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Title: Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 446 - Volume 18, New Series, July 17, 1852
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 446 - Volume 18, New Series, July 17, 1852" ***

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                     CHAMBERS' EDINBURGH JOURNAL


  No. 446. NEW SERIES.   SATURDAY, JULY 17, 1852.   PRICE 1-1/2_d._


It is a pity that the present age is so completely absorbed in
materialities, at a time when the facilities are so singularly great
for a philosophy which would inquire into the constitution of our
moral nature. In the North Pacific, we are in contact with tribes of
savages ripening, sensibly to the eye, into civilised communities; and
we are able to watch the change as dispassionately as if we were in
our studies examining the wonders of the minute creation through a
microscope. In America, we have before us a living model, blind, mute,
deaf, and without the sense of smell; communicating with the external
world by the sense of touch alone; yet endowed with a rare
intelligence, which permits us to see, through the fourfold veil that
shrouds her, the original germs of the human character.[1] Nearer
home, we have been from time to time attracted and astonished by the
spectacle of children, born of European parents, emerging from forests
where they had been lost for a series of years, fallen back, not into
the moral condition of savages, but of wild beasts, with the
sentiments and even the instincts of their kind obliterated for ever.
And now we have several cases before us, occurring in India, of the
same lapses from humanity, involving circumstances curious in
themselves, but more important than curious, as throwing a strange
light upon what before was an impenetrable mystery. It is to these we
mean to direct our attention on the present occasion; but before doing
so, it will be well just to glance at the natural history of the wild
children of Europe.[2]

The most remarkable specimen, and the best type of the class, was
found in the year 1725, in a wood in Hanover. With the appearance of a
human being--of a boy about thirteen years of age--he was in every
respect a wild animal, walking on all-fours, feeding on grass and
moss, and lodging in trees. When captured, he exhibited a strong
repugnance to clothing; he could not be induced to lie on a bed,
frequently tearing the clothes to express his indignation; and in the
absence of his customary lair among the boughs of a tree, he crouched
in a corner of the room to sleep. Raw food he devoured with relish,
more especially cabbage-leaves and other vegetables, but turned away
from the sophistications of cookery. He had no articulate language,
expressing his emotions only by the sounds emitted by various animals.
Although only five feet three inches, he was remarkably strong; he
never exhibited any interest in the female sex; and even in his old
age--for he was supposed to be seventy-three when he died--it was only
in external manners he had advanced from the character of a wild beast
to that of a good-tempered savage, for he was still without
consciousness of the Great Spirit.

In other children that were caught subsequently to Peter, for that was
the name they gave him, the same character was observable, although
with considerable modifications. One of them, a young girl of twelve
or thirteen, was not merely without sympathy for persons of the male
sex, but she held them all her life in great abhorrence. Her temper
was ungovernable; she was fond of blood, which she sucked from the
living animal; and was something more than suspected of the cannibal
propensity. On one occasion, she was seen to dive as naturally as an
otter in a lake, catch a fish, and devour it on the spot. Yet this
girl eventually acquired language; was even able to give some
indistinct account of her early career in the woods; and towards the
close of her life, when subdued by long illness, exhibited few traces
of having once been a wild animal. Another, a boy of eleven or twelve,
was caught in the woods of Canne, in France. He was impatient,
capricious, violent; rushing even through crowded streets like an
ill-trained dog; slovenly and disgusting in his manners; affected with
spasmodic motions of the head and limbs; biting and scratching all who
displeased him; and always, when at comparative rest, balancing his
body like a wild animal in a menagerie. His senses were incapable of
being affected by anything not appealing to his personal feelings: a
pistol fired close to his head excited little or no emotion, yet he
heard distinctly the cracking of a walnut, or the touch of a hand upon
the key which kept him captive. The most delicious perfumes, or the
most fetid exhalations, were the same thing to his sense of smell,
because these did not affect, one way or other, his relish for his
food, which was of a disgusting nature, and which he dragged about the
floor like a dog, eating it when besmeared with filth. Like almost all
the lower animals, he was affected by the changes of the weather; but
on some of these occasions, his feelings approached to the human in
their manifestations. When he saw the sun break suddenly from a cloud,
he expressed his joy by bursting into convulsive peals of laughter;
and one morning, when he awoke, on seeing the ground covered with
snow, he leaped out of bed, rushed naked into the garden, rolled
himself over and over in the snow, and stuffing handfuls of it into
his mouth, devoured it eagerly. Sometimes he shewed signs of a true
madness, wringing his hands, gnashing his teeth, and becoming
formidable to those about him. But in other moods, the phenomena of
nature seemed to tranquillise and sadden him. When the severity of the
season, as we are informed by the French physician who had charge of
him, had driven every other person out of the garden, he still
delighted to walk there; and after taking many turns, would seat
himself beside a pond of water. Here his convulsive motions, and the
continual balancing of his whole body, diminished, and gave way to a
more tranquil attitude; his face gradually assumed the character of
sorrow or melancholy reverie, while his eyes were steadfastly fixed on
the surface of the water, and he threw into it, from time to time,
some withered leaves. In like manner, on a moonlight night, when the
rays of the moon entered his room, he seldom failed to awake, and to
place himself at the window. Here he would remain for a considerable
time, motionless, with his neck extended, and his eyes fixed on the
moonlight landscape, and wrapped in a kind of contemplative ecstasy,
the silence of which was interrupted only by profound inspirations,
accompanied by a slight plaintive noise.

We have only to add, that by the anxious care of the physician, and a
thousand ingenious contrivances, the senses of this human animal, with
the exception of his hearing, which always remained dull and
impassive, were gradually stimulated, and he was even able at length
to pronounce two or three words. Here his history breaks off.

The scene of these extraordinary narratives has hitherto been confined
to Europe; but we have now to draw attention to the wild children of
India. It happens, fortunately, that in this case the character of the
testimony is unimpeachable; for although brought forward in a brief,
rough pamphlet, published in a provincial town, and merely said to be
'by an Indian Official,' we recognise both in the manner and matter
the pen of Colonel Sleeman, the British Resident at the court of
Lucknow, whose invaluable services in putting down thuggee and
dacoitee in India we have already described to our readers.[3]

The district of Sultanpoor, in the kingdom of Oude, a portion of the
great plain of the Ganges, is watered by the Goomtee River, a
navigable stream, about 140 yards broad, the banks of which are much
infested by wolves. These animals are protected by the superstition of
the Hindoos, and to such an extent, that a village community within
whose boundaries a single drop of their blood has been shed, is
believed to be doomed to destruction. The wolf is safe--but from a
very different reason--even from those vagrant tribes who have no
permanent abiding-place, but bivouac in the jungle, and feed upon
jackals, reptiles--anything, and who make a trade of catching and
selling such wild animals as they consider too valuable to eat. The
reason why the vulpine ravager is spared by these wretches is--_that
wolves devour children_! Not, however, that the wanderers have any
dislike to children, but they are tempted by the jewels with which
they are adorned; and knowing the dens of the animals, they make this
fearful gold-seeking a part of their business. The adornment of their
persons with jewellery is a passion with the Hindoos which nothing can
overcome. Vast numbers of women--even those of the most infamous
class--are murdered for the sake of their ornaments, yet the lesson is
lost upon the survivors. Vast numbers of children, too, fall victims
in the same way, and from the same cause, or are permitted, by those
who shrink from murder, to be carried off and devoured by the wolves;
yet no Indian mother can withstand the temptation to bedizen her
child, whenever it is in her power, with bracelets, necklaces, and
other ornaments of gold and silver. So much is necessary as an
introduction to the incidents that follow.

One day, a trooper, like Spenser's gentle knight,'was pricking on the
plain,' near the banks of the Goomtee. He was within a short distance
of Chandour, a village about ten miles from Sultanpoor, the capital of
the district, when he halted to observe a large female wolf and her
whelps come out of a wood near the roadside, and go down to the river
to drink. There were four whelps. Four!--surely not more than three;
for the fourth of the juvenile company was as little like a wolf as
possible. The horseman stared; for in fact it was a boy, going on
all-fours like his comrades, evidently on excellent terms with them
all, and guarded, as well as the rest, by the dam with the same
jealous care which that exemplary mother, but unpleasant neighbour,
bestows upon her progeny. The trooper sat still in his saddle watching
this curious company till they had satisfied their thirst; but as soon
as they commenced their return, he put spurs to his horse, to
intercept the boy. Off ran the wolves, and off ran the boy
helter-skelter--the latter keeping close up with the dam; and the
horseman, owing to the unevenness of the ground, found it impossible
to overtake them before they had all entered their den. He was
determined, nevertheless, to attain his object, and assembling some
people from the neighbouring village with pickaxes, they began to dig
in the usual way into the hole. Having made an excavation of six or
eight feet, the garrison evacuated the place--the wolf, the three
whelps, and the boy, leaping suddenly out and taking to flight. The
trooper instantly threw himself upon his horse, and set off in
pursuit, followed by the fleetest of the party; and the ground over
which they had to fly being this time more even, he at length headed
the chase, and turned the whole back upon the men on foot. These
secured the boy, and, according to prescriptive rule, allowed the wolf
and her three whelps to go on their way.

'They took the boy to the village,' says Colonel Sleeman, 'but had to
tie him, for he was very restive, and struggled hard to rush into
every hole or den they came near. They tried to make him speak, but
could get nothing from him but an angry growl or snarl. He was kept
for several days at the village, and a large crowd assembled every day
to see him. When a grown-up person came near him, he became alarmed,
and tried to steal away; but when a child came near him, he rushed at
it with a fierce snarl, like that of a dog, and tried to bite it. When
any cooked meat was put near him, he rejected it in disgust; but when
raw meat was offered, he seized it with avidity, put it upon the
ground, under his hands, like a dog, and ate it with evident pleasure.
He would not let any one come near while he was eating, but he made no
objection to a dog's coming and sharing his food with him.'

This wild boy was sent to Captain Nicholetts, the European officer
commanding the 1st regiment of Oude Local Infantry, stationed at
Sultanpoor. He lived only three years after his capture, and died in
August 1850. According to Captain Nicholetts' account of him, he was
very inoffensive except when teased, and would then growl and snarl.
He came to eat anything that was thrown to him, although much
preferring raw flesh. He was very fond of uncooked bones, masticating
them apparently with as much ease as meat; and he had likewise a still
more curious partiality for small stones and earth. So great was his
appetite, that he has been known to eat half a lamb at one meal; and
buttermilk he would drink by the pitcher full without seeming to draw
breath. He would never submit to wear any article of dress even in the
coldest weather; and when a quilt stuffed with cotton was given to
him, 'he tore it to pieces, and ate a portion of it--cotton and
all--with his bread every day.' The countenance of the boy was
repulsive, and his habits filthy in the extreme. He was never known to
smile; and although fond of dogs and jackals, formed no attachment
for any human being. Even when a favourite pariah dog, which used to
feed with him, was shot for having fallen under suspicion of taking
the lion's share of the meal, he appeared to be quite indifferent. He
sometimes walked erect; but generally ran on all-fours--more
especially to his food when it was placed at a distance from him.

Another of these wolf-children was carried off from his parents at
Chupra (twenty miles from Sultanpoor), when he was three years of age.
They were at work in the field, the man cutting his crop of wheat and
pulse, and the woman gleaning after him, with the child sitting on the
grass. Suddenly, there rushed into the family party, from behind a
bush, a gaunt wolf, and seizing the boy by the loins, ran off with him
to a neighbouring ravine. The mother followed with loud screams, which
brought the whole village to her assistance; but they soon lost sight
of the wolf and his prey, and the boy was heard no more of for six
years. At the end of that time, he was found by two sipahis
associating, as in the former case, with wolves, and caught by the leg
when he had got half-way into the den. He was very ferocious when
drawn out, biting at his deliverers, and seizing hold of the barrel of
one of their guns with his teeth. They secured him, however, and
carried him home, when they fed him on raw flesh, hares, and birds,
till they found the charge too onerous, and gave him up to the public
charity of the village till he should be recognised by his parents.
This actually came to pass. His mother, by that time a widow, hearing
a report of the strange boy at Koeleapoor, hastened to the place from
her own village of Chupra, and by means of indubitable marks upon his
person, recognised her child, transformed into a wild animal. She
carried him home with her; but finding him destitute of natural
affection, and in other respects wholly irreclaimable, at the end of
two months she left him to the common charity of the village.

When this boy drank, he dipped his face in the water, and sucked. The
front of his elbows and knees had become hardened from going on
all-fours with the wolves. The village boys amused themselves by
throwing frogs to him, which he caught and devoured; and when a
bullock died and was skinned, he resorted to the carcass like the dogs
of the place, and fed upon the carrion. His body smelled offensively.
He remained in the village during the day, for the sake of what he
could get to eat, but always went off to the jungle at night. In other
particulars, his habits resembled those already described. We have
only to add respecting him, that, in November 1850, he was sent from
Sultanpoor, under the charge of his mother, to Colonel Sleeman--then
probably at Lucknow--but something alarming him on the way, he ran
into a jungle, and had not been recovered at the date of the last

We pass over three other narratives of a similar kind, that present
nothing peculiar, and shall conclude with one more specimen of the
Indian wolf-boy. This human animal was captured, like the first we
have described, by a trooper, with the assistance of another person on
foot. When placed on the pommel of the saddle, he tore the horseman's
clothes, and, although his hands were tied, contrived to bite him
severely in several places. He was taken to Bondee, where the rajah
took charge of him till he was carried off by Janoo, a lad who was
khidmutgar (table-attendant) to a travelling Cashmere merchant. The
boy was then apparently about twelve years of age, and went upon
all-fours, although he could stand, and go awkwardly on his legs when
threatened. Under Janoo's attention, however, in beating and rubbing
his legs with oil, he learned to walk like other human beings. But the
vulpine smell continued to be very offensive, although his body was
rubbed for some months with mustard-seed soaked in water, and he was
compelled during the discipline to live on rice, pulse, and bread. He
slept under the mango-tree, where Janoo himself lodged, but was always
tied to a tent-pin.

One night, when the wild boy was lying asleep under his tree, Janoo
saw two wolves come up stealthily, and smell at him. They touched him,
and he awoke; and rising from his reclining posture, he put his hands
upon the heads of his visitors, and they licked his face. They capered
round him, and he threw straw and leaves at them. The khidmutgar gave
up his protégé for lost; but presently he became convinced that they
were only at play, and he kept quiet. He at length gained confidence
enough to drive the wolves away; but they soon came back, and resumed
their sport for a time. The next night, three playfellows made their
appearance, and in a few nights after, four. They came four or five
times, till Janoo lost all his fear of them. When the Cashmere
merchant returned to Lucknow, where his establishment was, Janoo still
carried his pet with him, tied by a string to his own arm; and, to
make him useful according to his capacity, with a bundle on his head.
At every jungle they passed, however, the boy would throw down the
bundle, and attempt to dart into the thicket; repeating the
insubordination, though repeatedly beaten for it, till he was fairly
subdued, and became docile by degrees. The greatest difficulty was to
get him to wear clothes, which to the last he often injured or
destroyed, by rubbing them against posts like a beast, when some part
of his body itched. Some months after their arrival at Lucknow, Janoo
was sent away from the place for a day or two on some business, and on
his return he found that the wild boy had escaped. He was never more

It is a curious circumstance, that the wild children, whether of
Europe or Asia, have never been found above a certain age. They do not
grow into adults in the woods. Colonel Sleeman thinks their lives may
be cut short by their living exclusively on animal food; but to some
of them, as we have seen, a vegetable diet has been habitual. The
probability seems to be, that with increasing years, their added
boldness and consciousness of strength may lead them into fatal
adventures with their brethren of the forest. As for the protection of
the animal by which they were originally nurtured becoming powerless
from age, which is another hypothesis, that supposes too romantic a
system of patronage and dependence. The head of the family must have
several successive series of descendants to care for after the arrival
of the stranger, and it is far more probable that the wild boy is
obliged to turn out with his playmates, when they are ordered to shift
for themselves, than that he alone remains a fixture at home. That
protection of some kind at first is a necessary condition of his
surviving at all, there can be no manner of doubt, although it does
not follow that a wolf is always the patron. The different habits of
some of the European children we have mentioned, shew a totally
different course of education. If, for instance, they had been
nurtured by wolves, they would no more have learned to climb trees
than to fly in the air. As for the female specimen we have mentioned,
hers was obviously an exceptional case. She was lost, as appeared from
her own statement, when old enough to work at some employment, and a
club she used as a weapon was one of her earliest recollections.

The wild children of India, however, were obviously indebted to wolves
for their miserable lives; and it is not so difficult as at first
sight might be supposed, to imagine the possibility of such an
occurrence. The parent wolves are so careful of their progeny, that
they feed them for some time with half-digested food, disgorged by
themselves; and after that--if we may believe Buffon, who seems as
familiar with the interior of a den as if he had boarded and lodged in
the family--they bring home to them live animals, such as hares and
rabbits. These the young wolves play with, and when at length they
are hungry, kill: the mother then for the first time interfering, to
divide the prey in equal portions. But in the case of a child being
brought to the den--a child accustomed, in all probability, to
tyrannise over the whelps of pariah dogs and other young animals, they
would find it far easier to play than to kill; and if we only suppose
the whole family going to sleep together, and the parents bringing
home fresh food in the morning--contingencies not highly
improbable--the mystery is solved, although the marvel remains. It may
be added, that such wolves as we have an opportunity of observing in
menageries, are always gentle and playful when young, and it is only
time that develops the latent ferocity of a character the most
detestable, perhaps, in the whole animal kingdom. Cowardly and cruel
in equal proportion, the wolf has no defenders. 'In short,' says
Goldsmith--probably translating Buffon, for we have not the latter at
hand to ascertain--'every way offensive, a savage aspect, a frightful
howl, an insupportable odour, a perverse disposition, fierce habits,
he is hateful while living, and useless when dead.'

But what, then, is man, whom mere accidental association for a few
years can strip of the faculties inherent in his race and convert into
a wolf? The lower animals retain their instincts in all circumstances.
The kitten, brought up from birth on its mistress's lap, imbibes none
of her tastes in food or anything else. It rejects vegetables, sweets,
fruits, all drinks but water or milk, and although content to satisfy
its hunger with dressed meat, darts with an eager growl upon raw
flesh. Man alone is the creature of imitation in good or in bad. His
faculties and instincts, although containing the _germ_ of everything
noble, are not independent and self-existing like those of the brutes.
This fact accounts for the difference observable, in an almost
stereotyped form, in the different classes of society; it affords a
hint to legislators touching their obligation to use the power they
possess in elevating, by means of education, the character of the more
degraded portions of the community; and it brings home to us all the
great lesson of sympathy for the bad as well as the afflicted--both
victims alike of _circumstances_, over which they in many cases have
nearly as little control as the wild children of the desert.


[1] See 'The Rudimental,' in No. 391.

[2] A paper on this subject will be found in _Chambers's Miscellany of
Useful and Entertaining Tracts_, vol. v. No. 48.

[3] See 'Gang-Robbers of India,' in Nos. 360 and 361 of this Journal.
The title of the pamphlet alluded to is, _An Account of Wolves
nurturing Children in their Dens_. By an Indian Official. Plymouth:
Jenkin Thomas, printer. 1852.


The Imperial Parliament of Great Britain and Ireland, in addition to
its other varied and important functions, fulfils, through one of its
branches, that of a great national book manufactory. Every session,
the House of Commons issues a whole library of valuable works,
containing information of the most ample and searching kind on
subjects of a very miscellaneous character. These are the Blue-books,
of which everybody has heard: many jokes are extant as to their
imposing bulk and great weight, literally and figuratively; and a
generation eminently addicted to light reading, may well look with
horror on these thick and closely-printed folios. But, in truth, they
are not for the mere _reader_: they are for the historian, and student
of any given subject; they are storehouses of material, not digested
treatises. True it is, that their great size sometimes defeats its
object--the valuable portion of the material is sometimes buried under
the comparatively worthless heap that surrounds it--the golden grains
lost amid the chaff. But in a case of this kind, the error of
redundancy is one on the safe side; let a subject in all its bearings
be thoroughly and fully brought up, and it is the fault or failing of
him who sets about the study of it, if he is appalled at the amount of
information on which he has to work, or cannot discriminate and seize
upon the salient points, or on those which are necessary for his own
special purposes.

Few persons, we believe, who have not had occasion to consult these
parliamentary volumes in a systematic manner, are at all aware of the
immense labour that is bestowed upon them, and the care and
completeness with which they are compiled and arranged. Indeed, we
daresay few readers have any accurate notions of the actual number of
parliamentary papers annually issued, or of the nature of their
contents. From even a very cursory examination of the literary result
of a parliamentary session, the previously uninformed investigator
could not fail to rise with a greatly augmented estimate of the
functions of the great ruling body of the state--the guarding and
directing power in the multitudinous affairs of the British Empire--an
empire that extends over every possible variety of country and
climate, and includes under its powerful, yet mild and beneficent
sway, tribes of every colour of skin, and of every shade of religious
belief. Such a survey, in fact, tends to impress one more fully and
immediately than could well be fancied, with the magnitude of the
business of the British legislature, and the consequent weighty
responsibilities imposed upon its members. But, great as the burden
is, it is distributed over so many shoulders, that it appears to press
heavily, and really does so, only on a few who support it at the more
trying points.

The session 1851 is the latest of whose labours, as they appear in the
form of parliamentary records, an account can be given. By the
admirable system of arrangement we have referred to, each
parliamentary 'paper,' whether it issues in the shape of a bulky
Blue-book--that is to say, as a thick, stitched folio volume, in a
dark-blue cover--or as a mere 'paper'--an uncovered folio of a single
sheet of two or four pages, or several stitched together, but not
attaining the dignity of the blue cover--is marked as belonging to a
certain class; and when the issue of the session is complete, a full
set of 'Titles, Contents, and Indexes' to the whole is supplied, so
that they can all be classified and bound up in due order with the
utmost ease and celerity. The _Titles, Contents, and Indexes to the
Sessional Printed Papers of Session_ 1851 are at present before us, in
the shape of a folio Blue-book about an inch and a half thick, from
which we think we may pick some facts of interest.

It must be premised, that the session 1851 was considered by
politicians a peculiarly barren and unfruitful one, as the Great
Exhibition, in conjunction with ministerial difficulties, and the
monster debates on the Ecclesiastical Titles' Bill, tended greatly to
impede the ordinary business of the Houses, and gave an air of tedium
and languor to the whole proceedings. Nevertheless, the papers for the
year amount to no less than sixty volumes! Of these, the first six
contain Public Bills. A bill, as most of our readers must be aware, is
a measure submitted to the consideration of parliament with the view
of its being adopted into the legal code of the country, for which it
must receive the sanction of both Houses and the assent of the crown.
When a bill has 'passed' through the Lords and Commons, and received
the royal assent, it becomes an 'act'--that is, a law. A bill, in
passing through the Houses, is subjected to numerous amendments and
alterations in form, and is often printed, for the use of members and
other parties interested, three or four times after such alterations,
before it comes forth in its final and permanent form as an act. Thus,
the famous Ecclesiastical Titles' Bill is to be found in three several
shapes among the bills before it reappears for the fourth time as an
act. Again, the word 'public' prefixed to these six volumes of bills,
reminds us of the vast amount of business that comes before parliament
and its committees in the shape of 'private' bills, of which no record
appears here. These are bills of special and individual application,
such as when a public company seeks an act of incorporation, the
possessor of an entailed estate desires to sell a portion of ground,
a railway directory asks for powers of various kinds, and so on.

An examination of the contents of these six volumes would shew how
many and diverse are the subjects that turn up in parliament in the
course of a single and brief session; but to enter on it
satisfactorily would require a great amount of space, and might, after
all, be more tedious than profitable. A glance at those actually
passed may suffice. These were 106 in number: the first is, 'An Act to
amend the Passengers' Act of 1849;' and the hundred and sixth, 'An Act
to appoint Commissioners to inquire into the Existence of Bribery in
St Albans.' Besides the acts of an ordinary or routine character, we
find the following among the subjects legislated on:--The Marine
Forces, Leases for Mills in Ireland, Protection of Original Designs,
the Protection of Servants and Apprentices, the Sale of Arsenic,
Highways in Wales, Sites for Schools, Herring-Fishery, Prisons in
Scotland, Common Lodging-Houses, Window and House Duties, Marriages in
India, Ecclesiastical Titles, Smithfield Market, Settlement of the
Boundaries of Canada and New Brunswick, Highland Roads and Bridges,
Gunpowder Magazine at Liverpool, Management of the Insane in India,
Lands in New Zealand, Representative Peers of Scotland, Emigration,
Law of Evidence, Criminal Justice, &c.

Following the six volumes of bills, are fifteen volumes of _Reports
from Committees_, which are again succeeded by nine volumes of
_Reports from Commissioners_. These two sections of the literature of
parliament form vast stores of material on an immense number of
subjects, into which he who digs laboriously is sure to be rewarded in
the end. They contain great masses of 'evidence,' extracted by the
examinations of committees and commissioners from the parties believed
to be best qualified to give correct and full information on the
various subjects on which they are examined, and these opinions are
supported by facts and authentic statements and statistics, invaluable
to the investigator. The first volume of last year's Reports from
Committees opens with that on the Edinburgh Annuity Tax, the fifteenth
contains that on Steam Communications with India. There are four
volumes on Customs, two on Ceylon, one on Church-rates, one on the
Caffre Tribes, one on Newspaper Stamps, &c.; while other volumes
contain Reports on the Property Tax, the Militia, the Ordnance Survey,
Public Libraries, Law of Partnership, &c. From commissioners, we have
Reports on Fisheries, Emigration, National Gallery, Public Records,
Board of Health, Factories, Furnaces, Mines and Collieries, Education,
Maynooth College, Prisons, Public Works, &c.

The fourth section of these parliamentary papers for 1851 amounts to
thirty volumes, and consists of _Accounts and Papers_. It is in these
that the statist finds inexhaustible wealth of material, long columns
of figures with large totals, tables of the most complicated yet the
clearest construction, containing a multiplicity of details bearing on
the riches and resources of the empire in its most general and most
minute particulars. Thus the first volume relates to 'Finance,' and
includes the accounts of the Public Income and Expenditure, Public and
National Debt, Income Tax, Public Works, and a vast variety of other
subjects. The second volume is made up of the 'Estimates' for the
Army, Navy, Ordnance, and 'Civil Services,' which includes Public
Works, Public Salaries, Law and Justice, Education, Colonial and
Consular Services, &c. The third volume is filled with Army and Navy
Accounts and Returns. The next six volumes refer to the colonies, and
consist of Accounts, Dispatches, Correspondence. The tenth is occupied
with the subject of Emigration; and the eleventh with the Government
of our Eastern Empire in all its vast machinery and complicated
relations. The remaining volumes--for space would fail us to enumerate
them in detail--treat of such subjects as the Census, Education,
Convict Discipline, Poor, Post-office, Railways, Shipping, Quarantine,
Trade and Navigation Returns, Revenue, Population and Commerce,
Piracy, the Slave Trade, and Treaties and Conventions with Foreign
States. Last of all, as volume sixty of the set, we have the
_Numerical List and General Index_, itself a goodly tome of nearly 200
pages, compiled with immense care, and arranged so perspicuously as to
afford the utmost facilities for reference.

These papers, as we have said, differ greatly in size. Some consist of
but a single page, others swell up to volumes two or three inches
thick, and of perhaps 2000 pages. As to the contents, the majority
display a mixture of letterpress with tabular matter; and while some
are wholly letterpress, others present an alarming and endless array
of figures--filing along, page after page, in irresistible battalions.
In many, valuable maps and plans are incorporated, with occasional
designs for public works, &c.

Besides these returns and papers of permanent value, there are daily
issued during the session programmes of the business of the day,
entitled _Votes and Proceedings_, and containing a list of the
subjects, the motions, petitions, bills, &c., that are to be brought
before the House, according to 'the orders of the day.' These, and all
the other papers issued by parliament, may be obtained regularly
through 'all the booksellers,' by any person desiring to have them.
Their prices are fixed; and in the case of the larger papers, the
price is printed on the back of each. Copies of bills and returns may
be had separately, on payment of these affixed prices; and indeed few
parties require complete sets. Some public libraries take them, as do
most of the London, and one or two provincial newspapers, by which the
gentlemen of the press are enabled to compile the numerous articles
and paragraphs with which all newspaper readers are familiar, and
which usually begin: 'By a return just issued, we learn,' &c.; or:
'From a parliamentary paper recently printed, it appears,' &c. The
public is often considerably indebted to the labours of newspaper men
in regard to these papers, for the exigence of space, and the
necessity of beating everything into a readable shape, require them to
condense the voluminous details of the returns; and their sum and
substance is thus given without any encumbering extraneous matter.

The cost of complete series of the papers varies from session to
session, according to the number issued, ranging usually about L.12 or


Unquestionably, darkness is disagreeable. Whether to manhood
hoary-headed in wisdom, or to childhood yet in soft-brained ignorance,
darkness is an unpleasant fact, to be got over in the best way
possible--to be got over at all events, and at any cost, and to be
turned into luminosity by every expedient that can be used.
Wax-tapers, to throw their soft, luxurious light on my lady's delicate
face, as she lies like a beautiful piece of marble-work on her dreamy
couch; shaded lamps for the grave merchant, the virtual king of the
present, as he sits in his still office, ruling nations by bale and
bond, and guiding the tide of events by invoices and ship's papers;
Palmer's candles, under green pent-houses, for students and authors,
whose eyes must withstand a double strain; the mild house-light, with
a dash of economy in the selection, whether of oil, sperm, long-fours,
or short-sixes, for the family group; the white camphene flame for the
artist: strange mechanisms for the curious; the flaunting brilliancy
of the coloured chandeliers and cut-glass shades for our English
Bedouins in the gin-palace; the flaring jet of the open butchers'
shops; the paper-lantern of the street-stalls; the consumptive dip of
the slop-worker; the glimmering rush-light for the sick-room; the
resin torch for the midnight funeral: these, and countless other
inventions--not to mention the universal gas--assert man's
disinclination to transact his life in the dark, or to bound his
powers by the simple arrangements of nature. There are better lights,
though, than any of these, and a worse than mere physical night, be it
the blackest with which romancer ever stained his innocent paper, when
describing those dark deeds on desolate moors which all romancers
delight in, and which send young ladies pale to bed. The night of the
mind is worse than the night of time; and lamps which can dispel this
are more valuable than any which make up for the loss of the sun only,
though these are grand undertakings too.

Most people know what a Child's night-light is, and most people have
heard of Belmont Wax, and Price's Patent Candles, though few would be
able to explain exactly what the warrant guards. But who ever pretends
to understand patents? The 'Belmont' every one knows; it is a mere
ordinary wax-candle, which perhaps does not 'gutter' so much as
others, and with wick more innocent of 'thieves' than most, but with
nothing more wonderful in appearance than an ordinary candle. A
Child's night-light, too, has nothing mysterious in its look. It
greatly resembles the thick stumpy end of a magnificent mould, done up
in a coloured card-jacket, and with a small thin wick, that gives just
a point of flame, and no more, by which to light another candle, if
necessary--of admirable service for this and all other purposes of a
common-place bedroom. Eccentric sleepers, who write Greek hexameters,
and fasten on poetic thoughts while the rest of the world are in
rational slumber, might object to the feebleness of this point of
light; but eccentricities need provisions of their own, and comets
have orbits to which the laws of the stars do not apply. For all
ordinary people, this thick candle-end is a delicious substitute for
the ghastly rush-light in its chequered cage, which threw strange
figures on wall and curtain, and gave nervous women the megrims. But
nothing more is known of Belmonts or night-lights; their birthplace,
and the manner of their making, are alike hidden from the outer world;
the uninitiated accept the arcana of tallow only in the positive form.
It is generally presumed that candles, in the abstract, come from some
unknown place in 'the City;' but how they are made, or who is employed
in their making, or how the workmen live in the grease-laden steam of
the factory, not one in a thousand would know if he could certainly
none would give himself any trouble to find out. Neither should we
ourselves have known, had not a little pamphlet, bearing the heading,
_Special Report by the Directors to the Proprietors of Price's Patent
Candle Company_, fallen into our hands. Holding the Report open on the
desk before us, we will now give to our readers the net result of the
moral doings of the factory.

In the winter of 1848, half-a-dozen of the boys employed in the candle
manufactory used to hide themselves behind a bench two or three times
a week, when work and tea were over, to practise writing on useless
scraps of paper picked up anyhow, and with worn-out pens begged from
the counting-house. Encouraged by the foreman of their department, who
begged some rough, movable desks for them, and aided by timely but not
oppressive prizes from the Messrs Wilson, and by the presence of Mr J.
P. Wilson, the little self-constituted school progressed considerably,
until it reached the number of thirty; then a large old building was
cleared out, a rickety wooden staircase taken down, an iron one put up
in its stead, and a lofty school-room, capable of holding about 100 or
more, made in the place of two useless lumber-rooms. The making and
furnishing that room amounted to L.172. The school for some time held
to its first principles of self-government. All the instruction,
discipline, and management were supplied by the boys themselves; and
when a number of elder boys joined, a committee, appointed by
themselves, regulated the affairs of the community. However, this did
not last long. The hot young blood and immature young brain needed a
stronger curb than self-appointed committees could supply; and by a
general request, the school has since been worked by authority--this
authority itself guided by a general vote in many matters of choice
immediately concerning the scholars. In the following summer--we are
still in '48--a day-school was held in the room, to which the younger
boys who were wanted in the factory at uncertain times and for
indefinite periods, were sent when not employed--drafted from school
to work, and from work to school, as the necessities of the factory
required. The annual cost of this day-school is L.130; the total cost
from the commencement, L.327.

Amusements must now be provided. The first and most obvious were
tea-parties, the usual rewards to school-children, and often made very
tedious affairs by the enormous quantity of talk inflicted on them.
However, Mr Wilson managed better. To the first, many of the boys came
dirty and untidy; the second shewed a great improvement; the third,
one still greater; until now, most of the factory-boys assemble to
chapel, and other places where they ought to be decent, in plain suits
of black, which give them a neat and even gentlemanlike appearance:
yes, though the word applied to a set of factory-boys, candlemakers,
may make many of our readers smile. But for all that constitutes real
gentlemanlike feeling for order, obedience to authority, courtesy of
manner, the absence of rudeness, quarrelling, and other petty vices of
school-boys--these factory lads, taken from the very heart of a low
population, shine pre-eminently, or rather have shone, since Mr Wilson
has taken their educational training so much to heart. The first
tea-party was held on Easter-Monday, as a counterpoise to the
attractions of Greenwich and Camberwell fairs; and it succeeded in
that object, evidencing that vice is not that necessary ingredient in
the pleasures of the people which some people think.

In 1849, the cholera came, peculiarly severe about Lambeth and
Battersea Fields, where many of the candlemakers lived. Mr Wilson's
first thought was for the young people in the factory. He consulted
with his brother, and they took additional counsel of first-rate
medical men, and then added to the committee a Mr Symes, a gentleman
holding a field that was waiting to be built on. The result of these
consultations was, that Mr Symes giving them temporary possession of
the field, the night-school was closed entirely, and all the boys set
to work to learn cricket--cricket as the best antidote to cholera the
directors of Price's Patent could devise. Wise men these directors,
with some sterling common sense and rare old hearty benevolence mixed
up with their generous Saxon blood! Mr Symes was not the only
stranger--for stranger he was--eager to help the directors. A Mr
Graham came forward, and many others joined in offering; and
altogether, as Mr J. P. Wilson says, 'everybody's heart seemed to warm
up to their object.' The plan was a success. Of the whole crowd of
cricket-players, only one, an interesting lad of seventeen, was lost,
though most of them had kinspeople dying and dead in their own homes.
That cricket-ground was not, however, useful only for physical health;
it presented a beautiful and striking scene, which must have carried
home to every heart deep thoughts and holy purposes to strengthen the
soul as well.

'Always when the game was finished,' says Mr Wilson, 'they (the boys)
collected in a corner of the field, and took off their caps for a very
short prayer for the safety of themselves and their friends from
cholera; and the tone in which they said their amen to this, has
always made me think, that although the school was nominally given up
for the time, they were really getting from their game, so concluded,
more moral benefit than any ordinary schooling could have given them.'
This belief we heartily endorse. That informal prayer, made while the
blood was warm with happiness and high with health, spoken in the open
field, by themselves, direct to Heaven, without other interpreter
between them, must have made a deep impression on the boys. Its very
informality must have added to its solemnity; making it appear, and
indeed making it in reality, so much more the genuine, spontaneous,
heart-spoken expression of each individual, than the mere customary
attendance on a prescribed form can admit. A field of six and a half
acres is now rented, at the annual gross cost of L.80, the middle of
which is kept for the cricket-ground, while the edges are laid down in
gardens, allotted out.

During all the bright summer weather the boys worked eagerly at their
gardens, and played perseveringly at cricket--making a happy and
healthy use of time that otherwise must, if used well, have been spent
in a dull school-room (not the most inviting of recreations, after a
hard day's work at the candle-making), or idled away in the streets,
amongst the unprofitable and unhealthy amusements provided for the
people. Amongst other good results, Mr Wilson notices that of
'softening to the boys one of the greatest evils now existing in the
factory--the night-work, for which the men and boys come in at six in
the evening, to leave at six in the morning.' These workers do not go
to bed, it seems, so soon as they leave work: in former days, they
generally dawdled about, took a walk, or strolled into a gin-palace,
as it might happen, or did anything else to kill the time until their
sleeping-hour arrived. Since the cricket-ground has been established,
however, they rush off to the field on leaving work at six in the
morning, thoroughly enjoy themselves at gardening and cricket until
about a quarter past eight; and then, after collecting in a little
shed, where a verse or two of the New Testament and the Lord's Prayer
are read to them, they go home to sleep, refreshed by the exercise
after their unnatural hours, happy, peaceful, and healthy. These are
the birches and canes of the Messrs Wilson's moral and scholastic

Then came the summer-excursion. The first experiment was in June 1850,
when 100 of them went down to Guildford early in the morning, and
returned late in the evening. It was a beautiful day, bright and
cloudless; and as those London boys wandered about the country lanes
and meadows of Guildford, and heard the ceaseless hum of insect life,
and the uncaged birds singing high in the blue sky, and saw the
wild-flowers in the hedgerows, and the glancing waters in their way,
we may be sure that more than mere enjoyment was stored up in their
minds, and that thoughts which might not be brought out into set
phrases, but which would be undying in their influence through life,
were raised in each heart that drank in the glories and the holy
teaching of nature, perhaps on that day for the first time. It was
something for them to think of in the toil and heat of the factory; a
beautiful picture, to fill their minds while their hands were busy at
their work; and the rippling rivers and singing birds would sing and
flow again and again in many a young head bending carefully over its
task. The excursion of the next year was on a grander scale: 250
started from Vauxhall Bridge, to go down the river to Herne Bay,
which, though it may sound ludicrously Cockneyfied, was quite as much
as the strength, and more than the stomachs of the little candlemakers
could stand; yet very delightful, notwithstanding the qualmishness and
face-playing of the majority. This year, they are all invited by the
Bishop of Winchester to the brave old castle of Farnham--a treat to
which they are looking forward with all the headlong eagerness of
youth, and which, we trust, will have other and even better results
than the pleasures we wish them. A bishop entertaining a set of
factory children will be a welcome sight in these days of clerical
pomp, when the episcopal purple so often hides the pastoral staff. It
will be a rare occurrence, but a good practice begun--to be followed,
we would fain hope, by its like in other districts.

The expense of the day at Guildford was L.28; of that at Herne Bay,
L.48; the estimated expense of the excursion for the present year is
L.55. This seems a heavy item for a single day's amusement, but the
Messrs Wilson have proved the immense advantage which their boys
derive from these excursions: the hope, the stimulus to exertion--as
only those who have worked hard at school, and behaved well generally,
join the cricket-club and the excursionists--the health, the incentive
to good conduct, and the preservation from evil habits; all these
varied good effects have convinced the directors that it is money well
spent--money that will bring in a richer percentage than government
securities or Australian gold-fields could give, for it brings in the
percentage of virtue. Not always in the power of money to gain that!
And right thankful ought we to be, when we have found any investment
whatever which will return us such rich usurious interest for what is
in itself so intrinsically valueless.

So much, then, for the Belmont Factory--for the light of that busy
wax-candle making. Turn we now to the Night-Light Factory, though our
notice of this must be brief; but brevity befits those thick, short

In the autumn of 1849, the night-light trade came into the possession
of Price's Patent Candle Company. Amongst the Child's Lights we have
girls to deal with as well as boys--an element not to be provided for
in the Belmont arrangements, and causing a little difficulty as to
their proper disposition on first starting. But nothing seems to daunt
Mr Wilson. Give him but a square inch for his foothold, and his moral
lever will raise any given mass of ignorance, and remove any possible
amount of obstruction. After a little time, and some expense, one of
the railway arches near the night-factory was taken possession of,
fitted up, made water-tight, and turned into a school-room for the
boys and girls of the adopted concern. The expense of preparing and
furnishing that arch was L.93. Still, the girls remained as a doubtful
and untried version of the Belmont success; but by the energetic aid
of a lady, much experienced in such matters, and by the untiring cares
of a chaplain recently appointed to the factory, and who is in reality
the moral and educational superintendent of the whole, something of
the uncertainty hanging over the result has been removed, and all
matters have greatly improved. Inasmuch as the character of women is
of more delicate texture than that of men, so are the managers of the
Night-Light School more careful to secure an unexceptionable set of
girls in the school, that prudent parents may send their children
there without alarm, and without more danger of contamination than
must always arise where a number of human beings, adults or youths,
are assembled together.

Everything seems prospering. Church-organs in the school-rooms,
chapel-services at various times as the different sets of workmen come
and go, and flourishing schools for the mere child up to the actual
young man, supply all the spiritual, intellectual, and devotional
requirements of the work-people; games, gardening, excursions, and a
general friendliness between masters and people, form their social
happiness; and useful arts taught and about to be taught, help to make
up the wellbeing of the community. Tailoring and shoemaking are to be
learned, not as trades, but as domestic aids, many working-men having
found the advantage, in various ways, of being able to do those little
repairs at home which perishable garments are always requiring; and a
shop full of young coopers employs another section of tradesmen in
rather large numbers. For this last improvement, Mr J. Wilson was
obliged to take up his freedom of the city, that he might apprentice
the lads to himself, as it is a rule among the coopers that no one
follows this trade, which is a close one, without having learned it by
regular apprenticeship. However, a freeman can take apprentices in any
trade, whether close or open, provided he does teach them a _bonâ
fide_ business; and Mr Wilson availed himself of this privilege, and
netted to himself a batch of young coopers, as we have said. So much
can one earnest wish to be of real use to a cause or a generation
enable a single individual to do! We may be sure that when we talk of
our inability to do good, we mean our inattention to means, not our
incapacity from want of them.

The expenses we have quoted were all originally borne by Mr J. P.
Wilson. In three years, he spent L.3289 in payments to teachers, in
fitting up schools, in cricket-grounds, excursions, chaplain's salary,
&c. His own salary is L.1000 per annum. And though the proprietors
have refunded all moneys spent by him on these things, and have taken
on themselves the future expenses of the institutions commenced by
him, yet that does not diminish the worth of his magnificent
intentions, or take from the largeness of his self-sacrifice and
generosity. Add to this simple expenditure--for it was made in good
faith, and in the belief that it was a virtual sacrifice of
income--the labour, want of rest, the constant thought at all times
and under all sorts of pressure--illness and business the most
frequent--and we may form a slight estimate of what this glorious work
of educating his young charge has cost a man whose name we must ever
mention with respect.

In Mr J. Wilson's Report, there are many points unattainable to
moderate incomes and circumscribed resources, but many also that it is
in the power of every man of education, and consequently of influence,
to carry out in his neighbourhood. Amongst them is that simple item of
the cricket-field and garden-ground. It has become so much the fashion
among certain of us, renowned more for zeal than knowledge, to cry
down all amusements for the people, as tending to the subversion and
overthrow of morality, to shut them out from all but the church, the
conventicle, and the gin-shop--that any recognition of this mistake in
a more liberal arrangement, may be hailed as the inauguration of an
era of common sense, and consequently of true morality. Amusements are
absolutely necessary for mankind. The nation never existed on this
earth which could dispense with them. Sects rise up every now and then
which carry their abhorrence of all that is not fanaticism--after
their own pattern--to the extreme, and which lay pleasure under the
same curse with vice; but sects are cometic, and are not to be judged
of after the generalisations of national character. Practically, we
find that rigidness and vice, amusements and morality, go together,
Siamese-like. In the year of the Crystal Palace, the London
magistrates had fewer petty criminals brought before them than at any
other period of the same duration; and what Mr Wilson proves in his
cricket-ground, what London shewed in the time of the World's Fair,
generations and countries would always exhibit in larger characters,
more widely read--that the mind and body of man require
amusement--simple pleasure--purposeless, aimless, unintellectual,
physical pleasure--as much as his digestive organs require food and
his hands work; not as the sole employment, but mixed in with, and
forming the basis and the body of higher things--the strong practical
woof through which the warp of golden stuff is woven into a glorious
fabric--a glorious fabric of national progression. Yes, and into a
wider garment still; one that will cover many an outlying Bedouin
cowering in the darkness round--one that will join together the high
and the low, the good and the bad, and so knead up the baser element
into amalgamation with and absorption into the higher. This is no
ideal theory. It is a possibility, a practical fact, proved in this
place and in that--wherever men have taken the trouble to act on
rational bases and on a true acceptation of the needs of human nature.
For as the quality of light is to spread, and as the higher things
will always absorb the lower, so will schools and kindly sympathy
diffuse knowledge and virtue among the ignorant and brutalised; and
Love to Humanity will once more read its mission in the salvation of a


The out-of-doors life enjoyed by the inhabitants of the continent,
strikes a person, unacquainted with their habits and manners, more
perhaps than anything which meets his eye in that part of the world.
Rational, agreeable, and healthy as it is, it requires a long time
before a thorough Englishman can accustom himself to it, or feel at
all comfortable in eating his meals in the open air, surrounded by two
or three hundred persons employed in the same manner, or crossing and
recrossing, and circling round his table. He is apt to fancy himself
the sole object of curiosity; while, in reality, the eyes which seem
to mark him out, have in them perhaps as little speculation as if they
were turned on vacancy. We have been amused, and sometimes ashamed, in
witnessing the painful awkwardness of many of those numerous
steam-boat voyagers who, subscribing in London for their passage to
and from the Rhine in a given time, and for a trifling sum, find
themselves in a few hours transported from the bustle of Oxford
Street, Ludgate Hill, or the Strand, to the happy, idle, _fat_,
laughing, easy enjoyment of a German _Thee-Garten_, in the midst of
four or five hundred men, women, and children--all eating, drinking,
and smoking as if time, cares, and business had no influence over
them. It is a life so new to him, and so diametrically opposed to all
his habits and notions, that, in general, it affords him anything but
ease and enjoyment. To those, however, who know how to enjoy it, it
affords both. There is in these popular reunions an ease and
confidence, a _bonhomie_ and freedom, of which a Briton, with all his
boasted liberty, has no idea. What is strangest of all to him, no
distinction of rank, wealth, or profession is acknowledged. There are
no reserved places. The rich and the poor, the prince and the artisan,
sit down at the same kind of modest little green-painted tables, with
rush-bottomed chairs, all kind, affable, and jovial--all respecting
each other. The child of the citizen comes up without restraint, and
plays with the sword-knot of the commander-in-chief; and the little
princess will naïvely offer her bunch of grapes to the peasant who
sits at the next table with his pipe and his tall glass of Bavarian
beer. And yet the truest decorum is observed. There is no noise, no
rioting, no intoxication; we have never witnessed a single example of
any of these inconveniences. The education and habits of all the
inhabitants of this part of the world, have been from infancy so
regulated, and during many generations so completely formed to this
sort of life, that not the smallest ungracious familiarity ever
troubles these kindly popular reunions.

But let us come to a definite description. We will take the
Blum-Garten at Prague, for example--a city where the aristocracy are
as exclusive, as it is called, as anywhere in the world. This garden,
or rather park, is an imperial domain, having formed part of the
hunting-park of the emperors of Germany in the beginning of the
fourteenth century. It was planted by the great and good Charles IV.,
king of Bohemia, and emperor of Germany, son of that blind king who
was killed at the battle of Cressy by Edward the Black Prince. This
park is situated without the fortifications of the Hradschin, at about
half an hour's walk from them, in a valley formed by the river Moldau,
and stretches away to the plateau which forms the eastern boundary of
the valley. On the edge of this plateau, surrounded by gardens and
plantations, is situated the Lust-Haus, or summer residence, in which
the governor of Bohemia, or the members of the imperial family in
Prague, pass some days at intervals during the summer months. The
principal descent to the park is by a broad drive, which zig-zags till
it gains the proper level. There are also several pleasant paths which
descend in labyrinths under a profusion of lilacs and other flowering
shrubs, overhung by birches and all kinds of forest-trees.

At the foot of the drive is the house of general entertainment,
consisting of several apartments, together with a spacious
ball-room--an indispensable requisite, as on the continent all the
world dances. From this house stretches a long wide gravel space,
completely shaded from the noonday heat by four or five vast lime-tree
alleys, beneath which are placed some fifty or a hundred tables. A
military band is always to be found on fête-days, and very good music
of some kind is never wanting. Here the whole population of Prague
circle with perfect freedom, and with no attempt at class separations.
The first comer is first served, taking any vacant place most suited
to his fancy, or to the convenience of his party. At one table may be
seen the Countess Grünne, her governess, and children, taking their
coffee with as much ease and simplicity as if she were in her own
private garden; at another, a group of peasants, with their smiling
faces and picturesque costumes; at a third table, a soldier and his
old mother and sister, whom he is treating on his arrival in his
native town. Then come the Archduke Stephen, with his imperial
retinue, and one or two general-officers with their staffs; and at a
little distance, with a merry party of laughing guests, the Prince and
Princess Coloredo. In short, all the tables are by and by occupied by
guests continually succeeding each other, of all classes and of all
professions, from the imperial family, down to the most humble
artisan; all gay, amiable, condescending on the one side; happy,
respectful, and free from restraint on the other. Thus the season
passes in that delicious climate, which is rendered a thousand times
more delicious by the harmony and good-feeling reigning throughout all
these mingled classes of society. In the evening, the same joyous
reunions again take place, with this exception, that after dinner
(which meal takes place generally from three to four, _very rarely_ so
late as six, and that only within the last three or four years) the
aristocracy drive round the broad shady alleys of the park till
sunset, while the lawns and paths are crowded with innumerable groups
of pedestrians, before or after taking their evening repast under the

But what makes summer life so agreeable in these countries, is the
simplicity and cheapness with which every variety of necessary
refreshment and restoration is afforded, and the multiplicity of
places where such are to be found. Walk in whatever direction you may,
in the environs of any town--wherever there is shade, wherever there
is a grove, or a clump of acacias, limes, or chestnuts, the favourite
trees for such purposes, and consequently much cultivated--there you
are sure to find rest and refreshment suited to the wants and purses
of all classes--from the most simple brown bread, milk, and beer, to
the most delicate sweetmeats and wines. In the article of wine,
however, Bohemia is not so favoured; but this is a circumstance more
felt by the stranger than by the natives, who like the wines of their
own country, as they do the beer better than our ale and porter.
Still, there are some passably good wines, such as Melnik, Czerniska,
and one or two others, and all at a moderate price, varying from 8d.
to 1s. a bottle. But in Hungary we have good wines and extraordinarily
cheap, which adds much to these rural out-of-doors reunions. It is
true, that some of the most fashionable restaurateurs, both in the
town and country, have been much spoiled by the extravagance of the
higher classes, who are here the most reckless; carrying this vice in
Europe to an excess which has ruined, or greatly embarrassed, almost
all the nobility of the kingdom. Notwithstanding this passion,
however, for everything that is foreign, few countries can be at all
compared with Hungary as to its wines, many of which are scarcely
known to any but to the peasants who grow them, and the local
consumers of the same class. These wines, with which every peasant's
house, especially on the skirts of the mountain-districts, and every
little bothy-like public-house, are abundantly furnished, are both red
and white, and at a price within the reach of the poorest peasant.
Even in and about the great towns--such as Presburg, near the frontier
of Austria--where every article of food is double and treble the price
of the interior--the wines cost no more than from 2d. to 3d. a quart.
Most of the peasants grow their own, and make from 50 to 200, and even
1500 eimers or casks, containing 63 bottles each; and this is not like
many of the poor, thin, acid wines, known in so many parts of Germany,
the north of France, and other countries; but strong, generous
beverage, with a delicious flavour, perfectly devoid of acidity, and
at the same time particularly wholesome. Many of the white wines we
prefer to the generality of those from the Rhine, Moselle, &c.; the
red has a kind of Burgundy flavour, with a sparkling dash of
champagne, and is nearly as strong as port, without its heating

For the sake of these agreeable and cheap enjoyments, the whole of the
population of the towns pass a great part of the summer in the woods,
orchards, and gardens in the neighbourhood, where every want of the
table is supplied without the trouble of marketing, cooking, or
firing; and, consequently, in the cool of a summer morning, the
inhabitants of Presburg, for instance, may be seen strolling in
different directions--either ascending the vine-covered hills to the
fresh tops, or wending their way through the deep, shady woods, along
the side of the Danube, to the Harbern or the Alt Mülau. There, after
having sharpened their appetites with this charming walk, they find
themselves seated at a neat little table, beneath the shade of an old
chestnut or elm. The cloth is laid by the vigilant host as soon as the
guest is seated, and often before, as the former knows his hour; for
nothing in machinery can equal the regularity with which meal-hours
are ordered, especially in Germany, where the habitual greeting on the
road is: 'Ich wünsche guten appetit'--(I wish you a good appetite.)
Coffee, wine, eggs, butter, sausages, Hungarian and Italian, the
original dimensions of which are often two feet long, and four to five
inches thick: these are to be found at the most humble houses of
resort, among which are those frequented by the foresters and
gamekeepers, not professed houses of entertainment, yet always
provided with such materials for those who love the merry greenwood,
and who extend their walks within their cool and solitary depths. And
now we must speak of the expenses of these rural repasts. A party of
five persons can breakfast in the above manner--that is to say, on
coffee, eggs; sausages, rolls, butter, and a quart bottle of wine--for
something less than 4-1/4d. a head. Those who breakfast more simply,
take coffee and rolls--and the natives rarely, if ever, eat butter in
the morning, though a profusion of this, as well as of oil and lard,
enters into the preparation for dinner--and such guests pay only from
3d. to 3-1/2d. But if wine, which is the most common native
production, is taken instead of coffee, it is always cheaper. Among
the middle and lower classes, the favourite refreshment is wine,
household bread, and walnuts; and thus you will constantly find
labourers, foresters, or wood-cutters, joyfully breakfasting together,
with their large slices of brown bread and a bottle of wine, for 2d. a
head. Many, again, of the lower classes of labourers bring their own
home-baked bread in their pockets, and get their large tumbler of good
wine to moisten it for a half-penny.

The evening, however, is the great time for recreation and redoubled
enjoyment, as the labours and occupations of the day have then ceased;
and all without exception, rich and poor, flock from the town to the
sweet, cool, flowery repose of the woods and vineyards, and there take
their evening repast in the midst of the wild luxuriance of nature,
'health in the gale, and fragrance on the breeze.' And when the sun is
gone down, they return in the cool twilight to their homes, where they
find that sweet sleep which movement in the open air alone can give,
and which, with our more confined British habits, few but the peasant
ever enjoy.

A word more on Presburg, and we have done. In winter, this place, so
little known to travellers, is frequented by the best society in
Hungary; and it becomes a little metropolis, to which many of the
nobility resort from the distance of 300 to 500 miles--from Tokay, and
beyond the Theiss and Transylvania. In summer, perhaps, it offers
still more enjoyment; for although the winter society is then
scattered far and near, the town is always animated by the presence of
those who are continually coming and going between Pesth and all parts
of the south of Hungary and Vienna, conveyed either by the railway or
by the numerous steam-boats which daily ply on the Danube. The
neighbourhood, as We have already mentioned, is full of simple and
healthy enjoyments, from the number of its delicious drives and walks,
and places of rural entertainment, the quaint names of some of which
cannot fail to amuse and attract the stranger. At about half an hour's
drive from the town is the Chokolaten-Garten, much frequented for its
excellent chocolate, which is manufactured on the spot. A little
further on, and situated in the centre of one of the most beautiful
little valleys of the Kleine Karpathen, is the Eisen-Brundel, a large
house of entertainment, with a spacious dancing-room; and, without, a
luxuriant grove of fine old trees, forming an impenetrable shelter,
beneath which are arranged a number of tables and chairs. Here every
species of entertainment is to be found, from the most simple brown
bread, milk, and fruits, to the most sumptuous champagne dinners; and
the prince and the peasant take their places without ceremony, as in
the olden time of Robin Hood and Little John--'all merry under the
greenwood tree.'

Numerous other and still more simple places of refreshment and
enjoyment present themselves at every turn of those delicious
mountain-paths, which lead through the little valleys and hollows of
the vineyards overlooking the town. One of the most agreeable is on
the summit of the hill, near the little chapel of St Mary, called
Marien Kirche, under the Kalvarienberg, and from which the eye looks
over the whole town and the plain which stretches towards Pesth, and
through which the Danube winds like a vast silver serpent, till it is
lost in the far woods and dim distance. Lower down, and still nearer
the town, in a little valley, is 'The Entrance to the New World!' The
house is deliciously situated half-way up a wooded hill crowned with
pines, and clothed with rich orchards and vineyards; not far off, in
another little valley, are the Patzen-Häuser, with their orchards and
gardens; and higher up we come to 'The Entrance to Paradise!' whence,
as might be expected, there is a most superb view. This embraces the
whole plain so far as the eye can reach towards the east and south; on
the north it is bounded by the towering mountains of the Great
Carpathians, the haunt of bears and wolves, wild boars and stags; and
to the west, between the valleys which are formed by the hills of this
smaller range of the same mountains, is seen the plain of Vienna, in
the midst of which can be distinguished in a clear day the tall spire
of St Stephen, rising as if from the bosom of the imperial park which
conceals the capital. Beyond this towers the Neu-klosterberg, with its
vast monastery; and further to the left, like white broken clouds in
the blue horizon, are the snow-clad mountains of Steyer-mark (Styria.)


I had been at Westminster, and was slowly returning to my 'parlour
near the sky,' in Plowden Buildings, in no very enviable frame of
mind. Another added to the long catalogue of unemployed days and
sleepless nights. It was now four years since my call to the bar, and
notwithstanding a constant attendance in the courts, I had hitherto
failed in gaining business. God knows, it was not my fault! During my
pupilage, I had read hard, and devoted every energy to the mastery of
a difficult profession, and ever since that period I had pursued a
rigid course of study. And this was the result, that at the age of
thirty I was still wholly dependent for my livelihood on the somewhat
slender means of a widowed mother. Ah! reader, if as you ramble
through the pleasant Temple Gardens, on some fine summer evening,
enjoying the cool river breeze, and looking up at those half-monastic
retreats, in which life would seem to glide along so calmly, if you
could prevail upon some good-natured Asmodeus to shew you the secrets
of the place, how your mind would shudder at the long silent suffering
endured within its precincts. What blighted hopes and crushed
aspirations, what absolute privation and heart-rending sorrow, what
genius killed and health utterly broken down! Could the private
history of the Temple be written, it would prove one of the most
interesting, but, at the same time, one of the most mournful books
ever given to the public.

I was returning, as I said, from Westminster, and wearily enough I
paced along the busy streets, exhausted by the stifling heat of the
Vice-Chancellor's court, in which I had been patiently sitting since
ten o'clock, vainly waiting for that 'occasion sudden' of which our
old law-writers are so full. Moodily, too, I was revolving in my mind
our narrow circumstances, and the poor hopes I had of mending them; so
that it was with no hearty relish I turned into the Cock Tavern, in
order to partake of my usual frugal dinner. Having listlessly
despatched it, I sauntered into the garden, glad to escape from the
noise and confusion of the mighty town; and throwing myself on a seat
in one of the summer-houses, watched, almost mechanically, the rapid
river-boats puffing up and down the Thames, with their gay crowds of
holiday-makers covering the decks, the merry children romping over the
trim grass-plot, making the old place echo again with their joyous
ringing laughter. I must have been in a very desponding humour that
evening, for I continued sitting there unaffected by the mirth of the
glad little creatures around me, and I scarcely remember another
instance of my being proof against the infectious high spirits of
children. Time wore on, and the promenaders, one after the other, left
the garden, the steam-boats became less frequent, and gradually lights
began to twinkle from the bridges and the opposite shore. Still I
never once thought of removing from my seat, until I was requested to
do so by the person in charge of the grounds, who was now going round
to lock the gates for the night. Staring at the man for a moment half
unconsciously, as if suddenly awaked out of a dream, I muttered a few
words about having forgotten the lateness of the hour, and departed.
To shake off the depression under which I was labouring, I turned into
the brilliantly-lighted streets, thinking that the excitement would
distract my thoughts from their gloomy objects; and after walking for
some little time, I entered a coffee-house, at that period much
frequented by young lawyers. Here I ordered a cup of tea, and took up
a newspaper to read; but after vainly endeavouring to interest myself
in its pages, and feeling painfully affected by the noisy hilarity of
some gay young students in a neighbouring box, I drank off my sober
beverage, and walked home to my solitary chambers. Oh, how dreary they
appeared that night!--how desolate seemed the uncomfortable, dirty,
cold staircase, and that remarkable want of all sorts of conveniences,
for which the Temple has acquired so great a notoriety! In fine, I was
fairly hipped; and being convinced of the fact, smoked a pipe or
two--thought over old days and their vanished joys--and retired to
rest. I soon fell into a profound sleep, from which I arose in the
morning much refreshed; and sallying forth after breakfast with
greater alacrity than usual, took my seat in court, and was beginning
to grow interested in a somewhat intricate case which involved some
curious legal principles, when my attention was directed to an old
man, whom I had frequently seen there before, beckoning to me. I
immediately followed him out of court, when he turned round and said:
'I beg your pardon, Mr ----, for interrupting you, but I fancy you are
not very profitably engaged just now?'

I smiled, and told him he had stated a melancholy truth.

'I thought so,' answered he with a twinkle of his bright gray eye.
'Now'--and he subdued his voice to a whisper--'I can put a little
business into your hands. No thanks, sir,' said he, hastily checking
my expressions of gratitude--'no thanks; you owe me no thanks; and as
I am a man of few words, I will at once state my meaning. For many
years, I have been in the habit of employing Mr ----' (naming an
eminent practitioner); 'and feeling no great love for the profession,
intrusted all my business to him, and cared not to extend my
acquaintance with the members of the bar. Well, sir, I have an
important case coming on next week, and as bad luck will have it,
T----'s clerk has just brought me back the brief, with the
intelligence that his master is suddenly taken dangerously ill, and
cannot possibly attend to any business. Here I was completely flung,
not knowing whom to employ in this affair. I at length remembered
having noticed a studious-looking young man, who generally sat taking
notes of the various trials. I came to court in order to see whether
this youth was still at his ungrateful task, when my eyes fell upon
you. Yes, young man, I had intended once before rewarding you for your
patient industry, and now I have an opportunity of fulfilling those
intentions. Do you accept the proposal?'

'With the greatest pleasure!' cried I, pressing his proffered hand
with much emotion, quite unable to conceal my joy.

'It is as I thought,' muttered he to himself, turning to depart. Then
suddenly looking up, he requested my address, and wished me

How I watched the receding form of the stranger! how I scanned over
his odd little figure! and how I loved him for his great goodness! I
could remain no longer in court. The interesting property case had
lost all its attractions; so I slipped off my wig and gown, and
hastened home to set my house in order for the expected visit. After
completing all the necessary arrangements, I took down a law-book and
commenced reading, in order to beguile away the time. Two, three
o'clock arrived, and still no tidings of my client; I began almost to
despair of his coming, when some one knocked at the outer-door; and on
opening it, I found the old man's clerk with a huge packet of papers
in his hand, which he gave me, saying his master would call the
following morning. I clutched the papers eagerly, and turned them
admiringly over and over. I read my name on the back, Mr ----, six
guineas. My eyes, I feel sure, must have sparkled at the golden
vision. Six guineas! I could scarcely credit my good-fortune. After
the first excitement had slightly calmed down, I drew a chair to the
table, and looked at the labour before me. I found that it was a much
entangled Chancery suit, and would require all the legal ability I
could muster to conquer its details. I therefore set myself vigorously
to work, and continued at my task until the first gray streak of dawn
warned me to desist. Next day, I had an interview with the old
solicitor, and rather pleased him by my industry in the matter. Well,
the week slipped by, and everything was in readiness for the
approaching trial. All had been satisfactorily arranged between myself
and leader, a man of considerable acumen, and the eventful morning at
length arrived. I had passed a restless night, and felt rather
feverish, but was determined to exert myself to the utmost, as, in all
probability, my future success hung on the way I should acquit myself
that day of my duty. The approaching trial was an important one, and
had already drawn some attention. I therefore found the court rather
crowded, particularly by an unusual number of 'the unemployed bar,'
who generally throng to hear a maiden-speech. Two or three ordinary
cases stood on the cause-list before mine, and I was anxiously waiting
their termination, when my client whispered in my ear: 'Mr S---- (the
Queen's counsel in the case) has this instant sent down to say, he
finds it will be impossible for him to attend to-day, as he is
peremptorily engaged before the House of Lords. The common dodge of
these gentry,' continued he in a disrespectful tone. 'They never find
that it will be impossible to attend so long as the _honorarium_ is
unpaid; afterwards---- Bah! Mere robbery, sir--taking the money, and
shirking the work. However, as we cannot help ourselves, you must do
the best you can alone; for I fear the judge will not postpone the
trial any longer. Come, and have a dram of brandy, and keep your
nerves steady, and all will go well.' I need not say it required all
his persuasion to enable me to pluck up sufficient courage to fight
the battle, deserted as I now found myself by my leader; still, I
resolved to make the attempt. Presently the awful moment arrived, and
I rose in a state of intense trepidation. The judge seeing a stranger
about to conduct the case, put his glass up to his eye, in order the
better to make himself acquainted with my features, and at the same
time demanded my name. I shall never forget the agitation of that
moment. I literally shook as I heard the sound of my own voice
answering his question. I felt that a hundred eyes were upon me, ready
to ridicule any blunder I might commit, and even now half enjoying my
nervousness. For a minute, I was so dizzy and confused, that I found
it utterly impossible to proceed; but, warned by the deep-toned voice
of the magistrate that the court was waiting for me, I made a
desperate effort at self-control, and commenced. A dead quiet
prevailed as I opened the case, and for a few minutes I went on
scarcely knowing what I was about, when I was suddenly interrupted by
the vice-chancellor asking me a question. This timely little incident
in some measure tended to restore my self-possession, and I found I
got on afterwards much more comfortably; and, gradually warming with
the subject, which I thoroughly understood, finally lost all
trepidation, and brought my speech to a successful close. It occupied
at least two hours; and when I sat down, the judge smiled, and paid a
compliment to the ability with which he was pleased to say I had
conducted the process, whilst at least a dozen hands were held out to
congratulate on his success the poor lawyer whom they had passed by in
silent contempt a hundred times before. So runs life. Had I failed
through nervousness, or any other accident, derisive laughter would
have greeted my misfortune. As it was, I began to have troops of
friends. To be brief, I won the day, and from that lucky circumstance
rose rapidly into practice.

Years rolled on, and I gradually became a marked man in the
profession, gaining in due time that summit of a junior's ambition--a
silk gown. I now began to live in a style of considerable comfort, and
was what the world calls a very rising lawyer, when I one day happened
to be retained as counsel in a political case then creating much
excitement. I chanced to be on the popular side; and, from the
exertions I made, found myself suddenly brought into contact with the
leading men of the party in the town where the dispute arose. They
were so well satisfied with my endeavours to gain the cause, as to
offer to propose me as a candidate for the representation of their
borough at the next vacancy. This proposition, after some
consideration, I accepted; and accordingly, when the general election
took place, found myself journeying down to D----, canvassing the
voters, flattering some, consoling others, using the orthodox
electioneering tricks of platform-speaking, treating, &c. Politics ran
very high just then, and the two parties were nearly balanced, so that
every nerve was strained on each side to win the victory. All business
was suspended. Bands of music paraded the streets, party flags waved
from the house windows, whilst gay rosettes fastened to the
button-hole attested their wearer's opinions. All was noise, and
excitement, and confusion. At length the important hour drew near for
closing the polling-booths. Early in the morning, we were still in a
slight minority, and almost began to despair of the day. All now
depended on a few voters living at some distance, whose views could
not be clearly ascertained. Agents from either side had been
despatched during the night to beat up these stragglers, and on their
decision rested the final issue. Hour after hour anxiously passed
without any intelligence. My opponents rubbed their hands, and looked
pleasant, when, about half an hour before the close of the poll, a
dusty coach drove rapidly into the town, and eight men, more or less
inebriated, rolled out to record their votes. The following morning,
amidst the stillness of deep suspense, the mayor read the result of
the election, which gave me a majority of three. Such a shout of joy
arose from the liberals as quite to drown the hisses of the contending
faction; and at length I rose, flushed with excitement, to return
thanks. This proved the signal for another burst of applause; and amid
the shouting and groaning, screaming and waving of hats, I lost all
presence of mind, and fell overcome into the arms of my nearest

       *       *       *       *       *

'Dear me, sir, you've been wandering strangely in your sleep. Here
have I been a-knocking at the door this half-hour. The shaving-water
is getting cold, and Mr Thomas is waiting yonder in the other room, to
give you some papers he's got this morning.'

I rose, rubbed my eyes, wondered what it all meant. Ah, yes; there was
no mistaking the room and Mrs M'Donnell's good-natured Scotch voice.
It was all a dream, and my imagination had magnified the thumping at
the door into the 'sweet music of popular applause.' I fell back in
bed, hid my face in the pillow, sighed over my short-lived glory, and
felt very wretched when my young clerk came smiling into the room.
'Here's some business at last, sir!' cried the boy with pleasure.

To his astonishment, I looked carelessly at the papers, and found they
consisted of 'a motion of course,' which some tender-hearted attorney
had kindly sent me. Heigh-ho! it was all to be done over again! I
flung the document on the ground in utter despair; but gradually
recovering my temper, I at length took heart, and fell earnestly to
work. At all events, this was a _real_ beginning; so I began to grow
reconciled to the ruin of my stately castle of cards. It was a cruel
blow, though; and now, reader, you have learned how I came by MY FIRST


That the phenomena now so commonly exhibited under the above title,
demand a careful examination, and, if possible, a distinct
explanation, will be readily admitted. It is clear that they ought not
to be allowed to rest as materials for popular amusement, but should
be submitted to strict scientific inquiry. The theory which so boldly
ascribes them to electric influence, should be strictly examined. If
this theory is found to be untenable, some important questions will
remain to be considered; such as: May not the phenomena be explained
on physiological principles? and, Is it not probable that the means
employed may have an injurious tendency?

The extent to which public attention has been excited by the
phenomena, may be guessed by a glance at the advertising columns of
the _Times_, and by placards meeting the eye in various parts of the
country, announcing that, 'at the Mechanics' Institute,' or elsewhere,
experiments will be performed in 'electro-biology,' when 'persons in a
perfectly wakeful state' will be 'deprived of the powers of sight,
hearing, and taste,' and subjected to various illusions. One
advertiser professes to give 'the philosophy of the science;' another
undertakes to 'reveal the secret,' so as to enable _any_ person to
make the experiments; and another undertakes the cure of 'palsy,
deafness, and rheumatism.' Lectures on the topic, in London and in the
provincial towns, are now exciting great astonishment in the minds of
many, and give rise to considerable controversy respecting the theory
and the _modus operandi_.

It is on this latter point--the means by which the effects are
produced--that we would chiefly direct our inquiry, for we shall very
briefly dismiss the attempt to explain them by a vague charge of
collusion or imposture.

If this charge could be reasonably maintained, it would, of course,
make all further remarks unnecessary, as our topic would then no
longer be one for scientific investigation, but could only be added to
the catalogue of fraud. It is possible that there may have been _some_
cases of feigning among the experiments, but these do not affect the
general reality of the effects produced. So epilepsy and catalepsy
have been feigned; but these diseases are still found real in too many
instances. We need not dwell on this point; for it may be safely
assumed, that all persons who have had a fair acquaintance with the
experiments of electro-biology (so-called), are fully convinced that,
in a great number of cases, the effects seen are real and sincere, not
simulated. The question then remains: Are these effects fairly
attributed to 'electric' influence, or may they not be truly explained
by some other cause?

Before we proceed to consider this question, it will be well to give
some examples of the phenomena to which our remarks apply. We shall
state only such cases as we have seen and carefully examined.

A. is a young man well known by a great number of the
spectators--unsuspected of falsehood--knows nothing of the
experimenter or of electro-biology, not even the meaning of the words.
After submitting to the process employed by the lecturer--sitting
still, and gazing fixedly upon a small disk of metal for about a
quarter of an hour--he is selected as a suitable subject. When told by
the experimenter that he cannot open his eyes, he seems to make an
effort, but does not open them until he is assured that he can do so.
He places his hand upon a table--is told that he cannot take the hand
off the table--seems to make a strong effort to remove it, but fails,
until it is liberated by a word from the lecturer. A walking-stick is
now placed in his right hand, and he is challenged to strike the
extended hand of the lecturer. He throws back the stick over his
shoulder, and seems to have a very good will to strike, but cannot
bring the stick down upon the hand. He afterwards declares to all who
question him, that he 'tried with all his might' to strike the hand.
A. has certainly no theatrical talents; but his looks and gestures,
when he is made to believe that he is exposed to a terrific storm,
convey a very natural expression of terror. He regards the imaginary
flashes of lightning with an aspect of dismay, which, if simulated,
would be a very good specimen of acting. In many other experiments
performed upon him, the effects seem to be such as are quite beyond
the reach of any scepticism with regard to his sincerity. He cannot
pronounce his own name--does not know, or at least cannot _tell_, the
name of the town in which he lives--cannot recognise one face in the
room where scores of people, who know him very well, are now laughing
at him. On the other side, we must state, that when a glass of water
is given to him, and he is told that it is vinegar, he persists in
saying that he tastes water, and nothing else. This is almost the only
experiment that fails upon him.

B. is an intelligent man, upwards of thirty years of age, of nervous
temperament. His honesty and veracity are quite beyond all rational
doubt. The numerous spectators, who have known him well for many
years, are quite sure that if he has any will in the matter, it is
simply to defeat the lecturer's purpose. However, after he has
submitted himself to the process, the experiments made upon him prove
successful. He is naturally a fluent talker, but now cannot, without
difficulty and stammering, pronounce his own name, an easy
monosyllable--cannot strike the lecturer's hand--cannot rise from a
chair, &c. We may add, that he cannot be made to mistake water for

One more case. C. is a tradesman, middle-aged, has no tendency to
mysticism or imaginative reverie--knows nothing of 'mesmerism' or
'electro-biology'--was never suspected of falsehood or imposition. He
proves, however, the most pliable of all the patients--the experiments
succeed with him to the fullest extent--his imagination and his senses
seem to be placed entirely under the control of the experimenter.
Standing before a large audience, he is made to believe that he and
the lecturer are alone in the room. He cannot recognise his own wife,
who sits before him. He cannot step from the platform, which is about
one foot higher than the floor. When informed that his limbs are too
feeble to support him, he totters, and would fall if not held. Many of
the experiments upon him, shewing an extreme state of mental and
physical prostration, are rather painful to witness, others are
ludicrous; for instance, he is made to believe that he is out amid the
snow in the depth of winter--he shivers with cold, buttons up his
coat, beats the floor with his feet, brushes away the imagined
fast-falling flakes from his clothes, and almost imparts to the
spectators a sympathetic feeling of cold by his wintry pantomime: then
he is jocosely recommended not to stand thus shivering, but to make
snow-balls, and pelt the lecturer. Heartily, and with apparent
earnestness, he acts according to orders. Next, he is made to believe
that the room has no roof.--'You see the sky and the stars,
sir?'--'Yes.' 'And there, see, the moon is rising, very large and red,
is it not?'--'Yes, sir.' 'Very well: now you see this cord in my hand;
we will throw it over the moon, and pull her down.' He addresses
himself to the task with perfect gravity, pulls heartily. 'Down she
comes, sir! down she comes!' says the experimenter: 'mind your head,
sir!'--and the deluded patient falls on the platform, as he imagines
that the moon is coming down upon him.

These instances will be sufficient for our purpose. We have given them
as fair average examples of many others. If any reader still supposes
that these effects have all been mere acting and falsehood, we must
leave that reader to see and examine for himself as we have done.[4]
For other readers who admit _the facts_ and want an explanation, we
proceed to discuss the _modus operandi_.

In the first place, then, we assert that _there is no proof whatever_
that these effects depend upon any electric influence: there is
absolutely no evidence that the metallic disk, as an '_electric_'
agent, has any connection with the results. On this point, we invite
the lecturers and experimenters who maintain that electricity is the
agent in their process, to test the truth of our assertion, as they
may very easily. _Coeteris paribus_--all the other usual conditions
being observed, such as silence, the fixed gaze, monotony of
attention--let the galvanic disk be put aside, and in its place let a
sixpence or a fourpenny-piece be employed, or indeed any similar small
object on which the eyes of the patient must remain fixed for the
usual space of time, and we will promise that the experiments thus
made shall be equally successful with those in which the so-called
galvanic disk is employed. The phenomena are physiological and not

Our conviction is, that the results proceed entirely from _imagination
acting with a peculiar condition of the brain_, and that this
peculiarly passive and impressible condition of the brain is induced
by the _fixed gaze_ upon the disk. These are the only agencies which
we believe to be necessary, in order to give us an explanation of the
phenomena in question. In saying so, however, we are aware that such
data will seem to some inquirers insufficient to account for the
effects we have described. It may be said: 'We know that imagination
sometimes produces singular results, but can hardly see how it
explains the facts stated.' We have only to request that such
inquirers, before they throw aside our explanation, will give
attention to a few remarks on the power of imagination in certain
conditions. We propose, _1st_, To give some suggestions on this point;
_2d_, To notice the relations of imagination with reason; and, _3d_,
To inquire how far the physical means employed--the fixed gaze on the
disk--may be sufficient to affect the mental organ, the brain, so as
to alter its normal condition.

1. Our usual mode of speaking of imagination, is to treat it as the
opposite of all reality. When we say, 'that was merely an
imagination,' we dismiss the topic as not worthy of another thought.
For all ordinary purposes, this mode of speaking is correct enough;
but let us ask, Why is imagination so weak?--why are its suggestions
so evanescent? Simply because it is under the control of reason. But
if the action of reason could be suspended, we should then see how
great, and even formidable, is the imaginative power. It is the most
untiring of all our mental faculties, refusing to be put to rest even
during sleep: it can alter the influence of all external agents--for
example, can either assist or prevent the effects of medicine--can
make the world a prison-house to one man, and a paradise to
another--can turn dwarfs into giants, and make various other
metamorphoses more wonderful than any described by Ovid; nay, these
are all insufficient examples of its power when left without control;
for it can produce either health, or disease, or death!

To give a familiar instance of the control under which it is generally
compelled to act: You are walking home in the night-time, and some
withered and broken old tree assumes, for a moment, the appearance of
a giant about to make an attack upon you with an enormous club. You
walk forward to confront the monster with perfect coolness. Why? Not
because you are a Mr Greatheart, accustomed to deal with giants, but
because, in fact, the illusion does not keep possession of your mind
even for a moment. Imagination merely suggests the false image; but
memory and reason, with a rapidity of action which cannot be
described, instantly correct the mistake, and tell you it is only the
old elm-tree; so that here, and in a thousand similar instances, there
is really no sufficient time allowed for any display of the power of

A tale is told--we cannot say on what authority--which, whether it be
a fact or a fiction, is natural, and may serve very well to shew what
would be the effect of imagination if reason did not interfere. It is
said that the companions of a young man, who was very 'wild,' had
foolishly resolved to try to frighten him into better conduct. For
this purpose, one of the party was arrayed in a white sheet, with a
lighted lantern carried under it, and was to visit the young man a
little after midnight, and address to him a solemn warning. The
business, however, was rather dangerous, as the subject of this
experiment generally slept with loaded pistols near him. Previously to
the time fixed for the apparition, the bullets were abstracted from
these weapons, leaving them charged only with gunpowder. When the
spectre stalked into the chamber, the youth instantly suspected a
trick, and, presenting one of the pistols, said: 'Take care of
yourself: if you do not walk off, I shall fire!' Still stood the
goblin, staring fixedly on the angry man. He fired; and when he saw
the object still standing--when he believed that the bullet had
innocuously passed through it--in other words, as soon as reason
failed to explain it and imagination prevailed--he fell back upon his
pillow in extreme terror.

2. The point upon which we would insist is that, in the normal
condition of the mind and the body, the power of imagination is so
governed, that a display of the effects it produces while under the
control of reason, can give us but a feeble notion of what its power
might be in other circumstances. To make this plain, we add a few
suggestions respecting the nature and extent of the control exercised
by reason over imagination; and we shall next proceed to shew, that
_the activity of reason is dependent upon certain physical

We shall say nothing of a metaphysical nature respecting reason, but
shall simply point to two important facts connected with its exercise.
The _first_--that it suspends or greatly modifies the action of other
powers--has already been noticed in our remarks on imagination; but we
must state it here in more distinct terms. We especially wish the
reader to understand how wide and important is the meaning of the
terms 'control' and 'overrule' as we use them when we say: 'reason
controls, or overrules, imagination!' When we say that, in nature, the
laws which regulate one stage of existence _overrule_ the laws of
another and a lower stage, we do not intend to say that the latter are
annulled, but that they are so controlled and modified in their course
of action, that they can no longer produce the effects which would
take place if they were left free from such control. A few examples
will make our meaning plain. Let us contrast the operations of
chemistry with those of mechanism. In the latter, substances act upon
each other simply by pressure, motion, friction, &c.; but in
chemistry, affinities and combinations come into play, producing
results far beyond any that are seen in mechanics. On mechanical
principles, the trituration of two substances about equal in hardness
should simply reduce them to powder, but in chemistry, it may produce
a gaseous explosion. Again--vegetable life overrules chemistry: the
leaves, twigs, and branches of a tree, if left without life, would,
when exposed to the agencies of air, light, heat, and moisture, be
partly reduced to dust and partly diffused as gas in the atmosphere.
It is the vegetative life of the tree which controls both the
mechanical and the chemical powers of wind, rain, heat, and
gravitation; and it is not until the life is extinct that these
inferior powers come into full play upon the tree. So, again, the
animal functions control chemical laws--take digestion, for example: a
vegetable cut up by the root and exposed to the air, passes through a
course of chemical decomposition, and _is_ finally converted into gas;
but when an animal consumes a vegetable, it is not decomposed
according to the chemical laws, but is digested, becomes chyle, and is
assimilated to the body of the animal. It is obvious that animal life
controls mechanical laws. Thus, the friction of two inert substances
wears one of them away--the soft yields to the hard; but, on the
contrary, the hand of the labourer who wields the spade or the pickaxe
becomes thicker and harder by friction.

The bearing of these remarks upon our present point will soon be
obvious: we multiply examples, in order to shew in what an important
sense we use the word _control_, with regard to the relation of reason
with imagination. As we have seen, chemistry overrules the mechanical
laws; vegetation suspends the laws of chemistry; a superior department
of animal life controls influences which are laws in a lower
department; again, mind controls the effects of physical influences;
and, lastly, one power of the mind controls, and in a great measure
suspends, the natural activity of another power--_reason controls
imagination_. A second fact with regard to the action of reason must
be noticed--that _it requires a wakeful condition of the brain_. Some
may suppose that they have reasoned very well during sleep; but we
suspect that, if they could recollect their syllogisms, they would
find them not much better than Mickle's poetry composed during sleep.
Mickle, the translator of the _Lusiad_, sometimes expressed his regret
that he could not remember the poetry which he improvised in his
dreams, for he had a vague impression that it was very beautiful.
'Well,' said his wife, 'I can at least give you two lines, which I
heard you muttering over during one of your poetic dreams. Here they

    "By Heaven! I'll wreak my woes
    Upon the cowslip and the pale primrose!"'

If we required proof that the operation of reason demands a wakeful
and active condition of the brain, we might find it in the fact, that
all intellectual efforts which imply sound reasoning are prevented
even by a partial sleepiness or dreaminess. A light novel may be read
and enjoyed while the mind is in an indolent and dreamy state; music
may be enjoyed, or even composed, in the same circumstances, because
it is connected rather with the imaginative than with the logical
faculty; but, not to mention any higher efforts, we cannot play a game
of chess well unless we are 'wide awake.'

Now we come to our point:--Supposing that, by any means, the brain can
be deprived of that wakefulness and activity which is required for a
free exercise of the reasoning powers, then what would be the effect
on the imagination? For an answer to this query, we shall not refer to
the phenomena of natural sleep and dreaming, because it is evident
that the subjects of the experiments we have to explain are not in a
state of natural sleep; we shall rather refer to the condition of the
brain during what we may call 'doziness,' and also to the effects
sometimes produced by disease on the imagination and the senses.

We all know that in a state of 'doziness,' any accidental or
ridiculous image which happens to suggest itself, will remain in the
mind much longer than in a wakeful condition. A few slight, shapeless
marks on the ceiling will assume the form of a face or a full-length
figure; and strange physiognomies will be found among the flowers on
the bed-curtains. In the impressible and passive state of the brain
left by any illness which produces nervous exhaustion, such
imaginations often become very troublesome. Impressions made on the
brain some time ago will now reappear. Jean Paul Richter cautions us
not to tell frightful stories to children, for this reason--that,
though the 'horrible fancies' may all be soon forgotten by the
healthful child, yet afterwards, when some disease--a fever, for
instance--has affected the brain and the nerves, all the dismissed
goblins may too vividly reproduce themselves. Our experience can
confirm the observation. Some years ago, we went to a circus, where,
during the equestrian performances, some trivial popular airs were
played on brass instruments--cornets and trombones--dismally out of
tune. Now, by long practice, we have acquired the art of utterly
turning our attention away from, bad music, so that it annoys us no
more than the rumble of wheels in Fleet Street. We exercised this
voluntary deafness on the occasion. But not long afterwards, we were
compelled, during an attack of disease which affected the nervous
system, to hear the whole discordant performance repeated again and
again, with a pertinacity which was really very distressing. Such a
case prepares us to give credit to a far more remarkable story,
related in one of the works of Macnish. A clergyman, we are told, who
was a skilful violinist, and frequently played over some favourite
_solo_ or _concerto_, was obliged to desist from practice on account
of the dangerous illness of his servant-maid--if we remember truly,
phrenitis was the disease. Of course, the violin was laid aside; but
one day, the medical attendant, on going toward the chamber of his
patient, was surprised to hear the violin-solo performed in rather
subdued tones. On examination, it was found that the girl, under the
excitement of disease, had imitated the brilliant divisions and rapid
passages of the music which had impressed her imagination during
health! We might multiply instances of the singular effects of
peculiar conditions of the brain upon the imaginative faculty. For one
case we can give our personal testimony. A young man, naturally
imaginative, but by no means of weak mind, or credulous, or
superstitious, saw, even in broad daylight, spectres or apparitions of
persons far distant. After being accustomed to these visits, he
regarded them without any fear, except on account of the derangement
of health which they indicated. These visions were banished by a
course of medical treatment. In men of great imaginative power, with
whom reason is by no means deficient, phenomena sometimes occur almost
as vivid as those of disease in other persons. Wordsworth, speaking of
the impressions derived from certain external objects, says:

       ------------ on the mind
    They lay like images, _and seemed almost
    To haunt the bodily sense_!

Again, in his verses recording his impression of the beauty of a bed
of daffodils, he says:

    And oft, _when on my couch I lie_, [dozing?]
    They _flash_ before that inward eye
    Which is the bliss of solitude.

These words are nothing more, we believe, than a simple and
unexaggerated statement of a mental phenomenon.

Enough has now been said to shew, that in a certain condition of the
brain, when it is deprived of the wakefulness and activity necessary
for the free use of reason, the effects of imagination may far exceed
any that are displayed during a normal, waking state of the
intellectual faculties. The question now remains: Are the means
employed by the professors of electro-biology sufficient to produce
that peculiar condition to which we refer? We believe that they are;
and shall proceed to give reasons for such belief.

3. What are these means? or rather let us ask, 'Amid the various means
employed, which is the real agent?' We observe that, in the different
processes by which--under the names of electro-biology or mesmerism--a
peculiar cerebral condition is induced, such means as the following
are employed:--Fixed attention on one object--it may be a metallic
disk said to have galvanic power, or a sixpence, or a cork; silence,
and a motionless state of the body are favourable to the intended
result; monotonous movements by the experimenter, called 'passes,' may
be used or not. The process may be interrupted by frequent winking, to
relieve the eyes; by studying over some question or problem; or, if
the patient is musical, by going through various pieces of music in
his imagination; by anything, indeed, which tends to keep the mind
wakeful. Now, when we find among the various means _one_ invariably
present, in some form or another--_monotony of attention producing a
partial exhaustion of the nervous energy_, we have reason to believe
that _this_ is the real agent.

But how can the 'fixed gaze upon the disk' affect reason? Certainly,
it does not immediately affect reason; but through the nerves of the
eye it very powerfully operates on the organ of reason, _the brain_,
and induces an impressive, passive, and somnolent condition.

Such a process as the 'fixed gaze on a small disk for about the space
of a quarter of an hour,' must not be dismissed as a trifle. It is
opposed to the natural wakeful action of the brain and the eye. Let it
be observed that, in waking hours, the eye is continually in play,
relieving itself, and guarding against weariness and exhaustion by
unnumbered changes of direction. This is the case even during such an
apparently monotonous use of the eye as we find in reading. As sleep
approaches, the eye is turned upwards, as we find it also in some
cases of disease--hysteria, for example; and it should be noticed,
that this position of the eye is naturally connected with a somnolent
and dreaming condition of the brain. In several of the subjects of the
so-called electro-biological experiments, we observed that the eyes
were partially turned upward. It is curious to notice that this mode
of acting on the brain is of very ancient date, at least among the
Hindoos. In their old poem, the _Bhagavad-Gita_, it is recommended as
a religious exercise, superior to prayer, almsgiving, attendance at
temples, &c.; for the god Crishna, admitting that these actions are
good, so far as they go, says: '_but he who, sitting apart, gazes
fixedly upon one object until he forgets home and kindred, himself,
and all created things--he attains perfection_.' Not having at hand
any version of the _Bhagavad-Gita_, we cannot now give an exact
translation of the passage; but we are quite sure that it recommends a
state of stupefaction of the brain, induced by a long-continued fixed
gaze upon one object.

We have now stated, _1st_, That such an act of long-fixed attention
upon one object, has a very remarkable effect on the brain; _2d_, That
in the cerebral condition thus induced, the mental powers are not free
to maintain their normal relations to each other; especially, will,
comparison, and judgment, appear to lose their requisite power and
promptitude of action, and are thus made liable to be overruled by the
suggestions of imagination or the commands of the experimenter.

To this explanation we can only add, that all who doubt it may easily
put it to an experimental test. If it is thought that the mere 'fixed
gaze,' without electric or galvanic agency, is not sufficient to
produce the phenomena in question, then the only way of determining
our dispute must be by fair experiment. But here we would add a word
of serious caution, as we regard the process as decidedly dangerous,
especially if frequently repeated on one subject.

To conclude: we regard the exhibitions now so common under the name of
electro-biology as delusions, so far as they are understood to have
any connection with the facts of electricity; so far as they are
_real_, we regard them as very remarkable instances of a mode of
acting on the brain which is, we believe, likely to prove injurious.
As we have no motive in writing but simply to elicit the truth, we
will briefly notice two difficulties which seem to attend our theory.
These are--1. The _rapid transition_ from the state of illusion to an
apparently wakeful and normal condition of mind. The patient who has
been making snow-balls in a warm room, and has pulled the moon down,
comes from the platform, recognises his friends, and can laugh at the
visions which to him seemed realities but a few minutes since. 2. The
_apparently slight effects_ left, in some cases, after the
experiments. Among the subjects whom we have questioned on this point,
one felt 'rather dizzy' all the next day after submitting to the
process; another felt 'a pressure on the head;' but a third, who was
one of the most successful cases, felt 'no effects whatever'
afterwards; while a fourth thinks he derived 'some benefit' to his
health from the operation. We leave these points for further inquiry.


[4] We can corroborate the view taken by the writer of this article as
to the reality of the effects produced on the persons submitting to
the process, having seen many who are intimately known to us
experimented on with success. The incredulity which still prevails on
this subject in London can only be attributed to the necessary rarity,
in so large a town, of experiments performed on persons known to the


We copy the following from an American newspaper, without vouching for
the accuracy of the statement:--'The _Cincinnati Atlas_ announces a
wonderful invention in that city. Mr Solomon, a native of Prussia, is
the inventor. He is a gentleman of education, and was professor of a
college in his native land at the age of twenty-five. In Cincinnati,
he prosecuted his scientific researches and experiments, which now
promise to result in fame, wealth, and honour to himself, and
incalculable benefit to the whole human family. The invention of a new
locomotive and propelling power by Mr Solomon was mentioned some six
months ago; and a few days ago, his new engine, in course of
construction for many months, was tested, and the most sanguine
expectations of the inventor more than realised. The _Atlas_ says: "On
Monday last, the engine was kept in operation during the day, and
hundreds of spectators witnessed and were astonished at its success.
The motive-power is obtained by the generation and expansion, by heat,
of carbonic acid gas. Common whiting, sulphuric acid, and water, are
used in generating this gas, and the 'boiler' in which these component
parts are held, is similar in shape and size to a common bomb-shell. A
small furnace, with a handful of ignited charcoal, furnishes the
requisite heat for propelling this engine of 25 horsepower. The
relative power of steam and carbonic acid is thus stated:--Water at
the boiling-point gives a pressure of 15 pounds to the square inch.
With the addition of 30 degrees of heat, the power is double, giving
30 pounds; and so on, doubling with every additional 30 degrees of
heat, until we have 4840 pounds under a heat of 452 degrees--a heat
which no engine can endure. But with the carbon, 20 degrees of heat
above the boiling-point give 1080 pounds; 40 degrees give 2160 pounds;
80 degrees, 4320 pounds; that is, 480 pounds greater power with this
gas, than 451 degrees of heat give by converting water into steam! Not
only does this invention multiply power indefinitely, but it reduces
the expense to a mere nominal amount. The item of fuel for a
first-class steamer, between Cincinnati and New Orleans, going and
returning, is between 1000 and 1200 dollars, whereas 5 dollars will
furnish the material for propelling the boat the same distance by
carbon. Attached to the new engine is also an apparatus for condensing
the gas after it has passed through the cylinders, and returning it
again to the starting-place, thus using it over and over, and allowing
none to escape. While the engine was in operation on Monday, it lifted
a weight of 12,000 pounds up the distance of five feet perpendicular,
five times every minute. This weight was put on by way of experiment,
and does by no means indicate the full power of the engine."'


    Good-night! a word so often said,
      The heedless mind forgets its meaning;
    'Tis only when some heart lies dead
      On which our own was leaning,
    We hear in maddening music roll
    That lost 'good-night' along the soul.

    'Good-night'--in tones that never die
      It peals along the quickening ear;
    And tender gales of memory
      For ever waft it near,
    When stilled the voice--O crush of pain!--
    That ne'er shall breathe 'good-night' again.

    Good-night! it mocks us from the grave--
      It overleaps that strange world's bound
    From whence there flows no backward wave--
      It calls from out the ground,
    On every side, around, above,
    'Good-night,' 'good-night,' to life and love!

    Good-night! Oh, wherefore fades away
      The light that lived in that dear word?
    Why follows that good-night no day?
      Why are our souls so stirred?
    Oh, rather say, dull brain, once more,
    'Good-night!'--thy time of toil is o'er!

    Good-night!--Now cometh gentle sleep,
      And tears that fall like welcome rain.
    Good-night!--Oh, holy, blest, and deep,
      The rest that follows pain.
    How should we reach God's upper light
    If life's long day had no 'good-night?'



Somebody--and we know not whom, for it is an old faded yellow
manuscript scrap in our drawer--thus rebukes an Englishman's
aspiration to be independent of foreigners: A French cook dresses his
dinner for him, and a Swiss valet dresses him for his dinner. He hands
down his lady, decked with pearls that never grew in the shell of a
British oyster, and her waving plume of ostrich-feathers certainly
never formed the tail of a barn-door fowl. The viands of his table are
from all countries of the world; his wines are from the banks of the
Rhine and the Rhone. In his conservatory, he regales his sight with
the blossoms of South American flowers; in his smoking-room, he
gratifies his scent with the weed of North America. His favourite
horse is of Arabian blood, his pet dog of the St Bernard breed. His
gallery is rich with pictures from the Flemish school and statues from
Greece. For his amusement, he goes to hear Italian singers warble
German music followed by a French ballet. The ermine that decorates
his judges was never before on a British animal. His very mind is not
English in its attainments--it is a mere picnic of foreign
contributions. His poetry and philosophy are from ancient Greece and
Rome, his geometry from Alexandria, his arithmetic from Arabia, and
his religion from Palestine. In his cradle, in his infancy, he rubbed
his gums with coral from Oriental oceans; and when he dies, he is
buried in a coffin made from wood that grew on a foreign soil, and his
monument will be sculptured in marble from the quarries of Carrara. A
pretty sort of man this to talk of being independent of
foreigners!--_Harper's Magazine._

       *       *       *       *       *

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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