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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 61, No. 378, April, 1847
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 61, No. 378, April, 1847" ***

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Mr Carlyle's services to history in collecting and editing these
letters[1] and speeches of Cromwell, all men will readily and gratefully
acknowledge. A work more valuable as a guide to the study of the
singular and complex character of our pious revolutionist, our religious
demagogue, our preaching and praying warrior and usurper, has not been
produced. There is another portion of Mr Carlyle's labours which will
not meet so unanimous an approbation. As _editor_, Mr Carlyle has given
us a valuable work; as _commentator_, the view which he would teach us
to take of English Puritanism is, to our thinking, simply the most
paradoxical, absurd, unintelligible, mad business we ever encountered in
our lives.

Our Hero-worshipper, it must be allowed, has been more fortunate this
time in the selection of his object of devotion than when he shouted to
the skies his Mirabeaus and Dantons. But he makes an unfortunate species
of compensation. In proportion as his hero is more within the bounds of
humanity has his worship become more extravagant and outrageous. He
out-puritans the Puritans; he is more fanatic than his idol; he has
chosen to express himself with such a righteous truculence, such a
sanguinary zeal, such a pious contempt for human virtue and human
sympathies, as would have startled Old Noll himself. It is a bad
religion this hero-worship--at least as practised by Mr Carlyle. Here is
our amiable countryman rendered by it, in turn, a terrorist and a
fanatic. All his own intellectual culture he throws down and abandons.
Such dire transformation ensues as reminds us of a certain hero-worship
which Milton has celebrated:

                    "Horror on him falls,
    _And horrid sympathy_; for what he sees
    He feels himself, now changing; down his arms,
    Down falls the spear and shield; down he as fast;
    And the dire hiss renews, and the dire form,
    Catched by contagion."

But to our task--which is no light one; for in our survey of this book
we have to keep in view both hero and hero-worshipper, Cromwell and
Carlyle, both somewhat slippery personages, abnormal, enigmatical.

The speeches of Oliver Cromwell have a formidable reputation for
prolixity, confusion, and excessive tediousness; yet we have not, for
our own part, found these volumes to be of the dry and scarce readable
description which their title foreboded; and we would caution others not
to be deterred by any fears of this nature from their perusal. They will
find an interest grow upon them as they proceed, and the last volume to
be more attractive than the first. As the work advances, the letters and
speeches of Cromwell become more intimately connected with the great
transactions of the period, and the editor himself more frequently
favours us with some specimen of his happier manner, where concentration
of style, a spirit of humour and reflection, and a power of vivid
portraiture, have _not_ degenerated into mere quaintness, into a species
of slang, into _Carlylisms_, into vague generalities about infinitudes
and eternities. At all times the interspersed commentary--written in
that peculiar, fantastic, jingling manner which, illegitimate as it is,
disorderly and scandalous to all lovers of propriety in style and
diction, is at all events the very opposite to dulness--forms perhaps
the most fortunate contrast that could have been devised with the
Cromwellian period, so arid and colourless, so lengthy and so tortuous,
tinged often with such a dismal obscurity, and valuable in fact only as
showing _the man_, utterly valueless as an exposition of thought.
Perhaps, as models of style, a critic would be as little disposed to
applaud the writing of Mr Carlyle as the compositions of Cromwell, but
they form here all admirable relief the one to the other; taken
together, one can consume a considerable quantity of both. Your dry
bread is weary mastication, and your potted anchovies have a somewhat
too stinging flavour; but taken together, sandwich-fashion, as they are
here, the consumption may go on rapidly enough.

But, whether dry or not, the letters and speeches of Cromwell should be
read by every one desirous of obtaining an insight into the character of
not the least extraordinary, nor the least misrepresented personage in
history. If there is any one who still believes that Cromwell was a
thorough hypocrite, that his religion was a systematic feint to cover
his ambitious designs, the perusal of these volumes will entirely
undeceive him. We look upon this hypothesis, this Machiavelian
explanation of Cromwell's character, as henceforth entirely dismissed
from all candid and intelligent minds. It was quite natural that such a
view should be taken of their terrible enemy by the royalists of the
Restoration, hating his memory with a most cordial hatred, and
accustomed, in their blinding licentiousness, to look upon _all_
religion as little better than cant and hypocrisy. It was quite natural
that such a portrait of him should be drawn by the men who unearthed his
bones, and vented their rage upon a senseless corpse. We see it was
quite inevitable that some such coarse caricature should be thus limned
and transmitted to us. But it has lasted long enough. We believe,
indeed, that by most persons it has already been dismissed and disowned.
It may now be torn into shreds, and cast aside as utterly faithless.

Cromwell was a _genuine Puritan_. There is no doubt of that. He was no
youth when the war broke out, nor a man who had yet to seek his
religious party or principles. As the farmer of St Ives, we see him, as
distinctly as if he still lived upon the earth, the man of fierce
sectarian piety, in natural temper not unamiable, somewhat gloomy and
hypochondriacal, but, above all, distinguished by whatsoever of good or
ill the sort of Calvinistic divinity prevalent at the time could infuse
into its professors. Such the war found him, and such he continued to
be; throughout his whole career we never for a moment lose sight of "the
saint," the title which, then as now, the profane world gave to this
class of men.

Was Cromwell, then, always sincere in his utterances? was there no cant,
_no_ hypocrisy? Did he never conceal the ambition and domineering spirit
of the soldier under the humility of the saint? Another matter quite.
Because a man is religious in the main, it follows not that he is
incapable of occasionally practising hypocrisy: he may lapse as well
into this, as into any crime of the decalogue. Although we might find it
difficult to put our finger exactly upon the spot, and say, Here speaks
the hypocrite, we are not without suspicion that Cromwell was at times
practising dissimulation. But if he dissembled, if he used with artifice
the language of religion, it was no new and foreign disguise that he
put on. He had but to draw the folds a little higher over his face of a
robe that he had long worn in all times and seasons, and which was
verily his own.

In common with almost all men who in times of civil broil have risen
from a lowly station to great power, Cromwell had occasion, no doubt, at
times for dissimulation. His religion, genuine as it was, would no more
prevent him from the practice of this necessary craft than from the
sanguinary deeds not more necessary to the triumph of his cause. Nay, it
was precisely of that enthusiastic order which, in the most liberal
manner, justifies the means for the end. Now, at a period when the
saints were in the ascendant, dissimulation would unavoidably take a
religious form, and when most deceiving men, or most faithfully
addressing them, he would still colour all his language with the same
hue of piety. As, in an age of chivalry, the dissembler would have the
boast of honour and the parade of knightly courtesy for ever on his
lips, so in these times of saintship he would lull the suspicions of men
by a gross emblazonry of religion. It might well happen, therefore, that
such a man as Cromwell, working his way upward to the highest post of
authority, would deal in much insincerity of phrase, and yet have "the
root of the matter" in him. Indeed, nothing is more common in the world
than this combination of genuine feelings of piety with a great
abundance of cant, habitual or designed. It would betray a very slender
knowledge of mankind, and none at all of what is called the religious
world, to conclude that a man is destitute of sincere piety because he
sometimes makes use of the language of religion for ulterior purposes
not peculiarly pious.

It is to be observed, moreover, that to readers unfamiliar with the
peculiarities of _professing_ Christians, whether Puritans or of other
denomination, the expressions of humility and self-abasement which
Cromwell frequently makes use of have appeared to be plain symptoms of
hypocrisy. They are nothing but the habits of the sect. Such expressions
are supposed to have been employed to blind men to his ambitious
projects, to shelter him from the jealous scrutiny of rivals and
superiors. Such a purpose they may have sometimes answered, and been
intended to answer; but in the main they are nothing more nor less than
the dialect of the tribe. Because is a Christian virtue, certain
religious people have thought fit to indulge in a false vituperation of
themselves. Striving avariciously after _all_ virtues, however
incompatible the one with the other, they counterfeit vice and meanness,
that, good men as they are, they may have abundance of contrition. How
far there can be Christianity or piety in an abuse and degradation of
ourselves, when that abuse and degradation must be felt all along to be
untrue--if any reflection whatever accompanies such language--we leave
such people to settle amongst themselves. Certain it is that the
Puritans excelled in this as in every other kindred extravagance. The
elect of the Lord were fond of describing themselves as the most
contemptible of sinners; the salt of the earth as being rottenness and
corruption. It is to this habit of unmeaning self-disparagement that we
are to attribute many of those phrases which have been thought in
Cromwell to be studied artifices to cloak ambitious designs.

They are rife on all occasions, and their frequency and energy bear no
relation to the supposed exigencies of his political career. Take the
following instance. No man surely knew better than he, that at the
conclusion of the civil war the army had become paramount. He could
sometimes speak of this army with the natural pride of a soldier, with
the full consciousness of the power it possessed, and had conferred on
him; and yet, at other times, he would talk of this terrible force in
the puling strain, in more than the drawl and drivel of the conventicle.
As Lord High Protector, addressing his first parliament, he says:--"I
had the approbation of the officers of the army, in the three nations of
England, Scotland, and Ireland. I say of the officers: I had that by
their express remonstrances, and under signature. But there went along
with that express consent of theirs, an implied consent also of a body
of persons who had had somewhat to do in the world; who had been
instrumental, by God, to fight down the enemies of God, and his people,
in the three nations. And truly, until my hands were bound, and I was
limited, (to my own great satisfaction, as many can bear me witness,)
while I had in my hands so great a power and arbitrariness--the soldiery
were a very considerable part of these nations, especially all
government being dissolved. I say, when all government was thus
dissolved, and nothing to keep things in order but the sword!" There can
be no doubt of it--the soldiery were a very considerable part of the
nation. But the Lord High Protector, in a speech he makes to his second
parliament, referring to the very same period, narrating the very same
events, can talk of this army as "a company of poor men," "your poor
army," "those poor contemptible men." To attempt to detect any political
motive for this absurd phraseology, would be a very idle speculation,
mere waste of ingenuity: he was simply more in the puritanic vein in the
one case than the other.

In his letters to the parliament, giving an account of his successes in
the war, he generally concludes with some expression of this strained
evangelical modesty, and seems very much afraid lest Speaker Lenthall
and other honourable members should attribute the victories he
announces, in any measure to the army and the general who won them. He
might be very sure, however, that, notwithstanding these
self-renunciations, the parliament knew very well who was fighting their
battles. Such a mode of speech would not endanger his reputation, nor
diminish from his claims; might perhaps--though we will not say this was
present to his thoughts--induce the parliament to presume that _he_
would not insist on any very egregious reward for services he was so
anxious to disclaim. We will quote one instance of this self-denying
style; and perhaps the following passage contains altogether as much of
a certain fanatical mode of reasoning as could be well found in so short
a compass. Prince Rupert, then at Worcester, had sent two thousand men
across the country, to his majesty at Oxford, to convoy his majesty's
person and the artillery over to him at Worcester. Cromwell attacked and
routed this convoy; he also took Bletchington House. After giving an
account of the transaction, he continues:--"This was the mercy of God;
and nothing is more due than a real acknowledgment. And though I have
had greater mercies, yet none clearer: because, in the first place, God
brought them to our hands when we looked not for them; and delivered
them out of our hands, when we laid a reasonable design to surprise
them, and which we carefully endeavoured. His mercy appears in this
also, that I did much doubt the storming of the house, it being strong
and well manned, and I having few dragoons, and this being not my
business; and yet we got it. I hope you will pardon me if I say, God is
not enough owned. _We look too much to men and visible helps_: this hath
much hindered our success." This from Oliver, who so well knew how "to
keep his powder dry!" from Oliver, who, enthusiast himself, could yet
shrewdly calculate on the military efficacy of enthusiasm, and set it
down amongst the ways and means! Cant or not, it is sad stuff.

But, Puritan as he was, we can admire Cromwell. Every great man, in
whatever times, or in whatever part of the world he has made his
appearance, has earned his title to fame and distinction, not by
qualities peculiar to the sect or religion to which he may have
belonged, but qualities which, though connected with his own especial
faith or tenets, are recognised as the common property of mankind; he
has been great not as Catholic, as Puritan, as Pagan, as Mahometan, but
as _man_; he has been great, because he was pious, brave, patriotic,
sagacious, resolute, and has achieved great enterprises on the theatre
of life. The greatness of Cromwell was indeed allied to Puritanism,
inasmuch as his mind grew up under this peculiar form of religion; but
what we, and all posterity must admire in Cromwell, is by no means the
puritan. His steadiness of purpose, his unshaken resolution, his
military prowess, his eminent talent to govern and command, and his
religious sense of duty to the Supreme, might all have existed under
other modes of religion. In our admiration we entirely separate these
qualities from that least gainly and least wholesome of the forms of
Christian piety with which they are here found connected. History gives
us examples of every kind of virtue, and every kind of talent, united
with every species of fanaticism that has afflicted civilised life. It
follows not that we applaud the fanaticism. The early caliphs were
several of them distinguished by exalted virtues, temperance,
self-denial, justice, patriotism: we praise these virtues, we
acknowledge, too, that they are here linked with the profession of the
faith of Islam; but for all this we do not admire the religion of
Mahomet, nor that fanaticism which writ its texts upon the sword.

We insist upon this obvious distinction, because, whilst agreeing--_to a
certain extent_--in Mr Carlyle's view of the character of Cromwell, we
beg not to be implicated in that esteem and reverence which he professes
to entertain for Puritanism, or the Puritans as a body. And this brings
us to the extraordinary part of Mr Carlyle's performance--his ardent
sympathy, nay his acquiescence with, and adherence to the Puritans, to
that point that he adopts their convictions, their feelings, and even
some of their most grotesque reasonings. Their violence and ferocity, we
were prepared to see Mr Carlyle, in his own sardonic fashion, abet and
encourage; his sympathy is always with the party _who strikes_; but that
he should identify himself with their mumming thoughts, their "plentiful
reasons," their gloomiest superstitions, was what no one could have
anticipated. On this subject we must quote his own words; our own would
not be credited; they would seem to any one who had not read his work to
be scandalous misrepresentations. The extravagance runs through the
whole book, but we have it perhaps more concentrated in the

This Introduction, which we sat down to with keen expectations,
disappointed us extremely, at least in those parts where any general
views are taken. We feel, and have elsewhere ungrudgingly expressed, a
certain admiration for the talents of Mr Carlyle. We shall never forget
the surprise and pleasure with which we read the "Sartor Resartus," as
it one day burst suddenly and accidentally upon us; and no one who has
once read his graphic and passionate history of the French Revolution,
can ever forget the vivid pictures that were there presented to him. We
opened this book, therefore, with a sort of anticipatory relish. But we
found very little of his genius, and very much of his extravagance; less
of the one and more of the other, than we thought could possibly have
been brought together. Metaphors and allusions, already worn
thread-bare, are introduced as stock phrases, as if he had inserted them
in his dictionary of the English language. All his vices of manner are
exaggerated, while the freshness of thought, which half excused them, is
departed. These strange metaphors, these glaring colours, which are
ready spread out upon his palette, he transfers with hasty profusion to
his canvass, till--(as it has been said of Mr Turner's, pictures)--the
canvass and the palette-plate very nearly resemble. But were it
otherwise, were there all and more than the wit, and humour, and
sarcasm, and pungent phrase, and graphic power, which may be found
scattered through Mr Carlyle's best performances, there is here a
substratum of sheer and violent absurdity, which all these together
would fail to disguise or compensate. Certainly there are pages of
writing in this Introduction which contain such an amount of extravagant
assertion, uttered in such fantastic jargon, as we think could nowhere
be paralleled. Dulness could never have attained to any thing so
extraordinary; and surely genius never before condescended to such

"What and how great," thus commences the book, "are the interests which
connect themselves with the hope that England may yet attain to some,
practical belief and understanding of its history during the seventeenth
century, need not be insisted on at present, such hope being still very
distant, very uncertain. We have wandered far away from the ideas which
guided us in that century, _and indeed which had guided us in all
preceding centuries, but of which that century was the ultimate
manifestation_. We have wandered very far, and must endeavour to return
and connect ourselves therewith again! It is with other feelings than
those of poor peddling dilettantism, other aims than the writing of
successful or unsuccessful publications, that an earnest man occupies
himself in those dreary provinces of the dead and buried. The _last
glimpse of the godlike_ vanishing from this England; conviction and
veracity giving place to hollow cant and formalism--antique 'Reign of
God,' which all true men in their several dialects and modes have always
striven for, giving place to the modern reign of the No-God, whom men
name devil; this, in its multitudinous meanings and results, is a sight
to create reflections in the earnest man! One wishes there were a
history of English Puritanism, _the last of all our heroisms_, but sees
small prospect of such a thing at present."

Then, beginning to quote himself, as his manner is, changing his voice
and adopting another key, as if by this thin disguise to obtain somewhat
more license for the wildness and vehemence of his speech--an artifice
surely not necessary here--he thus continues:--

"'Few nobler heroisms,' says a well-known writer, long occupied on this
subject, 'at bottom, perhaps, _no nobler heroism_, ever transacted
itself on this earth; and it lies as good as lost to us, overwhelmed
under such an avalanche of human stupidities as no heroism before ever
did. Intrinsically and extrinsically it may be considered inaccessible
to these generations. Intrinsically, the spiritual purport of it has
become inconceivable, incredible to the modern mind. Extrinsically, the
documents and records of it, scattered waste as a shoreless chaos, are
not legible. They lie there printed, written, to the extent of tons of
square miles, as shot-rubbish; unedited, unsorted, not so much as
indexed; full of every conceivable confusion; yielding light to very
few; yielding darkness, in several sorts, to very many.' ...

"'This, then,' continues our impatient friend, 'is the Elysium we
English have provided for our heroes! The Rushworthian Elysium.
Dreariest continent of shot-rubbish the eye ever saw. Confusion piled on
confusion to your utmost horizon's edge; obscure in lurid twilight as of
the shadow of death; trackless, without index, without finger-post, or
mark of any human foregoer; where your human footstep, if you are still
human, echoes bodeful through the gaunt solitude, peopled only by
somnambulant pedants, dilettants, and doleful creatures, by phantasms,
errors, inconceivabilities, by nightmares, pasteboard norroys, griffins,
wiverns, and chimeras dire! There, all vanquished, overwhelmed under
such waste lumber mountains, the wreck and dead ashes of some six
unbelieving generations, does the age of Cromwell and his Puritans lie
hidden from us. This is what we, for our share, have been able to
accomplish towards keeping _our heroic ones_ in memory.'"

After some further diatribe against all preceding historians,
collectors, and editors, he drops his ventriloquism, and, resuming a
somewhat more natural voice, he proceeds:--

"Nay, in addition to the sad state of our historical books, and what
indeed is fundamentally the cause and origin of that, our common
spiritual notions, if any notion of ours may still deserve to be called
spiritual, are fatal to a right understanding of that seventeenth
century. _The Christian doctrines, which then dwelt alive in every
heart, have now in a manner died out of all hearts_--very mournful to
behold--and are not the guidance of this world any more. Nay, worse
still, the cant of them does yet dwell alive with us, little doubting
that it is cant, in which fatal intermediate state the eternal
sacredness of this universe itself, of this human life itself, has
fallen dark to the most of us, and we think that, too, a cant and a

So!--as our honest German friend would exclaim, puffing from his mouth
at the same time a huge volume of symbolic smoke. We have withdrawn it
seems, from the path of light ever since the reign of the army and its
godly officers established A.D. 1649. We must return and connect
ourselves therewith; it is our only salvation; though, indeed, if
Puritanism was the manifestation of the ideas of all preceding
centuries--if the same current of thought can be traced from William the
Conqueror to Oliver the conqueror--a very little ingenuity would suffice
to trace the same ideas, the same current of thought, somewhat farther
still. But this reign of the puritanical army was really "the last
glimpse of the godlike!"--it was "the reign of God!" and we live under
the reign of ----, psha! Why, he does not even give us a substantial
devil, but coins a strange personification of a negative. Such was not
the devil, by the way, at the time of "the noblest heroism ever
transacted on the earth." Such a definition of the "roaring lion,"
would, in those days of light and happiness, have procured its author,
at the very least, a trip to Barbadoes. Even Cromwell himself would have
_Barbadoesed_ him.

"This last of our heroisms!" God grant it is the last! It is only out of
another religious war that another such heroism can arise. If church and
dissent should take up arms, and, instead of controversies carried on in
pamphlets, upon tradition and white surplices, should blow out each
other's brains with gunpowder, then Mr Carlyle would see his "heroic
ones" revive upon the earth.

"The Christian doctrines which then dwelt alive in every heart, have now
in a manner died out of all hearts." Only the cant of them dwells alive
with us. The same clear-sighted author, who sees the Christian doctrines
so beautifully and pre-eminently developed in the Ironsides of Cromwell,
in the troopers of Lambert and Harrison, sacking, pillaging,
slaughtering, and in all that tribe of men who ever shed blood the
readier after prayer-time--men who had dropped from their memory
Christ's own preaching, to fill their mouths with the curses which the
Hebrew prophets had been permitted, under a past dispensation, to
denounce against the enemies of Judea, who had constructed their
theology out of the darkest parts of the New, and the most fearful
portion of the Old Testament;--this same author, opening his eyes and
ears upon his own day and generation, finds that Christianity has died
out of all hearts, and its phraseology, as he expresses himself
elsewhere, "become mournful to him when spouted as frothy cant from
Exeter Hall." If Mr Carlyle would visit Exeter Hall, and carry there one
tithe of the determination to approve, that he exhibits in favour of the
Puritan, he would find a Christian piety as sincere, as genuine, and far
more humane, than his heroes of Naseby, or Dunbar, or Drogheda were
acquainted with. He would see the descendants of his Puritans, relieved,
at least we may say, from the necessity of raising their psalm on the
battle-field, indulging in none of the ferocities of our nature,
assembling in numerous but peaceful meetings, raising annually, by a
quiet but no contemptible sacrifice, their millions for the
dissemination of Gospel truth. But Mr Carlyle would call this cant; he
sees nothing good, or generous, or high-minded in any portion of the
world in which he lives; he reserves his sympathies for the past--for
the men of buckram and broad-sword, who, on a question of church
government, were always ready "to hew Agag to pieces," let Agag stand
for who, or what number it might.

If there is one spectacle more odious than another of all which history
presents to us, whether it take place amongst Mahometan or Christian,
Catholic or Protestant, it is this:--to see men practising all the
terrible brutalities of war, treading down their enemies, doing all that
rage and the worst passions prompt, and doing all amidst exclamations of
piety, devout acknowledgments of submission to Divine will, and
professions of gratitude to God. Other religious factions have committed
far greater atrocities than the Puritans, but nowhere in history is this
same spectacle exhibited with more distasteful and sickening
accompaniments. The Moslem thanked God upon his sword in at least a
somewhat soldierly manner; and the Catholic, by the very pomp with which
he chants his _Te Deum_, somewhat conceals the meaning of his act, and,
keeping God a little out of sight, makes his mass express the natural
feeling of a human triumph. But the sleek Puritan, at once grovelling
and presumptuous, mingles with his sanguinary mood all the morbid
sickly conceit, all the crawling affected humility of the conventicle.
All his bloodsheds are "mercies," and they are granted in answer to his
long and miserable prayers--prayers which, to a man of rational piety,
sound very much like blasphemies. He carries with him to the
battle-field, to the siege, to the massacre, not one even of those
generous feelings which war itself permits towards a foe. He chooses to
call his enemy the enemy of God, and kneels before he fights, that the
inexpressible _mercy_ may be granted of cutting his throat!

"That the sense of difference between right and wrong," says Mr Carlyle,
"had filled all time and all space for man, and bodied itself forth into
a heaven and hell for him,--this constitutes the grand feature of those
Puritan, old-Christian ages; this is the element which stamps them as
heroic, and has rendered their works great, manlike, fruitful to all
generations." Quite on the contrary. The sense of right and wrong was
obscured, confused, lost sight of, in the promptings of a presumptuous
enthusiasm; and it is exactly _this_ which constitutes the perilous
characteristic of such men as the Puritans and Cameronians, and similar
sectaries. How can the sense of right and wrong keep its footing in an
enthusiasm which has brought itself to believe that all its successes
are a direct answer to its prayers? Success becomes the very measure of
right and wrong. The two extremes of Atheism and Fanaticism have met;
they may both dispense with conscience, and make the event the criterion
of the deed. Hear how the pious heroes of Mr Carlyle reason on one of
the most solemn occasions of the civil war. The army is remonstrating
with the Parliament because it appeared slow to shed the blood of their
conquered and captured King, and it actually speaks of the death of
Charles "as appeasing the wrath of God" against that sovereign! and bids
the Parliament "sadly to consider, as men accountable to the Highest,"
how far an accommodation with the King, "when God hath given him so
clearly into your power to do justice, can be just before God or good
men." The _power_ to do the act is full authority, is absolute command
to do it. What other doctrine could a Cæsar Borgia, or an Eccelino, the
tyrant of Padua, desire to be governed, or rather to be manumitted by
from all government?

The argument drawn from the success given to their cause, is perpetually
in the mouth of Cromwell and of his Puritans. It establishes, without a
doubt, that they have used the sword justly, and are still further to
use it. Every "mercy" of this kind is in answer to prayer. Basing-House,
a private residence, cannot be sacked and plundered, and the inhabitants
put to the sword, but the pious historian of the feat, Mr Peters, adds,
that it, and the like triumphs, were "answers to the prayers and
trophies of the faith of some of God's servants." When Greek meets
Greek, when the Scottish Covenanter encounters the English Puritan, and
the former, being worsted, finds out "that he had not so learned Christ
as to hang the equity of a cause upon events," Cromwell answers, "Did
not you solemnly appeal and pray? Did not we do so too? And ought not
you and we to think, with fear and trembling, of the hand of the Great
God, in this mighty and strange appearance of His, instead of slightly
calling it an 'event'? Were not both your and our expectations renewed
from time to time, whilst we waited upon God, to see which way He would
manifest himself upon our appeals? And shall we, after all these our
prayers, fastings, tears, expectations, and solemn appeals, call these
bare 'events'? The Lord pity you."

Men prayed in those days! says Mr Carlyle, "actually prayed! It was a
capability old London and its preachers and populations had; to us the
incredibilest." Beyond a doubt the Puritans and the Covenanters prayed,
and in such a manner and at such a length, that the strange doctrine on
which Southey has founded his "Curse of Kehama," of the essential and
irresistible force of prayer, seems to have got mixed up with their
Christianity.[2] But we do not think that the voice of prayer has quite
died out amongst us. It is curious to observe what a vivid perception
this author has for the historical past, and what a voluntary blindness
and deafness for the actually present. It is a fact! he frequently
exclaims, with all the energy of a discoverer,--a fact! that men in
these ages prayed, and had a religious faith. Our churches and chapels
are not facts. The control--none the worse for being exercised without
pike or musket--which the religious public, meeting in that very Exeter
Hall, have over the measures of government, and all political
transactions,--is not a fact. Were he writing, some centuries hence, the
history of this our age, he would detect these facts. What facts,
indeed, might he not detect, and what exaggerated significance might he
not give to them! Why, in those days, he might exclaim, in his
enthusiasm, the very beggars in the street, in asking charity, poured
God's blessing on you! It was a credible thing, in those days, God's
blessing!--and men gave their money for it!

A passage in one of Cromwell's letters instances, in rather a touching
manner, what school of piety this army of saints must have proved. At
the battle of Marston Moor a Colonel Walton had lost his son. "He was a
gallant young man, exceedingly gracious," and Cromwell, giving an
account of his death, in his consolatory letter to the father, writes
thus,--"A little after, he said, one thing lay upon his spirit. I asked
him what that was. He told me it was that God had not suffered him to be
any more _the executioner of his enemies!_"

But nothing disturbs the equanimity of our editor, or interrupts his
flow of rapture over the fanaticism of these times, especially when
expressed in the letters of Cromwell. Over the theological effusions
which the general of the Puritan army addresses, from his camp, to the
Edinburgh clergy, Mr Carlyle thus expatiates:--"Dryasdust, carrying his
learned eye over these, and the like letters, finds them, of course,
full of 'hypocrisy,' &c. Unfortunate Dryasdust! they are corruscations
terrible as lightning, and beautiful as lightning, from the innermost
temple of the human soul; intimations, still credible, of what a human
soul does mean when it _believes_ in the Highest--a thing poor Dryasdust
never did, nor will do. The hapless generation that now reads these
words ought to hold its peace when it has read them, and sink into
unutterable reflections, not unmixed with tears, and some substitute for
'sackcloth and ashes,' if it liked. In its poor canting, sniffling,
flimsy vocabulary, there is no word that can make any response to them.
This man has a living God-inspired soul in him, not an enchanted
artificial 'substitute for salt,' as our fashion is. They that have
human eyes can look at him; they that have only owl-eyes need not."

And then follows something upon _light_ and _lightning_. "As lightning
is to light, so is a Cromwell to a Shakspere. The light is beautifuller.
Ah, yes; but, until by lightning and other fierce labour your foul chaos
has become a world, you cannot have any light, or the smallest chance
for any!... The melodious speaker is great, but the melodious worker is
greater than he. Our Time cannot speak at all, but only cant and sneer,
and argumentatively jargon and recite the multiplication-table:
neither, as yet, can it work, except at mere railroads and
cotton-spinning. It will, apparently, return to chaos soon, and then
more lightnings will be needed, lightning enough,--to which Cromwell's
was but a mild matter,--to be followed by light, we may hope!"--by
another Shakspeare, as the tenor of the passage would imply.

Strange jumble this of Cromwell and Shakspeare, of light and lightning!
There is one species of light which we are often reminded of here; a
certain fitful, flickering beam, which partakes indeed of a luminous
nature, but which chooses its path for ever over bottomless bog.

The sincerity of Oliver Cromwell, in these his letters and speeches, has
been questioned and discussed; the sincerity of their present editor may
become a question at least as difficult and perplexing. Is there any
genuine conviction at the bottom of all this rant and raving? Our
extravagant worshipper of the "old heathen" Goëthe, stands forth the
champion and admirer of certain harsh, narrow-thoughted, impetuous
sectaries, proclaims _them_ the only "Reformers" of the world; descends
to their lowest prejudices, to their saddest bigotries, to their gloomy
puerilities; arguing with them solemnly against the sinfulness of
drinking healths, and quite fraternising with them in all their
animosity against Popery and Prelacy. What does he mean? Is it a case of
conversion? Is it an outpouring merely, by a strange vent, of certain
acrid humours? Is he honest, and in earnest? or is he making sport of
those hapless Englishmen whom he pronounces "in human stupidity to have
no fellow?"

Observers of a curious and speculative turn might, perhaps, explain it
thus:--Mr Carlyle is evidently a writer of strong religious feelings.
Marry, when he would exhibit them to the world, he is under the
necessity of borrowing a creed from some one else. His own philosophy
has nothing palpable enough for ordinary vision; nothing, as we
remember, but vague infinities and eternities, with an "everlasting
_yes_," and an "everlasting _no_." As the choice lay quite open to him,
there was no reason why he should not select the very hottest creed he
could any where find lying about in our history. From contemporaries it
was not likely that he should borrow: he loves nothing, praises nothing,
esteems nothing of this poor visible present; but it was an additional
recommendation to the Puritanic piety, that it had left a detestable
memory behind it, and was in declared hostility with all contemporaneous
ways of thinking. What could he better do, therefore, than borrow this
old volcanic crater of Puritanism, and pour out from it his religion and
his anger upon a graceless world?

Others, not given to such refinements, would explain the phenomenon upon
more ordinary principles, and reduce the enigma to a case merely of
literary monomania. Mr Carlyle, they would say, has been striving to
understand these Puritans till he has grown, for the time, to resemble
them. In the effort to project his mind into their mind, he has overshot
the mark; he has not been able yet to get his own mind back again. It is
a case, they would say, of mere imagination. Could you bring Mr Carlyle
into contact with a live Puritan, the charm would be instantly
dispelled. If one of Harrison's troopers would but ask him to step aside
with him, under a hedge, to wrestle for a blessing, or would kindly
undertake to catechise him on some point of divinity,--on that notion of
his, for instance, of "Right and Wrong bodying themselves into Hell and
Heaven,"--the alliance would be dissolved, not, perhaps, without violent

For ourselves, we sometimes think that Mr Carlyle is in earnest. Men
should be honest. One who talks so loudly about _faith_, ought to be
sincere in his utterances to the public. At other times, the mummery
becomes too violent, grows too "fast and furious," to permit us to
believe that what we witness is the sane carriage of a sane man. At all
events, we can but look on with calm surprise. If our philosopher will
tuck his robe high up about his loins, and play the merry-andrew, if he
will grimace, and paint thick, and hold dialogue with himself, who shall
hinder him?--only we would rather not wear, on such an occasion, the
docile aspect of admiring pupils; we prefer to stand aside, and look on
with Mr Dryasdust.

It is worthy of note, that however Mr Carlyle extols his "Heroic Ones"
in a body, Cromwell is the only individual that finds a good word
throughout the work. Every one else, Hampden not excepted, is spoken of
with slight and disparagement. Amongst all the "godlike," there is but
one who finds favour in his sight,--him, however, he never deserts,--and
the very parties who have before been applauded, in general terms,
become the subjects of ridicule or castigation the moment they are seen
in opposition to Cromwell.

To Cromwell, then, let us turn our attention. Him we also can admire. We
admire his great practical sagacity, his eminent talents for war and for
government, the moderation and the conscientiousness which, though a
usurper and a zealot, he displayed in the use of power. He was, as we
have said, a genuine Puritan. This must be understood, or no
intelligible view of his character can be taken. It is not only
hostility to his memory which has attributed to him a studied hypocrisy;
the love of the marvellous has lent its aid. Such a supposition was
thought to magnify his talents and his genius. It was more dramatic to
make him the "honest Iago" of the piece. A French writer, M. Villemain,
in his History of Cromwell, expresses this feeling very naïvely, and
speaks of an hypocrisy "que l'histoire atteste, et qu'on ne saurait
mettre en doute sans ôter quelque chose à l'idée de son génie; car les
hommes verront toujours moins de grandeur dans un fanatique de bonne
foi, que dans une ambition qui fait des enthusiastes. Cromwell mena les
hommes par la prise qu'ils lui donnaient sur eux. _L'ambition seule lui
inspira des crimes, qu'il fit executer par le fanatisme des autres._"
That he thus employed the spirit of the age without sharing it, is a
theory which will not stand the light for a moment. Besides, it is not
in this manner that history is transacted: we may all be puppets, if you
will, upon the scene, but it is not in this fashion that any one man
gets hold of the wires. The supposition, whatever honour it may do the
genius of Cromwell, will do very little honour to the speculative genius
of any writer who adopts it. But this is evident, that to whatever
extent Cromwell shared the distempered feelings of a sectarian party,
nothing ever clouded his penetration upon any affair of conduct, any
question of means to an end. The hour never came that found him wanting.
At every phase of the revolution he is there to lead, or control, or
predominate over it.

Starting from this point of view--understanding him, in the first place,
as the conscientious zealous Puritan, and endeavouring to estimate, as
the history proceeds, the modifications which the soldier and the
general, and finally the Protector, would induce upon this original
substratum--the character of Cromwell becomes intelligible, and his
conduct, in a measure, consistent. Whilst yet a private man, he had
warmly espoused the extreme opinions of that religious party who looked
on Popery as antichrist, and the Church of England as little better than
Popery in disguise, as the same scarlet lady in a somewhat more modest
attire. He was one of a class occasionally met with in the most quiet
walks of life, men who torment their spirit on some public question till
it becomes a personal grievance, or rather a corroding passion. What
were bishops personally to him? He might have prayed, and expounded, and
walked meditative in his fields, and left a public question to be
decided by the movements, necessarily slow, of public opinion. But no;
he was constituted quite otherwise. From a spiritual jurisdiction,
claimed though not exercised over him, his soul revolted. And this
hatred to prelacy, to any spiritual authority over him or his--this
determination to be his own priest--is, if not the strongest, certainly
the steadiest and most constant feeling that he manifests. We trace it
throughout his whole career. The first thing we hear of him in the House
of Commons is a protest, a sort of ominous growl, against the promotion
of some Arminian or semi-Popish divine. "If these are the steps to
church preferment, what are we to expect!" Almost the first glimpse we
catch of him when he has taken arms, is as the captain of a troop
entering some cathedral church, and bidding the surpliced priest, who
was reading the liturgy, "to cease his fooling, and come down!" And
throughout the letters which he addresses to the Speaker from the seat
of war, he rarely omits the opportunity of hinting, that the soldiers
are worthy of that religious liberty for which they have fought so well.
"We pray you, own His people more and more; for they are the chariots
and horsemen of Israel." And in one of his latest speeches, he describes
it as the great "extremity" of past times, that men were not permitted
to preach in public unless they were ordained.

A rooted animosity to prelatical or other spiritual domination, is the
key-note of this "melodious worker," as Mr Carlyle calls him. Cromwell
entered the civil war provided with no theory or plan of civil
government, animated with no republican zeal; it was not patriotism in
any ordinary sense of the word, it was his controversy with the church
of England that brought him on the field of battle. After fighting
against episcopacy, he fought with equal zeal against presbyterianism;
but against monarchy, or for the republic, he can hardly be said to have
drawn the sword. We all applaud the sagacity which saw at once that the
strongest antagonist to the honour and fidelity of the royalist, was to
be found in the passion of the zealot. He enlisted his praying regiment.
From that time the battle was won. But the cause was lost. What hope
could there be for the cause of civil freedom, of constitutional rights,
when the champion who won its victories was fanatical zeal, and the rage
of theological controversy?

It is the glaring defect in Cromwell--a defect which he had in common
with many others of his time--that he threw himself into a revolution
having for its first object to remodel the civil government, animated
only with the passions of the collateral controversy upon ecclesiastical
government. He fought the battle which was to destroy the monarchy,
without any fixed idea or desire for the republican government which
must be its substitute. This was not the subject that had engaged his
thoughts or inflamed his ardour. When, therefore, the royalists had been
conquered, it is not at all surprising that he should have seen nothing
but the difficulties in the way of forming a republic. At this point of
his history some excuse for him may be drawn from the very defect we are
noticing. His mind had dwelt on no theory of civil government--to the
cause of the commonwealth his heart had never been pledged--and we can
hardly call him, with justice, as Godwin does, a traitor to the
republic. But, on the other hand, what a gap, what a void, does this
disclose in the mind of our hero? What should we say of one who had
plunged heart and soul into the French Revolution, conducted only by his
rage against the Roman Catholic hierarchy? Such a one, had he risen to
take a leading part in that drama, might have acted with greater wisdom
and moderation than ardent and patriotic men; the very absence of any
political opinion or passion might have enabled him to see more clearly
than others the position which they all occupied; but this would not
justify or palliate the original error, the rash, exclusive,
self-blinding zeal which had brought him into that position.

To the ecclesiastical controversy, Cromwell clings throughout with an
utter recklessness of the fate of civil government. When episcopacy had
been vanquished, and presbyterianism threatened to take its place, he
was quite as willing to plunge the whole kingdom into confusion and
anarchy in his opposition to this new enemy, as to the old. Those who
would defend him from the charge of personal ambition--all who excuse
his conduct at this period of the history, put this plea upon
record,--and without a doubt his hostility to presbyterianism was a very
great and leading motive with him in his opposition to the Parliament,
and his determination to prevent a reconciliation between the House and
the King. When Charles was a prisoner at the Isle of Wight, it is well
known that the Parliament were anxious to come to some terms of
reconcilement, and the concessions which he then made were voted to be
"a sufficient ground for the future settlement of the kingdom." Why did
Cromwell interfere at this juncture between the two parties, in such a
way as entirely to destroy both? His best public ground is his hostility
to presbyterianism. And what was the presbytery, that to him it should
be so distasteful, and an object of so great animosity? Its forms of
worship, the doctrines preached by its divines, were exactly those he
himself practised and approved. There were no altars here, no surplices,
no traditions, no sympathies with Rome, no stealthy approximations to
her detested idolatries. But there was a claim put forward to
ecclesiastical supremacy, to ordain, and authorise, and control public
preachers, which he could not tolerate; and if no other motive had
existed, he was ready to oppose every settlement, at every risk, having
for its object to establish a claim of this description.

We will open the Letters and Speeches of Cromwell at this period of the
history, and present our readers with a specimen of his epistolary
style, and one which will go far to show how little his mind was
influenced, even at this great crisis, by any thing which we should
describe as political reasoning. Cromwell was a great _administrator_,
but he had no vocation for speculative politics, and little attachment
to forms of government. Framers of constitutions are not in repute at
present; they have not covered themselves with applause, rather with
confusion; and this defect in Cromwell's mind will probably be looked
upon with great indulgence. Nevertheless, people who go to war to
demolish an existing government, ought to have taken thought for a
substitute; on _them_ it is incumbent to have a political creed, and a
constitution to set up. At this very moment when the question is no
less, than whether the king should be put to death, and monarchy rooted
out of the land--ay, and the Parliament coerced, in order to effect
these objects--our Puritan general reasons--like a Puritan and nothing

The following letter was addressed to Colonel Hammond, then governor of
the Isle of Wight. The colonel had been distressed by his scruples at
the extreme course the army was disposed to take, and had solicited this
appointment to the Isle of Wight as a retreat from the scene of faction
and violence. But it was precisely in this quiet little island that the
king took refuge; his perplexities, therefore, were increased and not
diminished. Cromwell writes to him to remove his scruples, and makes a
characteristic allusion to this circumstance--_improves_ it, as we
should say.

We must apprise the reader, however, that it would be dangerous to form
any opinion upon the religious sincerity or insincerity of Cromwell,
upon extracts from his letters and speeches, or even upon any single
letter or speech. From the incongruity we feel between the solemnity of
the subject of religion, and the manner and occasion in which it is
introduced, and from the use of certain expressions long since
consecrated to ridicule, it is impossible for a modern reader, on
falling upon some isolated passages, not to exclaim, that this is cant
and hypocrisy! But when the whole series, or the greater part of it, is
read--when the same strain of thought and feeling, in season and out of
season, is constantly observed--it is equally impossible not to feel
persuaded that these letters and speeches body forth the genuine
character of the man, and that the writer was verily a solemn and most
serious person, in whom religious zeal was the last quality which needed

     "DEAR ROBIN,--No man rejoiceth more to see a line from thee
     than myself. I know thou hast long been under trial. Thou shalt
     be no loser by it. All things must work for the best.

     "Thou desirest to hear of my experiences. I can tell thee, I am
     such a one as thou did formerly know, having a body of sin and
     death; but I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, there is
     no condemnation though much infirmity; and I wait for the
     redemption. And in this poor condition I obtain mercy, and
     sweet consolation through the Spirit. And find abundant cause
     every day to exalt the Lord and abase flesh--and herein I have
     some exercise.

     "As to outward dispensations, if we may so call them, we have
     not been without our share of beholding some remarkable
     providences and appearances of the Lord. His presence hath been
     amongst us, and by the light of his countenance we have
     prevailed (_alludes to the battle of Preston_.) We are sure the
     goodness of Him who dwelt in the bush has shined upon us; and
     we can humbly say, we know in whom we have believed; who can
     and will perfect what remaineth, and us also in doing what is
     well-pleasing in His eye-sight.

     "I find some trouble in your spirit, occasioned first not only
     by your sad and heavy burden, as you call it, but also by the
     dissatisfaction you take at the ways of some good men whom you
     love with your heart, who through the principle, that it is
     lawful for a lesser part, if in the right, to force a numerical
     majority, &c. &c.

     "To the first: call not your burden sad or heavy. If your
     Father laid it on you, He intended neither. He is the Father of
     light, from whom comes every good and perfect gift; who of His
     own will begot us.... Dear Robin, our fleshly reasonings
     ensnare us. These make us say 'heavy,' 'sad,' 'pleasant,'
     'easy.' Was there not a little of this when Robert Hammond,
     through dissatisfaction too, desired retirement from the army,
     and thought of quiet in the Isle of Wight? Did not God find him
     out there? I believe he will never forget this. And now I
     perceive he is to seek again; partly through his sad and heavy
     burden, and partly through his dissatisfaction with friends'

     "Dear Robin, thou and I were never worthy to be door-keepers in
     this service. If thou wilt seek, seek to know the mind of God
     in all that chain of providence, whereby God brought thee
     thither, and that person (_the king_) to thee; how, before and
     since, God hath ordered him, and affairs concerning him; and
     then tell me, whether there be not some glorious and high
     meaning in all this, above what thou hast yet attained? And,
     laying aside thy fleshly reason, seek of the Lord to teach thee
     what that is; and He will do it. I dare be positive to say, It
     is not that the wicked should be exalted that God should so
     appear as indeed He hath done. For there is no peace to _them_.
     No; it is set upon the hearts of such as fear the Lord, and we
     have witness upon witness, that it shall go ill with them and
     their partakers.

     "As to thy dissatisfaction with friends' actings upon that
     supposed principle--I wonder not at that. If a man take not his
     own burden well, he shall hardly others'; especially if
     involved by so near a relation of love and Christian
     brotherhood as thou art, I shall not take upon me to satisfy;
     but I hold myself bound to lay my thoughts before so dear a
     friend. The Lord do His own will.

     "You say, 'God hath appointed authorities among the nations, to
     which active or passive obedience is to be yielded. This
     resides, in England, in the Parliament. Therefore, active or
     passive resistance,' &c. &c.

     "Authorities and powers are the ordinance of God. This or that
     species is of human institution, and limited some with larger,
     others with stricter bands, each one according to its
     constitution. But I do not therefore think that the authorities
     may do _any thing_, and yet such obedience be due. All agree
     that there are cases in which it is lawful to resist. If so,
     your ground fails, and so likewise the inference. Indeed, dear
     Robin, not to multiply words, the query is,--Whether ours be
     such case? This, ingenuously, is the true question.

     "To this I shall say nothing, though I could say very much; but
     only desire thee to see what thou findest in thy own heart to
     two or three plain considerations. _First_, Whether _Salus
     populi_ be a sound position? _Secondly_, Whether, in the way in
     hand (_the parliamentary treaty with the king_,) really and
     before the Lord, before whom conscience has to stand, this be
     provided for--or if the whole fruit of the war is not likely to
     be frustrated, and all most like to turn to what it was, and
     worse? And this contrary to engagements, explicit covenants
     with those who ventured their lives upon those covenants and
     engagements, without whom, perhaps in equity, relaxation ought
     not to be? _Thirdly_, Whether this army be not a lawful power,
     called by God to oppose and fight against the king upon some
     stated grounds; and being in power to such ends, may not oppose
     one name of authority, for those ends, as well as another
     name--since it was not the outward authority summoning them
     that by its power made the quarrel lawful, but the quarrel was
     lawful in itself? If so, it may be, acting will be justified
     _in foro humano_. _But truly this kind of reasoning may be but
     fleshly, either with or against: only it is good to try what
     truth may be in them. And the Lord teach us._

     "My dear friend, let us look into providences; surely they mean
     somewhat. They hang so together; have been so constant, so
     clear, unclouded. Malice, swoln malice against God's people,
     now called 'saints,' to root out their name;--and yet they
     these poor saints getting arms and therein blessed with defence
     and more! I desire he that is for a principle of suffering
     (_passive obedience_) would not too much slight this. I slight
     not him who is so minded; but let us beware lest fleshly
     reasoning see more safety in making use of this principle than
     in acting! Who acts, if he resolve not through God to be
     willing to part with all? Our hearts are very deceitful, on the
     right and on the left.

     "What think you of providence disposing the hearts of so many
     of God's people this way--especially in this poor army, wherein
     the great God has vouchsafed to appear! I know not one officer
     but is on the increasing side (_come over to this opinion_.) ...

     "Thou mentionest somewhat as if by acting against such
     opposition as is like to be, there will be a tempting of God.
     Dear Robin, tempting of God ordinarily is either by acting
     presumptuously in carnal confidence, or in unbelief through
     diffidence: both these ways Israel tempted God in the
     wilderness, and He was grieved by them. Not the encountering of
     difficulties, therefore, makes us to tempt God; but the acting
     before and without faith. If the Lord have in any measure
     persuaded His people, as generally He hath, of the lawfulness,
     nay of the _duty_,--this persuasion prevailing upon the heart
     is faith; and acting thereupon is acting in faith; and the more
     the difficulties are the more the faith. And it is most sweet
     that he who is not persuaded have patience towards them that
     are, and judge not; and this will free thee from the trouble of
     others' actings, which thou sayest adds to thy grief....

     "Robin, I have done. Ask we our hearts whether we think that
     after all these dispensations, the like to which many
     generations cannot afford, should end in so corrupt reasonings
     of good men, and should so hit the designings of bad? Thinkest
     thou in thy heart that the glorious dispensations of God point
     out to this? Or to teach his people to trust in Him and wait
     for better things--when, it may be, better are sealed to many
     of their spirits (_indubitably sure to many of them_.)

     "This trouble I have been at because my soul loves thee, and I
     would not have thee swerve or lose any glorious opportunity the
     Lord puts into thy hand. The Lord be thy counsellor. Dear
     Robin, I rest thine,


For ourselves, we cannot read this, and other letters breathing the same
spirit, without being convinced that Cromwell fully shared in those
fanatical sentiments which prompted the army to insist upon the king's
death. A contemporary account, from which Mr Carlyle, some pages before
this letter occurs, has quoted largely, represents this chief of the
Puritans in exactly the same point of view. The officers of the army had
made certain overtures to the king, certain efforts at a reconciliation,
which had been fruitless; and which had been, moreover, attended with
much division and contention amongst themselves. They had turned aside,
it seems, from "that path of _simplicity_ they had been blessed in, to
walk in a _politic_ path," and were, accordingly, afflicted, "as the
wages of their backsliding hearts," with tumults, and jealousies, and
divisions. But the godly officers, says the pious record of Adjutant
Allen, met at _Windsor Castle_! "and there we spent one day together in
prayer; inquiring into the causes of that sad dispensation. And, on the
morrow, we met again in the morning; where many spake from the Word and
prayed; and the then Lieutenant-General Cromwell did press very
earnestly on all there present, to a thorough consideration of our
actions as an army, and of our ways particularly as private Christians;
to see if any iniquity could be found in them; and what it was; that, if
possible, he might find it out, and so remove the cause of such sad
rebukes as were upon us, (by reason of our iniquities, as we judged,) at
that time. And the way, more particularly, the Lord led us to herein was
this: to look back and consider what time it was when, with joint
satisfaction, we could last say, to the best of our judgments, The
presence of the Lord was amongst us, and rebukes and judgments were not,
as then, upon us.... By which means we were, by a gracious hand of the
Lord, led to find out the very steps, (as were all there jointly
convinced,) by which we had departed from the Lord, and provoked Him to
depart from us, which we found to be those cursed carnal conferences,
our own conceited wisdom, our fears, and want of faith, had prompted us,
the year before, to entertain with the king and his party. And at this
time, and on this occasion, did the then Major Goffe, (as I remember was
his title,) make use of that good word, Proverbs 1st and 23d, _Turn you
at my reproof; behold I will pour out my Spirit unto you, I will make
known my words unto you._" In fine, their "iniquities," their want of
faith, their carnal conferences--that is to say, all desire for peace,
all humanity, all moderation, all care for their country--were cast
aside, and they came to the solitary gloomy resolution, "That it is our
duty to call Charles Stuart, that man of blood, to an account for that
blood he had shed, and mischief he had done to his utmost, against the
Lord's cause and people in these poor nations."

Let no one suppose that, because Cromwell, and other officers of the
army, had been negotiating with the king, bidding for him, in fact,
against the Parliament, and offering terms such as it was mere
infatuation upon his part not to accept, that they were, therefore, not
sincere in this their fanaticism, which now so clearly told them they
should be doing the express will of God in putting him to death. Those
who have paid attention to this disease of the mind, know well, that
while nothing is more violent at one moment, nothing is more flexible at
another. Against the assaults of reason it is rock,--it is adamant; but
to self-interest, or a covert passion, it is often surprisingly ductile.
The genuine fanatic is gifted with a power which will equally uphold
him, whether he walks to the right or to the left, and lets him change
his course as often as he will. He has a logic that is always
triumphant--which proves him always in the right--whether he would
advance or recede. Success--it is God's own sanction; failure--it is
what you please,--God's disapproval if you would retreat--a trial only
of your faith, if you have the heart to advance. In the present case,
our pious army, having found it impossible to treat with the king, has
but to spend "its day in prayer," and its fierce zeal resumes its former
channel with greater violence than ever. It has been led astray, it
finds, by carnal reasonings and sinful weakness; and, rushing back to
its old "path of simplicity," it raises the cry of death!

This account, which Adjutent Allan gives of diseased piety and perilous
fanaticism, Mr Carlyle accompanies with interjections of applause, and
cheers of encouragement. To him, also, it seems quite fit that the army
should return to its path of "simplicity." The King must die.

How little, up to the very last, did that unfortunate monarch know of
the terrible spirit of those enemies into whose hands he had fallen! He
saw himself necessary to the tranquillisation and stable government of a
nation still imbued with the love of monarchy, he therefore thought
himself and the monarchy were safe; he knew not that he was contending
with men who, when they rose to their high "heroic" mood, had a supreme
contempt for all considerations touching mere human polity,--the mere
peace and government of mankind. He trusted much to the sacredness of
royalty, the majesty of the purple, the divinity of a King; he was
delivered over to the power of enemies, whose glory it was to tread down
the glories of the world; who, so far from finding any sacredness in his
royalty, had classed him amongst all the wicked kings of the Old
Testament, sentenced to be exterminated with the idolatry they fostered,
and with whom the very audacity and fearful temerity of the deed, (if
this at all affected them,) would add only to its merit. Unfortunate
monarch! The tide of sympathy runs now against him, but we confess still
to retain our compassion for the fallen prince,--our compassion, very
little, it may be, of admiration. We see him contending against fearful
odds, keeping up a high and kingly spirit to the last. So far he braved
it nobly, and played a desperate game, if not wisely, yet with unshaken
nerves. His character, without a doubt, bears, as Lingard writes, "the
taint of duplicity." But it was a duplicity which, in his father's
court, would have been chuckled over as good practice of state-craft. We
are strangely fashioned--kings, and all of us--made up of fragments of
virtue, ill-assorted parcels of morality. Charles, when he had given his
parole of honour, would not escape from his imprisonment in the Isle of
Wight, though the means of escape were offered to him. But the wily and
diplomatic monarch thought he was entitling himself to the praise of all
men of spirit and intelligence, when, by fallacious promises and
protestations, he strove to play off one party of his enemies against
the other. He was practising, to the best of his ability, all the
traditionary maxims and manoeuvres of a subtle policy. Nor was it
ability that he wanted. On an Italian soil, these Italian arts might
have availed him. But what were the sleights and contrivances of a
traditionary state-craft against the rude storm of tumultuous passions
which had been conjured up around him! He was fencing with the
whirlwind. Perhaps no prince, trained in a court, can be a match for the
rude adversaries which revolutionary times raise up against him. What
chance is there that he should ever learn the nature of his new and
terrible enemy? You have taught him, according to all the laws of
woodcraft, to chase the stag and the fox, and now you let loose upon him
the wild beast of the forest! How was Charles to learn what manner of
being was a Puritan, and how it struck its prey? His courtiers would
have taught him to despise and ridicule--his bishops to look askance
with solemn aversion,--but who was there to teach him to fear this
Puritan?--to teach him that he must forthwith conciliate, if he could
not crush?

It is worth while to continue the narrative a little further. We adopt
Mr Carlyle's words. "At London, matters are coming rapidly to a crisis.
The resumed debate, 'shall the army remonstrance be taken into
consideration?' does not come out affirmative; on the contrary, on
Thursday the 31st, it comes out negative, by a majority of ninety. 'No,
we will not take it into consideration.' 'No?' The army at Windsor
thereupon spends again 'a day in prayer.' The army at Windsor has
decided on the morrow, that it will march to London; marches, arrives
accordingly, on Saturday, December 2d; quarters itself in Whitehall, in
St James's, 'and other great vacant houses in the skirts of the city and
villages about, no offence being given any where.' In the drama of
modern history, one knows not any graver, more note-worthy scene;
earnest as very death and judgment. They have decided to have justice,
these men; to see God's justice done, and his judgments executed on this

Adjutant Allen and Mr Carlyle are both of the same mind,--take the same
views of public matters, political and religious. But the Adjutant
himself would open great eyes at the sentence which next follows:--

"The abysses where the thunders and splendours are bred--the reader sees
them again laid bare and black. Madness lying close to the wisdom which
is brightest and highest;--and owls and godless men who hate the
lightning and the light, and love the mephitic dusk and darkness, are no
judges of the actions of heroes! Shedders of blood? Yes, blood is
occasionally shed. The healing surgeon, the sacrificial priest, the
august judge, pronouncer of God's oracles to man, these and the
atrocious murderer are alike shedders of blood; and it is an owl's eye,
that, except for the _dresses_ they wear, discerns no difference in
these! Let us leave the owl to his hootings; let us get on with our
chronology and swift course of events."

By forcibly expelling more than one hundred of the members of
Parliament, and thus converting a minority into a majority, these
"sacrificial priests" contrived to accomplish their very righteous act.
In the face of raving such as this, it would be absurd to enter
seriously upon any consideration, moral or political, touching the
King's death. We would rather that Mr Carlyle occupied the field alone.
We saw him just now dealing with his "abysses," and his "lightning;" we
quote his concluding comment on this event, which will present a
specimen of his more facetious style of eloquence, and the singular
_taste_ he is capable of displaying:--

"This action of the English regicides did in effect strike a damp like
death through the heart of _flunkeyism_ universally in this world.
Whereof flunkeyism, cant, cloth-worship, or whatever ugly name it have,
has gone about incurably sick ever since; and is now at length, in these
generations, very rapidly dying. The like of which action will not be
needed for a thousand years again. Needed, alas! not till a new genuine
hero-worship has arisen, has perfected itself; and had time to
degenerate into a flunkeyism and cloth-worship again! which I take to be
a very long date indeed.

"Thus ends the second civil war: in regicide, in a Commonwealth, and
keepers of the liberties of England: In punishment of delinquents, in
abolition of cobwebs;--if it be possible, in a government of Heroism
and veracity; at lowest of anti-flunkeyism, anti-cant, and the
_endeavour_ after heroism and veracity."

Flunkeyism! Such is the title which our _many-sided_ man thinks fit to
bestow on the loyalty of England! But serious indignation would be out
of place. A buffoon expression has this advantage, it is unanswerable.
Yet will we venture to say, that it is a losing game this which you are
playing, Mr Carlyle, this defiance of all common sense and all good
taste. There is a respectability other than that which, in the
unwearying love of one poor jest, you delight to call "gig
respectability," a respectability based on intelligence and not on
"Long-Acre springs," whose disesteem it cannot be wise to provoke, nor
very pleasant to endure.

The Commonwealth is proclaimed by sound of trumpet. The king and the
lords are cashiered and dismissed. A house of representatives and a
council of state form the constitution of England. Cromwell is one of
the council. But for the present the war in Ireland carries him away
from the scene of politics.

On this Irish campaign, Mr Carlyle breaks out, as may be supposed, in a
strain of exultation. He always warms at blood and battle. His piety, or
his poetry--not admirable whichever it may be--glows here to a red heat.
We are as little disposed perhaps as himself, to stand "shrieking out"
over the military severities of this campaign, but if we could bring
ourselves to believe that Mr Carlyle is really serious in what he
writes, we should say that the most impracticable maudlin of peace
societies, or "Rousseau-sentimentalism," were wisdom itself compared to
his own outrageous and fanatical strain. If the apologist of Cromwell
will be content to rest his case on the plain ground open to all
generals and captains on whom has devolved the task of subjecting a
rebellious and insurrectionary country--on the plain ground that the
object is to be more speedily effected, and with less bloodshed and
misery to the inhabitants, by carrying on the war at the commencement
with the utmost severity, (thus breaking down at once the spirit of
insurrection,) than by prolonging the contest through an exercise of
leniency and forbearance--we are not aware that any decisive answer can
be given to him. It is an awful piece of surgery to contemplate--one may
be excused, if one shudders both at it and the operator--but,
nevertheless, it may have been the wisest course to pursue. As a general
rule, every one will admit that--if war there must be--it is better that
it should be short and violent, than long and indecisive; for there is
nothing so mischievous, so destructive of the industry and moral
character of a people, as a war which, so to speak, _domesticates_
itself amongst them. Put aside "the saint" entirely,--let us see only
the soldier,--and Cromwell's campaign in Ireland may present nothing
more terrible than what elsewhere, and in the campaigns of other
generals, we are accustomed to regard as the necessary evils of war;
nothing more than what a Turenne, a Condé, or a Frederic of Prussia,
might have applauded or practised. But this is precisely the last thing
our editor would be disposed to do; any so common-place, and commonsense
view of the matter, would have been utterly distasteful: he _does_ bring
the saint very prominently upon the field, and we are to recognise in
Cromwell--"an armed soldier, terrible as Death, relentless as Doom;
_doing God's judgments on the enemies of God!_"

"It is a phenomenon," he continues, "not of joyful nature; no, but of
awful, to be looked at with pious terror and awe. Not a phenomenon which
you are taught to recognise with bright smiles, and fall in love with at
sight:--thou, art thou worthy to love such a thing; worthy to do other
than hate it, and shriek over it? Darest thou wed the Heaven's
lightning, then; and say to it, Godlike One? Is thy own life beautiful
and terrible to thee; steeped in the eternal depths, in the eternal
plendours?"--(Vol. ii. p. 53.)

In the despatch which Cromwell addresses to the Speaker, Lenthall, after
the storm of Tredah, otherwise Drogheda, we observe that the Puritan is
as strong as ever, but that the Soldier and the great Captain speak out
with increased boldness. Our sectarian farmer of St Ives, who brooded,
by the dark waters of the Ouse, over the wickedness of surpliced
prelacy, whose unemployed spirit sank at times into hypochondria, and
was afflicted with "strange fancies about the town-cross," has been
moving for some time in the very busiest scene the world could furnish
him, and has become the great general of his age. The spirit of the "big
wars" has entered, and grown up side by side with his Puritanism. The
ardour of the battle fully possesses him; he is the conqueror always in
the tremendous charge he makes at the head of his Ironsides; and he lets
appear, notwithstanding his self-denying style, a consciousness and a
triumph in his own skill as a tactician. He is still the genuine
Puritan; but the arduous life, the administrative duties of a soldier
and a general, have also been busy in modifying his character, and
calling forth and exercising that self-confidence, which he will by and
by recognise as "faith" and the leading of Providence, when he assumes
the place of dictator of his country.

From one passage in this despatch it would appear that his severity at
the storm of Drogheda was not wholly the result of predetermined policy,
but rose, in part, from the natural passion which the sword, and the
desperate struggle for life, call forth.

"Divers of the enemy retreated into the Mill-Mount, a place very strong
and of difficult access. The Governor, Sir Arthur Ashton, and divers
considerable officers being there, our men getting up to them, were
ordered by me to put them all to the sword. _And, indeed, being in the
heat of action_, I forbade them to spare any that were in arms in the
town; and, I think, that night they put to the sword about 2000 men:
divers of the officers and soldiers being fled over the bridge into the
other part of the town, where about 100 of them possessed St Peter's
church steeple, some the west gate, and others a strong round tower next
the gate called St Sunday's. These being summoned to yield to mercy,
refused; whereupon I ordered the steeple of St Peter's church to be
fired, when one of them was heard to say in the midst of the flames,
'God damn me, God confound me! I burn, I burn.'"

In the same despatch there is rather a noticeable passage, which
illustrates the manner in which the Puritan general was accustomed to
regard the Roman Catholics and their worship. There may be some who have
been so far deceived by the frequent use of the terms "religious
toleration" in conjunction with the name of Cromwell, as to attribute to
him a portion of that liberal spirit which is the greatest boast of
cultivated minds in the present century. His religious toleration
extended only to the small circle of sects whose Christian doctrine,
whose preaching, and whose forms of worship were almost identical; it
was just the same toleration that a Baptist dissenter of our day may be
supposed to extend towards an Independent dissenter, or a member of the
Countess of Huntingdon's connexion. The Independents differed from the
Presbyterians in no one definite article of creed, with this
exception--that they set no value upon _ordination_, and violently
objected to the restraining any good man from public preaching, or any
of the ministrations of a pastor, because he wanted this authorisation
of a visible church. For this point of "religious freedom" (an
expression which in their mouths has little other than this narrow
signification) they had to contend with the Presbyterians. The sect
which has to resist oppression, or the restraints of power, uses, of
course, the language of toleration. The Independents used it in their
controversy with the Presbyterians, just as the latter had employed it
in their controversy with Episcopacy. But Independents and Presbyterians
were alike intolerant of the Episcopalian or the Roman Catholic. All
sects of that age preached toleration when a powerful adversary was to
be deprecated--preached it then, and then only. The Independents coming
last upon the field, preached it last; but they have no title beyond
others to the spirit of toleration. Cromwell put down the mass as he
would put down a rebellion--as openly, as decidedly, as rigorously.

"It is remarkable," continued the despatch, "that these people, at the
first, set up the mass in some places of the town that had been
monasteries; but afterwards grew so insolent, that, the last Lord's day
before the storm, the Protestants were thrust out of the great church
called St Peter's, and they had public mass there; and in this very
place near 1000 of them (_the Catholics--a clear judgment_) were put to
the sword, fleeing thither for safety. I believe all their friars were
knocked on the head promiscuously but two; the one of which was Father
Peter Taaff, brother to the Lord Taaff, whom the soldiers took the next
day and made an end of. The other was taken in the Round Tower, under
the repute, (_the disguise_) of a lieutenant, and when he understood
that the officers in that tower had no quarter, he confessed he was a
friar; but that did not save him."

Ireland was no sooner subjected by this unflinching and terrific
severity, than the presence of the great general of the Commonwealth was
needed in Scotland. The Scots had no predilection for a republic, no
desire whatever for it; they were bent solely on their covenant, their
covenant and a Stuart king. It was a combination very difficult to
achieve. Nevertheless they took their oath to both, and marched into
England to establish them both over the United Kingdom. Here was
sufficient enthusiasm at all events; sufficient, and of the proper kind,
one would think, to earn the sympathies of our editor. And he does look
upon the Scots at this time as an "heroic nation." But, unfortunately,
it is precisely the heroic nation that his own great hero is about to
combat and subdue. He is compelled, therefore, upon his part, as the
faithful bard and minstrel of his chosen champion, to give them
up--them, and their covenant, and Stuart king--to merciless sarcasm.
Indeed, he tells us, that the great, the sole fault of the Scots, was
precisely this--that they did not produce a Cromwell. "With Oliver born
Scotch," he says or sings, "one sees not but the whole world might have
become Puritan!"

However, he launches his Puritan hero against the godly and heroic
nation with full sound of trumpet, not unmixed with a certain vague and
solemn voice of prophecy.

"In such spirit goes Oliver to the wars--a god-intoxicated man, as
Novalis elsewhere phrases it. I have asked myself, if any where in
modern European history, or even in ancient Asiatic, there was found a
man practising this mean world's affairs with a heart more filled by the
idea of the Highest? Bathed in the eternal splendours--it is so he walks
our dim earth: this man is one of few. He is projected with a terrible
force out of the Eternities, and in the Times and their arenas there is
nothing that can withstand him. It is great; to us it is tragic; a thing
that should strike us dumb! My brave one, thy noble prophecy _is_
divine; older than Hebrew David; old as the origin of man; and shall,
though in wider ways than those supposed, be fulfilled."--(P. 172.)

We feel no disposition to follow Cromwell to the Scottish wars, though
"bathed in the eternal splendours." We hardly know of any thing in
history to our taste more odious than this war between the Scottish
Covenanter and the English Puritan; the one praying clamorously for
victory against "a blaspheming general and a sectarian army;" the other
animating his battle with a psalm, and charging with a "Lord, arise! and
let thy enemies be scattered," or some such exclamation. Both generals,
in the intervals of actual war, sermonise each other, and with much the
same spirit that they fight. Their diplomacy is a tangled preachment,
and texts are their war-cries. Meanwhile, both are fighting for the
gospel of Christ! only one will have it _with_, the other _without_ the
covenant! Such "eternal splendours" are not inviting to us. We will step
on at once to the battle of Worcester, which concluded both the Scottish
war, and all hopes for the present of the royalist party.

This last of his battles and his victories dismisses the great Puritan
from the wars. It is a striking despatch he writes from the field of
Worcester. He is still the unmitigated Puritan; he still preaches to
Speaker Lenthall, but he preaches somewhat more dogmatically. There is
an air of authority in the sermon. We all know that godly exhortation
may be made to express almost every shade of human passion; as what son
and what wife has not felt who has lived under the dominion and
discourse of one of these "rulers in Israel." The Parliament felt, no
doubt, the difference between the sermons of their general and those of
their chaplain.

Cromwell and the army return to London. It is now that the Commonwealth
is to be really put upon its trial. Hitherto the army, that had made and
could unmake it, had been occupied first in Ireland, then in Scotland;
and the minds of people at home had been equally occupied in watching
its achievements. The Commonwealth has lived upon the expectations of
men. It has been itself an expectation. It is now to be perfected, its
organisation to be completed, its authority established.

But Cromwell was not a Washington. Not only did he want that serene and
steady virtue which counselled the champion of American independence to
retire into the ranks of the constitution--commander in the field,
private soldier in the city--not only did he fail in this civic virtue,
and found it hard to resign the sway and authority he had so long
exercised; but the inestimable advantages of a constitutional government
his mind had not been cultivated to appreciate. His thoughts had
hitherto taken another direction. His speculative habits theology had
moulded; his active habits had been formed in the camp. He felt that he
could administer the government better than any of the men around him:
we will give him credit, too, for the full intention to administer it
conscientiously, and for the good of the nation; but for those enlarged
views of the more enlightened patriot, who is solicitous to provide not
alone for the present necessities, but for the future long life of a
people--he had them not. He grew afterwards into the statesman, as he
had grown into the soldier; but at this time the Puritan general had
very little respect for human institutions.

We are far from asserting, that even with the assistance of Cromwell a
republic could have been established in England. But he lent no helping
hand; his great abilities, his fervent zeal, were never employed in this
service. He kept aloof--aloof with the army. He gathered himself to his
full height, standing amidst the ruins of the civil war: all men might
see that he alone kept his footing there. When the unhappy Parliament,
struggling with its cruel embarrassments, not knowing how to dissolve
itself with safety, had brought down on it the impatience, the distrust,
the contempt of men--when he had allowed its members to reap the full
harvest of a people's jealousies and suspicions--when at length they
were on the point of extricating themselves by a bill determining the
mode of electing a successor--_then_ he interfered, and dissolved them!

A question may be raised, how far Cromwell had the power, if such had
been his wish, to take over the army to the side of the Parliament, to
lead it into due allegiance to the Commonwealth. The officers of the
army and the members of the Parliament formed the two rival powers in
the kingdom. Cromwell, it may be said, _could_ not have united them,
could only make his choice between them. It would have been only a
fraction of the army that he could have carried over with him. The
division between the council of officers and the Parliament was too
wide, the alienation too confirmed and inveterate, to have been healed
by one man, though it was the Lord General himself. Thus, it may be said
that Cromwell, in the part he acted against the Long Parliament, was
thrust forward by a revolutionary movement, which, according to the law
of such movements, must either have carried him forward in the van, or
left him deserted or down-trodden in the rear.

This would be no flattering excuse. But whatever truth there may be in
this view of the case, Cromwell never manifested any intention or any
desire to quit the cause of the army for that of the Parliament. He was
heart and soul with the army; it was there his power lay; it was there
he found the spirits he most sympathised with. He walked at the head of
the army here as in the war. It was alone that he entered the House of
Parliament--alone "in his gray stockings and black coat," with no staff
of officers about him, no military parade, only a few of his Ironsides
in the lobby. Though aware he should have the support of his officers,
there is no proof that he had consulted them. The daring deed was _his_.
And it is one of the most daring deeds on record. The execution of the
King--in that day when kings were something more in the imagination of
men than they are now--was indeed an audacious act. But it was shared
with others. This dissolution of the Parliament, and assumption of the
dictatorship--this facing alone all his old compeers, met in due
legislative dignity, and bidding them one and all depart--strikes us as
the bolder deed.

The scene has been often described, but nowhere so well, or so fully, as
by Mr Carlyle. We cannot resist the pleasure of quoting his spirited
account of this notable transaction.

     "The Parliament sitting as usual, and being in debate upon the
     bill, which it was thought would have been passed that day,
     'the Lord General Cromwell came into the House, clad in plain
     black clothes and gray worsted stockings, and sat down, as he
     used to do, in an ordinary place.' For some time he listens to
     this interesting debate on the bill, beckoning once to
     Harrison, who came over to him, and answered dubitatingly.
     Whereupon the Lord General sat still for about a quarter of an
     hour longer. But now the question being to be put, That this
     bill do now pass, he beckons again to Harrison, says, 'This is
     the time; I must do it!' and so 'rose up, put off his hat, and
     spake. At the first, and for a good while, he spake to the
     commendation of the Parliament, for their pains and care of the
     public good; but afterwards he changed his style, told them of
     their injustice, delays of justice, self-interest, and other
     faults,' rising higher and higher into a very aggravated style
     indeed. An honourable member, Sir Peter Wentworth by name, not
     known to my readers, and by me better known than trusted, rises
     to order, as we phrase it; says, 'It is a strange language
     this; unusual within the walls of Parliament this! And from a
     trusted servant, too; and one whom we have so highly honoured;
     and one--' Come, come,' exclaims my Lord General, in a very
     high key, 'we have had enough of this'--and in fact my Lord
     General, now blazing all up into clear conflagration, exclaims,
     'I will put an end to your prating,' and steps forth into the
     floor of the House, and 'clapping on his hat,' and occasionally
     'stamping the floor with his feet,' begins a discourse which no
     man can report! He says--Heavens! he is heard saying: 'It is
     not fit that you should sit here any longer!' You have sat too
     long here for any good you have been doing lately, 'You shall
     now give place to better men! Call them in!' adds he, briefly,
     to Harrison, in way of command; and some 'twenty or thirty'
     grim musketeers enter, with bullets in their snaphances; grimly
     prompt for orders; and stand in some attitude of carry arms
     there. Veteran men: men of might and men of war, their faces
     are as the faces of lions, and their feet are swift as the roes
     upon the mountains; not beautiful to honourable gentlemen at
     this moment!

     "'You call yourselves a Parliament,' continues my Lord General,
     in clear blaze of conflagration. 'You are no Parliament! Some
     of you are drunkards,' and his eye flashes on poor Mr Chalmer,
     an official man of some value, addicted to the bottle; 'some of
     you are'--and he glares into Henry Martin and the poor Sir
     Peter, who rose to order, lewd livers both--'living in open
     contempt of God's, commandments. Following your own greedy
     appetites, and the devil's commandments. Corrupt, unjust
     persons,' and here I think he glanced 'at Sir Bulstrode
     Whitlocke, one of the Commissioners of the Great Seal, giving
     him and others very sharp language, though he named them not.'
     'Corrupt, unjust persons, scandalous to the profession of the
     Gospel:' how can you be a Parliament for God's people? Depart,
     I say, and let us have done with you. In the name, of God--go!

     "The House is of course all on its feet--uncertain, almost,
     whether not on its head: such a scene as was never seen before
     in any House of Commons. History reports with a shudder that my
     Lord General, lifting the sacred mace itself, said, 'What shall
     we do with this bauble? Take it away!'--and gave it to a
     musketeer. And now--'Fetch him down!' says he to Harrison,
     flashing on the Speaker. Speaker Lenthall, more an ancient
     Roman than any thing else, declares, He will not come till
     forced. 'Sir,' said Harrison, 'I will lend you a hand;' on
     which Speaker Lenthall came down, and gloomily vanished. They
     all vanished; flooding gloomily, clamorously out, to their
     ulterior businesses, and respective places of abode: the Long
     Parliament is dissolved! 'It's you that have forced me to
     this,' exclaims my Lord General, 'I have sought the Lord night
     and day, that He would rather slay me than put me upon the
     doing of this work.' 'At their going out, some say the Lord
     General said to young Sir Harry Vane, calling him by his name,
     That _he_ might have prevented this; but that he was a juggler,
     and had not common honesty.' 'O Sir Harry Vane,' thou, with thy
     subtle casuistries and abstruse hair-splittings, thou art other
     than a good one, I think! 'The Lord deliver me from thee, Sir
     Harry Vane!' 'All being gone out, the door of the House was
     locked, and the key, with the mace, as I heard, was carried
     away by Colonel Otley,' and it is all over, and the unspeakable
     catastrophe has come, and remains."--(Vol. ii. p. 361.)

The usurpation of Cromwell is, we believe, generally considered as the
most fortunate event which, under the peculiar circumstances of the
country, could have occurred. The people, it is said; were not prepared
for a republic. The attempt, therefore, to establish one, would have
been attended by incessant tumults; its short and precarious existence
would have been supported by the scaffold and the prison. It would have
terminated indeed, as did the Protectorate, in a Restoration, but the
interval between the death of Charles I. and the accession of his son,
would have been passed in a very different manner. Under the
Protectorate the country rallied its strength, put forth its naval
power, obtained peace at home, and respect abroad. Under a republic, it
would have probably spent its force, and demoralised itself, in
intestine strife and by a succession of revolutionary movements.

But if this view be quite correct, it will not justify Cromwell. It is
one thing to be satisfied with the course of events, quite another with
the conduct of the several agents in them. Cromwell, in the position in
which he stood, as an honest man and a patriot, should have done his
best for the establishment of the Commonwealth; and this he did not. We
are far, as we have said, from venturing to give a decisive opinion on
the probability (with the united efforts of the victorious general and
the Parliament) of forming a republic. But we are not disposed to think
that the cause was hopeless. Had the Parliament been allowed to recruit
its numbers without dissolving itself--the measure which it constantly
desired, and which Cromwell would not hear of, though, without a doubt,
it was the very line of conduct which his own practical sagacity would
have led him to, if his heart had been in the business--the minds of men
would have had time to settle and reflect, and a mode of government,
which had already existed for some years, might have been adopted by the
general consent.

_We_ look upon the Restoration very calmly, very satisfactorily, for
whom a second revolution has placed another dynasty upon the throne,
governing upon principles quite different from those which were rooted
in the Stuarts. We see the Restoration, with the Revolution of 1688 at
its back, and almost consider them as one event. But a most loyal and
contented subject of Queen Victoria, would have been a Commonwealthsman
in those days. How could it then have been foreseen that all the power,
and privilege, and splendour of royalty, should exist only to _protect_
the law, to secure the equal rights of all--that monarchy, retaining a
traditionary awe and majesty derived from remote times, should remain
amongst us to supply to a representative government that powerful,
constant, and impartial executive which, from the mere elements of a
republic, it is so difficult to extract? Who could have imagined that a
popular legislature, and the supremacy of the law, could have been so
fortunately combined and secured under the shadow of the monarchy?
Enlightened minds at that time could not have looked calmly towards a
Restoration; they probably thought, or would have been led to think,
that, in the position they then were, it was better to take the
constitution of Holland, than the government of France, for their model.

But the multitude--with what enthusiasm they welcomed the restoration of
the Stuarts! Very true. But the Protectorate was no antagonist to
monarchy. Republican pride was never called forth to contend in the
public mind against the feeling of loyalty, and an attachment to kings.
The Protectorate was itself a monarchy without its splendour, or the
prestige of hereditary greatness. It was a monarchy under the Geneva
gown. Was it likely that the populace would accept of this in lieu of
the crowned and jewelled royalty which was wont to fill its imagination?

However, the experiment--fortunately for us, as the result has turned
out--was never destined to be made. Cromwell dissolved the Long
Parliament. He now stood alone, he and the army, the sole power in the
state. His first measure, that of sending a summons in his own name, to
persons of his own choice, and thus, without any popular election
whatever, assembling what is called the Little Parliament, or Barebones
Parliament, shows a singular audacity, and proves how little trammelled
he was himself by traditionary or constitutional maxims. He who would
not allow the Long Parliament to recruit its numbers, and thus escape
the perils of a free election of an altogether new assembly, extricates
himself from the same embarrassment by electing the whole Parliament
himself. Some historians have represented this measure as having for its
very object to create additional confusion, and render himself, and his
own dictatorial power, more necessary to the state. It has not appeared
to us in this light. We see in it a bold but rude assay at government.
In this off-hand manner of constituting a Parliament, we detect the
mingled daring of the Puritan and the Soldier. In neither of these
characters was he likely to have much respect for legal maxims, or rules
of merely human contrivance. Cromwell was educating himself for the
Statesman: at this juncture it is the Puritan General that we have
before us.

The Little Parliament having blundered on till it had got itself
entangled in the Mosaic dispensation, resigned its power into the hands
of him who had bestowed it. Thereupon a new _Instrument of Government_
is framed, with the advice of the council of officers, appointing
Cromwell Protector, and providing for the election of a Parliament.

This Parliament being elected, falls, of course, on the discussion of
this very Instrument of government. Henceforth Cromwell's great
difficulty is the management of his Parliaments. The speeches he
delivered to them at various times, and which occupy the third volume of
the work before us, are of high historical interest. They are in every
respect superior to his letters. Neither will their perusal be found to
be of that arduous and painful nature which, from the reputation they
have had, most persons will be disposed to expect. The _sermon_ may
weary, but the _speech_ is always fraught with meaning; and the mixture
of sermon and speech together, portray the man with singular
distinctness. We see the Puritan divine, the Puritan soldier, becoming
the Puritan statesman. His originally powerful mind is excited to fresh
exertion by his onerous and exalted position. But he is still constant
to himself. Very interesting is the exhibition presented to us of this
powerful intellect, breaking out in flashes of strong sense, and
relapsing again into the puerilities of the sect. But as it falls upon
the strong sense to _act_, and on the puerilities only to _preach_, the
man comes out, upon the whole, as a great and able governor.

The reputation which Oliver's speeches have borne, as being involved,
spiritless, tortuous, and even purposely confused, has resulted, we
think, from this--that an opinion of the whole has been formed from an
examination of a few, and chiefly of those which were delivered on the
occasion of his refusing the offered title of king. His conduct on this
occasion, it would be necessary for an historian particularly to
investigate, and in the discharge of this duty he would have to peruse a
series of discourses undoubtedly of a very bewildering character. They
are the only speeches of Cromwell of which it can be said that their
meaning is not clearly, and even forcibly expressed. And in this case it
is quite evident, that he had no distinct meaning to express; he had no
definite answer to give the Parliament who were petitioning him to take
the title of king. He was anxious to gain time--he was talking _against
time_--an art which we moderns only have thoroughly mastered. How could
Cromwell, who was no great rhetorician, be otherwise than palpably
confused, and dubious and intricate? Nothing can be clearer than that he
himself leant towards the opinion of the Parliament, that it would be
good policy to adopt the royal title. It was so connected with the old
attachments and associations of Englishmen, it had so long given force
to the language of the law, its claims were so much better known, its
prerogatives so much better understood than those of the new title of
Protector, that the resumption of it must have appeared very advisable.
But the army had been all along fighting against _the King_. Whilst to
the lawyer and the citizen the title was still the most honourable and
ever to be venerated, to the soldier of the Commonwealth it had become a
term of reproach, of execration, of unsparing hostility. Oliver Cromwell
might well hesitate before assuming a title which might forfeit for him
the allegiance of a great portion of the army. He deferred his answer,
to have an opportunity for estimating the nature and amount of the
resistance he might expect from that quarter; and he came to the
conclusion, that the risk of unsettling the affections of the army was
not to be incurred for either any personal gratification to himself
(which we take to have not weighed much with him) in assuming the title
of king, or for the advantages which might accrue from it in the
ultimate settlement of the nation. His addresses, therefore, to the
Parliament on this occasion not being definite answers to the
Parliament, nor intended to be such, but mere postponements of his
answer, were necessarily distinguished by indecision, uncertainty, and
all sorts of obscurities. But, these excepted, his speeches, however
deficient in what pertains to the _art of composition_, in terseness, or
method, or elegance of phrase, are never wanting in the great
essentials--the expression of his meaning in a very earnest and forcible
manner. The mixture of sermon and speech, we allow, is not inviting; but
the sermon is just as clear, perhaps, as any which the chaplain of the
House would have preached to them, and it must be remembered, that to
explain _his_ meaning, _his_ political sentiments, the sermon was as
necessary as the speech.

By the new instrument of government, the Protector, with his council,
was authorised, in the interval before the meeting of Parliament, to
issue such ordinances as might be deemed necessary. This interval our
Puritan governor very consistently employed, first of all, in
establishing a gospel ministry throughout the nation. Thirty-eight
chosen men, "the acknowledged flower of English Puritanism," were
nominated a Supreme Commission, for the trial of public preachers. Any
person holding a church-living, or pretending to the tithes or
clergy-dues, was to be tried and approved of by these men. "A very
republican arrangement," says Mr Carlyle, "such as could be made on the
sudden, but was found in practice to work well."

This and other ordinances having been issued, his first Parliament
meets. It cannot be said that our Puritan Protector does not rise to the
full level of his position. One might describe him as something of a
propagandist, disposed to teach his doctrine of _the rights of
Christian men_ to the world at large. It is thus he opens his
address:--"GENTLEMEN, You are met here on the greatest occasion that, I
believe, England ever saw; having upon your shoulders the interests of
three great nations, with the territories belonging to them: and truly I
believe I may say it without any hyperbole, you have upon your shoulders
_the interest of all the Christian people in the world_. And the
expectation is, that I should let you know, as far as I have cognisance
of it, the occasion of your assembling together at this time."

But this Parliament fell upon the discussion, as we have said, of the
very instrument of government under which they had been called together.
Mr Carlyle is as impatient as was Oliver himself at this proceeding of
the "Talking apparatus." But how could it be otherwise? Every thing
that had taken place since the dissolution of the Long Parliament was
done by mere arbitrary authority. The present Parliament, however called
together, must consider itself the only legitimate, the only
constitutional power: it _must_ look into this instrument of government.
But if it was impossible not to commence the discussion, it was equally
impossible ever to conclude it. We all know to what length a debate will
run upon a constitutional question; and here there was not one such
question, but a whole constitution to be discussed. In vain they debated
"from eight in the morning to eight at night, with an hour for
refreshment about noon:" there was no probability of their ever coming
to a conclusion.

This would never do. Oliver shuts up the Parliament-house, stations his
musketeers at the door, calls the members to him, presents them with a
parchment, "a little thing," to sign, acknowledging his authority, and
tells them he will open the door of the House to such only as shall put
their names to it. We will quote some parts of the speech he made to
them on this occasion, and our readers shall judge whether such a
speech, delivered by the living man Cromwell, was likely to fail in
effect, whether it was deficient in meaning or in energy. We shall omit
the parenthetical comments of the editor, because, however these may
amuse and relieve the reader who is making his way through the whole
work, and who becomes familiarised with their style, they would only
confuse and distract the attention in a brief extract. The single words
or phrases which he has introduced, merely to make the sense clear, are
retained whenever they are really necessary for this purpose, and
without the inverted commas by which they are properly distinguished in
the text. We will premise, that the protestations which Cromwell here
makes, that he did not seek the government, but was earnestly petitioned
to undertake it, may well, in part, be true. When he had once dissolved
the Long Parliament, it was no longer a matter of choice for himself or
others whether he would take the reins of government. To whom could he
commit them? From that time, the government rested upon his shoulders.
If he had manifested a wish to withdraw from the burden he had thus
brought down upon himself, there is no doubt but that he would have been
earnestly petitioned to remain at his post. The greatest enemy of
Cromwell, if he had been a lover of his country, would have joined in
such a petition; would have besought him to remain at the helm, now he
had thrown all other steersmen overboard. No; he must not quit it now.
He is there for the rest of his life, to do battle with the waves, and
navigate amongst rocks and quicksands as best he may.

Let us hear his own statement and defence of the manner in which he
became advanced and "captive" to his high and perilous place.

     "GENTLEMEN,--It is not long since I met you in this place, upon
     an occasion which gave me much more content and comfort than
     this doth. That which I have now to say to you will need no
     preamble to let me into my discourse; for the occasion of this
     meeting is plain enough. I could have wished, with all my
     heart, there had been no cause for it.

     "At our former meeting I did acquaint you what was the first
     rise of this government which hath called you hither, and by
     the authority of which you have come hither. Among other things
     which I then told you of, I said you were a Free Parliament;
     and so you are, whilst you own the government and authority
     which called you hither. But certainly that word (Free
     Parliament) implied a reciprocity, or it implied nothing at
     all. Indeed, there was a reciprocity implied and expressed; and
     I think your actions and carriages ought to be suitable. But I
     see it will be necessary for me now a little to magnify my
     office, which I have not been apt to do. I have been of this
     mind, I have been always of this mind, since I first entered
     upon my office. If God will not bear it up, let it sink!--but
     if a duty be incumbent upon me, to bear my testimony to it,
     (which in modesty I have hitherto forborne,) I am, in some
     measure, necessitated thereunto: and therefore that will be the
     prologue to my discourse.

     "I called not myself to this place. I say again, I called not
     myself to this place! Of that God is witness: and I have many
     witnesses who, I do believe, could lay down their lives bearing
     witness to the truth of that, namely, that I called not myself
     to this place! And, being in it, I bear not witness to myself
     or my office; but God and the people of these nations have also
     borne testimony to it. If my calling be from God, and my
     testimony from the people, _God and the people shall take it
     from me, else I will not part with it!_ I should be false to
     the trust that God hath placed in me, and to the interest of
     the people of these nations if I did.

     "I was by birth a gentleman; living neither in any considerable
     height, nor yet in obscurity. I have been called to several
     employments in the nation--to serve in Parliament and others;
     and, not to be over-tedious, I did endeavour to discharge the
     duty of an honest man, in those services, to God and his
     people's interest, and to the Commonwealth; having, when time
     was, a competent acceptation in the hearts of men, and some
     evidences thereof. I resolve not to recite the times, and
     occasions, and opportunities, which have been appointed me by
     God to serve him in; nor the presence and blessing of God,
     therein bearing testimony to me.

     "Having had some occasion to see, together with my brethren and
     countrymen, a happy period put to our sharp wars and contests
     with the then common enemy, I hoped, in a private capacity, to
     have reaped the fruit and benefit, together with my brethren,
     of our hard labours and hazards: the enjoyment, to wit, of
     peace and liberty, and the privileges of a Christian and a man,
     in some equality with others, according as it should please the
     Lord to dispense unto me. And when I say God had put an end to
     our wars, or at least brought them to a very hopeful issue,
     very near an end,--after Worcester fight,--I came up to London
     to pay my service and duty to the Parliament which then sat,
     hoping that all minds would have been disposed to answer what
     seemed to be the mind of God, namely, to give peace and rest to
     his people, and especially to those who had bled more than
     others in the carrying on of the military affairs,--I was much
     disappointed of my expectation. For the issue did not prove so.
     _Whatever may be boasted or misrepresented, it was not so, not

     "I can say in the simplicity of my soul, I love not, I love
     not,--I declined it in my former speech,--I say, I love not to
     rake into sores, or to discover nakednesses! The thing I drive
     at is this: I say to you, I hoped to have had leave to retire
     to a private life. I begged to be dismissed of my charge; I
     begged it again and again; and God be judge between me and all
     men if I lie in this matter! That I lie not in matter of fact,
     is known to very many; but whether I tell a lie in my heart, as
     labouring to represent to you what was not upon my heart, I say
     the Lord be judge. Let uncharitable men, who measure others by
     themselves, judge as they please. As to the matter of fact, I
     say it is true. As to the ingenuity and integrity of my heart
     in that desire--I do appeal, as before, upon the truth of that
     also. But I could not obtain what my soul longed for. And the
     plain truth is, I did afterwards apprehend some more of
     opinion, (such the differences of their judgment from mine,)
     that it could not well be.

     "I confess I am in some strait to say what I could say, and
     what is true, of what then followed. I pressed the Parliament,
     as a member, to period themselves; once and again, and again,
     and ten, nay twenty times over. I told them, for I knew it
     better than any one man in the parliament could know it,
     because of my manner of life, which had led me every where up
     and down the nation, thereby giving me to see and know the
     temper and spirits of all men, and of the best of men--that the
     nation loathed their sitting. I knew it. And so far as I could
     discern, when they _were_ dissolved, _there was not so much as
     the barking of a dog_, or any general or visible repining at

     "And that there was high cause for their dissolution, is most
     evident: not only in regard there was a just fear of that
     parliament's perpetuating themselves, but because it actually
     was their design. Had not their heels been trod upon by
     importunities from abroad, even to threats, I believe there
     never would have been any thoughts of rising, or of going out
     of that room, to the world's end. I myself was sounded, and by
     no mean persons tempted; and proposals were made me to that
     very end: that the parliament might be thus perpetuated; that
     the vacant places might be supplied by new elections, and so
     continue from generation to generation."

He proceeds to object to the measure which the Parliament was really
about to pass, that it would have established an uninterrupted
succession of Parliaments, that there would have been "a legislative
power always sitting," which would thereby have encroached upon the
executive power. The speech then enlarges on the general assent of the
people, of the army, of the judges, of the civic powers, to the
instrument of government, to the Protectorate, and on the implied
assent which they themselves had given by accepting their commissions
under it.

     "And this being so, though I told you in my last speech that
     you were a free Parliament, yet I thought it was understood
     withal that I was the Protector, and the authority that called
     you! That I was in possession of the government by a good right
     from God and man. And I believe, that if the learnedest men in
     this nation were called to show a precedent equally clear of a
     government so many ways approved of, they would not in all
     their search find it. And if the fact be so, why should we
     sport with it? With a business so serious!... For you to disown
     or not to own it; for you to act with parliamentary authority
     especially, in the disowning of it, contrary to the very
     fundamental things, yea against the very root itself of this
     establishment, to sit and not own the authority by which you
     sit--is that which I believe astonisheth more men than myself;
     and doth as dangerously disappoint and discompose the nation,
     as any thing that could have been invented by the greatest
     enemy to our peace and welfare."

After drawing the distinction between fundamentals, which may not be
shaken, and circumstantials, which it is in the power of Parliament to
alter and modify, he continues:--

     "I would it had not been needful for me to call you hither to
     expostulate these things with you, and in such a manner as
     this! But necessity hath no law. Feigned necessities, imaginary
     necessities, are the greatest cozenage which man can put upon
     the providence of God, and make pretences to break known rules
     by. But it is as legal, as carnal, and as stupid to think that
     there are _no_ necessities which are manifest and real, because
     necessities may be abused or feigned. I have to say, the wilful
     throwing away of this government, such as it is, so owned by
     God, so approved by men, so witnessed to, as was mentioned
     above, were a thing which--and in reference to the good of
     these nations and of posterity--_I can sooner be willing to be
     rolled into my grave and buried with infamy, than I can give my
     consent unto!_

     "You have been called hither to save a nation--nations. You had
     the best people, indeed, of the Christian world put into your
     trust, when you came hither. You had the affairs of these
     nations delivered over to you in peace and quiet; you were, and
     we all are, put into an undisturbed possession, nobody making
     title to us: Through the blessing of God, our enemies were
     hopeless and scattered. We had peace at home; peace with almost
     all our neighbours round about. To have our peace and interest,
     whereof those were our hopes the other day, thus shaken, and
     put under such a confusion; and ourselves rendered hereby
     almost the scorn and contempt of those strangers who are
     amongst us to negotiate their masters' affairs!... Who shall
     answer for these things to God or to men? To men, to the people
     who sent you hither? who looked for refreshment from you; who
     looked for nothing but peace and quietness, and rest and
     settlement? When we come to give an account to them, we shall
     have it to say, 'Oh, we quarrelled for the _Liberty of
     England_; we contested, and went to confusion for
     that!--_Wherein, I pray you, for the Liberty of England?_ I
     appeal to the Lord, that the desires and endeavours we have
     had--nay, the things will speak for themselves,--the liberty of
     England, the liberty of the people, the avoiding of tyrannous
     impositions either upon men as men, or Christians as
     Christians,--is made so safe by this act of settlement, that it
     will speak for itself."

The Protector then tells them that, "seeing the authority which
called them is so little valued and so much slighted, he had
caused a stop to be put to their entrance into the Parliament-house,"
until a certain "somewhat," which would be found "in the lobby
without the Parliament-door"--an adhesion to the government in its
fundamentals--should be signed.

This extract, as will be readily supposed, would lead to a far too
favourable opinion of Cromwell's oratory, if understood as a specimen of
his usual manner of speaking; but our readers will probably confess,
that they did not expect that the speeches of Cromwell would have
yielded such an extract.

Oliver has, it will be observed, a singularly modest way of speaking of
his political remedies and projects. In referring, on a later occasion,
to his major-generals, he says, "Truly when that insurrection was, we
did find out a _little poor invention_, which I hear has been much
regretted. I say there was _a little thing_ invented, which was the
erecting of your major-generals, to have a little inspection upon the
people thus divided, thus discontented, thus dissatisfied." On the
present occasion, the "somewhat which was to be found at the lobby of
the Parliament-door," was, after a little demur, accepted and signed by
all but a certain number of declared republicans. The parliament
afterwards fell from the discussion of a whole constitution, to debates
apparently as warm, and as endless, upon poor Biddle the Quaker, and
other kindred subjects. Thus their allotted session of five months
passed; at the end of which time Cromwell dissolved them.

"I do not know what you have been doing," he tells them in his speech on
this occasion. "I do not know whether you have been alive or dead. I
have not once heard from you all this time--I have not--and that you all

Cromwell's second parliament manifested a wiser industry, and a more
harmonious temper--thanks to one of the Protector's "little inventions."
Each member was to be provided with a certificate before entering the
house; "but near one hundred honourable gentlemen can get no
certificate--none provided for _them_--and without certificate there is
no admittance. Soldiers stand ranked at the door; no man enters without
his certificate!" The stiff republicans, and known turbalent persons,
are excluded. From this Parliament Cromwell accepts again the title of
Protector, and is installed with great state; things take a more legal
aspect; the major-generals are suppressed; a House of Lords is
instituted; and a settlement of the nation seems at last effected.

But the second session of this Parliament relapsed again into a restive
and republican humour. The excluded members had been admitted, and
debates arose about this "other house," as they were disposed to
nominate the Lords. So much confusion resulted in the country from this
unsettled state of the representative assembly, and so many
insurrectionary designs were fostered by it, that the Protector was
compelled abruptly to dissolve the Parliament. He tells them:--

     "That which brought me into the capacity I now stand in, was
     the petition and advice given me by you, who, in reference to
     the ancient constitution, did draw me to accept the place of
     Protector. _There is not a man living can say I sought it; no,
     not a man nor a woman treading upon English ground._ But,
     contemplating the sad condition of these nations, relieved from
     an intestine war into a six or seven years' peace, I did think
     the nation happy therein. But to be petitioned thereunto, and
     to be advised by you to undertake such a government, a burden
     too heavy for any creature--and this to be done by the House
     which then had the legislative capacity--certainly I did look
     that the same men who made the frame, should make it good unto
     me. _I can say, in the presence of God, in comparison with whom
     we are but like poor creeping ants upon the earth, I would have
     been glad to have lived under any woodside, to have kept a
     flock of sheep, rather then have undertaken such a government
     as this._ But, undertaking it by the advice and petition of
     you, I did look that you who had offered it unto me, should
     make it good."

He concludes thus:--

     "It hath been not only your endeavour to pervert the army while
     you have been sitting, and to draw them to state the question
     about a 'Commonwealth;' but some of you have been listing of
     persons, by commission of Charles Stuart, to join with any
     insurrection that may be made. And what is like to come upon
     this, the enemy being ready to invade us, but even present
     blood and confusion? And if this be so, I do assign it to this
     cause--your not assenting to what you did invite me to by your
     petition and advice, as that which might prove the settlement
     of the nation. And if this be the end of your sitting, and this
     be your carriage, I think it high time that an end be put to
     your sitting. And I do dissolve this Parliament! And let God be
     judge between you and me!"

It is at this latter period of his career that the character of
Cromwell, to our apprehension, stands out to greatest advantage, becomes
more grave, and solemn, and estimable. Other dictators, other men of
ambitious aims and fortunes, show themselves, for the most part, less
amiable, more tyrannous than ever, more violent and selfish, when they
have obtained the last reward of all their striving, and possessed
themselves of the seat of power. It was otherwise with Cromwell. He
became more moderate, his views more expanded, his temper milder and
more pensive. The stormy passions of the civil war were overblown, the
intricate and ambiguous passages of his political course had been left
behind; and _now_, whatever may have been the errors of the past, and
however his own ambition or rashness may have led him to it, he occupied
a position which he might say with truth he held for his country's good.
Forsake it he could not. Repose in it he could not. A man of religious
breeding, of strong conscientiousness, though tainted with superstition,
he could not but feel the great responsibility of that position. A
vulgar usurper is found at this era of his career to sink into the
voluptuary, or else to vent his dissatisfied humour in acts of cruelty
and oppression. Cromwell must govern, and govern to his best. The
restless and ardent spirit that had ever prompted him onwards and
upwards, and which had carried him to that high place, was now upon the
wane. It had borne him to that giddy pinnacle, and threatened to leave
him there. Men were now aiming at his life; the assassin was abroad;
one-half the world was execrating him; we doubt not that he spoke with
sincerity when he said, that "he would gladly live under any woodside,
and keep a flock of sheep." He would gladly lay down his burden, but he
cannot; can lay it down only in the grave. The sere and yellow leaf is
falling on the shelterless head of the royal Puritan. The asperity of
his earlier character is gone, the acrimony of many of his prejudices
has, in his long and wide intercourse with mankind, abated; his great
duties have taught him moderation of many kinds; there remains of the
fiery sectarian, who so hastily "turned the buckle of his girdle behind
him," little more than his firmness and conscientiousness: his firmness
that, as he truly said, "could be bold with men;" his conscientiousness,
which made the power he attained by that boldness, a burden and a heavy

"We have not been now four years and upwards in this government," says
the Protector, in one of his speeches, "to be totally ignorant of what
things may be of the greatest concernment to us." No; this man has not
been an idle scholar. Since the Lord General took the reins of civil
government, and became Lord Protector, he has thought and learned much
of statemanship. But as a statesman, he is still first of all the
Puritan. It is worth while to observe how his foreign policy, which has
been justly admired, took its turn and direction from his religious
feelings. He made alliances with the Protestant powers of the north, and
assumed a firm attitude of hostility towards Spain--and reasons of state
may have had some sway in determining him to these measures; but his
great motive for hostility with Spain was, that she stood "at the head
of the antichristian interest"--"was described in the Scriptures to be
papal and antichristian."

"Why, truly your great enemy is the Spaniard. He is a natural enemy. He
is naturally so throughout, by reason of that enmity that is in him
against whatever is of God.... Your enemy, as I tell you, naturally, by
that antipathy which is in him,--and also providentially, (that is, by
special ordering of Providence.) An enmity is put in him by God. 'I will
put an enmity between thy seed and her seed,' which goes but for little
among statesmen, but is more considerable than all things. And he that
considers not such natural enmity, the _providential_ enmity as well as
the _accidental_, I think he is not well acquainted with the Scripture,
and the things of God,"--(_Speech_ 5.)

In fine, we see in Cromwell, every where and throughout, the genuine,
fervid Puritan--the Puritan general, the Puritan statesman. He was a
man, and, therefore, doubtless ambitious; he rose through a scene of
civil as well as military contest, and, doubtless, was not unacquainted
with dissimulation; but if we would describe him briefly, it is as the
GREAT PURITAN that he must, ever be remembered in history.

In parting company with the editor of these letters and speeches, we
feel that we have not done justice to the editorial industry and
research which these volumes display. Our space would not permit it. For
the same reason we have been unable to quote several instances of vivid
narrative, which we had hoped to transfer to our own pages. And as to
our main quarrel with him--this outrageous adoption of Puritanical bile
and superstition,--we have been haunted all along by a suspicion we have
occasionally expressed, that the man _cannot_ be in earnest. He could
not have been so abandoned by his common sense. He has been so
accustomed to mingle sport, and buffoonery, and all sorts of wilful
extravagance, with his most serious mood, that he perhaps does not know
himself when, and how far, he is in earnest. In turning over the leaves
of his work, we light, towards the end of the second volume, upon the
following passage, which may, _perhaps_, explain the temper of the
writer, when he is abetting and encouraging his fanatical heroes. He is
uttering some sarcasms upon the poor "art of speech."

"Is there no sacredness, then, any longer in the miraculous tongue of
man? Is his head become a wretched cracked pitcher, on which you jingle
to frighten crows, and makes bees hive? He fills me with terror, this
two-legged rhetorical phantasm! I could long for an Oliver without
rhetoric at all. I could long for a Mahomet, whose persuasive eloquence,
with wild-flashing heart and scimiter, is, 'Wretched moral, give up
that; or by the Eternal, thy maker and mine, I will kill thee! Thou
blasphemous scandalous misbirth of Nature, is not even _that_ the
kindest thing I can do for thee, if thou repent not, and alter in the
name of Allah?'"

To this sort of satirical humour--to "the truth of a song,"--not
Dryasdust himself would call upon him to swear. And may not all his
rhapsodies upon his "sword-in-hand" Puritans be little more than an
amplification of this one passage? And, if we insist upon it, that a
reform by the pen, or even by speech-making, is better than one by pike
and musket--if we should suggest that matters of civil government are
better decided by civil and political reasoning than by metaphorical
texts of Scripture, interpreted by prejudice and passion--if we contend
for such truisms as these, shall we not be in danger of occupying some
such position as the worthy prelate whose sagacity led him to discover
that _some facts_ in Gulliver's Travels had surely been overcharged?


[1] _Oliver Cromwell's Letters and Speeches, with Elucidations by Thomas

[2] Take the following instance from the early and more moderate times
of the Revolution, and wherein the most staid and sober of this class of
people is concerned. When Essex left London to march against the king,
then at Oxford, he requested the assembly of divines to keep a fast for
his success. Baillie informs us how it was celebrated. "We spent from
nine to five graciously. After Dr Twisse had begun with a brief prayer,
Mr Marshall prayed large two hours, most divinely confessing the sins of
the members of the assembly in a wonderful, pathetic, and prudent way.
After Mr Arrowsmith preached an hour, then a psalm; thereafter Mr Vines
prayed near two hours, and Mr Palmer preached an hour, and Mr. Seaman
prayed near two hours, then a psalm; after Mr Henderson brought them to
a sweet conference of the heat confessed in the assembly, and other seen
faults to be remedied, and the conveniency to preach against all sects,
especially anabaptists and antinomians. Dr Twisse closed with a short
prayer and blessing. God was so evidently in all this exercise that we
expect certainly a blessing."--_Baillie_, quoted from _Lingard_.



----On passing the little village of Erith, once one of the prettiest
rustic spots in Kent, where the parson and the surgeon formed the heads
of the community, and its only intelligence of the living world depended
on the casual arrival of a boat from the Margate Hoy in search of fresh
eggs for the voyage, a small house was pointed out to me, embosomed in a
dell, which would have completely suited the solitary tastes of a poet
weary of the world:

    "Oh, for a lodge in some vast wilderness,
    Where rumour of oppression and deceit,
    Of unsuccessful, or successful war,
    Might never reach me more!"

Fifty years ago, a weekly newspaper was the only remembrancer to either
parson or doctor, of the world which they had left, and that one only
sent by the member for the county, when he thought it desirable to awake
the general gratitude on the approach of a general election. The Thames
certainly might remind the village population that there were merchants
and mariners among mankind; but what were those passing phantoms to
them? John the son of Thomas lived and died as Thomas the father of John
had lived and died from generation to generation. The first news of the
American war reached it in the firing of the Woolwich guns for peace;
and the original tidings of the French Revolution, in similar rejoicings
for the Battle of Waterloo.

    "O happy ye, the happiest of your kind,
    Who leave alike life's woes and joys behind!"

says the philosophic Cowley; and with Cowley I perfectly agree.

But Erith is this scene of philosophy no more. It has now shared the
march of mind: it has become almost a watering-place; it has a library,
a promenade, lodgings for gouty gentlemen, a conventicle, several
vigorous politicians, three doctors, and, most fatal of all, four
steam-boat arrivals every day. Solitude has fled, and meditation is no

But, to my story. In that lonely house, lived for several years, in the
beginning of the century, a singular character, of whom nothing more was
known, than that he had come from some distant place of abode; that he
never received a letter; and that he never hunted, shot, or fished with
the squiredom of the country. He was of large form, loud voice, had a
sullen look, and no trust in her Majesty's ministers for the time being.
At length, on some occasion of peculiar public excitement, the recluse
had gone to Gravesend, where, tempted by the impulse of the moment, he
had broken through his reserve, dashed out into a diatribe of singular
fierceness, but of remarkable power, accused England of all kinds of
oppression to all kinds of countries, and finished his speech by a
recapitulation of all the wishes, wants, woes, and wrongs, as he called
them, of Ireland,

    "First flower of the west, and first gem of the ocean."

Within the next twelve hours, a pair of Bow Street officers were seen
galloping into the village in a post-chaise and four. They brought a
warrant from the Secretary of State to arrest the Irish orator, as a
leader of the late Rebellion returned from transportation, on his own
authority. He was captured, and conveyed to the Tower. And this was the
last intelligence of the patriot; except that he appealed to the
government against all repetition of his Australian voyage, and swore
that he preferred the speedier performance of the law to the operations
on the Coal-mine river. A remarkable tempest, which broke all the
windows, and threw down half the chimneys of the city, a few weeks
after; was supposed by the imaginative to be connected with his
disappearance. At all events, he was heard of no more.


    Thunder pealed and lightning quivered,
    Gusts a prison's casements shivered.
    From its dungeon rose a scream,
    Where, awakened by the gleam,
    From his pallet rose and ran,
    Wild with fear, a stalwart man.
    Saw he in his tortured sleep,
    Things that make the heart-veins creep?
    Swept he through the world of flame,
    Chased by shapes that none may name?
    Still, as bars and windows clanged,
    Still he roared--"I _will_ be hanged."

    Sleep had swept him o'er the seas,
    To the drear antipodes;
    There he saw a felon band,
    Chains on neck, and spade in hand,
    Orators, all sworn to die
    In "Old Ireland's" cause--or fly!
    Now, divorced from pike and pen,
    Digging ditch, and draining fen,
    Sky their ceiling, sand their bed,
    Fed and flogged, and flogged and fed.
    "Operatives!" he harangued;
    "Ere I'm banished--I'll be hanged."

    Now, he strove to strike a light,
    But, a form of giant height
    Through the crashing casement sprang;
    Shattered stanchions round him rang,
    From his eyes a light within
    Showed the blackness of his skin;
    In his lips a huge cigar
    Smouldered, like a dying star;
    Holding to the culprit's eyes,
    Writ in flame, a scroll of lies,
    Champing jaws with iron fanged,
    "Friend," cried he, "you _shall_ be hanged."

    'Twixt the tempter and the rogue,
    Then began the dialogue:
    --"Master--shall I rob the state?"
    "Not, unless you'd dine off plate."
    --"Shall I try my hand at law?"
    "You'll be sure to make a flaw."
    --"Shall I job in Parliament?"
    "You'll be richer, cent per cent."
    --"Shall I truckle, or talk big?"
    "You'll but get a judge's wig,
    Blockheads may be conscience-panged,
    Knaves are pensioned, but, _not_ hanged!"

    --"Master, _must_ I then escape?"
    "No," exclaimed the knowing shape,
    "You shall perish by Lynch-Law."
    Through his skull he struck a claw,
    On the tempest burst a wail,
    Through the bars a serpent-tail,
    Flashing like a lightning spire,
    Seemed to set the cell on fire;
    Far and wide was heard the clang,
    Through the whirlwind as they sprang.
    Many a year the sulphurous fume
    Stung the nostril in that room.

The river widens, and we sweep along by the rich slopes and deep wooded
vales of the Kentish shore. From time to time little pastoral villages
emerge, from plantations of willows and poplars, and all water-loving
trees. Before coming to Purfleet, we had passed a noble hill, looking
over a vast expanse of country, on which stands a princely
mansion,--Belvedere, with its battlements glittering above groves as
thick as the depths of the Black Forest. This was once the mansion of
Lord Eardley, one of the greatest humorists of the age,--the companion
of George the Fourth, before he ceased to be a wit and became a king.

How many delightful things are lost to the world, by the world's own
laziness. Why have we not a Boswell in every city? Her majesty pays a
laureate, who writes nothing but the annual receipt for his pension. Why
not transfer the office to a Boswell? why not establish a Cabinet-dinner
Boswell? a Buckingham-palace Boswell? a Windsor Boswell? with orders to
make their weekly returns of gaiety and gossipry to the Home Department;
to be thence issued by instalments of anecdote, in volumes, like "Lord
Campbell's Lives of the Chancellors," or in columns, like the protocols
of the Montpensier marriage, for the laughter of mankind?

But the report of a heavy gun, and all eyes turned to a huge shell,
making its curve a mile above our heads, reminded us that the artillery
had a field-day as we passed Woolwich, and that there was every
possibility that this vagrant messenger of destruction, might plump into
our midships. The consternation on board grew, as it descended, looking
bigger and blacker every instant. If it had come on board, it must have
torn us up like paper. The catastrophe would have been invaluable to the
journals of the empire, at this moment of a dearth of news, enough to
make bankrupts of all the coffee-houses in London, and close every club
from Charing Cross to Hyde Park Corner. _We_ should all have been
immortal in paragraphs without number. Coroners, surgeons, poets, and
special juries, would have made their reputation out of _us_; and for a
month of hot weather, we should have been a refreshing topic in the
mouths of mankind. But it was otherwise decreed: the shell dropped
within a foot of the steamer, and we were _quittes pour la peur_.

I fired a poetic shot at Woolwich in return.


    The Thames is thy ditch,
      And stout hearts are thy fortification.
    Let come who come may,
    All is open as day,
      Thy gates are as free as thy nation.

    Let the King of the French
    Build wall, or dig trench,
      Though he has no more princes to marry,
    _Our_ trench is the sea,
    And _our_ walls are the free,
      And we laugh at thy "_grande enceinte, Paris._"

    Deep and dark on their quay,
    Like lions at bay,
      Stand the guns that set earth at defiance;
    With mountains of ball,
    Which, wherever they fall,
      With their message make speedy compliance.

    Along the Parade
    Lies the brisk carronade,
      With Wellington's joy, the twelve-pounder.
    And the long sixty-eight,
    Made for matters of weight,
      The world has no arguments sounder.

    There stands the long rocket,
    That shot, from its socket,
      Puts armies, pell-mell, to the rout, sir;
    At Leipsic, its tail
    Made Napoleon turn pale,
      And sent all his _braves_ right about, sir.

    And there gapes the mortar,
    That seldom gives quarter,
      When speaking to ship or to city;
    For, although deaf and dumb,
    Its tongue is a bomb--
      And so, there's an end of my ditty.

The sun had now overcome the mists of the morning, and was throwing a
rich lustre over the long sheets of foliage which screened, but without
concealing, a large and classic villa on the Essex side. The park
reached to the water's edge, in broad vistas, green as the emerald; deer
were moving in groups over the lawn, or on standing still to gaze on the
wonder of our flying ship. A few boats were slowly passing near the
shore, along with the tide; the water was without a ripple,--the air was
soft and fragrant, as it flowed from grove and garden; and the whole was
a scene of sylvan and summer beauty. The thought suddenly shot across my
mind, what a capital prize this would be, in a revolution! How
handsomely it would repay a patriot for his trouble in uprooting lords
and commons! What a philosophic consummation of a life of husting
harangues, and league itinerancy, it would be, to lie on the
drawing-room sofa of a mansion so perfectly Greek, railing at the
tyranny of thrones, the bigotry of bishops, and the avarice of
aristocracies; lamenting the privations of the poor, over a table of
three courses, and drinking confusion to all monopolies in _Vin de

But, who was the present possessor? I asked the name and heard it. But,
from the captain to the cabin-boy, not a soul could give me another
syllable of information. Like the gravedigger in Hamlet, they might
"cudgel their brains," but all came to the gravedigger's confession at
last,--"Mass, I cannot tell."

Such, thought I, are the chances of the world. The owner of this marine
palace,--of these gardens, groves, deer, and dovecotes,--cannot have
less than £10,000 a-year; yet his name has never reached the auricular
sensibilities of man, beyond the fence of his own park. Was he
philosopher, statesman, lawyer, orator, historian? inventor of
steam-engine, of spinning jenny, of gunpowder, or of gun-cotton? No, I
searched every cell of memory for some "trivial fond record" which might
justify his title to a mansion and grounds fit for Sophocles, Schiller,
or Shakspeare, the master of them all. I could not find, in all the
rolls of the court of reminiscences, a single scrape of the pen to
inform me; not so much as the commemorative smoke of a candle on the
ceiling of the alcove of Mnemosyne; not a vestige of the "light
fantastic toe," of those sylphs who treasure the flippancies of noble
pens, and live in the fragrance of albums, otto-perfumed. Still I was
driven to the confession, "Mass, I cannot tell."

I had brought a volume of poor Tom Campbell in my pocket, and had been
glancing over his _chef-d'oeuvre_, "Ye Mariners of England," when this
stately edifice first checked my inspiration. In the wrath of my spirit
I tossed the volume overboard. "Psha!" I involuntarily exclaimed, "what
is the use of being a genius? What is the gratitude of a country, where
a cotton-spinner can purchase the fee-simple of a province, while the
man who spreads its fame over the world is left to gather his
contemplations over a stove in an attic, watch the visage of his
landlady, and shudder at the rise of coals!

     'England, with all thy faults I love thee still.'

But it must be confessed, that thou art the most pitiful, paltry,
beggarly, blind--" I shall say no more. Thy whole munificence, thy whole
magnanimity, thy whole generosity, to the living lights of thy sullen
region of toil, trimming, and tribulation, of the dulness of dukes and
the mountainous fortunes of pinmakers--is exactly £1200 a-year! and this
to be divided among the whole generation of the witty and the wise, of
the sons and daughters of the muse,--the whole "school of the prophets,"
the lustres of the poetry and the science of England! £1200 a-year for
the only men of their generation who will be remembered for five minutes
by the generation to come. £1200 a-year, the salary of an Excise
commissioner, of a manipulator of the penny post, of a charity
inspector, of a police magistrate, of a register of cabs, of any thing
and every body: and this, reduced to decimals, is to be the national
prize, the luxurious provision, the brilliant prospect, the illustrious
tribute of a treasury of fifty millions sterling a-year, to the whole
literature of a land which boasts of its being the intellectual leader
of the world!

I have found the poems of our living bards on the shores of Hudson's
Bay, and heard men talking of them round a stove, while the thermometer
outside the window was 30° below zero. I have found them in a
plantain-thatched hovel on the banks of the Niger, and forgotten while I
read them that the thermometer was 110° in the shade. I have found them
in the hands of a learned pundit on the banks of the Ganges, whom they
were seducing into dreams of dewy pastures and crystal rills. And one of
the pleasantest evenings I ever remember to have spent, was, by the help
of the "Lay of the Last Minstrel," as I sat at a supper of rice milk,
after a day of fire on the eastern branch of the Nile, a thousand miles
above Tourists, sheltered under the wagon of a Moorish ambassador from
Sultaun Abderahman to the monarch of Gondar. "England!" exclaimed this
ebony-visaged worshipper of the Beaux Arts, as he displayed the volume
before me. It was the only civilised word in his vocabulary. But I felt
the compliment with patriotic fervency, and in spirit thanked the bard
for the barbarian's acknowledgment of my poetic and penurious country.

I have not done with the theme yet. On returning from the equator, I saw
Campbell's funeral. Westminster Abbey was a mob of dukes, statesmen,
privy-councillors, and men of countless acres. Poor Tom's whole life had
been thankless toil; wasting in meagre industry the powers which ought
to have been cherished by his country for purposes of national honour.
Such is always the course of things. The very stones of Burns' pillars
would have made the great poet happy for life, if their price had been
given to him to cheer his melancholy fireside. Why has the poetic spirit
of England folded its wings, and been content to abandon its brilliant
region to the butterflies of albums, but that the spirit of England has
suffered itself to be fettered by the red tape of a peddling parsimony?
Should we have had a Shakspeare without the smiles of an Elizabeth, and
the generosity of a Southampton? No. He would have split his pen after
his first tragedy; have thrown his ink-stand into the Thames; have taken
the carrier's cart to Stratford, and there finished his days in writing
epitaphs in the churchyard, laughing at Sir Thomas Lucy, and bequeathing
deathless scoffs, to the beggary of mankind.

I was growing into what the dramatists call a "towering passion," and
meditating general reforms of Civil Lists, Chancellors of the Exchequer,
and Lord Chamberlains, when my attention was turned to a very animated
scene going on between a pair who seemed perfectly unconscious of all
the external creation. One of the parties was a showy-looking fellow,
with the mingled expression of _rouéism_ and half-pay, which is so
frequent and so unmistakeable in the neighbourhood of St James's. The
lady was a calm and composed personage, whom, on a second glance, I
remembered to have seen wherever the world could bow down to the fair
possessor of countless "consols." But the passion for a handsome
mansion, a handsome stud, and a handsome rental, is indefatigable, and
the ex-staff man poured his adorations into her ear with all the glow of
a suitor ten thousand pounds worse than nothing.

Poesy! sweetest of all the maids of Parnassus! it is thou that givest
thy votary power to read the soul: it is thou that canst translate the
glance into a speech, and give eloquence to the clasp of a hand. It is
thou alone to whom the world is indebted for this _true_ version of the
pleadings of the Guardsman.


    Exquisite Miss Millionaire!
    Hear a lover's genuine prayer:
    Let the world adore your charms,
    Swan-like neck, or snowy arms,
    Rosy smile, or dazzling glance,
    Making all our bosoms dance;
    For your purse alone I care,
    Exquisite Miss Millionaire!
    Ringlets blackest of the black,
    Ivory shoulders, Grecian back,
    Tresses so divinely twined,
    That we long to be the wind,
    Waiting till the lady's face
    Turns, to give the _coup de grace_.
    All those spells to _me_ are air.
    Truth is truth, Miss Millionaire.

    Let them talk of finger-tips,
    Pearly teeth, or coral lips,
    Cheeks the morning rose that mock,
    _Still_ there _is_ a charm in Stock!
    Solid mortgage, five per cent,
    Freehold with "improving" rent,
    Russia bond, and railroad share,
    Steal _my_ soul, Miss Millionaire.

    Let your rhymers (all are crackt)
    Rave of cloud or cataract;
    On the Rhine, or Rhone, or Arve,
    Let romancers stroll and starve.
    Cupid loves a gilded cage,
    (Let _me_ choose your equipage,)
    Passion pants for Portman Square,
    (Be but mine,) Miss Millionaire.

    There you'll lead a London life,
    More a goddess than a wife;
    Fifty thousand pounds a-year
    Making our expenses clear;
    Giving, once a-week, a _fête_,
    Simply to display our plate.
    Never earth saw such a pair,
    Exquisite Miss Millionaire!

But a steeple starts up from its green thickets; not one of the hideous
objects which the architects of our district churches perpetrate, to
puzzle the passer-by as to the purpose of its being,--whether a brewer's
chimney, or a shot-tower,--a perch for city pigeons, or a standing
burlesque on the builders of the nineteenth age of the fine arts in
England. This steeple is an old grey turret, ivy-mantled, modest, and
with that look of venerable age which instinctively makes us feel, that
it has witnessed memorable things in its time.

And it _has_ witnessed them. On the slope of the hill above this church
once waved the banners of a king, and the opposing banners of his
nobles: the one receiving the lesson, that kings have duties as well as
their subjects; and the others enforcing the lesson by the sight of
lines and columns of the stout bowmen and billmen of the Norman
chivalry.--On this spot, just this day six hundred and thirty years ago,
was held the grand conference between John and the Barons.

Further inland, but rising on the view, is Swainscomb, the hill on which
the Danish armies encamped, in their pirate rovings of the British seas,
and their invasions of the Thames.

What a contrast between the green landscape of this moment, and the camp
of Sweno. All before me was the luxury of cultivation, the yellowing
crop, the grazing cattle, the cottage smoke curling slowly upward on the
back-ground of noble beech, ash, and sycamore. On the summit, the sun
gleamed on a rectory house, half buried in roses, where the most learned
of our Orientalists perused the Koran in the peace of a Mahometan
paradise, and doubtless saw, on the dancing waters of the mighty river
at his feet, perpetual visions of houris.

Yet those pastures once echoed with the barbarian cries of the Cimbric
warriors; tents of seal-skin and white bear fur covered the hill; the
smokes of savage feasting and Scandinavian sacrifice clouded the skies;
and on the summit, surrounded by iron guards and spectral-looking
priests, stood the magic standard of the north, the image of the Raven,
which flapped its wings on the coming of battle, and gave the oracular
cry of victory.

But, what sounds of harmony sweep along the water! I see a range of
showy figures on the shore; it is a whole brass band, seducing us, in
the style of the syrens of old, to bring our ship to an anchor, and
hazard the enchantments of the most delicious of tea-gardens.--We are
within a hundred yards of the pier of Rosherville.

Within five minutes, we might be roaming through this paradise of the
Thames, climbing rustic slopes carpeted with flowers, or gazing at a
menagerie, where the monkeys bound, chatter, and take apples out of your
hand; or sipping coffee of the most fragrant growth, or dancing the
polka under alcoves of painted canvass, large enough to manoeuvre a
brigade of the Horse-guards. By day the scene is romantic, but by night
it is magical. By day the stranger roams through labyrinths of exotic
vegetation, but by night he is enchanted with invisible music, dazzled
with fireworks, and goes to his pillow to dream of the Arabian Nights.
Honour to the name of Jeremiah Rosher, the discoverer of the
"capabilities" of this Garden of the Hesperides. He found it a lime
quarry, and made it a bower of Armida. If, as the great moralist said,
"the man who makes two blades of grass grow where but one grew before,
is a benefactor to mankind," what honours should be paid to the genius,
which substituted human beings for lime-burners, and made the élite of
the east end of the mighty metropolis dance by thousands, where nothing
but the top of a thistle ever danced before. There have been more "first
affections" awakened in the rambles through the shades of Rosherville
than in fifty Almacks, and five hundred times more matches in
consequence, than ever took refuge in Gretna; and all this--for a

As we neared the pier, I observed a small but elegant yacht, lying to;
with several groups of dark-featured and cloak-covered men listening,
with all the eagerness of foreign gesture, to the brazen harmony. My
Italian _compagnon de voyage_, instantly bounded from his seat, ran to
the ship's side, and held a rapid dialogue with the crew of the little
vessel. They were just from Rome, and were bringing over the newly
appointed Archbishop from the Vatican! The novelty of the voyage did not
seem to agree with the pleasurable faculties of those sons of "Bella
Italia," for nothing could be conceived more deplorable than their

The scene reminded me of one which I had witnessed at Naples, on the
arrival of the first steam-boat from Rome, conveying the Cardinal Legate
to the Court of his Majesty of the Two Sicilies.

I disdain all the formalities of poetry. Let others prepare their
parchment-bound portfolios, throw their visages into the _penseroso_,
fling their curls back from their brows, unbutton their shirt-collars,
and, thus Byronised, begin. To _me_ all times and places are the
same.--The inspiration rushes on me, and I pour out my "unpremeditated
song" in the original rapture of Bardism!


    I have seen some queer things,
    Both in people and kings,
        Since first I began as a dreamer;
    But I ne'er thought to hear
    Any thing half so queer
        As a Cardinal's trip in a steamer.

    I once saw a Rabbi,
    The prince of the shabby,
        In a gale of wind playing the screamer,
    Till we plumped him o'erboard,
    Towed along by a cord,
        For a bath at the tail of the steamer.

    'Tis true, the Chinese
    Looked as black as their teas,
        When battered by brave Sir John Bremer:
    But John Chinaman's slaughter
    Was all milk and water,
        To the havoc on board of the steamer.

    On a coil of the cable,
    Right under the table,
        With the glass at 500 of Reaumur,
    Busy "making his soul,"
    As he felt every roll,
        Lay his Highness, on board of the steamer.

    Around him ten chaplains,
    And none of them saplings,
        Lay pale as a quarantine streamer.
    With six dozen of monks,
    All as helpless as trunks,
        All rolling about in the steamer.

    As she steered down the Tiber,
    It shook every fibre
        Of the conclave from forehead to _femur_;
    But, 'twas when in her glee,
    She got sight of the sea,
        That she showed them the tricks of the steamer.

    At Civita Vecchia,
    Oh, mie orecchie!
        What howls called the Saints to redeem her.
    But she darted along
    Like a stone from a thong,
        In the style of a true British steamer.

    She now ruled the roast,
    As she sprang from the coast,
        Through such surges no buckets could teem her:
    The Lipari Isles
    Got but very few smiles
        From the brethren on board of the steamer.

    "As sure as we're born,
    We'll ne'er see Leghorn."
        "Peccavi!" cried out every schemer:
    The whole of the friars.
    In that court were "criers,"
        While thundered the wheels of the steamer.

    I'd not stand in their shoes,
    As they passed Syracuse,
        Where thy frigate lay moored, Captain Seymour:
    At the top of their throats
    Yelling out for thy boats,
        While teeth to the wind went the steamer.

    As they swept by Messina--
    Thy birth-place, Christina!--
        Old Etna was scarce such a beamer:
    In vain they cried--"Stop!"
    With a blaze at her top,
        Like a pillar of flame rushed the steamer.

    She bounced by Charybdis,
    With limestone which ribb'd is;
        A touch from a pebble might seam her;
    Made a curtsey to Scylla,
    As the Turks say, "Bismillah,"
        'Twas a very close shave for the steamer.

    But the surges grew brown,
    And the night hurried down,
        And they saw in each flash a death-gleamer;
    While the peals from the clouds,
    And the wind in the shrouds,
        Made them all very sick of the steamer.

    When they made Capri's lights
    It redoubled their frights,
        And the friars all bellowed--"Tenemur!"
    One and all made confessions,
    (E'en popes have transgressions,)
        There was some heavy work in the steamer.

    But they soon smelt the apples
    And fish-shops of Naples,
        And the cargo began to esteem her--
    "No witch in a sieve,
    They could ever believe,
        Had sailed half so fast as the steamer."

    Could my pen give a sketch
    Of each wo-begone wretch,
        Like Gilray, H. B., or old Damer,
    You should have the whole troop
    That lay stretched on the poop,
        As up by the mole dashed the steamer.

    Were I Guizot, or Florian,
    Or "Oxford Historian,"
        Or "Orator" like Dr Cremer,
    In my grand paragraphs,
    You should have all the laughs
        Of the mob as they rushed from the steamer!



Dear Archy,--In acknowledging my former letter, you express an eager
desire to learn, as you phrase it, "all about vampyrs, if there ever
were such things." I will not delay satisfying your curiosity, wondering
only how my friend, your late tutor, Mr H., should have left you in a
state of uncertainty upon a point on which, in my time, schoolboys many
years your juniors had fully made up their minds.

"Were there ever such things as vampyrs?" _tantamne rem tam
negligenter?_ I turn to the learned pages of Horst for a luminous and
precise definition of the destructive and mysterious beings, whose
existence you have ventured to consider problematical.

"A vampyr is a dead body, which continues to live in the grave, which it
leaves, however, by night, for the purpose of sucking the blood of the
living, whereby it is nourished, and preserved in good condition,
instead of becoming decomposed like other dead bodies."

Upon my word, you really deserve--Since Mr George Combe has clearly
shown in his admirable work "On the Constitution of Man, and its
adaptation to the world around him," that ignorance is a statutable
crime before Nature, and punishable, and punished by the laws of
Providence,--you deserve, I say, unless you contrive to make Mr H. your
substitute, which I think would be just, yourself to be the subject of
the nocturnal visit of a vampyr. Your scepticism will abate pretty
considerably, when you see him stealthily entering your room, yet are
powerless under the fascination of his fixed and leaden eye--when you
are conscious, as you lie motionless with terror, of his nearer and
nearer approach,--when you feel his face, fresh with the smell of the
grave, bent over your throat, while his keen teeth make a fine incision
in your jugular, preparatively to his commencing his plain, but
nutritive repast.

You would look a little paler the next morning, but that would be all
for the moment; for Fischer informs us, that the bite of a vampyr leaves
in general no mark upon the person. But he fearfully adds, "it (the
bite) is nevertheless speedily fatal, unless the bitten person protect
himself by eating some of the earth from the grave of the vampyr, and
smearing himself with his blood." Unfortunately, indeed, these measures
are only of temporary use. Fischer adds, "if through these precautions
the life of the victim be prolonged for a period, sooner or later he
ends with becoming a vampyr himself; that is to say, he dies, and is
buried, but continues to lead a vampyr life in the grave, nourishing
himself by infecting others, and promiscuously propagating vampyrism."

Now this is no romancer's dream. It is a succinct account of a
superstition, which to this day survives in the east of Europe, where
little more than a century ago it was frightfully prevalent. At that
epoch, vampyrism spread like, an epidemic pestilence through Servia and
Wallachia, causing innumerable deaths, and disturbing all the land with
apprehension of the mysterious visitation, against which no one felt his
life secure.

This is something like a good solid practical popular delusion. Do I
believe it?--to be sure I do; the facts are matter of history. The
people died like sheep, and the cause and method of their dying was, in
their belief, what has just been stated. You suppose, then, they died,
frightened out of their lives; as men have died, whose pardon has been
proclaimed when their necks were already on the block, of the belief
that they were going to die? Well, if that were all, the subject would
be worth examining; but there is more in it than that, as the following
o'er true tale will convince you, the essential parts of which are
attested by perfect documentary evidence.

It was in the spring of 1727 that there returned from the Levant to the
village of Meduegna, near Belgrade, one Arnod Paole, who, in a few years
of military service and varied adventure, had amassed enough to purchase
him a cottage, and an acre or two of land in his native place, where he
gave out he meant to pass the remainder of his days. He kept his word.
Arnod had yet scarcely reached the prime of manhood; and though he must
have encountered the rough, as well as the smooth of life, and have
mingled with many a wild and reckless companion, yet his natural good
disposition, and honest principle, had preserved him unscathed amid the
scenes he had passed through. At all events, such were the thoughts
expressed by his neighbours, as they discussed his return and settlement
among them in the stube of the village Hof. Nor did the frank and open
countenance of Arnod, his obliging habits, and steady conduct, argue
their judgment incorrect. Nevertheless, there was something
occasionally, noticeable in his ways, a look and tone that betrayed
inward inquietude. Often would he refuse to join his friends, or on some
sudden plea abruptly quit their society. And he still more
unaccountably, and as it seemed systematically, avoided meeting his
pretty neighbour, Nina, whose father occupied the next tenement to his
own. At the age of seventeen, Nina was as charming a picture as you
could have seen, of youth, cheerfulness, innocence, and confidence in
all the world. You could not look into her limpid eyes, which steadily
returned your gaze, without seeing to the bottom of the pure and
transparent spring of her thoughts. Then why did Arnod shrink from
meeting her? He was young, had a little property, had health and
industry, and he had told his friends he had formed no ties in other
lands. Why, then, did he avoid the fascination of the pretty Nina, who
seemed a being made to chase from any brow the clouds of gathering care?
But he did so. Yet less and less resolutely; for he felt the charm of
her presence; who could have done otherwise? and how could he at last
resist--he didn't--the impulse of his fondness for the innocent girl who
often sought to cheer his fits of depression?

And they were to be united; were betrothed; yet still an anxious gloom
would fitfully overcast his countenance even in the sunshine of those

"What is it, dear Arnod, that makes you sad? it cannot be on my account,
I know; for you were sad before you ever noticed me; and that I think,"
and you should have seen the deepening rose upon her cheek, as she
added, "surely first made me notice you."

"Nina," he answered, "I have done, I fear, a great wrong in trying to
gain your affections. Nina, I have a fixed impression that I shall not
live; yet, knowing this, I have selfishly made my existence necessary to
your happiness."

"How strangely you talk, dear Arnod! Who in the village is stronger and
healthier than you? You feared no danger when you were a soldier; what
danger do you fear as a villager of Meduegna?"

"It haunts me, Nina."

"But, Arnod, you were sad before you thought of loving me. Did you then
fear to die?"

"Ah, Nina, it is something worse than death:" and his vigorous frame
shook with agony.

"Arnod, I conjure you, tell me."

"It was in Cossova this fate befel me. Here we have hitherto escaped the
terrible scourge. But there they died, and the dead visited the living.
I experienced a first frightful visitation, and I fled, but not till I
had sought his grave, and exacted the dread expiation from the vampyr."

Nina uttered a piercing cry, and fell senseless. Afterwards, they found
a consolation in the length of time, now months, that had elapsed, since
Arnod had left Cossova, during which no fearful visitant had again
approached him; and they fondly began to hope _that_ gave them security.
For the poor girl well knew from many a village tale the danger to which
Arnod had been exposed.

It is a strange world. The ills we fear often never befall us: the blows
that reach us are for the most part unforeseen ones. One day, about a
week after this conversation, Arnod missed his footing and fell from the
top of his loaded hay-wagon. He was picked up stunned and insensible.
They carried him home; where, after lingering some hours, he died; was
buried; but _not_ forgotten.

Twenty or thirty days after his decease, says the perfectly
authenticated report of these transactions, several in the neighbourhood
made complaints that they had been haunted by the deceased Arnod; and
four of the number (among whom, there being nothing in the report to the
contrary, I am afraid we may include poor Nina) died. To put a term to
this fearful evil, the villagers were advised by their Heyduke, who had
had before some experience in such matters, to disinter the body of
Arnod Paole. This step was accordingly taken _forty days after his

"The body," says the report, "was found in a perfectly fresh state, with
no sign of decomposition. Fresh blood had recently escaped from its
mouth, with which its shirt was wet. The skin (the epidermis, no doubt)
had separated together with the nails, and there were new skin and nails
underneath. As it was perfectly clear from these signs that he was a
vampyr, conformably to the use established in such cases, they drove a
stake through his heart.

"Whereupon he gave an audible groan, and a quantity of blood flowed from
him. The same day his body was burned to ashes, which were returned to
the grave."

The authorities further staked and burned the bodies of the four others,
who were supposed to have been infected by Arnod: but no mention is
made of the condition in which they were found.

The adoption of this decisive, measure did not, however, entirely
extinguish the evil, which continued still to hang about the village.
About five years afterwards it had again become rife and very prevalent,
and many again died of it. Whereupon the authorities determined to make
a general clearance of the vampyrs in the churchyard of Meduegna, and
for that purpose they had all the graves to which suspicion was
directed, opened, and their contents dealt with conformably to the state
in which they were found, of which the following is the medical report,
here and there _abridged_ only:--

1. A woman of the name of Stana, 20 years of age, who had died 3 months
before of a 3 days' illness following her confinement. She had before
her death avowed that she had anointed herself with the blood of a
vampyr, to liberate herself from his persecution. Nevertheless she, as
well as her infant, whose body through careless interment had been
half-eaten by dogs, both had died. Her body was entirely free from
decomposition. On opening it, the chest was found full of recently
effused blood. The heart and blood-vessels contained no coagulated
blood, and the bowels had exactly the appearances of sound health. The
skin and nails of the hands and feet were loose and came off, but
underneath lay new skin and nails.

2. A woman of the name of Miliza, who had died at the end of a 3 months'
illness. The body had been buried 90 and odd days. In the chest was
liquid blood. The viscera were as in the former instance. The body was
declared by the Heydukes who recognised it, to be in better condition
and fatter than it had been in the woman's legitimate lifetime.

3. The body of a child of 8 years old, that had likewise been buried 90
days; it was in the vampyr condition.

4. The son of a Heyduke, named Milloc 16 years old. The body had lain in
the grave 9 weeks. He had died after 3 days' indisposition, and was in
the condition of a vampyr.

5. Joachim, likewise a Heyduke's son, 17 years old. He had died after a
3 days' illness; had been buried 8 weeks and 4 days; was found in the
vampyr state.

6. A woman of the name of Rusha, who had died of an illness of 10 days'
duration, and had been buried 6 weeks, in whom likewise fresh blood was
found in the chest.

[The reader will understand, that to see blood in the chest it is first
necessary to _cut_ the chest open.]

7. The body of a girl of 10 years of age, who had died 2 months before.
It was likewise in the vampyr state, perfectly undecomposed, with blood
in the chest.

8. The body of the wife of one Hadnuck, buried 7 weeks before; and that
of her infant, 8 weeks old, buried only 21 days. They were both in a
state of decomposition, though buried in the same ground, and closely
adjoining the others.

9. A servant of the Heyduke of the place, by name Rhade, 23 years old;
he had died after an illness of 3 months' duration, and the body had
been buried 5 weeks. It was in a state of decomposition.

10. The body of the Heyduke Stanco, 60 years of age, who had died six
weeks before: there was much blood and other fluid in the chest and
abdomen, and the body was in the vampyr condition.

11. Milloc, a Heyduke, 25 years old. The body had been in the earth 6
weeks. It was in the perfect vampyr condition.

12. Stanjoika, the wife of a Heyduke, 20 years old; had died after an
illness of three days, and had been buried 18 days. The countenance was
florid, and of a high colour. There was blood in the chest and in the
heart. The viscera were perfectly sound. The skin remarkably fresh.

The document which gives these particulars is signed by three regimental
surgeons, and formally countersigned by the lieutenant-colonel and a
sub-lieutenant, it bears the date of June 7, 1732, Meduegna near
Belgrade. No doubt can be entertained of its authenticity, nor of its
_general_ fidelity; the less so, that it does not stand alone, but is
supported by heaps of parallel evidence, only less rigorously
verifiable. It appears to me to establish beyond a question, that,
where the fear and belief of vampyrism is prevailing, and there occur
several deaths after short illnesses, the bodies, when disinterred,
weeks after burial, present the appearance of corpses, from which life
has only recently departed.

What inference shall we draw from this fact?--that vampyrism is true in
the popular sense, and that these fresh-looking and well-conditioned
corpses had some mysterious way of preternaturally nourishing
themselves? That would be to adopt, not to solve the superstition. Let
us content ourselves for the present with a notion less monstrous, but
still startling enough: That the bodies, which were found in the
so-called vampyr state, instead of being in a new and mystical
condition, were simply alive in the common way; that, in short, they
were the bodies of persons who had been buried alive; and whose life was
only extinguished by the ignorance and barbarity of those who
disinterred them. In the following sketch of a similar scene to that
above described, the truth of this inference comes out with terrific
force and vividness.

Erasmus Francisi, in his remarks upon the description of the Archdukedom
of Krain, by Valvasor, speaks of a man of the name of Grando, in the
district of Kring, who died, was buried, and became a vampyr, and as
such was exhumed for the purpose of having a stake thrust through him.

"When they opened his grave, after he had been long buried, his face was
found with a colour, and his features made natural sorts of movements,
as if the dead man smiled. He even opened his mouth, as if he would
inhale fresh air. They held the crucifix before him, and called in a
loud voice, 'See, this is Jesus Christ who redeemed your soul from hell,
and died for you.' After the sound had acted on his organs of hearing,
and he had connected, perhaps, some ideas with it, tears began to flow
from the dead man's eyes. Finally, when, after a short prayer for his
poor soul, they proceeded to hack off his head, the corpse uttered a
screech, and turned and rolled just as if it had been alive, and the
grave was full of blood."

Alive, then, the bodies surely were. And it is from this position, as a
starting point, that we must follow and unravel the whole mystery, _if
we dare_.

Not that there is any particular virulence in this superstition, but
that all superstitions are awkward things to deal with. They have their
own laws, and run through definite stages, but always menace those who
meddle with them. A superstition waxes and flourishes--that is its first
stage; it then wanes in public opinion, is discredited, and is declared
obsolete; that is stage the second. Eventually comes more enlightenment;
its wonders are again admitted, but explained; the false in it separated
from the true; this is its third and last period. And it may be
remarked, that society is never safe against the reproduction of a
superstition, till it has gone through this third stage (analogous to
the disinterment and dissection of a vampyr); till then, it is always
capable of "walking" again. But, which is singular, to the end the
operation of explaining a superstition is unsafe, that is to say, if you
step a quarter of an inch before the sagacious nose of the public. Of
course, if any one should attempt to explain away a flourishing
superstition, he would encounter, not martyrdom, perhaps, any more, but
the persecution of opinion certainly, and the ban of society. But if he
ventures upon the same process, even with one that is already put down,
he is liable to be viewed and attacked as a credulous person, disposed
to revive forgotten rubbish; for he has unwittingly affronted public
opinion by asserting that to be worth examining, which society had
proclaimed an error. Doubly wo to him if his explanation contain some
startling novelty! But, courage! again,--

The bodies disinterred and found in the so-called vampyr state, were
then alive.

But how could they, you ask, be alive after an interment of days or
weeks? How is it possible they could lie without air, boxed up in a
manner which would certainly kill a strong and healthy person in a few
minutes or hours, and yet retain their vitality? I will not bring
forward as favourable cases in point, the instances of frogs and toads
that have been discovered in rocks, where they must have been encased
for years or centuries, alive: first, because, although they are true,
you might equally question these; secondly, because a human being cannot
compete in vitality with a cold-blooded reptile. I shall content myself
with falling back upon the evidence already adduced. The disinterred
bodies _proved_, by their appearance, some even by their behaviour, that
they were alive; and I shall retort upon you the question, how came you
not to know that bodies could live under such circumstances a
considerable length of time, and that many cases have transpired in
which, totally _apart from vampyrism_, bodies have been found turned
over in the coffin, through efforts made by them, when, after their
burial, they had unhappily recovered consciousness?

But what, then, was the pathological condition in which these persons
continued to exist, after they had ceased to appear alive?

It is just one of the profitable results of examining the superstition
before us, that the above question becomes explicitly propounded, and
its solution demanded of physiologists. Its solution cannot fail of
being full of interest, but it is yet, unluckily, a desideratum, or,
like the principle which gives motion to the divining rod, as yet only
indicated and partially outlined.

What is wanted is direct scientific examination, and verification by
competent persons, of all the phenomena the body presents in these
strange circumstances. In the absence, however, of recorded observation,
let us imagine how the thing might come about.

The series of effects surmised would not begin in the heart; analogy
leads us to suppose that primary interruption of the heart's action for
a very brief period is fatal. Somewhere in the Indian seas, death is
inflicted by a backward blow with the elbow on the region of the heart;
a sudden angina is produced, which is promptly fatal. Neither, upon
similar showing, can it commence in obstructed breathing. Then the
commencement of the changes must be sought in the brain. Now it is
analogically by no means very improbable, that the functions of the
nervous system admit of being brought to a complete stand-still, the
wheels of the machinery locking, as it were, of a sudden, through some
influence directly exerted upon _it_, and that this state of interrupted
function should continue for a very considerable period, without loss of
power of recovery. Nor would it be contrary to analogy that such an
arrest of activity in the nervous system should stop, more or less
completely, the act of breathing and the action of the heart, without at
the same time the consequences following which result from either of
these changes, _when they are primary_. The heart, when _not acting by
order_, need not be supposed to lose its contractile force and tendency.
The blood, though not moving, being in contact with living vessels, need
not coagulate. There is no physiological absurdity in supposing such a
general arrest of function, originating in the nervous system, and
continuing an indefinite period without life being extinguished. If a
swimmer be taken with cramp and sink, he is irretrievably dead in five
minutes. But if he sink from a fit of epilepsy, he may remain a longer
time under water, yet recover. But epilepsy is a form of loss of
consciousness beginning in the nervous system--a kind of fit which may,
under certain circumstances, be thus preservative of life. So may we
presume, that in the singular cases we are considering, the body is but
in another and deeper fit, which suspends the vital phenomena, and
reduces its vitality to that of the unincubated egg, to simple life,
without change, without waste or renewal. The body does not putrefy,
because it is alive; it does not waste or require nourishment, because
every action is stilled within it.

But this must be a dull subject of speculation for you, and your mind is
perhaps wandering thence to more practical views. It has struck you
possibly, not without an uncomfortable misgiving, that this obscure, but
unpleasant event may happen to yourself, and what on earth is there to
prevent _your_ being buried alive?

If you wish individually to be as safe as possible, leave by will to
some eminent surgeon, not your habitual attendant, £50, and his railway
expenses, &c., to be paid him for opening your body, when you are
certainly dead; £25 if he opens you, finds you alive, and succeeds in
sewing you up, and keeping you so; £200, on the contrary, to be expended
in indicting him for manslaughter if you die under his hands. I do not
venture to affirm that with all these precautions you would be perfectly
safe. The eminent Vesalius, surgeon, and a favourite of the Emperor
Charles V., with all his experience and knowledge, was unlucky enough to
open a Spanish nobleman by mistake, while he was yet alive. The
consequences, no doubt, were more serious than they would be now.
Vesalius hardly escaped the claws of the Inquisition, and died during
his expiatory pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

If, more comprehensively, you should wish to save others, as well as
yourself, from this awful risk, and have a friend in the legislature,
urge him, or otherwise Mr Wakley, to move for the insertion in any
convenient bill a clause to appoint in every district a qualified
officer to license burials; he had better not be a practising doctor,
but his office might embrace necroscopic inquiries for the coroner, and
the registrarship of births and deaths.

In either case, I would recommend you to offer publicly a premium of
£500, to be paid at the expiration of three years, for the best treatise
upon the signs of death; the same being calculated to form a useful body
of instruction, as yet wanting, either for your private surgeon, or the
new officials.

In England, indeed, our decent respect for the dead, which leads us to
postpone interment as long as possible, is a tolerable security against
being buried alive. The coffin is seldom closed upon the remains, before
decomposition has already commenced. _That_ is death's certain seal;
nor, in the present state of our knowledge, special cases of course
excepted, is it right to consider life surely extinct, till the impress
of that seal is perceptible to the senses.

On the Continent, generally, the interval observed before burial is far
too short for safety. They calculate that in France from twenty to
thirty are annually interred alive, computing from the number of those
who, after supposed death, come to life before the funeral is completed.
I cannot help imagining that this seeming death must be much less
frequent in England than in some other countries; (is that owing to the
more vigorous practice for which English medical men are celebrated,
they either cure or kill?) In Germany, interment is forbidden by law for
three days after death. And there is a curious and humane provision in
the grave-houses attached to the cemeteries of some of the principal
towns: Bodies which are brought too soon, not having performed the three
days' quarantine, are received and lodged, being disposed upon tressles,
with rings on their toes and fingers which are attached to bell-pulls.
The corpse thus, on coming to itself, may have immediate attendance
merely by ringing for it; some one is always there on the watch. But the
humanity of this arrangement, though perfect as long as it lasts, is
finite in duration. As soon as the seventy-two hours prescribed by law
are expired, it is another thing. The body is then legally dead, and
must comport itself accordingly. At any rate, it is at its own risk if
it behaves otherwise than as a corpse, and gives itself any airs of
vitality. This is appalling enough, and would certainly justify any
body, if it could, in getting out at nights and turning vampyr.

And now, to return again to our inquiry. We have got thus far. The
bodies found in the so-called vampyr state are alive. They are in a sort
of fit, the possible duration of which is undetermined. The same fit may
occur, and does occur continually, with no reference to the superstition
of vampyrism. But where the belief in vampyrism is rife, these fits are
more prevalent, and spread sometimes like an epidemic.

The question naturally follows, how is this malady, viewing it as one in
these cases, propagated?

At such seasons, it is far from improbable that there is some physical
cause in operation, some meteorological influence perhaps, electrical or
otherwise, disposing the system to be a readier prey to the seizure. As
certain constitutions of the year alter the blood and lead to fever or
cholera, why should not others render the nervous system irritable and
proner to derangement?

Then it is well known that fright will bring on certain kinds of
fits--in women hysteric fits, in the youth of either sex epileptic fits;
and certainly no ghastlier terror can there be than the accredited
apprehension of vampyrism. And it deserves remark, that impressions upon
the mind are known to be capable of shaping particular kinds of fits,
and especially of exciting and determining the features of sensorial
illusions, that seem adjuvants in vampyrism.

We are able to creep yet a step nearer to the mark. There is great
reason to believe that some human beings have had the power of throwing
themselves into the state of seeming death, _voluntarily_. In Gooch's
surgical works, there is an account of a Colonel Townsend, who asserted
this of himself, and challenged Gooch to witness the performance. And
you may read in the narrative of Gooch, how he and two or three other
competent witnesses saw Colonel Townsend dispose himself to favour the
invasion of this fit, and how he gradually fell into a state apparently
devoid of animation. A very few years ago there was a story in the
papers of a native in India, who undertook for a reward to do the same
feat, and to allow himself to be buried for a stipulated period. A
gentleman, certainly not of a credulous turn in general, told me he was
in India at the time with his regiment; and, though not on the spot,
that he knew the parties who brought the conjuror to work; and that he
believed they positively buried him, and, at the end of the time agreed
upon, disinterred him, and found him alive. But be _this_ story true or
false, the case of Colonel Townsend remains to show the thing asserted
to have been possible--and this remark may be safely added: Whatever
change of the kind the will can bring about, can be twice as readily
wrought by fear or a disturbed imagination.

You are, I hope, or fear rather, by this time satiated with the
marvellous and with the subject. What!--yet another question? Ay. How
came this superstition to arise?

The answer is ready. In those days the belief in ghosts was absolute,
and a vampyr was a sort of ghost. When an ignorant person, that is, when
any one in those days became the subject of a sensorial illusion
representing a human being, to a certainty he identified the creation of
his fancy as somebody he had seen or heard of; then he would tell his
acquaintances that the ghost of such a person haunted him. If the fright
brought on a fit, or seemed to cause his death, the neighbours would
remember how he had before been haunted. Then, in any case, what more
natural than to disinter the body of a supposed visitant, to know why he
is unquiet in the grave? Then, if once a body so disinterred were found
in the fresh and undecomposed state, the whole delusion would start into
existence. The violence used would force blood from the corpse; and that
would be construed into the blood of a victim. The absence of a scar on
the throat of the victim, would throw no difficulty in the way to the
vampyr theory, because vampyrs enjoyed the ghostly character, and all
its privileges. Supposing, again, that at any time chance had brought to
light a body interred alive, and lying still in this fit, the whole yarn
of superstition might again have been spun from that clue.

Do you want more than this? I shall begin to think you at heart
superstitious. I tell you it is contrary to the rules of inductive
logic, to look for, or to use more principles than are sufficient for
the reasonable explanation of phenomena. Yet you urge, do you, that it
is no less unphilosophical, in an obscure and unsettled inquiry, wholly
to exclude the consideration of unlikely possibilities?--Well! it is
nothing to me. Have it your own way: suppose, if you like, that the man
in the grave _had_ something to do with spreading the disease, and that
his nervous system, in its abnormal state, could put itself in relation
with that of another person at a distance. If you like it, have it so.
In one sense, it simplifies the matter. But though I cannot deny your
supposition to be possible, you will excuse me if I profess to hold the
solution, which I have myself given, to be sufficient.

Well! _there_ is an end of the subject, at all events; and I accept your
thanks for having told you all I know about vampyrism. I deserve them
more than you are aware. At the churchyard in Meduegna, my dear Archy, I
had you thoroughly in my power. I saw how your curiosity was raised, and
that an picture I had drawn would have been accepted by you with
avidity; and I must confess it did at one moment occur to me, to
describe to you the exact dress and deportment of the three regimental
surgeons, or Feldscherers, (a handsome word signifying field-barbers),
John Flickinger, Isaac Stegel, and John Fredrick Baumgartner, as well as
the behaviour and remarks of a drummer boy, who held the instrument case
during the _intermortem_ examination, an event he witnessed for the
first time. But I would not abuse my advantage; so I let you off cheaply
with the sole fabrication of Nina, and the personal characteristics of
Arnod Paole, of whom unfortunately nothing has come down to posterity,
but that he was haunted by a vampyr at Cossova, fell from a hay-cart at
Meduegna, and died, and lived a vampyr himself.

    I remain, dear Archy,
            Yours, &c.
                  MAC DAVUS.



Dear Archy.--On what subject shall I next address you? Elves, goblins,
ghosts, real and unreal; dreams, witchcraft, second-sight? Bless me! the
field of marvels seems more thronged, as I approach it closer. The
spirits I have evoked begin to scare me with their numbers. How on earth
shall I ever get them fairly laid? But some, I see, can now only limp
along--they are scotched already; I will begin with finishing these. Yet
they deserve gentle treatment. They sprang from our nature, which seems
expressly made to procreate and rear them. Thick, within and around us,
lie the rich veins of illusive suggestion from which they spring.

The thing nearest us is our mental constitution, the world of
consciousness. It is of it we first learn, though it be the last we
understand. It is that through which we perceive and apprehend all other
things; and nothing becomes part of our knowledge but as it has been
shaped and coloured by its magic reflexion. Nay, more, it is not only
our mirror but our archetype for every thing. So we spiritualise the
material universe, and afterwards, by an incongruous consistency,
anthropomorphise spirit.

Reason in vain reclaims against this misuse of analogy. Feeling,
imagination, instinct are too many for her; and any mood, from fun to
earnest, from nonsense to sublimity, may hear a responsive note when
this chord is touched.

Address to that ingenuous young American a remark upon the slightness of
the legs of her work-table,--she blushes--her lively fancy has given
them personality. Were she a wealthier miss, she would give them,
besides, neat cambric trowsers with lace borders. With less refinement,
and with inexcusable warmth, I take shame to myself for having bestowed
a kick upon a similar mahogany limb, which had, however, begun the
contest by breaking my shin.

To the poet's eye, nature is instinct with life. Greece may be "living
Greece no more"--in the soul of her people; but her immortal plains, and
streams, and hills have their own vitality.

    "The mountains _look_ on Marathon,
    And Marathon _looks_ on the sea."

You go to visit them; they meet you half-way: "spectatum veniunt."

Amid the Alps--with glacier, torrent, forest around--you still evoke
the fancied spirit of the scene, though it be but

    "To gaze upon her beauty--nothing more."

And where, in sublimer grandeur, snowclad, upreared against the nearer
sun, are seen the towering Andes; to the poet's eye, the Cordillera lies
no huge backbone of earth; but lives, a Rhoetus or Enceladus of the
West, and

            "over earth, air, wave,
    Glares with his Titan eye."

This is but the calm, the dignified, the measured march of poetical
conception. No wonder, when superstition steps in to prick on
imagination, that all should vividly team with spirit life. Or that on
Walpurgis' night, bush and streamlet and hill bustle and hurry, with
unequal pace, towards the haunted Brocken: the heavy ones lag, indeed, a
little, and are out of breath--

    "The giant-snouted crags, ho! ho!
    How they snort and how they blow!"

No wonder that to the dreamer's eye, in tranquil scenes of sylvan
solitude the fawn of yore skipped in the forest dell, the dryad peeped
from behind the shadowy oak, the fay tripped lightly over the moonlit

But enough, and too much, of "your philosophy." Yet there are those
still who may be the wiser for it. Let me sketch you a believer in the
creed it would dispel.

He was a Spanish West-Indian--in his active years had been an extensive
planter and slave-owner in Porto Rico. His manners were grave and
dignified, as due to himself; courteous, as not denying equal or
superior worth in others. He had seen the world, and spoke of it
habitually with a fine irony. We had many a walk together. He was
nervous about his health. One day, as our path lay along the banks of
the Rhine, his conversation took this turn:--

"Do you believe in spirits?" he asked me; and upon my intimating the
polite but qualified assent which suited the tone in which the question
was put--"It may be superstition," he continued, "but I am often
inclined to think that the pucks and goblins, which, as they say, once
haunted these scenes, are not entirely visionary beings. You may
smile--but this has happened, nay, often, happens, to me in my walks. I
see a big clod before me in the path, and form the intention of avoiding
it; when close to it, I step to one side, when pr-r-rt, my toe strikes
against it."

I edged slightly away from my companion with the disagreeable impression
that he was gone mad.

He went on;--"When I lived in the West Indies, the children of the
slaves, about my house, were treated with great kindness and indulgence.
They would come about my table at dessert, and often had little presents
given them. So they grew into objects of affection. But, out of several,
some, of course, took ill and died. I cannot tell you what grief it
caused me. Then this has happened several times, after the death of one
or other of my little favourites:--a bird has flown into the hall, and
into my sitting-room, and has hovered near me, and, after a while, has
flown away. For a few days it has regularly returned, and then finally
disappeared. I thought it was tenanted by the spirit of my lost
favourite, which had come to bid me farewell."

I drew nearer again to my companion. I felt I was in all events safe
from violence from him. And I contrasted, with humiliation, his
beautiful superstition with the commonplace remembrance of a school-boy
conviction of my own, one dark night, upon Blackheath, that a
direction-post was a ghost.

My friend had not, indeed, always been a dreamer: and although this is
no place to narrate his course of daring and hazardous adventure, on
which I am therefore silent, yet I wish to be allowed to re-establish
his credit for intelligence, by reporting the answer which he made, on
another occasion, to a question, as to what he thought of the
emancipation of the Negroes in our colonies. "The principle," answered
my friend, "was good, but you were in too great a hurry. Before giving
them freedom, you should have made them fit for it. They were not
impatient. Slavery is an African institution. Some outlay of public
money, and extreme care and prudence in your measures, would have
enabled you to secure their humane treatment in the interval. As fast
as they became innoculated with the wants and habits of civilised life,
you might have made _freedmen_ of the most advanced, and given them
official occupation, or allotted them land under proper conditions. One
sheep would have followed another. The fag-end you might have
emancipated together. Thirty or forty years, and a million of money,
would have done the thing. The results would have been, from first to
last, beneficial to the colonists. It would have set an example which
other nations _could_ have followed. It would have been a noble return
for having, temporarily, used the race as unmitigated slaves. It would
have been an act of enlightened philanthropy. It would have become
statesmen. What you did reads and works like the puerile suggestion of a
school-boy's theme. What you are further doing, to suppress, by force,
the trade in slaves, would have been worthy my distinguished countryman
whose biography has immortalised Cervantes. Humanity would smile at it,
but that she shudders and sickens."

But, to leave the region of dreams, which are no longer realisable, let
us shift the scene.

The churchyard has its nightly terrors. One heard of corpse-lights seen
dancing over graves--but over some alone. A few only had witnessed this;
but _they_ had no doubt on the matter. Things looked "uncanny;" but time
did not pause, and the story was forgotten. Even when the tale was
fresh, what was it but superstition? Who of those who hugged its
sympathetic terrors by the Christmas fireside, thought they could be
true on the bright frosty morning of the morrow? It was mere fancy.
There was nothing in it. Yet there _was_ something. And now and then a
striking and mysterious event would occur to bring back the old idea.
There was a cottage, (this I heard of a certainty,) in a hamlet I could
name, to which a bad report attached. A room in it was haunted. More
than one who had slept there had seen, at midnight, the luminous
apparition of a little child standing upon the hearth-stone. At length
suspicion became active. The hearth-stone was raised, and there were
found, buried beneath it, the remains of an infant. A story was now
divulged, how the former tenant and a female of the neighbourhood had, a
very few years before, abruptly left the village. The apparition here
was real and significant enough.

    "It will have blood, they say; blood will have blood.
    Stones have been known to move, and trees to speak:
    Augurs and understood relations have,
    By magot-pyes, and choughs, and rooks, brought forth
    The secret'st man of blood."

But tales like these, though true, gradually lose the sharpness of their
evidence for want of an accredited contemporary narrator, and so become
valueless. But time brings round every thing.

And at length a marvellous narrative, to the same effect with the above,
made its appearance in a trustworthy German work, _P. Kieffer's
Archives_, the complete authentication of which caused it to make a deep
impression. The narrative was communicated by Herr Ehrman of Strasburg,
the son-in-law of the well-known German writer Pfeffel, from whom he
received it.

The ghost-seer was a young candidate for orders, eighteen years of age,
of the name of Billing. He was known to have very excitable nerves,--had
already experienced sensorial illusions, and was particularly sensitive
to the presence of human remains, which made him tremble and shudder in
all his limbs. Pfeffel, being blind, was accustomed to take the arm of
this young man, and they walked thus together in Pfeffel's garden, near
Colmar. At one spot in the garden Pfeffel remarked, that his companion's
arm gave a sudden start, as if he had received an electric shock. Being
asked what was the matter, Billing replied, "nothing." But, on their
going over the same spot again, the same effect recurred. The young man
being pressed to explain the cause of his disturbance, avowed that it
arose from a peculiar sensation which he always experienced when in the
vicinity of human remains; that it was his impression a human body must
be interred there; but that if Pfeffel would return with him at night,
he should be able to speak with more confidence. Accordingly, they went
to the garden together when it was dark, and as they approached the
spot, Billing observed a faint light over it. At two paces from it, he
stopped and would go no further; for he saw hovering over it, or
self-supported in the air, its feet only a few inches from the ground, a
luminous female figure, nearly five feet high, with the right arm folded
on her breast, the left hanging by her side. When Pfeffel himself
stepped forward and placed himself about where the figure was, Billing
said it was now on his right hand, now on his left, now behind, now
before him. When Pfeffel cut the air with his stick, it seemed as if it
went through and divided a light flame, which then united again. The
visit, repeated the next night, in company with some of Pfeffel's
relatives, gave the same result. _They_ did not see any thing. Pfeffel,
then, unknown to the ghost-seer, had the ground dug up, when there was
found at some depth, beneath a layer of quicklime, a decomposing human
body. The remains were removed, and the earth carefully replaced. Three
days afterwards, Billing, from whom this whole proceeding had been kept
concealed, was again led to the spot by Pfeffel. He walked over it now
without experiencing any unusual impression whatever.

This extraordinary phenomenon, it is now generally known, has been
completely elucidated through the discoveries of Von Reichenbach, to
which, in a former letter, I had occasion to make allusion.

You are probably aware, that the individuals whose nerves Von
Reichenbach found to be so sensitive to the proximity of crystals,
magnets, &c., would, in the dark, see flames issuing from the same
substances. Then, in the progress of his inquiries, Von Reichenbach
found that chemical decomposition was a rich source of the new power he
had discovered, by its action on the nerves. And being acquainted with
the story of the ghost in Pfeffel's garden at Colmar, it occurred to him
as not unlikely, that Billing had just been in the same condition with
his own sensitive patients, and that graves very likely would present to
all of them a luminous _aura_; and that thus the mystery might find a
very simple explanation.

Accordingly, Miss Reichel, one of his most sensitive subjects, was taken
at night to an extensive burying-ground, near Vienna, where many
interments take place daily, and there were some thousand graves. The
result did not disappoint Von Reichenbach's expectations. Whithersoever
Miss Reichel turned her eyes, she saw masses of flame. This appearance
manifested itself most about recent graves. About very old ones it was
not visible. She described the appearance as resembling less bright
flame than fiery vapour, something between fog and flame. In several
instances, the light extended four feet in height above the ground. When
Miss Reichel placed her hand in it, it seemed to her involved in a cloud
of fire. When she stood in it, it came up to her throat. She expressed
no alarm, being accustomed to the appearance.

The mystery has thus been entirely solved. For it is evident that the
spectral character of the luminous apparition in the two instances I
have narrated had been supplied by the imagination of the seers. So the
superstition has vanished, leaving, as is usual, a very respectable
truth behind it.

It is indeed a little unlucky for this new truth, which reveals either a
new power in nature or an unexpected operation of familiar ones, that
the phenomena which attest it are verifiable by a few only who are
possessed of highly sensitive temperaments. And it is the use of the
world to look upon these few as very suspicious subjects. This is
unjust. Their evidence, the parties having otherwise a character for
honesty, should be accepted with the same faith and the same distrust
with which all evidence is to be viewed; with neither more nor less than
in other cases. Nothing should be received in scientific inquiry which
it is not compulsory on our understanding to believe. It is not a whit
more difficult in these than in other cases to obtain inductive
certainty. Nature is not here peculiarly coy or averse from being

Philosophers occasionally regret the limited number of their senses, and
think a world of knowledge would flow from their possessing but one
more. Now, persons of highly-wrought nervous systems have what is
equivalent to a new sense, in their augmentation of natural sensibility.
But philosophers will not accept this equivalent. They must have the
boon from nature their own way, or not at all.

To turn elsewhere.--We may now look into a broader seam of illusive
power--one which lies entirely within ourselves, and needs no objective
influence to bring its ghost-producing fertility into play. Let me
exemplify it in operation.

A young gentleman, who has recently left Oxford, told me, that he was
one evening at a supper-party in college, when they were joined by a
common friend on his return from hunting. They expected him, but were
struck with his appearance. He was pale and agitated. On questioning
him, they learned the cause. During the latter part of his ride home, he
had been accompanied by a horseman, who kept exact pace with him, the
rider and horse being facsimiles of himself and the steed he rode, even
to the copy of a newfangled bit he sported that day for the first time.
The apparition vanished on his entering the town. He had, in fact, seen
his double or fetch, and it had shaken his nerves pretty considerably.
His friends advised him to consult the college tutor, who failed not to
give him some good advice, and hoped the warning would not be thrown
away. My informant, who thought the whole matter very serious, and was
disposed to believe the unearthly visit to have been no idle one, added,
that it _had_ made the ghost-seer, for the time at all events, a wiser
and better man.

In more ignorant times, the appearance of one's fetch was held to be of
very alarming import, and to menace either death or serious personal
harm. Now, it is known to be one of the commonest forms in which
_sensorial illusions_ shape themselves. And these are matters of
every-day occurrence.

It would seem, that when the blood is heated or the nervous system
over-strained, we are liable to attach reality to the mere productions
of the imagination. There must be few who have not had personal
experience of this affection. In the first night of a febrile attack,
and often in the progress of fever, the bed-hangings appear to the
patient swarming with human faces, generally of a disagreeable and
menacing expression. With some, opium will produce a host of similar
visitants. In much illness, I have often myself taken this drug, and
always hoped it would provide me a crop of apparitions that I might
analyse. But I was disappointed; opium I found to give me only a great
tranquillity and clearness of thought. Once or twice only have I had a
vision, and that but a transitory landscape. I used in vain to look upon
that _black mixture_ which lies before one in the dark, and try to make
its fragmentary lights arrange themselves into definite shapes. And I
have imaged to my mind familiar scenes or faces, (as in the daytime a
strong conception will half realise such,) but they were not more
distinct then than formerly,--ideas only and perfectly transient. But,
as I have said, once or twice I have had the satisfaction of seeing a
bright and coloured landscape spread before my view; yet unlike reality,
and more resembling a diorama, occupying a rectangle on the black
mixture before my eyes. It was not a known and familiar scene, but a
brilliant sketch, made out of materials I remembered, but could not by a
deliberate effort _have combined_ so effectively. It was a spontaneous
throe of the imagination, which had force to overpersuade the organs of

How well did Shakspeare understand this creative power of the
fancy!--the air-drawn dagger of Macbeth, and his test--"come, let me
clutch thee!" are physiologically perfect. Nor less perfect or true to
nature, is the conception of the ghost of Banquo haunting the kingly
murderer. The ghost, it is obvious, however, should not in the play
appear bodily. The audience are in the position of the guests at the
royal supper-table, who saw it not. I wonder how in Shakspeare's time
the stage-directions ran upon this point. Probably as now. Though
Shakspeare wrote for all times, he was probably wise enough to act for
the present. Or perhaps, with no disrespect to his unequalled genius, he
understood not the principles of which he exactly portrayed the
workings, and was, like Shelley's poet,

    "Hidden in the light of thought."

So, some say the sun may be dark as another planet; and that the spots
on it are its common earth seen through the gaps in its luminous

To the world, the alpha and omega of this piece of philosophy were
furnished by the publication of the case of Nicolai, the bookseller of
Berlin. Its details were read before the Academy of Sciences at Berlin,
in 1799. The _substance_ ran thus. Nicolai had had some family troubles
which much annoyed him. Then, on the 21st of February 1791, there stood
before him, at the distance of ten paces, the ghost of his eldest son.
He pointed at it, directing his wife to look. She saw it not, and tried
to convince him that it was an illusion. In a quarter of an hour it
vanished. In the afternoon, at four o'clock, it came again. Nicolai was
alone. He went to his wife's room--the ghost followed him. About six
other apparitions joined the first, and they walked about, among, and
through each other. After some days the apparition of his son stayed
away; but its place was filled with the figures of a number of persons,
some known, some unknown to Nicolai--some of dead, others of living
persons. The known ones were distant acquaintances only. The figures of
none of Nicolai's habitual friends were there. The appearances were
almost always human: exceptionally, a man on horseback, with dogs and
birds would present themselves. The apparitions came mostly after
dinner, at the commencement of digestion. They were just like real
persons; the colouring a thought fainter. The apparitions were equally
distinct whether Nicolai was alone or in society, by day as in the dark,
in his own house or those of others; but in the latter case they were
less frequent, and they very seldom presented themselves in the streets.
During the first eight days they seemed to take very little notice of
each other, but walked about like people at a fair, only here and there
communing with each other. They took no notice of Nicolai, or of his
remarks about them to his wife and physician. No effort of his would
dismiss them, or bring an absent one back. When he shut his eyes, they
sometimes disappeared, sometimes remained; when he opened his eyes, they
were there as before. After a week they became more numerous, and began
to converse. They conversed with each other, and then addressed him.
Their remarks were short and unconnected, but sensible and civil. His
acquaintances inquired after his health, and expressed sympathy for him,
and spoke in terms comforting him. The apparitions were most conversible
when he was alone; nevertheless they mingled in the conversation when
others were by, and their voices had the same sound as those of real
persons. This illusion went on thus from the 24th of February to the
20th of April; so that Nicolai, who was in good bodily health, had time
to become tranquillised about them, and to observe them at his ease. At
last they rather amused him. Then the doctors thought of an efficient
plan of treatment. They prescribed leeches: and then followed the
_denouement_ to this interesting representation. The apparitions became
pale and vanished. On the 20th of April, at the time of applying the
leeches, Nicolai's room was full of figures moving about among each
other. They first began to have a less lively motion; shortly afterwards
their colours became paler--in another half hour fainter still, though
the forms still remained. About seven o'clock in the evening, the
figures had became colourless, and they moved scarcely at all, but their
outline was still tolerably perfect. Gradually that became less and less
defined. At last they disappeared, breaking into air, fragments only
remaining, which at last all vanished. By eight o'clock all were gone,
and Nicolai subsequently saw no more of them.

Other cases are on record in which there was still greater facility of
ghost-production than Nicolai evinced. One patient could, for instance,
by thinking of a person, summon his apparition to join the others. He
could not, however, having done this, subsequently banish him. The sight
is the sense most easily and frequently tricked; next, the hearing. In
some extraordinary cases the touch, also, has participated in the

Herr von Baczko, already subject to visual hallucinations, of a diseased
nervous system, his right side weak with palsy, his right eye blind, and
the vision of the left imperfect, was engaged one evening, shortly after
the battle of Jena, as he tells us in his autobiography, in translating
a brochure into Polish, when he felt a poke in his loins. He looked
round, and found that it proceeded from a Negro or Egyptian boy,
seemingly about twelve years of age. Although he was persuaded the whole
was an illusion, he thought it best to knock the apparition down, when
he felt that it offered a sensible resistance. The Negro then attacked
him on the other side, and gave his left arm a particularly disagreeable
twist, when Baczko pushed him off again. The Negro continued to visit
him constantly during four months, preserving the same appearance, and
remaining tangible; then he came seldomer; and, after finally appearing
as a brown-coloured apparition with an owl's head, he took his leave.

The illusion and its principle having been thus elucidated, it is hardly
worth while to look into its operation in tales of vulgar terror. But it
is highly interesting to trace its effects on minds of a high order,
when its suggestions have been received and interpreted as the visits
and communications of superior beings. You have heard, I dare say, my
dear Archy, of the mysticism of Schwedenborg. Now that they are
explained, the details of his hallucinations are highly gratifying to
one's curiosity.

Schwedenborg, the son of a Swedish clergyman of the name of Schwedberg,
ennobled as Schwedenborg, was, up to the year 1743, which was the
fifty-fourth of his age, an ordinary man of the world, distinguished
only in literature, having written many volumes of philosophy and
science, and being Professor in the Mineralogical school, where he was
much respected. On a sudden, in the year 1743, he believed himself to
have got into a commerce with the world of spirits, which so fully took
possession of his thoughts, that he not only published their
revelations, but was in the habit of detailing, with the greatest
equanimity, his daily chat with them. Thus he says, "I had a
conversation the other day on that very point with the Apostle Paul," or
with Luther, or some other dead person. Schwedenborg continued in what
he believed to be daily communion with spirits till his death, in 1772.
He was, without doubt, in the fullest degree convinced of the reality of
his spiritual commerce. So in a letter to the Wirtemburg prelate,
Oetinger, dated November 11, 1766, he uses the following words:--"If I
have spoken with the Apostles? To this I answer, I conversed with St
Paul during a whole year, particularly on the text, Romans iii. 28. I
have three times conversed with St John, once with Moses, and a hundred
times with Luther, who allowed that it was against the warning of an
angel that he professed '_fidem solam_,' and that he stood alone upon
the separation from the Pope. With angels, finally, have I these
twenty-two years conversed, and converse daily.

"Of the angels," he says, "they have human forms, the appearance of men
that I have a thousand times seen; for I have spoken with them as a man
with other men, often with several together; and have seen nothing in
the least to distinguish them from ordinary men." [They had evidently
just the appearance of Nicolai's visitors.] "Lest any one should call
this an illusion, or imaginary perception, it is to be understood that I
am accustomed to see them, when perfectly myself wide awake, and in full
exercise of my observation. The speech of an angel or of a spirit sounds
like, and as loud as, that of a man, but it is not heard by the
bystanders; the reason is, that the speech of an angel or a spirit finds
entrance first into a man's thoughts, and reaches his organs of hearing
from within outwards." This is indeed _cum ratione insanire_! how just
an analysis of the illusion, when he is most deceived by it!

"The angels who converse with men, speak not in their own language, but
in the language of men, and likewise in other languages which are
inwardly known to man, not in languages which he does not understand."
Schwedenborg here took up the angels, and to explain their own ideas to
them observed, that they most likely appeared to speak his mother
tongue, _because, in fact_, it was not they who spoke, but himself by
their suggestion. The angels held out, however, and went away

"When approaching, the angels often appear like a ball of light; and
they travel in companies so grouped together--they are allowed so to
unite by the Lord--that they may act as one being, and share each
others' ideas and knowledge; and in this form they bound through the
universe, from planet to planet."

I will, in conclusion, add another different, but equally interesting

"It is now seven years ago," so spoke, before her judges, the simple,
but high-minded Joan of Arc--"the beginning of the year 1431; it was a
summer day, towards the middle hour, I was about thirteen years old, and
was in my father's garden, that I heard for the first time, on my right
hand towards the church, a voice, and there stood a figure in a bright
radiance before my eyes. It had the appearance and look of a right good
and virtuous man, bore wings, was surrounded with light on all sides,
and by the angels of Heaven. It was the Archangel Michael. The voice
seemed to me to command respect; but I was yet a child, and was
frightened at the figure, and doubted very much whether it was the
archangel! I saw him and the angels as distinctly before my eyes as I
now see you, my judges." With words of encouragement the archangel
answered to her, that God had taken pity upon France, and that she must
hasten to the assistance of the king. At the same time he promised her
that St Catherine and St Margaret would shortly visit her; he told her
that she should do what they commanded her, because they were sent by
God to guide and conduct her. "Upon this," continued Joan, "St Catherine
and St Margaret appeared to me, as the angel had foretold. They ordered
me to get ready to go to Robert de Beaudricourt, the king's captain. He
would several times refuse me, but at last would consent, and give me
people, who would conduct me to the king. Then should I raise the siege
of Orleans. I replied to them that I was a poor child, who understood
nothing about riding on horseback and making war. They said I should
carry my banner with courage; God would help me, and win back for my
king his entire kingdom. As soon as I knew," continued Joan, "that I was
to proceed on this errand, I avoided, as much as I could, afterwards
taking part in the sports and amusements of my young companions."----"So
have the Saints conducted me during seven years, and have given me
support and assistance in all my need and labours; and now at present,"
said she to her judges, "no day goes by, but they come to me."----"I
seldom see the Saints that they are not surrounded with a halo of light;
they wear rich and precious crowns, as it is reasonable they should. I
see them always under the same forms, and have never found in their
discourse any discrepancies. I know how to distinguish one from the
other, and distinguish them as well by the sound of their voices as by
their salutation. They come often without my calling upon them. But when
they do not come, I pray to the Lord that he will send them to me; and
never have I needed them but they have visited me."

Such is part of the defence of the high-spirited Joan of Arc, who was
taken prisoner by the Duke of Burgundy on the 23d of May 1430--sold by
him for a large sum to the English, and by them put on her trial as a
heretic, idolatress, and magician--condemned, and finally burned alive,
the 30th of May 1431. Ill-fated heroine! I seem to be thinking of
writing her epitaph, but I am considering only that there is more to
come out of her evidence. For although her heavenly visitants were
simply sensorial illusions, there yet remains something unexplained. How
came she to foresee the path she was destined to follow? The inquiry
would launch us on a broad and wild sea of conjecture, for the
navigation of which we have not yet the requisite charts on board, and
it grows late--so good-night, dear Archy.

    "Suadentque cadentia sidera somnum."
        "Cras ingens iterabimus æquor."

    Yours, &c.,
            MAC DAVUS.



There is a tremendous valley opening all the way down, from the central
summits of the ridge of the Monts Dor, quite into the undulating, and
thence into the flat country, lying westward of this mountain chain.
Where the valley commences, it is nothing more than a combination of
mountain gullies, and is like a wild and precipitous ravine; but by
degrees it widens out into spacious amphitheatres, and at times
contracts itself again so as barely to allow of a struggling river to
make its way betwixt the rocky sides. In some places, the valley makes a
straight reach four or five miles in extent, but in others, winds and
turns about in abrupt and varied curves; its descent is now gradual, and
now rapid, where the stream dashes over ledges of rock or cuts its way
through some rough and stubborn pass. Nearly all the ravines and smaller
valleys that open into it bring down their contributions of mountain
torrents; and the whole collection of waters, thus wending their way to
the ocean, form what is called the Dor. This river meets with the Dogne
lower down in its course; and, under the joint name of the two waters,
the flood rushes broad and strong through Guienne into the Gironde. The
high and bare mountain whence the Dor derives its principal source is
the Pic de Sancy, the loftiest hill in the middle of France; it is the
king of all the volcanoes of this vast igneous chain, and has its sides
deeply furrowed and excavated into immense craters or volcanic vents.
From it proceed numerous branches or arms, composed of basaltic currents
congealed into columnar masses in the early days of the world. These
stretch out league after league, away from their parent head, and
present on their tops vast plateaux of green and moory pasture-land;
while their sides are either abrupt precipices of basaltic columns, or
else are clothed with primeval forests, which have sprung up and still
flourish on the rich materials of their decomposing slopes. The valley
of the Dor is therefore shut in either by precipitous volcanic walls, or
is guarded by sombre woods. Once on the tops of the plateaux, and you
may ride a whole day on unbroken turf; or, if you penetrate within the
forest lands, you may wander for any time you please, days or weeks,
without seeing either their beginning or their end. On the summits of
the mountains around, snow is to be found in patches, even in the
hottest days of summer; and as the Pic de Sancy is more than six
thousand feet above the level of the sea, almost every gradation of
climate is to be found amongst these lonely hills. In the dog-days, the
valleys are so hot that you gladly escape to the upper lands for air and
coolness; but the winter sets in, in October, and the valley of the Dor
is then covered deep with snow for many a long month. The Dor itself is
a pleasant lively stream: it can boast of some picturesque falls here
and there, but it is commonly a "brawling brook," winding about at its
pleasure; allowing itself to be forded every now and then; and producing
plenty of small trout for those who like to waste their time in fishing.

The urchins of the peasant tribe know how to get these finny creatures
more cannily than the professed angler; you may see them on a summer's
morning wading up the stream, and hunting under every stone, and in each
little pool, for the objects of their search. As soon as they see a
trout, they drive it into little convenient nooks that they know of, and
there--how they manage it nobody knows, but the result is certain--they
catch them with their hands or knock them on the head with their sticks;
and will always produce you a respectable dish at a few hours' notice.

About a couple of leagues below the Pic de Sancy, towards the west, one
of the plateaux on the northern side of the valley assumes an
exceedingly bold and regular appearance; it is called the Plateau de
l'Angle--perhaps from its making, by an abrupt termination, the corner
of two valleys; and it towers out like a promontory at sea, soaring
some four or five hundred feet above the bed of the river. Not very far
from where this plateau is cut off--a mile or so--there is a bold
cascade dashing over its side, and carrying off the superfluous waters
of a pool and morass higher up in the bosom of the mountains. Here the
basaltic precipice is hollowed out into a circling chasm, and over its
black face rushes the impetuous stream upon a huge chaos of rocks and
debris below, foaming and roaring until it finds its way into the Dor
far down in the valley at its foot. A few hundred feet to the westward
of this cascade, and at the lowest part of the precipitous columnar
cliff, burst forth several copious fountains of hot mineral waters,
half-way to boiling heat when they leave their rocky cells, and ever
keeping up the same degree both of heat and quantity. These are the
springs which give celebrity to the place, and constitute the baths of
Mont Dor.

The Romans--those true "rerum domini"--knew of the spot, as they did of
most other good things within their wide empire; and they frequented
these springs so much that they erected over them a magnificent bathing
establishment, and adorned the spot with a beautiful temple. In the
midst of the present village stand the remains of one and the other of
their buildings; and thus the hydropathic system of the ancients is
allied with the practice of the modern Académie de Médecine. No records
of the destruction, nor indeed of the existence, of this Roman
watering-place have been preserved; probably, the buildings fell into
natural decay, and during the middle ages were allowed to remain
unrepaired and unheeded. Only foundations, broken shafts of columns,
cornices, capitals, and altars are now discernible; but they are enough
to add greatly to the interest of the locality.

At Saint Nectaire, two leagues further down the valley, and indeed at
other spots in it, thermal sources not much inferior to those of Mont
Dor are to be met with; the whole district bears intimate evidence of
its volcanic nature, and the rheumatic or dyspeptic invalid may here get
stewed or washed out to his full satisfaction and lasting benefit.

The village of Mont Dor-les-Bains is, however, that which has been
selected by the _beau monde_ of France as one of their choicest places
of resort; and here public money has been added to the efforts of
private speculation in order to render the baths at once ample and
commodious. Over the best sources is erected a large edifice, the lower
story of which is occupied by halls, and bathing-rooms for every variety
of medical purpose; while above are assembly-rooms, and the apartments
of the Government physician.

The distribution below is most convenient. The water, after issuing from
the rock, is conveyed by distinct channels into numerous baths contained
in small chambers on either side of a large central hall: while other
conduits take it to plunging and swimming baths, to douches, and to
other medical contrivances. In the small single baths you receive the
water piping hot from the rock, at about one hundred degrees of
Fahrenheit; and you may lie there, bolling away--for a constant supply
of the same natural water keeps running into and through your bath--for
hours together, upon payment of _a franc_. The water costs nothing; the
building has been erected at the public expense, and the visitor
therefore enjoys this luxury at a moderate rate. For the poorer class of
patients gratuitous baths are provided; and in fact the gifts of nature
are here grudged to no one, but every man's wants may be gratified in a
liberal manner.

By four o'clock in the morning of a summer day, you may see a train of
ghost-like beings winding along the village street, clad in the simple
attire of a chemise, a blanket, and the eternal nightcap--lean,
sallow-faced, or crippled mortals, who have had the wise precaution to
undress at home, and not being afraid of shocking the wood-nymphs from
their propriety, sally forth to court the Goddess of Health. They
congregate in a dark cellar-like chamber, round an ample and steaming
pool, and then sink into it, to forget for a while all their pains and
maladies, and to enjoy that indescribably delightful sensation of having
the joints gently unscrewed and fresh oiled. Others, whose shoulders
and backs have known the pangs of lumbago and acute rheumatism, are put
under one of the douches; and down comes on them a discharge of the hot
fluid as if from the hose of a fire-engine, or as though shot out from
some bursting steam-boiler. Away fly the pains and troubles of humanity;
the rickety machine is put in order for that day at least, and
twenty-four hours of peaceful enjoyment is the almost invariable

Later on in the morning, the fashionable visitors crawl forth to the
baths; but not so late that nine o'clock does not see them all safely
housed again after their ablutions, shaving or curling away with might
and main to get ready for a grand _déjeuner_. For here, as at Bath, not
only is it well to remember the inscription,--

    "[Greek: ariston men udôr]"

but it would be advisable to add,

    "[Greek: Brôma de megistôn]:"

seeing that the appetite which is got up by all this early rising, and
steaming, and washing, is doomed to be satisfied in a way fully worthy
of the most refined French _cuisine_.

In the village there are numerous hotels and boarding-houses, capable of
suiting the pockets and the wishes of all the middling, and even of the
lower classes of society:--but there are three or four principal
houses,--and especially two, reserved for the aristocracy; and here all
the _élite_ of the visitors congregate. We wealthy English may laugh at
the moderate expense for which this kind of thing can be done in France,
but we are not apt to grumble at it when we find it suit our pockets;
and, therefore, take with you at once the description of the kind of
fare you are likely to meet with here, and the amount of damage it will
do to your fortune. In these large hotels, then, which are commodious
houses, a vast number of bedrooms are provided for the guests, and two
good reception-rooms; besides an immense _salle-à-manger_. Some sixty or
a hundred guests can be accommodated in each house, and can sit down at
table together. Breakfast is served between nine and ten,--and a
glorious breakfast it is! All kinds of good things, which an old
_artiste_ from Paris comes down for the season to cook: ending with
fruits of many kinds and _café-au-lait_--that Continental beverage which
John Bull can no more imitate than he can the wines of the Rhone or the
Rhine:--in short, 'tis as good a breakfast as they could put on the
table at Verey's. Dinner is ready at six, and maintains its proper
superiority over the breakfast, both in the number of dishes and in the
length of its service. The wines are good, and the fruits delicious, for
they all come from Clermont--whence many a wagon-load of comestibles is
tugged weekly over the mountains to satisfy the exigencies of the
fastidious invalids!

Well: they give you these two glorious spreads, your room, your light,
your linen, and your attendance, for _five francs a-day_.

And how is this day passed? Why, 'tis a true castle of indolence, is
Mont Dor-les-Bains; "a pleasing land of sleepy-head," where every one
follows the bent of his own fancy, and where the only serious occupation
is, to forget all care and to do nothing. After rising from the
breakfast table, parties are immediately formed for the promenade or the
distant excursion; and, for the latter, some two or three score of boys
and girls are stationed on the Grande Place, each in charge of an animal
disguised with the name of a horse, which you hire for the whole day, to
go where, and how far you please, for the enormous sum of _two francs_.
It is true that the animal has neither symmetry nor blood, but it is the
indigenous pony of these mountains; it is a slow, sure-footed beast, and
it will carry you up and down the steepest hill-side with exemplary
patience and sagacity. Do not lose your own patience, however, if you
mount one of them. They have no trotting, nor galloping, nor any other
pace whatever in them, out of the half-amble half-walk at which they
commonly proceed. But then, they know no better food than
mountain-grass, or the occasional luxury of some chopped straw, and they
will follow you all round the village for a slice of bread held before
their noses. Nevertheless they suit the country; they accommodate the
visitors; and there is not a spare horse to be got in the village by
half-past ten, for love or money.

The day's ramble ended, and dinner duly dismissed, every body--that is
to say, every body who is any body at all--adjourns to the _salle de
réunion_, the large assembly-room built over the baths. This is really a
handsome well-arranged ball-room, full of mirrors, ottomans, and
benches; at one end is a billiard and card room, and behind are rooms
for robing. Here, upon the payment of a napoleon, you have the _entrée_
for the season; and here the guests meet, more upon the terms of a large
family than as though they were strangers. Etiquette is relaxed; every
body knows every body. The elder men take to billiards and
_écarté_,--the graver ladies form into little _côteries_; a younger one
goes to the piano, a circle is made, a romance is sung; and then, as the
strain becomes lighter, the feet beat in sympathy, and the gay quadrille
is formed. At eight or nine o'clock the room is at its fullest; the
village minstrels are called in--some half-dozen violins, a clarionet,
and a cornet; the music becomes louder, the mazy waltz is danced, and
the enjoyment of the day is at its crowning point.

Happy, happy days! still happier, still more delightful nights! No
trouble, no excess--health and cheerfulness going hand-in-hand. The most
refined society in France, and yet the most simple and most unaffected;
good-humour and politeness ruling all things: all calculated for
enjoyment, nought for disquietude and regret!

At eleven o'clock it is understood that every body vacates the room;
and, within half an hour after, not a sound is to be heard in the
village, save the dash of the cascade, and the murmuring of the silvery


Well: 'tis a motley assemblage this! The world is checkered here not
less than in the noisy and elegant capital; and man's peculiarities,
man's excellencies, and man's defects, follow him even into the heart of
these wild mountains, showing themselves in these smaller groups, not
less strongly than amid the crowded streets of Paris! How should it be
otherwise? Does not every one come hither to unbend, to throw off the
stiff mask of metropolitan society for the moment, and to become
themselves natural while they invoke the aid of nature's healthy
influence? The strict etiquette of the Faubourg St Germain may here be
safely laid aside awhile; and the inspirations of country life, the
happy the delightful inspirations of youth, may be once more resumed.
What a comfort to be able to get out of the buckram and taffetas of the
court, to put on one's _négligé_, or one's shooting-jacket, and to keep
company awhile with no less cheerful companions than the songsters and
the rangers of the forest! Why it does one's inmost soul good to fly
away from the din and turmoil, even of the pleasure-seeking Parisians,
and to revert to the simple, yet grand and expansive ideas which scenery
such as this of Mont Dor brings into the mind in an instant.

True: the mountains increase in magnitude and grandeur as you approach
them; once within their lofty and austere recesses, and their sublimity
makes itself felt. You are brought into immediate contact with some of
the mightiest works of the Creator, and the mind expands of itself,
unconsciously and irresistibly, till it becomes capable of imbibing, of
comprehending, and of enjoying the full magnificence of nature!

But does the courtier, does the citizen lay aside his pack of habits, as
well as his pack of cares, when he becomes a temporary denizen of the
country? Would that it were so! He is cast in a mould--his mind has been
warped: his body requires moistening with the freshest and the earliest
dews of many an "incense-breathing morn," ere it can resume the full
elasticity and joyous lightness of rustic activity; and his soul wants a
long oblivion of all conventional preoccupation, all trouble and all
intrigue, ere it can recover the tone and temper of younger days.

Now, I had been saying all this to myself, and should have gone on
moralising till the weary hour of noon, perhaps; but while I was
leaning over the balustrade of my window, looking down into the Grande
Place----Oh yes, to be sure! there is a Grande Place at Mont
Dor-les-Bains, as well as at any other town, village, or city. Did you
ever in your life hear or see any thing French to which the epithet of
_Grand_ had not been, by some means or other, tacked on? From the _Grand
Monarque_ at the head of the _Grande Armée_ of the _Grande Nation_, down
to the _Grand limonadier_ of the _Grand Café_ of the _Grande Place_, it
is all _Grand_. Oh, this villanous spirit of exaggeration! this attempt
at the sublime so inevitably linked to the ridiculous!----Just so! I was
leaning over the balustrade of my window, which, from the third story of
the hotel, "gave," as they term it, into the Grande Place. Now it is one
of the most delightful things imaginable, after you have indulged in
your morning's ablutions, and have produced that indefinable lilac tint
on your chin, which tells of easy shaving soap and a Rogers's true old
English razor, to don your shawl dressing-gown, and, having adjusted
your _bonnet grec_ towards the right side of your head, so as to allow
the glossy curl to escape and hang pendant on the left; when all this is
done, to "light the brown cigar," to put yourself in an elegant
reclining posture between your opening _jalousies_, and, with both
elbows resting on the red velvet cushion that crowns the hard edge of
the balustrade, to puff forth light wreaths of blue vapour into the
balmy air, and to see the bathers come back from the baths. There you
may "think down hours to moments:" and so was it with myself; for I took
my post at my window by half-past six, and at nine I was still there.
Every now and then went forth my curling column; then my eye would catch
the glorious "mountain-tops bathed in the golden light of morn;" then I
would give a glance at sublunary things awhile, and speculate on the
moving animals below; then puff, and gaze, and speculate again; and all
that while be the happiest of men, in the absolute absence of any thing
but perfect idleness.

You may say what you please, but it does the mind good to think of
nothing at times; to let the impressions of passing events glide through
the soul, and titillate the imagination, but to "leave no trace behind."
Oh yes! this fairy dancing on the sands of life's dull shore, is very
pleasant occupation for a summer morn, and eke a summer eve. It is
poetical, to say the least of it; and day-dreams may sometimes prove not
less agreeable than those mysterious scenes of night, when the soul
quits her corporeal shackles, and roams in pure fancy through the world
of thought, seeing sights of beauty, and scenes of paradisaical
splendour, which the dull organs of bodily vision can never attain unto.
Why! the happiest portion of my life is that which I have passed in the
land of dreams: one third of my existence has been spent there--and I
have friends, and well-known faces, and peaceful valleys, and bright
streams, and strains of ethereal music, which are still and ever vivid
in my waking mind, but at night call me to themselves, and wrap me in a
state of enjoyment which certainly this poor weak body of mind never
could be capable of experiencing. I have positively new, altogether new
and unheard-of ideas--I do not mean irrational ones, nor those
phantasmagoric combinations that haunt the diseased brains of some
wretched mortals--but reasonable, possible, natural ideas of form and
substance, which I am persuaded have their types in some corner or other
of the universe, and which it may perhaps be hereafter my too happy
destiny to witness, and to dwell amongst for ever and for aye. I would
not exchange my dreams for all the realities of----

"_Monsieur! veut-il déjeuner au salon?_" said the slip-shod _garçon_ of
the hotel, tapping me on the shoulder. "The company have all taken their
seats, and I have kept a chair for Monsieur. Does Monsieur prefer
Burgundy or claret? The _vin ordinaire_ is not sufferable: _au reste_,
here is the _carte_, and Monsieur has only to choose."

"'Tis a reality, my friend, that I was not then exactly thinking of--but
breakfast I must, and will. But just tell me, for a minute, where these
people come from, that I see down in the Place there, at that
corner--the old gentleman in nankeen, with the green shade over his
eyes, and the fat little dame by his side; and those young ladies at the
door of the large hotel opposite, and the spruce _militaire_ there at
the window, and that knot of men in long brown surtouts, one of whom is
gesticulating so vehemently."

"_Excusez_, Monsieur, those _gentlemen_ are great politicians," (_grand_
again, thought I!) "and one of them is deputy for the Department--M. de
Beauparler: he has just been voting against the Ministry, sir; he is a
great friend of M. Lafitte, sir; oh, sir! _c'est le plus grand orateur
de notre pays!_ You ought to hear him, sir. As for the young ladies,
sir, they are _les Demoiselles Leroy_: it was their father that you were
remarking just now--the old gentleman--very short-sighted, sir--he is
immensely rich; _Pardi! que sais-je?_" (here he shrugged up his
shoulders to his ears,) "they say he has 50,000 francs a-year!--_c'est
assommant!_" (here he shut his eyes and raised his nose at an angle of
forty-five degrees.) "_Quant aux demoiselles, elles sont_"----(he was
evidently at a loss for an expression; so he extended his first two
fingers to his lips, closing tightly the others and his thumb, and then
blew a kiss with them to the winds.)

Tap! tap! at the door. "Pierre! are you coming down, then? they are
asking for you every where!" And the tightly girded, and somewhat
_altius accincta, fille-de-chambre_--a spruce little black-eyed
_Auvergnate_,--tripped into the room. "_Excusez, milor!_ but Pierre is
such a gossip!" "My good girl, I will detain neither Pierre nor
yourself: give me my coat, dust my room well, and now show me to the

As good luck would have it, Pierre had placed a chair for me next to
Madame de Mirepoix, her husband was on the other side of his
lady,--'twas impossible to be in better company. Opposite to me was a
venerable white-haired mustached gentleman, evidently a military man,
and next to me was a lady, some five-and-forty, or thereabouts, with a
strong Spanish cast of countenance and complexion, and her husband, a
short thick-necked apoplectic-looking man, by her side. The rest of the
company, though various enough in their physiognomical aspect, were
evidently persons of the upper ranks of society, and among them were
several choice specimens of the best and oldest nobility of France. They
seemed all to make one joyous family party, as if they had been
relations rather than strangers; every body was laughing and chatting
with his neighbour; they were plying their forks most vigorously, and
the noise and bustle was excessive.

"What do you think of our baths?" said my lovely neighbour; "for of
course you have already been immersed in, and have tasted the waters." I
humbly alleged the negative. "Well! I declare this _phlegme Britannique_
is insupportable. Why, sir, we were at the bath-house before six this

"Had I but known it, Madame"----

"Ah, just so!" said the little apoplectic gentleman leaning across his
wife to me: "_Monsieur est Anglais! c'est très bien, c'est très bien!_
Monsieur, you do us great honour to come to visit this savage
wilderness. But _voyez-vous_, you would have done much better to have
stopped at Paris; there's nothing here, sir--absolutely nothing! What
are these mountains? Bare rocks! forests, indeed, there are; but there
are forests every where. Give me, sir, the Forêt de Montmorency, even
the Bois de Boulogne; and for rocks, I wish for nothing better than the
Rocher de Cancale." (Here he rubbed his hands excessively, and looked
round the table for a smile at the _bon-mot_.)

"M. Bouton will pardon me," observed the old officer, "but if he had
travelled all over Europe as I have done, he would not wonder at the
desire to change an every-day scene for something new. When our _corps
d'armée_ was traversing the Mont St Bernard, I assure you I never felt
the slightest regret at having quitted Paris:--we could have gone on to
the end of the world with the spirits we then were in. It was the same
in the Pyrenees:--for more reasons than one I was extremely sorry when
we had to quit Pampeluna for Bayonne"--and the old gentleman sighed, and
looked wistfully up at the ceiling, as though many a painful
recollection came across his mind at that moment.

"Which are the finer mountains sir," was my inquiry--"the Pyrenees or
these of Auvergne?"

"You can hardly draw a comparison between them," he replied. "There is
vast extent, width, and height in the Pyrenees, and a certain degree of
savage horror about them, which you do not feel even amidst the
Alps:--they partake of the nature both of France and Spain:--they are
unlike any mountains I know of. But for all this, sir, do not allow
yourself to hold a poor opinion of these heights of Mont Dor: you will
find here scope and exercise for all your enthusiasm, all your love of
the picturesque. Are you fond of shooting and hunting?--well, then, if
you were to remain here during September and October, braving the early
snows which come upon these mountains even in autumn, you would have
your choice of all animals from the wolf to the _chevreuil_ and the
hare, and of all birds from the eagle to the partridge. There are plenty
of snipes on these hills."

"M. le Baron de Bretonville," said Madame Bouton, "do not go to tempt
the English gentleman to any of your hare-brained expeditions: he is
come here to enjoy the baths:--he is a victim to the spleen; he must be
danced and talked and bathed into good health, and a little vivacity
first of all. When we all leave the baths, we will give him permission
to stop behind with you, and you may kill all the game you can find. At
present we want a cavalier for our expedition: there is Madame
d'Arlincourt, and Madame de Tourzel, and the Duchesse de Vauvilliers,
and Madame de Mirepoix there, on your right--why these ladies are all
here by themselves; they want a cavalier this very morning.
_Figurez-vous_, Monsieur!" and the lady turned towards me--"we want
somebody to come and find our ponies for us, and to take care of our
shawls, and to carry our books, and our stools, and positively, with the
exception of two officers who are at the other hotel, I do not know whom
to ask. We engage you, sir, for the whole of this very day: our

"I thought, Madame, that these ladies were all alone here."

"Ah!--our husbands, _ça va sans dire_!--but gentlemen of that kind do
nothing else than play billiards all the morning."

"It is only the young and the gallant," here interposed Madame de
Mirepoix "that dare to face our forests.--You shall teach us all some
English as we ride along: I could give any thing to master your
barbarous language:--you have only one musical word in it--_moonlight_."

Now, I know not what there was in the pronunciation of Madame de
Mirepoix, but though the word had never before entered into my
imagination as any thing but one of the most commonplace of our
vocabulary, there was a witchery in the sound as it flowed forth from
her swelling lips that riveted my attention, and set my imagination on
fire. 'Tis the same with French:--how refined and how mellow soever may
be the utterance of the most polished courtier of France, of the most
learned academician of the Institute, there is sometimes a rich pouting
sound, a sort of velvety and oily intonation, that distinguishes the
speech of the women of high birth such as I never heard in any other
country. It is not to be defined: but whoso has drunk in the golden
tones of such a syren, will know what I mean. Moonlight! yes, 'tis a
pleasing word, by its signification and its associated ideas, if not by
its own innate harmony: yes; I have learned the full influence and
sweetness of moonlight, whether in the summer woodland or in the wintry
cloister; true, there is both music and poetry, ay and something else,
in moonlight.

"I agree to the thing, Madame la Marquise, if not to the sound; nothing
could be more beautiful than the latter as you have pronounced it,
except the reality, amidst these mountains and these retired deep-green

"Nous le verrons, peut-être."


All the great valleys that branch out from the sides of the volcanic
chain of Auvergne were once, no doubt, filled with impenetrable forests:
gloomy wildernesses, thick as those of American wilds, where scarcely
the light of the sun could penetrate, and tenanted only by the wolf,
the bear, the boar, and the stag. Now these forests have disappeared
from the eastern and western skirts of the chain, and are to be found in
primitive luxuriance only in the centre, where civilisation and the
destroying step of man have not made their way. Here the original forest
is still to be seen in all its pride; untouched, untrimmed, unheeded by
man: full of all its sublime grandeur--solemn, vast, and mysterious as
forests have ever been; sobering, soothing, and beautiful as forests
will ever be. In some of the valleys the trees are principally of the
deciduous kind; enormous oaks, and chestnuts, and beeches, filling up
the vacant space left by the granitic walls on either side: but in the
higher regions of the mountainous district, in the more hidden recesses
of the hills, they are all of the silver-fir species, and they attain a
luxuriance of growth not to be imagined but by those who have studied
this, the noblest of the whole tribe of pines. Here forests occur,
leagues upon leagues in extent, filling up wide and winding valleys;
running out upon the elevated plateaux of the mountains; and wrapping
the whole country in gloomy majesty. You may ride day after day through
these intricate sylvan scenes, and never cross the track of a human
being: or you may emerge from the depth of the wood, at some unexpected
turn of a valley, upon a delightful little farm or village in a green
glade of welcome verdure; and you may there witness the extreme
simplicity of the hardy mountaineers. Still higher up on the hills, and
on the vast pasture grounds that reach up to their summits, along the
gently descending plateaux, occurs the birch, luxuriating in the cold
exposure of its habitation as though it were in Siberia instead of
France: and ever and anon, whether high up or low down the sides of the
hills, you will find the box and the juniper bushes flourishing in
perennial perfection.

It is curious to see the enormous size to which the silver-fir will here
attain. Sometimes this tree rises with the utmost regularity--sending
out its branches at equal intervals, tier above tier--itself tapering
upwards, and each circle of branches decreasing in diameter until a
hundred and fifty feet are gained. The stems of some of these giants of
the forest are eighteen feet in circumference at the height of a man
from the ground, and their lower branches would of themselves form trees
such as many a trim and well-kept park could never boast of. At other
times the original tree will have met with an accidental fracture when
young, and after going up twenty or thirty feet from the ground, as an
immense wooden column, will throw out three or four other trees from its
summit, which will all shoot up parallel to each other into the air and
form a little forest of themselves. Very frequently, however, it happens
that the tree has been contorted in its early growth, and then broken
afterwards: in such cases it seems to have forgotten its nature
completely, and to have gone mad in its spirit of increase; for it turns
and forces itself into the strangest convolutions and intricacies of
form. It becomes like a short stunted oak, or a thickly knotted thorn:
or it might sometimes be mistaken for a willow, at others for a
cedar--for any thing but one of the same species as the stately spire of
wood that soars up into the heaven close by its side.

When the tree becomes quite dead, blasted by lightning, or injured by
the attacks of animals at its base, it does not therefore lose all its
beauty; for it becomes immediately covered with a peculiar gray lichen
of great length and luxuriance; occupying every branch and twig of the
dead tree, and clothing it, as it were, with a second but a new kind of
foliage. This lichen will sometimes hang down from the branches in
strings of weeping vegetation to the length of five feet and more. You
may sometimes ride under the living tree where this parasitical foliage
is mixed with the real covering of the boughs, forming the most
anomalous, and yet the most picturesque of contrasts.

In forests of this kind, the undergrowth of brushwood of every variety
is exceedingly abundant and beautiful: every woodland shrub is to be
found there--the hazel especially--and the thickets thereby formed are
quite impenetrable. As the older and larger trees decay, they lose
their footing in the soil, and fall in every variety of strange
position--presenting a picture of desolation, the effect of which is at
first strange to the mind, and at last becomes even painful. But
wherever a tree falls, there a luxuriant growth of moss succeeds: a
little peat-bed forms itself underneath: generations after generations
of mosses and watery plants succeed one another; and in time the
prostrate trunk is entirely buried under a bright-green bed, soft as
down, but treacherous to the foot as a quicksand. Often may the wanderer
amid these wild glades think to throw himself on one of these inviting
couches; and, bounding on to it, he sinks five or six feet through moss
and weed and dirty peat, till his descent is stopped by the skeleton of
the vast tree that lies beneath. Wild flowers grow all around: and every
spot of ground that will produce them is covered in the summer season
with the tempting little red strawberry, or the wild raspberry, or the
blushing rose. Above all, still keep peering, in solemn and interminable
array, the vast monarchs of the wood, the stately and elegant

When you attempt to leave the forests and advance towards the upper
grounds, you commonly find yourself stopped by a precipitous wall of
basaltic columns, ranging from sixty to seventy feet in height in one
unbroken shaft, and forming a vast barrier for miles and miles in
length. In some places, these gray basaltic walls come circling round,
and constitute an immense natural theatre, sombre and grand as the
forest itself. No sound is there heard save the dashing of a distant
cascade, or the wind in deep symphony rushing through the slow-waving
tops of the trees. Below is a carpet of the most lively green,
variegated with turfs of wild flowers and fruits--one of nature's
secret, yet choicest gardens. Through the midst trickles a silvery
stream, coming you know not whence, but musical in its course, and soon
losing itself in the thick underwood that borders the spot all around.
Such is the Salle de Mirabeau--one of the loveliest of the many lovely
hiding-places of these sublime forests.

The feathered tenants of these woods are mostly birds of prey, or at all
events such as the raven, the jay, the pie, and others which can either
defend themselves against, or escape from, the falcons that consider
these solitudes as their own especial domains. The voices of few
singing-birds are to be heard; they have taken refuge nearer the
habitations of man: but the hooting of the owl, the beating of the
woodpecker, and the screaming of kites and hawks, are all the living
sounds that proceed here from the air. Red-deer, wolves, wild-boars,
roebucks, and foxes, are the denizens of these forests and these
mountains: there is room here for them all to live at their ease; and
they abound. No one with a good barrel and a sure aim, ever entered
these forests in vain: his burden is commonly more than he can carry
home. It is in fact a glorious country for the sportsman; for the lower
ranges of the hills abound in hares, the cultivated grounds have plenty
of partridges and quails, and the forests are tenanted as has been seen.
He who can content himself with his gun or his rod--for the streams are
full of trout--may here pass a golden age, without a thought for the
morrow, without a desire unfulfilled.

Certainly, if I wished to retire from the world and lead a life of
philosophic indifference, not altogether out of the reach of society
when I wanted it, these hills and these forests of Auvergne, and the
Mont Dor, would be the spots I should select. The mind here would become
attuned to the grand harmonies of nature's own making; here, philosophy
might be cultivated in good earnest; here, books might be studied and
theories digested, without interruption and with inward profit. Here, a
man might cultivate both science and art, and he might become again the
free and happy being which, until he betook himself to congregating in
towns, he was destined to be. Yes! when I do withdraw from this world's
vanities and troubles, give me forests and mountains like those of Mont


The pugnacity of Irishmen has grown into a proverb, until, in the belief
of many, a genuine Milesian is never at peace but when fighting. With
certain nations, certain habits are inseparably associated as peculiarly
characterising them. Thus, in vulgar apprehension, the Frenchman dances,
the German smokes, the Spaniard serenades; and on all hands it is agreed
that the Irishman fights. Naturally bellicose, his practice is
pugnacious: antagonism is his salient and distinctive quality. Born in a
squabble, he dies in a shindy: in his cradle he squeals a challenge; his
latest groan is a sound of defiance. Pike and pistol are manifest in his
well-developed bump of combativeness; his name is FIGHT, there can be no
mistake about it. From highest to lowest--in the peer and the
bog-trotter, the inherent propensity breaks forth, more or less modified
by station and education.

Be its expression parliamentary or popular, in Donnybrook or St
Stephen's, out it will. "Show me the man who'll tread on my coat!"
shouts ragged Pat, flourishing his shillelagh as he hurls his
dilapidated garment on the shebeen-house floor. From his seat in the
senate, a joint of the "Tail" intimates, in more polished but equally
intelligible phrase, his inclination for a turn upon the turf. Wherever
blows are rife, Hibernia's sons appear; in big fights or little wars the
shamrock gleams in the van. No matter the cloth, so long as the quarrel
be there. In Austrian white, or Spanish yellow, or Prussian blue,--even
in the blood-coloured breeks of Gallia's legions, but especially, and
preferred above all, in the "old red rag" of the British grenadier, have
Irishmen displayed their valour. And on the list of heroes whom the
Green Isle has produced, a proud and prominent place is justly held by
that gallant corps, the Rangers of Connaught.

Those of our civilian readers to whom the word "Ranger" is more
suggestive of bushes and kangaroos, or of London parks and princes of
the blood, than of parades and battle-fields, are referred to page 49 of
the Army List. They will there find something to the following effect:--


    The Harp and Crown.

    _"Quis Separabit?"_

    The Sphinx, "Egypt."
    "Talavera." "Busaco."
    "Fuentes d'Onore."
    "Cindad Rodrigo."
    "Badajoz." "Salamanca."
    "Nivelle." "Orthes."

There is a forest of well-won laurels in this dozen of names. They form
a proud blazon for any corps, and one that might satisfy the most
covetous of honour. But of all men in the world, old soldiers are the
hardest to content. They are patented grumblers. Napoleon knew it, and
christened his _vieille garde_ his _grognards_: tough and true as steel,
they yet would have their growl. Now the lads of the Eighty-Eighth,
having proved themselves better men even than the veteran guards of the
Corsican corporal, also claim the grumbler's privilege, setting forth
sundry griefs and grave causes of complaint. They are not allowed the
word "Pyrenees" upon their colours, although, at the fight of that name,
they not only were present, but rendered good service:--whilst for
Waterloo many a man got a medal who, during the whole battle, was scarce
within boom of cannon. During more than four years of long marches,
short commons, severe hardships, and frequent fighting, the general
commanding the third division--the fighting division, as it was
called--viewed the Connaughters with dislike, even stigmatised them as
confirmed marauders, and recommended none of their officers for
promotion, although many greatly distinguished themselves, and
some,--the brave Mackie, at Ciudad Rodrigo, for instance--successfully
led forlorn-hopes. Finally, passing over the old sore of non-decoration
for Peninsular services, since that, common to many regiments, is at
last about to be healed,--Mr Robinson, the biographer of Sir Thomas
Picton, has dared, in order to vindicate the harsh and partial conduct
of his hero, to cast dust upon the facings of the brave boys of
Connaught. It need hardly be said that they have found defenders. Of
these, the most recent is Lieutenant Grattan, formerly an officer of the
Eighty-eighth, and who, after making a vigorous stand, in the pages of a
military periodical, against the calumniators of his old corps, has
brought up his reserves and come to its support in a book of his own.
His volumes, however, are not devoted to mere controversy. He has
understood that he should best state the case, establish the merits, and
confound the enemies of his regiment, by a faithful narrative of his and
its adventures, triumphs, and sufferings. Thus, whilst he has seized the
opportunity to deal out some hard knocks to those who have blamed the
conduct (none have ever impugned the courage) of the Connaught Rangers,
he has produced an entertaining book, thoroughly Irish in character,
where the ludicrous and the horrible, the rollicking and the
slaughtering, mingle and alternate. Even when most indignant, good
humour and a love of fun peep through his pages. His prologue or
preamble, entitled "An Answer to some attacks in Robinson's Life of
Picton," although redolent of "slugs in a sawpit," is full of the
national humour. "Frequently," Mr Robinson has asserted, "just before
going into battle, it would be found, upon inspection, that one-half of
the Eighty-eighth regiment were without ammunition, having acquired a
pernicious habit of exchanging the cartridge for _aguardiente_, and
substituting in their places pieces of wood, cut and coloured to
resemble them." Such things have been heard of, even in very
well-regulated regiments, as the exchange of powder and ball for brandy
and other creature comforts; but it is very unlikely that the practice
should have prevailed to any thing like the extent here set down, in a
British army in active service and under Wellington's command, and the
artfully prepared quaker-cartridges increase the improbability of the
statement. Lieutenant Grattan scouts the tale as a base fabrication,
lashes out in fine style at its propagator, and claims great merit for
the officers who taught their men to beat the best troops in the world
with timber ammunition. He puts forward a more serious refutation by a
string of certificates from men and officers of all ranks who served
with him in the Peninsula, and who strenuously repel the charge as a
malignant calumny.

It was at the close of the campaign of 1809, that the historian of the
Connaught Rangers, then a newly commissioned youngster, joined, within a
march of Badajoz, the first battalion of his regiment. The palmy and
triumphant days of the British army in the Peninsula could then hardly
be said to have begun. True, they had had victories; the hard-earned one
of Talavera had been gained only three months previously, but the
general aspect of things was gloomy and disheartening. The campaign had
been one of much privation and fatigue; rations were insufficient,
quarters unhealthy, and Wellington's little army, borne on the
muster-rolls as thirty thousand men, was diminished one-third by
disease. The Portuguese, who numbered nearly as many, were raw and
untried troops, scarce a man of whom had seen fire, and little reliance
could be placed upon them. In spite of Lord Wellington's judicious and
reiterated warnings, the incompetent and conceited Spanish generals
risked repeated engagements, in which their armies--numerous enough, but
ill disciplined, ill armed, and half-starved--were crushed and
exterminated. The French side of the medal presented a very different
picture. Elated by their German victories, their swords yet red with
Austrian blood, Napoleon's best troops and ablest marshals hurried
southwards, sanguinely anticipating, upon the fields of the Peninsula,
an easy continuation of their recent triumphs. Three hundred and sixty
thousand men-at-arms--French, Germans, Italians, Poles, even
Mamelukes--spread themselves over Spain, occupied her towns, and
invested her fortresses. Ninety thousand soldiers, under Massena,
"_l'enfant chéri de la Victoire_," composed the so-called "army of
Portugal," intended to expel from that country, if not to annihilate,
the English leader and his small but resolute band, who, undismayed,
awaited the coming storm. In the ever-memorable lines of Torres Vedras,
the legions of Buonaparte met a stern and effectual dike to their
torrent of headlong aggression. Upon the happy selection and able
defence of those celebrated positions, were based the salvation of the
Peninsula and the subsequent glorious progress of the British arms.
Whilst referring to them, Mr Grattan seizes the opportunity to enumerate
the services rendered by the army in Spain. "The invincible men," he
says, "who defended those lines, aided no doubt by Portuguese and
Spanish soldiers, afterwards fought for a period of four years, during
which time they never suffered one defeat; and from the first
commencement of this gigantic war to its final and victorious
termination, the Peninsular army fought and won nineteen pitched
battles, and innumerable combats; they made or sustained ten sieges,
took four great fortresses, twice expelled the French from Portugal,
preserved Alicant, Carthagena, Cadiz, and Lisbon; they killed, wounded,
and took about _two hundred thousand enemies_, and the bones of forty
thousand British soldiers lie scattered on the plains and mountains of
the Peninsula." And thereupon our friend, the Connaughter, bursts out
into indignation that warriors who did such deeds, and, on _fifteen_
different occasions received the thanks of parliament, should have been
denied a medal for their services. Certainly, when men who went through
the whole, or the greater part, of those terrible campaigns, which they
began as commissioned officers, are now seen holding no higher than a
lieutenant's rank, one cannot but recognise their title to some
additional recompense, and marvel that the modest and well-merited badge
they claim should so long have been refused them. Mr Grattan puts much
of the blame of such refusal at the door of the Duke of Wellington. Not
that he is usually a depreciator of his former leader, of whose military
genius and great achievements he ever speaks with respect amounting to
veneration. But he does not hesitate to accuse him of having sacrificed
his old followers and friends to his own vanity, which petty feeling, he
maintains, made the Duke desire that the only medal granted for the war
against Napoleon, should be given for the only victory in which he beat
the Emperor in person. We believe that many Peninsular officers, puzzled
to account for the constant and seemingly causeless refusal of the
coveted decoration, hold the same opinion with Mr Grattan. We esteem it
rather plausible than sound. The names Of WELLINGTON and WATERLOO would
not the less be immortally associated because a cross bearing those of
PENINSULA and PYRENEES, or any other appropriate legend, shone upon the
breasts of that "old Spanish infantry," of whom the Duke always spoke
with affection and esteem, and to whom he unquestionably is mainly
indebted for the wealth, honours, and fame which, for more than thirty
years, he has tranquilly enjoyed. Moreover, we cannot credit such
selfishness on the part of such a man, or believe that he, to whom a
grateful sovereign and country decerned every recompense in their power
to bestow, would be so thankless to the men to whose sweat and blood he
mainly owed his success--to men who bore him, it may truly be said, upon
their shoulders, to the highest pinnacle of greatness a British subject
can possibly attain. Waterloo concluded the war: its results were
immense, the conduct of the troops engaged heroic; but when we compare
the amount of glory there gained with the renown accumulated during six
years' warfare--a renown undimmed by a single reverse;--still more, when
we contrast the dangers and hardships of one short campaign, however
brilliant, with those of half-a-dozen long ones crowded with battles and
sieges, we must admit that if the victors of La Belle Alliance nobly
earned their medal, the veterans of Salamanca and Badajoz, Vittoria and
Toulouse, have a threefold claim to a similar reward. They have long
been unjustly deprived of it, and now comparatively few remain to
receive the tardily-accorded distinction.

The first action to which Mr Grattan refers, as having himself taken
share in, is that of Busaco. The name is familiar to every body, but
yet, of all the Peninsular battles, it is perhaps the one of which least
is generally known. It was not a very bloody fight--the loss in killed
and wounded having been barely seven per cent of the numbers engaged;
still it was a highly important one, as testing the quality of the
Portuguese levies, upon which much depended. Upon the whole, they
behaved pretty well, although they committed one or two awkward
blunders, and one of their militia regiments took to flight at the first
volley fired by their own friends. Mr Grattan does not usually set
himself up as a historical authority with respect to battles, except in
matters pertaining to his own regiment or brigade, and which came under
his own observation. Nevertheless, concerning Busaco, he speaks boldly
out, and asserts his belief that no correct report of the action exists
in print. Napier derives his account of it from Colonel Waller, whose
statement is totally incorrect, and has been expressly contradicted by
various officers (amongst others, by General King) who fought that day
with Picton's division. Colonel Napier's strong partiality to the light
division sometimes prevents his doing full justice to other portions of
the army. In this instance, however, any error he has fallen into,
arises from his being misinformed. He himself was far away to the left,
fighting with his own corps, and could know nothing, from personal
observation, of the proceedings of Picton's men. Opposed to a very
superior force, including some of the best regiments of the whole French
army, they had their hands full; and the Eighty-eighth, especially,
covered themselves with glory. At one time, the Rangers had not only the
French fire to endure, but also that of the Eighth Portuguese, whose
ill-directed volleys crossed their line of march. An officer sent to
warn the Senhores of the mischief they did, received, before he could
fulfil his mission, a French and a Portuguese bullet, and the Eighth
continued their reckless discharge. But no cross-fire could daunt the
men of Connaught. "Push home to the muzzle!" was the word of their
gallant lieutenant-colonel, Wallace; and push home they did, totally
routing their opponents, and nearly destroying the French Thirty-sixth,
a pet battalion of the Emperor's. Stimulus was not wanting; Wellington
stood by, and, with his staff and several generals, watched the charge.
The Eighty-eighth were greatly outnumbered, and Marshal Beresford, their
colonel, "expressed some uneasiness when he saw his regiment about to
plunge into this unequal contest. But when they were mixed with
Regnier's division, and putting them to flight down the hill, Lord
Wellington, tapping Beresford on the shoulder, said to him, 'Well
Beresford, look at them now!'" And when the work was done, and the fight
over, Wellington rode up to Colonel Wallace, and seizing him warmly by
the hand, said, "Wallace, I never witnessed a more gallant charge than
that made by your regiment!" Beresford spoke to several of the men by
name, and shook the officers' hands; and even Picton forgot his
prejudice against the regiment, whom he had once designated as the
"Connaught foot-pads," and expressed himself satisfied with their
conduct. Many of the men shed tears of joy. So susceptible are soldiers
to praise and kindness, and so easy is it by a few well-timed words to
repay their toils and perils, and renew their store of confidence and
hope. And numerous were the occasions during the Peninsular contest when
they needed all the encouragement that could be given them. After
Busaco, when blockaded in the lines of Torres Vedras, their situation
was far from agreeable. The wet season set in, and their huts, roofed
with heather--a pleasant shelter when the sun shone, but very
ineffectual to resist autumnal rains--became untenable. Every device was
resorted to for the exclusion of the deluge, but in vain. Fortunately,
the French were in a still worse plight. In miserable cantonments, short
of provisions and attacked by disease, the horses died, and the men
deserted; until, on the 14th November, Massena broke up his camp, and
retired upon Santarem. The Anglo-Portuguese army made a corresponding
movement into more comfortable quarters, and rumours were abroad of an
approaching engagement; but it did not take place, and a period of
comparative relaxation succeeded one of severe hardship and arduous
duty. Men and officers made the most of the holiday. There was never any
thing of the martinet about the Duke. He was not the man to harass with
unnecessary and vexations drills, or rigidly to enforce unimportant
rules. Those persons, whether military or otherwise, who consider a
strictly regulation uniform as essential to the composition of a British
soldier, as a stout heart and a strong arm, and who stickle for a
closely buttoned jacket, a stiff stock, and the due allowance of
pipe-clay, would have been somewhat scandalised, could they have beheld
the equipment of Wellington's army in the Peninsula. Mr Grattan gives a
comical account of the various fantastical fashions and conceits
prevalent amongst the officers. "Provided," he says, "we brought our men
into the field well-appointed, and with sixty rounds of good ammunition
each, he (the Duke) never looked to see whether their trousers were
black, blue, or grey; and as to ourselves, we might be rigged out in all
the colours of the rainbow, if we fancied it." The officers, especially
the young subs, availed themselves largely of this judicious laxity, and
the result was a medley of costume, rather picturesque than military.
Braided coats, long hair, plumed hats, and large mustaches, were amongst
the least of the eccentricities displayed. In a curious spirit of
contradiction, the infantry adopted brass spurs, anticipatory, perhaps,
of their promotion to field-officers' rank; and, bearing in mind, that
"there is nothing like leather," exhibited themselves in ponderous
over-alls, _à la Hongroise_, topped and strapped, and loaded down the
side with buttons and chains. One man, in his rage for singularity, took
the tonsure, shaving the hair off the crown of his head; and another,
having covered his frock-coat with gold tags and lace, was furiously
assaulted by a party of Portuguese sharpshooters, who, seeing him, in
the midst of the enemy's riflemen, whither his headlong courage had led
him, mistook him for a French general, and insisted upon making him
prisoner. And three years later, when Mr Grattan and a party of his
comrades landed in England, in all the glories of velvet waistcoats,
dangling Spanish buttons of gold and silver, and forage caps of fabulous
magnificence, they could hardly fancy that they belonged to the same
service as the red-coated, white-breeched, black-gaitered gentlemen of
Portsmouth garrison.

The embarkation of the British army, which in the summer of 1810 was
deemed imminent both in England and the Peninsula and considered
probable by Lord Liverpool himself, was no longer thought of after
Busaco, save by a few of those croaking gentlemen, who, in camps as in
council-houses, view every thing through smoked spectacles.
Reinforcements, both English and Spanish, reached the lines of Torres
Vedras, which Wellington continued to strengthen, and Massena dared not
attack. The accession of General Drouet's corps increased the army of
the Prince of Essling to upwards of 70,000 men. His cavalry, too, was
twice as strong as that of the British; but, notwithstanding this
superiority, and the desire which he must have felt to retrieve his
fame, tarnished by the repulse at Busaco, and by his fruitless movement
on the lines of Lisbon, Massena remained inert, in front of the man whom
Napoleon's _Moniteur_ contemptuously designated as the "Sepoy General."
Spring approached without either army assuming the offensive, until, on
the 5th of March 1811, the French began their retreat from Portugal,
closely followed up by Wellington. There was little difficulty in
tracing them: they left a broad trail of blood, and desolation. With
bare blade, and blazing brand, they swept across the land; church and
convent, town and village, the farm and the cottage, were given to the
flames; on the most frivolous pretexts, often without one, women,
children, and unarmed men were barbarously murdered; and many a
Portuguese lost his life for refusing to point out treasures which
existed only in the imagination of the fierce and greedy Frenchman.
Enraged at the dearth of provisions, of which they stood in great need,
and which had been every-where removed or destroyed, the retreating army
abandoned themselves to frightful cruelties and excesses. All along the
line of march, the pursuers found piles of bodies, groups of murdered
peasantry, and, mingled with them, the corpses of Frenchmen, often
hideously mutilated, according to the barbarous usage which has been
continued in more recent wars by the vindictive population of the
Peninsula. The retaliation was terrible, but the provocation had been
extreme. Mr Grattan's details of some of the scenes he himself
witnessed, are painfully minute and vivid; and whilst reading them, we
cease to wonder that, after the lapse of a third of a century, hatred of
the French exists almost undiminished in the countries they so cruelly
and wantonly ravaged.

However orderly and well-conducted, there is always something
discouraging in a retreat, as there is a cheerful and exhilarating
feeling attendant on an advance. Nevertheless, during their progress
across Portugal, the French maintained their high reputation. Their
rear-guard, commanded by Marshal Ney, made good fight when pressed by
the British, but their losses were heavy before they reached the Spanish
frontier. This they crossed early in April, and a month later they had
to recross it, to convey supplies to the fortress of Almeida, the only
place in Portugal over which the tricolor still floated. The result of
this movement was the bloody combat of Fuentes d'Onore, a complete but
dearly-bought triumph for our arms. Here the Eighty-eighth nobly
distinguished themselves. At first they were in reserve, whilst for
eight hours two Highland regiments, the Eighty-third and some light
companies, fought desperately in the town, opposed to the fresh troops
which Massena continually sent up. Their loss was very heavy, the
streets were heaped with dead, the heat was excessive, and ammunition
grew scarce. The Highlanders and the French grenadiers fought in the
cemetery, across the graves and tombstones. "Wallace, with his regiment,
the Eighty-eighth, was in reserve on the high ground which overlooked
the churchyard, and was attentively viewing the combat which raged
below, when Sir Edward Pakenham galloped up to him, and said, 'Do you
see that, Wallace?'--'I do,' replied the colonel; 'and I would rather
drive the French out of the town than cover a retreat across the
Coa.'--'Perhaps,' said Sir Edward, 'his lordship don't think it
tenable.' Wallace answering, said, 'I shall take it with my regiment,
and keep it too.'--'Will you?' was the reply; 'I'll go and tell Lord
Wellington so.' In a moment or two, Pakenham returned at a gallop, and
waving his hat, called out, 'He says you may go.--Come along, Wallace!'"

Poor Pakenham! ever foremost to lead a charge or brave a peril. He
deserved a better fate, after his glorious exploits in the Peninsula,
than to be picked off by a sneaking Yankee rifle, in the swampy plains
of New Orleans. But the same "boiling spirit and hasty temper" that won
him laurels in Europe, led him to his death in another hemisphere.
Over-confidence may be pardoned in a man who had so often driven before
him the redoubtable cohorts of the modern Alexander. And one mistake
cannot obliterate the memory of fifty gallant feats.--Full of fight, and
led on by Pakenham, Mackinnon, and Wallace, the Eighty-eighth advanced
at a smart trot into the town, where the French Ninth regiment and a few
hundreds of the Imperial Guard awaited them. Their charge was
irresistible; they cleared the place and drove the enemy into the river.
They even pursued them through it, and several Rangers fell on the
French side of the stream. About a hundred and fifty of the Old Guard
ran into a street, of which the further end was barricaded. Mr Grattan,
whose account of the affair is a graphic and interesting piece of
military narrative, is amusingly cool and _naïf_ in referring to this
incident. "Mistakes of this kind," he says, "will sometimes occur, and
when they do, the result is easily imagined.... In the present instance,
every man was put to death; but our soldiers, _as soon as they had
leisure_, paid the enemy that respect which is due to brave men." We
apprehend that, with the Connaughters, _leisure_, in this sense, was
scanty, at least at Fuentes d'Onore; but, in so close and desperate a
fight, hot blood is apt to drown mercy. The dashing charge of the
Eighty-eighth nearly closed the day's performances, although the French
batteries, admirably served, still peppered the town. Men and officers
sheltered themselves as well as they could, but many were killed; whilst
Pakenham, with reckless bravery, rode about the streets, a mark for the
enemy's shot, which tore up the ground around him whenever he stood
still. "He was in a violent perspiration and covered with dust, his left
hand bound round with a handkerchief, as if he had been wounded; he was
ever in the hottest of the fire: and, if the whole fate of the battle
had depended on his exertions, he could not have fought with more

Amongst the many daring acts witnessed on the bloody day of Fuentes
d'Onore, that of the Spanish guerilla chief, Julian Sanchez, deserves
notice. At the head of his ragged and ill-disciplined band, he had the
temerity to charge a crack French regiment, and, as might be expected,
was sent back with a sore head. Whilst on the subject of guerillas, Mr
Grattan combats an opinion which he believes many persons in this
country entertain, "that the Spaniards and Portuguese did as much, if
not more, during the Peninsular contest, than the British." Here he is
certainly mistaken. Very few persons, out of the Peninsula, have any
such notion. The French know well enough by whom they were beaten. Loth
as they are to acknowledge a thrashing at the hands of their old
antagonists, they do not dream of attributing their defeats to the
"_brigands_," of whom they declare they would have had a very cheap
bargain, but for the intervention of the troublesome English. And
certainly, if the Spaniards and Portuguese had been left to themselves,
although, favoured by the mountainous configuration of the country, they
might long have kept up a desultory contest, they would never have
succeeded in expelling the invaders; for the simple reason that they
were wholly unable to meet them in the plain. Most true it is that,
during the war of independence, the people of the Peninsula gave
numerous examples of bravery and devotion, and still more of long
suffering and patient endurance for their country's sake. The irregular
mode of warfare adopted by the peasantry, the great activity and
constant skirmishings, stratagems, and ambuscades of Mina, the
Empecinado, Sanchez, and many other patriotic and valiant men, greatly
harassed and annoyed the French; and, by compelling them to employ large
bodies of troops in garrison and escort duty, prevented their opposing
an overwhelming force to the comparatively small army under Wellington.
But all that sort of thing, however useful and efficacious as a general
system, and as weakening the enemy, was very petty work when examined in
detail. The great victories, the mighty feats of war that figure in
history's page, were due to British discipline, pluck, and generalship.
And whatever merit remains with the Spaniards, is to be attributed to
their guerillas and irregular partisans. As to their regular troops,
after they had overthrown Dupont at Baylen, they seemed to think they
might doze upon their laurels, which were very soon wrenched from them.
Baylen was their grand triumph, and subsequently to it they did little
in the field. Behind stone walls they still fought well: Spaniards are
brave and tenacious in a fortress, and Saragossa is a proud name in
their annals. Nothing could be better than old General Herrasti's
valiant defence of Cuidad Rodrigo against Ney and his thirty thousand
Frenchmen. The garrison, six thousand strong, lost seven hundred men by
the first day's fire. Only when their guns were silenced, when the town
was on fire in various places, and when several yards of wall were
thrown down by a mine, did the brave governor hoist the white flag.
Other instances of the kind might be cited, when Spanish soldiers fought
as well as mortal men could do. But with respect to pitched battles,
another tale must be told. At Ocaña, Almonacid, and on a dozen other
disastrous fields, Baylen was amply revenged. The loss at Ocaña alone is
rated by Spanish accounts at thirty thousand men, chiefly prisoners. Mr
Grattan estimates it at twenty-five thousand men, and _thirteen thousand
eight hundred and seventy-seven guitars_. Of these latter, he tells us
twelve thousand seven hundred and fifty-two were in cases, and the
remainder without; Indeed he is so exceedingly circumstantial that we
presume he counted them himself. Otherwise, although well aware of the
Spaniard's predilection for the fascinating tinkle of his national
instrument, we could hardly credit the accuracy of the figures. Even a
_Spanish_ general, we should think, would hardly allow his men thus to
encumber themselves with harmony. The march of such an army of
Orpheuses, in which every third soldier shouldered a fiddle-case as a
pendant to his musket, must have been curious to behold; suggesting the
idea that the melodious warriors designed subduing their foes by the
soothing strains of _jotas_ and _cachuchas_, rather than by the more
cogent arguments of sharp steel and ball-cartridge. Great must have been
the tinkling at eventide, exceeding that of the most extensive flock of
merinos that ever cropped Castilian herbage. Was it because they were
certain of a dance that these barrack-yard minstrels came provided with
music, sure, in any case, to have the piper to pay? If the instruments
were provided to celebrate a triumph, they might as well have been left
at home. In Spain, however, time has effaced, or greatly weakened, the
remembrance of many reverses, whilst slight and dubious successes,
carefully treasured up, have swollen by the keeping into mighty
victories; and at the present day, foreigners who should be so
uncourteous and impolitic as to express, in the hearing of Spaniards, a
doubt that Spanish valour was the main agent in driving the French from
the Peninsula, might reckon, not on a stab--knifeing being less in vogue
beyond the Bay of Biscay than is often imagined--but certainly on a
scowl, and probably on an angry contradiction. And in every province,
almost in every town, in Spain the traveller may, if he so pleaseth, be
regaled with marvellous narratives of signal victories, gained over the
_gavachos_, in that immediate neighbourhood, by valiant generals whose
names, so partial is fame, have never transpired beyond the scenes of
their problematical exploits. Under the constitutional system, and owing
to the long civil war, Spanish troops have improved in discipline and in
various other respects; and with good generals, there is no manifest
reason why they should not successfully cope with Frenchmen, although we
doubt whether they could. But in Napoleon's day matters were very
different, and in the open field their chance was desperate. The
Portuguese were doubtless of a better quality; and in the pages of
Napier and other historians, we find them spoken of in terms of praise.
They had British officers to head them, and there is much in good
leading; they had British troops to emulate, and national pride spurred
them on. At the same period, Italians--certainly very poor soldiers when
left to themselves--fought gallantly under French generals, and with
French example before them. Of the general bearing of the Portuguese,
however, we have heard few Peninsular men speak very highly. They appear
to have been extremely inconsistent; brave one day, dastards the next.

At, Ciudad Rodrigo, Mr Grattan greatly lauds their gallantry, which
struck him the more as being unexpected. At Salamanca, on the other
hand, he records their weakness, and the easy repulse of Pack's brigade,
two thousand strong, by four hundred Frenchmen. "Notwithstanding all
that has been said and written of the Portuguese troops, I still hold
the opinion that they are utterly incompetent to stand unsupported and
_countenanced_ by British troops, with any chance of success, against
even half their own numbers of Frenchmen." Again, after Salamanca, when
Wellington and his victorious army advanced on Madrid, the Portuguese
dragoons fled, without striking a blow, before the French lancers,
exposing the reserve of German cavalry to severe loss, abandoning the
artillery to its fate, and tarnishing the triumphal entry of the British
into the capital--within a march of which this disgraceful affair
occurred. Still, to encourage these wavering heroes, it was necessary to
speak civilly of them in despatches; to pat them on the back, and tell
them they were fine fellows. And this has sometimes been misunderstood
by simple persons, who believe all they see in print, and look upon
despatches and bulletins as essentially veracious documents. "I remember
once," says Mr Grattan, "upon my return home in 1813, getting myself
closely cross-examined by an old lawyer, because I said I thought the
Portuguese troops inferior to the French, still more to the British.
'Inferior to the British, sir! I have read Lord Wellington's last
despatch, and he says the Portuguese fought as well as the British; and
I suppose you won't contradict him?' I saw it was vain to convince this
pugnacious old man of the necessity of saying these civil things, and we
parted mutually dissatisfied with each other; he taking me, no doubt,
for a forward young puppy, and I looking upon him as a monstrous old

The Eighty-eighth, we gather from Mr Grattan's narrative, whilst
respected by all as a first-rate battle regiment, was, when the stirring
and serious events of that busy time left a moment for trifling, a
fertile source of amusement to the whole third division. This is not
wonderful. Many of the officers, and all the men, with the exception of
three or four, were Irish, not Anglicised Irishmen, tamed by long
residence amongst the Saxon, but raw, roaring Patlanders, who had grown
and thriven on praties and potheen, and had carried with them to Spain
their rich brogue, their bulls, and an exhaustless stock of gaiety. The
amount of fun and blunders furnished by such a corps was naturally
immense. But if in quarters they were made the subject of much
good-humoured quizzing, in the field their steady valour was justly
appreciated. No regiment in the service contained a larger proportion of
"lads that weren't aisy," which metaphorical phrase, current among the
Rangers, is translated by Mr Grattan as signifying fellows who would
walk into a cannon's month, and think the operation rather a pleasant
one. Whenever a desperate service was to be done, "the boys," as they,
_more Hibernico_, familiarly termed themselves, were foremost in the
ranks of volunteers. The contempt of danger, or non-comprehension of it,
manifested by some of these gentlemen, was perfect. "My fine fellow,"
said an engineer officer, during the unsuccessful siege of Badajoz in
May 1811, to a man under Lieutenant Grattan's orders, who sat outside a
battery, hammering at a fascine; "my fine fellow, you are too much
exposed; get inside the embrasure, and you will do your work nearly as
well." "I'm almost finished, colonel," was the reply, "and it isn't
worth while to move now. Those fellows can't hit me, for they've been
trying it these fifteen minutes." Just then, a round-shot gave the lie
to his prediction by cutting him in two; and, according to their custom,
the French gunners set up a shout of triumph at their successful
practice. Some of the Connaughters, who had never lost sight of their
native bogs till exported to the Peninsula, understood little or no
English beyond the words of command. On an inspection parade, one of
this class was asked by General Mackinnon, to whose squad he belonged.
Bewildered and puzzled, Darby Rooney applied to his sergeant for a
translation of the general's question--thus conveying to the latter an
idea that this was the first time he had heard such a thing as a squad
spoken of. The story got abroad--was, of course, much embellished--and
an hour afterwards the third division was enjoying a prodigious chuckle
at the notion that not one of the Connaughters knew what a squad meant.
The young men laughed, the old officers shook their heads and deplored
the benighted state of the Irishmen; whilst all the time, Mr Grattan
assures us, "the Eighty-eighth was a more really _efficient_ regiment
than almost any _two_ corps in the third division." As efficient as any
they undoubtedly were, when fighting was to be done; but in some other
respects their conduct was less irreproachable. According to their
historian and advocate's own showing, their knapsacks were often too
light and their havresacks too heavy. "A watchcoat, a piece of
pipe-clay, and a button-brush," compose rather a scanty kit: yet those
three articles formed--with the exception of the clothes he stood
in--the entire wardrobe and means of personal adornment of the Rooney
above-named; and many of his comrades were scarce better provided. But
if the back was neglected and left bare, the belly, on the contrary,
was cared for with vigilant affection. On occasion, the Eighty-eighth
could do their work on meagre diet as well, or better than any other
corps. They would march two days on a pipe of tobacco; or for a week,
with the addition of a biscuit and a dram. But when they did such
things, it was no sign of any abstract love of temperance, or wish to
mortify the flesh; it was simply a token of the extreme poverty of the
district in which they found themselves. For the article provend they
always kept a bright look-out. A greasy havresack, especially on the
line of march, is the soldier's first desideratum; and it was rare that
a very respectable workhouse soup could not have been produced by
infusing that of a Connaughter in a proper quantity of water. When
rations were scanty, or commissaries lagged in the rear, none understood
better than the Eighty-eighth how to forage for themselves. "Every man
his own quartermaster" was then their motto. Nothing came amiss to them;
sweet or savoury, from a pig to a bee-hive, they sacked every thing; and
their "taking ways" were often cast in their teeth. The natives were
compelled to mount guard over their sheepfolds; but the utmost force
they could muster was of small avail against the resolute onslaught of
the half-famished Irishmen. Even the exertions of the Provost-marshal,
and the liberal application of the cat, proved ineffectual to check
these depredations; whilst the whimsical arguments used by the fellows
in their defence sometimes disarmed the severity of Picton himself.

It would have been quite out of character for an Irish regiment to march
without ladies in their train, and accordingly the female following of
the Rangers was organised on the most liberal scale. Motley as it was
numerous, it included, besides English and Irish women, a fair
sprinkling of tender-hearted Spaniards and Portuguese, who had been
unable to resist the fascinations of the insinuating Connaughters. The
sufferings of these poor creatures, on long marches, over bad roads and
in wet and cold seasons, were of course terrible, and only to be
equalled by their fidelity to those to whom they had attached
themselves. Their endurance of fatigue was wonderful; their services
were often great; and many a soldier, stretched disabled on the field of
some bloody battle, and suffering from the terrible thirst attendant on
wounds, owed his life to their gentle ministry. In circumstances of
danger, they showed remarkable courage. At the assault of Ciudad
Rodrigo, the baggage-guard, eager to share in the fight, deserted
their post and rushed to the trenches. Immediately a host of
miscreants--fellows who hung on the skirts of the army, watching
opportunities to plunder--made a dash at the camp, but the women
defended it valiantly, and fairly beat them off. Of course feminine
sensibility got a little blunted by a life of this kind, and it was
rarely with very violent emotion that the ladies saw their husbands go
into action. Persuaded of their invincibility, they looked upon success
as certain, and if, unfortunately, the victory left them widows, they
deemed a very short mourning necessary before contracting a new
alliance. Now and then a damsel of birth and breeding would desert the
paternal mansion to follow the drum; and Mr Grattan tells a romantic
history of a certain Jacinta Cherito, the beautiful daughter of a
wealthy judge, who blacked her face and tramped off as a cymbal boy
under the protection of the drum-major of the Eighty-eighth--a
magnificent fellow, whose gorgeous uniform and imposing cocked hat
caused him to be taken by the Portuguese for nothing less than a general
of division. The young lady had not forgotten to take her jewels with
her, and the old judge made a great fuss, and appealed to the colonel,
who requested him to inspect the regiment as it left the town. But the
sooty visage and uniform jacket baffled his penetration, and at the
first halt, the drummer and the lady were made one flesh. Thorp, the
lucky bridegroom, was a fine dashing fellow, bent upon distinguishing
himself. He was often wounded, but never missed an engagement, even when
his hurts were unhealed. He fell gloriously at Toulouse, and the next
day came the gazette with his promotion to an ensigncy, which, if it was
then of little value to him, was at any rate "a great consolation to his
poor afflicted widow, and the means of reconciling her father to the
choice she had made; and her return once more to her home was a scene of
great rejoicing." When the British troops embarked at Bordeaux, for
America and England, a crowd of poor Spanish and Portuguese women, who
had long followed their fortunes and were now forbidden to accompany
their husbands and lovers, watched their departure with tearful eyes.
"They were fond and attached creatures, and had been useful in many
ways, and under many circumstances, not only to their husbands, but to
the corps they belonged to generally. Many of them, the Portuguese in
particular, had lived with our men for years, and had borne them
children." But the stern rules of the service prevailed. The battalions
bound for America were allowed but a limited number of soldiers' wives,
and the surplus were of necessity left to their fate. Some had money;
more were penniless, and nearly naked. Men and officers were then
greatly in arrear, but nevertheless a subscription was got up, and its
amount divided amongst the unfortunates, thus abandoned upon a foreign
shore, and at many hundreds of miles from their homes.

General Picton was a man of action, not of words. There was no palaver
about him, nothing superfluous in the way of orations, but he spoke
strongly and to the point. Long harangues, as Mr Grattan justly
observes, are not necessary to British soldiers. Metaphor and flowers of
rhetoric are thrown away upon them. Something plain, pithy, and
appropriate is what they like; the shorter the better. "Rangers of
Connaught!" said Picton, as he passed the Eighty-eighth, drawn up for
the assault of Ciudad Rodrigo, "it is not my intention to expend any
powder this evening. We'll do this business with the cold iron." This
was a very unpretending speech; nothing of the clap-trap or melodramatic
about it; a mere declaration in the fewest possible words, of the
speaker's intentions, implying what he expected from those he addressed.
That it was just what was wanted, was proved by the hearty respondent
cheer of the brave Irishmen. The result of the attack is well known; the
Rangers took a gallant share in it. The next morning the troops were
ordered out of the captured town, which they had ransacked to some
purpose, and the Eighty-eighth, drawn up on their bivouac ground, were
about to march away to the village of Atalaya, when Picton again rode
past. "Some of the soldiers, who were more than usually elevated in
spirits," (they had passed the night in bursting open doors and drinking
brandy,) "called out, 'Well, General, we gave you a cheer last night:
it's your turn now!' The general smiled, took off his hat, and said,
'Here, then, you drunken set of brave rascals--hurrah! we'll soon be at
Badajoz.'" A prophecy which was not long unaccomplished. With all
deference to Mr Grattan, we cannot but think that the Eighty-eighth were
very appropriately placed under Picton's orders. Excellent fighting men
though they were, they certainly, according to their champion's own
showing, needed a strict hand over them. We should like to know how they
would have got on under such an officer as Mr Grattan tells us of, who,
when in command of a regiment, came to mess one day in very low spirits,
because, having sent his adjutant to inquire of an ensign why he did not
attend parade, the ensign returned no answer, and, on subsequently
meeting his commanding officer, cut him dead. The colonel told the story
at the mess-table, and concluded by saying, "I thought nothing of his
not answering my message, but I cannot express how much I am hurt at the
idea of his cutting me as he did when I wished to speak to him!"
Field-officers of such susceptible feelings, and such very loose ideas
on the subject of discipline, were not plentiful in the Peninsula, and
this one, we are given to understand, did not long retain his regiment.
He would hardly have done at the head of the high-spirited Connaughters.
But if Picton's severity to the men of the Eighty-eighth may be
justified, his neglect of the officers is far more difficult to excuse.
"_Not one of them was ever promoted through his recommendation._" The
conduct of Lieutenant Mackie at Ciudad Rodrigo was chivalrous in the
extreme. General Mackinnon--who commanded the brigade and was blown to
pieces at its head by the explosion of a mine--wished to confer a mark
of distinction on the gallant Eighty-eighth, and ordered that one of its
subalterns should lead the forlorn-hope. The moment this was announced
to the assembled officers, "Mackie stepped forward, and lowering his
sword, said, 'Major Thompson, I am ready for that service.'" Mackinnon
had promised a company to the forlorn-hope leader, if he survived. But
it must be observed that Mackie was senior lieutenant, and consequently
sure of early promotion. The Eighty-eighth was to be in the van at the
assault, and the probabilities were that at least one captain would be
knocked off. Or, if not that day, it would happen the next. So that
Mackie, in volunteering on the most desperate of all services, could
have little to actuate him beyond an honourable desire for glory. How
was he repaid? Gurwood, who led the forlorn-hope at the lesser breach,
got his company; Mackie remained a lieutenant--no captain of the
Eighty-eighth having been killed, and General Mackinnon not being alive
to fulfil his promise. And whilst all the other officers who had been
forward in the attack, had their names recorded in Picton's
division-order, poor Mackie was denied even the word of barren praise so
gratifying to a soldier's heart.

The loss of Ciudad Rodrigo was a stunning blow to the French. They could
not understand it at all. Herrasti and his Spaniards had held out the
place a month against Ney and Massena, with thirty or forty thousand
veterans, and that in fine weather, a great advantage to the
besiegers--in eleven days, and in the depth of winter, Wellington
reduced it, with twenty thousand men and opposed by a French garrison.
The contrast was great, and quite inexplicable to the French. "On the
16th," wrote Marmont to Berthier, "the English batteries opened their
fire at a great distance. On the 19th the place was taken by storm, and
fell into the power of the enemy. There is something so incomprehensible
in this event, that I allow myself no observation. I am not provided
with the requisite information." No testimony could be more
complimentary to the brave captors of Rodrigo. That great success,
however, was only a forerunner of greater ones. Badajoz was the next
place to be taken, preparatory to marching into the interior of Spain.
To conceal his intentions from the enemy, Wellington had recourse to an
elaborate stratagem. A powerful battering train, supplied by the men of
war in the Tagus, was shipped at Lisbon, on board vessels of large size,
which put out to sea, and, when out of sight of land, transhipped their
cargo into smaller craft. These carried them up the Tagus into the heart
of the country. At the same time the necessary magazines were formed;
and at Elvas, only three leagues from Badajoz, a large quantity of
fascines and gabions were prepared. All this, however, was done so
quietly, Wellington appeared so supine, and Badajoz was so well
provided, that Soult was lulled into security; and when at last he took
the alarm, and marched from Seville at the head of twenty-five thousand
men, it was too late. Philippon, and his brave garrison, did all that
skill and courage could; but in vain. When Soult reached Villafranca,
two days' march from Badajoz, the fortress had already been two days in
the power of the English. This, to the French, was another unaccountable
business; they, even yet, had not learned fully to appreciate the
sovereign virtues of British bayonets. "I think the capture of Badajoz a
very extraordinary event," Lery, Soult's chief engineer, wrote to
General Kellerman, "and I am much at a loss to account for it in a clear
and distinct manner." This comes at the end of a mysterious sort of
epistle, in which the engineer general talks of fatality, and seems to
think that the British had no right to take Badajoz, defended as it was.
But Wellington and his army were great despisers of that sort of
_right_, and, in spite of the really glorious defence, in spite of the
strategy of the governor and the valour of the garrison, of _chevaux de
frise_ of sword-blades, and of the deadly accuracy of the French
artillery and musketeers, Badajoz was taken. The triumph was fearfully
costly. Nearly four thousand five hundred men fell on the side of the
besiegers;--Picton's division was reduced to a skeleton, and the
Connaught Rangers lost more than half their numbers.

Shot through the body at Badajoz, Mr Grattan was left there when his
division marched away. He gives a terrible account of the sacking of the
town; but on such details, even had they not been many times
recapitulated, it is not pleasant to dwell. The frightful crimes
perpetrated during those two days of unbridled excess and violence, rest
at the door of the man whose boundless ambition occasioned that most
desolating war. From an ignorant and sensual soldiery, excited to
madness by a prolonged resistance, and by one of the most sanguinary
conflicts recorded in the history of sieges, forbearance could hardly be
expected. The horrible saturnalia, in which murder and rape, pillage and
intoxication, are pushed to their utmost limits, are the necessary
condition of a successful assault on a desperately defended fortress;
and supposing them prohibited, and that such prohibition could be
enforced, we agree with Mr Grattan in believing that many a town that
has been victoriously carried, might have been found impregnable. But
one must ever deplore the disgraceful scenes enacted in the streets and
houses of Badajoz, Ciudad Rodrigo, and St Sebastian. Unsurpassed in
atrocity, they remain everlasting blots upon the bright laurels gathered
by the British in the Peninsula. And it is small palliation, that under
similar circumstances, the armies of all nations have acted in like
manner. Here the sufferers were not enemies. To the garrison, when their
resistance ceased, quarter was given; they were marched away scatheless,
and treated with that humanity which England, notwithstanding the lying
assertions of foreign historians, has ever used towards her prisoners.
No, the victims were friends and allies. The very nation in whose behalf
our soldiers had fought, saw their houses ransacked, their property
wasted, their wives and daughters brutally outraged, by those whose
mission was to protect and defend. Let us hope they have forgotten, or
at least forgiven, such gloomy episodes in the struggle for their

The advocates of universal peace might adduce many potent and practical
arguments in favour of their doctrine from the pages of Mr Grattan's
book. He is unsparing in his details of the inevitable horrors of war;
and some of his descriptions, persons of tender hearts and sensitive
nerves will do well to pass over. They may be read with profit by those
who, accustomed to behold but the sunny side of military life, think too
lightly of the miseries war entails. Let such accompany Mr Grattan
though the streets of Badajoz, on the morning of the 7th April, 1812,
and into the temporary hospital of Villa Formosa, after the fierce
conflict of Fuentes d'Onore, where two hundred soldiers still awaited,
twenty-four hours after the action, the surgeons' leisure, for the
amputation of their limbs. Let them view with him the piles of
unsuccoured wounded on the breach of Badajoz, and hear the shrieks and
groans of men dying in helpless agony, without a friendly hand to prop
their head, or a drop of water to cool their fevered lips. From such
harrowing scenes it is pleasant to turn to the more humane and redeeming
features of civilised warfare, and to note the courteous and amicable
relations that existed between the contending armies when, as sometimes
happened, they lay near together without coming to blows. This occurred
previously to the battle of Salamanca. From the 3d to the 12th of July,
the French and British were in presence of each other, encamped on
either side the Douro, at that season little more than a rivulet. Of
course all were on the alert; there was no laxity or negligence that
could tempt to surprise; but neither was there any useless skirmishing
or picket firing; every thing was conducted in the most gentlemanly and
correct manner. The soldiers bathed together and exchanged their
rations, and the officers were on equally good terms. "The part of the
river of which I speak was occupied, on our side, by the Third division;
on the French side by the Seventh division. The French officers said to
us at parting, 'We have met, and have been for some time friends. We are
about to separate, and may meet as enemies. As friends we received each
other warmly; as enemies we shall do the same.' Ten days afterwards the
British Third and the French Seventh division were opposed to each other
at Salamanca, and the Seventh French was destroyed by the British
Third." Mr Grattan's wound was healed in ample time for him to assist at
the battle of Salamanca; a glorious victory, which would have been even
more complete had the British been properly seconded by their Portuguese
allies. The behaviour of these was any thing but creditable to their
nation. One detachment of caçadores actually threw themselves on their
faces to avoid the enemy's fire, and not all the blows showered on them
by their commander, Major Haddock, could induce them to exchange their
recumbent attitude for one more dignified. Notwithstanding this, and the
more fatal feebleness of Pack's brigade, the French were totally beaten,
and their loss was nearly four times that of the British. Lord
Wellington's opinion of the battle--a particularly honourable one to our
troops, inasmuch as they not only _fought_ better, but (which was not
always the case) moved and manoeuvred better, than the picked veterans
of the French army--is sufficiently shown by the fact that "he selected
it in preference to all his other victories, as the most fitting to be
fought over in sham-fight on the plains of St Denis, in the presence of
the three crowned heads who occupied Paris after the second abdication
of the Emperor Napoleon, in 1815."

At Salamanca, the right brigade of the Third division, including the
Connaught Rangers, charged the entire division of the French General
Thomière. So awful was the volley that welcomed them, that more than
half the officers, and nearly the whole front rank, were swept away.
Doubtless the French thought this would prove a sickener, for great was
their consternation when, before the smoke had well cleared away, they
saw the shattered but dauntless brigade advancing fiercely and steadily
upon them. Panic-stricken, they wavered; "the three regiments ran
onward, and the mighty phalanx, which a moment before was so formidable,
loosened and fell in pieces before fifteen hundred invincible British
soldiers fighting in a line of only two deep." In this memorable charge,
the standard-pole of the Eighty-eighth was struck by a bullet, the same
that killed Major Murphy, who commanded the battalion. New colours have
since been presented to the regiment, but the wounded pole is still
preserved, and on it is engraved, on a plate of silver, the day and the
manner of its mutilation.

An advance on Madrid was consequent on the triumph at Salamanca, and on
the 12th of August, Wellington and his army reached the Spanish capital.
Their entrance has often been described, but in default of novelty, Mr
Grattan's account of it possesses spirit and interest. It was one of
those scenes that repay soldiers for months of fatigue and danger. The
troops were almost carried into the city in the arms of the delighted
populace. The steady, soldier-like bearing of the men, the appearance of
the officers, nearly all mounted, inspired respect and increased the
general enthusiasm. For miles from Madrid, the road was thronged; when
the army got into the streets, it was no longer possible to preserve the
order of march. The ranks were broken by the pressure of the crowd, and
the officers (lucky dogs!) were half-smothered in the embraces of the
charming Madrileñas. Young and old, ugly and handsome, all came in for
their share of hugs and kisses. Still, although patriotism impelled the
Spanish fair to look with favour upon the scarlet-coated Britons, the
painful confession must be made that as individuals they gave the
preference to the lively, light-hearted Frenchmen. Napoleon was the
fiend himself, incarnate in the form of an under-sized Corsican, and the
_gavachos_ were his imps, whom it was praise-worthy to shoot at from
behind every hedge, and to poniard whenever the opportunity offered.
Such was the creed inculcated by the priests, and devoutly entertained
by their petticoated penitents--that is to say, by every Christian woman
in the Peninsula. But somehow or other, when French regiments were
quartered in Spanish towns, the female part of the population forgot the
anathemas of their spiritual consolers, and looked complacently upon
those they were enjoined to abhor. It was a case of "_nos amis les
ennemis_," and the French, beaten every where in the field, obtained
facile and frequent triumphs in the boudoir. "It is a singular fact, and
I look upon it as a degrading one," says Mr Grattan with diverting
seriousness, "that the French officers, whilst at Madrid, made in the
ratio of five to one more conquests than we did." The dignity of the
admission might be questioned; the degree of degradation is matter of
opinion; the singularity is explained away by Mr Grattan himself. He
blames his comrades for their stiff, unbending manners, and for their
non-conformance to the customs of the country. They were nearly three
months at Madrid, and yet he declares that, at the end of that time,
they knew little more of the inhabitants than of the citizens of Pekin.
And he opines that the impression left in Spain by the Peninsular army
was rather one of respect for their courage, than of admiration of their
social graces and general affability. If Mr Grattan, whilst reposing at
ease upon his well-earned bays, would devise and promulgate an antidote
to the mixture of shyness, reserve, and hauteur, which renders
Englishmen, wherever they travel, the least popular of the European
family, he would have a claim on his country's gratitude stronger even
than the one he established whilst defending her with his sword in the
well-contested fields of the Peninsula. Notwithstanding, however, the
unamiability with which he reproaches his companions in arms, there was
much fun and feasting, and sauntering in the Prado, and bull-fighting
and theatre-going, whilst the British were at Madrid. But it was too
pleasant to last long. The best a soldier can expect in war-time, is an
alternation of good quarters and severe hardship. The "_quart-d'heure de
Rabelais_" was at hand, when all the dancing, drinking, masking, and
other pleasant things should be paid for, and the brief enjoyment
forgotten, amidst the sufferings of the most painful retreat--excepting,
of course, that of Corunna--effected by a British army during the whole
war. We refer to the retrograde movement that followed the unsuccessful
siege of Burgos.

The high reputation of the British soldier rests far more upon his arms
than upon his legs; in other words, he is a fighting rather than a
marching man. Slowness of movement, in the field as on the route, is the
fault that has most frequently been imputed to him. One thing is pretty
generally admitted; that, to work well, he must be well fed. And even
then he will hardly get over the ground as rapidly, or endure fatigue as
long, as the lean lathy Frenchman, who has never known the liberal
rations and fat diet the other is accustomed to. When a certain period
of active service and long marches has given the English soldier his
campaigning legs, he must still have his regular grog, or he soon flags,
if he does not grumble and become insubordinate. Rations were bad, and
hard to be got, on the retreat from Burgos. Then, Mr Grattan tells us,
the superior marching qualities of the Irish were manifest. There had
been very little beef-steak and bacon expended in _their_ bringing up;
scanty fare was nothing new to them, and by no means affected their
gaiety and good-humour. And when shoes were scarce, what cared they? The
stones in Connaught are not a bit softer than those in Spain; and
nine-tenths of the boys had trotted about, from infancy upwards, with
"divel a brogue, save the one on their tongues." Some of the English
regiments--the Forty-fifth for instance, chiefly composed of Nottingham
weavers--would, under ordinary circumstances, march as well as any
Irishman of them all: "But if it came to a hard tug, and that we had
neither rations nor shoes, then, indeed, the Connaught Rangers would be
in their element, and out-march almost any battalion in the service." On
the retreat from Burgos to Portugal, they gave proof of their toughness
and endurance; for whilst other regiments were decimated by fatigue and
sickness, the Eighty-eighth scarcely lost a man, except by the enemy's
fire. It was a time when the good qualities of all were severely tested.
The movement began in a most unfavourable season. The roads were nearly
impassable from heavy rains, and for days together there was not a dry
jacket in the army. At night they lay in the open country, often in a
swamp, without a tent to shelter them; the baggage was detached, and
they never saw it till they reached Ciudad Rodrigo. It was share and
share alike amongst men and officers, and many of the latter were mere
striplings, who had but lately left the comforts of their English homes.
When they halted from their weary day's march, the ill-conditioned
beasts collected for rations had to be slaughtered; sometimes they came
too late to be of any use, or the camp-kettles did not arrive in time to
cook them; and the famished soldiers had to set out again, with a few
pieces of dry biscuit rattling in their neglected stomachs, and driven
to satisfy the cravings of hunger with the acorns that strewed the
forests. There was little money afloat, for pay was four months in
arrear, but millions would have been useless where there was nothing to
buy. The country was deserted; every where the inhabitants fled on the
approach of the two armies. Disease was the natural consequence of so
many privations; ague and dysentery undermined the men's strength, and
many poor fellows, unable to proceed, were left upon the road. Horses
died by hundreds, and those which held out were for the most part
sore-backed, one of the greatest calamities that can happen to cavalry
and artillery on the march. Fortunately Soult, who, with ninety thousand
men, followed the harassed army, had some experience of British troops.
And what he had seen of them, especially at Albuera and on the Corunna
retreat, had inspired him with a salutary respect for their prowess.
They might retreat, but he knew what they could and would do when driven
to stand at bay. And therefore, although Wellington was by no means
averse to fight, and actually offered his antagonist battle on the very
ground where, four months previously, that of Salamanca had occurred,
the wary Duke of Dalmatia declined the contest. He played a safe game:
without risking a defeat by a general action, or attempting to drive the
British before him with the bayonet, he hovered about their rear,
disquieted them by a flank movement of part of his force, and had the
satisfaction of knowing that their loss by the casualties and fatigues
of the march and inclemency of the weather, was as great as it would
probably have been had he engaged them. For, besides those who perished
on the road, when the army got into winter quarters, a vast number of
men and officers went into hospital, and months elapsed before the
troops were fully reorganised and fit for the field. At a day's march
from Ciudad Rodrigo, Wellington's rear-guard had a smart skirmish, and
then Soult desisted from his pursuit, and the Anglo-Portuguese were
allowed to proceed without further molestation. Although disastrous, and
in some respects ill managed, the retreat was in no way disgraceful. The
French, very superior in numbers, had, whenever they pressed forward,
been bravely met, and invariably repulsed.

With this retreat, Mr Grattan's Peninsular campaigns closed. He returned
to Ireland, and in the summer of 1814, embarked for Canada. He rather
refers to, than records the service he saw there; taking occasion,
however, for a strong censure on Sir George Prevost, who, after forcing
our ill-appointed fleet on Lake Champlain into action, refused to allow
Brisbane and his brigade of "Peninsulars" to take the fort of
Platsburgh, an enterprise easy of achievement, and which would have
placed the captured ships, and the victorious but disabled American
flotilla, at the mercy of the British. But we have not space to follow
the Ranger across the Atlantic, nor is it essential so to do; for,
although he gives some amusing sketches of Canada and the Canadians, the
earlier portion of his book is by far the most interesting, and
certainly the most carefully written. We could almost quarrel with him
for defacing his second volume with perpetual and not very successful
attempts at wit. We have rarely met with more outrageous specimens of
punning run mad, than are to be found in its pages. Barring that fault,
we have nothing but what is favourable to say of the book. Its tone is
manly, and soldier-like, and it is creditable both to the writer and to
the service, by which, during the last thirty years, our stores of
military and historical literature have been so largely and agreeably


[3] _Adventures of the Connaught Rangers, from 1808 to 1814._ By W.
GRATTAN, Esq. London. 1847.


To read a memoir of the late Lord Sidmouth, is like taking a walk
through Westminster Abbey. All the literature, is inscriptions; all the
figures are monumental; and all the names are those of men whose
characters and distinctions have been echoing in our ears since we had
the power to understand national renown. The period between 1798, when
the subject of this memoir made his first step in parliamentary life as
Speaker, and 1815, when the close of the war so triumphantly finished
the long struggle between liberty and jacobinism, was beyond all
comparison the most memorable portion of British history.

In this estimate, we fully acknowledge the imperishable fame of
Marlborough in the field, and the high ability of Bolingbroke in the
senate. The gallantry of Wolfe still throws its lustre over the
concluding years of the second George; and the brilliant declamation of
Chatham will exact the tribute due to daring thought, and classic
language, so long as oratory is honoured among men. But the age which
followed was an age of realities, stern, stirring, and fearful. There
was scarcely a trial of national fortitude, or national Vigour, through
which the sinews of England were not then forced to give proof of their
highest power of endurance. All was a struggle of the elements; in which
every shroud and tackle of the royal ship of England was strained; and
the tempest lasted through nearly a quarter of a century. England, the
defender of all, was the sufferer for all. Every principle of her
financial prosperity, every material of her military prowess, every
branch of her constitutional system, every capacity of her political
existence, her Church, her State, and her Legislature, were successively
compelled into the most perilous yet most powerful display; and the
close of the most furious hostility which Europe had ever seen, only
exhibited in a loftier point of view the victorious strength which
principle confers upon a people.

Compared with this tremendous scene, the political conflicts of the
preceding age were a battle on the stage, compared with the terrors of
the field. The spectators came to enjoy a Spectacle, and sit tranquilly
admiring the brilliancy of the caparisons and the dexterity of the
charge; but perfectly convinced that all would end without harm to the
champions, and that the fall of the curtain would extinguish the war.
But, in the trials of the later time, there were moments when we seemed
to be throwing our last stake; when the trumpets of Europe, leagued
against us, seemed to be less challenging us to the field, than
preceding us to the tomb; and when the last hope of the wise and good
might be, to give the last manifestation of a life of patriotic virtue.

In language like this, we are not abasing the national courage. We are
paying the fullest homage to the substantial claims of the English
heart. It is only by the severest national struggles that the
superiority of national powers can be developed; and without doubting
the qualities of the Marlboroughs and Chathams--or even without
doubting, that if thrown into the battle of the last fifty years, they
would have exhibited the same intellectual stature and powerful
adroitness which distinguished their actual displays--yet they wanted
the strong necessities of a time like ours, to place them on a similar
height of renown. Still their time continues in admirable study. But it
is like the story of the Volscian and Samnite combats, read in the day
when the consul, flying through the streets of Rome, brought the news of

The wars and politics of the eighteenth century were the manoeuvres of
a _garde du corps_, and the intrigues of a boudoir. Our fathers saw no
nation of thirty millions rushing to the field; frantic with the
passion for overthrow, no Napoleon thundering at the head of vassal
Europe against England; no conspiracy of peoples against thrones; no
train of crouching sovereignties, half in terror and half in servility,
ready to do the wildest will of the wildest despot of the world; no army
of five hundred thousand men ready to spring upon our shores, and
turning off only to the overthrow of empires. All was on a smaller
scale; the passions feebler, the means narrower, the objects more
trivial, the triumphs more temporary, the catastrophe more powerless,
and the glory more vanishing.

All has since subsided; and the mind of man is turned to efforts in
directions totally new. All now is the rigid struggle with the physical
difficulties of society. The grand problems are, how to level the
mountain, and to drain the sea: or, if we must leave the Alps to be
still the throne of the thunder, and suffer even the Zuyder-zee to roll
its sullen waves over its incorrigible shallows; yet to tunnel the
mountain and pass the sea with a rapidity, which makes us regardless of
the interposition of obstacles that once stopped the march of armies,
and made the impregnable fortresses of kingdoms. But the still severer
trials of human intelligence are, how to clothe, feed, educate, and
discipline the millions which every passing year pours into the world.
The mind may well be bewildered with a prospect so vast, so vivid, and
yet so perplexing. Every man sees that old things are done away, that
physical force is resuming its primitive power over the world, and that
we are approaching a time when Mechanism will have the control of
nature, and Multitude the command of society.

       *       *       *       *       *

There are many families in England which, without any change of
circumstances, without any increase of fortune, or any discoverable
vicissitudes, have existed for centuries, in possession of the same
property, generally a small one, and handed down from father to son as
if by a law of nature. The family of Lord Sidmouth is found to have held
the proprietorship of the small estate of Fringford, in Oxfordshire,
from the year 1600, and to have had a residence in Bannebury about a
century and a half before;--the first descendant of this quiet race who
became known beyond the churchyard where "his village fathers sleep,"
being Dr Addington, who died in 1799. Genealogies like those give a
striking view of the general security of landed possession, which the
habits of national integrity, and the influence of law, must alone have
effected, during the turbulent times which so often changed the
succession to the throne of England.

Dr Addington, who had been educated at Winchester school, and Trinity
College, Oxford, having adopted medicine as his profession, commenced
his practice at Reading, where he married the daughter of the Rev. Dr
Niley, head-master of the grammar-school. The well-known trial of the
wretched parricide, Miss Blandy, for poisoning, in which he was a
principal witness, brought him into considerable notice; and probably on
the strength of this notice, he removed to London, and took a house in
Bedford Row, where the late Lord Sidmouth, his fourth child, but eldest
son, was born. He next removed to Clifford Street, a more fashionable
quarter, which brought him into intercourse with many persons of
distinction. Among these were Louth, Bishop of London, the Duke of
Montagu, Earl Rivers, and, first of the first, the great Earl of
Chatham. With this distinguished man, Dr Addington seems to have been on
terms of familiar friendship, as the following extracts show:--Chatham
writes from Burton Pynsent, in 1771.

"All your friends here, the flock of your care, are truly sensible of
the kind attentions of the good shepherd. My last fit of the gout left
me as it had visited me, very kindly. I am many hours every day in the
field, and, as I live like a farmer abroad, I return home and eat like
one. * *

"Ale goes on admirably, and agrees perfectly. My reverence for it, too,
is increased, having just read in the manners of our remotest Celtic
ancestors much of its antiquity and invigorating qualities. The boys all
long for ale, seeing papa drink it, but we do not try such an
experiment. Such is the force of example, that I find I must watch
myself in all I do, for fear of misleading. If your friend William saw
me smoke, he would certainly call for a pipe."

Lord Chatham died May 11th, 1788, which event was thus notified by Dr
Addington to his son Henry.

"You will be grieved to hear that Lord Chatham is no more. It pleased
Providence to take him away this morning, as if it were in mercy that he
might not be a spectator of the total ruin of a country which he was not
permitted to save."

The doctor was a croaker, as was the fashion of the time, with all who
pretended to peculiar political sagacity. Of course the family physician
of the ex-minister was in duty bound to echo the ex-minister's
discontent. It is clear that, whatever professional gifts the doctor
inherited from Apollo, he did not share the gift of prophecy. The
doctor, after realising enough by his profession to purchase an estate
in Devonshire, retired to Reading, where, in 1790, he died, having had,
in the year before, the enviable gratification of seeing his son elected
to the Speakership of the House of Commons.

Henry Viscount Sidmouth was born in 1757, on the 30th of May. At the age
of five years, he was placed under the care of the Rev. William Gilpin,
author of the Essays on the Picturesque, who for many years kept a
school at Cheam, in Surrey.

Lord Sidmouth had but one brother, Hiley, who subsequently figured so
often in the caustic rhymes of Canning, and who, under his brother's
auspices, was successively secretary of the treasury, paymaster of the
forces, and under-secretary of state. In his twelfth year, Henry,
followed by Hiley, was sent to Winchester, then under the government of
the well-known Dr Joseph Wharton, with George Isaac Huntingford as one
of the assistants.

The author of the biography gives Huntingford credit for the singular
degree of attachment exhibited in his occasional letters to his pupil.
It certainly seems singular; when we know the slenderness, if not
sternness of the connexion generally subsisting between the teachers at
a great English seminary, and the pupils. In one of those epistles
Huntingford says to this boy of fifteen.

"For my own part, to you I lay open _my whole heart without reserve_. I
divest myself of the little superiority which age may have given me.
With you I can enter into conversation with all the familiarity of an
intimate companion. The few hours of intercourse which we thus enjoy
with each other give more relief to my wearied body and mind than _any
other amusement on earth_. What I am to do when you leave school, _a
melancholy thought, I cannot foresee_. May the _evil hour be postponed_
as late as possible. Yet let me add, whenever it shall be most for your
advantage to leave me, I will not doubt to sacrifice _my own peace_ and
comfort for your interest. _I love myself, but you better_."

We hope that this style is not much in fashion in our public schools.
Dean Pellew tells us that numerous letters of this kind were written by
this tutor to his pupil in after life, and adds with a ludicrous
solemnity, "It will readily be imagined how _efficacious_ they must have
proved, in forming the character of the future statesman, and erecting
Spartan and Roman virtues on the noble foundation of Christianity."

For our part, we know not what to make of such communications: they seem
to us intolerably silly, and we think ought _not_ to have been
published. In later life, their writer was made Bishop of Hereford and
Warden of Winchester. He seems to have been a fellow of foresight!

In 1773, Henry and Hiley were both removed from Winchester, and put
under the tuition of Dr Goodenough, who took private pupils at Ealing,
and who was afterwards Bishop of Carlisle. In the next year, Henry
entered as commoner in Brazen-Nose College under the tuition of
Radcliffe, then a tutor of some celebrity. In this college he became
acquainted with Abbot, afterwards Lord Colchester, and William Scott,
afterwards Lord Stowell. He took his degree in 1778, and in this year
had the misfortune to lose his mother, who seems to have been an amiable
and sensible person. In the next year, he obtained the Chancellor's
prize for an English essay on "the affinity between painting and writing
in point of composition;" and at the recital of this essay in the
theatre he first became acquainted with Lord Mornington, afterwards
Marquis Wellesley, an intimacy which lasted for sixty-two years. He now
adopted law as his profession, took chambers in Paper Buildings, and
kept his terms regularly at Lincoln's Inn. In 1781, he married Ursula
Mary, eldest daughter and co-heiress of Leonard Hammond, Esq. of Cheam,
in Surrey, and took a house in Southampton Street, Bloomsbury, where he
determined to follow the profession of the law. But this determination
was speedily over-ruled by the success of the celebrated son of Chatham.
On the 26th of February, 1781, William Pitt, then only in his
twenty-second year, made his first speech in the House of Commons, in
support of Burke's bill for the regulation of the civil list. This epoch
in parliamentary annals is noticed in a brief letter from Dr Goodenough
to Pitt's early tutor, Wilson, who sent it to Mr Addington, among whose
papers it was found:--

"Dear Sir,--I cannot resist the natural impulse of giving pleasure, by
telling you that the famous William Pitt, who made so capital a figure
in the last reign, is happily restored to his country. He made his first
public re-appearance in the senate last night. All the old members
recognised him instantly, and most of the young ones said he appeared
the very man they had so often heard described: the language, the
manner, the gesture, the action were the same; and there wanted only a
few wrinkles in the face, and some marks of age, to identify the
absolute person of the late Earl of Chatham."

Addington, at this period, had a good deal of intercourse with Pitt, who
became Chancellor of the Exchequer at the age of twenty-three, and whose
brilliant success in parliament evidently stimulated his friend to
political pursuits. But the infamous coalition broke in, and Pitt was
dismissed from the ministry. Its existence, however, was brief: it not
merely fell, but was crushed amidst a universal uproar of national
scorn; and Pitt, not yet twenty-five, was appointed prime minister. In
the course of the month, an interview took place between Pitt and
Addington, which gave his friends strong hopes of seeing him in
immediate office. His friend Bragge thus writes to him:

"I give you joy of the effects of the interview of last Sunday, of which
I am impatient to hear the particulars. Secretary, either official or
confidential, I should wish you, and indeed all the boards are already

Still, he remained unappointed, though his intimacy with the minister
grew more confidential from day to day. Pitt was at this time engaged in
a desperate struggle with the Opposition, who, ruined as they were in
character, yet retained an overwhelming majority in parliament. On this
occasion, the young statesman gave perhaps the most triumphant evidence
of his remarkable sagacity. Every one was astonished, that he had not at
once dissolved a parliament which it seemed impossible for him either to
convince or conquer. But, with the House of Lords strongly disposed
towards him, and the King for his firm friend, Pitt fought the House
night after night, until he found the national feeling wholly on his
side. Then, on the 25th of March, 1784, he dissolved the parliament, and
by that act extinguished the whole power of Whiggism for twenty years.
There never was a defeat more ruinous; more than a hundred and sixty
members, who had generally been of the Foxite party, were driven
ignominiously from their seats, and the party was thenceforth condemned
to linger in an opposition equally bitter, fruitless, and unpopular. In
the new parliament, Addington was returned for the borough of Devizes in
place of Sutton, his brother-in-law, who, being advanced in life, made
over his interest to his young relative. On this occasion, he received a
letter from his old master, Joseph Wharton:--

"I cannot possibly forbear expressing to you the sincere pleasure I
feel, in giving you joy of being elected into a parliament that I hope
and trust will save this country from destruction, by crushing the most
shameful and the most pernicious coalition that I think ever disgraced
the annals of any kingdom, ancient or modern. I am, dear sir, with true
regard, yours, &c.--JOSEPH WHARTON."

There are few more remarkable instances of contrasted character and
circumstance than Addington's ultimate rise to power. The anecdote is
mentioned, that on one occasion, when they were riding together to Holl
Wood, then Mr Pitt's seat near Bromley in Kent, that on Pitt's urging
him to follow up politics with vigour, and the latter alleging in excuse
the distaste and disqualification for public life created by early
habits and natural disposition, Pitt burst forth in the following
quotation from Waller:--

    "The lark that shuns on lofty boughs to build
    Her humble nest, lies silent in the field:
    But should the promise of a brighter day,
    Aurora smiling, bid her rise and play;
    Quickly she'll show 'twas not for want of voice,
    Or power to climb, she made so low a choice:
    Singing she mounts, her airy notes are stretch'd
    Towards heav'n, as if from heav'n alone her notes she fetch'd."

With these words, he set spurs to his horse, and left his companion to
ponder on the moral of the poetry.

But neither poetry nor prose could inspire Addington's mind with the
ardour of his glowing friend. Parliament was indeed open to him, but the
true gate to parliamentary distinction would never have been opened by
his own hand. There are two kinds of speaking, and but two, which ever
make distinguished way in the House. The first is, that superior order
which alone deserves the name of eloquence, and which must carry
distinction with it wherever men are gathered together. The next is,
that adroit and practical style of speaking by which the details of
public business are carried forward; a style which requires briskness of
capacity, united to extent of information, and in which the briskness
must not be suffered to become flippant, and the detail to become dull.
We are perfectly confident, that, beyond those two classes, no speaker
can ever expect to retain the ear of the House. Our theory, however, is
not the favourite one with that crowd, whose diatribes nightly fill the
columns of the newspapers; where bitterness is perpetually mistaken for
pungency, and petulance for power, dryness for business and commonplace
for conviction. But failure is the inevitable consequence; the archer
showers his shafts in vain; they are pointed with lead, and they always
fall blunt on the ground. Some of the noisiest haranguers of our time
utterly "waste their sweetness on the desert air," their hearers drop
away with fatal rapidity, and the orator is reminded of his triumph only
by the general flight of his auditory. Then comes some favourite of the
House: the coffee-room is thinned in its turn; the benches are crowded
once more; and some statesmanlike display consoles the House for its
lost time. Addington's habits were those of a student, and he brought
them with him into parliament. In the House of Commons, there are nearly
as many classes of character, as there are in life outside the walls.
There are the men made for the operations of public life, bold, active,
and with an original sense of superiority. Another class is made for
under-secretaries and subordinates, sharp, and ingenious men, the real
business-men of the House. Another class, perfectly distinct, is that of
the matter-of-fact men, largely recruited from among opulent merchants,
bankers sent from country constituencies, and others of that calibre,
who are formidable on every question of figures, are terrible on
tariffs, and evidently think, that there is no book of wisdom on earth
but a ledger. Then come the country gentlemen, generally an excellent
and honest race, but to whom a life in London, in the majority of
instances, has a strong resemblance to a life in the Millbank
Penitentiary; driven into parliament, by what is called a "sense of
their position in the country," which generally means the commands of
their wives, &c., &c., their sojourn within the circuit of the
metropolis is a purgatory. They sicken of the life of lounging through
London, where they are nothing, and long to get back to the country
where they are "magistrates;" generally too old to dance, the
fashionable season has no charms for them: even the clubs seem to them
a sort of condemned cell, where the crowd, guilty of unpardonable
idleness, cluster together with no earthly resource but gazing into the
street, or poring over a newspaper. If this service is severe enough to
shake their philosophy during the sleety showers of February, and the
withering blasts of March; the first break of sunshine, and the first
streak of blue sky, makes their impatience amount to agony. The rest of
the season only renders their suffering more inveterate; until at last
the discharge of cannon from the Park, and the sound of trumpets at the
doors of the House of Lords, a gracious speech from the throne, and a
still more gracious smile from the sitter on it, let them loose from
their task, and they are free, facetious, and foxhunters once more.
There are still half-a-dozen other classes, "fine by degrees, and
beautifully less," which may be left to the imagination of the reader,
and the experience of the well-bred world.

Addington soon made himself useful on committees. The strong necessities
of the case, much more than the Reform Bill, have remarkably shortened
the longevity of election committees. The committee, in general, was
fortunate, which could accomplish its business within three months. Some
took twice the number, some even crossed over from session to session.
The first committee on which Addington was engaged had this unfortunate
duration, and he was re-appointed to it in the second session of the
parliament of 1785.

At this period, whether from a sense of disappointment, or from the
silent dulness of this drudgery, his health appears to have been in a
feeble state. In a letter to his father, he apologises for listlessness
and stupidity by illness, and says, "that he does not come up to the
definition of man as a risible animal." Yet the man who could live to
eighty-seven, and retain his health in a retirement of nearly a quarter
of a century, could not complain of his constitution.

In 1786 Pitt availed himself of the opening of the session to induce his
friend to break ground. He proposed that he should second the address;
and almost condescended to coax him into further exertion of his
abilities.--"I will not disguise," says his letter, "that, in asking
this favour of you, (the speech,) I look beyond the immediate object of
the first day's debate; from a persuasion that whatever induces you to
take a part in public, will equally contribute to your personal credit,
and that of the system to which I have the pleasure of thinking you are
so warmly attached. Believe me to be, with great truth and regard, my
dear sir, faithfully and sincerely yours,--W. PITT." Addington complied
with a part of the proposal, seconded the Address, and was considered to
have performed his task with effect. But the effort went no farther. His
ability lay in another direction; and though a clear, well-informed, and
influential debater in his more public days, and when the urgency of
office compelled the exertion, he left for four years the honours of
debate to the multitude of his competitors.

In the course of the memoir, there is a letter of Addington's, speaking
of Sheridan's famous speech on the Begum question. Addington voted in
the majority against Hastings; but, though he does not exactly say that
Sheridan's famous speech was the cause of his vote, he yet joins in the
general acclamation.

It has been the habit of late critics to decry the merits of this famous
oration, and even to charge it with being frivolous, outrageous, and
bombastic, an immense accumulation of calumny and clap-trap, which the
craft of Sheridan would not submit to the public ordeal, and which he
has therefore left to its chance of a fantastic and visionary fame. But
this we find it impossible to believe. That in a speech of five hours
and a half, there may have been--nay, there must have been, passages of
extravagance, and even errors of taste, is perfectly probable; but they
must have been overcome by countless passages of lustre and beauty,--by
powerful conceptions and brilliant examples of language; at once
resistless and refined,--by living descriptions, and thoughts of daring
and dazzling energy, sufficient to have made it one of the most
memorable triumphs of senatorial eloquence in the world. How, on any
other supposition, is it possible to account for the effects which we
know it to have produced?

Addington's letter, alluding to this subject, says "The papers will
convey but a faint idea of a speech, which I heard Fox declare to be the
most wonderful effort of the human mind that perhaps had ever been made.
Mr Pitt, and indeed the whole House, spoke of it in terms of admiration
and astonishment, scarcely inferior to those of Mr Fox."

The papers, indeed, convey a worse than inadequate idea of this
wonderful oration, for they give merely a few fragments, in which they
have contrived either to select their examples with the most curious
infelicity, or to blunder them into bombast. But nothing can be more
childish than to suppose, that Pitt would have given his praise to
tawdry metaphor, that Burke would have done honour to feeble truisms,
that Fox should have been unable to distinguish between logic and
looseness of reasoning, or that the whole assembly, who had been in the
habit of hearing those pre-eminent orators, should have been tricked by
theatric dexterity or charlatan rhetoric into homage. The oration must
have been a most magnificent performance, and we have only to deplore
the loss of a great work of genius.

Another young phenomenon shot across the parliamentary horizon within
the same month. It was the late Earl Grey. A letter of Addington to his
father thus describes the debut of this young Liberal.

"Feb. 22, 1787.--We had a glorious debate last night, upon the motion
for an address of thanks to the King, for having negotiated the
commercial treaty. A new speaker presented himself to the House, and
went through his first performance with an éclat that has not been
equalled within my recollection. His name is Grey; he is not more than
twenty-two years of age, and he took his seat, which is for
Northumberland, only in the present session. I do not go too far in
declaring, that in the advantages of figure, elocution, voice, and
manner, he is not surpassed by any one member of the House; and I grieve
to say, that he was last night in the ranks of Opposition, from which
there is no prospect of his being detached."

It is curious to see, how easily the exigencies of party mould men, and
how readily under that pressure they unsay their maxims, and retract
their principles. The object of the commercial treaty was, to put our
commerce in some degree on a fair footing with that of France. The
object of Mr Grey's rhetoric was, to show that the commercial treaty was
altogether a blunder, which, as being a Tory and ministerial
performance, it must be in the eyes of a Whig and an oppositionist. But
the maxim on which he chiefly relied, was the wisdom of that established
system of our policy, in which France had always been regarded with the
most suspicious jealousy at least--if not as our natural foe. Of course
this Whig maxim lasted just so long as the Whigs were out of office, and
could use it as a weapon against the Minister. But, from the moment when
France became actually dangerous, when her councils became demoniac, and
her factions frenzied, Whiggism, despairing of turning out the Minister
by argument, resolved to make the attempt by menace. Hopeless in the
House, it appealed to the rabble, and France was extolled to the skies.
We then heard nothing of the "natural enmity," but a vast deal of the
instinctive friendship. England and France were no longer to be two
hostile powers sitting on their respective shores, with flashing eyes
and levelled spears, but like a pair of citizen's wives loaded with
presents and provisions for each other, and performing their awkward
courtesies across the Channel.

It must be acknowledged, however, that the Whig maxim, though a
watchword of faction, was no blunder of fact. A commercial treaty with
the French in that day, or in any other day before or since, was a
dream. To bring the Frenchman to any rational agreement on the subject
of trade, or to keep him steady to any agreement whatever, has been a
problem, which no British statesman has been able to solve. No
commercial treaty, even with all the genius of Pitt, has ever produced
to England the value of the paper on which it is written. Whether, if
they were two Englands in the world, they might not establish commercial
treaties with each other, may be a question. But we regard it as an
absolute waste of time, to think of trading on fair terms with any of
the slippery tariffs of foreign countries. In fact, this is now so
perfectly understood, that England has nearly given up the notion of
commercial treaties. She trades now, where the necessities of the
foreigner demand her trade. The foreigner hates John Bull, Just as the
Athenian peasant hated Aristides, and for the same reason. He hates him
for being honest, manly, and sincere; he hates him for the integrity of
his principles, for the purity of his faith, and for the _reality_ of
his freedom; he hates him for his prosperity, for his progress, and for
his power. And while the Frenchman capers in his fetters, and takes his
promenade under the shadow of the fortifications of Paris; while the
German talks of constitutions in the moon; and while the Holy Alliance
amuses itself with remodelling kingdoms, John Bull may be well content
to remain as he is, and leave them to such enjoyment as they can find in
sulkiness and sneering.

Grey's brilliant debut appears not to have been sustained: he spoke
little during the session, but talked much--a fatal distinction to a
parliamentary aspirant. Ambitious of figuring, he attempted to figure on
all occasions; and, once or twice, unluckily daring the great champion
of the treasury bench to the field, he was driven from it with wounds
which, if they did not teach him a sense of his weakness, at least
taught him a sense of his danger. Mr Grey's credit, says Addington in a
letter, "as a man of discretion and temper, remains to be established.
His reputation for abilities has not increased within the last two
months, while he has in all respects enhanced that of the person (Pitt)
to whom he ventured to oppose himself."

In alluding to the intercourse of Addington with Wilberforce, the
biographer, we think very justly, complains of the sillinesses which
have transpired in the latter's diary. Addington took higher views on
ecclesiastical subjects; and was less _rapid_ in his movements for the
abolition of the slave-trade; being of opinion that precipitate measures
would only increase the traffic to an enormous extent, deprive England
of all power of restraining the frightful atrocities of the middle
passage; and, by throwing the whole trade into the hands of foreigners,
leave it open to all the reckless abominations of mankind.

The result was, unfortunately, all that rational men anticipated. The
trade carried on by the foreigner has been tripled, or even quadrupled;
the horrors of the middle passage are without restraint; and the
sufferings of the victims, on their march to the coast, by fatigue, want
of food, and the cruelty of their treatment, are estimated to destroy
nearly twice the number of those who ever cross the Atlantic. The very
powers with whom we have already made treaties for the purpose of
extinguishing this infernal traffic, are deepest in its commerce; and
its extinction now seems hopeless, except through some of those
tremendous visitations, by which Providence scourges crimes which have
grown too large for the jurisdiction of man.

Lord Sidmouth, then far advanced in life, when he saw those remarks in
the diary, naturally felt offended, but he bore the offence with
dignity, merely saying, as he closed the volume, "Well, Wilberforce does
not speak of me as he spoke to me, I am sorry to say." Of Wilberforce,
no one can desire to doubt the general honesty; but that he was
singularly trifling and inconstant, was evidently the opinion of his
contemporaries in the House. The following anecdote is given from the
author's notes on this point. "Lord Sidmouth told us, that one morning,
at a cabinet meeting, after an important debate in the House of Commons,
some one said, 'I wonder how Wilberforce voted last night:' on which
Lord Liverpool observed, 'I do not know how he voted, but of this I am
pretty sure, that in whatever way he voted, he repents of his vote this
morning.' Lord Sidmouth added, 'It was odd enough, that I had no sooner
returned to my office, than Wilberforce was announced, who said,--Lord
Sidmouth, you will be surprised at the vote I gave last night, and,
indeed, I am not myself altogether satisfied with it;'--to which I
replied, My dear Wilberforce, I shall never be _surprised_ at any vote
you give.'"

During this session the abolition of Negro slavery first seriously
attracted the notice of parliament. The conduct of it, in the House of
Commons, was intrusted to Wilberforce; but, in his absence, in
consequence of indisposition, Pitt, on the 9th of May 1798, moved the
resolution, "that the House would, early in the next session, proceed to
take into consideration the circumstances of the slave trade." In a
cause like this, the humane and magnanimous mind of Burke naturally
enlisted at once. But he was by no means of that school of humanity
which gains the race, only by riding over every thing in its way.
Red-hot humanity had no charms for the great philosopher; and,
philanthropist as he was, he could discover no wisdom in measures which
changed only one violence for another, pauperised the whites without
liberating the blacks; and, while it cost twenty millions sterling to
repair about third of the injury, left the unhappy African at the mercy
of avarice round the circumference of the globe.

A letter from Huntingford says:--"Dr Lawrence, our Winchester
acquaintance, called on me lately. He talked much on Mr Burke's ideas
respecting the slave-trade. I found by him that Mr Burke foresaw the
total ruin of the West-India colonies, if the trade were _at once_
prohibited. He is for a better regulation of the ships which carry on
that infamous commerce: he would lay the captains under restrictions,
and punish them with rigour for wanton severity or brutal inhumanity to
the slaves; and, when the poor creatures are purchased at the West-India
islands, he would have them instructed in religion; and be permitted to
purchase their own freedom, when by industry they should acquire a
sufficient sum for that purpose. For their religious instruction he
would erect more churches; and, to enable them in time to accumulate the
price of their ransom, he would enact that the property of a slave
should be as sacred as that of a freeman." Burke went further than
opinions, for he embodied his sentiments in a paper entitled, "Sketch of
a Negro Code," all outline of a bill in parliament, which is to be found
in the collection of his works.

In August of this year, Addington mentioned that Lord Grenville passed a
month with him at Lyme, and that one day visiting Lord Rolle, a party
were speculating on the probable successor to the Speaker
(Cornwall)--Grenville and Addington giving it as their opinion, that
neither of them had any chance. He adds, "within twelve months, we were
both Speakers ourselves."

An important and melancholy event, however, threw the cabinet and the
country alike into confusion. Early in November, it was ascertained that
the King was taken dangerously ill. Three successive notes from
Grenville represented the illness as most alarming, and giving room for
apprehening of incurable disorder. As Dr Addington was known to have
paid particular attention to cases of insanity, Pitt proposed his being
summoned to visit the royal patient. In consequence, he visited his
Majesty for several days, and on examination with the other physicians
before the Privy Council, expressed a strong expectation of the royal
recovery, founded on the circumstance that this illness had not, for its
forerunner, any of the symptoms which usually precede a serious attack
of this nature. The debates on the Regency Bill now brought out all the
vigour of the House. The Whigs thundered at the gate of the cabinet; but
there was a strong hand within, and it was still kept shut. The Prince
of Wales, then under all the captivations of Whig balls and banquets,
and worshiping at the feet of Fox, was no sooner to be master of the
state by an unlimited Regency Bill, than Fox was to be master of every
thing. Pitt still fought the battle with all the cool determination of
one determined never to capitulate. Fox became in succession fierce,
factious, and half frantic; still his great adversary stood on the
vantage ground of law, and was imperturbable. But the contest now began
to spread beyond the walls of parliament. The spirit of the nation,
always siding with the brave defence, daily felt an increasing interest
in the gallantry with which Pitt almost alone fought the ablest
Opposition that had ever been ranged within the walls of Westminster,
and inflamed by the sight of power almost within their grasp.

But the announcement of a sudden change in his Majesty's indisposition
abated the contest at once. From the 8th to the 20th of February, the
progress to health was palpable. On the 19th, the discussions on the
Regency Bill were suspended in the House of Lords; and on the 6th of
March, the Speaker and several members of the administration were
admitted to present their congratulations to the King, at Kew, on his

We cannot resist the temptation of exhibiting Lord Sidmouth in the
unsuspected character of a poet. As several millions of verses were
poured out as the offerings of the Muse on the joyful occasion, as
Parnassus was rifled by the Universities, and as every village school in
the kingdom hung a pen-and-ink garland on the altar of Æsculapius or
Hygeia; it was felt to be the bounden duty of every candidate for
cabinet honours, to put his desk "in order," and rhyme, to the best of
his power. Addington, in consequence, produced the following--


    "When sinks the orb of day, a borrow'd light
    The moon displays, pale _Regent_ of the night.
    Vain are her beams to bid the golden grain
    Spread plenty's blessings o'er the smiling plain;
    No power has she, except from shore to shore
    To bid the ocean's troubled billows roar.
    With hungry cries the wolf her coming greets;
    Then Rapine stalks triumphant through the streets;
    Avarice and Fraud in secret ambush lurk,
    And Treason's sons their desperate purpose work.
    But, lo! the Sun with orient splendour shines,"----
    &c. &c. &c.

We cannot indulge ourselves with any more of this loyal lucubration--we
think that the slur at the _Regency_ was not quite fair; we were by no
means aware that the moon was so mischievous; and, as our general
conclusion, we must admit that, if his lordship did not gain the
Laureateship, he amply deserved it. However, better times were at hand.
Pitt, like all other eminent men, had a keen insight into character, and
he had long known the especial qualities of Addington. This solves the
difficulty of accounting at once for his continued personal intercourse,
and yet his apparent official neglect. He knew him to be well-informed,
intelligent, and honest; although his retiring habits had already given
full evidence of his indisposition to face the storms of party.

On Mr Grenville's promotion to the Home department, in 1789, Addington
was proposed for the Speaker's chair, and was elected by two hundred and
fifteen to one hundred and forty-two, who voted for the Opposition
candidate, Sir Gilbert Elliot. In the private correspondence which was
so frequent between him and the minister, various suggestions had been
thrown out by Pitt of the Irish secretaryship, a seat at the treasury,
&c. But the man and the place were now found together, incomparably
adapted to each other. The place implies an honourable neutrality, and
Addington was true to the trust. It requires the favourable opinion of
the House to the man as well as the officer; and Sheridan's first
address to him, as the spokesman of the Opposition, was, "we were all
very sorry to have voted against you." It required considerable
knowledge of general and parliamentary law, and the new Speaker had
devoted years to their acquisition. Even the minor merits of a grave and
commanding presence were there; for Addington, in his early years, was
of as striking a countenance and figure as in old age he was gentle and

Characteristic anecdotes are scattered through the volumes: these we
think their most attractive portion; and of such Addington's memory was
full in his later years. One night, on his crying out, in the usual
form, to hush some chattering in the House, "Order, order, or I shall
name names!" Charles Fox, then standing beside the chair, told him that
Wilkes once asked the Speaker, Onslow, what would be the consequence of
his naming names? "Heaven above only knows," was the solemn reply.

One night Fox himself put the same question to Sir Fletcher Norton (the
Speaker,) who nonchalantly answered, "Happen! hang me, if I know or

A substantial proof of the general approval was given to the new
official, in the addition of £1000 a-year to his salary; thus giving him
£6000 a-year--which, besides a house, with some other emoluments on
public and private bills, and the sale of certain clerkships connected
with the business of the Commons, is generally calculated as equivalent
to about £10,000 yearly. For this, however, the Speaker is expected to
keep up considerable state, to give occasional banquets during the
session to successive parties of the members; to have evening receptions
and levées; and, in general, to lead a rather laborious life; the least
part of whose labour is in the Speaker's chair. He has also the
appointment of a chaplain to the House, which is equivalent to the
disposal of valuable church patronage, the chaplain being always
provided for, after a few years' attendance, by a request of the House
to the crown. To complete this accumulation of good things, the Speaker
who exhibits intelligence, is frequently promoted to the higher offices
of the cabinet, and generally receives a peerage.

But those were the "piping times of peace;" times of trouble and terror
were at hand. The French democracy had already burst on Europe; and
every throne was heaving on the surge which it had raised. Pitt alone,
of all the great ministers of Europe, seemed to disregard its hazards.
Customary as it is for the pamphleteers of later times to assail his
memory, as the promoter of hostilities, the chief outcry against Pitt in
the year 1790, was his tardiness in thinking that those hostilities
could ever force England to take a share in the struggles of the
Continent. The whole aristocracy, the whole property, the whole
mercantile interest, and even the whole moral feeling of the empire, had
become from hour to hour more convinced that a war was inevitable. Even
the Opposition, whose office it was to screen the atrocities of every
national enemy, and who, for a time, had looked to Jacobinism as an
auxiliary in the march to power, had at last shrunk from this horrible
alliance--had felt the natural disgust of Englishmen for an association
with the undisguised vice and vileness of the Republic, and had at last
sunk into silence, if not into shame. Burke had published his immortal
"Reflections," and their sound had gone forth like the tolling of a vast
funeral bell for the obsequies of European monarchy. Still, nothing
could move Pitt. By nature, a financier, and by genius the most
magnificent of all financiers, he calculated the force of nations by the
depths of their treasuries; and seeing France bankrupt, conceived that
she was on the verge of conviction, and waited only to see her sending
her humbled Assembly to beg for a general loan, and for a general peace
at the same moment.

But those were days made to show the shortsightedness of human sagacity.
The lesson was rapidly given; it was proved in European havoc, that
utter powerlessness for good was not merely compatible with tremendous
power for evil, but was actually the means of accumulating that power;
that the more wretched, famishing, and haggard a nation might become at
home, the more irresistible it might prove abroad: that, like the
madman, it might be fevered and tortured by mental disease, into
preternatural strength of frame, and might spring out of the bed where
it had lain down to die, with a force which drove before it all the
ordinary resistance of man. Pitt had still to learn, that this was a
war of Opinion; and had to learn also, that Opinion was a new material
of explosion, against whose agency all former calculation was wholly
unprovided, and whose force was made to fling all the old buttresses and
battlements of European institutions like dust and embers into the air.

It is not worth the trouble now to inquire, whether Pitt's sagacity
equally failed him in estimating the probable effect of the French
Revolution on England. His expression at a dinner party, where
Addington, Grenville, and Burke formed the guests, "Never mind, Mr
Burke, we shall go on as we are until the day of judgment;" shows his
feeling of the stability of the constitution. As we have no love for
discovering the

     "Fears of the brave, and follies of the wise,"

we are gratified by thinking that both were partly in the right: Burke,
in regarding the Revolution as destined to sweep the Continent with long
and tremendous violence, and Pitt as believing it likely to make but
little _permanent_ impression on the habits, the power, or the heart of
England. Burke argued from the weakness of the Continental governments;
Pitt from the strength of the British constitution: the former having no
connexion with the national interests, the latter being formed from
those interests, for those interests, and being as much supported by
them as a tree by its roots. There was not a portion of that stately
tree, from its solid trunk to the highest ornament of its foliage, which
was not fed from the ground. The truth was, that the Jacobinisim of
England was confined to adventurers, and never obtained any hold on the
great body of the proprietors and the people. Its spirit evaporated in
tavern harangues, to which the multitude went to listen, as to the
chattering and grimaces of a mountebank.

No man of distinction, no man of birth, and no man of property was ever
engaged in those coffee-house conspiracies; their Jaffiers and Pierres
were cobblers and tinkers, with a sprinkling of petty pamphleteers, and
ruined declaimers. When Hardy and Horne Took, were the priests, what
must be the worshippers at the Jacobin shrine? But in France, the temple
of that idol of confusion was crowded with the chiefs of the Noblesse,
the Church, the Law; headed by the Prince of the blood next to the
throne; all stimulated by a ferocity of folly unexampled in the history
of infatuation, and all unconsciously urged to their ruin by a race of
beings inferior in rank, and almost objects of their scorn, yet, rather
embodied malignities, and essential mischiefs, than men. France in that
fearful time reminded the spectator of Michael Angelo's great picture of
the "Last Judgment"--general convulsion above, universal torment below;
the mighty of the earth falling, kings, nobles, hierarchs, warriors,
plunging down, and met by fiends, at once their tempters, their
taunters, and their torturers; a scene of desolation and destiny.

Pitt's sentiment on the safety of England from revolutionary movements
was so decided, that if France had not invaded Holland, and thus
actually compelled a war, we should probably have had none at this

A distinction between the state of France and England not less
memorable, if not still more effective, than in property, was religion.
In France infidelity was not merely frequent, but was the _fashion_. No
man of any literary name condescended even to the pretence of religion;
but in England, infidelity was a stigma; when it began to take a public
form, it was only in the vilest quarter; and when it assailed religion,
it was instantly put down at once by the pen, by the law, and by the
more decisive tribunal of national opinion. Paine, the chief writer of
the Satanic faction, was a bankrupt staymaker, and a notorious
profligate: his pamphlet had only the effect of making the public
protest against its abominations; he was prosecuted, was forced to leave
the country, and finally died in beggary in America.

It is remarkable to find so cautious a man as Addington at this period
speaking of the Church as "an honest _drone_, who, if she did not stir
herself very soon, would be stung by the wasps of the conventicle." The
metaphor is not good for much, for the drone can sting too, and does
nothing but sting. But what is it that, at any time, makes the church
ineffective? The abuse of the ministerial patronage. The clergy
altogether depend on the guidance, the character, and the activity of
their bishops. If ministers regard the mitre as merely a sort of
donative for their own private tutors, or the chaplains of their noble
friends, or as provision for a relative, dependent, or the brother of a
Treasury clerk, they not merely degrade the office, but they paralyse
the church. Of the living prelacy we do not speak: but it is impossible
to look upon the list of archbishops and bishops (a few excepted) during
the last century, without surprise that the inferior clergy have done so
much, rather than that they have done so little. Where there was no
encouragement for literary exertion, ability naturally relaxed its
efforts; where preferment was lavished on heads "that could not teach,
and would not learn," disgust extinguished diligence; and where
character for intelligence, practical capacity, and public effect, were
evidently overlooked in the calculation of professional claims, it is
only in the natural course of things that their exercise should be
abandoned, in fastidiousness or in contempt, in disgust or in despair.
The church was never in a more ineffective condition than at the close
of the last century; and if the sin was to be laid at the right
threshold, it must have been laid at the door of Whitehall.

Addington certainly deserves the credit of having formed a just estimate
of the French Revolution from the beginning. In a letter to his brother
he inserts this stanza,--

    "France shall perish, write that word
    In the blood that she has spilt;
    Perish hopeless and abhorr'd,
    Deep in ruin as in guilt."

He, however, fell into the common error of the time, and looked upon her
overthrow as certain in the first campaign.

It was on the second reading of the Alien Bill that the dagger scene, of
which so much was said at the time, occurred in the House of
Commons--thus described by the Speaker: "Burke, after a few preliminary
remarks, the house being totally unprepared, fumbled in his bosom, and
suddenly drew out the dagger, and threw it on the floor. His extravagant
gesture excited a general disposition to smile, by which most men would
have been disconcerted; but he suddenly collected himself, and by a few
brilliant sentences recalled the seriousness of the house. 'Let us,'
said he, 'keep French principles from our heads and French daggers from
our hearts; let us preserve all our blandishments in life, and all our
consolations in death; all the blessings of time, and all the hopes of

As all partisanship hated Burke, who had trampled it in the mire, this
dagger scene was sneered at as a stage trick; but Burke was above all
pantomime. The dagger was one which had been sent from France to a
Birmingham manufacturer, with an order for a large number of the same
pattern: and Burke had received it only on that day--and received it
from Sir James Bland Burgess only on his way down to the house--so that
there could have been no preparation for public exhibition. It was a
natural impulse of the moment, in a time when all was emotion.

The murder of the unfortunate King of France, on the 21st of January
1793, perhaps the most wanton murder in all royal history, instantly
brought out a full display of the _real_ feelings of England. The
universal sentiment was horror, mingled with indignation; and when the
royal message came down to the house on the 28th, stating that, in
consequence of the regicide, the king had ordered M. Chauvelin, minister
from the late king, to leave the country, as being no longer accredited
by the sovereign, the message seemed rather the echo of the national
voice than the dictate of the government.

From this period the Whig party diminished day by day. They were chiefly
the great landholders of the kingdom, and they saw in this atrocious act
a declaration against all property; but they had also the higher motive
of its being a declaration against all government. The chief persons of
the Opposition at once crossed the house; but as Horne Tooke, in his apt
and short style, described the party on his trial, "We all," said he,
"entered the revolutionary coach at Reading; but one got out at
Maidenhead, another at Slough, a third at Hounslow, and a fourth at
Brentford. It was _my_ misfortune, my lord, as it was also Mr Fox's, to
go on to London."

The French now threw off all political form, and all diplomatic decorum,
and exhibited the whole savagism of republicanism. On the motion of a
ruffian of the name of Garnier, the Convention publicly resolved that
"Pitt was an enemy to the human race." The same ruffian then proceeded
to move, "that every body had a right to assassinate him." This,
however, was _not_ carried; but an order was sent, on the proposal of
Robespierre, to the armies, that "no quarter should be given to the
English troops;" an order which was not repealed until his death by the

Those were stirring times, and in every instance of success in the
campaign, Pitt sent an immediate courier to Addington when out of town,
of which the Speaker gave the signal to the surrounding country by
lighting up his house. On one occasion of this kind, a friend of his,
travelling on the coach from Bath, heard the coachman say, "I'm sure
there's good news come, for there's the Speaker's house all in a blaze."

In this year Addington was offered the high promotion of Secretary of
State, in the room of Dundas. He consulted Huntingford, who strongly
advised him against giving up his pleasant, safe, and lucrative office,
for the toilsome, hazardous, and unpopular office of the secretary. A
letter from the Solicitor-general Mitford, (afterwards Lord Redesdale,)
confirmed the opinion. It is justly observed by the biographer, that
Mitford, who could be so wise for his friend, was not equally so for
himself; for, after having obtained the speakership in his own person,
he gave it up to assume the office of Irish Chancellor, a situation of
great responsibility, and great labour, in which he was assailed on all
sides, and from which, on the first change of the cabinet, he was
insultingly recalled.

The war had now become almost wholly naval, and it was a war of
successive triumphs. The dominion of Europe seemed about to be divided
between England and France: England mistress of the sea--France sweeping
every thing before her on the land. The famous battle of the 1st of June
extinguished the first revolutionary fleet, seven sail of the line being
captured, and the remainder of the fleet escaping with difficulty into
the French ports.

The minister was also triumphant at home, and the chief persons of the
Whig party were gazetted as taking office under his administration. Earl
Fitzwilliam as President of the Council, the Duke of Portland as
Secretary of State, Earl Spencer, Privy Seal, the Duke of Gordon, Privy
Seal of Scotland, and Windham, Secretary at War.

It had been frequently remarked, that Pitt never sought for coadjutors
of any remarkable ability, from confidence in his own extraordinary
attainments. As Fox candidly and bitterly concluded one of his speeches
in Parliament, saying, "There is one point, and only one on which I
entirely agree with the right honourable gentleman, and that is, in the
high opinion he entertains of his own talents."

It is certain that those accessions to his cabinet were not likely to
excite any jealousy on his part, yet there was one whose absence from
the cabinet may have been justly regretted as detracting at once from
the strength of the administration, and the glory of the minister. The
name of Burke was _not_ found there, though no man had operated so
powerfully in producing the change; no man had so amply deserved the
distinction; and no man would have thrown so permanent a lustre round
the councils in which he shared. There can be no doubt that Burke felt
this neglect, and that he was justified in feeling himself defrauded of
an honour conferred before his face on men who were not fit to be named
in the same breath.

But he has had his noble revenge. Posterity, of all tribunals the most
formidable, yet the most faithful, has done him Justice. While the
favourites of fortune have passed away into the forgetfulness for which
they were made, his services assume a higher rank in the records of
national preservation, and his genius continually fills a prouder place
among the intellectual triumphs of mankind.

In 1794 Burke closed his parliamentary career, by retiring from the
borough of Malton, for which his son became member. In this year, also,
closed the memorable trial of Warren Hastings, which had extended over
ten sessions of parliament, (from February 1788 to 5th April 1795)--the
actual trial lasting for seven years, two months, and ten days. The
legal expenses of the defence amounted to seventy-one thousand and
eighty pounds, which the proprietors of East India stock, by a majority
of three hundred, on a ballot, paid. What the expenses of the
prosecution were, is not told; probably twice the sum.

The whole holds forth an important lesson for the punishment of public
delinquency. If, instead of the masquerade of an impeachment before the
peers and king, Hastings had been called on to answer before the common
law courts, for any one of the hundred acts of personal injury alleged
against him, the decision would have been secured as soon as the
witnesses could have been brought from Calcutta. Of course the world
would have lost a great deal of parliamentary parade and some capital
speeches; all the _poetic_ pomp would have been wanting; and the
court-dresses would have been left at the tailors. But justice would
have been done, which no one now believes to have been done.

The obvious fact is, that the country had grown tired of a trial which
seemed likely to last for life. After the first sounding of trumpets,
the flourish excited curiosity no more. The topic had been a toy in the
great parliamentary nursery, and the children were grown weary of their
tinselled and painted doll. Even the horrors--and some of the details
had all the terrible atrocity of barbarism with its passions inflamed by
impunity--had ceased to startle; the eloquence of the managers had
become commonplace by the repetition which had deprived the horrors of
their sting. The prosecution was yawned to death.

Perhaps there was not a peer in the seats of Westminster Hall, nor a
member of the committee, nor a man in the kingdom, except Burke and
Pitt, who would not have forgiven Hastings twice the amount of his
offences, to have silenced the subject at once and for ever.

With Burke, the impeachment was a vision, half Roman, half Oriental--the
august severity of a Roman senate, combining with the mysterious
splendour of the throne of Aurungzebe. He was the Cicero impeaching
Verres in the presence of the eighteenth century, or a high-priest of
some Indian oracle promulgating the decrees of eternal justice to the
eastern world.

With Pitt, the whole event was a fortunate diversion of the enemy, a
relief from the restless assaults of a Whig opposition, a perpetual
drain on Whig strength, and by a result more effective still, a fruitful
source of popular ridicule on the lingering impotence of Whig labours.

On the acquittal of Hastings, Burke wrote several letters to Addington
as Speaker, which have a tone of the deepest despondency. He writes in
the impassioned anguish of a man to whom the earth exhibited but one
aspect of despair. They were letters such as Priam might have indited on
the night when his Troy was in a blaze. It was evident that the powerful
genius of Burke was partially bewildered by the bent of his feelings. He
raised an imaginary sepulchre for England on the spot where he had
contemplated the erection of a dungeon for Indian crime through all ages
to come.

The Indian directors voted Hastings, an annuity of five thousand pounds,
which he enjoyed to a very advanced age: yet his acquittal has not
received the seal of posterity. A calmer view has regarded him as the
daring agent of acts fitter for the meridian of Hindoo morality than
European. To serve the struggling interests of the Company seems to
have been his highest motive, and there can be no doubt that he served
them with equal sagacity and success. That he was a vigorous
administrator, an enterprising statesman, and a popular governor, is
beyond denial; that he was personally unstained by avarice or extortion,
is admitted. But history demands higher proofs of principle; and no
governor since his time has ever attempted to imitate his example, or
ever ventured to excuse his own errors, by alleging the conduct or the
acquittal of Hastings.

There are some men, whom no position can render ridiculous, and there
are some quite the reverse: of the latter class was Ferguson of Pitfour.
Ferguson's notion of the essential quality of a Lord Advocate was
tallness. "We Scotch members," said he, "always vote with the Lord
Advocate, and we therefore require to see him in a division. Now I can
see Mr Pitt, and I can see Mr Addington, but I cannot see the Lord
Advocate." His lordship evidently not rising to Ferguson's regulation
size of a statesman.

One evening as Ferguson was taking his dinner in the coffee-room, some
one ran in, to say, that "Pitt was on his legs." Every one rose to leave
the room, except Ferguson. "What!" said they, "won't you go to hear Mr
Pitt?" "No," he replied, "Why should I? do you think Mr Pitt would go to
hear me?"

At a dinner given by Dundas, at Wimbledon, where Addington, Sheridan,
and Erskine were present, the latter was rallied on his not taking so
prominent a part in the debates as his fame required. Sheridan said
(with a roughness unusual with him,) "I tell you how it happens:
Erskine, you are afraid of Pitt, and that's the flabby part of your

This piece of candour, however, was probably owing to the claret. But
Erskine's comparative taciturnity in the House may be accounted for on
more honourable terms. Erskine was no poltroon: he was the boldest
speaker at the bar. But the bar was his place, and no man has ever
attained perfection in the two styles of oratory. It is true, that
distinguished barristers have sometimes been distinguished in the House
of Commons, but they have not been of the race of orators; they have
been sharp, shrewd, bitter men, ready on vexatious topics, quick in
peevish speech, and willing to plunge themselves into subjects whose
labour or license is disdained by higher minds. But Erskine was an
_orator_, vivid, high-toned, and sensitive; shrinking from the
common-place subjects which common-place men take up as their natural
portion; rather indolent, as is common with men of genius; and rather
careless of fame in the senate, from his consciousness of the
unquestioned fame which he had already won at the bar.

Of Fox some pretty anecdotes are told, substantiating that eminent man's
character for courtesy. One day, as Addington was riding by the grounds
of St Ann's Hill, he was seen over the palings by Fox, who called out to
him to stop, invited him in, and displayed the beauties of his garden,
to which he had always devoted a great deal of care. As Addington
particularly admired some weeping ash trees, Fox promised him some
cuttings. Some months elapsed, when one evening, Fox, after going
through a stormy meeting, in Palace-yard, went up to the Speaker in the
chair, and said--"I have not forgotten your cuttings, but have brought
them up to town with me," giving him directions at the same time for
their treatment. In a few minutes after, he was warmly engaged in debate
with Pitt and Burke.

Fox's enjoyment of St Ann's Hill was proverbial. On some one's asking
General Fitzpatrick, in the midst of one of the hottest periods of the
debates on the French war--Where is Fox? the answer was, "I daresay he
is at home, sitting on a hay-cock, reading novels, and watching the jays
stealing his cherries."

The year 1796 was a formidable year for England. Prussia and Spain had
given up her alliance. Belgium and Holland had been taken possession of
by the French. Austria was still firm, but her armies were dispirited,
her generals had lost their reputation, her statesmen had been baffled,
her finances were supported only by English loans, and France was
already by anticipation marking out a campaign under the walls of
Vienna. The English Opposition, at once embittered by defeat, and
stimulated by a new hope of storming the cabinet, carried on a perpetual
assault in the shape of motions for peace. The remnants of Jacobinism in
England united their strength with the populace once more; and, taking
advantage of the continental defeats, of the general timidity of our
allies, and of the apparent hopelessness of all success against an enemy
who grew stronger every day, made desperate efforts to reduce the
government to the humiliation of a forced treaty of peace.

The necessity for raising eighteen millions, followed by seven millions
and a half more, increased the public discontent; and, although the
solid strength of England was still untouched, and the _real_ opinion of
the country was totally opposed to their rash demands for peace, there
can be no question, that the louder voice of the multitude seemed to
carry the day. A bad harvest also had increased the public difficulties;
and, as if every thing was to be unfortunate at this moment, Admiral
Christian's expedition--one of the largest which had ever left an
English port, and which was prepared to sweep the French out of the West
Indies--sailing in December, encountered such a succession of gales in
the chops of the Channel that a great part of this noble armament was
lost, and the admiral reached the West Indies with the survivors, only
to see them perish by the dreadful maladies of the climate.

But, to complete the general disastrous aspect of affairs, a new
phenomenon suddenly blazed over Europe. The year 1796 first saw Napoleon
Buonaparte at the head of an army. Passing the Alps on the 9th of April,
he fell with such skill and vigour on the Austrian and Italian troops,
that in his first campaign he destroyed five successive Austrian armies;
broke up the alliances of that cluster of feeble and contemptible
sovereignties which had so long disgraced Italy in the eyes of Europe;
trampled on their effeminate and debauched population, with the
sternness of an executioner rather than the force of a conqueror; and
after sending the plunder of their palaces to Paris, in the spirit and
with the pomp of the old Roman triumphs, dragged their princes after him
to swell his own triumphal progress through Italy.

The war now engrossed every feeling of the nation; and England showed
her national spirit in her gallant defiance of the threat of invasion.
The whole kingdom was ready to rise in arms on the firing of the first
beacon;--men of the highest rank headed their tenantry; men even of
those grave and important avocations and offices, which might seem to
imply a complete exemption from arms, put themselves at the head of
corps in every part of the empire; and England showed her prime minister
as Colonel Pitt of the Walmer volunteers, and the speaker of her House
of Commons, as Captain Addington of the Woodley cavalry.

But a brilliant change was at hand. In September, Addington received the
following note from Pitt, enclosing the bulletin of the battle of the

     "I have just time to send you the enclosed Bulletin (_vive la
     Marine Anglaise_,) and to tell you, that we mean, (out of
     precaution) the meeting of Parliament for the 6th of November.

     "Sir, ever yours, W. P."

The bulletin which gave value to this note, belongs to history, and
gives to history one of the noblest events of our naval annals. It
exhibits a singular contrast to the present rapidity of communication,
that even the "rumour" of Nelson's immortal victory did not reach until
fifty-seven days after the event. The Gazette could not be published
until the 2d of October.

But the star of Pitt, which had hitherto shone with increasing
brightness from year to year, and which had passed through all the
clouds of time uneclipsed, was now to wane. The Irish attempt to
establish a separate Regency, the Irish Rebellion, and the growing
influence of the Popish party, combined with Liberalism in the Irish
legislature, had determined Pitt to unite the parliaments of the two
kingdoms. For this purpose, he made overtures to the Popish party,
whose influence he most dreaded in the Irish House; and, in a species of
"understanding" rather than a distinct compact, he proposed to the
Popish body the measure which has been subsequently called
"Emancipation," with some general intimation of pensioning their

The Union was carried; and Lord Castlereagh, who had conducted it in
Ireland, was appointed to bring the Popish proposition forward. It had
been a subject of deliberation in the cabinet for nearly six months
before they mentioned it to the king. His Majesty virtually pronounced
it irreconcilable to his conscience; and, after having received the
opinion of Lord Kenyon, the chief-justice, in complete confirmation of
his own, he sent for the speaker. Pitt had written, in the meantime, to
the king, that he must carry the measure or resign. The king then
proposed that Addington should take the conduct of the government. On
his entreating to decline the proposal, the king said emphatically "Put
your hand upon your heart, and ask yourself where I am to turn for
support, if _you_ do not stand by me?" Addington then honourably
attempted once more to induce Pitt to be reconciled to the king's
desire, who replied, as to Addington's taking the cabinet, "I see
nothing but _ruin_ if you hesitate." A letter from the king to Pitt
still left an opening for his return, but his answer was still
inflexible; and, on the 5th of January, 1801, the correspondence was
concluded by the royal announcement that "a new arrangement would be
made without delay."

The determination of George III. was personal and purely conscientious.
An anecdote is given by General Garth strikingly in accordance with this
opinion. The General, who was one of the royal equerries, was riding out
with the king one day at this time, when his Majesty said to him, "I
have not had any sleep this night, and am very bilious and unwell;" he
added, "that it was in consequence of Mr Pitt's applying to him on the
subject of Catholic Emancipation."

On his arrival at Kew, he desired Garth to read the Coronation Oath, and
then followed the exclamation,--"Where is that power on earth to absolve
me from the due observance of every sentence of that oath, particularly
the one requiring me to maintain the Protestant religion? Was not my
family seated on the throne for that express purpose? And shall I be the
first to suffer it to be undermined, perhaps overturned? No. I had
rather beg my bread from door to door throughout Europe, than consent to
any such measure."

This was the language of an honest man, and it was also the language of
a wise one. What has the introduction of Papists into parliament
occasioned to England, but political confusion? What benefit has it
produced to Ireland? No country in the wildest portion of the earth has
exhibited a more lamentable picture of insubordination, dissension, and
public misery. The peasantry gradually sinking into the most abject
poverty; the gentry living on loans; the laws set at defiance; the
demand for rents answered by assassination; a fierce faction existing in
the bowels of the land, as if for the express purpose of inflaming every
passion of an ignorant people into frenzy, and deepening every
visitation of nature into national ruin. At this moment, England is
paying for the daily food of two millions of people; employing seven
hundred thousand labourers, simply to keep them alive; and burthening
the most heavily-taxed industry in the world with millions of pounds
more, for the sole object of rescuing Ireland from the last extremities
of famine.

We take our leave of this most distressing subject, by the obvious
remark, that Pitt and the politicians, in treating popery as a political
object, have all alike overlooked the true nature of the question.
Popery is a _religion_, and if that religion be _false_, no crime can be
greater in the sight of Heaven, nor more sure to bring evil on man, than
to give it any assistance in its temptations, progress, or power, by any
means whatever. To propagate a false religion is to declare war against
the Divine will, and in that warfare suffering must follow. But what
Protestant can have a doubt upon the subject? England may regard
herself as signally fortunate, if the just penalty of her weakness is
already paid.

Mr Addington's Ministry began auspiciously, with the peace of Amiens.
The world was weary of war. France had just learned the power of the
British army, by the capture of her army in Egypt; she was without a
ship on the seas; Napoleon was desirous of consolidating his power, and
ascending a throne; and thus, all interests coinciding, peace was

Lord Sidmouth's life from this period was connected with the highest
transactions of the state, until 1822, when he retired from office,
followed by the universal respect of the country, and bearing with him
into his retirement a conscience as void of offence, as perhaps ever
belonged to any Minister of England.

Then followed a period, which might have been regarded as, even here,
the fitting reward of such a life. Prom 1822 to 1844, he lived in the
enjoyment of health, and that honour, and those troops of friends, which
are the noblest human evidence of a well-spent existence.

Old age came on him at last, but with singular gentleness. Some of his
maxims exhibit the mild philosophy of his temperament. "In youth," said
he, "the absence of pleasure is pain, in age the absence of pain is
pleasure." He characteristically observed, "At my age, it strikes me
very much, what little proportion there is between man's ambition, and
the shortness of his life." Of the wars during his time he said, "I used
to think all the sufferings of war lost in its glory; I now consider all
its glory lost in its sufferings." In allusion to the desponding tone of
some public men, he said, "I have always fought under the standard of
hope, and I never shall desert it." At another time, he expressed the
truth, which only the wise man feels--"It is a very important part of
wisdom, to know what to overlook." He repeated a fine expression of
George III, of which he acknowledged the full value,--"Give me the man
who judges _one_ human being with severity, and every other with

His religious feelings were such as might be expected from his
well-spent life,--pure, benevolent, and high-toned. Speaking to his
family, in his last illness, he said, "Kind, dutiful, affectionate
children, all have been to me; and if I am permitted to attain to that
happy state to which I aspire, and am permitted to look down, how often
shall I be with you, my children!"

On the 3d of February, 1844, he was seized with an attack of influenza,
which on the 10th became hopeless; and on the 15th he calmly died, in
his 87th year.

We have preferred giving an abstract of the leading portions of this
able and amiable man's ministerial career, to following it minutely
through his later public years, as the earlier were those which decided
the character of the whole: and we have also preferred the tracing the
course of the individual, to criticisms on the volumes of his
biographer. But the work deserves much approval, for its general
intelligence, the clearness of its arrangement, and the fulness of its
information. It exercises judgment in the spirit of independence, and,
expressing its opinions without severity, exhibits the grave sagacity of
a man of sense, the style of a scholar, and the temper of a divine.


[4] _The Life and Correspondence of the Right Honourable Henry
Addington, First Viscount Sidmouth._ By the Honourable GEORGE PELLEW,
D.D., Dean of Norwich. 3 vols. J. Murray.


In our last April number--on the appropriate Day of Fools--we laid
before our readers a few stray flowers of speech, culled with little
labour in that rich garden of oratorical delight--the Congress of the
United States. Sweets to the sweet!--We confess that we designed that
salutary exposure less for the benefit of our readers and subscribers in
the Old World, than of those who are our readers, but not our
subscribers, in the New. For, in the absence of an international
copyright law, Maga is extensively pirated in the United States,
extensively read, and we fear very imperfectly digested. This
arrangement appears to us to work badly for all the parties concerned.
It robs the British publisher, and impoverishes the native author. As to
the American public, if our precepts had exercised any influence upon
their practice, they would have learned long ago that ill-gotten goods
never prosper, and that they who make booty of other men's wits, are not
excepted from the general condemnation of wrong-doers. Some day,
perhaps, they will consent to profit by what they prig, and thus, like
the fat knight, turn their diseases to commodity--the national disease
of _appropriation_ to the commodity of self-knowledge and self-rebuke.

An American journalist, however, has put the matter in quite a new
light, so far as we are concerned. Lord Demus, it appears, like other
despots, is a hard master, and exacts from his most oppressed slaves a
tribute of constant adulation. We, too, are invited to applaud his
felonious favours, and assured that the honour and glory of being read
by him on his own free and easy terms, is enough for the like of us.

"So long," says the editor of the _New York Gazette_ and _Times_ "as our
National Legislature refuses to give the Republic an International
Copyright Law, so that American periodicals of a higher class may be
supported among us, the English reviews will do the thinking of our
people upon a great variety of subjects. They make no money, indeed,
directly, by their circulation here; but their conductors cannot but
feel the importance, and value the influence of having the whole
American literary area to themselves. _Blackwood_, whose circulation on
this side of the Atlantic is, on account of its cheapness, double
perhaps that which it can claim in the British islands, is more and more
turning its attention to American subjects, which it handles generally
with its wonted humorous point, and witty spitefulness."

This is very fine; but we can assure our friendly critic, that we feel
no call whatever to undertake the gratuitous direction of the American
conscience. Our ambition to "do the thinking" of our Yankee cousins is
materially damped by the unpleasant necessity which it involves, of
being "done" ourselves. They seem, however, to claim a prescriptive
right to the works of the British press, as well as to the funds of the
British public. They read our books, on the same principle as they
borrow our money, and abuse their benefactors into the bargain with more
than Hibernian asperity. After all, however, we believe that the candour
of Maga has as much to do with their larcenous admiration of her pages,
as the "cheapness" to which our New York editor alludes. To use their
own phrase, "they go in for excitement considerable;" and, to be told of
their faults, is an excitement which they seldom enjoy at the hands of
their own authors. Now, we are accustomed to treat our own public as a
rational, but extremely fallible personage, and to think that we best
deserve his support, by administering to his failings the language of
unpalatable truth. And we greatly mistake the character of Demus, and
even of that conceited monster the American Demus,--

    [Greek: agroikos orgên, kuamotrôx, akracholos upokôphos--]

if this be not the direction in which the interest, as well as the duty,
of the public writer lies. Certain it is, that even in the United States
those books circulate most freely, which lash most vigorously the vices
of the Republic. Honest Von Raumer's dull encomium fell almost
still-born from the press, while the far more superficial pages of
Dickens and Trollope were eagerly devoured by a people who are daily
given to understand, by their own authors, that they are the greatest,
the wisest, the most virtuous nation under the sun. Let a European
author be never so well disposed towards them, his partial applause
contributes but little to their full-blown complacency. But, when they
hear that the Republic has been traduced by a foreign, and especially a
British pen, their vanity is piqued, their curiosity excited, and their
conscience smitten. Every one denounces the libel in public, and every
one admits its truth to himself--"What!" say they, "does the Old World
in truth judge us thus harshly? Is it really scandalised by such trifles
as the repudiation of our debts, and the enslavement of our fellow
creatures? Must we give up our playful duels, and our convenient
spittoons, before we can hope to pass muster as Christians and gentlemen
beyond our own borders? O free Demus! O wise Demus! O virtuous Demus!
Will you betake yourself to cleanly, and well-ordered ways at the
bidding of this scribbler?" Thus "they eat, and eke they swear;" vowing
all the time that they "will horribly revenge." No doubt, however, the
bitter pill of foreign animadversion, though distasteful to the palate,
relieves the inflation of their stomachs, and leaves them better and
lighter than before. But when will a native Aristophanes arise to purge
the effeminacy of the American press, and show up the sausage-venders
and Cleons of the Republic in their true light? How long will the
richest field of national folly in the world remain unreaped, save by
the crotchety sickles of dull moralists and didactic pamphleteers?

Not that moral courage is entirely wanting in the United States; but it
is a kind of courage altogether too moral, and sadly deficient in animal
spirits. The New Englanders especially, set up, in their solemn way, to
admonish the vices of the Republic, and to inoculate them with the
virulent virtues of the Puritanical school. The good city of Boston
alone teems with transcendental schemes for the total and immediate
regeneration of mankind. There we find Peace Societies, and New Moral
World Societies, and Teetotal Societies, and Anti-Slavery Societies, all
"in full blast," each opposing to its respective bane the most sweeping
and exaggerated remedies. The Americans never do things by halves; their
vices and their virtues are alike in extremes, and the principles of the
second book of the Ethics of Aristotle[5] are altogether unknown to
their philosophy. At one moment they are all for "brandy and bitters,"
at the next, tea and turn-out is the order of the day, Here, you must
"liquor or fight"--there, a little wine for the stomach's sake is
sternly denied to a fit of colic, or an emergency of gripes. The moral
soul of Boston thrills with imaginings of perpetual peace, while St
Louis and New Orleans are volcanoes of war. Listen to the voice of New
England, and you would think that negro slavery was the only crime of
which a nation ever was, or could by possibility be guilty; go to South
Carolina, and you are instructed that "the Domestic Institution" is the
basis of democratic virtue, the cornerstone of the Republican edifice.
Cant, indeed, in one form or other, is the innate vice of the "earnest"
Anglo-Saxon mind, on both sides of the Atlantic, and ridicule is the
weapon which the gods have appointed for its mitigation. You must lay on
the rod with a will, and throw "moral suasion" to the dogs. Above all,
your demagogue dreads satire as vermin the avenging thumb--'Any thing
but that,' squeaks he, 'an you love me. Liken me to Lucifer, or Caius
Gracchus; charge me with ambition, and glorious vices; let me be the
evil genius of the commonwealth, the tinsel villain of the political
melodrama; but don't threaten me with the fool's cap, or write me down
with Dogberry; above all, don't quote me in cold blood, that the foolish
people may see, after the fever heat has subsided, what trash I have
palmed upon them in the name of liberty!' Yet this is the way, Jonathan,
to deal with demagogues. You make too much of yours, man. You are not
the blockhead we take you for after all; but you delight to see your
public men in motley, and the rogues will fool you to the top of your
bent, till it is your pleasure to put down the show. So now that the
piper has to be paid, and a lucid interval appears to be dawning upon
you, to the pillory at once with these "stump" orators, and pot-house
politicians, who have led you into such silly scrapes; turn them about,
and look at them well in the rough, that you may know them again when
you see them, and learn to avoid for the future their foolish and
mischievous counsels.

It is remarkable that while a perception of the ridiculous, perhaps to
excess, is characteristic of the British mind, and is at the bottom of
many defects in the national manners, commonly attributed to less venial
feelings, our Transatlantic descendants err in just the opposite
direction. The Americans seldom laugh at any body, or any thing--never
at themselves; and this, next to an unfortunate trick of insolvency, and
a preternatural abhorrence of niggers, is perhaps the besetting sin of
an otherwise "smart" people. As individuals, their peculiarities are not
very marked; in truth there is a marvellous uniformity of bad habits
amongst them; but when viewed in their collective capacity, whenever two
or three of them are gathered together, shades of Democritus! commend us
to a seven-fold pocket-handkerchief. The humours of most nations expend
themselves on carnivals and feast-days, at the theatre, the ball-room,
or the public garden; but the fun of the United States is to be looked
for at public meetings, and philanthropical gatherings, in the halls of
lyceums, female academies, and legislative bodies. There they spout,
there they swell, and cover themselves with adulation as with a garment.
From the inauguration of a President, to the anniversary of the fair
graduates of the Slickville female Institute, no event is allowed to
pass without a grand palaver, in which things in general are extensively
discussed, and their own things in particular extensively praised. They
got the trick no doubt from us, whose performances in this line are
quite unrivalled in the Old World, but they have added to our platform
common-places a variety and "damnable iteration" entirely their own.
Besides, when Bull is called upon to make an ass of himself on such
occasions, he seems for the most part to have a due appreciation of the
fact, while Jonathan's imperturbability and apparent good faith are
quite sublime. The things that we have been compelled to hear of that
"star-spangled banner!"--and all as if they were spoken in real earnest,
and meant to be so understood. We look back upon those side-rending
moments with a kind of Lucretian pleasure, and indemnify ourselves for
past constraint by a hearty guffaw. All this magniloquence and bad
taste, however, is intelligible enough. It springs partly from a want of
discipline in their society, and partly from the absence of those
studies which purify the taste, enlighten the judgment, and make, even
dulness respectable. American audiences are not critical--not merely
because they are not learned, but because they all take it in turns to
be orators, as they do to be colonels of militia and justices of the
peace. Thus they learn to bear each other's burdens, and Dulness is
fully justified of her children. In a country where all men, at least in
theory, are equal, and where every man does in fact exercise a certain
influence on public affairs, it is not surprising that a large number of
persons should possess a certain facility of public speaking, which even
in England is far from universal, and is elsewhere possessed by very
few. No man in the United States is deterred from offering his views
upon matters of state, by the feeling that neither his education nor his
position justify his interference. It is difficult in England to realise
the practical equality which obtains as a fundamental principle in the
Republic. There every man feels himself to be, and in fact is, or at
least may be, a potential unit in the community. As a man, he is a
citizen--as a citizen, a sovereign, whose caprices are to be humoured,
and whose displeasure is to be deprecated. Judge Peddle, for instance,
from the backwoods, is not perhaps as eloquent as Webster, nor as
subtile as Calhoun, but he has just as good a right to be heard when he
goes up to Congress for all that. Is he not accounted an exemplary
citizen "and a pretty tall talker" in his own neighbourhood, and where
on "the univarsal airth" would you find a more enlightened public
opinion? It would never do to put Peddle down; that would be
_leze-majesté_ against his constituents, the sovereign people who dwell
in Babylon, which is in the county of Lafayette, on the banks of the
Chattawichee. Thus endorsed, Peddle soon lays aside his native
bashfulness, and makes the walls of Congress vocal to that bewitching
eloquence which heretofore captivated the Babylonish mind. He was
"raised a leettle too far to the west of sun-down" to be snubbed by
Down-easters, any how; he's a cock of the woods, he is; an "etarnal
screamer," "and that's a fact"--with a bowie knife under his waistcoat,
and a patent revolver in his coat pocket, both very much at the service
of any gentleman who may dispute his claims to popular or personal

To meet the case of these volcanic statesmen,

    "Aw'd by no shame, by no respect controll'd,"

and in order that the noble army of dunces (a potent majority, of
course) may have no reason to complain that the principles of equality
are violated in their persons, the House of Representatives has adopted
a regulation, commonly called "the one-hour rule." Upon this principle,
whenever a question of great interest comes up, each member is allotted
one hour by the Speaker's watch--as much less as he pleases, but no more
on any consideration. Of course it occasionally happens that a man who
has something to say, is not able to say it effectively within the hour;
but then, for one such, there are at least a dozen who would otherwise
talk for a week without saying any thing at all. Upon the whole,
therefore, this same one-hour rule is deserving of all praise--the time
of the country is saved by it, the sufferings of the more sensible
members are abbreviated, while the dunces, to do them justice, make the
most of their limited opportunities. Who knows, but that the peace of
the world may be owing to it? For as there are about 230
representatives, we should have had, but for it, just as many masterly
demonstrations of the title of the Republic to the whole of Oregon--and
something more. In such a cause, they would make nothing of beginning
with the creation of the world, and ending with the last protocol of Mr
Buchanan! Decidedly, but for "the one-hour rule" we Britishers should
have been "everlastingly used up--and no two ways about it." Poor old
Adams actually did begin his Oregon speech with the first chapter of
Genesis. The title-deeds of the Republic, he said, were to be found in
the words, "Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth!" Happily,
the fatal hammer of the Speaker put down the venerable antediluvian,
before he got to the end of the chapter.

In the Senate, on the other hand, which is a less numerous, and somewhat
more select body, things still go on in the old-fashioned way. There,
when a member has once caught the Speaker's eye, his fortune is made for
the day--perhaps for the week. Accordingly, he takes things easy from
the very first--kicks his spittoon to a convenient angle, offers a
libation of cold water to his parched entrails, and begins. When he
leaves off, is another matter altogether--but not generally till he has
gone through the round of human knowledge, explored the past, touched
lightly upon the present, and cast a piercing glance into the darkness
of the future. Soon after three, the Senate adjourns for dinner, and the
orator of the day goes to his pudding with the rest, happy in the
reflection that he has done his duty by his country, and will do it
again on the morrow. We have somewhere read of a paradise of fools.
Undoubtedly, Congress is that place. There they enjoy a perfect
impunity, and revel in the full gratification of their instincts. Nobody
thinks of coughing them down, or swamping them with ironical cheers.

    "Dulness, with transport, eyes each lively dunce,
    Remembering she herself was Pertness once,
    And tinsel'd o'er in robes of varying hues,
    With self-applause her wild creation views.
    Sees momentary monsters rise and fall,
    And with her own fool's colours gilds them all."

Indeed, all the arrangements of Congress favour the influence of the
sable goddess. In the first place, the members are paid by the
day--eight dollars each. Permit us to observe, Jonathan, that you
scarcely display your usual "smartness" here. It would be much better to
contract with them by the _scrape_. As for instance--To involving the
country in a war with Mexico, so much--To ditto with Great Britain, so
much more. One year you might lay down a lumping sum for a protective
tariff, with an understanding, that it was to be repealed the next at a
moderate advance. You would thus insure the greatest possible variety of
political catastrophes, with the least possible friction and expense.
Again, the furniture of the Capitol is altogether too luxurious. Each
member is provided with a private desk, stationery _ad lib._, a stuffed
arm-chair, and a particular spittoon. No wonder, then, that your Simmses
and Chipmans are listened to with complacency. It's all in the day's
work--it's considered in the wages. While these worthies hold forth for
the benefit of distant Missouri and Michigan, their colleagues write
their letters, read the newspapers, chew tobacco, as little boys do
toffy in England, and expectorate at leisure. No one cheers, no one
groans, no one cries Oh! Oh!--all the noise that is made is on private
account, and not at all personal to the gentleman on his legs. Yet, such
is the deceitfulness of the human heart, that the Americans are much
given to boast of the dignity and decorum of their Legislature, and to
thank God that it is not a bear-garden like another place of the kind
that they wot of. We must have been asked at least six times a-day
during our visit at Washington, "How Congress compared with the British
Parliament?" To which we used to reply, "That they did not compare at
all," an answer which fully met the truth of the case, without in the
least wounding the self-love of the querist.

When these malignant pages arrive in New York, every inhabitant of that
good city will abuse us heartily, except our publisher. But great will
be the joy of that furacious individual, as he speculates in secret on
the increased demand of his agonised public. Immediately he will put
forth an advertisement, notifying the men of "Gotham," that he has on
hand a fresh sample of BRITISH INSOLENCE, and hinting that, although he
knows they care nothing about such things, the forthcoming piracy of
Maga will be on the most extensive scale. Then, all the little
newspapers will take us in hand, and bully us in their little way. It is
perhaps a shame to forestall the acerbities of these ingenious
gentlemen, but we know they will call us "anonymous scribbler," and
"bagman," amongst the rest. They called us "bagman" for our last
article, and we were sure they would. The fact is, that since Lord
Morpeth's visit to the United States, the Americans have taken a very
high tone indeed. Their gratitude to that amiable nobleman for not
writing a book about them, is unbounded, and they put him down (why, it
is difficult to say) as the aristocratic, and therefore impartial
champion of Demus. Whenever we fell into the bilious moods to which our
plebeian nature is addicted, we were gravely admonished of his bright
example, and assured that to speak evil of the Republic was the
infirmity of vulgar minds. There is, it would appear, a sympathy betwixt
"great ones;" a kind of free-masonry betwixt the sovereign people and
the British peerage, which neither party suspected previously, but which
is confessed on the slightest acquaintance.

As generally happens in such cases, the conceit of the Americans takes
the most perverse direction. It is certain that they do many things
better than any people under the sun. Their merchant navy is the finest
in the world--their river steamers are miracles of ingenuity,--at
felling timber and packing pork they are unrivalled; and their smartness
in the way of trade is acknowledged by those who know them best. All
this, and much more to the same effect, may be admitted without demur,
but all these admissions will avail the traveller nothing. He will be
expected to congratulate them on the elegance of their manners, the
copiousness of their literature, and the refinement of their tastes. He
will be confidentially informed that "Lord Morpeth's manners were much
improved by mixing with our first circles, sir;" and what is worse, he
will be expected to believe it, and to carry himself accordingly. "Ripe
scholars" who make awful false quantities, second-rate demagogues
passing for "distinguished statesmen," literary empirics, under the name
of "men of power," will claim his suffrages at every turn; and in vain
will he draw upon his politeness to the utmost, in vain assent,
ejaculate, and admire--no amount of positive praise will suffice, till
America Felix is admitted to be the chosen home of every grace and every
muse. "Did Mr Bull meet with any of _our_ literary characters at
Boston?" Mr Bull had that happiness. "Well, he was very much pleased of
course?" Bull hastens to lay his hand upon his heart, and to reply with
truth that he _was_ pleased. "Yes, sir, we do expect that our Boston
literature is about first-rate. We are a young people, sir, but we are a
great people, and we are bound to be greater still. There is a moral
power, sir, an elevation about the New England mind, which
Europeans can scarcely realise. Did you hear Snooks lecture, sir?
the Rev. Amos Snooks of Pisgah? Well, sir, you ought to have heard
Snooks. All Europeans calculate to hear Snooks--he's a fine man,
sir, a man of power--one of the greatest men, sir, in this, or perhaps
any other country."

    "Semper ego auditor tantum, nunquam ne reponam,
    Vexatus toties."----

You leave Boston somewhat snubbed and subdued, and betake yourself to
the more cosmopolitan regions of New York. Here, too, "men of power" are
to be found in great numbers--but "our first circles" divide the
attention and abuse the patience of the traveller. Boston writes the
books, but New York sets the fashions of the Republic, and is the
Elysium of mantua-makers and upholders. We doubt whether any city in the
world of its size can boast so many smart drawing rooms and so many
pretty young women. Indeed, from the age of fifteen to that of
five-and-twenty, female beauty is the rule rather than the exception in
the United States, and neither cost nor pains are spared to set it forth
to the best advantage. The American women dress well, dance well, and in
all that relates to what may be called the mechanical part of social
intercourse, they appear to great advantage. Nothing can exceed the
self-possession of these pretty creatures, whose confidence is never
checked by the discipline of society, or the restraints of an education
which is terminated almost as soon as it is begun. There is no childhood
in America--no youth--no freshness. We look in vain for the

    "Ingenui vultus puer, ingenuique pudoris."


    "The modest maid deck'd with a blush of honour,
    Whose feet do tread green paths of youth and love."


There is scarcely a step from the school to the forum--from the nursery
to the world. Young girls, who in England would be all blushes and bread
and butter, boldly precede their mammas into the ball-room; and the code
of a mistaken gallantry supplies no corrective to their caprice, for
youth and beauty are here invested with regal prerogatives, and can do
no wrong. In short, the Americans carry their complaisance to the sex
beyond due bounds--at least in little things--for we by no means think
that the real influence of their women is great, notwithstanding the
tame and submissive gallantry with which the latter are treated in
public. We doubt whether the most limited gynocracy would tolerate the
use of tobacco as an article of daily diet, or permit ferocious murders
to go unwhipped of justice under the name of duels. But the absorbing
character of the pursuits of the men forbids any strong sympathy betwixt
the sexes; and perhaps the despotism which the women exercise in the
drawing-room arises from the fact that all that relates to the graces
and embellishments of life is left entirely to them. We do not know
that this can be avoided under the circumstances of the country, but it
has a most injurious effect upon social intercourse. The Americans of
both sexes want tact and graciousness of manner, and that prompt and
spontaneous courtesy which is the child of discipline and
self-restraint. They are seldom absolutely awkward, because they are
never bashful; they have no _mauvaise honte_, because they are all on an
equality; hence they never fail to display a certain dry composure of
bearing, which, though not agreeable, is less ludicrous than the
_gaucherie_ so commonly observed in all classes of English society,
except the very highest.

It is curious to observe how the manners of two nations of the same
origin, and, in a great degree, of similar instincts, are modified by
their political institutions. Neither the British nor the Americans are
distinguished for that natural politeness and _savoir vivre_, which is
to be found more or less in all other civilised countries. They are both
too grave, too busy, and too ambitious to lay themselves out for
trifles, which, after all, go far to make up the sum of human happiness.
As for the Americans, the general aspect of their society is dreary and
monotonous in the extreme. Whatever "our first circles" may say to the
contrary, there is a great equality of manners, as of other things,
amongst them; but if the standard is nowhere very high, it never falls
so low as with us; if there is less refinement and cultivation amongst
the higher classes, (we beg Demus' pardon for the expression,) there is
on the other hand less grossness, certainly less clownishness, among the
mass. Of course there are many individuals in this, as in other
countries, remarkable for natural grace and genteel bearing; but the
class which is pre-eminent in these respects, is very small and
ill-defined. The great national defect is a want of sprightliness and
vivacity, and an impartial _insouciance_ in their intercourse with all
classes and conditions of men. For if inequality has its evils, it has
also its charms; as the prospect of swelling mountains and lowly vales
is more pleasing to the eye than that of the monotonous, though more
fertile champaign. Now, as the relation of patrician and plebeian, of
patron and client, of master and servant, of superior and inferior, can
scarcely be said to exist in the United States, so all the nice
gradations of manner which are elicited by those relations, are wanting
also. The social machine rubs on with as little oil as possible--there
is but small room for the exercise of the amenities and charities of
life. The favours of the great are seldom rewarded by the obsequiousness
of the small. No leisure and privileged class exists to set an example
of refined and courtly bearing; but there are none, however humble, who
may not affect the manners of their betters without impertinence, and
aspire to the average standard of the Republic. Hence, almost every
native American citizen is capable of conducting himself with propriety,
if not with ease, in general society. What are fine ladies and gentlemen
to him, that he should stand in awe of them? Simply persons who have
been smarter or earlier in the field of fortune than himself, who will
"burst up" some fine morning, and leave the road open to others. The
principle of rotation[6] is not confined to the political world of the
United States, but obtains in every department of life. It is throughout
the same song--

    "Here we go up, up, up,
    And here we go down, down, down."

Law and opinion, and the circumstances of the country, are alike
opposed to the accumulation of property, so that it is rare for two
successive generations of the same family to occupy the same social
position. The ease with which fortunes are made, or repaired, is only
equalled by the recklessness with which they are lost. Prosperity, at
some time or other, appears to be the birth-right of every citizen; and,
where all are _parvenus_ alike, there are none to assume the airs of
exclusiveness, or to crush the last comer beneath the weight of
traditional and time-honoured grandeur.

It is not easy to dismiss the peculiarities of our British society in a
paragraph. Bull, however, to be appreciated, must be seen in the midst
of his own household gods, with his family and bosom friends about him.
This is what may be called the normal state of that fine fellow--and
here Jonathan can't hold a candle to him. American interiors want relief
and variety of colouring. Their children are not like the children of
the Old World: they don't romp, or prattle, or get into mischief, or
believe in Bogie. They seem to take brevet rank, from the first, as men
and women, and are quite inaccessible to nursery humbug of any kind.
They are never whipped, and eat as much pastry as they think proper;
whereby they grow up dyspeptic and rational beyond their years. Parents
don't appear to exercise any particular functions, masters (we again beg
Demus's pardon for the poverty of the vernacular) have nothing
magisterial about them, and servants won't stomach even the name, at
least if they wear white skins, and know it. After the first burst of
admiration at the philosophy of the thing, it grows tiresome to live
amongst people who are all so much alike. Now in England the
distinctions of age, and rank, and sex, are much more strongly marked;
while in those countries of Europe which are still less under the
influence of the equalising spirit of the age, the social landscape is
still more variegated and picturesque. With us, two adverse principles
are at work; and this is the reason why our British society is so
anomalous to ourselves, and so entirely beyond the comprehension of
foreigners. Whenever our brave Bull is thrown into a mixed company
abroad, or even at home, where the social position of those with whom he
is brought into contact is unknown to him, there is no end to the
blundering and nonsense of the worthy fellow. Go where he will, he is
haunted by the traditions of his eccentric island, and desperately
afraid of placing himself in what he calls a false position. At home, he
has one manner for his nobleman, another for his tradesman, another for
his valet; and he would rather die than fail in the orthodox intonation
appropriate to each. Who has not observed the strange mixture of
petulance and _mauvaise honte_ which distinguishes so many of our
English travellers on the Continent? Decidedly, we appear to less
advantage in public than any people in the world. Place a Briton and an
American, of average parts and breeding, on board a Rhine steam-boat,
and it is almost certain that the Yankee will mix up, so to speak, the
better of the two. The gregarious habits of our continental neighbours
are more familiar to him than to his insular kinsman, and he is not
tormented like the latter by the perpetual fear of failing, either in
what is due to himself or to others. His manners will probably want
polish and dignity; he will be easy rather than graceful, communicative
rather than affable; but he will at least preserve his Republican
composure, alike in his intercourse with common humanity, or in the
atmosphere of more courtly and exclusive circles.

The art of pleasing is nowhere well understood in the United States: but
the beauty of the women, though transient, is unrivalled while it lasts,
and perhaps in no country is the standard of female virtue so high. The
formal and exaggerated attention which the sex receives from all classes
in public, is at least a proof of the high estimation in which it is
held, and must, we think, be put down as an amiable trait in the
American character.

We are quite sure, for instance, that females may travel unattended in
the United States with far more ease and security than in any country of
the Old World: and the deference paid to them is quite irrespective of
the rank of the fair objects--it is a tribute paid to the _woman_ and
not to the _lady_. Some travellers we believe have denied this. We can
only say, that during a pretty extensive tour we do not recollect a
single instance in which even the unreasonable wishes of women were not
complied with as of course. We _did_ remark with less satisfaction the
ungracious manner in which civilities were received by these spoilt
children of the Republic--the absence of apologetic phrases, and those
courtesies of voice and expression, with which women usually acknowledge
the deference paid to their weakness and their charms. But this is a
national failing. The Americans are too independent to confess a sense
of obligation, even in the little conventional matters of daily
intercourse. They have almost banished from the language such phrases
as, "Thank you," "If you please," "I beg your pardon," and the like. The
French, who are not half so attentive to women as the Americans, pass
for the politest nation in Europe, because they know how to veil their
selfishness beneath a profusion of bows and pretty speeches. Now, when
your Yankee is invited to surrender his snug seat in a stage or a
railroad carriage in favour of a fair voyager, he does not hesitate for
a moment. He expectorates, and retires at once. But no civilities are
interchanged; no smiles or bows pass betwixt the parties. The gentleman
expresses no satisfaction--the lady murmurs no apologies.

Even now we see in our mind's eye the pert, pretty little faces, and the
loves of bonnets which flirt and flutter along Broadway in the bright
sunshine--_Longum Vale_! In the flesh we shall see them no more. No more
oysters at Downing's, no more terrapins at Florence's, no more fugacious
banquets at the Astor House. We have traduced the State, and for us
there is no return. The commercial house which we represent, has offered
to renew its confidence, but it has failed to restore ours. No amount of
commission whatever, will tempt us to affront the awful majesty of
Lynch, or to expose ourselves to the tar-and-feathery tortures which he
prepares for those who blaspheme the Republic. We have ordered our buggy
for the Home Circuit, and propose, by a course of deliberate
mastication, and unlimited freedom of speech, to repair the damage which
our digestion, and we fear our temper, has sustained during our travels
in "the area of freedom."


[5] [Greek: Estig ara ê aretê exisproaixetikt, en mesotêtizusa tê pros
êmas ôrismenê dogô]

[6] The principle of rotation in office is a favourite crochet of the
Democratic party, and is founded upon the Republican jealousy of power.
General Jackson went so far as to recommend that all official
appointments whatever should be limited by law to the Presidential term
of four years. As it is, whenever a change of parties occurs, a clean
sweep is made of all the officers of government, from the highest to the
lowest. Custom-house officers, jailers, &c., all share the fate of their
betters. It is only surprising that the business of the country is
carried on as well as it is, under the influence of this corrupting



You are far more anxious, my dear Eusebius, to know somewhat of the
progress or the result of the Curate's misfortune, than to read his or
my translations from Catullus. I have a great mind to punish that love
of mischief in you, by burying the whole affair in profound secresy. It
is fortunate for him that you are not here, or you would surely indulge
your propensity, and with malicious invention put the whole parish, with
the Curate, into inextricable confusion. It is bad enough as it is.
There!--it cannot be helped--I must tell you at once the condition we
are in, if I would have you read the rest of my letter with any

A committee has been sitting these two days, to sift, as they pronounce
them, "the late disgraceful proceedings;" so that you see, they are of
the school of Rhadamanthus,--condemn first, and hear afterwards. We
have, in this little township, two "general shopkeepers," dealers in
groceries, mops, calicoes, candles, and the usual "_omnium-gatherum_" of
household requirements.

These are great rivals--envious rivals--back-biting rivals; both, in the
way of tale-bearing, what Autolicus calls himself, "pickers-up of
unconsidered trifles." And truly, in the trade of this commodity, if in
no other, this may be called a "manufacturing district." Now the Curate,
unhappily, can buy his tea and sugar, and trifling matters, but of
one--for to patronise both, would be to make enemies of both; the poor
Curate, then, in preferring the adulterated goods of Nicolas Sandwell,
to the adulterated goods of Matthew Miffins, has made an implacable
enemy. Really, Eusebius, here is machinery enough for a heroic poem: for
Virgil's old Lady Fame on the top of the roof we have three, active and
lusty--and you may make them the Fates or the Furies, or what you
please, except the Graces. Prateapace, Gadabout, and Brazenstare--there
are characters enough for episodes; and a hero--but what, you will say,
are we to do for a heroine? Here is one, beat out of the brain of Mathew
Miffins, a ready-armed Minerva. You will smile, but it is so. The three
above-named ladies first made their way to the shop of Mr Miffins,
narrated what had passed and what had not. Having probably just
completed "sanding the sugar and watering the tobacco," he raised both
his hands and his eyes, and, to lose no time in business, dropped them
as soon as he decently could, and, pressing both palms strongly on the
counter, he asked, if they entertained any suspicion of a particular
person as being the object of the Curate's most unbecoming passion?
Lydia Prateapace remembered, certainly, a name being mentioned--it was
Lesby or Lisby, or something like that. "Indeed!" said Miffins, arching
his brows, and significantly touching the tip of his nose with his
forefinger--"ah! indeed! a foreigner, depend upon it--a Lisbon lady;
that, Miss, is the capital of Portugal, where them figs comes from. Only
think, a foreign lady--a lady from Lisbon--that is too bad!" to which
the three readily assented. "I doubt not, ladies," he continued, "it's
one of them foreigners as lives near Ashford, about five miles
off--where I knows the Curate goes two or three times in a week."

Thus, Eusebius, is Catullus's Lesbia, who herself stood for another,
converted into a Portuguese lady, whom the Curate visits some five miles
off--or, as the three ladies say, _protects_.

If you ask how I came by this accurate information, learn that our
Gratian's _Jahn_ was at the further counter, making a purchase of
mole-traps, and saw and heard, and reported. The first meeting was held
in Miffins' back-parlour; but fame had beat up for recruits, and that
was found far too small; so they have adjourned to the Blue Boar, where,
the tap being good, and the landlord a busybody, they are likely to
remain a little longer than Muzzle-brains can see to draw up a report.
The Curate's door is chalked, and adjacent walls--"No Kissing," "The
Clerical Judas," "Who Kissed the School-mistress?" and many such-like
morsels. But if fame has thus been playing with the kaleidoscope of
lies, multiplying and giving every one its match, she has likewise shown
them about through her magnifying glass, and brought the most distantly
circulated home to the poor Curate. In a little town a few miles off, it
has been reported that Miss Lydia Prateapace has been obliged to "swear
the peace against him," which "swearing the _peace_" is, in most cases,
a declaration of _war_.

Meanwhile the Curate has taken his cue, to do nothing and say nothing
upon the subject; and, as in all his misadventures, that was the part
taken by Yorick, if his friends do not rescue him, he may have Yorick's
penalty. Thus much at present, my dear Eusebius; I will occasionally
report progress, but it is now time that we resume our translations,
hoping you will find amusement in our


I told you Gratian, worthy veracious Gratian, had hastened away to an
Agricultural meeting, to vindicate the character of his Belgian carrots.
This vindication inundated us for some days with agricultural visitors.
And Gratian was proud, and, like Virgil, "tossed about the dung with
dignity." We saw little of him, and when he did appear, "his talk was of
bullocks;" so how could he "have understanding," at least for Catullus?
Had not a neighbouring fair taken off the agriculturists after a few
days, his ideas, like his stick, would have become porcine. He rode his
hobby, and at a brisk pace; and, when a little tired of him, stabled him
and littered him, and seemed glad of a little quiet and leg-tapping in
his easy-chair. He had worked off the lessened excitement by an
evening's nap, and awoke recruited; and, with a pleasant smile, asked
the Curate if he had had recently any communication with his friend

CURATE.--We left him, I believe, in the very glory of kissing--his
insatiable glory. He now comes to a check--Lesbia is weary, if he is

AQUILIUS.--It is a mere lovers' quarrel, and is only the prelude to more
folly, like the blank green baize curtain, between the play and the
farce. He affects anger--a thin disguise: he would give worlds to "kiss
and be friends again." His vexation is evident.

GRATIAN.--Ah! it is an old story--and not the worse for that--come, Mr
Curate, show up Catullus in his true motley. He was privileged at his
age to play the fool--so are we all at one time or another, if we do it
not too wisely. A wise fool is the only Asinine.--Now for Catullus's

CURATE.--Thus, then, to himself:--


    Sad Catullus, cease your moan,
      Or your folly you'll deplore;
    What you see no more your own,
      Think of as your own no more.

    Once the suns shone on you clearly,
      When it was your wont to go
    Seeking her you loved so dearly,--
      Will you e'er love woman so?

    Then those coquetries amusing
      Were consented to by both--
    Done at least of your free choosing,
      Nor was she so very loth.

    Then, indeed, the suns shone clearly,
      Now their light is half gone out;
    She is loth--and you can merely
      Learn the way to do without.

    Cease, then, your untimely wooing,
      Steel your purpose, and be strong;
    If she flies you, why, pursuing,
      Make your sorrow vain and long?

    Farewell, Fair!--Catullus hardens;
      Where he is, will he remain;
    He is not a man who pardons
      One that must be asked again.

    She'll be sad in turn, the charmer,
      When the shades of eventide
    Bring no gallants to alarm her,
      No Catullus to her side.

    Lost to every sense of duty,
      Say, what can you, will you do?
    Who'll find out that you have beauty?
      Who'll be loved in turn by you?

    Whose will you be called of right?
      Whom will you in future kiss?
    Whose lips will you have to bite?--
      O Catullus, keep to this!

GRATIAN.--Well, now, I think your choice of metre a little too much of
the measured elegiac, for the bursts of alternate passion, love, and
anger--those sudden breaks of vexation, which I see, or fancy I see, in
the original Latin. Now, Aquilius, let us hear you personate the "vexed



    Foolish Catullus--trifling ever--
    Dismiss so fruitless an endeavour;
    Let by-gone days be days by-gone,
    Though fine enough some days have shone,--
    When if _she_ but held up her finger
    Whom you so loved--and still you linger,
    Nor dare to part with--you observant,
    Were at her beck her humble servant;
    Follow'd her here and there: and did
    Such things! which she would not forbid--
    Love's follies, without stint or doubt:
    Oh! then your days shone finely out.
    But now 'tis quite another thing,--
    She likes not your philandering:
    And you yourself! But be it over--
    Act not again the silly lover--
    But let her go--be hard as stone;
    So let her go--and go alone.
    Adieu, sweet lady! 'Tis in vain!
    Catullus is himself again--
    Will neither love, want, nor require,
    But gives you up as you desire.
    Wretch! you will grieve for this full sore,
    When lovers come to you no more.
    For think you, false one, to what pass,
    Your wretched days will come? Alas!
    No beauty yours--not one to say
    How beautiful she looks to-day!
    Whom will you have to love--to hear
    Yourself called by _his_ name, _his_ dear?
    Whom will you have to kiss,--be kiss'd
    And bind your names, in true-love twist?
    Whose lips to bite so?--yes--to bite.}
    --Catullus, spare thy love or spite:}
    Be firm as rock--or conquered quite.}

CURATE.--I protest against this as a translation. He has indeed, as he
professed, brought his puppet Catullus upon the stage, and, like
Shakspeare's bad actor, has put more words in his mouth than the author
bargained for. The very last words are quite contradicted by the text.
Catullus does not hint at the possibility of being conquered, of giving

GRATIAN.--Oh! that, is always implied in these cases. Besides Catullus
evidently doubts, or he would not have so enforced the caution; "At tu,
Catulle"--the translation may be a little free, but still admissible.

AQUILIUS.--My friend the Curate has committed the fault himself, if it
be one: his "O Catullus, keep to this!" so evidently means, If you do
not, it is all over with you.

GRATIAN.--Give me the book.--Oh!--I see we have next that very elegant
and very affectionate welcome home to his friend Verannius, on his
return from Spain, whither he had gone with Caius Piso. There is much
heart in it, and true joy and gratulation. This is the sort of welcome
that throws a sunshine upon the path of the days of human life. There is
no trouble when friend greets friend. Have you translated this?

AQUILIUS.--I fear your commendation will resemble too rich a frame to a
poor picture, and make all more dingy by the glow of the genuine gold.

But here I venture to offer, my translation:--the warmth of the
original--the tenderness, is not perhaps in it:


    Sweet friend, Verannius, welcome home at last!
    Had I a thousand friends, all were surpass'd
    By my Verannius! Art thou _home_ return'd,
    To thine own household gods, and hearts that yearn'd
    To greet thee--brothers happy in one mind,
    And thy dear mother, too,--all fond, all kind?
    O happy, happy news! and now again
    To see thee safe! and hear thee talk of Spain--
    Its history, places, people, and array,
    Telling of all in thy old pleasant way!
    And shall I hold thee in a friend's embrace,
    Gaze on thy mouth, and in thine eyes, and trace
    The features of the well-remember'd face!
    Oh, if one happiest man on earth there be,
    Amongst the happy, I, dear friend, am he!

CURATE.--This Verannius, and his friend Fabullus, seem to have been upon
the most intimate and familiar terms with our poet. Little presents,
pledges of their mutual friendship, had doubtless been given and
received. Catullus elsewhere complains against Marrucinus Asinius, that
he had stolen a handkerchief, sent him out of Spain by Verannius and

AQUILIUS.--Have you not translated it?


AQUILIUS.--I have, and will read it, after yours to Verannius: and it is
curious as showing that the Romans had the practice of using
handkerchiefs, or napkins, of value,--perhaps such a fashion as is now
revived by the other sex,--and embroidered with lace.

GRATIAN.--Now, Mr Curate.--If you let our friend digress thus, we shall
never have your version.



    My friend, the dearest and the best,
    E'en though ten thousand I possess'd!--
    My own Verannius! art thou come
    To greet again thy gods of home,
    And brethren that so well agree
    Together, and in loving thee--
    And come to thy sweet mother, too?
    O blessed news! and it is true,
    That I shall see thee safe at last;
    And hear thee tell thy travel pass'd--
    Of Spanish places, things, and tribes,
    (While every word my heart imbibes,)
    In thine old way: shall I embrace
    Thy neck--and kiss thy pleasant face?
    Find me the happy where you can,
    I still shall be the happiest man.

GRATIAN.--What are we to have next?

AQUILIUS.--An invitation to dinner, or, as the Romans made it,
supper--and a curious invitation it is. Fabullus, to whom it was
addressed, was companion to his friend Verannius--and both were with the
pestilent Piso, in Spain.

CURATE.--And brought little out of it; but returned poorer than they
went--as did, it should seem, Catullus himself from Bithynia. So that I
should imagine the invitation to Fabullus was a mere jest upon their
mutual poverty. For it does not appear that Fabullus was in a condition
to indulge in luxuries.

AQUILIUS.--Perhaps, when the invitation was sent, Catullus was not aware
that his friend had been as unsuccessful, under Piso, as he had himself
been, under Memmius. Thus stands the invitation:--


    A few days hence, my dear Fabullus,
      If the gods grant you that high favour,
    You shall sup well with your Catullus;
      For, to ensure the dishes' savour,
    Yourself shall cater, and shall cull us
      Best fruits--and wines of choicest flavour.
    And with you bring your lass--fun--laughter--
      All plenty: nor confine your wishes
      To supernumerary dishes;--
    Bring all--and pay the piper after.
    Rich be your fare--and all fruition,
      Taste, elegance, and sweet discourses
    Familiar, on that one condition.
      For, truth to tell, my wretched purse is
    In its last stage of inanition,
      And not a single coin disburses:
    A cobweb's over it, and in it--
    That Spider Want there loves to spin it.

    Setting aside this lack of coffer,
      Which you can supply, Fabullus,
    Accept good welcome--and I offer,
      For company, your friend Catullus.
    Yet, though so hard my purse's case is,
      With such rare unguents I'll present you,
    Compounded by the Loves and Graces
      For my dear girl, that you shall scent you
    With perfume more divine than roses;
      And after, pray the gods, within you,
      To change sense, nerve, bone, muscle, sinew,
    And make you all compact of noses.

CURATE.--There you are again bolting out of the course. Sending poor
Fabullus to market, without money in his purse,--not a word in the
original of fruit-culling and "paying the piper."

AQUILIUS.--If Gratian had not the book in his hand, I would boldly
assert that it is all there. He will admit it is the entire meaning.

CURATE.--With the elegant diction, "paying the piper," indeed! "Hæc si,
inquam, attuleris, venuste noster."

GRATIAN.--Well, I almost think "venuste noster," "my good fellow," or
"my pleasant fellow," will allow the freedom of the translation, for it
is a free and easy appellative. Come, then, Curate, let us have your
accurate version.

CURATE.--Perhaps you may think, when you hear it, that I am in the same
predicament of blame with Aquilius, and that my criticism was a ruse, to
divide the censure pretty equally.


    Fabullus, if the gods will let you,
    Before a table I will set you,
    A few days hence, with welcome hearty,
    To my domestic dinner-party.
    That is to say--you bring the food,
    (Which must be plentiful and good,)
    With wine--remembering, I presume,
    For one fair girl I've always room.
    On these conditions you shall dine
    Luxurious, boon-companion mine.
    Seeing that your Catullus' purse
    Has nought but cobwebs left to nurse,
    I can but give you in return
    The loves that undiluted burn;
    And, something sweeter, neater still--
      A scented unguent I'll impart,
    Which Venus and her Loves distil
      To please the girl that owns my heart:
    Which when you smell, this boon--this solely
      You'll ask the gods to recompose;
    And metamorphose you, and wholly,
      To one extensive Roman nose.

AQUILIUS.--What nose would a Roman wish to have? I object to Roman,
though it is not a bad one for the purpose. The metamorphosed would
certainly have a ballad written on him and sung about the streets. Write
it, and call him "The Man-mountain, or real and undoubted Promontory of

GRATIAN.--It should seem they were like enough to feast--like their gods
they so irreverently prayed to--on the smell and the smoke only; so they
needed good noses and bad appetites. There is something a little abrupt
in the latter part, which I doubt if I like: the Loves and Graces should
not be made parties to the making of such a monster; and as _monster_ is
now-a-days all adopted adjective, follow the fashion of speech, and call
it "One extensive Monster-Nose."--Well, what next?

AQUILIUS.--A little piece of extravagant badinage. It seems Calvus
Licinius had sent Catullus a collection of miserable poems, and that,
too, on commencement of the Saturnalia, dedicated to joy, and freedom
from care and annoyance. Our author writes to complain of the malicious
present. There is some force, and a fair fling of contempt at the bad
poets of the day in it.


    Now if I loved you less, my friend,
    Facetious Calvus, than these eyes,
    You merit hatred in such wise
    As men Vatinius hate. To send
    Such stuff to me! Have I been rash
    In word or deed? The gods forfend!
    That you should kill me with such trash,
    Of vile and deleterious verse--
    Volumes on volumes without end,
    Of ignominious poets, worse
    Than their own works. May gods be pliant,
    And grant me this: that poison--pest
    Light on 'em all, and on that client
    Who sent 'em you; and you in jest
    Transfer them, odious, and mephitic,
    And execrable. I suspect 'em
    Sent you by that grammarian critic,
    Sulla. If so, and you have lost
    No precious labour to collect 'em,
    'Tis well indeed; and little cost
    To you, with malice aforethought,
    To send (and with intent to kill him,
    And on this blessed day, when nought
    But Saturnalian joys should fill him)
    Your friend Catullus such a set
    Of murderous authors; but the debt
    I'll pay, be even with you yet--
    For no perfidious friend I spare.
    At early dawn, ere the sun shine, I
    Will rise, and ransack shop and stall,
    Collect your Cæsii and Aquini,
    And that Suffenus: and with care
    And diligence, will have all sent
    To you, for a like punishment.
    Hence, poets! with your jingling chimes:
    Hence, miserables! halt and lame;
    Be off, ye troublers of our times!
    I send you packing whence ye came.

GRATIAN.--Kicking about the volumes, doubtless, as the "Friend of
Humanity" did the "Needy Knife-grinder."

CURATE.--I did not translate that--for I thought the authors might
easily have been burned for writing bad verses (no hint to you,
Aquilius; nothing personal); and that Calvus Licinius, having that
remedy, need not have written about them. And I confess I don't see much
in what he has written. This Suffenus, however, was no fool, but a man
of wit and sense.

AQUILIUS.--Yes,--and Catullus writes to Varrus specially about him. I
have translated that too. Here it is:--


    This man Suffenus, whom you know,
    Varrus, is not without some show
    Of parts, and gift of speech befitting
    A man of sense. Yet he mistakes
    His talents wondrously, and makes
    His thousand verses at a sitting.
    And troth, he makes them _look_ their best:
    For, not content with palimpsest,
    He has them writ on royal vellum,
    Emboss'd and gilded, rubb'd and polish'd:
    But read 'em, and you wish abolish'd
    The privilege to make or sell 'em.
    You read them, and the man is quite
    Another man: no more polite--
    No more "the man about the town,"
    But metamorphosed to a clown--
    Milker of goats, a hedger, digger,
    So thoroughly is changed his figure,
    So quite unlike himself. 'Tis odd,
    Most strange, the man for wit so noted,
    Whose repartees so much were quoted,
    Is changed into a very clod!
    And stranger still--he never seems
    Quite to himself to be himself,
    As when of poetry he dreams,
    And writes and writes, and fills his reams
    With poems destined for the shelf.
    We are deceived--in this twin-brothers
    All. There's one vanity between us,
    And our self-knowledge stands to screen us
    From our true portraits. Knowing others,
    We ticket each man with his vice;
    And find, most accurately nice,
    In all a something of Suffenus.
    Thus every man one knowledge lacks;
    Our error is--we read the score
    Of each man as he walks before,
    And bear our tickets at our backs.

GRATIAN.--True, indeed--as old fables mostly are. There is in them the
depth of wisdom acquired by experience.

CURATE.--I fear experience alone won't do much. It seems thrown away
upon most people. They continue follies to the end. I suppose Cicero
thought himself a poet; though it may be doubted if he wrote the line as
Juvenal gives it,

    "O fortunatam natam me consule Romam."

Perhaps most men's natural common sense has a less wide range than they
think. For there are some things obvious to all besides, that the wisest
cannot see.

AQUILIUS.--Cicero was less likely to see any defect in himself than most
men. He had consummate vanity--which must have led him into many a
ridiculous position. But there were no Boswells in those days. I never
could understand how it is that so great an admiration of Cicero has
come over mankind. Even in language he has had an evil influence; and
our literature for a long period was tainted with it. Sensible himself,
he taught the art of writing fluently without sense. The flow and
period--the _esse videatur_--a style too common with us less than half a
century ago--you might read page after page, and pause to wonder what
you had been reading about. The upper current of the book did not
disturb the under current of your own thoughts, perhaps aided by the
lulling music.

CURATE.--The vanity of Cicero was too manifest. It is a pity, for the
sake of his reputation, that the letter to his friend, in which he
requested him to write his life, is extant. To tell him plainly that it
is the duty of a friend to exaggerate his virtues, is a mean
vanity--unworthy such a man.

GRATIAN.--Come, come! let him rest; our business is with Catullus.
Curate, let us have your translation.

CURATE.--I pass by the account of Suffenus, as well as some other
pieces, and come to that very short one in which he complains of the
mortgage which is on his villa. It is a wretched pun on the word
"opponere," and was scarcely worth translating;--take it, however:


    You, Furius, ask against what wind
      My little villa stands--
    If Auster, or Favonius kind
      Who comes o'er western lands,
    Or cruel Boreas, or that one
    That rises with the morning sun?

    Alas--it stands against a breeze
      Which beats against the door,
    Of fifteen thousand sesterces,
      And twice a hundred more.
    I challenge you on earth to find
    So foul and pestilent a wind.

AQUILIUS.--What! do you look for a wind _on_ earth,--it blows over it;
and catch it who can.

GRATIAN.--It blows every where. The worst I know is that which blows
down the chimney. And that reminds me to tell you what a town-bred
chimney-sweeper said, the other day, to a friend of mine, in the valley
yonder, who wanted to have a smoky chimney cured. My friend inquired if
he could teach it not to smoke. "How can I tell?" said he, "I must take
out a brick first and look into his _intellects_."

CURATE.--Not the march--but the sweep of intellect spoke there.

AQUILIUS.--And spoke not amiss; it was merely to see if he _had a mind_
to be cured.

GRATIAN.--Perhaps you have translated that sweep's language better than
your passages from Catullus.

AQUILIUS.--I did not attempt to translate that little piece,--but ran
quite out of course, as the Curate would tell me, in a long paraphrase.
The idea is, however, furnished by Catullus,--so I dedicate it


    You ask me if my villa lies
      Exposed to north, east, west, or south:
    I answer,--every wind that flies,
      Flies at it, and with open mouth.

    From every quarter winds assail,
      But that which comes from _quarter_-day,
    Though it four times a-year prevail,
      It does but whistle, and not pay.

    Some blow from far, and some hard by;
      One, mortgage-wind, takes shortest journey,
    Only across the way from Sly,
      And blasts with "power of attorney."

    But what is worse than windy racks is,
      My windows leak at every pane,
    And are not tight 'gainst rates and taxes.
      My roof and doors _let_ in the rain--

    The only _let_ my villa knows.
      So that with taxes, wind, and wet,
    From whatsoever point it blows,
      My house is blown upon _unlet_.

Now, I hope my friend the Curate will admit so far to be rather a
lengthy translation. I say nothing of addenda--thus:--

    "Winds blow, and crack your cheeks,"--alack,
      Who said it, wanted house and halls,
    Nor knew winds have no cheeks to crack,
      In short crack nothing but my walls.

    My friends console--"the winds will drop:"
      'Tis equal trouble to my mind;
    For if it tumbles on the top,
      You know I cannot _raise the wind_.

    To sum up all--for its location;--
      The question's of importance vital;--
    In Chancery--wretched situation;
      A rascal there disputes my title.

CURATE.--You are coming it pretty strong, and quite blowing up Catullus
with your hurricane of winds. After all the household miseries in your
lines, a cheering glass may set things to rights a little. Here, then,
is what he says to his wine-server:--


    Boy, that at my drinking-bout
    Servest old Falernian out,
    Fill me faster cups, and quicker,
    With the spirit-stirring liquor.
    So Posthumia's law doth say,--
    Mistress of the feast to-day;
    She more vinous than the grape.
    Springs of water--bane of wine--
    Where ye please for me and mine,
    Avaunt, begone, escape!
    Emigrate to men demure.
    My bumper is Thyonian pure.

GRATIAN.--I am afraid, Curate, that if you were to take what you please
to call "the cheering glass," such as the jade Posthumia would
recommend, we should have to put you to bed pretty early. It was the
custom, it should seem, of the ancients to make a throw of the dice to
determine the arbiter of the feast--to appoint the drinking. Who threw
_Venus_ (three sixes) was the _magister_; but the _magistra_ is a
novelty; a "Venus Ebria," whose drinking law would throw all; for "wine
is a wrestler, and a shrewd one too." Doesn't Shakspeare say so? Now for
your version, Aquilius.

AQUILIUS.--Curate will say, I am not so close to the original. But, on
such a subject, we may be allowed to walk not quite straight;--a little
zig-zaggy. Spite the coming criticism I venture:--


    (To his Wine-server.)

    Pour me out, boy, the generous juice.
      The racy, true, the old Falernus;
    Such wines as, to Posthumia's thinking,
      Are only fit for mortals' use;
    When in her glory, drunk, and winking,
    The dame would quaff, and wisely learn us
      The good old simple law of drinking.

    But water shun;--Hence, waters! go,
      E'en as ye will, to chill Avernus,
    Or whereso'er ye please to flow;--
    Be drink for all the dull, the slow,
    The sad, the serious, the phlegmatic;
    But leave this juice, this pure stomachic,
      Its own, its unadulterate glow;--
    This--this alone is genuine Bacchic!

GRATIAN.--Well, then, that must be our parting cup for the night, and a
pretty good "_night-cap_" it is. I was afraid, Aquilius, when you came
to the "phlegmatic" you would rhyme it to "rheumatic," and so on to the
"water-cure." You know that is recommended in rheumatic cases; but
perhaps you don't know that I tried it. I had the water-drinking, the
wet sheets, and all the rest of it.

AQUILIUS.--And are here to tell of it!

GRATIAN.--Yes, and return to the old _tap_, (tapping his thigh and leg
pretty smartly;) and I suppose I must _stick_ to it.

CURATE.--A medical friend told me the other day of a discussion upon
this subject, which I thought very amusing, as he narrated it remarkably
well, imitating the tones and dialect (Somersetshire) of at least one of
the speakers. He had some years before attended an old man in the
country--a farmer well to do in the world--a man of very strong natural
understanding, but entirely uneducated. He had lost sight of him for
some years, when, not long since, he was sent for to the old farm-house.
Instead of the old stone floor, there was a carpet laid down, and an air
of smartness over every thing, which he had never seen before. It turned
out, that the old man's daughter had married: a smartish man, the
husband, was in the room, and to show his general knowledge of things,
and acquaintance with the world, he advocated the water-cure, and
questioned my medical friend as to his opinion. A voice from the
chimney-corner (the settle in it) cried out, "It ain't na'tral." My
friend had not before seen the old man, he was so retired into the
recess. After having given his opinion to the bridegroom, he turned to
his old acquaintance, and said "You remarked that it is not natural.
What do you mean by _natural?_" "Why," replied the old man, "I do think,
most dumb critturs knows what's good for 'em; and when a dog's sick
doesn't he eat grass? If a sheep's ill, don't he lick chalk or salt if
he can get it? And if a beast's ill," (I forget what he said was the
cure for a beast);--"but did you ever see any of them go and lie down in
the water, or fill themselves wi' it? There's plenty of it in ditches,
and every where else, too, hereabouts. No, you never did." Then, looking
up in the face of his orator son-in-law, he added, "And you don't know
why you never see'd it, nor why they don't do it. No, I know you don't.
Vy, I do--because they ha' got more zense." This was said with a kind of
contempt which was quite a floorer to the new wiseacre.

GRATIAN.--Thanks for the story! now that is just the sense that I have
acquired at some cost, and no cure; but I didn't get at it naturally as
your old friend did. So now for sleep, and good-night.

The Curate and I did not part so soon. Time flew, and we seemed to
shorten the night--"noctem vario sermone," as sayeth Virgil of poor
Dido, who must have found the conversation considerably flag with the
stupid Æneas.

"Noctem vario sermone _trahebat_--it was a sad _drag_. It must have
become very tiresome, a little while before that, when ill-mannered
Bitias drank up all the wine, and buried his face in the cup, "pleno se
proluit auro." And they had been obliged to resort to singing, always
the refuge from the visible awkwardness of _nothing to say_. And here I
cannot but remark, Eusebius, what dull things their songs must have been
on natural philosophy, sun, moon, and stars--songs, Virgil tells you,
edited by the old Astronomer-general Atlas. But as this was before the
foundation of Rome, they had not that variety for their selection,
which was as much in fashion afterwards in Rome as Moore's Melodies in
England, as we learn from Mr Macaulay, and his version and edition of
the "Lays." They had no piccolo pianofortes in those days, or they would
have had something lighter than the Lays, as the better after-supper
Poet calls it--a

    "Something more exquisite still."

But I am apparently, Eusebius, leaving the Curate to sleep or to
meditate upon his own unhappy condition while I thus turn the current of
my talk upon you. Unhappy condition, did I say? He seems to bear it
wonderfully lightly; and once or twice, when the subject has been
mentioned, indulged in an irreverend laugh. Now, I know you will ask how
a laugh can be irreverend. Don't you know the world well enough,
Eusebius, to know, that before a very great number of men, women, and
children, a curate must not laugh, dare not laugh--blessed indeed, and
divested of the wretched rags of humanity, if he _cannot_ laugh. None
but a Bishop, or a Dean, who, in the eyes of the many, is a kind of
extra-parochial nonentity, can really, in these times of severe
reprobation for trifling peccadillos, afford to laugh; and they had
better do it in private, and with aprons off--never before the Chapter,
who all, themselves, laugh in private. Man, you know, is the only
risible creature; but a Curate must begin to know, from the moment he
has put on his surplice, that he is to discard at once, and for ever,
this human and irreverend instinct. Had you lived in the triumphal days
of the Puritans, what penalties would you not have had to undergo, what
buffetings and duckings, ere you could finally have overcome your strong
natural wicked propensity, and have sobered down, and riveted in iron
gravity and moroseness those flexible, those mockingly flexible features
of yours. As it is, in these days of "revival," you only meet with
considerable contempt, and evil opinion, which, as it comes rather late
upon you, comes as an amusing novelty and additional provocative. But
you may be sure what you can afford to do, the Curate cannot. For the
present, therefore, let his few indulgences that way be a secret. He
will mend in time. For so it happens, that though the longer we live the
more we have to laugh at, we lose considerably our power of laughing.
And that--between ourselves be it said, Eusebius--is, I think, a strong
proof of our deterioration. A man, to laugh well, must be an honest
man--mind, I say _laugh_: when Shakspeare says

                "A man may smile and smile,
    And be a villain,"

he purposely says _smile_, in contradistinction to laugh. He cannot
laugh and be a villain. A man cannot plot and laugh. A man may be much
less innocent even when he thinks himself devout, than in his hour of
merriment, when he assuredly has no guile; but a man may even pray with
a selfish and a narrow mind, and his very prayers partake of his
iniquity: no bad argument for a prescribed form. A man that laughs well
is your half-made friend, Eusebius, from the moment you hear him. It is
better to trust the ear than the eye in this matter--such a man is a man
after your own heart. _After your own heart_, did I say, Eusebius? Words
are the _ignes fatui_ to thoughts, and lead to strange vagaries--of
which you have here a specimen; but these few words remind me to tell
you an anecdote, in this lull of the _Horæ Catullianæ_, which I would on
no account keep from you. And you will see at once in it a large history
in the epitome and the very pith of a fable--such as Æsop's. But I
assure you it is no fable, but the simple plain truth; and I will vouch
for it, for I had it from the month of our friend S., the truest,
honestest of men, who saw with his own eyes, and heard with his own
ears, the persons and the sayings. S. was travelling some time ago,
beyond the directions of railroads, in a coach. There were two
companions--preachers as he found, self-dubb'd Reverends of some
denomination or other, besides that reverend one of their own. Their
conversation, as is usual with them, was professional, and they spoke of
their brethren. In speaking of different preachers, one was mentioned,
of whom one of the speakers said emphatically--"Now that's what I call
a really good man--that's _a man after my own heart_--a man quite after
my own heart!" The other said with rather doubtful and hesitating
confirmation, "Ye-s." "You don't seem to think so highly of him as I
do," said the first speaker. "Why," replied the doubter, "I can't say I
do; you remember some time ago he _failed_, and certainly upon that
occasion he behaved _very ill_ to, not to say _cheated_, his creditors."
"Ah!" said the first commendator again, "that is very likely--I should
have expected _that_ of him."--Henceforth, Eusebius, whenever I hear
such a commendation, I shall look out for a map of the gentleman's heart
who ventures upon this mode of expressing his admiration. Oh! what a
world we live in! This is a fact which would have been immortal, because
true and from nature, in the hands of Le Sage; and is worthy of a place
in a page of a modern "Gil Blas."

And so all this digression has arisen from a laugh of the Curate's, to
whom it is time to turn; or you will think we have been but bad company
to each other. I will, however, end this passage with the remark, that a
man may do a worse thing than laugh, and happy is he that can do a

The Curate and I, then, for the rest of the night conversed upon the
affair of his, which so unaccountably was making no little stir in the
place. The Curate told me, he was quite sure that his movements had been
watched; for that only yesterday, as he was entering the gate of his
friends, the family at Ashford, he saw Miffins's boy not far behind him
on a poney; and he thinks he came out for the purpose of watching him,
for he had scarcely reached the door, when he saw the lad ride hastily
back. The Curate likewise confessed to me, that he did entertain some
tender sentiments towards one of the inmates, Miss Lydia ----, that the
family had lived much abroad, and that they had a French lady's-maid,
whom on one or two occasions he had certainly seen in this township. You
see the thread, Eusebius, which will draw out innumerable proofs for
such a mind as Miffins's. Taking a paper out of his pocket, he said it
was put into his hands as he was coming away, and he had not opened it.
"Perhaps," said he, "it may throw some light on the affair, as it was
given me by one who is, I know, on the all-important committee." He
broke the seal, read, laughed immoderately for five minutes, and put it
into my hands:--

"REV. SIR,--Wishing to do the handsome to you, and straightforward and
downright honest part, the committee inform you that they have reported
your misconduct to the Lord Bishop, and I am desired accordingly to send
you a copy of their letter. By order of committee.--I am, sir,


Enclosed was the following, which these wiseacres had concocted--and I
have no doubt it was their pride in the composition, and in the
penmanship, which induced them to send the copy to the Curate.


"We the undersigned, the respectable inhabitants parishioners, approach
most dutifully our Bishop's worshipful Lordship. Hoping humbly that you
will be pleased to dismiss our curate, who, we are credibly informed,
and particularly by three exemplary and virtuous ladies, they having
been cautioned against him by one who knows him well, and is a friend
likewise to said ladies, and doing all the good kindness he can. We
learn with sorrow, that our curate has confessed to unbecomingly
behaviour, and that he has been seen even kissing. My Lord, our wives
and daughters are not safe--we implore your Honour's Lordship to dismiss
the curate, and take them under your protection and keeping: We are
informed the curate has a foreign lady, not far from this, whom he
almost daily visits--and a Papist, which is an offence to your Lordship,
and the glorious Protestant cause, to which we are uniformly and
respectfully attached, and to your worshipful Lordship very devoted--"
here follow the names, headed by Matthew Miffins.

"And what steps do you intend to take?" said I.

"None whatever," said he.

"Let it wear itself out. I won't lengthen the existence of this scandal
by the smallest patronage. I will not take it up, so it will die."

"But the Bishop?" said I.

"Is a man of sense," he replied, "and good feeling; so all is safe, in
his hands."

We parted for the night.

The Curate called rather early the following morning, and we thought to
have an hour over Catullus, and went to seek our host Gratian. We found
him in his library in consultation with his factotum Jahn. He was
eloquent on the salting, and not burning his weeds, on Dutch
clover--"and mind, Jahn," said he, "every orchard should have a
pig-stye: where pigs are kept, there apple-trees will thrive well, and
bear well, if there be any fruit going:" and he moved his stick on the
floor from habit, as if he were rubbing his pigs' backs; and then
turning to us he said,--"Why, Jahn has been telling me strange things:
Prateapace and Gadabout have gone over to the chapel--left the church;
not there last Sunday. But I saw that Brazenstare there, trying, as she
sat just before you, to put you, Mr Curate, out of countenance. Well,
Jahn tells me that the Reverend the Cow-doctor preached last evening a
stirring sermon on the occasion, and was very hot upon the impurities
and idolatries of the 'Establishment.' And Jahn tells me they don't
speak quite so well of me as they should; for when he plainly told
Miffins in his own shop, that he was sure his master would not
countenance any thing wrong, the impudent fellow only said, 'May be not;
but he and his master might not be of the same opinion as to what _is_
wrong.' The rogue! I should like to have put all his weights in the
inspector's scales."

"Yes," quoth Jahn, "but I am 'most ashamed to tell your honour what Tom
Potts, the exciseman, said, who happened to be present."

"Out with it, by all means, Jahn," said our friend.

"Well then, sir, as true as you are there, he said that your honour was
a very kind gentleman, and your word was worth any other ten men's in
most things; but where it might be to get a friend out of trouble, and,
for aught he knew, foe either, why then, he thought your honour might
fib a bit."

"Surely," said Gratian, "he didn't say quite that?"

"Yes," quoth Jahn, "quite that, and more; something remarkable."

"Remarkable!" said I,--"what could that be?"

"Why, something I shan't forget; and I don't think it was religious and
proper," said Jahn; and lowering his voice, and addressing me and the
Curate rather than his master, he added,--"He thought his honour had a
kind heart, too kind; for that if Belzebub should come of a wet and dark
night, and knock at his honour's door, and just say in a humble voice
that he was weary and foot-sore, that his honour would be sure to take
him in, give him a bed, and a stiff tumbler of brandy and water, and
send for the farrier in the morning to fresh shoe him unknowingly; for
he would make him stoop, put his claws on the ground, and throw a
blanket over him, and make the farrier believe that, out of a whim, he
was only a shoeing a great big goat."

Gratian laughed at the whimsical idea of the exciseman, called him a
true and good spirit-gauger; then giving some sharp taps to his hip, his
knee, and his legs with his stick, rose from his seat, and said, "Come,
Curate, you and I must take a walk amongst these people, and see what we
can do: it is most time to put a stop to this mischievous absurdity,
and, I fear me, of our own making."

Away they went, and I put up my remaining translations from Catullus,
took down a book, read awhile, and then meditated this letter to you.
And now, my dear Eusebius, when you publish it in Maga, as you did my
last, folk will say--"Why, what is all this about? _Horæ Catullianæ!_ It
is no such thing." Be it, then, I say, what you will. Do you think I am
writing an essay?--no, a letter; and I may, if I please, entitle it, as
Montaigne did--"On coach horses," and still make it what I please. It
shall be a novel, if they please, for that is what they look for now: so
let the Curate be the hero,--and the heroine--but must it be a love
story? Then I won't forestall the interest, so wait to the end; and in
my next, Eusebius, we will repeat Catullus for the play, and say with
the announcing actor, "to conclude with an after-piece which will be
expressed in the bills."

    My dear Eusebius, ever yours,



The two great parties into which the country was divided on the subject
of our commercial relations with foreign states, maintained principles
diametrically opposite on the effects to be anticipated from the
adoption of their respective systems. The Free-Traders constantly
alleged, that the great thing was to increase our _importations_; and
that, provided this was done, government need not disquiet themselves
about our _exportations_. Individuals, it was said, equally with
nations, do not give their goods for nothing: if foreign produce of some
sort comes in, British produce of some sort must go out. Both parties
will gain by the exchange. The inhabitants of this country will devote
their attention to those branches of industry in which we can undersell
foreign nations, and they will devote their attention to those branches
of industry in which they can undersell us. Neither party will waste
their time, or their labour, upon vain attempts to raise produce for
which nature has not given them the requisite facilities. Both will buy
cheaper than they could have done if an artificial system of protection
had forced the national industry into a channel which nature did not
intend, and experience does not sanction. We may be fed by the world,
but we will clothe the world. The abstraction of the precious metals is
not to be dreaded under such a system, for how are the precious metals
got but in exchange for manufactures? Their existence in this country
presupposes the exit of a proportionate amount of the produce of British
industry. Nobody gives dollars, any more than corn, for nothing. Our
farmers must take to dairy and pasture cultivation to a greater extent
than heretofore. A certain number of agricultural labourers, may, it is
true, be thrown out of employment by the displacing of rural industry in
making the transition from the one species of country labour to the
other; but the evil will only be temporary, and they will speedily be
absorbed in the vast extension of our manufacturing industry. High
prices need never be feared under such a system: a bad season is never
universal over the world at the same time; and free-trade will
permanently let in the superfluity of those countries where food is
abundant, to supply the deficiencies of those in which, from native
sources, it is scanty.

The Protectionists reasoned after an entirely different manner. The
doctrines of free-trade, they observed, perfectly just in their
application to different provinces of the same empire, are entirely
misplaced if extended to different _countries_ of the world, the more
especially if placed in similar, or nearly similar, circumstances. The
state of smothered or open hostility in which they are in general placed
to each other, if their interests are at all at variance; the necessity
of sheltering infant manufacturing industry from the dangerous
competition of more advanced civilisation, or protecting old-established
agricultural industry from the ruinous inroad of rude produce from
poorer states, in which it is raised cheaper because money is less
plentiful, render it indispensable that protection should exist on both
sides. If it does not, the inevitable result will be, that the
cultivators of the young state will destroy the agriculture of the old
one, and the manufacturers of the old one extinguish the fabrics of the
young. This effect is necessary, and, to all appearance, will ever
continue; for the experience of every age has demonstrated that, so
great is the effect of capital and civilisation applied to manufactures,
and so inconsiderable, comparatively speaking, their influence upon
agriculture, that the old state can always undersell the new one in the
industry of towns, and the new one undersell the old one in the industry
of the country. The proof of this is decisive. England, by the aid of
the steam-engine, can undersell the inhabitants of Hindostan in the
manufacture of muslins from cotton growing on the banks of the Ganges;
but with all the advantages of chemical manure and tile draining, it is
undersold in the supply of food by the cultivators on the Mississippi.

This being a fixed law of nature, evidently intended to check the growth
of old states, and promote the extension of mankind in the uncultivated
parts of the earth, it is in vain to contend against it. So violently
does free-trade displace industry on both sides, where it is fully
established, that it is scarcely possible to conceive that two nations
should at the same time run into the same glaring mistake; and thence
the common complaint that no benefit is gained, but an infinite loss
sustained, by its establishment in any one country, and that reciprocity
is on one side only. As no adequate exchange of manufactures for
subsistence is thus to be looked for, there must arise, in the old
state, a constant exportation of the precious metals, attended by
frequent commercial crises, and a constant increase in the weight of
direct taxation. Should it prove otherwise, and two nations both go into
the same system, it could lead to no other result but the stoppage of
the growth of civilisation in the young one, and the destruction of
national independence in the old. The former would never succeed in
establishing commerce or manufactures, from the competition of the
steam-engine in its aged neighbour; the latter would become dependent
for subsistence on the plough of the young one. The rising agricultural
state would be chained for ever to the condition of the serfs in Poland,
or the boors in America; the stationary commercial state would fall into
the degrading dependence of ancient Rome on the harvests of Egypt and

Had it not been for the calamitous issue of the last harvest, in a part
of the empire, it might have been difficult to say, to which side the
weight of reason preponderated in these opposite arguments; and probably
the people of the country would have continued permanently divided on
them, according as their private interests or wishes were wound up with
the buying and selling, or raising and producing classes in society. But
an external calamity has intervened;--Providence has denied for a
season, to one of the fruits of the earth, its wonted increase. The
potato-rot has appeared; and nearly the whole subsistence of the people
in the south and west of Ireland, and in the western Highlands of
Scotland, has been destroyed. Between the failure in the potato crop,
and the deficiency in that of oats, at least £15,000,000 worth of the
wonted agricultural produce has disappeared in the British Islands. And
the appearances which we now see around us are solely and entirely to be
ascribed to that deficiency. No one need be told what these appearances
are, or how deeply they have trenched upon the usual sources of
prosperity in the empire: they have been told again and again, in
parliament, at public meetings, and in the press, _usque ad nauseam_.
Government has acted, if not judiciously, at least in the right spirit;
its errors have been those of information, not of intention. The monster
meetings, the flagrant ingratitude, the broken promises of the Irish
Catholics, have been forgotten. England, as a nation, has acted nobly;
she has overlooked her wrongs: she saw only her fellow-subjects in
distress. £10,000,000 sterling have been voted by parliament in a single
year for the relief of Irish suffering. Magnificent subscriptions, from
the throne downwards, have attested the sympathy of the British heart
with the tale of Irish and Highland suffering. But, notwithstanding all
these astonishing exertions, and notwithstanding the existence of an
unprecedented demand for labour in most parts of the country, in
consequence of vast railway undertakings being on foot, on which at
least £30,000,000 a-year must be expended for three or four years to
come, distress is in many places most acute, in all severely felt. And
what is very remarkable, and may be considered, as a distinctive sign of
the times, specially worthy of universal attention, the suffering has
now spread to those classes which are _furthest removed_ from the blight
of nature, and fastened upon those interests which, according to the
generally received opinion, should have been _benefited rather than
injured_ by the calamity which has occurred.

That some millions of cultivators in the southwest of Ireland, and some
hundred thousand in the west Highlands of Scotland, should be involved,
literally speaking, in the horrors of famine, in consequence of the
universal failure of the crop which constituted at once their sole
object of labour and only means of subsistence, may easily be
understood. That this alarming failure should raise prices of every sort
of food to the scarcity-level in every part of the empire, is equally
intelligible; and that government, in conformity with the _universal_
sense of the nation, should, in such an extremity, throw open the ports
to all kinds of food, and thereby let in an unexampled amount of foreign
produce to supply the failure of that usually raised at home, is an
equally intelligible consequence. It may not be considered surprising,
that starving multitudes should issue in all directions from the scene
of wo in the Emerald Isle, to seek relief in the industry or charity of
Great Britain; and that all the great towns in the west of the island
should be overwhelmed with pauperism and typhus fever, in consequence of
their being the first to be reached by the destructive flood; although
it was hardly to be expected that a hundred and thirty-two thousand
applications for relief were to be made to the parochial authorities of
Liverpool in a _single week_; and that they returned thanks to Heaven
when the influx of Irish paupers was reduced to _two thousand a-week_!
But the remarkable thing, and the thing which the commercial classes
certainly did not expect, is this:--_The calamity has now reached
themselves_, although the hand of Providence has only stricken the
producing agricultural classes. Trade never was lower, monied distress
never more severe, markets of all sorts never were more rapidly
DECLINING, than during a period when IMPORTATIONS of all sorts have been
MOST RAPIDLY INCREASING. Nearly all the manufactories in Lancashire and
Lanarkshire are put on short time; the public funds and stocks of all
sorts are falling; the rate of bankers' advances in Scotland is raised
to _six per cent_;[7] seven per cent is charged in Liverpool and Glasgow
on railway advances, and permanent loans are taken on railway debentures
by the most experienced persons for three years at five per cent; the
Bank of England has raised its discounts; our exports are rapidly
declining; and all at a time, when the importation of all sorts of rude
produce is on an unprecedented scale of magnitude, and the warehouses of
Liverpool and Glasgow are literally _bursting_ with the prodigious mass
of grain stored in them from all parts of the world!

Fortunately, statistical documents exist, derived from official sources,
which demonstrate beyond the possibility of doubt the coexistence of
this _vast increase_ in the amount of subsistence imported, and _vast
diminution_ in the amount of manufactures raised or exported in all
parts of the British empire. A paper has lately been presented to
parliament, showing the amount of imports, exports, and shipping during
the year 1846, compared with 1845; from which this important and
luminous fact is decisively established, how hard soever it may be to
comprehend on the part of a large and influential portion of our
politicians. From it it appears that the amount of subsistence imported
in 1846 was six times greater than in 1845, although free-trade only
commenced in the middle of the former year. It had reached the
unparalleled amount in the latter year, of grain or flour, equal to
_five millions and a half quarters of grain_. The tonnage _inwards_ had
turned five millions of tons; the custom-house duties, notwithstanding
the numerous reductions of duties on imported articles, had risen
£700,000 above the preceding year, and still kept above £22.000,000
sterling. Here, then, were all the sources and marks of prosperity, so
far as they depended on importations, in a state of unexampled vigour
and efficiency. Was this attended, as we were constantly told it would
be, by a corresponding impulse given to our fabrics? Has the increased
activity of our manufacturing cities compensated for the sterility of so
large a part of our fields? The fact is just the reverse. Though
free-trade has only been in operation for the last six months of 1846,
they were signalised by a universal _decline_ in all the principal
articles of our exportation; and, by the unanimous voice of all
practical men, trade, so far as exports or production is concerned,
never was in a more depressed state than when, so far as imports are
concerned, it had attained an unprecedented _extension_.

Never was a truer observation than is made by the Free-Traders, when
they assert that goods will not be sent into a nation for nothing; and
that, if our imports increase, something that goes out must have
received a proportional augmentation. They forget only one circumstance,
which, however, is of some little consequence, namely, that two things
may go out, goods or SPECIE. We have melancholy proof, in the present
state of the money market, that the latter occurrence has taken place to
an inconvenient and distressing extent, and that that is the direct
cause of the extravagant rate of interest charged on bankers' advances,
and the general scarcity of money felt throughout the country. That the
_capital_ of the country is not only sufficient, but abundant, is
decisively proved by the fact that, notwithstanding the vast extent of
the railway and other undertakings of a public character going on both
in Great Britain and Ireland, government has borrowed the loan of
£8,000,000 for the relief of Ireland at £3, 7s. 6d. per cent. The three
per cents are about 90, yielding about the same return for money. But is
_currency_ equally abundant? So far from it, the bankers are charging
six, and the persons making advances on railway concerns seven per cent.
The holder of capital is glad if he can get three and a half per cent;
but the holder of currency will not let his notes or sovereigns out of
his hand for less than six or seven per cent. Can there be a more
convincing proof that the currency of the country has been unduly
drained away, and that the present monetary system, which forbids any
extension of it in paper when the specie is abstracted, is based on a
wrong foundation? Nor is it surprising that the currency should be
straitened when it is notorious that every packet which goes out to
America takes out vast sums to that continent to pay for the immense
quantities of grain which are brought in. That drain only began to be
felt in a serious manner within the last two months, because the great
shipments from America took place in November and December last, when
the failure of the potato crop in this country was fully ascertained;
and consequently, the payments made in bills at three months, required
to be made in February and March. And when it is recollected that the
quantity of grain imported in seven months only--viz. from 5th July
1846, to 5th February 1847--exceeded _six millions_ of quarters, at the
very time that all our exports were diminishing; it may be imagined how
prodigious must have been the drain upon the metallic resources of the
country to make up the balance.[8]

Sorely perplexed with results so diametrically opposite to all their
doctrines as to an increase of importation being necessarily attended
with a proportionate increase of exportation, and of all apprehension of
an undue pressure thence arising on the money market being chimerical,
the Free-Traders lay it all upon the famine at home or abroad. The
potato-rot, it is said, has _concealed_ the effects of free-trade:
distress in foreign nations has disabled them to purchase our
manufactures in return for their rude produce; the increase of British
importation has come too soon to operate as yet on their purchase of our
manufactures. Here again the facts come decisively to disprove the
theoretical anticipations. So far has the increase of our importations
been from being sudden, and come last year for the first time on foreign
nations, it has been _remarkably gradual_, and has gone on for years,
having received only a great impulse in the articles on which the duty
was lessened or removed last summer. Our general imports have steadily
advanced for the last three years; and in particular articles the same
progress has been conspicuous.[9] How, then, has it happened that this
general, continued, and steady _increase_ of imports has issued only in
a _diminution_ to an alarming extent of exports? And observe, the
countries from which we have imported so largely last year of grain and
articles of subsistence, have not only not suffered by the scarcity
general on the Continent, but have profited immensely by it. America has
been blessed with a splendid crop of every species of grain; and, in
consequence of the famine in Ireland and severe scarcity in France,
prices of grain have risen to triple their former amount in the United
States. It has risen so much in the southern states of Russia, that the
Emperor of Russia has prohibited the farther exportation of it from the
Black Sea. But all these floods of wealth flowing into the great grain
states from the failure of the crops in France and Ireland, have been
unavailing to produce any increased activity in our manufactures. On the
contrary, they are all declining; and our immense importations of food
are almost all paid for in direct exportations of the precious metals.

In truth, the general depression of manufactures in all the chief seats
of our fabrics is so serious, that it is evidently owing to a much more
general and stringent cause than the decline, considerable as it is, in
our exports. It is not a decrease of two millions out of fifty-three
millions--in other words, of less than a _five-and-twentieth_
part--which will explain the general putting of mills in Lancashire and
Lanarkshire on short time, the fall in the value of all kinds of stock
and general decline in the vent for all kinds of manufactured produce.
It is in the _home markets_ that the real and blighting deficiency is
experienced. And what is the cause of this decline in the home market?
The Free-Traders are the first to tell us what has done it. It is the
famine in Ireland. The total manufactured produce of the island is
certainly not under £200,000,000[10] annually, of which somewhat above
£51,000,000 is for the foreign markets of the world. What is a
deficiency of £2,000,000 in such a mass? If that had been the _only_
decline that had taken place, it would have been scarcely perceptible,
and would have left no visible effects on our commercial activity or
general prosperity. It is clear that the great falling off must have
been in the home market. Nor is it difficult to see how this has
happened. Fifteen millions' worth of agricultural produce has
disappeared; prices of wheat have risen in consequence to 80s.
a-quarter, and oats in a still higher proportion; and an alarming drain
upon the metallic resources of the country taken place. It is this which
has paralysed the manufactures and depressed the commerce of the
country. And when it is recollected that the home market now consumes
little short of £150,000,000 a-year, it may easily be conceived what a
serious check to industry a diminution to the amount of even an eighth
or a tenth of the usual domestic purchases must occasion.

The Free-Traders say, that the famine in Ireland has _concealed_ the
effects of the adoption of their system of policy; and that all the
distress and suffering which has ensued is to be ascribed to that cause.
From the observations now made, however, it is apparent that the effect
of the famine has been, not to conceal the effects of free-trade, but to
_accelerate_ them. For what has the famine done? It has simply caused
fifteen millions' worth of domestic agricultural produce to be exchanged
for fifteen millions' worth of foreign agricultural produce. The potato
crop, which has perished in Ireland, is estimated at fifteen millions'
worth; and, supposing that statement is a little exaggerated, it is
probable that, taking into account the simultaneous failure in the crop
of oats, both there and in Great Britain, the total amount of home
agricultural produce that is deficient may amount to that value. _But
foreign agricultural produce, to an equal or greater amount, has been
imported._ Six millions of quarters, between grain of all sorts and
flour, have been entered for home consumption in seven months preceding
5th February 1847. Taking these quarters, on an average, as worth fifty
shillings to the consumer--which is certainly no extravagant estimate,
seeing wheat is up at seventy-nine shillings--we shall have, then, six
millions of quarters, worth fifteen millions sterling. The home
agricultural produce that has failed is just equal in value to the
foreign agricultural produce that has been imported. The distress that
prevails, therefore, is not owing to any deficiency of food for man or
animals in the United Kingdom, for as much has come in, of foreign
produce, as has disappeared of domestic. It is entirely to be ascribed
to the supplanting, _in the national subsistence, of a large part of
home produce by an equally large part of foreign produce_. And in the
social, commercial, and national effects which we see around us, we may
discern, as in a mirror, not merely the probable but certain effects of
such a substitution if perpetuated to future times.

This view of the subject is of such vast importance that we deem it
impossible to impress it too strongly on our readers. We have been
always told that the great thing is to secure a great importation; that
such a thing must necessarily lead to a corresponding increase of
exportation;--that all apprehension about the imports being paid in
gold, and not in manufactures, are chimerical;--that the sooner the
inferior lands in the British islands go out of cultivation the
better;--that ample food for the inhabitants will be obtained from
foreign states; and that the agriculturists thrown out of employment by
the change will be rapidly absorbed, and more profitably employed in
sustaining our extended manufactures. Well, the thing has been done,
and the desired consummation has taken place, from an extraneous cause,
even more rapidly than was anticipated. The Free-Traders contemplated
the substitution of foreign for British agricultural produce to the
extent of fifteen or twenty millions as a most desirable result; but
they only lamented it could not be looked for for three or four years.
It would take that time to beat down the British farmer; to convince the
cultivators of inferior lands of the folly of attempting a competition
with the great grain districts of the Continent. Providence has done the
thing at once. We have got on at railway speed to the blessings of the
new system. Free-trade was to lead to the much-desired substitution of
six million quarters of home for six million quarters of foreign grain
in three years. But the potato-rot has done it in one. The free-trade
rot could not have done it nearly so expeditiously, but it would have
done it as effectually. It is a total mistake, therefore, to represent
the famine in Ireland and the West of Scotland, as an external calamity
which has concealed the natural effects of free-trade. It has only
brought them to light at once.

Had British agriculture, instead of being stricken with sterility by the
hand of Providence, in the poorest and worst cultivated part of the two
islands, been suffered gradually to waste away, under the effects of a
great and increasing foreign importation in all parts of the empire, the
destruction of home produce would have been equally extensive, but it
would have been more general. It would have risen to as great an amount,
but it would not have been so painfully concentrated in particular
districts. Hundreds would not have been dying of famine in Skibbereen;
seed-corn would not have been awanting in Skye and Mull; cultivation
would not have been abandoned in Tipperary; but the cessation of
agricultural produce over the whole empire would have been quite as
great. Low prices would have done the business as effectually, though
not quite so speedily, as the pestilence which has smitten the
potato-field. Whoever casts his eye on the table of prices given
below[11] for twenty years in London and Dantzic, must at once see
that, under a free-trade system, as large an importation of foreign
produce, and as extensive a contraction of home, as has taken place this
year is to be permanently looked for. The exportation and return of the
precious metals, and contraction of credit now felt as so distressing,
may be expected to be permanent. Providence has given us a warning of
the effects of our policy, before they have become irreparable. We have
only to suppose the present state of commerce and manufactures lasting,
and we have a clear vision of the blessings of free-trade.

Nor is there any difficulty in understanding how it happens that the
substitution of a large portion of foreign, for an equal amount of
home-grown produce, occasions such disastrous effects, and in particular
proves so injurious to the commercial classes, who in the first instance
generally suppose they are to be benefited by the change. If two or
three millions of rural labourers in the poorest and worst cultivated
districts of the island, are thrown out of employment, either by a
failure in the vegetable on which alone, in their rude state, they can
employ their labour, or by the gradual substitution of foreign for home
produce in the supply of food for the people, it is a poor compensation
to them to say that an equal amount of foreign grain has been brought
into the commercial emporiums of the empire--that if they will leave
Skibbereen or Skye, and come to Liverpool or Glasgow, they will find
warehouses amply stored with grain, which at the highest current prices
they will obtain to any extent they desire. The plain answer is, that
they are starving; that their employment as well as subsistence is gone;
that they have neither the means of transport, nor any money to buy
grain when they reach the neighbourhood of the bursting warehouses. But
then they will be absorbed in the great manufacturing districts, where
their labour will be more profitable to themselves and others, than in
their native wilds! Yes, there is a process of absorption goes on, on
the occurrence of such a crisis; but it is not the absorption of labour
by capital, but of capital by pauperism. Floods of starving destitutes
inundate every steam-boat, harbour, and road, on the route to the scene
of wo; and while the interior of the warehouses in the great commercial
cities are groaning beneath the weight of foreign grain, the streets in
their vicinity are thronged by starving multitudes, who spread typhus
fever wherever they go, and fall as a permanent burden on the poor-rates
of the yet solvent portions of the community.

And the effect of this importation of foreign grain, from whatever cause
it arises, necessarily is to _prevent_ this absorption of rural
pauperism by manufacturing capital, to which the Free-traders so
confidently look for the adjustment of society after the change has been
made. The nations who supply us with grain _do not want our
manufactures_. They will not buy them. What they want, is our money.
They have not, and will not have, the artificial wants requisite for the
general purchase of manufactures for a century to come. Generations must
go to their graves during the transition from rustic content to
civilised wants. America has sent us some millions of quarters of grain
this year, but there _is no increase in her orders for our
manufactures_. On the contrary, they are diminishing. Even the Free
Trade Journals now admit this; constrained by the evidence of their
senses to admit the entire failure of all their predictions.[12] The
reason is evident. They want our money, and our money they will have;
and if they find our manufactures are beginning to flow in, in enlarged
quantities, in consequence of our purchase of their grain, they will
soon stop the influx by a tariff. This is what we did, when situated as
they are--it is what all mankind will, and must do, in similar
circumstances. It was distinctly perceived and foretold by the
Protectionists that this effect would follow from free-trade, and that,
unless something was done to enlarge the currency to meet it, a
commercial crisis would ensue. These words published a year ago might
pass for the history of the time in which we now live:--"Under the
proposed reduced duties during the next three years, and trifling duty
after that period on all sorts of grain, there can be no doubt that a
very great impulse will be given to the corn-trade. It being now
ascertained, by a comparison of the prices during the last twenty years,
that there is annually a difference of from twenty to thirty shillings
a-quarter between the price that wheat bears in the British islands and
at the shores of the Baltic, while the cost of importation is only five
or six shillings a-quarter, there can be no question that the opening of
the ports will occasion a very large importation of foreign grain. It
may reasonably be expected that, in the space of a few years, the
quantity imported will amount to _four or five millions of quarters
annually_, for which the price paid by the importers cannot be supposed
to be less, on the most moderate calculation, than seven or eight
millions sterling. The experience of the year 1839 sufficiently tells us
what will be the effect of such an importation of grain, paid for, as it
must be, for the most part in specie, upon _the general monetary
concerns and commercial prosperity of the empire_. It is well known that
it was this condition of things which produced the commercial crisis in
this country, led to three years of unprecedented suffering in the
manufacturing districts, and, as is affirmed, destroyed property in the
manufacturing districts of Lancashire, to the amount of

Lastly, the famine has taught the empire an important lesson as to Irish
Repeal. For many years past, that country has been convulsed, and the
empire harassed by the loud and threatening demand for the Repeal of the
Union, and the incessant outcry that the Irish people are perfectly
equal to the duties of self-government, and that all their distresses
have been owing to the oppression of the Saxon. The wind of adversity
has blown, and where are these menaces now? Had Providence punished them
by granting their prayer--had England cut the rope, as Mr Roebuck said,
and let them go, where would Ireland have been at this moment? Drifting
away on the ocean of starvation. Let this teach them their dependence
upon their neighbours, and let another fact open their eyes to what
those neighbours are. England has replied to the senseless clamour, the
disgraceful ingratitude, by voting ten millions sterling in a single
year to relieve the distresses which the heedlessness and indolence of
the Irish had brought upon themselves. We say advisedly, _brought upon
themselves_. For, mark-worthy circumstance! the destruction of the
potato crop has been just as complete, and the food of the people has
been just as entirely swept away in the West Highlands of Scotland, as
in Ireland, but _there has been no grant of public money to Scotland_.
The cruel Anglo-Saxons have given IT ALL to the discontented, untaxed
Gael in the Emerald isle.

_Printed by William Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh._


[7] Viz. 5-1/2 per cent on all advances on cash or current accounts, and
1/2 per cent commission on all sums overdrawn.

[8] Table showing the quantity of grain, including flour and meal,
entered for home consumption, from 5th July 1846, to 5th February 1847,
from the _London Gazette_ official returns:--

Quarters of grain (including flour and meal) entered for         qrs.
  home consumption, in the months from 5th July to 5th
  January as reported, 1st February,                        5,148,449
Quantity duty paid in month ending 5th Feb.        539,418
  Do. do. flour and meal, 427,036 cwts.            142,345
                                                   _______    681,763
Quantity duty paid up to 5th January,                       5,830,212

   In bond, 5th February,                           68,939
     Do. do. flour and meal, 318,240 cwts.         106,080
                                                   _______    175,019
   Quantity in qrs. of duty paid and presently in bond,}    6,005,231
                 from month ending 5th July to 5th Feb.}    _________

                                       1844.          1845.           1846.
Imports,    total official value,    £75,441,555   £85,281,958
Sugar, cwts.       "                   4,139,983     4,880,780    5,231,818
Tea, lbs.          "                  41,369,351    44,195,321   46,728,208
Coffee, lbs.       "                  31,391,297    34,318,121   36,781,391
Butter, cwts.      "                     180,965       240,118      255,130
Cheese, cwts.      "                     212,286       258,246      327,490
Live animals, No.  "                       8,007        34,426      140,752
Brandy,            "                   1,033,650     1,058,777    1,515,954
Geneva,            "                      14,937        15,536       40,266
Rum,               "                   2,198,870     2,469,485    2,683,515

[10] In 1840, the total amount was estimated at £180,000,000, of which
£47,000,000, at that period, was for exportation, and £133,000,000 for
the home market. As this £47,000,000 had swelled, in 1846, to
£53,000,000, it is reasonable to suppose that those for the home market
had undergone a similar increase, and are now about £200,000
annually.--See _Speckman's Stat. Tables for_ 1842, p. 45.


_Table of Average Prices of Wheat in Prussia and in England, from 1816
to 1837._

    |Average prices  |Average prices|Average   |Difference     |Foreign Wheat |
    |in Prussia      |in Brandenburg|prices per|between English|and Flour     |
    |Proper including|and Pomerania |London    |Prices and Mean|consumed in   |
    |Dantzig and     |              |Gazette.  |of Prussian    |Great Britain.|
    |Konigsburg.     |              |          |Prices.        |              |
    |     s. d.      |     s. d.    |   s. d.  |    s. d.      | Qrs.         |
1816|     36 9       |     44 6     |   76 2   |    35 6       |   225,263    |
1817|     52 7       |     60 9     |   94 0   |    37 8       | 1,020,949    |
1818|     49 6       |     53 5     |   83 8   |    32 2       | 1,593,518    |
1819|     34 3       |     37 6     |   72 3   |    36 4       |   122,133    |
1820|     27 3       |     30 0     |   65 10  |    37 2       |    34,274    |
1821|     25 6       |     28 9     |   54 5   |    27 3       |         2    |
1822|     26 0       |     26 8     |   43 3   |    16 11      |    ----      |
1823|     24 2       |     26 9     |   51 9   |    26 5       |    12,137    |
1824|     18 6       |     20 0     |   62 0   |    43 3       |    15,777    |
1825|     17 3       |     17 9     |   66 6   |    49 0       |   525,231    |
1826|     18 6       |     21 0     |   56 11  |    37 2       |   315,892    |
1827|     22 3       |     25 9     |   56 9   |    32 9       |   572,733    |
1828|     27 2       |     28 9     |   60 5   |    32 5       |   842,050    |
1829|     32 3       |     35 0     |   66 3   |    32 7       | 1,364,220    |
1830|     29 6       |     34 0     |   64 3   |    32 6       | 1,701,885    |
1831|     39 6       |     39 0     |   66 4   |    27 1       | 1,491,631    |
1832|     34 0       |     33 6     |   58 8   |    24 11      |   325,435    |
1833|     25 0       |     23 6     |   52 11  |    28 8       |    82,346    |
1834|     23 9       |     23 0     |   46 2   |    21 10      |    64,653    |
1835|     23 0       |     24 0     |   39 4   |    15 10      |    28,483    |
1836|     21 0       |     23 0     |   48 6   |    26 6       |    30,046    |
1837|     22 6       |     26 0     |   56 10  |    32 7       |   244,085    |

[12] "The excessive consumption of these and other articles has,
however, only led to a drain of bullion to the extent of three millions
and a half, while, upon a moderate computation, they would appear to
call for three times that amount. This is to be accounted for by two
facts--The first being that we have not imported, and paid for as much
as we have consumed, since, conjointly with our importations, we have
been steadily eating up former reserves, so that our stock of all
kinds--coffee, sugar, rice, &c., are low; and, next, because we have
diminished our importations of raw material in a remarkable degree, and
hence, while paying for provisions, have lessened our usual payments on
this score. Here, too, in like manner, _we have been drawing upon our
reserves_. Our manufactures have been carried on with hemp, flax, and
cotton, which had been paid for in former years, and we have left
ourselves at the present moment short of all these articles, the stock
of the latter alone, on the 1st of January last, as compared with the
preceding year, being 545,790 against 1,060,560 bales. We are not only
poorer, therefore, by all the bullion we have lost, but by all the stock
we have thus consumed.

"This _process cannot go on any longer_. We have now no accumulations to
eat into, and must, consequently, _pay for what we use_. Concurrently,
therefore, with our importations of corn and other provisions, (which
are now going on at a much greater rate, and at much higher prices than
in 1846,) and just in proportion as they beget a demand for our
manufactures, we must have importations of raw material. Large purchases
of hemp and flax are alleged to have been made in the north of Europe,
for spring shipment, and cotton from the United States is only delayed
by the want of ships. Wool from Spain, and the Mediterranean, saltpetre,
oil-seeds, &c., from India, and a host of minor articles, have also been
kept back by the same cause, and will pour in upon us to make up our
deficiencies directly any relaxation shall take place (if such could be
foreseen) of the universal influx of grain. In this way, just as one
cause of demand diminishes the other will increase, and the balance will
be kept up against us for a period to which at present it is impossible
to fix a limit.

"_We thus see that no call that can possibly arise for our manufactures
can have the effect of preventing a continuous drain of bullion_. That a
large trade will occur no one can doubt, but at present it is scarcely
even in prospect. From India and China each account comes less
favourable than before; from Russia we are told that 'no great demand
can be expected for British goods under the present high duties' in that
country; while even from the United States, the point from whence relief
will most rapidly come, we hear of a shrewd conviction that we are
approaching _a period of low prices_, and that, consequently, for the
present 'the less they order from us the better.'"--_Times_, March 10,

[13] _England in 1815 and 1845_, pp. v-vii. Preface to third edition,
published in _June_ 1846.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 61, No. 378, April, 1847" ***

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