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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 62, Number 385. November, 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 62, Number 385. November, 1847." ***

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generously made available by The Internet Library of Early
Journals.)



Transcriber's Note

Spellings are sometimes erratic. A few obvious misprints have been
corrected, but in general the original spelling has been retained.
Accents in the French phrases are inconsistent, and have not been
standardised.



BLACKWOOD'S EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

No. CCCLXXXV. NOVEMBER, 1847. Vol. LXII.



CONTENTS.


    THE NAVIGATION OF THE ANTIPODES.         515

    AMERICAN COPYRIGHT.                      534

    EVENINGS AT SEA.--NO. II.                547
       HENRY MEYNELL.

    WAS RUBENS A COLOURIST?                  564

    THE AMERICAN LIBRARY.                    574

    UNITS: TENS: HUNDREDS: THOUSANDS.        593

    RESEARCH AND ADVENTURE IN AUSTRALIA.     602

    MAGUS MUIR.                              614

    A NOVEMBER MORNING'S REVERIE.            618

    VALEDICTORY VISITS AT ROME.
      THE VILLA BORGHESE.                    622
      THE VILLA ALBANI.                      626

    HIGHLAND DESTITUTION.                    630


       *       *       *       *       *



THE NAVIGATION OF THE ANTIPODES.[1]


One of the most striking, and perhaps the most intellectual advances
of the age, is in the progress of geographical discovery. It is
honourable to England, that this new impulse to a knowledge of the
globe began with her spirit of enterprise, and it is still more
honourable to her that that spirit was originally prompted by
benevolence. Cook, with whose voyages this era may be regarded as
originating, was almost a missionary of the benevolence of England,
and of George III.; and the example of both the great discoverer and
the good king has been so powerfully impressed on all the subsequent
attempts of English adventurers, that there has been scarcely a voyage
to new regions which has not been expressly devised to carry with it
some benefit to their people.

When the spirit of discovery was thus once awakened, a succession of
intelligent and daring men were stimulated to the pursuit; and the
memorable James Bruce, who had begun life as a lawyer, grown weary of
the profession, and turned traveller through the South of Europe at a
period when the man who ventured across the Pyrenees was a hero;
gallantly fixed his eyes on Africa, as a region of wonders, of which
Europe had no other knowledge than as a land of lions, of men more
savage than the lions, and of treasures of ivory and gold teeming and
unexhausted since the days of Solomon. The hope of solving the old
classic problem, the source of the Nile, pointed his steps to
Abyssinia, and after a six years' preparation in his consulate of
Algiers, he set forward on his dangerous journey, and arrived at the
source of the Bahr-el-Azrek, (the Blue River,) one of the branches of
the great river. Unluckily he had been misdirected, for the true Nile
is the Bahr-el-Abiad, (the White River.)

His volumes, published in 1790, excited equal curiosity and censure;
but the censure died away, the curiosity survived, and a succession of
travellers, chiefly sustained by the African Association, penetrated
by various routes into Africa.

The discovery of the course of the Niger was now the great object. And
Mungo Park, a bold and intelligent discoverer, gave a strong
excitement to the public feeling by his "Travels," published towards
the close of the century. His adventures were told in a strain of good
sense and simplicity which fully gratified the public taste. And on
his unfortunate death, which happened in a second exploration of the
Niger in 1805, another expedition was fitted out under Captain Tuckey,
an experienced seaman, to ascertain the presumed identity of the Congo
with the Niger. But the sea-coast of Africa is deadly to Europeans,
and this effort failed through general disease.

The next experiment was made by land--from Tripoli across the Great
Desert--under Denham, Clapperton, and Oudney. This effort was
partially baffled by sickness, but still more by the arts of the
native chiefs, who are singularly jealous of strangers. In a second
attempt Clapperton, the only survivor of the former, died.

The problem of the course of the Niger was reserved for Richard
Lander, who in 1830, sailed down the Niger from Baossa, and reached
the Atlantic by the river Nun, one of its branches.

Other travellers, more highly accomplished, but less fortunate, had in
the meantime explored the countries to the east and north of the
Mediterranean. Of these, Burckhardt, a German, was among the most
distinguished. After preparing himself for the most complete adoption
of Mahometan life by a sojourn of two years at Aleppo, and even
risking the pilgrimage to Mecca, he was on the point of travelling to
Fezzan, when he died of a country fever. His works throw much light on
the habits and literature of Syria and Palestine. The narratives of
Hamilton, Leigh, Belzoni, and of Salt the consul in Egypt, largely
increased the public interest in countries, universally known to have
been the birth-places of religion, science, and literature; and Lane
and Wilkinson have admirably availed themselves of those discoveries,
and added important information of their own.

The old connexion of trade with China naturally suggested a wish for
more direct intercourse with that mysterious region, and in 1792, an
embassy conducted by Lord Macartney was sent to Pekin. The narrative
of the embassy, by Sir George Staunton, contributed largely to our
knowledge of the interior. But the late Chinese war, and the freedom
of our commerce, will probably open up all the secrets of this most
jealous of empires.

The geographical discoveries of this embassy were of more value than
its diplomatic services. The coast of Corea was found to be bordered
by a vast and fertile Archipelago. The sea is actually studded with
islands; and the narratives of Macleod, and Captain Basil Hall, the
latter one of the liveliest narrators of his time, gave the
impression, that they contained scenes of singular beauty.

On the cessation of the war in 1815, the British Admiralty directed
their leisure to the promotion of science; and the exploration of the
northern coasts of America was commenced in a series of expeditions
under the command of Parry, Ross, Back, Franklin, and other
enterprising officers. Their narratives gave us new islands and bays,
but the great problem of the north-west passage continues unsolved.

It has been alleged, that such expeditions are useless. But it must be
remembered, that true philosophy disdains no advance of knowledge as
useless; that, however difficult, or even to our present means
impassable, the route may be, no man can decide on the means of
posterity; that we may yet find facilities as powerful for passing the
ice and the ocean, as the railroad for traversing the land; and that
the evident design of Providence in placing difficulties before man
is, to sharpen his faculties for their mastery. We have already
explored the whole northern coast, to within about two hundred miles
from Behring's Straits, and an expedition is at present on foot which
will probably complete the outline of the American continent towards
the Pole.

Within the last quarter of a century, discovery has turned to the
islands of the Pacific, perhaps the most favoured region of the globe.
Our great continental colony of Australia, its growing population, and
its still more rapidly growing enterprise--its probable influence on
our Indian empire, and its still more probable supremacy over the
islands which cover the central Pacific, from the tenth to the
forty-fifth degrees of south latitude; have for the last thirty years
strongly directed the observation of government to the south. And a
succession of exploring voyages, from the days of Vancouver to the
present time, have been employed in ascertaining the character of
superb shores, and the capabilities of vast countries, which will
perhaps, in another century, exhibit the most vivid prosperity,
cultivation, and activity, of any dominion beyond the borders of
Europe.

Australia has an importance in the eyes of England, superior perhaps
to all her other colonies. The climate is obviously more fitted for
the English frame than that of Canada or the West Indies. The English
settler alone is master of the mighty continent of New Holland; for
the natives are few, savage, and rapidly diminishing. The Englishman
may range over a territory of two thousand miles long, by seventeen
hundred broad, without meeting the subject of any other sovereign, or
hearing any other language than his own. The air is temperate, though
so near the equator, and the soil, though often unfertile, is
admirably adapted to the rearing of sheep and cattle. The adjoining
islands offer the finest opportunities for the commercial enterprise
of the Englishman; and its directness of navigation to India or China,
across an ocean that scarcely knows a storm, give it the promise of
being the great eastern _depôt_ of the world. Van Diemen's Land, about
the size, with more than the fertility of Ireland, is said to resemble
Switzerland in picturesque beauty; and New Zealand, a territory of
fifteen hundred miles in length, and of every diversity of surface, is
already receiving the laws and the population of England.

The distance is the chief drawback. Sydney is, by ordinary ship's
course, sixteen thousand miles from London, and the voyage, under the
most prosperous circumstances, has hitherto occupied about four
months. But better hopes are at hand.

On the 20th of last May, a charter was obtained by a company for
establishing a steam communication with Sydney, which proposes to make
the whole course within about _two months_. The route is as
follows,--making twelve thousand seven hundred and thirty miles in
sixty-four days:--

From England to Singapore, by Egypt, eight thousand three hundred and
ninety miles. From Singapore to Fort Essington, by Batavia, two
thousand miles. From Port Essington to Sydney, two thousand three
hundred and forty miles; the rate being one hundred and ninety-nine
miles a-day. The first portion occupying forty-two days,--the second,
ten,--and the third, twelve.

The subject was, for a considerable time, before government, and
various plans of communication had been suggested.--A route by the
Isthmus of Darien, and a route by the Cape with a branch to the
Mauritius. The route by Egypt and India has at length been chosen, and
the most sanguine hopes are entertained of its success. The steam
establishment will have the farther advantage of shortening the
distance by one-half between Calcutta and Sydney; and reducing it to
thirty days, or perhaps less.

Bright prospects, too, are opening for India herself. The great
railway is decided on, the engineers are about to embark, and the
harvests of cotton and the thousand other tropical productions with
which that most magnificent of all countries is covered, will be
poured into the bosom of Australia and the world.

It is scarcely possible to look upon the results of establishing
railroads in India, without something of the enthusiasm which belongs
more to poetry than to statistics. But, "in the Golden Peninsula,"
there spreads before the Englishman a space of nearly a million and a
quarter of square miles, inhabited by about one hundred and
thirty-four millions of souls, with a sea-coast of immense extent,
washed by two oceans, and bordering on vast countries of hitherto
unexplored opulence. The resources of Birmah, Siam, and the Eastern
Archipelago, have been scarcely touched by the hand of man. Savage
governments, savage nations, and savage indolence, have left those
countries almost in a state of nature; yet it is within the tropics
that the true productiveness of the earth is alone to be looked for.
Our long winters, our mountains, and the comparative sterility of
Europe, prohibit that richness of produce which only waits the hand of
man in the South, and it is only when the industry of the European
shall be suffered to throw its strength into the Asiatic soil, that
man will ever be able to discover the true extent of the bounties
provided for him by creation.

The three great divisions, or rather three zones of India--the country
comprehending the great northern chain of mountains, the belt of
plains, from the foot of the mountains to the head of the peninsulas,
a breadth of twelve hundred miles; and the peninsula itself, a
territory extending from thirty-five degrees north latitude to the
equator--give every temperature and every product of the world. The
mighty rivers intersecting this region, the Indus, the Ganges, and
their tributaries, will soon be occupied by the steamboat; and the
railway, running through immense plains on which the harvests of
thousands of years have been suffered to perish, will soon develope
the powers of the people and the fertility of the soil, by opening to
India the market of all nations.

It is to India, that the chief enterprise of British commerce and
civilisation should be directed by an intelligent legislature. The
country will naturally become a vast British province, and this, not
by violence or injustice, but by the course of things, and the
interests of India itself. The native princes, reared in vice and
indolence, will be speedily found unfit to meet the requisitions of a
people growing in instruction. The race will perish, and their power
will be made over to England. The Indian, hitherto the slave of a
capricious tyranny, will then become the object of a judicious
protection,--his property secure, his person safe, his rights guarded,
and with equal law, in place of the grasping avarice of a crafty
minister, or the hot fury of a drunken tyrant. The Indian subject of
England will then form a contrast to the wretched serf of a Rajah,
that will be a more powerful pledge of obedience than fifty conquests.

Even now, it can be no longer said, in the words of the eloquent
appeal of Burke, that if we left India, we should have no more
monuments of our sojourn to show, than if we had been lions and
tigers. We shall have to show the steamboat, the railroad, and the
true origin and foundation of both,--public honour, public
intelligence, and a sense of the rights of subjects and the duties of
sovereigns.

The increasing passage of the southern commerce through Torres Strait,
had attracted the notice of the British government to the peculiar
perils of the navigation. The Strait is one of difficult passage from
the state of the currents, reefs, &c., and the difficulty was enhanced
by the imperfect nature of the charts. Along the east coast of
Australia, and as far to the north as New Guinea, an immense ridge of
coral rock extends; and through the gaps in this barrier reef, vessels
must find their way to the Torres Strait. The two government vessels,
the Fly and the Bramble, were sent out to make a survey of the barrier
reef. The especial objects of the expedition being--the survey of the
eastern edge of the great chain of reefs--the examination of all the
channels through the barrier reef, with details of those which afford
a safe passage--and the erection of beacons on their outer islands as
guides to the navigation.

The commanders of the vessels were directed to give marked attention
to all circumstances connected with the health of the crews, the
climate, temperature, products, and science; and especially the
phenomena of magnetism. A geologist and a zoologist were added to the
expedition, the whole under the command of Captain Francis Blackwood.
In order to make the subsequent details more intelligible, we give a
brief abstract of the voyage. The Fly, with her tender the Bramble
schooner, sailed from Falmouth, April 11, 1842, and made the usual
course to the Cape, touching at Teneriffe on the way, where a party
ascended the Peak, and determined its height to be twelve thousand and
eighty feet above the sea. Reaching Van Diemen's Land in August, and
Australia soon after, they sailed from Port Stephens December 19, to
commence their survey. After an examination of the Capricorn Group,
they commenced the survey of the northern part of the great
barrier-reef, up to the Murray Islands.

In the next year, they erected a beacon on Raines Islet to mark the
entrance of a good passage through the reef. The rest of the year was
spent in surveying Torres Straits. They remained thus occupied till
the beginning of 1845, when they sailed for Europe, and anchored at
Spithead in June 1845, after an absence of three years.

The result of those investigations was, a large accession to our
previous knowledge of the sea to the eastward of Australia, now become
important from our settlements; and a survey of five hundred miles of
the great chain of coral reefs which act as the breakwater against the
ocean.

We have heard much of coral islands, certainly the most curious means
of increasing the habitable part of the world; in fact, a new insect
manufacture of islands. They are of all sizes. We give the description
of a small one of this order in the Capricorn Group, an assemblage of
islands and reefs on the north-east coast of Australia, so called from
the parallel of the Tropic of Capricorn passing through them.

    "The beach was composed of coarse fragments of worn corals and
    shells bleached by the weather. At the back of it, a ridge of the
    same materials four or five feet high, and as many yards across,
    completely encircled the Island, which was not a quarter of a mile
    in diameter. Inside this regular ridge was a small sandy plain.
    The encircling ridge was occupied by a belt of small trees, while
    on the plain grew only a short scrubby vegetation, a foot or two
    in height. Some vegetable soil was found, a few inches in
    thickness, the result of the decomposition of vegetable matter and
    birds' dung. On the weather side of the island was a coral reef of
    two miles in diameter, enclosing a shallow lagoon. In this lagoon
    were both sharks and turtles swimming about. The island was
    stocked with sea-fowl, and the trees were loaded with their
    nests."

It was a sort of bird-paradise, into which the foot of man, the
destroyer, had probably never entered before.

There is considerable beauty in a small coral reef, when seen from a
ship's mast-head, at a short distance, in clear weather. A small
island with a white sand-beach and a tuft of trees, is surrounded by a
symmetrically oval space of shallow water, of a bright grass-green
colour, enclosed by a ring of glittering surf as white as snow;
immediately outside of which is the rich dark blue of deep water. All
the sea is perfectly clear from any mixture of sand or mud. It is this
perfect clearness of the water which renders navigation among coral
reefs at all practicable; as a shoal with even five fathoms water on
it, can be discerned at a mile distance from a ship's mast-head, in
consequence of its greenish hue contrasting with the blue of deep
water. In seven fathoms water, the bottom can still be discerned on
looking over the side of a boat, especially if it have patches of
light-coloured sand; but in ten fathoms the depth of colour can
scarcely be distinguished from the dark azure of the unfathomable
ocean. This bed of reefs stretches along the coast of Australia, and
across Torres Strait, nearly to the coast of New Guinea, a distance of
one thousand miles!

One of the charms of Natural History is, that it gives a perpetual
interest to Nature,--that things, to the common eye of no attraction,
have the power of giving singular gratification; and that, in fact,
the intelligent naturalist is indulged with a sense of beauty, and an
accession of knowledge in almost every production of nature. We cannot
avoid quoting the example in the writer's own words. The subject was a
block of coral, accidentally brought up by a fish-hook from the bottom
of one of the anchorages. Nothing could have been less promising, and
any one but a naturalist would have pronounced it to be nothing but a
piece of rock, and have flung it into the sea again. But what a source
of interest does it become in the hands of the man of science.

"It was a mere worn dead fragment, but its surface was covered with
brown, crimson, and yellow _Nulliporæ_, many small _Actinæ_, and soft
branching _Corallines_, _Flustra_, and _Eschara_, and delicate
_Reteporæ_, looking like beautiful lace-work carved in ivory. There
were several small sponges and _Alcyonia_, seaweeds of two or three
species, two species of _Comatula_, and one of _Aphiura_, of the most
vivid colours and markings, and many small, flat, round corals,
something like _Nummulites_ in external appearance.

"On breaking into the block, boring shells of several species pierced
it in all directions, many still containing their inhabitants; while
two or three _Nereis_ lay twisted in and out among its hollows and
recesses, in which, likewise, were three small species of crabs."

If it should be supposed that the receptacle or _nidus_ of all those
curious and varied things was a huge mass of rock, we are informed
that,--

    "The block was not above a foot in diameter, and was a perfect
    museum in itself, while its outside glared with colour, from the
    many brightly and variously coloured animals and plants. It was by
    no means a solitary instance; every block which could be procured
    from the bottom, in from ten to twenty fathoms, was like it."

The reflection on this exuberance of nature is striking and
true.--"What an inconceivable amount of animal life must be here
scattered over the bottom of the sea! to say nothing of that moving
through its waters; and this through spaces of hundreds of miles:
every corner and crevice, every point occupied by living beings,
which, as they become more minute, increase in tenfold abundance."

And let it be remembered, too, that those creatures have not merely
life, but enjoyment; that they are not created for any conceivable use
of man, but for purposes and pleasures exclusively suited to their own
state of existence; that they exist in millions of millions, and that
the smallest living thing among those millions, not merely exceeds in
its formation, its capacities, and its senses, all that the powers of
man can imitate, but actually offers problems of science, in its
simple organisation, which have baffled the subtlest human sagacity
since the creation, and will probably baffle it while man treads the
globe.

In the navigation along the coast, the officers had frequent meetings
with the natives, who seemed to have known but little of the English
settlements, for their conduct was exactly that of the savage. They
evidently looked with as much surprise on the ships, the boats, and
the men, as the inhabitants of Polynesia looked upon the first
navigators to their shores. They were all astonishment, much craft,
and a little hostility on safe occasions.

But some parts of the coast still invite the settler, and the
communication of this knowledge from a pen so unprejudiced as that of
the voyager, may yet be a service in directing the course of
colonisation. We are told that the tract of coast between Broad Sound
and Whitsunday Passage, between the parallels of twenty-two degrees
fifteen seconds, and twenty degrees twenty seconds, exhibits peculiar
advantages. Superior fertility, better water, and a higher rise of
tide, are its visible merits. A solid range of hills, of a pretty
uniform height, cuts off from the interior a lower undulating strip of
land from five to ten miles broad, the whole seeming to be of a high
average fertility for Australia. The grass fine, close, and abundant;
the timber large-sized and various. The coast is indented with many
small bays and inlets. The great rise and fall of tide is, of course,
admirably adapted for the construction of docks for the building and
repair of ships.

Nor are those advantages limited to the soil. The coast is protected,
as well as enriched and diversified, by numerous small islands, lofty,
rocky, and picturesque, covered with grass and pines.

The most vexatious part of the narrative relates to the natives;
whether they have been molested by the half-savage whalers, or are
treacherous by habit, it was found necessary to be constantly on the
watch against their spears. The parties who were sent on shore merely
to take astronomical observations, were assailed, and were sometimes
forced to retaliate. Instead of the generally thin and meagre
population of Australia, some of those tribes were numerous, and of
striking figure, especially in the neighbourhood of Buckingham Bay.
These were friendly and familiar at first, often coming to the ships;
and so much confidence was at last placed in them, that the boats'
crews neglected to take their arms with them when they went for water,
or to haul the seine; but this was soon found to be perilous
confidence.

"On the very last night of our stay, after catching a good haul of
fish, and distributing some of them to the natives, the boats were
suddenly assailed by a shower of spears and stones from the bushes.
The boatswain was knocked down by a large stone and much hurt.
Luckily, one of the men had a fowling-piece, and after firing it
without producing any effect, a ball was found in the boat, with which
one of the black fellows was hit, and the attack immediately ceased.

"The man who was struck, after giving a start and a scream, showed the
marks on his breast and arms to his companions; and then going to the
water, and washing off the blood, seemed to think no more of it, but
walked about with perfect unconcern."

Their spears exhibited a degree of ingenuity, which deserts them in
every instance of supplying the better wants of life. Into a piece of
bamboo, six feet three inches long, is inserted a piece of heavy wood,
two feet seven inches long, the junction being very neatly and firmly
secured with grass and gum. This piece of wood tapers to a point, on
which is fastened an old nail, very sharp, and bent up, so as to serve
for a barb; behind which, again, are two other barbs, made of the
spines from the tail of the stingray. All these are so secured by fine
grass and gum, that while quite firm against any ordinary resistance
in entering the body, a much less force would tear them off, in
endeavouring to withdraw the spear.

The beauty of some of the coral reefs occasionally excited great
admiration.

"I had hitherto," observes the writer, "been rather disappointed by
the coral reefs, so far as beauty was concerned; and though very
wonderful, I had not seen in them much to admire. One day, however, on
the lee side of one of the outer reefs, I had reason to change my
opinion.

"In a small bight of the inner edge of the reef was a sheltered nook,
where every coral was in full life and luxuriance. Smooth round masses
_Moeandrina_ and _Astroea_ were contrasted with delicate leaf-like and
cup-shaped expansions of _Explanaria_, and with an infinite variety of
_Madreporiæ_ and _Seriatoporæ_, some with more finger-shaped
projections, others with large branching stems, and others again
exhibiting an elegant assemblage of interlacing twigs, of the most
delicate and exquisite workmanship. Their colours were unrivalled--vivid
greens, contrasting with more sober browns and yellows, mingled with
rich shades of purple, from pale pink to deep blue. Bright red, yellow,
and peach-coloured _Nulliporæ_ clothed those masses that were dead,
mingled with beautiful pearly flakes of _Eschara_ and _Retepora_.

"Among the branches of the corals, like birds among trees, floated
many beautiful fish, radiant with metallic greens and crimsons, or
fancifully banded with black and yellow stripes. Patches of clear
white sand were seen here and there for the floor, with dark hollows
and recesses, beneath overhanging masses and ledges. All those, seen
through the clear crystal water, the ripple of which gave motion and
quick play of light and shadow to the whole, formed a scene of the
rarest beauty, and left nothing to be desired by the eye, either in
elegance of form or brilliancy and harmony of colouring."

This description we recommend to the rising generation of poets. It
may furnish them with a renewal of those conceptions of the dwellings
of sea nymphs and syrens, which have, grown rather faded, from
hereditary copying, but which would be much refreshed by a voyage to
the Great Barrier Reef, or its best substitute, a glance at Mr Jukes's
clever volumes.

We now pass generally over the prominent features of this part of the
expedition. As it had been among the directions given by the
Admiralty, to mark the principal passage through the great reef by a
beacon, they fixed on Raine's Island, where they disturbed a colony of
another kind. The whole surface of the island, (a small one, of one
thousand yards long by five hundred wide, and in no part more than
twenty feet above high-water mark,) was covered with birds, young and
old; there were frigate birds, gannets, boobies, noddies, and black
and white terns; the only land birds being land-rails. The description
is very peculiar and picturesque. The frigate birds, (who may have
acted as a sort of aristocracy,) had a part completely to themselves;
their nests were a platform of a foot high, on each of which was one
young bird, (the heir to the estate.) But there were young of all
growths, some able to fly, some just hatched, and covered with a
yellowish down. Those which could not fly assumed a fierce aspect at
the approach of strangers, and snapped their beaks. The boobies and
gannets each also formed separate flocks, but few of them had either
eggs or young ones. All the rest of the island was covered with the
eggs and young ones of the terns and noddies. The terns' eggs lay
scattered about the ground, without any nest; the young terns also
seemed each unalterably attached to the spot where it had been
hatched, and immediately returned to it on being driven off.

As night closed in, it was curious to see the long lines and flocks of
birds streaming from all quarters of the horizon towards the island.
The noise was incessant and most tiresome. On walking rapidly into the
centre of the island, countless myriads of birds rose shrieking on
every side, so that the clangour was absolutely deafening, "like the
roar of some great cataract." The voyagers could see no traces of
natives, nor of any other visitors to the island.

Among the wonders of creation is the existence of those myriads of
creatures, wholly beyond the uses of man, living where man had
probably never trod since the Deluge, enjoying life to the full
capabilities of their organisation, sustained by an unfailing
provision, and preserved in health, animation, and animal happiness,
generation after generation, through thousands of years. Such is the
work of divine power; but can it be doubted that it is also the work
of divine benevolence; that the Great Disposer of all takes delight in
giving enjoyment to all the works of his hand; that He rejoices in
multiplying the means of enjoyment, its susceptibilities and its
occasions, to the utmost measure consistent with the happiness of the
whole; and that--even in those vast classes of inferior being which
can have no faculty of acknowledging their benefactor, from whom He
can obtain no tribute of affection, no proof of obedience, and no
return of gratitude--His exhaustless desire, of communicating
happiness acts throughout all?

This view certainly cannot be got rid of by saying, that all classes
of nature are essential to each other. What was the importance of a
flock of sea fowl in the heart of the Pacific to the human race for
the last four thousand years? or what may it ever be? Yet they pursue
their instincts, exert their powers, sweep on the winds, range over
the ocean, and return on the wing night by night to their island,
nestle in their accustomed spots, and flutter over their young,
without a shock or a change, without a cessation of their pleasures or
a diminution of their powers through ages! What must be the vigilance
which watches over their perpetual possession of existence and
enjoyment; or what conclusion can be more just, natural, or
consolatory than that, "if not a sparrow falls to the ground without
the knowledge and supervision of Providence," a not less vigilant
care, and a not less profuse and exalted beneficence will be the
providential principle of the government of man, and the world of man!

The examination of Torres Strait was a chief object of the expedition;
and we therefore give a sketch of a passage which is constantly rising
in importance.

All the islands which stretch across the Strait have a common
character; all are steep and rocky, and some six hundred feet in
height. They are, in fact, the prolongation of the great mountain
chain of the eastern coast of Australia. The especial importance of
Torres Strait is, that it must continue to be almost the only safe
route to the Indian Ocean from the South Pacific--the S.E. trade-wind
blowing directly for the Strait nearly the whole year within the
tropics, and during the summer being the prevailing wind over a large
part of the extra-tropical sea. The attempt to pass to the north of
New Guinea would encounter a longer route, with dangers probably much
greater, in a sea still comparatively unexamined.

But it is admitted that the navigation of the Torres Strait and the
Coral Sea, however exactly surveyed, must always be hazardous. Hazy
weather, errors of reckoning, errors in the chronometer, &c., must
always produce a considerable average of casualties in the Strait.
Yet, from the nature of the reef, when these casualties do occur, the
vessel will generally be fixed on the rocks long enough for the crew
to escape in their boats. There, however, a new hazard begins. The
only places of refuge for these boats at present are Port Essington,
six hundred miles beyond Cape York; or Coupang, in Timor, five or six
hundred miles further to the westward.

Mr Jukes strongly recommends the formation of a post at Cape York, as
not merely enabling the shipwrecked crews to arrive at an immediate
place of safety, but as affording assistance to the vessel, and
securing her cargo. From Cape York there would be easy opportunities
of a passage to Singapore. In case of war, the advantages of having a
military station at this point would be of the highest value; as,
otherwise, an enemy's corvette might command the Strait. It would also
make a valuable depôt for stores necessary for the relief of vessels.
In case of the further extension of steam navigation between India and
New South Wales, of which there can now be no doubt, Cape York would
make an excellent coal depôt. In short, unless the narrator's
imagination runs away with him, it would answer any necessary purpose
of navigation, and ought to attract the consideration of government
without loss of time.

Allowing for all the ardour of fancy, there can be no question that
the period is coming rapidly when the mind of Europe will be strongly
directed to the natural wealth of the vast chain of islands reaching
from New Caledonia to New Guinea. China, the Moluccas, and the great
islands of the South, will hereafter supply a commerce unequalled in
the East, or perhaps in the world. Of this Torres Strait must
inevitably be the channel; a new city will be necessary to concentrate
that commerce, and Cape York offers the foundation for a new
Singapore.

If a philosopher were to inquire, in what portion of the globe man
might enjoy the largest portion of physical happiness; or if a
politician were to search for a new seat of empire, combining the
capacity of sustaining the largest population and the most direct
action on the great adjoining continent; or if the merchant were to
examine the Asiatic hemisphere, with a mere view to the richness and
variety of products--each would probably decide for the Indian
Archipelago; that immense region of immense islands lying between
Sumatra and New Guinea, east and west, and the Philippines and Timor,
north and south.

They are at least a wholly new region; for though peopled for
hundreds, or perhaps thousands of years, and visited in the old times
of European commerce with more frequency than even in our active day,
their actual condition remains nearly unknown: their fertility is
comparatively neglected; their spontaneous products are left to waste;
their singular beauty is disregarded, and their mineral wealth is
unwrought. Their people are content with savage existence, and the
bounty of Heaven is thrown away in the loveliest portion of the globe.
Piracy at sea, war on land, tyranny, vice, and ignorance, are the
habits and characteristics of a zone which could sustain a population
as numerous as that of Europe, and supply the wants and even the
luxuries of half the world. Celebes, New Guinea, Timor, Java, Borneo,
that most magnificent of all islands, if it should not rather be
called a continent: the vast group of the Philippines, only await the
industry and intelligence of Europe. They will yet be brilliant
kingdoms and mighty empires.

Why such noble realms should have been long given over to barbarism is
among the most curious questions of the philosopher, and of the
Christian. May they not have been kept back from European possession
and utility on the providential principle, which we discover so often
in the general order of the divine government; namely, to be reserved
as a reward and a stimulant to the growing progress of mankind? They
may have been suffered to remain in a state of savage life as a
penalty for the profligacy of their people, or they may have been
condemned to their mysterious obscurity until the impress of British
power on India and China should have been deeply made, and England
should be led, by the possession of India and the opening of the
Chinese coasts, to follow the new course of wealth prepared for her in
the commerce of the Indian Ocean.

Whatever may be the truth of those suggestions, nothing can be more
evident, than that British discovery and British interests are now
involuntarily taking that direction. The settlement on Borneo by the
enterprise and intelligence of Mr Brookes has given our commerce, a
sudden and most unexpected footing in this queen of the Indian Ocean.
The English colonisation of Australia will inevitably sustain that
intercourse. The flourishing settlement of Singapore, and the growing
population of the west coast of America, from Oregon down to
California, all converge toward the same result, the increased
commerce and civilisation of the Indian islands.

It is also to be remembered, that those are all events of the last ten
years. But when Mexico shall have given up the Californias, which
there seems every probability of her being compelled to do, or to see
them overrun by the active emigration from the United States, the
impulse will be still more rapid, powerful, and extensive. We look
upon the whole series of these coasts as all indication of some
striking advance prepared for the general family of man.

In October 1844 the Fly left Port Essington, on her way to Java to
refit. On the way they passed a succession of islands, known by
scarcely more than name to the English navigator. They all seem to be
volcanic, though their volcanoes may sleep; and rapid as the glance of
the voyagers was, they all, even in the wildness of precipitous shores
and mountain peaks, exhibited beauty.

They steered up the channel which passes between the shores of Java
and Madura, an island which seems to have been cut out of Java. The
Madura shore showed a continuous belt of the richest tropical
vegetation. The Java shore, though flat and swampy in this part,
showed a back ground of mountains, some of them from ten thousand to
twelve thousand feet high. They were now in Dutch territory; and,
passing by some Dutch steamers and vessels of war, cast anchor near
the town of Sourabaya. Here the captain and some of the officers
landed, found a large new fort or citadel in the act of fortifying;
walked through the town, which contained many good European houses,
mingled with hovels of the natives and Chinese; dined at a good
_table-d'hôte_, got into a _calèche_, and drove round the town, which
seemed very extensive, and its suburbs still more so. Here, except for
the visages of the natives and the lamps of the Chinese, they might
have imagined themselves in Europe again. They drove up one road and
down another for several miles, under avenues of trees, interrupted
here and there by the country-houses of Europeans. Many of those
seemed spacious; and all were thrown open, and lighted with many
lamps. In front of the houses were parties of ladies and gentlemen,
sitting in verandas and porticoes, taking tea or wine, smoking or
playing cards, and chatting. They met one or two carriages of ladies
in full dress, driving about without bonnets to enjoy the cool of the
evening.

Then came a scene of another kind. They re-entered the town by the
Chinese quarter. There they found grotesque-looking houses, lit up
with large paper lanterns of gaudy colours, with Chinese inscriptions
or monsters on them, and long rows of Chinese characters up and down
the door-posts or over the windows. Crowds of people swarmed along the
streets, and strange cries, in a Babel of languages, resounded in
their ears, and every variety of Eastern figure flitted about them,
from the half-naked Couli to the well-clothed Chinese in a loose white
jacket like a dressing-gown, the Arab merchant in his flowing robes,
and the Javanese gentleman in smart jacket and trousers, sash
petticoat, curious pent-house-like hat, and strange-handled creese or
dagger stuck in his girdle. The view of the country in the morning
was, however, much less captivating; it was flat and marshy, and
intersected by large ditches. The roads are on dykes four or five feet
above the level of the fields, and lined with rosewood trees, an
Eastern Holland.

The Dutch have introduced a club, which they call _Concordia_, with
billiard-tables, magazines, a reading-room, and a department for
eating and drinking. Of this the voyagers were invited to be ordinary
members. There was a book club among the English residents, where they
enjoyed the sight of several new publications and periodicals. All
this was a pleasant interchange for cruising among coral reefs, and
being tossed about or starved in Torres Strait; and they seem to have
enjoyed it completely. Besides the Dutch civilities, they had a
general invitation from an English merchant, Mr Frazer, to his house a
few miles in the country.

In those climates fresh air and cool rooms are the chief points. Mr
Frazer's house was on the Indian model. It had but one story and one
principal room, in the centre of the house, opening both before and
behind, by two large doorways, into spacious porticoes, as large as
the room itself, and supported by pillars. Each of the wings was
occupied by three good bed-rooms. It stood in an enclosure of about an
acre, with lawn, stables, and servants' offices. The floors were
tiles, covered with cane matting in the principal room. As soon as it
grows dusk, the central saloon is lighted up with many lamps, the
doors and windows still remaining open; and every now and then a
carriage drives up, some acquaintance drops in for an hour or two,
joins the dinner-table, if he has not dined, or smokes a cigar if he
has, and drives away again. This seems an easy life: and the colonist
who can thus lounge through the world certainly has not much reason to
exclaim against fortune. Yet this is the general life of all foreign
settlements. Among the guests a Mr Frazer's they met a remarkable
character, a Mr M'Cleland, a Scotsman. His history was adventurous; he
was the individual mentioned in Washington Irving's _Astoria_, who, on
the return of the party overland, left them, and pushed on ahead by
himself across the Rocky Mountains. From America he went to China, and
then fixed in Java, where, by energy and intelligence, he has made an
ample fortune. He is now possessor of a large foundery in the island.
The population of the town was about sixty thousand. The Javanese are
described generally as an excellent race of people, patient,
good-tempered, and very handy. The man who is to-day a carpenter, will
turn blacksmith the next, and the peasant will become a sailor. They
seem also to be as candid, as they are ingenious. One of the officers
at table said that a servant who had been for several years his
coachman, asked one day for permission to leave his service and go as
a sailor. On his being asked in turn whether he had any complaint to
make, the answer was, that he was only "tired of seeing the Colonel's
face every day."

The Javanese gentleman is fond of dress, and his dress argues
considerable opulence among his class. He usually wears a smart green
velvet or cloth jacket with gold buttons, a shirt with gold studs,
loose trousers, and sometimes boots, and a petticoat and sash, in the
latter of which is always a large creese or dagger, ornamented with
gold and diamonds. The women of the higher class live retired, those
of the lower are seen every where.

Life seems singularly busy in Sourabaya. The Chinese gentleman is
driving about all day in his pony chaise; the Chinese of the lower
order is running about with his wicker-cases as a pedlar, or else
selling fruit or cooked provisions, with a stove to keep them warm; or
sitting, in the primitive style, under a tamarind tree, with silver
and copper coinage before him to cash notes. And the river is as busy
as the shore; there are always groups of people bathing; men and women
are washing clothes; boats of all sizes, and for all purposes, laden
with produce, or crowded with people, are constantly passing along.
Then there are the troops, who, under the Dutch uniform, exhibit all
_castes_ and colours, from the European to the Negro--a force
amounting to about two thousand infantry, besides artillery and
cavalry; and all this goes on amid a perpetual clamour of voices,
cries of every trade, tongues of every barbarism, and that wild haste
and restless eagerness in every movement which belongs to seaport life
in every portion of the globe.

The present discussions with the Dutch government on the subject of
labour make it of importance to know something on the subject of their
colonies in the East. It is a curious circumstance in the history of a
people priding themselves on the liberty of commerce and their
openness of dealing with mankind, that they seem to have always hidden
their Indian policy under the most jealous reserve. They adopted this
reserve from the first hour of their Indian navigation. But then
Holland was a republic, and a republic is always tyrannical in
proportion to its clamour for liberty, always oppressive in proportion
to its promise of equal rights, and always rapacious in proportion to
its professed respect for the principle of letting every man keep his
own.

But though the cap is now exchanged for a crown, and the stadtholder
is a monarch, the policy seems to flourish on the old footing of their
close-handed fathers.

The Eastern dominions of Holland are under the authority of a
governor-general and a council, composed of four members, and a
vice-president; the governor-general being president. This sounds well
at least for the liberty of discussion. But the sound is all. The
power of the council consists simply in giving its opinion, to which
the governor may refuse to listen. The governor receives his orders
directly from the colonial minister at home, and the colonial
minister, though apparently responsible to the sentiment of the
Chambers, yet echoes those of the King.

But there is another authority which is supposed to rule the
government itself. This invisible prime mover is a joint commercial
company, the Maatschappy, established in 1824, with a charter giving
it a strict monopoly of all commerce to the Indies for twenty-five
years, which has been recently renewed for ten years more. The late
King was a large shareholder, the present King is presumed to inherit
his father's shares; most of the members of the Chambers are
shareholders; and the Maatschappy, besides the supply of the islands
with all necessaries, acts as agent for the Crown, receives the
produce gathered by the authorities of Java, carries it home, sells
it, and accounts for the proceeds to the Dutch government. But the
company have a still heavier hold on the government, a debt for
£3,340,000 sterling; and for this they have in mortgage the whole
produce received in the East, the company deducting their own interest
and commission before they pay the proceeds.

But we have the gratification of being told that even the Maatschappy
does not carry every thing in triumph, and that there is a proposal to
release one-third of the sugar produced by parties having contracts
with them, on condition of the other two-thirds being delivered of a
superior quality; and it is added that this relaxation has taken place
simply from the distresses of the colonies, and in the hope of
introducing specie, there being nothing in use at present but a
debased copper coin. This measure would add to the trifling free
produce of Java about 18,500 tons.

The Dutch possessions in the East are very large, and under due
management would be of incalculable value. They comprise part of the
island of Sumatra; the islands of Banca and Billiton; the islands of
Bintang and Linga; the Macassar government, including parts of Celebes
and Sumhana; the Molucca islands; the south-west half of Timor; some
late conquests in Bali; and large portions of the southern part of
Borneo, which have been recently formed into two residencies. For
these statistics we are indebted to the narrative of Mr Jukes.

Java was first made known to us, with any degree of historical or
physical accuracy, by the late Sir Stamford Raffles, the amiable and
intelligent British Resident during its possession by our government
between 1811 and 1816. But it was known to Europe for three centuries
before. The Portuguese, once the great naval power, and most active
discoverers in Europe,--so much do the habits and faculties of nations
change,--had made to themselves a monopoly of eastern possession,
after the passage round the Cape by De Gama, and fixed upon Java for
their first settlement in the Indian Ocean. Almost a century passed,
before their supremacy was disturbed. But then a new and dangerous
rival appeared. The Dutch, already an enterprising and warlike nation,
sweeping every sea with their commercial or military ambition,--so
much have times been changed with them, too,--also fixed on Java, and
formed a vigorous and thriving settlement at Bantam. In the beginning
of the seventeenth century, the English, making a first and feeble
attempt at eastern commerce, to the south of India, formed a factory
at Bantam. But the Dutch, indignant at even the shadow of rivalry,
broke down alike the decaying influence of the Portuguese and the
rising influence of the English, planned a new and stately Eastern
Capital, which, in the spirit of the Hollander, they planted in the
most swampy part of the island; and, surrounded with ditches, in the
closest resemblance to Holland, led a pestilential existence in the
fatness of fens passable only through canals. Batavia was built, the
proverbial place of filth and opulence. The Dutch gradually became
masters of this fine island; divided it into seventeen provinces, and
occupying the commercial coast, left the southern to the divided and
helpless authority of the two native princes, the Sultan and the
Susuhunan.

The French revolutionary war naturally involved the Dutch in the
general conquest of the Netherlands. The rash republicanism of the
factions which had expelled the stadtholder, was speedily punished by
the plunderings and corruptions of their new allies, and the insolent
and atrocious annexation of Holland to the French empire was followed
by the additional calamity of a war with England, which stripped her
of all her colonies. An English expedition sailed for Java, stormed
its defences, and took possession of Batavia and the Dutch possessions
on the island in 1811. An English government was established, Sir
Stamford Raffles was placed at its head, and Java with its infinite
natural resources and incomparable position, promised to become one of
the most important of the Indian colonies of England.

But at the peace of Paris, in 1815, the British policy, which was
directed to the conciliation of the Dutch, and the erection of Holland
into a barrier against France, induced the restoration of Java. This
act of liberality met with strong remonstrance; and a memorial from
the British Resident placed in the fullest point of view the probable
value and actual advantages of retaining Java. But the policy was
already determined on. It is said that, on the Resident's return to
England, he found his original memoir in some of the depositories of
strangled remonstrances, with its seals unbroken. The reason however,
may have been, that the restoration was _un fait accompli_.

But the sacrifice was useless. The sudden whim for Radicalism at home,
and revolution abroad, which seized British statesmen in the first
frenzy of the Reform Bill, instead of punishing the revolt of the
Belgians, suffered the dismemberment of the kingdom of the
Netherlands; a measure of the most shortsighted policy, which has now
placed Belgium in the most serious hazard of being absorbed by its
all-swallowing neighbour France, on the first convulsion of the
continent. But, as England has no inclination to disturb her
neighbours, and is never guilty of that last atrocity of nations,
breach of treaties; the great colony is still left in Dutch hands, and
will be left, until some new folly compels its resumption.

Java is a noble island; singularly shaped, for its length is about
four times its average breadth; six hundred miles by about one hundred
and fifty. Its whole extent is fifty thousand square miles, or nearly
the size of England. But its fertility of all kinds is incalculably
superior. From its diversity of climate, it is obviously capable of
raising European as well as tropical productions. Its climate, too, is
healthful, notwithstanding the illfame of Batavia. Even there, the
inhabitants have at length learned to prefer fields to swamps, and
fresh air to the vapour of ditches; for the greater portion have
either gone into the interior, or live in suburbs extending to
considerable distances. In fact, the original fen-loving Hollander has
passed away, and another generation has sprung up, which prefers
health and long life even to dollars and dyspepsia. Yet, what is Java,
to the islands almost within her view? To Sumatra, with her one
hundred and sixty thousand square miles, and Borneo, with her two
hundred and eighty-six thousand--almost a continent; and those vast
territories not wild and barren plains, like the huge spaces of
Australia, nor frozen for one half of the year, like our settlements
in America, but overflowing with the richest vegetable products of the
earth, covered with herds of the buffalo and other cattle, and sheeted
with forests up to the summits of their ranges of mountains. What
their mineral wealth may be, remains for European investigation; but
gold has been found in their rivers, and from the various heights of
their hills, we may fairly suppose them, in some instances at least,
metalliferous.

Yet Java--of the same extent with England, produce almost spontaneous,
without any endemic disease, and with the dissensions of the natives
kept down by the Dutch authority--is calculated to have but nine
millions of people, about less than half of the souls of England. So
little does population depend upon plenty, climate, or even upon
peace. The Dutch government appears to be honest, and the reverse of
severe; its offices are well conducted, its salaries seem to be
substantial and sufficient, and its general rule of the island appears
to be directed to suppressing violence among the native tribes.

But the sudden impulse which now urges European enterprise to the
extremities of the earth; which sends expeditions to invade the
territories of the seal and the whale at the South Pole, and plants
cities within the gales of the arctic snows, must at length turn to
the golden islands of the Indian Ocean. There, new powers will be
awakened, new vigour will take place of old stagnation, and those
matchless portions of the globe will give their treasures to the full
use of man.

As it was determined to refit the ship in Java, time was given for the
curiosity of Mr Jukes and the officers to employ itself in examining
the interior. After various difficulties, connected with official
forms in passing through the different Dutch provinces,--in which,
however, it is only justice to the governors to acknowledge, that in
general they conducted themselves with much civility,--the party,
consisting of four, at length set out. They found post-houses at every
half dozen miles apart, with a good carriage-road; they passed by a
succession of villages, through a flat country covered with rice and
sugar-cane, interspersed with large belts of wood. But those were
villages concealed by groves of fruit trees. On their way, they
stopped to see a sugar manufactory--a Belgian partnership. The house
was large and handsome, and the establishment complete. This is a new
manufacture in Java. They were now running along the northern coast of
the island, and after a drive of forty miles in six hours, they
arrived at Passarouan, which they unexpectedly found to be a large
town with several wide streets, Chinese houses in court yards, and
European residences, having lawns and carriage drives. The native
Javanese resided in separate quarters, each of which is surrounded by
a fence of bamboo paling, or a wall. We should conceive these people
to lead a primitive and pleasant life, for in those quarters the
bamboo houses seemed to be scattered indiscriminately under the shade
of bananas, cocoa nuts, and other fruit trees.

The Dutch residents or governors, appear also to be very much at their
ease. The salary of the resident of Passarouan, though nominally but
£1,500 a-year, amounts to £3,400 sterling besides, as it is the custom
that each resident has a per centage on the coffee, sugar, tobacco,
rice, &c., raised in his district. An income of this order, when we
consider the cheapness of all the necessaries of life in the island,
must be regarded as a very liberal provision.

They saw, as they passed through the rice fields, a curious but simple
contrivance for preserving the growing crops from the flocks of
sparrows. In the centre of the fields small sheds were erected on
posts, from which strings with feathers radiated in every direction. A
boy, or girl, was stationed in the shed to keep the strings in motion,
in order to frighten away the birds.

On the road they passed a large market, crowded with people. They
found rows of stalls or long sheds, in some of which European
articles, such as cutlery and drapery, were offered for sale; in
others were drugs, fruit, confectionery, or salt fish. The
traffickers, too, seemed to be enjoying themselves, as some of the
stalls had benches before them, on which sat people drinking coffee,
and eating rice, hot sweet potatoes, fruit, and sweet-meats. Their
next stage was a town named Probolingo, and they were again surprised
at the extent of a place perfectly new to them. Broad roads with
avenues of lofty trees intersected each other at right angles, bounded
by the fences of the native Kampangs, or Javanese quarters, which
looked like large orchards. There were also at intervals European
houses of good size and appearance, each in its own grounds, with a
carriage-drive under the trees. They found, also, the still rarer
evidence of a comfortable condition of general intercourse,--a good
hotel; of which the master, however, spoke "but little English." Our
curiosity is left in doubt, whether his accomplishments were Dutch or
Javanese.

There were some English settlers in this neighbourhood; and some of
the party drove out to visit the sugar establishment of Mr
Etty--brother of the well-known artist--about three miles from the
town. He was in England, but his sons came down in the evening to the
hotel to offer their civilities. They had been out pig-shooting, and
had enjoyed their sport, such as it is, for they had killed thirteen
pigs. The party were invited to similar shooting for the next day.

On the next day they went; but an old carriage and a clumsy charioteer
delayed them, and they arrived some three hours after their
appointment. But etiquette does not seem to have been the order of the
day, for the inviters had gone out to enjoy their pig-shooting by
themselves. The invited were left to amuse themselves as they might
until seven or eight o'clock, when the inviters returned, and the
whole party sat down to dinner. At dinner, their talk was of tigers.

Whether Mr Jukes gives this incident in wrath, or simple recollection,
we know not; but we surmise, that he and his friends would have been
just as well pleased if the owners of the sugar establishment had not
brought them out so far for nothing.

Next day they proceeded on their excursion, and found native civility
on the alert every where. Some orders to this effect appeared to have
been sent to the Dutch authorities. At the first post-house where they
stopped, a man stepped forward with a tray of cups of tea, glasses of
cocoa and water, and rice-cakes; and a large party were awaiting them
with ponies. Each of them also found a man on horseback ready to
attend him, and carry his gun and game-bag. A petty chief rode before
them, and another with a small party brought up the rear, so that they
formed quite a cavalcade. But the natives with their gaily-coloured
dresses, blue and red coloured saddles, silver trappings to their
horses, and ornamented creeses in their girdles, "quite cut out the
Englishmen in appearance, with their dingy shooting-jackets and soiled
trousers."

And here we may fairly ask the question, why those gentlemen should
have appeared in "dingy shooting-jackets and soiled trousers?" This is
not a question of dandyism. They were to appear before the authorities
of another country, before the gentlemen of another nation. They were
also to be presented to native gentlemen and rajahs, who have as quick
an eye for the outward man as any people in the world. And while those
showy costumes--even in so trifling a matter as the attendance on a
shooting-party--exhibited the taste of the people in those matters,
why should the Englishman exhibit his own, in dingy shooting-jackets
and soiled trousers? In fact, in matters of this kind, a man in
foreign countries, and especially in the military and naval service of
his country, should recollect the effect of this beggarliness on the
mind of strangers. The party must have been the objects of ridicule
and contempt to the very peasants around them.

As they rose towards the hills, the country appeared to be in general
richer and more picturesque. From the summit of the first ridge the
country before them was gently undulating, interspersed with patches
of wood, that looked like a wide-spread park, till at some miles
distance it rose up the slopes of a volcanic mountain--the Lamongan.
On the sides of this huge volcano, the woods became thicker and more
continuous, till they reached the bare piles of ashes and cinders
forming the upper cone.

The road then lay through coffee plantations. These were very
pleasant-looking places. The coffee shrubs were planted in rows, with
tall trees between each row to shelter the coffee from the sun. The
alleys between the trees were carpeted by rich green turf, forming
pleasant glades. The plantations were generally neatly fenced and
often extensive; as much as twenty or thirty acres in one plot. Every
now and then they passed on the roadside a noble tree, with
wide-spread, drooping branches, a species of banyan tree, under which
was often seen a bullock-waggon with its team.

All this was oriental and picturesque; but the scenery sometimes
reminded them of spots in Devonshire, so green and fresh was all the
vegetation, and so pleasant were the deep narrow lanes and sparkling
brooks. Their halting-place for the day was a large and lofty
bamboo-house on a raised terrace of brick, having a broad veranda all
round, a large central saloon, and two or three good and
well-furnished bed-rooms on each side. This veranda had the advantage
also of a noble landscape. At the back, it looked down a steep bank to
a beautiful circular lake about a quarter of a mile across, bordered
by a thick belt of wood, and right over it at a few miles' distance,
the stately cone of the Lamongan, upwards of four thousand feet high,
with a wreath of white smoke curling from its summit.

To this feast of natural beauty was added the more substantial one of
the table. In the veranda they found a table spread with a snow-white
cloth, and all the conveniencies of plate, glass, and cutlery. A troop
of willing servitors was in attendance, who covered the table with a
smoking-hot breakfast, piles of rice curries, pillaus, and fruits,
with tea and coffee. All this seemed to be done by enchantment; there
was no host, no master of the house to trouble them with ceremony; the
house and all that belonged to it seemed to be theirs as long as they
chose to stay. Whose was the furniture, or who provided the
entertainment, they knew not. In those comfortable quarters, they
determined to halt for the next day, and try to get a little shooting.

The naturalist, however, on this evening, employed himself more
rationally than his companions. While they went out shooting, he took
his hammer and went to the ravine, to learn something about the masses
of lava and basalt which lay every where. The whole ground gave
evidences of the existence of an ancient volcano. The circular lake
seemed to have been a crater; its depth was said to be three hundred
and ninety feet. But the noble proportions of the landscape still
attracted the eye, and within the horizon shot up the pile of the
Semmi,--the loftiest, most perfect, and most majestic-looking cone
that they ever saw in Java, its height being twelve thousand two
hundred and ninety-two feet--a greater elevation than that of the Peak
of Teneriffe. Every thing was lovely in form and colour, and glittered
in the hot sunshine, while a fine fresh breeze from the south tempered
the heat, and gave it the feeling of a summer day at home.

Still, though all this seemed a land of magic, to those who probably
had never thought of Java but as a place of pestilence, of burning
soil, and scorching sunshine, it was not all fairy land. After dinner,
at dusk, as Mr Jukes was strolling round the house smoking a cigar, a
man with a long spear came up to him, and began to turn him back with
an earnest speech, of which the only word he understood was _machan_;
but it was an important one, and the point of the whole oration, for
it is the Javanese for tiger.

Having recourse to one of the party as interpreter, he found that the
spearman was begging of him not to walk in the dark, as tigers were
abundant there; which, he emphatically assured them, eat men, and that
they had even sometimes come into the house. In the veranda they found
a guard of four spearmen, keeping watch for the same purpose. The
Englishman thought that they were jesting, until he saw that none of
the people themselves went a few yards beyond the house without a
torch. One man going to bathe in the lake just below, another
accompanied him with a torch. They also saw four men coming up the
road with two large torches, who, they said, were returning from their
work from the village hard by. They still thought their fears a little
exaggerated; but on that very night a man was killed by a tiger at a
village about two miles off, as he was going to his work before
daylight with two others. His body was recovered the next day.

In the morning, the party went out to shoot any thing that came in
their way. Their success, however, was limited to a pig, and a brace
of jungle fowl. Some of the party saw tracks of tigers, but they
attack nobody during the day; the night being their time for
retaliation. Another division of their party coming home by a straight
course across the country, and just before it got dark, found
themselves on the borders of a district which had been mentioned to
them as the most noted haunt of tigers in the whole country. Cocking
their guns, however, they pushed through the grass, that rose often
three feet above their heads, for about half a mile, not without a
feeling of half hope, half fear, of the rush of a tiger through the
jungle. From this nervous predicament, however, they escaped. Half an
hour later they might have told a different story, or perhaps would
have been left without the power of telling one. Their shot-pouches
would have made but an indifferent defence against the charge of a
supperless tiger; and the philosopher might have finished his earthly
career in the retaliatory jaws of the lord of the jungle.

We recommend Java to all country gentlemen tired of time; they will
have plenty of shooting of every kind there--the lion alone excepted;
bears are in abundance and great ferocity; wild boars in droves: with
the wild buffalo, the most dangerous of all animals to meet with, and
far more dreaded by the natives than the tiger himself. The tiger is
to be found every day throughout the year, and every where from
twilight to sunrise. For the more _récherchés_ in shooting, there is
the rhinoceros, the most capital of all sport, as it is called; for in
nine instances out of ten he kills his man. Unless the sportsman hits
him in the eye, double barrels are unavailing; his hide would turn off
every thing but a cannon ball. If the shot is not imbedded in his
brain, he dashes after the sportsman at once; escape then can only be
by miracle, for unwieldy as he looks, he runs like a race-horse, rips
up the fugitive with his horn, and finishes by trampling him into a
mass of mortality that leaves not a feature distinguishable. Thus,
field-sports are not altogether confined to gentlemen.

But for glories of this order, the amateur must travel to some
distance; he must penetrate the deep and trackless forests of the
southern Sultan, or ascend to the volcanic regions of the interior.

We now hasten to the close of these interesting volumes. The whole
party seem to have been treated with remarkable civility, and to have
been shown all kinds of strange things. Among the other curiosities,
they were taken to visit the Sultan of Madura, a hospitable old man,
who treated them like fellow sultans, paraded his guards for them,
gave them a feast which seemed to be all but interminable, played the
native fiddle for them, led his own royal orchestra with some skill,
played _vingt-et-un_ with them, and finished by a species of _ombres
Chinoises_, or shadowy drama, which lasted through the whole night. As
the Englishmen began to droop, he exercised all the English which he
possessed, to offer them "a glass of grog," which he evidently
considered to be essential to English enjoyment; and after his
visitors had retired to rest, he continued to sit out the play--which
lasted the mortal measure of ten hours; a feat exceeding the
endurance, though probably not the _ennui_, of a regular amateur of
the Italian Opera. The populace, too, exhibited the same dramatic
ardour, for they continued gazing, laughing, and shouting, with all
the perseverance of their old sovereign.

The revenues of this chief are enormous, though they amount only to
£8,000 sterling; but then we are to recollect that the wages of a
Javanese workman are but five duits, or five-sixths of an English
penny; and that for this he can "live very well." Man gets plantains
and fruits for almost nothing. His clothing is made of a simple
wrapper, and a day or two's cutting of bamboo gives him a very
sufficient house. Let this be compared with the Irish peasant,
shivering through three months of winter, and six months of wet,
paying five pounds an acre for his swampy potatoes, and out of his
holding paying tithe, tax, county rates, and all the other
encumbrances of what the political economists call "a highly civilised
state of society." We say "_vive le systéme féodal, vive la sauvagerie
Javannaise_."

One half of the Sultan's revenue arises from a singular source--the
sale of birds' nests, which are found in the rocks, and which the
Chinese purchase as a restorative. The Chinese, a remarkably gross and
voluptuous people, are the greatest quacks on earth, and are
continually attempting to reinstate by medicine, what they have ruined
by excess. But soup is pleasant physic, and they boil these birds'
nests into soup, in full reliance on the miracle.

The Englishmen tasted some of this soup, among the luxuries of the
Sultan's table, and highly approved of it; but its merits depended on
many capital ingredients, the birds' nests merely acting as a sort of
connective, an isinglass to the whole. It is probable that their whole
virtue is in the fashion.

In looking at the future, through all the mists which beset the vision
of man, it seems scarcely possible to doubt that these regions are
intended for a vast and vigorous change. It may not be a European
change. Society may not be cast into the furnace, as it has been by
those struggles, wars, and revolutions, which were essential to the
working of the iron temperament of Europe. But Providence, if we may
so speak without irreverence, evidently delights in the variety,
multitude, and novelty of its highest expedients. If no two great
portions of the physical world are like in form, climate, product, and
even in the colouring of their skies, why are we to insist on
uniformity in government, in human feeling, or in those national
impulses which shape society? The throne, the constitution, and the
laws of England, noble advances as they are to the perfection of the
social system, may be unfit for the man sitting under his palm tree
within the tropics, the navigator in the summer seas of the Indian
Ocean, or even for the rude vigour and roving enterprise of Australia.
But we have no fears of the failure of that glorious and beneficent
Cycle, by which happiness seems revolving, by whatever slow degree,
through every race of mankind. There is but one thing which is
indispensable among all, and that one thing is, the only nation on
earth qualified to give Christianity; and we, with no presumptuous
glance, but with no hesitating belief, regard the almost boundless
colonial empire of England as conferred upon our island for the
express purpose of spreading pure religion through the various regions
of the globe. With all our sense of the caution necessary in
struggling against the rude prejudices of the barbarian, and with no
inferior sense of the caution necessary in the admixture of human
conceptions, with the will of Him who "walketh in clouds;" with all
our regret for the extravagance of enthusiasm, and all our conviction
of the evil which is daily done to truth by the rashness of
conjecture, we yet believe that a time is approaching, when the
elements of society will be, at least, partially dissolved, for the
sake of their replacement in higher purity and power; when the general
frame of dominion throughout the world, will be, at least, dislocated,
that it may be renewed in higher activity and beauty; and when a world
in which a new obedience, a new integrity, a new beneficence to man,
and a new homage to heaven, will be the characteristics, shall be
formed to vindicate the justice of Providence, and complete the
happiness of man.

Then we shall see the original powers of those neglected nations
brightened, enlarged, and elevated into forms and uses, of which they
themselves have been unconscious since their birth. Then shall we see
governments on principles adapted to the nature of the dweller in the
Asiatic plains, of the hunter of the everlasting Himmalaya, and the
navigator of the waveless Pacific; calling out the native faculties
of those vast divisions of mankind, raising, the natural products of
inexhaustible soils, whose fertility is now buried in their bosom, and
sharing with the nations of the earth the countless mineral treasures
which have been locked up in their hills since the Creation; the whole
being poured out, to meet the new demands, increase the new
engagements, and stimulate the new animation of the increasing
millions of mankind.

The observations made by Mr Jukes on the mental effect of the southern
climates of Asia, are striking, but they are the same which have been
made for thousands of years. The European is not made for those
climates. Carrying with him, in his first adventure, his original
energy of mind and frame, he is astonished to see the land tenanted by
human beings who are content with mere existence. The bold climber of
the hills,--the daring mariner,--the intelligent and delighted
inquirer into all the wonders of earth and ocean, sees himself
surrounded by men lying on sofas, living only to eat, and careless of
the whole brilliant profusion which tissues the ground, or fills the
forest, or variegates the shore.

But the second generation inevitably feels the influence, and the son
of the sinewy and susceptible European becomes the languid,
self-satisfied, and voluptuous Oriental.

In fact, the two races are totally different. The Asiatic has some
noble qualities. The Creator has not altogether effaced his own image
in any region of human habitancy. He has fancy, keenness of
conception, desperate but unwilling bravery, scientific faculties, and
a quiet delight in the richness of his own lovely islands and
pyramidal mountains.

But, to the European alone is allotted the master quality of energy;
and by that gift he drives the world before him. This resistless
quality he perhaps owes chiefly to his sullen skies and rugged soils.
Even in the East, the man of the desert, the son of the storm and the
snow, has always been the conqueror of India. The Osmanli sultans were
forced to raise the boldest of their battalions among the Christians
of the north of Greece. And we shall yet see the Australian sweeping
before him the indolence of the Birman and the Javanese. This he will
owe to the sterility of his fields and the half European blasts of his
more salubrious and stringent atmosphere. The maxim of Montesquieu,
that "poverty always conquers wealth," solves but half the problem.
The true solution is, that the poverty of the soil compels the
exertion of a vigour, which severity of climate alone can generate
among a people. For three hundred years the population of Jutland and
Denmark almost annually swept the southern shores of Europe itself.
The Norman was invincible on land. Even the great barbarian invasions
which broke down the Roman empire, were the work of nerves hardened in
the forest and in the desert. The same causes have made the
storm-beaten Englishman lord of India. But India will never be a
British colony. It will never be, like America, a land of Englishmen.
The second generation will be Indians, while Australia will be the
southern England. This is evidently the law of a Will above man.

We must congratulate Mr Jukes on the value of his publication.
Scientific without being abstruse, and picturesque without being
extravagant, he has made his volumes a striking and graceful addition
to our knowledge of countries, highly interesting in themselves, and,
assuming hourly importance in the eyes of the people of England.

FOOTNOTE:

[1] _Narrative of the Surveying Voyage of H. M. S. Fly; in Torres
Strait, New Guinea, and other Islands of the Eastern Archipelago._ By
J.B.JUKES, Naturalist to the Expedition. 2 Vols. Boone, London.



_AMERICAN COPYRIGHT._

    _New York, August, 1847._


My Dear Godfrey,--I am sorry to begin my letter with an apology, but I
feel that one is due for the very unsatisfactory manner in which, on a
former occasion, I answered your grave inquiries about the pirates who
thrive on the plunder of Maga. The jocular vein which I incontinently
struck and perseveringly followed up, led me very wide of your mark,
and I was obliged to leave you quite unsatisfied on another point,
about which, for one who is not an author, you seem to be singularly
excited. To waive my astonishment at the _Benthamism_ of the phrase,
pray what is "International Copyright" to Godfrey, that he should weep
for such a Hecuba? I should have been as little surprised, had you
asked me to inquire the opinion of the Indians as to the best regimen
for infants. A veritable author, suffering by wholesale American
rapine, would have commanded my sympathies, and I should have replied
instinctively, in that tone of consideration which is always due to
dignified misfortune; but when you, with your rod and gun, soberly
popped me a query in which I could not see that either widgeon or
gudgeon were particularly concerned, I confess I feared you were
quizzing me, and was fairly off my guard. Forgive me that I was so
slow to appreciate the true state of the case. It has only very lately
occurred to me that both you and I are somewhat changed since we
placed the _summum bonum_ in Waltonian idleness, and that you have
very possibly renounced fly-fishing, and settled down into a literary
incubation, likely to bless the world with a brood of booklings. With
this consideration, I now again address you, intending to preserve
that propriety of thought and speech, which on the subject of literary
property, I feel due to the future Great Unknown of Southern Britain.
You observe that I take it for granted, you will affect the anonymous;
and I would venture to add my counsel to your choice of a course so
judicious. You have no idea how great an inconvenience you would
suffer, should Godfrey Hall be turned prematurely into another
Abbotsford--an event which is certain, should you allow the secret of
your new character to transpire. Your comparative nearness to the
metropolis would greatly facilitate the irruption of bores; especially
as there would probably be a branch railway chartered forthwith, for
the express purpose of setting down company at the nearest possible
point of access to your venerable gateway. Besides, even you have too
much regard to the land of Kit North, to entertain any desire to see
its most attractive shrine of pilgrimage too suddenly eclipsed; and
why should you court such an exposure of popular fickleness, when
about to become yourself "the comet of a season," and to go through
that brilliant perihelion, in which, reversing the feat of Horace with
his _lofty head_, you will sweep away all other stars with a swinge of
your luminous _caudality_? Yes, Godfrey--spare your own feelings, and
treat us to another Great Unknown! I am sure such will be your
determination, and so I will simply subjoin the hope that nothing will
interfere with the speedy completion of your maiden effort--"NAPPER
TANDY; or, 'TIS FIFTY YEARS SINCE." Don't startle at my naming your
hero, and suggesting your plot; for though I will venture to say that
I have hit the nail on the head, I assure you it is only a happy
surmise. You must know that nothing could be so interesting as a
recurrence to the exciting epoch of Ninety-eight; and why should not
the sister kingdom have its romance, as well as the land of the Scots?
I have always thought that Stuart rising very much overrated--a mere
scratch to what happened in Ireland. Kilmarnock was a poor-spirited
fellow compared with Emmet; and though there were many better men than
Balmerino among the United Irishmen, it would be hard to find a worse
one than Lord Lovat. I suspect, therefore, that besides your design, I
have actually discovered your title page; though it is barely
possible that the melancholy fate of Wolfe Tone, with the indistinct
tone of ferocity that is perceptible in his name, may have suggested
the compellation of that unfortunate gentleman, as more significant of
the wolfish atrocities with which your tale will necessarily abound.
Whatever be the name, make haste with the book, and do not wait ten
years in order to have another "Sixty Years Since." You must see that
congruity requires the semi-centenary, and that Sir Walter was a full
decennium behind-hand. The demise of O'Connell at this interesting
juncture, must be regarded as a coincidence every way satisfactory,
whether we consider the fulness of his fame, the conclusion of an era,
or the interests of your forthcoming work. It has prepared public
sympathy, and tuned the strings upon which you call successfully play
for the next quarter of an age; and I hazard little in arguing that
your literary nativity will be accomplished under the ascendant of the
most favourable planet.

Regarding you, then, as what you will speedily become--a successful
adventurer, with a whole navy of American corsairs in chase of your
literary cargo--the question takes this shape:--How does the American
law of copyright affect you as a British author, and what can be done
to save "Napper Tandy"? To answer you properly, let me first expound
the law itself, which, for your special benefit, I have taken pains to
examine.

You are doubtless aware that the constitution of this republic is one
which answers the great test proposed by Tom Paine, who imagined it to
be of the essence of a free constitution that it should be capable of
being _put into the pocket_! That splendid capability was never more
fully realised by the laws of a sixpenny club, than by the great
charter of American liberties. It is a thing written on paper, and may
be thrust into the breeches, or hung up on the wall, as best suits the
notions of its worshipper, and his manner of exhibiting respect. Now
the law of copyright is not here, as you suppose, a mere matter of
statute; nor is the doctrine that an author has no perpetual property
in what his intellect creates, a simple decision of courts. It is a
part of the constitution, which empowers the national Congress "to
promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing _for
limited times_, to authors and inventors, the exclusive right to their
respective writings and discoveries." An American writer has remarked,
that its equivalent would have been the concession of a power to
_promote_ the fisheries, by allowing to fishermen a _limited number_
of the cod-fish and herrings which they take on a Newfoundland
fog-bank. Here then, you will say, is a fundamental obstruction to
literary justice in America! But your hasty conclusion will show that
you have thought but little on written constitutions. I agree with the
Count de Maistre, that such instruments are of all things the most
slippery. What is easier than for Congress to evade its restriction,
and make the _limited time_ exactly the years of Methusaleh! Such a
limit would be about as good as "to one's heirs for ever." But there
is yet another facility in written constitutions: "a breath unmakes
them, as a breath has made." In America, a constitution is as easily
overhauled, new-ribbed, and launched again, as ever a sloop-of-war was
dry-docked and new-coppered. Here, for instance, is the great "Empire
State" of New York, with a constitution hardly a year old! The
stripling who has just attained his majority, has actually survived
the whole life of its predecessor; and he who lives half as long
again, will see the new one superannuated and going the way of all
written constitutions. The late constitution of this State was in many
respects a noble one; but its successor plays the mischief with every
thing; and I have heard an old freeholder complain that he hardly
knows whether he has a house, a wife, or a head on his shoulders; so
radically has the revolution affected whatever is social and civil.
This will show you that there is, after all, no necessary perpetuity
in the present condition of things; and so I come to the statute,
which is the only just cause of complaint.

The English origin of the law is very apparent. It retains some
features of the old statute of Queen Anne, with others of 54 Geo.
III., which has lately been made so familiar in parliamentary reports.
It secures authors in their property for a term of twenty-eight years,
and provides for renewing this security for half that period, upon a
renewal of entry. One copy of every work thus protected, must be
deposited with the Clerk of the United States' Court for the District
where it is entered; and by a late enactment, the author must
contribute another copy to the library of "the Smithsonian
Institute,"--that unmeaning benevolence of an unfortunate scion of the
Northumberland family, which is already beginning to be regarded as a
folly, and which one would think might have been made to subserve the
interests of authors, rather than furnish another occasion for the
exercise of legislative ingenuity, in adding to their many annoyances.
The other important features of the Act are the penalty for piracy,
and the restriction of protection to citizens and residents; in other
words, the punishment of piracy in certain cases, and its license in
others. Thus the same Act is dainty of rights, if the craft swim in
rivers and bays, but hands over to the black flag whatever is found on
the highway of nations. Persons pirating a copyright work are liable
to a forfeiture of every copy in their keeping, whether of their own
manufacture or otherwise; and besides this, to a fine of one dollar a
sheet upon the same, of which one moiety goes to the author, and the
residue to the government. Why should it be culpable to steal from a
resident, and laudable to do the same thing with a stranger? If a
foreign mechanic exports his goods, they are as safe in New York, as
the wealth of John Jacob Astor; but no kind of mercy is shown to the
product of a foreigner's brain--than which one would think nothing but
his soul should be more sacred among all Christian men. On the
contrary--not content with leaving him unprotected, there is in the
tariff an express provision for the encouragement of plunder. No one
pretends that the revenue of the United States requires the tax of ten
per cent. _ad valorem_, upon all importations of "books printed,
magazines, pamphlets, and illustrated newspapers, bound or unbound;"
yet, such are the terms of the tariff of 1846, and it was designed
expressly to prevent importations, and encourage the piratical,
manufacture of such things at home. I say so, because it is notorious,
and has been exposed by American writers themselves.

Now, let us see how "Napper Tandy" is likely to fare under regulations
like these! Can it be possible, you will say, that the Model Republic
cherishes designs so predatory; and is there no other explanation of a
law which seems so outrageous? There are laws, I am aware, which are
by no means what they seem, and British law is the last to dispense
with a concession so important. I have, therefore, put this American
statute into every light that seemed likely to show it to better
advantage, and I confess there is one view of the subject, which, as
being myself a resident, it gives me pleasure to suggest. Is it not
conceivable, after all, that the original purpose of the statute was
merely to extend, to exactly such worthies as the author of "Napper
Tandy," a polite invitation to a literary sojourn in America? You know
how many British authors, with no such inducements, have preferred
Italy to their native land; and why should not this country, at least
in the partial eyes of its own legislators, be worthy of a share of
their company? The suggestion is equally complimentary to the
law-givers, and to those whose society is thus held at a premium. It
is true, that, excepting Will Cobbett, few English writers of eminence
have taken the hospitable hint; but who could have foreseen this
result, when so many of the literary race are perpetually sighing for
lodges in the wilderness, and dwellings in the desert! Monsieur Dumas
might indeed be reluctant to accept the flattering overtures of a
country which is known to cherish such antipathies to his great
ancestor Ham, and all that interesting family; and is quite, excusable
for preferring the persecutions of French courts of justice, to the
patronage which American law would more fully accord to his books than
to his person; but why should not you, my dear Godfrey, become as
original in your manner of life, as I am sure you will be in the
productions of your genius? Why should you not court a "boundless
contiguity of shade," and issue your immortal works from the depths of
a Pennsylvanian forest, as gracefully as Lord Byron sent forth his
from the more vulgarised retirement of Tuscany? Residing here, you
could hold the sons of rapine at bay, enjoying at once your American
harvests, and the golden remittances of your publishers in England.
But the crowning consideration is this, that should you undertake the
protection of your darling Maga, an arrangement with Mr Blackwood, and
the publication of "Napper Tandy" in his incomparable pages, would
seal the fate of the counterfeit, and forcibly recall to the mind of
Reprint & Co. the sigh of Othello over his lost occupation. You
stare--but it follows, by demonstration--

    "For the intent and purpose of the law,
     Hath full relation to the penalty."

You enter "Napper Tandy" in the "Clerk's Office of the Southern
District of New York." The next number of _Blackwood_ comes out with
your first chapter, which Reprint unguardedly produces in his _fac
simile_. Don't you see, my dear fellow, that if you ever hooked a
gudgeon, you have as certainly caught the republisher? You seize ten
thousand copies in his warehouse, just as they are about to be
distributed over the land. On each copy, he must pay, in addition to
his forfeiture, one dollar a sheet; that is to say, ten thousand
dollars for your first chapter; of which, after the government has
gone snacks, one thousand guineas are your guarantee for the interest
which the Republic takes in her invited guests; and (to the dismay of
piracy,)

    "The law allows it, and the court awards."

Mr Blackwood will doubtless take care that your work shall not be
completed too fast: and as long as the interminable "Napper Tandy"
continues, the press of the fac-simile must stand still. Meanwhile,
you commence a legitimate reprint, under the genuine Ebony arms, and
reign as a kind of lord-lieutenant, under his ambrosial majesty,
Christopher the Great. The stereotype plates of Maga reach you every
month, and the American public discern the difference between a true
fac-simile and a cunning counterfeit. Instead of the sham
_tête-de-Buchanan_, they see the very "trick of Coeur-de-lion's face;"
and finding themselves as little taxed for the original, as ever they
were for the humbug, vote you a public benefactor, and send a
round-robin to Congress demanding the instantaneous enactment of a
universal copyright law, if not the grant of a gold medal to the
beneficent Godfrey. I anticipate, however, your reply. Ten thousand
copyrights would not tempt you to pass more than three months in the
year away from your Kentish comforts and cousins! Very well--then
perish dreams of lord-lieutenancy; and learn the inevitable fate of
your neglected literary offspring. The same day that Import and
Profits advertise their London copies of "Napper Tandy," at five
dollars a volume, any number of shirtless little vagabonds will be
crying it in a pamphlet edition from Astor House to Wall Street, and
through all the thoroughfares, for a currency shilling. I wish you
might see your own degradation, as I shall be forced to behold that of
my friend. Think of an illustrated edition coming out, under the
auspices of Napper Tandy M'Dermot, Esq., in which that namesake of
your hero undertakes to give your biography, and describes you as the
occupant of a garret, in the receipt of wages from government, for
manufacturing false representations of characters inestimably dear to
patriots, and odious to tyrants only! Think of that person actually
taking out a copyright for his edition of your own book, on the
grounds of his thus doing for your character the very thing which he
reprobates as your detestable trade; and so enjoying for no very
"limited time," the enormous profits of the "standard American
edition" of your outcast work. Permit me to add, significantly--

    "The fault, dear Godfrey, is not in the laws,
    But in yourself, if you are pirated!"

However, if you seriously ask me whether there is no chance of an
alteration in the laws, even should you persist in refusing the
invitation to America, I will candidly answer, that the progress of
civilisation is probably independent even of you, and may very likely
win the honours which would be yours, had you the boldness which
fortune delights to favour. If you think me too sanguine, you can
possibly obtain an interview with Mr Dickens, and qualify my
representations by the discouraging views he will give you. They say
here, that he came out to America on purpose to dun brother Jonathan,
and it is still spoken of with surprise, that though shrewdly invited
to dinner, he was not deterred from presenting his bill at the table.
The slight misunderstanding to which such a manoeuvre very naturally
gave rise, may have seemed to justify his doubts, as they did to check
the good intentions of his entertainers, with regard to the speedy
adjustment of grievances; yet I think I am not mistaken in believing
that popular sentiment in this country is just now setting strongly in
favour of a community of copyright between America and Great Britain.

As a mere question of ethics, it can hardly be expected that while
doctors disagree, the popular conscience should be much disturbed by
the flagrancy of the present laws; yet it is only justice to the tone
of moral feeling which characterises what may fairly be called society
in America, to say that it is correct, if not even generous. The
leading periodicals, which may be taken as an index of the opinions of
educated men in general, have always been true to principle in the
discussion of this matter. The _New York Review_, which, during a
brief but honourable career was regarded as speaking the high-toned
sentiments of American churchmen, contained an elaborate article, as
early as in 1839, in which the conduct of Congress, reference to the
famous "British Authors' petition," was severely rebuked, and
criticised as scandalously unprincipled and disgraceful. About the
same time, under cover of its provincial blue and yellow, the _North
American_, or, as Mr Cooper calls it, the _East American_ came out in
defence of justice as toweringly as even Maga herself. The "British
Authors' petition" had been fiercely opposed by a "Boston booksellers'
memorial," which, among other things addressed to the lowest passions
of the mob, argued against a copyright law, that it would prevent them
from altering and interpolating English books, to accommodate
republican tastes! Hear then how the Boston reviewers--who in spite of
that snobbish sectarian air of perkiness and pretension which is
usually ascribed to them, can now and then do things very
handsomely--pounce upon their townsmen's morality. "We cannot help
expressing our surprise," say they,[2] "that the strange and
dishonourable ground assumed in that memorial, has not been more
pointedly reprobated. We can only account for the adoption of such a
document at all, by a body of respectable men, on the supposition that
its piratical doctrine, respecting literary property, escaped the
notice of the convention; ... for in our view, the doctrine to which
those respectable gentlemen seemed to give their public support, was
one to be mentioned, not in the company of honest men, _but only in
the society of footpads, housebreakers, and pickpockets_." In an
earlier number of the same work[3]--which was lashed by the _New York
Review_ for its astounding ignorance of the most celebrated letters of
Junius, and for quoting a judicial opinion of Lord Kaimes's as a
speech in the House of Lords--the reviewer, whose blundering
intrepidity is only saved from the ridiculous by the honesty of his
attempt, comes down on a nobler quarry, and thwacks the memory of Lord
Camden as if he had been another Thersites. Sir Joseph Yates gets a
sound drubbing from the same sturdy avenger of literary property, for
his share in the celebrated case of Millar _versus_ Taylor, as given
in Burrow's Reports.[4] I have been pleased too with the succinct
decision of a writer[5] who has produced an elaborate work on
political ethics, in which he lays it down that "the right of property
in a book seems to be clearer and more easily to be deduced from
absolute principle than any other." Except among the most ultra and
radical of theorists, I have met with nothing in American society, but
a most hearty subscription to such views as these: but, alas!--said
one in conversation upon this subject,--it is nothing that we think
right, nor would it be much to bring the people to agree with us,
unless something shall force it upon our demagogues.

Public opinion is not always sovereign in America, as the remark of my
friend implies. It is curious to see how often a written constitution
deprives a people of the very privileges it was intended to perpetuate
and secure; and how the practical working of the American constitution
is frequently the very reverse of its design. By the constitutional
provisions, it would seem apparent, for instance, that the president
of this confederacy must always be the choice of a majority of the
nation's wisest men, themselves the free choice of the majority of the
people. Yet here I have lived under three successive presidents,
General Harrison, Mr Tyler, and Mr Polk, not one of them succeeding by
the _free choice_ of any one, and Mr Tyler against the suffrages of
all. The undefiled patriotism which is the hypothesis of the
constitution, does not exist; party, which it seems hardly to
anticipate, carries every thing; and parties are ruled by cabals. Thus
the greatest national measures, instead of originating with the
people, and taking shape in the hands of their servants, are begotten
in closets and conclaves, dictated to time-servers and adventurers,
and forced on the people, they cannot tell how--but in the name of
democracy and freedom. Yet, after all, public opinion is important,
because when even demagogues are inclined to do right, it is fatal to
their action if public opinion be wrong. For this reason, it may be
well for you to understand how far public opinion has advanced with
regard to our question. Its progress has been slow, but I believe
always in the right direction. Things promised well, when the Oregon
dispute became the occasion of an unnatural animosity against Great
Britain, and every measure which she was supposed to approve. In the
hurly-burly of wind and dust that was blown up under that passing
cloud, it is not to be wondered that Dickens and copyright were as
completely forgotten as orthography, etymology, syntax and prosody,
and whatever else goes to the art of using language correctly. A strip
of land that would not purchase the copyright of an almanac, became
the subject of the fiercest congressional interest; and the rights of
authors, and with them the noblest relations of the republic to the
other estates of the world, for the time were wholly lost sight of.
"Copyright" then passed into a watchword with some of those underlings
of literature, who thought to ride into favour as Cobden has been
carried into fortune, by taking the tide at its ebb and ("like little
wanton boys that swim on bladders") invoking the flood, as if their
yelping and outcries would bring the turn any sooner. A copyright club
was got up, it is said by a mere clique in this city, to which, from
the mere justice of its proposed ends, large numbers of respectable
men, throughout the country, gave in their nominal adhesion. I am not
aware that it has accomplished any other result than to favour some
ambitious young gentlemen in acquiring the autographs of eminent
persons abroad, with whom they opened an officious correspondence; for
it has been very generally voted a humbug, and has served to disgust
many with the very sound of "copyright," which has thus been degraded
into harmony with the scream of "Repeal" and "Free Trade." For awhile,
none joined the vociferation, according to my informant, but persons
whose stake in literary property was about as deep as the grievances
of others in England under the income-tax, or the impost on
wheel-carriages, hair-powder, and coats-of-arms.

From temporary stagnation, however, the question has again revived;
and during the last six months it has been debated in the daily
newspapers, with very encouraging tokens of an improvement in the
moral sensibility of journalists. Even the tone of those who oppose
the progress of principle, has become so much modified, that they
rather excuse than defend the existing laws, representing them as
practically less grievous than is imagined. A journal which has
signalised itself by its resolute anti-copyright spirit, endeavours to
support this representation, by asserting that about as much is now
paid to British authors, for their proof-sheets, as would ordinarily
be paid for their copyrights! It is asserted in this gazette, that
Bulwer receives regularly from one hundred-and-fifty to two hundred
guineas for a copy of every novel, which he sends out in advance of
its publication in London. For similar proof-copies of their works,
James is said to command very nearly as much; and such writers as Dr
Dick, of Scotland, from fifty to a hundred guineas. What of it! It is
plain that if a single edition of such books be worth these prices,
the copyright must be considerably more valuable; and one would think
it apparent, that such occasional premiums have no more to do with
justice, than a levy of black mail, paid by its victim, because he
would fare no worse. The _New York Express_ exposes the sophistry of
its contemporary, by simply asking what is paid to authors of less
reputation, who may possess even superior merit; and _The Literary
World_--a periodical of _The Spectator_ class,--though it growls a
little at _Punch_, and now and then takes too much in dudgeon the
provocations of Maga, by no means allows its moral optics to be put
out, by the pepper occasionally thrown into them by foreign jesters
and critics. Perhaps it should be added, as somewhat significant, that
Mr Bryant, the poet, a prominent democrat and editor of the _New York
Evening Post_, has exerted himself in behalf of another memorial to
Congress for justice to authors; which is the more observable, because
Mr Legget, his late coadjutor and intimate friend, was perhaps the
most radical writer on the other side that has ever appeared in this
country, and regarded the maintenance of his extraordinary opinions as
essential to genuine democracy. It seems evident to me that no one's
political creed will be able to exclude much longer a principle,
which, if not instinctively discerned to be sound by every man's
conscience, commends itself so much the more forcibly to him who
subjects it to a rigid and thorough examination.

So much for those great manufacturers and exponents of popular
opinion, the periodical and daily press. The influence of "the trade"
is next worthy of consideration; and I shall be able to report as
favourably of it. Although the "Boston memorial" was the doing of a
convention of booksellers, who faithfully represented, at that time,
the sentiments of their brethren of the craft, it is now very evident
that they are generally ashamed of it, and that another such
convention would be very likely to terminate in precisely the opposite
result. The _North American Review_[6] some time since announced the
conversion of no less important a personage than the chairman of the
committee which emitted the remarkable memorial itself; and the
gentleman is certainly to be congratulated upon the improved condition
of his moral health. Perhaps you saw in _The Times_--I think it was in
May last--the letter of an eminent American publisher, who not only
resented the impeachment of his professional species, as "the Fagins
of literature," but adroitly retorted the compliment upon divers
respectable houses in London. You must have noticed his declaration,
that the commercial house of which he is a member has uniformly
exerted its influence on the side of right. With some qualification, I
am happy to say that I believe the worthy bibliopole claims no more
than his due. Theoretically, his house has encouraged the copyright
movement; but I hope I am mistaken in fearing that it has not always
exhibited a practical consistency. The "Proverbial Philosophy" of Mr
Martin Farquhar Tupper was lately published in Philadelphia, with an
announcement, by the author himself, that his publisher had purchased
the privilege of its manufacture and sale; and this announcement was
accompanied by an appeal to respectable booksellers to regard the
moral right, in the absence of legal protection. The book has had
remarkable success, and more than one publisher, who would be called
respectable, has shown himself too weak to resist even the poor
temptation to disregard this reasonable claim. I am sorry to add, that
an advertising sheet is now lying on my table which describes the
"Proverbial Philosophy" of Tupper as part of Messrs Wiley and Putnam's
library of choice reading. Perhaps this internecine piracy among
booksellers themselves has had something to do with the convictions of
the craft, that the protection of authors would be their own best
defence and security.

It needs now some resolute friend in Congress, and the copyright
measure would not long fail of success. Unhappily, the gentleman who
seemed best fitted for this purpose, and whose former exertions
deserve honourable mention, Mr Senator Preston, of South Carolina, has
retired from his public career, under the depressing influence of
disease; and my knowledge of the public men of America does not enable
me to mention any one who will immediately supply his place. Few men
of letters sit in Congress. It is too much the paradise of hack
politicians and menials of party. Great questions of right have little
interest in the eyes of such men. Nothing gains from them a natural
patronage, unless it be capable of being manufactured into "political
capital." It is surprising that the Americans endure the selfishness
with which their legislators will devote the greater part of a session
of Congress to personal intrigues and private interests, while great
national measures, demanded often by the whole people, are trifled
with, or absolutely neglected. The great matter of "cheap postage,"
for example, though strongly urged by the mass of citizens, without
distinction of party, can scarcely gain a hearing; and the fate of
literary property must be the same, until some one arises to emulate
the examples of Talfourd and Lord Mahon, and give completeness to
their achievements, by carrying a corresponding measure through the
American Congress. Till then, we must leave them to their
responsibilities in "extending the area of freedom," which are, just
now, too great to afford them an opportunity of doing as much for the
area of copyright.

Meantime, I may safely say, that public sentiment cannot but mature
into an eager desire of the consummation: not because of its justice,
but because of its policy. I should look for a triumph of principle,
rather than of interest, were I not pained to observe how seldom
political leaders in America are wont to address the conscience, and
rest any cause upon abstract right. The fathers of the republic knew
better than to leave the moral powers of the people unexercised; but
their successors seem to lack such faculties themselves, or to doubt
their existence in the people. The copyright measure, however, may be
safely left to the national sense of expediency. America is beginning
to feel the value of literary eminence, and must be pardoned, on this
account, for absurdly overrating at times the little that she already
possesses. You will be surprised to see in how many ways her
literature suffers by her present laws, and how safely avenging
justice may be trusted to repair its own injuries. Let me show you.

The political theorist would say beforehand, that under the proposed
copyright law the people would be deprived of cheap books; and this is
one of the popular delusions that experience must dispel. The present
laws do indeed make books very cheap, if cheapness is to be estimated
only by the cost per copy, and if legibility, convenience, durability,
and honesty are to go for nothing: and if the _price which a whole
nation pays for such books in many serious losses_, is also to be
excluded from the calculation. The present laws encourage the rapid
manufacture of such books as will sell rapidly. Novels and light
reading of all kinds are thus multiplied, to the exclusion of more
valuable books, which sell slowly; and in consequence, an entire
nation becomes infected with the depraved appetite of mawkish
school-girls. But these novels must be printed at the lowest rate; for
being unprotected, some one will bring them out as cheaply as
possible, and he who does so command the market. Thus book-making
becomes a mean and debased art; and books are crowded upon the public,
at prices merely nominal; having much the appearance, and sharing the
fate, of newspapers, which perish in the using. At the same time,
these worthless books affect the prices of all books. Valuable works
required for libraries must be printed with the least possible
investment of capital, or not printed at all. If any one undertakes
such publications, he must stint the editor, shave the papermaker,
grind the printer, starve the stitchers, and make the binder slight
his work. This is the kind of "living" which the report of Congress
says is furnished to _thousands of persons_ by the republishing of
English works; and such it must be, where every publisher has to make
books _to sell_. The books thus published are dear at any price; and
the best works do not get before the public at all. No choice American
editions can be found of Burke, of Gibbon, of Hume, or even of
Robertson, the historian of the continent; but if one imports such an
edition, he finds himself taxed at the Custom-house to pay for the
miserable thing he refuses. You look in vain for an edition of Jeremy
Taylor; and if you import that of Bishop Heber, you pay a guinea to
the Customs to sustain the privilege of American publishers to publish
it if they choose. The writings of Lord Clarendon cannot be had in an
American edition; your importation is taxed, because at some future
day it may be convenient for some one to get up the whole in one
volume. The same is the case with the whole works of Milton, of
Dryden, and many others quite as essential to libraries: but the case
is still more provoking with the better class of modern works, such,
for instance, as Alison's "History of Europe." Under a copyright law,
it could be published in New York from the English plates, and sold
almost as cheap as the poor affair now in the market, which cannot be
better, because it would be immediately ruined by a less expensive
rival reprint. Yet, if I import a copy, to save my eyesight, I must
pay for refusing this. Thus every time an American buys a foreign
book--and such books are bought by thousands--he is paying for the
broad privilege of booksellers to make the books they import; a
privilege which they do not in general care to use, except in the case
of new and chiefly ephemeral works.

Cheap books are now furnished, because the manufacturers dread
competition; but better books, for the same money, will be readily
supplied when the publisher has the market to himself, and fears no
competitor. You remember the article on Copyright, which appeared in
_Blackwood_ in January 1842, in which it is noticed that Campbell's
"Pleasures of Hope" sells at a shilling; that Moore, Wordsworth, and
Southey, are handsomely published at three shillings and sixpence a
volume; and that such a work as "Hallam's Middle Ages," is as cheap in
the London market as books can be made: yet all these pay their
authors, and are published in cheap editions, because they find it for
their interest. Under a community of copyright, the plates of these
very editions would be sent to New York, and the works would be in the
market at a slight advance upon the cost of press-work and paper--the
latter item being much less expensive here than in England.

But the nation pays for its cheap books more dearly still, when you
consider the effect of its present system upon its literary men. It
forces this class of its citizens to "make brick without straw." For
the reasons I have shown, the books from which authors collect their
materials are not to be found at home, and can only be imported at an
aggravated expense, and often with great delays and trouble. Think of
my waiting ninety days in New York, to procure a work like "Lord
Clarendon's History of the Rebellion!" Now, I hazard nothing in saying
that many an American author has given up projected works of great
importance, from the discouragement of similar delays; whilst proofs
are manifold, that the chief defects of valuable works actually
produced in America may be traced to such inconveniences. The patient
author often confesses as much in his preface, without seeming to know
that his country, in stimulating the almost exclusive, publication of
trash, and taxing him to support such publications, is the fostering
patron to which he owes his difficulties. Thus does America nip her
young genius in the bud; and when it perchance comes to flower and
fruit, she is not behind-hand with a blight. The unknown production of
the American author is brought into a depressing competition with
works which have been tried in England, and found certain of success
in America. The popular British author, whom the public have long
demanded, is furnished at the lowest price--while the yet unheard-of
native aspirant, who can only hope for a limited patronage, an cannot
dispense with his copyright, must of course be paid more. Whilst all
the poems of Mr Tennyson, or his betters, maybe had for a dollar, the
maiden effort of an American youth cannot be furnished for much less.
Of course, his country has crushed her child, under the weight of an
unnatural disadvantage; and in proportion as he is worth any thing,
the chances are less that he will persevere against such odds. I know
of a man of sterling genius, whose early writings attracted the notice
of Maga, who has long since ceased to write for the public, in
consequence of the evils I now depict. His country may thank herself
that he has not taken rank with the first English authors of his
class. But the same system which thus deprives American authors of
natural patronage, destroys their chances abroad. Until their own
country relieves them, by putting foreign works on a level with theirs
as to chance of success, England gives them no copyright, and they
cannot get aid from her as heretofore. Cooper and Irving were
encouraged by England under a different state of things; and it is
safe to say, that under present circumstances there will be no more
Irvings and Coopers. I am surprised that American scholars submit with
such equanimity to grievances under which genius must languish and
emulation dies.

I have now in my mind the case of a man of learning--whom I should
rejoice to name--of whom this country might well be proud, but whom
she hardly knows; a man, of whom I venture to say, that had he been
born an Englishman, he would have bequeathed his country another
immortal name. He would have done as much to ennoble his native land,
had she known how to foster instead of depressing his early
enthusiasm. With a mind fitted for the deepest and most accurate
research, and an education, of which the perfection is attributable to
his natural love of learning, he undertook, in the prime of life, to
accomplish a certain literary work, still a desideratum. With untiring
zeal and diligence under many discouragements, he devoted to his grand
design the best years of his manhood. In the collection of
materials--doubly difficult by reason of the evils of which I have
spoken--he spent much time, and exhausted his patrimony. After
gathering a noble store, and traversing the ocean to perfect his
acquirements in foreign libraries, he at length completed his task,
and laid before competent judges the results. These were pronounced of
the richest intrinsic value, and the earnest of future works in the
same department of letters, yet more honourable to their author and
more important to learning. But the very devotedness with which my
admirable friend has pursued his one great object, has deprived him of
a popular reputation. Though by birth and habits of life a gentleman,
refined by intercourse with the choice society of Europe, and
furnished with the best introductions, his overtures to publishers
here were repulsed with a rudeness of negative, which would have
shocked the sensibilities of a footman. Who cared for him, with his
parcel of manuscript, when some European work, which had gone through
the experiment of success, could be produced with a smaller
expenditure, and without per centage to the author! Can it be wondered
at that Harpy & Co. refused to treat with him, when a new treatise on
the inside of the moon, for which lunatics in general were gaping, and
for which twenty guineas had actually been paid to the learned Dr
Snooks, of North Britain, was actually waiting its turn for immediate
reproduction? Would Snatchett and Brothers cast an eye on their
compatriot's scrawled and blotted quires, when they had just run the
pen-knife through a new "Dombey," for which fifty compositors waited
stick-in-hand, and which the million expected with insatiable
greediness? The excellent person to whom I refer ran the gauntlet of
such patrons with no better success than my questions imply; and if
the dignified production to which I have referred shall ever see the
light, I am informed that it will first issue from the English press;
for should its author publish it here, at his own expense, he will be
forced to put it at a price which, compared with the pirated works of
British authors, will appear unreasonable, and kill it in the birth.
No American is patriot enough to buy a book, simply because it is
valuable, and the product of national genius: and Congress takes care
that if any be found to do so, they shall be roundly taxed for their
patriotism.

I have given this instance because it has come under my immediate
notice; but you will not doubt, dear Godfrey, that the country which,
even in existing circumstances, has bred such writers, in their
several departments, as Prescott, and Audubon, and Wheaton, and Kent,
and Story, has crushed at least as many more by the pressure of her
copyright laws: and, if so, America has deprived herself of
intellectual sons, whose gifts, in their stimulated exercise, would
have made her rich, as well as illustrious in the sure sequel of their
fame. The "Calamities of Authors" are indeed proverbial, but few are
the unnatural mothers who, to prevent them, destroy genius in the
embryo. Yet there is an ingenuity of mischief in this government, from
which every thing that can be of benefit to letters, is sure to
suffer. Even the poor permission to import books _duty free_, which
has heretofore been enjoyed by the few public libraries that are
struggling into existence from private liberality, was, by the tariff
of 1846, peremptorily withdrawn; whether through a niggard parsimony,
or a besotted indifference to learning, more worthy of Caliph Omar
than of an enlightened state, it is difficult to conjecture.

If things continue as they are, one thing is certain--it will be long
before America will have a literature. Nor am I disposed to sneer,
when I think of it, at the alarm of the _New York Gazette_, which is
afraid lest the Tories of Maga should gain a preponderating influence
in the minds of educated American youth. Why is it absurd to suppose
that, if given up to such teachers, the next generation of educated
Americans will be less democratic? In republican countries, the
_studiosi novarum rerum_ are always the well-bred and the travelled.
Wealth and foreign associations must produce, in a nation, the same
effects that fortune and admission to society create in a family. A
love of simplicity and of home give place to a sense of the importance
of fashion, and the value of whatever is valued by the world at large.
_Give us a king that we may be like other nations_, was not an outcry
peculiar to antiquity and to the Hebrews. In like circumstances, 'tis
the language of man's heart. It is an appetite to which all nations
come at last. Cincinnatus and his farmer's frock may do at the
beginning; but the end must be Cæsar and the purple. Republics breed
in quick succession their Catilines and their Octavius. They run to
seed in empire, and so fructify into kingdoms--the staple form of
nations. The instinctive yearning for the first change is sure to be
developed as soon as the exhilaration of conquest makes evident the
importance of concentrated strength, and imperial splendour. If so,
the hour that will try the stability of this republic cannot be
distant. Already I have heard Americans complaining of the
thanklessness of bleeding for such a government as theirs; and
remarking, that under an empire, the army would return from Mexico
with Field-Marshal the Earl of Buena Vista, and Generals Lord Viscount
Vera-Cruz, Lord Worth of Monterey; Sir John Wool, Bart, and Sir Peter
Twiggs, Knight; and that the other officers would have as many
decorations on their breasts as feathers in their caps! The truth is,
that for lack of such baubles, they will all take their turns as
Presidents of the United States. But I cannot say that honest
democrats are altogether to be laughed at, for rightly estimating the
effects of a literature exclusively foreign, and generally adverse to
the manners and institutions of a people whose strength is to "dwell
alone, and not to be numbered among the nations."

If you are meditating an article for Maga on American copyright, you
may employ my information for the purpose; but it will not be fair to
leave out of view the most efficient objections which are urged by
anti-copyright politicians, two of which I have not as yet mentioned.
It is said to be against American interests to grant copyright,
because the American value of British copyrights will far exceed the
British value of American copyrights. Whether this be true or not, the
argument is worth nothing, unless it be followed by the
conclusion--therefore it is expedient to steal. Yet, perhaps, if the
experiment were tried, the assertion would not prove to be true. The
most valuable American copyrights are those of _children's
schoolbooks_, in which extraordinary ingenuity has been shown, and
which are generally such as, with small emendations, would become very
popular in England. But however it may be at present--since the
present standard literature of England can never be copyrighted, who
can doubt that, with a more liberal system, the land of Washington
Irving would breed such popular authors, as would soon very nearly
equalize the exchanges, while America would still be immensely the
gainer in the increase of her celebrated men, commanding no longer a
merely provincial reputation, but taking rank in the broad world, and
ensuring foreign rewards, with universal renown. At all
events--honesty is always policy. Rising to the great standard of
right, this country would soon find her reward; if but in that wealth
of self-respect which comes only with a conscience void of offence,
and which no country can possess that is not nationally great and
generous, or at least honest enough to pay for what it needs, and
appropriates, and enjoys.

The only remaining objection which need be mentioned has been very
operative with the vulgar, for whom alone it could have been intended.
It is said that England, however nearly allied, is still a foreign
country; that her writers write for their own countrymen; that, so far
as they are concerned, America is a mere accident; and that,
consequently, right has nothing to do with the case. It is conceded
that the comity of nations may furnish grounds for a fair
consideration of what is policy; but it is denied that moral
obligation invests the British author with any claim to literary
property in America. I must let you know how handsomely the answer has
been put by Americans themselves. The Boston reviewers say,[7]--"It is
true we are distinct nations--scarcely more so, however, than the
different Italian states. We have, like them, a community of language,
and although an ocean rolls between us, the improvements in navigation
have brought us nearer to each other, for all practical purposes, than
is the case with some of the nations of Italy. Yet such is the
indifference of our government to the interests of a national
literature, that our authors are still open to the depredations of
foreign pirates; and what is not less disgraceful, the British author,
from whose stores of wisdom and wit we are nourished, is turned over,
in like manner, to the tender mercies of our gentlemen of trade, for
their own exclusive benefit, and with perfect indifference to his
equitable claims." The _New York Review_[8] strongly reprobates the
same outrages, "especially between two nations descended from a common
stock, speaking the same language, whose political and civil
institutions, though differing in form, are essentially the same in
their liberal spirit and free principles--between two nations who are
ONE PEOPLE." This is a sentiment which even you, my dear Tory, will
not be unwilling to reciprocate; and I'll tell you when I felt its
truth with peculiar force. I was walking in a quiet part of this city
the other day, when I saw at a little distance a mutilated statue of
marble, representing some one of senatorial dignity in a Roman toga.
As I drew near I discovered an inscription at its foot, which informed
me that it was a grateful tribute, erected by the people of the
province of New York in 1775, to WILLIAM PITT. During the revolution
which immediately followed, it had been lost, and was only dug up this
year from the dirt and rubbish of an obscure part of this great
metropolis. It comes again to light, to remind America that, when she
reckons up the earliest champions of her rights, she must never forget
how much she owes to that noble British statesman. It thrilled me to
stand before that silent witness of a brotherhood which revolutions
cannot change. That England and America are twain is politically for
the benefit of each; that they are _one flesh_ is the unalterable fact
which perfects the prosperity of both. The reality of their union,
which that marble attests, is as fixed as the immoveable past; and I
felt it enough that each people can boast,--

    "That CHATHAM'S language is their mother tongue."

How good it is, then, to strengthen the bond by which Almighty God has
made two households still one family, especially when so many ties of
mutual interests, commerce, and literature work together to
corroborate the operation of nature!

Speaking of Chatham, I am reminded of America's great friend
in the other House, and wish I could quote to Congress what was
uttered in her behalf, in her darkest hour, by the noble-hearted
Burke.[9]--"Every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue and every
prudent act, is founded on compromise and barter. We balance
inconveniences; we give and take; we remit some rights that we may
enjoy others.... As we must give away some natural liberty to enjoy
civil advantages, so we must sacrifice some civil liberties _for the
advantages to be derived from the communion and fellowship of a great
empire_." This is what the orator called so beautifully "the chords of
a man;" and when America has well digested a principle thus laid down
for her sake in the Parliament of England, she will feel that her
political right to refuse just protection to the British author will
be a moral right only when she is able to forego the advantages of
literary communion and fellowship with the British empire.

This matter of copyright has been so naturally debated as concerning
the Anglo-Saxon race alone, that I too have written as if the same
principles (though with less glaring necessity) did not extend to all
nations and languages of the earth. But I, for one, shall not be
content with less than their universal application. Happy, indeed,
will be the day when a British author puts pen to paper, feeling that
he addresses himself at once to--what is almost equivalent to
posterity--twenty millions of men in another hemisphere, and extending
from the Gulf of Mexico to the mouths of the St Lawrence, among whom
the author's is a sacred name, and when the aspiring American youth
can thank his Government for making him proprietor of his literary
creations wherever the law of England prevails upon the surface of the
round world. But there are interests in which all men are brethren,
and in which their brotherhood should be mutually and heartily
conceded. Next to our holy religion is that interest which belongs to
the interchange of ideas and a knowledge of each other's humanities.
Best of all will be the time, then, when the literature of all
Christian nations acquires an essential unity, not by spoliation and
wrong, but by mutual good offices; promoting the fraternization of
contemporary literatures, and holding together that precious wealth
bequeathed to the world by the bountiful and often suffering genius of
bygone generations.

Forgive me, dear Godfrey, that my letter, which began with a song,
should thus conclude with a sermon. It is a very long letter, and I
wish I could advise you to defer the reading of it till our friend the
Vicar comes again to dine at the Hall. I would get you to read the
first half to him, and ask him to declaim the remainder to you; but I
know you would fall into your inveterate failing of shutting your eyes
to meditate, and going into a sound sleep at the most interesting
point of the discourse. Yours, &c.

    _To Godfrey Godfrey, Esq., &c. &c. &c._

FOOTNOTES:

[2] _N. A. Review_, vol. lvi. p. 227.

[3] _N. A. Review_, vol. xlviii. p. 257.

[4] Vol. iv. 2354.

[5] _Lieber's Political Ethics_, vol. i. p. 132.

[6] Vol. lvi., p. 227.

[7] _North American Review_, vol. liv., p. 355.

[8] Vol. iv., p. 300.

[9] Speech on Conciliation with America.



EVENINGS AT SEA.--NO. II.


Our next narrator was a retired officer of the army, who had become a
settler in South America, after many years unprofitable service at
home and abroad. He had rapidly advanced in worldly wealth in the
country of his adoption, but memory seemed ever to do him a kindness,
when it bore him back to the days when he first entered on life's
journey; his sword, and a hopeful heart, his sole possessions. When
the subjects of our discourse chanced to awaken any of these
recollections, he would usually hold forth with such an energy of
prosiness, that we were fain to submit with as good a grace as
possible, where there was no escape, and endeavour to interest
ourselves in the adventures he had met with, and the fates and
fortunes of the companions of his youth. The story I give here, was
one he told us of a young officer, who had served in the regiment with
him.



HENRY MEYNELL.


In the _Gazette_, dated "War Office, 14th June, 1828," was contained
the following announcement:--"Henry Wardlaw Meynell, gentleman, to be
ensign"--the regiment does not matter, but its mess-room was honoured
by the presence of the above-named military aspirant one day, about
two months after the date of his commission. He was introduced to his
brother officers, examined by them from head to foot, shown into a
bare uncomfortable garret--of which he was installed proprietor,
allotted a tough old grenadier as his valet-de-chambre, and then left
to his own devices till dinner-time.

While the iron-fingered veteran was extracting the smart new uniform
from the travelling chest, and arranging it on the oak table, under
the directing eye of his master, the officers in the mess-room were
forming their opinions of the appearance of the newcomer, with the
balmy assistance, in this mental effort, of strong military cigars.
His age was nearly twenty-one years, and he looked perhaps older. His
figure was tall, slight, and graceful, more formed than is usual in
early youth, and bespeaking strength and activity. His face was almost
beautiful in feature and form when silent, but as he spoke, a certain
thinness of the lips betrayed itself, and somewhat marred its singular
attractiveness. Dark brown hair, high clear forehead, teeth perfect,
in regularity and whiteness, oval outline, head and neck shapely, and
well set on--in short altogether such a person as one rarely sees,
either in a regiment, or elsewhere.

As the "who is he?" is always a most important point of English
introduction, and I would fain hope that you may take some interest in
this person as we proceed, you should be told, that he is the second
son of the only brother of a bachelor squire of very large estate in
Yorkshire; his father, a profligate and spendthrift living at
Boulogne, while he and his brother are adopted by the uncle. His poor
broken-hearted mother has slept sweetly for many years near the
village church where she was wed.

Eton received him when very young; he there lost his Yorkshire
manners, learnt to row and swim, and acquired a certain precocious
knowledge of the world, and proficiency in tying a white neckcloth.
The labours of the classics and science were alike distasteful to him;
study of any kind he abhorred; yet so acquisitive was his intellect,
retentive his memory, and powerful his ability, that when he left Eton
at eighteen, few youths presented a more showy surface of information.
He had had one or two narrow escapes from expulsion for offences, in
which the vices of maturer years were mixed up with boyish turbulence;
but a certain element of depth and caution, even in these outbreaks,
saved him from incurring their usual penalties. He was admirable in
all active exercises, had a magnificent voice, and singular taste and
talent for music and painting. As a social companion, he was
brilliant when he thought fit to exert himself; at other times he was
silent and rather thoughtful, perhaps too thoughtful for his years.
Though he always lived with the most dissipated and uproarious set, in
his vices there was a degree of refinement, less of the brute, more of
the devil; he did not err from impulse, but when opportunity presented
itself, he considered whether the pleasure were worth the sinning, and
if he thought it was, he sinned. He was more admired than liked among
his young companions; and those in authority over him were quite
uncertain whether he would turn out a hero or a villain.

From Eton he went to Oxford, there took to dissipation and
extravagance, neglected all rules and application, wore out the
patience of the authorities, and the liberality of his uncle, and,
after about a year's trial, was withdrawn from the University to save
him from retiring by compulsion. He was then sent to travel for a year
under the prudent care of his elder brother. It will be unnecessary to
track them through their wanderings; suffice it to say, that they did
what young gentlemen travelling usually do, and visited the places
that every body visits, but with this difference, with regard to Henry
Meynell, that he acquired the principal European languages as he went
along, and travelled with his eyes open; what was gained with great
labour by others seemed to be as a gift to him. He had also begun to
consider that he might at last provoke his uncle too much, and injure
his prospects; so that he conducted himself with caution and tolerable
steadiness during his time of travel. To finish this apparent
reformation, a commission was obtained for him in an infantry regiment
under a martinet colonel, and a moderate allowance provided for his
support. Having given this sketch of his appearance, family,
character, and antecedents, he is now fairly entitled to take his seat
at the mess-table.

His corps was what the young warriors of the present day, call "rather
slow," it had, indeed, been very much distinguished in the Peninsula,
but since then a severe course of Jamaica and Demerara had excluded
from it all wealthy and aristocratic elements; and the tablets it left
behind in the West Indies were only raised to the memory of Smiths and
Joneses, whose respective vacancies had since been filled up with
Joneses and Smiths. In those days the rotation system had not been yet
adopted, and the young gentlemen in "crack regiments," only knew of
yellow fevers and land-crabs, through reading of them in books; and
even through that channel, it would, perhaps, be unsafe to assert that
they were much informed on these subjects, or indeed on any other.

At the head of the mess-table sat a gray-headed captain, who had been
frost-bitten in Canada, wounded in the Peninsula, and saved by an iron
constitution from the regimental doctor and yellow fever on Brimstone
Hill, St Kitts; and, despite his varied adventures and ailments, had
contrived to accumulate an immense rotundity in his person, and
quantity and vividness of colour in his countenance. At the foot, was
a tall young gentleman, with high cheekbones and a Celtic nose, who
had lately joined from Tipperary. The colonel sat in the centre of one
side of the table, stiff in attitude, sententious in discourse,
invulnerable in vanity; a fierce-looking navy captain, and the meek
mayor of the town, supported him to the right and left. A few diners
out, fathers of families, and men who played a good game of billiards,
and preferred the society of ensigns, were the remainder of the
guests; the other gentlemen in red were variations on the fat captain
and the Tipperary lieutenant.

The mess-room was long and narrow, with a profusion of small windows
on both sides, causing the light to fall on every one's face. There
were two doors at each end of the room, and one at the side, which
last, as it led nowhere, and made a draught like a blow-pipe, had been
lately stopped up with a different coloured plaster from the rest of
the wall. But indeed there was such a curious variety of draughts,
that one was scarcely missed; every door and window in the room sent
in its current of air, to search under the table, flare the candles,
bear in in triumph the smell of burnt fat from the kitchen, and poke
into the tender places of rheumatic patients; while, in spite of all
these, the room was so close and redolent of dinner, that fish, flesh,
and fowl were breathed in every breath. A scant and well-worn carpet
covered the space on which the dinner-table stood; and portable
curtains of insufficient number and enormous size ornamented a few
favoured windows, waved in the erratic draughts, and tripped up
incautious attendants, diffusing all the while the stale odour of
tobacco smoke through the other varied smells. At one end of the room
was a round table with a faded red cloth, strewn with newspapers, the
corners of which had generally been abstracted for the purpose of
lighting cigars,--the "Army List," the king's regulations, and the
_Racing Calendar_. At the other end, a large screen, battered at the
edges from frequent packings, diverted the course of the kitchen steam
which entered by the door next it; this piece of furniture was covered
with prints, some caricatures of other days, some sporting
sketches--breaking cover--the Derby--fast coaches--the ring, &c.--some
opera beauties, on whom sportive and original ensigns had depicted
enormous moustaches, and others of rather an equivocal description.

At a given signal, the covers were removed, and some dozen of
iron-heeled soldiers, dressed in various liveries, commenced
scattering the soup and fish about with the same reckless indifference
to consequences with which they would have stormed a breach. While
Meynell was gradually coughing himself into a recovery from the
effects of some fiercely peppered mulligatawney, he was asked by the
stiff colonel to take wine, when the fat captain, and all the others
at brief intervals followed the example. For some time, there was
steady attention paid to eating and drinking, and but few words
spoken, beyond "mutton if you please--thank you--rather under
done--glass of sherry--with pleasure--your health--I'll trouble you
for a wing, &c." But as the dinner progressed, and the fiery wine
began to tell, horses and dogs, wine and women, guards and grievances,
promotion and patronage, began to exert their influence on the
discourse, and by the time the cloth was removed, every one seemed to
talk louder than his neighbour, and the din was almost insupportable.
Then, through the roar of the many voices, was heard an ominous
shuffling behind the screen, now extended all across the room; an
attuning scream of the clarionet, moan of the violin, and grunt of the
bassoon, faintly foretold the coming storm, which in a few seconds
burst upon the ears in the most furious form of the "overture to
Zampa" by the regimental band; this continued, with variations, but
scarcely a lull, for a couple of hours.

Meanwhile the bottles pass freely round, and the roar of voices
continues louder and thicker than ever; some of the younger officers,
mere boys, have yielded to their potent draughts, and sought their
rooms; others, maddened with the wine and din, shout snatches of
songs, argue vociferously, and loudly offer absurd bets, which the
sporting gentlemen, who are strong in billiards, note down in little
pocket-books. The band retires, whist tables are laid, brandy and
water and cigars make their appearance, and the mess-room is soon in a
cloud. After a couple of rubbers of whist, the colonel, and most of
the older officers and guests, retire. As the door closes behind them,
a flushed youth with swimming eyes and uncertain step, rushes to the
table and shouts, "Now we'll make a night of it,--the bones! the
bones!" Dice are soon brought, and the work of mischief begins. "Don't
you play, Meynell?" said the flushed youth. "Not to-night, thank you,"
was the answer. Not to-night--for to-night he is cautiously feeling
his way,--the scene's new to him,--he does not yet find himself at
home, or on his strong point. He sits quietly down on the well-worn
sofa and looks on; his head, in spite of the fiery wine and
distracting band, is quite cool; he has watched himself and drunk but
sparingly, and now he watches others.

The players are seated at the round table, with eager faces and
straining eyes watching the chances of the game. One of the guests is
among them, a man with black moustaches and rather foreign
appearance, a billiard-room acquaintance of the flushed youth; a
capital fellow, they said, up to every thing, and very amusing. It was
unlucky, however, for the cause of conviviality, that he was rather
indisposed that day, and could take very little wine. But fortune now
seemed to make amends to him for this deprivation, for he won at
almost every throw. The flushed youth curses his luck, but doubles his
stakes till he has lost a heavy sum. Meynell's quick eye observed that
the foreign-looking gentleman lowered his hand under the table before
each of these very successful throws. "You had better change the
game," said he coolly to the loser, "luck is against you." The youth
dashed the dice on the floor, seized the cards, and challenged the
party to "vingt-et-un;" as he had been the heaviest loser, the others
agreed, and the cards were dealt rapidly around.

It is by this time well on towards the dawn, the gray light already
shows the shadowy outline of the distant hills, the dewy morning air
breathes softly in through the open windows, on the parched lips and
fevered brows of the gamblers; but it is an unheeded warning. Stake
after stake is lost, some light, others heavy, all, perhaps, more than
can be spared; but the worst loser is losing still. The loss is very
great, ruinous indeed; the pale man with the black moustaches has the
same strange luck as ever; he says he quite wonders at it himself. He
is dealer, and turns up a "vingt-et-un" almost every time. Now the
flushed youth flushes deeper, his teeth are set--his eyes fixed on the
table--an enormous sum is risked upon this chance, he has drawn
winning cards, but the dealer may have a "vingt-et-un," and beat him
still. The foreigner's hand is pressed on the table, outspread close
to his cards. All this time Meynell had keenly watched the play; he
had risen from the sofa noiselessly, taken a large carving-fork from
the supper table, and, unobserved by any of the excited players, stood
behind the dealer's chair; his thin lips firmly compressed, and the
fork grasped in his right hand, he leant over the table. This was at
the point of the game when the decisive card was to be turned. Quick
as thought, Meynell drives down the heavy fork through the dealer's
hand, nailing it to the table--there is an ace underneath it; writhing
with pain and shame, the unmasked cheat is hunted from the house.

Meynell at once became the leading man of the regiment; petted by the
colonel on account of his aristocratic connexions, admired by the
older officers for his knowledge of the world, and looked up to by the
younger as the most daring in adventure, the most reckless in
dissipation and expense. He repaid himself for the moderation of the
first night at mess, when he was feeling his ground, by constant
self-indulgence when he knew his power,--while the influence of his
popularity and extraordinary social gifts, drew most of the youths,
already, perhaps, too much disposed for such pleasures, to follow his
example. The regiment had been rather dissipated before, but Meynell's
presence in it was oil to the flame; drinking, waste, and gambling,
became general, ruining the circumstances and constitution of many,
and injuriously affecting the morals of all. Scarcely a year had
passed after this time, when several mere boys, who had entered this
fatal corps with fair prospects and uncorrupted minds, were sent back
to their unhappy parents with blasted characters and broken fortunes.
In these sad catastrophes Meynell found a secret pleasure, strange as
it was diabolical. Though he used all his address to gain followers
and companions in his career, there was something flattering to his
malignant pride when any one broke down in the attempt to keep pace
with him. Sometimes after deep play, in which he was rarely a loser,
he would confer apparent kindnesses on the sufferers, forgive them
their liabilities, and render them pecuniary assistance; but such help
only postponed for a season the ruin that was almost sure to follow
his fatal patronage, while his seeming generosity increased his
influence, and silenced those who might have spoken against him. In
equipage, appearance, and manners, he was the ornament of the
regiment, and considered by those authorities who did not inquire
into morals, as a most promising young officer of high character and
attainments.

I shall not weary you with any details of the next five years of his
military life, of his peace campaigns, and marches from one town to
another. But his track was marked with mischief wherever he went. He
had several times, from his expensive mode of living, been obliged to
appeal to his uncle for assistance, which was always rendered,
accompanied, of course, by long and ineffectual lectures on the
necessity of reformation. But the old man was flattered at his
nephew's popularity, and pleased with his varied powers and
accomplishments; by plausible representations, too, he was convinced
that the irregularities which occasionally reached even his ears, were
but the exuberance of youth, and the effervescence of a high spirit.
Latterly, however, when the applications for money became more
frequent, and the rumours of his dissipated life more numerous and
authentic, the Squire, after having discharged all existing debts,
communicated his determination to limit his nephew strictly within the
allowance for the future, and to refuse to meet any further
liabilities.

Cautious, cool-headed, and able as Meynell was, he was wanting in that
self-command necessary to alter his mode of life; his expensive habits
and vices had, through long indulgence, become almost necessaries of
existence. With his eyes fully open to his danger, he still kept on in
the dark path that led to the ruin to which he had ruthlessly
consigned many an other, supported the while by a vague hope that some
lucky chance would turn up to carry him through his difficulties.
Tradesmen became pressing with their accounts,--he drew bills on his
agent, renewed these when they became due, and drew others. This could
not last long; the value of his commission was soon mortgaged; he
borrowed money of advertising bill-discounters at enormous interest,
and, in short, by the summer of 1834, Henry Meynell was a ruined man.

At this period he had just marched with his regiment into a large
seaport town in the south of England, where they were to be quartered
for some time. About two miles inland from this town there is a small
country place of singular beauty. The house stands on the brow of a
green hill, the front looking over a magnificent neighbouring park,
varied with grove, and lake, and rivulet. At the back is a trimly kept
garden of tufts of flowers, like enormous bouquets thrown on the green
velvet sward, with here and there a sombre cypress or cedar in
pleasant contrast. A succession of small terraces, with steep grassy
steps, leads down to a rapid brook that forms a little waterfall
below. Half an arch of a bridge, ruined, no one knows how, many years
ago, now covered with thick clustering ivy, projects over the stream.
Beyond, lie rich undulating pastoral lands, where cattle and sheep are
grazing peacefully; on either side of the garden thick woods of beech
and sycamore reach from the brook up to the house, shutting in this
lonely spot with their dark green wall. The dwelling was originally
Elizabethan, but had been so often added to or diminished, that it
would be hard to say now what it is; but somehow the confusion of
gables and excrescences have altogether a very picturesque effect, and
luxuriant clematis and ivy conceal the architectural irregularities,
or at least divert the eye from their observation. At the entrance to
the house from the garden there is a porch, up a short flight of gray
stone steps; its sides are of trellis-work, covered with flowering
creepers.

One sunny afternoon towards the end of June, in the year mentioned
above, a fresh breeze rustled through the leaves, shook the rich
clusters of fragrant roses that hung about the porch, and fanned the
cheek of a young girl standing on the steps, who looked as fair and
innocent as the flowers themselves. She was her mother's only child,
and had seen but eighteen years. Her father had been a gallant sailor,
knighted for his conduct in one action, and slain in the next. Her
mother, Lady Waring, was thus left widowed while yet young; but her
loved husband's memory, and the care of her little daughter Kate,
proved enough of earthly interests for her, and she remained single
ever afterwards. Sir William Waring had possessed a considerable
share, as sleeping partner, in an old-established banking-house that
bore the name of his family, as well as the residence I have tried to
describe, so that his widow and child were left in very affluent
circumstances. He was a first cousin of old Mr Meynell, the Yorkshire
squire.

Lady Waring was seated on a rustic bench in the garden with a book in
her hand, but her eye fixed with fond admiration on her daughter. The
fair girl stood on the steps in the porch as on a pedestal surrounded
with a frame-work of flowers. A straw hat, with a wide leaf, was
placed coquettishly on one side of her head, and from its shade an
abundance of black glossy ringlets fell over the sunshine of her face.
She had never known a moment's sickness or sorrow; her eye had never
met a frown; her ears never heard a chiding. She seemed almost radiant
with health and happiness--her joyous smile the overflow of her glad
heart.

Lady Waring beckoned her over, and as she moved to obey the summons,
the shadow of her graceful sinuous figure scarcely appeared to touch
the sward more lightly than herself. Kate sat down beside her mother,
put an arm round her, and looked up joyfully into her face. It was one
of those peculiar English days, when the sun shines with a fierce
heat, but the east wind is sharp and cold, and the air ungenial where
the rays do not reach. At the moment when Kate joined her mother, a
thick cloud passed above their heads, throwing a heavy shade over
them, while a breeze sweeping up from the brook cast a sudden chill.
With an involuntary shudder they pressed for a moment closer together.
At the same time a servant ushered a tall, strange gentleman into the
garden, "Mr Henry Meynell," he announced, and then withdrew.

The kinsman received a cordial greeting, and, of course, an invitation
to remain that day, which was accepted. The charm of his manner and
conversation was irresistible when he strove to please: he strove his
utmost that night, and fully succeeded--mother and daughter were alike
won by him. When he rode away from the door at a late hour, Lady
Waring was eloquent in his praise. Kate's eloquence was silence, but
it spake quite as much, and that night she did not sleep so tranquilly
as was her wont.

As Henry Meynell galloped home over the lonely road, the bland and
winning smile which had played over his face all the evening
contracted into a moody and sinister expression. The thin lips became
compressed, and his arched brows extended into a hard dark line over
his eyes. He was planning evil, and had no witness; at such times his
features seemed to take this peculiar appearance as their natural
cast; yet it was scarcely possible to believe that one, before so
handsome, could suddenly become repulsive and painful to behold. His
self-indulgent and dissipated life had already marked him with some of
the symptoms of premature decay. Though still in early manhood, a
slight wrinkle or two was perceptible; his cheek was pale when not
flushed with excitement; and his eye, betimes glassy and bloodshot,
would betray the excesses of the previous night. But still, with the
assistance of a judicious toilet, he could make his appearance present
a very respectable degree of youthfulness; and this had been an
occasion where no pains were spared to create a favourable impression.
He had an object in view. In the desperate state of his finances, an
advantageous marriage suggested itself to him as the easiest and
readiest mode of extricating himself from his difficulties, and
continuing his career of self-indulgence. His regiment having been
ordered into the neighbourhood of his wealthy cousin appeared an
opportunity too favourable to be neglected, so he had not lost a day
in making her acquaintance. He hated the prospect of marriage as an
inconvenience, but mocked at the idea of its being a restraint. The
fair girl he had marked for his own rather pleased him; he liked her
beauty, and was amused at her trusting innocence. He probably would
have made love to her for pastime even had she not been rich. As it
was, the sacrifice to his necessities which he intended to make was
somewhat mitigated in its severity. "I must have her money, so I am in
for the stupid folly of virtuous love-making and marriage," was the
sum of his thoughts as he dismounted at his stable-door. His spaniel
had been watching for his return, and ran out, barking joyously, and
leaping upon him. He was irritated at being thus disturbed in his
calculating reverie, and struck the faithful brute with his heavy
whip, driving it yelping away. "Go, stupid cur, you plague me with
your fondness," cried he, as he struck at the dog again. Alas for the
fair girl who filled this bad man's thoughts, and who thought but of
him that night! down in his cold heart she may not find one solitary
gem of tenderness or love to light her with its ray to hope and
happiness.

Henry Meynell's visits to the Warings became very frequent, and at
length daily occurrences. These simple-minded people, who had lived so
long secluded from the world, had little opportunity of hearing the
unfavourable rumours of their guest's character, which were pretty
generally abroad; and if now and then a suspicion was suggested to the
elder lady, the tact and plausibility with which it was discovered and
removed, rather tended to strengthen than weaken his position in her
esteem. As for Kate, the advice and cautions of meddling friends of
course only fixed her more firmly in her preference.

About six weeks thus passed away. He had played his game coolly and
steadily; his attentions were evident, but they were yet so mixed up
with respectful regard to Lady Waring and apparent interest in her
conversation, that the good lady had been more accustomed to look upon
him as the kinsman and friend of the family than as the suitor of her
child. So gradual had been his advances, that one, day, when she found
her daughter depressed and weeping, and at length guessed that
Meynell's temporary absence was the cause, the state of affairs
flashed upon her with the suddenness of a surprise. When enlightened,
she wondered with reason at her dulness in not having before
discovered a matter of such surpassing interest. "Why should I have
any secret from you, mother?" said Kate; "it is true I love him, and
dearly, and I am sure he loves me too, though he has never told me so.
I wonder why he has not come to-day; he promised to bring me the song
he sang to us last night on the broken bridge." Nevertheless, Meynell
came not that day; and it was getting late in the evening when Kate's
quick ear recognised the sound of his horse's feet on the
approach--the sweetest music she could hear.

She was alone in the house when he entered, her mother being in the
garden on the favourite rustic seat. After the usual greetings, and
some hurried apologies for his late arrival on the ground of business
or duty, they walked out together to where Lady Waring sat. Her mind
was on them as they drew near; she had thought of them for hours in
anxious consultation within herself. She reflected on the lonely
condition of her child in case of her death; the apparent attachment
of the young people to each other; the amiable manners and brilliant
accomplishments of her kinsman; and her own affluence, which would
enable her to make amends for the want of fortune on his part. When
she looked on the manly and graceful soldier bending to her daughter's
ear, and saw the pale cheek of the fair girl become red, and the face,
lately sad and tearful, now beaming with happiness and content, she
thought she had found a fitting protector for her child, and that to
him it should be given to love her, comfort her, honour and keep her,
in sickness and in health.

The mother held out a hand to each as they joined her, and welcomed
Henry Meynell with peculiar kindness of manner; then, as they strolled
down the terrace to the brook side, followed them with loving eyes,
suffused and dim with tears of pleasure.

I would fain dwell upon this happy meeting and lengthen it to the
utmost. Why do the shadows fall so quickly? Why does dark night chase
away this gentle twilight, and the murmur of the brook grow loud and
hoarse, as all other sounds are sinking into silence? The winged hours
have flown rapidly away; the fair girl still wanders by the water's
edge, or leans over the parapet of the broken bridge. Through the
stillness of the evening air a voice has fallen softly on her ear that
fills her heart with happiness. Joy! joy! his love is spoken; his
manly troth is plighted. And she, too, in a few broken words of maiden
modesty but deep affection, has pledged away her faith, wealth, youth,
and beauty. Then the fond mother comes to seek her child; she needs no
tongue to tell her what has passed, for that fair young face is
radiant with happiness, bright and pure as a star in heaven; and Henry
Meynell's glance is full of fond and silent admiration. She bestows an
approving blessing. But while the group stands, as it would seem, lost
to all consciousness of the world beyond, the night has fallen dark
and sombre, and louder and hoarser than before is heard the murmur of
the brook in the silence of all other sounds.

Meynell had been detained in the morning by a most disagreeable visit
from one of his discounting acquaintances. A large bill had become due
that day, and the man to whom it was owed insisted on immediate
settlement, under the threat of an arrest for the amount. Of course
there were no funds forthcoming, and credit was quite exhausted.
Something was necessary to be done; the scandal of being seized would
probably damage his hopes of success with Kate Waring; and he felt
that if he could only stave off this difficulty for a week or a little
more till the affair was concluded and her property in his power, that
all might yet be well. When other persuasions, entreaties, and
promises had failed to move his obdurate creditor, he at length
confided the hopes which he entertained of being very soon able, by a
judicious marriage, to meet his engagements; and gave a full account
of the progress which, he flattered himself, he had made in the lady's
good graces. The only terms, however, that he could obtain were, that
he should have two hours more allowed him to be introduced to a Jewish
gentleman, who might perhaps advance him the money required at a
remunerative rate of interest. There was nothing for him but to accept
this offer, and the Jewish gentleman was shown into his room.

The money-lender was a slight, sallow man, with black hair, cut very
short, and face close shaven. As Meynell was introduced, he thought he
had a confused recollection of having met the man before, but a second
glance persuaded him that the face was strange. Exorbitant terms were
required and acceded to for the loan of the required sum for a
fortnight, but that signified little; he had no doubt of success, and
then a few hundreds more or less would be of little consequence. He
was, to say truth, agreeably surprised at the loan being given at any
price under his apparently desperate circumstances, when the only
security was the chance of a mercenary marriage. The usurer seemed,
indeed, quite in a hurry to write the check and receive the bond for
the debt. As he wrote, Meynell leant over him and observed that he
moved his pen with some difficulty and stiffness; on the back of his
right hand were two small, but deep scars close together.

Never was bridegroom more eager to hasten the hour of his happiness.
The tedious arrangement of the necessary legal affairs was hurried on
by every means in his power; a fortnight was but little law, and he
now knew well that he must fall into the hands of one that would not
spare him; for though he did not appear to have recognised the
detected and punished cheat of his first night's mess party in the
money-lender, nor did the other show any knowledge of him, he could
not but suspect that there was something more than an accident in his
being thus put into the power of a man he had so dangerously provoked.
Lady Waring and Kate only attributed his pressing haste to the ardour
of affection, and with undoubted confidence received his plausible
explanations. The tenth day after that eventful evening was fixed for
the marriage--but the hour of wo was nearer still; the storm was about
to burst over the widow and her child.

One morning, as Meynell was preparing to ride out to his daily visit,
a brother officer entered the room with a newspaper in his hand, and
the eager air of a man who has news of interest to communicate. "These
bankers, from the name, are probably some relations of your friends,"
said he; "it seems a tremendous smash; a shilling in the pound, or
something of that sort, is talked of."

Meynell's thin lips closed like a vice for one moment, but the next
he asked to see the paragraph spoken of, in a tone of apparent
indifference. He read it coolly, laid the paper aside, and changed the
conversation. When he was again alone his face grew dark as night, and
that demon expression swept over it like a tempest as, with an awful
curse, he struck his clenched hand on the table. He remained
motionless for many minutes, holding counsel in his ruthless, selfish
mind. Not a thought of others' wo suggested itself--not one doubt or
hesitation held him back from trampling on a trusting and devoted
heart. "But it may still not be true!" The hope, faint as it was,
aroused him to exertion. He rang the bell, and with his usual calmness
of manner and voice, said that he should not want his horse that day,
but that he might probably have to go away for a short time, and gave
directions to have every thing ready for his departure in an hour. He
then walked out into the town, made some inquiries, which resulted in
confirming the disastrous intelligence, wrote a cold and hurried note
to Lady Waring, in which "circumstances over which I have no control"
held a principal place, and a "necessary absence" was announced.
Before the message was despatched, he was on his route for the
Continent.

The news of her ruin had also reached poor Lady Waring that morning;
she was for a time stupified by the suddenness and severity of the
blow, and, pale and speechless, still held up the letter before her
eyes. Kate, alarmed at her mother's silence, hastened to her side, and
a glance over the fatal paper told the cause. She put her soft, white
arm round the widow's neck, and looked into her face with a smile of
love and hopeful courage that, even in the first moment of misfortune,
made the burthen light.

"I wish Henry were come, mother," said she. "He will cheer you. All
shall still be well. We shall be just as happy in poverty as we were
in wealth, and be kinder than ever. How I hope he may not hear of this
till we tell him! He would be so pained for our sakes; but when he
sees we bear it bravely he will rejoice."

Alas, poor child! while you were speaking these words of trusting
consolation, he on whom you placed your fond faith, with cool head and
icy heart, was tracing the lines that were to tell of his base
desertion.

It was long ere Kate could receive the dreadful conviction of the
truth. There was the note. Could she mistake the handwriting? The
bearer, too, had said that Meynell was gone; and the distant, chilling
tone--and no mention made of his return--and the news of her sudden
poverty! None but a woman that loved with a trusting and devoted heart
could doubt what all this meant. Days, weeks, months passed away, till
time wore out hope, for he never came. As some fainting wretch in a
famine visits his scanty store in trembling secrecy, bit by bit
consumes it to the last, and then despairs, so she lived on till her
faith grew less and less, and she hid its last remnant in her heart,
lest it should be torn from her; but it wasted fast away, and not a
shred was left.

In the meantime Lady Waring had sold her place, discharged her
servants, except those who were indispensable, and made arrangements
to reside in a small house in the neighbouring town, where her pension
and the remnant of her fortune might enable her to live in comfort and
respectability. But, in the first instance, she went to live for a
time with some relations near their former residence, while the
necessary preparations were being made for the change. Kate's state of
mind and health were constant and increasing anxieties to the poor
mother, almost to the exclusion of the recollection of her other
misfortunes. Henry Meynell was never mentioned, but his handiwork was
plainly seen. Kate had rapidly grown old; the look of radiant
happiness and trustingness was gone. Her spirits were not altogether
depressed, but rather subject to pitiful variations; and at times the
hectic excitement of her manner was even more distressing than her
fits of despondency.

Her kind friends tried to engage her in any amusements and occupations
that were attainable, and prevailed upon her to enter into the society
and gaiety of the town, where she was no sooner known than she became
a universal favourite. Lady Waring was conscious that Kate submitted
to these instances only to please her, and induce her to believe that
she was recovering her tranquillity of mind. But the mother felt that
the effort, however painful, might be useful, and in the end attain to
realise what was then but an appearance; so she always accompanied her
daughter, and did her utmost to maintain a cheerful countenance. This
painful struggle and simulation continued with more or less of success
till the end of August, when a newspaper announcement informed them
that Henry Meynell had been married a fortnight before at Rome to his
cousin Miss Susan Meynell, a lady some years older than himself, who
had always lived with his uncle as the prime favourite, and had
accompanied him to the Continent that year, on a journey undertaken
for his health. Henry had joined them not long before, in a state of
great poverty, but by the influence of an old preference which the
lady entertained for him, he had been reconciled to his uncle, who
made a comfortable settlement upon his favourite and the professedly
reformed prodigal. The news of his conduct to the Warings had not
reached the old man at that time.

Lady Waring was astonished, indeed alarmed at the calmness with which
Kate appeared to receive the news of the consummation of Henry
Meynell's treacherous desertion. For an hour or two she seemed
depressed and absent, but afterwards set about the usual pursuits of
the day without any apparent change of manner. They were to be present
at a large ball that night; and Lady Waring could not but wonder when
she saw her daughter busied in arranging some simple ornaments for the
dress she was to wear, and preparing for the evening gaieties as if
nothing had occurred to disturb the current of her thoughts. At the
ball she entered into the spirit of the dance with apparently more
than usual zest: some among the many who sought her, almost fancied
they were gaining ground in her good graces, and that this unwonted
gaiety was the result of her being pleased with them. Her mother
watched her with alarm and surprise; her cheek was flushed, her eye
bright, her smile beaming on all around her. Was this real or unreal?
Could one so fair and good be without heart, and indifferent to the
unworthiness of him to whom she had given her troth?

The weary ball is at last ended,--they reach home,--she bids her
mother good-night; as they separate, her cheek flushes furiously, and
her eye is brighter than ever, but she speaks quite calmly--so calmly,
indeed, that her mother is almost re-assured, and overcome with
fatigue lies down to rest and sleeps. Kate occupies the adjoining
room.

At about six o'clock in the morning, Lady Waring, awoke from a
troubled and unrefreshing sleep. She fancied she heard light footsteps
in her daughter's chamber; they seemed regular and measured, as of
some one pacing slowly. She tried to collect her scattered thoughts,
and separate her confused dreams from her waking perceptions. The gray
light of morning already crept in through the crevices of the closed
windows, and threw a cold uncertain light on the familiar objects
around, only rendering them strange and indistinguishable. While yet
she lay uncertain, the footsteps left the next room and approached
hers, with the same light but measured sound. Her door opened and Kate
entered, still in her ball-dress, with her long black ringlets forced
back off her forehead. She drew the curtains aside gently and leant
over the bed, then pressed her little white hands over her temples,
and muttering some indistinct words, gazed upon her mother.

Were the widow's life to be lengthened out into eternity itself, she
never might forget that look of her lost child. As a flash of the
destroying lightning, it blasted her heart's hope, and turned it to
ashes. She sprang up and clasped her arms round her daughter: "Mercy,
mercy, Kate!" she cried, "speak to me once more. Are you ill? Do you
suffer?" Oh! the sad, sad voice! Each word the poor girl spoke in
answer, froze her hearer's blood, as though that gentle breath had
been the ice-blast of the pole. "I do not know, mother," she replied,
"but I have such a pain here." She pressed her hands slowly over her
brow, and with her white taper fingers put back the loosened hair.
Then in hurried accents whispered,--"Do not tell him--do not let them
take me away--but God help me, mother!" she added wildly: "I think I
am MAD!" and it was true. She sank beneath her first and only sorrow.
In the effort to bear up against it, her mind gave way; and she who
might have diffused happiness on all around her, as a fountain sends
forth its waters, is to smile no more.

She was attacked that morning by a violent fever which lasted many
weeks. At length she gradually seemed to amend, but remained quite
unconscious of her mother's unceasing care. The bright red spot that
burned upon her pale cheek, and the sharp hard cough that every now
and then shook her wasted frame, forbade awakening hope. "When she is
able to move," said her medical attendant, "the climate of Malta may
be beneficial, but it is my sad duty to say that there is no prospect
of her mind being re-established." "Save her for me," said the
wretched mother, "even should I never hear her bless me again.
Darkened though she may be, she is still the lesser light that rules
my night."

After some time they went to Malta, and for nearly two years, Lady
Waring watched the alternations of her daughter's health with fond and
unceasing care. Almost a hope sometimes arose, but there soon again
came a relapse, and month by month she was plainly sinking, but very,
very slowly; the decay was so gradual, that her evidently approaching
end came on her wretched mother suddenly at last. She had been for
some time unable to leave her bed, or indeed even to move, and her
breathing became painful and difficult.

It was on a January morning that the doctor felt it necessary to tell
Lady Waring that the end of her hopes and fears was at hand, for the
patient could not last beyond that day. So she sat down by the bedside
in calm despair to watch the expiring lamp. About seven in the
evening, a sudden change seemed to come over the dying girl,--an
animation of countenance, and a look of re-awaking intelligence. She
motioned feebly with her hand that her bed might be moved close to the
window, and when there, looked out anxiously upon the strange sea and
sky. She appeared to be making some mental effort, and after a little
while, turned her eyes towards the watcher, and murmured one blessed
word of recognition,--"Mother."

Her setting sun, long hid by heavy mists, ere it sank below the
horizon, threw one level ray of pure unclouded light back over the
troubled sea of life. At the approach of death--out of the chaos of
her mind--the memories of the past rose up, and stood in a broad
picture before her sight; and from the ruins of her broken heart its
first and holiest affection ascended like an incense. "God will love
you, as you have loved me, mother;" she said. "Forgive him--I pray for
him--God will forgive him, and watch over you--good-bye--kiss me,
mother." As she lay wan, wasted, feeble, her voice was so faint and
low that it almost seemed to come from beyond the portals of the grave
itself, to pardon and to bless.

The widow bent over the death-bed, and--oh, how tenderly!--pressed the
cold lips of her lost darling. At that loved touch, the failing tide
of life flowed back for a moment and flushed the pale cheek with joy
unspeakable--then ebbed away for ever.

Now that we have left poor Kate where "the wicked cease from
troubling, and the weary are at rest," we must follow the dark course
of him for whom she died. His marriage had but a short time taken
place, when he resumed his former habits, and totally neglected his
wife. She at first tried to win him back by increased tenderness, but
he spurned it; then by tears and entreaties, but he derided them. As a
last effort, she tried to pique him by coldness--this pleased him
best, for it relieved him from her presence. He made no attempt to
conceal his dislike and contempt for his unhappy helpmate, or to throw
a veil over his irregularities and dissipation. He had been much
disappointed in the discovery that he could not obtain possession of
any of the capital of his wife's fortune; and the sale of his
commission, which was soon arranged, proved far from sufficient to
meet the liabilities awaiting him on his return to England. This
knowledge of the nature of the settlement was the ostensible ground of
a quarrel with his wife, which ended in her returning to her uncle's
house, and his establishing himself at a fashionable hotel in London,
soon after their return from the Continent.

He had not been many days in England, before the implacable creditor
who held the largest bond against him found him out, and arrested him
for the amount, while riding in the Park, with all the insulting
vexation that the greatest publicity could create. That he could raise
the sum required for his release, appeared very unlikely indeed, under
the present circumstances, to be accomplished. When within the
precincts of the jail, Henry Meynell did not hesitate to write
imploringly to the wife he had outraged and the uncle he had so often
deceived, praying that they would pity his fallen condition, and
release him from the grasp of the law. He was not sparing in words of
humiliation and penitence, and promises of future good conduct. These
arts had been so often tried before, that they might well have lost
their effect on those to whom they were addressed; but his poor wife,
who was still fondly attached to him, in spite of his unpardonable
misconduct, could not bear the idea of his wasting in a jail, and used
her utmost efforts to get together whatever means she was possessed
of, and to persuade her uncle to assist him once more.

After some months' delay the necessary sum was procured, and to the
chagrin and surprise of his creditor, Henry Meynell was once more at
liberty. He visited his wife for a short time, but very soon left her
again; she had deprived herself of the means of giving him any future
assistance by her sacrifices on this occasion. He, having no further
object to gain, determined to be burthened with her no more.

From this time he appears to have been utterly lost; but little is
known of his proceedings for the next year and a-half. He was seen
occasionally haunting the billiard tables and gambling houses in
London and Paris, where his polished manners and prepossessing
appearance gave him many advantages, in carrying on his designs
against those inexperienced victims who were unfortunate enough to
attract his notice. But he was evidently liable to great reverses of
fortune at this time, for he was met by a former brother officer on
one occasion at Boulogne, so much reduced that he was fain to make
himself known, and pray for a small sum to take him over to London.
Finally, in the summer of 1836, he was concerned in some swindling
transaction which, on its discovery, brought him within the grasp of
the law. He had, however, so extensive an acquaintance and influence
among such as himself, who were in no small number in London at that
time, that for a while he managed, with their assistance, to elude the
police, and in a well-contrived disguise, as an old man, still
ventured to frequent houses of play.

One night he recognised among the crowd, at a table in Leicester
Square, the well-known face of the detected cheat. He watched narrowly
to observe whether or not he was recognised. He feared to leave the
room suddenly lest it might excite a suspicion, but was reassured when
he saw that the pale man seemed so much absorbed in his game, as not
to notice the other faces round the board.

When, after a time, the object of his anxiety rose much excited and
left the room, having lost all the money he appeared to possess, he
felt convinced that the danger had passed, and breathed freely again.

It was early morning before he sallied out from the polluted
atmosphere where he had passed the night. He was proceeding slowly
along toward home, when, from out a narrow court, as he passed, a
policeman pounced upon him, and grasped him by the collar, while the
inveterate enemy from whom he thought he had escaped without
recognition, seized him at the same time. Henry Meynell saw at a
glance that there was no hope but in escape, so with all the exertion
of his powerful strength, he shook off his assailants. The foreigner
fell heavily to the ground, but the policeman tried to close again,
till a blow from Meynell struck him violently to the earth. Before
they recovered themselves, the object of their attack was beyond the
reach of capture.

Meynell did not venture to go again to his lodgings: he changed his
dress at the house of an acquaintance, and, warned by his narrow
escape, determined at once to leave England. He wandered along by the
wharves, making inquiries about any vessels that were to sail
immediately, little caring what their destination might be. It so
happened that he heard of one at hand that was to sail for Canada that
day. He was at once resolved. A favourable night's play had put him in
possession of sufficient funds. He purchased a few necessary articles
for the voyage, and before evening fell, was sailing down the
river--an exile--an outcast from the land of his birth, which he was
never to see again.

During the voyage, his great powers of conviviality made him a special
favourite of the captain of the vessel; of course, he bore an assumed
name, and professed to be merely going out with the intention of
becoming a settler, if he liked the promise of the country. He also
made up a plausible story, of having been disappointed in his passage
by another ship, and forced at the last moment to hurry on board this
one. With the captain, however, he held a greater confidence; and
although no particulars were entered into, it transpired during their
carouses that he and the law were at variance.

The voyage passed without any event worth recording, and early on a
bright September morning they awoke under the shade of the bold
headland of Quebec. Meynell's critical taste was gratified by the
mingled grandeur and softness of the scene; he was in no hurry to go
ashore, friendless and objectless as he was, so he leant his head upon
his hand, and gazed out quietly over the side of the vessel, enjoying
the view so far as his diseased mind was capable of receiving
gratification from a harmless pleasure. He took little notice of the
boats that came to, and left the ship, nor did he ask the news of any
one. What cared he for news? He saw old friends or long separated
relatives meet on the deck with warm and happy recognition. But there
was none to welcome him. It would be hard to say what thoughts then
crossed the dark stage of his mind; some long hidden spring of feeling
may have been touched by what was passing round that lost and lonely
man; by little and little his head sank lower and lower, till his face
was buried in his hands, and so he stood.

He had remained for a long time silent and motionless, when he was
suddenly aroused by a hand being placed on his shoulder. He turned
round with surprise, and found the captain of the ship by his side,
who said to him hurriedly. "The sooner you are out of this the better,
friend. A chap has been looking after you already, and I am sure he
will be back again." The post had arrived long before them, and
Meynell's implacable enemy had contrived to find out his destination,
and to prepare the authorities for his arrival by a description of his
person, that they might arrest him at once. In this difficulty his
friend the captain proved a ready counsellor. There chanced to be a
schooner alongside freighted with stores for the Indians of the
Saguenay, that was to sail almost immediately; the captain knew the
skipper of this craft, and arranged with him to take Meynell, who was
to remain in that remote part of the country till the danger blew
over.

In a short time Meynell was steering down the river again, on his way
to the lonely Saguenay, little caring where he went; indeed, perhaps,
he would have chosen this adventure to a remote district, with the
novelty of the Indian life, as readily as any thing else, even had he
not been impelled to it by necessity.

It may not be known to all that the Saguenay is a large river that
flows from a lake of considerable size, eastward into the St Lawrence,
which it joins on the north side, a hundred and forty miles below
Quebec. It is of great depth, the waters dark and gloomy, and the
scenery through which they pass magnificent, but of a desolate and
barren character. About seventy miles up this great tributary is an
infant settlement called Chicontimi, a station of the fur-traders.
Here the navigation ends, and, beyond, the labour of man has left but
slight traces. At the time of Meynell's arrival this district was
inhabited, or rather hunted over, by a tribe called by the Canadians,
"Montaignais Indians,"--a friendly honest race, expert fishers and
hunters, and valuable neighbours to the fur-traders. The schooner was
laden with stores of various kinds, to be exchanged with those people
for the produce of the chase.

In three days Meynell reached Chicontimi. The fur-traders were
surprised at the unexpected visitor, but as he proved to be a smart
active fellow, and was not without means, they did not object to his
presence, and in a short time he made himself very useful. At this
period of the year, the Montaignais tribe always encamped near the
settlement, and bargained for the guns, powder and shot, blankets, and
other necessaries, for the hunting expeditions of the winter. Meynell
soon became a favourite among them; his facility in learning their
language, his strength and activity, and skill with the rifle, gave
him a great influence over their simple minds. He particularly
attached himself to an old hunter of much consideration, called
Ta-ou-renche, who had an orphan niece under his care, Atàwa by name,
the acknowledged beauty of the tribe. After a time Meynell adopted
altogether the Indian mode of life. His days were passed in the chase,
or in wandering with his rod and gun by the shores of the beautiful
and almost unknown lakes of that lone and distant land. He soon became
as expert as the Montaignais themselves in their simple craft.

The autumn passed away, and winter closed in with its accustomed
severity, locking up all nature in its icy grasp. The fish in the
lakes were then only to be obtained by laboriously cutting channels in
the massive ice, and all the birds and smaller animals had gone into
their mysterious exile. It was then time for the tribe to make their
usual journey to the distant hunting grounds of the north-east, where
the Moose and Carribboo deer were wont to supply them with abundance
for their winter's store. Meynell determined to accompany them, and
imitated and improved upon their simple preparations. He obtained from
the stores of the fur-dealers warm clothes, blankets, and ammunition
for the expedition; a small supply of pemican or preserved meat, and a
little flour, completed the loading of the light sleigh he was to drag
after him over the snow; this tobogan, as the Indians call it, is of a
very light structure, and carries a burthen of fifty or sixty pounds
weight, with but little labour to him who draws it along.

The tribe started in the middle of December, crossing the frozen
waters of the Saguenay at Chicontimi, and then journeyed through the
forest towards the inland valleys of Labrador. For the first two days,
their route lay along the bank of a considerable river, which, on
account of its rapid current, in many parts was not frozen over; and
they rested at night at places where they had supplies of fish and
water. Their encampments were but rudely made, as the stay only lasted
for a night, and the severest cold of the winter was not yet come, to
demand a more elaborate and perfect shelter. Nearly eighty huge
watch-fires threw their glare over the dark woods at night; round each
was a family of the Montaignais, the hunters, their wives and
children. Meynell, Ta-ou-renche, and Atàwa, formed one of these
groups. The Englishman was sadly fatigued and foot-sore after the
first day's journey, although it had been but a short one. The heavy
and unaccustomed snow-shoe hurt his feet, though Atàwa's careful hands
had tied them on; and the weight of the tobogan wearied him, though
both of his companions had given him great aid. They watched him with
the tenderest care, and long after he slept soundly on his snowy
couch, Atàwa sat with her eyes fixed upon his still beautiful face,
lighted up by the red flame of the watch-fire. The next day he got on
better, and in a week he was able to take his share in the labour, and
walk as stoutly as any of them.

After they left the river's bank, they crossed a dreary table-land of
great extent, nearly a hundred and fifty miles across, where there was
no brook or lake, and but little wood, and that of a stunted and
blasted growth; under the thick covering of the snow was nothing but
rock and sand and sterile soil, for all that weary way. In a few
places they found masses of ice, which they melted down for water, but
there was neither fish nor game. Here they were obliged to consume
nearly all their store of provisions, but for this they were prepared,
and cared but little. Beyond this barren land lay the land of plenty,
where they and their forefathers, from time immemorial, had feasted on
the abundant forest-deer. About the thirteenth evening of their
journey, they encamped within sight of this deeply wooded undulating
country that they sought, and celebrated their arrival with rude
rejoicings.

The next morning they started equipped for the chase, the women
following the hunters slowly with their burdens. Ta-ou-renche pushed
on among the foremost, Meynell nearly by his side, while their dogs,
half-starved and ravenous, dashed on in front. They had advanced for
an hour or two without meeting a quarry, to their great surprise, when
they heard the dogs giving tongue far ahead in a deep woody valley.
Ta-ou-renche and Meynell pushed on rapidly, full of hope, and excited
at the prospect of the chase; they reached the brow of the hill, and
descended at a run into the valley, where they found the dogs all
collected round the skeleton of a moose-deer, tugging furiously at its
huge bones. The snow around was much beaten down, and there was the
mark of a recent fire against the root of a tree close by. The Indian
stopped short, and remained motionless, as if frozen at the sight;
after a little while, other hunters came up, and all seemed equally
paralysed with terror. When they found voice, they cried, "The Great
Spirit is angry with his children; other hunters have slain the moose
and carribboo, and are many suns before us; for us there will be none
left, and we must die."

They pushed on further till the evening, and passed other skeletons of
moose and carribboo deer, picked clean by the carrion-birds. They saw
the marks of many fires, and the remains of a large encampment,
deserted perhaps three weeks before. Some of the older hunters said
that, from the prints of the snow-shoes, they knew the Mic-Mac Indians
of New Brunswick were those who had swept the hunting grounds before
them, and that they were many in number. That night they held counsel
together as to what they should do; some were for returning at once,
to throw themselves on the charity of the fur-traders; but there arose
the appalling thought of the barren land they had passed through.
Others were for pushing on after the Mic-Macs to pray for a share of
their spoil--but how could they reach them? Some had consumed all
their provisions, the others had but enough left for one, or at most
two days. To remain where they were was death, and, on every side,
starvation stared them in the face. At last, they agreed to separate,
and that each family should take its chance alone. Ta-ou-renche
determined at once to push for Chicontimi, and Atàwa and Meynell
followed his fortunes.

The next morning they started on their return, and made a long day's
march back into the barren land. Poor Atàwa was very weary, and could
give but little assistance in making the fire, and their rude shelter
for the night, and her uncle seemed oppressed and dejected; but
Meynell's vigorous health and bold spirit stood him in good stead. He
divided the scanty store of provisions that was left into three parts,
the travellers being each to carry their own share; he ate very
sparingly. Ta-ou-renche was not so discreet, but consumed nearly all
his portion at once, and the next morning finished what was left! The
weary journey continued--the cold became intense,--the north wind
swept over that awful solitude with a terrible severity; but still the
wanderers, in pain and weariness, pushed bravely on to the south-west.
Could they but reach the river's bank, they might find fish and fresh
water and still live.

On the seventh night they halted in a small grove of stunted trees,
after a long day's travel, worn out with fatigue and hunger. The
Indian had not, for the last five days, had a morsel of food, and was
terribly emaciated; the others had fasted three days, and were almost
as much reduced and enfeebled. They had scarcely sufficient strength
among them to cut down wood for their fire, and collect and melt the
ice to slake their thirst; when they had heaped up a small bank of
snow, as shelter against the wind, they lay down almost helpless. A
few carrion moose-birds which had followed them for the last day, but
always out of reach of the guns, chattered among the trees. These
ill-omened visitors came closer and closer, as they saw the group
lying motionless, and chattered and hopped from branch to branch over
head, impatient for their prey. Meynell, making the exertion with
difficulty, cautiously seized his gun; but as he moved, the carrion
birds flew up into the air, and circled screaming above him; when he
became still, then again they approached. At last, by skilfully
watching his opportunity, he brought one of them down with a lucky
shot, and pounced on it greedily. The carrion and scanty spoil was
soon divided into three portions, and their share ravenously devoured
by the two men. After a little time they became deadly sick, the fire
spun round and round before their eyes, but at length Meynell fell
back in a heavy and almost death-like sleep. Atàwa had just strength
enough left to fold the blanket close round the sleeper, and cast a
little more wood on the fire, when she too sank down exhausted.

The Indian had till now borne the pangs of hunger with courage and
patience, but the morsel of food--the taste of blood, seemed to work
like intoxication upon him. As his sickness passed away, his eyes
glowed in their deep sockets, with a fierce and unnatural brightness.
His cheeks were withered up, and his black parched lips drawn back,
exposed his teeth in a horrible grin. Possessed with a momentary
strength, he raised himself on his hands and knees, and, grasping an
axe, moved stealthily towards the sleeper, madly thirsting for his
blood. Atàwa saw him coming, and guessed his terrible intent; she
shook Meynell faintly, and called to him to awake. He slowly opened
his eyes, and thought it but a horrid dream, when he saw the wild
glaring eyes of the savage fixed upon him, and the gaunt arm upraised
to strike, while Atàwa feebly tried to hold it back. The blow
descended the next moment, but the generous girl, unable to restrain
the maniac's force, threw herself in the way, and fell stricken
senseless on the snow. Her efforts had happily turned the edge of the
axe, and she was only stunned, not wounded. Meynell seized the Indian
by the throat; they struggled to their feet, and grappled closely
together: the madman's furious excitement lent him force for a time to
meet the greatly superior strength of his opponent but he failed
rapidly, his grasp relaxed, his eyes closed; Meynell, mustering all
his remaining energies, threw him back with violence, and then,
utterly exhausted in the struggle, fell himself also fainting to the
ground.

When he began to recover, the dim morning light was reflected from the
snowy waste, the fire was nearly burnt down, and the intensity of the
cold had probably awakened him. Atàwa still lay motionless; he tried
anxiously to arouse her, and at the same time to collect his scattered
thoughts, after the dreadful dream of the night before. She slowly
recovered, and opened her eyes to the sight of horror that presented
itself to their returning consciousness. Ta-ou-renche lay dead, and
half consumed in the fire: he had fallen stunned across the burning
logs, and perished miserably.

Then a sudden terror seized the survivors, and lent them renewed
strength; they scarcely cast a second look on the charred corpse, but
rose up and fled away together, leaving every thing behind. For hours
they hurried on, and exchanged never a word, Atàwa often casting a
terrified look behind, as though she thought she were pursued. About
mid-day, their failing limbs refused to carry them any farther, and
they lay down on the trunk of a fallen pine. The winter sun stood high
up in the cloudless heaven, pouring down its dazzling but chilly light
upon the frozen earth. To the dark line of the distant horizon, far as
the eye could reach lay the snowy desert. There was not a breath of
wind, no rustling leaves or murmuring waters, not a living thing
beside themselves breathed in that awful solitude; not a sound
awakened the echoes in its deathlike silence. Meynell's heart sank
within him; the brief energy lent him by the terror of the dreadful
scene he had left, yielded now to the reaction of despair. Their
throats were parched with thirst; the gnawing pangs of hunger racked
their wasted frames; they scarcely dared to look upon each other, so
fiercely burned the fire in their sunken eyes. He had ceased to hope;
with his feeble limbs stretched out, and his head rested on a branch,
he waited helplessly for death.

The Indian girl dragged herself slowly to his side, put a small phial
to his parched lips, and poured a few drops of brandy down his throat.
He immediately revived, and the failing pulse resumed its play. "You
shall still live," she said; "a few hours' journey more, and we shall
reach the river; by this time the white man will be selling the pine
trees on its banks. I have kept this fire-water hidden till there was
no other hope, and now it must save me too, that I may guide you." She
tasted the invigorating cordial sparingly, and now, animated with new
strength, they set out bravely once again. Slowly and painfully they
press on, often falling through exhaustion, but the strong hope and
the stronger will urges them still on. The character of the country
begins to change, the trees become thicker and of a larger growth, the
ground varied with rise and hollow; and at length, to their great joy,
a well-known hill appears in sight, beyond which they know the
wished-for river runs. They drain the last drop from the phial, and
again refreshed press on,--on, through the thick woods and falling
shades of night.

Then the moon arose in unclouded splendour; her silver rays, piercing
through the tall pine-trees, lighted them on their way, and in a
little time showed them a column of smoke rising from the far side of
the hill beyond the river into the still air. Hope was now almost a
certainty: they reached the high bank over the stream, but stumbling
and falling at nearly every step. In the vale beyond, they saw two or
three woodcutters' huts, lighted up by blazing watch-fires.

Meynell rushed impatiently on, his eyes fixed upon the hope-inspiring
lights. "Hold! hold!" cried Atàwa, vainly trying to restrain him, "one
step more, and you are lost!" But she spoke too late: ere the echoes
of her cry had ceased, Meynell's soul had gone to its last account. He
had approached too near the edge of the precipice: the snow gave way
beneath his feet; a moment more, and he lay a bleeding corpse upon the
ice-bound rocks below. Atàwa's despairing shrieks brought out the
inmates of the huts. They were obliged to use force, to separate her
from the lifeless body; she rent her hair, and tried to lay violent
hands upon herself, long refusing all sustenance. From her incoherent
words, they at length gathered something of her story, and the
probable fate of the rest of her tribe. Some of the woodmen
immediately started in hopes of rendering assistance to the unhappy
Montaignais; they found six of the families on their way, in the last
stage of starvation, and saved them, but all the rest of the tribe
perished in that barren land.

The following night the woodmen dug a hole, and laid the mangled
corpse to rest. It was so light and emaciated, that a child might have
borne it thither. They then heaped some snow over it, and, threading
their way by torchlight through the trees back to their huts, left it
without a blessing. So there he sleeps--unwept, save by the poor
Indian girl! his fate for years unknown to those who had wondered at
his gifts and beauty. His bones lie whitening in that distant land, no
friendly stone or sod to shelter them from the summer sun and wintry
frost.

Let us yet dare to hope, that in those last dark days of toil and
suffering, where life and death were in the balance, He, whose love is
infinite, may have made the terrible punishment of this world the
furnace wherein to melt that iron heart, and mould it to His ends of
mercy.



WAS RUBENS A COLOURIST?


I do not ask if Rubens was a man of genius. I am only questioning the
title, which has been so generally conferred upon him, of a colourist.
I am aware that a host of artists and connoisseurs will rather admire
the audacity of making the inquiry, than pursue it, through the
necessary disquisition, into the true principles of art. It may be
possible that the taste of the English school, and of our English
collectors, may have become to a degree vitiated. And with regard to
the former, the artists, (and I say it without at all denying their
great abilities,) it may be very possible, nay, it is certain, that
any vitiation of taste must be a blight upon their powers, natural or
acquired, however great. I believe this very reputation of Rubens as
the great colourist, has been extensively injurious to the British
School of Art, (if there be such a _school_.) It has been so often
repeated, that artists take it up as an established fact, not to be
denied; and have too blindly admired, and hence endeavoured (though
for lack of the material they have failed) to imitate him in this one
department, his colour. The result has been melancholy enough; an
inferior, flimsy, and flashy style has been engendered, utterly
abhorrent from any sound and true principle of colouring. Even in
Rubens, there is this tendency to the flimsy, to the light glitter,
rather than to the substantial glory of the art: but it is much
disguised under his daring hand, and by the use of that lucid vehicle
which, independent of subject, and even colour, is pleasing in itself.
There is always power in his pictures, for his mind was vigorous to a
degree; a power that throws down the gauntlet, as it were, with a
confidence that disdains any disguise or fear of criticism: a
confidence the more manifest in the defects, particularly of grossness
and anachronism, bringing them out strongly palpable and conspicuous
by a more vivid colouring, more determined opposition of dark and
light,--as if he should say, behold, I dare. And this power has the
usual charm of all power; it commands respect, and too often
obeisance. But Rubens' colour requires Rubens' power in the other
departments of art. To endeavour to imitate him in that respect, with
any the least weakness either of hand or design, is only to set the
weakness in a more glaring light, dressing it up, not in the gorgeous
array and real jewellery of the court, but in the foil and tinsel
glitter, and mock regality of a low theatrical pageantry. And this
would be the case even if we had in use his luscious vehicle; but with
an inferior one, too often with a bad one, the case of weakness is
aggravated, and not unseldom the presumption and the failure of an
attempt the more conspicuous.

I do not mean to say, that Rubens is universally imitated among us;
but where his peculiar style is not imitated, the vitiation to which
it has led is seen, in the general tendency of our artists, to shun
the deep and sober tones of the Italian school, and, as their phrase
is, to put as much daylight as possible into their works. But even
here I would pause to suggest, that _light_, daylight, in its _great_
characteristic, is more lustrous than white, and will be produced
rather by the lower than the lighter tones, as may be seen in the
pictures of Claude, whose key of colouring is many degrees lower than
in pictures which affect his light, without his means of attaining it.

It is surprising that there should be such inconsistency in the
decisions of taste; but this title of colourist has been bestowed
chiefly upon two painters, who in this very respect of colour were the
antipodes to each other, Titian and Rubens. Are there no steady sure
principles of colour? If there be, it is impossible that such
discordant judgments can be duly and justly given.

It will be necessary to refer to something of a first principle,
before we can come to any true notion of good colouring. And it is
surprising, when we consider its simplicity, that it should, at least
practically, have escaped the due notice of artists in general.

There are two things to be first considered in colour. Its
agreeability _per se_,--its charm upon the eye; and its adaptation to
a subject,--its _expressing the sentiment_.

However well it may express the palpable substance and texture of
objects that are but parts, if it fail in these first two rules, the
colour of a picture is not good. With regard to the first, its
agreeability. Is it a startling assertion to say, that this does not
depend upon its naturalness? That it does so is a common opinion.
Aware, however, that the term naturalness would lead to a deeper
disquisition than I here mean to enter upon, I shall take it in its
common meaning, as it represents the common aspect of nature. Now,
besides that this aspect is subject to an almost infinite variety by
changes of atmosphere, and other accidents, affording the artist a
very wide range from which to select, it has a characteristic as
important as its light and its dark of colour,--_its illumination_; so
that a sacrifice (for art is a system of compensation) of one visible
truth, say a very light key, does not necessarily render a picture
less natural, if it attain that superior characteristic, which by the
other method it would not attain.

Then, again, that very variety of nature, by its multiplicity,
disposes the mind ever to look for a constant change and new effect,
so that we are not easily startled by any actual unnaturalness, unless
it be very strange indeed, and entirely out of harmony, one part with
another, as we should be were one aspect only and constantly presented
to us. This may be exemplified by a dark mirror--and, better still, by
a Claude glass, as it is called, by which we look at nature through
coloured glasses. We do not the less recognise nature--nay, it is
impossible not to be charmed with the difference, and yet not for a
moment question the truth. I am not here discussing the propriety of
using such glasses--it may be right or it may be wrong, according to
the purpose the painter may have; I only mean to assert, that nature
will bear the changes and not offend any sense. The absolute
naturalness, then, of the colour of nature, in its strictest and most
limited sense, local and aerial, is not so necessary as that the eye
cannot be gratified without it. And it follows, that agreeability of
colour does not depend upon this strict naturalness.

I said, that it is of the first importance that the colouring be
agreeable _per se_; that, without any regard to a subject, the eye
should be gratified by the general tone, the harmony of the parts, and
the quality--namely, whether it be opaque or transparent, and to what
degree. There are certain things that we greatly admire on this very
account--such as all precious gems, polished and lustrous stones and
marbles, especially those into which we can look as into a transparent
depth.

A picture, therefore, cannot be said to be well coloured unless this
peculiar quality of agreeability be in it. To attain this, much
exactness may be sacrificed with safety. It should be considered
indispensable.

And this perfect liberty of altering to a certain degree the
naturalness of colouring, leads properly to that second essential--its
adaptation to a subject, or its _expressing the sentiment_. For it is
manifest, that if we can, without offending, alter the whole aspect of
nature in most common scenes, we can still more surely do so when the
scenes are at all ideal or out of the common character. And we can do
it likewise without a sacrifice of truth, in the higher sense of
_truth_, as a term of art or of poetry.

For the mind also _gives its own colouring_, or is unobservant of some
colours which the eye presents, and makes from all presented to it its
own selections and combinations, and suits them to its own conception
and creation. It has always been admitted that the painter's mind does
this with objects of form, omitting much, generalizing or selecting
few particulars. Now if this power be admitted with regard to objects
themselves, as to their forms and actual presence, why should it not,
with equal propriety, be extended to the colours of those objects,
even though they have a sensible effect upon the scenes which are
before us? But, as was said, _the mind colours_; it is not the slave
to the organ of sight, and in the painter, as in the poet, asserts its
privilege of _making_, delighting even to "exhaust worlds" and
"imagine new." It takes for an imperial use the contributions the eye
is ever offering, but converts them into riches of its own. It will
not be confined by space, nor limited by time, but gathers from the
wide world, and even beyond its range. Thus, in the simple yet
creative enthusiasm of his passion, did Burns gather, at one moment,
the flowers of all seasons, and all

    "To pu' a posy for his ain sweet May;"

and cold would be the criticism that would stop to note the
impossibility; yet was it a great truth, the garden was his own heart,
and his every wish a new flower. Here they all were.

It is the misfortune of art that this great power of the mind over
materials is not sufficiently and practically admitted. In colouring
we seem to have altogether abandoned the idea of invention. We go
quite contrary to the practice of those good architects of other ages,
who spoke and painted by their art; who invented because they felt the
religious awe, that solemn _chiaro-scuro_--and the painted windows,
not gorgeous and flaring with large masses of unmixed colours, (as are
the unmeaning windows the modern Templars have put up in their
ill-painted church, in which, too, the somewhat tame and dead
Byzantine colouring of the walls agrees not with the overpowering
glass of the windows;) these old architects, I say, affecting the "dim
religious light," and knowing the illumination and brilliancy of their
material, took colours without a name, for the most part neither raw
reds, nor blues, nor yellows, but mixed, and many of a low and subdued
tone; and so, when these windows represented subjects, the designs had
a suitable quaintness, a formality, a saint-like immutability, a holy
repose; and the very strong colours were sparingly used, and in very
small spaces; and the divisions of the lead that fastened the parts
together had doubtless, in the calculation of the architect, their
subduing effect. Religious poetry--the highest poetry, consequently
the highest truth--was here. There are who might prefer the modern
conventicle, with its glare of sunshine, and white glass, and bare,
unadorned, white-washed walls, and justify their want of taste by a
reference to nature, whose light and atmosphere, they will tell you,
they are admitting. And like this is the argument of many an artist,
when he would cover the poverty of his invention under the plea of his
imitation of nature--a plea, too, urged in ignorance of nature, for
nature does actually endeavour--if such a word as endeavour maybe used
where all is done without effort--to subdue the rawness of every
colour, and even to stain the white-wash we put upon her works, and
covers the lightest rocks with lichen.

But as the mind _colours_, and absolute naturalness is not necessary,
it results that there must be a science by which the mind can effect
its purpose.

For the cultivation of a sense arises from a want which the mind alone
at first feels, and to the mind in that state of desire things speak
suggestively that were before mute; discoveries are made into the
deeper and previously hidden secrets of nature, and new means are
invented of gratifying the awakened senses. Hence all art which is
above the merely common and uncultivated sense. All we see and all we
hear takes a vitality not its own from our thoughts, mixes itself (as
aliment does, and becomes our substance) with our intellectual
texture, and is anew created.

Winds might have blown, and wild animals have uttered their cries, but
it was the heightened imagination that heard them _howl_ and _roar_.
And it was from a further cultivation of the sense, giving forth, at
every step, new wants, that the nature of all sounds was investigated
and music invented--science but discovering wonderful mysteries,
secrets, and gifted faculties drawing them out of their deep
hiding-places, making them palpable, and combining and converting them
into humanities whereby mankind may be delighted and improved.

If, then, the ear has its science, so has the eye. There is the
mystery of colours as well as of sounds. Nor can it be justly said
that we are out of nature because we pursue that mystery beyond its
commonly perceptible and outward signs to its more intricate truths;
nay, on the contrary, as we have thereby _more_ of those truths, we
have _more_ of nature; and we know them to be truths by their power
and by their adoption.

This science of colour has been, perhaps, too much neglected. In
conversing with artists, one is surprised how little attention they
have paid to it; and even where it has been studied, it is only upon
its surface, and by those well known diagrams which show the
oppositions.

Few, indeed, consider colouring as a means of telling the story--as at
all sympathetic. In an historical subject, more attention is paid to
the exact naturalness of the light, the time of day, the local
colouring of the objects, as they probably were, than upon those tones
and hues which best belong to the feeling which the action represented
is meant to convey: by which practice an unnaturalness is too often
the result; for there is forced upon the eye a vividness and variety
of colours, in dresses, accessories, and the scene, which one present
at the action would never have noticed--which, as the feeling would
have rejected, so would the obedient eye have left undistinguished;
and we know how the eye is obedient to the feelings and withholds
impressions, and in the midst of crowds, to use a common expression,
will "fix itself on vacancy." It will do even more; it will adopt the
colouring which the feeling suggests--will set aside what is, and
assume what is not. Thus, in reading some melancholy tale, the very
scene becomes

    "Sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought;"

and thus it is that actually the eye aids tile imagination while it

    "Breathes a browner horror o'er the woods."

This neglect of colour as an end, as a means of narration, and as a
sympathy, is peculiar to modern art. And hence it is, that there is
less feeling among us for works of the Italian schools, than for those
less poetical, and too often mean and low ones of the Dutch and
Flemish. I mean not here to pass any censure on the colouring of the
Dutch and Flemish schools; it was admirable in its lucid and
harmonious, but mostly so in its imitative, character. Their subjects
seldom allowed scope for any high aim at sympathetic colouring: both
appealed to the eye,--not without exceptions, however,--to mention one
only, Rembrandt, whose colouring was generally ideal, and by it mostly
was the story told. But one perfection of colour they almost all of
them had, that agreeability, that gem-like lustre and richness, which
I spoke of as one of the essentials of good colouring. And in this,
even where modern art has professed to work upon the model of the
Flemish school, it has failed, and by endeavouring to go beyond that
school in brightness, has fallen very far short of its excellence; for
in the very light key that has been adopted, and the prevalence of
positive white, it has lost sight of that mellowness and illumination
which is so great a charm in the Dutch and Flemish pictures. It has,
too, mistaken lightness for brightness, and a certain chalkiness has
been the result. And artists who have fallen into this error,
perceiving, as they could not fail to do, this bad effect, have
endeavoured to divert the eye from this unpleasantness, by force, by
extreme contrasts of glazed dark, by vividness of partial crude
colours, and by the violence of that most disagreeable of all
pigments, as destructive of all real depth and atmosphere--asphaltum.

In our assuming, then, this very high, this white key, we deviate from
the practice of every good school. It is not desirable that this
should be the peculiarity of the English school; but it certainly has
too great a tendency that way. The Dutch and Flemish are of a much
lower key, and the Italian of a lower still. Even in their landscape
it is remarkable, that the painters whose country was the lightest,
should have adopted the deepest tones; and that the landscapes of
their historical painters are of all the deepest, and they were the
best landscape painters. What exquisite richness and depth, and
jewel-like glow, is there in the landscape of Titian, and Giorgione;
and what illumination, that superior characteristic of nature, so much
overlooked now a-days. And yet our country is, from our atmosphere,
darker than theirs, and presents a greater variety of deep tones and
nameless colours. And as I before mentioned, the admired Claude, whom
I rank of the Italian school, is of a very low key, delighting in
masses of deep tones. And it is remarkable that his trees are never
edged out light with Naples yellow, as our artists are fond of doing,
but are mostly in dark masses, and whether near or distant, singly or
in groups, are always without any strong and vivid colour. His object
seems to have been to paint atmosphere not light, or rather that free
penetrating light which he best effected by his lower key. And from
this cause it is, that the eye rests, is filled, satisfied by the
general effect, is never irritated either by too much whiteness, or
too vivid colours; for he knew well that such irritation, though at
first it attracts and forces attention, is after a while painful, and
should therefore at any sacrifice be avoided.

But, to return to colouring as an expression. Here is a great field
for practical experiment. On this subject I will quote a passage from
the Sketcher in Maga of Sept. 1833.

"As in music all notes have their own expression, and combinations of
them have such diversity of effect upon the mind, may not the analogy
hold good with regard to colours? Has not every colour its own
character? And have not combinations of them effects similar to
certain combinations in sounds? This is a subject well worth the
attention of any one who has leisure and disposition to take it up:
and I am persuaded that the old masters either worked from a knowledge
of this art, or had such an instinctive perception of it, that it is
to be discovered in their works. Suppose a painter were to try various
colours on boards, and combinations of them--place them before him
separately with fixed attention, and then examine the channels into
which his thoughts would run. If he were to find their character to be
invariable, and peculiar to each of the boards put before him, he
would learn that before he trusts his subject to the canvass, he
should question himself as to the sentiment he intends it to express,
and what combination of colours would be consentient or dissentient to
it.

"This will certainly account for the colours of the old (particularly
the historical) painters being so much at variance with common nature,
sometimes glaringly at variance with the locality and position of the
objects represented." "This knowledge of the effect of colours is
certainly very remarkable in the Bolognese school. Who ever saw
Corregio's backgrounds in nature, or indeed the whole colour of his
pictures, including figures? Examine his back-ground to his Christ in
the garden--what a mystery is in it! The Peter Martyr, at first sight,
from the charm of truth that genius has given to it, might pass for
the colour of common nature; but examine the picture as an artist, and
you will come to another conclusion, and you will the more admire
Titian."

Some critics have been misled by the simplicity of art in this
masterpiece of Titian's, and have greatly admired the exactness with
which he has drawn and coloured every object; but they have been
deceived by that perfect unity which exists in all its parts, and have
wrongly conceived the kind of naturalness of the picture. It is full
of this sympathetic naturalness of colour; we are thoroughly
satisfied, and ascribe that general naturalness to each particular
part. Indeed if it were altogether in colour and forms no more than
common nature, there would be no real martyrdom in it--it would be but
a vulgar murder; but every part is in sympathy with the sentiment. Had
Titian merely represented the clear sky of Italy, and brought out
prominently green-leaved trees and herbage, because such things are,
and were in such a scene where this martyrdom was suffered, the
picture would not have been as it is, and must ever be, the admiration
of the world and a monument of the genius of Titian. There was wanted
a sky in which angels might come and go, and hover with the promise of
the crown and glory of martyrdom, and there must be an under and more
terrestrial sky, still grand and solemn, such as might take up the
tale of horror, and tell it among the congenial mountains; and such
there is in the voluminous clouds about the distant cliffs. And it is
very observable that, in this picture, Titian, the colourist, is most
sparing of what we are too fond of calling colour.[10] Colour, indeed,
there is, and of the greatest variety, but it is all of the subdued
hues, with which the very ground and trees are clothed, that nothing
shall presume to shine out of itself in the presence of the announcing
angels, and to be unshrouded before such a deed.

I remember, I think it was about three years ago, a picture which well
exemplifies this ideal colouring. It was exhibited at the Institution;
it was of a female saint to whom the infant Saviour appears, by P.
Veronese. The very excellence of the colouring was in its _natural_
unnaturalness; I say natural, because it was perfectly true to the
mystic dream, the saintly vision; a more common natural would have
ruined it. No one ever, it is true, saw such a sky--but in a gifted
trance it is such as would alone be seen, acknowledged, and remembered
as of a heavenly vision. All the colouring was like it, rich and
glorifying and unearthly, and imitative of the sanctifying light in
old cathedrals. The sky was of very mixed tones and hues of green. The
entire scene of the vision was thus hemmed in with the light and glory
of holiness, apart from the world's ideas and employments. Why should
modern painters be afraid of thus venturing into the ideal of
colouring? Never was there a greater mistake, than that the common
natural can represent the ideal. Wilkie with all his acuteness and
good sense was bewildered with a notion of their union, and thought
his sketches from the Holy Land would assist him in painting sacred
subjects; whereas the truth is, that the very realities before his
eyes would unpoeticise his whole mind; instead of trusting to his
feeling, to his visionary dream, he would begin to doubt, as he did,
what should be the exact costume, if his figures should stand or sit
as Asiatics. As we are removed from events by time, so should we be by
thought; we pass over an extensive region, and the clouds of days and
of nights pursue us out of it, and we look back upon it in our memory,
as under another light--the land itself, by distance and by memory
making it a part of our minds, more than of our vision, becomes
fabulous; it is no longer one for common language, but for song; and
so the pencil that would paint it must be dipped in the colours of
poetry. Memory glazes, to use a technical word, every scene. "The
resounding sea and the shadowy mountains are far between us," as Homer
says, and those fabulous territories that we love to revisit in the
dreams of poetic night. There are no muses with their golden harps on
Highgate Hill; nor would the painter that would paint them be over
wise to expect a glimpse of their white feet on the real
Parnassus.[11] As to nature in art, we make too much of a little
truth, neglecting the greater. It is not every creation that is
revealed to the eye; even to adore and to admire properly, we must
imagine a more beautiful than we see. The inventions of genius are but
discoveries in regions of a higher nature.

          "God's work invisible,
    Not undiscover'd, their true stamp impress
    On thought, creation's mirror, wherein do dwell
    His unattained wonders numberless."

Of late years some painters have taken up the novelty of representing
scriptural subjects as under the actual scenery and climate of the
holy land, and attempted besides to portray the characteristics of the
race,--a thing never dreamed of by the great painters of history. They
are partial to skies hot and cloudless, and to European feelings not
agreeable; forgetful of a land of promise and of wonder, and that
these subjects belong, and must be modified to the mental vision of
every age and country. They abhor the voluminous and richly coloured
clouds, as unnatural. Can they not feel the passage--

    "Who maketh the clouds his chariot?"

Let then, not only their forms, but their colours too, be as far as
may be worthy Him whom they are said to bear. They are, as it were,
the folding and unfolding volumes wherein the history of all creation
is written. As they are prominent in the language of poetry, so should
they ever be the materials for poetic art.

I speak of this noble character of cloud skies, because a writer of
more persuasive power than mature judgement,--the Author of "Modern
Painters,"--has condemned them; that he has not felt them is
surprising. He has, however, in his second, in many respects admirable
part, manifested such change of opinion, and has shown such a growing
admiration for the old masters, whom in his first volume he treated
with so little respect, nay, with perfect contempt, that I cannot
doubt the operation of his better judgment, when in prosecuting his
subject, he will be led to consider the use of these materials of
nature to poetic art.

I must not, however, forget that I began this paper with questioning
the title of Rubens as a colourist. It has been shown, that I consider
no painter a colourist, who does not unite the two essentials of
colour,--agreeability, and its perfect sympathy with the subject.

I have endeavoured to show in what this agreeability consists. I have
not presumed to lay down any definite rules for the second great
essential; but I have endeavoured by illustration to enforce its
necessity; in this confident that a proper practice will follow, and
be the necessary result of a proper feeling. Now to speak of Rubens;
what are his characteristics as a colourist? Wherein lies his
excellence? I do not stop to repeat any of the extravagant praises
that have been so freely lavished upon him. But I would ask, is there
one _important_ picture by his hand, wherein the colour is of a
sentiment? Is there any one which, if you remove from it to such a
distance as not to see the subject in its particulars, will indicate
by its colouring what sort of narrative is to be told by a nearer
inspection? Try him by those in our National Gallery. I will take
first, his most powerful, and one of a subject most advantageous
perhaps to his manner, because there is no very striking sentiment to
be conveyed by it; for he seems scarcely serious in his treatment of
this passage in the Roman history. I speak of his "Rape of the
Sabines." Inasmuch as it is a picture of glare, and fluster, and
confusion, it may be said to represent the subject; but such ought not
to be the _sentiment_ of it. But inasmuch as it has this glare, and is
entirely deficient in all repose of colour, (for it is not requisite
to representation of violent action, that there should not be _that_
character of repose of colour which the essential agreeability
demands,) the eye cannot rest upon it with satisfaction as a whole.
You must approach it then nearer, to see how the particular objects
are coloured. You will be pleased with the skill with which one colour
is set off by another; and, doubtless, you will acknowledge a certain
truth in the flesh tints: but all this while you are led away from the
subject, draw no conclusion from it as a whole, and are induced to
examine a detail which, however coloured with skill, and powerfully
executed, is vulgar and disgusting. A mere trifle more of gross
vulgarity would turn it into caricature, and you would think, that
Rubens had been a successfully laborious satirist upon the narrative
of the Roman historian. I confess that, but for its technical merits,
which are lost upon most of the visitors of the Gallery, the picture
would give me no pleasure whatever, nay, much disgust, as altogether
derogatory to the dignity of art.

I purposely pass by his allegorical pictures as mere furniture for
walls, not being subjects of sentiment; nor should I very much care if
his "Peace and War" were in the sorry condition which has been wrongly
given to it.

Examine then the Judgment of Paris. Here is a subject most favourable
for him. It shows glaringly the defect of his manner. Admit that his
flesh tints are most natural, that they are beautiful; has he not
sacrificed too much to make them so? All, excepting these nude
figures, is monotonous, has no relation by any tint to the figures, or
to any idea of sentiment such a subject may be supposed to convey. The
single excellence lies in the flesh-colouring of the three goddesses.
But when I use the word excellence, I do not mean to say that in this
respect he surpasses any other painter, as I will presently show. Now,
there is a peculiarity in Rubens' method, and which strictly belongs
to his colouring, from which arises what may be not improperly
designated flimsiness, that is, the leaving too much of the first
getting in of his picture, the first transparent sketchy brown. If in
some respect this gives force to the more solid parts, by the contrast
of the transparent with the opaque, yet is it rather a flashy force,
in which the means become too visible; an entire _substance_ is
wanted; we come too immediately to the bare ground of the canvass. And
this first colouring being a mere brown, not deserving the name of
colour, as it is not the real colour of the objects upon which it is
disposed, is in entire disagreement with the studied truth to nature
in the other parts. There is every reason to believe that Rubens,
after his return from Italy, was aware of this, by his partially
adopting the Italian method of more generally solid painting and after
glazing; but he returned to the Flemish method, and as it certainly
was the more expeditious, it may have better suited his hand, and the
demands upon it. Now, here it may be remarked, that even for the first
essential--agreeability of colouring, that is, of the substance of the
paint--it is necessary that it should be rich, really a substance, not
a merely thin wash: such was the positive depth of even the shadowy
parts in the back grounds of Corregio; the paint itself is a rich
substance, with the lustrous depth of precious stones. So that it
would appear that there is in Rubens' style of colouring an original
incompleteness, destructive in part of the naturalness he would aim
at; it is a mannerism, very tolerable in such light works as those
lucid and charming pictures by Teniers where all is light and
unlaboured; but becoming a weakness where the other labour and the
subject are important.

Now, with regard to this celebrated excellence of his, in colouring
the nude, (and here it should be observed, that it is almost
exclusively in his female figures,) however natural it may be, is it
nature in its most agreeable, its most perfect colouring? It has been
said, and intended as praise, that the flesh looks as if it had fed
upon roses; but is it a praise? I should rather say it would not
unaptly express the thinness, the unsubstantialness of it, as of a
rose leaf surface merely. In form, indeed, the figures are any thing
but thin and unsubstantial: but I am considering only the colouring;
it is not rich; it has indeed the light and play of life, but it has
not the glow; it is a surface life, not life, warm life to the very
marrow, such as we see in the works of Titian and Giorgione. They did
not, as Rubens did, heighten the flesh with _pure white_; they
reserved the power of that for another purpose, preserving throughout
a lower tone, so that the eye shall not fasten upon any one particular
tint, the whole being of the character of the "_nimium lubricus
aspici_." Their _white_ and their _dark_, they artfully placed as
opposition, the cool white to set off the warmth, the life-glow of the
flesh, and the dark to make the low tone shine out fair; so that in
this very excellence of flesh painting, they were more perfect, that
one only approach to excellence, by which it should seem Rubens had
acquired his title as a colourist. But these painters, as well as many
others--though take only these, as the most striking contrasts to
Rubens--excelled also in the agreeability of their colouring, without
reference to subject, and in the sympathy with regard to it. So that
in them were united the two essentials. Whereas Rubens had in any
perfection neither; the one not at all, and the other only in a minor
part and degree.

Such was the _general_ character of Rubens' colouring. I do not mean
that there are no felicitous exceptions. I would notice--but there the
human figure is not--his lioness on a ledge of rock; there is an
entire absence of his strong and flickering colours: on the contrary
all is dim--the scenery natural to the animal, for it partakes of its
proper colours, (and this is strictly true, as the hare and the fox
conceal themselves by their assimilating earths and forms.) The
spectator advances upon the scene, unaware of the stealthily lurking
danger. The dimness and repose are of a terror, that contrast and
forcible colour would at least mitigate; the surprise would be lost,
or rather be altogether of another kind; it would arm you for the
danger, which becomes sublime by taking you unprepared. And there is
his little landscape with the sun shedding his rays through the hole
in the tree, where the sentiment of the obscure--the dim wood--is
enhanced by the bright gleam--and there is in this little picture a
whole agreeability of colour. His landscapes in general are, however,
very strange; rather eccentric than natural in colour, yet preserving
the intended atmospheric effect by an idealism of colouring not quite
in keeping with the unromantic commonness of the scenery.

But these exceptions do not indicate the _characteristics_ of Rubens
as a colourist; he is more known, and more imitated, as far as he can
be imitated, in the mannerism of his style which has been described.

Deficient, then, as I think him to have been in these two essentials,
I am still disposed to question his claim to the title, and to ask,
"Was Rubens a colourist?" If the answer be in the negative, it may be
worth while to consider the precise point from which his style may be
said to have deviated from the right road; nor is it here necessary to
particularise, but to refer to the Italian practice generally, which
will be found to consist chiefly in this--in the choosing a low key;
and for the greatest perfection of colouring, the proper union of the
two essentials of good colouring, it may be safe to refer, first to
the Venetian, the Lombard, and then to the Bolognese schools. Not that
the Roman school is altogether to be omitted. Out of his polished
style, Raffaelle is often excellent--both rich in tone, and, where he
is not remarkably so, often sentimental. Some of his frescoes, as the
Heliodorus, are good examples. And in that small picture in our
National Gallery, the "St Catherine," the sentiment of purity and
loveliness is admirably sustained in the colouring. There is in the
best pictures of that school no affected flashiness of high lights--no
flimsiness in the unsubstantial paint in the shadows; there is an
evenness throughout, which, if it reach not the perfection of
colouring, is the best substitute for it.

Power is not inconsistent with modesty--with forbearance. In the
flashy style, all the force is expended, and visibly so; and as in
that excess of power the flash of lightning is but momentary, we
cannot long bear the exhibition of such a power rendered continuous.
In the more modest--the subdued style--the artist conceals as much as
may be the very power he has used, thereby actually strengthening it;
for while you have all you want, you know not how much may be in
reserve, and you feel it unseen, or may believe it to be unseen, when
in fact it is before your eyes, though half veiled for a purpose.

Let not any painter who would be a colourist deceive himself into the
belief that the most vivid and unmixed colours are the best for his
art, nor that even they are the truest to nature, in whatever sense he
may take the word nature. It is easy enough to lay on crude vermilion,
lake, and chrome yellows; yet the colours that shall be omitted shall
be infinite, and by far more beautiful than the chosen, and for which,
since the generality are not painters, nor scientific in the effects
of colours, there are no names. Let a painter who would have so
limited a scale and view of colour do his best, and the first
flower-bed he looks at will shame him with regard to those very
colours he has adopted, as with regard to those thousand shades of
hues, mixed and of endless variety, which are still more beautiful. We
scarcely ever in nature see a really unmixed colour; and that the
mixed are the most agreeable may be more than conjectured, from the
fact that, of the three, the blue, the red, and the yellow, the
mixture of the two will be so unsatisfactory, that the mind's eye
will, when withdrawn, supply the third.

A few words only remain to be said. To complete, practically,
agreeability of colouring, there is wanting a more perfect vehicle for
our colours. Much attention has, of late years, been directed to this
subject; and there is every reason to believe not in vain. I wait,
impatiently enough, Mr Eastlake's other volume, in which he promises
to treat of the Italian methods. He has been indefatigable in
collecting materials,--has an eye to know well what is wanted; and, as
a scholar and collector of all that has been written on art, in
Italian, as well as other languages, has the best sources from which
to gather isolated facts, which, put together, may lead to most
important discoveries.

Mrs Merrifield, also, whose translation from Cennino Cennini, and
whose works on fresco painting are so valuable, has been collecting
materials abroad, and will shortly publish her discoveries. The two
proofs to which we are to look are documents and chemistry. The secret
of Van Eyck may have been found out, but its modification under the
Italian practice will be, perhaps, the more important discovery. I am
glad also to learn, that Mr Hendrie intends to publish entire with
notes, the "De Magerne MS." in the British Museum. I believe artists
are already giving up the worst of vehicles, the meguilp, made of
mastic, of all the varnishes the most ready to decompose, as well as
to separate the paint, and produce those unseemly gashes which have
been the ruin of so many pictures.

Whether colour be considered in its agreeability, _per se_, or in its
sympathetic, its sentimental application,--for the attainment of
either end, it is of the highest importance to resume the very
identical vehicle, and the mode of using it, which were the vehicle
and the methods of Titian, Giorgione, and Corregio, and generally of
the old masters. Yours ever,

                                              A----s.

    _4th June, 1847._

FOOTNOTES:

[10] Titian's palette was most simple: the great variety in the
colouring of his pictures was effected by the fewest and most common
colours--browns I believe he did not use, of which we boast to possess
so many; the ochres, red and yellow, with his black and blue, made
most or all of his deepest tones, the great depth being given, by
glazing over with the same, and touching in here and there slight
varieties, more or less of the red or yellow, lighter or darker being
used in these repetitions. Hence the harmony of his general
tones--upon which, as the subject required them, he laid his more
vivid colours. I believe the best painters have used the simplest
palette--the fewest colours. Our own Wilson is said to have replied to
one who told him a new brown was discovered, "I am sorry for it." But
by far the most injurious of all our pigments is asphaltum; it always
gives rather rottenness than depth.

[11] Mr Etty has written a letter, which has been lithographed and
widely circulated, bearing so directly upon this subject, that I
cannot refrain from noticing it. And this I do, because the authority
of a Royal Academician, and one, I believe, selected to be judge in
the distribution of the prizes in Westminster Hall Exhibition, cannot
but have an influence, both with the public and the rising professors
of the art.

He speaks of his high purposes in his choice of the subject of Joan of
Arc and other pictures, and the process by which those purposes were
brought to completion. He tells us, that in his enthusiasm he visited,
as a pilgrim, the spot where the heroic and tragic scenes of his
subject were enacted. He presumes that the houses there are now pretty
much what they were then; and he has thought an exact representation
of them necessary to historical truth, and he has accordingly
introduced them.

Enthusiasm is good, but it should in this, as in all human concerns of
importance, be under the guidance of strong principles. Now here the
principles of historical painting, which separate that great act from
the lower and imitative, are violated.

Had an eyewitness described as he felt the event which Mr Etty has
undertaken to paint, would he have told of or portrayed to the mind's
eye, and prominently, the very houses, with all their real accidents
of material and colours, so that, were a tile off a roof, your
sympathy must be made to stay for the noticing it?

This precision is not for historical painting, for it is in antagonism
with poetry, (which is feeling high-wrought, by imagination.) It is
wrong in colouring as in design. With regard to the first, the
question should be asked--How would memory have coloured it to the
spectator in his after vision? How would imagination colour it in the
page of history? Details of this kind are sure to vulgarise a subject,
and by their little truths destroy the greater--the heroism, the
devotion--to which the eye would most naturally have been riveted, so
as to have seen little else, and to have been quite out of a condition
to arithmetise the pettinesses of things. Such treatment would better
suit the levity of the author of the "Pucelle" than the grave
historian or the still more serious and impressive historical painter.
It is very important that Mr Etty, if he is likely to be again
selected to pronounce judgment upon works of the competitors for
rewards in historical painting and honour, revise his opinions, and
test them by the established principles which are applicable alike to
poetry and to painting; and without the practical use of which,
genius, if it could co-exist, would be but an inane and objectless
extravagance.



THE AMERICAN LIBRARY.[12]


We are not--as the title placed at the head of this paper, till
further explained, might seem to imply--we are not about to pass in
review the whole literature of America. Scanty as that youthful
literature is, and may well confess itself to be, it would afford
subject for a long series of papers. Besides, the more distinguished
of its authors are generally known, and fairly appreciated, and we
should have no object nor interest just at present in determining,
with perhaps some nearer approach to accuracy than has hitherto been
done, the merits of such well-known writers as Irving, Cooper,
Prescott, Emerson, Channing, and others. But the series now in course
of publication by Messrs Wiley and Putnam, under the title of "Library
of American Books," has naturally attracted our attention, bringing as
it were some works before us for the first time, and presenting
what--after a few distinguished names are bracketed off--may be
supposed to be a fair specimen of the popular literature of that
country.

It will be seen that we have taken up a pretty large handful for
present examination. Our collection will be acknowledged, we think, to
be no bad sample of the whole. At all events we have shaken from our
sheaf two or three unprofitable cars, and _one_ in particular so
empty, and so rotten withal, that to hang over it for close
examination was impossible. How it happens that the publishers of the
series have admitted to the "Library of American Books" as if it were
_a book_--a thing called "Big Abel and The Little Manhattan," is to
us, at this distance from the scene of operations, utterly
inexplicable. It is just possible that the author may have earned a
reputable name in some other department of letters; pity, then, he
should forfeit both it, and his character for sanity, by this
outrageous attempt at humour. Perhaps he is the potent editor of some
American broad-sheet, of which publishers stand in awe. We know not;
of this only we are sure, that more heinous trash was never before
exposed to public view. We read two chapters of it--more we are
persuaded than any other person in England has accomplished--and then
threw it aside with a sort of charitable contempt. For the sake of all
parties, readers, critics, publishers and the author himself, it
should be buried, at once, out of sight, with other things noisome and
corruptible.

On the other hand, we shall be able to introduce to our readers
(should it be hitherto unknown to them) one volume, at least, which
they will be willing to transfer from the American to the English
library. The "Mosses from an old Manse," is occasionally written with
an elegance of style which may almost bear comparison with that of
Washington Irving; and though certainly it is inferior to the works of
that author in taste and judgment, and whatever may be described as
artistic talent, it exhibits deeper traces of thought and reflection.
What can our own circulating libraries be about? At all our places of
summer resort they drug us with the veriest trash, without a spark of
vitality in it, and here are tales and sketches like these of
Nathaniel Hawthorne, which it would have done one's heart good to have
read under shady coverts, or sitting--no unpleasant lounge--by the
sea-side on the rolling shingles of the beach. They give us the
sweepings of Mr Colburn's counter, and then boastfully proclaim the
zeal with which they serve the public. So certain other servants of
the public feed the eye with gaudy advertisements of every generous
liquor under heaven, and retail nothing but the sour ale of some
crafty brewer who has contrived to bind them to his vats and his
mash-tub.

The first book we opened of this series is one called, with a charming
alliteration, "Views and Reviews," by the author of "The Yemassee,
&c." whom we fortunately learn, from another quarter, to be a
gentleman of the more commodious name of Mr Sims; and the first words
which caught our eye were "Americanism in Literature," printed in
capital letters, it being the title of an essay which has for its
object to stimulate the Americans to the formation of a national
literature. This appears to be a favourite subject with a certain
class of their writers, more distinguished for ardour than for
judgment. Mrs Margaret Fuller, in her Papers on Literature and Art, is
also eloquent on the same theme. Let us first hear Mr Sims. There is
in this gentleman's enthusiasm a business-like air which is highly
amusing.

"Americanism in Literature. This is the right title. It indicates the
becoming object of our aim. Americanism in our literature is scarcely
implied by the usual phraseology. American literature _seems to be a
thing certainly_--_but it is not the thing exactly_. To put
Americanism in our letters, is to do a something much more important.
The phrase has a peculiar signification which is worth our
consideration. By a liberal extension of the courtesies of criticism,
we are already in possession of a due amount of American authorship;
but of such as is individual and properly peculiar to ourselves, we
cannot be said to enjoy much. Our writers are numerous--quite as many
perhaps as, in proportion to our years, our circumstances, and
necessities, might be looked for amongst any people. But, with very
few exceptions, their writings might as well be European. They are
European. The writers think after European models, draw their stimulus
and provocation from European books, fashion themselves to European
tastes, and look chiefly to the awards of European criticism. This is
to denationalise the American mind. _This is to enslave the national
heart--to place ourselves at the mercy of the foreigner, and to yield
all that is individual in our character and hope, to the paralysing
influence of his will, and frequently hostile purposes._"--(P. 1.)

All the literati of Europe are manifestly in league to sap the
constitution and destroy the independence of America; and, at this
very time, its own men of letters:--the traitors!--are seeking a
European reputation. Truly a state of alarm which may be described as
unparalleled. "A nation," says our most profound and original patriot,
"_must do its own thinking, as well as its own fighting_, for as truly
as all history has shown that the people who rely for their defence in
battle on foreign mercenaries, inevitably become their prey; so the
nation falls a victim to that genius of another to which she passively
defers." Fearful to contemplate. There can be no safety for the United
States as long as people will read Bulwer and Dickens instead of our
"Yemassee," and our "Wigwams and Cabins."

But a national literature--will it come for any calling to it? Will it
come the sooner for the banishment of all other literature? If Mr Sims
makes his escape into the woods, and sits there naked and ignorant as
a savage, will inspiration visit him? Will trying to _un_educate his
mind, however successful he may be in the attempt,--and he has really
carried his efforts in this direction to a most heroic length--exactly
enable him, or any other, to compete with this dreaded influence of
foreign literature? And if not, what other measures are to be taken
against this insidious enemy? We see none.

But no nation was ever hurt, as far as we have heard, by the light of
genius shining on it from another. And as to this national
literature--though it will not obey the conjurations of Mr Sims, we
may be quite sure that, in due time, it will make its appearance.
America can no more _begin_ a literature, no more start fresh from its
woods and its prairies, than we here in England could commence a
literature, neither can it any more abstract itself from the influence
of its own institutions, the temper of its people, its history, its
natural scenery, than we here in England can manumit ourselves from
the influence of the age in which we live. These things determine
themselves by their own laws. You may as well call out to the tides of
the ocean to flow this way or that, as think to control these great
tidal movements of the human mind. America cannot _begin_ a
literature, for it must look up to the same wellhead, or rather to the
same mountain streams as ourselves; neither do we suppose that it is
seriously anxious to disclaim all connexion with Bacon and Shakspeare,
Milton and Locke; but it can, and will, continue and carry on a
literature of its own in a separate stream, branching from what we
must be permitted to call, for some time at least, the main current;
and which, now diverging from that, and now approaching to it, will at
length wear for itself a deep and independent channel.

But such slow and gradual progress of things by no means suits the
impetuous patriotism of Mr Sims. He is possessed evidently with the
idea that some great explosion of national genius would suddenly take
place, if the people would but resolve upon it. It is an affair of
public opinion, like any other measure of policy; if but the universal
suffrage could be brought to bear upon it, the thing were done; it is
from the electoral urn that the whole scroll of poets and philosophers
is to be drawn. "Let the nation," he solemnly proclaims, "_but yield a
day's faith to its own genius, and that day will suffice for
triumph!_... Our development," he continues, "depends upon our faith
in what we are, and in our independence of foreign judgment." One
would think Mr Sims was fighting over again the war of independence.
Or has some old speech of Mr O'Connell's on the repeal of the union
got shuffled amongst his papers? One expects the sentence to close
with the reiterated quotation,--

    "Who would be _free_, themselves must strike the blow!"

As the freedom Mr Sims is struggling for, is the release from superior
genius, superior intelligence, from philosophy and taste, we may
surely congratulate him, at least, on his own personal attainment of
it. He has "struck the blow" for himself--whatever blow was necessary.
He is free. Free, and as barren, as the north wind. Free as the loose
and blinding sand upon a gusty day--and about as pleasing and as
profitable. His "Views and Reviews" demonstrate in every page that he
has quite liberated himself from all those fetters and prejudices
which, in Europe, go under the name of truth and common sense.

Mrs or Miss Margaret Fuller--the titlepage does not enable us to
determine which is the correct designation, but, in the absence of
proof to the contrary, we shall bestow, what we hope we shall not
offend a lady who has written upon "Woman in the Nineteenth Century"
by still calling the more honourable title--Mrs Margaret Fuller has
touched upon the same theme in her papers upon literature and art.
She, too, sighs impatiently after a national literature. In an essay
devoted to the subject, she thus commences:--"It does not follow,
because many books are written by persons born in America, that there
exists an American literature. Before such can exist, _an original
idea must animate this nation_, and fresh currents of life must call
into life fresh thoughts along its shores."--(Vol. ii. p. 122.)

An original idea!--and such as is to animate a whole nation! Certainly
it sounds fit and congruous that the new world, as their continent has
been called, should give us a new truth; and yet, as this new world
was, in fact, peopled by inhabitants from the old, who have carried on
life much in the same way as it has been conducted in the ancient
quarters of the globe, we fear there is little more chance of the
revelation of a great original idea in one hemisphere than the other.

"We use the language of England," continues the lady, "and receive in
torrents the influence of her thought, yet it is, in many respects,
uncongenial and injurious to our constitution. What suits Great
Britain, with her insular position, _and consequent need to
concentrate and intensify her life_," (we hope our readers
understand--we cannot help them if they do not,) "with her limited
monarchy and spirit of trade, does not suit a mixed race, continually
enriched with new blood from other stocks the most unlike that of our
first descent, with ample field and verge enough to range in, and
leave every impulse free, and abundant opportunity to develop a
genius, wide and full as our rivers, _flowery_, _luxuriant_, _and
impassioned as our vast prairies_, _rooted in strength as the rocks on
which the Puritan fathers landed_."

If the future genius of America is to write "to order," as some appear
to think, it would be difficult to give him, a more perplexing
programme than the lady here lays down. This rock of the Puritans,
standing amongst the luxuriant, flowery, and _impassioned_ prairies,
presents a very heterogeneous combination. And whether one who had
rooted himself upon such a rock would altogether approve the "leaving
every impulse free," may admit of a question.

But it is altogether a superfluous and futile anxiety which agitates
these writers. A national literature the Americans will assuredly
have, if they have a literature at all. It cannot fail to assume a
certain national colour, although it would be impossible beforehand to
fix and determine it. No effort could prevent this. And how egregious
a mistake to imagine that they would hasten the advent of an American
literature by discarding European models, and breaking from the
influence of European modes of thought! It would be a sure expedient
for becoming ignorant and barbarous. They cannot discard European
models without an act of mental suicide; and who sees not that it is
only by embracing all, appropriating all, competing with all, that the
new and independent literature can be formed?

And, after, all, what is this great boast of _nationality_ in
literature? Whatever is most excellent in the literature of every
country is precisely that which belongs to _humanity_, and not to the
nation. What is dearest and most prized at home is exactly that which
has a world-wide celebrity and a world-wide interest--that which
touches the sympathies of all men. Are the highest truths _national_?
Is there any trace of _locality_ in the purest and noblest of
sentiments? We invariably find that the same poets, and the same
passages of their works, which are most extolled at home, are the most
admired abroad. If there were any wondrous charm in this nationality
it would be otherwise. The foreigner would fail to admire what is most
delectable to the native. But the readers of all nations point at
once, and applaud invariably, at the same passage. Who ever rose from
the _Inferno_ of Dante without looking back to the story of Ugolino
and of Francesca? If a volume of choice extracts were to be culled
from the works of Dante, Ariosto, Petrarch, an Englishman and an
Italian would make no greater difference in their selection than would
two Englishmen or two Italians.

Nationality one is sure to have, whether desirable or not, but the
great writers of every people are unquestionably those who, without
foregoing their national character, rise to be countrymen of the
world. Mr Sims, instead of complaining that his fellow-countrymen are
European, (may more of them become so!) should be assured of this,
that it is only those who rise to European reputation that can be the
founders of an American literature. The day that sees the American
poet or philosopher taking his place in the high European diet of
sages and of poets, is the day when the national literature has become
confirmed and established.[13]

Mr Sims is, at all events, quite consistent with himself in his wish
to break loose from European literature--he who is disposed to break
loose entirely from all the past. History with him, _as history_, is
utterly worthless. It is absolutely of no value but as it affords a
raw material for novels and romances. One would hardly credit that a
man would utter such an absurdity. Here it is, however, formally
divulged.

    "The truth is--an important truth, which seems equally to have
    escaped," &c., &c.--"the truth is, the chief value of history
    consists in its proper employment for the purposes of
    art!--Consists in its proper employment, as so much raw material
    in the erection of noble fabrics and lovely forms, to which the
    fire of genius imparts soul, and which the smile of taste informs
    with beauty; and which, thus endowed and constituted, are so many
    _temples of mind_--_so many shrines of purity_--_where the big,
    blind, struggling heart_ of the multitude may rush--in its
    vacancy, and be made to feel;--in its blindness, and be made to
    see;--in its fear, and find countenance;--in its weakness, and be
    rendered strong;--in the humility of its conscious baseness, and
    be lifted into gradual excellence and hope!"--(P. 24.)

Here is truth and eloquence, at one blow, enough to stagger the
strongest of us. "It is the artist only who is the true historian," he
again resolutely affirms. We should apprehend that, unless history
were allowed to stand on a separate basis of its own, supported by its
own peculiar testimony, it could be of little use even in enlarging
the boundaries of art. History is said to enable the artist to
transcend the limits which the modes of thought and feeling of his own
day would else prescribe to him. But if the rules by which we judge of
truth in history be no other than those by which we judge of truth or
probability in works of fiction, (and to this the views of Mr Sims
inevitably conduct us)--if history has not its own independent place
and value--it can no longer lend this aid--no longer raise art above,
or out of the circle in which existing opinions and sympathies would
place her. Each generation of artists would not learn new truths from
history, but history would be rewritten by each generation of artists.
How, for example, could a Protestant of the nineteenth century, with
whom religion and morality are inseparably combined--with whom
conscience is always both moral and religious--how could he, guided
only by his own experience, represent, or give credit to that entire
separation of the two modes of feeling, moral and religious, which
encounters us frequently in the middle ages, and constantly in the
Pagan world? Surely a fact like this, learned from historical
testimony, has a value of its own, other and greater than any
fictitious representation which an artist might supply. But even this
fictitious representation, as we have said, would grow null and void
if not upheld by the independent testimony of history; the past would
become the attendant shadow merely of the present.

We have the old predilection in favour of a _true story_, whenever it
can be had. Mr Sims has written some tales under the title of "The
Wigwam and the Cabin." They seem to be neither good nor bad;--it would
be a waste of time to cast about for the exact epithet that should
characterise them;--and in these tales we live much with the early
settlers and the Red-skins. All his stories put together, had they
twice their merit, are not equal in value to a few words he quotes
from the brief authentic memoir of Daniel Boon. What were any picture
from the hands of any artist whatever to the certainty we feel that
this stout-hearted, fearless man did verily walk the untrodden forest
alone, with as little disquiet as we parade the streets of a populous
city? Can any paradoxical reasoning about eternal truths, and the
universal reality of human sentiments, assimilate this _history_ of
Daniel Boon to the very best creation of the novelist? Here was the
veritable hero who did exist. "You see," says Boon, "how little human
nature requires. It is in our own hearts, rather than in the things
around us, that we are to seek felicity. A man may be happy in any
state. It only asks a perfect resignation to the will of Providence."
Commonplace moralities enough, in the mouth of a commonplace person.
Illustrated by the life of Boon, how they _tell_ upon us! They are the
words of the steadfast, solitary man, who could go forth single,
amongst wild beasts and savages, braving all manner of dangers, and
hardships, and deprivations. "I had plenty," he says, "in the midst of
want; was happy though surrounded by dangers; how should I be
melancholy? No populous city, with all its structures and all its
commerce, could afford me so much pleasure as I found here."

Boon, though he never wrote so much as a single stanza about it, as we
hear, added to his love of enterprise a sincere passion for the
beauties of nature. No poet, therefore, could venture to draw upon his
imagination for a bolder picture than we have here in the _true story_
of Daniel Boon, breaking upon the sublime solitudes of nature,
fearless and alone, and relying on his single manhood. The picture
could gather nothing from invention. Shall any one pretend to say that
it gathers nothing from being true?

Mr Sims is very indignant that Niebahr should rob him of many heroic
and marvellous stories. How can Niebahr rob _him_ of any thing--who
looks not for truth in history, but for novel and romance? The great
German critic will not interfere with _his_ history--will leave him in
undisturbed possession of all his novels and romances--all his noble
fabrics--"temples of mind,"--"shrines of purity," &c. &c.--where he
may walk as "big and as blind," as he pleases.

The new American literature which Mr Sims is to originate, will be as
little indebted, it seems, to science as to history. This, too, has
disturbed his faith in certain pleasing and most profitable stories.
"_That cold-blooded demon called Science_," he exclaims, "has taken
the place of all other demons. He has certainly cast out innumerable
devils, however he may still spare the principal. Whether we are the
better for his intervention is another question. There is reason to
apprehend that in disturbing our human faith in shadows, we have lost
some of those wholesome moral restraints which might have kept many of
us virtuous where the laws could not."

A wholesome moral restraint in starting at every bush, and hating
every old woman for a witch! Mr Sims, from his own intellectual
altitude, pronounces these faiths to be "shadows;" he does not
believe--not he--in the walking about at night of impalpable white
sheets; but if you should happen to be of the same opinion with
himself, then the cold-blooded demon of science has seized you for his
prey. In this, there are many others who resemble Mr Sims; one often
meets with half-educated men and women, who would take it as an
affront, an unpardonable insult, if you were to suppose them addicted
to the childish superstitions of the nursery, who nevertheless cannot
endure to hear those very superstitions decried or exploded by others.
They want to "_dis_believe and tremble" at the same time.

We must state, in justice to Mr Sims, that this outbreak against
science is the preluding strain to his "Wigwams and Cabins," where he
has the intention of dealing with the supernatural and the marvellous.
Let him tell his marvels, and welcome; a ghost story is just as good
now as ever it was; but why usher it in with this didactic folly? Of
these tales, as we do not wish again to refer to the works of Mr Sims,
we may say here, that they appear to give some insight into the manner
of life of the early settlers, and their intercourse with the savages.
In this point of view they might be read with profit, could we be sure
that the pictures they present were tolerably faithful. But a writer
who has no partiality whatever for matter of fact, and who
systematically prefers fiction to truth, comes before us with unusual
suspicion, and requires an additional guarantee.[14]

"_Paperson Literature and Art._" Our readers have already had a
specimen, and not an unfavourable one, of the eloquence of Mrs
Margaret Fuller. This lady is by no means given to the flagrant
absurdities of the gentleman we have just parted with, but in her
writings there is a constant effort to be forcible, which leads her
always a little on the wrong side of good taste and common sense.
There is an uneasy and ceaseless labour to be brilliant and astute.
The reader is perpetually impressed with the effort that is put forth
in his favour,--an ambiguous claim, and the only one, that is made
upon his gratitude.

America is not without her army of critics, her well-appointed and
disciplined array of reviewers. The _North American Review_ betrays no
inferiority to its brethren on this side of the Atlantic. Let there be
therefore no mistake in regarding Mrs Margaret Fuller as the
representative of the critical judgment of her country. But there is a
large section, or coterie, of its literary people, whose mode of
thinking we imagine this essayist may be considered as fairly
expressing. Even this section, we do not suppose that she _leads_; but
she has just that amount of talent and of hardihood which would prompt
her to press forward into the front rank of any band of thinkers she
had joined. She is not of that stout-hearted race who venture forth
alone; she must travel in company; but in that company she will go as
far as who goes farthest, and will occasionally dart from the ranks to
strike a little blow upon her own account. The writings of minds of
this calibre may be usefully studied for the indications they give of
the currents of opinion, whether on the graver matters of politics,
or, as in this instance, on the less important topics of literature.

Amongst this lady's criticisms upon English poets, we remarked some
names, very highly lauded, of which we in England have heard little or
nothing. This, in our crowded literature, where so much of both what
is good and what is bad escapes detection, is no proof of an erroneous
judgment on her part. We, on the contrary, may have been culpably
neglectful. But when we looked at the quotations she makes to support
the praise she gives, we were speedily relieved from any self-reproach
of this description. Passages are cited for applause, in which there
is neither distinguishable thought, nor elegance of diction, nor even
an attempt at melody of verse; passages which could have won upon her
only (and herein these quotations, if they fail of giving a fair
representation of the poet, serve at least to characterise the
critic,) could have won upon her only by a seeming air of profundity,
by their utter contempt of perspicuous language, and a petulant
disregard of even that rhythm, or regulated harmony, which has been
supposed to distinguish verse from prose. For very manifest reasons,
however, these are not the occasions on which we prefer to test the
critical powers of Mrs Margaret Fuller. It is more advisable to
observe her manner when occupied upon established reputations, such as
Scott, and Byron, and Southey.

Our critic partakes in the very general opinion which places the prose
works of Sir Walter Scott far above his poetry. It is an opinion we do
not share. Admirable as are, beyond all doubt, his novels, Sir Walter
Scott, in out humble estimation, has a greater chance of immortality
as the author of the Lay of the Last Minstrel, than as the author of
Waverley. That, perhaps, is our heresy, and Mrs Fuller may be
considered here as representing the more orthodox creed. And thus it
is she represents it.

"The poetry of WALTER SCOTT has been _superseded_ by his prose, yet it
fills no unimportant niche in the literary history of the last half
century, and may be read, _at least once in life_, with great
pleasure. Marmion, The Lay of the Last Minstrel, &c., cannot, indeed,
be companions of those Sabbath hours of which the weariest, dreariest
life need not be destitute, for their bearing is _not upon the true
life of man_, his immortal life." (If Mrs Fuller wrote in the language
of the conventicle this would be intelligible; but she does not; what
does she mean?) "Coleridge felt this so deeply, that in a lately
published work, he is recorded to have said, 'not twenty lines of
Scott's poetry will ever reach posterity; it has relation to
nothing.'" (Vol. i. p. 63.)

If Coleridge said this in the haste and vivacity of conversation, it
was great in justice to his memory to record and print it. "Not twenty
lines!"--"relation to nothing!" Why, there are scores of lines in his
earliest poem alone, which will ring long in the ears of men, for they
have relation to the simple unalterable, universal feelings of
mankind.

    "Oh, said he that his heart was cold!"

We will not believe it. We are tempted to answer with a torrent of
quotation; but this is not the place.

"To one who has read," continues Mrs Fuller, "Scott's novels first,
and looks in his poems for the same dramatic interest, the rich
humour, the tragic force, the highly wrought, yet flowing dialogue,
and the countless minutiæ in the finish of character, they must bring
disappointment." He who looks for all and exactly the same things in
the poems which he had found in the novels, will assuredly, like other
foolish seekers, be disappointed. Sir Walter Scott did not put his
Bailie Nicol Jarvie nor his Andrew Fairservice into rhyme; nor does a
lay of border chivalry embrace all that variety of character, or of
dialogue, which finds ample room in the historical romance.

Amongst a certain class of critics, it has been long a prevailing
humour to decry one Alexander Pope. Mrs Margaret Fuller is resolved
that if not first in the field against this notorious pretender, no
one shall show greater hardihood than herself in the attack upon him.
It is one of those occasions when, though surrounded by a goodly
company of friends, she yet finds opportunity for an individual act of
heroism. They are but a few words she utters--but match them if you
can! We do not flinch, we Amazonian warriors. It is _a-propos_ of Lord
Byron that she takes occasion to point a shaft, or rather to throw her
battle-axe, at the head of this flagrant impostor. The whole passage
must be quoted:

"It is worthy of remark that Byron's moral perversion never paralysed
or obscured his intellectual powers, though it might lower their
aims. With regard to the plan and style of his works, he showed
strong good sense and clear judgment. The man who indulged such
narrowing egotism, such irrational scorn, would prime and polish
without mercy the stanzas in which he uttered them." (Wonderful! that
an egotist and a misanthrope should have been kept from defacing his
own verses. Then follows our terrible bye-blow.) "And this bewildered
idealist was a very bigot in behoof _of the common-sensical satirist,
the almost peevish realist_--_Pope_!" (P. 76.)

With what consummate disdain does she condescend to give the
_coup-de-grace_ to the unhappy lingering author of the "Epistle to
Arbuthnot," and "The Rape of the Lock!" These poems of the "peevish
realist," shall have no place, since Mrs Margaret Fuller so determines
it, in the new literature of America. We will keep them here in
England--in a casket of gold, if we ever possess one.

One other specimen of the lady's eloquence and critical discrimination
must suffice. She is characterising Southey.

"The muse of Southey is a beautiful statue of crystal, in whose bosom
burns an immortal flame. We hardly admire as they deserve, the
perfection of the finish, and the elegance of the contours, because
our attention is so fixed on the radiance which glows through
them."--(P. 82.)

Of this poet, who has so much flame in him that we cannot distinctly
see his features, it is said in almost the next sentence, "Even in his
most brilliant passages there is nothing of _the heat of inspiration_,
nothing of that _celestial fire_ which makes us feel that the author
has, by intensifying the action of the mind, raised himself to
communion with superior intelligences.(!) It is where he is most calm
that he is most beautiful; and, accordingly, he is more excellent in
the expression of sentiment than in narration." (The force of the
"accordingly" one does not see; surely there may be as much scope for
inspiration in sentiment as in narration.) "Scarce any writer presents
to us a sentiment with such a tearful depth of expression; but though
it is a tearful depth, those tears were shed long since, and Faith and
Love have hallowed them. You nowhere are made to feel the bitterness,
the vehemence of present emotion; _but the phoenix born from passion
is seen hovering over the ashes of what was once combined with it_."

The young phoenix rises from the ashes of the old; so far we
comprehend. This, metaphorically understood, would infer that a new
and stronger passion rose from the ashes of the old and defunct one.
But into the allegorical signification of Mrs Fuller's phoenix, we
confess we cannot penetrate. We have a dim conception that it would
not be found to harmonise very well with that other meaning conveyed
to us in so dazzling a manner by the illuminated statue. Pity the lady
could not have found some other poet to take off her hands one of
those images: we are not so heartless as to suggest the expediency of
the absolute sacrifice of either.

It is not to be supposed that this authoress is always so startling
and original as in these passages. She sometimes attains, and keeps
for a while, the level of commonplace. But we do not remember in the
whole of her two volumes a single passage where she rises to an
excellence above this. If we did, we should be happy to quote it.

"_Tales, by Edgar A. Poe_," is the next book upon our list. No one can
read these tales, then close the volume, as he may with a thousand
other tales, and straightway forget what manner of book he has been
reading. Commonplace is the last epithet that can be applied to them.
They are strange--powerful--more strange than pleasing, and powerful
productions without rising to the rank of genius. The author is a
strong-headed man, which epithet by no means excludes the possibility
of being, at times, wrong-headed also. With little taste, and much
analytic power, one would rather employ such an artist on the
anatomical model of the Moorish Venus, than intrust to his hands any
other sort of Venus. In fine, one is not sorry to have read these
tales; one has no desire to read them twice.

They are not framed according to the usual manner of stories. On each
occasion, it is something quite other than the mere story that the
author has in view, and which has impelled him to write. In one, he is
desirous of illustrating La Place's doctrine of probabilities as
applied to human events. In another, he displays his acumen in
unravelling or in constructing a tangled chain of circumstantial
evidence. In a third, ("The Black Cat") he appears at first to aim at
rivalling the fantastic horrors of Hoffman, but you soon observe that
the wild and horrible invention in which he deals, is strictly in the
service of an abstract idea which it is there to illustrate. His
analytic observation has led him, he thinks, to detect in men's minds
an absolute spirit of "perversity," prompting them to do the very
opposite of what reason and mankind pronounce to be right, simply
because they _do_ pronounce it to be right. The punishment of this
sort of diabolic spirit of perversity, he brings about by a train of
circumstances as hideous, incongruous, and absurd, as the sentiment
itself.

There is, in the usual sense of the word, no passion in these tales,
neither is there any attempt made at dramatic dialogue. The bent of Mr
Poe's mind seems rather to have been towards reasoning than sentiment.
The style, too, has nothing peculiarly commendable; and when the
embellishments of metaphor and illustration are attempted, they are
awkward, strained, infelicitous. But the tales rivet the attention.
There is a marvellous skill in putting together the close array of
facts and of details which make up the narrative, or the picture, for
the effect of his description, as of his story, depends never upon any
bold display of the imagination, but on the agglomeration of
incidents, enumerated in the most veracious manner. In one of his
papers he describes the Mahlstrom or what he chooses to imagine the
Mahlstrom may be, and by dint of this careful and De Foe-like
painting, the horrid whirlpool is so placed before the mind, that we
feel as if we had seen, and been down into it.

The "Gold Bug" is the first and the most striking of the series, owing
to the extreme and startling ingenuity with which the narrative is
constructed. It would be impossible, however, to convey an idea of
this species of merit, without telling the whole story; nor would it
be possible to tell the story in shorter compass, with any effect,
than it occupies here. The "Murders of the Rue Morgue," and "The
Mystery of Marie Roget," both turn on the interest excited by the
investigation of circumstantial evidence. But, unlike most stories of
this description, our sympathies are not called upon, either in the
fate of the person assassinated, or in behalf of some individual
falsely accused of the crime; the interest is sustained solely by the
nature of the evidence, and the inferences to be adduced from it. The
latter of these stories is, in fact, a transfer to the city of Paris
of a tragedy which had been really enacted in New York. The incidents
have been carefully preserved, the scene alone changed, and the object
of the author in thus re-narrating the facts seems to have been to
investigate the evidence again, and state his own conclusions as to
the probable culprit. From these, also, it would be quite as
impossible to make an extract as it would be to quote a passage from
an interesting _case_ as reported in one of our law-books. The last
story in the volume has, however, the advantage of being brief, and an
outline of it may convey some idea of the peculiar manner of Mr Poe.
It is entitled "The Man of the Crowd."

The author describes himself as sitting on an autumnal evening at the
bow-window of the D---- coffee-house in London. He has just recovered
from an illness, and feels in that happy frame of mind, the precise
converse of ennui, where merely to breathe is enjoyment, and we feel a
fresh and inquisitive interest in all things around us.

The passing crowd entertains him with its motley variety of costume
and character. He has watched till the sun has gone down, and the
streets have become indebted for their illumination solely to the gas
lamps. As the night deepened, the interest of the scene deepened also,
for the character of the crowd had insensibly but materially changed,
and strange features and aspects of ill omen begin to make their
appearance.

With his brow to the glass of the window, our author was thus
occupied in scrutinising the passengers, when suddenly there came
within his field of vision a countenance, (it was that of a decrepid
old man of some sixty-five or seventy years of age) which at once
arrested and absorbed all his attention. It bore an expression which
might truly be called fiendish, for it gave the idea of mental power,
of cruelty, of malice, of intense--of supreme despair. It passed on.
There came a craving desire to see the face of that man again--to keep
him in view--to know more of him. Snatching up his hat, and hastily
putting on an over-coat, our excited observer ran into the street,
pursued the direction the stranger had taken, and soon overtook him.

He noticed that the clothes of this man were filthy and ragged, but
that his linen, however neglected, was of finest texture. The strong
light of a gas lamp also revealed to him a diamond and a dagger. These
observations it was easy for him to make, for the stranger _never
looked behind_, but with chin dropped upon his breast, his glaring
eyes rolling a little to the right and left in their sunken sockets,
continued to urge his way along the populous thoroughfare.

By and by he passed into a cross street, where there were fewer
persons. Here a change in his demeanour became apparent. He walked
more slowly, and with less object than before--more hesitatingly. He
crossed and re-crossed the way repeatedly without apparent aim. A
second turn brought him to a square, brilliantly lighted and
overflowing with life. The previous manner of the stranger now
re-appeared. With knit brows, and chin dropped upon his breast, he
took his way steadily through the throng. But his pursuer was
surprised to find that having made the circuit of this crowded
promenade, he turned, retraced his steps, and repeated the same walk
several times.

It was now growing late, and it began to rain. The crowd within the
square dispersed. With a gesture of impatience, the stranger passed
into a bye-street almost deserted. Along this he rushed with a fearful
rapidity which could never have been expected from so old a man. It
brought him to a large bazaar, with the localities of which he
appeared perfectly acquainted, and where his original demeanour again
returned, as he forced his way to and fro, without aim, amongst the
host of buyers and sellers, looking at all objects with a wild and
vacant stare.

All this excited still more the curiosity of his indefatigable
observer, who became more and more amazed at his behaviour, and felt
an increased desire to solve the enigma. The bazaar was now about to
close; lamps were here and there extinguished, every body was
preparing to depart. Returning into the street, the old man looked
anxiously around him for an instant, and then with incredible
swiftness, threaded a number of narrow and intricate lanes which led
him out in front of one of the principal theatres. The amusements were
just concluded, and the audience was streaming from the doors. The old
man was seen to gasp as he threw himself into the crowd, and then the
intense agony of his countenance seemed in some measure to abate. He
took the course which was pursued by the greater number of the
company. But these, as he proceeded, branched of right and left to
their several homes, and as the street became vacant, his restlessness
and vacillation re-appeared. Seized at length as with panic, he
hurried on with every mark of agitation, until he had plunged into one
of the most noisome and pestilential quarters, or rather suburbs of
the town. Here a number of the most abandoned of the populace were
reeling to and fro.

"The spirits of the old man," the author shall conclude the story in
his own words, "again flickered up, as a lamp which is near its death
hour. Once more, he strode onward with elastic tread. Suddenly a
corner was turned, a blaze of light burst upon our sight, and we stood
before one of the huge, suburban temples of intemperance--one of the
palaces of the fiend, Gin.

"It was near day-break; but a number of wretched inebriates still
pressed in and out of the flaunting entrance. With a half shriek of
joy, the old man forced a passage within, resumed at once his original
bearing, and stalked backward and forward, without apparent object
among the throng. He had not been thus long occupied, however, before
a rush to the doors gave token that the host was closing them for the
night. It was something even more intense than despair that I then
observed upon the countenance of the singular being I had watched so
pertinaciously. Yet he did not hesitate in his career, but, with a mad
energy, retraced his steps at once to the heart of the mighty London.
Long and swiftly he fled, while I followed him in the wildest
amazement, resolute not to abandon a scrutiny in which I now felt an
interest all-absorbing. The sun arose while we proceeded, and when we
had once again reached that most thronged mart of the populous town,
the street of the D---- Hotel, it presented an appearance of human
bustle and activity scarcely inferior to what I had seen on the
evening before. And here, long, amid the momently increasing
confusion, did I persist in the pursuit of the stranger. But, as
usual, he walked to and fro, and during the day did not pass out of
the turmoil of that street. And, as the shades of the second evening
came on, I grew wearied unto death, and stopping fully in front of the
wanderer, gazed at him steadfastly in the face. He noticed me not, but
resumed his solemn walk, while I, ceasing to follow, remained absorbed
in contemplation. 'This old man,' I said at length, 'is the type and
the genius of deep crime. He refuses to be alone. _He is the man of
the crowd._ It will be in vain to follow, for I shall learn no more of
him, nor of his deeds.'"

In this description it would be difficult to recognise the topography
of London, or the manners of its inhabitants. That _Square_
brilliantly illuminated and thronged with promenaders, the oldest
inhabitant would scarcely find. He closes his gin-palace at the hour
when, we believe, it would be about to re-open; and ejects his
multitude from the bazaar and the theatre about the same time. When he
lays his scene at Paris there is the same disregard to accuracy. There
is no want of names of streets and passages, but no Parisian would
find them, or find them in the juxtaposition he has placed them. This
is a matter hardly worth remarking; to his American readers an ideal
topography is as good as any other; we ourselves should be very little
disturbed by a novel which, laying its scene in New York, should
misname half the streets of that city. We are led to notice it chiefly
from a feeling of surprise, that one so partial to detail should not
have more frequently profited by the help which a common guide-book,
with its map, might have given him.

Still less should we raise an objection on the manifest improbability
of this vigilant observer, a convalescent too, being able to keep upon
his legs, running or walking, the whole of the night and of the next
day, (to say nothing of the pedestrian powers of the old man.) In a
picture of this kind, a moral idea is sought to be portrayed by
imaginary incidents purposely exaggerated. The mind passing
immediately from these incidents to the idea they convey, regards them
as little more than a mode of expression of the moral truth. He who
should insist, in a case of this kind, on the improbability of the
facts, would find himself in the same position as that hapless critic
who, standing before the bronze statue of Canning, then lately erected
at Westminster, remarked, that "Mr Canning was surely not so tall as
he is there represented;" the proportions, in fact, approaching to the
colossal. "No, nor so green," said the wit to whom the observation had
been unhappily confided. When the artist made a bronze statue, eight
feet high, of Mr Canning, it was evidently not his stature nor his
complexion that he had designed to represent.

Amongst the tales of Mr Poe are several papers which, we suppose, in
the exigency of language, we must denominate philosophical. They have
at least the merit of boldness, whether in the substratum of thought
they contain, or the machinery employed for its exposition. We shall
not be expected to encounter Mr Poe's metaphysics; our notice must be
here confined solely to the narrative or inventive portion of these
papers. In one of these, entitled "Mesmeric Revelations," the reader
may be a little startled to hear that he has adopted the mesmerised
patient as a vehicle of his ideas on the nature of the soul and of its
immortal life; the entranced subject having, in this case, an
introspective power still more remarkable than that which has hitherto
revealed itself only in a profound knowledge of his anatomical
structure. As we are not yet convinced that a human being becomes
supernaturally enlightened--in mesmerism more than in fanaticism--by
simply losing his senses; or that a man in a trance, however he got
there, is necessarily omniscient; we do not find that Mr Poe's
conjectures on these mysterious topics gather any weight whatever from
the authority of the spokesman to whom he has intrusted them. We are
not quite persuaded that a cataleptic patient sees very clearly what
is going on at the other side of our own world; when this has been
made evident to us, we shall be prepared to give him credit for
penetrating into the secrets of the next.

In another of these nondescript papers, "The Conversation of Eiros and
Charmion," Mr Poe has very boldly undertaken to figure forth the
destruction of the world, and explain how that great and final
catastrophe will be accomplished. It is a remarkable instance of that
species of imaginary matter of fact description, to which we have
ventured to think that the Americans show something like a national
tendency. The description here is very unlike that with which Burnet
closes his "Theory of the Earth;" it is confined to the natural
history of the event; but there is nothing whatever in Mr Poe's manner
to diminish from the sacredness or the sublimity of the topic. With
some account of this singular and characteristic paper we shall
dismiss the volume of Mr Poe.

The world has been destroyed. Eiros, who was living at the time,
relates to Charmion, who had died some years before, the nature of the
last awful event.

    "I need scarcely tell you," says the disembodied spirit, "that
    even when you left us, men had agreed to understand those passages
    in the most holy writings which speak of the final destruction of
    all things by fire, as having reference to the orb of the earth
    alone. But in regard to the immediate agency of the ruin,
    speculation had been at fault from that epoch in astronomical
    knowledge in which the comets were divested of the terrors of
    flame. The very moderate density of these bodies had been well
    established. They had been observed to pass among the satellites
    of Jupiter without bringing about any sensible alteration either
    in the masses or in the orbits of these secondary planets. We had
    long regarded the wanderers as vapoury creations of inconceivable
    tenuity, and as altogether incapable of doing injury to our
    substantial globe, even in the event of contact. But contact was
    not in any degree dreaded; for the elements of all the comets were
    accurately known. That among _them_ we should look for the agency
    of the threatened fiery destruction, had been for many years
    considered an inadmissible idea. But wonders and wild fancies had
    been, of late days, strangely rife among mankind; and although it
    was only with a few of the ignorant that actual apprehension
    prevailed upon the announcement by astronomers of a _new comet_,
    yet this announcement was generally received with I know not what
    of agitation and mistrust.

    "The elements of the strange orb were immediately calculated, and
    it was at once conceded by all observers that its path, at
    perihelion, would bring it into very close proximity with the
    earth. There were two or three astronomers, of secondary note, who
    resolutely maintained that a contact was inevitable. I cannot very
    well express to you the effect of this intelligence upon the
    people. For a few short days they would not believe an assertion
    which their intellect, so long employed among worldly
    considerations, could not in any manner grasp. But the truth of a
    vitally important fact soon makes its way into the understanding
    of even the most stolid. Finally, all men saw that astronomical
    knowledge lied not, and they awaited the comet.

    "Its approach was not, at first, seemingly rapid, nor was its
    appearance of very unusual character. It was of a dull red, and
    had little perceptible train. For seven or eight days we saw no
    material increase in its apparent diameter, and but a partial
    alteration in its colour. Meantime the ordinary affairs of men
    were discarded, and all interest absorbed in a growing discussion,
    instituted by philosophers in respect to the cometary nature."

That no material injury to the globe, or its inhabitants would result
from contact (which was now, however, certainly expected) with a body
of such extreme tenuity as the comet, was the opinion which gained
ground every day. The arguments of the theologians coincided with
those of men of science in allaying the apprehensions of mankind. For
as these were persuaded that the end of all things was to be brought
about by the agency of fire, and as it was proved that the comets were
not of a fiery nature, it followed that this dreaded stranger could
not come charged with any such mission as the destruction of the
globe.

    "What minor evils might arise from the contact were points of
    elaborate question. The learned spoke of slight geological
    disturbances, of probable alterations in climate, and consequently
    in vegetation, of possible magnetic and electric influences. Many
    held that no visible or perceptible effect would in any manner be
    produced. While such discussions were going on, their subject
    gradually approached, growing larger in apparent diameter, and of
    a more brilliant lustre. Mankind grew paler as it came. All human
    operations were suspended.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "It had now taken, with inconceivable rapidity, the character of a
    gigantic mantle of rare flame, extending from horizon to horizon.
    Yet a day, and men breathed with freedom. It was clear that we
    were already within the influence of the comet; yet we lived. We
    even felt an unusual elasticity of frame and vivacity of mind. The
    exceeding tenuity of the object of our dread was apparent; for all
    heavenly bodies were plainly visible through it. Meantime our
    vegetation had perceptibly altered; and we gained faith, from this
    predicted circumstance, in the foresight of the wise. A wild
    luxuriance of foliage, utterly unknown before, burst out upon
    every vegetable thing.

    "Yet another day, and the evil was not altogether upon us. It was
    now evident that its nucleus would first reach us. A wild change
    had come over all men; and the first sense of _pain_ was the wild
    signal for general lamentation and horror. This first sense of
    pain lay in a rigorous constriction of the breast and lungs, and
    an insufferable dryness of the skin. It could not be denied that
    our atmosphere was radically affected; and the conformation of
    this atmosphere, and the possible modifications to which it might
    be subjected, were now the topics of discussion. The result of
    investigation sent an electric thrill of the intensest terror
    through the universal heart of man.

    "It had been long known that the air which encircled us was a
    compound of oxygen and nitrogen gases, in the proportion of
    twenty-one measures of oxygen and seventy-nine of nitrogen in
    every one hundred of the atmosphere. Oxygen, which was the
    principle of combustion and the vehicle of heat, was absolutely
    necessary to the support of animal life, and was the most powerful
    and energetic agent in nature. Nitrogen, on the contrary, was
    incapable of supporting either animal life or flame. An unnatural
    excess of oxygen would result if it had been ascertained, in just
    such an elevation of the animal spirits as we had latterly
    experienced. It was the pursuit, the extension of the idea which
    had engendered awe. What would be the result of _a total
    extraction of the nitrogen_? A combustion, irresistible,
    all-devouring, omniprevalent, immediate;--the entire fulfilment,
    in all their minute and terrible details, of the fiery and
    horror-inspiring denunciations of the prophecies of the Holy Book.

    "Why need I paint, Charmion, the now disenchained frenzy of
    mankind? That tenuity in the comet which had previously inspired
    us with hope, was now the source of the bitterness of despair. In
    its impalpable gaseous character was clearly perceived the
    consummation of fate. Meantime a day again passed, bearing away
    with it the last shadow of hope. We gasped in the rapid
    modification of the air. The red blood bounded tumultuously
    through its strait channels. A furious delirium possessed all men;
    and with arms rigidly outstretched towards the threatening
    heavens, they trembled and shrieked aloud. But the nucleus of the
    destroyer was now upon us;--even here in Aidenn, I shudder while I
    speak. Let me be brief--brief as the ruin that overwhelmed. For a
    moment there was a wild lurid light alone, visiting and
    penetrating all things. Then--let us bow down, Charmion, before
    the excessive majesty of the great God!--then there came a
    shouting and pervading sound, as if from the mouth itself of HIM;
    while the whole incumbent mass of ether in which we existed, burst
    at once into a species of intense flame, for whose surpassing
    brilliancy and all-fervid heat even the angels in the high
    heavens, of pure knowledge, have no name. Thus ended all."

"_Mosses from an Old Manse_," by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is the somewhat
quaint title given to a series of tales, and sketches, and
miscellaneous papers, because they were written in an old manse, some
time tenanted by the author, a description of which forms the first
paper in the series. We, have already intimated our opinion of this
writer. In many respects he is a strong contrast to the one we have
just left. For whereas Mr Poe is indebted to whatever good effect he
produces to a close detail and agglomeration of facts, Mr Hawthorne
appears to have little skill and little taste for dealing with matter
of fact or substantial incident, but relies for his favourable
impression on the charm of style, and the play of thought and fancy.

The most serious defect in his stories is the frequent presence of
some palpable improbability which mars the effect of the whole--not
improbability, like that we already remarked on, which is intended and
wilfully perpetrated by the author--not improbability of incident
even, which we are not disposed very rigidly to inquire after in a
novelist--but improbability in the main motive and state of mind which
he has undertaken to describe, and which forms the turning-point of
the whole narrative. As long as the human being appears to act as a
human being would, under the circumstances depicted, it is surprising
how easily the mind, carried on by its sympathies with the feelings of
the actor, forgets to inquire into the probability of these
circumstances. Unfortunately, in Mr Hawthorne's stories, it is the
human being himself who is not probable, nor possible.

It will be worth while to illustrate our meaning by an instance or
two, to show that, far from being hypercritical, our canon of
criticism is extremely indulgent, and that we never take the bluff and
surly objection--it cannot be!--until the improbability has reached
the core of the matter. In the first story, "The Birth Mark," we raise
no objection to the author, because he invents a chemistry of his own,
and supposes his hero in possession of marvellous secrets which enable
him to diffuse into the air an ether or perfume, the inhaling of which
shall displace a red mark from the cheek which a beautiful lady was
born with; it were hard times indeed, if a novelist might not do what
he pleased in a chemist's laboratory, and produce what drugs, what
perfumes, what potable gold or charmed elixir, he may have need of.
But we do object to the preposterous motive which prompts the amateur
of science to an operation of the most hazardous kind, on a being he
is represented as dearly loving. We are to believe that a good
_husband_ is afflicted, and grievously and incessantly tormented by a
slight red mark on the cheek of a beautiful woman, which, as a
_lover_, never gave him a moment's uneasiness, and which neither to
him nor to any one else abated one iota from her attractions. We are
to suppose that he braves the risk of the experiment--it succeeds for
a moment, then proves fatal, and destroys her--for what? Merely that
she who was so very beautiful should attain to an ideal perfection.
"Had she been less beautiful," we are told, "it might have heightened
his affection. But, seeing her otherwise so perfect, he found this one
defect grow more and more intolerable, with every moment of their
united lives." And then, we have some further bewildering explanation
about "his honourable love, so pure and lofty that it would accept
nothing less than perfection, nor miserably make itself contented with
an earthlier nature than he had dreamed of." Call you this "pure and
lofty love," when a woman is admired much as a connoisseur admires a
picture, who might indeed be supposed to fume and fret if there was
one little blot or blemish in it. Yet, even a connoisseur, who had an
exquisite picture by all old master, with only one trifling blemish on
it, would hardly trust himself or another to repair and retouch, in
order to render it perfect. Can any one recognise in this elaborate
nonsense about ideal perfection, any approximation to the feeling
which a man has for the wife he loves? If the novelist wished to
describe this egregious connoisseurship in female charms, he should
have put the folly into the head of some insane mortal, who, reversing
the enthusiasm by which some men have loved a picture or a statue as
if it were a real woman, had learned to love his beautiful wife as if
she were nothing else than a picture or a statue.

Again, in the "Story of the Artist of the Beautiful," we breathe not a
word about the impossibility of framing out of springs and wheels so
marvellous a butterfly, that the seeming creature shall not only fly
and move its antennæ, and fold and display its wings like the living
insect, but shall even surpass the living insect by showing a fine
sense of human character, and refusing to perch on the hand of those
who had not a genuine sentiment of beauty. The novelist shall put what
springs and wheels he pleases into his mechanism, but the springs and
wheels he places in the mechanist himself, must be those of genuine
humanity, or the whole fiction falls to the ground. Now the mechanist,
the hero of the story, the "Artist of the Beautiful," is described
throughout as animated with the feelings proper to the artist, not to
the mechanician. He is a young watchmaker, who, instead of plodding at
the usual and lucrative routine of his trade, devotes his time to the
structure of a most delicate and ingenious toy. We all know that a
case like this is very possible. Few men, we should imagine, are more
open to the impulse of emulation, the desire to do that which had
never been done before, than the ingenious mechanist; and few men more
completely under the dominion of their leading passion or project,
because every day brings some new contrivance, some new resource, and
the hope that died at night is revived in the morning. But Mr
Hawthorne is not contented with the natural and very strong impulse of
the mechanician; he speaks throughout of his enthusiastic artisan as
of some young Raphael intent upon "creating the beautiful." Springs,
and wheels, and chains, however fine and complicate, are not "the
beautiful." He might as well suppose the diligent anatomist, groping
amongst nerves and tissues, to be stimulated to _his_ task by an
especial passion for the beautiful.

The passion of the ingenious mechanist we all understand; the passion
of the artist, sculptor, or painter, is equally intelligible; but the
confusion of the two in which Mr Hawthorne would vainly interest us,
is beyond all power of comprehension. These are the improbabilities
against which we contend. Moreover, when this wonderful butterfly is
made--which he says truly was "a gem of art that a monarch would have
purchased with honours and abundant wealth, and have treasured among
the jewels of his kingdom, as the most unique and wondrous of them
all,"--the artist sees it crushed in the hands of a child and looks
"placidly" on. So never did any human mechanist who at length had
succeeded in the dream and toil of his life. And at the conclusion of
the story we are told, in not very intelligible language,--"When the
artist rose high enough to achieve the Beautiful, the symbol by which
he made it perceptible to mortal senses became of little value to his
eyes, while his spirit possessed itself in the enjoyment of the
reality."

It is not, perhaps, to the _stories_ we should be disposed to refer
for the happier specimens of Mr Hawthorne's writing, but rather to
those papers which we cannot better describe than as so many American
_Spectators_ of the year 1846--so much do they call to mind the style
of essay in the days of Steele and Addison.

We may observe here, that American writers frequently remind us of
models of composition somewhat antiquated with ourselves. While, on
the one hand, there is a wild tendency to snatch at originality at any
cost--to coin new phrases--new _probabilities_--to "_intensify_" our
language with strange "_impulsive_" energy--to break loose, in short,
from all those restraints which have been thought to render style both
perspicuous and agreeable; there is, on the other hand--produced
partly by a very intelligible reaction--an effort somewhat too
apparent to be classical and correct. It is a very laudable effort,
and we should be justly accused of fastidiousness did we mention it as
in the least blameworthy. We would merely observe that an effect is
sometimes produced upon an English ear as if the writer belonged to a
previous era of our literature, to an epoch when to produce smooth and
well modulated sentences was something rarer and more valued than it
is now. It will be a proof how little of censure we attach to the
characteristic we are noticing, when we point to the writings of Dr
Channing for an illustration of our meaning. They have to us an air of
formality, a slight dash of pedantry. We seem to hear the echo, though
it has grown faint, of the Johnsonian rhythm. They are often not
ineloquent, but the eloquence seems to have passed under the hands of
the composition-master. The clever classical romance, called "The
Letters from Palmyra," has the same studied air. It is here, indeed,
more suited to the subject, for every writer, when treating of a
classical era, appears by a sort of intuitive propriety to recognise
the necessity of purifying to the utmost his own style.

In some of Mr Hawthorne's papers we are reminded, and by no means
disagreeably, of the manner of Steele and Addison. "The Intelligence
Office" presents, in some parts, a very pleasing imitation of this
style. This central intelligence office is one open to all mankind to
make and record their various applications. The first person who
enters inquires for "a place," and when questioned what sort of place
he is seeking, very naïvely answers, "I want my place!--my own
place!--my true place in the world!--my thing to do!" The application
is entered, but very slender hope is given that he who is running
about the world in search of his place, will ever find it.

    "The next that entered was a man beyond the middle age, bearing
    the look of one who knew the world and his own course in it. He
    had just alighted from a handsome private carriage, which had
    orders to wait in the street while its owner transacted his
    business. This person came up to the desk with a quick determined
    step, and looked the Intelligencer in the face with a resolute
    eye, though at the same time some secret trouble gleamed from it.

    "'I have an estate to dispose of,' said he with a brevity that
    seemed characteristic.

    "'Describe it,' said the Intelligencer.

    "The applicant proceeded to give the boundaries of his property,
    its nature, comprising tillage, pasture, woodland, and pleasure
    ground, in ample circuit; together with a mansion-house replete
    with gorgeous furniture and all the luxurious artifices that
    combined to render it a residence where life might flow onward in
    a stream of golden days.

    "'I am a man of strong will,' said he in conclusion, 'and at my
    first setting out in life as a poor unfriended youth, I resolved
    to make myself the possessor of such a mansion and estate as this,
    together with the revenue necessary to uphold it. I have succeeded
    to the extent of my utmost wish. And this is the estate which I
    have now concluded to dispose of.'

    "'And your terms?' asked the Intelligencer, after taking down the
    particulars with which the stranger had supplied him.

    "'Easy--abundantly easy!' answered the successful man, smiling,
    but with a stern and almost frightful contraction of the brow, as
    if to quell an inward pang. 'I have been engaged in various sorts
    of business--a distiller, a trader to Africa, an East India
    merchant, a speculator in the stocks--and in the course of these
    affairs have contracted an encumbrance of a certain nature. The
    purchaser of the estate shall merely be required to assume this
    burden to himself.

    "'I understand you,' said the man of intelligence, putting his pen
    behind his ear. 'I fear that no bargain can be negociated on these
    conditions. Very probably, the next possessor may acquire the
    estate with a similar encumbrance, but it will be of his own
    contracting, and will not lighten your burden in the least.'"

Mr Hawthorne is by no means an equal writer. He is perpetually giving
his reader, who, being pleased by parts, would willingly think well of
the whole, some little awkward specimen of dubious taste. We confess,
even in the above short extract, to having passed over a sentence or
two, whose absence we have not thought it worth while to mark with
asterisks, and which would hardly bear out our Addisonian compliment.

    "But again the door is opened. A grandfatherly personage tottered
    hastily into the office, with such an earnestness in his infirm
    alacrity that his white hair floated backward, as he hurried up to
    the desk. This venerable figure explained that he was in search of
    To-morrow.

    "'I have spent all my life in pursuit of it,' added the sage old
    gentleman, 'being assured that To-morrow has some vast benefit or
    other in store for me. But I am now getting a little in years, and
    must make haste; for unless I overtake To-morrow soon, I begin to
    be afraid it will finally escape me.'

    "'This fugitive To-morrow, my venerable friend,' said the man of
    intelligence, 'is a stray child of Time, and is flying from his
    father into the region of the infinite. Continue your pursuit and
    you will doubtless come up with him; but as to the earthly gifts
    you expect, he has scattered them all among a throng of
    Yesterdays.'"

There is a nice bit of painting, as an artist might say, under the
title of "The Old Apple-dealer." We have seen the very man in England.
We had marked it for quotation, but it is too long, and we do not wish
to mar its effect by mutilation.

In the "Celestial Railroad," we have a new Pilgrim's Progress
performed by _rail_. Instead of the slow, solitary, pensive pilgrimage
which John Bunyan describes, we travel in fashionable company, and in
the most agreeable manner. A certain Mr Smooth-it-away has eclipsed
the triumphs of Brunel. He has thrown a viaduct over the Slough of
Despond; he has tunnelled the hill Difficulty, and raised an admirable
causeway across the valley of Humiliation. The wicket gate, so
inconveniently narrow, has been converted into a commodious
station-house; and whereas it will be remembered there was a long
standing feud in the time of Christian between one Prince Beelzebub
and his adherents (famous for shooting deadly arrows) and the keeper
of the wicket gate, this dispute, much to the credit of the worthy and
enlightened directors, has been pacifically arranged on the principle
of mutual compromise. The Prince's subjects are pretty numerously
employed about the station-house. As to the fiery Apollyon, he was, as
Mr Smooth-it-away observed, "The very man to manage the engine," and
he has been made chief stoker.

"One great convenience of the new method of going on pilgrimage we
must not forget to mention. Our enormous burdens, instead of being
carried on our shoulders, as had been the custom of old, are all
snugly deposited in the luggage-van." The company, too, is most
distinguished and fashionable; the conversation liberal and polite,
turning "upon the news of the day, topics of business, politics, or
the lighter matters of amusement; while religion, though indubitably
the main thing at heart, is thrown tastefully into the background."
The train stops for refreshment at Vanity Fair. Indeed, the whole
arrangements are admirable--up to a certain point. But it seems there
are difficulties _at the other terminus_ which the directors have not
hitherto been able to overcome. On the whole, we are left with the
persuasion that it is safer to go the old road, and in the old
fashion, each one with his own burden upon his shoulders.

The story of "Roger Malvin's burial" is well told, and is the best of
his narrative pieces. "The New Adam and Eve," and several others,
might be mentioned for an agreeable vein of thought and play of fancy.
In one of his papers the author has attempted a more common species of
humour, and with some success. For variety's sake, we shall close our
notice of him, and for the present, of "The American Library," with an
extract from "Mrs Bullfrog."

Mr Bullfrog is an elegant and fastidious linen-draper, of feminine
sensibility, and only too exquisite refinement. Such perfection of
beauty and of delicacy did he require in the woman he should honour
with the name of wife, that there was an awful chance of his obtaining
no wife at all; when he happily fell in with the amiable and refined
person, who in a very short time became Mrs Bullfrog.

An unlucky accident, an upset of the carriage on their wedding trip,
giving rise to a strange display of masculine energy on the part of
Mrs B. and disarranging her glossy black ringlets and pearly teeth, so
as to occasion their disappearance and reappearance in a most
miraculous manner, has excited a strange disquietude in the else happy
bridegroom.

    "'To divert my mind,' says Mr Bullfrog, who tells his own story,
    'I took up the newspaper which had covered the little basket of
    refreshments, and which now lay at the bottom of the coach,
    blushing with a deep red stain, and emitting a potent spirituous
    fume, from the contents of the broken bottle of _kalydor_. The
    paper was two or three years old, but contained an article of
    several columns, in which I soon grew wonderfully interested. It
    was the report of a trial for breach of promise of marriage,
    giving the testimony in full, with fervid extracts from both the
    gentleman's and lady's amatory correspondence. The deserted damsel
    had personally appeared in court, and had borne energetic evidence
    to her lover's perfidy, and the strength of her blighted
    affections. On the defendant's part, there had been an attempt,
    though insufficiently sustained, to blast the plaintiff's
    character, and a plea, in mitigation of damages, on account of her
    unamiable temper. A horrible idea was suggested by the lady's
    name.

    "'Madam,' said I, holding the newspaper before Mrs Bullfrog's
    eyes--and though a small, delicate, and thin visaged man, I feel
    assured that I looked very terrific--'Madam,' repeated I, through
    my shut teeth, 'were you the plaintiff in this cause?'

    "'Oh my dear Mr Bullfrog,' replied my wife sweetly, 'I thought all
    the world knew that!'

    "'Horror! horror!' exclaimed I, sinking back on the seat.

    "Covering my face with both hands, I emitted a deep groan, as if
    my tormented soul were rending me asunder. I, the most exquisitely
    fastidious of men, and whose wife was to be the most delicate and
    refined of women, with all the fresh dew-drops glittering on her
    virgin rosebud of a heart! I thought of the glossy ringlets and
    pearly teeth--I thought of the kalydor--I thought of the
    coachman's bruised ear and bloody nose--I thought of the tender
    love-secrets, which she had whispered to the judge and jury, and a
    thousand tittering auditors--and gave another groan!

    "'Mr Bullfrog,' said my wife.

    "As I made no reply, she gently took my hands within her own,
    removed them from my face, and fixed her eyes steadfastly on mine.

    "'Mr Bullfrog,' said she, not unkindly, yet with all the decision
    of her strong character, 'let me advise you to overcome this
    foolish weakness, and prove yourself, to the best of your ability,
    as good a husband as I will be a wife. You have discovered,
    perhaps, some little imperfections in your bride. Well, what did
    you expect? Women are not angels.'

    "'But why conceal these imperfections?' interposed I, tremulously.

    "'Now, my love, are you not a most unreasonable little man?' said
    Mrs Bullfrog, patting me on the cheek. 'Ought a woman to expose
    her frailties earlier than on the wedding day? Well, what a
    strange man you are! Pooh! you are joking.'

    "'But the suit for breach of promise!' groaned I.

    "'Ah! and is that the rub?' exclaimed my wife. 'Is it possible
    that you view that affair in an objectionable light? Mr Bullfrog,
    I never could have dreamt it! Is it an objection, that I have
    triumphantly defended myself against slander, and vindicated my
    purity in a court of justice? Or do you complain, because your
    wife has shown the proper spirit of a woman, and punished the
    villain who trifled with her affections?'

    "'But,' persisted I, shrinking into a corner of the coach,
    however; for I did not know precisely how much contradiction the
    proper spirit of a woman would endure; 'but, my love, would it not
    have been more dignified to treat the villain with the silent
    contempt he merited?'

    "'That is all very well, Mr Bullfrog,' said my wife, slily; 'but
    in that case where would have been the five thousand dollars which
    are to stock your drygoods' store?'

    "'Mrs Bullfrog, upon your honour,' demanded I, as if my life hung
    upon her words, 'is there no mistake about these five thousand
    dollars?'

    "'Upon my word and honour there is none,' replied she. 'The jury
    gave me every cent the rascal had; and I have kept it all for my
    dear Bullfrog?'

    "'Then, thou dear woman,' cried I, with an overwhelming gush of
    tenderness, 'let me fold thee to my heart! The basis of
    matrimonial bliss is secure, and all thy little defects and
    frailties are forgiven. Nay, since the result has been so
    fortunate, I rejoice at the wrongs which drove thee to this
    blessed lawsuit--happy Bullfrog that I am!'"

FOOTNOTES:

[12] _Views and Reviews of American Literature._ By the author of
        _The Yemassee, &c. &c._
     _The Wigwam, and The Cabin_. By the same.
     _Papers on Literature and Art_. By S. MARGARET FULLER.
     _Tales_. By EDGAR A. POE.
     _Mosses from an old Manse_. By NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE.

[13] For that strong nationality which ballads and other rude
productions written in a rude age exhibit, America comes, of course,
too late. But we doubt not that an attentive examination would already
detect in the productions of the American mind as striking traits of
national character as are usually seen in the works of civilized
epochs. A new species of wit is one of the last things which a student
of Joe Miller would have thought it possible to invent. Yet this the
Americans have achieved. Whatever may be the value attached to it,
many a laugh has been created by that monstrous exaggeration, so
worded as to give a momentary and bewildering sense of possibility to
something most egregiously absurd, which as decidedly belongs to
America as the bull does to Ireland. "A man is so tall that he has to
climb a ladder to shave himself." Not only is the feat impossible, but
no conception can be formed of its manner of execution, yet the turn
of the expression for an instant disguises, before it reveals, its
most flagrant nonsense. There is also a certain grave hoax, where some
fabulous matter is most veraciously reported, in which the Americans
have shown great success and something of a national predilection.
Some time ago we were all mystified by what seemed a most authentic
account of the sudden subsidence of the falls of Niagara. The wall of
rock over which the waters rush had been worn away, and, contrary to
the expectations of geologists, the bed of the river, immediately
behind it, had proved to be of a soft soil that could not resist the
torrent. The river had therefore formed for itself an inclined plane,
and the great fall had been converted into a _rapid_ of equally
astonishing character. If we do not mistake, the true and particular
account of certain animals which Herschel discovered in the moon at
the time he moved his great telescope, we believe, to the Cape of Good
Hope, came to us from the same quarter. It is a pity that _Gulliver's
Travels_ are already in existence. It is a book the Americans should
have written; they have been unjustly forestalled and defrauded by
that work. No doubt, other peculiar and national traits, and of a
higher order, would suggest themselves to any one who made it a
subject of examination.

[14] The following summing-up by a judge on a trial for murder gives
us a singular specimen (if it can be depended on) of the dignity of
the ermine as sustained in South Carolina some half century ago. A
murder had been committed on one Major Spencer; the details, natural
and supernatural, we have no space for; suffice it to say, that the
evidence against the accused left no doubt of his guilt. The judge (an
Irishman by birth,) "who it must be understood was a real existence,
and who had no small reputation in his day in the south," thus charged
the jury. "'Fore God," said the judge, "the prisoner may be a very
innocent man, after all, as, by my faith, I do think there have been
many murderers before him; but he ought nevertheless to be hung as an
example to all other persons who suffer such strong proofs of guilt to
follow their innocent misdoings. Gentlemen of the jury, if this person
Macleod, or Macnab, didn't murder Major Spencer, either you or I did;
and you must now decide which of us it is! I say, gentlemen of the
jury, either you, or I, or the prisoner at the bar, murdered this man;
and if you have any doubts which of us it was, it is but justice and
mercy that you should give the prisoner the benefit of your doubts;
and so find your verdict. But, before God, should you find him not
guilty, Mr Attorney there can scarcely do any thing wiser than to put
us all upon trial for the deed." (P. 31.)



UNITS: TENS: HUNDREDS: THOUSANDS.

CHAPTER I.


The first long vacation of my career as a barrister was at hand: and
as my professional gains had already exceeded the sum of £5, 4s. 11d.,
I considered myself entitled to a few months' recreation. Of my
learned brethren there were numbers in similar circumstances with
myself; all of whom seemed convinced that the labours of the winter
required some pleasing way of renewing the elasticity of the mind. It
was soon evident that "travel," was to be the order of the summer. And
as the days grew longer and the sun brighter, a change gradually came
over the general topics of conversation among us. There was less of
the politics of the day, and the ordinary chit-chat of bar
appointments and doings: while on every side you heard of "the Rhine,"
"the Danube," "the Pyramids," and even "the Falls of Niagara."
Frequent mention was made also of "the Land o' Cakes;" and some
adventurous men, it was said, were even preparing kilts for their
excursion. The more confined imaginations of others reached no farther
than Wales, or the Cumberland Lakes. Ireland, however, was scarce ever
named. It was the year derisively named "the Repeal year:" and the
alarming accounts of proceedings in it diverted the feet of "Saxon"
travellers to other lands. For my own part, I had made up my mind to
follow the herd at large, and submit to foreign extortion and
uncleanness, when circumstances occurred to alter my plans. Unforeseen
family affairs rendered it imperative on me to go to Dublin, on
business connected with a brother who was quartered there; and who, in
consequence of the prevailing alarms, was unable to procure even one
fortnight's leave of absence. Hitherto, among my companions, I had
talked merely of "the Geysers," "the Ural Mountains," or "the Caspian
Sea:" but when I found how matters stood, I determined to make the
best of my position. Accordingly, a day or two after, when solicited
by some acquaintances to join a "Rhine party," I expressed my
resolution of visiting Ireland. It was with difficulty I could
persuade them that I was not in jest: and when they did feel convinced
that I was really in earnest, numerous arguments were advanced to
dissuade me from so suicidal an act. Argument was followed by advice;
and numerous were the cautions I received, and the precautions I was
recommended to take. Among those present, was a friend of mine named
Thomson, who was rather given to be cynical in his remarks, and was
besides addicted to the study of phrenology. He declared that for his
part he was not so apprehensive concerning me on account of the pikes
of the Repealers as of the darts of Cupid.

"Beware," said he, "of the Irish ladies. Truly they are bewitching;
but alas! they are seldom helps-meet for the Briefless."

He then went on to say, that his hopes of my safety consisted
principally in my deficiency in "Constructiveness;" for that
"Amativeness" was developed, while "Caution," was all but absent.

"Be sure," said my worthy aunt as I took leave of her,--"be sure not
to venture out of Dublin, else you will certainly be killed; and
promise me that you will join me in a fortnight at Cheltenham."

I promised faithfully.

"Invariably wear a bullet-proof dress," said Thomson; "to be sure, it
will reduce you to a skeleton; but it is better (for the present) that
the skeleton should have a soul than be without one!"


CHAPTER II.

Edward Russell had been my school-fellow and college chum. Like
myself, he had been destined for the Lord Chancellorship, when the
death of an elder brother freed him from the probable burden of
keeping her majesty's conscience. The same event also relieved him of
certain obstacles in the way of proposing for, and obtaining the hand
of Fanny Felworth. Mrs Russell--at this time about two years
married--was the only daughter of Col. Felworth, who some years
previous had held a staff appointment in the south of England. Her
brother, Russell, and I, had been school-fellows some ten years before
the time I speak of; and I may add, that the Emerald Isle, fruitful as
it is in such characters, never produced a more light-hearted youth
than Frederick Felworth. The days of school are quickly followed by
the active business and the varied events of life. Russell and I went
to Cambridge; Felworth obtained a commission in a regiment then in
India. Soon after, Col. Felworth retired from the service, and went to
reside on his property in Ireland, accompanied by his daughter and a
widowed sister, his wife having died several years before.

In early youth, correspondence is seldom regularly persevered in for
any length of time. Felworth wrote twice or thrice from India, and
then his letters ceased. Russell succeeded to his property some time
before his collegiate course was finished; and as soon as he took his
degree, went to Ireland. In his travels there, he visited the
Felworths, (which I suspect was his principal object,) and the natural
consequences followed. Immediately on his marriage, Russell went to
the Continent, where he remained until a few weeks previous to the
time of which I speak. Of Frederick Felworth, I saw occasional mention
in the Indian newspapers; such as his distinguishing himself in
tiger-shooting expeditions, riding horse-races, and the like.
Latterly, however, I had heard nothing of him.

On my way to Ireland, I diverged a few miles from the line of railway,
for the purpose of spending a day with the Russells. I found the
"little Fanny" of former years now the staid matron, with the
apartment called the nursery not altogether untenanted. When Russell
and I were alone, we fell (as persons in such circumstances invariably
do) into conversation about old times and old friends. It is needless
to say that I made special inquiry after Frederick Felworth. I found
that he had returned from India a short time before Russell's
marriage: and that, when about to rejoin his regiment after a few
months' leave of absence, the Colonel feeling lonely after the
departure of his daughter, and finding infirmities growing upon him,
compelled him to sell out.

"You remember," said Russell, "the passion he had for horses when a
boy; well, this madness (for it can be called by no other name) has
ever since continued on the increase;--and between farming,
magisterial duties, and his horses, he finds occupation and amusement
sufficient. The Colonel is daily feeling more and more the effects of
age, so that all matters devolve on Frederick. I was writing to him
this morning, and I promised that you would pay him a visit when in
Ireland. The house is called Craigduff, about forty miles from
Dublin."

"I will very gladly do so," I replied; "but my stay will be short, as
I am under a positive promise of speedy return."

"I am happy," added Russell, "to hear you will go. I have only to add
that the country about Craigduff is tranquil;--and (you are still
single,) though there is no charmer in the house, there is one not far
off."

I did not see much of Mrs Russell during my stay, as some matters
seemed to engage a good deal of her attention. In a brief
conversation, however, which I had with her in the evening, I found
that she, like my friend Thomson, was a believer in the science of
Phrenology.

Having been always accustomed to treat the subject as a butt for the
shafts of ridicule, I fear I did not then speak of it with due
respect. Conjecturing that "the baby" must have a fine development, I
ventured to ask what bumps were the most prominent.

She immediately replied, that "number" was as largely developed on his
head as on his Uncle Frederick's. "But there is little use," she said,
"in talking to an unbeliever like you on the subject:--but this I
have to say, now that you are going to Craigduff, beware of Units!
(Edward, recollect you are not to explain.) Mark my words, _Beware of
Units!_ And now, good-night! You are to go, you say, by the early
train, so that I shall not see you in the morning; but when you come
to visit us on your return, I trust you will be able to tell me that
you _did_ beware of Units."

After her departure, in every way, and with all legal ingenuity, did I
tempt the allegiance of her husband, but in vain. At last, when I felt
sure, that my cross-examination had left him no loophole for escape,
he gravely replied--"That he was not yet long enough married to
disobey his wife; but he hoped for better times in the future."


CHAPTER III.

The life of officers in garrison, and the dinners at mess; the charms
of the daughters of Erin, and the splendid residence of viceroyalty;
the Wellington testimonial, and the late Mr Daniel O'Connell--have all
been described by competent and incompetent hands. At the period of my
visit, the Government, prepared for any emergency, had fortified the
barracks throughout the country, and poured a large body of troops
into every available position. There never was a more agreeable time
for those stationed at Dublin. The number of organised forces at the
disposal of the Government was so great, that no alarm of personal
danger prevailed in the capital; while the frightful state of the
provinces (the northern parts excepted) not only drove a number of
families into it, but prevented many from leaving it who otherwise
would have done so. These circumstances served to render the town much
gayer than it would otherwise have been at that period of the year.

The business which took me to Ireland was not finished until the end
of the allotted fortnight. However, I determined to pay my promised
visit at Craigduff. Accordingly I addressed a letter to my respected
relative, stating that three days more were all that were required for
me to remain in Ireland; and that on the fifth I hoped to be with her
at Cheltenham. I need scarcely say that I took care not to alarm the
worthy lady, by telling her how I intended to spend the intervening
time.

The last evening of my stay in Dublin was spent at a Mr Flixton's, in
one of the squares. This gentleman had a son who was in the same
regiment to which Felworth had belonged, and who, about a month
previous, had been on a visit to his former friend. This young man
spoke of him in the highest terms. He said he had talents for any
subject to which he might turn his attention; but that his horses
altogether engrossed him; "and such a collection as he has!"

I had no further conversation with young Flixton at that time; but at
a subsequent part of the evening he came up to me with his partner, to
whom he introduced me. The lady appeared about eighteen years of age.
Her expression was one of combined intelligence and sweetness, while
her figure was symmetry itself.

"I have just told Miss Vernon," said he, "that you are a friend of
Frederick Felworth, and that you are going to Craigduff in the
morning; and she says that you will most effectually show your
friendship for him by shooting Units. In this I perfectly agree with
Miss Vernon."

Ere I had time to make any reply the music commenced, and they moved
off to take their places in the dance, but not before I observed a
semi-malicious smile pass over the countenance of the lady, at the
conclusion of her partner's remark. Presuming on the introduction my
young friend had given me, no sooner did I see her disengaged, than I
requested the honour of her hand in the next dance. She declined,
however, saying that her mamma was just about to leave the party, as
they had a journey before them the next day. At a signal from an
elderly lady, she arose and left the room. I was now doubly anxious to
unravel the mystery of "Units," whoever or whatever he, she, or it
might be; whom the one lady advised me to "beware of," for my own
sake--the other to "shoot," for my friend's sake. I resolved to ask
young Flixton, but he was nowhere to be found.

"What a nice girl Miss Vernon is!" said my brother on our way home;
"and she has got twenty thousand pounds, too."

"She is the most lovely girl that was in the room to-night," said I;
"but tell me all you know about her."

"I can do so in a few words. Her father was a West India merchant; her
mother and she have been in Dublin for a few weeks; they are going
back to their residence to-morrow, which is situated somewhere near
Craigduff. I believe they are related to the Felworths. And now my
story is finished. But you had better retire to rest as soon as you
can, for you have but a few hours to sleep."

Though I lay in bed, sleep forsook my eyelids. This may, in some
degree, have been owing to the excitement of the party; but still my
mind was strangely perplexed with the expression "Units." I felt that
Mrs Russell's expression, though uttered in jest, contained a good
deal of seriousness. "Shoot Units!" "Beware of Units!" What could be
the meaning? There are times certainly in which one is more given to
superstitious feelings than he is at others, and such, perhaps, was my
case at that time; I could not banish the thought that my future fate
in life was somehow connected with the unknown "Units."

"After all," said I, throwing myself out of bed, "the nearest
expression to Mrs Russell's that I know of is, '_Take care of Number
One_.' It is an older precept, and most likely a wiser one; and
henceforward I will be doubly careful to observe it."


CHAPTER IV.

The day after (or, more correctly, the same day) I arrived at
Craigduff, where I received a hearty Irish welcome. The first evening
with young Felworth was passed much in the same manner as a previous
one with Russell. After tea, three rubbers of long whist closed the
evening. Though I listened with close attention, I never heard the
word "Units" mentioned.

The following morning, Frederick Felworth took me over the grounds and
farm, where I saw much to admire. Every thing was well arranged; and
even in the minutest matters I could detect the constant
superintendence of a master.

"We will keep the stables for the last," said Felworth, "because they
are the best; and I flatter myself I can show you a stud unrivalled in
numerous respects."

These words were spoken with an increased animation, giving clear
evidence wherein his tastes lay.

"These two stables on this side of the yard each contain four horses.
There is a harness-room, you see, between them, and a loose-box at the
lower end of the farthest. We may as well go into the first one,
although you will see nothing in it but two fat family carriage-horses
and two ponies. The first of these lesser quadrupeds is my Aunt's,
which she drives in a small car on her numerous charitable visits. The
other is the Governor's, which he occasionally rides. Now let us come
to the next stable, which is mine solely and peculiarly; and if my
stud does not astonish and delight you, all I can say is I will be
much disappointed."

With this preface we entered. The stable was well fitted up in every
respect. There were three horses in the stalls, and one in a
loose-box, which opened into the stable. Felworth stood for several
minutes in a sort of admiring gaze, merely remarking that he had not
seen his "pets" that day before, while they showed every symptom of
pleasure at his appearance. During this time I took a preliminary look
at the favourites individually. The first was an active-looking,
compact, black horse, with a fierce, unsettled expression of eye, and
several blemishes on his legs, while a chain attached from the wall to
the post prevented the unwary stranger from approaching too close. The
second was a powerful bay mare, with many good points, but little
beauty. The third was a remarkably handsome bay horse, of high
breeding. He was out of work, however, one of his legs being bound up.
The fourth was a thoroughbred gray horse, one of the finest animals I
ever beheld.

"Now," said Felworth, "I would much like to have an 'opinion' from
you. Tell me candidly what you think of my nags."

"I am no great critic," I replied; "but every one nowadays must be a
judge of horse-flesh. Whether or not the schoolmaster is abroad, there
is no excuse for ignorance on that subject. It strikes me that there
is great variety in your stud."

"You are right there."

"I do not much like the bearing of the black horse. I fear he is
rather eccentric."

"He is a little wayward."

"I cannot say that I admire the mare very much; she appears a homely,
useful sort of animal."

"She is a real good one though; much better than she looks. She is
famous in the shafts with the black horse before her; but I hope you
will have ocular demonstration of that to-morrow. What think you of
the bay?"

"He is a very nice horse; but he is in the stall of sickness, and
therefore we will pass over him; but the gray delights me. I would say
he is a Ganymede, a regular cupbearer."

"Well," said Felworth, "since you have spoken so discreetly, I will
tell you all about them; and, first of all, their names. The black
horse I call 'UNITS.'"

"Units! Units! Units!!!" exclaimed I.

"Yes, Units. The bay mare 'TENS;' the bay horse 'HUNDREDS;' and the
gray 'THOUSANDS.' I must give you the reasons of their nomenclature.
The first cost me £5; the second £20. I bought her from a tenant on
the property who was emigrating to Canada; and, very unjockey-like, I
gave him just what he asked. I designed her for the farm; but her
paces proved so good that she was advanced to the exalted position in
which you see her. The bay horse I purchased in England, and gave 70
guineas for him. I call him 'Hundreds,' because he is worth hundreds.
He is a beautiful horse in appearance, and then he is an excellent
roadster, and a well-trained hunter. He met with an accident at the
end of the season, but is in the fair way of recovery. His temper is
unequalled."

"I presume he resembles Units in that particular," said I.

"Indeed he is far from it; but here we are with my gallant gray.
Ganymede you are, and Ganymede I hope you will be! Win the county cup
but once more, old fellow, and then it will be our own! This horse was
bred on the farm here; he is the produce of a gray mare that you may
recollect my father mounted on in our birch-rod days. He deserves the
name of 'Thousands' undeniably; for Lord Oxfence, who was in the
regiment with me, offered a '_carte blanche_' for him."

"No wonder," said I, "that your sister is so devout a believer in
phrenology, when she sees such effects of the development of 'number.'
But you have said nothing as yet of Units. I have heard of him before,
and I confess I have a singular interest in him."

"Oh! never mind what Fanny says about him, for she entertains
unfounded prejudices against him."

"Perhaps she does; but tell me what is that contrivance in the ceiling
right above him? A pulley, is it not?"

"It is a pulley," replied Felworth; "but, since you are desirous to
hear, I had better begin from the commencement, and tell you the
entire history of this extraordinary animal, whose fame has reached
Westminster Hall. The man who owns the coach which passes this house
attended an auction in Dublin of cast horses from a dragoon regiment
about a year and a half since, and among them was exhibited the horse
before you. Of course he had managed to get a private opinion from the
sergeant in charge; and the account he heard of my dark friend was,
'_that they had had him only three months, and that he was an
untamable devil_.' When a regiment could not subdue him, who could?
Notwithstanding, from his superior shape, the proprietor bid for him,
and purchased him for something under five pounds. When he took him to
his stables, he found that the horse would not suffer an article of
harness to be put on him. This was bad enough. However, some days
after, by the assistance of all the men about the yard, they did
succeed. The horse was allowed to remain in that state all night, and
was put in as near-side wheeler in the coach which was to leave
Dublin that morning. The proprietor himself undertook to drive
him--for he is a famous hand in that way, and many a vicious horse has
he brought to reason. By good luck I happened to be a passenger
myself.--(Look, I beg of you, at the intelligence of his expression!
He knows we are talking of him.) Well, as I said, I was on the coach,
and beside the proprietor, while the regular coachman was immediately
behind us. The horse started pretty fairly. To be sure he made a
plunge or two, but the traces were strong, and his companions stout
and steady. For several miles we came along as pleasantly as needs be,
and never did I see a horse do his business in better style. It was
during this period that I heard the horse's previous history; and
further, I was told that, in the way of harnessing him, once the
saddle was on his back, (though it was no easy task to get it there,)
the remainder of the business had been easy. I hope you are not
tired.--Well, as you wish me, I will finish my history. Just at the
third milestone I felt a shock on the soles of my feet as if I had
been receiving the bastinado. I need not say this was from the heels
of Units on the under side of the board on which my feet rested. In a
moment after, the performance was repeated, with this difference, that
the blow was rather lower. But it was more serious; for on this
occasion he struck the front-boot with such force, that he was unable
to withdraw his foot, which went right through the board; and the
consequence was, that he fell against the pole. Had the other
wheel-horse not been as steady as a rock, we would have gone right
over. As it was, the driver pulled up at once; and immediately the
coachman and I were at the heads of the other horses. After several
terrific struggles, Units contrived to disengage himself. You see the
marks of the transaction still on his pastern; but do not go too near
him, for he is too thoroughly Irish to endure a Saxon. As soon as we
had loosed him from the coach, the proprietor directed the coachman to
take him back to Dublin, and to bring another horse. 'And tell the
fore-man' said he, 'to have him shot before I return this evening. I
shall lose only five pounds, and I will have no person's blood on my
head for that sum.' 'Stay,' said I, 'I will give you five pounds for
him, and take him with all his imperfections on his head, and on his
heels too.' I must say that the man was unwilling, but I carried my
point."

"And what on earth did tempt you to buy such a brute?"

"The fact was, the hunting season was over, and I wanted some
amusement, as I was rather in delicate health. India is severe on the
liver."

"Had you foreseen your circumstances, you might have brought a tiger
home with you. But how did you get the horse to Craigduff?"

"In the neatest and quickest possible way. I borrowed a rope from the
guard, and having made a temporary halter, I went to the back part of
the coach, and led him the whole way. It is forty miles, at seven
miles an hour, and he did the journey with ease. I was sure then that
I was possessed of a trump. But I must cut the matter short; for it
would keep you the whole day if I told you how we succeeded in
managing him. It was altogether by kindness, and a gradual discovery
of his little peculiarities. The pulley you inquired about, I look
upon as the greatest invention. It lets down the saddle upon his back,
and then, as I told you, he is quiet. It annually saves the life of a
man or two."

"I told you," said I, taking advantage of a momentary pause, "that I
had a great interest in the horses: pray tell, me, can you make any
use of him?"

"Any use of him! why he is the most useful animal in the world:--an
excellent saddle-horse; a first-rate jumper. He was not in my
possession three weeks when I won the five pounds he cost me. My
neighbour, Sir Edward, rode over here one morning on his famous horse
Thunderbolt, and he thought proper to call my new purchase
'Beelzebub.' This rather provoked me; and I offered to bet him the sum
I spoke of that I would pound him in twenty minutes; and this I did,
in half the time, by jumping his own park wall, which is near six feet
high. The horse must be ridden in a snaffle, as young Flixton could
tell you. He thought himself very wise, and insisted on having a
curb: the consequence was, that the very moment 'Units' felt it, he
started off right across the country, and his rider and he parted
company in the river below, near Mrs Vernon's house. Flixton was not
the least hurt; but a muddier, wetter, or angrier man you never saw.
Alice Vernon and I happened to be witnesses of the whole affair; and
she laughed,--how she did laugh!" (I will not display my horsemanship
before her, thought I.) "He is a pleasant horse in single harness,"
continued Felworth; "and, if he did kick the market-cart to pieces, it
was owing to the carelessness of the servant in letting the reins fall
down about his feet. And if he did upset the gig and break my
collar-bone, it was my own fault. I knew he could not bear the sudden
opening out of an umbrella; and I ought to have called out to the man,
or turned the horse's head away. He is an excellent leader in tandem,
and very safe. He is certainly playful in starting with the other
horse behind him; but then we know his ways. But you will have ocular
demonstration of his performance in that way to-morrow, for I am
obliged to attend at sessions, in a village about seven miles off, and
we shall drive over after breakfast. Your curiosity about 'Units' is
now, I am sure, more than satisfied."


CHAPTER V.

As we were entering the house, Felworth informed me that Mrs and Miss
Vernon were to join their family party at dinner that day; and that we
would be obliged to walk home with them in the evening. The time
passed most agreeably, and the walk was delightful! I shall not
attempt to describe the younger lady, for no words of mine can do her
justice. A great variety of the fairest and loveliest of the sex have
been depicted by writers of fiction from Sir Walter Scott downwards:
and few young gentlemen exist who have not at some time been "over
head and ears" in love. Now, it is a matter of fact, that the latter
look upon their Lucys, or Amys, or Dianas (for the time being) as
considerably excelling any of those with whose verbal portraiture they
are familiar. Need I say that I formed any exception? On that
moonlight night, as I parted from her, I felt satisfied that there was
no more lovely person in the world than Alice Vernon.

The first words spoken on our return were by Felworth. "Perhaps you
are aware that Miss Vernon has a large fortune?"

Rather surprised by the abruptness of the remark, I answered that I
was so; but that I would admire her just as much if she had not a
farthing in the world.

"I have no doubt you would," was my companion's reply; "but that is
not the matter in consideration at present. I merely wish to tell you
an anecdote of Lieutenant Flixton. He is very easily roused, but soon
calms again. On this hint I spoke; and in the evening of the day of
the river business, as he and I were sitting together, I delicately
hinted to him the amusement he had afforded to Miss Vernon in the
morning. I wish you had seen him: his face grew red as scarlet, and he
exclaimed, "Put a side-saddle on 'Units,' and put 'tens of thousands'
on it, and they will be a well-matched pair!" I kept him in a state of
fever the whole time he remained, by threatening to tell the lady the
compliment he paid her. You know the Vernons are connexions of ours,
and that is one reason why they are residing at Violet-Bank now. But I
am sorry they are soon going away: for when Richard Vernon returns
from the West Indies, (and he is expected in two months,) his mother
and sister are going to live with him in London."

These remarks of Felworth served to remove some unpleasant matters
from my mind. I saw that I would experience no rivalry from him; and I
thought myself a match for Flixton if I had but a fair field.

I must confess that the next morning I did entertain serious
apprehensions of the proposed tandem expedition. And, had I been able
to devise any feasible plan of carrying Mrs Russell's advice into
execution, I would eagerly have adopted it. My difficulties, however,
seemed to be removed, as I perceived that the gig was brought to the
door with "Tens" alone in it but vain was my expectation!

"You will please take your seat," said Felworth, "and make yourself
comfortable, and I will follow your example."

We did so. "Units" was now led forward to his place in front by one
man, who held a cloth over his eyes, while another arranged the reins,
and gave them into Felworth's hand. The traces were still unfastened.

"Now we go, Tens, Units! get along!"

At the signal given, the horse made a tremendous plunge forward, while
Felworth, adroitly yielding his hand for the moment, drew him in
firmly but gently, while the two men, running alongside, attached the
traces.

"Strange way 'Units' has of leaving home!" quietly remarked Felworth;
"but he is a peaceable animal after all, for you remark he never kicks
back. And can any thing be more steady than 'Tens?' You would not
depreciate her now."

"Certainly not; a female Socrates is a good companion to that male
Xantippe."

Felworth then went on to say, that the horse was perfectly safe as a
leader; and that, if he was not sure that he was so, he would not
consider himself justified in risking the life of any one. He added
that there were only two things of which he had the least dread;--the
one was, the sudden opening of an umbrella; but there was no risk of
that in weather such as we were then enjoying; the other was, a shot
fired near the horse; but then there was little danger in that way
either, for there was not a gun in the neighbourhood, nor any thing at
which to fire. When I expressed an opinion that he and I afforded
pretty fair marks ourselves, and that I had heard of such being
selected, he burst out laughing, and asked me if I had made my will
before I left England; and did I believe the half of the stories I
heard there about Ireland? He then remarked that a whip would last for
several generations if one always drove horses like "Units" and
"Tens." Before we arrived at our destination, he said he had directed
his servant to be in readiness to take home the gig from Violet-Bank,
for that we could return by another road, and call there.

"I like your arrangement much," said I, "as I wish to pay my respects
to Mrs Vernon before I leave."

"It is all very proper," said Felworth, "but there was no occasion to
lay such emphasis on the '_Mrs._'"

After strolling about the village for an hour, Felworth despatched his
business, and we turned homewards. He did not appear so much inclined
for conversation as he had been in the morning; and we both soon
lapsed into comparative silence. The very act of driving has at any
time a tendency to produce a ruminating mood; and my thoughts
naturally turned on Alice Vernon. It was true, I had seen her only
twice, and on the first occasion only for a few minutes; yet, even
now, I could not bear the thought of her becoming the wife of another.
I knew I would probably see her in London when her brother returned;
but how many things might happen in the mean time? I felt she could
look on me only as a stranger. I wished much that I could have
remained longer at Craigduff; but for several reasons that was out of
the question. It was true I had been much pressed to prolong my stay,
but I had said that my visit was a stolen one. And now would I not
look excessively foolish, when it appeared that "imperative
circumstances" were turned into moonshine by a moonlight walk? I was
aroused from my reveries by an exclamation from Felworth, "There is
Alice Vernon, I am positive! You see her walking on the road before us
under the row of beech-trees. We will overtake her by the time she
comes to the end of them, by the quarry on the right." He proved
himself accurate; for we were only a few yards behind her, as she came
into the bright sunshine. At this moment (as was natural for any lady
to do) she opened out her parasol in the direct view of Units. The
consequence was that he made a sudden stop, so that the mare came
against him; this was followed by a quick bound to one side, so as
almost to pull "Tens" off her balance. Felworth, however, had the
horses well in hand; and even yet all matters might have gone right.
But just at that moment an explosion took place at the quarry beside
us. I saw the infuriate beast make a jump at the fence on the left. I
fancy I heard a crash--but I have no recollection of any thing more.


CHAPTER VI.

"He lives!--thank God, he lives!--and it was all my fault!" were the
first words I heard in returning consciousness. I felt very faint and
weak, but the tones sounded sweetly in my ears. I then heard some
directions to keep me "perfectly quiet."

But I need not detail the progress of my recovery. I was in
Violet-Bank, near to which the accident had occurred. My brother soon
after came to see me; and even my worthy aunt, in her anxiety,
ventured into "that horrid country." Pleasant, indeed, were the hours
I passed in the period of my convalescence.

As soon as was permitted by the doctor, I had a visit from Felworth.

"Thank Providence," said he, "all is right with you now, but it was a
very doubtful matter for some hours. It was a bad business altogether.
Units was killed, and you nearly so."

"But tell me exactly how you got off yourself: I perceive your
forehead cut, and your arm in a sling."

"You see the whole of the injuries I received; but the mare is much
cut and bruised; both shafts of the gig were broken. I have preserved,
as a sad memorial of the day, the stone against which your head came
when you were pitched out. Fortunately, for me, I fell in a soft
place; and I was on my legs before the quarry-men gathered about you,
and carried you into the house. What presence of mind Alice had! She
sent for the doctor without a moment's delay; but women always act
best in such circumstances."

"But Units, what of him?"

"Why, one trace broke in his attempt to leap into the field; and,
fortunately for Tens, the other soon gave way; and then he galloped
home."

"I thought you said he was killed."

"And so he was, but not by fair play. My father, unfortunately, met
the man who was leading home the mare; and when he heard what had
occurred, he brought down his own pistols, and had the horse led out,
and shot on the spot. It was not out of vengeance that he did so, for
he was not aware at the time of the dangerous state you were in; but
he said that the horse would be the cause of death to some one yet. It
was from a kind motive he did so, but it was a sad blow to me. I will
never see the like of Units again."

It was arranged that Alice and I were to be married in the following
September.

"You were a sad truant," said my aunt, "to go from Dublin after the
cautions I gave you; but I give my full pardon under the
circumstances."

I had a silent but powerful, advocate near me.

Shortly after my recovery, I went to London, for the purpose of making
necessary arrangements for my marriage. When there, I called upon
Thomson, and narrated to him the entire events.

"You are a very lucky fellow!" he said. "I look upon this horse
'Units' as having been your guardian angel. I told you you were
deficient in 'Constructiveness,' and your story proves it. Had it not
been that you got your head broken, or some other fortuitous event
occurred, you would have remained a bachelor to the end of your
days."



RESEARCH AND ADVENTURE IN AUSTRALIA.[15]


The confident mariner, spreading his canvass to the fickle gale, and
launching forth upon unknown seas in search of uncertain shores, to
combat the kraken and fish the pearl, scarcely exhibits more daring,
or braves greater perils, than the hardy landsman, who, on horse's
back or dromedary's hump, or his own mocassined feet, plunges into
tangled jungle and pathless prairie, adventuring himself, a solitary
pioneer, thousands of miles from the abodes of civilisation. If shoal
and squall and treacherous reef, pirates and storms, and tropical
calms scarce less terrible, when parched lips blacken for thirst in
the midst of boundless waters, await the seaman, dangers equally
imminent and inevitable, and more incessant beset the path of the
wanderer in the desert. The sailor has his days and weeks of safety
and repose and rude luxury, whilst the stately ship scuds merrily
before favouring breezes over a summer sea, and the light routine of
duty is but sufficient to give zest to the junk ration, the grog kid,
and the tobacco pipe. The storm over, he swings easily in his hammock,
recruiting strength for fresh exertion; and even when the winds howl
their worst, give him a tight ship and sea-room, and he holds himself
safe and laughs at the tempest. The explorer of trackless plain and
aboriginal forest is in a very different predicament. He is never
safe; his toils and tribulations are unceasing; danger may not exist,
but he must ever guard against it, for he knows not where it may lurk.
With him, security is temerity and eventual destruction. The ambushed
savage, the crouching beast of prey, the silent and deadly reptile,
the verdant swamp, flower-strewn and fathomless, wooing to
destruction, the rushing torrent and resistless hurricane, are but a
few of the dangers through which he threads his way. And when, at
close of day, weary and hungry, foot-sore or saddle-galled, he halts
for refreshment and repose, it seems but the beginning of his labours.
Wood must be cut and collected, the fire lit, the meal prepared, often
its very materials must be sought in pool and thicket, before the
wanderer can be at rest, and the cravings of appetite appeased. The
hardly-won repast concluded, the ground offers a comfortless couch to
his stiffened and jaded limbs, where to snatch such sleep as the
necessity of strict guard, and the ominous and mysterious noises of a
night in the desert, allow to descend upon his eyelids.

With a thorough knowledge and appreciation of the many difficulties,
dangers, and discomforts, inseparable from such an expedition, Dr
Ludwig Leichhardt, a German gentleman, remarkable for enterprising
spirit and scientific zeal, left Moreton Bay, upon the east coast of
Australia, in September 1844, to proceed overland in a north-westerly
direction to Port Essington, on the north coast, a distance of more
than three thousand miles. The Doctor was no novice in such
wanderings; he had already devoted two years to exploring the district
north of Moreton Bay; undaunted by hardship, his thirst for knowledge
unappeased, he had scarcely returned when he was ready to start again.
Many dissuaded him, pointing out the vast field of research afforded
within the limits of New South Wales, urging innumerable dangers--some
imaginary, but more real--taxing him with overstrained enthusiasm, and
inordinate lust of fame; even blaming him as a madman and a suicide.
He was neither to be deterred nor cajoled from his expedition, but
made his preparations, limiting as much as possible the amount of
provisions and stores, in consideration of the difficulties of the
route and encumbrance of baggage. He was also compelled, in conformity
with the plan he had formed, and with the smallness of his means, to
restrict the number of his companions, and reject the offers of many
adventurous young men eager to accompany him. His party, at first
composed of six persons, had swelled to ten, when, upon the 30th
September, it left Jimba, the advanced post of the white man. The
stores consisted of sixteen head of cattle, twelve hundred pounds of
flour, two hundred pounds of sugar, eighty pounds of tea, and twenty
of gelatine, eight bags of shot, and thirty pounds of powder. Each man
had two pairs of strong trousers, three shirts, and two pairs of
shoes,--certainly no very sumptuous equipment for a journey expected
to last seven months, but which occupied fifteen. Fortunately, as they
advanced, game and wild animals, at first rare, became more plentiful;
and although the flour was expended at the end of the eighth month,
they managed, with the aid of kangaroos, emus, waterfowl, and other
beasts and birds, to protract their beef till their arrival at Port
Essington. The party comprised (besides Dr Leichhardt) Messrs Calvert,
Roper, Hodgson and Gilbert, John Murphy, a lad of sixteen, a convict
of the name of William Phillips, Caleb, an American negro, and
Messieurs Harry Brown and Charley, Australian aborigines, mutinous but
useful, of whose character and propensities we learn more than of
those of any other member of the party. The Doctor is, indeed,
remarkably silent with respect to his fellow-labourers in the vineyard
of Tasmanian discovery. Eight men of the adventurous disposition
implied by their engaging in such an expedition, could hardly be
thrown together for a year or more without displaying flashes of
character, and greater or less eccentricity, the result of their
exceptional position, of the many shifts and devices they had to
resort to. Of characteristic traits, however, we obtain few hints from
Dr Leichhardt, the most amiable, but the most matter-of-fact of
travellers. His sympathies and attention are engrossed by the stocks
and stones, the beasts, birds, trees and flowers around him. In them
he finds tongues and books, and with and of them he loves to
discourse. Although evidently a good comrade and considerate chief,
his enthusiasm as a naturalist and man of science preclude much heed
of his companions' peculiarities--if such they had. Enough that they
are at hand, ready to aid him in catering for a meal, in chasing stray
bullocks, replacing fallen baggage, and in the many other toils and
labours in which he manfully bears his share. Nothing less than the
departure of one, and the death of another, can elicit a passing hint
of their character and qualities. Mr Hodgson shot a kangaroo; Mr Roper
brought in eight cockatoos; Mr Phillips found a flesh-coloured
drupaceous fruit; Mr Calvert shot a native companion--not one of the
aborigines, but a bird so called; and thus the book goes on, every
thing put down with the dry brevity of a seaman's log. Hence Dr
Leichhardt's volume, though highly valuable and interesting to
naturalists and emigrants, will scarcely be appreciated by the general
reader. Learned and well written, the amusing element, which readers
of the present day are apt to make a condition for their favour, is
but scantily scattered through its pages. But it is a work of
unquestionable merit and utility, and its author's name will justly
stand high upon the honourable list of able and enterprising men,
whose courage, perseverance, and literary abilities, have contributed
so largely to our knowledge of the geography and productions of our
distant southern colonies.

The first start of the expedition could hardly be called a good one;
at least, it was not such as to encourage the faint-hearted, or
falsify anticipations of extreme hardships and difficulties. A light
spring-cart, which the doctor had fondly hoped to take with him
through the wilderness, was broken the very first day. He was
fortunate enough to exchange it for three bullocks, and proceeded to
break in five of those animals for the pack-saddle, finding he could
not depend upon his horses for carrying baggage. But the bullocks gave
a deal of trouble, and were most unsatisfactory beasts of burthen. The
weight they could carry without injury and exhaustion, was very small
in comparison with their known strength,--not more than a hundred and
fifty pounds, Dr Leichhardt found, for a constancy--without the
advantage of roads. Mules would have been the proper carriers; and
troublesome, kicking, contrary demons as they often are, under a hot
sun and with the aggravation of flies, they could hardly have been
more refractory than their bovine substitutes. Persons whose whole
experience of bullocks, as beasts of draught and burthen, consists in
having seen a pair of them tugging, with painful docility and
resignation, at a heavy continental cart--a ponderous yoke across
their necks, or their heads attached with multitudinous thongs to the
extremity of a massive pole--can form but a faint idea of the
tribulations of the Doctor and his friends, who had to lead the
beasts, as best they might, with iron nose-rings, and who, moreover,
being wholly unused to cattle of that description, had at first a not
unnatural dislike of the horns. Then the pack-saddles did not fit, and
the immediate result was sore backs; the cargo would get loose and
fall off, to the fracture and destruction of straps; or the hornets,
whose nests, suspended from the branches, were disturbed by the
passage of the caravan, would drive the unlucky oxen nearly mad, by a
stinging assault upon their hind quarters. Finally, both horses and
bullocks had a singular propensity to stray back during the night to
the previous halting place, whence they had to be fetched in the
morning, causing great delay, and often postponing the start till
mid-day. Here is a significant little entry in the log, comprising the
entire proceedings of one day, which gives an idea of the difficulty
of progress. "Oct. 2--Bullocks astray, but found at last by Charley,
and a start attempted at one o'clock: the greater part of the bullocks
with sore backs. The native tobacco in blossom. One of the bullocks
broke his pack-saddle, and compelled us to halt." Only one small plug
of tobacco to all that peck of troubles! The nicotian flower the sole
object in the scene of disaster, on which the eye can rest with a
sensation of relief. Stray cattle, sore backs, broken saddles! The
combination of calamities can only be appreciated by those who have
encountered it, in the desert, and when anxious to prosecute their
march. For some time, these pleasant incidents were of daily
occurrence; added to which, the bullocks, in forcing their way through
tangled thickets, frequently tore the sacks, and wasted large
quantities of flour. And towards the latter part of the journey, when
Dr Leichhardt, owing to the death of three horses, unfortunately
drowned in a creek, had been forced to abandon, with tears in his
eyes, a large portion of his valuable botanical collection, he had the
intense mortification of seeing a reckless ox, foot-sore and heated by
a long day's march, plunge deliberately into a deep pond, where the
remainder of the dried plants, seeds, and the like, carefully packed
upon the animal's back, underwent a thorough and disastrous soaking.
As some amends for the trouble they gave, the bullocks proved useful
in an unexpected capacity, namely, as guards. They conceived an
antipathy to the natives, whom they charged in warlike style, whenever
they had the chance. The aborigines held them in great respect, took
them for large dogs (bull-dogs of course), and had a wholesome fear of
their bite. These notions the travellers did not deem it advisable to
dispel.

Opossums and flying squirrels, kangaroos, (some standing nine feet
high,) and kangaroo rats, emus, ducks, and bronze-winged pigeons, were
the principal beasts and birds encountered during the journey.
Crocodiles were met with, and a few buffaloes. Fish of many kinds, now
and then turtles, were seen and caught in the pools, rivers, and
lagoons. Sand-flies, mosquitoes, and hornets, were very annoying, but
the cool night-breeze usually swept them away. The melodious note of
the glucking-bird, so named from the sound resembling "gluck, gluck,"
the noisy call of the "laughing jackass," the hoot of the barking owl,
the howlings of native dogs, and the screech of the opossum, were the
principal sounds that broke the stillness of the bush. Kangaroos were
a great article of provender; the travellers chased them with dogs, so
long as the dogs lasted, but these perished, little by little, until
at last only one remained,--Spring by name,--a useful and valiant
brute, covered with honourable scars. He was of the breed known as the
kangaroo-dog, was exceedingly stanch and valuable, and the means of
obtaining a vast deal of game. Of course, he was an immense
favourite, and his masters had reckoned on his accompanying them to
the end of their journey. They carried a calabash of water for his
private use, as they were frequently very long without meeting with
any, and this precaution more than once saved Spring's life. At last,
during the latter part of a toilsome day's march, poor Spring lagged
in rear and was forgotten. The next day two of the party returned to
seek him, and found him almost dead, "stretched out in the deep cattle
track, which he seemed not to have quitted even to find a shady place.
They brought him to the camp; and I put his whole body, with the
exception of his head, under water, and bled him; he lived six hours
longer, when he began to bark, as if raving." And Spring gave up the
ghost, to the great comfort and relief of the emus and kangaroos, and
to the deep distress of the worthy Doctor and his biped companions.

The party had been out but one month, when the scarcity of game, far
less abundant than had been expected, and the rapid shrinking of the
flour-sacks, rendered it necessary to diminish its numbers, lest
famine should be added to the many dangers of the journey. Mr Hodgson
and Caleb the negro accordingly returned to Moreton bay, the remaining
eight persons continuing their route. Two of these eight, as we have
already mentioned, were Australian aborigines, indebted to Christian
god-fathers for the baptismal names of Charley and Harry. Early in the
expedition, these two gentlemen became exceedingly troublesome; not
more so, however, than might reasonably be expected from the very
sullen and brutish expression of their uncomely physiognomies. Dr
Leichhardt favours us with a portrait of the pair, and notwithstanding
the embellishments of clean frocks, flowing neck-kerchiefs, and a
comb, we have seldom set eyes upon more unprepossessing countenances.
Any more hirsute we certainly never beheld, and their whole aspect
gives the idea of men who, in the natural state, would deem a tender
infant the most delicious of luncheons, and look upon a deceased
relative with the one absorbing idea of a juicy roast. We may be doing
injustice to the creatures, but appearances are not in their favour,
however British missionaries and mutton may have weaned them from
aboriginal barbarity and cannibal cravings. After they had been about
four months out, they began to play truant, to desert Dr Leichhardt
when reconnoitring, taking the provisions with them, and to wander
away without permission in quest of honey and opossums. At first the
Doctor overlooked their transgressions, or let them pass with a
reprimand; but he soon found occasion to regret his leniency, and that
he had not inflicted a severe and decided punishment. On the 19th
February the travellers, who had halted two days for the purpose of
jerking the beef of a bullock, were busy greasing their straps and
saddles, an operation rendered very necessary by the dust and
scorching heat, when Master Charley, thirsting after honeycomb and
greedy of opossum, left the camp, and was absent several hours. On his
return the Doctor reprimanded him, and threatened to stop his rations,
but was met with threats and abuse. "Finding it, therefore, necessary
to exercise my authority, I approached to show him out of the camp,
when the fellow gave me a violent blow upon the face, which severely
injured me, displacing two of my lower teeth." In return for which
brutal assault we expected to find that the Doctor and his friends
removed the surcingle and baggage-straps from the jaw-breaker's horse,
tied him to a tree with the latter, and with the former flogged his
black shoulders till he cried _peccavi_, and promised reform. Nothing
of the sort appears to have taken place, the good Doctor contenting
himself, as sole revenge for the injury done to his masticators, with
expelling the delinquent, who was accompanied from the camp by his
countryman and ally, Harry Brown. They soon got tired, however, of
going afoot and shifting for themselves, returned submissive and
sorry, and were allowed to rejoin the caravan. And though they
subsequently again gave cause of complaint, upon the whole they were
tolerably manageable during the rest of the expedition.

The travellers were out a long time before falling in with natives,
although they saw signs of their vicinity, and ascertained that they
were objects of curious observation and some anxiety to the timid
Australians. They stumbled upon various native camps, recently
vacated, and occasionally took the liberty of helping themselves to
kangaroo nets and cordage, leaving in exchange fish hooks,
handkerchiefs, and other European articles. On the 6th of December,
upon rousing from his bivouac, Dr Leichhardt found "the horses had
gone back to Ruined Castle Creek, about twenty-one miles distant (!),
and the bullocks to the last camp, which, according to Charley, had
been visited by the Blackfellows, who had apparently examined it very
minutely. It was evident they kept an eye upon us, although they never
made their appearance." The Doctor's coolness in recording his
disasters is quite provoking. If he exhibited the same laudable calm
and resignation when he arose from his bed of reeds on the banks of
the finch-haunted water-hole, and found his cattle had gone back a
day's journey or more, as he does in writing down the fact, he is
certainly the most Job-like of travellers. We could sometimes quarrel
with him for making so very light of heavy inconveniences and positive
misfortunes. It is necessary to pause and reflect in order to
appreciate what he endured. The hasty reader, skimming the page
without allowing his imagination to dwell on the Doctor's brief
indications of the many sufferings, the wounds and sickness (the
latter often caused by unwholesome diet), the hunger and thirst, the
daily and nightly exposure, for fifteen months, to scorching suns and
drenching rains, undergone by himself and his companions, might
complete the perusal with the impression on his mind that the whole
affair was rather pleasant than otherwise--a sort of prolonged
pic-nic, varied by kangaroo hunts, fishing parties, and shooting
excursions. Bread stuffs, he would have to admit, were scarce in that
cornless land: but hard exercise and fresh air sharpen the appetite
and strengthen the digestion; and a keen woodsman will not heed
bannocks when he can get beef, varied by such an exotic viand as
kangaroo venison, and by such delicate and fantastical volatiles as
harlequin pigeons and rose-breasted cockatoos. Nay, so easy is it to
fight battles in one's back parlour, and to endure hardships with
one's feet on the fender, that this same imaginary and hastily-judging
reader, whose flippant conclusions we now quote, may think lightly of
the necessity in which our travellers found themselves of eating a
horse, as recorded in the Leichhardtian journal, p. 247. A horse broke
its thigh, and it was resolved to make the best of the meat. It proved
tolerably palatable, especially the liver and kidneys, pronounced
equal to those of a bullock. When the flour was gone, the only relief
from the monotony of a carnivorous diet was obtained by
experimentalising on seeds, fruits, and roots, of which many unknown
species were met with. How the party escaped death by poison is a
wonder, for they were very venturesome in their essays, and not
unfrequently were punished for their boldness by severe vomitings and
other unpleasant symptoms. The jerked meat they carried with them
often became musty and tainted, having been imperfectly dried, or from
the effects of rain. But their greatest difficulty was the frequent
scarcity of water, which sadly afflicted their horses, and prolonged
their route, compelling them to deviate from the direct course to
encamp near pools or lagoons. These were not always to be found; and
they often remained for very many hours, even for days, without other
water than they could carry in their scanty kettles. Then the bullocks
were allowed to stray in search of drink, and it was sometimes
necessary, in order to save the horses' lives, to take them back to
the previous night's camping place. The fatigues thus encountered
might well have exhausted the endurance and physical energies of the
strongest man. "I had been in a state of the most anxious suspense,"
says Dr Leichhardt on one of these occasions, "about the fate of our
bullocks, and was deeply thankful to the Almighty when I heard they
were all safe. I had suffered much from thirst, having been
forty-eight hours without water, and which had been increased by a
run of two miles after my horse, which attempted to follow the others;
and also from a severe pain in the head, produced by the impatient
brute's _jumping with its hobbled fore-feet on my forehead_, as I lay
asleep with the bridle in my hand; but after drinking three quarts of
cold tea, which John had brought with him, I soon recovered, and
assisted to load our horses with the remainder of our luggage, when we
returned to join our companions. The weather was very hot during the
day, but a cool breeze moved over the plains, and the night, as usual,
was very cold." It needed men of iron frame to endure, without serious
and frequent indisposition, such terrible privations and sudden
contrasts of temperature. Nevertheless, none of the party seem to have
suffered from illness produced by other causes than irregular and
hazardous diet, except in the case of the Doctor, who once or twice
had a touch of lumbago. These violent transitions from heat to cold
were felt during only a portion of their journey. Towards the middle
of the time, in the month of June, they were greatly favoured by
climate. "The state of our health showed how congenial it was to the
human constitution; for, without the comforts which the civilised man
thinks essentially necessary to life, without flour, without salt, and
miserably clothed, we were yet all in health, although at times
suffering much from weakness and fatigue. At night we stretched
ourselves upon the ground, almost as naked as the natives; and though
most of my companions still used their tents, it was amply proved
afterwards that the want of this luxury was attended with no ill
consequences." All things are comparative; and to the Doctor, whose
sole canopy during the whole expedition was the vault of heaven, the
canvass covering enjoyed by his comrades evidently appeared a
Sybaritical indulgence.

To return to the savages. The day after the retrograde movement of the
cattle to Ruined Castle Creek, and just as Dr Leichhardt was about to
start on a reconnoissance, the Blackfellows came down to where the
horses were grazing, and speared one of them in the shoulder. This was
the first act of hostility. The Australian aborigines are very
cowardly, and the aggressors hastily retreated into the bush on the
appearance of two or three white men. After this, in February, some
friendly and respectable barbarians were met with, and there was an
interchange of courtesy and presents. Generally the natives were shy,
entertaining feelings of mingled fear, aversion, and contempt for the
pale-skinned intruders upon their forest domain. Mr Roper and Charley,
out in search of water, fell in with a Blackfellow and his gin or
squaw. Like a brace of opossums, they were up a gum-tree in no time,
although the lady was in an advanced state of pregnancy. "As Mr Roper
moved round the base of the tree, in order to look the Blackfellow in
the face, and to speak with him, the latter studiously avoided looking
at Mr Roper, by shifting round and round the trunk like an iguana. The
woman also kept her face averted." A day or two afterwards, Mr Gilbert
and Charley met some more natives. "Two gins were so horror-struck at
the unwonted sight, that they immediately fled into the scrub; the men
commenced talking to them, but occasionally interrupted their speeches
by spitting and uttering a noise like pooh! pooh! apparently
expressive of their disgust." Meetings with the natives now became of
common occurrence; but as they showed much timidity, and, when ill
disposed, confined their hostile demonstrations to expectoration and
grimaces, the travellers entertained little apprehension of attack.
The night watch, regularly kept at the commencement of the expedition,
was now little more than nominal, and although each man was supposed
to take his turn of sentry, the guard was usually a sleepy one, and a
mere matter of form. They had reason to repent their negligence.
Encamped one evening in the dry bed of a lagoon, some in their tents,
others platting palm-leaf hats, the Doctor himself dozing near the
fire, a shower of spears fell amongst them, and the savages followed
up the treacherous attack by a charge with their waddies or clubs. The
Europeans were so completely off their guard that they did not know
where to find percussion caps for their guns. When the Doctor had
procured these, two or three shots sent the assailants to the right
about, with one of their number killed or wounded, for bloodstains
were on their track, and they were heard next morning wailing in the
woods. But the little caravan had suffered heavy loss. Gilbert was
killed; Roper and Calvert were severely injured and disfigured by
spear-wounds and blows from the waddies. It was a melancholy and
untoward event, but time could ill be spared to mourn. The dead man
was buried, a large fire made over his grave to prevent the natives
from detecting and disinterring the body, and with sad hearts the
little caravan prosecuted their march. The Doctor allows us to infer
that the wounded would gladly have prolonged the halt, but, although
feeling for their suffering state, he had duties to perform to himself
and his other companions; and being of opinion that motion would not
interfere with cure, he overruled objections, and insisted on
proceeding. The event proved he was right; the sick men, although
inconvenienced, were not injured by the march. Calvert was soon able
to resume his share in the labours of the camp and the hunting-field,
and Roper, although longer disabled, also eventually recovered.

The eighth chapter of Dr Leichhardt's journal will be esteemed by the
general reader the most interesting in the book, for in it he deviates
somewhat from his usual track, is more sparing than his wont of
botanical and geographical details, and gives a few brief but
interesting particulars of the daily life and habits of his party. "I
usually rise," he says, "when I hear the merry laugh of the
laughing-jackass (a bird) which, from its regularity, has been not
unaptly named the settler's clock; a loud _cooee_ then rouses my
companions, Brown to make tea, Mr Calvert to season the stew with salt
and marjoram, and myself and the others to wash, and to prepare our
breakfast, which, for the party, consists of two pounds and a half of
meat, stewed over night; and to each a quart pot of tea. Mr Calvert
then gives to each his portion, and, by the time this important duty
is performed, Charley generally arrives with the horses, which are
then prepared for their day's duty." Towards eight o'clock the caravan
usually started, and after travelling about four hours, selected a
spot for that night's camp, which being pitched, the horses and
bullocks unloaded, the fire lighted, and the dried beef put on to stew
for the late dinner, the remainder of the afternoon was devoted to
washing and repairing clothes, mending saddles, shooting, fishing,
botanizing and writing up the log. The Doctor, who was of course
provided with sextant, chronometer, compass, and the other instruments
necessary to ascertain their whereabout in the wide desert, would take
his observations, calculate the latitude, ride out reconnoitring, and
plan the next day's route. Towards sunset came dinner, and soon after
nightfall all retired to their beds. "The two Blackfellows and myself
spread out each our own under the canopy of heaven, whilst Messrs
Roper, Calvert, Gilbert, Murphy, and Phillips, have their tents. Mr
Calvert entertains Roper with his conversation; John amuses Gilbert;
Brown tunes up his corrobori songs, in which Charley, until their late
quarrel, generally joined. Brown sings well, and his melodious
plaintive voice lulls me to sleep, when otherwise I am not disposed.
Mr Phillips is rather singular in his habits; he erects his tent
generally at a distance from the rest, under a shady tree, or in a
green bower of shrubs, where he makes himself as comfortable as the
place will allow, by spreading branches and grass under his couch, and
covering his tent with them, to keep it shady and cool, and even
planting lilies in blossom (crinum) before his tent, to enjoy their
sight during the short time of our stay." We would fain have heard
something more of this Phillips, whose love of solitude and flowers
contrast with his quality of a convict, and inspire interest and
curiosity. Whatever his crime, his companions apparently did not
repulse him, but he himself voluntarily avoided their society, perhaps
from a feeling of unworthiness and humiliation. Dr Leichhardt casually
mentions him here and there in his volume, and he seems to have
behaved steadily and well, for he was pardoned on returning to Sydney,
and received a portion of the thousand pounds appropriated from the
crown revenue to reward the adventurous party. Why he was originally
selected to form part of it, when numbers of young men of enterprising
spirit and untainted reputation were refused the privilege, the Doctor
does not think it necessary to inform us.

To men far removed from the pleasures and luxuries of civilisation,
isolated in a desert, and leading a life of unceasing hardship and
privation, small treats afford great enjoyment. The pleasures of the
palate, especially, acquire unusual importance, and the discovery of
some fragrant fruit or succulent vegetable, the addition to the daily
stew of a bird or beast unusually flavorous, causes amongst these
grown children as much jubilation as a giant cake amongst a horde of
holiday urchins. "I had naturally," says the Doctor, "a great
antipathy against comfort-hunting and gourmandising, particularly on
an expedition like ours.... This antipathy I expressed, often perhaps,
too harshly, which caused discontent; but, on these occasions, my
patience was sorely tried." Notwithstanding his anti-epicurean
principles, the chief of the expedition good-humouredly gave in to the
fancies of his followers, who loved a feast now and then, and were
partial to celebrate notable days by such modest _hors-d'oeuvres_ and
supplementary condiments as the niggard forest and their indifferently
provided saddle-bags would afford. Homely indeed were the additions
thus made to their daily ration of _charqui_ beef, horse-flesh or
kangaroo. Let us dwell a moment upon the magnificent preparation for a
banquet on the natal day of her Majesty Queen Victoria.

"May 24. It was the Queen's birth-day, and we celebrated it with
what--as our only remaining luxury--we were accustomed to call a fat
cake, made of four pounds of flour and some suet, which we had saved
for the express purpose, and with a pot of sugared tea. We had for
several months been without sugar, with the exception of about ten
pounds, which were reserved for cases of illness and for festivals."

Assuredly no sumptuary laws were needed to restrain such revels as
these. "On another occasion, in consequence of the additional fatigues
of the day, I allowed some pieces of fat to be fried with our meat."
Horrible gluttony! After they had been some months out, an
extraordinary desire for fat diet took possession of the wanderers. At
first they felt disgust for it, and rejected it contemptuously, but
suddenly a total change occurred. "The relish continued to increase as
our bullocks grew poorer; and we became as eager to examine the
condition of a slaughtered beast as the natives, whose practice in
that respect we had formerly ridiculed." When they caught an emu,
their first and eager care was to pluck the feathers and cut into the
flesh, "to see how thick the fat was, and whether it was a _rich
yellow_." The Spartan Doctor himself was not proof against the greasy
fascination. Hear his confession of a frailty, and record of its
quick-succeeding punishment. 'Tis _à propos_ of kites, which filthy
feeders, unaccustomed in the lonely bush to the sight of man, become
exceedingly daring and impudent. "Yesterday, I cleaned the fat gizzard
of a bustard to grill it on the embers, and the idea of the fat
dainty-bit made my mouth water. But, alas! whilst holding it in my
hand, a kite pounced down and carried it off, pursued by a dozen of
his comrades, eager to seize the booty." It needs no great stretch of
fancy to picture the Doctor, bereaved of his gizzard, sitting
open-mouthed and aghast at the foot of a gum-tree, his fingers still
shining from the unctuous contact, the moisture of anticipation oozing
from his lips, his eyes watching the flight of the felon kite, whilst
the 'possum on the branch above grins at his mishap. The loss was the
more serious, that game was not abundant just then. They had got into
a flat, sandy, uninteresting country; all box-trees and ant-hills, as
Australian Charley described it, with no cover, and nothing to shoot
at. Bad enough for the sportsman, but highly eligible squatting
ground, where the settler would have few trees to fell and abundant
grass for his cattle. As for the game, it came in tracts and
districts. Sometimes they thought themselves fortunate could they
secure a few pigeons, at others, they revelled in pinguid
plenty,--kangaroos roasted whole, fat ibis, flying foxes in scores,
and ducks by the dozen. The atmosphere of these latitudes must be
particularly favourable to the appetite, judging from the following
passage.--"Charley Brown and John, who had been left at the lagoon to
shoot waterfowl, returned with twenty ducks for luncheon, and went out
again during the afternoon to procure more for dinner and breakfast.
They succeeded in shooting thirty-one ducks and two geese; so that we
had fifty-one ducks and two geese for the three meals; and they were
all eaten, with the exception of a few bony remains, which some of the
party carried to the next camp. If we had had a hundred ducks, they
would have been eaten quite as readily, if such an extravagant feast
had been permitted." A century of the web-footed for one day's
consumption! And they were seven--no more! Surely this was playing at
ducks and drakes with their resources. Fourteen ducks, a leg, a wing,
and a bit of the breast, entombed, within twenty-four hours, in the
stomach of each of these seven men! The very feathers in their pillows
(had they had any) would have cried out against such voracity. Truly
it is without a spark of compassion that we read of their reduction,
precisely one week afterwards, to short and less palatable commons.
"Oct. 26. We enjoyed most gratefully our two wallabies, which were
stewed, and to which I had added some green hide, to render the broth
more substantial. This hide was _almost five months old_, and had
served as a case to my botanical collection, which, unfortunately, I
had been compelled to leave behind. It required, however, a little
longer stewing than a fresh hide, and was rather tasteless." We avow
total unacquaintance with wallabies, their size and edible qualities,
but, whatever their dimensions, the fact of a five-months'-old hide
having been stewed with them to ameliorate the broth, says very little
for their succulence. The sweetness, as well as the greenness of the
"case to the botanical collection," may fairly be doubted. We should
have an ill opinion of the pottage that needed an old portmanteau to
improve its consistency, and strongly mistrust the nutritious
qualities of the meagre wallabi-broth, which followed so closely on
the heels of the Feast of Ducks.

It was very fortunate for Dr Leichhardt and his companions--who
certainly had abundance of difficulties to encounter--that the country
they traversed was nearly free from ferocious beasts and noxious
reptiles. They had plenty to do without combating such formidable
enemies. Throughout the whole journal there is no mention of any
dangerous animal, except crocodiles and alligators,--easily avoided,
and not much to be dreaded. On the 19th June, "Charley and Brown, who
had gone to the river, returned at a late hour, when they told us they
had seen the tracks of a large animal on the sands of the river, which
they judged to be about the size of a big dog, trailing a long tail
like a snake. Charley said, that when Brown fired his gun, a deep
noise like the bellowing of a bull was heard, which frightened both so
much that they immediately decamped. This was the first time we became
aware of the existence of the crocodile in the waters of the gulf."
Afterwards they not unfrequently fell in with them. Near the banks of
a magnificent salt-water river--named by Dr Leichhardt the "Robinson,"
in honour of one of the promoters of the expedition--they came upon a
native well. "When Charley first discovered it, he saw a crocodile
leaning its long head over the clay-wall, enjoying a drink of fresh
water." Of venomous snakes and insects, we also find little or no
account in the Doctor's diary. Once only there was a suspicion of the
kind. Upon leaving a camp on the river Lynd, the lad Murphy's pony was
missing, and Charley went back to look for it. "He brought us the
melancholy news that he had found the poor beast on the sands of the
Lynd, with its body blown up, and bleeding from the nostrils. It had
either been bitten by a snake or had eaten some noxious herb, which
had fortunately been avoided by the other horses." Sand-flies and
mosquitoes were very troublesome, large yellow hornets savage in their
attacks, and ants every where. Of these, the species called the
funnel-ant is worthy of notice for the peculiarity of its nest. It
digs a perpendicular hole in the ground, and surrounds the opening
with an elevated wall, sloping outwards like a funnel; a style of
architecture of which, upon a rainy day, the tenant of the dwelling
must feel the disadvantage. The white ant is also met with, and builds
itself massive hills of enormous size. "I followed the Casuarina Creek
up to its head, and called it 'Big Ant-Hill Creek,' in consequence of
numerous gigantic strangely-buttressed structures of the white ant,
which I had never seen of such a form, and of so large a size." Within
three days' journey of the gulf of Carpentaria, the box-tree flat was
studded with turreted ant-hills, either single sharp cones, three to
five feet high, or united in rows and forming piles of remarkable
appearance.

Their arrival at the gulf of Carpentaria, which occurred on the 5th
July, was a joyful event to the wanderers. From the map accompanying
Dr Leichhardt's journal, it appears they did not take the most direct
track from Moreton Bay to Port Essington, but inclined too much to the
right, reaching the gulf on its eastern instead of its southern shore,
and having consequently, as they were proceeding north-west, to strike
off at right angles in a S.S.W. direction. For this deviation from the
direct line, there may have been good reason in the nature of the
ground, the forests, mountains, and other difficulties to be avoided,
and in the necessity of preserving the vicinity of water. Hitherto the
progress of the expedition was most satisfactory, the only important
drawback being the death of poor Gilbert. A line of land communication
between the eastern and northern coasts of Australia had been
discovered and carefully mapped; it was well supplied with water, and
the country was excellent--available almost throughout for pastoral
purposes. The Doctor had special reason to rejoice at having got so
far on his expedition, for the time occupied in reaching the gulf
exceeded the period in which he had expected to arrive at Port
Essington, and his companions had begun to despond, and even to
question his abilities as a guide and leader. "We shall never come to
Port Essington,"--the melancholy cry that too often reached
Leichhardt's ears,--was exchanged for a joyful hurra at sight of salt
water. Fatigues and privations were for the time forgotten as though
the goal, instead of the half-way-house, had been attained. The
caravan had been nine months out; they had still nearly six to pass
before reaching their journey's end; and for various reasons, the
latter portion was the most painful and difficult. They got amongst
the salt creeks and lagoons, and fresh water was often very difficult
to find. Then the little stock of comforts they had brought from
Moreton Bay, became gradually exhausted. The flour was gone before
they reached the gulf; the sugar was finished up, even to the boiling
of the bags, that none of the saccharine particles might be lost--and
at length they came to their last pot of tea. This was a great
deprivation, for tea had been found most refreshing and restorative.
Their diet now was dry beef and water. They tried various substitutes
for the latter, but with no very good result. The M'Kenzie bean served
as coffee, and although disagreeing at first, was finally relished. Mr
Phillips, who discovered and adopted it, subsequently tried a similar
preparation of acacia seeds, whose effects, however, were such as not
to encourage consumers. To vary their edibles, they ate vine-beans in
porridge, and the young leaves of bullrushes--coming, in fact, as near
to grazing as human beings well can. Their animal food was not always
of the choicest, as the following passage testifies: "During the night
a great number of flying foxes came to revel in the honey of the
blossoms of the gum-trees. Charley shot three, and we made a late but
welcome supper of them. They were not so fat as those we had eaten
before, and tasted a little strong; but in messes made, at night, it
was always difficult to find out the cause of any particular taste,
as Master Brown wished to get as quickly as possible over his work,
and was not over particular in cleaning them." A negligence deserving
of the bastinado. The notion of any animal, bearing the name of fox,
being served up with the trail, is too full-flavoured to be agreeable,
and the dish might cause a revolt in the stomach of the least
particular of Australian bush-rangers. By this time, however, Dr
Leichhardt and his party were inured to every sort of abomination in
the way of food, and were not difficult to please. Other troubles they
had, more sensibly felt than the coarse quality of the vivers. Their
scanty wardrobe threatened to fail them; and, already reduced to the
produce of the forest for their daily food, it appeared by no means
improbable they would have to resort to the same primitive source for
raiment to cover their nakedness. "The few shirts we had with us
became so worn and threadbare, that the slightest tension would tear
them. To find materials for mending the body, we had to cut off the
sleeves; and when these were used, pieces were taken from the lower
part of the shirt to mend the upper. Our trousers became equally
patched, and the want of soap prevented us from washing them clean."
Worse than this, inflammation, boils, and prickly heat, tormented the
travellers, and their cattle showed symptoms of breaking down. At
first, there were plenty of spare horses, but these had perished from
accidents and disease; those which remained became daily weaker from
over-work and want of water, and were sore-footed and tired from
travelling over rocky ranges, their shoes, useless in the grass-land,
having been long since removed. Leichhardt, who, on reaching the gulf,
had sanguinely hoped the worst of the journey over, soon found his
mistake. Bad enough before, it was far worse now, and too much praise
can hardly be accorded to the cheerful courage with which the Doctor
endured hardships, wrestled with difficulties, sustained the spirits
of his companions, and pressed on over all obstacles, to the
termination of his long and weary pilgrimage. It was now (at the
beginning of December) not very distant. "Whilst we, were waiting for
our bullock," (they were reduced to their last, which they were
unwilling to kill, and took to Port Essington) "which had returned to
the running brook, a fine native stepped out of the forest with the
ease and grace of an Apollo, with a smiling countenance, and with the
confidence of a man to whom the whiteface was perfectly familiar. He
was unarmed, but a great number of his companions were keeping back to
watch the reception he should meet with. We received him, of course,
most cordially; and upon being joined by another good-looking little
man, we heard him utter distinctly, the words '_Commandant_!' '_Come
here!_' 'Very _good!_' '_What's your name?_' If my readers have at all
identified themselves with my feelings throughout this trying journey,
if they have imagined only a tithe of the difficulties we have
encountered, they will readily imagine the startling effect which
these, as it were, magic words produced; we were electrified--our joy
knew no limits, and I was ready to embrace the fellows, who, seeing
the happiness with which they inspired us, joined with a most merry
grin in the loud expression of our feelings." The party were within a
fortnight's march of Port Essington, where they arrived on the 17th
day of December, and received a kind welcome and needful supplies from
Captain MacArthur, commandant of the place. After a month's stay, they
took ship, and reached Sydney at the end of March.

We have already referred to the strong feeling prevailing at Sydney
against the practicability of Dr Leichhardt's projected expedition, to
the numerous efforts made to induce him to abandon it, and to the
confident predictions of its failure, and of the destruction of all
engaged in it. It will be remembered, also, that about a month after
the departure of the adventurers from Moreton Bay, it had been found
necessary, in consequence of loss of stores and scarcity of game, to
send back some of the party, and that Mr Hodgson, suffering and
disheartened, had volunteered to return. His reappearance in the
colony strengthened the doubts already entertained, and little
surprise was excited when, a month or two afterwards, news came
through a party of natives, that the adventurous band had been
attacked, and its members murdered, by a tribe to the northward. There
could be small doubt of the catastrophe, which elicited from Mr Lynd
of Sydney, a bosom friend of Leichhardt, and to whom the Journal is
inscribed, some very beautiful stanzas. They were addressed to a party
formed to proceed, under guidance of Mr Hodgson, in the footsteps of
Dr Leichhardt, and to ascertain his fate. By favour of a near relative
of Mr Lynd, resident in the environs of Edinburgh, we are enabled here
to introduce them.

    Ye who prepare, with pilgrim feet,
      Your long and doubtful path to wend,
    If--whitening on the waste--ye meet
      The relies of my murdered friend,
    Collect them, and with reverence bear
      To where some mountain streamlet flows,
    There, by its mossy bank, prepare
      The pillow of his long repose.

    It shall be by a stream, whose tides
      Are drank by birds of every wing;
    Where every lovelier flower abides
      The earliest wakening touch of spring;
    O meet that he, who so caress'd
      All beauteous Nature's varied charms,
    That he--her martyred son--should rest
      Within his mother's fondest arms.

    When ye have made his narrow bed,
      And laid the good man's ashes there,
    Ye shall kneel down around the dead,
      And wait upon your God in prayer;
    What though no reverend man be near,
      No anthem pour its solemn breath,
    No holy walls invest his bier,
      With all the hallowed pomp of death,

    Yet humble minds shall find the grace,
      Devoutly bowed upon the sod,
    To call that blessing round the place,
      Which consecrates the soul to God:
    And ye,--the wilds and wastes,--shall tell
      How, faithful to the hopes of men,
    The Mighty Power he served so well,
      Shall breathe upon his bones again!

    When ye your gracious task have done,
      Heap not the rock upon his dust!
    The Angel of the Lord alone
      Shall guard the ashes of the just!
    But ye shall heed, with pious care,
      The memory of that spot to keep;
    And note the marks that guide me where
      My venturous friend is laid in sleep.

    For oh, bethink,--in other times,
      And be those happier times at hand,
    When science, like the smile of God,
      Comes bright'ning o'er that weary land,
    How will her pilgrims hail the power,
      Beneath the drooping miall's gloom,
    To sit at eve, and mourn an hour,
      And pluck a leaf on Leichhardt's tomb.

These charming verses were dated the 2d of July 1845. It was not till
the close of the following March, that the cloud suspended over the
destiny of the expedition was suddenly dispelled by the appearance of
Leichhardt himself. As may be supposed, an enthusiastic welcome
awaited the pilgrim, whose bones were long since supposed to be
bleaching in the wilderness. Subscriptions were set on foot, and soon
amounted to fifteen hundred pounds, which, with another thousand
pounds voted by the Legislative Council, were divided amongst the
seven persons composing the expedition. Dr Leichhardt, to whom the
lion's share was with justice awarded, received it at a meeting held
in the School of Arts at Sydney, of which an account is given in
the _Sydney Herald_ under the head of "The Leichhardt Testimonial," and
where Dr Nicholson, speaker of the Legislative Council, addressed the
intrepid traveller, in a strain of high and well-merited eulogium. "It
would be difficult," he said, "to employ any terms that might be
considered as exaggerated, in acknowledging the enthusiasm, the
perseverance, and the talent, which prompted you to undertake, and
enabled you successfully to prosecute, your late perilous journey
through a portion of the hitherto untrodden wilds of Australia." A
flattering letter from the Colonial Secretary at Sydney, announcing
the government grant, a gold medal from the Royal Geographical Society
of London, and another from that of Paris, have further rewarded Dr
Leichhardt's meritorious labours. Unflinching in pursuit of science,
he again set forth, in December 1845, on an overland journey to Swan
River, expected to occupy two years and a half. This time he is better
provided. His party consists of only eight persons, but he has mules
for the stores, fourteen horses, forty oxen, and two hundred and
seventy goats. And he further takes with him--light but pleasant
baggage--the warm sympathy and hearty good wishes of all to whom his
amiable character and previous labours are known, a class which the
publication of the present Journal will doubtless tend largely to
increase.

FOOTNOTE:

[15]_Journal of an Overland Expedition in Australia, from Moreton Bay
to Port Essington_. By Dr LUDWIG LEICHHARDT. London: Boone, 1847.



MAGUS MUIR.


The subject of the following ballad is the atrocious and dastardly
assassination of James Sharp, Archbishop of St Andrews and Primate of
Scotland.

More than one attempt was made upon the life of that eminent prelate.
On the 11th of July, 1668, a shot was fired into his carriage in the
High Street of Edinburgh, by one James Mitchell, a fanatical field
preacher, and an associate of the infamous Major Weir. The primate
escaped unharmed, but his colleague Honyman, Bishop of Orkney,
received a severe wound, from the effects of which he died in the
following year. The assassin Mitchell fled to Holland, but
subsequently returned, and was arrested in the midst of his
preparations for another diabolical attempt. This man, who afterwards
suffered for his crimes, and who in consequence has obtained a place
in the book of "Covenanting Martyrology," described his motive "as an
impulse of the Holy Spirit, and justified it from Phinehas killing
Cosbi and Zimri, and from that law in Deuteronomy commanding to kill
false prophets!" This is no matter of surprise, when it is recollected
that the "principles of assassination," as Mr C. K. Sharp observes,
"were strongly recommended in _Naphthali, Jus Populi Vindicatum_, and
afterwards in _The Hind let Loose_, which books were in almost as much
esteem with the Presbyterians as their Bibles." Sir George Mackenzie
states, "These irreligious and heterodox books, called _Naphthali_ and
_Jus Populi_, had made the killing of all dissenters from Presbytery
seem not only lawful, but a duty among many of that profession: and in
a postscript to _Jus Populi_, it was told that the sending of the
Archbishop of St Andrews' head to the king would be the best present
that could be made to Jesus Christ."[16]

These principles, at first received with doubt, were afterwards
carried out to the utmost extent by the more violent of the insurgent
party. Murder and assault, frequently perpetrated upon unoffending and
defenceless persons, became so common, that the ordinary course of the
law was suspended, and its execution devolved upon the military.
Scotland was indeed in a complete state of terrorism. Gangs of armed
fanatics, who had openly renounced their allegiance, perambulated the
country, committing every sort of atrocity, and directing their
attacks promiscuously against the clerical incumbents and the civil
magistracy.

But the crowning act of guilt was the murder of the unfortunate
Archbishop. On the 3d of May 1679, a party of the Fife non-conformists
were prowling near the village of Ceres, on the outlook, it is said,
for Carmichael the Sheriff-substitute of the county, against whom they
had sworn vengeance if he should ever fall into their hands. This
party consisted of twelve persons, at the head of whom were John
Balfour of Kinloch, better known by his _soubriquet_ of Burley, and
his brother-in-law, David Hackstoun of Rathillet. Balfour, whose moral
character had never stood high, though his religious fanaticism was
undoubted, had been at one time chamberlain to the Archbishop, and had
failed to account for a considerable portion of the rents, which it
was his official duty to levy. Hackstoun, whose earlier life had been
in little accordance with the ostensible tenets of his party, was also
in debt to the Archbishop, and had been arrested by the new
chamberlain. "These two persons," says Mr Lawson, "had most
substantial reasons for their rancour and hatred towards the
Archbishop, apart from their religious animosities."

It does not seem to be clearly ascertained, whether Carmichael was the
real object of their search, or whether their design from the first
had been directed against the person of the Primate. It would appear,
however, from the depositions taken shortly after the murder, that the
deed had been long premeditated, and that three days previously some
of the assassins had met at a house in Ceres and concerted their
plans. The incumbent of Ceres, the Rev. Alexander Leslie, was also to
have been made a victim if found in company with the Prelate.

Fortunately for himself, Carmichael eluded their search, but towards
evening the carriage of the Archbishop was seen approaching the waste
ground near St Andrews, which is still known by the name of Magus
Muir. A hurried council was then held. Hackstoun, probably from some
remnant of compunction, declined to take the lead; but Balfour, whose
bloodthirsty disposition was noted even in those unhappy times,
assumed the command, and called upon the others to follow him. The
consummation of the tragedy can best be told in the words of the
historian already quoted.

"When the Primate's servants saw their master followed by a band of
men on horseback, they drove rapidly, but they were overtaken on the
muir about three miles west of St Andrews; the murderers having
previously satisfied themselves, by asking a female domestic of the
neighbouring farmer, who refused to inform them himself, that it was
really the Archbishop's coach.

"Russell first came up, and recognised the Primate sitting with his
daughter. The Archbishop looked out of the coach, and Russell cast his
cloak from him, exclaiming,--'Judas, be taken!' The Primate ordered
the postilion to drive, at which Russell fired at the man, and called
to his associates to join him. With the exception of Hackstoun, they
threw off their cloaks, and continued firing at the coach for nearly
half a mile. A domestic of the Archbishop presented a carbine, but was
seized by the neck, and it was pulled out of his hands. One of the
assassins outrun the coach, and struck one of the horses on the head
with a sword. The postilion was ordered to stop, and for refusing he
was cut on the face and ankle. They soon rendered it impossible to
proceed further with the coach. Disregarding the screams, entreaties,
and tears of his daughter, a pistol was discharged at the Primate
beneath his left arm, and the young lady was seen removing the smoking
combustibles from her father's black gown. Another shot was fired,
and James Russell seized a sword from one of his associates,
dismounted, and at the coach-door called to the Archbishop, whom he
designated _Judas_, to come forth." Sir William Sharp's account of
what now occurred, which would be doubtless related to him by his
sister, is as follows:--"They fired several shots at the coach, and
commanded my dearest father to come out, which he said he would.--When
he had come out, not being yet wounded, he said,--'Gentlemen, I beg my
life!' 'No--bloody villain, betrayer of the cause of Christ--no
mercy!' Then said he,--'I ask none for myself, but have mercy on my
poor child!' and, holding up his hand to one of them to get his, that
he would spare his child, he cut him on the wrist. Then falling down
upon his knees, and holding up his hands, he prayed that God would
forgive them; and begging mercy for his sins from his Saviour, they
murdered him by sixteen great wounds in his back, head, and one above
his left eye, three in his left hand when he was holding it up, with a
shot above his left breast, which was found to be powder. After this
damnable deed they took the papers out of his pocket, robbed my sister
and their servants of all their papers, gold, and money, and one of
these hellish rascals cut my sister on the thumb, when she had him by
the bridle begging her father's life."

So died with the calmness and intrepidity of a martyr this reverend
and learned prelate, maligned indeed by the fanatics of his own and
succeeding ages, but reverenced and beloved by those who best knew his
innate worth, unostentatious charity, and pure piety of soul. In the
words of a worthy Presbyterian divine of last century,--"His
inveterate enemies are agreed in ascribing to him the high praise of a
beneficent and humane disposition. He bestowed a considerable part of
his income in ministering to pressing indigence, and relieving the
wants of private distress. In the exercise of his charity, he had no
contracted views. The widows and orphans of the Presbyterian brethren
richly shared his bounty without knowing whence it came. He died with
the intrepidity of a hero, and the piety of a Christian, praying for
the assassins with his latest breath."

    Gently ye fall, ye summer showers,
      On blade, and leaf, and tree;
    Ye bring a blessing to the earth,
      But nane--O nane, to me!

    Ye cannot wash this red right hand
      Free from its deadly stain,
    Ye cannot cool the burning ban
      That lies within my brain.

    O be ye still, ye blithesome birds,
      Within the woodland spray,
    And keep your songs within your hearts
      Until another day:

    And cease to fill the blooming brae
      With warblings light and clear,
    For there's a sweeter song than yours
      That I maun never hear.

    It was upon the Magus Muir
      Within the lanesome glen,
    That in the gloaming hour I met
      Wi' Burley and his men.

    Our hearts were hard as was the steel
      We bore within the hand;
    But harder was the heart of him
      That led that bluidy band.

    Dark lay the clouds upon the west
      Like mountains huge and still:
    And fast the summer lightning leaped
      Behind the distant hill.

    It shone on grim Rathillet's brow
      With pale and ghastly glare:
    I caught the glimpse of his cold gray eye--
      There was MURDER glittering there!

       *       *       *       *       *

    Away, away! o'er bent and hill,
      Through moss and muir we sped:
    Around us roared the midnight storm,
      Behind us lay the dead.

    We spoke no word, we made no sign
      But blindly rade we on,
    For an angry voice was in our ears
      That bade us to begone,
    We were brothers all baptised in blood,
      Yet sought to be alone!

    Away, away! with headlong speed
      We rade through wind and rain,
    And never more upon the earth
      Did we all meet again.

    There's some have died upon the field,
      And some upon the tree,
    And some are bent and broken men
      Within a far countrie,
    But the heaviest curse hath lighted down
      On him that tempted me!

    O hame, hame, hame!--that holy place--
      There is nae hame for me!
    There's not a child that sees my face
      But runs to its mither's knee.

    There's not a man of woman born
      That dares to call me kin--
    O grave! wert thou but deep enough
      To hide me and my sin!

    I wander east, I wander west,
      I neither can stop nor stay,
    But I dread the night when all men rest
      Far more than the glint of day.

    O weary night, wi' all its stars
    Sae clear, and pure, and hie!
    Like the eyes of angels up in heaven
    That will not weep for me!

    O weary night, when the silence lies
      Around me, broad and deep,
    And dreams of earth, and dreams of heaven,
      That vex me in my sleep.

    For aye I see the murdered man,
      As on the muir he lay,
    With his pale white face, and reverend head,
      And his locks sae thin and gray;
    And my hand grows red with the holy blude
      I shed that bitter day!

    O were I but a water drop
      To melt into the sea--
    But never water yet came down
      Could wash that blude from me!

    And O! to dream of that dear heaven
      That I had hoped to win--
    And the heavy gates o' the burning gowd
      That will not let me in!

    I hear the psalm that's sung in heaven,
      When the morning breaks sae fair,
    And my soul is sick wi' the melodie
      Of the angels quiring there.

    I feel the breath of God's ain flowers
      From out that happy land,
    But the fairest flower o' Paradise
      Would wither in my hand.

    And aye before me gapes a pit
      Far deeper than the sea,
    And waefn' sounds rise up below,
      And deid men call on me.

    O that I never had been born,
      And ne'er the light had seen!
    Dear God--to look on yonder gates
      And this dark gulf between!

    O that a wee wee bird wad come
      Though 'twere but ance a-year!
    And bring but sae much mool and earth
      As its sma' feet could bear,

    And drap it in the ugsome hole
      That lies 'twixt heaven and me,
    I yet might hope, ere the warld were dune,
      My soul might saved be!

    W. E. A.

FOOTNOTE:

[16] LAWSON'S _History of the Episcopal Church of Scotland_.



A NOVEMBER MORNING'S REVERIE.

BY DELTA.


    Hast thou a chamber in the utter West,
    A cave of shelter from the glare of day,
    Oh radiant Star of Morning! whose pure eye,
    Like an archangel's, over the dim Earth,
    With such ineffable effulgence shines?
    Emblem of Sanctity and Peace art thou!
    Thou leavest man, what time to daily toil
    His steps are bent--what time the bustling world
    Usurps his thought; and, through the sunny hours,
    Unseen, forgot, art like the things that were;
    But Twilight weeps for joy at thy return,
    With brighter blaze the faggots on the hearth
    Sparkle, and home records its happiest hour!

    Hark! 'tis the Robin's shrill yet mellow pipe,
    That in the voiceless calm of the young morn,
    Commingles with my dreams:--lo! as I draw
    Aside the curtains of my couch, he sits,
    Deep over-bower'd by broad geranium leaves,
    (Leaves trembling 'neath the touch of sere decay,)
    Upon the dewy window-sill, and perks
    His restless black eye here and there, in search
    Of crumbs, or shelter from the icy breath
    Of wild winds rushing from the Polar sea:
    For now November, with a brumal robe,
    Mantles the moist and desolated earth;
    Dim sullen clouds hang o'er the cheerless sky,
    And yellow leaves bestrew the undergrove.

    'Tis earliest sunrise. Through the hazy mass
    Of vapours moving on like shadowy isles,
    Athwart the pale, gray, spectral cope of heaven,
    With what a feeble, inefficient glow
    Looks out the Day; all things are still and calm,
    Half wreathed in azure mist the skeleton woods,
    And as a picture silent. Little bird!
    Why with unnatural tameness comest thou thus,
    Offering in fealty thy sweet simple songs
    To the abode of man? Hath the rude wind
    Chilled thy sweet woodland home, now quite despoiled
    Of all its summer greenery, and swept
    The bright, close, sheltering bowers, where merrily
    Rang out thy notes--as of a haunting sprite,
    There domiciled--the long blue summer through?
    Moulders untenanted thy trim-built nest,
    And do the unpropitious fates deny
    Food for thy little wants, and Penury,
    With tiny grip, drive thee to dubious walls,--
    Though terrors flutter at thy panting heart,--
    To stay the pangs which must be satisfied?
    Alas! the dire sway of Necessity
    Oft makes the darkest, most repugnant things
    Familiar to us; links us to the feet
    Of all we feared, or hated, or despised;
    And, mingling poison with our daily food,
    Yet asks the willing heart and smiling cheek:
    Yea! to our subtlest and most tyrannous foes,
    May we be driven for shelter, and in such
    May our sole refuge lie, when all the joys,
    That, iris-like, wantoned around our paths
    Of prosperous fortune, one by one have died;
    When day shuts in upon our hopes, and night
    Ushers blank darkness only. Therefore we
    Should pity thee, and have compassion on
    Thy helpless state, poor bird, whose loveliness
    Is yet unscathed, and whose melodious notes,
    (Sweeter by melancholy rendered,) steal
    With a deep supplication to the heart,
    Telling that thou wert happy once--that now
    Thou art most destitute; and yet, and yet--
    Only were thy small pinching wants supplied
    By Charity--couldst be most happy still!--
    Is it not so?

          Out on unfeeling man!
    Will he who drives the beggar from his gates,
    And to the moan of fellow-man shuts up
    Each avenue of feeling--will he deign
    To think that such as Thou deserve his aid?
    No! when the gust raves, and the floods descend,
    Or the frost pinches, Thou may'st, at dim eve,
    With forced and fearful love approach his home,
    What time, 'mid western mists, the broad, red sun,
    Sinking, calls out from heaven the earliest star;
    And the crisp blazing of the dry Yule-log
    Flickers upon the pictured walls, and lights
    By fits the unshutter'd lattice; but, in vain,
    Thy chirp repeated earnestly; the flap,
    Against the obdurate pane, of thy small wing;--
    He hears thee not--he heeds not--but, at morn,
    The ice-enamoured schoolboy, early afoot,
    Finds thy small bulk beneath the alder stump,
    Thy bright eyes closed, and tiny talons clench'd,
    Stiff in the gripe of death.

          The floating plume
    Tells how the wind blows, with a certainty
    As great as doth the vessel's full-swoln sheets;
    So doth the winged seed; 'tis not alone
    In mighty things that we may truliest read
    The heart, but in its temper and its tone:--
    Thus true Benevolence we ever find
    Forgiving, gentle, tremblingly alive
    To pity, and unweariedly intent
    On all the little, thousand charities,
    Which day by day calls forth. Oh! as we hope
    Forgiveness of our earthly trespasses,--
    Of all our erring deeds and wayward thoughts,--
    When Time's dread reckoning comes,--oh! as we hope
    Mercy, who need it much, let us, away
    From kindness never turning, mould our hearts
    To sympathy, and from all withering blight
    Preserve them, and all deadening influences:--
    So 'twill be best for us. The All-seeing Eye,
    Which numbers each particular hair, and notes
    From heaven the sparrow's fall, shall pass not o'er
    Without approval deeds unmarked by man--
    Deeds, which the right hand from the left conceals--
    Nor overlook the well-timed clemency,
    That soothed and stilled the murmurs of distress.

    Enamour'd of all mysteries, in love
    With doubt itself, and fond to disbelieve,
    We ask not, "if realities be real?"
    With Plato, or with Berkeley; but we know
    Life comes not of itself, and what hath life,--
    However insignificant it seem
    To us, whose noblest standard is ourselves,--
    Hath been by the Almighty's finger touch'd,
    Or ne'er had been at all--it must be so.
    Therefore 'tis by comparison alone
    That things seem great or small; and noblest they
    Whose sympathies, with a capacious range,
    Would own no limit to their fond embrace.
    Yea, there, as in all else, doth Duty dwell
    With happiness: for far the happiest he,
    Who through the roughnesses of life preserves
    His boyish feelings, and who sees the world,
    Not as it is in cold reality,
    A motley scene of struggle and of strife,
    But tinted with the glow of bright romance:
    For him the morning has its star; the sun,
    Rising or setting, fires for him the clouds
    With glory; flowers for him have tales,
    Like those which, for a thousand nights and one,
    Enchained the East; each season as it rolls
    Strikes in his bosom its peculiar chord,
    Yet each alike harmonious, to a heart
    That vibrates ever in sweet unison:
    Each scene hath its own influence, nor less
    The frost that mimics each on pool or pane:
    Delight flows in alike from calm or storm:
    Delight flows in to him from nature's shows
    Of hill and dale, swift river, or still lake:
    To him the very winds are musical--
    Have harmony Æolian, wild and sweet;
    The stream sings to its banks, and the wild birds
    To Echo--viewless tell-tale of the rocks--
    Who in the wantonness of love responds.

    Gifts, in the eye of Heaven, not always bear
    The marketable value stamped by man
    Upon them,--else the poor were truly poor,
    The willing spirit destitute indeed.
    In other balance are our actions weighed
    By Him who sees the heart in all its thoughts;
    Both what it wills and cannot, what it tries
    And doth,--and with what motive, for what end.
    Clouds clothe them like realities, and shine
    Even so to human eyes; yet, not the less
    Are only mockeries of the things they seem,
    And melt as we survey them. Let us not
    The shadow for the substance take, the Jay
    For the true Bird of Paradise. A crust
    Dealt, by the poor man, from his daily loaf,
    To the wayfarer, poorer than himself--
    A cup of water, in the Saviour's name
    Proffered, with ready hand, to thirsting lips,--
    Seem trifles in themselves, yet weigh for wine,
    And gems, and gold, and frankincense. The mite,--
    The widow's offering, and her all, put in
    With grief, because she had no more to give,
    Yet given although her all,--was in the sight
    Of Heaven a sumless treasury bestowed,
    And reckoned such in her account above:--
    When Nineveh, through all her myriad streets,
    Lay blackened with idolatry and crime,
    God had preserved her--would have saved her whole--
    Had but the Prophet, as a leaven, found
    His righteous ten!

          Therefore, Oh never deem
    Thoughts, deeds, or feelings valueless, that bear
    The balance of the heart to Virtue's side!
    The coral worm seems nought, but coral worms
    Combined heave up a reef, where mightiest keels
    Are stranded, and the powers of man put down.
    The water-drop wears out the stone; and cares
    Trifling, if ceaseless, form an aggregate,
    Whose burden weighs the buoyant heart to earth.
    Think not the right path may be safely left,
    Though 'twere but for one moment, and one step;
    That one departure, slight howe'er it be,
    From Innocence is nought. The young peach-bloom,
    Rudely brushed off, can be restored no more,
    By all the cunning of the painter's art;
    Nor to the sered heart comes, in after life
    Again,--however longed for, or bewailed,--
    Youth's early dews, the pure and delicate!



VALEDICTORY VISITS AT ROME.


Andiamo a Napoli; and so we will, in accordance with the repeated
suggestions we have received during the last ten days from all the
vetturini in Rome. Easter is gone by, the Girandola went off last
week, the English are going, and so is our bell, tinkle! tinkle!
tinkle!--as if its wire had a touch of vernal ague--while the old delf
plate in the hall is filled and running with cards, every pasteboard
parallelogram among them with two P's and a C in the corner; for we
are becoming too polite, it seems, to take leave of each other in our
own tongue. As the English quit Rome, the swallows arrive, and may be
seen in great muster flitting up and down the streets, looking at the
affiches of vacancies before fixing on a lodging. Unlike us, these
callow tourists--though many of them on their first visit to Rome--are
no sooner within the walls, than they find, without assistance, their
way to the Forum, and proceed to build and twitter in that very Temple
of Concord where Juvenal's storks of old made their nidus and their
noise! Andiamo a Napoli; yes, but not yet; we are sure at this season
to have an impatient patient or two to visit in the Babuino, or at
Serny's; who, labouring under incipient fever which has not yet tamed
them into submission, tell us they would--optative mood--be at
Florence in a week, and add--in the imperative--that they must be in
London in three! _Vedremmo!_ These cases--may they end well--are sure,
meanwhile, to be somewhat tedious in their progress; and besides, were
there none such, two motives have we for always lingering the last in
Rome: the one, to avoid the importunity of many indiscreet
acquaintance, who would else be sure at this season to plague us with
some trifling commission, on purpose to open a sudden correspondence,
in the hope of learning all about the heat, the fever, the mosquitoes,
the fare and the accommodation of Castellamare and Sorrento, thinking
themselves, meanwhile, perfect Talleyrands in diplomacy, in employing
a ruse which it is impossible not to see through; the other and more
important, to secure the necessary quiet while we linger about
favourite haunts, and refresh our memory with sites and scenes
endeared by long and intimate acquaintance. To describe people or
places accurately, requires a long and attentive familiarity, but to
do so feelingly and with effect, we should trust principally to first
and last impressions: either will be more likely to furnish a lively
representation, as far as it goes, than when too great intimacy with
details leads us to forget what is characteristic, and to dwell
without emphasis, or with equal and tedious emphasis, upon all alike.
New scenes, owing, perhaps, part of their charm to that circumstance,
may occasionally betray us into exaggeration; but the records of a
last _coup-d'oeil_, when we dwell with sad complacency upon every
feature, as upon those of a friend from whom we are about to part, are
characterised at once by an equal freshness, and by more truth,
feeling, and discrimination. We might proceed to exemplify this, from
a long series of first and last views in Italy: with some of them the
reader may be familiar, for we have frequently met in Maga's pages;
with others he will--should it so please him--become acquainted, when,
leaving the company of our present agreeable associates, we stand
forth an author of "Travels," and have more ample scope for our
egotism. We confine ourselves now to a few valedictory visits in and
about Rome.



THE VILLA BORGHESE.


It was on 15th April, 1843, seven A. M., when we went to take farewell
of the Borghese. In passing up the Via Babuino on our way thither, our
ears catch some of the well-known street cries. These generally
attract a momentary attention, even amidst all the bustle, activity,
and din of a great commercial city: how much more, then, in the
comparative stillness of Rome, particularly in the morning, when few
people are stirring, and we are most alive to sounds? Some of these
cries are not unpleasing: the first to greet us, plaintive and
melancholy in its character, is that of "_Aqua acetosa_," which
announces the water of a mineral spring in the neighbourhood, brought
in at sunrise for those who are too idle or too ill to drink it at its
source. Another kind of water--also very matutinal in its
delivery,--the "_Aqua vita_," is intonated by the _Aquavitario_, in a
sharp kestrel key,--hear him! Now, list to two men carrying a large
deep tub of honey between them, and bellowing in rapid alternation,
"_Miele_, _miele_," and say if their accents are mellifluous! Next,
comes a loud-tongued salesman, who out-brays Lablache, but confines
his singing to "_Che vuole_, _che vuole_!" and oranges and lemons are
his commodity. From an itinerant green-grocer, who passes with his
panniered donkey, suddenly bursts forth, "_Cimaroli, cimaroli_!" The
last cry we hear is that of "_Tutti vivi_, _tutti vivi_!" from the
_asparagaro_, who is bringing frogs and wild asparagus into Rome. Now
we are in the Piazza del Popolo, and having glanced a moment at those
buxom goddesses, at the foot of the Pincian hill, who look right well
this morning in their flowing robes, turn out of the Popolo Gate, just
as a large drove of lean turkeys, driven in from the Campagna, besiege
the entrance on their way to the bird-market, where they are to be
presently slaughtered, drawn, and quartered; their "disjecta membra"
exposed to sale at so many _baiocchi_ a pound; and their blood, which
is more esteemed than their flesh, hawked about the streets in cakes:
of course we are too humane to hint to them their coming destiny. In
front of the elegant Borghese entrance, and round the Park lodge, all
strewn about in picturesque disarray, we behold one of those numerous
herds of goats, which come in every morning, to be milked at the
different houseouse doors: their udders at present are brimful, and almost
touch the lintel of the gate where they are standing--"gravido
superant vix ubere limen;" and though they are emptied continually,
soon fill again,--

    "Et plus ta main avare épuise leurs mammelles
    Plus la douce ambroisie entre tes doigts ruisselle."

Some are lying down to lighten their load; and some, with an air of
patient expectancy, turn their heads towards an "osteria cacinante"
opposite, knowing that so soon as their drover has finished his own
cold broccoli breakfast, he will come out to accompany them into Rome
to _disperse_ theirs. And now we are within the _enceinte_ of the
Borghese grounds, have passed the good-humoured _custode_ at the gate,
responded a hearty "_da vero_," to the "_che bella qiornata_" with
which we are greeted, tarried for an instant by the little pond to the
left, and heard the Babylonian willow susurrate the same salutation to
the water under its boughs, and then make for, and soon reach, the
large ever-spouting fountain which is scattering its comminuted
water-dust far and near, and bathes our cheek refreshingly as we pass
it: and now we are at the Borghese dairy, and now by Raphael's little
frescoed house, untenanted within, and with a solitary robin, the
_custode_ of the porch; but at the back premises we come upon an
artist in a blouse making a sketch. He could not have chosen a more
picturesque spot than this any where in the park: for _foreqround_, a
beautiful green sward, well dotted with recumbent and standing cows,
and interspersed with masses of acanthus-crowned ruin; and for the
_back_, the graceful sweep of the old gray Roman walls, with the Villa
Medici and the Pincian hill peering just above. Fain would we carry
away some such souvenir; but as nature or our misfortune forbid this,
our endeavour shall be to supply its place, however inadequately, by
dotting down a few words of description of one or two of the principal
trees, which here so greatly embellish the view.

The Ilex, interesting alike from its appearance and physiology, first
engages our notice. Compact and solid while yet a shrub, (for hers is
indeed an _old_ head upon _young_ shoulders,) she grows like a tree
that is to count by centuries, and under no advantage of soil or
situation does her sober aspect change; no premature overgrowth was
ever known to weaken her fibres, those _têtes mortées_; the Lombardy
poplars there, whose only merit is their height, may shoot up ever so
tauntingly, for aught she cares, at her elbow; her ambition is not
like that of the stately pines, to nurse a noisy aviary on high; nor
does she seek to rival the fair sisterhood of the Acacias in the
youthful vanity of overdecking her person; one dark-coloured
investment lasts her, and remains unchanged the whole year through.
But though she takes no improper "pride in dress," even the rigid Dr
Watts would hardly be disposed to object to the exceedingly _charming_
trimming of semi-transparent green flouncing, and the rich festoons of
straw-yellow tassels, with which--not to appear insensible to the
festivities of spring--she has just now fringed her winter apparel.
Making less demands upon the earth than many of her neighbours, she
turns her supplies to better account; her acorns from early youth are
firm and mature; excrescences, the common result of excess, mar not
the rough symmetry of her hardy frame--few insects feed upon that
uncompromising rind, which, opposing itself to most cryptogamic
alliance, seldom suffers moss or lichen to spread over its incised and
tesselated surface,

    "Save here and there in spots aye dank and dark,
    When the green meshes fill the fissured bark."

Much does the Ilex gain by this prudent economy of her resources; for,
long after the autumnal rains have stripped her companions bare, while
they are shivering and sighing in the blast, _she_ knows neither moult
nor change. Immutably serene, she plants the dense screen of
well-clothed boughs across the road, and affords shelter to the
careless wight who has forgotten his umbrella, keeping him dry and
warm under an impenetrable water-proof and winter-proof canopy. Of all
trees that bloom, (especially when as now in full feather,) few can
rival the acacia in delicacy of white, or in profusion of blossoming.
Nodding their heavy plumes and parting their leafy tresses in the
breeze, they are the charm of every spot where they grow; whether as
here, alternating in beautiful relief by the lofty wall of the
aqueduct, commingling their snowy bunches amidst thousands of red and
white Banksian roses; or else standing sentinel with a weeping willow
over some garden fountain. Whether alone or in company, there is not a
more beautiful sylvan blonde than the acacia; but it is too apparent
that such loveliness will not last, that her stature is fully beyond
her strength. For example, there is a row of them; none counts her
twelfth birth-day, and yet all are grown up! Turn we, now, to the
great stone pines: here they stand in the morning sun, that has
already cracked their fevered bark, and caused it to peel off in red
_laminæ_ from the rugged trunk. See the ground at their base strewn
with these thin vegetable tiles; and large quantities of that most
beautiful of funguses, the _Clatharus Cancellatus_, chooses this
situation to blush and stink. This group is a well-known land-mark for
miles around Rome; far off in the Campagna we recognise the clump; the
dome of St Peter's itself meets not sooner the inquiring eye of the
arriving tourist. They are also the artists' trees; not a bough of
them but has been studied and depicted time after time for centuries;
they have stood oftener for their portraits than they have cones to
count, and are as familiar to the young painter, as the line-school
that beset the Pincian hill. These are the principal trees which give
character to the garden; but there are hosts of others that help to
make up the beauty of the scene; _Catalpas_, _Meleas_, _Brousenitias_,
_&c. &c._, all now in light green foliage. Some are still hung with
pods and berries of their last year's growth, producing an _insieme_
of pictorial effect rarely to be met with out of Italy, and in Italy
only at this season of the year. Continuing our walk, we pass under
the rose-crowned aqueduct, and strike into the green avenue that
darkens beyond; listening to the distant water bubbling up from the
deepest recesses, and to the fitful whistle of blackbird and thrush,
as they flit athwart the moss-grown gravel, and perch momentarily on
the heads of mutilated termini and statues; whilst the clipt trees
vibrate under the wings of others extricating themselves on a
piratical cruise against a whole flotilla of butterflies, which is
rising and falling over the sunny parterres beyond. "The well-greaved
grillus" bounds twenty feet at a spring, and having thighs as thick as
a lark's to double under him, makes little use of his wings. Many a
callow bee is buzzing helplessly in the path. The gray _curculio_
walks with snout erect, snuffing the morning air; and here we fall
upon a party of apprentice pill-beetles, learning to make up
stercoraceous boluses, and forming nearly as long a line as the
shopmen who are similarly engaged behind Holloway's counter in the
Strand. Near us, hordes of "quick-eyed lizards,"--insect crocodiles,
which much infest this region, start from their holes in the wall,
and, rustling along the box hedge, suddenly pounce upon a butterfly,
detach his wings--the whole walk is strewed with them--and having
bolted his body, retire again to their resting--no--they never
_rest_--lurking-places. Notwithstanding, however, these constant
aggressions, from both birds and reptiles, the _lepidopterous_ race is
not, it seems, to be exterminated; and there, in evidence, lies that
very blue-zoned peacock-butterfly, with his wings extended, and
motionless as if pinned to the gravel, on the same sunny spot where we
have been in the habit of noticing him for these three successive
Aprils past. The eye that follows butterflies takes note also of the
flowers on which they settle, but we must not indulge ourselves in
pointing them out to the reader, who, unless a botanist, or inclined
that way, might turn as restive as the young bride listening to her
"preceptor husband."

    "He showed the flowers from stamina to root,
    Calyx and corol, pericarp and fruit;
    Of all the parts, the size, the use, the shape:
    While poor Augusta panted to escape:
    The various foliage various plants produce,
    Lunate and lyrate, runcinate, retuse,
    Latent and patent, papilous and plain;
    'Oh!' said the pupil, 'it will turn my brain!'"

And, therefore, though "flowers, fresh in hue and many in their
class," absolutely "_implore_ the pausing step," we forbear, and will
let him off this time with rehearsing only three or four among
them:--the _Allium fragrans_, he will join with us, if he has been in
Italy, in the wish that _all_ onions there were like it! the _Anchusa
Italica_, through whose long funnel the proboscis of the ever-buzzing
_Bombylius_ finds its way to the sweet nectar prepared within; the
_Scilla Lilio-hyacinthus_--a _Squill_ masquerading it as a _Hyacinth_;
the leaves of the _Cnicus Syraicus_, most beautiful of thistles,
glistening here in abundance, and scarcely inferior in attractions to
the far-famed _Acanthus_. But the society of plants is as promiscuous
as our own, and accordingly we find here the jaundiced _Chelidonium_
filled with bilious juices; the feculent-smelling flowerets of the
_Smyrnum olusatrum_, and the stinking _Geranium robertianum_, mingle
with the sweets of _Calendula_, _Narcissus_, and _Jonquil_; not to
mention the _Orchis_ tribe, which flourishes in profusion. Traversing
the green arena of the amphitheatre,--where annual festas are held,
and occasional cricket matches played--to the left, and leaving the
Temple of Diana to the right, we come upon a deep descent just in
front of the villa, and enter it for a minute to cast a hasty
_coup-d'oeil_ at the ample frescoes of the ceiling and the grim
mosaics of the floor; the subjects of the latter, however, not being
congenial to an unbreakfasted stomach, we relinquish them presently,
for the beauties of the park.... By the time we think of retracing our
steps, the clock of Monte Citorio has struck ten; but the morning is
still delightfully cool and exhilarating; we have been overtaken and
passed by three pedestrians, each carrying away from the grounds
something more than mere recollections; one, a _semplicista_ of the
Rotunda, with a collection of Galenicals for his shop; another with a
pocket full of _Arum_ roots, which he has been grubbing up for his
wife, a _lavatrice_, to clear linen; and a third, whose handkerchief
contains several pounds weight of _prugnoli_--_Agaricus
prunulus_--destined for his breakfast. These do not long keep pace
with our lingering footsteps; we are loth to quit hastily, and for
the last time, this scene of by-gone pleasures. Oh! Villa Borghese,
well known to us from curly-pated boyhood, before Waterloo was won,
and often at intervals since, till now, when half our hair has become
gray, and the remainder has left our temples, while grown-up nephews
and nieces declare to us, what our contemporaries will not--the
progress of time--how many happy hours of careless childhood have we
frolicked away among thine avenues and plantations--on which we cast a
last sad look--with urchins now as bald as ourselves! In early youth
we have read our favourite authors under thy trees; a little later,
have botanised with friends who loved thee and nature as dearly as we
did; and thus have we learned to know thee, in every dress, in every
phase of light and shade, and in every month of the year. During our
last sojourn, in particular, this has been our favourite haunt; in
winter, when walking required speed, and stalactites of ice would
glisten occasionally from the aqueduct; or when summer returned, and
we could bask under the tall spread pines, and watch the cawing rooks
as they went and came over head, or screened ourselves in some dark
avenue from the fervency of the sun, from whence we could see him
blazing at both ends of it. A long and endearing familiarity has
indeed been ours, melancholy and unsating; and it has given rise to a
host of trying associations, conjured up by each new visit after a
brief absence from Rome, and now adds poignancy of regret to what we
feel _must_ be the last,--

    "While at each step, against our will
    Does memory, with pernicious skill,
    Our captive thoughts enchain,
    Recalls each joy that treach'rous smiled,
    And of green griefs and sorrows wild,
    Resuscitates the pain."



THE VILLA ALBANI.


An Italian villa is like any other Italian belle; we would rather pay
either a morning visit than summer and winter with them; both dress
themselves out for strangers, and often at the expense of their
rightful owners. An Italian villa is very charming for a brief spring,
malarious in summer and autumn, and incommodiously furnished for every
season. _Comfort_ makes but slow progress abroad, and has not yet
found its way into Italy at all; neither into her dictionaries as a
_name_, nor into her dwellings as a _thing_. What should we,
ease-loving English, think of a house, which, lined with marbles and
frescoes, carpeted with mosaics and adorned with statues, offered
nothing but niches and marble curule chairs to write on and to sit in?
Yet such is the general scheme and internal arrangement throughout
most villas in Italy; for as to the prime of the house, the _piano
nobile, that_ belongs as by prescriptive right to the Cæsars, being
indeed only fitted for impassive marble and bronze emperors:--while
the over-hospitable entertainer of these august guests is content to
stow away himself and family in apartments which are frequently little
better than our offices for menials, in which his few articles of
rococo furniture, of all sorts and sizes, are crazy, cumbersome,
undusted, and ill-matched; in short, more like the promiscuous
contents of some inferior broker's shop, than the elegant
_ameublement_ we might have expected to correspond to the profusion of
objects of _vertu_ which grace the principal show-rooms of the
mansion. At home, we may differ in our notions about comfort in the
details, but there are certain conditions which are rightly held
essential to its possible existence; and if "the cold neat parlour,
and the gay glazed bed," have their admirers, it is because
cleanliness and neatness are two of them: but in Italy we look in vain
for either, and there is nothing to compensate their absence. Few
Englishmen could engage in literary labour in the fireless,
ill-furnished rooms which throughout Italy are a matter of course;
where carpets, curtains, or an easy chair, are unknown luxuries; and
into which, entering by various ill-placed and worse fitting windows
and doors, confluent draughts catch you in all directions, turning the
_sanctum_ of study into a perfect Temple of the Winds! Yet, to some
men, comfort seems as unnecessary as it is unattainable. The Italian
antiquary, in particular, had need be careless of his ease, and
regardless of external temperature; as that degree of it necessary for
the conservation of nude marble figures, is by no means congenial to
flesh and blood. This reflection occurs to us to-day--not for the
first time, certes--under the noble portico of the villa Albani, with
a volume of Winkelmann in our hand; for in this palace, and in some
such study as we have hinted at, must he have shivered over these
recondite labours, while meditating, composing, and consulting
authorities, to constitute himself hereafter the great oracle of the
fine arts. Had Winkelmann been half as curious in his research after
comfort as vertù, verily the world would have lost many an able
dissertation and ingenious conjecture; and this villa in
particular--to which we are now come to pay our respects--we fear our
last respects--had been deprived of this renowned commentary on her
treasures. Let us hope parenthetically that a recent perusal of the
venerable antiquary, together with some slight acquaintance with the
objects themselves, will on such an occasion excite in us a spark of
that enthusiasm which animates all his descriptions. What a beautiful
portico! we catch ourselves saying _con amore_ for the hundredth
time--and who will gainsay us?--with its thirty columns of different
coloured granites and rare marbles, cipolino, porta santa, occhio di
pavone (_vide_ Corsi); its busts, its ornamented tazzas, its statues,
and many other _et coeteras_ too numerous to catalogue. Among the
statues, our eye soon singles out the queenly figure of Agrippina
seated in her marble chair. Stateliness and high rank apparent in her
features, grace and perfect self-possession in her attitude, doubtless
she is expecting a deputation of importance, or maybe a visit from the
emperor, and has prepared her well-tutored countenance to receive
either with dignity. Here are the busts of Nerva and of the first
Cæsar, to whose characters, while history gives the key, we are apt to
fancy, as we stare at them, that to Lavater we owe the discovery.
Those ubiquitous emperors Hadrian, Trajan, Antoninus _Pius_, and
Gordianus _ditto_, on whom as on other boring acquaintance you are
sure to stumble in every gallery at Rome till you almost yawn in their
faces, are here of course. Besides these, by way of novelty, we fall
in with the grave, much-bearded, long-faced bust, _Epicurus_
underwritten on the pedestal. If it _be_ that sage, then has not his
face any vestige of the jovial "live while you live" expression which
we might have expected, were he true to his own philosophy; but, on
the contrary, a dignified Melancthon sadness, as if, like Solomon, he
had had enough of pleasure, and had found nothing but "vanity and
vexation of spirit" from them all. Opposite to him, we look with
interest on the much less apocryphal head of Scipio Africanus, not
only exhibiting on his bald temple a large crucial cicatrice, in token
of a wound which we know him to have received, but presenting the
singular appearance of having been trefined, an operation of which
there is certainly no record in his life. Just before we ascend, we
glance up at those beautiful Caryatides, who give their name to one of
the principal saloons, and, loitering for a few moments on the stair
before a charming little group of Niobe and her children, are
presently in the gallery above. There--omitting all minor objects of
interest chronicled in the guide books, (which we have now no time to
re-examine,)--we devote ourselves chiefly to the reconsidering two or
three favourite marbles and bronzes. First among the former stands the
Minerva, a specimen of Roman sublime, (_vide_ Winkelmann)--perfect,
say all the guide books; but how a lady with an artificial nose, and a
right arm palpably modern, can be so considered, it would be difficult
to explain. By the side of his wise daughter is niched a noble statue
of Jupiter, executed by some great artist while the god was master of
Olympus, and probably brought to Rome when he had ceased to reign, and
his effects were sold. In the effeminate Antinous, an alto-relievo of
whitest marble, we admire the prototype of that arrow-stricken youth,
the comely St Sebastian. Nothing can exceed the grace of the bronze
Apollo; but, on looking from his form into his face, you are
surprised to find him literally _stone_-blind; a shocking case of
double cataract, produced by adopting for eyes two sardonyxes, whereof
the second layer, representing the iris, is dark, while the white
centre of the orb, corresponding to the pupil, exhibits a hopeless
opacity. We pause in succession before those weird sisters, arranged
stiffly _à l'Etrusque_, who are receiving the infant Bacchus, not to
give him milk, you may be sure, but to dry-nurse him upon Burgundy; a
perfectly intellectual head, planted upon misshapen shoulders,
supposed to be Æsop, a beautiful deformity; a Hercules, leaning
against a column, and reposing after some of his many labours; the
large marble vase with Bacchante figures and attendant Fauns, carrying
skins of wine to keep up the festivities; all these are well worthy of
a longer inspection than we have now time to bestow. The mosaics on
the floor, too, offer pleasing representations of different objects of
natural history; many birds, "goldfinch, bullfinch, greenfinch,
chaffinch, and all the finches of the grove;" cicadæ and dragonflies,
fruits and flowers, the arbutus and the ivy, commingling their various
forms and colours, and all inimitably executed. Descending slowly, we
find ourselves once more at Agrippina's side in the Portico; not this
time to look at the statues, but out upon the prospect, _sub dio_, and
amuse ourselves with tracking the broken and often interrupted lines
of converging aqueducts that cross and recross the plain. The clear
Italian atmosphere renders objects so distinct, that with a glass we
can read the names of the _locanda_ at Frascati, nine miles off, and
almost determine what provisions the man in the white apron has in his
hand. Tivoli and Frascati, not far distant from each other, stand high
upon the hills; and still higher up is Rocca di Papa on its lofty
site; while between us and them, in the dancing air, lies that
malarious Campagna, which, though unfruitful in corn, wine, or olives,
yields notwithstanding a rich harvest of its own. From it, every year
are gathered bushels of imperial and consular coins; engraved stones,
and other works of ancient art; and from the same "marble wilderness"
many of the busts and bas-reliefs, which adorn not only this villa,
but also most of the mansions in and about Rome. But we have to walk
home; and we accordingly look with natural alarm at the garden, with
its broad shadeless walks blazing in the sun; the sparrows can bear
the heat no longer; a whole bevy, who for the last five minutes have
been jargoning their uneasiness over our head, have finally gone off
to seek shelter in the bushes;--their instinct having first prompted
several expedients to relieve their distress, all of which failed
them; thus, when they found that sitting either in company or "alone
upon the house top" would not do, and that hopping on the tiles
blistered their feet, they bethought them of the metal pipes, and
tried to effect an entrance, but quickly issued screaming, having made
the discovery, that they had only got out of the fire into a
frying-pan. On issuing from the Portico, we pass a large fountain, in
which the gold fish keep studiously at the bottom of the water, while
the restless dragon-fly (who finds the glittering shell-work too hot
to hold him) is as studiously skimming backwards and forwards over the
surface, to cool and refresh himself; and the frogs, in a neighboring
tank, while conjugal duties keep them also on the top, feebly croak as
they float with their wives among the green feculence, and make love
behind the bulrushes. On leaving the garden, we mount our green
spectacles, hoist our umbrella, and resolutely set our face homeward
and Romeward. Half an hour's broiling walk brings us up under the
friendly covert of the city walls; following the _giro_ of which, we
arrive in about as much time as it has taken us to reach them, at the
Popolo Gate, and enter the Piazza, which no mortal wight would now
care to traverse, who could avoid it. The owls--how cruel to place
owls upon an obelisk dedicated to the _sun_--never blinked to a
brighter flood of light in the streets of Thebes, than that which here
streams on every object to-day. The Tazza's fountain, at its base, is
a perfect cauldron, in which the glowing water bubbles up against, the
sides, as if it were actually about to _boil over_; the domes of the
two churches, opposite the city gate, will soon warm their capacious
interiors, from the large, supply of caloric they are now rapidly
absorbing; a stand of bayonets before the Dogana, sparkles as if it
were on fire; and when we have arrived at the foot of the wide white
Scalinata of the Trinita di Monti, the whole expanse from top to
bottom shines with unmitigated and unsupportable splendour. No
importunate beggar can stand and rattle his tin box on the summit, and
if he could, there is no passenger to heed or hear him; the Sabine
model belle is not there to offer herself to the first artist who
wants a madonna or a saint, nor amateur bandits, nor faun-like
children playing on the steps; even the patient goats, long since
milked, lie panting under the convent wall; not a dog is visible on
the large _immondezaro_ in front of it; and had we not had already
painful experience of the heat of the day, the donkey who lives below,
in the court of the Palazzo Mignanelli, exhibits it most strikingly;
there he stands, a fine subject for Pinelli, with a wo-begone
countenance,--Sancho's ass not more triste--ruminating over a heap of
fresh vegetables, which he feebly snuffs, and wants resolution to
stoop his head and munch; whilst his adopted friend, the large
house-dog, totally regardless of his charge, sleeps heavily in the
opposite corner of the court.

It required an early dinner, and a long siesta afterwards, in our
darkened, water-sprinkled rooms, to resuscitate us to any fresh
exertion; but as the Ave Maria approached, we were sufficiently
refreshed to climb the Quirinal Mount, in order to witness one of our
few remaining Roman sunsets from its summit. We pass, to reach it,
down the Via Felice, across the Piazza Barberini, and up the steepest
hill in Rome, by the Via Quatro Fontani; from its brow, we look
momentarily down on the Viminal side, to Santa Maria Maggiore, with
all the other objects that present themselves to view from this spot;
and presently find ourselves at the end of that long street of
convents and churches, which issues at its other extremity in the
Porta Pia, forming a straight line of nearly a mile and a half in
length; and here we are in that well-known Piazza, which is bounded on
one side by the Papal Palace and its gardens; on the opposite by the
Colonna and its ruin-scattered grounds; backed by the palaces
Ruspigliosi and Guardi Nobile, and an open view of the Campagna in
front. No position could have been better chosen than this, for the
display of the two finest colossal statues in the world; they stand in
the midst, with the Theban Obelisk and the Roman Fountain between
them, all blending into a matchless group. As we look from this lofty
vantage ground, high over the roofs of Rome, we see the sun preparing
to take farewell of us, behind the ridge of Monte Mario; but the
convent walls on the height where we stand enjoy his beams a few
minutes longer, though they have ceased to strike upon the city at its
foot. Soon, however, he touches the horizon and begins to dip; the
palace windows behind us blaze away as if for an illumination; and
when the last golden speck has disappeared from the ridge, the whole
landscape changes colour; the yellow tint is instantaneously
transformed into a rosy light, deepening, and becoming more and more
beautiful every minute, till the short southern twilight is over; the
somewhat harsh outline of the obelisk is softened during this brief
point of time; a gentle air, (the breath of evening,) fans our cheek;
fire-flies light their lamps all around, and night suddenly overtakes
us,--"_ruit nox_." Scarcely ten minutes have elapsed since we stood
here, and already the dilated nostril and meaning eye of the restive
coursers, then so strikingly exhibited, are scarcely any longer
distinguishable; while the dark curvilinear outline of their bodies,
and the towering forms of "the great Twin Brethren" at their heads,
gain not only in stature, but in grandeur too, by this very
indistinctness,--the obscure being a well-known element of the
sublime,--and the eye becomes more and more conscious of their vast
proportions the less it is enabled to enter minutely into details.



HIGHLAND DESTITUTION.


The appalling horrors with which the Irish famine of last season set
in, seemed to exceed any similar scene of national affliction that had
been witnessed in modern times. It appeared as if the worst tragedies
that had been enacted in sieges and shipwrecks were to be realised in
the midst of comparative abundance, and within reach of friendly aid.
It was right, however, that the clamant demands for relief, uttered by
her starving millions, should not stifle the smaller voice of
suffering that issued from our Scottish shores. Nor was this the case:
the Christian philanthropy of Britain did justice to the cause of
patience and fortitude. The fountains of private beneficence were
opened, and Scotland was better protected from the miseries of this
visitation by individual exertion, than Ireland with all the aid and
apparatus of government interference.

Making every abatement for the natural exaggeration incident to such a
calamity, no doubt can be entertained as to the general condition of
our Highlands and Islands in the early part of the past year. Great
distress was almost every where prevalent, and every day that passed
was tending to increase it. A large portion of the food of the people
had failed, and the remnant of the preceding year's corn crop was
their only means of subsistence. That resource could not long be
relied on; and the great problem was, in what manner the destitute
thousands of our countrymen were to be fed till the returning harvest
should visit them with its scanty and precarious bounty. Too many of
them were habitually on the verge of starvation, and the crumbling
away of the slender support on which alone they stood, brought them at
once to the low abyss of wretchedness in which they would have been
left if public generosity had not interposed.

The task of those who undertook to distribute the large relief fund
subscribed was attended with great difficulty, and involved a solemn
responsibility of the highest kind. They appear to us, on a review of
their arrangements, to have proceeded with judgment and good feeling;
anxious, on the one hand, to alleviate want, and on the other, to
avert those moral mischiefs that follow in the wake of gratuitous or
indiscriminate liberality. Their object necessarily was, to do as much
good and as little harm as the emergency would permit.

Something has recently been said of the great extent to which the
distress in those districts was originally over-stated by the
individuals who came forward to rouse the benevolence of their
countrymen on behalf of the Highlands. We are by no means prepared to
join in this view. It is impossible to describe the consequences of a
coming famine with mathematical precision. Besides, the destitution is
not yet over. And it is at least clear, even as to the past, that
_except for the exertions of the proprietors_, which might or might
not have been so largely made, the destitution would have fully borne
out the predictions which were uttered. It could not with certainty be
assumed that the smaller and less wealthy proprietors, in particular,
would have been able to make the great sacrifices which they have so
generously submitted to, and without which the people of Wester Ross
and Skye, of Islay and Colonsay, and many other places, would have
laid on the relief fund a burden far heavier than it has had to bear.

This at least is certain, that the fund has not been dispensed upon
any extravagant views of the existence of destitution. The large
surplus that remains on hand, demonstrates the caution and economy
with which the distribution has been conducted. The money has not been
lavished merely because it had been subscribed; and the difficult
object has been accomplished, of keeping in check those demands which
were likely to become more clamorous and more unreasonable, in
proportion as the means existed of satisfying them.

It would serve little purpose to examine in detail the operations of
the Relief Board, which are already before the public in the reports
which they have published from time to time. It is, perhaps,
sufficient to say, that they present, in a great degree, the features
which might have been looked for in the working of a scheme devised on
the spur of an emergency, and destined to be followed out in remote
localities, and under influences partaking, in no ordinary degree, of
the taint of human frailty. In some parts of the country, the local
committees have done their duty conscientiously and respectably; in
others we are afraid they are not entitled to the same praise. Yet, on
the whole, things have answered better than could have been expected;
and undoubtedly the greatest benefit was derived from the able
superintendence of the two general inspectors employed by the board,
Captain Eliott and Dr Boyter, whose services to the public in this
important duty cannot be too highly commended.

It is quite clear, however, that the local machinery, which was
necessarily or allowably resorted to at the outset, ought no longer to
be kept up, if further operations are required for the relief of
destitution. There must now be a more stringent examination of the
claims which may be preferred, and a more rigid enforcement of the
proper regulations, than could well be insisted for when the field was
new and the urgency irresistible. A continuance of any past laxity
would now be inexcusable and eminently mischievous, by tending to
perpetuate in the Highlands those social evils and anomalies which the
present calamity is naturally calculated to expose and extirpate.

It is almost needless to ask the question, whether the operations of
the Relief Board are still necessary. Every one acquainted with the
Highlands and Islands is aware that the results of last year's failure
of the potato are still at work, and must necessarily prolong the
distress for some time to come. The fund which has been subscribed for
the relief of that distress must necessarily, therefore, be employed
in its legitimate and destined purpose, until that purpose be
accomplished or the fund exhausted. Independently of any blight in the
present potato crop, great distress will arise from the limited
breadth of potatoes that has been planted, and from the fact that the
cottars, who, in other years, were allowed ground to plant potatoes
for themselves, have been deprived of that resource, from the
necessity of retaining the whole arable farms for the direct use of
the tenants and crofters. It is believed, also, that the corn crops of
this year, though highly favourable in the lower parts of the country,
have neither been so early nor so productive in the Islands as was at
one time expected.

It is, therefore, with perfect propriety and justice that the Board
have determined to retain the balance in their hands, in the mean
time, as a sacred deposit for the relief of that continued distress,
which both the reports of their own inspectors, and the information of
the government officers, establish to be still prevalent. On this
point the late report of Sir John F. Burgoyne as to Ireland applies in
a smaller degree to a very great part of the Highlands and Islands.

In continuing the system of relief, however, the board must keep in
view more closely and constantly than ever the leading principles
which originally guided them, and which we believe to be founded on
the most solid grounds of humanity and social policy.

1. Nothing must be done to relieve of their legal obligations those
who are bound by law to support the infirm poor. Wherever a poor law
is established, it must, we conceive, be fully and fairly enforced
against those liable in relief, to the extent of what is imposed upon
them. In no other way will selfish or thoughtless men be taught a due
interest in the social condition of their neighbours, and make the
necessary exertion to raise or preserve them from a state of
pauperism, the effects of which they are themselves to feel in their
only sensitive part.

2. It must be a rule, all but inflexible, that the able-bodied,
receiving relief, shall give, at the time, or engage to give
afterwards, a corresponding amount of labour in return; and that
engagement must be strictly enforced. This rule is not necessary
merely for the purpose of economising the fund, and benefiting the
public by useful employment. It is essential for preserving the
destitute both from the feeling, and from the reality, of that
degradation which attends on eating the bread of idleness. We believe
that much mischief was done, in 1837, by exonerating those who had
obtained aid from the obligations of labour which they had undertaken,
and which we know, in some districts, broke down all the restraints of
self-respect, and implanted a spirit of dependence and mendicity, even
in persons of a decent station. The evils of famine itself are
great,--its moral no less than its physical effects are fearfully
destructive. But the injury done is hardly less when the poor are
deprived, by gratuitous and reckless largesses, of those habits of
industry, independence, and self-respect, which are their best
possessions, and their only means of rightly bearing their lot or
raising themselves in the scale of existence.

3. A peculiar portion of the population, consisting chiefly of
solitary females unfit for active employment, and yet not sufficiently
disabled to be objects of parochial aid, will require a humane and
indulgent consideration. The Committees hitherto seem to have advanced
them little stores of wool and flax, to enable them to give some
return for their support; and a great deal of meritorious exertion has
in this way been fostered. We presume that at least to a certain
extent this humane system may be continued.

4. Another obvious and incalculable boon will be conferred on the
country, if we can bridge over the chasm that has hitherto divided the
Highlands and Islands from the labour markets of the south. It was
indeed a strange anomaly, that strong men should be lying down to die
in the Isles, or even on the mainland of Scotland, and that within two
or three hundred miles of their homes, and on Scottish soil, there
should be a want of labourers, and the easy means of earning ample
wages. This appears to us one of the great objects to be now
consulted, and to which the attention of the Board has already been
anxiously directed: to remove the obstacles that have existed to a
free intercourse between different parts of the country, and more
particularly between the Saxon and Celtic districts. There are many
causes that combine to fix a Highlander to his home, even in the midst
of misery. Among these are ignorance of better things, and that
strangeness and helplessness, produced by a change of scene, which
half-civilised men are apt to feel with almost the timidity of
children. The diversity of the Highland and the Lowland tongue is
another impediment, but one which is daily disappearing, and is never
so likely to vanish as under the pressure of necessity. The very
virtues of the Highland character contribute to keep them where they
are, and are assisted in doing so by some of those defects which are
akin to their good qualities. Their patient endurance of cold and
privation cooperates with the congenial tendency towards indolence, to
fix them in a state of miserable inaction, rather than submit to the
active exertion that would increase their comforts. Every thing will
now combine to overcome these difficulties; the _res angusta domi_
will now be vividly felt, if it can ever be felt at all; while
fortunately both the benevolence and the necessities, both the wishes
and the interests of their Lowland neighbours, concur in desiring that
a new supply should be obtained from that quarter, in aid of what the
south itself affords. Not only railways now forming, but also the
great amount of draining operations contemplated, or already in
progress under recent enactments, must tend in an eminent degree to
alleviate the sufferings of the distressed districts, if a free
current of labour can be established, so as to redress the
inequalities prevailing in different places. The labour market may not
be so favourable this year as it was last, but it will still, we hope,
be sufficiently so for this purpose.

We have a strong impression that a change of this kind, if prudently
brought about without deranging local agriculture, will of itself do a
great deal for the permanent relief of those localities where distress
now prevails. Labourers thus obtained may in some respects be
inferior, from want of skill, and even from want of strength. But our
Highland countrymen have recommendations in their sober and orderly
habits, which are not to be found in some of their competitors in the
labour-market. Even railway contractors, though not likely to be
swayed, except by economical views, are beginning to tire of the
scenes of disorder and disturbance too frequently exhibited by workmen
from other quarters. If the natives of the Scottish Highlands can be
fairly roused to exertion, at a distance from home, their characters
will be improved, and their views enlarged. They will begin to taste
the benefits of better subsistence, and of some command of money; and
their frugal habits, as well as their kindly affections, will
communicate the advantage and spread the example among their suffering
countrymen whom they have left behind.

This resource, then, must be pressed by the Board with the whole force
of their influence, upon all the able-bodied in the distressed
districts who can with propriety be required to leave their
localities; and we should not quarrel with a very strict
administration of wholesome compulsion to effect so essential an
object.

5. The most difficult and delicate duty which the Relief Board will
have to discharge, regards the selection of works to be undertaken or
sanctioned by them, as affording employment for those destitute
persons whom they must relieve on the spot. It must here be kept in
view, on the one hand, that the permanent improvement of the Highlands
is no proper or direct object of the subscriptions received. On the
other hand, it will clearly be necessary, after every attempt to
remove labourers to the south, that some work should be provided in
each locality, on which those persons may be employed who cannot be so
removed, and who yet stand in need of relief. It would be mischievous
and wasteful to relieve such persons without exacting labour from
them, and just as reprehensible to employ them in digging holes and
filling them up again, or in any other occupation equally useless and
unproductive. If their work is to be obtained, it should be directed
into some channel that will benefit themselves and the community.
Public roads, harbours, piers, breakwaters, and the like, appear an
obvious outlet for the labour thus placed at the command of the Board;
and we are not even averse, within certain limits, to admitting their
exertions in the improvement of their own crofts, provided, at least,
the benefit thence arising be secured to the occupant by some
reasonable tenure, and that no continuance is thus effected of an
improper system of occupation. It seems no objection to such
operations that proprietors will indirectly benefit by them. It is
impossible to devise any local work that is not open to the same
objection, which would indeed be insuperable, if it were proposed to
expend the money on local improvements as a direct and substantive
object. But where the relief must be given, and the work is only to be
taken to the extent of the relief, and as a return for it, we think
almost any employment better than none, as we know no evil that can
outweigh the moral mischief arising from gratuitous distribution. At
the same time, the Board must require the co-operation of proprietors
where-ever they can, and must insist for such terms as the
circumstances of each case may recommend.

Guarded by some such principles of action, we anticipate that the
relief operations in Scotland will, on the whole, be attended with no
small degree of moral as well as of physical benefit.

The subject of Emigration is too large and complicated to be now
discussed. That remedy is perhaps essential to the thorough cure of
the social disorders prevailing in the Highlands. But it must not be
rashly resorted to; nor can it ever be safe or effectual without the
cordial co-operation of the government.

The operation and effects of the calamity with which so large a
portion of Scotland has now been visited, cannot be suffered to pass
away without an effort to extract from them a moral law and a moral
lesson for our future guidance.

It is obvious that the suffering which has been felt, arises from the
social system being in so great a degree _based upon the potato
culture_. The dependence of the great bulk of the destitute population
on a plant which, though more productive of mere sustenance than any
other, yet stands lowest in the scale of all our articles of food, is
demonstrated by the distress that has been occasioned by the failure
of that crop, and is indeed implied in all the exertions that have
been made to give relief. This is obviously an unsound foundation for
social life. It places the labouring classes on the very border of
starvation, and leaves no margin whatever for any contingencies. On
the failure of the potato, the ground can only be applied to the
cultivation of other produce, which on the same space would yield a
far inferior quantity of food, and thus a large portion of the year is
left unprovided for.

It is impossible to exclude from consideration at this time the
important question of the state of the Scotch Poor Law. On this
momentous subject we beg leave explicitly to decline at present any
announcement of opinion; and we confess that we do not think a season
of calamity is at all the proper period for legislating on a matter
which involves so much feeling, and which yet requires such grave
consideration, and so much cautious arrangement. It cannot, however,
be denied, that the events which we have lately witnessed afford
important elements and examples which must influence any opinion that
we may form, and which should be treasured up as materials for
ultimately arriving at a sound conclusion.

No one desirous of making up his mind on this point will
fail to consult, on one side of this question, the very able
"Observations"[17] which have just appeared from the pen of Dr Alison,
and to which, without adopting all the writer's views, we have great
pleasure in directing attention, as to a most powerful and temperate
argument in favour of an able-bodied Poor Law. If talents of a very
high order, if an enlarged and enlightened experience, and a long
consideration of the subject,--if a life passed, whether
professionally or in private, in the exercise of the most active and
disinterested benevolence,--if these qualifications entitle a witness
to be heard in such a cause, Dr Alison may well claim for his opinions
the greatest deference and respect: and the logical precision, and
clear and candid statement, which this essay exhibits, will secure
even from his opponents a ready and cordial approbation. Again we say,
that we do not wish to adopt his arguments as our own, but we
willingly contribute to embody them in a more permanent form, and to
offer them to the attention of our readers, that they may prevail, if
they cannot be answered, or may receive an answer, if an answer can be
given.

The general nature of Dr Alison's views will be understood by quoting
his table of contents, which contains a synopsis of his argument:

    "All questions regarding Poverty and Destitution are inseparably
    connected with the Theory of Population, i. e., the observation of
    the conditions by which Population is regulated;--the best system
    of Management of the Poor being that under which there is least
    redundancy of population.

    "The unequivocal tests of a population being redundant, are
    Pestilence and Famine; these taking effect on such a population
    much more than on any other; and the experience of both, within
    the last few years in this country, proves unequivocally, that it
    is in those portions of it where there is no effective legal
    provision for the poor--not in those where there is such
    provision--that the population is redundant.

    "The peculiar Fever of 1843, as well as ordinary Typhus, now
    prevail much more extensively among the destitute Irish, hitherto
    unprotected by law, than among any others--and the effect of all
    other predisposing causes, in favouring their diffusion, is
    trifling in comparison with Destitution, and its inseparable
    concomitant, crowding in ill-ventilated rooms.

    "The Famine of 1846-7, consequent on the failure of the Potato
    Crop, (_i. e._ of the cheapest and poorest food on which life can
    be supported,) clearly reveals the parts of the country where the
    population is redundant; and this is throughout Ireland, until
    very lately absolutely without provision, and in 106 districts of
    Scotland, where, without exception, there has been no assessment
    and a nearly illusory legal provision for the poor.

    "These facts not only prove incontestably that an effective Poor
    Law does not foster redundant population, but justify the belief,
    that the absence of a legal provision against Destitution is a
    great and general predisposing cause, with which others have no
    doubt concurred, in producing such redundancy; and that the
    presence of such a provision greatly favours the checks upon it.

    "This it may be distinctly observed to do in two ways--1. By
    keeping up the standard of comfort among the poor themselves; 2.
    By giving every proprietor of land a direct and obvious interest
    in constantly watching and habitually checking the growth of a
    _parasite_ population, for whose labour there is no demand, on his
    property.

    "The statement that the English Poor Rate increases more rapidly
    than the wealth and population of the country, and threatens to
    absorb that wealth, is statistically proved to be erroneous.

    "The other accusation brought against an effective legal
    provision, that it injures the character of a people, and
    depresses the industry, and checks the improvement of a country,
    is equally opposed to statistical facts.

    "The lower orders of the Highlanders and Irish--whose resource
    when destitute is mendicity, are much more disposed to idleness
    than the English labouring men.

    "Yet this disposition among the Highlanders has been greatly
    exaggerated.

    "Where it is most offensive, it is amongst those who have been
    most impoverished and neglected.

    "The inquiries of the agents of the Relief Committees, as well as
    those of the Royal Commissioners on the Poor Laws, have
    _proved_,--

      "1. That there has been a great deficiency in the application of
      capital and skill to develop the resources of the Highlands and
      Islands.

      "2. That the skilful application, even of a moderate capital, to
      various undertakings requiring labour, opens a prospect of great
      improvement in the country. These resources existing, the
      inference is inevitable, that if the higher ranks in the Highlands
      are bound to support their poor, they can and will, in general,
      find "remunerative employment" for them rather than maintain them
      in idleness.

    "And the observations of the agents of the Committees, dispensing
    a voluntary fund, but guarding it--as a well-regulated relief
    would be guarded,--by the 'Labour Test' therefore affording an
    earnest of what maybe expected from the habitual operation of such
    a Law,--have shewn that, under its influence, the 'aboriginal
    idleness' of the Highlanders rapidly disappears.

    "The principle that an effective legal provision against all kinds
    of destitution is useful to a country, as a wholesome stimulus
    both to capitalists and labourers, is clearly stated by Sir Robert
    Peel, _and now recognised and acted on in reference to Ireland_.

    "The evidence of the resources of Ireland, in the absence of that
    stimulus, having been very imperfectly developed,--from the Report
    of the Committee on the occupation of lands, and other
    sources,--is just similar to that in the Highlands.

    "And the effect of an incipient Poor-Rate in forcing on profitable
    improvements, as well as in equalising the burden imposed on the
    higher ranks by the destitution of the lower, begins to show
    itself in Ireland unequivocally.

    "There are probably some districts both in the Highlands and in
    Ireland, where 'profitable investments of labour' cannot be found,
    which can only be effectually relieved by emigration and
    colonisation.

    "To which purpose, in the case of the Highlands, the surplus funds
    in the hands of the Relief Committee, and even an additional
    subscription, may be very properly applied, provided that the
    districts requiring it are pointed out by their own agents, and
    that the wholesome stimulus of an effective Poor Law, embracing
    the case of destitution from want of employment, _now existing in
    all other parts of her Majesty's dominions_, be extended to
    Scotland."

We make no apology for the copiousness of the extracts which we are
now to make, and which, we think, will sufficiently explain themselves
without much commentary from us.

Nothing can be fairer than the footing on which Dr Alison places his
argument at the outset.

    "Very little reflection appears to be sufficient to show, that the
    best system of management of the poor (_ceteris paribus_) must be
    that which gives the least encouragement to redundancy of
    population. I have always regarded, therefore, the doctrine of
    Malthus--by which all such questions are held to be inseparably
    connected with the theory of population--to be the true basis of
    all speculative inquiry on this subject; and I cannot help saying
    again, that in consequence of some hasty expressions which he
    used, and of the great practical error, which, as I believe, and
    as he himself evidently suspected in the latter part of his life,
    he had committed in the application of his principle, justice has
    not yet been generally done to the truth and importance of that
    fundamental principle itself. In the present state of this
    country, and indeed of every civilised country, and with a view to
    the happiness of the human race upon earth, it seems hardly
    possible to exaggerate the importance of any inquiries which
    promise to indicate the conditions by which the relation of the
    population to the demand for labour, and the means of subsistence
    there existing, is determined, and may be regulated.

    "We cannot indeed expect, that so striking results can follow from
    this or any other principle in political science, as have already
    rewarded the labour of man in investigating the laws of the
    material world. The beautiful expressions of Cicero, in describing
    the power which man has acquired over Nature, are more applicable
    to the present age, than to any one that has preceded it. 'Nos
    campis, nos montibus fruimur; nostri sunt amnes, nostri lacus; nos
    fruges serimus, nos arbores; nos aquarum inductionibus terris
    fecunditatem damus; nos flumina arcemus, dirigimus, avertimus;
    nostris denique manibus in rerum naturâ quasi alteram naturam
    efficere conamur.' We can hardly anticipate, that science shall
    acquire a similar power of regulating the condition of human
    society or the progress of human affairs. In regard to the changes
    which these affairs undergo in the progress of time, we are all of
    us agents, rather than contrivers. 'L'homme avance dans
    l'exécution d'un plan qu'il n'a point conçu, qu'il ne connoit même
    pas; il est l'ouvrier intelligent et libre d'une oeuvre qui n'est
    pas la sienne; il ne la reconnoit, ne la comprend que plus tard,
    lorsqu'elle se manifeste au dehors et dans les realités, et même
    alors il ne la comprend que très incomplètement."--(GUIZOT.) Still
    we may observe, that in all applications of science, moral and
    political, as well as physical, to the good of mankind, the same
    principle holds true, 'Natura non vincitur nisi parendo;' and that
    even in those cases where man is the agent, he may likewise be the
    interpreter and the minister of Nature. It is only by acquiring a
    knowledge of the natural laws of motion, of heat, of chemical
    action, that we acquire that power, "quasi alteram naturam
    efficere," which Cicero describes; and those events which are due
    to the agency of free, and intelligent, and responsible human
    beings, although liable to the influence of a greater number of
    disturbing forces, and therefore requiring careful investigation,
    are still subject to laws, which are imposed on the constitution
    of the human race, and which may be ascertained by observations
    belonging to the department of statistical science.

    "That the natural tendency of the human race is to increase on any
    given portion, or on the whole of the earth's surface, in a much
    more rapid ratio than the means of subsistence can be made to
    increase, I apprehend to be an undeniable fact. I am aware of
    various objections which have been stated to this principle, but
    shall not enter on these objections farther than to state, that
    two considerations appear to me to have been overlooked by those
    who have advanced them. _First_, That the term 'means of
    subsistence,' is not to be restricted to the raising from the land
    of articles of food, but applies to the extraction from the
    earth's surface, and the preparation for the use of man, of all
    productions of Nature, which are either necessary to human
    existence or adapted for human comfort, and which have, therefore,
    an exchangeable value;--_secondly_, that the question regarding
    these, which concerns us in this inquiry, is not how much a given
    number of men may raise, but how much a given portion of the
    earth's surface can supply; and what relation this quantity bears
    to the power of reproduction granted to the human race. When these
    considerations are kept in view, it does not appear to me that the
    objections to the general principle laid down by Malthus are of
    any weight; and the truth of the principle appears to be strongly
    illustrated by the care taken by Nature to have a certain number
    of carnivorous genera, in every order of animals, and among the
    animated inhabitants of every portion of the earth's surface,
    whereby the tendency to excess in every class of animals is
    continually checked and repressed. And although it is certain that
    the causes of human suffering of all sorts, as of human diseases,
    are very generally complex, yet we may certainly assert, that this
    principle is essentially concerned, as a great and permanent
    predisposing cause, in all those sufferings which result from
    poverty, and must be carefully kept in view in all wise
    regulations for their relief.

    "Neither is it incumbent on those who acquiesce in this general
    principle, to assert that the natural checks on this tendency to
    excessive reproduction in the human race have been well named or
    fully expounded by Malthus. But the great distinction which he
    pointed out, of the _positive_ and the _preventive_ checks on
    population, is undoubtedly of extreme importance. And in regard to
    the positive checks, by which it is easy to see that the progress
    of the human race upon earth has been hitherto rendered so very
    different from what might have been expected from its powers of
    reproduction,--when we reflect on the effects of War, of Disease
    of all kinds, and especially of Pestilence, of Famine, of Vice, of
    Polygamy, of Tyranny, and misgovernment of all kinds,--while we
    can easily perceive that all these may be ultimately instruments
    of good in the hands of Him who can 'make even the wrath of man to
    praise Him,'--yet we must acknowledge that all, if not properly
    ranked together under the general name of Misery, are yet causes
    of human suffering,--so general, and so great, that the most
    meritorious of all exertions of the human mind are those, which
    are directed to the object of counteracting and limiting the
    action of these positive checks on population; and on this
    consideration it is wise for us to reflect deeply, because it is
    thus only that we can judge of the value of the great preventive
    check of Moral Restraint, by which alone the human race can be
    duly proportioned to the means of subsistence provided for it,
    without suffering the evils which are involved in the operation of
    the different positive checks above enumerated.

    "I consider, therefore, the general principles of Malthus as not
    only true, but so important, that the exposition and illustration
    of them is a real and lasting benefit to mankind. The real error
    of Malthus lay simply in his supposing, that moral restraint is
    necessarily or generally weakened by a legal provision against
    destitution; and this is no part of his general theory, but was,
    as I maintain, a hypothetical assumption, by which he thought that
    his theory was made applicable in practice. His argument against
    Poor Laws was this syllogism: Whatever weakens the moral restraint
    on population must ultimately injure a people; but a legal
    protection against destitution weakens that moral restraint;
    therefore Poor Laws, giving that legal protection, must ultimately
    injure any people among whom they are enforced. The answer, as I
    conceive, is simply 'Negatur minor.' How do you know that a legal
    protection against destitution must necessarily weaken moral
    restraint? The only answer that I have ever seen, amounts only to
    an _assertion_ or conjecture, that more young persons will marry,
    when they know that they may claim from the law protection against
    death by cold and hunger, than when they have no such protection.
    But this is only _an opinion_, supported perhaps by reference to a
    few individual cases, but resting on no foundation of statistical
    facts. Where are the facts to prove that early marriages are more
    frequent, and that population becomes more redundant, among those
    who have a legal provision against destitution, than among those
    who have none? I have never seen any such facts, on such a scale
    as is obviously necessary to avoid the fallacies attending
    individual observations; and the facts to which I have now to
    advert, are on a scale, the extent of which we must all deplore,
    and all tending, like many others formerly stated, to prove that
    the greatest redundancy of population in her Majesty's dominions
    exists among those portions of her subjects who have hitherto
    enjoyed _no legal protection_, against destitution. As it is
    generally avowed that it is for the sake of the poor
    themselves,--with a view to their ultimate preservation from the
    evils of destitution,--that the law giving them protection in the
    meantime is opposed, these facts must be regarded as decisive of
    the question."

It will not generally be disputed that a correct view of the main
cause of distress is contained in what follows:--

    "The famine, consequent on the failure of the potato crop in 1846,
    considered independently of disease, presents a still more
    remarkable collection of facts, the proper view of which appears
    to me to be this. The potato is an article of diet throughout the
    whole of this country, particularly useful to the working classes,
    and its importance to them seems to be fully illustrated by the
    pretty frequent occurrence of scurvy in many places, where it had
    been unknown for more than a century, since the beginning of the
    winter 1846-7,--that is, since the use of the potato has been
    necessarily nearly abandoned.

    "But it is only in certain districts that the people have been
    absolutely dependent on the potato, and been reduced to absolute
    destitution by its failure; and the reason obviously is, that the
    potato, although much less desirable, as the chief article of
    diet, than many others, is that by which the greatest number of
    persons may be fed from a given quantity of land in this climate.
    When we find a population, therefore, living chiefly on potatoes,
    and reduced to absolute destitution, unable to purchase other
    food, when the potato crop fails,--we have at once disclosed to
    us the undeniable fact, that that population is redundant. It is
    greater than can be maintained in that district, otherwise than on
    the poorest diet by which life can be supported, and greater than
    the labour usually done in that district demands. Now I formerly
    stated, that such a redundant population, living, as a foreign
    author expresses it, 'en parasite,' on the working people of the
    country, exists most remarkably in Scotland, in districts where no
    poor-law is enforced; and I have now only to show how amply that
    statement is confirmed by the facts which the present famine in
    some parts of Scotland has brought to light."

Whatever be its merits, the argument for a comprehensive Poor Law is
placed on its true basis in the following passages:--

    "If it be still said, that there is a difficulty in perceiving how
    the natural increase of population should be restrained,--implying
    that marriages should in general be rendered later and less
    productive,--by laws which give protection against destitution, I
    can only repeat what I formerly stated, that in order to
    understand this, it is only necessary to suppose, what is quite in
    accordance with individual observation, that human conduct, and
    particularly the conduct of young persons, is more generally
    influenced by hope than by fear,--that more are deterred from
    early and imprudent marriages by the hope and prospect of
    maintaining and bettering their condition in life, than by the
    fear of absolute destitution. The examples of the Highlands and of
    Ireland are more than enough to show, that this last is not a
    motive on which the legislator can place reliance, as influencing
    the conduct of young persons in extreme poverty. No legislation
    can take from them the resource of mendicity, of one kind or
    another, as a safeguard, in ordinary circumstances, against death
    by famine; and _experience shows_ that those who are brought up in
    habits of mendicity, or of continued association with mendicants,
    will trust to this resource, and marry and rear families, where no
    other prospect of their maintenance can be perceived; whereas
    those who have been brought up in habits of comparative comfort,
    and accustomed to artificial wants, will look to bettering their
    condition, and be influenced by the preventive check of moral
    restraint, to a degree, as Mr Farr--judging from the general
    results of the registration of marriages in England--expresses it,
    which 'will hardly be credited when stated in figures.'

    "I have repeatedly stated likewise, that I consider an efficient
    poor law, extending to all forms of destitution, as affording a
    salutary preventive check on early marriages and excessive
    population in another way, which is easily illustrated by
    statistical facts, viz. by making it obviously the interest of
    landed proprietors always to throw obstacles in the way of such
    marriages among persons who are likely to become burdensome on the
    poor rates, _i. e._ among all who have no clear prospect of
    profitable employment. The number of crofters, and still more of
    cotters, living _en parasite_ on the occupiers of the soil in the
    Highlands, is the theme of continual lamentation; but the question
    seldom occurs to those who make this complaint,--would such a
    population be allowed to settle on the lands of an English
    proprietor, who is familiar with the operation of the poor-rate?"

The following remarks also are well deserving of attention:--

    "But, setting aside the argument of Malthus against effective Poor
    Laws, the chief resource of the opponents of such laws has of late
    years been the assertion, that a legal provision against
    destitution leads naturally to relaxation of industry; that
    idleness, if not improvidence, is thus fostered among the poor,
    and that in this manner, the improvement of a country, necessarily
    dependent on the industry of its lower orders, is retarded. I have
    always maintained, that this assertion likewise is distinctly
    refuted, and not only that it is refuted, but the very contrary
    established, by statistical facts; that it is indeed made in face
    of the demonstrable fact, that the nations most celebrated for
    industry have long enjoyed a legal protection against destitution;
    that the people of England, speaking generally, are probably, to
    use the words of Lord Abinger,--'the most trustworthy and
    effective labourers in the world,' and that the greatest degree of
    idleness to be seen on the face of the earth exists among people
    who have no such protection; whose only resource, therefore, when
    destitute, is mendicity."

Dr Alison endeavours to show that wherever the _labour test_ is
applied, an able-bodied Poor Law is disarmed of its apparent dangers.

    "Where the bounty dispensed by Dr Boyter and Captain Eliott has
    been combined with 'strict attention to the rules laid down by the
    Central Relief Board,' (which are exactly similar to those which
    would be adopted by any experienced official Board dispensing
    legal relief to the able-bodied under the safeguard of the labour
    test,) its effects in stimulating the industry of the people, and
    improving the prospects of the country, appear to have been
    uniform and decided. And when it is remembered that,
    notwithstanding the failure of the potato crop, and consequent
    destitution of so large a population in the Highlands, the Relief
    Committees have been not only able to prevent any death by famine,
    but to open in so many places a fair prospect of improvement of
    the country, and of reformation of the manners of the people, at
    an expense in all not exceeding £100,000, it is surely not
    unreasonable to expect, that in ordinary seasons, and after some
    further assistance shall have been given them for the purpose of
    emigration, the proprietors of the Highlands and Islands will be
    perfectly able to bear a similar burden to that _which the
    legislature has now imposed on Ireland_.

    "I observe with the utmost satisfaction that the principle of a
    Poor Law, skilfully imposed and judiciously regulated, and
    extending to _all kinds_ of destitution, being a useful stimulus,
    both to the industry of the people, and to the exertions of the
    landlords and other capitalists of a country, (and a reasonable
    security to others assisting them,) has now been fairly recognised
    and _acted on_, in reference to Ireland. It is distinctly avowed
    in the following extract from Sir Robert Peel's speech at
    Tamworth, 1st June 1847. 'We have experience of the evils of
    periodical returns of destitution in Ireland; we see periodically
    a million or a million and a half of people absolutely in a
    starving state,--in a state which is disgraceful, while it is
    dangerous to the security of life and property. I believe it is a
    great point _to give security to those people_ that they shall not
    starve,--that they shall have a demand upon the land. I believe it
    is necessary to give _a new stimulus to industry_,--_to impress
    upon the proprietors and the occupying tenants, that they must
    look on the cultivation of the land in a new light_; and that the
    demands of poverty will not be so great when all persons do all
    that they can to lighten the pressure.'

We shall quote only a part of Dr Alison's observations on Ireland, but
they contain information of some interest.

    "In proof that the natural resources of Ireland, in the absence of
    this stimulus, have been equally neglected as those of the
    Highlands, I may quote a few sentences from the official Report of
    the Commission on the Occupation of Lands in Ireland. 'The general
    tenor of the evidence before the Commissioners goes to prove, that
    the agricultural practice throughout Ireland is _defective in the
    highest degree_, and furnishes the most encouraging proofs, that
    where judicious exertions have been made to improve the condition
    and texture of the soil, and introduce a better selection and
    rotation of crops, these exertions _have been attended with the
    most striking success and profit_.' 'The lands in almost every
    district require drainage; drainage and deep moving of the lands
    have proved most remunerative operations wherever they have been
    applied, but as yet they have been introduced only to a very
    limited extent; and the most valuable crops, and most profitable
    rotations, cannot be adopted in wet lands.' (See Report of that
    Commission in London newspapers, Sept. 3, 1847.)

    "The Commission above mentioned stated as their opinion, that the
    potato may perhaps be regarded as the main cause of that inertia
    of the Irish character, which prevents the development of the
    resources of the country; but with all deference to that opinion,
    I would observe, that in this case, as in the Highlands, the
    fundamental evil appears to be, the existence of a population,
    such as nothing but the potato can support, who 'cannot find
    employment,' as these commissioners themselves state, 'during
    several months of the year,' and therefore cannot afford to
    purchase any other food, and whose only resource, when they cannot
    find employment, is beggary; and that it is the absence of skill
    and capital to give them work, rather than the presence of the
    potato to keep them alive, which ought chiefly to fix the
    attention of those who wish to see the resources of the country
    developed. And without giving any opinion on the political
    question, how far it is just or expedient for Great Britain to
    give farther assistance by advances of money, to aid the
    improvement of Ireland, we may at least repeat here what was
    stated as to the Highlands, that when it becomes the clear and
    obvious interest of every proprietor in a country, to introduce
    capital into it, with the specific object of employing the poor,
    as well as improving his property, we may expect, either that such
    improvements as will prove 'profitable investments of labour,'
    will be prosecuted, or else, that the land will pass into other
    hands, more capable of 'developing its resources.'"

    "When we read and reflect on these statements, I think it must
    occur to every one, that whatever other auxiliary measures may be
    devised, the greatest boon that has been conferred on Ireland in
    our time, is the Law which has not only given a security, never
    known before, for the lives of the poor, but has made that motive
    to exertion, and to the application of capital to 'profitable
    investments of industry,' which is here distinctly avowed, equally
    operative on the proprietors of land in every Poor Law union in
    that country, and in all time coming; and I believe I may add, that
    the individual to whom Ireland is chiefly indebted for this
    inestimable boon, is one whose name we do not find connected with
    any of the questions of religion or of party politics, which have
    caused so much useless excitement; but who has distinctly perceived
    the root of the evil,--the absence of any security, either for the
    lives of the poor, or for the useful application of capital to the
    employment of labour, and has applied himself patiently and
    steadily to the legitimate remedy--viz. Mr Poulett Scrope.

    "It is true that we have many representations, from Poor Law
    unions in Ireland, of the utter inability of the proprietors and
    occupiers of the soil to bear the burden which the new Poor Law
    has imposed upon them; and I give no opinion on the questions,
    whether they have a claim in equity on further assistance from
    England, or whether the rate has been imposed in the most
    judicious way. But when it is said, that they are utterly unable
    to support the poor of Ireland by a rate, the question presents
    itself--How do they propose that those poor are to be supported
    without a rate? I apprehend it can only be by begging; and of whom
    are they to beg? It can only be from the occupiers of the soil,
    and other inhabitants of the country. Now, will the ability of
    those inhabitants to bear this burden be _lessened_ by a law which
    will, in one way or other, compel the landlords (often absentees)
    to share it along with them?--and will, at the same time, make it
    the obvious interest of the landlords to introduce capital into
    the country, and expend it there in 'remunerative employment?'

    "On the present state of Ireland I can speak with some confidence,
    because I can give the opinion of a friend, the Count de
    Strzelicki, who is well entitled to judge, because he was
    previously thoroughly acquainted with agriculture, and because he
    nobly undertook the painful office of dispensing the bounty of the
    London Association in the very worst district of Ireland, during
    the worst period of the famine; and who expresses himself
    thus:--The real evil and curse of Ireland is neither religious nor
    political, but lies simply in so many of the landlords being
    bankrupts, and so many of those who are well off being absentees;
    others again, equally well off, resident, judicious, benevolent,
    and far-sighted, being unsupported in their efforts, and isolated
    in their action upon the masses, who, long since cast away by the
    proprietary, have been dragging their miserable existence in
    recklessness, distrust, and rancour. It is this dislocation--even
    antagonism--of social interests and relations, combined with the
    _irresponsibility of the property for its poverty_, that
    constitutes the '_circus viciosus_,' the source of all the evils
    of this unfortunate and interesting country.

    "'But now, _in consequence of the new Poor Law_, and other new
    enactments of Parliament, those who have a real interest in the
    preservation of their property, will be forced to look, as they
    never did before, to the improvement of their tenantry. Those who
    are insolvent must part with the nominal tenure of land, and leave
    their estates to capitalists who can better discharge the duty of
    landlords; and lastly, the masses, who hitherto had been abandoned
    to themselves and to their brutal instinct for self-preservation,
    will find henceforth their interest linked with that of the
    landlord, and will find advice, help, encouragement, and, in
    extreme cases, a legal support.

    "'Every real friend of Ireland, and particularly those who, like
    myself, have had an insight into the many excellent intellectual
    and moral qualities of their character, while sympathising with
    the hardships which at first will be felt by many from the new
    system, cannot but acknowledge that it is only now that its
    society is being placed on its proper basis, and in a fair way to
    amelioration and prosperity.'

    "This opinion was given in a letter to a common friend, and
    without reference to any speculation of mine as to the management
    of the poor. In a subsequent letter to myself he adds, 'It is only
    since I came to Ireland that I have become conscious of _the real
    value of a legal provision for the poor_, and of the demoralising
    effect of private alms. Already we see some good symptoms of the
    action of the new Poor Law. It is by the provision made to employ
    men, and not by feeding them, that the operation of the law
    begins. The out-door relief will, I am sure, act not as a premium
    to idleness, but as a _stimulus to landlords_ to supply labour,
    and thus prevent the people from falling on it.'"

On the absolute or eventual necessity of emigration, Dr Alison's
views seem to be sound and satisfactory.

    "That there are some parts of the Highlands which may be relieved
    more rapidly and effectually by aid of some form of emigration
    than in any other way, I have no doubt. In many such cases it is
    probably unnecessary to remove the people farther than to those
    parts of the low country, where, by a little well directed
    inquiry, employment may be found for them, as was done by the
    Glasgow 'Committee on Employment;' but in others it is quite
    certain that emigration to the colonies may be safely and
    beneficially managed. And the importance of this subject becomes
    much greater when we consider, that so large a surplus remains of
    the sum raised for the relief of distress there, the disposal of
    which is at this moment a question of difficulty. I am so much
    impressed with the truth of the last observation of Dr Boyter, as
    applicable to certain districts of the Highlands, that I should
    think it highly advisable to apply the greater part, or even the
    whole, of this surplus of £115,000 to this salutary drainage of
    the population. An equal sum might be advanced by Government, to
    be gradually repaid, just as in the case of assistance given to
    proprietors by the Drainage Act; and the whole sum might be
    expended in aiding emigration and such colonisation as Dr Boyter
    describes. Nay, I am persuaded that few of the subscribers to the
    Highland Destitution Fund would scruple to renew their
    subscriptions, provided they had any security that the Highland
    proprietors, thus relieved of a portion of their population, would
    really exert themselves to develop the resources _now known to
    exist_ in their country, and so maintain the remainder without
    farther claims on the rest of the community. But I cannot think it
    reasonable or right, that while we have periodical returns of
    destitution in the Highlands, demanding aid from all parts of the
    country and from the colonies, to prevent many deaths by famine, a
    Highland proprietor should be enabled to advertise a property for
    sale, at the upset price of £48,000, and to state as an inducement
    to purchasers, that the _whole_ public burdens are £40 a-year.
    (See advertisement of sale of lands in Skye, _Edinburgh Courant_,
    Sept. 16, 1847.) I should think it highly imprudent for the
    Committee intrusted with that money for the benefit of the poor in
    the Highlands, to part with it for any kind of emigration,
    excepting on _two_ express conditions: 1. That agents appointed by
    the Committee, unprejudiced and disinterested, (and probably
    better judges on the point than Captain Eliott and Dr Boyter
    cannot be found,) shall report on the localities in which this
    remedy should be applied, in consequence of "profitable
    investments of industry" not existing at home; and, 2. That
    application be made to the Legislature for a measure, which should
    place the remaining portion of the Highlanders under the
    circumstances which are known _by experience_ to be most
    favourable to the development of the resources of a country, and
    at the same time to the action of the preventive check on
    excessive population, _i. e._, under the operation of an effective
    and judicious Legal Provision for the Poor."

The following sentences form an impressive conclusion to this
valuable, dissertation.

    "I have only to add, that being firmly convinced that a
    well-regulated Poor Law is really, as stated by Sir Robert Peel, a
    wholesome stimulus to enterprise and industry, and a check upon
    extravagance and improvidence, I have written this paper to
    prove,--by evidence on so large a scale, that it excludes all
    fallacies attending individual cases, and ought to command
    conviction,--that it is only in those parts of this country where
    this salutary precaution has been neglected, that such periodical
    returns of destitution and famine, as he describes, have been
    suffered or are to be apprehended. But, as it is obviously
    essential to this beneficial effect of a Poor Law, that it should
    secure relief to _destitution from want of work_, the practical
    result of all that has been stated is, to confirm the arguments
    which I formerly adduced in favour of the extension of a legal
    right to relief to the able-bodied in Scotland, when destitute
    from that cause;--guarded of course by the exaction of work in
    return for it when there are no means of applying, or when such
    exaction is thought better than applying, the workhouse test. And
    notwithstanding the strong feeling of distrust (or prejudice, as I
    believe it) which still exists among many respectable persons on
    this point, I confidently expect that this right--_now granted to
    the inhabitants of every other part of her Majesty's European
    dominions_, and soon to be accompanied, as I hope, in all parts,
    by an improved law of settlement _i. e._, by combinations or
    unions instead of parishes,--cannot be much longer withheld from
    the inhabitants of Scotland."

    Nor can I doubt that the intelligent people of this country,
    seriously reflecting on the lessons which have been taught them by
    those two appalling but instructive visitations of
    Providence,--pestilence and famine--will soon perceive, whether it
    is by the aid or without the aid of an effective legal provision
    against destitution, that the sacred duty of charity is most
    effectually performed; and what are the consequences to all ranks
    of society which follow from its being neglected.

    _Magna est veritas et prævalebit._

It is right that views so important and so ably stated, and which are
obviously prompted by so pure a spirit of philanthropy and true piety,
should receive the full weight that they are entitled to; and should
be canvassed and considered by all who feel an interest in the
question.

On the other hand, there are obvious considerations of an opposite
kind which should be fairly weighed. Independently of the general
arguments against an able-bodied Poor Law, with which political
economists are familiar, the special question arises, whether the
Highlands of Scotland have not been brought into their existing
condition partly by the peculiarities of national character, and
partly by the transition that is now in progress from a system of
ancient vassalage to more modern ideas of calculation and
independence. The patriarchal state which prevailed under the old
habits of clanship is now at an end, so far as regards the
proprietors, who are unable to maintain or govern their retainers as
of old, while the population generally continue in their former
condition of helpless tutelage, and must now be taught to act and
provide for themselves. The Lowlands of Scotland, though not
possessing an able-bodied Poor Law, are free from those evils by which
the Highlands are afflicted, and the population are scarcely, if at
all, in an inferior state to the corresponding portion of the English
nation.

Further, there arises the very grave consideration, that whatever may
be the abstract or original merits of an able-bodied Poor Law, the
introduction of such a system in an advanced state of society is a
matter of great delicacy, and may, from the very novelty of its
operation, often lead to utter idleness on the one hand, and
confiscation on the other. It ought not, in any view, to be attempted,
without being accompanied by some well digested plan of public
colonisation, to relieve the pressure which might otherwise over-power
the resources of all who are to be burdened.

We would say, in conclusion, that whatever may be the state of this
argument, it lies in a great degree with the proprietors in the
Highlands and Islands to avert the threatened evil, if they consider
it as such, by a gradual but entire change in the system of the
occupation of land. The great argument we have seen for an able-bodied
Poor Law is, that it compels the proprietary classes to keep down the
population by a feeling of self-interest. This object must, in some
way or other, be attained. Without harshness, without any sudden
removals, every opportunity must be sought of remodelling the plan of
small possessions, and the principle must be laid down and enforced,
that no one shall continue in the condition of a tenant who does not
occupy enough of ground to raise, at least, _an ample corn crop_ for
the support of his family. If the potato system continues,--if, after
the present calamity passes away, its lessons are forgotten, it is not
probable that the benevolence of the public would again be equally
liberal as it has now been, where the visitation was so sudden and
unexpected, and no clear or unequivocal warning of its approach had
previously been received.

We hope, however, for better things; and trust that the present crisis
will be duly improved, and will form a new era of prosperity and
increased civilisation and happiness for the Highlands and Islands of
Scotland.

FOOTNOTE:

[17] _Observations on the Famine of 1846-7 in the Highlands of
Scotland, and in Ireland, as illustrating the connexion of the
principle of population, with the management of the poor._ By W. P.
ALISON, M.D., &c.



_Printed by William Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh_





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 62, Number 385. November, 1847." ***

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