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Title: Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 418 - Volume 17, New Series, January 3, 1852
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 418 - Volume 17, New Series, January 3, 1852" ***

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  No. 418. NEW SERIES. SATURDAY, JANUARY 3, 1852. PRICE 1-1/2_d_.


The afternoon was drawing in towards evening; the air was crisp and
cool, and the wind near the earth, steady but gentle; while above all
was as calm as sleep, and the pale clouds--just beginning in the west to
be softly gilded by the declining sun--hung light and motionless. The
city, although not distant, was no longer visible, being hidden by one
of the many hills which give such enchantment to the aspect of _our_
city. There was altogether something singularly soothing in the
scene--something that disposed not to gravity, but to elevated thought.
As we looked upwards, there was some object that appeared to mingle with
the clouds, to form a part of their company, to linger, mute and
motionless like them, in that breathless blue, as if feeling the
influence of the hour. It was not a white-winged bird that had stolen
away to muse in the solitudes of air: it was nothing more than a paper

On that paper kite we looked long and intently. It was the moral of the
picture; it appeared to gather in to itself the sympathies of the whole
beautiful world; and as it hung there, herding with the things of
heaven, our spirit seemed to ascend and perch upon its pale bosom like a
wearied dove. Presently we knew the nature of the influence it exercised
upon our imagination; for a cord, not visible at first to the external
organs, though doubtless felt by the inner sense, connected it with the
earth of which we were a denizen. We knew not by what hand the cord was
held so steadily. Perhaps by some silent boy, lying prone on the sward
behind yonder plantation, gazing up along the delicate ladder, and
seeing unconsciously angels ascending and descending. When we had looked
our fill, we went slowly and thoughtfully home along the deserted road,
and nestled as usual, like a moth, among our books. A dictionary was
lying near; and with a languid curiosity to know what was said of the
object that had interested us so much, we turned to the word, and read
the following definition: Kite--_a child's toy_.

What wonderful children there are in this world, to be sure! Look at
that American boy, with his kite on his shoulder, walking in a field
near Philadelphia. He is going to have a fly; and it is famous weather
for the sport, for it is in June--June 1752. The kite is but a rough
one, for Ben has made it himself, out of a silk-handkerchief stretched
over two cross-sticks. Up it goes, however, bound direct for a
thunder-cloud passing overhead; and when it has arrived at the object of
its visit, the flier ties a key to the end of his string, and then
fastens it with some silk to a post. By and by he sees some loose
threads of the hempen-string bristle out and stand up, as if they had
been charged with electricity. He instantly applies his knuckle to the
key, and as he draws from it the electrical spark, this strange little
boy is struck through the very heart with an agony of joy. His labouring
chest relieves itself with a deep sigh, and he feels that he could be
contented to die that moment. And indeed he was nearer death than he
supposed; for as the string was sprinkled with rain, it became a better
conductor, and gave out its electricity more copiously; and if it had
been wholly wet, the experimenter might have been killed upon the spot.
So much for _this_ child's toy. The splendid discovery it made--of the
identity of lightning and electricity--was not allowed to rest by Ben
Franklin. By means of an insulated iron rod the new Prometheus drew down
fire from heaven, and experimented with it at leisure in his own house.
He then turned the miracle to a practical account, constructing a
pointed metallic rod to protect houses from thunder. One end of this
true magic wand is higher than the building and the other end buried in
the ground; and the submissive lightning, instead of destroying life and
property in its gambols, darts direct along the conductor into the
earth. We may add that Ben was a humorous boy, and played at various
things as well as kite-flying. Hear this description of his pranks at an
intended pleasure-party on the banks of the Skuylkill: 'Spirits at the
same time are to be fired by a spark sent from side to side through the
river, without any other conductor than water--an experiment which we
have some time since performed to the amazement of many. A turkey is to
be killed for dinner by the electrical shock; and roasted by the
electrical jack, before a fire kindled by the electric bottle; when the
healths of all the famous electricians in England, Holland, France, and
Germany, are to be drunk in electrified bumpers, under the discharge of
guns from the electrical battery.'

We now turn to a group of capital little fellows who did something more
than fly their kite. These were English skippers, promoted somehow to
the command of vessels before they had arrived at years of discretion;
and, chancing to meet at the port of Alexandria in Egypt, they took it
into their heads--these naughty boys--that they would drink a bowl of
punch on the top of Pompey's Pillar. This pillar had often served them
for a signal at sea. It was composed of red granite, beautifully
polished, and standing 114 feet high, overtopped the town. But how to
get up? They sent for a kite, to be sure; and the men, women, and
children of Alexandria, wondering what they were going to do with it,
followed the toy in crowds. The kite was flown over the Pillar, and with
such nicety, that when it fell on the other side the string lodged upon
the beautiful Corinthian capital. By this means they were able to draw
over the Pillar a two-inch rope, by which one of the youngsters
'swarmed' to the top. The rope was now in a very little while converted
into a sort of rude shroud, and the rest of the party followed, and
actually drank their punch on a spot which, seen from the surface of the
earth, did not appear to be capable of holding more than one man.

By means of this exploit it was ascertained that a statue had once stood
upon the column--and a statue of colossal dimensions it must have been
to be properly seen at such a height. But for the rest--if we except the
carving of sundry initials on the top--the result was only the knocking
down of one of the volutes of the capital, for boys are always doing
mischief; and this was carried to England by one of the skippers, in
order to execute the commission of a lady, who, with the true iconoclasm
of her country, had asked him to be so kind as to bring her a piece of
Pompey's Pillar.

Little fellows, especially of the class of bricklayers, are no great
readers, otherwise we might suspect that the feat of the skipper-boys
had conveyed some inspiration to Steeple Jack. Who is Steeple Jack? asks
some innocent reader at the Antipodes. He is a little spare creature who
flies his kite over steeples when there is anything to do to them, and
lodging a cord on the apex, contrives by its means to reach the top
without the trouble of scaffolding. No fragility, no displacement of
stones, no leaning from the perpendicular, frightens Steeple Jack. He is
as bold as his namesake Jack-the-Giant-Killer, and does as wonderful
things. At Dunfermline, not long ago, when the top of the spire was in
so crazy a state that the people in the street gave it a wide berth as
they passed, he swung himself up without hesitation, and set everything
to rights. At the moment we write his cord is seen stretched from the
tall, slim, and elegant spire of the Assembly Hall in Edinburgh, which
is to receive through his agency a lightning-conductor; and Jack only
waits the subsidence of a gale of wind to glide up that filmy rope like
a spider. He is altogether a strange boy, Steeple Jack. Nobody knows
where he roosts upon the earth, if he roosts anywhere at all. The last
time there was occasion for his services, this advertisement appeared in
the _Scotsman_: 'Steeple Jack is wanted at such a place immediately'--and
immediately Steeple Jack became visible.

In 1827 the child's toy was put to a very remarkable use by one Master
George Pocock. This clever little fellow observed that his kite
sometimes gave him a very strong pull, and it occurred to him that if
made large enough it might be able to pull something else. In fact, he
at length yoked a pair of large kites to a carriage, and travelled in it
from Bristol to London, distancing in grand style every other conveyance
on the road. A twelve-foot kite, it appears, in a moderate breeze, has a
one-man power of draught, and when the wind is brisker, a force equal to
200 lbs. The force in a rather high wind is as the squares of the
lengths; and two kites of fifteen and twelve feet respectively, fastened
one above the other, will draw a carriage and four or five passengers at
the rate of twenty miles an hour. But George's invention went beyond the
simple idea. He had an extra line which enabled him to vary the angle of
the surface of his kites with the horizon, so as to make his aërial
horses go fast or slow as he chose; and side-lines to vary the direction
of the force, till it came almost to right angles with the direction of
the wind. His kites were made of varnished linen, and might be folded up
into small compass. The same principle was successfully applied by a
nautical lad of the name of Dansey to the purpose of saving vessels in a
gale of wind on 'the dread lee-shore.' His kite was of light canvas.

In India, China, and the intermediate countries, the aggregate
population of which includes one-half of mankind, kites are the
favourite toy of both old and young boys, from three years to threescore
and ten. Sometimes they really resemble the conventional dragon, from
which, among Scotch children, they derive their name; sometimes they are
of a diamond shape, and sometimes they are like a great spider with a
narrow waist. Our Old Indian is eloquent on kites, and the glory of
their colours, which, in the days of other years, made her girlish heart
leap, and her girlish eyes dazzle. The kite-shop is like a tulip-bed,
full of all sorts of gay and gorgeous hues. The kites are made of
Chinese paper, thin and tough, and the ribs of finely-split bamboo. A
wild species of silkworm is pressed into the service, and set to spin
_nuck_ for the strings--a kind of thread which, although fine, is
surprisingly strong. Its strength, however, is wanted for aggression as
well as endurance; and a mixture composed of pounded glass and rice
gluten is rubbed over it. Having been dried in the sun, the prepared
string is now wound upon a handsome reel of split bamboo inserted in a
long handle. One of these reels, if of first-rate manufacture, costs a
shilling, although coarser ones are very cheap; and of the nuck, about
four annas, or sixpence worth, suffices for a kite.

In a Hindoo town the kite-flying usually takes place on some common
ground in the vicinity, and there may be seen the young and old boys in
eager groups, and all as much interested in the sport as if their lives
depended upon their success. And sometimes, indeed, their fortunes do.
Many a poor little fellow bets sweetmeats upon his kite to the extent of
his only anna in the world; and many a rich baboo has more rupees at
stake than he can conveniently spare. But the exhilarating sport makes
everybody courageous; and the glowing colours of the kites enable each
to identify his own when in the air, and give him in it, as it were, a
more absolute property. Matches are soon made. Up go the aërial
combatants, and with straining eyes and beating hearts their fate is
watched from below. But their masters are far from passive, for this is
no game of chance, depending upon the wind. Kite-flying is in these
countries an art and mystery; and some there be who would not disclose
their recipe for the nuck-ointment, if their own grandfathers should go
upon their knees to ask it.

Sometimes an event occurs on the common. It is the ascent of a pair of
kites of a _distingué_ air, and whose grand and determined manner shews
that the combat is to be _à l'outrance,_ and that a large stake of money
depends upon the result. The fliers are invisible. They are probably on
the flat roof of some neighbouring house; but the kites are not the less
interesting on account of their origin being unknown. What a host of
anxious faces are turned up to the sky! Some take a liking to the red at
first sight, while others feel attracted by a mysterious sympathy to the
green. Bets are freely offered and accepted either in sweetmeats or
money; and the crowd, condensing, move to and fro in a huge wave, from
which their eager voices arise like the continuous roaring of the sea.
Higher and higher go the kites. Well done, Red! he has shot above his
antagonist, and seems meditating a swoop; but the Green, serenely
scornful, continues to soar, and is soon uppermost. And thus they
go--now up, now down, relatively to each other, but always ascending
higher and higher, till the spectators almost fear that they will vanish
out of sight. But at length the Green, taking advantage of a loftier
position he has gained, makes a sudden circuit, and by an adroit
manoeuvre gets his silken string over the silken string of the other,
Here a shout of triumph and a yell of terror break simultaneously from
the crowd; for this is the crisis of the fight. The victor gives a
fierce cut upon his adversary's line. The backers of the latter fancy
they hear it grate, and in an instant their forebodings are realised;
far the unfortunate Red is seen to waver like a bird struck by a shot,
and then, released from the severed string, he descends in forlorn
gyrations to the earth.

Now rush in the smaller boys to play their part, Their object is that of
the plunderers who traverse the field after a battle, to rob the dying
and the slain. Off run the little Hindoos, like a company of imps from
the nether regions, tearing and fighting as they fly; and on reaching
the fallen kite, the object of their contention is torn to pieces in the
scuffle. Presently the victorious Green is seen descending, and the gross
excitement of the common pauses to watch his majestic flight. He is of
the largest size of Indian kites called _ching_, and of the spider
shape. Before being drawn in, he hangs for an instant high up over the
crowd. It is not, however, to sing _Io Pæans_ for his victory, but
apparently rather to mourn over the ruin he has made; for a wailing
music breathes from his wings as he passes. This is caused by the action
of the wind upon some finely-split bamboo twigs arched over the kite
without touching the paper, and which thus become a true Æolian harp.
Sometimes a kite of this kind is sent up at night, bearing a small
lighted lantern of talc; and the sleepers awakened, called to their
balconies by the unearthly music, gaze after the familiar apparition not
without a poetical thrill.

Upon the whole, it must be admitted, we think, that this is a somewhat
interesting child's toy. But has the kite a future? Will its powers
exhibit new developments, or has it already reached its pride of place?
If a twelve-foot kite has the force of a man, would it take many more
feet to lift a man into the air? And supposing the man to be in a strong
cage of network, with bamboo ribs, and a seat of the same material,
would he have greater difficulty in governing his aërial coursers by
means of the Pocock cords, than if he were flashing along the road from
Bristol to London? Mind, we do not say that this is possible: we merely
ask for the sake of information; and if any little boy will favour us
with his opinion, we shall take it very kind. Come and let us fancy that
it _is_ possible. The traveller feels much more comfortable than in the
car of a balloon, for he knows he can go pretty nearly in what direction
he chooses, and that he can hasten or check the pace of his horses, and
bring them to a stand-still at pleasure. See him, therefore, boldly
careering through the air at the rate of any number of miles the wind
pleases. At a single bound he spans yonder broad river, and then goes
bowling over the plantation beyond, just stirring the leaves as he
passes; trees, water, houses, men, and animals gliding away beneath his
feet like a dream. Now he stoops towards the earth, just to make the
people send up their voices that there may be some sound in the desert
air. Now he swings up again; now he leaps over that little green hill;
now he--Hold! hold, little boy!--that will do: enough for a time of a
Child's Toy.


         '.... Whose trained eye was keen,
As eagle of the wilderness, to scan
His path by mountain, lake, or deep ravine,
Or ken far friendly huts on good savannas green.'
                  --CAMPBELL: _Gertrude of Wyoming_.

On the 14th of last September, America lost the greatest of
her novelists in the person of James Fenimore Cooper. He was born on the
15th of that month, 1789; so that, had he lived but a few hours longer,
he would have completed his sixty-second year. At the time of his birth,
his father, Judge Cooper, resided at Burlington, New Jersey, where the
future _littérateur_ commenced his education, and in so doing acquired a
decided reputation for talent, which was not tarnished during subsequent
years of tutelage at Newhaven and Yale College. At sixteen he exchanged
the study of ancient literature and the repose of academic life for the
bustling career of a 'middy' in the American navy; continuing for some
half-dozen years his connection with those ocean scenes which he then
learned to love so well and to describe so vividly. His retirement into
private life took place in 1811, soon after which he married Miss de
Lancey (whose brother is known to many as one of the New York bishops),
and settled at Cooper's Town, his patrimonial estate. Ten years elapsed
before his _début_ as an author. In 1821 he presented the public with a
novel bearing the perhaps apposite title of _Precaution_--apposite, if
the two _lustra_ thus elapsed were passed in preparation for that début,
and as being after all anonymously published. The subject was one with
which Cooper never shewed himself conversant--namely, the household life
of England. Like his latest works, _Precaution_ was a failure, and gave
scanty indications of that genius which was to find its true sphere and
full scope in the trackless prairies of his native land, and its path
upon the mountain-wave he had ridden in buoyant youth. But the same year
produced _The Spy_, still considered by many to be his masterpiece, and
from that production his fame was secure; and not only America but
British voices, exhorted Sir Walter to look to his laurels. Certainly
there was a little more reason in calling Cooper the American Scott than
in pronouncing Klopstock the German Milton.

The successful novelist visited Europe a few years after this 'sign and
seal' of his literary renown, and spent a considerable period among the
principalities and powers of Old-World Christendom. In Paris and London
especially he was lionised to the top of his bent. Sir Walter met him in
the French metropolis in 1826; and in his diary of November 3, after
recording a morning visit to 'Cooper the American novelist,' adds: 'this
man, who has shewn so much genius, has a good deal of the manners or
want of manners peculiar to his countrymen.' Three days later we find
the following entry: 'Cooper came to breakfast, but we were _obsédes
partout_. Such a number of Frenchmen bounced in successively, and
exploded--I mean discharged--their compliments, that I could hardly find
an opportunity to speak a word or entertain Mr Cooper at all.'[Footnote:
Lockhart's Life of Scott.] The 'illustrious stranger' appears to have
spent about ten years in Europe, for which he was, perhaps, in a
literary point of view, none the better; as--to use the words of a
periodical of the day--'he did not carry back the same fresh spirit that
he brought, something of which must be attributed, no doubt, to the
years which intervened; but something, too, to his abandonment of that
mother-ground which to him, as to the fabled Antaeus, was the source of
strength.' The autumn of his life glided quietly on amid the pleasures
and pains of literature; its sombre close being pleasantly illuminated
by the rays of spring-promise that radiated around the young brow of his
daughter, which the dying veteran might well hope would be matured into
'glorious summer by the sun of' time. _Valeat signum_!

In calling Cooper the greatest of American novelists, we have not
incurred much risk of contradiction. Others may rival--some surpass
him--in this or that province of the art of fiction; but as a master of
the art in its broad aspect, he is _facile princeps_. Brockden Brown
treads a circle of mysterious power but mean circumference: Washington
Irving is admirable at a sketch, one of the liveliest and most graceful
of essayists, and quite equal to the higher demands of imaginative
prose--witness his _Rip Van Winkle_ and _Sleepy Hollow_--but his forte
is in miniature, and the orthodox dimensions of three volumes
post-octavo would suit him almost as ill as would the Athenian vesture
of Nick Bottom the spruce proportions of royal Oberon: Haliburton is
inimitable in his own line of things; his measure of wit and
humour--qualities unknown, or nearly so, to Cooper--is 'pressed down,
and shaken together, and running over;' but his 'mission' and Cooper's
in the tale-telling art are wide as the poles asunder: John Neale had
once, particularly by his own appraisement, a high repute as the
eccentric author of _Logan_ and _Seventy-six_, but the repute, like the
_Seventy-six_, is quite in the preterite tense now; and to review him
and his works at this time of day would be suspiciously like a
_post-mortem_ examination, resulting possibly in a verdict of temporary
insanity--if not, indeed, of _felo de se_--so wilful and wrongheaded
were the vagaries of this 'rough, egotistical Yankee,' as he has been
called: Herman Melville is replete with graphic power, and riots in the
exuberance of a fresh, racy style; but whether he can sustain the
'burden and heat' of a well-equipped and full-grown novel as deftly as
the fragmentary autobiographies he loves to indite; remains to be seen:
Longfellow's celebrity in fiction is limited to _Hyperion_ and
_Kavanagh_--clever, but slight foundations for enduring popularity--as
irregular (the former at least) as Jean Paul's nondescript stories,
without the great German's tumultuous genius: Hawthorne is probably the
most noteworthy of the rising authors of America, and indeed manifests a
degree of psychological knowledge and far-sighted, deep-searching
observation of which there are few traces or none in Cooper; but the
real prowess of the author of _The Scarlet Letter_ is, we apprehend,
still undeveloped, and the harvest of his honours a thing of the future.
All these distinguished persons--not to dwell on the kindred names of
Bird, Kennedy, Ware, Paulding, Myers, Willis, Poe, Sedgwick, &c.--must
yield the palm to him who has attracted all the peoples and tongues of
Europe[Footnote: And, in _one_ instance at least, of Asia also; for _The
Spy_ was translated into Persian!] to follow out the destiny of a Spy on
the neutral ground, of a Pilot on the perilous coasts of a hostile race,
of a Last of the Mohicans disappearing before the onward tramp of the
white man.

As Rob Roy felt the pulses of life quickened when his foot was on his
native heath, so Cooper wrote with vigour and _aplomb_ only when his
themes were the aboriginal forest and the melancholy main. Pity that,
having discovered the fount of his strength--the Samson-lock by which
alone he towered above his fellows--he had not restrained himself, and
concentrated his efforts within the appointed sphere. He repudiated the
oracular counsel which his own consciousness must have approved--_Hoc
signo vinces_; and seemed to assume that whatever province he invaded,
the bulletin of the campaign would be another _Veni, vidi, vici_. Few
things can be more unsatisfactory and insipid than his attempts in the
'silver-fork school' of novel-writing--his dreary commonplaces of
fashionable life--his faded sermonisings on domestic, and political, and
social economy. Few things can be more inspiriting, more energetic, more
impressive, than his pictures of

     'A wet sheet and a flowing sea,
        A wind that follows fast,
      And fills the white and rustling sail,
        And bends the gallant mast;'

for we see in every stroke that the world of waters is his home, and
that to _his_ ear there is music in the wild piping of the wind, and
that _his_ eye beams afresh when it descries tempest in the horned moon,
and lightning in the cloud. To him the ocean is indeed 'a glorious
mirror,' where the form of the Highest 'glasses itself in tempests;'
dear to him it is

                   ------'in all time,
     Calm or convulsed--in breeze, or gale, or storm;
           ....Boundless, endless, and sublime--
     The image of Eternity--the throne
     Of the Invisible.'

Well might one who had lived six years on her swelling bosom, combine
with his love 'of the old sea some reverential fear,' as Wordsworth has
it. This compound feeling is highly effective in his marine fictions, so
instinct is it with the reality of personal experience. Mr Griswold
tells us that Cooper informed him as follows of the origin of _The
Pilot_: 'Talking with the late Charles Wilkes of New York, a man of
taste and judgment, our author [Cooper] heard extolled the universal
knowledge of Scott, and the sea-portions of _The Pirate_ cited as a
proof. He laughed at the idea, as most seamen would, and the discussion
ended by his promising to write a sea-story which could be read by
landsmen, while seamen should feel its truth. _The Pilot_ was the result
of that conversation.'[Footnote: 'The Prose-Writers of America.'] Of
this tale Scott says, in a letter to Miss Edgeworth: 'I have seen a new
work, _The Pilot_, by the author of _The Spy_ and _The Pioneers_. The
hero is the celebrated Paul Jones, whom I well remember advancing above
the island of Inchkeith, with three small vessels, to lay Leith under
contribution.... The novel is a very clever one, and the sea-scenes and
characters in particular are admirably drawn; and I advise you to read
it as soon as possible.' Still higher panegyric would not have been
misbestowed in this instance, which illustrates Mr Prescott's remark,
that Cooper's descriptions of inanimate nature, no less than of savage
man, are alive with the breath of poetry--'Witness his infinitely
various pictures of the ocean; or, still more, of the beautiful spirit
that rides upon its bosom, the gallant ship.' Though it is to _The
Pilot_, pre-eminently, and _The Waterwitch_, in nearly an equal degree,
that these remarks apply, there is many a passage in Cooper's later
novels--for example, _The Two Admirals, Homeward Bound, Mark's Reef,
Ashore and Afloat_, and _The Sea-Lions_--in which we recognise the same
'cunning' right hand which pencilled the _Ariel_, and its crew, the
moody, mysterious pilot, and stalwart Long Tom Coffin.

Nor was he less at home in the backwoods and prairies of his fatherland,
than upon the broad seas which divide it from the Old World. Tastes
differ; and there are those--possibly the majority of his readers--who
prefer the Indian associations of _The Last of the Mohicans, The
Pioneers_, &c. to the salt-water scenery of the other class of works.
For our part, we prefer his prairies to his savages, his forests to his
aborigines, his inanimate to his living sketches of Indian story. His
wild men of the woods are often too sentimental, too dreamy, too ideal.
In this respect Brockden Brown has the advantage of him; for, as Mr
Prescott has pointed out, Brown shews the rude and uncouth lineaments of
the Indian character, though he is chargeable with withholding
intimations of a more generous nature. While Cooper discards all the
coarser elements of savage life, and idealises the portrait. The first
of this series of tales of

     'Painted chiefs with pointed spears,'

was _The Pioneers_--the materials for which, it seems, were to a
considerable extent derived from his father, who had an interest in
large tracts of land near the 'sources of the Susquehanna,' where the
scene is laid, and allied, therefore, to Campbell's _Gertrude of
Wyoming_. It was speedily followed by _The Last of the Mohicans_--not
uncommonly pronounced his _chef d'oeuvre_--and _The Prairie_; which,
among numerous descriptions of absorbing interest, pervaded throughout
by a fine imaginative spirit, contains one of thrilling power--where
the squatter discovers and avenges the murder of his son. _The Wept of
Wish-ton-Wish_--a strange story with a strange title, and which forms
(chronologically at least) the climax of Cooper's fame--is justly
admired by all who appreciate 'minute painting,' and that pensive
monotony which begets a certain 'melancholy charm.' His skill in martial
narrative was favorably attested in _Lionel Lincoln_; in which he
describes with remarkable spirit and equal accuracy the battles of
Lexington and of Bunker's Hill. But to go through in detail the _opera
omnia_ of our prolific author would involve us in difficulties with
editor and reader too serious to bear anticipation. Passing over,
therefore, such of his earlier writings as are better known--like _The
Red Rover, The Waterwitch, The Pathfinder_, and _The Deerslayer_--we
proceed to notice briefly a select few from the long series produced
during the last ten years.

_The Two Admirals_ is of unequal interest--the twin heroes, Sir Gervaise
Oakes and Bluewater, engrossing whatever charm it possesses, and
reacting disastrously on the tedious scenes wherein they bear no part;
but they certainly _do_ walk and talk like sound-hearted sons of
Neptune, and there is no resisting the spell of the battle and the
breeze which they encounter together, in the _Plantagenet_ and the
_Cæsar_. _The Jack o' Lantern, or the Privateer_, was put forth with an
expression of the author's conviction that his faculty in this class of
fictions was inexhaustible; to which, however, the critics demurred. One
of them observed that, following out the fantastical supposition which
ascribes especial virtues to certain numbers, or even working out the
analogy of the seventh wave, which sea-shore gossips tell us is ampler
and stronger than its predecessors, the seventh sea-novel of Mr Cooper's
ought to be the most remarkable of the series for force, brilliancy, and
movement. But such symbolism was here found defective: the seventh wave
broke abruptly on the shore; the Jack o' Lantern's existence has been
brief and uncertain as that of the _ignis fatuus_ on the marsh. The
story introduces Caraccioli and the Neapolitan court, Nelson and Lady
Hamilton; but without striking points. There are some cleverly-drawn
characters, however: Clinch, the drunken but winning British tar; Raoul
Yvard, brilliant, handsome, and Parisian all over, philosophism
included; and Ithuel Bolt, a new (not improved) edition of Long Tom. The
plot is ingenious, though perhaps, constrained and far-fetched; and its
_dénouement_ makes the reader put down the third volume with increased
respect for the novelist's tact. _Wyandotte, or the Hutted Knoll_
(1843), is a quiet yet animated narrative, descriptive of a family of
British settlers and their fortunes in their wild Susquehanna home.
There is a pleasure, the author observes, in diving into a virgin
forest, and commencing the labours of civilisation, that has no exact
parallel in any other human occupation; and some refracted share of this
pleasure is secured by every intelligent reader while engaged in
perusing records so faithful and characteristic as those embodied in
this tale. _Ravensnest_, with no lack of scenic embellishments,
introduces to us three of the author's happiest characters--always
excepting Leatherstocking and Long Tom--namely, the two Littlepages,
'Captain Hugh' and his 'Uncle Ro,' and Mistress Opportunity Newcome. The
didactic asperities in which he indulged naturally marred the fortune of
a book whose readers, whatever they might be, were pretty safely
'booked' for a scolding. Otherwise, it gleamed with scintillations,
neither faint nor few, of the light of other days. But it was evident
that Mr Cooper was overwriting himself. He seemed determined not to be
outdone in fecundity by the most prolific of his contemporaries--as
though it were a safe speculation or a healthy emulation to run against
such light horsemen and horsewomen as Mr James and M. Dumas, and
Mesdames Gore and Trollope. Hence he might have appropriately echoed the
complaint of the slave in Terence:

     'Parum succedit quod ago, at facio sedulò.'

In 1847, he produced _Mark's Reef_, a story of the Crusoe genus, but far
behind; the desert island being created 'positively for this occasion
only,' and being swallowed up in the sea again when it has served Mark
Woolston and the novelist's requirements. It is characterised, however,
by much glowing description--especially that relating to the crater,
with its noble peak, 'ever the same amid the changes of time, and
civilisation, and decay; naked, storm-beaten, and familiar to the eye.'
The following year he was ready with _The Bee-Hunter_, wherein he sought
to revive his pristine successes among American solitudes and Red
Indians. Again we hear the palaver of the stately and sentimental
Chippewas; and again we watch, with sadly-relaxed attention, the dodging
extraordinary of Pale Faces and Red Men. Alas!

     'Both of them speak of something that is gone:...
     Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
     Where is it now, the glory and the dream?'

The Indians have become comparatively seedy and second-hand individuals;
the scenery, with occasional exceptions, looks worn; the machinery
creaks and betrays itself, no longer possessing the _ars celare artem_.
''Tis true, 'tis pity; pity 'tis, 'tis true.' One novelty, nevertheless,
this tale can boast, and that is the very able and interesting sketch of
the bee-hunter following his vocation in the 'oak-openings;' nor is the
portrait of Buzzing Ben himself an ordinary daub. In 1849 appeared _The
Sea-Lions_, a clever but often prolix work, which ought to keep up its
interest with the public, if only for its elaborate painting of scenes
to which the protracted mystery of Sir John Franklin's expedition has
imparted a melancholy charm. The sufferings of sealers and grasping
adventurers among 'thrilling regions of thick-ribbed ice' are recounted
with dramatic earnestness. _The Ways of the Hour_ was both 'nominally'
and 'really' Cooper's last novel: he announced it as such; and the
announcement was not related to that fallacious category to which belong
the 'more last nights' of popular tragedians, and the farewell prefaces
of the accomplished author of _Rienzi_. It was not the 'going, going!'
but the 'gone!' of the auctioneer. And critics maliciously said: _Tant
mieux_. In _The Ways of the Hour_ there was one vigorous portrait, Mary
Monson, and several 'moving accidents by flood and field:' but with
these positive qualities the reader had to accept an unlimited stock of
negatives. Besides the works thus referred to, Cooper wrote at short
intervals a 'serried phalanx' of others, from the ranks of which suffice
it to name _The Heidenmauer, The Bravo, The Manikins_ (a weak and
injudicious tale, quite unworthy of his honourable reputation), _The
Headsman of Berne, Mercedes of Castille, Satanstoe, Home as Found,
Ashore and Afloat_. In miscellaneous literature his writings include a
_History of the Navy of the United States, Lives of Distinguished Naval
Officers, Sketches of Switzerland, Gleanings in Europe_, and _Notions of
the Americans_.

It is by his early tales of wilderness and ocean life that he will
survive. There his genius is fresh, vigorous, natural--uncramped by
restraints, undeformed by excrescences, uninterrupted by crotchets, such
as injured its aftergrowth--the swaddling-clothes of its second
childhood. If we have spoken freely--we hope not flippantly--of these
feeblenesses, it is because the renown of Cooper is too tenaciously and
permanently rooted to be 'radically' affected thereby, however they may
diminish the symmetry and dim the verdure of blossom and branch. His
magnificent panoramas of prairie solitude, his billowy expanses of the
'many-voiced sea,' his artistically-grouped figures of red-skins and
trappers, sealers and squatters, are among the things which Anglo-Saxon
literature in either hemisphere will not willingly let die. By these he
is, and long will be, known and read of all men. And if ever Mr
Macaulay's New Zealander should ponder over the ruins of Broadway, as
well as of St Paul's, he will probably carry in his pocket one of those
romances which tell how the Last of the Mohicans came to his end, and
which illustrate the closing destinies of tribes which shall then have
disappeared before the chill advance of the Pale Face.


The attention of the visitor to the recent Exhibition in Hyde Park was
arrested, as he advanced westwards down the central promenade of the
building, by a large clock busily at work marking off the seconds of
passing time. That piece of mechanism had a remarkably independent and
honest look of its own. The inmost recesses of its breast were freely
bared to the inspection of every passer-by. As if aware of the
importance of the work intrusted to its care, it went on telling, in the
midst of the ever-changing and bustling crowd, with a bold and
unhesitating click, the simple fact it knew; and that there might be no
mistake, it registered what it told in palpable signs transmitted
through the features of its own stolid face. Mr Dent's great clock was
by no means the least distinguished object in the collection of the
world's notabilities.

But there was one thing which nearly concerned that industrious and
trusty monitor that he surely could not have known, or his quiet
countenance would have shewn traces of perturbation. He was doing
Exhibition work, but he was not keeping Exhibition time. The wonderful
building in which he had taken up his temporary residence was, in fact,
of too cosmopolitan a nature to have a time of its own. Its entire
length measured off very nearly 1-42,000th part of the circle of
terrestrial latitude along which it stretched. The meridian of the
Liverpool Model was close upon thirty seconds of space farther west than
the meridian of the Greek Slave. Imagine the surface of Hyde Park to
have been marked off, before Messrs Fox and Henderson's workmen
commenced their labours, by lines running north and south at the equal
distance of a second of a degree from each other, just as one sees the
surface of large maps traced by meridians, nearly thirty of those lines
would then have been covered in by the east and west span of the crystal
roof. Mr Dent's clock might have been set to the precise time of the
Greek Slave, and it would yet have been nearly two seconds wrong by the
time of the Liverpool Model. The pendulum swinging so steadily within
its case had a longer and more stately stride than most of its
congeners. It took a second and a half of time to complete its step from
side to side. But notwithstanding this, if a string had been suddenly
stretched across in space above the east end of the building, and left
there in free suspension, independent of all connection with the
terrestrial surface, it would have taken longer for the huge structure
to be trailed beneath it by the earth's rotation--swift as that rotation
is--than it did for the sober and leisurely mass of metal to finish its
beat from side to side.

Our immediate business, however, at this present time is not with the
geographical relations of Mr Paxton's building, but rather with that
sober and leisurely-moving mass--the pendulum. Even in the seventeenth
century, old Graunt was shocked when some irreverent babbler spoke of
one of its honourable race by the rude epithet of 'a swing-swang;' and
he penned an indignant protest on the subject to the Royal Society.
Since that time the pendulum has done much more to merit the reverence
of the world. Plain and simple as its outward bearing is, it really
holds a high and dignified position in the annals of science.

Instead, however, of touching upon its pedigree and achievements, we
proceed at once to speak of certain interesting peculiarities that enter
as an element into all considerations in which it has concern. In the
first place, what is that characteristic motion which it so constantly
assumes--that restless swinging from side to side? Is it a property
inherent in its own nature, or is it a power communicated to it from
without? There is a train of wheelwork enclosed with it in the case. Is
that the source of its vibratile mobility? Assuredly not. For if we
arrest its motion with our hand at the instant that its form hangs
perpendicularly suspended, that motion is not renewed although the
wheels remain in unaltered relation. Those mechanical contrivances
clearly do not comprise the secret of its swinging. We must look
elsewhere if we would ascertain the fundamental cause.

Has the reader ever looked at the plain white building, with successive
rows of little windows, which so often spans the breadth of our smaller
streams? If he has, the thought has at once arisen that within those
walls huge wheels and heavy-revolving stones remorselessly tear and
crush to powder heaps upon heaps of yellow grain, with a power that is
equal to the combined effort of a whole troop of horses concentred in
the task. But we question very much whether he has as clearly seen
whence those clattering wheels derive their many horse-power! If we were
to ask him to tell us how they acquired their rolling strength, he would
most probably answer--from the current of the stream. This reply would
amount to nothing in the matter of explanation; the force of the current
is as much a borrowed attribute as the force of the wheelwork. The
running water is no more an independent and living agent than is the
machinery which it turns. Beyond both is the one grand determining
influence--the attractive energy inherent in the substance of the vast
earth. This it is which makes the water run; this it is which enables
the running water to move the wheelwork inserted into its channel. As
the magnet draws to itself the fragment of steel, the earth draws to
itself all ponderable matter; and whenever ponderable matter is free to
move, it rushes as far as it can go towards the centre of the earth's
substance, in obedience to the summons. Mobile water runs down from a
higher to a lower level because the latter is nearer to the earth's
centre than the former, and as it falls it pushes before it such minor
obstructions as are unable to resist the influence of its weight. The
float-boards of the mill-wheel are of this nature; they are striving to
uphold the water by means of the rubbing and friction of the apparatus
that is mechanically connected with the axle. But the resistance of the
friction is less than the strength with which the earth tugs at the
water, and therefore the wheel goes round and the water rushes down. The
force which really grinds the hard corn into flour it terrestrial
attraction! Gravitation of material substance towards material
substance, acting with an energy proportioned to the relative masses
and to the relative distances of the elements concerned.

Let us now suppose that the matter drawn towards the earth is not free
to move. Let us fancy, for instance, a drop of the running water all at
once stopped in its downward path by the attachment of a string from
above. The earth would then tug at that string in its effort to get the
drop of water, and would consequently stretch it to a certain extent.
The power that was before expended in causing the drop to move, would be
now employed in striving to tear asunder the substance of the string. A
heavy body hanging by a cord from a fixed point is then in this
predicament. It is drawn towards the earth, but is prevented from moving
to it. It consequently finds a position of rest in which it is placed as
near to the source of attraction as the suspending string allows; that
is, it hangs perpendicularly and immovably beneath it, stretching the
string by its tendency toward the ground.

If, however, the suspended body be raised up from its position of forced
repose by any interference that draws it to one side, the string being
still kept on the stretch, it will be observed that it has been made to
move in a curved line away from the earth's attracting mass, and that
the pull of the attraction is then to a certain extent taken off from
the string and transferred to the supporting hand; the force of the
attraction consequently becomes then sensible as the weight of the body
that is upheld. If in this state of affairs the supporting hand is taken
away, the body at once rushes down sideways to the position it before
occupied, with a pace accelerating considerably as it goes; for the
earth continues to attract it during each instant of its descent. When
it has reached the second stage of its journey, it is moving with a
velocity that is caused by the addition of the attraction exercised in
that stage to the attraction that had been exercised in the first stage;
and so of the third, fourth, and other successive stages. It must go
quicker and quicker until it comes to the place which was before its
position of absolute repose.

But when it has at last arrived at this place, it cannot rest there, for
during its increasingly-rapid journey downwards, it has been
perseveringly acquiring a new force of its own--an onward impulse that
proves to be sufficient to carry it forward and upward in spite of the
earth's pressing solicitation to it to stay. Moving bodies can no more
stop of their own accord than resting bodies can move of their own
accord. Both require that some extraneous force shall be exerted upon
them before the condition in which they are can be changed.

Now, in the case of the vibrating pendulum, it is the downward pull of
the earth's attraction that first causes the stationary body to move,
and as this commencing motion is downwards, in the direction of the
pull, it is also an accelerating one. As soon, however, as this motion
is changed by the resistance of the string into an upward one, it
becomes a retarded one from the same cause. The body is now going
upwards, away from the earth, and the earth's attraction therefore drags
upon it and keeps it back instead of hastening it. As it travels up in
its curved path, more and more of its weight is taken off the string,
and thrown, so to speak, upon the moving impulse. In the descending
portion of the vibration the weight of the body increases its movement;
in the ascending portion it diminishes its movement. At last the upward
movement becomes so slow, that the impulse of momentum is lost, and the
earth's attraction is again unopposed. The body then begins to
retrograde, acquires progressively increasing velocity as it descends,
overshoots the place of its original repose, and once more commences the
ascent on the opposite side.

Whenever, then, a heavy body suspended by a flexible string is drawn to
one side, and dropped from the hand, a vibrating pendulum is made,
because weight and acquired impulse influence it alternately with a sort
of see-saw action, the power of the one diminishing as the power of the
other augments. Weight pulls down--confers velocity and impulse during
the pulling--and then velocity carries up. As velocity carries up,
weight diminishes its impulse, and at last arrests it, and then begins
to pull down again. In the middle of the vibration velocity is at its
greatest, and weight at its least, as regards their influence on the
motion. At the extremes of the vibration velocity is at its least, and
weight at its greatest. Now here it is the earth's attraction clearly
that confers the impulse of the downward movement, just as much as it is
the earth's attraction that causes the downward movement of running
water. Therefore the power which makes the pendulum swing is the same
with the power which grinds the corn in the water-mill--the attraction
of the earth's vast mass for the mass of a smaller body placed near to
its surface under certain peculiar conditions of position.

But there is a very startling reflection connected with this
consideration. How strange it is that the vast 'substantial fabric' of
the earth should, after all, present itself as one grand source of
motion in terrestrial things! Gravitation, weight, the majestic
influence that holds the stable pyramid upon its base through centuries
of time, condescending to turn the restless wheels of man's machinery!
When the expansive burst of the vapour confined within the cylinder of
the condensing steam-engine thrusts upwards the piston-rod with its
mighty beams, it is simple weight--the weight of the superincumbent
transparent atmosphere--that crushes the metal back with antagonistic
force. When particles of water have been sublimated into the air by the
heating power of the solar rays, it is simple weight--the weight of
their own aqueous substance--that brings them down again, and that
causes their falling currents to turn the countless mill-wheels
implanted in the direction of their descent. When isolated tracts of the
atmosphere have been rendered rare and light under the concentrated
warmth of the sun, it is simple weight--the weight of colder and heavier
portions of the air--that makes winds rush into the spots where the
deficient downward pressure is, and that causes the sails of innumerable
windmills to whirl before the impulse of the breeze.

In the steam-engine we see the earth's gravitation and artificial heat
combining to effect sundry useful purposes, requiring enormous
expenditure of effort. In windmills and watermills we see the earth's
gravitation and natural or solar heat working together to perform like
service. In the pendulum, the earth's gravitation acting alone as an
enumerator of passing moments; for the momentum conferred by motion is
after all but a secondary result, an offspring of the earth's
attraction. In the steady oscillations of this little instrument no less
a power is concerned than that grand elementary force of nature, that is
able to uphold the orbitual movements of massive worlds. In the one
case, the majestic presence is revealed in its Atlantean task of
establishing the firm foundations of the universe; in the other, in its
Saturnian occupation of marking the lapse of time. In the planetary
movements, material attraction bends onward impulse round into a
circling curve; in the pendulum oscillations, material attraction
alternately causes and destroys onward impulse. In the former it acts by
a steady sweep; in the latter by recurring broken starts. The reason of
the difference is simply this: the planetary bodies are free to go as
the two powers, attraction and impulse, urge them. The weight of the
pendulum is prevented from doing so by the restraining power of the
string or rod, that holds it bound by a certain invariable interval to a
point of suspension placed farther than the weight from the source of
attraction. A pendulum, in all its main features, is a terrestrial
satellite in bonds--unable to fall to the surface of the earth, and
unable to get away and circle round it, yet influenced by a resistless
tendency to do both. Its vibrations are its useless struggles to free
itself from the constraint of its double chains.


The village of Westbourne was what Americans would call a stylish place,
though situated deep in the heart of Derbyshire. Most of its houses had
green palings and flowers in front; there was a circulating library, a
milliner's shop, and a ladies' boarding-school, within its bounds; and
from each extremity of its larger and smaller street--for Westbourne had
only two--outlying cottages of various names dotted the surrounding
fields. The largest of these, and decidedly the handsomest, belonged, as
the door-plate set forth, to Mr Harry Phipps Bunting. It had been called
Bunting Cottage, ever since the late possessor--after having made what
his neighbours esteemed a fortune, by himself keeping the circulating
library, and his spouse the boarding-school--built it by way of
consolation for the second year of his widowhood, and retired there from
business to hold high gentility in his latter days with his only
daughter and heiress, Miss Jenny. At least half of Westbourne believed
that in the said arrangements Mr Bunting had his eye on a second and
somewhat superior match: in short, those good people averred that the
handsome cottage was neither more nor less than a substantial snare for
Mrs Phipps, the widow of a captain and second-cousin of a baronet, who,
with a small annuity and an only son, lived in the odour of great rank
and fashion in a neat brick-house at the other end of the village.

But if Mr Bunting had indeed indulged in speculations on the widow's
heart, they were cut short by a sudden summons to take the journey on
which his early partner had preceded him; and Miss Jenny was left the
undisputed heiress of all his gains and gatherings, now amounting to a
comfortable sum in a London bank, besides the newly-built cottage. None
of the village remembered the time when Miss Jenny was young--not but
that there were older ladies in the community, and few who wore their
years so well--but a matronly staidnees and industry, a solidity of
manner and appearance, had grown so early on the lady, that she had no
youth, and scarcely any childhood, in the recollection of her
neighbours, and she was now on the shady side of thirty.

Miss Jenny might have had suitors, had her encouragement been more
liberal: where is the maiden of fortune who might not? But she had no
admirers, though there was not a more popular woman in Westbourne. Time
out of mind she was known to have a good advice and a helping-hand for
all who required either. The help was always kindly given, and the
advice generally judicious: indeed, if Miss Jenny had a weakness, it was
the love of direction and counsel-giving; and by that breach the strong
citadel of her heart was won. There was no house in Westbourne that gave
her abilities half such scope as that of Mrs Captain Phipps--so the lady
continued to style herself. Miss Jenny's father had advised there till
he departed; after which event, the widow and her son confided in his
heiress. Master Harry Phipps was not what would be called a successful
young man. He was not either wild or remarkably stupid, as the world
goes; his mother knew him to be a dear domestic fellow, who would play
the flute or dominos for weeks of evenings in her back-parlour. He had
taken one prize at college and sundry at school; had the reputation of
being almost a beau, and, at least in Westbourne society, half a wit;
and was a tall, fair-faced, lathy young man, dressing well, and looking
rather genteel, in spite of an overgrown boyishness which hung about him
and kept the Master fastened to his name, though he had left twenty-five
behind him. Master Harry had made attempts on law, physic, and divinity,
without completing the studies requisite for any of those learned
professions; somehow he had always got disgusted when just half-way, and
at the time of our tale, had a serious notion of civil engineering. The
fates, nevertheless, chalked out another line for Master Harry Phipps.
How it first came about the keenest-eared gossips in Westbourne never
knew, but the widow's son was observed to become a frequent visitor at
the cottage as the days of Miss Jenny's mourning for her father expired.
In these expeditions he was occasionally supported by Mrs Captain
Phipps, who at length told her confidential friends, and they informed
the village, that her son was about to marry, and take the name of
Bunting. Some said that Miss Jenny insisted on the latter step as a
badge of her perpetual sovereignty; some that it was a provision in her
father's will, the old gentleman having been heard to hope that none but
Buntings would ever inhabit the cottage; but while they disputed that
point the wedding came off with a liberal distribution of cards, cake,
and gloves, a breakfast, at which Mrs Captain Phipps presided, and an
excursion of three weeks to the Lakes; after which, Mr and Mrs Phipps
Bunting, having got a new door-plate, and an additional crest on the
spoons, settled down comfortably at home, where our story found them.

There they were duly visited and made due returns, even to their
uttermost acquaintance. Evening parties wore got up for their benefit,
as Westbourne gentility dictated. A few responses were given at the
cottage, and people learned to call them the Buntings. When these
occurrences and the talk concerning them were fairly over, it was
surprising how little things had altered. Mrs Phipps Bunting
superintended everything, from the napery in the drawers to the
bee-hives in the garden, with so much of her old and independent
activity, that people caught themselves occasionally calling her Miss
Jenny. As for her lord, he was Master Harry still. Matrimony made no
change in him. On Sundays he dressed himself and went to church with Mrs
Phipps Bunting. On week-days, he said he studied, paid little visits,
took small excursions, and came home to dinner. Even bachelors agreed
that he lived under the mildest form of gynecocracy. Mrs Captain Phipps
gave him good advices at the one end of the village, Mrs Phipps Bunting
kept him all right at the other; and between them an indescribable
amount of nobodyism grew and gathered around him.

Mr Phipps Bunting--as the best bred of his neighbours now endeavoured to
call him--was doubtless not less contented than most men in the married
state. Miss Jenny--that was--made a noble housekeeper, that was natural
to her; she was not given to storms nor temper, nor fault-finding, nor
what is called gaiety: they had kind country neighbours; and Mrs Phipps
Bunting sometimes spoke of her mother's relatives, who were known to be
fine people in London.

There was no appearance of change when the second of their wedded years
commenced; but one December morning an extraordinary event occurred at
the cottage, for Harry received a letter. It came from Charles Lacy, an
old college-friend, whose achievements in the fast line had furnished
him with many a joke and tale. He had been till lately a briefless
barrister, but had just fallen heir to a neat property in an adjoining
county, bequeathed him by a distant relative, his advent to which he
intended celebrating with a notable bachelors' party, and Harry's
presence was requested, together with that of many a college comrade.

'I think I'll go,' said Harry, in a hesitating tone, as the note was
read at the breakfast-table.

'Of course you will, dear,' said Mrs Bunting. 'And now that I think of
it; something must be done with that parlour chimney, it smokes so. Just
send up the mason on your way to the coach.'

The vehicle thus mentioned was an old stager which passed through
Westbourne daily, carrying passengers to sundry of the unrailwayed towns
on its track; and within two hours from the receipt of the invitation Mr
Phipps Bunting, well wrapped up, and better warned against taking cold,
with his best things in a carpet bag and his lady's commands delivered
to the mason, took possession of an inside seat on his way to Charles
Lacy's domicile.

How the bachelors' party proceeded in that locality, and how the
failings of the parlour chimney were corrected at the cottage,
imaginative readers may suppose; but on the third day after Harry's
departure there arrived a note, stating that his host had invited him to
remain a fortnight that they were to have shooting in the fine frosty
weather he thought he might stay. Mrs. Phipps Bunting sent her
approbation by return of post. There was a colony of rats to be
expatriated, a clearing out of the coal cellar to be achieved, and a
bottling of cider to get forward, under which considerations she
concluded he was better out of the way; but all these things were
accomplished, and more than the specified time elapsed, when another
note came to say that Lacy positively would not let Harry home without
seeing his uncle, the great barrister, who lived in the nearest assize
town; and the legal protector of Miss Jenny 'thought he might go on that

There was a graver and more lengthy reply to that communication; but the
fates forbade that Harry should read Mrs Bunting's in time. Charles
Lacy's housekeeper had a standing-order to put all letters into a huge
card-bracket, which that young gentleman affirmed had been presented to
him by an heiress of L.20,000 in her own right; and Mrs Bunting's
epistle was placed in the receptacle--for before its arrival Harry had,
like an undutiful husband, started with Charles for the house of his
uncle. The old barrister, though not one of the brightest, was among the
successful of his profession, and kept a hospitable, easy-going house,
with a maiden sister and two dashing nephews, in a comfortable English
country town, at one end of which was a railway station for the coming
and going of London trains. Our Harry had been always an agreeable,
commodious fellow. There were no angles on his temper to come in contact
with those of other people: rich uncle, maiden aunt, and sporting
nephews, all joined in requesting his stay from week to week; while
three successive notes were in turn committed to the card-bracket on
Charles Lacy's mantelpiece.

'Harry, my boy,' said that gay gentleman, as they stood looking at a
passing train, 'what do you say to a run for London? I have another
uncle there--a first-rate solicitor in the firm of Grindley, Blackmore,
& Co. Ours is a legal family. Grindley and the old hen would be glad to
see us; and I'll introduce you to the Blackmores, a delightful mother
and four daughters; all charming girls with three thousand a piece. I
wish you could only hear Clementina Blackmore sing _Will you still be
true to me?_ Harry, if ever I am so left to myself as to think of
marrying, that's the girl!'

Let us now suppose that a quantity of additional pressing took
place--that the nephews offered to go along as Christmas was
coming--that Harry sent home another note to say 'he thought he might
go'--and that long before it reached the cottage, he was installed at
the house of Mr Grindley in London, who, as his nephew promised, divided
a capital legal business with his partner Mr Blackmore.

The proverb which says, 'Out of sight out of mind,' was by this time in
course of being fulfilled as regarded the good woman at the cottage. In
the revival of old associations his college-friend partially forgot that
Harry was a family man, and the easy gentleman himself never thought of
intruding the circumstance on people's notice. To do him justice, he had
a remarkably single look; all his acquaintances called him Harry Phipps.
It was therefore no marvel that the unsuspecting household of Blackmore
received him as a bachelor.

The papa of it was a hard-witted, busy lawyer; the mamma an excessively
fine lady; and the four daughters pretty, accomplished,
fashionable-looking girls, from twenty-two--their mamma said
seventeen--upwards, who judiciously came out in different lines; for
Miss Blackmore was metaphysical, Miss Caroline sentimental, Miss Maria
fast, and Miss Clementina musical. Between the last mentioned and
Charles Lacy a strong and not discouraged flirtation was in progress,
which afforded Harry better than ordinary opportunities for cultivating
that domestic circle. It was not every day he would have such a house to
call at, and Harry did his best to be popular. He hunted up high-life
gossip for Mrs Blackmore; he admired the solicitor's law-stories after
dinner; he was the humble servant of all the young ladies in turn, but
his chief devoirs were paid to the fast Maria. The reason was that the
fast Maria would have it so. She thought him, it is true--as she said
once to a confidential friend--a sort of goosey-goosey-gander, but he
polked capitally, was a personable fellow--and Maria was a spinster.
Christmas was coming, and Harry stood high in favour with all the
Blackmores. The senior miss found out that he had a philosophic mind;
Miss Caroline said she knew there was a little romance about him--he had
been disappointed in first-love or something; and Charles Lacy had an
intuitive suspicion that the old people would soon begin to inquire
regarding his income and prospects. The idea was excessively amusing,
but yet somewhat alarming. He thought Harry was carrying it on too
far--he was. Hadn't he better give Clementina a hint? But then
Clementina would think he ought to have done so long ago. Charles was
puzzled, and he did not like to be puzzled. He would have nothing more
to do with it. He would wash his hands of it. How was he obliged to know
that they were not aware of Harry's being tied up? The whole thing was
really uncomfortable, and he did not like anything that was
uncomfortable. He would take Harry to task for his enormity, and then
think no more about it. Meditating thus, he entered Mrs Blackmore's
drawing-room one forenoon early enough to find mamma and the young
ladies hard at Berlin wool--they were finishing Christmas presents--all
but Maria, for whose amusement Harry was turning over a volume of
sporting prints at a little table by themselves.

'We are all industrious to-day,' said Mrs Blackmore, 'on account of our
country cousin--a dear odd creature. She has sent us hampers and baskets
full of everything nice, for I don't know how long. The girls can
scarcely remember when she was here last, and it would be such a comfort
to her to have some of their work. Do, Maria, try and finish that

Charles and Harry had heard of that 'dear odd country cousin' ever since
they first entered the house. The turkeys and chickens she sent had been
described in their hearing till they thought they had eaten them. From
the conversation of her relatives Harry concluded her to be a spinster
or widow of an uninteresting age. However, the threatened arrival
created a new employment for him in the shape of holding purse-silk for
Miss Maria to wind; and owing perhaps to the quietness of this
employment--perhaps to its occupying so long a time--the awkwardness of
his position began to stare him in the face. He began to think he was a
bad fellow--although it was all Charles's fault. He did not know that
Miss Maria thought him a goosey-goosey-gander, but he began at last to
hate her all the same--we are so liable to hate those we are conscious
of injuring! He became in truth afraid of her--she haunted him. He knew
he ought to do something, but he did not know what to do. He had all his
life acted under advice, and he now felt as if he had broken from his
moorings, and was on the wide, wide sea, drifting at the mercy of this

At the moment we have arrived at, things had come to an alarming climax.
In reply to his bewildered look Charles had turned away with
severity--washing his hands of it--to join Miss Clementina in the
corner; and the rest of the family, who seemed suddenly to find
themselves _de trop_, scattered away to other parts of the room. Now
Miss Maria was a fast girl, and Harry knew it. She looked wicked, as if
determined upon a _coup d'etat_; and he began to perspire all over. The
skein fared badly. At this moment some slight diversion was made in his
favour by a servant appearing with a message regarding somebody in the
back-parlour; whereupon Mrs Blackmore went hastily down stairs; and
Harry's eyes followed her wistfully: he thought he should like to get

'Oh, girls,' said Caroline, returning in a few minutes, 'it is poor
cozy, and mamma is bringing her up for us all to comfort her. She has
lost I don't know how much money by the failure of that horrid Skinner's
bank; and what's worse, she can't find her husband.'

'He ought to be sent home wherever he is,' replied Maria; 'I'm sure she
was just too good to him. Oh, Mr Harry Phipps, what a sad set you men
are! I declare you are ravelling again.'

Harry, colouring to the roots of the hair, bent forward to plead some
unintelligible excuse; the fast Maria took hold of his finger as if she
was cross; and at that instant another finger was pressed upon his
shoulder, and looking up, he gazed into the eyes of his wife!

For some seconds Harry and his spouse looked at each other as if unable
to believe their eyes; but the lady's good sense at last prevailed, and
gulping down something which would have come out with most women, she
gently shook her husband's hand, now liberated from the purse-silk, with
'Harry, love, I am so glad to find you here. I was really afraid that
worse had happened than the failure of Skinner & Co.'

Harry replied in rather an indistinct tone, though Charles Lacy ever
after vowed he did wonderfully, considering the looks of Mrs Blackmore
and her daughters. As for Maria she retired from silk and all, without a
word about deceivers, which was also remarkable. Sense in the person of
Mrs Bunting for once appeared contagious. The Blackmores, one and all,
tacitly agreed that there had been no mistake whatever in the family,
beyond the droll particular of their not recognising in a gentleman
introduced to them as Mr Harry Phipps the husband of a lady whom they
had been accustomed to address as Mrs Bunting. By the failure of Skinner
& Co. poor Mrs Bunting had lost everything but the cottage and furniture
at Westbourne; a fact which she learned only on her arrival in London to
pay a long-projected visit to her mother's relatives, the Blackmores.

The Buntings in due time went home. We have reason to believe that there
was never even a curtain-lecture delivered on the subject of the
purse-silk. When we last visited Westbourne, Mrs Phipps Bunting was as
active, as good-natured, and as popular as ever; but people had
forgotten to say Master Harry, for Henry Phipps Bunting, Esquire, had
been appointed Her Majesty's stamp-distributer for the district. He was
also invested with a couple of agencies for certain absent proprietors;
but he never again 'thought he might go' on sporting-excursions; and no
family could have imagined him to be a bachelor, for ever since he set
fairly to work, a more married-like man we never saw.



The portion devoted to the subject of intoxicating liquors would make a
curious chapter in the history of legislation in almost every European
country. Here there is a double cause of disturbance, since besides
notions about the balance of trade and the like, many well-meaning,
though not always judicious, attempts have been made to render such
legislation conducive to sobriety and morality. Thus among the Irish
statutes one stumbles on an act of Queen Elizabeth's reign 'Against
making of Aqua Vitæ.' It is justly described as 'a drink nothing
profitable to be daily drunken and used,' 'and thereby much corn, grain,
and other things are consumed, spent, and wasted to the great
hinderance, loss, and damages of the poor inhabitants of this
realm'--for which reason are passed provisions, not to modify but
entirely to suppress it--with what effect we may easily know. But our
object at present is not with legislation for the suppression of
drunkenness, which always deserves favourable consideration, but with
the commercial regulations affecting liquors, and the strange notions of
political economy involved in them. The subject is so ample that we are
obliged to restrict our illustrations almost entirely to one small

It will rather surprise the reader perhaps to find that, for the
promotion of their economic ends, the laws seem to have been directed
more to the encouragement than the suppression of drinking. The earliest
interference with commerce in liquors appearing among the Scottish acts
of parliament is very imperious and comprehensive, but not very
explicable in its objects. Statutes at that time were short, and it will
cost the reader little trouble to peruse that which was passed in the
year 1436, and the reign of James I., 'anent Flemish wines.' 'It is
statute and ordained that no man buy at Flemings of the Dane in
Scotland, any kind of wine, under the pain of escheat (or forfeiture)
thereof.' Doubtless parliament believed that it had reasons for this
enactment, but it would not be easy to find out at the present day what
they were. In 1503 a more minute act was passed referrible to ale and
other provisions. It appoints magistrates of towns 'that they set and
ordain a certain price, goodness, and fineness, upon bread, ale, and all
other necessary things that is wrought and daily bought and used by the
king's lieges. And that they make certain purviews and examinations to
wait daily upon the keeping thereof. And when any workman be's noted
taking an exorbitant price for his stuff, above the price, and over far
disproportionate of the stuff he buys, that he be punished by the said
barons, provosts, and bailies, &c.' A little later, in 1540, an act was
passed 'touching the exorbitant prices of wine, salt, and timmer.' The
provisions that follow are somewhat curious, and rank among the most
barefaced instances of a class legislating, not only for its own
interest, but its own enjoyment. In the first place, the provosts and
bailies--supposed to be always excellent judges of good cheer--are to
fix a low and reasonable price at which the wines and other commodities
are obtainable. When this is fixed, it is appointed that 'na man is to
buy till the king's grace be first served. And His Grace and officers
being content for so meikle (much) as will please them to take to our
sovereign's use entirely, that noblemen of the realm, such as prelates,
barons, and other gentlemen of the same, be served at the same prices;
and thereafter all and sundry our sovereign lord's lieges be served at
the same prices.' Evidently it was cunningly foreseen that but little
wine would be imported at a compulsory and necessarily an unremunerating
price. Of such as did come, and was thus sold cheap, the 'prelates,
barons, and other gentlemen' who sat in parliament, sagaciously provided
that they should have the preemption; and it is pretty clear that the
'all and sundry' who were to come after them would have little chance of
obtaining any of the cheap wine.

Fifteen years afterwards, during the regency of Mary of Lorraine, it was
found that the act just cited was not sufficiently stringent, and that
some sterner provision must be made to enable the aristocracy to get
cheap wine. An act was passed referring to the previous one, and stating
that 'nevertheless the noblemen--such as prelates, earls, lords, barons,
and other gentlemen--are not served according to the said act, but are
constrained to buy the same from merchants at greater prices, contrary
to the tenor of the said acts.' Hence it is declared that whenever wines
have arrived in any town, and the prices have been fixed, the
magistrates 'shall incontinent pass to the market-cross of that burgh,
and there, by open proclamation, declare none of the goods foresaid as
they are made, and that none of the goods foresaid be disposed of for
the space of four days.' Thus were measures taken to let the privileged
persons have the benefit of their preemption.

That these acts, and the proclamations for enforcing them, were not a
dead letter is shewn by the criminal records. On the 8th of March 1550,
Robert Hathwy, John Sym, and James Lourie, burgesses of Edinburgh,
confess their guilt in transgressing a regulation against purchasing
Bordeaux wines dearer than L.22, 10s. (Scots of course) per tun, and
Rochelle wines dearer than L.18 per tun. On the 4th of May 1555, George
Hume and thirteen other citizens of Leith were arraigned for retailing
wines above the proclaimed price--which for Bordeaux and Anjou wine was
10d. per pint; and for Rochelle, Sherry, and something called
Cunezeoch--which may for all we know to the contrary mean Cognac--8d.
per pint.

In Ireland the privilege of having their wine cheaper than other people
was given to the aristocracy with almost more flagrant audacity. By the
Irish statute of the 28th Elizabeth, chap. 4, imposing customs-duties on
wines, the lord-lieutenant is not only authorised to take for his own
consumption twenty tuns, duty free, annually, but he is at the same time
declared to have 'full power to grant, limit, and appoint, unto every
peer of this realm, and to every of the Privy-Council in the same, and
the queen's learned counsel for the time being, at his or their
discretion from time to time, such portion and quantity of wines, to be
free and discharged of and from the said customs and subsidy, as he
shall think to be mete and competent for every of them, after their
degrees and callings to have.'

To return to Scotland. In the ensuing century we find the legislature
resorting to the homely liquor of the working-classes. On the 23d
December 1669, an act was passed which begins in the following
considerate and paternal fashion:--

'Our sovereign lord, considering that it is most agreeable to reason and
equity, and of universal concernment to all his majesty's subjects, and
especially to those of the meaner sort, that a due proportion be
observed betwixt the price of the boll of beer and the pint and other
measures of ale and drinking-beer rented and sold within this kingdom,
that thereby the liberty taken by brewers and vintners, to exact
exorbitant prices for ale and drinking-beer at their pleasure, may be
restrained. Therefore his majesty, with advice and consent of his
estates of parliament, doth recommend to and authorise the lords of his
majesty's Privy-Council from time to time, after consideration had of
the ordinary rates of rough beer and barley for the time, to regulate
and set down the prices of ale and drinking-beer rented and sold in the
several shires and burghs of the kingdom, as they shall think just and
reasonable.' The council were authorised to make their regulations by
acts and orders, 'and to inflict such censures, pains, and penalties
upon the contraveners of these acts and orders as they shall think fit;
and to do all other things requisite for the execution of the same.'

When the Scottish Privy-Council ceased to exist by the union with
England, there was some difficulty in knowing how this act should be
applied. The Court of Session, looking upon the supply of ale as vital
to the country, took on itself to protect the public, just as a
passenger sometimes undertakes the management of a vessel which has lost
its proper commander. On the occasion of the malt-duty being extended to
Scotland in 1725, they thought a juncture had come when it was
absolutely necessary to interfere, as there was no saying how far the
brewers, let loose from the old regulations of the Privy-Council, might
abuse the public by charging an extravagant price or selling a bad
article. The Court of Session is the supreme civil tribunal in Scotland.
Its rules of court for the regulation of judicial proceedings are called
'acts of sederunt.' On this occasion it passed 'an act for preventing
the sale of bad ale.' The object was an excellent one, but we are apt at
the present day to consider that brewers under the influence of
competition can best save the public from bad ale, and that judges are
better employed when they direct their attention to the protection of
the public from bad law. They enacted that the brewers should sell by
wholesale at a merk Scots per gallon, and that dealers should sell by
retail at 2d. per pint. They professed to make this regulation from
'taking into consideration the frequent abuses in vending and retailing
bad twopenny ale; and that from the present duties and burdens wherewith
the brewers of ale in and about the city of Edinburgh are charged,
occasion may be taken by ill-designing persons to impose on the lieges
and undersell fair dealers, unless the prices for brewers and retailers
be certain and fixed.'

The brewers threatened to give up their business, and the court found it
necessary to take farther measures. Another act of sederunt was passed.
It is best, we think, where their contents are so curious, to quote the
documents themselves, however stiff or formal they may seem, and the
commencement of the act follows:

'Whereas, in the information and memorial this day offered by his
majesty's advocate to the Lords of Council and Session, it is
represented that the brewers within the city of Edinburgh and liberties
thereof, and others who have the privilege of furnishing the said city
with ale, have entered into a resolution and confederacy that they will
at once give over brewing when the duties on malt granted to his majesty
by act of parliament are attempted to be recovered; that this resolution
and confederacy must bring much distress on the good people of the said
city through want of ale, and likewise by want of bread, the preparing
whereof depends upon yeast or barm, and must produce tumults and
confusions, to the overthrow of all good government, and to the great
loss and hurt of the most innocent of his majesty's subjects, and is
most dangerous and highly criminal.'

Thus, it being clearly shewn that the refusal of brewers to brew ale at
the price fixed by the judges of the Court of Session must produce
something like a French revolution, and be followed by general anarchy,
the court next proceeds to declare--not in the best of
composition--'that it is illegal and inconsistent with the public
welfare for common brewers, or others whose employment is to provide
necessary sustenance for the people, all at once to quit and forbear the
exercise of their occupation, when they are in the sole possession of
the materials, houses, and instruments for to carry on the trade, so
that the people may be deprived of, or much straitened in their meat or
drink; and that so to do in defiance and contempt of the laws is highly
criminal and severely punishable. And therefore the said Lords of
Council and Session, to prevent the mischiefs threatened to the city and
limits aforesaid, do hereby require and ordain all and every brewer and
brewers within the city of Edinburgh and liberties thereof, and others
who have the privilege of furnishing the said city with ale, to continue
and carry on their trade of brewing for the service of the lieges.'

It is astonishing to find that the brewers gave way. Scotland was at
that time much under government and aristocratic influence; and very
likely the poor men felt that it would be better to lose a little money
than to fight a battle with the Court of Session, especially as the Lord
Advocate threatened to indict them for a conspiracy. That they continued
permanently to accept of the profits--or rather, perhaps, losses--fixed
by the Court of Session no one will believe. They would in due time
manage to get the usual profit of capital and exertion from their
operations, or else would contrive to give up business.

It is one of the consequences of adopting false and artificial notions
on political economy, that these drive the most conscientious and
virtuous men to the most mischievous and violent extremities. Where
things should be left to themselves they believe interference to be
right, and so believing, they think it necessary to carry out their
views at whatever cost. A remarkable instance of this was shewn by the
virtuous and high-minded Duncan Forbes of Culloden. He thought the
introduction of foreign commodities ruinous to the country. He
considered that whatever was paid for them was so much lost to his
fellow-countrymen. On this principle he waged a determined war against a
foreign commodity coming into vogue in his latter days, using all his
endeavours to suppress its use, and substitute for it a commodity of
home-produce. Will the reader, in the days of temperance societies,
believe that the commodity which he desired to suppress was _tea_, and
that which he wished to encourage was _beer_? Here are his own words in
a letter to a statesman of the time: 'The cause of the mischief we
complain of is evidently the excessive use of _tea_, which is now become
so common that the meanest families even of labouring people,
particularly in burghs, make their morning's meal of it, and thereby
wholly disuse the ale which heretofore was their accustomed drink; and
the same drug supplies all the labouring women with their afternoon's
entertainment, even to the exclusion of the twopenny.' After so
formidable a picture, it is not unnatural to find him thus crying out
against the influence of Dutch enterprise, which was then spreading the
drink which cheers but not inebriates throughout Europe: 'They run their
low-priced tea into Scotland, and sold it very cheap--a pound went from
half a crown to three or four shillings. The goodwife was fond of it
because her betters made use of tea; a pound of it would last her a
month, which made her breakfast very cheap, so she made no account of
the sugar which she took up only in ounces. In short, the itch spread;
the refuse of the vilest teas were run into this country from Holland,
sold and bought at the prices I have mentioned; and at present there are
very few cobblers in any of the burghs of this country who do not sit
down gravely with their wives and families to tea.'[Footnote: Culloden
Papers, 191.] What a frightful picture! We may laugh at it, but it
really was frightful to one who sincerely believed that the money paid
for tea was a dead loss to the country, and who did not know that the
tea was paid for by the exportation of home-produce.


There is a large mass of mankind occupying an intermediate position
between the savage and the civilised nations of the world. These have no
literature of their own, yet they have received some amount of knowledge
by tradition or communication with other people. They know little or
nothing of science, yet they are skilled in some of the useful arts of
life. They have no regular legislation nor codes of civil law, yet they
have forms of government and unwritten laws to which they steadfastly
adhere, and about which they can plead as eloquently as a Chancery
barrister or an advocate in the Courts of Session. While they cultivate
the ground, keep cattle, and live upon the lawful products of the soil,
they have none of the culinary dainties of life; whilst they plant the
cotton-tree, and weave and dye cloth to make their garments, their
clothing is scant, and devoid of all excellence in the manufacture. As
far removed from the polite European on the one hand, as from the savage
Indian or the rude Hottentot on the other, they may be rightly termed
the semi-barbarous portion of mankind. It is a curious question how they
came to occupy this middle state of civilisation, which they have
retained for so many centuries. We know that the wandering tribes of
Asia, and some of the kingdoms of that continent which partake of the
characteristics now described, in former ages enjoyed seasons of
national splendour and gleams of civilisation, the twilight of which has
not yet passed away; but we know nothing of the history of Central
Africa, a large part of which is composed of semi-barbarous nations.

We now specially refer to that portion of the African continent which
lies between the Great Desert and the Kong Mountains, with a
continuation toward Lake Tchad--comprising a tract of country about 300
miles in length and 2000 in breadth. South of this latitude the people
are more barbarous and cruel, and the deserts of the west are inhabited
by tribes more purely negro and ignorant. Moors, Mandingoes, Foolahs,
and Jaloofs, principally dwell in this vast region of West-Central
Africa. All these peoples are more or less European in their form and
countenance; the pure negroes occasionally mixed with them being
probably imported slaves or their descendants. These nations differ from
each other in their languages, and in some of their customs and manners;
but there is a similarity in their mode of living, if we except the
Moors, which makes it as unnecessary as it would be tedious to describe
each of them separately. We wish to make our readers acquainted with the
forms and habits of semi-barbarous life, whatever local name or
geographical appearance it may assume.

The first and most important feature of observation is the position of
the female sex. This regulates the size of the houses and the towns, the
nature of agriculture, and the whole social economy. In Africa the women
are emphatically the working-class of the community, and hold an
intermediate station between wife and slave, occupying the rank and
employments of both. A wife is usually bought for so many head of cattle
or such a number of slaves, and then becomes the property of her
husband. There is no limit to the number of wives. Even the Mohammedan
negroes do not conform to the Koran in its restriction to the number of
four. One chief boasted that he had eighty wives; and upon the
Englishman answering that his countrymen thought one woman quite enough
to manage, the African flourished a whip, with which he said he kept
them in order. In some countries one of these wives is recognised as
head-wife, and enjoys certain prerogatives appertaining to this place.

Being desirous of obtaining an insight into the minutiae of African
life, we accepted the invitation of a negro who traded on the Gambia to
pay him a visit, and spend a day in his town, especially as there would
be a dance in the evening. We left our vessel in the morning, and having
rowed for some miles up a tributary stream, landed in an open place.
Here we met the horses which Samba had sent for us, as the town lay at a
considerable distance. They were fine animals, of a small breed, but
very spirited, and apparently only half-trained. Their accoutrements
were in some respects novel; for the saddle was an unwieldy article,
with a high pommel in front, and an elevation behind, so that we were
fairly wedged in the seat, and had many thumps before we learned to sit
correctly in these stocks. We therefore had no wish, as we had little
opportunity, of trying the speed of our beasts, the road lying through a
vast forest. The men who accompanied us were armed with muskets, and
kept a sharp look-out among the bushes, though there was not much fear
of being attacked in this place by wild beasts in the day-time, as it
was a frequented route and had been often visited by the hunter. By and
by we came, to a stream, which was fordable in the dry season.
Senegambia abounds with rivers and creeks; indeed it seems to be one of
the best-watered regions of the earth, and has excellent means of
communication for trade. These waters are full of fish, which form an
important article of food for the people.

After crossing the river, we saw the place of our destination on a
rising ground surrounded with fields. The town was surrounded with a low
mud-wall and stockade to keep off wild beasts, and as a slight
protection against roving freebooters. Larger towns, especially those
belonging to warrior chiefs, have high mud-walls, sometimes with
loopholes and bastions, and are capable of standing a siege where the
enemy has neither cannon nor battering-rams. The gate was made of planks
shaped with the axe, for the natives have no saws. The appearance of the
place from a distance was very singular, for it consisted of 400 or 500
huts, all built in the same manner, with conical roofs thatched with
grass. No chimneys, spires, nor windows relieved the monotony of the
scene. Upon entering, we threaded our way through narrow passages,
between high fences, as through the mazes of a labyrinth, where we might
have wandered all day without finding an exit. At last our guides
brought us to a wicket-door, through which we passed, and found
ourselves in Samba's enclosure. He welcomed us with great cordiality,
and led us towards his dwelling through a group of inquisitive women and
children. It was a circular hut, rather larger than the others, and
constructed with a little more care. The wall was composed of large
lumps of clay in square blocks, laid upon each other while still wet;
these speedily dry and harden in the sun, forming a substantial support,
of about four feet high, for the roof. The roof is a conical frame of
bamboo-cane thatched with long grass, having long eaves to protect the
walls from the deluging rains of Africa. The most substantial of these
dwellings are liable to be undermined by wet, if the ground be level, or
to be penetrated by rain, if the roof be not kept in good repair; in
which case the sides can no longer support its weight. For this, reason,
deserted towns soon become heaps of mud ruins, and finally a mound of

The interior of Samba's dwelling was as simple as the outside. On one
side was a platform or hurdle of cane, raised about two feet from the
ground upon stakes. This served for a bedstead, and the bedding was
composed of a simple skin or mat. Being rich, Samba had other mats for
himself and his friends to sit upon, and two or three low stools. His
gun, spear, leathern bottle, and other accoutrements, lay in a
convenient place: and we observed a couple of boxes, one of which
contained clothes, and the other a heterogeneous mass of trifling
valuables received from Europeans. Of course such boxes and their
contents are not of frequent occurrence in these lowly dwellings. Near
this hut was another small one which served for a kitchen: it contained
some earthen pots, wooden bowls, and calabashes, with iron pots and neat
baskets as articles of distinction. Here was also the large pestle and
mortar, the use of which will be presently described.

Samba was dressed in the usual garb of a negro gentleman. He wore large
cotton drawers, which reached half-way down the leg, and a loose smock
with wide sleeves. On his feet were sandals, fastened with leathern
straps over his toes, the legs being bare. His head was covered with a
white cap encircled with a Paisley shawl--which I had formerly given
him--and which was worn in the manner of a turban. Two large _greegrees_
or amulets--being leathern purses, containing some holy words or sacred
scraps--depended from his neck by silken cords. This costume was
pleasing, and set off his manly form to advantage. One of his wives
immediately presented us with a calabash of sour milk, and some cakes of
rice of pounded nuts and honey. The Africans have in general only two
meals a day; but some, who can afford it, take lunch about two o'clock.
Strict Mohammedans profess not to drink intoxicating liquors; but looser
religionists cannot resist the temptation of rum, of which the pagan
negroes drink to excess. Samba brought out a bottle of this liquor, and
presented it with evident glee, himself doing justice to its contents.

We then proceeded to view the rest of the premises. Samba had six wives,
each of whom had a separate hut. Their dwellings resembled that of their
lord, but were of smaller size, and the doors were very low, so as to
require considerable stooping to enter. These apertures for admitting
light, air, and human beings, and for letting out the smoke, always look
towards the west, for the easterly wind brings clouds of sand; and if
the tornadoes which blow from the same quarter are allowed an inlet to a
hut, they speedily make an outlet for themselves by whirling the roof
into the air. The women were dressed in their best style on the occasion
of our visit. One cloth, or _pang_, was fastened round their waist, and
hung down to the ankles: another was thrown loosely over the bosom and
shoulders. Their hair was plaited with ribbons, and decorated with
beads, coral, and pieces of gold. Their legs were bare; but they had
neat sandals on their feet. They were loaded with necklaces, bracelets,
armlets, and anklets, composed of coral, amber, and fine glass-beads,
interspersed with beads of gold and silver. These are their wealth and
their pride. Some had little children, whose only covering was strings
of beads round the waist, neck, ankles, and wrists: an elder girl of
about ten years had a small cloth about her loins. We saw no furniture
in their huts except a few bowls and calabashes, a rude distaff for
spinning cotton, and the usual bed-hurdle covered with mats. The ladies
were very garrulous and inquisitive, narrowly inspecting our skin and
dress, and asking many questions about European females. They wondered
how a rich man could do with only one wife, but thought monogamy was a
good thing for the women. These mothers never carry their children in
their arms, but infants are borne in a _pang_ upon the back.

Another hut served for Samba's store, where he kept his merchandise;
another was occupied by some female slaves, and another by male slaves.
These poor creatures wore only a cloth round their loins, hanging as far
as the knees; the females had each a necklace of common beads given by
their mistresses. At night they lie down upon a mat or skin, and light a
fire in the middle of the hut. This serves both for warmth and to keep
away noxious insects. Their furniture consisted of working
instruments--hoes, calabashes, rush-baskets, and the redoubtable
_paloon_. The last-mentioned instrument is a large wooden mortar made by
the Loubles, a wandering class of Foolahs, one of the most stunted and
ugly of African races, and quite different from the pastoral and warrior
tribes. These roving gipsies work in wood, and may be called the coopers
of Africa. When they find a convenient spot of ground furnished with the
proper kind of trees, they immediately proceed to cut them down: the
branches are formed into temporary huts, and the trunks are made into
canoes, bowls, pestles and mortars, and other wooden utensils. Their
chief implements are an axe and a knife, which they use with great

The freemen are very indolent, and, with the exception of the Foolahs,
seldom engage in any useful work. The time not occupied in hunting,
fishing, travelling, or public business, is usually spent in indolent
smoking, gossipping, or revelling. The male slaves are employed in
felling timber, weaving, drawing water, collecting grass for horses, and
helping the women in the fields; but as all this, excepting the first,
can be done by females, the slaveholders do not care to keep many male
slaves. Women generally attend to field-work. Before the rains set in,
they make holes in the ground with a hoe, and, after dropping in seeds,
cover in the earth with their feet. In case of rice, the surface of the
ground is turned up with a narrow spade. After the rains the grain is
ripe, and the tops are cut off. When the natives have not separate
store-huts of their own, they keep their corn in large rush-baskets
raised upon stakes outside the village; and these stores are not
violated by their fellow-townsmen. The grain is beaten or trodden out of
the husks, and then winnowed in the wind. The women pound it into meal
or flour with a pestle nearly five feet long, the ordinary mortar
containing about two gallons. This is a most laborious process, and
occupies many hours of the day or night.

After gratifying, if not satisfying, the curiosity of Samba's wives, we
thought it right that a return should be made by their explaining to us
their mode of dressing food, especially the celebrated _kooskoos_. This
was cheerfully done, the more so as we presented them with small
articles of tinselled finery. The flour is moistened with water, then
shaken and stirred in a calabash until it forms into small hard granules
like peppercorns, which will keep good for a long time if preserved in a
dry place. The poorer class wet this prepared grain with hot water until
it swells like rice; others steam it in an earthen pot with holes, which
is placed above another containing flesh and water, so that the flavour
of the meat makes the kooskoos savoury. We saw a dish of this kind in
preparation for our dinner, along with other stews of a daintier kind,
made of rice boiled with milk and dried fish, or with butter and meat,
not forgetting vegetables and condiments. Some, of these stews, when
well prepared, are not to be despised.

After inspecting the kitchen and its contents, our host conducted us to
the _bentang_ or _palaver_ house, which answers the purpose of a
town-hall and assembly-room. It is a large building, without side-walls,
being a roof supported upon strong posts, and having a bank of mud to
form a seat or lounging-bench. It is generally erected under the shade
of a large tabba-tree, which is the pride of the town. Here all public
business is transacted, trials are conducted, strangers are received,
and hither the idle resort for the news of the day. As Africans are
interminable speakers, they make excellent lawyers, and know how to spin
out a case or involve it in a labyrinth of figures of speech. Mungo
Park, who frequently heard these special pleaders, says that in the
forensic qualifications of procrastination and cavil, and the arts of
confounding and perplexing a cause, they are not easily surpassed by the
ablest pleaders in Europe. The following may serve as an example of
their talent:--An ass had got loose and broken into a field of corn,
much of which it destroyed. The proprietor of the corn caught the beast
in his field, and immediately cut its throat. The owner of the ass then
brought an action to recover damages for the loss of the ass, on which
he set a high value. The other acknowledged having killed it, but
pleaded as a set-off that the value of the corn destroyed was quite
equal to that of the beast which he had killed. The law recognised the
validity of both claims--that the ass should be paid for, and so should
the corn; for the proprietor had no right to kill the beast, and it had
no right to damage the field. The glorious uncertainty was therefore
displayed in ascertaining the relative value of each; and the learned
gentlemen managed so to puzzle the cause, that after a hearing of three
days the court broke up without coming to any decision, and the cause
was adjourned for a future hearing.

Another _palaver_ which lasted four days was on the following
occasion:--A slave-merchant had married a woman of Tambacunda, by whom
he had two children. He subsequently absented himself for eight years
without giving any account of himself to his deserted wife, who, seeing
no prospect of his return, at the end of three years married another
man, to whom she likewise bore two children. The _slatee_ now returned
and claimed his wife; but the second husband refused to surrender her,
insisting that, by the usage of Africa, when a man has been three years
absent from his wife without giving notice of his being alive, the woman
is at liberty to marry again. This, however, proved a puzzling question,
and all the circumstances on both sides had to be investigated. At last
it was determined that the differing claims were so nicely balanced that
the court could not pronounce on the side of either, but allowed the
woman to make her choice of the husbands. She took time to consider; and
it is said that, having ascertained that her first husband, though older
than the second, was much richer, she allowed her first love to carry
the day.

These lawsuits afford much amusement to the freemen of African towns,
who have little employment, and to whom time seems to be a matter of no
importance. Whether a journey occupies a week, a month, or a year, is of
little moment, provided they can obtain victuals and find amusement in
the place they visit. African labourers are quite surprised at the
bustle and impatience of Englishmen; and when urged to make haste in
finishing a job, will innocently exclaim--'No hurry, master: there be
plenty of time: to-morrow, comes after to-day.'

We went to see the blacksmith and saddler of the town. These are the
only professional persons, and they are held in high esteem. The
blacksmith is a worker in all kinds of metal, and combines the
avocations of goldsmith, silversmith, jeweller, nailer, and gunsmith. In
the interior, he also manufactures native iron by smelting the stone in
furnaces with charcoal, which process converts it at once into steel:
but as this operation is rudely performed, it is attended with a great
waste of metal, which is also very hard and difficult to be worked; so
that English iron is used when it can be obtained, and bars of iron form
a considerable article of commerce. The blacksmith's utensils consist of
a hammer, anvil, forceps, and a pair of double bellows made of two
goat-skins. When we saw him he and his slaves were making stirrups, but
the operation was very tedious.

The saddler tans and dresses leather, and can make a very beautiful and
soft material by repeatedly rubbing and beating the hides. The thick
skins are converted into sandals; those of sheep and goats are dyed and
made into sheaths of various kinds, purses for greegrees, covers for
quivers and saddles, and a variety of ornaments, which are neatly sewn,
as all negro lads can use the needle. These arts, with those of weaving,
working in rushes, soap-making, and a rude pottery, constitute the
native crafts. The Africans evidently understand the principles of many
useful arts, and evince considerable ingenuity in the execution,
considering the rudeness of their instruments, their want of capital,
and the total absence of hired labour.

Suspended on a tree near the entrance of the town we saw the strange
dress of bark called Mumbo Jumbo. This is a device used by the men to
keep their wives in awe when the husband's authority is not sufficient
to prevent family feuds and maintain proper subordination. It may be
called the pillory of Africa, and is thus employed: Mumbo Jumbo
announces his approach by loud cries in the woods, and at night enters
the town and proceeds to the bentang, where all the inhabitants are
obliged to assemble. The ceremony begins with songs and dances, which
last till midnight, by which time Mumbo Jumbo has fixed upon his
unfortunate victim. She is immediately seized, stripped, tied to a post,
and scourged with Mumbo's rod, amid the shouts and derision of the whole
assembly. No wonder that Mumbo Jumbo is held in great awe by the women!

When we had finished our walks about town, the day was far spent, and
the setting sun bade us hasten to our lodging; for here there is no
twilight, so that in a few minutes after the orb of day has disappeared
night supervenes, and the moon rules the heavens. The few cattle which
belonged to the inhabitants were brought into a pen at the town-wall,
where they are watched at night by armed men. We found a fire of blazing
wood in Samba's hut, and sat down on mats to gossip and smoke till
dinner should be served. The ladies brought in the kooskoos, and other
viands already described, in wooden bowls, and laid them on the floor;
they then retired, as they never eat with the men. Each guest is
expected to help himself with his fingers, and Samba hoped to play us a
little trick in return for one played upon himself. When he visited us
on board ship we provided only knives and forks, which all were expected
to use. Poor Samba could hardly get a mouthful, and was the
laughing-stock of the company, till in mercy a spoon was brought to him.
He now ordered the stews to be made thin, and the meat to be cut up in
small morsels, hoping to see us very awkward in using our fingers; when
suddenly we produced pocket spoons and knives, which turned the joke
against him and his negro friends, for the food was too watery for
themselves to manage well with their hands.

After our repast we went out to see the dancing. This favourite
amusement of the Africans takes place in the open air when the weather
is fine; in wet weather it is held in the bentang, and when it is dark
large fires are kindled to give light to the performers. They have two
or three musical instruments, the chief of which is a drum. When this is
beat, all the young folks become animated, and dance to the sound,
clapping their hands, and performing a number of evolutions, some of
which are not the most seemly. They keep up this exercise through a
great part of the night; so that we left them in the midst of their
sport, and retired to rest. Our preparations for sleep were soon made,
by simply lying down upon the mats placed upon the hurdle. The negroes
are very susceptible of cold, and complain of it when we are panting
with heat; but the fire in their huts keeps up the desired temperature.
They sleep very soundly, and cannot be easily aroused till after
sun-rise. In the morning we made a slight repast of gruel, to which a
kind of hasty-pudding with shea-butter was added for our peculiar
gratification. This butter is made of the fruit of the shea-tree, which
is not unlike a Spanish olive, and has a kernel from which the butter is
extracted by boiling. It is in great repute, having a richer taste than
the butter of milk, and keeping for a long time without salt, which is
very expensive in Africa. After breakfast we took leave of our kind host
and his family, and returned in the same way we came.

The foregoing description of semi-barbarous life may seem to portray it
in some attractive colours, so that indolent and licentious persons
might ask: Is it not preferable to our sophisticated state of society?
We are not judges of other people's taste, but we can see in it nothing
desirable. Its evils are numerous and very great. It is a dearth or
death of the soul, and of all that which truly constitutes man an
intelligent being, aiming at mental progress. Again, it is intimately
connected with a state of slavery, with the degradation of females, and
with polygamy--three great moral evils, the sources of endless rapine,
injustice, and misery. Famine also frequently prevails, and is a
dreadful scourge, even compelling mothers to sell some of their children
that they may save the rest. For in such an uncertain state of society,
no one cares to lay up for the future, as his hordes would only incur
the greater risk of being pillaged and destroyed.


A return has just been made, by order of parliament, which shews that
Liverpool is now the greatest port in the British Empire in the value of
its exports and the extent of its foreign commerce. Being the first port
in the British Empire, it is the first port in the world. New York is
the only place out of Great Britain which can at all compare with the
extent of its commerce. New York is the Liverpool of America, as
Liverpool is the New York of Europe. The trade of those two ports is
reciprocal. The raw produce of America, shipped in New York, forms the
mass of the imports of Liverpool; the manufactures of England, shipped
at Liverpool, form the mass of the imports of New York. The two ports
are, together, the gates or doors of entry between the Old World and the
New. On examining the return just made, it appears that the value of the
exports of Liverpool in the year 1850 amounted to nearly L.35,000,000
sterling (L.34,891,847), or considerably more than one-half of the total
value of the exports of the three kingdoms for that year. This wonderful
export-trade of Liverpool is partly the result of the great mineral
riches of Lancashire, Cheshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, and the
West Riding of Yorkshire; partly of the matchless ingenuity and untiring
industry of the population of those counties; partly of a multitude of
canals and railways, spreading from Liverpool to all parts of England
and the richest parts of Wales; partly to Liverpool being the commercial
centre of the three kingdoms; and partly to the fact that very nearly
L.12,000,000 have been expended in Liverpool, and more than L.12,000,000
in the river Mersey, in converting a stormy estuary and an unsafe
anchorage into the most perfect port ever formed by the skill of man. On
comparing the respective amounts of the tonnage of Liverpool and London,
it appears at first impossible to account for the fact that the shipping
of Liverpool is rather less than that of London, while its export-trade
is much more than twice as great. The explanation of this fact is, that
the vessels employed in carrying the million or million and a half of
tons of coal used in London, appear in the London return; while the
canal and river flats, to say nothing of the railway trains, employed in
carrying the million and a quarter of tons of coal used or employed in
Liverpool, do not. State the case fairly, and the maritime superiority
of Liverpool will be found to be as decided as is its commercial. We
ought also to add, that while the Custom-house returns for 1850 give
Liverpool only 3,262,253 tons of shipping, the payment of rates to the
Liverpool Dock Estate in the twelve months ending June 25, 1851, gives
3,737,666 tons, or nearly 500,000 tons more. Comparing the rate of
increase of the exports of Liverpool with that of other ports, it
appears that Liverpool is not only the first port in the kingdom, but
that it is becoming more decidedly the first every year. During the last
five years the increase of the exports of Liverpool has been from
26,000,000 to nearly 35,000,000, while that of London has been from
little less than 11,000,000 to rather more than 14,000,000. The exports
of Hull--which is undoubtedly the third port of the kingdom--though
still very large, have rather declined, having been L.10,875,870 in
1846, and not more than L.10,366,610 in 1850. The exports of Glasgow,
now the fourth port of the empire, shew a fair increase, from
L.3,024,343 to L.3,768,646. No other port now sends out exports of the
value of L.2,000,000 a year, though Southampton comes near to
L.2,000,000, and Cork passes L.1,000,000.--_Liverpool Times_.


I am fallen into the hands of publicans and sequestrators, and they have
taken all from me. What now? Let me look about me. They have left me sun
and moon, fire and water, a loving wife, and many friends to pity me,
and some to relieve me; and I can still discourse; and, unless I list,
they have not taken away my merry countenance and my cheerful spirits,
and a good conscience; they have still left me the providence of God,
and all the promises of the gospel, and my religion, and my hope of
heaven, and my charity to them too. And still I sleep, and digest, and
eat, and drink; I read and meditate; I can walk in my neighbour's
pleasant fields, and see the varieties of natural beauty, and delight in
all that in which God delights--that is, in virtue and wisdom, in the
whole creation, and in God himself.--_Jeremy Taylor_.


Some years ago a man was apprehended in Hampshire, charged with a
capital offence--sheep-stealing, I believe. After being examined before
a justice of the peace, he was committed to the county jail at
Winchester for trial at the ensuing assizes. The evidence against the
man was too strong to admit of any doubt of his guilt; he was
consequently convicted, and sentence of death--rigidly enforced for this
crime at the period alluded to--pronounced. Months and years passed
away, but no warrant for his execution arrived. In the interval a marked
improvement in the man's conduct and bearing became apparent. His
natural abilities were good, his temper mild, and his general desire to
please attracted the attention and engaged the confidence of the
governor of the prison, who at length employed him as a domestic
servant; and such was his reliance on his integrity that he even
employed him in executing commissions, not only in the city, but to
places at a great distance from it. After a considerable lapse of time,
however, the awful instrument, which had been inadvertently concealed
among other papers, was discovered, and at once forwarded to the
high-sheriff, and by the proper authority to the unfortunate delinquent
himself. My purpose is brief relation only; suffice it to say, the
unhappy man is stated under these affecting circumstances to have
suffered the last penalty of the law.--_Notes and Queries_.


Let America add Mexico to Texas, and pile Cuba upon Canada; let the
English overswarm all India, and hang out their blazing banner from the
sun; two-thirds of this terraqueous globe are the Nantucketer's. For the
sea is his--he owns it as emperors own empires, other seamen having but
a right to pass through it. Merchant-ships are but extension bridges;
armed ones but floating forts; even pirates and privateers, though
following the sea as highwaymen the road, they but plunder other ships,
other fragments of the land like themselves, without seeking to draw
their living from the bottomless sea itself. The Nantucketer, he alone
resides and riots on the sea; he alone, in Bible language, goes down to
it in ships; to and fro ploughing it as his own special plantation.
_There_ is his home; _there_ lies his business; which a Noah's flood
would scarcely interrupt, though it overwhelmed all the millions in
China. He lives on the sea as prairie cocks in the prairie; he hides
among the waves; he climbs them as chamois hunters climb the Alps. For
years he knows not the land; so that when he comes to it at last, it
smells like another world, more strangely than the moon would to an
earthsman. With the landless gull, that at sunset folds her wings and is
rocked to sleep between billows, so at nightfall the Nantucketer, out of
sight of land, furls his sails, and lays him to his rest, while under
his very pillow rush herds of walruses and whales.--_Herman Melville's
The Whale_.


'Linné selected a tiny wild-flower that he discovered, of exquisite
beauty and delicious odour, to bear his name--one that refuses to
exchange the silent glen and melancholy wood for the more gay parterres
of horticulture.'--_Rambles in Sweden and Gottland, by Sylvanus_.

     'Tis a child of the old green woodlands,
       Where the song of the free wild bird,
     And swaying of boughs in the summer breeze,
       Are the only voices heard.

     In the richest moss of the lonely dells
       Are its rosy petals found,
     With the clear blue skies above it spread,
       And the lordly trees around.

     In those still, untrodden solitudes
       Its lovely days are passed;
     And the sunny turf is its fragrant bier
       When it gently dies at last.

     But if from its own sweet dwelling-place
       By a careless hand 'tis torn,
     And to hot and dusty city streets
       In its drooping beauty borne,

     Its graceful head is with sorrow bowed,
       And it quickly pines and fades;
     Till the fragile bloom is for ever fled
       That gladdened the forest glades.

     It will not dwell 'neath a palace dome,
       With rare exotic flowers,
     Whose perfumed splendour gaily gleams
       In radiant festal hours:

     It loves not the Parian marble vase,
       On the terrace fair and wide;
     Or the bright and sheltered garden bowers
       Smiling in gorgeous pride.

     But it mourns for the far-off dingles,
       For their fresh and joyous air,
     For the dewy sighs and sunny beams
       That lingered o'er it there.

     O lonely and lovely forest-flower!
       A holy lot is thine,
     Amid nature's deepest solitudes,
       With radiance meek to shine.

     Bright blossom of the shady woods!
       Live on in your cool retreat,
     Unharmed by the touch of human hand,
       Or the tread of careless feet;

     With the rich green fern around your home,
       The birds' glad song above,
     And the solemn stars in the still night-time
       Looking down with eyes of love!

                                      LUCINDA ELLIOTT.

       *       *       *       *       *

Printed and Published by W. and R. CHAMBERS, High Street, Edinburgh.
Also sold by W.S. ORR, Amen Corner, London; D.N. CHAMBERS, 55 West Nile
Street, Glasgow; and J. M'GLASHAN, 50 Upper Sackville Street,
Dublin.--Advertisements for Monthly Parts are requested to be sent to
MAXWELL & Co., 31 Nicholas Lane, Lombard Street, London, to whom all
applications respecting their insertion must be made.

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