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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 56, Number 349, November, 1844
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 56, Number 349, November, 1844" ***

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generously made available by The Internet Library of Early





THE O'CONNELL CASE,                                          539

MY COLLEGE FRIENDS. NO. 1. JOHN BROWN,                       569

THE TOMBLESS MAN. BY DELTA,                                  583

FRENCH SOCIALISTS,                                           588


SONNET TO CLARKSON,                                          619

LETTER FROM THE RIGHT HON. CHARLES HOPE,                     620

POEMS BY ELIZABETH B. BARRETT,                               621

UP STREAM; OR, STEAM-BOAT REMINISCENCES,                     640

WESTMINSTER HALL AND THE WORKS OF ART,                       652


LAMARTINE,                                                   657

       *       *       *       *       *


_To whom all Communications (post paid) must be addressed._


       *       *       *       *       *





The astounding issue of the Irish State trials will constitute a
conspicuous and mortifying event in the history of the times. A gigantic
conspiracy for the dismemberment of the empire was boldly encountered at
its highest point of development by the energy of the common law of the
land, as administered in the ordinary courts of justice. That law,
itself certainly intricate and involved, had to deal with facts of
almost unprecedented complication and difficulty; but after a long and
desperate struggle, the law triumphed over every obstacle that could be
opposed to it by tortuous and pertinacious ingenuity: the case was
correctly charged before the jury; most clearly established in evidence,
so as to satisfy not them only, but all mankind; the jury returned a
just verdict of guilty against all the parties charged--the court passed
judgment in conformity with that verdict, awarding to the offenders a
serious but temperate measure of punishment--imprisonment, fine, and
security for good behaviour. The sentence was instantly carried into

    "And Justice said--I'm satisfied."

But, behold! a last desperate throw of the dice from the prison-house--a
speculative and desponding appeal to the proverbial uncertainty of the
law; and, to the unspeakable amazement and disgust of the country, an
alleged technical slip in the conduct of the proceedings, not touching
or even approaching, the established MERITS of the case either in fact
or law, has been held, by the highest tribunal in the land, sufficient
to nullify the whole which had been done, and to restore to liberty the
dangerous delinquents, reveling in misrepresentation and falsehood
concerning the grounds of their escape on punishment--in their delirium
of delight and triumph, even threatening an IMPEACHMENT against the
officers of the crown, against even the judges of the land, for the part
they have borne in these reversed proceedings!

Making all due allowance for these extravagant fooleries, it is obvious
that the event which has given rise to them is one calculated to excite
profound concern, and very great _curiosity_. The most sober and
thoughtful observers are conscious of feeling lively indignation at the
spectacle of justice defeated by a technical objection; and public
attention has been attracted to certain topics of the very highest
importance and delicacy, arising out of this grievous miscarriage. They
are all involved in the discussion of the question placed at the head of
this article; and to that discussion we propose to address ourselves in
spirit of calmness, freedom, and candour. We have paid close attention
to this remarkable and harassing case from first to last, and had
sufficient opportunities of acquainting ourselves with its exact legal
position. We deem it of great importance to enable our readers, whether
lay or professional, to form, with moderate attention, a sound judgment
for themselves upon questions which may possibly become the subject of
early parliamentary discussion--Whether the recent decision of the House
of Lords, a very bold one unquestionably, was nevertheless a correct
one, and consequently entitling the tribunal by whom it was pronounced,
to the continued respect and confidence of the country? This is, in
truth, a grave question, of universal concern, of permanent interest,
and requiring a fearless, an honest, and a careful examination.

The reversal of the judgment against Mr O'Connell and his companions,
was received throughout the kingdom with perfect amazement. No one was
prepared for it. Up to the very last moment, even till Lord Denman had
in his judgment decisively indicated the conclusion at which he had
arrived on the main point in the case, we have the best reason for
believing that there was not a single person in the House of Lords--with
the possible exception of Lords Denman, Cottenham, and Campbell--who
expected a reversal of the judgment. So much has the public press been
taken by surprise, that, with the exception of a fierce controversy
between the _Standard_, and _Morning Herald_, and the _Morning
Chronicle_, which was conducted with great acuteness and learning, we
are not aware of any explanation since offered by the leading organs of
public opinion--the TIMES has preserved a total silence--as to the legal
sufficiency or insufficiency of the grounds on which this memorable
judgment of reversal proceeded. We shall endeavour to do so; for while
it is on this side of the Channel perfectly notorious that the
traversers have been proved guilty of the enormous misdemeanours with
which they were charged--guilty in law and guilty in fact--on the other
side of the Channel we find, since commencing this article, that the
chief delinquent, Daniel O'Connell, has the amazing audacity, repeatedly
and deliberately, to declare in public that he has been "ACQUITTED ON
THE MERITS!" Without pausing to find words which would fitly
characterize such conduct, we shall content ourselves with the following
judicial declaration made by Lord Brougham in giving judgment in the
House of Lords, a declaration heard and necessarily acquiesced in by
every member of the court:--

"The whole of the learned judges with one voice declare, that on the
merits, at any rate, they have no doubt at all--that on the great merits
and substance of the case they are unanimously agreed. That a great
offence has been committed, and an offence known to and recognisable by
the law; that a grave offence and crime has been perpetrated, and an
offence and crime punishable by the admitted and undoubted law of the
land, none of the learned judges do deny; that counts in the indictment
to bring the offenders, the criminals, to punishment, are to be found,
against which no possible exception, technical or substantial, can be
urged, all are agreed; that these counts, if they stood alone, would be
amply sufficient to support the sentence of the court below, and that
that sentence in one which the law warrants, justifies, nay, I will even
say commands, they all admit. _On these, the great features, the leading
points, the substance, the very essence of the case, all the learned
judges without exception, entertain and express one clear, unanimous,
and unhesitating opinion._" And yet all the proceedings have been
annulled, and the perpetrators of these great crimes and offences let
loose again upon society! How comes this to pass? is asked with
astonishment wherever it is heard of, both in this country--and abroad.

The enquiry we propose is due with reference to the conduct and
reputation of three great judicial classes--the judges of the Irish
Queen's Bench: the judges of England: and the judges of the court of
appeal in the House of Lords. Familiar as the public has been for the
last twelve months with the Irish State Trials, the proceedings have
been reported at such great length--in such different forms, and various
stages--that it is probable that very few except professional readers
have at this moment a distinct idea of the real nature of the case, as
from time to time developed before the various tribunals through whose
ordeal it has passed. We shall endeavour now to extricate the legal
merits of the case from the meshes of complicated technicalities in
which they have hitherto been involved, and give an even _elementary_
exposition of such portions of the proceedings as must be distinctly
understood, before attempting to form a sound opinion upon the validity
or invalidity of the grounds upon which alone the judgment has been

The traversers were charged with having committed the offence of
CONSPIRACY; which, by the universally admitted common law of the land
for considerably upwards of five hundred years, exists "_where two, or
more than two, agree to do an illegal act_--that is, to effect something
in itself unlawful, or to effect by unlawful means something which in
itself may be indifferent, or even lawful."[1] Such an offence
constitutes a _misdemeanour_; and for that misdemeanour, and that
misdemeanour alone, the traversers were _indicted_. The government
might, as we explained in a former Number,[2] have proceeded by an
_ex-officio_ information at the suit of the crown, filed by the
Attorney-General; but in this instance, waiving all the privileges
appertaining to the kingly office, they appeared before the constituted
tribunal of the law as the redressers of the public wrongs, invested
however with no powers or authority beyond the simple rights enjoyed by
the meanest of its subjects--and preferred an _indictment_: which is "a
written accusation of one or more persons, of a crime or misdemeanour,
preferred to and presented on oath by a grand jury."[3] Now, in framing
an indictment, the following are the principles to be kept in view. They
were laid down with beautiful precision and terseness by Lord
Chief-Justice De Grey, in the case of Rex. _v._ Horne--2 Cowper's Rep.

"The charge must contain such a description of the crime, that the
_defendant_ may know what crime it is which he is called upon to answer;
that the _jury_ may appear to be warranted in their conclusion of
'guilty,' or 'not guilty,' upon the premises delivered to them; and that
the _court_ may see such a definite crime, that they may apply the
punishment which the law prescribes."

There may be, and almost always are, several, sometimes many, counts in
a single indictment; and it is of peculiar importance in the present
case, to note the _reason_ why several counts are inserted, when the
indictment contains a charge of only one actual offence. First, when
there is any doubt as to which is the proper mode, in point of _law_, of
_describing_ the offence; secondly, lest, although the offence be
legally described on the face of the indictment, it should be one which
the _evidence_ would not meet or support. The sole object is, in short,
to avoid the risk of a frequent and final failure of justice on either
of the above two grounds. Technically speaking, each of these counts is
regarded (though all of them really are only varied descriptions of one
and the same offence) as containing the charge of a distinct offence.[4]
For precisely the same reason, several counts were, till recently,
allowed in CIVIL proceedings, although there was only one cause of
action; but this license got to be so much abused, (occasioning
expensive prolixity,) that only one count is now permitted for one cause
of action--a great discretion being allowed to judge, however, by
statute, of altering the count at the trial, so as to meet the evidence
then adduced. A similar alteration could not be allowed in criminal
cases, lest the grand jury should have found a bill for one offence, and
the defendant be put upon his trial for another. There appear, however,
insuperable objections to restricting one offence to a single count, in
respect of the other object, on peril of the perpetual defeat of
justice. The risk is sufficiently serious in civil cases, where the
proceedings are drawn so long beforehand, and with such ample time for
consideration as to the proper mode of stating the case, so as to be
sufficient in point of law. But criminal proceedings cannot possibly be
drawn with this deliberate preparation and accurate examination into the
real facts of the case beforehand; and if the only count
allowed--excessively difficult as it continually is to secure perfect
accuracy--should prove defective in point of law, the prisoner, though
guilty, must either escape scot-free, or become the subject of
reiterated and abortive prosecution--a gross scandal to the
administration of justice, and grave injury to the interests of society.
If these observations be read with attention, and borne in mind, they
will afford great assistance in forming a clear and correct judgment on
this remarkably interesting, and, _as regards the future administration
of justice_, vitally important case. There is yet one other remark
necessary to be made, and to be borne in mind by the lay reader.
Adverting to the definition already given of a "conspiracy"--that its
essence is the MERE AGREEMENT to do an illegal act--it will be plain,
that where such an agreement has once been shown to have been entered
into, it is totally immaterial whether the illegal act, or the illegal
acts, have been _actually done or not_ in pursuance of the conspiracy.
Where these illegal acts, however, have been done, and can be clearly
proved, it is usual--but not necessary--to _set them out_ in the
indictment for a conspiracy. This is called _setting out the overt
acts_, (and was done in the present instance,) not as any part of the
conspiracy, but only as statements of _the evidence_ by which the charge
was to be supported--for the laudable purpose of giving the parties
notice of the particular facts from which the crown intended to deduce
the existence of the alleged conspiracy. They consisted, almost
unavoidably, of a prodigious number of writings, speeches, and
publications; and these it was which earned for the indictment the title
of "the _Monster_ Indictment." It occupies fifty-three pages of the
closely printed folio _appendix_ to the case on the part of the
crown--each page containing on an average seventy-three lines, each line
eighteen words; which would extend to _nine hundred and fifty-three
common law folios_, each containing seventy-two words! The indictment
itself, however, independently of its ponderous appendages, was of very
moderate length. It contained eleven counts--and charged A CONSPIRACY of
a five-fold nature--_i. e._ to do five different acts; and the scheme of
these counts was this:--the first contained all the five branches of the
conspiracy--and the subsequent counts took that first count to pieces;
that is to say, contained the whole or separate portions of it, with
such modifications as might appear likely to obviate doubts as to their
_legal_ sufficiency, or meet possible or probable variations in the
expected _evidence_. The following will be found a correct abstract of
this important document.

The indictment, as already stated, contained eleven counts, in each of
which it was charged that the defendants, Daniel O'Connell, John
O'Connell, Thomas Steele, Thomas Matthew Kay, Charles Gavan Duffy, John
Gray, and Richard Barrett, the Rev. Peter James Tyrrell, and the Rev.
Thomas Tierney, unlawfully, maliciously, and seditiously did COMBINE,
CONSPIRE, CONFEDERATE, and AGREE with each other, and with divers other
persons unknown, for the purposes in those counts respectively stated.

The FIRST count charged the conspiracy as a conspiracy to do five
different acts, (that is to say,)

"_First._ To raise and create discontent and disaffection amongst her
Majesty's subjects, and to excite such subjects to hatred and contempt
of the government and constitution of the realm as by law established,
and to unlawful and seditious opposition to the said government and

"_Second._ To stir up jealousies, hatred, and ill-will between
different classes of her Majesty's subjects, and especially to promote
amongst her Majesty's subjects in Ireland, feelings of ill-will and
hostility towards and against her Majesty's subjects in the other parts
of the United Kingdom, especially in that part of the United Kingdom
called England.

"_Third._ To excite discontent and disaffection amongst divers of her
Majesty's subjects serving in her Majesty's army.

"_Fourth._ To cause and procure, and aid and assist in causing and
procuring, divers subjects of her Majesty _unlawfully_, _maliciously_,
_and seditiously_ to meet and assemble together in large numbers, at
various times and at different places within Ireland, for the unlawful
and seditious purpose of obtaining, by means of the intimidation to be
thereby caused, and by means of the exhibition and demonstration of
great physical force at such assemblies and meetings, changes and
alterations in the government, laws, and constitution of the realm by
law established.

"_Fifth._ To bring into hatred and disrepute the courts of law
established in Ireland for the administration of justice, and to
diminish the confidence of her Majesty's subjects in Ireland in the
administration of the law therein, _with the intent_ to induce her
Majesty's subjects to withdraw the adjudication of their differences
with, and claims upon, each other, from the cognisance of the said
courts by law established, and to submit the same to the judgment and
determination of other tribunals to be constituted and contrived for
that purpose."

[This count sets out as _overt acts_ of the above design, numerous
_meetings_, _speeches_, and _publications_.]

The SECOND count was the same as the first, _omitting the overt acts_.

The THIRD count was the same as the second, only omitting from the
_fourth_ charge the words "unlawfully, maliciously, and seditiously."

The FOURTH count was the same as the third, omitting the charge as to
the army.

The FIFTH count contained the first and second charges set forth in the
first count, omitting the overt acts.

The SIXTH count contained the fourth charge set forth in the first
count, omitting the words "unlawfully, maliciously, and seditiously,"
and the overt acts.

The SEVENTH count was the same as the sixth, _adding_ the words "and
especially, by the means aforesaid, to bring about and accomplish _a
dissolution of the legislative union_ now subsisting between Great
Britain and Ireland."

The EIGHTH count contained the fifth charge set forth in the first
count, omitting the overt acts.

The NINTH count contained the fifth charge set forth in the first count,
omitting the intent therein charged, and the overt acts, but _adding_
the following charge--"And to assume and _usurp the prerogatives of the
crown_ in the establishment of courts for the administration of law."

The TENTH count was the same as the eighth, omitting _the intent_ stated
in the fifth charge in the first count.

The ELEVENTH count charged the conspiracy to be, "to _cause and procure
large numbers of persons to meet and assemble together_ in divers
places, and at divers times, within Ireland, and by means of unlawful,
seditious, and inflammatory speeches and addresses, to be made and
delivered at the said several places, on the said several times,
respectively, and also by means of the publishing, and causing and
procuring to be published, to and amongst the subjects of her said
majesty, divers unlawful, malicious, and seditious writings and
compositions, _to intimidate the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and the
Commons_ of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Ireland, and _thereby_ to effect and bring about changes and alterations
in the laws and constitution of this realm, as now by law established."

The indictment was laid before the grand jury on the 3d November 1843,
and, after long deliberation, they returned a true bill late on the 8th
of November. After a harassing series of almost all kinds of preliminary
objections, the defendants, on the 22d November, respectively pleaded
"that they were NOT GUILTY of the premises above laid to his charge, or
any of them, or any part thereof:"--and on the 16th January 1844, the
trial commenced at bar, before the full court of Queen's Bench, viz.
the Right Honourable Edward Pennefather, _Chief-Justice_, and Burton,
Crampton, and Perrin, _Justices_, and lasted till the 12th February.

The Chief-Justice--a most able and distinguished lawyer--then closed his
directions to the jury.

"I have put the questions to you in the language of the indictment. It
lies on the crown to establish--they have undertaken to do so--that the
traversers, or some of them, are guilty of a conspiracy, such as I have
already stated to you--a conspiracy consisting of five branches, any one
of which being brought home, to your satisfaction, to the traversers or
traverser, in the way imputed, will maintain and establish the charge
which the crown has undertaken to prove."

The jury were long engaged in discussing their verdict, and came once or
twice into court with imperfect findings, expressing themselves as
greatly embarrassed by the complexity and multiplicity of the issues
submitted to them; on which Mr Justice Crampton, who remained to receive
the verdict, delivered to them, in a specific form, the issues on which
they were to find their verdict. They ultimately handed in very
complicated written findings, the substantial result of which may be
thus stated: All the defendants were found guilty on the whole of the
last eight counts of the indictment, viz., the Fourth, Fifth, SIXTH,
SEVENTH, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh counts.

Three of the defendants--Daniel O'Connell, Barrett, and Duffy--were also
found guilty on the whole of the _Third_ count, and on part of the First
and Second counts--[that is to say, of all the first and second counts,
except as to causing meetings to assemble "_unlawfully, maliciously, and

Four other of the defendants--John O'Connell, Steele, Ray, and
Gray--were also found guilty of a part of the First, Second, and Third
counts--viz., of all, except as to causing meetings to assemble
_unlawfully, maliciously, and seditiously_, and exciting discontent and
disaffection in the army.[5]

As soon as these findings had been delivered to the deputy-clerk of the
crown, and read by him, a copy of them was given to the traversers, and
the court adjourned till the ensuing term.

It should here be particularly observed, that it has been from time
immemorial the invariable course, in criminal cases, as soon as the
verdict has been delivered, however special its form, for the proper
officer to write on the indictment, in the presence of the court and
jury, the word "_Guilty_," or "_Not Guilty_," as the case may be, of the
whole or that portion of the indictment on which the jury may have
thought fit to find their verdict; and then the judge usually proceeds
at once to pass judgment, unless he is interrupted by the prisoner's
counsel rising to move "_in arrest_," or stay of judgment, in
consequence of some supposed substantial defect in the indictment. But
observe--it was useless to take this step, unless the counsel could show
that _the whole indictment_ was insufficient, as disclosing in no part
of it an offence in contemplation of law. If he were satisfied that
there was one single good count to be found in it, it would have been
idle, at this stage of the proceedings, to make the attempt; and it very
rarely happens that every one of the varied modes of stating the case
which has been adopted is erroneous and insufficient. If, then, the
motion was refused, nothing else remained but to pass the sentence,
which was duly recorded, and properly carried into effect. No formal or
further entry was made upon the record--matters remaining in _statu
quo_--unless the party convicted, satisfied that he had good ground for
doing so, and was able to afford it, determined to bring a writ of
error. _Then_ it became necessary, in order to obey the command
contained in the writ of error, to "make up the record"--_i. e._
formally and in technical detail to complete its narrative of the
proceedings, in due course of law; for which purpose the verdict would
be entered in legal form, generally (if such it had been in fact) or
specially, according to its legal effect, if a special verdict had been

To return, now, to the course of proceedings in the present instance.

After desperate but unsuccessful efforts had been made, in the ensuing
term, to disturb the verdict, the last step which could be resorted to
in order to avert the sentence, was adopted--viz., a motion in arrest of
judgment, on the main ground that the indictment disclosed in _no part_
of it any indictable offence. It was expressly admitted by the
traversers' counsel, in making the motion, that if "the indictment did
disclose, with sufficient certainty, an indictable offence in all OR ANY
of its counts, the indictment was sufficient;" and it was then
"contended, that _not one_ of the counts disclosed, with sufficient
certainty, that the object of the agreement alleged in it was an
indictable offence." The court, however, was of a different opinion; and
the Chief-Justice, in delivering his judgment, thus expressed
himself--"It was boldly and perseveringly urged, that there was no crime
charged in the indictment. If there was one in any count, or in any part
of a count, that was sufficient." So said also Mr Justice Burton--"We
cannot arrest the judgment, if there be _any_ count on which to found
the judgment"--the other two judges expressly concurring in that
doctrine; and the whole court decided, moreover, that _all_ the counts
were sufficient in point of law. They, therefore, refused the motion.
Had it been granted--had judgment been arrested--all the proceedings
would have been set aside; but the defendants might have been indicted
afresh. Let us once more repeat here--what is, indeed, conspicuously
evident from what has gone before--that at the time when this motion in
arrest of judgment was discussed and decided in the court below, there
was no more doubt entertained by any criminal lawyer at the bar, or on
the bench, in Ireland or England, that if an indictment contained one
single good count it would sustain a general judgment, though there
might be fifty bad counts in it, than there is of doubt among
astronomers, or any one else, whether the earth goes round the sun, or
the sun round the earth. Had the Irish Court of Queen's Bench held the
contrary doctrine, it would have been universally scouted for its
imbecility and ignorance.

Having been called up for _judgment_ on the 30th May, in Trinity term
last, the defendants were respectively sentenced to fine and
imprisonment, and to give security to keep the peace, and be of good
behaviour for seven years; and were at once taken into custody, in
execution of the sentence. They immediately sued out writs of error,
_coram nobis_--(_i. e._ error _in fact_, on the ground that the
witnesses had not been duly sworn before the grand jury, nor their names
authenticated as required by statute.) The court thereupon formally
affirmed its judgments. On the 14th June 1844, the defendants (who
thereby became _plaintiffs_ in error) sued out of the "High Court of
Parliament" writs of error, to reverse the judgments of the court below.
On the writ of error being sued out, it became necessary, as already
intimated, to enter the findings of the jury, according to the true and
legal effect of such findings, upon the record, which was done
accordingly--the judges themselves, it should be observed, having
nothing whatever to do with that matter, which is not within their
province, but that of the proper officer of the court, who is aided, in
difficult cases, by the advice and assistance of counsel; and this
having been done, the following (_inter alia_) appeared upon the face of
the record:--The eleven counts of the indictment were set out
_verbatim_; then the findings of the jury, (in accordance with the
statement of them which will be found _ante_;) and then came the
following all-important paragraph--the entry of judgment--every word of
which is to be accurately noted:--

"Whereupon _all and singular the premises being seen and fully
understood_ by the court of our said Lady the Queen now here, it is
considered and adjudged by the said court here, that the said Daniel
O'Connell, FOR HIS OFFENCES AFORESAID, do pay a fine to our Sovereign
Lady the Queen of two thousand pounds, and be imprisoned," &c., and
"enter into recognisances to keep the peace, and to be of good behaviour
for seven years," &c. Corresponding entries were made concerning the
other defendants respectively.

This Writ of Error, addressed to the Chief-Justice of the Queen's Bench
in Dublin, reciting (in the usual form) that "MANIFEST ERRORS, it was
said, had intervened, to the great damage" of the parties concerned;
commands the Chief-Justice, "distinctly and plainly, _to send under his
seal the record of proceedings_ and writ, to Us in our present
Parliament, now holden at Westminster; that the record and proceedings
aforesaid having been inspected, we may further cause to be done
thereupon, with the consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, in
Parliament assembled, for correcting the said errors, what of right, and
according to the law and customs of this realm, ought to be done." The
writ of error, accompanied by a transcript of the entire record of the
proceedings below, having been duly presented to the House of Lords,
then came the "_assignment of errors,_" prepared by the counsel of the
plaintiffs in error--being a statement of the grounds for imputing
"manifest error" to the record; and which in this case were no fewer
than thirty-four. The Attorney-General, on the part of the crown, put in
the usual plea, or joinder in error--"_In nullo est erratum;" Anglicè_,
that "_there is no error in the record._" This was in the nature of a
demurrer,[6] and referred the whole record--and, be it observed,
_nothing but_ THE RECORD--to the judgment of the House of Lords, as
constituting the High Court of Parliament. It is a cardinal maxim, that
upon a writ of error the court _cannot travel out of the record_; they
can take judicial notice of nothing but what appears upon the face of
the record, sent up to them for the purpose of being "inspected," to see
if there be any error _therein._

The judges of England were summoned _to advise_[7] the House of Lords:
from the _Queen's Bench_, Justices Patteson, Williams, and Coleridge,
(Lord Denman, the Chief-Justice, sitting in judgment as a peer;) from
the _Common Pleas_, Chief-Justice Tindal, and Justices Coltman and
Maule; from the _Exchequer_, Barons Parke, Alderson, and Gurney. Lord
Chief-Baron Pollock did not attend, having advised the Crown in early
stages of the case, as Attorney-General: Mr Justice Erskine was ill; and
the remaining three common law judges, Justices Wightman, Rolfe, and
Cresswell, were required to preside in the respective courts at _Nisi
Prius_. With these necessary exceptions, the whole judicial force--so to
speak--of England assisted in the deliberations of the House of Lords.
The "_law_" peers who constantly attended, were the Lord Chancellor,
Lords Brougham, Cottenham, and Campbell. It has been remarked as
singular, that Lord Langdale (the Master of the Rolls) did not attend in
his place on so important an occasion, and take his share in the
responsibility of the decision. Possibly he considered himself not
qualified by his _equity_ practice and experience to decide upon the
niceties of criminal pleading. Several lay peers also attended--of whom
some, particularly Lord Redesdale, attended regularly. The appeal lasted
for many days, frequently from ten o'clock in the morning till a late
hour in the evening; but the patience and attention of the peers and
judges--we speak from personal observation--was exemplary. For the crown
the case was argued by the English and Irish Attorney-Generals, (Sir W.
W. Follett and Mr T. B. C. Smith;) for O'Connell and his companions, by
Sir Thomas Wilde, Mr M. D. Hill, Mr Fitzroy Kelly, and Mr Peacock, all
of whom evinced a degree of astuteness and learning commensurate with
the occasion of their exertions. If ever a case was thoroughly
discussed, it was surely this. If ever "justice to Ireland" was done at
the expense of the "delay of justice to England," it was on this
occasion. When the argument had closed, the Lord Chancellor proposed
written questions, eleven in number, to the judges, who begged for time
to answer them, which was granted. Seven out of the eleven related to
the merest technical objections, and which were unanimously declared by
the judges to be untenable; the law lords (except with reference to the
sixth question, as to the overruling the challenge to the array)
concurring in their opinions. Lord Denman here differed with the judges,
stating that Mr Justice Coleridge also entertained doubts upon the
subject; Lords Cottenham and Campbell shared their doubts, expressly
stating, however, that they would not have reversed the proceedings on
that ground. If they had concurred in reversing the judgment which
disallowed the challenge to the array, the only effect would have been,
to order a _venire de novo_, or a new trial. With seven of the
questions, therefore, we have here no concern, and have infinite
satisfaction in disencumbering the case of such vexatious trifling--for
such we consider it--and laying before our readers the remaining four
questions which tended to raise the SINGLE POINT on which the judgment
was reversed; a point, be it observed, which was not, as it could not in
the nature of things have been, made in the court below--arising out of
proceedings which took place after the court below, having discharged
their duty, had become _functi officio_. Those questions were,
respectively, the first, second, third, and last, (the eleventh,) and as

_Question I._--"Are all, or any, and if any, which of the _counts of the
indictment, bad in law_--so that, if such count or counts stood alone in
the indictment, _no judgment_ against the defendants could properly be
entered upon them?"

_Question II._--"Is there any, and if any, what defect in the _findings
of the jury_ upon the trial of the said indictment, or in the _entering_
of such findings?"

_Question III._--"Is there any sufficient ground for _reversing the
judgment_, by reason of any defect in the indictment, or of the
findings, or entering of the findings, of the jury, upon the said

_Question XI._--"In an indictment consisting of counts A, B, C, when the
verdict is, _guilty of all generally_, and the counts A and B are good,
and the count C is bad; the judgment being, that the defendant, '_for
his offences aforesaid_,' be fined and imprisoned; which judgment would
be sufficient in point of law, if confined expressly to counts A and
B--can such judgment be reversed on a writ of error? Will it make any
difference whether the punishment be discretionary, as above suggested,
or a punishment fixed by law?"

The above questions may be stated shortly and substantially thus:--Are
there any _defective counts_ in the indictment? Any defective _findings_
of the jury? Any defects in _entering_ the findings? Can judgment be
reversed on any of these grounds? If one only of several counts in an
indictment be bad; a verdict given of "guilty" generally; judgment
awarded against the defendant "for _his offences_ aforesaid," and the
punishment discretionary--can judgment be reversed on a writ of error?
The whole matter may now, in fact, be reduced to this single question:
Can a judgment inflicting fine or imprisonment be reversed by a court of
error, because that judgment proceeded on an indictment containing both
_bad and good_ counts, and in respect of which _some_ of the findings of
the jury were either defective or defectively entered?--Let us now
listen to the decision of that venerable body of men, who are, in the
language of our great commentator, "_the depositaries of the laws, the
living oracles, who must decide in all cases of doubt, and who are bound
by an oath to decide according to the law of the land._"[8] The
questions which they had thus to consider, moreover, were not questions
of rare, subtle, unusual, and speculative, but of an ordinary practical
character, such as they were concerned with every day of their lives in
administering the criminal law of the country.

First, then, were there any bad counts in the indictment?

The judges were unanimously of opinion that TWO of the counts were bad,
or insufficient in law--and two only--which were the SIXTH and SEVENTH
counts. They hold positively and explicitly, that the remaining NINE

The Chief-Justice (Tindal) thus delivered this unanimous opinion of
himself and his brethren on this point.[9]

"No serious objection appears to have been made by counsel for the
prisoners, against the sufficiency of any of the counts prior to the
sixth. Indeed, there can be no question that the charges contained in
the FIRST FIVE COUNTS, _do amount in each to the legal offence of
conspiracy, and are sufficiently described therein_.

"We all concur in opinion as to the EIGHTH, NINTH, and TENTH counts, (no
doubt whatever having been raised as to the sufficiency of the ELEVENTH
count,) that the object and purpose of the agreement entered into by the
defendants and others, as disclosed upon those counts, is an agreement
for the performance of an act, and the attainment of an object, which is
a violation of the law of the land."

With reference to the SIXTH and SEVENTH counts, in the form in which
they stand upon their record, the judges were unanimously of opinion,
that these counts "did not state the illegal purpose and design of the
agreement entered into between the defendants, with such proper and
sufficient _certainty_ as to lead to the _necessary_ conclusion that it
was an agreement to do an act in violation of the law." They did not
show what sort of fear was intended by the alleged intimidation, nor
upon whom it was intended to operate, nor was it alleged that the
"physical force exhibited" was to be _used_, or _intended_ to be used.

Observed, therefore, on what grounds these two counts--two only out of
eleven--are held defective: they are deficient in that rigorous
"_certainty_" now held requisite to constitute a perfectly legal charge
of crime. To the eye of plain common sense--we submit, with the deepest
deference, to those who have held otherwise--they distinctly disclose a
_corpus delicti_; but when stretched upon the agonizing rack of legal
logic to which they were exposed, it seems that they gave way. The
degree of "certainty" here insisted upon, would seem to savour a little
(possibly) of that _nimia subtilitas quæ in jure reprobatur; et talis
certitudo certitudinem confundit_: and which, in the shape of "certainty
to a certain intent in every particular," is rejected in law, according
to Lord Coke, (5 _Rep._ 121.) It undoubtedly tends to impose inevitable
difficulty upon the administration of criminal justice. Sir Matthew Hale
complained strongly of this "strictness, which has grown to be a blemish
and inconvenience in the law, and the administration thereof; for that
more offenders escape by the over-easy ear given to exceptions in
indictments, than by their own innocence."--12 Hal. P. C. 193; 4 Bla.
Co. 376. The words, in the present case, are pregnant with irresistible
"inference" of guilt; an additional word or two, which to us appear
already implicitly there, as they are actually in the eleventh count,
would have dispersed every possible film of doubt; and Lord Brougham, in
giving judgment, appeared to be of this opinion. But now for the general
result: The indictment contained two imperfect counts, and nine perfect
counts, distinctly disclosing offences not very far short of treason.

Thus, then, the first question was answered.

To the _second_ question the judges replied unanimously, "that the
_findings of the jury_ in the first four counts were not authorized by
the law, and are incorrectly entered on the record." One of the judges,
however, and a most eminent judge, (Mr Justice Patteson,) being of a
contrary opinion.

Thus we have it unanimously decided by the judges, whose decision was
acquiesced in by the House of Lords, that there were two bad counts,
(the 6th and 7th,) on which there were good findings by the jury, and,
with the exception of Mr Justice Patteson, four good counts, (the 1st,
2d, 3d, and 4th,) on which there were bad findings. The effect of this
twofold error was thus tersely stated by Mr Baron Gurney, and adopted by
the Lord Chancellor.[10]

"I cannot distinguish between a bad finding on a good count, and a good
finding on a bad count. They appear to me to amount to precisely the
same thing--namely, that upon which no judgment can be pronounced. The
judgment must be taken to have proceeded upon _the concurrence of good
counts and good findings_, and upon nothing else."

Here, then, at length, it seems that we have hit upon a _blot_--a petty,
circumscribed blot to be sure, upon a vast surface of otherwise
unsullied legal sufficiency; but still--in the opinion of the judges--a

What was to be held the effect of it? Or had it _any_ effect?

The traversers' counsel, at the bar of the House of Lords, took by
surprise every one whom they addressed--all their opponents, all the
judges, all the law lords, and all the legal profession, as soon as they
had heard of it--by boldly affirming, that if this blot really existed,
it would invalidate and utterly nullify the whole proceedings from the
beginning to the end! They hammered away at this point accordingly, hour
after hour--day after day--with desperate pertinacity; being compelled
from time to time, during their hopeful argument, to admit, that up to
that moment the rule or custom which they were seeking to impeach had
been universally acted upon from time immemorial, to the contrary of
that for which they were contending. This strange and novel point of
theirs gave rise to the third and eleventh questions put to the judges.
These questions are substantially identical, viz., whether a single bad
count in an indictment on which there has been a general verdict of
guilty, with judgment accordingly, will entitle the fortunate defendant
to a reversal of that judgment?

We heard a considerable portion of the argument; and listened to _this_
part of it with a comfortable consciousness that we beheld, in each
counsel arguing it, as it were, a viper gnawing a file! If _this_ be
law, thought we, then have many thousands of injured gentlemen been, in
all human probability, unjustly hanged, and transported for life or for
years, been fined, imprisoned, sent to the tread-mill, and publicly
whipped; for Heaven only knows how many of the counts in the indictments
against--say Mr Fauntleroy; Messrs Thistlewood, Brunt, Tidd, and Ings;
Messrs Greenacre, Courvoisier, and many others--have been defective in
law! How many hundreds are now luxuriating in Norfolk Island who have,
on this supposition, no just right to be there; and who, had they been
but _popular_ miscreants, might have collected sufficient funds from
their friends and admirers to enable them to prove this--to try a fall
with justice and show her weakness; to overhaul the proceedings against
them, detect the latent flaws therein, return in triumph to the bosom of
their families and friends, and exhibit new and greater feats of
dexterity in their art and mystery! Why should not that "_innocent_"
convict--now passing over the seas--Mr Barber, on hearing of this
decision, soon after his arrival at the distant paradise to which he is
bound, take new heart and remit instructions by the next homeward bound
ship for a writ of error, in order that he may have _his_ chance of
detecting a flaw in one of the many counts of _his_ indictment?

But, to be serious again, how stands the case in the present instance?
Of eleven counts, six must be in legal contemplation expunged from the
record: FOUR, (the first, second, third, and fourth,) because, though in
themselves sufficient in law, the findings upon them were technically
defective; and TWO, (the sixth and seventh,) because they were
technically defective in point of law, though the findings on them were

opinion of all the judges and of all the law lords; those five _counts_
containing the gist of the whole charge against O'Connell and his
confederates--those five _findings_ establishing that the defendants
were guilty of the offences so laid to their charge. Blot out, then,
altogether from the record the six counts objectionable on the
above-mentioned grounds, how are the other five to be got rid of? Thus,
said the traversers' counsel. We have the entire record before us
containing all the eleven counts and findings, both good and bad; and we
find by the language of the record itself, that the judges, in passing
sentence, _took into consideration all the eleven counts_, as if they
had been valid counts with valid findings--for the judges expressly
inflicted punishment on each of the traversers "_for his_ OFFENCES
_aforesaid_." Is it not therefore plain to demonstration, that the
measure of punishment was governed by reference to six--_i. e._ a
majority--of eleven counts, which six counts had no more right to stand
on the record, entailing liability to punishment on the parties named in
them, than six of the odes of Horace? The punishment here, moreover,
being discretionary, and consequently dependent upon, and influenced by,
the ingredients of guilt, which it appears conclusively that the judges
took into their consideration?

Such was the general drift of the reasonings of the traversers' counsel.
What was their effect upon the assembled judges--those experienced and
authoritative expositors of the law of the land? Why, after nearly two
months' time taken to consider and ponder over the various points which
had been started--after anxious consideration and communication one with
another--they re-appeared in the House of Lords on the 2d of September;
and, led by one who will be on all hands admitted to be one of the most
experienced, gifted, profoundly learned, and perfectly impartial and
independent lawyers that ever presided over a court of justice--Sir
Nicholas Tindal--SEVEN out of _nine_ of the judges expressed a clear
unhesitating opinion, that the third and eleventh questions should be
answered in the negative--viz. that the judgment was in no way
invalidated--could be in no way impeached, by reason of the defective
counts and findings. The two dissenting judges who had been _hit_ by the
arguments of the traversers' counsel, were Baron Parke and Mr Justice
Coltman--the latter speaking in a confident, the former in a remarkably
hesitating and doubting tone. The majority consisted of Chief-Justice
Sir Nicholas Tindal, Mr Justice Patteson, Mr Justice Maule, Mr Justice
Williams, Mr Baron Gurney, Mr Baron Alderson, and Mr Justice Coleridge.

We have no hesitation in expressing our opinion, that the judgments
delivered by this majority of the judges stand on the immovable basis of
sound logic, accurate law, and good sense; and lament that our space
will not allow us to present our readers with the many striking and
conclusive reasonings and illustrations with which those judgments
abound. We can but glance at the _result_--leaving the _process_ to be
examined at leisure by those so disposed. The artful fallacies of the
traversers' counsel will be found utterly demolished. The first grand
conclusion of the judges was thus expressed by the Chief-Justice--

"I conceive it to be the law, that in the case of an indictment, if
there be ONE GOOD COUNT in an indictment upon which the defendants have
been declared guilty by proper findings on the record, and a judgment
given for the crown, imposing a sentence authorized by law to be awarded
in respect of the particular offence, that such judgment cannot be
reversed by a writ of error, by reason of one or more of the counts in
the indictment being bad in point of law."

The main argument of the traversers' counsel was thus disposed of--

"It was urged at your lordships' bar, that all the instances which have
been brought forward in support of the proposition, that one good count
will support a general judgment upon an indictment in which there are
also bad counts, are cases in which there was a motion in _arrest of
judgment_, not cases where a _writ of error_ has been brought. This may
be true; for so far as can be ascertained, there is no single instance
in which a writ of error has been ever brought to reverse a judgment
upon an indictment, upon this ground of objection. But the very
circumstance of the refusal by the court to arrest the judgment, where
such arrest has been prayed on the ground of some defective count
appearing on the record, and the assigning by the court as the reason
for such refusal, that there was one good count upon which the judgment
might be entered up, affords the strongest argument, that they thought
the judgment, _when entered up_, was irreversible upon a writ of error.
For such answer could not otherwise have been given; it could have had
no other effect than to mislead the prosecutor, if the court were
sensible at the time, that the judgment, when entered up, might
afterwards be reversed by a court of error."

The grand argument derived from _the language of the judgment_, was thus

"I interpret the words, 'that the defendant _for his offences_
aforesaid, be fined and imprisoned,' in their plain literal sense, to
mean _such offences as are set out in the counts of the indictment which
are free from objection, and of which the defendant is shown by proper
findings on the record to have been guilty_--that is in effect the
offences contained in the fifth and eighth, and all the subsequent
counts. And I see no objection to the word offences, in the plural,
being used, whether the several counts last enumerated do intend several
and distinct offences, or only one offence described in different
manners in those counts. For whilst the record remains in that shape,
and unreversed, there can be no objection in point of law, that they
should be called 'offences' as they appear on the record."

Now, however, let us see the view taken of the matter by Mr Baron
Parke--a man undoubtedly of acute and powerful mind, as well as accurate
and extensive learning. It is impossible not to be struck by the tone of
diffidence which pervades his judgment; and it was _delivered_ in a very
subdued manner, not usual with that learned judge; occasioned doubtless
by the pain with which he found himself, on an occasion of such
transcendent importance, differing from all his brethren but one. He
commenced by acknowledging the astonishment with which he had heard
counsel at the bar question the proposition _which he_ (Baron Parke)
_had always considered_, ever since he had been in the profession,
_perfectly settled and well established_, viz. that in criminal cases
one good count, though associated with many bad ones, would,
nevertheless, suffice to support a general judgment. But "he had been
induced to _doubt_ whether the rule had not been carried too far, by a
misunderstanding of the _dicta_ of judges on applications _in arrest of

To enable the lay reader to appreciate the novel doctrine which has been
sanctioned in the present case, it is requisite to understand clearly
the distinction to which we have already briefly adverted, between a
motion in _arrest of judgment_ and a _writ of error_. When a defendant
has been found guilty of an offence by the verdict of a jury, judgment
must follow as a matter of course, "_judgment_ being the sentence of the
law pronounced by the court upon the matter contained in the
record."[11] If, however, the defendant can satisfy the court that the
indictment is entirely defective, he will succeed in "_arresting,_" or
staying the passing of judgment; but if he cannot, the court will
proceed to _give judgment_. That judgment having been entered on the
record, the defendant, if still persuaded that the indictment is
defective, and consequently the judgment given on it erroneous, has one
more chance; viz. to _reverse_ the judgment which has been so given, by
bringing a writ of error before an appellate tribunal. Now, the exact
proposition for which the traversers' counsel contended was this--that
the rule that "one good count will sustain a general judgment, though
there are also bad counts in the indictment," is applicable to that
stage only of the proceedings at which a motion is made in arrest of
judgment; _i. e. before the judgment has been actually given_, and not
to the stage at which a writ of error has been obtained, viz. _after the
judgment has been actually given_.

This proposition was adopted by Mr Justice Coltman; while Mr Baron
Parke--for reasons substantially identical with those of Lords Denman,
Cottenham, and Campbell--declared himself unable to overthrow it.

As to the "opinion that one good count, properly found, will support a
judgment warranted by it, whatever bad counts there may be," Mr Baron
Parke said,--"I doubt whether this received opinion is so sufficiently
established by a course of usage and practical recognition, though
generally entertained, as to compel its adoption in the present case,
and prevent me considering its propriety. After much anxious
consideration, and weighing the difficulties of reconciling such a
doctrine with principle, I feel so much doubt, that I cannot bring
myself to concur with the majority of the judges upon this question."

Without for one moment presuming to suggest any invidious comparison, we
may observe, that whatever may be the learning and ability of the two
dissenting judges, the majority, with Sir Nicholas Tindal at their head,
contains some of the most powerful, well-disciplined, long-experienced,
and learned intellects that ever were devoted to the administration of
justice, and all of them thoroughly familiar with the law and practice
in criminal proceedings; and as we have already suggested, no competent
reader can peruse their judgments without feeling admiration of the
logical power evinced by them. While Mr Baron Parke "_doubts_" as to the
soundness of his conclusions, they all express a clear and _decisive_
opinion as to the existence of the rule or custom in question as a rule
of law, and as to its reasonableness, utility, and justice.

The reading of these judgments occupied from ten o'clock on the Monday
morning till three o'clock in the afternoon, when the House adjourned
till Wednesday; having first ordered the opinions of the judges to be
printed. There were a considerable number of peers (among whom was the
Duke of Cambridge) present, and they listened attentively to those whom
they had summoned to advise them on so great an occasion. Lords
Brougham, Denman, Cottenham, and Campbell sat near one another on the
opposition side of the House, each with writing-tables before him; and
they, together with the Lord Chancellor, appeared to pay close attention
to what fell from the judges. The House of Lords on these great
occasions presents a very interesting and impressive appearance. The
Chancellor sits robed in his usual place, surrounded by the judges, who
are seated on the woolsacks in the centre of the house, all in their
full official costume, each rising to read his written judgment. If ever
man made a magnificent personal appearance among his fellows, it is Lord
Lyndhurst thus surrounded. At the bar of the house stood, or sat, the
majority of the counsel engaged on each side, as well as others; and the
whole space behind was crowded by anxious spectators, conspicuous among
whom were Messrs Mahoney and Ford, (two tall, stout, shrewd-looking
men,) the Irish attorneys engaged on behalf of the traversers. They and
their counsel appeared a trifle less desponding at the conclusion of
Baron Parke's judgment; but the impression was universal that the
Chancellor would advise the House to affirm the judgment, in accordance
with the opinions of so overwhelming a majority of the judges. No one,
however, could do more than guess the inclination of the law lords, or
what impression had been made upon them by the opinions of the judges.
When therefore Wednesday, the day of final judgment upon this memorable
and agitating case, had arrived, it is difficult to describe the
excitement and anxiety manifest among all the parties who densely
crowded the space between the door and the bar of the House. There were,
of course, none of the judges present, with the exception of Mr Baron
Rolfe, who, in plain clothes, sat on the steps of the throne, a mere
private spectator. There were about a dozen peers on the ministerial
benches, including Lord Wharncliffe, Lord Redesdale, Lord Stradbroke,
and others; and several peers (including Lord Clanricarde) sat on the
opposite benches. Lords Cottenham and Campbell sat together, frequently
in communication with each other, and occasionally with Lord Denman, who
sat near them, at the cross-benches, busily engaged in referring to
books and papers. Lord Brougham occupied his usual place, a little
nearer the bar of the House than Lords Cottenham and Campbell; and on
the writing-desks of all three lay their written judgments. All the
law-peers wore a serious and thoughtful expression of countenance--which
you scrutinized with eager anxiety in vain for any sign of the sort of
judgments which they had come prepared to deliver. The traversers'
leading counsel, Sir Thomas Wilde and Mr Hill, both stood at the bar of
the House in a state of very perceptible suspense and anxiety. The
Attorney-General for Ireland sat in his usual place--almost motionless,
as usual, from first to last--very calm, and watching the proceedings
with deep attention, seldom uttering more than a passing syllable to
those who sat next to him, _i. e._ the English Solicitor-General, and Mr
Waddington, and Mr Maule of the Treasury. After judgment had been
briefly given in Gray's case, a few moments' interval of silence
elapsed--the silence of suppressed anxiety and expectation. At length
the Lord Chancellor, who had been sitting with a very thoughtful air for
a few moments, slowly rose from the woolsack, and advanced to his proper
post when addressing the House, viz. at about a couple of yards'
distance to the left of the woolsack. Finding that his robes, or train,
had in some way got inconveniently disarranged, so as to interfere with
the freedom of his motions, he occupied several seconds in very calmly
putting it to rights; and then his tall commanding figure stood before
you, in all that tranquil grace and dignity of appearance and gesture,
for which he has ever been so remarkably distinguished. During the whole
time--exactly an hour--that he was speaking, his voice clear and
harmonious as usual, and his attitude and gesture characterized by a
graceful and easy energy, he never once slipped, or even hesitated for
want of an apt expression; but, on the contrary, invariably hit upon
_the very_ expression which was the most accurate, appropriate, and
elegant, for conveying his meaning. He spoke with an air of unusual
decision, and entirely _extempore_, without the assistance of a single
memorandum, or note, or law-book: yet the greater portion of his speech
consisted of very masterly comments on a great number of cases which had
been cited, in doing which he was as familiar and exactly accurate, in
stating not only the principles and distinctions involved, but the
minutest circumstances connected with them, as if the cases had been
lying open before him! His very first sentence put an end to all doubt
as to the conclusion at which _he_ had arrived. These were his precise
words--the last of them uttered with peculiar emphasis:--"My lords, I
have to move your lordships that the judgment of the court below in this
case be _affirmed_." He proceeded to compliment the judges on the
patient and laborious attention and research which they had bestowed
upon the case. "My lords," said he, "with respect to all the points
submitted to their consideration, with the exception of one
question--for in substance it _was_ one question--their opinion and
judgment have been unanimous. With reference to that one question, seven
of the learned judges, with the Chief-Justice of the Common Pleas at
their head, have expressed a distinct, a clear, and decided opinion
against the objections which were urged. Two other learned judges have
expressed an adverse opinion. I may be permitted to say--and all who
were present to hear them must agree with me--that it was an opinion
accompanied with much doubt and much hesitation. I think, under these
circumstances, that _unless your lordships are thoroughly and entirely
satisfied that the opinion of the great majority of the judges was
founded in palpable error_, your lordships will feel yourselves, in a
case of this kind, bound by their decision to adhere to and support
their judgment, and act in conformity with it." After briefly stating
the only question before them--viz. "whether, there being defective
counts in the indictment, and other counts with defective findings on
them, a general judgment can be sustained?"--he proceeded, "Your
lordships will observe that this is a mere technical question, though, I
admit, of great importance--never presented to the judges of the court
below, not calling in question their judgment in substance--but arising
entirely out of the manner in which that judgment has been entered up,
by those whose province it was to discharge that particular duty." He
then made the following decisive and authoritative declaration, which
all who know the accurate and profound learning and the vast judicial
experience of the Chancellor will know how to value. "Allow me, my
lords, to say, that _it has always been considered as a clear, distinct,
and undoubted principle of the criminal law of England, that in a case
of this nature a general judgment is sufficient_; and from the first
moment when I entered the profession, down to the time when I heard the
question agitated at your lordships' bar, I never heard it called in
question. I have found it uniformly and constantly acted upon, without
doubt, without hesitation. I find it in all treatises, in all
text-writers on the subject--not questioned, not doubted, not qualified,
but stated broadly and clearly. Now for the first time it has been
stated--and Mr Baron Parke himself admits that it _is_ for the first
time--that that rule applies only to motions in arrest of judgment. I
never before heard of such a limitation. I am quite sure that there is
no case to sanction it, no decision to warrant it, no authority to be
cited in support of it. I am quite satisfied, after all I have heard on
the subject, that there is no ground whatever for the doubt--no ground
whatever for the exception now insisted upon. * * * It is not NECESSARY
that the judgment should be awarded _with reference to any particular
count_. No such decision can be cited. No one not in the confidence of
the judges can tell in respect of what the judgment was awarded, _except
with reference to the record itself_. If there be defective counts, does
it by any means FOLLOW that the judges, in awarding judgment, appointed
any part of it with reference to the defective counts? There is no
similarity between the two cases: you cannot reason or argue from one to
that what the judges have done in that respect is right; that the
judgment, if there be any part of the record to support it, proceeded
upon that part. In writs of error, you are not allowed to _conjecture_,
to decide on _probabilities_, you must look to the record; and unless
the record itself, on the face of it, shows, not that there _may_ have
been, but that there HAS been manifest error in the apportioning of the
punishment, you cannot reverse the judgment. You upon conjecture reverse
the judgment; and if afterwards you were to consult the very judge by
whom it had been pronounced, you might find that he had at the time
taken that very point into consideration. You are therefore running the
hazard of reversing a judgment on the very grounds which were present to
the mind of the judge at the moment when that judgment was pronounced."
As to the statement, that judgment was awarded against each defendant
"FOR HIS OFFENCES aforesaid,"--thus argued the Chancellor:--

"But independently of this, my lords, let us look at the record itself,
and see whether, on the face of the record, there is any ground whatever
for this objection. Every record must be construed according to _its
legal effect_--according to its legal operation. You cannot travel out
of the record. Now, what is the judgment? Why, 'that the court adjudges
the defendant, _for his offences aforesaid_, to be fined and
imprisoned.' What is an 'OFFENCE' on this record? There are two counts
defective: but why? Because they charged, according to the unanimous
opinion of the judges, NO offence. There were _facts_ stated, but not so
stated as to constitute an indictable offence. When you consider this
record, then, according to its language and legal interpretation, can
you say that when there is an award of judgment for the offences on the
record, that judgment applies to those counts which bear on the face of
them no offence whatever? That is, my lords, an incongruity, an
inconsistency, which your lordships will never sanction for one moment.
The argument which applies to defective counts, applies to valid counts
on which erroneous findings are entered up. When judgment is given for
an 'offence' on the record, it is given on the offence of which the
defendant is properly found guilty; and he is _not_ found guilty on
those counts on which the erroneous findings are entered up. My lords,
the conclusion to which I come on the record is, that when the judgment
is awarded 'for the offences aforesaid', it must be confined to those
offences stated on the record which are offences in the eye of the law,
and of which the defendant has been found guilty by the law--namely,
those offences on which the finding was properly made. It is not,
however, necessary to rest upon that: but if it were, I am of opinion,
and I state it to your lordships, that in this case, the record,
considered according to the proper and legal acceptation and force of
the terms--and that is the only way in which a local record can be
properly considered--must be taken as containing an award of judgment
for those offences only which are properly laid, and of which the
parties have been found guilty. On the face, therefore, of the record
itself, there is no defect whatever in this case."

His lordship, after a luminous commentary on a great number of
authorities, thus proceeded--"Now, my lords, it is said that there is
_no express decision_ upon the subject. Why, if a case be so clear, so
free from doubt, that no man, no attorney, barrister, or judge, ever
entertained any scruple concerning it--if the rule have been uniformly
acted upon and constantly recognised, is it to be said, that because
there is no express decision it is not to be considered _law_? Why, that
argument leads to this conclusion--that the more clear a question is,
the more free from doubt, the more uncertain it must be! _My lords, what
constitutes the law of this country? It is--usage, practice,
recognition._ For many established opinions, part of the acknowledged
law of the land, you will look in vain for any express decision. I
repeat, that practice, usage, recognition, are considered as precedents
establishing the law: these are the foundations on which the common law
of the country rests; and it is admitted in this case, that the usage is
all against the principle now contended for by the plaintiffs in error.
No case, no authority of any kind, can be adduced in its favour: it is
now admittedly, for the first time, urged in this extraordinary case.
And I ask, my lords, if you will not recognise the decision of the great
majority of the judges on a question of this kind, involving the
technicalities of the law, with which they are constantly conversant?
When, on such a point, you find them--speaking by the eminent and able
Chief-Justice of the Common Pleas--pronouncing a clear and distinct
opinion, it must be a case clear from all doubt--a conviction amounting
to actual certainty, upon which alone you would be justified in
rejecting such authorities. * * * It is on these grounds, and on the
authorities which I have cited, that I assert the universal recognition
of the principle which I contend has been acknowledged law from time

Such was the emphatic, clear, unwavering judgment, deliberately
pronounced, after long examination and consideration, by one of the very
greatest intellects ever brought to bear upon the science of the law,
and of vast judicial experience in the administration of every
department of the law--criminal law, common law, and equity.

Lord Brougham then rose, and delivered partly a written, partly an oral
judgment--characterized by his lordship's usual vigour and felicity of
reasoning and illustration. He entirely concurred with the Lord
Chancellor, and assigned reasons, which certainly appeared of
irresistible cogency, for adopting the opinion of the judges, whom, in a
matter peculiarly within their province, their lordships had summoned to
their assistance, who had bestowed such unexampled pains upon the
subject, and were all but unanimous. The following was a very striking
way of putting the case:--"If the doubts which have been thrown upon
this judgment be allowed to have any weight in them, it goes the length
of declaring, that _every thing which has been decided in similar cases_
was mere error and delusion. Nothing can be more dangerous than such an
impression. I cannot conceive any thing more appalling than that it
should be held, that every one of the cases similarly decided ought to
be reversed; that the judgments without number under which parties have
been sent for execution _are all erroneous judgments, and ought to have
been reversed_, and _must_ have been reversed, if they had been brought
before the last resort!"

Lord Denman then rose; and though it was generally understood--as proved
to be the fact--that he intended to express a strong opinion against the
disallowance of the challenge to the array, we believe that no one
expected him to dissent upon the great and only point on which the
appeal turned, from the opinions of the great majority of his brother
judges, and from the Chancellor and Lord Brougham. We waited with great
interest to see the course which Lord Denman would take upon the great
question. He is a man of strong natural talents, of a lofty bearing in
the administration of justice, and an uncompromising determination on
all occasions to assert the rights and protect the privileges of the
subject. Nor, though a man of unquestionably very strong Whig opinions,
are we aware of his having ever allowed them to interfere with his
eminent and most responsible judicial duties. Whatever may be our
opinion as to the validity of his conclusions on the subject of the
challenge to the array, it was impossible not to be interested by the
zealous energy, the manly eloquence, with which he vindicated the right
of the subject to the fullest enjoyment of trial by jury, and denounced
what he considered to be any, the slightest interference, with that
right. At length his lordship closed his observations on that subject,
and amidst breathless silence, fell foul, not only of the two counts
which had been admitted to be defective--the sixth and seventh--but
"_many others of the counts!_" which, he said, were open to objection,
and declared that the judgment could not be sustained.

Lord Denman's judgment (to which great respect is due) was, as far as
relates to _the point_ of the case, to this effect:--He had an
"unconquerable repugnance" to assuming that the judges had passed
sentence on the good counts only; for it was in direct contradiction to
_the notorious fact_, that the judges had pronounced certain counts to
be good; and it was also against the _common probability_ of every case.
He admitted the general opinion of the profession to have long been,
that a general judgment, if supported by one sufficient good count, was
not injured by a bad one associated with it. "I know," said his
lordship,[12] "what course I should have taken if pressed to give
judgment at the trial, and had given it. If nothing had taken place
respecting the validity of any part of the indictment--but much more if
its validity had been disputed, but established--I should leave
apportioned the sentence to the degree of criminality that was stated in
all the counts which were proved in evidence."--"I see no inconvenience
in compelling a judge to form an opinion on the validity of the counts,
before he proceeds to pass judgment. He ought to take care that a count
is good before he allows a verdict to be taken, or at least judgment to
be entered upon it; and great good will arise from that practice. I am
deliberately of opinion that this is a right and wholesome practice,
producing no inconvenience, and affording a great security for justice.
* * * In criminal cases, all difficulty may be entirely avoided by the
court passing a separate judgment on each count, and saying, 'We adjudge
that on this count, on which the prisoner is found guilty, he ought to
suffer so much; that on the second count, having been found guilty, he
ought to suffer so much; whether the count turn out to be good or not,
we shall pronounce no opinion; that question would be reserved for a
superior court. A court of error would then reverse the judgment only on
such counts as could not be supported in law--leaving that to stand
which had proceeded on valid charges."--"Where a felony was established,
requiring a capital punishment, or transportation for life, the number
of counts could make no difference; because the punishment pronounced on
any one exhausted the whole materials of punishment, and admitted of no
addition."--"The current notion, that one count alone could support any
sentence applicable to the offences stated in the whole indictment, can
be accounted for only by Lord Mansfield's general words, needlessly and
inconsiderately uttered, hastily adopted, and applied to a stage of the
proceedings in which they are not correct in law."

Then came Lord Cottenham--a cold, clear-headed lawyer, cautious, close,
and accurate in his reasonings, and very tenacious in adhering to his
conclusions: possessing the advantage of several years' judicial
experience--as an equity judge. Thus he addressed himself to _the point_
of the case:--

"_Is there error upon the record?_"

* * * Did not the court below pass sentence upon the offences charged in
the _first_, _second_, _third_, _fourth_, _sixth_, and _seventh_ counts
in the indictment, as well as upon the offences charged in the other
counts? The record of that court tells us that it _did_; and if we are
to see whether there be any error on that record, and adopt the
unanimous opinion of the judges, that those six counts, or the findings
on them, are so bad that no judgment upon them would be good, how can we
give judgment for the defendant, and thereby declare that there is _no
error_ in the record? The answer which has been given to this objection
appears not only unsatisfactory, but inadmissible. It is said that we
must presume that the court below gave judgment, and passed sentence,
only with reference to the unobjectionable counts and findings. That
would be to presume that which the record negatives. By that record the
court tells us that the sentence on each defendant was 'for his offences
aforesaid,' after enumerating all those charged in the indictment. Are
we, after and in spite of this, to assume that this statement is false,
and that the sentence was upon one-half only of the offences charged? *
* * We can look to the record only for what passed in the court below;
and as that tells us the sentence was passed _upon all the offences of
which the jury had found the defendants guilty_, we cannot presume to
the contrary of such a statement. It would be the presumption of a fact,
the contrary of which was known to all to be the truth. The argument
supposes the court below to have been right in all particulars; but the
impossibility of doing so on this record was felt so strongly, that
another argument was resorted to, (not very consistently with the
judgment, for it assumes that the jury may have been wrong upon every
count but one,) namely, that a court of error has to see only that there
is _some one offence properly charged_, or a punishment applicable to it
inflicted; and then, that being so, that as to all the other counts the
court below was wrong--all such other counts or findings being bad.

"Consider what is the proposition contended for. Every count in an
indictment for misdemeanour is supposed to apply to a different offence:
they often do so, and always may; a prosecutor having the option of
preparing a separate indictment for each, or of joining all as one. If
he adopt the former course, he must, to support the sentence, show each
indictment to be right. If he adopt the latter course--viz. going upon
one indictment containing several counts, and one sentence is pronounced
upon all the counts, according to the proposition now contended for;
suppose the sentences to be bad on all the counts _but one_, that one
applying to the most insignificant offence of the whole; a court of
error, it is said, has no right to interfere! That is to say, it cannot
correct error except such error be _universal_;--no matter how important
that error, no matter how insignificant the portion which is right, nor
what may have been the effect of such error! The proposition will no
longer be 'in _nullo_ est erratum,' but that the error is
not--_universal_. If neither of these arguments prove that there is
manifest error upon the record, and it is not for a court of error to
enter into any consideration of the effect which such error may have
produced, it has no power to alter the verdict, and can form no opinion
of its propriety and justice from mere inspection of the record, which
is all the judicial knowledge a court of error has of the case. _Upon
what ground_ is it to be assumed, in any case, that the court below, if
aware of the legal insufficiency of any of the counts, or of the
findings upon them, would have awarded the same punishment? It _could_,
probably, do so in many cases--but in many it as certainly would not. If
the several counts were only different modes of stating the same
offence, the insufficiency of some of those counts could not affect the
sentence; but if the different counts stated--as they well
might--actually different misdemeanours, and, after a verdict of guilty
_upon all_, it were found that some of _such_ counts--that is, that some
of the misdemeanours--charged, must be withdrawn from the consideration
of the court, by reason of defects in either the counts themselves or
the findings upon them, it cannot, in many cases, be supposed that the
sentence could be the same as if the court had the duty thrown upon it
of punishing _all the offences charged_. This may be well illustrated by
supposing an indictment for two libels in different counts--the first of
a slight, the other of an aggravated character--and verdict and judgment
upon both; and the count charging the malignant libel, or the finding on
it, held to be bad. Is the defendant to suffer the same punishment as if
he had been properly found guilty of the malignant libel?" The reason
why the rule in civil actions does not apply to _motions in arrest of
judgment_ in criminal cases, is plainly this:--because the court,
_having the sentence in its own hands_, will give judgment 'on the part
which is indictable'--and the failure of part of the charge will go only
to lessening the punishment. These reasons, however, have plainly no
application to _writs of error_; because _a court of error_ CANNOT, _of
course, confine the judgment to those parts which are indictable, or
lessen it, as the different charges are found to fail_."

"The only inconvenience," added his lordship, "which can arise from the
rule we are laying down, will be, that the prosecutor must be careful as
to the counts on which he means to rely: _the evidence at the trial_
must afford him the means of making the selection--and the defendant has
now the means of compelling him to do so."

Such was, in substance, Lord Cottenham's judgment. He read it in his
usual quiet, homely, matter-of-fact manner, as if he were not at all
aware of, or cared not for, the immense importance and public interest
attaching to the publication of the conclusion at which he had arrived.

Then rose Lord Campbell. In a business-like and satisfactory manner he
went briefly over all the points which had been made by the plaintiffs
in error, disposing of them all in favour of the crown, (expressing,
however, doubts on the subject of the challenge to the array,) till he
came to THE POINT--which he thus approached:--"I now come, however, to
considerations which induce me, _without hesitation_, humbly to advise
your lordships to reverse this judgment." He was brief but pithy in
assigning his reasons.

"According to the doctrine contended for on the part of the crown," said
his lordship, adopting two cases which had been put by, we believe, Mr
Peacock in his argument, "the following case may well happen. There may
be an indictment containing two counts, A and B, for separate offences;
A being a good count, B a bad one. The court below may think A bad and B
good; and proceed to sentence the defendant to a heavy punishment merely
in respect of B, which, though it may contain in reality not an offence
in point of law, they may consider to contain one, and of signal
turpitude. On a writ of error, the court above clearly sees that B is a
bad count; but cannot reverse the judgment, because there stands count A
in the indictment--and which, therefore, (though for a common assault
only,) will support the heavy fine and imprisonment _imposed in respect
of count B_! Let me suppose another case. An indictment contains two
counts: there is a demurrer[13] to each count: each demurrer is
overruled, and a general judgment given that the defendant, 'for his
offences aforesaid,' shall be fined and imprisoned. Is it to be said,
that if he bring a writ of error, and prove one count to be bad, he
shall have no relief unless he shows the other to be bad also?"

He concluded a brief commentary (substantially identical with that of
Lord Cottenham) on the authorities cited, by affirming that "there was
neither text-book, decision, nor _dicta_ to support a doctrine so
entirely contrary to principle."

This is how his lordship thinks the like mischief may be obviated in

"If bad counts are inadvertently introduced, the mischief may be
_easily_ obviated by taking a verdict of acquittal upon them--by
entering a _nolle prosequi_ to them, or by seeing that the judgment is
expressly stated to be on the good counts only, which alone could
prevent the bad counts from invalidating the judgment upon a writ of

As to the notion that the judges were uninfluenced in passing sentence
by the first three counts, on which there were numerous findings, he
observed, that--"We cannot resort to the _palpably incredible fiction_
that the judges, in violation of their duty, did not consider the guilt
of the parties aggravated by the charges in these three counts, and
proportionally increase their punishment."

After an unsuccessful attempt on the part of one or two lay peers who
had not heard the whole argument, to vote--which was resisted by both
the Lord Chancellor and Lord Wharncliffe, and Lords Brougham and
Campbell--the Lord Chancellor finally put the question:--

"Is it your lordships' pleasure that this judgment be reversed?--As many
as are of that opinion, will say '_Content_.' As many as are of a
contrary opinion, will say '_Not Content_.'"

"_Content!_" exclaimed Lords Denman, Cottenham, and Campbell.

"_Not Content!_" said the Lord Chancellor and Lord Brougham.

_Lord Chancellor._ "The _Contents_ have it. The judgment is Reversed."

The instant after these pregnant words had been uttered, there was a
rush of persons, in a state of the highest excitement and exultation,
towards the door; but the lords calmly proceeded to give judgment in a
number of ordinary appeal cases. The Attorney-General for Ireland, who
had been watching the whole of the day's proceedings with close
attention, heard the result with perfect composure; but as several
portions of the judgments of Lords Denman, Cottenham, and Campbell were
being delivered, a slight sarcastic smile flitted over his features. As
we have mentioned him, let us take this opportunity of bearing testimony
to the very great ability--ability of the highest order--with which he
has discharged _his_ portion of the duty of conducting these
proceedings, unprecedented in their harassing complexity and their
overwhelming magnitude. He has manifested throughout--'bating a little
irritability and strictness in petty details at starting--a
self-possession; a resolute determination; a capability of coping with
unexpected difficulty; a familiarity with constitutional law; a mastery
over the details of legal proceedings; in short, a degree of forensic
ability, which has been fully appreciated by the English bar, and
reflects credit upon those who placed him in his arduous and responsible
office. In terms of similar commendation we would speak of the Irish
Solicitor-General, (Mr Sergeant Green.) Accustomed as we are to witness
the most eminent displays of forensic ability, we feel no hesitation in
expressing our opinion, that the Solicitor-General's reply at the trial,
and the Attorney-General's reply on the motion for a new trial, were as
masterly performances as have come under our notice for very many years.

We have thus laid before our readers, with the utmost candour and care,
this truly remarkable case; and at a length which, though considerable,
is by no means incommensurate with its permanent interest and
importance. We believe that we have, in the foregoing pages, furnished
all persons, of average intellect and information, with the means of
forming for themselves a sound opinion as to the propriety or
impropriety of reversing the judgment of the court below. We have given
the arguments on both sides with rigid impartiality, and supplied such
information, in going along, as will enable the lay reader thoroughly to
understand them. This is a question which all thinking persons must
needs regard with profound interest and anxiety. If, in the deliberate
opinion of the country, the judgments of the High Court of Parliament
are habitually, though unconsciously, warped by party and political
feelings and prejudices; if, with such views and intentions, they have
strained and perverted the law of the land, wickedly sheltering
themselves under the unfortunate difference of opinion existing among
the judges, those who have been guilty of it will justly stand exposed
to universal execration. It is no light matter even to propose such a
possibility as that of profligacy or corruption in the administration of
justice; above all, in the highest tribunal in the land--the place of
last resort for the subject. It is always with pain and regret that we
hear, even in the height of political excitement and hostility, the
faintest imputation from any quarter on judicial integrity. We have
watched this case from first to last; and especially examined over and
over again, in a spirit of fearless freedom, the grounds assigned for
reversing the judgment, and the position and character of those by whose
_fiat_ that result was effected. We cannot bring ourselves to believe
any thing so dreadful as that three judicial noblemen have deliberately
violated their oaths, and perpetrated so enormous an offence as that of
knowingly deciding contrary to law. Those who publicly express that
opinion, incur a very grave responsibility. We are ourselves zealous,
but independent supporters of the present government; we applaud their
institution of these proceedings; no one can lament more bitterly than
we do, that O'Connell should, like many a criminal before him, have
escaped from justice through a flaw in the indictment; yet with all
this, we feel perfectly satisfied that the three peers who reversed the
judgment against him, believed that they were right in point of law.
When we find so high an authority as Mr Baron Parke--as far as politics
are concerned, a strong Conservative--declaring that he cannot possibly
bring himself to concur in opinion with his brethren; that another
judge--Mr Justice Coltman--after anxious deliberation, also dissents
from his brethren; and when we give each of these judges credit for
being able to appreciate the immense importance of _unanimity_ upon such
a case as the present, had it been practicable--can it seem really
unreasonable or surprising, that a corresponding difference of opinion
should exist among the peers, whose judicial duty it was to decide
finally between the judges? It _is_, certainly, a matter calculated to
attract a _moment's_ attention, that the judgment should have been
reversed by the votes of three peers who concur in political opinion,
and opposition to the government who instituted the prosecution. But in
fairness, put another possible case. Suppose Lord Abinger had been
alive, and had concurred with the Chancellor and Lord Brougham, would
not another class of ardent partisans as naturally have remarked
bitterly upon the coincidence of opinion between the peers whose three
voices concurred in supporting the judgment of the court below?

While we thus entirely exonerate Lords Denman, Cottenham, and Campbell
from all imputation of intentionally giving effect to party and
political bias, it is difficult to suppose them, or any other peer,
entirely free from _unconscious_ political bias; but in the nature of
things, is it not next to impossible that it should be otherwise, in the
case of men who combine in their own persons the legislative and
judicial character, and in the former capacity are unavoidably and
habitually subject to party influences? When a Judicial question is
under consideration, of such extreme doubtfulness as almost to justify a
vote either way, (we must deal with men and things as we find them,) can
it excite great surprise, if even in the most honourable minds a
political bias should _unconsciously_ evince its presence, and just
turn the scale?

But here the case has turned upon one single point of the purest
technicality, which the House of Lords has deemed sufficient to cause a
reversal of the judgment of the court below; and the question is, have
they done rightly? Are they right or wrong in point of strict law? In
the language of Mr Justice Williams--the objection raised in behalf of
the traversers "is purely of a technical nature, and to be examined in
the same spirit of minute and exact criticism in which it was

The dry question, then, is this: Is it a rule, a principle, a custom, of
English law, that one good count will sustain a general judgment upon a
writ of error in a criminal case, although there should be also bad
counts in the indictment? Is that a "custom or maxim of our law," or is
it not? First, then, how is this to be ascertained? The illustrious
commentator on the laws of England, Mr Justice Blackstone,[15] shall

"Established _customs_, _rules_, and _maxims_, I take to be one and the
same thing. For the authenticity of these maxims _rests entirely upon
reception and usage_; and the only method of proving that this or that
maxim is a rule of the common law, _is by showing that it hath been
always the custom to observe it_. But here a very natural and very
material question arises: how are these customs or maxims to be known;
and by whom is their validity to be determined? The answer is, by the
judges in the several courts of justice. They are the depositaries of
the laws--_the living oracles, who must decide in all cases of doubt_,
and are bound by an oath to decide according to the law of the land."

These judges were appealed to by the House of Lords upon the present
occasion; and by an overwhelming majority "distinctly, clearly, and
decidedly" declared that the rule in question was a rule of the English
law. _They had heard all the arguments calling its existence in
question_ which Lord Denman, Lord Cottenham, and Lord Campbell had
heard; they were _in the daily and hourly administration of that branch
of the law with reference to which the question arose_; they took ample
time to consider the matter, and deliberately affirmed the existence of
the rule, and the valid grounds on which it rested. The highest legal
authority in the land, the Lord Chancellor, corroborated their decision,
declaring that it "has always been considered as a clear, distinct, and
undoubted principle of the criminal law, that one good count could
sustain a general judgment on a writ of error." Are Lord Lyndhurst and
Sir Nicholas Tindal, with eight of the judges, palpably and manifestly
wrong? It is certainly _possible_, though not, we presume, very

We fully recognise the _right_ of the judicial peers to examine the
validity of the reasons assigned by the judges, and to come to a
conclusion opposite to theirs. We apprehend that the long recognition,
alone, of the existence of a rule, does not prevent its being impeached
on sufficient reasons. Lord Tenterden, as cautious and accurate judge as
ever presided over a court of justice, thus expressed himself in
delivering the judgment of the court on a question of mercantile
law[16]--"It is of great importance, in almost every case, that a rule
once laid down, and firmly established, and continued to be acted upon
for many years, should not be changed, _unless it appears clearly to
have been founded on wrong principles_." Have, then, Lords Denman,
Cottenham, and Campbell, succeeded in showing the rule in question to
have been founded on wrong principles?

After as close and fair an examination of the judgments given in the
House of Lords as we are capable of bestowing upon any subject, we have
arrived at the conclusion that the Chancellor and judges were plainly
right, and the peers who differed from them as plainly wrong. They
doubtless believed that they were eradicating an erroneous and
mischievous practice from the administration of criminal law; but we
entertain grave fears that they have not duly considered the many
important reasons and necessities out of which that practice
originated, and which, in our opinion, will require the legislature
either to restore it, or devise some other expedient in lieu of it--if
one so efficacious _can_ be found--after a very brief experience of the
practical mischiefs and inconveniences which the decision of the House
of Lords will entail upon the administration of criminal justice.

Mr Justice Coltman observes,[17] that "in old times an indictment
contained one single count only;" and that, "now it has become usual to
insert _many_ counts." It _has_ become usual--it should rather be said
_necessary_; but why? Because of the rigid precision which the law, in
spite of the subtle and complicated character of its modern mode of
administration, has long thought fit to require for the protection of
the subject, in the statement of an offence charged against an
individual. Unless that degree of _generality_ in framing criminal
charges, which has been so severely reprobated, in the present instance,
by Lord Denman, and which led the judges unanimously to condemn the
sixth and seventh counts, shall be henceforth permitted, justice _must_,
so to speak, be allowed to have many strings to her bow; otherwise the
very great distinctness and particularity which constitute the legal
notion of _certainty_, are only a trap and a snare for her. There is a
twofold necessity for allowing the reasonable multiplication of counts:
one, to meet the difficulty often arising out of the adjustment of the
statement in the charge to the evidence which is to support it; and the
other, to obviate the great difficulty, in many cases, of framing the
charge with perfect legal certainty and precision. Look for a striking
illustration at the sixth and seventh counts of this very indictment.
Few practical lawyers, we venture to think, would have pronounced them
insufficient, before hearing those numerous astute and able arguments
which have led the judges to that conclusion; and what if these had been
the _only_ counts, or one of them the sole count? Of course, justice
would have been defeated. Now the rule, custom, or practice--call it
what you will--which has been annulled by the House of Lords, was
admirably adapted to meet, in combination with the allowance of several
counts, the practical and perhaps inevitable difficulties which beset
the attempt to bring criminals to justice; to prevent any injurious
consequences from either _defective_ or _unproved_ counts; and we think
we may truly state, that no single instance as adduced during the
argument, of actual mischief or injury occasioned to defendants by the
operation of this rule--we believe we may safely defy any one now to
produce such a case. It is certainly possible for an anxious straining
ingenuity to _imagine_ such cases; and where is the rule of law, which,
in the infirmity of human institutions, cannot be shown capable of
occasioning _possible_ mischief and injustice?

One important distinction has not, we venture to think, been kept
constantly in view by the House of Lords in arriving at their recent
decision; we mean, the distinction between _defective_ counts and
_unproved_ counts. It was principally in the former case that the
annulled rule operated so advantageously for the interests of justice.
Let us suppose a case. A man is charged with an offence; and the
indictment contains three counts, which we will call A, B, C--each
differently describing the same offence. He is proved in court to have
actually done an act to which the law annexes a punishment, and a
general verdict and judgment, awarding the correct _kind_ of punishment,
are given and entered. If it afterwards became necessary to "make up"
the record--_i. e._ to enter the proceedings in due and full form--it
might appear that count A was essentially defective, as containing no
"offence" at all. But what did that signify--or what would it have
signified if count B had also been bad--provided count C was a good one,
and warranted the punishment which had been inflicted? The only
consequence was, that the indictment was a little longer than it turns
out that it needed to have been. Though several hooks had been used in
order to give an additional chance of catching the fish, that was not
regretted, when, the fish having been caught, it turned out that two out
of the three had not been strong enough; and that, had they alone been
used, the fish must have escaped.

Let us see how the new rule laid down by the House of Lords will operate
in future, in such a case as the one above supposed; bearing in mind
that it will have to be acted upon, not merely by the judges of the
superior courts at the assizes, but by the chairmen--the _lay_
chairmen--of the courts of Quarter-Sessions. Let us imagine the
indictment to be a long one, and each count necessarily complicated in
its allegations and refinements, to meet very doubtful facts, or very
doubtful language in an Act of Parliament. A great number of prisoners
are to be tried; but, nevertheless, the judge (lay or professional) has
mastered the formidable record, and points out to the jury two bad
counts, A and B, as either not hitting the facts of the case or the
language of the act--possibly neither. He orders them to be quashed, or
directs a verdict of not guilty upon them. He then has the verdict and
judgment entered accordingly on count C, (the count which he considers
good.) The record is afterwards made up; a writ of error brought; the
only count on which the judgment is given being C, the court of error
_decides that it is bad_, reverses the judgment, and the prisoner is
discharged; or the country is put to the expense and trouble of
bringing, and the prisoner unjustly harrassed by, fresh proceedings,
which may, perhaps, end as disastrously as before!

To escape from these serious difficulties, it is proposed by Lord
Denman,[18] to leave the legal sufficiency of the counts for discussion
before a court of error, and to pass, not one sentence, but three
distinct sentences on each count respectively, apportioning to the
offence thereby apparently charged, the degree of punishment due to the
guilt disclosed. Keeping his eye on the alarming possibility of a
reversal of judgment, what difficulties will not beset the path of the
judge while engaged on this very critical duty? And why may not the
indictment, for _necessary_ caution's sake, contain, as there often are,
ten, fifteen, or twenty counts? we shall then have ten or fifteen
distinct sentences delivered in open court--engrossed on the record--and
dangling at once around the neck of the astounded and bewildered
prisoner. Is _such_ a method of procedure calculated to secure respect
for the administration of justice, even if, by means of such devices,
the ends of justice should be ultimately secured, though it is easy to
imagine cases in which such devices would, after all, fail; and we had
framed several illustrations of such possibilities, but our limits
forbid their insertion: instances illustrating the mischievous operation
of the rule, equally in cases of defective and unproved counts--of
felonies and misdemeanours--and in the latter case, whether the
indictment contained several offences, or only varied statements of one
offence. In the case first put, what a temptation the new rule holds out
to criminals who may be able to afford to bring a writ of error, and so
seriously embarrass the administration of justice! And if too poor to do
it, he will, under the operation of the new rule, be suffering
punishment unjustly; for the only count selected may be bad, or some one
only of several may be bad, and the judgment ought to be reversed. What
was the operation of the old rule? Most salutary and decorous. No public
account was taken of the innocuous aims, so to speak, taken by justice,
in order to hit her victim. If he fell, the public saw that it was in
consequence of a blow struck by her, and concerned themselves not with
several previous abortive blows. The prisoner, knowing himself _proved_
actually guilty, _and the numerous chances existing against him on the
record_, if he chose to make pettifogging experiments upon its technical
sufficiency, submitted to his just fate.

Let us take one more case--that of _murder_: we fear, that on even such
solemn and awful occasions, the new rule will be found to operate most
disadvantageously. There are necessarily several, possibly many,
counts. Mr Baron Parke[19] admits, that here the old rule should apply;
viz. a general judgment of death, which shall not be vitiated by one, or
several bad counts, if there be a single good one. The new rule since
laid down, says, however, the contrary; that judgment must be reversed
for a single bad count. Lord Denman, to meet this difficulty, would pass
sentence "upon some one"[20] of them, and thereby exhaust the materials
of punishment, and so in effect give a "judgment for one felony." _But
how is the record to be dealt with?_ If the prisoner choose to bring a
writ of error, and show a single bad count, must not the judgment be
reversed if entered generally? And if entered on one count with not
guilty on all the others; and that one count proved bad, while even _a
single one_ of the rejected counts is good, and would have been
supported by the evidence given at the trial, the prisoner can plead
_autrefois acquit_ to a fresh indictment, and so get off scot-free,
after having been incontestably proved guilty of the act of murder!
Suppose then, to avoid so fearful a result, separate sentences of death
be passed, to say nothing of the unseemliness of the transaction in open
court, which _might_ be avoided: but how can it be avoided _on the
record_, upon which it must be entered? Mr Baron Parke pronounces that
such a procedure would be "_superfluous, and savour of absurdity_,"[21]
and that therefore, "in such a case, the general judgment _might_ be
good!" Thus, in order to _work_ the new rule, Mr Baron Parke is forced
to make the case of murder a double exception--viz. to the _adoption_ of
the new rule at the trial, and then to the _operation_ of the new rule
before the court of error, which must then hold that a single bad, or a
dozen bad counts, will _not_ vitiate a general judgment, if sustained by
one good count! Does not all this suffice to show the desperate shifts
to which even two such distinguished judges are driven, in order to
support the new rule, and conceal its impracticability? Then why should
the old lamp be exchanged for the new?

We entertain, we repeat, very grave apprehension that the House of Lords
has treated far too cavalierly the authority of the great Lord
Mansfield, than whom a more enlightened, learned, and cautious a judge
probably never administered justice among mankind. He was not a man
accustomed, in delivering his judgments, to "utter things _needlessly_
and _inconsiderately_," as he is now charged with doing;[22] and when he
declared the established rule of criminal law to be that which has now
been so suddenly abrogated, he spoke with the authority which nearly
thirty years' judicial experience attaches to the opinion of a
responsible master-mind. We ask with deep anxiety, what will be the
consequences of thus lightly esteeming such authority?--of impugning the
stability of the legal fabric, by asserting one-half of its materials to
consist merely of "law taken for granted?"[23]--and, consequently, not
the product of experience and wisdom, and to be got rid of with
comparative indifference, in spite of the deliberate and solemn judgment
of an overwhelming majority of the existing judicial authorities of the

The rule just abrogated has, for a long series of years--for a century
and a half--obviated a thousand difficulties and evils, even if it
should be admitted that the end was gained at the expense of some
imperfections in a speculative and theoretical point of view, and with
the risk of _possibly_ inflicting injustice in some case, which could be
imagined by an ingenious and fertile fancy. The old rule gave ten
chances to one in favour of justice; the new one gives ten chances to
one _against_ her. We may be mistaken, but we cannot help imagining,
that if Lord Cottenham, unquestionably so able as an equity judge, had,
on the maxim _cuique suâ arte credendum_, given a little more weight to
the opinions of those whose whole lives had been passed, not in equity,
but criminal courts, or had seen for himself the working of the
criminal law, he would have paused before disturbing such
complicated--necessarily complicated--machinery, and would not have
spoken of the consequences as being so very slight and unimportant--nay,
as so very beneficial.

It was suggested by the three peers, that the old rule had no better
foundation than the indolence, slovenliness, and negligence of
practitioners, whom the salutary stringency of the new rule would
stimulate into superior energy and activity. We cannot help regarding
this notion, however--for the preceding, among many other reasons--as
quite unfounded, and perhaps arising out of a hasty glance at the
alterations recently introduced into _civil_ pleadings and practice. But
observe, it required _an act of Parliament_ to effect these alterations,
(stat. 3 and 4 Will. IV. c. 42,) the very first section reciting the
"_doubts which might arise as to the power of the judges to make such
alterations without the authority of Parliament_;" and yet the state of
the laws calling for such potent interference was in an incomparably
more defective and mischievous state than is imputed to the present
criminal law. Then, again, any practical man will see in a moment, that
the strictness of the new system of civil pleading, which to this moment
occasions not infrequently a grievous failure of justice, with all the
ample opportunities afforded for deliberate examination and preparation
of the pleadings, cannot be safely applied to criminal law for many
reasons, principally because it rarely admits of that previous
deliberation in drawing the indictment, which must be based upon the
often inaccurate statement of facts supplied by the depositions; and
because a defect in them is, generally speaking, irremediable and fatal,
and crime goes unpunished. If the new rule is to be really acted upon in
future, we must, in some way or other, alter the whole machinery of the
criminal law: but how to do so, without seriously interfering with the
liberty of the subject, we know not.

We affirm, therefore, that the old rule--viz. that one good count would
support a general verdict and judgment, though the indictment contained
bad ones also--was a beneficial rule, calculated to obviate _inevitable_
difficulties; and its policy was so transparent to all the great
intellects which have, both as judges or counsel, been for so long a
series of years concerned in criminal cases, that no one ever thought of
questioning it. The supposition of the three peers is one not very
flattering to the distinguished predecessors, with the great Lord
Mansfield at their head--all of whom it charges with gross negligence,
ignorance, and, in plain words, stupidity--in overlooking, from time to
time, a point so patent and glaring. The Lord Chancellor's answer to
their argument is triumphant; and we refer the reader to it.[24] We
respectfully and firmly enter our protest against Lord Denman's mode of
getting rid of the efficacy of a custom or practice which has been so
long observed by the profession; and regard it as one calculated to sap
the foundations of the common law of the land. An opinion, a practice
which has stood its ground for so long a series of years _unchallenged_,
amidst incessant provocation to challenge it--and that, too, in the case
of men of such vigilant astuteness, learning, and determination as have
long characterized the English Bench and Bar--rest upon as solid grounds
as are conceivable, and warrants it subversion only after profound
consideration, and _repeated evidence of its mischievous operation_. Was
any such evidence offered in the argument at the Bar of the House of
Lords, of persons who had suffered either a kind or a degree of
punishment not warranted by law? None: but several cases were put in
which--in spite of past experience to the contrary--inconvenience and
injustice _might possibly_ be conceived to occur hereafter!

What, then, led to this error--for error we must call it? Let us
candidly express our opinion that the three peers were fairly
"_overpowered_"--to adopt the frank acknowledgment of one of the most
distinguished among them--by the plausible fallacies urged upon them,
with such unprecedented pertinacity and ingenuity, by the traversers'
counsel. They have been influenced by certain disturbing forces, against
which they ought to have been vigilantly on their guard, and which we
shall now venture to specify, as having occasioned their _forgetfulness
of the true province of a court of error_--of the functions and duties
of the members of such a court. A COURT OF ERROR occupies a high, but
necessarily a very limited, sphere of action. Their observations and
movements are restricted to the examination of a single document, viz.
the record, which they are to scrutinize, as closely as possible,
without regard to any of the incidents which may have attended the
progress of the events narrated in it, if these incidents do not appear
upon record: and they must be guided by general principles--not such as
might properly regulate a certain special and particular case, but such
as would guide them in all cases. And this is signified by the usual
phrase, that they "must not travel out of the record." Now, we defy any
one to read the judgments of the three peers, without detecting the
undue influence which one extrinsic and utterly inadmissible fact has
had upon their minds; viz. the fact, that the court below had actually
_affirmed_ the validity of the two bad counts. They speak of its being
"_against notorious facts_"--against "_common probabilities_," a
"palpably incredible fiction"--to conclude from the language of the
record, that the "offences" there mentioned did not include the pseudo
offences contained in the sixth and seventh counts. In this particular
case, it _did_ undoubtedly happen, in point of fact, that the court
below decided these counts to be valid counts: but the court of error
can take no cognisance whatever of extrinsic facts. _Their_ only source
of information--_their_ only means of knowledge, is _the record_--beyond
the four corners of which they have no power, no authority, to cast a
single glance; and within which are contained all the materials upon
which, by law, the judges of a court of error can adjudicate and decide.
The Court, in the present case, ought thus to have contemplated the
record in the abstract--and with reference to the _balance of
possibilities_ in such cases, that the court below had affirmed, or
condemned the vicious counts: which very balance of possibilities shows
the impropriety of being influenced by speculations based on matters
_dehors_ the record. However numerous and mischievous may have been the
errors committed by the inferior court, _a court of error_ can take no
cognisance of them, if they do not appear specifically and positively
upon the record, however valid may be the claim which these errors may
notoriously prefer _to the interference of the executive_. Consider what
a very serious thing it is--what a shock to the public confidence in the
administration of justice--to reverse a judgment pronounced after due
deliberation, and under the gravest responsibilities, by a court of
justice! The law and constitution are properly very tender in the
exercise of such a perilous power, and have limited it to the case of
"MANIFEST" error--that is, not the vehement, the immense _probability_
that there has been error--but the CERTAINTY of such error _necessarily
and exclusively appearing from the record itself_. To act upon
speculation, instead of certainty, in these cases, is dangerous to the
last degree, and subversive of some of the fundamental principles of
English jurisprudence. "Judgment may be reversed in a criminal case by
writ of error," says Blackstone, "for NOTORIOUS (_i. e._ palpable,
manifest, patent) mistakes in the judgment, as when a man is found
guilty of PERJURY, (_i. e._ of a misdemeanour,) and RECEIVES THE
JUDGMENT OF FELONY." This is the true doctrine; and we submit that it
demonstrates the error which has been committed in the present instance.
Let us illustrate our case by an example. Suppose a man found guilty
under an indictment containing two counts, A and B. To the offence in
count A, the legislature has annexed one punishment only, viz.
_transportation_; to that in count B, _imprisonment_. The court awards
sentence of transportation; and, on a writ of error being brought, the
court above pronounces count A to be bad. Here it appears INEVITABLY and
"manifestly" _from the record_, that there has been error; there is no
escaping from it; and consequently judgment _must_ be reversed. So where
the judgment is the infliction of punishment "for his offen_ces_"
aforesaid: there being only two offences charged, one of which is
contained in a bad count, containing therefore no "_offence_" at all.
Apply this principle to the present case. Does this record, in
sentencing the defendant "for his offences aforesaid," _conclusively_
and _necessarily_ show that the court regarded the sixth and seventh
counts as containing "offences," and awarded punishment in respect of
them? We unhesitatingly deny it. The merest tyro can see that it is
_possible_--and, if so, where is the NECESSARY error?--that the judges
excluded the vicious counts from their consideration; that they knew the
law, and could discern what were and what were not "offences;" and
annexed punishment to only true "_offences_" in the eye of the law. The
word "offence" is a term of art, and is here used in its strictest
technical sense. What is that sense? It is thus defined by an accurate
writer on law: "an _offence_ is an act committed _against a law_, or
omitted _when the law requires it_, and punishable by it."[25] This word
is, then, properly used in the record--in its purely technical sense. It
can have no other meaning; and an indictment cannot, with great
deference to Mr Baron Parke,[26] contain an "offence" which is not
"legally described in it;" that is, unless any act charged against the
defendant be shown upon the face of the indictment to be a breach of the
law, no "_offence_," as regards that act, is contained in or alleged by
the indictment. The House of Lords, therefore, has exceeded the narrow
province and limited authority of a _court of error_, or has presumed,
upon illegal and insufficient grounds, that the Irish judges did not
know which were, and which were not "_offences_," and that they did, in
fact, consider those to be offences which were not, although the record
contains matter to satisfy the allegation to the letter--viz. a
_plurality_ of real "offences." Where is Lord Campbell's authority for
declaring this judgment "_clearly_ erroneous in awarding punishment for
charges which are _not offences in point of law_?" Or Lord Cottenham's,
for saying that "the record states that the judgment was _upon all the
counts, bad as well as good_?" They have none whatever; their assertions
appear to us, with all due deference and respect, purely arbitrary, and
gratuitous fallacies; they do violence to legal language--to the
language of the record, and foist upon it a ridiculous and false
interpretation. We admit, with Lord Cottenham, that "where the sentence
is of a nature applicable _only_ to the bad counts," it is incurably
vicious, and judgment must be reversed--it is the very case which we put
above; but how does that appear in the judgment under consideration? Not
at all. The two cases are totally different.

And this brings us to another palpable fallacy--another glaring and
serious error into which we cannot help thinking the House of Lords has
fallen, and which is abundantly evidenced by their judgment: viz. that a
court of error has any concern whatever with, or can draw any inference
whatever from, the AMOUNT of punishment. The reasoning of the judges is
here perfectly conclusive. "If a sentence be OF THE KIND which the law
allows, the _degree_ of it is not within the competence of a court of
error. If a fine be an appropriate part of the sentence of a court
below, the excess of it is no ground of error. What possible line can be
drawn as to the reasonableness and excess, so as to affect it with
illegality? It is obvious there can be none. If in _this_ case, the
sentence had been _transportation_, the sentence would have been
_illegal_: Why? Because not of _the kind_ authorized by law in such a
case." Any presumption, therefore, made by a court of error, from the
_amount_ of punishment awarded, as to which of the counts had been taken
into consideration by the judges in giving their judgment, is manifestly
based upon insufficient and illegal grounds. Can these principles have
been duly pondered by the lords? We fear not. Look at Lord Cottenham's
supposition of two counts for libel: one for a very malignant one, the
other for one comparatively innocuous; and a sentence of heavy fine and
imprisonment passed, evidently in respect of the malignant libel, which
a court of error decides to be no libel at all. Lord Cottenham appears
to rely greatly on this supposed case; but is it not perfectly clear,
that it is not a case of error _on the record_--and therefore totally
inapplicable to the case which he had to consider? The defendant would
have certainly sustained an injury in that case; Where is the remedy?
There is _no legal_ remedy, any more than there is when a man has been
wrongfully _acquitted_ of a manifestly well-proved crime, or unjustly
convicted of a felony. The mercy, or more properly the sense of
_justice_ entertained by the _executive_, must be appealed to in either
case; such power of interposition having, in the imperfection of human
institutions, been wisely reserved to the supreme power to afford
redress in all cases where the LAW cannot. Lord Cottenham's reasoning
appears to us, in short, based upon two fallacies--a _petitio
principii_, in _assuming_ that judgment was entered upon all the counts;
the _question_ being, _was_ it so entered? The other is, that a court of
error is competent to infer, from the _amount_ of punishment, that a
defendant has been sentenced upon bad counts. Again: the three peers
admit, that if a sole count contain a quantity of aggravating, but
really "_irrelevant stuff_" (to adopt Lord Denman's expression,) it will
not prejudice the judgment, provided the count also contain matter which
will legally support that judgment. Why should the judges be given
credit for being able to discard from consideration these legally
extrinsic matters in a single count, and not also, by the exercise of
the very same discretion, be able to discard, in considering the record,
irrelevant and insufficient counts, such as in the eye of the law have
no existence, are mere nonentities?

For these, and many other reasons which might be assigned, had we not
already exceeded our limits, we have, after a close and a candid study
of the judgments delivered by the three peers, and the convincing, the
conclusive judgments of the great majority of the judges, come, without
hesitation, to the conclusion, that the Lords have not merely decided
incorrectly, but have precipitately removed a chief corner-stone from
the fabric of our criminal law, and have incurred a very grave
responsibility in so doing. We cannot help thinking, that they have
forgotten the fundamental distinction which our constitution makes
between "jus _dare_" and "jus _dicere_." _Jus dederunt, non jus
dixerunt_--an error, however, easily to be accounted for, by a reference
to their double capacity, and the confusion it occasions between their
judicial and legislative functions. We view with grave apprehension the
power exercised by three members of the House of Lords, of overturning
so well-established a rule and custom as that attested to them by the
judges. What security have we for the integrity of our common law? In
the face of the judges' decisions, how decorous and dignified would have
been the conduct of the House of Lords in giving way, even if they had
differed from the judges; lamenting that such _was_ the law of the land,
and resolving to try and persuade the legislature to alter it, as has
often been done. Witness the statute of 1 and 2 Geo. IV. c. 78, passed
in consequence of the decision of the House of Lords in _Rowe_ v.
_Young_, 2 Brod. and Bing. 165. The House of Commons has resented such
interference with the laws by the House of Lords; who, in the case of
_Reeve_ v. _Young_, (1 Salkeld, 227,) "_moved by the hardship of the
case_, reversed the judgments of the courts below, contrary to the
opinion of all the judges." But the House of Commons, "_in reproof of
this assumption of legislative authority in the Lords_," immediately
brought in the 10 and 11 Will. III. c. 16, which passed into a
statute.[27] May we venture to suggest that the elaborate, and long,
and deeply-considered opinions of the judges of the land, who had been
summoned by the Lords to advise them, were worthy of more than the
single day, or day and a half's examination which they received before
they were so peremptorily pronounced to be "_clearly_ erroneous?" And
may we, with no little pain, suggest to Lord Campbell, that the array of
_Gamaliels_ at whose feet he had _sate_ during his whole life--whose
feet he had indeed so very recently quitted--whose integrity, whose
profound learning, whose sagacity, none has had larger experience of
than he--are entitled to look at his cavalier-like treatment of their
best services, with a feeling stronger than that of mere surprise? In
concluding this long article--in expressing our conviction of the error
of the Lords--we feel one consolation at all events--that if we err, we
err in good company; and that we are not conscious of having
transgressed the limits of legitimate discussion, in exercising as
undoubted a right of its kind, as these three peers exercised in
branding so overwhelming a majority of the judges of the land with the
imputation of ignorance of those laws which all their lives had been
spent in administering. The very existence of the ancient common law of
the land is put in jeopardy by such a procedure as that which we have
been discussing; and our honest conviction, however erroneous, that such
is the case, will suffice to excuse the freedom of our strictures; if,
indeed, we require an excuse for echoing the stern declaration of on
forefathers--_Nolumus leges Angliæ mutari_.

As to him who has reaped the benefit of this lamentable miscarriage--Mr
O'Connell--the law of the land has nevertheless been vindicated, and the
stability of the empire secured, to a far greater extent than he is
willing to acknowledge. Agitation he must continue; he _must_ play out
his base and sordid game. But his powers of mischief are manifestly and
seriously crippled; and we quit him with the language addressed by Pope
to a mean one of _his_ day--

    "Uncaged, then let the harmless monster rage--
    Secure in dulness, madness, want, and age!"


[1] See the Judgment of the Judges, ordered by the House of Lords to be
printed, (and from which the quotations in this article have been made,)
read to the House of Lords by Lord Chief-Justice Tindal, on the 2d
September 1844.

[2] State Prosecutions, pp. 9, 10. No. CCCXXXIX. Vol. LV.

[3] Blackstone's Commentaries, vol. i. p. 302.

[4] Several distinct offences may undoubtedly be included, in as many
counts, in one indictment.

[5] Two of the defendants' (the two priests) names do not appear in the
record of the verdict, as one of them (Tyrrell) died before the trial,
and as to Tierney, the Attorney-General entered a _nolle prosequi_.

[6] _Comyn's Digest_, title _Pleader_, 3 B. 18.

[7] This is the proper expression. See _M'Queen's Practice of the House
of Lords,_ p. 256. "They are summoned _for their advice in point of
law_, and the greater dignity of the proceedings" of the
Lords.--(_Blackst, Comm._ p. 167.)

[8] 1 _Blackstone's Commentaries,_ p. 69.

[9] Opinions of the Judges, &c.--(Pp. 1-3.)

[10] Opinions of the Judges, p. 23.

[11] 3 _Blackstone's Commentaries_, p. 395.

[12] We quote from the edition of Lord Denman's judgment, sanctioned by
himself, and edited by D. Leahy, Esq., (one of the counsel in the

[13] A "_demurrer_" is the mode by which any pleading, civil or
criminal, is denied to be (whether in form or substance) sufficient in
point of _law_; and a _plea_ is the mode by which is denied the _truth_
of the _facts_ which the pleading alleges.

[14] Opinions of the Judges, p. 19.

[15] Vol. I., pp. 68-9.

[16] Williams v. Germaine, 7 Bar. and Cress. 476.

[17] Opinions of the Judges, p. 17.

[18] Judgment, (by Leahy,) p. 36.

[19] Opinions of the Judges, p. 28.

[20] Judgment, &c., p. 43.

[21] Opinions of the Judges, p. 28.

[22] Lord Denman's judgment.

[23] Ditto.

[24] Ante.

[25] West's Symbolography, and Jacob's and Tomlin's Law.

[26] Opinions of the Judges, p. 29.

[27] 2 Bla. Comm. 169; and see Mr Christian's Note.


No. I


Did you ever happen to know a man who spent a whole Christmas vacation
in Oxford, and survived it? I did. And this is how it came to pass.

"Frank," said the governor one evening after dinner, when the
conversation had turned upon my approaching return to college, and the
ticklish question of supplies had been disposed of--"when the deuce do
you mean to go up for your degree? I have a notion this next term is
your fifteenth, young man?"

"Why no, sir--that is, not exactly; you know"----

"Oh! true--I forgot that confounded rustication business. Well, it's
your fourteenth at all events, and I think that's enough."

"Well, sir, I was thinking to have a shy at it after Christmas."

"Shy at it! You've always been _shying_ at it, I think. I hope it mayn't
end in a _bolt_, Master Frank!"

I laughed dutifully at the paternal wit, and promised to go to work in
earnest the moment I reached Oxford.

This was a resolution announced periodically like the ballot question,
and with much the same result. So the governor only shook his head,
yawned, looked at the bottle, which stood between us nearly empty, and
prepared apparently for an adjournment.

"I'll tell you what, sir," said I, emptying what remained in the
decanter into my glass, and swallowing it with a desperate energy
befitting the occasion, "I'll stay up the Christmas vacation and read."

"The deuce will you! Why, Frank," continued the governor, sorely
puzzled, "you know your cousins are coming here to spend the Christmas,
and I thought we should all make a merry party. Why can't you read a
little at home? You can get up something earlier, you know--much better
for your health--and have two hours or so clear before breakfast--no
time like the morning for reading--and then have all the day to yourself
afterwards. Eh, why not, Frank?"

"If you'll allow me to ring for another bottle of this Madeira, sir, (I
declare I think it's better than our senior common-room have, and they
don't consider theirs small-beer,) I'll tell you.----I never could read
at home, sir; it's not in the nature of things."

"I doubt whether it's much in your nature to read any where, Frank: I
confess I don't see much signs of it when you are here."

"In the first place, sir, I should never have a room to myself."

"Why, there's the library for you all day long, Frank; I'm sure I don't
trouble it much."

"Why, sir, in these days, if there are any young ladies in the house,
they take to the library as a matter of course: it's the regular place
for love-making: mammas don't follow them into the company of folios and
quartos while there are three volumes of the last novel on the
drawing-room table; and the atmosphere is sentimentality itself; they
mark favourite passages, and sigh illustrations."

"Precious dusty work, Frank, flirtations among my book-shelves must be;
but I suppose the girls don't go much beyond the bindings: they don't
expect to get husbands by being blue."

"Not exactly, sir; reviews and title-pages constitute a good part of
modern literary acquirements. But upon my honour, sir, one hears young
ladies now talk of nothing but architecture and divinity. Botany is
quite gone out; and music, unless there's a twang of Papistry about it,
is generally voted a bore. In my younger days--(really, sir, you needn't
laugh, for I haven't had a love affair these two years)--in my younger
days, when one talked about similarity of tastes and so forth, it meant
that both parties loved moonlight, hated quadrilles, adored Moore's
Melodies, and were learning German; now, nine girls out of ten have a
passion for speculative divinity and social regeneration."

"Ay, one sort of nonsense does just as well for them as another: your
cousin Sophy bothers me to build an Elizabethan pigsty, and wanted her
poor mother to dance with the butler in the servants' hall last
Christmas, when the fellow was as drunk as an owl: I hope it mayn't end
in her figuring off herself with the footman; for Sophy is rather a pet
of mine, and a right-down English girl after all. But, Frank, if you
can't read in peace in the library, you surely could have a room fitted
up for yourself up stairs; and you shall have the great reading-desk,
with lights, that was your grandfather's, that stands in my little
sanctum; (he made more use of it, poor man, than I do;) or I don't know
but what I might spare you the little room itself, if it would suit

"Oh, my dear father! I wouldn't disturb you on any account," said I,
rather alarmed at the extent of my worthy parent's liberality in the
cause, and fearing it might end in the offer of the whole family to pack
themselves in the attics, and leave me a first floor to
myself--calculating, too, the amount of hard reading commensurate with
such imposing preparations. "What would become of the justice business
of the parish, sir, if we shut up your tribunal? I don't suppose my
mother would like to have the constables and the illegitimates
introduced either into the drawing-room or the kitchen," (this was, as I
meant it to be, a poser; if Mr Hawthorne senior had a hobby, it was his
magisterial authority.) "The fact is, that at home, up-stairs or
down-stairs, I couldn't read. I should have not only my own idleness,
but the various idlenesses of the whole family combined, to fight
against. My sisters would be knocking at the door every half hour, if
only to ask how I was getting on: Bob would tease me to come out
skating, and Charles would start me perpetually after wild-ducks or
woodcocks. And you yourself, sir, if I am not much mistaken, would think
it odd if I didn't take a ride with you as usual after breakfast. Then
one can't be expected to crawl about one's books by candlelight on a
winter's morning; and after a six o'clock dinner who can read? After tea
you know, sir, my mother always likes a rubber when I'm at home; and if
you are going to have those girls, Jane and Sophy, down this

"Ah! well--I see, Frank; I'm afraid it's a hopeless case. Perhaps you
had better stay up at Oxford after all; you won't have much to disturb
you there, I suppose. If you don't get moped to death, I certainly don't
see what's to hinder your reading. You don't feel inclined to try North
Wales in the winter, I suppose, eh?"

"No, sir," said I, swallowing a last glass of Madeira at a gulp, and
rising, to cut short a conversation which was beginning to take rather
an awkward turn--"No, sir, not exactly."

"Why, I don't know, Frank: why not? you'd find the climate cooler, you
know," persevered the governor, as he followed me into the drawing-room.

So in Oxford it was settled that I should stay; a tolerable character
for the last term or two, and the notorious fact that I was going up at
Easter, ostensibly for a class, obtained me the necessary permission:
strange that, in the University, one should require leave to read! My
friends, John Brown and Harry Chesterton, were to stay up too; and we
promised ourselves some hours of hard work, and many merry ones
together. The vice-principal and one of the juniors, the only fellows
that would be in residence, were both gentlemen, and always treated the
under-graduates as such; we should get rid of the eternal rounds of beef
and legs of mutton that figured at the commoners' table in hall; there
would be no morning chapel; and altogether, having had nearly enough of
the noisy gayety of a full term, we looked forward to the novelty of a
few quiet weeks in college with a degree of pleasure which surprised
even ourselves.

But alas! under-graduates are but mortals, and subject to somewhat more
than the ordinary uncertainties of mortal life. It wanted but a week to
the end of term; all our plans were settled. Brown was to migrate from
his own rooms in "Purgatory"--as we used to call the little dark back
quadrangle, where, from sheer laziness, which made him think moving a
bore, he had remained ever since his first location there as a freshman,
up three pair of stairs; so that, when his intimate friends wished to
ascertain if he was at home, we used to throw a stone through the
window--and was to take up his abode in "Elysium," where he would be
Chesterton's next-door neighbour, and in the same number as myself. We
were to have a quiet breakfast in each others' rooms in turn every
morning; no gross repast of beef-steaks and "spread-eagle" fowls, but a
slight relish of anchovy toast, potted shrimps, or something equally
ethereal; and the _chasse-café_ limited to one cigar and no bottled
porter. It was cruel to interfere with such unexceptionable
arrangements; but a college, though it have a head, has no heart worth
mentioning; and, in an evil hour, they rusticated John Brown. At least
they forbade his staying up the Christmas vacation; and, for the credit
of my friend's character, let me explain. Why John Brown should have
been a person particularly distasteful to the fellows of ---- College,
was a matter at first sight rather hard to understand. He was not what
is called a rowing man; was never found drunk in the quad, or asleep at
the hall lecture; never sported a pink, or drove a team; was not known
to have been concerned in any of the remarkable larks which occurred in
our times; was neither an agent in the Plague of Frogs, nor an actor in
the private theatricals; was not a member of the Agricultural Society,
which made the remarkable experiments with clover and ryegrass in the
college quadrangle; had no talent for midnight howling, sang very small
in a chorus, capped all the fellows diligently, and paid his battels to
the minute. He was known to have asked twice for the key of the library,
put down his name for the senior tutor's pet lecture in "Cornelius
Nepos," bought the principal's sermon on the "Via Media," and was
suspected of having tried to read it. He was not clever enough to sneer
at the tutors, or stupid enough to disgust them. He was too sleepy to
keep late hours, too fat to pull in the boat, too stingy to give
supper-parties. How on earth came the fellows not to like John Brown? "A
most respectable man," the principal always said he was. "Sir," said he
to his anxious father, when, at the end of his second term, he took the
opportunity of a professional visit to Oxford to call to know how the
hope of the Browns was progressing--"Sir, I consider your son a most
respectable person: I may say a most respectable person;" and as the
principal had taken wine with him once at dinner, and bowed to him at
collections, and read "Mr John Brown" twice upon a card at the end and
beginning of term, and thus had every opportunity of forming an opinion,
and expressed that opinion oracularly, in a Johnsonian fashion, Governor
Brown was satisfied. How did the fellows come not to like John
Brown?--pronounced "most respectable" by the principal--declared by his
scout to be "the quietest gentleman as he ever a knowed;" admitted by
the under-graduates to be "a monstrous good fellow, but rather slow;"
how came John Brown to fail in recommending himself to the favour of his
pastors and masters--the dean and tutors of ----? Why, in the first
place, John Brown, the elder, was a wine-merchant; a well-educated man,
a well-behaved man; but still a wine-merchant. Now the dean's father
was--I beg his pardon, had been--a linen-draper; neither well-educated
nor well behaved; in short, an unmitigated linen-draper. Consequently
the dean's adoration of the aristocracy was excessive. There are few
such thorough tuft-hunters as your genuine Oxford Don; the man who,
without family or station in society, often without any further general
education and knowledge of the world than is to be found at a country
grammar-school, is suddenly, upon the strength of some acquaintance with
Latin and Greek, or quite as often, from having first seen the light in
some fortunately endowed county, elevated to the dignity of a
fellowship, and permitted to take rank with gentlemen. The "high table"
in hall, the Turkey carpet and violet cushioned chair in the common
room, the obsequious attention of college servants, and the more
unwilling "capping" of the under-graduates, to such a man are real
luxuries, and the relish with which he enjoys them is deep and strong.
And if he have but the luck to immortalize himself by holding some
University office, to strut through his year of misrule as proctor, or
even as his humble "pro," then does he at once emerge from the obscurity
of the family annals a being of a higher sphere. And when there comes up
to commemoration a waddling old lady, and two thin sticks of virginity,
who horrify the college butler by calling the vice-principal "Dick," no
wonder that they return to the select society of their native town with
an impression, that though Oxford was a very fine place, and they had
real champagne, and wax candles, and every thing quite genteel, and dear
Richard was very kind, still they did think he was grown rather proud,
as he never once asked after his old acquaintances the Smiths, and
didn't like to be teased about his old flame Mary. No wonder that in the
visits, few and far between, which, during the long vacation, the
pompous B.D. pays to his humble relations in the country, (when he has
exhausted the invitations and the patience of his more aristocratic
friends,) they do not find a trace remaining of the vulgar boy, who,
some twelve years ago, quitted the seat of the provincial muses to push
his fortunes in the University of Oxford. In vain does his uncle give up
his after-dinner pipe, and in place of the accustomed Hollands and
water, astonish the dusty decanter with port of an unknown vintage in
honour of his illustrious nephew; in vain does the good old lady
afore-mentioned, the unworthy mother of so bright a son, quit the
instruction of pious Mr Jabez Jenkins, the "Independent" minister, and
turn orthodox and high-church for the nonce, when her dearly beloved
Richard "officiates" for the rev. the vicar; no ties of home or kindred,
no memories of boyhood, no glow of early recollections, touch the
case-hardened parasite of college growth; and when he has banished his
younger brother to Australia, under pretext of making his fortune,
married both his sisters, and erected a cheap monument to the
linen-draper's widow as the "relict of the late Thomas Thompson,
_Esquire_," he waits in peaceful expectation of a college living, with
the consciousness of having done his duty by his relations, and
delivered himself from a drag upon his new career. I do not mean to set
too high a value on gentle birth, or to limit nobility of character by
that of blood; I believe my tailor to be one of nature's gentlemen, (he
never duns,) and I know my next neighbour, Sir John, thirteenth baronet
as he is, to possess the soul of a huckster, because he sells his fruit
and game: still these are the exceptions, not the rule; and there are
few cases of men rising from low origin--rising, that is, from
circumstances, not from ability--not the architects, but the creations
of their own fortunes, (for that makes all the difference)--who do not
carry with them, through all the gradations of their advancement, the
plebeian instincts, while they forget, perhaps, the homely virtues of
the class from which they spring. There is a nobility of birth, seldom
to be counterfeited or mistaken, wholly irrespective of the rank and
wealth which are either its graceful accompaniments or its insufficient
substitutes; fostered and strengthened by early habits and education,
but none the less originally innate--as much an endowment from heaven as
beauty, strength, or talent, and more valuable than all. Many men have
the tact to adapt themselves to the station and the society to which
they have risen, however much above their own level; they acquire the
habits and the tastes, seldom the feelings, of a gentleman. They act the
character well; it is carefully studied, and on the whole well
sustained; it is a correct and painstaking performance, and the points
tell distinctly; but there is throughout that indirect appeal to the
audience which marks it to be only acting. They are more studiously
aristocratic than the aristocracy, and have a horror of vulgarity which
is in itself essentially vulgar.

And such a man was the dean of ----. On the philosophic principle of
hating all to whom we are under obligations, if there was any thing he
cordially detested, it was trade. His constant aim was to forget his
unfortunate origin himself, if possible to lead others who knew him to
forget it, and to keep strangers from knowing it at all. And as he
shrank from every shape and sound plebeian, so he industriously
cultivated every opening to "good society." There was not a member of
his own college, graduate or under-graduate, of any pretensions to
family, who could not speak from experience of the dean's capital
dinners, and his invariable urbanity. No young honourable, or tenth
cousin to an honourable, ever got into a row, that he had not cause to
bless the dean's good offices for getting him out. And if some of the
old stagers contented themselves with eating his dinners, and returning
them in the proportion of one to five, the unsophisticated gratitude of
youth, less cunning in the ways of the world, declared unhesitatingly,
in its own idiomatic language, "that old Hodgett was a regular brick,
and gave very beany feeds." And so his fame travelled far beyond his own
collegiate walls, and out-college honourables and gentlemen-commoners
were content to make the acquaintance, and eat the dinners that were so
freely offered. And as the dean had really some cleverness, and "a
well-assorted selection" of anecdotes and illustrations "from the best
markets," (as his worthy father would have advertised it,) and could
fill the chair at his own entertainments with ease if not with
gracefulness, and moreover was not close with his purse-strings, and
could always be reckoned safe for a L.20 note if a dun was troublesome,
(well knowing that even under-graduates make exceptions in favour of
debts of honour,) he became, among his younger friends especially, a
very popular man. And when those who had enjoyed his good fare, and
profited by his friendly offices with duns and proctors, found that,
after all, he was "nobody," all they said was, that it was a pity, and
that he was a monstrous good fellow none the less. And one invited him
to spend the Christmas with him down at the governor's in Kent, where
there was to be a regular houseful, and merry-making of all sorts, and
another would have him into Norfolk in September for the shooting--(the
dean never shot, but wisely said nothing about it until he got into
good quarters, when he left his younger friends to beat the stubbles,
while he walked or drove with Lady Mary and Lady Emily, and eat the
partridges;)--so that on the whole he felt himself rather an ill-used
individual if there was a week of the vacation for which he had not an
invite. If such a rare and undesirable exception did happen, seldom
indeed did he bestow himself, even for a day or two, upon his mother and
sisters at Nottingham; and never did he, by any oversight, permit a
letter to be addressed to him there; if it could not conveniently bear
the address of some of his titled entertainers, it was to meet him at
his college, to which he usually retired to await, with sufficient
discontent, an invitation, or the beginning of term; while he took pains
to have it understood, that his temporary seclusion was hardly spared
him from the hospitable importunities of those whom he delighted to call
"his many friends," in order to attend to important business.
Occasionally, indeed, it would happen that the natural sagacity of some
old English gentleman, or the keen eye of an experienced courtier, would
fathom at a glance the character of his son's invited guest, and treat
him with a distant politeness which he could neither mistake nor get
over; but, on the whole, his visits among his aristocratic entertainers
were agreeable enough, and he was not a man to stick at an occasional
trifle. His youthful _protégés_ were glad to be able to repay in the
country many kind offices at Oxford, and to become patronizers in their
turn; and the seniors redoubled, in the case of their son's friend, the
hospitality and courtesy they would have readily shown to a stranger,
and were not eager to scrutinize the motives which might have induced
him to be civil to the hopeful stripling, whom, in their partial view,
the whole university might well have delighted to honour.

In the eyes of such a man, John Brown was not likely, at first starting,
to find much favour. Had he been a rich man, and sported the velvet cap
and silk gown, the unhappy fact of his father's being in trade might
have been winked at. If not in the front rank of the dean's friends he
might have filled a vacant seat occasionally at his dinner-table, and
been honoured with a friendly recognition in the quadrangle. At it was,
he did not condescend to remember that such a man was on the college
books. Happy ignorance, if only it could have lasted. But one unlucky
morning a late supper party had decidedly thinned the attendance at the
hall lecture; and Mr Hodgett, having been disappointed of an invitation
to a very select dinner at the principal's, was in no very benignant
humour, and "hauled up" the defaulters. Among them was one of the dean's
pets--who, having done the same thing a dozen times before, was rather
astonished at the summons--and the usually regular John Brown. What
excuses the rest of the party made is immaterial. John, I believe, said
nothing, beyond a remark as to his having been rarely absent. The
result, however, was, that he and the rest got an imposition, which cost
them half-a-guinea each to get done by the under-cook, (it was Greek
_with_ the accents, which comes expensive,) while the Honourable Lumley
Skeffington was dismissed with a jocular reproof, and an invitation to
breakfast. Now, if Mr Skeffington had had the sense to have kept his own
and his friend's counsel, this might have been all very well. But being
a somewhat shallow-pated youth, and a freshman to boot, he thought it a
very fine thing to talk about at his next wine-party, and boast that he
could cut lecture and chapel when he pleased--the dean and he understood
each other. Brown happened to be present; (for though not good company
enough for the dean, he was for his betters; your _parvenu_ is far more
exclusive in his society than your born gentleman;) he quietly enquired
into the facts; and finding that what he had before been inclined to
consider as undue severity in his own case, was positively an injustice
compared with that of another, appreciating thoroughly the character of
the party he had to deal with, and coupling the present with certain
previous minor snubbings from the same quarter, he from that moment
declared war.

Now, the Rev. Mr Hodgett, sedate and dignified as he was, had better
have danced a hornpipe in his thinnest silks amongst a bed of stinging
nettles, or have poked sticks into a wasp's nest, or amused himself with
any other innocent recreation, than have made an enemy of John Brown. It
was what he himself would have called a wrong move, and it played the
deuce with his game. John was the very man who could annoy him, and he
did. None of us knew he had so much ingenuity, or so much malice in his
composition, until he commenced his hostilities against the dean. The
fact was, he was more piqued, perhaps, than any other man in college
would have been by so small a matter. Too sensible to be really ashamed
of being the son of a man in trade, he was conscious, nevertheless, that
it was in some sort a disadvantage to him, and that, descended as he was
from an old and once knightly line, (his father had been an ill-used
younger son,) he did not quite occupy his proper position in the world.
His feeling of this made him sensitive to a fault; it led him rather to
shun than to seek the society of his contemporaries; and much as he was
esteemed by myself and others who knew him well, I will not say that he
was a universal favourite. Men did not understand him: at that time of
life (alas, why not always?) most of us are open and free-hearted; they
did not relish his shy and reserved manner, his unwillingness to take
the initiative in any social intercourse, his _exigéance_ to a certain
extent of those forms which the freedom of college friendship is apt to
neglect. "Why didn't you turn into my rooms the other night, when you
came in from Oriel?" said I to him early in our acquaintance. "Hobbs
says he told you I had some men to supper."--"You didn't ask me," was
the quiet reply.--"I couldn't see you, or else I should; but you might
have known I wanted you; don't serve me such a trick as that again, old
fellow." But it let me into a secret of his character, and ever after
that, I was as particular in my invitations as possible. Men thought him
proud, and cold, and touchy, which he was not; and stingy, which he
scorned to be, from his contempt for ostentation in any shape. The
rarity of his wine-parties, and his never having other wines produced
than port or sherry, he himself explained to me--"Men would say, it was
easy for me to sport claret and champagne, when I could get them for
nothing." But if an unthinking freshman broke out in praise of the said
excellent port or sherry, (as indeed they might well be pardoned for
doing, considering the quality of what they commonly imbibed,) he would
say at once--"Yes, I believe it is good; I know my father considers it
so, and it has been in bottle above twelve years." There was no shirking
the question for a moment. And excellent wine he got for me from his
father, at a moderate price, at his own offer. Hating then, as he did
undisguisedly, the tuft-hunting and affectation of _haut-ton_, which was
so foreign to his own nature, he felt, perhaps excusably, annoyed at
their palpable existence and apparent success, in a man, whose station,
as he said, ought to have kept him from meanness, if it could not give
him dignity.

At all events, his method of retaliation--"taking down the dean"--as he
called it was most systematic and persevering. He let the matter of the
imposition pass over quietly; was for some months doubly attentive to
all his college duties; carefully avoided all collision with his
adversary; kept out of his way as much as he could; and whenever brought
into contact with him, was as respectful as if he had been the
Vice-chancellor. This had its effect: John began to rise in the dean's
good graces; and when he called upon him in the usual course of
etiquette, to mention that he should be absent the vacation of three
days which intervenes between the two short terms, the meeting, on one
side at least, was almost cordial. A day or two after his return, (he
had been to visit a friend, he said,) we were in his rooms at breakfast
together, when the dean's scout entered with his master's compliments to
request Mr Brown's company to breakfast. Then it was that John's eyes
dilated, and he rubbed his hands, as soon as the door was shut, with an
excitement rather unusual.

"Do you know who breakfasts with the man to-morrow? Do you, Hawthorne?"

"Why, I had a message this morning," said I, "but I don't mean to go. I
shall have a headach or something to-morrow. I have no notion of going
there to eat my own bread and butter, and drink his very bad tea, and
see a freshman swallow greasy ham and eggs, enough to turn the stomach
of any one else; and then those Dons always make a point of asking me to
meet a set of regular muffs that I don't know. The last time I went,
there were only two reading-men in spectacles, perfect dummies, and that
ass, young Medlicott, who talks about hunting, and I believe never
crossed the back of anything higher than a donkey."

"You had better come to-morrow; perhaps you will have some fun."

"Why, who is going there, do you know?"

"I haven't a notion; but do come. I must go, and we will sit together,
and I'll get the cook to send up a dish of deviled kidneys for you."

There was something in his eye as he said this which I could not make
out, and it rather puzzled me to find him so willing to be of the party
himself. However, he was an odd fellow, so I promised to go, and we
parted; certainly with little anticipation on my part of what the "fun"
was to be.

Nine o'clock the next day arrived, and punctual to the minute might be
seen two freshmen, from opposite corners of the quadrangle, steering for
the dean's rooms. Ten minutes afterwards, an interesting procession of
coffee-pots and tin-covers warned me to finish my toilet; and following
them up the staircase, I found a tolerably large party assembled.

"Just in time--just in time, Mr Hawthorne," said the dean, who appeared
to be in high good-humour, "as my old pupil, Sir Charles Galston, used
to say, (you don't know him, do you? he's your county man, too, I
believe,)--as he always used to say, 'Gad, Hodgett, just in time to see
the muffins break cover!' ha, ha! Take those tins off, Robert."

We sat down, and for some time every thing went on as slow as it usually
does at breakfast parties. At length, taking advantage of a pause, after
laughing his loudest at one of our host's stories, John Brown broke out
with "How is Mrs Hodgett, sir?"

If Mrs Hodgett, instead of the dean's most respectable mother, had been
his lawful wife, hitherto unacknowledged through fear of losing his
fellowship, he could not have looked more thoroughly horrified. I myself
was considerably taken aback; some of the other men, who knew the
reverend gentleman's tenderness on the subject of his family connexions,
picked their chicken-bones, and stirred their coffee with redoubled
attention. John Brown and the two freshmen alone looked as cool as

"Eh? oh--h," stammered the party addressed, "quite well, thank
you--quite well. Let me give you some of this--oh, it's all gone! We'll
have some more; will one of you be kind enough to ring? My friend,

"No more for me, thank you, sir, I beg," said John. "Have you heard from
Mrs Hodgett since the vacation?"

"No--yes; oh dear, yes, several times!" (It was about five days back.)
"She was quite well, thank you. In town at present, I believe. You were
in town during the vacation, I think, Mr Wartnaby? Did you meet your
uncle Sir Thomas there, or any of the family?"

"Sir T-T-Thom...." began young Wartnaby, who stammered terribly.

"I beg your pardon, sir," struck in John Brown, "are you sure Mrs
Hodgett is in town? I saw her in Nottingham myself on Friday; I made my
first acquaintance with her there, and a very charming old lady she is."

Mr Hodgett's confusion could only be rivaled by Mr Brown's perfect
self-possession. I began to see the object of his kind enquiries; so,
probably, did the victim himself. The other men who were present
thought, I suppose, that it was only an unfortunate attempt of John's to
make himself agreeable; and while some were amused by it, a more
considerate friend kicked my shins in mistake for his, under the table.

"She certainly told me, sir, she should be going up to London in a few
weeks, to purchase her winter stock, I think she said; but I did not
understand that she was to be there now."

John had got on thus far before his enemy could rally at all; but the
dean grew desperate, and resolved to make a diversion at all hazards;
and as he reached his hand out, apparently in quest of a slice of toast,
cup, saucer, and a pile of empty plates, went crashing on the floor.

"Bless me, how very awkward!" said he, with a face as red as fire.

"Never mind, sir," said a freshman from Shrewsbury, just entered who had
not opened his lips before, and thought it a good opportunity; "it's all
for the good of trade."

Never was a stale jest so unconsciously pointed in its application.
Brown laughed of course, and so did we all; while the dean tried to
cover his confusion by wiping his clothes--the cup having been an empty
one. The freshman, seeing our amusement, thought he had said a very good
thing, and began to talk very fast; but nobody listened to him.

"Talking of trade," mercilessly continued the tormentor, "I was
uncommonly pleased with Nottingham the other day. Your brother-in-law,
Mr Mogg, was exceedingly civil to me, (I took the liberty of mentioning
your name, sir;) he showed me the whole process of stocking-making; very
interesting indeed it is--but of course you have seen it often; and I
really think, for a small establishment, Mr Mogg's is one of the best
conducted I ever saw. You don't know Mr Mogg, Hawthorne, do you? Get the
dean to give you a letter to him, if you ever go to Nottingham; a very
good sort of man he is, and has his whole heart in his business. 'Some
men are ashamed of their trade, sir' said he; 'I a'n't. What should I
do, I should like to know, if trade was ashamed of me?' And really Mrs

"Ah yes!" said Mr Hodgett, hitherto overwhelmed by John's eloquence, (he
never talked so fast,) and utterly at a loss how to meet it, "Mogg is a
great man in his line at Nottingham. I shouldn't wonder if he was member
some day; he has a large wholesale connexion."

"And retail, too, sir," chimed in John. "I bought six pair of the nicest
sort of stockings there I have seen for a long time: did I show them to
you, Hawthorne? 'These,' said Mr Mogg, 'I can recommend; I always'"----

"If you won't take any more coffee, gentlemen," said the dean, jumping
up and looking at his watch, "I am afraid, as I have an appointment at

"I declare, so have I," said Brown; "but I had quite forgotten it, our
conversation has been so very agreeable. Good-morning, sir; and if you
are writing to Mrs Hodgett, pray make my compliments." And with this
Parthian shaft he quitted the field.

Having adjusted the difficult questions which are apt to arise as to the
ownership of caps and gowns, the rest of the party took leave. The
facetious freshman, after putting in an ineffectual claim upon one or
two of the most respectable of the caps, at last marched off with the
dean's, as being certainly more like the new one he had bought the day
before, than the dilapidated article with a broken board and half a
tassel, which was the tempting alternative, and possessing also the
common property of having a red seal in it. He was not allowed, however,
to remain long in peaceful possession of his prize. Scarcely had he
reached his rooms, when Robert, the dean's scout, came to inform him
that he had left his own cap (which Robert presented to him with a grin)
behind him, and taken away Mr Hodgett's in mistake; enlightening him, at
the same time, as to the fact, that fellows' caps, by special exemption,
were "not transferable." And when he ventured to send back by Robert an
apology, to the effect that the very ancient specimen could not at all
events be his, and a humble request that the dean would endeavour to
ascertain which of his friends whom he had met at breakfast had also
"made a mistake," that official, remembering his happy _debût_ as a
conversationalist, instantly sent for him, and read him a severe lecture
upon impertinence.

Of course we were no sooner fairly landed in the quadrangle, than all
who had any acquaintance with Brown surrounded him with entreaties for
an explanation. What possessed him to make such a dead set at the dean?
How came he to be so well up in the family history? How long had he had
the pleasure of an acquaintance with dear old Mrs Hodgett? And who
introduced him to Mr Mogg?

It turned out that John had made an expedition to Nottingham during the
vacation on purpose; he had called on the old lady, whose address he had
with some difficulty obtained; presented his card, "Mr John Brown, ----
Coll.;" stated that he was a stranger, very desirous to see the lions of
Nottingham, of which he had heard so much; and having the honour of
knowing her son, and the advantage of being at the same college with
him, and having so often heard her name mentioned in their many
conversations, that he almost felt as if she was his intimate
acquaintance, had ventured to intrude upon her with a request that she
would put him in the way of seeing the town and its manufactures to the
best advantage. Much taken, no doubt, by John's polite address, which by
his own recapitulation of it must have been highly insinuating, and
delighted to see any one who could talk to her about her son, and to
learn that she herself was talked about among his grand friends in
Oxford, the worthy Mrs Hodgett begged John Brown to walk in; and finding
that there was nothing high about him, and that he listened with the
greatest interest to all her family details and reminiscences, she took
courage to ask him to eat a bit of dinner with her and her daughter at
two o'clock, after which she promised him the escort of her son-in-law,
Mr Mogg, the principal (that was what they called them up at Nottingham,
just as they did in Oxford, she observed) of the great stocking-house
over the way. Such a man he was! she said; every bit as good as a book
to a stranger; "he knowed every think and every body." John assured her
such universal knowledge was not common among principals of houses in
Oxford; and declared that he should appreciate the services of such a
guide proportionately. And as an introduction to the whole family was
just the thing he wanted, he at once accepted the invitation with many
thanks. In short, an arrangement was made which pleased all parties;
all, that is, with the exception of Mr Spriggins, the head shopman, who
usually took his meals with the family, but on that day, to his great
disgust, not being considered of quality to meet their unexpected guest,
(not being a principal,) received intimation that his dinner would be
served in the counting-house. The dinner passed off, no doubt, much more
satisfactorily than more formal affairs of the kind. John had a good
appetite and good-humour, and so had the old lady; and no doubt, even in
Miss Hodgett's eyes, the young Oxonian was no bad substitute for Mr
Spriggins. Even that gentleman, could he have foreseen all that was to
follow from this visit, would have exchanged for his blandest smile the
stern glance with which he regarded, from the little back window of the
counting-house, the procession of John, with Miss Hodgett under his arm,
from the drawing-room, to take the seat which should have been his;
would have made him his most obsequious bow, and regarded him as the
best customer that had ever come inside their doors.

But perhaps I am wronging Mr Spriggins in assuming that he thought the
usurper of his rights worthy of a glance at all: and certainly I am
anticipating my story. John dined with the old lady; drank her currant
wine in preference to her port, ate her seed biscuits, and when Mr Mogg,
in pursuance of a message from his mother-in-law, called to renew in his
own person the offer to show his relation's distinguished friend, (Mrs
Hodgett had hinted her suspicions that John Brown was a nobleman,) he
was ready, though rather sleepy, to commence his lionizing. Mr Mogg was
exceedingly civil, showed him every thing worth seeing, from the castle
to the stocking-frames; and by the time they returned together to supper
at the old lady's, they had become very thick indeed. John called the
next day and took his leave of both parties, with a promise not to pass
through Nottingham without renewing his acquaintance, and that he would
not fail to mention to his friend the dean how much he had been
gratified by his reception; both which pledges he scrupulously redeemed.

Mr Hodgett's indignation was unbounded; if the united powers of
vice-chancellor, doctors, proctors, and convocation, could, by rummaging
up some old statute, have expelled John Brown for paying a visit to
Nottingham, he would have moved the university to strive to effect it.
Happily these powers never are united, or there is no saying what they
might not do. So John remained a member of the college still. The dean
seldom looked at him if he could help it; he tried once the soothing
system by praising him at collections, but it only elicited from John a
polite enquiry after Mr and Mrs Mogg.

What man could do to extricate himself from his unfortunate position,
the dean did. He wrote off immediately to his mother, entreating her, by
her hopes of his advancement in life, not to allow the name of Hodgett
to be any longer contaminated by any touch of linen-drapery. He
suggested that she should at once make over the business to her foreman,
Spriggins, reserving to herself an interest in the profits, and retire
to a small and genteel cottage in the suburbs, where no impertinent
intruder could detect the linen-draper's widow. She, worthy old soul,
though it did grieve her, no doubt, to part with her shop, in which were
centred the interests and associations of so many years, yet would have
set fire to it with her own hands, and emigrated to America--though she
knew it only as a place where banks always broke, and people never paid
their debts--if it could in anyway have furthered his interests whom she
loved better than he deserved. She always looked upon him as a
gentleman, and did not wonder he wished to be one, though she herself
had no manner of taste for becoming a lady.

But in the simplicity of her heart, she planned that even this sacrifice
to her motherly affection might be turned to some account in the way of
trade. Accordingly, there appeared in the _Nottingham Herald_ an
advertisement, extending across two columns, headed with imposing
capitals, by which the public were informed that Mrs Hodgett being about
to decline her long-established linen-drapery business in favour of Mr
Spriggins, the whole stock was to be turned into ready money
immediately, "considerably below prime cost;" by which means the public
had no doubt an opportunity of giving full value to Mrs H. for sundry
old-fashioned patterns and faded remnants, which the incoming Spriggins
would otherwise have "taken to" for a mere song.

Now, since the time that John Brown began first to take so deep an
interest in the Hodgett family, he had regularly invested fourpence
weekly in a copy of the _Nottingham Herald_. By this means he had the
satisfaction of congratulating the dean upon the birth of a nephew, in
the person of a son and heir of the Moggs: and though so carefully did
that gentleman avoid all communication with his tormentor, that he was
obliged for two whole days to watch an opportunity to convey the
intelligence; yet, as he finally succeeded in announcing it in the
presence of the tutor of a neighbouring college, who was a profound
genealogist and a great gossip, his pains, he declared, were
sufficiently repaid. The eagerness with which he pounced upon the
advertisement may be imagined; and finding, from a little _N. B._ at the
bottom, that handbills with further particulars were to be had at the
office, he lost no time in procuring half a dozen by post; and one
morning the usual receptacles for university notices, the hall-door and
the board by the buttery, were placarded with staring announcements, in
red and black letters, six inches long, of Mrs HODGETT'S speculation.
One was pushed under the dean's door; one stuck under the knocker at the
principal's; one put into the college letterbox for "the senior
common-room;" in short, had good Mrs Hodgett herself wished to have the
college for her customers, she could hardly have distributed them more

In short, no pains were spared by John Brown to tease and worry the dean
with all the particulars of his family history, which he would most have
wished to bury in oblivion. And to do him justice, he in his turn spared
no pains to get rid of John Brown. He would have allowed him to cut
lectures and chapels _ad libitum_, if he thus could have spared all
personal intercourse, and escaped his detested civilities. Finding that
would not do, he tried the opposite course, and endeavoured either to
get him rusticated at once, or to disgust him with the college, and thus
induce him to take his name off. John was cautious--very cautious; but a
war against the powers that be, is always pretty much of an uphill game;
and so at last it proved in his case.

John had another enemy in the college, of his own making too; this was
Mr Silver, the junior tutor. He was a man of some scholarship and much
conceit; took a first class when very young, having entered college a
mere schoolboy, and read hard; got his appointment as tutor soon after,
and sneered at older men on the strength of it. He pretended to be
exceedingly jocular and familiar with his pupils, but was really always
on the alarm for his dignity. His great delight was to impress the
freshmen with an idea of his abilities and his condescension. "Always
come to me, Mr ----, if you find any difficulties in your reading--I
shall be most happy to assist you." This language, repeated to all in
turn, was, not unnaturally, literally understood by the matter-of-fact
John Brown; who, perhaps, could see no good reason why a college tutor
should _not_ be ready to aid, as far as he could, the private studies of
those who are so often in want of sensible advice and encouragement.
However, it did not occur to him, when he took up to Mr Silver's rooms
one morning after lecture, a passage that had puzzled him, that he was
doing a very odd thing, and that the tutor thought so. As these
consultations became more frequent, however, he began to perceive, what
other men were not slow to tell him, that Mr Silver thought him a bore.
And the moment this flashed upon him, with his unfortunate antipathy to
any thing like humbug, he began another war of independence. He selected
crabbed passages; got them up carefully by the help of translations,
scholiasts, and clever friends; and then took them up hot to Mr Silver.
And when he detected him slurring a difficulty instead of explaining it,
or saying there was no difficulty at all, John would bring up against
him his array of objections to this or that rendering, and arguments for
and against various readings, &c., till Mr Silver found himself fairly
out of his depth. At first this puzzled him, and he very nearly
committed the mistake of pronouncing John Brown a first-rate scholar in
the common-room; but when he found his performance at lecture did not by
any means keep pace with the remarkable erudition sometimes displayed by
him in private, he began in his turn to suspect the trick. He dared not
refuse to play his part, when called upon, in these learned discussions,
though he dreaded them more and more; for his college reputation was at
stake, and there were some among the older fellows who looked upon him
as rather an assuming young man for understanding what they did not
pretend to, and would have been glad to have had a joke against him; but
he began cordially to hate John Brown; he gave him all the difficult
bits he could at lecture; sneered at him when he dared; and practised
all those amiable embellishments which make schoolmasters and tutors
usually so beloved, and learning in all its branches so delightful.

It is not to be wondered at, then, if John's kind friends somewhat
damaged his reputation among the Dons, and watched their opportunity to
annihilate him. It came, and they were down upon him at once. Some
half-dozen noisy men, the survivors of a supper-party, had turned into
Brown's rooms (he seldom sat up so late) for a parting cigar. Having
accomplished this, they took it into their heads to dance a quadrille in
the middle of the covered thoroughfare, for the benefit of the echo, to
the music of six individual tunes sung in chorus. So strange a
performance brought down some of the fellows; the men were not
recognised, but traced to Brown's rooms. He refused to give up their
names--was declared contumacious; and, in spite of the good-natured
remonstrances of the principal and one or two of the others, his enemies
obtained a majority in the common-room; and it was decided that John
Brown was too dangerous a character to be allowed to remain in college
during vacation. But they had not got rid of him yet.

About two miles out of Oxford, on the C---- road, if any one takes the
trouble to turn up a narrow lane, and then follow a footpath by the side
of the canal, he will come to one of the most curious-looking farmhouses
that he (or at least I) ever met with. It is a large rambling
uninhabited-looking place; the house, as is not unusual, forming one
side of a square enclosure, of which the barns and outhouses make up the
rest. The high blank walls of these latter, pierced only here and there
by two or three of the narrowest possible lancet-holes, give it
something the air of a fortification. Indeed, if well garrisoned, it
would be almost as strong a post as the Chateau of Hougoumont; with this
additional advantage, that it has a moat on two sides of it, and a
canal, only divided from it by a narrow towing-path, on a third. The
front (for it has a front, though, upon my first visit, it took me some
time to find it, it being exactly on the opposite side to the approach
at present in use, and requiring two pretty deep ditches to be crossed,
in order to get at it from the direction)--the front only has any
regular windows; and of these, most of the largest are boarded up,
(some, indeed, more substantially closed with brick and mortar) in order
to render it as independent as possible of the glazier and the assessor
of taxes. There is a little bridge, very much decayed, thrown across the
narrow moat to what was, in former days, the main entrance; but now the
door was nailed up, the bridge ruinous, and the path leading to it no
longer distinguishable in the long rank grass that covered the wet
meadows upon which the house looked out. It was a place that filled you
involuntarily with melancholy feelings; it breathed of loneliness and
desolation, changed times and fallen fortunes. I never beheld it but I
thought of Tennyson's "Mariana in the moated Grange"--

    "Unlifted was the clicking latch,
    Weeded and worn the ancient thatch
    Upon the lonely moated Grange."

Brown and I, in some of our peregrinations, had stumbled upon this old
house; and after having walked round it, and speculated upon its
history, made our way through an open door into the spacious court-yard.
If the outside looked desolate, however, the interior was lively enough:
cattle, pigs, geese, ducks, and all the ordinary appurtenances of a
well-stocked farm, gave token that the old place was still tenanted; and
a large mastiff, who stalked towards us with a series of enquiring
growls, evidently demanding our business, and suspicious of our good
intentions, made us not at all sorry to see a stout good-natured-looking
dame, a perfect contradiction to the poet's woe-worn "Mariana," who,
after bidding Boxer hold his noise, volunteered a compendious history of
herself and husband in answer to our simple question as to the name of
the place. How good Farmer Nutt and herself had lived there for the last
seventeen years; how the old place belonged to Squire somebody, and
folks said that some gentry used to live in it in times past; what a
lonesome-like life they thought it when they first came, after living in
the gay town of Abingdon; how, by degrees, they got to think it pretty
comfortable, and found the plashy meadows good pasturage, and the house
"famous and roomy-like;" this, and much besides, did we listen to
patiently, the more so because an attempt or two at interruption only
served to widen the field of her discourse. The wind-up of it all,
however, was, that we were asked to walk in and sit down, and so we did.
A civil farmer's wife, a very common character in most parts of England,
is, I am sorry to say, somewhat too much of a rarity about Oxford;
whether their tempers are too severely tried by the "fast men," who hunt
drags and ride steeple-chases to the detriment of young wheat and
new-made fences; or by the reading-men, who, in their innocence, make
pertinacious visits in search of strawberries and cream in the month of
March, or call for the twentieth time to enquire the nearest way to
Oxford, (being ignorant of all topography but that of ancient Rome and
Athens;) or whether they regard all gownsmen as embryo parsons and
tithe-owners, and therefore hereditary enemies; whatever be the reason,
it generally requires some tact to establish any thing like a friendly
relation with a farmer or his wife in the neighbourhood of the
university. However, Mrs Nutt was an exception; and nothing could exceed
the heartiness with which she set out her best wheaten bread and rich
Gloucester cheese, and particular ale--an advance towards further
acquaintance which we met with due readiness. In short, so well were we
pleased with the good dame's hospitable ways, and her old-fashioned
house, and even with her good-humoured loquacity, that our first visit
was not our last. The farmer himself, a quiet, good-natured, honest
yeoman of about sixty, who said very little indeed when his wife was
present, (he had not much chance,) but could, when disposed, let out
many a droll story of "College Gents" in bygone days, when he was a
brewer's apprentice at Abingdon, came, by invitation, to taste the
college tap, and carried home in each pocket a bottle of wine for "the

When John Brown, Esquire, found his intentions of wintering within the
walls of ---- so unexpectedly defeated, he cast about diligently in his
own mind for a resting-place for himself, his books, and a nondescript
animal which he called a Russian terrier. Home he was determined not to
go--any where within the boundaries of the University, the College were
equally determined he should not stay; and we all settled that he would
fix himself for the vacation either at Woodstock, or Ensham, or
Abingdon; the odds were in favour of the latter place, for John was a
good judge of ale. It was not, therefore, without considerable
astonishment that one morning, at breakfast in my room, after devouring
in rigid silence a commons of broiled ham for two, and the last number
of _Pickwick_, (John seldom laughed, but read "Boz" as gravely as he
would Aristotle,) we heard him open his heart as follows:--

"I say, old fellow, where do you think I am going to put up this

"Really, John, you're such an odd fellow it's impossible to guess; if it
had been summer, I shouldn't have been at all surprised to hear of your
having pitched a tent at Bullingdon, or hired a house-boat, and lived
Chinese fashion on the river; but I suppose you would hardly think of
that plan at this time of the year."

"Nonsense, man; you know the Moated Grange, as you call it--old
Nutt's!--I've taken lodging there."

"The Grange! Well, there's no accounting for tastes; but if there were
any empty rooms in the county jail, I almost think I should prefer them,
especially when one might possibly get board and lodging there gratis."

"Don't be absurd; I shall be very comfortable there. I'm to have two
rooms up-stairs, that will look very habitable when they've cleaned down
the cobwebs, and got rid of the bats; Farmer Nutt is going to lay poison
for the rats to-night, and I can go in, if I like, on Monday."

"Upon my honour, John, Chesterton and I can never come and see you in
that miserable hole."

"Don't, then; I'm going there to read: I sha'n't want company."

It turned out that he was really in earnest; and the day after the
University term was ended, the Grange received its new tenant. We went
down there to instal him; it was the first time Chesterton had seen the
place, and he was rather envious of our friend's selection, as he
followed him up-stairs into the quaint old chambers, to which two
blazing log-fires, and Mrs Nutt's unimpeachable cleanliness, had
imparted an air of no little comfort. The old oaken floor of the
sitting-room had been polished to something like its original richness
and brilliancy of hue, and reflected the firelight in a way that warmed
you to look at it. There was not a cobweb to be seen; and though old
Bruin snuffed round the room suspiciously, Farmer Nutt gave it as his
conscientious opinion that every rat had had a taste of the "pyson."
There was no question but that if one could get over the dulness of the
place, as far as accommodation went there need be little cause to

"I shall get an 18-gallon of Hall and Tawney, and hire an easy-chair,"
said John, "and then _won't_ I read?"

Full of these virtuous resolutions we left him; and how he got on there
my readers shall hear another day.





    I woke from sleep at midnight, all was dark,
    Solemn, and silent, an unbroken calm;
    It was a fearful vision, and had made
    A mystical impression on my mind;
    For clouds lay o'er the ocean of my thoughts
    In vague and broken masses, strangely wild;
    And grim imagination wander'd on
    'Mid gloomy yew-trees in a churchyard old,
    And mouldering shielings of the eyeless hills,
    And snow-clad pathless moors on moonless nights,
    And icebergs drifting from the sunless Pole,
    And prostrate Indian villages, when spent
    The rage of the hurricane has pass'd away,
    Leaving a landscape desolate with death;
    And as I turn'd me to my vanish'd dream,
    Clothed in its drapery of gloom, it rose
    Upon my spirit, dreary as before.


    Alone--alone--a desolate dreary wild,
    Herbless and verdureless; low swampy moss,
    Where tadpoles grew to frogs, for leagues begirt
    My solitary path. Nor sight nor sound
    Of moving life, except a grey curlew--
    As shrieking tumbled on the timid bird,
    Aye glancing backward with its coal-black eye,
    Even as by imp invisible pursued--
    Was seen or heard; the last low level rays
    Of sunset, gilded with a blood-red glow
    That melancholy moor, with its grey stones
    And stagnant water-pools. Aye floundering on,
    And on, I stray'd, finding no pathway, save
    The runlet of a wintry stream, begirt
    With shelvy barren rocks; around, o'erhead,
    Yea every where, in shapes grotesque and grim,
    Towering they rose, encompassing my path,
    As 'twere in savage mockery. Lo, a chasm
    Yawning, and bottomless, and black! Beneath
    I heard the waters in their sheer descent
    Descending down, and down; and further down
    Descending still, and dashing: Now a rush,
    And now a roar, and now a fainter fall,
    And still remoter, and yet finding still,
    For the white anguish of their boiling whirl,
    No resting-place. Over my head appear'd,
    Between the jagged black rifts bluely seen,
    Sole harbinger of hope, a patch of sky,
    Of deep, clear, solemn sky, shrining a star
    Magnificent; that, with a holy light,
    Glowing and glittering, shone into the heart
    As 'twere an angel's eye. Entranced I stood,
    Drinking the beauty of that gem serene,
    How long I wist not; but, when back to earth
    Sank my prone eyes--I knew not where I was--
    Again the scene had shifted, and the time,
    From midnight to the hour when earliest dawn
    Gleams in the orient, and with inky lines
    The trees seem painted on the girding sky.


    A solemn hour!--so silent, that the sound
    Even of a falling leaflet had been heard,
    Was that, wherein, with meditative step,
    With uncompanion'd step, measured and slow,
    And wistful gaze, that to the left, the right,
    Was often turn'd, as if in secret dread
    Of something horrible that must be met--
    Of unseen evil not to be eschew'd--
    Up a long vista'd avenue I wound,
    Untrodden long, and overgrown with moss.
    It seem'd an entrance to the hall of gloom;
    Grey twilight, in the melancholy shade
    Of the hoar branches, show'd the tufted grass
    With globules spangled of the fine night-dew--
    So fine--that even a midge's tiny tread
    Had caused them trickle down. Funereal yews
    Notch'd with the growth of centuries, stretching round
    Dismal in aspect, and grotesque in shape,
    Pair after pair, were ranged: where ended these,
    Girdling an open semicircle, tower'd
    A row of rifted plane-trees, inky-leaved
    With cinnamon-colour'd barks; and, in the midst,
    Hidden almost by their entwining boughs,
    An unshut gateway, musty and forlorn;
    Its old supporting pillars roughly rich
    With sculpturings quaint of intermingled flowers.


    Each pillar held upon its top an urn,
    Serpent-begirt; each urn upon its front
    A face--and such a face! I turn'd away--
    Then gazed again--'twas not to be forgot:--
    There was a fascination in the eyes--
    Even in their stony stare; like the ribb'd sand
    Of ocean was the eager brow; the mouth
    Had a hyena grin; the nose, compress'd
    With curling sneer, of wolfish cunning spake;
    O'er the lank temples, long entwisted curls
    Adown the scraggy neck in masses fell;
    And fancy, aided by the time and place,
    Read in the whole the effigies of a fiend--
    Who, and what art thou? ask'd my beating heart--
    And but the silence to my heart replied!
    That entrance pass'd, I found a grass-grown court,
    Vast, void, and desolate--and there a house,
    Baronial, grim, and grey, with Flemish roof
    High-pointed, and with aspect all forlorn:--
    Four-sided rose the towers at either end
    Of the long front, each coped with mouldering flags:
    Up from the silent chimneys went no smoke;
    And vacantly the deep-brow'd windows stared,
    Like eyeballs dead to daylight. O'er the gate
    Of entrance, to whose folding-doors a flight
    Of steps converging led, startled I saw,
    Oh, horrible! the same reflected face
    As that on either urn--but gloomier still
    In shadow of the mouldering architrave.


    I would have turn'd me back--I would have fled
    From that malignant, yet half-syren smile;
    But magic held me rooted to the spot,
    And some inquisitive horror led me on.--
    Entering I stood beneath the spacious dome
    Of a round hall, vacant, save here and there,
    Where from the panelings, in mouldy shreds,
    Hung what was arras loom-work; weather-stains
    In mould appear'd on the mosaic floors,
    Of marble black and white--or what was white,
    For time had yellow'd all; and opposite,
    High on the wall, within a crumbling frame
    Of tarnish'd gold, scowl'd down a pictured form
    In the habiliments of bygone days--
    With ruff, and doublet slash'd, and studded belt--
    'Twas the same face--the Gorgon curls the same,
    The same lynx eye, the same peak-bearded chin,
    And the same nose, with sneering upward curl.


    Again I would have turned to flee--again
    Tried to elude the snares around my feet;
    But struggling could not--though I knew not why,
    Self-will and self-possession vaguely lost.--
    Horror thrill'd through me--to recede was vain;
    Fear lurk'd behind in that sepulchral court,
    In its mute avenue and grave-like grass;
    And to proceed--where led my onward way?
    Ranges of doorways branch'd on either side,
    Each like the other:--one I oped, and lo!
    A dim deserted room, its furniture
    Withdrawn; gray, stirless cobwebs from the roof
    Hanging; and its deep windows letting in
    The pale, sad dawn--than darkness drearier far.
    How desolate! Around its cornices
    Of florid stucco shone the mimic flowers
    Of art's device, carved to delight the eyes
    Of those long since but dust within their graves!
    The hollow hearth-place, with its fluted jambs
    Of clammy Ethiop marble, whence, of yore,
    Had risen the Yule-log's animating blaze
    On festal faces, tomb-like, coldly yawn'd;
    While o'er its centre, lined in hues of night,
    Grinn'd the same features with the aspick eyes,
    And fox-like watchful, though averted gaze,
    The haunting demon of that voiceless home!


    How silent! to the beating of my heart
    I listen'd, and nought else around me heard.
    How stirless! even a waving gossamer--
    The mazy motes that rise and fall in air--
    Had been as signs of life; when, suddenly,
    As bursts the thunder-peal upon the calm,
    Whence I had come the clank of feet was heard--
    A noise remote, which near'd and near'd, and near'd--
    Even to the threshold of that room it came,
    Where, with raised hands, spell-bound, I listening stood;
    And the door opening stealthily, I beheld
    The embodied figure of the phantom head,
    Garb'd in the quaint robes of the portraiture--
    A veritable fiend, a life in death!


    My heart stood still, though quickly came my breath;
    Headlong I rush'd away, I knew not where;
    In frenzied hast rushing I ran; my feet
    With terror wing'd, a hell-hound at my heels,
    Yea! scarce three strides between us. Through a door
    Right opposite I flew, slamming its weight,
    To shut me from the spectre who pursued:
    And lo! another room, the counterpart
    Of that just left, but gloomier. On I rush'd,
    Beholding o'er its hearth the grinning face,
    Another and the same; the haunting face
    Reflected, as it seem'd, from wall to wall!
    There, opening as I shut, onward he came,
    That Broucoloka, not to be escaped,
    With measured tread unwearied, like the wolf's
    When tracking its sure prey: forward I sprang,
    And lo! another room--another face,
    Alike, but gloomier still; another door,
    And the pursuing fiend--and on--and on,
    With palpitating heart and yielding knees,
    From room to room, each mirror'd in the last.
    At length I reach'd a porch--amid my hair
    I felt his desperate clutch--outward I flung--
    The open air was gain'd--I stood alone!


    That welcome postern open'd on a court--
    Say rather, grave-yard; gloomy yews begirt
    Its cheerless walls; ranges of headstones show'd,
    Each on its hoary tablature, half hid
    With moss, with hemlock, and with nettles rank,
    The sculptured leer of that hyena face,
    Softening as backwards, through the waves of time,
    Receded generations more remote.
    It was a square of tombs--of old, grey tombs,
    (The oldest of an immemorial date,)
    Deserted quite--and rusty gratings black,
    Along the yawning mouths of dreary vaults--
    And epitaphs unread--and mouldering bones.
    Alone, forlorn, the only breathing thing
    In that unknown, forgotten cemetery,
    Reeling, I strove to stand, and all things round
    Flicker'd, and wavering, seem'd to wane away,
    And earth became a blank; the tide of life
    Ebbing, as backward ebbs the billowy sea,
    Wave after wave, till nought is left behind,
    Save casual foam-bells on the barren sand.


    From out annihilation's vacancy,
    (The elements, as of a second birth,
    Kindling within, at first a fitful spark,
    And then a light which, glowing to a blaze,
    Fill'd me with genial life,) I seemed to wake
    Upon a bed of bloom. The breath of spring
    Scented the air; mingling their odours sweet,
    The bright jonquil, the lily of the vale,
    The primrose, and the daffodil, o'erspread
    The fresh green turf; and, as it were in love,
    Around the boughs of budding lilac wreathed
    The honeysuckle, rich in earlier leaves,
    Gold-tinctured now, for sunrise fill'd the clouds
    With purple glory, and with aureate beams
    The dew-refreshen'd earth. Up, up, the larks
    Mounted to heaven, as did the angel wings
    Of old in Jacob's vision; and the fly,
    Awakening from its wintry sleep, once more
    Spread, humming, to the light its gauzy wings.


    A happy being in a happy place,
    As 'twere a captive from his chains released,
    His dungeon and its darkness, there I lay
    Nestling, amid the sun-illumined flowers,
    Revolving silently the varied scenes,
    Grotesque and grim, 'mid which my erring feet
    Had stumbled; and a brightness darting in
    On my mysterious night-mare, something told
    The what and wherefore of the effigies grim--
    The wolfish, never-resting, tombless man,
    Voicelessly haunting that ancestral home--
    Yea of his destiny for evermore
    To suffer fearful life-in-death, until
    A victim suffer'd from the sons of men,
    To soothe the cravings of insatiate hell;
    An agony for age undergone--
    An agony for ages to be borne,
    Hope, still elusive, baffled by despair.


    Thus as an eagle, from the altitude
    Of the mid-sky, its pride of place attain'd,
    Glances around the illimitable void,
    And sees no goal, and finds no resting-place
    In the blue, boundless depths--then, silently,
    Pauses on wing, and with gyrations down
    And down descends thorough the blinding clouds,
    In billowy masses, many-hued, around
    Floating, until their confines past, green earth
    Once more appears, and on its loftiest crag
    The nest, wherein 'tis bliss to rest his plumes
    Flight-wearied--so, from farthest dreamland's shores,
    Where clouds and chaos form the continents,
    And reason reigns not, Fancy back return'd
    To sights and sounds familiar--to the birds
    Singing above--and the bright vale beneath,
    With cottages and trees--and the blue sky--
    And the glad waters murmuring to the sun.


Socialism, as well in this country as in France, may be regarded as an
offset of the French Revolution. It is true that, in all times, the
striking disparity between the conditions of men has given rise to
Utopian speculations--to schemes of some new order of society, where the
comforts of life should be enjoyed in a more equalized manner than seems
possible under the old system of individual efforts and individual
rights; and it may be added that, as this disparity of wealth becomes
more glaring in proportion as the disparity of intelligence and
political rights diminishes, such speculations may be expected in these
later times to become more frequent and more bold. Nevertheless we
apprehend that the courage or audacity requisite to attempt the
realization of these speculative schemes, must confess its origin in the
fever-heat of the French Revolution. It required the bold example of
that great political subversion to prompt the design of these social
subversions--to familiarize the mind with the project of reducing into
practice what had been deemed sufficiently adventurous as reverie.

What a stride has been taken since those olden times, when the
philosophic visionary devised his Utopian society with all the freedom,
because with all the irresponsibility, of dreams! He so little
contemplated any practical result, that he did not even venture to bring
his new commonwealth on the old soil of Europe, lest it should appear
too strange, and be put out of countenance by the broad reality: but he
carried it out to some far-off island in the ocean, and created a new
territory for his new people. A chancellor of England, the high
administrator of the laws of property, could then amuse his leisure with
constructing a Utopia, where property, with all its laws, would undergo
strange mutation. How would he have started from his woolsack if any one
had told him that his design would be improved upon in boldness, and
that such men as his own carpenter and mason would set about the
veritable realization of it! At the present time nothing is more common
or familiar than the project of changing entirely the model of society.
"To subvert a government," writes M. Reybaud of his own country men, "to
change a dynasty or a political constitution, is now an insignificant
project. Your socialist is at peace with kings and constitutions; he
merely talks in the quietest manner imaginable of destroying every
thing, of uprooting society from its very basis."

Indeed, if the power of these projectors bore any proportion to their
presumption, our neighbours would be in a most alarming condition. To
extemporize a social system, a new humanity, or at least a new
Christianity, is now as common as it was formerly, on leaving college,
to rhyme a tragedy. The social projector, sublimely confident in
himself, seems to expect to realize, on a most gigantic scale, the fable
of Mesmerism; he will put the whole world in _rapport_ with him, and it
shall have no will but his, and none but such blind, imitative movements
as he shall impress on it. And it is to a sort of _coma_ that these
projectors would, for the most part, reduce mankind--a state where there
is some shadow of thought and passion, but no will, no self-direction,
no connexion between the past and present--a state aimless, evanescent,
and of utter subjugation. Fortunately these social reformers, however
daring, use no other instruments of warfare than speech and pamphlets;
they do not betake themselves to the sharp weapons of political
conspiracy. They must be permitted, therefore, to rave themselves out.
And this they will do the sooner from their very number. There are too
many prophets; they spoil the trade; the Mesmerizers disturb and
distract each other's efforts; the _fixed idea_ that is in them will not
fix any where else. Those who, in the natural order of things, should
be dupes, aspire to be leaders, and the leaders are at a dead struggle
for some novelty wherewith to attract followers. We have, for instance,
M. Pierre Leroux, most distinguished of the _Humanitarians_, the last
sect which figures on the scene, bidding for disciples--with what, will
our readers think?--with the doctrine of metempsychosis! It is put
forward as a fresh inducement to improve the world we live in, that we
shall live in it again and again, and nowhere else, and be our own most
remote posterity. We are not assured that there is any thread of
consciousness connecting the successive apparitions of the same being;
yet some slight filament of this kind must be traceable, for we are
informed that M. Leroux gives himself out to have been formerly Plato.
He has advanced thus far in the scale of progression, that he is at
present M. Leroux.[29]

Still the frequent agitation of these social reforms cannot be, and has
not been, without its influence on society. It is from this influence
they gain their sole importance. Such schemes as those of St Simon, of
Fourier, and of our own Robert Owen, viewed as projects to be realized,
are not worth a serious criticism. In this point of view they are
considered, at least in this country, as mere nullities. No one
questions here whether they are feasible, or whether, if possible, they
would be propitious to human happiness. But the constant agitation in
society of such projects may be no nullity--may have, for a season, an
indisputable and very pernicious influence. As systems of doctrine they
may not be ineffective, nor undeserving of attention; and in this light
M. Reybaud, in the work we now bring before our readers, mainly
considers them.

M. Reybaud has given us a sketch of the biography and opinions of the
most celebrated of those men who have undertaken to produce a new scheme
of human life for us; he has introduced his description of them and
their projects by some account of the previous speculations, of a
kindred nature indeed, but conducted in a very different spirit, of
Plato, Sir Thomas More, and others; and he has accompanied the whole
with observations of his own, which bear the impress of a masculine
understanding, a candid judgment, and a sound, healthy condition of the
moral sentiments. The French Academy has distinguished the work by
according to it the Montyon prize--a prize destined annually to the
publication judged most beneficial to morals; and in this judgment of
the Academy every private reader, unless he has some peculiar morality
of his own, will readily acquiesce.

Our author is not one of those who at once, and without a question,
reject all schemes for the amelioration of society; nor has he sat down
to write the history of these social reformers for the mere purpose of
throwing on them his contempt or irony. He has even been accused, it
seems, by some of his critics, of manifesting too much sympathy with the
enthusiasts he has undertaken to describe. He tells us, in the preface
to his second edition, that he has encountered the contradictory
accusations of being too severe, and too indulgent, towards them; from
which he concludes, that he cannot have widely departed from the tone
which truth and impartiality would prescribe. This is a conclusion which
authors are very apt to draw; they very conveniently dispatch their
several critics by opposing them to each other. But this conclusion may
be drawn too hastily. Two contradictory accusations do not always
destroy each other, even when they are made by judges equally
competent. The inconsistency may be in the author himself, who may, in
different portions of his work, have given foundation for very opposite
censures. In the present case, although we have already intimated that
M. Reybaud writes with a spirit of fairness and candour, we cannot admit
him to the full benefit of the conclusion he draws in his own favour,
from the opponent criticisms he has met with. There are individual
passages in his work which it would be difficult to reconcile with each
other, and which invite very different criticisms. On some occasions he
appears to attribute a certain value to these tentatives at social
reform, and intimates that they may probably be the precursors, or may
contain the germ, of some substantial improvement; whilst at other
times, he scourges them without pity or compunction, as a species of
moral pestilence. He seems not to have been able, at all moments, to
defend himself from the _vertige_ which possesses the personages of whom
he is writing; like a certain historian of witchcraft, whom we have
somewhere read of, who had so industriously studied his subject that a
faith in the black art imperceptibly gained upon him. The narrative goes
on to say, that the unfortunate historian of witchcraft attempted to
practise the knowledge he had obtained, and was burned for a wizard. But
there the analogy will certainly fail. M. Reybaud soon recovers from the
visionary mood, and wakes himself thoroughly by inflicting the lash with
renewed vigour upon all the other dreamers around him.

This shadow of inconsistency is still more perceptible when speaking of
the lives and _characters_ of his socialists. Sometimes the reader
receives the impression that an egregious vanity, an eccentric ambition,
and perhaps a little touch of monomania, would complete the picture, and
sufficiently explain that conduct, of a hero of socialism. At another
time his enthusiasts assume a more imposing aspect. St Simon sacrificing
his fortune, abjuring the patronage of the court, dying in extreme
poverty--Charles Fourier refusing all entrance into commerce that would
implicate him with a vicious system, and pursuing to the end, amidst
want and ridicule, the labours of social regeneration--our own Robert
Owen quitting ease and fortune, and crossing the Atlantic for the New
World, there to try, upon a virgin soil, his bold experiment of a new
society;--these men rise before us endowed with a certain courage and
devotion which ought to command our admiration. We see them in the light
of martyrs to a faith which no one shares with them--sacrificing all,
enduring all, for a hope which _is_ of this world, for schemes which
they will never see realized, for a heaven which they may prophesy, but
which they cannot enter; manifesting, in short, the same obstinacy of
idea, and the same renouncement of self, which distinguish the founders
of new religions. And indeed we are not disposed to deny, that in their
character they may bear a comparison, in many points, with religious
impostors. There is this striking difference, however, in the effect of
their teaching: the religious impostor has often promised a paradise of
merely voluptuous enjoyment, but he has promised it as the reward of
certain self-denying virtues to be practised here on earth; whilst the
socialist insists upon bringing his sensual ill-ordered paradise,
wherein all virtue is dispensed with as superfluous, here, at once, upon
this earth we have to live and toil in.

The first volume of the work contains an account of the life and
writings of St Simon, Fourier, and Owen. The second is very
miscellaneous. We encounter, to our surprise, the name of Jeremy Bentham
in the category of socialists, and are still more startled to learn that
the Utilitarians derive their origin from Robert Owen! It is a jumble of
all sects, religious and political, in which even our Quakers are
included in the list of social reformers--our excellent _Friends_, who
assuredly have no wish whatever to disturb the world, but seek merely to
live in it as it is, with the additional advantage of being themselves
particularly quiet and comfortable. But we are so accustomed to the
haste of negligence of the majority of French writers whenever they
leave their own soil, (unless the literature or concerns of a foreign
country be their special subject,) that we are not disposed to pass any
very severe censure on M. Reybaud; and still less should we do him the
injustice to prejudge his qualifications as an historian of his own
countrymen, by the measure of accuracy he may display in that part of
his work which relates to England. It is a part of his work which we
have but slightly perused; our attention has been confined to the
socialists of France.

Amongst these founders of society, and constructors of Mahometan
paradises, Fourier is, we believe, the least known in this country. Some
brief account of him will, we think, be acceptable; more especially as
some of his ideas, leaving the narrow circle of his disciples, have
found partisans amongst men who, in other respects, have a reputation
for sobriety of thought. Our readers need not fear that we shall
overwhelm them with all the institutions, plans, projects,
arrangements--the complete _cosmogony_, in short, of this most laborious
of the tribe. A very little of such matter is quite enough. One may say
with truth that it is such stuff,

    "Whereof a little more than a little
    Is by much too much."

Nothing is more charming to the imagination than the first general idea
of some new community, where all men are to be happy, every body active,
benevolent, reasonable. But the moment we leave this general idea, enter
upon particulars, and set about the arrangements necessary for this
universally comfortable state of things, there is nothing in the world
more tedious and oppressive. Proposals for new political institutions
are sufficiently wearisome; but proposals for earthly elysiums, which
are to embrace the whole circle of human affairs, become insupportably
dull. It is child's play, played with heavy granite boulders. No; if we
were capable of being seduced for a moment into the belief of some
golden age of equality, where a parental government, presiding over all,
should secure the peace and prosperity of all, we should need no other
argument to recover us from the delusion than simply to _read on_, and
learn how this parental government intends to accomplish its purpose.
When we find that, in order to be relieved from domestic cares, we are
to have _no home at all_; that our parental government, in order to
provide for our children, begins by taking them away from us; when we
picture to ourselves the sort of wooden melancholy figures we must
become, (something like the large painted dolls in a Dutch garden, stuck
here and there without choice or locomotion of their own,) we speedily
lose all inclination to enter upon this discipline of happiness. We quit
with haste this enchanted garden, which turns out to be an enormous
piece of clockwork, and embrace with renewed content the old state of
personal freedom, albeit attended with many personal inconveniences.
Whilst reading of Utopian schemes, the idea has very vividly occurred to
us: suppose that some such society as this, where land and wives, money
and children, are all in common, had been for a long time in existence,
and that some clever Utopian had caught an inkling of the old system so
familiar to us, and had made the discovery that it would be possible,
without dissolving society, to have a wife of one's own, a house of
one's own, land and children of one's own. Imagine, after an age of
drowsy clockwork existence, one of these philosophers starting the idea
of a free society, of a social organization based upon individual rights
and individual effort--where property should not only be possessed, but
really _enjoyed_--where men should for the first time stretch their
limbs, and strain their faculties, and strive, and emulate, and endure,
and encounter difficulties, and have friendships. What a commotion there
would be! How would the younger sort, rebelling against the old rotten
machine in which they had been incarcerated, form themselves into
emigrating bands, and start forth to try upon some new soil their great
experiment of a free life! How would they welcome toil in all its
severity--how willingly practise abstinence, and suffer privation, for
the sake of the bold rights which these would purchase!--how willingly
take upon themselves the responsibility of their own fate to enjoy a
fortune of their own shaping! Hope herself would start from the earth
where she had been so long buried, and waving her rekindled torch, would
lead on to the old _race_ of life!

_Charles Fourier_ was the son of a woollen-draper at Besançon. Two
circumstances in his early history appear to have made a strong
impression upon him. When he was a child, he contradicted, in his
father's shop, some customary falsehood of the trade, and with great
simplicity revealed the truth; for this he was severely reprimanded.
Afterwards, when he was of the age of nineteen, and a clerk in a
merchant's house at Marseilles, he was present at a voluntary submersion
of grain, made in order to raise the price in the market. These
circumstances, he used to say, opened his eyes to the nature of human
relations. Falsehood and selfishness, systematic falsehood and
selfishness without a shadow of scruple, were at the basis of all our
commercial dealings. It was time, he thought, that a new order of things
should arise, founded upon veracity and a harmony of interests.

For himself, his part was taken. He became the man of one idea. "We
might rather say of him," writes M. Reybaud, "that he traversed the
world, than that he lived in it." He refused to enter into any
commercial dealings that might implicate him in the existing system, and
warp his feelings in favour of it; and exercised to the last, for a bare
subsistence, the mere mechanical employment of a copying clerk. He never
understood the art of making for himself two separate existences: one in
the domain of fiction or of thought; the other in the land of reality.
He passed all that might be called his life in the ideal world of his
own creating.

According to Fourier, there is but one deep and all-pervading cause of
the miseries of man: it is, that he does not comprehend the ways of God,
or, in other words, the laws of his own being. If humanity does not
_work well_, and with the same harmony that the planetary system
exhibits, it is because he is determined to impress upon it other
movements than those the Creator designed. Between the creature and the
Creator there has been, as he expresses it, a misunderstanding for these
five thousand years past.

The great error, it seems, that has been committed, is the supposing
that there are any passions of man which require to be restrained. God
has made nothing ill--nothing useless. You have but to let these
passions quite loose, and it will be found that they move in a beautiful
harmony of their own. These _attractions_--such is his favourite
word--are as admirably adjusted as those which rule over the course of
the planets. _Duty_, he says, is human--it varies from epoch to epoch,
from people to people. _Attraction_--that is to say, passion--is divine;
and is the same amongst all people, civilized and savage, and in all
ages, ancient and modern. At present the passions are compressed, and
therefore act unhappily; in future, they shall be free, satisfied, and
shall act according to the law they have received from God. To yield to
their impulse is the only wisdom; to remove whatever obstacles society
has placed in the way of their free exercise, is the great task of the

Fourier does not hesitate to place himself by the side of Newton, in
virtue of his discovery of this new law of attraction. If any comparison
can be made, we think--inasmuch as to unravel the problem of humanity is
a greater task than to elucidate the movements of the planets--that
Fourier was warranted in placing himself infinitely above Newton.
Unfortunately, there is this difference between the two, that Newton's
law explains existing phenomena, while Fourier's explained phenomena
that do _not_ exist--that are, however, to exist some day.

Having established his fundamental law of the attraction of the
passions, (which, he finds, amount to the number of twelve, and, in this
respect, to bear some occult analogy to the sidereal system, the
prismatic colours, and the gamut,) he has nothing to do but to set them
fairly at work. This he does, and discovers that they form men into
delightful communities, or _phalanges_, of about eighteen hundred men
each. Here nothing shall be wanting. Whether it is love or labour,
_attraction_ supplies all. "Labour will be a charm, a taste, a
preference--in short, a passion. Each man will devote himself to the
occupation that he likes--to twenty occupations, if he likes twenty. A
charming rivalry, an enthusiasm always new, will preside over human
labour, when, under the law of attraction, men will be associated by
_groups_, the last social fraction--by _series_, which are the
association of groups--by _phalanges_, which are the association of
series."--(P. 123.)

The dwelling-place of a _phalange_ will be called a _phalanstère_--an
edifice commodious and elegant, wherein, while the convenient
distribution of the interior will be first considered, the claims of
architecture will not be forgotten. It will be a vast structure of the
most beautiful symmetry, testifying by its magnificence to the splendour
of the new life of which it is to be the scene. Galleries, baths, a
theatre, every thing conducive to a pleasurable existence, will be found
in it. A strict equality of wealth is no part of the scheme of our
socialist; but every one will have a sufficiency, and will obtain
apartments and provisions in the _phalanstère_ suitable to his fortune.
M. Fourier further guarantees, that there shall be no vanity amongst the
rich, and no mortification felt by the poorer brethren of the

As to the expense of this _phalanstère_, M. Fourier undertakes to
construct it for what the building of four hundred miserable cottages
would cost, which would not accommodate a much greater number of
individuals, and which would fall to pieces after a few years. And as to
housekeeping, would not one enormous kitchen replace to advantage four
hundred small and ill-appointed kitchens? one vast cellar four hundred
little cellars? one gigantic washhouse four hundred damp, wretched
outhouses, not worthy of the name? Add to which, that much may be done
in these gigantic kitchens and washhouses by the judicious introduction
of a steam-engine, which might also be employed in supplying all the
apartments with water.

Labour, proceeding with such facility, such ardour, such enthusiasm,
as it will do in the _phalanstère_, must bring in enormous
profits--quadruple, as M. Fourier thinks, of what our present
ineffective means produce. It is in the division of these profits that
our socialist has been thought particularly happy; here it is that he
introduces his famous formula, "to associate men in capital, labour, and
talent," (associer les hommes en capital, travail, et talent.) The whole
profits of the community are first to be divided into three portions;
one for capital, one for labour, and one for talent--say four-twelfths
for capital, five-twelfths for labour, and three-twelfths for talent.
The portion allotted to the capitalists can create no difficulty--it
will be divided amongst them in proportion to the amount of capital they
severally supply. But a difficulty presents itself in the distribution
of the other two portions. Are all species of labour, and all
descriptions of talent, to be equally remunerated, or by what rule shall
their several rewards be determined? M. Fourier declares that the
labours _necessary_ to the community shall be most highly recompensed;
then those that are _useful_; and last of all, those which administer,
as the fine arts, only to pleasure and amusement. For this determination
he gives a sound reason, but one which we ought not to have heard from
the centre of a _phalanstère_; it is, that necessary labours are nearly
all of a repugnant nature, and should therefore be most amply rewarded.

To determine the degree of talent the individual has displayed, the
principle of election is called in. There is, however, a high order of
talent which is considered quite apart. Great artists, great
mechanicians, great writers--these belong to no _phalange_, but to
humanity. The world will charge itself with their remuneration. They
will be relieved from the usual condition of labour; and when, after a
long repose, they have produced a work, (how it comes to be known what
bird will lay the golden egg till the egg is laid, we are not told,)
then will a jury, assembled at the metropolis of the world, which will
be built on the site of Constantinople, vote them a recompense.
"Imagine, for example, Jacquart or Watt, Newton or Corneille, presenting
themselves before this august tribunal--Jacquart with his loom, Watt
with his steam-engine, Newton with his theory of attractions, Corneille
with his most beautiful tragedy. At the instant, to the exclusion of all
delays and hazards of fame, there would be voted to these great men a
remuneration, to be levied on all the _phalanges_. Suppose only five
francs on each _phalange_, and that there were five hundred thousand
_phalanges_ on the globe, the jury would have accorded a sum of
2,500,000 francs; Jacquart would not have been compelled to die in a
state bordering on indigence, after having enriched the universe."

Fournier was in person short, thin, and pale, but his melancholy and
pensive physiognomy bore traces of his long, unquiet, and ungrateful
labours. A simple clerk, he did not venture, when he published his
writings, to sign them with any other name than that of _Charles_,
declaring himself ready, under that name, to answer any objections that
might be addressed to him. Alas! there were few objections addressed to
him; Charles got no readers; men pitied or ridiculed him as a visionary.
Repulsed by the surrounding world, there remained nothing for him but to
live in that creation of his own, in which, at all events, he reigned
supreme. In his reveries he found his only happiness. He walked glorious
in the midst of joyful enthusiastic multitudes, who saluted him as their
benefactor, and proclaimed him as their sovereign; he spoke to these
beings, the children of his dreams, in a language which he alone
comprehended; he built his _phalanstère_, peopled, organized it;
conducted himself the labours of his harmonic groups, founded his towns,
his capitals, nay, his capital of the world, which he erected on the
Bosphorus, uniting the east and west, the north and south. There he
placed with his own hand the laurel, decreed by his million of
phalanges, on the brow of the greatest philosopher of his age. "These
festivals of the imagination," says M. Reybaud, "were the only pleasures
that relived the long, and gloomy, and proud poverty of Fourier."

One trait we cannot pass over, as it seems, so to speak, to have a
psychological value. Such was his habit of ordering and arranging all
things, that _Charles_ not only undertook to regulate the affairs of
men, and redress the inequalities of their several destinies, but he
took into his consideration the inequalities of the several climates of
the earth, and very seriously occupied himself with redressing their
anomalies. To him, as he walked the streets of Paris, the severe cold of
the North Pole was disquieting, and a subject of uneasiness; it was part
of his mission to temper and subdue it, and tame it for the habitation
of men. Perhaps the heat from those gigantic kitchens in his
_phalanstères_ might help him in his task. At all events, this and other
gross atmospheric irregularities were not be endured in the world which
he was planning.

There are two things, M. Reybaud remarks, especially reprehensible in
the theory of Fourier and of kindred socialists--First, the confounding
happiness with enjoyment, and the legitimating of all our passions; and
Secondly, the egregious expectation of moulding mankind by an external
or social organization, without calling in aid the virtues of the
individual. The one necessarily follows on the other. The chain of error
is manifest, and leads, as a chain of error may be expected to do, to
inextricable confusion. If mere enjoyment, if the gratification of our
senses and passions, be the highest aim and condition of the human
being, it follows that all moral discipline, all self-denial, must be
regarded as so much defect, so much imperfection, so much manifest
failure in the world-scheme. That lofty gratification which men have
been accustomed to attribute to self-control, to abstinence practised
under a sense of duty, or in the cause of justice, this is to be
measured off as so much simple misery, or so much negation of enjoyment.
Let all restraint be discarded: let man be free; but yet, as the good of
the whole is to be consulted in all societies, and in the new society is
consulted in an eminent degree, the individual thus released from all
self-control must be ruled despotically, or, if you will, moulded,
fashioned, mechanized by the laws of the community; for we suppose it
will be admitted, whatever M. Fourier tells us of his discovered law of
attraction, that a very stringent legislation must bind together that
harmonic society, which begins by giving loose rein to all the passions
of mankind. How the two are to be practically reconciled--how the utmost
license of the individual is to be combined with the utmost and most
minute supervision of the laws, we leave the socialist to determine.
Such is the miserable tissue of error and confusion which these projects
present to view.

These socialists are fond of inventing new Christianities, and in some
_salons_ in Paris it is, or was till very lately, the fashion to have a
new Christianity propounded every full moon. New enough! They present at
least a sufficient contrast with the old Christianity, and in no other
point more than in this--the complete dependence for the formation of
the character of individuals on the art of grouping and regimenting
them. Christianity has supported for ages monastic institutions,
institutions the most counter to the passions of men, solely by its
strong appeal to the individual conscience. St Simonian institutions, or
delightful _phalanstères_, will in vain flatter every passion and
indulge every sense; if they leave the conscience inert, if nothing is
built on the sense of duty, they will no sooner rise but they will
crumble back again into dust.

But we do not touch upon these fundamental errors of the socialists,
with the superfluous view of showing the impossibility of realizing
their schemes; we note them because their recognition demonstrates at
once the ill influence which must attend on the teaching and constant
agitation of such schemes. On the one hand, all our desires authorized,
and self-control put out of countenance as a mere marplot; on the other
hand, perpetual representations that a government or social organization
could effect every thing, or almost every thing that can be desired for
the happiness of man. What must follow but that men learn to indulge
themselves in a very lax morality, and to make most extravagant demands
on the government, or the legislative force of society? Their notions of
right and wrong, and their ideas of the duty and office of government,
become equally unsettled and erroneous.

We have the authority of M. Reybaud--and we could bring other
authorities if it were necessary--for saying that, in France, the habit
of attributing the vices of individuals, not to their own weakness or
ungoverned propensities, but to the malorganization of society, has
shown itself in a strange and ominous indulgence to crime. It was the
old fashion, he says, upon hearing of any enormity, to level our
indignation against the perpetrator; it is now the mode, to direct it
against that culpable abstraction, society. Society is, indeed, the sole
culprit. When the novelist has detailed some horrible assassination, or
gross adultery, he exclaims, Behold what society has done! The criminal
himself passes scathless; if, indeed, he may not put in a claim to our
especial sympathy, as having been peculiarly ill-used by that society,
whose duty it manifestly was to make him wise, and humane, and happy.
Man, in his individual capacity, is not to be severely criticised; the
censure falls only upon man in his aggregate and corporate capacity.
Polite, at all events. No one can possibly take offence at reproofs
leveled at that invisible entity, the social body; or suppose for a
moment that he is included in the censure. It used to be thought that
the aggregate was made up of individuals, and that, in order to
constitute a well-ordered community, there must be virtuous and
well-ordered men. The reverse is now discovered to be the truth.
_First_, have a well-ordered and divinely happy community, and then the
individual may do as he likes; as our comedian says, "his duties will be

It is a perilous habit to fall into at the best--that of regarding the
present condition of society as something doomed to destruction. But the
evil is unmistakeable and most pernicious, when it is proclaimed, that
in the new and expected order of things, the old morality will be
entirely superfluous, a mere folly, an infliction on ourselves and
others. Why take care of the old furniture, that will be worse than an
incumbrance in the new premises? Why not begin at once the work of
battery and destruction?

The influence which these speculations exert in unsettling men's notions
upon the duties of government, on the first principles of political or
social economy, is less glaring, but not, on this account, the less
prejudicial. Men, who are far from embracing entirely any one of the
schemes of these socialists, fall into the habit of looking for the
relief and amelioration of society to some legislative invention, some
violent interference with the free and spontaneous course of human
industry. The _organization of industry_ is the phrase now in high
repute; repeated, it is true, with every variety of meaning, but always
with the understanding, that government is to interfere more or less in
the distribution of wealth, in the employment of capital, and the
exercise of labour. The first principles on which modern civilization is
based, are taxed as the origin of all the evils that afflict society.
All our soundest maxims of political economy are discarded and
disgraced. That each man shall be free in the choice and practice of his
trade or calling--that the field of competition shall be open to
all--that each individual shall be permitted to make the best bargain he
can, whether for the wages of his labour or the price of his
commodities--all these trite but invaluable maxims are incessantly
decried, and nothing is heard of but the evils of competition, and the
unequal recompense of labour. In their fits of impotent benevolence,
these speculative physicians assail, as the cause of the existing
distress, those principles which, in fact, are the conditions of all the
prosperity we have attained, or can preserve, or can hope in future to

This title of the individual, whether workman or capitalist, to the
control and conduct of his own affairs--this "fair field and no favour"
system--is not to be described as if it were a mere theory of political
economy, and disputable like some other branches of a science not yet
matured. It is the great conquest of modern civilization; it is the
indispensable condition to the full development of the activity and
enterprise of man. The liberation of the artisan and the labourer, is
the signal triumph of modern over ancient times whether we regard
classic or Gothic antiquity. Viewing things on a large scale, it may be
considered as a _late_ triumph; and, without depreciating its value, we
may easily admit that there remains much to be done in the cultivation
of the free artisan, to enable him to govern himself, and make the best
of his position. But any scheme, which, under the pretext of
ameliorating his position, would place him again under tutelage, is a
scheme of degradation and a retrograde movement. He is now a freeman, an
enrolled member of a civilized state, where each individual has, to a
great extent, the responsibility thrown upon himself for his own
well-being; he must have prospective cares, and grow acquainted with the
thoughtful virtue of prudence. That release from reflection, and anxiety
for the future, which is the compensating privilege of the slave or the
barbarian, he cannot hope any longer to enjoy. Whatever its value, he
must renounce it. He must become one of us, knowing good and evil,
looking before and behind. In this direction--in the gradual improvement
of the labourer--lies our future progress, progress slow and toilsome,
little suited to the socialist who calculates on changing, as with the
touch of a wand, the whole aspect of society.

We said that some of the ideas of Charles Fourier had been adopted by
men who do not exactly aspire to the rank of social reformers. We will
give an instance, which at the same time will illustrate this tendency
to introduce legislation on those very subjects from which it has been
the effort of all enlightened minds, during the last century, to expel
it. A M. Ducpetiaux, a Belgian, who comes vouched to us for a safe and
respected member of society by the number of titles, official and
honorary, appended to his name, in a voluminous and chiefly statistical
work, _Sur la Condition des Jeunes Ouvriers_, wherein his views are in
the main temperate and judicious, declares himself a partisan of some
system similar to what Fourier points out in his famous
formula--_associer les hommes en capital, travail, et talent_. He
requires a union of interest, a partnership in fact, between the
capitalist and the workman. M. Ducpetiaux does not lay down the
proportion in which the profits are to be divided between them; he is
too cautious to give any figures--there are some ideas which do not bear
the approach of arithmetic--but he adopts the principle. It is thus that
he speaks in his introductory chapter.

     "In so conflicting a state of things[30] there remains but one
     remedy: to re-establish violated equity, to restore to the
     producers their legitimate share of what is produced, to bring
     back industry to its primitive aim and object--such is the work
     which is now, by the aid of every influence, individual and
     social, to be prosecuted. It is not a partial relief that is
     called for, but the complete restoration (réhabilitation
     complète) of the labourer. The mark which ages of servitude
     have impressed upon his front, cannot be effaced but by an
     energetic and sustained effort. The palliatives hitherto
     employed, have only exposed the magnitude of the evil. This
     evil we must henceforth attack in its origin, in the
     organization of labour, and the constitution of society.

     "What is the existing base of the relations between master and
     workman? Selfishness. Every one for himself, that is, every
     thing for me and nothing, or the least quantity possible, for
     others. Here is the evil. A blind and bitter contest must
     spring from this opposition of interests. To put an end to this
     there is but one means: the recognition of the law of union,
     (la loi de solidarité,) by virtue of which interests will
     amalgamate and divisions disappear. This law is the palladium
     of industry; refuse to acknowledge it, and every thing remains
     in a state of chaos: proclaim it, and every thing is remedied,
     every thing prospers. The capitalist comes in aid of the
     workman as the workman comes in aid of the capitalist; it is a
     common prosperity they enjoy, and if any thing menaces it, they
     are united for its defence. The law of union puts an end to an
     unfeeling employment of our fellow men, (_à l'exploitation
     brutale;_) it replaces men in their natural position; it
     re-establishes amongst them the relations of respect, esteem,
     and mutual benevolence which Christian fraternity demands; it
     substitutes association for rivalry; it restores to justice her
     empire, and to humanity its beneficence."

Translating all this into simple language, there is to be a partition by
the legislature, according to some rule of natural equity, between the
capitalist and the labourer, of the proceeds of their common enterprise.
We confess ourselves utterly incapable of devising any such rule of
equity. The share which falls to the capitalist under the name of
profits, and the share which falls to the labourer under the name of
wages, is regulated under the present system by the free competition
amongst the labourers on the one hand, and the capitalists on the other;
it is the result of an unfettered bargain between those who possess
capital and those who practise industry. This is, at all events, an
intelligible ground, and has in it a species of rough equity; but if we
desert this position, and appeal to some natural rule of justice to make
the division, we shall find ourselves without any ground whatever. For
what are the rights of capital in the face of any _à priori_ notions of
justice? We shall stumble on from one vague proposition to another, till
we find ourselves landed in the revolutionary doctrine of the equal
imprescriptible rights of man. This is the first stage at which we can
halt. Judged by this law of equality, the capitalist is but one man, and
capital is but another name for the last year's harvest, or the
buildings, tools, and manufactures which the labourers themselves, or
their predecessors, have produced. The utmost the ex-capitalist could
expect--and he must practise his handicraft before he can be entitled
even to this--is to be admitted on a footing of equality in the
extensive firm that would be constituted of his quondam operatives.

We often observe, in this country, an inclination manifested to regulate
by law the rate of wages, not with the view of instituting any such
naturally equitable partition, but of establishing a _minimum_ below
which life cannot be comfortably supported. These reasoners proceed, it
will at once be admitted, not on the rights of man, but on the claims of
humanity. To such a project there is but one objection; it will
assuredly fail of its humane intention. It is presumed that the
competition amongst the workmen to obtain employment has so far
advanced, that these cease to obtain a sufficient remuneration for their
labour. The thousand men whom a great capitalist employs, are
inadequately paid. The legislature requires that they should be paid
more liberally. But the amount which the capitalist has to expend in
wages is limited. The same amount which sustained a thousand men, can,
under the new scale of remuneration, sustain only nine hundred. The nine
hundred are better fed, but there is one hundred without any food
whatever. Our well-intentioned humanity looks round aghast at the
confusion she is making.

Suppose, it may be said, that a law of this description should be passed
at so fortunate a conjuncture, that it should not interfere with the
existing relations between the capitalist and the workman, but have for
its object to arrest the tendency which wages have to fall; suppose that
the legislature, satisfied with the existing state of things, should
pronounce it a punishable offence to offer or accept a lower rate of
remuneration, would not such a law be wise? The answer is obvious. If
there is a tendency at any time in wages to fall, it is because there is
a tendency in population to increase, or in capital to diminish;
circumstances, both of them, which it is not in the power of criminal
jurisprudence to wrestle with.

We hear political economy frequently censured by these advocates for
violent and legislative remedies, for paying more attention to the
accumulation than the distribution of wealth. But in what chapter of
political economy is it laid down, that the distribution and enjoyment
of wealth is a matter of less moment than its production and
accumulation? The simple truth is, that the same law of liberty, which
is so favourable to the accumulation of wealth, provides also the best
distribution which human ingenuity has yet been able to devise. Less has
been said on this head because there was less to say. But surely no sane
individual ever wished that property should accumulate merely for the
sake of accumulation, that society should have the temper of a miser,
and toil merely to increase its hoards. Still less has any one
manifested a disposition to confine the enjoyment of wealth to any one
class, treating the labourer and the artisan as mere tools and
instruments for the production of it. The fundamental principles of
political economy to which we have been alluding, and with which alone
we are here concerned, will be always found to embrace the interests of
the _whole_ community. They should be defended with the same jealousy
that we defend our political liberties with.

It was with regret we heard the argument we have just stated against the
legislative interference with the rate of wages, introduced in the
discussion of the _ten-hours' bill_, and applied against the principle
of that measure. It was plainly misapplied. Why do we not relish any
legislative interposition, on whatever plea of humanity, between workmen
and capitalist? Because it will fail of its humane intention. We should
heartily rejoice--who would not?--if a reasonable _minimum_ of wages
could be established and secured. But it cannot. Is the legislature
equally incompetent when it steps in to prevent children and very young
persons from being overworked; from being so employed that the health
and vigour of ensuing generations may be seriously impaired, (which
would be a grave mistake even in the economy of labour;) from being so
entirely occupied that no time shall remain for education? We think not.
The legislature is not in this case equally powerless. It may here
prevent an incipient abuse from growing into a custom. The law cannot
create an additional amount of capital to be distributed over its
population in the shape of an advance of wages, but the law can say to
all parents and all masters--you shall not profit by the labour of the
child, to the ruin of its health, and the loss of all period for mental
and moral discipline. Such an overtasking of the child's strength has
not hitherto been an element in your calculation, and it shall not
become one.

All these various schemes--socialist or otherwise--of legislative
interference, take their rise from the aspect, sufficiently deplorable,
of the distress of the manufacturing population; and it is almost
excusable if the contemplation of such distress should throw men a
little off their balance. But it is not so easily excusable if men, once
launched on their favourite projects, endeavour to prove their necessity
by heightened descriptions of that distress, and by unauthorized
prophecies of its future and continual increase. What a formidable array
of figures--figures of speech as well as of arithmetic--are brought down
upon us with gloomy perseverance, to convince us that the manufacturing
population of this country is on the verge of irreparable ruin! We think
it right to put our readers upon their guard against these over-coloured
descriptions. Even when Parliamentary reports are quoted, whose
authority is not to be gainsaid, they ought to defend themselves against
the _first_ impression which these are calculated to make. The facts
stated may be true, but there are _other facts_ which are not stated
equally true, and which the scope and purpose of such reports did not
render it necessary to collect. If, in this country, there is much
distress, if in some places there is that utter prostration of mind and
body which extreme poverty occasions, there is also much prosperity;
there is also, in other places, much vigorous industry, receiving its
usual, and more than its usual recompense. If there are plague-spots in
our population, there are also large tracts of it still sound and
healthy. Set any one down to read list after list of all the maimed and
halt and sick in our great metropolis, and the whole town will seem to
him, for the time being, one wide hospital: he must throw open the
window and look on the busy, animated, buoyant crowd that is rushing
through the streets, before he shakes off the impression that he is
living in a city of the plague.

Without a doubt, he who approaches the consideration of the distress of
the labouring classes, should have a tender and sympathizing spirit; how
else can the subject possess for him its true and profound interest? But
it is equally necessary that he bring to it a cultivated and
well-disciplined compassion; that he should know where, in the name of
others, he should raise the voice of complaint, and where, in the name
of suffering humanity at large, he should be silent and submit. It
should always be borne in mind, that it is very difficult for persons of
one condition of life, to judge of the comparative state of well-being
of those of another condition. An inhabitant of cities, a man of books
and tranquillity, goes down into the country, without previous
preparation, to survey and give report of the distress of a mining or
agricultural district. In what age since the world has been peopled,
could such an individual be transported into the huts of peasants, or
amongst the rude labours of the miner, without receiving many a shock to
his sensibility? Perhaps he descends, for the first time in his life,
the shaft of a coal-mine. How foul and unnatural must the whole business
seem to him!--these men working in the dark, begrimed, half-naked, pent
up in narrow galleries. He has gone to spy out hardships--he sees
nothing else. Or perhaps he pays his first visit to the interior of the
low-roofed crazy cottage of the husbandman, and is disgusted at the
scant furniture and uninviting meal that it presents; yet the hardy
labourer may find his rest and food there, with no greater share of
discontent than falls to most of us--than falls, perhaps, to the
compassionate inspector himself. We have sometimes endeavoured to
picture to ourselves what would be the result if the tables were
turned, and a commission of agricultural labourers were sent into the
city to make report of the sort of lives led there, not by poor citizens
or the lowest order of tradesmen, but by the very class who are occupied
in preparing largo folio reports of their own distressful condition.
Suppose they were to enter into the chambers of the student of law--of
the conveyancer, for example. They make their way through obscure
labyrinths into a room not quite so dark, it must be allowed, nor quite
so dirty as the interior of a coal-mine, and there they find an unhappy
man who, they are given to understand, sits in that gloomy apartment, in
a state of solitary confinement, from nine o'clock in the morning till
six or seven in the evening. They learn that, for several months in the
year, this man never sees the sun; that in the cheerful season when the
plough is going through the earth, or the sickle is glittering in the
corn, and the winds are blowing the great clouds along the sky, this
pale prisoner is condemned to pore over title-deeds which secure the
"quiet enjoyment" of the land to others; and if they imitate the oratory
of their superiors, they will remark upon the strange injustice, that he
should be bound down a slave to musty papers, which give to others those
pastures from which he never reaps a single blade of grass, and which he
is not even permitted to behold. These commissioners would certainly be
tempted to address a report to Parliament full of melancholy
representations, and ending with the recommendation to shake out such
unhappy tenants into the fields. It would be long before they could be
brought to understand that he of the desk and pen would, at the end of
half an hour, find nothing in those fields but a mortal _ennui_. To him
there is no _occupation_ in all those acres; and therefore they would
soon be to him as barren as the desert.

If there is any apparent levity in the last paragraph we have penned, it
is a levity that is far from our heart. There is no subject which gives
us so much concern as this--of the undoubted distress which exists
amongst the labouring population, and the necessity that exists to
alleviate and to combat it. Coming from the immediate perusal of Utopian
schemes, promising a community of goods, and from the reconsideration of
those arguments which prove such schemes to be delusive and mischievous,
the impression that is left on our mind is the profound conviction of
the duty of government, to do whatever lies really in its power for the
amelioration of the condition of the working classes. The present system
of civilized society works, no doubt, for the good of the whole, but
assuredly _they_ do not reap an equal benefit with other classes, and on
them falls the largest share of its inevitable evils. May we not say
that, whatever the social body, acting in its aggregate capacity, _can_
do to redress the balance--whether in education of their children, in
sanatory regulations which concern their workshops and their dwellings,
or in judicious charity that will not press upon the springs of
industry--it is _bound_ to do by the sacred obligation of justice?


[28] _Etudes sur les Réformateurs, ou Socialistes Modernes._ Par M.

[29] We shall perhaps take some opportunity to speak separately of M.
Leroux's work, _Sur l'Humanité_. It is a work of very superior
pretension to the writings of MM. St Simon, Fourier, and others, who
must rather be regarded as makers of projects than makers of books. M.
Leroux has the honour of indoctrinating George Sand with that mysticism
which she has lately infused into her novels--by no means to the
increase of their merit. When M. Leroux was reproached by a friend for
the fewness of his disciples, he is said to have replied--"It is true I
have but one--_mais, que voulez-vous?--Jésus Christ lui-même n'avait que

[30] He had been drawing the usual painful picture of the distress of
the manufacturing classes, and citing for his authority some English
journal. In doing this he has made a somewhat alarming mistake. The
colloquial phrase _job-work_ has perplexed, and very excusably, the
worthy Belgian, and he has drawn from a very harmless expression a
terrible significance. "Partout le travail est le métier de job
(job-work) comme disent les Anglais--_un métier à mourir sur le
fumier_." In another place he has understood the _turn out_ of our
factories as the expulsion of the artisans by the master manufacturers.



    "Have I not in my time heard lions roar?
    Have I not heard the sea, puft up with wind,
    Rage like an angry boar chafed with sweat?
    Have I not heard great ordnance in the field,
    And Heaven's artillery thunder in the skies?
    Have I not in the pitched battle heard
    Loud 'larums, neighing steeds, and trumpets clang?"


Europe had never seen so complete or so powerful an army as that which
was now assembled within sight of Valenciennes. The city was already
regarded as in our possession; and crowds of military strangers, from
every part of the Continent, came day by day pouring into the allied
camp. Nothing could equal the admiration excited by the British troops.
The admirable strength, stature, and discipline of the men, and the
successes which they had already obtained, made them the first object of
universal interest; and the parades of our regiments formed a daily
levee of princes and nobles. It was impossible that soldiership could be
on a more stately scale. Other times have followed, which have shown the
still statelier sight of nations marching to battle; but the hundred
thousand men who marched under Cobourg to take up their positions in the
lines of Valenciennes, filled the eye of Europe; and never was there a
more brilliant spectacle. At length orders were sent to prepare for
action, and the staff of the army were busily employed in examining the
ground. The Guards were ordered to cover the operations of the pioneers;
and all was soon in readiness for the night on which the first trench
was to be opened. A siege is always the most difficult labour of an
army, and there is none which more perplexes a general. To the troops,
it is incessant toil--to the general, continual anxiety. The men always
have the sense of that disgust which grows upon the soldier where he
contemplates a six weeks' delay in the sight of stone walls; and the
commander, alive to every sound of hazard, feels that he yet must stand
still, and wait for the attack of every force which can be gathered
round the horizon. He may be the lion, but he is the lion in a
chain--formidable, perhaps, to those who may venture within its length,
but wholly helpless against all beyond. Yet those feelings, inevitable
as they are, were but slightly felt in our encampment round the frowning
ramparts of the city. We had already swept all before us; we had learned
the language of victory; we were in the midst of a country abounding
with all the good things of life, and which, though far from exhibiting
the luxuriant beauty of the British plains, was yet rich and various
enough to please the eye. Our camp was one vast scene of gaiety. War
had, if ever, laid aside its darker draperies, and "grim-visaged" as it
is, had smoothed its "wrinkled front." The presence of so many visitors
of the highest rank gave every thing the air of royalty. High manners,
splendid entertainments, and all the habits and indulgences of the life
of courts, had fled from France only to be revived in Flanders. Our army
was a court on the march; and the commander of the British--the honest,
kind-hearted, and brave Duke of York--bore his rank like a prince, and
gathered involuntarily round him as showy a circle as ever figured in St
James's, or even in the glittering saloons of the Tuileries. Hunting
parties, balls, suppers, and amateur theatrical performances, not merely
varied the time, but made it fly. Hope had its share too, as well as
possession. Paris was before us; and on the road to the capital lay but
the one fortress which was about to be destroyed with our fire, and of
which our engineers talked with contempt as the decayed work of "old"

But the course of victory is like the course of love, which, the poet
says, "never does run smooth." The successes of the Allies had been too
rapid for their cabinets; and we had found ourselves on the frontiers of
France before the guardian genii of Europe, in the shape of the
stiff-skirted and full-wigged privy councillors of Vienna and Berlin,
had made up their minds as to our disposal of the prize. Startling words
suddenly began to make their appearance in the despatches, and
"indemnity for the past and security for the future"--those luckless
phrases which were yet destined to form so large a portion of senatorial
eloquence, and give birth to so prolific an offspring of European
ridicule--figured in diplomacy for the first time; while our pioneers
stood, pickaxe in hand, waiting the order to break ground. We thus lost
day after day. Couriers were busy, while soldiers were yawning
themselves to death; and the only war carried on was in the discontents
of the military councils. Who was to have Valenciennes? whose flag was
to be hoisted on Lille? what army was to garrison Condé? became national
questions. Who was to cut the favourite slices of France, employed all
the gossips of the camp, in imitation of the graver gossips of the
cabinet; and, in the mean time, we were saved the trouble of the
division, by a furious decree from the Convention ordering every man in
France to take up arms--converting all the churches into arsenals,
anathematizing the German princes as so many brute beasts, and
recommending to their German subjects the grand republican remedy of the
guillotine for all the disorders of the government, past, present, and
to come.

Circumstances seldom give an infantry officer more than a view of the
movements in front of his regiment; but my intimacy with Guiscard
allowed me better opportunities. Among his variety of attainments he was
a first-rate engineer, and he was thus constantly employed where any
thing connected with the higher departments of the staff required his
science. He was now attached to the Prussian mission, which moved with
the headquarters of the British force, and our intercourse was
continued. I thus joined the reconnoitring parties under his command,
and received the most important lessons in my new art. But one of my
first questions to him, had been the mode of his escape on the night of
our volunteer reconnoisance.

"Escape? Why, I committed the very blunder against which I had cautioned
you, and fell into the hands of the first hussar patrole I could
possibly have met. But my story is of the briefest kind. I had not rode
forward above an hour, when my horse stumbled over something in that
most barbaric of highways, and lamed himself. I then ought to have
returned; but curiosity urged me on, and leading my unfortunate charger
by the bridle, I threaded my way through the most intricate mesh of
hedge and ditch within my travelling experience. The trampling of
horses, and the murmur of men in march, at last caught my ear; and I
began to be convinced that the movement which I expected from Dampier's
activity was taking place. I then somewhat questioned my own
_insouciance_ in having thrust you into hazard; and attempted to make my
way across the country in your direction. To accomplish this object I
turned my horse loose, taking it for granted that, lame as he was, he
was too good a Prussian to go any where but to his own camp. This
accounts for his being found at morn. I had, however, scarcely thus
taken the chance of losing a charger which had cost me a hundred and
fifty gold ducats, when I received a shot from behind a thicket which
disabled my left arm, and I was instantly surrounded by a dozen French
hussars. I was foolish enough to be angry, and angry enough to fight.
But as I was neither Samson, nor they Philistines, my sabre was soon
beaten down, and I had only to surrender. I was next mounted on the
croup of one of their horses, and after a gallop of half an hour reached
the French advanced guard. It was already hurrying on, and I must
confess that, from the silence of the march and the rapid pace of their
battalions, I began to be nervous about the consequences, and dreaded
the effects of a surprise on some of our camps. My first apprehension,
however, was for you. I thought that you must have been entangled in the
route of some of the advancing battalions, and I enquired of the colonel
of the first to whom I was brought, whether he had taken any prisoners.

"'Plenty,' was the answer of the rough Republican--'chiefly peasants and
spies; but we have shot none of them yet. That would make too much
noise; so we have sent them to the rear, where I shall send you. You
will not be shot till we return to-morrow morning, after having cut up
those _chiens Anglais_.'"

I could not avoid showing my perturbation at the extreme peril in which
this distinguished man had involved himself on my account; and expressed
something of my regret and gratitude.

"Remember, Marston," was his good-humoured reply, "that, in the first
place, the Frenchman was not under circumstances to put his promise in
practice--he having found the English _chien_ more than a match for the
French wolf; and, in the next, that twelve hours form a very important
respite in the life of the campaigner. I was sent to the rear with a
couple of hussars to watch me until the arrival of the general, who was
coming up with the main body. On foot and disarmed, I had only to follow
them to the next house, which was luckily one of the little Flemish
inns. My hussars found a jar of brandy, and got drunk in a moment; one
dropped on the floor--the other fell asleep on his horse. I had now a
chance of escape; but I was weary, wounded, and overcome with vexation.
It happened, as I took my last view of my keeper outside, nodding on his
horse's neck, that I glanced on a huge haystack in the stable-yard. The
thought struck me, that helpless as I was, I might contrive to give an
alarm to some of the British videttes or patroles, if your gallant
countrymen should condescend to employ such things. I stole down into
the yard, lantern in hand; thrust it into the stack, and had the
satisfaction of seeing it burst into a blaze. I made my next step into
the stable, to find a horse for my escape; but the French patroles had
been before me, and those clever fellows seldom leave any thing to be
gleaned after them. What became of my escort I did not return to
enquire; but I heard a prodigious galloping through the village, and
found the advantage of the flame in guiding me through as perplexing a
maze of thicket and morass as I ever attempted at midnight. The sound of
the engagement which followed directed me to the camp; and I remain, a
living example to my friend, of the advantage of twelve hours between
sentence and execution."

I had another wonder for him; and nothing could exceed his gratification
when he heard, that his act had enabled me to give the alarm of the
French advance. But for that blaze I should certainly have never been
aware of their movement; the light alone had led me into the track of
the enemy, and given me time to make the intelligence useful.

"The worst of all this," said he, with his grave smile, "is that the
officer in command of your camp on that night will get a red riband and
a regiment; and that you will get only the advantage of recollecting,
that in war, and perhaps in every situation of life, nothing is to be
despaired of, and nothing is to be left untried. A candle in a lantern,
properly used, probably saved both our lives, the lives of some
thousands of your brave troops, the fate of the campaign, and, with it,
half the thrones of Europe, trembling on the chance of a first campaign.
I shall yet have some of my mystical countrymen writing an epic on my
Flemish lantern."

During this little narrative, we had been riding over the bleak downs
which render the environs of Valenciennes such a barren contrast to the
general luxuriance of northern France; and were examining the approaches
to the city, when Guiscard called to his attendant for his telescope. We
were now in the great coal-field of France; but the miners had fled, and
left the plain doubly desolate. "Can those," said he, "be the miners
returning to their homes? for if not, I am afraid that we shall have
speedy evidence of the hazards of inactivity." But the twilight was now
deepening, and neither of us could discern any thing beyond an immense
mass of men, in grey cloaks, hurrying towards the city. I proposed that
we should ride forward, and ascertain the facts. He checked my rein.
"No! Amadis de Gaul, or Rolando, or by whatever name more heroic your
chivalry prefers being called, we must volunteer no further. My valet
shall return to the camp and bring us any intelligence which is to be
found there, while we proceed on our survey of the ground for our

We had gone but a few hundred yards, and I was busily employed in
sketching the profile of the citadel, when we heard the advance of a
large party of British cavalry, with several of the staff, and the Duke
of York, then a remarkably handsome young man, at their head. I had seen
the Duke frequently on our parades in England; but even the brief
campaign had bronzed his cheek, and given him the air which it requires
a foreign campaign to give. He communicated the sufficiently interesting
intelligence, that since the victory over Dampier, the enemy had
collected a strong force from their garrisons, and after throwing ten
thousand men into Valenciennes, had formed an intrenched camp, which was
hourly receiving reinforcements. "But we must put a stop to that," said
the Duke, with a smile; "and, to save them trouble and ourselves time,
we shall attack them to-morrow." He then addressed himself to Guiscard,
with the attention due to his name and rank, and conversed for a few
minutes on the point of attack for the next day--examined my
sketch--said some flattering words on its correctness, and galloped off.

"Well," said Guiscard, as he followed with his glance the flying troop,
"war is a showy spectacle, and I can scarcely wonder that it should be
the game of princes; but a little more common sense in our camps would
have saved us to-morrow's battle. The delays of diplomacy are like the
delays of law--the estate perishes before the process is at an end. But
now to our work." We rode to the various points from which a view of the
newly arrived multitude could be obtained. Their fires began to blaze;
and we were thus enabled to ascertain at once their position, and, in
some degree, their numbers. There could not be less than thirty thousand
men, the arrival of the last few hours. "For this _contretemps_," said
Guiscard, as he examined their bivouac with his telescope, "we have to
thank only ourselves. Valenciennes ought to have been stormed within the
first five minutes after we could have cut down those poplars for
scaling ladders," and he pointed to the tapering tops of the large
plantations lining the banks of the Scheldt; "but we have been
quarreling over our portfolios, while the French have been gathering
every rambling soldier within a hundred miles; and now we shall have a
desperate struggle to take possession of those lines, and probably a
long siege as finale to the operation. There, take my glass, and judge
for yourselves." I looked, and if the novelty and singularity could have
made me forget the serious business of the scene, I might have been
amply amused. The whole French force were employed in preparing for the
bivouac, and fortifying the ground, which they had evidently taken up
with the intent of covering the city. All was in motion. At the distance
from which we surveyed it, the whole position seemed one huge ant-hill.
Torches, thickets burning, and the fires of the bivouac, threw an
uncertain and gloomy glare over portions of the view, which, leaving the
rest in utter darkness, gave an ominous and ghostly look to the entire.
I remarked this impression to Guiscard, and observed that it was strange
to see a "scene of the most stirring life so sepulchral."

"Why not?" was his reply. "The business is probably much the same."

"Yet sepulchral," I observed, "is not exactly the word which I would
have used. There is too much motion, too much hurried and eager
restlessness, too much of the wild and fierce activity of beings who
have not a moment to lose, and who are busied in preparations for

"Have you ever been in the Sistine Chapel?" asked my companion.

"No; Italy has been hitherto beyond my flight; but the longing to see it
haunts me."

"Well, then, when your good fortune leads you to Rome, let your first
look be given to the noblest work of the pencil, and of Michael Angelo:
glance at the bottom of his immortal picture, and you will see precisely
the same wild activity, and the same strange and startling animation.
The difference only is, that the actors here are men--there, fiends;
here the scene is the field of future battle--there, the region of
final torment. I am not sure that the difference is great, after all."

At daybreak, the British line was under arms. I feel all words fail,
under the effort to convey the truth of that most magnificent display;
not that a simple detail may not be adequate to describe the movements
of a gallant army; but what can give the impression of the time, the
form and pressure of collisions on which depended the broadest and
deepest interests of the earth. Our war was then, what no war was since
the old invasions under the Edwards and Henrys--national; it was as
romantic as the crusades. England was fighting for none of the objects
which, during the last three hundred years, had sent armies into the
field--not for territory, not for glory, not for European supremacy, not
even for self-defence. She was fighting for a Cause; but that was the
cause of society, of human freedom, of European advance, of every
faculty, feeling, and possession by which man is sustained in his rank
above the beasts that perish. The very language of the great dramatist
came to my recollection, at the moment when I heard the first signal-gun
for our being put in motion.

    "Now all the youth of England are on fire,
    And silken dalliance in the wardrobe lies.
    Now thrive the armourers; and honour's thought
    Reigns solely in the breast of every man.
    They sell the pasture now to buy the horse,
    Following the mirror of all Christian kings
    With winged heels, as English Mercuries."

Our troops, too, had all the ardour which is added even to the boldest
by the assurance of victory. They had never come into contact with the
enemy but to defeat them, and the conviction of their invincibility was
so powerful, that it required the utmost efforts of their officers to
prevent their rushing into profitless peril. The past and the present
were triumphant; while, to many a mind of the higher cast, the future
was, perhaps, more glittering than either. In the same imperishable
eloquence of poetry--

    "For now sits expectation in the air,
    And hides a sword, from hilt unto the point,
    With crowns imperial, crowns and coronets,
    Promised to Harry and his followers."

The ambition of the English soldier may be of a more modified order than
that of the foreigner; but the dream of poetry was soon realized in the
crush of the Republicans, who had trampled alike the crown and the
coronet in the blood of their owners. Twenty-seven thousand men were
appointed for the attack of the French lines; and on the first tap of
the drum, a general shout of exultation was given from all the columns.
The cavalry galloped through the intervals to the front, and parks of
the light guns were sent forward to take up positions on the few
eminences which commanded the plain; but the day had scarcely broke,
when one of those dense fogs, the customary evil of the country, fell
suddenly upon the whole horizon, and rendered action almost impossible.
Nothing could exceed the vexation of the army at this impediment; and if
our soldiers had ever heard of Homer, there would have been many a
repetition of his warrior's prayer, that "live or die, it might be in
the light of day."

But in the interval, important changes were made in the formation of the
columns. The French lines had been found of unexpected strength, and the
Guards were pushed forward to head a grand division placed under command
of General Ferrari. The British were, of course, under the immediate
orders of an officer of their own, and a more gallant one never led
troops under fire. I now, for the first time, saw the general who was
afterwards destined to sweep the French out of Egypt, and inflict the
first real blow on the military supremacy of France under Napoleon.
General Abercromby was then in the full vigour of life; a strongly
formed, manly figure, a quiet but keen eye, and a countenance of
remarkable steadiness and thought, all gave the indications of a mind
firm in all the contingencies of war. Exactly at noon, the fog drew up
as suddenly as it had descended, and we had a full view of the enemy's
army. No foreign force ever exhibits so showy and soldierly an
appearance as the British. The blue of the French and Prussians looks
black, and the white of the Austrian looks faded and feeble, compared
with the scarlet. As I cast my glance along our lines, they looked like
trails of flame. The French were drawn up in columns in front of their
camp, which, by the most extraordinary exertion, they had covered during
the night with numerous batteries, and fortified with a circle of
powerful redoubts; the guns of the fortress defended their flank and
rear, and their position was evidently of the most formidable kind. But
all view was lost, from the moment when the head of our brigade
advanced. Every gun that could be brought to bear upon us opened at
once, and all was enveloped in smoke. For a full hour we could see
nothing but the effect of the grape-shot on our own ranks as we poured
on, and hear nothing but the roar of the batteries. But at length shouts
began to arise in distant parts of the field, and we felt that the
division which had been appointed to assault the rear of the camp was
making progress. Walmoden, commanding a brigade under Ferrari, now
galloped up, to ascertain whether our men were ready to assault the
intrenchments. "The British troops are _always_ ready," was Abercromby's
expressive, and somewhat indignant, answer. In the instant of our
rushing forward, an aide-de-camp rode up, to acquaint the general that
the column under the Duke of York had already stormed three redoubts.
"Gentlemen," said Abercromby, turning to the colonels round him, "we
must try to save our friends further trouble--forward!" Within a quarter
of an hour we were within the enemy's lines, every battery was stormed
or turned, and the French were in confusion. Some hurried towards the
fortress, which now began to fire; a large body fled into the open
country, and fell into the hands of his royal highness; and some,
seizing the boats on the river, dropped down with the stream. All was
victory: yet this was to be my day of ill luck. In pursuing the enemy
towards the fortress, a battalion, which had attempted to cover the
retreat, broke at the moment when my company were on the point of
charging them. This was too tempting a chance to be resisted; we rushed
on, taking prisoners at every step, until we actually came within sight
of the gate by which the fugitives were making their escape into the
town. But we were in a trap, and soon felt that we were discovered, by a
heavy discharge of musketry from the rampart. We had now only to return
on our steps, and I had just given the word, when the firing was renewed
on a bastion, round which we were hurrying in the twilight. I felt a
sudden shock, like that of electricity, which struck me down; I made a
struggle to rise on my feet, but my strength wholly failed me, and I
lost all recollection.

On my restoration to my senses, in a few hours after, I found that I had
been carried into the town, and placed in the military hospital. My
first impulse was, to examine whether any of my brave fellows had shared
my misfortune; but all round me were French, wounded in the engagement
of the day. My next source of congratulation was, that I had no limb
broken. The shot had struck me in the temple, and glanced off without
entering; but I had lost much blood, had been trampled, and felt a
degree of exhaustion, which gave me the nearest conception to actual

Of the transactions of the field I knew nothing beyond my own share of
the day; but I had seen the enemy in full flight, and that was
sufficient. Within a day or two, the roaring of cannon, the increased
bustle of the attendants, and the tidings that a black flag had been
erected on the hospital, told me that the siege had begun. I shall pass
over its horrors. Yet, what is all war but a succession of horrors? The
sights which I saw, the sounds which I heard from hour to hour, were
enough to sicken me of human nature. In the gloom and pain of my
sleepless nights, I literally began to think it possible that a fiendish
nature might supplant the human condition, and that the work before my
eyes was merely an anticipation of those terrors, which to name startles
the imagination and wrings the heart. Surrounded with agonies, the
involuntary remark always came to my mind with renewed freshness, in the
common occurrences of the hospital day. But, besides the sufferings of
the wounded, a new species of suffering, scarcely less painful, and
still more humiliating, began to be prominent. The provisions of the
people, insufficiently laid in at the approach of the besiegers, rapidly
failed, and the hospital itself was soon surrounded by supplicants for
food. The distress, at last, became so excessive, that it amounted to
agony. Emaciated figures of both sexes stole or forced their way into
the building, to beg our rations, or snatch them from our feeble hands;
and I often divided my scanty meal with individuals who had once been in
opulent trade, or been ranked among the _semi-noblesse_ of the
surrounding country. Sometimes I missed faces to which I had been
accustomed among those unfortunate beings, and I heard a still more
unhappy tale--shall I call it more unhappy? They had perished by the
cannon-shot, which now poured into the city day and night, or had been
buried in the ruins of some of the buildings, which were now constantly
falling under the heaviest bombardment in the annals of war. Of those
scenes I say no more. If the siege of a great fortress is the most
trying of all hazards to the soldier without, what must it be to the
wretches within? Valenciennes was once the centre of the lace
manufactories of France. The war had destroyed them at once. The
proprietors had fled, the thousands of young and old employed in those
delicate and beautiful productions, had fled too, or remained only to
perish of famine. A city of twenty thousand of the most ingenious
artists was turning day by day into a vast cemetery. As I tossed on my
mattress hour after hour, and heard the roar of the successive
batteries, shuddered at the fall of the shells, and was tortured by the
cries of the crowd flying from the explosions all night long--I gave the
deepest curses of my spirit to the passion for glory. It is true, that
nations must defend themselves; the soldier is a protector to the
industry, the wealth, and the happiness of the country. I am no disciple
of the theory, which, disclaiming the first instinct of nature,
self-preservation, invites injury by weakness, and creates war by
impunity; but the human race ought to outlaw the man who dares to dream
of conquest, and builds his name in the blood of man.

On my capture, one of my first wishes had been to acquaint my regiment
with the circumstances of my misfortune, and to relieve my friends of
their anxiety for the fate of a brother officer. But this object, which,
in the older days of continental campaigning, would have been acceded to
with a bow and a compliment by Monsiegneur le Comte, or Son Altesse
Royale, the governor, was sturdily refused by the colonel in charge of
the hospital--a firm Republican, and the son of a cobbler, who, swearing
by the Goddess of Reason, threatened to hang over the gate the first man
who dared to bring him another such proposal. I next sent my application
to the commandant, a brave old soldier, who had served in the royal
armies, and had the feelings of better times; but it was probably
intercepted, for no answer came. This added deeply to my chagrin. My
absence must give rise to conjecture; my fall had been unseen even by my
men; and while I believed that my character was above the scandal of
either pusillanimity or desertion, it still remained at the mercy of

But chance came to my relief. It happened that I had unconsciously won
the particular regard of one of the Béguines who attended the hospital;
and my _tristesse_, which she termed 'effrayante,' one evening attracted
her peculiar notice. Let not my vanity be called in question; for my
fair admirer was at least fifty years old, and was about the figure and
form of one of her country churns, although her name was Juliet! Pretty
as the name was, the Béguine had not an atom of the poetic about her.
Romance troubled her not. Yet with a face like the full moon, and a pile
of petticoats which would have made a dowdy of the "Belvedere Diana,"
she was a capital creature. Juliet, fat as she was, had the natural
frolic of a squirrel; she was everywhere, and knew every thing, and did
every thing for every body; her tongue and her feet were constantly
busy; and I scarcely knew which was the better emblem of the perpetual
motion. My paleness was peculiarly distressing to her; "it hurt her
feelings;" it also hurt her honour; for she had been famous for her
nursing, and as she told me, with her plump hands upon her still plumper
hips, and her head thrown back with an air of conscious merit, "she had
saved more than the doctors had killed." I had some reluctance to tell
her the cause of my _tristesse_; for I knew her zeal, and I dreaded her
plunging into some hazard with the authorities. But who has ever been
able to keep a secret, where it was the will of the sex to extort it?
Juliet obtained mine before she left the ward for the night; and desired
me to give her a letter, which she pledged herself to transmit to my
regiment. But this I determined to refuse, and I kept my determination.
I had no desire to see my "fat friend" suspended from the pillars of the
portico; or to hear of her, at least, being given over to the mercies of
the provost-marshal. We parted, half in anger on her side, and with
stern resolution on mine.

During the day Juliet was not forthcoming, and her absence produced,
what the French call, a "lively sensation"--which, in nine instances out
of ten, means an intolerable sense of ennui--in the whole establishment.
I shared the general uneasiness, and at length began to cast glances
towards the gate, where, though I was not exactly prepared to see the
corpulent virtues of my friend in suspension, I had some tremblings for
the state, "_sain et sauf_;" of my Béguine. At last her face appeared at
the opening of the great door, flushed with heat and good-nature, and,
as it came moving through the crowd which gathered round her with all
kinds of enquiries, giving no bad resemblance to the moon seen through a
fog; whether distinct or dim, full and florid to the last. Her
good-humoured visage revived me, as if I had met a friend of as many
years standing as she numbered on her cradle. But all my enquiries for
the news of earth outside the hospital, were answered only by an "order"
to keep myself tranquil--prevent the discomposure of my pulse, and duly
drink my ptisan. All this, however, was for the general ear. The
feebleness which kept me confined to my bed during the day, had made my
nights wakeful. On this night, whether on the anxiety of the day, or the
heavier roar of the siege, for the bombardment was now at its height, I
exhibited signs of returning fever, and the Béguine remained in
attendance. But when the crowd had gone to such rest as they could find,
amid the thunder of batteries and the bursting of shells, Juliet
approached my pillow with a broad smile, which distended her
good-natured mouth from ear to ear, and thrust under my pillow a small
packet--the whole operation being followed by a finger pressed to her
lips, and a significant glance to every corner of the huge melancholy
hall, to see that all was secure. She then left me to my meditations!

The mysterious packet contained three letters; and, eager as I was for
their perusal, I almost shuddered at their touch; for they must have
been obtained with infinite personal peril, and if found upon the
Béguine they might have brought her under the severest vengeance of the
garrison. They were from Guiscard, Mariamne, and Mordecai. Thus to three
individuals, all comparatively strangers, was my world reduced. But they
were no common strangers; and I felt, while holding their letters in my
hand, and almost pressing them to my heart, how much more strongly
friendship may bind us than the ties of cold and negligent relationship.
I opened the soldier's letter first. It was like every thing that
Guiscard ever did; manly, yet kind. "Your disappearance in that
unfortunate rencontre has created much sorrow and surprise; but the
sorrow was all for your loss to _the_ 'corps of corps,' and the surprise
was, that no tidings could be heard of you, whether fallen or surviving.
The flag and trumpet sent in next morning to recover the remains of such
as had suffered in that mad rush to the gates of the town, came back
without being permitted to pass beyond the outworks, bringing a brutal
message from the officer on duty, 'that the next flag should be fired
on,' and that the 'brave soldiers of the Republic allowed of no
compromise with the slaves of tyranny!' The bravado might be laughed at,
but it left me in the dark relative to your fate; and if you are to be
flattered by the feelings of men who cannot get at you but by
cannon-shot, you may congratulate yourself on having had as many fine
things said of you as would make an epitaph for a duke--and, I believe,
with a sincerity at least equal to the best of them. I write all this
laughingly now, but suspense makes heaviness of heart, and you cost me
some uneasy hours, of course. I send you none of _our_ news; as you will
hear all in good time, and communications on public matters might bring
your messenger or yourself into difficulties. You are alive, and in good
hands; that is the grand point. Your character is now in _my_ hands, and
I shall take care of it; I shall see you a general officer yet, if you
have not the greater luck to retire and live an honest farmer, sitting
under your own fig-tree and your own vine, with an unromantic spouse,
and some half-dozen of red-cheeked children. Farewell, we shall _soon_
see each other."

The last line evidently meant more than met the eye, and I was now just
in the mind to indulge in the fantasies of my fair correspondent. They
were like herself--a curious mixture of mirth and melancholy.

"Why I wished to write to you, or why I write at all--which, however, I
do decorously at the side of my father--are questions which I have not
taken the trouble of asking until this moment. But I am in Switzerland,
where no one has time for any thing but worshipping mountain-tops, and
falling down at the feet of cataracts. Whether it would add to Mr
Marston's satisfaction I cannot presume to say, but I feel better, much
better, than when I first came into this land of fresh breezes and
beauty of all kinds--the population, of every rank, always excepted. If
I were, like you, a philosopher, I should probably say that nature gets
tired of her work, and after having struck off some part of it with all
the spirit of an Italian painter, disdains the trouble of finishing; or,
like a French 'fashionable,' coquettes with her own charms, and is
determined to make the world adore her, in spite of her slippers and her
shawl. Thus, nature, which gave the peacock a diadem on its head, and a
throne in its tail, has given it a pair of frightful legs. And on the
same charming principle, she has given Switzerland the finest of all
possible landscapes, and filled them with the most startling of all
possible physiognomies.

"But no more of theory. It has always made my head ache, and headachs
are, I know, contagious; so I spare you. Yet, have you a moment, among
your thousand and one avocations, to remember my father--or me? I beg
that I may not impede the march of armies, or shock the balance of
Europe, while I solicit you to give me a single line--no more; a mere
'annonce' of any thing that can tell me of your 'introuvable' friend
Lafontaine. This is _not_ for myself. The intelligence is required for a
sister of his whom I have lately met in this country--a showy
"citizeness" of Zurich, _embonpoint_ and matronly, married to one of the
portly burghers of the city, and exemplary in all the arts of
sheep-shearing, wool-spinning, and cheese-making; a mother, surrounded
_à la Française_ with a host of Orlandos, Hyacintes, Aristomenes, and
Apollos--pretty children, with the Frenchman developing in all its
gaudiness; the Switzer remaining behind, until it shall come forth in
cloudy brows, and a face stamped with money-making. Madame Spiegler is
still not beyond a waltz, and in the very whirl of one last night, she
turned to me and _implored_ that I should 'move heaven and earth,' as
she termed it--with her blue eyes thrown up to the chandelier, and her
remarkably pretty and well-_chaussé'd_ feet still beating time to the
dance--to bring her disconsolate bosom tidings of her '_frère, si bien
aimé, si malheureux_.' I promised, and she flew off instantly into the
very _core_ of a dance, consisting of at least a hundred couples.

"I have just returned from a drive along the shore of the Leman. The
recollection of Madame Spiegler, rolling and rushing through the waltz
like a dolphin through the waves; or like any thing caught in an
enormous whirlpool, sweeping round perpetually until it was swept out
of sight, had fevered me. The air here is certainly delicious. It has a
sense of life--a vivid, yet soft, freshness, that makes the mere act of
breathing it delightful. But I have mercy on you--not one word of
Clarens, not one word of Meillerie. Take it for granted that Ferney is
burnt down, as it well might be without any harm to the picturesque; and
that Jean Jacques never wrote, played the knave, or existed. If I were a
Swiss Caliph Omar, I should make a general seizure, to be followed by a
general conflagration, of every volume that has ever touched on the wit
and wickedness of the one, or the intolerable sensibility of the other.
I should next extend the flame to all tours, meditations, and musings on
hills, valleys, and lakes; prohibit all sunset 'sublimities' as an
offence against the state; and lay all raptures at the 'distant view of
Mont Blanc,' or the 'ascent of the Rhighi,' if not under penalty of
prison, at least under a bond never to be seen in the territory again.
But I must make my _adieux_. _Apropos_, if you _should_ accidentally
hear any thing of your _pelerin-à-pied_ friend Lafontaine--for I
conjecture that he has gone to discover the fountains of the Nile, or is
at this moment a candidate for the office of court-chamberlain at
Timbuctoo--let me hear it. Madame Spiegler is really uneasy on the
subject, though it has not diminished either her weight or her velocity,
nor will prevent her waltzing till the end of the world, or of herself.
_One_ sentence--nay, one syllable--will be enough.

"This light _is_ delicious, and it is only common gratitude to nature to
acknowledge, that she has done something in the scene before my casement
at this sweet and quiet hour, which places her immeasurably above the
_decorateurs_ of a French _salon_. The sun has gone, and the moon has
not yet come. There is scarcely a star; and yet a light lingers, and
floats, and descends over everything--hill, forest, and water--like the
light that one sometimes sees in dreams. All dream-like--the work of a
spell laid over a horizon of a hundred miles. I should scarcely be
surprised to see visionary forms rising from these woods and waters, and
ascending in bright procession into the clouds. I hear, at this moment,
some touches of music, which I could almost believe to come from
invisible instruments as they pass along with the breeze. Still, may I
beg of you, Mr Marston, not to suppose that I mean to extend this letter
to the size of a government despatch, nor that the mark which I find I
have left on my paper, is a tear? _I_ have no sorrow to make its excuse.
But here, one weeps for pleasure, and I can forgive even Rousseau
his--'Je m'attendrissais, je soupirais, et je pleurais comme un enfant.
Combien de fois, m'arrêtant pour pleurer plus à mon aise, assis sur une
grosse pierre, je me suis amusé à voir tomber mes larmes dans l'eau.'
Rousseau was lunatic, but he was _not_ lunatic when he wrote this, or
_I_ am growing so too. For fear of that possible romance, I say,

"P.S.--Remember Madame Spiegler. _Toujours à vous_--MARIAMNE."

My third letter was Mordecai to the life--a bold, hurried, yet clear
view of the political bearings of the time. It more than ever struck me,
in the course of his daring paragraphs, what a capital leader he would
have made for a Jewish revolution; if one could imagine the man of a
thousand years of slavery grasping the sword and unfurling the banner.
Yet bold minds _may_ start up among a fallen people; and when the great
change, which will assuredly come, is approaching, it is not improbable
that it will be begun by some new and daring spirit throwing off the
robes of humiliation, and teaching Israel to strike for freedom by some
gallant example--a new Moses smiting the Egyptian, and marching from the
house of bondage, the fallen host of the oppressor left weltering in the
surge of blood behind.

After some personal details, and expressions of joy at the recovering
health of his idolized but wayward daughter, he plunged into politics.
"I have just returned," said he, "from a visit to some of our German
kindred. You may rely upon it, that a great game is on foot. _Your_
invasion is a jest. Your troops will fight, I allow, but your cabinets
will betray. I have seen enough to satisfy me, that, if you do not take
Paris within the next three months, you will not take it within ten
times the number of years. Of course, I make no attempt at prediction. I
leave infallibility to the grave fools of conclaves and councils; but
the French mob will beat them all. What army can stand before a
pestilence? When I was last in Sicily, I went to the summit of Etna
during the time of an eruption. On my way, I slept at one of the
convents on the slope of the mountain. I was roused from my sleep by a
midnight clamour in the court of the convent--the monks were fluttering
in all corners, like frightened chickens. I came down from my chamber,
and was told the cause of the alarm in the sudden turn of a stream of
the eruption towards the convent. I laughed at the idea of hazard from
such a source, when the building was one mass of stone, and, of course,
as I conceived, incombustible. '_Santissima Madre!_' exclaimed the
frightened superior, who stood wringing his hands and calling on all the
saints in his breviary; 'you do not know of what stone it is built. All
is lava; and at the first touch of the red-hot rocks now rolling down
upon us, every stone in the walls will melt like wax in the furnace.'
The old monk was right. We lost no time in making our escape to a
neighbouring pinnacle, and from it saw the stream of molten stone roll
round the walls, inflame them, scorch, swell, and finally melt them
down. Before daylight, the site of the convent was a gulf of flame. This
comes of sympathy in stones--what will it be in men? Wait a twelvemonth;
and you will see the flash and flame of French republicanism melting
down every barrier of the Continent. The mob has the mob on its side for
ever. The offer of liberty to men who have spent a thousand years under
despotism, is irresistible. Light may blind, but who loves utter
darkness? The soldier may melt down like the rest; he is a man, and may
be a madman like the rest; he, too, is one of the multitude.

"Their language may be folly or wisdom, it may be stolen from the
ramblings of romance writers, or be the simple utterance of
irrepressible instincts within; but it is the language which I hear
every where around me. Men eat and drink to it, work and play to it,
awake and sleep to it. It is in the rocks and the streams, in the
cradle, and almost on the deathbed. It rings in the very atmosphere; and
what must be the consequence? If the French ever cross the Rhine, they
will sweep every thing before them, as easily as a cloud sweeps across
the sky, and with as little power in man to prevent them. A cluster of
church steeples or palace spires could do no more to stop the rush of a

"You will call me a panegyrist of Republicanism, or of France. I have no
love for either. But I may admire the spring of the tiger, or even give
him credit for the strength of his tusks, and the grasp of his talons,
without desiring to see him take the place of my spaniel on the
hearth-rug, or choosing him as the companion of my travels. _I_ dread
the power of the multitude, _I_ despair of its discipline, and _I_
shrink from the fury of its passions. A republic in France can be
nothing but a funeral pile, in which the whole fabric is made, not for
use, but for destruction; which man cannot inhabit, but which the first
torch will set in a blaze from the base to the summit; and upon which,
after all, corpses alone crown the whole hasty and tottering erection.
But this I _shall_ say, that Germany is at this moment on the verge of
insurrection; and that the first French flag which waves on the right
bank of the Rhine will be the signal of explosion. I say more; that if
the effect is to be permanent, pure, or beneficial, it will _not_ be the
result of the tricolor. The French conquests have always been brilliant,
but it was the brilliancy of a soap-bubble. A puff of the weakest lips
that ever breathed from a throne, has always been enough to make the
nation conquerors; but the hues of glory no sooner began to colour the
thin fabric, than it burst before the eye, and the nation had only to
try another bubble. It is my impression, that the favouritism of
Revolution at this moment will even receive its death-blow from France
itself. All is well while nothing is seen of it but the blaze
ascending, hour by hour, from the fragments of her throne, or nothing
heard but the theatrical songs of the pageants which perform the new
idolatry of 'reason.' But when the Frenchman shall come among nations
with the bayonet in his right hand and with the proclamation in his
left--when he turns his charger loose into the corn-field, and robs the
peasant whom he harangues on the rights of the people--this republican
baptism will give no new power to the conversion. The German phlegm will
kick, the French _vivacité_ will scourge, and then alone will the true
war begin. Yet all this may be but the prelude. When the war of weapons
has been buried in its own ashes, another war may begin, the war of
minds--the struggle of mighty nations, the battle of an ambition of
which our purblind age has not even a glimpse--a terrible strife, yet
worthy of the immortal principle of man, and to be rewarded only by a
victory which shall throw all the exploits of soldiership into the

While I was meditating on the hidden meanings of this letter, in which
my Jewish friend seemed to have imbibed something of the dreamy spirit
of Germany itself, I was startled by a tremendous uproar outside the
hospital--the drums beat to arms, the garrison hastily mustered, the
population poured into the streets, and a strong and startling light in
all the casements, showed that some great conflagration had just begun.
The intelligence was soon spread that the Hotel de Ville, the noblest
building in the city, a fine specimen of Italian architecture of the
seventeenth century, and containing some incomparable pictures by the
Italian masters, and a _chef-d'oeuvre_ of Rubens, had been set on fire
by a bomb, and was now in a blaze from battlement to ground. The next
intelligence was still more painful. The principal convent of the city,
which was close in its rear, had taken fire, and the unfortunate nuns
were seen at the windows in the most imminent danger of perishing.
Feeble as I was, I immediately rose. The Béguine rushed in at the
moment, wringing her hands and uttering the wildest cries of terror at
the probable destruction of those unhappy women. I volunteered my
services, which were accepted, and I hurried out to assist in saving
them if possible. The spectacle was overwhelming.

The Hotel de Ville was a large and nearly insulated building, with a
kind of garden-walk round three of its sides, which was now filled with
the populace. The garrison exhibited all the activity of the national
character in their efforts to extinguish the flames. Scaling-ladders
were applied to the windows, men mounted them thick as bees;
fire-buckets were passed from hand to hand, for the fire-engines had
been long since destroyed by the cannonade; and there seemed to be some
hope of saving the structure, when a succession of agonizing screams
fixed every eye on the convent, where the fire had found its way to the
stores of wood and oil, and shot up like the explosion of gunpowder. The
efforts of the troops were now turned to save the convent; but the
intense fury of the flame defeated every attempt. The scaling-ladders no
sooner touched the casements than they took fire; the very walls were so
hot that none could approach them; and every new gust swept down a sheet
of flame, which put the multitude to flight in all directions. Artillery
was now brought out to breach the walls; but while there remained a
hundred and fifty human beings within, it was impossible to make use of
the guns. All efforts at length ceased; and the horror was deepened, if
such could be, by seeing now and then a distracted figure rush to a
casement, toss up her arms to heaven, and then rush back again with a
howl of despair.

I proposed to the French officers that they should dig under the
foundations, and thus open a way of escape through the vaults. The
attempt was made, but it had the ill success of all the rest. The walls
were too massive for our strength, and the pickaxe and spade were thrown
aside in despair. From the silence which now seemed to reign within, and
the volumes of smoke which poured from the casements, it began to be the
general impression that the fate of the nuns was already decided; and
the officers were about to limber up their guns and retire, when I
begged their chief to make one trial more, and fire at a huge iron door
which closed a lofty archway leading to the Hotel de Ville. He complied;
a six-pound ball was sent against the door, and it flew off its hinges.
To the boundless exultation and astonishment of all, we saw the effect
of this fortunate shot, in the emergence of the whole body of the nuns
from the smoking and shattered building. They had been driven, step by
step, from the interior to the long stone-built passage which in old
times had formed a communication with the town, and which had probably
not been used for a century. The troops and populace now rushed into the
Hotel de Ville to meet and convey them to places of safety. I followed
with the same object, yet with some unaccountable feeling that I had a
personal interest in the rescue. The halls and apartments were on the
huge and heavy scale of ancient times, and I was more than once
bewildered in ranges of corridors filled with the grim reliques of civic
magnificence, fierce portraits of forgotten men of city fame, portentous
burghers, and mailed captains of train bands. The unhappy women were at
length gathered from the different galleries to which they had scattered
in their fright, and were mustered at the head of the principal
entrance, or _grand escalier_, at whose foot the escort was drawn up for
their protection.

But the terrors of that fearful night were not yet at an end. The light
of the conflagration had caught the eye of the besiegers, and a whole
flight of shells were sent in its direction. Some burst in the street,
putting the populace to flight on every side; and, while the women were
on the point of rushing down the stair, a crash was heard above, and an
enormous shell burst through the roof, carrying down shattered rafters,
stones, and a cloud of dust. The batteries had found our range, and a
succession of shells burst above our heads, or tore their way downwards.
All was now confusion and shrieking. At length one fell on the centre of
the _escalier_, rolled down a few steps, and, bursting, tore up the
whole stair, leaving only a deep gulf between us and the portal. The
women fled back through the apartment. I now regarded all as lost; and
expecting the roof to come down every moment on my head, and hearing
nothing round me but the bursting and hissing of those horrible
instruments of havoc, I hurried through the chambers, in the hope of
finding some casement from which I might reach the ground. They were all
lofty and difficult of access, but I at length climbed up to one, from
which, though twenty or thirty feet from the path below, I determined to
take the plunge. I was about to leap, when, to my infinite surprise, I
heard my name pronounced. I stopped. I heard the words--"_Adieu, pour
toujours!_" All was dark within the room, but I returned to discover the
speaker. It was a female on her knees near the casement, and evidently
preparing to die in prayer. I took her hand, and led her passively
towards the window; she wore the dress of a nun, and her veil was on her
face. As she seemed fainting, I gently removed it to give her air. A
sheet of flame suddenly threw a broad light across the garden, and in
that face I saw--Clotilde! She gave a feeble cry, and fell into my arms.

Our escape was accomplished soon after, by one of the scaling-ladders
which was brought at my call; and before I slept, I had seen the being
in whom my very existence was concentrated, safely lodged with the
principal family of the town. Slept, did I say? I never rested for an
instant. Thoughts, reveries, a thousand wild speculations, rose, fell,
chased each other through my brain, and all left me feverish,
half-frantic, and delighted.

At the earliest moment which could be permitted by the formalities of
France, even in a besieged town, I flew to Clotilde. She received me
with the candour of her noble nature. Her countenance brightened with
sudden joy as she approached me. In the _salle de reception_ she sat
surrounded by the ladies of the family, still full of enquiries on the
perils of the night, congratulations on her marvellous escape, and no
slight approval of the effect of the convent costume on the contour of
her fine form and expressive features. My entrance produced a diversion
in her favour; and I was showered with showy speeches from the seniors
of the circle; the younger portion suddenly relapsing into that frigid
propriety which the Mademoiselle retains until she becomes the Madame,
and then flings off for ever like her girlish wardrobe. But their eyes
took their full share, and if glances at the "Englishman" could have
been transfered into words, I should have enjoyed a very animated
conversation on the part of the _Jeunes Innocenes_. But I shrank from
the panegyric of my "heroism," as it was pronounced in all the tones of
courtesy; and longed for the voice of Clotilde alone. The circle at last
withdrew, and I was left to the most exquisite enjoyment of which the
mind of man is capable--the full, fond, and faithful outpouring of the
heart of the woman he loves. Strange to say, I had never exchanged a
syllable with Clotilde before; and yet we now as deeply understood each
other--were as much in each other's confidence, and had as little of the
repulsive ceremonial of a first interview, as if we had conversed for

"You saved my life," said she; "and you are entitled to my truest
gratitude to my last hour. I had made up my mind to die. I was exhausted
in the attempt to escape from that horrible convent. When at last I
reached the Hotel de Ville, and found that all the sisterhood had been
driven back from the great stair by the flames, I gave up all hope: and
may I acknowledge, unblamed, to you--but from _you_ what right have I
now to conceal any secret of my feelings?--I was not unwilling to lay
down a life which seemed to grow darker from day to day."

"You were wearied of your convent life?" said I, fixing my eyes on hers
with eager enquiry. "But you must not tell me that you are a nun. The
new laws of France forbid that sacrifice. My sweet Clotilde, while I
live, I shall never recognise your vows."

"You need not," she answered, with a smile that glowed.

    'Celestial rosy red, love's proper hue.'

"I have never taken them. The superior of the convent was my near
relative, and I fled to her protection from the pursuit of one whom I
never could have respected, and whom later thoughts have made me all but

"Montrecour! I shall pursue him through the world."

"No," said Clotilde; "he is as unworthy of your resentment as of my
recollection. He is a traitor to his king and a disgrace to his
nobility. He is now a general in the Republican service, Citizen
Montrecour. But we must talk of him no more."

She blushed deeply, and after some hesitation, said, "I am perfectly
aware that the marriages customary among our noblesse were too often
contracted in the mere spirit of exclusiveness; and I own that the
proposal of my alliance with the Marquis de Montrecour was a family
arrangement, perfectly in the spirit of other days. But my residence in
England changed my opinions on the custom of my country, and I
determined never to marry." She stopped short, and with a faint smile,
said, "But let us talk of something else." Her cheek was crimson, and
her eyes were fixed on the ground.

"No, Clotilde, talk of nothing else. Talk of your feelings, your
sentiments, of yourself, and all that concerns yourself. No subject on
earth can ever be so delightful to your friend. But, talk of what you
will, and I shall listen with a pleasure which no human being has ever
given me before, or ever shall give me again."

She raised her magnificent eyes, and fixed them full upon me with an
involuntary look of surprise, then grew suddenly pale, and closed them
as if she were fainting. "I must listen," said she, "to this language no
longer. I know you to be above deception. I know you to be above playing
with the vanity of one unused to praise, and to such praise. But I have
a spirit as high as your own. Let us be friends. It will give an
additional honour to my name; shall I say"--and she faltered--"an
additional interest to my existence. Now we must part for a while."

"Never!" was my exclamation. "The world does not contain two Clotildes.
And you shall never leave me. You have just told me that I preserved
your life. Why shall I not be its protector still? Why not be suffered
to devote mine to making yours happy?" But the bitter thought struck me
as I uttered the words--how far I was from the power of giving this
incomparable creature the station in society which was hers by right!
How feeble was my hope even of competence! How painfully I should look
upon her beauty, her fine understanding, and her generous heart, humbled
to the narrow circumstances of one whose life depended upon the chances
of the most precarious of all professions, and whose success in that
profession depended wholly on the caprice of fortune. But one glance
more drove all doubts away, and I took her hand.

She looked at me with speechless embarrassment, sighed deeply, and a
tear stole down her cheek. At length, withdrawing her hand, she said, in
almost a whisper, and with an evident effort, "This must not be. I feel
infinite honour in your good opinion--deeply grateful for your kindness.
But this must not be. No. I should rather wear this habit for my life,
than make so ungenerous a return to the noble spirit that can thus offer
its friendship to a stranger."

"No, Clotilde, no. Again, in my turn, I say, this must not be; you are
_no_ stranger. I know you at this hour as well as if I had known you
from the first hour of my being. I gave my heart to you from the moment
when I first saw you among your countrywomen in England. It required no
time to make me feel that you were my fate. It was an instinct, a spell,
a voice of nature, a voice of heaven within me!"

She listened and trembled. I again took the hand, which was withheld no
more. "From that day, Clotilde, you were my thought by day and my dream
by night. All my desires of distinction were, that it might be seen by
your eye; all my hopes of fortune, that I might be enabled to lay it at
your feet. If a throne were offered to me on condition of renouncing
you, I should have rejected it. If it were my lot to labour in the
humblest rank of life, with _you_ by my side I should have cheerfully
laboured; and, with your hand in mine, I should have said, I have found
what is worth the world--happiness!"

Tears flowed down her cheeks, which were now like marble. She feebly
attempted to smile, while, with eyelids drooping, and her whole frame
quivering with emotion, she murmured in broken accents, "It is
impossible--utterly impossible! leave me. I must not bring you a
portionless, a helpless, a nameless being--a mere dependent on your
kindness, a burden on your fortune, an obstacle to your whole advance in
the world!" A rich flush suddenly lighted up her lovely countenance, and
a new splendour flashed from her eyes. She threw back her head loftily,
and looking upwards, as if to draw thoughts from above--"Sir," said she,
"I am as proud as you. I have had noble ancestors; I have borne a noble
name. If that name has fallen, it is in the common wreck of my country.
Our fortunes have sunk, only where the monarchy has gone down along with
them; and I shall never degrade the memory of those ancestors, nor
humiliate still more the fallen name of our house, by imposing my
obscurity, my poverty, on one who has honoured me as you have done.
Now--farewell! My resolution is fixed. Farewell, my friend! I shall
never forget this day." She turned away her face, and wept abundantly;
then, fixing a deep look on me, she added--"I own that it would be a
consolation to Clotilde de Tourville to believe that she may be
sometimes remembered; but, until times change, we meet no more--if they
change not, we part for ever."

I was so completely startled, so thunderstruck, by this declaration,
that I could not utter a word. I stood gazing at her with open lips. I
felt a mist gathering over my eyes; a strange sensation about my heart
chilled my whole frame. I tottered to the sofa and pressed my hand in
pain upon my eyes; when I withdrew it, I was alone--Clotilde was gone,
she had vanished with the silence of a vision.

I left the house immediately, in a state of mind which seemed like a
dissolution of all my faculties. I could not speak--I could scarcely
see--I could only gasp for air, and retain sufficient power over my
limbs to guide my steps to my melancholy dwelling. There I threw myself
on my rough bed, and lingered throughout the day in an exhaustion of
mind and body, which I sometimes thought to be the approach of death.
How little could Clotilde have intended that I should suffer thus for
her high-toned delicacy! Still, in all my misery of soul, I did her
justice. I remembered the countenance of melancholy beauty with which
she announced her final determination. The accents of her impassioned
voice continually rose in my recollection, giving the deepest testimony
of a heart struggling at once with affection and a sense of duty. In my
wildest reveries during that day and night of wretchedness, I felt that,
if she could have spared me a single pang, she would have rejoiced to
cheer, to console, to tranquillize me. Those were strange feelings for a
rejected lover, but they were entirely mine. There was so lofty a spirit
in her glance, so true a sincerity in her language, so pure and
transparent a truth in her sighs, and smiles, and involuntary tears,
that I acquitted her, from my soul, of all attempts to try, or triumph
over, my devotion to her. More than once, during that night of anguish,
I almost imagined the scene of the day actually passing again before my
eyes. I saw her sorrows, and vainly endeavoured to subdue them; I heard
her convulsive tones, and attempted to calm them; I reasoned with her,
talked of our common helplessness, acknowledged the dignity and the
delicacy of her conduct, and even gave her lip the kiss of peace and
sorrow as I bade her farewell. Deep but exquisite illusion! which I
cherished, and strove to renew; until, suddenly aroused by some changing
of the sentinels, or passing of the attendants, I looked round, and saw
nothing but the gloomy roof, the old flickering of the huge lantern
hanging from the centre of the hall, and the beds where so many had
slept their last, and which so many of the sleepers were never to leave
with life. I then had the true experience of human passion. Love, in the
light and gay, may be as sportive as themselves; in the calm and grave,
it may be strong and deep; but in some, it is strong as tempest and
consuming as flame.

I should probably have closed my days in that place of all afflicting
sights and sounds, but for my good old Béguine. On her first visit at
dawn, she lectured me prodigiously on the folly of exposing myself to
the hazards of the night air, of which she evidently thought much more
than of the Austrian cannon-balls. "They might shower upon the buildings
as they pleased, but," said the Béguine, "if they kill, their business
is done. It is your cold, your damp, your night air, that carries off,
without letting any one know how," the perplexity of science on the
subject plainly forming the chief evil in poor Juliet's mind.

"See my own condition," said she, striving to bring her recollections in
aid of her advice. "At fifteen I was a barmaid at the Swartz Adler;
there I ran in and out, danced at all the family fêtes, and was as gay
as a bird on the tree. But that life was too good to last. At twenty, a
corporal of Prussian dragoons fell in love with me, or I with him--it is
all the same. His regiment was ordered to Silesia, and away we all
marched. But if ever there was a country of fogs, that was the one.
There are, now and then, a few even in our delightful France; but, in
Silesia, they have a patent for them, they have them _par privilège_; if
men could eat them, there would never be a chance of starving in
Silesia. So we all got sore throats. Cannon and musketry were nothing to
them. Our dragoons dropped off like flies at the end of summer; and,
unless we had been ordered away to keep the Turks from marching to
Berlin, or the saints know where, the regiment would have had its last
quarters in this world within a league of the marshes of Breslau. So I
say ever since--take care of damp."

Having thus relieved her good-natured spirit of its burden, she
proceeded to give me sketches of her history. The corporal had fallen a
victim--though whether to Silesian fog, brandy, or bullet, she left
doubtful--and she had married his successor in the rank. Love and
matrimony in the army are of a different order from either in civil
life; for the love is perpetual, the matrimony precarious. Juliet
acknowledged that she never left above a month's interval between her
afflictions as a widow and her consolations as a wife. In the course of
time she changed her service. A handsome Austrian sergeant won her heart
and hand, and she followed him to Hungary. There, between marsh fever
and Turkish skirmishing, various casualties occurred in the matrimonial
list; and Juliet, who evidently had been a handsome brunette, and whose
French vivacity distanced all the heavy charms of the Austrian
peasantry, was never without a husband. At length, like other veterans,
having served her country to the full extent of her patriotism, she was
discharged with her tenth husband, and of course induced the honest
Austrian to come to the only country on which, in a Frenchwoman's creed,
the sun shines. There the Austrian died.

"I loved him," said the Béguine, wiping her eyes. "He was an excellent
fellow, though dull; and I believe, next to smoking and schnaps, he
loved me better than any thing else in the world. But on his emperor's
birth-day, which he always kept with a bottle of brandy additional, he
rambled out into the fog, and came back with a cold. _Peste!_ I knew it
was all over with him; but I nursed him like a babe, and he died, like a
true Austrian, with his meerschaum in his mouth, bequeathing me his
snuff-box, the certificate of his pension, and his blessing. I buried
him, got pensioned, and was broken-hearted. What, then, was to be done?
I was born for society. I once or twice thought of an eleventh husband;
but I was rich. I had above a thousand francs, and a pension of a
hundred; this perplexed me. I was determined to be married for myself
alone. Yet, how could I know whether the hypocrites who clustered round
me were not thinking of my money all the while? So I determined to marry
no more--and became a Béguine."

In all my vexation, I could not help turning my eye upon the
sentimentalist. She interpreted it in the happy way of her country. "You
wonder at my self-denial," said she; "I perceive it in your
astonishment. I was _but_ fifty then. Yes," said she, clasping her hands
and looking pathetic; "I acknowledge that it _was_ cruel. What right had
I to break so many hearts? I have much to answer for--and I _but_ fifty!
I am even now but fifty-six. Yet, observe, I have taken no vows; remark
_that_, Monsieur le Capitaine. At this moment I am only a _Soeur de
Charité_. No, nothing shall ever induce me to make or keep the vows. _I_
am free to marry to-morrow; and I only beg, Monsieur le Capitaine, that
when you are well enough to go abroad again, whether in the town or in
the country, or in whatever part of Europe you may travel, you will have
the kindness to state positively, most positively, that Juliet
Donnertronk, _née_ Ventrebleu, has not taken, and never will take, any
vows whatever!"

"Not even those of marriage, Juliet?" asked I.

She laughed, and patted my burning head, with "_Ah, vous êtes bien bon!
Ah, moqueur Anglais!_" finishing with all the pantomine of blushing
confusion, and starting away like a fluttered pigeon.

As soon as I felt able to move, which was not till some days after, my
first effort was to reach the mansion in which Clotilde resided. But
there I received the intelligence, that on the evening of the day of my
first and last visit, she had left the town with the superior of the
convent. She had made such urgent entreaties to the governor to be
permitted to leave Valenciennes, that he had obtained a passport for her
from the general commanding the trenches; and not only for her, but also
for the nuns--the burning of whose convent had left them houseless.

Painful as it was thus to lose her, it was in some degree a relief to
find that she was under the protection of her relative; and when I saw,
from day to day, the ravage that was committed by the tremendous weight
of fire, I almost rejoiced that she was no longer exposed to its perils.

But it was my fate, or perhaps my good fortune, never to be suffered to
brood long over my own calamities. My life was spent in the midst of
tumults, which, if they did not extinguish--and what could
extinguish?--the sense of such mental trials, at least prevented the
echo of my complaints from returning to my ears. Before the midnight of
that very day in which I had flung myself on my couch with almost total
indifference as to my ever resting on another, the whole city was
alarmed by the intelligence that the besiegers were evidently preparing
for an assault. I listened undisturbed. Even this could scarcely add to
the horrors in which the inhabitants lived from hour to hour; and to me
it was the hope of a rescue, unless I should be struck by some of the
shells, which now were perpetually bursting in the streets, or should
even fall a victim to the wrath of the incensed garrison. But an order
came suddenly to the officer in charge of the hospital, to send all the
patients into the vaults, and throw all the beds on the roof, to deaden
the weight of the fire. He was a man of gentlemanlike manners, and had
been attentive to me, in the shape of many of those minor civilities
which a man of severe authority might have refused, but which mark
kindliness of disposition. On this night he told me, that he had orders
to put all the prisoners in arrest; but that he regarded me more as a
friend than a prisoner--and that I was at liberty to take any precaution
for my security which I thought proper. My answer was, "that I hoped, at
all events, not to be shut into the vaults, but to take my chance above
ground." In the end, I proposed to assist in carrying the mattresses to
the roof, and remain there until the night was over. "But you will be
hit," said my friend. "So be it," was my answer. "It is the natural fate
of my profession; but, at least, I shall not be buried alive."

"All will be soon over with us all, and with Valenciennes," said the
officer; "though whether to-night or not, is a question. We have seen
new batteries raised within the last twenty-four hours. The enemy have
now nearly three hundred heavy guns in full play; and, to judge from the
quantity of shells, they must have a hundred mortars besides. No
fortress can stand this; and, if it continues, we shall soon be ground
into dust." He took his leave; and, with my mattress on my shoulder, I
mounted the numberless and creaking staircases, until the door of the
roof and the landscape opened on me together.

The night was excessively dark, but perfectly calm; and, except where
the fire from the batteries marked their position, all objects beyond
the ramparts were invisible. The town around me lay silent, and looking
more like a vast grave than a place of human existence. Now and then the
light of a lantern gliding along the ruined streets, showed me a group
of wretched beings hurrying a corpse to the next churchyard, or a priest
seeking his way over the broken heaps to attend some dying soldier or
citizen. All was utter desolation.

But a new scene--a terrible and yet a superb one--suddenly broke upon
me. A discharge of rockets from various points of the allied lines,
showed that a general movement was begun. The batteries opened along the
whole extent of the trenches, and by their blaze I was able to discern,
advancing and formed in their rear, two immense columns, which, however,
in the distance and the fitfulness of the glare, looked more like huge
clouds than living beings. The guns of the ramparts soon replied, and
the roar was deafening; while the plunging of shot along the ramparts
and roofs made our situation perilous in no slight degree. But, in the
midst of this hurricane of fire, I saw a single rocket shoot up from the
camp, and the whole range of the batteries ceased at the instant. The
completeness of the cessation was scarcely less appalling than the roar.
While every telescope was turned intently to the spot, where the columns
and batteries seemed to have sunk together into the earth, a pyramid of
blasting flame burst up to the very clouds, carrying with it fragments
of beams and masonry. The explosion rent the air, and shook the building
on which I stood as if it had been a house of sand. A crowd of engineer
and staff-officers now rushed on the roof, and their alarm at the
results of the concussion was undisguised. "This is what we suspected,"
said the chief to me; "but it was impossible to discover where the
gallery of their mine was run. Our counter mine has clearly failed." He
had scarcely spoken the words, before a second and still broader
explosion tore up the ground to a great extent, and threw the
counterscarp for several hundred yards into the ditch. The drums of the
columns were now distinctly heard beating the advance; but darkness had
again fallen, and all was invisible. A third explosion followed, still
closer to the ramparts, which blew up the face of the grand bastion. The
stormers now gave a general shout, and I saw them gallantly dashing
across the ditch and covered way, tearing down the palisades, fighting
hand to hand, clearing the outworks with the bayonet, and finally making
a lodgement on the bastion itself. The red-coats, which now swarmed
through the works, and the colours planted on the rampart, showed me
that my countrymen had led the assault, and my heart throbbed with envy
and admiration. "Why am I not there?" was my involuntary cry; as I
almost wished that some of the shots, which were not flying about the
roofs, would relieve me from the shame of being a helpless spectator.
"_Mon ami_," said the voice of the brave and good-natured Frenchman, who
had overheard me--"if you wish to rejoin your regiment, you will not
have long to wait. This affair will not be decided to-night, as I
thought that it would be half an hour ago. I see that they have done as
much as they intended for the time, and mean to leave the rest to fright
and famine. To-morrow will tell us something. Pack up your valise. _Bon


    Patriot for England's conscience! Champion keen
    Of man's one holy birthright! dear grey head,
    Laurell'd with blessings!--Hath my country bred
    Lips, to her shame, in unregenerate spleen
    Profaning heaven's own air with words unclean
    Against thy sacred name?--Th' august pure Dead
    In calm of glory sleep:--like them serene,
    In virtue firmlier mail'd than they with dust,
    Wait, Clarkson, on our sorrow-trodden sphere,
    Until her climes waft promise to thine ear,
    How each thy proud renown will have in trust:
    Then call'd, at the life-judging Throne appear
    On the right hand, avouched Loving and Just.

                                        A. B.


                                EDINBURGH, _25th October 1844_.



I did not read Mr Lockhart's "Life of Sir Walter Scott," and therefore
it was only lately, and by mere accident, I heard that he has inserted
an anecdote of Lord Braxfield, which, if it had been true, must for ever
load his memory with indelible infamy. The story, in substance, I
understand to be this--That Lord Braxfield once tried a man for forgery
at the Circuit at _Dumfries_, who was not merely an acquaintance, but an
intimate friend of his Lordship, with whom he used to play at chess:
That he did this as coolly as if he had been a perfect stranger: That
the man was found guilty: That he pronounced sentence of death upon him;
and then added, "Now, John, I think I have _checkmated_ you now." A more
unfeeling and brutal conduct it is hardly possible to imagine. The
moment I heard the story I contradicted it; as, from my personal
knowledge of Lord Braxfield, I was certain that it could not be true.
Lord Braxfield certainly was not a polished man in his manners; and
now-a-days especially would be thought a coarse man. But he was a
kind-hearted man, and a warm and steady friend--intimately acquainted
with all my family, and much esteemed by them all. I was under great
obligations to him for the countenance he showed me when I came to the
bar, just sixty years ago, and therefore I was resolved to probe the
matter to the bottom. For that purpose, I directed the record of the
South Circuit to be carefully searched, and the result is, that Lord
Braxfield _never tried any man for forgery at Dumfries_. But I was not
satisfied with this, as it might have been said that Sir Walter had only
mistaken the town, and that the thing might have happened at some of the
other Circuit towns. Therefore I then directed a search to be made of
the records of all the other Circuits in Scotland, during the whole time
that Lord Braxfield sat on the Justiciary Bench; and the result is, that
his Lordship never tried any man for forgery at any of the Circuits,
_except once at Stirling_; and then the culprit, instead of being a
friend, or even a common acquaintance of Lord Braxfield's, _was a
miserable shopkeeper in the town of Falkirk_, whose very name it is
hardly possible he could have heard till he read it in the indictment.
Therefore I think I have effectually cleared his character from the
ineffable infamy of such brutality.

I understand that Mr Lockhart became completely satisfied that this
story did not apply to Lord Braxfield; and therefore has set it down, in
his second edition, to the credit, or rather to the discredit, not of
Lord Braxfield, but of a "_certain judge_." But this does not
sufficiently clear Lord Braxfield of it. Because thousands may never see
his second edition, or if they did, might think that the story still
related to Lord Braxfield, but that Mr Lockhart had suppressed his name
out of delicacy to his family; and therefore, as your excellent Magazine
has a more extensive circulation in Scotland than the _Quarterly_, I beg
of you to give this letter an early place. I understand one circumstance
which satisfied Mr Lockhart that the story did not apply to Lord
Braxfield is, that the family had assured him that he never played at
chess--a fact of which I could also have assured Mr Lockhart. But the
search of the records of Justiciary, which I directed to be made, is the
most satisfactory refutation of the infamous calumny; and I cannot
imagine how Sir Walter could have believed it for a moment. Certainly he
would not, if he had known Lord Braxfield as intimately as I did. I owe
a debt of gratitude to his memory, and am happy to have an opportunity
of repaying it.

                                I am,
                                    Your most obedient servant,
                                      C. HOPE.


These volumes, from the pen of Miss Barrett, would be a remarkable
publication at any time; but, in the present dearth of poetical genius,
their appearance is doubly welcome; their claims on our consideration
are doubly strong; and we cannot allow ourselves to pass them over
without some detailed notice of their contents. In spite of many
blemishes in point of execution, this lady's poems have left a very
favourable impression on our mind. If the poetess does not always
command our unqualified approbation, we are at all times disposed to
bend in reverence before the deep-hearted and highly accomplished
woman--a woman, whose powers appear to us to extend over a wider and
profounder range of thought and feeling, than ever before fell within
the intellectual compass of any of the softer sex.

If we might venture to divine this lady's moral and intellectual
character from the general tone of her writings, we should say, that
never did woman's mind dwell more habitually among the thoughts of a
solemn experience--never was woman's genius impressed more profoundly
with the earnestness of life, or sanctified more purely by the
overshadowing awfulness of death. She aspires to write as she has lived;
and certainly her poetry opens up many glimpses into the history of a
pure and profound heart which has felt and suffered much. At the same
time, a reflective cast of intellect lifts her feelings into a higher
and calmer region than that of ordinary sorrow. There are certain
delicate and felicitous peculiarities in the constitution of her
sensibilities, which frequently impart a rare and subtle originality to
emotions which are as old, and as widely diffused, as the primeval
curse. The spirit of her poetry appears to us to be eminently religious;
not because we think her very successful when she deals directly with
the mysteries of divine truth, but because she makes us feel, even when
handling the least sacred subjects, that we are in the presence of a
heart which, in its purity, sees God. In the writings of such a woman,
there must be much which is calculated to be a blessing and a benefit to
mankind. If her genius always found a suitable exponent in her style,
she would stand unrivaled, we think, among the poetesses of England.

But whether it be that Miss Barrett is afraid of degrading poetry to the
low rank of an _accomplishment_--whether it be that she has some
peculiar theory of her own on the subject of language, and on the mode
in which poetical emotions may be most felicitously expressed--whether
it be that nature has denied her the possession of a sound critical
judgment, or that she refuses to exercise it in the moment of
inspiration--whether it be that she considers the habit of pure and
polished composition an attainment of very secondary importance--or
whether it be that she has allowed herself to be infected by the
prevailing mannerisms of the day--certain it is, that there is a large
proportion of her poetry in which she has failed to add the graces of
good style and of careful versification to her other excellent
acquirements. That she can write pure English, and that she frequently
does so, is undeniable. In some of the extracts which we shall give, we
believe that the language could scarcely be improved. But we are
constrained to say, that her compositions are very often disfigured by
strained or slovenly modes of phraseology, which greatly detract from
their impressiveness, and which must materially injure the reputation of
their authoress, by turning away many hearts from the homage which they
otherwise would most willingly have rendered to her exalted genius.

Miss Barrett is a classical scholar. She surely knows that the great
works in which she delights have earned the epithet of _classical_, and
come recommended to the reverence of all mankind, solely in virtue of
the scrupulous propriety of their language; and because they are fitted
to serve as models of style to all succeeding generations. The purity of
their diction, and nothing else, has been their passport to immortality.
We cannot but lament that Miss Barrett has not provided more surely for
her future fame, by turning to their best account the lessons which the
masterpieces of antiquity are especially commissioned to teach.

Let it not be thought that we would counsel Miss Barrett, or any one
else, to propose these works to themselves as direct objects of
imitation. Far from it. Such directions would be very vague and
unmeaning, and might lead to the commission of the very errors which
they aimed at preventing. The words "purity and propriety of diction"
are themselves very vague words. Let us say, then, that a style which
goes at once to the point, which is felt to _get through business_, and
which carries with it no affectation, either real or apparent, is always
a good style; and that no other style is good. This is the quality which
may be generalized from the works of the great authors of all ages, as
the prime characteristic of all good writing. Their style is always
pregnant with a working activity--it impresses us with the feeling that
real work is done here. We fear not to say that Milton himself owes much
of his reputation to the peremptory and business-like vigour of his
style. He never beats about the bush--he never employs language which a
plain man would not have employed--if he could. The sublimity of
"Paradise Lost" is supported throughout by the direct force of its
language--language the most elaborate, but also the most to the point,
and the least fantastical, that ever fell from human lips. There are
difficulties to encounter in the abstract conception of the poem. The
naked argument does not at first recommend itself to our understanding.
It is not till we have vanquished those difficulties,--in which step we
are mainly assisted by the unparalleled execution of the work,--that all
our sympathies gravitate towards the mysterious theme.

Now if it be true that it requires all the force of a thoroughly
practical style to reconcile our affections to such remote and obscure
conceptions as the fall of man, the war of the rebellious angels, &c.,
it is peculiarly unfortunate that Miss Barrett, in her opening poem,
entitled a "Drama of Exile," should have ventured to tread on Miltonic
ground. For, while our feelings are naturally disposed to fly off at a
tangent from the vague and impalpable conceptions which form the staple
of her poem, the dreamy and unpractical character of her style makes
them fly still further from the subject. The force of her language is
not sufficient to bind down and rivet our sympathies to the theme; and
the lyrical portions of the drama, in particular, are so inarticulate,
that we are compelled to pronounce this composition--partial to it as
its authoress is--the least successful of her works.

But it is our wish to do full justice to Miss Barrett's extraordinary
merits, and to convey to our readers a favourable impression of her
powers; and therefore we shall say no more at present about the "Drama
of Exile," but shall turn our attention to some of the fairer and less
questionable manifestations of her genius. We shall commence with her
sonnets; for these appear to us to be by far the most finished of her
compositions in point of style; and in depth and purity of sentiment, we
think that they surpass any thing she has ever written, with the
exception of the poem entitled "Bertha in the Lane," which we shall
quote hereafter. As our first specimen, we select one which she entitles


    "Light human nature is too lightly tost
    And ruffled without cause; complaining on--
    Restless with rest--until, being overthrown,
    It learneth to lie quiet. Let a frost
    Or a small wasp have crept to the innermost
    Of our ripe peach; or let the wilful sun
    Shine westward of our window,--straight we run
    A furlong's sigh, as if the world were lost.
    But what time through the heart and through the brain
    God hath transfix'd us--we, so moved before,
    Attain to a calm! Ay, shouldering weights of pain,
    We anchor in deep waters, safe from shore;
    And hear, submissive, o'er the stormy main,
    God's charter'd judgments walk for evermore."

Yes; we fear it is too true that the voice of God never speaks so
articulately to man, as when it speaks in the desperate calm of a soul
to which life or death has done its worst. The same solemn thought with
which the sonnet concludes, forms the moral of her ballad entitled the
"Lay of the Brown Rosary." It is thus that the heroine of that poem

    "Then breaking into tears--'Dear God,' she cried, 'and must we see
    All blissful things depart from _us_, or ere we go to THEE?
    We cannot guess thee in the wood, or hear thee in the wind?
    Our cedars must fall round us, ere we see the light behind?
    Ay sooth, we feel too strong in weal, to need thee on that road;
    But woe being come, the soul is dumb that crieth not on 'God.'"

Then it is that the despair which blackens the earth strikes clear the
face of the sky. Listen again to Miss Barrett, when her soul is cheered
by the promises of "Futurity:"--


    "And, O beloved voices! upon which
    Ours passionately call, because erelong
    Ye brake off in the middle of that song
    We sang together softly, to enrich
    The poor world with the sense of love, and witch
    The heart out of things evil--I am strong,--
    Knowing ye are not lost for aye among
    The hills, with last year's thrush. God keeps a niche
    In Heaven to hold our idols! and albeit
    He brake them to our faces, and denied
    That our close kisses should impair their white,--
    I know we shall behold them raised, complete,--
    The dust shook from their beauty,--glorified
    New Memnons singing in the great God-light."

And again, listen to her hallowed and womanly strain when she speaks of


    "Speak low to me, my Saviour--low and sweet
    From out the hallelujahs, sweet and low,
    Lest I should fear and fall, and miss thee so
    Who art not miss'd by any that entreat.
    Speak to me as to Mary at thy feet--
    And if no precious gums my hands bestow,
    Let my tears drop like amber, while I go
    In reach of thy divinest voice complete
    In humanest affection--thus, in sooth
    To lose the sense of losing! As a child,
    Whose song-bird seeks the wood for evermore,
    Is sung to in its stead by mother's mouth;
    Till, sinking on her breast, love-reconciled,
    He sleeps the faster that he wept before."

How profound and yet how feminine is the sentiment! No _man_ could have
written that sonnet. It rises spontaneously from the heart of a
Christian woman, which overflows with feelings more gracious and more
graceful than ever man's can be. It teaches us what religious poetry
truly is; for it makes affections inspired by the simplest things of
earth, to illustrate, with the most artless beauty, the solemn
consolations of the Cross.

The pointedness of the following religious sonnet is very striking and
sublime. The text is, "And the Lord turned and _looked_ upon Peter."


    "I think that look of Christ might seem to say--
    'Thou Peter! art thou then a common stone
    Which I at last must break my heart upon,
    For all God's charge, to his high angels, may
    Guard my foot better? Did I yesterday
    Wash _thy_ feet, my beloved, that they should run
    Quick to deny me 'neath the morning sun,--
    And do thy kisses, like the rest, betray?--
    The cock crows coldly.--Go, and manifest
    A late contrition, but no bootless fear!
    For when thy deathly need is bitterest,
    Thou shalt not be denied, as I am here--
    My voice, to God and angels, shall attest,--
    _Because I_ KNOW _this man, let him be clear_.'"

One more sonnet, and we bid adieu to these very favourable specimens of
Miss Barrett's genius:--


    "'O dreary life!' we cry, 'O dreary life!'
    And still the generations of the birds
    Sing through our sighing, and the flocks and herds
    Serenely live while we are keeping strife
    With heaven's true purpose in us, as a knife
    Against which we may struggle. Ocean girds
    Unslacken'd the dry land: savannah-swards
    Unweary sweep: hills watch, unworn; and rife
    Meek leaves drop yearly from the forest-trees,
    To show, above, the unwasted stars that pass
    In their old glory. O thou God of old!
    Grant me some smaller grace than comes to _these_;--
    But so much patience, as a blade of grass
    Grows by contented through the heat and cold."

There is a poem in these volumes entitled the "Cry of _the Human_"--some
stanzas of which are inspired by profound feeling, and written with a
rare force and simplicity of style; but as other parts of it are
obscure, and as it appears to us to be of very unequal merit, we shall
not quote the whole of it. In addition to the faults which are to be
found in the poem itself, its title is objectionable, as embodying one
of Miss Barrett's worst mannerisms, and one for which we think that no
allowance ought to be made. She is in the habit of employing certain
adjectives in a substantive sense. She does so here. In other places she
writes "Heaven assist _the Human_." "Leaning from _my human_," that is,
stooping from my rank as a human being. In one passage she says,

    "Till the heavenly Infinite
    Falling off from our _Created_--"

_nature_ being understood after the word "created." The word "divine" is
one which she frequently employs in this substantive fashion. She also
writes "Chanting down the _Golden_"--the golden what?

    "Then the full sense of your _mortal_
    Rush'd upon you deep and loud."

For "mortal," read "mortality." It is true that this practice may be
defended to a certain extent by the example and authority of Milton. But
Miss Barrett is mistaken if she supposes that her frequent and prominent
use of such a form of speech, can be justified by the rare and
unobtrusive instances of it which are to be found in the _Paradise
Lost_. To use an anomalous expression two or three times in a poem
consisting of many thousand lines, is a very different thing from
bringing the same anomaly conspicuously forward, and employing it as a
common and favourite mode of speech in a number of small poems. In the
former case, it will be found that the expression is vindicated by the
context, and by the circumstances under which it is employed; in the
latter case it becomes a nuisance which cannot be too rigorously put
down. One step further and we shall find ourselves talking, in the
dialect of Yankeeland, of "us poor Humans!" However, as the point
appears to us to be one which does not admit of controversy, we shall
say no more on the subject, but shall proceed to the more agreeable duty
of quoting the greater portion of Miss Barrett's poem, which may be
regarded as a commentary on the prayer--"The Lord be merciful to us


    "'There is no God,' the foolish saith,--
      But none, 'There is no sorrow;'
    And nature oft, the cry of faith,
      In bitter need will borrow:
    Eyes, which the preacher could not school,
      By wayside graves are raised;
    And lips say, 'God be pitiful,'
      Which ne'er said, 'God be praised.'
          Be pitiful, O God!

    "The curse of gold upon the land,
      The lack of bread enforces--
    The rail-cars snort from strand to strand,
      Like more of Death's White horses!
    The rich preach 'rights' and future days,
      And hear no angel scoffing:
    The poor die mute--with starving gaze
      On corn-ships in the offing.
          Be pitiful, O God!

    "We meet together at the feast--
      To private mirth betake us--
    We stare down in the winecup, lest
      Some vacant chair should shake us!
    We name delight and pledge it round--
      'It shall be ours to-morrow!'
    God's seraphs! do your voices sound
      As sad in naming sorrow?
          Be pitiful, O God!

    "We sit together with the skies,
      The steadfast skies above us:
    We look into each other's eyes,--
      'And how long will you love us?'--
    The eyes grow dim with prophecy,
      The voices, low and breathless--
    'Till death us part!'--O words, to be
      Our _best_ for love the deathless!
          Be pitiful, dear God!

    "We tremble by the harmless bed
      Of one loved and departed--
    Our tears drop on the lips that said
      Last night, 'Be stronger-hearted!'
    O God--to clasp those fingers close,
      And yet to feel so lonely!--
    To see a light on dearest brows,
      Which is the daylight only!
          Be pitiful, O God!

    "The happy children come to us,
      And look up in our faces:
    They ask us--Was it thus, and thus,
      When we were in their places?--
    We cannot speak:--we see anew
      The hills we used to live in;
    And feel our mother's smile press through
      The kisses she is giving.
        Be pitiful, O God!

    "We pray together at the kirk,
      For mercy, mercy, solely--
    Hands weary with the evil work,
      We lift them to the Holy!
    The corpse is calm below our knee--
      Its spirit, bright before Thee--
    Between them, worse than either, we--
      Without the rest or glory!
        Be pitiful, O God!

    "We sit on hills our childhood wist,
      Woods, hamlets, streams, beholding!
    The sun strikes, through the furthest mist,
      The city's spire to golden.
    The city's golden spire it was,
      When hope and health were strongest,
    But now it is the churchyard grass
      We look upon the longest.
          Be pitiful, O God!

    "And soon all vision waxeth dull--
      Men whisper, 'He is dying:'
    We cry no more, 'Be pitiful!'--
      We have no strength for crying!--
    No strength, no need! Then, Soul of mine,
      Look up and triumph rather--
    Lo! in the depth of God's Divine,
      The Son adjures the Father--
          Be pitiful, O God!"

"The Romance of the Swan's Nest" is written in a different vein. It is
characterized by graceful playfulness of manner and sentiment, which
shows how heartily the amiable authoress can enter into the sympathies
and enjoyments of child, and how much she is at home when she engages in
lighter dalliance with the muse. We have taken the liberty to print in
italics two or three _Barrettisms_, which however, we believe, are not
very reprehensible. On the whole, it is very pleasing and elegant


      "Little Ellie sits alone
    Mid the beeches of a meadow,
      By a stream-side, on the grass:
      And the trees are showering down
    _Doubles of their leaves in shadow_,
      On her shining hair and face.

      "She has thrown her bonnet by;
    And her feet she has been dipping
      In the shallow water's flow--
      Now she holds them nakedly
    In her hands, all sleek and dripping,
      While she rocketh to and fro.

      "Little Ellie sits alone,--
    And the smile, she softly useth,
      Fills the silence like a speech;
      While she thinks what shall be done,--
    And the sweetest pleasure, chooseth,
      For her future within reach!

      "Little Ellie in her smile
    Chooseth ... 'I will have a lover,
      Riding on a steed of steeds!
      He shall love me without guile;
    And to _him_ I will discover
      That swan's nest among the reeds.

      "'And the steed shall be red-roan,
    And the lover shall be noble,
      With an eye _that takes the breath_,--
      And the lute he plays upon
    Shall strike ladies into trouble,
      As his sword strikes men to death.

      "'And the steed, it shall be shod
    All in silver, housed in azure,
      And the mane shall swim the wind!
      And the hoofs, along the sod,
    Shall flash onward _in a pleasure_,
      Till the shepherds look behind.

      "'But my lover will not prize
    All the glory that he rides in,
      When he gazes in my face!
      He will say, 'O Love, thine eyes
    Build the shrine my soul abides in;
      And I kneel here for thy grace.'

      "'Then, ay, then--he shall kneel low--
    With the red-roan steed _anear_ him
      Which shall seem to understand--
      Till I answer, "Rise, and go!
    For the world must love and fear him
      Whom I gift with heart and hand."

      "'Then he will arise so pale,
    I shall feel my own lips tremble
      With a _yes_ I must not say--
      Nathless, maiden-brave, "Farewell,"
    I will utter and dissemble--
      "Light to-morrow, with to-day."

      "'Then he will ride through the hills,
    To the wide world past the river,
      There to put away all wrong!
      To make straight distorted wills,--
    And to empty the broad quiver
      Which the wicked bear along.

      "'Three times shall a young foot-page
    Swim the stream, and climb the mountain,
      And kneel down beside my feet--
      "Lo! my master sends this gage,
    Lady, _for thy pity's counting_!
      What wilt thou exchange for it?"

      "'And the first time, I will send
    A white rosebud for a guerdon,--
      And the second time, a glove!
      But the third time--I may bend
    From my pride, and answer--"Pardon,
      If he comes to take my love."

      "'Then the young foot-page will run,
    Then my lover will ride faster,
      Till he kneeleth at my knee!
      "I am a duke's eldest son!
    Thousand serfs do call me master,--
      But, O Love, I love but thee!"

      "'He will kiss me on the mouth
    Then, and lead me as a lover,
      Through the crowds that praise his deeds!
      And when soul-tied by one troth,
    Unto _him_ I will discover
      That swan's nest among the reeds.'

      "Little Ellie, with her smile
    Not yet ended, rose up gaily,--
      Tied the bonnet, donn'd the shoe--
      And went homeward, round a mile,
    Just to see, as she did daily,
      What more eggs were with the _two_.

      "Pushing through the elm-tree copse
    Winding by the stream, light-hearted,
      Where the osier pathway leads--
      Past the boughs she stoops--and stops!
    Lo! the wild swan had deserted--
      And a rat had gnaw'd the reeds.

      "Ellie went home sad and slow!
    If she found the lover ever,
      With his red-roan steed of steeds,
      Sooth I know not! but I know
    She could show him never--never,
      That swan's nest among the reeds!"

But the gem of the collection is unquestionably the poem entitled
"Bertha in the Lane." This is the purest picture of a broken heart that
ever drew tears from the eyes of woman or of man. Although our extracts
are likely to exceed the proportion which they ought to bear to our
critical commentary, we must be permitted to quote this poem entire. A
grain of such poetry is worth a cart-load of criticism:--


    "Put the broidery-frame away,
    For my sewing is all done!
    The last thread is used to-day,
      And I need not join it on.
      Though the clock stands at the noon,
      I am weary! I have sewn
      Sweet, for thee, a wedding-gown.

    "Sister, help me to the bed,
      And stand near me, dearest-sweet,
    Do not shrink nor be afraid,
      Blushing with a sudden heat!
      No one standeth in the street?--
      By God's love I go to meet,
      Love I thee with love complete.

    "Lean thy face down! drop it in
      These two hands, that I may hold
    'Twixt their palms thy cheek and chin,
      Stroking back the curls of gold.
      'Tis a fair, fair face, in sooth--
      Larger eyes and redder mouth
      Than mine were in my first youth!

    "Thou art younger by seven years--
      Ah!--so bashful at my gaze,
    That the lashes, hung with tears,
      Grow too heavy to upraise?
      I would wound thee by no touch
      Which thy shyness feels as such--
      Dost thou mind me, dear, so much?

    "Have I not been nigh a mother
      To thy sweetness--tell me, dear?
    Have we not loved one another
      Tenderly, from year to year;
      Since our dying mother mild
      Said _with accents undefiled_,[32]
      'Child, be mother to this child!'

    "Mother, mother, up in heaven,
      Stand up on the jasper sea,
    And be witness I have given
      All the gifts required of me;--
      Hope that bless'd me, bliss that crown'd,
      Love, that left me with a wound,
      Life itself, that turneth round!

    "Mother, mother, thou art kind,
      Thou art standing in the room,--
    In a molten glory shrined,
      That rays off into the gloom!
      But thy smile is bright and bleak
      Like cold waves--I cannot speak;
      I sob in it, and grow weak.

    "Ghostly mother, keep aloof
      One hour longer from my soul--
    For I still am thinking of
      Earth's warm-beating joy and dole!
      On my finger is a ring
      Which I still see glittering,
      When the night hides every thing.

    "Little sister, thou art pale!
      Ah! I have a wandering brain--
    But I lose that fever-bale,
      And my thoughts grow calm again.
      Lean down closer--closer still!
      I have words thine ear to fill,--
      And would kiss thee at my will.

    "Dear, I heard thee in the spring,
      Thee and Robert--through the trees,
    When we all went gathering
      Boughs of May-bloom for the bees.
      Do not start so! think instead
      How the sunshine overhead
      Seem'd to trickle through the shade.

    "What a day it was, that day!
      Hills and vales did openly
    Seem to heave and throb away,
      At the sight of the great sky:
      And the silence, as it stood
      In the glory's golden flood,
      Audibly did bud--and bud!

    "Through the winding hedgerows green,
      How we wander'd, I and you,--
    With the bowery tops shut in,
      And the gates that show'd the view--
      How we talk'd there! thrushes soft
      Sang our pauses out,--or oft
      Bleatings took them, from the croft.

    "Till the pleasure, grown too strong,
      Left me muter evermore;
    And, the winding road being long,
      I walked out of sight, before;
      And so, wrapt in musings fond,
      Issued (past the wayside pond)
      On the meadow-lands beyond.

    "I sate down beneath the beech
      Which leans over to the lane,
    And the far sound of your speech
      Did not promise any pain:
      And I bless'd you full and free,
      With a smile stoop'd tenderly
      O'er the May-flowers on my knee.

    "But the sound grew into word
      As the speakers drew more near--
    Sweet, forgive me that I heard
      What you wish'd me not to hear.
      Do not weep so--do not shake--
      Oh,--I heard thee, Bertha, make
      Good true answers for my sake.

      "Yes, and HE too! let him stand
      In thy thoughts, untouch'd by blame.
    Could he help it, if my hand
      He had claim'd with hasty claim?
      That was wrong perhaps--but then
      Such things be--and will, again!
      Women cannot judge for men.

      "Had he seen thee, when he swore
      He would love but me alone?
    Thou wert absent,--sent before
      To our kin in Sidmouth town.
      When he saw thee who art best
      Past compare, and loveliest,
      He but judged thee as the rest.

      "Could we blame him with grave words,
      Thou and I, Dear, if we might?
    Thy brown eyes have looks like birds,
      Flying straightway to the light:
      Mine are older.--Hush!--Look out--
      Up the street! Is none without?
      How the poplar swings about!

      "And that hour--beneath the beech,--
      When I listen'd in a dream,
    And he said, in his deep speech,
      That he owed me all _esteem_,--
      Each word swam in on my brain
      With a dim, dilating pain,
      Till it burst with that last strain--

      "I fell flooded with a Dark,
      In the silence of a swoon--
    When I rose, still cold and stark,
      There was night,--I saw the moon:
      And the stars, each in its place,
      And the May-blooms on the grass,
      Seem'd to wonder what I was.

      "And I walk'd as if apart
      From myself, when I could stand--
    And I pitied my own heart,
      As if I held it in my hand,--
      Somewhat coldly,--with a sense
      Of fulfill'd benevolence,
      And a 'poor thing' negligence.

      "And I answer'd coldly too,
      When you met me at the door;
    And I only _heard_ the dew
      Dripping from me to the floor:
      And the flowers I bade you see,
      Were too wither'd for the bee,--
      As my life, henceforth, for me.

      "Do not weep so--dear--heart-warm!
      It was best as it befell!
    If I say he did me harm,
      I speak wild,--I am not well.
      All his words were kind and good--
      _He esteem'd me!_ Only blood
      Runs so faint in womanhood.

      "Then I always was too grave,--
      Liked the saddest ballads sung,--
    With that look, besides, we have
      In our faces, who die young.
      I had died, Dear, all the same--
      Life's long, joyous, jostling game
      Is too loud for my meek shame.

      "We are so unlike each other,
      Thou and _I_; that none could guess
    We were children of one mother,
      But for mutual tenderness.
      Thou art rose-lined from the cold,
      And meant, verily, to hold
      Life's pure pleasures manifold.

      "I am pale as crocus grows
      Close beside a rose-tree's root!
    Whosoe'er would reach the rose,
      Treads the crocus underfoot--
      _I_, like May-bloom on thorn tree--
      _Thou_, like merry summer-bee!
      Fit, that _I_ be pluck'd for _thee_.

      "Yet who plucks me?--no one mourns--
      I have lived my season out,--
    And now die of my own thorns
      Which I could not live without.
      Sweet, be merry! How the light
      Comes and goes! If it be night,
      Keep the candles in my sight.

      "Are there footsteps at the door?
      Look out quickly. Yea, or nay?
    Some one might be waiting for
      Some last word that I might say.
      Nay? So best!--So angels would
      Stand off clear from deathly road--
      Not to cross the sight of God.

      "Colder grow my hands and feet--
      When I wear the shroud I made,
    Let the folds lie straight and neat,
      And the rosemary be spread--
      That if any friend should come,
      (To see _thee_, sweet!) all the room
      May be lifted out of gloom.

      "And, dear Bertha, let me keep
      On my hand this little ring,
    Which at nights, when others sleep,
      I can still see glittering.
      Let me wear it out of sight,
      In the grave--where it will light
      All the Dark up, day and night.

      "On that grave, drop not a tear!
      Else, though fathom-deep the place,
    Through the woollen shroud I wear,
      I shall feel it on my face.
      Rather smile there, blessed one,
      Thinking of me in the sun--
      Or forget me--smiling on!

      "Art thou near me? nearer? so!
      Kiss me close upon the eyes--
    That the earthly light may go
      Sweetly as it used to rise--
      When I watch'd the morning-gray
      Strike, betwixt the hills, the way
      He was sure to come that day.

      "So--no more vain words be said!
      The hosannas nearer roll--
    Mother, smile now on thy Dead--
      I am death-strong in my soul!
      Mystic Dove alit on cross,
      Guide the poor bird of the snows
      Through the snow-wind above loss!

      "Jesus, Victim, comprehending
      Love's divine self-abnegation--
    Cleanse my love in its self-spending,
      And absorb the poor libation!
      Wind my thread of life up higher,
      Up through angels' hands of fire!--
      I aspire while I expire!"

The following extract from a little poem entitled "Sleeping and
Watching," is very touching in its simplicity. Miss Barrett is watching
over a slumbering child. How softly does the spirit of the watcher
overshadow the cradle with the purest influences of its own sanctified
sorrows, while she thus speaks!--

    "_I_, who cannot sleep as well,
      Shall I sigh to view you?
    Or sigh further to foretell
      All that may undo you?
    Nay, keep smiling, little child,
      Ere the sorrow neareth,--
    _I_ will smile too! Patience mild
      Pleasure's token weareth.
    Nay, keep sleeping, before loss;
      I shall sleep though losing!
    As by cradle, so by cross,
      Sure is the reposing.

    "And God knows, who sees us twain,
      Child at childish leisure,
    I am near as tired of pain
      As you seem of pleasure;--
    Very soon too, by his grace
      Gently wrapt around me,
    Shall I show as calm a face,
      Shall I sleep as soundly!
    Differing in this, that _you_
      Clasp your playthings sleeping,
    While my hand shall drop the few
      Given to my keeping;

    "Differing in this, that _I_
      Sleeping, shall be colder,
    And in waking presently,
      Brighter to beholder!
    Differing in this beside
      (Sleeper, have you heard me?
    Do you move, and open wide
      Eyes of wonder toward me?)--
    That while I draw you withal
      From your slumber, solely,--
    Me, from mine, an angel shall,
      With reveillie holy!"

After having perused these extracts, it must be impossible for any one
to deny that Miss Barrett is a person gifted with very extraordinary
powers of mind, and very rare sensibilities of heart. She must surely be
allowed to take her place among the female writers of England as a
poetess of no ordinary rank; and if she does not already overtop them
all, may she one day stand forth as the queen of that select and
immortal sisterhood! It is in her power to do so if she pleases.

It is now our duty to revert to the principal poem in the collection,
respecting which we have already ventured to pronounce rather an
unfavourable opinion. The "Drama of Exile" is the most ambitious of Miss
Barrett's compositions. It is intended to commemorate the sayings and
doings of our First Parents, immediately subsequent to their expulsion
from the garden of Eden. Its authoress, with sincere modesty, disclaims
all intention of entering into competition with Milton; but the
comparison must, of course, force itself upon the reader; and although
it was not to be expected that she should rise so soaringly as Milton
does above the level of her theme, it was at any rate to be expected
that her _dramatis personæ_ should not stand in absolute contrast to
his. Yet Milton's Satan and Miss Barrett's Lucifer are the very
antipodes of each other. Milton's Satan is a thoroughly practical
character, and, if he had been human, he would have made a first-rate
man of business in any department of life. Miss Barrett's Lucifer, on
the contrary, is the poorest prater that ever made a point of saying
nothing to the purpose, and we feel assured that he could have put his
hand to nothing in heaven, on earth, or in hell. He has nothing to do,
he does nothing, and he could do nothing. He seems incapable of
excogitating a single plot of treachery, or of carrying into execution a
single deed of violence. His thoughts are a great deal too much taken up
about his own personal appearance. Gabriel is an equally irresolute
character. The following is a portion of a dialogue which takes place
between the two; and it is perhaps as fair a sample of the drama as any
that we could select. Near the beginning of the poem Gabriel concludes a
short address to Lucifer with these words--

    "Go from us straightway.

    _Lucifer._          Wherefore?

    _Gabriel._                     Lucifer,
    Thy last step in this place, trod sorrow up.
    Recoil before that sorrow, if not this sword.

    _Lucifer._ Angels are in the world--wherefore not I?
    Exiles are in the world--wherefore not I?
    The cursed are in the world--wherefore not I?

    _Gabriel._ Depart.

    _Lucifer._        And where's the logic of 'depart?'
    Our lady Eve had half been satisfied
    To obey her Maker, if I had not learnt
    To fix my postulate better. Dost thou dream
    Of guarding some monopoly in heaven
    Instead of earth? _Why I can dream with thee
    To the length of thy wings._

    _Gabriel._             I do not dream.
    This is not heaven, even in a dream; nor earth,
    As earth was once,--first breathed among the stars,--
    Articulate glory from the mouth divine,--
    To which the myriad spheres thrill'd audibly,
    Touch'd like a lute-string,--and the sons of God
    Said AMEN, singing it. I know that this
    Is earth, not new created, but new cursed--
    This, Eden's gate, not open'd, but built up
    With a final cloud of sunset. Do I dream?
    Alas, not so! this is the Eden lost
    By Lucifer the serpent! this the sword
    (This sword, alive with justice and with fire,)
    That smote upon the forehead, Lucifer
    The angel! Wherefore, angel, go ... depart--
    Enough is sinn'd and suffer'd.

    _Lucifer._                By no means."

It will be observed, that in this passage Gabriel thrice desires Lucifer
to "move on;" it will also be observed that Gabriel has a sword--or
perhaps it may be the revolving sword which guards Paradise that he
speaks of; but be it so or not, he threatens Lucifer with the edge of
the sword unless he decamps; and yet, although the warning is repeated,
as we have said, three distinct times, and although Lucifer
pertinaciously refuses to stir a step, still the weapon remains
innocuous, and the arch-fiend remains intact. This is not the way in
which Milton manages matters. Towards the conclusion of the fourth book
of Paradise Lost, this same Gabriel orders Satan to leave his presence--

    Fly thither whence thou fledd'st."

The rebel angel refuses to retire:--upon which, without more ado, both
sides prepare themselves for battle. On the side of Gabriel

                "Th'angelic squadron bright
    _Turned fiery red_, sharpening in mooned horns
    Their phalanx."

What an intense picture of ardour preparatory to action (it is night,
remember) is presented to our imaginations by the words "turned fiery

        "On t'other side, Satan alarm'd,
    Collecting all his might, dilated stood,
    Like Teneriff, or Atlas, unremov'd:
    His stature reach'd the sky."

Then would have come the tug of war--then

          "Dreadful deeds
    Might have ensued;"

and would have ensued--

                             "Had not soon
    The Eternal, to prevent such horrid fray,
    Hung forth in heaven his golden scales."--
             "The fiend look'd up and knew
    His mounted scale aloft; nor more, but fled
    Murmuring, and with him fled the shades of night."

But in the interview which Miss Barrett describes between Gabriel and
Lucifer, no such headlong propensity to act is manifested by either
party--no such crisis ensues to interrupt the fray. Gabriel is satisfied
with giving utterance to a feeble threat, which, when he finds that
Lucifer pays no attention to it, he never attempts to carry into
execution. For no apparent cause, he suddenly changes his tone, and
condescends to hold parley with his foe on a variety of not very
interesting particulars, informing him, among other things, that he
"does not dream!"

The following is Lucifer's description of our First Mother. It is
impregnated with Miss Barrett's mannerisms, and strongly characterized
by that fantastical and untrue mode of picturing sensible objects, which
the example of Shelley and Keates tended especially to foster, if they
were not the first to introduce it:--

    "_Lucifer._ Curse freely! curses thicken. Why, this Eve
    Who thought me once part worthy of her ear,
    And somewhat wiser than the other beasts,--
    Drawing together _her large globes of eyes,
    The light of which is throbbing in and out
    Around their continuity of gaze_,--
    Knots her fair eyebrows in so hard a knot,
    And, down from _her white heights of womanhood_,
    Looks on me so amazed,--I scarce should fear
    To wager such an apple as she pluck'd,
    Against one riper from the tree of life,
    That she could curse too--as a woman may--
    _Smooth in the vowels_."

We do not very well understand why Eve's curses should have been
smoother in the vowels than in the consonants. But as we are no great
elocutionists, or at all well conversant with the mysteries of
"labials," "dentals," and "gutterals," we shall not contest the point
with Lucifer, lest we should only expose our own ignorance.

Respecting the leading conception of her drama, Miss Barrett writes
thus:--"My subject was the new and strange experience of the fallen
humanity as it went forth from Paradise into the wilderness; with a
peculiar reference to Eve's allotted grief, which, considering that
self-sacrifice belonging to her womanhood, and the consciousness of
originating the Fall to her offence--appeared to me imperfectly
apprehended hitherto, and more expressible by a woman than a man." No
wonder that Miss Barrett failed in her undertaking. In the conception of
Eve's grief as distinguished from Adam's, and as coloured by the
circumstances of her situation--namely, by the consciousness that she
had been the _first_ to fall, and the proximate cause of Adam's
transgression--there is certainly no sufficient foundation to sustain
the weight of a dramatic poem. At the most, it might have furnished
materials for a sonnet. It therefore detracts nothing from the genius of
Miss Barrett to say, that her attempt has been unsuccessful. She has
tried to make bricks not only without straw, but almost without clay;
and that being the case, the marvel is that she should have succeeded so

"There was room at least," continues Miss Barrett, "for lyrical emotion
in those first steps into the wilderness, in that first sense of
desolation after wrath, in that first audible gathering of the
recriminating 'groan of the whole creation,' in that first darkening of
the hills from the recoiling feet of angels, and in that first silence
of the voice of God." There certainly _was_ room for lyrical emotion in
these first steps into wilderness. All nature might most appropriately
be supposed to break forth in melodious regrets around the footsteps of
the wanderers: but we cannot think that Miss Barrett has done justice to
nature's strains. Unless lyrical emotion be expressed in language as
clear as a mountain rill, and as well defined as the rocks over which it
runs, it is much better left unsung. The merit of all lyrical poetry
consists in the clearness and cleanness with which it is cut; no tags or
loose ends can any where be permitted. But Miss Barrett's lyrical
compositions are frequently so inarticulate, so slovenly, and so
defective, both in rhythm and rhyme, that we are really surprised how a
person of her powers could have written them, and how a person of any
judgment could have published them. Take a specimen, not by any means
the worst, from the "Song of the morning star to Lucifer:"--

    "Mine orbed image sinks
      Back from thee, back from thee,
    As thou art fallen, methinks,
      Back from me, back from me.
        O my light-bearer,
        Could another fairer
      Lack to thee, lack to thee?
        Ai, ai, Heosphoros!
    I loved thee, with the fiery love of stars.
    Who love by burning, and by loving move,
    Too near the throned Jehovah, not to love.
        Ai, ai, Heosphoros!
    Their brows flash fast on me from gliding cars,
        Pale-passion'd for my loss.
        Ai, ai, Heosphoros!

    "Mine orbed heats drop cold
      Down from thee, down from thee,
    As fell thy grace of old
      Down from me, down from me.
        O my light-bearer,
        Is another fairer
      Won to thee, won to thee?
        Ai, ai, Heosphoros,
        Great love preceded loss,
      Known to thee, known to thee.
        Ai, ai!
    Thou, breathing they communicable grace
      Of life into my light
    Mine astral faces, from thine angel face,
      Hast inly fed,
    And flooded me with radiance overmuch
      From thy pure height.
        Ai, ai!
    Thou, with calm, floating pinions both ways spread,
        Erect, irradiated,
        Didst sting my wheel of glory
        On, on before thee,
    Along the Godlight, by a quickening touch!
        Ha, ha!
    Around, around the firmamental ocean,
    I swam expanding with delirious fire!
    Around, around, around, in blind desire
    To be drawn upward to the Infinite--
        Ha, ha!"

But enough of _Ai ai Heosphoros_. It may be very right for ladies to
learn Greek--not, however, if it is to lead them to introduce such
expressions as this into the language of English poetry.

Nor do we think that Miss Barrett's lyrical style improves when she
descends to themes of more human and proximate interest, and makes the
"earth-spirits" and the "flower-spirits" pour their lamentations into
the ears of the exiled pair. The following is the conclusion of the
_láyment_ (as Miss Barrett pronounces the word _lament_) of the

       "We pluck at your raiment,
          We stroke down your hair,
        We faint in our _láment_,
          And pine into air.
    The Eden scents, no longer sensible,
        Expire at Eden's door!
        Each footstep of your treading
    Treads out some fragrance which ye knew before:
        Farewell! the flowers of Eden
        Ye shall smell never more."

Would not Miss Barrett's hair have stood on end if Virgil had written
"Arma virumque _canto_?" Yet surely that false quantity would have been
not more repugnant to the genius of Latin verse than her transposition
of accent in the word _lamént_ is at variance with the plainest
proprieties of the English tongue.

The "earth-spirits" deliver themselves thus:--

    _Earth Spirits._
        "And we scorn you! there's no pardon
          Which can lean to you aright!
        When your bodies take the guerdon
          Of the death-curse in our sight,
      Then the bee that hummeth lowest shall transcend you.
        Then ye shall not move an eyelid
          Though the stars look down your eyes;
        And the earth, which ye defiled,
          She shall show you to the skies,--
      Lo! these kings of ours--who sought to comprehend you.'

    _First Spirit._
        And the elements shall boldly
          All your dust to dust constrain;
        Unresistedly and coldly,
          I will smite you with my rain!
      From the slowest of my frosts is no receding.

    _Second Spirit._
        And my little worm, appointed
          To assume a royal part,
        He shall reign, crown'd and anointed,
          O'er the noble human heart!
      Give him counsel against losing of that Eden!"

In one of the lyrical effusions, man is informed that when he goes to

      "Then a _sough of glory_
      Shall your entrance greet,
    Ruffling round the doorway
      The smooth radiance it shall meet."

We wonder what meaning Miss Barrett attaches to the word _sough_! It is
a term expressive of the dreary sighing of autumnal winds, or any sound
still more disconsolate and dreary; and therefore, to talk of a "sough
of glory," is to talk neither more nor less than absolute nonsense.

What can be more unlyrical than this verse?

    "Live, work on, oh, Earthy!
      By the Actual's tension
    Sped the arrow worthy
      Of a pure ascension."

We have said that the lyrical effusions interspersed throughout the
"Drama of Exile," are very slovenly and defective in point of rhyme.
What can be worse than "Godhead" and "wooded," "treading" and "Eden,"
"glories" and "floorwise," "calmly" and "palm-tree," "atoms" and
"fathoms," "accompted" and "trumpet," and a hundred others? What can be
worse, do we ask? We answer that there is one species of rhyme which
Miss Barrett is sometimes, though, we are happy to say, very rarely,
guilty of, which is infinitely more reprehensible than any of these
inaccuracies. We allude to the practice of affixing an _r_ to the end of
certain words, in order to make them rhyme with other words which
terminate in that letter. Writers who are guilty of this atrocity are
not merely to be condemned as bad rhymesters: they are to be blamed on
the far more serious ground that they give the sanction and authority of
print to one of the vilest vulgarisms which pollutes the oral language
of certain provincial societies. What makes the practice so offensive in
literary composition is the fact, that the barbarism is one which may
sometimes be actually heard falling from living lips. But for this, it
would be pardonable. We verily believe that Miss Barrett herself does
not talk of "Laura_r_" and "Matilda_r_;" we verily believe that she
would consider any one who does so no fit associate for herself in point
of manners or education:--yet she scruples not to make "Aceldama"(r)
rhyme to "tamer," and "Onora"(r) rhyme to "o'er her." When we think of
these things, we turn to the following "stage-direction" with which her
"Drama of Exile" concludes--"There is a sound through the silence _as of
the falling tears of an angel_." That angel must have been a distressed
critic like ourselves.

Next to the "Drama of Exile," the longest poem in the collection is the
composition entitled "A Vision of Poets." This poem is designed, says
our authoress, "to indicate the necessary relations of genius to
suffering and self-sacrifice." It is stamped throughout with the
thoughtful earnestness of Miss Barrett's character, and is, on the
whole, a very impressive performance. But it would have been more
impressive still if it had been composed after less vicious models, or
if Miss Barrett had trusted more to a style prompted by her own native
powers, and less to the fantastical modes of phraseology which have been
introduced into literature by certain inferior artists of this and the
preceding generation. We cannot read it, however, without appreciating
the fervour which stirs the soul of the authoress through all its
depths, when she declares and upholds the sacred mission of the poet,
and teaches him that he must embrace his destiny with gratitude and
pride, even though the crown which encircles his living brows be one in
which the thorns far out-number the laurel leaves. We shall grace our
pages with a series of portraits, in which Miss Barrett sketches off
first the true poets and then the pretenders. They certainly contain
some good points, although many of her touches must be pronounced
unsuccessful. Let Homer lead the van:--

    "Here, Homer, with the broad suspense
    Of thunderous brows, and lips intense
    Of garrulous god-innocence.

    "There, Shakspeare! on whose forehead climb
    The crowns o' the world! Oh, eyes sublime--
    With tears and laughters for all time!

    "Here, Æschylus--the women swoon'd
    _To see so awful_ when he frown'd
    As the gods did--he standeth crown'd.

    "Euripides, with close and mild
    Scholastic lips--that could be wild,
    And laugh or sob out like a child

    "_Right in the classes._ Sophocles,
    With that king's look which down the trees,
    Follow'd the dark effigies

    "Of the lost Theban! Hesiod old,
    Who somewhat blind, and deaf, and cold,
    Cared most for gods and bulls! and bold

    "Electric Pindar, quick as fear,
    With race-dust on his checks, and clear,
    Slant startled eyes that seem to hear

    "The chariot rounding the last goal,
    To hurtle past it in his soul!
    And Sappho crown'd with aureole

    "Of ebon curls on calmed brows--
    O poet-woman! none forgoes
    The leap, attaining the repose!

    "Theocritus, with glittering locks,
    Dropt sideway, as betwixt the rocks
    He watch'd the visionary flocks!

    "And Aristophanes! who took
    The world with mirth, and laughter-struck
    The hollow caves of Thought, and woke

    "The infinite echoes hid in each.
    And Virgil! shade of Mantuan beech
    Did help the shade of bay to reach

    "And knit around his forehead high!--
    For his gods wore less majesty
    Than his brown bees humm'd deathlessly.

    "Lucretius--nobler than his mood!
    Who dropp'd his plummet down the broad
    Deep universe, and said 'No God,'

    "Finding no bottom. He denied
    Divinely the divine, and died
    Chief poet on the Tiber-side,

    "By grace of God. His face is stern,
    As one compell'd, in spite of scorn,
    To teach a truth he could not learn.

    "And Ossian, dimly seen or guess'd!
    Once counted greater than the rest,
    When mountain-winds blew out his vest.

    "And Spenser droop'd his dreaming head
    (With languid sleep-smile you had said
    From his own verse engendered)

    "On Ariosto's, till they ran
    Their locks in one!--The Italian
    Shot nimbler heat of bolder man

    "From his fine lids. And Dante stern
    And sweet, whose spirit was an urn
    For wine and milk pour'd out in turn.

    "And Goethe--with that reaching eye
    His soul reach'd out from far and high,
    _And fell from inner entity_.

    "And Schiller, with heroic front
    Worthy of Plutarch's kiss upon't--
    Too large for wreath of modern wont.

    "Here Milton's eyes strike piercing-dim!
    The shapes of suns and stars did swim
    Like clouds on them, and granted him

    "God for sole vision! Cowley, there,
    Whose active fancy debonaire
    Drew straws like amber--foul to fair.

    "And Burns, with pungent passionings
    Set in his eyes. Deep lyric springs
    Are of the fire-mount's issuings.

    "And poor, proud Byron--sad as grave
    And salt as life! forlornly brave,
    And quivering with the dart he drave.

    "And visionary Coleridge, who
    Did sweep his thoughts as angels do
    Their wings, with cadence up the Blue."

"Homer" we are not sure about; we can only hope that there may be people
whom the picture will please. "Shakspeare" is good. "Æschylus" (Miss
Barrett's favourite, too,) is treated very scurvily and very
ungrammatically. What on earth are we to make of the words "the women
swooned to see so awful" &c.? It is well known that no pregnant woman
could look Æschylus in the face when the fit of inspiration was on him,
without having cause to regret her indiscretion. But though delicacy
might have dictated that this fact should be only barely hinted at,
surely grammar need not have miscarried in the statement. The syntax of
the passage will puzzle future commentators as much as some of his own
corrupt choruses. "Euripides" promises well; but the expression, "Right
in the classes," throws our intellect completely on its beam-ends; and
as we cannot right it again, in order to take a second glance at the
poet of Medea, we must pass on to the next. "Sophocles" will be
acceptable to scholars. "Hesiod" is excellent. "Cared most for _gods and
bulls_" is worth any money. "Pindar" and "Sappho" are but so so. The
picture of "Theocritus" is very beautiful. There is nothing particularly
felicitous in the sketch of "Aristophanes." How much more graphic is
what Milton, in one of his prose works, says with respect to the "holy
Chrysostom's" study of the same. Chrysostom, it seems, was a great
student of Aristophanes. Some people might have been, and no doubt were,
scandalized to think that so pious a father of the church should have
made a bosom companion of so profane and virulent a wit: but says
Milton, the holy father was quite right in poring over Aristophanes, for
"_he had the art to cleanse a scurrilous vehemence into the style of a
rousing sermon_." Put that into verse and it would ring well. We thank
Miss Barrett for the graphic touch of Virgil's "brown bees," which
certainly _are_ better than his gods. "Lucretius" is very finely
painted. "Ossian" looms large through the mist, but walk up to him, and
the pyramid is but a cairn. "Spenser" and "Ariosto," with their locks
blended in one, compose a very sweet picture. "Dante" we will not answer
for. "Goethe" is a perfect enigma. What does the word "fell" mean?
[Greek: deinos], we suppose--that is, "not to be trifled with." But
surely it sounds very strange, although it may be true enough, to say
that this "fellness" is occasioned by "inner entity." But perhaps the
line has some deeper meaning, which we are unable to fathom. We have
seen a better picture than that of Goethe in the hour of inspiration,
when his forehead was like a precipice dim with drifting sleet.
"Schiller" is well drawn; evidently from Thorwaldsen's gigantic statue
of the poet. Miss Barrett paints "Milton" in his blindness as seeing all
things in God. But Mallebranche had already taught that God is the
"sole vision" of all of us; and therefore, if that theory be correct,
she has failed to assign to the poet of the Fall any distinctive
attribute which distinguishes him from other men. "Cowley" is well
characterized. "Burns" ought to have been better. "Byron" pleases us.
"Coleridge" has very considerable merit.

As a contrast to the preceding sketches of the true poets, (many of
which, however, we have omitted, and we may also remark, in parenthesis,
that none of our living poets are meddled with,) we now pass before the
eyes of the reader a panorama of _pretenders_. We shall make no remarks
on the expression of their features, leaving Miss Barrett to brand them
as they deserve with her just scorn and indignation--

    "One dull'd his eyeballs as they ached,
    With Homer's forehead--though he lack'd
    An inch of any! And one rack'd

    "His lower lip with restless tooth--
    As Pindar's rushing words forsooth
    Were pent behind it. One, his smooth

    "Pink cheeks, did rumple passionate,
    Like Æschylus--and tried to prate
    On trolling tongue, of fate and fate!

    "One set her eyes like Sappho's--or
    Any light woman's! one forbore
    Like Dante, or any man as poor

    "In mirth, to let a smile undo
    His hard shut lips. And one, that drew
    Sour humours from his mother, blew

    "His sunken cheeks out to the size
    Of most unnatural jollities,
    Because Anacreon looked jest-wise.

    "So with the rest.--It was a sight
    For great world-laughter, as it might
    For great world-wrath, with equal right.

    "Out came a speaker from that crowd,
    To speak for all--in sleek and proud
    Exordial periods, while he bow'd

    "His knee before the angel.--'Thus,
    O angel! who hast call'd for us,
    We bring thee service emulous,--

    "'Fit service from sufficient soul--
    Hand-service, to receive world's dole--
    Lip-service, in world's ear to roll

    "'Adjusted concords--soft enow
    To hear the winecups passing through,
    And not too grave to spoil the show.

    "'Thou, certes, when thou askest more,
    O sapient angel! leanest o'er
    The window-sill of metaphor.

    "'To give our hearts up! fie!--That rage
    Barbaric, antedates the age!
    It is not done on any stage.

    "'Because your scald or gleeman went
    With seven or nine-string'd instrument
    Upon his back--must ours be bent?

    "'We are not pilgrims, by your leave,
    No, nor yet martyrs! if we grieve,
    It is to rhyme to ... summer eve.

    "'And if we labour, it shall be
    As suiteth best with our degree,
    In after-dinner reverie.'

    "More yet that speaker would have said--
    Poising between his smiles fair-fed,
    Each separate phrase till finished:

    "But all the foreheads of those born
    And dead true poets flash'd with scorn
    Betwixt the bay leaves round them worn--

    "Ay, jetted such brave fire, that they,
    The new-come, shrank and paled away,
    Like leaden ashes when the day

    "Strikes on the hearth! A spirit-blast,
    A presence known by power, at last
    Took them up mutely--they had pass'd!"

"Lady Geraldine's Courtship" is a poem of the Tennysonian school. Some
pith is put forth in the passionate parts of the poem; but it is
deficient throughout in that finished elegance of style which
distinguishes the works of the great artist from whom it is imitated.
Bertram, a peasant-born poet falls in love with the Lady Geraldine, a
woman of high rank and very extensive possessions. He happens to
overhear the lady address the following words to a suitor of the same
rank with herself, and whose overtures she is declining--

    "Yes, your lordship judges rightly. Whom I marry, shall be noble,
    Ay, and wealthy. I shall never blush to think how he was born."

Upon which, imagining that these words have some special and cutting
reference to himself, he passes into the presence of the lady, and rates
her in a strain of very fierce invective, which shows that his blood is
really up, whatever may be thought of the taste which dictated his
language, or of the title he had to take to task so severely a lady who
had never given him any sort of encouragement. In a letter to a friend,
he thus describes the way in which he went to work--the fourth line is a
powerful one--

    "Oh, she flutter'd like a tame bird, in among its forest-brothers,
    Far too strong for it! then drooping, bow'd her face upon her hands--
    And I spake out wildly, fiercely, brutal truths of her and others!
    _I, she planted the desert, swathed her, windlike, with my sands._

    "I pluck'd up her social fictions, bloody-rooted, though leaf verdant,--
    Trod them down with words of shaming,--all the purples and the gold,
    And the 'landed stakes' and Lordships--all that spirits pure and ardent
    Are cast out of love and reverence, because chancing not to hold.

    "'For myself I do not argue,' said I, 'though I love you, Madam,
    But for better souls, that nearer to the height of yours have trod--
    And this age shows, to my thinking, still more infidels to Adam,
    Than directly, by profession, simple infidels to God.

    "'Yet, O God' (I said,) 'O grave' (I said,) 'O mother's heart and bosom!
    With whom first and last are equal, saint and corpse and little child!
    We are fools to your deductions, in these figments of heart-closing!
    We are traitors to your causes, in these sympathies defiled!

    "'Learn more reverence, madam, not for rank or wealth--_that_ needs
        no learning;
    _That_ comes quickly--quick as sin does! ay, and often works to sin;
    But for Adam's seed, MAN! Trust me, 'tis a clay above your scorning,
    With God's image stamp'd upon it, and God's kindling breath within.

    "'What right have you, Madam, gazing in your shining mirror daily,
    Getting, so, by heart, your beauty, which all others must adore,--
    While you draw the golden ringlets down your fingers, to vow gaily,...
    You will wed no man that's only good to God,--and nothing more.'"

In the second stanza, we cannot make out the construction of the words,
"all that spirits pure and ardent are cast out of love and reverence."
This vigorous tirade is continued throughout several stanzas. The poor
lady merely utters the word "Bertram," and the lover is carried to bed
in a fainting fit when his passion is expended. When he recovers he
indites the aforesaid letter. After he has dispatched it, the lady
enters his apartment: oh, blessed and gracious apparition! We quote the
_dénouement_, omitting one or two stanzas--

    Soh! how still the lady standeth! 'tis a dream--a dream of mercies!
    'Twixt the purple lattice-curtains, how she standeth still and pale!
    'Tis a vision, sure, of mercies, sent to soften his self-curses--
    Sent to _sweep_ a patient quiet, o'er the tossing of his wail.

    'Eyes,' he said, 'now throbbing through me! are ye eyes that did undo me?
    _Shining eyes, like antique jewels set in Parian statue-stone!_
    Underneath that calm white forehead, are ye ever burning torrid,
    O'er the desolate sand-desert of my heart and life undone?'

    "Ever, evermore the while in a slow silence she kept smiling,--
    And approach'd him slowly, slowly, in a gliding measured pace;
    With her two white hands extended, as if praying one offended,
    And a look of supplication, gazing earnest in his face.

    "Said he--'Wake me by no gesture,--sound of breath, or stir of vesture;
    Let the blessed apparition melt not yet _to its divine_!
    No approaching--hush! no breathing! or my heart must swoon to death in
    The too utter life thou bringest--O thou dream of Geraldine!'

    "Ever, evermore the while in a slow silence she kept smiling--
    But the tears ran over lightly from her eyes, and tenderly;
    'Dost thou, Bertram, truly love me? Is no woman far above me,
    Found more worthy of thy poet-heart, than such a one as _I_?'

    "Said he--'I would dream so ever, like the flowing of that river,
    Flowing ever in a shadow, greenly onward to the sea;
    So, thou vision of all sweetness--princely to a full completeness,--
    Would my heart and life flow onward--deathward--through this dream of THEE!'

    "Ever, evermore the while in a slow silence she kept smiling,--
    While the shining tears ran faster down the blushing of her cheeks;
    Then with both her hands enfolding both of his, she softly told him,
    'Bertram, if I say I love thee,... 'tis the vision only speaks.'

    "Soften'd, quicken'd to adore her, on his knee he fell before her--
    And she whisper'd low in triumph--'It shall be as I have sworn!
    Very rich he is in virtues,--very noble--noble certes;
    And I shall not blush in knowing, that men call him lowly born!"

With the exception of the line, and the other expressions which we have
printed in italics, we think that the whole tone of this _finale_ is
"beautiful exceedingly;" although, if we may express our private
opinion, we should say that the lover, after his outrageous demeanour,
was very unworthy of the good fortune that befell him. But, in spite of
the propitious issue of the poem, we must be permitted (to quote one of
Miss Barrett's lines in this very lay) to make our "critical deductions
for the modern writers' fault." Will she, or any one else tell us the
meaning of the second line in this stanza? Or, will she maintain that it
has any meaning at all? Lady Geraldine's possessions are described--

    "She has halls and she has castles, and the resonant steam-eagles
    _Follow far on the directing of her floating dove-like hand_--
    With a thund'rous vapour trailing, underneath the starry vigils,
    So to mark upon the blasted heaven, the measure of her land."

We thought that steam-coaches generally followed the directing of no
hand except the "stoker's;" but _it_ certainly is always much liker a
raven than a dove. "Eagles and vigils" is not admissible as a rhyme;
neither is "branch and grange." Miss Barrett says of the Lady Geraldine
that she had "such a gracious coldness" that her lovers "could not
_press their futures_ on the present of her courtesy." Is that human
speech? One other objection and our carpings shall be dumb. Miss
Barrett, in our opinion, has selected a very bad, dislocated, and
unmelodious metre for the story of Lady Geraldine's courtship. The poem
reads very awkwardly in consequence of the rhymes falling together in
the alternate lines and not in couplets. Will Miss Barrett have the
goodness to favour the public with the sequel of this poem? We should
like to know how the match between the peasant's son and the peer's
daughter was found to answer.

Those among our readers who may have attended principally to the
selections which we made from these volumes before we animadverted on
the "Drama of Exile," may perhaps be of opinion that we have treated
Miss Barrett with undue severity, and have not done justice to the
vigour and rare originality of her powers; while others, who may have
attended chiefly to the blemishes of style and execution which we have
thought it our duty to point out in our later quotations, may possibly
think that we have ranked her higher than she deserves. We trust that
those who have carefully perused both the favourable and unfavourable
extracts, will give us credit for having steered a middle course,
without either running ourselves aground on the shoals of detraction, or
oversetting the ship by carrying too much sail in favour of our
authoress. And although they may have seen that our hand was sometimes
unsteady at the helm, we trust that it has always been when we felt
apprehensive that the current of criticism was bearing us too strongly
towards the former of these perils. If any of our remarks have been over
harsh, we most gladly qualify them by saying, that, in our humble
opinion, Miss Barrett's poetical merits infinitely outweigh her defects.
Her genius is profound, unsullied, and without a flaw. The imperfections
of her manner are mere superficial blot which a little labour might
remove. Were the blemishes of her style tenfold more numerous than they
are, we should still revere this poetess as one of the noblest of her
sex; for her works have impressed us with the conviction, that powers
such as she possesses are not merely the gifts or accomplishments of a
highly intellectual woman; but that they are closely intertwined with
all that is purest and loveliest in goodness and in truth.

It is plain that Miss Barrett would always write well if she wrote
simply from her own heart, and without thinking of the compositions of
any other author--at least let her think of them only in so far as she
is sure that they embody great thoughts in pure and appropriate
language, and in forms of construction which will endure the most rigid
scrutiny of common sense and unperverted taste. If she will but wash her
hands completely of Æschylus and Milton, and all other poets, either
great, or whom she takes for such, and come before the public in the
graces of her own feminine sensibilities, and in the strength of her own
profound perceptions, her sway over human hearts will be more
irresistible than ever, and she will have nothing to fear from a
comparison with the most gifted and illustrious of her sex.


[31] London. Moxon. 1844.

[32] "_With accents undefiled_;" this is surely a very strange and
unaccountable interpolation. How was it possible, or conceivable, that
any accents could be _defiled_, which conveyed the holiest and most
pathetic injunction that ever came from the lips of a dying mother?


I had come to New Orleans to be married, and the knot once tied, there
was little inducement for my wife, myself, or any of our party, to
remain in that city. Indeed, had we been disposed to linger, an account
that was given us of the most unwelcome of all visitors, the yellow
fever, having knocked at the doors of several houses in the Marigny
suburb, would have been sufficient to drive us away. For my part, I was
anxious to find myself in my now comfortable home, and to show my new
acquisition--namely, my wife--to my friends above Bâton Rouge, well
assured that the opinion of all would be in favour of the choice I had
made. By some eccentric working of that curious machinery called the
mind, I was more thoughtful than a man is usually supposed to be upon
his wedding-day; and I received the congratulations of the guests, went
through the _obligato_ breakfast, and the preparations for departure, in
a very automatical manner. I took scarcely more note of the nine shots
that were fired as we went on board the steamer, of the hurrahs shouted
after us from the quay by a few dozen sailors, or the waving of the
star-spangled banners that fluttered over the poop and forecastle--of
all the honour and glory, in short, attending our departure. I was busy
drawing a comparison between my first and this, my last, voyage to the
Red River.

It was just nine years and two months since I had first come into
possession of my "freehold of these United States," as the papers
specified it. Five thousand dollars had procured me the honour of
becoming a Louisianian planter; upon the occurrence of which event, I
was greeted by my friends and acquaintances as the luckiest of men.
There were two thousand acres, "with due allowance for fences and
roads," according to the usual formula; and the wood alone, if I might
believe what was told me, was well worth twenty thousand dollars. For
the preceding six months, the whole of the western press had been
praising the Red River territory to the very skies; it was an
incomparable sugar and cotton ground, full sixteen feet deep of river
slime--Egypt was a sandy desert compared to it--and as to the climate,
the zephyrs that disported themselves there were only to be paralleled
in Eldorado and Arcadia. I, like a ninny as I was, although fully aware
of the puffing propensities of our newspaper editors, especially when
their tongues, or rather pens, have been oiled by a few handfuls of
dollars, fell into the trap, and purchased land in the fever-hole in
question, where I was assured that a habitable house and two negro huts
were already built and awaiting me. The improvements alone, the
land-speculator was ready to take his oath, were worth every cent of two
thousand dollars. In short, I concluded my blind bargain, and in the
month of June, prepared to start to visit my estate. I was at New
Orleans, which city was just then held fast in the gripe of its annual
scourge and visitor, the yellow fever. I was in a manner left alone; all
my friends had gone up or down stream, or across the Pont Chartrain.
There was nothing to be seen in the whole place but meagre hollow-eyed
negresses, shirtless and masterless, running about the streets, howling
like jackals, or crawling in and out of the open doors of the houses. In
the upper suburb things were at the worst; there, whole streets were
deserted, the houses empty, the doors and windows knocked in; while the
foul fever-laden breeze came sighing over from Vera Cruz, and nothing
was to be heard but the melancholy rattle of the corpse-carts as they
proceeded slowly through the streets with their load of coffins. It was
high time to be off, when the yellow fever, the deadly _vomito_, had
thus made its triumphant entry, and was ruling and ravaging like some
mighty man of war in a stormed fortress.

I had four negroes with me, including old Sybille, who was at that time
full sixty-five years of age; Cæsar, Tiberius, and Vitellius, were the
three others. We are fond of giving our horses and negroes these high
sounding appellations, as a sort of warning, I am inclined to think, to
those amongst us who sit in high places; for even in our young republic
there is no lack of would-be Cæsars.

The steamers had left off running below Bâton Rouge, so I resolved to
leave my gig at New Orleans, procuring in its stead a sort of dearborn
or railed cart, in which I packed the whole of my traps, consisting of a
medley of blankets and axes, barrows and ploughshares, cotton shirts and
cooking utensils. Upon the top of all this I perched myself; and those
who had known me only three or four months previously as the gay and
fashionable Mr Howard, one of the leaders of the _ton_, the deviser and
proposer of fêtes, balls, and gaieties of all kinds, might well have
laughed, could they have seen me half buried amongst pots and pans,
bottles and bundles, spades and mattocks, and suchlike useful but homely
instruments. There was nobody there to laugh, however, or to cry either.
Tears were then scarce articles in New Orleans; for people had got
accustomed to death, and their feelings were more or less blunted. But
even had the yellow fever not been there, I doubt if any one would have
laughed at me; there is too much sound sense amongst us. Our town
beauties--ay, the most fashionable and elegant of them--think nothing of
installing themselves, with their newly wedded husbands, in the
aforesaid dearborns, and moving off to the far west, leaving behind them
all the comforts and luxuries among which they have been brought up.
Whoever travels in our backwoods, will often come across scenes and
interiors such as the boldest romance writer would never dare to invent.
Newly married couples, whose childhood and early youth have been spent
in the enjoyment of all the superfluities of civilization, will buy a
piece of good land far in the depths of forests and prairies, and found
a new existence for themselves and their children. One meets with their
dwellings in abundance--log-houses, consisting for the most part of one
room and a small kitchen: on the walls of the former the horses' saddles
and harness, and the husband's working clothes, manufactured often by
the delicate hands of his lady; in one corner, a harp or a piano; on the
table, perhaps, a few numbers of the North American or Southern reviews,
and some Washington or New York papers. A strange mixture of wild and
civilized life. It is thus that our Johnsons, our Livingstons, and
Ranselaers, and hundreds, ay, thousands of families, our Jeffersons and
Washingtons, commenced; and truly it is to be hoped, that the rising
generation will not despise the custom of their forefathers, or reject
this healthy means of renovating the blood and vigour of the community.

To return to my own proceedings. I got upon my dearborn, in order to
leave as soon as possible the pestilential atmosphere of New Orleans;
and I had just established myself amongst my goods and chattels, when
Cæsar came running up in great exultation, with a new cloak which he had
been so lucky as to find lying before the door of a deserted house in
the suburb. I took hold of the infected garment with a pair of tongs,
and pitched it as far as I was able from the cart, to the great dismay
of Cæsar, who could not understand why I should throw away a thing which
he assured me was well worth twenty dollars. We set off, and soon got
out of the town. Not a living creature was to be seen as far as the eye
could reach along the straight road. On the right hand side, the suburb
of the Annunciation was enclosed in wooden palisades, upon which
enormous bills were posted, containing proclamations by the mayor of the
town, and headed with the word "Infected," in letters that could be read
half a mile off. These proclamations, however, were unnecessary. New
Orleans looked more like a churchyard than a city; and we did not meet
five persons during the whole of our drive along the new canal road.

At the first plantation at which we halted, in order to give the horses
a feed, gates and doors were all shut in our faces, and the hospitable
owner of the house warned us to be off. As this warning was conveyed in
the shape of a couple of rifle-barrels protruded through the jalousies,
we did not think it advisable to neglect it. The reception was cheerless
enough; but we came from New Orleans, and could expect no better one.
Cæsar, however, dauntless as his celebrated namesake, jumped over a
paling, and plucked an armful of Indian corn ears, which he gave to the
horses; an earthen pan served to fetch them water from the Mississippi,
and after a short pause we resumed our journey. Five times, I remember,
we halted, and were received in the same humane and hospitable manner,
until at last we reached the plantation of my friend Bankes. We had come
fifty miles under a burning sun, and had passed more than fifty
plantations, each with its commodious and elegant villa built upon it;
but we had not yet seen a human face. Here, however, I hoped to find
shelter and refreshment; but in that hope I was doomed to be

"From New Orleans?" enquired the voice of my friend through the
jalousies of his verandah.

"To be sure," answered I.

"Then begone, friend, and be d----d to you!" was the affectionate reply
of the worthy Mr Bankes, who was, nevertheless, kind enough to cause a
huge ham and accessories, together with half a dozen well-filled
bottles, to be placed outside the door--a sort of mute intimation that
he was happy to see us, so long as we did not cross his threshold. I had
a hearty laugh at this half-and-half hospitality, eat and drank, wrapped
myself in a blanket, and slept, with the blue vault for a covering, as
well or better than the president.

In the morning, before starting, I shouted out a "Thank ye! and be
d----d to you!" by way of _remerciment_; and then we resumed our march.

At last, upon the third evening, we managed to get our heads under a
roof at the town of Bâton Rouge, in the house of an old French soldier,
who laughed at the yellow fever as he had formerly done at the Cossacks
and Mamelukes; and the following morning we started for the Red River,
in the steamboat Clayborne. By nightfall we reached my domain.

_Santa Virgen!_ exclaims the Spaniard in his extremity of grief and
perplexity: what I exclaimed, I am sure I do not remember; but I know
that my hair stood on end, when I beheld, for the first time, the
so-called improvements on my new property. The habitable and comfortable
house was a species of pigsty, built out of the rough branches of trees,
without doors, windows, or roof. There was I to dwell, and that in a
season when the thermometer was ranging between ninety-five and a
hundred degrees. The very badness of things, however, stimulated us to
exertion; we set to work, and in two days had built a couple of very
decent huts, the only inconvenience of which was, that when it rained
hard, we were obliged to take refuge under a neighbouring cotton-tree.
Fortunately, out of the two thousand acres, there really were fifty in a
state of cultivation, and that helped us. I planted and kept house as
well as I could: in the daytime I ploughed and sowed; and in the evening
I mended the harness and the holes in my inexpressibles. With society I
was little troubled, seeing that my nearest neighbour lived
five-and-twenty miles off. The first summer passed in this manner; the
second was a little better; and the third better still--until at last
the way of life became endurable. There is nothing in the world
impracticable; and Napoleon never spoke a truer word than when he said,
"_Impossible!--C'est le mot d'un fou!_"

And then a hunting-party in the savannahs of Louisiana or Arkansas!

There is a something in those endless and gigantic wildernesses which
seems to elevate the soul, and to give to it, as well as to the body, an
increase of strength and energy. There reign, in countless multitudes,
the wild horse and the bison; the wolf, the bear, and the snake; and,
above all, the trapper, surpassing the very beasts of the desert in
wildness--not the old trapper described by Cooper, who never saw a
trapper in his life, but the real trapper, whose adventures and mode of
existence would furnish the richest materials for scores of romances.

Our American civilization has engendered certain corrupt off-shoots, of
which the civilization of other countries knows nothing, and which could
only spring up in a land where liberty is found in its greatest
development. These trappers are for the most part outcasts, criminals
who have fled from the chastisement of the law, or else unruly spirits
to whom even the rational degree of freedom enjoyed in the United States
has appeared cramping and insufficient. It is perhaps fortunate for the
States, that they possess the sort of fag-end to their territory
comprised between the Mississippi and the Rocky Mountains; for much
mischief might be caused by these violent and restless men, were they
compelled to remain in the bosom of social life. If, for example, _la
belle France_ had had such a fag-end or outlet during the various crises
that she has passed through in the course of the last fifty years, how
many of her great warriors and equally great tyrants might have lived
and died trappers! And truly, neither Europe nor mankind in general
would have been much the worse off, if those instruments of the greatest
despotism that ever disguised itself under the mask of freedom--the
Massenas, and Murats, and Davousts, and scores more of suchlike laced
and decorated gentry--had never been heard of.

One finds these trappers or hunters in all the districts extending from
the sources of the Columbia and Missouri, to those of the Arkansas and
Red Rivers, and on the tributary streams of the Mississippi which run
eastward from the Rocky Mountains. Their whole time is passed in the
pursuit and destruction of the innumerable wild animals, which for
hundreds and thousands of years have bred and multiplied in those remote
steppes and plains. They slay the buffalo for the sake of his hump, and
of the hide, out of which they make their clothing; the bear to have his
skin for a bed; the wolf for their amusement; and the beaver for his
fur. In exchange for the spoils of these animals they get lead and
powder, flannel shirts and jackets, string for their nets, and whisky to
keep out the cold. They traverse those endless wastes in bodies several
hundreds strong, and have often desperate and bloody fights with the
Indians. For the most part, however, they form themselves into parties
of eight or ten men, a sort of wild guerillas. These must rather be
called hunters than trappers; the genuine trapper limiting himself to
the society of one sworn friend, with whom he remains out for at least a
year, frequently longer; for it takes a considerable time to become
acquainted with the haunts of the beaver. If one of the two comrades
dies, the other remains in possession of the whole of their booty. The
mode of life that is at first adopted from necessity, or through fear of
the laws, is after a time adhered to from choice; and few of these men
would exchange their wild, lawless, unlimited freedom, for the most
advantageous position that could be offered them in a civilized country.
They live the whole year through in the steppes, savannahs, prairies,
and forests of the Arkansas, Missouri, and Oregon territories--districts
which comprise enormous deserts of sand and rock, and, at the same time,
the most luxuriant and beautiful plains, teeming with verdure and
vegetation. Snow and frost, heat and cold, rain and storm, and hardships
of all kinds, render the limbs of the trapper as hard, and his skin as
thick, as those of the buffalo that he hunts; the constant necessity in
which he finds himself of trusting entirely to his bodily strength and
energy, creates a self-confidence that no peril can shake--a quickness
of sight, thought, and action, of which man in a civilized state can
form no conceptions. His hardships are often terrible; and I have seen
trappers who had endured sufferings, compared to which the fabled
adventures of Robinson Crusoe are mere child's play, and whose skin had
converted itself into a sort of leather, impervious to every thing
except lead and steel. In a moral point of view, these men may be
considered a psychological curiosity: in the wild state of nature in
which they live, their mental faculties frequently develop themselves in
a most extraordinary manner; and in the conversation of some of them may
be found proofs of a sagacity and largeness of views, of which the
greatest philosophers of ancient or modern times would have no cause to
be ashamed.

The daily and hourly dangers incurred by these trappers must, one would
think, occasionally cause them to turn their thoughts to a Supreme
Being; but such is not the case. Their rifle is their god--their knife
their patron saint--their strong right hand their only trust. The
trapper shuns his fellow-men; and the glance with which he measures the
stranger whom he encounters on his path, is oftener that of a murderer
than a friend: the love of gain is as strong with him as it is found to
be in a civilized state of society, and the meeting of two trappers is
generally the signal for the death of one of them. He hates his white
competitor for the much-prized beaver skins far more than he does his
Indian one: the latter he shoots down as coolly as if he were a wolf or
a bear; but when he drives his knife into the breast of the former, it
is with as much devilish joy as if he felt he were ridding mankind of as
great an evil-doer as himself. The nourishment of the trapper,
consisting for years together of buffalo's flesh--the strongest food
that a man can eat--and taken without bread or any other accompaniment,
doubtless contributes to render him wild and inhuman, and to assimilate
him in a certain degree to the savage animals by which he is surrounded.

During an excursion that I made with some companions towards the upper
part of the Red River, we met with several of these trappers; amongst
others, with one weather-beaten old fellow, whose face and bare neck
were tanned by sun and exposure to the colour of tortoise-shell. We
hunted two days in his company, without noticing any thing remarkable
about the man; he cooked our meals, which consisted usually of a haunch
of venison or a buffalo's hump, instructed us where to find game, and
was aware of the approach of the latter even sooner than his huge
wolf-dog, which never left his side. It was only on the morning of the
third day, that we discovered something calculated to diminish our
confidence in our new comrade. This was a number of lines and crosses
upon the butt of his rifle, which gave us a new and not very favourable
insight into the man's character. These lines and crosses came after
certain words rudely scratched with a knife-point, and formed a sort of
list, of which the following is a copy:--

Buffaloes--no number given, they being probably too numerous.

Bears, nineteen--the number being indicated by nineteen strait strokes.

Wolves, thirteen--marked by oblique strokes.

Red underloppers, four--marked by four crosses.

White underloppers, two--noted by two stars.

Whilst we were examining this curious calendar, and puzzling ourselves
to make out the meaning of the word "underloppers," I observed a grim
smile stealing over the features of the old trapper. He said nothing,
however; drew the buffalo's hump he was cooking from under the hot
embers, took it out of the piece of hide in which it was wrapped, and
placed it before us. It was a meal that a king might have envied, and
the mere smell of it made us forget the rifle butt. We had scarcely
fallen to, when the old man laid hold of his gun.

"Look ye," said he, with a strange grin. "It's my pocket-book. D'ye
think it a sin to kill one of them red or white underloppers?"

"Whom do you mean?" asked we.

The man smiled again and rose to depart; his look, however, was alone
enough to enlighten us as to who the two-legged interlopers were whom he
had first shot, and then noted on his rifle-butt with as much cool
indifference as if they had been wild turkeys instead of human beings.
In a region to which the vengeful arm of the law does not reach, we did
not feel ourselves called upon or entitled to set ourselves up as
judges, and we let the man go.

These trappers occasionally, and at long intervals, return for a few
days or weeks to the haunts of civilization; and this occurs when they
have collected a sufficient quantity of beaver skins. They then fell a
hollow tree that stands on the shore of some navigable stream, make it
water-tight, launch it, load it with their merchandise and their few
necessaries, and float and row for thousands of miles down the Missouri,
Arkansas, or Red River, to St Louis, Natchitoches, or Alexandria. They
may be seen roaming and staring about the streets of these towns, clad
in their coats of skins, and astonishing strangers by their wild and
primitive appearance.

       *       *       *       *       *

I was sitting on a sofa in a corner of the ladies' cabin, with Louise by
my side, and talking over with her these and other recollections of more
or less interest. The tea hour was long past, and the cabins were
lighted up. Suddenly we were interrupted in our conversation by a loud
noise overhead.

"A nigger killed!" sang out somebody upon deck.

"A nigger killed!" repeated two, ten, twenty, and at length a hundred
voices; and thereupon there was a running and trampling, and hurrying
and scurrying, an agitation in our big floating inn as if the boilers
were on the brink of bursting, and giving us a passage into eternity in
the midst of their scalding contents. Louise started up, and dragging me
with her, hurried breathless through the two saloons, to the stairs
leading upon deck.

"Who is killed? Where is the poor negro?"

The answer I got was a horse-laugh from a score of backwoodsmen.

"Much noise about nothing, dear Louise."

And we were on the point of descending the stairs again, when we were
detained, and our attention riveted, by the picturesque appearance of
the deck--I should rather say of the persons grouped upon it--seen in
the red, flickering, and uncertain light of sundry lamps, lanterns, and
torches. Truly, the night-piece was not bad. In the centre of the
steamer's deck, at an equal distance from stem and stern, stood a knot
of fellows of such varied and characteristic appearance as might be
sought for in vain in any other country than ours. It seemed as if all
the western states and territories had sent their representatives to our
steamer. Suckers from Illinois, and Badgers from the lead-mines of
Missouri--Wolverines from Michigan, and Buckeyes from Ohio--Redhorses
from old Kentuck, and Hunters from Oregon, stood mingled before us, clad
in all sorts of fantastical and outlandish attire. One had a
hunting-shirt of blue and white striped calico, which made its wearer's
broad back and huge shoulders resemble a walking feather-bed; another
was remarkable for a brilliant straw-hat--a New Orleans purchase, that
looked about as well on his bronzed physiognomy as a Chinese roof would
do on a pigsty. Wiñebago wampum belts and Cherokee mocassins, jerkins of
tanned and untanned deer-hide, New York frock-coats, and red and blue
jackets, composed some of the numerous costumes, of which the mixture
and contrast were in the highest degree picturesque.

In the middle of this group stood a personage of a very different
stamp--a most interesting specimen of the genus Yankee, contrasting in a
striking manner with the rough-hewn sons of Anuk who surrounded him. He
was a man of some thirty years of age, as dry and tough as leather, of
grave and pedantic mien, the skin of his forehead twisted into
innumerable small wrinkles, his lips pressed firmly together, his bright
reddish-grey eyes apparently fixed, but, in reality, perpetually
shifting their restless glances from the men by whom he was surrounded,
to some chests that lay upon the deck before him, and again from the
chests to the men; his whole lean, bony, angular figure in a position
that made it difficult to conjecture whether he was going to pray, or to
sing, or to preach a sermon. In one hand he held a roll of pigtail
tobacco, in the other some bright-coloured ribands, which he had taken
from an open chest containing the manifold articles constituting the
usual stock in trade of a pedlar. Beside this chest were two others, and
beside those lay a negro, howling frightfully, and rubbing alternately
his right shoulder and his left foot; but nevertheless, according to all
appearance, by no means in danger of taking his departure for the other
world. As the Yankee pedlar raised his hand and signed to the vociferous
blackamoor to be silent, the face of the former gradually assumed that
droll, cunning, and yet earnest expression which betrays those double
distilled Hebrews, when they are planning to get possession, in a
quasi-legal manner, of the dollars of their fellow-citizens; in a word,
when they are manoeuvering to exchange their worthless northern wares
for the sterling coin of the south. Presently his arms began to swing
about like those of a telegraph; he threw a long and loving glance at
the two unopened chests, which had apparently slipped down from the top
of a quantity of merchandise piled upon deck, and fallen on the foot and
shoulder of the negro; then measuring the latter with a look of
reproach, he suddenly opened his compressed lips, from which a sharp,
high-toned, schoolmasterlike voice issued.

"Sambo, Sambo! What have you done? Sambo, Sambo!" he repeated, while his
voice became more solemn, and he raised his hands and eyes as if
appealing to heaven for justice. "Sambo, you onlucky nigger, what have
you been a doin'?"

"A 'sarve,' a wonderful 'sarve!'" screamed the man, pointing to the
chests with an appearance of the profoundest grief.

"Heaven forgive you, Sambo! but you have endangered, perhaps sp'iled, a
'sarve,' compared to which all the 'intments and balms of Mecca, Medina,
and Balsora--of Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli, or whatever other places
they may come from, air actilly no better than cart-grease. Ah, Sambo!
if you were twenty times a nigger, and could be brought twenty times on
the auction table, you wouldn't fetch enough money to pay for the harm
you have done!"

"Boe! Boe!" howled the negro by way of parenthesis.

"Ah, Boe! Boe!" screamed the Yankee, "you may well say Boe, Boe! And you
ain't the only one as may say it, that's sartain. There be ladies and
gentlemen here, as respectable ladies and gentlemen as can be found any
where--ay, even to Boston, the cradle of our independence--and they
might say Boe! Boe! if they knew all. In them two chests are a hundred
tin boxes and glass phials; and if only twenty of them are damaged,
there is more injury done than your hide could pay for, if it were
twenty times as thick and twenty times as vallyable as it is. Your whole
carcass ain't worth one of the boxes of that precious 'intment. Ah,

"Boe! Boe!" howled Sambo in reply.

"What's the palaver about?" growled some of the Badgers and Buckeyes;
"open the chests, and you'll see what harm's done."

"D'ye ye hear, Sambo?" cried the Yankee with the same immovable
countenance; "you're to hold yer tongue, the gentlemen say; they're
tired of yer noise, and no wonder. What's the use of boohooin' away at
that rate? Helps you nothin'; you desarve what you've got. I'll thank
you for your long knife, Mister. That'll do. That opens it, cuts in like
rael steel; better it should be into hard word than soft flesh. There
they are, then, and not broken; onhurt, without a spot or a crack. Sing
praises to the Lord! psalms and hymns of rejoicin'--not a phial broke,
nor a box smashed! Praised be the Lord! I say ag'in. Since they are
safe, it don't matter if twenty shoulder-blades and ankle-bones are put
out. Verily the mercy of Heaven shall be made manifest, and that by the
means of a feeble vessel, Jared Bundle by name. Down with ye,
Sambo--down with ye, I say!--Your shoulder and your dingy hide shall be
made whole, and your black bones shall be comforted!"

Not a muscle of the Yankee's face moved; he preserved the grave and
solemn appearance of a man to whom a sacred trust has been confided, and
who is fully penetrated with the importance of his mission. Once or
twice, however, I observed him give a keen but almost imperceptible
glance around him, as if to observe the effect of his eloquence upon his

"Down with you, Sambo!" he repeated to the negro, who had got himself
into a sort of sitting posture upon the deck.

"Down, down!" cried the men of Kentucky.

"Down!" those of Missouri and Ohio.

"Be quick about it!" shouted an Illinois sucker.

"Let's see the Yankee's wonderful cure!" exclaimed a hunter from Oregon.

And amidst shouts and exclamations and laughter, poor Sambo was seized
by half a dozen of their bear's fists, and stretched out upon a heap of
coffee-bags like a pig that's going to be killed.

"Boe! Boe!" clamoured the negro at the top of his voice.

"Boohoo as much as you like," cried the Yankee in a shrill tone, that
was heard above all the howlings of the unlucky Sambo. "You'll sing to
another tune when you see and understand and feel what a Conne'ticut man
_can_ do. You say Boe, Boe! like a poor benighted crittur as you are,
but what do you say to that?" cried the pedlar in a triumphant voice, as
he held close to the negro's nose a piece of linen rag on which he had
smeared a green greasy substance bearing a strong resemblance to
paste-blacking in a state of decomposition. Then, taking up the box
which contained this precious compound, he put it in close proximity to
the obtuse snout of the blackamoor, who made a grimace as if his
olfactories were but moderately regaled by the odour emanating from the
miraculous ointment.

"What d'ye think of that, Sambo? Is that the stuff or not? Will that do,
think ye? Well, you shall soon see. Gentlemen!" he continued, with all
the gravity of a legitimate M.D. "Gentlemen! the arms and legs of this
poor Sambo must be stretched as much as possible, in order that the
sarve may take its full effect. Will you be good enough to assist me?"

Upon the word, the backwoodsmen caught hold of the negro's limbs, and
began pulling and tugging at them till the poor devil roared as if they
had been impaling him.

"Boohoo away!" cried the Yankee. "It's all for your good. If your
shoulder is put out, the stretchin' will put it in ag'in."

The negro continued his lamentations, as well he might, when every one
of his joints was cracking under the force applied.

"All no use your callin' out!" screamed the pedlar, as he stuck the
salved rag upon the ebony hide of the patient. "Better hold yer tongue.
Ain't you lucky to have met with me at a time when all the doctors in
the world--the Browns, and Hossacks, and Sillimans--could not have done
you a cent's worth of good? All their drugs would have had no more
effect than a ladleful of pea-soup. You ought to be rejoicin' in yer
luck, instead of screamin' like a wounded catamount. Keep still, will
you? There, that'll do. Many thanks, gentlemen; I thank you in the name
of this senseless crittur. That's enough. No cause for complaint, man!"
continued he, as he stuck a second plaster on the negro's foot. "All
safe enough when Jared Bundle is there with his Palmyra sarve. You be
the first as was ever know'd to scream after havin' one smell of that
precious 'intment. And I tell you what it is, my man, if both your black
legs had been broken clean off, and were swimmin' down the Mississippi
half rotten--ay, or if they had just come out of the jaws of an
alligator, and you were to stick 'em on, and plaster them up with this
'intment, you may take my word, Jared Bundle's word, that they'd grow to
your body again--the flesh would become your flesh, and the bone your
bone, as sure as I am now here." And he looked round at his auditors
with a world of confidence and veracity depicted upon his countenance.

"There was Aby Sparks to Penobscot--you know, ladies and gentlemen, Aby
Sparks, the son of Enoch Sparks, who married Peggy Heath. Good family
the Sparkses--very good family, as you know, ladies and gentlemen.
Respectable people in a respectable way of business, the general
line--drugs and cutlery, and hats patent waterproof, bird-seed and
jewellery, tea and coffee pots, and shoes of the newest fashion. Ladies
and gentlemen, do you want a good tea or coffee pot? Partiklar jam,
_they_ are, I reckon. Well, Aby Sparks said to me, 'Jared Bundle,' says
he, 'leave me a dozen boxes or phials, whichever you like, of your
Palmyra sarve. Wonderful stuff that!' says he. 'What!' says I, 'leave
you some of my Palmyra sarve! You're jist right to say it ain't common
apothecaries' stuff; that it certainly ain't. But what would the ladies
and gentlemen on the lower Mississippi say, if I left any of it here?
It's all meant for them,' says I; 'they're my best customers.'"

"Soft sawder! Jared Bundle," grunted a Kentuckian.

"Cart grease and cobbler's wax," said a man of Illinois.

"He's from the north," laughed a third, "where there's more wooden
clocks than cows and calves."

"Where the grasshoppers break their legs in jumpin' from one potato heap
to another," interposed a fourth.

"Where the robins starve in harvest time, and the mockin'-bird is too
hungry to mock," cried a fifth.

"Nothin' in the world like Jared Bundle's 'intment," continued the
imperturbable Yankee. "Finest thing possible for corns. Ain't genteel to
talk of such things, ladies and gentlemen; but if any of you have got
corns, rub 'em just two or three times with the Palmyra sarve, and
they'll disappear like snow in sunshine. Worth any money against tan and
freckles. You, miss," cried he to Louise, "you ain't got any freckles,
but you may very likely git 'em. A plaster on each cheek afore you go to
bed--git up in the mornin', not a freckle left--all lilies and roses!"

"Hold your impudent tongue!" said I, "or I will plaster you."

"We're in a free country," was the answer; "free to sell and free to
buy. Gentlemen," continued Mr Bundle, "famous stuff for razor-strops.
Rub a little on, draw the razor a couple of times over it--shave. Razor
runs over the face like a steam-carriage along a railroad, you don't
know how; beard disappears like grass before the sickle, or a regiment
of Britishers before Yankee rifles. Great vartue in the sarve--uncommon
vartue! Ma'am!" cried he to a lady who, like ourselves, was looking on
from a short distance at this farcical scene, "Ma'am!"

I looked round at the lady. "Bless my soul! Mrs Dobleton and the Misses
Dobleton from Concordia, my neighbours on the Mississippi. Delighted to
see you, Mrs Dobleton; allow me the honour of introducing my wife to

Our greetings and compliments were drowned by the piercing voice of the
indefatigable Yankee.

"Ma'am!" cried he, with a box of ointment in each hand, "Ma'am! the
finest cure in the world for toothach. If teeth are good, it keeps 'em
so; if bad, it makes 'em sound and white as ivory. A small bit on the
point of a knife between the teeth and the gum--acts like a charm. Young
ladies! a capital remedy for narrow chests."

The skinny Miss Dobletons turned green with vexation.

"Incomparable remedy!" continued Jared; "rub it well in on the part
affected, and in a short time the most contracted chest becomes as wide
as that of Mrs Broadbosom to Charleston. Fine thing for lockjaw, ma'am!"
cried he to a Mrs Bodwell who was standing by, and amongst whose good
qualities that of silence was not considered to hold a conspicuous
place; "a famous cure for lockjaw, from whatever cause it may come on.
There was Miss Trowlop--she had a very handsum' mouth and a considerable
gift of the gab--was goin' to be married to Mr Shaver, run a hickory
splinter through her prunella shoe into her foot--jaw locked as fast as
old Ebenezer Gripeall's iron safe. If she'd a-had my Palmyra sarve she'd
be still alive, Mrs Shaver, now; 'stead of that, the land-crabs have
eaten her. Another example, ladies: Sally Brags, Miss Sally Brags to
Portsmouth. You know Portsmouth, Providence, where the pretty gals grow;
some folk _do_ say they're prettier to Baltimore--won't say they
ain't--matter of taste, pure matter of taste; but Miss Sally Brags,
ladies, had the lockjaw--couldn't say a word; took a box of my Palmyra
sarve--ladies, two dollars a box by retail--her tongue now goes
clap-clap-clap like any steam-mill. Famous cure for lockjaw!"

During this unceasing flow of words, the Yankee had found the time to
drive a capital trade; his merchandise of all kinds was rapidly
disappearing, and the more the backwoodsmen laughed, the faster flowed
the dollars into the pedlar's pouch. It was most diverting to observe
the looks of the purchasers of the Palmyra ointment, as they first
smelled at it and then shook their heads, as if in doubt whether they
were not duped.

"Wonderful stuff!" cried the Yankee with imperturbable gravity, and as
if to reassure them. "And capital coffee-pots," continued he to a
leather-jerkined Missouri man, who had taken up one of the latter and
was examining it. "I'll warrant 'em of the best description, and no
mistake. Wonderful stuff this Palmyra sarve, came direct from Moscow,
where the Archbishop of Abyssinia had brought it, but, havin' got into
debt, he was obliged to sell off; and from Moscow, which, as you all
know, is a great seaport, it passed into the hands of the Grand Duke of
Teheran or Tombuctoo, who lives somewhere about the Cape of Good Hope.
From there it came to Boston in the brig Sarah, Captain Larks. I was one
of the first to go on board, and as soon as I smelled to it, I knew
directly what time o' day it was--where the wind blew from, as I may
say. Ladies, here you have the means of preservin' your health and your
beauty for the longest day you live, and all for two dollars--only two
dollars a box. In short, ladies and gentlemen," concluded the
persevering fellow sententiously, "you have my warranty that this sarve
heals all curable diseases; and if it be true, as the famous Doctor
Flathead says, that there be only two sorts of maladies--them of which
people die, and them of which they get well--you must see how important
it is to have a box of the Palmyra 'intment. Best of all sarves, ladies!
two dollars a box, ladies!

"Ladies and gentlemen," resumed Mr Bundle after a brief pause, "d'ye
want any other articles--silks, linen, calicoes, fine spices, nutmegs?
None of your walnut-wood nutmegs, but ginu_ine_ Boston goods, out of the
most respectable stores. Ah! ladies and gentlemen, Jared Bundle's tea
and coffee pots--let me recommend 'em to you. The metal is of a
particular sort, corrects the oily matter contained in the tea, which
the doctors say is no better than so much p'ison. Should be sorry for
you to suppose I was instigated by love of gain--filthy lucre, ladies;
but think of your vallyable health--your precious health--and buy my
teapots; two dollars twenty-five cents a-piece. Yes, ma'am," continued
he, turning to one of the negresses who were crawling, and grinning, and
gaping around his wares, "beautiful Lyons ribands, and Bengal
neck-handkerchiefs _di_rect from Calcutta; lovely things them
handkerchiefs, and the ribands too, partic'lerly the broad ones--quarter
of a dollar a yard. Four yards did you say, ma'am? Better go the
_en_tire figur'--take eight, and you'll have twice as much. Now, ladies
and gentlemen, to return to the teapots"----

"The teapots!" cried several voices a short distance off. "Hurra! Jared
Bundle's teapots! Look here at the Yankee teapots!"

At the same moment the steward of the steamer made his appearance upon
the field of Mr Bundle's operations, escorted by half a dozen of the
backwoodsmen, and stepping into the torchlight, held up the very
coffee-pot which the shameless Yankee had sold to the leather-jacketed
man of Missouri. The pot had been filled with boiling water, which was
now oozing out comfortably and deliberately at every side and corner of
the vessel. For one moment the spectators stared in mute astonishment;
but then the discovery of the Yankee's cheatery drew from them a peal of
laughter which seemed likely to be inextinguishable.

"Jared Bundle! What do you say to that? Jared Bundle's teapots! A hurra
for Jared Bundle and the Yankee teapots!"

The immovable pedlar was by no means put out of countenance by this
discovery. While the backwoodsmen were having their laugh out, he took
hold of the teapot, examined it deliberately on all sides, at front and
back, inside and out, and then shook his head gravely. When the laughers
had exhausted their uproariousness, he cleared his throat, and resumed.

"Ah, gentlemen! or rather ladies and gentlemen! in our happy land of
freedom and enlightenment, the most enlightened country in the world, no
one, I am sure, will refuse to hear the poor pedlar's explanation of
this singular circumstance. I know you are all most desirous of havin'
it explained, and explain it I can and will. I am sorry to say there are
gentlemen who sell teapots for the southern states which are only meant
for the northern ones, and others who sell for the north what is meant
for the south. That's how I've been deceived in these teapots, which
come from the store of the highly respectable Messrs Knockdown. They are
for northern consumption, gentlemen, without the smallest doubt, and
you know that many teapots will support the cold of the north, but are
worth nothin' when they git into a southern climate. It's oncommon hot,
you see, down hereaway on the Mississippi, and I reckon that's the
reason that you southern gentlemen _are_ sich an almighty b'ilin' up
people, who take a gougin' to your breakfast as we should a mackerel.
I'm a'most inclined to think, too, that you bile your water a deal too
hot, which our northern tea and coffee pots ain't used to, and can't
stand nohow."

"Humbug!" growled a score of backwoodsmen, some of whom began to close
round the Yankee, as if to make sure of him and his worthless wares.

"Boe! Boe!" howled Sambo, who had been quite forgotten during this

"You still here, you black devil!" cried the pedlar, turning fiercely
round upon the negro. "Am I to be deafened by your cussed croakin'?
Don't mind him, ladies and gentlemen--pay no attention to him. Who cares
about a nigger? He only cries out for his amusement. It's all his tricks
and cunnin'; he'd like to git some more of my sarve on his black hide!
He won't have any, tho'! Be off with ye, you stinkin' nigger!"

"Stinkin' nigga! Massa Yankee say stinkin' nigga!" yelled Sambo, showing
all his white teeth in an ecstasy of anger. "Matto stinkin' nigga now,"
screamed he as he sprang suddenly to his feet, to the infinite delight
of the backwoodsmen, and began capering and hopping about, and grinning
like a mad ape. "Matto stinkin' nigga now; one hour 'go him dearie
Matto, and good Matto, and Massa Yankee promise four picaillee[33] if
Matto let dam heavy chest wid stinkin' serve fall on him foot and
shoulder. Boe! Boe! Massa Yankee no good man; bad Massa, Massa Yankee!"

And so it was and turned out to be. The rogue of a Yankee had made a
sort of bargain with Sambo, and arranged a scheme by which to draw the
attention of the passengers in a natural manner to the famous Palmyra
salve. Seldom or never had the risible nerves of the burly backwoodsmen
on board the Ploughboy steamer, been so enormously tickled as by the
discovery of this Yankee trick. The laughter was deafening, really
earsplitting; and was only brought to something like an end by the
appearance of the captain, who came with a petition from the lady
passengers, to the effect that the Yankee should not be too hardly dealt
with for his ingenious attempt to transfer his fellow-citizens' dollars
into his own pocket. Thereupon Badgers and Buckeyes, Wolverines and
Redhorses, abated their hilarity; and it was comical to see how these
rough tenants of the western forests proceeded, with all the gravity of
backwoods etiquette, to respond to the humanity of the ladies. In the
first place a deputation was chosen, consisting of two individuals, who
were charged to assure the ladies of the universal willingness to treat
the Yankee as tenderly as might be consistent with the nature of his
transgression; secondly, a commission was appointed for the examination
of the spurious wares. The articles that had been bought were produced
one after the other, their quality and value investigated, and then they
were either condemned and thrown overboard, or their sale was confirmed.
The tea and coffee pots were almost, without exception, pronounced
worthless; for although well enough calculated for a long voyage on the
Mississippi, they could never have been meant to hold boiling
Mississippi water. The wonderful Palmyra salve proved to be neither more
nor less than a compound of hog's lard and gunpowder, with the juice of
tobacco and walnut leaves--a mixture that might perhaps have been useful
for the destruction of vermin, but the efficacy of which as an antidote
to freckles and lockjaw was at least problematical. The teapots, the
ointment, and some spices, amongst which wooden nutmegs cut an important
figure, were duly consigned to the keeping of the Mississippi kelpies;
while the dollars that had been paid for them were retransferred from
the pockets of the Yankee to those of the credulous purchasers. Finally,
Mr Bundle himself, in consideration of the truly republican stoicism
with which he witnessed the execution of the judgment pronounced on his
wares, was invited with much ceremony to regale himself with a
"go-the-whole-hog-cocktail," an honour which he accepted and replied to
in a set speech, at the conclusion of which he enquired whether the
honourable society by whose sentence he had been deprived of the larger
portion of his merchandise, could not recommend him to a schoolmaster's
place in one of their respectable settlements. I almost wondered that he
did not treat us to a Methodist sermon as a preparation for our
slumbers. He seemed the right man to do it. He exactly answered to the
description given of the Yankees by Halleck, in his Connecticut:--

    ----"Apostates, who are meddling
    With merchandise, pounds, shillings, pence, and peddling,
    Or wandering through southern climates teaching
    The A, B, C, from Webster's spelling-book;
    Gallant and godly, making love and preaching,
    And gaining by what they call hook and crook,
    And what the moralists call overreaching,
    A decent living. The Virginians look
    Upon them with as favourable eyes
    As Gabriel on the devil in Paradise."

There was a deafening "Hurrah for the honourable Mistress Howard!" as
the party of backwoodsmen walked off towards the gentlemen's cabin; and
then things became quieter. I had invited the bears to drink a glass to
Mrs Howard's health, and had told the steward to put down to my account
the slings and cocktails they might consume. Mrs Dobleton, whose husband
is secretary to a temperance society, pulled a wry face or two at what
she doubtless thought an encouragement to vice; but for my part I have
no such scruples. It always gives me pleasure to find myself thrown by
chance among these rough and wild, but upright and energetic sons of the
wilderness--these pioneers of the west, who pass their lives in
converting tangled thickets and endless forests into fields and
pastures, for the benefit of generations yet unborn. Truly, dear Louise,
a few dollars spent amongst these worthy fellows are not thrown away, if
they serve to form one, the smallest, link of the chain of good-will and
good fellowship that does and ought to bind us to our fellow-citizens.


[33] The Louisianian name for 6-1/4 cent pieces.


(_On a Free Admission Day._)



    By slow degrees, like rain-fraught breeze rising in time of dearth,
    Whispers of Wisdom, far and wide, are muttering o'er the earth;
    And lo! rough Reason's breath, that wafts strong human health to all,
    Has blown aside the gates where Pride dozed in her feudal hall.


    Stout Carter, drop that loutish look, nor hesitate before--
    Eyeing thy frock and clouted shoes--yon dark enormous door;
    'Tis ten to one thy trampled sires their ravaged granges gave
    To spread the Wood from whence was hew'd that oaken architrave.[34]


    Take now _thy_ turn. We'll on and in, nor need the pealing tromp
    (Once wont the lordlings thronging here to usher to the pomp)
    To kindle our dull phantasies for yon triumphal show
    That lights the roof so high aloof with the whiteness of its glow.


    RED WILLIAM, couldst thou heave aside the marble of the tomb,
    And look abroad from Winchester's song-consecrated gloom,[35]
    A keener smart than Tyrrel's dart would pierce thy soul to see
    In thy vast courts the Vileinage and peasants treading free.


    Oh, righteous retribution! Ye Shades of those who here
    Stood up in bonds before the slaves of sceptred fraud and fear!
    Unswerving SOMERS!--MORE!--even thou, dark
    SOMERSET,[36] who fell
    In pride of place condignly, yet who loved the Commons well--


    And Ye who with undaunted hearts, immortal mitred Few!
    For Truth's dear sake, the Tyrant foil'd to whom ye still were true--[37]
    Rejoice! Who knows what scatter'd thoughts of yours were buried seeds,
    Slow-springing for th' oppress'd and poor, and ripen'd now to deeds?


    Ha, ha! 'twould make a death's-head laugh to see how the cross-bones--
    The black judicial formula devised by bloody thrones--
    The Axe's edge _this_ way, now _that_, borne before murder'd men,
    Who died for aiding their true Liege on mountain and in glen,[38]


    Are swept like pois'nous spiders' webs for ever from the scene,
    Where in their place come crowding now the mighty and the mean;
    The Peer walks by the Peasant's side,[39] to see if grace and art
    Can touch a bosom clad in frieze, can brighten Labour's heart.


    O! ye who doubt presumptuously that feeling, taste, are given
    To all for culture, free as flowers, by an impartial heaven,
    Look through this quiet rabble here--doth it not shame to-day
    More polish'd mobs to whom we owe our annual squeeze in May?


    Mark that poor Maiden, to her Sire interpreting the tale
    There pictured of the Loved and Left,[40] until her cheek grows pale:--
    Yon crippled Dwarf that sculptured Youth[41] eyeing with glances dim,
    Wondering will he, in higher worlds, be tall and straight like him;--


    How well they group with yonder pale but fire-eyed Artisan,
    Who just has stopp'd to bid his boys those noble features scan
    That sadden us for WILKIE! See! he tells them now the story
    Of that once humble lad, and how he won his marble glory.


    Not all alone thou weep'st in stone, poor Lady, o'er thy Chief,[42]
    That huge-limb'd Porter, spell-struck there, stands sharer in thy grief.
    Pert Cynic, scorn not his amaze; all savage as he seems,
    What graceful shapes henceforward may whiten his heart in dreams!

    A long adieu, dark Years! to you, of war on field and flood,
    Battle afar, and mimic war at hone to train our blood--
    The ruffian Ring--the goaded Bull--the Lottery's gates of sin--
    The _all_ to nurse the outward brute, and starve the soul within!


    Here lives and breathes around us proof that those all-evil times
    Are fled with their decrepit thoughts, their slaughter, and their crimes;
    Long stood THIS HALL the type of all could MAN'S grim bonds increase--
    Henceforth be it his Vestibule to hope, and light, and peace!

                                        _August_, 1844.


[34] Westminster-Hall, first reared by Rufus, was entirely rebuilt by
Richard II.

[35] Winchester, many years the residence of Joseph Warton, is so much
associated with the recollections and noble poetry of his younger
brother, as to warrant the expression in the text.

[36] The Protector-Duke, beheaded on Tower-Hill in the reign of his
nephew, Edward VI.--"His attention to the poor during his Protectorship,
and his opposition to the system of enclosures, had created him many
friends among the lower classes, who hastened to witness his end, and
yet flattered themselves with the hope of his reprieve."--LINGARD.

[37] The trial of the seven bishops took place in the hall. Five out of
their number--worthy of note upon every occasion--(the Archbishop, the
Bishops of Ely, Bath and Wells, Chichester, and Petersborough,) refused
the oaths to King William, and were deprived accordingly.

[38] The unfortunate Scottish lords were tried here 1745-6, as Horace
Walpole abundantly testifies.

[39] More than one noble family, very creditably, have visited the works
of art on free-admission days.

[40] Maclise's fresco of _The Knight_.

[41] _Youth at a stream_, by J. H. Foley.

[42] Lough's _Mourners_, a group in marble.

OCTOBER 8, 1844.



    Ho! Wardens of the Coast look forth
      Upon your Channel seas--
    The night is melting in the north,
      There's tumult on the breeze;
    Now sinking far, now rolling out
      In proud triumphal swell,
    That mingled burst of shot and shout
      Your fathers knew so well,
    What time to England's inmost plain
      The beacon-fires proclaim'd
    That, like descending hurricane,
    Grim Blake, that Mastiff of the Main,
    Beside your shores had once again
      The Flemish lion tamed![43]

    War wakes not now that tumult loud,
      Ye Wardens of the Coast,
    Though looming large, through dawn's dim cloud,
      Like an invading host
    The Barks of France are bearing down,
      One crowd of sails, while high
    Above the misty morning's frown
      Their streamers light the sky.
    Up!--greet for once the Tricolor,
      For once the lilied flag!
    Forth with gay barge and gilded oar,
    While fast the volley'd salvoes roar
    From batteried line, and echoing shore,
      And gun-engirdled crag!

    Forth--greet with ardent hearts and eyes,
      The GUEST those galleys bring;
    In Wisdom's walks the more than Wise--
      'Mid Kings the more than King!
    No nobler visitant e'er sought
      The Mighty's white-cliff'd isle,
    Where ALFRED ruled, where BACON thought,
      Where AVON'S waters smile:
    Hail to the tempest-vexed Man!
      Hail to the Sovereign-Sage!
    A wearier pilgrimage who ran
    Than the immortal Ithacan,
    Since first his great career began,
      Ulysses of our age!

    A more than regal welcome give,
      Ye thousands crowding round;
    Shout for the once lorn Fugitive,
      Whose soul no solace found
    Save in that SELF-RELIANCE--match
      For adverse worlds, alone--
    Which cheer'd the Tutor's humble thatch,
      Nor left him on the throne.
    The WANDERER MULLER'S sails they furl--
      The Wave-encounterer, who,
    When Freedom leagued with Crime to hurl
    Up earth's foundations, from the whirl
    Where vortex'd Empires raged, the pearl
      Of matchless Prudence drew.


    Shout for the Husband and the Sire,
      Whose children, train'd to truth,
    Repaid in feeling, grace, and fire,
      The lessons taught their youth.
    Recall his grief when bent above
      His rose-zoned daughter's clay,
    Beside whose marble, lifeless, Love,
      And Art, and Genius lay.[44]
    And his be homage still more dread,
      From our mute spirits won,
    For tears of heart-wrung anguish shed,
    When with that gray "discrownèd head,"
    On foot he follow'd to the dead
      His gallant, princely son.


    Shout for the Hero and the King
      In soul serene--alike,
    If suppliant States the sceptre bring,
      Or banded traitors strike!
    Oh, if at times a thrall too strong
      Round Freedom's form be laid,
    Where Faction works by wrath and wrong
      His pardon be display'd.
    Be his this praise--unspoil'd by power
      His course benignly ran,
    A MONARCH, mindful of the hour
    He felt misfortune's wintry shower,
    A MAN, from hall to peasant's bower,
      The common friend of Man.


    Again the ramparts' loosen'd load
      Of thunder rends the air!
    Peal on--such pomp is fitly show'd--
      He lands no stranger there.
    Hear from his lips your language grave
      In earnest accents fall--
    The memories of the home ye gave
      He hastens to recall--
    'Mid flash of spears and fiery thrill
      Of trumpets speed him forth,
    The Master-Mind your Shakspeare still
    Had loved to draw--that to its will
    Shapes Fate and Chance with potent skill--
      The Numa of the North.


    Windsor! henceforth a loftier spell
      Invests thy storied walls--
    The Bards of future years shall tell
      That first within thy halls
    Imperial TRUTH and MERCY met,
      And in that hallow'd hour
    Gave earth the hope that Peace shall yet
      Be dear to Kings as Power.
    When France clasp'd England's hand of old
      There memory marks the wane
    Of iron times, the bad and bold;[45]
    Oh, may our SECOND FIELD of GOLD
    A portent still more fair unfold
      Of Wisdom's widening reign!


[43] Almost all Blake's great battles were fought in the Channel. One of
the most memorable was that off Portsmouth, February 1652.

[44] The Princess Marie of Wurtemberg, the most accomplished child of
this most accomplished family, and whose beautiful efforts in sculpture
and painting are well known, died a year after her marriage, January 2,

[45] The meeting between Francis and Henry took place June 1520, the
first great period of civilized progression in Europe--the era of
Printing--of Columbus--and of the Reformation.


It is remarkable, that although England is the country in the world
which has sent forth the greatest number of ardent and intrepid
travellers to explore the distant parts of the earth, yet it can by no
means furnish an array of writers of travels which will bear a
comparison with those whom France can boast. In skilful navigation,
daring adventure, and heroic perseverance, indeed, the country of Cook
and Davis, of Bruce and Park, of Mackenzie and Buckingham, of Burckhardt
and Byron, of Parry and Franklin, may well claim the pre-eminence of all
others in the world. An Englishman first circumnavigated the globe; an
Englishman alone has seen the fountains of the Nile; and, five years
after the ardent spirit of Columbus had led his fearful crews across the
Atlantic, Sebastian Cabot discovered the shores of Newfoundland, and
planted the British standard in the regions destined to be peopled with
the overflowing multitudes of the Anglo-Saxon race.

But if we come to the literary works which have followed these ardent
and energetic efforts, and which are destined to perpetuate their memory
to future times--the interesting discoveries which have so much extended
our knowledge and enlarged our resources--the contemplation is by no
means to an inhabitant of these islands equally satisfactory. The
British traveller is essentially a man of energy and action, but rarely
of contemplation or eloquence. He is seldom possessed of the scientific
acquirements requisite to turn to the best account the vast stores of
new and original information which are placed within his reach. He often
observes and collects facts; but it is as a practical man, or for
professional purposes, rather than as a philosopher. The genius of the
Anglo-Saxon race--bold, sagacious, and enterprising, rather than
contemplative and scientific--nowhere appears more strongly than in the
accounts of the numerous and intrepid travellers whom they are
continually sending forth into every part of the earth. We admire their
vigour, we are moved by their hardships, we are enriched by their
discoveries; but if we turn to our libraries for works to convey to
future ages an adequate and interesting account of these fascinating
adventures, we shall, in general, experience nothing but disappointment.
Few of them are written with the practised hand, the graphic eye,
necessary to convey vivid pictures to future times; and though numerous
and valuable books of travels, as works of reference, load the shelves
of our libraries, there are surprisingly few which are fitted, from the
interest and vivacity of the style in which they are written, to possess
permanent attractions for mankind.

One great cause of this remarkable peculiarity is without doubt to be
found in the widely different education of the students in our
universities, and our practical men. In the former, classical
attainments are in literature the chief, if not exclusive, objects of
ambition; and in consequence, the young aspirants for fame who issue
from these learned retreats, have their minds filled with the charms and
associations of antiquity, to the almost entire exclusion of objects of
present interest and importance. The vigorous practical men, again, who
are propelled by the enterprise and exertions of our commercial towns,
are sagacious and valuable observers; but they have seldom the
cultivated minds, pictorial eye, or powers of description, requisite to
convey vivid or interesting impressions to others. Thus our scholars
give us little more than treatises on inscriptions, and disquisitions on
the sites of ancient towns; while the accounts of our practical men are
chiefly occupied with commercial enquiries, or subjects connected with
trade and navigation. The cultivated and enlightened traveller, whose
mind is alike open to the charm of ancient story and the interest of
modern achievement--who is classical without being pedantic, graphic and
yet faithful, enthusiastic and yet accurate, discursive and at the same
time imaginative, is almost unknown amongst us. It will continue to be
so as long as education in our universities is exclusively devoted to
Greek and Latin verses or the higher mathematics; and in academies to
book-keeping and the rule of three; while so broad and sullen a line as
heretofore is drawn between the studies of our scholars and the pursuits
of our practical citizens. To travel to good purpose, requires a mind
stored with much and varied information, in science, statistics,
geography, literature, history, and poetry. To describe what the
traveller has seen, requires, in addition to this, the eye of a painter,
the soul of a poet, and the hand of a practised composer. Probably it
will be deemed no easy matter to find such a combination in any country
or in any age; and most certainly the system of education, neither at
our learned universities nor our commercial academies, is fitted to
produce it.

It is from inattention to the vast store of _previous_ information
requisite to make an accomplished traveller, and still more a writer of
interesting travels, that failures in this branch of literature are so
glaring and so frequent. In other departments of knowledge, a certain
degree of information is felt to be requisite before a man can presume
to write a book. He cannot produce a treatise on mathematics without
knowing at least Euclid, nor a work on history without having read Hume,
nor on political economy without having acquired a smattering of Adam
Smith. But in regard to travels, no previous information is thought to
be requisite. If the person who sets out on a tour has only money in his
pocket, and health to get to his journey's end, he is deemed
sufficiently qualified to come out with his two or three post octavos.
If he is an Honourable, or known at Almack's, so much the better; that
will ensure the sale of the first edition. If he can do nothing else, he
can at least tell the dishes which he got to dinner at the inns, and the
hotels where comfortable beds are to be found. This valuable
information, interspersed with a few descriptions of scenes, copied from
guide-books, and anecdotes picked up at _tables-d'hôte_ or on board
steamboats, constitute the stock in trade of many an adventurer who
embarks in the speculation of paying by publication the expenses of his
travels. We have no individuals in view in these remarks; we speak of
things in general, as they are, or rather have been; for we believe
these ephemeral travels, like other ephemerals, have had their day, and
are fast dying out. The market has become so glutted with them that they
are, in a great many instances, unsaleable.

The classical travellers of England, from Addison to Eustace and Clarke,
constitute an important and valuable body of writers in this branch of
literature, infinitely superior to the fashionable tours which rise up
and disappear like bubbles on the surface of society. It is impossible
to read these elegant productions without feeling the mind overspread
with the charm which arises from the exquisite remains and
heart-stirring associations with which they are filled. But their
interest is almost exclusively classical; they are invaluable to the
accomplished scholar, but they speak in an unknown tongue to the great
mass of men. They see nature only through the medium of antiquity:
beautiful in their allusion to Greek or Roman remains, eloquent in the
descriptions of scenes alluded to in the classical writers, they have
dwelt little on the simple scenes of the unhistoric world. To the great
moral and social questions which now agitate society, and so strongly
move the hearts of the great body of men, they are entire strangers.
Their works are the elegant companions of the scholar or the antiquary,
not the heart-stirring friends of the cottage or the fireside.

Inferior to Britain in the energy and achievements of the travellers
whom she has sent forth, and beyond measure beneath her in the amount of
the addition she has made to geographical science, France is yet greatly
superior, at least of late years, in the literary and scientific
attainments of the wanderers whose works have been given to the world.
Four among these stand pre-eminent, whose works, in very different
styles, are at the head of European literature in this interesting
department--Humboldt, Chateaubriand, Michaud, and Lamartine. Their
styles are so various, and the impression produced by reading them so
distinct, that it is difficult to believe that they have arisen in the
same nation and age of the world.

Humboldt is, in many respects, and perhaps upon the whole, at the head
of the list; and to his profound and varied works we hope to be able to
devote a future paper. He unites, in a degree that perhaps has never
before been witnessed, the most various qualities, and which, from the
opposite characters of mind which they require, are rarely found in
unison. A profound philosopher, an accurate observer of nature, an
unwearied statist, he is at the same time an eloquent writer, an
incomparable describer, and an ardent friend of social improvement.
Science owes to his indefatigable industry many of her most valuable
acquisitions; geography, to his intrepid perseverance, many of its most
important discoveries; the arts, to his poetic eye and fervid eloquence,
many of their brightest pictures. He unites the austere grandeur of the
exact sciences to the bewitching charm of the fine arts. It is this very
combination which prevents his works from being generally popular. The
riches of his knowledge, the magnitude of his contributions to
scientific discovery, the fervour of his descriptions of nature,
alternately awaken our admiration and excite our surprise; but they
oppress the mind. To be rightly apprehended, they require a reader in
some degree familiar with all these subjects; and how many of these are
to be met with? The man who takes an interest in his scientific
observations will seldom be transported by his pictures of scenery; the
social observer, who extracts the rich collection of facts which he has
accumulated regarding the people whom he visited, will be indifferent to
his geographical discoveries. There are few Humboldts either in the
reading or thinking world.

Chateaubriand is a traveller of a wholly different character--he lived
entirely in antiquity. But it is not the antiquity of Greece and Rome
which has alone fixed his regards, as it has done those of Clarke and
Eustace--it is the recollections of chivalry, the devout spirit of the
pilgrim, which chiefly warmed his ardent imagination. He is universally
allowed by Frenchmen of all parties to be their first writer; and it may
be conceived what brilliant works an author of such powers, and
eminently gifted both with the soul of a poet and the eye of a painter,
must have produced in describing the historic scenes to which his
pilgrimages extended. He went to Greece and the Holy Land with a mind
devout rather than enlightened, credulous rather than inquisitive.
Thirsting for strong emotions, he would be satisfied; teeming with the
recollections and visions of the past, he traversed the places hallowed
by his early affections with the fondness of a lover who returns to the
home of his bliss, of a mature man who revisits the scenes of his
infancy. He cared not to enquire what was true or what was legendary in
these time-hallowed traditions; he gladly accepted them as they stood,
and studiously averted all enquiry into the foundation on which they
rested. He wandered over the Peloponnesus or Judea with the fond ardour
of an English scholar who seeks in the Palatine Mount the traces of
Virgil's enchanting description of the hut of Evander, and rejects as
sacrilege every attempt to shake his faith.

    "When Science from Creation's face
      Enchantment's visions draws,
    What lovely visions yield their place
      To cold material laws!"

Even in the woods of America, the same ruling passion was evinced. In
those pathless solitudes, where no human foot had ever trod but that of
the wandering savage, and the majesty of nature appeared in undisturbed
repose, his thoughts were still of the Old World. It was on the historic
lands that his heart was set. A man himself, he dwelt on the scenes
which had been signalized by the deeds, the sufferings, the glories of

Michaud's mind is akin to that of Chateaubriand, and yet different in
many important particulars. The learned and indefatigable historian of
the Crusades, he has traversed the shores of the Mediterranean--the
scene, as Dr Johnson observed, of all that can ever interest man--his
religion, his knowledge, his arts--with the ardent desire to imprint on
his mind the scenes and images which met the eyes of the holy warriors.
He seeks to transport us to the days of Godfrey of Bouillon and Raymond
of Toulouse; he thirsts with the Christian host at Dorislaus, he shares
in its anxieties at the siege of Antioch, he participates in its
exultation at the storming of Jerusalem. The scenes visited by the vast
multitude of warriors who, during two hundred years, were precipitated
from Europe on Asia, have almost all been visited by him, and described
with the accuracy of an antiquary and the enthusiasm of a poet. With the
old chronicles in his hand, he treads with veneration the scenes of
former generous sacrifice and heroic achievements, and the vast and
massy structures erected on either side during those terrible
wars--when, for centuries, Europe strove hand to hand with Asia--most of
which have undergone very little alteration, enable him to describe them
almost exactly as they appeared to the holy warriors. The interest of
his pilgrimage in the East, accordingly, is peculiar, but very great; it
is not so much a book of travels as a moving chronicle; but, like Sir W.
Scott's _Minstrelsy of the Borders_, it is a chronicle clothed in a very
different garb from the homely dress of the olden time. It transports us
back, not only in time but in idea, six hundred years; but it does so
with the grace of modern times--it clothes the profound feelings, the
generous sacrifices, the forgetfulness of self of the twelfth century,
with the poetic mind, the cultivated taste, the refined imagery of the

Lamartine has traversed the same scenes with Chateaubriand and Michaud,
and yet he has done so in a different spirit; and the character of his
work is essentially different from either. He has not the devout
credulity of the first, nor the antiquarian zeal and knowledge of the
last; but he is superior to either in the description of nature, and the
painting vivid and interesting scenes on the mind of the reader. His
work is a moving panorama, in which the historic scenes and azure skies,
and placid seas and glowing sunsets, of the East, are portrayed in all
their native brilliancy, and in richer even than their native colours.
His mind is stored with the associations and the ideas of antiquity, and
he has thrown over his descriptions of the scenes of Greece or Holy
Writ, all the charms of such recollections; but he has done so in a more
general and catholic spirit than either of his predecessors. He embarked
for the Holy Land shortly before the Revolution of 1830; and his
thoughts, amidst all the associations of antiquity, constantly reverted
to the land of his fathers--its distractions, its woes, its ceaseless
turmoil, its gloomy social prospects. Thus, with all his vivid
imagination and unrivaled powers of description, the turn of his mind is
essentially contemplative. He looks on the past as an emblem of the
present; he sees, in the fall of Tyre and Athens and Jerusalem, the fate
which one day awaits his own country; and mourns less the decay of human
things, than the popular passions and national sins which have brought
that instability in close proximity to his own times. This sensitive and
foreboding disposition was much increased by the death of his
daughter--a charming child of fourteen, the companion of his wanderings,
the depositary of his thoughts, the darling of his affections--who was
snatched away in the spring of life, when in health and joy, by one of
the malignant fevers incident to the pestilential plains of the East.

Though Lamartine's travels are continuous, he does not, like most other
wanderers, furnish us with a journal of every day's proceedings. He was
too well aware that many, perhaps most, days on a journey are monotonous
or uninteresting; and that many of the details of a traveller's progress
are wholly unworthy of being recorded, because they are neither amusing,
elevating, nor instructive. He paints, now and then, with all the force
of his magical pencil, the more brilliant or characteristic scenes which
he visited, and intersperses them with reflections, moral and social;
such as would naturally be aroused in a sensitive mind by the sight of
the rains of ancient, and the contemplation of the decay of modern

He embarked at Marseilles, with Madame Lamartine and his little daughter
Julia, on the 10th July 1830. The following is the picture of the
yearnings of his mind on leaving his native land; and they convey a
faithful image of his intellectual temperament:--

     "I feel it deeply: I am one only of those men, without a
     distinctive character, of a transitory and fading epoch, whose
     sighs have found an echo--only because the echo was more
     poetical than the poet. I belong to another age by my desires:
     I feel in myself another man: the immense and boundless horizon
     of philosophy, at once profound, religious, and poetical, has
     opened to my view, but the punishment of a wasted youth
     overtook me; it soon faded from my sight. Adieu, then, to the
     dreams of genius, to the aspirations of intellectual enjoyment!
     It is too late: I have not physical strength to accomplish any
     thing great. I will sketch some scenes--I will murmur some
     strains, and that is all. Yet if God would grant my prayers,
     here is the object for which I would petition--a poem, such as
     my heart desires, and his greatness deserves!--a faithful,
     breathing image of his creation: of the boundless world,
     visible and invisible! That would indeed be a worthy
     inheritance to leave to an era of darkness, of doubt, and of
     sadness!--an inheritance which would nourish the present age,
     and cause the next to spring with renovated youth."--(_Voyages
     en Orient_, I. 49-60.[46])

One of his first nocturnal reveries at sea, portrays the tender and
profoundly religious impressions of his mind:--

     "I walked for an hour on the deck of the vessel alone, and
     immersed alternately in sad or consoling reflections. I
     repeated in my heart all the prayers which I learned in infancy
     from my mother: the verses, the fragments of the Psalms, which
     I had so often heard her repeat to herself, when walking in the
     evening in the garden of Melly. I experienced a melancholy
     pleasure in thus scattering them, in my turn, to the waves, to
     the winds, to that Ear which is ever open to every real
     movement of the heart, though not yet uttered by the lips. The
     prayer which we have heard repeated by one we have loved, and
     who is no more, is doubly sacred. Who among us would not prefer
     a few words of prayer taught us by our mother, to the most
     eloquent supplication composed by ourselves? Thence it is that
     whatever religious creed we may adopt at the age of reason, the
     Christian prayer will be ever the prayer of the human race. I
     prayed, in the prayer of the church for the evening at sea;
     also for that dear being, who never thought of danger to
     accompany her husband, and that lovely child, who played at the
     moment on the poop with the goat which was to give it milk on
     board, and with the little kids which licked her snow-white
     hands, and sported with her long and fair ringlets."--(I. 57.)

A night-scene on the coast of Provence gives a specimen of his
descriptive powers.

     "It was night--that is, what they call night in those climates;
     but how many days have I seen less brilliant on the banks of
     the Thames, the Seine, the Saone, or the Lake of Geneva! A full
     noon shone in the firmament, and cast into the shade our
     vessel, which lay motionless on the water at a little distance
     from the quay. The moon, in her progress through the heavens,
     had left a path marked as if with red sand, with which she had
     besprinkled the half of the sky: the remainder was clear deep
     blue, which melted into white as she advanced. On the horizon,
     at the distance of two miles, between two little isles, of
     which the one had headlands pointed and coloured like the
     Coliseum at Rome, while the other was violet like the flower of
     the lilac, the image of a vast city appeared on the sea. It was
     an illusion, doubtless; but it had all the appearance of
     reality. You saw clearly the domes glancing--dazzling lines of
     palaces--quays flooded by a soft and serene light; on the right
     and the left the waves were seen to sparkle and enclose it on
     either side: it was Venice or Malta reposing in the midst of
     the waters. The illusion was produced by the reflection of the
     moon, when her rays fell perpendicularly on the waters; nearer
     the eye, the radiance spread and expanded in a stream of gold
     and silver between two shores of azure. On the left, the gulf
     extended to the summit of a long and obscure range of serrated
     mountains; on the right opened a narrow and deep valley, where
     a fountain gushed forth beneath the shade of aged trees;
     behind, rose a hill, clothed to the top with olives, which in
     the night appeared dark, from its summit to its base--a line of
     Gothic towers and white houses broke the obscurity of the wood,
     and drew the thoughts to the abodes, the joys, and the
     sufferings of man. Further off, in the extremity of the gulf,
     three enormous rocks rose, like pillars without base, from the
     surface of the waters--their forms were fantastic, their
     surface polished like flints by the action of the waves; but
     those flints were mountains--the remains, doubtless, of that
     primeval ocean which once overspread the earth, and of which
     our seas are but a feeble image."--(II. 66.)

A rocky bay on the same romantic coast, now rendered accessible to
travellers by the magnificent road of the Corniché, projected, and in
part executed by Napoleon, furnishes another subject for this exquisite

     "A mile to the eastward on the coast, the mountains, which
     there dip into the sea, are broken as if by the strokes of
     enormous clubs--huge fragments have fallen, and are strewed in
     wild confusion at the foot of the cliffs, or amidst the blue
     and green waves of the sea, which incessantly laves them. The
     waves break on these huge masses without intermission, with a
     hollow and alternating roar, or rise up in sheets of foam,
     which besprinkle their hoary fronts. These masses of
     mountains--for they are too large to be called rocks--are piled
     and heaped together in such numbers, that they form an
     innumerable number of narrow havens, of profound caverns, of
     sounding grottoes, of gloomy fissures--of which the children of
     some of the neighbouring fishermen alone know the windings and
     the issues. One of these caverns, into which you enter by a
     natural arch, the summit of which is formed by an enormous
     block of granite, lets in the sea, through which it flows into
     a dark and narrow valley, which the waters fill entirely, with
     a surface as limpid and smooth as the firmament which they
     reflect. The sea preserves in this sequestered nook that
     beautiful tint of bright green, of which marine painters so
     strongly feel the value, but which they can never transfer
     exactly to their canvass; for the eye sees much which the hand
     strives in vain to imitate.

     "On the two sides of that marine valley rise two prodigious
     walls of perpendicular rock, of an uniform and sombre hue,
     similar to that of iron ore, after it has issued and cooled
     from the furnace. Not a plant, not a moss can find a slope or a
     crevice wherein to insert its roots, or cover the rocks with
     those waving garlands which so often in Savoy clothe the
     cliffs, where they flower to God alone. Black, naked,
     perpendicular, repelling the eye by their awful aspect--they
     seem to have been placed there for no other purpose but to
     protect from the sea-breezes the hills of olives and vines,
     which bloom under their shelter; an image of those ruling men
     in a stormy epoch, who seem placed by Providence to bear the
     fury of all the tempests of passion and of time, to screen the
     weaker but happier race of mortals. At the bottom of the bay
     the sea expands a little, assumes a bluer tint as it comes to
     reflect more of the cloudless heavens, and at length its tiny
     waves die away on a bed of violets, as closely netted together
     as the sand upon the shore. If you disembark from the boat, you
     find in the cleft of a neighbouring ravine a fountain of living
     water, which gushes beneath a narrow path formed by the goats,
     which leads up from this sequestered solitude, amidst
     overshadowing fig-trees and oleanders, to the cultivated abodes
     of man. Few scenes struck me so much in my long wanderings. Its
     charm consists in that exquisite union of force and grace,
     which forms the perfection of natural beauty as of the highest
     class of intellectual beings; it is that mysterious hymen of
     the land and the sea, surprised, as it were, in their most
     secret and hidden union. It is the image of perfect calm and
     inaccessible solitude, close to the theatre of tumultuous
     tempests, where their near roar is heard with such terror,
     where their foaming but lessened waves yet break upon the
     shore. It is one of those numerous _chefs-d'oeuvre_ of
     creation which God has scattered over the earth, as if to sport
     with contrasts, but which he conceals so frequently on the
     summit of naked rocks, in the depth of inaccessible ravines, on
     the unapproachable shores of the ocean, like jewels which he
     unveils rarely, and that only to simple beings, to children, to
     shepherds or fishermen, or the devout worshippers of
     nature."--(I. 73--74.)

This style of description of scenery is peculiar to this age, and in it
Lamartine may safely be pronounced without a rival in the whole range of
literature. It was with Scott and Chateaubriand that the _graphic_
style of description arose in England and France; but he has pushed the
art further than either of his great predecessors. Milton and Thompson
had long ago indeed, in poetry, painted nature in the most enchanting,
as well as the truest colours; but in prose little was to be found
except a general and vague description of a class of objects, as lakes,
mountains, and rivers, without any specification of features and
details, so as to convey a definite and distinct impression to the mind
of the reader. Even the classical mind and refined taste of Addison
could not attain this graphic style; his descriptions of scenery, like
that of all prose writers down to the close of the eighteenth century,
are lost in vague generalities. Like almost all descriptions of battles
in modern times, they are so like each other that you cannot distinguish
one from the other. Scott and Chateaubriand, when they did apply their
great powers to the delineation of nature, were incomparably faithful,
as well as powerfully imaginative; but such descriptions were, for the
most part, but a secondary object with them. The human heart was their
great study; the vicissitudes of life the inexhaustible theme of their
genius. With Lamartine, again, the description of nature is the primary
object. It is to convey a vivid impression of the scenes he has visited
that he has written; to kindle in his reader's mind the train of emotion
and association which their contemplation awakened in his own, that he
has exerted all his powers. He is much more laboured and minute, in
consequence, than either of his predecessors; he records the tints, the
forms, the lights, the transient effects, with all a painter's
enthusiasm and all a poet's power; and succeeds, in any mind at all
familiar with the objects of nature, in conjuring up images as vivid,
sometimes perhaps more beautiful, than the originals which he portrayed.

From the greatness of his powers, however, in this respect, and the
facility with which he commits to paper the whole features of the
splendid phantasmagoria with which his memory is stored, arises the
principal defect of his work; and the circumstance which has hitherto
prevented it, in this country at least, from acquiring general
popularity commensurate to its transcendent merits. He is too rich in
glowing images; his descriptions are redundant in number and beauty. The
mind even of the most imaginative reader is fatigued by the constant
drain upon its admiration--the fancy is exhausted in the perpetual
effort to conceive the scenes which he portrays to the eye. Images of
beauty enough are to be found in his four volumes of _Travels in the
East_, to emblazon, with the brightest colours of the rainbow, forty
volumes of ordinary adventure. We long for some repose amidst the
constant repetition of dazzling objects; monotony, insipidity, ordinary
life, even dulness itself, would often be a relief amidst the ceaseless
flow of rousing images. Sir Walter Scott says, in one of his novels--"Be
assured that whenever I am particularly dull, it is not without an
object;" and Lamartine would sometimes be the better of following the
advice. We generally close one of his volumes with the feeling so well
known to travellers in the Italian cities, "I hope to God there is
nothing more to be seen here." And having given the necessary respite of
unexciting disquisition to rest our readers' minds, we shall again bring
forward one of his glowing pictures:--

     "Between the sea and the last heights of Lebanon, which sink
     rapidly almost to the water's edge, extends a plain eight
     leagues in length by one or two broad; sandy, bare, covered
     only with thorny arbutus, browsed by the camels of caravans.
     From it darts out into the sea an advanced peninsula, linked to
     the continent only by a narrow _chaussée_ of shining sand,
     borne hither by the winds of Egypt. Tyre, now called Sour by
     the Arabs, is situated at the extremity of this peninsula, and
     seems, at a distance, to rise out of the waves. The modern
     town, at first sight, has a gay and smiling appearance; but a
     nearer approach dispels the illusion, and exhibits only a few
     hundred crumbling and half-deserted houses, where the Arabs, in
     the evening, assemble to shelter their flocks which have
     browsed in the narrow plain. Such is all that now remains of
     the mighty Tyre. It has neither a harbour to the sea, nor a
     road to the land; the prophecies have long been accomplished in
     regard to it.

     "We moved on in silence, buried in the contemplation of the
     dust of an empire which we trod. We followed a path in the
     middle of the plain of Tyre, between the town and the hills of
     grey and naked rock which Lebanon has thrown down towards the
     sea. We arrived abreast of the city, and touched a mound of
     sand which appears the sole remaining rampart to prevent it
     from being overwhelmed by the waves of the ocean or the desert.
     I thought of the prophecies, and called to mind some of the
     eloquent denunciations of Ezekiel. As I was making these
     reflections, some objects, black, gigantic, and motionless,
     appeared upon the summit of one of the overhanging cliffs of
     Lebanon, which there advanced far into the plain. They
     resembled five black statues, placed on a rock as their huge
     pedestal. At first we thought it was five Bedouins, who were
     there stationed to fire upon us from their inaccessible
     heights; but when we were at the distance of fifty yards, we
     beheld one of them open its enormous wings, and flap them
     against its sides with a sound like the unfurling of a sail. We
     then perceived that they were five eagles of the largest
     species I have ever seen, either in the Alps or our museums.
     They made no attempt to move when we approached; they seemed to
     regard themselves as kings of the desert, looked on Tyre as an
     appanage which belonged to them, and whither they were about to
     return. Nothing more supernatural ever met my eyes; I could
     almost suppose that behind them I saw the terrible figure of
     Ezekiel, the poet of vengeance, pointing to the devoted city
     which the divine wrath had overwhelmed with destruction. The
     discharge of a few muskets made them rise from their rock: but
     they showed no disposition to move from their ominous perch,
     and, soon returning, floated over our heads, regardless of the
     shots fired at them, as if the eagles of God were beyond the
     reach of human injury."--(II. 8-9.)

Jerusalem was a subject to awaken all our author's enthusiasm, and call
forth all his descriptive powers. The first approach to it has exercised
the talents of many writers in prose and verse; but none has drawn it in
such graphic and brilliant colours as our author:--

     "We ascended a mountain ridge, strewed over with enormous grey
     rocks, piled one on another as if by human hands. Here and
     there a few stunted vines, yellow with the colour of autumn,
     crept along the soil in a few places cleared out in the
     wilderness. Fig-trees, with their tops withered or shivered by
     the blasts, often edged the vines, and cast their black fruit
     on the grey rock. On our right, the desert of St John, where
     formerly 'the voice was heard crying in the wilderness,' sank
     like an abyss in the midst of five or six black mountains,
     through the openings of which, the sea of Egypt, overspread
     with a dark cloud, could still be discerned. On the left, and
     near the eye, was an old tower, placed on the top of a
     projecting eminence; other ruins, apparently of an ancient
     aqueduct, descended from that tower, overgrown with verdure,
     now in the sear leaf; that tower is Modin, the stronghold and
     tomb of the last heroes of sacred story, the Maccabees. We left
     behind us the ruins, resplendent with the first rays of the
     morning--rays, not blended as in Europe in a confused and vague
     illumination, but darting like arrows of fire tinted with
     various colours, issuing from a dazzling centre, and diverging
     over the whole heavens as they expand. Some were of blue,
     slightly silvered, others of pure white, some of tender
     rose-hue, melting into grey; many of burning fire, like the
     coruscations of a flaming conflagration. All were distinct, yet
     all united in one harmonious whole, forming a resplendent arch
     in the heavens, encircling, and issuing from a centre of fire.
     In proportion as the day advanced, the brilliant light of these
     separate rays was gradually dimmed--or rather, they were
     blended together, and composed the colourless light of day.
     Then the moon, which still shone overhead, 'paled her
     ineffectual fire,' and melted away in the general illumination
     of the heavens.

     "After having ascended a second ridge, more lofty and naked
     than the former, the horizon suddenly opens to the right, and
     presents a view of all the country which extends between the
     last summits of Judea and the mountains of Arabia. It was
     already flooded with the increasing light of the morning; but
     beyond the piles of grey rock which lay in the foreground,
     nothing was distinctly visible but a dazzling space, like a
     vast sea, interspersed with a few islands of shade, which stood
     forth in the brilliant surface. On the shores of that imaginary
     ocean, a little to the left, and about a league distant, the
     sun shone with uncommon brilliancy on a massy tower, a lofty
     minaret, and some edifices, which crowned the summit of a low
     hill of which you could not see the bottom. Soon the points of
     other minarets, a few loopholed walls, and the dark summits of
     several domes, which successively came into view, and fringed
     the descending slope of the hill, announced a city. It was
     JERUSALEM, and every one of the party, without addressing a
     word to the guides or to each other, enjoyed in silence the
     entrancing spectacle. We rested our horses to contemplate that
     mysterious and dazzling apparition; but when we moved on, it
     was soon snatched from our view; for as we descended the hill,
     and plunged into the deep and profound valley which lay at its
     feet, we lost sight of the holy city, and were surrounded only
     by the solitude and desolation of the desert."--(II. 163-165.)

The environs of Jerusalem are described with equal force by the same

     "The general aspect of the environs of Jerusalem may be
     described in a few words. Mountains without shade, and valleys
     without water--the earth without verdure, rocks without
     grandeur. Here and there a few blocks of grey stone start up
     out of the dry and fissured earth, between which, beneath the
     shade of an old fig-tree, a gazelle or a hyæna are occasionally
     seen to emerge from the fissures of the rock. A few plants or
     vines creep over the surface of that grey and parched soil; in
     the distance, is occasionally seen a grove of olive-trees,
     casting a shade over the arid side of the mountain--the
     mouldering walls and towers of the city appearing from afar on
     the summit of Mount Sion. Such is the general character of the
     country. The sky is ever pure, bright, and cloudless; never
     does even the slightest film of mist obscure the purple tint of
     evening and morning. On the side of Arabia, a wide gulf opens
     amidst the black ridges, and presents a vista of the shining
     surface of the Dead Sea, and the violet summits of the
     mountains of Moab. Rarely is a breath of air heard to murmur,
     in the fissures of the rocks, or among the branches of the aged
     olives; not a bird sings, nor an insect chirps in the waterless
     furrows. Silence reigns universally, in the city, in the roads,
     in the fields. Such was Jerusalem during all the time that we
     spent within its walls. Not a sound ever met our ears, but the
     neighing of the horses, who grew impatient under the burning
     rays of the sun, or who furrowed the earth with their feet, as
     they stood picketed round our camp, mingled occasionally with
     the crying of the hour from the minarets, or the mournful
     cadences of the Turks as they accompanied the dead to their
     cemeteries. Jerusalem, to which the world hastens to visit a
     sepulchre, is itself a vast tomb of a people; but it is a tomb
     without cypresses, without inscriptions, without monuments, of
     which they have broken the gravestones, and the ashes of which
     appear to cover the earth which surrounds it with mourning,
     silence, and sterility. We cast our eyes back frequently from
     the top of every hill which we passed on this mournful and
     desolate region, and at length we saw for the last time, the
     crown of olives which surmounts the Mount of the same name, and
     which long rises above the horizon after you have lost sight of
     the town itself. At length it also sank beneath the rocky
     screen, and disappeared like the chaplets of flowers which we
     throw on a sepulchre."--(II. 275-276.)

From Jerusalem he made an expedition to Balbec in the desert, which
produced the same impression upon him that it does upon all other

     "We rose with the sun, the first rays of which struck on the
     temples of Balbec, and gave to those mysterious ruins that
     _eclât_ which his brilliant light throws ever over ruins which
     it illuminates. Soon we arrived, on the northern side, at the
     foot of the gigantic walls which surround those beautiful
     remains. A clear stream, flowing over a bed of granite,
     murmured around the enormous blocks of stone, fallen from the
     top of the wall which obstructed its course. Beautiful
     sculptures were half concealed in the limpid stream. We passed
     the rivulet by an arch formed by these fallen remains, and
     mounting a narrow breach, were soon lost in admiration of the
     scene which surrounded us. At every step a fresh exclamation of
     surprise broke from our lips. Every one of the stones of which
     that wall was composed was from eight to ten feet in length, by
     five or six in breadth, and as much in height. They rest,
     without cement, one upon the other, and almost all bear the
     mark of Indian or Egyptian sculpture. At a single glance, you
     see that these enormous stones are not placed in their original
     site--that they are the precious remains of temples of still
     more remote antiquity, which were made use of to encircle this
     colony of Grecian and Roman citizens.

     "When we reached the summit of the breach, our eyes knew not to
     what object first to turn. On all sides were gates of marble of
     prodigious height and magnitude; windows, or niches, fringed
     with the richest friezes; fallen pieces of cornices, of
     entablatures, or capitals, thick as the dust beneath our feet;
     magnificent vaulted roofs above our heads; every where a chaos
     of confused beauty, the remains of which lay scattered about,
     or piled on each other in endless variety. So prodigious was
     the accumulation of architectural remains, that it defies all
     attempt at classification, or conjecture of the kind of
     buildings to which the greater part of them had belonged. After
     passing through this scene of ruined magnificence, we reached
     an inner wall, which we also ascended; and from its summit the
     view of the interior was yet more splendid. Of much greater
     extent, far more richly decorated than the outer circle, it
     presented an immense platform in the form of a long rectangle,
     the level surface of which was frequently broken by the remains
     of still more elevated pavements, on which temples to the sun,
     the object of adoration at Balbec, had been erected. All around
     that platform were a series of lesser temples--or chapels, as
     we should call them--decorated with niches, admirably engraved,
     and loaded with sculptured ornaments to a degree that appeared
     excessive to those who had seen the severe simplicity of the
     Parthenon or the Coliseum. But how prodigious the accumulation
     of architectural riches in the middle of an eastern desert!
     Combine in imagination the Temple of Jupiter Stator and the
     Coliseum at Rome, of Jupiter Olympius and the Acropolis at
     Athens, and you will yet fall short of that marvellous
     assemblage of admirable edifices and sculptures. Many of the
     temples rest on columns seventy feet in height, and seven feet
     in diameter, yet composed only of two or three blocks of stone,
     so perfectly joined together that to this day you can barely
     discern the lines of their junction. Silence is the only
     language which befits man when words are inadequate to convey
     his impressions. We remained mute with admiration, gazing on
     the eternal ruins.

     "The shades of night overtook us while we yet rested in
     amazement at the scene by which we were surrounded. One by one
     they enveloped the columns in their obscurity, and added a
     mystery the more to that magical and mysterious work of time
     and man. We appeared, as compared with the gigantic mass and
     long duration of these monuments, as the swallows which nestle
     a season in the crevices of the capitals, without knowing by
     whom, or for whom, they have been constructed. The thoughts,
     the wishes, which moved these masses, are to us unknown. The
     dust of marble which we tread beneath our feet knows more of it
     than we do, but it cannot tell us what it has seen; and in a
     few ages the generations which shall come in their turn to
     visit our monuments, will ask, in like manner, wherefore we
     have built and engraved. The works of man survive his thought.
     Movement is the law of the human mind; the definite is the
     dream of his pride and his ignorance. God is a limit which
     appears ever to recede as humanity approaches him: we are ever
     advancing, and never arrive. This great Divine Figure which man
     from his infancy is ever striving to reach, and to imprison in
     his structures raised by hands, for ever enlarges and expands;
     it outsteps the narrow limits of temples, and leaves the altars
     to crumble into dust; and calls man to seek for it where alone
     it resides--in thought, in intelligence, in virtue, in nature,
     in infinity."--(II. 39, 46, 47.)

This passage conveys an idea of the peculiar style, and perhaps unique
charm, of Lamartine's work. It is the mixture of vivid painting with
moral reflection--of nature with sentiment--of sensibility to beauty,
with gratitude to its Author, which constitutes its great attraction.
Considering in what spirit the French Revolution was cradled, and from
what infidelity it arose, it is consoling to see such sentiments
conceived and published among them. True they are not the sentiments of
the majority, at least in towns; but what then? The majority is ever
guided by the thoughts of the great, not in its own but a preceding age.
It is the opinions of the great among our grandfathers that govern the
majority at this time; our great men will guide our grandsons. If we
would foresee what a future age is to think, we must observe what a few
great men are now thinking. Voltaire and Rousseau have ruled France for
two generations; the day of Chateaubriand and Guizot and Lamartine will
come in due time.

But the extraordinary magnitude of these ruins in the middle of an
Asiatic wilderness, suggests another consideration. We are perpetually
speaking of the march of intellect, the vast spread of intelligence, the
advancing civilization of the world; and in some respects our boasts are
well founded. Certainly, in one particular, society has made a mighty
step in advance. The abolition of domestic slavery has emancipated the
millions who formerly toiled in bondage; the art of printing has
multiplied an hundredfold the reading and thinking world. Our
opportunities, therefore, have been prodigiously enlarged; our means of
elevation are tenfold what they were in ancient times. But has our
elevation itself kept pace with these enlarged means? Has the increased
direction of the popular mind to lofty and spiritual objects, the more
complete subjugation of sense, the enlarged perception of the useful and
the beautiful, been in proportion to the extended facilities given to
the great body of the people? Alas! the fact is just the reverse. Balbec
was a mere station in the desert, without territory, harbour, or
subjects--maintained solely by the commerce of the East with Europe
which flowed through its walls. Yet Balbec raised, in less than a
century, a more glorious pile of structures devoted to religious and
lofty objects, than London, Paris, and St Petersburg united can now
boast. The Decapolis was a small and remote mountain district of
Palestine, not larger in proportion to the Roman than Morayshire is in
proportion to the British empire; yet it contained, as its name
indicates, and as their remains still attest, _ten cities_, the least
considerable of which, Gebora, contains, as Buckingham tells us in his
_Travels beyond the Jordan_, the ruins of more sumptuous edifices than
any city in the British islands, London itself not excepted, can now
boast. It was the same all over the East, and in all the southern
provinces of the Roman empire. Whence has arisen this astonishing
disproportion between the great things done by the citizens in ancient
and in modern times, when in the latter the means of enlarged
cultivation have been so immeasurably extended? It is in vain to say, it
is because we have more social and domestic happiness, and our wealth is
devoted to these objects, not external embellishment. Social and
domestic happiness are in the direct, not in the inverse ratio of
general refinement and the spread of intellectual intelligence. The
domestic duties are better nourished in the temple than in the gin-shop;
the admirers of sculpture will make better fathers and husbands than the
lovers of whisky. Is it that we want funds for such undertakings? Why,
London is richer than ever Rome was; the commerce of the world, not of
the eastern caravans, flows through its bosom. The sums annually
squandered in Manchester and Glasgow on intoxicating liquors, would soon
make them rival the eternal structures of Tadmor and Palmyra. Is it that
the great bulk of our people are unavoidably chained by their character
and climate to gross and degrading enjoyments? Is it that the spreading
of knowledge, intelligence, and free institutions, only confirms the
sway of sensual gratification, and that a pure and spiritual religion
tends only to strengthen the fetters of passion and selfishness? Is it
that the inherent depravity of the human heart appears the more clearly
as man is emancipated from the fetters of authority? Must we go back to
early ages for noble and elevated motives of action: is the spread of
freedom but another word for the extension of brutality? God forbid that
so melancholy a doctrine should have any foundation in human nature! We
mention the facts, and leave it to future ages to discover their
solution: contenting ourselves with pointing out to our self-applauding
countrymen how much they have to do before they attain the level of
their advantages, or justify the boundless blessings which Providence
has bestowed upon them.

The plain of Troy, seen by moonlight, furnishes the subject of one of
our author's most striking passages:--

     "It is midnight; the sea is calm as a mirror; the vessel floats
     motionless on the resplendent surface. On our left, Tenedos
     rises above the waves, and shuts out the view of the open sea:
     on our right, and close to us, stretched out like a dark bar,
     the low shore and indented coasts of Troy. The full moon, which
     rises behind the snow-streaked summit of Mount Ida, sheds a
     serene and doubtful light over the summits of the mountains,
     the hills, the plain: its extending rays fall upon the sea, and
     reach the shadow of our brig, forming a bright path which the
     shades do not venture to approach. We can discern the _tumuli_,
     which tradition still marks as the tombs of Hector and
     Patroclus. The full moon, slightly tinged with red, which
     discloses the undulations of the hills, resembles the bloody
     buckler of Achilles; no light is to be seen on the coast, but a
     distant twinkling, lighted by the shepherds on Mount Ida--not a
     sound is to be heard but the flapping of the sail on the mast,
     and the slight creaking of the mast itself; all seems dead like
     the past in that deserted land. Seated on the forecastle, I see
     that shore, those mountains, those ruins, those tombs, rise
     like the ghost of the departed world, reappear from the bosom
     of the sea with shadowy form, by the rays of the star of night,
     which sleep on the hills, and disappear as the moon recedes
     behind the summits of the mountains. It is a beautiful
     additional page in the poems of Homer, the end of all history
     and of all poetry! Unknown tombs, ruins without a certain name;
     the earth naked and dark, but imperfectly lighted by the
     immortal luminaries; new spectators passing by the old coast,
     and repeating for the thousandth time the common epitaph of
     mortality! Here lies an empire, here a town, here a people,
     here a hero! God alone is great, and the thought which seeks
     and adores him alone is imperishable upon earth. I feel no
     desire to make a nearer approach in daylight to the doubtful
     remains of the ruins of Troy. I prefer that nocturnal
     apparition, which allows the thought to re-people those
     deserts, and sheds over them only the distant light of the moon
     and of the poetry of Homer. And what concerns me Troy, its
     heroes, and its gods! That leaf of the heroic world is turned
     for ever!"--(II. 248-250.)

What a magnificent testimonial to the genius of Homer, written in a
foreign tongue, two thousand seven hundred years after his death!

The Dardanelles and the Bosphorus have, from the dawn of letters,
exercised the descriptive talents of the greatest historians of modern
Europe. The truthful chronicle of Villehardouin, and the eloquent
pictures of Gibbon and Sismondi of the siege of Constantinople, will
immediately occur to every scholar. The following passage, however, will
show that no subject can be worn out when it is handled by the pen of

     "It was five in the morning, I was standing on deck; we made
     sail towards the mouth of the Bosphorus, skirting the walls of
     Constantinople. After half an hour's navigation through ships
     at anchor, we touched the walls of the seraglio, which prolongs
     those of the city, and form, at the extremity of the hill which
     supports the proud Stamboul, the angle which separates the sea
     of Marmora from the canal of the Bosphorus, and the harbour of
     the Golden Horn. It is there that God and man, nature and art,
     have combined to form the most marvellous spectacle which the
     human eye can behold. I uttered an involuntary cry when the
     magnificent panorama opened upon my sight; I forgot for ever
     the bay of Naples and all its enchantments; to compare any
     thing to that marvellous and graceful combination would be an
     injury to the fairest work of creation.

     "The walls which support the circular terraces of the immense
     gardens of the seraglio were on our left, with their base
     perpetually washed by the waters of the Bosphorus, blue and
     limpid as the Rhone at Geneva; the terraces which rise one
     above another to the palace of the Sultana, the gilded cupolas
     of which rose above the gigantic summits of the plane-tree and
     the cypress, were themselves clothed with enormous trees, the
     trunks of which overhang the walls, while their branches,
     overspreading the gardens, spread a deep shadow even far into
     the sea, beneath the protection of which the panting rowers
     repose from their toil. These stately groups of trees are from
     time to time interrupted by palaces, pavilions, kiosks, gilded
     and sculptured domes, or batteries of cannon. These maritime
     palaces form part of the seraglio. You see occasionally through
     the muslin curtains the gilded roofs and sumptuous cornices of
     those abodes of beauty. At every step, elegant Moorish
     fountains fall from the higher parts of the gardens, and murmur
     in marble basins, from whence, before reaching the sea, they
     are conducted in little cascades to refresh the passengers. As
     the vessel coasted the walls, the prospect expanded--the coast
     of Asia appeared, and the mouth of the Bosphorus, properly so
     called, began to open between hills, on one side of dark green,
     on the other of smiling verdure, which seemed variegated by all
     the colours of the rainbow. The smiling shores of Asia, distant
     about a mile, stretched out to our right, surmounted by lofty
     hills, sharp at the top, and clothed to the summit with dark
     forests, with their sides varied by hedge-rows, villas,
     orchards, and gardens. Deep precipitous ravines occasionally
     descended on this side into the sea, overshadowed by huge
     overgrown oaks, the branches of which dipped into the water.
     Further on still, on the Asiatic side, an advanced headland
     projected into the waves, covered with white houses--it was
     Scutari, with its vast white barracks, its resplendent mosques,
     its animated quays, forming a vast city. Further still, the
     Bosphorus, like a deeply imbedded river, opened between
     opposing mountains--the advancing promontories and receding
     bays of which, clothed to the water's edge with forests,
     exhibited a confused assemblage of masts of vessels, shady
     groves, noble palaces, hanging gardens, and tranquil havens.

     "The harbour of Constantinople is not, properly speaking, a
     port. It is rather a great river like the Thames, shut in on
     either side by hills covered with houses, and covered by
     innumerable lines of ships lying at anchor along the quays.
     Vessels of every description are to be seen there, from the
     Arabian bark, the prow of which is raised, and darts along like
     the ancient galleys, to the ship of the line, with three decks,
     and its sides studded with brazen mouths. Multitudes of Turkish
     barks circulate through that forest of masts, serving the
     purpose of carriages in that maritime city, and disturb in
     their swift progress through the waves, clouds of alabastros,
     which, like beautiful white pigeons, rise from the sea on their
     approach, to descend and repose again on the unruffled surface.
     It is impossible to count the vessels which lie on the water
     from the seraglio point to the suburb of Eyoub and the
     delicious valley of the Sweet Waters. The Thames at London
     exhibits nothing comparable to it."--(II. 262-265.)

     "Beautiful as the European side of the Bosphorus is, the
     Asiatic is infinitely more striking. It owes nothing to man,
     but every thing to nature. There is neither a Buyukdéré nor a
     Therapia, nor palaces of ambassadors, nor an Armenian nor Frank
     city; there is nothing but mountains with glens which separate
     them; little valleys enameled with green, which lie at the foot
     of overhanging rocks; torrents which enliven the scene with
     their foam; forests which darken it by their shade, or dip
     their boughs in the waves; a variety of forms, of tints, and of
     foliage, which the pencil of the painter is alike unable to
     represent or the pen of the poet to describe. A few cottages
     perched on the summit of projecting rocks, or sheltered in the
     bosom of a deeply indented bay, alone tell you of the presence
     of man. The evergreen oaks hang in such masses over the waves
     that the boatmen glide under their branches, and often sleep
     cradled in their arms. Such is the character of the coast on
     the Asiatic side as far as the castle of Mahomet II., which
     seems to shut it in as closely as any Swiss lake. Beyond that,
     the character changes; the hills are less rugged, and descend
     in gentler slopes to the water's edge; charming little plains,
     checkered with fruit-trees and shaded by planes, frequently
     open; and the delicious Sweet Waters of Asia exhibit a scene of
     enchantment equal to any described in the Arabian Nights.
     Women, children, and black slaves in every variety of costume
     and colour; veiled ladies from Constantinople; cattle and
     buffaloes ruminating in the pastures; Arab horses clothed in
     the most sumptuous trappings of velvet and gold; caïques filled
     with Armenian and Circassian young women, seated under the
     shade or playing with their children, some of the most
     ravishing beauty, form a scene of variety and interest probably
     unique in the world." (III. 331-332.)

These are the details of the piece: here is the general impression:--

     "One evening, by the light of a splendid moon, which was
     reflected from the sea of Marmora, and the violet summits of
     Mount Olympus, I sat alone under the cypresses of the 'Ladders
     of the Dead;' those cypresses which overshadow innumerable
     tombs of Mussulmans, and descend from the heights of Pera to
     the shores of the sea. No one ever passes at that hour: you
     would suppose yourself an hundred miles from the capital, if a
     confused hum, wafted by the wind, was not occasionally heard,
     which speedily died away among the branches of the cypress.
     These sounds weakened by distance; the songs of the sailors in
     the vessels; the stroke of the oars in the water; the drums of
     the military bands in the barracks; the songs of the women who
     lulled their children to sleep; the cries of the muetzlim, who,
     from the summits of the minarets, called the faithful to
     evening prayers; the evening gun which boomed across the
     Bosphorus, the signal of repose to the fleet--all these sounds
     combined to form one confused murmur, which strangely
     contrasted with the perfect silence around me, and produced the
     deepest impression. The seraglio, with its vast peninsula, dark
     with plane-trees and cypresses, stood forth like a promontory
     of forests between the two seas which slept beneath my eyes.
     The moon shone on the numerous kiosks; and the old walls of the
     palace of Amurath stood forth like huge rocks from the obscure
     gloom of the plane-trees. Before me was the scene, in my mind
     was the recollection, of all the glorious and sinister events
     which had there taken place. The impression was the strongest,
     the most overwhelming, which a sensitive mind could receive.
     All was there mingled--man and God, society and nature, mental
     agitation, the melancholy repose of thought. I know not whether
     I participated in the great movement of associated beings who
     enjoy or suffer in that mighty assemblage, or in that nocturnal
     slumber of the elements, which murmured thus, and raised the
     mind above the cares of cities and empires into the bosom of
     nature and of God."--(III. 283-284.)

"Il faut du tems," says Voltaire, "pourque les grandes reputations
murissent." As a describer of nature, we place Lamartine at the head of
all writers, ancient or modern--above Scott or Chateaubriand, Madame de
Staël or Humboldt. He aims at a different object from any of these great
writers. He does not, like them, describe the emotion produced on the
mind by the contemplation of nature; he paints the objects in the scene
itself, their colours and traits, their forms and substance, their
lights and shadows. A painter following exactly what he portrays, would
make a glorious gallery of landscapes. He is, moreover, a charming poet,
an eloquent debater, and has written many able and important works on
politics; yet we never recollect, during the last twenty years, to have
heard his name mentioned in English society except once, when an old and
caustic, but most able judge, now no more, said, "I have been reading
Lamartine's _Travels in the East_--it seems a perfect rhapsody."

We must not suppose, however, from this, that the English nation is
incapable of appreciating the highest degree of eminence in the fine
arts, or that we are never destined to rise to excellence in any but the
mechanical. It is the multitude of subordinate writers of moderate merit
who obstruct all the avenues to great distinction, which really
occasions the phenomenon. Strange as it may appear, it is a fact
abundantly proved by literary history, and which may be verified by
every day's experience, that men are in general insensible to the
highest class of intellectual merit when it first appears; and that it
is by slow degrees and the opinion oft repeated, of the really superior
in successive generations, that it is at length raised to its deserved
and lasting pedestal. There are instances to the contrary, such as Scott
and Byron: but they are the exceptions, not the rule. We seldom do
justice but to the dead. Contemporary jealousy, literary envy, general
timidity, the dread of ridicule, the confusion of rival works, form so
many obstacles to the speedy acquisition of a great living reputation.
To the illustrious of past ages, however, we pay an universal and
willing homage. Contemporary genius appears with a twinkling and
uncertain glow, like the shifting and confused lights of a great city
seen at night from a distance: while the spirits of the dead shine with
an imperishable lustre, far removed in the upper firmament from the
distractions of the rivalry of a lower world.


[46] We have translated all the passages ourselves: the versions
hitherto published in this country give, as most English translations of
French works do, a most imperfect idea of the original.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Edinburgh: Printed by Ballantyne and Hughes, Paul's Work._

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 56, Number 349, November, 1844" ***

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ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.