired,
and then jumped down again.

As we had expected, the small numbers that had shown themselves,
encouraged the Mexicans to advance. They seemed at first taken rather
aback by the fall of four of their officers; but nevertheless, after a
moment's hesitation, they came thundering along full speed. They were
within sixty or seventy yards of us, when Fanning and thirty of our
riflemen ascended the bank, and with a coolness and precision that
would have done credit to the most veteran troops, poured a steady
fire into the ranks of the dragoons.

It requires some nerve and courage for men who have never gone through
any regular military training, to stand their ground singly and
unprotected, within fifty yards of an advancing line of cavalry. Our
fellows did it, however, and fired, not all at once, or in a hurry,
but slowly and deliberately; a running fire, every shot of which told.
Saddle after saddle was emptied; the men, as they had been ordered,
always picking out the foremost horsemen, and as soon as they had
fired, jumping down the bank to reload. When the whole of the thirty
men had discharged their rifles, Wharton and myself, with the reserve
of six and thirty more, took their places; but the dragoons had almost
had enough already, and we had scarcely fired ten shots when they
executed a right-about turn, with an uniformity and rapidity which did
infinite credit to their drill, and went off at a pace that soon
carried them out of reach of our bullets. They had probably not
expected so warm a reception. We saw their officers doing every thing
they could to check their flight, imploring, threatening, even cutting
at them with their sabres, but it was no use; if they were to be
killed, it must be in their own way, and they preferred being cut down
by their officers to encountering the deadly precision of rifles, in
the hands of men who, being sure of hitting a squirrel at a hundred
yards, were not likely to miss a Durango dragoon at any point within
range.

Our object in ordering the men to fire slowly was, always to have
thirty or forty rifles loaded, wherewith to receive the enemy should
he attempt a charge _en masse_. But our first greeting had been a
sickener, and it appeared almost doubtful whether he would venture to
attack us again, although the officers did every thing in their power
to induce their men to advance. For a long time, neither threats,
entreaties, nor reproaches produced any effect. We saw the officers
gesticulating furiously, pointing to us with their sabres, and
impatiently spurring their horses, till the fiery animals plunged and
reared, and sprang with all four feet from the ground. It is only just
to say, that the officers exhibited a degree of courage far beyond any
thing we had expected from them. Of the two squadrons that charged us,
two-thirds of the officers had fallen; but those who remained, instead
of appearing intimidated by their comrades' fate, redoubled their
efforts to bring their men forward.

At last there appeared some probability of their accomplishing this,
after a most curious and truly Mexican fashion. Posting themselves in
front of their squadrons, they rode on alone for a hundred yards or
so, halted, looked round, as much as to say--"You see there is no
danger as far as this," and then galloping back, led their men on.
Each time that they executed this manoeuvre, the dragoons would
advance slowly some thirty or forty paces, and then halt as
simultaneously as if the word of command had been given. Off went the
officers again, some distance to the front, and then back again to
their men, and got them on a little further. In this manner these
heroes were inveigled once more to within a hundred and fifty yards of
our position.

Of course, at each of the numerous halts which they made during their
advance, they favoured us with a general, but most innocuous discharge
of their carbines; and at last, gaining confidence, I suppose, from
our passiveness, and from the noise and smoke they themselves had been
making, three squadrons which had not yet been under fire, formed open
column and advanced at a trot. Without giving them time to halt or
reflect--"Forward! Charge!" shouted the officers, urging their own
horses to their utmost speed; and following the impulse thus given,
the three squadrons came charging furiously along.

Up sprang thirty of our men to receive them. Their orders were to fire
slowly, and not throw away a shot, but the gleaming sabres and rapid
approach of the dragoons flurried some of them, and firing a hasty
volley, they jumped down the bank again. This precipitation had nearly
been fatal to us. Several of the dragoons fell, and there was some
confusion and a momentary faltering amongst the others; but they still
came on. At this critical moment, Wharton and myself, with the
reserves, showed ourselves on the bank. "Slow and sure-mark your men!"
shouted we both. Wharton on the right and I on the left. The command
was obeyed: rifle after rifle cracked off, always aimed at the
foremost of the dragoons, and at every report a saddle was emptied.
Before we had all fired, Fanning and a dozen of his sharpest men had
again loaded, and were by our side. For nearly a minute the Mexicans
remained, as if stupefied by our murderous fire, and uncertain whether
to advance or retire; but as those who attempted the former, were
invariably shot down, they at last began a retreat, which was soon
converted into a rout. We gave them a farewell volley, which eased a
few more horses of their riders, and then got under cover again, to
await what might next occur.

But the Mexican caballeros had no notion of coming up to the scratch a
third time. They kept patrolling about, some three or four hundred
yards off, and firing volleys at us, which they were able to do with
perfect impunity, as at that distance we did not think proper to
return a shot.

The skirmish had lasted nearly three quarters of an hour. Strange to
say, we had not had a single man wounded, although at times the
bullets had fallen about us as thick as hail. We could not account for
this. Many of us had been hit by the balls, but a bruise or a graze of
the skin was the worst consequence that had ensued. We were in a fair
way to deem ourselves invulnerable.

We were beginning to think that the fight was over for the day, when
our videttes at the lower ford brought us the somewhat unpleasant
intelligence that large masses of infantry were approaching the river,
and would soon be in sight. The words were hardly uttered, when the
roll of the drums, and shrill squeak of the fifes became audible, and
in a few minutes the head of the column of infantry, having crossed
the ford, ascended the sloping bank, and defiled in the prairie
opposite the island of muskeet trees. As company after company
appeared, we were able to form a pretty exact estimate of their
numbers. There were two battalions, together about a thousand men; and
they brought a field-piece with them.

These were certainly rather long odds to be opposed to seventy-two men
and three officers' for it must be remembered that we had left twenty
of our people at the mission, and in the island of trees. Two
battalions of infantry, and six squadrons of dragoons--the latter, to
be sure, disheartened and diminished by the loss of some fifty men,
but nevertheless formidable opponents, now they were supported by the
foot soldiers. About twenty Mexicans to each of us. It was getting
past a joke. We were all capital shots, and most of us, besides our
rifles, had a brace of pistols in our belts; but what were
seventy-five rifles, and five or six score of pistols against a
thousand muskets and bayonets, two hundred and fifty dragoons, and a
field-piece loaded with canister? If the Mexicans had a spark of
courage or soldiership about them, our fate was sealed. But it was
exactly this courage and soldiership, which we made sure would be
wanting.

Nevertheless we, the officers, could not repress a feeling of anxiety
and self-reproach, when we reflected that we had brought our comrades
into such a hazardous predicament. But on looking around us, our
apprehensions vanished. Nothing could exceed the perfect coolness and
confidence with which the men were cleaning and preparing their rifles
for the approaching conflict; no bravado--no boasting, talking, or
laughing, but a calm decision of manner, which at once told us, that
if it were possible to overcome such odds as were brought against us,
those were the men to do it.

Our arrangements for the approaching struggle were soon completed.
Fanning and Wharton were to make head against the infantry and
cavalry. I was to capture the field-piece--an eight-pounder.

This gun was placed by the Mexicans upon their extreme left, close to
the river, the shores of which it commanded for a considerable
distance. The bank on which we were posted was, as before mentioned,
indented by caves and hollows, and covered with a thick tapestry of
vines and other plants, which was now very useful in concealing us
from the artillerymen. The latter made a pretty good guess at our
position however, and at the first discharge, the canister whizzed
past us at a very short distance. There was not a moment to lose, for
one well-directed shot might exterminate half of us. Followed by a
dozen men, I worked my way as well as I could through the labyrinth of
vines and bushes, and was not more than fifty yards from the gun, when
it was again fired. No one was hurt, although the shot was evidently
intended for my party. The enemy could not see us; but the notion of
the vines, as we passed through them, had betrayed our whereabout: so,
perceiving that we were discovered, I sprang up the bank into the
prairie followed by my men, to whom I shouted, above all to aim at the
artillerymen.

I had raised my own rifle to my shoulder, when I let it fall again in
astonishment at an apparition that presented itself to my view. This
was a tall, lean, wild figure, with a face overgrown by long beard
that hung down upon his breast, and dressed in a leather cap, jacket,
and mocassins. Where this man had sprung from was a perfect riddle. He
was unknown to any of us, although I had some vague recollection of
having seen him before, but where or when, I could not call to mind.
He had a long rifle in his hands, which he must have fired once
already, for one of the artillerymen lay dead by the gun. At the
moment I first caught sight of him, he shot down another, and then
began reloading with a rapid dexterity, that proved him to be well
used to the thing. My men were as much astonished as I was by this
strange apparition, which appeared to have started out of the earth;
and for a few seconds they forgot to fire, and stood gazing at the
stranger. The latter did not seem to approve of their inaction.

"D---- yer eyes, ye starin' fools," shouted he in a rough hoarse
voice, "don't ye see them art'lerymen? Why don't ye knock 'em on the
head?"

It certainly was not the moment to remain idle. We fired; but our
astonishment had thrown us off our balance, and we nearly all missed.
We sprang down the bank again to load, just as the men serving the gun
were slewing it around, so as to bring it to bear upon us. Before this
was accomplished, we were under cover, and the stranger had the
benefit of the discharge, of which he took no more notice than if he
had borne a charmed life. Again we heard the crack of his rifle, and
when, having reloaded, we once more ascended the bank, he was taking
aim at the last artilleryman, who fell, as his companions had done.

"D---- ye, for laggin' fellers!" growled the stranger. "Why don't ye
take that 'ere big gun?"

Our small numbers, the bad direction of our first volley, but, above
all, the precipitation with which we had jumped down the bank after
firing it, had so encouraged the enemy, that a company of infantry,
drawn up some distance in rear of the field-piece, fired a volley, and
advanced at double-quick time, part of them making a small _détour_
with the intention of cutting us off from our friends. At this
moment, we saw Fanning and thirty men coming along the river bank to
our assistance; so without minding the Mexicans who were getting
behind us, we rushed forward to within twenty paces of those in our
front, and taking steady aim, brought down every man his bird. The
sort of desperate coolness with which this was done, produced the
greater effect on our opponents, as being something quite out of their
way. They would, perhaps, have stood firm against a volley from five
times our number, at a rather greater distance; but they did not like
having their mustaches singed by our powder; and after a moment's
wavering and hesitation, they shouted out "Diabolos! Diabolos!" and
throwing away their muskets, broke into precipitate flight.

Fanning and Wharton now came up with all the men. Under cover of the
infantry's advance, the gun had been re-manned, but, luckily for us,
only by infantry soldiers; for had there been artillerymen to seize
the moment when we were all standing exposed on the prairie, they
might have diminished our numbers not a little. The fuse was already
burning, and we had just time to get under the bank when the gun went
off. Up we jumped again, and looked about us to see what was next to
be done.

Although hitherto all the advantages had been on our side, our
situation was still a very perilous one. The company we had put to
flight had rejoined its battalion, which was now beginning to advance
by _échelon_ of companies. The second battalion, which was rather
further from us, was moving forward in like manner, and in a parallel
direction. We should probably, therefore, have to resist the attack of
a dozen companies, one after the other; and it was to be feared that
the Mexicans would finish by getting over their panic terror of our
rifles, and exchange their distant and ineffectual platoon-firing for
a charge with the bayonet, in which their superior numbers would tell.
We observed, also, that the cavalry, which had been keeping itself at
a safe distance, was now put in motion, and formed up close to the
island of muskeet trees, to which the right flank of the infantry was
also extending itself. Thence they had clear ground for a charge down
upon us.

Meanwhile, what had become of the twelve men whom we had left in the
island? Were they still there, or had they fallen back upon the
mission in dismay at the overwhelming force of the Mexicans? If the
latter, it was a bad business for us, for they were all capital shots,
and well armed with rifles and pistols. We heartily wished we had
brought them with us, as well as the eight men at the mission. Cut off
from us as they were, what could they do against the whole of the
cavalry and two companies of infantry which were now approaching the
island? To add to our difficulties, our ammunition was beginning to
run short. Many of us had only had enough powder and ball for fifteen
or sixteen charges, which were now reduced to six or seven. It was no
use desponding, however; and, after a hurried consultation, it was
agreed that Fanning and Wharton should open a fire upon the enemy's
centre, while I made a dash at the field-piece before any more
infantry had time to come up for its protection.

The infantry-men who had re-manned the gun were by this time shot
down, and, as none had come to replace them, it was served by an
officer alone. Just as I gave the order to advance to the twenty men
who were to follow me, this officer fell. Simultaneously with his
fall, I heard a sort of yell behind me, and, turning round, saw that
it proceeded from the wild spectre-looking stranger, whom I had lost
sight of during the last few minutes. A ball had struck him, and he
fell heavily to the ground, his rifle, which had just been discharged,
and was still smoking from muzzle and touchhole, clutched convulsively
in both hands; his features distorted, his eyes rolling frightfully.
There was something in the expression of his face at that moment which
brought back to me, in vivid colouring, one of the earliest and most
striking incidents of my residence in Texas. Had I not myself seen him
hung, I could have sworn that _Bob Rock, the murderer_, now lay before
me.

A second look at the man gave additional force to this idea.

"Bob!" I exclaimed.

"Bob!" repeated the wounded man, in a broken voice, and with a look
of astonishment, almost of dismay. "Who calls Bob?"

A wild gleam shot from his eyes, which the next instant closed. He had
become insensible.

It was neither the time nor the place to indulge in speculations on
this singular resurrection of a man whose execution I had myself
witnessed. With twelve hundred foes around us, we had plenty to occupy
all our thoughts and attention. My people were already masters of the
gun, and some of them drew it forwards and pointed it against the
enemy, while the others spread out right and left to protect it with
their rifles. I was busy loading the piece when an exclamation of
surprise from one of the men made me look up.

There seemed to be something extraordinary happening amongst the
Mexicans, to judge from the degree of confusion which suddenly showed
itself in their ranks, and which, beginning with the cavalry and right
flank of the infantry, soon became general throughout their whole
force. It was a sort of wavering and unsteadiness which, to us, was
quite unaccountable, for Fanning and Wharton had not yet fired twenty
shots, and, indeed, had only just come within range of the enemy. Not
knowing what it could portend, I called in my men, and stationed them
round the gun, which I had double-shotted, and stood ready to fire.

The confusion in the Mexican ranks increased. For about a minute they
waved and reeled to and fro, as if uncertain which way to go; and, at
last, the cavalry and right of the line fairly broke, and ran for it.
This example was followed by the centre, and presently the whole of
the two battalions and three hundred cavalry were scattered over the
prairie, in the wildest and most disorderly flight. I gave them a
parting salute from the eight-pounder, which would doubtless have
accelerated their movements had it been possible to run faster than
they were already doing.

We stood staring after the fugitives in perfect bewilderment, totally
unable to explain their apparently causeless panic. At last the report
of several rifles from the island of trees gave us a clue to the
mystery.

The infantry, whose left flank extended to the Salado, had pushed
their right into the prairie as far as the island of muskeet trees, in
order to connect their line with the dragoons, and then by making a
general advance, to attack us on all sides at once, and get the full
advantage of their superior numbers. The plan was not a bad one.
Infantry and cavalry approached the island, quite unsuspicious of its
being occupied. The twelve riflemen whom we had stationed there
remained perfectly quiet, concealed behind the trees; allowed
squadrons and companies to come within twenty paces of them, and then
opened their fire, first from their pistols, then from their rifles.

Some six and thirty shots, every one of which told, fired suddenly
from a cover close to their rear, were enough to startle even the best
troops, much more so our Mexican dons, who, already sufficiently
inclined to a panic, now believed themselves fallen into an ambuscade,
and surrounded on all sides by the incarnate _diabolos_, as they
called us. The cavalry, who had not yet recovered the thrashing we had
given them, were ready enough for a run, and the infantry were not
slow to follow them.

Our first impulse was naturally to pursue the flying enemy, but a
discovery made by some of the men, induced us to abandon that idea.
They had opened the pouches of the dead Mexicans in order to supply
themselves with ammunition, ours being nearly expended; but the powder
of the cartridges turned out so bad as to be useless. It was little
better than coal dust, and would not carry a ball fifty paces to kill
or wound. This accounted for our apparent invulnerability to the fire
of the Mexicans. The muskets also were of a very inferior description.
Both they and the cartridges were of English make; the former being
stamped Birmingham, and the latter having the name of an English
powder manufactory, with the significant addition, "for exportation."

Under these circumstances, we had nothing to do but let the Mexicans
run. We sent a detachment to the muskeet island, to unite itself with
the twelve men who had done such good service there, and thence
advance towards the ford. We ourselves proceeded slowly in the latter
direction. This demonstration brought the fugitives back again, for
they had, most of them, in the wild precipitation of their flight,
passed the only place where they could cross the river. They began
crowding over in the greatest confusion, foot and horse all mixed up
together; and by the time we got within a hundred paces of the ford,
the prairie was nearly clear of them. There were still a couple of
hundred men on our side of the water, completely at our mercy, and
Wharton, who was a little in front with thirty men, gave the word to
fire upon them. No one obeyed. He repeated the command. Not a rifle
was raised. He stared at his men, astonished and impatient at this
strange disobedience. An old weather-beaten bear-hunter stepped
forward, squirting out his tobacco juice with all imaginable
deliberation.

"I tell ye what, capting!" said he, passing his quid over from his
right cheek to his left; "I calkilate, capting," he continued, "we'd
better leave the poor devils of dons alone."

"The poor devils of dons alone!" repeated Wharton in a rage. "Are you
mad, man?"

Fanning and I had just come up with our detachment, and were not less
surprised and angry than Wharton was, at this breach of discipline.
The man, however, did not allow himself to be disconcerted.

"There's a proverb, gentlemen," said he, turning to us, "which says,
that one should build a golden bridge for a beaten enemy; and a good
proverb it is, I calkilate--a considerable good one."

"What do you mean, man, with your golden bridge?" cried Fanning. "This
is no time for proverbs."

"Do you know that you are liable to be punished for insubordination?"
said I. "It's your duty to fire, and do the enemy all the harm you
can; not to be quoting proverbs."

"Calkilate it is," replied the man very coolly. "Calkilate I could
shoot 'em without either danger or trouble; but I reckon that would be
like Spaniards or Mexicans; not like Americans--not prudent."

"Not like Americans? Would you let the enemy escape, then, when we
have him in our power?"

"Calkilate I would. Calkilate we should do ourselves more harm than
him by shooting down his people. That was a considerable sensible
commandment of yourn, always to shoot the foremost of the Mexicans
when they attacked. It discouraged the bold ones, and was a sort of
premium on cowardice. Them as lagged behind escaped, them as came
bravely on were shot. It was a good calkilation. If we had shot 'em
without discrimination, the cowards would have got bold, seein' that
they weren't safer in rear than in front. The cowards are our best
friends. Now them runaways," continued he, pointing to the Mexicans,
who were crowding over the river, "are jest the most cowardly of 'em
all, for in their fright they quite forgot the ford, and it's because
they ran so far beyond it, that they are last to cross the water. And
if you fire at 'em now, they'll find that they get nothin' by bein'
cowards, and next time, I reckon, they'll sell their hides as dear as
they can."

Untimely as this palaver, to use a popular word, undoubtedly was, we
could scarcely forbear smiling at the simple _naïve_ manner in which
the old Yankee spoke his mind.

"Calkilate, captings," he concluded, "you'd better let the poor devils
run. We shall get more profit by it than if we shot five hundred of
'em. Next time they'll run away directly to show their gratitude for
our ginerosity."

The man stepped back into the ranks, and his comrades nodded
approvingly, and calculated and reckoned that Zebediah had spoke a
true word; and meanwhile the enemy had crossed the river, and was out
of our reach. We were forced to content ourselves with sending a party
across the water to follow up the Mexicans, and observe the direction
they took. We then returned to our old position.

My first thought on arriving there was to search for the body of Bob
Rock--for he it undoubtedly was, who had so mysteriously appeared
amongst us. I repaired to the spot where I had seen him fall; but
could discover no signs of him, either dead or alive. I went over the
whole scene of the fight, searched amongst the vines and along the
bank of the river; there were plenty of dead Mexicans--cavalry,
infantry, and artillery, but no Bob was to be found, nor could any one
inform me what had become of him, although several had seen him fall.

I was continuing my search, when I met Wharton, who asked me what I
was seeking, and on learning, shook his head gravely. He had seen the
wild prairieman, he said, but whence he came, or whither he was gone,
was more than he could tell. It was a long time since any thing had
startled and astonished him so much as this man's appearance and
proceedings. He (Wharton,) had been stationed with his party amongst
the vines, about fifty paces in rear of Fanning's people, when just as
the Mexican infantry had crossed the ford, and were forming up, he saw
a man approaching at a brisk trot from the north side of the prairie.
He halted about a couple of hundred yards from Wharton, tied his
mustang to a bush, and with his rifle on his arm, strode along the
edge of the prairie in the direction of the Mexicans. When he passed
near Wharton, the latter called out to him to halt, and say who he
was, whence he came, and whither going.

"Who I am is no business of yourn," replied the man: "nor where I come
from neither. You'll soon see where I'm goin'. I'm goin' agin' the
enemy."

"Then you must come and join us," cried Wharton.

This the stranger testily refused to do. He'd fight on his own hook,
he said.

Wharton told him he must not do that.

He should like to see who'd hinder him, he said, and walked on. The
next moment he shot the first artilleryman. After that they let him
take his own way.

Neither Wharton, nor any of his men, knew what had become of him; but
at last I met with a bear-hunter, who gave me the following
information.

"Calkilatin'," said he, "that the wild prairieman's rifle was a
capital good one, as good a one as ever killed a bear, he tho't it a
pity that it should fall into bad hands, so went to secure it himself,
although the frontispiece of its dead owner warn't very invitin'. But
when he stooped to take the gun, he got such a shove as knocked him
backwards, and on getting up, he saw the prairieman openin' his jacket
and examinin' a wound on his breast, which was neither deep nor
dangerous, although it had taken away the man's senses for a while.
The ball had struck the breast bone, and was quite near the skin, so
that the wounded man pushed it out with his fingers; and then
supporting himself on his rifle, got up from the ground, and without
either a thankye, or a d---nye, walked to where his mustang was tied
up, got on its back, and rode slowly away in a northerly direction."

This was all the information I could obtain on the subject, and
shortly afterwards the main body of our army came up, and I had other
matters to occupy my attention. General Austin expressed his gratitude
and approbation to our brave fellows, after a truly republican and
democratic fashion. He shook hands with all the rough bear and buffalo
hunters, and drank with them. Fanning and myself he promoted, on the
spot, to the rank of colonel.

We were giving the general a detailed account of the morning's events,
when a Mexican priest appeared with a flag of truce and several
waggons, and craved permission to take away the dead. This was of
course granted, and we had some talk with the padré, who, however, was
too wily a customer to allow himself to be pumped. What little we did
get out of him, determined us to advance the same afternoon against
San Antonio. We thought there was some chance, that in the present
panic-struck state of the Mexicans, we might obtain possession of the
place by a bold and sudden assault.

In this, however, we were mistaken. We found the gates closed, and the
enemy on his guard, but too dispirited to oppose our taking up a
position at about cannon-shot from the great redoubt. We had soon
invested all the outlets from the city.

San Antonio de Bexar lies in a fertile and well-irrigated valley,
stretching westward from the river Salado. In the centre of the town
rises the fort of the Alamo, which at that time was armed with
forty-eight pieces of artillery of various calibre. The garrison of
the town and fortress was nearly three thousand strong.

Our artillery consisted of two batteries of four six, and five
eight-pounders; our army of eleven hundred men, with which we had not
only to carry on the siege, but also to make head against the forces
that would be sent against us from Cohahuila, on the frontier of which
province General Cos was stationed, with a strong body of troops.

We were not discouraged, however, and opened our fire upon the city.
During the first week, not a day passed without smart skirmishes.
General Cos's dragoons were swarming about us like so many Bedouins.
But although well-mounted, and capital horsemen, they were no match
for our backwoodsmen. Those from the western states especially,
accustomed to Indian warfare and cunning, laid traps and ambuscades
for the Mexicans, and were constantly destroying their detachments. As
for the besieged, if one of them showed his head for ten seconds above
the city wall, he was sure of getting a rifle bullet through it. I
cannot say that our besieging army was a perfect model of military
discipline; but any deficiencies in that respect were made good by the
intelligence of the men, and the zeal and unanimity with which they
pursued the accomplishment of one great object--the capture of the
city--the liberty and independence of Texas.

The badness of the gunpowder used by the Mexicans, was again of great
service to us. Many of their cannon balls that fell far short of us,
were collected and returned to them with powerful effect. We kept a
sharp look-out for convoys, and captured no less than three--one of
horses, another of provisions, and twenty thousand dollars in money.

After an eight weeks' siege, a breach having been made, the city
surrendered, and a month later the fort followed the example. With a
powerful park of artillery, we then advanced upon Goliad, the
strongest fortress in Texas, which likewise capitulated in about four
weeks' time. We were now masters of the whole country, and the war was
apparently at an end.

But the Mexicans were not the people to give up their best province so
easily. They have too much of the old Spanish character about
them--that determined obstinacy which sustained the Spaniards during
their protracted struggle against the Moors. The honour of their
republic was compromised, and that must be redeemed. Thundering
proclamations were issued, denouncing the Texians as rebels, who
should be swept off the face of the earth, and threatening the United
States for having aided us with money and volunteers. Ten thousand of
the best troops in Mexico entered Texas and were shortly to be
followed by ten thousand more. The President, General Santa Anna,
himself came to take the command, attended by a numerous and brilliant
staff.

The Texians laughed at the fanfarronades of the dons, and did not
attach sufficient importance to these formidable preparations. Their
good opinion of themselves, and contempt of their foes, had been
increased to an unreasonable degree by their recent and rapid
successes. They forgot that the troops to which they had hitherto been
opposed were for the most part militia, and that those now advancing
against them were of a far better description, and had probably better
powder. The call to arms made by our president, Burnet, was
disregarded by many, and we could only get together about two thousand
men, of whom nearly two-thirds had to be left to garrison the forts of
Goliad and Alamo. In the first named place we left seven hundred and
sixty men, under the command of Fanning; in the latter, something more
than five hundred. With the remaining seven or eight hundred, we took
the field. The Mexicans advanced so rapidly, that they were upon us
before we were aware of it, and we were compelled to retreat, leaving
the garrisons of the two forts to their fate, and a right melancholy
one it proved to be.

One morning news was brought to Goliad, that a number of country
people, principally women and children, were on their way to the fort,
closely pursued by the Mexicans. Fanning, losing sight of prudence in
his compassion for these poor people, immediately ordered a battalion
of five hundred men, under the command of Major Ward, to go and meet
the fugitives and escort them in. The major, and several officers of
the garrison, doubted as to the propriety of this measure; but
Fanning, full of sympathy for his unprotected country-women, insisted,
and the battalion moved out. They soon came in sight of the fugitives,
as they thought, but on drawing nearer, the latter turned out to be
Mexican dragoons, who sprang upon their horses, which were concealed
in the neighbouring islands of trees, and a desperate fight began. The
Mexicans, far superior in numbers, received every moment accessions to
their strength. The Louis-Potosi and Santa Fé cavalry, fellows who
seem born on horseback, were there. Our unfortunate countrymen were
hemmed in on all sides. The fight lasted two days, and only two men
out of the five hundred escaped with their lives.

Before the news of this misfortune reached us, orders had been sent to
Fanning to evacuate the fort and join us with six pieces of artillery.
He received the order, and proceeded to execute it. But what might
have been very practicable for eight hundred and sixty men, was
impossible for three hundred and sixty. Nevertheless, Fanning began
his march through the prairie. His little band was almost immediately
surrounded by the enemy. After a gallant defence, which lasted twelve
hours, they succeeded in reaching an island, but scarcely had they
established themselves there, when they found that their ammunition
was expended. There was nothing left for them, but to accept the terms
offered by the Mexicans, who pledged themselves, that if they laid
down their arms, they should be permitted to return to their homes.
But the rifles were no sooner piled, than the Texians found themselves
charged by their treacherous foes, who butchered them without mercy.
Only an advanced post of three men succeeded in escaping.

The five hundred men whom we had left in San Antonio de Bexar, fared
no better. Not being sufficiently numerous to hold out the town as
well as the Alamo, they retreated into the latter. The Mexican
artillery soon laid a part of the fort in ruins. Still its defenders
held out. After eight days' fighting, during which the loss of the
besiegers was tremendously severe, the Alamo was taken, and not a
single Texian left alive.

We thus, by these two cruel blows, lost two-thirds of our army, and
little more than seven hundred men remained to resist the numerous
legions of our victorious foe. The prospect before us, was one well
calculated to daunt the stoutest heart.

The Mexican general, Santa Anna, moved his army forward in two
divisions, one stretching along the coast towards Velasco, the other
advancing towards San Felipe de Austin. He himself, with a small
force, marched in the centre. At Fort Bend, twenty miles below San
Felipe, he crossed the Brazos, and shortly afterwards established
himself with about fifteen hundred men in an entrenched camp. Our
army, under the command of General Houston, was in front of
Harrisburg, to which place the congress had retreated.

It was on the night of the twentieth of April, and our whole
disposable force, some seven hundred men, was bivouacking in and about
an island of sycamores. It was a cloudy, stormy evening: high wind was
blowing, and the branches of the trees groaned and creaked above our
heads. The weather harmonized well enough with our feelings, which
were sad and desponding when we thought of the desperate state of our
cause. We (the officers) were sitting in a circle round the general
and Alcalde, both of whom appeared uneasy and anxious. More than once
they got up, and walked backwards and forwards, seemingly impatient,
and as if they were waiting for or expecting something. There was a
deep silence throughout the whole bivouac; some were sleeping, and
those who watched were in no humour for idle chat.

"Who goes there?" suddenly shouted one of the sentries. The answer we
did not hear, but it was apparently satisfactory, for there was no
further challenge, and a few seconds afterwards an orderly came up,
and whispered something in the ear of the Alcalde. The latter hurried
away, and, presently returning, spoke a few words in a low tone to the
general, and then to us officers. In an instant we were all upon our
feet. In less than ten minutes, the bivouac was broken up, and our
little army on the march.

All our people were well mounted, and armed with rifles, pistols, and
bowie-knives. We had six field-pieces, but we only took four,
harnessed wit twice the usual number of horses. We marched at a rapid
trot the whole night, led by a tall, gaunt figure of a man who acted
as our guide, and kept some distance in front. I more than once asked
the Alcalde who this was. "You will know by and by," was his answer.

Before daybreak we had ridden five and twenty miles, but had been
compelled to abandon two more guns. As yet, no one knew the object of
this forced march. The general commanded a halt, and ordered the men
to refresh and strengthen themselves by food and drink. While they
were doing this, he assembled the officers around him, and the meaning
of our night march was explained to us. The camp in which the Mexican
president and general-in-chief had entrenched himself was within a
mile of us; General Parza, with two thousand men, was twenty miles
further to the rear; General Filasola, with one thousand, eighteen
miles lower down on the Brazos; Viesca, with fifteen hundred,
twenty-five miles higher up. One bold and decided blow, and Texas
might yet be free. There was not a moment to lose, nor was one lost.
The general addressed the men.

"Friends! Brothers! Citizens! General Santa Anna is within a mile of
us with fifteen hundred men. The hour that is to decide the question
of Texian liberty is now arrived. What say you? Do we attack?"

"We do!" exclaimed the men with one voice, cheerfully and decidedly.

In the most perfect stillness, we arrived within two hundred paces of
the enemy's camp. The _reveillée_ of the sleeping Mexicans was the
discharge of our two field-pieces loaded with canister. Rushing on to
within twenty-five paces of the entrenchment, we gave them a deadly
volley from our rifles, and then, throwing away the latter, bounded up
the breastworks, a pistol in each hand. The Mexicans, scared and
stupefied by this sudden attack, were running about in the wildest
confusion, seeking their arms, and not knowing which way to turn.
After firing our pistols, we threw them away as we had done our
rifles, and, drawing our bowie-knives, fell, with a shout, upon the
masses of the terrified foe. It was more like the boarding of a ship
than any land fight I had ever seen or imagined.

My station was on the right of the line, where the breastwork, ending
in a redoubt, was steep and high. I made two attempts to climb up, but
both times slipped back. On the third trial I nearly gained the
summit; but was again slipping down, when a hand seized me by the
collar, and pulled me up on the bank. In the darkness and confusion I
did not distinguish the face of the man who rendered me this
assistance. I only saw the glitter of a bayonet which a Mexican thrust
into his shoulder, at the very moment he was helping me up. He neither
flinched nor let go his hold of me till I was fairly on my feet; then,
turning slowly round, he levelled a pistol at the soldier, who, at
that very moment, was struck down by the Alcalde.

"No thanks to ye, squire!" exclaimed the man, in a voice which made me
start, even at that moment of excitement and bustle. I looked at the
speaker, but could only see his back, for he had already plunged into
the thick of the fight, and was engaged with a party of Mexicans, who
defended themselves desperately. He fought like a man more anxious to
be killed than to kill, striking furiously right and left, but never
guarding a blow, though the Alcalde, who was by his side, warded off
several which were aimed at him.

By this time my men had scrambled up after me. I looked round to see
where our help was most wanted, and was about to lead them forward,
when I heard the voice of the Alcalde.

"Are you badly hurt, Bob?" said he in an anxious tone.

I glanced at the spot whence the voice came. There lay Bob Rock,
covered with blood, and apparently insensible. The Alcalde was
supporting his head on his arm. Before I had time to give a second
look I was hurried forward with the rest towards the centre of the
camp, where the fight was at the hottest.

About five hundred men, the pick of the Mexican army, had collected
round a knot of staff-officers, and were making a most gallant
defence. General Houston had attacked them with three hundred of our
people, but had not been able to break their ranks. His charge,
however, had shaken them a little, and, before they had time to
recover from it, I came up. Giving a wild hurrah, my men fired their
pistols, hurled them at their enemies' heads, and then springing over
the carcasses of the fallen, dashed like a thunderbolt into the broken
ranks of the Mexicans.

A frightful butchery ensued. Our men, who were for the most part, and
at most times, peaceable and humane in disposition, seemed converted
into perfect fiends. Whole ranks of the enemy fell under their knives.
Some idea may be formed of the horrible slaughter from the fact, that
the fight, from beginning to end, did not last above ten minutes, and
in that time nearly eight hundred Mexicans were shot or cut down. "No
quarter!" was the cry of the infuriated assailants: "Remember Alamo!
Remember Goliad! Think of Fanning, Ward!" The Mexicans threw
themselves on their knees, imploring mercy. "_Misericordia! Cuartel,
por el amor de Dios!_" shrieked they in heart-rending tones but their
supplications were not listened to, and every man of them would
inevitably have been butchered, had not General Houston and the
officers dashed in between the victors and the vanquished, and with
the greatest difficulty, and by threats of cutting down our own men if
they did not desist, put an end to this scene of bloodshed, and saved
the Texian character from the stain of unmanly cruelty.

When all was over, I hurried back to the place where I had left the
Alcalde with Bob--the latter lay, bleeding from six wounds, only a few
paces from the spot where he had helped me up the breastwork. The
bodies of two dead Mexicans served him for a pillow. The Alcalde was
kneeling by his side, gazing sadly and earnestly into the face of the
dying man.

For Bob was dying; but it was no longer the death of the despairing
murderer. The expression of his features was calm and composed, and
his eyes were raised to heaven with a look of hope and supplication.

I stooped down and asked him how he felt himself, but he made no
answer, and evidently did not recollect me. After a minute or two,

"How goes it with the fight?" he asked in a broken voice.

"We have conquered, Bob. The enemy killed or taken. Not a man
escaped."

He paused a little, and then spoke again.

"Have I done my duty? May I hope to be forgiven?"

The Alcalde answered him in an agitated voice.

"He who forgave the sinner on the cross, will doubtless be merciful to
you, Bob. His holy book says: There is more joy over one sinner that
repenteth than over ninety and nine just men. Be of good hope, Bob!
the Almighty will surely be merciful to you!"

"Thank ye, squire," gasped Bob "you're a true friend, a friend in life
and in death. Well, it's come at last," said he, while a resigned and
happy smile stole over his features. "I've prayed for it long enough.
Thank God, it's come at last!"

He gazed up at the Alcalde with a kindly expression of countenance.
There was a slight shuddering movement of his whole frame--Bob was
dead.

The Alcalde remained kneeling for a short time by the side of the
corpse, his lips moving in prayer. At last he rose to his feet.

"God desireth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he may turn
from his wickedness and live," said he, in a low and solemn tone. "I
had those words in my thoughts four years ago, when I cut him down
from the branch of the Patriarch."

"Four years ago!" cried I. "Then you cut him down, and were in time to
save him! Was it he who yesterday brought us the news of the vicinity
of the foe?"

"It was, and much more than that has he done," replied the Alcalde, no
longer striving to conceal the tears that fell from his eyes. "For
four years has he dragged on his wretched existence, weary of the
world, and despised of all men. For four years has he served us,
lived, fought, and spied for us, without honour, reward, hope, or
consolation--without a single hour of tranquillity, or a wish for
aught except death. All this to serve Texas and his countrymen. Who
shall say this man was not a true patriot? God will surely be merciful
to his soul," said the Alcalde after a pause.

"I trust he will," answered I, deeply affected.

We were interrupted at this moment by a message from General Houston,
to whom we immediately hastened. All was uproar and confusion. Santa
Anna could not be found amongst the prisoners.

This was a terrible disappointment, for the capture of the Mexican
president had been our principal object, and the victory we had gained
was comparatively unimportant if he escaped. Indeed, the hope of
putting an end to the war by his capture, had more than any thing
encouraged and stimulated us to the unequal conflict.

The moment was a very critical one. Amongst our men were some thirty
or forty most desperate characters, who began handling their knives,
and casting looks upon the prisoners, the meaning of which it was
impossible to mistake. Selecting some of our trustiest men, we
stationed them as a guard over the captives, and, having thus assured
the safety of the latter, began questioning them as to what had become
of their general.

They had none of them seen Santa Anna since the commencement of the
fight, and it was clear that he must have made his escape while we
were getting over the breastworks. He could not be very far off, and
we at once took measures to find him. A hundred men were sent off with
the prisoners to Harrisburg, and a hundred others, capitally mounted
on horses found in the Mexican camp, started to scour the country in
search of the fugitive chief. I accompanied the latter detachment.

We had been twelve hours in the saddle, and had ridden over nearly a
hundred miles of ground. We began to despair of finding the game we
were in quest of, and were thinking of abandoning the chase, when at a
distance of about seven miles from the camp, one of our most
experienced hunters discovered the print of a small and delicate boot
upon some soft ground leading to a marsh. Following this trail, it at
last led us to a man sunk up to his waist in the swamp, and so covered
with mud and filth, as to be quite unrecognizable. We drew him from his
hiding-place, half dead with cold and terror, and, having washed the
dirt from his face, we found him to be a man of about forty years of
age, with blue eyes, of a mild, but crafty expression; a narrow, high
forehead; long, thin nose, rather fleshy at the tip; projecting upper
lip, and long chin. These features tallied too exactly with the
description we had had of the Mexican president, for us to doubt that
our prisoner was Santa Anna himself.

The only thing that at all tended to shake this conviction, was the
extraordinary poltroonery of our new captive. He threw himself on his
knees, begging us, in the name of God and all the saints, to spare his
life. Our reiterated assurances and promises were insufficient to
convince him of his being in perfect safety, or to induce him to adopt
a demeanour more consistent with his dignity and high station.

The events which succeeded this fortunate capture are too well known
to require more than a very brief recapitulation. The same evening a
truce was agreed upon between Houston and Santa Anna, the latter
sending orders to his different generals to retire upon San Antonio de
Bexar, and other places in the direction of the Mexican frontier.
These orders, valueless as emanating from a prisoner, most of the
generals were weak or cowardly enough to obey, an obedience for which
they were afterwards brought to trial by the Mexican congress. In a
few days, two-thirds of Texas were in our possession.

The news of these successes brought crowds of volunteers to our
standard. In three weeks, we had an army of several thousand men, with
which we advanced against the Mexicans. There was no more fighting,
however, for our antagonists had had enough, and allowed themselves to
be driven from one position to another, till, in a month's time, there
was not one of them left in the country.

The Struggle was over, and Texas was Free!

       *       *       *       *       *



CLITOPHON AND LEUCIPPE.


When enumerating (in our number for July, last year) the principal
Greek romances which succeeded the _Ethiopics_ of Heliodorus, we
placed next to the celebrated production of the Bishop of Trica in
point of merit (as it is generally held to have been also in order of
time) the "Adventures of Clitophon and Leucippe," by Achilles Tatius.
Though far inferior, both in the delineation of the characters and the
contrivance of the story, to the _Ethiopics_, (from which, indeed,
many of the incidents are obviously borrowed,) and not altogether free
from passages offensive to delicacy, "Clitophon and Leucippe" is well
entitled to a separate notice, not only from the grace of its style
and diction, and the curious matter with which the narrative is
interspersed, but from its presenting one of the few pictures, which
have come down to these times, of the social and domestic life of the
Greeks. In the _Ethiopics_, which may be considered as an _heroic_
romance, the scene lies throughout in palaces, camps, and temples;
kings, high-priests, and satraps, figure in every page; the hero
himself is a prince of his own people; and the heroine, who at first
appears of no lower rank than a high-priestess of Delphi, proves, in
the sequel, the heiress of a mighty kingdom. In the work of Achilles
Tatius, on the contrary, (the plot of which is laid at a later period
of time than that of its predecessor,) the characters are taken,
without exception, from the class of Grecian citizens, who are
represented in the ordinary routine of polished social existence,
amidst their gardens of villas, and occupied by their banquets and
processions, and the business of their courts of law. There are no
unexpected revelations, no talismanic rings, no mysterious secret
affecting the fortunes of any of the personages, who are all presented
to us at the commencement in their proper names and characters. The
interest of the story, as in the _Ethiopics_, turns chiefly on an
elopement, and the consequent misadventures of the hero and heroine
among various sets of robbers and treacherous friends; but the lovers,
after being thus duly punished for their undutiful escapade, are
restored, at the finale, to their original position, and settle
quietly in their native home, under their own vines and fig-trees.

Of the author himself little appears to be certainly known. Fabricius
and other writers have placed him in the "third or fourth" century of
our era; but this date will by no means agree with his constant
imitations of Heliodorus, who is known to have lived at the end of the
fourth and beginning of the fifth century; and Tatius, if not his
contemporary, probably lived not long after him. Suidas (who calls him
_Statius_) informs us that he was a native of Alexandria; and
attributes to his pen several other works on various subjects besides
the romance now in question, a fragment only of which--a treatise on
the sphere--has been preserved. He adds, that he was a pagan when he
wrote "Clitophon and Leucippe," but late in life embraced
Christianity, and even became a bishop. This latter statement,
however, is unsupported by any other authority, and would seem to be
opposed by the negative testimony of the patriarch Photius, who (in
his famous _Bibliotheca_, 118, 130) passes a severe censure on the
immorality of certain passages in the works of Tatius, and would
scarcely have omitted to inveigh against the further scandal of their
having proceeded from the pen of an ecclesiastic. "In style and
composition this work is of high excellence; the periods are generally
well rounded and perspicuous, and gratify the ear by their harmony ...
but, except in the names of the personages, and the unpardonable
breaches of decorum of which he is guilty, the author appears to have
closely copied Heliodorus both in the plan and execution of his
narrative." In another passage, when treating of the _Babylonica_[1]
of Iamblichus, he repeats this condemnation:--"Of these three
principal writers of amorous tales. Heliodorus has treated the subject
with due gravity and decorum. Iamblichus is not so unexceptionable on
these points; and Achilles Tatius is still worse, in his eight books
of _Clitophon and Leucippe_, the very diction of which is soft and
effeminate, as if intended to relax the vigour of the reader's mind."
This last denunciation of the patriarch, however, is somewhat too
sweeping and indiscriminate, since, though some passages are certainly
indefensible, they appear rather as interpolations, and are in no
manner connected with the main thread of the story, the general
tendency of which is throughout innocent and moral; and whatever may
be said of these blemishes, it must be allowed that the pages of
Achilles Tatius are purity itself when compared with the depravity of
Longus, and some of his followers and imitators among the Greek
romancists.

    [1] This work is now lost, and we know it only by the abstract
    given by Photius in the passage quoted.

The period of time at which the adventures of _Clitophon and Leucippe_
are supposed to take place, appears to be in the later ages of Grecian
independence, when the successors of Alexander reigned in Syria and
Egypt, and the colonized cities in Thrace and Asia Minor still
preserved their municipal liberties. The story is related in the first
person by the hero himself; a mode of narration which, though the best
adapted for affording scope to the expression of the feelings of the
principal personages, is, in this instance, very awkwardly introduced.
A stranger, while contemplating a famous picture of the Rape of Europa
in the Temple of Astarte at Sidon, is accosted by a young man, who,
after a few incidental remarks, proceeds, without further preface, to
recount his adventures at length to this casual acquaintance. This
communicative gentleman is, of course, Clitophon; but before we
proceed to the narrative of his loves and woes, we shall give a
specimen of the author's powers in the line which appears to be his
forte, by quoting his description of the painting above referred
to:--"On entering the temple, my attention was attracted by a picture
representing the story of Europa, in which sea and land were
blended--the Phoenician Sea and the coasts of Sidon. On the land was
seen a band of maidens in a meadow, while in the sea a bull was
swimming, who bore on his shoulders a beautiful virgin, and was making
his way in the direction of Crete. The meadow was decked with a
profusion of bright flowers, to which a grateful shelter was afforded
by the dense overhanging foliage of the shrubs and clumps of trees,
which were interspersed at intervals throughout its extent; while so
skilfully had the artist represented the appearance of light and
shade, that the rays of the sun were seen to pass here and there
through the interstices of the leaves, and cast a softened radiance on
the ground underneath. A spring was seen bubbling up in the midst, and
refreshing the flowers and plants with its cool waters; while a
labourer with a spade was at work opening a fresh channel for the
stream. At the extremity of the meadow, where it bordered on the sea,
the maidens stood grouped together, in attitudes expressive of mingled
joy and terror; their brows were bound with chaplets, and their hair
floated in loose locks over their shoulders; but their features were
pale, and their cheeks contracted, and they gazed with lips apart and
opened eyes on the sea, as if on the point of uttering a cry
half-suppressed by fear. They were standing on tiptoe on the very
verge of the shore, with their tunics girt up to the knee, and
extending their arms towards the bull, as if meditating to rush into
the sea in pursuit of him, and yet shrinking from the contact of the
waves. The sea was represented of a reddish tint inshore, but further
out the colour changed to deep azure; while in another part the waves
were seen running in with a swell upon the rocks, and breaking against
them into clouds of foam and white spray. In the midst of the sea the
bull was depicted, breasting the lofty billows which surged against
his sides, with the damsel seated on his back, not astride, but with
both her feet disposed on his right side, while with her left hand she
grasped his horn, by which she guided his motions as a charioteer
guides a horse by the rein. She was arrayed in a white tunic, which
did not extend much below her waist, and an under-garment of purple,
reaching to her feet; but the outline of her form, and the swell of
her bosom, were distinctly defined through her garments. Her right
hand rested on the back of the bull, with the left she retained her
hold of his horn, while with both she grasped her veil, which was
blown out by the wind, and expanded in an arch over her head and
shoulders, so that the bull might be compared to a ship, of which the
damsel's veil was the sail. Around them dolphins were sporting in the
water, and winged loves fluttering in the air, so admirably depicted,
that the spectator might fancy he saw them in motion. One Cupid guided
the bull, while others hovered round bearing bows and quivers, and
brandishing nuptial torches, regarding Jupiter with arch and sidelong
glances, as if conscious that it was by their influence that the god
had assumed the form of an animal."

To return to Clitophon and his tale. He begins by informing his
hearer, that he is the son of Hippias, a noble and wealthy denizen of
Tyre, and that he had been betrothed from his childhood, as was not
unusual in those times,[2] to his own half-sister Calligone:--but
Leucippe, the daughter of Sostratus, a brother of Hippias, resident at
Byzantium, having arrived with her mother Panthia, to claim the
hospitality of their Tyrian relatives during a war impending between
their native city and the Thracian tribes, Clitophon at once becomes
enamoured of his cousin, whose charms are described in terms of
glowing panegyric:--"She seemed to me like the representation of
Europa, which I see in the picture before me--her eye beaming with joy
and happiness--her locks fair,[3] and flowing in natural ringlets, but
her eyebrows and eyelashes jetty black--her complexion fair, but with
a blush in her cheeks like that faint crimson with which the Lydian
women stain ivory, and her lips like the hue of a fresh-opened rose."
Love is not, however, in this case, as in that of Theagenes and
Chariclea, instantaneous on both sides; and the expedient adopted by
Clitophon, with the aid of his servant Satyrus, (a valet of the
_Scapin_ school,) to win the good graces of the lady, are detailed at
length, evincing much knowledge of the human heart in the author, and
affording considerable insight into the domestic arrangements of a
Grecian family.[4] An understanding is at last effected between them,
and Clitophon is in sad perplexity how to defer or evade his
approaching nuptials with his sister-bride, when Calligone is most
opportunely carried off by a band of pirates employed by Callisthenes,
a young Byzantine, who, having fallen in love with Leucippe from the
mere report of her beauty, and having been refused her hand by her
father, has followed her to Tyre, and seeing Calligone in a public
procession chaperoned by Panthia, has mistaken her for Leucippe! The
lovers are thus left in the unrestrained enjoyment of each other's
society; but Clitophon is erelong detected by Panthia in an attempt to
penetrate by night into her daughter's chamber; and though the
darkness prevents the person of the intruder from being recognised,
the confusion which this untoward occurrence occasions in the family
is such, that Clitophon and Leucippe, feeling their secret no longer
safe, determine on an elopement. Accompanied by the faithful Satyrus,
and by Clinias, a kinsman and confident of Clitophon, who generously
volunteers to share their adventures, they accordingly set sail for
Egypt; and the two gentlemen, having struck up an acquaintance with a
fellow passenger, a young Alexandrian named Menelaus, beguile the
voyage by discussing with their new friend the all-engrossing subject
of love, the remarks on which at last take so antiplatonic a tone,
that we can only hope Leucippe was out of hearing. These disquisitions
are interrupted, on the third day of the voyage, by a violent tempest;
and the sailors, finding the ship on the point of coming to pieces,
betake themselves to the boat, leaving the passengers to their fate.
But Clitophon and Leucippe, clinging to the forecastle, are
comfortably wafted by the winds and waves to the coast of Egypt, and
landed near Pelusium, where they hire a vessel to carry them to
Alexandria; but their voyage through the tortuous branches of the Nile
is intercepted by marauders of the same class, _Bucoli_ or buccaniers,
as those who figure so conspicuously in the adventures of _Chariclea_
and _Theagenes_. The robbers are at this juncture in expectation of an
attack from the royal troops; and, having been ordered by their
priests to propitiate the gods by the sacrifice of a virgin, are
greatly at a loss for a victim, when chance throws Leucippe in their
way. She is forthwith torn from her lover, and sent off to the
headquarters of the banditti; and Clitophon is on his way to another
of their retreats, when his captors are attacked and cut to pieces by
a detachment of troops, whose commander, Charmides, commiserates the
misfortunes of our hero, and hospitably entertains him in his tent.

    [2] The laws of Athens permitted the marriage of a brother
    with his sister by the father's side only--thus Cimon married
    his half sister Elpinice; and several marriages of the same
    nature occur in the history of the Egyptian Ptolemies.

    [3] Fair hair, probably from its rarity in southern climates,
    seems to have been at all times much prized by the ancients;
    witness the [Greek: Xanthos Menelaos] of Homer, and the "Cui
    _flavam_ religas comam?" of Horace. The style of Leucippe's
    beauty seems to have resembled that of Haidee--

      "Her hair, I said, was auburn; but her eyes
       Were black as night, their lashes the same hue."

    [4] One incident, where Clitophon pretends to have been stung
    on the lip by a bee, and to be cured by a kiss from Leucippe,
    has been borrowed by Tasso in the Aminta, (Act I. Scene 2.)
    "Che fingendo ch'un ape avesse morso il mio labbro di sotto,"
    &c., whence the idea has been again copied by a host of later
    poetasters. This is not Tasso's only obligation to the Greek
    romances, as we have already seen that he was indebted to
    Heliodorus for the hint of his story of Clorinda.



A general attack on the buccanier force is projected for the next day,
but the advance of the troops is found to be barred by a trench so
wide and deep as to be impassable; and while preparations are made for
filling it up, Leucippe is brought to the opposite brink by two
officiating priests, sheathed in armor; and there, to the horror of
Clitophon, apparently ripped up alive before the altar. After
completing the sacrifice, and depositing the body in a sarcophagus,
the robbers disperse; the passage of the trench is at length effected;
and Clitophon is preparing to fall on his sword at the tomb of his
murdered love, when his hand is stayed by the appearance of his
faithful friends, Menelaus and Satyrus, whom he had supposed lost in
the ship. The mystery is now explained. They had reached the shore,
like Clitophon, on pieces of the wreck and having also fallen into the
power of the robbers, (as appears to have been the inevitable fate of
every one landing in Egypt at the time of this narrative,) were
surprised by finding Leucippe among their fellow captives, and
learning from her the dreadful fate which awaited her. Menelaus,
however, having recognized some former acquaintances among the
buccaniers, was released from his bonds; and having gained their
confidence by proposing to enrol himself in their band, offered his
services as sacrificer, which were accepted. He now contrived to equip
Leucippe with an artfully constructed _false stomach_, and being
further assisted in his humane stratagem by the discovery of a knife
with a sliding blade, among some theatrical _properties_ which the
robbers had acquired in the course of casual plunder, succeeded in
appearing to perform the sacrifice without any real injury to the
victim, who at his call rises from the sarcophagus, and throws herself
into her lover's arms.

It might be supposed, that after so portentously marvellous an escape
as the one just related, the unlucky couple might be allowed a short
respite at least from the persecutions of adverse fortune. But perils
in love succeed without an interval to perils in war. It is the
invariable rule of all Greek romances, as we have remarked in a
previous number, that the attractions both of the hero and heroine,
should be perfectly irresistible by those of the other sex; and
accordingly, the Egyptian officer Charmides no sooner beholds
Leucippe, than he falls in love with her, and endeavours to gain over
Menelaus to further his views. Menelaus feigns compliance, but
privately gives information of the designs of Charmides to Clitophon,
who is thrown into a dreadful state of consternation by his
apprehensions of this powerful rival. At this juncture, however,
Leucippe is suddenly seized with a fit of extravagant frenzy, which
defies all the skill of the Egyptian camp; and under the influence of
which she violently assaults her friends, and is guilty of sundry
vagaries not altogether seemly in a well-bred young lady. Both her
admirers, Charmides and Clitophon, are in despair, and equally in
ignorance of the cause of her malady; but before any symptoms of
amendment are perceptible, Charmides receives orders[5] to march with
his whole force against the buccaniers, by whom he is inveigled into
an ambuscade, and with most of his men either slain or drowned by the
breaking of the dykes of the Nile. The madness of Leucippe is still
incurable, till a stranger named Choereas makes his appearance, and
introducing himself to Clitophon, informs him that he has discovered
from the confession of a domestic, that Gorgias, an officer who fell
in the late action with the _Bucoli_, captivated, like every one else,
by the resistless charms of the heroine, had administered to her a
philtre, the undue strength of which had excited frenzy instead of
love. By the administration of proper remedies, the fair patient is
now restored to her senses: and the total destruction of the
robber-colony by a stronger force sent against them having rendered
the navigation of the Nile again secure, the lovers once more embark
for Alexandria, accompanied by Menelaus and Choereas, and at length
arrive in safety at the city, which they find illuminated for the
great feast of Serapis. The first sight of the glories of Alexandria,
at the supposed period of the narrative the largest and most
magnificent city in the world, and many ages subsequently second only
to Imperial Rome herself, excites the astonishment and admiration of
the newcomers:--and the author takes the opportunity to dilate, with
pardonable complacency, on the magnitude and grandeur of the place of
his birth. "When I entered the city," (says Clitophon,) "by the gates
called those of the sun, its wonderful beauty flashed at once upon my
sight, almost dazzling my eyes with the excess of gratification. A
lofty colonnade of pillars, on each side of the street,[6] runs right
from the gates of the sun on one side, to those of the moon, (for
these are its guardian deities,) on the other; and the distance is
such, that a walk through the city is in itself a journey. When we had
proceeded several stadia, we arrived at the square named after
Alexander, whence other colonnades, like those I saw extending in a
right line before me, branched off right and left at right angles; and
my eyes, never weary of wandering from one street to another, were
unable to contemplate separately the various objects of attraction
which presented themselves. Some I had before my eyes, some I was
hastening to gaze upon, when I found myself unable to pass by others,
while a fresh series of marvels still awaited me, so that my powers of
vision were at last fairly exhausted, and obliged to confess
themselves beaten. The vast extent of the city, and the innumerable
multitude of the population, produced on the mind the effect of a
double paradox; for regarding the one, the stranger wondered where
such a city, which seemed as large as a continent, could find
inhabitants; but when his attention was drawn to the other, he was
again perplexed how so many people, more numerous than a nation, could
find room in any single city. Thus the two conflicting feelings of
amazement remained in equilibrio."

    [5] These orders are said to have come from the "_satrap_,"
    the Persian title having been retained under the Ptolemies,
    for the governors of the _nomes_ or provinces. The description
    of the stronghold of the buccaniers, in the deep recesses of a
    marsh, and approachable only by a single hidden path, (like
    the stockades of the North-American Indians in the swamps, as
    described by Cotton Mather,) if not copied, like most of the
    other Egyptian scenes, from the _Ethiopics_, presents a
    curious picture of a class of men of whom few details are in
    authentic history.

    [6] The main street, according to Diodorus, was "forty stadia
    in length, and a _plethrum_ (100 feet) in breadth; adorned
    through its whole extent by a succession of palaces and
    temples of the most costly magnificence. Alexander also
    erected a royal palace, which was an edifice wonderful both
    for its magnitude and the solidity of its architecture, and
    all the kings who have succeeded him, even up to our times,
    have spent great sums in further adorning and making additions
    to it. On the whole, the city may be fairly reckoned as the
    first in the world, whether for magnitude and beauty, for
    traffic, or for the greatness of its revenues."--"It
    comprehended," says Gibbon, speaking of it under the Roman
    Emperors, "a circumference of fifteen miles, and was peopled
    by 300,000 free inhabitants, besides, at least, an equal
    number of slaves."

Choereas, himself a native of the city, who had been called upon to
take service in the late expedition against the buccaniers, does the
honours of the locale to his new friends:--but he is not proof against
the fatal charms of Leucippe, and resorts to the old expedient of
procuring her abduction by a crew of pirates while on an excursion to
the Pharos. The vessel of the captors is, however, chased by a
guard-boat, and on the point of being taken, when Leucippe is brought
on deck and decapitated by the pirates, who throw the headless body
into the sea, and make their escape; while Clitophon stays the
pursuit, to recover the remains of his mistress for sepulture.
Clitophon now returns to Alexandria to mourn for his lost love, and is
still inconsolable at the end of six months, when he is surprised by
the appearance of Clinias, whom he had supposed to have perished when
the vessel foundered at sea. Clinias relates that having, like the
others, floated on a piece of the wreck, he had been picked up by a
ship, which brought him back to Sidon; and as his absence from home
had been so short as not to have been generally noticed, he had
thought it best not to mention it, especially as he had no good
account to give of his fellow-fugitives. In the mean time, as
Calligone is given up for lost, Sostratus, who has heard of his
daughter's attachment to Clitophon, but not of the elopement, writes
from Byzantium to give his consent to their union; and diligent
enquiries are made in every direction for the runaway couple, till
information is at length obtained that Clitophon has been seen in
Egypt. His father, Hippias, is therefore preparing to set sail for
Alexandria to bring back the truant, when Clinias, thinking it would
be as well to forewarn Clitophon of what had occurred in his absence,
starts without delay, unknown to Hippias, and reaches Alexandria
before him.

The intelligence thus received throws Clitophon into fresh agonies of
grief and remorse: he curses his own impatience in carrying off
Leucippe, when a short delay would have crowned his happiness; accuses
himself anew as the cause of her death; and declares his determination
not to remain in Egypt and encounter his father. His friends, Menelaus
and Clinias, in vain endeavour to combat this resolve; till the
over-ready Satyrus finds an expedient for evading the difficulty. A
young "Ephesian widow," named Melissa, fair and susceptible, who has
lately lost her husband at sea, and become the heiress of his immense
wealth, has recently (in obedience to the above-mentioned invariable
law of Greek romance) fixed an eye of ardent affection on Clitophon;
and it is suggested by his friends that, by marrying this new
inamorata, and sailing with her forthwith on her return to Ephesus,
his departure would at once be satisfactorily explained to his father
on his arrival, and he might return to his friends at Tyre after their
emotions at the tragical catastrophe of Leucippe had in some measure
subsided. After much persuasion, Clitophon accedes to this
arrangement, with the sole proviso that nothing but the _fiançailles_,
or betrothal, shall take place in Egypt, and that the completion of
the marriage shall be deferred till their arrival in Ephesus--on the
plea that he cannot pledge his faith to another in the land where his
beloved Leucippe met with her fate. This proposal, after vehement
opposition on the part of the amorous Ephesian, is at last agreed to;
and Clitophon, with his half-married bride, sets sail for Ephesus,
accompanied by Clinias; while Menelaus, who remains in Egypt,
undertakes the task of explaining matters to Hippias. The voyage is
prosperously accomplished; and Melissa becomes urgent for the formal
solemnization of the nuptials; while Clitophon continues to oppose
frivolous delays which might have roused the anger of a lady even of a
less ardent temperament. Her affection, however, continues
undiminished; but Clitophon, while visiting, in her company, her
country residence in the neighbourhood of the city, is thunderstruck
by fancying that he recognizes, in the disfigured lineaments of a
female slave, said to be a Thessalian of the name of Lacoena, who
approaches Melissa to complain of the ill-treatment she has received
from the steward, Sosthenes, the features of his lost Leucippe. His
suspicions are confirmed by a billet which Leucippe conveys to him
through Satyrus; and his situation becomes doubly perplexing, as
Melissa, more than ever at a loss to comprehend the cause of his
indifference, applies to Leucippe, (whom she supposes to possess the
skill of the Thessalians in magic,) for a love-charm to compel his
affections, promising her liberty as a reward. Leucippe is delighted
by the proof which this request affords of the constancy of her lover;
but the preparations for his marriage with Melissa still proceed, and
evasion appears impossible; when at the preliminary banquet, the
return of her husband, Thersander, is announced, who had been falsely
reported to have perished by shipwreck. A terrible scene of confusion
ensues, in which Thersander,

            --"proceeding at a very high rate,
      Shows the imperial penchant of a pirate."

Clitophon gets a violent beating, to which he submits with the utmost
tameness, and is thrown into fetters by the enraged husband; and
though Melissa, on certain conditions, furnishes him with the means of
escape from the house in the disguise of a female, he again unluckily
encounters Thersander, and is lodged in the prison of Ephesus.
Leucippe, meanwhile, of whose unrivalled charms Thersander has been
informed by Sosthenes, is still detained in bondage, and suffers cruel
persecution from her brutal master; who, at last, having learned from
an overheard soliloquy her true parentage and history, as well as her
attachment for Clitophon, (of her relations with whom he was not
previously aware,) forms a scheme of ridding himself of this twofold
rival, by sending one of his emissaries into the prison, who gives out
that he has been arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the
murder of Leucippe, who has been dispatched by assassins employed by
the jealous Melissa. Clitophon at once gives full credence to this
awkwardly devised tale, and determines not to survive his mistress, in
spite of the remonstrances of Clinias, who argues with much reason,
that one who had so often been miraculously preserved from death,
might have escaped also on the present occasion. But Clitophon refuses
to be comforted; and when brought before the assembly in the forum to
stand his trial, on the charge, (apparently, for it is not very
clearly specified,) of having married another man's wife, he openly
declares himself guilty of Leucippe's murder, which he affirms to have
been concerted between Melissa and himself, in order to remove the
obstacle to their amours, and now revealed by him from remorse. He is,
of course, condemned to death forthwith, and Thersander is triumphing
in the unexpected success of his schemes, when the judicial
proceedings are interrupted by the appearance of a religious
procession, at the head of which Clitophon is astonished by
recognizing his uncle Sostratus, the father of Leucippe, who had been
deputed by the Byzantines to offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, at the
Temple of Diana, for their victory over the Thracians. On hearing the
state of affairs, he furiously denounces the murderer of his daughter;
but at this moment it is announced that Leucippe, whom Thersander had
believed to be in safe custody, has escaped, and taken refuge in the
Temple of Diana!

The interest of the story is now at an end; but much yet remains
before the conclusion. Thersander, maddened at the prospect of being
thus doubly baulked of his prey, throws gross aspersions on the purity
of Leucippe, and even demands that Clitophon, in spite of his now
manifest innocence, shall be executed in pursuance of the previous
sentence! but the high-priest of Diana takes the lovers under his
protection, and the cause is adjourned to the morrow. Leucippe now
relates the circumstances of her captivity:--the Alexandrian pirates,
having deceived their pursuers by beheading another captive dressed in
her garments, had next fallen out with and murdered their base
employer Choereas, and finally sold her for two thousand drachmas to
Sosthenes: while from Sostratus, on the other hand, Clitophon receives
tidings that his long-lost sister Calligone is on the point of
marriage to Callisthenes, who, it will be remembered, had carried her
off from Tyre by mistake for Leucippe, (having become enamoured of the
latter without ever having seen her,) and on the discovery of his
error, had made her all the amends in his power by an instant transfer
of his affections. Thus everything is on the point of ending happily;
but the sentence passed against Clitophon still remains unreversed,
and Thersander, in the assembly of the following day, vehemently calls
for its ratification. But the cause of the defendant is espoused by
the high-priest, who lavishes on the character and motives of
Thersander a torrent of abuse, couched in language little fitting his
sacred character; while Thersander shows himself in this respect fully
a match for his reverend antagonist, and, moreover, reiterates with
fresh violence his previous charge against Leucippe. The debates are
protracted to an insufferably tedious length; but the character of
Leucippe is at last vindicated by her descent into a cavern, whence
sounds of more than human melody are heard on the entrance of a damsel
of untainted fame. The result of this ordeal is, of course,
triumphant; and Thersander, overwhelmed with confusion makes his
escape from the popular indignation, and is condemned to exile by
acclamation as a suborner of false evidence; while the lovers, freed
at length from all their troubles, sail for Byzantium in company with
Sostratus; and after there solemnizing their own nuptials, return to
Tyre to assist at those of Callisthenes and Calligone.

The leading defects observable in this romance are obviously the
glaring improbability of many of the incidents, and the want of
connexion and necessary dependence between the several parts of the
story. Of the former--the device of the false stomach and theatrical
dagger, by means of which Menelaus and Satyrus (after gaining,
moreover, in a moment the full confidence of the buccaniers,) save the
life of Leucippe when doomed to sacrifice, is the most flagrant
instance; though her second escape from supposed death, when Clitophon
imagines that he sees her head struck off by the Alexandrian pirates,
is almost equally liable to the same objection; while in either case
the deliverance of the heroine might as well have been managed,
without prejudice either to the advancement or interest of the
narrative, by more rational and probable methods. The too frequent
introduction of incidents and personages not in any way connected
with, or conducive to the progress of the main plot, is also
objectionable, and might almost induce the belief that the original
plan was in some measure altered or departed from in the course of
composition. It is difficult to conceive for what purpose the
character of Calligone, the sister and fiancée of Clitophon, is
introduced among the dramatic personae. She appears at the beginning
only to be carried off by Callisthenes as soon as Clitophon's passion
for Leucippe makes her presence inconvenient, and we incidentally hear
of her as on the point of becoming his bride at the conclusion; but
she is seen only for a moment, and never permitted to speak, like a
walking gentlewoman on the stage, and exercises not the smallest
influence on the fortunes of the others. Gorgias is still worse used:
he is a mere _nominis umbra_, of whose bodily presence nothing is made
visible; nor is so much as his name mentioned, except for the purpose
of informing us that it was through his agency that the love-potion
was administered to Leucippe, and that he has since been killed in the
action against the buccaniers. The whole incident of the philtre,
indeed, and the consequent madness of the heroine, is unnatural and
revolting, and serves no end but to introduce Choereas to effect a
cure. But even had it been indispensable to the plot, it might have
been far more probably ascribed to the Egyptian commander Charmides,
with whose passion for Leucippe we were already acquainted, and who
had, moreover, learned from Menelaus that he had little chance of
success by ordinary methods, from the pre-engagement of the lady to
Clitophon.

Nor are these defects compensated by any high degree of merit in the
delineation of the characters. With the exception of Leucippe herself,
they are all almost wholly devoid of individual or distinguishing
traits, and insipid and uninteresting to the last degree. Menelaus and
Clinias, the confidants and trusted friends of the hero, are the
dullest of all dull mortals--a qualification which perhaps fits them
in some measure for the part they are to bear in the story, as
affording some security against their falling in love with Leucippe, a
fate which they, of all the masculine personages, alone escape. Their
active intervention is confined to the preservation of Leucippe from
the _bucoli_ by Menelaus, and a great deal of useless declamation in
behalf of Clitophon before the assembly of Ephesus from Clinias.
Satyrus, also, from whose knavish ingenuity in the early part of the
tale something better was to be expected, soon subsides into a
well-behaved domestic, and hands his master the letter in which poor
Leucippe makes herself known to him at Ephesus, when she imagines him
married to Melissa, with all the nonchalance of a modern footman.
Clitophon himself is hardly a shade superior to his companions. He is
throughout a mere passive instrument, leaving to chance, or the
exertions of others, his extrication from the various troubles in
which he becomes involved: even of the qualities usually regarded as
inseparable from a hero of romance, spirit and personal courage, he is
so utterly destitute as to suffer himself to be beaten and ill
treated, both by Thersander and Sostratus, without an attempt to
defend himself; and his lamentations, whenever he finds himself in
difficulties, or separated from his ladye-love, are absolutely
puerile. As to the other characters, Thersander is a mere vulgar
ruffian--"a rude and boisterous captain of the sea,"--whose brutal
violence on his first appearance, and subsequent unprincipled
machinations, deprive him of the sympathy which might otherwise have
been excited in behalf of one who finds his wife and his property
unceremoniously taken possession of during his absence; while, on the
other hand, the language used by the high-priest of Diana, in his
invectives against Thersander and his accomplices, gives but a low
idea of the dignity or refinement of the Ephesian hierarchy. But the
female characters, as is almost always the case in the Greek romances,
are far better drawn, and infinitely more interesting, than the men.
Even Melissa, though apparently intended only as a foil to the
perfections of Leucippe, wins upon us by her amorous weakness, and the
invincible kindness of heart which impels her, even when acquainted
with the real state of affairs, to protect the lovers against her
husband's malpractices. Leucippe herself goes far to make amends for
the general insipidity of the other characters. Though not a heroine
of so lofty a stamp as Chariclea, in whom the spirit of her royal
birth is all along apparent, she is endowed with a mingled gentleness
and firmness, which is strongly contrasted with the weakness and
pusillanimity of her lover:--her uncomplaining tenderness, when she
finds Clitophon at Ephesus (as she imagines) the husband of another,
and the calm dignity with which she vindicates herself from the
injurious aspersions of Thersander, are represented with great truth
and feeling, and attach a degree of interest to her, which the other
personages of the narrative are very far from inspiring.

In the early part of the story, during the scenes in Tyre and Egypt,
the action is carried on with considerable spirit and briskness; the
author having apparently thus far kept before him, as a model, the
narrative of Heliodorus. But towards the conclusion, and, indeed from
the time of the arrival of Clitophon and Melissa at Ephesus, the
interest flags wofully. The _dénouement_ is inevitably foreseen from
the moment Clitophon is made aware that Leucippe is still alive and in
his neighbourhood, and the arrival of Thersander, almost immediately
afterwards, disposes of the obstacle of his engagement to Melissa; but
the reader is acquainted with all these circumstances before the end
of the fifth book; the three remaining books being entirely occupied
by the proceedings in the judicial assembly, the recriminations of the
high-priest, and the absurd ordeal to which Leucippe is subjected--all
apparently introduced for no other purpose than to show the author's
skill in declamation. The display of his own acquirements in various
branches of art and science, and of his rhetorical powers of language
in describing them, is indeed an object of which Achilles Tatius never
loses sight; and continual digressions from the thread of the story
for this purpose occur, often extremely _mal-à-propos_, and sometimes
entirely without reference to the preceding narrative. Thus, when
Clitophon is relating the terms of an oracle addressed to the
Byzantines, previous to their war with the Thracians, he breaks off at
once into a dissertation on the wonderful qualities of the element of
water, the inflammable springs of Sicily, the gold extracted from the
lakes of Africa, &c.--all which is supposed to be introduced into a
conversation on the oracle between Sostratus and his colleague in
command, and could only have come to the knowledge of Clitophon by
being repeated to him _verbatim_, after a considerable interval of
time, by Sostratus. Again, in the midst of the hero's perplexities at
his threatened marriage with Calligone, we are favoured with a minute
enumeration of the gems set in an ornament which his father purchased
as part of the trousseau; and this again leads to an account of the
discovery and application of the purple dye. The description of
objects of natural history is at all times a favourite topic; and the
sojourn of the lovers in Egypt affords the author an opportunity of
indulging in details relative to the habits and appearances of the
various strange animals found in that country--the crocodile, the
hippopotamus, and the elephant, are described with considerable spirit
and fidelity; and even the form and colours of the fabulous phoenix,
are delineated with all the confidence of an eyewitness.

Many of these episodical sketches, though out of place when thus
awkwardly inserted in the midst of the narrative, are in themselves
curious and well written; but the most valuable and interesting among
them are the frequent descriptions of paintings, a specimen of which
has already been given. On this subject especially, the author dwells
_con amore_, and his remarks are generally characterised by a degree
of good taste and correct feeling, which indicates a higher degree of
appreciation of the pictorial art than is generally ascribed to the
age in which Achilles Tatius wrote. Even in the latter part of the
first century of our era, Pliny, when enumerating the glorious names
of the ancient Greek painters, laments over the total decline, in his
own days, of what he terms (_Nat. Hist_. xxxv. 11) "an aspiring art;"
but the monarchs of the Macedonian dynasties in Asia, and, above all,
the Egyptian Ptolemies, were both munificent patrons of the fine arts
among their own subjects, and diligent collectors of the great works
of past ages; and many of the _chefs-d'oeuvres_ of the Grecian masters
were thus transferred from their native country to adorn, the temples
and palaces of Egypt and Syria. We find, from Plutarch, that when
Aratus was exerting himself to gain for the Achæan league the powerful
alliance of Ptolemy Euergetes, he found no means so effectual in
conciliating the good-will of the monarch, as the procuring for him
some of the master-pieces of Pamphilus[7] and Melanthius, the most
renowned of the famous school of Sicyon; and the knowledge of the high
estimation in which the arts were held, under the Egyptian kings,
gives an additional value to the accounts given by Tatius of these
treasures of a past age, his notices of which are the latest, in
point of time, which have come down to us from an eyewitness. We have
already quoted the author's vivid description of the painting of
Europa at Sidon--we shall now subjoin, as a pendant to the former
notice, his remarks on a pair of pictures at Pelusium:--

    [7] Pamphilus was a Macedonian by birth, and a pupil of
    Eupompus, the founder of the school of Sicyon; to the
    presidency of which he succeeded. His pupils paid each a
    talent a year for instruction; and Melanthius, and even
    Apelles himself, for a time, were among the number.--Pliny,
    _Hist. Nat_. xxxv. 36. The great talent of Melanthius, like
    that of his master Pamphilus, lay in composition and grouping;
    and so highly were his pictures esteemed, that Pliny, in
    another passage, says, that the wealth of a city would hardly
    purchase one.


    "In this temple (of Jupiter Casius) were two famous works of
    Evanthes, illustrative of the legends of Andromeda and
    Prometheus, which the painter had probably selected as a pair,
    from the similarity of the Subjects--the principal figure in
    each being bound to a rock and exposed to the attack of a
    terrific animal; in one case a denizen of the air, in the
    other a monster of the sea; and the deliverers of both being
    Argives, and of kindred blood to each other, Hercules and
    Perseus--the former of whom encountered, on foot, the savage
    bird sent by Jove, while the latter mounted on borrowed wings
    into the air, to assail the monster which issued from the sea
    at the command of Neptune. In the picture of Andromeda, the
    virgin was laid in a hollow of the rock, not fashioned by art,
    but rough like a natural cavity; and which, if viewed only
    with regard to the beauty of that which it contained, looked
    like a niche holding an exquisite fresh from the chisel; but
    the sight of her bonds, and of the monster approaching to
    devour her, gave it rather the aspect of a sepulchre. On her
    features extreme loveliness was blended with deadly terror,
    which was seated on her pallid cheeks, while beauty beamed
    forth from her eyes; but, as even amid the pallor of her
    cheeks a faint tinge of colour was yet perceptible, so was the
    brightness of her eyes, on the other hand, in some measure
    dimmed, like the bloom of lately blighted violets. Her white
    arms were extended, and lashed to the rock; but their
    whiteness partook of a livid hue, and her fingers were like
    those of a corpse. Thus lay she, expecting death, but arrayed
    like a bride, in a long white robe, which seemed not as if
    woven from the fleece of the sheep, but from the web of the
    spider, or of those winged insects, the long threads spun by
    which are gathered by the Indian women from the trees of their
    own country. The monster was just rising out of the sea
    opposite to the damsel, his head alone being distinctly
    visible, while the unwieldy length of his body was still in a
    great measure concealed by the waves, yet so as partially to
    discover his formidable array of spines and scales, his
    swollen neck, and his long flexible tail, while the gape of
    his horrible jaws extended to his shoulder, and disclosed the
    abyss of his stomach. But between the monster and the damsel,
    Perseus was depicted descending to the encounter from the
    upper regions of the air--his body bare, except a mantle
    floating round his shoulders, and winged sandals on his
    feet--a cap resembling the helmet of Pluto was on his head,
    and in his left hand he held before him, like a buckler, the
    head of the Gorgon, which even in the pictured representation
    was terrible to look at, shaking its snaky hair, which seemed
    to erect itself and menace the beholder. His right hand
    grasped a weapon, in shape partaking of both a sickle and a
    sword; for it had a single hilt, and to the middle of the
    blade resembled a sword; but there it separated into two
    parts, one continuing straight and pointed, like a sword,
    while the other was curved backwards, so that with a single
    stroke, it might both inflict a wound, and fix itself in the
    part struck. Such was the picture of Andromeda; the design of
    the other was thus:--

    "Prometheus was represented bound down to a rock, with fetters
    of iron, while Hercules, armed with a bow and arrow, was seen
    approaching. The vulture, supporting himself by fixing his
    talons in the thigh of Prometheus, was tearing open the
    stomach of his victim, and apparently searching with his beak
    for the liver, which it was his destiny daily to devour, and
    which the painter had shown through the aperture of the wound.
    The whole frame of the sufferer was convulsed, and his limbs
    contracted with torture, so that, by raising his thigh, he
    involuntarily presented his side to the bird--while the other
    limb was visibly quivering in its whole length, with
    agony--his teeth were clenched, his lips parted, and his brows
    wrinkled. Hercules had already fitted the arrow to the bow, and
    aimed it against his tormentor: his left arm was thrown
    forward grasping the stock, while the elbow of the right was
    bent in the attitude of drawing the arrow to his breast; while
    Prometheus, full of mingled hope and fear, was endeavouring to
    fix his undivided gaze on his deliverer, though his eyes, in
    spite of himself, were partially diverted by the anguish of
    his wound."

The work of Achilles Tatius, with all its blemishes and defects,
appears to have been highly popular among the Greeks of the lower
empire. An epigram is still extant, attributed to the Emperor Leo, the
philosopher,[8] in which it is landed as an example of chaste and
faithful love: and it was esteemed as a model of romantic composition
from the elegance of its style and diction, in which Heretius ranks
the author above Heliodorus, though he at the same time severely
criticizes him for want of originality, accusing him of having
borrowed all the interesting passages in his work from the
_Ethiopics_. In common with Heliodorus, Tatius has found a host of
followers among the later Greeks, some of whom (as the learned critic
just quoted, observes) have transcribed, rather than imitated him. In
the "Hysminias and Hysmine" of Eumathius, a wretched production of the
twelfth century, not only many of the incidents, but even of the
names, as Sostratus, Sosthenes, and Anthia, are taken from Clitophon
and Leucippe: and to so servile an extent is this plagiarism carried,
that two books out of the nine, of which the romance consists, are
filled with descriptions of paintings; while the plot, not very
intelligible at the best, is still further perplexed by the
extraordinary affectation of making nearly all the names alike; thus,
the hero and heroine are Hysminias and Hysmine, the towns are
Aulycomis, Eurycomis, Artycomis, &c. In all these works, the outline
is the same; the lovers undergo endless buffetings by sea and land,
imaginary deaths, and escapes from marauders; but not a spark of
genius or fancy enlivens these dull productions, which, sometimes
maudlin and bombastic, often indecent, would defy the patience of the
most determined novel reader. One of these writers, Xenophon of
Ephesus, the author of the "Ephesiacs, or Habrocomas and Anthia," is
commended by Politian for the classical purity of his language, in
which he considers him scarcely inferior to his namesake the
historian: but the work has little else to recommend it. The two
principal personages are represented as miracles of personal beauty;
and the women fall in love with Habrocomas, as well as the men with
Anthia, literally by dozens at a time: the plot, however differs from
that of the others in marrying them at the commencement, and sending
them through the ordinary routine of dangers afterwards. The
_Ephesiacs_ are, however, noticeable from its having been supposed by
Mr Douce, (_Illustrations of Shakspeare_, ii. 198,) that the
catastrophe in Romeo and Juliet was originally borrowed from one of
the adventures of Anthia, who, when separated from her husband, is
rescued from banditti by Perilaus, governor of Cilicia, and by him
destined for his bride. Unable to evade his solicitations, she
procures from the "poverty, not the will" of an aged physician named
Eudoxus, what she supposes to be a draught of poison, but which is
really an opiate. She is laid with great pomp, loaded with gems and
costly ornaments, in a vault; and on awakening, finds herself in the
hands of a crew of pirates, who have broken open her sepulchre in
order to rifle the treasures which they knew to have been deposited
there. "This work," (observes Mr Douce,) "was certainly not published
nor translated in the time of Luigi da Porto, the original narrator of
the story of Romeo and Juliet: but there is no reason why he might not
have seen a copy of the original in MS. We might enumerate several
more of these later productions of the same school; but a separate
analysis of each would be both tedious and needless, as none present
any marked features of distinction from those already noticed. They
are all, more or less, indifferent copies either from Heliodorus or
Achilles Tatius; the outline of the story being generally borrowed
from one or the other of these sources, while in point of style,
nearly all appear to have taken as their model the florid rhetorical
display and artificial polish of language which characterize the
latter. Their redeeming point is the high position uniformly assigned
to the female characters, who are neither immured in the Oriental
seclusion of the harem, nor degraded to household drudges, like the
Athenian ladies in the polished age of Pericles:[9] but mingle without
restraint in society as the friends and companions of the other sex,
and are addressed in the language of admiration and respect. But these
pleasing traits are not sufficient to atone for the improbability of
the incidents, relieved neither by the brilliant fancy of the East,
nor the lofty deeds of the romances of chivalry: and the reader,
wearied by the repetition of similar scenes and characters, thinly
disguised by change of name and place, finds little reason to regret
that "the children of the marriage of Theagenes and Chariclea," as
these romances are termed by a writer quoted by d'Israeli in the
"Curiosities of Literature"--have not continued to increase and
multiply up to our own times.

    [8] Some bibliographers have assigned it to Photius; but the
    opinion of Achilles Tatius expressed by the patriarch, and
    quoted at the commencement of this article, precludes the
    possibility of its being from his pen.

    [9] See Mitford's _History of Greece_, ch. xiii, sect. 1.

       *       *       *       *       *



THE NEW ART OF PRINTING.

BY A DESIGNING DEVIL.

    "Aliter non fit, avite, liber."--MARTIAL.


It is more than probable that, at the first discovery of that
mightiest of arts, which has so tended to facilitate every other--the
art of printing--many old-fashioned people looked with a jealous eye
on the innovation. Accustomed to a written character, their eyes
became wearied by the crabbedness and formality of type. It was like
travelling on the paved and rectilinear roads of France, after winding
among the blooming hedgerows of England; and how dingy and graceless
must have appeared the first printed copy of the Holy Bible, to those
accustomed to luxuriate in emblazoned missals, amid all the pride,
pomp, and vellum of glorious MS.!

Dangerous and democratic, too, must have appeared the new art, which,
by plebeianizing knowledge and enlightening the mass, deprived the law
and the prophets of half their terrors, and disrobed priestcraft and
kingcraft of their mystery. We can imagine that, as soon as a printed
book ceased to be a great rarity, it became an object of great
abhorrence.

There were many, no doubt, to prophesy, as on occasion of every new
invention, that it was all very well for a novelty; but that the thing
would not, and could not last! How were the poor copyists to get their
living if their occupation was taken from them? How were so many
monasteries to be maintained which had subsisted on _manuscriptum_?
And, then, what prince in his right senses would allow a
printing-press to be set up in his dominions--a source of sedition and
heresy--an implement of disaffection and schism? The free towns,
perhaps, might foster this pernicious art, and certain evilly-disposed
potentates wink at the establishment of type-founderies in their
states. But the great powers of Europe knew better! They would never
connive at this second sowing of the dragon's teeth of Cadmus.

Thus, probably, they argued; becoming reconciled, in process of time,
to the terrible novelty. Print-books became almost as easy to read as
manuscript; soon as cheap, and at length of a quarter the price, or
even less; till, two centuries later, benefit of clergy ceased to be
a benefit, books were plenty as blackberries, and learning a thing for
the multitude. According to Dean Swift's account, the chaplain's time
hung heavy on his hands, for my lady had sermon books of her own, and
could read; nay, my lady's woman had jest books of her own, and wanted
none of his nonsense! The learned professions, or black arts, lost at
least ninety-five per cent in importance; and so rapid as been the
increase of the evil, that, at this time of day, it is a hard matter
to impose on any clodpole in Europe! Instead of signing with their
marks, the kings of modern times have turned ushers; instead of
reading with difficulty, we have a mob of noblemen who write with
ease; and, now-a-days, it is every duke, ay, and every duchess her own
book-maker!

A year or two hence, however, and all this will have become
obsolete.--_Nous avons changé tout cela!_--No more letter-press!
Books, the _small_ as well as the great, will have been voted a great
evil. There will be no gentlemen of the press. The press itself will
have ceased to exist.

For several years past it has been frankly avowed by the trade that
books have ceased to sell; that the best works are a drug in the
market; that their shelves groan, until themselves are forced to
follow the example.

Descend to what shifts they may in order to lower their prices, by
piracy from other booksellers, or clipping and coining of authors--no
purchasers! Still, the hope prevailed for a time among the lovers of
letters, that a great glut having occurred, the world was chewing the
cud of its repletion; that the learned were shut up in the Bodleian,
and the ignorant battening upon the circulating libraries; that hungry
times would come again!

But this fond delusion has vanished. People have not only ceased to
purchase those old-fashioned things called books, but even to read
them! Instead of cutting new works, page by page, people cut them
altogether! To far-sighted philosophers, indeed, this was a state of
things long foreshown. It could not be otherwise. The reading world
was a sedentary world. The literary public was a public lying at
anchor. When France delighted in the twelve-volume novels of
Mademoiselle de Scudéri, it drove in coaches and six, at the rate of
four miles an hour; when England luxuriated in those of Richardson, in
eight, it drove in coaches and four, at the rate of five. A journey
was then esteemed a family calamity; and people abided all the year
round in their cedar parlours, thankful to be diverted by the arrival
of the _Spectator_, or a few pages of the _Pilgrim's Progress_, or a
new sermon. To their unincidental lives, a book was an event.

Those were the days worth writing for! The fate of Richardson's
heroines was made a national affair; and people interceded with him by
letter to "spare Clarissa," as they would not now intercede with her
Majesty to spare a new Effie Deans. The successive volumes of _Pope's
Iliad_ were looked for with what is called "breathless" interest,
while such political sheets as the _Drapier's Letters_, or _Junius_,
set the whole kingdom in an uproar! And now, if Pope, or Swift, or
Fielding, or Johnson, or Sterne, were to rise from the grave, MS. in
hand, the most adventurous publisher would pass a sleepless night
before he undertook the risk of paper and print; would advise a small
edition, and exact a sum down in ready money, to be laid out in puffs
and advertisements! "Even then, though we may get rid of a few copies
to the circulating libraries," he would observe, "do not expect, sir,
to obtain readers. A few old maids in the county towns, and a few
gouty old gentlemen at the clubs; are the only persons of the present
day who ever open a book!"

And who can wonder? _Who_ has leisure to read? _Who_ cares to sit down
and spell out accounts of travels which he can make at less cost than
the cost of the narrative? _Who_ wants to peruse fictitious
adventures, when railroads and steamboats woo him to adventures of his
own? Egypt was once a land of mystery; now, every lad, on leaving
Eton, yachts it to the pyramids. India was once a country to dream of
over a book. Even quartoes, if tolerably well-seasoned with suttees
and sandalwood, went down; now, every genteel family has its "own
correspondent," per favour of the Red Sea; and the best printed
account of Cabul would fall stillborn from the press. As to Van
Dieman's Land, it is vulgar as the Isle of Dogs; and since people have
steamed it backwards and forwards across the Atlantic more easily than
formerly across the Channel, every woman chooses to be her own
Trollope--every man his own Boz!

For some time after books had ceased to find a market, the periodicals
retained their vogue; and even till very lately, newspapers found
readers. But the period at length arrived, when even the leisure
requisite for the perusal of these lighter pages, is no longer
forthcoming. People are busy ballooning or driving; shooting like
stars along railroads; or migrating like swallows or wild-geese. It
has been found, within the current year, impossible to read even a
newspaper!

The march of intellect, however, luckily keeps pace with the
necessities of the times; and no sooner was it ascertained, that
reading-made-easy was difficult to accomplish, than a new art was
invented for the more ready transmission of ideas. The fallacy of the
proverb, that "those who run may read," being established, modern
science set about the adoption of a medium, available to those sons of
the century who are always on the run. Hence, the grand secret of
ILLUSTRATION.--Hence the new art of printing!

The pictorial printing-press is now your only wear! Every thing is
communicated by delineation. We are not _told_, but _shown_ how the
world is wagging. The magazines sketch us a lively article, the
newspapers vignette us, step by step, a royal tour. The beauties of
Shakspeare are imprinted on the minds of the rising generation, in
woodcuts; and the poetry of Byron engraver in their hearts, by means
of the graver. Not a boy in his teens has read a line of Don Quixote
or Gil Blas, though all have their adventures by heart; while
Goldsmith's "Deserted Village" has been committed to memory by our
daughters and wives, in a series of exquisite illustrations. Every
body has La Fontaine by heart, thanks to the pencil of Granville,
which requires neither grammar nor dictionary to aid its
interpretations; and even Defoe--even the unparalleled Robinson
Crusoe--is devoured by our ingenuous youth in cuts and come again.

At present, indeed, the new art of printing is in its infancy, but it
is progressing so rapidly, that the devils of the old will soon have a
cold birth of it! Views of the Holy Land are superseding even the Holy
Scriptures; and a pictorial Blackstone is teaching the ideas of the
sucking lawyers how to shoot. Nay, Buchan's "Domestic Medicine" has
(proh pudor!) its illustrated edition.

The time saved to an active public by all this, is beyond computation.
All the world is now instructed by symbols, as formerly the deaf and
dumb; and instead of having to peruse a tedious penny-a-line account
of the postilion of the King of the French misdriving his Majesty, and
his Majesty's august family, over a draw-bridge into a moat at
Tréport, a single glance at a single woodcut places the whole disaster
graphically before us; leaving us nine minutes and a half of the time
we must otherwise have devoted to the study of the case, to dispose of
at our own will and pleasure; to start, for instance, for Chelsea, and
be back again by the steam-boat, before our mother knows we are out.

The application of the new art is of daily and hourly extension. The
scandalous Sunday newspapers have announced an intention of evading
Lord Campbell's act, by veiling their libels in caricature. Instead of
_writing_ slander and flat blasphemy, they propose to _draw_ it, and
not draw it mild. The daily prints will doubtless follow their
example. No more Jenkinsisms in the _Morning Post_, concerning
fashionable parties. A view of the duchess's ball-room, or of the
dining-table of the earl, will supersede all occasion for lengthy
fiddle-faddle. The opera of the night before will be described in a
vignette--the ballet in a tail-piece; and we shall know at a glance
whether Cerito and Elssler performed their _pas_ meritoriously, by the
number of bouquets depicted at their feet.

On the other hand, instead of column after column of dry debates, we
shall know sufficiently who were the speakers of the preceding night,
by a series of portraits--each having an annexed trophy, indicative
of the leading points of his oration. Members of both Houses will be,
of course, daguerreotyped for the use of the morning papers; and
photographic likenesses of the leaders of _ton_ be supplied gratis to
the leaders of the press.

How far more interesting a striking sketch of a banquet, containing
portraits of undoubted authenticity, to the matter-of-fact
announcements of the exploded letter-press--that "yesterday his Grace
the Duke of Wellington entertained at dinner, at Apsley House, the
Earls of Aberdeen and Liverpool, the Dukes of Richmond and Buccleuch,
the Master of the Horse, the Lord Chancellor, Sir Robert Peel, Sir
James Graham, Sir Frederick Trench, Colonel Gurwood, and M. Algernon
Greville!" Who has patience for the recapitulation of a string of
names, when a group of faces may be placed simultaneously before him?

And then, accounts of races! How admirably will they be concentrated
into a delineation of the winner passing the post--the losers
distances; and what disgusting particulars of boxing matches shall we
avoid by a spirited etching. Think of despatches from India, (one of
Lord Ellenborough's XXXX,) published in a series of groupings worthy
the frescoes of the tomb of Psammis. As to the affairs of China, we
shall henceforward derive as much pleasure from the projects of Sir
Henry Pottinger, cut in wood by the _Morning Herald_, as in surveying
the Mandarins sailing on buffaloes through the air, or driving in
junks over meadows, in one of Wedgewood's soup plates!

It has long been the custom for advertisers in the continental
journals to typify their wares. The George Robinses of Brussels, for
instance, embody their account of some exquisite villa in a charming
perspective of the same, or of a capital town mansion in a grim
likeness; while the _carossiers_, who have town chariots or family
coaches to dispose of, make it known in the most designing manner. The
consequence is, that the columns of certain foreign papers bear a
striking likeness to a child's alphabet, such as "A was an archer, and
shot at a frog." Among ourselves, this practice is at present only
partially adopted. We are all familiar with the shape of Mr Cox
Savory's tea-pots, and Messrs Dondney's _point-device_ men in buckram;
while Mordan acquaints us, with much point, how many varieties he has
invented of pencil-cases and toothpicks. As to the London Wine
Company, the new art has long imprinted upon our minds a mysterious
notion of a series of vaults in the style of the Thames tunnel,
frequented by figures armed with spigots and dark lanterns, that
remind us of Guy Fawkes, and make us tremble for ourselves and Father
Mathew! Loose notions of the stay-making trade have been circulated by
the same medium; and we have noticed wood-blocks of wig-blocks,
deservedly immortalizing the pernquier.

But consider what it will be when the system is adopted on a more
comprehensive scale. The daily papers will present a series of
designs, remarkable as those of the Glyptothek and Pinacothek at
Munich; and in all probability, the artists of the prize cartoons will
be engaged in behalf of the leading journals of Europe. Who cannot
foresee her Majesty's drawing-room illustrated by Parris! Who cannot
conceive the invasion of Britain outdone in an allegorical leading
article: "Louis Philippe (in a Snooks-like attitude) inviting Queen
Victoria to St Cloud; and the British lion lashing out its tail at the
Coq Gaulois!"

As to the affairs of Spain, they will be a mine of wealth to the new
press--_L'Espagne Pittoresque_ will sell thousands more copies than
Spain Constitutionalized; and let us trust that Sir George Hayter will
instantly "walk his chalks," and secure us the Cortes in black and
white.

The Greek character will now become easy to decipher; and the evening
papers may take King Otho both off the throne and on. The designs of
Russia have long been proverbial; but the exercise of the new art of
printing may assign them new features. The representations of
impartial periodicals will cut out, or out-cut De Custine; and while
contemplating the well-favoured presentment of Nicholas I., we shall
exclaim--"Is this a tyrant that I see before me?" Nothing will be
easier then to throw the Poles into the shade of the picture, or to
occupy the foreground with a brilliant review.

As to Germany, to embody her in the hieroglyphics of the new press,
might be a study for Retsch; and who will care for the lumbering pages
of Von Raumer, or the wishy-washy details of Kohl, when able, in an
_augenblick_, to bring Berlin and Vienna before him; to study the
Zollverein in the copy of the King of Prussia's cogitative
countenance, and ascertain the views of Metternich concerning the
elder branch of the Bourbons, by a _cul de lampe_ in the _Morning
Chronicle_!

We have little doubt of shortly seeing announcements--standing like
tombstones in those literary cemeteries, the Saturday papers--of "A
new work upon America, from the graver of George Cruickshank;" or "A
new fashionable novel, (diamond edition,) from the accomplished pencil
of H.B." Kenny Meadows will become the Byron of the day, Leech the
Scott, Forrester the Marryatt, Phiz the Trollope; Stanfield and Turner
will be epic poets, Landseer preside over the belles-lettres, and
Webster and Stone become the epigrammatists and madrigalists of the
press.

All this will, doubtless, throw a number of deserving persons out of
employ. The writers, whose stock in trade consists of words rather
than ideas, will find their way to Basinghall Street, prose will be at
a discount, and long-windedness be accounted a distemper. A great
variety of small Sapphos must turn seamstresses*, at three-halfpence
a shirt instead of a penny a line; while the minor poets will have to
earn a livelihood by writing invoice, instead of in verse. But this
transposition of talent, and transition of gain, is no more than arose
from the substitution of railroads for turnpike roads. By that
innovation thousands of hard-working post-horses were left without
rack or manger; and by the present arrangement, Clowes, Spottiswoode,
and the authors who have served to afford matter for their types, will
be driven from the field.

    *Transcriber's Note: Original "semstresses"

But the world (no longer to be called of letters, but of emblems) will
be the gainer. It will be no longer a form of speech to talk of having
"_glanced_ at the morning papers," whose city article will, of course,
be composed by artists skilled in drawing figures. The biographies of
contemporary or deceased statesmen will be limned, not by Lord
Brougham or Macaulay, but by the impartial hand of the Royal Academy;
and the catacombs at Kensal Green, like those discovered by Belzoni on
the banks of the Nile, exhibit their eulogistic inscriptions in
hieroglyphics. By this new species of shorthand we might have embodied
this very article in half a dozen sprightly etchings! But as the
hapless inventor of the first great art of printing incurred, among
his astounded contemporaries, the opprobrium of being in compact with
the evil one, (whence, probably, the familiar appellation of printers'
devils,) it behoves the early practitioners of the new art to look to
their reputations! By economizing the time of the public, they may
squander their own good repute. It is not every printer who can
afford, like Benjamin Franklin, to be a reformer; and pending the
momentum when (the schoolmasters being all abroad) the grand causeway
of the metropolis shall become, as it were, a moving diorama,
inflicting knowledge upon the million whether it will or no--let us
content ourselves with birds'-eye views of passing events, by way of
exhibiting the first rudiments of THE NEW ART OF PRINTING!

       *       *       *       *       *



THE BANKING HOUSE

A HISTORY IN THREE PARTS. PART III.


CHAPTER I.

SYMPTOMS OF ROTTENNESS.


Michael Allcroft returned to his duties, tuned for labour, full of
courage, and the spirit of enterprise and action. Discharged from the
thrall which had hitherto borne hard upon his energies, and kept them
down, he felt the blessed influence of perfect Liberty, and the
youthful elasticity of mind and body that liberty and conscious
strength engender. Devoted to the task that he had inflicted upon
himself, he grudged every hour that kept him from the field of
operations. Firm in his determination to realize, by his exertions, a
sum of money equal to his parent's debts, and to redeem the estate
from its insolvency, he was uneasy and impatient until he could resume
his yoke, and press resolutely forward. Rich and independent as he
was, in virtue of the fortune of his wife, he still spurned the idea
of relying upon her for his release--for the means of rescuing his
fathers name and house from infamy. No; he saw--he fancied that he saw
a brighter way marked out before him. Industry, perseverance, and
extreme attention would steer his bark steadily through the difficult
ocean, and bring her safely into harbour: these he could command, for
they depended upon himself whom he might trust. He had looked
diligently into the transactions of the house for many years past, and
the investigation was most satisfactory. Year after year, the business
had increased--the profits had improved. The accumulations of his
father must have been considerable when he entered upon his ruinous
speculations. What was the fair inference to draw from this result?
Why--that with the additional capital of his partners--the influx and
extension of good business, and the application of his own resolute
mind, a sum would be raised within a very few years, sufficient to
reinstate the firm, to render it once more stable and secure. And
then--this desirable object once effected, and the secret of the
unfortunate position of the house never divulged--the income which
would afterwards follow for his partners and himself, must be immense.
It was this view of the subject that justified, to his mind, the means
which he had used--that silenced self-reproof, when it accused him of
artifice, and called him to account for the deception he had practised
upon his colleagues. It must be acknowledged, that the plan which he
proposed held out fair promise of ultimate success and that, reckoning
upon the united will and assistance of his partners, he had good
reason to look for an eventual release from all his difficulties and
cares. Yet it was not to be. "_We still have judgment here._"
Punishment still comes to us from those whom we would circumvent. It
was in vain that Michael set foot in the Bank with an indomitable and
eager spirit; in vain that he longed to grapple with his
fate--resolute to overcome it. The world was against him. The battle
was already decided. His first hard struggle for deliverance was
coincident with his last hour of earthly peace.

Before one year had passed over the respectable heads of our notable
Banking-House, Allcraft was involved in a net of perplexity, from
which it required all the acuteness of his apprehending mind to work
out a mode of extrication. Augustus Brammel continued abroad, spending
his money, and drawing upon the house, with the impudent recklessness
which we have already seen to be a prime ingredient in his character.
He did not condescend to communicate with his partners, or to give
them any information touching his whereabouts, except such as might be
gathered from his cheques, which came, week after week, with alarming
punctuality, for sums as startling. From this one source of misery,
where was a promise or a chance of a final rescue? Michael saw none.
What if he refused to cash his partner's drafts? What if he permitted
them to find their way back, as best they might, through the
various channels by which they had travelled on their previous
journey--dishonoured and disgraced? Who but himself would be the loser
by the game? Such a refusal would lead to quick enquiry--enquiry to
information--information to want of confidence and speedy ruin. What
reliance could repose upon a house, divided against itself--not safe
from the extravagance and pillage of its own members? The public eye,
ever watchful and timid, waits scarcely for the show of danger to take
alarm and withdraw its favour. Michael shrunk from the bare conception
of an act of violence. It was more agreeable, in an hour of
self-collectedness, to devise a remedy, which, if it did not cure the
disease, helped at least to cicatrize the immediate wounds. He looked
from Brammel to Brammel's father for indemnification. And the old man
was in truth a rare temptation. Fond, pitiable father of a false and
bloodless child! doting, when others would have hated, loving his
prodigal with a more anxious fondness as his ingratitude grew
baser--as the claims upon a parent's heart dwindled more and more
away. The grey-haired man was a girl in tenderness and sensibility. He
remembered the mother of the wayward child, and the pains she had
taken to misuse and spoil her only boy; his own conduct returned to
him in the shape of heavy reproaches, and he could not forget, or call
to mind without remorse, the smiles of encouragement he had given, the
flattering approbation he had bestowed when true love, justice, duty,
mercy, all called loudly for rebuke, restraint, wholesome correction,
solemn chastisement. Could he be conscious of all this, and not excuse
the unsteady youth--accuse himself? It was he who deserved
punishment--not the sufferer with his calamities _imposed_ upon him by
his erring sire. He was ready to receive his punishment. Oh, would
that at any cost--at any expense of bodily and mental suffering, he
could secure his child from further sorrow and from deeper
degradation! To such a heart and mind, Michael might well carry his
complaints with some expectation of sympathy and reimbursement.
Aggrieved as he was, he did not fail to paint his disappointment and
sense of injury in the strongest colours; but blacker than all--and he
was capable of such a task, he pictured the gross deception of which
he had so cruelly been made the subject.

"I could," he said to the poor father, in whose aged eyes, turned to
the earth, tears of shame were gushing, "I could have forgiven any
thing but that. You deceived me meanly and deliberately. The character
you gave with him was false. You knew it to be so, and you were well
aware that nothing but mischief and ruin could result from a connexion
with him."

"Indeed, Mr Allcraft," replied the unhappy man, "I had great hopes of
his reformation. He had improved of late years a little, and he gave
me his word that he would be steady. If I had not thought so, I should
certainly not have permitted you to receive him. What can we do, sir?"

"Ah! what, Mr Brammel. It is that I wish to know. The present state of
things cannot continue. Where is he now?"

"Indeed, I do not know. He is a bad boy to hide himself from his
father. I do not deserve it of him. I cannot guess."

"Are you aware, sir, that he is married?"

"They have told me something of it. I am, in truth, glad to hear it.
It will be to his wife's interest to lead him back to duty."

"You have not seen her, then?"

The old man shook his head.

"Well, well, sir," continued Allcraft, "this is not to the purpose. We
must protect ourselves. His profligacy must be checked; at all events,
we must have no connexion with it. Hitherto we have honoured his
drafts, and kept your name and his free from disgrace. I can do so no
longer. We have paid his last cheque this very day. To-morrow I shall
advertise publicly our determination, to honour his demands no more."

"No--no, no, Mr Allcraft," interposed old Brammel anxiously, taking
every word for granted, "that must not be done--I cannot allow it; for
the poor boy's sake, that determination must not be made at present. I
am sure he will reform at last. I should not be surprised if he
returned to business in a day or two, and settled steadily to work for
the remainder of his life. It is likely enough, now that he is
married. I have much to answer for on account of that youth, Mr
Allcraft, and I should never forgive myself if I suffered any thing to
be done that is likely to render him desperate, just when a glimmering
of hope is stealing upon us. You shake your head, sir, but I am
confident he will yet make up for all his folly."

"Heaven grant it, sir, for your sake!"

"Yes, and for his own, poor child--for what will become of him if he
does not! Now, as to these cheques, Mr Allcraft, let me have them all.
I will restore every farthing that you have paid on his account; and
should any more be presented, let them be duly honoured. I hold myself
responsible for their discharge. I am sure this is the wisest course
to pursue. It is quite reasonable for you to demur, and to object to
these demands. I like you the better, Mr Allcraft, for your scruples:
you are an honourable man, sir. I would lose my last drop of blood to
make my poor boy like you. It is wise and praiseworthy in you to look
so carefully to the good credit of your house; and it is fair and
right that I should take this matter upon myself. I do it, persuaded
of the propriety of the step, and satisfied that all will go well with
him yet. Be lenient with the unhappy boy, sir, and have yet a little
patience."

"I am afraid, sir, that he will but presume on your generosity and
good nature."

"Ah, but he is never to know it, Mr Allcraft; I would not for the
world have him hear of what I have done. Should you discover his
abode, write to him, I pray--tell him that I am enraged at his
proceedings--that I do not think that I can ever be reconciled to him
again. Say that my anger has no bounds--that my heart is
breaking--will break and kill me, if he persists in his ingratitude
and cruelty. Implore him to come home and save me."

The old man stopped and wept. Michael was not yet a father and could
not understand the tears: it appears that he understood business much
better; for, taking leave of Brammel as soon as he could after the
latter had expressed a wish to cash the cheques, he went immediately
to the bank and procured the documents. He presented them with his own
hand to the astounded father, from whom, also with his own hand, he
received one good substantial draft in fair exchange.

So far, so good; but, in another quarter, Allcraft suddenly discovered
that he had committed an egregious blunder. He had entrusted Planner
with the secret of his critical position--had made him acquainted with
the dishonest transactions of his father, and the consequent
bankruptcy of the firm. Not that this disclosure had been made in any
violent ebullition of unguarded feeling--from any particular love to
Planner--from an inability on the part of the divulger to keep his own
good counsel. Michael, when he raised Planner from poverty to
comparative affluence, was fully sensible of the value of his man--the
dire necessity for him. It was indispensable that the tragic underplot
of the play should never be known to either Bellamy or Brammel, and
the only safe way of concealing it from them, was to communicate it
unreservedly to their common partner, and his peculiar _protégé_. He
did so with much solemnity, and with many references to the
extraordinary liberality he had himself displayed in admitting him to
his confidence, and to a share of his wealth. "Maintain my secret," he
said to Planner, "and your fortune shall be made; betray me, and you
are thrown again into a garret. You cannot hurt me; nothing shall save
you." He repeated these words over and over again, and he received
from his confidant assurance upon assurance of secrecy and unlimited
devotion. And up to the period of Allcraft's return from France, the
gentleman had every reason to rely upon the probity and good faith of
his associate; nor in fact had he less reason _after_ his return. Were
it not that "the thief doth fear each bush an officer," he had no
cause whatever to suspect or tremble: his mind, for any actual danger,
might have been at rest. But what did he behold? Why, Planner and
Bellamy, whom he had left as distant as stage-coach acquaintances, as
intimate and loving, as united and inseparable, as the tawny twins of
Siam. Not a week passed which did not find the former, once, twice, or
three times a guest at the proud man's table. The visits paid to the
bank were rather to Mr Planner than for any other object. Mr Planner
only could give advice as to the alteration of the south wing of the
hall: Mr Planner's taste must decide upon the internal embellishments:
then there were private and mysterious conversations in the small back
room--the parlour; nods and significant looks when they met and
separated; and once, Michael called to see Planner after the hours of
business, and whom should he discover in his room but Mr Bellamy
himself, sitting in conclave with the schemer, and manifestly intent
upon some serious matter. What was the meaning of all this? Oh, it was
too plain! The rebel Planner had fallen from his allegiance, and was
making his terms with the enemy. Allcraft cursed himself a thousand
times for his folly in placing himself at the mercy of so unstable a
character, and immediately became aware that there had never been any
cogent reason for such a step, and that his danger would have been
infinitely smaller had he never spoken to a human being on the
subject. But it was useless to call himself, by turns, madman and
fool, for his pains. What could be done now to repair the error?
Absolutely nothing; and, at the best, he had only to prepare himself,
for the remainder of his days, to live in doubt, fear, anxiety, and
torture.

In the meanwhile, Planner grew actually enamoured of the
_Pantamorphica_ Association. The more he examined it, the more
striking appeared its capabilities, the fairer seemed the prospect of
triumphant unequivocal success. In pursuance of his generous
resolution, he communicated his designs to Allcraft. They were
received with looks of unaffected fright. Without an instant's
hesitation, Michael implored his partner to desist--to give up at
once, and for ever, all thoughts of the delusion--to be faithful to
his duty, and to think well of his serious engagement. "Your
Association, sir," he exclaimed in the anger of the moment, "is like
every other precious scheme you have embarked in--impracticable,
ridiculous, absurd!" Planner, in these three words, could only
read--_ingratitude_--the basest it had ever been his lot to meet. Here
was a return for his frankness--his straightforward conduct--his
unequalled liberality. Here was the affectionate expression of thanks
which he had so proudly looked forward to--the acknowledgment of
superior genius which he had a right to expect from the man who was to
profit so largely by the labour of his brains. Very well. Then let it
be so. He would prosecute the glorious work alone--he would himself
supply the funds needful for the undertaking, and alone he would
receive the great reward that most assuredly awaited him. Very
delicately did Michael hint to his partner, that his--Planner's--funds
existed, with his castles and associations, in the unsubstantial air,
and no where else; but not so delicately as to avoid heaping fuel on
the fire which he had already kindled in the breast of the offended
schemer. The latter bristled at the words, lost for an instant his
self-possession, said in his anger more than he intended--more than he
might easily unsay--enough to bruise the already smarting soul of
Allcraft. A threat escaped his lips--a reproach--a taunt. He spoke of
his _power_, and touched cuttingly upon the deep schemes of _other_
men, more feasible than his own perhaps, and certainly more honest.
Allcraft winced, as every syllable made known the speaker's actual
strength--his own dependence and utter weakness. He made no reply to
the attack of the man whom he had drawn from beggary; but he looked
him in the face steadily and reproachfully, and shamed him into
vexation and regret.

"I did not mean to speak unkindly, Michael," he stammered with a view
to apologize. "I am sorry that I lost my temper. You need not fear me.
Don't remember what I have said."

"You have threatened me, Planner," answered Allcraft, trembling with
irritation. "You have attempted to frighten me into compliance with
your demands. I say, sir, you have threatened me. It is the first
time--it shall be the last."

"It shall, Michael--I promise you it shall."

"I ask no promise from you," continued the excited and suspicious man,
writhing under a sense of his helplessness. "You have betrayed the
cloven foot. I thank you for it. I am aware of what is to follow--I
expect it--I shall hold myself prepared!"

"Do nothing of the kind, Allcraft. You know me better. You are safe
with me. I am ashamed of myself for what I have spoken. Forgive me"--

"But never mind," proceeded the unhappy Michael. "I defy you: do your
worst. Let this be your acknowledgment of past favours--the fulfilment
of your sacred promise. Betray me to Bellamy, and be at ease."

"Michael, you do not use me well. I spoke angrily, and without
consideration. I am sorry that I did so, and I have asked your
forgiveness. What can I do more? You should allow for wounded
feelings. It was hard to hear you ridiculing an affair that occupies
my serious thoughts. I was irritated--think no more about it."

"Answer me this, How much does Mr Bellamy already know?"

"From me--nothing. Make your mind happy on that score. It is not to
the interest of any one of us that secrets should be known. You need
not fear. Shake hands."

Michael took his hand.

"And as to this Association," continued Planner, "let me have my way
for once--the thing is clear, and cannot fail. The elements of success
are there, and a splendid fortune must be realized. I am not greedy. I
don't want to grasp every thing for myself. I told you just now that
we would share and share alike. You are not up to projects of this
nature. I am. Trust to me. I will engage to enter upon no new affair
if I am disappointed in this. The truth is, I cannot quietly let a
fortune slide through my fingers, when a little skill and energy only
are necessary to secure it. Come, Michael, this once you must not say
_no_."

The hope, however faint, of making money by this speculation, and the
fear of offending the depositary of his great secret, compelled at
length from Allcraft a reluctant acquiescence. He consented to the
trial, receiving Planner's solemn promise that, in the event of
failure, it should be the last. Planner himself, overjoyed at his
victory, prepared himself for action, and contemplated the magnificent
resources of the bank with a resolute and daring spirit that would
have gratified exceedingly the customers of the house, could they have
but known it. Planner conscientiously believed that he had hitherto
failed in all his schemes, because he had never commanded cash
sufficient to carry out his views. This great obstacle being removed,
he wisely determined to make the most of his good fortune. And in
truth he was without the shadow of an excuse for timidity and
forbearance. The anxiety which might have accompanied his ventures,
had the money been his own, was mercifully spared him; the thought of
personal danger and ruin could never come to cloud his intellect, or
oppress his energy. As for the ruin of any other party, the idea, by a
very happy dispensation, never once occurred to him. It took a very
few months to make Mr Planner the largest shareholder--the principal
director--the president and first man in the famous "_Joint-Stock
Pantamorphica Association._"

And whilst he was busy in the purchase of lands required for the
extensive undertaking, his dear friend Mr Bellamy was agreeably
occupied in paying off, by degrees, the heavy mortgages which, for
many years, had been weighing on his beautiful estate. In addition to
the ten thousand pounds which he had abstracted during the absence of
Mr Allcraft, he had not hesitated to draw large sums under the very
nose of his too easy and unsuspecting partner. The manner of Mr
Bellamy threw Michael off his guard. He walked so erect--looked upon
every body so superciliously--spoke even to Allcraft in so high a
tone, and with so patronizing an air, that it was quite impossible to
suspect him of being any thing but real coin, a sound man, and worthy
of all trust. It is certainly true that Mr Bellamy had not brought
into the concern as he had engaged, some twenty, or forty thousand
pounds--it does not matter which--but the reasons which he
condescended to give for this failure were perfectly satisfactory, and
accounted for the delay--so well accounted for it that Michael
entreated Mr Bellamy not to think about it, but to take his time. And
how very natural it was for a man of Mr Bellamy's consideration and
enormous wealth to secure the little property that adjoined his own,
and to borrow from the bank any sum of money that he might want to
complete so desirable a purchase! And how very natural, likewise, on
the part of Allcraft, ever fearful of discovery, ever desirous to keep
upon the best terms with Mr Bellamy (the great man of the country, the
observed of all observers)--to be at all times anxious to oblige his
friend, to render him sensible of his desire to please him, and of the
obligation under which, by these repeated acts of kindness and
indulgence, he was insensibly brought.

And so they reached the close of the first year of partnership; and
who shall say that the situation of Michael was an enviable one, or
that the persevering man had not good cause for despondency and dread?
He was already deeply indebted to his wife; not one of his three
partners had proved to be such as he expected and required. Danger
threatened from two of them: Mr Bellamy had not afforded the support
which he had promised. A stronger heart than Michael's might have
quailed in his position; yet the pressure from without animated and
invigorated _him_. In the midst of his gloom, he was not without a
gleam of hope and consolation. As he had foreseen, the business of the
house rapidly increased: its returns were great. Day and night he
laboured to improve them, and to raise the reputation of the tottering
concern; for tottering it was, though looking most secure. For
himself, he did not draw one farthing from the bank; he resided with
his wife in a small cottage, lived economically, and sacrificed to his
engrossing occupation every joy of the domestic hearth. The public
acknowledged with favour the exertions of the labouring man;
pronounced him worthy of his sire; vouchsafed him their respect and
confidence. Bravely the youth proceeded on his way--looking ever to
the future--straining to his object--prepared to sacrifice his life
rather than yield or not attain it. Noble ambition--worthy of a less
ignoble cause--a better fate!

The second year passed on, and then the third: at the close of this,
Michael looked again at his condition. During the last year the
business of the house had doubled. Had not the profits, and more than
the profits, been dragged away by Bellamy and Planner--his ardent mind
would have been satisfied, his ceaseless toil well-paid. But the
continual drafts had kept ever in advance of the receipts, draining
the exchequer--crippling its faculties. Even at this melancholy
exhibition, his sanguine spirit refused to be cast down, and to resign
the hope of ultimate recovery and success. He built upon the promise
of Mr Bellamy, who at length had engaged to refund his loans upon a
certain day, and to add, at the same time, his long-expected and
long-promised quota of floating capital: he built upon the illusions
of Planner's strong imagination--Planner, who suddenly becoming sick
of his speculation, alarmed at his responsibility, and doubtful of
success, had been for some time vigorously looking out for a
gentleman, willing to purchase his share and interest in the unrivaled
_Pantamorphica_, and to relieve him of his liabilities; and had at
last persuaded himself into the belief that he had found one. _He_
likewise fixed a period for the restoration of a fearful sum of money,
which Michael, madman that he was, had suffered him to expend--to
fling away like dirt. Upon such expectation, Allcraft stood--upon such
props suffered his aching soul to rest. There wanted but a month to
the acceptable season when claims upon the house poured in which
could not be put off. Michael borrowed money once more from his wife
to meet them. He did it without remorse or hesitation. Why should he
have compunction--why think about it, when the hour of repayment was
so near at hand? It was a proper question for a man who could slumber
on a mine that was ready to burst, and shatter him to atoms.


CHAPTER II.

A MEETING.


It was a constant saying of old Mr Brammel, that if his time were to
come over again, he would adopt a very different plan from that which
he had pursued in the education of his son. Now, a different plan it
might have been; but one leading to a more satisfactory result, I must
take the liberty to deny. Of what use is experience to one who, with
sixty years of life in him, still feels and thinks, reasons and acts,
like a child? Who but a child would have thought of paying the
wholesale demands of that dissolute, incorrigible youth, with the
notion of effecting by such subtle means his lasting reformation: who
but a child would have made the concealment of his name a condition of
the act? As may be guessed, the success of this scheme was equal to
its wisdom. Augustus Theodore, too grateful for the facilities
afforded him, showed no disposition to abridge his pleasures, or to
hasten his return. In the regular and faithful discharge of his
drafts, his vulgar soul rejoiced to detect a fear of offending, and an
eagerness to conciliate, on the part of his partner, Michael Allcraft.
He would see and acknowledge nothing else. And the idea once fixed in
his mind, he was not likely to rest contented with half the glory of
his victory. "No.--He would punish the fellow.--He would make him
smart; he would teach him to come all the way to France on purpose to
bully him. He hadn't done with the gentleman yet. Master Allcraft
should cry loud enough before he had. He'd sicken him." Still the
hopeful youth pursued his travels--still he transmitted his _orders at
sight_--still they were honoured punctually--still Augustus Theodore
chuckled with stupid delight over what he considered the pitiful
submission of his partner, who had not courage to reject his drafts,
and dared not utter now one brief expostulatory word. Mr Brammel,
junior, like the rest of the firm, lived in his own delusions. The
fourth year dawned, and Mr Brammel suddenly appeared amongst his
friends. He and his lady had travelled over Europe; they had seen the
world--the world had seen them; they were sick of wandering--they
desired to settle. A noble villa, with parks and paddocks, was
quickly taken and sumptuously furnished; hunters were got from
Tattersall's--nursery-maids from France--an establishment worthy of
the name rose like magic, almost within sight of Michael's humble
dwelling, taking the neighbourhood by surprise, startling and
affrighting Allcraft. Again the latter visited the fond old
man--remonstrated, complained; and once more the father entreated on
behalf of his son, begged for time and patience, and undertook to
satisfy the prodigal's extravagance. He gave his money as before,
willingly and eagerly, and stipulated only, with unmeaning
earnestness, for secrecy and silence. And the fourth year closed as
drearily as it had opened. The promises of Bellamy and Planner were as
far from fulfilment as ever; their performance as vigorous and
disastrous as at first. The landed proprietor still redeemed, day
after day, portions of his involved estate. The schemer, disappointed
in his expectations of a purchaser, returned to his speculation with
redoubled ardour, and with fresh supplies of gold. His only chance of
ultimate recovery was to push boldly forward, and to betray no fear of
failure. One retrograde or timid step would open the eyes of men, and
bring down ruin on the _Pantamorphica_. Planner became conscious of
all this to his dismay, and he had nothing to do in the very extremity
of his distress, but to proceed in his venture with the best spirits
he could command, and to trust himself fairly to the swelling
tide.--Allcraft looked on and trembled.

It is wonderful how long a withered leaf will sometimes cling to its
branch. It will hold tenaciously there, the last of its race, days
after the decay of its greener and more healthy-looking mates. "A
creaking door," the proverb has it, "hangs long upon its hinges;" and
many a wheezing, parchment-looking gentleman, as we all know, who
ought to have died every year of his life since he was born, draws his
difficult breath through threescore years and ten; whilst the young,
the hardy, and the sound are smitten in their pride, and fall in heaps
about him. It is no less strange that a house of business like that of
our friend Mr Allcraft, should assert its existence for years, rotten
as it was, during the whole of the time, at its very heart's core. And
yet such is the case. Eight years elapsed, and found it still in the
land of the living: yes, and to the eye external, as proper and as
good a house of business as any you shall name. Its vitals were
going--were gone, before the smallest indications of mischief appeared
upon the surface. Life must have been well nourished to maintain
itself so long. And was it not? Answer, thou kind physician, gentle
Margaret! Answer, thou balm and life's elixir--Margaret's _gold_!

Eight weary years have passed, and we have reached a miserable day in
the month of November. The wind is howling, and the rain is pelting
against the parlour windows of the Banking-house, whose blinds are
drawn close down. The partners are all assembled. Michael, whose hair
is as grey as his father's on the day of his death, and whom care and
misery have made haggard and old, sits at a table, with a heap of
papers before him, and a pen in his hand--engaged, as it appears, in
casting up accounts. Mr Bellamy, who looks remarkably well--very
glossy and very fat--sits at the table likewise, perusing leisurely
the county newspapers through golden eyeglasses. He holds them with
the air of a gentleman, comfortable and at ease in all respects,
mentally and bodily. Augustus Theodore swings on a chair before the
fire, which he keeps at work for his own especial consolation. His
feet stretch along the fender--his amusement is the poker. He has
grown insufferably vain, is dressed many degrees above the highest
fashionable point, and looks a dissipated, hopeless blackguard.
Planner, very subdued, very pale, and therefore very unlike himself,
stands behind the chair of Allcraft; and ever and anon he casts a
rueful glance over the shoulder of his friend, upon the papers which
his friend is busy with. No one speaks. At intervals Mr Bellamy coughs
extensively and loudly, just to show his dignity and independence, and
to assure the company that _his_ conscience is very tranquil on the
occasion--that his firm "withers are unwrung;" and Mr Brammel
struggles like an ill-taught bullfinch, to produce a whistle, and
fails in the attempt. With these exceptions, we have a silent room. A
quarter of an hour passes. Michael finishes his work. He spends one
moment in reflection, and then he speaks:--

"Now, gentlemen," he begins with a deep sigh, that seems to carry from
his heart a load of care--"Now, if you please"--

The paper and the poker are abandoned, chairs are drawn towards the
baize-covered table. The partners sit and look at one another, face to
face.

"Gentlemen," said Michael, at first slowly and seriously, and in a
tone which none might hear beyond their walls--"you do not, I am sure,
require me to advert to _all_ the causes which have rendered this
meeting necessary. I have no desire to use reproaches, and I shall
refer as little as I may to the past. I ask you all to do me justice.
Have I not laboured like a slave for the common good? Have I not
toiled in order to avoid the evil hour that has come upon us? Have I
not given every thing--have I not robbed another in order to prop up
our house and keep its name from infamy?"

"Be calm, be calm," interposed Mr Bellamy gently, remarking that
Allcraft slightly raised his voice at the concluding words.

"Calm! calm, Mr Bellamy!" exclaimed the unhappy speaker, renouncing
without hesitation all attempts at the _suaviter in modo_, and yet
fearful of showing his indignation and of being overheard--"Calm! It
is well for you to talk so. Had I been less calm, less easy; had I
done my duty--had I been determined seven years ago, this cruel day
would never have arrived. You are my witness that it never would."

Mr Bellamy rose with much formality from his seat.

"Gentlemen," he said, "I cannot submit to dark and plebeian
innuendoes. I have come here to-day, at great personal inconvenience,
and I am prepared to listen respectfully to any thing which Mr
Allcraft thinks it his duty to bring before us. But I must have you
remember that a gentleman and a man of honour cannot brook an insult."

"I ask your pardon, sir," added Allcraft, in a tone of bitterness--"I
meant no insult. Pray be seated. I have the honour to present you with
a statement of our affairs. We have claims upon us, amounting to
several thousand pounds, which must be met within a week. A third of
the sum required will not be at our command. How is it to be obtained?
and, if obtained, how is it to repair the inroads which, year after
year, have been made upon the house, and how secure it from further
spoliation? It is useless and absurd to hide from ourselves any longer
the glaring fact that we are on the actual verge of bankruptcy."

"Well! I have had nothing to do with that. You can't say it's me,"
ejaculated Mr Brammel. "You have had the management in your own hands,
and so you have nobody but yourself to thank for it. I thought from
the beginning how the concern would turn out!"

"_Your_ share, sir, in furthering the interests of the bank we will
speak of shortly," said Michael, turning to the speaker with contempt.
"We have little time for recrimination now."

"As for recrimination, Mr Allcraft," interposed Mr Bellamy, "I must be
allowed to say, that you betray a very improper spirit in this
business--very--very. You are far from being temperate."

"Temperate!"

"Yes; I said so."

"Mr Bellamy," said Allcraft, bursting with rage, "I have been your
partner for eight years. I have not for a moment deserted my post, or
slackened in my duty. I have given my strength, my health, my peace of
mind, to the house. I have drawn less than your clerk from its
resources; but I have added to them, wrongfully, cruelly, and
unpardonably, from means not my own, which, in common honesty, I ought
never to have touched--which"--

"Really, really, Mr Allcraft," said Bellamy, interrupting him, "you
have told us every word of this before."

"Wait, sir," continued the other. "I am _intemperate_, and you shall
have my excuse for being so. _You_, Mr Bellamy, have never devoted one
moment of your life to the interests of the house; no, not a moment.
You have, year after year, without the slightest hesitation or
remorse, sucked its life-blood from it. You have borrowed, as these
accounts will show, thousands of pounds, and paid them back with
promises and words. You engaged to produce your fair proportion of
capital; you have given nothing. You made grand professions of adding
strength and stability to the firm; you have been its stumblingblock
and hinderance."

"Mr Allcraft," said Bellamy coolly, "you are still a very young man."

"Have I told the truth?"

"Pshaw, man! Speak to the point. Speak to the point, sir. We have
heavy payments due next week. Are we prepared to meet them?"

"No--nor shall we be."

"That's unfortunate," added Mr Bellamy, very quietly. "You are sure of
that? You cannot help us--with another loan, for instance?"

Michael answered, with determination--"No."

"Very well. No violence, Mr Allcraft, pray. Such being the case, I
shall decline, at present, giving any answer to the unjust, inhuman
observations which you have made upon my conduct. Painful as it is to
pass this barbarous treatment over for the present, still my own
private affairs shall be as nothing in comparison with the general
good. This provided for, I will protect myself from future insult,
depend upon it. You are wrong, Mr Allcraft--very wrong. You shall
acknowledge it. You will be sorry for the expressions which you have
cast upon a gentleman, your senior in years, and [here a very loud
cough] let me add--in social station. Now, sir, let me beg a word or
two in private."

It was very unfortunate that the whole establishment stood in
unaffected awe of the redoubted Mr Bellamy. Allcraft, notwithstanding
his knowledge of the man, and his previous attack upon his character,
was not, at this moment, free from the fascination; and at the
eleventh hour he found it difficult to withdraw entirely his
confidence in Mr Bellamy's ultimate desire and capability to deal
honorably and justly by him. Much of the Mogul's power was
unquestionably derived from his massive _physique_; but his
chief excellence lay in that peculiar off-hand, patronizing,
take-it-for-granted air, which he made it a point to assume towards
every individual with whom he came in contact. He had scarcely
requested a few minutes' private conversation with Allcraft, before
Planner and Brammel jumped involuntarily from their seats, as if in
obedience to a word of command, and edged towards the door.

"If you please," continued Mr Bellamy, nodding to them very
graciously; and they departed. In the course of ten minutes they were
recalled by the autocrat himself. The gentlemen resumed their seats,
and this time, Mr Bellamy addressed them.

"You see, my dear sirs," he began with, for him, peculiar gentleness,
"it is absolutely necessary to provide against the immediate exigency,
and to postpone all discussion on the past, until this is met, and
satisfactorily disposed of."

"Certainly!" said Augustus Brammel, who, for his part, never wished to
talk or think about the past again. "Certainly. Hear, hear! I agree to
that"--

"I knew you would, dear Mr Brammel--a gentleman of your discretion
would not fail to do so."

Augustus looked up at Mr Bellamy to find if he were jeering him; but
he saw no reason to believe it.

"Such being the case," continued the worthy speaker; "it behoves us
now to look about for some assistance. Our friend, Mr Allcraft, I am
sorry to say, does not feel disposed to help us once more through the
pressure. I am very sorry to say so. Perhaps he will think better of
it, (Allcraft shook his head.) Ah; just so. He desponds a little now.
He takes the dark side of things. For my own part, I prefer the
bright. He believes, as you have heard, that we are on the verge of
bankruptcy. Upon my honour as a gentleman, I really can believe in no
such thing. There is a general gloom over the mercantile world; it
will break off in time; and we, with the rest of mankind, shall pass
into the sunshine."

"Hear, hear!" exclaimed Augustus Brammel; "that's the way to look at
things!"

"Taking it for granted, then--which, positively, I an not inclined to
do; for really, Mr Allcraft, it is against your interest not to help
us in this emergency--but, however, taking it, I say, for granted,
that our friend here will not succour us--it appears to me, that only
one legitimate course is open to us. If we are refused at home, let us
apply for aid as near our home as possible. There are our London
friends"--

"Ah, yes, to be sure--so there are," cried Theodore Augustus.

"We surely cannot hesitate to apply to them. Our name stands--and
deservedly so--very high. They will be glad to accommodate us with a
temporary loan. We will avail ourselves of it--say for three months.
That will give us time to turn about us, and to prepare ourselves
against similar unpleasant casualties. See what we want, Mr Allcraft:
let the sum be raised in London without delay, and let us look forward
with the hearts of men."

"Capital, capital," continued Brammel; "I second that motion."

"Thank you, sir," said Mr Bellamy, with a gracious smile. "There
remains then to consider only who shall be the favoured individual
deputed to this important business. One of us must certainly go to
London, and I do think it due to our youngest member, Brammel, to
concede to him the honour of representing us in the metropolis. No
offence will, I trust, be taken by our other friends, and I hope that
in my zeal for Mr Brammel, I shall not be suspected of betraying an
undue preference."

Mr Bellamy turned towards Augustus Theodore with an almost
affectionate expression of countenance, as he spoke these words; but
perceived, to his mortification, that the latter, instead of being
pleasantly affected by his address, wriggled in his chair most
impatiently, and assumed the complexion and aspect of a man with whom
something has suddenly and violently disagreed.

"No--no--no!" he bellowed out, as soon as he could; "none of that
soft-soap, Mr Bellamy; make up your mind at once--I sha'n't go. I
can't borrow money. I do not know how to do it. I don't want the
honour, thank you. It's very good of you, and I am much obliged to
you--that's a fact. But you'll look out for some body else, if you
please. I beg to say I decline--pos"--

Mr Bellamy cast upon Theodore one of his natural and annihilating
glances, and said deliberately,

"Mr Brammel, for the first time in your life you are honoured by being
made a useful individual. You are to go to London.--Go you shall"--

"Go, I sha'n't," answered Brammel, in his accustomed easy style and
manner.

"Very well. You are aware, Mr Brammel, that your respected parent has
yet to be made acquainted with sundry lively doings of your own, which
you would rather, I believe, keep from his ears at present; you
likewise are aware that if any thing happens to the serious injury of
the bank through your imprudence--your inheritance from that respected
parent would be dearly purchased for a shilling. I shall be sorry to
hurt your feelings, or your pocket. I have no wish to do it; but
depend upon me, sir, your father shall be a wiser man to-night, if you
are obstinate and disobedient."

"I can't borrow money--I can't--I don't know how to do it," said
Brammel peevishly.

"And who reproaches you for your inability, my dear sir," said Bellamy
coaxingly. "No one, I am sure. You shall be taught. Every thing shall
be made easy and agreeable. You will carry your credentials from the
house, and your simple task shall be beforehand well explained to
you."

"I am not used to it."

"And you never will be, Mr Brammel, if you don't begin to practise.
Come, I am sure you don't wish me to see your father to-day. I am
certain you are not anxious to part with your patrimony. You are too
sensible a man. Pray let us have no delay, Mr Allcraft. See what we
want. Mr Brammel will go to London to-morrow. We must take time by the
forelock. Let us meet these heavy payments, and then we can think, and
breathe, and talk. Till then it is idle to wrangle, and to lose one's
temper. Very well: then there's little more, I imagine, to be done at
present."

Augustus Theodore still opposed his nomination, like an irritable
child; but a fly kicking against a stone wall, was as likely to move
it, as Brammel to break down the resolution of such a personage as Mr
Bellamy. After an hour's insane remonstrance, he gave in to his own
alarm, rather than to the persuasion of his partner. He was fearfully
in debt; his only hope of getting out of it rested in the speedy
decease of his unfortunate parent, whom he had not seen for months,
and who, he had reason to believe, had vowed to make him pay with his
whole fortune for any calamity that might happen to the bank through
his misconduct or extravagance. It was not from the lips of Mr Bellamy
that he heard this threat for the first time. What he should do, if it
were carried out, heaven only knows. He consented to go to London on
this disgusting mission, and he could have bitten his tongue out for
speaking his acquiescence, so enraged was he with himself, and all the
world, at his defeat. He did not affect to conceal his anger; and yet,
strange to say, it was not visible to Mr Bellamy. On the contrary, he
thanked Mr Brammel for the cheerful and excellent spirit in which he
had met his partners' wishes, and expressed himself delighted at the
opportunity which now presented itself for introducing their young
friend to life. Then, turning to Michael Allcraft, he begged him to
prepare their deputation for his work immediately, and to place no
obstacle in the way of his departure. Then he moved the adjournment of
the meeting until the return of Mr Brammel; and then he finished by
inviting all his partners to dine with him at the hall that day, and
to join him in drinking success and happiness to their young
adventurer. The invitation was accepted; and Mr. Bellamy's grand
carriage drew up immediately with splash and clatter to the door.


CHAPTER III.

A CHAPTER OF LOANS.


Augustus Brammel hated his partners with all his heart and soul. He
had never been very fond of them, but the result of this interview
gave an activity and a form to feelings which it required only
sufficient occasion to bring into play. Notwithstanding the polite
tone which Mr Bellamy had cunningly adopted in placing his mission
before him, even he, the ignorant and obtuse Brammel, could not fail
to see that he had been made the tool, the cat's-paw in a business
from which his partners shrank. Now, had the young man been as full of
courage as he was of vulgar conceit, he might, I verily believe, have
turned his hatred, and his knowledge of affairs, to very good account.
Lacking the spirit of the smallest animal that crawls, he was content
to eject his odious malice in oaths and execrations, and to submit to
his beating after all. No sooner was the meeting at an end, than he
left the Banking-house, and turned his steps towards home. He had
become--as it was very natural he should--a brute of a husband, and
the terror of his helpless household. He remembered, all at once, that
he had been deeply aggrieved in the morning by Mrs Brammel; that as
many as two of his shirt buttons had given way whilst he was in the
act of dressing, and unable to contain himself after the treatment of
Mr Bellamy, he resolved forthwith to have his vengeance out upon his
wife. But he had not walked a hundred yards, before his rancour and
fury increased to such a height, that he was compelled to pull up
short in the street, and to vow, with a horrible oath, that he would
see all his partners roasting in the warmest place that he could think
of, before he'd move one inch to save their souls from rotting. So,
instead of proceeding homeward, he turned back again, with a view to
make this statement; but before he could reach the Banking-house, a
wiser thought entered his head, and induced him to retrace his steps.
"He would go," he said, "to his father; and lay his complaint there.
He would impeach all his partners, acknowledge his errors, and promise
once more to reform. His father, easy old fool, would believe him,
forgive him, and do any thing else, in his joy." It was certainly a
bright idea--but, alas! his debts were so very extensive. Bellamy's
threatening look rose before him, and made them appear even larger and
more terrible than they were. What if his father insisted upon his
going to London, and doing any other dirty work which these fellows
chose to put upon him? Bellamy, he was sure, could make the old man do
any thing. No, it wouldn't do. He stamped his foot to the ground in
vexation, and recurred to his original determination. It was all he
could do. He must go to London, and take what indemnification he might
in the domestic circle previously to starting. And the miserable man
did have his revenge, and did go to London. He was empowered to borrow
twenty thousand pounds from the London house, and he was furnished by
Michael Allcraft with particulars explanatory of his commission. And
he walked into Lombard Street with the feelings of a culprit walking
up the scaffold to his execution. His pitiful heart deserted him at
the very instant when he most needed its support. He passed and
repassed the large door of the establishment, which he saw opened and
shut a hundred tines in a minute, by individuals, whose
self-collectedness and independence, he would have given half his
fortune to possess. He tried, time after time, to summon courage for
his entry, and, as he afterwards expressed it, a ball rose in his
throat--just as he got one foot upon the step--large enough to choke
him. Impudent and reckless us he had been all his life, he was now
more timid and nervous than an hysterical girl. Oh, what should he do!
First, he thought of going to a neighbouring hotel, and writing at
once to Allcraft; swearing that he was very ill, that he couldn't
move, and was utterly unable to perform his duties. If he went to bed,
and sent for a doctor, surely Allcraft would believe him; and in pity
would come up and do the business. He dwelt upon this contrivance,
until it seemed too complicated for success. Would it not be more
advisable to write to the London house itself, and explain the object
of his coming up? But if he could write, why couldn't he _call_? They
would certainly ask that question, and perhaps refuse the loan. Oh,
what was he to do! He could hit upon no plan, and he couldn't muster
confidence to turn in. The porter of the firm mercifully interposed to
rescue Mr Brammel from his dilemma. That functionary had watched the
stranger shuffling to and fro in great anxiety and doubt, and at
length he deemed it proper to enquire whether the gentleman was
looking for the doorway of the house of Messrs ---- and ----, or not.
Augustus, frightened, answered _yes_ at random, and in another instant
found himself in what he called "THE SWEATING ROOM of the awfullest
house of business he had ever seen in all his life." It was a large
square apartment, very lofty and very naked-looking. There was an iron
chest, and two shelves filled with giant books; and there was nothing
else in the room but a stillness, and a mouldiness of smell, that hung
upon his spirits like pounds of lead, dragging them down, and freezing
them. Yet, cold as were his spirits, the perspiration that oozed from
the pores of his skin was profuse and steady during the quarter of an
hour that elapsed whilst he waited for the arrival of the worthy
principal. During those memorable fifteen minutes--the most unpleasant
of his life--Augustus, for two seconds together, could neither sit,
stand nor walk with comfort. He knew nothing of the affairs of his
house; he was not in a condition to answer the most trivial business
question; he had heard that his firm was on the eve of bankruptcy,
(and, judging from the part he had taken in its affairs, he could
easily believe it;) he felt that his partners had thrown the odium of
the present application upon him, not having courage to take it upon
themselves; and he had an indistinct apprehension that this very act
of borrowing money would lead to transportation or the gallows, should
the business go to rack and ruin, as he could see it shortly would.
All these considerations went far to stultify the otherwise weak and
feeble Mr Brammel; when, in addition, he endeavoured to arrange in his
mind the terms on which he would request the favour of a temporary
loan of only (!) twenty thousand pounds, a sensation of nausea
completely overpowered him, and the table, the chairs, the iron chest,
swam round him like so many ships at sea. To recover from his
sickness, and to curse the banking-house, every member of the same,
and his own respectable parent for linking him to it, was one and the
same exertion. To the infinite astonishment of Augustus Theodore, the
acquisition of these twenty thousand pounds proved the most amusing
and easiest transaction of his life. Mr Cutbill, the managing partner
of the London house, received him with profound respect and pleasure.
He listened most attentively to the stammering request, and put the
deputation at his ease at once, by expressing his readiness to comply
with Mr Allcraft's wishes, provided a note of hand, signed by all the
partners, and payable in three months, was given as security for the
sum required. Augustus wrote word home to that effect; the note of
hand arrived--the twenty thousand pounds were paid--the dreaded
business was transacted with half the trouble that it generally cost
Augustus Theodore to effect the purchase of a pair of gloves.

Mr Bellamy remained at the hall just one week after the receipt of the
cash, and then was carried to the north by pressing business. Before
he started he complimented Allcraft upon their success, trusted that
they should now go smoothly on, promised to return at the very
earliest moment, and gave directions on his route by which all
letters of importance might safely reach him. And Allcraft, relieved
for a brief season, indefatigable as ever, strained every nerve and
muscle to sustain his credit and increase his gains. As heretofore, he
denied himself all diversion and amusement. The first at the bank, the
last to leave it, he had his eye for ever on its doings. Visible at
all times to the world, and most conspicuous there where the world was
pleased to find him, he maintained his reputation as a thorough man of
business, and held, with hooks of steel, a confidence as necessary to
existence as the vital air around him. To lose a breath of the public
approbation in his present state, were to give up fatally the only
stay on which he rested. Wonderful that, as the prospects of the man
grew darker, his courage strengthened, his spirit roused, his industry
increased! And a bitter reflection was it, that reward still came to
him--still a fair return for time and strength expended. He could not
complain of the neglect of mankind, or of the ingratitude of those he
served. In the legitimate transactions of the house, he was a
prosperous and a prospering man. Such, to the outer world, did he
appear in all respects, and such he would have been but for the hidden
and internal sores already past cure or reparation. Who had brought
them there? Michael did not ask the question--yet. Never did three
months pass away so rapidly as those which came between the day of
borrowing and the day of paying back those twenty thousand pounds. The
moment the money had arrived, Michael's previous anxieties fled from
his bosom, and left him as happy as a boy without a care. It came like
a respite from death. Sanguine to the last, he congratulated himself
upon the overthrow of his temporary difficulties, and relied upon the
upturning of some means of payment, on the arrival of the distant day.
But distant as it looked at first, it crept nearer and nearer, until
at the end of two months, when--as he saw no possibility of relieving
himself from the engagement--it appeared close upon him, haunting him
morning, noon, and night, wheresoever he might be, and sickening him
with its terrible and desperate aspect. When there wanted only a week
to the fatal day, Michael's hope of meeting the note of hand was
slighter than ever. He became irritable, distressed, and
anxious--struggled hard to get the needful sum together, struggled and
strove; but failed. Hours and minutes were now of vital consequence;
and, in a rash and unprotected moment, he permitted himself to write a
letter to the London house, begging them, as a particular favour, just
for one week to retire the bill they held against him. The London
house civilly complied with the request, and five days of that last
and dreary week swept by, leaving poor Allcraft as ill prepared for
payment as they had found him. What could he do? At length the gulf
had opened--was yawning--to receive him. How should he escape it?

Heaven, in its infinite mercy, has vouchsafed to men _angels_ to guide
and cheer them on their difficult and thorny paths. Could Michael
suffer, and Margaret not sympathize? Could he have a sorrow which she
might chase away, and, having the power, lack the heart to do it?
Impossible! Oh! hear her in her impassioned supplications; hear her at
midnight, in their disturbed and sleepless bedchamber, whilst the
doomed man sits at her side in agony, clasps his face, and buries it
within his hand for shame and disappointment.

"Michael, do not break my heart. Take, dearest, all that I possess;
but, I entreat you, let me see you cheerful. Do not take this thing to
heart. Whatever may be your trouble, confide it, love, to me. I will
try to kill it!"

"No, no, no," answered Allcraft wildly; "it must not be--it shall not
be, dear Margaret. You shall be imposed upon no longer. You shall not
be robbed. I am a villain!"

"Do not say so, Michael. You are kind and good; but this cruel
business has worn you out. Leave it, I implore you, if you can, and
let us live in peace."

"Margaret, it is impossible. Do not flatter yourself or me with the
vain hope of extrication. Release will never come. I am bound to it
for my life; it will take longer than a life to effect deliverance.
You know not my calamities."

"But I _will_ know them, Michael, and share them with you, if they
must be borne. I am your wife, and have a right to this. Trust me,
Michael, and do not kill me with suspense. What is this new
affliction? Whatsoever it may be, it is fitting that I should know
it--yes, will know it, dearest, or I am not worthy to lie beside you
there. Tell me, love, how is it that for these many days you have
looked so sad, and sighed, and frowned upon me. I am conscious of no
fault. Have I done amiss? Say so, and I will speedily repair the
fault?"

Michael pressed his Margaret to his heart, and kissed her fondly.

"Why, oh why, my Margaret, did you link your fate with mine?"

"Why, having done so, Michael, do you not love and trust me?"

"Love?"

"Yes--_love_! Say what you will, you do not love me, if you hide your
griefs from me. We are one. Let us be truly so. One in our joys and in
our sufferings."

"Dearest Margaret, why should I distress you? Why should I call upon
you for assistance? Why drag your substance from you?--why prey upon
you until you have parted with your all? I have taken too much
already."

"Answer me one simple question, Michael. Can money buy away this
present sorrow? Can it bring to you contentment and repose? Can it
restore to me the smile which is my own? Oh, if it can, be merciful
and kind; take freely what is needful, and let me purchase back my
blessings!"

"Margaret, you deserve a better fate!"

"Name the sum, dear. Is it my fortune? Not more? Then never were peace
of mind and woman's happiness so cheaply bought. Take it, Michael, and
let us thank Heaven that it is enough. My fortune never gave me so
much joy as now. I do not remember, Michael, that you have ever
refused my smallest wish. It is not in your nature to be unkind. Come,
dearest, smile a little. We have made the bargain--be generous, and
pay me in advance."

He smiled and wept in gratitude.

Now Michael retired to rest, determined not to take advantage of the
generous impulses of his confiding wife; yet, although he did so, it
could not but be very satisfactory to his marital feelings to
discover, and to be assured of the existence of, such devotedness and
disregard of self and fortune as she displayed. Indeed, he was very
much tranquillized and comforted; so much so, in fact, that he was
enabled, towards morning, to wake up in a condition to review his
affairs with great serenity of mind, and (notwithstanding his
determination) to contrive some mode of turning the virtuous
magnanimity of his wife to good account, without inflicting any injury
upon herself. Surely if he could do this, he was bound to act. To save
himself by her help, and, at the same time, without injuring her at
all, was a very defensible step, to say the least of it. Who should
say it wasn't his absolute duty to adopt it? Whatever repugnance he
might have felt in asking a further loan from one who had already
helped him beyond his expectations, it was certainly very much
diminished since she had offered to yield to him, without reserve,
every farthing that she possessed. Not that he would ever suffer her
to do any thing so wild and inexcusable; still, after such an
expression of her wishes, he was at liberty to ask her aid, provided
always that he could secure her from any loss or risk. When Michael
got thus far in his proposition, it was not very difficult to work it
to the end. Once satisfied that it was just and honourable, and it was
comparatively child's work to arrange the _modus operandi_. A common
trick occurred to him. In former transactions with his wife, he had
pledged his word of honour to repay her. It had become a stale pledge,
and very worthless, as Michael felt. What if he put his _life_ in
pawn! Ah, capital idea! This would secure to her every farthing of her
debt. Dear me, how very easy! He had but to insure his life for the
amount he wanted, and let what would happen, she was safe. His spirit
rejoiced. Oh, it was joy to think that she could save him from
perdition, and yet not suffer a farthing's loss. Loss! So far from
this, his ready mind already calculated how she might be a gainer by
the arrangement. He was yet young. Let him insure his life at present
for twenty thousand pounds, and how much more would it be worth--say
that he lived for twenty years to come? He explained it to his
lady--to his own perfect satisfaction. The willing Margaret required
no more. He could not ask as freely as the woman's boundless love
could grant. He, with all his reasoning, could not persuade his
conscience to pronounce the dealing just. She, with her beating heart
for her sole argument and guide, looked for no motive save her strong
affection--no end but her beloved's happiness and peace. Woe is me,
the twenty thousand pounds were griped--the precious life of Mr
Allcraft was insured--the London house was satisfied. A very few weeks
flew over the head of the needy man, before he was reduced to the same
pitiable straits. Money was again required to carry the reeling firm
through unexpected difficulties. Brammel was again dispatched to
London. The commissioner, grown bolder by his first success, was ill
prepared for hesitation and reproof, and awkward references to "that
last affair." Ten thousand pounds were the most they could advance,
and all transactions of the kind must close with this, if there should
be any deviation from the strictest punctuality. Brammel attempted to
apologise, and failed in the attempt, of course. He came home
disgusted, shortening his journey by swearing over half the distance,
and promising his partners his cordial forgiveness, if ever they
persuaded him again to go to London on a begging expedition!

Oh, Margaret! Margaret! Oh, spirit of the mild and gentle Mildred!
Must I add, that your good money paid this second loan--and yet a
third--a fourth--a fifth? When shall fond woman cease to give--when
shall mean and sordid man be satisfied with something less than all
she has to grant?


CHAPTER IV.

A DISSOLUTION OF PARTNERSHIP.


The most remarkable circumstance in that meeting of the partners,
which ended in Brammel's first visit to London, was the behaviour of
our very dear friend and ally--the volatile Planner--volatile, alas!
no longer. His best friend would not have recognized him on that
deeply interesting occasion. He was a subdued, a shaken man. Every
drop of his brave spirit had been squeezed out of him, and he stood
the mere pulp and rind of his former self. He who, for years, had been
accustomed to look at men, not only in the face, but very
impertinently over their heads, could not drag his shambling vision
now higher than men's shoe-strings. His eye, his heart, his soul was
on the ground. He was disappointed, crushed. Not a syllable did he
utter; not a single word of remonstrance and advice did he presume to
offer in the presence of his associates. He had a sense of guilt, and
men so situated are sometimes tongue-tied. He had, in truth, a great
deal to answer for, and enough to make a livelier man than he
dissatisfied and wretched. Every farthing which had passed from the
bank to the _Pantamorphica_ Association was irrecoverably gone. The
Association itself was in the same condition--gone irrecoverably
likewise. Nothing remained of that once beautiful and promising
vision, but some hundred acres of valueless land, a half-finished and
straggling brick wall, falling rapidly to decay, the foundations of a
theatre, and the rudiments of a temple dedicated to Apollo. Planner
had gazed upon the scene once, when dismal rain was pouring down upon
the ruins, and he burst into bitter tears, and sobbed like a child at
the annihilation of his hopes. He had not courage to look a second
time upon that desolation, and yet he found courage to turn away from
it, and to do a thing more desperate. Ashamed to be beaten, afraid to
meet the just rebuke of Allcraft, he flung himself recklessly into the
hands of a small band of needy speculators, and secretly engaged in
schemes that promised restitution of the wealth he had expended, or
make his ruin perfect and complete. One adventure after another
failed, cutting the thread of his career shorter every instant, and
rendering him more hot-brained and impatient. He doubled and trebled
his risks, and did the like, as may be guessed, to his anxieties and
failures. He lived in a perpetual fear and danger of discovery; and
discovery now was but another name, for poison--prison--death. Here
was enough, and more than enough, to extinguish every spark of joy in
the bosom of Mr Planner, and to account for his despondency and
settled gloom. And yet Planner, in this, his darkest hour, was nearer
to deliverance and perfect peace, than at any previous period of his
history. Planner was essentially "a lucky dog." Had he fallen from a
house-top, he would have reached _terra firma_ on his feet. Had he
been conducted to the gallows, according to his desserts, the noose
would have slipped, and his life would certainly have been spared.

It happened, that whilst Michael was immersed in the management of his
loans, a hint was forwarded to him of the pranks of his partner; a
letter, written by an anonymous hand, revealed his losses in one
transaction, amounting to many hundred pounds. The news came like a
thunderbolt to Allcraft. It was a death-blow. Iniquitous, unpardonable
as were the acts of his colleague--serious as was the actual sum of
money gone; yet these were as nothing compared with the distressing
fact, that intelligence of the evil work had already gone abroad, was
in circulation, and might at any moment put a violent end to his own
unsteady course. He carried the note to Planner--he thrust it into his
face, and called him to account for his baseness and ingratitude. He
could have struck his friend and partner to the earth, and trod him
there to death, as he confronted and upbraided him.

"Now, sir," roared Allcraft in his fury--"What excuse--what lie have
you at your tongue's end to palliate this? What can justify this? Will
you never be satisfied until you have rendered me the same hopeless,
helpless creature that I found you, when I dragged you from your [§]
beggaring. Answer me!"--

There is nothing like a plaintive retort when your case is utterly
indefensible. Planner looked at the letter, read it--then turned his
eyes mildly and reproachfully upon his accuser.

"Michael Allcraft," he said affectingly, "you treat me cruelly."

"I!" answered the other astounded. "I treat _you_! Planner, I
intrusted you years ago with a secret. I paid you well for keeping it.
Could I dream that nothing would satisfy your rapacity but my
destruction? Could I suppose it? I have fed your ravenous desires. I
have submitted to your encroachments. Do you ask my soul as well as
body? Let me know what it is you ask--what I have to pay--let me hear
the worst, and--prepare for all my punishment."

"I have listened to all you have said," continued Planner, "and I
consider myself an ill-used man."

Michael stared.

"Yes--I mean it. I have worked like a negro for you Allcraft, and this
is the return you make me. I get your drift; do not attempt to
disguise it--it is cruel--most, most cruel!

"What do you mean?"

"Have I not always promised to share my gains with you?"

"Pshaw--_your_ gains--where are they?"

"That's nothing to the point. Did I not promise?"

"Well--well."

"And now, after all my labour and struggling, because I have _failed_,
you wish to turn me off, and throw me to the world. Now, speak the
truth, man--is it not so?"

Oh! Planner was a cunning creature, and so was Michael Allcraft. Mark
them both! This idea, which Planner deemed too good to be seriously
entertained by his colleague, had never once occurred to Michael; but
it seemed so promising, and so likely, if followed up, to relieve him
effectually of his greatest plague, and of any floating ill report,
that he found no hesitation in adopting it at once. He did not answer,
but he tried to look as if his partner had exactly guessed his actual
intention. Such [§]* gentlemen both!

   *Transcriber's Note: Original cut off between [§]s--Section
   completed with best guess of correct wording.

"I thought so," continued the injured Planner. "Michael, you do not
know me. You do not understand my character. I am a child to persuade,
but a rock if you attempt to force me. I shall _not_ desert the bank,
whilst there is a chance of paying back all that we have drawn."

"_We_, sir?"

"Yes--we. You and I together for our schemes, and you alone for
private purposes. You recollect your father's debts"--

"Planner, do not think to threaten me into further compromise. You can
frighten me no longer--be sure of that. Your transactions are the
common talk of the city--the bank is stigmatized by its connexion with
you."

"Curse the bank!" said Planner fretfully. "Would to Heaven I had never
heard of it!"

"Leave it then, and rid yourself of the annoyance. You are free to do
it!"

"What! and leave behind me every chance of realizing a competency for
my old age! Oh, Michael, Michael--shame, shame!"

"Competency! Are you serious? Are you sane? Competency! Why, the
labour of your life will not make good a tithe of what you have
squandered."

"Come, come, Michael, you know better. You know well enough that one
lucky turn would set us up at last. Speak like a man. Say that you
want to grasp all--that you are tired of me--that you are sick of the
old face, and wish to see my back. Put the thing in its proper light,
and you shall not find me hard to deal with."

"Planner, you are deceived. Your mind is full of fancy and delusion,
and that has been your curse and mine."

"Very well. Have your way; but look you, Michael, you are anxious to
get rid of me--there's no denying that. There is no reason why we
should quarrel on that account. I would sacrifice my prospects, were
they double what they are, rather than beg you to retain me. I did not
ask for a share in your bank. You sought me, and I came at your
request. Blot out the past. Release me from the debt that stands
against my name, and I am gone. As I came at your bidding, so, at your
bidding, I am ready to depart."

"Agreed," said Allcraft, almost before the wily Planner finished. "It
is done. I consent to your proposal. A dissolution shall be drawn up
without delay, and shall be published in the next gazette."

"And publish with it," said Planner, like a martyr as he was, "the
fate of him who gave up all to his own high sense of honour, and his
friend's ingratitude."

So Planner spake, scarcely crediting his good fortune, and almost mad
with joy at his deliverance. He had no rest until the seals were fixed
to parchment, and the warrant of his release appeared in public print.
Within a week, the fettered man was free. Within another week, his
bounding spirits came like a spring-tide back to him, and in less than
eight-and-twenty days of freedom and repose, he recovered quite as
many years of sweet and precious life. He made quick use of his wings.
At first, like a wild and liberated bird, he sported and tumbled in
the air, and fixed upon no particular aim; a thousand captivating
objects soon caught his eagle eye, and then he mounted, dazzled by
them all, and soon eluded mortal sight and reach. But, glad as was the
schemer, his delight and sense of freedom were much inferior to those
of his misguided and unlucky partner. Michael breathed as a man
relieved from nightmare. The encumbrance which had for years prevented
him from rising, that had so lately threatened his existence, was
gone, could no longer hang upon him, haunt and oppress him. What a
deliverance!--Yet, what a price had he paid for it! True, but was not
the money already sacrificed? Would it have been restored, had the
luckless speculator himself remained? Never! Well, fearful then as was
the sum, let it go, taking the incubus along with it. Allcraft took
care to obtain the consent of Bellamy to his arrangement. He wrote to
him, explaining the reasons for parting with their partner; and an
answer came from the landed proprietor, acquiescing in the plan, but
slightly doubting the propriety of the movement. As for Brammel, he
consented, as he was ready to agree to any thing but a personal visit
to the great metropolis. And then, what was Michael's next step? A
proper one--to put out effectually the few sparks of scandal which
might, possibly, be still flying about after the discovery of
Planner's scheme. He worked fiercer than ever--harder than the
day-labourer--at his place of business. It was wise in him to do so,
and thus to draw men's thoughts from Planner's faults to his own
unquestioned merits. And here he might have stopped with safety; but
his roused, suspicious, sensitive nature, would not suffer him. He
began to read, then to doubt and fear men's looks; to draw conclusions
from their innocent words; to find grounds of uneasiness and torture
in their silence. A vulgar fellow treated him with rudeness, and for
days he treasured up the man's words, and repeated them to himself.
What could they mean? Did people smell a rat? Were they on the watch?
Did they suspect that he was poor? Ah, that was it! He saw it--he
believed he did--that was equivalent to sight, and enough for him. Men
did not understand him. He would not die so easily--they must be
undeceived. Miserable Allcraft! He speedily removed from his small
cottage--took a mansion, furnished it magnificently, and made it a
palace in costliness and hospitality. Ah! _was_ he poor? The trick
answered. The world was not surprised, but satisfied. There was but
one opinion. He deserved it all, and more. The only wonder was, that
he had hitherto lived so quietly, rich as he was, in virtue of his
wife's inheritance, and from his own hard-earned gains. His increasing
business still enlarged. Customers brought guests, and, in their turn,
the guests became good customers. It was a splendid mansion,
with its countless rooms and gorgeous appointments. What
pleasure-grounds--gardens--parks--preserves! Noble establishment, with
its butler, under-butler, upper-servant, and my lady's (so the working
people called poor Margaret) footman! In truth, a palace; but, alas!
although it took a prince's revenue to maintain it, and although the
lady's purse was draining fast to keep it and the bank upon its legs,
yet was there not a corner, a nook, a hole in the building, in which
master or mistress could find an hour's comfort, or a night's
unmingled sleep. As for the devoted woman, it made very little
difference to her whether she dwelt in a castle or a hovel, provided
she could see her husband cheerful, and know that he was happy. This
was all she looked for--cared for--lived for. _He_ was her life. What
was her money--the dross which mankind yearned after--but for its use
to him, but for the power it might exercise amongst men to elevate and
ennoble _him_? What was her palace but a dungeon if it rendered her
beloved more miserable than ever, if it added daily to the troubles he
had brought there--to the cares which had accumulated on his head from
the very hour she had become his mate? Michael Allcraft! you never
deserved this woman for your wife; you told her so many times, and
perhaps you meant what was wrung from your heart in its anguish. It
was the truth. Why, if not in rank cowardice and pitiful ambition,
entangle yourself in the perplexities of such a household with all
that heap of woe already on your soul? Why, when your London agents
refused, in consequence of your irregularity and neglect, to advance
your further loans--why take a base advantage of that heroic
generosity that placed its all, unquestioning, at your command? Why,
when you pretended with so much ceremony and regard, to effect an
insurance on your worthless life, did you fail to pay up the policy
even for a second year, and so resign all claim and right to such
assurance, making it null and void? Let it stand here recorded to your
disgrace, that, in the prosecution of your views, in the working out
of your insane ambition, no one single thought of her, who gave her
wealth as freely as ever fount poured forth its liberal stream,
deterred you in your progress for an instant; that no one glow or gush
of feeling towards the fond and faithful wife interposed to save her
from the consequences of your selfishness, and to humble you with
shame for inhumanity as vile as it was undeserved. It is not
surprising, that after the taking of the great house the demands upon
the property of Margaret were made without apology or explanation. He
asked, and he obtained. The refusal of aid, on the part of the London
house, terrified him when it came, and caused him to rush, with a
natural instinct, to the quarter whence he had no fear of denial and
complaint. He drew largely from her resources. The money was sucked
into the whirlpool; there was a speedy cry for more; and more was got
and sacrificed. It would have been a miracle had Allcraft, in the
midst of his crushing cares, retained his early vigour of mind and
body, and passed through ten years of such an existence without
suffering the penalties usually inflicted upon the man prodigal of the
blessings and good gifts of Providence. In his appearance, and in his
temperament, he had undergone a woful change. His hair--all that
remained of it, for the greater part had fallen away--was grey;
and, thin, weak, and straggling, dropped upon his wrinkled
forehead--wrinkled with a frown that had taken root there. His face
was sickly, and never free from the traces of acute anxiety that was
eating at his heart. His body was emaciated, and, at times, his hand
shook like a drunkard's. It was even worse with the spiritual man. He
had become irritable, peevish, and ill-natured; he had lost, by
degrees, every generous sentiment. As a young man he had been
remarkable for his liberality in pecuniary matters. He had been wont
to part freely with his money. Inconsistent as it may seem,
notwithstanding his heavy losses through his partners, and his fearful
expenditure, he was as greedy of gain as though he were stinting
himself of every farthing, and secretly hoarding up his chests of
gold. He would haggle in a bargain for a shilling, and economize in
things beneath a wise man's notice or consideration. For a few years,
as it has been seen, Allcraft had denied himself the customary
recreations of a man of business, and had devoted himself entirely to
his occupation. It was by no means a favourable indication of his
state of mind, that he derived no satisfaction at the grand mansion,
either alone or in the mere society of his wife. He quitted the bank
daily at a late hour, and reached his home just in time for dinner.
That over, he could not sit or rest--he must be moving. He could not
live in quiet. "Quietness"--it was his own expression--"stunned him."
He rushed to the theatre, to balls, concerts, wherever there was
noise, talk, excitement, crowds of people; wherever there was release
from his own pricking conscience and miserable thoughts. And then to
parties; of course there was no lack of them, for their society was in
great request, and every one was eager for an invitation in return to
_Eden_--such being the strange misnomer of their magnificent
prison-house. And, oh, rare entertainments were they which the
suffering pair provided for the cold-hearted crew that flocked to
partake of their substance! How the poor creature smiled upon her
guests as they arrived, whilst her wounded heart bled on! How she
sang--exquisitely always--for their amusement and nauseous
approbation, until her sweet voice almost failed to crush the rising
tears! How gracefully she led off the merry dance whilst clogs were on
her spirits, weighing upon every movement. Extravagant joyousness!
Dearly purchased pleasure! Yes, dearly purchased, if only with that
half hour of dreadful silence and remorse that intervened between the
banquet and the chamber--not of sweet slumber and benevolent repose
but of restlessness and horrid dreams!


CHAPTER V.

THE CRISIS.


Michael was half mad in the midst of his troubles; and, in truth, they
gathered so thickly and rapidly about him, that he is to be admired
for the little check which he contrived to keep over his reason,
saving him from absolute insanity and a lunatic asylum. Mr Bellamy,
although away, made free with the capital of the bank, and applied it
to his own private uses. Mr Brammel, senior, after having, for many
years, made good to Allcraft the losses the latter had sustained
through his son's extravagance, at length grew tired of the work, and
left the neighbourhood, in disgust, as Michael thought, but, in sad
truth, with a bruised and broken heart. At last he had dismissed the
long-cherished hope of the prodigal's reformation, and with his latest
hope departed every wish to look upon his hastening decay and fall. He
crawled from the scene--the country; no one knew his course; not a
soul was cognizant of his intentions, or could guess his
resting-place. Augustus Theodore did not, in consequence of his
father's absence, draw less furiously upon the bank! He had never
heard of that father's generosity--how should he know of it now? And,
if he knew it, was he very likely to profit by the information?
Michael honoured his drafts for many reasons; two may be mentioned,
founded on hope and fear--the hope of frightening the unfortunate
Brammel senior into payment when he met with him again, the fear of
making Brammel junior desperate by his refusal, and of his divulging
all he knew. Could a man, not crazy, carry more care upon his brain?
Yes, for demands on account of Planner poured in, the very instant
that fortunate speculator had taken his lucky leave of the
establishment--demands for which Michael had rendered himself liable
in law, by the undertaking which he had drawn up and signed in his
alarm and haste. Oh, why had he overwhelmed himself with partners--why
had he married--why had he taken upon himself the responsibility of
his parent's debts--why had he not explained every thing when he might
have done it with honour and advantage--why had he not relied upon his
own integrity--and why had he attempted, with cunning and duplicity,
to overreach his neighbours? Why, oh why, had he done all this? When
Michael was fairly hemmed in by his difficulties, and, as it is
vulgarly said, had not a leg to stand upon, or a hole to creep
through, then, and not till then, did he put these various questions
to himself; and since it is somewhat singular that so shrewd a man
should have waited until the last moment to put queries of such vast
importance to himself, I shall dwell here for one brief moment on the
fact, be it only to remind and to warn others, equally shrewd and
equally clever, of the mischief they are doing when they postpone the
consideration of their motives and acts until motives and acts both
have brought them into a distress, out of which all their
consideration will not move them an inch. "Why have I _done_?" was,
is, and ever will be, the whining interrogative of stricken
_inability_; "Why am I about _to do_?" the provident question of
thoughtful, far-seeing _success_. Remember that.

I am really afraid to say how much of poor Margaret's fortune was
dragged from her--how little of it still remained. It must have been a
trifle, indeed, when Michael, with a solemn oath, swore that he would
not touch one farthing more, let the consequences be what they might.
Could it be possible that the whole of her splendid inheritance had
shrunk to so paltry a sum, that the grasping man had ceased to think
it worth his while to touch it? or did the dread of beholding the
confiding woman, beggar'd at last, induce him to leave at her disposal
enough to purchase for her--necessary bread? Whatever was his motive,
he persisted in his resolution, and to the end was faithful to his
oath. Not another sixpence did he take from her. And how much the
better was he for all that he had taken already? Poor Michael had not
time to enquire and answer the question. He could not employ his
precious moments in retrospection. He lived from hand to mouth;
struggled every hour to meet the exigencies of the hour that followed.
He was absorbed in the agitated present, and dared not look an inch
away from it. Now, thanks to the efforts of her people, England is a
Christian country; and whenever fortune goes very hard with a man who
has received all the assistance that his immediate connexions can
afford him, there is a benevolent brotherhood at hand, eager to
relieve the sufferer's wants, and to put an end to his anxiety. This
charitable band is known by the name of _Money-lenders--Jewish_
money-lenders; so called, no doubt, in profound humility and
self-denial, displayed in the Christian's wish to give the _honour_
of the work elsewhere, reserving to himself the labour and--the
profit. When Michael needed fresh supplies, he was not long in
gathering a gang of harpies about him. They kept their victim for a
while well afloat. They permitted their principal to accumulate in his
hands, whilst they received full half of their advances back in the
form of interest. So he went on; and how long this game would have
lasted, it is impossible to say, because it was cut short in its
heighth by a circumstance that brought the toppling house down, as it
were, with a blow and a run.

When Allcraft, one morning at his usual hour, presented himself at the
bank, his confidential clerk approached him with a very serious face,
and placed a newspaper in his hand. Michael had grown very timid and
excitable; and when the clerk put his finger on the particular spot to
which he desired to call his superior's attention, the heart of the
nervous man leapt into his throat, and the blood rushed from his
cheek, as if it were its duty to go and look after it. He literally
wanted the courage to read the words. He attempted to smile
indifferently, and to thank his servant as courteously as if he had
given him a pleasant pinch of snuff; but at the same time, he pressed
his thumb upon the paragraph, and made his way straight to his snug
and private room. He was ready to drop when he reached it, and his
heart beat like a hammer against his ribs. He placed the paper on the
table, and, ere he read a syllable, he laboured to compose himself.
What could it be? Was the thing exploded? Was he already the common
talk and laugh of men? Was he ruined and disgraced? He read at
length--_The property and estates of Walter Bellamy, Esq., were
announced for sale by auction._ His first sensation on perusing the
advertisement was one of overpowering sickness. Here, then, was his
destruction sealed! Here was the declaration of poverty trumpeted to
the world. Here was the alarum sounded--here was his doom proclaimed.
Let there be a run upon the bank--and who could stop it now?--let it
last for four-and-twenty hours, and he is himself a bankrupt, an
outcast, and a beggar. The tale was told--the disastrous history was
closed. He had spun his web--had been his own destiny. God help and
pardon him for his transgressions! There he sat, unhappy creature,
weeping, and weeping like a heart-broken boy, sobbing aloud from the
very depths of his soul, frantic with distress. For a full half hour
he sat there, now clenching his fists in silent agony, now accusing
himself of crime, now permitting horrible visions to take possession
of his brain, and to madden it with their terrible and truth-like
glare. He saw himself--whilst his closed eyes were pressed upon his
paralysed hands--saw himself as palpably as though he stood _before_
himself, crawling through the public streets, an object for men's
pity, scorn, and curses. Now men laughed at him, pointed to him with
their fingers, and made their children mock and hoot the penniless
insolvent. Labouring men, with whose small savings he had played the
thief, prayed for maledictions on his head; and mothers taught their
little ones to hate the very name he bore, and frightened them by
making use of it. Miserable pictures, one upon the other, rose before
him--dark judgments, which he had never dreamed of or anticipated; and
he stood like a stricken coward, and he yearned for the silence and
concealment of the _grave_. Ay--the grave! Delightful haven to
pigeon-hearted malefactors--inconsistent criminals, who fear the puny
look of mortal man, and, unabashed, stalk beneath the eternal and the
killing frown of God. Michael fixed upon his remedy, and the delusive
opiate gave him temporary ease; but, in an another instant, he derived
even hope and consolation from another and altogether opposite view of
things. A thought suddenly occurred to him, as thoughts will occur to
the tossed and working mind--how, why, or whence we know not; and the
drowning man, catching sight of the straw, did not fail to clutch it.
What if, after all, Mr. Bellamy proposed to sell his property _in
favour of the bank_!! Very likely, certainly; and yet Allcraft,
sinking, could believe it possible--yes possible, and (by a course of
happy reasoning and self-persuasion) not only so--but _true_. And if
this were Mr. Bellamy's motive and design, how cruel had been his own
suspicions--how vain and wicked his previous disturbance and
complaints! And why should it not be? Had he not engaged to restore
the money which he had borrowed; and had he not given his word of
honour to pay in a large amount of capital? At the memorable meeting,
had he not promised to satisfy Allcraft of the justice of his own
proceedings, and the impropriety of Michael's attack upon his
character? And had not the time arrived for the redemption of his
word, and the payment of every farthing that was due from him? Yes; it
had arrived--it had come--it was here. Mr Bellamy was about to assert
his integrity, and the banking-house was saved. Michael rose from his
chair--wiped the heavy sweat-drops from his brow--dried his tears, and
gave one long and grateful sigh for his deliverance from that state of
horror, by which, for one sad, sickening moment, he had been
bewildered and betrayed. But, satisfied as he was, and rejoiced as he
pretended to be, it could hardly be expected that a gentleman
possessed of so lively a temperament as that enjoyed by Mr. Allcraft
would rest quietly upon his convictions, and take no steps to
strengthen and establish them. Michael for many days past had had no
direct communication with his absent partner, and, at the present
moment, he was ignorant of his movements. He resolved to make his way
at once to the Hall, and to get what intelligence he could of its lord
and master, from the servants left in charge of that most noble and
encumbered property. Accordingly he quitted his apartment, threw a
ghastly smile into his countenance, and then came quickly upon his
clerks, humming a few cheerful notes, with about as much spirit and
energy as a man might have if forced to sing a comic song just before
his execution. Thoroughly persuaded that the officials had not
obtained an inkling of what had transpired in his _sanctum_, and that
he left them without a suspicion of evil upon their minds, he started
upon his errand, and waited not for breath until he reached his
destination. He arrived at the lodge--he arrived at the Hall. He rang
the loud bell, and a minute afterwards he learned that Mr Bellamy was
within--had made his appearance at home late on the evening before,
and, at the present moment, was enjoying his breakfast. Michael, for
sudden joy and excitement, was wellnigh thrown from his equilibrium.
Here was confirmation stronger than ever! Would he have returned to
the estate upon the very eve of disposing of it, if he had not
intended to deal well and honestly in the transaction? Would he not
have been ashamed to do it? Would he have subjected himself to the
just reproaches and upbraidings of his partner, when, by his absence,
he might so easily have avoided them? Certainly not. Michael Allcraft,
for a few brief seconds, was a happier man than he had been for years.
His eyes were hardly free of the tears which he had shed in the
extremity of his distress, and he was now ready to weep again in the
very exuberance and wildness of his delight. He presented his card to
the corpulent and powdered footman; he was announced; he was ushered
in. Walter Bellamy, Esquire, sitting in state, received his friend and
partner with many smiles and much urbanity. He was still at breakfast,
and advancing slowly in the meal, like a gentleman whose breakfast was
his greatest care in life. Nothing could be more striking than the air
of stately repose visible in the proprietor himself, and in the
specious and solemn serving-man, who stood behind him--less a
_serving_-man than a sublime dumb waiter. Michael was affected by it,
and he approached his colleague with a rising sentiment of
awe--partly, perhaps, the effect of the scene--partly the result of
natural apprehension.

"Most glad to see you, my very good friend," began the master--"most
glad--most happy--pray, be seated. A lovely morning this! A plate for
Mr. Allcraft."

"Thank you--I have breakfasted," said Michael, declining the kind
offer. "I had no thought of finding you at home."

"Ay--a mutual and unexpected pleasure. Just so. I had no thought of
coming home until I started, and I arrived here only late last night.
Business seldom suites itself to one's convenience."

"Seldom, indeed--very seldom," answered Michael, with a friendly
smile, and a look of meaning, which showed that he had taken hope from
Mr Bellamy's expression--"and," he continued, "having returned, I
presume you spend some time amongst us."

"Not a day, my friend. To-morrow I am on the wing again. I have left a
dozen men behind me, who'll hunt me over the country, if I don't
rejoin them without delay. No. I am off again to-morrow." (Michael
moved uneasily in his chair.) "But, how are you, Mr Allcraft? How are
all our friends? Nothing new, I'll venture to say. This world is a
stale affair at the best. Life is seen and known at twenty. Live to
sixty, and it is like reading a dull book three times over. You had
better take a cup of coffee, Mr Allcraft!"

"Thank you--no. You surprise me by your determination."

"Don't be surprised at any thing, Mr Allcraft. Take things as they
come, if you wish to be happy."

Michael, very uneasy indeed, wished to make a remark, but he looked at
the man in crimson plush, and held his tongue. Mr Bellamy observed
him.

"You have something to say? Can I give you any advice, my friend?
Pray, command me, and speak without reserve. As much as you please,
and as quickly as you please, for I assure you time is precious. In
half an hour I have twenty men to see, and twice as many things to
do."

Again Michael glanced at the stout footman, who was pretending to
throw his mind into the coming week, and to appear oblivious of every
thing about him.

"I have a question to ask," proceeded Michael hesitatingly; "but it
can be answered in a moment, and at another opportunity--in a little
while, when you are _quite_ at leisure."

"As you please; only remember I have no end of engagements, and if I
am called away I cannot return to you."

Poor Michael! His expectations were again at a fearful discount. The
language and demeanor of Mr Bellamy seemed decisive of his intentions.
What could he do? What--but fasten on his man, and not suffer him to
leave his sight without an explanation, which he dreaded to receive.
Mr Bellamy continued to be very polite and very talkative, and to
prosecute his repast with unyielding equanimity. At the close of the
meal the servant removed the cloth, and departed. At the same instant
the landed proprietor rose from his chair, and was about to depart
likewise. Michael, alarmed at the movement, touched Mr Bellamy gently
on the sleeve, and then, less gently, detained him by the wrist.

"What do you mean, sir?" asked Bellamy, turning sharply upon his
partner: "What do you mean? What is your object?"

"Mr Bellamy," said Allcraft, pale as death, and much excited; "you
must not go until you have satisfied me on a point of life and death
to both of us. Your conduct is a mystery. I cannot explain it. I know
not what are the motives which actuate you. These are known to
yourself. Let them be so. But I have a question to ask, and you must
and shall answer it."

"_Must_ and _shall_, Mr Allcraft! Take care--pray, take care of your
expressions. You will commit yourself. When will you cease to be a
very young man? I will answer voluntarily any questions put to me by
any gentleman. _Must_ and _shall_ never forced a syllable from my lips
yet. Now, sir--ask what you please."

"Mr Bellamy," continued Allcraft, "your property is announced for
public sale."

"It is," said Bellamy.

"And the announcement has your sanction?"

"It has."

"And with the sum realized by that sale, you propose to"--

Michael stopped, as though he wished his partner to fill up the
sentence.

"Go on, sir," said the proprietor.

"With the sum thus realized, I say, you propose to make good the
losses which the bank has suffered by your improvidence?"

"Not exactly. Is there any thing else?"

"Oh, Mr Bellamy, you cannot mean what you say? I am sure you cannot.
You are aware of our condition. You know that there needs only a
breath to destroy us in one moment for ever. At this very time your
purpose is known to the world; and, before we can prevent it, the bank
may be run upon and annihilated. What will be said of your
proceedings? How can you reconcile the answer which you have just now
given to me, with your vaunted high sense of honour, or even with your
own most worldly interests?"

"Have you finished, sir?" said Bellamy, in a quiet voice.

"No!" exclaimed Michael, in as angry a tone of indignation: "no! I
have not finished. I call upon you, Mr Bellamy, to mark my words; to
mark and heed them--for, so Heaven help me, I bid you listen to the
truth. Quiet and easy as you profess to be, I will be cozened by you
no longer. If you carry out your work, your doings shall be told to
every human soul within a hundred miles of where you stand. You shall
be exhibited as you are. If every farthing got from the sale of this
estate be not given up to defray your past extravagance, you shall be
branded as you deserve. Mr Bellamy, you have deceived me for many
years. Do not deceive yourself now."

"Have you finished, sir?" repeated Mr Bellamy.

"Yes--with a sentence. If you are mad--I will be resolute. Persist in
your determination, and the bank shall stop this very night."

"And let it stop," said Bellamy; "by all means let it stop. If it be a
necessary, inevitable arrangement, I would not interfere with it for
the world. Act, Mr Allcraft, precisely as you think proper. It is all
I ask on my own account. I have unfortunately private debts to a very
large amount. What is still more unfortunate, they must be paid. I
have no means of paying them except by selling my estate, and
therefore it must go. I hope you are satisfied?"

Michael threw himself into a chair, and moved about in it, groaning.
Mr Bellamy closed the door, and approached him.

"This is a very unnecessary display of feeling, Mr Allcraft," said the
imperturbable Bellamy; "very--and can answer no good end. The thing,
as I have told you, is inevitable."

"No--no--no," cried Allcraft, imploringly; "Not so, Mr Bellamy. Think
again--ponder well our dreadful situation. Reflect that, before
another day is gone, we may be ruined, beggared, and that this very
property may be wrested from you by our angry creditors. What will
become of us? For Heaven's sake, my dear, good sir, do not rush
blindly upon destruction. Do not suffer us to be hooted, trampled
upon, despised, cursed by every man that meets us. You can save us if
you will--do it then--be generous--be just."

"As for being _just_, Mr Allcraft," replied Bellamy composedly, "the
less we speak about that matter the better. Had _justice_ been ever
taken into account, you and I would, in all probability, not have met
on the present business. I cannot help saying, that, when you are
ready to justify to me your conduct in respect of your late father's
liabilities, I shall be more disposed to listen to any thing you may
have to urge in reason touching the produce of this estate. Until that
time, I am an unmoved man. You conceive me?"

"Yes," said Michael, changing colour, "I see--I perceive your drift--I
am aware--Mr Bellamy," continued the unhappy speaker, stammering until
he almost burst with rage. "You are a villain! You have heard of my
misfortunes, and you take a mean advantage of your knowledge to crush
and kill me. You are a villain and I defy you!"

Mr Bellamy moved leisurely to the fire-place, and rang the bell. The
stout gentleman in plush walked in, and the landed proprietor pointed
to the door.

"For Mr Allcraft, William," said the squire.

"Very well!" said Michael, white with agitation; "Very well! As sure
as you are a living man, your ruin shall be coincident with mine. Not
a step shall I fall, down which you shall not follow and be dragged
yourself. You shall not be spared one pang. I warn you of your fate,
and it shall come sooner than you look for it."

"Pooh, pooh; you have been drinking, Mr. Allcraft."

"You lie, sir, as you have lied for months and years--lived upon lies,
and"--

"You need not say another word. You shall finish your sentence, sir,
elsewhere. Begone! William, show Mr. Allcraft to the door."

William pretended to look very absent again, and bowed. Michael stared
at him for a second or two, as if confounded, and then, like a madman,
rushed from the room and house.


CHAPTER VI.

THE CRASH.


The plans and objects of Mr Walter Bellamy were best known to himself.
Whatever they might be, he diverged from them for a few hours in order
to give his miserable partner the opportunity he had promised him, of
completing that very inauspicious sentence--the last which he had
uttered in Mr. Bellamy's house previously to his abrupt departure.
Michael had not been in the banking-house an hour after his return
from the Hall before he was visited by a business-like gentleman, who
introduced himself as the particular friend of Mr. Bellamy, on whose
particular business he professed to come. Allcraft, with his brain on
fire, received the visit of this man with secret glee. All the way
home he had prayed that Bellamy might prove as good as his word, and
not fail to demand immediate satisfaction. He longed for death with a
full and yearning desire, and he could kiss the hand that would be
merciful and give the fatal blow. A suicide at heart, it was something
to escape the guilt and punishment of self-murder. Bellamy was reputed
a first-rate shot. Michael was aware of the fact, and hugged the
consciousness to his soul. He would not detract from his reputation;
the duellist should add another laurel to his chaplet of _honour_, and
purchase it with his blood. He had resolved to fight and fall. It was
very evident that the friend of Mr Bellamy expected rather to frighten
Michael into a humble and contrite apology, than to find him ready and
eager for the battle; for he commenced his mission by a very long and
high-flown address, and assured Mr Allcraft, time after time, that
nothing but the most ample and the most public _amende_ could be
received by his friend after what had taken place. Michael listened
impatiently, and interrupted the speaker in the midst of his oration.

"You are quite right, sir," said he. "If an apology is to be made, it
should be an ample one. But I decline to make any whatever. I am
prepared to give Mr Bellamy all the satisfaction that he asks. I will
refer you at once to my friend, and the sooner the affair is settled
the better."

"Well, but surely, Mr Allcraft, you must regret the strong
expression"--

"Which I uttered to your friend? By no means. I told him that he lied.
I repeat the word to you. I would say it in his teeth again if he
stood here. What more is necessary?"

"Nothing," said the gentleman, certainly unprepared for Michael's
resolution. "Nothing; name your friend, sir."

Michael had already fixed upon a second, and he told his name. His
visitor went to seek him, and the poor bewildered man rubbed his hands
gleefully, as though he had just saved his life, instead of having
placed it in such fearful jeopardy.

That day passed like a dream. The meeting was quickly arranged. Six
o'clock on the following morning was the hour fixed. The place was a
field, the first beyond the turnpike gate, and within a mile of the
city. As soon as Michael made sure of the duel, he saw his
confidential clerk. His name was Burrage. He had been a servant in the
banking-house for forty years, and had known Michael since his birth.
It was he who gave the newspaper into Allcraft's hands, on the first
arrival of the latter at the bank that morning. He was a quiet old man
of sixty, an affectionate creature, and as much a part of the
banking-house as the iron chest, the desk, the counter, or any other
solid fixture. He stepped softly into his master's room after he had
been summoned there, and he gazed at his unhappy principal as a father
might at his own child in misfortune--a beloved and favourite child.

"You are not well this morning, sir," said Burrage most respectfully.
"You look very pale and anxious."

"My looks belie me, Burrage. I am very well. I have not been so well
for years. I am composed and happy. I have been ill, but the time is
past. How old are you, Burrage?"

"Turned threescore, sir; old enough to die."

"Die--die! death is a sweet thing, old man, when it comes to the
care-worn. I have had my share of trouble."

"Too much, sir--too much!" said Burrage, his eyes filling with water.
"You have half killed yourself here. I am sure your poor father never
expected this. Nobody could have expected it in his time, when you
were a little, fat, rosy-cheeked boy, running about without a thought,
except a thought of kindness for other people."

Michael Allcraft burst into a flood of tears--they gushed faster and
faster into his eyes, and he sobbed as only men sob who have reached
the climax of earthly suffering and trial.

"Do not take on so, my dear sir," said Burrage, running to him. "Pray,
be calm. I am sure you are unwell. You have been ill for some time.
You should see a doctor--although I am very much afraid that your
disease is beyond their cure--in truth I am."

"Burrage," said Michael in a whisper, and still sighing
convulsively--"It is all over. It is finished. Prepare for the
crash--look to your own safety. Hide yourself from the gaze of men. It
will strike us all dead."

"You frighten me, Mr Allcraft.--You are really very ill. Your brain is
overworked--you want a little repose and recreation."

"Yes, you are right Burrage--the recreation of a jail--the repose of a
tomb. We will have one, at least--yes, one--and I have made the
selection."

"Have you heard any bad news to-day, sir?"

"None--excellent news to-day. No more hopes and fears--no alarms--no
lying and knavery--eternal peace now, and not eternal wretchedness."

"Had you not better leave the bank, Mr Allcraft, and go home? Your
hands are burning hot. You are in a high fever."

"Put up the shutters--put up the shutters," muttered Michael, more to
himself than to his clerk. "Write _bankrupt_ on the door--write it in
large letters--in staring capitals--that the children may read the
word, and know why they are taught to curse me. You hear me, Burrage?"

"I hear what you say, sir, but I do not understand you. You want
rest--you are excited."

"I tell you, Burrage, I am quiet--I never was so quiet--never sounder
in body and mind. Will you refuse to listen to the truth? Man," he
continued, raising his voice and looking the clerk steadily in the
face. "I am ruined--a beggar. The bank is at its last gasp. The doors
are closed to-night--never to be re-opened."

"God forbid, sir!"

"Why so?--Would you drive me mad? Am I to have no peace--no rest? Am I
to be devoured, eaten away by anxiety and trouble? Have you no human
blood--no pity for me? Are you as selfish as the rest?"

"Is it possible, sir?"

"It is the truth. But speak not of it. I will have your life if you
betray me until the event tells its own tale. We close the door
to-night, to open it no more. You hear the words. They are very simple
words. Why do you stare so, as if you couldn't guess their meaning?"

"Oh--I have dreaded this--I have suspected it!" said Burrage, wringing
his hands; "but it has always seemed impossible. Poor Mr Allcraft!"

"_Poor!_" exclaimed Michael. "Do you begin already? Do you throw it in
my teeth so soon? You are in the right, man--go with the stream--taunt
me--spit in my face--trample me in the dust!"

"Do not speak unkindly to me, master," said the old clerk. "You will
break my heart at once if you do. What you have told me is hard enough
to bear in one day."

Michael took the good fellow's hand, and answered, whilst his lips
quivered with grief, "It is--it is enough, old friend. Go your ways.
Leave me to myself. I have told you a secret--keep it whilst it
remains one. Oh, what a havoc! What devastation! Go, Burrage--go--seal
your lips--do not breathe a syllable--go to your work."

The clerk went as he was bid, but stupified and stunned by the
information he had received. He took his accustomed seat at the desk,
and placed a large ledger before him. He was occupied with one trifling
account for half the day, and did not finish it at last. A simple sum of
compound addition puzzled the man who, an hour before, could have gone
through the whole of the arithmetic in his sleep. Oh, boasted intellect
of man! How little is it thou canst do when the delicate and feeling
heart is out of tune! How impotent thou art! How like a rudderless ship
upon a stormy sea! Poor Burrage was helpless and adrift! And Michael sat
for hours together alone, in his little room. He was literally afraid to
creep out of it. He struggled to keep his mind steadily and composedly
fixed upon the fate that awaited him--a fate which he had marked out for
himself, and resolved not to escape. He forced himself to regard the
great Enemy of Man as _his_ best friend--his only comforter and refuge.
But just when he deemed himself well armed, least vulnerable,
and most secure, the awful _reality_ of death--its horrible
accompaniments--dissolution, corruption, rottenness, decay, and its
still more awful and obscure _uncertainties_, started suddenly before
him, and sent a sickening chill through every pore of his unnerved
flesh. Then he retreated from his position--fled, as it were, for life,
and dared not look behind, so terrible was the sight of his grim
adversary. He leaped from his chair, as if unable to sit there; and,
whilst he paced the room, he drew his breath, as though he needed air
for respiration--his heart throbbed, and his brain grew tight and hot
within his skull. The fit passing away, Michael hastened to review the
last few years of his existence, and to bribe himself to quietness and
resignation, by contrasting the hateful life which he had spent with the
desirable repose offered to him in the grave; and by degrees the
agitation ceased--the alarm subsided, and the deluded man was once more
cozened into hardened and unnatural tranquillity. In this way flew the
hours--one train of feeling succeeding to another, until the worn-out
spirit of the man gave in, and would be moved no longer. At last, the
unhappy banker grew sullen and silent. He ceased to sigh, and groan, and
weep. His brain refused to think. He drew his seat to the window of the
room, which permitted him, unperceived, to observe the movements in the
bank--and, folding his arms, he looked doggedly on, and clenched his
teeth, and frowned. He saw the fortunate few who came for money and
received it--and the unfortunate many, who brought their money--left,
and lost it. He was indifferent to all. He beheld--as the spirits fair
may be supposed to look upon the earth a moment before the sweeping
pestilence that comes to thin it--life, vigorous and active, in that
house of business, whose latest hour had come--whose knell was already
sounding; but it moved him not. He heard men speak his name in tones of
kindness, whose lips on the morrow would deal out curses. He saw others,
hat in hand, begging for an audience, who would avoid him with a sneer
and a scorning when he passed them in the street. He looked upon his own
servants, who could not flatter their master too highly to-day, and
would be the first to-morrow to cry him down, and rail against his
unpardonable extravagance and recklessness; but he heeded nothing. His
mind had suspended its operations, whilst his physical eye stared upon
vacancy.

It was very strange. He continued in this fashion for a long time, and
suddenly sensibility seemed restored to him; for an ashy paleness came
over him--his eyelid trembled, and his lips were drawn down
convulsively, as if through strong and heavy grief. He rose instantly,
rushed to the bell, and rang it violently.

Burrage came to answer it.

"Monster!" exclaimed his master, gazing at him spitefully, "have you
no heart--no feeling left within you? How could you do it?"

"Do what, sir?"

"Rob that poor old man. Plunder and kill that hoary unoffending
creature. Why did you take his miserable earnings? Why did you rob his
little ones? Why clutch the bread from his starving grandchildren? He
will die of a broken heart, and will plead against me at the
judgment-seat. Why was that old man's money taken?"

"We must take all, or nothing, sir. You forbade me to speak a
syllable."

"Speak--speak! Yes, but could you not have given him a look, one
merciful look, to save his life, and my soul from everlasting ruin?
You might, you could have done it, but you conspire to overthrow me.
Go--but mark me--breathe not a word, if you hope to live."

The poor clerk held up his hands, shook them piteously, sighed, and
went his way again.

It was six o'clock in the evening, and every soul connected with the
bank, except Michael and Burrage, had left it. They were both in the
private room, which the former had not quitted during the day. Michael
was writing a letter; the clerk was standing mournfully at his side.
When the note was finished, directed, and sealed, Allcraft turned to
his old friend and spoke--

"I shall not sleep at home to-night, Burrage. I have business which
must be seen to."

"Indeed, sir, you had better go home. You are very unwell."

"Silence, once more. I tell you, Burrage, it cannot be. This business
must not be neglected. I have written to Mrs Allcraft, explaining the
reason of my absence. You will yourself deliver the letter to her,
with your own hands, Burrage. You hear me?"

"Yes, sir," faltered Burrage, wishing himself deaf.

"Very well. I have no more to say. Good-by--good-night."

"Good-night, sir," said the man, walking slowly off.

"Stay, Burrage. You are a true old friend--my oldest. Give me your
hand. I have spoken unkindly--very harshly and cruelly to-day. Do not
think ill of me. My temper has been soured by the troubles of life.
You forgive me for my anger--do you not?"

The old man did not answer. He could not. He held the hand of his
master tightly in his own. He drew it to his lips and kissed it; and
then, ashamed not of the act, but of his unmanly tears, he walked
slowly to the door, and quitted the room--his head bending to the
earth, whence it never again was raised.

Two hours later Michael was many miles away. He had followed to his
humble home the aged man who had that morning paid his substance into
the bank. Much as he had to answer for, Michael could not bear to
carry about with him the knowledge that he had ruined and destroyed
the grey-haired labourer. Why and how it was that he felt so acutely
for the stranger, and selected him from the hundreds who were beggared
by his failure, it is impossible to guess. It is certain that he
restored every sixpence that had been deposited in the morning, and
could not die until he had done so. Where Allcraft passed the night
was never known. He was punctual to his appointment on the following
morning; and so was Mr Bellamy. It is due to the latter to state,
that, at the latest moment, he was willing, as far as in him lay, to
settle the difference without proceeding to extreme measures. All that
a man could offer, who did not wish to be suspected of rank cowardice,
he offered without reservation. But Allcraft was inexorable. He
repeated his insult on the field; and there was nothing to be done but
to make him accountable for his words at the point of the pistol--to
receive and give THE SATISFACTION OF A GENTLEMAN. Whatever
satisfaction the mangled corpse of a man whom he had deeply injured,
could afford the high-born Mr Bellamy, that gentleman enjoyed in a
very few minutes after his arrival; for he shot his antagonist in the
mouth, saw him spinning in the air, and afterwards lying at his
feet--an object that he could not recognize--a spectacle for devils to
rejoice in. Happy the low-born man who may not have or feel such
exquisite and noble SATISFACTION!

Allcraft was not cold before Mr Bellamy was at sea, sailing for
France. The latter had not put his feet upon foreign soil, before his
property was seized by hungry creditors. The bank was closed. Burrage
himself pasted on the shutters the paper that notified its failure.
Augustus Theodore Brammel heard of the stoppage whilst he was at
breakfast, sipping chocolate; and greatly he rejoiced thereat. His
delight was sensibly diminished in the course of the morning, when he
received a letter informing him of his father's death, and an
intimation from a lawyer, that every farthing which he inherited would
be taken from him, as goods and chattels, for the discharge of claims
which the creditors of the bank might have against him. Later in the
day, he heard of Allcraft's death and Bellamy's escape, and then he
rushed into a chemist's shop and bought an ounce of arsenic; but after
he had purchased it, he had not heart enough to swallow it. Enraged
beyond expression--knowing not what to do, nor upon whom to vent his
rage--it suddenly occurred to him to visit Mrs Allcraft, and to worry
her with his complaints. He hurried to her house, and forced himself
into her presence. We will not follow him, for grief is sacred; and
who that had the heart of man, would desecrate the hearth hallowed by
affliction, deep and terrible as that of our poor Margaret?


CHAPTER VII.

THE VICARAGE.


Our history began at the Vicarage; there let it end. It is a cheerful
summer's morning, and Margaret sits in the study of her friend Mr.
Middleton, who has learned to look upon his charge as upon a daughter.
She is still attired in widow's weeds, but looks more composed and
happy than when we saw her many months ago there.

"You will not leave us, then," said the good vicar; "we have not tired
you yet?"

"No," answered Margaret, with a sweet contented smile, "here must I
live and die. My duties will not suffer me to depart, even were I so
inclined. What would my children do?"

"Ah, what indeed? The school would certainly go to rack and ruin."

"And my old friends, the Harpers and the Wakefields?"

"Why, the old ladies would very soon die of a broken heart, no doubt
of it; and then, there's our dispensary and little hospital. Why,
where should we look for a new apothecary?"

"These are but the worst days of my life, Mr. Middleton, which I
dedicate to usefulness. How am I to make good the deficiency of
earlier years?"

"By relying, my dear madam, upon the grace and love of Heaven, who in
mercy regards not what we have been, but what we are."

"And is there pardon for so great a sinner?"

"Doubt it not, dear lady. Had you not been loved, you never would have
been chastised--you would never have become an obedient and willing
child. Be sure, dear Mrs Allcraft, that having repented, you are
pardoned and reconciled to your Father. Pray, hold fast to this
conviction. You have reason to believe it; for truly _you have not
despised the chastening of the Lord, nor fainted when you were rebuked
of him_."

       *       *       *       *       *



KÍEFF.

TRANSLATED FROM THE RUSSIAN OF IVÁN KOZLÓFF. BY T.B. SHAW.


      O Kiéff! where religion ever seemeth
      To light existence in our native land;
      Where o'er Petchérskoi's dome the bright cross gleameth,
      Like some fair star, that still in heaven doth stand;
      Where, like a golden sheet, around thee streameth
      Thy plain, and meads that far away expand;
      And by thy hoary wall, with ceaseless motion,
      Old Dniéper's foaming swell sweeps on to ocean.

      How oft to thee in spirit have I panted,
      O holy city, country of my heart!
      How oft, in vision, have I gazed enchanted
      On thy fair towers--a sainted thing thou art!--
      By Lávra's walls or Dniéper's wave, nor wanted
      A spell to draw me from this life apart;
      In thee my country I behold, victorious,
      Holy and beautiful, and great and glorious.

      The moon her soft ray on Petchérskoi poureth,
      Its domes are shining in the river's wave;
      The soul the spirit of the past adoreth,
      Where sleeps beneath thee many a holy grave:
      Vladímir's shade above thee calmly soareth,
      Thy towers speak of the sainted and the brave;
      Afar I gaze, and all in dreamy splendour
      Breathes of the past--a spell sublime and tender.

      There fought the warriors in the field of glory,
      Strong in the faith, against their country's foe;
      And many a royal flower yon palace hoary,
      In virgin loveliness, hath seen to blow.
      And Báyan sang to them the noble story,
      And secret rapture in their breast did glow;
      Hark! midnight sounds--that brazen voice is dying--
      A day to meet the vanish'd days is flying.

      Where are the valiant?--the resistless lances--
      The brands that were as lightning when they waved?
      Where are the beautiful--whose sunny glances
      Our fathers, with such potency, enslaved?
      Where is the bard, whose song no more entrances?
      Ah! that deep bell hath answer'd what I craved:
      And thou alone, by these grey walls, O river!
      Murmurest, Dniéper, still, and flow'st for ever.

       *       *       *       *       *



MARSTON; OR, THE MEMOIRS OF A STATESMAN.

PART VII.


     "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 ordnance 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?"

                                               SHAKSPEARE.

At daybreak, the bustle of the camp awoke me. I rose hastily, mounted
my horse, and spurred to the rendezvous of the general staff. Nothing
could be more animated than the scene before me, and which spread to
the utmost reach of view. The advance of the combined forces had moved
at early dawn, and the columns were seen far away, ascending the sides
of a hilly range by different routes, sometimes penetrating through
the forest, and catching the lights of a brilliant rising sun on their
plumes and arms. The sound of their trumpets and bands was heard from
time to time, enriched by the distance, and coming on the fresh
morning breeze, with something of its freshness, to the ear and the
mind. The troops now passing under the knoll on which the
commander-in-chief and his staff had taken their stand, were the main
body, and were Austrian, fine-looking battalions, superbly uniformed,
and covered with military decorations, the fruits of the late Turkish
campaigns, and the picked troops of an empire of thirty millions of
men. Nothing could be more brilliant, novel, or picturesque, than the
display of this admirable force, as it moved in front of the rising
ground on which our _cortège_ stood.

"You will now see," said Varnhorst, who sat curbing, with no slight
difficulty, his fiery Ukraine charger at my side, "the troops of
countries of which Europe, in general, knows no more than of the
tribes of the new world. The Austrian sceptre brings into the field
all the barbaric arms and costumes of the border land of Christendom
and the Turk."

Varnhorst, familiar with every service of the continent, was a capital
cicerone, and I listened with strong interest as he pronounced the
names, and gave little characteristic anecdotes, of the gallant
regiments that successively wheeled at the foot of the slope--the
Archducal grenadiers--the Eugene battalion, which had won their
horse-tails at the passage of the Danube--the Lichtensteins, who had
stormed Belgrade--the Imperial Guard, a magnificent corps, who had led
the last assault on the Grand Vizier's lines, and finished the war.
The light infantry of Maria Theresa, and the Hungarian grenadiers and
cuirassiers, a mass of steel and gold, closed the march of the main
body. Nothing could be more splendid. And all this was done under the
perpetual peal of trumpets, and the thunder of drums and gongs, that
seemed absolutely to shake the air. It was completely the Miltonic
march and harmony--

    "Sonorous metal blowing martial sounds."

But I was now to witness a still more spirit-stirring scene.

The trampling of a multitude of horse, and the tossing of lances and
banners in the distance, suddenly turned all eyes in their direction.

"Now, prepare," said the Count, "for a sight, perhaps not altogether
so soldierlike, but fully as much to my taste, as the buff-belt and
grenadiers'-cap formality of the line. You shall see the Austrian
flankers--every corps equipped after its native fashion. And whatever
our martinets may say, there is nothing that gives such spirits to the
soldier, as dressing according to the style of his own country. My
early service was in Transylvania; and if I were to choose troops for
a desperate service, I say--give me either the man of the hill, or the
man of the forest, exactly in the coat of the chamois-shooter, or the
wolf-hunter."

He had scarcely pointed my attention to the movement, when the whole
body of the rearguard was in full and rapid advance. The plain was
literally covered with those irregulars, who swept on like a surge, or
rather, from the diversity of their colours, and the vast half-circle
which they formed on the ground, a living rainbow. Part were infantry
and part cavalry, but they were so intermingled, and the motion of all
was so rapid, that it was difficult to mark the distinction. From my
recollection of the history of the Seven Years' War, I felt a double
interest in the sight of the different castes and classes of the
service, which I had hitherto known only by name. Thus passed before
me the famous Croatian companies--the Pandours, together forming the
finest outpost troops of the army--the free companies of the Tyrol,
the first marksmen of the empire, a fine athletic race, with the
eagle's feather in their broad hats, and the sinewy step of the
mountaineer--the lancers of the Bannat, first-rate videttes, an
Albanian division, which had taken service with Austria on the close
of the war; and, independently of all name and order, a cloud of wild
cavalry, Turk, Christian, and barbarian, who followed the campaign for
its chances, and galloped, sported, and charged each other like the
Arabs of the desert.

The late triumphs of the Imperial arms in Turkey had even enhanced the
customary display, and the standards of the cavalry and colours of the
battalions, were stiff with the embroidered titles of captured
fortresses and conquered fields. Turkish instruments of music figured
among the troops, and the captive horse-tails were conspicuous in more
than one corps, which had plucked down the pride of the Moslem. The
richness and variety of this extraordinary spectacle struck me as so
perfectly Oriental, that I might have imagined myself suddenly
transferred to Asia, and looked for the pasha and his spahis; or even
for the rajah, his elephants, and his turbaned spearmen. But all this
gay splendour has long since been changed. The Croats are now
regulars, and all the rest have followed their example.

My admiration was so loud, that it caught the ear of the duke. He
turned his quick countenance on me, and said--"Tell our friends at
home, M. Marston, what you have seen to-day. I presume you know that
Maria Theresa was a first-rate soldier; or, at least, she had the
happy art of finding them. You may see Laudohn's hand in her
battalions. As for the light troops, Europe can show nothing superior
in their kind. Trenk's Pandours, and Nadasti's hussars were worth an
army to Austria, from the first Silesian war down to the last shot
fired in Germany. But follow me, and you shall see the work of another
great master."

We spurred across the plain to the mouth of a deep, wooded defile,
through which the Prussian grand _corps d'armée_ were advancing. The
brigades which now met our view were evidently of a different
character from the Austrian; their uniforms of the utmost simplicity;
their march utterly silent; the heads of the columns observing their
distances with such accuracy, that, on a signal, they could have been
instantly formed in order of battle; every movement of the main body
simply directed by a flag carried from hill to hill, and even the
battalion movements marked by the mere waving of a sword. Even their
military music was of a peculiarly soft and subdued character. On my
observing this to Varnhorst, his reply was--"That this was one of the
favourite points of the Great Frederick. 'I hate drums in the march,'
said the king, 'they do nothing but confuse the step. Every one knows
that the beat at the head of the column takes time to reach the rear.
Besides, the drum deafens the ear. Keep it, therefore, for the battle,
when the more noise the better.' He also placed the band in the centre
of the column. 'If they are fond of music,' said he, 'why should not
every man have his share?'"

The steady advance, the solid force, and the sweet harmony, almost
realized the noble poetic conception--

                          "Anon they move
      In perfect phalanx, to the Dorian mood
      Of flutes and soft recorders, such as raised
      To heights of noblest temper heroes old
      Arming to battle; and instead of rage,
      Deliberate valour breathed, firm and unmoved
      With dread of death to flight or foul retreat."

It is true that they wanted the picturesque splendour of ancient
warfare. The ten thousand banners, with orient colours waving, the
"forest huge of spears," the "thronging helms," and "serried shields,
in thick array of depth immeasurable." But if the bayonet, the lance,
and even the cannon offered less to the eye, the true source of the
grandeur of war was there--the power, the tremendous impulse, the
_materiel_ of those shocks which convulse nations--the marshalled
strength, fierce science, and stern will, before which the works of
man perish like chaff before the wind, and the glory of nations
vanishes like a shade.

While the last of the troops were defiling before the duke and his
staff, a courier brought up despatches.

"Gentlemen," said the duke, after glancing at one of the papers, "the
army of the Prince de Condé is in march to join us. They have already
reached the neighbourhood. We must now lose no time. M. Marston, you
will report to your Government what you have seen to-day. We _are_ in
march for Paris."

Varnhorst and Guiscard were now summoned to the side of the duke; a
spot was found where we might shelter ourselves from the overpowering
blaze of the sun; the successive despatches were opened; a large map
of the routes from Champagne to the capital was laid on the ground;
and we dismounted, and, sitting together, like old comrades, we held
our little council of war.

"I can make nothing of my French correspondents in general," said the
duke, after perusing a long letter, "but M. le Comte writes like
Cagliostro. He has evidently some prodigious secret, which he is
determined to envelope in still deeper secrecy. He tells me that La
Fayette has fled; but when, where, or for what purpose, is all equally
an enigma. In one sentence of his letter he would persuade me that all
France is disorganized, and in the next, that it is more resolved to
resist than ever. Paris is prepared to rise at the first sight of the
white flag, and Paris is sending out six thousand men every three
hours to join the republican force in the field. Paris is in despair.
Paris is in furious exultation. How am I to understand all this? Even
in his postscript he tells me, in one breath, that the whole of the
strong places in our front are filled with national guards, and that
no less than seven corps of troops of the line are prepared to fight
us in the plains of Champagne; and that we have only to push on to
take the towns--charge the troops of the line to see them
disperse--and advance within ten leagues of Paris to extinguish the
rebellion, set the royal family free, and restore the monarchy."

The mysterious letter was handed round our circle in succession, and
seemed equally beyond comprehension to us all. We had yet to learn the
temperament of a capital, where every half-hour produced a total
change of the popular mind. The letter, fantastically expressed as it
was, conveyed the true condition of the hour. The picture was true,
but the countenance changed every moment. He might as well have given
the colours of cloud.

I had now entered on a course of adventure the most exciting of all
others, and at the most exciting time of life. But all the world round
me was in a state of excitement. Every nation of Europe was throwing
open its armoury, and preparing its weapons for the field. The troops
invading France were palpably no more than the advanced guards of
Prussia and Austria. Even with all my inexperience, I foresaw that the
war would differ from all the past; that it would be, not a war of
tactics, but a war of opinion; that not armies, but the people
marshalled into hosts, would be ultimately the deciders of the
victory; and that on whichever side the popular feeling was more
serious, persevering, and intense, there the triumph would be gained.
I must still confess, however, in disparagement to my military
sagacity, that I was totally unprepared for the gallant resistance of
the French recruits. What can they do without officers?--ten thousand
of whom had been noblesse, and were now emigrants? What can they do
without a commissariat, what can they do without pay, and who is to
pay them in a bankrupt nation? Those were the constant topics at
headquarters. We were marching to an assured victory. France was at an
end. We should remodel the Government, and teach the _sans culottes_
the hazard of trying the trade of politicians.

There was but one man in the camp who did not coincide in those
glittering visions. Let me once more do justice to a prince whose
character has been affected by the caprices of fortune. The Duke of
Brunswick's language to me, as we saw the Tricolor waving on the walls
of Longwy, the first fortress which lay in our road, was--"Sir, your
court must not be deceived. We shall probably take the town, and
defeat its wavering army; but up to this moment, we have not been
joined by a single peasant. The population are against us. This is not
a German war; it is more like yours in America. I have but one hundred
and twenty thousand men against twenty-five millions." To my remark,
"that there might be large body of concealed loyalty in France, which
only waited the advance of the Allies to declare itself," his calm and
grave reply was: "That I must not suffer my Government to suppose him
capable of abandoning the royal cause, while there was hope in
military means. That it was his determination to hazard all things
rather than chill the coalition. But this let me impress upon your
Ministry," said he, with his powerful eye turned full on me; "that if
intrigue in the German cabinets, or tardiness on the part of yours,
shall be suffered to impede my progress, all is at an end. I know the
French; if we pause, they will pour on. If we do not reach Paris, we
must prepare to defend Berlin and Vienna. If the war is not ended
within a month, it may last for those twenty years."

The commander-in-chief was true to his word. He lost no time. Before
night our batteries were in full play upon the bastions of Longwy, and
as our tents had not yet overtaken us, I lay down under a vineyard
shed in a circle of the staff, with our cloaks for our pillows,
listening to the roar of our artillery; until it mingled with my
dreams.

We were on horse an hour before daybreak, and the cannonade still
continued heavy. It was actively returned, and the ramparts were a
circuit of fire. As a spectacle, nothing could be more vivid,
striking, and full of interest. To wait for the slow approaches of a
formal siege was out of the question. Intelligence had reached us that
the scattered French armies, having now ascertained the point at which
the burst over the frontier was to be made, had been suddenly
combined, and had taken a strong position directly in our way to the
capital. A protracted siege would raise the country in our rear, and,
thus placed between two fires, the grand army might find itself
paralysed at the first step of the campaign. The place must be
battered until a breach was made, and stormed _à la Turque_. Our
anxiety during the day was indescribable. With our telescopes
constantly in our hands, we watched the effect of every new discharge;
we galloped from hill to hill with the impatience of men in actual
combat, and every eye and tongue was busy in calculating the
distances, the power of guns, and the time which the crumbling works
would take to fill up the ditch. The reports of the engineers, towards
evening, announced that a practicable breach was made, and three
battalions of Austrian grenadiers, and as many of Prussians, were
ordered under arms for the assault. To make this gallant enterprize
more conspicuous, the whole army was formed in columns, and marched to
the heights, which commanded a view of the fortress. The fire from the
batteries now became a continued roar, and the guns of Longwy, whose
fire had slackened during the day, answered them with an equal
thunder; the space between was soon covered with smoke, and when the
battalions of grenadiers moved down the hillside, and plunged into the
valley, they looked like masses of men disappearing into the depths of
ocean. The anxiety now grew intense. I hardly breathed; and yet I had
a mingled sensation of delight, eagerness, and yet of uncertainty, to
which nothing that I had ever felt before was comparable. I longed to
follow those brave men to the assault, and probably would have made
some such extravagant blunder, but for seeing Varnhorst's broad
visage turned on me with a look of that quiet humour which, of all
things on earth, soonest brings a man to his senses. "My good friend,"
said he, "however fine this affair may be, live in hope of seeing
something finer. Never be shot at Longwy, when you may have a chance
of scaling the walls of Paris. I have made a vow never to be hanged in
the beginning of a revolution, nor to be shot in the beginning of a
war. But come, the duke is beckoning to us. Let us follow him."

We saw the general and his staff galloping from the ground where he
had remained from the beginning of the assault, to a height still more
exposed, and where the guns from the fortress were tearing up the
soil. From this spot a large body of troops were seen rushing from the
gate of the fortress, and plunging into the valley. The result of this
powerful sortie was soon heard, for every thing was invisible under
the thick cloud, which grew thicker every moment, in the volleys of
musketry, and the shouts of the troops on both sides. Varnhorst now
received an order from the chief of the staff, which produced its
effect, in the rush of a squadron of Prussian cavalry on the flank of
the enemy's column. In a few minutes it was broken, and we saw its
wrecks swept along the side of the hill. An universal shout was sent
up from the army, and our next sight was the ascent of the Austrian
and Prussian standards, gradually rising through the smoke, and making
their way towards the glacis. They had reached the foot of the breach,
when the fire of the town suddenly ceased. A white flag waved on the
rampart, and the drums of the garrison beat the _chamade_. Longwy had
surrendered! All now was triumph and congratulation. We flocked round
the duke, and hailed his first conquest as a promise of perpetual
success. He was in high spirits at an achievement which was so
important to the national impression of his talents and resources. The
sortie of the garrison had given the capture an _éclât_ which could
not have been obtained by the mere surrender of a strong place. But
the most important point of all was, the surrender before the assault.
"The sight of our troops is enough," was the universal conclusion. If
the fortified barrier of France cannot resist, what will be done by
troops as raw as peasants, and officers as raw as their troops? The
capitulation was a matter of half an hour, and by nightfall I followed
the duke and his escort into the town. It was illuminated by order of
the conquerors, and, whether _bongrè_ or _malgrè_, it looked showy; we
had gazers in abundance, as the dashing staff caracoled their way
through the streets. I observed, however, that we had no acclamations.
To have hissed us, might be a hazardous experiment, while so many
Hulans were galloping through the Grande Rue; but we got no smiles. In
the midst of the crowd, I met Varnhorst steering his charger with no
small difficulty, and carrying a packet of notes in his hand. "Go to
your quarters, and dress," said my good-humoured friend. "You will
have a busy night of it. The duke has invited the French commandant
and his officers to dine with him, and we are to have a ball and
supper afterwards for the ladies. Lose no time." He left me wondering
at the new world into which I had fallen, and strongly doubting, that
he would be able to fill up his ball-room. But I was mistaken. The
dinner was handsomely attended, and the ball more handsomely still.
"Fortune de la guerre," reconciled the gallant captains of the
garrison to the change; and they fully enjoyed the contrast between a
night on the ramparts, and the hours spent at the Prussian
generalissimo's splendidly furnished table. The ball which followed
exhibited a crowd of the _belles_ of Longwy, all as happy as dress and
dancing could make them. It was a charming episode in the sullen
history of campaigning, and before I flung myself on the embroidered
sofa of the mayor's drawing-room, where my billet had been given for
the night, I was on terms of eternal "friendship" with a whole group
of classic beauties--Aspasias, Psyches and Cleopatras.

But neither love nor luxury, neither the smiles of that fair
_Champagnaises_, nor the delight of treading on the tesselated floors,
and feasting on the richness of municipal tables, could now detain us.
We were in our saddles by daybreak, and with horses that outstripped
the wind, with hearts light as air, and with prospects of endless
victory and orders and honours innumerable before us, we galloped
along, preceded, surrounded, and followed by the most showy squadrons
that ever wore lace and feathers. The delight of this period was
indescribable. It was to me a new birth of faculties that resembled a
new sense of being, a buoyant and elastic lightness of feelings and
frame. The pure air; the perpetual change of scene; the novelty of the
landscape; the restless and vivid variety of events, and those too of
the most powerful and comprehensive nature; the superb display of the
finest army that the Continent had sent to war for the last hundred
years; and all this excitement and enjoyment, with an unrivaled vista
of matchless conquest in the horizon, a triumphal march through the
provinces, to be consummated by the peace of Europe in Paris, filled
even my vexed and wearied spirit with new life. If I am right in my
theory, that the mind reaches stages of its growth with as much
distinctness as the frame, this was one of them. I was conscious from
this time of a more matured view of human being, of a clearer
knowledge of its impulses, of a more vigorous, firm, and enlarged
capacity for dealing with the real concerns of life. I still loved;
and, strange, hopeless, and bewildering as that passion was in the
breast of one who seemed destined to all the diversities of
fortune--it remained without relief, or relaxation through all. It was
the vein of gold, or perhaps the stream of fire, beneath the soil,
inaccessible to the power of change on the surface, but that surface
undergoing every impulse and influence of art and nature.

The army now advanced unopposed. Still we received neither cheers nor
reinforcements from the population. Yet we had now begun to be
careless on the topic. The intelligence from Paris was favourable in
all the leading points. The king was resuming his popularity, though
still a prisoner. The Jacobins were exhibiting signs of terror, though
still masters of every thing. The recruits were running away, though
the decree for the general rising of the country was arming the
people. In short, the news was exactly of that checkered order which
was calculated to put us all in the highest spirits. The submission of
Paris, at least until we were its conquerors, would have deprived us
of a triumph on the spot, and the proclamation of a general peace
would have been received as the command for a general mourning.

The duke was in the highest animation, and he talked to every one
round him, as we marched along, with more than condescension. He was
easy, familiar, and flushed with approaching victory. "We have now,"
said he, "broken through the 'iron barrier,' the pride of Vauban, and
the boast of France for these hundred years. To-morrow Verdun will
fall. The commandant of Thionville, in desperation at the certainty of
our taking the town by assault, has shot himself, and the keys are on
their way to me. Nothing but villages now lie in our road, and once
past those heights," and he pointed to a range of woody hills on the
far horizon, "and we shall send our light troops _en promenade_ to
Paris." We all responded in our various ways of congratulation.

"Apropos," said the duke, applying to me, "M. Marston, you have been
later on the spot than any of us. What can you tell of this M.
Dumourier, who, I see from my letters, is appointed to the forlorn
hope of France--the command of the broken armies of Lafayette and
Luckner?"

My answer was briefly a hope that the new general would be as much
overmatched by the duke's fortunes in the field, as he had been by
party in the capital. "Still, he seemed to me a clever, and even a
remarkable man, however inexperienced as a soldier."

"If he is the officer of that name who served in the last French war,
he is an old acquaintance of mine," observed the duke. "I remember him
perfectly. He was a mere boy, who, in a rash skirmish with some of our
hussars, was wounded severely and taken prisoner. But as I learned
that he was the son of a French _literateur_ of some eminence whom I
had met in Paris, and as I had conceived a favourable opinion of the
young soldier's gallantry, I gave him his parole and sent him back to
his family, who, I think, were Provencals. He was unquestionably
spirited and intelligent, and with experience might make either
minister or general; but as he has begun by failure in the one
capacity, it will be our business to show him that he may find success
equally difficult in another. At all events, we have nothing but this
minister-general between us and Notre-Dame. He has taken up a position
on the Argonne ridge in our front. To force it will be but an affair
of three hours. Adieu, gentlemen." He put spurs to his horse, and
galloped to one of the columns which approached with trumpets
sounding, bearing the captured banner of the church tower of Longwy.

The world was now before us, and we enjoyed it to the full. Varnhorst
and I were inseparable, and feasted on the scene, the gaiety, the
oddity of the various characters, which campaigning developes more
than any mode of existence. The simple meal, the noon-rest under a
tree, the songs of our troopers, the dance in the villages, as soon as
the peasantry had discovered that we did not eat women and
children--even the consciousness of a life wholly without care, formed
a delicious state of being. "If this is the life of the Arab," I often
was ready to exclaim, "what folly would it be in him to leave the
wilderness! If the Esquimaux can sleep through one half of the year
and revel through the other, is he not the true philosopher in the
midst of his frost and snow?" Guiscard, who sometimes joined our
party, was now and then moved to smile at our unripe conceptions of
the nature of things. But we laughed at his gravity, and he returned
to pore over the mysteries of that diplomacy which evidently thickened
on him hour by hour. I recollect, however, one of his expressions--"My
friend, you think that all the battle is to be fought in front: I can
assure you that a much more severe battle is to be fought in the rear.
Argonne will be much more easily mastered than the King's closet and
the Aulic Council." We had good reason to remember the oracle.

One morning as, with half a dozen hussars, I was ranging the thickets
on the flank of the advance, with the spirit of an English fox-hunter,
on reaching the summit of a rising ground, I saw, some miles off, a
party of horsemen making their way at full speed across the country.
The perfect level of the plains, particularly in Champagne, makes the
ground as open as a race-course. I called my hussars, and we galloped
forward to intercept. On seeing us, they slackened their speed, and
were evidently in consultation. At length the sight of our uniforms
reassured then, and one of their number came forward to meet us. To
our enquiry, the answer was, that "General Lafayette desired to be led
to the headquarters." I now saw this memorable man for the first time,
and was busy, in my usual style, in looking for the hero or the
revolutionist in his physiognomy. I was disappointed in both. I saw a
quiet visage, and a figure of moderate size, rather _embonpoint_, and
altogether the reverse of that fire-eyed and lean-countenanced
"Cassius" which I had pictured in my imagination. But his manners
perplexed me as much as his features. They were calm, easy, and almost
frank. It was impossible to recognize in him the Frenchman, except by
his language; and he was the last man in whom I could ever have
detected that pride of the theatre, the "French _marquis_." His
manners were English, and I had a fellow-feeling for him even in our
short ride to the camp, and congratulated myself on being thrown into
the intercourse of one who had played so conspicuous a part in the
most conspicuous scene of our day.

But on his introduction to the duke, my ardour received a sudden
chill. I saw instantly, by the utter absence of all cordiality in his
reception, that the French fugitive had taken a dangerous step, and
that his Parisian ill fortune had deprived his retreat of all merit in
the sight of the commander-in-chief. My doubts were soon confirmed by
a message from his tent. I obeyed; and as I passed the lines, saw
Lafayette surrounded by a troop of Hulans of the Guard. I found the
duke pacing uneasily in front of the tent.

"M. Marston," said he, with a vexed manner, "your capture of this
morning has added to our perplexities. You acted zealously, and with
the spirit that distinguishes your nation; but I heartily wish that
M. La Fayette had taken any other direction than towards us. His fall
has been contemplated for some time, and even the possibility of his
being arrested by some of our parties. I have received a communication
from the Allied cabinets on the contingency; and the question now is,
how to execute my order without public weakness or personal severity."

I proposed to accompany him, while we were on the march, and to pledge
myself for his honour when we arrived at quarters.

"Generously offered," was the reply. "But my duty, in the first
instance, prohibits his remaining in the camp; and in the next, my
feelings for himself would spare a man who has commanded the enemy's
troops, the sight of that actual collision which must immediately take
place. We attack the defiles of the Argonne to-morrow."

He entered the tent, wrote a few lines, and returned to me.

"M. Lafayette must consider himself as a prisoner; but as my wish is
to treat him with honour, I must beg of you, M. Marston, to take
charge of him for the time. Your offer has relieved me from an
embarrassment; and I shall take care to make honourable mention of
your conduct in this instance, as in all others, to both the courts of
Berlin and St James's. The marquis must be sent to Berlin, and I must
request that you will be ready to set out with him this evening."

The sound was a thunder-stoke. "This evening!" when the decisive
action of the war was to be fought next morning. "To Berlin!" when all
my gallant friends were to be on the march to Paris. Impossible! I
retracted my offer at once. But the prince, not accustomed to be
resisted, held his purpose firmly; representing that, as the French
general was actually _my_ prisoner, and as _my_ court was equally
interested with those of the Allied powers, in preventing his return
to embroil France, "it was my duty, as her commissioner, to see that
the measure was effectively performed." But the appearance of leaving
the army, on the very eve of important service, was not to be argued,
or even commanded, away. The duke was equally inflexible, though his
sentences were perhaps shorter than mine; and I finally left his
presence, declaring, that if the request were persisted in, I should
throw up my commission at once, volunteer as a common trooper into the
first squadron which would admit me, and then, his highness, might, of
course, order me wherever he pleased."

A stately smile was the answer to this tirade. I bowed, and retired.

Within a hundred yards I met my two friends, Varnhorst and Guiscard,
and poured out my whole catalogue of wrongs at once. Varnhorst shared
my indignation, fiercely pulled his thick mustaches, and muttered some
phrases about oppression, martinetism, and other dangerous topics,
which fortunately were scattered on the air. Guiscard neither raged
nor smiled, but walked into the ducal tent. After a few minutes he
returned, and then his sallow countenance wore a smile. "You have
offended the duke desperately," said he. "And as a sovereign prince, I
dare say that banishment from his territories for life would be the
least reparation; but as a general, we think that we cannot have too
many good troops, and your proposal to take a Hulan's lance and pistol
in your hand, is irresistible. In short, he receives you as a
volunteer into his own hussars, and as you are henceforth at his
disposal, he orders."--My tormentor here made a malicious pause, which
threw me into a fever. I gazed on his countenance, to anticipate his
mission. It wore the same deep and moveless expression. "His highness
orders, that you shall escort, with a squadron, General Lafayette, to
the Chateau, our former headquarters, and where we first met; there
deliver over the Frenchman to an officer of the staff, who will be in
readiness to escort him further; and, in the mean time, if the very
fiery and independent M. Marston should have no objection to travel at
night, he may return, and be in time for whatever is to be done here
to-morrow."

"Bravo, bravo!" exclaimed good-natured Varnhorst. "Guiscard, you are
the first of negotiators!"

"No," was the quiet reply. "I pretend to nothing more than the art of
being a good listener. I merely waited until the duke had spoken his
will, and then interposed my suggestion. It was adopted at once; and
now our young friend has only to ride hard to-night, and come to shade
his brow with a share of any laurels which we may pluck in the forest
of Argonne, in the next twenty-four hours."

I was enraptured--the communication was made in the most courteous
manner to the marquis. He had at once perceived the difficulties of
his position, and was glad to leave them behind as far as possible.
Our escort was mounted within a few minutes, and we were in full
gallop over the fruitful levels of Champagne.

To speed of this order, time and space were of little importance; and
with the rapidity of a flock of falcons, we reached the foot of the
noble hill, on which, embosomed in the most famous vineyards of the
vine country, stood the Chateau. It was blazing with lights, and had
evidently lost nothing of its population by the change of
headquarters. We were soon brought to a stand by a challenge in
French, and found that we were no longer among the jovial Jägers of
Deutchland. We had fallen in with the advanced corps of the Emigrant
army under the command of the Prince of Condé.

Here was a new dilemma. Our prisoner's was perhaps the most startling
name which could have been pronounced among those high-blooded and
headlong men. The army was composed almost wholly of the _noblesse_;
and Lafayette, under all his circumstances of birth, sentiments, and
services, had been the constant theme of noble indignation. The
champion of the American Republic, the leader of the Parisian
movement, the commandant of the National Guard, the chief of the rebel
army in the field--all was terribly against him. Even the knowledge of
his fall could not have appeased their resentment; and the additional
knowledge that he was within their hands, might have only produced
some unfortunate display of what the philosopher calls "wild justice."
In this difficulty, while the officer of the patrol was on his way to
the Chateau to announce our coming, I consulted the captain of my
escort. But, though a capital _sabreur_, he was evidently not made to
solve questions in diplomacy. After various grimaces of thinking, and
even taking the meersham from his mouth, I was thrown on my own
resources. My application to the captive general was equally
fruitless: it was answered with the composure of one prepared for all
consequences, but it amounted simply to--"Do just as you please."

But no time was to be lost, and leaving the escort to wait till my
return, I rode up the hill alone, and desired an interview with the
officer in command of the division. Fortunately I found him to be one
of my gayest Parisian companions, now transformed into a fierce
chevalier, colonel des chasseurs, bronzed like an Arab, and mustached
like a tiger. But his inner man was the same as ever. I communicated
my purpose to him as briefly as possible. His open brow lowered, and
his fingers instinctively began playing with the hilt of his sabre.
And if the rencontre could have been arranged on the old terms of man
to man, my gallant friend would have undoubtedly made me the bearer of
a message on the spot. But I had come for other objects, and gradually
brought him round; he allowed that "a prisoner was something entitled
to respect." The "request of his distinguished and valued friend, M.
Marston, dear to him by so many charming recollections of Paris, &c.,
was much more;" and we finally arranged that the general should be
conveyed unseen to an apartment in the Chateau, while I did him and
his "_braves camarades_" the honour of sharing their supper. I gave
the most willing consent; a ride of thirty miles had given me the
appetite of a hunter.

I was now introduced to a new scene. The room was filled with muskets
and knapsacks piled against the walls, and three-fourths of those who
sat down were private soldiers; yet there was scarcely a man who did
not wear some knightly decoration, and I heard the noblest names of
France everywhere round me. Thus extremes meet: the Faubourg St
Germains had taken the equality of the new order of things, and the
very first attempt to retain an exclusive rank had brought all to the
same level. But it was a generous, a graceful, and a gallant level.
All was good-humour under their privations, and the fearful chances
which awaited them were evidently regarded with a feeling which had
all the force of physical courage without its roughness. I was much
struck, too, with the remarkable appearance of the military figures
round me. Contrary to our general notions of the foreign noblesse
those exhibited some of the finest-looking men whom I had ever seen.
This was perhaps, in a considerable degree, owing to the military
life. In countries where the nobility are destitute of public
employment, they naturally degenerate--become the victims of the
diseases of indolence and profligacy, transmit their decrepitude to
their descendants, and bequeath dwarfishness and deformity to their
name. But in France, the young noble was destined for soldiership from
his cradle. His education partook of the manly preparations for the
soldier's career. The discipline of the service, even in peace, taught
him some superiority to the effeminate habits of opulence; and a sense
of the actual claims of talents, integrity, and determination, gave
them all an importance which, whatever might be the follies of an
individual, from time to time, powerfully shaped the general character
of the nobles. In England, the efforts for political power, and the
distinctions of political fame, preserve our nobility from relaxing
into the slavery of indulgence. The continual ascent of accomplished
minds from the humbler ranks, at once reinforces their ability and
excites their emulation; and if England may proudly boast of men of
intellectual vigour, worthy of rising to the highest rank from the
humblest condition, she may, with not less justice, boast of her
favourites of fortune fitted to cope with her favourites of nature.

Among these showy and high-bred soldiers, the hours passed
delightfully. Anecdotes of every court of Europe, where most of them
had been, either as tourists or envoys; the piquant tales of the court
of their unfortunate sovereign; narratives--sufficiently contemptuous
of the present possessors of power; and _chansons_--some gay, and some
touching--made us all forget the flight of time. Among their military
choruses was one which drew tears from many a bold eye. It was a
species of brief elegy to the memory of Turenne, whom the French
soldier still regarded as his tutelar genius. It was said to have been
written on the spot where that great leader fell:--

     "Reçois, O Turenne, où tu perdis lavie,
      Les transports d'un soldat, qui te plaint et t'envie.
      Dans l'Elysee assis, près du cef des Césars,
      Ou dans le ciel, peutêtre entre Bellone et Mars.
      Fais-moi te suivre en tout, exauce ma prière;
      Puis se-je ainsi remplir, et finir ma carrière."

The application to the immediate circumstances of those brave
gentlemen was painfully direct. What to-morrow might bring was
unknown, further than that they would probably soon be engaged with
their countrymen; and whether successful or not, they must be embarked
in war against France. But my intelligence that an action was expected
on the next day awoke the soldier within them again; the wrongs of
their order, the plunders of the ruling faction, their hopeless
expatriation, if some daring effort was not made, and the triumphant
change from exiles to possessors and conquerors, stirred them all into
enthusiasm. The army of the Allies, the enemy's position, the public
feeling of Paris, and the hope of sharing in the honours of an
engagement which was to sweep the revolutionary "canaille" before the
"gentlemen of France," were the rapid and animating topics. All were
ardent, all eloquent; fortune was at their feet, the only crime was to
doubt--the only difficulty was to choose in what shape of splendid
vengeance, of matchless retribution, and of permanent glory, they
should restore the tarnished lustre of the diadem, and raise the
insulted name of France to its ancient rank among the monarchies of
the world. I never heard among men so many brilliancies of speech--so
many expressions of feeling full of the heart--so glowing a display of
what the heart of man may unconsciously retain for the time when some
great emotion rouses all its depths, and opens them to the light of
day. It was to me a new chapter in the history of man.

The news which I had brought of the positions of the armies rendered
me an object of marked interest. I was questioned on every point;
first, and especially, of the intention of the commander-in-chief,
with the most anxious yet most polished minuteness. But, as on this
subject my lips were comparatively sealed, the state of the troops
with whom they were so soon to be brought into contact became the more
manageable topic. On mentioning that Dumourier was placed in command,
I received free and full communications on the subject of his
qualities for being the last hope of revolutionary France. One had
known him in his early career in the engineers, another had served
along with him in Corsica, a third had met him at the court of
Portugal; the concurring report being, that he was a coxcomb of the
first water, showy but superficial, and though personally brave, sure
to be bewildered when he found himself for the first time working the
wheels and springs of that puzzling machine, an army in the field. A
caustic old Provençal marquis, with his breast glittering with the
stars of a whole constellation of knighthood, yet who sat with the
cross-belts and cartouche-box of the rank and file upon him, agreeing
with all the premises, stoutly denied the conclusions. "He is a
coxcomb," said the old Marquis. "Well, he is only the fitter to
command an army of upstarts. He has seen nothing but Corsican service;
well, he is the fitter to command an army of banditti. And he has been
an _espion_ of the Government in Portugal; what better training could
he have for heading an army of traitors? Rely upon it, gentlemen, that
you have mistaken his character; if you think that he is not the very
man whom the mob of Paris ought to have chosen for their general, I
merely recommend, that when you go into action you should leave your
watches in camp, and, if you charge any of their battalions, look well
to your purses."

The old soldier's sally restored our gaiety; but the man best
acquainted with the French commander-in-chief was my friend the
chevalier, at the head of the table. "It has singularly enough
happened to me to have met M. Dumourier in almost every scene of his
life, since his return from his first service in Germany. Our first
meeting was in the military hospital in Toulouse, where he had been
sent, like myself, to recover, in his native air, from the wounds of
our last German campaign. He was then a coxcomb, but a clever one,
full of animal spirits, and intoxicated with the honour of having
survived the German bullets, of being appointed to a company, and
wearing a _croix_. Our next meeting was in Portugal. Our Minister had
adopted some romantic idea of shaking the English influence, and
Dumourier had been sent as an engineer to reconnoitre the defences of
the country. The word _espion_ was not wholly applicable to his
mission, yet there can be no doubt that the memoir published on his
return, was _not_ a volume of travels. His services had now
recommended him to the Government, and he was sent to Corsica. There
again I met him, as my regiment formed part of the force in the
island. He was high on the staff, our intercourse was renewed, and he
was regarded as a very expert diplomatist. A few years after, I found
him in a still higher situation, a favourite of De Choiseul, and
managing the affairs of the Polish confederation. On his return to
Paris, such was the credit in which he stood, that he was placed by
the minister of war at the head of a commission to reform the military
code; thus he has been always distinguished; and has at least had
experience."

Even this slight approach to praise was evidently not popular among
the circle, and I could hear murmurs.

"Distinguished!--yes, more with the pen than the sword."

"Diplomacy!--the business of a clerk. Command is another affair."

"Mon cher Chevalier," said the old Marquis, with a laugh, "pray, after
being in so many places with him, were you with him in the Bastile?"
This was followed with a roar.

I saw my friend's swarthy cheek burn. He started up, and was about to
make some fierce retort, when a fine old man, a general, with as many
orders as the marquis, and a still whiter head, averted the storm, by
saying, "Whether the chevalier was with M. Dumourier in that
predicament, I know not; but I can say that I was. I was sent there
for the high offence of kicking a page of the court down the grande
escalier at Versailles for impertinence, at the time when M. Dumourier
was sent there by the Duc d'Acquillon, for knowing more than the
minister. I assure you that I found him a most agreeable
personage--very gay, very witty, and very much determined to pass his
time in the pleasantest manner imaginable. But our companionship was
too brief for a perfect union of souls," said he laughing; "for I was
liberated within a week, while he was left behind for, I think, the
better part of a year."

"But his talents?" was the question down the table.

"Gentlemen," said the old man, "my experience in life has always made
me judge of talents by circumstances. If, for example, I find that a
man has the talent exactly fitted for his position, I give him credit
for all--he had the talent for making the Bastile endurable, and I
required no other. But there were times when graver topics varied our
pleasantry, and he exhibited very various intelligence, a practical
experience of the chief European courts, and, I am sorry to say, a
very striking contempt for their politics and their politicians alike.
He was especially indignant at the selfish perfidy with which the late
king had given him up to the ignorant jealousy of the minister, and
looked forward to the new reign with a resolute, and sometimes a
gloomy determination to be revenged. If that man is a republican, it
is the Bastile that has made him one; and if he ever shall have a fair
opportunity of displaying his genius, unless a cannonball stops his
career I should conceive him capable of producing a powerful
impression on Europe."

The conversation might again have become stormy but for the entrance
of a patrol, for whom a vacant space at the table had been left. Forty
or fifty fine tall fellows now came rushing into the room, flinging
down shakos, knapsacks, and sabres, and fully prepared to enjoy the
good cheer provided for them. I heard the names of the first families
of France among those privates--the Montmorencies, the Lamaignons, the
Nivernois, the Rochefoucaults, the De Noailles, "familiar as household
words." All was good-humour again. They had a little adventure in
scaring away a corps of the rustic national guards who, to expedite
their escape, had flung away their arms, which were brought in as good
prize. The festivity and frolic of youth, engaged in a cause which
conferred a certain dignity even on their _tours de page_, renewed the
pleasantry of the night. We again had the _chansons_; and I recollect
one, sung with delicious taste by a handsome Italian-faced youth, a
nephew of the writer, the Duc de Nivernois.

The duke had requested a ringlet from a beautiful woman. She answered,
that she had just found a grey hair among her locks, and could now
give then away no more. The gallant reply was--

     "Quoi! vous parlez de cheveux blancs!
      Laissez, laissez courir le temps;
      Que vous importe son ravage?
      Les tendres coeurs en sont exempts;
      _Les Amours sont toujours enfants,
      Et les Graces sont de tout age._
      Pour moi, Thémire, je le sens.
      Je suis toujours dans mon printemps,
      Quand je vous offre mon hommage.
      Si je n'avais que dixhuit ans,
      Je pourrais aimer plus longtemps,
      Mais, non pas aimer davantage."[10]

    [10]

      Lovely and loved! shall one slight hair
      Touch thy delicious lip with care?
      A heart like thine may laugh at Time--
      The Soul is ever in its prime.
      All Loves, you know, have infant faces,
      A thousand years can't chill the Graces!
      While thou art in my soul enshrined,
      I give all sorrows to the wind.
      Were I this hour but gay eighteen,
      Thou couldst be but my bosom's queen;
      I might for longer years adore,
      But could not, could not love thee more.

On returning to look for my distinguished prisoner, I found a packet
lying on the table of my apartment; it had arrived in my absence with
the troops in advance; and I must acknowledge that I opened it with a
trembling hand, when I saw that it came from London and Mordecai.

It was written in evident anxiety, and the chief subject was the
illness of his daughter. She had some secret on her mind, which
utterly baffled even the Jew's paternal sagacity. No letters had
reached either of them from France, and he almost implored me to
return, or, if that were impossible, to write without delay. Mariamne
had grown more fantastic, and capricious, and wayward than ever. Her
eyes had lost their brightness, and her cheek its colour. Yet she
complained of nothing, beyond a general distaste to existence. She had
seen the Comtesse de Tourville, and they had many a long conference
together, from which, however, Mariamne always returned more
melancholy than ever. She had refused the match which he had provided
for her, and declared her determination to live, like the daughter of
Jephthah, single to her grave.

The letter then turned to my own circumstances, and entered into them
with the singular mixture of ardour and sneering which formed this
extraordinary character.

    "I am doing your business here as indefatigably as if I were
    robbing nabobs in India, or setting up republics at home. The
    tardiness of the Horse-Guards is to be moved by nothing but an
    invasion; and it would be almost as rational to wait the
    growth of an oak, as to wait the signing of your commission;
    but it shall be done in my own way. I have means which can
    make the tardy quick, and open the eyes of the blind. You
    _shall_ be a subaltern in the Guards, unless you are in too
    much haste to be a general, and get yourself shot by some
    Parisian cobbler in the purloined uniform of a rifleman. But,
    let me tell you one fact, and I might indorse this piece of
    intelligence, 'Secret and Confidential,' to the English
    cabinet, for even our great minister has yet to learn it--_the
    Allies will never reach Paris_. Rely, and _act_ upon this.
    They might now enter the capital, if, instead of bayonets,
    they carried only trusses of straw. The road is open before
    them, but they will look only behind. The war was almost a
    feint from the beginning. The invasion was the second act of
    the farce--the retreat will be the third. Poland has been the
    _true object_; and, to cover the substantial seizures there,
    has been the trick of the French invasion. I predict that, in
    one month from the date of this letter, there will not be an
    Austrian or Prussian cartridge found in France. Potsdam and
    Schoenbrunn know more on the subject at this moment than the
    duke. I write to you as a friend, and by Mariamne's especial
    order, to take care of yourself. I have seen the retreats of
    continental armies in my time; they are always a scene of
    horrors. Follow the army so long as it advances; then all is
    well, and even the experience of service may be of use to you.
    But, in this instance, the moment that you find it come to a
    stop, turn your horse's head to any point of the compass but
    the front, and ride to the nearest seaport. The duke is a
    brave man, and his army is a brave army; but both will be
    instantly covered with all the obloquy of all the libelers on
    earth. If you have met him as man with man, you have doubtless
    been captivated with his manners, his wit, his animation, and
    his accomplishments. I have known him long and well. But
    Europe, within a month, will decry him, as a fugitive, a fool,
    and a dastard. Such is popular wisdom, justice, and knowledge.
    A pupil of the first warrior of Prussia and of modern ages,
    and wanting only experience to do honour to the lessons of
    Frederick, he will be laughed at by the loose loungers of the
    Palais Royal, as ignorant of the art of war, and branded by
    the graver loungers of courts and councils, as ignorant of the
    art of government. Once more, I say, take care of yourself.
    The first step in retreat will raise all France against the
    Allies. Ten victories would not cost as much as the first
    week's march towards the frontier. Every thicket will have its
    troop; every finger, for a hundred leagues round, will be on
    the trigger. Robbery and murder, famine and fatigue; disease
    and death, will be upon the troops; the retreat will become a
    flight, and happy is the man who will ever see the Rhine
    again. Be wise in time."

Enclosed within this long epistle was a brief note from Mariamne.

    "You must not think me dying, because I importune you no
    longer. But, _can_ you give me any tidings of Lafontaine? I
    know that he is rash, and even enthusiastic; but I equally
    know that he is faithful and true. _Yet_, if he _has_
    forgotten me, or is married, or is any thing that, as a preux
    chevalier, he ought not to be, tell me at once, and you shall
    see how grateful I can be, before I cease to be any thing. But
    if he has fallen--if, in the dreadful scenes now acting in
    Paris, Lafontaine is no more--_tell me not_. Write some
    deluding thing to me--conceal your terrible knowledge. I
    should not wish to drop down dead before my father's face. He
    is looking at me while I write this, and I am trying to laugh,
    with a heart as heavy as lead, and eyes that can scarcely see
    the paper. No--for mercy's sake, do not tell me _that he is
    dead_. Give me gentle words, give me hope, deceive me--as they
    give laudanum, not to prolong life, but to lull agony. Do
    this, and with my last pulse I shall be grateful--with my last
    breath I shall bless you."

Poor Mariamne! I had, at least, better hopes than those for her. But
within this billet was a third. It was but a few lines; yet at the
foot of those lines was the signature--"Clotilde de Tourville." The
light almost forsook my eyes; my head swam; if the paper had been a
talisman, and every letter written with the pen of magic, it could not
have produced a more powerful effect upon me. My hands trembled, and
my ears thrilled; and yet it contained but a few unimportant words--an
enquiry addressed to Mariamne, whether she could forward a letter to
the Chateau Montauban in Champagne, or whether her father had any
correspondent in the vicinity who could send her the picture of a
beloved relative, which, in the haste of their flight to England, they
had most reluctantly left behind.

The note at once threw every thing else into the background. What were
invasions and armies--what were kings and kingdoms--to the slightest
wish of the being who had written this billet? All this I admit to be
the fever of the mind--a waking dream--an illusion to which mesmerism
or magic is but a frivolity. Like all fevers, it is destined to pass
away, or to kill the patient; yet for the time, what on earth is so
strange, or so powerful--so dangerous to the reason--so delicious to
the soul!

But, after the long reverie into which I sank, with the writing of
Clotilde in my hand, I recollected that fortune had for once given me
the power of meeting the wishes of this noble and beautiful creature.
The resemblance of the picture that had so much perplexed and
attracted me, was now explained. I _was_ in the Chateau de Montauban,
and I now blessed the chance which had sent me to its honoured walls.

To hasten to the chamber where I was again to look upon the exquisite
resemblance of features which, till then, I had thought without a
similar in the world, was a matter of instinct; and, winding my way
through the intricacies of galleries and corridors, loaded with the
baggage of the emigrant army, and strewed with many a gallant noble
who had exchanged the down bed of his ancestral mansion for the bare
floor, or the open bivouac, I at length reached the apartment to which
the captive general had been consigned. To my utter astonishment,
instead of the silence which I expected under the circumstances, I
heard the jingling of glasses and roars of laughter. Was this the
abode of solitude and misfortune? I entered, and found M. Lafayette,
indeed, conducting himself with the composure of a personage of his
rank; but the other performers exhibiting a totally different
temperament. A group of Polish officers, who had formerly borne
commissions in the royal service, and now followed the Emigrant
troops, had recognized Lafayette, and insisted on paying due honours
to the "noble comrade" with whom they had served beyond the Atlantic.
Hamlet's menace to his friend, that he would "teach him to drink deep
ere he depart," had been adopted in the amplest sense by those jovial
sons of the north, and "healths bottle-deep" were sent round the board
with rapid circulation.

My entrance but slightly deranged the symposium, and I was soon
furnished with all the freemasonry of the feast, by being called on to
do honour to the toast of "His Majesty the King of Great Britain." My
duty was now done, my initiation was complete, and while my eyes were
fixed on the portrait which, still in its unharmed beauty, looked
beaming on the wild revel below, I heard, in the broken queries, and
interjectional panegyrics of these hyperborean heroes, more of the
history of Lafayette than I had ever expected to reach my ears.

His life had been the strangest contrast to the calm countenance which
I saw so tranquilly listen to its own tale. It was Quixotic, and two
hundred years ago could scarcely have escaped the pen of some French
Cervantes. He had begun life as an officer in the French household
troops in absolute boyhood. At sixteen he had married! at eighteen he
had formed his political principles, and begun his military career by
crossing the Atlantic, and offering his sword to the Republic. To meet
the thousand wonderings at his conduct, he exchanged the ancient motto
of the Lafayettes for a new one of his own. The words, "Why not?" were
his answer to all, and they were sufficient. On reaching America, he
asked but two favours, to be suffered to serve, and to serve without
pay.

In America he was more republican than the Republicans. He toiled,
traveled, and bled, with an indefatigable zeal for the independence of
the colonists; his zeal was a passion, his love of liberty a romance,
his hostility to the dominion of England an universal scorn of
established power. But if fantastic, he was bold; and if too hot for
the frigidity of America, he was but preparing to touch France with
kindred fire. He refused rank in the French army coupled with the
condition of leaving the service of the Republic; and it was only on
the French alliance in 1788 that he returned to Paris, to be received
with feigned displeasure by the King, and even put under arrest by the
minister, but to be welcomed by the praises of the true sovereign, the
Queen, feted by the court, the sovereign of that sovereign, and
huzzaed by the mob of Paris, already the sovereign of them all; from
his military prison he emerged, colonel of the King's regiment of
dragoons.

While this narrative was going on, mingled with bumpers, and bursts of
Slavonic good-fellowship, I could not help asking myself whether
Lavater was not quack and physiognomy a folly? Could this be the
dashing Revolutionist? No plodder over the desk ever wore a more
broadcloth countenance; an occasional smile was the only indication of
his interest in what was passing around him. He evidently avoided
taking a share in the discussion of his Transatlantic career, probably
from delicacy to his English auditor. But when the conversation turned
upon France, the man came forth, and he vindicated his conduct with a
spirit and fulness that told me what he might have been when the blood
of youth was added to the glow of the imagination. He was now
evidently exhausted by toil, and dispirited by disappointment. No man
could be more thoroughly ruined; baffled in theory, undone in
practice--an exile from his country, a fugitive from his
troops--overwhelmed by the hopelessness of giving a constitution to
France, and with nothing but the dungeon before him, and the crash of
the guillotine behind.

"What was to be done?" said Lafayette. "France was bankrupt--the
treasury was empty--the profligate reign of Louis XV. had at once
wasted the wealth, dried up the revenues, and corrupted the energies
of France. Ministers wrung their hands, the king sent for his
confessor, the queen wept--but the nation groaned. There was but one
expedient, to call on the people. In 1787 the Assembly of the Notables
was summoned. It was the first time since the reign of Henry IV.
France had been a direct and formal despotism for almost two hundred
years. She had seen England spread from an island into an empire; she
had seen America spread from a colony into an empire. What had been
the worker of the miracle?--Liberty. While all the despotisms remained
within the boundaries fixed centuries ago, like vast dungeons, never
extending, and never opening to the light and air, except through the
dilapidations of time, I saw England and America expanding like
fertile fields, open to every breath of heaven and every beam of day,
expanding from year to year by the cheerful labour of man, and every
year covered with new productiveness for the use of universal mankind.
I own that there may have been rashness in urging the great
experiment--there may have been a dangerous disregard of the actual
circumstances of the people, the time, and the world--the daring hand
of the philosopher may have drawn down the lightning too suddenly to
be safe; the patriot may have flashed the blaze of his torch too
strongly on eyes so long trained to the twilight of the dungeon. The
leader of this enterprise himself, like the first discoverer of fire,
may have brought wrath upon his own head, and be condemned to have his
vitals gnawed in loneliness and chains; but nothing shall convince
Lafayette that a great work has not been begun for the living race,
for all nations, and for all posterity."

I could not suppress the question--"But when will the experiment be
complete? When will the tree, planted thus in storms, take hold of the
soil? When will the tremendous tillage which begins by clearing with
the conflagration, and ploughing with the earthquake, bring forth the
harvest of peace to the people?"

"These must be the legacy to our children," was the reply, in a grave
and almost contrite tone. "The works of man are rapid only when they
are meant for decay. The American savage builds his wigwam in a week,
to last for a year. The Parthenon took half an age and the treasures
of a people, to last for ever."

We parted for the night--and for thirty years. My impression of this
remarkable man was, that he had more heart than head; that a single
idea had engrossed his faculties, to the exclusion of all others; that
he was following a phantom, with the belief that it was a substantial
form, and that, like the idolaters of old, who offered their children
to their frowning deity, he imagined that the costlier the sacrifice,
the surer it was of propitiation. Few men have been more misunderstood
in his own day or in ours. Lifted to the skies for an hour by popular
adulation, he has been sunk into obscurity ever since by historic
contempt. Both were mistaken. He was the man made for the
time--precisely the middle term between the reign of the nobility and
the reign of the populace. Certainly not the man to "ride on the
whirlwind and direct the storm;" but as certainly altogether superior
to the indolent luxury of the class among whom he was born. Glory and
liberty, the two highest impulses of our common nature, sent him at
two and twenty from the most splendid court of Europe, to the swamps
and snows, the desperate service and dubious battles of America. Eight
years of voyages, negotiations, travels, and exposure to the chances
of the field, proved his energy, and at the age of thirty he had drawn
upon himself the eyes of the world. Here he ought to have rested, or
have died. But the Revolution swept him off his feet. It was an
untried region--a conflict of elements unknown to the calculation of
man; he was whirled along by a force which whirled the monarchy, the
church, and the nation with him, and sank only when France plunged
after him.

I have no honour for a similar career, and no homage for a similar
memory; but it is from those mingled characters that history derives
her deepest lesson, her warnings for the weak, her cautions for the
ambitious, and her wisdom for the wise.

On the retiring of the party for the night, my first act was to summon
the old Swiss and his wife who had been left in charge of the mansion,
and collect from them all their feeble memories could tell Clotilde.
But Madame la Maréchale was a much more important personage in their
old eyes, than the "charmante enfant" whom they had dandled on their
knees, and who was likely to remain a "charmante enfant" to them
during their lives. The chateau had been the retreat of the Maréchale
after the death of her husband; and it was in its stately solitudes,
and in the woods and wilds which surrounded it for many a league, that
Clotilde had acquired those accomplished tastes, and that
characteristic dignity and force of mind, which distinguished her from
the frivolity of her country-women, however elegant and attractive,
who had been trained in the _salons_ of the court. The green glades
and fresh air of the forest had given beauty to her cheek and grace
to her form; and scarcely conceiving how the rouged and jewelled
Maréchale could have endured such an absence from the circles of the
young queen, and the "_beaux restes_" of the wits and beauties of the
court of Louis the 15th, I thanked in soul the fortunate necessity
which had driven her from the atmosphere of the Du Barris to the
shades thus sacred to innocence and knowledge.

But the grand business of the thing was still to be done. The picture
was taken down at last, to the great sorrow of the old servants, who
seemed to regard it as a patron saint, and who declared that its
presence, and its presence alone, could have saved the mansion, in the
first instance, from being burned by the "patriots," who generally
began their reforms of the nobility by laying their chateaux in ashes,
and in the next, from being plundered by the multitudes of whiskered
savages speaking unknown tongues, and came to leave France without
"_ni pain ni vin_" for her legitimate sons. But the will of Madame la
Maréchale was to them as the laws of the Medes and Persians,
irresistible and unchangeable; and with heavy hearts they dismounted
the portrait, and assisted in enfolding and encasing it, with much the
same feeling that might have been shown in paying the last honours to
a rightful branch of the beloved line.

But, in the wall which the picture had covered, I found a small
recess, closed by an iron door, and evidently unknown to the Swiss and
his old wife. I might have hesitated about extending my enquiry
further, but Time, the great discoverer of all things, saved my
conscience: with a slight pressure against the lock it gave way; the
door flew open, and dropped off the hinges, a mass of rust and decay.
Within was a casket of a larger size than that generally used for
jewels; but my curiosity durst not go beyond the superscription, which
was a consignment of the casket, in the name of the Maréchale, to her
banker in London. Whatever might be the contents, it was clear that,
like the picture, it had been left behind in the hurry of flight, and
that to transmit it to England was fairly within my commission. Before
our busy work was done, day was glancing in through the coloured panes
of the fine old chamber. I hurried off the Swiss, with my precious
possessions, to the next town, in one of the baggage carts, with a
trooper in front to prevent his search by hands still more hazardous
than those of a custom-house officer; and then, mounting my horse, and
bidding a brief farewell to the brave and noble fellows who were
already mustering for the march, and envying me with all their souls,
I set off at full speed to rejoin the army.

With all my speed, the action had begun for some hours before I came
in sight of the field. With what pangs of heart I heard the roar of
the cannon, for league on league, while I was threading my bewildered
way, and spurring my tired horse through the miry paths of a country
alternately marsh and forest; with what pantings I looked from every
successive height, to see even to what quarter the smoke of the firing
might direct me; with what eager vexation I questioned every hurrying
peasant, who either shook his moody head and refused to answer, or who
answered with the fright of one who expected to have his head swept
off his shoulders by some of my fierce-looking troop, I shall not now
venture to tell; but it was as genuine a torture as could be felt by
man. At length, exhausted by mortal fatigue, and ready to lie down and
die, I made a last effort, would listen no more to the remonstrances
of the troop, whose horses were sinking under them. I ordered them to
halt where they were, pushed on alone, and, winding my way through a
forest covering the side of a low but abrupt hill, or rather
succession of hills, I suddenly burst out into the light, and saw the
whole battle beneath, around, and before me. It was magnificent.

       *       *       *       *       *



LETTER FROM LEMUEL GULLIVER.

TO THE EDITOR.


Sir--At the request of my four-footed friends, I forward to you a free
translation of the proceedings of a meeting of Houynhyms, recently
held for the protection of their interests in corn. As the language
appears more temperate, and the propositions quite as rational, as
those which are ordinarily brought forward in the other Corn-law
meetings which still continue to agitate the county, I have no
difficulty in complying with their wishes; and if you can afford space
for the insertion of the report in your valuable Magazine, you will
greatly oblige the Houynhym race, and confer a favour upon, sir, your
obedient servant,

LEMUEL GULLIVER.

_Stable-Yard, Nov. 10th, 1843._

       *       *       *       *       *


ADVERTISEMENT.

A meeting of delegates from the different classes of consumers of oats
was held on Friday last, at the Nag's Head in the Borough, pursuant to
public advertisement in the _Hors-Lham Gazette_. The object of the
meeting was to take into consideration the present consumption of the
article, and to devise means for its increase. The celebrated horse
Comrade, of Drury-Lane Theatre, presided on the occasion.

The business of the meeting was opened by a young Racer of great
promise, who said it was his anxious desire to protect the interests
of the horse community, and to promote any measure which might
contribute to the increase of the consumption of oats, and improve the
condition of his fellow-quadrupeds. He was not versed in political
economy, nor, indeed, economy of any kind. He had heard much of demand
and supply, and the difficulty of regulating them properly; but, for
his own part, he found the latter always equalled the former, though
he understood such was not the case with his less fortunate brethren.
He warmly advocated the practice of sowing wild oats, and considered
that much of the decrease of consumption complained of arose from the
undue encouragement given to the growth of other grain; and that the
horse interest would be best promoted by imposing a maximum as to the
growth of wheat and barley, according to the acreage of each
particular farm.

A HACKNEY-COACH HORSE declared himself in favour of the sliding-scale,
which he understood from Sir Peter Lawrie to mean the wooden pavement.
He admitted it was not well adapted for rainy seasons, but it was
impossible to doubt that things went much more smoothly wherever it
was established; and that he, and the working classes whom he
represented, found in it a considerable relief from the heavy duties
daily imposed upon them. He wished that some measure could be devised
for superseding the use of nosebags, which he designated as an
intolerable nuisance, especially during the summer months; but he
principally relied for an improvement in condition on the prohibition
of the mixture of chaff with oats; which latter article, he contended,
was unfit for the use of able-bodied horses, who earned their daily
food, and ought to be limited to those cattle who spent an idle
existence in straw-yards.

A BRIGHT CHESTNUT HORSE, of great power, and well-known in the parks,
warmly replied to the last neigher. He denounced the sliding-scale as
a slippery measure, unworthy of a horse of spirit, and adding greatly
to the burdens with which horses like himself were saddled. He daily
saw steeds of the noblest blood and most undaunted action humbled to
the dust by its operation; and if Sir Peter Lawrie was to be believed,
it was more dreaded by the household troops than Napoleon's army on
the field of Waterloo. He yielded to no horse in an anxious desire to
promote the true interests of the horse community; but he could not
give his support to measures so unsafe, merely because they enabled a
small and inferior section of their community to move more smoothly.
He reprobated, in strong terms, the unfeeling allusion of the last
neigher to the unfortunate inmates of union straw-yards, whom, for his
own part, he looked upon as nowise inferior to the hackney-coach
horse himself, of whose right to be present at a meeting of consumers
of oats he entertained serious doubts. (Loud neighs of "Order!
Order!")

A SCOTCH HORSE feared that, strictly speaking, he was included in the
same category with the hackney-coach horse, and had no right to be
heard, having no personal interest in the question; but he trusted he
might be permitted to speak as the delegate of the horses of Scotland,
who were ignorant of the Houynhym language, and not entitled to
attend. Permission being granted, to the surprise of the assembly he
descanted with much asperity upon the gross oppression to which horses
in Scotland were subject, as their rough coats and ragged appearance
plainly manifested; and stated, in conclusion, that no hope or
expectation of bettering the condition of the Scotch horse could be
entertained until their lawful food was restored to them, and
Scotchmen were compelled, by act of Parliament, to abstain from the
use of oatmeal, and live like the rest of the civilized world.

Several worn-out horses belonging to members of the Whig
administration then endeavoured to address the meeting, with an
evident intention of converting the proceedings into a party question;
but they were informed by the president, in the midst of loud snorting
and neighing, that they had not the slightest right to be present, as
they were all undoubtedly turned out for life. This decision appeared
to give universal satisfaction.

AN IRISH HORSE was of opinion that the great cause of the present
difficulties arose from deficiency in the quality and not the quantity
of the article, and strongly recommended the growth of Irish oats in
England. To the surprise of the English delegates, he warmly eulogized
the superiority of the Irish oat; but it afterwards appeared, upon the
production of a sample, that he had mistaken the potatoe oat for the
Irish oat.

AN OLD ENGLISH HUNTER next addressed the meeting, and was listened to
with deep attention. He impressed upon the young delegates the good
old adage of "Look before you leap," and cautioned them against the
delusive hope that their condition would be improved by change of
measures. In the course of his long life he had experienced measures
of every description, and had invariably found that his supplies
depended, not on the measure itself; but on the hand that filled it.
He had ever given his willing support to his employers, and served
them faithfully; and if they were as well acquainted as quadrupeds
with the secrets of the stable, they would learn the fallacy of their
favourite maxim of "Measures, not men," and trust the administration
of their affairs to upright and steady grooms, rather than those
fanciful half-educated gentlemen who were perpetually changing the
rules of the stables, and altering the form of the measures, whereby
they embarrassed the regular feeding and training of the inmates,
without producing any practical good.

A STAGE-COACH HORSE imputed their want of condition to the misconduct
of their leaders, who, he said, could never be kept in the right path,
or made to do one-half of the work which properly belonged to them. By
a strange fatality, they were generally purblind, and always shyed
most fearfully when an Opposition coach approached them. Indeed, it
was well known that the horses selected for these duties were,
generally speaking, vicious and unsound, and not taken from the most
able and powerful, but from the most showy classes. He then proceeded
to descant upon the general wrongs of horses. He congratulated the
community upon the abolition of bearing reins, those grievous burdens
upon the necks of all free-going horses; and he trusted the time would
soon arrive when the blinkers would also be taken off, every corn-binn
thrown open, and every horse his own leader.

Several other delegates addressed the meeting, and various plans were
discussed; but it invariably turned out, upon investigation, that the
change would only benefit the class of animals by whom it was
proposed. A post-horse was of opinion, that the true remedy lay in
decreasing the amount of speed, and shortening the spaces between
milestones. A Welsh pony was for the abolition of tolls, which, he
said, exhausted the money intended for repairs; whilst some
plough-horses from Lincolnshire proposed the encouragement of pasture
land, the abolition of tillage, and the disuse of oats altogether. The
harmony of the meeting was, at one period, interrupted, by the
unfortunate use of the word "_blackguard_" by a delegate from the
collieries, which caused a magnificent charger from the Royal Horse
Guards, Blue, to rear up, and, with great indignation, demand if the
allusion was personal; but who was satisfied with the explanation of
the president, that it was applicable only in a warlike sense. A long,
lean, bay horse, with a sour head, demanded a similar explanation of
the word "_job_," and was told it was used in a _working_ sense.
Several resolutions, drawn by two dray-horses, embodying the supposed
grievances of the community, were finally agreed upon, and a petition,
under the hoof of the president, founded upon them, having been
prepared, and ordered to be presented to the House of Commons by the
members for Horsham, the meeting separated, and the delegates returned
to their respective stables.

       *       *       *       *       *



THE PROCLAMATION.


      Bold warriors of Erin, I hereby _proclaim_,
      That the world never witness'd your rivals in fame;
      Bold sons of Macmurraugh, Macarthy, O'Neill,
      The armies of earth at your sight would turn pale.
      A flash from your eyes would light England's last pile,
      And a touch give her sceptre to Erin's green isle.

      Hurrah for the vengeance of old Mullaghmast,
      On the blood-bolter'd ground where your gauntlet was cast;
      Hurrah for the vengeance of Tara's proud hill,
      Where the bones of our monarchs are blood-sprinkled still.
      Hurrah for Clontarf, though the Saxon may smile,
      The last, greatest triumph of Erin's green isle!

      Let the scoffer scoff on, while I hereby _proclaim_,
      That flight may be courage, and fear but a name;
      That boasting is good, when 'tis good for the cause,
      But, in sight of cold steel, _we should honour the laws_;
      That powder and shot make men swallow their bile--
      So, hurrah for the glory of Erin's green isle!

      If they ask for your leader, the land's sword and shield,
      At least none can say that _he fled from the field_.
      _He_ kept a whole skin--for the service of Rome;
      So he fix'd his headquarters in quiet at home.
      They might just as well hunt for the head of the Nile,
      While he reckon'd his beads for St Patrick's green isle.

      If beggars on horseback will ride--to Clontarf;
      If tailors will caper with truncheon and scarf,
      At Sunday carousels, all know, I'm in flower,
      My taste for the grape don't extend to the shower.
      Besides, those blue pills disagree with my chyle,
      So, hurrah!--pence and peace for the grand Emerald Isle!

      If the scoffer should ask, what the deuce brought you there?
      Of course, it was only to taste the fresh air;
      To pick cowslips and daisies; and brush off the dew,
      Or drink gin o'er the tombstone of Brian Boru.
      As to flags, and all that; 'twas but doing in style,
      The honours of Freedom to Erin's green isle.


      Then, as to your "Squadrons," your "Mount for Repeal,"
      'Twas merely to teach them the "Right about wheel,"
      By the word of command from the Saxon to run,
      As your leader would fly from a bailiff or dun;
      In short, since a miss is as good as a mile,
      Swear the whole was a humbug for Erin's green isle.

      Besides, these are delicate moments to croak,
      Since the Saxon's new plan of a word and a stroke.
      My mind is made up, like a poodle or pug,
      No longer to stir from my berth on the rug;
      Though the bold may revile me, so let them revile--
      I'm determined to _live_ for old Erin's green isle.

      I _proclaim_--that the Saxon will tremble to meet
      The heroes of Erin; but, boys, life is sweet.
      I _proclaim_--that your shout frightens Europe's base thrones;
      But remember, my boys, there is luck in whole bones;
      So, take the advice of a friend--wait a while,
      In a century or two you'll revenge the Green Isle.

      I know in my soul, at the very first shot

      That your whole monster meeting would fly at full trot;
      What horrid mêlée, then, of popping and flashing!
      At least I'LL not share in your holiday thrashing;
      Brawl at Sugden and Smith, but beware "rank and file"--
      They're too rough for the lambkins of Erin's green isle.

      Observe, my dear boys, if you once get me hang'd,
      'Tis fifty to one if you'll e'er be harangued.
      Farewell to the pleasure of paying the "Rint"--
      Farewell to all earth's vilest nonsense in print--
      Farewell to the feast of your gall and your guile--
      All's over at once with the grand Emerald Isle.

       *       *       *       *       *



THE FIREMAN'S SONG.


      "Ho, comrade, up! awake, arise! look forth into the night:
      Say, is yon gleam the morning-beam, yon broad and bloody light?
      Say, does it tell--yon clanging bell--of mass or matin song?
      Yon drum-roll--calls it to parade the soldier's armèd throng?"

      "No, brother, no! no morning-beam is yonder crimson glare!
      Yon deep bell tolls no matin--'tis the tocsin's hurried blare!
      Yon sullen drum-roll mutters out no summons to parade:
      To fight the flame it summons us--the valiant Fire-Brigade!"

      Then fast the Fireman rose, and waked his mate that lay beside;
      And each man gripp'd his trusty axe, and donn'd his coat of hide--
      There bounds beneath that leather coat a heart as strange to fear
      As ever swell'd beneath the steel of gilded cuirassier.

      And from beneath the leather casque that guards the Fireman's brow,
      A bolder, sterner glance shines out than plumy crest can show;
      And oft shall ply the Fireman's axe, though rude and rough it be,
      Where sabre, lance, and bayonet, right soon would turn and flee!

      Off dash the thundering engines, like goblin jäger-chase--
      The sleeper shudders as they pass, and pallid grows his face:
      Away, away! though close and bright yon ruddy glow appear,
      Far, far we have to gallop yet, or e'er our work we near!

      A plain of upturn'd faces--pale brows and quivering lips,
      All flickering like the tropic sea in the green light of eclipse;
      And the multitude waves to and fro, as in the tropic sea,
      After a tempest, heaves and falls the ground-swell sleeplessly.

      Now, by my faith! goodly sight you mansion fast asleep--
      Those winking lamps beside the gate a dull watch seem to keep--
      But a gay awaking waits them, when the crash of blazing beam,
      And the Fireman's stern réveille, shall mingle with their dream!

      And sound as sleeps that mansion, ye may mark in every chink
      A gleam, as in the lava-cracks by the volcano's brink;
      Through key-hole and through window-slit, a white and sullen glow--
      And all above is rolling smoke, and all is dark below.

      Hark! hear ye not that murmur, that hush and hollow roar,
      As when to the south-wester bow the pines upon the shore;
      And that low crackling intermix'd, like wither'd twig that breaks,
      When in the midnight greenwood the startled squirrel wakes!

      Lo, how the fire comes roaring on, like a host in war array!
      Nor lacks it gallant music to cheer it on its way,
      Nor flap of flame-tongued banner, like the Oriflamme of old,
      Its vanward cohorts heralding, in crimson, green, and gold.

      The engines now are ranged a-row--hark, how they sob and pant!
      How gallantly the water-jets curve soaringly aslant!
      Up spins the stream--it meets the flame--it bursts in fleecy rain,
      Like the last spout of the dying whale, when the lance is in
          his brain.

      Ha, ha! from yon high window thrill'd the wild shriek of despair,
      And gibbering phantoms seem to dance within the ruddy glare;
      And as a valiant captain leads his boarders to the fray,
      "Up, up, my sons!" our foreman shouts--"up firemen, and away!"

      Their arms are strong and sinewy--see how the splinters fly--
      Their axes they are sharp and good--"Back, comrades! or ye die--
      Look to the walls!"--a rending crash--they topple--down they come--
      A cloud of sparks--a feeble cheer--again!--and all is dumb.

      A pause--as on that battle-day, 'twixt France and England's might,
      When huge L'Orient blew up at once, in the hottest of the fight:
      There was not one, they say, but wink'd, and held his breath
          the while,
      Though brave were they that fought that day with Nelson at the Nile.

      And by to-morrow's sunrise, amid the steaming stones,
      A chain of gold half-melted, and a few small white bones,
      And a few rags of roasted flesh, alone shall show where died--
      The noble and the beautiful, the baby and the bride!

      O fire, he is a noble thing!--the sot's pipe gives him birth;
      Or from the livid thunder-cloud he leaps alive on earth;
      Or in the western wilderness devouring silently;
      Or on the lava rocking in the womb of Stromboli.

      Right well in Hamburg revell'd he--though Elbe ran rolling by--
      He could have drain'd--so fierce his thirst--the mighty river dry!
      With silk, and gold, and diamond, he cramm'd his hungry maw;
      And he tamed the wild republicans, who knew nor lord nor law!

      He feasted well in Moscow--in the city of the Tsar--
      When 'fore the northern streamers paled Napoleon's lurid star:
      Around the hoary Kremlin, where Moscow once had stood,
      He pass'd, and left a heap behind, of ashes slaked in blood!

      He feasted once in London--he feasted best of all--
      When through the close-packed city, he swept from wall to wall:
      Even as of old the wrath of God came down in fiery rain,
      On Sodom and Gomorrha, on the Cities of the Plain!

       *       *       *       *       *



POSITION AND PROSPECTS OF THE GOVERNMENT.


A recruited revenue; reviving trade and commerce; reduction in the
price of provisions; the triumphant termination of hostilities in all
parts of the world, with its great immediate prospective advantages: a
general feeling of confidence, arising from the steady administration
of public affairs, in spite of persevering and atrocious efforts to
excite dissatisfaction and alarm; nay, even the stern repose
prevailing in Ireland, preserved though it be, for a while, under
cover of artillery, and at the bayonet's point, but affording a
precious respite from agitation, and a foretaste of the blessings that
may be expected from its permanent suppression: all these
circumstances unequivocally attest the existence of a powerful
Government acting upon a comprehensive and enduring policy, which is
becoming daily better appreciated by the strong good sense which ever
distinguishes the British character, when a fair opportunity is
afforded for its exercise.

Upwards of two years have now elapsed since the accession of the
present Government to power, at a period of universally admitted
difficulty and danger. We have been, during this critical interval,
dispassionate and independent observers of Ministers, and their
conduct of public affairs, anxious to see whether they were really
equal to the occasion, and worthy of the confidence of the Sovereign
and the country. We are ourselves satisfied, and undertake to
demonstrate to our readers, that this question must be answered in the
affirmative. We say all this advisedly, and with no disposition to
deny the existence of difficulties, which, if serious to the present,
would be absolutely insuperable to any other Government. During the
interval in question, Ministers have triumphed over more formidable
difficulties than any which they have at present to encounter. _That_,
also, we say advisedly--cheerfully, confidently--with Ireland before
our eyes, and the din of the audacious and virulent Anti-corn-law
League in our ears.

Passing these topics for the present, let us proceed to examine
carefully the real position of Sir Robert Peel and his Government,
with a view to ascertaining its prospects of a continuance in power.
This enquiry cannot be successfully conducted, without referring for a
moment to the immense changes in principles and parties effected by
the Reform Bill in 1832--a period of quite as great a revolution as
that of 1688. The Tory party it nearly annihilated!--The first Reform
Parliament consisting of only 187 Tories to 471 Whigs and
Radicals--the former being thus in the fearful minority of 284. We
recollect sharing in the despondency, and even despair, which
paralysed our party. There was, however, one signal exception in the
person of Sir Robert Peel, whose conduct on that occasion entitles him
to the eternal gratitude of every man pretending to the character of a
Conservative, nay, of every true lover of his country and its
institutions. With surprising energy, calmness, and foresight, he
instantly addressed himself to the formation, even under those
inauspicious and disheartening circumstances, of that _great_
CONSERVATIVE _party_ of which he is now the acknowledged head. In
1841, just _before_ the general election, he thus _reminded that
party_, and apprized the country at large of the principle on which he
had acted in 1832. We beg our readers to ponder his words, and the
period when he uttered them.

    "I then foresaw the good that might result from laying the
    foundation of a great Conservative party in the state,
    attached to the fundamental institutions of the country--not
    opposed to any rational change in it which the lapse of years,
    or the altered circumstances of society might require, but
    determined to maintain, on their ancient footing and
    foundation, our great institutions in church and state. In
    order to form that party, however, it was necessary, in the
    first instance, to widen the foundation on which it should
    stand: to call into our connexion men from whom we had been
    separated in consequence of differences which no longer
    existed. My grand object was to build up that great party
    which has been gradually acquiring strength in this
    country--which has been gradually widening the foundation on
    which it stands, and which has drawn, from time to time, its
    support from its opponents."[11]

    [11] Speech to the Tamworth Electors on 28th June 1841,
    (Painter, Strand.)

The shortest and best evidence of the success which has attended the
unwearied exertions of Sir Robert Peel during the ensuing then years,
is afforded by the following summary of the results of the four
general elections since the passing of the Reform Bill; three of them
under the auspices and with the unscrupulously exercised patronage of
the Reform Government. Observe the ascending and descending scales:--

           C.   L.
          187  471  (1832)
          275  383  (1835)
          314  344  (1837)
          373  283  (1841)

Who was it but its founder, that led the Conservative party through
these successive stages of triumph? Who did so much as he to effect
that gradual but decisive change in public opinion which, in 1841,
routed the Liberal Ministry in spite of their extraordinary exertions
and advantages, and placed a Conservative Government at the head of
affairs? To enable us to appreciate the importance of that great
victory, and also the decision of character evinced on that occasion
by Sir Robert Peel, let us for a moment advert to the calm
self-reliance with which, amidst the breathless apprehensions and
misgivings of his whole party, he gave battle to the enemy--proposed
the memorable vote of want of confidence, and carried it by a majority
of one.[12] A more critical move never was followed by more signal
success; every ensuing event serving to show, that so far from his
movements having been impelled by rash and desperate party
speculations, they had been based upon a profound and accurate
knowledge of his resources, and of the state of feeling and opinion in
the country. "I gave the Government every advantage," said he, "to
make their appeal to the country. They boast of the confidence of the
crown--they have every means at their disposal which official
influence can command to exert in their own behalf. An appeal has been
made by them from the House of Commons to you, and it is for the
country to decide the question at issue. They have made an appeal to
public feeling on account of cheap sugar and cheap bread. My firm
belief is, that the people of this country have not at all responded
to that cry." How well-founded was that "firm belief," was proved by
the glorious result:--the "people of this country did" _not_ "respond
to that cry"--they rejected--they repudiated it, and they would do so
again if another such appeal were made to them to-morrow.

    [12] Ayes, 312; Noes, 311--4th June 1841.

Let us now proceed to show what pretence there is for the injurious
insinuations and assertions of Sir Robert Peel's traducers--whether
treacherous friends or open enemies--that, in order to obtain power,
he hung out false colours to the nation; that his declarations before
the general election have been disregarded and falsified by his acts
on attaining office. We will for ever demolish all such calumnies and
false pretences by going, step by step, through a document which we
made a point of procuring at the time, and preserving hitherto, and to
which we have since frequently referred, on hearing uttered the
slanderous charges to which we allude. That document is a copy of the
speech which Sir Robert Peel, on the 28th June 1841, addressed
formally to his constituents, but virtually, of course, to the whole
nation.

One of his earliest declarations was the following:--"Gentlemen, _I
have ever professed moderate opinions on politics_. The principles I
professed, and adhered to, I shall adhere to during my public life,
whether in opposition or in power, are, I believe, in perfect
conformity with the prevailing good sense, the moderation, and the
intelligence of the great body of the people of England." This was a
sufficiently distinct notice to all men, especially to those of
extreme opinions, whether Tory, Liberal, or Radical, of the course of
action which was to be looked for from the expectant Prime Minister.

Then, first, he proceeded to admit the existence of manufacturing
distress.

"I admit and deplore it, but I do not despair. I have seen distress in
manufactures and in commerce before now. I think the causes of the
present distress are but temporary--that the cloud will soon blow
over--and that the great foundations of manufacturing prosperity are
not affected; and I hope I shall very shortly see the day when our
manufactures will once more revive, and when we shall again fill the
place we have always occupied--that of producers for the markets of
the world."

Now for its _cause_.

"Now let us consider the important question, as to how far the
distress in the manufactures and commerce of the country is fairly
attributable to the corn-laws." He proceeded to show, from Lord
Palmerston's official statement in Parliament on the 22d July 1840,
that, between the years 1830 and 1839, the _exports_ had risen from
the value of L.38,000,000 to L.53,000,000, and the _imports_ from
L.46,000,000 to L.62,000,000, "a clear proof that, notwithstanding the
local and temporary checks which our commerce had experienced, on the
whole it had gone on steadily improving, and that between the two
periods it had increased not much less than from two to three."

He then took the _shipping_ and _navigation_ of the country for the
preceding three years; and in looking at them, I cannot help thinking
that, if there was any thing like an absolute decrease in trade and
commerce, there would also be a decrease in the shipping of the
country. "Well," said Sir Robert Peel, "What do I find?" The returns
"showed an increase, presented within the last three years, from
4,000,000 tons to 4,780,000 tons." Now mark--"during the whole of this
period the corn-laws were in operation; how then can they be fairly or
honestly assigned as the cause of the present manufacturing and
commercial distress?"

But if the corn-laws were _not_, what _was_ the cause?

"I see causes enough in the world, as well as in this country, why
there should be manufacturing and commercial distress at the present
moment, irrespective and totally independent of the corn-laws."

These were--

1st, "_I do fear that, in the north of England, an undue stimulus has
been given to manufacturing industry by the accommodation system
pursued by the joint-stock banks. I think the connexion of the
manufacturer with the joint-stock banks gave an undue and an improper
impulse to trade in that quarter of the county; and I think that, in
consequence of this, there have been more manufactures produced within
the last two years than were necessary to supply the demand for
them._"

2ndly, "Look to the state of some of the foreign countries, which
took, at one time, the greatest quantity of our manufactures;" South
America, its ports strictly blockaded by France; the United States of
North America, "in a state of nascent hostility," and also labouring
under "a distress similar to our own, and arising from similar causes.
The facility of accommodation afforded by certain banks there gave an
undue stimulus to industry; this produced extravagant speculations;
many persons failed in consequence, and trade necessarily then came to
a stand-still." Canada--the peninsula, France, the great Kingdoms of
the middle and north of Europe--Syria, Egypt, China, had been, and
were, in such a state, as occasioned all interruption of our trade
thither; "a stoppage in the demand for manufactured goods, and a
correspondent depression in commerce." "When you put all these things
together, all causes, mind you, affecting the market for your goods,
and then combine them with the two or three defective harvests we have
had of late, I ask you to answer me the question, Whether or not they
have been sufficient to account for the depression of manufacturing
industry."

Then came Sir Robert Peel to the two grand and suddenly discovered
panaceas of the late Government, for recruiting the exhausted revenue,
and relieving the general distress--viz. "cheap sugar," and "cheap
bread."

1st, As to foreign sugar:--

"I clearly and freely admit that those restrictions which cannot be
justified should be removed, and that the commerce of the country
should be perfectly free, whenever it can possibly be so; but I
consider the article of sugar to be wholly exempt from the principle
of free trade." * * * "The question now is this--whether, after the
sacrifices which this country has made for the suppression of the
slave trade and the abolition of slavery, and the glorious
results that have ensued, and are likely to ensue, from these
sacrifices--whether we shall run the risk of losing the benefit of
those sacrifices, and tarnishing for ever that glory, by admitting to
the British market sugar the produce of foreign slavery." * * * "If
you admit it, it will come from Brazil and Cuba. In Brazil, the
slave-trade exists in full force; in Cuba, it is unmitigated in its
extent and horrors. The sugar of Cuba is the finest in the world; but
in Cuba, slavery is unparalleled in its horrors. I do not at all
overstate the fact, when I say, that 50,000 slaves are annually landed
in Cuba. That is the yearly importation into the island; but, when you
take into consideration the vast numbers that perish before they leave
their own coasts, the still greater number that die amidst the horrors
of the middle passage, and the number that are lost at sea, you will
come to the inevitable conclusion, that the number landed in
Cuba--50,000 annually--is but a slight indication of the number
shipped in Africa, or of the miseries and destruction that have taken
place among them during their transport thither. If you open the
markets of England to the sugar of Cuba, you may depend on it that you
give a great stimulus to slavery, and the slave-trade." Sir Robert
Peel then pointed out peculiar and decisive distinctions between the
case of sugar, and that of cotton, tobacco, and coffee; that, though
all of them were the produce of slave labour--First, we cannot now
reject the _cotton_ of the United States, without endangering to the
last degree the manufacturing prosperity of the kingdom. Secondly, of
all the descriptions of slave produce, sugar is the most cruelly
destructive of human life--the proportion of deaths in a sugar
plantation being infinitely greater than on those of cotton or coffee.
Thirdly, slave grown sugar has _never_ been admitted to consumption in
this country.[13] He also assigned two great co-operating reasons for
rejecting slave-grown sugar:--"That the people of England required the
great experiment of emancipation to be fairly tried; and they would
_not_ think it fairly tried, if, at this moment, when the colonies
were struggling with such difficulties, we were to open the floodgates
of a foreign supply, and inundate the British market with sugar, the
produce of slave-labour;" adopting the very words of the Whig
Vice-President of the Board of Trade, Mr Labouchere, on the 25th June
1840. The other reason was, "that our immense possessions in the East
Indies give us the means, and afford us every facility, for acquiring
sugar, the produce of free labour, to an illimitable extent."

    [13] The following striking passage from the writings of the
    celebrated Dr Channing of America, was quoted by Sir Robert
    Peel in the speech under consideration. "Great Britain, loaded
    with an unprecedented debt, and with a grinding taxation,
    contracted a new debt of a hundred millions of dollars, to
    give freedom, not to Englishmen, but to the degraded African.
    I know not that history records an act so disinterested, so
    sublime. In the progress of ages, England's naval triumphs
    will shrink into a more and more narrow space in the records
    of our race--this moral triumph will fill a broader--brighter
    page." "Take care!" emphatically added Sir Robert Peel, "that
    this brighter page be not sullied by the admission of slave
    sugar into the consumption of this country--by our
    encouragement--and, too, our unnecessary encouragement of
    slavery and the slave-trade!"--Noble sentiments!

So much for foreign sugar. Now for--

II. FOREIGN CORN; and we beg the special attention of all parties to
this portion of the manifesto of Sir Robert Peel:--

"Look at the capital invested in land and agriculture in this
country--look at the interests involved in it--look at the arrangement
that has been come to for the commutation of tithes--look at your
importation of corn diminishing for the last ten years--consider the
burdens on the land peculiar to this country[14]--take all these
circumstances into consideration, and then you will agree with Mr
McCulloch, the great advocate of a change in the Corn-law, that
'considering the vast importance of agriculture, _nearly half the
population of the empire are directly or indirectly dependent on it
for employment and the means of subsistence_; a prudent statesman
would pause before he gave his sanction to any measure however sound
in principle, or beneficial to the mercantile and manufacturing
classes, that might endanger the prosperity of agriculture, or check
the rapid spread of improvement.'"[15]

    [14] "We believe," says _Mr McCulloch_ himself in another part
    of the pamphlet, (Longman & Co., 1841, p. 23--6th Edit.) from
    which Sir Robert Peel is quoting, "that land is more heavily
    taxed than any other species of property in the country--and
    that its owners are clearly entitled to insist that a duty
    should be laid on foreign corn when imported, sufficient fully
    to countervail the excess of burdens laid upon the land."

    [15] Speech, pp. 9, 10.

Now for the "_Sliding Scale_."

"I just here repeat the opinion which I have declared here before, and
also in the House of Commons, that I cannot consent to substitute a
fixed duty of 8s. a-quarter on foreign corn, for the present ascending
and descending scale of duties. I prefer the principle of the
ascending and descending scale, to such an amount of fixed duty. And
when I look at the burdens to which the land of this country is
subject, I do not consider the fixed duty of 8s. a-quarter on corn
from Poland, and Prussia, and Russia, where no such burdens exist, a
sufficient protection for it."[16]

    [16] Do. p. 8.

Again--

"If you disturb agriculture, and divert the employment of capital from
the land, you may not increase your foreign trade--for that is a thing
to dwell under existing circumstances--_but will assuredly reduce the
home trade, by reducing the means to meet the demand_, and thus
permanently injure yourselves also."[17]

    [17] Do. p. 13.

Again--

"I have come to the conclusion, that the existing system of an
ascending and descending scale of duties, should not be altered: and
that, moreover, we should as much as possible make ourselves
independent of a foreign supply--and not disturb the principle of the
existing corn-laws--of these corn-laws, which, when you have an
abundance of your own, exclude altogether the foreign supply--and when
the price rises in this country, freely admits it."[18]

    [18] Speech, p. 15.

Again--he quoted the following remarkable language of Lord Melbourne
on the 11th June 1840--

"_Whether the object be to have a fixed duty, or an alteration as to
the ascending and descending scale, I see clearly and distinctly,
that that object will not be carried without a most violent
struggle--without causing much ill-blood, and a deep sense of
grievance--without stirring society to its foundations, and leaving
behind every sort of bitterness and animosity. I do not think the
advantages to be gained by the change are worth the evils of the
struggle_."[19]

    [19] Do. p. 18.

And Sir Robert Peel concluded the foregoing summary of his views, on
the great questions then proposed to the country for its decision, in
the following words:--

"I ask your free suffrages, with this frank and explicit declaration
of my opinions."[20]

    [20] Do. p. 18.

On this, there occur to us three questions--

(1st.) Was this, or was it not, a frank and explicit declaration of
his opinions? And, (2d.) Did it, or did it not, as tested by the
result of the general election, completely satisfy the country? (3d.)
In what respect has the subsequent conduct of Sir Robert Peel been
inconsistent with these declarations? And we echo the stern enquiry
of the Duke of Wellington, for "the _when_, the _where_, and the
_how_," "of Sir Robert Peel's deceiving his supporters or the
country"--and "pause for a reply." Failing to receive any--for none
can be given, except in the negative--we shall proceed to condense the
substance of this memorable manifesto into a few words; offer some
general observations designed to assist in forming a correct judgment
upon the topics discussed in the ensuing pages; and then give as fair
an outline as we know how to present, of the "DOINGS" of Sir Robert
Peel and his Government, by way of comment upon, and illustration of
his previous and preparatory "SAYINGS."

What, then, was the substance of Sir Robert Peel's declaration, on
presenting himself before the country as a candidate for the office
which he fills? He avowed himself a man of moderate political
opinions; recognized the existence of manufacturing and commercial
distress, but referred it to causes of only a temporary nature,
unconnected with the corn-laws; repudiated the empirical expedients
proposed by the late ministry; and pledged himself to maintain the
principle of protection to our agricultural interests; declaring his
deliberate preference of a sliding scale of duties, to a fixed duty,
upon foreign corn.

The first of the observations to which we beg the reader's earnest
attention, is--that Sir Robert Peel has _to govern by means of a
Reformed House of Commons_. It is for want of well considering this
circumstance, that one or two respectable sections of the Conservative
party have conceived some dissatisfaction at the line of policy
adopted by Sir Robert Peel. They forget that, as we have already
stated, the _Tory_ party was nearly destroyed by the passing of the
Reform Bill; that from its ashes rose the CONSERVATIVE party, adapted
to the totally new political exigencies of the times; its grand object
being, as it were, out of the elements of democracy to arrest the
progress of democracy. The bond of its union was correctly described
by its founder, as consisting in attachment to the fundamental
institutions of the country--non-opposition to rational changes
rendered requisite by the altered circumstances of the times--but
determination to maintain, on their ancient footing and foundation,
our great institutions in Church and State. Keeping these grand
objects ever in view, the true policy to be adopted was to widen the
foundations on which should stand "that new party _which was to draw,
from time to time, its strength from its opponents_." None saw this
more clearly than Sir Robert Peel--and hence the "_moderation_,"
indispensable and all-powerful, which he prescribed to himself, and
recommended to all those who chose to act with him, and the steady
acting upon which has at length conducted them to their present
splendid position of power and responsibility. Could the government of
the country be now carried on upon principles that were all-powerful
twenty--or even fewer--years ago? No more than Queen Victoria could
govern on the principles of Queen Elizabeth! We must look at things,
not as they were, or as we would wish them to be--but as they are and
are likely to be. He is unable to take a just and comprehensive view
of political affairs in this country--of the position of parties, and
the tendency of the principles respectively advocated by them, who
does not see that the great and only contest now going on, is between
_conservative_ and _destructive_. We say boldly--and we are satisfied
that we say it in conformity with the opinions of the immense majority
of persons of intelligence and property--that the forces which would
drive Sir Robert Peel's Government from office would immediately and
inevitably supply their places by a Government which must act upon
destructive principles. This will not be believed by many of those
who, moving in the circumscribed sphere of intense party feeling, can
contemplate only one object, namely--a return to power, and disregard
the intentions of the fierce auxiliaries of whose services they would
avail themselves. To the country at large, however, who breathe a
freer air, the true nature of the struggle is plain as the sun at
noonday. The number of those who only nominally belong to parties,
but have a very deep stake in the preservation of our national
institutions, and see distinctly the advantages of a Minister acting
_firmly_ on moderate principles, and who will consequently give him a
_silent_ but steady support in moments of danger, is infinitely larger
than is supposed by the opponents of the Conservative party. Such a
Minister, however, must make up his account with receiving often only
a cold and jealous support from those of his adherents who incline to
extreme opinions; while his opponents will increase their zeal and
animosity in proportion to their perception of the unobjectionableness
of his measures, the practical _working_ of his moderation, viz.--his
continuance in power, and their own exclusion from it. Such a Minister
must possess a large share of fortitude, careless of its exhibition,
and often exposing him to the charge of insensibility, as he moves
steadily on amongst disaffected supporters and desperate
opponents, mindless equally of taunts, threats, reproaches, and
misrepresentations. He must resolve to _bide his time_, while his
well-matured measures are slowly developing themselves, relying on the
conscious purity of his motives. Such a man as this the country will
prize and support, and such a man we sincerely believe that the
country possesses in the present Prime Minister. He may view,
therefore, with perfect equanimity, a degree of methodized clamour and
violence, which would overthrow a Minister of a different
stamp. Such are the inconveniences--such the consolations and
advantages--attending that course of _moderation_ which alone can be
adopted with permanent success, by a Conservative Minister governing
with a reformed House of Commons.

Another observation we would offer, has for its object to abate the
pique and vexation under which the ablest volunteer advisers of the
Minister are apt to suffer, on his disregard of their counsels, and
sometimes to revenge themselves by bitter and indiscriminate censure
of his general policy. They should remember, that while they are
irresponsible volunteers, he acts under a tremendous responsibility;
to sustain which, however, he has advantages which none but those in
his situation can possibly possess--the co-operation of able brother
Ministers, with all those sources and means of universal information
which the constitution has placed at his disposal. The superior
knowledge of the circumstances of the country thus acquired, enable
him to see insuperable objections to schemes and suggestions, which
their proposers reasonably deem to be palpably just and feasible. We
have often thought that if Sir Robert Peel, or any other Prime
Minister, were to take one of these eager and confident advisers into
his cabinet, and calmly exhibit to him the actual impossibility--the
imminent danger--of adopting the course of procedure which that
adviser has been strenuously recommending, he would go away with
slightly increased distrust of himself, and consideration for the
Minister. Neither Sir Robert Peel, nor any other Minister, would be so
arrogantly stupid as to disregard free information and advice,
_merely_ because it came from such persons, who, if they have no right
to expect their advice to be followed, have yet a clear right to offer
it, and urge it with all their force.

Again--The present Ministers had the disadvantage (in some respects)
of succeeding to those, who, if they could _do_ nothing, made up for
it by _promising_ every thing. Sir Robert Peel and his friends, on the
contrary, made no promises whatever, beyond what would indeed be
implied by acceptance of office--namely, honestly to endeavour to
govern the country, for the permanent good of the country. While
admitting the existence of great distress, they expressly admitted
also, that they saw no mode of sudden relief for that distress, but
would trust to the energies of the country gradually recovering
themselves, under steady and cautious management. Sir Robert Peel
frankly stated in the House of Commons, just previously to the
dissolution in 1841, that he had no hope of an immediate return of
prosperity; and that such had become the state of our domestic and
foreign embarrassments, that "we must for years expect to struggle
with difficulty." This was their language on the eve of the general
election, yet the country placed confidence in their honour and
capacity, heartily sickened of the prodigal _promises_ of their
opponents. The extravagant visionary hopes which they held forth at
the eleventh hour, in their frenzied eagerness to obtain a majority at
the last election, are still gleaming brightly before the eyes of
numbers of their deluded supporters; imposing on the present
Government the painful and ungracious duty of proving to them that
such hopes and expectations cannot be realized, even for a brief
space, without breaking up the foundations of our national existence
and greatness.

Lastly. Can the Conservatives be expected in TWO years' time to repair
all the evils resulting from a TEN years' gross mismanagement of the
national affairs by their predecessors? "The evil that they did,
_lives after them_." But for the fortunate strength of the
Conservative party, moreover, in opposition, and the patriotism and
wisdom of the house of Lords, the late Ministers would, by the time of
their expulsion from office, have rendered the condition of the
country _utterly_ desperate--for very nearly desperate it assuredly
was. Their vacillating, inconsistent, wild, and extravagant conduct
during these ten years, had generated an universal sense of insecurity
and want of confidence among all the great interests of the country,
which locked up capital--palsied enterprise. Trade and commerce
drooped daily, and the revenue melted away rapidly every year. Great
things were justly expected from the practical skill and experience
possessed by the new Government; but _time_ is requisite for the
development of a policy which had, and still has, to contend against
such numerous and formidable obstacles. Confidence, especially
mercantile confidence, is a delicate flower, of slow growth, and very
difficult to rear. A breath may blight it. It will bloom only in a
tranquil and temperate air. If ever there was a man entitled to speak,
however, with authority upon this subject, it was Mr Baring, the late
candidate, and unquestionably the future member, for the city of
London--a man constantly engaged in vast mercantile transactions in
all parts of the globe, and whose ability equals his experience. In
the presence of a great number of gentlemen, representing two-thirds
of the wealth and intelligence of the city of London, thus spoke Mr
Baring, on the 6th October 1843:--"I rejoice that Sir Robert Peel did
not hold out to the country the fallacious hope, that, by any
particular measure, he could restore prosperity, or cure sufferings
which were beyond the reach of legislation, and that he patiently
relied upon the resources and energies of the country to set trade and
commerce right. That expectation is already beginning to be realized.
That calm reliance is already justified. I am speaking in the presence
of those who are as much as, if not more conversant with business
than, myself, and they will contradict me if I am not right when I
say, that great symptoms of improvement in the trade and industry of
the country have manifested themselves; which symptoms are of such a
nature, that they do not appear to be the result of momentary
excitement produced by some fallacious experiment, but of the
paramount re-establishment of commerce, and of a fresh era in the
prosperity of the empire. I am asked what have the Government done?
Why, they have _restored_ CONFIDENCE to the country! They have
terminated wars, they have restored confidence at home, and commanded
respect abroad."

Now, however, for the DOINGS of the Government; and of those we shall
take no more detailed or extended notice than is requisite, in our
opinion, to exhibit the general system and _plan_ of their procedure,
and show its complete consistency with the declaration of opinions
made by Sir Robert Peel previous to the general election of 1841.

It will be borne in mind, that the then existing distress in our
commercial and manufacturing interests he referred to three
_temporary_ causes:--the undue stimulus which had been given to
industry in the manufacturing districts--by the accommodation system
pursued in the joint-stock banks, the troubled and hostile condition
of almost all those foreign countries which used to be the best
customers for our manufactures, and the two or three preceding
defective harvests. The first of these was not of a nature to call
for, or perhaps admit of, direct and specific legislative
interference. It originated in a vicious system of contagious private
speculation, which has involved many thousands of those engaged in it
in irredeemable, shall we add _deserved_, disgrace and ruin--and which
had better, perhaps, be left to work its own cure. The last of the
three causes was one to which all mankind is every where subject, and
which is in a great measure beyond the reach of effective human
interference. Before proceeding to explain the steps taken to remedy
the second, viz., our distracted foreign relations, let us premise
briefly for the present, that the very earliest acts of Ministers
showed how profoundly sensible they were of the necessity of doing
_something_, and that promptly, to relieve the grievous distress under
which the lower orders were suffering, and at the same time afford a
safe, effective, and permanent stimulus to trade and commerce. A
comprehensive survey of the state, not only of our own but foreign
commercial countries, satisfied them, as practical men, of the serious
difficulties to be here contended with. The steps they took, after due
deliberation--viz., the proposing the new tariff and the new
corn-law--we shall presently refer to. Let us now point out _the
income-tax_ as a measure reflecting infinite credit upon those who had
the sagacity and resolution to propose it. We shall not dwell upon
this great _temporary_ measure, which in one year has poured upwards
of _five millions_ into the exhausted exchequer, further than to say,
that as soon as ever it was known among the monied classes, that the
Minister, environed as he was with financial difficulties, would risk
any amount of popular odium rather than add to the permanent burdens
of the country, or permit the ruinous continuance of an excess of
expenditure over revenue. As soon as this was evident, we say, the
great monied interests of the kingdom recognized in Sir Robert Peel an
honest minister, and gave him forthwith its complete confidence, which
has never since been for an instant withdrawn from him. And how great
are the obligations of that vast portion of the most suffering classes
of the community, whom he exempted from this extraordinary
contribution to the burdens of the state!

But now for _foreign affairs_. May not the present Ministers look with
just pride towards every quarter of the globe, and exclaim, _Quæ regio
in terris nostri non plena laboris?_ In truth their success here has
been sufficient to set up half a dozen Ministers--as is known to no
man better than Lord Palmerston. The Duke of Wellington and Lord
Aberdeen have restored peace to the whole world, re-establishing it on
a footing of dignified security and equality. By the persevering
energy, the calm determination, and inexhaustible resources of Lord
Aberdeen, "the winter of our discontent," has been "made glorious
summer," with all the great powers of the world. Look at our glorious
but irritable neighbour--France: is there any language too strong to
express the delight which we feel at the renovated sympathy and
affection which exist between us?

We cannot answer for France to the extent which we can for England;
but we know, that through the length and breadth of _this_ land--our
beloved Queen's familiar visit to the King of the French, their
affectionate greeting, and her Majesty's enthusiastic reception by the
people, diffused a feeling of joy and affection towards France, which
will not soon--nay, should it ever?--subside. But would that visit
have taken place, if Lord Palmerston, and not Lord Aberdeen, had
presided over the foreign councils of this country? 'Tis a
disagreeable question, and we pass on. Then as to America, thanks to
the mission of Lord Ashburton, peace has been secured between us, on
terms equally honourable to both. We are now at peace with the United
States--a peace not to be disturbed by the (to Whiggish eyes)
_promising_ (!!) aspect of the Oregon difficulties--which we tell our
aforesaid friends will end in--_nothing at all_--[It is not, by the
way, _the fault of our Government_, that this disputed matter was not
embraced by the Washington Treaty.]--While Lord Palmerston and his
doleful ally, the _Morning Chronicle_, were daily stigmatizing the
treaty of Washington, as highly dishonourable and disadvantageous to
this country, it may interest our readers to see what one of the
disaffected _American_ senators had to say on the subject. Thus spoke,
in the senate, Mr Benton, a well-known member of congress:--

    "The concessions of Great Britain to the United States are
    small. The territory granted to the United States, is of such
    a nature, that it will never be of importance to hold it,
    while the possessions given up by the United States are
    important and valuable to them, and have the effect of
    admitting a foreign power within a territory which was granted
    to the United States, by the treaty of 1783. * * When I see
    the Government giving up more than Great Britain demanded, I
    cannot conceal my amazement and mortification!"


Glancing, however, from the West to the East--what do we see?
Wars in India and China, brought gloriously to an advantageous
termination.--"Wars," to adopt the language of one of the greatest
mercantile authorities living, "which have been deranging our money
transactions, and making our trade a trade of hazard and speculation,
most injurious to the commerce of the empire at large."

While, on the one hand, we are relieved from the ruinous drain upon
our resources, occasioned by our protracted warlike operations in
India and China, on the other, a prospect is opened to us, by the
immensely important treaty into which the Emperor of China has entered
with this country, of very great and permanent commercial advantages,
which are already being realized. Let our manufacturers, however,
beware of the danger of forfeiting these advantages, by excessive
eagerness to avail themselves of these newly acquired markets.
Twelve-months ago, we earnestly warned them on this score,[21] and we
now as earnestly repeat that warning; "Notwithstanding," observed an
able French journalist, a few weeks ago, upon this subject, "the
opening of five ports to European commerce, China will for many years
preserve her internal laws, her eccentric tastes, her inveterate
habits. China is the country of routine and immovability. The treaty
with Great Britain cannot modify the nature of China in a few months.
_If the English are not prudent in their exports, if they overload the
newly opened ports with foreign produce, they will injure themselves
more than they were injured by the war just concluded._" In every word
of this we concur: but alas! what weight will such considerations have
with the agitating manufacturers in the north of England? Their fierce
but short-sighted anxiety to make rapid fortunes, will make most of
them, in a very few years, melancholy evidences of the justness of our
observations! We cannot pass from the East without noticing the sound
statesmanship which is regulating all Lord Ellenborough's leading
movements in India--a matter now universally admitted. How unspeakably
contemptible and ridiculous has the lapse of a few months rendered the
petty clamours against him, with which the ex-ministerial party
commenced their last year's campaign! Without, however, travelling
round the entire circle of our foreign connexions and
operations--there are one or two points to which we will briefly
refer, as striking instances of the vigilant and indefatigable energy,
and the powerful diplomatic influence of Lord Aberdeen, especially
with reference to the securing commercial advantages to this
country--and which has extorted the following testimony, during the
present month (December,) from another French journal, by no means
favourably disposed to this country:--"The English Government is
incontestably the best served of all Governments in the means of
obtaining new, and extending old markets, and in the rapid and
complete knowledge of the course to be adopted to ensure the sale of
the immense products of Great Britain in different parts of the
globe." Take for instance the case of Russia. We have actually
succeeded in wringing from the tenacious and inflexible Cabinet of St
Petersburg an important commercial advantage! On Lord Aberdeen's
accession to office, he found Russia in the act of aiming a fatal
blow at a very important branch of our shipping trade, by levying a
differential duty on all British vessels conveying to Russian ports
any goods which were not the produce of the British dominions. After,
however, a skilful and very arduous negotiation, our foreign secretary
has succeeded in averting that blow--and we retain the great
advantages of which we were about to be deprived. Nor has this signal
advantage been purchased by any sacrifice on the part of Great
Britain, but only by a permission, founded on most equitable
principles, for Russian vessels arriving here from Russian ports with
the produce of Russian Poland, to possess the same privileges as if
they had come direct from Russian ports: Russian Poland being able to
communicate effectively with the sea, only through the Prussian
territory. Look again at Brazil--which has also been recently the
object of persevering and energetic negotiation on the part of Lord
Aberdeen. It is true that, at present, his exertions have been
attended with no direct success; but we have doubts whether the
importance of the proposed Brazilian treaty has not, after all, been
greatly exaggerated. However this may be, Lord Aberdeen is, at this
moment, as strenuously at work with the young emperor, as could be
desired by the most eager advocate of a commercial treaty with Brazil.
But, suppose the emperor's advisers should be disposed to continue
their obstinate and unreasonable opposition, observe the gentle
pressure upon them, to be felt by and by, which Lord Aberdeen has
contrived to effect by the commercial treaty which he has concluded
with the contiguous republic of Monte Video, and other states on the
right bank of the river Plata, for the admission (on most favourable
terms) of British imports into these states. One of them is the
Uruguay republic, which borders through a great extent of country on
Brazil, the Government of which is utterly unable to prevent the
transfer of merchandise across the border; whereby the exclusion of
British goods from the Brazilian territory is rendered a matter of
physical impossibility.

    [21] Great Britain at the commencement of the 19th
    Century--January 1843--No. CCC.

It is true, that our efforts to enter into commercial treaties with

France and Portugal have not, as yet, been successful; but, formidable
as are the obstacles at present in existence, we do not despair. Those
least wonder at the present position of affairs who are best
acquainted with the artificial and complicated positions of the
respective countries, and their relations, and consequent policy,
towards each other. Whatever can be done by man, is at this moment
being done by Lord Aberdeen; and sooner than we have at present a
right to expect, his indefatigable exertions may be crowned with
success--not only in these, but in other quarters. All foreign
Governments must be strongly influenced in such matters, by
contemplating a steady and strong Government established in this
country; and that object they see more nearly and distinctly every
day. Such (without entering into details which would be inconsistent
with either our space or our present object) is the general
result--namely, the rapidly returning tide of prosperous commercial
intercourse of the foreign policy of Conservative Government, which
has raised Great Britain, within the short space of two years, to even
a higher elevation among the nations of the world, than she had
occupied before a "Liberal Ministry undertook the government of the
country"--"a policy," to adopt the equally strong and just language of
an able writer, "replete with auspicious evidences of the efficacy of
intellect, combined with firmness, activity, and integrity, in
restoring to wholesome and honourable order a chaotic jumble of
anomalies--of humiliations and dangers--of fears, hatred, and
confusion thrice trebly confounded."[22]

    [22] Thoughts on Tenets of Ministerial Policy. By a Very Quiet
    Looker-on.--P. 22. Aylott, London, 1843.

While thus successfully active abroad, have Ministers been either idle
or unsuccessful at home? Let us look at their two main measures--the
_new tariff_ and the _new corn-law_.

The object of the first of these great measures was twofold--to give a
healthy and speedy but permanent stimulus to trade and commerce; and,
at the same time, to effect such a reduction of price in the leading
articles of consumption as should greatly reduce the cost of living--a
boon, of course, inexpressibly precious to the poorer classes. Mark
the moment at which this bold and critical line of policy was
conceived and carried into execution--namely, a moment when the nation
was plunged into such a depth of gloom and distress as had very nearly
induced utter despair! when there was a deficiency of _five millions
sterling in_ the revenue of the two preceding years, and a certainty
of greatly augmented expenditure for the future, owing to our wars in
the East and elsewhere. We say--_mark this_, in order to appreciate a
display of the true genius of statesmanship. Foreseeing one effect of
such a measure, namely, a serious reduction in the revenue derived
from the customs, and which would commence with the bare
_announcement_ of such a measure, the Government had to consider
whether it would prove a permanent or only a temporary reduction, and
to act accordingly. After profound consideration, they satisfied
themselves (whether justly or not remains to be seen) that the
diminution of revenue would prove only temporary; and to secure the
_immediate_ benefits of the measure, they imposed a temporary
income-tax, the onerous pressure of which was to cease as soon as
matters should have come round again. That period they fixed at the
expiration of three years. After an interval of two years, do their
calculations appear to have been well or ill founded? Let us see.
Early in March 1842 they announced the proposed new tariff, (instantly
producing the effect on the customs duties which had been
anticipated;) and succeeded in bringing it into operation on the 9th
of the ensuing July. The deficiency of revenue which ensued was so
very serious that it would have alarmed the whole country, but for
their confidence in the firmness and sagacity of Ministers,
particularly as evidenced by their announced measures. We have not at
the present moment before us the earliest _quarterly_ revenue returns
of the period referred to; but it will suffice to state, that such had
been the extent of the reductions effected, that the deficiency on the
_year_ ending on the 5th October 1843, amounted to no less a sum than
L.1,136,000; the decrease on the _quarter_ ending on that day being
L.414,000. Still, however, each succeeding quarter--or at least the
latter quarters--gave more satisfactory indications of a rallying
revenue; and we are enabled to announce the highly gratifying fact
that, up to the 8th of the present month (December,) the customs
duties returns _are of the most decisively improving character_. The
receipts of duties for the port of London alone, during that period,
exceeds the receipt on the corresponding period of last year by
L.206,000; while the returns from all the outports, especially from
Liverpool, are of the same cheering character, and warrant us in
predicting that the returns to be presented on the 5th of the ensuing
month will afford a most triumphant proof of the accuracy of the
Minister's calculations and the success of his policy; for be it borne
in mind, moreover, that his income-tax realized, in the year ending on
the 5th October last, the immense sum of L.5,052,000. As far,
therefore, as concerns the direct _financial_ effects of the new
tariff and its counterbalancing income-tax, the results of Sir Robert
Peel's policy are such as may stagger and confound the boldest of his
opponents.

Now, however, for the two great objects of the new tariff, which were
declared by Sir Robert Peel[23] to be "the revival of commerce, and
such an improvement in the manufacturing interest, as would react on
every other interest in the country; and diminishing the prices of the
articles of consumption and the cost of living."

    [23] Hansard, Vol. lxi. Col. 439.

With respect to the first of these objects, we had prepared a copious
explanation of the highly satisfactory working of one great portion of
the machine of the new tariff, viz. _the relaxation of the taxes on
the raw materials of manufacture_; but it has occurred to us, that the
necessity of our doing so has been entirely superseded by the
following very remarkable admission, contained in a number of the
_Morning Chronicle_ newspaper, published towards the close of
September last; an invaluable admission, tending to prove, out of the
mouth of the bitterest opponent of the present Ministry, the general
success of their domestic policy:--"Notwithstanding insurrection in
Wales and agitation in Ireland, there are various circumstances in the
present aspect of our national affairs of an encouraging and cheering
nature. The first and most prominent thing which strikes an observer,
is, the undoubted general revival of trade and commerce. Every thing
seems to indicate that the morning is breaking; that the dreary night
of disaster and suffering, through which all our material interests
have been passing since 1836, is now well-nigh over. The hum of busy
industry is once more heard throughout our manufacturing districts;
our seaports begin once more to stir with business; merchants on
'Change have smiling faces; and the labouring population are once more
finding employment easier of access; and wages are gently, slowly
rising. This has not come upon us suddenly; it has been in operation
since the end of last year; but so terrible was the depression, so
gradual the improvement, that the effects of the revival could not be
perceptible till within a recent period. Our exports of cotton and
wool, during the present year, very considerably exceed those of a
similar period in the preceding; and though there might be increase of
export without increase of profit, the simple fact that the districts
of our great manufacturing staples are now more active and busy than
they have been for a very considerable period, coupled with the
apparently well-founded belief that this increased activity is
produced, not by speculative but genuine demand, are indications of
the most pleasing and gratifying kind to all who are in the least
concerned about the prosperity of the country. In addition to the
improvement manifested in our staple articles of industry, other
important interests are showing symptoms of decided improvement; even
the iron-trade has got over its 'crisis;' and though we are very far
indeed from having attained to a condition of prosperity, the steady,
though slow, revival of every branch of industry, is a proof that the
cause of the improvement must be a general one, operating
universally." May we venture to suggest, that the worthy editor of the
_Morning Chronicle_ need not go about with a lantern to discover this
_cause_?--that it is every where before his very eyes, under his very
nose, in the form of the bold, but sagacious and consistent, policy
pursued by the present Government?

With respect to the second great object of the new tariff, viz., the
"Diminishing of the prices of the articles of consumption and the cost
of living."

Has _this_ great object, or has it not, been attained? Why, the
reduced price of provisions is a matter of universal notoriety, and
past all question. Unable to contest the existence of this most
consolatory fact, the Opposition papers endeavoured to get up a
diversion by frightening the farmers, whom they assured, that the
admission of foreign live-stock would lead to a fearful depreciation
in the value of British agricultural produce. The graziers and
cattle-dealers were forthwith to find "their occupations gone."
British pasture farming was to be annihilated, and an immense stimulus
given to that of our continental rivals. Hereat the farmers pricked up
their ears, and began to consider for a moment whether they should not
join in the outcry against the new tariff. But the poor beasts that
have come, doubtless much to their own surprise, across the water to
us, looked heartily ashamed of themselves, on catching a glimpse of
their plump, sleek brother beasts in England--and the farmers burst
out a-laughing at sight of _the lean kine that were to eat up the fat
ones_! The practical result has been, that between the 9th of July
1842, and the present time, there have not come over foreign cattle
enough to make one week's show at Smithfield. But mark, _the power_ of
admitting foreign cattle and poultry, (on payment, however, of a
considerable duty,[24]) conferred by the new tariff, is one that must
be attended with infinite permanent benefits to the public, in its
_moderating influence upon the prices of animal food_. Its working is
in beautiful harmony with that of the newly modeled corn-laws, as we
shall presently explain. In years of abundance, when plenty of meat is
produced at home, the new tariff will be inoperative, as far as
regards the actual importations of foreign cattle; but in years of
scarcity at home, the expectation of a good price will induce the
foreigner to send us a sufficient supply; for he will then be, and
then only, able to repay himself the duty, and the heavy cost of
sea-carriage. As prices fall, the inducement to import also declines.
In short, "the inducement to importation falls with the fall, and
rises with the rise of price. The painful contingency of continued bad
seasons has thus, in some measure, been provided against. The new
tariff is so adjusted, that when prices threaten to mount to an unfair
and extravagant height, unjust to consumers, and dangerous to
producers, in such contingencies a mediating power steps in, and
brings things to an equilibrium."[25] These great and obvious
advantages of the new tariff, the opponents of Ministers, and
especially their reckless and discreditable allies called the
"Anti-corn-law League," see as plainly as we do; but their anxious aim
is to conceal these advantages as much as possible from public view;
and for this purpose they never willingly make _any allusion_ to the
tariff, or if forced to do so, underrate its value, or grossly
misrepresent its operation. But we are convinced that _this will not
do_. Proofs of their humbug and falsehood are, as it were, daily
forcing themselves into the very stomachs_ of those whom once, when
an incompetent Ministry was in power, these heartless impostors were
able to delude. "A single shove of the bayonet," said Corporal Trim to
Doctor Slop, "is worth all your fine discourses about the art of war;"
and so the English operative may reply to the hireling "Leaguers,"
"This good piece of cheap beef and mutton, now smoking daintily before
me, is worth all your palaver."

    [24] Poultry £5 for every £100 value; oxen and bulls, £1 each;
    cows, 15s.; calves, 10s.; horses, mares, foals, colts, and
    geldings, £1 each; sheep, 3s. each; lambs, 2s. each; swine and
    hogs, 5s. each--(Stat. 5 and 6 Vict. c. 47, Table A.)

    [25] Thoughts, &c., by a Quiet Looker-on, pp. 16, 17.

Before passing from the subject of the new tariff, let us observe,
that the suddenness and vastness of its changes (some of which we
consider to be of questionable propriety) for a time unavoidably
deranged mercantile operations; and in doing so, as necessarily
produced many cases of individual dissatisfaction and distress. Some
of the persons thus situated angrily quitted the Conservative ranks
for those of the Opposition; others, for a position of mortified
neutrality: but we believe that many more, notwithstanding this sharp
trial of their constancy, remained true to their principles, faithful
to their party, and are now rewarded by seeing things coming rapidly
round again, while unvarying and complete success has attended every
other branch of the policy of Ministers. We know a good deal of the
real state of opinion among the mercantile classes of the City of
London; and believe we correctly represent it averse to further
changes in our tariff-system, and coincident with the views expressed
by Mr Baring in his address to the electors, when he deprecated "a
constant change, unsettling men's minds, baffling all combinations,
destroying all calculations, paralysing trade, and continuing the
stagnation from which we are recovering;" and declared his belief
"that the minister who applies the principles of free-trade with the
most caution, deliberation, and judgment, is the statesman who merits
the confidence of the commercial world." We now, however, quit the
subject--interesting, indeed, and all-important--of the tariff, with
the deliberate expression of our opinion, that it is, taken as a
whole, a very bold, masterly, and successful stroke of policy. Now for
the NEW CORN-LAW.

But how shall we deal with a topic with which the public has been so
utterly sickened by the people calling themselves "The Anti-corn-law
League?" We do not, nevertheless, despair of securing the attention of
our readers to the few observations which we have to offer upon a
subject which, however hackneyed, is one of paramount importance. We
are satisfied that nine out of every ten even of newspaper readers
turn with disgust from the columns headed "Anti-corn-law League,"
"Doings of the League," "Great Meeting of the Anti-corn-law League,"
and so forth; and, (making every allowance for the exigencies
occasioned by the dearth of topics while Parliament is not sitting,)
we are exceedingly surprised, that the great London newspapers should
inflict upon their readers so much of the slang and drivel of the
gentry in question. In the due prosecution of our subject, we cannot
avoid the topic of the new corn-law, even were we so disposed; and we
shall at once proceed to our task, with two objects in view--to
vindicate the course pursued by Sir Robert Peel, and set forth,
briefly and distinctly, those truly admirable qualities of the
existing Corn-laws, which are either most imprudently misrepresented,
or artfully kept out of view, by those who are now making such
desperate efforts to overthrow it. "Mark how a plain tale shall set
them down!"

Whether foreign corn should be admitted into this country on payment
of _fluctuating_ duties, or a _fixed_ duty, or free of all duties, are
obviously questions of the highest importance, involving extensive and
complicated considerations. Sir Robert Peel, Lord John Russell, and
the persons banded together under the name of "The Anti-corn-law
League," may be taken as representing the classes of opinion which
would respectively answer these three questions in the affirmative.
All of them appealed to the nation at large on the last general
election. The _form_ in which the question was proposed to the
country, it fell to the lot of the advocates of a fixed duty to
prescribe, and they shaped it thus in the Queen's speech:--

    "It will be for you to determine whether the corn-laws do not
    aggravate the natural fluctuations of supply; whether they do
    not embarrass trade, derange currency, and, by their
    operation, diminish the comforts and increase the privations
    of the great body of the community."

To this question the country returned a deliberate and peremptory
answer in the NEGATIVE; expressing thereby its will, that the existing
system, which admits foreign corn on payment of _fluctuating_ duties,
should continue. The country thus adopted the opinions of Sir Robert
Peel, rejected those of Lord John Russell, and utterly scouted those
of the "Anti-corn-law League," in spite of all their frantic
exertions.

We believe that this deliberate decision of the nation, is that to
which it will come whenever again appealed to; and is supported by
reasons of cogency. The nation is thoroughly aware of the immense
importance of upholding and protecting the agriculture of the country,
and that to secure this grand object, it is necessary to admit foreign
corn into the country, only when our deficiencies absolutely require
it. That _in_ the operation of the "_sliding-scale_ of duties," and
the exact distinction between its effect and that of the proposed
_fixed_ duty, is demonstrably this: that the former would admit
foreign corn in dear years, excluding it in seasons of abundance;
while the latter would admit foreign corn in seasons of abundance, and
exclude it in dear years. Our _present_ concern, however, is with the
course taken by the present Government. Have they hitherto yielded to
the clamour with which they have been assailed, and departed from the
principle of affording efficient protection to the agriculture of the
country? Not a hair's breadth; _nor will they_. We have seen that Sir
Robert Peel, previously to the general election, declared his
determination to adhere to the existing system of corn-laws,
regulating the admission of foreign corn by the power of the
sliding-scale of duties; but both he and the leading members of his
party, had distinctly stated in Parliament, just before its
dissolution, that while resolved to adhere to the _principle_ of a
sliding-scale, they would not pledge themselves to adhere to all the
_details_ of that scale. And they said well and wisely, for there were
grave objections to some of those details. These objections they have
removed, and infinitely added to the efficiency of the sliding-scale;
but in removing the principal objections, they stirred a hornet's
nest--they rendered furious a host of sleek gamblers in grain, who
found their "occupation gone" suddenly! On the other hand, the
Government conferred a great substantial benefit upon the country, by
securing a just balance between protection to the British corn
consumer and producer; removing, at the same time, from the latter, a
long-existing source of jealousy and prejudice. A few words will
suffice to explain the general scope of those alterations. Under they
system established by statute 9 Geo. IV. c. 60, in the year 1828, the
duty on foreign corn, up to the price of 68s. per quarter, was so
high, and declined so very slowly, (L.1, 5s. 8d., L.1. 4s. 8d., L.1,
3s. 8d., L.1, 2s. 8d., L.1, 1s. 8d., L.1, 0s. 8d., 18s. 8d.,) as to
amount to a virtual prohibition against importation. But when the
price mounted from 68s. to 72s. per quarter, the duty declined with
such great rapidity. (16s 8d., 13s. 8d., 10s. 8d., 6s. 8d., 2s. 8d.,)
as to occasion the alarming and frequently recurring evils of glut and
panic. Now the following was the mode in which these serious defects
in the law of 1828 were taken advantage of by the aforesaid desperate
and greedy "rogues in grain," who are utterly prostrated by the new
system; they entered into a combination, for the purpose of raising
the apparent average price of corn, and forcing it up to the point at
which they could import vast quantities of foreign corn at little or
no duty. Thus the price of corn was rising in England--the people were
starving--and turned with execration against those into whose pockets
the high prices were supposed to go, viz., the poor farmers; whereas
those high prices really were all the while flowing silently but
rapidly into the pockets of the aforesaid "rogues in grain"--the
gamblers of the Corn Exchange!--Ministers effected their salutary
alterations, by statute 5 and 6 Vict. c. 14, in the following
manner:--They substituted for the former duties of 10s. 8d. per
quarter, when the price of corn was 70s. per quarter, and 1s. when the
price was 73s.; a duty of 4s. when the price of corn is 70s. per
quarter, and made the duty fall gradually, shilling by shilling, with
the rise of price, to 3s., 2s., and 1s. Thus are at one blow destroyed
all the inducements formerly existing for corn-dealers to "hold" their
foreign corn, in the hopes of forcing up the price of corn to
starvation-point, viz., the low duty, every inducement being now given
them to _sell_, and none to speculate. Another important provision for
preventing fraudulent combinations to raise the price of corn, was
that of greatly extending the averages, and placing them under
regulations of salutary stringency.

So far, then, from evincing a disposition to trifle with, or
surrender, the principle of the sliding-scale, the Government have,
with infinite pains and skill, applied themselves to effect such
improvements in it as will secure its permanency, and a better
appreciation of its value by the country at large, with every
additional year's experience of its admirable qualities. There is a
perfect identity of principle, both working to the same good end,
between the existing corn-law and the new tariff. Their combined
effect is to oppose every barrier that human wisdom and foresight can
devise, against dearth and famine in England: securing an abundant
supply of corn and meat from abroad, whenever our own supply is
deficient; but up to that point protecting our home producers, whose
direct interest it will henceforth be to supply us at fair and
moderate prices. It is the cunning policy of the heterogeneous
opponents of the existing corn-laws, to speak of them as "doomed" by a
sort of universal tacit consent; to familiarise the public with the
notion that the recent remodeling of the system is to be regarded as
constituting it into nothing more than a sort of transition-measure--a
stepping-stone towards a great fundamental change, by the adoption of
"a fixed duty," some say--"a total repeal," say the Anti-corn-law
League. But those who think thus, must be shallow and short-sighted
indeed, and have paid very little real attention to the subject, if
they have failed to perceive in the existing system itself all the
marks of completeness, solidity, and permanence; and, in the
successful pains that have been taken to bring it to a higher degree
of perfection than before, a determination to uphold it--a conviction
that it will long continue the law of the land, and approved of as
such by the vast majority of those who represent the wealth and
intellect of the kingdom, and have the deepest stake in its
well-being.

As for a total repeal of the corn-laws, no thinking man believes that
there is the remotest prospect of such a thing; but many imagine that
a fixed duty would be a great change for the better, and a safe sort
of compromise between the two extreme parties. Can any thing be more
fallacious? We hesitate not to express our opinion, that the idea of
maintaining a fixed duty on corn is an utter absurdity, and that Lord
John Russell and his friends know it to be so, and are guilty of
political dishonesty in making such a proposal. They affect to be
friends of the agricultural interest, and satisfied of the necessity
for protection to that body; and yet they acknowledge that their
"_fixity_" of duty is of precisely the same nature as the "finality"
of the Reform bill, viz.--to last only till the first pressure shall
call for an order in council. Does any one in his senses believe that
any Minister could abide by a fixed duty with corn at the price of
70s., with a starving, and therefore an agitating and rebellious
population? A fixed duty, under all times and circumstances, is a
glaring impossibility; and, besides, is it not certain that the period
for the issue of an order in council will be a grand object of
speculation to the corn importer; and that he will hoard, and create
distress, merely to force out that order? And the issuing of that
order would depend entirely on the strength or the necessity of the
Minister: on his "Squeezableness"--his anxiety for popularity. Does
the experience of the last ten years justify the country in placing
confidence, on such a point, in a _Whig_ Ministry? In every point of
view, the project of a fixed duty is exposed to insuperable
objections. It is plain that on the very first instant of there being
a pressure upon the "fixed duty," it must give way, and for ever. Once
off, it is gone for ever; it can never be re-imposed. Again, what is
to govern the _amount_ at which it is to be fixed? Must it be the
additional burden on land? or the price at which foreign countries,
with their increased facilities of transport, and improved cultivation
of their soil, would be able to deliver it in the British markets?
What _data_ have we, in either case, on which to decide? Let it,
however, always be borne in mind, by those who are apt too easily to
entertain the question as to either a fixed duty, or a total repeal of
duty, that the advantages predicted by the respective advocates of
those measures are _mere assumptions_. We have no experience by which
to try the question. The doctrines of free trade are of very recent
growth; the _data_ on which its laws are founded are few, and also
uncertain. And does any one out of Bedlam imagine, that any Minister
of this country would consent to run such tremendous risks--to try
such experiments upon an article of such immense importance to its
well-being? Let us never lose sight of Lord Melbourne's memorable
words:--"Whether the object be to have a fixed duty, or an alteration
as to the ascending and descending scale, I see clearly and
distinctly, that the object will not be carried without a most violent
struggle--without causing much ill-blood, and a deep sense of
grievance--without stirring society to its foundation, and leaving
every sort of bitterness and animosity. I do not think the advantages
to be gained by the change are worth the evils of the struggle."[26]

    [26] Debates, 11th June 1840.

To return, however. Under the joint operation of the three great
measures of the Government--the income-tax, the new tariff, and the
new corn-law, our domestic affairs exhibit, at this moment, such an
aspect of steadily returning prosperity, as not the most sanguine
person living could have imagined possible two years ago. For the
first time after a miserable interval, we behold our revenue exceeding
our expenditure; while every one feels satisfied of the fact, that our
finances are now placed upon a sound and solid basis, and daily
improving. Provisions are of unexampled cheapness, and the means of
obtaining them are--thank Almighty God!--gradually increasing among
the poorer classes. Trade and commerce are now, and have for the last
six months been steadily improving; and we perceive that a new era of
prosperity is beginning to dawn upon us. We have a strong and united
Government, evidently as firmly fixed in the confidence of the Queen
as in that of the country, and supported by a powerful majority in the
House of Commons--an annihilating one in the House of Lords. The reign
of order and tranquillity has been restored in Wales, and let us also
add, in Ireland, after an unexampled display of mingled determination
and forbearance on the part of the Government. Chartism is defunct,
notwithstanding the efforts made by its dishonoured and discomfited
leaders to revive it. When, in short, has Great Britain enjoyed a
state of more complete internal calm and repose than that which at
present exists, notwithstanding the systematic attempts made to
diffuse alarm and agitation? Do the public funds exhibit the slightest
symptoms of uneasiness or excitement? On the contrary, ever since the
accession of the present Government, there has been scarce any
variation in them, even when the disturbances in the manufacturing
districts in the north of England, and in Wales, and in Ireland, were
respectively at their height. Her Majesty moves calmly to and
fro--even quitting England--her Ministers enjoy their usual intervals
of relaxation and absence from town--all the movements of Government
go on like clockwork--no symptoms visible any where of feverish
uneasiness. But what say you, enquires a timid friend, or a bitter
opponent, to the Repeal agitation in Ireland, and the Anti-corn-law
agitation in England? Why, we say this--that we sincerely regret the
mischief which the one has done, and is doing, in Ireland, and the
other in England, among their ignorant and unthinking dupes; but with
no degree of alarm for the stability of the Government, or the
maintenance of public tranquillity and order. Ministers are perfectly
competent to deal with both the one and the other of these two
conspiracies, as the chief actors in the one have found already, and
those in the other will find, perhaps, by and by; if, indeed, they
should ever become important or successful enough to challenge the
notice and interference of the Government. A word, however, about
each, in its turn.

The Anti-corn-law League has in view a two-fold object--the overthrow
of the present Ministry whom they abhor for their steadfast and
powerful support of the agricultural interest;--and the depression of
the wages of labour, to enable our manufacturers (of whom the league
almost exclusively consists) to compete with the manufacturers on the
Continent. Their engine for effecting their purposes, is the Repeal of
the corn-laws; and they are working it with such a desperate energy,
as satisfies any disinterested observer, that they themselves perceive
the task to be all but utterly hopeless. They were confounded by the
result of the general election, and dismayed at the accession to power
of men whom they knew to be thoroughly acquainted with their true
objects and intentions, and resolved to frustrate them, and able to
carry their resolutions into effect. The ominous words of Sir Robert
Peel--"I think that the connexion of the manufacturers in the north of
England with the joint-stock banks, gave an undue and improper impulse
to trade in that quarter of the country"--rang in their ears as a
knell; and told them that they were _found out_ by a firm and
sagacious Minister, whom, therefore, their sole object thenceforth
must be to overthrow _per fas aut nefas_. For this purpose they
adopted such an atrocious course of action, as instantly deprived them
of the countenance of all their own moderate and reasoning friends,
and earned for themselves the execration of the bulk of the
community:--they resolved to inflame the starving thousands in the
manufacturing districts into acts of outrage and rebellion. They felt
it necessary, in the language of Mr Grey, one of their own principal
men, in order "_to raise the stubborn enthusiasm of the people_," (!)
to resort to some desperate expedient--which was--immediately on Sir
Robert Peel's announcing his determination, early in 1842, to
preserve, but improve, the existing system of the corn-laws--to reduce
the wages of all their work-people to the amount of from ten to twenty
per cent. This move originated with the _Stockport_ manufacturers. We
have little doubt but it was the suggestion of Mr Cobden; and are
quite prepared for a similar move during the ensuing session of
Parliament. But was not--is not--this a species of moral arson? The
Government calmly carried their measure: the outbreak (which we firmly
believe to have been concerted by the Anti-corn-law League) in
Lancashire arrived, and was promptly and resolutely, but mercifully
repressed; and thus was extinguished the guilty hopes and expectations
of its contrivers; and Ministers were left stronger at the close of
the session than they had been at its commencement. They resolved to
open a new campaign against Ministers and the Corn-laws--greatly to
augment their numbers and pecuniary resources--to redouble their
exertions, and immensely to extend the sphere of their operations.
They _did_ augment their pecuniary resources, by large forced
contributions among the few persons most deeply interested in the
success of their schemes; namely, the Lancashire manufacturers--they
_did_ redouble their exertions--they _did_ extend the sphere of their
operations, spreading themselves over the whole length and breadth of
the land, even as did the plague of lice over Egypt. But did they
augment the number of their friends? Not a person of the least
political or personal importance could be prevailed upon to join their
discreditable ranks; it remained as before:--Cobden and Bright--Bright
and Cobden--Wilson, Bright, and Cobden--Milner Gibson, Fox, Bright and
Cobden--_ad nauseam usque_; but, like a band of travelling
incendiaries, they presented themselves with indefatigable energy in
places which had never known their presence before. And how comes it
to pass that they have not long since kindled at least the
manufacturing population into a blaze? Is it any fault of the
aforesaid incendiaries? No--but because there is too much intelligence
abroad, they could not do what they would--"_raise the stubborn
enthusiasm_" of the people. In one quarter they were suspected--in
another despised--in another hated; and it became a very general
impression that they were, in fact, a knot of double dealers, who
certainly contrived to make a great noise, and keep themselves
perpetually before the public; but as for getting the steam "up," in
the nation at large, they found it impossible. In truth, the
"Anti-corn-law League" would have long ago been dissolved amidst the
indifference or contempt of the public, but for the countenance they
received, from time to time, and on which they naturally calculated,
from the party of the late Ministers, whose miserable object was to
secure their own return to power by means of any agency that they
could press into their service. But, to return to our sketch of the
progress of the "League." Admitting that, by dint of very great and
incessant exertion, they kept their ground, they made little or no
progress among the mercantile part of the community; and they resolved
to try their fortune with the agricultural constituencies--to sow
dissension between the landlords and the tenants, the farmers and
their labourers, and combine as many of the disaffected as they could,
in support of the clamour for free trade. This was distinctly avowed
by Cobden, at a meeting of the Anti-corn-law deputies, in the
following very significant terms: "_We can never carry the measure
ourselves_: WE MUST HAVE THE AGRICULTURAL LABOURERS WITH US!!"[27]

    [27] League Circular, No. xxx. p. 3.

They therefore proceeded to commence operations upon the agricultural
constituencies. They knew they could always reckon upon a share of
support wherever they went--it being hard to find any country without
its cluster of bitter and reckless opponents of a Conservative
government, who would willingly aid in any demonstration against it.
With such aid, and indefatigable efforts to collect a crowd of noisy
non-electors: with a judicious choice of localities, and profuse
bribery of the local Radical newspapers, in order to procure copious
accounts of their proceedings--they commenced their "grand series of
country triumphs!" Their own organs, from time to time, gave out that
in each and every county visited by the League, the _farmers_ attended
their meetings, and joined in a vote condemnatory of the corn-laws,
and pledged themselves to vote thereafter for none but the candidates
of the Anti-corn-law League!

The following are specimens of the flattering appellations which had
till now been bestowed, by their new friends, upon these selfsame
farmers--"_Bull-frogs!"_ "_chaw-bacons!" _"_clod-poles!_"
"_hair-bucks!_" "_deluded slaves!_" "_brute drudges!_"[28] Now,
however, they and their labourers were addressed in terms of
respectful sympathy and flattery, as the victims of the rapacity of
their landlords--on whom were poured the full phials of Anti-corn-law
wrath. The following are some of the scalding drops let fall upon
their devoted heads--_"Monster of impiety!" "inhuman fiend!"
"heartless brutes!" "rapacious harpies!" "relentless demons!"
"plunderers of the people!" "merciless footpads!" "murderers!"
"swindlers!" "insatiable!" "insolent!" "flesh-mongering!" "scoundrel!"
"law-making landlords!" "a bread-taxing oligarchy!"_[29] Need we say
that the authors of these very choice and elegant expressions were
treated with utter contempt by both landlords and tenants--always
making the few allowances above referred to? Was it very likely that
the landlord or the farmer should quit their honourable and important
avocations at the bidding of such creatures as had thus intruded
themselves into their counties? should consent to be yoked to the car,
or to follow in the train of these enlightened, disinterested, and
philanthropic cotton-spinners and calico-printers? Absurd! It became,
in fact, daily more obvious to even the most unreflecting, that these
worthies were not likely to be engaged in their "labours of _love_;"
were not _exactly_ the kind of persons to desert their own businesses,
to attend out of pure benevolence that of others--to let succumb their
own interest to promote those of others; to subscribe out of the gains
which they had wrung from their unhappy factory slaves, their L.10,
L.20, L.30, L.50, L.100, out of mere public spirit and philanthropy.

    [28] League Circular, No. 10.

    [29] Ibid. Nos. 26, 29, 44, 50, 71, 83, 94, 99, 100.

Still, we say, the whole thing was really a failure--the "steam," even
yet, could not be "got up," in spite of all their multiplied agencies
and machinery, incessantly at work--the unprecedented personal
exertions of the members of the league--the large pecuniary sacrifices
of the Lancashire subscribers to its funds. One more desperate
exertion was therefore felt necessary--and they resolved to attempt
getting up a _sensation_, by the sudden subscription of splendid sums
of money, by way of starting a vast fund, with which to operate
directly upon the entire electoral body--in what way, it is not very
difficult to guess. Accordingly, they began--but where? At the old
place--Manchester!--Manchester!--_Manchester!_ Many thousands were
subscribed at an hour's notice by a mere handful of manufacturers; the
news came up to London--and the editor of the _Times_, in a transient
fit of excitement, pronounced "the existence of the League" to be a
GREAT FACT. Upon this phrase they have lived ever since--till somewhat
roughly reminded the other day, by Mr Baring, that "great _facts_" are
very "_great follies!_" Now let us once more ask the question--would
all these desperate and long-continued exertions and sacrifices--(all
proceeding, be it ever observed, from _one_ quarter, and from the same
class of people--nay, the same individuals of that class)--be
requisite, were there any _real movement of the public mind and
feeling_ against the Corn-laws? Are they not requisite solely because
of the _absence_ of any such movement? Nay, are they not evidence that
the public feeling and opinion are against them? And that, perhaps,
they will by and by succeed in rousing the "stubborn enthusiasm of the
people" against themselves? Where has there been called one single
spontaneous public meeting of any importance, and where exhibited a
spark of enthusiasm, for the total repeal of the Corn-laws? Surely the
_topic_ is capable of being handled in a sufficiently exciting manner!
But no; wherever a "meeting," or "demonstration," is heard of--there,
also, are the eternal Cobden, Bright and Wilson, and their miserable
fellow-agitators, who alone have got up--who alone harangue the
meetings. Was it so with Catholic Emancipation?--with the abolition of
Negro Slavery?--with the Reform Bill? Right or wrong, the public
feeling was then roused, and exhibited itself unequivocally,
powerfully, and spontaneously; but _here_--bah! common sense revolts
at the absurd supposition that even hundreds of thousands of pounds
can of themselves get up a real demonstration of public feeling in
favour of the object, for which so much Manchester money has been
already subscribed.

      "'Tis not in _thousands_ to command success."

If the public opinion of this great country--this great enlightened
nation--were _really_ roused against the Corn-laws, they would
disappear like snow under sunshine. But, as the matter _now_ stands,
if their dreary drivellers Cobden, Bright, Wilson, Acland, W.J. Fox,
were withdrawn from the public scene in which they are so anxious to
figure, and sent to enjoy the healthy exercise of the tread-mill for
one single three months, would this eternal "_brutum fulmen_" about
the repeal of the Corn-laws be heard of any more? We verily believe
not. "But look at our triumphs!"--quoth Cobden--"Look at our glorious
victories at Durham, London, and Kendal!--our virtual victory at
Salisbury!" Moonshine, gentlemen, and you know it;--and that you have
spent your money in vain. Let us see how the matter stands.


I. _Durham_. True, Mr Bright was returned; but to what is the House of
Commons indebted for the acquisition of that distinguished senator,
except the personal pique and caprice of that eccentric Tory peer,
Lord Londonderry? This is notorious, and admitted by all parties; and
these causes will not be in operation at another election.


II. _London_. And do you really call this a "great triumph?"
Undoubtedly Mr Pattison was returned; but is it a matter of
congratulation that this notorious political nonentity, who openly, we
understand, entertains and will support _Chartist_ opinions, is
returned instead of such a man as Mr Baring? What was the majority of
Mr Pattison? One hundred and sixty-five, out of twelve thousand eight
hundred and eighty-nine who actually voted. And how was even that
majority secured? By the notorious absence from London--as is always
the case at that period of the year (21st October 1843)--of vast
numbers of the stanchest Conservative electors. There is no doubt
whatever, that had the election happened one fortnight later than it
did, Mr Baring would have been returned by a large majority, in spite
of the desperate exertions of the Anti-corn-law League and Mr
Rothschild and the Jews. As it was, Mr Baring polled more (6367) than
had ever been polled by a Conservative candidate for London before;
and had an immense majority over his competitor, among the superior
classes of the constituency.[30] At another election, we can
confidently predict that Mr Baring will be returned, and by a large
majority, unless, indeed, the Charter should be the law of the land;
in which case Mr Pattison will probably enjoy another ovation.

    [30] Among the _Livery_, the numbers were--Baring, 3196;
    Pattison, 2367;--majority for Baring, 889!

    Among the _Templars_--Baring, 258; Pattison, 78!!--majority
    for Baring, 180!


III. _Kendal_. Is this, too, a victory? "Another such, and you are
undone." Why? Till Mr Bentinck presented himself before that
enlightened little constituency, no Conservative dared even to offer
himself; 'twas a snug little stronghold of the Anti-corn-law League
interest, and yet the gallant Conservative gave battle against the
whole force of the League; and after a mortal struggle of some
fourteen days, was defeated by a far smaller majority than either
friends or enemies had expected, and has pledged himself to fight the
battle again. Here, then, the League and their stanch friends have
sustained an unexpected and serious shock.


IV. _Salisbury_.--We have not the least desire to magnify this into a
mighty victory for the Conservative party; but the interference of
the Anti-corn-law League certainly made the struggle a very critical
and important one. We expected to succeed, but not by a large
majority; for ever since 1832, the representation had (till within the
last year) been divided between a Conservative and a Liberal. However,
the Anti-corn-law League, flushed with their "triumphs" at London and
Kendal, flung all their forces ostentatiously into the borough, and
exhibited a disgusting and alarming specimen of the sort of
interference which it seems we are to expect in all future elections,
in all counties and boroughs. It was, however, in vain; the ambitious
young gentleman who had the benefit of their services, and who is a
law-student in London, but the son of the great Earl of Radnor, lost
his election by a large majority, and the discomfited League retired
ridiculously to Manchester. When we heard of their meditated descent
upon Salisbury, we fancied we saw Cobden and his companions waddling
back, geese-like, and exclaimed--

      "Geese! if we had you but on Sarum plain,
      We'd drive you cackling back to Camelot!"

So much for the boasted electoral triumphs of the Anti-corn-law
League--we repeat, that they are all mere moonshine, and challenge
them to disprove our assertion.

They are now making another desperate effort to raise a further sum of
a hundred thousand pounds; and beginning, as usual, at Manchester,
have raised there alone, within a few days' time, upwards of L.20,000!
The fact (if _true_) is at once ludicrous and disgusting: ludicrous
for its transparency of humbug--disgusting for its palpable
selfishness. Will these proverbially hard-hearted men put down their
L.100, L.200, L.300, L.400, L.500, for nothing? Alas, the great sums
they have expended in this crusade against the Corn-laws, will have to
be wrung out of their wretched and exhausted factory slaves! For how
otherwise but by diminishing wages can they repay themselves for lost
time, for trouble, and for expense?

Looked at in its proper light, the Corn-law League is nothing but _an
abominable conspiracy against labour_. Cheap _bread_ means cheap
_labour_; those who cannot see this, must be blind indeed! The
melancholy fact of the continually-decreasing price of labour in this
country, rests on undisputable authority--on, amongst others, that of
Mr Fielding. In 1825, the price of labour was 51 per cent less than in
1815; in 1830 it was 65 per cent less than in 1815, though the
consumption of cotton had increased from 80,000,000 lbs. to
240,000,000 lbs.! In 1835 it was 318,000,000 lbs., but the operative
received 70 per cent less than in 1815. In 1840 the consumption of
cotton was 415,000,000 lbs., and the unhappy operative received 75 per
cent less than in 1815!

If proofs be required to show that in reality the deadly snake, _cheap
labour_, lurks among the flourishing grass, _cheap bread_, we will
select one or two out of very many now lying before us, and prepared
to be presented to the reader.

"If grain be high," said Mr Ricardo, in the House of Commons,[31] "the
price of labour would necessarily be a deduction from the _profits of
stock_." "The Corn-laws raise the price of sustenance--that has
_raised the price of labour_; which, of course, diminishes the profit
in capital."[32]

    [31] Debates, May 30, 1820.

    [32] Ib. Dec. 24, 1819.

"Until the price of food in this country," said Mr Hume, in the House
of Commons on the 12th of May last, in the presence of all the leading
free-trade members, "is placed on a level with that on the Continent,
it will be impossible for us to compete with the growing manufactures
of Belgium, Germany, France, and America!!"

Hear a member of the League, and of the Manchester Chamber of
Commerce, Mr G. Sandars:--

    "If three loaves instead of two could be got for 2s., in
    consequence of a repeal of the Corn-laws, another consequence
    would be, that the workman's 2s. would be reduced to 1s. 4d.,
    which would leave matters, as far as he was concerned, just
    as they were!!"[33]

    [33] Authentic Discussions on the Corn-law, (Ridgway, 1839,)
    p. 86.

Hear a straightforward manufacturer--Mr Muntz, M.P.--in the debate on
the 17th May last:--

    "If the Corn-laws were repealed, the benefit which the
    manufacturer expected was, that he could produce at a lower
    price; and this he could do only by reducing wages to the
    continental level!!"

If the above fail to open the eyes of the duped workmen of this
country, what will succeed in doing so? Let us conclude this portion
of our subject--disgusting enough, but necessary to expose
imposture--with the following tabular view, &c., of the gross
contradiction of the men, whom we wish to hold up to universal and
deserved contempt, on even the most vital points of the controversy in
which they are engaged; and then let our readers say whether any thing
proceeding from such a quarter is worthy of notice:--

       *       *       *       *       *


The _League Oracle_ says--


1. "If we have free trade, the landlords' rents will fall 100 per
cent."--(_League Circular_, No. 15. p. 3.)

2. "Provisions will fall one-third."--(Ib. No. 34, p. 4.)

"The Corn-laws makes the labourer pay double the price for his
food."--(Ib. No. 15.)

3. "The Corn-law compels us to pay _three times the value for a loaf
of bread_."--(Ib. No. 13.)

"If the Corn-laws were abolished, the working man WOULD SAVE 31/2d. UPON
EVERY LOAF OF BREAD."--(Ib. No. 75.)

"As a consequence of the repeal of the Corn-laws, _we promise cheaper
food_, and our hand-loom weavers would get _double_ the rate of
wages!"--(Ib. No. 7.)

"We shall have _cheap bread_, and its price will be reduced 33 per
cent."--(Ib. No. 34.)

4. Messrs Villiers, Muntz, Hume, Roche, Thornton, Rawson, Sandars,
(all Leaguers,) say, and the oracle of the _League_ itself has said,
that "We want free trade, to enable us to _reduce wages_, that we may
compete with foreigners."--(_Post_, pp. 13-16.)

5. The _League Oracle_ admits that "a repeal would _injure_ the
farmer, but not so much as he fears."--(_League Circular_, No. 58.)


Mr Cobden says--


1. "If we have free trade, the landlords will have as good rents as
now."--(Speech in the House of Commons, 15th May last.)

2. "Provisions will be no cheaper."--(Speech at Bedford, _Hertford
Reformer_, 10th June last.)

3. "THE ARGUMENT FOR CHEAP BREAD WAS NEVER MINE."--(_Morning
Chronicle_, 30th June 1843, Speech on Penenden Heath.)

"THE IDEA OF LOW-PRICED FOREIGN CORN IS ALL A DELUSION."--SPEECH AT
Winchester, _Salisbury Herald_, July 29, 1843, p. 3.

4. Messrs Cobden, Bright, and Moore, now affirm--"It is a base
falsehood to say we want free trade, to enable us to reduce the rate
of wages."--(Mr Cobden on Penenden Heath. Messrs Bright and Moore at
Huntingdon.)

5. Cobden, Moore, and Bright, say, that it is to the _interest_ of the
farmer to have a total and _immediate_ repeal.--(Uxbridge, Bedford,
Huntingdon.[34])

    [34] Extracted from a very admirable speech by Mr Day of
    Huntingdon, (Ollivier, 1843,) and which we earnestly recommend
    for perusal.

       *       *       *       *       *

The disgusting selfishness and hypocrisy of such men as Cobden and his
companions, in veiling their real objects under a pretended enmity to
"Monopoly" and "Class Legislation"--and disinterested anxiety to
procure for the poor the blessings of "cheap bread"--fills us with a
just indignation; and we never see an account of their hebdomadal
proceedings, but we exclaim, in the language of our immortal bard--

      "Oh, Heaven! that such impostors thoud'st unfold,
      And put in every honest hand a whip,
      To lash the rascals naked through the land!"

While we repeat our deliberate opinion, that the Anti-corn-law League,
as a body, is, in respect of actual present influence, infinitely less
formidable than the vanity and selfish purposes of its members would
lead them to wish the country to believe--we must add, that it is
quite another question how long it will continue so. It may soon be
converted--if indeed it has not already been secretly converted, into
an engine of tremendous mischief, for other purposes than any ever
contemplated by its originators. Suppose, in the next session of
parliament, Ministers were to offer a law-fixed duty on corn: would
that concession dissolve the League? Absurd--they have long ago
scouted the idea of so ridiculous a compromise. Suppose they effected
their avowed object of a total repeal of the Corn-laws--is any one
weak enough to imagine that they would _then_ dissolve? No--nor do
they _now_ dream of such a thing; but are at the present moment, as we
are informed, "_fraternizing_" with other political societies of a
very dangerous character, and on the eve of originating serious and
revolutionary movements. Their present organization is precisely that
of the French Jacobins; their plan of operation the same. Let any one
turn to _The League Circular_ of the 18th November, and he will see
announced a plan of action on the part of this Association, precisely
analagous, in all its leading features, to that of the French
Jacobins: and we would call the attention of the legislature to the
question, whether the Anti-corn-law League, in its most recent form of
organization and plan of action, be not clearly within the provisions
of statutes 57 Geo. III., c. 19, § 25 and 39; Geo. III., c. 79? What
steps, if any, the legislature may take, is one thing; it is quite
another, what course shall be adopted by the friends of the
Conservative cause--the supporters of the British constitution. It is
impossible to assign limits to the mischief which may be effected by
the indefatigable and systematic exertions of the League to diffuse
pernicious misrepresentations, and artful and popular fallacies, among
all classes of society. That they entertain a fearfully envenomed
hatred of the agricultural interest, is clear; and their evident
object is to render the landed proprietors of this country objects of
fierce hatred to the inferior orders of the community. "If a man tells
me his story every morning of my life, by the year's end he will be my
master," said Burke, "and I shall believe him, however untrue and
improbable his story may be;" and if, whilst the Anti-corn-law League
can display such perseverance, determination, and system, its
opponents obstinately remain supine and silent, can any one wonder if
such progress be not made by the League, in their demoralizing and
revolutionary enterprize, that it will soon be too late to attempt
even to arrest?

If this Journal has earned, during a quarter of a century's career of
unwavering consistency and independence, any title to the respect of
the Conservative party, we desire now to rely upon that title for the
purpose of adding weight to our solemn protest against the want of
union and energy--against the apathy, from whatever cause arising--now
but too visible. In vain do we and others exert ourselves to the
uttermost to diffuse sound political principles by means of the press;
in vain do the distinguished leaders of our party fight the battles of
the constitution with consummate skill and energy in parliament--if
their exertions be not supported by corresponding energy and activity
on the part of the Conservative constituencies, and those persons of
talent and influence professing the same principles, by whom they can,
and ought to be, easily set in motion. It is true that persons of
liberal education, of a high and generous tone of feeling, of
intellectual refinement, are entitled to treat such men as Cobden,
Bright, and Acland, with profound contempt, and dislike the notion of
personal contact or collision with them, as representatives of the
foulest state of ill feeling that can be generated in the worst
manufacturing regions--of sordid avarice, selfishness, envy, and
malignity; but they are active--ever up and doing, and steadily
applying themselves, with palatable topics, to the corruption of the
hearts of the working classes. So, unless the persons to whom we
allude choose to cast aside their morbid aversions--to be "UP AND AT
them," in the language of the Duke of Waterloo--why then will be
verified the observation of Burke--that "if, when bad men combine, the
good do not associate, they will fall, one by one--an unpitied
sacrifice in a contemptible struggle." Vast as are our forces, they
can effect comparatively nothing without union, energy, and system:
_with_ these, their power is tremendous and irresistible. What we
would say, therefore, is--ORGANIZE! ORGANIZE! ORGANIZE! Let every
existing Conservative club or association be stirred up into increased
action, and _put into real working trim_ forthwith; and where none
such clubs or associations exist, let them be immediately formed, and
set into cheerful and spirited motion. Let them all be placed under
the vigilant superintendence of one or two _real men of business_--of
local knowledge, of ability, and influence. We would point out
Conservative solicitors as auxiliaries of infinite value to those
engaged in the good cause; men of high character, of business habits,
extensive acquaintance with the character and circumstances of the
electors--and capable of bringing legitimate influence to bear upon
them in a far more direct and effective manner than any other class of
persons. One such gentleman--say a young and active solicitor, with a
moderate salary, as permanent secretary in order to secure and, in
some measure, requite his services throughout the year--would be worth
fifty _dilletante_ "friends of the good cause dropping in every now
and then," but whose "friendship" evaporates in mere _talk_. Let every
local Conservative newspaper receive constant and substantial
patronage; for they are worthy of the very highest consideration, on
account of the ability with which they are generally conducted, and
their great influence upon local society. Many of them, to our own
knowledge, display a degree of talent and knowledge which would do
honour to the very highest metropolitan journals. Let them, then, be
vigorously supported, their circulation extended through the influence
of the resident nobility and gentry, and the clergy of every
particular district throughout the kingdom. Let no opportunity be
missed of exposing the true character of the vile and selfish
agitators of the Anti-corn-law league. Let not the league have all the
"publishing" to themselves; but let their impudent fallacies and
falsehoods be _instantly_ encountered and exposed on the spot, by
means of small and cheap tracts and pamphlets, which shall bring
plain, wholesome, and important truths home to the businesses and
bosoms of the very humblest in the land. Again, let the resident
gentry seek frequent opportunities of mingling with their humbler
neighbours, friends, and dependents, by way of keeping up a cordial
and hearty good understanding with them, so as to rely upon their
effective co-operation whenever occasions may arise for political
action.

Let all this be done, and we may defy a hundred Anti-corn-law Leagues.
Let these objects be kept constantly in view, and the Anti-corn-law
League will be utterly palsied, had it a hundred times its present
funds--a thousand times its present members!

Let us now, however, turn for a brief space to Ireland; the present
condition of which we contemplate with profound concern and anxiety,
but with neither surprise nor dismay. As far as regards the
Government, the state of affairs in Ireland bears at this moment
unquestionable testimony to the stability and strength of the
Government; and no one know this better than the gigantic impostor, to
whom so much of the misery of that afflicted portion of the empire is
owing. He perceives, with inexpressible mortification, that neither he
nor his present position awake any sympathy or excitement whatever in
the kingdom at large, where the enormity of his misconduct is fully
appreciated, and every movement of the Government against him
sanctioned by public opinion. The general feeling is one of profound
disgust towards him, sympathy and commiseration for his long-plundered
dupes and of perfect confidence that the Government will deal firmly
and wisely with both. As for a _Repeal of the Union_! Pshaw! Every
child knows that it is a notion too absurd to be seriously dealt with;
that Great Britain would rather plunge _instanter_ into the bloodiest
civil war that ever desolated a country, than submit to the
dismemberment of the empire by repealing the union between Great
Britain and Ireland. This opinion has had, from time to time, every
possible mode of authentic and solemn expression that can be given to
the national will; in speeches from the Throne; in Parliamentary
declarations by the leaders of both the Whig and Conservative
Governments; the members of both Houses of Parliament are (with not a
single exception worth noticing) unanimous upon the subject; the
press, whether quarterly, monthly, weekly, or daily, of all classes
and shades of political opinions, is unanimous upon the subject; in
society, whether high or low, the subject is never broached, except to
enquire whether any one can, for one moment, seriously believe the
Repeal of the Union to be possible. In Ireland itself, the vast
majority of the intellect, wealth, and respectability of the island,
without distinction of religion or politics, entertains the same
opinion and determination which prevail in Great Britain. Is Mr
O'Connell ignorant of all this? He knows it as certainly as he knows
that Queen Victoria occupies the throne of these realms; and yet, down
to his very last appearance in public, he has solemnly and
perseveringly asseverated that the Repeal of the Union is an
absolutely certain and inevitable event, and one that will happen
within a few months! _Is he in his senses?_ If so, he is speaking from
his knowledge of some vast and dreadful conspiracy, which he has
organized himself, which has hitherto escaped detection. The idea is
too monstrous to be entertained for a moment. What, then, can Mr
O'Connell be about? Our opinion is, that his sole object in setting on
foot the Repeal agitation, was to increase his pecuniary resources,
and at the same time overthrow Sir Robert Peel's Government, by
showing the Queen and the nation that his admitted "_chief_
difficulty"--Ireland--was one _insuperable_; and that he must
consequently retire. We believe, moreover, that he is, to a certain
extent, acting upon a secret understanding with the party of the late
Government, who, however, never contemplated matters being carried to
their present pitch; but that the Ministry would long ago have
retired, terrified before the tremendous "demonstration" in Ireland.
We feel as certain as if it were a past event, that, had the desperate
experiment succeeded so far as to replace the present by the late
Government, Mr O'Connell's intention was to have announced his
determination to "_give England_ ONE MORE trial"--to place Repeal once
more in abeyance--in order to see whether England would really, at
length, do "_justice_ to _Ireland_;" in other words, restore the
halcyon days of Lord Normanby's nominal, and Mr O'Connell's real, rule
in Ireland, and enable him, by these means, to provide for himself,
his family, and dependents; for old age is creeping rapidly upon
him--his physical powers are no longer equal to the task of vigorous
agitation--and he is known to be in utterly desperate circumstances.
The reckless character of his proceedings during the last fifteen
months, is, in our opinion, fully accounted for, by his unexpected
discovery, that the ministry were strong enough to defy any thing that
he could do, and to continue calmly in their course of administering,
not _pseudo_, but real "justice to Ireland," supported in that course
by the manifest favour and countenance of the Crown, overwhelming
majorities in Parliament, and the decided and unequivocal expression
of public opinion. His personal position was, in truth, inexpressibly
galling and most critical, and he must have agitated, or sunk at once
into ignominious obscurity and submission to a Government whom,
individually and collectively, he loathed and abhorred. Vain were the
hopes which, doubtless, he had entertained, that, as his agitation
assumed a bolder form, it would provoke formidable demonstrations in
England against Ministers and their policy; not a meeting could be got
up to petition her Majesty for the dismissal of her Ministers! But it
is quite conceivable that Mr O'Connell, in the course he was pursuing,
forgot to consider the possibility of developing a power which might
be too great for him, which would not be wielded by him, but carry
_him_ along with _it_. The following remarkable expressions fell from
the perplexed and terrified agitator, at a great dinner at Lismore in
the county of Waterford, in the month of September last:--"Like the
heavy school-boy on the ice, _my pupils are overtaking me_. It is now
my duty to regulate the vigour and temper the energy of the people--to
compress, as it were, the exuberance of both."

We said that Mr O'Connell revived the Repeal agitation; and the fact
was so. He first raised it in 1829--having, however, at various
previous periods of his life, professed a desire to struggle for
Repeal; but Mr Shiel, in his examination before the House of Commons
in 1825, characterized such allusions as mere "rhetorical artifices."
"What were his real motives," observes the able and impartial author
of _Ireland and its Rulers_[35], "when he announced his new agitation
in 1829, can be left only to him to determine." It is probable that
they were of so mixed a nature, that he himself could not accurately
define them.... It is, however, quite possible, that, after having so
long tasted of the luxuries of popularity, he could not consent that
the chalice should pass from his lips. Agitation had, perhaps, begun
to be necessary to his existence: a tranquil life would have been a
hell to him." It would seem that Mr O'Connell's earliest recorded
manifesto on Repeal was on the 3d June 1829, previous to the Clare
election, on which occasion he said--"We want political excitement, in
order that we may insist on our rights as Irishmen, but not as
Catholics;" and on the 20th of the same month in the same year, 1829,
he predicted--listen to this, ye his infatuated dupes!--"_that_ BEFORE
THREE YEARS THERE WOULD BE A PARLIAMENT IN DUBLIN!!!" In the general
elections of 1832, it was proclaimed by Mr O'Connell, that no member
should be returned unless he solemnly pledged himself to vote for the
Repeal of the Union; but it was at the same time hinted, that _if they
would only enter the House as professed Repealers, they would never be
required to_ VOTE _for Repeal_. On the hustings at the county of
Waterford election, one of these gentry, Sir Richard Keave, on being
closely questioned concerning the real nature of his opinion on
Repeal, let out the whole truth:--"_I will hold it as an imposing
weapon to get justice to Ireland_." This has held true ever since, and
completely exemplifies all the intervening operations of Mr O'Connell.
It has been his practice ever since "to connect every grievance with
the subject of Repeal--to convert every wrongful act of any Government
into an argument for the necessity of an Irish Legislature." Can it be
wondered at that the present Government, thoroughly aware of the true
state of the case--_knowing their man_--should regard the cry for
Repeal simply as an imposture, its utterers as impostors? They did and
do so regard it and its utterers--never allowing either the one or the
other to disturb their administration of affairs with impartiality and
firmness; but, nevertheless, keeping a most watchful eye upon all their
movements.

    [35] pp. 43, 50.

At length, whether emboldened by a conviction that the
non-interference of the Government was occasioned solely by their
incapacity to grapple with an agitation becoming hourly more
formidable, and that thus his schemes were succeeding--or impelled
onwards by those whom he had roused into action, but could no longer
restrain--his movements became daily characterized by more astounding
audacity--more vivid the glare of sedition, and even treason, which
surrounded them: still the Government interfered not. Their apparent
inaction most wondered, very many murmured, some were alarmed, and Mr
O'Connell laughed at. Sir Robert Peel, on one occasion, when his
attention was challenged to the subject in the House of Commons,
replied, that "he was not in the least degree moved or disturbed by
what was passing in Ireland." This perfect calmness of the Government
served to check the rising of any alarm in the country; which felt a
confidence of the Ministry's being equal to any exigency that could be
contemplated. Thus stood matters till the 11th July last, when, at the
close of the debate on the state of Ireland, Sir Robert Peel delivered
a very remarkable speech. It consisted of a calm demonstration of the
falsehood of all the charges brought by the Repealers against the
imperial Parliament; of the impolicy and the impracticability of the
various schemes for the relief of Ireland proposed by the Opposition;
of the absolute impossibility of Parliament entertaining the question
of a Repeal of the Union; and a distinct answer to the question--"What
course do you intend to pursue?" That answer is worthy of being
distinctly brought under the notice of the reader. "I am prepared to
administer the law in Ireland upon principles of justice and
impartiality. I am prepared to recognise the principle established by
law--that there shall be equality in civil privileges. I am prepared
to respect the franchise, to give substantially, although not
nominally, equality. In respect to the social condition of
Ireland--_as to the relation of landlord and tenant_[36]--I am
prepared to give the most deliberate consideration to the important
matters involved in those questions. With respect to the Established
Church, I have already stated that we are not prepared to make an
alteration in the law by which that Church is maintained."

    [36] In conformity with this declaration, has been issued the
    recent commission, for "enquiring into the state of the law
    and practice in respect to the occupation of land in Ireland,
    and in respect also to the burdens of county cess and other
    charges, which fall respectively on the landlord and occupying
    tenant, and for reporting as to the amendments, if any, of the
    existing laws, which, having due regard to the just rights of
    property, may be calculated to encourage the cultivation of
    the soil, to extend a better system of agriculture, and to
    improve the relation between landlord and tenant, in that part
    of the United Kingdom."

We recollect being greatly struck with the ominous calmness
perceptible in the tone of this speech. It seemed characterised by a
solemn declaration to place the agitation of Ireland for ever in the
_wrong_--to deprive them of all pretence for accusing England of
having misgoverned Ireland since the Union. It appeared to us as if
that speech had been designed to lay the basis of a contemplated
movement against the agitation of the most decisive kind. The
Government acted up to the spirit of the declaration, on that
occasion, of Sir Robert Peel, with perfect dignity and resolution,
unmoved by the taunts, the threats, the expostulations, or fears of
either enemies or friends. Mr O'Connell's tone increased in audacity;
but we greatly doubt whether in his heart he had not frequent
misgivings as to the real nature of the "_frightful silence_"--"_cette
affreuse silence_"--of a Government in whose councils the Duke of
Wellington took a decided part, and which was actually at that moment
taking complete military occupation of Ireland. On what information
they were acting, no one knew; but their preparations were _for the
worst_. During all this time nothing could exceed the tranquillity
which prevailed in England. None of these threatening appearances,
these tremendous preparations, caused the least excitement or alarm;
the funds did not vary a farthing per cent in consequence of them; and
to what could all this be ascribed but to the strength of public
confidence in the Government? At length the harvest in Ireland had
been got in; ships of war surrounded the coast; thirty thousand picked
and chosen troops, ready for instant action, were disposed in the most
masterly manner all over Ireland. With an almost insane audacity, Mr
O'Connell appointed his crowning monster meeting to take place at
Clontarf, in the immediate vicinity of the residence and presence of
the Queen's representative, and of such a military force as rendered
the bare possibility of encountering it appalling. The critical
moment, however, for the interference of Government had at length
arrived, and it spoke out in a voice of thunder, prohibiting the
monster meeting. The rest is matter of history. The monster demagogue
fell prostrate and confounded among his panic-stricken confederates;
and, in an agony of consternation, declared their implicit obedience
to the proclamation, and set about dispersing the myriad dupes, as
fast as they arrived to attend the prohibited meeting. Thus was the
Queen's peace preserved, her crown and dignity vindicated, without one
sword being drawn or one shot being fired. Mr O'Connell had repeatedly
"defied the Government to go to law with him." They _have_ gone to law
with him; and by this time we suspect that he finds himself in an
infinitely more serious position than he has ever been in, during the
whole of a long and prosperous career of agitation. Here, however, we
leave him and his fellow defendants.

We may, however, take this opportunity of expressing our opinion, that
there is not a shadow of foundation for the charges of blundering and
incompetency which have been so liberally brought against the Irish
Attorney-General. He certainly appears, in the earlier stages of the
proceedings, to have evinced some little irritability--but, only
consider, under what unprecedented provocation! His conduct has since,
however, been characterised by calmness and dignity; and as for his
legal capabilities, all competent judges who have attended to the
case, will pronounce them to be first-rate; and we feel perfectly
confident that his future conduct of the proceedings will convince the
public of the justness of our eulogium.

The selection by the Government of the moment for interference with Mr
O'Connell's proceedings, was unquestionably characterised by
consummate prudence. When the meetings commenced in March or April,
this year, they had nothing of outward character which could well be
noticed. They professed to be meetings to petition Parliament for
Repeal; and, undoubtedly, no lawyer could say that such a meeting
would _per se_ be illegal, any more than a meeting to complain of
Catholic relief, or to pray for its repeal--or for any other matter
which is considered a settled part of the established constitution.
The mere numbers were certainly alarming, but the meetings quietly
dispersed without any breach of the peace: and after two or three such
meetings, without any disturbance attending them, no one could with
truth swear that he expected a breach of the peace as a _direct_
consequence of such a meeting, though many thought they saw a civil
war as a _remote_ consequence. The meetings went on: some ten, twelve,
fifteen occurred,--still no breach of the peace, no disturbance. The
language, indeed, became gradually more seditious--more daring and
ferocious: but, as an attempt to put down the first meeting by _force_
would have been considered a wanton act of oppression, and a direct
interference with the subject's right to petition, it became a very
difficult _practical_ question, at what moment any _legal_ notice
could be taken by prosecution, or _executive_ notice by proclamation,
to put down such meetings. Notwithstanding several confident opinions
to the contrary advanced by the newspaper press at the time, a greater
mistake--indeed a grosser blunder--could not have been made, than to
have prosecuted those who attended the early meetings, or to have sent
the police or the military to put those meetings down. An acquittal in
the one case, or a conflict in the other, would have been attended
with most mischievous consequences; and, as to the latter, it is clear
that the executive never ought to interfere unless with a _force which
renders all resistance useless_. It appears perfectly clear to us,
_even now_, that a prosecution for the earlier meetings must have
failed; for there existed then none of that evidence which would prove
the object and the nature of the association: and to proclaim a
meeting, without using force to prevent or disperse it if it defied
the proclamation; and to use force without being certain that the
extent of the illegality would carry public opinion along with the use
of force; further, to begin to use force without being sure that you
have enough to use--would be acts of madness, and, at least, of great
and criminal disregard of consequences. Now, when meeting after
meeting had taken place, and the general design, and its mischief,
were unfolded, it became necessary that _some new feature should
occur_ to justify the interference of Government; and that occurred at
the Clontarf meeting. No meeting had, before that, ventured to call
itself "_Repeal infantry_;" and to Clontarf _horsemen_ also were
summoned, and were designated "_Repeal cavalry_;" and, in the orders
for their assembling, marching, and conducting themselves, _military
directions were given_; and the meeting, had it been permitted to
assemble, would have been a parade of cavalry, ready for civil war. It
would have been a sort of review--in the face of the city of Dublin,
in open defiance of all order and government. Let us add, that, just
at that time, Mr O'Connell had published his "Address to all her
Majesty's subjects, in all parts of her dominions," (a most libellous
and treasonable publication;) and the arrangements to secure the peace
were more complete, and could be brought to bear more easily, on the
Clontarf than on any of the preceding meetings. The occasion presented
itself, and as soon as possible the Irish authorities assembled at
Dublin; the proclamation appeared; the ground was pre-occupied, and a
force that was irresistible went out to keep the peace, and prevent
the meeting. The result showed the perfect success of the Government's
enterprise.

As the foregoing topics will doubtless occupy much of the attention of
parliament during the ensuing session, we were anxious to place on
record our own opinions, as the result of much reflection, during a
period when events were transpiring which threw upon the Government an
awful responsibility, and rendered their course one of almost
unprecedented difficulty. Modern times, we are convinced, have
witnessed but few instances of such a masterly policy, combined with
signal self-reliance.

One or two general topics connected with Ireland, we have time only to
glance at. First.--From the faint reluctant disavowal and
discouragement of Mr O'Connell and his Repeal agitation, by the
leading ex-Ministers during the last session, when emphatically
challenged by Sir Robert Peel to join him in denouncing the attempted
dismemberment of the empire, irrespective and independent of all party
consideration, we are prepared to expect that in the ensuing session,
the Opposition will, to a great extent, make common cause with Mr
O'Connell, out of mingled fear, and gratitude, and hope towards their
late friend and patron. Such a course will immensely strengthen the
hands of the Queen's Government.

Secondly.--To any thoughtful and independent politician, the present
Sovereign state of Ireland demonstrates the utter impossibility of
governing it upon the principle of breaking down or disparaging the
Protestant interest. Such a course would tend only to bloody and
interminable anarchy.

Thirdly.--Ireland's misery springs from social more than political
evils; and the greatest boon that Providence could give her, would be
a powerful government inflexibly resolved to _put down agitation_.

Lastly.--Can we wonder at the exasperation of the peasantry, who have
for so many years had their money extorted from them, without ever
having had, up to this moment, the shadow of an equivalent? And how
long is this disgraceful pillage to go on? But we must conclude. The
ensuing session of parliament may, and probably will, be a stormy one,
and harassing to the Government; but they may prepare to encounter it
with cheerful confidence. Their measures, during their brief tenure of
office, have been attended with extraordinary success--and of that
both the sovereign and the country are thoroughly aware, and we
entertain high hopes concerning the future. We expect to see their
strong majority in the House of Commons rather augmented than
diminished by reason of the events which have happened during the
recess. If the Ministers remain firm in their determination--and who
doubts it?--to support the agricultural interests of the country, and
persevere in their present vigorous policy towards Ireland, the
Government is impregnable, and the surges of Repeal agitation in
Ireland, and Anti-corn-law agitation in England, will dash against it
in vain. So long as they pursue this course, they will be cheered by
augmented indications of the national good-will, and of that implicit
and affectionate confidence in their councils, which, we rejoice to
know, is vouchsafed to her Ministers by our gracious Sovereign.





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